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Angela Korra'ti

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I’m launching a Patreon!

Dara told me today that if I ever wanted to launch a Patreon, today is the last day to get an account grandfathered in under their current fee structure before they change things around.

Between that, and feeling like my writing really needs a jumpstart, I’ve decided to try this and see if a Patreon would actually help me get going again.

So as of today, y’all, I now have a Patreon up! In keeping with all my various social media accounts, its URL should not surprise any of you:

https://www.patreon.com/annathepiper

There are two tiers, a $1 and a $5. The lower tier gives you immediate access to any posts I make there, as well as early glimpses of works in progress and cover art drafts. (This is stuff I’ve posted about here on angelahighland.com before, but my thinking here is that Patreon supporters will get quicker looks at this stuff before I make it public on the main site.)

The $5 tier will mean at least one piece of short fiction a month, no fewer than 500 words. I have a rough goal here of making this a serialized story, with one of two ideas I’m playing around with. I may in fact take a poll from any supporters as to which story I should pursue first.

And I have an initial goal set of $100. If I make that goal, I will write a new character vignette of no fewer than 1,000 words, featuring any character from any of my published books. Supporters will be able to nominate their choices and vote on who I should write about!

RIGHT THEN. Let’s see what happens with this, shall we?

Movies

Joint movie review: Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame (ALL THE SPOILERS)

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

Last year when Infinity War dropped, I put up the post that has my non-spoilery review. Y’all may have noticed that I never got around to posting a full review of the movie. Sorry about that!

But now Avengers: Endgame has dropped. And when my household along with long-time friend Mimi went to see it, Meems asked me whether I liked Infinity War better than Endgame. She preferred Infinity War and was a trifle stunned that I liked Endgame better, hands down.

I told her at the time that this was because for me, even though Marvel backed off of doing these two movies as a Part 1 and Part 2, they really do still function for me as one great big story. And Endgame delivered on concluding what Infinity War set up, beautifully.

So this post is going to be a combination of “review of Endgame” and “discussion of Infinity War and Endgame as a unit”.

Spoiler-free picoreview of Endgame first: I haven’t cried this hard at the tail end of a movie since Return of the King, you guys. There are parts of it that I like less than other parts, and some parts that I feel don’t stand up to close scrutiny, but by and large it was a very, very worthy conclusion to the entire MCU story arc.

Let it also be noted for the record, in case it isn’t obvious: if you haven’t seen Infinity War yet, rent it and get it watched before you see Endgame. And if you haven’t been keeping up with the MCU in general, BOY HOWDY is this not the place to come in.

And in order for this movie’s emotional beats to carry the proper weight, you really, really need to have been keeping up with the MCU. Hell, for a lot of the plot points to make general sense, you really need to have been keeping up with the MCU. I don’t think you absolutely need to have seen every single film in the Infinity Saga (as it’s now being called). But you’ll get the most out of Endgame if you’ve seen most of the saga already.

Now let’s get into the heart of this post, shall we? ALL THE SPOILERS will be behind the cut tag. If you’re reading this directly on angelahighland.com or on my Dreamwidth account, be advised that the comments are also spoiler-friendly territory.

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Rebels of Adalonia, Valor of the Healer, Vengeance of the Hunter, Victory of the Hawk

Rebels of Adalonia ebook sale

For those of you who didn’t see me post this on Facebook or Twitter, a quick reminder: right now all three books of the Rebels of Adalonia books are on sale for 99 cents each. I can confirm this price on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and Apple Books. So you can read the entire trilogy for about three dollars right now!

Leap on it while you can, as the price of these books is NOT in my control and I cannot guarantee how long it’ll last. If you have the books already, please consider spreading the word to any friends or family who might like epic fantasy with religious and political intrigue!

(Particularly given that I have no day job right now, any little bump I can get to my ebook sales would be super helpful. So please do spread the word!)

And come have a look at the official Rebels of Adalonia page to find all the places where you can buy the books.

Herein endeth the promo. Faanshi, Kestar, and Julian thank you for your attention. <3

EDITING TO ADD: I am advised that the sale price is NOT active in Canada, at least on Kobo. Sorry, Canadian readers! (Still, $2.99 each is still pretty awesome for an entire trilogy of books if I do say so myself.)

