wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
Every January, the Rose and Bay awards are open for nominations. The Rose and Bay awards are for excellence in crowdfunding, and the categories are fiction, poetry, art, webcomics, other projects, and patron.

I know I've missed this chance to express appreciation for some of my favorite content providers in the past. Things were busy, I got sick, you know life happens, and sometimes it gets away from you. But today I'm adulting--paying bills (I've got the mortgage check written, but others still to write) and paying a bit of recognition forward for the people whose crowdfunded work I appreciated in 2015. I'm going to check what I bookmarked and see what I shared on Facebook and sit here in the quiet and think about whose work made me smile or think and who inspired me to set aside the computer games and write.

If you can read this, you can nominate too!

I know that often people don't have money to send to their favorite creators. We talk about signal boosts as a way to let creators know you appreciate their work--well, your nomination is kind of a super signal-boost. It tells people who've never heard of you that you think this creator is worthy of their attention.

When you're busking in cyberland, you don't know if anyone is listening. I can tell you, as a creator, I very much value every tip and comment I receive--it lets me know somebody is out there. And I've been very proud of the times I've been nominated for the Rose and Bay award. If you make a nomination, I know the people you nominate will feel the same way.

So, who do you think deserves more recognition than they're getting?
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
It should cross-post, but in case it doesn't, here's a link: http://wyld-dandelyon.dreamwidth.org/247348.html

Happy New Year everybody!
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
This weekend is the Torn World Muse Fusion (if you are so inclined, we'd love to get your questions or topic suggestions, whether they are specific to Torn World or just inspiration in general).

To Ellen's prompt, Tidepool Memories, I wrote this piece. They live in the arctic of a world that includes sea monsters and other dangers. Ivara is featured in a number of other stories over at www.tornworld.net.

Torn World is crowdfunded; this story is my freebie glimpse at the world for this weekend's Muse Fusion.

Tidepool Memories

Ruvardu sat by the ocean, listening to the waves. Her toes rested in a pleasantly warm tidepool. She had a bowl of red beans in her lap, and her fingers worked clumsily at the once-easy task of separating the rich beans from the bitter husks. The stroke that had stolen the cleverness from her fingers had not taken her ability to enjoy the sun and water on her skin. She looked up to see Ivara hang a gutted fish onto the smoking rack and set her knife down to stand and stretch.

For just a moment, Ivara looked stiff, like an old lady, like Ruvardu herself, but then she twirled and did a few dance steps, her long hair sailing around her like a shawl. She looked so young, dancing with Reqem on the big drum, their feet pounding out the rhythms of young lust. Ruvardu danced too, but not on the drum, she was more interested in flirting with Firl and drinking beer. The combination made her giggle, and the firelight shimmered like the ocean, and her toes were wet with spilled beer. “Oh, that was a night!” She opened her eyes, and saw a tiny fish in the tidepool nibbling at her toes. She could barely feel the soft fish lips against her skin. “You and Reqem were so beautiful dancing on the drum.” Her words were blurred, but she knew Ivara would understand.

Ivara danced over and bent to make sure Ruvardu’s shawl was tucked close around her. “You and Firl were beautiful too.”

Ruvardu laughed. “We were silly and drunk. To hear you talk, all new-adults are beautiful. Just like all babies are beautiful.”

“Well, they are.” Ivara smiled, and sank gracefully to the sand, picking up her knife again. She reached for a fish, humming an old tune. A pregnant young woman came by with a basket of new-caught fish and poured them into the basket next to Ivara. “Who was that Itakith woman?”

Ivara didn’t answer; she sat there with one hand on her swollen belly, then reached for Ruvardu’s hand to place it there. Inside, the baby-to-be was moving, and Ruvardu caught her breath. Her own pregnancy wasn’t as far along. So far, all she could feel was a tickle, a sensation in her gut like beer felt on her tongue, tingly and intoxicating.

The woman from Itakith leaned forward, her brown hair falling over her shoulders. “Can I see too?”

Ivara pulled her shirt up, and they all saw the shape of a foot pressing out, to one side of her distended belly button. The woman reached out her hand, hesitantly.

“Of course.” Ivara nodded.

The other woman put her hand on Ivara’s belly and then laughed. “The baby is so—so alive!” She reached back to lift up her own shirt and bare her own brown belly, which was only starting to swell. “Will I see my baby’s foot like that?”

“Probably.” The old mother-tender set a bowl of fresh fruit and greens in front of her charges. “But every baby is different. Some move a lot, while others seem content to sleep all through a pregnancy.” She smiled, her wrinkles moving on her face like grass in the wind. Ruvardu wanted to thank her, but her mind was as stiff as her old fingers.

“I can’t remember their names.” Ruvardu looked down at her belly, finding it old and flat and full of a bowl of red beans. She had forgotten the beans again, and so she reached into the bowl to pick up another, squeezing it to split the hull and free the beans.

“That’s nothing to worry about.” Ivara sounded sad. Ivara so rarely sounded sad, but there were times. There had been so much blood, the day the whalebear surprised her little son, Firuu, on the beach. She had screamed and threw rocks at it, and Ivara snatched up a fishing spear and charged the bear, snarling like a snowcat.

The bear clamped its jaws around the boy’s leg, and Ivara darted in, pushing her spear into the thing’s chest. Teeth still clammped, it roared, loud enough that Ruvardu couldn’t hear her own screams, and swiped at Ivara, who danced away and then back again, over and over. Finally, as Reqem ran up with a heavy hunting spear, Ivara sunk the fishing spear deep into the creature’s eye and it collapsed.

Reqem pried the bear’s jaws off of the boy, but it was too late. He was hanging limp from the monster’s jaw, and not breathing. Where he wasn’t covered in blood—his and the bear’s—his skin was too pale. Reqem laid the boy, blood and all, in Ruvardu’s arms. Tears fell silently from her eyes, her grief too strong for sound.

