marthawells: (Default)
So among the miasma of bad news, this happened:

EMILIE & THE HOLLOW WORLD [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Martha Wells

Running away from home never sounded so good, especially when it involves stowing away on a ritzy, cloaked-in-magic ship.

Under the conservative tyranny of guardians who are convinced she’ll become a harlot, 16-year-old Emilie decides it’s time to run away. Inspired by her cherished serial adventure books, she delights in the romance of escape—until she forms blisters, gets hungry and, after spending too much on snacks, can’t afford the ferry ticket to reach her cousin’s home. There’s only one logical thing to do: jump off the docks, swim to the nearest boat and hope for the best. After boarding what she hopes is the right ship, she witnesses a pirate attack, saves a scaled man and watches as a merging of magic and science transports the ship to a legendary world within a world. Competing explorers, a cunning mer-queen regnant, more than one dirigible and plenty of well-aimed punches make for an adventure that would titillate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Though Emilie’s homeland of Menea is fictional, it has all the makings of Victorian England. As in the Victorian era, sexism is prevalent, but that doesn’t stop a roster of ripsnorting female characters (first among them Emilie) from wielding pistols, captaining ships and slyly defeating enemies. At one point, after escaping a prison cell, Emilie thinks, "If I’d known it was going to be that hard, I’d never have tried," a phrase that embodies the honesty and humor that make this read worthwhile.

A swashbuckling escape for avid readers that trades buttoned-up boundaries for unbridled adventure. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Kirkus Reviews
marthawells: (Reading)
Last night I made baked flounder with a hollandaise sauce and fried potatoes for dinner, and it was very tasty. I think I will do it again at some point soon.

Also got a really nice reader email about the Raksura books. Very good to read.

Had a couple of links I wanted to pass on:

* The Death of the Necromancer made this list of The Best Fantasy Novels You (Probably) Haven’t Read on Flavorwire! With its brand new ebook cover! (Thanks to Kyle Gillette for letting me know!)

* I think I forgot to link to this earlier (but maybe I linked to it and then forgot that -- it's been that kind of month), but: Rachel Neumeier reviewed The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy Tremaine is my favorite character EVER! She is right up there with my other favorite-ever characters, like Miles Vorkosigan and Vlad Taltos and Eugenides. She is prickly, sarcastic, ruthlessly practical, sometimes insecure, occasionally suicidal, and doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body. You know that discussion a week or two ago about books with female protagonists but without a lot of romance? This is that book. I mean, there is romance — but it starts late in the series and it is never, but never, a gushy obsessive romance.

* And I posted kitten photos of Tasha on Tumblr.
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
I'm hoping to have the ceiling holes fixed today, at least the initial dry wall, which should stop the rain of dust and dead bugs.

If you missed my plumbing disaster, some of the photos are here: http://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/44548024765/more-plumbing-photos (that's actually not all the holes) and the story is mostly here and here.

(Insurance is thankfully going to cover part of it, but we still have to pay a big chunk, so if you know anybody who might be interested in cheap ($2.99 US) DRM-free reprint ebooks of The Element of Fire, The Death of the Necromancer, City of Bones, Wheel of the Infinite on Kindle, Nook, or Kobo. (It does help to buy and rec the other books too, but with the reprints I get paid monthly by the retailers. With the others, if the book has earned out, it might be six months to a year to never before I get paid.))


Book rec:

* Tor.com: An excerpt of A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

* Kickstarter: Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History
Most written chronicles of history, and most speculative stories, put rulers, conquerors, and invaders front and center. People with less power, money, or status—enslaved people, indigenous people, people of color, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and religious minorities, among others—are relegated to the margins. Today, mainstream history continues to perpetuate one-sided versions of the past while mistelling or erasing the stories of the rest of the world.

* Black Gate: The Land The Ravens Found and Naomi Mitchison

Me:

* A new review of Emilie and the Hollow World which will be out on April 2.

Links:

* Salon.com My Amazon bestseller made me nothing
This past summer, my novel, “Broken Piano for President,” shot to the top of the best-seller lists for a week. After Jack Daniel’s sent me a ridiculously polite cease and desist letter, the story went viral and was featured in places like Forbes, Time magazine and NPR’s Weekend Edition. The New Yorker wrote one whole, entire, punctuated-and-everything sentence about me! My book was the No. 6 bestselling title in America for a while, right behind all the different “50 Shades of Grey” and “Gone Girl.” It was selling more copies than “Hunger Games” and “Bossypants.” So, I can sort of see why people thought I was going to start wearing monogrammed silk pajamas and smoking a pipe.

