New Digs

I am so excited to make this post!

I am making this post from WordPress, not Livejournal. This is a huge sea change for me, the end of an era. It’s not that I don’t love LJ, it’s not that I’m leaving LJ in any way. I expect the main conversations will still take place there, where my community has grown and thrived over the last decade. (LJ and FB comments should appear on the main website as well, so that is a great place to see the majority of the discussion on any given post.) But given the recent DDoS issues, spam and privacy concerns, and the general motion of the internet, I felt I needed to change how I interact with social networking sites, to make it easier on myself, more secure from individual site crashes, and hopefully, everyone else.

So! When I hit post, this entry will propagate to Livejournal, Dreamwidth (same username), Twitter (@catvalente), Facebook, and my BRAND NEW COMPLETELY REVAMPED AWESOME WEBSITE

The website is gorgeous and so much cleaner and better organized–it’s been a long refit but it’s finally in, well, 1.0. More features and changes will roll out slowly over the next year. For now, you can find an entire page of free fiction, everything of mine that is available for free online in one place, an updated ebook store (still trying to get a bunch of this on Kindle, if anyone can help me out with that), updated biography and FAQ with a handy little 100-word bio for editors seeking such things and interviewers looking for common interview questions I have already answered, a Twitter widget on the front page as well as an automatically updating calendar, and best of all, it’s all in WordPress, so I can update it myself instead of pleading with poor Dmitri to update it for me. (Which means publishing announcements will be on the front page! Why, there’s one there now!)

There’s also a new variation on the tip jar: the automat. You can use the little switch to toggle between “buy the author a cup of coffee” “buy the author lunch” and “buy the author dinner” which all have different donation amounts. If you like my work or enjoyed the free fiction or whathaveyou, and are moved to toss me something extra, it’s just a little more tangible–very realistically, authors and artists need to live, some people are very kind and want to make sure that happens directly, and coffee and food are the stuff of life.

As part of the New Website excitement, I’ve put up my first novel, The Labyrinth, for free. Completely free, no strings attached, please enjoy it!

I’m just so pleased to have something this lovely and clean and organized. Richard Mueller to to thank for the beautiful graphics, and as always my husband Dmitri has wrangled the code.

I’ll keep you posted as it evolves, but I’m pretty proud of it as is. If you see anything you think should be there, a FAQ I missed or a feature you’d like to see, throw me an email and we’ll try to implement it in the next iteration.

Go look! What do you think?

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Wyrm Publishing is set to release Myths of Origin, an omnibus of Cat’s early short novels, containing The Labyrinth, Yume no Hon: The Book of Dreams, The Grass-Cutting Sword, and Under in the Mere (released in 2009 but written during the same era as the others) in November 2011. Having all of these rich, surreal works in one place is tremendously exciting, and we hope you’ll get a chance to share these early works!

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So, last night, my chicken Black Chocobo did not come home to roost.

I often let them out to roam and forage once they've laid their eggs and had their lunch–always in the later part of the day so they don't stray too far, because we live on the edge of a forest where small ravenous beasties (and labradors and tabbies and horses) wander about who would love a nice chicken dinner. They slurp worms and kick up leaves and have a great time, and then, with their Chikken Superpowerz, come right back and put themselves to bed in their coop by dusk.

Except when I went out to check on them and close the gate, Black Chocobo was gone.

Now, they always come back. It's a Chikken thing. And the other two were back, and they had been out less than an hour, and I had watched them–they hadn't left the vicinity of the patch of backyard where the coop lives. And yet, Black Chocobo had done a disappearing act.

Time for Chikken Social Observations.

Chocobo is low hen on the totem pole. The other two sort of lazily harrass her from time to time–they're not putting in their full effort, but chica eats last, and Billina fluffs up and pecks her occasionally and otherwise generally acts like kind of a dick. (Her personality is basically identical to her namesake. She also crows when she lays her egg, which neither of the others do.) Also, Chocobo is easily the dumbest. She often runs back and forth along the fence for ten minutes looking for a way in before being all DOH and finding the open gate. Pertelote and Billina exhibit problem solving skills–they hop on the coop and over the fence, onto a stump and the ground when they're feeling I haven't been quick enough with the letting them forage. Black Chocobo just barrels up and over. But they really haven't done that lately. Also Chocobo lays the smallest eggs–but she's a beautiful Australorp and I was really worried about her. Chickens are hard to love, but I'll anthropomorphize the shit out of them. And Chocobo is my underdog hen.

Some of you know we had egg-laying ducks who were pretty brutally eaten by owls last year right in front of me–I was pretty convinced something similar had happened, a bare three weeks after getting these girls. She'd been gone for almost a day. Needless to say, it was a hard night hoping she'd turn up in the morning. I AM A TERRIBLE BIRD MOMMY.

So, searched with flashlights last night; come morning I looked around again and no bird. Took a nap, as I'd been pulling an all-nighter. Finally, I went out to feed the remaining hens, who were acting very stressy and running back and forth along the side of the fence and–a tiny, pathetic little cluck sounded from near the feed bin. I looked down and if not for her red comb I never would have seen her–black feathers blend really well into the ground.

Black Chocobo had somehow wedged herself between two heavy wooden pallets–incredibly tightly. She looked pretty wrecked in there, her feathers a little shredded and her body compressed–but I pulled a pallet away and held my breath stepped back to see if she could get up on her own.