“Firuu—“ She choked it out, and was shocked, again, to hear how blurred and frail her voice was. She couldn’t even say the name of her firstborn properly any more, and that made her cry even harder.

Suddenly, Ivara was there, holding Ruvardu, humming a different tune now. They had made this tune together, when Ruvardu’s first grandchild was born. Varlii had wanted to travel to Itrelir, to be with the baby’s father for the birth, and Ivara and Ruvardu had accompanied her on the journey. They should have reached Itrelir a month before the birth, but the baby was impatient, and Varlii had gone into labor on the trail.

Ruvardu had been so scared for her daughter. They didn’t have a healer with them—what if something went wrong? But Ivara kept them telling stories and singing tunes until the baby came, such a perfect, tiny girl she was, all red and wrinkled and hungry. They camped by a small lake for a tenday, Ruvardu setting traps and Ivara tending them and gathering firewood. The lake was so beautiful, and so were her daughter and granddaughter. Ivara was right. New-adults and new babies were all beautiful.

Ruvardu tried to sing along with Ivara, but since the stroke, she couldn’t hold a tune. She smiled at Ivara. “You can sing for the baby.”

Ivara patted wetness from her cheeks, nodding. Ruvardu looked up—was it raining? The sky was clear, except for a few Others floating far above, out over the ocean. It must be just the surf. She asked Ivara, “Dance for me?”

Ivara looked sad, though she smiled at Ruvardu. “I will always dance for you.” She tucked the shawl tighter around her age-mate and stood to whirl and leap in the sand at the edge of the waves.
wyld_dandelyon: (Rainbow Margay Mage)
This is Denel's reading, posted here for [livejournal.com profile] ellenmillion. It's a little long to post as a comment in the card draw, so I'm giving it its own post.

Note: Torn World’s language does not use gendered pronouns, and their names are also not marked as one gender or another. As Rai-Kunabei arrives in Affamarg, she has not yet heard any detail that would let her know if Scientist Oranaan is male, female, or no-gender.

The Shaman and the Scientist

Rai-Kunabei looked out of the window as the train rumbled into Affamarg. The thing was noisy and smelly, but she had to admit it was more biddable than a goat. It also moved faster than she could walk, and saved her the trouble of carrying her bag of divination disks and her bulkier, but lighter bag of clothing. The attendant had also helped her improvise a way to secure her staff, with its dangling bells and wraith-scarred spinning balls, so that she didn’t have to hold it all day to prevent it from falling and hitting some poor citizen in the head.

The city was all straight lines and crisp 90 degree angles, and none of the buildings had a fringe of bells strung over the roof. It looked so strange to her mountain-bred eyes. Her people built homes in low, sheltered spots or on gentle hillocks that had good views of the surrounding mountains. Buildings might have four corners, like the ones here, or five or seven. But the biggest difference was the roads—mountain roads curved with the hills and valleys; these each ran straight from the rail line to the horizon. There must be many hundreds of people living in this lowland city, none of whom would understand her sacred role as priestess. Once again, and despite her long-standing desire to see the world, she wondered, what was she doing here?

It was an emotional response, of course, not a logical one. Logically, she knew that the lowland scientists had invited her to this far northern city to learn what she knew of the mysterious danger that haunted her world’s heights. She glanced away from the window to the letter she clutched, like a talisman, in her hand. It had been delivered to her home, high in the Affabreidalam mountains, in a fat envelope filled with special licenses.

The licenses were tucked into her pouch; this Oranaan had promised to meet her train, and she certainly hoped he would do so, or at least would send someone. She had no idea whatsoever how to find her way around that huge city without assistance—all the streets looked identical to her eyes, and she imagined herself wandering for months down the identical straight streets, wasting away into a wraith herself.

Kunabei laughed at her own fancy, drawing cautious looks from the people in the same train car. Logically, she knew she could ask for directions, and any Monitor would take a look at the letter and licenses, and help her on her way. You’d think she was a crochety great-grandmother, lost a bit in her age and incapable of dealing with the slightest challenge.

In reality, she was a young woman, but definitely old enough to be past letting nerves make her fanciful, except, she thought, that she was bored. For days, she’d been whizzed along, passing the countryside so fast she couldn’t examine the wildlife and plants, much less enjoy their beauty or see how they differed from the ones she was used to. And though there was plenty of time, not a single person had asked for a reading or requested more mundane advice.

She looked again at the letter and wondered who this Oranaan was, besides an important, brilliant, and, by people’s reactions, eccentric scientist. She imagined someone like her grandmother, vibrant despite age and experience, with a sassy sense of humor. Or maybe someone like her grandfather, who compensated for his wife’s fame as a priestess by dressing in the gaudy, bright-colored clothing and jewelry, and flirting with all the old people. She remembered the tales of Oraaan blowing up things and setting his workplace on fire, and decided the scientist must be more like her grandmother.

The train started to slow, and Kunabei checked to be sure her bags were tied securely shut. The people running the trains had little tolerance for people who weren’t ready to disembark promptly. Travel was a privilege and required special licenses, so travelers were expected to be prepared for the normal events of a train trip.

The train pulled into Affamarg Station and lurched to a stop. Kunabei stood and untied her staff from the wall of the train. She slung her clothes onto her back and lifted the divination disks. They made a satisfying weight for her hand. She followed the other passengers to the door and into a room where a Monitor checked licenses.

The Monitor, a tall, very pale man, read her personal and travel licenses carefully, glanced at her priestess license and stopped, looking up at her. “Rai?”

Kunabei nodded, using every bit of calm authority she had learned since killing the wraith. “It’s a traditional title.”

He started to leaf through the multiple pages dubiously.

Kunabei smiled, and offered her letter. “I was asked here to meet with Scientist Oranaan.”

“Oranaan, huh? What does the Scientist need with a--a Priestess?”

