Evolution for the win

May. 26th, 2017 12:55 am
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[personal profile] cornerofmadness
I didn't know it but the theme of the conference was using evolution to teach A&P. I don't do a lot of that so there was a ton for me to learn. The first speaker was using evolution to prove we are actually built to run. The second (and the best) talked about the evolution of the larnyx and how infants are built more like chimps and as we age (within a year) the larnyx begins to lower nearly 3 vertebrae in our throat, freeing the tongue for speech but allowing us to choke more easily, it was fascinating. The third speaker looked at the muscles of facial expression and how certain genetic disorders like the trisomies, retain the muscles of chimps that develop in all fetuses but disappear before we're born in 'normal' births and the last spoke about premies. I knew about the lung issues that are life long but I didn't know about the full extent of the brain issues. They use lambs to study and even with as little as three days of intubation the premie lambs can't even walk a simple maze and refuse to look at the mirror (showing severe anti social behavior).

The vendors are SO out of my league this year. Two of them have virtual dissecting tables (like 70 grand each) but the best part was that you can now buy the plastized humans like in the Bodies exhibit. i snatched a catalog. Yes I know I can't afford it. I wanted it any how. They have a serial sliced human head for brain anatomy and I want it so much.

I did get to the Mormon tabernacle choir rehearsal. I'm glad I got to go, in spite of it being a rehearsal which meant a lot of correction by their director (not that I could hear any of the issues he did). They were lovely.

Loose-leaf Links #40

May. 26th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Australian Grapefruit, Adore Tea, sencha, green tea, Earl Grey Editing, Loose-leaf Links

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Australian Grapefruit from Adore Tea. It tastes like a plain sencha at first, but finishes with a strong citrus aftertaste.

Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Music/Video Haul 2017-05-25

May. 25th, 2017 10:50 pm
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[personal profile] dingsi
I'm trying out something new. Considering I have a fluctuating but persistent desire to share music, and my energy level for writing content is very low, I'll see if I can at least throw in audio posts to liven things up a little. Plus it's going to be kind of like a mood diary because every entry will collect some of the tunes that I discovered since the previous entry, either completely new to me or a "re-listen", but in any case something that stood out to me & found its way onto my mp3 player & got played a lot. Additionally, there might be videos discussing music, too.

Alright, here we go. I don't know if it's the call-in for summer or what, but this issue is 90% chill. Also 80s-influenced, because I'm me.

The explanation video responsible for my seeking out the first three tracks (YouTube sidebar is one hell of a drug): Is Simpsonwave A Joke? by This Exists [YouTube]

Blank Banshee - Teen Pregnancy [Soundcloud] using a sample from Grandmaster Flash's "The Message"

Sun Glitters - Too Late (Love Echo Rework) [Soundcloud]

Home - Resonance [YouTube]

Lazerhawk - Feel The Rush Tonight feat. Gunship [Soundcloud]

Lazerhawk - Mirror Between Worlds [Soundcloud]

Snowhands - Fumes [YouTube]

Cold Cluster - An Imaginary Diary [Soundcloud]

Mac DeMarco - On The Level [YouTube]

Lost Image - Crying Corpse (really difficult to find a useable link, but you can go to this EBM website and scroll to the album "Electrocution" and click on the song.) If there ever was a remake of The Hunger, it should be on the soundtrack. (Don't tell me if there is a remake already in the making. I don't want it.)

Not chill but still great: Tuning Circuits - I Am A Non-Believer [YouTube]

And that's it for this time!
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[personal profile] hrj

I confess to an occasional bewilderment at the sub-genre of "shifter" fantasy that seems to have sprung up almost overnight. (Ok, ok, I'm showing my age, right? But I swear, it wasn't there the last time I turned around.) Cathy Clamp's Illicit uses shapeshifter communities to explore motifs of social conflict and hidden identities.

When a border dispute between two bear clans destabilizes shapeshifter relations throughout Europe and threatens to reveal their existence to humans, the Sazi High Council orders both sides to the negotiation table. The peace talks take place in Luna Lake, the American community where all shifter species—wolf, cat, bird, bear, and more—live in harmony. Diplomats, their families, and security personnel stream into town, among them Dalvin Adway, a Wolven agent. Dalvin is startled to find Rachel Washington in Luna Lake. The last time he saw her, they were children in Detroit. Then she was kidnapped and, he thought, murdered. But Rachel became an owl-shifter as a result of the attack and has avoided family and old friends ever since, knowing they would not understand her. She’s stunned to see Dalvin and learn that he, too, is an owl-shifter. Their wary friendship is on the brink of becoming something more when conspiracy and betrayal cause the peace talks to break down. The fight between the bear clans will be settled through a form of traditional challenge—a risky tactic that might lead to full-blown war. Rachel is determined to prevent that, even if it means taking up the challenge herself!

I confess I've been having fun finding ways to tie each book in this series into some aspect of my own November 2016 release, Mother of Souls. I suppose I should take satisfaction in how many times I could manage it naturally! A pity that, in this case, I'm not promoting my (not yet scheduled for publication) Skinsinger collection which has a rather different take on shapeshifting. So you'll have settle for this not-a-connection connection to my book.

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events.


May. 25th, 2017 08:23 am
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[personal profile] cafeshree
 Annoying loud drama queen of a coworker got visited by karma yesterday and it was great. 

