Posts Tagged ‘Scalzi’

Scenting the Dark, ready to ship

Scenting the DarkWoot! Scenting the Dark and Other Stories has come back from the printer which means that Subterranean will be shipping them shortly. This is excellent news, in part because it means that they’ll be here in time for Christmas.

What? You don’t think I’m spoiling the surprise that our folks are getting copies do you?  I’d be killed if I didn’t give them one.

The other cool thing is… well, collection includes an introduction by John Scalzi, which I knew, but today is the first time I read it.  Somehow I didn’t realize that it was on the order page for Scenting the Dark, you have to scroll down to see it.  Scalzi makes me weepy and blush all at the same time.  He says some very, very kind things.

Review: Publisher’s Weekly likes Scenting the Dark

Publisher’s Weekly has reviewed Scenting the Dark and Other Stories. Whee!

Scenting the Dark and Other Stories Mary Robinette Kowal. Subterranean (<>, $25 (80p) ISBN 978-1-59606-267-2

Scenting the DarkCampbell Award–winner Kowal presents a broad spectrum of stories in her chapbook-slim first collection. The heartbreaking “Just Right,” in which a family struggles with a child’s strange behavior, isn’t speculative at all. “Death Comes but Twice” edges into dark fantasy, while blind perfumer Penn is stalked by an enormous predator in SF horror story “Scenting the Dark.” The deepest tale is “Some Other Day,” in which a young scientist struggles to undo the terrible consequences of her father’s well-meant work, while “Jaiden’s Weaver” is a sweet story about nurturing and caring for a creature others think deformed. Kowal’s stories don’t always plumb the depths of speculation or characters, but when they do the results are often stirring. This excellent introduction to her work is likely to make her new fans. (Nov.)

What we tried to do with this was to put together a miniature collection of the stories which are hard to find or have never been printed in physical form.  Which means that you are getting my very first published story, ever, “Just Right” all the way up through “Jaiden’s Weaver” which came out online earlier this year.

Oh, and an intro by John Scalzi.

Bradford, OH: Day 2 of moving

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Moving from NYC to PDX

We have spent a very pleasant evening at the Scalzi home in Bradford, OH. This was my first time meeting Athena who is clearly her father’s daughter. Garrulous and charming as only a Scalzi can be. Also…only 10? The man is going to be in so much trouble when she hits the teenage years.

Today, in general, was much more pleasant than yesterday. Rob and I slept in to the comparatively late hour of eight and then took our time to correct the packing mishaps from yesterday. Being leisurely in the morning made us both feel better, I think.

We trade with driving, two hours on and two hours off. I spent time reworking an earlier chapter to insert a scene and then corrected for the new scene by adjusting dialogue and reactions in later chapters. I also finished Chapter 16. So, while I didn’t get a huge wordcount in today, I feel like they were very productive words.

The only downside to today was that the inverter’s outlet loosened so I lost power to the computer while we still had an hour of driving left. Rob thinks he’s fixed it for tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and for the Scalzi readers, yes, he did make stew and yes, it was quite tasty.

The truth about John Scalzi

The concom at ConQuest 40 were looking for a bio of John Scalzi but wanted something a little more detailed and accurate than the standard wikipedia one.  They asked me if I’d assist, given my long-standing friendship with him, and write one for them with some behind the scenes details for the program book.  In the interests of making this information available to the wider public, here is a brief biography with never before told facts.

Every word of it is completely true.

John Scalzi, Campbell-award winning author, has been thrilling fans with his writing since he began as is evidenced by his Hugo award for fan writing. This amazing victory can best be summed up in the reaction of his mother-in-law, who often weeps at the thought of his writing and what it means to her daughter.

But where did this phenomenal talent come from? Born in California on May 10, 1869, Professor Scalzi’s life followed normal patterns for a child of his time. Although he demonstrated an early facility for language in the forged notes he created to get out of the entirety of third year, his true skills did not become apparent until his parents sent him to an exclusive boarding school in the Catskills. This location would become ironically apt later in his life.

Brother Francis Gerard later commented in his memoirs that “Young Scalzi had the worst hand-writing we had ever seen. It was impossible to test him because no one could read his writing, and yet curiously, his forgeries were impeccable. So we set him to copying, hoping that he would learn to write his own words as well as he could write other’s.”

Taking the command to “copy the good book” rather more liberally than his instructors intended, Scalzi picked out what he called, “the only good book in the school library,” Starship Troopers. Not content with merely copying the original text, Scalzi began the project that led to his receiving the 1985 Hugo for Best Fan Art — The Complete Illuminated Works of Robert A. Heinlein. Rendered on vellum with ink ground from a mixture of boa-boa berry and dark coffee, these lovingly drawn works represent nearly a lifetime of work. The sheets of vellum measure on average 24″ by 17″ inches and have an estimated $5000 worth of gold leaf and powdered cobalt spanning the collection.  Exhibited at the Smithsonian, MOMA and the Vatican, they have brought universal acclaim from old fans and new alike.

