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Tue, 22 May 2018 21:54:25 +0000
Scalzi at Phoenix Comic Fest This Weekend
As a reminder, starting today(!) I will be in the lovely and very hot town of Phoenix for Phoenix Comic Fest (previously known as Phoenix Comic Con), to sign books, be on panels and do a whole lot of schmoozing. And you(!) can be a part of that, if you happen to be in or […]

Hey guys! To kick off day two of writing on Whatever, I have decided to post a recipe. There were a surprising number of people in the comments of yesterday’s post that said they were looking forward to seeing what I make in the kitchen, and I was planning to make something today anyways, so I figured I might as well post it!

This past winter was, like, the longest winter I’ve ever lived through. I forgot for a second what in-season fruit tasted like. But now that summer is finally here, I bought a watermelon! I have never bought one before now, so that was an enthralling experience.

There a ton of recipes online for watermelon salsa, and while they are all unique in their own ways, they are all basically composed of the same few ingredients, which is watermelon, cucumber, red onion, and mango. Using my collective knowledge of these recipes, I just went for it and threw it together in a bowl.

Here’s what I used:

3 cups watermelon, diced

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

1/3 of a regular sized sweet red onion, diced

Juice of one lime

1 tbsp of sugar

Sprinkle of garlic salt (optional)

A very inexact amount of cayenne pepper (also optional)

Salt and pepper

So yeah, just throw all that together in a bowl and mix! Originally, I also had a mango I was going to use, but I had never bought a mango before today and apparently the one I bought was very very not ripe. So instead I added a little bit of mango flavored white balsamic vinegar, but I really wish there were actual chunks of mango in this bad boy. I think the sweetness of the mango would’ve been a great addition, as well as added some awesome color.

As for the cayenne pepper, just add as much as you want! Originally, I wasn’t even going to put any in because I’m a weakling in the ways of spice, but it seems like most other people in this household likes a kick to their food, so I just sprinkled a good amount in and hoped I wouldn’t die later.

Okay, so, about cost. From the store, I bought a watermelon, a mango, two limes (you only need one, though), a red onion, and a cucumber. I already had the garlic salt and cayenne pepper at home. All together, the produce cost $8.86 (this is including the mango I ended up not using). The most expensive thing was the watermelon, which was five bucks for a whole seedless one. Cost is very important to me. Food prices add up quickly, especially in recipes where you have none of the ingredients at home and have to go out and buy literally everything on the list.

If you end up making this, send me a picture on Twitter (@ascalzi98)! I would love to see if y’all end up adding anything, like the mango, or whatever else you think would be good in it! Hope you enjoy this summery and fresh salsa!


Tue, 22 May 2018 18:35:37 +0000
Watermelon Salsa!
Hey guys! To kick off day two of writing on Whatever, I have decided to post a recipe. There were a surprising number of people in the comments of yesterday’s post that said they were looking forward to seeing what I make in the kitchen, and I was planning to make something today anyways, so […]

I’ve had a couple of people ask me how the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation law (which goes into effect on Friday) affects this site and how I run it, so, let me talk about that very briefly.

One, on a personal level, aside from asking for an email address in order to leave comments here, I personally am not (and never have) collecting any information about anyone, other in the very general sense of reading and comprehending whatever bits of personal information people leave in their comments. That said, I don’t do anything commercial with any of that — I don’t mine my comment threads for personal data, and certainly don’t comb through them for sales, advertising or other commercial purposes. It’s not that kind of site, and I’m really not that interested. Doing any of that requires work and effort that I have no desire to do. All I want to do here is write and post pictures. Aside from occasionally letting you know when I have a new book out, I have no interest in monetizing the site, nor anyone who visits it, nor any of the data they leave behind. Hell, I don’t even have sales affiliate links on Big Idea posts.

