klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Chaz Brenchley hails from Newcastle Upon Tyne near the shores of the North Sea, and the river and sea inform the stories in this collection. From a mystery set aboard a river barge manned by an unlikely group of young men to pirates seeking an island-sized turtle, the salt of the sea mixes with the salt of tears. The character Quin appears in a few of these stories, an educated, witty man who has been struck down with AIDS, who is surrounded by a group of young men who care for him. In contrast is another recurring character, sailor Martin, wise and powerful and dealing with the fate he's delivered.

My favorite story must be "Keep the Aspidochelone Floating", though "In the Night Street Baths" (which uses characters from his "Bridge of Dreams" and "River of the World" novels) was a delightful surprise, and the stories about Quin brought both a tear and a shudder.

This is a powerful, eclectic collection well worth your time.
(5 stars)
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
I very much enjoy FogCon. We've been to all of them so far, and the guests, attendees, hotel staff, and everyone else involved are friendly and intelligent and fun. The hotel is designed so that when you come inside, right across from the hotel registration is the bar/restaurant area, open and inviting. I like just hanging out in that area, because even if you're not part of the convention you'll still get to meet the guests. Everyone stops by eventually.

Chaz and I were scheduled to do a reading together, but I have a job now(!) so I won't be there on Friday. I'm listed on the schedule as Karen Brenchley. Still, you can see me on Saturday and Sunday here:

Misfit Toys in Space (Guy W. Thomas (moderator), Lynn Alden Kendall, Karen Brenchley)
Sat 10:30 - 11:45
A discussion of the depiction of people with disabilities in S & SF. Are they just symbols of evil or innocence? How realistic are PwD's presented? How about in Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and other works? What happens when your self-identity is seen as something that can and should be "cured".

The Setting is Another Character (Marie Brennan (moderator), Anna Leah Blumstein, Megan E. O'Keefe, Terry Weyna, Karen Williams)
Sat 1:30 - 2:45
Some stories have such a strong sense of place that the setting comes to life, sometimes becoming as important as any other character. What makes a setting more than scenery? How do settings play a role in our favorite stories?

The SF/F of Suburbia (Karen Brenchley (moderator), Mary Anne Mohanraj, Steven Schwartz)
Sun 10:30 - 11:45
There's a lot of fiction set in the City -- urban fantasy, cyberpunk, you name it. And quite a lot is set out on the Frontier -- whether that frontier have rayguns or be the deep dark forest. But many of us live (or have lived) in the suburbs -- that's our experience of the world. And who is writing the SF/F of that environment? "Edward Scissorhands", J.G. Ballard, and who else? What makes a suburban fairy tale? Or Suburb-punk?
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Mac is trying very hard to be helpful to Chaz in the kitchen. Why? Because Chaz is spatchcocking a turkey, for John's second Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon. Right now Mac is desperately eyeing the spine of the bird lying glistening on the counter (just the tip is sticking over the edge, though I asked Chaz to move it so Mac isn't quite so tormented). Why is the spine there, you ask? That's what spatchcockers do (what did you think it meant, you perv?) -- remove the spine so you can roast the carcass flat. We'll have an interesting meal this afternoon.

To add to Mac's interesting day, a damp dark cold day following a night with water dripping in our rain gutters, a day with all the windows hard to see out of because of all the raindrops decorating the screens, I got very tired of him acting up (attacking Barry, knocking a glass off the dining room table). So I took him outside to see why the world was odd. Into the rain.

I take him outside occasionally, when I'm in a hurry and don't want to fight with him. I tuck him under my arm to go over to the clubhouse to talk to my husband, and more notably yesterday scooping him up when I went outside in my bathrobe to yell at the gardener who was using a leafblower in our backyard before nine in the morning on Saturday. I usually set him down outside, while holding him securely, so he can sniff the grass. Today, I made sure to set him down, in a puddle on the patio, and in the mulch under the orange tree, and in the damp grass in the yard. There weren't too many raindrops but everything else was wet. I think he got the idea.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
My mother-in-law gave us a wall calendar last year, with photographs of Cornwall for each month. It also had English holidays printed on the days, including Burns Night, which was last night. It was also the day Dave wanted to celebrate his birthday, so we did. In our clubhouse, in style.