In 2004, Scalzi was awarded a fellowship at Yale for his work on the Illuminated Manuscripts.  The pressure of teaching interfered with his continuing efforts so he moved with his wife Krissy, to rural Ohio.  There he began working with private students on the fine art of illumination.

While taking a break from his students, Professor Scalzi happened to witness one of his neighbors working on the neighboring ranch, herding his flock of cats. The job was overwhelming the man, so Scalzi stepped in and discovered that these highly trained animals were bored with their role.  He introduced them to the notion of illuminating manuscripts which they took to, as if they were born to it. He’s since begun work on a new illuminated manuscript collaborating with the cat, Ghlaghghee .  They selected the material together by the simple means of Professor Scalzi spreading his books around until Ghlaghghee chose one to sit on — The Collected Works of Francis Bacon.

Penguicon Day 2

Wow. I’m unbelievably tired. Although, I suppose considering my panel schedule today, that’s not surprising. I have an 8 am panel tomorrow.  Let me repeat that. 8:00 am panel.  At a con. Who scheduled that?

So, you get today in a nutshell and then I’m going to bed.  I had a load of panels, which were fun, and then went to Scalzi’s surprise birthday party, also fun.

I’m also possessed of an urge to teach a workshop at a con on how to build an animal costume that’s actually functional, breathable and has vision. I just want to take some of these people by the paw and explain to them that it doesn’t have to be like this.  But that’s not a good idea.

What a Giant Block of Foam can do for your career

In the world of “my life is completely bizarre” yesterday’s antics have led me to pick up a new gig.   A new, totally rocking, gig.

It goes something like this.  Rob had carpal tunnel surgery on Monday and came home with a Giant Block of Foam strapped to his arm.  I found this amusing.  So did John Scalzi, who linked to it.

It got INSANE amounts of traffic.

And this is where things get interesting.  As if they weren’t already.  One of the 16,000 people who clicked through to see the GBoF works for the National Pork Producer’s Council. You think you can see where this is going, but I promise you that it is even less believable than that.

frightfestpetuniapigOne of their big events is the Legislative Action Conference and they have a full-body puppet of Petunia Pig to do a meet and greet.  Madhu Caesar, the program director for the NPPC had a problem. Their puppeteer had just been sent to the hospital with a broken leg and the Conference is today.  She was frantically looking for a replacement and a chance link about a Giant Block of Foam and Bacon dropped her onto my site where she noticed the link to my puppetry reel.

Would I be willing to come to D.C. on short notice?  Sure!  I like D.C. and I like body puppets.

And then she dropped the kicker, “Of course it will depend on if we can get your security clearance fast enough.”


“The president will be there.”

My jaw dropped. Literally. I didn’t think that really happened.

Fortunately, my brother worked for the state department and I’ve apparently already got a file. Who knew surveillance could be handy?

So I’m going to get to meet Obama, while dressed as a giant pig.

Edited to add: For those folks stumbling across this after the day, this was my April Fool’s post for this year.

Bacon on my husband

me:Did you see the ridiculous traffic that post is getting?

Scalzi: Not surprised. Everyone loves foam.

me: The only thing that would be more popular is if I taped bacon to it.

Scalzi: I dare you to do the bacon thing.

me: Oh you are playing with fire there, mister.

Scalzi: It has to happen now.

me: It will be fakin bacon, since we’re vegetarian.

Scalzi: Doesn’t count.

me: Oh come on!

Scalzi: Nope. Has to be the real thing. It is an integrity thing.

me: Seriously? It has to be real bacon? That’s just prejudicial, man.

Scalzi: I think it does. I mean, among other things, using faux bacon would be to admit you HAVE faux bacon.

me: Yes? And there’s a problem with that? I could tape tofu to him. Or eggplant.

Scalzi: It must be thought upon.

me: Hm. I could carve it into bacon.

Scalzi: Ha! Possibly.

me: Although, I think that might be grounds for divorce in some states.

Scalzi: It may be.

Which is what led me to wander into the living room and say, “Honey, I have a favor to ask, without context.  May I tape bacon to your Giant Block of Foam?”


Bacon on Rob

me: That was only moderately successful.

Scalzi: He was resistant, I assume.

Me: No. The fakin’ was.

Scalzi: That’s why you need the real thing, baby!

me: Hmph.

So, the lesson learned here is that one should not question the judgement of Scalzi, the Baconical Wonder.

