Feather by Feather update

Posted October 17, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in News / 0 Comments

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News. The text 'news' underneath a big envelope. News and updates on the site.

Just a very brief little update to say that Feather by Feather is available for pre-order on Kobo for those of you who want to use Kobo/preorder. None of the other retailers offering preorders are listing it yet, so more updates might yet follow.

(Still so exciting. And the scary nerves are starting to set in now.) I also have a couple of posts that I need to schedule or write, so… Content! I shall have it!

Just not shared today because I just spammed feed readers (and dwircles and flists) with posts less than a week ago. Scheduling posts for the future. Lookit me being all organised. :O

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#Readathon Oct 2013: Final Post

Posted October 13, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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As a measure of how utterly, utterly, utterly awful I am at time gauging even when I have a clock to do it for me, I have no idea whether we’re in the last hour or past it.

Yes, I’m hopeless. I know. Have the end-of-readathon meme!

Which hour was most daunting for you?

Probably the first or… whichever one was the first after I woke up today. I think it was the 20th or the 19th? It can be hard to pick up a book again after getting a nap and the first was so rudely interrupted even if I spent it at the very least discussing book-related matters. (Also, I read aloud. It totally counts.)

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Honestly? No. Readers are too different from one another. I can tell you that I suspect the combination of one (not too dense) chunkster with a few short story collections to break it up in between might be worth considering. That’s not how I read, but it’s how I always mean to tackle the problem and I just never do. I’m perfectly happy switching between books, but apparently I am not capable of doing it purposefully.

Short story collections can be very good additions to the readathon pile, though. The more so if they don’t tire you out as much as a novel does, or would.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Possibly, if this isn’t done already, try to coordinate cheerleadings across time zones, so each team has a chance of cheerleaders throughout the whole day. Something like that?

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I’m afraid I spent too much time reading and too little time being social to be of any help with this question, sorry.

How many books did you read?

Good question! Thirteen, I think. Fourteen if we count the short novel/long novella by Amy Rae Durreson that I didn’t/won’t get to finish before the end.

What were the names of the books you read?

The King’s Peace by Jo Walton
Breath Long as Years by M.C.A. Hogarth
For the Love of Mortals by M.C.A. Hogarth
Useless Tears by M.C.A. Hogarth
Skip-leveling by M.C.A. Hogarth
Not Now, Not Ever by M.C.A. Hogarth
Fire Queen, Dark Lady by M.C.A. Hogarth
Kin and Ink by Ellen Million
Next edited byd Simon Petrie and Rob Porteous
Return to Redlin by Lazette Gifford
Where He Belongs by Clare K.R. Miller
Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker
Summer Falls by Amelia Williams
The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson (unfinished)

Which book did you enjoy most?

Probably Summer Falls or The Lodestar of Ys. It’s probably telling that both stories feature children as protagonists and both are short novels/long novellas.

Which did you enjoy least?

Kin and Ink by Ellen Million. It really does not stand on its own if you have no previous experience in the setting.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I was a reader. But I do have some observations from the past few readathons that migt be useful: the cheerleading that spurred and cheered me on the most were the comments that had read at least part of my ramblings and engaged with it. The cheerleading that didn’t and was just a general motivational message actively discouraged me.

Sad but true. I know cheerleading is a lot of hard work. I did it one year and I still try to do at least a little of it for other participants when I can, but that first year was so exhausting I wound up a reader to take a break from cheerleading. Asking people to engage with strangers in more depth makes that work ever harder, but it also makes it more cheering and warming to receive, to know that someone took the trouble to do that especially for you (and only you) to cheer you on.

I was lucky this year to have a few absolutely wonderful cheerleaders and I’d like to thank everyone who cheered me on, friend or stranger, in whichever way they did the cheering.

<3

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’ll probably be a reader again. If my circumstances improve, I’d love to get a little more involved with the social aspect. Tackle some mini-challenges, maybe host my own. Perhaps sign up for a spot of official cheerleading. Donate books if finances allow… You know. Just more involved in general.

And now… As much as I’m enjoying my book, I am going to get something proper to eat for lunch and take a shower. Not necessarily (but probably) in that order.

I hope everyone’s had a wonderful readathon experience and maybe we’ll see each other again in April!

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#Readathon Oct 2013 Hour… 20-something 22?

Posted October 13, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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I am back! Actually, I have been back for a while, I just haven’t gotten around to writing up a post on the blog about it because reading.

Yes, I did pretty much wake up, did morning chores and curled back up with a book. (Okay, fine, my ereader. SAME THING.) I had a lovely rest, though I woke up a little groggy since I actually went to bed slightly past recommended times.

