alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
Happy New Year! It's been some time since I posted; it was a busy year at Casa Abbott for non-writing reasons. We've welcomed baby Fish into our family, joining his sister Bug, Three-stripe, cats Jack and Tollers, and I as members of our household. But while I'm behind on many things, I've continued to read a lot! Since I posted last year and the year before about my reading goals, I wanted to post last year's results and this year's goals before 2015 progressed too far!

This year, I did not count all the picture books I read, but I did count all my review picture books individually. For the year, I totalled 163 books, which is up from last year's 129 (probably in part due to counting all the review books individually). There was a method to my madness, however: I wanted to see what percentage of titles were review books as compared to non-review books. Here's some of the interesting breakdown:

  • 89 titles were review books

  • 106 were children's or YA books

  • Only 12 were graphic novels, which is rather low

  • I read 7 romance, 69 SFF, and 2 nonfiction


I did reasonably well on my goals. The 2 nonfiction titles beat my goal to read just 1. I read 13 out of the 15 novels from my TBR pile I'd hoped to read, 4 titles by autobio writers, 6 rereads (out of a goal of 3), and read one non-genre novel.

The most interesting statistic I kept last year was print vs. digital. I surprised myself by reading 91 books in paper and 72 digitally. I thought I skewed toward e-books, so it's interesting to me that I'm not even at 50% digital reading. Some of this is due to reading for the MFAs. I rely heavily on the library to provide me with MFA reading, and though some are available as e-books, most are more readily available in print.


Highlights of the year?
  • Rereading Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead--and seeing it make the MFA finalists list--was great fun. It's been especially fun to read more of the Craft books, both post-publishing and in mss format, in combination with playing Max's Craftverse game Choice of the Deathless. Without the books being required for the game and vice versa, they work so well in conjunction!

  • Finishing Devon Monk's "Allie Beckstrom" series was bittersweet, but starting the "House Immortal" books makes me confident there's more excellent reading to come.

  • I had the fantastic opportunity to interview Gene Luen Yang for the autobio project, and I read The Shadow Hero and Boxers and Saints in preparation for that. They were both some of my favorite reading for the year, for very different reasons. I'd recommend The Shadow Hero to anyone, but especially readers who have a fondness for Golden Age superheroes. Boxers and Saints is a fabulous moral and ethical investigation of a historical period with a lot of magical realism thrown in, and I found it both enjoyable and tremendously moving.

  • The biggest surprise read was probably Eleven by Tom Rogers. It's a book about 9/11, mostly from the perspective of a boy who's just turned 11, and it's fantastic both as an exploration of the event through fiction for middle graders and as a coming of age story. It was also pretty wild to realize that 9/11 happened before the middle grade age group was born--so it qualifies, on some level, as historical fiction.

  • I'd also recommend without reservation the Super Lexi middle grade books by Emma Lesko. Lexi is neurologically and developmentally different from her peers, which makes her a fascinating POV character, and Lesko's commitment to neuro-diversity in children's books shows in how beautifully she captures Lexi and makes her so easy to empathize with.

  • I loved finally finishing Shanna Swendson's "Enchanted, Inc." series, which for ages looked like it wouldn't get to continue beyond book four. (I'd still read more books in that world!)

  • I'm also really eager to see where the "Kate Daniels" (Ilona Andrews) and "Safehold" (David Weber) books end up next!


There were, of course, a lot of other great books, but listing them all would be fodder for TLDR (if I haven't already hit that point).

I was pretty happy with this year's goals, so I'm planning to keep them the same. Here's to another year of good reading!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
One of the Redemption Trilogy Kickstarter stretch goals that got funded was the re-editing and prettification of Into the Reach and Departure to be re-released as new editions. At long last, Into the Reach has been re-released! It's currently available through DriveThruFiction and Smashwords. I'll be releasing it at Barnes and Noble and Kobo as well -- and probably Amazon, though I'm hesitant about that for numerous reasons (but Bottom Line dictatese that it's a necessity) -- but I'm more concerned at the moment about getting Departure cleaned up and off to the backers than getting the widest distribution possible on Into the Reach. If all goes well, all three novels will be up everywhere by the end of the year.

