Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z is for... Ze End of Ze List

Z is for ze end of ze list. A to Z month is over!

Beware, this is going to be a long post. I've got a jumble of favourites here, all from the last two months. Also touching on Insecure Writer's Support Group day and remembering to check in for A Round of Words in 80 Days!

First up, Diana Gabaldon promised me a Table of Contents in the next book!

Then there are updates from astronaut Commander Hadfield! Here's his April Fool's Day joke. All the photos he's posted are free to use. "Please just credit NASA" he says. Also this: "A thought - maybe some of these pictures would be useful on Wikipedia to show how places really look. Please add to Wiki pages if they help."

On other days, he tells us about life on board the International Space Station: "We bathe, shave, wash hair and brush teeth, all with less than 1/4 litre of water" and "Where does Station water come from? We collect humidity and urine, purify it, heat it, dispense into instant tea bag - tea time!"

Every once in a while he talks about how awesome his job his: "This is such a phenomenal place to be. I'm an adult busy working, but the little boy in me is screaming and running around and laughing."

"Spacewalking has been the most memorable. It is magic to be between the Earth and the Universe, alone, holding on with one hand."

If you missed his conversation with Shatner, here's the video!

One another day, there was this conversation...

Meanwhile, on the Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer front, Amanda commented: "so weird to see all of my musical parents getting older and facing hardship. peter murphy, morrissey...where is our village? i want to help."

Neil's assistant Cat was in Australia, along with Duff McKagan, and I got jealous:

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have new scents - I bought the Coraline one!

Here are a few more of the medieval conversations I saved:

Erik Kwakkel @erik_kwakkel11 Mar The whole world's gone mad: unusual 16th-c print where fool's head is replaced by map of the world. pic.twitter.com/fzJ5fPAAQ4  View photo
Sarah Peverley @Sarah_Peverley19 Feb Exeter Cathedral: door with cat hole. Cathedral's 1st cat is mentioned in 15c wage rolls, its food cost a penny a wk. pic.twitter.com/7XrynTb7  View photo
Sarah Peverley @Sarah_Peverley19 Feb ... More information about the medieval door with the cat hole at the brilliant Walter's Art Museum site here: http://art.thewalters.org/detail/18381/door-with-cat-hole/ … Expand
Sarah Peverley @Sarah_Peverley19 Feb Medieval door with cat hole, as described in Chaucer's Miller's Tale. Walter's Art Museum, item 64.164 @erik_kwakkel pic.twitter.com/ojUG30Vg  View photo
Matthew Ward @HistoryNeedsYou11 Feb Today is the feast of Cædmon, the first Englisc poet. Here is his hymn read in Old English. #history http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAZyc8M5Q4I … View media
Erik Kwakkel @erik_kwakkel9 Feb RT Awesome! Beowulf manuscript and 5 other big medieval books now online “@blmedieval: Treasures Wonderful To Behold http://bit.ly/Xtvpbh Expand

There are medieval cat paws:

Meanwhile, among musicians:

Duff McKagan @DuffMcKagan14 Mar 200k followers?! Awesome! Let's start r own militia, buy a country (S.Pacific anyone?), and have a radio station that plays music we like! Expand
Tim Burgess @Tim_Burgess19 Feb Here's yesterday's BBC 6Music show - some brilliant songs in there (and some paper shuffling sound effects too!) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qrl21 … x x  View summary

And the Charlatans performing with Paul Weller!