So far this morning I’ve settled down with:
Kin and Ink by Ellion Million
Return to Redlin by Lazette Gifford
Fire Queen, Dark Lady by M.C.A. Hogarth
Not Now, Not Ever by M.C.A. Hogarth
Next edited by Simon Petrie and Rob Porteous

I’ve switched to novellas (or as close to as I can find) because the short stories were actually tiring me out more than the longer pieces were. Makes sense, really, if you think about it. Short stories are great for giving you a lot of easily recognisable break points in which to do something else, but you’re also skipping between worlds and characters a lot more. Instead of a couple of books in a small variety of settings with maybe two handfuls of must-remember cast members, reading a lot of short stories in a row asks you to jump from place to place and characters to characters and by the time you’re settled into a setting and got to know the protagonists (and antagonists) comfortably well it’s already time to be moving on to something else again!

So novellas and short novels it is! I don’t have to shake up my list a lot. I’ve got two left on there, Winter Well is a collection of novellas instead of short stories and I have a short novel by Amy Rae Durreson lying around as well, and that’s before I poke around my shelves for physical books. I’ve got more than enough to occupy my time. ^_^

I might have to rethink my plan of continuing to read after the readathon is over, though. If I can’t find anything to settle with, I don’t want to jinx myself. I barely read anything in September, and I’d like October to continue going better than September reading-wise! For now, I’ll take a bit of a break and go through some more non-reading things. I’m still not entirely awake and I’d definitely feel better if I took a shower now rather than later.

But at least the monthlies has decided to leave me alone properly this time! That’s always a win. Onwards! To stories!

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#Readathon Oct 2013: Hour 12/13? (and after this I shall sleep a bit)

Posted October 13, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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I think that every time I’ve participated in the readathon, I’ve always been in bed before the midway point, so I’ve never tackled the midway survey before. :O Let’s hop to it!

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?

Very sleepy. It is slightly past time for Lynnets to go to bed, so I shall be heading there shortly. As I was just telling Sharlene (who is an awesome cheerleader and I hope you’re having a wonderful time too!), I deal pretty badly with lack of sleep. (And, if I’m honest, I’m not really keen on trying it out when dealing with monthly woes. At least that’s been polite and let me participate in the readathon the way I’d wanted to. It doesn’t always.)

I know I might sound like I could go on for a while longer and I probably could. I inherited my mum’s ability to be sucked into a book until the very end only to discover it is 6 in the morning and I need to be up at 8, but it is (thankfully) tempered with an ability to put it down as long as I have a clock around somewhere. And my phone has… pretty much only left my side for the first hour when I was playing hostess.

2) What have you finished reading?

Um… Let’s see…
The King’s Peace by Jo Walton
Skip-leveling by M.C.A. Hogarth
Breaths Long as Years by the same
Useless Tears by the same
For the Love of Mortals by the same

and a good quarter of Next edited by Simon Petrie and Rob Porteous. I got to the short story one of my friends wrote.I’m looking forward to seeing how the draft I read’s cleaned up! (At least I think I read it. Right now I’m too sleepy to be sure.)

This is also roughly the point where I discovered that half of my official readathon pile? It appears to be missing from my ereader.

3) What is your favorite read so far?

Um… I’ll say The King’s Peace purely because it was long enough to give me a good sense of the world-building. I don’t seem to be getting on well with Hogarth’s Le’enle stories. Sadness.

4) What about your favorite snacks?

I only had the one kind, so of course the koala cookies are my favourites.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

I did! I’ve tried to return visiting favours and cheered people on twitter a bit. I’m really not that good at combining reading with cheerleading, though. Either/or works better for me, spoon-count-wise, and this is not the readathon where I want to be thinking of trying to change that, sadly. (One day, though. One day I will discover the balance that works for me, but right now excitement and positivity are more important to me.)

And that’s the mid-event survey, people! I’m sorry my comments aren’t very interesting. I’ll be updating my ereader in a moment along with my database files, but after that I’ll be off to bed for a while. I’ll cease spamming feedreaders, dwircles, flists and twitter feeds for a couple of hours and then it’ll be back into the books with me. Not Now, Not Ever before bed, just so I have all the Le’enle stories read in one go instead of with several hours in between.

It’s been a great day, even though it was off to a bit of a rocky start! Tomorrow will see me do some chores I cannot ignore before delving into books. (The critters need caring for, after all.) But after that… I’ll be continuing Next and we’ll have to see what comes after as I have, at present, no clue. Possible some of the shorter collections as that’ll give me more titles to my name this readathon.