She is loud and she and other circulation desk worker, a bully frequently talk about patrons at the desk, and this can be heard to varying degrees around the library.  Drama queen also crochets, and has been selling her stuff during her work hours. 

Yesterday a woman came in, who I'm not sure how long ago had requested a crochet item and drama queen was happy to see her, saying how it's been so long, and she'd been calling. the woman replied something I didn't hear, then asked how much and said she had to go out to the car and asked drama queen to watch her bag. She comes back, the item was $45 and she only had $44. Money exchanged hands woman took the item and went over to another part of the library. 

then drama queen starts talking to bully, quieter than usual but still loud enough for me to hear across the way, a good 30-40 feet away. She tells bully the whole story that just unfolded and how she only got $44 etc. etc. 

The woman comes back to the desk and says she's sorry she caused such a problem, and that she'll give the item back and get it when she has the money, drama queen tries to say it's ok, no big deal but the woman says if it wasn't why'd the whole library have to hear, and I've bought other things from you, drama queen tried to say it was ok, but the woman insisted on getting her money back and returning the item, saying she likes her stuff and she'll be back when she has the money. 

The whole library heard that exchange. 

It was wonderful, because drama queen always complains about everybody, and thinks she's special, so to have this woman confront her and take the money back made me smile. I'm not sure if the woman will come back for the item, and I think it was special color requested so who knows if drama queen will be able to sell it to someone else. She was extremely quiet for the last hour of work. 

My life remains a farce

May. 24th, 2017 11:32 pm
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[personal profile] cornerofmadness
As anticipated, the tour guide never showed up. I waited an hour and a half (nor did he call me back, asshole). Oddly I wasn't angry because I honestly DID expect this. Okay that's not entirely true, I was pissed but I was calm. At the concierge's suggestion I called the tour guides that have their info here in the hotel but not surprisingly there was no answer because these are often small companies and already out for the day (though they didn't call back either).

So I called the trolley tour because it went to all kinds of cool places and lets you out to take pictures etc. And they said call back in an hour because our trolley is having troubles. Um...okay. I also found the hop on hop off bus and my mistake was waiting on the trolley. It remained too broken to us (so you have just one trolley?)

I didn't catch the bus until nearly noon and I didn't make it to the stop in time. However he saw me and pulled over to let me join in. It was a strange bus with wooden park bench like seats that broke my spine for about an hour and a half of touring the town, going past the geneology library and the Mormon tabernacle, Brigham Young's beehive and lion houses (he had to build a second one as his 6 wives and 57 kids needed room), we rolled past museums and churches and if I had gotten on the damn thing at the Red Butte Gardens and Natural history museums but it was already afternoon and in spite of claims of hopping on and off with 18 stops, we didn't really STOP at most of these things. Eventually I gave up on the idea of lunch (thank god I had crackers).

What I did was have him drop me at the Pioneer museum because it was at the top of a huge-ass hill that I knew I would never walk up but I could go down. The museum was fairly large (and free). Apparently the pioneer women kept every damn thing. I've never seen such a huge collection of linens, lace and other home goods. There was a fun collection of sewing machines, spinning wheels and looms, not to mention some Victorian prams (I have a love of those things).

I learned of a lady doctor (and that Brigham Young was encouraging women to be doctors in the 1880s. While I'm not particularly religious and have no real interest in Mormonism, BY seems like he was an interesting guy), Ellis Reynolds Shipp This link has better info (if very LSD slanted) but Wiki has a picture. She sounds like someone I'd like to read up on.

They also had a replica of the Gardo house (go google the images of the building) which had to be an amazing building but what amazes me more is they tore it down in under 40 years.

There is also a fantastic steam fire truck in the place that I loved.

From there I walked down hill past the most amazing old apartments that I would love to live in (betting their in the 2000K price range) and headed into the Temple Square. I mean you can't come here and not drop in on the Mormon seat of power. It's a huge complex. Inside the north visitor center I was told two things a) I could not go into the temple because I wasn't Mormon b) I must see the glorious redeemer statue on the second floor.

Oddly I was somehow bothered by the fact that non-Mormons were banned from the temple. I mean these are people who feel very comfortable going everywhere to spread their own beliefs (almost ALL the girls working the compound were from South America or Korea) but make us unwelcome inside their church. It's weird and to me, a little anti-CHristian but whatever.

The big Christ statue was worth seeing. There's a spiraling ramp up to him and he's surrounded by a semi circle painted with a mural of a galaxy and across the ceiling. It was very peaceful and lovely.

I wandered into the original tabernacle and they were illustrating how perfectly acoustical it was by dropping a pin on the lectern and you could hear it in the back. That was pretty cool. The original meeting house was lovely too and the southern visitor center had a model of the temple with videos of it. I'll give them this, at least none of the sisters tried to hard pedal their faith to me.

I trundled back to the hotel and went for dinner. I was going to walk to the pizza place I've been hearing about but since i walked out into a freaking sandstorm I raced across the street to Squatters Brew pub for an excellent oatmeal stout and reuben (literally one of the best I've had in ages) just in time for it to rain.

From there I was going to go to the reception for my conference but the storm went from hey it's raining to OMFG we're all going to die. THere was a new alert on the tv every fifteen minutes with the areas needing to seek shelter expanding. So I stayed in and made up for no lunch by getting an overpriced dessert in the Carniege Pub an adult moon pie with a port wine cake, chocolate ganche and marshmellow cream fluff. The ganche was thick and yummy but honestly the cake was a bit dry. Still it was good and surrounded with strawberries, raspberries and raspberry puree.

