stillsostrange: (Default)
I suppose I'll use DW for the one thing I still used LJ for: keeping track of books read.

Call for the Dead - John Le Carre
Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan
Broken Angels - Richard Morgan
Undertow - Elizabeth Bear (reread)
The Dry Salvages - Caitlin R. Kiernan (reread)
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
2016 was, obviously, a year very much soured by incessant death and the dumpster fire that is American politics. We lost many icons at a time when it feels we need them most. When Bowie died, I said that it fell to the rest of us to be a little more fabulous to make up for it. And now it also falls to us to be brave, and kind, and as true to the things we hold dear as we can be. And to take care of ourselves. The threshold of 2017 is a scary, uncertain place.

Last year wasn't all terrible, of course. I married the best of beasts in February, which was a very smart move on my part. My best friend got married in October, and threw a lovely party full of people dear to me. I finished The Poison Court, which is hopefully the first step in crawling well out of the writing slump that I fell into after Kingdoms of Dust.

I also got a proper anxiety diagnosis last year, and a prescription for what is close to a miracle drug. Going to work is no longer a terrifying and tearful prospect*. Writing is still hard, but I can keep the brain weasels under control when they tell me I'm going to fail. I also finally found a doctor who helped fix the stomach problems I've been suffering for years. So while this coming year may be nerve-wracking, my nerves are better braced to handle it.


Books read (I feel certain I missed something, but I'm not sure what):

The Book of Atrix Wolfe - Patricia McKillip
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie
Coffin Hill Vol. 1 - Caitlin Kittredge
Rites Of Peace: The Fall Of Napoleon And The Congress Of Vienna - Adam Zamoyski
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye
The Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye
Kindred of Darkness - Barbara Hambly
Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Seven For a Secret - Lyndsay Faye
The Fatal Flame - Lyndsay Faye
The Scarlet Gospels - Clive Barker
Murder On The Ballarat Train - Kerry Greenwood
Death At Victoria Dock - Kerry Greenwood
Darkness On His Bones - Barbara Hambly
Blood For The Sun - Errick Nunnally
The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood
Black Light - Elizabeth Hand
Unbecoming - Rebecca Scherm
Available Dark - Elizabeth Hand
Rat Queens Vol. 1 - Kurtis Wiebe
Rat Queens Vol. 2 - Kurtis Wiebe
Rat Queens Vol. 3 - Kurtis Wiebe
The Stone In The Skull (in draft/reread) - Elizabeth Bear
Dark Spies - Matthew Dunn
In The Woods - Tana French
stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
Good morning, LiveJournal! Happy 2016!

My website has been languishing with server woes for some time now, so my scant updates will be split between here and Patreon for a while.

2015 was a good year. At the end of 2014 I moved in with my partner and his roommates; this spring we moved out of a cramped apartment on the 3rd floor into a very lovely house in Austin. This summer I got my ass in gear on The Poison Court--and, with the help of Patreon, was able to scale my hours back at the used book mines. I didn't type The End in 2015, but I can see it from my couch now.

We spent Christmas in New Orleans, which was delightful. Eventually I'll finish sorting through our pictures.

And of course, Dreams of Shreds & Tatters was released this year, and the Necromancer Chronicles finally earned out.

Books read:

1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh
7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)
8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh
9. Precursor - C.J. Cherryh
10. Ancillary Justice - Anne Leckie
11. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood
12. Defender - C.J. Cherryh
13. Explorer - C.J. Cherryh
14. Hellboy, a volume whose title currently escapes me - Mike Mignola
15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others - Mike Mignola
16. The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen
17. Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh
18. Pretender - C.J. Cherryh
19. The Hellbound Heart - Clive Barker
20. Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh
21. Conspirator - C.J. Cherryh
22. Deceiver - C.J. Cherryh
23. Betrayer - C.J. Cherryh
24. Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts - Orrin Grey
25. Ancillary Sword - Anne Leckie
26. Protector - C.J. Cherryh*
27. The Stone In The Skull - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)

My favorite book of the year was definitely Painted Monsters.


* You may notice I skipped the 13th book. That happened by accident, but having finished the 14th, I just can't bring myself to go back. Perhaps someday.
stillsostrange: (Plot Octopus)
1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh
7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)
8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh

9. Precursor - C.J. Cherryh

10. Ancillary Justice - Anne Leckie

I was thoroughly charmed by this book.

11. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood

Here, though, I am thoroughly smitten. Isyllt wants to be BFFs with Phryne Fisher very badly.

12. Defender - C.J. Cherryh

This was the first Atevi book that dragged for me. My goodness, such drag. Still quite pleasant, but this felt very much like a transitional chapter or three dragged out to novel length.

13. Explorer - C.J. Cherryh

The first half of this one was also slow, and then all the fun happened! So much fun!

