aithne: (Default)
2017-03-12 05:55 pm


Things proceed apace.

Due to a confluence of things, I have more free time for the moment than I’m used to.  I made myself a schedule to keep myself on track, with designated times for job hunting, for Clarion West work, and (yes!) for writing. I’ve got about four hours every afternoon designated for writing, and it is glorious.

I finished the first draft of the orca selkie story (currently untitled, after the original title stopped working for the story), finished edits on the pomegranate goddess story (which, alas, also needs a new title), and finished polishing “Ghost-Apples.”

I’ve been working on “Ghost-Apples” on and off for the past year, including something like seven complete rewrites, and at this point I am ready to shove this thing out into the world and hope that it finds a home. A friend referred to it as “the most Midwestern thing I’ve ever read,” which made me happy because the story is steeped in the culture of rural Minnesota. The town and the farm are based on the place where my dad grew up and where I spent a week or two every summer. I have an enormous affection for the place, but it was also alien to my California-bred self: different smells, different weather, and unspoken rules of adult behavior that it took me a long time to unravel.

I hope I’ve done the place justice. We’ll see.

aithne: (Default)
2017-02-09 01:02 am


I went into Seattle last weekend for meetings and a couple of doctor appointments. My last meeting was on Bainbridge Island, which is more or less on my way home, and the weather forecast was looking pretty dicey.

I finished up on Bainbridge and headed home. I abandoned my initial plans for the trip in favor of heading straight home, since it was snowing in Poulsbo–and I’m glad I did.  I managed to make it home before it started snowing here, though it was snowing almost the whole way there.

It was supposed to be a single storm, and then it was supposed to warm up. It’s been snowing off and on for the last three days, and as I write this it’s been snowing for the last five hours with no signs that it’s going to let up any time soon. With today’s accumulation, we’re going to end up with about eight inches total, and maybe more depending on whether it stops snowing before nightfall.

I’m recovering from having my world upended a little while ago, and have thrown myself into making plans with gusto. We’ll see what happens, once the world is no longer so frozen.

aithne: (Default)
2017-01-29 12:39 am


Last week, everything changed.

I don’t particularly want to talk about the details in public just yet, but there’s a strong chance that I’m going to be leaving my beloved little town on the ocean for Seattle within the next few months. This wasn’t the plan, and I’m pretty broken up about it, but unless a relative miracle happens…this is the reality.  No timeline yet, but it’s real enough that I’m starting to work on a round of possessions purging this weekend.

I went to the rainforest this morning, as I tend to do when I’m heartbroken. I left before daybreak, and sunrise found me winding my way around Lake Crescent. I pulled off the road to get a picture of the dark hills brooding above the glassy lake. I took those pictures, turned around…and discovered that the eastern sky was aflame. Sunrise had caught me unawares.

When I got home, I ended up discarding the pictures I originally stopped to take, but the pictures of the sunrise were astoundingly beautiful.  (One of them is above.)

Maybe that’s a metaphor. I don’t know. I guess I can only hope.

In the car this morning, I was making a list of things I’ve learned about myself in the last year:

  • I’m good with being alone. Like, really good. I know all of two people here, and one of them is the barista I see every morning at the coffee shop. I’m perfectly content with this.

  • It takes about a year for me to feel genuinely settled in in a new place. Part of my discontent about having to move is that it feels like I just got here.

  • I probably don’t need a residence as big as the one I currently have. But I like having the space.

  • What I do need, however, is quiet. The place I used to live was on a busy road, in an apartment building. I hadn’t realized how that wore on me until I moved here and felt an enormous wave of relief.

Sadly, I’m going to lose the quiet when I move back to Seattle. I might have to invest in ear plugs.

And, of course, everything else is in dire upheaval. In the grand scheme of things, I am incredibly fortunate.

I will hold onto that, in the days to come.

aithne: (Default)
2017-01-22 06:53 pm

(no subject)


What do we do, in the face of injustice?

Some of us go out in the streets, some of us visit our elected representatives. Others do work behind the scenes, doing the hard and unloved work of making it possible for people to organize.

Some of us make art.

I can’t march with everyone, because as I’ve grown older my trouble with crowds has gotten worse. But I can write worlds into being, fantastic, hopeful worlds where art brings down corrupt leaders, where women are the dynamic centers of the action, where people who don’t fit into narrow gender boxes are joyfully part of the story. 

So this weekend, I’m writing.  I’m working on a selkie story: wild magnificence breaking free of its chains and the person who held those chains being rather gruesomely defeated.

It’s not much, but it’s what I can do.

