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Friday 5 - reading & writing & photos, oh my!
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1. One of the best things about being on the Norton jury has been the fact that I've been forced to read a whole bunch of books that aren't natural picks for me. I spent yesterday reading TIM: Defender of the Earth, by Sam Enthoven, which is a book full of smack-down fights in the middle of London between a giant, semi-intelligent tyrannosaurus (Tim) and an even larger creature, half-cockroach, half-man. Big Ben ends up getting used as a weapon. The whole thing is enormously silly and very, very fun and funny (and really clever in the way it plays with B-movie tropes), and I never would have picked it up off the bookshelf if I hadn't been on the jury...and I can't wait to read it to Mr Darcy in about 10 years. It's by far the single book I've read so far that is most ideal for 10-year-old boys!

2. The book I'm reading today is another Norton read that I would never have picked up on my own: Zoe's Tale, by John Scalzi. I've never read any Scalzi before, but I'd heard him described as "the new Robert Heinlein". Sadly (and this feels a bit like sacrilege in the SF community!), I was never actually a fan of the original Heinlein, which is why I'd avoided Scalzi's books until now. That turns out to have been a big mistake. Despite a few minor quibbles (honestly, anyone who voluntarily joins a colony named "Roanoke" has only themselves to blame when things inevitably go wrong!), I am really loving Zoe's Tale so far. It's fast-paced and fun but has a strong emotional underpinning; the teenaged heroine is smart-assed and strong in a perfectly believable way; and it's got a really excellent sense of wonder throughout. I'm planning to catch up on his adult novels next, once I finish my Norton reading.

3. I'm about 5,000 words into Kat by Ghostlight, I'm having a lot of fun with it...and, curses! (As Kat would say.) I've just realized that one of my crit partners was right, last August, when she suggested that I make a small but significant change to the ending of Kat by Starlight. Sigh. When I first read her suggestion, right after finishing up version 1.2, my first, instinctive reaction was: but that would be too hard! - which was, of course, followed by a quick stream of rationalizations about why it wasn't really a good idea after all...which mostly had to do with the fact that that change would have all sorts of emotional consequences for Kat and for the series...which, in other words, all points to the fact that it was a really good idea. I am really, really lucky in my friends, and occasionally, given enough time to let an idea sink in, I am even smart enough to take their advice. Thank you, Jenn!!!!!

4. I have been feeling ridiculously nervous about getting an author photo taken for Kat by Moonlight. I guess I probably would be nervous about it anyway, but right now, the facts that I haven't yet lost all my pregnancy weight AND that I'm exhausted and truly look it, are adding up to a serious case of nerves. Luckily, my friend Justina needs a new author photo for her own awesome SF/fantasy series, so we've agreed to get them done together. I can't even express just how much happier this makes me feel about the whole thing! We're going to get our hair done first and help each other with our makeup, and the whole thing is suddenly taking on an air of total girly fun that I could never have imagined beforehand. Now I just have to figure out what kind of photo I actually want. (Justina asked me that question, and I said, "Ummm....a nice one????")

5. Tomorrow I have to go find a new top to wear for the photo - i.e., something designed for me to look my best, rather than something designed for easy baby-nursing. It's a pretty radical concept nowadays - and it'll be my first time clothes-shopping with MrD (although, thank goodness, Patrick will also be with me). Wish me luck!

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