So what to do? TV, of course. I got caught up on a bunch of shows (ARROW, Bletchley Circle, Person of Interest, Falling Skies, and a metric ton of Bollywood and thirties films, plus some terrific documentaries, like one on the making of Mahler's 2nd) and embroidered, which I hadn't done since I was married 33 year ago.
I made a fox banner, gold on black, with the raptor eyes, from a series of stories (the Inda ones, but it will reappear), which was easy, satisfying work, except what could I do with it? I have no wall space left in this house. Everything not covered by book shelves has art on it. And I am not Aunt Agatha enough (you know, the auntie who knits scratchy sweaters in Pepto Bismol pink for her relatives, all in one size never worn by human form) to stick it on a relative, none of whom have the least interest in fantasy, much less mine. So the only other choice was to donate it, and here was Patrick Rothfuss's Worldbuilders putting out the word, they needed donations.
So I took out author copies of the relevant books, and did some doodles on the flyleaves of each, bundled it all up, and sent them off to Pat's team.
This is such a good cause. We already donate through the spouse's school--and they can always use more. Today, pix of my donations are on the blog page (which will change in a couple days).
The whole banner is on the auction page. Even if you aren't interested in my things, there is a ton of great stuff donated by a bunch of writers, including Neil Gaiman and others. Plus offers to critique, and Tuckerizations, and all manner of goodies.
I know I already posted about the Athena's Daughters fundraiser, and I apologize for having my hand out twice in a row, but they came at the same time, and this is such a good cause.
I debated just posting this as a joke, but figured that might be a little cruel:
I will be continuing the Frosty fanfic story, but last night I got home, made dinner, took my daughter to a doctor appointment, and then decided I was going to try to spend a few minutes with my family. So there was no Frosty update today, sorry.
However, I do have two things to share.
1. I was a guest on the Hide and Create Podcast, talking about writers and blogging. This is part one of the podcast. I had a lot of fun, and we ended up chatting so much it spilled into a two-parter. But don’t worry, we didn’t end on a cliffhanger.
2. A while back, Pat Rothfuss asked me if I’d contribute a silly or interesting reward as a stretch goal for his Worldbuilders fundraiser. This is how, once they raised a total of $75,000, I ended up attempting to duplicate both characters on the cover of The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs. (Fun factoid: the pose on the right is officially the most skin I’ve ever shown in a cover pose.)
Have a great weekend, all!
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
My mother-in-law is arriving on Sunday, so I'll be mostly a laggard while she's visiting--I adore Sandy!--but I don't anticipate any problems with the MS, so I can relax and enjoy my Christmas. (Though I'll have to hop back on it afterward.)
And here's your teaser from today's work:
The road stretched away east, out of town, into more rolling, sunburned hills dotted with dust-laden trees. It felt like we'd come to the end of the world and the road was only an illusion that would vanish under our feet and return us endlessly to the same intersection.
The course she's taking is terribly important. Until now it hasn't been possible to get construction qualifications in Timor-Leste--the nation had to hire foreigners to do that work. Now, not only are Diolinda and her colleagues getting a great qualification and a chance to earn a good living, they're helping make the nation self-sufficient and strong.
by Sarah Francis
photo by Sarah Francis
Meet Diolinda Ximenes, a 26-year-old who is leading the way for women to branch into non-traditional jobs in Timor-Leste.
“I’ve been studying Certificate 2 in Plumbing at Tibar Training Centre for two months ... I decided to study plumbing because I wanted to learn new skills ... I am married and have a five-year-old son. My husband stays at home in Manatuto and looks after our child.”
Diolinda is one of 457 students studying construction certificates in Timor-Leste. As part of the Mid-Level Skills Training Project, three training providers, namely Tibar Training Centre, Don Bosco-Comoro and DIT-Baucau, are being developed so that they have the capacity to offer construction courses in levels 3 and 4.
“I’m really enjoying this course,” says Diolinda. “I’m learning new things and developing skills in plumbing ... The teachers here at Tibar Training Centre are good. They share their knowledge with us and have good teaching methods. When we do practical exercises they demonstrate the tasks step-by-step so that we can learn from them.”
Until 2012 it wasn’t possible to gain formal nationally accredited construction qualifications in Timor-Leste. As such most of the construction jobs in Timor-Leste that require skilled workers are given to foreigners. This project aims to equip Timorese youth with skills that will lead to paid work, reduce Timor Leste’s high youth unemployment rate, and put local people in local jobs.
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Sarah Francis first came to Timor-Leste six years ago, and was so inspired by the people she met and their stories that she moved back in 2012. She has since worked in communications roles to promote programs that effectively engage Timorese young people, including the Mid-Level Skills Training Project and Action for Change Foundation
- Current Music:Chvrches: The Mother We Share
Random quote of the day:
“Wholeness of the mind and spirit is not a quality conferred by nature, or by God. It is like health, virtue and knowledge. Man has the capacity to attain it; but to achieve it depends on his own efforts. It needs a long, deliberate effort of the mind and the emotions, and even the body.”
—Gilbert Highet, The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.
Mirrored from Better Than Dead.
But today? Today I remembered because today, in the wee-hours, Tybalt's book went live on Amazon.
