30 April 2005

Writing: White Foxes Back on Track (I Hope)

Suddenly faced with a rainy Saturday and nothing planned but to start playing Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls and watch an episode of MythBusters I taped last night (and not liking to play games or watch tv before evening), I decided to get back to some of my own writing. My REAL writing. A few weeks ago, I'd written what I thought was probably a chapter of White Foxes, Full Moon longhand in my notebook. A little while later I started typing it into Word, but didn't get very far. So today I've finished the second draft of chapter 16, and I'm about to sart chapter 17 (I have a little handwritten, but then it'll be all new from there). Yay! (Dance of happiness, etc.)
Word count, chapter 16: 2021
Word count, total so far: 43, 979

The total so far doesn't count a final chapter I wrote, but which will likely change by the time I catch up to it. Counting that, White Foxes, Full Moon is 46, 751 words so far. Now to take the dog out, and then venture into the murky past of one shapechanger named Watcher (of which past even he knows very little, though I suspect I'm about to make him remember a lot more).

The Answer is 42

Well, it's page 42 of Fey, anyway. And look, it's not the middle of the night yet!

29 April 2005

A Bit of Bunk

I was boogieing around the living room a moment ago, trying to decide on the layout for this week's page of Fey, flourishing my notebook about, when a folded piece of lined paper fell out and fluttered to the ground. I picked it up to stuff it back into the notebook, but of course I had to read it to see where in the notebook it should be stuffed. On one side are some notes for "Great Skerry" (a Cobbleshore/Vinland/Friesland story I've written but not yet revised), and on the other side I found this converstation between the two main characters of my novel-that-only-exists-in-my-brain (and a few notes), Bunk (Wakelyne and Fawkes are magicians and debunkers of seances in Victorian London):

Fawkes: We need something to make us different. Exciting.

Wakelyne: Oh? What do you suggest?

Fawkes: We could do a show with wild animals. Tigers, maybe.

Wakelyne: Are you insane? No one is going to pay to be menaced by giant cats. And what would we feed them?

Fawkes: Well, what if we did a show with jokes? People like to laugh.

Wakelyne: Jokes?

Fawkes: A part of the act.

Wakelyne: I'm not good at telling jokes.

Fawkes: That's fine. I'll talk, you could just make faces. You're good at that.

Wakelyne: Hrumph. I still think the mechanical pig is the better idea.

Well, it made me laugh. And the best part is, I have no memory of writing it. I love when that happens. (Oh, and ten points if you can spot the references to two other magician teams.)

28 April 2005

The Annual Visit to the Doctor

So once a year I go to my Doctor for a physical, because she won't renew my Triphasil prescription if I don't. Actually, I had a bunch of other things to ask her, and Mum made me make a list so I wouldn't forget anything important.

Item 1: Repetetive stress injury. I told her about my wrist/hand getting sore when I write a lot, which I've always figured was tendonitis. I showed her the lumpy bit on my right wrist and she said "Oh, you've got a ganglion." It's something that can be treated if I want, or not, since it doesn't bother me except when the tendonitis (which is, indeed, what I have) flares up. Otherwise, she said I must be as ergonomic as possible, and switch to keyboarding instead of handwriting as much as possible, since it doesn't bother be nearly as much. So my writing notebook must now be only for notes, and all my stories must be composed on the word processor. I've never noticed much difference between the things I write on the computer and the things I write longhand (except longhand gets edited as I type it onto the computer). It's annoying, but not a big deal.

Item 2: Excessive daytime sleepiness. Yes, that's a medical term--EDS for short. I've got it bigtime, and it's starting to affect my ability to get things done. I had assorted bloodtests done last year, which came back normal. This time, I suggested a sleep disorder. My doctor didn't think it very likely; it's usually obese people who snore who get sleeping disorders, she said. I have read quite a bit about sleep and the lack thereof, since I've been sleepy for a long time (though it's only been this bad for a few months--gradually getting worse since I last saw my doctor), and there certainly are sleep disorders that are usually only found in obese snorers, but there are others that have nothing to do with breathing. Like narcolepsy. Anyway, more blood was drawn for more tests, and my doctor said to avoid caffeine after noon (I'd been avoiding it after 8pm, and since I turn out the lights at midnight, I thought that was a pretty good margin). Also, she prescribed a minimum of an hour of exercise 3 or 4 times a week. I'm too sedentary. I knew I needed to exercise more, but I didn't think it would help the sleepiness much (and you try exercising when you feel like you're going to fall asleep standing up). Anyway, I shall be a good girl and do as she says and see if it helps. If I don't notice a difference in a month or two, I'm go to go against character and make another doctor's appointment, and ask her if maybe she could send me to the sleep laboratory at the Jubilee Hospital. If nothing else, it would rule out sleeping disorders.


