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Pinned: Spring into Horror Readathon

Hosted by Michelle @ Seasons of Reading

The one main “rule” of Spring Into Horror is that you must read ONE scary book (which can be a thriller, mystery, Gothic novel, or similar for those who are faint of heart). The rest of the week…anything goes!

TBR

I’ve been following my reading whims lately so I’ve been a little reluctant to schedule anything specific, but I have several “scary” books in my immediate TBR:

Infernal Parade The Janus Tree and Other Stories The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Infernal Parade by Clive Barker
  • The Janus Tree and Other Stories by Glen Hirshberg
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells (changed out with the less-horror aspected The Invisible Man)
  • And who knows what else from my shelves!

Deal Me In, Week 16 ~ “Iron Eyes and the Watered Down World”

(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?

“Iron Eyes and the Watered Down World” by Saladin Ahmed

Card picked: 9♣
From: Engraved on the Eye, available for $0 at Amazon!

The Story
With a dual-saber-wielding tough-talking rabbit-woman named Hai Hai, I wish this would have been last week’s story. But, alas, I drew the nine of clubs this week instead. Such is the fickle nature of Deal Me In.

This is mostly a straight-up fantasy tale that feels like it could easily be the upshot of a good table-top gaming session. Zok Iron Eyes is our main character. He’s a tough warrior with an enchanted broadsword. His wife was killed a decade ago by a toad-headed demon and he’s vowed vengeance. He carries one of his wife’s earrings as a token of remembrance. Joining him on his adventures are Hai Hai and Mylovic, a cleric with un-clericly penchants for money and poppy derivatives.

The story is set in motion when the earring is stolen from Zok’s money purse by a young man that seems to be a part of the weak, soft generation that surrounds Zok and his compatriots. There is a little twist to this story which isn’t hard to guess at, but the tale is nicely told, all in all.

Continue reading “Deal Me In, Week 16 ~ “Iron Eyes and the Watered Down World””

Standout Stories from the Fantasy & Science Fiction, Mar-Apr 2017

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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January-February 2017

I set up a schedule to actually get an issue read in the two months before the next issue comes out. Genius! *cough*

There were two stories that I particularly enjoyed in this issue:

“The Man Who Put the Bomp” by Richard Chwedyk
According to the introduction to this novella, this is Richard Chwedyk’s fifth “saurs” story. I haven’t read the first four, but here’s what I gather to be the situation thus far: Saurs were genetically engineered to be playthings. Imagine if the plastic dinosaurs you played with as a kid moved around and could be your “Teddy Ruxpin”/”Furby”-like companions. But the saurs turn out to be more than just toys. They are alive. They have intelligence and autonomy. After a era of struggle, they have a kind of freedom, living in small enclaves, watched over by a few caretakers, and besieged by bio-tech corporations that wish to learn their secrets.

This story revolves around one such safe house. The cast of saur characters is confusingly large (really the only neagtive criticism I have about the story). Among them is Axel (an inventor theropod with a traumatic past*), Agnes (a stegosaur who wants to protect the community to a xenophobic degree), Tibor (who believes himself to be the ruler of Tiborea), Bronte (who has recently hatched an egg, even though saurs weren’t supposed to be able to procreate), Preston (author of bestselling thrillers), and the mysterious, mad-scientist sauropod, Geraldine. Geraldine may or may not be behind the appearance of the VOOM!, a bright pink kid-sized car.

“No good ever came from anything pink!”

Ambition is at the heart of this story. Scientists Nicholas Danner, who worked on the saur’s original genetic code, and an up-and-comer Christine Haig are sent to investigate the happens at the saur safe house. Danner must come to terms with what he helped create and Christine must decide whether the saurs are what they say they are. And in the meantime, Axel and Tibor endeavor to go on a tour of Tiborea in the VOOM!

There are shenanigans, hijinks, and a lot of humor.

* Have you seen the videos of things people do to Furbies?

