alanajoli: (mini me short hair)


Only 11 days until Hugo Nominations are due, and I'm still sorting through my list of titles, deciding what I'm going to nominate, figuring out what authors I read compulsively had titles out in 2013, etc., etc. I'm used to nominating for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, which require a single-book nomination to stand alone, so entries in the "Kate Daniels" series or the "Kitty the Werewolf" series aren't eligible. Not so with the Hugos! The stand-alone quality is not a judge of merit. (Notably, I'm behind on the Kitty books, which is why I haven't listed one below. I've no doubt that the two published in 2013 are awesome and worthy of consideration!)

Taking into account what a "typical WorldCon voter" is expected to be like (see Jim Hines on Larry Correia on Alex Dally MacFarlane; my comment is, of course, tongue in cheek), here are some of the pieces and people currently on my whittling-down list:

Campbell eligible:
Max Gladstone
Shawna Mlawski
Mark H. Williams
Brian McClellan

Short stories:
"Drona's Death" Max Gladstone, xoxo Orpheus
"The Best We Can" Carrie Vaughn, Tor.com
"Stranger vs. the Malevolent Malignancy" Jim Hines, Unidentified Funny Objects 2
“The Life Expectancy of Cockroaches” by Michelle Muenzler, Crossed Genres
"Galatea Odysseus" Madeline Miller, xoxo Orpheus
"The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun," Ben Loory, xoxo Orpheus

Novels:
Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
Sleepless Knights by Mark H. Williams
Pen Pal by Francesca Forrest
Codex Born by Jim Hines
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
Cold Copper by Devon Monk
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Hammer of Witches by Shawna Mlawski

Graphic novels:
RASL by Jeff Smith
Saga vol 2 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Hawkeye vol 1 by Matt Fraction and David Aja

Editors:
Moshe Feder
Marco Palmieri
Stacy Whitman
Erika Tsang

Dramatic Long Form:
Choice of the Deathless by Max Gladstone -- notably, this is an interactive novel game app, which may mean this isn't technically the category for it, but there's some buzz this year about nominating games for this category, and I'm all for that.

I'm still poking around the Internet to make sure I haven't miscategorized 2013 titles in my head as belonging to other years. What books and stories are appearing in your nominations lists (if you're voting), or which would you pick (if you're not)?
alanajoli: (mini me)
At the beginning of January, [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume posted on facebook:

2013 Creative PAY IT FORWARD. The first 5 people to comment on this status will receive something from me this calendar year - a surprise gift of some sort. There will likely be no warning. It will happen whenever the mood strikes me. The catch? You must also post this as your status and pay it forward. (Please PM me your address if you are one of the first 5).


I thought this was a fantastic idea, and, knowing how wonderfully creative [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume is, I definitely wanted to get in on that action. Not being super crafty myself, I posted to my own facebook page that I'd produce some sort of story snippet for people who posted on my page. It never occurred to me that baking would count toward the creative pay it forward until I received these in the mail:

Painted cookies by asakiyume!

Six cookies (one not shown here because its broken arrival meant I ate it immediately) that were as beautiful as they were delicious! Now, I am no artist, but I do like to bake, and I've come up with a few fun words about molasses and a small hero named Elias that my own pay-it-forward friend will be receiving.

fish! by asakiyume
A close up of my favorite image by the fantastic [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume

One of the things I'm noticing about having a Kickstarter campaign up and running is that I'm far more likely to donate to other people's Kickstarter campaigns. I'd donated to two, and one indiegogo, in the few years before starting my campaign; I've doubled the number of campaigns I've backed in the last two weeks, and I expect that trend to continue. There's something about funding other people's creative endeavors that's really satisfying, and because I'm so grateful that people are funding mine, it makes me even happier to give to others. I suspect that's one of the reasons Kickstarter is so successful -- and hope that other people feel as good about contributing to mine as I feel about contributing to others!
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)
(x-posted from [livejournal.com profile] kickstart_tu)

Dear Friends,

Any of you who follow my livejournal know that recently, I had the opportunity to have Stacy Whitman ([livejournal.com profile] slwhitman) write a guest post about her plans for her new publishing house: Tu Publishing. The mission is admirable: the books put out by Tu Publishing will feature multicultural heroes and heroines, helping science fiction and fantasy for children and teens become a more diverse genre. Young readers should be able to find fantasy and science fiction where their own culture is reflected in the world of the novel, and the goal of Tu Publishing is to offer just that. (You can read more about the goals on Tu's mission page.)