But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English. There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars. There’s a reason most writers have bad teeth. It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession.

Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money.

* Daily Fig: Five Ingredients for a Spectacular Writing Group by Alaya Dawn Johnson

* Black Gate: My Characters Don’t Give a Damn by Violette Malan, on the uses of profanity in fantasy.

* Lee Moyer: R E S P E C T Artist Lee Moyer on sexism in fantasy art:
If you draw a man you make a picture, but if you draw a woman you make a statement.
This is a cultural thing and it is probably fading away as we speak, but for now it still seems to be true. Which is why a picture of Conan can be accepted at face value as what the character looks like and what he wears, but a picture of a scantily dressed woman is seen not as a depiction of a character, but as a statement about women.


* Cracked.com 5 Moments That Prove Mr. Rogers was the Greatest American

* Washington Post: Food stamps put Rhode Island town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
C.S.E. Cooney said something very nice about The Serpent Sea:
Martha Wells makes great monsters. And great everything else too. Plot, pacing, character arc and empathy, subterranean battles, leviathans, love scenes. Everything at once muscular and delicate. Subtleties. Sensitivities. I want to breathe the air of her worlds - and fly with the Raksura there.

I really needed to read that this morning. I've got a bad headache, either sinus from the rapid cold-warm fronts that have been coming through, or from the dust from the open ceiling, or both. I see a lot of vacuuming and mopping in my immediate future.


Book rec:

A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda
A young woman trapped between two worlds must risk everything to save both in Czerneda’s charming character-driven fantasy of rich magic, multilayered characters, and dangerous choices. Jenn Nalynn longs to travel far beyond the remote village of Marrowdell to find adventure and true love. Unfortunately Jenn is “turn-born,” born in the narrow Verge where the mortal world and a magical realm overlap, and bound to the land by her birth; any attempt to leave Marrowdell will release the Verge’s wild magic, bringing chaos and death to both worlds. As Jenn’s 19th birthday approaches, along with the eclipse called the Great Turn, Jenn is drawn toward the dangerous Verge and torn between the two men she loves: an exiled prince and a disgraced dragon-turned-human sent by forces across the Verge to guard her. Science fiction author Czerneda (the Stratification series) will charm fantasy readers with multidimensional characters, a vivid setting, and powerful themes of hope and renewal. Publishers Weekly

Link:

NYT: What Not to Ask a Transgender Friend This is helpful info for friends who want to be supportive but have no idea how.
marthawells: (John and Ronon)
I got blood drawn this morning and still retain my superpower of being able to make my veins disappear. Just one more doctor's appointment today and I'm done for the week.


Something I forgot to post earlier:

Con Or Bust is getting started with their annual auction.
Con or Bust helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. It is administered by Kate Nepveu under the umbrella of the Carl Brandon Society, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Con or Bust is funded through donations and an online auction held each February. Learn how to support Con or Bust, or donate money through PayPal now:


Reviews:

* The Cloud Roads was listed by Web Genii as one of her "Best of 2012" novels on Slice of Sci-Fi TV

* Star Wars News site Roqoo Depot did reviews of the Books of the Raksura: The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea, The Siren Depths. They gave each one five out of five chainmail bikinis!
marthawells: (Default)
* A great review from The Book Smugglers on The Siren Depths
The world-building is unquestionably well-established and thought-through, the Raksura a wholly different species without being completely alien.

It also features a matriarchal society of completely badass women, a different type of Consort that doesn’t mind being protected AND saved by his Queen but who wishes he can be more proactive, friendship bonds, reasoned and negotiated romance, as well as moments of pain and loss mingled with beauty and inspiration.


As I mentioned on here before, since the publisher has let The Cloud Roads go out of print, there won't be any more Raksura books. It is still available in ebook and audiobook, for now.

* SF Site is having their annual Vote for your favorite SF/F books of the year.

* Book rec: John R. Fultz' sequel to Seven Princes is out: Seven Kings
Book two in Fultz’s imaginative visionary tale is the epitome of fantasy. His worldbuilding is in a class by itself. His battle scenes explode with inconceivable actions, his imagery and descriptive narrative gives voice and life to his awe-inspiring characters and his heroes and nightmarish creatures give face to his epic tale. The novel stands well alone, but the series should be read in order.

