Oh, my horsey friends, please double-check my book learning.
I’m figuring that Character A will take about 2 and a half hours to cover four miles on a deer path through a heavily wooded area. She’s got about fifty very short characters with her, so isn’t walking at top speed.
Returning, she’s mounted on a horse. Is it reasonable to think that she could cover the same distance in about forty-five minutes? If she were in a hurry, (and she is) how fast could she safely go? This is a path with which she is familiar, but a new horse.
In the fantasy story I’m working on, my main characters are islanders faced with a more technologically advanced invader. These invaders bring things which you and I would know the words for, but which my islanders don’t. In the scene in question, I have this.
Rising above the helmets of the warriors were ranks of bows and pikes. In the midst of them, towering gray animals, like horses swollen to the size of whales, with a swollen snaking vine growing from the center of their head and wicked tusks jutting from their mouths. Each whale-horse glimmered with scales of green lacquered steel. The black huts on their backs brushed the overarching trees.
So, would you be annoyed if, for the battle scene in question, I use the phrase “whale-horse” instead of elephant?
My palm pilot has a very discreet little camera on it. This is handy because it means that when Grandma is telling a story I can record her without her feeling self-conscious. This is great, except when said palm pilot freezes dumping ten minutes of really interesting stuff about the school wagon she rode. I can tell you that it was a wagon with an oil cloth top, two horses and that, in good weather, the boys had to get out and walk at the hills to make it easier on the horses, but it’s just not the same.
I had dinner with Jay Lake tonight, which was fun. It’s nice to catch up with someone, like, in real life, instead of just existing online. I love you guys, but it’s nice to see facial expression beyond an emoticon. That and Jay is funny.
Afterwards, I went to see The Curse of the Golden Flower with Rob. My comment upon the films end was, “Wow. I never expected something so lavishly produced to make Phantom Menace look good.”
I have loved every one of Zhang Yimou’s films so far and this one was unredeemably awful in almost every respect. It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to leave a film. Also, one of the worst choices for end credit designs ever. Bad from beginning to end? Sadly, yes. We were trying to decide when we turned on the film, and I think it might have been when the prince arrived at the palace a full day before Chan, despite the fact that they left ten minutes apart, both riding horses at full gallops. And yet, Chan’s mother arrives a mere two minutes after she does, despite leaving considerably after her and having to battle what appear to be ninjas–several times–on her way to the palace. Yeah. Ninjas in the T’ang dynasty. I’m not worried about spoilers, because really, you should not see this film.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoyed dinner with Jay?
I began work on a new short with the working title The Case of Landon Manor. It’s a supernatural mystery set in 1924. My main character is a glamorous young heiress, who also happens to be a medium. I’m 2000 words into it and having a lot of fun.
Here’s the first beginning, although that’s likely to change.
The Case at Landon Manor
The quarter-mile driveway from the main road to Landon Manor flashed by in a tunnel of green. Ginger Wickham knew her hair would be in a state when she arrived, but Cynthia’s telegram had sounded urgent. Besides, she had only had the Morris Cowley for a week and wanted to see how it handled the curves. She tugged at her cloche, hoping the hat had controlled the worst of the damage to her new Marcel wave.
She pulled the Cowley around the circular drive at the front of the main house. One of Cynthia’s liveried man-servants came down the stairs as if he still expected to take the reins of a horse. Such a queer, old-fashioned way to run a house.
I had a rough day at camp today. One of the little girls is selfish, obnoxious, manipulative and I don’t like her. The kids made stick horses, which turned out really cute. At the end of class I told them to put them all at one end of the room while we joined the rest of camp for snack time at the other end.
As I walked past the snack table I saw that little Miss Snippy had her stick horse, which she’d been waving in my face and everyone else’s, so I told her to put it away.
“But it’s all the way over there. Can you put it away for me?” she said.
“No, it’s all the way over there for me too.”
“But,” she whined, “you’re a teacher. It’s your job to help kids.”
Biting my tongue, I took a breath and then replied, “It’s my job to help children who are having trouble, not children who didn’t follow instructions in the first place.”
“But I’ll lose my place in line.”
“There’s no one behind you. You’re the last one in line.” I turned and walked away, straight into the teacher’s lounge where I announced that I didn’t like her.
I’ve had children who don’t pay attention, or are disruptive, but not one that’s so openly manipulative. She’ll be like this when she grows up, it’ll just be more subtle.
So, I was very grouchy on my way home, but when I got there I found a box. My dear friend’s in NYC who let me stay with them when I come out have a fantastically appointed kitchen. The last time I was out, I was helping Marlene in the kitchen and commented on her sets of mixing bowls. She has a set of nesting glass bowls that come in every imaginable size and a set of steel bowls that are perfect. I mentioned that I covet them.
Today, without any provocation, Marlene sent me a set of nesting steel bowls. So, very, very kind.
This is a submission for the magazine The First Line. I am required to use the first line they provide, but everything else is up for grabs. Let me know if you’d like to read the rest.
As the warrior guided his horse back home, she pondered what the future might hold. Sybille had plotted his seduction from the moment he arrived in their village, and now that he rode away, she had a deep longing to call him back. But she did not know his name.
Sybille brushed a strand of her golden hair, still sweat-damp, back from her face. Her hand traced a path down her face to her belly, resting above her womb. Would life quicken there?
She turned and went back into the tiny cottage she shared with her husband, Hans. If the warrior chanced to look back, she did not want to be standing in the doorway watching like a girl at a barn dance.
Last night we had Sue and Albert for company to join us in the traditional New Year’s Day menu. We nearly had a small catastrophe because this was the first time I’d made black-eyed peas from dried; I usually use the canned ones. Although I soaked them overnight, I did not allow enough time for the cooking process on New Year’s Day. It was okay, but only because I confessed the mistake to Sue and she graciously said they needed to walk the dog before they came. An hour later, they arrived and we had a lovely dinner.
The Menu Black-eyed peas
Grandma’s Pear Relish – vintage 2001
Cornbread, served with butter, honey or maple syrup
Sushi – octopus and tuna
Iron Horse Brut Sparkling
I mentioned that Jonathan and I did the Golden Circle tour yesterday. We started at ÃƒÅ¾ingvellir.
I know that you’ve seen lots of landscape photos, but it still amazes me how much it can change with the seasons without trees as the indicator.
Of course, I guess snow on the mountain is dead giveaway that it’s colder.
Even so, the moss and lichen has a more subdued quality. Things seem more ethereal now, but that might just be because I’m looking at a hobbit hole.
We passed a turf house on the way to Geysir.
We also got to visit with a herd of horses. We pulled off the road to take some photos and they all wandered up to visit with us.
This particular horse fell in love with Jonathan and followed him like a dog.
When we got to Geysir it was still light enough for photos, which it wasn’t when I went there with Mom and Dad. I didn’t get a good photo of the geysir, but I did get a nice photo of this pool This photo is not color enhanced, it really glowed this unearthly blue. It looked like a UV light was under the water somewhere.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]