Main

Testing, testing, testing, are we back on?

Looks like JournalPress, the WordPress plugin Dara and I have been using to crosspost to Dreamwidth, has finally updated itself. The dev fixed the crossposting problem from the plugin’s end, and included a patch Dara had posted about on the plugin’s forum over a year ago. Awesome!

So let’s see if I can actually crosspost to Dreamwidth again!

Editing to add: Oh YAY it actually worked!

For those of you who may have missed it, here’s the last post I did over on angelahighland.com: my writing plan for 2018. There’s a rough of the cover art for the forthcoming Walk the Wards, featuring Amelialoren and Melisanda of the Seelie Court!

Main

2018 writing plan (wait, I have a plan?!)

The holidays are done and I’ve had a nice long vacation, so it’s time to set a 2018 writing plan! Which is surprisingly organized of me, I feel. But it’s a level of organization I really need to aim for, if I want to get my writing back in gear this year. So let’s see if I can pull this off.

Release Walk the Wards

The goal here is to see if I can finally have the novellas that make up Walk the Wards ready to release by Norwescon. That convention falls in mid-April this year.

What this will require: getting the writing done by mid-February or so. Then beta reading has to happen, as well as a proper edit pass.

I’ve already initiated a cover art discussion with the same artist I engaged to do the cover for Warder Soul, Nicole Cardiff. She sent me a thumbnail sketch that I like, and we’ll be moving forward with turning that into an actual picture. This’ll be from the story “The Light Beyond the Gate”–the story of what happens to Jude while she’s in Faerie during Bone Walker.

Who’ll be in this picture? No less august a personage than Amelialoren, the Queen of Light and Morning, monarch of the Seelie Court in her throne room. And there will also be Melisanda ana’Sharran, warrior of the Seelie Court. So you’ll get two important Seelie women on the cover for the price of one!

Behold!

Walk the Wards cover rough

Walk the Wards cover rough

And a general status check: “A Power in the Blood” and “Diminuendo” are both done in first draft form. I’m working now on “The Deepest Breath of Song”, Oscar’s story, though I will probably swap back and forth between it and the other two tales as I proceed to finish this thing up.

As of last night, the book was just shy of 55,000 words and “The Deepest Breath of Song” crossed the 10K mark. I suspect this book as a whole will be a bit shorter than Faerie Blood or Bone Walker, but I’m okay with that.

Release Queen of Ghosts

Once Walk the Wards is safely out the door, I need to return to Queen of Ghosts, my Hades and Persephone story. What has to happen here: review of edits already done, and applying of those to the manuscript.

Then I’ll need cover art for this, too. Once Nicole has finished the cover art for Walk the Wards I will probably also get her to do this book as well.

Target for when to get this done: some time this summer, but what’s more likely is maybe to have this done in time for Orycon. Which would be nice, because then I could have a new release at Norwescon, and a new release at Orycon as well.

Stand by for further updates.

Finish Warder Soul

Probably in parallel to the two above things, I’ll return to working on Warder Soul, Book 3 of the Free Court series. This doesn’t necessarily have to wait till Walk the Wards is released. But it does have to wait at least until I have finished, solid versions of “The Plight of the Warder’s Daughter” and “The Light Beyond the Gate”, because both of these are important setup for that book.

I do not yet anticipate this book being ready to release this year. But I will be trying to get it ready before next year’s Norwescon. Since I’m liking the idea of targeting release dates for conventions where I’m likely to show up and be able to sell books, this might mean having it ready by a convention in January 2019. More as I know it.

Movies

Movie review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This is the second of two review/reaction posts for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to go look at my non-spoiler post first, and come back to this one later. Because this is the one that has all the spoilers!

Overall, I’ll note in summary what I said in the other post rather than going into general commentary again here. Namely: the movie’s long but didn’t feel overly long to me. Several characters stood out for me with shining performances. And this was very much a “middle movie of a trilogy”, with considerable darkness of plot and galaxy-spanning stakes and ramifications. If you’re going to see this in a theater, be prepped for length.

Now then, let’s get into the SPOILERS.

Continue Reading

Movies

Movie review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (no spoilers)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yesterday Dara and I did as we are wont to do on Christmas, and went out for a movie. This year, the movie in question was of course Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As always, I will be doing a review/reaction post! This year, however, there will actually be two of them. I’ve been asked for a non-spoilery overall reaction, so this post is for that.

