Saturday, November 26, 2011

Xmas Wishes for GSP Holiday Antho

My story "Xmas Wishes" will be appearing in the Gypsy Shadow Publishing holiday anthology - a for-charity production. This story is set in the same contemporary world as Flow. More details as they emerge (on the anthology, not the story) ...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Part of the reason the show "Glee" has always appealed to me - even when I feel it's suffered from slumps - is the intrinsic concept of found songs that perfectly encapsulate a moment, a scene, a character. It's a different feel from a true musical, where the songs are written to suit the characters; here, the process is more organic, finding two things that just happen to fit together. It's the joy in discovering a personal facet to something (more or less) universal.

I do this a lot with the music I listen to, and much of it gets permanently associated with a character, a scene or a situation - so much that even years later, if I play a certain song, I get flashbacks. Gloria Estefan's "Dangerous Game" will always conjure memories of Miayde and Treddian from Butterfly's Poison, the character assassin and her scheming opposite; Leann Rimes' "The Safest Place" may have gotten a place in the Scylla and Charybdis soundtrack, but it still rings of its original place describing the (unrequited) romance between Mikane and Tieruko. (Hmm ... what is it with me and M and T couples?)

Unnatural Causes has a songlist, but the associations aren't permanent in my head yet. Probably the snarkiest choice I made, however, was for the queen, a minor character who largely serves to stand as an authority figure in the background.

Her themesong? "What Do The Simple Folk Do?" from Camelot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GoodReads Review: Paradise 21

Paradise 21 (New Dawn)Paradise 21 by Aubrie Dionne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paradise 21 is a fast-paced, energetic ride through a space opera universe populated by generation ships, space pirates and exotic, hostile planets. The cast is sizable but never unmanageable, with some intriguing personalities and character quirks. The action scenes are particularly enjoyable: the author has a way of writing that makes you want to read faster, a gripping anxiety for the characters.

I do consider this space opera, not science fiction – though the events and places in Paradise 21 didn’t strike me as scientifically sound, the novel created a mood where that didn’t matter. The Star Wars comparison made by other reviewers is apt: you know the creatures and gadgets might be nonsense, but you’re having too much fun to care. There were a handful of places where my suspension of disbelief still got twinged, though.

Another thing to praise was the portrayal of space pirate Tiff. The way she teeters back and forth between self-absorption and a developing selflessness was very satisfying. I was less sure about Barliss. I enjoyed his maniacal calculation, the way he knew to play the social game but had no actual empathy – but I found he came off too cruel / evil to be wholly believable.

The romance did, at times, feel a bit forced – and there were a few moments where I wondered about the appropriateness of Aries’ line of thought. (When survival is on the line, this is not the moment to notice your companion’s handsomeness.) Similarly, I thought some of the dialogue was unnatural – characters explaining too much, too clearly, asking questions that seemed implausible to pose to a stranger just met.

That said, there’s moments of beauty in the book, and ultimately, an optimism that was heartening to encounter. It’s definitely a fun read.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Official thoughts on Nanowrimo at this juncture: let's call the whole thing off.

I may try to do a Nano-esque stint at some other time, because I'm dying to give this novel focused, undivided attention ... and that's precisely what I can't do right now without putting too much on hold. Scylla and Charybdis needs its final polish; I have online gaming obligations; I still have an unfinished short story; for that matter I have an entire unedited second novel (Who Wants To Be A Hero?) that desperately needs my eye - I finished it March or so of this year!; and there's a ton of house reconfiguring left to do.

I am fairly sure there was an excess of punctuation in that last sentence.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

I've had an extremely slow start to Nanowrimo. I'm having new tile floors put in, and combined with lingering fall allergies, I was so ill yesterday I couldn't function ... and I have company, so social time has devoured writing time. That said, I'm not calling it off yet: I can produce a prodigious amount in a sitting / weekend.

That said, if I do bow out, I don't look at it as losing or failing. Rather, I will be making a conscious choice to divide my time more evenly among other activities. I devote enough time and discipline to writing that I don't feel as if I'm giving it short shrift.

The title settled in as Unnatural Causes for now. It was Supernatural Causes, but I decided the word had a modern-paranormal / ghost-story vibe I didn't care for. Since I'm very definitely trying to avoid the overdone (to me) concept of the contemporary world detective investigating paranormal events, it seemed important to make the distinction.

So I'm going to veer and use the old pre-modern concept of natural versus unnatural within the framework of the story. Since sorcery in this setting is performed by thought-machines, and the category of the unnatural, in medieval thought, encompassed anything being made to act outside its nature - that is, an arrow shot would be unnatural because the natural quality of wood is to obey gravity - this seems doubly appropriate.