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If anyone's interested in/curious about Jordan L. Hawke's SPECTR series, the entire 1st series is on sale at Amazon and ARe for $0.99. (I talk about the 1st book here and here.) ARe will let you buy a copy without the annoying DRM that limits you to one ereader/program.

Edit: I didn't catch this before I posted, but sale ends tomorrow.
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If anyone's been looking to pick up K.J. Charles' A Charm of Magpies series, they're on sale over at Samhain Publishing for $2.70 instead of $4.50 right now.

Here be the link to the series listing: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/books/series/443/a-charm-of-magpies
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What I Just Finished Reading: Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. I enjoyed this much, much more than Rosemary and Rue. The ending did not disappoint the way R&R did, and I found myself genuinely liking Rose and concerned with what would happen to her. The world, one of the dead, of bean sidhes and roadwitches, and the power of roadside diners, was fascinating and I found myself wishing I could see more of it when the book was done.

Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire. I had high hopes for this after Sparrow Hill Road, and while it wasn't bad the best I can come up with for it is 'eh, 's alright'. I wanted to like it more, it just sort of felt like the protagonist was trying too hard. (Competition ballroom dancer/cocktail waitress/parkour expert/cryptozoologist/priestess. Alright, priestess to sapient mice, but still.) The romance felt tacked on and predictable, and the mice were - weird. I mean, things in a book about cryptids should be weird but not 'reminds me of the space mice from Voltron' weird. I would have liked to see more non-humanoid cryptids as well, though part of that might be because the book takes place in New York City and the really weird stuff might not flourish there. There also wasn't an armageddon, discount or otherwise. Has anyone read more of the series? Is it worth trying to push on?

I did get to introduce the concept of cryptids to my husband, though. He knew about Sasquatch, chupacabra and so on, just not the term.

Butterflies (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal #2), by K.J. Charles. So having encountered Simon and Robert in Remnant, the crossover with Whyborne & Griffin (link to that entry here) I wanted to know more about them. Butterflies tells the story of their second encounter, but gives you enough information you're not lost. I liked it: it was decently creepy and the plot is very weird. (I like weird horror.) The story is available for free, so you can go ahead and check it out here if you're curious. The #2 comes from it being the second story: if you read The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal it's the 2nd story in the book anyway.

I went ahead and looked up more by Charles, quite surprised to find some of her books available online at the provincial library. (I can borrow books to my ereader, I don't even have to leave the house! I love the future.) I live in one of the more conservative provinces, let's put it that way.

The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1), by K.J. Charles. After the deaths of his father and brother, Lucien Vaudrey returns home from China after twenty years to take up the earldom. Inexplicably, he begins to suffer from blackouts during which he makes attempts at suicide. Summoning a practitioner of magic, Stephen Day, after the most recent blackout he learns that he's not only inherited the family title, but a family curse as well. Vaudrey and Day must travel to Vaudrey's family home to unravel the curse and the web of plots surrounding Vaudrey.

I quite liked it, for characters, plot, and atmosphere all. You really feel you're surrounded by the inexplicable in a decaying mansion in the English countryside. Charles also uses the technique, in a few places, of giving just enough description that you can imagine something really horrible.

A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies #2), by K.J. Charles. I liked this one better than The Magpie Lord, overall. It gets more into the practice of magic in England, and how that magic is regulated. There's a larger cast and we see more of Stephen's fellow practitioners/coworkers. Unfortunately, events stemming from the first book mean that his fellows have cause to suspect he's turned warlock, and in Victorian England he can't explain why he hasn't without revealing his relationship with Vaudrey. And there's a plague of giant rats closing in on London, endangering Vaudrey's friends and acquantainces as well as his lover.

Interlude with Tattoos (A Charm of Magpies 1.5), by K.J. Charles. A playful, NC-17, short story about Vaudrey and Day, without anything trying to possess or kill them. You'd need to read The Magpie Lord for this to make sense, though. If you have, or if you're OK with a bit of confusion, you can read it free here.

A Case of Spirits (A Charm of Magpies 2.5), by K.J. Charles. The last short story was playful? Yeah, not this one. (Which is also free, but only through Amazon. Kindle software for your computer/tablet/phone is free too, though, which is good because I would certainly never suggest removing the DRM and converting it to epub.) This one is pure horror. You will definitely need to read at least the 2nd book in the series to understand this, or you won't know who 2/3 of the players are.