Other People's Books

Post-Norwescon ebook roundup

Gotten from Tor.com’s monthly ebook promotion:

Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow. SF. A tale about a group of people who decide to walk away from their futuristic society and what happens when they go off the grid.

Gotten from Kobo:

The Cardinal Rule, by C.E. Murphy. Romantic suspense. This is a book I bought ages ago when it was published under the pen name Cate Dermody. Catie has now revised it and re-released it, now that she’s gotten the rights back. I remember liking this the first time through and will be interested to see how this version is different!

The Raven Tower, by Ann Leckie. Fantasy. This is Leckie’s first fantasy novel, and since I have quite liked her Ancillary books so far, I wanted to give this a shot too.

Total for the year: 29

Books, Other People's Books

End of March ebook roundup

Purchased from Amazon:

The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. This was a Kindle daily deal, and while I don’t normally buy ebooks from Amazon, for $2.99 I’ll make an exception. This is of course one of my all-time favorites of McKinley’s, and I was happy to get an ebook copy.

Purchased from Kobo:

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi, by, well, John Scalzi. Nabbed this because I know I already like Scalzi’s work, and because at least a couple of pieces in this have been adapted into episodes of Love, Death, and Robots. Also, it was on sale for $2.99 as well, at least as of the time of purchase! (I checked: as of this writing, it’s back up to $5.99, which doesn’t suck as a price either but is not quite as awesome as $2.99.)

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure, by Courtney Milan. Grabbed this after I saw her talking about it on Twitter as her tale of elderly lesbians burning down London and I am ON BOARD. (To all reports, it is delightful.)

Captain Horatio Hornblower, by C.S. Forester. Book Club decided we’d proceed to reading the next Hornblower (by publishing order, anyway). Turned out the only way I could get A Ship of the Line was in this omnibus edition that includes Beat to Quarters, A Ship of the Line, and Flying Colors.

Total for the year: 26

Faerie Blood

Trying to get back on the horse

Faerie Blood Second Edition Cover

Y’all will have noticed I have done bugger all with any writing projects for a while. Believe me, I’ve noticed this too. My creativity fell right back into a pit when I got laid off from the Day Job this past September, and I’ve had a bitch of a time trying to haul it back out.

But tonight, I returned to try to edit more of the third edition of Faerie Blood. Edits on Chapter 13 are now complete. Found a bunch more semi-colons and exclamation marks I wanted to remove, and also found one short paragraph that was in fact a bit of a mess and made it past me AND Dara AND all the beta readers. The paragraph as currently stands reads:

“Dazzled by the Sidhe,” Jude replied, “Their most famous human victim,” while she scanned the output flashing by in my command window.

Note the weird placement of commas, which made me go o.O. The revised version of this will read:

“Dazzled by the Sidhe,” Jude replied, while she scanned the output flashing by in my command window. “Their most famous human victim.”

Any and all cheerings on to continue this endeavor would be welcome. Right now I’m struggling HARD to find the wherewithal to do anything writing related. But I’m to a point that I feel like if my unemployment status goes on a while, I’ll need to do more writing to make me less unhappy about the unemployment. Trying to set up a positive feedback loop here.

Bilingual Silmarillion Reread

Bilingual Silmarillion Reread, Part 4

So far in the Bilingual Silmarillion Reread, I’ve made it up through Chapter 2 of the Quenta Silmarillion. (See the last post, Part 3.) The Valar have established the world and built the Lamps to light it, only to have them torn down by Melkor. Yavanna’s upped the lighting game by creating the Two Trees, while Tulkas has driven off Melkor for the time being. Meanwhile, Aulë’s made some Dwarves, only to have Ilúvatar make him put them to sleep until after the actual planned-for Children of Ilúvatar show up.

Which would be in Chapter 3, which I’ll talk about now!

Chapter 3

This being the chapter where the Elves show up, I’m rather partial to it. But it does raise a lot of questions.

  1. For a pack of demigods so anxious to meet the Children of Ilúvatar, they sure do a lot of minding their own business rather than actually looking for them. Yavanna, Oromë, and Ulmo seem to be the only ones who give half a fuck about keeping an eye on Middle-Earth in person.
  2. So did Ilúvatar just drop a ready-made elf population at Cuiviénen, then? How many?
  3. How long did it take for them to start figuring out how to make little elves?
  4. How long was it between their awakening and when Oromë finally found them?

