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Archive for April, 2014



Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Love triangles and why I’m coming to hate them

Love triangles in books used to just sort of annoy me, but now I am actively becoming resentful and angry at them and they will cause me to not read a book. So far, this seems to be the case in UF and paranormal romance, but less so in epic fantasy. I’m not sure if this is because epic fantasy broadens the scope of the story to include a larger variety of characters and events, or if it’s because I’m running across it less there. Doesn’t matter. The point is that I’m not real fond of them at the moment and I want to talk about why. This about me and how I approach them as reader, not a general rule for readers. YMMV. Plus I’ve certainly read triangles that I’ve enjoyed, but in general, right now, they make me want to puke.

I started noticing I was putting down novels quickly that had any sort of a love triangle and I began to ask myself why. What’s the problem with them? I think a great deal of it feels disingenuous. Like I’m being deliberately lied to. That’s strange, because what is fiction but a deliberate lie? This is different, though. I felt that the author was deliberately manipulating me to like two characters, knowing only one could get chosen, or luring me to like one character that eventually would turn out to be an ass, while I was supposed to hate the jerk who would eventually become the hero. The author, of course, knows that she’s misleading the reader, pushing me to sympathize with one character only to pull the rug out from me later.

So the second part of the problem for me, aside from feeling manipulated, is that I can’t invest in the characters. Not any of them. Because the central female or male who must choose, is going to be as mislead as me, and then the other two are not at all what they seem and sooner or later I’m going to find out why one is redeemable and the other is not. For variation, the one that is supposed to turn into the total ass may turn out to be the one redeemed, but essentially, one must be an ass and one must be the love interest. But if I care about one and he turns into a bastard, I feel cheated and like I never should have cared. So I start to read with less empathy for the characters and quickly I lose interest in them because I simply cannot force myself to care. Instead I’d rather go read something else.

Does anybody get irritated by it? I don’t mind when a relationship seems to sour because a new person shows up and it’s a natural progression, and I see why the change happens in the feelings and the rug doesn’t get pulled out where original romantic interest suddenly turns into a monster. People change and fall in and out of love and relationships. I just hate it when it feels like I’ve been tricked.

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
slurs–includes bad language, so be fairly warned

I was reading this article about a Texas Republican who was saying something to the effect that ranchers ought to be able to shoot all wetbacks. Elsewhere in the article, is mentioned the n-word as a slur. Specifically saying, “n-word” as opposed to nigger. Now I’m using the word here because I used the word wetback. Both seem equally offensive. In fact, there are a lot of offensive terms out there for women, for races, for gays, lesbians, and so on into just about infinity. There are a lot of words out there for people to use when they are being bigoted. What I started thinking about is how willing people are to use just about every one of those words when they are discussing them, but not nigger. That has become the n-word. It’s of particular heinousness. Well, I will say that I see the ‘c-word’ used about half or 3/4 of the time with the word cunt. I hate both those words, by the way, and it’s very difficult for me to type them, because in my head, they are so taboo. And yet it seems to me that saying the “n-word” or the “c-word,” undermines how horrible the slurs really are. It almost makes them cute.  It also seems to say, when other slurs like bitch or wetback or gook or fag are used, that they aren’t all that heinous. Not comparatively. So therefore they must be more okay to use.

On the other hand–

One of the things this Texas person said in the article was that the term wetback was common usage in Texas, and therefore apparently perfectly acceptable. Because as we all know, if everybody does it, it’s a good thing. In this case, common usage creates the impression that in fact, it is reasonable to use, and not a horrible slur. Perhaps that’s why n-word and c-word are used in place of the actual words, because the people speaking them or referring to them want to rob the words of their power.

These are contradictory points of view. Generally I don’t use slurs. I also hate words like “chick,” which isn’t nearly as bad as nigger, and yet to me infantilizes and dehumanizes women, and therefore, yeah, is pretty damned bad.  I’m not really getting to a conclusion here. Just articulating my own confusions. What do you think?

Friday, April 25th, 2014
accumulation of stuff

That title isn’t all that accurate. I’m not talking about actual stuff, but stuff I wanted to talk about. And life.

