Month: August 2016

Book Release: The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake

Posted August 31, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in My Work, News / 2 Comments

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The Princess who Didn't Eat Cake

The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake: a demisexual fairy tale

Available from: Amazon (Ebook), Payhip

Read the story itself on Wattpad

Once upon a time there lived a princess…

When the kingdom discovers that their crown princess doesn’t like cake, chaos ensues. How will the royal line ever continue? Cake is essential to a good marriage! (Not to mention, the rejection of his cake was deeply insulting to the baker-prince who proposed with it.)

…and the stableboy who loved her…

The princess befriends a stableboy. She’s oblivious to the fact that he’s in love with her. The stableboy does his best to explain to the princess what is so wonderful about cake, but it takes an arduous journey to convince her to try a slice.

…in a kingdom that didn’t want to understand…

The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake is a demisexual fairy tale. It aims to introduce people to the concept of demisexuality and to offer a rough idea of how the world may be experienced by people identifying on the asexual spectrum. It offers both the titular fairy tale, a brief essay explaining what demisexuality is in more detail and a short list of books featuring demisexual characters for anyone who would like to see more representation in fiction.

Content Note! View Spoiler » If this is sensitive material for you, please tread with caution.

Surprise release! Yay! It is out and available! Well, to some retailers, at least. It is still percolating its way to most others, but I couldn’t wait to share it with you all! Call me impatient. (Because I am.) But here it is! A handy-dandy ebook version of The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake, accompanied by a short essay for additional information and a short list of other books to explore! It’s also a little more polished and doesn’t feature the word ‘cake’ quite as often as it did.

It should be available for free from most large e-retailers within a few days. The exception to this is Amazon, sorry! Amazon won’t let authors release ebooks for free and it’s not all that happy about authors asking them to price-match either. T_T So I’ve set the price there as low as I can for now. I hope it’ll price match for me automatically, but this is actually something where I could use readers’ help! If any readers could contact Amazon to inform them that the booklet is available permafree elsewhere, I would be super grateful. The more people inform them, the more likely it’ll be price-matched and stay that way.

I’ve released the booklet for free on large retailers because I’m hopeful that their reach will allow more readers to discover the story and, through it, raise more awareness of the asexuality spectrum and demisexuality in particular. Payhip includes DRM-free epub and mobi files and is available on a pay-what-you-want basis, in case you like what I and the booklet are trying to achieve and you want to support a queer indie author produce more stories. (But that is totally optional.)

Please do spread the word to anyone you think will enjoy it or find it useful. I am happy to talk to you about the asexual spectrum and demisexuality too if you have any other questions. I admit that non-fiction is not my strong point, but I’d be happy to do my best to answer any questions you have.

This is the story that sparked the longer DemiPrincess project that’s currently on sort-of official hiatus while I piece my heart back together. (I am getting there and I still aim to have a completed first draft before December.) But the DemiPrincess novel isn’t going to be a particularly good educational opportunity. Sure, it’s longer, but that also means it’s going to have a lot more elements to draw attention away from the focus and it can’t use the cake metaphor quite as easily as a short piece like this can.

I think that about covers it. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

*flails and hides*

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Goal Review August 2016

Posted August 31, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 2 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.

Everything down below the banner this time! :O I’m sure you’re all tired of the whinging that was August. ^-~ So let’s poke good things!

Last Month's Goal
I Want to Read:

  • Books. Just. Books. At all. Anything. Except maybe not too much of HEX because then I’ll spend all of August with a massive headache.

I Want to Write:

  • Fiction! Still just fiction! But I have a cunning Sekrit Plan for the fiction!

I may have failed at the cunning sekrit plan because the world did not cooperate and give me what I needed to finish the cunning sekrit plan in time for this month’s end. The cunning sekrit plan is postponed until the world delivers what I need to make it work. It should be September or October before it is implemented, sadly.