Some other fun items I favourited, some on books:

Mary Robinette Kowal @MaryRobinette9 Mar Listening to @wilw read @scalzi "Muse of Fire" as I work. I suppose it's not surprising that I like this story. Nicely read, too. Expand
John Scalzi @scalzi7 Feb DEAR CANADA: Tomorrow morning I will be chatting with @CBCRadioQ in the early part of the show, about things! And stuff! Tune in! Expand

Simpsons Quotes @dailysimpsons7 Feb And now, I'm going down to Emmett's Fix-It Shop. To fix Emmett. http://youtu.be/7X1apt6zOa8   View media

SilverLeaves Journal @Silver_Leaves9 Mar Silver Leaves is currently accepting scholarly, creative, reflective, and artistic submissions for our fifth issue: http://olorispublishing.com/2013/01/26/silver-leaves-journal-call-for-submissions/ … Expand
Chelsea @FoodthruPages11 Feb Ent Draught recipe, involving tea and herb infusions http://tmblr.co/Z7HO8tdwpPXG  View photo

Owen King @OwenKingwriter4 Mar Excited to be be appearing @BookRevueLI with @joe_hill on May 1. I hope for q&a someone asks him when he'll be returning my Graceland cd. Expand
Joe Hill @joe_hill25 Feb My Dad uncovered this one. The fact that this band only had this one 45 proves the universe is cruel: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=pYHnBYZwP94&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DpYHnBYZwP94 … Expand
Becky Yerak @beckyyerak6 Feb Stephen King riffs on horror for full @Fearnet hour: not a werewolf fan - "too literal." Among desert-island horror films: Psycho, Exorcist Expand
Joe Hill @joe_hill9 Feb I always wanted to be a guy who smoked two pipes a day when he was 40. Instead I became a jogger. WHERE DID I GO WRONG?Expand

I like that last one a lot. I wish I could be as organized in keeping journals. Sadly, I always start with the greatest intentions, then fail to keep up after a couple of months. The only list I'm accurate in keeping is the Books Read list at the bottom of the blog. I'm so happy to have the blog as a place to keep that list - I wish I'd maintained such lists from when I first started reading!

Fellow bloggers are a wonderful morale-booster when it comes to Insecure Writers Support Group DayHere're a few of us:

Lucky Jamie!

And now, some book related favourites:

John Green @realjohngreen27 Feb @Peeta_is_aBAKER The question is whether we can find (or construct) meaning in the world as we find it, which includes suffering. #1book140  View conversation
John Green @realjohngreen27 Feb @nicoletontala_8 ...is the journey from strength to weakness, which I would argue is the real hero's journey. #1book140  View conversation

Barbara J King @bjkingape8 Mar Marilynne Robinson: wonderful writers are "frustrated by the thinness and inadequacy of ordinary spoken language" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/books/review/marilynne-robinson-by-the-book.html?ref=books&_r=0 …  View summary

Anthony Horowitz @AnthonyHorowitz27 Feb Neck, arms, eyes, back, wrists & spine all feeling trashed after 17 hours at my desk today. Writing kills. But RR so close to the end! Expand

Sara Megibow @SaraMegibow15 Feb If an author has money to spend, what should s/he spend it on? Great website, attending conferences, professional headshot. #pubtip Expand
jo bourne @jobourne17 Feb I particularly like this summary of how to write engaging characters. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7978367&postcount=13 … Expand

17 hours of writing?! I'd like to try that some day.

Share your book exchange party experiences here. And keep an eye out, I hope to be knitting something book-related soon for Helene Boudreau.

Enjoy - a book plate!

Then there were a couple of cat incidents:

Jamie Oliver is coming to Turkey!

The Guide Istanbul @tgistanbul7 Feb #JamieOliver is bringing his delicious dishes to Istanbul! #JamiesItalian is opening at Zorlu Center Istanbul. #delicious #food #istanbul Expand

I can't wait to try out the restaurant next time I visit Istanbul. There are also cats...
Elif Şafak / Shafak @Elif_Safak14 Feb The cats of Istanbul... pic.twitter.com/FlCFEO04  View photo

And tea...

My Turkish Joys @MyTurkishJoys6 Feb Morning #Turkish #tea in #Istanbul @ Kabataş Vapur İskelesi http://instagr.am/p/VYnoWenfXt/   from Turkey

Here are some United Kingdom related favourites:

Matthew Ward @HistoryNeedsYou8 Feb Flat Holm is a lovely little island in the Bristol Channel between Wales and England. #Heritage pic.twitter.com/M3rgknIR  View photo

And some just-for-fun posts!

