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Novel-Writing in the Arctic

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My title is disingenuous, because I didn't do any novel-writing in the Arctic. However, I thought and plotted and observed and learned with intensity, such that in the two months since my return, I've written an entire third of the new novel that was my primary Arctic project. This writing pace is unheard of for me. It's partly because I've had some clearheadedness lately, unrelated to the Arctic. But it's also largely because I got so much hands-on experience on the ship!

Since most of my work in the Arctic was happening in my head and my heart, it's not going to be possible to show the entire process in pictures. But I can share some of the experiences that helped me make progress.

My novel takes place partly on a tall ship, where my main character is learning a lot about the work the sailors are doing.

Therefore, it helped me to learn to haul lines, and to watch others do so. (On a ship, ropes are called lines. It takes 60-ish lines to operate the rigging on…

Starcom: Nexus, and What It’s Like to Live with an Indie Game Developer

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Today Kevin’s game, Starcom: Nexus, releases in Early Access on Steam. It’s a thing of beauty, and also a lot of fun. If you like games that take you into outer space where you get to explore mysterious worlds, build a powerful ship, and explode bad guys, you should buy it, and play it, and let your gamer friends know about it. Yes, I’m biased, but reviewers and streamers  - who are not his spouse  - also love it :o). (FYI those last two links go to youtube streaming vids.)



***

Conversation at the dinner table:

Kevin: How was your day?

Me: Okay, I guess. I still can’t figure out how to get this girl to accidentally set her house on fire, then cause an explosion and get stuck in a window grille.

Kevin: I believe in you.

Me: Thank you. How was your day?

Kevin: Okay. When my enemy ships get within a certain distance of each other, they spontaneously explode.

Me: Oh!

Kevin: It’s not supposed to happen. It’s a bug.

Me: Oh.

Kevin: I can’t figure it out.

Me: I believe in you!

***


There are …

The Arctic Circle: A hike from Lloyds Hotel to Lilliehöökbreen

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Here is our trip log from Sunday, October 7:


Sunday 07.10 – Day 7

Lloyds Hotel – Lilliehöökbreen – North

-3/4°C Celsius, almost no wind in the morning, clear sky, beautiful sunrise. More wind in the evening going from WNW 2, to N 2-3 and later NW 4.

09:30 - Morning landing Lloyds hotel – Hike to Lilliehöökbreen.

11:15 – Anchor up Lloyds Hotel.

13:30 – Anchor down Lilliehöökbreen.

14:30 – Hikers back on board (Piet still smiling).

16:30 - Afternoon zodiac cruises Lilliehöökbreen.

19:00 - Going North.

Our leader, Sarah Gerats, kept this log for us throughout the trip… And October 7 was one of my favorite days. I woke that morning and, as happened most mornings, came out on deck to a view I'd never seen before.


If you take a close look at the middle of this picture — maybe click on it to make it bigger and more detailed — you might see an orange rectangle. This is a hut that's been decorated and painted orange. It's called Lloyds Hotel, and it is definitely the fanciest hut …

A Wedding Gift for the Jane Readers Among You :o)

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I have another post of Arctic pics lined up, but I wanted to change to the subject for a moment to something closer to home. Here's something we received from some of my dear people at Penguin after we got married.




 Umbrellas, magical worlds, and joint adventures! My editor, Kathy Dawson, found the card, and my artist and mapmaker for Bitterblue and Jane, Unlimited, Ian Schoenherr, revised it :o). Jane, Unlimited readers will hopefully understand why.

My mouth fell open when I saw it, and I promptly burst into tears. Thank you to those involved -- you know who you are :o).

More soon!

The Arctic Circle: Inside the Antigua

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You might be wondering what it was like to live inside a ship for two weeks as we explored western Spitsbergen. For a sense of our day-to-day inside lives, here are some pictures from inside the Antigua. Please keep in mind that it was HARD to take these particular shots, because all the spaces are small and strangely-shaped, no space on a ship is designed for easy photographing, and also, the ship is never, ever still. It's tricky to take in-focus pictures when the floor is moving!

See the door in the middle of this picture, with the circular window? Let's step inside.

First thing you encounter is the Very Narrow Corridor With Too Many Boots. In the picture below, it is way more tidy than normal. We didn't wear our outside shoes inside the Antigua, so every time you stepped in or out, you did the awkward and time-consuming boot-transition thing.

To the right are teeny bathrooms and the door to the engine room; to the left is the entrance to the kitchen, shown below. I did…