* Weird internet things: Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax This kind of thing always seem so incredible, except for the fact that I know of someone who has done this sort of scam several times, for attention, for fun, and for money.
marthawells: (Default)
Book rec:

Still Life with Shapeshifter by Sharon Shinn
This is a sequel to The Shape of Desire, and again it's not an action-packed urban fantasy, but a realistic story of what it would actually be like to live with shapeshifters in the real world. The main character, Melanie, has bent her whole life to taking care of and watching over her shapeshifter half-sister Ann. The secondary story is about Janet, whose life comes to revolve around a shapeshifter lover. The Shape of Desire was about love and obsession and lust, but this book is more about what you do for love, what you give up for it, and when to give it up. Or if you can give it up.

Some of the many things I enjoyed most about this book is the friendship between female characters, finding out more about how shapeshifting works in this world, and the whole feel of magic fitting into and woven around everyday life.

Links:

Teresa Frohock: Gender Bending: the Big Reveal Commenters were asked to read a selection of prose and then guess if the author was male or female.
My opinion here is simply this: No matter how much we analyze story, prose, or word usage, none of us can say with any certainty whether a specific piece is written by a man or woman unless the author stands up and accepts responsibility for the story.

Mazarkis Williams: Quick Observations Regarding the Gender Bending Contest
Some who guessed male or female then offered a reason why. Though some went off into the realm of the weird, and some were just gaming it (figuring that if more male authors were participating, they'd be more likely to win by guessing male), on the whole the guessers were helpful and insightful. I sorted the reasons into eight general categories.
I've heard the one about women writers only writing about clothes and shoes before. Someone said it in a bookstore, to my face.

Book Recs: The Year of Magical, uh, Magic
The Books of the Raksura were on this list: It’s the kind of fantasy Wells takes very seriously, indeed. This is not your intellectually or emotionally stunted quest fantasy, full of unintentional phallic imagery and stupid-ass names full of improbable hyphens and apostrophes. It’s lush, and mature, and intentionally ambiguous. The exploration of gender roles is particularly exciting.
marthawells: (Reading)
It got down to 26 last night, reminding me how I hate cold weather. Also, we put up a Christmas tree (just the tree, nothing on it yet) and Jack has not destroyed it yet.

* I'm answering general Raksura questions in this post here and have had some good ones.

* I did a Smugglivus guest post at the Book Smugglers here, where I talked about books and other things I liked this past year, and what I'm looking forward to next year.

* There's a great long review of The Siren Depths here on Rising Shadow.net

* The Serpent Sea made it to the next round of The Ranting Dragon's cover battle.

* One of the books I'm looking forward to reading just came out today: Howard Andrew Jones' Bones of the Old Ones. This is the second book in the Dabir and Asim series, fantasy adventure/mysteries set in 8th century Arabia.

* The TCM Remembers short for 2012, if you want a little cry this morning.
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
Last night Jack the cat fell into the bathtub and used my shins as a ladder to get out. Oddly, being clawed up by a cat underwater does not hurt as much, which must be due to air not getting to the cuts immediately. If I ever need to know that for a book, now I know, so that's good! I guess.

He and Tasha are still fighting, though I actually witnessed a non-hostile physical interaction between them yesterday before the bathtub incident. It would be really nice if they could get along. They both still sleep with me when it's cold, though every time I move, Tasha assumes it's Jack and growls. So I'm sleeping with something that wants to cuddle with me then growls continuously through the night. (It must be kind of like sleeping with a Raksura.)


* Author Rachel Neumeier posted a non-spoilery review of the Raksura Books.
I really loved Book 3, which wound up as my favorite book of the trilogy. In fact, I read it too fast and am now going to take some time to re-read some of my favorite parts. This trilogy is DEFINITELY a keeper; I will LOVE re-reading the whole thing in a few years. In the meantime, I’ll be pushing it on everybody who loves great writing, ornate worlds and wonderfully-drawn nonhuman characters. And I am also looking up Martha Wells’ backlist, right now.



* If you missed it yesterday, my yes there will be an ebook for The Siren Depths post. Short version, The Siren Depths trade paperbacks shipped early from the distributor but its release date is still December 4, and the ebooks don't come out until the release date.


