Log in

hijhinckx's Journal

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3:11PM - Rainforest Writers Village 2009

Third year there. Great to see "old" faces and meet new ones! 

Wrote 18,500 words of my novel, then went home and added another 1600 that night. Wow! We really need to do this more often; I'm far more productive there than anywhere else (though I have written another 4500 this week, and it's only Wednesday). At this rate, I might actually finish this month.....(contemplates freaking out, not being able to adequately imagine this thing finally being DONE.)

On the upside, I've already got the first 27K on the sequel finished (the lone advantage of moving 27K words from the first novel to the second :). That's the stuff I worked on there last year.

Also had a grand time with everybody there. Where else can you have snowball fights, attend a clown wedding and reception, hear pieces of a dozen as-yet-unpublished-but-generally-fabulous novels and short stories, and try a dozen different scotches and several mixed drinks for free? All while never wandering more than 200 yards from my bed?

Current mood: busy

Friday, January 2, 2009

8:01PM - Wow - 2009 already...

Haven't posted in forever - about the same length of time since I wrote on my novel (sigh). Went through a start-up job experience (3 months and they were bought out and I didn't get an offer from the new company - luckily my old team at Microsoft was really happy to take me back. :-).

Went to Cancun with another couple over early October. Very nice, though our resort was too big, so I won't be staying there again. We got to put baby sea turtles in the water, saw Chichen Itza and Akumal, did a lot of swimming (mostly pools), and ate some awesome food.

Then Scott was sent back to Barcelona in early Nov, so I joined him after the election and we spent 3+ days in the Picos de Europa (HIGHLY recommended), 1.5 days in the Basque Region (great food, haunted area), and 4+ DELIGHTFUL days on Eivissa (aka Ibiza). It was off-season, and we stayed at an agroturismo about 8 min from downtown Ibiza town, in the midst of an orange grove (fresh oranges for breakfast!). We were the only people there all four nights - had our own staff. It was awesome! I could live on that island - I think I am beginning to see why the Mediterranean islands have always been fought over and favored for relaxing vacations.... :-).

Then off to Alabama to visit the folks for Christmas, and back to Seattle for New Year's Eve. I am pooped and glad the holidays are over!!!! Welcome 2009~!.

Current mood: awake

Monday, April 21, 2008

1:45AM - Wow! I got postings! :)

I've never gotten postings before. That, combined with being painfully busy at work the last several weeks has kept me from even logging in.

So nice to see notes from some Rainforest folks! Glad to hear from you! :-)

Hope your writing is going well. I've only written maybe 2000 words since the retreat (yikes!)


Current mood: cheerful

Sunday, March 9, 2008

11:15PM - Rainforest Writer's Village 2008

Had a reasonably productive and definitely fun time at the Rainforest Writer's Retreat. Enjoyed seeing folks there from last year, and meeting and getting to know the new ones.

I hope I actually do bump into at least a few of the folks who are coming to NorWescon. That con is getting so big it's difficult to find anyone.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

11:19PM - Trip to Turkey and Catalonia - November 4, 2007 - Day 1 - Istanbul

Went to Turkey for eight days back in early November, followed by 7 days in Barcelona (second time there).

LOVED Turkey. Can't wait to go back.

Spent 4 days in old Istanbul, one in Konya (to see Rumi's shrine and the town in general), two and a half in Cappadocia (HIGHLY recommended) and one in Izmir/Ephesus. Then on to Barcelona for the Microsoft TechEd Conference my husband attended while I walked around and played in the greater Barcelona area (oh, and had a heck of a time finding a place to do our laundry).

DAY 1: Arrival and Whirling Dervishes

Arrive in Istanbul mid-morning after straight flight from NYC. Am told in airport I could pass for a Turkish woman, but the husband is American at 100+ yards.

The lira is not much less than the USD, which is disappointing, but then the USD drops any time I leave the country, so it's kind of expected. Turkey has been having a horrid drought as well; heavy clouds are already in evidence when we land (I tend to bring rain, too).

We're so tired by the time we get to our pension in the Sultanahmet neighborhood (Hotel Tashkonak - small rooms, nice staff, tasty Turkish breakfast, decent location, but right next to a mosque) that we eat a quick breakfast (included in the hotel rate) then fall asleep in our clothes and only wake when the evening call to prayer blasts through our open windows from next door (no need for an alarm clock at the Hotel Tashkonak unless you are a seriously heavy sleeper).
Istanbul Train Station
We arrange to have a taxi drive us to the Orient Express train station for an evening whirling dervish demonstration, but the traffic is so awful it takes almost an hour to drive the 1.5 or so miles (we only took the cab because it was about to rain and we were running a tad late), so we miss that performance, buy tickets for the later one, then wander around the still-active train station taking pics of the beautiful stained glass windows and architecture of this terminal end of the famous Orient Express run, until hunger drives us to find a kabob house for dinner, then race back to make the late dervish performance.

