Friday, December 31, 2010

Interesting Links for New Year’s Eve (12-31-2010)

Happy New Year’s Eve. Hope you all have wonderful plans and will have fun. Me, I’m hanging out and relaxing after enjoying a holiday trip. Everything’s pretty slow and mellow here, the reason these links are up in the late afternoon, but for those looking for something interesting to read, please enjoy.

Just for Fun

A visual delight of time-lapsed photography set to music:
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Interesting Links for 12-17-2010

Just for Fun

When I was a kid, my grandmother would take me in to New York City to look at the window displays, but they had nothing like this back then. Enjoy a YouTube video of Saks Fifth Avenue’s Snowflake and Bubble 3D holiday light show:

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover by J.R. WardSeveral people recommended J.R. Ward so I figured I’d give her a try, but when I first started Dark Lover: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood I thought I’d already read it. The beginning feels a little generic and I almost stopped, something I would have regretted. Rather quickly, the tough guy beginning changes into a fascinating story.

Ward puts together a complicated tale with an alternate look at vampirism that has significant unique elements. What drew me in was not so much the vampire romance, but the culture because honestly, despite my recent reading list, it’s the authors, not the subgenre that I enjoy. J.R. Ward is now on that list.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Interesting Links for 12-10-2010


Weronika Janczuk offers some suggestions for how to turn familiar text into unique text so the errors stand out. I am boggled by the idea of posting something on the wall (of course I can’t reach any of my walls because of furniture), but most of her techniques are similar to what I already do except for the conversion to PDF, something I’m going to adopt.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann

Infamous by Suzanne BrockmannIf you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you’ve probably got the impression that I like Suzanne Brockmann’s writing. The funny thing is that when she was recommended to me, I gave the books to my husband first since from the description they seemed more his type of book. Now we take turns buying more (and we came in late on a HUGE backlist) for each other…okay, more like try to jump the gun because it’s nice to have a present you know will be welcome and you can both enjoy. (He just got me Tall, Dark and Dangerous for example.)

My husband was the one to get me Infamous, a novel so far removed from the Seal adventure type books we discovered her with that I wasn’t sure what to make of it. That said, I’m a long-term, if infrequent, Western reader, and it was Brockmann. She hasn’t disappointed me yet.

I get to the first page of the story…which is a prologue…in first person…by a dead guy…with a serious case of attitude.

Umm, the back blurb says romantic suspense, not paranormal. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Interesting Links for 12-03-2010

Sigh. Kids having a party and my computer decided to lock up, while I’m in a scramble to finish my NaNo so I can put together the synopsis for the Harlequin challenge. However, I might not have many, nor have them posted on Friday (though missing by only 8 minutes), but I think you’ll enjoy the links I’ve gathered this week.

Just Because

I didn’t mean to look at these, but they were just too fascinating. Got to the end and realized I had to share these bizarre sea animals:

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Interesting Links for 11-26-2010

Posting these a little late ’cause I’m moving slow after a fun Thanksgiving celebration. I hope each of you, whether in the US so with Turkey Day or not, had a grand Thursday.


Before there was the Swiss Army Knife, there was the Roman Gourmet Utensil:

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Interesting Links for 11-19-2010 and 11-12-2010

Sorry for the missing week. The flu has caught me in its grip, but now you get two weeks for one.

Interesting Links for 11-19-2010

Renaissance Rome comes to life in the video game Assassin’s Creed through the assistance of historical scholars. Intriguing enough to make me consider whether I want to try the game.

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Interesting Links for 11-12-2010

This week has been a little crazy what with our first snow, throwing my back out, and becoming a walking, talking advertisement for Nyquil, not to mention the ups and downs of this year’s NaNo, but like the Post Office, the interesting links must go out :) . I found a nice range of things for you this week. Enjoy.

While not all Eastern or Western cultures fall into these categories, this visual representation of how the same concept can be completely different between cultures is wonderful:

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Interesting links for 11-05-2010


Some solid tips on the difference between traditional and social marketing so that your efforts to promote aren’t received the wrong way:

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Interesting Links for 10-29-2010


It’s always nice to see signs that what I love has earned a place in popular culture, but this is one step further:

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars

All the Windwracked StarsYou never know what to expect when reading a book by Elizabeth Bear, and All the Windwracked Stars is no exception. This is a post-apocalyptic novel centered around figures of Norse mythology who are trying their best to stave off the next round of apocalyptic disasters. The main character is an immortal who has managed to keep her naiveté mainly because she believes in black and white and doesn’t understand everything that has been happening around her.

Muire wants to help, but she doesn’t have much left. Her god has abandoned her, her comrades all died thousands of years ago in a pointless battle, and she carries the guilt of her survival as a weight on her shoulders. Or at least all that is what she believes to be true.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Interesting Links for 10-15-2010

This week is a bit of a mishmash. I’m still up to my gills in the Muse Online Writers Conference, but poked my head up enough to catch a few things I wanted to share.


A wonderfully simple presentation on the impact of oil dependency with hope for the future:


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Friday, October 08, 2010

Interesting Links for 10-08-2010

I’m neck deep in the final preparations for the 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference, where there are writing workshops, networking opportunities, and even pitch appointments all from the comfort of your home, as well as bleeding red ink all over my latest edit, so the pickings are a little slim, but for all that I think you’ll find them fun and worth your while.

