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PodCastle

Hello!

It’s been more than a year since I posted. And I was only posting sporadically before that. I am unsure what I want to do here. Maybe blogging is over? Maybe no one reads blogs anymore. Or maybe the small set of people who may at one time have been interested in what I would write and post are no longer interested. Who knows? I still make blog entries in my head from time to time. And I miss blogging, at least a little. Maybe more of those in my head things will come to the page.

I had to go into the admin module to upgrade WordPress which was so outdated it was like a magnet calling out for someone to hack the site. And that would have made me grumpy. Instead the upgrade was so easy and now I’m already in the control panel and it totally makes sense for me to type something and post it!

Life’s satisfying. Good things happen to me on a regular basis. This summer has been a spectacular time off, after three summers spent working far too hard at getting my AMI elementary certification. First summer off in three years and how I am cherishing it! I have not gotten accomplished everything I would wish to (of course) but I have done quite a few things that had been waiting to be done for a long time. Nothing earth shattering, just worthwhile. Such as finally getting the bedroom to be the secluded, refreshing, neat place I want it to be. I went to a free class and made a necklace! I took apart a three cube and spent lots of hours trying find 7mm glass beads (without success, any ideas?). The internet gave me a lesson on making onigiri and I may just turn into a person who makes themselves bento lunches. Got shelving in the front closet and now it’s all neat and organized and stuff fits in there.

Things I’m not currently doing:
  • keeping up with my reader feed
  • yoga
  • writing or editing or submitting stuff I’ve written (I wrote zero new stories so far in 2012, and I think I wrote zero in 2011).
  • cutting my hair
  • clearing up enough space on my hard drive – which is too full – or catching up appropriately on podcasts
  • taking on stress
  • making that t-shirt quilt I’m going to make someday
Things I am currently doing:

And how are you?

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Hey, look there, will you? After like a year and a half of co-editing PodCastle, I’ve finally narrated a story! It’s Maria Deira’s excellent “The Giant Malheur Park“. Amusing fact: I wrote the author to ask how to pronounce Malheur (and a good thing because my instinct was dead wrong, not MaLOOR at all) and she helpfully provided a pronunciation for her surname, Deira, in the return email. Which I think I more or less had covered, but how was she to know? Author Maria Deira wrote one of my all time favorite stories on Pseudopod: Regis St. George. That one is masterfully read by Mur Lafferty, who now edits EscapePod. I know, small world, right? PodCastle’s got some great stories in store for the summer. I can’t wait until you get to hear them!

Also, next week begins the last summer of my Montessori training. Wish me luck! I expect to be crazy busy for the next nine weeks or so and I’ll be taking both written and oral exams and handing in lots and lots of charts and album work.

Also, also, I’ve started on this new hobby, called Zentangle. I bought the first book at ArtMart (aka that store where I spend too much money) and started doing them last week. I love this work, and I can’t wait to give lessons on it to my kids. I think this may be my elementary level walking the line or handwashing. One of the things I really like about it is it provides lots of ideas for patterns which can be used to embellish work. And also a method for coming up with your own patterns to use. Yay!

Ok, I’m off to eat at the Everest Cafe, which I’ve heard a lot about but never eaten at. Then over to paint charts with one of my classmates. Life is good. Look after yourselves.

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So it seems somewhat silly to repost here about PodCastle’s upcoming flash fiction contest, because let’s face it, who is going to find out about the contest here that didn’t already know about it from somewhere else? However, since the prior Escape Pod contest resulted in one of my two published pieces, I can’t help but feel a warmth and fondness for the whole endeavor.

Yes, after many years, Escape Artists is doing it again: a flash fiction contest voted on by listeners. Actually, there’s a separate contest for each of the podcasts, so technically it’s three flash fiction contests. PodCastle goes first, and subs open April 1 (on the two year anniversary of PodCastle!). Get your pencils sharpened and write us something new and glorious! Editors will quietly stand on the sidelines while listeners of the podcasts vote up their favorite submissions. Each writer may submit up to two flash pieces to each contest (so two times three: that’s six opportunities to flex your succint writing powers). May the most evocative, well-written piece of flash fiction win! Details about the schedule and the rules and the voting procedure can be read in the relevant forum post. As an editor of PodCastle, I cannot participate by submitting stories (or even voting, actually), but I’ll be observing, reading, and smiling. Go to it!

Meanwhile, I’m on spring break, and instead of doing my taxes, or something useful, I took care of all the submissions that had returned to me but I had failed to send out again. Total number of items I subbed? Five. Number I already had out? Two. Five plus two? Still seven, even with new math. Which…I’m not sure about this, but I think may be the most things I’ve had ever out at one time. Pretty awesome!

