Category Archives: reading

Want to be part of an experiment?

Question: Do free ebooks help or hurt paper book sales?
Tor is offering free ebooks if you sign up with their newsletter here. They offer a different one each week–this week is Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. (If you want it and missed it, ask a friend–the email says “tell a friend” but I don’t know if they want me to, you know, post the links here, so I won’t.) The first one was only in PDF, but this week’s is in PDF, HTML, and Mobi version (yay, my PDA is so happy!).
If you hurry, you might still be able to get Scalzi’s book. Next week’s won a Hugo (SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson).
Yes, yes. You have to get their newsletter. But they pay you to receive it–in ebooks!
And, you know, if you really like the ebook and want to do something nice for the author, then you can buy a paper copy. If you don’t want your paper copy, you can give it to a friend you think would like it, or to a library or bookcrossing. You don’t have to, but if you do you can help provide data that contradicts the idea that ebooks are the END OF DAYS FOR AUTHORS ZOMG, and maybe publishers and authors will make more of ’em, and then we’ll live in an ebook utopia. It could happen.

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Filed under geekiness, reading

You know you want it!

The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel is coming soon. I haven’t seen it yet, but it has poetry by my friend Peg Duthie in it, and she is made of awesome. Therefore, you clearly want this book. You want it, you crave it, you must have it!

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Lots of work for not a lot of prose, and nonfiction reading.

My outline for the novel codenamed Lizardfic is currently 5008 words. That’s longer than most of my short stories. This is more outlining than I’ve ever done for any project, ever. On the other hand, stalled novel, yo. Horrible feeling. Must unstall novel. I’m probably going to outline even more, until I am half-mad with outlining. It’s not that I don’t like writing from an outline, it’s that I really suck at outlining. Hopefully, this will help.

In other news, if you’ve heard Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is an excellent book, you heard right. I’m already a Twyla Tharp fan–my sister is a dancer–and she has a lot of advice for creative people of any discipline. It’s very applicable to writers. If you don’t want to buy it, go to your local public library or bookstore and fondle it. Trust me. I’ve been reading slowly through it, and finished it today.

I’m not sure if Thomas A. Limoncelli’s Time Management for System Administrators is as applicable to writers, but it is applicable to people with day jobs (especially scary devil monastery day jobs) who want to have time to write, so there you go.

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Filed under novels, reading, writing mysticism

Cherie Priest’s Dreadful Skin

I read this ages ago, but haven’t written about it here. Well, work is keeping me crazy, and my short fiction turnarounds are insane, so…

This was a very enjoyable read. I liked part one, “The Wreck of the Mary Byrd,” the best. It just appealed to me the most, structurally. I was particularly taken with the first person character introductions, where everyone explained who they were and what they were doing aboard the Mary Byrd. My favorite chapter was Chapter II, Laura Brown’s chapter, partly for the use of dialect (I tried to read part of it aloud to Brian and found myself unable to do so without a southern accent), and partly because–I admit it–I just identified with Laura’s intense hatred of the cold. (I got seasonal affective disorder in southern Virginia.)

Anyway, it was mainly the history and the voices in part one that appealed to me, although there’s also a werewolf-hunting Irish nun. Parts two and three feel a little pasted on to me, but I like part one and the history in all of them enough to overlook that. My parents met singing opera. I’ll overlook a lot if you appeal to my ear enough.

Good book. Go, read.

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Lyda Morehouse’s AngeLINK series

I think most of the people who regularly read this blog have already read this series, but for those of you who haven’t…
I love these books to complete irrational distraction, and if you haven’t read them, you should! I should probably tell you to read them for wonderful characters, clever plot twists, compelling settings, and delightful first-person voices, but I won’t, even though they have all that (and they make my ear very happy). No, I’m biased, so I’m going to tell you to read them for Mouse.
I get terrible crushes on fictional characters. It’s my way. There are lots of characters in these books that I love, including Page and the Dragon, but I adore Mouse in that special, all characters are judged by how they treat Mouse way. Therefore, I expect everyone else to love him just as much as I do.
Brian and I even agree on characters, which is a first.

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Four and Twenty Blackbirds, by Cherie Priest

I’m not much of a horror reader, so I’m not sure what led me to go to the Southern Gothic panel at Dragoncon. I suspect it was the panel description:

What is it about the American South that haunts the literary psyche? Some of horror’s Southern voices will talk about what it is like to live in the South, and how the region’s atmosphere informs their imaginations.

