Honored Guest by Ellen Kushner Now

My reading of “Honored Guest” by Ellen Kushner is now up at PodCastle. Go listen, yo!

Actually, I haven’t heard it yet. I’m a little scared to. I wanted to do one more clean-up pass on the audio, but the General Assembly was still in session at the time, and I was bumping against the deadline already, so I never ended up doing that final pass. Rushing always makes me anxious, and I really hope I did this lovely story justice. Eep.

Uppy-Downy-and-Generally-Slammed: State of the Eugie

It’s been so uppy-downy-and-generally-slammed this last while that it feels like I haven’t had the time or energy for more than tweet-sized posts. Finally managed to clear some stuff off my plate (although my @#^!& plate still way overfloweth), so herein a catch-up of recent good, bad, and meh:

The good:
• Had an appointment with my brand new rheumatologist yesterday. I remain royally displeased with the State of Georgia for forcing me to switch health care providers, as my previous rheumatologist was the best doctor I have ever had. But so far, I have no complaints about the new one, who is someone the previous one recommended when I told him I was having to change insurers. She seems both nice and competent, which is a remarkably difficult combination to come upon in doctors for some reason.

However, I’d been stable for so long under my previous rheumatologist’s care that, as he put it, I’d “graduated” with him to only needing annual follow-ups. But this new one, because I’m a new patient with a slew of ailments, wants a follow-up in a month and then bimonthly visits after that. Sigh.

Also, since I haven’t had any lab work done in four months (before I was having labs done bimonthly to ensure that the drug I’m taking to keep my immune system from rising up and declaring war upon the rest of my human suit isn’t destroying my kidneys) and because I’m a new patient, she ordered a slew of bloodwork. TEN vials worth. Glad her phlebotomist was skilled, quick, and gentle, but still…owitch.

The bad:
• My car’s check engine light came on last Friday. It was overdue for various tune-ups and maintenance thingums, so this was the final indicator of “can’t put it off any longer.” New spark plugs, new timing belts, a new motor mount clip, a fuel induction thingy, and we’re down $1.5K. Because, of course, we weren’t hurting enough financially this year. Ouch. A lot.

The meh:
• The Atlanta Film Festival provided fosteronfilm with an all-access pass this year, great for not only seeing the films but also powwowing with the filmmakers—film festival networking and all. But, of course, I can’t go with him, not having either an all-access pass or the time to do so (see below re: late running legislative session), with the result that I haven’t and won’t be seeing very much of him this week. Came home for the first time in eight years to an utterly empty house yesterday. Far too quiet and utterly depressing.


Writing Stuff

• Finished my narration of “Honored Guest” by Ellen Kushner for PodCastle. Because the legislative session has run so late, my to-do list is scary-big, I’m behind on everything, and it was a last minute scramble to get this done in time. I would have liked to have done another editing pass on it, as I think my inflection and dynamic range in a few places could’ve used some fixing up, but I was already bumping up against the deadline.

It’s a lovely story. I hope I did it justice.

• Resumed work on the short story “Rampion” that I began in February. Obviously wasn’t able to finish it then. Added about 2K words, and it’s looking suspiciously like it may turn into a novelette.

News I Can’t Tell and News I Can

Thankfully, yesterday was neither as long nor as grueling as I expected. Got home before 9:30. And, as an end of day pick-me-up, I received some amazing news.

Got it at work and just barely managed not to whoop out loud, but it was a close thing. Did babble it to my co-editors—after calling Matthew, of course; otherwise I would’ve gone ‘splody-boom at my desk. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to squee publicly about until next month.

So as not to be accused of being (too much of) a tease, here’s news I can tell: PodCastle asked me to narrate “Honored Guest” by Ellen Kushner for a forthcoming podcast. I read and adored this story when it was originally published in the Coyote Road anthology, so of course I said I’d be delighted to.

“Littleblossom Makes a Deal with the Devil” by S. Hutson Blount

My reading of S. Hutson Blount’s excellent story “Littleblossom Makes a Deal with the Devil” is now up at Escape Pod! I’m way amused by Steve Eley’s (sfeley) intro. He called me a “powerhouse in the genre.” Hee!

This is my first time reading for the Escape Artists folks—who I adore and have sung praises for many times—and I hope I managed to do a credible job. It’s a different sort of nervous being the reader instead of the author.

So go listen! It’s free!

Nobodies and Somebodies

This month has sped by way faster than I’m equipped to deal with. I’m not ready for it to be November next week!

dude_the is flying in today for his traditional Halloween visit, and the house is messy beyond messiness. Fortunately, he tends to find our domestic dishevel amusing rather than appalling.

Tomorrow, fosteronfilm and I are planning to vote, as it’s my 4×10 day off. It slipped my mind until today that our planned voting day also happens to be Halloween. I mentioned that this month seems to have gotten away from me, didn’t I?

