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#24in48 ~ January 2017

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More Info on #24in48

If you’re new to 24in48, this is the basic gist: beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period. You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between, whatever you’d like.

I wasn’t going to do #24in48 since I just did Bout of Books and I figured I won’t need another readathon in January, but here I am behind on what I want to have read. So, I made a deal with myself: if I got 4000 words added to my current manuscript by the start of the readathon (10pm Friday for me!), I’d join…and use #24in48 as reading catch-up.

Catch-up List

  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville – Caught-up through Saturday.
  • PHYSIC mACHINEs (Eric’s manuscript) – to pg. 120
  • Economics – Chapters 13-15
  • The rest of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November-December 2016 – Finished.
  • More Writing on the Wall by Tom Standage
  • Start In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle

Progress

Beginning Survey

  1. Where in the world are you reading from this weekend? Tempe, AZ. We’re actually having a winter weekend: chilly and rainy.
  2. Have you done the 24in48 readathon before? Yes, though I’ve never managed the whole time.
  3. Where did you hear about the readathon, if it is your first? N/A
  4. What book are you most excited about reading this weekend? Gosh, I’m just looking forward to getting caught up on my reading and clearing the way for In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle.
  5. Tell us something about yourself. I’m a writer, currently working on a fantasy novel entitled Wicked Witch Retired. I also like to play ultimate frisbee and I’ll be taking some time out on Saturday to listen to the Nebraska men’s basketball game.
  6. Remind us where to find you online this weekend. You’re already here, but you can also find me on Twitter at @katen

Deal Me In, Week 3 ~ “The Ghost-Extinguisher”

(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 Ghost-Extinguisher” by Gelett Burgess

Card picked: Ace of Hearts
From: Introduced to me by Tim Prasil at The Merry Ghost Hunter. Published in Cosmopolitan in 1905, you too can read it online.

The Story

My attention was first called to the possibility of manufacturing a practicable ghost-extinguisher by a real-estate agent in San Francisco.

Our ghost-hunting narrator Garrish learns about an ancient Japanese* method of ridding properties of “ghosts” or rather the astral remains of the recently dead. Garrish sciences-up the ritual and devises a way to capture and store ghosts. When the ghost hunting business runs dry in his local area, Garrish takes a trip to England, thinking that the old country should be lousy with ghosts. Unfortunately, in England having a ghost in your house is sort of a status symbol, so no one wants their ghosts busted er, extinguished. Ever a capitalist, Garrish realizes he has a supply that is in demand. Not surprisingly, things don’t go as planned…

This is fun story. It brings to mind, of course, Ghostbusters, but also The Frighteners, in which hauntings are levied for fun and profit.

* Early 20th century racism alert!

The Author

Gelett Burgess was an artist, art critic, and humorist of some note. In addition to “The Purple Cow,” he also coined the term “blurb,” thus giving authors everywhere something to seek or be pestered for depending on which side of fame that author stands.

Mini Reviews, Vol. 7 ~ What I’ve Been Watching Edition

MiniReviews

Oscar Standouts from Last Year

alt textThe Big Short (2016)
Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Charles Randolph (screenplay), Adam McKay (screenplay), Michael Lewis (book)
Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

Winner for best adapted screenplay, based on the book by Michael Lewis. How do you make a movie about financiers and the mid-2000’s housing bubble? 1.) Pick some characters and tell their stories. The four leads in The Big Short are all great. 2.) Don’t fear the occasional educational digression. (That link? NSFW due to a little language.)

Spotlight (2015)
Director: Tom McCarthy
Writers: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams

Based on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the molestation scandal within the Catholic church, this movie was obvious Oscar bait. It won best picture and best original screenplay. It is a solidly written and acted movie, fairly compelling, but I thought The Big Short was probably more inventive in its storytelling.

Weren’t Oscar Contenders in Any Year

Black Sea (2014)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writer: Dennis Kelly (screenplay)
Stars: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn

A submarine captain gathers a crew to plunder Nazi gold from a lost WWII sub. Man, this story, an undersea heist, had so much potential. Alas, this movie is the opposite of competence porn. From the very beginning, dumb decisions are made. The rest of the movie’s narrative is watching those dumb decisions play out.

Green Room (2015)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, oh, and Patrick Stewart

I’ll admit, this is probably my favorite of these four films. A punk band ends up witnessing a crime at backwoods neo-Nazi club. This is pretty much a straight-up non-supernatural horror flick, but it’s well written and really well shot. A good deal of the film takes place in the club’s green room, a locale that is infinitely more claustrophobic than Black Sea’s submarines.

It’s Monday, 1/16, What Am I Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Well, I’m pretty much still reading what I was reading last week.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years picture
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • Writing on the Wall by Tom Standage
  • Been reading though Eric’s second PHYSIC novel.
  • Maybe I’ll get to some Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction stories.
  • “The Ghost-Extinguisher” by Gelett Burgess for Deal Me In
  • …Oh! and some Marco Economics textbook.

It’s gonna be a busy week.

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

What Else 2017, Week 2

WhatElse

Good Stuff

One thousand musicians all playing David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel.”

Thanks to Sharon, a fellow ultimate player, for pointing this out on FB. Made my Sunday morning.

