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Archive for March, 2007

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Writing Sample

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Inspired by Jason Stoddard’s advise on marketing and promotion for SF writers, I recently took a look at my homepage.


I knew there was a reason why I didn’t put that URL on my moo cards. However, I thought that reason was the lousy layout and design, not the wee elephant that pops up when the page is loaded in IE (being a Mozilla/Firefox user, I never noticed it before).

Does Easyspace actively try to turn people off their services? Have they seen my homepage? If I was them, I’d be quiet about it, although their banner is possibly uglier than the site itself.

I’m currently looking into alternative hosting services and into getting that ugly site spruced up in time for Worldcon. Meanwhile, ECHOES OF CREATION, my 2005 NaNovel, will be posted here (in instalments). Have a peek if you’re bored—or looking for an alternative to slitting your wrists.

Knitting for Peace

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Knitting for Peace

I’m not gonna live this down…

There we were on this freezing morning, sitting by the entrance of our very own Friendly Neighbourhood Atomic Weapons Facility, knitting.

Parliament voted last Wednesday to replace Trident. We knew—the building work for the new Orion laser and supercomputing facility started a long time ago.

Slow Cooking Day…

Monday, March 12th, 2007

So I let my husband do the weekly shopping as I was away on a writers’ meeting on Saturday. Naturally, he returned with a joint of pork, bacon, sausages, a red cabbage, a bag of green kale and—an oxtail.


Try as I might, green kale and red cabbage clash, horribly. But I’m currently slow-frying one of the butcher’s enormous sausages (they take a good half-hour to cook) and it gave me an idea. Colcannon is essentially mashed potato with green kale. It complements sausages and onions perfectly. To underline the slight bitterness already present in this dish, I’d colour ordinary onions instead of slowly caramelising the red kind to the consistence of jam. I’ll be boiling the kale shortly, but this dinner will actually happen on Wednesday, after we’ve finished the roast pork and that damn oxtail that was taking up too much room in the freezer. So, first the oxtail.

(It is my hope that eating fatty dishes with mashed potatoes for three days in a row will put off my hubby from buying more stodgy winter food during this beautiful spring we’re having. Roll on steamed fish and salad…)
[read on]

Canada Bound

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Just when I was wondering whether I get to do any more travelling before Worldcon (there is the small matter of having to finish the first draft of my novel by then…), John suggested that I’ll tag along to the 16th International WWW Conference on May 8-12 in Banff, Canada.

This will be the first time I’m attending a conference purely as a spouse, but what the heck, the internet has gone above my head from around the time cascading style sheets and XML came around. Instead of attending boring lectures, I’ll be off to the national park. Heck—the place has snow in May! I wonder if I still remember how to ski…

Red Moon

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

Photo by Photoshop-Master Mute

Whoopsie, I changed the photo because my first choice wasn’t CC licenced—don’t shoot me! The above shot is more awesome anyway! I wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t searched for CC only shots, so there.

Yesterday saw the best lunar eclipse in three years and, as if by miracle, the skies over SE England cleared.

For a brief moment, I wondered what all those funny white dots in the sky were. But then I turned around to face the moon, which was passing slowly into Earth shadow, taking on a red hue as its light was diffracted through the atmosphere. The final glint of undiffracted moonlight around the rim gave it a sheen, like a pearl. I felt strangely disconcerted by the lack of the familiar white, lunar face. Suddenly, the moon looked round, a ball suspended in space. It was like looking at another planet in an alien sky. The dim light made the maria stand out like continents on another world.

It was a haunting experience; wonderful but a little scary. Part of me was relieved when the moon passed out of Earth shadow and, soon after, the clouds drew back in.