Here's the catch: ever publishing endeavor needs capital to start. Stacy is using Kickstarter as a fund drive to get the project started. As of today, she's reached 29% of her goal, and only 25 days remain for contributions! That's where we come in.

In order to help her reach her goals, this community has been formed to auction off items, services, crafts, and other various and sundry offerings, with all the proceeds going to the Tu kickstart page. We hope to help Stacy and Tu reach the goal of $10,000 by December 14th.

How can you help?

1) Donate something to our auction.
2) Bid on something donated to our auction.
3) Spread the word! Get lovers of fantasy and science fiction to pop by!

Contributors decide on the starting price and the end time of their auction. Because the turn-around is so soon, auctions will begin as soon as the listing for the offering is posted.

Auction winners will make a donation directly to the Tu Publishing Kickstart page and send the receipts to the contributor.

Thank you so much for your support!

--

In old news, I completely forgot to resolve my contest on November 7th. Congrats to [livejournal.com profile] karenkincy, [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume, and [livejournal.com profile] vita_ganieda, who will be getting Andrew Lang fairy books in the mail. :)

In somewhat less old news, my Norse Saga game on Sunday caused the second best fit of laughter I've ever had in a role playing game. (The first still goes to Cody Jones for the dirigibles.) I did not quite fall off my chair (hence the dirigibles maintaining the number one spot), but I did cry, I was laughing so hard. This is one of the many reasons I love table-top role playing games. (Also, I got to totally myth-geek the table with references to Taliesin, Cerridwin, Annwn, Bridget, Manannan, Gwyn ap Nudd, Loki, and sundry others.)

But now, off to figure out what I'm going to put into the auction!
alanajoli: (Default)
The Google Alert has turned up something fun! Dane of War just posted a review of the Chronicles of Ramlar Soundtrack, The Dreaming, and Into the Reach got a mention!

First and foremost, the music is based on what appears within the pages of the game’s Core Rule Book and Alana Abbott’s novel – Into The Reach. Both are so rich in detail that inspiration literally oozed forth from the pages.

Now, I'm not sure if those are the words of Dane of War or if they're from composer Bryan K. Borgman, who wrote and performed the music on the album. Either way, it's very nice to hear. :)

In other random news, it is totally possible to overload on D&D if you are running a ten hour, two round expedition on Saturday and have to figure out something interesting to do with only half of your regular gaming group (instead of the adventure you planned) on Sunday. It is possible to have too much D&D in one weekend. Luckily, all the players I was hanging out with this weekend are awesome, and I had a really good time, though I ended up quite exhausted, and I'm glad I'm not gaming again until Saturday night.

Last thought of the day: I think [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume's guest blog may be my most commented on post ever. :)
alanajoli: (british mythology)
I've had the pleasure of corresponding with Francesca Forrest ([livejournal.com profile] asakiyume) since we met in the comments of the [livejournal.com profile] athanarel community and on [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's live journal. When Francesca was announced as one of the other writers to be featured in the Coyote Wild young adult issue, I was incredibly excited to meet her all over again--this time through her fiction. Her work has been also featured on Three Crows and in the recently published Lace and Blade 2 from Norilana Books.

By following her live journal, it's clear to me that Francesca sees the world in beautiful ways, and she's able to capture that world view in her photography and her prose. About a month ago in the comments on my journal, we got into a conversation about the nature of how people see the world, culturally, impacting more than just their myths. Apparitions and mythical creatures are certainly culturally specific, but other ideas--like concepts in medicine--are also bound to the worlds they come from. Francesca's guest blog contribution riffs on that theme and applies it in a broad spectrum. I'm delighted to host her words here. Thanks, Francesca!

--

As a child, I was a religious syncretist. I tried to reconcile each new religion I learned about to the others, so as to be in a state of grace for all possible faiths and deities. It wasn’t long before I realized that this was a hopeless task. The effort and the failure left me with a profound curiosity about the fact of multiple, mutually exclusive truths, however. I see the pattern in lots of places—in politics, in medicine, in philosophy.

