Writing: Urban Fantasy

I’ve tried a few times to write urban fantasy. I find it less than fun even when I like my idea/character/etc. I recently was re-reading something I had written (in this genre) and reached the “damn, I wish I had finished this – I want to read the ending!” (of which there isn’t one) point. It made me start thinking about other urban fantasies. I see there being two styles to urban fantasy. There is the “Harry Potter” style where the magical and the “real” world never meet – and so there is this idea that WE are just “missing” what’s there. I think most urban fantasy seems to fall into this side – Dresden Files, City of Bones, etc. The protagonist finds out or was raised in a world with magic. It collides with the “real world” somehow (usually) and their attempt to be “normal” OR to escape “normal” people. IE, Harry would do anything not be like the

read more Writing: Urban Fantasy

SCOTUS: Windbag

I haven’t done a breakdown of a SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) in a while (they were poorly read so I haven’t bothered with the research needed). BUT, I do still sometimes read opinions. And I just have to say Clarence Thomas is a windbag. He isn’t stupid or anything, but I feel like he writes his “concurrent opinions” just too often. And they are too long. This comes up because of the Court Opinion on Quarles v. United States. I mean, in this case Thomas manages to keep his opinion to only two pages – but it is literally 2 pages of “I agree with everyone else.” And since it was (unusually enough) an unanimous opinion – it’s not like he was getting to spar with Ginsburg or something. I just had to say it – it was irksome and I felt the need to vent to the entire internet that Thomas annoys me with his “I

read more SCOTUS: Windbag

Review: Wayfairer trilogy

I pretty much stumbled across this series and found myself drawn in. I never realized a book without strong plot could be enjoyable. All those “character books” I had to read in middle and high school (I’m looking at you Pat Conroy) where it’s exploring “the human experience” or whatever. I disliked those. But the Wayfarirer books, there isn’t a strong plot to drive me forward – and I didn’t mind at all. So clearly, these books are all about the characters. And I do mean, all about. The barest of plot/action makes an appearance just to give the books some kind of beginning-middle-end structure, but that is all it seems to be for. These books are about the people and the world. And this world was fascinating. The worlds Beck Chambers builds are awesome. They are deep and real. There was only one alien species I found myself going “I don’t believe they would make it to space on

read more Review: Wayfairer trilogy

Musings: Clothing sizes and who buys them

I have long been jealous of how men’s clothing is sized. Specifically, men’s pants – waist and length. Women’s clothing is NOTHING like that. It’s an arbitrary letter (S, M, L) or number (8, 14, 20) – which really has no external verification for “accuracy.” So I am sometimes a Large shirt. Sometimes Extra-Large. In some brands I am an XXL. And even then, it might be huge around my stomach/shoulders and tight around my breasts. Despite being a “woman’s cut.” Have they MET any women??? It’s why I’m such a huge fan of eShakti (see my review here) – they acknowledge and market that women are different sizes and shapes and make the customization more affordable. Looking at other women, I know I’m not that weird in shape and size. But somehow clothing manufacturers – even relatively “high end” brands (ok, I’m not talking Prada here or anything, but even Calvin Klein) can have the weirdest sizes and shapes

read more Musings: Clothing sizes and who buys them

Writing: Why is it a “Pilot”

I work in tech, and you hear a lot about “alpha builds” and “beta testing” and “pilot programs” – and the first two make perfect sense.  Alpha is first, beta is second.  It’s “pilot” that caught my attention the other day.  Why DO we call it a pilot?  TV shows have “pilot” episodes.  We have “pilot” groups in implementations.  Or “pilot programs” when testing new theories. So I turned to my trusty Google and found…. well, not a lot really.  I was sorely disappointed with the curiosity of Quora.  I was utterly let down by Wikipedia.  I turned to Dictionary.com and read through definitions (this is not 100% of the definitions, just 1 from each category): (n) a person duly qualified to steer ships into or out of a harbor or through certain difficult waters. (v) to lead, guide, or conduct, as through unknown places, intricate affairs, etc. (adj) serving as an experimental or trial undertaking prior to full-scale operation or use: a pilot project. Interesting…

read more Writing: Why is it a “Pilot”

Writing: To Camp or Not to Camp

I have been writing every day most days for the past two weeks. It has felt wonderful and it makes me kind of want to push for a “50,000 words in 30 days” sort of month in June. I’m afraid to try as well because I will be returning to my daytime job from maternity leave and I have no idea what that is going to be like. So I am debating. Do I want to hold myself to something which without a new baby to juggle I’ve found challenging or not. I do like challenges, but I don’t like failing them (who does!). I could set a lesser challenge (that is part of the benefit of “Camp” NaNoWriMo). I could aim for 30,000 words (1,000 words a day). I could set an entirely alternative writing goal (write 16 chapters over the month). Decisions, decisions….

Review: Spinning Silver

Naomi Novik is a unique writer in my world – I find her books extremely frustrating and extremely intriguing at the same time. I love retellings and twists on fairy tails and Novik hits both with this book. More than 90% of the book is told from the perspective of women – Miryem, Wanda, and Irina being the main protagonists. Miryem and Irina each seeing bigger picture issues they want to “fix” or address – Wanda mostly doesn’t want to be cold and hungry (I don’t blame her!). I enjoyed the Russian twist on Rumpelstiltskin. I don’t particularly like how Novik handled men in this novel. In His Majesty’s Dragons, the protagonist was a man, so I know she can do it – write decent men. For some reason the men in Spinning Silver are flat stereotypes at best – “the big brute” or the “angsty artist” or “pretentious prince.” I honestly have a higher expectation, this isn’t her debut

read more Review: Spinning Silver

Writing: World Building vs. Plot

I’m going to confess. When I am plotting or world building the two tend to get very intermixed. I use my world building to help me define plot points and when I have a plot point I want to get to, I use the world to make it happen. I call this the troll-inn-escape. It’s a classic fantasy writing trope. The writer gets stuck so that night a troll bangs open the door of the inn. It can be lazy writing. “I don’t know what to do, TROLL!” Every time I read or watch that part of the first Harry Potter book (“there’s a troll in the dungeon!”) I wonder if Rowling was struggling to get Harry moving and used the troll-inn-escape. It also gives me hope that just because it’s a little lazy, it can be effective! My husband came downstairs one Saturday and found me with a bunch of post-it-notes and the wall. I was world building history

read more Writing: World Building vs. Plot

Politics: GA “Heartbeat” bill

I almost didn’t publish this post. I’m nervous to post anything about this. But if I can’t post this when I am on maternity leave – when can I? I am so ashamed of my state. I am ashamed of every representative who voted for this bill. I am ashamed of every voter who voted for those representatives who voted for this bill. I am embarrassed that someone in my state even mentioned this kind of bill. This has sparked a variety of debates on social media – and I am ashamed how many of my fellow Christians think that imposing their faith on others is somehow appropriate. I have two primary arguments against this bill. The First Argument – Science The first is simple science – medical science does not recognize the heartbeat as the defining element of “alive.” We declare people dead with beating hearts every day. Doctors use a combination of heart, all the other organs, and

read more Politics: GA “Heartbeat” bill