Monthly Archives: January 2012

Acquisition!

What you need to understand is, I only found out about this yesterday. Some fiber artist or another died and bequeathed her collection to the Eugene Textile Center. The textile center was, in turn, having an estate sale. I, um. I thought we were going just to see what was there. But what happens when you have one spinning fiend enthusiast, one weak-willed supportive partner, and a small amount of expendable money in the bank?

This is what happens. We now have, on top of the I can’t even count skeins of yarn (well, I can. I’m not going to) and the assorted amounts of roving and the poor Jacob fleece waiting for attention, four and a half pounds of Romney. Lookit how small the sheep is after the shearing! Look!! Poor realistic looking, purple-eyed sheep! (and lookit and envy my Easter witch! She flew all the way from Sweden)

But, how can I say no to this?

Plus, now I can justify a book purchase . . .

Discovering the rhythm

It’s an on-going process, finding the right balance between one’s interests, because the right balance fluctuates constantly. I’ve been working on the current book for two weeks, this weekend starting week three. I’ve also been working on critiquing a friend’s novella and have a novel coming my way to work on next. I have books to read, research to work on, and the Pagan Blog Project I’m doing over at the other blog, and then other interests and obligations that are not writing related. Except for one day of feeling utterly struck dumb, I’ve found this pace to be invigorating.

When discussing projected time lines for getting critiquing projects done, I was tempted to say I needed more writing time for my own projects because I’m not getting any work on it done. And then I counted words. At the end of week 1 I had just under 9k words finished. At the end of week 2, as of yesterday, I had 19k, give or take a few hundred. I discovered, then, that my idea of “not getting any work done,” is false. This is only on the current book project. I apparently do not count essays for blogs (and maybe I shouldn’t count this one, since it’s more conversational than anything, but the pagan blog project posts certainly should count). But, only focusing on the current book WiP, I wrote more this past week than the first week, so why does it feel like the reverse is true?

Because during the first week I sat down and wrote a little bit every day. I don’t really have word goals on a daily basis. I decided this year that the book would come however it came, and that in reality the most I expect from myself is forward motion. I did 5k on that first Sunday and then picked at it for the rest of the week. During the second week, I worked on the WiP for two days. Just two. I wrote more material during the second week, but I worked on it for fewer days, and in my head that became getting less done.

I’m a spurt-writer. I get bored, I get restless, I get hung up on details, I get distracted. I have other things to write and read and work on, and I move on to them. My goal is to at least channel that distraction to continue forward. If not on the book, then on stories, and if not on stories then on essays, etc. So far, it’s been successful.

Know your strengths and use them to work around your weakness.

I’m going to get a small notebook to track wordage. I was going to do a file, but I work on two different stations, so a paper book will work better/be easier.

Writing, and editing, makes me happy. My knitting has suffered neglect, and I almost miss it, but not quite yet. Plus, socks are scary.

Currently Reading and on being in love

Last weekend Beth and I ventured to our local university and renewed our library access there. The ability to do this — for local, non-student or faculty residences to have access to the University of Oregon’s library — is a major factor in our living here and part of why I am hopelessly in love with the city. I’m not ashamed to say that it will be one of the things that I’d miss the most if we ever move.

Apparently, it had been some time since we’d gone, and we both walked the stacks with our mouths hanging open. “Why did we stop coming?” she’d ask. Five minutes later I’d say, “Why has it been so long?”

I came home with an assortment of books to read or reread: Sacred Marriage in the Rituals of Greek Religion was a new find, Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece was also an unexpected find. Ancient Greek Cults is a reread. There was also a book or two on Linear B, and Womens Work, finally. This is the book that drove me to stop putting the renewal off.

Naturally, when I got home with this treasure trove I picked up Bitten By Moonlight and started reading that, instead. And, I’m quite loving it, so that works.

In love with the libraries, in love with the books. I’m also in love with my various projects going on.

For over a year, I’ve been trying to get one particular book up and running. It’s been hell. I’m still very excited about the plans for the book, I still believe in the story, and I do feel that the approach I have now is The One that will work. But, there’s all this baggage and associations of failure tacked on now. My current WiP is a different book altogether, and I’m rediscovering what it’s like to be head over heels in love without the associated angst. It’s pretty awesome. My plans for this one extend to having the rough draft done in four months or so. Nothing hard and fast. It’s good to have the joy back. Minor headaches when the voices are reluctant, but they want the tale told, mostly, so it’s working.