My father hated the beach, hated the ocean, and did not like to let his family get too close to any bodies of water. But I begged and begged, and eventually he gave in.

I loved every moment of the trip, except one.

We crowded into the killer whale viewing area (Orcas, my mother said. They’re called orcas) with what seemed like half the population of the park. I stood on my tiptoes–I had inherited my father’s weedy frame, not my mother’s majestic height and breadth–and peered through the glass, fascinated by the graceful movements of the black-and-white bodies swimming through the water. After a moment, though, I discovered that something was wrong. They swam, yes–they swam around and around and around, passing by the viewing window every minute or so.

Around, and around, and around.

I looked up at my mother, my mouth opening with a question, and I realized that she was weeping silently, staring at the whales swimming before us.  Around, and around, and around. I had never seen her cry before. I would never see her cry again.

–From the first draft of a story currently titled “The Five Foot Summer”


aithne: (Default)
2017-01-15 06:34 pm

the routine

I don’t find routine boring; on the contrary, I find routine deeply satisfying, and the pleasure of checking off things on my to-do lists is a sharp and lovely one. Without a routine, I’m adrift; once I have one in place, I am quietly productive and much happier.

170110_snow_5The trouble is always establishing new habits and routines. My brain doesn’t let go of established habits easily, and to make room for the new the old has to go.  Right now, I am attempting to get a daily writing habit re-established; this is a bit more difficult than it sounds, since I work full time and freelance on top of that, and sometimes my brain just isn’t in a space to make words come out.

What I’m trying right now is to expand my definition of “writing”.  I need to find a solid time slot for this to happen in–it snowed last week so I had a chance to do my hour before work, but when I am able to start up my morning walk routine again, I’ll need to find a new time.  (My lunch hour, perhaps, or perhaps the hour after dinner and before I settle in with my online folks in the evening.)

I’ve decided for the moment that writing does not have to mean “making the words happen.” Writing can also include:

  • Planning (I am an inveterate gardener; I would like to be able to write at least a vague outline so I know what I’m writing before the words come out)

  • Revising

  • Making idea lists (I have many, many ideas, but if I don’t write them down they go away and don’t come back)

  • Listing ideas for blog posts

  • Market research

  • Submitting

I’m hoping this will make things easier.  I’ll report back later and let you all know how it goes.

aithne: (Default)
2017-01-07 11:57 pm

cold snap

I live in what is usually an extremely temperate climate.  I can see the ocean from my front door, and the town I live in backs onto the Olympic Mountains. It rains quite a bit here, but it usually doesn’t get cold, and it almost never snows.

This year, though.  This year.

The Fraser River outflow has been particularly vicious this year, and the whole region has been suffering from a cold snap for the last week or so.  The weather has been wildly unpredictable, and I’ve discovered there are some disadvantages to the very quiet location where I live…namely, that it is entirely possible to get snowed in fairly easily.

The snow comes down, the deer come by, everything gets very cold and very quiet. I caught a wretched cold over Christmas, and then more or less slept through New Year’s. Two weeks after I started getting sick, I’m finally on the mend.  (It wasn’t the flu but just a bad cold, fortunately.) And today, it’s above freezing for the first time in a few days, and I left the house for a while (also for the first time in a few days), and I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, I will survive this winter.

aithne: (Default)
2016-10-27 09:45 am

Untethered Authors Share What They Learned While Writing for this Anthology

Hello, and welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology!

All authors do research for their stories. In honor of the book release for Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology, five authors divulge what they looked up, discovered, or simply ran across in the process of creating tales of magic and technology.

untethered-high-resolutionRhiannon Held: This story made me do a little more mapping of additional “things being an archaeologist makes me take for granted.” I find them all over the place when I hand my writing over to my critique group. Copper was used by some native groups in North America when other metals usually weren’t, because it can be cold-hammered from natural deposits. Doesn’t everyone know that??? When I got the note about that back, I slapped my forehead, because of course not everyone does, but I wasn’t thinking about it in the flow of the writing.

Dale Cameron Lowry: I’ve had friends who’ve fostered motherless newborn kittens, so I knew a little about how time-consuming their care can be, but I wasn’t up on all the details. Fortunately, the internet has a lot of great information, a lot of which you can find just by asking your phone. One great resource my own phone pointed me to was “What to Do (and NOT Do) If You Find a Newborn Kitten” from The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals.

 Stevehen Warren: Sometimes you have to listen to your gut feeling and finish the story. I originally wrote two drafts with the second having a bit more serious tone, but submitted the first work instead. I like the characters more in the first draft.

