Archive for July, 2015

An Act of Whimsy to benefit Nora and Bob

A couple of months ago, my friend Mary Robinette Kowal contacted me for help. Nora and Bob, friends of hers from the Oregon Regency Society, were involved in a horrific car accident far from home. They both barely survived and wound up in the ICU, with terrible fractures and multiple surgeries. They have insurance, but obviously neither of them is able to work and they will certainly burn through the insurance money before they are well. So their friends set up a fundraiser at

Mary asked me to help publicize the fundraiser by contributing an Act of Whimsy — something to amuse Nora and Bob, make people laugh, and engage the community. She suggested that I read a scene from my Regency interplanetary airship adventure novel Arabella of Mars (coming from Tor in June 2016). I considered reading it wearing a Regency dress, but after some discussion with Mary and ORS member Julia Grim, we thought that might be disrespectful. So Julia very kindly donated her labor and made me a complete Regency gentleman’s ensemble.

It all took a while, but now the ensemble and the video are done, and you can see them both right here (YouTube link:

I hope you enjoy the video, but more importantly I hope that you donate to help Nora and Bob at Thank you for your consideration.

Meet me at the old abandoned paper mill (photos)

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This weekend I took a hard-hat tour of the former Blue Heron Paper Mill in Oregon City.

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We started off with a brief introduction by Dr. John McLoughlin (1784–1857) who gave us a little history of the site. Oregon City was once the capital of the entire territory (San Francisco’s plat was filed here, and is still on display in the city museum) and this site was one of the area’s first industrial facilities. A sawmill was the first use of the river’s power, followed by a grist mill, a salmon processing plant, one of the country’s first municipal power plants, and finally the Blue Heron Paper Mill, which went bankrupt in 2011. The facility has stood vacant ever since.

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Eric (center), an intern for Metro, was our guide for the rest of the tour. The site is currently in the design phases for redevelopment. “Long-term plans include a public riverwalk along the edge of the Willamette River and a thriving, connected, downtown Oregon City with room for housing, public spaces, habitat restoration, education and employment.”

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Many aspects of the site stand exactly as they were when the mill shut down. Others have been salvaged (the giant paper-making machines are all gone) or are substantially decayed.

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Leverage, Grimm, and The Librarians have all filmed here, and in fact The Librarians was filming that day. Any scene you’ve seen in any of those shows that took place in an old abandoned factory was likely filmed here.

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You might recognize this “Die Impuro” graffito from an episode of Grimm. The site was otherwise surprisingly free of graffiti.

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My main interest in the tour was a photo opportunity for many cool images of industrial decay. I can’t tell you very much about what you are seeing in most of the rest of these images, except that they struck me with their crumbling beauty.

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I just sold Romanian translation rights for “Damage” to publishing house Nemira for their magazine CPSF!

OWC Lit Lounge 7/15: Writing a Fiction Series

At the Oregon Writers Colony Literary Lounge on July 15, 2015, authors David D. Levine, Cindy Brown, and Angela Sanders will discuss and answer questions about writing a fiction series. They will also talk about working with big publishing houses, small presses, and self-publishing. Ed Goldberg of All Classic Radio will moderate.

The event happens from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 15 at the June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 N Albina Street, Portland, Oregon.

A publication, a translation, two podcasts, and a reprint! And a publication date! And paper books!

What with everything else that has been happening, I have been absolutely terrible at posting my writing news lately.

  • A new hard SF story of mine, “River of Ice,” was published at the Chinese website SF Comet in Chinese and English.
  • My Bigfoot story “Primates,” which originally appeared in Asimov’s, was podcast at The Overcast, read by me!
  • My dog story “I Hold My Father’s Paws,” which originally appeared in Albedo One, has been reprinted in the furry anthology ROAR 6.
  • My Venus Noir story “The End of the Silk Road” was requested by the StarShipSofa podcast, also to be read by me, and will appear there some time soon… once I finish editing it.

I suppose the good news here is that things that would have had me over the moon when I was starting out as a writer now happen so frequently that I can forget about them for weeks at a time. I’ll try to be better about posting writing news when it happens.

Speaking of which… did I mention that I have a publication date for Arabella of Mars? I do, and it is June 2016. This is a much longer lead time than usual, to accommodate my life circumstances, and because we have so much time until publication Tor printed up some bound manuscripts to send to writers when requesting blurbs. (And the blurbs are coming in now, and they are fabulous, and I can’t wait to share them with you.) These are even earlier and cruder than Advance Reading Copies (ARCs); they are just my own un-edited words, printed and bound in plain paper covers. But still… real books! And I got five of them!


Given that the book doesn’t come out for an entire year, I’m not sure how to use these bound manuscripts to publicize it effectively. Any ideas?

Kate’s progress: June

IMG 4552Things are going pretty well around here. In the last two weekends we attended the Locus Awards in Seattle and the Westercon in San Diego, and both were fun, if quite laid-back for us. I was on a lot of programming at the Westercon; Kate attended a couple of program items a day and spent much of the rest of the time napping or relaxing in the room. But we had many fine meals, hung out with friends, and enjoyed the weather (paradoxically, San Diego was a refreshing 68 degrees and overcast while Portland was an unpleasant 90+ degrees and sunny).

Kate had another bi-monthly MRI, which was almost identical to the previous one. Although we had hoped to see some healing, given the typical behavior of this type of tumor “no news” is definitely good news. She has also completed another round of chemo — round 5 of 6 planned monthly doses, and at this point the doctor still thinks we will stop after round 6 — with minimal side effects. Her biggest problems now are muscular weakness (from the steroids), fatigue (from the chemo), and memory issues (most likely from the radiation), and we’re working with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech/cognitive therapist to try to improve those. Her speech and right-side weakness seem to be better than in previous months, but it’s hard to say… the improvement is very slow and subtle, and not on a constant upward slope.

In general, it’s hard to say whether she’s doing better or worse overall. By comparison with the first few months after the surgery, her energy, mood, and ability to communicate are substantially better. But the fatigue and weakness are worse, the memory problems are new and frustrating, everything varies depending on time of day and energy levels, and we don’t know whether or not to expect them to get better. What progress there is, is sometimes hard to observe. We persevere.

Thanks to Geri, Janna, Mark, Cynthia, Teresa, Ariel, Page, and everyone else who’s come by for a visit. We are almost always open for callers. Also, Kate would love to get out of the house more, so if you can come by to take her to a park (in the morning when it isn’t too hot) or shopping or any such thing, please do contact me.