fantasy · General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Intruder

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

Thunder cracked – worrisome for electronics, but he wasn’t working on his computer this trip. That machine had far, far too much in its storage to be bringing it into Taisigi territory, and he’d sent it on to the capital with his valets and significant items of furniture, the computer itself to be hand carried and guarded every step of the way. The spiral-bound notebook was enough for him, along with a stack a loose-leaf work and printouts, and within the briefcase, a folder of very official papers, vellum with red and black wax seals and carefully preserved ribbons.

– Intruder by C. J. Cherryh


Z is for Zippy Last Lines

Ten of the zippiest last lines you will ever read! They are all from my favorite books. The Black Jewels trilogy, some from the Vor books by Lois McMaster Bujold and some books by Joey W. Hill. I have read all of these again and again and again.

  1. His heart held on fiercely to Jaenelle‘s soft, sighing caress of his name. Everything has a price. – Daughter of the Blood, book 1 of the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
  2. Gathering up his shredded courage, he walked toward the voices, toward the promise. Walked out of the Twisted Kingdom. – Heir to the Shadows, book 2 of the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
  3. This time, when she said his name, it sounded like a promise, like a lovely caress. – Queen of Darkness, book 3 of the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
  4. It wasn’t your life again you found, going on. It was your life anew. And it wasn’t at all what he’d been expecting. His slow smile deepened. He was beginning to be very curious about his future. – Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
  5. Really? You’d – you’d – yes, I’d be interested.” Kostolitz feigned a casual air. “Sure.” He looked suddenly much more cheerful. Miles smiled. – The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
  6. “They must be rounding up the strays for dinner. Shall we go in, milady?” – A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold.
  7. Miles settled back with slitted eyes, and watched the shining circle spin like planets. – Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold.
  8. In that moment, he knew any words of his would honor the truth as much as those flowery sonnets. “I think we did that.”  – Vampire Trinity by Joey W. Hill
  9. Strong, sexy exterior and steel core, with a generous, shy heart that was all his. Forever. His family. – Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill
  10. He grinned, caught her lips in a kiss, swung her up in his arms. “Try it, sugar. Just try it.” – Natural Law by Joey W. Hill

The End

What are some of your favorite last lines?

reading · Writing

Y is Yarn

Improbable Yarn

I’ve heard of yarns and not the kind you turn into a sweater. The word is used to describe some movies and books. An in: “. . . a delightfully entertaining yarn . . .” I don’t suppose I thought stories described like that had anything in common besides being entertaining and fun.

But than I was reading The Art of Fiction by John Gardner a few weeks ago and this line stood out for me:

The yarn writer—like Mark Twain in “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” or “Baker’s Bluejay Yarn”—uses yet another method: He tells outrageous lies, or has some character tell the poor narrator some outrageous lie, and he simultaneously emphasizes both the brilliance and the falsehood of the lie; that is, he tells the lie as convincingly as he can but also raises objections to the lie, either those objections the reader might raise or, for comic effect, literal-minded country-bumpkin objections that, though bumpkinish, call attention to the yarn’s improbabilities.

Also, I suppose I considered yarn a useless word that lots of movie reviewers to describe, well, movies. It never tells me anything about the movie itself. Other than that the movie entertaining and aren’t all movies supposed to be entertaining?

I’ve not read either of the stories Gardner mentions. But before I read I never really considered that there were yarn writers.

I am not even entirely sure what a yarn is. Mark Twain was popular in his own time, so all the popular books? Books where the character tells outrageous lies?

Googleing define yarn nets me this result:

Verb: Tell a long or implausible story.

Synonyms: thread – story – tale

Really, the only story I can think off the top of the head is The Warrior’s Apprentice. Miles spend the whole book telling story after story, bamboozling his enemies into surrender.

But I am not really sure. Maybe yarn really is short-hand for entertaining and fun, like I used to think.


X is for Xylography

I learned something new on twitter today. There is an official word for wood engraving: xylography.

There is even a video on youtube!

Once upon a time, book were made using xylography. It’s a lot art, since no one actually makes books like that any more. I suppose there must be one in a museum somewhere.

Classes, too, probably, on how to decorate fabric and make art with xylography. That’s one of the other things it was used for, to make printed fabric.

In fact, the word is so unusual WordPress doesn’t recognize it. It thinks I meant either (1) holography (2) xerography or (3) graphology. I double-checked; xylography is indeed the proper spelling.

You could do make art or books by stamping the wooden blocks onto fabric or wood. Or rubbing the wood onto fabric or paper. I am not entirely sure rubbing would work.

I was thinking it sounds a lot like the metal plates people use for making nail art. I don’t know. Does it sound similar? You put a but of polish on the plate, smooth away the excess and hold it on top of your nail. (I have sometimes used paper cutouts for this, with varying levels of success.)

Anyway, I am glad I don’t level in an age where books are commonly made with xylography. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to get out a decent sized novel. Making a whole book like this sounds like a lot of work. I imagine educational works got priority.

fantasy · flash friday · Short Story · Writing

Friday Flash: Dust Devil

Not entirely sure about this one, but here we go. 😉

The dust devil rose on the horizon, where the lake met the river. It wound lazily among the clouds.

She gaped at it for a heartbeat, than snatched the basket of clothes and ran back to the house. Bare feet slid in the mud, but she didn’t dare slow down.

She looked back only once. All the fishing boats were coming in.

Her mother and aunts were in the front yard, shelling peas and laughing.

“It’s coming!” she gasped. “The dust devil. Over the lake.”

Her mother frowned. “Are you sure – you must be. Give me that. Get the children.”