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by K.J. Charles. As the title suggests, this is a series of short stories, which cover the life of Simon Feximal and Robert Caldwell after their first meeting till the end of WWI. I felt this was more unevenly done than A Charm of Magpies and that at times the story felt rushed, especially when Robert refers to stories we don't see. In-universe they were published in the not-secret casebooks, but we don't have those. The story needed more time and development: it would have worked better as a longer book, or as a series that would let the author flesh out the characters and their stories a little more. So, OK but not great.

What I'm Reading Now: Accidentally rereading Hunter of Demons, by Jordan L. Hawk. I say accidentally because my ereader has a habit of taking longer to move from the last page of a book back to the home screen, and I forget this, tap twice, and end up opening whatever it's showing/suggesting where my thumb lands. So I just went with it. Hunter of Demons takes place in a version of our world where the paranormal isn't hiding behind a masquerade and there's a government branch (SPECTR) in charge of hunting down demons etc. and watching over normal humans with paranormal talents. (Think Mutant Registration Act, here.) Sadly my library has no books by Hawk available, so, while I'll probably pick up the omnibus of this series sometime, learning more about the conspiracy theory that promises to weave through the series will have to wait.

What I'm Reading Next: Flight of Magpies, by K.J. Charles. The library alerted me that the copy I'd put on hold was now available. (How this works with ebooks I'm not sure - there must be a limit on how often a copy can be checked out simultaneously, or maybe they do have to purchase multiple copies as with paper books?) I like to read series in sequence, as I'm quite sure everyone's noticed by now. ^_~ Then, I think I shall take a day, put on a pot of tea, curl up in a quilt, and reread The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. <3
Feb. 7th, 2016 07:14 pm

I got bored

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So I decided Katsu needed a blog: katsucollects.tumblr.com

Because my search history didn't raise enough questions already. (I'm a writer, not a serial killer, promise.)
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Today it gave me two! Behold: ask lowercase cala and ASK CAPSLOCK BESHELAR. Oh, and they'll occasionally interact with one another.

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Two or three porn blogs have started following me over on Tumblr. Does this happen to anyone else?

I mean, I'm trying to think of what could attract a porn blog to a place where I mostly reblog antiquities, architecture, jewelry, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit related things, and knitting posts. The only thing I can come up with, outside of just being picked up in general sweeps where they hope people will automatically follow them in return, is that one reblog about the Roman brothel.

There are words I never thought to type together.
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What I Just Finished Reading: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1), by Seanan McGuire. So I thought I'd read part of the sample for book #2 in the series, but apparently not? I think I must have just dropped everything by the author in my library wishlist and assumed they were part of a series because that's the way they seem to buy books. But Sparrow Hill Road seems to be a one-shot and not part of any other series. Oops.

I wanted to like this book better than I did. Really, I did. There were a lot of reasons I didn't: one is not so much that it isn't terribly original - I mean, I've read literally (:P) thousands of stories at this point and there are only what? seven basic plots? - but that it didn't seem to reach it's potential with a half-human protagonist. The narration just fell flat for me, not that I wanted it to descend into superangst either, but...I don't know. I think it was supposed to be matter of fact but it felt more "...and this." than anything else. The integration of the fae world into the normal world was handled much better by The Dresden Files and Wicked Lovely, and both those series also gave me a much better sense of the city they were set in. In this, everytime I ran across a reference to San Francisco I went "oh, yeah! That's where we are!" Otherwise it could have been Anyplace, North America. It wasn't bad, more mediocre, right up until the end which took a sharp downturn into "was this even edited?" It really seemed like a first draft. I probably would have abandoned the entire book if it had all been like the end.

I went back and reread the Whyborne & Griffin series. They have a tag now. Have I mentioned how much I love Dr. Christine Putnam? She's assertive, direct, confident, and likes to solve problems by shooting and/or hitting things. I want to run off with her and have adventures in punching things.

The No B.S. Guide to Freelance Writing, by Ian Chandler. I got this free through Author's Publish, and while some of the advice in it was decent, I wouldn't have paid for it. Mostly it's anecdotes from the author about how he got into freelance writing and links to other reference sources, with the occasional writing sample. I'm also puzzled as to why someone who's an author would advise you to use a site to generate a resume from a template for you, and to have a general cover letter you can just drop names and keywords into. That's against the advice I've been reading and receiving over the past year. Mind you, none of said advice has done me any good, so maybe I shouldn't talk.