And oh I forgot, I got to see the hand cart momunment. Somehow or other the very first group of 144 men and 3 women (don't ask, I don't know) didn't have carriages. they walked out here dragging stuff out here on hand carts (holy crap).

No photos because I'm tired. I did finally get thru to the OTHER tour agency and they're like go book it on line. So I did. I swear to god they better show up because I know their names and website and I will screw them online. If I don't get to go out to the damn lake (I sure as hell smelled it today) I will be pissed.

Me and my Lancaster

May. 24th, 2017 04:24 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
I have videos, but need better web speed to upload them, but here's me looking suitably chuffed with my Lancaster ride.


Wouldn't like to be tail end Charlie though.

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[personal profile] hrj

This book really needs to go on my To Be Read list! Gail Garriger has several intertwined paranormal/steampunky series. Romancing the Invntor tosses in a lesbian romance as well as a mad scientist. Oh, and vampires. Mustn't forget the vampires.

Imogene Hale is a lowly parlourmaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local hive, only to fall desperately in love with the amazing lady inventor the vampires are keeping in the potting shed. Genevieve Lefoux is heartsick, lonely, and French. With culture, class, and the lady herself set against the match, can Imogene and her duster overcome all odds and win Genevieve’s heart, or will the vampires suck both of them dry?

It can be hard to find mainstream SFF books with "incidental lesbians" -- lesbian characters in stories that aren't "about" sexuality. Books like Romancing the Inventor give me how that some day publishing will be a place where books like the Alpennia series could have found a home in mainstream SFF. In the mean time, if you love mainstream SFF but wish it had more queer women in it, check out Mother of Souls.

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events.

Regaining Weight

May. 23rd, 2017 10:24 pm
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[personal profile] liralen
One of the interesting things was that when I first started down the competitive path, I lost about 15 pounds of weight from my high of about 172 lbs, during the worst of the stressful days of moderating. Then, over the course of the six months of competitive, I got down to about 150 lbs.

I'm not a small woman to begin with, I'm 5'9", and I did and still do construction, so 150 was kind of frightening. The only time I'd ever hit that weight since my late 20's was also during my moderatorship, when I'd gone four months on extreme stress and got to the point where I came down with vertigo before I could actually stop and rest for a week. I regained my weight fairly quickly with actual sleep and food.

I did that again.

Within two weeks of quitting competitive, where I was cooking again, lifting again, and went from doing about 3000 steps on average per day to doing about 7500 a day now, I got back up to 155. Now I'm at 158 and steady with the usual daily fluctuations as I had been before all these adventures. The interesting thing is that even with the weight gain, I still fit into my skinny clothes, so I suspect that a lot of the weight regaining was mostly muscle mass that had atrophied when I wasn't moving around all that much and forgetting to eat. I went from getting breathless just going for a walk to being able to do my usual three mile walk easily.

Read more... )

Go West Middle Aged Woman

May. 23rd, 2017 10:51 pm
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[personal profile] cornerofmadness
Made it to Salt Lake with the only trauma being a half hour delay thanks to Denver's over crowding. I'm pretty damned tired but it was a good trip. I'm very glad I didn't take the train to the hotel. It was worth the 11$ to take the shuttle. The driver was nice and helpful with recs (one of the brew pubs I had picked out came highly recommended and it's just across the street.)

I am staying at the historic Peery Hotel . If I can, I will always stay at a historic (if possible also haunted) hotel. This one has a lovely lobby with a piece of furniture I covet. Maybe I'll get pictures tomorrow night. Too tired now.

I do have pictures of the room
 photo DSCN02532_zpsgyhuld8r.jpg My bed which is tempurpedic and lovely

I loved this chest dresser  photo DSCN02541_zpsqa1qrkyh.jpg

I also love the old transom door (and the other door is the walk in closet)  photo DSCN02551_zpstxsreveu.jpg

I was too tired to go far so I had a four cheese (including blue) pizza in the hotel's new restaurant.

In theory I'm going on a tour tomorrow but he hasn't contacted me so wish me luck that he's out there tomorrow at 9. I think I'll skip him for going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehersal as I think it's within walking distance and turns out IS open to the public so why pay 40$. I am looking forward to that. Maybe I can get some other profs to go with me. I rode here in the shuttle with two others and they seemed interested.

Sad News

May. 23rd, 2017 04:48 pm
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[personal profile] la_samtyr
I had to take my senior tomcat, Loki (or Brownie, as some called him) to the vet this afternoon because he had quit eating. The vet asked me to leave him so he could run some tests. The vet called about a half-hour ago with the bad news -- Loki is complete renal failure, so I will go to the vet's office tomorrow and hold him.

I'm able to write this somewhat calmly now but I am sure that tomorrow I will be utterly devastated.

Guest Post: Twisted Moon Magazine

May. 24th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

20170522_112146 no chip

It’s no secret that I’m fond of reading speculative erotica. So, I was delighted when Twisted Moon Magazine launched their first issue. With the second issue due out on Friday (in time for the New Moon, natch), I’ve invited the editors to share a little about their publication.

Why erotic speculative poetry?

What made us, the founders and editors of Twisted Moon Magazine, decide that the world of online poetry needed an even more niche publication?