You guys, I really thought she was done for.

She couldn't walk right, her leg wouldn't support her weight. Her wing was sort of permanently extended and she made little miserable cooing noises as she tried to get moving. Flashes of my poor ducks–I may be .25% Mainer, but I am not up to wringing the neck of my poor bird to put her out of her misery.

I poured out the feed with some extra seed-treats in the pen and left the door open, gently making my own little cooing noises to coax her in.

And it took a minute or two, but that leg righted and she folded her wing back in and slowly, but steadily, walked into the pen with her feathers a hot mess and her head held high, at which point she more or less instantly laid the egg she must have been holding for hours. Then she drank and ate and Billina harrassed her and the horror of the moment she will never, ever forget.

I figure something must have chased her in there, or she chased something–but she was so tightly wedged in I think a dog or something domesticated scared her into hiding and then she couldn't get out. We had no hope of finding a black hen at night if she didn't make noise to alert us, and chickens are very drowsy and soporific once the sun goes down. I suspect it must have been a dog or an unmotivated cat–a fox or raccoon wouldn't have stopped–getting stuck just holds dinner still. And after twenty hours in one position, the circulation to her leg and wing must have been totally cut off  (not to mention the pain of an egg you can't lay) and it took her a minute to get her blood going again. She seems fine, she's walking around, and I am greatly relieved.

And this has been your day on the farm–no casualties, one chicken dignity slightly dented.

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I feel like we live in this weird dystopia where every actor who ever starred in a beloved SF series is now required by secretly-passed law to work on a cop procedural.

Yeah, the procedurals are cutesy and increasingly geek-friendly, but they're still contentless, riding on the good natured charisma of their actors, without lasting meaning or the ability to really deeply affect an audience. They are repetitive, they lack arcs by design, they wrap everything up neatly–your confession delivered in under an hour or it's free. While the shows that made those actors and actresses desirable got cancelled too soon, and fewer and fewer SF shows get made at all, because why bother when you can make a million seasons of the same half-comedic, gimmicky Law & Order clones. (If you believe television, the most common cause of death in America has to be bizarre-ass murder.)

This has got to be why there are so many versions of Sherlock Holmes being made all at once. He is the original hour-long cop procedural. He's a weird, gimmicky consultant to the police that doesn't have to play by their rules.

I mean, I enjoy them, sort of. I'm glad these people are getting work. But I could never love a cop show like I loved the SF shows they came from. Those became part of my internal mythology. They hit such amazing highs–and some equally amazing lows. But they risked, and they were new, and they made me feel, think, cry, long for unnameable possibilities. At best the procedurals make me laugh or cringe–there's not even the frisson of pity and fear that murder mysteries are supposed to engender. The victims are bodies-as-objects. They are clue factories. Plot coupons. We are never meant to feel too much in any one episode except the thrill of figuring out which actor is too big a star not to be the killer. They are like The Brady Bunch, but with death. Every episode resets the emotional and physical clock to zero.

But they're cute, escapist fun, I suppose. That thing that is supposed to damn all SF–cute, escapist fun. All the shows I recognize these actors from are gone, and they haven't really been replaced. There's a tiny number of speculative TV shows on right now compared to the sea of crime dramas, and I'm not head over heels for any of them except Doctor Who, which is a. the BBC and b. making me a sad panda most of the time these days.

But I can turn on any murder hour show and see my old friends, yelling at criminals and having unresolved sexual tension with their partners.*

It makes me sad. It feels like a lessening of the world in some weird way that probably doesn't even make any sense.

This late night curmudgeonation brought to you by seeing Mal Reynolds, Sam Anders, Sydney Bristow's roommate, and Wolf from the 10th Kingdom in an interrogation room together.

*Which, ok, I am TIRED of this trope. It's stupid, and it's boring. Will they, won't they. I don't care. When both of them are single and heterosexual and attracted to each other and they don't for no apparent reason it just doesn't make any sense CASTLE AND BECKETT. This is not what people do for years on end when they are extroverts. Especially when after a season or two the pair of them have no other significant friends outside of work or blood-relations. They are each other's whole lives but kissing is TOO MUCH COMMITMENT. RELATIONSHIPS ARE GROSS. It's not interesting or exciting to speculate beyond those one or two seasons, it's just dumb, because there's no reason they wouldn't get together except that Chris Carter ruined it for EVERYONE by mishandling Mulder and Scully in such an epic fucking fashion. So now everyone's afraid to have a couple onscreen that's just together, because apparently that sucks. But it does not suck as much as two grown-ass adults pussyfooting around their first kiss like kindergartners. And not talking to each other because god knows why. Either write them so that it really is a friendship without sexual attraction which is fine or let them have some character evolution. I'm so sick of it. GOD. DO NOT WANT any more shows where there's supposed to be chemistry between the leads because inevitably they will let it go too long and it will fizzle or they will sort of do it but then pull back in some bullshit non-human way BONES AND BRENNAN. Say what you like but Aeryn and Crichton got together in episode 16, people. And broke up and got back together and screwed and cried and died and came back to life. It was great. There is more to love than the lead-up to the first date. UGH.

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I'm stuck waiting for changes on the thing I was going to launch today and will probably launch tomorrow instead. So I am sleepy and bored. Thus, I turn to the ancient tradition of Livejournal.

Ask me anything. Anonyous commenting on.

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