FYI, if you’re interested in coming to next year’s Muse Online Writers Conference, you can register here:

Note: You will need to create an account on the Muse forum to register, but that is also the account you’ll use for the conference when it rolls around next year.

Just for Fun

Holly Lisle names one of her set of student workgroups with animal collective nouns, and it set me searching. I found this for your amusement:

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

dream called time by S.L. Viehl

Cover of dream called time: a StarDoc NovelThis novel got caught up in my blog reorganization and so didn’t even get the quick comments that I’ve previously done on top of my interesting links but that in no way reflects my reaction to the story. dream called time is a bit of a torment for me because I’ve been reading Stardoc since the beginning (though I started a year or two late) and it seems like Cherijo and Reever have been part of my life forever.

My comment as I was reading was this:

I’m zooming my way through dream called time wishing somehow Viehl’s prose was a little less smooth so it would take me longer. This novel is both a culmination and a sorrow since it’s the end of the Stardoc series, one I’ve been enjoying since book one. Without giving anything away since you’ll know in the first paragraph, the old Cherijo is back and Jarn (at least so far) is gone with a few lingering residuals. There are parts that sadden me, but I understand exactly why it has to be this way, which doesn’t make it any easier to take-a clear sign that Viehl has once again sucked me in.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Interesting Links for 10-01-2010

Is it just me, or is the year flying by? This week is mainly focused on the writing side. Maybe it’s a sign, or more likely that I had very little time to search things out, and coincidentally, I’m knee deep in a massive edit.


Here is a nice list of four common problems manuscripts have, along with examples and resources to explore them in more depth:
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Truthseeker by C.E. Murphy

Truthseeker by C.E. Murphy

C.E. Murphy has delighted me for years, and the Truthseeker world shows all the signs of doing the same. Certain elements are familiar enough from the Walker Papers series to make this right in Murphy’s sweet spot while in other ways, Truthseeker takes a huge leap into the unknown. Like Joanne, Lara Jansen is unaware of the true extent of her abilities. Unlike Walker Papers, though, acceptance is not an issue, and the development of those abilities is quick and strong. Lara enters the story going through her life with the knowledge that she cannot stomach lies, a knack that leads her to a cautious, isolated existence because it’s the rare friend who can understand, and enjoy, that ability.

Everything turns upside down though when she meets a man she’s attracted to but the first words out of his mouth–his introduction–are half-truths. Things go crazy from that moment on as Dafydd reveals that she’s the person he’s been searching for over the last one hundred years.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Interesting Links for 9-17-2010

Here is the first installment of my newly focused blog posts. Below, you’ll find links, links, and more links, each with a little explanation and/or commentary as it suits my mood. I hope you’ll see something interesting, and would love to hear back from you if you’re so inclined. Heck, you could even offer up a favorite link of your own, but be warned that I might prod you for a website review at Vision: A Resource for Writers ( if it looks like it has potential.


The steps necessary before a book gets accepted by a publishing house:

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Note: As part of my new plan to post my thoughts about various books on Wednesdays, here is the first installment. I’m including both my brief comments at the top, and if you want to hear more, there are longer comments to follow.

Cover of On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Brief Comments:

I finished On the Edge by Ilona Andrews and it was everything I’d hoped it to be. The balance between paranormal adventure and romance is nicely done, plus there are a lot of surprises along the way that even when you, and Rose (the MC), think you know exactly what’s going on, prove there’s more to this story. I’m delighted to know that a sequel exists, even if one was never intended.

A more detailed reaction is waiting for you below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

Friday, September 10, 2010

Interesting Links for 9-10-2010

Note: I’m moving the mini reviews to Wednesdays in a grand effort to focus my blog posts. I’ll post full reviews there too as they come available.


I couldn’t have asked for a better follow up to my posting of Karen McGrath’s stages of editing on Monday if I’d contracted one. A view from the other side of the revision letter:

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Interesting Links for 9-3-2010

What I Am Reading

I finished Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann. She manages to bring everything together in the thriller plot, paranormal plot, and romance plot for a satisfying and fun read.

I’m reading On the Edge by Ilona Andrews, another wonderful urban fantasy offering from this writing husband and wife team. This one focuses a little more on the romantic aspects than the early ones in the Magic series, but at the same time, it’s not the sum total of the book. There are many levels to the story, all of which I’m enjoying.


A good list of many (but not all) the times it is appropriate to use commas, with a focus on the problem of comma overuse:

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Interesting Links for 8-27-2010

What I Am Reading

I’m currently reading Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann which reminds me once again why my husband is willing to read romance novels by her. Brockmann is extremely talented and has established herself well enough to get away with the first person POV of a dead man in a romance novel. I can’t wait to get to the end, and I’m dreading it being over.

Fair Ladies by Theodora Goss (on Apex Magazine) is a melancholy, compelling story about young men and changing times. Very powerful.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Interesting Links for 08-20-2010

This week vanished too quickly, and I’ve had little time for research or reading on line. What this means is that the links are incredibly spare, but that also gives you the opportunity to read all of them rather than having to choose based on your own limited time.

