What’s up in my world

There’s a long list.
  • Getting all my book covers updated so I can order more copies of my books for summer cons.
  • Looking into adding Ingramspark for paperback distribution & ordering.
  • Eyeballing the need to redo interior graphics because see above. (also because I think one of the files might be corrupted or I screed up page breaks somewhere)
  • Finalizing plans for Indy Pop Con & Printers Row (I won’t be there, but my books will, thanks to awesome, awesome friends.)
  • Working on character card graphics. second-guessing myself over whether I should bother with getting those printed because who cares?
  • Waffling over doing pins with the Unity logo and/or the Poz hazard symbol. (see above)
  • Deciding whether to do more patches or not bother yet. (I still have lots)
  • Trying not to worry about not doing ebook promotion on social media. Freaking out about the total lack of sales lately.
  • Hammering away at a blurb for Sharp Edge of Yesterday.
  • cleaning up old graphics & book drafts on my hard drive. So. Many. Obsolete. Files.
  • Revising, revising, revising! Sharp Edge is getting shinier by the day. My nerves are getting more frayed by the day as I run low on TIME.

<deep breath> It will all work out. I know. I’m just…revving really hard on the inside, even when I seem perfectly calm from the outside.

Reading

I am in “read low-brain-power things to recharge” mode.  I have now re-read all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s fantasy works, and am working my way through Anne Bishops Others series. The more I re-read Bujold, the more I am awed by how effortlessly she unfolds the stories and interweaves world-building description with description/plot action.  The books really hold up over time & through multiple re-reads. Anne Bishop…weeeell, now. I am in a mood where plot structure quirks and iffy gender role presentations are irking me bigtime, but I still love the concept, characters, and overarching story of this series.

Movie Viewing:

AQUAMAN aka “Underwater Thor.” Good fun. Okay, not really GOOD, but totally fun.

CAPTAIN MARVEL. I am so totally in love with this movie. SORTA SPOILER ALERT? Vaguespoilering, anyway. Tons of fighty fights but no Huge Climactic Boss Battle, a woman protagonist who is unabashedly kickass because she wants to be, not because angsty or tragic or conflicted or Cuz A Man Helped, and oh, wow, the sub-plot with the gas-lighting and all that foggy, gray moral ground.  <happy sigh>

Television Viewing:

VICTORIA ON MASTERPIECE. I waited until it was all done to watch it through. This show is…problematic.  So much celebration and happy-ending-making and literal whitewashing of historically horrible events, decisions, and people. The progressive, enlightened attitudes of mant characters are pure fiction,  and the subtext of “see, they weren’t such bad people, they did X and Y and that was GOOD?”  is far from subtle.

But. Oh, but-but-but. The costumes and characters and the writing come together to make a fluffy fantasy narrative that is a delight to my eyes and brain, and so I enjoy it.

THAT ONE TORNADO SHOW ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL. Yes, they have like, umpteen storm shows, but the only one I can stand is the one that’s basically a minute-by-minute documentary of the specific tornado, with as much rasw footage as they can scoop together from eyewitnesses.

I tried to watch some of the others, but they were…painful reality TV, with worse talking heads who say nothing and information diced up so fine and fed out so slowly it HURT. Cannot Watch. Maybe if I had the flu.

And that’s about it.

I mean, there’s lots of other things, sure, between garden, and family, and playing with my Instant Pot but nothing for blog yet, and this post has run on long enough.

Until later!

Still Doing Other Things

otter things header

Media consumption continues. Documentation continues.

Movies & TV:

Dark Tower: This could have been great. It could have been good. It settled for sadly forgettable. Too bad.

The Mummy (Tom Cruise running edition) The best I can say about it is, “Welp, it kept a lot of production crew employed and effects people busy for a while.” If I hadn’t given up and started doing laundry & dusting after half an hour, my analysis would probably be more like, “OhgedohgedcanIhavethosetwohoursbackplease?”

Black Mirror: Episode 5 was a pointless exercise in directorial control. The rest, I enjoyed. Far less overt gore in this season, for which I am grateful.

A re-watch of Peaky Blinders + the new season. I don’t know if I ever remembered to include the previous watches in a media consumption post. I watched the first one while doing a Boardwalk Empire binge and my brain, being a cluttered place, put them both in the same memory drawer. Oh, well. It’s fantastic stuff: super-tight storytelling, phenomenal acting, brilliant direction, perfect costuming & production. Violent as hell.

Something or other Planet of the Apes. The last one. Um. Ew. Watching these is like picking scabs. I can’t stop, but I hate. No magical hydroelectric dam in this one, so it has that to recommend it. It also has Woody Harrelson channeling Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now, and I don’t know what to make of that.

