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General Journal 11-23

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As the garden has wound down, I find myself still wanting to do pages like this, so you get to suffer through my life, such as it is!

…wow, I have been shamefully lax about updating here, as opposed to over on Livejournal. (Yes, I’m a dinosaur.) So, the short form!

Got a new dog! Coonhound mix named Lacey, aka New Hound. Good!
Had a minor nervous breakdown! Bad!
Went back on anxiety meds/antidepressants! Good!
Seventh Bride is re-released from Amazon! Good!
…I think that’s the highlights.

Talking to Socks

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Back from tour! Not dead! About to head out to MileHiCon in Denver!

I have achieved nothing creatively since getting home, other than plugging away on hamster illos. Handed the Snow Queen book in to my editor, shooting for a February release. My brain isn’t sure what to work on next. I have any number of half-done projects I could pick up and work on, but nothing is really grabbing me about the head and shoulders, and I have most of a year anyway.

I’ve been writing a lot of short stories lately. (Well, a lot for ME.) There will be two (maybe three?) out in November–I’ll link when it happens–and another in January and another in short order after that.

Lacking inspiration, I cleaned the closet instead. Read the KonMari book on decluttering, which is very…animist. (Author spent a lot of time working at a Shinto shrine, I hear, which may account for that.) There’s a lot written about it and joy and whatnot, but the part I fixated on was that you’re supposed to thank the things you get rid of, partly out of respect, partly because this will get you over the weird emotional attachment most of us have to Stuff. Can’t get rid of a thing you don’t wear because you paid a lot of money for it? Thank it for its help. Then it’s easier. (It is, too. Go figure.)

I am amused by the various angsty responses to this I have read, which range from “No way am I talking to my socks!” to some frankly weird radical Christian stuff that thanking your socks is definitely Wrong and possibly Satanic and you should say a prayer to the Holy Spirit instead for giving you socks. (I admit, my Catholicism is pretty lapsed, but I think God is probably a bit more concerned that we not be awful to each other than with briefly anthropomorphizing one’s socks as one prepares to send them to Goodwill. Honestly, were I running the universe, I’d be like “Whatever gets you to give the socks to the less fortunate, DO THAT.” But there’s a reason they don’t let me run the universe. Several. Not least that we would be hip-deep in axolotls. Well, anyway, the theology seems a little muddled to me. The important thing is that everybody’s got socks going into winter.)

Regardless, whichever way you come at it, the chief source of resistance seems to be in talking to one’s sock drawer. Mostly it seems to be that you will look silly doing it.

Then there’s me. I read this book and went “Lord, I talk to my socks already! Finally, a book for me!” and spent six hours thanking my excess socks, shoes, light jackets, etc, and dragged four large garbage bags off to the thrift store. I have always been a bit of an animist by nature, and I gave up on not looking silly in private many many years ago. (Who am I trying to impress? I know myself too well to believe in my own dignity. I have tripped on perfectly flat ground and choked on my own saliva too many times.)

There is also a whole lot about the proper way to fold one’s clothes so that they will be happy. It is also remarkably space efficient. The closet is cleaner than it has been in eons. I have no idea if I will continue the whole process, but I am surprisingly willing to believe that properly folded socks and underwear can make me happier in some small fashion.

Also, not to bury the lead here, but we met a dog at an adoption event that may be The Dog. Having a home visit after we get back from the con. English Coonhound mix who was dumped, probably for having no hunting instincts whatsoever. Beautiful dog, one of the ones who leeeeeans into you and looks up with a very hopeful expression, good with cats.

“Are you hound people?” asked the rescue people.

“Well,” I said. “Better the devil you know.”

They laughed. It was rueful laughter, with a slightly hysterical edge, but there it was. (We know all the hound problems and can deal with them. But never another beagle. There are limits.)

I have been worse than usual…

By | Gratuitous Photos, publishing | 2 Comments

…about reposting things over here. Dear me. Practically everything recently has been garden stuff! But uh…let’s see what else…


Hamster Princess is out!

You can buy it! On Amazon! In bookstores! Wherever your heart desires! IT HAS SO MUCH GLITTER YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH GLITTER THIS THING HAS!


I’ll be doing signings and occasional school thingies next month in the Triangle area, and the big book tour goes in October! I’ll post more details when I got ‘em!

And I won an Alfie, from the lovely George RR Martin, which is…related to a big kerfluffle around the Hugos, but let’s not rehash that here, and here’s a picture of my buddy Mur Lafferty picking up my Alfie from GRRM.


My Tumblr name is now Tkingfisher, because I need to keep the non-kid stuff separate from the kid stuff. Here is a picture of a Cute Morlock that you can use to find the new Tumblr.

Here is the cover reveal for the re-release of Seventh Bride by Amazon’s 47North!


To forestall the questions!

This is a re-release of Seventh Bride, by Amazon’s 47North publishing house. This one is the same story, plus about eight thousand words, as the one I put out last November. You are not missing huge swaths if you do not buy it twice, there are no hidden explanations or big reveals, but you get a couple bonus scenes here and there.