I was mentioning to [livejournal.com profile] alanajoli a book called Medicine and Culture, by Lynn Payer, that examines these different truths in medicine. Depending on whether you’re in England, Germany, or France, how your ailments are diagnosed will vary. Theoretically, medicine is a fairly objective science, and yet the liver ailment that you receive medication for in France may not even be acknowledged when you cross the border into Germany, but the Germans may uncover a heart ailment. What’s true, medically, in one place just isn’t, elsewhere.

It’s not surprising that usually, you find people adhering to the truths that they know. If you know the ailment is in the liver, because you’re in France, then that’s what you treat. In the spiritual realm, Portuguese or Croatian children may see apparitions of Mary, but Kazakh and Kirghiz kids probably won’t.

This doesn’t always hold, though. In mid-nineteenth-century China, Hong Xiuquan, a would-be civil servant who studied the requisite Confucian classics diligently but who still didn’t manage to pass the civil-service exams, had a vision in which Jesus Christ came to him and told Hong that Hong was Jesus’s younger brother. Hong then founded the heterodox Taiping sect of Christianity and led a huge rebellion against the Qing dynasty.

Or, how about a more peaceful, small-scale example that I recall hearing about on the radio back in the very early 1990s: A pair of English (or possibly American or Australian; I can’t recall) explorers were traveling into the interior of Borneo in the 1980s, visiting groups of people who had very little contact with the outside world. They stayed in one such village, where the foundational spiritual belief was in a great tree of life, on which everything had a place, in relationship to everything else. During the course of people’s lives, they might dream about this tree, and when they did, they would get a tattoo to mark their spiritual progress.

Well, while the two explorers were staying there, one of them had just such a dream. He talked about it most feelingly, talking about perceiving all these different animals and birds, all on the tree, all in relation to him and to each other.

So, sometimes we do cross out of our own truths and into other people’s. I find that very comforting, somehow.
alanajoli: (Default)
Sorry to be dropping on and off so much this month. The house is still taking up a lot of time and brain room, and getting ready for holiday travel does the same. (We've also been celebrating holidays in an impromptu fashion, like sharing the beginning of Hanukkah candle lighting over at [livejournal.com profile] lisa_bee and [livejournal.com profile] hellpossum's.) On the writing front, I'm working on a couple of different things, but don't have any teasers to post today, sadly. If I can get to a computer next week, I'll try for a Teaser Tuesday!

In the mean time, doing some internet searching on a completely different project, I came across "The Anti-Princess Story," a delightful retelling of Snow White, wherein the princess has marketable skills to go along with her pretty face. It's maybe 1,000 words, so it's a quick read.

If I don't get back to lj between now and the 1st--Happy belated Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! (If you celebrate other winter holidays I've neglected to mention, I hope they are wonderful as well!)

Edit I just discovered [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume's new short story, "Traces," which was published at Three Crow Press. She's one of my Coyote Wild compatriots, and I loved her story "The Oracle." I'm looking forward to reading her newest work!
alanajoli: (tuam face - celtic mythology)
I forgot to mention, Coyote Wild's YA issue is live, complete with "Nomi's Wish" and stories by [livejournal.com profile] janni, [livejournal.com profile] faerie_writer, [livejournal.com profile] jimhines, [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume, [livejournal.com profile] drachin8, [livejournal.com profile] fairmer, and several other wonderful writers who I don't know from lj. (I have not yet read them, but I know they are wonderful because I trust [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's taste.)

I may take a chunk of tomorrow, once I organize my brain, to just read some of the stories. I did read the poem by Shweta Narayan and [livejournal.com profile] jimhines's "The Haunting of Jig's Ear" when they were first posted, and enjoyed both very much. (I particularly enjoyed "The Haunting of Jig's Ear," if only because Jig the Goblin getting the best of people who are bigger and more powerful has a way of making my day. Goblin or no, I identify with the guy.)

If you have the chance, definitely drop by and read some of the stories--and send a note to the featured writers who have ljs. I've been getting some very nice comments, both on lj and via web chat, and I'm enjoying having other people meet Lou and Will an incredible amount. I've never had such quick and direct feedback from readers, and it's thrilling! I'm hoping to be insightful enough to be able to do the same for the other featured writers.

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Alana Joli Abbott

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