Into_the_Reach_by_LinzArcher

So hurray! That's a big hurdle jumped, and I can move on to the next things. Or, rather, I can keep working on finishing up the details on Showdown at Willow Creek (renamed to give it more Western flair), which is in beta, and get prepared for that release, while also moving on to the next things. What's in store here for the next few months?

  • Edits and formatting on Departure

  • Work on Choice of Pirate, my next game for Choice of Games

  • Finishing up coding on the autobio project. The project is now in four batches per year instead of two, which means more authors and more fun. This batch features Shiloh Walker and Margaret Weis, who were both fantastic to work with!


  • Speaking of the autobio project, we've added some fun new structure, so along with the long essays, like Shiloh wrote for this batch, there are also interviews, like the one Margaret participated in. I tend to feature a lot of SFF writers, partly because I'm more familiar with their work, and partly because SFF writers respond really well to being invited. (Graphic novelists tend to be excited to be invited but too busy to contribute, though I keep following up!) I've been focusing on inviting romance novelists and have had a little success there, but I am looking for more mystery novelists, nonfiction writers, playwrights, and literary writers to invite. If you've got recommendations of approachable writers who interact with their readers online (that seems to be the recipe for successful responses to my invitations) who fit into those categories, I'd love to hear them!
alanajoli: (mini me)
I (and the art-reward backers) have gotten two images of Lindsay Archer's progress on the novel cover, and I'm getting very excited about where she's headed. It's going to be a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy!

But speaking of the trilogy, I now have in hand the re-edits from Shawn Merwin for book 1. Within the next month, I will be able to take those edits and turn the newly revised manuscript into an e-book. I told Shawn that the red showing on the first two pages was a little intimidating, but he promised me it cleans up after that.

In the meantime, I've been keeping busy on the autobio project, writing obituaries, and working on my next Choice of Games project, a Western with a little bit of mystery to it. The autobios this batch are tremendously exciting. I've gotten to work with Jim Hines on an original essay that had the same balance of laugh-out-loud and heart-wrenching I've come to expect from his novels. Joseph Bruchac did a fantastic update about his years in Africa, Pat Cummings provided amazing graphics from her illustration process for her update, and Eloise Greenfield wrote about, among other things in her update, filming her "Grandma Rap." I always enjoy working on the autobio project, but this batch has been especially fun, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the final results once they hit the online databases.

Grandmarap

Between review books, I'm also reading the finalists for the Mythopoeic Society's Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards. I've really enjoyed being on the jury for both the children's and adult lists over the past few years, and there are a bunch of really good ones up this year.

Reading anything good lately?
alanajoli: (Default)
Apologies for the long blog absence without warning! I was off on a family vacation that involved not one but two family weddings in beautiful Michigan. We had a lovely time, and when I returned home I jumped right into finishing up the last round of autobiographical essays, which included an original piece by Tananarive Due. Due and her husband, Steven Barnes, who has also written an autobiography for the autobio project, ought to be considered one of the power couples of the SFF world (if they're not already). They're both amazing. If you've not read either of them, you're missing out. (Luckily, their books are pretty widely available, so it's a loss that can be rectified pretty easily at your local library.)

So the last round of autobio has wrapped up, I got to do a cool secret project for Wizards of the Coast, and a computer crash didn't stop me from completing an assignment of obituaries. All in all, things are good on the work front, and I'm looking ahead to the assignments that come next! The Steampunk Musha Kickstarter's success means I'll be doing some adventure writing with Rick Hershey and maybe a short story or two coming up!

I'm also catching up on Eureka. Since my writer-buddy Margaret Dunlap worked on that show, I ponied up and bought a season pass on Amazon so I can watch it on the television. I just finished watching episode 4, which involves a scene where two characters start a D&D game, basically functioning as a step toward helping one of them cope with grief. I thought it was an incredibly touching moment and a wonderful way to celebrate the power of shared storytelling.

