marthawells: (Teyla)
ETA: Wow, Live Journal seems to have shrunk all my photos. For versions you can actually see, they're on my Tumblr here:

We went to the Sherwood Forest Renaissance Fair (near Austin) yesterday, and had an excellent time. It was a great day, kind of cold in the morning but after that it warmed up just enough. The site is large and mostly wooded, and the trails through it are more suggestions than actual pathways, and there's so much room to wander around it never feels crowded.

We got there right after it opened and went and sat in the Hookah Bar and drank ginger chai and listened to one of the bands warming up. (It's basically a large tent set up on a platform, with a view of one of the main stages, with tables and chairs and rugs and cushions to sit on the floor, and also a drinks bar with all sorts of coffees and teas. Later in the day, once people start smoking hookahs, it's fun to be waiting for your drink and watch people who have never seen a real hookah bar in person walk in. It's sort of this growing incredulity, like "Oh my God WHAT IS GOING ON HERE oh look, they have cappuccino.")

This is the view from the Hookah bar

This is an older view of the front part, I don't think I've ever gotten a good picture of the whole thing, at least that I can find.

Food is a huge part of this fair, and they have some really good food, a lot of which is actually made on site, instead of being made earlier and heated up in microwaves. The steak on a stick place cooks steak and crepes to order, right there in front of you on a big fire. I had a mini loaf of bread and a mini chocolate cake shaped like a rose from the bakery, and a free sample of bread pudding with honey mead syrup, and a beef and mushroom crepe with potatoes and feta and pesto. We were too full when we passed the Jerusalem Cafe, which had kebobs and hummus and falafel and smelled absolutely wonderful.

Most of the stuff for sail is artisan crafts, and we bought handmade soap, hand lotion from a goat farm, a couple of spice mixes, grains of paradise in a really pretty bottle, a handwoven shawl-jacket just made on the loom in the tent, honey from someone's backyard in Austin, and a tie-dyed t-shirt, and Troyce bought me a carved bone moon-face.

Here's a few pictures. I have some more at the other tagged posts:

There are occasionally Weeping Angel problems at this fair.






marthawells: (Zoe)
Sunday we went to the Celtic Music Festival at the Sherwood Forest Faire site. We had a great time, but of course, last weekend it was cool and gray and rainy, and basically perfect weather for something like this. But this weekend it was back to the 90s and dry. Not quite the surface of the sun, but maybe the surface of Mercury. It wasn't crowded though, and there's a lot of tree cover on the site.

We sat for a while at the harp stage, before being driven off by bees. (I'm not kidding.) She was playing songs written by Turlough O'Carolan and telling us a bit about his history. She also pointed out the two natural enemies of harpists at Celtic Music Festivals: bag pipers warming up, and the blacksmith, who working on something and the hammer hitting the metal was like a metronome that was just slightly off.

Romans, guarding the music festival.

The band "The Jig is Up" playing for the Austin Irish Dancing group.

There was much good food. I had a meat pie that was made on site, part of Beth's bratwurst, a strawberry smoothie, and spinach and feta crepes. We wanted to go to the place with the kebobs and hummus but were too full by that point. We bought some honey made in someone's backyard in Austin, and a bunch of handmade soap from three different vendors. Seriously, we bought a lot of soap.

I really needed the break, and I need to get to work, because even though I'm ahead of the schedule I made for myself, I'm still having all kinds of anxiety issues. (Anxiety dreams, waking up early thinking about what I need to do, etc.)
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
Spent all day yesterday at Sherwood Forest Faire with friends, and we had a fabulous time. We listened to Circa Paleo (they played Irish, Middle Eastern, and Led Zeppelin songs) and David Arkenstone, I ate pasties and hummus and drank a lot of ginger chai.

