This weekend many of My People, aka geeks, have converged on San Diego Comic-Con - and I'm not there. [sob]
The rest of us can still look at awesome comic book cakes and dream, right?
(By Bella Cakes)
Look at this gorgeous Wonder Woman cake! LOOK AT IT.
Ok, you can stop now.
Because na na na na na na... BATMAN!
LOVE this design; so much impact for a (relatively) simple silhouette.
But maybe you prefer the Dark Knight a little less... dark?
(By Lindsay Colasurdo)
Pretty piles of punchy pink, Batman!
You know, this color combo is really starting to grow on me.
Here's a fun Hulk cake with some priceless reactions:
I admire your restraint, Elijah; I'd be gnawing on Hulk's elbow by now.
Anyone else excited about the new Supergirl series coming this Fall?
'Cuz you could totally use this cake for Supergirls OR Supermans (er... men):
Oh! And did you know Groot has his own comic book now? It looks fantastic, just like this cake:
(By Aroma de Azucar)
And I love that Rocket!
If you're after more classic comic books, though, check this out:
(By 21 Cake Lane)
Awwwwesome. The colors, the ascending dot pattern, the perfect overlapping covers - it's ALL good.
And another classic: Wonder Woman!
(See what I did there?)
Not exactly a superhero, but you have to see this fun comic book/pop art cake, made entirely with buttercream!
C'mon. How fun is this??
Yet another reason why geek weddings rock:
Joker & Harley wedding cake.
And finally, a dreamy color combo for some of our fav superheroes:
...plus maybe a favorite villain? 'Cuz I like to think that's one of Harley Quinn's bombs on top. :)
Happy Sunday, guys! Hope those of you at SDCC are having fun!
So I just need to put a facing in the neck edge - Bodice Take 1 had a collar, but that collar doesn't fit anymore, plus the fit of the neck at the back is just a wee bit funky still, and it's a lot more obvious with a collar on. I did a brief survey of my books, and it looks like a ton of early 1880s had just a white collar, rather than a dress-collar-and-white-collar combo. So I have zero qualms about doing a plain finish! (I could pipe it, but I don't want to and you can't make me.) I do still have to make a white collar to tack in, unless the one from my blue wool 1878 dress will work. Don't think it will as that's a v-neckline and this one is much higher, but we'll see.
Thursday--Beach pajamas, 100% done
Friday Day--Suffragette day dress. Technically 100%, but I want a new hat and new sash, neither of which are mandatory. I have my daisy votes for women ribbon, red, white, and blue one, original button, and a reproduction banner. I really want to make the hat though because I came up with the pattern myself and really want to see how it goes together.
Friday night--Suffragette evening dress. 100%. I'm worried about forgetting to pack the tattoo. After last year forgetting all my jewelry...
Saturday day--Checked Brunswick. I just moved the neck button on my cotton habit shirt that I made about a zillion years ago. I tried on that and the linen shirt I made to go with it in 2013. Not only did the older one fit better, which is a little embarrassing, none of the ruffles were torn off. And the neck button needed to be moved on the linen one too, so easy choice.
Saturday night--Beaded Regency. Another technically 100% because it's done and wearable, but I want the pink springed corset which is almost done.
Sunday day--1790s bird dress. Yes, I just wore it, but I love the construction and birds.
And nicely, these aren't, except for the Brunswick, large costumes. So I'm hoping through strategic packing to have room for large amounts of stash. I've also decided to bring thing things I want to sell. I may be nice, but I'm not giving away 7 yards of silk brocade I'll never use. Either way, I'm freeing up lots of space. Now, time, is another thing! But my leftover stash is pretty much sorted, so it'll just be determining what's free and what's not...
As part of my continuing effort to justify the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription I have, I’ve been playing with my Audition audio software and learning how to use it. Today I learned how to make a multitrack file! Go me. I also played with the various filters in the software to distort and shape sounds.
All of which is to say I recorded a song today and it is very very noisy indeed. It’s “Here Comes the Rain Again,” which is my favorite song from the Eurythmics. Here it is (and no, it’s not actually nine minutes long, I don’t know why the media player says that. It’s, like, five):
Yes, that’s me singing. No, Annie Lennox doesn’t have a thing to worry about.