Kris Millering: A few things:

  1. The docents at the Issaquah fish hatchery are very nice and will happily tell you all about it if you ask.

  2. You’ll get funny looks if you stand and stare at stoplights for too long. (Oops.)

  3. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, “So what is this mobile rock’s motivation?”

Raven Oak: I learned that you should never tick off the AI. 😉

Want to see what these authors did with the concept of a magic iPhone? Pick up your copy of Untethered: a Magic iPhone Anthology in ebook or trade paperback today. Find it at, Nook, or wherever you prefer to grab your books.

Extra Interest: Jonathon Burgess shares “I’ve got an iPhone 4s! I’m so very behind the times. But I was constantly referring to it while I was writing.”

See the other stops on this blog tour:

aithne: (Default)
2016-09-05 10:02 pm

the quiet season

It’s Labor Day weekend, and out here that marks the end of the tourist season. Soon this little town will settle back into its sleepy rhythms, the Friday night high school football games and the storms that sweep in off the strait.

IMG_1784It’s been a long, busy summer and it’s not quite finished yet; I’m back in Seattle for a couple of weeks this month and then back home to visit with my parents as they swing through the area. But things have calmed down enough that I can start to work on establishing a writing pattern again. I try not to use the word habit when it comes to writing; habits are difficult for me, because it takes me a long, long time to get into a self-sustaining habit. Patterns, though, I can do for a little while, adjust, and keep going. I use Habitica, which has the lovely feature of being able to repeat certain tasks on certain days of the week. Right now, I’m aiming for an hour of writing every weekday except Friday, and a couple of hours every weekend day.

My current project is a novel called The Intercessionist, which has at its center a doctor with a very troubled past. I’m doing a lot of research for this one, reading writings by doctors and other medical professionals, trying to get into Rona’s mindset. I’m also getting a couple of short stories ready to go out on submission and working on getting a couple more complete. I’ve got a lot of plans for the quiet season. We’ll see how much of them I get done.

aithne: (Default)
2016-07-03 07:30 pm

Clarion West Write-a-thon progress

Sponsor me for the Clarion West Write-a-thon

Sometimes, it takes a very long time for me to figure out what a story is about.

I started writing “Ghost-Apples” last year. The first draft came out easily, which was fortunate because I needed something to take to a critique group. I usually don’t let people see my very first drafts, but I was pressed for time and let the amazing people of Horrific Miscue take a whack at it. They picked up on a couple of things and let me know where I was being super lazy.

I revised it and put it away for a few months. Then I brought it out again and did another draft, picking away at it. It wasn’t quite coming together for me, and I didn’t know why.

Originally, I had wanted this story to be a sequel of sorts to my story “Coins for Their Eyes,” featuring my doll-toting psychopomp. On the fourth draft, almost six months after the second and third drafts, I finally figured out that what wasn’t working about the story was the idea that this was going to be an extension of that story. I also realized that the protagonist’s voice was utterly wrong for her, and that somewhere in the previous drafts I’d managed to cut out the beating heart of the story.


“Ghost-Apples” is very much a story of a particular place in the upper Midwest, and about the culture and norms of that culture. When I came back to the story for the Clarion West Write-a-thon, I started a complete rewrite with a fresh protagonist and a voice that fit better with her background. The setting and the basic premise is the same: a woman finds herself in the tiny Minnesota town where she grew up. The town is completely deserted except for a girl who occasionally appears and talks to her, and she discovers that she can’t leave no matter how hard she tries.

I finished my rewrite, read over the story, and had one burning question: who is the girl?

That is the question I’m working on answering now within the story. The story itself has slid over the edge into horror; the protagonist has a terrible magical talent that she cannot control, and has been stuck in a tragedy that played out over twenty years earlier.

Also, she’s dead, so there’s that too.

So, yes, this is still draft number five, and my goal is to get that draft finished by the end of the Write-a-thon. Thanks to some stuff going on in other parts in my life, I have some writing time I didn’t expect to have, so I suspect I will make that with room to spare.

Interested in knowing more? Want to support me and support a very good cause at the same time? Sponsor me for the Clarion West Write-a-thon! If you sponsor me for $25 or more, you’ll get an 11×14 print of one of my pictures, mounted and ready to frame–and the warm fuzzies that come from supporting one of the best science fiction workshops in the known universe and the emerging writers who go through the program.

aithne: (Default)
2016-06-20 05:30 pm

The Clarion West Write-a-thon

It’s summer, which means it’s Clarion West Write-a-thon season!  I’m doing the Write-a-thon again this year to support the workshop and the new writers who go through the program.

