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Archive for 'cool books'

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Back in the saddle again

I came back from the writing retreat having written 32, 281 words in basically 3.5 days. I am completely stunned. I have never written that much in that little time, ever. I worked on the sequel to The Incubus Job (comes out in just six days!!). It’s what you might call a zero draft. That means that I tried to just write story and not worry about the research elements, or making up names for particular people or things, and so on. I just put and asterisk and described what should go there. I’ll be able to search asterisks and fix those, though I’ll probably just end up combing through the whole thing when it’s done and revise and catch them that way.

I never write like that. Devon Monk encouraged me to try and it was kind of freeing. I’m going to use that technique in the next couple days to write an anthology story I have due soon. I doubt I can do 10,000 words a day since I’ve got obligations here that I didn’t have in the rainforest, but I think I could get at least 4 or 5K. If I don’t get bogged down in doing stuff on the net. I’m thinking of getting the Antisocial app, but I’m wondering if there’s a free sort of thing out there that works the same way.

The writers retreat is at The Rainforest Resort Village which sounds a lot less rustic than it actually is. We got to stay in a cabin with a back sliding glass window and deck overlooking a very babbley creek and beyond that, the lake. Geese flew in and out and it was absolutely lovely, even raining most of the time. We had a fire going in the cabin and a little kitchenette, and we hunkered down and wrote like fiends. It was fabulous. I love doing this retreat and plan to go next year, crossing my fingers I register before they sell out.

Once I got back, I had to finish the copy edits on Whisper of Shadows, the next Diamond City Magic book, which will be out April 15. Got that done, then worked on the tax receipts. I always have the best intentions of inputting those receipts into my spreadsheet throughout the year, and I always have to do it right at the end. They were all in one place. I keep a file bin hanging on my wall in my office to stuff them into.

I also went out and bought some manure and worm castings for the garden, along with three plants for the rock garden we hope to put in shortly (we need to create better drainage in that location before we can.)  My peonies are all in bloom and so are some other flowers. Plus the crocuses are up and so many. The former owners had planted them and this year some came up where they hadn’t before. I guess the wet this year really helped them.

I’m just about on schedule with my reading for this year. Trying to read at least six books a month, not including my own. Need to finish the one I’m reading–a British police procedural–to get my 12 for the year. I tend to let reading slip when I’m tired or really busy and just veg in front of the TV. I’m trying hard to avoid that and read, which most of the time I enjoy a lot more. A lot of them I get from Netgalley, which lets me discover a wider range of authors than I might ordinarily encounter, and a wider range of topics. So that’s been very nice.

And now, to go do some of that reading . . .

 

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Book review–Jennifer Estep’s Cold Burn of Magic

First, the caveat: I got this book from Netgalley.

I’m a fan of Jennifer Estep’s writing. I’ll start with that. Cold Burn of Magic is first in a new YA series. Now I have to admit, I often don’t care as much for the YA series because they are a little too young for me. They deal with stuff that I’m long past and while they are good, it’s about 50-50 that the book will grab me. Exceptions include Robin LeFevers’ His Fair Assassin series, and now, Cold Burn of Magic. Not that it won’t appeal to its intended audience, but just that it appeals to me, too.

I thought the world was really cool. It’s a mix of modern and medieval, but it totally makes sense. There’s cool magic and a cool mythology. In the town, you’ve got open magic, and people with magic have unique talents, some more unique than others. The town is run by mob families and there’s a lot of danger. (For those of you who’ve read my Diamond City Magic books, you’ll smile at that familiarity). Anyhow, the story revolves around Lila Merriweather who is a teenaged thief and weapons expert who’s been living off the proverbial grid for four years since she left the foster care system. Her mother was murdered, and she’s alone, except for Mo, a friend and pawnshop broker.

Lila gets involved with a mob family and gets roped into a working as a bodyguard. The family is under attack, and so things quickly progress from there.

I really enjoyed the characters. The teens were believable, and so were the adults. Lila was a well-written character, and likeable. Oscar, the redneck, cowboy fairy, was absolutely awesome. Claudia, the head of the Sinclair family, was a lovely mix of loyalty and ruthlessness. The roots of romance were established, as well as a Romeo and Juliet situation. Nothing was resolved in the romantic department, and I think that will be fun to see play out.

I read the book quickly and didn’t want to put it down. I really loved the worldbuilding, the interplay between the characters, and the development of Lila. She had angst, but totally believable and not annoying. She made mistakes, but never fell into the too-stupid-to-live category. She had to make unforgiving choices. The mystery is good, and while I suspected the bad guy, there were twists that I didn’t see. The bridge seen was well foreshadowed, maybe too well, but it was necessary, I think.

I totally recommend this book. It was fun and I’ve already preordered the next one. I hope there is more of the wild world in the next one, and I know we’ll see more of the dangers of the mob families. I look forward to seeing the relationships develop, and not just the romantic ones. The other relationships are compelling and fraught and so well done.

I’d give this a 4/4 stars for me. I would totally recommend this book and I plan to encourage my son to read it.

Here’s a link to have a look for yourself.