Weekend Writing Warriors: 4/1

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work, having met Johansen and Reyes, and is now walking outside.

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Outside, she passed a few smokers leaning against the side of a storage building, standing behind the markers which designated their smoking area. Even though the carcinogens had been removed, they still weren’t terribly good for your health, but their use persisted.

One of the smokers waved at her, and she changed direction. It was Reyes, the man with the tendency for repetitive nicknames, she realized, as she stopped in front of him.

He exhaled, turning his head to direct the smoke away from her, “Would you like a smoke?”

“No, thank you,” Rekka said, feeling she’d smelled the smoky waft of something burning plenty of times in her life.

“I won’t keep you, then. I just wanted to say hello again, without Jo-Jo glowering at me, since I figured that—”

“Hey, Reyes, you got a light?” A woman asked from behind Rekka.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Book Riot Reader Harder 2017: March

And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is here again! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. 🙂

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

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To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out.”

  • Read a non-fiction book about technology.

Elon Musk; Ashlee Vance.

This is a non-fiction book–a biography–about the work of Elon Musk, focusing on Tesla and Space X (and the technology behind the electric cars and rockets.)

This is the story of ambition and determination–it covers Elon Musk’s parents, childhood, education, marriages, but mostly focuses on what he created, starting with his first companies and focusing in great detail on Space X and Tesla. He’s painted as a difficult man, and there’s plenty of examples–a harsh taskmaster, capable of pushing his people to exhaustion. An indifferent spouse, spending little attention due to an overwhelming work schedule. Combined with poor people skills, and an inability to know when to quit, he was ousted from his first two ventures, though PayPal still netted him the profit to start his dreams of an electric car and a more efficient space transportation system.

He dreams big, this man, though I found little in this book to make me at all relate to or like him. I suspect for all but the most devoted, he’s terrible to be around. And the fact that he nearly drove everything to ruin shows that he isn’t always all that bright, I.Q. aside. But striving–keeping on trying in the face of adversity–is an admirable trait, and somehow he pulled everything from the brink. He made good on his promises, he’s changing the world. And that is something.

The biographer doesn’t pull back from showing Musk in an unflattering light, but neither does the book feel like an attack. It’s an attempt to capture a complicated man, and an interesting read for people fond of Musk’s achievements, technology, space flight, or renewable energy.

  • Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.

The Things They Carried; Tim O’Brien.

This book has been banned or challenged in several states for sex, profanity, and violence.

A partly true story, built on the foundation of real war experiences. O’Brien discusses the truth of war stories at one point–saying they are both all true, and never true, as he tries to get at a deeper meaning behind conflict. It is, as its banning/challenges suggest, often profane and violent. It tells the stories of young men fighting and losing their friends and dying, and that tends to bring up the blackest sort of gallows humor, which is often unkind. But it does have something to say about the struggle of living that life–of carrying those burdens, physical and emotional.

The things the soldiers carried were heavy, and they didn’t all get to put those weights down after they came home from war. And that, for sure, is worth some thought. Recommended for people who are alright with profanity and violence, and interested in a personal focus on war.

 

Top Ten Tues: Authors to Meet

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate.

March 28: Top Ten Authors I’m Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met  (some other “meeting authors” type spin you want to do)

Authors I’m Glad I Met

1. Ilona Andrews. I met the husband and wife team at a book signing–Gordon said they’re a “short but sturdy people.”

2. Anne Bishop. Saw her and Briggs at a shared signing. Two for the price of one!

3. & Patricia Briggs. She has all the colors of pens.

4. Charlaine Harris. She did a talk up on a stage, and then was a signing machine. The line was long, but moved fast.

5. Jenny Lawson. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her a few times. Always a funny, thoughtful speaker.

Authors I Want to Meet

Jim Butcher. I adore his Dresden books. Who doesn’t love a t-rex riding wizard?

Tanya Huff. So many great fantasy books, all with wonderful magic systems and great heroes.

Mercedes Lackey. A bunch of my childhood favorites.

China Mieville. The twisty mind behind these books!

Seanan McGuire. Urban fantasy at its best, weird wonderful short stories, and great characters.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/25

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work, talking with Johansen, who scared off a male eavesdropper (Reyes) with pregnancy talk.

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“Reyes there does a couple forms of sign language, too, stands behind speakers at big conventions. He’s real proud of how much he gets to travel–down to the southern continent more than once, and for all he talks about the beauty of the glaciers, you know he’s freezing his toes off.”

“I see,” Rekka said, “and does he give everyone nicknames like that?”

“You’re probably safe, since even for him, La-La is pretty ridiculous. But if he does come up with something you don’t like, you can tell him to shut it, and he’ll stop, I promise.”

“He still calls you Jo-Jo,” Rekka said.

“Well, he’s a moron, but he’s not so bad,” Johansen shrugged.

Behind her, Reyes chuckled, and she deftly flipped a crumpled napkin over her shoulder at him, bouncing it off his back.

Rekka finished her coffee, glanced at the time again, and rose, “I have a meeting soon, but it was nice talking to you.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

You Are Here: Jenny Lawson’s Coloring Inspiration Book

Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, doodles and writes inspirational quotes on her doodles. She put them together with inspirational quotes on the pages between. The result is You Are Here.

She read the introduction aloud. And it was just as funny and touching as you’d expect. I won’t spoil it, but it is awesome.

And she told some stories, including one that made me smile. Neil Gaiman, another writer I adore, seems to know every other writer I like–and he knows Jenny, too. He reads her books first, and gives excellent feedback. This works in reverse, too. She offered to read a book he was struggling with, and he sent her a draft of Ocean at the End of the Lane.

