February 13th, 2012


What Becomes of the Bandits

Following the completion of "Grit and Grace," I posted two polls to determine what happens next.  The donors got to vote on the bandit with the bashed head and hacked knee.  (I have now unlocked this poll so everyone can see it.)  Everyone else got to vote on the bandit with the burns from hot grits.  And you decided ...

They both live.  They both rejoin the storyline later.  But they do it in different ways.  For the man who was burned survives with only moderate scars, repenting of his sin and returning to surprise our heras; and the man who was hit over the head and hacked in the knee is hideous to look upon, and lame, off somewhere fomenting trouble as we speak.

I think it's interesting that the two audience subsets chose opposite paths for these characters.  While it's likely to break up the pairing as they initially appeared, it does play out a very real effect -- that major incidents can force people to stop coasting and take a close look at their life path and decisions.  When you've screwed up, you can either admit and try to fix it; or stick to your guns and keep aiming at the same target until the trigger clicks on an empty chamber.  With two characters in the same crucial encounter, we can explore both options.

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts.  I will keep these guys in mind for future poems, in or out of fishbowl sessions.
monster house

Poem: "We've Got It Covered"

This poem came out of the October 4, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siege and my determination to write about imaginary bookstores in hopes of reminding people of the need for brick-and-mortar bookstores.  It is posted as a free perk for the February 7, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl meeting the $150 goal.  This poem belongs to the Monster House series; you can read more about that on the Serial Poetry page.

We've Got It Covered

There's a bookstore a few blocks away,
at the corner of Hollow Oak Drive and Lewis.
The sign in the window says We've Got It Covered
and they usually do.  Oh, we tried to be discreet
at first, because most people don't appreciate weirdness,
but my wife and I soon learned better.

The store is owned by two quiet young men
who dress in dark pants and tidy white shirts.
They'll help you find what you want, all right,
but if they can't, they'll provide a distraction
while the ghost creaks his way down the stairs
to pull the relevant title out just enough
to snag a hand as it trails along the shelf.

When we found out about our daughter's blindness
and went looking for helpful references,
they found the right books for us ...
and expanded the audiobook shelf without being asked.
We bought textured baby books for her,
and albums of lullabies from around the world,
and early readers and fairytales.

One time when I took her to the bookstore,
she pointed and said, "Look, a dragon!"
I looked.  There was indeed a tiny dragon
with wings the color of old leather
and a belly as pale as parchment.
"So it is," I said.

"Won't he set the place on fire?"
my daughter asked.
"No," said one of the owners,
"he's a bookwyrm."

"Oh," she said.  "So if he doesn't breathe fire,
then what does he breathe?"
the man said.

"That must be a handful
on open mic poetry nights,"
I said to him.

"Don't worry," the owner replied,
"we've got it covered."


Poem: "A Small Separation"

This poem came out of the September 13, 2011 donor prompt session.  It was inspired by prompts from jenny_evergreen, haikujaguar, marina_bonomi, and siege.  It is posted here as the free series poem selected in the poll for the February 7, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl reading the $250 threshold.  This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman, and you can explore that further on the Serial Poetry page.

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Crowdfunding "Spots the Space Marine" in print

haikujaguar is using Kickstarter to crowdfund a paper edition of "Spots the Space Marine."  As she puts it, "Because we need more military science fiction for old, rickety people, girly girls and moms, minorities and people who love aliens."

And that's what crowdfunding is all about, enabling stories that would get shut out of the mainstream.

Plunge Magazine Update

Plunge  will be a webzine featuring genre literature about queer women.  It's currently crowdfunding the first two issues on Kickstarter.  JOB CREATOR!  If it meets the fundraising goal, I get hired as the line editor.  There are 4 project updates.

It has $745 pledged of $2,000 goal with 22 days to go.  Please chip in if you can!

2012 Rose & Bay Award Update

The voting period for the 2012 Rose & Bay Award honoring excellence in cyberfunded creativity is open through February 29, 2012. Here are the categories and their current numbers, with links to the voting posts:

Art: 8 nominees, 58 voters
Fiction: 11 nominees, 79 voters
Poetry: 4 nominees, 15 voters
Webcomic: 8 nominees, 75 voters
Other Project: 11 nominees, 39 voters
Patron: 13 nominees, 34 voters

Voting is enthusiastic in most categories. Thank you! Please vote if you have not already done so. Boosting the signal also helps.