Speaking of writer friends, several writer friends of mine are already on to the next project, and here's their news:

  • Since in writer-time, Eureka wrapped ages ago, Margaret's been keeping busy working on a new project, the web show The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's a modernized Pride and Prejudice, and it sounds right up my alley. More when I've had a chance to catch up on the already-existing episodes!

  • Fellow Substrater Max Gladstone just announced his fantastic news that he's sold an additional two books to Tor. This comes on top of his first two book contract -- his debut novel releases this October and is available for preorder now.

  • I can't remember if I linked back to Francesca Forrest's "Tilia Songbird," which was published in Gigantosaurus at the beginning of May. If not, here it is! If I did, and you didn't read it the first time, I hope this inspires you to go check it out.

  • And for a celebration of meta-text, John "jaQ" Andrews just had his e-book guide to Castle come out! (It's a book about a show about a guy who writes books -- it gets awesomely circular, and I can't think of a better person to write about it than John.) Check out Quicklet on Castle Season 3, in which John has promised to explain the conspiracy behind the death of Beckett's mother.


I love good news like this!
alanajoli: (Default)
I just discovered today, via Rose Fox at Genreville, that Anne McCaffrey died on August 21st. Locus has a short memorium available online, and will be running a full obituary in print in January.

Back probably eight years ago now, I had the opportunity to work with Anne on an essay for Gale's autobio project while I was an in house editor. She is one of those shining memories of an author who was not only an absolute delight to work with, but in all regards a very classy and gracious individual. Even then, she was cutting back on her workload, and cowriting books with her son, because her health was deteriorating. She wrote in her essay (which you can find in Something about the Author volume 152, which was published in 2005, and may be available in print or electronically through your local library), that she had been thrilled to have one of her novels travel to space with NASA astronaut Colonel Pamela Melroy -- a story that I think of every time I encounter one of Anne's novels in the bookstore.

Her autobiography is delightful, and well worth reading, especially as we celebrate her life. I feel lucky to have gotten to work with her, albeit briefly, as my life is greater for her presence in it.
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As part of the autobiography project, I got to correspond with playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie, who introduced me (both through his essay and through my learning about his current work) to the idea of combining writing and movement. I've mentioned before the disconnect I used to feel, or imagine, between my thinking brain and my body's impact on thought. As I'm becoming more comfortable in the realm of movement, as taught by Ann Cowlin in her Dancing Thru Pregnancy classes and teacher training, I've given a lot more thought about how body and mind interact together. Linking movement with writing is a natural step in that direction, and I'd love to have the chance to study under van Itallie as he teaches it!

The good news is that van Itallie teaches just such a course, "Writing on Your Feet," at Shantigar, a foundation and retreat that teaches how to combine aspects of meditation, theater, and healing practices, nestled in the Berkshires (north of my old college stomping grounds). The bad news is that his next course is coming up this June (the 24th through the 26th), and alas, it's not in the stars for me to attend this year. But those of you who are interested in theater and writing, who also live on the east coast, should really check out not only the "Writing on Your Feet" class but opportunities in music and acting that are taking place there over the summer.

That way I'll be able to attend vicariously through you!
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These are a couple of great international academic experiences I wish I could participate in. Since I can't, I'll post my wistful musing about them here:

  • Mark Vecchio, who teaches the myth tours I TA'd for, is leading a Peru trip this May/June. Think about this, if you will: lines drawn on the earth to communicate with the gods; a liminal city where earth and sky are close enough to be almost indistinct; a voyage to the birthplace of the world, where twin islands are the sun and moon in a lake of sky. Does it sound awesome yet? The trip flyer offers even more details. If you are a college student (or know a mythically inclined college student), find out more as soon as you can -- all of the myth tours I've gone on have been amazing experiences, and this one sounds like a brilliant new course!