That's right, IMMORTAL LIES is available on Amazon. You can click on that link and go directly there, or go to the front page of your Amazon website and type the title in and it will magically appear.
I am thrilled and terrified and excited and nervous and all those things that happen when there's a new book and people will read it and possibly say things about it.
I am also working on building a "real" website for S.L. Gray. I thought I was going to have more time between submitting the book for release and it actually, you know, happening. Ah well. Life! I can cope. There's a BOOK!
The isolation sphere in the center of the room looked like an oversized snowglobe. The room’s outer walls were two feet thick, built of steel and concrete to protect the rest of R&D from potential accidents. A good thing, too. Mrs. Claus brushed her fingers over the gashes by the door. Emma had been so excited by the potential for robotic reindeer…
Reluctantly, she turned her full attention to the fragments in the center of the transparent sphere. Every last splinter had been carefully retrieved and returned, laid out on the sterile white floor.
The team had also brought back the body of Yukon Cornelius.
Bumble hadn’t returned to the Pole, and the retrieval team hadn’t spotted him. At his age, and without teeth, he would have a hard time living in the wild, but she couldn’t risk sending her people out to try to bring him home. Not yet.
She was stalling. Forcing herself to project an air of calm, she turned toward Rudolph. “We’re ready. If you wouldn’t mind?”
Rudolph’s hooves clopped on the tile floor as he positioned his head in a specially designed metal hood secured to the outside of the sphere. When he spoke, his voice was muffled and tinny. “Ready.”
The hood was another of Emma’s designs. A sequence of lenses inside captured and amplified the light of his nose, sending a beam of piercing red light into the heart of the sphere. Hermie and Emma worked the knobs on the control panel. Inside the hood, a small mirror brought the beam directly onto the largest of the fragments.
The broken crystal acted as a prism, shattering Rudolph’s magical light into a rainbow … if you stripped that rainbow of every color save blue and violet.
Mrs. Claus waited for Emma’s spectrographic analysis of the crystal’s magic, though she already knew what Cornelius had found. “This was a weapon of the Snow Queen.”
They were similar to Mrs. Claus’ enchanted glass orbs, only far more potent. During the war, the Snow Queen had seeded the North Pole with her crystal snowflakes, hiding them beneath the drifts where they were all but undetectable, even to Santa’s magic. Feckless and Pacer, two of Santa’s original reindeer, had died after stepping on her buried traps.
They had been the lucky ones. While some of the Snow Queen’s crystals simply exploded, others cursed all within range. Illusion turned friend to foe, releasing its victims only after they had slain their closest allies, and forcing them to carry that guilt forever. Another variety froze the heart, leaving you with the memory of love, but stealing the emotion.
“I thought you killed the Snow Queen,” said Hermie.
“I did.” Years later, and she still relived that battle in her dreams. She pushed the images aside, forced the remembered screams back into the darkness of her mind. “She is gone. Whoever this is, they’re not the Snow Queen. But they may be looking for her arsenal.”
Time after time they had swept the Pole, searching for slumbering traps from that war. Each time she hoped they had found the last. Each time she was proven wrong.
“Could the Snow Queen’s magic control Frosty?” asked Emma.
“Oh, yes,” Mrs. Claus said softly. “Frosty, and so much more.” She turned and strode from the isolation room.
Rudolph pulled free of the hood and trotted after her. “Where are you going?”
“To the Snow Queen’s grave.” Frosty’s master would have to go there eventually. Even dead, much of the Snow Queen’s power remained trapped in her eternally frozen flesh.
“Excuse me,” Hermie said awkwardly. “We’ve all read about the war with the Snow Queen, but nobody knows who she really was. The elves who lived through it, they get this faraway expression and say they never saw her up close, or they can’t recall what she looked like.”
“They chose to forget,” Mrs. Claus said wearily. “We all did. Even Santa. You probably will too, when this is over.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence, through the paper mill and the wood-finishing factory, the greenhouse where elves harvested corn and grain for the reindeer, and finally to the guarded marble stairs spiraling deep into the heart of the North Pole.
The sounds of the Pole faded as they entered the mausoleum.
Gold plaques were mounted to walls of white ice. Many were older than Mrs. Claus. Most of Santa’s original reindeer were memorialized here, as were those elves who had died throughout the centuries. In the center of the far wall, holly and mistletoe bordered four large plaques. She tried not to think about the empty space below those plaques.
“I don’t understand,” whispered Emma.
Mrs. Claus touched the lower right plaque.
Rudolph’s nose painted the ice red. Hermie’s breath caught. Emma made no sound, but tears began to drip down her cheeks as she realized why they were here. She squeezed Hermie’s hand.
Santa Claus had been given the Mantle of Immortality, allowing him to serve for all eternity. His wife—his first wife—had been long-lived, but not even the magic of the Pole could preserve her life forever. Santa had grieved for each of his four prior wives, as he would one day grieve for her. But he was a being of infinite love, one ill-suited for living alone. And passion could blind even the greatest of men.
“The Snow Queen…” Mrs. Claus traced the icy words engraved in gold.
Rest in Peace
“The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air
When the song of angels is sung.”
– Phillips Brooks
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.