Friday, August 15, 2014

Caught in the Act...

I caught the last caterpillar in the act of turning into a chrysalis.  (Video in the post the follows this one.)

 The last picture is a bunch of the older chrysalises.  About half of those have already hatched.

Not much chance I'll get a job as a videographer.


Black Swallowtail Butterflies

Nine butterflies so far.  I should have at least this many more before they're all hatched.

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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Larry Correia lays some smack-down on NPR

I do so appreciate some Larry Correia snark.  I don't think he could fail to be entertaining if he tried.  However, his smack down of NPR "looking to manufacture some outrage" over the under-representation of Hispanics in film is not precisely *funny* which makes me think that Correia just might be slightly, actually...  annoyed.
 "When NPR says that some of the Latin actors aren’t “easily recognizable” that means that they aren’t conforming to accepted liberal suburban Ivy League stereotypes. NPR wants Latinos to play beaners in sombreros, hotel maids, or gang bangers… "

When NPR bases their argument on the fact that Jennifer Lopez is not easily recognizable as Hispanic in a movie, you know they've thoroughly jumped the shark.   OTOH, you probably already knew that, seeing as we're talking about NPR here.

Larry Correia fisks NPR.

Especially mindboggling... the part where NPR complains that Zoe Saldana played the part of a black person in Star Trek.

More Larry... as I said, he's a compulsively funny guy, but I think he's just a wee bit P.O.'d too.
"Yes, Latinos, NPR just called you stupid. How DARE you enjoy movies and be entertained? You should totally boycott them to salve some white suburban liberal’s white guilt!
Annoying twits put their perpetual outrage ahead of their enjoyment. Everything has to be filtered through their obnoxious white guilt. Meanwhile the rest of planet Earth is throwing piles of money at a movie with a sentient tree and a talking raccoon."

Monday, August 04, 2014


No dear, you weren't talking too much about yourself.  You weren't going on and on and boorishly promoting your latest book.  You were, in fact, talking about other people.



In the foyer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Creatures, Small and Tiny

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Does violence define masculinity?

I'd say, yes, actually. That's with a whole bunch of caveats and recourse to definitions. Still, I think that most of what this guy says is both very right and very wrong. 

First, he claims that men = violence is entirely cultural... that it's trained into boys from their youngest years.  Part of that is true, but it's also not true.  We know that higher testosterone is associated with higher aggression in both men and women and men tend to have more testosterone. Violence is actually essentially human. We don't train it into ourselves, we train it OUT.*

Read more »

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Dad's Hot Rod

There are T-shirts over the seat covers.

My dad has had this hot rod since he was a "rebel" in the 50's.  When I was a teenager he started to fix it up again, rebuild from the bottom up.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How long is a Novella?

I'm starting to consider that I might be a novella writer.  Short stories don't seem to fit.  My ideas for novels seem to just peter out, even when I know how I want the story to conclude, because there doesn't seem to be enough going on.

But novellas Do Not Sell.

I learned this impermeable Truth about the same time I cut my milk-teeth learning about writing and publishing in the early 1990s.  Novellas do not sell.  It's a Short Story or the Game of Thrones.  Choose wisely, young one.

Novels, you see, are no longer 50,000 words (no matter what NaNoWriMo tells you), a novel begins at a nice meaty 80,000 words or It Will Not Sell.   It doesn't matter how many Golden Age space operas or Louis L'Amour novels you've loved nearly to the point of disintegration.  Novels start at 80,000 words.  I knew this with all my heart.

And then, as Grue from "Despicable Me" would say, "Light bulb!"

My expectations are stuck in the old paradigm, the traditional publisher, agent, brick-and-mortar trifecta of gate keepers who decided that the economic realities of book binding and distribution made novellas a waste of time.  What I learned so very well belongs to that version of publishing.

Ebooks are a whole new world.

As a consumer of ebooks, however, I've been burned.  Yes, they say you can check the file size and get a good idea about how long the story is that you're buying for $2.99.  To me this misses the "customer is always right" principle.  And if I'm selling novellas I want to be entirely up-front about what I am offering.

So I did a little web surfing and research to find out how different story lengths are categorized these days. There is some variation.  Different contests and awards have their own, very specific, rules.  Some add additional categories such as short-short and long-short stories. Generally, though, this is a pretty good approximation of what lengths are called what names.

Flash fiction:     less than 1000 words.
Short fiction:    1,000 to 7,500 words.
Novelette:        7,500 to 17,500 words.  
Novella:           17,500 to 40 or 50 or 60,000 words.
Novel:             Whatever is left.

