March 19th, 2013

writing steles burning

and you, you were acting like it was the end of the world.

It's Book day, busting out all over!

Of course, today is US launch day* for my own Shattered Pillars, second in the Eternal Sky trilogy. Shattered Pillars is a novel of crumblimg empire, necromancy, Rukhs, Djinni, ghulim, Wizards, tiger-warriors, martial monks, and magic ponies set in a fantasy realm inspired by the cultures, sweep, and breadth of our own world's Silk Road and the Asian steppe. Thrills, chills, buildering, war crimes, and did I mention magic ponies?

(Goodreads page)

You can read an excerpt here, at You can read Brit Mandelo's review here, also at And you can read Marissa Lingen's review here at her livejournal.

Shattered Pillars received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist and rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and Romantic Times. (details here)

Range of Ghosts, first in the series, is a Tiptree Honor Book, a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award nominee for Best Epic Fantasy, and the first printing sold out in under a week.

To order Shattered Pillars online:

(Amazon) (Barnes & Noble) (Powell's) (Mysterious Galaxy)

It is, of course, available where ever fine pixels are pushed--or, for that matter, pages.

But wait! That's not all!

It's also launch day for the Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling edited Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, a Gaslamp Fantasy anthology with an amazing Table of Contents:

(Goodreads Page)

Speaking of that ToC, here it is:

Preface                                                           Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Introduction: Fantasy, Magic, and
Fairyland in Nineteenth-Century England       Terri Windling
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells”                  Delia Sherman
“The Fairy Enterprise”                                    Jeffrey Ford
“From the Catalogue of the Pavilion
of the Uncanny and Marvelous,
Scheduled for Premiere at the
Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)”                  Genevieve Valentine
“The Memory Book”                                       Maureen McHugh
“La Reine d’Enfer”                                           Kathe Koja
“For the Briar Rose”                                       Elizabeth Wein
“The Governess”                                            Elizabeth Bear
“Smithfield”                                                    James P. Blaylock
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey”                 Kaaron Warren
“Charged”                                                       Leanna Renee Hieber
“Mr. Splitfoot”                                                Dale Bailey
“Phosphorus”                                                 Veronica Schanoes
“We Without Us Were Shadows”                     Catherynne M. Valente
“The Vital Importance of the Superficial”       Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer
“The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown”         Jane Yolen
“A Few Twigs He Left Behind”                        Gregory Maguire
“Their Monstrous Minds”                               Tanith Lee
“Estella Saves the Village”                              Theodora Goss

...So I'm in an anthology with Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, and Ellen Kushner. How did this get to be my life again?

Here is Terri Windling's post on the book. and here are starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. (Somebody must have given Kirkus a lollipop. They're never this nice!)

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is available through the usual suspects (Barnes and Noble) (Amazon) and wherever fine pixels are pushed... or fine pages, for that matter.

*UK launch day is April 15. We Apologize For The Inconvenience.

bad girls firefighters

All about West Nile virus, and what they don't tell you on TV.

So last summer, between 4th Street and ConVergence, I got fucking sick.

I was at scott_lynch's place, far from home, and I started having lower GI pain. felt like gas. Bad gas. Really, really hurty, incapacitating gas.

Okay, says I. I can deal with gas.

Then it started to really hurt. I mean, really hurt. For reference, over the years, I have had chronic kidney infections, giardiasis, and dry sockets after my wisdom teeth were extracted. This did not hurt as much as those things did.

But it was one tier down. 

We wondered if it was appendicitis, and if I should go to the E.R. (For your amusement, this was after I had enrolled in Romneycare, after moving to Massachusetts, but before it kicked in, so going to the E.R. was nontrivial.) But I had no fever. And the pain came and went in waves.

So it probably wasn't appendicitis, or nephritis... and the pain didn't localize... which admittedly it didn't when I had nephritis as a kid either, until the very end.... but I was only somewhat nauseated. And when I had nephritis... well.

You have never seen such puking. And I was running a fever of 103, which was not the case now.

Back then, I could not keep down water. Ginger ale. Last summer, I could keep food down. I just didn't want to eat anything.

And I remember that pain from when I was a kid. And this was nothing close. I could do things other than whimper, for example.

(Incapacitating pain is really dehumanizing, by the way.)

So this was not that bad, and we decided to ride it out and see what happened, and be ready to go to the E.R. on a moment's notice.

And then I started having shaking chills. Rigors. Little House on the Prairie style agues. Fucking medieval shit, shaking so hard I could not talk, could not crawl to the bathroom. I had muscle aches, weakness, loss of appetite... that point, Scott figured out what was going on. He wandered into the bedroom and said triumphantly, "You have West Nile!"

Reader, I was enlightened. I'd looked at the differential on a couple of sites, but most of them leave out the fucking GI symptoms. Which were primary with me until the shaking started.

It turns out that most cases are subclinical, and the vast majority of those that aren't mirror my experience. Although usually, there is a fever to go between the rigors. (They hurt. If I ever have to write one, I Know Things now.)

Well, we could have gone to the ER, but both Scott and I have some medical knowledge, and in the absence of symptoms of encephalitis and meningitis, there was really no point. So we determined to watch for those, or a dangerous fever, and ride it out at home.


And now I have health insurance, for which I pay about $250.00/month. And I also have a limited immunity to West Nile, which I paid for the hard way.

And you know, if you wind up catching it this summer, maybe you'll figure it out faster than I did.

And this is why I think Obamacare is awesome, and a single payer system would be even better, and why I hope you, too, will have access to decent health care soon if you do not already.
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