  • Donna Jo Napoli, who worked with me recently on the autobio project, is teaching a writing for children workshop in Siena, Italy this May. Donna Jo is a linguistics prof at Swarthmore and is an award-winning children's writer. She's teaching the course for free; all the funds she would earn are going to the Siena School for the Liberal Arts, which aids the elderly, disabled, immigrants, and the Deaf. The course information, from Swarthmore, is posted here, and the program is open to writers from novices to professionals.


Both programs have deposits due in the not-too-distant future, so any students and writers interested in applying should do so pretty quickly. If you go, I'll be going vicariously through you!
alanajoli: (Default)
You may have heard the news by now: Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall novels, died of a heart attack on February 5th at the age of 71. I was lucky in getting to attend readings by Mr. Jacques three times -- all as a college student and an adult. I asked him to take part in the autobio project back when I was working on it in house, but I think the official letter immediately got handed off to part of his book tour staff and I never heard back from him on that score. It's too bad, because I have a feeling the story of his life -- even told in forty pages -- would have been amazing. He was, as well as a consummate storyteller, an amazingly gifted performer, keeping the audiences at his readings hooked from the youngest to the oldest, telling jokes for kids and alternating them with thinly concealed adult humor.

As a kid, I devoured the books to the extent that, for the summer reading program, our children's librarian got me a copy of Redwall as my participation reward, instead of giving me one of the books from the participation list. She later took my copies of Redwall and Mossflower (which, if memory serves, I bought for myself out of allowance money, back in the days when I had to go to the local book and gift store and make a special order if I wanted a particular book) to a conference at which Mr. Jacques was speaking and got them signed for me. I still have those signed copies.

There have been some nice articles about his life: the one at SLJ and Matt London's at Tor.com in particular. In his memory, today, I thought I'd post a little excerpt from Redwall. Travel well, Mr. Jacques.

--

Strolling through the dappled shade of the orchard, Matthias sought out old Methuselah. Slumping down beneath a damson tree, the young mouse munched away at his lunch. Methuselah was sitting with his back against the tree, his eyes closed in an apparent doze. Without opening them he addressed Matthias. "How goes the practice war, young stavemaster?"

Matthias watched some of the tiny ants carrying off his fallen breadcrumbs as he answered, "As well as possible, Brother Methuselah. And how are your studies coming along?"

Methuselah squinted over the top of his spectacles. "Knowledge is a thing that one cannot have enough of. It is the fruit of wisdom, to be eaten carefully and digested fully, unlike that lunch you are bolting down, little friend."

Matthias set his food to one side. "Tell me, what have you digested lately, old one?"

Methuselah took a sip from Matthias's milk bowl. "Sometimes I think you have a very old head for such a young mouse. What more do you wish to know about Martin the Warrior?"

Matthias looked surprised. "How did you know I was going to ask about Martin?"

Methuselah wrinkled his nose. "How do the bee folk know there is pollen in a flower? Ask away, young one, before I doze off again."

Matthias hesitated a moment, then blurted out, "Brother Methuselah, tell me where Martin lies buried."

The old mouse chuckled drily. "Next you are going to ask me where to find the great sword of the warrior mouse."

"B-but how did you know that?" stammered Matthias.

The ancient gatehouse-keeper shrugged his thin shoulders. "The sword must lie buried with Martin. You would have little use for the dusty bones of a bygone hero. A simple deduction, even for one as old as I am."

"Then you know where the Warrior lies?"

Methuselah shook his head. "That is a thing no creature knows. For many long years now I have puzzled and pored over ancient manuscripts, translating, following hidden trails, always with the same result: nothing. I have even used my gift of tongues, speaking to the bees and others who can go into places too small for us, but always it is the same--rumors, legends and old mouse tales."

"Matthias crumbled more bread for the ants. "Then the Warrior's sword is only a fable?"

Methuselah leaned forward indignantly. "Who said that? Did I?"

"No, but you--"

"Bah! Nothing of the sort, young mouse. Listen carefully to me. I have an uncanny feeling that you may be the one I have been saving this vital piece of information for..."

