September, 2008

Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane. (38) [litfic, book club]. I checked this book out of the library. I’d read three quarters of this book for my book club and then set it aside, but I finally finished it. Here’s the thing: it’s a really lovely book with a strong sense of poetry and it’s sad, but I hated the protag. You’re inside his head the whole way, so if you hate him the way I did, there’s not much for you. On the other hand, some of the imagery is just lovely and there’s a certain wryness to the writing that’s appealing, so it wasn’t a terrible read, by any means. Finished 09/01/08.

Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey. (39) [specfic, althistory]. I checked this book out of the library. I enjoyed it but it was verging on too angsty and not-enough-happensy. It certainly is the weakest of the series so far. There’s one last book out in this series, though, and this book wasn’t so bad that I won’t be checking that one out to read soon. Finished 09/07/07.

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snickett. (40) [childrens]. I own this. I liked it. Finished 09/14/08.

Magic’s Child by Justine Larbalestier. (41) [YA, specfic]. I checked this out of the library. I have to say Larbalestier nailed the ending. I think she closed this up just right. I still have lingering misgivings about the surfacy feel of the books, but it was nice reading, and I’m glad I took the time. She does a really good five-sense-enfolding setting, which makes the world-travel aspect of the books particularly enjoyable. Finished 09/21/08.

Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell. (42) [specfic]. I checked this out of the library. I enjoyed this book a great deal, but everyone knows I love zombie stories. I really liked the eyeball kicks: the floating cities, the otherworldly vistas, the groundsuits, the winged zombies (ok, they’re not technically wings, but that’s how I thought of them: raggedy, rippling wings). There’s the non-stop action, action, action one expects from a Buckell book, which I was happy about. Pepper is a difficult character, and in some cases, I feel like the author stacks the deck in his favor. When Pepper says “This always happens”, the author arranges it so that he’s right, and it feels a little bit like cheating. Again, I had trouble with some of the emotional context. A lot of the external dialog is treated with subtlety and interest, but a lot of the internal dialog is strangely uncomplicated and straightforward. I guess I want a little more emotional ambiguity to color the characters’ inner world. Finished 09/24/08.

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Good morning, world! And why, you might ask, is it such a good morning? What could possibly be the cause of back-to-back blog postings when I rarely manage more than once a week? Well, today I have been published. No, seriously. There it is, my flash fiction piece “Another Boot“, published at Every Day Fiction. Go! Read! Enjoy! Subscribe to their RSS feed and get flash fiction daily!

First time only happens once, right? Here it is. First. Time. Woo! This is particularly significant for me because it is my third sale, so I had begun to think all I could hope for was to sell stories so that they could languish on editorial desks, unpublished and forgotten. I know the publication process is slow, but one of my contracts has actually expired in the eighteen months since I signed it and was paid, so really, that’s a lost ship at this point and not just writerly melodrama on my part. Not that it’s bad to get paid, mind you, but it also feels unreal. I get money in hand (which again, is great and validating on some level because editors are the first hurdle), but there’s nothing I can point to: see there’s what I got paid for, there’s the work.

Until now.

And in true John Scalzi fashion, since I have ruthlessly pimped my one and only published offering, I am now declaring the comment thread to this post to be an open pimp thread. Read something cool? Made a cool video? Built the tallest Lego tower in the world, or know someone who did? Link away! Point us all to the creative goodness that exists out there in the wide web, most especially if it’s your own creative goodness. Comments no longer have the link filter, by the way, so if you know three cool things instead of one that you think everyone else should see, feel free. Share the joy.

And when I get my share of rejections in the next seven or so days, remind me of this moment of tiny glory, will you? Thanks.

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Point of order, game score is as follows:

  • 2 points sunjunkie
  • 2 points jerm (even though he got the band name wrong, he got the lyrics right and that counts)
  • 2 points lanfaedhe (even though he cheated. He ‘fessed, and I thought about just giving him one point, but well, I can be flexible, right?)

It’s a tie so far. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s a couple of entries with unclaimed points out there. Perhaps even this one. I still mean to put a tally in the margin, so I won’t have to keep giving periodic updates.

I’ve had a few funny dreams lately, including one where I very gently told someone that it was ok to have trouble with endings, because endings are hard. Projecting, much? In another I was serving empanadas I had made to a large crowd of people, but they kept busting open and letting loose this disgusting looking sauce all over when I grabbed them with a pair of tongs.

I was delighted to discover today that my garlic chives have self-seeded, and that the random grassy things growing alongside my house are volunteer chives. Rock on! Also the scented geranium did really well in the back of the yard (what I think of as the bee/butterfly garden), much better than its brethren in my little herb plot. The gardenia bush died though, which is sad, because I love gardenias.

I finished a draft of my YA novel Cualcotel. Finally. It desperately needs another pass, but it is a fully formed thing right now, which is awesome. I rewarded myself with Spore, Amanda Palmer’s new CD, and The Field Guide to Surreal Botany. Yeah, that’s pretty excessive on the rewards scale. Still, I abandoned the other novel I started, so finishing this one, even if it’s short, is a big deal.

I can already feel the shortening of the days. The other day I wore jeans and socks for the first time in four months or so. The jeans were welcome, I love wearing jeans. My preferred self is barefoot, though, and the socks were less welcome. My daughter asked me, when the cool front came through and we threw open our windows, when it would snow. I told her it was a couple of months yet and she pouted. How unlike me she is! She longs for the snow and the cold and the dark.

It’s not usually a linkfest here, but two videos I have been enjoying a great deal are Amanda Palmer’s “Runs in the Family” which was an unexpected birthday present a couple of months ago, and International Victim’s “Apollo 14” which I discovered through FaceBook. Yes, I am now one of the FaceBook masses. It’s been…interesting. Don’t worry handful of blog readers, I shall not abandon you (or at least, no more than you are already semi-abandoned by me). There’s more room to say things here without feeling quite as self-absorbed and showy as FB feels. Though I have heard people say there’s no reason other than self-absorption for blogging. So, ehhhh, who’s to say? Not me, that’s for sure.

Oh right, and I know I’m probably the last person on the planet who watched the SNL Palin/Hillary opening, but I laughed so hard I got a stitch in my side watching it. “I can see Russia from my house!” and “I CANNOT!” The political season, too, has its own rewards, and it’s not all teethgrinding agony.

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