Monthly Archives: May 2009

Gaiman stamps/mini stories

Copied from Neil Gaiman’s blog, because this is insanely cool if you like stamps, mythology, or Gaiman:

I mentioned here before that Dave McKean painted some Royal Mail stamps based around the myths of the British Isles. They look like this:


(The last one, of a Mab-like fairy, was originally going to be a banshee, but then someone realised that the first time someone got a letter telling them bad news, in an envelope with a banshee stamp on it, it would be seen as a Stamp of Ill-Omen.)

The Royal Mail asked me to do something to go along with them, and seeing that I get very requests from Royal organizations, I agreed: my job was to write VERY short stories, one for each stamp, for the presentation pack. And my self-assigned job while I did it was to try and make the stories, the images and the stamps peculiarly British — why a fire-breathing Dragon rather than a good English Wyrm? And how do I get British with Unicorns?

The Royal Mail have just put the stamps (and the presentation pack, and the First Day Covers) on sale for pre-orders. Wherever you are in the world, you can order it from them directly: Lots of lovely Dave McKean art, some of it much bigger than stamp size.

This is the link to the presentation pack.

This is the link to the whole Mythical Creatures area of the website.

And on Twitter I learned that the Royal Mail solution, if anyone asks, is to enter US phone # as follows: 01 0 617 1234567. (I assume that the 01 would be whatever your local country code would be if you are not in the US.)

Steampunk Costume Video Tour

Had to share:

It’s starting to be finished…and you know what that means – I’ll shortly have time to begin working on my “Elizabeth Bennet Zombie Slayer” costume!

For more pics, and a making-of dress diary, check out my costume website:

Happy Things I’ve Discovered Today

First of all….

Dollhouse has been renewed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I hardly dared let myself become attached to this show, so certain was I of its early demise.   But now life is all shiny.

Second, we found one of these in our yard:


A little internet research told me it’s a Long Toed Salamander.  According to the experts, it’s common in WA State.  Who knew, because I’ve certainly never seen one before!  I love little squirmy reptiley things; one of the highlights of my trip to Florida was all the teeny little lizards that scurried everywhere.  It really surprised me to find a salamander in my front yard, though, because I thought they required nearby ponds, and we haven’t got one.  We are extremely lacking in water; we haven’t even got a convenient ditch.

Thirdly, read this:

I wonder if this will give George RR Martin a little incentive to finish the series.  I mean, what’s going to happen, if he can’t write faster than HBO can film?  Do they get to make up their own ending, or what?

And yeah, I realize that’s usually what happens anyway.  Sigh. (Despite the sigh, still happy.)

The Tweet of Disappearing Authors

I was doing my daily check of author Neil Gaiman’s blog (for those of you who don’t know, he’s funny, witty, very down-to-earth, and his blog is frequently charming in a number of different ways), and discovered he’d answered an interesting letter from a fan.

The fan wanted to know if Neil thought that author George RR Martin was breaking faith with his fans by not publishing (as of yet) the next book in Martin’s epic series.  The fan wanted to know whether – in this age of Twitter, blogs, and Facebook – George RR Martin has a responsibility to keep his fans informed on his writing progress.

Neil’s answer (short version):  George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.

Which made me laugh, because while I too am awaiting the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m also a writer.  And I understand how these things go, how you can’t always put a noose around your muse’s neck and drag her to your laptop.  And I can only imagine how annoying all those rabid fan emails must be, baying for the blood of your next-born novel.

But still.  If an author has made the effort to reach out to his fans via a blog or tweets, and if he knows he’s waaaay past his publishing deadline, wouldn’t it be at least common courtesy to let the fans know what’s happening?  I haven’t been following George RR Martin’s blog all that much, so I really don’t know what he’s done to notify the fans, but I’m thinking of another author here: Scott Lynch (whose book I am honestly more excited about than Martin’s).  Scott built up a relationship with his fans, answered letters, replied to comments on his livejournal, and then missed two book deadlines and…dropped off the face of the earth.  Completely gone.  As in nothing left to Google.

I really, really, don’t think I’m asking him to be my bitch because I’d like to know whether he’s still alive.  If he’s got personal stuff going on, fine.  He doesn’t have to go into detail – or any sort of detail at all.  But a brief note saying he’s alive would be nice.  Which, yes, he finally did – two years after his infamous hungover livejournal post (which led to all sorts of speculation that he had dropped of alcohol poisoning, that he had fallen to WarCrack, and all sorts of even more outlandish fates).

So please, to you authors out there with personal traumas, stubborn muses, or general visibility issues….just a little tweet next time before you disappear?

My Garden in Early May

Spent a good share of yesterday out working in the garden.  Why do I even use the word ‘work’?  If it were work I wouldn’t do it.  It’s fun.  It’s delightful. It’s loverly.  Even killing slugs is better than not being out in the garden killing slugs…

So here’s a tour of my garden (minus the slugs):


Above is a view from my back door, including my dog Jacks.  (She’s trying to look nonchalant, as if she isn’t thinking about eating earthworms and black beetles.)  The white arches are brand-new, and yet to be filled with climbers.


Camera slightly rotated.  The square white arch leads into our “circle garden”, which a little later in the season will be overwhelmed with purple clematis and apricot-colored roses.


The barrel is where my cat, Poo, sleeps on hot afternoons.  The old ladder doubles as a trellis.  I think I’ll grow beans up it this year.  To the left, is my white bleeding heart, and just behind it, my pink bleeding heart (see below pic).



One of my many garden paths. The wire fence to the left is where we eventually will house our chickens.


Above is the “rose garden”.  It’s packed with roses, foxglove, and peonies a little later.  Right now the violas are in bloom underneath the bench!


The “circle garden”, looking from the back of our yard toward our house.  It’s not fully planted in yet.


Above is the “herb garden” in front, and further back, under the little honeysuckle tree, is the “woodland garden”.  The window you see on the right, is actually my studio window.  While I costume or sculpt dolls, I can watch the hummingbirds and squirrels.  The herb garden is looking a little sorry this time of year, since I just cut all the old growth down.


One of my woodland flowers, the white anemone.  Love these guys!  They spread every year and the slugs don’t touch them.


The pathway under my studio window, wild strawberries to the left, potting bench straight ahead.  Lots of bare dirt this time of year.  That’s an excuse to go to the Nursery tomorrow!

Lord of the Rings

I’m a total fan, so imagine my delight when I discovered this:


It’s a new film by fans for fans…and the trailers look absolutely gorgeous!  If I had seen them unknowing what they were, I would have assumed I was seeing clips from Peter Jackson’s film.  The cast and crew are doing this purely for love of Tolkien, using their own funds, and without being paid.  And best of all, the finished 40min film is going to be released for free onto the internet on May 3rd.