Month: September 2015

Guest Post: Character Interview with JJ Sherwood

Posted September 30, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Guest Posts / 0 Comments

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Cover for Kings or Pawns by JJ SherwoodToday we’re shaking things up at the blog with a guest post by JJ Sherwood, author of Kings or Pawns! I’ll let JJ introduce herself, the book and the overarching series, but first! Some of my waffling! (It’s relevant waffling, don’t worry.)

Kings or Pawns, the first book in the Steps of Power series, will be released on October 1st, 2015 (That’s in a couple of days!) in both ebook and paperback. JJ ran a successful Kickstarter for an audiobook edition, so you’ll be able to listen to it as well. You can read more news about the series on the website’s blog or the Facebook page and you can also keep up with JJ at her Twitter account.

And now… I shall hand over the post to JJ and her characters for the interview. Enjoy and go check out Kings or Pawns!

 

The Most Awesome Character Interview of All Time. And That’s a Fact.

Hello everyone! I am J.J. Sherwood, author of the upcoming fantasy series, Steps of Power. The first novel, Kings or Pawns, is about an elven nation riddled with corruption and balanced on the brink of all out war with the enemy warlord Saebellus. It features a wide array of characters—the mute servant girl, Alvena; the naïve king, Hairem; and the arrogant and mysterious foreigner, Sellemar—but today I wanted to do a character interview on General Jikun Taemrin, one of our primary protagonists.

But wait!—this isn’t just your typical interview. I don’t want to interview Jikun himself… Well, ok, I do, but he refused to co-operate. So we’re going to interview some of his roommates and see what they think of our dear General. (All of the interviewees today will debut in future Steps of Power works, but few are present in the four The Kings novels of the series.)

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Promo: Tales of the Little Engine

Posted September 29, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in My Work, News / 0 Comments

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Cover for "Tales of the Little Engine". A cartoon steam train looking happy.

Tales of the Little Engine has been updated with a shiny new cover! I’ve also recoded the ebook again, fixing some remaining typos, and getting the tiered ToC to work on the Kindle. Huzzah!

To celebrate, Tales will be on sale for $0.99 or your local equivalent for the entire month of October.

It’s currently percolating through the distribution channels, but it should all be good come October. ^_^

Jan would like nothing more than to carry people across the mountains like the big trains do. When the steam train gets the chance to do just that, will it manage? And will it find happiness?

Together with its canine friend Mister Whiskers, the bravest little engine finds itself right in the middle of several magical mysteries. The narrow pass between its hometown of Vawick and the city of Dunnsbridge is haunted by the Nethertrain and its minions, but the bravest little engine isn’t afraid. When the Nethertrain learns of the little engine’s intrusion, it is furious. Can the bravest little engine and Mister Whiskers find a way to stop the Nethertrain once and for all?

Accompanied by two essays on the influences and ideas behind the stories, “Tales of the Little Engine” collects some of the adventures of two very different little steam engines. Join Jan as it learns that, sometimes, dreams come true slightly differently from how we think they should or tag along with the bravest little engine as it travels around Vawick and Dunnsbridge.

Tales of the Little Engine is a collection of 8 short stories about Jan and the bravest little engine. If you enjoy meta-commentary in your stories, you’ll love these. The bravest little engine stories are full of meta and discussions on the nature of storytelling.

Enjoy!

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Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Act 17

Posted September 22, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Act 17 (PGSM 17)Plot Recap: Kunzite is an arrogant bastard with about as much respect for Beryl as a cat for a mouse, and Beryl is oblivious. Also Queen Metallia is awakening and Usagi is thinking she is maybe liking Mamoru. BUT! Mamoru has a girlfriend! (Because clearly any man and woman hanging out together must be dating. They couldn’t be, like, siblings or something. To be fair on Usagi, she’s right about the girlfriend, BUT STILL. It is actually possible for people of different genders to hang out and not be romantically involved.)

Anyway, so there we go. That’s pretty much it for where we’re at since the last episode, so… Onwards!