Books

More Sarah Maclean aka “the Maclean I like better than the other two who also write 19th century British fantasies.” They aren’t deathless literature, but they’re jolly good.

Babylon’s Ashes. The next-to latest Expanse novel. I LOVE THIS SERIES AND ALL THE CHARACTERS IN IT. (pretty sure I say that every time I finish one of these tomes. It bears repeating.) Re-settling into the timeline took a few chapters, but I was expecting that. Setting up the plot-board on something big takes time, and the scope of this work is beyond epic. The authors’ take on colonialism’s problematic side make for a bloody conflict-soaked take on space settlement. And yet… it isn’t gritty, grimdark “we’re all gonna die” morality play.  It’s the opposite of the shiny, optimistic, idealist-populated perfect-people science fiction of my youth…and yet it is relentlessly, infinitely hopeful about the future. It’s a no-punches exploration of what it means to be human in an inhuman universe. I could go on for hours about the frail, imperfect, sometimes monstrous–and yet still heroic–protagonists. (but I won’t)

Other-other Things

That’s all for now. I’m back on a regular schedule, and progress is occurring in the writing sector, but those things will get their own updates in due time.  Gotta feed the blog something after all.

The latest in dream developments.

Long winter nights throw off my usual sleep routine, and weird sleep patterns lead to oddly vivid but disjointed dreams. A few nights ago, I had some doozies.

I’m left wondering if the ideas I collected from those slumberland excursions came from ideas I read or saw somewhere, or if they’re purely the work of my imagination. I like some of them enough that I might want to use them in a story someday, so I’ve been doing some research, but to no avail.

The most recent sleepytime entertainment involved a new setting, or more precisely a new zone within the complicated urban/suburban region of my dream geography. The place I identify as The City has dozens of neighborhoods and architectures recognizable from real world places I’ve visited, ones I’ve studied, fiction I’ve read, and photos I’ve seen. Parts of it are medieval, some early industrial, some modern, some futuristic.

Evidently there’s a tunnel system beneath the section of City that resonates with urban 19th century America/Britain/Europe society. I hadn’t known that until last night, despite many a dream in which I’ve gone deep in basements to hide from tornado storms. (It’s an annual recurring dream set.) Anyway. In these newly-appeared tunnels there are Old West-style saloons, modern coffee shops and 50’s diners where people sit around and rank the “Worst Deaths” collected from various media entertainments.

I do not question the anachronistic establishments while I’m in them, nor do I wonder at modern media discussions taking place in in patently pre-electronics environments. The list is what stuck with me, that and the passion of the discussions about scenes I am 99% sure actually go with the shows being discussed.

Content Warning: the next bits are gruesome. Feel free to skip to the second row of asterisks. It’s nothing that should shock anyone who’s read my fiction, but…I feel I should issue the disclaimer nonetheless. For whatever reason, disturbing creepiness that comes to me in dreams never fazes me while awake, so it’s difficult for me to judge its effect with any objectivity. Better warned than squicked out, says I.

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Tops on the “Worst Deaths: Ranked” list was “Death by tallow,” aka someone being dipped in hot grease over and over until dead. Has that ever been done on TV? Not that I recall, but it was voted best-worst in the dream discussion I took part in. Every one of my dream friends agreed that was the most horrifically creative means of murder they’d seen, and that it was from a CSI episode.

Second place went to “Fire in the belly,” meaning someone being carefully eviscerated and then having hot coals dumped in their body cavity.  (I warned you, didn’t I?) My dreaming brain insisted this came from Game of Thrones was second. (I can easily believe that but can’t place it in any given episode.) Third place was a tie between shoelace garrote from a buddy cop movie whose name I can’t remember, (dreams being like that) and being skinned alive with a sander from a horror movie. (also no idea which one)

Are any of those death scenes from a real-world existing narrative? I have no idea. But they are all vivid in my brain as items discussed around tables while meals were going on. Which doesn’t sound exciting, but there it is. I actually spend a lot of time in dreams watching and listening to imaginary people. And reading. I read things in dreams.

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Other less disgusting but also deeply-engraved concepts from this episode:

Coins minted by criminals and used as black market currency by members of an underground culture. They’re called Venturi, and stamped from circular metal punch-outs left over from the manufacture of homemade explosive rockets.

A rebel militia run by members of that underground group to fund the political overthrow of a  (which is why rockets are being manufactured) They’re organized in units like a D&D party, with every cell meeting as a gaming group and using gamer lingo as the code for real world operations.

So not all of it was gross, just some of it, and the tunnels part was pretty exciting. My dream world doesn’t grow all that often, and expansion is usually tied to personal growth in other areas.

Maybe I’ve been stretching my limits more than I realized, the last little while. Hopeful thought.