What I'm Reading Now: Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. So far, I'm enjoying this more than Rosemary and Rue. It's not an anthology, but it feels like one, as Rose Marshall, who died in 1952 and has been a phantom hitchhiker ever since, tells you about her encounters with the about-to-be and newly-dead, and how she came to be a ghost herself.  It's definitely an interesting concept, and while Rose is matter-of-fact about being dead, her descriptions of it don't have the same flat "oh, yeah, and..." feeling to them that October's descriptions of being half-fae did. I'm just looking at it warily given how bad the end of Rosemary and Rue was.

What I'm Reading Next: Probably Discount Armageddon, also by Seanan McGuire, seeing as I have to return these to the library in a couple of weeks and don't want to forget about them. Then possibly more of the SERRAted Edge series, and Butterflies (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by K.J. Charles. I wasn't sure what to make of Simon when he showed up in a Whyborne & Griffin crossover, so I decided to give him another shot when I found a free short story.
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One of Tauriel's Sermon on the Riverbank graphics came up in my Tumblr feed this morning and it made a very good point: what does Smaug eat? I mean, he's a dragon, and he's massive. He'd be an apex predator, right? So the area surrounding Erebor should be pretty much emptied of game, including humans, if he's an omnivore or carnivore. If he eats trees, like the Draccus from The Kingkiller Chronicles, the area should be deforested, which it clearly isn't.

A lack of a sufficient food source could explain why he stays in the mountain: it means he's expending less energy, possibly spends time in some kind of hibernation, and so needs less food when food sources are scarce. If he eats gold or gems, he'd want to stay close to that food source and again, it's a finite source of food so he'd want to conserve as much energy as possible. He also can't get smelted gold - or at least can't get it easily, dragonfire might be able to melt gold out of the rock that surrounds it? - on his own. Tolkien's dragons aren't natural creatures, they were created by Morgoth, and a good way to keep something that powerful under control is to control its food source. (Like the lysine dependency in Jurassic Park.) Morgoth's gone, Sauron's not in a position to gather or feed dragons even if he could control them, and they're definiely not designed for mining if minerals are their food source.

Or do Tolkien's dragons, like Discworld high dragons, exist on magic? There's a definite feeling of 'the magic goes away' throughout the legendarium, best shown in LotR with the elves departing to the West. Animals in an environment with a limited food source will select for smaller sizes (insular dwarfism) and this would again explain Smaug's lack of activity outside the mountain: he's conserving his energy. He could also be staying close to a food source: there are certainly magical artifacts in his hoard (and the Arkenstone is theorized by some to be a Silmaril) and he's grouped the whole thing together to concentrate that source.

Or am I just really overthinking this?
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What I Just Finished Reading: Magic's Promise, by Mercedes Lackey. This is definitely the strongest book out of the trilogy. It's more plot and less character driven compared to the others, making for a much tighter story, without the major plot elements crammed in at beginning, middle, and end, as the other two books in the trilogy did. You definitely get a sense of the magic and politics of the wider world of Valdemar, which is great, but sadly the momentum won't last.

If I were to edit this, now, I'd lop out most of the first book, keep this one largely intact, trim out about the first half of the third and expand on the last quarter, and print it as a single novel.

Hunter of Demons, by Jordan L. Hawk. I got this as a free book after I signed up for the author's mailing list. (Seems a fair exchange for a couple of emails a month, yes?) You can also download it for free from Smashwords via the link. I liked it well enough - though not as well as Whyborne & Griffin *g* - and will probably pick up the omnibus edition of the 1st series at some point. Hunter of Demons takes place in a version of our world where the paranormal isn't hiding behind a masquerade and there's a government branch (SPECTR) in charge of hunting down demons etc. and watching over normal humans with paranormal talents. (Think Mutant Registration Act, here.) Per Smashwords:

When Caleb is possessed by a vampire spirit named Gray, his only hope lies with hotshot federal exorcist John Starkweather. The only problem? If Caleb can't keep Gray from giving into Bloodlust, Starkweather will have no choice but to kill them both.