We would be lying if we said it wasn’t partly because we all really like reading sexy poetry. We do. It’s pretty great. And aside from wanting a reason for people to send us their naughty writing, we came to the consensus that there wasn’t really anything out there which published the sort of work we were interested in reading. We imagine this is the way a lot of literary publications come about — the editors want to read a particular sort of thing, and being unable to find it in sufficient quantity or quality, they create a space for others to contribute and help expand the genre in question.

It’s probably worth taking a moment to discuss the idea of ‘speculative’ as a genre.

A quick glance at Wikipedia shows that speculative poetry/fiction has been defined by Suzette Haden Elgin as being “about a reality that is in some way different from the existing reality.” Fantasy and science fiction often overlap with the speculative genre for this reason, but neither fantasy/sci-fi nor Elgin’s definition are exhaustive. Strange Horizons commented in an article that what makes poetry speculative is a feeling and/or set of references. It’s an ‘I know it when I see it’ category, and while vague for the purposes of crafting some kind of formal definition, it’s not really necessary to have such a definition in order to get a feel for the speculative genre.

Speculative works are often relegated to their own publications because they can’t quite seem to find a home in more mainstream ‘literary’ magazines — not for lack of quality, but because they often have an element of the fantastical, whimsical, or uncanny that feels out of place next to works of stark realism or literary fiction. It’s these elements that make the speculative genre appealing to people wanting to tell stories which are either themselves outside of the mainstream, or which look at the world from outside the mainstream perspective. There is a great wealth of literary fiction that speaks to the human experience, and some of it is truly outstanding, but oftentimes the experiences on which such works focus are limited, and so are the ways in which those experiences can be described or conveyed.

The speculative genre encompasses elements of fantasy and science fiction, as mentioned before, but also elements of myth, horror, magic realism, fairy tales, and the supernatural. Many of the themes common in these elements are also common in Own Voices stories, which — for those who haven’t come across the term — are stories about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group. We want to be clear: we’re not saying that diverse stories and experiences are a form of fantasy, or that they cannot be told through literary fiction. We’re saying that the tropes common to speculative works — themes of transformation, otherness, identity, a quest for justice, the transient vs the permanent — are also often found in stories told from non-mainstream perspectives.

Those who don’t see themselves or their experiences reflected in conventional narratives are often drawn to unconventional narratives, such as those found in speculative fiction and poetry. The motifs and metaphors available in the genre are unique, and sometimes, they make it easier to speak plainly about the often undervalued stories of individual communities.

What, then, does eroticism have to do with it?

For one thing, diverse narratives are even more marginalised when it comes to talking about sex. Narratives created by outsiders about marginalised groups are often exploitative – predominantly created by people outside of the group being portrayed, and are rarely representative of the experiences of the people within that community. This is visible in mainstream long-fingernailed lesbian porn, or trans sex workers having to label themselves with slurs to find an audience, and many other areas besides. More accurate and representative narratives often don’t get the distribution or recognition they deserve, and the lack of accurate and diverse representation can cement marginalised groups as outsiders.

But the reality is that people have sex. All kinds of people and all kinds of sex, and once you move away from the restrictive spaces these people are talking about, we’re sharing and celebrating these forms of eroticism. The Western world has more or less gotten to a place where the social consciousness is aware that sexuality is a spectrum and there are more than three sexual positions, but the paradigm still needs to be to shifted away from ‘normative’ and ‘nonnormative’ sex, towards the understanding that all forms of sex are kind of weird and entirely worth writing about.

Poetry, and in particular speculative poetry, can create a space for this – a way to explore sexuality through new and different lenses, to celebrate the weird and find novel, interesting ways of expressing desire in all its forms. As queer women, Twisted Moon Magazine’s editors are very aware of how important it is to have diverse and accurate representations of queer sexuality. This is also applicable to other groups – people of colour and trans people (women especially) are often depicted by outsider groups as fetishised or hypersexual, while disabled people are often depicted as nonsexual. As far as we can, we hope to give folk the autonomy to depict their experiences and desires, and add to the range of Own Voices work out there.

Is it really necessary for such stories to be told through erotic speculative poetry? Can they be told equally as well through plain old erotica and romance genre fiction, or some other way?

Of course they can. We’re not trying to say that the incredibly niche genre that Twisted Moon Magazine has chosen to publish is the only way in which diverse stories can be told, nor that the only stories which can be told in that genre are diverse ones. We want so badly for there to be more literary fiction, and historical fiction, and non-fiction that dives beyond mainstream experiences. We’re also really into works that tell familiar stories in new and clever ways. There are so many, many ways to tell stories, and honestly, erotic speculative poetry is a pretty specific way.

But it’s a way we’re keen to explore and expand. We received more submissions when we opened than we expected to, and some of them blew us away. We all had ideas of the kind of stuff we wanted to read, and it’s been delightful to have those ideas expanded. It’s also worth noting that we had multiple authors telling us they were submitting poems they’d had since before Twisted Moon Magazine was started, which they’d never found a home for. We can’t claim to be a home for everyone – we know we’re exploring a very niche market – but we do at least try to be a warm, inviting bed.

We think it’s important to emphasise our interest in Own Voices work and diverse stories because it’s vitally important to boost the voices and experiences of people with non-mainstream lives and experiences.

We have been very encouraged by the response – a number of the poems we receive have included notes explaining that their poem is, for example, an exploration of gender, or of a poet’s experience of eroticism as an asexual person, or a response to recent politics. We are thrilled that poets feel able to use Twisted Moon Magazine as an avenue to explore these connections and get their work out into the world.

