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⭐️ 10-ish Books of Summer 2017


Hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books

The 20 Books of Summer runs from June 1st to September 3rd. During this period of time, I have two trips to California, possibly a trip to Colorado, and WesterCon scheduled. Eric is planning on (re)launching the PHYSIC series in Sept/Oct, which means a lot of reading/editing/formatting in the next three months. How much reading will I be able to get done? I don’t know.

I do know that I’ve had a good time with #20BooksOfSummer in the past and, as Brona pointed out, half the fun is making the TBR stack. I am going to cheat, just a little. I have a couple of in-progress books on my list, some of which I doubled up as “Double Features.” All the remaining percentages add up to ~4 books. I’m also going to shoot for finishing 10 books from a list of 15. Current: 5.5/10

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens Kings of Broken Things The Princess Bride

Continue reading “⭐️ 10-ish Books of Summer 2017”

Mini Reviews, Vol. 8

MiniReviews
Sometimes, I don’t have a lot to say other than, “Man, I liked this.” So, here are some things I’ve liked recently.

alt text The Janus Tree by Glen Hirshberg

Two stories from this anthology that are going to stick with me: “You Become the Neighborhood” and “Shomer.” “You Become the Neighborhood” has a rather ambiguous path and maybe a zigger ending, but, man, the ending is enough to make any arachnophobe uneasy. “Shomer” is a more direct tale and more indicative of Hirshberg’s ability evoke creepiness. In both cases, Hirshberg takes what is “normal,” points out the shadows and uncertainty, and then populates those places with… well…

Interestingly, this collection also includes “Like Lick Em Sticks, Like Tina Fey,” which would seem to be the short story jumping off point for the novel Motherless Child. This is a great place the get a taste for that in-progress trilogy.

alt text “Kindred Spirits” by Rainbow Rowell

A charming tale about…waiting in line. Okay, waiting in line for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it’s also about expectations and assumptions. Elena loves Star Wars and expects to be part of a celebration of that love. Instead, she faces that embarrassment that sometimes occurs when you love something deeply and slightly irrationally—even when among other fans of that thing. The notion of the “true fan” is handled lightly along with how we casually judge others without knowing anything about them.

alt text “Mystery of Asgina Lake” by Caren Rich

It might be the end of the summer vacation for many, but it’s just the beginning for Ella and Lena. This is a solid monster tale from Caren Rich with a great action climax that left me wondering, “What was that ting?!” I also loved that Ella and Lena were just casually tomboyish geek girls. Ella is gung-ho for adventure and Lena goes along, but with a good stock of comic books to keep boredom at bay. Originally included on the Fantastic Creatures Fellowship of Fantasy anthology.

The Janus Tree is 5.5/10 Books of Summer!

Writing Update, 8/16

Not much to report, honestly, other than chipping away at drafting and rewrites. And, surprisingly, this isn’t causing me anxiety or consternation. It’s simply part of the work I want to do. Yes, it’s sometimes difficult and sometimes, word-count-wise, there isn’t a lot to show at the end of the day, but I’m okay with that. Maybe I might even be enjoying my work.

Many years ago, a friend from my LiveJournal days sent me the following:

The Vintage Man by Hafiz

It’s Monday, What Are You… (8/14)

…Reading?

Kings of Broken Things Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Last week was…pft. At least, I finally got my copy of Kings of Broken Things. If I need non-physical reading material, I’m going to be reading “Moxon’s Master” by Ambrose Bierce and maybe starting Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

…Watching?

Rewatched Silence of the Lambs (1991). It’s surprising how singular this movie looks. You kind of get used to a certain type of closeup in films, and here Jonathan Demme and Tak Fujimoto give you these of awkwardly close closeups. Or, something like that. Film studies is something I like, but will never have enough time for. Anyway, nice to watch a film that actually *looks* different.

…Doing?

Working. No really, this time. At least, I don’t have set up for two leagues this week. This week’s deal: If I have a good week, maybe I’ll take a day off the following week for Bout of Books.

What Was I Doing?

