Rotunda at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Xi’an to Baghdad to LA

A couple of weekends ago, we met up with friends Andy and Carol to check out the Silk Road exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. I learned that camels evolved hydrodynamic, ellipsoidal blood cells to keep their blood flowing in spite of dehydration, and that astrolabes are a bit fiddly with 10 children watching your every move. After meandering from Xi’an to Baghdad by way of Turfan and Samarkand, I opted for a whirlwind tour of some of the museum’s other exhibits right up to closing.

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How I wrote Iris

I finished the polish pass on my space opera novel!

I wrote the first chapter in 2011, before attending Viable Paradise, then set it aside for most of 2012 while working on other writing projects. It got an additional 9k words at the 2012 Rainforest Writers Retreat, an outline over the summer, and I hit the end of my zeroth draft in a mad rush of drafting at the end of 2012.


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Things I love: Speculate! podcast

I listen to podcasts during my commute, while exercising, and while walking the dog. One of my favorite writing podcasts of late is Speculate!, the speculative fiction podcast for writers, readers, and fans.*

The podcast’s signature format is a triptych focusing on a particular book: a reader response show, a show that deconstructs the writing techniques, and an author interview. The hosts, Greg Wilson and Brad Beaulieu, are articulate, insightful, and on-point, making each of the three episodes equally compelling. Some of their subjects have included Scott Lynch, Lauren Beukes, Tim Powers, Robin Hobb, and Joe Abercrombie. Pick your favorite author and start there. The Lynch and Beukes segments, in particular, impressed me and had me appreciating The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Shining Girls, respectively, in new ways.

If you enjoy podcasts, go have a listen. In addition to the link fest above, episodes are available for free download over at the iTunes store.

*Eligible for a Hugo in the Best Fancast category.

Nothing to prove

The song, “You’re the Best,” has been stuck in my head for months. I sing it to my dog (who really is the best), myself (doubtful), my morning granola-and-yogurt (pretty dang good). I haven’t seen The Karate Kid in decades but I do remember, fondly, the All-Valley Karate Championships montage.

I was young in early 80s when the movie came out, but my big brother was in high school and he let me play with his karate weapons when we weren’t busy pumping iron and drinking protein shakes. That, actually, is not an exaggeration. We even thumbtacked a piece of paper to the wall (Nicole, 6 years old / Eric, 17 years old ) upon which we noted daily measurements of our biceps circumference; the data was collected using my mother’s sewing tape measure.

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