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  2. Futuristic Lingo Quiz

    I’ve learned a lot of new terms for things as I write my Cyberpunk novel, and have included a lot of them in my book. It’s a challenge to write them in such a way that my readers understand what they refer to without directly explaining it. Characters in the world would obviously know what they mean, so they wouldn’t stand there quoting the dictionary. Just for fun, I made this quiz from some of the terms in my book. See if you can spot the fake definitions from the real ones! View article on original site
  3. The final book; editing phase Halcyone Space began in a moment of anger and frustration. I was getting very little traction with my prior books and decided to write a story with an ensemble cast that nobody would like. (Yes, I am not proud of my 5-year-old tantrum phase.) I created an unpleasant loner. A drug dealer. An obnoxious child prodigy. A stoner musician. In space. And these were the protagonists. Ultimately, my baseline good humor and equanimity returned and I was able to take the first premise, put forward during a fit of pique, and transform it into the story of a derelict space ship and its unwilling and accidental crew. DERELICT was completed in 2012 and was my 8th written novel. It was published in June of 2014 and at the time, I had no real intention of turning it into a series. But then something utterly unexpected and quite magical happened - it struck gold on Amazon and sold more copies than I could have dreamed of. And I realized there was more to tell about Ro Maldonado and her crew. Since the publication of DERELICT in 2014, every summer has seen a new Halcyone Space book. The characters have grown and changed. The politics have become increasingly complex and compelling. The stakes have ramped up, both on an individual and galactic level. These stories have taken me places I never would have anticipated, especially to a post-climate change earth even more divided into haves (highsiders) and have-nots (settlement 'deeps' - displaced persons) than our world is. Along the way, the characters have become quite real. Some writers describe it as the characters talking to them, or dictating the story. For me, it's more like the characters have taken up residence in my brain somewhere and when I'm fortunate, they allow me to eavesdrop. Their voices and personalities have become quite distinct. I have recently finished the major revision pass of A STAR IN THE VOID; the fifth and final book of the series. The characters are currently standing around looking puzzled. I'm feeling quite lost and more than a little lonely. In some ways, this was the most difficult book I've ever written. (For those of you keeping track, this is book number 14). It took me a long time to figure out why and when I finally did, I totally had the "V8" moment: It's a lot harder to finish a series than to start it. For each of the prior books, the world and the story expands. Have a problem as a writer? Throw a new issue at your characters. Now add a ticking clock. And someone or something in peril. Easiest way out of blocked creativity ever! But then came book 5. Finally, I was faced with the need to pull it all back together in a way that fit the series organically and would be satisfying to the reader, without throwing in new shiny distractions for the characters. And all while saying goodbye to my imaginary friends. The only thing that would have make it harder would have been to do it backwards and in high heels. Metaphorically speaking. Really, I'm a terrible dancer. But I digress. When I wrote the final chapters, there were moments when I cried. Studies have shown that what we imagine is as real as our experiences and I've been imagining these people and their world for a very long time. We've been together more than six years. As much as I've been the architect of their adventures, they've also changed me. I don't think you can create something without being altered by it. So I will take some time to mourn the loss of this world that has been as real to me as my day to day life and characters who have become dear friends. And now, as I prepare to ready this fifth and final installment of Halcyone Space, I understand that it is no longer my story. It belongs to the universe. A STAR IN THE VOID. Summer, 2018 email: Free eBook Free/DRM-free short fiction publication news View the full article
  4. Want more of Shuri? Marvel has you covered--Moon Girl, another tech-savvy black girl genius, is coming to the small screen. Read More View the full article
  5. Instead of a traditional review, here is a discussion of the amazing aspects of the movie, and further reading from black writers, filmmakers, and critics. Read More View the full article
  6. Women's History Month!

    I'm reading (well listening to one) books by African women.
  7. Earlier
  8. Women's History Month!

