Bark Like A Fish, Damnit!



Actually, it's a mixed bag.

Good--I was nominated for a Coyotl Award for "Jackalope Wives"!

Bad--I woke up with a sort of spotted rash breaking out on my stomach next to a line of semi-recent tick bites. (Very widely spread dots, not tightly clustered, not a bullseye, not (thank god!) bedbug bites.)

We do have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the area, but it doesn't look quite right for that. I feel fine, I don't have any flu-like symptoms. Thing is, there's so damn many tickborne illnesses and half of them don't even have common names, so it's off to the doctor I go so that they can stare at it, take blood, go "Hell if I know," and shoot me full of antibiotics. Rashes next to tick bites are a "Don't mess around."

"Don't get bitten by ticks" is not a viable option where I live if I wish to, y'know, leave the house. Alas. (Ironically, this year has been down a bit--hemorrhagic fever swept the deer population last year and the numbers crashed, so fewer ticks come through. But I'm sure they'll all be back next year.)

No, I am not getting guinea fowl. Yes, I know they eat ticks, but then you have guinea fowl.


The Bull Moose Men

Working on T-shirts through RedBubble, and a "Running of the Bull Moose Men" design.

I have too much fun with my fictional worlds...


Garden Journal May 30


Peak Metal

Saw Mad Max: Fury Road.

We have attained Peak Metal. There is no more metal left in the universe. Nordic death metal bands are feeling a strange urge to go home and write folk music for acoustic guitar. Stops were pulled out, and then new stops invented for the express purpose of pulling.

Also, I think the character designers may have eaten Brom's brain. Someone should probably check on him.

There reached a point--I think somewhere around the bikers throwing grenades (and if that is a spoiler then seriously, do you not know what this movie is about?!)--that Kevin and I began laughing helplessly and this continued with occasional punctuation throughout the rest of the film, which is basically a two and a half hour car chase with brief pauses to go "Hey! Character designs? Did you see them? No, look again, they're pretty bad-ass. And now, we're gonna blow up this thing over here!"

It surprised me in a couple of places. This already puts it ahead of Age of Ultron.

I do not know if this movie would work without the background of the other Mad Max movies behind it. But as they ran all the trailers before it--Terminator Fifty-Bizillion and Jurassic World--which are trying desperately to go back to other movies that were good and I sat there being deeply unimpressed*--and then THIS and it was like "Goddamn, this is a genuine Mad Max movie only with a budget to back it up!"** and that may be where so many desperate modern attempts to recreate movies are failing because you cannot go home again, so we will just do a movie with a plot that is basically the last half of Watership Down only with metal instead of rabbits and Charlize Theron is Bigwig and okay maybe it wasn't actually that close to the plot but goddamn, that would be an amazing movie, someone go film that right now.

In conclusion, in lieu of a rating, I am just going to throw the goat a few times. That is all.

*I want to care about Jurassic World, really I do, but I kinda don't. Kevin is all "It's Starlord with a pack of raptors!" and I'm like "Starlord kinda seemed like a douche. I was watching for the Destroyer and Groot." And the dinosaurs are the wrong scale and "Oooh, we made an EVEN BIGGER T-REX!" and I'm going "Why would you bother? It's not like you can make the camera any bigger. Once you've filled the whole camera, there is a point of diminishing returns." I mean, the raptors did look cool. Everybody loves a raptor. Even if they should be feathered like turkeys.

**And without the bits that were so obviously Eighties.


My Birthday Has Been Interesting

I am cheerful! Really! I mean, I got some work done and did a call with my editor and sorted a few bits and everything is generally good. The end of 37 was great, the future bodes well for 38.

And then I went to check my bank balance to see if I could buy myself a painting I kind of wanted for my birthday, and it was a LOT lower than I expected, so I checked recent transactions, and hey, look at that, somebody has been systematically draining my account for about four days, to the tune of over a thousand dollars. florists.

I stared at this for awhile. A thousand dollars in multiple transactions at multiple florists? What the hell?

And then a friend on Twitter did the gentle throat-clearing tweet and informed me that many escort services show up on credit card statements as flower deliveries, which suddenly made a LOT more sense. Though that was either a very cheap escort or somebody's got a phone sex habit. Suspecting the phone sex thing, myself.

And they had the unmitigated gall to use my debit card to set up a recurring charge for their AT&T account! (I hope AT&T can catch 'em--I can't find a fraud division that can actually help me, and got tired of shuffling between numbers merely to find out if I could take petty vengeance by reporting their phone stolen or something.)

