The Great Hot Tub Massacre

A saga in a series of tweets, with commentary by some VERY clever Twitter-peeps…

 

Stuff I Published in 2016

It has been so long that the early reaches of the year seem an impossibly long time ago. Nevertheless! If we do not keep track of what we did, how will we know!?

Short Stories

Razorback – Apex Magazine

Novelette

The Tomato Thief – Apex Magazine

Children’s Books

Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic – Dial Books
Hamster Princess: Ratpunzel – Dial Books

Novel

The Raven and the Reindeer (as T. Kingfisher)

If Summer in Orcus wraps by the end of the year, as I am hoping to make happen, it’ll count here too. (Oh god, I need to make an e-book cover…)

I honestly had hoped for another novel this year (and I keep forgetting that Summer counts as quite a long novel, because it’s a different thing in my head) or at least a novella out this fall. The election season turned the last half of the year into a dragging pit of unproductivity, though. Nevertheless, I’ve got an anthology, a novelette, and the next hamster book all slated for early next year, so that’s not too shabby, and Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, some of these half-done things knocking around will fall out onto the page sooner rather than later.

Chapter 26

It’s up!

Also, looking at the schedule–it would appear that the story, as currently scheduled, would only run over into January by one week. So for the last week of the year, we’ll get double helpings of the story, and wrap it at the end of the year. It seems tidier. And also…well, I kinda feel like I can’t do much to make the year end on a positive note, but by god, I can do this!

I’ll scramble to get my e-book versions together so they’ll be available in early January too. (Patreon sponsors will get access to free versions, because you’ve made the whole thing possible! And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that. It’s been really awesome!)

Early December Journals

journal12-03-16
journal12-04-16

I am embarassed by the relatively meager looking size of the harvest, but in my defense, like half the early crop got swept into a slow cooker (and I have no idea what was in it! I think a lot of Yoeme Purple. There were words.)  and I sacrificed a load of Trail of Tears and Tarahumara Red to chili. But a couple just plain did not perform–I’m done trying to make the “ojo” types work. Whatever they want, it’s not what I’ve got here. And the Aztec Cave Beans are very pretty and don’t hold a candle to Mother Stallard in terms of production and flavor, so they’re out.

On the other hand, I just went and looked up standard yields for dry beans, and a lot of them average something like 1.5-3 lbs per 25 foot row, and even 25 plants per pound of beans. So given that I have maybe 25 feet of beans TOTAL, and that heavily intercropped with tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and squash, the fact I managed at least three or four pounds worth is not too embarassing at all.

Next year, I’m looking at Trail of Tears, Mother Stallard, O’odham Pink, Tarahumara Red, Rattlesnake Pole and probably Yoeme Purple. We’ll give it a year or two and see how those fare…

Gir the Beagle 2001?-2016

I am sad to say that Gir the beagle passed away this morning. He had been in a slow decline for…well, the better part of decade, frankly, but in the last few weeks, he seemed less cheerful and the skin around one of his eyes got swollen and odd and made him look like a prizefighter who’d lost badly. The young vet did not know what it was (mange? calluses?) and was baffled–the older vet, who owns the practice, took one look and said “cutaneous lymphoma,” and that was the end of the road. Lengthy chemotherapy for an ancient dog who can already barely walk…no.

I take a rather odd comfort that it’s an exceedingly rare lymphoma, and that cancer rates are already much lower in beagles than most other breeds, meaning that Gir died as bizarrely as he lived. You hate to think that something normal got him.

He was, if I’m being honest, not exactly a good dog–he was incontinent, largely untrainable, deafeningly loud, food-aggressive and prone to casually chewing holes in himself. His health issues were legendary and his pill case was bigger and more complicated than mine (and his pills substantially more expensive.) But he was cheerful and generally good-natured and we loved him dearly, and he lived so long with bits falling off that we started to wonder if he was the harbinger of some kind of canine zombie apocalypse.

“Ah, Gir,” said the vet at the end. “Genetics weren’t in your favor.” And lord, they weren’t, but he lived halfway to forever anyway.

Cave canem.