Argh!

Dec. 2nd, 2010 08:41 am
alanajoli: (lol deadlines)
How did it get to be Thursday already?

Since Sunday, I've been meaning to post a quick moment-in-the-life, and the week seems to just be flying by. But perhaps the snippet will explain why:

It's Sunday. Bug is not particularly interested in napping, and is rejecting my attempts to get her to sleep. She's acting tired when she's not in her room, but as soon as I leave her for nap time, she's wide awake and would rather be playing. We try this process several times, and I believe she does get a short nap or two over the course of the day, but nothing like her regular schedule.

I offer her an option: she can do my copyediting, and I'll take her nap.

She seems keen on the idea, but Twostripe thinks my editors might not like Bug's idea of copyediting.

--

I did finish up the copyediting (despite Comcast's attempt to make me miss my deadline, but since they did it to everyone on the East Coast, I suppose I can't be too personally affronted). This week we've launched into the final edits on the autobiographical essay project for this batch -- which means xml coding and making sure all the italics get coded in the right places and such. This has been a great bunch of authors to work with (including [livejournal.com profile] jeff_duntemann, much to my delight!), and I think my editor will be really pleased with the essays.

And despite the user icon, I'm getting a ton of work done. But I do feel a bit Munch. :)
alanajoli: (Default)
I wrote the subject of this post, then thought, "Wait, didn't I write something with that title before?" Took me a minute to remember, but yes -- an adventure for Living Forgotten Realms (Cormyr 1-3, to be exact). It's kind of fun to have written enough stuff that's out there in the world (albeit most of it modular adventures) that it takes me a second to place the title.

But that's neither here nor there. The title is intended to reflect what I've been doing lately -- as in, "Keeping my." Things never seem to slow down at Casa Abbott any more, and a couple of unfortunate events -- currently a cold, previously an epic saga I'll explain below -- have made things even more of a kaffuffle than usual. But, hopefully, I'll get back on top of the pile and start feeling just regularly-whelmed instead of over-.


  • The saga: Editorial assistant Tollers decided on Sunday the 7th that he was going to go out for an afternoon walk and just forgot to come home. For three days. Monday morning it snowed here on the Shoreline, and we were worried something had happened to him. So, we put out posters and spread the word among local friends. Bug and I wandered out into the woods behind our house whistling for him (the Editorial Assistants are trained to respond to a whistle) and polled the neighbors to see if anyone had seen him. Then, three days later, he showed up at the door, meowing to be let in as though nothing had happened. Whew! We kept him in for a couple of days to remind him where home was, but since then, he's been back out on his regular afternoon walks and has checked in more frequently than usual, as if to say, "I know I worried you. I'm okay. Feed me?"


  • I wrote a short story! "Shotgun Wedding" is out on submission for an anthology that will be edited by Matt McElroy, my editor at Flames Rising. Two of my crit buddies (Twostripe and niliphim) said that the biggest problem they had with it was that it ought to be a novel. Considering that it's urban fantasy, and Twostripe doesn't even really like UF, that made me very excited. So, I'm hoping to start a bigger project featuring those characters -- I wrote the short story with the idea that it might be a prequel to an urban fantasy series. While doing research for the story, I came across the Chinese saying "All that is needed is an East Wind" -- I think All We Need Is an East Wind would be a nifty title, so I'm going to use it (or just East Wind) as a place holder for now for the soon-to-be WIP.

  • I had a wonderful and too-short visit with my mother, who flew out from Michigan. She reminded me again that the only reason she let me go off to college at sixteen was that I promised I'd develop a way to tesser (I'd planned on going into physics), and I still hadn't fulfilled my part of that bargain.

  • The current set of autobiographies is coming to a close, which means I need to get a lot of editing done this week! I've got a fun bunch of writers as usual: I already have edits back from playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie (who teaches about writing and theater, meditation, and healing in the Berkshires, not too far from where I went to college) and friend of the blog Jeff Duntemann (who you should be reading over at [livejournal.com profile] jeff_duntemann if you're not already). If all goes well with the editorial process, I'll have five essays in this batch (instead of the usual four), which should be a plus for my in house editor.

