Friday, August 26, 2016

Free eBooks Link

A quick post to let y'all know about a deal going on (that ends today) from Self-Publishing Roundtable - free eBooks!

The deal is that these are available on Amazon, and they're book 1 on various series or serials. Full disclosure - I was given this link by my friend Crissy Moss, who wrote Witch's Sacrifice, which is part of the above deal.

So go forth! Find new authors and new series! And have a lovely weekend - with luck, I'll be back with more content next week.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Post Worldcon quick post

Apparently, in the Kansas City (MO) airport, you can either get soda or candy, but not both at the same store. It's a little odd, but have me the chance to walk a bit.

I hope to have better, more thinky thoughts on the convention when I'm home and properly be-kittied, which will be tonight, partially. The elder statescats are being boated, as they need daily medication and no one likes us enough to try to medicate them (nor do I blame them). We get in too late tonight to spring them, but they'll be home tomorrow. Meanwhile, Daisy will be over the moon to have people again. She doesn't take being left alone well.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Lightning and loneliness

I'm at WorldCon in Kansas City, MO this weekend, and it's been an adventure thus far. I'm realizing that I've grown complacent in my convention attendance - I'm used to going to conventions where I know a decent number of people, so I'm likely to run into familiar faces who will stop and chat, even for a moment between panels.

That is not so much the case here. The panels themselves have been wonderful, and I've been glad to go to all of the ones I've been to thus far, but between sessions has been more difficult than I had anticipated. I find myself feeling down, and it makes it harder to convince myself to stick around, rather than going back to the hotel room to mope. I've been fighting the urge, but it's not easy.

However, I will give Kansas City this - they throw one heck of a thunderstorm. Currently, I'm hearing thunder and seeing flashes of lightning fairly regularly from the hotel room, and can hear the rain coming down against the window. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I am a sucker for rainstorms, particularly with lightning and thunder. (There's a reason why I moved to the Pacific Northwest, after all.) It always makes me feel just a little closer to my dad, who was a storm worshipper and taught me the beauty of a good, soaking rain.

Somehow, it makes me feel a little better. Even if I don't know specific people, I am among my people, and that's still a pretty great place to be.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Neither a borrow nor a lender be...

Except when it comes to books. I freely admit that the majority of my reading these days happens on an ereader, but I will never get over the desire for paper books. One of the earliest memories I have of every house I ever lived in was having walls of bookshelves, and it's something I've continued in my home.

Every room in our house has books, up to and including the bathroom, and the standing rule of our home is that if you see something you want to borrow, feel free - just tell us so we know where it went. It makes it easier for friends who are also People of the Book who found something that catches their eye to get their hands on it.

As much as I enjoy my ereader (and not just because it provides me with my day job), the ability to lend books out both willy and nilly is still best suited by physical books. And frankly, nothing will ever be more soothing to my soul than seeing a wall of books, just waiting for me to start reading.

Friday, August 12, 2016

How do they swear?

I've been spending some time getting caught up on Writing Excuses, and one episode on polytheism brought up an interesting question. A couple of the panelists said that when they are first thinking of a new religion, they start by wondering what their characters would swear by. That got me thinking in a different direction about character development - how do they swear?

Last year I read a book about the history of swearing in English, and the book broke things into two categories - the profane and the obscene (or rather, the holy and the shit of the book's title), and charted how these two categories rose and fell in terms of how "bad" they're considered by society.

Its says a lot about a person's beliefs with how they treat these two categories - I have family members that will take God's name in vain, but would rather be mute than reference any bodily function or fluid. On the other side, I've worked with people who had no problem dropping f-bombs on a regular basis but would twitch any time they heard someone say "Oh my God."

Swearing is one of those aspects of language that people tend to have definitive ideas about. Growing up, I was under the impression that the only people who swore were "bad" people, and even saying something that could be misconstrued as a swear word was to be avoided. (I may or may not have gotten into trouble for calling for my cat by saying "Puss puss!" Mom meant business.) I had to come up with some kind of "filler" words, because you still need something to holler when dropping something on your foot. I tended to go either cutesy (fudge), old-fashioned (blast), or British so no one will yell at me in the States (bollocks).

So when thinking about a character's voice, imagine they've dropped something on their foot. How do they react? Why?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Drafting versus editing

I freely admit that the majority of my word count over the years has come during things. like Nanowrimo, where the goal is to get the words on the page and silencing your inner editor. I'm currently plugging away at the gap (or Gap, at this point - it's earned the capital letter) in Paranormal Investigations, and part of me really, really wants to go back and edit everything I have before continuing into the breach.

Here's the problem with that approach: I know myself. If I allow myself to go into the Land of the Editor, I may never leave. It will be exceptionally difficult for me to switch back to writing if I try to edit everything first, so I'm forcing myself to keep writing and reminding myself that I can fix it in post.

I'm very grateful for the college education that I had, if for no other reason that that it taught me that if I'm given the chance, I will pick my work to death before moving on with new work. I literally had to have parts of my thesis taken away from me by my advisors so I would leave them alone and work on the next piece.

Basically, I'm just going to keep working on draft zero, and resisting the urge to edit all the things until draft zero is complete. After that, well, I might need help getting myself out of the Land of the Editor, but we'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Book review - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

It's been a while since I've done a book review, so a quick perusal of my Goodreads shelf and I found one of my comfort books - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The book follows the basic idea that magic is real, and two magicians have taken apprentices - one a boy, the other a girl - from an early age. It follows the apprentices as they grow up and learn about the different kinds of magic, not knowing that they are in a competition with each other. Throughout, there's also a description of a carnival known as the Night Circus that travels around the world. No one knows when it will appear until it does, and it only opens at sundown. The different exhibits and tents are unlike anything anyone's ever seen, and they develop a following of people who create their own kind of family as they bond over the circus.

One of the beautiful things about the book is the way the storylines are woven together. You're introduced to the circus before you meet the main characters, and it gives you a sense of wonder and awe from the beginning - you know right away that this is no ordinary carnival. Following the characters, they are developed wonderfully and in-depth, so they aren't just about the tricks they can perform. Watching it all come together, and trying to figure out how it will all end, is breathtaking.

The writing is gorgeous and haunting, and there's a subtle melancholy through the entire book that doesn't send it into the realm of depressing fiction, but reminds you that not everything is as happy as it may appear. For me, it makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and settle down with the book, preferrably on a rainy day. I highly recommend it.