Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy post-Thanksgiving

Generic fall picture for color.
Happy post-Thanksgiving! May you have had a delicious holiday meal (if you're an American; may the rest of you had good food anyway) and good savings if you decided to shop.

And most importantly of all, may you have managed to avoid family arguments.

I managed to pick up more family stories over my holiday. This is always delightful, especially since as an adult I now know my mother was quite the mischief maker in her youth... things that were never revealed to me as a kid but have come out over the years.

I learned about my recently buried uncle, whom I'd never known had wanted to be a "mountain man" in his youth. One of the best people I've ever known, kind of heart and strong of spirit, adventurous but with a strong sense of home.

I learned that my own name was an old family spelling... which my mother had not (consciously) known when she named me!

I watched my parents and aunt and relatives solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery in half the time me, my husband, and my brother solved it. They have sharp deduction senses, and also picked up on clues we'd have never noticed... though I think our exchanged looks and suppressed laughter every time we remembered some rabbit hole we'd gone down didn't help. (In our defense, we did do much better on the second mystery, knowing how the system worked.)

And I met cousins I hadn't met before, spent time with relatives I rarely get to see, barely missed others I haven't seen in a while, and enjoyed way too much pie.

So it was a very good holiday for me.

Monday, November 21, 2016

End of November

Most caught since above level 20.
The only one over 1000
was hatched. The rest were wild.
So... how's your Pokemon hunting going?  Mine's slowing down as throwing is getting harder with numb fingers, but it's still a way to convince myself to get outside when I'm tempted to be lazy and not get fresh air and exercise.

But for everyone who isn't playing, or who isn't still playing, or who's playing but done talking about it, it's almost the end of November and the cold is settling in. NaNoWriMo-ers keep it up and go write something! You're almost there!

How are you preparing for the end of warm weather? And what kinds of things are you NaNoWriMo writers doing to prepare for the end of your story? Have you already gotten it plotted out, or are you anticipating discovering the story and learning how it really ends?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Goofy Pathfinder

My husband and I discovered HarmonQuest this week.

We're both roleplayers, him with mostly Pathfinder, and me with a wide mix of d20 systems. So we were highly amused at the show, which includes live-action animation of what the players' characters are doing.

Of course, our games usually wind up taking much longer, and we spend much longer in combat--some points of the game seem to have been abbreviated for viewing ease for the show.

A piece of me would love to see an animated version of some of my games in the past. Another piece of me is thinking of the games and the plot devices like they guy who found the cursed intelligent armor that turns into a towel when it's mad, or the baby evil dragon we found and decided to try to raise into being good but then abandoned by virtue of accidental time travel, or the undead puppies, or the escapade in the elven spa, or the... ya know, let's not go there.

All I'm saying is, some things are best left to the imagination, which can be blocked and distracted when need be.

Would you like your quests to be animated? Do they go anything like the show's, or do you somehow manage to keep your adventures serious and non-goofy (you weirdos, you)?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Museums of the World

Statue from outside the
National Palace Museum in
Taiwan, outside Taipei.
I have a fondness for museums, though I don't get around to visiting them very often.

When I was young, I wasn't too interested in them, unless they were interactive and kid-themed. But as I've gotten older, I have come to appreciate the wealth of history and culture, and the beauty of what can be found.

Illuminated Tao Te Ching from National Palace Museum
It's not always possible to work in a museum visit, but when it is, I enjoy the experience. I'm no art major, nor a historian, but it's still intriguing. On my recent trip to visit my in-laws in Taiwan, I had the chance to visit the National Palace Museum and the Jade and Coral museum in Taipei 101. The ancient ceramics and artworks at the National Palace museum were a huge highlight for me, and I was stunned by the artistry at the (admittedly far more commercial) Taipei 101 collection.

I once had a chance to explore the Louvre, but I hadn't nearly enough time to really get a sense of it. I think I would have been in love if I'd had more time to explore. Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Art in New York was pretty cool, especially seeing Starry Night in person, but honestly I think I had more fun overall at the Museum of Life and Science closer to home in NC, because of the beautiful butterfly house. Of course, that's a lot easier to visit, and has a giant tree fort, so maybe that plays a part in my preference.

When you travel, do you take the time to visit museums? What are some of the favorite museums you've been to?

Jade sculpture from jade and coral museum
at Taipei 101

Friday, November 11, 2016

Publishing Industry News

Between travel and illness it's been over a month since my last publishing news post. Yikes! But time for another publishing news and industry blogs post, this one covering 10/6-11/11/16--I'll try to stick to the highlights so it's not too overwhelming.

Publishing News

It's NaNoWriMo time again.

The Authors Guild introduces a new level of membership for writers actively pursuing publication. It's a non-voting membership but offers resources to writers following non-traditional publishing paths or still in the earliest stages of their careers.

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has voted in approval to combine with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). IDPF would no longer be a standalone organization, and its intellectual property, including ePUB file format standard, would become W3C's, which is causing some controversy. At this point, it is still possible for the merger to be rejected if the terms are not favorable.

The new Librarian of Congress has started making staffing changes at the Copyright Office.

Back in August, a major shipping company filed for bankruptcy, and the fallout is interfering with book shipping (and other shipping) as dozens of ships are stranded at sea or in the hands of creditors.

Most authors in the UK earn less than minimum wage, according to a study by the European Commission. has been purchased by NetGalley.

Amazon Prime membership now includes access to a number of e-books.

Industry Blogs

Information about metadata by Rick Beardsley. What is it, how is it used, and how does it affect you?

GalleyCat brings you what you need to know about using Patreon to fund your long-term writing project.

Researchers have created a program that judges books by their cover.

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, advice for writing villains we love to hate.

On QueryTracker, how to pick a good title.

Jessica Faust at Bookends suggests authors give their agents a chance to contemplate covers before sending an "I love it!" to the publisher or artist.

Janet Reid explains that multi-book deals pay the money as an advance, and why single-book deals aren't better. And why, with market saturations, agents still look for new clients--you have to write something fresh. She also explains that yes, publishers will see sales numbers, but there's a lot of sales that aren't in the sales numbers. She answers a question--if you turned down agent B to go with agent A but the book didn't sell and you broke it off with A, is it okay to go back to agent B? (Yes, but with a new book, and only if you didn't burn bridges.)

What other major publishing news have you encountered in the past month?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Post-Voting Fun Things to Watch

This week is the election. Go vote if you haven't already, and you're an American!

If you have, or you're not an American, hurrah! Now relax and enjoy yourself and try to ignore the rest of the political ads. Here's some cool stuff to watch while you wait.

Have you seen the minisode for Infinity Train? Cartoon Network's new proposed series hasn't actually been picked up yet, but the mini-episode makes it look like an awesome possible show. Plus it's pretty cool on its own.

How about Dr. River-Song's entire timeline, in her order, as of 2016? Spoilers, of course...

And if you're a fan of Phineas and Ferb, you should check out Milo Murphy's Law, a new series by the same writers.

Friday, November 4, 2016


At least the cat is feeling better, and
snazzy in his new stitches-protecting shirt.
I have joined the ranks of the ill in my household. So, no real post today. Hope you all escape the throes of fall illness yourselves!