Go watch this (if you're on a Windows machine, you'll need to download and install iTunes, but it's free and cool, and the Serenity trailer's worth it, so just go do it). (Link via Making Light.)

Latest Reading: Comics

Here's what little (compared to my usual rate of consumption) I've been reading lately:

  1. The Demon Ororon volume 1 by Hakase Mizuki. I got this in an eBay lot. The story is that a half-angel who doesn't know her father was an archangel helps a demon and they (sort of) fall in love. All hell breaks loose, naturally. This isn't a must-read for me, but I do rather like it, so it'll go somewhere on the "to read once I've read all the important stuff" list. The art is mostly stylish and appealing, but sometimes awkward. And for some reason, I kept thinking the main character was really a boy that the editors had turned into a girl to make the story more socially acceptable. I'm not sure why. She was wearing a skirt in one scene, so changing things would have meant a lot of trouble (which means I'm probably wrong). Probably it's just becuase the character was so androgynous. But anyway . . .
  2. The Demon Ororon volume 2 by Hakase Mizuki. The series in only four volumes, as far as I can tell, which makes it more likely that I'll finish it than if it were fifty-seven volumes (or even fifteen).
  3. Suki volume 1 by CLAMP. The sheer cuteness and innocence of the main character sometimes threw me, but I like this series very much. CLAMP has managed to very skillfully reveal only a little of the backstory at a time, continually making each character more and more intriguing. The art is standard CLAMP: well-done, and full of pretty girls, elegant women and beautiful men. This is one for the "important stuff" list.
  4. Suki volume 2 by CLAMP. The middle volume of three, and the tale only becomes more mysterious and intriguing.
  5. Hikaru no Go volume 1 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata. I got this as a freebie (long story). It's one of the few stories I really enjoy when I borrow Selena's Shonen Jump every month, and I liked this first volume even more, as I could see how the story developed (I've only read later installments in SJ). The art is polished, with lots of blacks and whites (not so many greys).
  6. InuYasha volume 21 by Rumiko Takahashi. Yay! More InuYasha.
  7. The Vision of Escaflowne volume 1 by Katsu Aki. Another eBay book, from the same lot as the ones above. This book really didn't grab me at all. I think I would probably like the anime, but the manga simply felt too shallow. I didn't know the characters enough, or learn enough about them over the course of the volume, to care at all what happened to them or their homelands. That's what I get for trying another manga-based-on-an-anime. I thought this one might be okay, though, because it's supposed to be much fleshed out (and I liked the volumes of the manga-fleshed-out-from-the-anime Neon Genesis Evangelion that I got from the library). Oh well. Into the pile of stuff to sell on eBay it goes.
  8. Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohiko Azuma. I got this from the library, to try on a whim. It's more like a series of comic strips (only vertical instead of horizontal) than a standard manga or comic book (though a few sections are the more usual manga layout). It's amusing and charming, but not something I need to own. I'll get more volumes from the library, though, assuming our library ever gets them in.

So now I've got the first volume of Fruits Basket to try, the second of Hellsing, the fifth of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, some assorted other odd volumes, and a whole pile of Lone Wolf and Cub to tackle. Some are recent purchases, and some are eBay scores from ages ago that I haven't got to yet. I have yet to find more French comics in translation at a decent price. Back to eBay, I guess. But first I have to sell more stuff. (Speaking of which, anyone in the market for 1/6 scale martial arts wear? I've got a set of hakama and gi listed on eBay.)

23 April 2005

Well, I Was on Time

Until various stupid things happened. But here is page 41 of Fey (and page 40 now has the proper page number). Now I must go to bed, because tomorrow is Official Yard Work Day. At least Mum is making chicken and potato salad for us all to feast on after. I'm gonna need it. Ooh, and strawberries for dessert. Mmm.