Chaz decided that since it was Burns Night, he would make a haggis, and tatties and neeps, so he did. We even had soup for lunch, though not cock-a-leekie. Dave and Katherine invited a host of their (and our) friends to the party, including some who hadn't been here before, so they got to experience the clubhouse.

Dave plays the trumpet in a big band, and Laina plays just about any musical instrument, plus there were a couple of enthusiastic volunteers, so Dave took this band outside and they quickly taught themselves to play a fanfare. Yes, we had a trumpet fanfare to show the haggis in.

Chaz delivered the haggis in style, then declaimed, in a strong Scots accent, the "Address to the Haggis", and no, I don't know what he said. I'm a lady. I would not ask for a translation.

This was followed by The Immortal Memory, and Cathyn did Brother Burns, and himself, proud. The rest of the evening included recitations of Robert Burns poems, plus other appropriate singing. And drinking.

Ah, but the haggis. This was made with real lungs and livers and hearts(?), and oatmeal for the texture, and it was gobbled up along with the mash. It was unexpectedly tasty, and I normally don't like organ meats, but Chaz is an excellent cook.

And there was drinking. And I have a headache. And I may have fallen asleep during part of the later evening's festivities, but I tend to do that these days. Still, it was a lovely party (I used "lovely" as an adjective frequently these days. I blame my association with Chaz.), and great fun. And I have a headache.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
We're having a houseful of guests this afternoon (who should start arriving very soon), and Chaz has been cooking madly for the last two days. I went out to the clubhouse to see what I could do to straighten up, and imagine my surprise to find this:

smile smile )

I think Hogswatch dinner is going to be interesting this year.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Chaz and I sold a story a couple of years ago to Gears and Levers 2: A Steampunk Anthology, namely "The Airship Towers of Trebizond" by Mr. and Mrs. Brenchley. I'm pleased to announce that those two are back in the upcoming anthology "Daughters of Frankenstein", with "The Ice Weasels of Trebizond".

I'm very excited by this anthology, as its made up of stories about lesbian mad scientists. It looks like it's going to be a blast, and I'm delighted we're going to be included in the fun. It comes out next summer.

Introduction by Steve Berman
"Infusion of Waking Dreams" by Aynjel Kaye
"Doubt the Sun" by Faith Mudge
"Meddling Kids" by Tracy Canfield
"Eldritch Brown Houses" by Claire Humphrey
"The Moorehead Maze Experiment" by Tim Lieder
"The Eggshell Curtain" by Romie Stott
“Poor Girl” by Traci Castleberry
“Bank Job Blues” by Melissa Scott
“The Long Trip Home” by A.J. Fitzwater
“Imaginary Beauties: A Lurid Melodrama” by Gemma Files
“The Riveter” by Sean Eads
“A Shallow Grave of Orange Peel and Eggshells” by Thoraiya Dyer
“Alraune” by Orrin Grey
“Preserving the Integrity of the Feminine Mystique” by Christine Morgan
“Hypatia and Her Sisters” by Amy Griswold
“The Lady of the House of Mirrors” by Rafaela F. Ferraz
“The Ice Weasels of Trebizond” by Mr and Mrs Brenchley
“Love in the Time of Markov Processes” by Megan Arkenberg
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
It is convenient that I can go on a date on almost any day at almost any time, with the smartest and handsomest man I know. It's been a sorrow that my health has prevented me from doing much in this regard, even though people claim that marriage can stunt one's social life. Marriage has done the opposite, but my health, not such a help. Still, in the last few months I've improved tremendously, to the point that my husband and I (because who else would I date?) went to a movie the very day after we had heard about it and wanted to go to it. Yes, this is exciting.