I wonder if it would be deemed inappropriate if I went to our polling place in costume. I suppose that probably depends on what costume I wear…which brings up another distressing dilemma of the “how can it be the end of October already?” variety. I have no idea what I wanna be for Halloween.


Writing Stuff

Newly published:
“Nobodies and Somebodies” is now up at the Aberrant Dreams Podcast, beautifully read by Cori Samuel, who has a way sexy accent. Yes, I’m a total sucker for accents. Go listen, yo!

“The Tanuki-Kettle” now up at PodCastle and “Daughter of Botu” forthcoming

Received a note from velourmane that my story, “The Tanuki-Kettle,” is now up at Podcastle.

Go listen, yo! mkhobson provides a fabu and funny introduction, and it’s read by the mellifluous tinaconnolly. All hail Podcastle!

Rachel also said that she’d like to buy “Daughter of Bótù” for more podcasting goodness. Happy squeeage all around!

Dragon*Con 2008

Dragon*Con happened. My voice is stripped (again), I seem to have left a passel of brain cells at the Hyatt, I’m still in a sleep deprived fugue state, and I’m trying not to think too hard about everything on my “to do” list. But it was good.

Things that stick out of the blur:

• My talk for Ann: I’ve done better; I’ve done worse. I think I went too fast, but I don’t remember seeing too many glazed-over/bored faces. And I sold out of the books I’d brought with me afterwards, yay!

• My Sunday panel wasn’t what I expected. The panel was publisher-heavy, which tended to veer the discussion more towards marketing, post-publication, and less towards selling to markets (pre-publication). As such, I had less meaningful to say on the topic but found it interesting to listen to the discussion of my fellow panelists.

• I got to meet and powwow with Stephen Segal (Weird Tales‘s Editorial/creative director) over lunch—which he also very graciously treated me to—meet Edmund R. Schubert, at long last—my IGMS editor—and catch up with Josepha Sherman, who I haven’t seen since Launch Pad last year.

• My Daily Dragon staff was fabulous. I decided this year to recruit some editorial assistance. In past years, I’ve focused on getting reporters and therefore looked for folks with writing skills. This year, I actively sought some editorial experience, too (which included recruiting my co-editor at the OLC, full_fathom5), so I could delegate more of my editing responsibilities. That worked out GREAT. I should have done it years ago.

Also, we got a new copier which didn’t jam and which cranked out the print copy in half the time the old one used to, so I could let my graveyard shift leave early, and every morning by the time I came down to the DD room, the print edition was already on delivery rounds. Very nice.

• Got to hang out and spend large chunks of time with several of my DC2K writers group—especially canadiansuzanne, reddherring1955, and Debbie—who were on my staff.

I think I’ll need another week to recover and get caught up (possibly a couple weeks), but all-in-all, I’m pretty pleased with this year’s D*C. Much better than last year’s which was too chaotic and stressful.


Writing Stuff

Newly published:
“The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” (audio reprint) in Clonepod.

“What generation are you?” poll and “The Wiggly People” at Drabblecast.

Doing research for a new story which was inspired in part by some articles and studies on Generation X (born approximately between 1965-1980), Generation Y/the Millennials (born ~1981-1997), the Baby Boomers (born ~1946-1964), and Generation Jones—a sort of between generation wedged between late Boomers and early Xers containing folks born ~1954-1964 who share a lot of sociocultural traits with Gen X but who fall within the demographic of Boomers and who also share some cultural influences and hallmarks with them.

The perception is that bloggers and folks who read blogs tend to be Gen Yers/Millennials, “digital natives” who’ve had the benefits of and been around digital technology and the Internet for their whole lives. It made me curious to see where y’all fell.

So herein my completely unscientific poll:


Writing Stuff

I realized that I’ve dropped all my writing hamsters, and they’ve scampered to parts unknown. The only fiction I’ve completed this year is the story I started last year for Russian Winters, and I suspect the only reason I managed to wring “the end” out of it is because I had a deadline—which was extended three months, to boot. Session ended two months ago; I’ve wasted a lot of time when I should have been writing angsting about not writing. So I’m taking a leaf from my own book to remind myself that One Hamster is Still Juggling, and I’m starting up Club 100 for Writers again:
Ergo: 3

New Words:
• 800 on new SF story, working title “NANI.” It’s been a while since I did science fiction; I was pretty exclusively focused on fantasy last year. It feels good to stretch my science-geek writerly muscles, although I’m chagrined at how weak and flabby they are. This story will be grounded in social and developmental psychology, which very much plays to my academic background, but I’m finding I have to look up some really basic stuff ’cause I can only remember shadowy concepts and vague theories, and I’m needing specifics. It’s a bit distressing to realize how much information I used to have readily available for speedy retrieval and how little remains accessible without some massive joggling. My brain needs a better indexing system.

