I Don’t Know What the Weather Is Doing Where You Are

But where I am, in far northern New Hampshire, it’s snowing.  Again.

We’re under a winter storm warning until 2AM, and it’s been snowing with steady determination since mid-morning. And even after the storm warning has passed, the weather forecast is still calling for snow every day until the weekend.

To which I can only say, “Enough, already!”

This is the sort of weather that takes all of my get-up-and-go and stuffs it into a sack and throws it into a snowbank.

But I have editing jobs to work on, so once more into the breach . . . .

For Your Amusement

Found elsewhere on the web:  Winnie-the-Pooh Noir.

Meanwhile, it’s domain-renewal time again for the Doyle and Macdonald web site, where there can be found links to all sorts of things, including sample chapters from most of our novels and a contact link for our agent, plus a lot of other stuff.  Donations toward its upkeep – because web hosting doesn’t come for free – can be made via the Buy Me a Coffee link in the sidebar here.

What’s Happening This Weekend, Dr. Doyle?

Winter-Faire-2018-Poster-and-Postcard

What’s happening this weekend on March 3 is that my spouse and co-author, Jim Macdonald, is going to be doing his stage magic at the Vermont Winter Faire in Essex Junction, Vermont.  This is an indoor faire, being held at the Champlain Valley Exposition event center.

Once again, he’ll be doing walkaround magic all day; this time, he’ll also be doing a stage performance at 2:30 PM.

If you’re in the area, come by and give him (and all the other vendors and performers) a look!

Today’s Bit of Linguistic Amusement

From Texas Monthly online, a discussion of the phrase “fair to middlin’” (as in, “How’re you doin’?” “Oh, fair to middlin’ – can’t complain”), which wanders through the Texas cotton patch, the Texas oil patch, cotton-grading systems in Liverpool and cotton mills in Lancashire, the rivalry between Midland and Odessa, and the transatlantic popularity of country music.

This sort of thing is, as they say, my jam.

Food for Plot

While idly mousing about the internet the other day, I followed a link to this page, which is all about an artist in Texas who’s been re-imagining images of classic Western heroes using female models, with awesome results:

And my thought, instantly, was “Damn, I want to read the books that those are the covers for!”  Because behind every powerful image is a good story.

Peeve of the Day

Because I have cabin fever, and cabin fever makes me peevish.

(It also makes me want to listen to Stan Rogers’s “Canol Road” on infinite repeat, but that’s another story.)

And my peeve today is this:  If you’re going to enrich your prose with Latin tags and Latinate derivatives, for heaven’s sake at least get the spelling right.  I’ve already blogged about the annoying practice of spelling the Latin phrase per se (“by itself; in and of itself) as per say – which is what it sounds like, granted, but which is still just plain wrong.  Today I’d like to rant for a little while about another couple of frequently-misspelled Latin bits: memento and in memoriam.  They both go back, ultimately, to an Indo-European root word meaning “mind” or “thought,” but after that they part ways.

Memento is by now a fully-acculturated English word, as it were, meaning “a keepsake or souvenir” – a thing that exists to be a reminder of something.  The original Latin form of the word is derived from the verb meminisse, “to remember”, and it is spelled memento-with-an-e, not momento-with-an-o.

In memoriam is a Latin phrase meaning “in memory [of something].”  It’s spelled memoriam-with-an-a, not memorium-with-a-u, because memoria is a first declension Latin noun, and first declension nouns end in -a for the nominative case (the form that is the subject of a sentence) and in -am for the accusative case (the form that is, among other things, the object of the preposition in.)

I don’t necessarily expect every writer in the world to remember this every time, but I’m afraid that I do expect it of every copyeditor, on the grounds that copyeditors are supposed to know these things.

Well, Damn.

Ursula K. Le Guin is dead.

As far as my own native field of sf/fantasy goes, she was one of the giants in the earth.  The Left Hand of Darkness was groundbreaking, and it’s the book that’s getting namechecked in the obits, though I personally liked The Dispossessed  better.  (She depicted the only fictional utopia I could actually imagine existing – not one that I would want to live in even if you paid me, but one that I could believe might be real.)  As for her fantasy – I read A Wizard of Earthsea during the summer between my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college, and it made the top of my head come off.

Good-bye, Ursula, and thanks.  It was an honor to share a genre with you.

It’s Been a While

So what have I been doing?

Shivering, a lot of the time:

The last week of December and the first week or so of January were brutal up here – a solid stretch of subzero temperatures.  (I lie a little; the temperature got all the way up to 3°F for about an hour one afternoon.)  Everything froze.  The electric baseboard heating did its damnedest, but was totally unequal to the task. I spent most of the time huddled in the office, that being the warmest room in the house, for values of “warm” that weren’t, not really.

Struggling with a crumbling household infrastructure, a lot of the time:

The plumbing, as mentioned above.

My elderly desktop computer, which was new in 2011 and by the end of 2017 was groaning under the strain of going from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, and which – just as the subzero cold was easing up – went in a few days from slow-but-functional to functional-in-name-only.  It was like watching a wall crumble, brick by brick.  Finally I gave up and moved my vital work and household programs over to my laptop, which is much younger and herkier than my desktop.

The auto, which went from burning oil a bit faster than we’d like to burning through all its oil and blowing the engine at shortly before midnight on Route 3 just south of Franconia Notch, while we were on the way home from what had been, all things considered, a pretty good Arisia.  We ended up spending two nights in an inexpensive hotel in Lincoln (Parker’s Motel, for whose whose kindness to stranded travelers I am exceedingly grateful), before ultimately getting a tow the rest of the way back to Colebrook so we could put the car into the hands of our local auto shop.

The dishwasher, which responded to the subzero weather by freezing up, and which now is refusing to drain.

The oven, which has a burned-out heating element.  That, at least, is a cheap fix.  I just need to order the part.  But the way life has been this month, I haven’t yet gotten around to it.  But I will, real soon now, because I’m tired of cycling through my stove-top, Foreman grill, and slow-cooker recipes.  I want to make lasagna, or enchiladas, or scallopped potatoes, or roasted chicken.

So that’s my month so far.  How about yours?

Two More Days

Just a quick reminder that my seasonal winter sale ends at midnight on the 5th.

In other news, it’s cold up here.  And if you’re living in the continental United States, or in Canada, it’s probably cold where you are, too.  (It’s probably also cold in northern Europe and Asia, but I don’t know if it’s unseasonably so.  If it is, here’s some profound fellow-feeling coming at you from the northern end of New Hampshire.)  In any case, here are a trio of blog posts about surviving, and driving, in extreme winter weather conditions: Cold Blows the Wind Today, Fimbul Winter, and Dashing Through the Snow.

This is the kind of weather that inspired the cautionary tale of Young Charlotte, who thought that a silk-lined cloak would be proof against hypothermia on a fifteen-mile sleigh ride on New Year’s Eve.  She was, alas, fatally wrong.

Happy New Year!

New Year

May the good parts of 2017 stay with us, and may the bad parts recede quickly in the rear-view mirror.

And may 2018 bring all of the good things that we need, and a fair share of the good things we may not need but would like to have anyway, because a little fun and frivolity are good for the soul.

(The best advice my father ever gave me was, “As long as nobody’s getting hurt, ‘just for fun’ is a perfectly valid reason for doing anything.”  My mother, more practical, said, “Make your bed first thing in the morning after you get out of it, or you’ll never make it all day.”  They were both right.)