altivo: From a con badge (studious)
I'm pleased to announce that my story, "Harvest Home," appears in the new anthology Fragments of Life's Heart which is now available from Amazon, Smashwords, Weasel Press, and Rabbit Valley.

I have been writing about my two characters Argos the wolf and Fennec the fox for several years now, but mostly in longer works that have yet to see print. "Harvest Home" is set near the ends of their lives and will actually be their first appearance in a print format.

This collection of short stories by furry authors has been in the works for more than a year, and editors Laura "Munchkin" Lewis and Stefano "Mando" Zocchi have done a masterful job of pulling it all together. The book is available in both traditional print and e-book formats (Kindle/mobi or epub.)

Quite a few more illustrious writers have contributed to the anthology, and you can see the list of contents at any of the links I've supplied above. If you read furry literature, I'm sure you will enjoy this.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
I see that I failed to post this announcement here when I added it to my writer's guild forum.

More than a month ago, I was pleased to receive notification that my story "Harvest Home" has been accepted for publication in the anthology Fragments of Life's Heart (release anticipated early in 2016 from FurPlanet.) This story features my two favorite characters, Argos Weaver (a white wolf) and Fennec Redtail (a red fox,) about whom I have written reams but none of it has ever seen formal publication. Many excerpts appear in various spots on the web, however.

I will be sure to let everyone know when it is actually available. In the meantime, I remind you that my story "Coyote's Voice" appears in ROAR, volume 6 which was released in July of this year, also from Furplanet.

I have also been invited to appear on a panel at Midwest Fur Fest in Chicago, December 4-6. The panel is titled "Making Anthropomorphism Matter" and is set for Saturday, December 5, from 08:00 to 09:00 PM in the McCarran meeting room. Two other writers will be on the same panel: Tempe O'Kun and Sparf. I haven't attended MWFF since 2008, and look forward to the much enlarged event with a bit of trepidation.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Since I "helped" with editing for Civilized Beasts (poetry anthology due out next year,) I was asked to provide a brief biographical note in the form of a poem. Tempted by the suggestion of a limerick, but I settled on the quatrain in the style of Omar Khayyam/Edward FitzGerald.

Alas! Poor Altivo's lived long in the past.
Some people will tell you he's only half-assed.
    Dream-ridden, Shakespearean, equine is he:
Neither grey mule nor donkey but horse scholiast.
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
So there are five days left in CampNano and I have about 4900 3023 words left to reach my quota. Should be easy, one would think, for someone who has completed the full Nano several times and that requires a rate of 1667 words per day for 30 days straight. I'm up to the easy part of my story, where I know what comes next and how to say it.

But. There's always one of those isn't there. It's a nice sunny day outside and I want to start garden work. Keeping myself from doing that doesn't hurry the other stuff along.

Another but. Many weeks ago I ordered the newest model of Raspberry Pi single board computer, an amazing little power pack of a machine on a single card about 6x9 cm in size. It finally arrived yesterday and of course the US Mail had flattened the package so I had to make sure it is undamaged. Fortunately, it remained unscathed and I am writing this post on it without difficulty. Unlike the original Pi, of which I also have one, this tiny machine pretty much measures up to my standards for a usable laptop or desktop computer. Other than a bit of difficulty getting my cheap wifi dongle to work (something I never did achieve with the older Pi) there have been no real glitches. The wifi does work, the printer works, web browsing and sound are fine, too.

Husband is working on a term paper for a graduate school class. All of six pages. And he's making it sound like it's just killing him to do it. Of course, it's due tomorrow apparently. Six pages? I don't remember anything that short even being called a "term paper." Those were more often 20 pages in high school and longer in college.

Meanwhile, I'm still not getting my own writing quota done.

The maple trees are finished blooming and starting to produce those little winged seeds. Oaks and wild cherry haven't started yet, but I think the willows and birches are blooming now. Daffodils are just passing their peak. And I have 44 working days left until retirement, which means I also need to do some paperwork for insurance and stuff. Can't put that off much longer.