If you're doing Cyber Monday:

* My post with the list of art, craft, fair trade, small press, and links to find local independent bookstores you can buy online from is here.

Holiday Book Drive:

* There is a holiday book drive for Ballou High School Library in Washington, DC There are lots of sale books and new books under $10.00 on the Powell's wishlist. You can buy a book for 9.95 and give a gift to 1200 kids!

The Cloud Roads Kindle US Sale:

* The first Raksura book, The Cloud Roads, is still on sale in the Kindle US ebook version for $1.99. I think the publisher will probably put it back to the normal price at the end of November, so if you ever wanted to check it out or know someone who wants to check it out on ebook, now is a good time.
marthawells: (Zoe)
I would tell you what I've been doing when I haven't been writing, but seriously, it's boring. I did laundry and cleaned out the spice shelf. Yeah, see, it's just not that interesting. It's all writing, writing, writing.

***

First review for The Siren Depths at SF Signal.

(and The Cloud Roads is still $1.99 for the Kindle US version at Amazon)

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This is also the official release day for Chicks Unravel Time. My article in it is "Donna Noble Saves the Universe." You can comment on the editor's post here to be entered into a Doctor Who giveaway.

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* Exploring the World of Chesya Burke: Black Women in Speculative Fiction: A Brief Investigation

* Rainbow Book List: GLBTQ Books for Children and Teens: Rainbow Project Final Nomination List

* Inexplicables by Cherie Priest, the next book in the Clockwork Century series, is out today.

* Knifesworn by Mazarkis Williams is out today!

* World SF Blog: Tuesday Fiction: “Brita’s Holiday Village” by Karin Tidbeck
marthawells: (Zoe)
Another quickie post:

Stumptown Books: Guest post by Courtney Scafer: Broaden Your Horizons
Not long ago I was idly browsing an SFF forum thread on epic fantasy, and came across this statement (made in apparently perfect seriousness): “Hardly any women write epic fantasy.” I was so flabbergasted all I could do was stare at my screen saying “WHAT.” Even if the poster wasn’t merely using “epic fantasy” as a shorthand for secondary-world fantasy (as so many people do), and meant specifically Big Fat Multivolume Sprawling Epics…well, I’m pretty sure Kate Elliott, Janny Wurts, Michelle West, Sherwood Smith, Jacqueline Carey, and a whole host of other authors would beg to differ. Epic fantasy and its more general cousin secondary world fantasy are my favorite genres, and I’d say about 70% of the books on my shelves are written by women, without any conscious decision on my part to seek out female authors.

Includes reviews of Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky #1), by Elizabeth Bear, The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1), by N.K. Jemisin, The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura #1), by Martha Wells, The Drowning City (The Necromancer Chronicles #1), by Amanda Downum, Alamut (Alamut #1), by Judith Tarr, and Tales from the Flat Earth by Tanith Lee.

And in the same theme:

Violette Malan: So, Why Do I Write Sword and Sorcery?
I have a PhD in 18th-century English literature. Most people don’t care (hell, most of the time, I don’t care), but those who do invariably ask me why I write fantasy novels. The implication, as you might guess, is that I should be writing something more important, or more literary, or more “real”. I used to fob these people off with some answer designed to appease them (and change the subject).

Retro link:

I did a post earlier this year called Erasing Women that was sparked by the "women don't write epic fantasy" thing.

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Guys Lit Wire extended their Book Fair for Ballou SR High School in Washington DC a few days, but it ends today. They also posted some photos of the new books arriving: Along with librarian Melissa Jackson, the kids are tracking the wish list to see what is purchased and eagerly awaiting the boxes. More than a few books are being checked out before they even hit the shelves.
marthawells: (John and Ronon)
It looks like the Avengers gag reel has already been removed from YouTube. Fortunately, I got up early enough to see it. "Careful, actor on the set!"

This is not shaping up to be a great week, but at least it's Kay Francis day on TCM. She was the highest paid US film actress between 1930 and 1936. Also see my post on Erasing Women on Frances Marion and the other women writers, directors, and producers of the 30s, who were disappeared from Hollywood history.

links:

Bowing to the Future: Lou Anders did a great review of Tales of the Emerald Serpent, the shared world fantasy anthology I have a story in. (It's available in ebook and in paperback here.)

