madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
The top layer was in the fridge...
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
I never seem to get the smooth, finished look of the fondant that I imagine. Still, they're supposed to be old books, and they look like old books, so...

Tonight: gilding and embossing.

madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Three cakes (small - spice) (medium - chocolate) (big - yellow) have been made and rough-shaped and crumb-coated.

Tomorrow night: the coloring, rolling out, and application of fondant.

Wednesday evening: decoration.

In the beginning there was batter.

Post baking, cooling, thinking upon its fate.

Three tiers, three books.

Must see if there's a way to create "marbled" edges. Hmmm.

madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
This week we're celebrating the Bookbinder's Museum's first year in our beautiful space as part of Third Thursday (the Yerba Buena/SOMA cultural celebration that happens--you guessed it--on the third Thursday of every month).

So I'm making a cake.

As a stack of books. Old books (16th century, give or take) and new (19th century).

There will probably be process photos, because you know I do that.

You have been warned.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
For those of you who have been following along, today is the last episode of Whitehall. Will there be another season? Dunno. Would enjoy it, but I have no idea. But it has been a wonderful experience being involved with this one. If you like historical fiction, may I humbly suggest you check it out? Episode 1 is free...

Still Team Catherine, FWIW.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Did you know that Whitehall palace flooded often? And do you think that, having learned that fact, I, being an infrastructure wonk, could resist using it?

Today the penultimate episode of Whitehall comes out. It's also the last of the episodes written by me. And I'm kind of pleased with it. Just so you know.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
It isn't that your opinions on politics are either more or less valid just because you and your generation are young. It's that coming to those opinions is a new (to you), and exciting sensation. As it should be. Those opinions are therefore shinier than any of the old shopworn opinions of an aged parent. A thing to consider some time when you have absolutely nothing else to do? AP's opinions started out just as shiny and exciting, at a time as roiling in its own way as this one. And at that point AP's generation was going to fix it all, too (for the record, we fixed some stuff. Just not all of it. And none of it via ideological stubbornness).

Brought to you by hearing my family debating vociferously BEFORE I HAVE EVEN HAD COFFEE.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Once again I am plying my mighty words to help raise money for scholarships to the Clarion SF Writers Workshop*. I've pledged to write 20,000 words over six weeks (should be a snap, right? Except for that pesky day job...), and more than that, I'm going to do my damnedest to write every day (hear that, day job? Words every day), which should put me much closer to finishing Sarah Tolerance #4 (currently titled The Fate of Women, but that is likely to change).

It's not just me, either. There are a bundle of excellent writers participating, too many to list here. If my work is not your cup of tea, there are many other writers to encourage. And of course, the money all goes to support scholarships for the next wave of SF, Fantasy, Horror, and cross-genre genius writers out there. Think of it as ensuring you'll have good things to read in your old age.

*I'm participating in a Write-a-Thon for the original Clarion, now in San Diego, as opposed to the Clarion West Workshop--they're doing a Write-a-Thon too, and they too are worthy. But I went to Clarion at MIchigan State, so...

Two Things

Jun. 7th, 2016 07:42 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
1) I cannot tell you how glad I am that the primary election has finally arrived in California. In a few minutes, after I've pulled on my pants and put on shoes, I will go do my bit for Life in the Republic. Please, if you're in one of the primary states today, go do likewise.

2) My first episode of Whitehall goes live tomorrow. If you're reading along, I'd love to hear whether you enjoyed it.

That's all.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Not quite a year ago I was approached (doesn't that sound mysterious?) about becoming part of the writing team for a serialized historical story called Whitehall, focusing on Charles II, his wife Catherine of Braganza, and his mistress, Barbara Castlemaine. Not a period I know well, and I was a little reluctant to take on something I'd never done before... and then I heard about the people who'd be on the team with me: series creator Liz Duffy Adams; Delia Sherman; Mary Robinette Kowal; and Barbara Samuel (and Sarah Smith coming in as guest writer on #11). In which group, in my own mind, anyway, I  was decidedly a Junior Partner.

But I said Yes anyway. And dived into research and reading and plotting, in the most unsual sort of collaborative process I've ever participated in. Once I got over the first flush of "wait, you--what? but I was writing that scene" push and pull of the thing, I began to realize how generous, and inventive, and fun all these people were.

