Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ Marking Time.

I am obsessed with calendars. Not too obsessed, mind you, but I have four wall calendars and two desk calendars at home and another wall calendar in the office. Without these calendars, I’d never know what day of the week it was let alone the date. Below are some of the calendars I’m referring to in 2013.

mental floss had a list of 10 odd and awesome 2013 calendars I wish I’d known about sooner. My favorite from that list has to be 12 Months of Dead Ken by Sniperphotog. Barbie may be a murderer, but she knows it’s important to keep that famous smile. Click through to see more of Sniperphotog’s work (some of which is NSFW). I wonder if a book is on its way?

Also, check out this very cool DIY calendar journal.

♦ Turn the Page.


I know your ocular organs are hungry for words, and I have more than enough words this week to satiate that hunger:

The Dead Letter Office by Matthew Marinett at Daily Science Fiction

Intestate by Charlie Jane Anders at (if you click on Anders’ name, you’ll see a delightful flowchart beginning with the question, “Do you believe this person exists?”). Anders also wrote an essay for io9 about the story titled I wrote a science fiction story, and parts of it came true by the time it got published.

The Cries of the Dead and Dying by Sarah Goslee at Daily Science Fiction

Wing by Amal El-Mohtar at Strange Horizons (thanks to Adam Mills, who linked to this story on Facebook)

He Could Be Ambrose Bierce by Shaenon Kelty Garrity at Daily Science Fiction

Poppies by Megan Lee Beals at Weird Science Fiction

The Subatomic Fiber-Optic Deconstruction/Construction Transportation Chamber by Dylan Otto Krider at Daily Science Fiction

The last issue of Jabberwocky is live now (here’s the editor’s note about why this issue is the last).

So Far Faithful by Sarah Kanning at Daily Science Fiction

Edward & Amelia vs. The Vampire King, Chapter Nine: Opening Moves by Russell Hinson

The Hades Hotline by Alex Petri at Daily Science Fiction

The Sounds of Old Earth by Matthew Kressel at io9 (via Lightspeed)

Ivy Rose by Dan Hart at Daily Science Fiction

Please Look After This Angel by Tansy Rayner Roberts

In the White of the Snow by Mark Patrick Lynch at Daily Science Fiction

The Beginning of the World Again by Carey Farrell

Flax-golden tales: The Beginning of the World Again by Erin Morgenstern

Life in Space by Leslie Jane Anderson at Daily Science Fiction

Death Before Dishonor by Shannon Leight at Daily Science Fiction

Flax-golden tales: Wisdom for the New Year by Erin Morgenstern

The Race by Sadie Mattox at Daily Science Fiction

Flax-golden tales: Tools to Build the Stars by Erin Morgenstern

Tiny Lives by Alan Baxter at Daily Science Fiction

Etiquette & Espionage (excerpt) by Gail Carriger at

Salvage by K.S. Dearsley at Daily Science Fiction

The Miracle on Tau Prime by Alex Shvartsman at Daily Science Fiction

When She Is Empty by Damien Walters Grintalis at Daily Science Fiction

Weird Fiction Review lists fourteen notable women writers of the Weird, including some of authors I really admire, like Shirley Jackson, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Tanith Lee, and Joyce Carol Oates.

“This Was Like Dating a Priest”: Famous Authors’ Breakup Letters; some are hilarious, others heartbreaking. Thanks to Andy for the link!

Eight beautiful snow scenes from literature. has a peek at Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex’s Chu’s Day, which comes out tomorrow. I have to say, the book looks adorable and I can’t wait to read it and look at Rex’s art, which I think is pretty fantastic. The book description is simple: “Chu is a little panda with a big sneeze. When Chu sneezes, bad things happen. Will Chu sneeze today?” Gaiman says about the book, and is quoted again on, “Chu’s Day is the first book I’ve ever written for really little kids. Ones who cannot read. Ones who can only just walk. Those ones. I hope that they like it, or at least, that they love Adam Rex’s amazing illustrations.”

In other Gaiman book news, the cover for his next adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was finally made public last week (I first saw it a couple weeks ago). This cover really speaks to me—I love the colors and the composition. Also, check out some of the phenomenal art Dave McKean’s providing for the limited edition.

♦ Viewers’ Paradise.

In case you were wondering why Downton Abbey airs so much later in the U.S., now you can know. Via.

Stéphanie Joalland has seven rules for writing short films (via my friend The Film Doctor).

McSweeney’s has answers to rhetorical questions posed by movie titles (via).

I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan (in fact, I’m not a fan at all), but the trailer for Oblivion is so good I would watch this film:

On the other hand, I don’t know what to make of the new red band trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Clearly, they’re not going for serious, but will it be too campy and ridiculous? Or just the right amount?

Check out Beneath 360, “a unique immersive film in 360˚” featuring divers Tom Daley, Brooke Graddon, and Victoria Vincent. It’s really mesmerizing. Via.

♦ She Blinded Me … with Science!

Business, meet Science: Human gene patenting: Yes, companies can own your DNA.

Entomology: Silvery chrysalis of the Orange-spotted Tiger Clearwing butterfly; How we’ve used bees to poison people—and get high; also, check out these papier-mâché bee models from the 19th century at Sutured Infection:

Papier-mâché bee model by Dr. Louis Thomas Jerôme Auzoux (1797-1880)

Genetics: Everything you need to know about the bizarre genetics of werewolves.