  • I'm also studying, through a correspondence course, fitness for pregnant and postpartum women, in hopes of a) passing a practicum in early December, and b) teaching for Dancing Thru Pregnancy, the group that I've been taking classes with to get back into shape after having Bug. The material is really fascinating, though I struggle with some of the information, since I never took anatomy in school -- it's a lot of new content to work through. I just need to get on top of the material before my test deadline!

  • Lastly: more copyediting. Bread and butter keeps a person from starving, no?



And, of course, I want to keep up with blogging again. I've got a great guest blog coming up from Dylan Birtolo ([livejournal.com profile] eyezofwolf), and hopefully there will be some fun news on the Cowboys and Aliens front to share, since word on the street is that there's a movie trailer coming out soon...
alanajoli: (Default)


Yesterday was the two week check in for Kaz's Summer Camp, but it's been busy at the Abbott household, with family visiting and writing actually getting done! Here's where I stand so far:

Reasonable goal:
* With my cowriter, finish the draft of our serial novel. (We're at chapter 10 of 20 -- halfway there!)
[livejournal.com profile] lyster has submitted chapter 11, so we're moving right along. It's my turn, and I hope to have that back to him before the next goal check in.

* Complete typesetting on four essays written by other authors (this is contracted, so it's kinda cheating to count it).
Done! All of the typeset essays got turned in to my editor last Friday. There are a couple of paperwork issues to finish up, but otherwise, it's all taken care of.

* Write one short story.
No progress yet on this one.

* Write multiple book reviews (not contracted, but already arranged with the venues in which they'll appear).
One SLJ review got turned in, and I'm working on the mythsoc reading list before diving back into some other reviews.

The only extended goal worth mentioning is:
* Blog at least three times a week.
I obviously haven't gotten on track with this! I'm counting each week as a new week, though, so this will be a weekly goal rather than a summer-long goal.

I'm also adding a new goal:
* Write a joint interview article for Flames Rising.
My questions have already been sent out to various awesome writers, and I'm getting some great responses back (many of them hilarious). Once the article goes over to Flames Rising, I'll talk a little bit more about it here.

Goals

Jun. 3rd, 2010 10:03 pm
alanajoli: (Default)
I've written here about using a few different goals strategies, and about how I particularly liked [livejournal.com profile] devonmonk's reasonable goals combined with above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty goals, as it's encouraging to land somewhere in the middle. I decided to set some for the summer, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney's Summer Camp. She's doing a writing goals thing (not a challenge, as that sounds too competitive) for the summer months, with a Tuesday check in, starting next week.



To share with you all, here are my summer writing goals:

Reasonable goal:
* With my cowriter, finish the draft of our serial novel. (We're at chapter 10 of 20 -- halfway there!)
* Complete typesetting on four essays written by other authors (this is contracted, so it's kinda cheating to count it).
* Write one short story.
* Write multiple book reviews (not contracted, but already arranged with the venues in which they'll appear).

Extended goal:
All of the above, plus:
* Write three chapters of the YA novel I'm working on.
* Write three short stories (including the one above).
* Restart the adult novel I haltingly began last year now that it's percolated and I have an idea of where it's going.
* Blog at least three times a week.

If you're looking for motivation, do check out Kaz's Summer Camp and join us!
alanajoli: (Default)
Most of what I've been reading in the past two months are books on the Mythopoeic Society Fantasy Awards longlists. We can't talk about the selections, and from the conversations via e-mail with the other judges, I think I may place more value on fun novels (or, novels that are both worthwhile and enjoyable, rather than worthwhile but wearing to read, or enjoyable but fluffy) than some of the rest of the committee. But, as Twostripe says, diversity in judges is important, and if I shift us slightly away from valuing style above many other qualities, I'm all right with that. I've remembered that I really enjoy reading what I think Shanna Swendson ([livejournal.com profile] shanna_s) calls a transparent writing style -- writing that you don't notice for itself, because you're so into the story being told.

