I have been worse than usual…

…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!

harriet

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.

murandgrrm

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!

Kingfisher-TheSeventhBride

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.

pollenbee

What I Did On My Winter Vacation

Went to Foolscap in Redmond, which was an awesome little con, delighted to meet fans and friends and new friends and hopefully new fans. It was great! They’re doing a lot of good stuff and I hope they keep on doing it. (Preferred pronoun ribbons. Simple, straightforward, everybody had them. Awesome.)

And then I went birdwatching.

In Eastern Washington.

In winter.

With Tina.

Sometimes it looked like this:

coldtree

Mostly it looked like this.

primitiveroads

There was a lot of careening around on icy roads, fishtailing in snow, looking for birds. But we found them! Ten lifers for me–Horned Lark, Snow Bunting, Rough-Legged Hawk, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Clark’s Nutcracker, Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch, Northern Pygmy Owl (so tiny! so grumpy!) Pine Grosbeak, Townsend’s Solitaire, and a truly spectacular Long-Eared Owl.

LEOwl2small

This owl has been hanging around Seattle and is surrounded by bird paparazzi because he seriously does not seem to care that there are humans twelve feet away clicking shutters frantically. This owl slept the way I sleep–deeply and apocalyptically. He was magnificent.

The whole theme of the trip seemed to be “Very few birds, but amazing looks at the ones we saw.” We got the Pygmy Owl on a wire directly over the road, the Sharp-Tailed Grouse roosting in a tree by the road like an oversized mourning dove(!!) and Horned Larks landing on the road in front of the car to pick salt off it. It was pretty wild.

quailmission

Everybody out of the way! California Quail coming through!

painthorse

Hi, I was told the auditions for the Bev Doolittle paintings were being held here?

blazehorse

Also I have a new camera and was trying it out a lot. This is not a bird. Just in case anyone was wondering.

52+ Photos: Week 5 & 6

 

Well, those weeks got away from me.

I have been busy, and I think the weather is getting to me. Lots of stuff is getting done–or at least words are getting written–but part of my brain is going oh god the world is broken and it is so large and I am too small and I cannot fix it and nothing is working and everything is going to hell and someday I will stand before the saints and angels to justify my existence and they will say “Everything going wrong with the world, and the best you could think to do was plant heirloom beets?!”

The fix for this is either more sunlight or less stupid people and I suspect buying a sunlamp is easier.

But I did get a photo done! Only one, but it’s something!

angus3.1

52 Photos: Week 4

Kevin was out of town this week, so I started about eleven hundred projects in order to keep from going bonkers. (I am hella productive when I’m solo. I think it’s because I get restless and wander around and start drawing when I’d normally just poke Kevin a few times and laugh maniacally. This is useful for my self-worth but bad for my mood.)

Despite these projects, I only took a couple photos and I didn’t do any of the “sit down and stage this and fiddle with lighting” stuff that I wanted to do. (But I did write over 8000 words, so that’s not a bad thing!)

workspace

This is my absolutely straightforward not-bothering-to-compose workspace photo. Were I doing this more staged, I’d move those pens touching the painting, and maybe see if I couldn’t darken the background bits more. (I am enjoying the pink bunny painting, though!)

sergei1

Obligatory Cat Photo. This is Sergei, who is actually extremely lean but was caught in an angle of fluffiness. Taken and filtered with Camera+

I think part of my problem is that I need…I don’t know, narrative. There has to be a figure. I’m bad at still-lifes, I want some little tiny moment of the hero’s journey, even if the hero is a vaguely anthropomorphic vegetable. I have a sort of idea I’m working on that may put that to rest, but at the moment…cat photos.

52+ Photos: Week 3

Hard on the heels of yesterday…I have a couple this week, and a couple of thoughts, such as they are! (Critique is welcome, but be kind–I’m still new at this!)

angus2

Angus the cat, taken in Camera+ and filtered therein. Turns out if you blur around the edges, for whatever reason, it tells the brain that whatever you are looking at is very very small. (Well, my brain. Your brain may be different.)  So Angus looks like he ought to be in a dollhouse or something. Interesting to know.

sammyflail

Sammy the cat is acting Very Dignified here.* Taken in Camera+ and given a bit of filtering. I would have liked to be able to ditch the dresser in the background, but alas, Sammy’s wiggling did not allow for much posing (and if I’d tried to change the angle, she would have sat up and assumed it was petting time!) I think it’d probably work better if the bedspread continued on the other side, say.