I found Cherie Priest funny and insightful, and left determined to get her book as soon as it was out, mainly because it seemed like she was talking about the south I live in.
This was apparently one of my better ideas. 😀 Four and Twenty Blackbirds has ghosts, voodoo, history, a feisty heroine, and the dichotomy Priest mentioned at Dragoncon, which can be summed up in a line where heroine Eden Moore talks about the snobby northern transfer student: “They hated her for the reason we all did: she thought she was better than us, and we were afraid she was right.”
If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can always listen to Charles de Lint instead (you have to scroll down), and there are more reviews collected here. I devoured it in one night, and may have to read it again after the SO finishes it. I found it in my local Border’s; Amazon was saying it would be available October 1, but they appear to be shipping now.

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Nightmare story updated yet again…

I made even more changes to the nightmare story, but no one’s seen them yet. The S.O. was working on his own novel, damn him! *shakes fist* That, and I’m a little too worried about Hurricane Katrina smacking New Orleans to worry about whether my changes to a short story are any good.
Speaking of Katrina, we should be getting leftovers at some point; mostly a bunch of rain. Nothing compared to what they’re getting, of course, and it’s not like we’re under an Inland Tropical Storm warning like Tennessee.
Tennessee. I ask you.
Should we lose power, I’ll take the opportunity to write in peace and quiet and darkness until my laptop battery runs out. Woo!
I downloaded a metric ton of stuff from Escape Pod to listen to in the car. Mostly Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout, since I’ve enjoyed other stories of theirs. (I already downloaded Jen‘s story ages ago.)

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Filed under life, the universe, and everything, reading, short fiction

I raked it in!

Apparently, my muttering and grumbling about the sacrilege that was Sci Fi’s Earthsea have paid off. Brian gave me Tehanu and The Other Wind for Christmas. Woohoo! And also The Lathe of Heaven. Yes, we’re having a very Ursula K. Le Guin Christmas here. Woohoo!!!
For my last birthday, someone gave me Lyda Morehouse’s Apocalypse Array. Since this is book four in a series (including Fallen Host, Messiah Node, and Archangel Protocol), I was really hoping to read the other three first, and it looks like I’m going to have to buy them myself. I was half-hoping someone would give me these for Christmas, but no dice. I hear from Jen that they rock.
So many books. So little time.

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Alas, poor Earthsea!

A Wizard of Earthsea was the first SF/F I ever read, and if I hadn’t enjoyed it I probably wouldn’t be here. I read and loved the entire trilogy, but was particularly fond of The Tombs of Atuan, which had a wonderfully creepy, anthropologically fascinating religion of an older, chthonic worship of the Old Ones and an obviously superimposed cult of the GodKing. Oh, it also had a female protagonist, which was very exotic for a young female reader.
Upon coming across this I was a bit discouraged. To quote Ursula K. Le Guin, “So, for the record: there is no statement in the books, nor did I ever intend to make a statement, about ‘the union of two belief systems.’ There’s nothing at all about the ‘duality of spirituality and paganism,’ whatever that means, either.” Nevertheless, I did want to see it for myself before I judged.
I should have known. Tenar (the name “Arha” is not used) is apparently a Catholic nun, or Vestal Virgin, part of an entire bevy of veiled priestesses devoted to holding back the Old Ones through the power of prayer. When Sparrowhawk said, “There’s a great power here, not magic but a power for good!” I’m afraid I gagged loudly. WTF? “A power for good”? We are talking about the Old Ones, right? the ones that demand teenage girls come up with executions for criminals?
Le Guin adds, “I wonder if the people who made the film of The Lord of the Rings had ended it with Frodo putting on the Ring and ruling happily ever after, and then claimed that that was what Tolkien ‘intended…’ would people think they’d been ‘very, very honest to the books’?” What, you mean you didn’t intend to write a piece of Christian propaganda designed to prop up the reign of the GodKing? You didn’t intend to write a parable about how science and faith need each other to be whole, but science is powerless in the realm of faith?
Can we have a do-over, but with Peter Jackson instead of this guy?
I am so, so very afraid for The Left Hand of Darkness!

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playing scripts off short fiction

I got several funny pages done on the movie script. Hooray! On the other hand, I read a bit of draft for the nightmare story I wrote last week, and it is the suck. Not first draft suck, either. Worse.
Woe.
Ah well, this is the whole reason to have multiple projects in progress, right? to have something to work on when other somethings aren’t cooperating?
I wonder if I would have better luck with “Grandfather Paradox.” Maybe I should try that. Although I’m tempted to try to go for a quick run first. That sounds like a plan, actually. Run–well, trot, more like–then write more. Running may clear my head, and if it doesn’t, well… maybe I’m supposed to rest instead.
In other news, I found a copy of Tiptree’s Brightness Falls From the Air in a used bookstore. Why isn’t anything of hers aside from Meet Me At Infinity in print? She should be in print. I have spoken.

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Filed under reading, scripts, short fiction