It will have a physical copy available through Amazon, and possibly in bookstores. So if you wanted that print copy, it’s on its way and will be available!

It will have an audiobook version. (In fact, now’s probably a good time to mention that Bryony & Roses is also getting an audiobook version, from Tantor Media! Audio for everybody!)

The ebook version currently available will no longer be available at all, anywhere, in October. This new version will only be available through Amazon. If you’ve already bought Bride in e-book form, you won’t lose it or anything awful like that (I checked!) but if you want to buy a copy for some other species of e-reader, you gotta do it in the next month.

They have purchased, at the time of this writing, no other T. Kingfisher books, and I have no current plans to go Amazon-exclusive with any existing titles. If they wish to buy others, then, y’know, case-by-case basis. This is an experiment for me, and I do not have the least idea if I will sell a million copies or five. I certainly hope that it sells very well!

(I will note that they have been really, really good to work with, very fast, very responsive, and they didn’t whitewash the cover. They are hyper-efficient, and they specifically requested to include my Alfie in the list of awards on the bio, so they are also…let’s say, genre-savvy. If they came back for another book and sales are solid, I would absolutely work with them again.)

I have no plans to stop writing kid books as Ursula Vernon. (On the contrary, I’m on the hook for five more hamster books and another stand-alone middle-grade novel!) But if the Amazon marketing machine gets behind T. Kingfisher and pushes, you certainly may see more T. Kingfisher books getting higher priority in the future, as opposed to “The very last thing I do if I have any energy left whatsoever.” I think that’d be pretty cool.

And also we sold Bulgarian rights for the first few Dragonbreath books, which I think is pretty awesome.

And that’s more or less everything going on with my life right now.

Here is a picture of a bee with pollen stuck to him.


African Jacana & Hippos

By | Art | 3 Comments


I couldn’t resist one more. (Tomorrow, hamsters. Really!)

I decided to try to do something similar to the other two woodblock-homages, this time with animals instead of a landscape (or maybe with hippos, the trick is that animals ARE the landscape.) This is an African Jacana, which I really did see standing on top of the hippos at Chobe. (Hippos don’t care if things walk on them, apparently.)

So the trick to doing these is actually similar to the Art Deco travel posters I was doing earlier–instead of drawing the oulines, I block the whole shape out in flat colors, and use about ten thousand layers, putting thin black outlines around the big blocks of color and then drawing very thin weird lines on other multiply layers to shape the whole thing, and using gradients madly to make the flat colors work.

It is a seriously weirdass way to work. I am having to think much farther ahead than I usually do. Once everything is blocked out, fixing little dings requires sorting through dozens of layers to find out where something is.

But I really like how it all comes out. The thin lines are basically the same kind of black lines I draw on everything, only more useful.

Mad gratitude to Kevin–he took about a hundred photos of hippo piles which were invaluable for making it work. (Hippos have really messed up heads, incidentally. Their eye lumps do things no other mammal does.)


Prints available!

Thamalkane Lodge

By | Art | 4 Comments


While the rest of the crew was south of us and experiencing some brief technical difficulties, Kevin and I were hanging out at Thamalkane River Lodge admiring this view. (This is in Maun, Botswana.)

There were a lot of birds. Most of them were egrets.

The artist Yoshida Hiroshi and his son Yoshida Toshi traveled the world and did lots of shin-hanga prints of the various sites, which is why there are gorgeous Japanese wood-block prints of things like Uluru and Mt. Kilamanjaro. That would not be a bad way to spend one’s life, if you ask me. This is something of a homage (and something of a “Man, I should go find all my old vacation photos and use them for reference for stuff in this style, because I will actually LOOK at this painting in a few years and maybe remember it, instead of having it moulder on a memory card somewhere.”)

I am really only able to do this because I am procrastinating about drawing hamsters, though.

World Fantasy Nomination!

By | Writing | One Comment

So I was at Anthrocon and was in fact at the after party run by the Dorsai Irregulars when an online friend, Ultragotha, congratulated me for my World Fantasy nomination.

Now, the ballot’s been out for awhile, and I wasn’t on it, so I thought it was just an awkward misunderstanding…and then Cassie, my most faithful of minions, called me and explained (three times–there had been rum) that the ballot had been revised and a short story was moved to novella and thus a slot opened and I was now on the ballot for “Jackalope Wives.”


I am still a little befuddled (there was rum! I’ve been at a con!) but it appears this is really happening.


Rabbitform after Kawase Hasui

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So I spent most of yesterday ogling the work of the master artist Kawase Hasui, who was declared a national treasure for reasons that are really freakin’ obvious if you look at his work.

(Seriously, go google him. I’ll wait.)

He did beautiful portraits of an urbanizing Japan. I am in awe. Each one looks like the background for a Miyazaki movie.

Awe in me tends to lead to homage, and I have nothing more suited to put into such a piece than the odd little spirits that occasionally show up in my work. I still don’t quite know where they belong.