And this was a fun Flog: Felicia Day and Morgan Webb Master the Art of Archery while wearing elf ears.
marthawells: (SGA Team)
Troyce still has a fever today, so he went to the doctor this morning. He couldn't get in to see our regular insurance-mandated doctor, so he had to go to a walk-in clinic which our insurance won't pay for.

I woke up early (5:30) for basically no reason, but did get the garden plants watered before it got too hot. It would be nice if an early start translated into increased productivity today, but I bet this will not happen.

Nice thing to see today: The Serpent Sea made this list Kirkus Reviews: Book Smugglers' Best SF and Fantasy of 2012 so far ...sequel to a 2011 favorite novel, The Cloud Roads, the Books of the Raksura feature a beautifully rendered fantasy world, intricate social and political dynamics, and amazing characters, including one very badass female protagonist.

Neat link: Mail Online: 'Britain's Atlantis' found at bottom of North sea - a huge undersea world swallowed by the sea in 6500BC

Westboro Babtist Church (which protests soldiers' funerals and schools and etc with homophobic signs and yelling) came to town, got scared, and left. Texas A&M Students Block Westboro Baptist Protesters With Human Wall

Publishing link: Angry Robot Books The Copyeditor – what they do I've seen so many people who do not understand that "editor" and "copyeditor" are two different jobs.
marthawells: (Teyla)
It's been a very lazy weekend, but I really need to get back to work today.

Question from Twitter from @mgarcialogan:

I really enjoyed City of Bones, do you plan to ever turn that into a series? Or write a sequel?

At this point, I don't think so. I did have a sequel planned in 1996 but moved to a new publisher and it never got written. (City of Bones was my second novel, and it came out in 1995 from Tor. It's been out of print probably since the late 90s, until I reprinted it myself in ebook in 2007.)

Couple of reviews:

Black Gate: Charlene Brusso Reviews The Cloud Roads

Janicu's Book Blog: The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

A neat link:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: The Leonard Lopate Show: Survival Kit: If you were stranded on a desert island, what ten things do you want with you? This is an audio file.

Giveaway:

For the people who are at home today, or just on the internet today: comment on this post to enter a drawing for a signed copy of The Serpent Sea, the sequel to The Cloud Roads. I'll give away at least three copies, depending on the number of entries, and you have until tomorrow at about this time to enter. Entrants from outside the US are fine.
marthawells: (Zoe)
The Cloud Roads is on this list at Kirkus Reviews of Top 10 Fantasy Novels by Female Authors Yay!

From yesterday:

I'm in Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who The sister book to the 2011 Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords. My essay is "Donna Noble Saves the Universe" about Donna's differences from the other companions, and basically being an older woman who is also a hero.

And I did the All About Books meme questions on the Strange Chemistry Blog.

Question answer:

[personal profile] misslynx asked:

1. I've heard a number of people talking about getting stuck in the "murky middle" of a story where it feels like you're losing your way, or at least like things are getting a bit out of control, and it's hard to see how you're going to rein it in and push it toward an ending. So I already know it's not just me.... But I'm still not sure how to get out of it. Do you ever find yourself hitting this point with your books? Any advice on how best to push through it, when it's starting to feel like trying to nail jello to a wall?

If your enthusiasm for the book is flagging in the middle, then you may have structural problems. Generally I feel that if the book is not exciting for me, it's not going to be exciting for the reader, either. You may want to get some feedback from a few trusted beta readers and try to see if something's wrong, if you need to add some plot complication or make other changes or cut out some plot complication that just isn't working.

If it's just a fatigue or concentration problem, feedback (especially good feedback) can also help rekindle your interest in the book. And sometimes, you just have to force yourself to push through. (This is basically why agents and publishers don't want to look at unfinished novels from first authors -- some people have great ideas but aren't able to get through the middle and finish.)

2. I know fantasy as a genre is famous for spawning some really long novels, but how long is too long? Especially for a first novel? How worried should I be that I'm closing in 100,000 words and am nowhere near finished with the story?

Fantasy novels for adults can generally be longer, but 100,000 words and not near the end may be a problem. The Raksura books have all been between 120,000 and 135,000 words. It really depends on the book and the publisher, though. I'm sure The Name of the Wind is quite a bit longer than 135,000 words, for example.
marthawells: (Default)
I messed my knees up again yesterday, even though I didn't have an aerobics class. I think when I was in the dentist's chair for my appointment that morning, I locked them and that caused some minor inflammation. (I have dentist issues going back to having a really bad dentist and a really bad orthodontist as a kid. Having good dentists as an adult has helped but not completely.) I also found out I need to come back next week to have a filling replaced, because one fell out and since I don't remember spitting out a filling recently, I apparently swallowed it. And my insurance won't cover the replacement filling.

