It’s been a while since I’ve even hopped over here, never mind posted. If you’re curious about what I’m up to, please visit me at Strip Me Back to the Bone!
The most important announcement is more of a reminder, which is: those of you who have signed up for my story subscription can expect your September installment to go live on the 15th. The move has mostly been for breathing room while I get used to how Patreon works, but I already don’t like it (the date change, not Patreon. Patreon is pretty great) so I don’t know that I’ll keep sending the material out that late in month — though I also don’t know that I won’t. We’ll see.
A secondary announcement is: I’m moving to a new blog. I though I would be doing this sooner rather than later, primarily because I want to get my writing blog associated with my main WP account, because I keep forgetting to come over here and post. O.o Also, as much as I love the name of this blog, I want to make it easy for potential readers to find me, and so the new blog will be at jolenedawe.wordpress.com. However! September is Finish The Book month, so the new blog shall wait, until October, probably November, unless I do NaNo, in which case, December, and that’s retail hell at the day job, so likely January. So, I guess this is less of an announcement and more of a foreshadowing.
The material for the next story in the subscription is simmering in my brain. Teasers and sneak peaks will happen in the near future. Stay tuned!
We received some pretty bad news this last weekend regarding one of our cats. Through all the ups and downs, all the fostering and adopting in and adopting out of companions, our male cat population (a.k.a the boyos) has remained steady.
No longer, and it looks like we’ll see the summer in with one less cat in our household. This is horribly depressing. . .
. . . so i’m more than willing to distract myself with books.
In exciting book news: the proofs for From the Roaring Deep went out to the various contributors *waves hand* to do one last look at our various contributions, and should be moving further along in the publication process after the 8th. (How interesting, the 8th as a deadline for a Poseidon devotional). I contributed an article on prayer beads that I’m quite happy with. I’m tempted to read the whole damn thing NOW, but no, no, I’ll wait. I’ll wait for the real deal. Really. . . . maybe . . .
I’ve also — thanks to Rebecca Buchanan — discovered a nice handful of new authors with work to devour, and I want to talk about the two I’m most excited about (Read: the two whose works I’ve read out of the handful of new material waiting on my Kindle.)
First: Jordan L. Hawk’s work, specifically her Whyborne and Griffin series. I’ll admit I’ve only read the first book so far, but I’m putting off reading more merely because I want to make the series last. This series open in a steampunk-esque (does it count as steampunk if it’s not England?) Massachusetts. It’s alchemy and occulty and just . . . I want to go and visit the city they’re in. I want to sip tea and soak up the atmosphere. I love, love, love Hawk’s world crafting, and I love the character she creates with Whyborne. She uses dialogue as much as anything else to breathe life into her characters and does this very, very well.
From the author’s website: Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
Second: Meghan Ciana Doidge’s work, specifically her Dowser series. I read the first book (available for free!) after I read Hawk’s book, and I have not stopped yet. I don’t know that I’d say I like it better than Hawk’s series, and I certainly can’t say it’s a lighter story, because it’s not that. I can’t even say that Doidge is a better writer — they are both fantastic writers whose worlds one can slip into seamlessly. There’s none of that “get used to a new to you writer” feeling that you sometimes have to get through. Her books aren’t even faster paced. Something about them (the chocolate, maybe?) makes them seem lighter in tone, even though both series deal with things like demons threatening the world and the danger of magic in the wrong hands. Maybe it’s that Jade (Doidge’s point of view character) is more sarcastic? Maybe it’s that it’s less of a period piece and thus easier to just sink into? I don’t know. It’s easier, for whatever reason, and with Bad Days Ahead, I really want easier.
From the author’s website: If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders — the Adept — was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful. Just the way I liked it. That’s what twenty-three years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you — a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled … except for the cupcake part. That’s a universal truth.
So far, the sex bits in these two series is a lot more explicit and steamier in the Whyborne series. For those of you who care about such things, Whyborne and Griffin have male/male pairing. (I don’t care about these things — give me a good story, and steamy sex is nice, too!) Oh! Maybe, just maybe, part of the reason I like the one better than the other is the potentially not-human romantic interest. Yes, that sounds like me, actually . . .
Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.
Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.
Thus kicks off a seven book series (with an assortment of ‘in between’ shorts and an eighth book that’s related) which follows Amaranthe, Sicarius, and an assortment of unlikely companions as they do their best for emperor and country . . . and if doing their best results less in reward and more in bounties on their heads, surely that’s just misunderstandings, right?
