annathepiper: (Starbuck)

Just a few minutes after Bleeding Cool originally broke the story yesterday, I saw it showing up on my Twitter feed that Richard Hatch had passed away. And for me, it was an immediate punch to the gut.

I’ve posted a lot about my Star Wars fandom, and in particular about my long-abiding love of Han Solo. I have not, however, posted nearly as much about my affection for the original Battlestar Galactica–or how in particular, Apollo as played by Richard Hatch totally was duking it out with Han as to who I was fangirling over harder, back in the early 80’s when I was a tiny young tween.

But it’s true. I like to put into my author bio that I was writing fanfic before I even knew the word. Some of that fanfic was Raiders of the Lost Ark fic–but some of it was Battlestar Galactica. Thinly veiled BSG fic, as I was trying to make up a setting with my own names, but it was totally BSG with the serial numbers scraped off. I no longer retain a copy of that fic, but to this day I have a very clear memory of writing about my own versions of Starbuck and Apollo.

Especially Apollo. Because while Starbuck was the flamboyant one, I always found Apollo more appealing. He was the one who had more of his shit together–or his felgercarb, as the case may be. I was at the exact right age for the romantic angst of his losing his first love interest Serena, and later getting close to Sheba, to send me into flurries of teenaged swooning. Dark-haired soulful brooding romantic pilot hero? Hell yeah, said teenage me, sign me up.

Let us also talk about how my affection for Apollo also led me, in those days, to watch Richard Hatch in the movie Deadman’s Curve, a made-for-TV movie about the history of the singing duo Jan and Dean. It has been ages since I saw that film, but I have a lingering memory of the impact of watching Hatch, as Jan Berry, portraying the man’s struggle to recover from a horrifically debilitating accident.

Later on, though, Hatch came back around to impact my affection for the reboot Battlestar. I’ve written a lot about that in the past, and to be sure, Hatch’s turn as Tom Zarek was amazing. But a great deal can be said as well for how his Apollo influenced Jamie Bamber’s in the reboot–and, in fact, Tor.com has an excellent post up today about that very thing, calling Apollo the moral compass of Battlestar Galactica. Teenage me really only understood that Apollo was dreamy. Grownup me very, very much appreciates Hatch’s pivotal role, so excellently described in that Tor.com post.

The Mary Sue has a lovely tribute post up as well.

I’ve been having the strains of the Battlestar theme echoing in my head off and on ever since the news broke. And really, the entire opening credits.

Not to mention the excellent “Colonial Anthem” version of that theme, from the reboot. I can think of no better tribute music for Captain Apollo’s passing.

Viper squadrons, form up. Present arms. Fire in salute.

RIP, Captain.

So say we all.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)
Catalyst

Catalyst

A bit delayed on this, but it’s taken a while to get enough titles queued up as acquisitions to actually make it worth doing a post! I’ve been focusing lately on reading the books I actually own versus buying a whole lot of new ones–and as a result, I’ve actually built up a sizable credit balance on Barnes and Noble’s website. Which is kinda funny, given that I’ve stopped using them as my major source of ebooks!

But ANYWAY, here’s some recent titles I’ve picked up.

Acquired in print:

  • Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno. This is exactly what it says on the tin. More specifically, it’s the prequel story to the events of the movie Rogue One, getting into the backstory of the Erso family, and how Galen became involved in building the Death Star. I felt this sounded like fun, and to my pleasure, Dara gave me a hardback copy for my birthday.

Acquired in digital from B&N.com:

  • Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor. SF. Grabbed this because it’s the sequel to Binti, which I enjoyed quite a bit.
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, by Seanan McGuire. Grabbed on general “because it’s Seanan McGuire, duh” grounds, but also because a) I’ve been enjoying reading novellas lately, and b) I liked the base concept of this, a ghost who’s working on a suicide hotline.
  • Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages. Another Tor.com novella (see previous commentary re: enjoying these lately), which I have grabbed because why yes, a story about queer women in San Francisco in 1940 has my attention.
  • The City, Not Long After, by Pat Murphy. SF. Got this on the strength of James Nicoll’s review of it. It sounds like a surprisingly pacifistic post-apocalyptic scenario, and given the times we live in, that feels strangely reassuring. This’ll be the second thing of Murphy’s I’ll have read and while I was ambivalent about her Hobbit pastiche, I liked it well enough that I’m willing to try another book of hers.