Biblio Connection @BiblioConnect21 Feb “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.” ~Erma Bombeck #quote #author #book Expand
Erik Hansson @erik_hansson23 Feb 384 tweeters in Scots Gaelic, 13044 in Basque, 81 in Cornish. More here: http://indigenoustweets.com/  via @IndigenousTweet Expand

jo bourne @jobourne18 Feb Tag painting in British Museums http://tagger.thepcf.org.uk/  Your chance to contribute to the greater good and ... it's like a game. Expand
This is a real thing: "Your Paintings Tagger is part of a project run by the Public Catalogue Foundation and the BBC to put all 200,000 publicly owned oil paintings online on the Your Paintings website. Currently we have only basic information about each painting such as title, artist, and execution date. We have no information about the type of painting, the subjects portrayed in the paintings and the styles and movements represented. Tagging each painting will provide this information enabling Your Paintings to be searched by users in a more sophisticated and helpful manner. Without this extra information it will be very difficult to search Your Paintings effectively."

I love this: Steve Martin @SteveMartinToGo8 Feb I t h i n k I’ve h a d a l i t t l e too m u c h to d r i n k at the S p a c e B a r. Expand

Of course, there's a Doctor Who post among all these:

Douglas Adams' daughter has started something exciting called Culture Coach:
Polly Adams @pollyjradams6 Feb I've had what I think is a pretty fantastic idea, and it's called #culturecoach. Read all about it here: http://whatisculturecoach.tumblr.com  #wisdom Expand

And finally... Shatner on tweeting often:
William Shatner @WilliamShatner4 Feb @neilhimself As someone who tweets to excess sometimes, have fun and fill up my twitter feed! My best, Bill  View conversation

This year's A to Z was lots of fun! I'm glad I found a topic that lent itself so easily to photos, though each post took - of course - longer to prepare than I expected.

As for ROW80... I slacked off a lot in the past couple of weeks. I'm not where I want to be at all. So, no more excuses. I've got to return to focusing on the blog only one night a week, and have to sacrifice some reading time, if I ever want others to read and enjoy my own stories!

Speaking of reading, though, the next few posts will feature lots of exciting book releases, from Jessica Bell, James Forrester, and C. C. Humphreys!

Which book releases are you looking forward to?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Y is for Yes You Can!

Y is for yes you can!

My CampNaNo and ROW80 goals are not being met.

But at any moment, I have to remember this:

Must get back to work! Hope everyone's making progress.

And in other news... Guest post from Susan Kaye Quinn as part of her blitz for the Debt Collector series!

One lucky commenter will be entered to win an ebook of the first Debt Collector episode, Delirium. Extra entry to all who sign up for Susan's newsletter!

Also enter the a grand prize Rafflecopter giveaway!

And now, here's Susan herself:

Future-Noir or Why Retro Science Fiction is Awesome
by Susan Kaye Quinn author of the future-noir serial Debt Collector

Apparently, I write strange science fiction.

This comes up whenever I try to classify my stories to readers, bloggers, the lady at the checkout stand, my mother, or Amazon (who insists that I need a "category" in which to place my books; I insist I need about five). Apparently I write novels that mash together all kinds of genres in an indiscriminate cross-pollenation that would have Isaac Asimov turning in his grave... if he hadn't done the same sort of thing himself as a young man (winking at you, Isaac!).

Seriously, if you want to see a good bar brawl among literary types, just ask them what's the genre of Hunger Games or Time Traveler's Wife or any Nicolas Sparks novel, and watch the rhetoric fly! I personally have a very laizzez-faire approach toward genre definitions, which is sure to infuriate genre-disciplinarians. (I don't mention my east-indian-influenced steampunk fantasy romance to genre-afficianados. I don't want them to rupture something.)