(I know it’s not a numbers game, of course, and I’m not competing with anyone, but I like the numbers and crossing things off my TBR pile. I’ll be faced with reading River of Stars soon after the readathon, perhaps, so as much as I love GGK’s works it’ll be another chunkster and it looks a lot bigger than The King’s Peace and is a lot more uncomfortable to read. So shorter works that do count on my TBR pile now and then a slower chunkster again and it’ll all be nice and varied and maybe I can actually get this year’s shortlist all read. Probably not. I CAN DREAM, though. ^-~ If I can finish River of Stars it’s entirely doable, especially if I shift focus tomorrow to shorter novels that are on that shortlist rather than short stories. I shall sleep on this and see what I’m in the mood for tomorrow…)

And Cat has decided my foot is awesome for sleeping on. Previously it was my lap right where I was holding my book.

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#Readathon Oct 2013: Hour ?? to 9

Posted October 12, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Well! That took me a bit of time indeed. I admit I got a bit sidetracked with food and reading in a different location. Cat does not care. Greypuss was mightily put out. (It is Greypuss’ Law that I am not allowed to be anywhere he is not for more than five minutes. Or something. That’s approximately how long it takes him to kick up a fuss.)

Of course now that I’m back, he’s decided I am to be ignored. Because cat.

Anyway! After nine hours (but more like eleven since I started early) I have finally finished my first book! WHOOHOO! GO ME!

That took… a fair bit longer than the four I’d been anticipating. But then I got waylaid a few times. So, for the ninth hour, I shall attempt to take a brief break.

I am still trying to collect my thoughts about the book. It’s very clearly not a finished series and I’m partially sad that I don’t have the second volume to dive into and partially glad that I won’t have to. It’s a very mixed reaction. It’s turned out to be one of those books that I think is incredibly good and powerful and everything I look for in a story and I still didn’t click with it. I am sad.

I have no idea which of the short stories I’ve lined up that I’ll be reading. Probably M.C.A. Hogarth’s short stories because I’m 99% sure I’ll get along with any and all of them.

For now, though, I am continuing my break to poke at why I’m not actually participating in the mini-challenges. The answer is, very, simply, that I do not have the energy or, when I do, the ability. (Or, in truth, the desire. I’d much rather read or write blog posts, if I’m honest.)

I used to be awesome at book spine challenges, but I’m drastically culling my books still. I don’t have the books I need for them. One day I’ll have them again and I’ll try and set it up so I have bookspine texts for each hour I participate. Or something else equally interesting.

One day, I’d like to be up to combining reading and occasional cheerleading. I find the social aspect pretty taxing, though, so I tend to keep it small. It makes me sad. Part of the fun of the readathon is sharing so much with people I’d never met before today (or only briefly) and cheerleading is a wonderful way to pass the enthusiasm and love around. I’ve thought about doing generic twitter cheerleading posts, but I worry I’d feel bad about not taking the time to look at people’s personal experiences. To me, that’s the point of cheerleading.) I do try to cheer on my friends, but they know me, so it’s a bit easier.

Oh. And now I think the hour is already almost past? (ish.) Writing this took longer than I’d anticipated. I’ll putter around a bit longer and give myself more of a break. Outside of unexpectedly playing hostess, I just spent much of the past 11 hours reading and my regular bedtime is slowly creeping up on me, so I’m starting to get a bit tired. Certainly more tired than I’d be if I’d started the readathon along with everyone else instead of before.

Fun fact: I’ve recently discovered that caffeine gives me headaches, so that wouldn’t help me stay awake even if I’d wanted to. Still getting used to this fact and trying to figure out what to do with the knowledge.

And with that I think I shall respond to comments and dive back into reading something short! I hope you’re all still having a good readathon experience! *waves*

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#Readathon Oct 2013: Hour 4/5

Posted October 12, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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I always get mixed up with the readathon hours. This is… the fourth going into the fifth? I forget.

Anyway! I did indeed decide to dive into The King’s Peace by Jo Walton. It’s being an interesting experience, but one I’m glad of having. Walton’s books seem to be a bit of a hit-and-miss case for me, so having one that seems firmly middle-ground is nice.

Hour 4 saw me read nothing else. The King’s Peace is a chunkster and I was only about a hundred pages into it when I picked it up this morning. It’s also turning out to be a dense and slow read.

Personally, I don’t mind dense and slow reads for the readathon, though I know many veterans recommend against them because they slow you down and/or eat up your energy. I’ll also be looking forwad to finishing it and delving into some shorter stories. They’ll give me a greater sense of momentum, whereas The King’s Peace will give me a greater sense of accomplishment for being a chunkster.

Hour 5 may also be interrupted by dinner. I’m not entirely sure yet, but it’s likely to be hour 5 or hour 6, knowing my hunger levels. And that is how my hours are going. I’ll certainly finish The King’s Peace before I retire for the night, which I’m quite happy about.

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Readathon Oct 2013: Hour 2/3

Posted October 12, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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I have returned just in time for the end of the second hour and/or the beginning of the third.

