N is for Notorious

I am picking the word Notorious for this year’s Hugo awards.

It’s going to go down in history. All the people associated with it will likely be remembered for years to come. So, yeah, notorious.

I am hoping this doesn’t break the Hugo forever and ever. I am hoping it doesn’t set the tone for next year’s; I don’t like the idea of years and years of infighting, arguing and partisan politics. Just like real politics in this country, yeah? I disapprove of this mirroring of life and art.

That will destroy the Hugo.

If they don’t want that, all sides will have to cease and desist by next year. Because if one side does something, the other will have to respond. I cannot believe it will result in anything but the destruction of the Hugo.

I dread it.

But the Hugo will happen this year, because it isn’t destroyed yet. It had better happen next year, too, hopefully, with less drama. (I am not hopeful.)

And the awards haven’t even been awarded yet! I suspect this will all get worse when the winners are announced.

For those of you don’t know what Hugo are and what this present drama is about, there are plenty of blog posts on the topic. Plenty. The internet is overflowing with them.

M is for Magic

Magic is the thing I like best in books, especially in fantasy. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Micky Mouse and Sword in the Stone were probably the first fantasy I ever watched.

I loved Sword in the Stone and watched it over and over again.

These movies have no rules – not that I remember! – not like the rules of magic I countered in later books. But I love them anyway.

This is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on YouTube:

I think, despite how old they both are, these two movies are still as good as when they were first made. And The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was first made in 1940 and The Sword in the Stone in 1963.

L is for Lycanthrope

If I Google lycanthrope, it tells me this:

ly·can·thrope

/ˈlīkənˌTHrōp/

noun

noun: lycanthrope; plural noun: lycanthropes

  1. a werewolf.

Origin

early 17th century: from modern Latin lycanthropus, from Greek lukanthrōpos ‘wolf man’ (see lycanthropy).

So wolf man turned into werewolf. These days, in urban fantasy, it means werelions, werepanthers, wererats, pretty much any type of animal that the author decides a person can turn into.

I also know there are so many werewolf stories that many, many people are tired of them. They abound in romance and in urban fantasy. They used to be a staple of

Jason: on my favorite werewolves from the Anita Blake series.

horror (I think they were still a horror trope) but I am not familiar enough with horror to know how often they occur now.

The thing this, I am not tired of them. I am more careful than I used to be, yes, but I would really to find more good werewolf stories to read.

I am not quite so welcoming of the werewolf story close cousin: the vampire story. I continue to read series I started years ago, but I don’t look for new ones and I think I am pretty close to burning out entirely on vampires.

I am not sure why I should be so much closer to burning out entirely on vampires, but there it is. Maybe the concept of a person who can turn into an animal(s) is just a lot more interesting.

How about you?

K is for Kill

I finished reading The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley recently.

It got me thinking: A lot of books have characters who kill. Maybe not easily, maybe not often, but in the course of the book, they kill sooner or later. Some do kill easily.

Some of them take killing more seriously: Anita Blake, Dexter, Valyn from The Emperor’s Blades and a quite a few others in the same book. Quite a few from other grimdark fantasy, too. (I like that word: grimdark.)

Someone like Anita Blake only turned into a killer later in the series; she didn’t start out killing very easily.

Dexter has been a serial killer since early childhood. Maybe he had kind and gentle feelings when he was born, but maybe not.

Valyn is a soldier. And, yeah, soldiers of all ilk kill. That is their job. And he is not without the gentler feelings. But he kills when he must.

But I wonder if, after lots of betrayal and treachery, if he manages to keep any of his gentler feelings.

I am dreading that he won’t. I don’t want to watch turn him an emotionless killer. I don’t think he will ever turn into Dexter (he doesn’t have quite that much childhood trauma!) but still. I am sort of dreading reading the next book.

J is for Journaling

Through today’s random internet browsing, looking for inspiration for this post, I found an article on what some famous authors have to say about journaling: http://flavorwire.com/367030/10-famous-authors-on-the-importance-of-keeping-a-journal

(And, also, quite a few fruitless minutes on how to spell journaling, because WordPress keeps flagging the spelling I am using.)

I kept a journal once when I was younger, but I wasn’t good at it. I could go for weeks without a single entry. Or write other, non-life-journal type things in it (i .e. new interesting words, character names, the occasional doodle, like that.) Sometimes I would forget to date my rare entries.

I don’t keep one a personal journal at all these days. And all my attempts at keeping a proper writing journal, the kind where I intended to write down plot ideas, character descriptions, writing prompts, that kind haven’t really worked out really. I had one like that once.

I lost track of it. And the one after that. The third, one, too. The last version was a binder that is stuck in a drawer somewhere that I haven’t taken out in months and months. Years, maybe. (I can’t quite recall.)

I meant to fill it with:

1) short stories

2) notes and worldbuilding and character stuff for the WiP.

I didn’t do either.

If random ideas do come to me while out and about, I whip out my phone and type them into my Google Keep. (Incidentally, that is where I brainstormed ideas for A to Z challenge. I only got as far as the letter F.) I got recipes and assorted tidbits in there, too. Very little of it has to do with writing.

