Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 12/5/22

Read & Reading

Cover: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro

Had some bad reading luck last week: two DNFs!

Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro did not work out for me. I DNFed at about the 20% mark. A problem I have with Aliens (the 1986 movie) and some other connected media I’ve read is that it can be culturally and semi-technologically stuck in 1986. For example, there is a quip in the movie, “Somebody said ‘alien;’ (Vasquez) thought they said ‘illegal alien’ and signed up.” But why would that necessarily still be a joke over a 150 years from today (much less the nearly 200 year from its writing)? Aliens: Vasquez sort of leans into that. Characters listen to “oldies” like Bruce Springsteen. They have cell phones at least, but again, what will we have in 150 years? Also, from what I’ve read from other reviews, the remaining 80% of the book is about Janette Vasquez’s kids. Which isn’t quite what I signed up for.

Christmas by Accident by Cameron Wright didn’t last very long for me either. Maybe I was in a grumpy mood after Vasquez, but so many little things really annoyed me about this book. So I moved on . . .

To more Aliens fiction! Yes, I had Aliens: Bug Hunt, edited by Jonathan Maberry on hold at the library and it came available just after I gave up on Vasquez. I’m about five stories into this anthology and I’ve had fewer setting problems.

Short Fiction

“On Snowflake-veined Wings” by Chip Houser – Few stories leave me with such vivid images. I have two words for you: enhanced allergies.

Deal Me In, Week 48: 10♦️
“Sand” by Jasmin Kirkbride – I don’t know what I think about this story. On one hand, I hate opaque allegories (which this is not); on the other hand, I’m not sure what I think of very overt metaphors.

Ultimate Frisbee

This is our last week of fall league. My team is currently in second place with two regular season games left (Tuesday and Thursday). Hopefully, fields dry out enough by tomorrow. We had a nice couple of days of rain over the weekend. Finals are on Saturday. We should have a first round bye, so I’ll be playing 1–3 games. Unfortunately, finals are the same day as tryouts for the women’s pro team and many teams are going to be short-handed on the woman-matching side.

Webmaster-wise, I don’t have all the information for finals, which is also only slightly stressing me out. Stuff for New Year Fest seems mostly settled. Haven’t heard anything about winter league. I wouldn’t mind if winter league didn’t happen. Eric and I don’t play because injuries are so much higher when it’s cold, and sign-ups for it over the last couple of years have been lack-luster. I breather before spring league wouldn’t be bad.

Writing

I’ve started on draft #2 of my NaNoWriMo project. I plan on working on that through December.

No new rejections on my short works, but I think going to submit one of my flash pieces to another market. Where it’s at allows simultaneous submission and we’re past the average response time.

Posted in Male Author, Novella, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Monday Miscellanea, 11/28/22

Read & Reading

Cover: The Greyhound of the Baskervilles by John Gaspard & Arthur Conan Doyle
Cover: Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright
Cover: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro

Finished The Greyhound of the Baskervilles by John Gaspard and Arthur Conan Doyle. This mystery asks, “What if Sherlock Holmes was a dog person?” It’s a retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but from the point of view of Septimus, Holmes’ pet greyhound. It’s a fine adaptation, a freebie I had picked up because I’ve read Gaspard’s Eli Marks mysteries. It’s book #22 for my Beat the Backlog goal.

After finishing Greyhound, I headed to the elibrary for a Yuletide Challenge pick and found Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright. I like the occasional fluffy holiday romance. And then two hours later another book came off hold: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro. I also like the occasional military sci-fi movie tie-in.

Watched

Wednesday
Season 1 (2022)

I’m not a fan of supernatural clique boarding school stories, but I am a fan of Tim Burton and The Addams Family (the TV show and the 90s movies especially). So, in the words of my husband on the subject of Wednesday, I’m a sucker. The mystery story is fine, but for me the plot is secondary to the morbid quips and puns. Jenna Ortega is well cast and Wednesday’s interactions with her pastels-and-glitter roommate (Emma Myers) are particularly fun. All of the cast is great, aside from Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia) and Luis Guzmán (Gomez). I actually had high-hopes for that pairing but the two have no chemistry. Guzmán seemed too restrained and Zeta-Jones isn’t vampish enough. Tim Burton’s aesthetic is toned down too, but that’s just fine. It actually works really well with Barry Sonnenfeld’s movies.

Writing Update

NaNoWriMo 2022 Banner

Well, it’s the 28th of November and I’ve only written just over 28,000 words. And I marvel at the use of the word “only” in that previous sentence. That’s 10K more than I wrote last NaNoWriMo when I was tinkering with an old project.

My problem with NaNoWriMo is that is gets messy. Not just the manuscript, but my world. I let chores go and put off things I want to do. Yes, that’s a product of doing more writing work than I normally would, but it also makes me a bit nuts. Part of what I wanted to do with NaNo was to get into a stronger work schedule. Time will tell if that worked, but I’m definitely okay with going back to a more balanced life.

