Month: June 2014

Announcing/Discussing the Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A Reading Month

Posted June 28, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 6 Comments

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Banner for the Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A Reading Month in August, 2014

About a week ago, Angry Robot announced that it’s had to close two of its imprints, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A. The announcement on Strange Chemistry’s site says:

As you will be aware, Angry Robot Books has a history of innovation and we continue to go from strength to strength. We’re constantly trying out new concepts and new ideas, and we continue to publish popular and award-winning books. Our YA imprint Strange Chemistry and our crime/mystery imprint Exhibit A have – due mainly to market saturation – unfortunately been unable to carve out their own niches with as much success.

We have therefore made the difficult decision to discontinue Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A, effective immediately, and no further titles will be published from these two imprints.

Twitter has been abuzz about the decision and I’ve seen quite a few reaction posts, several giveaways, and a blog hop. The Bibliophibian’s giveaway is still ongoing (until June 30th, so if you want to enter you’ve still got some time!) and I think Venturead Laxre’s Laura Lam giveaway is still running as well. Both giveaways are international.

Several authors have recommended we support the affected authors by buying their books and spreading the word. I know how long some of the books I’ve bought have been languishing on my TBR pile. I know how bad it was before I cut into it with utter ruthlessness. I also know how important word-of-mouth is to authors, whether traditionally published or indie published. Several of these authors have looked at self-publishing as a way to continue series and… Word-of-mouth is just so important, especially at times like these. Like I said, I know what happens to books on my TBR pile. I also know that my pile is not the only one which suffers from the languishing.

And so, for me at least, I wanted to do something bigger than support these authors by buying their books. I wanted to read them to. Thus the idea for a Reading Month was born. I’d schedule it in August both because it gives me a little more time to organise myself and because I have few deadlines in July. As a bonus, it gives anyone who wants to participate a lot more time to get several books together.

I don’t know if the Exhibit A authors have seen a similar online outpour or whether the situation is very different from those for Strange Chemistry authors. I know I haven’t seen that outpour for them. Now, I have to admit here that I’m not a crime/mystery reader at all. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to finish a crime/mystery book that wasn’t in some way SFF-rooted, even. So I’m not the best host for an Exhibit A Reading Month, but I don’t want to leave them out of this. (So if anyone with a stronger interest in crime/mystery wants to cohost/join in, get in touch with me! Contact form’s here.)

The actual Reading Month idea is (certainly at present) very simple: I, and anyone who wants to participate, dedicate August to reading books by Strange Chemistry or Exihibit A authors. Minimum of one book. Those of us who write reviews are, obviously, encouraged to write reviews of our reading material to create buzz. In the spirit of the reading month, I’d ask that, if authors have multiple books available from multiple publishers, you read only books published by the Strange Chemistry or Exhibit A imprint (or associated self-published works), but you don’t have to.

And… that’s it. In a nutshell:

What? A month dedicated to reading as many Strange Chemistry or Exhibit A books as we can/want to read.
When? This August, so in a little over a month.
Where? On our blogs! Our twitter! Our tumblrs! Wherever it is we want to discuss what we’re reading!
Who? Me! And hopefully you as well.
Why? To support the authors and discover shiny new books. But mostly to support the authors. And discover shiny new stories. (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.)

I got several positive responses to the idea on Twitter so far. I’ll be doing link round-ups, but I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be doing them by hand or setting something up for them. It’ll depend a lot on how much linking I expect to be doing.

If anyone wants to help out in any way, drop me a line. (Contact form’s still found here. ^_^) I’d love to make this the best experience possible for everyone involved! (But I’ve never done something like this before and right now I’m aiming to keep it fairly low-key.)

I am excited! I can’t wait to start reading my shiny, shiny books! I’ll share their titles in a proper introduction post closer to August. Spread the word, if you’re so inclined, and come join me in August!

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What I’m Looking Forward to in the Rest of 2014

Posted June 25, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 2 Comments

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Thoughts. The text 'rambling thoughts' underneath a burning lantern. For rambles, thoughts, and not-essays.

