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Games Wizards Play: we have a pub date

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The Games Wizards Play website splash page

 

It's  February 2, 2016.

The book has its own website, as well as its own Tumblr and Twitter: you can follow its progress there.

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(via anartificialaspidistra:)

Hi Diane, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Read the YW books, Wounded Sky, and eventually the Door Into… books staring when I was a kid back in the 80s. Someday I’ll take a picture of the Hello Kitty notebook I owned circa 1984 where I wrote both Ed the shark’s name and Sherlock Holmes’ name surrounded by hearts. I was totally willing to marry either one of them. ;D

Anyway, when I started looking for more Sherlock stories after the BBC show premiered I got into reading fanfic, and eventually the amazing art on Tumblr. It was great to see someone whose books I’d always loved was right in there as a fan too.

Reading someone’s tags today, I noticed the latest example of something that makes my heart hurt a little every time I see it. The art (it was a short Sherlock comic strip) was great! Well laid out, engagingly drawn, funny, entertaining, etc. But the artist’s tags were all about how terrible it was. How she couldn’t write, how she couldn’t draw, etc. I know how hard it is to put your work (of any kind) out there and just let it speak for itself, but the prevalence of young girls making something amazing and then sharing it by saying “here’s this thing I did. It’s probably terrible,” just kills me. I can’t count how many posts I’ve seen people tag or comment that their art or they themselves are “trash”. I mean, I get that they’re self deprecating for comic effect, but…

I don’t know. Maybe learning to not put down your work before someone else gets a chance to is just something that has to be grown out of, but I also wonder if more of us older women should be saying something. I’d love to see girls say “here’s this thing I made [full stop]” if it still seems too hard to say “here’s this thing I made; I’m proud of it.” Just not tearing themselves down would make a world of difference, I think.

I guess I’m just curious if you have any thoughts to add. Thanks again for writing such enjoyable stories and building such cool worlds! May you live long and prosper.

First of all: thanks for the nice words. It's always nice to know I'm getting the job done.

Re the self-esteem problem as regards talking about one's work: I see a lot of this from girl creators too. (Yet also from the boys, until they gradually knuckle under or get pushed under the surface of the whole patriarchal never-say-anything-that-might-make-you-seem-weak crap, and get it institutionalized out of them.)

Part of the problem is that the creation of art (or indeed anything else useful) is unnerving business, because you're essentially making the invisible visible: making something out of nothing -- and even that phrase is culturally loaded. ("Don't make something out of nothing!": a classic putdown for overreaction.) Yet making Something out of Nothing is also, as it happens, what Gods do. (The classic western-culture version of this: Deity moves over the surface of the empty void, says, "Hmm. Light..." and bang! Light.)

So creation routinely frightens those who who do it -- because the actual process of mastery of art takes a long time, and in the meanwhile you may frequently feel like you're riding the tiger, only half in control, while your grip on the tiger's ears is always threatening to slip. And creation frightens more badly those who don't do it (not that you'll ever easily get them to admit that), because they see you making Something out of Nothing and that's not normal. Everybody gets a little freaked as a result, and it's probably no surprise that the responses to the act of creation by both creators and spectators can get skewed -- reactions based on fear not routinely being the healthiest ones.

(Adding a cut here, since more discussion and a brief how-to course in auctorial esteem lies below. Also, "pieces of shit"...)
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Remembering Kimmie

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This is our friend Kim Knight - Kimmie, or even Kimmiwinkles.

Kim and her band of usual suspects were the concoms for the UFP series of Star Trek conventions in the UK, some of the best organised, smoothest-running and most fun cons we’ve ever attended.

UFPCon 1986 was the one where Peter and I met up for the third time. Not happenstance, not coincidence, certainly not enemy action; it was third time pays for all, but even then we were so very quiet and subtle that when we finally revealed our secret engagement…

…Kimmie, Ros and Ali already had champagne waiting on ice!