Here's some photos:

This was an awesome blue fairy with fangs. This picture doesn't really get across how beautiful she was in person.

more )
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
For my post here, photos from Sherwood Forest, from before the camera died:

The Raksura claw, with my hand for scale:

marthawells: (Jack and Teal'c)
We had a great day at Sherwood Forest Faire yesterday, though it was kind of cold. After days in the 60s or lower 70s, it was in the 40s with a very chilly wind. The sun was bright all day, which helped a lot, and the site is mostly covered in trees, with more forest surrounding it, which made a good shelter from the wind most of the time. But the parking lot was out in the open and probably about ten degrees cooler than the rest of the park.

We supported small businesses to the best of our ability by buying a lot of handmade soap, some honey made in Austin, incense, a bottle of mead, and I got a new knitted hat from a weaver. Troyce also got me a big resin claw as a present for finishing the new book. I'll post a picture of it later, but my camera battery died mid-morning and it's still recharging.

One of the things I really like about this fair (beside the fact that the way the site is arranged makes crowds sort of vanish into the forest) is the food is really good. The steak-on-a-stick place cooks the steak to order, for instance. I had a beef-onion-rootabaga pastie with gravy the steak place, and a chicken kebab from the Jerusalem Cafe (which also has dolma, hummus, falafel and other tasty stuff), and tea drinks from all over the place. The best one was the spiced ginger chai from the Circa-Paleo Hookah Bar.

Weird thing: when we first got there, we saw there had been a huge accident at the gate. We couldn't quite see how it happened, just that there was a car that had been hit at high speed and pieces of it were still scattered all over the road. Then later that day, we ran into some friends and it turned out they were the ones who had been in the accident. They were coming from Austin, and making a left turn into the fair entrance, when some guy decided the line of cars must be stopped for no reason and moved into the ONCOMING TRAFFIC LANE AND TRIED TO PASS THEM ON THE LEFT. I KNOW. This was with an open right hand passing lane. He was moving at high speed and ran smack into them as they were turning, air bags deployed, the front end of the car was knocked to bits, but fortunately nobody was hurt. Also fortunately one of them was visiting from another state and they were using her rental car.

So basically it was a very lucky, lucky day all around.

After we got home we watched Dragonage: Redemption. It's a six part fantasy web series based on the game, but you don't need to know anything about the game to enjoy it. It's produced by the Knights of Good (the people who do The Guild) and stars Felcia Day. It's a sword and sorcery story with two kickass women characters, and I just wish it had been longer. I hope they do a sequel with Tallis and Nyree. (and there's a gag reel on The Guild site here below the link for episode 6.)
marthawells: (SGA laughing)
This weekend we'll be going to Sherwood Forest Faire outside Austin, in Lost Pines. It's one of my favorite renfairs, and one of the two that almost burned down during the summer wild fires.


Beth Bernobich said really nice things about The Cloud Roads!


Next weekend (17-19) I'll be at ConDFW in Dallas, Texas, and my schedule is:


Panel Room 1 – Warwick
10 am – Shutting Out Distraction: How to Create a Good Workplace
Panelists: Cherie Priest, Martha Wells, Michael Ashleigh Finn, Sue Sinor, Michelle Muenzler (M)
The hardest thing to do is start your epic novel, or canvas masterpiece. But it is even harder to start when you have things distracting you – the phone, loud neighbors, or the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

11 am – Stina Leicht, Melia Dawn Newman, Martha Wells

1 pm – Ciara Gold, Martha Wells, Sue Sinor
(It's only a 20 minute reading, but I'll be doing a bit from the third Raksura book.)

Panel Room 1 – Warwick
4pm - World-Destruction 101: Destroying What You Created
Panelists: Martha Wells, Teresa Patterson (M), P.N. Elrod, Paul Black, Michelle Muenzler
It’s one thing to build a world, with fluffy bunnies and majestic unicorns. It’s another thing entirely to destroy it without losing your audience. There is a fine line between pointless destruction (which an audience dismisses) and gratuitous destruction (which may ick the audience away), and our experts at written devastation tell you where it is, how to travel it, and what details may need to be left out along the way.