Right now, though, I need to stop watching birds outside the window and work on this CampNano project.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Once again I've taken too long a break from posting here. The winter has been made busy by several events, not the least of which is my planned retirement from full time library work. After June, I will be a greymuzzle pensioner, with more time for writing, music, gardening, and my pets. Of course that means helping to find and train my replacement. After twelve years in one job, there is a lot of stuff to organize and document and I've been kept very busy getting that done while keeping up with my regular responsibilities.

Meanwhile, my husband is getting near the end of his five year quest for the Ph.D. degree, which has also kept us pretty busy. Next week he will be presenting a paper at a conference, while I cover the animal care tasks he normally handles here at home.

Also some announcements on the writing front. First, I have two poems recently published. One gives a tortoise's view of history, and can be found at QuarterReads. The title is "Thoughts Chelonian." The second appears in a curated selection of furry poems at Adjective Species. The title is "Procyon Prowling" and the subject is a raccoon. I recommend the poems in that collection. They represent a wide variety of styles and formats, and an equally diverse viewpoints on furry subjects. Lunostophiles did a fine job of selecting them from the submitted works.

My story "Coyote's Voice" will appear in ROAR volume 6, to be released in July at Anthrocon if all goes according to plan. The publisher is Bad Dog Books, and the very competent editor for this issue is Mary E. Lowd, also known as Ryffnah.

I'm also currently engaged in writing the completing chapters of Oh, Ricky, the parody on Richard the Lion(heart) that some of you may remember from NanoWrimo 2011. I'm doing that in connection with this month's Camp NanoWrimo where I'm one of a dozen folks working together to prompt and encourage each other.

More as events develop. Thanks for reading.

Forgetful

May. 23rd, 2012 09:41 pm
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
I got so distracted worrying about Gary's potential root canal (and yes, he's going to have one tomnorrow) and work that I forgot to bring Tess in from the pasture. Gary got her at 6 pm, which means she was out there for over 7 hours today. I've been holding her to no more than 3 hours a day, so this will require watching. Last time this happened, she turned up with grass founder (mild case) the next day and had us worried for a couple of weeks. Went out to look at her in her stall but that's inconclusive. I need to see her walk or run in the open to be sure she's OK.

Work was the usual crazy stuff for a Wednesday. Got a strong compliment on my story in Allasso from a non-furry coworker, which was unexpected.

Now have two ereaders in transit. The replacement Literati is supposed to arrive tomorrow, and the Kobo on Saturday. The library owns a Kindle (boo) and a Nook, so I'll be able to compare all of them.

Now to bed I think.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Today's forecast called for possibly violent thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. However, those arrived mid-morning with significant sturm und drang and a heckuva lot of water. I think we got about an inch of rain in a two hour period. Then it cleared and the sun came out in time for lunch. By late afternoon there was nothing but a lot of puddles left here, and there were tornado warnings across the lake in Michigan. Timing, folks.

Subject heading discovery for the day: "WARLORDISM" — Apparently the Library of Congress sees this as a socio-political system somewhere between feudalism and tribalism, sharing elements of both. I thought it sounded like some sort of cultish religious practice.

Oh, and the progress? Finished the requested edits on the story "Beyond Mundane Boundaries" that is slated to appear in Allasso later this spring. Mostly I was asked about moving commas around, which I didn't dispute. There were about three changes in word choice or sentence structure that we had to negotiate. I hope we have them resolved now.

Things are soggy. The sump pump under the house foundation is running about once every 45 seconds. I hope they've got it right and the next couple of days will be warm and dry.

Dumb horse

Feb. 13th, 2012 08:45 pm
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Excuse: I felt so cold and uncomfortable by the time I got out of work.

Consequence: I forgot to stop on the way home and get a valentine card as I'd intended.

Probably not a disaster, but it's irritating nonetheless. Guess I have to get into the kitchen early tomorrow and make pink heart-shaped pancakes. ;p Fortunately I've promised him artwork but it won't be done by tomorrow.

It snowed more today, but with little accumulation. Things were nonetheless very slick and slippery for driving home this evening. Felt all afternoon as if I might be getting some bug or other, but now most of that seems to have passed.

