Monthly Archives: April 2015

It’s been a crazy April

Um. Yeah. So let’s see. Hubby retired. I am madly scribbling on the rough draft of Netwalk’s Children, sandwiched in between snarking about Sad/Rabid Puppies, dealing with moving shit, packing, packing, packing, and oh, did I mention packing? And other stuff.

We hauled a load of furniture to Enterprise with the horse trailer. Outside of one scary moment when someone cut in front of me in Portland with a heavy trailer behind (and oh yeah, having to adjust things out of the driveway because we’d overloaded), it was uneventful. Slow, long, but uneventful. I had one chivalrous fella ask me if things were all right when we stopped to check fluids and such at Hermiston rest area before heading over Cabbage Hill–nope, just SOP stuff for newbie trailer drivers used to nursing along older vehicles. But the truck pulled a heavy-laden trailer over the Blues just fine (I was considering the irony of retracing ancestral steps except that’s right, the ancestors came in on the Applegate Trail and didn’t go anywhere near the Blues. Fools.).

Then back to PDX, coping with a sole bruise on Mocha’s problematic left fore, and packing, packing, packing, and did I mention packing? We have a good chunk of the house packed up and the son is getting antsy about the rest of it. Eh. I’m at the stage where I’ll abandon stuff rather than haul it. The joy of being a retired teacher is that you replicate this stage of packing every year at the end of the school year, so I’m kind of jaded at this point about this stage of packing. It is The Stage That Goes On Forever. And Ever. And Ever. I can remember years when I succumbed to the frantic urge to Throw Shit In Boxes, and the regrets three months later. Nope. Not going there, at least with the boxes I pack. Won’t say anything about the hubby..;-)

After killing ourselves with packing, we headed down to our friend who lives near Astoria, to spend four days chasing razor clams at low tide. We had new clam guns and boy howdy, were we ever gonna use ’em. So. After the drive down, we got a routine going. Prep the night before, hubby and I fixed breakfast and coffee, friend drove to the beach, we got our limit of clams, stop by Freddie’s for a little shopping, back home to clean clams (guys) and write like mad on the book (me). Over the course of four days of digging we came close to getting ten pounds of clam meat, the guys decided to keep lots of data on the harvest so that’s why I’ve got the numbers. I collected a lot of sand dollars and am thinking about ways to use undrilled freshwater pearls, broken stone beads, and other stuff for crafty sorts of things. Done right, well….

The way this clam stuff is going, I may have more material for a steampunk/rococoa/steamfunk/deargodsomethingweirdwestevenifIdon’thavealabel from the Astoria exposure. It’s very early in the creation but I recognize that something is getting tweaked on the creative end.

Meanwhile, I’m cranking away on Netwalk’s Children. Dear God, I was right to dread writing this book. It’s hopelessly complex, but yet very fun to put the rough bones together. I just don’t know if it will be together by Worldcon…which…sigh.


I can haz a Worldcon job. I do have a Worldcon job. I am the Sergeant-At Arms for the World Science Fiction Business Meeting at Sasquan. Starting next week, I’m gonna be looking for friendly warm bodies to help me make sure that the actual mechanics of running the Worldcon Business Meeting (Kevin Standlee, please forgive me, I’m learning all the formal terms) flow smoothly.  It will require an ability to show up at a morning meeting. I’d like to have enough people to rotate through several days of meetings so that no one person gets tied down to showing up every day unless they want to.

My priorities:

1.) Protect the integrity of the voting floor while

2.) Doing my best to facilitate the process while

3.) respecting the individuals involved.

This means dropping agendas. This means respecting process, and respecting people that you don’t agree with. This means keeping in mind that we all love speculative fiction but that we come from different perspectives, and short of overtly, nasty, godawful ugly shit, it’s–well, it’s politics. It’s making sausage. It’s compromise, and it sucks and I know a number of my friends on Facebook and all will sneer at me for being this way. But goddamn it, I’ve been the single issue politico; I’ve done the purity dance, and while that side is needed…I’m not the grrrl for the mad dog run any more. That’s for a young person to do. My job to find the middle path, to forge the agreements, to contribute to and support the process. That’s what you do as an elder, and that’s the path I’m approaching.


I will need people to run mics, check credentials, and possibly help with crowd management. Patience, tolerance, and a balanced perspective with a sense of humor will be paramount. I won’t ask people to do something I wouldn’t do myself. If you have experience with the Oregon Country Fair or music festivals…then yeah, drop me a line here.  A Pratchett perspective is welcomed.

Netwalk’s Children, alas, is at the stage where I’m just throwing things at the page. I’m at the 3/4ths point, and almost at the final cataclysmic blowup. Three POVs are almost too many for this book; I may drop a POV for fifty pages and with the pacing of this book…everything is happening in a very short period of time. Lots and lots of stuff unfolding. I’m not satisfied with the structure, which means I may go back and rip things to pieces. Except I don’t have the time and luxury to do that because I’m moving stuff. Except I need to do it. ARRRGH. Maybe I’ll have a better perspective when I do the scene tracker, except that’s going to be

And then I keep thinking about Astoria, and the maybe steampunk book. Way back when I was writing the River story for Alma, I had something Columbia River-themed in mind. I just haven’t figured it out yet. I suspect the South Willamette Valley/Southern Oregon story (Bearing Witness) will come first, and then I’ll be able to write about the Columbia. Years ago, I wrote some lovely stuff when interning for a few months with Nalo Hopkinson. I can’t use that world because, well, stupid contract shit. But pieces of the writing still haunt me, especially the singing of the sails and the trip upriver.

I can’t write ocean stuff because, well, body’s pretty much issued the ultimatum that I’m a landlubber. But there’s a pretty strong and intriguing theme brewing there. Just not sure where it’s leading me yet.