Okay, so we've still got a problem. SFWA and the RWA define the "novel" category as anything upward of 40,000 words for their award categories. To give a good approximation, this is a 150 page novel.  It is approximately 1/2 inch thick, and has been unsalable as a "novel" for decades.

I found definitions online that put "novella" at 30,000 to 60,000 words.  The goal here isn't to be pedantic, it's to set and meet the expectations of readers. Readers expect a novel to be more than 300 pages, probably closer to 400 pages and at least 1" thick. That's 75,000 words and up.   It may feel like a story has been demoted to second class, but someone who is reading a 40,000 word, 150 page "novel" is going to wonder what happened to the rest of it.

The answer I found on the Writer's Digest website used the NaNoWriMo standard of 50,000 words as the cut between novella and novel... and then went on to say, as "writing advice" to someone, to expand their novella to novel length so it would be salable... "at least 80,000 words."  That is what readers expect because for decades that is what publishers would buy.

So I'm inclined to ignore the contest regulations for the Rita and Nebula awards and cut the difference between the technical and "real" novel length presented by WD, and go with the high number for "novella" that I found on my web searches, 60,000 words.

Novella < 60,000 < Novel

Other than that... Novelette and Novella can duke it out over where they split the take.

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Art my kid did for me for a book that's not done yet!

Definitely need to get my butt in gear!   But
at least my artist is hard working and prompt!
I'm intending this for the back cover art.  The 
front art has her asleep and the cherry blossoms
are small buds.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cactus blooming season, 2014!

Prickly Pear growing by the road. 

A cactus I bought, bloom for the very first time TODAY.

Cholla cactus.  Not a good picture of the flower.

Wild claret cup somewhere south of Belen.

Claret cup in my garden.

A local claret cup I moved two yards to my garden.

"Single spined" claret cup I bought, blooming for the very first time.

Tiny pink blooms on a wild cactus.

Small local cactus with green-yellow flowers.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Awake in the Night Land

I heard a rumor this collection of novellas by John C. Wright was going to be FREE tomorrow...

It looks like something my husband would probably like.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vengeance from Ashes

I just put up a review for this on Amazon.   Was it the best, most amazing book ever?  No.  But I started reading it, not *meaning* to read it but just meaning to look at it and read it later, at bed time and finished the book at 3:30 AM.   It's over the top adventure with Space Marines.   I wasn't quite expecting what I got but the price was right ($2.99) and there's that 3:30 AM thing...  at the point that a story keeps you up all night reading it, it counts as a success in all ways that matter.   Fun, adventure, intrigue, a looming threat, and Space Marines.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What cause is worth demanding women be victims?

So... this seems to be a thing.  I'd assume it couldn't be a thing, only a strange aberration, a case of "tweeting before thinking"... but I'm not sure.

The "thing" is Ms. USA... she's apparently pro-rape. She answered a question about rape in a pro-rapey sort of way.  So, is this a "thing" or just a couple of accidental tweets, like when you've eaten beans and aren't paying attention and they just sort of sneak out there and make a stink way way out of proportion?

In any case... this is the horrible horrible pro-rapey answer given by the woman who eventually wins Ms. USA.

She just makes the one statement, I think that the video repeats it a few time... so once she says it you can stop... there really isn't something more pro-rapey coming at the end.

Ace of Spades HQ had this *promptly* and included one of the offended tweets.  Larry Correia has a very nice run down of all (all?) of them.   A sample:

’I'm sorry, but women shouldn’t need to take self defense classes to protect themselves from rape #MissUSA— 
Peter Simon (@PeterSimon12) June 09, 2014

Read more »

Saturday, June 07, 2014

June Garden Update (lawn? what lawn?)

Salvia in the rock garden by the road.
These irises like their new location.

The dianthus are spectacular right now.
My "bought" cactus is blooming.

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Sunday, June 01, 2014

Bill Richardson, genius?

Well it's about time!

If the FAA approves we'll have Virgin Galactic spaceships launching from New Mexico.   The only thing sort of nearby is Whitesands, but I'm assuming they've got this figured out with the Air Force already.

Bill Richardson made a big deal about building a spaceport here (he was big on film kick-backs too) and while I'm skeptical of the economic wisdom involved I'm extra excited that maybe, just maybe, the facilities of Spaceport America aren't going to resemble one of those photo documentaries of abandoned Soviet architecture.

Spaceport America - from above it looks slightly like a bed pan.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Have you ever wondered how to evaluate a book or movie?