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Sister Mine on the Sunburst Award shortlist

That most recent book of mine took a little while to get her legs under her, but now it seems she's up and running. A Norton Award win a few weeks ago, and last week she was on the shortlist for Canada's Sunburst Award for Literature of the Fantastic. The jury says, Sister Mine is a novel that defies: defies categorization; defies convention; defies expectations. Deserving its place among the best books of the year, Sister Mine's nuanced forays into celestial heritage, sibling rivalry, and good old-fashioned sexual exploits of the deific variety (think ancient mythology) unfold with the genteel pace of classic oral tradition but the in-your-face sensibilities of post-punk modernism. A book that challenges, and in challenging, ignites.

The other books on the shortlist all look so good! Adding them to my quickly-growing summer reading list:

  • River of Stars, by Guy Gavriel Kay. Penguin Group Canada (ISBN: 9780670068401)
  • This Strange Way of Dying, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Exile Editions (ISBN: 9781550963540)
  • A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. Penguin Group Canada (ISBN: 9780670067046)
  • The Demonologist, by Andrew Pyper. Simon & Schuster (ISBN: 9781451697520)
  • Young Adult

  • Sorrow's Knot, by Erin Bow. Scholastic Inc. (ISBN: 9780545166669)
  • The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, by Charles de Lint, illustrated by Charles Vess. Little Brown Books (ISBN: 9780316053570)
  • Homeland, by Cory Doctorow. Tom Doherty Associates (ISBN: 9780765333698)
  • The Path of Names, by Ari Goelman. Scholastic Inc. (ISBN: 9780545474306)
  • Urgle, by Meaghan McIsaac. Dancing Cat Books (ISBN: 9781770863088)
  • The jury felt that the following merited Honourable Mention:

    Oops, oh my

    Just accidentally met my easy level writing goal for the second time today.

    Working out

    Is it a workout if it only lasts ten minutes? (It's okay; I know the answer is yes, depending.) Turns out my stamina on my footbike at the moment is about the same as my current stamina for a writing sprint. Especially in rapidly climbing desert heat. But that was fun, brief as it was. Ester Dean's "Drop it Low" was the perfect rhythm (and exhortation) for the first part, and Stromae's "Formidable" worked pretty well for the slow, slightly uphill second part.

    Now, errands. Meds and painkillers to take, plants need watering, need to buy groceries for dinner for friend coming over tomorrow, need to do some laundry and tidying of this insanely messy apartment. Plus I have to mail away a mermaid to someone who just bought one from me. And permissions for/copies of a couple stories to be reprinted. And receipts for reimbursement for an event at which I worked.

    (This is one of the "Chubby Models" series by Casarotto.)

    Writing: goal-setting, goal scoring

    Huh. I like that. Thinking of writing goals as something you score, as in netball (which I played in high school), rather than something you meet, as in obligations. Cause really; which sounds like more fun?

    Writing, June 15, 2014

    Just shy of 1,000 raw new words today in the new novel.

    Gunsy was back, with the big cast iron frying pans this time. “Faster, I said.” He clanged the frying pans down into the water. Suds splashed onto Clara’s apron and into one eye. She fished a plate out of the sink. A glob of chewed gristle was stuck to it, floating in yellow grease beside two gnawed pork chop bones and an oil-logged, wadded-up admission ticket. She winged the plate at Gunsy. It caught him on the shoulder. He howled, grabbing for his injured arm. She smashed another three plates on the ground before two roustabouts and the World's Strongest Lady shoved her down to the ground and held her fast.

    Pistachio rose water ice cream (no lactose)

    I made ice cream! I adapted the recipe based on whim and the ingredients I had at home: half honey, half pureed dates; the eggs may or may not have been free range; our apartment building has rose hedges in bloom, so I added some fresh rose petals; didn't have saffron, but did have raw turmeric root, so I used that instead of saffron. I only had salted pistachios, so I rinsed them. It left a bit of salt in them, but you can't taste it in the ice cream. Turned out pretty well, except that the custard wouldn't thicken forever. Finally, I looked up some coconut milk custard recipes, and one of them suggested adding starch, so I used some tapioca starch I had. That did the trick. The serving in the pic went slightly soft under the light, and I was too excited at having actually made ice cream to put it back into the freezer and wait till it firmed up some more.

    Ice cream!

    Josephine Baker pin

    Retro "blackamoor" pin

    Writing

    Classes are over, but there's still admin work to be done. Today was reading, marking and meetings. But I still managed to get in a couple of pages of writing. Some raw sentences are below. I've also been invited to join a summer writing "collective" on campus. We'll each have our own office in a pleasant building that has the look of a converted cottage. It has a lovely kitchen, and a screening room where I may try to show films from time to time, if I have the energy. There's a lily pond outside, with what look to be guppies living in it. There are also signs that warn of the possibility of rattlesnakes. For some reason, this amuses me.

    From the cupboard near the door of the hut, Clara pulled out the wooden box that held Mummy’s needles, awl, and good strong thread. She could have traded the box long since for food or some other freeness. She was glad now that she hadn’t been able to bear the thought of giving away Mummy’s tools. Clara hated sewing, but she knew how to use the needles. If she could beg or thief a scissors, she would have a trade with which to make her way in the world. “Selvon,” she said, “you know where I could find a scissors?”