One of the things I love doing when I ought to be doing something else...

...is putting together official documentation for imaginary places. This can range from stuff like business cards (Brightside & Dammerung, Remedial Psychopomps: No Job Too Improbable) to internal documents such as organizational charts. I spent a happy twenty minutes coming up with Hell's organogram, and it's color-coded and quite beautiful, I'm pleased to report. 

Today I've gone back and revisited the visual identity of a couple of organizations within Hell proper. I am a rank and self-taught amateur and only started playing around with Illustrator a few weeks ago, but the sheer scope and power of the program is astonishing: nothing that powerful has any right to be so much fun. 

I've put up both the color and b&w versions of the logo designs on a separate page, to keep things tidy. 

(Technically the Lake Avernus Spa & Resort is part of Erebus Health, along with Erebus General and the Uphir Center, but it's iconic in its own right and they demanded a logo of their very own. Faust -- the EHS medical director -- complains about the architecture, but it's a point of pride.)

If none of this makes any sense yet -- hang on, book two will be out in July, and book three will feature much more underworld shenanigans. 

New site, not quite polished yet

So I've moved my official author site from Tumblr, for a number of reasons; my personal blog is still going to be located over there to provide a regular dose of pretty rocks, fashion history, and bredlik re-blogs, but we'll be at vivianshaw dot net for Author Stuff henceforth. 

I intend to maintain a more active posting schedule on this blog than I did on tumblr, with a variety of topics, and possibly in the future develop a newsletter if there's sufficient interest to warrant it. For now, I've created specific pages with links to my books and short fiction for ease of navigation, as well as a link to my twitter account, and am continuing to refine the design.

I Frequently Hear Music in the Very Heart of Noise, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine)

I am completely blown away by this story. It’s lush and rich and poignant and glorious in its self-referential playing-with-history; it layers time on top of itself like folded steel and in doing so produces an intensely beautiful pattern. 

It makes me think of the bit in The Shining where the Overlook is all Overlooks at once, the layers of history sliding into one another; but this is not a sinister timeslip, this inhuman place makes human monsters: it’s exactly the opposite. This living city makes human art. The whole piece is a love-song to New York, to the creature that is the city, and to the gorgeous things made by its people.

There’s a line somewhere – I think it’s in Hilary Mantel’s brilliant A Place of Greater Safety – which comes to mind; the city of Paris has taken somebody to its dark and singing heart, and that’s Pinsker’s New York – only light it up with green and gold exuberance. This story is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

Baltimore Fishbowl | Baltimore Writers Club #8: Four UB Alums Take Flight

I did an MFA at the University of Baltimore several years ago, and enjoyed it immensely not only because of the work I was doing but because of the people I grew to know over the years of the program. Marion Winik is a Baltimore author who teaches memoir at UB, and her class was one of my favorite courses in the entire degree -- so it was particularly nice to have Marion write about STRANGE PRACTICE in this piece.