Two, while I personally don’t retain any personal information about you, WordPress, who hosts this blog via its VIP service, does (for example, if you do comment here, I’m pretty sure WordPress leaves a cookie in your browser so you don’t have to enter your personal information each time you decide to comment). WordPress tells me via its VIP service blog that it is currently reworking its infrastructure so that its services comply with the GDPR; inasmuch as WordPress’ VIP service constitutes the technological infrastructure of this site, I expect that how it handles your data, cookies, etc will now conform to EU law. Which is nice! Less work for me. Nevertheless I’ll be doublechecking to see if there’s anything else I need to be doing personally. I’m pretty sure there’s not, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.

(For those of you asking why I’m even concerned about this at all, since I and the site are in the US, the short answer is that, as I understand it, the law covers EU citizens, and on any given day roughly 20% of the traffic here is from the EU. Likewise I’m pretty sure WordPress has users and offices in the EU.)

The short(er) version of this is that I don’t expect anything obvious will change here in terms of how either you or I use the site, and what things will change will be handled mostly in the background by WordPress itself, and generally speaking Whatever (and I) will continue not using any information you do provide here for any commercial purpose.

Basically, we’ll just keep on doing what we’re already doing here. If any of that changes in any significant way, I will let you know.


Mon, 21 May 2018 19:00:04 +0000
A Quick Note About Whatever, Your Data and GDPR
I’ve had a couple of people ask me how the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation law (which goes into effect on Friday) affects this site and how I run it, so, let me talk about that very briefly. One, on a personal level, aside from asking for an email address in order to leave […]

Here you go, folks: Another very fine stack of new books and ARCs that have arrived at the Scalzi Compound. What here is catching your eye? Tell us in the comments!


Mon, 21 May 2018 17:54:33 +0000
New Books and ARCs, 5/21/18
Here you go, folks: Another very fine stack of new books and ARCs that have arrived at the Scalzi Compound. What here is catching your eye? Tell us in the comments!

Howdy, y’all. Today is my first day as my dad’s intern, and this is my first Whatever post! My dad is off writing some silly book or something along those lines, and because he is busy he tends to neglect this website a little bit, so I am here to ensure that posts are posted and readers are reading (and, of course, enjoying).

If you’d like to know a little about me, in case you have never seen anything on here regarding me, my name is Athena Scalzi. I am nineteen years old, an only child, a Capricorn, left-handed, and I love reading, writing, photography, baking/cooking, and looking at the stars. My favorite color is purple, my favorite animal is a tiger or a snow leopard (they’re both equally adorable and fluffy and could murder you), and my favorite movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Generally I think I will be posting movie reviews, anime reviews, book reviews, things like that, along with some of my photography and my daily adventures in this oh so exciting life. I’m sure I’ll also post some pictures or recipes every once in a while of things I whip up in the kitchen. In regards to this, there has been some speculation as to whether or not I am as monstrous as my father when it comes to burritos, and I can finally assure you all, I am no heathen. I am a Burrito-Purist and my father’s inventions horrify and appall me.

Overall, I am very excited to be here and look forward to writing for this blog. I sincerely hope you all enjoy what I have to offer and that I give thoughtful contributions to this site, or “whatever”!


Mon, 21 May 2018 14:15:46 +0000
Hello, Whatever World!
Howdy, y’all. Today is my first day as my dad’s intern, and this is my first Whatever post! My dad is off writing some silly book or something along those lines, and because he is busy he tends to neglect this website a little bit, so I am here to ensure that posts are posted […]

Where to start the second book in a series? If your answer is “after the first book, duh,” allow Cat Rambo to offer another option to you, which she employs in her novel Hearts of Tabat.

CAT RAMBO:

My second novel is out as of May 20, and it’s a satisfying feeling. At the same time, I’m a little nervous about it, because it’s not a standard sequel, but rather takes the events of book one, Beasts of Tabat, and provides some different angles on it, this time seeing them through the eyes of a new set of viewpoints, including the best friend and former lover of one of Beasts’ protagonists and the two men vying for her attention.

Hearts of Tabat follows up on Beasts of Tabat not by starting where the first book ends, but considerably before that with one of the scenes from Beasts revisited. The characters from Beasts are there, particularly charismatic gladiator Bella Kanto, but they are seen through the eyes of a set of protagonists. It does end in time after Beasts, and those wondering what happened to Bella at the end of Beasts will find out.