And the characters! You've got Charles, finally on the throne, enough of a king to realize that he cannot enact vengeance on the nation that killed his father and sent him on a decade-long flight through Europe. The original laughing on the outside/sorrowing on the inside guy--restless, thoughtful, deeply intelligent, taking the stewardship of his nation very seriously. And Catherine, with the weight of her nation on her shoulders, who--against all self-interest--falls in love with her new husband. And Barbara Castlemaine, who loves her king, but realizes as well that her standing at court depends on maintaining ascendancy over the new queen. And a cast of secondary characters who scheme and want and worry.

So tomorrow, Whitehall debuts from Serialbox: one episode a week for 13 weeks, available as e-book or audio-book. With five different voices telling one story, each of us with our own take on the time, the place, and the people. For what it's worth, me, I'm Team Catherine all the way. At least one of my fellow writers is team Barbara. Where do you come down on this one?
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Beautiful, difficult, loving, hilariously funny, generous, smart.

May 21, 1924 - June 11, 1986


May. 3rd, 2016 07:51 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
So twenty six years ago I awoke in labor. By 2pm I was a mother. It's been all roses, quotable lines, terror, and joy since then.

Happy birthday, Julie Caccavo. By the law of the land and the grace of Obamacare, you are an adult and, in many ways, on your own now. But you've got the love and back up of a huge group of Julie-fans, including your parents, who love you deeply. You're a funny, smart, feelingful, hardworking, good woman. Go forth and conquer which ever part of the world catches your eye (but don't forget that once it's yours you have to clean up after it and make it eat its vegetables).

madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

ICFA was lovely--although going from FogCon one weekend to ICFA, barely three days later, meant that I was a little soggy and hard to light. Punked out, overwhelmed by Being Social, most evenings by 10. Even with Becca there, we sort of folded around 9:30, came upstairs, and nattered until the kid fell over (I outlasted a 20 year old. Behold, I am puissant!). But: I saw many people I really like, and hung out with same. Didn't see as much of other people I really like, and am sad for it. Did a really good panel on publishing (publishing panels can be everyone Viewing With Alarm, or a whole lotta inside baseball, or sometimes they die the death. This one did none of these things, and I hope was useful to the people who came to see it. At 8:30 on a Saturday morning.

Spent Sunday day doing weird Becca errands (searching for tarot cards and crystals, eating vegan food, and getting her laptop fixed. Also: playing Skeeball and air hockey (they had a Pac-Man variant of air hockey that just about killed me: you're going along merrily shuffling the puck back and forth, and then suddenly there are dozens of pucks all over the place, and confusion reigns. I wonder how many heart attacks occur at that table). That was lovely. And then, just about the time Bec headed back to Sarasota, my old high school friend Shellie, who lives within driving distance, came down, and we ate dinner and talked about everything, in that way that two people who haven't been face to face for 40 years do. And laughed a whole lot.  Then I got to hang out in the hot tub with Rachel and Mike Swirsky and Karen Burnham, talking about stuff, and that was swell, too.

And today is transit all the livelong day: airport by 9, flight by 11:30 (got there early because I was expecting security to be a nightmare, but TSA-Pre got me through in record time), in to O'Hare by 1:20... and then my 4:00 flight to San Francisco was delayed by rain at SFO. So now, later than it ought to be, I am on board a big old jet airliner on which the movie server has punked out. So I come here to you, LJ, to lick my wounds.

How was your weekend?

madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
The atrium of the Walnut Creek Marriott is (as any good atrium should be) large and open, and has a slanted skylight. And if one looked up at any time during FogCon this weekend one saw torrents of water sheeting down.

So I stayed inside, ate hotel food, drank some okay wine (except when [ profile] suricattus opened the bottles she had brought down to share, when it was damned good), had a really fun reading and three good panels, and actually got some work done in the interstices (deadline for the outline of my third/last Whitehall episode was yesterday, and I pushed the button shortly after I got home). And I had excellent conversations with a variety of people I don't see as often as I might like, including the opportunity to complain about the fact that Words With Friends doesn't allow "ur" (as in original, not the internet contraction of You Are).

And I made chocolate-peanut butter-shortbread tart for today, because Pi Day.

And today the sky is attempting blue. I hope it hasn't forgotten how.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Twenty years ago, Eastern Standard Time, I had a baby. And now--in Florida, anyway--Becca is 20. It's been simultaneously a long twenty years and no time at all. And despite the ups and downs and occasional moments of whie-knuckled terror, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. She's a really, really smart, compassionate, funny, ambitious, and creative woman, and the world is lucky to have her. I know we are.