Then I tried to go to the Ben & Jerry's store, and it had closed down. It was the day of minor but compelling annoyances.

Some good things:

* The total for Jim Hines' Rape Crisis Centers Fundraiser is now over $1783, which means books by Alyx Dellamonica, Patrice Sarath, Anton Strout, Stina Leicht, S.L. Farrell, Elizabeth Bear, and me (a signed set of The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea) get added to the drawing for prizes.

* The Book Smugglers did a very nice review of Wheel of the Infinite.

When this book came out in 2000, I found out later that the cover artist Donato Giancola had to argue with the publisher to get the cover printed with the protagonist’s real skin color, the way I had described her and he had drawn her. They wanted to show her skin color as gray rather than brown, and some covers were printed that way. I didn’t find out about this until much later, since the authors’ copies I received all had the correct skin tone. (I thought the gray Maskelles I saw occasionally were printing errors.) (The icon for this post on Live Journal is Donato's original version of Maskelle.)

When the book came out in paperback, the publisher reversed the cover image, so the white-skinned secondary male character Rian was on the front and Maskelle was on the back.

The first chapter, reviews, and buy links for the new ebook edition are on my web site here.

* There's an interview with me by Keith West at Adventures Fantastic

* If you missed it earlier this week when the link was down,
I was also interviewed on the /slashreport podcast this past Sunday at slashreport episode 206 Martha Wells.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
On Twitter I posted a tweet that went mildly viral last night. It was Next time somebody tells you to "Smile!" widen your eyes, curl your upper lip and bare your front teeth. It'll nip that crap right in the bud (I fixed the typo.)

It was inspired by one of the commenters on John Scalzi's post that I linked to yesterday, who talked about a time when someone else's computer financial error caused her life to suddenly implode leaving her homeless and jobless, and the last straw was a stranger getting into her face to demand she smile. The most memorable time of the many times this happened to me was at my last full-time day job, when a young guy demanded I "Smile!" then when I didn't, he grimaced and mocked me and pointed me out to co-workers for ridicule. I wasn't smiling because my father-in-law had just died, I had been up since 4:00 am, and I was leaving work to drive to Dallas to help my husband with the funeral and other arrangements.

Anyway.

I cleaned half the things yesterday and am going to clean the other half today, so we'll be already for the con and houseguests etc. I also ended up power-washing (our power-washer doesn't actually have power, so this is really more "watering down") the front of the house and the porch, so it's all pretty now and much less covered in mud-dauber nests. The cool thing: We are going to see Cirque du Soleil tonight! I've never seen it and always wanted to and can't wait!

links:

There was a really nice review of The Cloud Roads on Calico Reaction: I haven’t actually read a fantasy where the primary focus in on reptilian shape-shifters (which is the easiest way to describe the Raskura), but Wells does a wonderful job painting the picture and giving me a real sense of what it’s like to be a Raskura, what it’s like to confront one, and what it’s like to live in a world where many groundlings fear them. Moon is a rather reluctant hero, but he’s honorable as well, despite his misgivings for the story he’s been thrust into. As soon as I’m able, I’ll be picking up the sequel, The Serpent Seas, to see how Wells continues to develop this world, because it and the characters were just that enjoyable. Wells is an author I’ll definitely pay better attention to in the future.

Escapist Magazine: The Big Picture: Not Okay a great audio commentary by Bob Chipman on sexual harassment in the gaming community.
marthawells: (Zoe)
We're supposed to have torrential rain and storms tonight, leading into a cold wet weekend. It must be Spring Break for the university.

I started reading a new mystery series that looked really promising, set in regency England, with a cozy theme about cooking and the first uses of chocolate in a solid form (as opposed to a drink, which had been common for quite a while). I liked the first few chapters so much I went and bought the second one. Then the cozy theme got dropped and it's missing the sort of multiple character interactions you expect from a regency. I think I'll go back to reading fantasy.

I think I've finally started writing a new book. Very tentatively, so I don't want to scare it off. After a few days of barely being able to string two words together, it's a relief.


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Neat review of The Cloud Roads on YA Anonymous Martha Wells, you had me at disemboweling claw.