What I Am Reading

I have finished Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars, and not surprisingly, I’m happy to discover there’s more in the series. That’s not to say she didn’t manage to pull this one off, because she absolutely did, but there’s more to be told in this world, and this place and time. I find it amazing to end the book with the feeling of more to come when it starts at the end of the world. Her talents as a storyteller continue to delight me.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Demon in Me by Michelle Rowen

The Demon in MeI was first introduced to Michelle Rowen through a blog contest. While not generally a fan of chick lit, when I won Bitten and Smitten, I found Rowen’s combination of chick lit, vampires, and comedy to be great fun. It’s not every day that I can read a paranormal romance aloud and have my two young boys rolling on the floor, but that’s what happened with several passages including ones about shoes…and throwing them if I remember correctly.

When I saw that she’d begun a new series, I was so determined to get it that I accidentally ended up with not one but two copies. Because of that, one of the commenters will receive my second copy based on a random draw. Now before you get the idea that getting rid of a copy says anything negative about my enjoyment, let me be clear: The Demon in Me is rather different than Rowen’s first series, but all in good ways. Read the rest of this entry »

Note: Only comments on my main blog count for the contest.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Are You Predisposed to Like What You Choose to Read?

I’ve been thinking about this on and off for a long while, but the question still bugs me. When I pick a book out of my TBR pile and open the first page, I start with the assumption that I have this book for a good reason. That could be because the premise caught my eye, because I like the author, because someone recommended it to me, or even because I won it in a contest. The reason doesn’t matter. I assume it’s not there at random, and therefore I wanted to read it. Okay, it’s a sign of the extent of my TBR pile (1.5 bookcases and growing) that I can’t always remember why a book is there. This may be part of the reason I approach things as I do, but even when I was gobbling down 20+ books a week, I approached them looking for what this one offered me as opposed to demanding entertainment.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Interesting Links for 08-13-2010

Welcome to Friday the 13th. Hope you’re all having a magical, rather than mundane, day.

What I Am Reading

Nearing the end of Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars, and so far it’s holding up well. I’m interested in seeing how she’s going to pull this all together in the end.

Just finished Public Affair, Secretly Expecting by Heidi Rice (part of a Harlequin reader reaction program I’m in). This one is from one of their “hotter” lines, which clearly plays a big part in the story, but at the same time, there’s a surprising complexity in the history of both main characters, affecting how Juno and Mac interact, and driving their interpretation of circumstances. I enjoyed this story a lot.


Not sure where to place this one, but I wanted to share. It has suggestions for writing, for project management, and for a focus on success. Well worth the time to read this analysis of Pixar’s process:

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Interesting Links for 8-6-2010

Sorry folks. Forgot to crosspost this for those of you who link to me on blogger.
What I Am ReadingElizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars is proving to be a complex and rather fascinating read.

A Stroke of Dumb Luck By Shiloh Walker, on, is a fun urban fantasy story that does an excellent job of establishing the world all the while maintaining tension:

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Demon Hunts by C.E. Murphy

Plot Summary:

Demon Hunts by C.E. MurphyDemon Hunts by C. E. Murphy begins with a newly, if not confident, then grounded, Joanne Walker. She and Billy have teamed up as the official unofficial paranormal arm of the Seattle Police Force with Morrison’s blessing. They’re investigating an unusual serial murder with the characteristics of human bites and no forensic evidence, only Joanne and Billy can’t sense anything either. Joanne stretches her abilities, and curses her earlier balking, to discover new ways to use her shamanistic powers and learn about her role in this crazy life with the help of friends old and new.

If you want specifics and to discover the end…well, you’ll just have to read it yourself.

My Comments:

Through no fault of its own, it took me a while to read Demon Hunts, but once I started reading, I moved through the story quite quickly.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Interesting Links for 7-30-2010

What I Am Reading

I finished Demon Hunts by C.E. Murphy this week. It was everything I’ve come to expect of her writing and more. I’ll try to get my comments up next week.

I also finished the Irlen book. A lot to think about, but nothing that changed my mind about going forward with the lenses. If just having my monitor tinged green has helped my focus and online reading, how much more will having that ability all the time?

This has not been a heavy reading period for me because I’m writing a complex computer program that tends to grab what concentration I have, but I don’t last long without reading something :) .


Tips on how to study the market for a manuscript:

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Interesting Links for 7-23-2010

Not as many links as I’d hoped to offer, but once again, I’m on the road (and this time not fast enough to post ahead of time. Still, there should be something of interest for pretty much everyone in the mix I’ve included. Enjoy.

What I Am Reading

While I’m still reading the Irlen book, I’ve also started Demon Hunts by C.E. Murphy. Not surprisingly, I’m enjoying this continuation of the Walker Papers, but what she’s done with this one is fascinating, because it offers old readers something new while grounding new readers in the world.

I also just finished listening to Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, which I started listening to in Audio Book for all the way back in December of 2009. I don’t have much opportunity to listen to longer works because when I’m on a long drive, it is generally with someone else in the car who wouldn’t appreciate coming in on the middle of the book. On the other hand, it says a lot about the book that I was able to pick up right where I’d stopped with no loss of place or story.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Interesting Links for 7-16-2010

What I’m Reading

I am still reading a non-fiction book called Reading by the Colors by Helen Irlen (ISBN: 0-399-53156-4), but I haven’t had much reading time, in part because of the focus I’ve achieved with my first steps in Irlen Syndrome correction. I’ll soon be jumping back on the reading bandwagon.

