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Elizabeth Bear announces that One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King novel will finally be released this summer! I’m so excited I can hardly wait! I’ve loved Jack ever since I read the short story. When I heard Bear was writing a full-length novel, I ran to get in line.

You can read Bear’s announcement here: http://www.elizabethbear.com/?p=2133

And it’s available for preorder here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1607014068/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER (at least I presume it’s the same book. It’s still showing the old cover).

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So I fell off the wagon on Wednesday, when it became apparent that if I wanted to complete the sekrit needlework project in time to get it to the recipient before Christmas, I’d have to work full time and then some on the stitching, putting Crows aside. The needlework didn’t absolutely have to be finished; I could have worked on it over the summer and sent it for next Christmas. It’s a surprise, so the recipient wasn’t going to be disappointed about something she didn’t know was coming.

But I’d know, and I’d be disappointed. So I pushed hard and got it done — put it in FedEx Express about an hour ago.

So I’m behind on the writing. And I don’t care :D.

I’ll post a photo of the needlework project later, after it’s been received. After all this, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

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One of the problems with keeping this blog up to date is that when I’m doing interesting things that I’d like to write about, I don’t have time to post. I took my smartphone on the Tuesday-Wednesday hiking trip, but after the hike Tuesday I was too tired to do anything but crash after dinner. I didn’t even stay up for fireplace and goodies with our friends.

Wednesday morning I woke up pretty early — it’s hard to sleep in with the sun shining in your tent — and when I came out of the bathroom, I found this lovely lady waiting for her turn:

luna moth

We saw this luna moth just sitting outside the women’s bathroom in the morning


I didn’t go on the Wednesday hike with Neil; it was longer and more strenuous than I was up for. Instead, I spent the day with my watercolors at Silver Cascade. I really like the way it turned out:

Silver Cascade 20 June 2012

watercolor of Silver Cascade in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

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Mentors

Artists are always studying with other artists, it seems. Beginners study under more advanced instructors, of course, but good artists find even better artists to work with. Often this isn’t a formal teacher-pupil relationship but rather an association of friends, or associates who become friends.

For example, Mary Cassatt worked with Edgar Degas, even though the curmudgeonly Degas had a low opinion of woman painters. Degas believed the artist should live and work alone, but he nevertheless studied etching with his friend Ludovic-NapolĂ©on Lepic, one of the original Impressionists noted for his skill with etchings Lepic’s etching of his dog Chaos). Lepic was also a skilled marine painter (The Wrecked Boat) who worked with Eugene Boudin, (The Beach at Villerville), who in turn was a mentor to young Claude Monet and let his name and prestige to the first Impressionist counter-salon even though he himself didn’t exhibit in it.

Writers have mentors, too, of course — people we turn to for feedback and advice. But too often I hear writers talking as if the only thing a mentor could do for them is introduce them to their agent. It seems like writers aren’t prone to work together the way artists are. You don’t very often hear a writer say, “I’m not very good at dialogue, so I’m going to spend the summer working with Joe Blow. His dialogue is just the bomb.”

I suspect the reasons are partly economic. It’s expensive being an artist — studio space, model fees, and all the rest add up, and it’s not surprising artists learn to work together in order to spread out the cost. Even introverted artists learn to work in groups.

And part of it seems to stem from the structured nature of education in the US. Joe Blow won’t have a bunch of young writers following him around day to day, but he might well be teaching summer seminars in how to write dialogue, or evening classes about fiction writing. Beginning writers will take classes, or buy books. We almost never work one on one.

I don’t know that one way is better than the other. But every time I sit down to write the morning after art class, I feel the difference rather sharply.

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hiking day

Saturday we got up at three in the morning to head to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where Neil led a hike over Bondcliff and the Bonds and out via Zealand Hut, around 20 miles. I dropped them off at the Lincoln Woods visitor center shortly before 7, then drove around via Twin Mountain and up Zealand Road to the end of the trail. Then I hiked in the 2.7 miles to the hut, where I spent a lovely day by the cascades, alternately soaking my feet and dozing in the sun. I brought my pastels and had thoughts of drawing, but…no, just vegging.

Neil and his friends got there just before 5 and we all hiked out together, then drove over to the Woodstock Inn (in Woodstock NH, of course) where we had a lovely supper before heading home. I drove, with three zonked-out hikers snoring away.

We were both pretty wiped out yesterday. I only hiked around 6 miles on easy trails, but that’s still fairly long for me. And it was pretty hot. And on very little sleep.

Today’s much better. Amazing what sleep can do!

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fun read

A fun short story from my friend Chris: Murder Most Fowl

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