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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Upping the Ante

Well, the tally of new lambs just increased by two more: a black ram lamb and a speckled ewe. One more ewe to go, unless 12 year old Overbite really did get bred this year.

Happy spring!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New BBs for DJ

I was doing my Tuesday Forum for Long Ridge, doing an 'idea workshop' and keeping one eye on my pasture. Sure enough, we added two more lambs to the flock during my 90 minute 'Oregon hour' forum. :-) Finally. This ewe has had her legs crossed since Sunday, when I was sure she'd drop 'em any second! It was an overdue labor, too. The amniotic fluids were stained with meconium (the material in the fetal intestinal system...think packing material) and that means it should have happened sooner. But the lambs are strong and healthy and happy with Mom. Two little wooly boys with speckled ears and faces. I' m getting such an interesting mix of hair and wool phenotype, colors and patterns. Wow, I sure have rolled some genetic dice by introducing this hair sheep ram into my suffolk and suffolk/shetland flock!

Genetics in action!

Very cute action!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ovine BBs

Ah, all six new lambs are out in the pasture with the adults. Talk about terminal distractions! I find myself time and again, out on the back porch watching them bounce, nibble grass, chase each other. They're still so new that they're a bit tottery...but soon enough they'll be racing all over the woods and the field, driving their mothers nuts as they vanish to the far corners, ignoring mom's bleated summons. Poor DJ got a taste of what is in store for him. I worked him on some January lambs that had never been worked by a sheepdog before. Talk about BBs on a plank! They were all over the place and the poor dog really had to work to keep the bunch together. No sooner did he have most of 'em corralled, when a naughty one or two would streak off to the gate. His brow was positively wrinkled with effort as he figured out how to get them back to the main bunch...which was now over on the far side of the field...and then get the whole batch back to me where they 'belong'. He did a great job and was stepping on his tongue by the time we finally ended the session. He did a great job of emulating a Border Collie and they were much better behaved when we quit. He's still snoring on the floor this morning, recovering. He even resisted the temptation to give hocks a good nip when the escapees made him dash clear across the huge field to collect 'em. Chasing sheep...properly...is very hard work. :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Springing Lambs

It's spring. The sheep are lambing in spades! The first pair hit the ground as I was packing to leave for Norwescon. Panic! By dint of moving that cord and a half of wood out of my lambing pen, (so who's prepared here???) I got Mom and her baby ram and ewe safely ensconced before I (wearily) hit the road to the con. Came home to a missing ewe. Yikes! Drop the suitcase in the house, head for the woods in the dusk in wellies to find her. And her twin ram lambs. Thanks for the welcome home, Ma. Yeah, I really would have liked to get to bed early, but they really are nice looking little boys you got there. Wet armful, but you know what? I like a wet armful of just-born critters. :-) That, I think is the real beating heart of spring, the raw, lusty, echo of sex that shows up in flowers, baby birds, lambs... Spring isn't delicate and pastel. Stravinski got that right.
I just lugged in the third pair. BIG jet black ewe lamb with a white top knot that I had to chase down and tackle. (Hey, girl, I'm trying to keep you out of a coyote's belly!) A smaller, gray and speckled ram. It was just dusk, that bird-song transition between day and night, and the lambs had dried off in the spring sun, but I could feel their hearts beating as I carried them into the barn, safe from coyotes. Mom followed, talking gutteral mama-talk, the 'senior' lambs all came to the gate to greet the newcomers and you know what?
It was a nice evening. I think I'll go listen to Rites of Spring now.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Norwescon Fun

Hello from Norwescon, taking a breather before I'm off to meet up with the Bears at the Daw party. Been a great con. My panels have been a lot of fun so far. The highlight was the Human Evolution panel. I came at it from the biosciences, Forrest Bishop came it from the nanotechnology side, we met in the middle and took off! It was a great panel and I need to continue our conversation later!

David Hartwell, my editor at Tor was here, and actually had a copy of the bound galleys so that was a nice addition to the cover.

Still have a busy day tomorrow with writers workshop and 'sanitizing space travel' panel. We did a nice job with space hotels today. ;-)


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Cover is in the Building!

Well, here it is, folks, the cover to Horizons, the new SF novel out in November from Tor Books! I'll get it up onto my website asap...I notice that Amazon.com already has it listed for preorder. So I gues the game is afoot. I'm very pleased with the cover. The artist didn't do badly at all with the orbital platform...well, a few glitches maybe, but overall, she did a nice job. A rotating tin can isn't nearly as sexy as a torus, but much more practical in terms of efficiency of space.

I'm looking forward to some great panels at NorwesCon this weekend, all related to my (now considerable!) knowledge of all things space-habitat oriented. :-)

Thursday, I'm doing a panel on Astrobiology (a HUGE new field) at 6 PM,

Friday, I get to talk about human evolution (Just read the book! :-)) at 4 PM and I'll be talking about teaching writing at 5 PM.

I'll be reading from Horizons (A nice exciting scene) on Saturday at 1:30, right after a booksigning at noon, and will be talking about Space Hotel Design (did you realize FOUR companies are already working on this? For real?) at Saturday at 5 PM. All this research is paying off! LOL

Sunday, I'll be talking about 'sanitizing space travel'. And you thought Nor Virus is bad on earth, ha!

Thank you Norwescon Programming for some great panels. I'm really looking forward to this!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Yesterday's Interesting Shadows

Well, I had my past life regression today. It was also my first experience with hypnosis. I got interested in that in my teens, and discovered that I could hypnotize people pretty easily. Never was on the receiving end. Hannah, who is doing these as training, settled me in a comfy chair and I certainly relaxed deeply as she spoke softly, directing my attention to eyes, arm, getting more relaxed. She took me down steps into a 'hall of records' took me to a door, had me open it to a past life, and asked me questions about what I was seeing, then prompted me to move on to the next significant scene. I had no conscious thought about 'what should my character do next'. I just sort of 'looked' and waited to see things --which did take shape -- but how much this was the part of me that creates 'lives' every day and how much might have been a real memory of a past life I could not tell you. But it was very cool. :-) I ended up with a servant girl in northern England somewhere, took her to some city or other in the early industrial revolution to earn money spinning, steerage to New York and a lover named Samuel, his death, and her suicide in a river, probably the East River. This is an improbable story I could easily make up with all the details, but I have to say that when I reported Samuel's death, I really wept and the feeling of grief was really intense. So...I don't know. Reality is an infinitely large and intricate puzzle. :-) I'm glad I went. Whether it was my muse speaking or a real past life, it was vivid. But that's what it is to be a writer, yes? Living other lives? Yours or someone else's.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Yesterday's Shadows?

I'm looking forward to a new and interesting bit of exploration this week. A friend of mine put me in touch with a woman researching past life regression who was looking for volunteers. I happily offered my services. I'm really looking forward to our session on Tuesday. I've never been hypnotized before, so that alone will be interesting. According to her, the people she has worked with have recalled very precise detials. I'm highly curious to see what I end up with. I will keep you all posted here. I'm walking into this with an open mind, so we shall see.