Month: January 2016

Readalong: The Tale of Yin

Posted January 31, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Other People's Creations / 4 Comments

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Readalong Banner: Tale of Yin by Joyce Chng

This February we’re doing a readalong for Joyce Chng’s The Tale of Yin, a duology of two novellas. I’m a little early with the announcement, as you’ll see from the schedule, but all the more chance for you to join us!

(I’m not as awesome at making readalong banners as Anya. *hangs head*)

The Book

The duology of Oysters, Pearls & Magic and The Path of Kindness sees the stories of Mirra and her daughter, Kindness, as they struggle to find their identities and selves on the planet they have called home. A feminist YA novella, the Tale of Yin looks at magic, privilege, the landscape and compassion.

Doesn’t that sound awesome? You can buy the ebook from Amazon, Smashwords and presumably everywhere Smashwords ships. You can also read the webserial version online here. The stories themselves are both novellas and the edition we’re reading also includes a few bonus stories (and recipes)!

The Schedule

Week 1: February 15th, Book 1: A Sea Of Waves, hosted by Lynn from Little Lion Lynnet’s (that’s me)
Week 2: February 22nd, Book 2: A Tree of Branches, hosted by Imyril from x+1
Week 3: February 29th, Sea Tales, hosted by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 4: March 7th, Ships’ Tales, hosted by Lynn from Little Lion Lynnet’s (me again!)

If you’d like to join us, you’ve got plenty of time before the first week’s worth of questions start and I hope you’ll enjoy the stories a lot! ^_^ If you don’t have a blog, you can join us at our GoodReads group or on Twitter.

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Goal Review January 2016

Posted January 31, 2016 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.

January was, uh, a month. My months seem to be like that at the moment, but more on that during the discussion. As you can see, I’m changing things up a little this year and I’m splitting my goals into separate posts. Hopefully that will encourage rambling about them.

Last Month's Goal
I Want to Read:

  • A book!

I Want to Write:

  • 1 essay/article on demisexuality in fiction

I have failed miserably on the essay-writing front. I’d like to discuss why, but my brain is this gloopy thing that mixes everything up and I don’t rightly know what happened. No, wait. I’d like to say that it was “I have no time!” that meant I didn’t write the essay rather than discuss why I didn’t. (See what I mean about my brain being gloopy?)

Anyway! I did, actually, have time to write things in, but I generally found much of that time eaten up by other important things. Where writing is concerned that generally meant spending what energy I had on fiction writing. As I write this, I’m so close to finishing something and I just. do. not. have. the. energy. to. finish. it. now. It’s frustrating and demoralising and no amount of going “But look at the numbers” is helping in any way.

I’m tracking my reading slightly differently this year. This year, rather than trying to track everything all by myself in a boring half-hearted spreadsheet designed to just give me the general gist of my numbers, I’m using this spreadsheet graciously shared by Hillary Depiano. It makes me want to keep track of my writing statistics. It tracks a bajillion things  and has all sorts of pretty colours and makes it really easy for me to see my overall yearly count and the way that it divides between fiction and non-fiction.

Despite not writing on what I wanted to write initially, I wrote a fair amount more than I thought I would. This is largely thanks to the fact that the winter holidays ran into the first week of January and I managed to polish off a few relatively long posts for the blog as well as a good chunk of fiction. (More on that in a few days. It’ll be a surprise! Maybe.)

And… yes. January wasn’t the best of months since I spent most all of it keeling over with exhaustion rather than getting anything I’d wanted and planned to get done done.

Reading probably took the biggest hit. I’ve managed to read 4 books in January. In the 7 years I’ve been tracking my reading, I’ve averaged about 13 books in January. So… That’s a pretty big drop. I just haven’t been able to concentrate on long form fiction particularly well and when I have I mostly spent that time working on my own stories and non-fiction posts. They need doing too!

I wasn’t expecting January to be this tough. I know I have fatigue issues, but I was kind of hoping that, by January, I would have adjusted to some of the changes in my life better. Looks like I really didn’t. Despite the fact that my word count is more than I’d initially wanted (and a decent chunk of it is fiction), I feel really discouraged and deflated because I know how much more I could have done.

On the potential plus side, I have thinky thoughts about fatigue and writing? More than I had before, that is. One day perhaps I will translate the thinky thoughts into actual blog post words, but right now that hits all of my imposter syndrome buttons. (Who am I to speak on what fatigue is like, etc, etc.)

On the other plus side, I am still getting things done. Just… very, very slowly. I’m trying to be good, though, and take things at a sustainable pace. I’ll have to work hard to make the rest of the year better than the start of it was, so I’ll just do my best and we will see what we will see. ^_^

I hope everyone else’s January plans worked out well and that life is treating you all kindly!

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Book Talk: In Morningstar’s Shadow

Posted January 30, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: In Morningstar’s ShadowIn Morningstar's Shadow by Aliette de Bodard
Series: Dominion of the Fallen #0.5
Pages: 43

In a Paris that never was, a city of magical factions where Fallen angels mingle with magicians, alchemists and witches...

House Silverspires, founded by Lucifer Morningstar, is the oldest and most powerful in Paris--but every star shines brightest before its fall... This series of three short stories charts the fortunes of the House throughout the century, from the Great War that tears the city apart, to the devastating loss of Morningstar and the difficult choices facing the House for its own survival.

Also in this series: Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship
Also by this author: Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship, Servant of the Underworld, The Tea Master and the Detective

In Morningstar’s Shadow wasn’t orginally going to be my introduction to De Bodard’s work. However, since it was shorter than the other book I had and my attention span is significantly shattered that I can’t offer long books the concentration they deserve at present, I decided to pick up this one.

