The Writing

15 August, 2016


We were invaded yesterday. Nous was making dinner and felt something crawling on his leg. When he checked, he discovered it was several somethings. I noticed this--interrupted the liberation of the Citadel, in fact--when he starting loudly brushing his legs (he can do that. It's a superpower) and announcing that We Have Ants.

And we did, indeed, have ants: a column of tiny little brown ants marching from the hinge-corner of the front door, past the welcome mat and around the shoe-rack, gentle bearing right at the shoe-rack, then a harder right into the kitchen just past the alter. And then they promptly disappeared under the dishwasher, with the occasional sideways step into an empty cat bowl. This was an organized, orderly procession, maybe 3 inches wide and, well, a good 15 feet long.

Not okay.

welcome in my house
Ants are a feature of SoCal, and by feature, I mean unfortunate inevitability. We had them in student housing in the bathroom; they came up through the gaps between pipes and plumbing fixtures. They're kind of everywhere. And while I have no special objection to bugs, the rule is Outside Unless You're A Spider, Motherfucker.

Spiders, however, have a tendency to die in this house, since Skugga is Enemy of All Things With Exoskeletons except ants, which he was more interested in observing. Clearly we would need to find another solution.

So here is how you stop ants from trafficking all over your apartment, without poison.


Kill a bunch of ants. Leave their little corpses where you smashed them. Their compatriots will find them by the trail of the distressed hormones. Put cinnamon (or garlic powder, or peppermint) along where they're getting in. I sprinkled cinnamon all over the carpet procession. There was immediate panic.

There was more panic in the kitchen, where Nous was gleefully smashing ants.

Then we removed the cat bowls from the fray and... left it. It's hard to step around ants in your kitchen, but patience is key. The ants cleaned up the majority of the corpses. Within an hour, they were gone. No more ants anywhere. I washed the floor, and then I sprayed some vinegar under the dishwasher, just in case. I left a pile of cinnamon at their initial entry point, so the front door area smells like autumn baking and not The Hell That Is Summer.

And that ends the story of the ants.

04 August, 2016

at home with monsters the name of the Guillermo del Toro exhibit at LACMA right now. OF COURSE I took Tuesday off manuscripts and research and went to see it with Nous.

the faun from Pan's Labyrinth

del Toro allegedly calls his home in Los Angeles the Bleak House, not because the d├ęcor is bleak (I suppose it is, if you're easily disturbed), but because it's full of unexpected twists and rooms. You turn a corner, you think you know where you're going, and --nope. Look. Another cranny, with and things in it. Beautiful things. Fantastic things. OMGWTF things.

another creepy dude from Pan's Labyrinth

The exhibit contains pieces from his personal collection, and it chronicles and illustrates (literally) his creative process. There are notebooks (his notebooks! so amazing), concept art that he's drawn, concept art that other people have drawn, original art from Mike Mignola and Will Eisner, old books, Giger paintings, Moebius paintings... and the seller for me, the life-sized models of the monsters from his films.

Imagine having THEM in your house.

But there were also just beautiful things. Strange things. My camera phone (and the photographer wielding it) cannot do justice to the play of light and shadow in these paintings.

And then the concept art from Sleeping Beauty. Ah, Maleficent. I always did like you. (It's the dragon. I wanted to be Smaug, see, so Maleficent was just about perfect in my estimation. And clearly maligned. Stupid prince, anyway.)

26 July, 2016

Blog Tour Round-up for Enemy and Outlaw

You may have noticed I've not been posting here much. There's a reason! I was posting all over other places. So here is a list:

Five Books Where the Dead Don't Stay That Way

Institutions As Villains - About the world-build of Enemy and Outlaw

Silent Waters: Narrative Music - a challenge from Hardboiled to relate a story told in lyrics; this story comes from Finnish myth, and the band, Amorphis, figures heavily in my playlists for writing On the Bones of Gods

Interview at The Qwillery about Enemy

Imagining the Real (and Knowing What You Write)

Interview at SFFWorld about Outlaw

And a kick-ass review of Enemy from To The Shelves