Rai Kunabei was pretty sure he had a different word in mind. “I do not believe he wants to consult me in that capacity. I believe he has questions about certain phenomena I witnessed in the mountains.”

The Monitor apparently found her answer dull, which didn’t disappoint Kunabei at all. He folded her licenses together and tucked them back in her pouch. “Here you go, Citizen.” He handed her the pouch and then a small booklet of local rules and regulations. “Be careful, Citizen. Oranaan had a fire in the laboratory again just last week. My sister’s kid said Oranaan was tasked with teaching safety in second form.”

She laughed at that. “Teaching is a good way to learn, actually.”

But the Monitor had already turned to the next person in line, so Kunabei strode toward the door.

At the far end of the waiting room, she saw two people in Indigo scientists’ robes. One was a demure-looking woman, and the other was a very young man with tousled hair. The man was waving his arms, talking animatedly, and barely missed knocking a hat off of a passing matron. Though she couldn’t hear them, from the look on her face it was clear that the woman started scolding him, and he dropped his hands to his sides, then she saw Kunabei and gestured, stepping past him to walk toward her.

Kunabei smiled with relief, and walked forward to greet the woman. “Scientist Oranaan. It is good to meet you and your assistant.”

The woman blushed and dimpled. “Rai Kunabei?“

Kunabei nodded.

“Welcome to Affamarg. I am Scientist Denel, and this,” she gestured to the young man, who was gaping at her, “is Scientist Oranaan. How was your trip?”

Up close, Oranaan looked a little less like a scatterbrained teenager, though it was clear he’d never been mistaken for his own assistant before.

“I’m sorry, Scientist Oranaan, no one ever told me what you look like.”

He suddenly grinned, an expression that didn’t exactly make him handsome, but was so very alive and genuine, Kunabei grinned back at him. He turned to the other scientist. “You see, Denel, you should have more faith in your ability to impress people. She thought you were me!” He turned back to Rai Kunabei. “Here, let me help you!” He reached forward and grabbed the bag of divination disks, just under where Kunabei held it, swinging it toward him before getting her permission.

Kunabei let go of the bag—he was a lowlander, after all, and didn’t know he was being disrespectful.

The bag swung into Oranaan’s shins. “Ow!” He gave Kunabei a measuring look. “What’s in here?”

Kunabei smiled, deciding that she liked this impulsive young man. Despite giving himself what would doubtless be substantial bruises, he had not dropped the bag. “Those are my divination disks.”

Denel laid her hand on Kunabei’s arm. “Are you hungry? There’s a restaurant near here that claims to serve Affabreidalam-style food, or we can go get some traditional Mojeveterk specialties if you prefer.”

Oranaan’s stomach rumbled. “Oh, yes! Can we get you some food?”

Kunabei nodded. “I’d like to try the local food, if that’s all right. I’ve never been further than Affabreidalam before.”

They guided her across the street and Oranaan was greeted by name at the restaurant. Soon, they had a good-sized table and Oranaan presented a chit and ordered a sampler plate.

When the server left, Oranaan started to untie the bag of disks.

Denel put her hand over his. “Oranaan, my boys know better than to open someone else’s luggage.”

He blushed. “Ah, I apologize, Rai Kunabei. It’s just I’ve never seen divination disks before.”

“I could do a reading for you, but our tradition is that the Rai should not do readings for the disrespectful. And as Rai, it is my job to uphold the traditions.”

Oranaan’s face fell. “But I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.”

“That’s all right. You can ask again tomorrow.”

He looked woefully at the bag, and then back at her face. “Wait—Denel wasn’t disrespectful, was she?”

“That’s right.”

“Then you could do a reading for Denel!”

“I only do readings for people who ask for them.”

The server arrived with a large platter of food, and set it in the middle of the table, placing small plates in front of each of them. Oranaan turned to Denel, “You will ask for a reading, won’t you?”

Denel thanked the server and shifted the topic to the different foods on the sampler plate.

Oranaan sighed, “Denel? Will you?”

Denel smiled at him fondly. “I might ask after lunch.” She pointedly turned to Kunabei and asked, “What would you like to try first?”

Lunch was pleasant, and most of the foods were very good, if a little sweeter than Kunabei was used to. Oranaan threw himself into the role of host with evident enjoyment of the food, but his eyes darted back to the leather bag holding the disks even while he related hilarious stories about his mostly-failed first attempts to cook the dishes she was tasting.

Kunabei started to wonder how much of Oranaan’s reputation for carelessness was really a reflection of his joy in being outrageous. Did this reputation let him achieve more leeway to do unconventional experiments than he would otherwise get away with?

The server brought out some after-meal pastries, which proved to be even sweeter than the lunch itself.

Finally, when the server had cleared away all the food and left them with hot drinks (Kunabei had managed to score an unsweetened tea, to her relief), Denel asked Kunabei about the divining disks.

“It would take too long, I think, to try to talk about all of them now. But I could give you a reading, if you like.”

Denel paused just long enough to see Oranaan biting his lower lip, and then responded, “Yes, please. I would like that.”

Rai Kunabei untied the bag. “Do you have a particular question?”

“I—do I need to?”

“No. But you can choose to.”

Denel thought for a minute, but then shook her head. “No particular question—no, wait—tell us about our research, if you can.”

Kunabei nodded. “All right then. The simplest reading is three disks. The first one shows you the nature of the situation the reading is about.” She started to reach in to the bag, then paused, glancing rom Denel to Oranaan. “You do have the right to privacy if you want it.”

Oranaan opened his mouth, holding up a hand.

Denel laughed. “No, no. It’s fine for Oranaan to watch.”

He sat back in his chair.

“That’s what I thought you wanted, but you can’t learn the traditions unless I share, since you did not grow up in the mountains.”

Denel nodded. “That makes sense.”

“All right, I shall begin.” Kunabei reached into the bag and pulled out a disk. It was big enough to cover her entire palm, and was made of soft, shiny bronze. She turned it over to show an enameled image of a hammer smashing some piece of wooden furniture.