14. Hellboy, a volume whose title currently escapes me - Mike Mignola

15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others - Mike Mignola

16. The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen

I see many people in love with this series so far. I am not. It was amusing and interesting, but I didn't engage with the worldbuilding particularly, and I was left with no real sense of the stakes.

17. Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh

Another volume that felt like a very long transition. And by now Bren's stress indigestion has moved through comedic into annoying repetition. But binge reading is rarely flattering. You'll note I don't stop.

18. Pretender - C.J. Cherryh
stillsostrange: (Plot Octopus)
1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh

And with Invader, I fell in love with the series.

7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)

My very first Tanith Lee was Darkness, I, which I found on the new releases shelf at the Austin library back in the day. It was an odd place to come into the Scarabae. I didn't track down the first two for many years. I was very frustrated with Dark Dance the first time through, specifically with Rachaela and what I took as her passivity at the time. This time around, however, I find myself much more in sympathy with her, sometimes painfully so. The prose is exquisite, of course, though the pacing is sometimes a bit...statelier...than one might wish.

The first draft of Dreams contained a Scarabae homage, which I finally cut to streamline things. It's absence makes me sad, now, and I hope to find it a good home in another book.

8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh

Yup. Still quite smitten.
stillsostrange: (Monster)
1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka

5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)

I read Foreigner many years ago, and bounced off, despite loving plenty of other Cherryh. I remember being frustrated with Bren's failure to grok the Atevi, not to mention annoyed by the back blurb. Not a single word for love! My pearls!

Rereading, I appreciate it more for being the sort of quiet political thriller I love, and I can better articulate my ongoing frustration. Dude. Oxytocin. It's not that hard to explain. Explaining human social bonds and emotional reactions in terms of biochemistry is pretty freakin' simple. But it's apparently a huge blind spot for these space-faring humans.

I may be unduly harsh here. I'm not sure what research was available when the book was written. I know I've only learned about oxytocin and serotonin effects fairly recently. (My god, they should be taught in junior high, if not earlier.) But as a person who does not have as much oxytocin as the average talking monkey, I have been frustrated my entire life by the idea that human nature and human relationships are something that everyone intuits, let alone things that should be held as desirable. Ugh. Gross.

But this time I'll pick up the next book and give it a shot as well. I enjoy the politics and the worldbuilding and the characters.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka

Books! Lists! Lists of books!

And speaking of books, Publishers Weekly has reviewed Dreams. Believe me, it's not just the characters who are intensely beleaguered.
stillsostrange: (Muse)
This morning, in an attempt to do some research for Changeling Hearts and in my effort to generally Try Cool Stuff, I took a glassblowing class. This was immensely fun. It was a three-hour class with two other students, and we each made a (lopsided, in my case) paperweight, witch globe/hanging ornament thingy, and a drinking glass*.

2100 degrees Fahrenheit is pretty damn revelatory, I must say. But I didn't flinch over-much, and I didn't pass out--which is a real possibility--and I only had a mild case of heat sickness by the time we were done. Which I promptly exacerbated by going to a seedy parking lot carnival this afternoon--one of those where every ride seems on the brink of flying off its moorings and killing dozens. I've replaced previous evening plans with lying in bed finishing Hemlock Grove and waiting for the queasiness to pass.


* Student involvement in the drinking glass-making process was minimal, probably because a) we would have fucked it up, and b) we were short on time.
stillsostrange: (Von says read)
I have survived the Lovecraft Film Festival, where I had a delightful time, even though Portland insisted on being unseasonably warm and sunny all weekend. I hung out with lovely people everywhere, saw fun movies--the Cabal Cut of Nightbreed was worth the price of plane fare, even if they haven't found the footage of Peloquin's sex scene yet--went dancing, and ate way too much bar food. Okay, the bar food wasn't actually fun or lovely, but hopefully I'll stop doing my best Prince of Darkness swollen-with-evil impression by the end of the week.



I have not been keeping good track of books this year, so the order of these is slightly dubious.

1. Alabaster: Wolves - Caitlin R. Kiernan
2. Song For the Basilisk - Patricia McKilip
3. The Changeling Sea - Patricia McKilip

I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this book, since I sought out so many other books in high school based solely on their lovely Whelan covers. This is a jewel of a book, perfect in my heart, and while I'm sure I would have loved it 17 years ago, I love it just as well or better now.

4. Steles of the Sky - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)
5. The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison (ARC)
6. The Paris Affair - Teresa Grant
7. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia McKilip
stillsostrange: (Bowie)
Books read in 2012 )

A much better reading year than last year, if not as fabulous as one might like. The writing front was also not as fabulous as one might like, but not too shabby. Kingdoms came out, and Brave New Love. And maybe A Fantasy Medley 2--I got my author copies, at least. I finished an extremely thorough revision of Dreams, and my fabulous agent has sent it out into the world. I also tidied up a partial of Pinion, and started a few other projects. I did not finish any new short stories, but oh well.