Kim visited us in Ireland, travelled with us to see a solar eclipse in Germany, met up with us unexpectedly in LA, and introduced us to amazing people. She was one of the most extraordinary people you could hope to meet -- warm-hearted yet businesslike, kindly yet efficient, humorous yet hard-nosed, all wrapped up in one loveable, huggable package. In particular I remember one trip she and I took to Bern together, where we went shopping, ate out, caused the staff at the hotel where we were staying to mistake us for "such a nice pair of gay ladies" (I overheard them...), and generally acted like crazed teenagers pretending to be grownups. It was the Best Girls Trip Out Ever.

Kimmie died on the 11th of May 2014, from complications of the diabetes she bore and fought so gallantly. It would have been her birthday on the 31st of May. Instead her funeral is today, the 6th of June, and we can’t even be there.

Our friend Sarah made this piece of art, which we share with you all: the dedication plate of a happy ship on which we’d proudly serve

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We miss you, Kimmie, but you’re not really gone.

What’s loved, lives.
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Homemade Ginger Nuts

Ginger nuts are a favorite store-bought biscuit in most parts of the UK and Ireland, but homemade ones are way better. And somehow or other I seem to have made these three times in the last week and a bit, so I think I’ve acquired some expertise.

If you want to make some holiday-ish biscuits/cookies that aren’t a lot of trouble, especially for gifts, these are an excellent bet. They're crisp and flavorful and very more-ish. They’re also a good sort of bikkie to make if you want to let children or those who are normally a little baking-challenged assist (meaning it’s the kind of thing you can do sitting around the table with a bunch of adults and a bottle of wine, gossiping while you do the slightly repetitive work of getting them ready to bake).

Making the dough takes twenty minutes or a bit more, depending on how long you spend creaming the sugar and butter and flour together. After that it’s just a matter of how quickly you feel like assembling each baking sheet’s worth of cookies / biscuits. The dough refrigerates nicely for short periods, but because ginger nuts are raised only with baking soda / bicarbonate of soda, I wouldn’t keep the dough unbaked for more than 4-6 hours. The recipe makes between four and five dozen gingernuts, depending on how large you roll the pieces. Recipe and method under the cut.

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In the Afterlife After-Hours Bar

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You know the place. It's where deities and divinities and avatars go when they've clocked off and they need a casual after-work pint or a quick remedial stiff one or some casual conversation with their peers before going home to the family.

So Christ is sitting there nursing a nice Pinot Grigio (he gets so tired of red wine, you have no idea) and he's saying to the gods and near-gods at the bar with him, "You know what really gets to me, though? The tat. The kitsch. The dashboard ornaments, the endless dodgy art -- "

"I saw that doll," says somebody down the bar past Mithras and Izanagi: a god with his hood pulled up and a long cloak that looks and flows like shadow. "With the puffy sleeves and the crown."

"The Infant of Prague, yeah. Take my advice, do not do apparitions after hours in Prague, it's something about the beer they brew there, what those people will do to you after the fact just does not bear considering. But you know what's worst? The 'Sacred Heart.'" He actually does the air quotes, which leave little traces of (appropriately) red fire. "On the front of me, outside my clothes, like I've had some kind of bass-ackwards transplant. Usually with rays of light coming out of it. Aorta and vena cava and wobbly bits all aglow. There is nothing that does not appear on. Lunch boxes. Key chains. Night lights, do you believe that? How many kids' nights have been ruined by having that thing glowing at them like a refugee from a Bill Cosby skit? You should see some of the stores at CafePress. I'm amazed they haven't done My Sacred Spleen yet. Except probably none of them can figure out where it would go." He rolls his eyes. "I have it way worse than any of you."

Mutterings of agreement run up and down the bar. Then a voice speaks up.

"I got that beat."

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Sometimes Nita wishes she could just open her eyes in the morning and be ready to leap right out of the bed and get on with stuff. Unfortunately, life doesn’t seem to have arranged itself for her that way.

She lies there this morning, staring at the ceiling, and wishes it again. What I need is something like in that Wallace and Gromit movie, she thinks. Where somebody pulls a lever and dumps you into your clothes and automates your putting-yourself-together and your breakfast.