And I also hit the wall on how much story I had planned. I’m not a good planner. I’m also not great at “seeing where the story will take me.” So, at around 25,000 words I really needed to take some time and figure out what I’m doing. I’ve clarified the conflicts and have an end target.

I plan on getting to 30K by the end of the month and maybe shooting for another 20K by the middle of December.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 11/14/22

Reading

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

The Hacienda was recommended all around my social media sphere during Readers Imbibing Peril. I’m sorry I didn’t pick it up earlier, especially during Readathon, because I probably could have read it in one sitting given the time to do so. The hook for me: it’s gothic horror set in Mexico during the Mexican War of Independence in the early 1800s. I do have questions about a couple of plot thing and how the characters came to conclusions at the end, but it has a lot that I enjoyed. At its heart, the plot is a nice creepy mystery with a young female protagonist trying to figure out how to manage the tragedies of her life. Very classically gothic stuff.

Deal Me In, Week 44
A♦️: “#Selfcare” by Annalee Newitz
What happens when your beauty brand has crossed the fae? Not good things. A clever, fun story. Set in the not too far future, this quote made me laugh: “My boss at Witchy Wonders has this scorched earth approach that feels very 2020. You know? She’s from that extremist generation.”

Deal Me In, Week 45
4♠️: “The Architect” by Avra Margariti
An odd story. I would not have thought to combine teeth and aliens, but why not, after all?

Writing

NaNoWriMo: I am behind. I have a plan to catch up, but, yeah. Do I know what I’m doing?
¯_(ツ)_/¯

Submissions: No new rejections.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 11/7/22

Reading

Dracula Daily finished this morning. If you hadn’t jumped in on the trend, since Dracula is epistolary in form, Dracula Daily sent out portions of the novel corresponding to days when the characters wrote letters and diary entries. Stoker’s form isn’t entirely chronological. He stays with characters through certain chapters of the novel instead of presenting what is happening to each character on each particular day.

A couple of notes on the experience: This is a reread for me. I’ve probably read Dracula two or three times previously.

This time I noticed the following trend: The male characters decide to leave Mina out of the loop; they don’t want distress her or whatever. Eventually, the male characters will hit a wall because they’re not great at communicating with each other either. Mina then steps in, collates all their information, and puts them on the right track. The novel would probably be a third shorter if the guys stopped “protecting” Mina. I also thought it might be interesting if there was a reworking of Stoker’s novel that is what Mina knows when she knows it. Maybe a project for a rainy day.

I also found it interesting how long things take if you read it as time is supposed to pass. The exciting final chase? That’s a week of time, after several days of “no word about the Czarina Catherine.” It ends up being tense rather than exciting.

Watching

Cabinet of Curiosities was another show/movie I was looking forward to during the Halloween season. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. Aside from “The Murmuring” (the last episode of the series), none of the stories really hit with me. Most seemed to fall in a crack between creepy Twilight Zone and zinger-ending EC Comics. For a series that went out of its way to produce very good practical effects, the episodes didn’t necessarily highlight those. “The Murmuring” was an old-fashioned mystery haunting. Director Jennifer Kent is so good at using darkness and silence that it all worked perfectly.

Ultimate Frisbee

The team suffered its first lost last Tuesday. By one point! We are occasionally impatient on offense and that hurts us against teams that are more consistent.

I have a bunch of New Year Fest emails to write and answer today.

Writing

The first six days of National Novel Writing Month went well. The draft is at 10K, which is on schedule. I haven’t written yet today. My plan is to write more than par on most weekdays and Saturday and plan on Friday and Sunday being light days.

No new rejections.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/31/22

Nonfiction November

Text: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Since I decided to do NaNoWriMo in November, I realized I probably don’t have time for proper weekly Nonfiction November posts, but I do want to give a shout out to the event and share what I’ve been reading this year. The month-long event kicks of at Doing Dewey, one of my favorite nonfiction blogs.

I’ve read 18 nonfiction books so far this year, which accounts for a little over 40% of my book reading. As usual, I’ve read a few magic-related books: Derek Delgaudio’s Amoralman and Mark Edward’s Psychic Blues, as well as a couple rereads. I’ve also read a two LGBTQ+ memoirs (Spinning by Tillie Walden and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe) and a book on queerness through the lens of horror movies (It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese, review pending). Those of you who might know me from years past: I also finally read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote!

As usual, I look forward to everyone else’s posts and my TBR pile growing.

Ultimate Frisbee

A list of standings for ultimate frisbee teams.

My fall league team, Pullitzers, has continued its winning streak. Personally, I’ve been playing fairly well, which is nice. Tomorrow we meet the other undefeated team; that will be a test. We also have a game on Thursday. (The league theme is awards/awards shows/other contests; hence, the punny names)

We’ve started preparations for our annual tournament, New Year Fest, which takes place at the end of January and hosts teams from across the country. Our long time tournament director is stepping down, so there is some added stress as we get a new TD on board.

