Author Copies from Stone Skin Press

The Grinch Avatar

Received these in the mail from Stone Skin Press last Friday. I love getting contributor copies. The smell of fresh ink… The other stories lurking in these anthologies… Mmmmm… Like Christmas only better.

Stone Skin Press

    Mood: Blargh due to weather-related conditions.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I’m on my first cup.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Point and click and point and click.
    In My Ears: Nothing
    Game Last Played: Eternal Sonata
    Movie Last Viewed: Ted (It was very wrong.)
    Latest Artistic Project: Need to take pictures…
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology

Peanut Butter and Frosting, Starve Better and a Few Links

Okay. So one of the benefits of being an “adult,” is that you can have whatever you want for breakfast. Since there are only so many bowls of crispy chocolate flakes I can eat, peanut butter plus chocolate frosting is the equivalent of taking a cruise to a tropical island in the middle of winter. Yes, you may believe that this concoction may be a poor substitute for Nutella, but you would be mistaken. NOM NOM NOM.

But I digress. I got my copy of Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life in the mail yesterday. It’s a book written by Nick Mamatas that’s full of tips (and non-tips) that, quite frankly, are really relevant for today’s writer. It’s pragmatic and blunt and the unpopular stance, because it isn’t a bunch of “this’ll make you really happy” floofie crap about how writing is all sunshines and rainbows. Quite frankly, this is exactly what aspiring writers need to hear because there’s a market for writing advice, and it’s not always coming from an experienced source. While Mamatas’s take on many topics is blunt, he can be. Like any other book or article out there, I’d say take what you want and leave the rest, but his logic is sound on a lot of the tips.

I also received my first issue of Bead and Button magazine. I’ve got a few projects I’ve been working on at the moment, but this’ll be good to try some new techniques. My style is more modern than frou frou, but the biggest battle is learning the stitches. For that, I can deal with a couple of flowers and crystals before I move on to skulls. Muwahahaha.

Anyhoo, gotta fly. We’re going to go see Thor yet again this evening, and I can’t wait. Who’s my favorite thunder god? THOR.

Favorite Couple in a Genre Novel

Can’t believe I’ve been talking about genre for the past week. Today’s post is the end of a seven day run, and after today I’m going to take a short break because all the books I’ve read are starting to run together. Which is never a good thing, to be sure!

So what is my favorite couple in a genre novel? Tricky question. Tricky, tricksy. In my head, I automatically separate a romance novel (including paranormal) from any straight-up adventure novel. Why? Well, because I view romance novels as being heavily focused on relationships. For dark fantasy, which is the genre I like to read, I enjoy a good romantic relationship if there’s other things going on in the story. My answer today may surprise you. And I’ll tell you why in a minute.

My favorite couple in a genre novel is…

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

Wizard's First Rule by Terry GoodkindRichard Cypher and Kahlan Amnell from the first book in Terry Goodkind’s series called “The Sword of Truth.” The book is dubbed Wizard’s First Rule.

To be clear, they’re my favorite couple — until they get together.

Okay, let me back up for a second and explain this little Gordian knot before your heads explode. The reason why I like this romantic relationship is because it’s one that, from the start, is never supposed to be consummated. They cannot touch one another. In this book, we don’t know how uber-powerful-rare either one of them is. We know they are battling evil and we know they are falling in love in the midst of all these chaotic things.

But they can’t touch. No smooches. Not even a little peck on the cheek. If she did, she would turn Richard into a mindless slave that did whatever she wanted.

To me, that’s impressive worldbuilding and great conflict because there’s a tangible reason why these two kids shouldn’t be together. Kind of like Buffy and Angel. They get happy, Angel loses his soul and changes back into Angelus. So they can never be happy. Ever.

The reason why I said only the first book, is because although this premise is inventive, they eventually get married and discover they’re not as limited as they thought. (If at all.) The first book is, by far, the strongest one in their relationship because their love happens gradually, highlighting how they get together and how they’re vested in one another. As the series continues, the characters become more and more powerful, and the relationship arc begins to look the same, even with the obstacles and other women thrown in their way. The minute they become oh-so-powerful, my interest wanes because of the type of reader that I am. To connect with the characters, I tend to get into those that don’t evolve into (for lack of a better word) gods.

Now, what’s funny about all of this, is that Wizard’s First Rule is Terry Goodkind’s first novel. I thought it was a solid first for his characters and for his work. The story does teeter more on the dark side, so this is more of an adult novel than one I’d recommend for kids.

Previous Days

What I Read for Not-So-Guilty Pleasure

Today’s post about genre books is what I read for my guilty pleasure. Since I never feel embarrassed about reading any book, I’m going to call this my “not-so-guilty” pleasure instead. After all, I don’t have a particular book, mind you, but more like a type of read.

It’s hard for me to read books without noting their structure and the techniques an author uses to tell a story. So, to give my mind a break, I turn to a type of book I don’t typically write. Young Adult fiction is tops on that list; I also read romance and mysteries on occasion. Some of these books, like the Faery Tale series by Holly Black, are darker and have more mature or experimental themes than I’ve read in similar stories. Others, like the Harry Potter series, are dark to a point, but a hero (or heroine) always prevails.

When I’m reading for not-so-guilty pleasure, I don’t care if the author followed all the appropriate techniques and did all the right things an author is supposed to do, because I’m reading to have a good time. It’s my “light read” or my “sitting-by-the-beach-drinking-margaritas read.” I’m often more forgiving of a book when I’m not critiquing it, unless there are glaring errors like typos or problems with the voice. First person, for me, can be really hard to read and get into if I’m not grounded in the story. Does this mean those books are bad? Hardly. Typos and grammatical errors aside, my challenge with first and second person narrative isn’t necessarily what other people’s complaints are, for some books were written by popular authors.

With as fast as I read, I can tell how much I’m enjoying a book if I polish it off in one or two nights. The longer it takes for me to read something, the more committed I am to the story, and the more intense the experience. My not-so-guilty pleasure books are those afternoon reads that are typically light-hearted, fun and…of course…full of heroes.

Previous Days

An Underrated Genre Novel

Hellboy: The Bones of GiantsToday’s question required me to think about a genre novel I read that I feel is underrated. While there are many original stories that haven’t gotten as much acclaim as others, I feel that many tie-in novels get overlooked simply because they are tie-in novels.

So, my vote for an underrated genre novel is one penned by Christopher Golden. It’s called Hellboy: The Bones of Giants and it’s a tale after my own heart. This book stars Hellboy and the hammer lovingly known as “Mjolnir.” Norse mythology crossed with my favorite comic book character? Awesome stuff.

The thing is, this type of a story is extremely hard to pull off for a few reasons. First, there’s the issue of designing the story within the Hellboy universe. Second, Golden had to also blend in Norse mythology without breaking the setting and providing something new to the reader, something we haven’t seen. In Hellboy: The Bones of Giants, Golden accomplishes this by making Moljnir sentient. The legendary hammer has memories that affect Hellboy. Yes, we’ve seen this before in Hellboy: Sword of Storms, but that’s part of the reason why this makes the novel so good. There are a lot of technical aspects that needed to be accomplished in this novel, but the work is seamless. As a reader, I didn’t notice the stitches, I was completely immersed in the novel.

For these reasons, Hellboy: The Bones of Giants is an underrated genre novel and one that I feel readers shouldn’t overlook.

Previous Days

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