And I find it ironic that maybe I finally find the freedom to write about the Willamette Valley after committing once again to the Wallowas. Though the Columbia could well insert itself into the mix first. We shall see. Several worlds out there stirring and roiling as I wind up the Netwalk Sequence.

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Netwalk’s Children WIP snippet

So I’m around 66k words today and the pacing is speeding up. Heading for that slow slide over the top and down the other side…..

Presented without context:


“I disagree.” Melanie let her voice drop into softness, so quiet the others had to strain to hear her. “There’s Gizmo trace all over the dataflows Rick rode into the Stellar Reach files. Monique Robillard was head of Security for both Caspian and Stellar Reach, plus she filed that Contract to take custody of both my daughter and Andrew’s children in Troubadour’s name without Montcrief’s approval but with Gupta’s support as a Stellar Reach secondary.” She closed the globe with a contemptuous flick. “This whole report is as Andrew calls it, a piece of sheer, utter dreck meant to absolve Gerard and Ravi from any consequences. Come on, give us at least an apology from the Courts if not Gerard and Ravi!”

“That sounds like a threat.” Her mother glowered at Melanie.

Melanie risked looking away from Diana to glance up at Andrew. He nodded, jaw set tight, anger still flashing in his gray-blue eyes so much like their father’s. Continue, his lips formed soundlessly. Operation Salt. A chill ran through her but yes, this was the path they had decided to take in this contingency. So it may come to war.

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Adventures in moving households

Not a lot of fancy words today, just keeping up with things. I have pix but don’t feel like wrestling with WordPress and LiveJournal to make them happen today. Maybe later, and I’ll put some up on Facebook.

We are well and truly into the transition process where we’ll be spending at least half of our time in Wallowa County. This past week saw the first big step–loading up the horse trailer with furniture and boxes. It’s been eleven years since our last move, and dang, we’ve got stuff. So culling is happening.

This was the first Big Drive with the loaded horse trailer as well. Since I’m going to be driving the horse when we move her, I’m getting my practice hauling furniture for two trips first. After this trip, I think a horse will be easier. Maybe.

We started out by overloading the trailer and having to stop, unpack part of the truck’s load. Added to that, I locked the trailer brakes once driving through Gresham–rainy day, driver cut in front of me, yow. Guess the trailer brakes were set right. But after those two things, the rest of the drive chugged along easily. We came up with a name for the truck–Dakota Bob Herman, don’t ask me why or how but the truck is now Dakota Bob Herman. Anyhow, Dakota Bob motored along pretty steadily up Cabbage Hill and then down Minam Hill into Water Canyon along the Wallowa River quite nicely. Even with a full load the trailer wasn’t pushing the truck. Weren’t going very fast, but then that’s how you drive with an older pickup with mileage pulling a fully loaded horse trailer.

Arrived in Enterprise without incident, and had to resort to four wheel drive high to back the trailer into the driveway. A minor drawback of living on a hillside. Unpacked, and then we decided we were tired out and painting wasn’t happening this trip. I managed to keep a respectable word count going on Netwalk’s Children from my desk which was temporarily set up in the living room. Breaks my heart to be writing with a Wallowa view. Not. At the same time I was following the expansion of the Sad Puppy drama while staying within the limitations of my personal hotspot wifi connection. Ah well, at least I got into the mindset adequately enough to write a decent teenage drama scene (between teens, that is, with one being whiny and the other one wanting to deck the whiner but refraining Because Responsibilities).

We also got out and hiked a short distance up the East Fork Wallowa River trail. I would have liked to have gone further, but I’d turned my ankle the day before on the basement stairs. No harm done beyond bruising, but the ankle was tender and I didn’t want to overdo. Beautiful day with lovely views of Wallowa Lake, and no one else on the trails. Things are just starting to pick up for the summer around Enterprise and Joseph, but it’s not quite tourist season yet.

In the evening we went to the last Fireside reading of the season at the Fishtrap House, just three blocks from our house. There were three featured writers and four open mic writers, all pretty decent stuff with a mix of poetry, essays, and fiction. Wind seemed to be a dominant theme; not surprising since it’s been a windy late winter and spring in the County. I also ran into another new farrier moving into the area. Husband left before I did; I lingered to visit further and then walked home listening to frogs singing under a half starry, half-cloudy sky. Down on the highway the red and blue of police lights suggested that maybe someone had caught police attention….

Anyway, the house looks different now with furniture coming into it. Just a few more pieces of renovations left, couple more trailer loads, and the Mocha move to go. Because of obligations and commitments back here in Portland we’ll be back and forth for a good two or three years or more, depending on the situation.

Today’s drive back was somewhat hairy. Once we climbed out of the Minam we ran into strong wind. It wasn’t too bad in the Grande Ronde valley, but as we climbed the Blues, we encountered not just stronger winds but rain which transitioned to sleet and then snow. Not really fun with an unloaded horse trailer, but I just took it slow and easy. As we came down off of Cabbage Hill the wind hit even harder, and we fought that thrice-cursed blow all the way to Cascade Locks, with very little reprieve. I drove with one eye on the road and the other on my gauges, and it was telling that when I was in the lee of the wind, I could maintain my speed at 500 rpms less than when bucking it head on. At times it was a fight to keep going at 50 mph without taxing the vehicle or gobbling much more gas than it did. But we did it.

Rain set in from Hood River to Bonneville Dam, not exactly my favorite place to deal with it. But then the wind died down and Dakota Bob leapt ahead, freed from constraint. Home, and a fairly quick parking process. Getting better at backing. A pain reliever, a hot pad to deal with back spasms, and now off to bed. Then we do the trip again next week.

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