Month: June 2013

Book Talk: Mindtouch

Posted June 29, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 1 Comment

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Cover for Mindtouch by M.C.A. HogarthOnce upon a time, not all that long ago, M.C.A. Hogarth tweeted about a new duology. It was described as an asexual romance (or a bromance or a relationship book or a friendship book, probably a few things I missed out on). I squeed. I bounced. I squealed. I mean, one of my favourite authors writing the kind of relationship I would love to see more of in fiction? That I’ve been actively looking for prominent displays of? Yes, please with cherries and chocolate sauce on top!

So when I saw Mindtouch was available for sale, I pounced on it. I has a copy! It is mine all mine and I may very well ask for a paper copy for my birthday because. Want. I’ve been remiss in reviewing the book or talking about it much in part because my response is not, generally, particularly useful. It goes “ZOMG! SQUEE! EVERYONE, GO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW! IT IS AWESOME!!!!” and… yes. I’ve needed a bit of distance before I could even write a sensible intro, never mind offer up coherent thoughts.

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The Last Unicorn Read-along: Week 2

Posted June 28, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Other People's Creations / 3 Comments

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Welcome to the second week of the read-along for The Last Unicorn! This week we’re reading and discussing chapter 8 through to the very end, so HERE BE SPOILERS for anyone who hasn’t finished the book yet.

I hope everyone’s had a good week and we’ve all enjoyed (or are enjoying) the second half of the book. By now, you’ll probably know why I ended the previous week with chapter 7 rather than chapter 8 and I hope you approve of the choice! (That could be an interesting discussion topic, actually: where would you have cut the week’s reading material off?)

This week/discussion we’ll continue talking about the way perception and illusion plays a role in the book as well as its relationship to myths and fairytales. And quotes. I’ll probably use less of them than in the first week, but that’s deliberate. I very much fear that I will not stop quoting once I give myself permission to do that.

I’m very much looking forward to the discussion! (Granted, I’m also still terrified. Did I mention my self-esteem issues last week? Yes? Oh, good. I has them. I try not to let them get in the way.)

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Read-along Announcement & Thoughts

Posted June 25, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in News / 0 Comments

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First! The read-along announcement. No worries. It’s not anything dire, but I’ve been diligently writing up my posts as I’ve had the time to revisit the additional material I have and all those posts have turned out fairly long and I feel it’s best to split them up into two posts. I didn’t want to post two long posts on the same day, so I’m splitting them up yet. I haven’t decided whether to post on Thursday and Friday or Friday and Saturday yet, though, so if anyone has a preference, please let me know!

Please also note that for the novelette and short story there will be no discussion questions. Instead they’ll be longer discussions of the texts as a whole. (And yes there will be spoilers for the book.)

Secondly, the read-along has given me a few thoughts on the kind of person I am too. They haven’t been earth-shattering thoughts or anything, but they’ve been important to me. Actually, they’re the kind of thoughts that you know and just don’t really think about until they decide to hit you with a hammer.

I don’t like essays. I have never liked essays. I don’t like analysing texts either, which I’ve known since, uh, certainly my first year at university. I hate literary analysis and essay-writing. I’m enjoying the read-along and working out some of my thoughts on the book. But I’ve been toying with the idea of hosting another read-along later in the year. I’ve already reread the book for it. I just don’t have any questions or words. That’s been frustrating. I’ve just finished up the rough drafts for the discussions of the novelette and short story and those have been… not frustrating but tiring.

And that’s when the mallet hit. Because I haven’t re-experienced those stories a dozen dozen times over already. I don’t know them well. I haven’t had thoughts on them percolating through my brain for most of my life. And the pressure of sounding intelligent and coherent about them (especially when I want to run away shouting “I am not smart enough to understand these stories!”) is tiring. I have to push through that. I can do it – I have done it – but it is tiring.

And that’s how I’ve felt after ever essay I’ve written too: tired. I just didn’t realise why it was so tiring until this read-along. That probably also ties into why I struggle with reviewing things properly. I have to push through very much the same pressure of “I must seem intelligent and coherent”.

So now I just have to figure out how to tackle that more effectively. I do like talking about things and I’d like it to, you know, not leave me feeling half-way towards exhausted for doing it. No wonder I’ve burnt out so soon after starting if I have to slog through that all the time I start talking about things.

I’ve also been sick the last few days, but now that I’m feeling better and can confidently get my non-fiction writing mostly done before July, I’m considering signing up for Camp NaNo. I’ll give it a few more days to think about it, but I wouldn’t be surprised. (I’m supposed to rest, I know. Shush. Writing is relaxing when it cooperates?)

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“There are no happy endings because nothing ends.”

