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Many thanks to everyone who has picked up items from the Great Swan Tower Moving Day Sale! It has been a great benefit to me, cleaning out the various boxes I keep my author copies in.

In the course of packing up, I found a stash of the US trade paperbacks of Voyage of the Basilisk squirreled away in a corner. (I’d been wondering where they’d gone.) So here’s an updated list of what’s available. Same drill applies: all you have to do is email me or leave a message here calling dibs on something and giving me your mailing address; I’ll respond to let you know whether it’s still available, and we’ll arrange payment. Shipping is included for orders within the U.S. Inscriptions on request.

You have one more week to order anything that strikes your fancy!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Dramatis Personae

YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER, our heroine
YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER’S RIGHT ANKLE, our villain
YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER’S RIGHT KNEE, our tragic figure

Assorted other characters including a HUSBAND, a NURSE, a BOX OF PAPERS, a STAIRCASE, and GRAVITY.

Act One

YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER is in the process of loading her car for the purposes of moving house. She is carrying a BOX OF PAPERS down a STAIRCASE. Six steps she navigates without difficulty, but on the seventh and final step, YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER’S RIGHT ANKLE declines to perform its assigned duty, pitching YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER headfirst onto the landing.

GRAVITY, which has been present in the scene since the beginning, takes center stage.

The BOX OF PAPERS is the first to receive the impact. (YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER is still holding onto this BOX; she will, when she has leisure afterward, take a moment to be grateful that she is wearing braces on both wrists already.) By some miracle and mercy of Providence, the ANKLE does not take any of the weight GRAVITY has sent careening downward; it survives this entire drama with no perceptible damage, which is most unusual for our heroine’s life. The remaining weight falls upon YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER’S RIGHT KNEE.

After a moment of shaken relief that she was not at the top of the staircase when she was so cruelly betray’d by her ANKLE, our heroine picks herself up and completes her task, carrying the BOX OF PAPERS to the car.

Act Two

On her way back from the car, YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER notes that the right knee of her jeans is stained with blood. Grumbling in annoyance at the small split in the fabric, she goes upstairs. Here she grouses to her HUSBAND about the treachery of the ANKLE, then washes out the larger split in her RIGHT KNEE, which so nobly sacrificed itself for her. She places antiseptic ointment and a bandage upon it, puts her stained jeans to soak, and goes about her business.

Four hours later, it comes to her attention that the wound is continuing to bleed — not copiously, but enough to draw attention. She concludes it would be wise to change the bandage and renew the antiseptic. In the process of doing so, however, she notes that the skin around the wound does not move in the fashion she expected; its behavior implies greater depth to the split than she had originally estimated.

With trepidation, she asks her HUSBAND whether he concurs. He does. She, in a state of great vexation, gathers her belongings and goes to the hospital.

Act Three

We shall not try the reader’s patience, nor their fortitude, by recounting every detail that transpires at the hospital. Suffice it to say that a friendly NURSE cares for the valiant RIGHT KNEE, straightening the edges of the wound and putting in seven stitches (the split is not so large, but as YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER scars easily, she takes extra care in closing it). She contemplates putting our heroine in a joint-immobilizing support, but ultimately settles for an ace bandage and instructions for YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER to remain off the leg as much as possible for a while, because standing, let alone walking/going up and down stairs/lifting heavy boxes would put strain upon the stitches. And so, suitably chastened, YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER goes home.

Postscript

So that’s where things stand. This . . . puts an annoying spike in the process of moving, as getting to the car (or even moving around within either the source or destination residences) requires navigating stairs — which I can do, but toddler-style, step-together step-together. I am deeply annoyed at my ankle for deciding to stop ankling, and simultaneously relieved it didn’t happen at a higher elevation. My wrists are fine; my ankle’s fine; it’s just my knee, which has a little red smile, now sewn shut.

This is not how I wanted to spend my Thursday afternoon.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

For some reason the updates I had made to the Great Swan Tower Moving Day Sale page had vanished, but I’ve reinstated them. The list of books there should be fully up to date with what’s still available.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

So, this just happened:

SOLD sign on our new house

Got the keys Friday, an hour after my return from Europe. Whee! ^_^

And now, of course, we come to the next bit, which is relocating from our current abode to our shiny new one. As many of you know, moving house is a daunting task. I’m sure you’ve all been sitting around thinking, “How can I help Marie out in this most tiring of times?”

I’m so glad you asked!