In case you’re curious, every noise on that track either comes out of me, or out of an acoustic tenor guitar. Audio filters are fun! Let’s just say I let my Thurston out to play, and if you get that reference, congratulations, you’re old too.
No, I’m not giving up my day job. Relax. But I do enjoy playing with sounds. This is fun for me.
In any event: Enjoy the noise.
Because sometimes it’s fun to play with Photoshop’s sliders and see what you come up with. This is what happens (in part) when you push the “dehaze” slider all the way to the right. The real sunset didn’t look like this (it looked like this), but I think it might be cool to live on a planet where the sunset did look like that, every once in a while.
Enjoy the weekend, folks.
So now I have a pale pink one started. The springs are in. It has a flat section at the center back and the straps on either side of that. It'll be interesting to see how it works!
I think I can finish tomorrow...
(Forecast for Sunday is currently in the mid-80s, so I don't have any pressure to get it done in time for that! Ugly shirtwaist carries the day yet again.)
Here’s Sugar curling up with a good book, in this case the ARC of Don’t Live For Your Obituary, my upcoming collection of essays about writing and the writing life, which comes out in December from Subterranean Press. And you can win it! Here’s how:
Tell me in the comments which Beatles song I am thinking of right now.
The person who correctly guesses which Beatles song I am thinking of wins. In the case where more than one person correctly guesses, I will number the correct guesses in order of appearance and then use a random number generator to select the winner among them.
“Beatles song” in this case means a song recorded by the Beatles, and includes both original songs by the band, and the cover songs they recorded. Solo work does not count. Here’s a list of songs recorded by the Beatles, if you need it. The song I’m thinking of is on it.
Guess only one song. Posts with more than one guess will have only the first song considered. Posts not related to guessing a song will be deleted. Also, only one post per person — additional posts will be deleted.
This contest is open to everyone everywhere in the world, and runs until the comments here automatically shut off (which will be around 3:50pm Eastern time, Sunday, July 23rd). When you post a comment, leave a legit email address in the “email” field so I can contact you. I’ll also announce the winner here on Monday, July 24. I’ll mail the ARC to you, signed (and personalized, if so requested).
Kitten not included.
Also remember you can pre-order the hardcover edition of Obit from Subterranean Press. This is a signed, limited edition — there are only 1,000 being made — and they’ve already had a healthy number of pre-orders. So don’t wait if you want one.
Now: Guess which Beatles song I am thinking of! And good luck!
So, on July 21, 1997, which was a Monday, I posted the following on the alt.society.generation-x newsgroup:
Thought y’all might like to know. I’m happy, pleased, tired.
96,098 words, cranked out in a little under three months, working
mostly on weekends, grinding out 5,000 words at a sitting.
Learned two things:
a) I *can* carry a story over such a long stretch;
b) like most things on the planet, thinking about doing it is a lot
worse than simply sitting down and doing it. The writing wasn’t hard
to do, you just need to plant ass in seat and go from there.
I did find it helped not to make my first novel a gut-wrenching
personal story, if you know what I mean. Instead I just tried to write
the sort of science fiction story I would like to read. It was fun.
Now I go in to tinker and fine tune. Will soon have it ready for beta
testing. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
That novel? Agent to the Stars. Which means that today is the 20th anniversary of me being a novelist. Being a published novelist would have to wait — I date that to January 1, 2005, the official publication date of Old Man’s War — but in terms of having written a full, complete (and as it eventually turned out, publishable) novel: Today’s the day.
I’ve recounted the story of Agent before but it’s fun to tell, because I think it’s a nice antidote to the “I just had to share the story I’d been dreaming of my whole life” angle first novels often take. The gist of the story was that my 10-year high school reunion was on the horizon, and having been “the writer dude” in my class, I knew I would be asked if I had ever gotten around to writing a novel, and I wanted to be able to say “yes.” Also, I was then in my late 20s and it was time to find out whether I could actually write one or not.