Book Review: Teeth

For our next review, I bring you: Teeth an anthology edited by that fabulous team Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, with contributions from such genre heavyweights as Neil Gaiman, Melissa Marr, Holly Black, Catherynne M. Valente, and Tanith Lee. (Hey, they’re heavyweights for me, okay?) It’s pretty much assured to be a great book, right?

Right! The stories range from dark and somber to lighter and less serious. There are serious tales, and less serious tales, and some haunting poetry. My favorite stories were the stark stories. And, because it’s a compilation of different authors, it means you get to discover some you might never have read otherwise. I found that my favorite stories in this collection were written by people I’d never heard of. This is why Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are amazing. Well, part of why. There were a few that were down right disturbing, and it was so wonderful to come away from a vampire story disturbed. They are supposed to be disturbing, at least some of the time.

Finally: Kindle release!

It took longer than expected, but I’m pleased to announce that The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales is now available for Kindle and Kindle apps. To go along with the release of this, I’ve dropped the PDF price over at Lulu.com, so both e-formats match, price-wise. The next step is to get it released as an E-PUB doc, for Nooks and the like. One thing at a time . . .

And don’t forget to enter the give away! Only five days left!

Book Review: Touch of Greek

One thing I’m taking advantage of is the lower cost books for my Kindle. Readers to this blog have to know, I’m not a book snob. There is not any genre of book that I won’t read — if the story sounds interesting, I’ll read it. If the story sounds like it could be fun and it mentions Poseidon anywhere, I’m going to read it. Heck, if the story mentions Poseidon anywhere, even if I think it’s gonna tick me off, I’m going to read it. Also, I read romance. I read romance partially as a protest against snobs who think only certain people read romances. There’s nothing I love more than showing up at work one day with my fun reading being some doctoral thesis, followed by something like Pausanias, followed by some “trashy romance novel.” I want a good story. Period.

So when I came across Tina Folsom’s A Touch of Greek over at Amazon’s Kindle store as a freebie, you know I snapped it up. Poseidon as a character, but not involved enough to get my dander up. Gods and mortals interacting. A god and mortal love interest. How could I pass that up?

The set up is understandable enough: Triton has ticked Zeus off by bedding Zeus’s current mistress and is given the option of two punishments: banishment to earthside in order to earn the love of a woman who see past his divine beauty and sexual prowress, or banishment to Hades for a year. Because Triton is still a very immature sort of god, he was too busy daydreaming about his latest conquest and was tricked into choosing the first option. He thus finds himself stripped of his godly powers and flung down in America. Here, with the help of Hermes and Dionysos (help which isn’t always help) Triton runs into — and immediately alienates — Sophia, to whom he is inexplicably (to him anyway, the reader is privy to why) drawn.

Sophia has her own problems: renovations to the home she grew up in, trying to turn it into B&B in order to afford keeping the place, while dealing with a monster of a cousin who feels shafted by his exclusion in the will. This is made worse by an accident that renders her blind. Blind, Triton discovers, will aid his task immeasurably.

A Touch of Greek is not my normal reading fare. It’s a lighter treatment of non-human characters (hey, I like my supernaturals dark and spooky) and the stereotyping of the gods is enough to annoy me — except, at the same time, it doesn’t. I mean, if Homer can render them into nearly caricature, why can’t modern writers? The only actual criticism I have of the book was a spot of not even homophobia so much as one of the gods in question reacting sort of askance at an insinuation of a same-sex situation. This kicked me out of the flow of the story for a few reason, but the main one being the history of same-sex relationships in the ancient Hellenic world: that is, it was common place, in places, and a part of live and not necessarily viewed as unhealthy. That the ancient pagan gods, who are decidedly not under the influence of Christian dogma, should even bat an eye at that, hit me as anachronistic.

One flaw does not a bad novel make, however. Tina’s storytelling is solid, her characters are believable (Sophia’s deplorable cousin was extremely believable and reminded me of people I’ve known) and her setting really comes across well. I was nearly oppressed by the heat and humidity while I was reading the book, despite our climate being in early spring currently. I’m happy I discovered this series.

This is one of those books that the genre gets a bad name for and shouldn’t. It’s not a deep book, it’s not meaty, it’s not going to make you question the way the world is or why monsters are monsters. It does remind you that people are good, even when they suck, and that love is a powerful, transforming force. If you want to be reminded of these things and you want to be entertained while doing it, do check out this book.

Also, don’t forget about my book give away! You’ve got until the 27th to enter.