The answer is the Great Swan Tower Moving Day Sale. I have a pile of author copies of my books; every one you buy is a book I don’t have to move to the new house. (Plus, given the O_O expense of house-buying, every bit of income right now is exceedingly welcome.) All you have to do is email me or leave a message here calling dibs on something and giving me your mailing address; I’ll respond to let you know whether it’s still available, and we’ll arrange payment. Here’s the list of what’s available, kept updated as promptly as I can manage:

All books will be signed to the person of your choice. Prices include domestic shipping; for international shipping, there will be a small addition. And of course purchases of any of my books in any format from other outlets are also good. 🙂

But what about those of you who for one reason or another are not interested in buying a book? I’m so glad you asked!

I also have a handful of photo prints left over from my Borderlands exhibition, which I will have to move if nobody takes them off my hands. The prints available can be seen in this gallery, and are all roughly the size of a sheet of paper, on French cleats for hanging. They are $65 apiece, except for the sunset tree; that one is $75, due to technical considerations that required me to print it on a more expensive backing. As with the books, email or drop me a line if you’re interested in one of those.

. . . and now I go back to packing.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)
Despite the best efforts of our east-coast friends (and they *were* good efforts, believe me), the decision is done: [livejournal.com profile] kniedzw and I will be heading west. He's accepted a job offer from Akamai's San Mateo office.

Timetable is still fuzzy. His work starts June 16th, but I won't be following until (probably) August, along with all our stuff. Yes, this means moving in the middle of writing a book. On the bright side, Akamai is helping out with moving expenses, which means that for the first time in my life I can pay somebody else to do the heavy lifting. This makes me happier than I can say.

And I'm going to live in California! I confess that one thing which swung me toward the west coast was looking at the area in the satellite view of Google Maps; seeing San Mateo nestled between the blue of the water and the thick green belt of the hills made my heart sing. Nature! A bike ride away! [livejournal.com profile] kurayami_hime has been waxing poetic about the eucalyptus forests, and I'll get to see them for myself. And redwoods! I adores me some redwoods.

It'll be a new experience for us both. We won't necessarily stay there forever, but I'm glad we'll be staying there for a while.
swan_tower: (Neuschwanstein)
Moving into our new place is proving to be more of an uphill battle than I had anticipated. I just realized that this is the first time I've actually moved in two people at once, the me-and-[livejournal.com profile] kniedzw unit; I moved into the previous Castle N about five months before he did, so that one was done in two major stages. The difference of magnitude might account for some of the slowness.

Definitely London accounts for some of it, too. We spent two weeks moving our stuff; that ended a week before I left, but the last several days of that week went to trip preparation. Then I was gone for a week and a half. Then I came back and was mostly useless for a few days. Two weeks, two and a half, more or less down the drain as far as moving in was concerned. The result is that there are still boxes unpacked, objects without a home.

But we're getting there, mostly by dint of me tackling stuff in easy stages rather than trying to finish it all at once. I've hung at least two objets d'art a day for the last several days, sometimes more; it turns out we have a lot more than I realized. (With the footnote that "objets d'art" in this case means both pictures and swords.) Plus several pictures that I will be getting framed in the near future, that we've never actually hung before. The house is starting to look civilized, though it isn't totally there yet.

But between that, re-reading the Harry Potter series in prep for the last one, re-reading the Lymond Chronicles for my book-blogging (which, yes, I'm behind on), and researching and writing Midnight Never Come . . . that pretty much eats every day. It isn't a bad life, as such things go, but at times it feels like a very slow-moving one, with not as much in the way of dramatic progress as I would like.
swan_tower: (armor)
We are entirely moved out (of the old place) and moved (transported to the new place). Now we just need to finish moving in, i.e. unpacking.

As a result, I have some brain with which to think. And I'd like to talk about something that came up on Deep Genre, to whit, the increasing tendency for newspapers and the like to cut out their book review sections.

This seems problematic insofar as it can be read as a barometer of public interest in books -- which I'm not convinced it is -- but as a phenomenon in its own right, you know what? It doesn't bother me.

I'm a part of the generation newspapers have failed to attract. I've never subscribed to one, though I will read the NYT or some such online when interest strikes. (This is an enormous problem for newspapers as a whole, and one they don't yet seem to have found a good solution to. Their circulation numbers are dropping steadily as their older readers die off and they fail to replace them with young ones. And they're cutting their book reviewers partly as an attempt to cut costs and keep their businesses afloat.)

