Archive for December, 2013

Happy Christmas Eve!

Hidey ho, squiders! I hope you’re having a lovely time with your loved ones and eating lots of chocolate (and that you haven’t misplaced every roll of tape in the house, like somebody else).

The blog will be on hiatus for the holidays and shall resume on Thursday, January 2nd.

Landsquid Christmas 2013

The Conundrum of Doctor Who

It’s been my intention for years to watch Doctor Who, ever since the new iteration started and all my friends and the Internet in general got sucked in. It seemed like it would be right up my alley, since I like Star Trek and Merlin and shows of that ilk. Ones where they’re not afraid to occasionally be silly. Ones where the characters care about each other despite their differences.

I should probably note that I had seen Doctor Who before the new series started–I watched the 1996 made for TV movie with Eight (Paul McGann). Admittedly, I think I was 13 at the time, but I remember liking it and being somewhat disappointed that it hadn’t done well enough to be picked up for a TV series.

And, of course, because I am a denizen of the Internet, despite not having watched the show, I am generally aware of what’s happening. (Sometimes I even know what’s happening more than my friends who are caught up with the show, which just amuses me.) So I went in knowing about sonic screwdrivers and daleks and weeping angels and regeneration (and also things associated with the 50th anniversary special which I shall not say in case people do not know and care about spoilers).

About a month ago I finally decided to dive in with the beginning of Nine and…well, I didn’t like it. There were conversations I thought were funny, and I thought the characters were fine, but overall it wasn’t doing much for me, and I was really annoyed about it, because I’d been so excited to watch the show, and I’d heard such good things, and it just wasn’t doing anything for me.

But I stuck through with it, and near the end of the first season there’s an episode where they’re in 1941 England, and they hook up with Captain Jack, and there’s random Merlin actors and that was the first time where I could see what people were talking about. It was a two-part episode, and both the strength of the story and the interplay between the characters were fantastic. And, for the most part, the rest of the season (a standalone episode and another two-parter) kept that up.

And then, of course, I get to the end of the season and Nine regenerates into Ten, and now I feel all off-kilter again. I got to really like Nine, and I feel like I don’t know what to make of Ten yet (I’m…four? episodes into the season). And I feel like the quality of the episodes has gone back downhill, more like the beginning of season/series one than the end.

(Also, we ditched Captain Jack at the end of season one and I really liked him and how he interacted with the other characters. I mean, I know he comes back and there’s Torchwood, but I would have watched him and Nine and Rose forever.)

Part of me wonders if I should just give up here. If I find it so hard to adjust every time they switch out a character, is it worth it to keep watching a show where characters switch every year or two? I mean, aside from the Doctor regenerating, companions come and go. And maybe it just hasn’t hit its stride yet and if I keep going the show will become good enough that that will stop bothering me as much as it does at the moment.

And I’m still a little annoyed that I don’t like it more than I do.

What about you, Squiders? Are you a die-hard Whovian, or can you not get into the show? Who’s your favorite Doctor?

Still in Need of Presents?

I ate too many cookies today, Squiders, and now feel a bit sick. This is the dangers of baking for the holidays that they fail to warn you about. The only thing saving the peppermint bark is that I made it specifically for presents.

Speaking of which, are you still in need of present ideas for your loved ones? I recommend books. Already bought everyone something? Get them books anyway. Books are awesome and everyone needs more of them.

(My family has expressed dismay that all I want for Christmas is books. And scarves.)

(I don’t even wear scarves that often but I like to collect them, apparently.)

And I almost hate to do this, because I hate it when other people do it, but some of these books are really awesome and I think other people would like them if they got their hands on them. So here are some recommendations, and just take it with a grain of salt that I am indirectly or directly somehow connected with all of them.

Once Upon a Spork coverFirst up is Once Upon a Spork. This is a fairy tale anthology, with a healthy mix of adaptations and new tales. There’s only one story in here that I don’t like. Admittedly I love fairy tales almost as much as mythology (and, indeed, would argue that they are sort of a type of mythology themselves), but if you know someone who also likes fairy tales, why not pick this up for them?

As of me writing this post, Amazon has it on sale for $10.45, and you get 13 stories from authors from such exotic locales as Sweden. And California.

 

 

without wings 200x300Next I’d like to recommend Without Wings, which is a poetry chapbook about love gone wrong. I’m not a big poetry fan; I don’t understand how to do it and it mocks me, so we compromise with haiku and limericks about alpacas and landsquid.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. The imagery is haunting. Anytime anybody mentions the remotest thing about poetry I bring it up. It is probably obnoxious, but I do it anyway.