Despite that, I wound up writing PIP, the unexpected!verse thing that made up most of August’s writing and I have managed to find the energy to drag myself into draft revisions and editing for A Promise Broken. (It took me a while to be able to look at the cover without getting upset, you see. It is a cover that gives me many mixed emotions at present.) So yay I have written fiction and made progress! I am, I think, picking things back up again (on all fronts), though I’m finding it difficult to get past lethargy and the sense of futility. (Because yay depression!)

Uh, yes, I deal with depression if you didn’t yet know. It is usually… at least decently managed? Which is why this is often surprising to people when I say that this is an ongoing thing that requires ongoing work. “But you’re so happy and cheerful!” Yes, I know. This really does not mean as much as you might think it means. It’s still there. It’s a chronic thing and managing it and doing okay now doesn’t mean that a set-back can’t send you careening back into the spiral. (I am extremely lucky, let me just put it that way.)

Anyway! So I managed the writing, if differently from what I’d envisioned and intended. I have a new story to share once it’s polished and betad and ready to be released. I’m still debating what to do with it, though. Do I want to serialise it next year? Do I want to publish it this year? (Actually, I probably want to save it for next year regardless because it gives me a sure thing to publish in that year.) I’ve also been working on a booklet version of The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake that can go on retailer sites to hopefully spread awareness of demisexuality and the ace spectrum in general through fiction and that is… Actually by the time I publish this post, it might already be available. WHOOHOO!

And I read a number of books too! I didn’t read as many as I’d expected, but that it’s okay. I did end up reading all of HEX, but only in one language to see what I needed to pay attention to in the comparisons. And… Yeah. As you can hopefully tell, I am actually feeling a bit better and more hopeful now. August accomplished what I wanted (if not how I’d imagined), so that is good and encouraging. Bring on the end of the year!

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Discussing the Feather by Feather second edition ebook

Posted August 17, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Design Adventures: Feather by Feather Proof 2

Welcome back to another instalment in Design Adventures! This time, we’re taking a quick break from print editions to discuss ebook editions! Specifically, the second edition for Feather by Feather which I worked on in tandem with the second proof.

I don’t really have a particularly long intro to write here, so let’s just get right to it! With the books I’ve been designing and preparing for print this year, I’ve been tackling the ebook version and the print version simultaneously. This is… not actually that uncommon, of course. It makes sense to work on both when you can! Then you can release both at the same time.

But! Feather by Feather and Other Stories already has an ebook edition! So that leaves me with two choices. Well, it leaves me with more, but they all boil down to two things: I edit the ebook I already have or I recreate a new one from scratch. Now, Feather by Feather uses a lot of different formatting for its stories, because I thought that was a good idea at the time, and that means that redoing the ebook from scratch is… not something I’m particularly keen on.

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Book Talk: Hex, Chapter 2

Posted August 16, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Bilingual read-through of HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welcome back to the comparative read of Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX! This time I’m tackling chapter 2.

When last we visited the towns of Black Spring and Beek (stream, if you’d like a translation), we had encountered Stefan, his family and their USian counterparts! We’d also encountered a creepy, kind of stalkerish old lady with eyes and mouth sewn shut.

She basically stared at everyone and banged into a door and I am not quite sure why everyone is frightened of her. (No, okay. Intellectually I am well aware that she’s creepy. I’m just not feeling the creepy vibe just yet. Maybe in this chapter?)

Another important question for this read: Will Lynn be equally grumpy about the creepfactor? (Mild spoiler: she probably will be.)

List of Prominent Characters

So, the NL and EN tags are the ones actually used in the story. If it’s listed for both then it’s a shorthand I’m using to note which of the characters is which. Where no name for ‘both’ is included I haven’t used a name for both. (Expect this list to get updated per chapter!)