I'm not as happy to be rid of 2012 as some of my f-list. I would like to be more productive in 2013, and slightly less crippled with indecision (well, laugh), but if nothing else the success of Project Valkyrie and my Run For Your Lives training has made this a pleasantly memorable year. We'll see how Warrior Dash turns out. Hopefully 2013 will be the year of the unassisted pull-up.

And of course, there was that whole adoption thing. Can't forget that.

Hopefully the boy will find his missing driver's license soon, so as not to thwart our plan to go for cocktails and Elysium tonight. My house has already thwarted my plans to repurpose last Halloween's griffin costume by eating my feathers and copper foil. I'll be less of a danger to myself and others without dozens of sharp copper feathers, I suppose.
stillsostrange: (Von says read)
2012 so far... )
25. Sup With The Devil - Barbara Hamilton

26. Neuromancer - William Gibson (reread)

Every time I do a five mile stretch on the elliptical, it's because I want to one day have flanks like a war-plane's fuselage.

27 & 28. More Magic Tree House

29. Count Zero - William Gibson

Neuromancer has been one of my favorite books for fifteen years, but somehow I never read the rest of the Sprawl books. Oops. CZ is not as all-out awesome as Neuromancer, and I had some structural issues with it, but it's still a fun book. And if someone had bothered to tell me that it had loa AI, I would have read it fifteen years ago too.

30. Generation Loss - Elizabeth Hand

And speaking of people not telling me things, why did I not know how amazing this book is? I probably should have guessed sooner, considering how much I adore Saffron and Brimstone, but still. This book is amazing. Beautiful and brutal, like everything I love about Kiernan's work--uncannily so at times, but different. It's also creepy as fuck, and I read it all in the dark waiting for Agent J to fall asleep.

Bookkeeping

Aug. 1st, 2012 09:46 am
stillsostrange: (Von says read)
2012 so far... )

16. The Magistrates of Hell - Barbara Hambly

It's completely unfair for any book to have to live up to Traveling With the Dead, but this one does an admirable job. I enjoyed Magistrates more than Blood Maidens, but I suspect Maidens suffered more from not being its older sister, and I should reread it.

17. A Rope of Thorns - Gemma Files

This book caused less scorpions in the brain than its predecessor, but still contains more shiny brain scorpions than most. It had a second-book feel to it, and at times the pacing felt off, but the writing is just as gorgeous and I continue to love the characters. I'm also quite enamored of the new additions to the cast, particularly Yancey and Hank.

18. The Tel Aviv Dossier - Lavie Tidhar & Nir Yaniv

The lovely folks at the ChiZine table recommended this at Readercon, but sold out of hard copies, so I bought an ebook when I got home. I asked for Lovecraftian weirdness and it delivered, but it's also funny as hell. I fussed at the sentence-level prose a bit at the beginning, but either the writing evened out or my internal editor just shut up as I kept going. It reminds me of Good Omens in many ways.

19 - 24. Magic Tree House, a random assortment read out of order. There is no excuse for the terrible sentences in these books. None whatsoever. No age of reader deserves clunky repetition, ham-fisted dialogue tags, and awkward and pointless sentence fragments--not to mention the highly dubious science and history and unsafe animal handling. But Agent J likes the damn things, so we've gone back to the first book and will read them in order till I snap.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I've been wretchedly slack in posting my write-a-thon updates, but not quite as wretched at the actual writing. The nice thing about having to gut The Poison Court and start again from the beginning is that now every reclaimed word now counts toward my goal. I'm much happier with the new plot, but I still haven't figured out what my Cool Magic Stuff is going to be. Ghosts, djinn, vampires, vengeful undead sorcerers--what will the new hotness be?

6419 / 10500
(61.13%)




Books read in 2012 )

12. Dead and Buried - Barbara Hambly

13. The Shirt On His Back - Barbara Hambly

14. Ran Away - Barbara Hambly

15. The Ninth Daughter - Barbara Hamilton

The boy bought me the new lighted Nook for an anniversary present, and I though I was skeptical, it's definitely earned it's keep. I've read these past four books on it, mainly while I'm sitting up with Agent J until she falls asleep. Being able to read in a dark room or car is a codsend, and it doesn't strain my eyes like laptop reading does. Also, ebooks give me a nice instant gratification for books I'd otherwise have to special order. Of course, I'll have to order them all anyway, because I have no illusions that this device will last a quarter the life of a paperback, but oh well.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
A V2! A V2! My second V2 ever! Progress!