New Chapters Up

Today I am thankful for all you wonderful people who support me making weird things by buying or reading or commenting or just hanging around and enjoying! Thank you! You let me be me by being you, and that’s a great thing.

This week’s Summer in Orcus!

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

I am also grateful that Hound has someone to play Chew Your Face Off with, which they are currently playing with great enthusiasm as I try to type.

Patron Saint Bluebell

Hey, listen. I know the world’s on fire. But listen.

I’ll tell you a thing.

On the day after the election, when everything was worst and all I could do was go numb or cry hysterically, do you know what gave me the most comfort?

It wasn’t the words of Lincoln or Gandhi or Maya Angelou, it wasn’t Psalms or poetry, it wasn’t my grandmother, it wasn’t contemplating the long arc of history. It wasn’t even hugging the dog.

It was the Twitter account @ConanSalaryman.

This is a joke account. It’s somebody who narrates as if Conan was working in an office. Tweets usually sound like “By Crom!” roared Conan. “You jackals cannot schedule a mere interview without gathering in a pack and cackling?!” or “Conan slammed his sword through his desk. Papers and blood rained through the office. Monday was slain.”

I followed it awhile back and have found it funny. (I’m not a huge Robert Howard fan inherently, but whoever is writing these does the schtick well.) But if it had not posted once that day, no one would have noticed at all.

Instead, Conan the Salaryman posted something inspirational. And then replied to dozens of people replying to him, for hours, in character, telling them that by Crom! it was only defeat if we did not stand up again, that the greatest act of strength was to keep walking in the face of hopelessness, that the gods have given the smallest of us strength to enact change, that we must all keep going as long as Crom gave us breath, and tyrants frightened Conan not, but we must look to those unable to fend for themselves. (“Though by Crom! We must hammer ourselves into a support network, not an army!”)

I have no idea who is behind that account. But it was the most bizarrely comforting thing I saw all day, in a day that had very little comfort in it. There was this weight of story behind it. It helped me. I think it helped a lot of people. If only a tiny bit–well, tiny bits help.

I have been thinking a lot lately about Bluebell from Watership Down.

There’s absolutely no reason you should remember Bluebell, unless, to take an example completely and totally at random, you read it eleven thousand times until your copy fell apart because you were sort of a weird little proto-furry kid who loved talking animals more than breath and wrote fan fic and there weren’t any other talking animal books and you now have large swaths memorized as a result. Ahem.

Bluebell is a minor character. He’s Captain Holly’s friend and jester. When the old warren is destroyed, Captain Holly and Bluebell are the last two standing and they stagger across the fields after the main characters. By the end, Holly is raving, hallucinating, and screaming “O zorn!” meaning “all is destroyed” and about to bring predators down on them. And Bluebell is telling stupid jokes.

And they make it the whole way because of Bluebell’s jokes. “Jokes one end, hraka the other,” he says. “I’d roll a joke along the ground and we’d both follow it.” When Holly can’t move, Bluebell tells him jokes that would make Dad jokes look brilliant and Holly is able to move again. When Hazel, the protagonist, tries to shush him, Holly says no, that “we wouldn’t be here without his blue-tit’s chatter.”

I tell you, the last few days, thinking of this, I really start to identify with Bluebell.

I am not a fighter, not an organizer, certainly not a prophet. Throw something at me and I squawk and cover my head. I write very small stories with wombats and hamsters and a cast of single digits. I am not the sort of comforting soul who sits and listens and offers you tea. (What seems like a thousand years ago, when I had the Great Nervous Breakdown of ‘07, I remember saying something to the effect that I had realized that if I had myself as a friend, I would have been screwed, because I was useless at that kind of thing. And a buddy of mine from my college days, who was often depressed, wrote me to say that no, I wasn’t that kind of person, but when we were together I always made her laugh hysterically and that was worth a lot too. I treasured that comment more than I am entirely comfortable admitting.)

But I can roll a joke along the ground until the end of the world if I have to. And increasingly, I think that’s what I’m for in this life. Things are bad and people have died already and I am heartsick and tired and the news is a gibbering horror–but I actually do know why a raven is like a writing desk.

So. First Church of Bluebell. Patron Saint.

Keep holding the line.