Posted by <a href="/users/pucktheplayer/pseuds/pucktheplayer" rel="author">pucktheplayer</a>


After 8 years in prison, a hungry but determined conman struggling to survive crosses paths with the still somewhat infatuated FBI agent who put him in jail to begin with. Will they accept it as fate or will they go their separate ways? (AU where Neal served the extra four years in prison rather than become a CI for Peter.)

Words: 23182, Chapters: 5/5, Language: English

show-me, adj.

Jun. 24th, 2017 12:00 am[syndicated profile] oed_wordoftheday_feed
OED Word of the Day: show-me, adj. Designating or relating to the State of Missouri or its inhabitants


Jun. 24th, 2017 01:00 am[syndicated profile] merriamwebster_feed

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 24, 2017 is:

volplane • \VAHL-playn\  • verb

: to glide in or as if in an airplane


"With uncanny calm, Fauchard switched off his engine as if he were preparing to volplane to the ground in an unpowered landing." — Clive Cussler, Lost City, 2004

"[Roadrunners] can run at sustained speeds of up to 19 mph for considerable distances, and usually only make short flights in order to escape danger or flush prey. Very rarely one might be seen volplaning, or gliding downward with wings extended, from a ridgetop or other high perch." — Marcy Scott, The Las Cruces (New Mexico) Sun-News, 13 Nov. 2016

Did you know?

Vol plané (meaning "gliding flight") was a phrase used by 19th-century French ornithologists to describe downward flight by birds; it contrasted with vol à voile ("soaring flight"). Around the time Orville and Wilbur Wright were promoting their latest "aeroplane" in France, the noun and the verb volplane soared to popularity in America as terms describing the daring dives by aviators. Fly Magazine reported in 1910, "The French flyers are noted for their thrilling spirals and vol planes from the sky." The avian-to-aviator generalization was fitting, since the Wright brothers had studied the flight of birds in designing their planes.

Posted by John Scalzi

Gotta be honest, I had entirely forgotten I’d done this interview last year when I was in Iowa City for a book festival. But eventually it all came back to me. Also, it’s a pretty good interview. Enjoy.



  • h₁éḱwos → equusἵππος (híppos), अश्व (ashva) = horse
  • h₂ŕ̥tḱos → ursusἄρκτος (árktos), ऋक्ष (rksha) = bear
  • h₁rudʰrós → ruberἐρῠθρός (eruthrós),  रुधिर (rudhira) = red
  • ǵʰelh₃- → helvusχλωρός (khlōrós), हरि (hari) = yellow, green
  • gʷʰer- → formusθερμός (thermós), घर्म (gharma) = warm
  • ǵʰeym- → hiemsχεῖμα (kheîma), हिम (hima) = cold, winter
  • snígʷʰs → nix, νίφω (níphō), स्नेह (sneha) = snow
  • mḗh₁n̥s → mensisμήν (mēn), मास (māsa) = month
  • néwos → novusνέος (néos), नव (nava) = new
  • pl̥h₁nós → plēnusπλέως (pléōs), पूर्ण (pūrna) = full
  • lewk-  → lūxλευκός (leukós), रोक (roka) = light
  • h₁ésh₂r̥ → assyr (Old Latin), έαρ (éar), असृज् (asrj) = blood
  • wódr̥ → undaὕδωρ (húdōr), उदन् (udan) = water, wave
  • gʷeyh₃- → vita, ζῷον (zôion),  जीव (jiva) = alive
  • mr̥tós → mortuusβροτός (brotos), मृत (mrta) = dead, mortal
  • dyew- → diēsΖεύς (zeús), दिन (dina) = day, Zeus
  • nókʷts → noxνύξ (núx), नक्त (nakta) = night
”Why We Don’t Have Children”
Anthony Frame

We wrap inside each other, all legs and arms
and lips, skin that burns at the touch, her hand
on my chest, my hand beneath the blankets.
She opens her eyes and we speak without tongues,
a tribute to the warmth of breath, and outside
the sirens wail again. They killed the boy only
a few hours from here. It took only two seconds.
Tonight, we wrap inside each other and remember
why we don’t have children. Her pink hands
carving sentences into my back, my freckled ears
against her chest, dancing with her heartbeat.
Last week, the cop who stopped me as I walked
to work, his hand ready at his hip, telling me
to take it easy. It’s winter and I’ve yet to lose
my tan but he’s always too far to see. He’s here
in the bedroom, him and the boy, as we try
to drown out the sirens with our bodies,
our eyes and hair loaded with snow. I could dare
a barrel into a staring match but it only takes
two seconds to kill a boy. Faster than the sound
of cicadas. We refuse the bruises of blood,
we want to honor the thrust of history, the trust
inside each splitting cell, so we wrap ourselves
within each other, away from the constant sirens.
We fumble our flesh, our mouths wide enough
to swallow the world. I trace myself along her belly,
grateful for its emptiness. Selfishness is a sin
we can live with. When we leave, we’ll leave
nothing behind. The love we make, we take with us.