Writing Check-In

NaNoWriMo banner for 2022

This post is a bit late because I finished the draft of my “California Gothic” short story today. I wanted a draft done before NaNoWriMo. Procrastinator, I am. I did work on it last week, but did some NaNo prep too. The draft isn’t great, but it’s done, coming in at ~5500 words. Obviously, I’m letting it sit until December.

National Novel Writing Month starts in 90 minutes. I’ll probably kick off at midnight.

No new rejections.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/24/22

Readathon Wrap-Up

Saturday was Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. I managed about 21.25 hours, heading to bed just after 2am my time. That is pretty much how readathon always goes for me, though I only took a short nap in the morning.

Square banner for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon

What did I read?

  • 44% of It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese
  • 41% of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
  • 3 articles
  • 6 “episodes” of WHEREWOLF
  • 2 short stories

I probably would have been better off DNFing My Heart is a Chainsaw and moving on to something else. The book just wasn’t clicking with me. I kept expecting it to pick up, but it didn’t.

Ultimate Frisbee

Club nationals were this past weekend and I kept some of the games on in the background during readathon and semi-watched finals on Sunday. There are two things that are currently bothering me about club ultimate: vert stack and the amount of contact that is occurring.

My problem with vertical stack is a pet peeve. I find it boring to watch; even the best teams stagnate and cuts out of vert stack are prone to picks and other stoppages of play. As a player, regimented vertical stack is also difficult to run at a recreational level because it requires an amount of talent, athleticism, and organization that really doesn’t exist at a community league level. That hasn’t stopped many club-level league captains from trying unsuccessfully to get it to work.

Likewise, the concern over amount of contact occurring might be because I’m an aging player who doesn’t want to deal with younger players who find bidding into a cutter to be an acceptable thing, even if they “got to the disc first.” But I feel like there’s been some disregard for ultimate being a non-contact sport. Additionally, I was very surprised at how often foul calls were contested, even when the foul was pretty obvious. It feels like players are maybe being coached to contest instead of taking responsibility for a bad decision.

Writing Check-In

I’m reorganizing my blog with separate posts for movie-watching and reading, but I haven’t decided if I want a separate post for writing. I don’t regularly have much to say about my writing other than usually brief updates. So, my Writing Check-In will stay here for the moment.

Square banner for NaNoWriMo 2022

Writing went pretty well last week. I added 4000 words to “California Gothic.” I don’t know what I think of those words, but I need to remember that I can’t edit and polish a draft if I don’t *have* a draft. Today, I’m going to reread my notes and what I’ve written and outline the rest what I need to do for that story. I’d like to finish the draft over the next two or three days and take the rest of the week to riff on my NaNoWriMo project.

And, yes, fine. Here we go. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. Even though it starts on a Tuesday, so help me. View all my messy NaNo journeys.

One new rejection for “The Aeronaut’s Wife.”

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/18/22

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Yes, Monday Miscellanea on a Tuesday. It happens sometimes. I needed to format and post the schedule for our ultimate frisbee league yesterday and I wanted a good day of fiction writing. With only so many hours and so much Katherine energy, my Monday post rightly took a back seat.

Reading

I’m still reading Teller of Tales and short stories. My two new checkouts are mostly for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, which is this weekend. More on that on Friday, or so.

Deal Me In

Week 41: K♠️ – ‘tragedy of the sugarcane ghost‘ by Desirée Winns
My Deal Me In picks have been very RIP appropriate, but I guess that’s what happens when you populate at least a 4th of your list with recommendations from a horror blog. I admit, I’m usually a little put out by writings that don’t follow the conventions of punctuation (I’m looking at you Cormac McCarthy) but “tragedy of the sugarcane ghost” hooked me and reeled me in.

Shelf Maintenance

Requested an ARC on the 13th, so it’s been five days since I last acquired a book.

Writing

I decided during the first week of October that I wasn’t interested in cutting down/massively changing “California Gothic” (formerly “Chess Gothic,” better title TBD). Instead, last week, I figured out an ending to the original concept and decided I wanted to finish a draft of it by the end of the month. I didn’t get much writing done last week because getting ready for a friend’s wedding took a lot of my time and energy. And because, honestly, I didn’t make writing a priority.

It’s a little strange to think about doing NaNoWriMo next month, writing 1667 words/day, when I haven’t written more than a couple thousand in a week for a long time. It feels a little like if I hadn’t played ultimate frisbee for five years and then decided to sign up for a savage weekend tournament. To an extent, I want to do it to force myself back into a working relationship with my writing. To make it a priority. Hopefully, like playing a tournament when out of shape, I don’t injure myself in the process.

Anyway, this week, I want to add at least 4K to “California Gothic.” That would double its length and possibly finish the story, but I’m open to meandering and and cutting later. This is still a pretty meager goal, but it’s something.

All three finished stories are out on submission; no fresh responses.