    We're over halfway through Women's History Month- have you done anything to celebrate? I picked up a book about Amelia Earhart from my library; just opened it today.
  9. When I was growing up, the video game my brothers and I played constantly was Civilizations III. It was so much fun. We would compete with each other to see who could discover Railroad technology the earliest (I think my older brother holds that record for something like 600 BC but it was awhile ago and I could be wrong). One of the first major exploration units you can build in that game is a Trireme. It’s cheap, and it’s the only boat you get until you discover more technology, and it’s really good for just scouting out your own continent. It can only go around the edges of the land and not out into deep sea. So the early game strategy was to build your first city next to an ocean square, then build a Trireme as soon as you could and launch it to explore around your continent. That way, you would know if you are on a small island or a continent and give you a sense of how much space you have to expand. It was also a good way to scout and see if there are rival civilizations in your space. And if you were really lucky, your Trireme would spot a piece of land one square away with no deep ocean in between the two, and it could jump over and explore a second body of land. But more often than not, it didn’t discover additional land and that’s where you had to make a choice. Do you send your Trireme out exploring into the deep ocean, knowing it has a high chance of sinking after every turn? Or do you just keep it close by to defend your territory, even though it’s no good at defending (but it can alert you to incoming enemies)? I always sent my Trireme out. They almost always sank. But once in awhile, they would strike land before they did and then I’d have an advantage on my opponents. “Failure is the cover charge to live the human life. How many things have you not done because you were afraid to fail?” My pastor said in a sermon a couple Sundays ago and I’ve been thinking about those words ever since. And I asked myself what I was afraid to fail at. The answer came quickly: self-publish my book. I’ve never had any intention of letting fear of failure hold me back. I’m too excited. But I still have fears. I realized that I could easily fall into the trap of tweaking things ad nauseam hoping to get them just right and never actually publish because things aren’t perfect. But this book is a Trireme. I’ll never know what’s out there if I don’t send it out. I could keep it at home, just kind of sitting around, but that’s not what it’s made for. Maybe it will sink, but it’s not doing anything if I don’t send it out. My plan is to self-publish sometime this year, but I am tentatively and optimistically hoping for end of May. If you want to know when it’s ready, sign up for my brand new newsletter here. Thanks for reading! (And by that, I mean thanks for reading my blog, and just reading books in general because that is a wonderful thing.) View article on original site
  10. More reading recommendations

    Hey there, My life is still crazy as can be with two kids. My son has turned 2, and is potty training and learning how to read already. My daughter is content to wiggle and giggle, but will be crawling soon. As busy as I am, everything is only going to get busier. So for now, all I have for you is an update on what I’ve been reading. My 6 favorite books read in 2017 Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this book earlier. I LOVED this book. It’s not only the best fairytale retelling I’ve ever read, it’s the best fantasy book I’ve read in a long time. I really liked Novik’s Temerraire series, and she managed to bring the same awesome writing to this book, but with a completely different feel. She’s a great writer, and I am in awe. She actually just released a limited illustrated edition of this book which had me drooling for hours. Too bad they only made 175 of them. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson – Such a good book! I am really disappointed there isn’t a sequel because I wanted to snatch it up right away after I finished. I found this to be the most compelling and interesting of Sanderson’s magic systems. Just goes to show that no matter how many magic systems are out there, you can create something new. I really hope he’s going to write a sequel someday. His comments on writing a sequel can be found here. As a writer, I totally understand why he hasn’t yet and what stands in his way. But if he ever does start to write it, I will be haunting his social media sites like crazy to find out everything about it I can. Mort(e) by Robert Rapino – Military-Animal-Sci-Fi/Fantasy-Dystopia-Adult-version of Homeward Bound. So basically, everyone should read this and witness the frightening journey of Mort(e), a cat who gained human intelligence and fought in the human-animal war, but fought on…well, I think he fought on both sides? Really, he had his own goals the whole time and the war just got in the way. I read this little by little on my iPhone in the dark while rocking my son to sleep every night. And since I was pregnant at the time with my daughter, rocking him to sleep on my stomach wasn’t exactly the most comfortable, and my ability to breath would slowly get cut off the more he relaxed and put his weight on me until finally I texted my husband to come in and hoist him into the crib for me. But I loved it because I got a little further in the adventure every night. And I discovered that this was one of those books you really do want to read in the dark. It added to the thrill. Sourdough by Robin Sloan – It’s no Mr. Penumbra, so try to ignore the fact that it’s written by Sloan. It is still excellent, but not as enjoyable if you’re expecting more of the same. Though it did bring yet another fascinating aspect of San Fransisco to my hungry imagination. And Sloan’s writing is great. A woman programmer who is slowly loosing her soul at her job stumbles into making sourdough bread and it changes everything. She combines technology with baking and intrigue ensues. Ever since reading this, I have been searching for the perfect sourdough and spicy soup combination, trying to recreate the experience from the book. I had a lot of questions after reading it, so I emailed Sloan himself. And he responded quickly. Twice. He not only writes great stories, he is accessible to his readers and that made this read all the more fun. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman – Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful book. This book is something between an “Ology” book and a graphic novel with its splash pages and unique layout. The story is funny, thrilling, scary, and–I mean there are space zombies and hackers, and one of the least annoying love stories I’ve ever read, so. You should go out and buy this book immediately. Buy the physical book. The beauty is in the printed pages and I think some of that is probably lost in an audio book or ebook. Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle – A must-read for any artist (and especially for Christian artists). This answered questions about art that I’ve been asking since I was 8 years old. Of course, no one would ever think to give such a book to an eight year old, but I sure could have used it! This book was very inspiring, especially during the days when I didn’t want to write. All books that I read in 2017: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford (2 stars) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman (5 stars) Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle (5 stars) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (4 stars) Diastasis Recti by Katy Bowman (3 stars) Sourdough by Robin Sloan (5 stars) Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (5 stars – re-read) Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan (4 stars) The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (4 stars) Derelict by LJ Cohen (4 stars) Turquoiseblood by Cecelia Isaac (3 stars) Grand Theft Octo by Neils Saunders (4 stars) Mort(e) by Robert Repino (5 stars) The Mage and the Magpie by Austin J Bailey (3 stars, almost 4 though) The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (5 stars) Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick (1 stars – like, not even) Uprooted by Naomi Novik (5 stars) Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer (4 stars) Flyte by Angie Sage (5 stars) Maplecroft by Cherie Priest (4 stars, almost 3) SaveSaveSaveSave View article on original site
  11. Friends, there’s a part of me that dares to hope we might actually be in the midst of a lasting cultural shift. The explosion of attention on sexual harassment of women has reached every corner, from high-powered actresses to your Facebook feed. Living with, talking about, and managing sexual harassment isn’t new for women. What’s… Read More View the full article
  12. Bookstagram Anyone?