And I forgot to mention I read Winters Passage by Julie Kagawa as well, a novella set in between two of her YA books I haven’t read. It was interesting the hints at the greater picture and what has happened along with the troubles still to come. I’m not planning to pick up her full-length books at this point because I’m not really the target audience, but if these characters continue to linger in my back brain, I may change that plan.


A look at the various avenues open to selling short fiction:

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Interesting Links for 07-09-2010

My mind is still over in Canada, and I haven’t gotten back into the swing of things, so the pickings are a bit sparse. That said, here’s some solid links for you, plus some compelling reading choices to try.

What I’m Reading:

An aftermath of my wonderful trip to Canada has been that I’m walking in the mornings again. However, unlike there, I lack a furry companion to keep me interested. I had put a number of audio short stories on my phone for a road trip where I wasn’t driving, but I didn’t have time to listen to most of them. Finally, I had the equivalent of a commute, and a short story is the perfect length. I’ve been enjoying a run of stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, though I’ve noticed other ezines are starting to offer audio versions as well.

The Manufactory by Dru Pagliassotti is one I didn’t expect to find in this magazine, and yet the feel of it denies its modern/futuristic elements. This is not a comfort story. It explores the choices that status brings and takes away in a creepy and powerful tale:

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Interesting Links for 6-25-2010

What I’m Reading

I managed to take in a bit of short fiction while waiting for my son to finish the book he’d borrowed, Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (which I now have). There are a bunch of good reads out there for the enjoying.

The Dead Man’s Child by Jay Lake on Cosmos Online offers a lyrical narrative that builds on itself to resolution in the manner of the old teaching tales. It’s not rushed or focused on action or gore, and is compelling for that very fact. What did you think of it?

I listened to Father’s Kill by Christopher Green on Beneath Ceaseless Skies in audio form. I rarely have time for audio, so it’s not my favorite method of “reading,” but the BCS reader is quite good. I found the tale evocative and primarily mood focused. It does have a twist at the end that I didn’t anticipate, but is both well seeded and surprising too so nicely done.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

This Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams

This Is Not a Game
My husband recommended this novel for me, and it meets a lot of my interest areas. This Is Not a Game talks about the gaming world gone one step further into the real one, and then explores the social and economic consequences of same. The novel has a very cyberpunk feel to it while at the same time showing none of the traditional modifications. It reminds me a lot of The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, with modern-based tech as opposed to steampunk.

One of the reasons I enjoyed the book is its very complexity. Walter Jon Williams keeps numerous threads running throughout the book for which the interrelationships are not clear from the start. There are many types of books this one can fall under, but ultimately it’s a mystery. Dagmar is the main character, and she is responsible for crafting complex games run through the Internet but intersecting with the real world as an effort to advertise brand-new products. The games may involve international travel or just research but draw players into a world where treachery is the natural state of things.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Interesting Links for 06-11-2010

What I Am Reading

I just read Michelle Rowen’s The Demon in Me, and as usual, she did not disappoint. While the novel shows her characteristic upbeat style, it also provides a deeper main character than her Bitten and Smitten series who must deal with some heavy questions and circumstances. Like has happened before, I quibble about the classification of a romance novel, but that doesn’t reduce my enjoyment, or the fact that I’m eager to see what Rowen does next in the series.


At this point, I use my social networking time to learn more about publishing for the most part, but this article does a good job of pointing out some of the myths that are used to support how much time is given to free networking sites:

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Social Media and the Coffee House

I was at a restaurant with my husband last night and we started talking about social media, specifically the differences between Twitter and Facebook. Something clicked for me, and I thought I’d share what I figured out.

My parents are both retired Foreign Service officers which means that I spent much of my childhood surrounded by reams of fascinating adults. This included other diplomats, company folks stationed in the same country, ex-pats often from Ireland, or any number of other folks who had chosen to live outside their native country, or who were native to the country we were currently in. I learned quite young how to behave among them so I wasn’t sent to bed early, though before that I would hide under the dining room table so I could still listen.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

BayCon 2010 Con Report and Interesting Links for 6-4-2010

This week has been all about catching up after BayCon (I returned to a deluge of over 600 emails and 100-200 more come in each day) so I don’t have very many links for you to enjoy. However, I’ll give my first real con report below them to make up for it.

What I Am Reading

I finished This Is Not A Game by Walter Jon Williams while at BayCon and haven’t had time to write up my thoughts. It’s definitely an interesting read, though I have some issues with the storytelling. I talk about the reader’s 50% for description here:, but in this case my quibble is which thread of a complex novel was given dominance.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Steamed by Katie MacAlister

I’d been meaning to check out Katie MacAlister because of recommendations, but then I ‘met’ her in the Romance Divas class on steampunk where she mentioned Steamed. I have a soft spot for steampunk that dates back to my early childhood and travel watches I used to take apart and sometimes repair…with a few pieces left over. That was enough to push Steamed to the front of the list the next time I was in a bookstore.

While not exactly what I expected, especially since it starts with Jack in his quantum physics lab, the story is fun with strong characters. MacAlister leaps on the bandwagon of multiple universes to posit a world in which steam, and European dominance, holds sway. It is populated with a lot of the steampunk traditional elements, but there’s enough of a difference to play with when Jack’s interest in steampunk conflicts with his new reality.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Interesting Links for 5-21-2010

What I Am Reading

This has been a crazy week, so I didn’t get much reading time, but I have finished Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister and will be posting my review next week.