Reading William Horwood's Duncton Wood, a long dystopic novel about moles, a bit similar to Watership Down but darker so far. This after having finished Mercedes Lackey's Changes yesterday, the latest in her long Valdemar series. It was OK, but the number of typographical errors and missing or disarranged words was distracting. I've noticed this tendency in her books before. I wonder if she refuses to let an outsider do any copy editing or proofing.

I see the FWA is going ahead with the plan to set up a series of awards in furry literature. While I agree that a juried system will be a good contrast with the Ursa Majors, which are entirely based on popular votes, having watched much of the early discussion I fear that in an attempt to be all inclusive they will make the Coyotl Awards just as ineffectual as the Ursas have become. Porn, porn and more porn does not provide a template for literary growth, any more than a diet of nothing but bacon provides the requirements of healthy nutrition.

Ah well, what I think doesn't matter.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
I hate doing these, and never like what I come up with. I found I had nine different versions from previous places and publications, but I didn't care for any of them. Now there will be a tenth that I'll probably dislike when I look at it later.

Big (BIG) solar storm in progress folks. If you're at a higher latitude in North America (Alaska, Canada, Maine, maybe even Minnesota or Wisconsin) and have anything like a clear sky, check it for aurora displays tonight.

This is probably already at its peak, but it's quite possible that another particle ejection from the sun could arrive before it settles, raising the energy to an even higher level.

Gary is fiddling with his embroidery machine. I asked him to do something for me and he hasn't used it in months so now it's out of adjustment. I feel bad about eating up his time on it now.

Not as cold as last night, but the stove is going again just the same. We get spoiled I guess and like warm hands and feet.

Acceptance

Jan. 23rd, 2012 10:24 pm
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
I've just had a short story (which some of you may already have read on FurRag) accepted for publication. That's always a nice affirmation that what I do isn't totally pointless, even if it goes against the "usual" grain of furry fandom. Of course, I should also admit here that I've backed off quite a bit from really trying to get stuff published for just that reason.

Weird weather here has been a distraction today and last night. We went to bed with six inches of snow on the ground but rising temperatures. At about 3:30 AM we were awakened by a great lightning and thunder crash and then a rush of rain against the windows that sounded like July rather than January. No additional crashes, so we went back to sleep. In the morning, the roofs were dripping. It apparently rained much of the night. Almost all the snow washed from the barn roof, and little canyons were cut in the standing snow by the running water. Everything was slushy and wet.

Tempeerature dropped for much of the day after rising in the night. We had fog, snow, drizzle, and ice pellets at various times. Wind chills dropped down to about 10F by sunset. And, of course, the wet snow turned to slick ice everywhere we had made paths through the snow.

Woodstove going now, and almost bedtime. I have no idea what comes next, though memories of that January tornado a few years back keep popping into my head. The weather really does seem to be out of whack.

Strange

Dec. 1st, 2011 08:56 pm
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Very strange. It feels so odd to spend an evening reading instead of having to write for a deadline. Don't worry, though, I will be continuing to write on the story.

I bought 11 dollar coins out of the library bank deposit this morning. These were all from the current series of Presidential portraits. It was like the utterly worthless Presidents series. Six of them were Millard Fillmore. Millard who? Yeah, that one. Two were Andrew Johnson. One was Andrew Jackson, whose antics would have made any 21st century GOP moron proud, and the last one was Thomas Jefferson. I'll grant that Jefferson was a reasonably good president whose views often agreed with my own. But the matter of Sally Hemmings and the mind games that were played over it for so many years does cast a shadow over his personal ethics and responsibility. As for the rest of this lot, they rate in my pile of really worthless politicians from history.

Chance of snow tonight. Last year we had snow already, though the first big one didn't hit until December 4.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
...now that the NaNo is over.

Still cold outside, though tonight looks to be not as bad as last. No snow here at all, but I guess the other side of Lake Michigan took a plastering.

Time to think about gifts for the holiday, I guess. But at the moment I'm too tired for that. And lazy, since I am taking a break from writing for tonight.