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Hugo Award Nominations by Country

Posted September 18, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in My Work / 0 Comments

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Hugo Award Nominations by Country

This year, much has been said about the Hugo Awards. For those unaware (somehow?), the Hugo Awards are one of the most prestigious American awards for science fiction and fantasy published in English in the last year. They’re voted on by members of Worldcon, which is anyone from anywhere in the world as long as they pay. But most from the US. This post actually isn’t about what’s been said about and around the Hugos this year, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t influence this post. So, if you’ve missed it or want a refresher, here’s a quick round-up with links to more detailed discussion by The Mary Sue. Quicker version: People disagreed with the Hugo nominations of the last few years and decided to game the system using slate voting. It kind of backfired. (Or did it? This too is an ongoing, ah, debate. That I’m trying to stay far away from. Anyway!)

The Daily Dot mentions early on in their report on this year’s Hugo Awards, that 2015 was “a banner year for translated works”. Out of the four written fiction categories (best novel, best novella, best novelette and best short story), only two managed to have a story that beat out No Award. Both these stories were written by non-American men: Cixin Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a Chinese and a Dutch author respectively.

This year also, and this is much less widely reported, saw the decision to honour translators and both Ken Liu and Lia Belt were given a Hugo Rocket for their work in translating these winning stories. 2015 also marks the first year that the Hugos name the translator of a piece.

2015 is a win for diversity in SFF. We’ve seen articles discussing the rise of marginalised writers in SFF erroneously because we have always been there. What’s changed is our visibility within the SFF community. It’s not that marginalised people have never been here. It’s that we’re speaking up about our presence. (And that the internet allows us to be heard in the first place.)

So, initially, when the Hugos were announced I was thrilled along with everyone else. I am still thrilled because it is a great thing worthy of celebration. Diversity creates strength and fosters innovation. But something in the back of my mind was niggling at me. There was something about the celebration that felt off to me. Something about translated works and English-language awards and voting. Something that, as far as I can tell, no one has mentioned in any of their articles. Something that I expect most people wouldn’t even think to check. Either because they’re too thrilled that ‘one of their own’ won a prestigious foreign award or because they just don’t see that there might be something to look at.

It’s fairly common knowledge that, despite claims to the contrary, the Hugo Awards are a predominantly American award. But is it? After all, despite the slate voting this year saw a lot of diversity and it still won the awards. That’s what was niggling me: how completely different that focus is from my experience. Were the Hugos more nationally diverse than my gut was telling me? Was I wrong in thinking about the Hugos as an American award? Was I wrong to think of it as an award only native speakers of English stood a chance at winning?

To that end, I decided to look at the nationalities of the all the authors nominated for a Best Novel Hugo Award. I also looked at the language a book was originally published in. Then, because it is also a generally accepted truth that it’s easier to find non-native speakers of English publishing in short story venues, I looked at the other prose fiction categories (novella, novelette and short story) as well.

This post is a recording of what I found.

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Favorite children’s classic?

Posted September 12, 2015 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.

A while ago — actually, a pretty long time in blogging and internet terms — Lynn from Lynn’s Books put up a classic book-themed meme. Since I was looking for questions to natter about at the time (you’re still more than welcome to ask them!), I decided to just nab the whole meme and work through the questions point by point. (Except for the time-specific ones like “What are you reading at the moment?” because scheduling that in advance is silly.)

So! Without further ado.

Favorite children’s classic?

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Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Act 15

Posted September 8, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Act 15 (PGSM 15)Plot Recap: Usagi is no longer going to become a youma! Because her friends, and Ami especially, were really obnoxiously loud and woke her up. (Just… Just go with it.) Kunzite’s initial plan failed, presumably because he’s arrogant enough to think he doesn’t need help, and neither Endymion nor Princess Venus were seen within this episode.

And Motoki has not yet got Kamekichi a proper home.

Yes, that is a thing. I know it’s small and relatively unimportant, but it is really getting at me. Anyway, onwards to episode 15!

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