While I’d be cautious about some of the style tips at the very end, this process for constructing a synopsis is similar to what I taught in my synopsis class and can be quite effective:

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Interesting Links for 5-14-2010

What I Am Reading

I’m in the middle of Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister. It’s not quite what I expected, but I’m enjoying the ride so far. Ballsy characters in a neat setting make for a fun read.

The Last Stand of the Ant Maker by Paul Jessup on Apex Magazine is a bizarre almost prose poem. I skimmed the first few lines, thinking I wouldn’t like it, but ended up reading the whole thing, pulled in by its surreal nature. I wanted to know what was going on even though I could tell I never would be able to exactly.


Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to create character conflict:

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, the barely tolerated eccentric, Italian-colored spinster without any prospects no longer exists in the second Alexia Tarabotti novel. Instead, she’s been replaced by Lady Maccon, just as eccentric, just as Italian in appearance, and suddenly a hot property in society. While her change in status offers convenience, it does little to mold Alexia into someone society can bill and coo over, a fact which makes Changeless as much of a delight as Gail’s debut Soulless.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Interesting Links for 5-7-2010

Sorry for the late post. This week has scrambled out from under me as I enjoy the rush of Forward Motion’s annual Story A Day challenge. I have 5 stories completed so far, and I’m quite happy with the lot of them.

What I’m Reading

This week I read Changeless by Gail Carriger. It lives up to the pure fun of Soulless while offering a tour of the British Isles (not really but some) and adding a number of new complications.


Okay, this might be a little much, and I don’t usually post things like this, but my life has been a bit of a struggle and many of my friends have been going through very rough times. Nick Vujicic’s attitude just struck a nerve, a reminder of what’s important. Enjoy:

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Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf

I’ve read another book by Michele Hauf before I received this advanced copy as part of the Library Thing program so I knew I enjoyed her romances, but I’ll have to say Her Vampire Husband surprised me on two levels.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Interesting Links for 4-30-2010

What I’m Reading

This week I finished Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf. This is not the first one of hers I’ve read, but this one surprised me on several levels. It was closer to an erotica than I’d expected, and was a little too detailed on vampire love making for my comfort, but what caught my attention the most was the overall story where two distinct culture groups with a lot of reasons to hate each other have to face up to their similarities and change. This is definitely worth a read.

I received an order I’ve been waiting on forever (stupidly put some prereleases in a B&N free shipping order) and have to make a tough decision as to what to read first. Changeless by Gail Carriger won and I’m devouring it already.

The Freedom by K.M. Lawrence is an odd story that doesn’t quite explain itself but at the same time gives enough to draw me in and keep me reading through to the end. I wonder if this is a glimpse at something bigger just because there’s so much not explained, but that’s not a problem for the story. It’s an amazing study in how to say almost nothing and yet reveal a whole lot. And besides, I enjoyed the story itself.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kids Sure Can Surprise You

I don’t normally talk about my kids much, in part because my oldest is a private sort of person and also because it’s not fair to tell their stories for them. However, this time I can’t resist. I’ve just had my own assumption handed to me by my youngest in the best way possible.

P.S. My oldest isn’t offering a shoddy showing either having just been named a contender for the National Merit Scholarship Award :) .

Anyway, a little bit of back story is necessary.

Some years ago, my oldest earned a role in a high school performance of Fiddler on the Roof, his first up here in Reno. I’m the type who’s willing, though not particularly able, and so volunteered to help with costuming. (more…)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Iron Man 2 by Alexander Irvine

Iron Man 2 Description: “I am Iron Man.” With those words, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark revealed his secret identity. Now a famous high-tech superhero, he uses his powers to protect mankind. Yet things are not going well for Tony Stark. The U.S. military demands control of the most powerful weapon on earth…the Iron Man suit. His beautiful new assistant has a strange, mysterious agenda while his best friend, Rhodey, has betrayed him. And Tony is hunted by a vengeful Russian criminal armed with a lethal technology that may be stronger than Tony’s suit. But even as he fights his demons, the hero faces his greatest threat…one that no armor can defend against…

My Review

Iron Man 2 may be the first novelization of a screenplay that I have read, and as an introduction, I think it was quite a good one. I’m an old time comic book reader, and I’ve gone to every comic-based movie that I can, including the first Iron Man, so when had some review copies of Iron Man 2, I signed up. I wasn’t sure what to expect though, because I hadn’t read a comic-book to screenplay to novel before, as I said, and I was concerned that the feel of a comic book would be lost in a novel, or that it would not appeal.

Face it. Most comic books, especially the old Marvel Comics which originally brought Iron Man to life, have a larger than life aura that defeats efforts to constrain them to the expectations of life. It’s big, beautiful, brutal, life on the edge and without any sign of social conformity. Very few comic book heroes are people I’d enjoy having in my life. They tend to be arrogant, obsessed, driven, and so totally focused that the details which make life livable are just cast aside as unimportant. What that means is that if you’re not the super powered or gadgeted hero, you become something less than an appendage and more like an inconvenience. And none of that changes the fact that within a comic book, these stories are compelling, inspiring, and just work.