22 April 2005

Free Comic Book Day Approacheth!

Holy crap! I didn't realize it was coming up so soon. Free Comic Book Day 2005 is in just two weeks! I counted at least ten books I wanna get my hands on, plus a handful of others that might be cool, too. My favourite's gotta be Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: A Tale of Edwin Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology (just so happens I'm reading a book on this topic right now, called The Gilded Dinosaur). Yay! Free comics!

(Maybe this year I'll get around to reviewing all the books I get.)

19 April 2005

Latest Reading: Fiction and Non

While I haven't been reading that much fiction lately, I have been reading a fair bit of non-fiction (you'll notice a certain . . . trend in my non-fiction reading). I guess I'm just in the mood for non-fiction. I haven't even been reading much in the short story book I have from the library, and I've already had to renew it once (and it's really good, just not what I feel like reading right now). This whole non-fiction dominance thing has been going on for quite a while. Eventually, though, I'll probably want to read nothing but novels. Or maybe short stories. (Or poetry, but that's fairly unlikely.)


  1. An Antic Disposition by Alan Gordon. Gordon returns to Shakespeare in the latest jester mystery. This time, something's rotten in the state of Denmark. I'm quite addicted to these books. They're well written, literate, and fun (which isn't to say they aren't also serious). Oh yeah, and sharp, witty, and a bunch of other stuff. Just the idea of a secret society of jesters working behind the scenes to influence world politics appeals to me.
  2. The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman. I wasn't going to buy any books at the remaindered book sale in the mall the other day. I didn't even know there was a sale until I walked out of WalMart with my bag containing a bright orange chew-stick for rabbits, a package of GameBoy game cartridge cases, and something else I no longer recall. They have these sales every now and then. Usually I end up buying something, but I was resisting gallantly, until I found a copy of The Shadow in the North. It's the second book in Pullman's YA mystery series (though, really, the YA designation is only somebody's idea of good marketing; these are all-ages books and grown-ups will enjoy them, too). I loved the first one (blogged not too far back). I will read the others. (Oh, and thanks, Mr Pullman. You made me cry. Twice. Not many books can do that anymore.)


  1. Dinosaur Lives by John R. Horner (with Edwin Dobb). I was watching Daily Planet (pretty much my only regular TV these days, besides InuYasha and the new Dr Who--I watch it instead of the news every weekday). There was a very, very cool story about finding soft tissue in T. rex bones. Soft tissue! It was flexible, once they'd removed the rock (blood vessels, they think). So they interviewed Jack Horner, whose former graduate student had extracted the tissue. Afterwards I thought, "I think I have one of his books." So I started to read it. And it's very good. It combines narrative about excavating dinosaur bones in Montana with explanations of what some of the things they discovered mean. There's a lot of stuff about discovering eggs and the possibilities of dinosaur parenting. I enjoyed this one so much it sparked off a dinosaur-reading streak (these reading streaks happen from time to time, when I get caught up in excitement about some topic or other and proceed to read every book I own on it).
  2. Tyrannosaurus Sue by Steve Fiffer. Horner's book had briefly mentioned the discovery of the world's largest T. rex and the subsequent legal circus, so I decided to go on to this book next (I got it from the discount section at Chapter's in Nanaimo). While the book has a very journalistic style that I found tiresome in large doses, there was so much interesting stuff in here that I enjoyed it anyway. Fiffer supplemented his investigative tale of the events surrounding Sue with historical detail about dinosaur collection and the development on palaeontology in the US.
  3. The Science of Jurassic Park and The Lost World or, How to Build a Dinousaur by Rob DeSalle and David Lindley. I heard about this book on Caitlín Kiernan's blog; she recommended it. It's a book for a popular audience, which shows in the writing style. The authors take the whole dinosaur-reconstruction thing and go through it step-by-step, from finding sources of DNA to finding a suitable place to keep the finished dinosuars, and point out how the movies got it wrong. Then they explain how it could have been done, maybe, if our technology was better and the scientists were really, really lucky. Maybe. There were some things about those movies that always bugged me, and now I know I wasn't wrong. Plus I know a bunch of other things I didn't know before.
  4. Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions by Charles Gallenkamp. Something Jack Horner mentioned in his book (above) was the Gobi Desert and the amazing fossils it has turned up (including lots of dinosuar eggs and an Oviraptor incubating a nest). I remembered I found this book at a dollar store in Nanaimo. Part biography, part travelogue, part history of science, this book describes Roy Chapman Andrews and his explorations--especially the ones in the Gobi Desert--in the 20s and 30s. Some people say Chapman was the model for Indiana Jones, though George Lucas says not (and remember Chapman was a palaeontologist and Indy was an archaeologist--and if you don't know the difference, go find out right now) (annoyingly, the book I'm reading now--also on the early days of dinosaur digging--was categorized as "social science/archaeology" by its publisher) (aargh!). Anyway. Adventure, romance, international politics, bandits, unexplained and suspicious deaths, and very cool science.