He offered her the best advice she’s ever gotten: “Pretend you’re good at it.”

It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Jenny is hunting for some horribly bizarre taxidermy for the cover of her next book. I wonder what she’ll come up with. It’s difficult to beat a Shakespearean mouse and manic racoon.

It’s always fun to see the people who come out to a signing. Even if all those people mean I have to stand (or sit on the floor, like I did this time.) It’s mostly the devoted fans who come out–and the bookstore was packed full of people who love Jenny. It’s wonderful to see people who love the same things you do.

You are here. Stay crazy, my friends.

Top Ten Tues: In One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate.

March 21: Read In One Sitting Theme: ten of the shortest books I’ve read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.

I divided this into favorite quick reads and recent reads you won’t want to put down.

Quick Reads

1. Sleeper and the Spindle; Neil Gaiman. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a rescuing queen instead of prince.

2. Rolling in the Deep; Mira Grant. Scary, scary mermaids.

3. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances; Matthew Inman. For runners, people who know runners, and just people seeking motivation.

4. Baba Yaga’s Assistant; Marika McCoola. It takes a very brave person to be Baba Yaga’s assistant, but Masha is plenty brave.

5. The 13 Clocks; James Thurber. A fairy tale with a wicked duke, an imprisoned princess, and a lot of clocks.

Gripping Reads

6. A Darkness Absolute; Kelley Armstrong. #2 in a series. A town full of people on the run, and hidden monsters.

7. Masque; W.R. Gingell. A great re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, with a strong, independent female lead.

8. The Enchantment Emporium; Tanya Huff. A magic family, a junk shop with some spectacular items, and dragons.

9. Nevernight; Jay Kristoff. An assassin in training, seeking revenge for the death of her family.

10. Truth or Beard; Penny Reid. A really cute, fast paced romance.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/18

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work.

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“Is Jo-Jo complaining about the clients again?” a man with graying brown hair asked from the table behind Johansen.

With effort, Rekka controlled a smirk at the pained expression on Johansen’s face. “No, of course not. If we didn’t have monoglots, we wouldn’t have jobs, so we were discussing their importance.”

“Yeah, Rey-Rey, you shouldn’t listen in on other people’s conversations, you might hear something terrible,” Johansen turned her face to hide a teasing grin from the man, “Like pregnancy. You have any kids yet, Lang?”

“Not yet.”

“Oh, let me tell you, everyone talks about the miracle, but no one really wants to talk about the side effects. Sure, morning sickness and back pain, but do they warn you that you might grow hair in some really weird places, or—” She paused, glancing at the man, who’d recoiled in exaggerated fear somewhere halfway through the speech, and gone back to his conversation.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Nostalgia for Fans: Review of Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

I absolutely adored Gilmore Girls, so when I saw that Lauren Graham had written a book, I had to give it a shot. Since I’ve been trying to listen to more audio books, and I’ve found memoir types work best for me, that’s the format I got it in. It comes with an e-pub of the book, too, so you can see the pictures.

And I loved it, of course.

She covers a wide variety of moments from her life, looking back to the start of her career, meandering over friendships and relationships, shows and books, and even an excellent piece of writing advice she received on how to stay productive. In the beginning, she struggled, and then wasn’t quite sure that she’d “made it.” She talks about celebrity dieting, work, and her personal life with a sense of humor and fun that makes the while book enjoyable to listen to.

There is, of course, plenty about Gilmore Girls–the show, and then the four-part retrospective. She talks more about what it was like to do both than the episodes themselves, so it’s fairly spoiler free if you haven’t watched A Year in the Life. (As I haven’t. I need to fix that!) She mentions guest stars, the titles of the episodes, but that’s it. And even the guest stars are almost spoiler free, since she has a fondness for getting a minor role for everyone she knows, apparently.

A great read or listen for any fans of Lauren Graham’s work, and highly recommended for Gilmore Girl fans. While it’s more about her life than the show, there’s plenty of gems to keep fans happy.

Top Ten Tues: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate!

March 14: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

These are the books I most look forward to reading from March 20th to June 20th.

1. White Hot; Ilona Andrews. This book can’t come out soon enough. I need more Nevada and Rogan.

2. A Man Called Ove; Fredrik Backman. The Bloggess loved it. Must read!

3. The Skill of Our Hands; Steven Brust. Reincarnation and secret societies and trying to make the world a better place.

4. Atlas Obscura; Joshua Foer. Collects a bunch of strange places. Sounds interesting!

5. Norse Mythology; Neil Gaiman. A collection of Norse myths, by a favorite author.

6. The Stars are Legion; Kameron Hurley. Spaceships and treachery!

7. Wintersong; S. Jae-Jones. Pretty cover, some hype, I’m curious.

8. Wires & Nerve; Marissa Meyer. The story of Iko. Yes, please!

9. Strange the Dreamer; Laini Taylor. I liked the Smoke & Bone series, so have to give this one a try. Also, the main character is a librarian.

10. Heartstone; Elle Katharine White. Pride & Prejudice with dragons!

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 3/11

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work.

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“How long have you been in the city, Lang?” Johansen asked.

“Counting today, three days,” Rekka said.

“You’re all shiny and new, aren’t you?”

“We all have to start somewhere, don’t we? Just a minute.” Rekka rescued a mug from the cabinet and poured herself some coffee before retaking her seat, glancing at the time on her phone as she sat.

“Yes…. somewhere,” Johansen said after Rekka had taken a sip of coffee, “Which side are you working on–text or speech?”

“Speech.”

“Bleh,” the older woman pulled a face, faint crow’s feet crinkling at the corners of her eyes, “Dealing with people all day? I don’t know how you lot do it.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.