My Livescribe Pulse Pen

Several people have been asking me about my pulse pen and what I thought about it. Only thing is that I hadn’t had the chance to take it out on a road trip yet. Well, now I have and here are the results. This is what the pen captured. You can see my lousy handwriting in its full glory…and I was even sort of trying to write well, okay, trying when I remembered :p. Then I ran it through the OCR software. It certainly isn’t perfect, but the reason for the picture is so you can see what it had to work with. My older son wrote a sentence to test it in his cursive and it translated perfectly. Maybe I should improve my handwriting? Oh, and the pen also recorded the audio for the whole presentation in a usable sound file despite sitting in the left-hand, second to last row of a curved lecture hall.

Anyway, on to the show! (more…)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Interesting Links for 4-9-2010

What I’m Reading

Iron Man 2 by Alexander Irvine was an enjoyable romp with some amazing insights. I had a lot of fun reading what is most likely my first novel adaption of a movie adaption of a comic.

Another sweet story from Strange Horizons, but nothing like the last. This is much more traditional fantasy. The Duke of Vertumn’s Fingerling by Elizabeth Carroll:


A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I’m coming to this book quite late in its popularity, so there isn’t much that hasn’t already been said. However, as a mother, I love the fact that my son, who largely keeps to Forgotten Realms novels, chose A Game of Thrones to branch out…and that I can share the experience.

Why it took me so long to read this novel is easy. It didn’t exist in my teens when I read veraciously, and I am intimidated by big books. I have so little time to read that giving it over to something huge takes great effort, or outside intervention.

My luck came to play when I was assigned this novel as part of Holly Lisle’s How to Revise a Novel course. I’m on lesson four. It’s due by lesson twelve. I started early in the hopes of finishing in time.

Now you want to hear the funny part? It took me about the same number of days to devour A Game of Thrones as to enjoy The Windup Girl despite the second being half the length.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Interesting Links for 4-2-2010

What I’m Reading

I just finished Silky, a novel by Lazette Gifford who happens to be a friend as well as a talented writer. My sister, years before I knew Zette, had already read and enjoyed the first edition. Now I know why. Silky is available through Holly Lisle’s Shop:

My current read is Iron Man 2 by Alexander Irvine, which I received as part of the LibraryThing reader program. I’m finding it quite interesting because it maintains a comic book/men’s adventure feel.


Fun super hero generator that can be used as a story prompt:


Friday, March 26, 2010

Interesting Links for 3-26-2010

What I’m Reading

I finished HeartMate by Robin D. Owens earlier in the week. This is a novel my older sister leant me some time ago that got lost in the volume of my TBR pile. By luck and persistence, I rediscovered it while adding books to LibraryThing. Owens introduces a fascinatingly complex future society in what is clearly a science fiction romance. The romantic thread has center stage and you get your HEA (happily ever after), all the while discovering a world with a dark side and unexpected allies.

I’m currently enjoying Silky by Lazette Gifford, a novel by a good friend and independently recommended to me again by my older sister. Hmm, I’m detecting that sister has a bit of influence on my reading material ;) .

And this week I managed a short story as well, Merrythoughts By Bill Kte’pi. This story, offered by Strange Horizons, is odd, introspective, and quite powerful:


Friday, March 19, 2010

Interesting Links for 3-19-2010

What I Am Reading

I finished George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and now I understand why people are so opinionated and desperately waiting for the next installment. That book epitomizes the epic part of epic fantasy, following several different ruling families and their conflicts in a compelling narrative that manages to juggle a huge cast of POV characters with very few slips.

I also read The Rat Catcher by Kate Rothwell, a wonderful historical romance with unlikely main characters and a venture into the seedier side of historical New York crossed with a sheltered virgin whose ignorance is a source of much confusion, discomfort, and humor. (more…)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

From the title and the use of spring technology, it’s clear to me why people would think of The Windup Girl as a Steampunk novel. However, I found this fascinating look at a dark future falling more into the cyberpunk side of the “punk” categories, not because of advanced technology so much as the focus on corporate entities and genetic manipulation.

The tale is set in a post-apocalyptic world where climate changes have wiped out much of civilization and that which remains is held hostage by companies that produce strains of agricultural products with temporary immunity to various rots and diseases that threaten the world’s food supply. However, instead of placing us in the Western world as is common for this type of novel, the story takes place in Thailand, a country holding the line against both the rising ocean through a sea wall with extensive pumps, and the interests of the calorie companies in laying claim to all viable food sources. (more…)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interesting Links for 03-12-2010

What I’m Reading

I wish I could say I finished something, but things have been very chaotic and I’m loving this huge novel Holly Lisle’s making me read, Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Not only is it a good, complicated story, but it’s a book I can share with my oldest son, who read it before me and wants the next couple of books.

I also started a second novel, The Rat Catcher by Kate Rothwell, because it was on my Sony eReader when I was off at an appointment. I’d requested the book when I had time to read it…then life happened, but better late than never. So far it’s a fun historical romance that edges on risque.


Transforming human skin into the ultimate touchscreen: (more…)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

All About Cats, Or Even Dogs

As I mentioned a couple posts back, I volunteer at the Nevada Humane Society. It’s a no-kill shelter that is overloaded with cats and dogs of practically every shape and size. We even have various rodents and bunnies.