Monday Update 2-13-12

These are some posts from the later part of last week, in case you missed them:
Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Read "All in Your Head"
Poetry Collections Compiled and More Series Collections
A Blues Harmonica Concert
Tom Smith Subscriptions
See an Italian Griffin
Torn Tongue: Nouns Beginning with "R"
Read "Courtship Displays" and "Grapejelly"
In Which a Cardinal Is a Clinging Bird After All
2012 Imbolc Ritual
Hard Things
Nature in Children's Books

I posted "Homicidal Psycho Jungle GoH" (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) for the Asexy Valentines Fest.

Sketch Fest ran this weekend.  I got a huge amount of art from lots of different people, including multiple renditions of several prompts.  Wow!

The next Crowdfunding Creative Jam will take place this weekend with a theme of "alternative sexualities / QUILTBAG."  I'm also encouraging folks to plan crowdfunded music projects for March.

Plunge  webzine is still in crowdfunding for queer women's genre literature.  Please donate or boost the signal if you can.

The bonus Poetry Fishbowl will be on Tuesday, February 21 and voting is open through Monday evening to pick the featured series.

Poetry in Microfunding:
The Morose Mascot" has 5 new verses, following Horace the porcupine as he flees his horrible mistress.  It belongs to The Adventures of Aldornia and Zenobia, and only needs $14.50 to complete.  "The Godfather" shows Fiorenza and Don Candido discussing their respective roles in the community.  It belongs to Fiorenza the Wisewoman, and was finished out of the general fund.  So everything that has unpublished epics is eligible to have a new one opened.

Torn World writing update:
Approved as canon: "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal," (fiction).  Back to me for edits: "Catch and Release," "Dusting Off the Green Speech" "Doing the Work" (fiction), "Seafoam Fashions," "Hide Away," "Red Glass, Green Glass," "Bitter Herbs" "Getting the Goat," (poetry), "Half-Leg," "Northern Game: Bola-Ball," "Northern Game: Ice Gliders," "Dolls in the Empire" (nonfiction). Currently in front of the canon board: "Unlicensed Dreams" "The Hearsay Cafe," "The Colors of the Rainbow," "Something Big Is Coming" (poetry), "Grapejelly," "Wild Herbivores of the North" (nonfiction).  Drafted: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands," "Like Ash Before the Wind," "Breaking the Ice," "From Dark to Bright," "Beached Fish," (fiction), "How Skycat Got Her Name" (poetry).  In revision at home: "Water Dance," "When the Wind's Teeth Sing," "The Bones of Need" "Raining Kittens," (fiction).  Currently writing: "Catch of the Day," "Reaching for the Moons" (fiction), "Fish of the North" (nonfiction).

Voting is now open for the 2012 Rose & Bay Award which honors crowdfunding excellence in the categories of Art, Fiction, Poetry, Webcomic, Other Project, and Patron.  Please visit the nomination posts to browse projects, and the voting pages to cast your votes.  Full details for this award are on its landing page, and the nomination and voting pages have category details.

Nominations are still open for the Rhysling Award recognizing exceptional speculative poetry.  The SFPA has posted some Rhysling eligible poems online and mine are also available on my website.  If you're a SFPA member, please nominate your favorite poems for this award.  Also, this award now accepts crowdfunded and self-published poems!  So all of my 2011 fishbowl poems are eligible -- look under the "poem" tag to find them.

We had a brief cold snap here along with some obnoxiously slushy weather where the sky could not decide what it wanted to spit at us.  Things have mellowed out since.  One of the cardinals has taken to eating thistle seed.  Cardinals and mourning doves have been crowding around the feeders along with lots of sparrows.

Wing Tutorial Art

Here is a splendid tutorial on rendering wings on a humanoid body.

This is how I handle extrapolative biology.  I look for something similar to start with, if anything relevant can be found.  I try to imagine the details as precisely as possible.  I look for potential conflicts and consider how to resolve them.  I aim for something both plausible and appealing.  And I try to follow natural rules such as "use what you have" and "whatever will do the job is okay."  Usually I end up with functional monsters, aliens, etc.  The original tutorial was aiming for angel but I never think of them as exclusively corporeal, so mine can do things like adjust the size of their wings.