We saw Chef last night, on a recommendation from a friend. Why yes, Chaz loved it, but I loved it, too. It's about a man who is a very good chef and a somewhat poor father, to a son whom he shares custody with, with a gorgeous and intelligent ex-wife. This is the story of how the chef becomes the chef he wants to be and the father he didn't know he could be, on a physical and metaphorical journey across country with friends and food. I highly recommend it. And if you're local, I discovered the theater at Santana Row has a discount on tickets for Tuesday nights, which is my favorite night to go to movies because it's the night that has the fewest movie patrons.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Chaz has a collection of gay-themed ghost stories coming out, Bitter Waters. It's a fabulous collection; I know, because I chose all the stories for it, and I have an editor credit. (My first.) What's even more exciting? Publisher's Weekly reviewed "Bitter Waters", and gave it a starred review. Which is a huge big deal, because it means Publisher's Weekly thinks this book stands out and should be read. By a lot of people. If you don't want to read the whole review, here's a hint:

Brenchley charts the treacheries of the sea and the human heart in this haunting collection ... Deceptively light, allusive titles (“Junk Male,” “ ’Tis Pity He’s Ashore,” “Villainelle”) give away little of their stories’ knotty emotional depth. The discursive, sharply detailed style permits a remarkable control of tone ... This clever and subtle collection...
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Chaz once wrote a story as a birthday present for me, and I love it. It's called "2 Pi To Live," and it might have something to do with all of the pi things we have around our house. Maybe. Anyway, I'm sure few of you have had a chance to read it, but now you can. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have a website called Splinter Universe where they post good sf fiction, along with a donation cup for if you like the story. Chaz's story is up right now here: http://splinteruniverse.com/?page_id=835. And if you want to leave a donation (you don't have to), I suggest $3.14. Just because.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
I'd hate for you to get the wrong idea of life in our household. Just so you know, here are some cuter pictures.

Mac helps Chaz... )

And Barry, too )

Two

Apr. 14th, 2014 12:41 pm
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Two years ago today I married the love of my life. I've never been happier than I have living with Chaz (and the boys, and the turtles), being married to Chaz. I'm still delighted and amazed that he married me, and moved all the way to California to be with me. I'm the luckiest woman alive.

My handsome man... )
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
I've been sitting around the house all week, mostly using the computer, but not getting anywhere near a useful amount of (fitbit-counted) steps. I'd been up to over 5,000 a day before I got laid off, and now I'm down to fewer than 2,000.

Today Chaz suggested we go for a walk on the path along the Bay, a walk I used to love doing. We tried it today, and I managed about 20 minutes (1200 steps). I didn't quite make it from the parking lot (at Shoreline Park, right down the street from where we were married and where Chaz proposed to me) to the Bay, but it was a lot of fun to be out there. We'll try again soon.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
I intend to call it "Chicken in the Microwave*: Living with Chaz Brenchley." It will contain the line, "Chaz always cooks from the best recipes, usually all at once."

I have gained over two pounds in the last week. Some might call it stress eating. I might call it delicious eating. I do live with the best cook.


*The title comes from opening the microwave door in the morning to discover a plate holding roast chicken, covered in aluminum foil. Chaz certain wouldn't cook a chicken in a microwave.

Food

Oct. 14th, 2013 02:30 pm
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Several years ago I finally found out what was wrong with my back, which let me get started on Weight Watchers (because I could exercise as well as diet). This led to me losing close to 70 pounds, though I've gained back most of it in the last couple of years. (MS diagnosis -> slowly losing mobility -> eating to feel better -> getting much fatter)

My husband cooks for me. He's a fabulous cook. He makes our bread, he makes our bacon, he grows our vegetables. I don't try to figure out the WW points for what he cooks, because I'm too lazy and, well, because the number would be high. However, I'm trying to follow Dr. Terry Wahl's diet to reduce MS symptoms, and it appears to be working, along with the exercising and medications I'm taking. Plus, I love all the vegetables and fruits.

