Shot Through the Heart:
I have a soft spot for Bon Jovi, for a number of reasons, mainly Jon. Okay, sneer and call me an eighties chick, but they were a terrific show band with so much presence and fun and tons of energy. If you never saw them in concert, then you don't know, so shut up. I've also written a couple of stories based on inspiration that sprang from Bon Jovi songs, one terrific outlaw novella, and about ten thousand novel ideas that ended up in the "Maybe Someday" file. I was hunting for music to set to Warrior Bond, which I'm going to write after I finish my article for Vision, and found my copy of "Slippery When Wet." The lines "An angel's smile is what you sell, You promise me heaven, then put me through hell" exactly describes Salo's reaction -- and the circumstances -- when he first meets Darea. So while "You Give Love a Bad Name" doesn't describe the relationship at all, some of the song is sticking.
I just realized something -- have you noticed the predominance of balding male SF authors? Just look at any group award photo. It must be like Dome City at every Neb and Hugo ceremony. Why is this a problem, you ask? I really like balding men who don't try to cover it up. Look at Ed Harris, and Vin Diesel. Both are gorgeous and you don't *want* them to have hair, right? I even liked Keanu bald. Another reason to avoid SF cons -- I'd probably fall in love with someone's scalp and have to put up with what's attached.
I have a running inventory of supporting characters I love, but Salo and Darea Torin from StarDoc have been bugging me lately to tell their story. I first invented the normal, happy, well-adjusted Jorenian couple because I've always liked having ordinary (well, relatively) people in my stories, and I think they make a nice contrast for the near-continuous turbulence between Reever and Cherijo. Things do heat up for Salo and Darea in Eternity Row -- and no, I'm not going to tell you how, so don't e-mail -- but now I'm thinking of writing about how they met, and what made them Choose each other, right smack in the middle of a warzone.
Quote for the Day:
"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Jack London, 1876-1916
So, what do you do if inspiration comes after you
with a club?
Medical Fact for the Day: Onchocerciasis
is a type of filariasis disease found among people in the tropics, caused by bites from the simulium fly, which transmits larvae infestation of the onchocerca volvulus worm. These flies breed and inhabit areas around fast moving, turbulent streams, and presently have infected more than 20 million people in Central and South America, with many going blind as a result, which accounts for the more common reference of "river blindness." The drug diethylcarbamazine will cure this disease, but must be used with great caution and strict observation of the patient, as dead worms near or in the eyes regularly cause an allergic reaction, resulting in permanent loss of vision.
Revenge Accomplished, Zen-Speaking:
And I feel much better, thank you very much. The nice thing about doing something positive for two people (one you like, one you don't) is you can't feel snotty and superior about it. Actually, I always feel a little dumb doing something for someone I don't like. But it really works, and the concept of "love thine enemy" is starting to sink in past all the bad examples life has set for me. I want to rid myself of all the negative stuff. So someone vents their spleen in my direction -- what possible difference could this person actually have in my life, other than trying to infect it with their own poison? Zen revenge may seem silly to most people, but it gets me past the reaction-rage stage and reminds me that I do care more about doing no harm than getting some back.
That said, I find an e-mail from another of the net snipers watching my back, and it seems a certain tiresome little man has yet again taken another swipe at me. I'm thinking about introducing him to the Vickster, maybe they can form a little hate-the-Viehl-woman club or something. What's really pathetic is how preachy he gets, trying to pooh-pooh on my work. Really, I thought guys worked all that ineffectual hormonal defense mechanism stuff out in puberty. Gives the gender a bad name, to see this. But I'm in too good a mood now, so Eric? Bite me.
I have an excellent reason to tie one on tonight, except that I don't use alcohol or drugs, and eating any chocolate at all still makes me sick (whimper.) How does one properly celebrate the final, long-awaited closure of a disastrous relationship when one has no bad habits? I already did the blond hair thing, and if I go back and tell Teri to cut my hair twice in one week she's going to Baker Act me. I'm too old to do anything self-destructive anyway; I figured out that doesn't work twenty years ago. I have Maggie Shayne's latest, and Anne Perry's take on Jack the Ripper on the top of the TBR stack. I want to read Holly Lisle's Secret Texts trilogy again because I think I'll see different aspects now, post-Vincalis. But I'm restless. Making myself not write for a few days always does this to me, but I need the breathing space before I tackle Sean's book.
Time for some Zen revenge, I think.
Quote for the Day:
"Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases." Harvard's Law
So will the writer.