There also seems to be an underlying conspiracy theory that's no doubt spread through the rest of the series, and we also Gray's thoughts as he experiences life in a living body (previously he only possessed the dead), two things that honestly interested me more than the story itself.

Magic's Price, by Mercedes Lackey. I wanted to like this much more than I did. I should have, because there are a lot of elements in it that I like, just...Vanyel's moodiness and uncertainties and 'woe is me!' attitude just wore on me. It didn't help that the actual crisis of the novel - of the trilogy - was just kind of crammed into the last few pages and then - fizzled.

I was definitely not happy to have Rape As Drama gratuitously dumped in there. There were at least three ways to avoid Vanyel's capture period and there are just some things I do not like to see dropped in a story purely for shock value, and that's one of the big ones.

Overall the entire series felt like a fanfic - and that's not a shot, god knows that would be hypocritical - where the author wants to explore the characters away from the main storyline and so just uses the main storyline as background. That's not bad: I've read some wonderful stories that do that. It just doesn't work here.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, by E.B. Hudspeth. Would you like a beautifully illustrated horror story that sends cold tendrils creeping up your spine ever so slowly? May I suggest the above. This was amazing! Very impressive, especially considering a powerful story is delivered in roughly 50 pages - the 2nd half of the book is anatomical drawings of mythical creatures - and is one of the best examples of Nothing Is Scarier I've ever encountered. You have just enough information your imagination fills in the rest. Very definitely recommended!

Academ's Fury, by Jim Butcher. I did like this better than Furies of Calderon, though not enough that I'm rushing through the series. It's still in 'fill in the last allotted space of library books I can check out' territory. It didn't feel as unfinished as the first book, but where the first felt like it had more pages than story, this one almost feels like there's too much pressed into it. [livejournal.com profile] hamsterwoman suggested it would pick up around book #4, and I'm willing to give it at least that long. I might check out a wiki or TVTropes for info on #3 and just push ahead to 4, even.

Restless Spirits, by Jordan L. Hawk. And this is the book i got in exchange for signing up for the author's mailing list. Spiritualists and debunkers in a haunted castle? I can get behind that. It's set in roughly the same time period as Whyborne & Griffin (late 19th/early 20th century, during the Spiritualist craze) and has a few similarities. Vincent and Henry are distinctly different characters, however. Henry tends to be an ass at times and did a few things I didn't like. (Don't out people. Don't.) He can recognize or be brought to recognize his mistakes, though, so there's a promise of growth. I do like the steampunk-y feel to the book, which actually is in line with the time period. Think Edison's Spirit Phone.

My favorite character in the book would have to be Jo. Technically inclined women? Yes please! :D

What I'm Reading Now: The King of Elfland's Daughter, by Lord Dunsany. Trying to read, anyway. When you keep glancing at the page numbers to see how much further you have to go it's not a good sign. I don't know if it's the language or just that I had higher expectations but this is seriously heading toward the 'abandoned' shelf. Which I don't have, but am thinking of creating, just for this.

What I'm Reading Next: Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, by Seanan McGuire. I've seen mixed review for this, but I read part of the sample for book #2 in the series and found it hard to tear away, so I'll give it a shot. The blurb on Goodreads doesn't sound terribly original, but you never know.
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What I Just Finished Reading: The Last Wish, by Andrej Sapkowski. I thought it got a little bit awkward and stretched with what it was trying to do near the end, but I also liked Geralt a lot better at the end of the book than the beginning. You could see more of his personality beyond 'silent deadly merc sorceror'. I'm interested in seeing what the other two books are like.

Magic's Pawn, by Mercedes Lackey. I got partway through this and thought, "okay, so it's a coming-of-age story, about a kid escaping from his family that doesn't understand him and finding out who he really is." It certainly is that, but the crisis of it was a lot more dramatic and shocking than I expected it to be. I didn't really get into it until about halfway through, and it picked up after that. I did get a little impatient with the teenage drama and Vanyel sulking like, well, a teenager, and yet another fantasy land with anti-LGBT+ prejudice - though I recognize that that may not have been such a trope when the book was written and there are people who can use a fictional character with their problems to identify with. I would have adored this when I was a teenager, and god knows I still empathize with Vanyel on the 'not having a name for what you are' front even though those days are thankfully long past. Still, it interested me enough to read the 2nd book in the trilogy which so far seems to be a lot less teen drama and angst.