Medicine: The uncomfortably common practice of medicinal cannibalism.

Neurology: Phantom Eye Syndrome: When people without eyes can still see; Why do we blink more than we need to?Why the Venus Effect has been tricking you for centuries; The absolute best optical illusions of 2012.

Physics: Is it better to walk or run in the rain? Via.

Physiology: Hypothermia: The cold hard facts of freezing to death (via); Can being overweight actually make you live longer?

Psychology: Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest?; Why does winter make you so SAD? (I have the opposite SAD—it’s summer that makes me sad)

Weird Science: Woman gets stem-cell “wrinkle treatment” and grows extra bones in her eye socket.

♦ Someone’s in the Kitchen … with Dinah.

How to cut a pizza for small groups, for parties, and just for you. These cartoons are pretty cute—go check it out! Via.

What’s that rooster crowing about?

Did you know that corn flakes were invented as part of an anti-masturbation aid? Which is just silly, of course, though John Kellogg’s story was made into a film with Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Broderick, The Road to Wellville (based on the novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle).

In case you need to know how to make your own marshmallows. And, really, who doesn’t?

And don’t we all need one of these food sweaters? Via.

♦ The Ninth Art.

Tim Callahan’s The Great Alan Moore Reread continues with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Part Four: Century.

German artist Aslan Malik transformed some U.S. currency into Justice League portraits. I think Ben Franklin (below) is my favorite, but do click through the link above to check out the others (via).

Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Where the Wonder Women Are series continues with #33 Gertrude Yorkes of the Runaways and #34 Molly Hayes/Bruiser of the Runaways.

Oh, this is fun: the intro to the 1992 X-Men cartoon done in stop-motion (directed by Kyle Roberts):

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe REDUXE Edition had some great recreations recently, and I couldn’t pick one favorite (click to embiggen). The first is Magma by Patricio Oliver

Chthon by Michael Bukowski

Hyperion by Jason Reeves and Luis Guerrero

Balder by Evan Shaner

♦ The Book Nook.

Check out the coolest pop-up book ever, an “heirloom” book by Alison Ann Woodward that “unfolds piece by piece to reveal the anatomy of a white horned creature.” The book is pretty amazing, especially when you get to the core of the anatomy. You can see more of Woodward’s art by following the link above.

The New York Times posted the favorite book cover designs of 2012 from folks in the graphic design field. I’m very partial to the cover for Chris Ware’s Building Stories, but I decided to pick Seth’s cover to Lemony Snicket’s new novel, “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” because Chip Kidd, whose design work I adore, said this about his favorite book cover design of 2012:

Lemony Snicket and Seth, what a perfect but unexpected combination: sort of the literary equivalent of salt and caramel. And not just on the cover, throughout the entire beautifully executed book.

I love this DIY book headboard, though I can’t imagine doing it myself. All those cracked spines!

If I had stairs in my house, they would look like the photo below. Is this a good thing, or a sign of a problem?

What a lovely library! Via.

♦ The Writing Desk.

6 ways you’re molesting your metaphors.

Dramatic Situation vs. Dramatic Scene: Win the fight against poor form.

Jane Friedman on how long should you keep trying to get published (thanks to Jim Kelly for posting the link on Facebook).

An angle of attack on writer’s block by Warren Ellis.

Are you writing off all you can as a freelance writer? (Thanks to Sheila Boneham for posting the link on Facebook)

I am the mouse! And in related fables, I am also the grasshopper.

Chris Higgins on words and phrases he’s misused.

Where to send your stories.

Five copyright essentials for the writer’s toolkit.

Elizabeth Spann Craig offered some help with character development. Also, Cory Doctorow on where characters come from. Also, use Meyers-Briggs to keep your characters in character.

Chuck Wendig made 25 writer resolutions for 2013 (and beyond). And check out LitReactor’s 10 grammar and usage-related New Year’s resolutions and 13 resolutions to make you a better, more productive writer in 2013.

Teresa Frohock is conducting a gender experiment on her blog: several writers have contributed writing samples using pseudonyms; readers vote on whether they believe each sample was written by a man or by a woman. It’s very interesting! Via.

Pubslush: A new take on crowdfunding for authors.

Two posts by Theodora Goss that resonated for me and perhaps will for you, too: The Black River (about writers understanding the impulse for destruction) and The Cave (about fear and failure).

My friend Zack Jernigan asked me to answer 7 questions for his blog. The questions were fun to answer! He asked these same questions to several writers I know, like Taylor Preston, Ian Withrow, Adam Mills, and Paul Kirsch. Zack himself gave his answers to the meme The Next Big Thing after giving shout outs to some other writers I know, like Angela Still, Will Ludwigsen, Adam Gallardo, and Malissa Kent. Go read all of those links right now!

♦ New Year, New Year.

Here are the top 8 strangest new laws that took effect on January 1st (via). But apparently the U.S. has more than 400 weird laws that went into effect on New Year’s Day.

 Check out the photorealistic street art of MTO (via):

 In the Bleak Midwinter.

Author Greer Gilman’s posted some wonderful winter photographs on her blog. If you like trees laden with snow like I do, check out her posts Sepia and Runes. They’re quite lovely and peaceful.

Photo by Greer Gilman

I love Slinkachu’s miniature work, and his new piece Stroll (staged and shot in Gorky Park, Moscow) just tickled me, grisly as it is. Click through to see a couple of more shots, including one that puts the miniature in perspective.

Stroll by Slinkachu

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