Maybe I'll go be lazy in a nice warm bed with a plushie or two to stop the drafts...
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Roth trades information with Rory, and gets the train going toward Chatton. When he finds Brent Cutwood waiting for him aboard the train, he has to keep his promise and allow an interview. Then on arrival at Chatton, the stationmaster tweaks him for failing to report the track defect yet again, even though he had done so at Dermouth.

Installment 25 is here

Cumulative word count: 51385

The Nano is completed, the story is not. I do intend to finish the draft and then go back and do a lot of technical editing on it. This year I have set a goal for completion, and that is the end of March, 2012. I hope to release an e-book version in several formats sometime after that, possibly even with illustrations. A paper edition is a possibility provided that I receive enough expressions of interest. I've heard encouragement from a couple of readers, but the counters on Furrag.com tell me that I have somewhere between 30 and 40 who have followed me through the entire 50K words so far. Now is the time for you to speak up. Do you want to read the entire story, polished and assembled as a finished novella? It's up to you.

Please remember that what you see at Furrag.com right now is not anywhere near a finished text. It is an incomplete first draft that will be enhanced, expanded, and revised before final release. The climax of the story hasn't even been reached at this point. There may be a small cost for the finished book, but as an ebook it will be under $3 US. Paper copies, if I go that far, will inevitably be more expensive. Just how much depends on demand and the publishing route I eventually might find. Note that ebooks would be readable in multiple formats, for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony, and computer and tablet reading software. I definitely plan to use Smashwords as a distributor, but might be able to get it onto Amazon or other channels as well. Let me know what you think.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
But much closer. Roth and Hiller continue their discussion of possibilities. Then Hiller takes it up with Rory, who supplies some information about the connection between Tommy Firkin and Jake Sisson.

Next installment is here.

Cumulative word count: 49293 (So close, but another 707 to go)

Much work to be done on the story, but the stage is set for the surprise climax. Will hit 50K tomorrow for sure, still a day early. On the whole, this has been the easiest NaNo I've done so far.

Turned turkey leftovers into turkey tetrazini this evening. I think turkeys exist to justify this dish. Unhealthy, rich, luxurious, and a bit fussy to prepare, but indescribably delicious. And now there's leftover tetrazini...

Realization that details of the story hang on the operation of early telegraph systems at a level with which I had only rudimentary understanding. Fortunately, what I wanted to allow is indeed possible. No need to clutter up the story with technical details, just making sure no one can come along and say "Hey, wait, they couldn't do that because..."

Now comes bed, thank goodness.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
The false Hiller shows up on the train, but Roth has time to get a message telegraphed ahead to Dermouth. The skunk is arrested as he gets off the train, but not on the charges that Roth expected.

New installment here.

Cumulative word count: 45464 (On pace to finish a couple of days early)

Things are starting to fall into place now, though I hope the places aren't quite what the reader may be expecting. ;D

We decided to join the "support small businesses" movement by ignoring the chain stores and their black Friday nonsense to visit some local retailers of interest. Went to a hobby shop in Woodstock to check on some model train materials, but didn't buy yet. Then the local feed store to get dog food for Red, and onward to a one of a kind local restaurant in Crystal Lake called "Around the Clock" for lunch. After that, Joseph's Market (a really great local grocer with excellent produce, just coming back from an 8 month closure due to a roof collapse) where we bought apples and cheese. Stopped at two other hobby shops, or maybe one and an empty storefront. Name still on the door, but completely empty. Checked the web when we got home and found they have moved one town over but are still open.

On the way to Crystal Lake, at something like 12:30, we passed an odd scene in a cornfield along US14. There were photographers and a film or video cameraman standing on the other side of the road snapping away. Police cars, and people walking back and forth across the field. Some small debris and what looked like the remains of a hot air balloon or a big parachute lying about and dangling from trees. I thought it was a plane crash, but there didn't seem to be anough wreckage so we concluded that a hot air balloon must have come down there, perhaps too abruptly. Balloons do pass over that area occasionally, though this was a drizzly, cold rain and not the sort of day you'd choose for ballooning. Only when we got home did we find out that it was indeed a plane wreck. Four people killed in a small plane flying out of a club airport in Indiana. Once again I'm reminded why I have no interest in flying machines. I'll keep my hooves on the ground, unless of course a willing pegasus comes along.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
J.B. Hiller (the ferret Hiller) takes on a disguise in order to ride the train without being recognized, and giving Roth a break from the routine trip.