That said, there’s no strict requirement for what the poetry we publish has to be, other than erotic and speculative. We have guidelines on our website, which we very, very much appreciate people reading and sticking to (especially the one about removing your name from the document!) but a speculative poem doesn’t have to retell a deeply personal experience, and it doesn’t require allegory or veiled meaning. Sometimes a masturbating mermaid is just a masturbating mermaid. (Note: we are into that.)

The point is that the genre allows for fun, sexy fantasy for its own sake, as well as for diverse and/or marginalised stories to be told in a way that is distinct from many other literary genres.

Really, we just hope Twisted Moon Magazine can enrich the reader by showcasing poetry from all over the world, by people from all manner of backgrounds – or at least gift them some beautiful words about fae orgies, robot eroticism, and centaur sex.




Twisted Moon Magazine is an Australian-based online magazine of speculative, erotic poetry. The editors are Hester J. Rook, Liz Duck-Chong, P. Edda, and Selene Maris. We all decided there wasn’t enough sexy speculative poetry in the world and we launched Twisted Moon to help remedy that problem. We publish tales of naked witches dancing by moonlight, the smell of your ghost lover’s skin, the whispered memories of dying stars as they yearn across galaxies. The poems you read to your lover over the phone just to hear their breath catch.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Skiffy and Fanty Signal Boost Podcast

May. 23rd, 2017 11:50 am
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[personal profile] hrj

The SFF podcast Skiffy and Fanty interviewed me for their "Signal Boost" series and the show is now live. Check it out! I talk about the Alpennia series as well as the Lesbian Historic Motif Project. This is a really fun podcast show and you should consider subscribing to it.

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[personal profile] hrj

I pulled the titles to include in this blog series from a variety of sources: SFF lists, lesfic lists, LGBTQ lists. I don't exactly remember where I turned up Cristina Sánchez-Andrade's The Winterlings. From the blurb, it could have been any of several. The description sounds as if it's being pitched as a "literary novel" (in the genre sense) but I most likely found it recommended in an SFF context.

Galicia, Spain’s northwest region, in the 1950s. After a childhood in exile, two sisters return to their grandfather’s cottage for the first time since his shocking murder during the civil war. “The Winterlings” try to keep their dark secrets buried and carve out a peaceful existence in Tierra de Chá, an idyllic village host to a cast of grotesque but charming characters: a powerful psychic, a madman who believes he is a bus, a woman who refuses to die and the obese priest who heaves up a steep hill each day to give her last rites, a cross-dressing dentist who plants the teeth of the deceased in his patients’ mouths. Tension mounts when the sisters, once united by their passion for Hollywood cinema, compete for the chance to stand in for Ava Gardner in the nearby filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. Meanwhile, a mutual suspicion develops between the mysterious sisters and the eccentric villagers: Why have the women returned, and what are they hiding? What perverse business arrangement did the townspeople make with their grandfather, and why won’t they speak of his death? Enchanting as a spell, The Winterlings blends Spanish oral tradition, Latin American magic realism, and the American gothic fiction of Flannery O’Connor and Shirley Jackson into an intoxicating story of romance, violent history, and the mysterious forces that move us.

Sometimes categorization of books can be confusing...or even feel misleading. Readers rarely approach a book without a "reading protocol" (to use Samuel Delany's term). Should The Winterlings be read through a fantasy lens? A magical realist lens? Or simply as a realistic story that may surprise you? The Alpennia novels have a tendency to confound expected reading protocols, whether the reader expects a romance novel, a lesfic novel, a swashbuckling fantasy, or a tale of magic. Mother of Souls breaks even the tenuous expectation of a romance plot that the previous books offered. If I could advise readers, I'd beg them to read Alpennia simply as stories of complex human beings, seeking purpose, connection, and community. If you find love, magic, and adventure, consider it a bonus.

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events.

Manchester bomb

May. 23rd, 2017 07:34 am
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[personal profile] julesjones
No, I was not in the city centre last night.

Getting ready for the trip

May. 22nd, 2017 11:09 pm
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[personal profile] cornerofmadness
Tomorrow I fly out for Salt Lake. (think good thoughts for me) I'm not exactly thrilled but I'm not anxious either so that's good. It's not really a vacation. It'll be a four day conference.

But I am working in SOME vacationy bits. On Wednesday I'm going to either Antelope Island or Big Cottonwood (I can't remember which) and on Monday I'll be doing the other. I plan to go hear the Mormon Tabernacle choir and a ghost tour.

And the conference is usually a good and interesting time. I AM getting to hear a Noble Prize winner.
That'll be cool.

I'm staying at the historic Peery hotel so here's hoping for cool stuff there. It says it has free wifi so I may or may not be in touch.

Here's hoping it's fun.

Word of the Day

May. 23rd, 2017 01:27 am
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[personal profile] the_gneech

Bringin' the Awesome! Art and Gaming Streams by The Gneech

In an effort to broaden my reach and find more audience, I have begun doing livestreams of art sessions and of my Overwatch sessions, as well as posting recordings to YouTube. So far I’m still in the earliest stages of figuring it all out, but I’m a pretty quick study and I think I’m getting the hang of it! I will add these feeds to the sidebar links on Gneech.com (which is due for a massive overhaul, actually), but for now here’s a quick list where you can find Gneechy Video Goodness!