Have I been writing? No, not much, not really. But I am thinking about writing. Ideas are arriving in my head uninvited. I spent thirty minutes at Sophia’s piano lesson making a list of all the things I need to know to start working on the next novel. Long list of research ahead of me. Questions to be answered, such as: are there any underground rivers or lakes with significant salinity (say, 2 percent or more) ? Some of my unedited stories have been calling to me to fix them. And the post-apocalyptic Córdoba story has recently reminded me it is not happy about being shoved in a closet unwritten. Even Chelia has been making appearances, asking me to revise her story and finish the prequel.

Also as part of spring break, I aggressively tackled the submissions pile at PodCastle. We are within ten subs of having nothing to review in the editorial consideration folder, which is the lowest pending subs point since January, when we took over PodCastle. There’s no slush more than three days old (though honestly, credit for staying current with that goes to the ever awesome Ann Leckie). In other PodCastle (and Ann Leckie) news, Ann Leckie month seems to have gone off beautifully, bringing a different sensibility and range of stories to the podcast, and showing us what PodCastle would be like if she were running it. And if we learned anything during February, it was that Ann should definitely run her own magazine! Meanwhile, co-editor Dave and I are excited to see some of our favorite story selections finally coming into the rotation (production lead time is longer than you would think), such as Samantha Henderson’s chilling “The Mermaid’s Tea Party“. We’ve got some more great stories coming up, ones that we are really eager to share. So, as always, if you have fantasy story reprints, we’d love to see them! Check our guidelines, and send us the story we wish we’d written!

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Hello, friends!

It’s been too long, hasn’t it?

The operative mode of my life right now is busy. I want to let everyone know, however, that I’m getting my own classroom in the fall! It will be a tiny classroom, far from the ideal number of students for a Montessori elementary, but we expect it to grow in time, and personally, I’m so incredibly excited about it that I cannot describe how I feel. Euphoric, maybe? Grinning like a damn fool? Eager, pleased, jingling with joy? All of that.

The other day I gave a group lesson for the first time. — Explanatory note for the non-Montessorians among you: at the primary (3-6 years) level, children are given individual lessons, at the elementary (6-12 years) level children are given all their lessons in small groups instead — The students loved it, and they started working with the material immediately, and worked with it for days straight. It was great! Love those materials, love seeing the kids work with them. On Friday, a student actually asked me if she could please also have a spelling test, like the other student whom I give spelling tests to. Yes. She ASKED for a spelling test. Children (and people, really, but that’s another discussion) want to learn and want to be challenged. I see it every day. I love it.

The first of the six changes went off without a hitch (that was walking Sergei regularly, using the trigger of when I get home from work), but then I didn’t start in on my second change, because I didn’t know how to break it down into baby steps so easy I couldn’t fail. More on that when I figure out what to do next. Anyway, if I only end up with five changes this year instead of six, I will still feel quite accomplished. I’m still walking Sergei every school day but Thursday (because yoooooga makes walking him complicated), even when it’s miserably cold, or miserably raining, or miserably sunny. It has not actually been miserably sunny much, or at all.

The editing gig is working wonderfully. I’m gratified to see some of my and Dave’s story picks making it out into the world to be heard and commented on by listeners, because the lead time on story selection and production is a lot longer than I would have imagined before I started running the podcast, so even though we’ve been working since January to make sure the podcast comes out as it should, not much of what has come out thus far is stuff we picked out on our own (also there was Ann Leckie month in February, which was awesome. You need to check out Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz go to War Again by Garth Nix to see what I mean). I’m excited about what we have selected and in store, and excited that we’ve picked several stories where narrators, when asked, have responded gushingly with “I love that story!” Narrator, we love that story, too!

So that’s me in a nutshell. How about you?

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So now that it’s official and all, I can tell you the thing I’ve been hedging about in the last few posts. As of today, I am co-editor of PodCastle, sharing duties with the excellent Dave Thompson. As we like to joke: he’s the nice one. Rachel Swirsky, former editor, is moving on to focus on her writing (which is everywhere, and you should probably read some if you haven’t already).

If you haven’t checked out PodCastle before, now is an excellent time to start! In addition to providing a weekly dose of free fantasy audio fiction, you also have access to all previous 83 episodes and 45 pieces of flash fiction. There’s some excellent stories there, and a good chance at least some of them will please you. My daughter’s favorite one, for example, is In the House of the Seven Librarians.

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