shrew (n) :
1. "small mammal," O.E. screawa "shrew-mouse."
2. "peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman" [Johnson] c.1386, from earlier sense of "spiteful person" (male or female), c.1250, traditionally said to derive from some supposed malignant influence of the animal, which was once believed to have a venomous bite and was held in superstitious dread.
Synonyms: amazon, battle-ax, bitch, calumniator, carper, dragon, fire-eater, fishwife, fury, harpy, harridan, hell cat, hellion, hussy, madcap, muckraker, nag, ogress, scold, she-wolf, siren, spitfire, termagant, tigress, virago, vixen, wench
This blog features reviews of LGBT science fiction and fantasy, tales of the life of a freelance writer, the occasional meme, and pictures of cats. If any of this offends you, please press Ctrl+W.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
This was said by my housemate today in the car. It’s true. I admit it. I made big promises to review books on this blog recently, but that has not come to pass with all the freelance writing I am doing. But I have been reading the hell out of some books lately. Escapism at its finest. Or industry research. Whatever.
I am currently reading Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts on my Kindle, which tells me that I’m 11% into the book. It’s urban fantasy with a lesbian protagonist. (Industry research, like I said.) I’m loving it so far.
My recent conquests, in order from most to least recently read:
Namaah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey in mass market. Finished yesterday. It’s been out for a while, but relatively recently came out in mass market. The Kindle edition is still shamelessly overpriced at $13, so I went ahead and bought the analog version. The sequel, Namaah’s Curse, is out in hardcover still, so I might spring for the Kindle edition. Then again, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series are high fantasy romance, so I like reading and owning them in paperback. Somehow the pulp version works for me. On Kindle, price aside, I just don’t know. I have the Kushiel series all in mass market already, and I love matching sets. I don’t want to get too much into how I felt about the book itself right now, as I’m still holding onto the illusion of writing reviews at some point. Suffice it to say that the main character and plotline were engaging, but the romance/erotic bits left me feeling lonely and sad for reasons that have nothing to do with Ms. Carey and everything to do with my own romantic situation at the moment.
Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman, Kindle edition (which was very reasonably priced thankyouverymuch). Finished day before yesterday, maybe (whenever that is—It’s been a long week, OK?). I’d hesitate to call Vintage horror, but it is a ghost story, so call it what you will. Love love love this book. I was charmed the whole way through. Made me very nostalgic for my goth days. Ah, the 90s. From the limited research I’ve done, Steve Berman is the darling of the gay speculative fiction scene. He’s edited anthologies, written a passel of short stories, and been a finalist a whole bunch of times for the Lambda Award. Definitely one to watch.
Knight of Arrows, Knight of Swords by yours truly on Kindle. The Kindle edition still has some bugs, but seeing as how it’s a string and glue production by my other housemate, it’s forgiven. Some of the bugs were actually helpful. The extra line breaks between scenes (the ones that usually indicate time has passed or scene has changed) were deleted, but that gave some of the scenes a really interesting feel. There’s one chapter where a character is shifting from reality to memory, and without line breaks, it reads like stream of consciousness. In a good way. I’m no Faulkner, but it was interesting. Made me realize that I did actually write transitions in there, so I’m considering taking the line breaks out. As far as the experience of reading my entire novel… It’s still amazing to me that I did it. I made that! I get excited to read certain scenes and yell at the characters as I read (Yes, I’m one of those people) just like I do with books other people have written and… it’s not bad. Not bad at all. Sure, there were some cringe-worthy moments where I realized I definitely needed to edit, but that’s good. Anyway, it was fun.
The White Road from the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling, Kindle edition. This is the fifth in the Nightrunner series and a sequel to Shadow’s Return, which I read last week also on Kindle. (I’ve been working the hell outta my new baby.) I unabashedly love these books. They’re not-quite-high-fantasy about two theives/spies named Seregil and Alec who happen to be gay. And in love with each other, though nothing happens until book three. The first Nightrunner novel is Luck in the Shadows, if you’re interested. They’re brilliant. Ms. Flewelling isn’t terribly fancy with style, but they’re fun, fast, pulpy fantasy novels about charismatic rouges. Who are GAY. It’s fantastic. Such a breath of fresh air to read a book with gay characters that’s (and I can’t stress this enough) not about the fact that they’re gay. I’m not saying that’s bad (I loved the hell out of Vintage, which definitely had some “this is a coming out story” moments.) but it’s very nice to read a plain old fantasy novel about my people. Just like any other damn book. OK I’m done.
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, on Kindle. This is the first of the Mercy Thompson novels about a female shapeshifter mechanic who hangs out with a bunch of werewolves and vampires and fey and whatnot. I’ve been meaning to check these books out for a while now because they’re one of the mainstays of the new urban fantasy scene. A shit-ton of people recommended them, etc. When I bought the Kindle, I figured why not? I have to say, I’m not impressed. I mean, Moon Called was a solid supernatural potboiler. Tightly plotted, solid characters, some funny moments, engaging protagonist, but… I probably won’t be reading the rest of them. Why? They didn’t grab me. Mercy Thompson is a great character, and I feel for her, but I just don’t care to read a whole series about her. I mean, Sookie Stackhouse is hilarious and I love watching her go through a crazy life. But Mercy? There’s a little too much “I’m the girl protagonist caught between two love interests” in there. Yawn. Sookie did it better. Maybe I just like vampires more than werewolves, but something was missing for me. Briggs also laid the whole “werewolves are animals and they hunt by scent and they’ve got the whole mate for life thing and the dude wolves are all possessive of the girl wolves and….” Yawn. I know, Patricia. I know. You don’t have to beat me over the head with it. Mercy does a whole lot of standing up for modern gender roles in the face of some good old fashioned “werewolves—I mean men—are possessive assholes because they’re animals” sexism, and, frankly, it gets kind of irritating. After a while, I just want her to be a lesbian. The books would be vastly more interesting if she were.
So much for not reviewing books.
I’ve read a few more, but it’s late. Good night, internets. More book-related nerdgasms to come.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Thanks to i09, I found this excellent advice from “Fantasy” magazine editor and author, Cat Rambo. Most of Cat’s advice sounded pretty familiar: pay attention to craft, be persistent, research markets, writing groups, etc. All good advice, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve heard it.
However, there were some bits that really struck a chord with me.
“One of my bugbears in speculative fiction is that, while we see good stories exploring race and gender, there’s a lot fewer talking about class. Do we really need more stories about a King (or Queen) and his/her court? What about the little people?”
This makes me happy in my soul. My last semester at SFA, I took a class called Science Fiction and Empire, which dealt with issues of imperialism in science fiction texts. Class issues? All over it. The other night while drinking Mudslides with my new roommates, I hit on an idea for a postcolonial steampunk story, sort of a twist on the explorer narrative.
Good to know my brain is where it needs to be. Now to write the damn thing.