I figure the story comes first; people can decide what genre it is after it's written. So no one was more surprised than me when I ended up writing a future-noir.

On a long car ride, just me and my Muse...

Muse: The Debt Collector.
Me: Er, what? Who are you?
Muse: When people's debts exceed their future potential contributions to society, he cashes them out.
Me: Whoa. Tell me more.
Muse: He extracts their life energy and transfers it to a "high potential" - someone who can use it to make greater contributions to the world.
Me: Holy... that's a great idea.
Muse: He's a good man with bad power. And it's future-noir.
Me: Future-noir! Cool! Uh, what is that exactly?

Muse: Dark. Gritty. Futuristic but retro at the same time.

Me: Oh... like Blade Runner... Holy cats, this is awesome.
Muse: You're welcome.

I ran (well, okay, drove) home and wrote the first episode. It was dark, gritty. Lots of low light, shady characters, set in a futuristic LA where the smog pooled at the impoverished feet of the city and the wealthy high-potentials lived above it all in the clean, clear air, taking their life-energy-hits courtesy of the titular Debt Collectors. The fashion was retro-sexy. The feel was future-dystopian. Did I mention it's gritty? And dark?

I send it off to my critique partner...

My Crit Partner: Hey, your new Debt Collector story reminds me of Looper!

Me: Well, it is future noir. *acts like I know what I'm talking about*
My Crit Partner: Seriously. I totally see Lirium as a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt! And it totally reads like noir. You know, like Double Indemnity!
Me: Double what? That's not one of those old black-n-white films, is it?
My Crit Partner: All those noir films were black-n-white.
Me: Right! I knew that. (Sure.) Anyway, I think of Lirium more as James McAvoy in a trenchcoat.
My Crit Parnter: I can work with that.

*we both drool on the picture*

Wait, what was I saying?

Right. Future-noir. Gritty retro feel - where the men wear trenchcoats and slick suits and the women wear bright red lipstick and carry a mini-revolver under their skirts - only it's a futuristic story with time-travel (Looper) or berzerker androids (Blade Runner) or life-energy transfers (Debt Collector) that change the landscape.
It's raw. It's sexy. It's awesome.

It looks something like this.

Nice Blogger Lady: What genre is that?
Me: Future-noir.
NBL: What's future-noir?
Me: It's a science fictiony, mystery type of story. Sort of a mix between urban fantasy and noir, with a thriller twist. There could be romance in there too. Like Blade Runner. Or Looper!
NBL: I'll just call it science fiction.
Me: Works for me. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA SF Mindjack series. Her new Debt Collector serial is her more grown-up SF that she likes to call future-noir. Her steampunk fantasy romance is temporarily on hold while she madly writes episodes to keep Lirium (the titular Debt Collector) happy. Plus she needs to leave time to play on Facebook. Susan has a lot of degrees in engineering, which come in handy when dreaming up dangerous mind powers, future dystopias, and slightly plausible steampunk inventions. Mostly she sits around in her pajamas in awe that she gets make stuff up full-time. You can find her at www.susankayequinn.com

What's your life worth on the open market? A debt collector can tell you precisely. Delirium (Debt Collector 1) is now available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords

Episodes 1-3 (Delirium, Agony, Ecstasy) of the Debt Collector serial are collectively the length of a short novel, or 152 pages. These are the first three of nine episodes in the first season of The Debt Collector serial. This dark and gritty future-noir is about a world where your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating. Episode 4, Broken, releases 4/17/13.

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He's just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja's sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane... until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn't what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone--a dark pit he's not sure he'll be able to climb out of again.

See the Debt Collector website to check all the latest episode releases and goings on in the Debt Collector world. Find Susan on her 
Website and at: Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Congratulations, Susan and thanks for being on the blog today!

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2016/12/annual-books-read-statistics-2016.html
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html