This year, I’m working on a story rewrite for the Write-a-thon.  If you sponsor me, you’ll get weekly updates on how I’m doing, and possible sneak peeks of the next book I’m writing. If you’re feeling particularly generous and sponsor me for $25 or more, you’ll get an 11×14 metallic print of one of my pictures, shipped to you anywhere in the world.

Sponsor me here, and support Clarion West!

aithne: (Default)
2014-06-20 04:01 pm

I still have one of these!

 ...I've been a little busy.

I'm just poking up my head to note that my story A Word Shaped Like Bones was published in Lightspeed's Women Destroy Science Fiction special issue this month!  There's been a lot of buzz about the story, which is awesome.

And also, as I do every year, I am participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon. You can sponsor me here to get updates and excerpts from the book i'm writing currently, called Rise of Grace.
aithne: Also, I can kill you with my brain. (I can kill you with my brain)
2013-09-27 10:22 am

Ficlet: The Space Between the Stars

My RP Group has switched over to an original setting, which is a sort of science fantasy space opera.  This is a bit of background from it.  I really like this piece, so I wanted to share.

Kathil Nasmyth  Cerys Nasmyth
(Kathil and Cerys, just before they meet again after the conclusion of this story.)


The Space Between the Stars

Cerys’s first memory is of her sister singing.

Kathil’s voice is rough, but strong, and she rocks Cerys in the dim light of the wee hours, in this tiny sterile room. Cerys is too young to know the words space station or research or clone. All she knows is that her sister is her guardian, and her comfort. Lorn’s breathing is sonorous where the imkedi sleeps next to the bed.

Cerys is three. Her next memory is of receiving her own imkedi cub when she is four.

Read more... )
aithne: (tree)
2013-09-26 09:13 am

back from Nova Scotia

And it was a lovely, though tiring trip.  Friend of mine in Halifax and I are mutually annoyed that Halifax and Seattle are so far apart.  Some of my favorite pictures are under the cut, or you can hit the photoset and look at all 275 of them.

pictures this way! )
aithne: (Default)
2013-04-11 11:02 am

the state of the Kris

 I find myself making long personal posts on my Tumblr, which is probably adequate reason to, you know, come back here, which is designed for it.

So, State of the Kris for those who haven’t been following me as I have wandered around the various bastions of social media:

Age: 38 (have given in and started saying that I’m almost 40)

Relationship status: single (if anyone has cute bi/lesbian friends they would like to introduce me to, let me know)

Job: finishing up my last few days working at the vendor job I’ve been working at for 3+ years.  Will be starting a new job doing production work on one of the Windows 8 websites in a week and a half or so.  It’s all telecommuting, so hurrah for getting back 90+ minutes of my day and being able to work out in the mornings!  I’m making some changes to my office at home to accommodate this, which is really fun. The office is painted a hideous mustard yellow, so I think I’m going to repaint it…which involves moving a lot­ of stuff out of the room. Whee?  It’s a project for later, definitely.

Location: I’ve been living in Issaquah for the last year, and I love it.  I’m nestled down between a pair of friendly mountains, I can walk to the grocery store, and I’m going to be getting a bike so I can ride around town.  Issaquah is a little out of the way, but over time I’ve come to actually really like it—and I have a direct bus to downtown Seattle for the days I need to be there, for crit group and the like.

Writing: Had a story published in The Colored Lens a little bit ago.  Working on a book tentatively titled The Phoenix Crown.  Have several nearly-finished stories that need to go out for submission, but need a little final polish work first.  I am in that phase of the book where I hate it and writing it is like pulling teeth, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Bad Draft.  My goal for the Bad Draft is 80k words, and then I will hopefully add about 15k words in the first edit.

Anyway.  There’s where I am, and now you are all caught up!

aithne: (Default)
2013-02-25 12:29 pm

tick tick tock

 I have been making like a duck and paddling my very hardest under the surface.  I am currently about 32k words into The Phoenix Crown, which is a book that I came up with the idea for late last year and that involves a lot of very complicated worldbuilding.  I am having such fun with this book--I have no idea if it's any good, but I am having a really really good time.  I'm doing most of the writing in 1k word chunks, attempting to keep myself from binge writing and keep myself able to do some other writing, like doing revisions on some short stories.

When a mysterious woman named Nonehle comes to Ceris Royenne and asks her to help take the throne of Matinne, Ceris says no. Then the rebel company she leads is nearly wiped out, leaving only a handful of survivors behind. With the life she's built in ashes and pursued by the most vicious of the six great mercenary companies of Matinne, Ceris's only refuge is in audacity--and the throne.