Posted June 21, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Banner for the seventh Once upon a Time challenge. Art by Melissa Nucera.Today marks the end of the Once upon a Time VII challenge. You can see my utter failure in dealing with time and dates in the fact that I could have sworn it lasted until July. ><

Alas, it does not and it ends on the solstice today, or today on the solstice, depending on your prefered order. The summer solstice for me, and I hope summer will treat me kindly. I feel sad that I didn’t manage to keep up with people’s posts and reads as much as I’d have liked to, but in my defense the months of the challenge have been pretty gruelling. As a point in case, it’s the 21st of June and I’ve read a grand total of two books. I will be very surprised if I get to my monthly stats for June and discover that I’ve read five books in total. It’s been one of those months, alas.

But let’s not dwell on that and focus on the past few months! I haven’t really had the spoons to put up (or write) reviews either for much of the second half of the challenge. I’ll keep the challenge module up for a little while and then take it down again.

You can see a list of all the books (and short stories) I’ve read here, but I’ll mention my top five books/stories here.

Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (Yes, I know the read-along isn’t finished, but I reread back in April too. Have a link to week 1 of the Read-along for some of my thoughts!)

One Saved to the Sea by Catt Kingsgrave

Pearl in the Void by M.C.A. Hogarth

Seaward by Susan Cooper (I may be hosting another read-along for this book come September to celebrate the rerelease in August!)

I had a lot of fun and I do hope to be back (and be back with a better ability to participate actively) next year!

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The Last Unicorn Read-along: Week 1

Posted June 21, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Other People's Creations / 4 Comments

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First up, the promised update on Luna. Every bloodtest we’ve done has come back negative, so we still don’t know what on earth is going on. That said, she’s doing a lot better, so we’re back to just monitoring things for a while. I’m just relieved things are going all right, even if we’re still working out what we can do and what we want to do.

Secondly, welcome to the first week of the read-along for The Last Unicorn! I hope you’re all enjoying the book! In… looking back at my questions (which are hopefully at least decently intelligent) I realise that they are rather geared towards new readers and not so much the rereaders. Um. Live and learn?

I’m reading ROC’s anniversary edition (ISBN13: 9780451450524), if anyone is curious. It’s the copy my mum got me before I went off to live half-way across the globe (sans parents) for half a year. It was my really early birthday present.

Below the cut, you’ll find discussion questions and my answers. You’re more than welcome to use them (it’s why I wrote them and all), but you don’t have to. ^-^

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Welcome to The Last Unicorn Read-along!

Posted June 17, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Other People's Creations / 4 Comments

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The Last Unicorn Read-along Banner

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea. – Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, chapter 1

Welcome to ‘The Last Unicorn’ read-along! Before I do, or say, anything else, let me reiterate the schedule:

The Schedule

June 17th – June 23rd: Chapter 1 through to the end of chapter 7
June 24th – June 30th: Chapter 8 to the end
July 1st – July 7th: Related works (i.e. the movie, the graphic novel, Two HeartsThe Woman who Married the Man in the Moon, etc)

I’ll be putting up my posts on Fridays, so that’s the 21st, the 28th, and the 5th. This way anyone who wants to use my (discussion) questions can do so and have some time left to mull over their thoughts.

It’s a little truncated from the announcement post, but that’s the basic gist of it. I’m new to hosting read-alongs, but I hope it’ll still be fun for everyone who participates. The animated movie adaptation is one of the stories that are fundamental in determining who I am today. I’ll certainly be attempting to explore that in more detail because that’s a rather grand statement to make and I haven’t actually examined it in detail. You can read a little more about my history with the story in the announcement post, but it’s one of my most beloved stories. I was four or five, I think, when I first saw The Last Unicorn. My dad taped it for me and I watched it diligently for many a morning. (I alternated between The Last Unicorn, Labyrinth and The Lord of the Rings. I’m an early riser. I was usually up at 5. Ideal when you want to watch movies your parents are tired of for having seen them too often.) I was devastated when we lost the tape. We’ll ignore the fact that I’d watched the whole thing practically to pieces.

I was seventeen when I first got to read the book. My late teens were pretty good years, writingwise. Books like The Last Unicorn taught me so much about what writing could be, the song of it, the beauty, the poetry. I’d always told stories, but never the way that the authors I was reading did. It was The Last Unicorn that showed me the difference between workmanship prose and prosaic beauty. I love the language and the feel, and I love the story. The way it’s put together, the timelessness of it, the characters, the heart and life it has to me.

I hope that if you’re new to The Last Unicorn you’ll enjoy the story too! Welcome to the read-along and I’ll see you all on Friday (hopefully*) with my discussion and impressions of the first seven chapters!