Still, today I drove to McDonald's to grab a Big Mac meal for lunch. Note that I didn't use a walker at all, though that was just to walk to the car and back. I had a craving for fast food, and I ate it, but tomorrow for lunch I'll be in SF and can grab a fantastic kale salad from The Plant Cafe.

This has been an interesting time for me, regarding food. I need to pay more attention to weight management, but Chaz has been great at helping me eat well, both healthily and satisfactorily. This is an interesting time.

Skunkworks

Jul. 23rd, 2013 10:54 am
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
When Chaz and I got home last night, I opened the car door and smelled a distinctive odor.

"Smell that?" I asked. It was a faint odor of skunk, close enough to be aware of but not very close.

"Yes...what is it?"

"Skunk. Can't you tell?"

"Oh. I always thought skunk would smell...stronger."

Chaz had never smelled skunk before, because England doesn't have them. Or raccoons, apparently, and possibly possums (I haven't checked). How weird.

Good thing we don't let the boys out, or we'd have to really stock up on tomato juice. (Chaz didn't know tomato juice was crucial for getting rid of skunk smell, either. The things we pick up in skunk country.)
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Today I was working from home (as I've done for the last three weeks), and when Chaz came home from working in the library he asked me what I wanted for lunch. I had no idea, since the best I could come up with was the same ideas I'd been coming up with for weeks. So I left it up to Chaz.

O.M.G. as the kids say today.

We had muffin-sized welsh rarebit souffles with broccoli salad.
klwilliams: (Karen passport photo)
Tonight Chaz and I went to see a San Jose Sharks hockey game with a couple of friends of ours. One of them plays on a women's amateur league, so we've been to see her and her team play a couple of times. While she is one of the best players on her team, the pace of those games has been slow enough that we've had a chance to learn a little bit about the game and how it's played. The Sharks were...better. faster. dare I say it, stronger. What a fun game to watch. They played the Canadian team the Flames. We stood at attention through "Oh, Canada" *and* "The Star Spangled Banner". The Flames got the first point when they only had four players, I guess because the Sharks were asleep. However, the Sharks came back to win 2-1, after some fast and furious skating.

Chaz wore a big smile all through the game. They stopped for commercials, and during breaks played games for prizes, with fans doing the playing. Musical chairs with soft blow up furniture, on ice, anyone? Chaz was heard to say, repeatedly, "We don't do that in England." We had a great time.

Luckiness

Jul. 21st, 2012 04:05 pm
klwilliams: (Default)
I used to buy food at the grocery store, sometimes even cook it, and clean up the dishes and put things away. I used to wash my clothes and fold them. I used to bring in my newspaper in the mornings on weekends. Now...I don't. My husband does all that. He does it much better than I used to do. I feel like the stereotypical 1950's businessman. I go into the City (San Francisco) every day for work and come home to a hot supper. I suppose I should feel a lot more guilt, but I'm so happy to have him here when I get home. He's so wonderful.

(Barry wants me to add, so are the boys.)
klwilliams: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] madrobins made the best cake topper ever:

klwilliams: (Default)
I was so very happy to see so many friends at our wedding, all dressed up and looking fabulous. I don't remember much of the ceremony, though I hear there's a video. When I stepped out and saw all those people that I love there for us I started crying, and don't remember much except that we plighted our troth to each other. And the rings are gorgeous.

I was amazed at just how stunning everyone looked. The dresses and waistcoats were fabulous. Chaz is already talking about his next waistcoat, and how we must go to another party soon so he can wear his coat again.

The food was just amazing, and the wedding cakes beautiful *and* delicious. I have never eaten so little at a wedding (it's true that the bride doesn't get to eat much) or enjoyed it so much. I recommend Compass Star Catering to everyone, and [livejournal.com profile] madrobins did above and beyond work on the (two! different kinds!) cakes. Thank you both.

We both loved have Congress of Vienna danced around us. I wish I could move better, and Chaz doesn't know how to waltz, so dancing it ourselves was out of the question. You all waltzed so beautifully. Thank you.

We're home now, tired and happy, and commenting from time to time on how odd it is to be wearing such beautiful rings.

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