See, I'm making up for not taking palaeontology in university. I wanted to, but at U of C all the palaeontology courses were upper-level bio courses, and I'd made the mistake of not taking any sciences (aside from phys anth). Even though I had the highest score on the Biology 12 exam in my school (or maybe in the school disctrict or province; they never actually made that clear--but I don't think it was quite high enough to be highest in the province). They should have had a palaeontology for non-biologists, like they have "rocks for jocks" and "stars for . . ." er, I can't remember. Astronomy for non-astronomy students. Poetry for non-English majors. Etc.

I Am . . .

A Bright: info here.

Comic Life 1.0

Okay, now I have to get my Mac asap.

16 April 2005

New Fey

It's that time of the week again. Page 40 is up.

12 April 2005


Imperialism can be defined as a system for obtaining other people's Cool Stuff for less than you ought to pay for it.
(from Making Light)

Cross Your Fingers

Or do whatever it is you do to attmpt to influence the workings of the universe.

Friday I mailed off my application and admissions essay (and application fee) to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Yesterday I mailed my portfolio and arranged for transcripts from UofC, MUN and UVic. (Cost of one official transcript from UVic: $8. Cost of one official transcript from UofC: $4. Cost of one official transcript from MUN: $0.) Now I wait.

Sue seems to think I'll get in for sure, but I'm afraid I don't share her confidence. I look at the stuff I've done and see all the things wrong with it. Plus, I realized--after I mailed my portfolio--that I never did say anywhere that both the portfolio and the sketchbook were hand-bound by me. I suppose they might be able to figure it out (I did include photographs of one of my hand-bound books in the portfolio), but still. I meant to write it somewhere. And I worry that maybe I didn't put my name clearly enough on each piece (it says in the brochure to label everything clearly with your name), and that I maybe didn't put enough information on the labels. Not getting accepted won't kill me, but waiting to find out might.

Also, I've just emailed some preliminary bits of book proposal to a prospective non-fiction agent. I'm less nervous about that. It's a book I'll write anyway, eventually.

09 April 2005

Fey on Time

Page 39. Yep. Going to go read now.

02 April 2005

Fey: Only A Little Late

Page 38 is now up, late because I got behind and then went to Victoria to buy art supplies (and, I hoped at the time, a computer, but the usually-helpful staff at CompuSmart all seemed to be either busy or uninterested in making a sale, plus there weren't any Mac mini boxes among the boxes of iMacs and eMacs and Power Books and big ol' G5s so I didn't feel motivated enough to attempt to attract anyone's attention).

So today's page features Robin (slightly pissed, in more ways than one), Jack, and three "snooty bastards" (aka Gannon's lackeys). (I still don't really know quite who Gannon is, except that he is Somebody Important in Faery politics. I also have no idea what he looks like.)

Lackey number three looks like he might be taking on a somewhat larger role, and may at some point cease to be a lackey (none of this is really evident on the page, it's just things I realized as I was drawig yesterday.) He also seems to be Pier's younger brother (Pier's the odd black-coated elf from a few pages back), and is apparently named Sabre. (Their father is a Royal Weaponsmaster or some such grandiose thing, who thought naming his sons after swords was a good idea--Pier is short for Rapier, in case you hadn't guessed. They have a half-sister, I think, also named after a sword. She's called Katana, and her mother is a Japanese kitsune princess, or something.) Of course, these are all random thoughts and could very well change by the time I get to a point in the story where such things could be revealed. One thing is certain, though: Sabre is snooty (but not, technically speaking, a bastard), and he doesn't get along with his big brother very well.

Right, enough of things that may never be.