At any rate, I've just turned in my votes for the final five in the children's category. I turned in my adult votes on Friday. I am very eager to see what comes out on the finalist list! I'll probably talk a bit about them here when the list is announced.

In the meantime, I need to get some writing done. Twostripe has promised me an hour or three tomorrow to focus on writing while he watches Bug; this should allow me to get caught up with Blood and Tumult and possibly get some work done on the autobio project, making the final corrections before I start the typesetting process. But outside of that time, we're planning to spend most of the day at the beach! We had a cookout with the Mythic Greece gamers, [livejournal.com profile] niliphim, and the [livejournal.com profile] bananapants/[livejournal.com profile] bananaplants family. Gaming and a cookout at the beach? Can't be beat!
alanajoli: (Default)
I'm paging through all the e-mail in my inbox that can't just be archived and realizing that I've been keeping some of it around to post here in a link soup edition. Things are looking up, as far as finally getting caught up is concerned, but I'm taking it easy, because I think everyone needs a day or two, now and again, to just breathe.

On to the links!


  • I did an interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith ([livejournal.com profile] cynleitichsmith) about the autobiographies project. It's at her lj and associated other places (like her main blog) that she syndicates to. I hope you enjoy reading about the project as much as I enjoy talking about it!

  • Egyptian author Marwa Rakha, whom I met over at SheWrites, has uploaded a new English edition of her novel, which she's released independently due to troubles with Egyptian publishers. She's giving it away for free, so if you're interested in Egyptian fiction, check it out!

  • The big Baeg Tobar relaunch is scheduled for October 2nd. I'm really excited to see the stories that I've been working on come into existence in a public sphere -- along with tales by Max Gladstone ([livejournal.com profile] lyster) and Daniel Tyler Gooden, among others. The art work previews are, as I expect from the BT artists, stunning, and I'm excited to see the project up and alive again.

  • [livejournal.com profile] cinda_cite did a great entry about how books you're reading influence each other by proximity, mentioning her contest win from here at Myth, the Universe, and Everything. I've not had the time to actually comment on it over there, but I hope you'll pop over to read it.

  • C. E. Murphy also had a great blog post up recently about how she never noticed a lack of women in fantasy, which I think is a nice counterpoint to all the discussions about how strong women aren't present in the genre. Like Murphy, I've always been able to find strong female heroes in my fantasy novels, but I acknowledge that this is because I grew up in the era of Alanna the Lioness, Lady Aerin, and Harry Crew. In younger books, there was almost always a mix of girls and boys as heroes (Narnia, Edward Eager's novels, etc.), and by the time I was reading YA fantasy (still a new genre), there were scores of girls taking on traditional boy roles to be their own heroes. This isn't to say that there isn't a lack of women heroes, written by men, in epic fantasy (which seems to be part of the argument), but that I find Murphy's perspective on the thing refreshing, and pretty reflective of my own experience. (She doesn't mention Robert Jordan's women, who are politically the power of the world [and include some admirable heroines, despite the weird love trinity that forms around the central hero], nor Brandon Sanderson's ([livejournal.com profile] mistborn's) women, who show up as capable, independent heroines with as much meat as his men [at least in what I've read so far -- he has books out I haven't had the chance to read yet]. I think the gender work of those two epic fantasy writers are at least worth noting.)



Now, off to convince the day that I've begun, and to prepare for my pre-natal exercise class in New Haven. I've been itching for some new Nalini Singh, and she's among the authors featured in Must Love Hellhounds (as is Ilona Andrews/[livejournal.com profile] ilona_andrews, who I'm always glad to have more fiction from), so I may stop at the B&N downtown and pick up a copy, to further encourage relaxing alongside catching up. :)
alanajoli: (mini me)
All right, one week to get myself back on my feet, and here I am, returning to ye olde blog. (I was delayed in turning in my short story to my editor, and one of the things I forbade myself from doing was blogging before it was finished and ready to turn in.) But a couple of cool things happened today, and I wanted to make sure to blog about them, and update you guys on my goals from the trip, before Saturday turned into Sunday. (Hopefully, the novel tourism post will go up tomorrow!)