“The nature of the problem is Destruction, the embodiment of human-made endings. Whatever you are studying, human actions have made the situation worse, or perhaps caused the situation, either recently or in the distant past.”

Oranaan held out his hand. “May I look at the disk, please?”

Kunabei let it slide gently from her own hand to his. Most people, faced with the image of destruction, didn’t want to touch it, but this young scientist was fearless. He turned it over and over, running his fingers over the metal and enameled sides of the disk.

Kunabei turned to Denel. “The second disk has to do with the tools that are involved in the situation, which, in this case could be either the tools that were or are used to bring about this situation, or it could be the tools you need to address the problem.”

Denel nodded her understanding.

Kunabei reached into the bag and drew out another disk. This one was gold, and showed an elder seated on the ground, a bag by her knee and holding scorched ball whistles in her hands. It was a tolerable likeness of Kunaei’s grandmother, though the artist who made it had never met the old priestess. “This is the Shaman, who is the embodiment of abstract knowledge. From this, I would say that physical tools are of limited use in addressing the problem you are studying. Human perception, intelligence and the knowledge handed down from our ancestors will be vital to understanding what is going on. That is interesting, because usually the knowledge and attitudes that shed light on the topic at hand shows up as the third disk.”

She passed the Shaman to Oranaan, then reached in a final time and brought out an iron disk. The image enameled on one side was a sheer cliff, with a tiny figure clinging precariously to the rock. “The Cliff, which is the dangerous aspect of borders.” Kunabei fell silent, considering the disk. “It might be that the knowledge you need has been passed down by people in very different parts of the world, so that the social divisions remaining from the old borders are a barrier to obtaining the information you need. Or perhaps this is more literal, and the old borders have something to do with the problem. Or maybe,” she looked over at Oranaan, “it could simply be a warning that pushing your licenses to their limits is perilous in and of itself, and the chaos you cause could be threatening your effectiveness to obtain the information you need.”

Oranaan frowned at that. “You’ve heard stories about me. Is that all this is, stories?” He gestured at the disks.

Kunabei shrugged. “Stories are an effective way to teach, and to get people thinking about their problems in a new way. If you are asking me is there some science behind which disk is drawn when, all I can say is that if there is, I don’t know it. All I can offer is my personal observations that people who ask for readings do get some benefit from the experience.”

She placed the final disk into Oranaan’s hand, and unhooked her own scorched ball whistle from her staff, which was leaning in a corner. “It’s similar to this—I didn’t see what scorched this whistle, but something did. It’s not very satisfactory that I cannot tell you what a wraith looks like or why it attacks people in the highlands, but I take comfort from knowing that the whistle protected me.”

Oranaan dropped the disks into Denel’s hands and reached for the ball. “This—this came into contact with an anomaly? And you were there? You survived? You’re not mad?” He stopped short of touching it. “May I hold it?”

Kunabei nodded. “I met a wraith in the mountains and survived. That is how I came to be the shaman for my people.” She put the ball into his hands. “Certainly you can look at it. But remember it is sacred to me. You may not subject it to explosions or laboratory fires or do anything else to it without letting me know exactly what you plan and getting my prior approval.”

Reluctantly, he nodded, but still, Kunabei watched him carefully as she took the disks from Denel and returned them to her bag. As she tied it up, the server walked up and bowed to the scientists. “If you are finished with your lunch, we would like to clean this area and get set up for the dinner crowd.”

“Oh, of course. I apologize, we didn’t realize how late it has gotten. Denel took the ball from Oranaan and handed it back to Kunabei, who tied it securely to her staff.

Oranaan smiled at the young woman and reached into a pocket, taking out a thin sliver of metal that shone with swirls of bright color, almost like the mystery disk in Kunabei’s bag.

Oranaan stood and pulled out a pen and signed the rectangular bit of metal, then handed it to the server. “I’m not much of an artist, but this is part of a plate that was damaged in the last laboratory fire. It is, if nothing else, unique.

The server’s eyes grew round, and he took the slip of metal. “Thank you, Scientist. You are welcome to return any time.”

They guided Kunabei back outside into the sunlight, and turned left. Denel started laughing as soon as the door closed behind them. “You turned your—your slag—into tip cards? Oranaan, you are incorrigible!”

Oranaan smiled, and offered his free arm to Kunabei. “Let us take you to the room we reserved for you, and then we can go find an Assistant to take notes while you tell us all about your encounter with the wraith.”


As usual, this is posted prior to Canon-Board review, so it may be edited for coninuity. There are other stories about Rai-Kunabei, Denel, and Oranaan over at www.TornWorld.net
wyld_dandelyon: (Rainbow Margay Mage)
If you have a moment, go check out the nominees and vote! Each voting page has a link to the nominating page, and there's links to everything.


Even if you don't vote, you'll find some cool stuff.
wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
Over here: http://crowdfunding.livejournal.com/548844.html

What crowdfunded things have you been enjoying? So far, there's only one fiction and one patron nominee. Here's your chance to tell more people about your favorite writers, artists, and patrons!
wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
I love reading urban fantasy, and I've been wanting an urban fantasy world to play in--er, write in. But I don't have an urban fantasy world designed yet. I want something different, with magical beings that suit my personal sense of whimsy. A world different enough to let me challenge my characters with a different set of dilemmas.

I finally have the start of an idea for a world, and want to do some world building. I'd also like to give all of my patient readers a bit of a present.

I'm a cat lover, so there will be cats, probably a lot of them. Not only cats, of course, that would be too predictable. There will be ephemeral beings, and bright colors, beauty and danger, and quite possibly dragons, or maybe something else altogether, but ancient and strange and powerful.

So, if you want to play along and give me a bit of a Midwinter Gift, you can offer words, thoughts, questions, images or songs; my gift, for each of you that do so, will be to pick at least one to inspire me and offer some small glimpse into this world, a vignette or ficlet (at least 100 words), poem or song, or perhaps a bit of art.

