Happy Banned Books Week!
It's a grey, quiet Saturday here. Everyone's off doing stuff: it's just me and the dogs.
On Thursday, Sharon and Bill Stiteler came over and we checked the hives and started to feed them. We have six hives right now - two Italians (doing brilliantly in comparison with everyone else after a late start and a lousy year - we even had a super full of honey), two Carniolans (doing okay) and two Russian hives (one may or may not survive even a mild winter, one has a solid chance). We came back to the house.
Sharon Stiteler started making noises. Normally when Sharon makes noises, it means that something exciting has been spotted, and it's generally to do with birds.
A merlin had taken a red-bellied woodpecker from one of my birdfeeders, and was eating it in front of the house.
Here's a photo I took of the merlin. Sharon tells the whole story, with many photos and explanation of, among other things, how she knew it was a lady merlin over at her blog: http://www.birdchick.com/wp/2011/09/merlin-vs-red-bellied-woodpecker/
Yesterday I decided to get some beeswax from the buckets of slumgullion in the garage. It took three tries to figure out how to do it correctly, but I now have a pie-dish filled with clean, perfect, butter-yellow beeswax, smelling faintly of honey, and know how to get it right for next time.
No idea what to do with the wax, mind. But at least it won't get thrown out.
Today I'm proofreading. The Little Gold Book Of Ghastly Stuff for Borderlands Press comes out very soon, and they emailed me over the pdfs last night. It's a really sweet little collection, almost entirely from the last decade: two poems, four stories (including, for the first time anywhere, the complete version of my first ever published short story, "Featherquest", published in 1984, cut by half on its first appearance and never reprinted. Do not get overly excited: it isn't very good), two oddments, four articles, a couple of speeches, a few book reviews and suchlike. I signed the 500 limitation pages last week. Then Borderlands discovered that too many people had ordered the signed edition and asked me if I would give my permission for them to overrun the print-run and sell some unsigned, un-numbered copies, to make the people who ordered copies they didn't have happy, and I said yes.
The unsigned copies have not yet sold out, although they will probably go very soon after I put this up. There's only ever going to be one printing of this, so, if you want a copy, head over to http://www.borderlandspress.com/littlegold.html and order one now. Bizarrely, it costs more to mail it internationally than the book costs (four times as much if you want to internationally Fedex it).
I do not enjoy proofreading.
And I need to go back to it.
Before I do, here is a Bill Stiteler film of me shaking bees off a frame of honey or three on Thursday:
And I need to close some tabs, so...
A link to the the Society of Authors website to explain a bit more about the short story tweet thingummy they are doing, and in which I am participating: http://www.societyofauthors.org/soa-news/society-authors-launch-short-story-tweet-thon-soatale. I wrote something that should have been a blog entry here for the Guardian and felt guilty about it, but suspected I might be reaching more Radio 4 listeners. Here is the link to me talking about why I love short stories and why:
The CBLDF has started this year's membership drive with some amazing donation incentives. You should still get your $25 membership, which will get you in to CBLDF events and help fund Free Speech in comics, but this year they are offering things like lunch with famous and important comics people, portfolio reviews and suchlike. (Lunch with me in New York has already gone. Two lunches to go...) Details at http://cbldf.org/homepage/be-counted/
P Craig Russell has written a blog about the creation of Sandman 50 at http://www.artofpcraigrussell.com/?p=588
My favourite photos are these from the Atlantic showing New York in the 1940s. They are in colour, which somehow changes everything. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/09/in-the-throes-of-creation-color-photos-of-new-york-in-the-1940s/244498/#slide1
Amanda Palmer talks to USA Today about her Evelyn Evelyn graphic novel, while Cynthia Von Buhler explains and demonstrates her art methods.
I saw Tori last week in LA for a wonderful happy-sad evening of red wine and catching up, and she gave me a copy of Night of Hunters, her new CD. It's become my favourite thing of hers in the last decade - I am playing it much too much. It's haunting, and her daughter, my fairy goddaughter Tash sings on several tracks, something that could have gone so very wrong and didn't. Here's a link to a Tori Interview, with a video for one of the songs (in which you will see the house in which I wrote much of Anansi Boys and in which I finished American Gods, and in which you will see Tash).
And finally, as anyone who has been on Google has noticed (have you puppetted the Google Doodle? No? Quick. Go and doodle with it) today would have been Jim Henson's Birthday.
(I've been given a lot of honours in my life, but I am not sure that there is anything I am prouder of than this one.
And here's a video about the Doodle in question...
Okay. Proofreading time. Wish me luck.