Having decided I was going to write one, I decided to make it easy for myself, mostly by not trying to do all things at once. The goal was simply: Write a novel-length story. The story itself was going to be pretty simple and not personally consequential; it wasn’t going to be a thinly-disguised roman a clef, or something with a serious and/or personal theme. It would involve Hollywood in some way, because I had spent years as a film critic and knew that world well enough to write about it. And as for genre, I was most familiar with mystery/crime fiction and science fiction/fantasy, so I flipped a coin to decide which to do. It come up heads, so science fiction it was, and the story I had for that was: Aliens come and decide to get Hollywood representation.
(I don’t remember the story I was thinking for the mystery version. I’m sure death was involved. And for those about to say “well, you didn’t have to stick with science fiction for your second book,” that’s technically correct, but once I’d written one science fiction novel, I knew I could write science fiction. It was easier to stick with what I knew. And anyway I write murder mysteries now — Lock In and the upcoming Head On. They also happen to be science fiction.)
I remember the writing of Agent being pretty easy, in no small part, I’m sure, because of everything noted above — it wasn’t meant to be weighty or serious or even good, merely novel-length. When I finished it, I do remember thinking something along the lines of “Huh. That wasn’t so bad. Maybe I should have done this earlier.” In the fullness of time, I’ve realized that I probably couldn’t have done it any earlier, I wasn’t focused enough and it helped me to have some sort of external motivation, in this case, my high school reunion.
Once finished, I asked two friends and co-workers at America Online to read the book: Regan Avery and Stephen Bennett, both of whom I knew loved science fiction, and both of whom I knew I could trust to tell me if what I’d written was crap. They both gave it a thumbs up. Then I showed it to Krissy, my wife, who was apprehensive about reading it, since if she hated it she would have to tell me, and would still have to be married to me afterward. When she finished it, the first thing she said to me about it was “Thank Christ it’s good.” Domestic felicity lived for another day.
And then, having written it… I did nothing with it for two years. Because, again, it wasn’t written for any other reason than to see if I could write a novel. It was practice. People other than Regan and Stephen and Krissy finally saw it in 1999 when I decided that the then brand-new Scalzi.com site could use some content, so I put it up here as a “shareware” novel, meaning that if people liked it they could send me a dollar for it through the mail. And people did! Which was nice.
It was finally physically published in 2005, when Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press published a limited hardcover edition. I was jazzed about that, since I wanted a version of the book I could put on my shelf. The cover was done by Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik, who among other things knew of the book because I was one of Penny Arcade’s very first advertisers way back in the day, advertising the Web version of the book (those guys have done okay since then). Then came the Tor paperback edition, and the various foreign editions, and the audiobook, and here we are today.
When I wrote the novel, of course, I had no idea that writing it was the first step toward where I am now. I was working at America Online — and enjoying it! It was a cool place to be in the 90s! — and to the extent I thought I would be writing novels at all, I thought that they would be sideline to my overall writing career, rather than (as it turned out) the main thrust of it. This should be your first indication that science fiction writers in fact cannot predict the future with any accuracy.
I’m very fond of Agent, and think it reads pretty well. I’m also aware that it’s first effort, and also because it was written to be in present time in the 90s, just about out of time in terms of feeling at all contemporary (there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remaining, to pick just one obvious example in the book). At this point I suggest people consider it as part of an alternate history which branched off from our timeline in 1998 or thereabouts. Occasionally it gets talked about for being picked for TV/film. If that ever happens, expect some extensive plot revisions. Otherwise, it is what it is.
One thing I do like about Agent is that I still have people tell me that it’s their favorite of mine. I like that because I think it’s nice to know that even this very early effort, done simply for the purpose of finding out if I could write a novel, does what I think a novel should: Entertains people and makes them glad they spent their time with it.
I’m also happy it’s the novel that told me I could do this thing, this novel-writing thing, and that I listened to it. The last couple of decades have turned out pretty well for me. I’m excited to see where things go from here.
Sometimes, I’ll hear a comment about a historical costume movie or TV series that says “sure, I watched it while sewing.” Now, obviously many fans of frock flicks enjoy making and wearing historical frocks themselves, and many of us are historical reenactors in some way, shape, or form. And I certainly understand wanting some kind... Read more →