Whether you play along or not, I hope you have wonderful Midwinter Holidays, and a marvelous New Year.

Technical difficulties prevent me from sharing a snow picture or two right now; later!

For now, let's get started!
wyld_dandelyon: (Frazzled Moth Artist)

I'm pretty sure my friends will all have heard about the recent project Kickstarter should not have funded. If not, this guy wanted to publish a "seduction guide" based on "research and development done on Reddit". His words on Reddit, carefully erased prior to sending in his Kickstarter proposal, essentially advocated sexual assault. Kickstarter admits they were informed about this shortly prior to the end of the funding period, but they did not pull the project and they did not even hold the funds until they had time to determine if the project violated their terms of service.

Kickstarter's apology is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/we-were-wrong

Kickstarter admits they were wrong and makes a large $25,000 donation to fight sexual abuse. However, people are still upset, and right now I am seeing more talk about what Kickstarter did wrong than about the creator of the project. Which brings me to this question:

Why does Kickstarter's actions in this matter matter so much to artists, writers and patrons of the arts?

One of the reasons Kickstarter has succeeded so well for so many artists is that they vet projects so people feel confident that they are supporting worthy art.

This was not worthy art. Kickstarter failed in its vetting process (I don't really blame them for that--nobody is perfect and these kinds of abusers are usually very good at hiding what they're up to). But--and this is a big but in terms of Kickstarter's credibility as a supporter of worthy art--Kickstarter sent the money before they took the time to investigate whether there had been a violation of their terms of service.

It's not about whether Joe Rape-Promoter can publish his book, it's about whether buyers of art will continue to trust Kickstarter enough to feel good about donating to Kickstarter projects. If you're thinking "I might be supporting rapists and teachers-of-rapists" when you see a Kickstarter page, even if the artist for this project is your grandmother, you will probably not feel good about sending her your money through Kickstarter.

What it comes down to is that Kickstarter's reputation matters.

Because Kickstarter has made it clear that they have standards for a Kickstarter project and they vet the projects prior to approving them, their reputation matters in a different way than a traditional publisher or book store's reputation. This unique reputation is inherently part of any Kickstarter project--because of this reputation, buyers could feel good about spending money there.  Essentialy, every time they sent money off through Kickstarter, they believed they were supporting good art and keeping worthy artists from starving in garrets. For once, buyers believed, their money wasn't supporting some greedy corporation, but was instead (except for handling fees) going directly to an artist with a dream worth supporting.

Is that a bit like saying Kickstarter gives people a nice daydream of doing good in the world? Absolutely. But it's really not so far from the truth. Artists get paid for their work, books get published, movies, clocks, jewelry and fine garments get made, and the world contains some wonderful things it wouldn't have otherwise. The supporters of these projects deserve to feel good about making some wonderful dreams come true.

Every artist who uses Kickstarter relies on that idealistic daydream, as does every buyer who sends their money off to someone they've never heard of, hoping to get a product in the mail or e-mail some months in the future. It's not just a daydream--Kickstarter has helped thousands of dreams become reality.

So, someone decided to use that dream for evil. Sadly, that's not really surprising. As we know from our best fiction--even our kids' comic books--one must always be vigilant in the fight against evil.

Kickstarter was our artist's superhero, if you think about it. No one wants to see Wonder Woman fail to catch the villain, and we especially don't want to see the villain hoodwink Superman and get away with the money. But in this case, so far, it looks like the villain is laughing all the way to the bank.

No wonder we're upset.  We want Kickstarter to hold that villain accountable!

Here's hoping Kickstarter can do that, or can at least set in place policies that will prevent any other villain from doing the same.  I want that nice daydream of a place where I can safely send money to artists, even ones I've never heard of before, and feel confident that I'm supporting good art and worthy artists--and I want that dream to once again be a part of my everyday reality.

wyld_dandelyon: (outpost picnic)
The Muse Fusion has started! It’s over [Poll #1862289]

It’s easy to sponsor the story—just link to the Muse Fusion (http://torn-world.livejournal.com/116759.html) in your blog, your facebook, your twitter or other appropriate public internet space, and then stop back here to give me a link to your link. I reserve the right to count linkbacks I find out about in some other way, but I won’t be out looking for them. I’ll be getting ready for Worldcon and writing/drawing.

And probably visiting the hospice again. I have a friend who I’ve always really liked, but our schedules never meshed. Still, I always thought that someday…well, there won’t be a someday. She was very recently discovered to have stage four lung cancer, and I just heard about it this week.

I know nobody can do everything they want to do. There’s always more friends to see, more stories to write, more songs to sing, more of everything worth doing than there is time to do those things in. This lady has always been one of the most alive people I know—I believe she lived her life well and fully. But still, she should have many years left to be the wonderful, vital person she’s always been, instead of a just few more days or hours to be with her friends and family. The news hit me hard.

So, I forgot all about posting a poll, thinking instead about roads not taken, and remembering that you never know how short life will prove to be.
wyld_dandelyon: (Torn World)
Next weekend is Torn World's monthly creative jam, when our online storytellers create new fiction, poetry, and art to share with each other, our friends and our readers.  To help  us get in the mood, I thought I'd share this new bit of writing:

Story Time in Torn World
By Deirdre M. Murphy

In the far, cold, North:

Ashari wiggled on her blanket, looking up at the Itakith furshirt. "Tell us a story!"

Tarl rubbed his round belly. "I want a bread story."

Ashari giggled. Tarl always wanted a bread story, because then they got to eat the illustrations.

"How about the tale of Avoku and the moons?" Tarl smiled fondly--it took a lot of bread to illustrate that story properly.

"I'd rather have a teaching story." Ikaluu smiled up at the furshirt. "Tell us about the Others!"