So, first cool thing: my review of Caitlin Kittridge's ([livejournal.com profile] blackaire's) novel, Street Magic, went up on Flames Rising. Matt was kind enough to post it for me on a Saturday, because the book has just hit the shelves, and I didn't want to have gotten an advanced reader copy for nothing! It's a really, really excellent novel, which I expound upon in my review. Check out what I had to say, and look for the novel at your local bookstore!

Second cool thing: I finally got to meet Anton Strout ([livejournal.com profile] antonstrout) (who is, for the record, the most beloved low-to-midlist urban fantasy writer in America, or so I hear) live and in person. He did a book signing up in Pittsfield, his home stomping grounds and not distant from my college stomping grounds. So finally, I have my books signed. Hooray! I decided that bringing him a PEZ dispenser would border on creepy fangirl, so I decided to eschew it and just bring books and questions and a big smile. He did a reading from the first chapter of Deader Still, which was brilliantly creepy and got wonderful reactions from the audience (including me -- I'd forgotten how vivid, and, frankly, gross, that scene was!). The best part, however, was his commentary -- as he was reading, he'd interrupt himself and tell us little bits about the characters or his word choice or things that he liked about the scene, which was a huge enhancement to the story for me. Also (and I hope I'm not blowing his cover), he is super nice in person. Based on his blog and his books, I was expecting more snark, but he was totally gracious and sweet. (And I'm not just saying this because he might find this entry later. These are honest impressions here!)

The Barnes and Noble in Pittsfield is pretty darn great. They didn't have Pandora's Closet in stock, sadly, but I did pick up Red Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells and Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. The staff was really great, too, but my favorite part was walking in and seeing a young woman reading manga with this huge grin on her face, totally oblivious to anyone walking by. Seeing the power of reading in person like that gives me a little thrill.

So, those are my good things. Now to catch up on my goals... )
alanajoli: (lol deadlines)
It's amazing how deadlines can go zooming by when you, say, have the flu. It's also amazing how, even if you've been feeling discontented and unsettled, something about being well and having your body back to nearly normal makes it quite easy to be cheerful.

Before I got the flu, I admit, I was getting bogged down with the deadlines I've agreed to on various projects. Very luckily, I'd scheduled this week as a buffer week, hoping to get caught up on some projects that had been slipping--mainly the very exciting project I'm working on for Gale, working with prestigious authors on autobiographical essays to be published in the Contemporary Authors and Something about the Author series. The work on my end involves scanning, copyediting, being in contact with the writers--all pretty exciting work! Now that I'm finally feeling myself again, I made up the two deadlines that the flu made impossible and started catching up on the autobiography project by editing a wonderful short essay by Jonathan Baumbach. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy copyediting at this level--it's very subtle, because it's so very important for the authors' words and style to be their own on this project. For the most part, just getting to tinker with well-put-together words is a delight, and I'm definitely enjoying the work.

In part, I think, I'm enjoying things because I'm feeling so much healthier. The stress has lessened because everything had to get pushed back when I was ill. And now that I've accepted that, I'm moving on, doing the work, and moving ahead, getting back to where I need to be. Albone commented on one of my earlier posts that I'm ever the optimist on this blog. It's nice I manage to present myself that way here, because it's not always easy to capture a rosy outlook and apply it to my life. (As [livejournal.com profile] banana_pants pointed out, the Onion says they've released a drug to "help" perpetually cheery people. I've never quite needed that!) So I'm full of gratitude right now that for the last few days, things have gone well, I'm feeling healthier, I was able to return to karate for at least one class, and life is, momentarily, as it should be.

What's one good thing that happened in your day?

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Alana Joli Abbott

July 2017

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