Anyway, this has happened before--my increasing suspicion is that is full of security holes, because it seems like about one time in ten, when I order ink from them, I get my card stolen a week later. But we all order so many things on-line these days that I can't be sure. So it's not like I'm not an old hand at dealing with this--I called Wells Fargo (and surprisingly they hadn't caught it--normally they catch it in a few hours, so the criminal was doing something right) and they always fix it promptly and then after an hour of excitement talking with them (they were also baffled by the flower thing, which makes me think that it wasn't reading like the usual chargeback/money laundering/refund thing) we sorted out all the fraud bits and they'll take it from there and my money will return hopefully soon. (They are generally quite good about this bit.)

(And I am not about to be plunged into poverty, never fear, the bills will all get paid while it's being sorted, but a thousand bucks is a lot of money to suddenly take a walk somewhere without my permission. There was some flailing.)

So I drove off to my local branch, which is in the next small town over, got in one minute before they locked the doors, and threw myself on their mercy. Fortunately I've brought them books in the past and gone there for years, so they like me well enough, and they stayed open late, changed my PIN, and got me a temporary debit card. Mad gratitude to the Wells Fargo in Siler City for this.

(Naturally I am traveling next week, because life. Just once I want to have a card stolen when I'm NOT about to go out of town...)

So it was a weird day already, and my birthday dinner got a bit screwed up through miscommunication--not a big deal, no one's fault, but a little glitch in the road--and then somebody left a weird anonymous comment on my last post, which had the weird word salad header I associate with spam, but which was full of random slurs and negging and didn't seem to be selling a product. (This is less offensive and more puzzling. I do not care if anonymous strangers wish to call me a psycho bitch, but why are they insulting my upper arms and my car? My car is AWESOME. I can haul mulch like you would not BELIEVE with that car. And I've never been concerned about the state of my upper arms. Like, of all the body parts they could seize on, they found the one over which I feel no insecurity whatsoever. This leads me to believe that someone is just spamming insults at random, though my googling did not turn up any repeated phrases. Regardless, very odd.)

So it's been a day. Honestly, everything after about 1:30 has been rather more difficult than it needed to be. But I have wine. And the bank will get me my money back, after I have jumped through a few flaming hoops, and spammers gonna spam, and there is a tortoiseshell kitten upside down and asleep supervising me, so life is clearly mostly fine. Still, quite a day.

(Also, big thanks to the fan--or fans?--or friends?--who have mailed me all that Tecnu for my poison ivy. Thank you! The gel is helping and I will use the scrub next time I am forced to pull some.)


Visit Echo Harbor

Went a little more "classic travel poster" than strict Art Deco with this one. Probably too much detail on the wicker man to be Art Deco, but it's hard to do a wicker man without squiggly bits. Echo Harbor is, of course, one of the towns in the Hidden Almanac podcast. It is the weird sinister town where bad things happen. The tourism board would like you to overlook this.

You have to get up really close to see the human sacrifices.

...There's a phrase I don't type every day.

If you'd like to have such a thing in your home, you may be weird, but I will enable that!


Visit Scenic Ulthar

I am (very briefly) freed from illustration duty, and so I am burning through all the art I've been wanting to make for ages, and apparently that is manifesting as "Art Deco Travel Posters." (My booth at Anthrocon may look very weird this year...)

I am not good at Art Deco, which is probably why. As the great book Art & Fear pointed out, a technical challenge is not as good as an artistic one, but it'll do in a pinch. It takes awhile to get down to very simple, very clean shapes. Still working at it, not there yet.

I suspect I'll be doing a few more of these, perhaps for scenic Echo Harbor. For now, if you'd like to order one, we got 'em.


Offren's Grounds

The Hidden Almanac is a weird little podcast Kevin & I do, and it has fictional advertisers. People keep asking for Hidden Almanac merch, and I'm working on it (in my copious spare time!) but did manage to cook up a vaguely Art Deco poster for St. Offren's Grounds, the coffee company named after the martyred patron saint of coffee.

You can even order a print
, if you are so inclined. I am tempted to make postcards or mini-prints or something for Anthrocon. I love Art Deco, but I never do anything in that particular style, so stuff like this doesn't come easily, but I had a lot of fun doing it.


Meanwhile, Everything Is Blooming Simultaneously



And that's a wrap! now has links for all the platforms! (Except the Google one, because Draft2Digital doesn't do them yet.)

Bryony and Roses. It's a book. Yes. Thing.

*falls down*

As always, if you're interested in the hard sales numbers and whatnot, I keep a running thread on my self-pub career over here.

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