At the beginning of the first hour, I’d ponderings to continue on with my chunkster because I’m quite enjoying it and I’ve started to hit my stride with it. Before the readathon began officially, I’d already read a good two hours, so I haven’t made as much additional progress as I’d wanted.

I picked The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philp Pullman to tackle with my cousin. We got as far as the afterword. Given that we started with the afterword, this isn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds. Alas. My cousin’s general knowledge is… Well, I wouldn’t call it appalling, but it was a bit startling all the same. So we spent much of the two hours discussing what we were reading. (Does that count at all?) And reading it. And discussing it and making sure he understands that there are many ways to view the world and he has to decide for himself which fits his.

So we read that. And chatted a little bit about how he’s doing in school — which is well — and he seems to be adjusting nicely to secondary school and we discussed what we read and I took a small snacking break and got my hands all dirty with cakestuffs because I wasn’t reading anything yet anyway.

And now I shall delve back into… Probably The King’s Peace by Jo Walton. I’ve just hit the second part, so I could take a break for the short stories, but I was juuuuuuuust finding my stride in the whole thing. I don’t want to lose it entirely, so I want to give it a go.

More updates next hour or the hour after that! I’ve set my phone alarm to announce the hours as they occur.

I would apologise for the posting volume, but… I am cheerful and chipper and not the least bit sorry about the spammy volume. So I would be lying if I apologised. Onwards! To the books!

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Readathon Oct 2013: Hour 1

Posted October 12, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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And thus it is the first hour of this year’s October Readathon. I’d hoped to have this post all written up in advance this year, but alas that was not to be. Well, I have a post written up in advance, but I don’t like it and so I’m starting over.

Plus, I’ve already spent two hours of my day reading. ^-~ More on that in a moment! But first! The introductory meme.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Europe!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

All of them! Technically, most of what’s in my stack is made up of short stories rather than books, but I’ve got a couple in there. I’d started reading Jo Walton’s The King’s Peace earlier today. (Er, by which I mean I continued where I’d left off.) I’d hoped to have it finished before the readathon began properly, but I was weak and spent an hour or so watching Let’s Play videos so I don’t get horribly, horribly behind on them.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Er… The ones I’ve got? I’ve only got the one kind. They are little koala-shaped cookies with chocolate in them. And for all I know my cousin decided that yes he does want tutoring just before the great vacation because the doorbell just rang. I should be put out.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I need to rush off to open the door. Urgh.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

READING. Bloody doorbell.

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Feather by Feather and Other Stories Out November 1st

Posted October 10, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in News / 0 Comments

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News. The text 'news' underneath a big envelope. News and updates on the site.

It’s got a release date! It’s got a release date! (I may be slightly excited about this.) Below you’ll find the cover (in all its coloured glory, isn’t it gorgeous?) and the product description. No retailer links yet because the book hasn’t shipped there yet. (N’aaaw. I was hoping it had. I’m using Smashwords’ preorder beta option. But I’ll update the book page when they’re up and make a new post! It’ll just be a little less grand-looking.)

Anyway! Onwards to the book! :O

Coming November 1st, 2013

Cover for Feather by Feather and Other Stories by Lynn E. O'ConnachtFeather by Feather and Other Stories is a varied collection of over 40 stories and poems. In these stories, demons struggle with their nature (and bake biscuits); a young girl faces a witch in search of the bobble hat that will save her Great-Aunt; a steam engine attempts the impossible; a student finds a book that may spell the death of her; catastrophe strikes Nightshadow and his people, testing their faith in the Stars; a mermaid learns that life above the sea offers far more than princes; ghosts howl their stories at passersby; an asexual teenager struggles with relationships and trust; and Phee… Well. Phee is Phee.

Lynn E. O’Connacht’s first collection is a kaleidoscope of tales, featuring folktale and fairytale retellings, superhero fiction, science fiction, realistic fiction and more. Sensitive, imaginative, heart-wrenching, gentle, witty, candid, and engrossing Feather by Feather and Other Stories is a powerful and enchanting selection. It also includes an explanation on how to write your own triple sestina, a self-interview and brief commentary on every piece published in the collection.

(The collection is roughly 96,500 words long, give or take how you count them. Excited! Er, I am. I am excited. And next weekend is the readathon! Whoot! Good week is being had.)

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What I Learnt from Editing ‘Feather by Feather and Other Stories’

Posted October 8, 2013 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.

This past September, I ran through the whole manuscript of Feather by Feather and Other Stories one last time to try and catch all the typos and errors I’d missed. I probably still missed some despite my efforts and those of my awesome betareaders and proofreaders, but at some point you just have to admit you’re not going to catch any more until the book is out. (That and I set myself a deadline for fiddling so I wouldn’t keep fiddling with it forever.) For the Feather by Feather edits, I was banking on that effect to occur not because the book was made available, but because it existed as a book. (Tricks the mind and all.)

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