The first thing is odd. I was driving home from Norwescon and saw a billboard that said “Jesus died for your sins.” Not an unfamiliar saying, but my storytelling mind went instantly into what really happened. That people hated him. That they wanted to be rid of him. That there was plotting and intrigue of a Shakespearean quality, and then Jesus was set up, tortured, and killed. That’s the simple telling. Take his name out of it, and you could really play with the story, couldn’t you? I’d have loved to see Shakespeare tell it.

Another thing I thought about is plot stuff for the next Crosspointe book and the next Tracer book. The Crosspointe book is starting to really firm up plotwise. Oh, and I was listening to a song and I got to Costco and spent fifteen minutes scribbling in a notebook on a new Horngate something. I don’t know if it will go into one of the new novels, or if it will go into its own story. The song was Live’s “Lightning Crashes,” which is one of my favorite songs.

The girlie’s birthday is tomorrow, so I’m fetching cupcakes for her class and because I’m revising, I ordered her a cake. Oh, and I’m also sick. Not sure what it is. Some sort of odd virus. Anyhow, cooking is kind of unpleasant. It should pass soon. In the meantime, there is wrapping and did I mention revising?

So far on the revising I’m doing a lot of trimming and pushing on clarity. So far I haven’t made any huge cuts, but I expect to cut some scenes and tighten up others. When I get to them. I’m really pleased with the revisions thus far. I really hope you like this book. It’s alternate history urban fantasy noir and it’s first person and it’s very different from Horngate. I can’t wait to hear how you like it. (I say I can’t wait, but really I could wait if you hate it.)

The dog was sick yesterday with me. Had to run him to the vet. He was bleeding from his bottom. He’s okay. No tumors or anything. Maybe colitis, or maybe that his glands were full and irritated. Anyhow, he had his glands expressed and is on antibiotics. He seems pretty chipper, so I’m not going to worry. Yanno, because it’s so easy to just not worry.

Boy is still sick. New meds this week. All tests still normal. Poor kid.

Next con is Miscon. It’s my favorite. Small and well-run and an an amazing crowd. The hotel is super welcoming and basically, it’s a homecoming. BTW, Norwescon responded to me and said they are working on fixing the book dealer situation. That’s wonderful and that will make them a nearly perfect con.

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Norwescon report

Norwescon is a terrific con. It’s got great costuming, a lovely art show, a nice dealer room, and tons of variety in activities. I made no parties. They get too loud for me. I got in on Thursday and immediately ran into friends while standing in line to check in to the hotel. I dumped my stuff in my room and then off to get checked in to the con, where I ran into more friends. (This was only my second Norwescon, but so many people I know attend and I made lots of new friends. Plus a lot of recent friends from the Rainforest Writers Retreat were there.

The first panel was at five and was packed. In fact all the panels all weekend were packed, and even though my reading was at 12:30 on Sunday as everybody was running away home, I still had a pretty good audience.  Mostly my panels went really well. There were a couple that had some bumps, like straying from topic, or worse, having children in the panel on creative insults. That really tied our hands, or rather, tongues, if you will. But we endeavored to keep things decently clean and had a good discussion.

I went to the Tony and Vixy and the Seanan McGuire concerts on Friday night. Loved them. It was my first time seeing either perform, and they were wonderful. Here are Tony and Vixy performing Red Right Hand.

I got to meet people I never met before, including Nisi Shawl and Stina Leight, Chrysoula Tzavaelas, and the fabulous Krista Wallace. I ate chocolate fudge brownie sundaes and drank lots of tea, and talked about a lot of writing and other things. The hotel food was horrendously expensive and not particularly tasty, so we walked to Dave’s Diner with some frequency.

The only real problem at Norwescon, and one I hope they address soon, is that they didn’t have a new book seller anywhere. So there was nowhere to buy almost any of the books by any of the authors at the con, except for some self-pubbed authors who set up tables. Barely anyone came into the signings because they couldn’t get books at the con. It really sucked. I would really love to see the con make a point of making sure that all their author panelists had books available for sale. Authors give a lot of time to the con and are hoping to expand readership and fans. Having books available would be good for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
The day is long

Got up at early dark thirty and took the boy for his test in Portland. He got me up twice last night to let me know that he’d been sick, poor kid.  The traffic was more obnoxious than I hoped for, but not as bad as I feared. We got checked in and boy ate his radioactive food, then started getting x-rays. We sat for hours with intermittent x-rays. In one two hour slot, we went to the gift shop where I bought a dragon and earrings. Then we went for a walk (fairly slow) and came back to wait awhile longer and then get the next x-ray. Eventually we got food and drove home. I managed grab a twenty minute nap before picking up girlie, then we went to see Captain America. I enjoyed it. I have questions yet, but I guess I’ll have to find someone who saw it too and knows more of the Marvel mythology.