So I've never looked to newspapers for book information because I've never looked to newspapers for much of anything. One of the few exceptions, when I was growing up, were movie reviews, and therein lies my second reason: I regularly saw the newspaper reviewers pan movies I quite liked, so while I would still read them for entertainment value, their opinions didn't mean all that much to me. They failed to convince me of their credibility and authority. Why, then, should I care what their book reviewers had to say? I can find book reviews online if I want them.

But, you object, are the two really comparable? Am I really willing to accept the opinion of BookLover612 as just as valid -- or moreso -- than that of the professional reviewer?

Actually, yes.

If I'm looking for in-depth critique, especially of an academic sort, then I won't look to BookLover612 or somebody writing for the local newspaper. But if I'm looking for an opinion piece -- which, face it, is what most reviews are -- then the criterion that matters most to me is, whether the reviewer's taste is like my own. This is more likely to be true of a person I find online than in the paper, if for no other reason than because I read genre fiction, and mainstream publications often give my books short shrift -- condescending reviews when we get reviews in the first place. Honestly, I get most book opinions from friends, not from authority figures of any kind. And if I look to strangers, I'll look in places where I know they like the books I like. (The danger, of course, is that this becomes insular, that I'll never be exposed to anything new. But given the range of places from which I get these opinions, and the impossibility of anybody's taste being identical to my own, I think more that I get exposed to a fluctuating fringe of stuff that's an easy step or two from what I already like, instead of so far afield that I won't bother picking it up.)

In the end, what I feel we're losing here is a level of cultural arbitration: a limited set of authoritative voices telling people what they should and should not like. It's an uncharitable interpretation of what newspaper book reviews are/were, perhaps, but that's the major thing I can see newspapers giving us that random blog reviews can't. And even then, we still have loci of authority, with organized review sites and the like.

So it doesn't really bother me. But I'm curious to hear what other people think.
swan_tower: (Neuschwanstein)
Not dead. Feel remarkably like it, though.

It seems to be inevitable that a move will be accompanied by various small injuries (hopefully no big ones). Along with the usual collection of bruises I always get, I managed to damage my left hand three, count 'em, three times in one day.

First injury: Revenge of the Futon. While I was dismantling a mostly-broken futon frame, the skin on the heel of my hand got badly pinched when a piece of the frame shifted suddenly and yanked a big flat-headed screw back up against the metal, with a bit of me in between. (If the bruise ends up as interesting as I think it might, I'll post pictures. So far, it's made a good start.) To be fair, this one may have happened because I had just called the frame a series of exceedingly vulgar names out of my frustration at its broken-ness. It was headed to the dumpster anyway . . . but it got its vengeance on the way out.

Second injury: Ghosts from Beyond the Wall. While I was maneuvering a big set of metal shelving up the basement stairs, one of the upright bars slammed into the edge of a step, with (you guessed it) a bit of me in between. This time, it was the middle finger of my left hand. This one may have happened because my partner in moving the shelving was a former employee/manager of Beyond the Wall, a now-defunct local poster store from which I got the shelving when it shut down. She made her hatred of that shelving quite clear, and I guess since it had no middle finger with which to flip her off, it went after mine.

Third injury: Just When You Thought You Were Safe. With all the furniture moving done, we went for Chinese buffet (not great, but perfect when what you really want is to shovel food endlessly down your gullet). They had just brought out a brand-new tureen of egg drop soup, and in trying to maneuver the long-handled ladle under the plastic buffet cover without dropping my bowl into the tureen, I spilled burning-heat-of-the-sun hot soup over the index and middle fingers of my left hand. That felt great on the middle one, let me tell you.

But all the furniture is here now (and "here" now means the new place, instead of the old one). There's still a fair bit of stuff not moved, but I've unpacked probably about 80% of the books, and we have an internet connection, and life is good.

Or it would be, if my legs would stop cramping up every time I sit down for more than sixty seconds.

mood music

May. 3rd, 2007 12:07 pm
swan_tower: (Neuschwanstein)
It is possible to gauge my level of energy for moving (or packing, or house-cleaning, or similar tasks) by the music I'm using to keep myself going.

Today, we've gotten to Finsternis.

At this rate, I don't know what I'll do come Saturday.
swan_tower: (Neuschwanstein)
The problem with packing up all our books to move is that now, when I'm near the end and really tired and just want to sit down and take a breather while I read for bit, the only books still out seem to be on Elizabethan espionage, and I can't brain enough for those right now.

But then I remembered that I'd also left my Harry Potter books out, and all was well.

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