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From Kate Beaton – Hark, a Vagrant!

We remember the internet being a lot more fun a decade ago. Why did our attitude change, and what major milestones did internet culture experience between now and the time we first logged on?

Download the Podcast (archive.org page)

Marie’s blog

Source of our theme song

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spice-and-wolf-vol-19-light-novel

I read Spring Log II almost immediately after finishing Wolf and Parchment. Volume 19 of Spice and Wolf continues the gentler peak into the day-to-day life of a married couple that we saw in Spring Log I: another collection of short stories and novellas that run in more-or-less chronological order after a short flashback to an earlier time. Isuna Hasekura has come into his own with short fiction with these last two volumes, choosing character-focused pieces that explore close relationships and emotional states, quite the change from some of the clumsier offerings in the Side Colours volumes of the main Spice and Wolf series. Notably, a good chunk of this book comes comfortably from the wolf goddess Holo’s point of view rather than that of her husband Lawrence, a perspective largely absent from the novels in the series proper. Continue Reading »

Snippets for April

Another smattering of thoughts for the month, as I just couldn’t come up with topics that quite warranted an article of their own. Up today: Pornokitsch, the Hugos, and Wolf and Parchment.

End of an era

1qdtdbod_400x400Pornokitsch shut down at the end of March and will not be posting new content. It’s a bit unusual to talk about a favourite website these days, but Pornokitsch was mine. They posted articles regularly on science fiction, fantasy, pop culture ephemera, cheesy music, historical oddities, old pulp paperbacks, and the occasional short story. It was a diverse mix fueled by the passions of the editors Jared Shurin and Anne Perry and their countless contributors from across the sff world. Continue Reading »

Conquest of the Marsh

Conquest of the Marsh

A man, his dog, and the wilderness.

Battle Maiden

Battle-Maiden

I had a lot of fun splashing in the background characters for this one. Made with MyPaint.

My Own Kind of Firefly

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Steven Brust wrote a Firefly novel?

I heard about My Own Kind of Freedom at the tail end of an announcement of an official line of Firefly tie-in novels. I admit that the tie-in news didn’t interest me at all, but what did get my attention was learning that over a decade ago, Steven Brust wrote a Firefly novel on spec and submitted it for publication, was ultimately turned down, and released the finished work under Creative Commons Licence as a free ebook. Like Scott Lynch’s Queen of the Iron Sands, the combination of author and subject matter was too perfect to resist. Continue Reading »

Updates for February

I’m fresh dry on ideas for blog posts (as you might notice from my increasingly erratic posting schedule), so some scattered thoughts for February, the cruelest month, instead:

  • The most rote feature of any writer’s blog is posts on writer’s block. I’ve had a really long spell of sitting in front of my computer and words not coming out, and none of the strategies I’ve tried to far have really worked. That being said, there are a few anthology calls that would be a real shame to miss since they fall right in my wheelhouse. I now have a small notebook I carry around to jot down ideas.One thing I noticed is that the last two stories I did manage to finish came right out of drawings and paintings I’d done, and maybe I’m onto something there.

 

  • On that note, probably the best thing I’ve done for improving my artwork was buying a cheap, 500-sheet pad of newsprint from the local office supply store. I have had a weird relationship with sketchbooks where I was adamant on only including “good” work in books most people wouldn’t see. For newsprint, over the past few months I’ve filled it every day with small sketches and concepts, almost all out of my imagination, and that freedom to just dump out any idea no matter how rough has really helped improve my ability to pose figures, make compositions and create diverse people and landscapes. Experimenting and just moving onto the next iteration when you fail because you don’t perceive the sketchbook as a place for “quality” work is really helpful, and if I’m out of ideas for finished pieces I can always go back and flip through my thumbnails until I find something that catches my eye.

Continue Reading »