Alainya tied a small ball of blue yarn to the end of her knitting. This bit was a lighter blue than the last one, which made her smile. Her
sky-colors blanket needed to be longer to cover her growing legs. "Yes, tell us about Others. They're pretty."

The furshirt gave her a stern look. "Others are dangerous."

Ikaluu grinned fiercely, and returned to scraping hairs off the hide she wanted to turn into a map. She was going to get
her teaching story.

In a busy Empire city:

"Daddy! Daddy!" Kivegei ran up to Jerumal and hugged his knees. "I don't want to go to bed."

Amanel joined his brother, hugging Jerumal's thighs with one arm and his brother's shoulders with the other. “Let’s play!”

Denel smiled at her family. “Play time’s over. It’s time for bed.”

“But—” Amanel looked at his parent’s implacable faces. “All right, but first a story!”

“A story in bed!” Denel countered.

“One now and one in bed?”

Jerumal laughed. Already his son was learning to negotiate. That should be rewarded. “All right,” he started, but catching the look on his wife’s face, he added, “two stories. But both in bed.”

There were protests, but it really wasn’t hard getting the kids washed up and into bed after promising two stories. Once they were there, Jerumal sat in the bedside chair. “Now, what story should I tell?”

“I want a story about—” Kivegei scrunched up his face and said it slowly, carefully, “anomalies.”

Denel bit her lip, but Jerumal nodded. “I even have a new story for you, in that case. Up in the mountains, near the City of Lights—”

“But it’s not, any more—a City I mean.” Amanel commented.

“That’s right. It’s a restricted zone now.” Jerumal said, sadly.

“It’s a ruin!” Kivegei said, enthusiastically. “The ana-anomalies ruined it.”

“Do you want to hear a story or not?” Jerumal asked.

“Yes, yes, a story!” Both boys bounced in their beds.

“Then settle down.”

They laid down and pulled the covers up obediently.

“There was a day last summer, a particularly fine day. The wind was blowing, and the sun was shining, and Oranaan was working in his laboratory when two of his school friends came to see him.”

“But Science Master Oranaan is a man, not a school boy!” Amanel protested.

“Or a teacher,” Kivegei added.

Jerumal glared theatrically, and the boys pulled the covers up over their mouths.

Yes, Science Master Oranaan is a man, but he used to be a boy, and when he was a boy in school he had school friends.
Two of those friends, now scientists, came to talk to him about cllimbing a tree

In the far, warm South:

Megruu was sitting in one of his mother’s unlikely-looking driftwood-and-monster-bone chairs, showing off his new prostheses to a very young cousin, Druula. A young scientist had developed a method of heat-treating the tough fin-membrane of a deathfin or thunder whale, bending it to form a springy angular “foot”. The things were expensive, and only lasted about half a year, but they were worth it.

Two families of tourists walked by, and the children ran right to Megruu. “Were you a war-sailor?”

Druuli drew herself up as tall as she could. “Megruu is a war-sailor! You should have seen him saving people from a tooth typhoon on Rejoining Day!”

“A what?” A tall boy lifted up a partially-carved shark from Megruu’s table.

“On those things?” A girl pointed at the prostheses with a dark-skinned hand.

Megruu took the carving gently from the boy. “Now, there were a lot of people fighting the monsters that day—including my mother!”

“Really?” The girl gasped, looking at Neteilyu with something like awe.

the story, Megruu!” Druula urged.

“Yes, tell us the story!” The tall, skinny mainland boy plopped down in the sand in front of Megruu’s chair.

“A story! A story!” The younger children all pushed forward.

“All right then,” Megruu smiled, “If you’ll all sit down.”

The children cheered and settled, and Megruu picked up a small carving chisel and set to work detailing the shark’s teeth as he began. “It was the morning of Rejoining Day, and my stomach was grumbling. There was plenty of food—but just sundered times stuff, at that hour, and so I was saving room for the good food that wouldn’t be set out until lunchtime…”

The links above are to  the Torn World stories and poetry I wrote that the characters are referring to.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Muse Fusion.  Feel free to ask for the kinds of stories, poems, and art you'd like to see.  I also plan to offer one of my subscriber-only stories to be made public as follows:  Once the Fusion opens, for every linkback you tell me about and for every new prompter, I'll make 100 words of one story public in my journal for at least a week, and if the whole story is revealed, I'll leave it public here and have it made public on the Torn World site as well.

I'll run a poll in a few days, including all of my stories and poems that are suggested here, so you can vote which story should be the link-back story.  Here are three to start with:

An Afternoon of Stories
A Monstrous Feast

Let me know if I should add any others before setting up the poll!

Small print:  As always, this brand-new draft has not been approved by the Canon Board.  The final version that appears on Torn World may be different!
wyld_dandelyon: (a wizard writing)
So, I decided to join the Clarion West Write-A-Thon. They had a challenge promise that if they had at least 200 writers sign up, they'd get a $2,000 donation, so even if I don't inspire any of you to support this, I figure my words help!

It has long been a dream of mine to go to one of the Clarions.  I don't know if it will happen--I don't have six weeks' vacation, and when I was unemployed I certainly couldn't afford the tuition, much less travel and expenses and tuition--but they do good work and the speculative fiction field is richer for having them around. 

So far, I made my goal for the first two days, though I didn't manage to post here until today. This evening my computer has been acting weird; I finally resorted to pulling the battery and doing several start up and shut down cycles, after which Firefox loaded some I'm updates. So far, it's working OK, but I'm behind on the actual writing.  I'll have to catch up tomorrow, if I can't catch up before bedtime. 

Here's a snippet of the WIP:

Ashley made a fist, and the movement triggered the change. Her boughs pulled inward, her toes rushing up from deep in the ground to rejoin her feet, shrinking together until she once again had only ten, instead of hundreds, or thousands of toe-tendrils deep in the ground.

Want to read more?  I'll privately share with people who donate.