The performance is very interesting. Rumi (Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī), who lived in what is now Turkey for much of his life in the 13th century, is not only the greatest Persian poet of all time, and one of the greatest of all Sufi saints, he founded what is now known as the Mevlana order - a "branch" of Islamic-based Sufism that is most famous for the whirling dance of the order's dervishes, or seekers.

I informally study the Sufi Way through books, I have no teacher :(, but from what I've read, the whirling dervishes have merely continued and codified (ritualized) a process Rumi created specifically for the group of disciples he had while he was living in Central Anatolia. Sufis have a saying about "right time, right place, right people." Therefore a process that helped a small group of men in 13th century Anatolia is highly unlikely to be appropriate for a larger group of men and women in modern 21st century Istanbul. This is a core flaw in organized religion. But I digress...

whirling dervishesThe performance was beautiful to watch (or rather, the whirling was), and the music from the live musicians was haunting. I've posted a short video of the whirling dervishes - Quicktime .mov (60MB) - about 1 min recording time if you're interested. WARNING: our little webserver isn't really meant for streaming video. It'll take a while to open the movie. :(

After that we took a taxi back via the interstate that runs along the Sea of Marmara (only 15 minutes) and crashed for the night.

More to come. :)

Current mood: relaxed

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

4:11PM - Some books I've read recently/recommend

I only recently discovered Anne Bishop's novels - in particular the Black Jewels trilogy and associated books. I HIGHLY recommend them. They have some magic, romance (in many of its meanings) and a tremendously interesting cast of characters. Her partial role-reversals between the sexes and strong sexy males with tremendous negative characteristics (like a tendency to kill on a moment's notice) are wonderful. The only flaws I found in any of the 5 she's written so far in this world are an occasional tendency to fall in the "Babylon 5" trap - the characters have successfully taken on the worst the world (or in B5's case, the galaxy) can throw at them, and now they're being flummoxed by comparative gnats (B5 = earth's gov't). Or they'll torture and kill a lackey who has admittedly done some horrid things, but they won't just go and take out his/her boss, who is the cause of most of their and their land's troubles. Go figure. But it still makes for very engaging reads, and I can't wait for the next one.

I also enjoyed her newer work, Sebastian, and look forward to reading Belladonna which only recently came out. The Ephemera world she created for the latter two is fascinating, though Sebastian is much more of a "traditional romance" in fantasy setting than the Black Jewels books. I'm hoping Belladonna spends more time explaining this fascinating place she's built.

On a different note, I thoroughly enjoy Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books - I'm really looking forward to the third one coming out this winter. Some of her other books are fun, but are not the equal of these in my opinion (though I enjoyed her two Dragon Bones books, which are much more traditional fantasy). The Mercedes T books have all the more "traditional" vampires and werewolves, with some Native American skinwalking tossed in for spice. The plots are engaging, the central female character is very strong but reasonable most of the time, and the lead werewolves are a whole lot of fun. I particularly recommend these if you enjoyed Tinker, by Wen Spencer (which I also loved).

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead is entertaining - I just finished it last week. It's her first work, though I see she's releasing two more this year - wow, that's prolific. It has demons and angels, imps, and succubi, and is definitely in the modern urban paranormal-romance category. It is a somewhat different take on the paranormal (from what I've read anyway) and well-written.

I also recently read Greywalker - a first effort by Seattle local Kat Richardson. I enjoyed it, though I thought certain aspects of the ending were a tad abrupt. I am looking forward to reading more of her work,  and just noticed the sequel came out last week - I'll have to go pick it up this weekend. :-)

Finally, though there are some intensely violent/pain-filled sex scenes in them (which normally is a serious turn off for me), I enjoy Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books. The first one in particular is engaging (the second was fine, the third too intense). The second trilogy - focused on her adopted son - started out a tad slow, but picked up with the second book (recently published). I primarily love these books for the characters. Phedre and Joscelin are marvelous (I'll be in love with Joscelin 'til I'm way past senile), and a lot of the second-tier characters are fascinating - the kind of people you'd love to meet and with whom you'd enjoy spending a few days and perhaps a small adventure. The plots are engaging, and her world-building is solid. If it weren't for the intensely violent sex scenes, these would probably be my favorite books. Her second trilogy is less sexually violent, which I have appreciated, though it definitely makes it different from the first, and the main character, though interesting and engaging, is definitely not the kind of hero who makes women swoon for years to come. ;-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

10:18PM - Which Hero are you most like?

D.L. Hawkins

You scored 41 Idealism, 50 Nonconformity, 37 Nerdiness
I ain't wearing no tights.

Congratulations, you're D.L. Hawkins! You've got a bit of a past to overcome, but you are a strong person and you care very deeply about the people you love. You are good at getting out of tight situations, however, you're not quite as good at simple, practical things like making lunches.

Your best quality: Getting yourself out of difficult situations
Your worst quality: No culinary skills whatsoever, refusal to don tights

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 99% on Idealism
You scored higher than 99% on Nonconformity
You scored higher than 99% on Nerdiness
Link: The Heroes Personality Test written by freedomdegrees