This’ll make five so far for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS.

Dara and I are deep in working with artist Nicole Cardiff on the cover for the forthcoming Warder Soul. And as of tonight, I am delighted to report that BEHOLD! We have a color rough!

This is going to be developed as Nicole adds a lot more depth and nuance to the coloration. But this is now a real good rough idea of what y’all can expect on the cover of this book. Book’s not remotely close to done yet, but having a cover being developed in conjunction with the actual story is exciting, y’all!

And now I give you Christopher MacSimidh!

Warder Soul Cover Rough

Warder Soul Cover Rough

I may not be the only fantasy novelist in the world with a bouzouki player in an urban fantasy series, but I think I can now make a solid case for being the first one with a bouzouki player on a cover. 😀

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)

It was my turn to post up on Here Be Magic again today, and it was only a couple of days ago that I realized this meant I’d be posting on Inauguration Day. Given how the election had kicked my creativity in the teeth and how I’d run out of reasons (at least for the time being) to post about Star Wars, I was genuinely stumped as to what the hell I could actually post about.

But then I realized that I had legitimate things I could say about the necessity of listening to your muse, even if your muse is telling you you need to chuck 20,000 words into the bin and start over. I had to do this with Warder Soul, and I’m pleased to say that so far, I feel a lot better about the results.

Go check out the Here Be Magic post for what I had to say about the benefits of listening to your muse.

And here. For NO PARTICULAR REASON OR ANYTHING TODAY, I felt compelled to share with you all this new version of the first scene in Chapter 1 of Warder Soul. In which my young heroine of color is going to the wedding of her two gay housemates. There are fairies. The fairies are demanding cake. I feel like we could all use a bit of consolatory cake today. (Also vodka, but that’s going to have to wait till I get home from the day job.)

There’s a brief excerpt of the scene in the Here Be Magic post, but if you want to just read all 2,000 or so words, I’ve put up a PDF here. This is a direct export from Scrivener (which, OH HEY, does indeed export nicely to PDF)!

Also: I have officially decided that this story will in fact remain titled Warder Soul, while the story previously known as Queen of Souls is going to be renamed Queen of Ghosts, just so that I don’t have the titles sounding too much like one another. I wanted to keep the Persephone story Queen of (Something), and am a bit chagrined that it took me this long to think of a one-syllable word that could still fit the tenor of the tale. The relevant pages on my site will be updated to reflect this title change shortly.

Also #2: I am very pleased to note as well that I have secured a new cover artist for Warder Soul, since my previous artist, the excellent Kiri Moth, is no longer available. The new artist is Nicole Cardiff and you can see her stuff here. She’s got a sketch in progress already and I hope to be sharing some glimpses with you soon of what Warder Soul‘s cover will look like!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Great Amurkian Novel 2)

For those of you who didn’t see this on my social networks today, I was very pleased to announce that I’d been invited to send in a post for the Nanowrimo blog, now that they’re doing a series of posts on the general theme of “Now what?” for folks coming out of doing Nanowrimo this past November.

My post went up today and can be found here! (The Nano blog is hosted on Tumblr, so if you’re a user there and you feel so inclined, reblog it, won’t you? Thank you!) If you’re coming to my blog from that post or from places it got shared today, hiya and welcome!

This post, though, is in response to a question that I got asked on Twitter:

This, I felt, is an excellent question. So here’s a post about that.

First, at least in my experience, there are a few different variations of “sick of your novel” that might happen. So I’m going to talk about each, and what I’ve been able to do about them.

Oh god oh god I have been trying to pull words out of my brain for this thing for MONTHS NOW and they’re just not working and AUGH.