I’ve known for a while now that the whole concept of time is pretty haphazard in the earliest, pre-Sun/pre-Moon days of Middle-Earth. So the timespans we’re dealing with here still aren’t very clear at all.

That said: I really like the passage in this chapter about Varda making the stars. And how it’s described as the greatest work since the making of Arda itself, just to underscore exactly how important Varda is to the mythos here.

This is also the chapter that gives us the first sign of the Balrogs, and the making of the Orcs. Which led Dara to raise a question: if Elves have fates as laid out in the Music, does this mean some Elves were fated to give rise to the Orcs? Do Orcs have fates?

But back on the concept of how fast time does or does not flow at this point, Oromë must surely be able to ride really fast. How long does it take him to high-tail it back to Valinor with the word about the Elves? (“WE GOT MOVIE ELF SIGN!”) Does he get impatient with how long it takes to move a whole host of Elves across Middle-Earth to Valinor? And how many Elves are we talking at this point?

Language Notes

“Cuiviénen”, the name of the place where the Elves awaken, totally looks French to me.

I find it good practice to periodically try reading a sentence in the French translation aloud. And, as with the prior multi-lingual reads I’ve done, reading the French right after reading the equivalent passage in English does help my reading comprehension.

In this chapter, I started paying more attention to the differences in semi-colon usage between the original and the translation. Dara actually discovered that it’s just a thing that semi-colons are used way less often in French, which would explain why the translator did some rearranging of sentences to account for removing them.

Varda is called Tintallë the Kindler in English. In French, this becomes “Celle Qui Donne La Lumière Aux Étoiles”, or She Who Gives The Light to the Stars.

Relatedly, I like the word “étincelante”, which means “shining”, used in the description of Menelmacar’s belt.

This is a phrase that stood out for me in the French: “… car ils ne connaisaient encore aucune autre créature douée de la parole ou du chant.” Meaning, “… for as of yet they had met no other living things that spoke or sang.” Which is of course in the part where it’s described how the Elves named themselves the Quendi, “those who speak with voices”.

There’s an interesting connotation difference with the Ring of Doom, where the Valar meet to hold their counsels, being called Le Cercle du Destin in French. “Doom” is being used here in the sense of “fate”, I think. But it’s still quite the connotation in Tolkien, given how The Lord of the Rings features Mount Doom so prominently.

The same sort of connotational difference shows up when Mandos issues his take on the whole idea of letting the Eldar come to Valinor. In the English, he says “So it is doomed.” Again, ‘doom’ in the sense of ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’. But in French, the line given is “Malheur à nous”.

And that’s definitely a darker connotation. When I look up “malheur” in my dictionary of choice, it defines the word as meaning “adversity” or “misfortune”. In short, at least in the French, Mandos is being a lot more blatant in how bringing the Eldar to Valinor is going to fuck them all up.

Last linguistic note: the term for the Avari (the “Unwilling”) in French is “Révoltés”. Yet another interesting connotational nuance, as this word means “rebels”. A rather stronger term, I daresay, than just “the people who are unwilling to do the thing”.

Additional Notes

I do so like Varda making the Valacirca as a particular fuck-you to Melkor. 😀

Angband is mentioned here (and Sauron!), and I remember that name as the game that was an offshoot of Moria. Which was in turn a cousin of Nethack.

And now, what new proper nouns do we have that end in -ë?

  1. Tintallë
  2. Alcarinquë
  3. Elemmírë
  4. Soronúmê
  5. Helcaraxë (oh hey yeah the Grinding Ice!)
  6. Ingwë
  7. Finwë
  8. Elwë
  9. Olwë
  10. Lenwë (a father of Denethor but NOT the same Denethor that shows up in Gondor much later)

Since it’s really short, let’s also cover Chapter 4, shall we?

Chapter 4

Before this re-read, I’d forgotten that this chapter is in fact so short.

The idea of Elwë being struck dumb and still for years at the sight of Melian does not strike me as the stuff of great romance. Maybe the two of them communed telepathically? Regardless, they’re the parents of Lúthien, so it’s all good!

Next post: more about the elves and the journey to Valinor!