A Year in Pictures – Spiral Shell

Spiral Shell
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This was in the amber display at Malbork Castle, though I’m pretty sure it’s an actual shell carved into a spiral, rather than a piece of amber carved to look like a shell carved into a spiral. Either way, though, it’s lovely.

A Year in Pictures – Iron Rail in Ivy

Iron Rail in Ivy
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I’m saving most of my Highgate Cemetery pictures for October, but here’s one that isn’t so much of a grave as a piece of a grave that fell off and landed in the ivy. (This is not difficult to achieve at Highgate. Missing the ivy when it fell would have been a remarkable achievement.)

A Year in Pictures – Brindavan Fountain

Brindavan Fountain
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One of the neat things we did in India was go to Brindavan Gardens for the nighttime show, involving the fountains being synchronized to music. Here they’re just flowing as usual, of course, but I very much liked the lighting.

A Year in Pictures – Monument Relief

Monument Relief
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When I took my husband to see the Monument to the Great Fire, the sun was at precisely the right angle for the light to reflect weirdly off some nearby windows and onto this sculpture that decorates one side of the Monument’s base — in the process making it much more visually interesting to me than it had ever been before.

A Year in Pictures – Fushimi Inari Stones

Fushimi Inari Stones
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The mountain of Fushimi Inari is famous for its long corridors of torii arches, but it’s also covered with small shrines of various kinds. I have no idea what the purpose is of these stones, but as I’m a pushover for good moss, I had to photograph them.

A Year in Pictures – July Column, Bastille

July Column
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Our last evening in Paris, we went to visit a friend who lives outside the city center, and ended up strolling with him down toward the Place de la Bastille (former site of the Bastille fortress). The castle’s long gone, but there’s a column commemorating the “July Monarchy,” and the clouds made the early sunset light absolutely glorious.

A Year in Pictures – Hippodrome Obelisk

Hippodrome Obelisk
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This obelisk is Egyptian (as you can presumably tell from the hieroglyphics), but it stands in the Hippodrome of Istanbul. I had very little time for photos there, unfortunately, because our tour included a couple of women who had apparently missed the part where it said there would be walking, and moved at a snail’s pace while complaining the whole time. But I got what I could, and this is one of the results.

A Year in Pictures – Koliba Violin

Koliba Violin
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The old-style house/museum we visited in Zakopane was decorated with a variety of rustic but well-crafted things, including these carved chairs and the violin that was, for some random reason, hanging off a strap in the corner.

Achievement Unlocked: World Fantasy Nominee

So I’d been having a less than stellar day, mostly on account of the fact that I’m leaving for Okinawa next week and don’t feel remotely ready and this fact is making me stressed. I was out getting take-out and running Okinawa-related errands this evening when I checked my phone and saw that hey, Mike mentioned me in a TwHOLY CRAP I’VE BEEN NOMINATED FOR A WORLD FANTASY AWARD.

You guys.

I am on a shortlist with Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, Sofia Samatar, Helene Wecker, and Richard Bowes.

I . . . have still not wrapped my brain around this fact.

For crying out loud, it’s the World Fantasy Award. It’s one of the biggest awards in SF/F, alongside the Hugo and the Nebula — and if I’m being honest, it’s the one I have lusted after the most since I started publishing. The Hugos and the Nebulas cover speculative fiction as a whole, but the World Fantasy Award is for fantasy, and although stories of mine have been published as horror, fantasy is fundamentally My Genre. To see A Natural History of Dragons on the list of nominees is nothing short of gobsmacking. Like, I’m half-afraid to hit “publish” on this post because what if I’ve imagined the whole thing? (The couple dozen congratulatory tweets and emails and such argue otherwise, but y’know, paranoia knoweth few boundaries.)

I was already planning to go to World Fantasy this fall; now I guess I should plan on going to the banquet, too? And get something interesting to wear to it. Not that I expect to win — and that isn’t just modesty talking; it’s my admiration for my fellow nominees. But hey, let the record show I have promised my husband that, should I win, he has my permission to get me drunk. Which is a thing that hasn’t happened in the nearly thirty-four years of my life, so the promise is a non-trivial thing.

And what will I do between now and the con? I will write another book. Because being an author is like enlightmentment: Before nomination, chop wood, write book. After nomination, chop wood, write book. I don’t have any wood or an axe, so I guess I need to focus on the writing.