big dumb summer movies

one of my many amusements is to embarrass my husband in public by loudly declaring all of the movies I have not watched in all of my forty years.

so! what SF/ F movies go on our July, September and August list?

i have seen:
Star Wars
Harry Potters allof’em
lord of them rings
Indiana Jones
aaaaaand! Reign of Fire (my fave).

It’s actually very likely that I have not seen…whatever. I haven’t seen Top Gun or Dirty Dancing, for example. Or the one about pod people.

I have of course seen The Last Unicorn, The Rats of NIMH, and Romancing the Stone.

What am I missing from my SFF literacy?

Here he asks: have you seen Jaws? “no.”


Home Coming



Seven months and three days ago, the USS Carney set forth upon a naval deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Today, she returned to Mayport, Florida bearing myself and over three hundred of my shipmates.

For me, it is a bitter sweet homecoming, as this has been the final deployment of my naval career. Never again shall I sail into harms way, not know when or if I shall return.

To many, this may not sound like such a bad idea, but to one such as I, the release of this burden is heart wrenching. To date, I have lived more days in service to my country then not; it has consumed almost my entire adulthood.

I cannot explain my reasons for dedicating my life to service. It is simply who I am. I do what I do, because I can. The sword is weighty in my hand, but even more so in my heart. As many have paraphrased George Orwell to say, “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Orwell’s actually quote was a bit more crass, but his meaning was clear.

I still have many tales to tell from times abroad, but those stories will have to wait for another day. Today, I’m home.



St Crispin’s Day Speech

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.


David Petersen at COMiPALOOZA, Houston TX.

Much of the art of Mouse Guards is watercolor-esque, or portrays handcraft. He tells me the likes to imagine what the mice themselves might craft. He has the craftsman skills to produce his art in the original intended format, like stained glass, but his digital skills are so strong that he can fool a lifelong embroiderer:


As if I wasn’t impressed enough. Sniffle.

The Warrior’s Bond

Huzzah! We’ve finished another massive digitization archive project for SFF culture and history.

The Warrior’s Bond, Juliet E. McKenna’s fourth novel in the Tales of Einarinn, has been scanned, OCR’d, copyedited, proofread, HTMLed, cover art-ed, formatted and uploaded to the digital public. McKenna’s backlist is being published by Wizard’s Tower Press.


Much thanks to Nancy Gilson on this project.



For sale in the Amazon store:

RavenCon is FriendsCon in 2014

For me, there’s a frenzied anticipation for seeing all of my people at RavenCon: I want Paula’s advice on All The Things, I’ve been toting around my standard eleventy billion questions for Jonah, I want to know about Chuck’s rehearsals and comic shop, I want Bert to tell me all about his SCA adventures, wait! Lou is selling stories? Tell me about this! What is Danny working on nowadays?

I know that everyone else is just as excited to spend time amongst the mingling lot of us, complete with questions and the million things to catch up on.

We’re all another year older, grey hairs and wrinkles are starting to gang up on us. The Parker kids are all two feet taller. Most of us work new jobs, perhaps live in a new city, our bodies function differently than they did last year, or otherwise we each of us have new self-identities.

And yet.

We get there, everyone is gathered in the atrium, and it’s just that comfortable, contented quiet amongst friends, taking refreshment and renewal in the solid presence of one another.

That was RavenCon for me this year.

photography by Colleen’s shortest



Paula’s Post at Fantasy Book Cafe

I had the links incorrect earlier. I have fixed that. Meanwhile, it looks like Barbara Friend-Ish also has a post that went up today!

Good morning! Kristen at Fantasy Book Cafe again filling April with guest posts from women SFF writers and women who write about SFF.

Paula Jordan was asked to bring in her perspective, and she does so

She writes about how an author goes about building aliens.

Dog ate my library book.


So I ordered two more from Book Loft, one for me and one to replace the library’s dog-eaten copy.

Turns out, they don’t take replacement copies, they just take a fee and add it the to-do list for Acquisitions.

Now I’ve got three and a half copies of Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge.

I let Jambolaya finish his copy.

The Grand Mosque: Art-Unparalleled

The Grand Mosque: Art-Unparalleled

By David Belt copyright 2014

In Abu Dhabi, capitol of the United Arab Emirates, lies a marvel of man and stone. The late President Zayed Al Nahyan gave life to the dream of beauty that is now a temple for his people and the final resting place for his body. The Emirates claim their mosque to be the most beautiful in all the world, and they are not wrong. The people there call it the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; I call it “Art-Unparalleled.”

As I have said before in my articles on Art in Three Dimensions, art is anything with form and style that influences us on an emotional level. As an artist, it is impossible for me walk away from the beauty of the Grand Mosque and not be impacted by it. The magnanimous artwork contained within its white stone walls is breath taking.


I have been to the Sistine Chapel and gazed up in wonderment of Michael Angelo’s miracle. The mural of flora that cascades the floors and walls of the Grand Mosque is nothing like Michael Angelo’s work, but then again, its not paint. In fact, there is not a drop of paint anywhere within the mosque.



77 different types of stone are fused together to create the intricate mosaics. The courtyard alone is over 180,000 sq ft, the largest mosaic in the world.


Of personal interest to me is the rug of the main prayer hall. I have a few, expensive rugs in my home, so I have acquainted myself the identifying marks of high quality, handmade rugs. Upon close inspection, I was able to tell the rug of the main hall was indeed made by hand, moreover, woven into the rug was a series of running boards designed to allow worshippers convenient marks upon which to line up. Finally, I realized the entire rug was continuous and seamless. The picture I was able to take shows less than a third of the over 60,000 sq ft rug. More than 1200 carpet knotters came to the mosque for 2 years to make the rug in place, tying over 2 ¼ billion knots.


I am a big fan of Swarovski crystals, and I make point of using them in my jewelry as I have come to count on their quality and excellence, but I never dreamed of making anything as expansive as the chandelier that hangs above the main hall. It is the third largest chandelier in the world and is composed entirely of Swarovski crystals and gold.

The most amazing thing that art does is that it captivates the mind and brings to the forefront that which we dared not imagine before. As I looked beyond the great chandelier, I could not help but stare in awe of the wall behind. I could not read the Arabic calligraphy that decorated the elaborate display, but I did note their meaning and felt the impact of those words. The words were not merely etched into the solid marble wall. The stone was hollowed out and the words were formed by the negative space left within the stone.

As the art spoke to me, it said that we hold our lives to be solid as stone, but the materialism of our lives is immaterial to God. He exists within the otherwise empty space composed of those boundaries held solid by his presence or left empty by his absence. One does not need to be Muslim or even religious to appreciate and feel the impact of the art captured within the stone. That is what makes art so wonderful. It transcends all boundaries drawn by man.


I later discovered the calligraphy on the wall was the 99 names for God as written in the Koran.

I am still doing my duty from half a world away, but whenever possible I stop to smell the flowers and take in the sites and see the wonders that can be.