Next installment here

Cumulative word count: 43121 (with four days left to read 50000)

Weather was decent today, and we got chores done early then headed over to Woodstock where I sat in on a rehearsal of Gary's Kishwaukee Ramblers. Managed to almost make up to Amy's new dog. At least she let me pet her a bit before we left.

Did not have turkey for dinner. ;p

Forecast calls for possible snow on Saturday night into Sunday, though it's hard to believe with things as warm as they are.

We've been seeing rats in the yard coming for the seed thrown from feeders by the birds. While we generally prefer not to interfere with the wildlife, this is unacceptable and especially so since where you see two rats there are probably 20 or more. Gary put out some traps and in broad daylight he caught four, just in the space of an hour or two. We'll set the traps out again overnight, but can't leave them out all the time lest they catch dogs or cats or perhaps even a bird or two.

I'm once again appalled at the news stories from "black Friday" as people fight each other for so-called "bargains" using their fists and in one reported case, a can of pepper-spray. The childish and uninhibited greed represented by this behavior is simply unbelievable. The lack of conscience on the part of retailers who goad people into such actions is unforgivable. I know Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy don't care what I think about them, but I won't be shopping there any time soon. Tomorrow we are going to see about giving some business to local independent retailers instead.

Turkified

Nov. 24th, 2011 09:57 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Well, the food all turned out well, and we did the annual trek to Chicago with it which also turned out well enough. Our friends Rob and Dawn joined us at Gary's Mom's house so there were five of us for dinner and I think everyone enjoyed it. That also let us divide up the leftovers so we didn't bring home quite so much.

All of this means I still got no writing done today. I did sit down to try at about 8 pm but promptly fell asleep at the keyboard. Fortunately I was far enough ahead of the pace that I can still make 50K without any great pressure, and in fact may be able to get there before the weekend is over.

We avoid black Friday shopping, but will go out to a rehearsal tomorrow afternoon. Otherwise the weekend is pretty much free time.

Turkeying

Nov. 23rd, 2011 07:36 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Got off work at 3 pm and by 4 I was already elbow deep in dinner prep for tomorrow. This happens every year because we cook most of Thanksgiving dinner here and then haul it into Chicago to Gary's mom's house. Consequently, I prefer to get as much done as possible the night before, including even carving the bird, and chill it all overnight before transport. It is easily rewarmed for serving there. Big (17.5 lb. is big for us anyway) turkey this year because Gary thought his brothers would come to dinner. They aren't doing that though. Big turkeys take longer to cook. I expect this to be in the oven for nearly 5 hours, as opposed to the 3 hours my usual 12 pounder takes. I really hate carving turkey, it's such a messy job. I also have pumpkin pie to bake, but that's fairly simple. Gary baked bread this afternoon and will make cranberry relish and green bean casserole. I still get to make gravy. The stuffing was already created of course.

Gary's mom will do the potatoes and traditional barley, jello salad, and supply the wine.

As you might guess, I don't expect to finish any writing tonight. Fortunately I'm far enough ahead to miss a day. If I do write, it still won't get uploaded until tomorrow. Have a good turkey day everyone.

On Friday, we stay home. No way do I go out in that ridiculous "black Friday" nonsense. And my condolences to anyone who has to work retail in it. It's the stupidest festival of greed ever invented in my opinion, and I don't believe it makes the year end retail figures any better. We'll hear the retailers bellyaching again this year that sales aren't good enough. People are still being cautious and understandably so. Who wants to be beholden to a giant faceless bank that steps on customers just as if they were ants?
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
First the newspaper publishes an article that seems critical of railroad safety, and then the train hits a hard bump as it rounds the same curve where the freight derailed three days earlier.

Draft of next installment here.

Cumulative word count: 34386
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Next installment is here.

Cumulative word count: 4010 (well ahead of quota.)

Long day, Wednesday. Survived it, anyway.

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