Between Nonehle and the Phoenix Crown are mercenaries, courtiers, the arcane politics of Matinne, and a king who gained his throne by subterfuge and murder. Their allies are few, but Ceris and Nonehle are both in possession of vast and troubling magical talents. They will both have to come to grips with those talents--for Nonehle the ability to to show people the deepest secret fears of their hearts, for Ceris the warmaga talent that is a deadly inheritance from her mother. In a country where hidden blades are everywhere and not even the strongest of allies is what they seem, this pair will take power--no matter the cost.
aithne: (Default)
2013-01-28 04:30 pm

softly, slowly

 I've been busy throat-clearing in my writing, trying to figure out what to write and when to write it.  A few new short stories have come out of that, as well as a bunch of worldbuilding for a project that I am tentatively calling The Phoenix Crown. And somehow, last week, i started writing on the book without quite meaning to.

My goal right now is 1k words a day six days a week (as Tuesdays are terrible for writing for me as a rule).  I have Scrivener all worked out, I have away of writing when i'm not at my computer, and sometime soon I will have an adorable little tablet for when I'm not near any of my other computers.

Somehow, without really noticing, I'm actually sliding back into the writing habit.  Evidently it's time.
aithne: (Default)
2013-01-15 09:24 am

"Those Who Do Not Reap" is out in The Colored Lens!

My story, “Those Who Do Not Reap” is out in the Winter 2013 issue of The Colored Lens!

This was my application story for Clarion West, and I am still very, very fond of it. I am so glad it’s finally found a home! I am also sharing a TOC this time around with Emily Skaftun, who is a CW classmate and an exceedingly fine writer.
aithne: (Default)
2012-10-12 10:21 am

My fish is an idiot.

So I have a betta named King Cailan, Fish of Ferelden.  He's usually a pretty good fish--he comes and begs for food, he swims around entertainingly, and he leaves General Loghain (the catfish who eats all of the algae) mostly alone.  He's got pretty nice digs, and his hair fins are fabulous.

The other morning, I went to feed Cailan, and...he wasn't there.  "Hunh," quoth I.  I figured he was hanging out in one of his hidey-holes and didn't worry about it.  And right before I left for work, while my back was turned, he appeared.

Ok then!

So I come home from work that night, and Cailan is missing.  Again.

This is starting to get worrying.  I poke around in the aquarium, to find him. Finally, just in case, i lift the lid on the filter compartment...

...where Cailan is, looking at me accusingly.

Turned out that I'd overfilled the aquarium by a smidgen when I changed the water, giving Cailan a way to get into the filter compartment.  I fished (ha!) my stupid fish out of the filter, took out a bit of water so that compartment is no longer accessible to him, and that was that.

So that is the story of "Cailan is dumb, and I probably need to buy him an aquarium decoration with a better hidey hole if he's that keen on dark, enclosed spaces".

aithne: (Default)
2012-07-06 04:25 pm

the central doll sales post

Comments on this post are now locked; see the new post on pullip_sales.

I'm downsizing my collections, and have the following cuties to sell.

Paypal only; I'll invoice you for the total when I have it with shipping. It will take me a few days to ship, as I'll need to get appropriate boxes for these guys.

Shipping: I do ship internationally. Please keep in mind that the only service I use that includes tracking is USPS Priority, which runs $30-35 per package. First class international packages cannot have any tracking added to them. First class international is $10-14, depending on the country.

Monster High: Rochelle, Lagoona, Nefera, Ghoulia, 2 Clawdeens, Draculaura, Deuce - all sold! )

Groove Dolls: Mao, Bloody Red Hood, Lunatic Alice, BAIT Missionary, Arion, Jaldet )

Dolls of the World Japan Barbie and Ken )
aithne: (Default)
2012-05-18 10:44 am
Entry tags:

locals: I have paint!

I have five full cans of paint that I wish to give away.  Freecycle won't let me post them, and I would really like to see them go somewhere they'd be used rather than putting paint-drying stuff in them and tossing them.

I have (all of these are unopened and full!):

2 gallons of Kilz Premium primer
1 Gallon Devine Frost (light grey, Delicate finish)
1 gallon Devine Reef (light blue-green, Delicate finish)
1 gallon Devine Icing (white, Delicate finish)

Devine paint is amazing--it's thick and goes on like a dream.  The colors are all created with Pacific Northwest light in mind.

Does anyone want these?  Or know a charity that will take them?