So, here's my writer page there:  clarionwest.org/writeathon/deirdremmurphy  There's a PayPal button there so your money goes straight to Clarion West.

Once I'm caught up to my promised word count, I want to add links to my Crossed Genres stories to this page.

Speaking of Crossed Genres, their Kickstarter has 65 hours to go, and they're less than $3000 from funding a full year's professional rate payments for all writers who they publish in their magazine.  I've enjoyed working with their editors and have also enjoyed the stories they've chosen to publish.  I'm hoping that they make it to pro rates!

Here's the link:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1537879721/crossed-genres-publications-over-a-year-of-indie-p  At least go watch the video and check out the available rewards.  All of the thank-you rewards from $25 up will include a subscription to CG Magazine in 2013 in addition to the original reward (reviving the magazine was the first stretch goal, so the original descriptions didn't include anything about the magazine).

So, wish me luck!  My dream goal is to finish one story a week, though my actual promise is more modest.

Now, off to write, even if it is still 85 degrees out (and in)!
wyld_dandelyon: (a wizard writing)
The Hues of His Days
a Torn World poem
by Deirdre M. Murphy

Deep blue skies, delicate green seedlings
Crops pushing upward through brown dirt
Tended by golden bees and orange butterflies

Rijorl remembers tendays rowing
Between endless grey skies and gray water
The intense dark of night was a relief
The silvery flash of a serpent-monster
Was more color than they prayed for then

The fields around him now
Offer a wealth of colors
Compared to the sea

Rijorl composes verse for the sky blue snakes
For squatty geese with their clash-colored feathers
Bold bright songbirds and dazzling lizards
He sings for the flowers that hid his scant hair
During the birds’—and humans’—nesting season

After the rainbow rainforest
The Empire’s verdant fields
Seem very nearly monochrome

If you enjoyed this, please consider voting for us at Top WebFiction.

wyld_dandelyon: (a wizard writing)
I know I've talked about the Muse Fusion, invited you all to stop by and leave prompts, or perhaps join in, write along with us. And, admittedly, the Muse Fusion comes to mind in part because it's this weekend.

But I thought I'd do something different today, and try to give you a little insight as to what a Muse Fusion is like for me.

It's magic.

Not the flashy magic you see in so many fantasy books, but magic just the same. I take a rested me (or as rested as I can manage, anyway, given that life happens), and a blank computer screen, and set myself free to play with the toys you send me.

Now I find myself yawning, so I'd better head to bed. But feel free to ask questions!
wyld_dandelyon: (Allegedly Sleepy)
More free story-bits for the prompting are being written by [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu at http://rix-scaedu.livejournal.com/66191.html

Also, you can check out [livejournal.com profile] addergoole for prompted and unprompted ficlets nearly any time!

I want to share the bounty before I return to the Torn World Muse Fusion, where there are some new prompts.  We'll see how many more words I can come up with before sleep overtakes me.

By the way, if you're enjoying my Torn World stories, please vote for us at Top Web Fiction, since that helps new readers find us.

I took a break from indoor chores and writing to pick up the trash that blew in and snagged in and under the rose bushes.  It's March, and the roses are all leafing out nicely! Our first big bloom of the roses will be at least a month early, if we don't have a frost killing all that new growth.  But here are some of the daffodils, before they're gone for the year, and some of those leaf buds too:

wyld_dandelyon: (a wizard writing)
I opened the Muse Fusion last night, did some writing, slept a Loooooong Time (which felt wonderful) and did some more writing.

Here's the snippets I've posted so far:


The tall, handsome man in the dress smiled at Othan and then walked on, talking with the small Asataarla woman.

The boy turned to watch him walk. The silk was beautiful, and rippled with the man’s long stride. Othan watched as the two turned into an expensive restaurant. After an obvious double-take, the greeter led them to a table with obvious respect.

Othan dug into his pocket to count his cash. Three basic tokens and one precious coin. Not enough for a dress, even in the second-hand store. But he couldn’t stop thinking about it, the pale dress against the man’s very dark skin. He couldn’t help imagining what it would be like to have silk legs swishing around his legs like that—though his skin color, with its olive tones, would go better with a different color.

He put his tokens back in his pocket and headed in to the store, not really sure what he would do there, but the lure of the dresses had caught him, and he couldn’t resist.

Young Love

The young couple got off of the train, two tall, thin forms with carrot-bright hair, slender fingers twined together. The contrast of the Mayaloi-dark skin of the woman and the Irfai-pale skin of the other was striking. They looked around with wide eyes, and Jakei couldn’t tell if they were pulling together out of nervousness or love. She smiled, and thought, probably both.

“I didn’t think Mayaloi came with red hair.” Murruni murmured.

“They don’t. She must have other blood, unless that’s a dye job.”

“Can they get that color with dye?

Jakei shrugged, and tossed her long, golden hair, letting the metallic painted highlights flash in the moonlight. “Beats me. My hairdresser might know.” The Mayaloi woman’s eyes were drawn to the bright peacock-feather patterns painted in Jakei’s hair, and she leaned to her companion, whispering into her companion’s ear.

Beside Jakei, Murruni ran his hand over his bald, tattooed head, stretching to let his gently-sculpted muscles ripple. Like Jakei, he was painted, but his metallic paints were applied to his body, accenting the tattoos that scrolled around his body. “Care for a wager?”

“You really think they’ll have eyes for anyone but each other?”

“They’ll be disappointed if we don’t at least try.”

Smiling, they stepped forward to greet the young lovers. “Welcome to Affanumuur.”

Bead by Trelgon

They returned to the summer gather late; the sun was low over the hills and everyone was asleep. Dulsa and Trelgon quickly unloaded the baskets of fish from Fidget, then started draping them over the waiting poles in the smokehouse. Dulsa yawned hugely and repeatedly until Trelgon laughed. “You’re really tired,” he said. “Go on to bed. I’ll see you later.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, and Dulsa’s hand went to the carved fish in the center of her necklace. She felt very self-conscious about it—they’d been adults only a few months, and she hadn’t had very many beads there yet, but also she knew her younger sister, Freijali, had a crush on Trelgon. How would Freijali take seeing a bead carved in Trelgon’s distinctive style on her sister’s neck?

