Monthly Archives: August 2012

I’m not a novelist!

Today, having just ripped out my fourth sock attempt in as many months, feeling utterly dejected and incapable of following a simple pattern, I am likely prone to dramatic statements of either-or.

I obviously can only knit rectangles!

Staring at eight months of working on a novel and having pretty much nothing to show for it, with one short story publication coming out this year, I obviously can only write short stories.

Here’s the thing: I adore writing short stories. Does that make me lazy as a writer? Does it make me lack the dreaded D word? Am I undisciplined?

Does it matter? Isn’t it about rediscovering the joy and learning what works for me?

I’ve written book length stories. I haven’t written a novel in years, but I have done it. Which means, I know I can. But I prefer writing short- to novella-length works. Why can’t I just do that? Why must I introduce value judgments? Why can’t the value judgment be about the work itself instead of something so meaningless as length?

Yesterday I started on a story that’s to be in the follow-up to The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales, and I’m excited all over again. I’ve got a short story coming out later this year in an anthology. My stuff isn’t crap. I can do this. I can.

Which is frustrating, because I still want to write the books I’ve got in my head. I just want to write these other things more. Some people argue that novels might be easier for me when I don’t have so much vying for my time. There may be something to that. I dunno.

Writing is what matters. Everything else is just details. Who’s with me?

The Artist’s Inheritance by Juli D. Revezzo

I am incredibly excited to be able to announce that Juli D. Revezzo’s latest book The Artist’s Inheritance is now available for Kindle! (Nook and paperback editions forthcoming)

why no, I at no time had the wrong cover up here. Why would I do that?

I’ll admit: I’ve already read the book. I’m special that way. I’ll also admit that seeing this book released pleases me to no end. No end, I tell you!

Juli and I have been corresponding (you do not need to know who many times a day) for (I still can’t believe how long) years. She listens patiently, even knowing how often the first blush of new ideas fades; she’s held my hand while whole worlds collapse around me, she encourages me to keep writing, and when I do get material out there, she’s one of my biggest supporters. Likewise, I have watched her turn into a writing madwoman, churning out material that completely amazes me. Why haven’t you seen her stuff on the shelves?

I’m not going to point to the traditional publishing industry and say, “They’re to blame! They keep us on a narrow diet of material!” because, there are works out there that are boundary-pushing and ground-breaking and wonderful. But those are far and few between, and people typically like what is familiar to them, and comforting, even when they’re living vicariously through whole worlds collapses and domestic peace falling apart and the stress of first contact. I’m guilty of it myself — even if my comfort zone is humans interacting with non-humans in a variety of settings.

But this makes it hard for writers who do not necessarily want to be constrained by what essentially makes marketing easier to get a foot in the door. I’ve been privy to a lot of behind the scene angst (Juli’s done a lot of the submission-and-rejection process; I haven’t as of yet, my stuff is too limited, I think, in scope. Read: I’m more afraid of success than failure and thus do not promote as I ought), including crises of faith. “Should I write something more mainstream?”

Well, she did, let me tell you, and she can, and it’s great, but . . . I want magic and I want mystery and I want suspense, and that magic part? I really do want it in the stories I read. Over the top, ritualistic, Ceremonial Magic-inspired to sympathetic magic to shamanism and everywhere in between.

I had the privilege of reading the material Juli wrote that was more mainstream suspense romance, and it was amazing; in fact, I adore the couple I was able to meet. But getting my grubby hands on an advanced copy of The Artist’s Inheritance nothing short of awesome. I knew going into the book what to expect, of course; I’d heard about the tale and watched it grow as we talked back and forth about it.

That really didn’t end up mattering; hearing about it and getting to read the tale are two different animals altogether, and seeing Juli return to the writing that I love of hers so much was an absolute gift.

~*~*~

The Artist’s Inheritance starts off dark. After the tragic death of his brother, Trevor and his wife Cait uproot their lives from California to move into his late brother’s house, working to get the house fixed up and seeing to the loose ends his brother left behind. Trevor is understandably grief-stricken, and Cait proves herself a loving, supportive wife who allows many concessions to this grieving process. Not long after moving into the house, however, Caitlin begins to see a different side to her beloved husband, as obsession over his current art piece becomes darker and darker. With the help of new and old friends alike, Caitlin uncovers a curse hanging over her husband that stretches back into history. Only untangling the threads of this curse will provide her with answers and solutions . . . but will she like the options she’s faced with?

Go visit Juli’s blog to see the trailer!