No, sometimes I use my Evernote on my computer for writing stuff. Sometimes. Like whole actual short stories and setting ideas and things like that. I guess Evernote is my writing notebook, except it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel like a real notebook, not the marble ones I used to have as child, not the spiral notebooks I got when I was a little older and definitely not like the binder I still have tucked away somewhere.

It’s just . . . I don’t know. I don’t use just one app, but even if I did, I don’t think it would have the same feel. And that sounds like what a lot people say about reading physical books instead of eBooks: it doesn’t feel the same, the pages, the smell, how it feels to hold a paperback. None of it is the same.

Maybe the Evernote/Google Keep combo does work like a writing journal for me and maybe I should call it that, but I cannot quite convince myself they work like one.

And none of it is similar to the personal kind of journaling those authors are talking about. In fact, this blog is as close as I get to that.

I is for Ice

This is a piece I wrote for #FridayFlash with the letter I as my writing prompt.

She pirouetted through her door.

Sunlight flooded the living room from the skylight overhead. She danced through the rays. Step, step, jump, arms at shoulder length, step, hands above her head, be graceful, turn her head just so.

She stopped on the final pose, and laughed. It was too perfect.

“You got the part,” her husband stated.

Lovely man.

She straightened, smiling up at him. “No.” But she would as soon as full dose of ice worked on her.

E is for Ecology in Books

Webster defines ecology as:

1: a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments

2: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment

3: human ecology

4: environment, climate <the moral ecology>; also : an often delicate or intricate system or complex <the ecology of language>

World-building is one of my favorite parts of reading and some authors spend a lot of time on it. They build elaborate worlds, specify plants and animals, how they are all interrelated. Lots of times they focus on definition number two: he totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment

Or at least it feels like some writers spend a lot of time on the ecology. Maybe they don’t; maybe they are just winging and it’s hard to tell.

I loved the creatures in a lot of the books I read as a teenager and how they were all interrelated. It was one of the things that drew me to the books (really, to science fiction and fantasy) in the first place.

They include the Pern books. It has the little dragons that people used to engineer the big dragons, and the seafood they eat, the crevices where they lay their eggs, the oil from the sea birds she used to moisturize their skin. It all fit so wonderfully together. I loved it.

It’s one of the little details I love in books, how all the creatures relate to each other. Weather they use other or use the remains in some odd way or something else. It is still one of the things that I look forward to in books.

And, yeah, lots of times I am disappointed, but looking for that magic is one of the reasons why I keep looking for new books.

 

Teaser Tuesday: The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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 Teaser (this is one sentence):

Whether we listen with aloof amusement to the dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed witch doctor of the Congo, or read with cultivated rapture thin translations from the sonnets of the mystic Lao-tse; now and again crack the hard nutshell of an argument of Aquinas, or catch suddenly the shining meaning of a bizarre Eskimo fairy tale: it will be always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be known or told.

– The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Teaser Tuesday: The Color Purple

 

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 Teaser:

Maybe he figure he start thinking bout things he shouldn’t. But what bout me? First time I got the full sight of Shug Avery long black body with it black plum nipples, look like her mouth, I thought I had turned into a man.

– The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Smart Watch

 

All this talk about the Apple Watch has me wondering: what, exactly, would I use a smart watch for?

The smart watch – almost all smart watches, from Pebble to the Apple Watch – is advertised as a second screen for the phone, and to keep better track of your health. You can use it to check notifications, to check and respond to messages, to keep track of health related items. Instead of pulling out your phone, you just glance at your wrist.

But why, I wonder, does a smartphone need a second screen? Using it to keep track of your heartbeat and footsteps and all is a rather admirable, very useful purpose of the smartphone. I imaging apps that hug your bare skin will work better than ones that follow along behind me, inside my purse.

But for the rest – why not just take your phone out? If it’s so annoying, turn off your notifications or check them later. OK, so, using your watch to check your messages is less obvious than using your phone to do so. Even so.

Manners + Health = Not A Convincing Reason.

I don’t get it. If it’s cheap and a long battery life (like a week!), maybe it would be worth it. The Pebble’s color e-ink screen is supposed to last a long time and is relatively cheap. And you’re not going to watching videos or look at pictures on such a little screen, so an e-ink screen is fine.

Even so. I cannot quite picture myself using it. I surely cannot picture myself using one of the Pebble’s more expensive cousins. (Even if it looks a lot like a watch, like the Moto 360.)

A part of me is thinking that the smart watch could be the main phone – the thing you buy from the carrier, the thing you put the sim card in. And the smartphone/phablet/tablet could be tethered to it, so you get data on the go. So the watch would be more like one of the feature phones from the last decade.

But I don’t know if that would work, or even if the carriers would get behind the idea.

So I cannot think why I would get a smart watch. I am sure there must be some really compelling thing I can do it. I just don’t know what that could be.

(Using it like David Michael Hasselhoff used his watch in Knight Rider to give his car orders would be pretty cool.) But beyond that, what?

I don’t know. I just don’t know.