General · Writing

W is for Writing Quotes

There are lots of quotes on writing and storytelling. These are the ones I like best! Some make me laugh, some say things that strike me as true and some are just pretty.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. 

by Anaïs Nin

Sometimes I agree with this, sometimes I don’t. Depends on the day.


You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. 

by Ray Bradbury

This paints reality as a destructive force and sometimes life can be like that (that is when writing is most necessary).


Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. 

by E.L. Doctorow

It makes me laugh. 😉


I try to leave out the parts that people skip. 

by Elmore Leonard

This is always a good idea.


Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say. 

by Sharon O’Brien

So true! So true!


Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

by Mark Twain

Make me laugh. Also, makes me more aware of my damns and verys and other stuff like that.


I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.

by James Michener

I personally detest editing, but it is so so so necessary.


The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.

by Mark Twain

This strikes as a backward way to do things, but I do this too many times to argue with it.


Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 

by William Wordsworth

Pretty!! Also, true.


Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. 

by Anton Chekhov

I don’t remember the first time I read and people always quote it when they are trying to explain the difference between showing and telling, but I remember seeing this in hs and thinking: Oh, that’s what showing is.


Easy reading is damn hard writing. 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Truer words!!!


Be obscure clearly. 

by E.B. White

This strikes me as funny. LOL But true in a way.


The road to hell is paved with adverbs. 

by Stephen King

Funny! Also, makes me more aware of my adverbs.


Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. 

by Franz Kafka

Personally, this the creepiest quote on writing I’ve ever read.


V is for Versatile Blogger Award

Helen awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you Helen!

I decided to save this for my V is for post.

I’ve received this award before, and truthfully, I’ve no idea how it started or how you are supposed to pick people to pass it on to. When I googled Versatile Blogger Award, I discovered it has its own WordPress blog. Here.

According to the rules, I need to:

  1. pick 15 other blogger to give the blog award to
  2. post 7 things about me.

I am not going to pick 15 other bloggers. Despite having a couple of weeks to think about it, I’ve no idea who to give it to. So I am not giving it to anyone.

But I can do 7 things about me! Last time I did this. And this.

  1. Everything I said the first time I did this still true. LOL
  2. Having revisited my first Versatile Blogger post, I realize Helen gave me that, too.
  3. I am presently wearing a pale pink nail polish on my fingers.
  4. My toes have a black crackle with a copper base polish. (I really like the crackle!)
  5. My current favorite song is Rumor Has It by Adele. I think it’s her best song so far.
  6. I love listening to Pandora and Slacker, but music on Pandora starts without me needing to do anything.
  7. Last, but not least: I am currently reading Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear. I have not yet discovered any gay characters, which is odd for her.

U is for Ultimately, publishers have to ditch DRM

Come July, Tor will get rid of DRM. Tor publishes a lot of the science fiction/fantasy I read. So, yeah, I am excited to hear they are planning on publishing books sans DRM. Between Tor, Baen and Angry Robot, almost all of the books I read will be DRM free.

This is big. It’s big because Tor is ultimately owned by Macmillan, one of the big 6 publishers. The link between Tor and Macmillan is long and kind of twisted. I am not sure I understand it all. Tor is an imprint of Tom Doherty, which a subsidiary of Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, which is part of Macmillan, which is one of the big 6 publishers. I suppose at the end Tor is an imprint of Macmillan. Until now, they have insisted on DRM.

Ultimately, publishers have to ditch DRM. DRM helps no one but the retailers. Their price fixing deal was to break Amazon’s hold on the eBook market.

Since the government objected to that illegal activity, they might decide on removing DRM as a way to let people decide who they want to buy from. If kindle owners decide to buy from someone other than Amazon, they could and still read their books on their kindle.

Charles Strauss also a pretty good post on DRM. I think he is right about the planned obsolescence about current ereaders is right (and all other consumer devices).

I have a kindle and I have little doubt that the battery will stop holding a charge sometime soon. (I could replace the battery. Maybe. Maybe not.) I will have to buy something new sometime in the next couple years. I might buy anything, a nook, another kindle, a tablet. I don’t know. But if I am forced to consider DRM, I will have to buy another kindle and that just locks me to Amazon again. Or break the DRM myself, which gives me more choices.

This is an article I read from an anonymous publishing exce on why he/she broke DRM. One admits it here, but there might be more. I have to say, if the publisher execs themselves are breaking DRM, they will soon get rid of it entirely.

So I think other publishers will follow Tor’s example. At some point anyway. Hopefully soon.

fantasy · General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Range of Ghosts

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

She had chosen to trade barrenness and the risk of death for the chance of strength. Real strength, her own. Not the mirror-caught power her father, his widow, her half brothers or her dead husband might have happened to shine her way.

It seemed but a small sacrifice.

– Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

General · reading

T is for To Be Read

My TBR list is too large. Titanic sized. Tremendously big.

At present, my TBR pile has about 70 books. This includes the books on my kindle, a few ARCs and a couple of books from the library.

The ARCs have to take precedence, of course . (Sadly, I started a book not from the ARC list yesterday. I am bad.)

70 books is overwhelmingly large. Before I got my kindle, my TBR list did not get this large. In fact, it was as large as the number of books I could fit into one library bag or on top of my table. Half the table; I need space for the computer and notebooks and speakers and various other stuff.

Having a kindle means I have more unread books now than ever before. Once, I tried to decrease it by reading only from the TBR list. I pretended I didn’t have a library card, pretended the kindle had no way to download books with one click (maybe two clicks).

It worked, but not for long. I only managed to decrease the TBR list by a handful of books. Now it’s back and bigger than ever.

It’s a little intimidating. Also, joyful. 😉