I am so happy to have discovered Lindsay Buroker’s writing. I came across her work first in the Nine By Night bundle, which contained the first book in her Rust and Relic series. I snagged Emperor’s Edge in December, after reading the available Rust and Relic books, because I needed more of her writing; I was expecting to enjoy this series. I wasn’t expecting it to become my favorite of her work thus far. Lindsay handles a wide cast of characters with seeming ease. While Amaranthe and Sicarius are the main main characters, the rest of the team gets a decent amount of screen time, and the chemistry between them all is believable. Her mastery of pacing and tension is a delight to read, and she weaves connections between the characters with a skilled hand. I cannot, cannot recommend this series highly enough. What do you have to lose? The first book is available for free, still, so you may want to hop on that.
Just because I like to take a peek into other people’s bookshelves/towers . . .
I’m currently making my way through the Percy Jackson books (I’m on my second go of Sea of Monsters). These are ending up being fun, light, bed-time reading, though I’m starting to read them to Corbie as we go, because he enjoys story time, and he prefers boy protagonists. Am not sure how he feels about the god angle, but he’s not a super fussy audience.
I’m also reading (a lot more slowly) The Myths of Narasimha and Vamana, which is a study of, well, the myths of Narasimha and Vamana, two avatars of Vishu, what their lore and worship-history looks like, how they differ in their approach to problems at hand, and how two such different beings could be, ultimately, the same at the source. The writing is very approachable, and the author does a great job of making sure even people with a very superficial understanding of the Vedic sources *waves hands* has an idea of what she’s talking about. So, yay for that.
My last five reads? The Lightning Thief (reread #3); Osun Across the Waters; Dead Heat (the newest Alpha and Omega book, and oh my god, do I love Anna and Charles? Yes, yes, I love Anna and Charles); Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community; after that it gets jumbled. There have been a decent amount of nonfiction, enough that I’m craving another fiction splurge . . . Which is nice enough, because I’ve got some fiction waiting for me . . .
What are your last five?
So, my day job is not exactly a high paying day job. I watch the controversy (?!?) over minimum wage being raised, and over workers being paid living wages (again I say ?!?) and how some assholes think that just because you’re doing a menial job that it’s okay that you work full time and still have to resort to governmental aid to be able to have a roof over your head, have healthcare, and be able to feed yourself and your family. I don’t actually make minimum wage — but I do make less than a dollar more than my state’s minimum wage, at a job I’ve been doing for a decade, and at a place where people have been hired to do the same job I’m doing off the street making a dollar more than me, if not more. I frequently do the “what if” game. What if something happens to Beth? Could I maintain the apartment and the needs of the animals and still feed myself? (the answer? I’d be biking a lot more, because bye bye bus pass, and I’d be eating a lot less, because, you know. Food.) I’d be able to swing it if I was eligible for food assistance. But it would be tight.
Now, imagine we had children instead of cats and a dog. (I’d rather the cats and the dog, but they don’t need as much in the way of food. They don’t need clothing. They don’t need school supplies). This is what I think about when people bitch about people getting paid to do their jobs.
And that brings us to art, to artists and makers and creators and writers. Doing work. Artists and makers and creators and writers are just as important to a healthy, thriving society (oh, wait) health care professionals and teachers and trash collectors and service workers and people who flip your fucking burgers. Basic needs are the same. People need shelter. They need security. They need food.
So, this post? Shouldn’t infuriate, because it’s not a new thing at all, that writers are expected to get paid crap to write. Asking for $11 an hour to live on? Not. Rolling. In. It. Depending on where in the country you are, that’s barely a living wage. Why the hell should any be criticized for asking for that much? People, she wouldn’t be having $11 an hour of profit, of free money. That’s bills and rent/mortgage, that’s groceries and gas and car insurance. It’s people wanting to get paid to do their job. And, you know, you’re not obligated to pay authors or artists whose work you don’t enjoy. That’s fine. I want people who enjoy my writing to read my writing. But, if you are going to enjoy the art of others to the point of owning copies of it, support your artists. Don’t expect to get it for nothing. Not being able to afford it and not* going through authentic channels (like libraries, or used bookstores/not pirating) is utter shit and is, in a nutshell, a good example of what’s wrong with our culture. We lack empathy. We lack a willingness to humanize our fellow humans. We are taught to act as consumers with everything, and we follow as we are taught blindly too much.
Pay your artists, damn it.
edited because oh my gods did I forget a very important ‘not’ there. Libraries rock. Use your libraries. Don’t pirate. Do proof read your posts before hitting post.
Cheating McCheating Pants! New story coming.