Because of this, there’s a weird and somewhat unanticipated structure, where either book will work equally well to bring the reader in. The next one, Exiles of Tabat, won’t share this trait – it’s placed solidly after the end of Hearts of Tabat, and the final Gods of Tabat definitively after Exiles in its own turn.

I’ve always loved books that are oddly shaped in one way or another, which read one way backward and another frontward, or where any chapter can serve as the beginning, but I didn’t set out to create an oddly shaped series. I worry sometime that I’ve failed to pull it off, but at the same time I know Hearts is a better book than the first one, and Exiles will be even better yet.

And writing this way has let me create an even richer, deeper nook. By now I’ve written three and a half books and two dozen stories and novelettes set in this world. I know it well, but when I go wandering it in that hazy state of slumber that one hopes will carry you off to sleep, I always find new things, new little details, but all of them things that grow out of the shape of the world, caused by the existence of the three moons or the way the terraced city steps down to the water.

By the time I’m done with Gods, though (and I’m hoping the the next books come much quicker once my stint in the SFWA Presidency is over in mid-2019) I’ll be ready to move away from Tabat, for a little while, at least. I’ve been working on a YA space opera at the same time and I want to finish that up, along with a modern horror novel, tentatively entitled Queen of the Fireflies. So many projects and so little time — and who know what shape they will end up being?

—-

Hearts of Tabat: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Kobo|Smashwords

Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.


Mon, 21 May 2018 13:26:51 +0000
The Big Idea: Cat Rambo
Where to start the second book in a series? If your answer is “after the first book, duh,” allow Cat Rambo to offer another option to you, which she employs in her novel Hearts of Tabat. CAT RAMBO: My second novel is out as of May 20, and it’s a satisfying feeling. At the same […]

Here are some lovely photos I took whilst I was away from the world. Enjoy!

Hope you had a good week.


Tue, 15 May 2018 14:36:31 +0000
Easing Back Into the World
Here are some lovely photos I took whilst I was away from the world. Enjoy! Hope you had a good week.

Ever have that story that decides that now is the time it is going to be told, and you get to be the lucky person to tell it? Nicola Griffith does, and now her novel So Lucky is out in the world. Here she is to explain how the one led to the other.

NICOLA GRIFFITH:

I usually know years in advance what book I’m going to write next. But sometimes when you’re far away and thinking of something else a book will leap out from behind the sofa and shriek, SURPRISE! Then look hurt when you’re beating it about the head and yelling, Don’t. Ever. Do. That. Again!

That’s what happened with So Lucky.

In mid-2016 I was happily working on Menewood, the sequel to Hild, when I got accepted as a doctoral candidate. It was an amazing opportunity so I went for it. I had to set aside Menewood because though I’m guessing some people could write a huge book set in the 7th century and a PhD at the same time, I’m not one of them. But I worked fast and by mid-December I had a draft of my thesis. I sent it to my supervisor, who would get back to me in January.

So now I had three weeks with no pressing project and no one nagging me for stuff. I know! I thought. (Be wary, very wary of that phrase…) I’ll write that magic realist story… It was a story I’d been thinking about for 20 years—and had tried to write once but stuck in a drawer because I wasn’t happy with it. (I didn’t know why at the time but it turns out I’d committed the cardinal sin of writing a disabled character as a narrative prosthesis. And, yes, this inconvenient knowledge is the kind of thing a PhD is good for.) But it had never stopped muttering to itself on the porch, and now it was hammering at the door…

…Or maybe I’m just telling myself a story; writers do that. You should probably never believe anything we say about why and how we write what we do. We don’t really know—but we’re really good at coming up with an explanation after the fact. So it could be that the whole thing was just nested avoidance behaviour. Maybe the PhD was a way to stop thinking about Menewood, and maybe So Lucky was a way to stop thinking about the PhD.

Anyway, I began. It came gushing, roaring out, a torrent of rage, joy, horror, and homecoming. I had a first draft in three weeks. And it turned out unlike anything I’ve ever written before.