    I have also been considering it. One of my friends does it a LOT and really well. You can follow her to see good examples of what it's like: redrchl.reads She showed me her set-up, and she basically has a large bookshelf sorted by "to read", "to photograph", and "read". She has a pile of printed backgrounds and a basket of silk flowers and other random things to throw into the pictures. She also subscribes to about a billion book boxes per month, which is where she gets most of her books and swag. From what I gathered when I talked to her about it: Pros: Lots of books. All the books! Book porn! You get to enjoy showing off books you love to others instead of just shelving them. And you get to read books you otherwise would not have considered. It's a ton of fun and is a great way to build an online platform made entirely of book lovers (aka readers). You can do events that cross over with other bookstagrams, build a community, connect with both authors and readers, etc. You can double post everything from your bookstagram to Pinterest. Authors will throw ARCs at you hoping for promotion, so free books! You can also make a big deal of unboxing the monthly subscriptions, which to me would feel like I get more enjoyment for my money that way. Cons: The book boxes of the month can get pricey, you need extra space to store all the books and stay organized, and you do need to actually read a bunch (which isn't really a downside, but it can get stressful when life gets busy and you don't have as much time to read). Posting regularly comes with its own set of hurdles. Kindle books aren't very photogenic so you have to buy physical copies. Your significant other may bemoan the loss of space to books that pile up. Not everything you get in the book boxes you will like or want to read. Authors will throw ARCs at you hoping for promotion and you have to be careful to not let your thread turn into an advertising campaign. Basically it can become a nightmare if you're not organized. Ok, I've convinced myself now to start a bookstagram. I was really struggling to come up with cons. All the ones I listed are kind of meh compared to the fun side of things.
  13. Bookstagram Anyone?