If I’ve been pounding my head against a work in progress for what seems like forever, and it feels like the words just don’t want to flow, this is usually a warning sign that something about what I’m doing isn’t actually right for the story. What I have to do for this is take a step back, see if I can figure out what is not working, and come at it from a new angle.

This is in fact something I’m wrestling with on my current work in progress, Warder Soul. I got about 20,000 words in on it, but with this lingering sense of discontent with what I was doing. But after talking it out some with my wife (who, while not a writer, is an EXCELLENT refiner of my ideas), I decided to try the beginning again with a new strategy.

I am unbelievably stressed out right now and the sheer thought of looking at my word processor is making me want to pitch my computer out the window.

There are times, though, that the failure to produce words isn’t necessarily the fault of the story. If I’m too stressed out by external causes, this can kick my creative productivity in the teeth and make pulling words out of my brain about as fun as pulling teeth out of my mouth.

I’ve got a stupidly complicated medical history for somebody my age, and as a result of this, I’ve had long stretches in the last 12 years in which it was impossible for me to get any creative work done due to having to recover from assorted medical things.

Similarly, I have come to learn that if I’m stressing out about other sorts of things (like oh, say, the election that just happened), this can also kick my productivity in the face.

What I have learned to do about this: give myself permission to not write. Which might seem counterintuitive to the whole “but I’m stressing the fuck out about not writing to begin with” thing, sure. But the thing is, for me, a certain level of pressure to get a novel done can be useful. Too much pressure, on the other hand, is setting myself up for creative burnout. I have had to learn to tell myself that it’s okay if I need to take a creative break. Even if it’s a long one.

In times where it would stress me out almost as much to not actually be writing, I compromise with myself and set a stupidly low daily word count goal. Say, two hundred words. Something tiny like that which doesn’t seem nearly as intimidating as, say, five hundred or a thousand. And if I can achieve a much smaller goal like that, sometimes the sense of satisfaction I get from it is enough to make me want to keep going.

But again, it’s also important to tell myself that if all I have in me for a day is two hundred words, it’s okay if I stop.

I have been revising this novel SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME AND I CANNOT STAND TO EDIT YET ANOTHER WORD.

Any writer who’s gotten past the first draft knows this pain, boy howdy let me tell you. Editing can be deeply satisfying for me sometimes–digging into a scene or a chapter, and finding little nuances I can change about it to improve it. On the other hand, if I go six or seven drafts (and I HAVE), this can get really tiresome really fast. Particularly given that I do also have a full time day job, and I often just don’t have enough brain left over after a full day at work to come home and beat a chapter’s worth of edits into submission. (This, by the way, would be why I haven’t been able to finally edit Queen of Souls yet.)

And sometimes, if I go long enough editing a given book, I just start missing actually creating brand new words.

Which is exactly why I have multiple works in progress. If I get sick of editing something, I can go throw words at something else for a while. Which does help.

Non-writing-related breaks also help. For me, that’s usually a) getting on the treadmill, b) picking up an instrument and practicing tunes, or c) playing games.

I’m doing Nanowrimo as fast as I POSSIBLY CAN and oh god oh god I can’t stand the thought of one more day of this AUGH.

Nanowrimo demands you write at least 1,667 words every day of the month to hit that 50,000 word goal. And y’know what? That’s frickin’ hard for a lot of writers, even people who have been writing for years. It’s okay if you start feeling burned out by the pace.

When I’m trying to do Nano, it helps immensely to remind myself that while hitting that 50,000 word goal is fun and all, at the end of the day (or the month, as it were), the actual end goal is to write a novel. And even if I don’t manage to do the 50,000 words in November, if I keep going and eventually wind up with a book, I still win.

And part of what I learned from my very first Nanowrimo is that, in fact, I usually can’t manage a Nano-level daily word count. My much more standard goal is 500 words a day.

If you try Nanowrimo and find that that daily word count is too much for you, it is entirely okay if you pull back to a pace that better fits your creative speed. Every single writer has different capacities. Every single writer has different ways they’ll need to do things. Find the pace that works for you.