The first word of So Lucky is It, and It is a monster. The book’s short but it’s stuffed with monsters, human and otherwise. None of those monsters is metaphorical.

So Lucky is set in present-day Atlanta. It’s narrated by a woman, Mara, who is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and realises she needs a community—other disabled people—that doesn’t exist yet. It’s about how she finds her people and then begins to discover and help shape a new culture.

“I need it, so I’ll have to build it” is what the SFF community has been doing for decades. It’s where the queer community began in the 60s, and the feminist community in the 70s. Both accelerated in the 80s. The HIV+ community did it in the 80s and 90s. The disabled community are doing right now.

Having no established community to lean on in times of need is terrible; it is alienating, Othering, and enraging. But finally finding your people and beginning to create a life, a history, a path, plan, and sense of purpose together? That is blazing joy. So few people get to be part of the building blocks of a culture. So many of us are born into a sense of belonging and history, and never get to really find out our own perspective on the world. We might change part of the way through our lives, but, generally speaking, any path we may follow is already well-trodden, ready-made and lined with relevant music, books, films, fashions, and documentary history.

But when you get to build the art and culture that doesn’t already exist, the art you create is fuelled by the emotional journey: the alienation and the homecoming, the fear and excitement, the rage and joy. That’s how I wanted Mara, and the reader, to feel. I want So Lucky to be terrifying, bewildering, yet rich with the delight of discovery, of making, of connection; the warmth of belonging and building your own hearth—but with a thread of dissonance running beneath, the sense that the world you’re conjuring is fragile, and that monsters lurk just outside the light.

So Lucky is raw, a spear-thrust of a book, but also, I hope, funny. At least I read the audiobook that at way. It’s fiction about a woman who comes to see clearly the bullshit of the uber-story, the ableist lies we’ve all been fed from birth. She learns to break free from the constraints of the old story so she can build her own. It’s about building community. Because community is hope, community is life. And community is how you keep the monsters at bay.

—-

So Lucky: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s 

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.


Mon, 14 May 2018 13:38:20 +0000
The Big Idea: Nicola Griffith
Ever have that story that decides that now is the time it is going to be told, and you get to be the lucky person to tell it? Nicola Griffith does, and now her novel So Lucky is out in the world. Here she is to explain how the one led to the other. NICOLA […]

Hey there, folks — Just a quick note to say that with the exception of a Big Idea post tomorrow, I’m going to be away from Whatever (and Twitter! and Facebook! and all of social media!) for a week. Why?

a) I’m getting close to final deadline on The Consuming Fire, so I need to mostly focus on that;

b) Work on another as-yet-unrevealed project which also needs my attention;

c) With respect to Whatever, doing a little prep ahead of bringing in Athena as the summer intern, and also to make a few other small changes around here.

Related to above, I’ll also be talking a news break for a week (and possibly through the rest of May) in order to keep my focus on things directly in front of me. For those of you not up on what a “news break” means, it means that I’ll not be checking in on CNN, NYTimes, Washington Post, etc for the duration of the break. My perceptual world will be largely limited to the Scalzi Compound, family and pets. So if you’re hoping for thoughts on whatever damn fool thing the Trump administration is doing, or indeed anything else happening in the world, you’ll have to get them from someone else who isn’t me. This shouldn’t be too difficult for most of you. I mean, I certainly hope I’m not your main source of news.

If for some reason you need to reach me, email will work, but unless you are a close friend and/or business associate with whom I am currently engaged in active business, you should probably expect a delay in response, a very brief response, or both. If you try to reach me on social media, I won’t be there, so you’ll basically be shouting into the void. Sorry.

See you all in a week or so.


Sun, 13 May 2018 14:34:13 +0000
Taking the Week Off From the World
Hey there, folks — Just a quick note to say that with the exception of a Big Idea post tomorrow, I’m going to be away from Whatever (and Twitter! and Facebook! and all of social media!) for a week. Why? a) I’m getting close to final deadline on The Consuming Fire, so I need to mostly […]

Hope it’s a lovely one. It is here.



Happy Mother’s Day
Hope it’s a lovely one. It is here.
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