My Humane Society is running a free adoption deal this weekend (starting Thursday) and it got me thinking about how much people might not know about shelters. So, here are some of my thoughts on the subject (prompted by replies to my notice about the adoption deal).

First of all, while I only know the specifics of my shelter, it’s easy enough to find no-kill shelters no matter where you are. And these shelters, because they keep their doors and hearts open to animals in need, are desperate for help, whether volunteering, donating, or even adopting one of the residents. (more…)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Link to Interesting Links for 3-5-2010

What I’m Reading

This has been a crazy week on the home front, and I didn’t make any notes of short fiction I’ve read, but I have been reading. I am just over a third of the way through George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I’ve been intending to read this novel for a long time, and luckily I got assigned the read in Holly Lisle’s How to Revise a Novel class. My to-be-read pile has reached gargantuan proportions, so it takes outside influence to bump something to the top of the list. Have to say that I’m enjoying the story so far, and amazingly for me, I do not have trouble keeping track of the immense cast of characters. He does a wonderful job of triggering my memory so I don’t get lost.


A clear accounting (all puns intended) of the economics of word count:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Steampunk Is to Me

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll find the statement that I enjoy Steampunk a little obvious, but I learned as I read Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi that I have a very clear sense of what Steampunk is to me.

I have devoured the current Steampunk trend, delighting in the innovative designs and the literary analysis of the phenomenon. I can’t tell you how many attempts to define Steampunk I’ve read over the past couple of years. A recent one stuck with me, though, because it was a tirade against Steampunk design, a rather articulate analysis of how changing your laptop, etc. to look Victorian with a mechanical brass edge actually goes against everything Steampunk stands for. I didn’t blog it because I prefer positive over negative, and have now lost the link, but it clearly had more of an impact with me than I’d expected (had I known, I would have blogged it, negative or not).

So why, you might ask, do I feel the need–nay, the urge–to offer up my own definition of Steampunk? Well, because I’m curious about whether others feel as I do, and because, having thought it out, I want to share.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Interesting Links for 02-19-2010

What I’m Reading

I’m still enjoying The Windup Girl. It’s not a candy book and so I’m taking some time in the read, but I’d say it’s definitely worth the effort.

I haven’t had the chance to read any online short fiction this week. Have you read anything wonderful lately? Link it in the comments to share.


A good explanation of how to use setting description well:


Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin

Note: Extracted from an older Friday’s Interesting Links Post

Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin is a modern fairytale adventure written by an author I met at World Fantasy. I picked up the book out of curiosity and in support. There are no regrets. If I had to classify this book, I’d say it’s a little like Nightmare Before Christmas crossed with Narnia, with a good dose of unique elements.

A young girl is drawn into a world of vampires, werewolves, and monsters from other dimensions when she ignores the warning of her uncle and a mysterious character named Mothkin. Rather than condemning her for following Mothkin when he goes to prevent the break-in between the two worlds, Mothkin’s attitude is more that if she was there, she was supposed to be. (more…)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ultimate Brown Paper Packaging

During my vacation, I enjoyed an eBook called Price of Passion by Susan Napier on my Sony Reader. Why I started this one when I was already in the middle of a paperback and an audiobook is simple: I am not able to focus on the audio unless I’m doing something mechanical, and I didn’t have the paperback with me. My Sony fits nicely into my purse and so when I had a moment where I had nothing else to do, I pulled it out.

Usually, I read writing books when I have those spare moments, but I put books on my Sony for a reason, right? And if I wait until I’m not reading anything else, I’ll never read them. Interestingly, of the three books, the first I finished was the electronic one, both because it was shorter and because it suited my mood at the time, so I kept reading that one even when I wasn’t left at a loose end.

What all this is leading up to is the possibility that I’ve made a transition so that eBooks have become part of my natural cycle of reading rather than something strange I have to think about before I pick one up. However, this led me to think of another aspect to this question of eBook vs. paper that I haven’t seen talked about much. (more…)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Interesting Links for Friday 2-12-2010

What I’m Reading

I finished How to Teach Physics to Your Dog this week and reviewed it here:

I read a short story on Strange Horizons that is a mellow mood piece with a real kicker ending. You know it’s coming, and you start to guess just what the big secret is. You probably won’t get it. I didn’t, and I’m quite good at that process. But it’s still a gut-punch. After We Got Back the Lights by Eric Del Carlo:

And a fun tale about a scallywag by a writer I’ve enjoyed for years up at Subterranean Press. Harboring Pearls: A Lucifer Jones Story by Mike Resnick –


Why writing advice should not be taken as gospel, no matter what the source:

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday's Interesting Links

What I’m Reading

* Finished The Cardinal Rule and posted a review:

* Almost finished with How to Teach Physics to Your Dog.

* Started The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.

I also read an interesting story on Strange Horizons. It doesn’t meet any traditional story standards, but it has a compelling voice and when you get to the end, it’s said something. Go read it yourself and see what you think: Cory’s Father



Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Cardinal Rule by Cate Dermody

I feel a little guilty putting up a review of The Cardinal Rule because it is a Silhouette Bombshell that was published in December of 2005, so it’s not that easy to get a hold of.  I, myself, went through some trouble to collect this and the two sequels, but I’ve read pretty much all of C.E. Murphy’s writing (Cate Dermody is a pseudonym) and she hasn’t let me down yet.