There’s no excuse for not buying it, honestly. The paperback version is only $6.99, and the ebook version is a mere $.99.

 

Best of TDP coverIn general, I rather like all the TDP anthologies. Winter’s Night is an interesting mix of fantasy, science fiction and myth. Seasons Eternal provides an interesting look at how different people imagine a world where seasons have ceased to exist. But The Best of Turtleduck Press, Vol I is a look back at all the short fiction put out through TDP’s three-year existence, and it includes a good range of what TDP offers.

Plus it’s only a dollar. And the paperback versions of the other anthologies are less than $5. Stock stuffers for anybody who likes a good mix of speculative fiction.

 

 

 

And, of course, you can’t have a holiday promotional post without mentioning your own stuff, so don’t forget Hidden Worlds (YA urban fantasy) and Shards (not-YA urban fantasy).

Anyway, Squiders, have any books to recommend?

Getting Sucked In

(First of all, just a small reminder that Amazon still has the paperback version of Shards on sale for 20% off. If you need a present for someone who likes urban fantasy, please consider picking it up.)

(Also, I don’t understand Amazon’s pricing scheme. They change the price by a few cents every other day. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Whatever. I’m an author, not someone who understands complex economic algorithms.)

Guys, I have gotten almost nothing done in the last few days, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve been re-reading my high fantasy trilogy in an attempt to get ready to finish the first draft of the third book, and I have been sucked in. I was just going to read the first book, but instead I have pushed through all the way to what I have of the third, to the determent of many other things I am supposed to be doing. (Like paid work. And doing the laundry. To say nothing of the fact that I typically blog on Thursdays, not Fridays.)

(Man, I should really do the laundry.)

Occasionally I do actually have to do other things, and so I was wondering why I’ve been so engrossed in the whole thing. (Well, except for the beginning of the first book, which needs some serious pacing help.) I like to think that I’m pretty good at this whole writing thing, but I’m not under any delusions of being J.K. Rowling or Orson Scott Card or whomever is your favorite speculative fiction writer.

And I remembered that I’d gone into Shards a little over a month ago to check something and had ended up reading the whole thing again (again to the determent to anything useful).

So why was I getting so sucked into my own work?

And, with a little thought, it was obvious. People become writers for many reasons, but one of the most common is that the story a writer wants to read doesn’t exist, so they have to do it themselves. And most writers, the ones who really love what they’re doing, write stories that appeal directly to them. People write the stories they want to read.

So it follows that the stories I write, on some level, fulfill what I want. So, of course, they’re going to appeal to me, and I’m going to enjoy reading them. And, especially when it’s a story I haven’t touched in a while, it’s fun to go back through and read it like I’m reading it for the first time.

Whether they appeal quite as much to someone else, well, that’s something else completely.

Well, other writers, do you find yourself getting sucked into your own work? And everybody–readers and writers alike–what was the last book you literally could not put down?

Oh, Prologues

You know prologues, don’t you, Squiders? They lurk at the very beginning of some books, being all secretive and yet revealing at the same time. And then the first chapter starts and you have no idea what’s happening and who those people were and how anything ties together.

Prologues have long been a fantasy staple. Often they reveal events from the past that will eventually lead to the events happening in the main body of the book. Sometimes they reveal the inciting event by the antagonist.

What I find interesting about prologues is that they seem to be something that authors do when they’re newer, and then, as they become more experienced, they stop using them.

In fact, it seems like prologues as a whole are passe. I read a quote from some author somewhere (I am terrible at linking quotes to people–sorry!) that essentially said something like “If your prologue includes important information, it should be in the narrative, and if it doesn’t, why is it there?”

I find them a little jarring myself, honestly. They normally involve characters who we may never see again, or at least not for quite some time, so I find it confusing to switch to the viewpoint character in chapter one. And often the information given doesn’t become relevant for quite some time, or I have information that the main character doesn’t, and it causes a weird disconnect in the narrative.

That’s not to say that prologues can’t be done well, but most of them do seem to be a little superfluous.

Hey, I used to do them too. The first draft of Shards even had an artsy one that I still kind of like, though it wasn’t adding enough value to be kept in the final version. (Though I might share if you ask nicely. It’s not very long.) And I do think they’re kind of helpful from a writing standpoint, because it can help you flesh out background events so your actual narrative is stronger and more rounded.