“Daisy” by Eleanor Arnason

“I’m doing a job for Art.”
“He’s a nasty man, Emily. Don’t get mixed up wit him.”
“I’m trying to track down his pet octopus. Someone stole it.”
“His what?”
“His octopus.”

Art Pancakes is a mobster. Emily Olson is a private eye. And Daisy is a missing octopus.

Octopuses are weird critters. They seem to be more intelligent than most animals and they are quite alien, alien in the sense of otherness. This story is very lightly science fiction and probably just fantasy. I’ll be honest, I saw a few of the plot points from far out, but that didn’t make this story any less good.

Writing Update, 4/19

Progress
Eric and I have been talking about motivation and what intrinsic roadblocks I seem to have. Word count goals don’t seem to work for me, really, so I’m trying out a system of setting an amount of time I want to work and what scene/plot things I want to work on. So far, so good, but it’s only been two days…

I’ve added a smidge over 2000 words to Wicked Witch, Retired since last Wednesday. I finished one scene, added a second that I hadn’t anticipated.

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.

#1lineWed is a Twitter event hosted by @RWAKissofDeath. Every Wednesday writers share a line of their current work-in-progress based on a theme.

Writing Update, 4/12

(The #1LineWed theme was “wise.” Searching through my ms, I realized I use “otherwise” a lot.)

Progress
I finished my Wicked Witch, Retired reread/rewrite last week. Yay! (Yes, it took a month to get through 58,000 words…) Started writing new words Monday. Schlepped the laptop to the library yesterday which went pretty well aside from losing confidence in the bus I was on and deciding to walk two miles to my transfer.

There’s a lot of travel in this book and I’m very close to setting distances between things and speed scores to various travel methods so I can get the timing down.

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.

#1lineWed is a Twitter event hosted by @RWAKissofDeath. Every Wednesday writers share a line of their current work-in-progress based on a theme.

It’s Monday, What Are You… (4/10)

…Reading?

Adelaide Herrmann Queen of Magic The Map of Time

I seriously thought about joining Tome Topple last week in order to make some headway on Map of Time, but I decided I really wanted to start Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic. I’d been putting Adelaide aside in favor of other reading events since I purchased the book in December.

Short stories this week:

  • “The Toymaker’s Daughter” by Arundhati Hazra
  • “A Green Silk Dress and a Wedding-Death” by Cat Hellisen
  • “The Haunting of Jezebeth” by Paula Cappa

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

…Watching?

Specifically, this morning:

Marvel isn’t quite as good as DC at the rock ‘n’ roll superhero trailers, but they’re trying. This is definitely integrating the Guardians of the Galaxy universe in glorious 70s tone as well as content. But it was the last bit with Thor and Hulk that made me laugh. Laughing, not an easy thing at 7:30am and only a half cup of coffee and no ibuprofen in me.

…Doing?

This should be a quieter week than last, with only one league game instead of two. Ultimate frisbee four days in a row was rough. Easter dinner with my parents on Sunday.

Deal Me In, Week 14 ~ “Bluebeard’s Wife”

(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?

“Bluebeard’s Wife” by T. Kingfisher

Card picked: A
From: Available online!

The Story

He had apparently been a very evil man, but not actually a bad one. Althea had spent the last few months trying to get her mind around how such a thing was possible.

What if Bluebeard’s wife hadn’t looked into the forbidden room? What if, with two boundary-defying sisters in her past, she has no problem letting her husband have a room of his own? It’s not like she’s giving him the key to her diary. A room full of dead bodies isn’t something that can be kept a secret forever, but what if remains truly a secret for twenty-seven years of fairly happy marriage?

The classic story of Bluebeard is a weighty tale. T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) handles it with her signature light touch and knowing nods to the original.

Personal Trivia
For many years, I confused the tales of Bluebeard and Blackbeard. I found it very strange that a pirate would keep a room full of dead wives on his ship. The only other things I have a similar problem with are kingfishers and the Fisher King. So, it seems inordinately appropriate that “Bluebeard’s Wife” is written by T. Kingfisher.