• Fan mail from a couple Cricket readers (forwarded to me by the fabu folks of Carus Publishing) for “When Shakko Did Not Lie” and “The Tanuki-Kettle.”

The first, from a 10-year-old girl, said:
“I have been getting this magazine for two years. I think it is the best magazine ever!!!!…My favorite story was ‘The Tanuki Kettle’ (July 2007). I also liked ‘When Shakko Did Not Lie’…I really like stories about nature and animals.”

And the second, from a boy (no age specified), said:
“I think you mag is better than any T.V. show or magazine I’ve ever heard of. Also in the January 2008 issue the story ‘When Shakko Did Not Lie’ is an excellent choice for Cricket. I would like it if you put more of that kind of story in your mag.”

I think I melted into a big pile of “awww!” after reading those. And to top it off, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Cricket, Marianne Carus, scribbled a line at the bottom of the second letter: “Those were great stories! My favorites, too.”


• “The Wiggly People” (audio reprint) in Drabblecast. Well, it’s not up yet, actually, but Norm Sherman, the editor/publisher dropped me a note on Monday saying it would go up today, so I’ve been hanging around the site, hitting F5 compulsively.

[Edit: It’s up now! Go listen!]

Writers for Relief 2, Daughter of Bótù, Caesar’s Ghost, Manny the Mailmobile

*REMINDER: We’re switching ISPs. My Comcast email address will be defunct as of tomorrow. Please use my eugiefoster.com or gmail addresses from now on!

Over the 4-day (!) Memorial Day weekend (yay 4×10!*), we resolved a couple hardware issues:
• Fixed the hibernation problem my laptop was having after I upgraded my RAM. A bit of research showed me that the glitch seemed to be a common one in XP machines with over 1GB of RAM. Just had to download and install XP Service Pack 3, and voilà, all good.
• Replaced the battery in my car. Y’know, I find it to be a very strange thing to discover that one’s car won’t start when the temperature’s above 70 degrees F. I’m accustomed to it happening in the subzero season in the Midwest, but I guess I don’t expect it here in Georgia in summer. Didn’t even leave the headlights on or the overhead or anything.

We took it to the Honda dealership on the off chance that it was the alternator and not just the battery. Just the battery, though, thank goodness; apparently one of the cells went bad.

They also wanted to hit us up for a 90-mile service and a routine maintenance/oil-change/check-up (since we’re overdue). The former would’ve included changing the timing belt, which braced fosteronfilm, at least, for a scary-shock estimate. But even so, the bottom line they trotted up made both of us go bug-eyed: $1500. $1K for the 90-mile-timing-belt-service and $500 for the routine maintenance, etc.

So yeah, we told them “no can do, just the battery, please.” We’ll take it to a lube-n-go place for the oil change, and I’m fully prepared to use the old timing belt until it dies, thank-you-very-much. The only thing I’m a little worried about is that my SRS (the airbag system) warning light has been on for a while, and I’d like to have the sensor checked. If it’s the seatbelt, both the check and fix would be covered under Honda’s warranty. But if it’s the SRS system, it’s not, and we’d have to eat the $190 appraisal as well as whatever it’d cost to get it fixed. It’s rather a lot to gamble on warranty vs. no warranty, but at the same time, the airbag wouldn’t deploy right now in an accident, which really makes me nervous.

I really don’t get along well with hardware stuff. It’s expensive, capricious, and baffling. Sigh.

*Another benefit from my new 4×10 workweek: In addition to not having to make the drive to the train station and back on my day off and thereby saving on my overall gasoline use, since I’m leaving earlier in the morning and coming back later in the evening, the traffic is better—much better in the morning and slightly better in the evening. I don’t have enough data points to know for sure exactly how much time I’m shaving off my daily commute, but I’d estimate right now that it’s something like half an hour. Sweet.


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• -250. Yes, that’s a negative number. There was a lot of cutting and tightening. But the fork’s in, and “Morozko,” retitled to “Beautiful Winter,” is done done done and sent off to market. Huzzah.

Uber thanks go to marshall-payne for the speedy and thorough crit.

• “Caesar’s Ghost” (audio reprint) in Pseudopod. catrambo read it, and I think she did a stellar job. Go listen! There are ferrets.

• Contrib. copies of the Aug. 2008 Realms of Fantasy with my story, “Daughter of Bótù,” in it. Shiny!
• 40-day SALE of “The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” (audio reprint) to the Clonepod podcast. Woot!
• A note from daveybeaucham that Writers for Relief 2 (with my story, “Running on Two Legs”) is now available for pre-order. This is the second in his charity anthology series, this one to benefit the Bay Area Food Bank (the first was to benefit the survivors of Hurricane Katrina). Other contributors include Todd McCaffrey, A.C. Crispin and Christie Golden, Elizabeth Blue, David Drake, Mur Lafferty, Tony Ruggiero, and many others. Great fiction for a great cause!