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Book rec: The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, with stories by Kristine Smith, Seanan McGuire, Juliet E. McKenna, Kari Sperring, and others.

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YouTube L'Odyssée de Cartier This is a commercial, but it's an awesome fantasy commercial, aimed at people who like big cats and dragons. You just have to see it to believe it. Work safe.

The Atlas Obscura posted this: Old Maps Online

This was just neat: A Bird's Nest Bed

N.K. Jemisin posted this on Twitter: Hello Ello: Why The Pretty White Girl YA Book Cover Trend Needs to End Recently, there has been more Asians on TV than usual. This makes me happy because it is such a rare event. Spotting an Asian on TV always feels like trying to find Waldo. And when I do spot an Asian on TV or in the movies, I jump up and down and get overly excited, like I've spotted some rare species or mythical creature, like a unicorn, or Big Foot.
marthawells: Atlantis in fog (Atlantis)
Ralph McQuarrie has died. I was a huge Star Wars fan when I was growing up. I was a very lonely kid, living in a neighborhood where there weren't any other kids living nearby, let alone kids my age, and a busy street and my parents kept me from venturing up the hill to the kid paradise neighborhood that was about a ten minute walk away. I lived a lot in my own head, and it was long time before I found people who shared my interest in SF/F books and movies and TV. When Star Wars came out, there was a huge amount of hype, and it proved to me that there were other people out there who liked the same things I did. (I'd been told that I was the only one, never mind all those SF/F books in the library and bookstore.) Later I stumbled on Star Wars fanzines, wrote fanfic, finally escaped to college to meet other fans in person at SF/F conventions. But for a long time there, it was just me and the books and fuzzy Star Trek reruns on the TV channel that was just slightly out of range, and Star Wars' promise that there were others out there like me, lots of them.

One of the products that was released after Star Wars was the portfolio of original concept drawings by Ralph McQuarrie. (They're pictured here, on the Star Wars wiki) If Star Wars set my imagination on fire, those drawings were like jet fuel. Star Wars was awesome, but the vision of it in McQuarrie's head was something else, something that to this day has defined "sense of wonder" for me.

Some of my favorites: the Massassi Temple, Mos Eisley, Grand Audience Chamber I pinned them up all over my walls and poured over the descriptions in the portfolio. They gave fascinating glimpses of some the previous versions of the story and the world; for example, there's one where Luke is a girl.

There's no telling how many creative imaginations that Ralph McQuarrie's drawings sparked. J.R.R. Tolkien has a quote about fantasy as escapism, to the effect that if we value freedom of the mind and soul, we have a duty to escape and to take as many people with us as we can; if that's true, Ralph McQuarrie was sure as hell one of the people digging the tunnel under the barbed wire.


ETA: (more images from The Art of Ralph McQuarrie)

***

I found out about a couple of neat reviews late last week:

Diary of a Text Addict: The Cloud Roads So, remember the “sense of wonder” that science fiction is supposed to have? This has got that. Plus a sympathetic protagonist, various interesting other characters, some hard-won battles, creepy evil folks, and lots of neat stuff to explore.

Publishers Weekly: The Serpent Sea Wells makes it work, powering through on sheer creativity and characterization. Using its alien protagonist to explore the politics of gender and belonging, this is a fascinating read for SF readers looking for something out of the ordinary.
This one was a huge relief to see, since hopefully now more libraries will know the book is out and order it. When PW didn't review it in January when it came out, I was afraid they weren't going to review it at all.

***
marthawells: (Reading)
I want to do a post on editing and why good editing is a good thing, but I'm honestly too brain-dead this morning. I think it's sinus issues, since it's in the low 40s and raining. Tomorrow it's supposed to be back in the 70s.

Anyway, let's do this instead: Ask me questions, about writing in general, about publishing in general, about my books, about whatever, and I'll try to make some coherent answers, either here or in a later post.


***

The Element of Fire was reviewed on Heroes and Heartbreakers.


***

[community profile] con_or_bust's fundraiser auction started on Saturday, and it helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF conventions. Bidding ends Sunday, February 25, 2012. There are tons of great items up for auction here.

There are tons of signed books, jewelry, knitting, homemade cookies, and more. My auction for signed trade paperback copies of The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea is here.

Make sure you check the dates and that you're bidding on items for the 2012 auction, and not items listed on previous years.

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