  • Stefan (NL), Steve (EN), Ste (both)
  • Katherina (NL), Katherine (EN), Kat (both)
  • Jolanda (NL), Jocelyn (EN), Jo (both)
  • Timo (NL), Tyler (EN), Tiy (both)
  • Oma (NL), Gramma (EN), Granny (both)
  • Max (NL), Matt (EN), Maxmatt (both)
  • Robert Grim (NL, EN)
  • Claire Hamer (NL), Claire Hammer (EN)
  • Jens van der Heijden (NL), Warren Castillo (EN), Jenren (both)
  • Jasmine Aerendonck (NL), Bammy Delarosa (EN), Jasmy (both)
  • The Aerandoncks/The Delarosas, Aerenrosa (both)
  • Martijn Winkel (NL), Marty Keller (EN),Winler (both)
  • Loes Krijgsman (NL), Lucy Everett (EN), Loucy (both)

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Discussing the Feather by Feather second proof

Posted August 10, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Design Adventures: Feather by Feather Proof 2

Welcome back to another instalment of Design Adventures! This time, we’re taking a look at the second proof for Feather by Feather and Other Stories. This collection is… probably as close to a ‘my bookish baby’ as I’ll get, so getting to talk about it (again) is extremely exciting to me. I’m only tackling the second print proof now and I won’t be making comparisons to the first because, honestly, my memory is not that good.

This is the book that’s been the longest in coming in terms of a print edition and the one I’m most proud of. I’ve been trying really really hard not to snap pictures of every page and go “Look! Look! Isn’t it amazing?!” at you all.

So, without further ado, let’s go look at stuff where I have either done really well (in my opinion) or failed entirely.

Fair warning: I am a grammar geek. (Also an ESL tutor.) Expect me to geek out over grammar at least once in the course of this post (and future ones).

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Book Talk: Hex, Chapter 1

Posted August 4, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Bilingual read-through of HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Ages and ages ago, I suggested I might do a chapter-by-chapter read-through of Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX and compare the English and the Dutch versions to see what, exactly, has changed the process of localising it. However, I am a wuss and put it aside fairly quickly. It is a really big project; it’s discussing a prominent author and a book which I kind of expect to hear more about around nomination season and that I strongly suspect isn’t my kind of read; and also I really am a wuss. Books are a little different, which I’ll undoubtedly mention at least once more before the end of this post, but basically: I am not a visual reader. Written horror tends not to terrify me as a result, so I was afraid that either this book would render me unable to sleep or it would bore me to tears and then I’d feel bad because this is not the book’s fault and I’d feel worse because I’d slog through a long book I wasn’t enjoying just to finish a comparison project.

And then I decided to pick it up again for reasons that are, as of yet, not entirely clear to me. This first chapter is filled with me griping and grousing (which I apparently have a tendency to do at the beginning of long projects. I did it with all long-term projects barring Design Adventures), but I’m sure I’ll settle into it. It’s also filled with language geekery, so, you know, if language geekery is your thing…

Before we start the read-through, we should probably discuss a few things first. HEX was originally published in the Netherlands in 2013 by Luitingh-Sijthoff, the premier Dutch publisher of mainstream SFF. (Mainstream SFF in this context usually means ‘translated from English’ and usually written by a US-based author, if you’re curious.) The English version of HEX was originally billed as a translation even though it was reportedly rewritten in its entirety to be localised to the rural US. I was, initially, perhaps just the tiniest bit aggravated it.

Anyway, I was super-excited to hear that a popular Dutch author was going to be translated into English and published by a major publishing house. This is a big deal! Translations are a tough sell! Authors from small countries are a tough sell! Heck, the fact that Heuvelt, writing in Dutch, got published by LS at all is a big deal too. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. And we would get to read this book! In English!

