I’ve mentioned before my annual maze project, and I’ve just completed this year’s.

It’s a challenging task, since I got into the habit of making some literary reference, usually related to a project published that year (first found out by Google Maps in 2015), and since I’m working without much of a plan in vegetation taller than my eye level, just working with spatial awareness and distance guess-timates to produce my pattern. But I have to say, I’m pretty proud of how 2018’s trail came out:

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Area 51: Aliens & Exercise

After I left When Words Collide in Calgary, I drove south and followed the Extraterrestrial Highway (NV SR 375) to tiny Rachel, Nevada (population 54).

I’d signed up for the ET Marathon — the half, actually, because I’m not cool enough to do a full marathon. I’d booked the race and my room long before #StormArea51 was born. I arrived early and holed up in a mobile home to work on Blood & Bond.

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Of Names and Nuance

Sometimes writers are clever. Really, really clever.

There’s a character named Frangit in the Shard of Elan series, because his purpose is to break. In one scene Shianan argues fiercely that something has never, ever happened, and he believes it, but the careful reader will note that in his emotion he’s deceived himself, as we often do. I take great pride in slipping absolutely-true-but-also-misleading statements into the mouths of kitsune and Fae.

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Thorn: a YA Fantasy cover reveal

Today on the blog we have a book by a talented friend, Intisar Khanani, whose Thorn is being re-released soon from HarperTeen. Let’s take a look, shall we?

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

Let’s see this gorgeous cover!

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GeyserCon Report & Rotorua

After our backpacking trip, Jon and I traveled to Rotorua to get ready for GeyserCon, New Zealand’s 2019 national science fiction and fantasy convention.

We got into town a little early, so we stayed at a tourist cottage with Grace Bridges, con chair. Grace booked us into one of her regular favorite places, where we had hot pools and a hot beach and a steaming stream and warning signs all over the yard about the ground potentially burning your feet, be sure to wear shoes.

Rotorua is one of a very few (countable on one hand with fingers left over) communities in the world built on an active geothermal site.

Lake Rotorua, on whose shore our cottages sat, is a water-filled caldera, still active. You can walk along the beach and find little hot springs bubbling up through the sand and lake. This is a good place to wriggle your toes in — but be careful, because it’s easy to find one that’s too hot.

Note the bubbles coming up between my toes.

Remember those chilly wades we had in Abel Tasman? This was the opposite. Even though we were less than a week from the official start of winter, I waded into Lake Rotorua and, with chilly lake water biting at my legs, pushed my toes into the sand to find the heat. My ankles were cold, but my feet were warm.

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A Vicious Spiral of Niceness

This morning I flew into Tokyo. Okay, it was afternoon by Tokyo standards, and night by my home standards, but I slept on the plane so it was morning. Or something.

By night, sakura blossoms and the moon.
By night, sakura blossoms and the moon.

I know just enough Japanese to make it seem like I know more. I can’t understand much of the airplane announcements, but I know enough of routine airplane announcements to fill in the gaps. I cannot have a conversation about the specifics of a hobby, but I can exchange a rail pass and get directions and be generally civil.

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