A few days ago, I talked about the favourites I’ve encountered so far this year. It was… easier than I was expecting, but the things I did want to mention? I loved them so so so much. Which brings me to the fact that I promised a glimpse at what was coming up. To repeat what I said then, this isn’t a list of things that are coming out in the coming half-year. I may mention a couple of things that I’m looking forward to, but by and large this is a list of things I hope to insert-appropriate-verb in the second half of 2014. My yearly plans got a little scuppered by the surgery I was expecting this summer not, y’know, happening this summer. YAY LIMBO LENGTHENED.

Anyway! So what am I looking forward to in the rest of 2014?

Watching

Sailor Moon Crystal. I… both did and did not grow up with Sailormoon. I discovered the series at some point in my early teens, I think. I’m not entirely sure. It became a big part of my teens, though, and I’m excited about (and a bit scared of) the reboot. Mostly, I’m excited. I’ve really enjoyed the various adaptations I’ve seen. So, yes, excited about that. Can I keep up with everything? WE’LL SEE. (Probably not.)

Gaming

Last time, I mentioned Divinity: Original Sin and Unrest. I’m looking forward to both. D:OS especially is looking set to eat my life for quite some time. Unrest may well develop into something more epic, but I really liked what I saw of the demo. I’m also trying to cut down on part of my gaming backlog, so I’m looking to try and finish up a few adventure games. I’m aiming to start with the first Gabriel Knight game since I started that ages ago and… didn’t get around to finishing it before my laptop died and I had to replace it. Beyond that, I’m not sure. I’m hoping to see War for the Overworld at some point. (I really wish I knew what draws me about strategy games.)

I think that about covers it. I’m a bit of a binge gamer, so with limited time I tend not to play as much as I might otherwise have done.

Reading

Books! All the books! So many books! I want the books!

Let’s see. There is the Aekh tales that Becca Lusher is working on and Cheryl Mahoney’s The Storyteller and Her Sisters. I got to beta both and they are soooooo lovely. I am excited to see them released and I can talk about them. I’m looking forward to ALL THE BOOKS on my TBR pile. This is not unexpected, I’m sure, so I shall break it down into a handful of books I’m very excited about.

Diana Wynne Jones’ The Islands of Chaldea, Susan Cooper’s Ghost Hawk, Clare K.R. Miller’s A Star to Guide Her trilogy, Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead (I’ve heard so much good). Um. I think that’s it. Or at least that I’ll leave it at. That’s what six different authors/books I mentioned? Not counting the authors whose works I’m still slowly exploring all of?

Shinyshiny books. This is only counting the ones I own as of this typing. I’m also excited about Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, but I don’t know that I’ll be getting around to either of them this year, so they don’t count.

Writing

All the stories! Tell all the stories! Or at least continue to work on the ones I’m telling. I’m also looking forward to wrapping up the first half of the serial and going on a few months’ hiatus to build up yet more buffer for the second half. (Which I am not near yet. I’m a little under a quarter of the way through the whole story.)

I’m also excited about the space ghosts story, though that’s very slow going. Lesson of the year for me: don’t work on two novels at once. One of them will move like molasses. T_T *prods it* But it is moving when it moves, which is good.

So, yes, we’ll see. I’m also working on some Sekrit Projects that I’m excited about. Well, some of the time. Others I’m terrified. I am very close to talking about the Sekrit Projects, though. WHOOT!

And I think about about covers it for the second half of 2014 for me in terms of excitement and stuff I’m looking forward to. I hope I’ve given you all something to consider and think about as well! What kind of things are you looking forward to in the second half of the year?

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Once Upon A Time VIII Final Post

Posted June 21, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 6 Comments

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Once upon a Time 8 BannerNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. My favourite time of the (reading) year has ended! The Once upon a Time challenge has come to an end (hopefully only until next year). T_T WHY CAN’T IT LAST FOREVER?! (Okay, with my reading habits it kind of does. That is beside the point.) Read all about the challenge in my introduction post! But for those of you who’d rather not. I participated in Quest the First and aimed for a triple completion. That means that to complete all my quests and win eternal glory (read: have loads of fun with shiny shiny books, no actual eternal glory is involved) I had to read 15 books in four different categories. Fun! ^_^ Yet in many ways this is my worst participatory year yet. T_T All I read was straight up fantasy. Differently flavoured, but only the one category. I only just made my goal by the skin of my teeth — to be fair I’d have a larger margin if I counted the manga volumes separately. I also completely failed at participation and commenting on other people’s posts. So… Very different from the other times.

