Some months are quiet, and others are very loud with announcements and such. In the later case, those are often broadcasted reactively as they happen, and get lost in the shuffle of all the other news-bytes out there. So, I thought an end of the month summation would be a nice way to compromise the fragmented with the soft and clamorous, of which, January definitely fell into the former.
First, I am writing this during the polar vortex attack on everywhere, including the South. All day yesterday, people lost their cool as public building closures were gradually announced. Hysterical hyperboles floated from mouth to mouth faster than the flu, and after Atlanta and the more northern Southern areas were dusted with the white stuff, suddenly, we were in for God knows what—a blizzard?
While it has been drizzling sleet, I am sad to say there is no snow. I’m disappointed. The last time it snowed here was in 1989, unless you count that time in college when I saw one solitary snow flake fall and melt on my hand. Both were rare and magical moments. Today, just another cloudy and wet wintry day in North Florida. Even so, the gentle tapping of the sleet against the windows have been comforting, the cat wants to cuddle rather than play all day, and if I am good, I’ll get to have a hot toddy with a friend later on.
I know I am not the only one swathed in blankets and nursing hot tea. So what’s everyone else been up too in January? Does the cold have you down? Or does it have you deep in a book or project? What are you all doing to make the best of it?
As for me….
On the writing front:
One of the best things to do when you hibernate is to reflect on stuff. So, I did a lot of that, worked on a few things that didn’t work out, and realized I wanted to try something different with my fiction as will be seen in Vintage Scenes–a series dealing with particular wines and the occasions on which they are served. The first story will be appearing in Mungbeing magazine next month, and I’ll go into it more then.
I also made a pro sale of a dark fantasy story, but I’m not sure I can share details just yet, so I have to hashtag it under vaguebooking for the moment.
The New Gothic, edited by Beth Lewis for Stone Skin Press, is now available! It has an amazing array of authors including all original, new stories by Ramsay Campbell, Damien Kelley, Laura Ellen Joyce, Richard Dansky, among the many, and includes a story Jesse Bullington and I wrote called “Dive In Me.” Jesse has described our story as “a Daria goes to hell” tale, and that’s pretty apt.
Josué Ramos’ Acronos II (Tyrannosaurous Books) will be released February 15, with a launch at the Barcelona convention II Semana Retrofuturista. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am honored to have my story “The Venus of Great Neck” included among some of the best Spanish Steampunk names. Also, check out the cover! Dang.
Speaking of Steampunk, I am also looking forward to participating in Airship Ambassador’s Steampunk Hands Around the World, which will begin February 2 and proceed throughout the month. Its mission statement, from founder and organizer (and Airship Ambassador editor!) Kevin Steil, is this:
Steampunk Hands Around the World is a month long event in February 2014 showing and sharing that steampunk and the community is global and as such, all steampunk everywhere are connected. There are new friendships to be found in every conversation and event. “Hands” is presented in multiple formats from blogs to videos to live events. Each person is responsible for organizing their own content and format, but the central theme is that of global connection and friendship.This is a truly great initiative with participants blogging and podcasting from all over the world!
There are a lot of participants from all over the world joining up, and it should be an intense, thorough, and inspiring look at Steampunk now and its future.
And speaking of international Steampunk, I believe the French translation of The Steampunk Bible will be released sometime during next month.
And last, but not least, I was pleased to see that Nate Pedersen’s Starry Wisdom Library (which includes my short story “Remnants of Lost Empires”) is complete, and will be released at FantasyCon 2014 this September by PS Publishing.
On the reading front:
I’m pretty pleased with my reading so far.
I’ve read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Gothic Immortals: The Fiction of the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross by Marie Mulvey Roberts, and The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (which was just the perfect amount of profound fun needed to offset the heaviness of the other two books.) A post on Dundy will be forthcoming, as promised.
I am in-between Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, and have begun Caleb Williams by William Godwin.
On la vida loca front:
I‘ve been taking advantage of hibernation by trying out some new things, and returning to activities I used to love doing. After the ravages of New Year’s Eve, I had some leftover St. Germain, and so began experimenting with liqueur baking, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds. Pictured at the top of this post is a St. Germain Lemon Bundt Cake, taken from this recipe. It turned out alright. Like with anything I do in this arena, I didn’t have quite enough St. Germain so it was more a lemon cake with a hint of elderflower than vice versa, but I definitely want to try it again with proper proportions, as well as some of The Baking Bird’s other stuff. She has a Triple Rum Black Pepper (made with Kraken) that makes me yearn for proper beach times resulting in pirate appetites. You know, “yuuuuum” instead of “arrrrgh,” or in this case, “brrrrrr!”
I’ve also been working on fitness. When it is cold, I’m doing hot yoga or jamming to MIA and Santigold. When it is oddly sunny and tepid, I jog like Kyle Cassidy through a local graveyard, taking way to many phone pics of the scenery and its resident spirit guide, Saint Mangy Fox. He’s awesome, pretty mangey, and possibly rabid.
Well, now that I’ve written it all out, January looks like it was pretty fun. So while there were no snow days, per se, it has had some chill and tasty moments.