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. I meant to read the above trilogy all in a row and not be a literary magpie this time, really I did, but my ereader ran out of battery power and shut itself off, so I had to go to physical books and this will always be one of my immediate fallbacks. :) Maia's such a good character, and so kind. I'd hug him, but while Kiru might just haul me off by my ear, Beshelar would gut me first and say it was his job immediately after. (Anyway, a glance at TGE fanfic gives one the impression Maia goes on to have impressive amounts of sex with pretty much everyone, so I'd say he's OK on the physical contact front. :P)

What I'm Reading Now: Magic's Promise (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #2), by Mercedes Lackey. This takes place well after the first book, which I found a little jarring. I see from Goodreads that it's The Last Herald-Mage #2 but Valdemar #5, chronologically, which accounts for it, though that sort of thing is something I associate with comics rather than novels. It's not that events aren't referenced, but they're referenced sort of offhandedly and while the characters understand what's going on, the readers could have used a bit more explanation. Vanyel's much older, and calmer, and less prone to drama (so far, I have a feeling drama is incoming) and it talks more about magic and creatures, which I like.

What I'm Reading Next: Magic's Price (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #3), by Mercedes Lackey. Apparently we're saving the world?

Academ's Fury (Codex Alera #2) by Jim Butcher. Well, it took me a couple of books to get into The Dresden Files too, so I'll give Codex Alera another shot or two. Thank goodness for libraries.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, by E.B. Hudspeth. I can't remember who recommended this to me, or if it was recommended to me, or if I just happened to like the cover. I borrowed the ebook from the library so it could even be a recommendation algorithm tossed it my way. I'm really hoping the illustrations show up well in my ereader.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads: Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?
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After careful consideration, I've decided I also ship Katsu/socks.

The collars were just a fling. :P
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Fandom Snowflake Challenge Friending Meme bannerI'm pretty sure anyone who might read this found me through the challenge anyway? But you never know, so, promotion time.
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Aw, man! It's over. D:

Day 15

In your own space, talk about what you're taking away from this challenge. Did you learn something? Did you interact with new people? Or did you try out different fandoms or formats or relationships? What's changed between Day 1 and Day 15 of this challenge?

I found a ton of new recs, which I have yet to read but promise to get to. Open tabs make me feel guilty. I pretty much lurk the other 50 weeks out of the year so I certainly interacted with new people, all of whom are lovely. ^_^ Although, I've learned not to be so nervous about commenting - again here's the link to an article on how brief comments are OK - so perhaps I'll start to lurk less? No promises but that I'll try.
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Day 14

In your own space, share your love for something fannish: a trope, cliché, kink, motif, theme, format, or fandom.

Trope: Cosmic Horror Story, definitely. For me this trope works better in print, because in visual medium there's too much of a tendency to show instead of hint and of course any kind of horror is always worse when you have to use your imagination.

Cliché: Love at First Sight, although I prefer it when people fall for each other but we still see them have to work at it to maintain the relationship. Even if the relationship doesn't work out - I mean, just because you don't wind up with someone doesn't mean you didn't love them, it just means things didn't work out, and that's okay. Rough, but okay.

Kink: Long hair, preferably thick and silky. Mmm. Especially on men. Especially loose and flowing down someone's back.

Motif: Fairy tale motifs, the aforementioned Cosmic Horror Story, light surrealism (if it's so surreal you can't follow it I don't usually care for it), people encountering each other through multiple incarnations.

Theme: Works that deal with the balance between good and evil. I also like works that don't have a great overarching stop-the-world-from-ending theme but deal with individual people, such as low fantasy.

Format: I prefer prose over other formats. I've always been attracted to words. I can certainly appreciate other formats, but text is the one I gravitate to first.
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Fandom Snowflake Challenge bannerDay 13

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Formality by lightningwaltz
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor
Summary: Beshelar is distressed by an attraction to Maia. He's even more aggravated when he realizes the attraction is mutual.
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: M/M
Additional Tags: Pining, Mutual Pining, Loyalty, Resolved Sexual Tension, Power Imbalance, consensual polyamory

I like the additional depth the author gives to Beshelar, and though she only makes a brief appearance, I quite enjoy her Csethiro as well.