Writing Stuff

Gamification of the writing process, Katherine edition: I’ve wanted a new laptop for a while now. Our old one crapped out years ago and, for two ne’re-do-well writers, buying a new one is an investment not to be taken lightly. Eric finally came upon a decently priced system that met his specs: really good battery life without being stupidly top-of-the-line. Still, he was waffling. “Right,” I said, “how much writing do I need to do justify this?” There followed the purchase of a laptop and me going into “word debt” for it. A strong year of writing should pay it off.

This week, I added 3300 to my manuscript. I’ve started to embrace “shrug and write junk”. Meaning, at least three times this week, I wrote some very sketchy, junky paragraphs that got the job done only to rewrite, expand, and clean them up the next day. And I still got a net 3300 words added.

Started reading through Eric’s PHYSIC series.

Blogging Stuff

Slow reading week and “as scheduled” blogging week:

Health & Fitness Stuff

Played ultimate on Wednesday and Friday. My week was going pretty well until an arthritis flare-up on Thursday. I still managed to play Friday only because I didn’t want the other woman that showed up to be the only woman at pickup. Started feeling better Friday night. “B” League starts this week so that will add a little more ulti to my life.

Other Life Stuff

Not much going on otherwise. It’s nice to be getting into some kind of groove again.

Deal Me In, Week 2 ~ “The House of Aunts”

(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 House of Aunts” by Zen Cho

Card picked: Jack of Clubs
From: Available online at GigaNotoSaurus

The Story

The first time she saw the boy across the classroom, Ah Lee knew she was in love because she tasted durian on her tongue. That was what happened–no poetry about it. She looked at a human boy one day and the creamy rank richness of durian filled her mouth. For a moment the ghost of its stench staggered on the edge of her teeth, and then it vanished.

She had not tasted fruit since before the baby came. Since before she was dead.

After school she went home and asked the aunts about it.

“Ah Ma,” she said, “can you taste anything besides people?”

Ah Lee is seventeen. She lives with her six aunties—her grandmother, her great-grandmother, and four of their daughters. All the women aside from Ah Lee are over age 55, the generation “gap” is more like a chasm. The aunties want Ah Lee to be a good student, to get a scholarship, to get a career, and to be an independent  woman. These were all things that weren’t as possible for them. All Ah Lee wants is to be an average teenager, which is already complicated by being dead. Ah Lee and her aunties are pontianak, entrail-eating “ghosts” of women who died while pregnant. Ah Lee develops a crush on Ridzual, the new boy at school. Both are on the outskirts of social circles at school and they become friends…until Ah Lee tells Ridzual her secret.

Here I am, two weeks into the year, I have a strong contender for my 2017 Top Ten. Cho does a wonderful job with the aunties’ cross talk and tangents and their firm belief that they are doing the right things for Ah Lee. Ah Lee is pitch perfect too, full of all the frustrations and small secrets of being a teenage girl.

The Author

Zen Cho‘s “Monkey King, Faerie Queen” was one of the highlights of my July 2016 #24in48. She is a London-based Malaysian author and editor. Her debut novel is Sorcerer to the Crown.

♣ ♣ ♣

I have a soft spot for any magic involving birds that isn’t a dove act. Here is Malaysian magician Andrew Lee and his beautiful assistant Snow.

Review ~ Blackwater Lake

Cover via Goodreads

Blackwater Lake by Maggie James

Matthew Stanyer fears the worst when he reports his parents missing. His father, Joseph Stanyer, has been struggling to cope with his wife Evie, whose dementia is rapidly worsening. When their bodies are found close to Blackwater Lake, a local beauty spot, the inquest rules the deaths as a murder-suicide. A conclusion that’s supported by the note Joseph leaves for his son.

Grief-stricken, Matthew begins to clear his parents’ house of decades of compulsive hoarding, only to discover the dark enigmas hidden within its walls. Ones that lead Matthew to ask: why did his father choose Blackwater Lake to end his life? What other secrets do its waters conceal? (via Goodreads)

Why was I interested in this book?
Picked it up free from Amazon in November 2015; wanted to read more self-pubbed authors especially in the horror and thriller genre. Read it now because I wanted something short for Bout of Book that would be a contrast to Moby-Dick.

What Worked
Good pacing and short chapters kept the story moving along.

What Didn’t Work
I don’t read many thrillers, so maybe what didn’t work for me is a function of the genre rather than a deficit on the writer’s part. In a mystery, I feel like there should be a balance between the gathering of clues (the reveal of information) and the characters working to construct a narrative from those clues. In Blackwater Lake, Matthew’s only job is to uncover the clues in his mother’s hoard of stuff. The clues are presented in rather neat narrative order. Instead of a puzzle to be solved, this story is more like train tracks being revealed on a sunny day after a light snow. Is the reveal of information more important in thrillers than the puzzle is in mysteries?

Pet Peeve Alert: There was also the use of “(for really no good reason) I can’t go to the police,” which was only used as a later stumbling block.

Publishing info, my copy: Kindle, Orelia Publishing, September 27, 2015
Acquired: November 17, 2015, Amazon
Genre: suspense

wintercoyer-16-17More #COYER Reviews
Generator Points Earned: .5 (only a novella)
Generator Points Total: 3