Books read this year:

1. The Ladies of Mandrigyn - Barbara Hambly
2. Lord of Bones - Justine Musk
3. Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed
4. Infidel - Kameron Hurley
5. Shattered Pillars - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)
6. The Secret Servant - Daniel Silva
7. Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick: Double D Double Cross - Christa Faust
8. The Witches of Wenshar - Barbara Hambly
9. The Mask of Night - Tracy Grant
10. Vienna Waltz - Teresa Grant
11. Imperial Scandal - Teresa Grant

I've been binging on the Fraser books. I'm also rereading Beneath a Silent Moon right now. I adore these books so much. With the adoration I normally reserve for Barbara Hambly's Asher books, even. If ever two series needed an epic crossover event, it's these two. The timing would be a stretch, but that's what vampirism is for.

Bookkeeping

Apr. 4th, 2012 12:49 am
stillsostrange: (Read)
1. The Ladies of Mandrigyn - Barbara Hambly
2. Lord of Bones - Justine Musk
3. Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed
4. Infidel - Kameron Hurley
5. Shattered Pillars - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)

6. The Secret Servant - Daniel Silva

I have long appreciated the Gabriel Allon books for being thoughtful and sympathetic and understanding of the antagonists (except the Nazis, but, yanno, Nazis). But this one felt unexpectedly Islamophobic and icky. I finished it with an unpleasant taste in my mouth, and will be approaching Moscow Rules with some trepidation.
stillsostrange: (Read)
I need book recs! Smart, fun middle grade books, specifically. Bonuses awarded for female MCs and MCs of color. Hook me up, LJ.
stillsostrange: (Veil)
Chapter 3 of Kingdoms is now up on my website. And keep an eye on the Necromancer blog, as I hope to have another character study posted before the release date.


3. Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed

I actually read this last year, but forgot to add it to the book list. Ghouls! Crotchety ghoul hunters! Lion girls! Creepy jackal spirits! Cardamom tea! I do not read enough books with cardamom tea.

4. Infidel - Kameron Hurley

I continue to love the Bel Dame Apocrypha, brutal and bittersweet and veined with the impossible hope of redemption. My only nit with this book is Sweet Holy Mother of Fishes, the word rep! I cannot not see it, and it burns us, precious.



And now I should have lunch and put on non-yardwork clothing, for tonight I'm crashing [livejournal.com profile] jmeadows' signing, with cupcakes.
stillsostrange: (Von says read)
1. The Ladies of Mandrigyn - Barbara Hambly (reread)

2. Lord of Bones - Justine Musk

The writing was excellent, and I enjoyed the evolution of the characters and their relationships, but the villain was nowhere as cool as Asha and the climax never came together for me. I'm looking forward to The Decadents, though.

2012 will hopefully be the year of long-overdue sequel reading. (The reading being long overdue; most of the books themselves were timely.) I have The Magician King, Infidel, and A Rope of Thorns staring at me every time I pass the bookshelf. Not to mention a few dozen others.
stillsostrange: (Default)
1. The Ladies of Mandrigyn - Barbara Hambly (reread)

A book in the first week of the year! I'm off to a good start.

This was actually the first book by Hambly that I ever read, back in the ancient days of high school. I liked it at the time, but it didn't leave much of an impression. (That came later, when I started college and found a copy of Those Who Hunt The Night.) I'm so glad I've reread it now, because it's one of her most beautiful books, and now that I'm not a callow youth I can finally appreciate it. Also, if Hambly were to write a novel-length work of nothing but descriptions of light, I would preorder it in a heartbeat.
stillsostrange: (Default)
2011 wasn't my best year for writing or publication, but it wasn't the worst either. I finished Kingdoms of Dust, and made it more than half way through the latest revision of Dreams. I also finished and sold "Red" and "Bone Garden."

My goals for 2012 are a) to finish this draft of Dreams by Jan 19th, b) sell more books (any books will do), and c) to finish a few of the short stories that have been collecting dust for too long. I would also eventually like to put out a collection of my short stories, but I care less about when that happens.


21. The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler

Beautifully written and plotted, and rightly a classic. On the other hand, the constant low thrum of sexism made me kind of tired, and it had the same bonus homophobia that made me sad in The Maltese Falcon. Sigh.

22. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (This must be a reread, but I can't remember when I first read it.)

This is really a sweet little book, but wow it makes me roll my eyes a lot. Could be greatly improved by monsters.

My other goal is to read more books in 2012. Perhaps as many as 40. 52 still seems a bit of a stretch.


And now, the contest! necromancerchronicles.com is up now (though there's no new content yet), but it needs a tagline. As in "The Necromancer Chronicles: Sexy tagline goes here." I turn to you, beloved LJers, to come up with something brilliant.

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