Still, y’know, wiggly cat photo!

whalebarfsml

Why I Should Not Be Left Alone At World Market. (After some cropping, this is actually one of the better composed photos I’ve taken this week. Probably that says something profound about me.) Would have been nice to find a way to work the one sign on the right in–it said “Water Closet”–but I could only fiddle with stuff on the shelf for so much without enraging the staff.

 

*Sammy is probably the least mentioned of our felines, because frankly she doesn’t have a lot of personality beyond “Pet me. Pet me now. Pet me more. Pet me. Pet me. Pet me.”

 

52+ Photos: Week 1 & 2

Okay, internet, let’s do this thing!

For 2014, I’m gonna make an effort to post a photo a week, and I will get better. Or I won’t. This may not be one of my skills, but I WILL give it a try.

The Rules (such as they are:)

1. One a week. If the week comes and goes without photos, and I don’t have a damn good reason…um…we’ll figure something out. (Posting late is fine, though. Let’s not go crazy.)

1a. If I get more than one photo a week I like, I’ll post it.

2. They do not have to be good photos. Which is good, because many of them won’t be. For every staged thing I spend two hours setting up, there will probably be a cat photo. And that’s okay.

3. I retain the right to use horrible filters akin to Photoshop lens flare because this is how we learn.  I will also crop, maul, fiddle and abuse, because I can.

4. There will be cat photos.

5. My camera of choice is currently an iPhone 5s, because that’s the only way I’m actually going to do this. The best camera is the one you have with you, etc. I have a DSLR somewhere, but I’d need to order new thingies and I don’t love it the way I love my iPhone.

Since the year is marching on already, here are the photos from weeks 1 & 2:

Week 1:

thrushbob

Thrush-Bob!  Taken with an Ollioclip telephoto lens clipped to my phone and the basic Camera app, and subjected to a white grunge frame because I wanted to see how they looked. (Answer: Meh. Suspect this is the photographic equivalent of licking your knife at the table.)

I photoshopped out some, but not all, of the thrush turds.

Week 2:

redpots

Taken with the Camera+ app and subjected to some filter or other. Also photoshopped out a couple sauce stains on the stove.

If I was trying to do this again, I think I’d move the black spoon rest so that the outline of the pot was clean, and change the angle so that the handle is actually overlapping the circle of the lefthand burner, rather than touching it. (Just barely touching, or almost-but-not-quite touching, activates a space visually and makes you stare at it for no damn reason.) Might also crop out the oven hood, since I don’t think it adds anything up there.

angus1

Angus the cat. Not quite enough light on this one, so tweaking made him rather more two-tone and orange than he really is. The filter adds some purple, which compositionally is a good thing, although there are undoubtedly more elegant ways to do it if I wanted to take the time.

And that’s weeks 1 & 2! Tune in…eventually…for more!

Wistful Bohemian Beans

Okay, shameful confession time.

I have a weird admiration for lifestyle blogging.

You probably know the kind. Very elegant staged shots of end-table dioramas that will probably wind up in decorating magazines. Soft-focus shots of food and hygienically grungy flea market stalls. “Easy” recipes that require more ingredients than bread and Velveeta cheese.* Step-by-step instructions for how to make some kind of craft thingy of questionable utility but unquestioned adorableness.

I have no actual desire to live this sort of life, let me hasten to add. Lots of people read these blogs and feel a weird mixture of envy and inspiration, but I am not actually one of them. My life is A) stupid awesome as it is and B) if you ask me if I want to build a blanket fort with some adorably photogenic children using a lovingly restored thrift-store quilt and then have a healthy gluten free snack on beautiful hand-painted plates—I will climb on top of the goddamn refrigerator and somebody will have to get me down with a broom. (I will hiss like a possum during this process, too.)

Such blogs are often billed as “aspirational” (a phrase I loathe, since it’s usually there to make me try and lose weight) but it’s not a life I personally aspire to. “Sorry, can’t take a soft focus photo of teacups with hand-written labels telling me to follow my bliss right now,” I say, pulling on my large and hideous mud boots. “Gotta go spread cow manure on the garden.”

And I would have absolutely no useful decor how-tos. Except I can tell you how to hang a skull. I’m pretty good at that.

1. Take a thin, easily bent wire. Wacky Wire will do. Rebar wrapping wire is overkill.

2. Thread the wire through conveniently sturdy bits. The zygomatic arch will usually do, if you don’t have any good holes in the back.