Jan. 21st, 2016 08:24 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
I always feel weird about noting the death of someone I knew but was not close to--as if I were standing in the back of a crowd--in this case, a huge crowd--jumping up and down crying "Me too! Me too!" It's not about me, and I wasn't a close friend of David Hartwell's, and yet I find I'm more upset by his sudden, awful death than our relationship might have warranted.

When we both worked at Tor in the late 80s and early 90s, we were sometimes a source of exasperation, one to the other. I was Tom Doherty's assistant, and sometimes my job was to say No. David was an editor, and a passionate advocate for each of his books, and that sometimes led to clashes with other editors, or to taking up more resources than was strictly appropriate in the situation. (I could give examples, but you'd be bored to death, honest.) It was perhaps a function of our relationship--co-workers but not colleagues, exactly--that we were friendly rather than friends. Still, whenever I ran into him, in New York or more recently at a convention, he'd flash that wide, delighted, slightly manic smile--all the more dazzling when he was in full convention dress in a symphony of plaids, and an indescribable tie--and we'd talk for a few minutes about work, or his kids, or books, the way you do.

But damn, he was a fixed point in the world of SF publishing and fandom. He was a one-word brand: Hartwell. To listen to him talk, in the halls of Tor or on a panel or at a dinner party, was enlightening and entertaining and occasionally exasperating. He came at SF from the vantage point of someone who knew a lot, thought a lot, and relished knowing and thinking and talking about books and writing and fandom and politics and history.

It really does feel as if this is impossible, as if there's a hole much larger than the one David would have physically made, punched in the world.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Becca has gone back to Florida for the Spring term of her second year in college. She was here, off and on, for a month (she spent a week in Seattle visiting friends) and it was delightful to have her here--exhausting at times, but delightful.

Have a good semester, Bug.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
It shoulda been a million. Shoulda been enough to keep him here.

Alan Rickman is gone. I saw him on stage in Dangerous Liaisons back in the 80s (before Die Hard) from a seat so cheap I was practically bumping my head on the ceiling. It didn't matter--his physicality, and his voice, created Valmont indelibly (and sexily). And then there was Die Hard. And Truly, Madly, Deeply. And that insane turn in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. And the Metatron in Dogma. And Snape. And his turn with Emma Thompson in Love Actually. And and and...

His Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, a miracle of gravity and love and generosity and quiet anguish. And that voice ("Give me some occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad." He was not a handsome man, but it didn't matter, because he was intelligent and sexy, and deeply talented.

There's a lovely candid photo of Rickman and Daniel Radcliffe in one of the later Harry Potter films (Half Blood Prince, maybe?) with RIckman in his full Snape drag, standing over Radcliffe. They have both cracked up about something, and Rickman's face, despite the makeup and the ropy black wig, is alight with humor and friendship.

I hate mortality.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
The first time I saw Star Wars (aka: A New Hope) at the Charles Theatre in Boston, with my boyfriend at the time. Rob had already seen it twice (or three times). In the next year we saw it another twenty times (Rob had a friend who ran the Coolidge Corner Cinema, and got us in to see it).

So tonight we got to see it with all the Lucas/ILM employees; Lucas had bought out the entire of the Metreon (a 14-theatre movie palace), and used six or seven of the theatres for showings--with free popcorn and soda. That, in and of itself, was really fun--there's a lot of enthusiasm for each other's work, and pretty much everyone there was a fan of the franchise. When "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." came on the screen there was a huge roar... then everyone waited for the fanfare that begins the Star Wars text crawl, and second roar when the horns blared. And (okay, I've got the sales resistance of a bagel) by the end of the text crawl I was anticipatorily weepy.

I am enjoined against giving details, but I liked it a lot. I laughed. I cried (seriously, I cried). It honored the original three movies while creating new story and new characters. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill slipped right back into those characters (I kept thinking of that line from another Ford vehicle: "It ain't the years, honey, it's the mileage.") I want to see it again. Maybe not 20 times in one year again, but again.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
But I don't have the requisite number of fingers. So take it as written. I had a quiet birthday, preceded by several days of combined Killer Head Cold and Party Prep (two great tastes that do not, under any circumstances, go great together) when I alternately cooked and slept. Now, on the other side of party and birthday, I have to finish the second draft of my first Serial Box episode and then I can turn my attention to Christmas. As one does.

And how are y'all?


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