~*~*~

I love this book. I love how oppressively hot Florida comes across, despite my being nestled in the mild climate of the Willamette Valley. I love how annoying Trevor can be in his grief, and how clearly Cait’s love for her husband shines through. I love that there will be more books to follow.

And I love that I get to see them early.

(Also, I think book trailers are one of my favorite developments of the Internet magic!)

Socks!

Plans for today include: knitting, more knitting, a bit of knitting on the side, and maybe some reading. Beth and I are having a hoot listening to my Kindle read Thunderbird Falls while we attend to our fiber crafts. I’m roughly halfway through the blanket I’m working on, and today? Today I turn my first heel and work my gussets. I shall be learning things like picking up stitches, and I’m terrified. But I’m going to do it, damn it all.

Second trip through, I still adore the Walker Papers. But, man oh man does Joanne annoy the *heck* out of me in this book. Too many shades of past me, likely, so I don’t hold it against her.

Up next we’ll be listening to Faye Kellerman’s The Ritual Bath. After that, hopefully we’ll have our hands on the audiobook of Discovery of Witches, back out from the library.

Writing has taken a backseat to Christmas knitting. And mourning-distractions.

Love in a Headscarf: a review

Recently, this book was brought to my attention and, thanks to the magic* of the awesomeness that is Eugene Public Library, I was able to borrow and read it. This made me incredibly happy. I loveloveloveLOVE our local library system.

This book was a delight to read. I devoured it on Sunday, during one of my “sit still and don’t move!” recuperation days (yay for back pain!) and it made the day so much faster in its passing. Love in a Headscarf is the memoir of a young woman opting for a traditionally arranged marriage — and the resultant struggles between traditions, an amusing (for us) clash between cultural traditions versus Islamic traditions. Add to that the bonus of a young woman who seeks to live a religiously devout life, seeking a companion for said life, and it becomes even more interesting.

I absolutely love reading stories. Real, fictitious, it doesn’t matter. I love seeing lives I wouldn’t normally get to see and being able to glimpse a bit of the heart of other people. It is odd, to be sure, to be a polytheist devotee of two pagan gods (and a worshipper of yet more gods) to read a book writing by an admittedly monotheistic Muslim, and find so much about her path resonating within me. Odd, and yet, not. It seems to happen to me more and more.

The careful way in which lives are contemplated and arranged — marriage is a commitment and ought not be based on something as ephemeral as lust and passion and “falling in love with” certainly speaks to me, for all that my life is far from “traditional”. This book gives the reader an honest, open, entertaining, and heart-warming glimpse into the life of a young woman seeking her place in the world.

It didn’t hurt that the author is a fellow head-scarf wearer!

If you like legal peeping-tom-ing, you should *totally* check this book out! (Isn’t that what memoirs are for?)

~*~*~*~

* or the time, donations, and dedication of the Friend of Eugene Library and other volunteers, and the hard work of the employees.

Finding new to me authors in unexpected ways

Because we don’t go to the bookstores to browse much anymore, I don’t find new authors unless I go looking for them. I’m not sure that I can recall even picking up his books to take a look at, but these few blog posts of Jim C Hines is changing that. These are hysterical, and I have heaps and *heaps* of respect for a man who will put himself through such arduous photo poses! Go, check them out, but do put down the beverage first.

Wherein he models female-centered fantasy novel covers for us and his one with male poses and they’re both *awesome*. If this sort of sense of humor even superficially touches his writing, I’m gonna enjoy it.

I’ve discovered Michelle Sagara

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this yet or not. Considering the amount of posting I’ve been doing (read: it’s not happening) chances are good that I haven’t been. I’ll remedy that.

Originally, Cast in Shadow came to my attention via Amazon.com’s recommendation. Generally, that’s a feature I ignore, and I wonder if I shouldn’t. I discovered the awesomeness of e-book loans via the library. I have since devoured the first three books in this series.

I am trying to pace myself. It’s hard. I rather adore this series. The main character has the sarcastic wit I love so much, similar in feel to such lovable characters like Mercedes Thompson and any of Kelley Armstrong’s heroines . . . only with the added perk of it being a secondary world fantasy series. Kaylin is broken, does not know herself nearly as well as she ought to, is frustrating stubborn . . . and utterly lovable. Her compassion toward people despite her early suffering is awesome to behold . . . even when it’s making me want to strangle her.

I’m not going to review each book — I’m three in, as I’ve said, and I’ve loved all three. So, this is really to boost the series’ signal.

What’s on your summer reading list?