    Does anyone here have a "bookstagram"? I'm debating starting one and am curious to know what the pros/cons are. I like the idea of being part of a book community online.
  14. This post emerged from my observations and experiences, especially over the past year and in response to the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements. This is by no means an authoritative or complete guide to allyship - that would be a pretty large ego-driven statement - but it is something that's been bouncing around my head and I thought I would start to lay it down in words. I welcome comments and suggestions. 1. Examine and understand your motivations You don't get cookies or gold stars or a cool t-shirt for performing the role of ally. It's not something you can cross off your bucket list, like "Visit Iceland" or "Climb Mt. Everest." Being an ally is a position or identity you stake out in your life. An avocation, if you will. More like being an amateur painter or musician. And as such, it means committing to a lifetime of practice and learning. And if your motivation for being an ally is "so people think I'm a good person", stop. Just stop. You are making this all about you and your ego. 2. You must be willing to risk your position Congratulations - you have come to a point that many do not: you recognize that you have benefited from society's inherent biases. That while you may have worked hard for what you have, you started out at a more privileged position or easier difficulty level. And you want to do something about it. That's great. A level playing field seems like the right thing to fight for. There is no fight without risk. There is no change without loss. You may lose your standing in your family, your place of worship, your profession, your neighborhood. If you do your work well, you may see yourself be passed over for promotion or opportunity in favor of someone in a less privileged position. And that may hurt, because deep down, whatever our politics or outward actions, we believe we earn what we have achieved. Understand that in a more equitable world, you may not always get the winning lottery ticket. If you've always gotten them in the past, that will feel like a loss, instead of a correction to a rigged game. 3. Amplify, don't shout over The main jobs of an ally are to listen, educate, and amplify. Listen: make sure you really understand what the people you wish to ally with want. And this may be more difficult that you think. There is rarely complete consensus in any group and just as you cannot speak for all white people, you cannot think that anyone speaks for all people of color, or all women, or all people in the LGBTQ communities, or all Muslims, or, or, or. And that's not even acknowledging that individuals can and do belong to more than one marginalized group. Educate: Educate yourself and your fellow folks in privileged positions. Read foundational source texts from folks in marginalized groups. For all that is good and pure in the world, DO NOT MAKE THOSE YOU WISH TO ALLY WITH do the emotional labor of educating you. Amplify: Say you are an actor. Promote movies with actors from marginalized groups. Talk them up on social media. When someone praises your role in a specific show, thank them and recommend something from a group you wish to be an ally with. Same for artists, musicians, writers, etc. Use your platform to boost voices that wouldn't otherwise be heard. Frequent shops owned by people from marginalized groups. Use the power of your economic privilege. Signal boost; don't obliterate with your voice. That's a callback to point #1: If you are talking OVER marginalized voices in your effort to be an ally, you aren't. That's ego. Examine your motivations. _________ I wrote this post as much as a reminder for myself as well as for my fellow white folks, both allies and potential allies. I know this is not a complete list and if I have make any errors or omissions, I apologize and will edit as needed. Know that this is hard work. Know that you will make mistakes. This is okay; learn from your mistakes. No change happens easily. Change can happen. It must. email: Free eBook Free/DRM-free short fiction publication news View the full article
  15. As we near Galentines Day...

    I appreciate the sentiment. The gifts are just consumerism at it's finest on these types of holidays
  16. Netflix did not let me down. A Series of Unfortunate Events has all the charming cleverness of the books and a great respect for its central characters Read More View the full article
  17. As we near Galentines Day...

    I have to work that evening, and didn't bother to take it off. My SO and I agreed not to give each other gifts this year, and instead of going out for dinner, we will make a nice breakfast together. That way we save money and we're not supporting the corporate side of the holiday.
  18. As we near Galentines Day...

    Yeah, I'm guessing this may just be a fellow introvert talking (since we're all self-professed book nerds here), but I don't do v-day either. Just another day at work where there are too many sweets around. My advice to everyone - stay away from any communal food areas! The flu season is still in full swing and I for one do not trust my co-workers
  19. As we near Galentines Day...

    You can hardly go to any store now without some kind of pink, heart festooned Valentines day display around every corner. How do my fellow rebels enjoy and/or revile this holiday season? For myself, I'm just trying to stay away from the very aromatic chocolate aisles... My husband and I don't really do valentines day, and TBH I don't do the galentines day thing either. When I was a kid though my mom made it special for us with little gifts, which I do plan on doing with my own children.
  20. Netflix’s Bright: A Feminist Movie Review

    Jackoby and Ward are responding to a call when they find themselves in possession of a magic wand, an extremely rare magical object. Suddenly everyone is after them. Read More View the full article
  21. Fave beverage/book combo?

    Chocolate wine is totally a thing! http://www.totalwine.com/wine/dessert-fortified-wine/chocolate-wine/c/000156
  22. Fave beverage/book combo?

    I read that last one as chocolate bubbly wine and though - I need to get some of that!
  23. Fave beverage/book combo?

    I DO enjoy a nice coffee on Sunday morning with a good book (or the news... I'm getting old!)
  24. Fave beverage/book combo?

    I drink tea all day, every day...so it's more like I already happen to have a cuppa in hand when I get to reading!
  25. Fave beverage/book combo?

    I, uh, always liked the idea of curling up with a cup of hot chocolate or the like and a good book, but if the book is at all good, my hot beverage gets pretty cold and I end up gulping it down at the very end so as not to waste it. For some reason, colder beverages have never appealed. Maybe one day I'll work out the balance of reading and sipping a warm beverage the same time...
  26. Fave beverage/book combo?

    For me, it's all about time of day. I think drinking thematically sounds fun, though! Morning: Coffee with milk Afternoon and Evening: Hot tea or soda water If I'm indulging: Hot chocolate or bubbly wine
  27. Fave beverage/book combo?

    Oooh, I love this question. Perhaps this is more seasonal, but I really enjoy drinking hot cocoa and reading "A Christmas Carol". Otherwise I don't really trust myself with beverages while reading (I'm a bit of a klutz)
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