These time slots are fairly dependable, although if I’m at a convention or something similar obviously that will have an impact. Besides subscribing for notifications on the respective services, you can also follow me on Twitter for the most reliable updates. I try to Tweet at least an hour before I will start streaming to give people a heads-up.

Thanks for watching! Let’s have some fun!

-The Gneech

Fidele Chapter 21

May. 22nd, 2017 02:02 pm
misslucyjane: (furiosa - mmfr)
[personal profile] misslucyjane
Fidele (95248 words) by misslucyjane
Chapters: 21/?
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: Romance Novel, Paranormal, PTSD, Hauntings, Kid Fic, Drug Use

A house full of ghosts is no place to fall in love.

Malcolm Carmichael has been coping with his post-war trauma by taking lovers, teaching art to schoolboys, and trying to ignore the ghosts he sees everywhere. At the death of his mother, he realizes he wants more than just to coast on by, and leaves the exclusive school in search of something more.

Caleb Thibodeaux was so traumatized by the death of his parents in a fire that he hasn't spoken a word since. His uncle Noel hires Malcolm to be his tutor, and Malcolm discovers that Caleb is not the only Thibodeaux son with secrets. The plantation house Fidele is beautiful but haunted, and Noel is much the same.

Soon Malcolm is absorbed in protecting Caleb and Noel from threats both living and dead, and in uncovering the story of Fidele.

Read at AO3 or JennaLynnBrown.com

Peace and quiet in Cambridge

May. 22nd, 2017 08:28 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
We've just had a few days in Cambridge - couldn't believe the volume of tourists. Definitely more than in our day. Lovely to go back to my old college; it's seen many changes but they're all for the better. A real haven of peace and tranquillity. (And the second largest collection of women's art in the world.)


2017-05-21 10.41.39-1



Book log September 2016

May. 22nd, 2017 08:12 pm
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
I'm busy tidying up the notebooks I use to write on the bus, and came across my book log notes for the books I read in September last year. As it happens, two of these are in the sale at Amazon UK and Kobo at the moment. :-)

Agatha Christie -- Murder on the Orient Express

There isn't really a lot I can say that hasn't already been said by hundreds of reviewers on LibraryThing. It's a classic bottle mystery--a murder and a group of people in an isolated venue, in this case the Orient Express trains stranded in a snowdrift. It's great fun watching Poirot piece together all the red herrings to find that some are clues after all.


Amazon UK
Amazon US

Agatha Christie -- The Murder on the Links

Poirot novel set in France, with Poirot butting heads with the local police investigator. Poirot is asked to come urgently by a man in fear of his life. The widow's story does not quite hang together, and yet she is genuinely shocked and distraught by her husband's death. Red herrings abound, and as usual Hastings repeatedly gets hold of the wrong end of the stick--or in this case, the length of lead piping. Enjoyable Poirot fare, although nothing outstanding.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Lindsey Davis -- The Silver Pigs

First of the Falco books, a mystery series set in Ancient Rome during the reign of Vesparius. Marcus Didius Falco is a PI. That's public informer, a role remarkably similar to that of the private investigator in the modern era. And as with the classic gumshoe mystery, Falco has an office/flats at the top of a seedy low rent tenement building.

The novel is as historically accurate as Davis could make it, but human nature hasn't changed much over the last 2000 years. Falco rescues a damsel in distress, and finds himself sucked into a case involving theft and corruption in the silver mines of a backwards colony at the fringe of the Empire.

Excellent mystery, with an appealing lead character and careful world building. I loved this, and will be reading more of the series.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
hrj: (Default)
[personal profile] hrj

By delightful coincidence Claudie Arseneault's book Viral Airwaves is not only a November 2016 release (for the 2nd edition) but will be on sale this week. Check Claudie's blog for details.

Henry Schmitt wants nothing more than a quiet life and a daily ration of instant noodles. At least until he learns the terrible secret that drove his father away—the Plague that killed his mother and ravaged his country was created by those now in power. He has one chance to help expose the conspiracy: a ragtag band of rebels needs a pilot for their hot air balloon, where they can launch a broadcast revealing the truth. If Henry accepts, he can experience his dream of flight. But he would have to leave his safe, tranquil life behind … and bring the wrath of a corrupt government upon his head.

I'm always delighted when I have an opportunity to promote the work of writers who are also fans of the Alpennia books. Claudie featured the series several month ago in her occasional twitter series #indiemanche (it's a bilingual pun) that promotes the work of indie authors and creators. She has also created a database for science fiction and fantasy with characters on the asexual and aromantic spectrums.

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that--like the third Alpennia novel, Mother of Souls--may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events.

BECK, the series

May. 22nd, 2017 09:01 am
grey853: I knit (knitkill_nichy)
[personal profile] grey853
On a more positive note, I got a DVD set from the library for BECK. It's one of my fave crime series. It's out of Sweden and I'd seen some of the recent episodes that were on the BBC. I'm overjoyed that I'm able to get these earlier ones. This set has the following episodes:

Episode 16: "Blind Profit"- Beck and his team find bodies of women whose faces have been removed by acid. Once identified, they're found to be foreign prostitutes who all have AIDS. Gunvald goes undercover to find the killer. Meanwhile, Beck has a heart incident and soon after that becomes involved with a lovely female doctor.

Episode 17: "The Scorpion"-A man is found murdered and his ex-wife and family are missing. She's apparently the victim of spousal abuse. Did she kill him to save herself? During the case Gunvald discovers that his estranged sister is a victim of domestic abuse. His contact with her sets off a chain of unexpected consequences.