Panel Room 2 - Manchester
5pm – Flying the Friendly Dirigible Skies: Steampunk Aviation
Panelists: Cherie Priest, Martha Wells, Julie Barrett, Lou Antonelli, Shanna Swendson (M)
One of the traditional views of the steampunk genre is the dirigible, or the zeppelin. In fact, it is often used to illustrate to modern audiences that they are in an alternate reality – if they see a dirigible, they know it’s not their world. For examples, look at Blade Runner (dirigible ads floating 24/7), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Zeppelins docking with the Empire State Building), etc. So, let’s fly a floating flammable gas bag and see what the future really is!
marthawells: (Default)
Here's the Ent pictures from Sherwood Forest Faire, promised in this post.

marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
I've got a new post up at the Night Bazaar blog on Secondary World Fantasy. That's the topic there all this week.

This is also the official release week for The Cloud Roads on the Night Bazaar site and we're doing a book giveaway for it over there. Just comment on my Night Bazaar post there, or on any other post at the Night Bazaar this week, with the title of a novel set in a secondary world, and you’ll be entered in the drawing at the end of the week for one of at least four autographed and personalized copies of The Cloud Roads. (If you want to check the book out, there are reviews and sample chapters on my site here.)

If there's a bunch of entries, I'll probably add a couple more copies. If you know anybody who might be interested in entering the drawing, please pass this along.


Yesterday we took a break from everything and went to Sherwood Forest Faire near Austin, and had a fabulous time. It was kind of windy and dusty at times, but since the site is almost completely under tree cover, it wasn't too bad.

Couple of highlights: there was an ent out there this time, and I got pictures which I'll post as soon as I wake up enough to find the camera. Plus the Circa Paleo has a stage out there, with a coffee house and hookah bar. It was a very neat set up. They had a tent with a counter that sold all kinds of hot and iced tea and coffee drinks, with tables and floor cushions for the people using the hookahs. It's close enough to the stage to hear the music and see the band.
marthawells: (Atlantis Dark Sky)
I desperately want to go to Sherwood Forest Faire outside Austin, but I am sick and miserable. (See the tag for my pictures from last year.)

Good bookstore news:

Mysterious Galaxy to open second location in Redondo Beach

25 ABA Member Stores Opened in 2010
marthawells: (Default)
We went to Sherwood Forest Faire yesterday, and had an excellent time. It's the first year it's been open, and it's very nice, much bigger and a better site than the Excalibur Faire at Smithville. About 95% of it is under tree cover, and it's very spread out to allow space for new booths and tents. There were a large number of food booths, including a two-story Italian restaurant. It's weird to see Renfair booths that look new, but by next year everything should be nice and weathered.

We got there not long after it opened, and it wasn't crowded at all. (Even in the afternoon, when the parking lot started to fill up, it didn't feel crowded. The site is designed to absorb a lot of people. It was slightly overcast and there was a cool breeze. A bunch of the booths had outdoor fireplaces and chimineas, so (if you weren't near the horses) you could smell woodsmoke, incense, and food cooking. Very relaxing.

There was a lot more craft booths than you normally see at TRF anymore, with better prices. More handmade jewelry and clothes, a man doing scrimshaw, lots of apothecaries with herbs and teas and handmade soaps and lotions. I bought soap, tea, arnica salve, and got a free hand massage for my failing right hand. There were also a lot of games, lots of shows and music.

The food was good, too. I had two things I'd never had before: for breakfast baked eggs with pesto and bacon in a cup made out of biscuit dough. They were yummy and I'm going to try to make some at home. For lunch at the Italian place, [personal profile] morfin had calimari (or fried Admiral Ackbar as we like to call it) and I had an arancini (fried risotto ball) with spinach and cheese inside, and Italian cream sodas.

Some photos photos )

The bad news is, I think I have an ear infection. I had a lingering cold a couple of weeks ago, and now I have an intermittent pain in my left ear, like when you're on an airplane and your ears don't pop. Only I'm not on an airplane. I suspect I'm going to have to go to the doctor.


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