And then we learned the setting would be different. And, like, okay. The West is not a monolithic culture. There are, like, massive differences and if you want to localise a book and if you want to do a good and accurate job of localising the book, then you need to address the cultural differences and change them. So the translation we were getting would be close to the book that made such splashes, but not quite. It’d be an adaptation, at best. And I have feels about it and I wanted to see what, exactly, the localisation entailed in this sense and that meant a bilingual read. I know Heuvelt (Olde Heuvelt?) has written about how he made this choice because he wanted to give English-language readers the best possible horror experience. I’d actually be really curious to see how any translations into other languages tackle the localisation issue. Is it common outside of English-language countries? (It is common in secondary world settings, after all!) And other such questions I can’t answer because, as far as I know, the English translation is the only translation currently available for purchase.

Anyway! So that is some background information on the origins of the book and the state of European representation in English-language SFF fiction and now we’re going to take a look at the difference between these versions. Chapter-by-chapter. Or until I get too scared or too bored to continue, I suppose. First up! The dedication. Because the dedication is completely different. And you all don’t actually need to know Dutch to recognise names so I’m not going to screencap that or anything. (Actually, I’m probably not screencapping anything unless specifically asked to, sorry! I learned my lesson from Sailor Moon Crystal. Do ask if you want to see something!) I will, however, note that I prefer the Dutch dedication because it doesn’t use the word ‘shaman’.

Oh! Oh! And a couple of important notes about reading and continuity:

  1. This is kind of like a ‘liveread’. I’m pausing my reading to write these comments, so what you’re also getting is my raw reaction to the narrative as a whole. In two languages! And a comparison when I have strong preferences.
  2. I’ll be using the Dutch and English names depending on which version I’m talking about, so… For example, the first character we meet is Stefan/Steve, so if I’m talking about the Dutch version then I’ll be referring to him as Stefan and if I’m referring to the English version I’ll be referring to him as Steve. ANYTHING ELSE is going to be “refers to both versions”. Here, hang on. I’ll make you a list of prominent names and put it below the cut.

Final note: I am new to this! So if you have thoughts or suggestions on how to make the experience of reading these smoother, please tell me! What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for others, especially in a case like this.

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Looking at the Sea Foam and Silence Final Proof

Posted August 3, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Design Adventures: Sea Foam and Silence Final Proofs

Welcome back once again to another instalment of Design Adventures! It’s been… a fair bit longer than I wanted or anticipated, but I am back once again to look at the interior changes to Sea Foam and Silence before its release.

In this instalment, we’ll be going through the print version quite briefly and focus on the stylistic differences with the ebook version. You’ll have to live without screenshots of the ebook, but it’s more or less the same kind of structure as the serialised version.

So let’s get to it and wrap this release discussion up! (Well, minus the covers. Eep the covers.)

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Culture Consumption July 2016

Posted August 2, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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July was… Let’s just say that July continued the theme of 2016. So far the theme of 2016 has apparently been “Everything sucks. Humans, touch anything this year and it will wither and crumble and die. Don’t touch anything. WHY DID YOU DO THAT I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING”. So. You know.

On a personal level July saw… I’m not sure how to call what it saw, exactly, and I’m absolutely not going to discuss it in any kind of detail. Suffice to say I spent the latter half of July heart-broken and attempting to be okay with varying levels of success. I’m getting there. I could really do with 2016 changing its theme right about now. I think all of us could.

Other than that… July has been a month of planning and frantically tying up the last ends of work before the summer holidays. I feel like I should be thrilled, but mostly I feel like the past half a year has been non-stop hurt and upset for some reason or another and I’m mentally exhausted. I have no idea what that says about everyone who keeps telling me that I “seem more comfortable in my own skin” now. I mean, yay, I’m glad I’m becoming more comfortable being me, but I’m not sure if this exhausted, upset pile of me is actually who I want to be. But hey it’s progress, so we’ll see how it goes!

What I've Posted

What I've Read

Bloodchild by Octavia Butler: I… am very unsure on this one. It’s a fascinating yet extremely disturbing read. I don’t really know what to say about it. It’s one of those stories where you don’t like reading it and it’s still extremely well-written and compelling to read. I’d definitely recommend it, especially to people looking for aliens that are actually alien, but I’d recommend it with reservations I don’t quite know how to word.