Twitters for 2-10-08

  • 10:43 You can tell you’ve been gone for a week when breakfast = birthday cake. #
  • 12:01 Heading out for lunch with @scalzi now. Truly, the fun, it never ends. #
  • 13:22 Novel + sold = Best Birthday present EVER. Short form: to @2muchexposition of Tor by @arcaedia Long form: #
  • 17:22 Thank you all for the good wishes about my novel sale! I’m now off to the theater because you know, the day job still calls. Er…night job? #
  • 21:13 Having a cheese flight with @scalzi @paul_cornell and his lovely wife Caroline. Rob is selecting wines for us. #

Novel + Sold = Best Birthday present EVER

I’ll start with the important stuff. Shades of Milk and Honey, my Jane Austen with magic novel, has sold to Liz Gorinsky at Tor in a two-book deal. My fabulous agent, Jennifer Jackson, and I have been sitting on this news for a little over a week while we worked out details. Hardest thing ever. It was like having a birthday present that I could pick up and shake but not open.

So today, I was sitting in a Thai restaurant with John Scalzi when the phone rang. Normally, I ignore it when I’m on social time, but I had it out because I was on call for the theater. Needless to say, I’m glad that I picked the phone up because Jenn told me the amazing, amazing news that we’ve sold not just one book, but two books. John immediately turned and announced it to everyone in the restaurant and they all clapped. I’m still blushing.

Last week, Jenn called with the initial news while I was frantically mixing disappearing blood for the theater. So I was squealing with excitement while measuring ingredients into a beaker. Then had to run down there without being able to tell anyone. Well… I called my parents, clearly. Here’s what I wrote on the subway after the call.

I’m writing this on the subway on my way to the theater. It’ll be a week or more before you get to read it, but I’m simply bursting. I just got off the phone with my wonderful agent, Jennifer Jackson, who let me know that Liz Gorinsky, at Tor, has made an offer for Shades of Milk and Honey.


There are all these people on the train and I’m surprised that they can’t tell that I’ve just SOLD A NOVEL because I’m glowing. Since it’s still in the offer stage, it’s a secret beyond telling a few friends and family but I want to turn to the man sitting next to me on the train and say, “Excuse me. You don’t know me, but I just found out that I’ve sold my first novel and I had to tell someone.” Heck, I want to tell EVERYBODY.

I’ve called my parents, of course, but Rob doesn’t know yet, because he’s at work. Tonight is a late night for him, he won’t get off work until three. How in the world am I going to contain myself until he gets home?

ooo… Weeping with joy on the subway would probably be a bad plan. But I’m so thrilled. So very thrilled that I don’t think my vocabulary is large enough to express it. On the other hand, it can be summed up as, “I sold my first novel!”

Audio: Trip, Trap, Tripping

If you swing over to the blog “Things of interest to Lisa and John” you can listen to my short story, “Trip, Trap, Tripping”  which audio from when John Scalzi and I were at Borderlands.  It’s a little over 8 minutes long.

Trip, Trap, Tripping by Mary Robinette Kowal

You can tell that I’ve got some adrenalin going because I’m just flying through the text at the beginning before I catch myself and slow down.

My favorite bit is about at 4:20, when some guy’s cellphone goes off.  I shot him a look and the text of the story obliged me with a totally appropriate phrase.  Very satisfying

Science Fiction Comedy Improv!

While I was in San Fransisco, John Scalzi and I headed over to Borderlands to do a reading.  The day before we went, Scalzi suggested doing science-fiction improv, which sounded like a ridiculous amount of fun.  Fortunately, John Nichols brought his digital recorder and captured the whole evening.

Scalzi, being the good guy that he is, edited the improv into a file for your enjoyment.  So click on over to listen to PetMaster 2000.

John and Mary show you their shorts report

That was the most fun ever. Borderlands is an awesome bookstore staffed by people who love the genre and are just plain fun. We had 120+ people come to hear us read and it was a blast.

At the end of the evening, we did improvisational science-fiction from an outline Scalzi came up with. I’m still grinning from the evening. It was like being a rock star.

Today in brief

So, yesterday was really long. I finished up at the theater about 1:30 a.m and headed for home to pack and then catch a 3:30 a.m. bus to the airport. I flew out on US Airways, but not that US Airways flight.

I’m in San Fransisco now, totally wiped out and am going to bed. Just a reminder that John Scalzi and I will be at Borderlands at 7:00 tomorrow night to read. It should be a total blast, especially if our top-secret plan goes well.

Scalzi mentions this on his blog, but I’ll mention it here too. I was going to record this, but my new computer hasn’t arrived yet. So if you happen to have a microphone and computer that you wouldn’t mind hauling along to record us, that would be swell.

And now, since the only sleep I’ve had has been on the plane, I’m turning in.