Awards Season

If you are an author, and you’d like to send any of your work to me for reading for nomination for the Hugos this year, I’d be happy to look at it. Yes, I have paid the cost of admission, and now I can nominate stories for the ballot.

Your best bet is to send me something at

awelkin AT gmail DOT com

and put something clever in the title like MY STORY BY ME FOR HUGO CONSIDERATION. Thank you!


And…Paper Golem’s Lawrence Shoen reminded me that Turtle of the Earth is eligible for consideration this year. You can purchase Cucurbital 2 to get it (and that awesome cover besides!), or I would be happy to send it along to you if you indicate interest in your reply.

I hope you all ring in the New Year in style. I’ll be busy cleaning and cooking my way through tomorrow. As soon as I’m done here tonight, I have to make a pie. So it begins yet again. I really need a frilly apron or something.

Shiniest of New Year’s.


Celebrating that New Year with a New Toolbox

We emerge from our Christmas break to report that Walter Jon Williams just sent me my acceptance letter to Taos Toolbox.

I know, you were all so sure. I wasn’t, so we’ll just go with that. I find, in the author gig, it’s always better to be prepared for rejection. That said 🙂 Or maybe :D.

What excites me the most is that it’s going to be about novels. Novels. NOVELS.

And I know the teachers are great. I’ve heard it from my friends. I’ve read Kress’ books.

Yup. Aglow with happiness. Gotta wait for the college to re-open so I can cut them a check. Then I gotta buy a plane ticket.

But soon, soon, I will have my own bear story. Hmmm…hope I don’t get eaten.

I hope your New Year starts off on such a good note.


The Menu for Sunday

Orange Juice

Sparkling Grape Juice

Roast Beef Tenderloin
Parmesan Potatoes
Green Beans with Almond Slivers
Whole Grain Rolls
Cranberry Cherry Compote

Key Lime Pie or Chocolate Pots de Creme

Most likely leftovers from the above two meals.


Ingredient shopping tonight. Hopping down to the MiL’s tomorrow, and beginning the cooking on Saturday. Bryon will be doing his part by making his patented chili for Christmas Eve. Mine won’t be spicy.

Merry Christmas.


(Not) Home for the Holidays

It’s Christmas, and even more than Thanksgiving for me, it is the time of year when I realize that I don’t have much of a family. It’s also the time of year when I realize that what I want is the fantasy family that I’ve been taught we all should have. I definitely made the right decision to stay away from my family, but this is the time of year I feel the worst about it.

If you’re like me, and you’re someone in recovery, rather than ruminate on how hard this is during the holidays (and it is!), I thought maybe this year I would offer up some tips that have helped me get through some of the more depressing patches, when I”m not feeling comfort or joy.

Continue reading “(Not) Home for the Holidays”

Planning for the Future at Writer Tamago

Well, I’ve been thinking about what to put on the old bloggeroo in the New Year.

You might have noticed that I have finished my VP XIII interviews (Yes, I know I didn’t do a spotlight on me, so the interviews aren’t complete. That’s for all you literalists out there. No, I don’t intend to do one. That’s for all you narcissists out there. ;P)

I would like to do another set of interviews, and I have a few ideas. What would you like to see?

–more VP interviews from members of different numbered workshops
–interviews of writers from Codex
–How I Broke In (interviewing published pros about their path to publication, with more of an emphasis on process, rather than “the moment.”
–Something else entirely. Suggestions welcome, but not necessarily taken.

I also plan to continue with research posts, updates on writing and process, and the occasional topical media issue. I got nothing at the moment lined up, although that can change. I think, for example, there may be some links on Victorian Interiors soon.


Tonight I’m off for an allergy shot (I forgot one, so now I’m a frequent flier for a bit again), a book group meeting (Arthurian legend, specifically through Mists of Avalon), and some working out. Only three more working days until break.


Expertise Hours Two: The Evaluation

Some of you might remember when I decided last year to commit to 12 hours of writing time a week, or 624 hours for the year. My hope was to collect expertise hours to the tune of around 6K more before I retire in 2020 to write full time. More details? You betcha!


So, how did it go? Well, the good news is this: I will get my hours in. I was disciplined enough and carved out enough time in my life to meet my obligation to myself. I will be a little short at the end of this super full time week, but I will have a little more time to write on vacation next week, so it will all pan out. Nicely done.

Positive Observations:

1. My output has increased. You wouldn’t know it to look at what’s circulating. This year I wrote two novel rough drafts, planned a series of books, and wrote one new short story. Good.

2. I am improving in patience.

3. There is less pressure to produce a product, and more time to experiment and research.

Other observations:

1. I have exercised LESS this year than I usually do. I will credit most of that to rib damage, although I know there have definitely been nights I have chosen to sit and right over work out. Gonna have to figure that one out.

2. If I have time, but no goals or guidance, I can easily fritter my writer time away on research. I need some research, but I need to make sure I only research what I need to research.

I’d call the experiment a success. As I gear up to do the same thing next year, I will try to move toward setting and reaching goals. I think figuring out how long it takes me to actually do things is the next key step. Like with time dedicated to writing, I can reach goals only if I plan the goals as something that can be done in a reasonable time frame.

I really recommend this approach. It keeps you from feeling that you’ll get to write…some day. In spite of the day job, I’m definitely writing now.



Mistraldol is the most important house in the Klarion series. While the books do not start at Mistraldol, they return there soon enough. The ancestral home of the Klarions in England, it was built in the 1500s into the side of a mountain in the Peaks District. The house has connections to the realms of demons that partner with the Klarions, and as the house has underground dimensions, there is some question of how far underground the depths go. Most of the nether regions of the house are in questionable dimensions.

There aren’t any houses actually in the Peaks that satisfied my notions of what Mistraldol should be, so I went shopping for houses to transplant. The house that caught my eye was Burghley House.

Continue reading “Mistraldol”

Galt House

The next house I had to find was Galt House. Galt House is the ancestral home of our main protagonist. They’re a complicated bunch, slightly on the ruthless side, and they really, really want the Klarion scroll.

The house that I’ve patterned Galt House on is Abbotsford. Abbotsford is in the south of Scotland, and was built by Sir Walter Scott. There are some amazing features that I think will add much to the book. The library is a feature that I will leave in tact. Most of the formal entertaining area is in one part of the house, and the private chambers, which are currently being turned into suites for rental during tourist season, can easily be shaped into one wing of the house. More rooms for family members can be imagined above the first floor. The grounds are also spectacular.

Now I just have to airlift the entire house to Hathersage.

Abbotsford is closed for restoration and remodeling until 2013, when it will reopen with improved facilities.

Next up, Mistraldol. The most complicated house I need.