This is a view the field in front of the house, which is currently overrun with Queen Anne’s Lace, and the spirit is a little more akin to the Chatham Rabbit, which was once famous, than to the desert jackrabbits I usually paint. My local spirits are small and I do not always know what they want, but sometimes I feel them there nonetheless.


I do not usually use gradients with quite such reckless abandon, but if you’re trying to mimic printmaking, it’s the only way. And also this took 37 layers and was nearly half a gig at one point, as I layered and layered and layered and the computer just…handled it. Technology is amazing. If I’d tried that on one of my old machines, I could have gone and made a sandwich in the time it took to turn a layer on and off, and if I’d tried to move a layer around, I could have grown the wheat for the sandwich from scratch.

Nebula Award

By | Writing | 6 Comments

So, um…I seem to have won a Nebula Award for Jackalope Wives.

Holy crap. I didn’t see that one coming.

For those of you who don’t follow this all that closely, one of the other nominees was Eugie Foster, an enormously talented writer who passed away last year and When It Ends, He Catches Her was her final story. I assumed she would win. I was all set to cheer when she did. (I met her husband at the con, he’s very sweet, and as it happens, I did the art for the cover of one of her self-published anthologies, a fact I’d forgotten because brain, sieve, etc.)

Did I want to win? Well, of course, but I didn’t want to want to win, if that makes any sense, because hey, I’ll write other stories. Maybe one of them will get nominated for a Nebula. And as I learned from the Hugos, the statue is fantastic, but the nomination is actually the thing. When they say “It’s an honor just to be nominated,” cliche as it sounds, it’s true.* The statue, sure, maybe you compete for, but the nomination is a gift from the people who believe in you.

I truly believe that if it’s not a gift, it’s not worth much of anything.

And I suspect that I also truly believed I wasn’t going to win, because before the Hugos, when people had been telling me I had a shot, I couldn’t eat for sheer nerves, and I cheerfully polished off a chicken dinner and a glass of wine at the Nebula banquet, and mostly was sweating for Sarah Monette, aka Katherine Addison, aka author of The Goblin Emperor which book gave me all the feels forever and who is a lovely person and I was hoping hard for her.

When they called my name, I, being the cool operator I am, said “What?”

Then I said “What?” again, several times.

And Kevin said “What?” which was good, because then I felt slightly less out of the loop.

Then I noticed that all the people at my table (we were sitting with a contingent of Chinese science fiction authors who had come to cheer for Cixin Liu, and the founder of Strange Horizons, among others) were all looking at me and cheering and Kevin was rooting through his sporran for my speech, which I’d written for the Alternate Universe Nebulas that take place afterwards, where everybody gets together in the foyer and reads their acceptance speeches for the alternate universe where they won.

The speech that, because I had written it for that alternate universe, addressed the audience as if they were giant chickens.

It occurred to me that I had possibly made a tactical error.

I took the speech and went up to the front and I am actually almost good at this part because I am thinking gotta make a speech gotta make a speech not holy crap I’ve won a Nebula and then they handed me the big cube with the planets in it and I accidentally thought holy crap I’ve won a Nebula and that was a big mistake because then I turned to the microphone, and my voice cracked and I said the first thing that came into my head, which was “Aw shit, guys, you were supposed to give this to Eugie.”

Grace under pressure, thy name is someone else.

But I gave the speech, and fortunately explaining the giant chicken bit got me past the bit where I was getting choked up and then I was just giving the speech which was mostly telling stories about tattooing and selkies and then I walked back and people were congratulating me on the way.

I went to the Alternate Universe Nebulas. There were some really good speeches. Some of them were fiery and some were impassioned and some had weeping. Any of them would have been just as good as mine. (I hold out that I was the only giant chicken, though)

And honestly, there was not a single name on the ballot with mine that didn’t deserve to be there, and any of those authors could have walked up on stage and taken the trophy home and earned it just as much, possibly more so.

When you hit the top handful of short stories of the year, it’s all a matter of personal preference after that, and who was in the mood and who had read all the stories except the one that they would have liked better than yours. I won’t say there’s never been a bad Nebula winner** but this year was good. It was an honor just to be on the same page with those other people.

And yes, it’s easy for me to say because I’ve got the big Lucite paperweight (and incidentally, that thing sets off the X-ray machines at airport security like you would not BELIEVE.) But damn, I wish we could have given out trophies to all seven of us.

The trophy looks good on a shelf. The real prize is that you meet these incredible writers and realize that somebody thinks you deserve to stand alongside them.

(Seriously, go read their stories.)

Anyway. I took home a very heavy trophy, and my shoulder is still grumbling about carrying it through the airport, and I do not yet believe on any level that I have actually won one, and by the time it actually sinks in, six months will have gone by and then it will look very stupid to be like “HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS I’M A NEBULA WINNER.” But I’ll manage.

Thank you to everybody who congratulated me by text and twitter, and to the members of SFWA who voted for me. My fellow giant chickens, I am very grateful.


*Also, believe it or not, But it’s a dry heat is 100% true.

**A number of you just thought the words “Mormon space-whale” to yourself.


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