3. Twist a loop in the back.

4. Hang the loop on a nail. Make sure the nail is high enough up that the antlers, if any, will not gouge you in the eye and make people duck in terror.

5. Never ever try to hang it by the hole where the spinal cord attached to the base of the skull. It’ll look like its all sturdy and stable and then someone will slam a door and the skull will leap for the ground and shatter into a million tiny pieces and you will be sad and need glue.

There. That is the extent of my decor how-tos. I hope you enjoyed it.

Anyway. This is not me trying to slag this type of blog.

People slag on lifestyle bloggers all the time, because frankly, it’s easy to do. It’s all so perfectly curated and so staged and window-dressed and clean and relentlessly upbeat and optimistic and if you open a closet in this world there will be neatly folded shabby chic bedsheets smelling of homemade organic lavender sachets and there is a vague sense of having wandered into a fabric softener commercial, except with more journaling.

Open a closet in my world and there will be questionable kitchen devices, a leftover can of paint, half a box of light bulbs and a bottle of the dog shampoo we stopped using because it made the beagle itchy.

*pause while author goes to throw away the bottle of dog shampoo because there’s really no excuse for that*

Anyway. Like I said, easy to get resentful. At their worst, there’s an awful yooooou-are-a-failure-as-a-womaaaan vibe, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

But y’know, I actually kinda respect the genre. A lot of these bloggers are making money at it, and like all small businesses based on getting the internet to notice you, it can be hard damn work. There’s a perception that all of these women must have terribly rich husbands (and for all I know, plenty of them do) but this sort of thing is a full-time job for a lot of them and it’s not necessarily easy. This is weird little creative business in a way I totally understand it–ten bucks on Etsy here, a book there, a magazine article and some blog ad revenue here.

And you have to stay on top of it, same as a webcomic. You have to update regularly, you have to engage, you can’t lie at the bottom of the birdcage with your hair in snarls for too many days in a row, or else people start to forget you exist.

And there are skills involved that aren’t well appreciated. The difference between me taking a photo of a cake and one of these women (they are overwhelmingly women) taking a photo of a cake isn’t just the quality of the camera equipment, any more than the difference between my paintings and Michelangelo’s lies in the quality of the brushes.

My mother could set up still-lifes. She did it for paintings. It’s not actually that easy to do. I sure can’t do it. She had to pin fabrics to board and build sets and stare at them for hours figuring out where to put the plastic oryx and the mummified squirrel.** That kind of artful staging with the rose petals in the chipped bowl on the wooden farmhouse table looks easy. I am forced to assume that there’s something to it that’s hard, because if I try that, I certainly don’t get art.

(Maybe I have the wrong kind of farmhouse table. I don’t know. Spaghetti sauce stains are not photogenic, anyhow.)

I think maybe what I really admire is the photography skills. My personal artistic bugbear is that any time I see a style or a medium I like, I wonder “Could I do that?” And then I have to prove I could do it, if I wanted to. (Once I can do it, I generally lose interest. My muse is like a survivalist jumping between end-of-the-world scenarios. “WE MUST LEARN TO SURVIVE IN THE COMING ENCAUSTIC APOCALYPSE! GET THE HOT WAX AND—oh crap, paperclay meteor! Ditch the hot wax and get me some sandpaper!”)

I would love to be able to take that kind of out-of-the-pages-of-the-Anthropologie-catalog photo. I would probably photograph my beans. I have grown some really spectacular beans, and they deserve more appreciation than what I can offer. I want to shake a handful of Mother Stallard’s at the heavens and say “These are glorious! Why doesn’t the camera love them like I love them!? Where is the filter that makes them look like wistful bohemian girls walking along an alpine meadow!? My beans deserve better!”

Then, y’know, I come to and I’m on top of the refrigerator and Kevin has to get me down with the broom. Again.

Maybe I should try doing one of those photo a week things for a year, and see if I get any better. It’d wind up being a lot of cat photos, I expect. Still, practice is the only thing that ever made anybody better…practice, and maybe some good tutorials. And probably at the end I’d learn that the secret is expensive lighting.

Still. May be worth a shot.

 

*Which is thus obviously not easy. Mmm, processed cheese food…

**I know, right? How cool is a mummified squirrel?!

I Was Informed…

…that I do not post enough cat photos.

I am apparently the only person on earth who has this problem, but far be it from me to fail to meet quota!

sergei

(I liked this shot because it sort of dramatically shadows Sergei’s missing eye. He likes to perch on the back of my chair, overlooking the backyard, if he can’t actually be IN my chair.)