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I am currently reading George R.R. Martin's "Dances with Dragons."  I must admit, I grow tiresome with it.  This makes me very sad.  The world is growing too bloated, the POV character list too big.  The characters I love and enjoy most -- Arya, Tyrion, Jaime -- are either non-existent, or off doing things I don't really care about.  Danaerys hasn't appealed to me much since she lost Drogo.  New characters are being brought in and I have to wonder why.  And I swear, if I read the "c" words referring to both female and male genitalia, I shall scream.  Which isn't a very good thing to threaten, as I know without doubt I will read both those words over and over and over again.  *sigh*  Again, I can't tell you how very sad all this makes me, as I simply loved the first 3 volumes. 
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I had every intention of leaving IMMEDIATELY when I got home from my walk, and going to the gym to do weights since I haven't been to said gym for over a week.  But it was still fairly early and so I said, Self, let's just check emails really quick and then we'll go.  To which IDSelf replied, you know you'll stay at it longer than "really quick" -- you should just go now.  But no, I assured myself, just really quick.  But um, first, there's really no emails, so let's check the new postings at LH and oh, yes, we have to vote on Best of Best and well, let's just see how far back our flist goes since I didn't read it yesterday.  AND YIKES!!!! back FOUR pages or more?  How did that happen?  

And now here I am an hour and a half later and still not to the gym and I have lunch in 2 hours so I really need to get going.  But really, LJ has been pretty quiet lately and where did all these posts come from in just one day????  I've lost posts before from going so far back and then taking so long to read that when I go to the next 25 page, the entire flist pages reload and some posts disappear.  But really, I have to get going now or nothing will get accomplished today.  Which is why I find myself in this predicament to begin with.  

I haven't posted much because really nothing much is being accomplished here.  I've been really REALLY lazy and just chilling out.  And wasting way too much time on Spider Solitaire and Bubble Town.  So I have made a resolution.  If I feel like playing a game, I must sit and read instead.  If I'm going to waste time in la-la land, I'd rather do it inside one of the many many books I have staring at me from my TBR shelves.  And yes, shelves in plural, not singular.  If I want to eventually get an ereading device, which I do, I need to get all these physical copy books read first.  And that could take me decades at my current speed. 
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I've started keeping track of my reading lately, mainly in an effort to make sure I'm reading more.  In my younger days, I'd read all day long and could finish a book every few days.  But having kids changes those habits.  And now the internetz is a big time drain.  But I do believe that to be a good writer, one should also be a good reader.  I felt like I was only reading 1 or 2 books a year, but I was pleased to realize that I've already read 13 books this year.  That's not too shabby. 

Water for Elephants    Sara Gruen
Lamentation    Ken Scholes
Magic Thief (YA)    Sara Prineas
If I Stay    Gayle Forman
Canticle    Ken Scholes
The Blue Sword    Robin McKinley
Eat, Pray, Laugh    Elizabeth Gilbert
Boneshaker    Cherie Priest
Antiphon    Ken Scholes
Hunger Games    Suzanne Collins
Cold Magic    Kate Elliott
Catching Fire    Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay    Suzanne Collins

I highly recommend Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy.  I read the first 2 books in about 3 days each.  Could not put them down.  The books follow Katniss Everdeen as she struggles to survive in a tyrannical dystopian society where a tight fist keeps the populace in line.  Katniss escapes the borders of her district to hunt for game in order to keep her family from starving.  She learns skills that will benefit her when she is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, a yearly ritual where a boy and girl from each of the twelve districts fight to the death, with only one emerging as the victor.  Katniss was heroic and spunky, and stubborn and selfish.  The last two traits were easily excused by the circumstances under which she had to struggle to survive.  By book 3, I found her a little tiresome in that regard, but I felt she redeemed herself by the end of the book.  The ending of the trilogy was satisfying. 

Short fiction I read on a somewhat regular basis:  Realms of Fantasy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fantasy, Ideomancer, and Daily Science Fiction.

Coming soon:  a review of Kate Elliott's Cold Magic. 
What I'm reading now:  Watcher of the Dead, by J.V. Jones
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As per [ profile] douglascohen you may have your own personal FREE copy of Realms of Fantasy.  And it looks REALLY easy:  all you have to do is post our banner on your website.   Go to the RoF website and you'll see our banner at the top of the main page.  Click on it to get the code and receive further instructions.

Details HERE
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Look what came in the mail today! The new Realms of Fantasy with a story by our very own Aliette de Bodard (aliettedb). Can't wait to read this issue. Congrats, Aliette! (Yes, you can see her name in the pic under "New Fiction."