But I still accomplished a lot and had loads of fun. ^_^ I hope everyone else who participated did too! What’s your favourite OuaT read of the year? Do you have any suggestions on better time management and category division? Do you have a masterplan that you use for OuaT participation? How do you manage the commenting? Read More

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Half-year Point Favourites

Posted June 19, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Thoughts. The text 'rambling thoughts' underneath a burning lantern. For rambles, thoughts, and not-essays.

I am… honestly quite baffled to notice that the year is already half-way done. Some of the Big Things that have put my life into limbo — I would growl because annoying but hey I’m learning stuff about myself that will be useful once it gets going again — have been pushed back because, well, life happens and sometimes bodies do not obey quite as well as we’d like. June is still kicking my behind, but I’m working on it. It does mean this is a pretty scarce month for posting, though. Sorry about that!

So I thought I’d take a poke at some of my favourite things in the year so far. I am, admittedly, not really a big fan of Top Insert-Number-That’s-Usually-10 list because, inevitably, I’m just picking out whatever number of things bubble into my mind at the time you ask me. But to give you all a snap-shot of my year so far.

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Game Talk: The Blackwell Epiphany

Posted June 6, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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The Blackwell Epiphany

It was last year that I discovered Wadjet Eye games. I first discovered them through a game they published, though didn’t create, called Primordia (it’s still one of the most wonderful point-and-click adventures I’ve ever played), but I moved on from there to some of Wadjet’s other games, albeit slowly. I started with the Blackwell series. At that point in time, it consisted of four games, with a fifth and final game to wrap the series up in production. That fifth game came out a little while ago.

I snapped it up once I could and then spent the rest of the night playing through it. I say that, but it’s more that I played it through until the game crashed. I’m not sure why. I was about halfway through and it was fine the next time I started it up. I had a blast. It was wonderful to spend time with Rosa and Joey again. And I cried when the game ended and then I was very, very, very good and did not fill up anyone’s twitter stream with spoilers.

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Monthly Goals May/June 2014

Posted June 1, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals / 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.
Last month was terrible for my goals. I somehow managed to mess up my book count and then I completely failed at writing. So I set my goals suitably lower this month.

I Want to Read:
– Even the Wingless by M.C.A. Hogarth
– Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy
– Long Hidden Title by various authors

I Want to Write:
– at minimum 1 chapter of A Promise Broken
– rework at minimum one scene from the Space Ghosts tale

And that worked a treat! It does help that May went better than April in many ways. There were, for example, fewer appointments of the stressful kind. I have… no idea how much more writing I managed, but I did manage more writing. Reading turned out to be the harder challenge this month. It isn’t so much that I had trouble reading the titles on my goals list, but just that I was in a reading rut in general. I got out of it to some extent by all the shiny shiny graphic novels from a Humble Bundle. I didn’t finish half of them, but I was reading them and decided that, no, they really weren’t for me and reading graphic novels digitally is the worst possible graphic novel idea I have ever had. Writingwise I’ve spent the last week or so of May fiddling with counting hours or minutes rather than words. It seems to work decently?

For June, I’m not sure what to expect. Life’s decided to throw stuff at me and we’ll have to wait and see how they pan out. My guess is badly. So Im going to keep my goals similarly light and just see what the month brings. ^_^

I Want to Read:
– The Angel’s Cut by Elizabeth Knox
– Heart of Briar by Laura Anne Gilman
– Herb-Witch by Elizabeth McCoy

I Want to Write:
– at minimum 1 chapter of A Promise Broken
– rework at minimum one scene from the Space Ghosts tale

I’m really looking forward to The Angel’s Cut, but that’ll be a late-in-the-month read so I can try to finish up my OuaT book snake before the challenge ends on the 20th. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Why can’t it last forever, Carl? T_T) It has to be then because The Angel’s Cut is big, I’m still in a bit of a reading rut and it’s not on my original pile for the challenge. Actually, if I only manage one of the other two books, I can have two book snakes. Mama snake and baby snake. Maybe. We’ll see.
Anyway, June will bring what it will bring. I’ll keep up with the timing experiments for the writing and we’ll see how it all goes. I’m having more fun with the two stories now at least and I may or may not have some exciting news to share sometime within the coming few months. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited, at least, and surely that counts for something. ^_^
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