Anna Hart's Letters by CenozoicSynapsid
Fandom: The Bone Key
Summary: Old love letters can still be compelling reading. Unfortunately.
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Additional Tags: Lost Love

I can't really pin down why I enjoyed this one, but I did.

Ephialtes by Harukami
Fandom: The Doctrine of Labyrinths
Summary: Felix leaves Malkar, but Malkar won't ever leave Felix.
Archive Warnings: Creator Chose Not to Use Archive Warnings, Rape/Non-Con. I'm adding physical, mental, and emotional abuse. The Doctrine of Labyrinths series contains a lot of material that could potentially trigger someone. If you're not familiar with it you may want to tread carefully.
Category: M/M

I've always been curious about how, exactly, Felix slipped the bonds of the obligation de sang with Malkar, and this does an excellent job of filling in the missing events. Mind you, it's not an easy read.

I'll also leave a link here to my 2015 recs for the challenge, and here and here for 2014.
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What I Just Finished Reading: Remnant: A Caldwell & Feximal/Whyborne & Griffin Mystery (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, #3; Whyborne & Griffin, #3.5) by by K.J. Charles and Jordan L. Hawk. The bright young things of London are being murdured by magic, and the only clues available are written in Egyptian hieratic. This takes place during W&G's London stopover on their way to Egypt in Necropolis. I did enjoy this, even though I'm not sure how I feel about Caldwell & Feximal yet. Probably because I read it for W&G, and am used to seeing them as the focus of the stories, and I'm not familiar with C&F there was a bit of 'yes, yes, you're very nifty, can we get back to my guys now please?' Perhaps I shall simply have to add a new series to The Stack. Though if The Stack gains a virtual component I may be lost.

Send tea and kittens.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley. Have you ever had a dream where everything in the dream is completely normal while you dream it, but just as you wake up you realize there are things that should be odd but aren't, like the way you're holding a casual conversation with a fictional character, or no one finds it odd that the short man in the bowler hat follows you everywhere? The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is like that, but the thing that should be odd but isn't is a clockwork octopus.

Look, I'm making a hash of this, but the point is that it's wonderful, and dreamlike, and I read it in a sitting and you should too.

Harmony: Whyborne & Griffin #5.5 by Jordan L. Hawk. I know, I thought I was finished everything too! But as I was reading the author's page on Goodreads, I tripped across a link for a W&G Christmas story (available free on her site, the link will take you there - contains spoilers for Bloodlines) so of course I clicked. Griffin sets up a scavenger hunt for Whyborne as part of a Christmas surprise. Now, sometimes I get a touch annoyed with Whyborne's tendancy towards petulance but I damn well sympathized here because I don't like surprise hunts and I don't like being made to guess things.

Case in point, two years ago my husband surprised me with a Valentine's present by getting up on the titular day and exclaiming, "oh, what's this by the bed?" I'm also not a morning person so my first reaction wasn't anything Valentine's related but: "how the fuck should I know? It's on your side!" He thought it was funny, though I felt bad afterwards, but he ought not to surprise me before coffee, really.

Still, it's a nice slice-of-life story overall.

The Chrome Borne (SERRAted Edge #1&4) by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon. You can read this omnibus edition without having read 2&3 and still understand what's going on, have no fear. There are elves who drive race cars and I can't think of a more compelling reason you should read this. (Though I'll admit to having a bias toward long-haired pretties with magic. There, there would really be no point in denying it.)

What I'm Reading Now: The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski. I haven't played the video games based on this, at least not yet, but the book looked very interesting, and it is! This is labeled #1, but it's actually a collection of short stories with what appears to be (I'm halfway through) an underlying narrative somewhat connecting them. It's rather like a grim version of Fractured Fairy Tales, but I like it.

Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage) by Mercedes Lackey. It's the library's fault. It distracted me. I really really truly this time did mean to work down The Stack but as I said to [personal profile] lucifuge5 the other day, I'm a literary magpie and easily distracted by shiny new books. Oh, and I borrowed the rest in the series too because, well, you can take out up to 5 ebooks at a time, why would I leave with slots empty? I'm not very far in but so far I have a lot of sympathy for Vanyel.
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Fandom Snowflake Challenge bannerDay 12

What makes you fannish? And by that we mean, what is it about a tv show/movie/book/band/podcast/etc that takes you from, "Yeah, I like that," to "I need MOAR!!!" Is it a character? A plotline? The pretty? Subtext that’s just screaming to be acknowledged?