She yawns and rubs the early-morning gunk out of her eyes (why is there always so much of this gunk?). She knew it had to do with eye fatigue.  Hilary the optometrist had told her so once, back in the ancient day—back when her folks were concerned enough to  take her to an eye specialist because all of a sudden she didn’t need her glasses any more.  Though it had always been a given that Nita’s astigmatism was of the kind that would clear up eventually by itself, having it happen so quickly—and take the nearsightedness with it—had freaked her mom and dad out. And unfortunately Nita wasn’t yet out to her parents as a wizard, and so couldn’t explain that she had slowly and carefully been talking her own eyeballs into changing their shape so that her eyes’ inner focus points would fall on the right place on her retinas.

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It's not scientists who find the first signs of life on Mars. It's wizards... Young wizards Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious, long-sought "message in a bottle" that holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry is enough to cope with the strange events that start to unfold when the "bottle" is uncorked and life emerges once more to shake the Red Planet with its own perilous and baffling brand of magic.

The good news is that the Martians seem friendly. The bad news is that now they're free to pick up where they left off on a long-dormant plan that could change the shape of more than one world… and they don't mind using their well-intentioned rescuers to achieve their goals. Kit’s long-standing fascination with all things Martian unexpectedly enmeshes him in a terrible, age-old conflict -- turning him into both a possible key to its solution, and a tool that in the wrong hands shortly threatens the whole human race.

Only Kit has a shot at defusing the threat. But when he vanishes unexpectedly from the Mars of here and now, his fellow wizards are left uncertain of where his true loyalties lie. Nita’s determination to find the truth – and Kit – soon sends her into battle against an implacable enemy who may not be conquerable except by violating wizardry’s most basic tenets. As the shadow of interplanetary war stretches ever more darkly over both worlds, Kit and Nita must fight to understand and master the strange and ancient synergy binding them to Mars and its last inhabitants… or the history that left Mars lifeless will repeat itself on Earth... Now at the online store at Ebooks Direct
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This came out of a query over on Tumblr, and it occurred that it might be useful to post it here as well for anyone who's interested.




starspangleddaydreams asked:

Hey! I'm a big fan of the Young Wizards series, and was thinking about the mythology included in A Wizard Abroad. You seem to know it very well, and I was wondering if you could recommend any reading for someone who'd like to learn about it? Thanks!



I know it well since I started studying it (along with other mythologies from all over) when I was ten. But here’s what our present Irish-myths-&-legends shelf looks like:





— This is quite basic stuff. If I needed anything really complex, rare or obscure, I’d check the online catalog for the library at Trinity College (which is one of Ireland’s legal deposit / depository libraries and has copies of every important book published here in the last couple of centuries, along with many much older ones), or the National Library of Ireland (ditto).

The listing of the above: (NB: I’m excluding the relatively modern fiction [the Stephens] and the Welsh, Scots and Orkney material from the list to keep things clear.)

LEGENDS AND TALES OF IRELAND, Samuel Lover and Thomas Crofton Croker

MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE CELTIC RACE, T. W. Rolleston

OXFORD COMPANION TO IRISH HISTORY, S. J. Connolly (not a book on legends, but provides context)

THE IRISH FAIRY BOOK, Alfred Percival Graves

CELTIC FAIRY TALES, Joseph Jacobs

GODS AND FIGHTING MEN, Lady Gregory*

VISIONS AND BELIEFS IN THE WEST OF IRELAND, Lady Gregory*

CUCHULAIN OF MUIRTHEMNE, Lady Gregory*

IRISH SAGAS AND FOLK TALES, Eileen O’Faolain

THE TAIN, Thomas Kinsella (a modern translation of the Tain Bo Cuailgne, and widely thought to be one of the best)

…As I said, this is a goodish basic library. There are of course hundreds if not thousands of books on Irish folklore out there, some of them excellent and some of them pretty worthless. The only way to find out which is which is to get a basic grounding in the subject and then start feeling your way forward.

Have fun!

*These three were published by Colin Smythe, who besides being Terry Pratchett’s publisher and agent, is also an Irish scholar of considerable repute.

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