This movie is very much the “middle movie of a trilogy”, but to my relief, it did not do what I was afraid it would do, and follow all the beats of The Empire Strikes Back the way The Force Awakens echoed A New Hope. Don’t get me wrong–I really liked The Force Awakens. But I was willing to put up with one “rehash the original plot” movie in this new trilogy. I wasn’t willing to put up with two. Fortunately, I didn’t have to!

As I do, I went back and started reading a bunch of the posts on both The Mary Sue and Tor.com, and at those sources, I’m seeing commentary along the lines of how this movie was overstuffed with plot threads. I do agree that it was possibly longer than it needed to be, but one particular B plot I’ve seen people taking issue with actually didn’t bug me. (Canto Bight, to be specific without going into detail; I’ll talk more about this in the spoiler post.) And overall, I didn’t feel like the movie ground to a screeching halt at any point, despite its length.

I will warn nonetheless that if you’re planning to see this thing in a theater and you have issues with movies that run longer than two hours, don’t drink soda beforehand!

There’s not much I can say about the plot without getting into spoilers. So instead I’ll note a few character performances that stood out for me.

Leia

I have seen commentary that described Carrie Fisher’s performance as “luminous”. This is correct. Because she commanded every single scene she was in, and moreover, gets to do one particularly badassed thing that made my heart just leap.

I have also seen commentary along the lines that the real sorrow of this movie is that we won’t get to see Leia’s arc conclude in Episode IX. This is also correct. Sniff.

Luke

Mark Hamill was fucking amazing, full stop. Dara remarked to me that this was the first time she’d been able to buy Luke Skywalker as an actual Jedi Master. She’s not wrong.

Rose

New character Rose was absolutely adorable.

Vice-Admiral Holdo

This woman doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but she owns what she’s given, and she’s responsible for arguably the most cinematically striking moment in the whole movie.

Kylo Ren

I want this boy to be thrown down a reactor shaft for what he pulled in the last movie, but I do have to admit, Adam Driver’s doing a great job with the character.

Rey

Fuck yeah. I adore this girl and every minute she’s on screen.

Overall

I’m going to save what quibbles I have for the spoiler post, since what quibbles I have don’t really detract from my overall opinion of this thing. Which is to say: goddamn, this movie. I cried multiple times, and enjoyed the hell out of it, and am very much looking forward to seeing it again.

More to come in the spoiler post!

Other People's Books

Gorgeous French romance covers ebook roundup

La Gouvernante insoumise

La Gouvernante insoumise

Time for another ebook roundup post! Courtney Milan is one of the authors in the narrow band of “historical romance authors I enjoy reading”. And Goodreads has helpfully informed me that she has a giveaway going on their site for the French edition of her book The Duchess War, which is called Le Secret de la duchess! I already have the English edition of this in ebook form, but as soon as I laid eyes on the cover, I jumped on this giveaway, because:

  • Always up for an opportunity to amuse myself with practicing my French
  • Courtney Milan is an awesome writer, and
  • Gadzooks, the covers on the French editions of this series’ books are eye-poppingly gorgeous.

The English edition ones are pretty as well, don’t get me wrong. As romance novel covers go, I like the ones that have vividly colored gowns on the heroines. But oh goodness the French editions. Lovely.

You should, I think, be able to see them here on Kobo’s site!

Also worthy of note: the novella that opens this series, which is The Governess Affair in English and La Gouvernante insoumise in French, is available for free. If you’re a romance reader who likes to read in languages other than English, note as well that she has other translations available for this same book. I saw German, Spanish, and Dutch editions of this available on her Smashwords page. (Note, however, that only the German and Spanish editions as of this writing are free.)

Anyhow: I scarfed the French edition of the novella for important Gorgeous Cover and Language Nerdery reasons. Which also reminded me that I needed to do an ebook update in general, as my inbox is teetering! So here you go.