First of all, let me state that I’d forgotten the style of a Bombshell, or this is a non-traditional one.  When I was looking at my available books, I hesitated, then reached past a Suzanne Brockmann because I felt like something just a little lighter.  For those who haven’t read my earlier reviews, Brockmann writes military adventures with a touch of romance.  Little did I remember that Bombshell is along almost the same lines.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's Interesting Links

What I’m Reading

I am still working my way through How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, but I have finished Judge and posted a review here:

I’m currently enjoying The Cardinal Rule by Cate Dermody (I finally got a hold of C.E. Murphy’s other series). This is more of a candy read than Judge so I don’t expect it to take two weeks :) .

I also read a Holly Black short story ( that packs a serious punch. Well worth the read.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Judge by Karen Traviss

If you’ve been following my reading habits, you’ll know that I adore Karen Traviss. I ran into the second book of this series through an Early Reader program and have been hooked ever since, even to the point of contacting her to say how thrilled I was about a new series in sociological science fiction, my first ever time contacting an author who I didn’t already know.

Because of the above, I am a little saddened by Judge. While I do not need to read series in order like some, obviously from the above, one of the things I try to look for is whether the book can be used as an entry point into the author or the series. Crossing the Line left me charged up and racing out to get a copy of City of Pearl, the first in the Wess’har tales. The same cannot be said about this latest novel. The story in Judge is a winding down of the series. It ties up loose ends that I didn’t even remember as loose and left me with the sense that, whether Karen plans to write in this universe again or not, she’s largely done with this set of characters. (more…)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday's Interesting Links

What I’m Reading

This week is a recap of last week’s because I have finished neither. Some weeks it’s a breeze to finish 2 or more books, while others I struggle to finish one. This is an odd case of reading two at the same time, but they’re very different in content, even beyond the non-fiction to fiction, simply because one is philosophy and one is physics…though they end up having a lot in common at times. Usually, this reading speed difference has to do with how much the particular book asks of me. If it’s thought provoking, I tend to read more slowly to make sure I absorb every possible aspect. If it’s brain candy, I just dive in head first and plow through to the end, enjoying the ride but ultimately sad when it comes to an end. Both of these book fall into the thought provoking category, and with a big programming push as well, they’re taking their time getting read. I have not stopped, nor do I have any intention of, stopping, because I’m enjoying both book, albeit slowly.

As a reminder:
* Judge by Karen Traviss
* How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel (


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Appreciate a Dragon Day

Dragons have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father told us bedtime stories about an unusual dragon he met while boating in Lake Michigan. My parents were Peter, Paul, and Mary fans, so Puff the Magic Dragon was a common song on our many road trips. Even Elliot made an impression as he tried to rescue Pete from slavery in the Disney movie, Pete’s Dragon.

Since those days, I’ve been introduced to mechanical dragons in real life, the thought that dinosaur bones could have begun the belief in dragons in the first place, wise dragons, horrible dragons, dragons that were brought to life through myth and magic and those crafted by genetic science. I can’t imagine a world without dragons in it, whether you hold to the Smaug image of a monstrous creature that hoards treasure and eats people, the helpmates of Pern, or the wise creatures who try to steer humanity in the proper direction only to fail time after time. (more…)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday's Interesting Links

What I’m Reading:
(Okay, so no mini reviews. This is just what I’m actively reading at the moment.)
* I’m trying to catch up on Strange Horizons ( and Beneath Ceaseless Skies ( I did read a good story on the TOR website ( The Starship Mechanic by Jay Lake and Ken Scholes is surreal and strange, but in some ways makes more sense than most first contact stories.
* Judge by Karen Traviss – Thought I’d already read this, but it got lost on the shelf. Wonderful sociological SF with philosophical leanings.
* How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel ( – Read about this online and thought I’d check it out. So far, so good. Interesting approach.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

Devon Monk has been recommended to me by friends, and even by Amazon based on some purchases I made, but I have an extensive to-be-read pile. Though I picked up a copy some time ago, I hadn’t gotten to it yet. Then, a friend was visiting and looked at the pile. She picked out Magic to the Bone as the “must read next.”
Now I know why. (more…)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday's Interesting Links

Books I’ve Read

I have decided to post the book reviews, even mini-reviews, as separate posts again. I swear this decision has nothing to do with the fact that I’m still 100 pages or so from the end of the novel I’ve been reading this week and barely started with the non-fiction one. That’s no reflection on either book. I just started very late and haven’t had much time to read, though every time I start reading the novel, Magic to the Bone, I have to tear myself away.

There are a couple reasons behind this: (more…)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Friday's Interesting Links

What I’ve Read:

This was a good reading week for me. I finished one book, and started and finished two others.

Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin is a modern fairytale adventure written by an author I met at World Fantasy. I picked up the book out of curiosity and in support. There are no regrets. If I had to classify this book, I’d say it’s a little like Nightmare Before Christmas crossed with Narnia, and a good dose of unique elements. A young girl is drawn into a world of vampires, werewolves, and monsters from other dimensions when she ignores the warning of her uncle and a mysterious character named Mothkin. Rather than condemning her for following Mothkin when he goes to prevent the break-in between the two worlds, Mothkin’s attitude is more that if she was there, she was supposed to be. (more…)