Posted by <a href="/users/NYWCgirl/pseuds/NYWCgirl" rel="author">NYWCgirl</a>


Neal and Peter are taken during an undercover operation. Will the team be able to save them in time or will they be on their own?

Words: 0, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Posted by John Scalzi

Hey, did you know I’m currently writing a novel? I am! It’s called Head On, and it’s coming out in ten months. Also, it’s not done yet, and the deadline is real soon now. I need to make some real progress on it in the next few weeks or else my editor will give me highly disapproving looks. Which would be no good. My problem is that whenever I make any real progress and take a break to see what’s going on in the news, it looks like this:


And, well. That’s not great for my focus.

The world is not going to stop being like this anytime in the near future, alas, but I still need to get my work done, and soon.

So: From now until the book is done, my plan is to avoid the news as much as possible, and also, to the extent I do see news, to avoid writing about it in any significant detail. Tweets? Maybe. 1,000+ word posts here? Probably not.

Note that I’m going to fail in avoiding the news entirely — I live in the world, and next week I’ll be at Denver Comic Con, which means that at the very least in the airport CNN is going to come at me, and anyway whichever way the Senate plan to murder the ACA falls out, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna know about it. Be that as it may I’m going to make an effort to keep as much of it out of my brain as possible.

Incidentally, yes, just in case you were wondering, this is confirmation that at least one of your favorite writers — me! — finds it hard to get work done in these days of the world being on fire. “The art of the Trump era is going to be so lit!” people have said. Dudes, when you’re worried about friends losing access to health care and American democracy being dug out from below because the general GOP attitude to the immense corruption and bigotry of the Trump administration is “lol, as long as we get to kick the poor,” just to list two things about 2017, the creative process is harder to get into, and stay inside of. I’m not the only one I know who is dealing with this right now.

But the work still needs to get done — and not just for you folks. I like getting caught up in my work. It feels good when the writing is moving along.

So, again: News break.

This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer Whatever posts over the next few weeks, since I’ll have July Big Idea pieces and other posts in the pipeline. It does mean the posts that show up probably won’t touch much on world/national news or politics.

I mean, I hope they won’t. But I also know this is a thing, especially with me:

So. I will try to be strong.

Also, when the book is done, oh, how I shall opine.

In the meantime, I don’t suspect you will have difficulty finding other opinions on news and political events. It’s called “the Internet.” You may have heard of it.

Posted by John Scalzi

If you’re a fan of the Midnight Star video games I helped create, here’s something fun for you: John Shirley, legendary writer and lyricist, has written “Purgatorio,” a serialized story set in the Midnight Star universe. He’s written it for Bound, a new company (and iOS app) specializing in serialized fiction. Which is pretty cool.

And, it’s the first time someone’s done media tie-in work for a universe I helped to create. Which is also pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

Here’s the post on Bound’s site talking about the story. If you have an iOS device you can also download the app there.

Posted by Meena Krishnamurthy

Robin Dembroff is an Assistant Professor at Yale University. They received their PhD from Princeton University after completing their MA at the University of Notre Dame. Robin’s research focuses on feminist philosophy and metaphysics, with a particular emphasis on the social construction of gender and sexual orientation. Daniel Wodak is an Assistant Professor at Virginia […]

Posted by John Scalzi

Big Ideas are great for a book (I mean, that’s kind of the whole point of the “Big Idea” pieces). But as Laura Lam explains about her novel Shattered Minds, sometimes the Big Idea is just the jumping off point.


Sometimes you get the big idea for the story. Sometimes that’s not enough, even when you’ve written the damn thing.

My first idea excited me and got that fire of creativity going. I wanted to play with the Dexter notion—the serial killer who feels conflicted about it. A character who loves killing in rather inventive ways, who thrives off violence, but has enough of a glimmer of a conscious to want to change. A serial killer who doesn’t want to kill innocents is sort of like a vampire who doesn’t want to drink human blood—can they suppress that thirst or will they succumb? We as humans love staring into that darkness. It’s why we read about serial killers, about mythological creatures who prey on humans, or it’s why we watch horror. Carina, the protagonist of Shattered Minds, is a serial killer who becomes deliberately addicted to a dream drug called Zeal so she’s only killing people in her imagination.

The first big idea: serial killer lost in dream drugs. I knew this book would be more violent than my other work and have some cool, trippy dream sequences. I also wanted to build on the world I created in False Hearts, which came out last year (the Pacifica novels are a series of standalones set on the West Coast of the formerly United States). This book is set in Los Angeles instead of San Francisco. The series blends psychological thriller and near future tech, with a big nod at 80s and 90s cyberpunk. Shattered Minds has hover cars, floating skyscrapers and mansions, bright moving ads against the sides of buildings. People can change their appearance at will thanks to flesh parlours. Moving tattoos are etched on their skin, and their eyes might glimmer in the dark from extra implants. Pacifica is a shiny ecotopia that’s an ugly dystopia once you scratch the surface.