Acquired from Kobo

  • La Gouvernante insoumise, by Courtney Milan. French translation of her novella The Governess Affair, which is book 0 of her The Brothers Sinister series. (Or, in French, Les frères ténébreux.)
  • Taste of Marrow, by Sarah Gailey. SF (of the alternate history variety). Book 2 of her River of Teeth books. Liked book 1 quite a bit, so had to get this one too!
  • All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. SF. Book 1 of her Murderbot Diaries series, which I am getting on the general grounds of being highly amused at her protagonist being an android calling itself Murderbot. ;D
  • Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. I’ve already read this; it’s the Star Wars novel Gray wrote to give some lead-in to the story in The Force Awakens. Snapped this up when it went on sale for a good price, because I quite enjoyed this story, and all the mileage of Leia being badass.
  • Wake of Vultures, by Lila Bowen. Book 1 of her Shadow series. This was another one I nabbed because it went on sale for a low price in digital format. Had my eye on this one due to a genderfluid protagonist!
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire. Book 2 of the Wayward Children series, another of the Tor.com sales I jumped on a couple weeks ago. Read this pretty much as soon as I got it, because I was looking forward to reading the story about Jack and Jill and their door!

Acquired from Barnes and Noble

Grabbed these two books after meeting their authors in passing at Orycon this year, and being deeply amused that they were billing themselves as the gayest table in the dealers’ room. I had to reward that kind of promotional spirit!

Also, I had to spend some of the credit I still have at B&N.

Those books, both of which are put out by NineStar Press, are:

  • Ardulum: First Don, by J.S. Fields. SF. Lesbian protagonist! She’s a smuggler confronted with a slave girl who resembles one of the deities from her homeworld.
  • Trans Liberty Riot Brigade, by L.M. Pierce. SF. Intersex protagonist! And I gotta say I love the title.

8 total for this post, and 58 for the year.

Bone Walker, Faerie Blood, The Free Court of Seattle

Faerie Blood and Bone Walker sale for the holidays!

Faerie Blood Second Edition Cover

Y’all may recall that I had Faerie Blood and Bone Walker on sale during November for Orycon. Well, I’m extending that sale through the holidays!

What

So you can get the ebook editions of these two books for 99 cents each at your favorite ebook vendor. And! If you’re print-inclined, I’m also waiving the shipping costs for the print editions if you’d like to order them directly from me!

This sale will run through the end of December, to give folks plenty of time to get either title for Yule, or even a few days after. If anyone happens to get an ereader and has a hankering to find something to read to put on it. Because I am HELPFUL. ;D

Where

If you aren’t already familiar with the books, you can read samples on the official Faerie Blood and Bone Walker pages. You can click over to your favorite ebook vendor from those links as well, or from the Books2Read links for them, which are:

Faerie Blood on Books2Read

Bone Walker on Books2Read

If you’d like to order the print books, you can do so on my Square store. You can also use the merch pages hosted by Crime and the Forces of Evil on Bandcamp, which are here and here.

If you don’t want to go through a vendor, you can pay me directly via Paypal. I go into more detail about how you can pursue other options on the Buying From Me page. If you have any questions about how you might pay me for either book, contact me!

Any questions?

Talk to me! And do spread the word!

Quebecois Music

Album review: Consolez-vous, by De Temps Antan

De Temps Antan Consolez-vous

Consolez-vous

I have already established that the phrase “new Le Vent du Nord album” is at the top of the list of Things That Give Me Joy. But right behind that is the phrase “new De Temps Antan album”. And I am delighted, O Internets, to report that I have that very thing to rejoice over today!

This is De Temps Antan’s fourth album, and the first one featuring new member David Boulanger, who replaces André Brunet as the trio’s fiddle player. Fans of Quebecois trad will probably recognize the name David Boulanger. I certainly have some past exposure to him, since he’s one of the current lineup of La Bottine Souriante. I was also a supporter of the album he did with Maja Kjær Jacobsen, and I own the album Boulanger did called Pièces sur pièces, along with flute player Jean Duval.

Also: David was one of the professors at Violon Trad this year, and I got to see him in action there!

So while I’m sad that André Brunet is no longer part of this trio, I knew that with Boulanger on board, De Temps Antan would be absolutely fine. Now that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of listening to this new release, I can report that this assurance is entirely vindicated!

As with prior album reviews I’ve done in the realm of Quebecois trad, you can assume going in that of course I love this album. That goes without saying! (Though of course, I’m going to say it. \0/) And while I do have a history of my album review posts often just being “I’m going to squee at you for several paragraphs about all the ways I love this thing”, I do actually have some review-type commentary to share with you this time!

Ready? Let’s DO THIS THING.

Continue Reading