Plus, I really, really needed something that came pretty highly acclaimed as good. This ebook has a handful of noticeable typos, but the stories are absolutely solid.

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Book Talk: Illuminae

Posted January 28, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: IlluminaeIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: Illuminae Files
Pages: 608

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

I’ve been hearing a bit about Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Kay Christoff. Enough to be intrigued and not enough to convince me to at least wait until the hype had died down a little. Plus, I love epistolaries and this is a delightful example of what we can do with them.

If this book sounds interesting to you, please do yourself a favour and buy a hardcopy. Get it in print rather than ebook. (It’s perfectly legible as an ebook, but the format of the book lends itself best to print. Also if you like studying the interior layout of books and what’s possible in them, you will have masses of fun with this one.)

Oh. Also.

SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT. Also mild swearing.

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Book Talk: The Secret Proposal

Posted January 22, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The Secret ProposalThe Secret Proposal by Aniesha Brahma
Pages: 180

Twenty-one year old Larissa Chakroborty (better known as Jasmine) has been forced into the company of her parents' friends' son, twenty-five year old Tanveer Bhattacharya (aka Veer) ever since she was thirteen and he was seventeen.

Jasmine found herself slowly getting drawn towards this teenage boy and harbours an unrequited crush on him, long after he disappears from her life in order to pursue a college degree.

Eight years later Veer returns. Jasmine finds herself going to his welcome home party, and neither of them recognises each other on the first meeting. Upon discovering that Jasmine is now a Master's student in a reputed college, Veer makes her a rather strange proposal. He wants her to pretend that they're in love and would eventually settle down in life, for he wishes to avoid tying the knot with a girl of his parents' choice.

The constant ego battle between the two, the love-hate relationship, break ups and realisations is what The Secret Proposal is all about, wherein love would eventually find a way.

Coupled with birthday parties, engagement announcements, Durga Pujos, weddings, the harrowing rituals, Christmas time fun, the crazy duo have a long way to go before they realise what their act would eventually cost them.

Is it enough to get your long time love to be in a 'pretense relationship' with you?

Does one grand gesture convince you that you've found your knight in shining armour?

And why is it that when you have someone, you don't want them… and when you lose them, you want them back?

Is Veer merely pretending to be in love with Jasmine? And will Jasmine ever get over her undying love for Veer?

Also by this author: When our Worlds Collide

The Secret Proposal marks my first DNF of the Year of International Reading project. I was really looking forward to this one too! But, oh well, that’s how it goes, I suppose. Per the rules I set out for myself that means that we’re getting a predominantly negative review below the cut. It’ll also be fairly short, but there you go.

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Workshops and Non-American Writers

Posted January 16, 2016 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 never thought that one of the first non-fiction posts I would make this year would be one on workshops. But here we are. Apparently that’s what I’m doing. Yesterday, I dove head-first into work and emerged to find that my Twitter timeline had exploded. It took me a while to catch up on what, exactly, had happened.

Briefly: Neil Gaiman made a promotional tweet for the Clarion workshop and a lot of people were hurt by his phrasing. He’s since clarified that it was hyperbole, but to a lot people it was yet another case of (micro)aggression and people spoke out. If you want to see an eloquent and thoughtful discussion on why people were upset, I recommend India Valentin’s response on Tumblr.

In the discussion that ensued on Twitter (and elsewhere, I’m sure, but I saw it solely on Twitter), I saw a handful of people mentioning the existence of a non-American perspective, but I saw very little discussion of what that perspective might actually look like. I know some of my readers might be interested in hearing my thoughts, so… I’ve done my best to sort them out into something at least somewhat coherent. (tl;dr version: if you’ve been following the discussions, I think it’s pretty similar to what other people have been saying but with a slightly different angle.)

Below the cut, then, lie those thoughts. Bear in mind that I’m coming at this discussion from the perspective of a white non-American who has never yet set foot in the US. I have never attended any prestigious workshops and will likely never be able to afford the prestigious ones anyway.

As said, they may be rambly and a smidge incoherent, but I hope not.

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Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Act 33

Posted January 12, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Act 33 (PGSM 33)Plot Recap: Mamoru has sneakily returned to Japan without telling anyone and makes all his friends worry for him by not telling them he’s back. He’s also decided that he won’t destroy the world a second time because he loves Usagi and the two lovers are reunited at last!

Also, Mio is in league with the Dark Kingdom and Kamekichi’s living arrangements are unknown at this time.

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Quick Note of Interest!

Posted January 9, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Links. The text 'links' underneath a big, old-fashioned key. Links I felt were interesting.

Note the First

I’ve updated the Demisexuality in Fiction page. A couple of books have been added

  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari

I’ve also included links to my thoughts on individual works where available and tidied up the GDocs spreadsheet to hopefully make it easier to read. Rows have now been colour-coded! (And if someone knows how to make Gdocs do that automatically I’d be really grateful if they could explain to me how to make it do that. <3)

You may also note that I’ve shifted the page around to have an embedded GDocs spreadsheet rather than a HTML table. This will make it much easier for me to maintain. I really hope it won’t cause anyone any problems, so let me know if it does, thank you!

Hopefully the changes will mean the page and the spreadsheet are more useful to people now!

Note the Second

Elizabeth Barrette is looking for ideas on future fishbowl prompt call sessions. Chime in with suggestions on Dreamwidth or on Livejournal! Spreading the word reveals more verses in the linkback perk The Tornado Blew Away if you let Ysabet know you’ve done so!

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