I wrote Shattered Minds, and the plot worked, for the most part. Carina scared me, but not quite as much as the villain, Roz (if you watch Orphan Black, Rachel is a big inspiration for her). I did a lot of research on serial killers, especially female ones, and neuroscience, hacking, corporate espionage, and more. But something was missing. All the pieces were there, made sense, but it was just . . . lacking. The puzzle pieces had the right images but they weren’t slotting together. And that was terrifying. This was going to be my fifth published book. Shouldn’t I have a better handle on this by now? I’d put in all this work, and I could tell something was wrong. This is where good editors are worth their weight in gold. Together, we found the second big idea to bring the project back to life.

It became a Frankenstein retelling. I struck the thing with lightning, basically (har, har). In the first draft, Carina was a serial killer just because . . . she was. There wasn’t much explanation or reason. No purpose (to use the most overused word said in lectures on the MA in Creative Writing I help teach at Napier in Edinburgh). In the next draft, Roz experimented on Carina when she was a teen, reprogramming her brain to be cool and collected—the perfect unbiased scientist, unbothered by things like empathy or ethics. (Note: this isn’t a spoiler—you find all this out in chapter three after the third murder in a row). However, Roz’s experiment went wrong. Carina started feeling things again, with the side effect of her also wanting to kill everything around her. Now Roz has a much stronger reason to want to take down Carina rather than just greed. Carina is the broken experiment that much be eradicated. The one who got under her skin. The one she couldn’t let go.

The next draft just worked. I loved editing Shattered Minds as much as I had hated writing the first draft. Scenes slotted into place, Carina and Roz finally worked, circling each other like sharks. It was glorious fun to make my dark, bloody book even darker and more twisted.

Sometimes, maybe a book needs more than one big idea. More than just “what if” question. Maybe something is missing in the first draft and you just need to add a little lightning to revitalise the corpse.


Shattered Minds: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.

OED Word of the Day: defensor civitatis, n. An official who protected provincial citizens against injustices


Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:00 am[syndicated profile] merriamwebster_feed

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 23, 2017 is:

threshold • \THRESH-hohld\  • noun

1 : the section of wood or stone that lies under a door : sill

2 a : the means or place of entry : entrance

b : the place or point of beginning : outset

3 : the point or level at which a physical or mental effect begins to be produced


"[This role] was very physical. At one point, … I'm trying to steal third, and they catch me. And I'm running back to second, running back to third, running back to second, running back to third…. We did that 50 times. A tear rolled down my cheek. I learned what my threshold for pain was, and I went beyond it." — Chadwick Boseman, quoted in Ebony, April 2013

"My dog Jude was sleeping on the rug, dreaming of running, his wrists flicking, when he let out a long, eerily muffled howl.… Jude startled awake and leapt to his feet barking loudly, as if he'd carried the dream across the threshold to full consciousness…." — Carl Safina, Natural History, July/August 2015

Did you know?

The earliest known use of threshold in the English language is from Alfred the Great's Old English translation of the Roman philosopher Boethius's De consolatione philosophiae. In this translation, which was written around 888, threshold appears as þeorscwold (that first letter is called a thorn and it was used in Old English and Middle English to indicate the sounds produced by th in thin and this). The origins of this Old English word are not known, though it is believed to be related to Old English threscan, from which we get the words thresh, meaning "to separate seed from (a harvested plant) using a machine or tool" and thrash, meaning, among other things, "to beat soundly with or as if with a stick or whip."

Posted by <a href="/users/Twilight_Angel/pseuds/Twilight_Angel" rel="author">Twilight_Angel</a>


Peter likes to figure things out for himself.

Words: 17, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Posted by <a href="/users/Twilight_Angel/pseuds/Twilight_Angel" rel="author">Twilight_Angel</a>


Neal has little self-control when there's someone (or two someones) he wants, Peter has too much self-control, and El just wants her boys to be happy.

First time set in the first half of season 1. Originally posted in 19 parts to livejournal.

Words: 26, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Gretchen: There’s this one part of Arrival, which I think is the biggest quibble that linguists have with the story, where the physicist character says to the linguist, “You think of language like a mathematician.” And she’s just like “Yeah.”

Lauren: Whereas if she was a real linguist she’d be like, “Um, yeah, obviously.”

Gretchen: I mean, I’m glad they made the point somehow, but this is literally what linguistics is.

- Excerpt from Episode 3 of Lingthusiasm: Arrival of the linguists - Review of the alien linguistics film. Listen to the full episode, read the transcript, or check out the show notes for more linguistics thoughts about the movie.
(via lingthusiasm)

Posted by <a href="/users/Twilight_Angel/pseuds/Twilight_Angel" rel="author">Twilight_Angel</a>


They haven't exactly met in linear order, Neal and the Doctor, but sometimes that makes for the best kind of friendship.

Words: 18, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English


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