Robin Hobb

Mar. 14th, 2008 03:30 pm
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Picked up from my flist -- from a couple of different people, and of course it was 2 or 3 or more days ago, so I can't recall who -- Robin Hobb's opinion on writer's blogs.  I point it out not because I necessarily agree with her, but because I think if you read it you will find a true wordsmith who knows the power and beauty of language and evoking images.  If you have not read any of Ms. Hobb's books, shame on you.  If you're a fantasy lover, you will fall in love with them.  I can guarantee it.  These are the three trilogies I've read: 

The Farseer Trilogy:  Assassin's Apprentice; Royal Assassin; Assassin's Quest
The Tawny Man Trilogy:  Fool's Errand; Golden Fool; Fool's Fate
The Liveship Traders Trilogy:  Ship of Magic; The Mad Ship; Ship of Destiny

So here, go take a look:  Robin Hobb's Home

She has a good point about the time-wasting factor of blogging.  The other day as I was baby-sitting the Grandbaby and bemoaning to myself how far behind I am in everything and how I haven't time to do anything, I wondered how the heck I did it when my kids were little and I stayed home with them and kept my house in top-notch shape.  And then I remembered:  Oh yeah, that was before the internet and before I even had a computer.  Duh. 
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I was gone for 4 days and boy was my flist busy during that time.  I've caught up, but now I have to answer/thank critters.  My story has some definite issues.  The good thing is that everyone seems to have the same questions so far.  The solution is to add another scene in the story to show the details that readers feel are missing.  That's going to make for a much longer story, and first I need a reason for that scene.  That'll take some thinking.  It's not that I don't know those details, it's that they haven't come up in the course of the story, and just throwing them in here and there would reek of info-dump. -- "Say, what's that you're eating there, Molokai?"  "Oh, just a little scramble of tunnel snake egg -- which my father died trying to steal, as do about half the population of our cave-land -- along with some moth larvae, followed by a rich helping of mineral-laden water.  Yum!"  Nope.  Not working.

In my on-going quest to become a better synopsis-er and critiquer and all that, here's my version of a review of the February 2008 issue of Realms of Fantasy -- hidden behind the cut for those of you who don't wish to partake.

REALMS OF FANTASY - February 2008



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I have to confess I've never read an issue of Interzone.  I wanted to read a single issue, but their online purchase thingy wasn't working for me, or they don't sell single issues--I couldn't quite figure out which one, the process seemed overly-complicated for this electronic age.  But I did find Fictionwise, which sells single issues of Interzone.  And since I knew had a story in IZ #211, I purchased it to read "Deer Flight."  First, let me say I enjoyed the story, it took several unexpected turns and twists and kept me guessing all the way to the end.  And I thought the writing pure and evocative, without the over-charged language and emotion that I'm guilty of using.  So I can learn something from Alliette. 

But this brought up for me the whole concept of e-reading and the question being discussed around and abouts:  Will the future of reading be ebooks?  To chime in on the issue, I have to say and hope NO.  Although I love the ease and convenience of being able to purchase stories online instead of filling out a form and snail-mailing it and then waiting and waiting for the post office to deliver it, I have to say there's a tactile sensation of holding a book/magazine and turning the pages that's satisfying for some reason.  Plus I think there's a difference in comprehension in reading something on a computer screen and reading it from a hard copy.  I can't figure out why that would be, but there it is.  And one has to factor in eye strain, too.  Staring at a computer screen for any long period of time gives me more eye strain than reading a hard copy.  I don't have a fancy ebook reader, so I use pdf versions on my computer.  The final point, and almost the most important one for me is the physical presence of the book/magazine.  The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind" is so very true for me at this age in my life.  If I see the book laying around, I'm more likely to pick it up, but hidden away as a file on my computer just gives me a reason to forget about it or to give myself one of those never-to-be-realized promises of "I'll get to it later." 

Plus I like to look at all the pretty books on the bookshelves.  Which brings to one more final, but only slightly-related point:  How many of you judge a book by its cover?  I was reminded of this when I was looking at the list I recommended the other day at FantasyBookCritic blog.  I have to admit that my first impression of a book is greatly influenced by the cover art.  Pretty cover art makes me want to look into the book more than blah cover art.  It's not ever the final decision-maker, but it definitely is the first impression interest-maker.  So you illustrators are more important that I ever realized! 