* As a small pet update: We don’t have Luna’s Lyme results back yet and we’re not quite sure when we’ll get them. The vet hopes to have them sometime this week. Depending on the results, the schedule may or may not be slightly skewed, but I’ll do my best not to upset it much and to keep people updated! I’ll likely end up scheduling posts in advance, so that they’ll go up on time and you won’t notice anything other than a delay in responses. I’m really sorry if this ends up causing people any inconvenience. T-T It’s certainly not how I’d expected my first read-along to happen. But this is just to let everyone know what’s going on. Pet updates will come as they happen.

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State of the Lynn

Posted June 13, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 2 Comments

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Daily Life. The text 'Lynn's Living Life' underneath the cameo silhouette of a woman. Daily life updates.

First up, as a reminder The Last Unicorn Read-along is scheduled for June 17th to July 7th. Come join me! so tired it really isn’t amusing anymore and life has been… Well, it’s been. I’m horribly behind on all my goals. T_T

This is partly due to happy circumstances and partly due to sad ones. The happy one I feel I can’t talk about in public but it involves typocatching. (It’s a courtesy thing, so this is all I’ll say.) I’m only sad that the sad circumstances have affected that deeply as well.

The sad circumstance is that one of the dogs, Luna, is ill. Read More

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May/June 2013 Goals

Posted June 2, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Monthly Goals. The text 'monthly goals' underneath a scroll with a key on it. A look back at my goals of the month.

Lookit, my May goals.

I Want to Read:
– River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
– The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King
– Seaward by Susan Cooper
– The Poppet and the Lune by Madeline Claire Franklin

I Want to Write:
12500 words of fiction

I’ve failed on both counts. I didn’t manage to read River of Stars, which is only partially because I’ve been bit (again) by the “Noooooo! I will have no more new-to-me GGKay books to read until he publishes another one if I read this!” bug and I abandoned The Sound of Butterflies for the very simple reason that the narrative structure irked me because it wasn’t what the back blurb advertised or promised me I’d get. I read a TON of other things, though. O_O

I wrote a little over 8,100 words, which is actually a lot better than I’d assumed it’d be. Spring is always a busy time at work and May tends to be crunch time, but I’ve also been trying to sort out some health-related issues that so far have gone nowhere. (I’m very grateful to all of my friends going “Well, it SOUNDS like X”, because it makes me feel marginally less like I’m imagining things.)

I did, however, release another short story booklet, which I haven’t announced officially because I Fail at marketing: The Little Engine That Couldn’t, if anyone is interested curious. It’s not quite what it sounds from the title, but I’ll let the link tell you more if you’re interested.

For June my plans will be no less ambitious. I have my The Last Unicorn Read-along, which I hope people will join me on. I’d like to catch up on rambling about the books I’ve read and see about polishing up the 2011/2012 collection I’m working on finally. (I keep finding things to fiddle with and I suspect I will continue to do so until the cover art is sorted. I am SO looking forward to the cover art and working with my cover artist on them. <3<3<3I Want to Read:
– The Fire’s Stone by Tanya Huff
– Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
– Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
– The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

I Want to Write:
12500 words of fiction

I feel like May was a step upwards from April at least so here’s to making sure June follows suit! I have stories I’m excited about! (They’re also scary, really. Will I do everyone justice? How long will it take me to write? Will people enjoy it? How long will it be? Will I manage not to be distracted by other shinies? I got distracted by in-story folklore about 300 words into the story. It’s not my fault my protagonist used stories to illustrate a point! It may be my fault that I went and chased the shiny, but once you see the shiny too you will know why I ran off to chase it. IT IS THE BESTEST FOLK TALE EVER. And I’ve seen some awesome folktales, so I feel like I have a kind of basis of comparison that works to lessen the bias. I probably don’t, but it is still the BESTEST FOLK TALE EVER. It fills me with squee and giggles.) Maybe, if people ask (nicely), I will polish it up and add it to the collection as a little bonus, even though it’s a 2013 piece. It’s not like I’ve got to stick to a specific word count or anything.

I had to attend (well, I suppose I didn’t have to) a wedding anniversary yesterday. I think I’m now officially the smallest grandchild even though I’m the second oldest. It was lovely to see my family again, but so. many. people. (My family is huge. We could fill a small restaurant comfortably, so add in the other family and family friends and… yeah.) And the room was so small and we stayed so long and today I’m just going to do absolutely nothing. I’ve caught up on my monthly goal posts and now I’m going to rest and relax and recharge. I shan’t even read or write. Granted, I’m not sure what else I’ll do with my time, but we’ll see.

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