Tomorrow I have to get organized and packed for Norwescon, and then I have to go run errands. Thursday I head to Seattle for Norwescon. I am seriously hoping I get some sleep tonight.

Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Bad movie watching

Watched Pitch Perfect. Far more bad language than anticipated, but the girlie loved the music and dancing and there were some moments of fun. Watching Battleship now. Same thing. Moments of fun, lots of action, and humor. Good cast. Not a great movie. But fun on a Saturday night if you don’t look too closely at the plot. The chompy whirley wheel things are awesome. I kind of want the Taylor Kitsch character to morph into Gambit. That would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it?

Tried to do some clothes shopping this morning for Norwescon. I didn’t like anything I was able to find, but I did come home with some stuff for an upcoming child birthday and also some very bright and pretty couch pillows. They are also comfortable to nap on, as I was forced to take one today. Am not feeling that great. Not sure if it’s stress or something else. Not horrible, but tired and my intestines are a little unfriendly.

The Boy of size continues to be very very sick. He’s getting a test on Tuesday at stupid early thirty, but I’ll take it. Anything to help him. The doc increased the dose of the new medicine, but still no real effect. It takes time to build in the system, so I hold out hope.j

We cut down birch trees in the back today. Three of them. The next thing will be to get the rest of the bushes taken out, the vegetable and herb beds built, and then plant some fruiting things. Maybe an apple tree, some blueberry bushes, maybe raspberries. Girlie really wants raspberries and I would love the blueberries. Also, a friend knows about grafting and has some lovely plums, and so I’m hoping he’ll graft a plum onto our tree. He also gave me some corkscrew willow cuttings so I’m going to see about getting one into a pot. I would like to keep it dwarf sized. Bonsai sort of thing. But not super tiny like an actual bonsai.

Yesterday I did some good walking, less today. Dogs were exhausted but happy. I am going to have to go “tennising” with my girlie tomorrow. She’s eager. Mostly it will involve some short volleys, but we’ll have fun.

Plus I will be revising. Somewhere in there. Along with hugging barfy boy who is miserable.

 

 

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Digging through the work

I’ve got deadlines massing. Like when they talk about earthquakes swarming before a volcanic blast. Just like that. I’m working on Trace of Magic revisions, which are coming along nicely. I turned in an essay and expect revision notes soon. I received the next stage of The Cipher along with some other copy to read, and then I received The Black Ship to start revisions on. Plus I need to get then next Crosspointe under way. So pretty much, I’m trying to work and keep up and get stuff done.

Meanwhile, boy is still sick. No end in sight.

Meanwhile girlie is having trouble dealing with it. Trying to help her.

Plus trying to help my folks buy a house long distance. We’re hopefully going to get our vegetable beds built this weekend. Crossing my fingers.

I’m tired. Why am I tired? Going to go pass out now.

 

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
A Horngate Witches Announcement

I’m super pleased and over the moon to be able to tell you that Samhain Publishing has contracted to publish two more books in the Horngate Witches series! The titles will be Bone Dreams and Stone Thaw. I’ll be writing them in 2015, and I’m not sure when the release will be. But so excited!!!! I hope you are too.

In other news, boy is still sick. More tests in the offing. He’s also trying a new drug.

We went to the first day of the Saturday market today. It was lovely. Lots of starts for the garden and a lot of greens and radishes and that sort of thing. A little bit overcast, but very nice. We need to make beds before we can start planting, so we went to the lumber store to check the cost. I really want to try this thing out, but it’s expensive: The Garden Tower Project.  Anybody have opinions? I like the idea of the composting and worms. The other idea for strawberries we are considering is something like this: raingutters.