Medical Fact for the Day: Quadrantanopia
is the inability to see in one quarter of the visual field (homonymous quadrantanopia is the same loss of vision in the same spot in both eyes.) This condition can be caused by a number of related disorders, including cataracts and certain eye diseases. Any loss of vision is a serious impairment that, left untreated, could progress and/or become permanent, so patients complaining of the same should be given a comprehensive eye examination immediately.
Armand! Full Makeover! Stat!
I braved the lion's den today to see Sarah (who is even more of a delight in person) and waded through the SF/F folks at IAFA. Due to some traffic snarls, I was ten minutes late and sort of gimped around the pool, hoping to spot the Tensors. I noticed a large group of people drinking heavily (sure sign of SF/F pros) and went over to beg some info.
The first person I speak to turns out to be Nalo Hopkinson, with her ample charms packed into an abbreviated tank top and spandex pedal pushers. Not a problem, I have the same outfit at home. Her hair looks like she dried it in the clothes dryer. Like I can talk, right? But she has a gold ring in her nose. Problem. I can't stop staring at her nose ring thing. Thank goodness I had on my really dark sunglasses and she couldn't see me staring, otherwise she'd have probably smacked me. Meanwhile, everyone is now staring at me because I'm in one of my attorney suits and I'm not wearing a handy dandy name tag. I look like the IRS, but that's on purpose. No one harasses you when you look like the IRS. They're extremely polite while they sweat and avoid your eyes. Which could have been as handy as the dark glasses, given my morbid fascination with Ms. Hopkinson's nostril ornament. Is this a new thing, like the tongue piercing and the eyebrow ring? I mean, I thought studs looked painful but a ring . . . okay, I am totally, hopelessly behind the times. Enough of that.
Anyway, some English chick with even more unfortunate hair (Bujold, perhaps?) directed me back into the hotel, and eventually Sarah found me. From there I went back to the pool, and in a quiet corner met some of the Asimov Award winners past and present, and got to hear Lena and Sarah read. It was really nice, and I hated to leave, but the ex bailed on me at the last minute, and the kids had to be picked up by 5:30. Off I went.
One day, we have to get all the SF/F writers to go to an RWA conference. Just for the shock value. I mean, I sat next to Shirley Hailstock at the last National Conference book signing (Hale, Hailstock, it's all alphabetical.) Shirley dresses like the IRS, and I can't imagine her with a nose ring. Yet she is roughly the equivalent of Nalo Hopkinson: both are attractive, black, female writers who are aggressively pursuing their careers. Romance authors take pride in their appearance, and power dress, and yes, that can be just as ridiculous as the preferential grunge of SF/F writers. I'm not trying to say one is better than the other. Just . . . think of the two groups together in the same room. Remember those junior high school dances when all the boys would herd on one side of the gym and all the girls would stick to the other? That's what I mean.
The somewhat tardy Quote for the Day:
"Sci-fi writers believe in their other worlds. Why else would they be creating them?" Michael Cassutt, from his scifiweekly.com article Competing Visions
I'm supposed to believe in fiction?
Uh-huh. Hokay. (Waving hand) Check please.
Medical Fact for the Day: Delusions,
or irrational ideas, are displayed by individuals who fail to respond to rational argument, generally for reasons of mental illness. Symptoms are varied, but the delusional ideas expressed are usually paranoid in nature and most often related to persecution complexes. Delusions are one of the most important signs for medical professionals to recognize and use when determining compulsory admission of a patient for observation and mental evaluation.
Stayed up talking last night to Sarah, who arrived yesterday, and I'm going to see her today. Then I get to kidnap her on Sunday for some shopping and stuff. Whoopee! Beach and crepes and Las Olas and maybe a stop by the tatoo place . . . oh yeah, we're going to have fun. Now what the heck do I wear? I have to walk through a SF/F conference to get to her, so the "SFWA sucks" shirt might not go over too well. I'm out of panty hose, and L'eggs doesn't have a shade that covers up the scars anyway . . . jeans and tshirt and nice jacket, I guess.
The Mirror Crack'd:
Will someone tell Locus to pull back a little when photographing certain writers for their cover shots? Please? My retinas are starting to fry.
Buy This Book, Immediately:
In response to several e-mails, here's my take on the best book I've read all year:
Vincalis the Agitator
by Holly Lisle
Holly Lisle's Secret Texts trilogy (Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons, Courage of Falcons) gave fantasy readers the darkly beautiful world of Matrin, where epic battles between the visionary Falcons and soul-stealing Dragons kept everyone all turning pages far into the night. I know those books ruined at least a week of sleep for me. Now Vincalis the Agitator
takes us back a thousand years before the time of the Secret Texts, to rediscover this incredible world through the extraordinary events that led to the creation of the Falcons. Better set a couple of alarm clocks before you start reading, because this one isn't going to let you go, either.