In your own space, tell us what it is that gets you to cross that line into fandom. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

When it comes to things I want to pursue in a fannish way, good characterization and an engaging plot are definitely driving factors. (Including pretty doesn't hurt, no not at all.) Despite that, it's kind of hard to pin down exactly what attracts me. There are some things that feel like they should and just don't. Being attracted to a tv show/movie/book/band/podcast/etc. is like being attracted to a person: you either are or you aren't and while you have guidelines for what attracts you, there's more too it than that.
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Fandom Snowflake Challenge bannerDay 11

In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I had a chuckle when I saw this because I saw a career counselor this morning and we went over what I think I'm good at. So this is like a continuation of my day, and a little easier because I'm already in the mindset.

Alright, things I like about me:

  • I'm creative, even if I haven't exercisesd it as much recently as I would have liked - hence the goal set in Day 9.

  • I'm quite good at coming up with fixes for problems and improvements to processes very quickly. I've solved problems for employers they didn't know they had, and saved them hundreds of work hours with small changes, You're losing out, employers who don't call me back!

  • My hair.

  • Being able to cook.

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Fandom Snowflake Challenge bannerDay 10

In your own space, post a rec for fannish and/or creative resources and spaces. Tell us where you go to dig up canon facts for your fandom, or where you get all the juicy details about your favorite ship. Where do you like to hang out and squee like a squeeing thing? Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Well, I mostly lurk so here are some resource links.

If this first list looks familiar, yes, it's the one I posted in answer to this question last year. :)

  • Wikipedia - I know, I know, but if I just need to check, say, the history of tools or clothing, or the basics of an illness or injury it's good enough.

  • TVTropes - In addition to their Useful Notes sections, the pages on the works themselves can be useful if you need to look up something about the material you're working with without having to risk checking it and winding up watching or reading it and not working on what you started out with.

  • Google - If Wikipedia doesn't have the information, or the depth of information, I want I head to Google. Someone, somewhere, knows the history of crinolines, or the frequency of inside shutters in old houses and they may not have been interested enough to put it on Wikipedia.

  • Fan wikis, if they're available. One of the downsides of smaller fandoms though is they tend not to have large wikis, if at all, and when they have one it's often not been updated recently.

  • Pixlr.com - This is an online graphics editor I use for doing simple things, admittedly largely at work but it technically could be used for fan stuff. It's pretty much a Photoshop clone, but not as powerful.

  • GIMP - A much more powerful Photoshop clone, it's more complex than Pixlr and needs to be downloaded to be used but it has a lot more features and you can do more with it.

  • My husband. No, really. He's a fellow nerd and has an encyclopedic knowledge of whatever fandoms he's interested in. (The trick can, in fact, be getting him to stop.)

And here are some resources I picked up from the 2015 Snowflake Challenge, and over the rest of the year:

  • The Domesday Book - Medieval Demographics Made Easy - Put in your kingdom's name, weather type, population density, type of law enforcement etc. and it will generate the demographics for your fictional land! Useful if you're writing original work or trying to figure out how something would work in a fanwork when the author didn't give you exact numbers.

  • List of Random Names - Why bother spending hours thinking up names for incidental characters when you can have a tool that does it for you?

  • Words - Translate Latin to English - It only lets you translate one word at a time, but it does give you a list with a short description of how that word would be used. For example, I put in 'time' and got not only 'tempus' but that 'tempus' refers to 'time, condition, right time' but 'aevum, aevi: time, time of life, age' plus several more.

  • Random Title Generator - Does what it says on the tin. Mind, the titles might not be useable for what you're doing, since you just click a button and don't give it any information but you never know.

  • Online Etymology Dictionary - Words come into use at different times, and change meaning through the centuries. This will give you the history of the word, including when it's first attested, and the meanings it had at different times.

  • Gode Cookery - Want medieval recipes? An Elizabethan dinner conversation? A description of food in the works of Chaucer? Here you go.

  • Georgian Jewelry - Actually a business site not a reference page but it includes clear pictures of the antique and estate jewelry (as far as I can see 'estate' is something like 'gently used') from multiple angles, plus the age of each piece and a little bit of history on it and its style. Plus, it's just lovely to look at. [Edited to add 1/10/16.]


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