It was only a month—there was no serious romance between her and Telgon—but a month could seem like forever when you were almost adult and couldn’t court the object of your attraction yourself. Dulsa reached the large tent she shared with her age-set and her sister’s, still yawning. What was wrong with her? The day hadn’t been that strenuous!

She looked around and, to her relief, didn’t see Freijali. The house looked different too. It took Dulsa a minute to realize why—most of the people in the house were sleeping tandem. As she walked over to where her own furs were rolled, one of the few singletons rolled over, looked up, and hastily stood. It was Reivani. “Dulsa—you missed it!” His eyes were shining, though his voice was low.

“Missed what?”

“Our final test—and we passed!” Reivani stepped closer in the dimness of the tent, and he raised one hand toward her, cupped upward. “Would you—” his eyes dropped to her neck, and he stopped. “Oh. Um.”

I've got 1100 words into Bead By Trelgon so far. It's at a point where I could call it good or I could call it the end of the first act.  So sponsoring it will get the unapproved draft posted immediately.  The others aren't as close to finished, but I'll give priority to working on whatever gets sponsored first!

Want to read more? I'll work on whichever fragment(s) you tip me to work on, at a rate of at least 90 words per dollar or 1000 per $10 (by which I mean I reserve the right to write more than you pay for). You can tip me in Torn World Credits or use my tip hat at www.wyld-dandelyon.com. Just be sure to let me know which piece you're paying for.ring

I'll be posting more snippets this weekend, over at [livejournal.com profile] torn_world in the Muse Fusion post.  Sometime tomorrow or next week I'll also be sending private copies of each entire work in progress (as far as I've gotten, anyway) to the people who prompted them.  More prompts would be very welcome, and would get you a peek at the rough draft of anything your prompt inspires! 

I hope to see you there!

Now I'm off to write some more.
wyld_dandelyon: An exuberant dandelion I painted (dandelion art)
I hope to see you all at www.torn_world.livejournal.com!

I'll hurry home after work and open things up, hopefully by 6:00 central time.

Readers: If you're not sure what to prompt about, remember we have Sea Monster Month coming up, we're in the middle of the Fantastic Critters of Torn World Contest, some of us love challenges, and questions, words, moods, settings, characters, photographs, and even music can be offered as prompts.

Writers and Artists: Sharpen your pencils, dust off your computers, or ready whatever strange tools and materials you might want to use! Knitting needles? Clay? Paint and canvass? Or "just" pixels appearing on a blank screen? I can't wait to see!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
You can read the prompts so far, and leave prompts on the theme of wildlife here:

And here are a couple of the poems she's written so far today:

The Death Tenders

Impressions of the North (A Torn World poem)

Ysabet also has an epic poem, and a new verse is revealed every time someone links to her fishbowl or poems.  The linkback post is here.

wyld_dandelyon: An exuberant dandelion I painted (dandelion art)
The Rose and Bay Awards were created to honor excellence in crowd-funded projects. The following post includes more information about the awards and links to the pages where you can nominate your favorites: http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2139030.html

I am very pleased to see that Ellen Million's <LJ user="ellenmillion">'s Sketchfest has been nominated in the Art category, and [personal profile] filkertom  <LJ user="FilkerTom"> has been nominated for his music.  There are other projects I'm very fond of that have been nominated, including [personal profile] wrenstarling 's Bird Oracle readings.

The primary crowdfunding projects I participated in during 2011 were Dandelyon's Card Draws and Torn World,  If you have enjoyed either or both projects, please consider nominating them.  If there are projects I'm not aware of, I hope you'll nominate them too!

But you have to act fast--nominations are only open until tomorrow evening--they closed before midnight Central Standard Time last year; I think the administrator for that category was on Eastern Time. I have no idea where the administrators for the different categories live this year.

wyld_dandelyon: (Magical Moth Artist by Djinni)
The Crowdfunding Community is hosting a Creative Jam--people leave prompts, and people of all skill levels are welcome to stop by and use those prompts to create something--anything. Sketches, paintings, poetry, songs, stories, pottery, whatever.

Please stop by and leave some prompts. Each participating creator decides how and whether to share their work, but some of us privately share with the prompter first, regardless of what else we do.

Also, you are welcome to use any of the prompts to create something. As a creator, you can choose whether and how to share their work--you can share for free, sell your work, offer to publish your work for a sponsorship or even set it aside to submit in the traditional fashion.

Whether making things is work or play (or a bit of both) for you, why don't you stop by?

In other news, My Angel's feeling miserable again today; the antibiotics that seemed to be working so well yesterday aren't doing such a good job today. I hope I'll be able to participate in the jam, instead of heading back to Urgent Care with her.
wyld_dandelyon: (Magical Moth Artist by Djinni)
The Crowdfunding Community is hosting a Creative Jam--people leave prompts, and people of all skill levels are welcome to stop by and use those prompts to create something--anything. Sketches, paintings, poetry, songs, stories, pottery, whatever.

Please stop by and leave some prompts. Each participating creator decides how and whether to share their work, but some of us privately share with the prompter first, regardless of what else we do.

Also, you are welcome to use any of the prompts to create something. As a creator, you can choose whether and how to share their work--you can share for free, sell your work, offer to publish your work for a sponsorship or even set it aside to submit in the traditional fashion.

Whether making things is work or play (or a bit of both) for you, why don't you stop by?

In other news, My Angel's feeling miserable again today; the antibiotics that seemed to be working so well yesterday aren't doing such a good job today. I hope I'll be able to participate in the jam, instead of heading back to Urgent Care with her.


wyld_dandelyon: (Default)

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