Born into mindless servitude, a boy named Wraith discovers he alone among his people is unaffected by the magic that enslaves them, and can leave the ghetto of the Warrens to enter the fabulous air city where his masters live out their pampered, hedonistic lives. There he finds Solander, a young wizard in training, who is stunned and intrigued by Wraith's incomprehensible abilities. For Solander, the chance to study the only person alive able to resist magic is too tempting to resist. For Wraith, the opportunity to escape the horrific confines of the Warrens and study the ways of the Dragons means a chance for him to save all of his people someday. Both boys are completely unaware that their friendship sets the stage for intrigue, rebellion, betrayal and faith, leading to a future cataclysm so shocking and all-encompassing that it will shape and change the world as they know it forever.
I'd willingly stay up until dawn to read a Holly Lisle novel, and Vincalis the Agitator was no exception. You don't want to miss this one. As an author, I can appreciate her meticulous plotting and consummate world-building, but as a reader I just lost myself in this book. From the first page, Holly Lisle drops you into the heart of Matrin, and lets you see all sides, through the eyes of its heroes and its monsters, and she doesn't let you go. It's really the kind of novel that requires someone to yell at you or smack you to drag you away from it -- so while reading, you'd better avoid cooking, operating heavy machinery, and just go get a babysitter for the kids.
(Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle is available online in print and download format, and nationwide through all major booksellers, ISBN#0446678996, published by Warner Books, Inc.)
Quote for the Day:
"He who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it.” Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469 - 1527, from The Prince
Whoa, Nic, kind of extreme. No wonder you people developed the mafia.
Medical Fact for the Day:Islets of Langerhans
are groups of specialized cells in the pancreas that produce three important hormones: insulin, which regulates the body's carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism; glucagon, which increases the amount of glucose in the blood in response to a lowered blood sugar level;and somatostasin, which stops the pituitary from releasing growth hormone.
Another huh? moment:
I got an e-mail from one of the sellers on eBay who knows my secret identity (snicker) and she told me one of my books was up for auction. Didn't believe it until I clicked on the link myself, but yes, you can bid on a used copy of Shockball here.
It's definitely weird.
And the final hair color is . . .
Sort of a bronzed dark brown. I gave up on the white -- not me -- and had the kids help me pick. It's funny how haircolor is a lot like housepaint, although it comes in sample swatches instead of cardboard chips. I was tempted by this one beautiful bordeaux red, until Mike pointed out that it looks a little like Ronald McDonald's hair. And in the end, it was a good experiment; I now know what I'd look like in every shade; I have a whole new appreciation for some of the crap blondes have to take; and I shook everyone up. Will it stay this color? Maybe. I think the reason I've been so restless about it is because I hadn't tried everything. Now that I have, I don't feel like I'm missing something. :)
Quote for the Day:
"Cowards do not count in battle; they are there, but not in it." Euripides (480 or 485–406 B.C.) from Meleager
They make excellent body shields, though.
Medical Fact for the Day: Necrotizing Fasciitis
is an extremely dangerous, potential lethal bacterial infection caused by a number of different bacteria, one of them being the group A streptococcus. The bacteria produces dangerous endotoxins which spread rapidly and destroy tissue, hence the more common term "flesh-eating bacteria." Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include fever, severe pain, and a red, painful swelling which spreads rapidly. Death can occur in 12 to 24 hours. While group A streptococcus is passed from person to person, necrotizing fasciitis is not. Treatment usually involves surgically removing infected tissue - including amputation if necessary - and giving antibiotics such as penicillin and other drugs. If you suspect you have this type of infection, seek medical help immediately.
Side note: Doctors don't know why the normally mild group A streptococcus bacteria sometimes develop into very serious infections, like toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. Bacteria have many different characteristics that can change over generations -- and one generation for a colony of bacteria can be as short-lived as 20 minutes.
Cleaning and Ice Packing:
I am finally able to attend to my poor neglected home, and spent most of the day happily scrubbing everything in sight. I love to clean. It's so mindless and satisfying. I imagine all the little germs screaming in high-pitched voices "No, no!" as Pine Sol and I erradicate them. I am going slow, though, I bonked the knee again and it's ballooned on me. So tonight, no computer, just ice packs, Iris Johansen, and a pot of mandarin orange tea. Maybe some raspberry cookies . . .