Collected Stories by Patricia Grace: Didn’t finish this one, sadly. Her short stories didn’t speak to me the way that Potiki had and the style in them wasn’t a good match for me, I’m afraid. But it’s a very interesting collection of short stories and if you enjoy reading about New Zealand and, specifically, contemporary Maori life in New Zealand, I recommend them.

Resistance by Amy Rae Durreson: You can read my thoughts here.

Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe: You can read my thoughts here.

Wingborn by Becca Lusher: It is finished! So now I can blather about the whole of it! Whoo! Basically, if you enjoy giant eagles (or, well, any giant flying bird-like creature, really), then you may enjoy this. It is filled to the brim with giant eagles (with attitude) and friendships of all kinds and family pseudo!Regency drama, fantastical threats, winged puppy antics, girls being awesome and an amazing worldbuilding structure. It’s so much fun and because the serial is finished, there will be NO MORE CLIFFHANGERS except those you impose on yourself and ignoring that book 2 will have more of them. Wins all around! Highly recommended. Okay, so this is not me blathering about the whole of it in much detail, but seriously. It is fantastic and available for free, so. Go give it a chance.

What I'm Reading

Nada! Well, okay, I did start on Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, but I will be listing that one for… some time if I count it among my active reads.

What I've Played

Pokémon Go: When I first played Pokémon Go, I wasn’t sure about it. It was amusing and enjoyable, but it didn’t seem to be much more. And then the holidays started and I actually had time and energy to devote to getting the hang of it and… I’ve really enjoyed it. So far I’ve gotten lost twice, managed to actually read a map (which, okay, is what led to me being lost because the map has no streetnames anywhere and I was in unfamiliar territory), and basically had a lot of fun going out walking. I always struggle to keep up walking in the summer, but this game makes it a lot more fun to do. I walk longer and more often.

Sailor Moon Drops: I finally caved and got this. This is the most adorable match-3 game. <3 It even actually gives you a storyline to follow! I’ve never seen a match-3 game try that before! I am very appreciative. (Inner editor is, um, not.) But it is bright and colourful and cute and it gives me something to do when I’m waiting in line.

What I've Watched

Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! Episode 1, 2: Um. Okay. I am… mostly weirded out by this so far? I’m not really sure what to think. I knew it was a parody of the magical girl genre, but it’s… not really the parody I was expecting it would be. And there are things that genuinely amused me, but also things that I’m really unsure about. I’m not really sure what about the show rubs me the wrong way because it does a lot of things that you’d think I’d really appreciate. I just… I don’t know about it.

Elena of Avalor: I’m quite enjoying this. My favourite part is the relationship between Elena and her sister Isabelle. They care about each other so much. It’s really sweet. And Isabelle is so very much a STEM girl. IN A DRESS. AND AWESOME. And that is before I’ve touched on where it stars and centres a Latina princess and royal family. (And yes I’ve seen that the representation is flawed, but I hope it can be a start and that things will improve as the series continues.)

Steven Universe S3: I have no idea what episodes I’m up to anymore, but yay! It’s continuing! I’m still really enjoying the show and loving the topics that it tackles. (I mean, listen to It’s Over, Isn’t It? That episode is my favourite from the new season so far, I think, because of the sheer focus on Greg and Pearl’s relationship.)

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Upcoming Plans August 2016

Posted August 1, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals / 0 Comments

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No. Just no. I am not going to write or say anything about August. I am this done with this year.

This Month's Goals
I Want to Read:

  • Books. Just. Books. At all. Anything. Except maybe not too much of HEX because then I’ll spend all of August with a massive headache.

I Want to Write:

  • Fiction! Still just fiction! But I have a cunning Sekrit Plan for the fiction!

No. No, I still have absolutely nothing. Still done with this year. Still done with everything. I just want to find a job that pays decently and write stories, 2016. That is all I am asking of you at this point.

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