Deal Me In, Week 32 ~ “The Gateway of the Monster”

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)
(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

“The Gateway of the Monster” by William Hope Hodgson

Card picked: A
From: Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder by William Hope Hodgson

The Story
For some reason I was under the impression that there was a short story entitled “Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder,” which is what I originally had as my ace of spades story. Apparently there is not(?) and I therefore substituted the first story in the anthology of that name: “The Gateway of the Monster.”

This is the first Carnacki story I’ve read (and maybe my first Hodgson) though he’s been on my TBR list for quite awhile. Carnacki is maybe the quintessential paranormal investigator. This story (the first?) showcases his MO perfectly with a blend of occult know-how and technological invention. I wasn’t expecting that last part. I’m not sure there’s anything more 1910 than the notion of an electric pentacle.

I also enjoyed the allusion to M. R. James’ “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You My Lad.” Both hauntings involve moving bedsheets, but Hodgson gives them a rather interesting provenance where James doesn’t bother explaining his ghost at all. While Hodgson gives some closure to the matter, I think James’ is the scarier story.

A thought that crossed my mind: I’m guessing that Shirley Jackson did not have a very solid grounding in the pulp/genre fiction. Carnacki takes more scientific control precautions in this short story than Dr. Montagu does in the entirety of The Haunting of Hill House. For the literary world, was Jackson bringing something new to the table with her paranormal investigator? For the genre world, did Hill House read as very weak horror?

On Ultimate Frisbee

If you watched ESPN2 or ESPNU (ESPN8) over the past week, you might have seen some ultimate frisbee* or caught this ad for the sport:

It’s a little schmaltzy and idealistic, but it also highlights some of the things that I love about ultimate.

Continue reading “On Ultimate Frisbee”

Writing Update, 8/9

Current WIP

Progress
There are times when I make a narrative decision and I know it’s not quite the right decision. Yet, I barrel down the narrative path anyway. At these times, I really should get a second opinion from Eric. This week will be be going back up the path, cleaning up a few things, and going down a better path.

What is This?
Wicked Witch, Retired is my current writing project. It is the sort-of sequel to a flash story I wrote, “Wicked Witch for Hire,” which is currently available in the anthology Bounded in a Nutshell.

#TerraTues is a Twitter event hosted by @leighmlorien and @summerhwrites.  Every Tuesday writers share a line of their current work-in-progress based on a theme. Tuesday’s theme was “weather.”

#FlashFicHive

I had fun doing #FlashFicHive last week. The pace though, man. Definitely a different set of muscles from what I’m used to. Kinda sorta following the prompts, I finished one story (below, or link) that I’m okay with and started a second which, if I finish it, will probably be longer than 1000 words. I included some process for “The Logical Sight” if you’re into seeing how the sausage is made.

Sadly, I realized on Monday of this week that I really have too much going on this month to really give #FlashFicHive enough attention.

  • I want to get a full draft of Wicked Witch, Retired done by the end of October.
  • We’re relaunching Eric’s PHYSIC series at the end of this month/beginnging of September and I need to make sure I have all my ducks in a row.
  • VOTS leagues. Set up and registration for two of them.

So, yeah, probably no more flash fiction for me this month…unless inspiration strikes. 😉

It’s Monday, What Are You… (8/7)

…Reading?

Shatterday Kings of Broken Things The Dancing Partner (Travelman Comedy)

Finished The Janus Tree on Sunday and will have some thoughts on that later in the week.

This week, I plan to read a few stories from Shatterday and Jerome K. Jerome’s “The Dancing Partner” until my copy of Theodore Wheeler’s Kings of Broken Things shows up. I’m not entirely sure why a book that I pre-ordered in December and was released last week hasn’t even shipped yet.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

 

…Doing?

Gearing up for Fall League. Pages are set up, registration should be opening soon. Play starts 9/5. Otherwise, keeping my head down and trying to get work done.

What Was I Doing?

(I’ve been only going back to 2007, but 8/7 is apparently a non-journaling/blogging day for me.)