How about the rest of you?

Those are the major ways I’ve found to date that I can get sick of a work in progress, so now I’ll turn it over to my fellow writers and Nanowrimo regulars out there: how have you found yourself getting sick of works in progress? What do you do about it when it happens? Tell me about it in the comments!

Editing to add: The writer who sent me that tweet above now has a post up about this! Check it out!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Final Test)

Dara has been on a big kick with the turn of the year to get rid of a lot of things we don’t need anymore, and this has rolled over onto me a bit to make the first week of 2017 one of solving a bunch of small problems.

Problem #1: Backups weren’t working correctly on our servers.

How this was solved: Discovering that rdiff-backup wasn’t going to create a directory for me in the backup location if that directory didn’t already exist, unless I gave it a –create-full-path argument. Also discovering that scripts in cron.daily, cron.weekly, and cron.monthly should not actually be in cron format, unlike anything you put in cron.d. Once I figured out both of these things, I was finally able to get backups working properly.

Problem #2: My older laptop got unacceptably warm after a few minutes of use, particularly when booted into Windows 10.

How this was solved: Taking Winnowill apart, which let Dara not only give the inside a good cleaning, but ALSO let her discover that the goop that’s normally supposed to provide some insulation conductivity between the CPUs and the heat sink had dried out. A lot of it had in fact crumbled away. So she ordered some new goop and put new layers of that on the CPUs, and then we put the machine back together.

This made the machine much happier when booting into Windows 10 and actually trying to do things in that OS.

Meanwhile we’re also updating the hard drive from its current 500GB one to a 1T, and going from a Western Digital Blue to a Western Digital Black. Which, Dara tells me, should mean an increase in hard drive performance and hopefully another reduction in the likelihood of it overheating.

In general this should also hopefully increase the lifespan of this machine. Given that I got it way back in 2007, and this box is still chugging along, that’s still a pretty impressive lifespan for a laptop. I was thinking of selling it, but Dara says she’d like to keep the box around just for the sake of having an older and still functional Mac. Eventually it might become our new Time Machine server if Elda gives up the ghost.

All of this did at least also give me a chance to take a picture of what the inside of Winnowill looks like!

Winnie's CPUs

Winnie’s CPUs

Problem #3: The cushion on the left ear of my Bluetooth headphones split a seam.

Apparently this is a thing with Jabra move headphones? A couple weeks ago I noticed that there was a split seam on this ear cushion, and when I googled for it, I found quite a few other users complaining about the same thing. This has happened often enough that Jabra sells replacement cushions, and the replacements are supposedly sewn and not glued. I ordered a pair of the replacements and got the new one for the left ear on there okay with Dara’s help. Keeping the cushion for the right side in reserve on the assumption that this will eventually happen on that side, too.

There are other things I’m in the middle of doing that are more domestic–replacing old bras and old jeans–and Dara and I will also be looking into replacing our mattress. But the techie problems are more interesting, so the post is about those!

Any problems y’all have solved so far with the new year?

Editing to add: By “goop” on the CPU I actually meant, of course, conductivity rather than insulation. Oops! Many thanks to userinfoalinsa for pointing that out.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Default)
So there's been a big uptick in people bailing on LJ in the last couple of weeks, partly because of the physical move of servers to Russia, but also because of the news of HTTPS being disabled on the LJ site. I have not bailed completely on LJ yet, although both [personal profile] solarbird and I are in the middle of archiving old posts. And both Dara and I have at least some reason to maintain a public presence on LJ: i.e., pointers off to angelahighland.com and crimeandtheforcesofevil.com. As all the indie artists and authors out there know, any little bit of way to get people to find your stuff is kinda necessary.

But that said, hi folks coming over from LJ and subscribing to me here. I'm granting access and subscribing back on some of you folks, though I don't recognize some of the IDs I see cropping up in my inbox. Consider this post an invitation to say hi and tell me about yourselves if I don't know you already!

(This is a Dreamwidth-specific post and will not be crossposted.)
annathepiper: (Buh?)