One final note:  Any one know of a site to buy single issues of Paradox?  I'm interested in reading one, but their site only lists a mail-in address, and I'm way too lazy for that.
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For your perusal: 
Found this site on [personal profile] kateelliott 's LJ:  Robert Thompson at Fantasy Book Critic has an interesting list of some of your favorite (or possibly unknown to you) authors and their favorite books read in 2007 and upcoming books in 2008.  I've already found two more books to add to my wishlist.  Fantasybookcritic at Blogspot

Also, through numerous links so I can't reference where I found it to begin with:  On Tobias Buckell's site (which I now notice is from 2005, but still, interesting), a stat on How Much Does a Science Fiction or Fantasy Writer Make?  He had about 70 writers respond to a survey.  So for those of you unpublished novelists, you might want to take a look. 

Unread books:
I'm so depressed.  I have unread books lined up in the bedroom armoire.  Today when I went to get the latest book I've read (I've decided to keep track of the books I read this year), on a whim, I decided to count them up.  I would have guessed the number to be about 30.  Sadly, it's 70.  A couple of those are reference-type books.  Most are genre, but about 20 (although as you can see, my powers of estimation are sadly lacking, so this might be a higher number) are mainstream.  Now, even if I were up to my used-to-be speed of reading at least a book a week, this would take me over a year to read just what I have on the shelf.  That's not counting the three books I ordered this morning, nor the 30 or so on my wish list at Amazon.  Buying books is a sickness.  Getting rid of books hurts.  I wants them all, I do!!!  And I wants to keep them by me forever and never let them go, because they're mine, they're precious!  My lovelies. 

So my plan to address this situation?  I haven't one.  But obviously I need to start reading more.  Oh yeah, and that list isn't counting my writing advice books.  I do have a plan for that, however.  The grandbaby is sometimes now playing happily on the floor without needing my constant eye-contact, so I'm finding I can take minutes out here and there and read.  Novels would be too interrupted to read during these snatches of time, but writing advice or reference books work quite well.
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I had something earth-shattering to write here.  Really.  It would have made your heart stop beating.  Really.  Ok, maybe not.  What's that you say?  If it was that important, I would remember it???? HAHAHAHAHAHAH *falls down in hysterical laughter*    You haven't seen the inside of a baby boomer brain then. 

But here's some advice on magazines.  For free.  Yes, you're welcome.  I'm feeling benevolent today. 

I subscribe to two writer's magainzes:  Writer's Digest and The Writer.  I've been receiving WD for several years and have always enjoyed it and gotten nuggets here and there.  But I think I like The Writer better.  Maybe it seems more focused on fiction rather than nonfiction freelance.  So, if you're trying to decide between the two, that's my recommendation.  Of course, I believe The Writer is a tad bit more expensive.

Another magazine that I really find useful is Archaeology.  In another day and age or if I had it to do all over again, I would have loved to have been an archaeologist (says the girl who *hates* travelling).  So I enjoy reading about ancient things that have been dug up.  But it's also been a source of inspiration for story ideas.  And it can add a bit of "real-ness" to a story to have it somewhat founded in fact.  For instance, one article was on bodies that have been dug up out of peat bogs, and there were *real* pictures.  Very cool.  I haven't written a story about it, not yet anyway, but the descriptions of the bodies and the way they were dressed and such were really interesting. 

And that's my advice for the day. 
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 I learned yesterday that Robert Jordan, author of The Wheel of Time series, died.  

The first book of the Wheel of Time series is what launched me into my reading of Fantasy lit.  So say what you will about the series, it was a great story.  And the success of it opened up many doorways for other authors in fantasy.  Yeah, the series went on a little too long, and yes, I did quit reading them -- but I have a caveat on that one.  I decided to hold off on reading the books after -- I dunno, book 6, maybe, because of the time frame involved in waiting for the next book to come out and trying to remember plot details from year to year.  So I have all the books that have been published so far, with the promise to myself that once the last book was due to be released, I would read them in order from start to finish.  I still will.  I hear -- and I hope it's true -- that he had started book 12, the last in the series, and has left legions of notes and outlines for someone to finish it up.  

I hope so.  He created characters you cared about and rooted for and some very imaginative plotlines.  I was enthralled and couldn't wait to read more.  Loved the idea that the story didn't end but kept on going (ok maybe it got a little too engergizer-bunny towards the middle and kept on going when it should have ended).  I didn't have to pull my head out of the story, and I loved that.

So thank you Robert Jordan, for your legacy.


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