Episode 18: "The Unclaimed Girl"-a five-year-old is found in an ice house in the woods. She'd been starved. Who is she and who is responsible?

None of these shows are easy to watch sometimes. Swedish productions tend to be pretty dark, but I have to say I really love the characters and how they work so well together. Gunvald is my favorite character, handsome, edgy, and an excellent cop. Martin, prodding, smart, he makes sure to follow all the leads. He sees so much and while he doesn't talk a lot, he processes all the clues and eventually gets to the truth.

I have to say Episode 17: "The Scorpion" is the most intense because it's a bit more twisty as it went along. There were several times I thought, what the hell? But it's very dramatic and has a satisfying ending. "The Unclaimed Girl" is incredibly sad and poignant. It gives a glimpse into how hard it is to be a detective, especially when dealing with abused or dead children.

Of course, it's in Swedish and you have to read subtitles, but I don't mind. I highly recommend this series if you ever get a chance to see it.

BTW, here's a picture of the actor who plays Gunvald, Mikael Persbrandt:

 photo MikaelPersbrandt5_zps37sgyncy.jpg

To Post or Not Post

May. 22nd, 2017 08:59 am
grey853: Sneaky Skeleton animated (Halloween_SneakySkeleton_dhamphir)
[personal profile] grey853
I haven't posted much lately. Mainly I've been swirling in a spiritual abyss caused by our country's political position right now. Rather than posting daily about the shitstorm that passes for the White House, I've just been not putting the negative out there. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of articles I could post about the incompetence and corruption that's documented all over the net. I don't want to add to them. Anyone who knows me, knows where I stand. So, unless I see something posted that I'm not seeing covered in the mainstream press, I'm going to forego political posting, or at least try to.

I has clean and politics

May. 22nd, 2017 07:28 am
cafeshree: text lets get to work (activism)
[personal profile] cafeshree
 I did all the cleaning of the apartment (minus the oven). A lot of it was just mess I couldn't be bothered to put away during the last couple of weeks but was way overdue for a vacuum etc. So yay! the place feels better.

I went to a local Planned Parenthood action meeting. This group is focused on state level funding. NJ has defunded all "family planning preventive care" facilities since Christie has been governor, he's vetoed that in the line item budget. So PP has been working to override the veto and got very close last year, by one vote. All Dems are on board and they need only 5 Repubs, so we are to meet with them and make sure all Dems promise to show up to vote and get 5 Repubs, though if the previous 4 stay on our side we only need one more. 

This is where my solitary nature runs into trouble because all the organizations - PP, ACLU, Move On, Indivisble etc, will give you some training and then say call all your friends and family and get them involved. Well my family is down to 2 people one of whom is extremely busy and has no time, and I don't really have many friends. I have one who I think politically we are not exactly on opposite sides but not in a lot of agreement, though I'm not sure we haven't talked politically much, though the little we did was not encouraging (HRC bashing) the other friend is busy and while I might get her involved some times, she doesn't have the time consistently to help. Then the other couple of friends I have are in other districts, so meeting with our Reps doesn't quite work. I have some aquaintences in my district but I'm not comfortable asking them to get involved.

Oh well I will do what I can.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson

"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
"You can't archive on tumblr, can't find anything later, and it takes to serious discussion rather like airplanes take to lakes: Sure, it can be done, but even when it works, it's pretty damned obvious to everyone that it's not how things were intended to happen."


What I've been up to )

Writerly Ways

May. 21st, 2017 08:18 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
I'm getting ready for the trip so not a lot of time. I did want to talk about the darker side of writing, the guilt of when you're not writing or not editing or just plain not doing what you need to do to keep yourself moving forward.

Yesterday FB showed me the 'your post from a year ago.' and it was me saying I had sent in Blood Red Roulette. ONE FUCKING YEAR. Have I edited it through? Yes once but obviously didn't do a good job of it. I failed.

I failed to fix what I needed to. I failed to do anything in a timely manner. I'm really at the point of thinking go ahead, just give up. That would be the easy way. I've lost all faith in the project. I still love the characters but obviously I have done nothing right so why keep up the struggle?

But just because something is easy, it doesn't make it the right thing to do. Some things have to be fought for in spite of the pain and guilt surrounding them. I have the rest of the chapters to go (as I've gotten to ch 9 and okay I'm missing 10-12). I plan to take them on the plane and edit through them and then send it in. I wanted it done by the end of the month but that's unreasonable. By the end of July then. I've given it to a friend to read the redone again chapters. I don't know if that'll help at all but at least I can say I tried. Will I fail? Naturally like I do most things.

ANd links for the week

Perspective & career

Surviving rejection When to walk away from a publishing deal

writing a synopsis Honestly I always mean to write a sentence as I write the chapter so I have the bones of a synopsis but I never do.

If you were planning on using Bookbub (I am conflicted by them)
why you were rejected from Bookbub

If you are somehow lucky enough to be in the position to try for an audiobook auditioning narrators for audio books

I haven't written enough to bother updating the word count
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech

-The Gneech
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Children of the Different, S.C. Flynn, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: September 2016 by The Hive
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Dystopian YA, speculative fiction
Source: Author
Available:Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals.

In the great forest of South West Western Australia, thirteen-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.

After their Changings, the twins have powers that let them fight their enemy and face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia–if they can reach it before time runs out.

Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set among the varied landscapes and wildlife of Western Australia.

I’m always keen for SFF set in Australian landscapes, so I had high hopes for Children of the Different. Unfortunately, I found it somewhat disappointing.

The surreal aspects of the story was one of the strengths of this book. It is set in both the real world and the Changeland, a kind of dreamscape. I enjoyed the diversity of the scenery within the Changeland, which ranges from desert, to caverns, to road tunnels.These scenes are mutable in the manner of dreams, changing with little warning. However, as with dreams, there’s always a sense of underlying rules and logic.

Each teenager who passes through the Changeland emerges with special abilities. I particularly enjoyed how these manifested in Arika. It struck me as a bit unusual and watching these transformations from her perspective was very effective. I also appreciated that the use of her abilities came at a price, though this was something that could have been given a bit more weight.

The story did become repetitive at times, retreading old ground as first one twin, then the other is captured by the various parties seeking them. Despite this mirroring, it seemed to me that Arika was often a more passive character than her brother. She is the first to be captured and prevented from rescuing her brother. She is unable to resist her captors in the way that Narrah does and must literally go with the flow. This seemed more or less a trend with all the female characters. who were generally outnumbered and (with the exception of Arika and Toura) don’t really seem to do much.

There was also other questionable representation. I was disappointed to discover the only explicitly Aboriginal character had a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

The romance elements were completely unnecessary and felt tacked on. Although this part of the plot had been foreshadowed to some degree, this foreshadowing lacked emotional engagement and was therefore ineffective.

Overall, Children of the Different had some interesting ideas but was ultimately let down in its execution.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

hrj: (Default)
[personal profile] hrj

One of the awkward things about re-booting November books is that several of them have been clearly marketed for the December holiday season. I decided to slip this novella by Tansy Rayner Roberts in anyway and do a two-fer by also mentioning the novel it's linked to, Musketeer Space (even though that isn't a November release). Gender-swapped musketeers in space? If that sounds like your catnip, this was written for you.

It’s festival time on Paris Satellite: a seven day whirl of drunken bets, poor decision-making, religious contemplation and tinsel. But mostly, poor decision-making.

Porthos and Athos aren’t going to sleep together, no matter what Aramis says. Aramis isn’t going to marry her girlfriend, Minister Chevreuse, which probably means they’re breaking up. Athos is not prepared to be visited by the ghost of his dead husband. Oh, and the Duchess of Buckingham is totally not going to hook up with the Prince Consort thereby causing an interplanetary diplomatic disaster… right?

When a group of “festive terrorists” start inflicting traditions from a very different midwinter festival on the space station via nano-virus, the Musketeers and the Red Guard are expected to work together to protect Paris Satellite. This isn’t going to end well.

Joyeux is the prequel novella to Musketeer Space, an epic gender-swapped space opera retelling of The Three Musketeers.

And here's the blurb for Musketeer Space itself:

“I haven’t got a blade. I haven’t got a ship. I washed out of the Musketeers. If this is your idea of honour, put down the swords and I’ll take you on with my bare hands.” 

Dana D'Artagnan longs for a life of adventure as a Musketeer pilot in the Royal Fleet on Paris Satellite. When her dream crashes and burns, she gains a friendship she never expected, with three of the city's most infamous sword-fighting scoundrels: the Musketeers known as Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

Even as a mecha grunt, Dana has a knack for getting into trouble. She pushes her way into a dangerous political conspiracy involving royal scandals, disguised spaceships, a tailor who keeps getting himself kidnapped, and a seductive spy with far too many secrets.

With the Solar System on the brink of war, Dana is given a chance to prove herself once and for all. But is it worth becoming a Musketeer if she has to sacrifice her friends along the way?

Adventures and duels and intrigues and the long, complex process of disparate personalities coming together to form a bond that goes beyond friendship! That was one of the atmospheres I wanted to evoke when I began writing the Alpennia series. My women lean more heavily toward intellectual duels and philosophical challenges, but there are still a scattering of swordfights, daring rescues, and breathless escapes. In Mother of Souls the stakes go beyond battles of honor to put the fate of Europe in play. And who would think that a composer's hidden mystical talents would prove the key?

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events.

charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
For a pal who asked what he might have recognised, this might have looked familiar, at least in part:



Made it home

May. 20th, 2017 11:11 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
Other than it being hot and humid to the point of me thinking maybe I was in Florida by accident it was an uneventful trip. Well if you ignore my left hip. I'm not sure what is going on with it as it's my good hip but I must have aggravated it somehow.

I was surprised by the reaction to my henna tattoo. I knew Mom hates them but at least for tonight, Dad likes it. He's fascinated by the fact its drawn free hand and he likes the idea of using it to help illustrate the anatomy and physiology of skin (which is one of the things I use them for). Granted tomorrow he could easily be upset I'll have it at the con....

I can't get into Jana's word press blog. It was logged out on the lap top and it says it's the wrong password. Every time I try to use the password reset the page won't load.

Mom got bitten by something, tick, spider, whatever. It looks terrible but she's being stubborn about going to urgent care....

Luckily it's cooling own now as their a/c has died. Nearly 4 grand to replace. Yippee.
villeinage: (Default)
[personal profile] villeinage
The third season start out funny and then becomes slyer and sneakily hilarious. Recommend, recommend, recommend.

Warning: If you watch it between episodes of A Handmaid's Tale, your brain will explode.


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