Agna at the Academy Short 4/6

This is the part where the endings of the scenes get pretty abrupt. That’s something I would have fixed, if this weren’t a work in progress / rough draft post sort of situation.

BUT! We introduce a certain mythic figure from Agna’s childhood, and the narrator of the next trilogy after hers, if all goes well…

Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6

Continue reading Agna at the Academy Short 4/6

July Reading

Mostly short books this month. Here we go.

Fantasy, SF and Related Genres

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley – By the author of Scott Pilgrim, but shorter, more magical-realism-y, and less referential. I have to appreciate the choice of only-partly-sympathetic, sort-of-antiheroic heroine. You don’t see a whole lot of those.

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – What I’d call urban fantasy (more in a moment) crossed with family drama. I really enjoyed this one and will probably read the second sometime. There’s some to-do about what this book is, according to an interview with the author I heard – urban fantasy, young adult, [insert giant string of question marks and shrug emojis]. Whatever it is, it’s fun and sweet.

The Martian by Andy Weir – Thought I should read it before the movie comes out, because why not. I am so rarely part of the zeitgeist; it’s kind of fun to try.  This comic nails it, pretty much.

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant – Yay, I didn’t know this was getting an ebook release for a while. But it did. As for the book, THAT COVER. You know exactly what you’re getting into with that cover.


The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas – Not actually romance, but the ninja-action-crossed-with-emotionally-strangling-British-countryside prequel to a romance novel. The premise hooked me, but a plot twist before the end made me rather less inclined to read the “real” book. Which isn’t to say that it was badly done, just a move that I didn’t like as a reader.

Writing & Publishing

For Love or Money by Susan Kaye Quinn – As I’ve frothed about  before, this is a “Why are you writing?” sort of book, with the very unusual premise that follow-your-heart types (guilty!) have something to offer the world, too.  It is mostly about money, don’t worry, but it allows a little space for people who are driven by ideas and art. I appreciate that.

Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward – How to begin the process of trying not to be a clueless mainstream know-nothing, trampling all over characters and readers alike.

Bootstrapping for Indies by Simon Whistler – More of a pamphlet / advertisement to drive people to the author’s mailing list, but hey, it’s free. Also an unusual idea – you don’t have to lay out ten or fifteen thousand dollars up front on your first book; you can make incremental improvements to your covers and layouts as you go. I’m not sure about that, because early readers are now stuck with my awful first cover forever and ever amen, thanks, Amazon. But again, free. Why not?


An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi and Alejandro Giraldo – This was an Amazon Deal of the Day a while back, and I couldn’t resist a book of strange, retro cartoons of animal-people demonstrating faulty logic. I’m not made of stone, people.

One I forgot to note in June:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown – For extra irony, I had to go and forget the book about dealing with perfectionism. Yaaaay. So I’m going to go and listen to her TED talk, and liiiiive with the mistake.


Totals: Start of month 127 / end of month 139. Aaaahaaa, well, I couldn’t resist a StoryBundle themed around “Literary Fantasy.” WTF is literary fantasy? Heck if I know. Click! 9 more books on the TBR pile. I regret nothing!

A wild procrastination beast attacks!

On a whim I started a Chore Wars guild for writing-related goings-on – rather than “take out the trash,” our quests are along the lines of “write 2000 words in a sitting.” This sort of thing is not for power-writers, obviously – if you don’t need a silly spur of motivation, then you won’t get much of a kick out of it. But if you also face the eternal question “hmm, do I write for an hour tonight, or do I watch another episode of Voyager on Netflix before giving up and going to bed,”* you are in my world. Welcome.

But it’s fun, and I will freely admit that I am getting trounced about 2:1 in both gold and XP.  For finishing (cough yet another cough) draft of the Other WIP I earned a “treat yourself” treasure, so I bought some music. Happy sigh. WIP continues. I face rewriting it from scratch a third time. But it has a ghost of a chance of being read by more than two people, so I can’t help but give it a try. A little bit at a time.

That’s how we get things done in our world. By inches. And eventually.

* Though we finished Voyager yesterday. Just one season of TOS to go and, well, all of TNG. Still a Niner, and you cannot stop me.

Elsewise: Books. And more books.

Lately I’ve been finishing the second (and a half?) draft of another project, which will be on another pen name if it’s ever released. I’m a vat of contradictions and waffling when it comes to that project, even more so than usual, so it’s taking forever.

I’ve also gotten some progress on a quilt that I’ve been poking at intermittently for the last, oh, 18 years — lest you think my glacial working speed is limited to writing! Ha. I think it’s technically a quadruple Irish chain. It’s made of a boatload of nine-patches and a smaller boatload of mostly-solid blocks. It’s all nine-patches from here on out, which means lots of strips and tiny squares.

I have also read the first writing-advice book that has made me excited about writing instead of alienated and hopeless! Which means that it’s probably a bad fit for most actual writers, but if you care about stories/writing/art as well as money and have a lot of tug-of-war between the two, try it out. I’m not even a writer — in the indie publishing world, you don’t count as a writer if you have an income stream that is not self-employment or support from a spouse, and I have one of those — but I found it helpful anyway.

I’ll do a proper write-up of this month’s books at the end of the month, as always, but I’m still in a gleeful cloud of “somebody out there thinks it’s OK to care about things!!” and have to gush.

Agna at the Academy Short: 1/6

#tbt …way back!

Earlier this year I spent some time working on Agna’s backstory, when she was a student at the Academy. As it turns out, this is not going to become a book, because having a young character automatically makes it a children’s book (something I didn’t realize… ha). This is just a backstory/flashback for a character in a more-or-less-grownup book.

So as a web extra, here’s a bit of Agna’s backstory.

Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6

Continue reading Agna at the Academy Short: 1/6