What are your feelings on the subject, Squiders? Yea or nay? Which prologues have you really liked?

And Now For Something Completely Different

(Psst, just FYI, Amazon has Shards for sale for $3 off! Not a bad deal for a new release.)

I am severely tempted here to just quote Monty Python but that’s not actually the point of this post. Though maybe someday, because I love Monty Python. Actually, in theater class in high school, we had to select scenes and put them on for the class, with our teacher and classmates scoring us, and my teacher actually banned us from doing Monty Python skits about halfway through the semester. (We then switched to Neil Simon, who is also excellent. But apparently more theatrically approved.)

I know we’ve kind of been all Shards all the time around here lately, and I apologize for that. I hope it’s understandable to be so focused on one’s debut novel. I did start reading whatever the latest draft of the first book of my trilogy is, in an attempt to switch gears, but I’m a little frustrated because the pacing is too slow in the front third of the book, which will need fixing. Not terribly enthused to dive back into that, but hey, the beginning of Shards was all off on pacing as well, so it’s not like it’s not something I can fix. But bleh, lots of work.

But I didn’t want to talk about that either. I wanted to talk about Emma Approved. And how I’m kind of enjoying it more than the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or at least more than I remember enjoying the LBD, which admittedly ended in April and it has been a long time since April.

LBD and Emma Approved are modern-day vlog style adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Emma, respectively. P&P is one of my favorite books, and I’ve read most of Jane Austen’s completed novels (except for Mansfield Park because I Austened myself out around the time when PBS was putting out an Austen movie/miniseries each weekend and I was reading the books to keep up) including Emma, though I will admit I am mostly lukewarm on most of them.  Aside from P&P, I’ve only read the rest once each, so I don’t really remember the plot in any great detail for Emma except that she’s kind of a butt and her protege totally leaves her in the dust at some point.

But I am enjoying the Emma Approved series, even though Emma is still a butt. Honestly, Mr. Knightley is making the series for me. He is so delightfully snarky. And I thought, hey, maybe some of my squiders also like Austen and would be interested in watching this series as well, and maybe I should tell them about it. It updates Monday and Thursday mornings.

Anyway, Squiders, I hope the first week of December is going well for you, and that you’re not stressing too badly about the holidays. And if you watched LBD and/or have been watching Emma Approved, I’d love to hear your thoughts on either (or both) series thus far.

Moving On When a Project is Done

(For those of you who are into mythology, here’s the Bible mythology post at Paranormal Unbound and the angel mythology post at Amalia Dillin’s.)

(If you like interviews, here’s one, here’s another, and here’s a third in which I make silly faces at the camera because I don’t know what I’m doing. And also get distracted about missing quotation marks in published books.)

The past week has been very strange. Friday came around, and I finished up all my guest posts and interviews and sent everything off to their respective recipients, and I made sure Shards was on Goodreads and that everything would go live appropriately and…then, all of a sudden, I had nothing to do with myself.

I mean, I’ve been working on Shards non-stop since last December when Turtleduck Press accepted it for publication. I did research, I did extensive outlining, I edited the heck out of the thing and, once I’d submitted the manuscript to the editor, I alternated between doing additional edits, working on getting the cover ready, and putting my marketing plan into full speed ahead mode (which involved a lot of emailing people. And a lot of reading things). And even when everything was in its place, I still needed to get things out to people and make sure I had avenues for announcing the release.

And now…now…it’s mostly done. I still have a few more things to send out, a few more people to contact, a couple more ads to set up, but for all intent and purpose, it’s done. It’s been released into the world where I no longer have full control of it. I need to move on.

No matter how many times I get to the end of something I’ve been really involved in, mind, body, and soul, I always forget about this weird listless, almost depressed, feeling I get when something has ended. Like the purpose has been drained out of life. And, at the same time, I’m excited to move on to the next thing, yet I can’t quite seem to get up the motivation to do so.

If I could ever remember that I go through this every time, I would remember that it helps to have a new, low-stress project on hand, usually in an area completely unrelated to the one I just finished. Like, I might go work on that Alaska trip scrapbook since it’s been four years since we actually took that trip. Or maybe I will just flail around about Christmas for the next three weeks.

What do you do, Squiders, when you get really into something and then it ends? Wrapped any big projects up lately?

Also! Here’s a Goodreads giveaway for Shards. We’re giving away three autographed copies with bookmarks!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shards by Kit  Campbell

Shards

by Kit Campbell

Giveaway ends January 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win