I saw news breaking this week, first on The Digital Reader, and then by both Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Dear Author. Both of these sites have mentioned how Romance Writers of America is deeply unamused by the entire affair.

In short: All Romance Ebooks is closing, and there has been a firestorm of bad reaction about this, because of their attempt to offer impacted authors ten cents on the dollar for outstanding royalties owed. Since I’m not a romance author, and since what romance titles I’ve purchased for my own reading have been through either Kobo or B&N, I don’t have an immediate horse in this race. But I wanted to relay the news in case anyone who reads me hasn’t seen it already–and in case any of you are actually customers of the site. If you are a customer of the site you should see about backing up your library from them RIGHT NOW.

And for any authors who read me and who have had titles there, and who will have your income impacted by this: my profoundest sympathies. It all sounds generally horrible and deeply disappointing.

If you want more data, check out the links at the top of the post.

Editing to add: Writer Beware now has a post up about the matter, including discussion of how there were no particular classic warning signs about this implosion and how nobody knew anything was apparently wrong before this week.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Buh?)

I’m seeing a lot of posts on my reading lists on both Dreamwidth and LJ talking about how apparently, LJ’s conducted a quiet move of remaining US-based servers into Russia.

Note this post by DW user mdlbear, and this one by DW user feuervogel.

I am in the middle of conducting an import of all my LJ entries over to my Dreamwidth account, and I will be deleting a lot of my old LJ content. I am seriously considering whether it’s now time to delete my LJ account.

At minimum I will no longer be posting locked content of any kind to Livejournal, though I will continue to mirror posts there from angelahighland.com, for the time being. If I change my mind, I will be posting again to let folks know.

LJ friends, if you’re not already on DW and you want to add me to your DW reading list, I’m annathepiper in both places, so feel free to add me to your DW filters if you want.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Musical Jack)

(Doing this as a blog post instead of a post to Facebook, since this is really too long for a status update.)

Okay, so my monthly-or-so lessons with Lisa Ornstein have been going swimmingly. Yesterday I had another lesson with her, and we started talking about how to do string transitions so that I could start to do simple arpeggios and if I’m feeling really ambitious, really simple tunes.

The arpeggio drill has been good, letting me practice walking from the tonic, to the third, to the fifth, and then up to the octave, and then back down again. So yay!

We’ve also been talking about four types of string transitions:

  • Open string to open string
  • Finger on a string to open string
  • Open string to finger on a string
  • Finger to finger

And, Lisa’s advised me that when I’m doing scales in particular, and I’m coming down from an open string (the fifth) back down to the fourth on the string below, that’s an open-to-finger transition. And she’s got me doing a “stop, drop, and roll” thing that’s seeming to click well with my brain to try to make the scale as smooth as possible. I’ve just tried it today, and it’s gotten me the smoothest scales I’ve managed to play yet.

Then I tried to get a bit ambitious, and this is where the question for string players who follow me comes in.

I’ve been toying with “Frere Jacque” since it’s a real simple little children’s tune, and I figured playing with something like that to start with would be within my capabilities. So we did a bit of that in yesterday’s lesson, applying to it the same techniques I’ve done in workshops learning session tunes: i.e., breaking it down into pieces and thinking about how to play each piece.

I also asked Lisa when I should be changing bow directions, and she told me, I should change direction when I change notes. (IMPORTANT NOTE: I already know just from observing fiddle players in session that there are plenty of times when this is not in fact the case, and just from screwing around on my own instrument, I discovered that oh okay playing a bunch of notes on a single stroke is apparently how you do slurs? But for purposes of this question, I’m assuming I need to keep it simple for my newbie self and stick to “change directions when I change notes.”)

Given this, and given breaking “Frere Jacque” down into its constituent pieces, it seems to me like the bowing pattern gets a little weird and I’m not entirely sure how to handle it. The pieces look like this:

1st piece: Fre-re Jac-que, Fre-re Jac-que (Down-up down-up, down-up down-up)
2nd piece: Dor-mez vous? Dor-mez vous? (Down-up-down, down-up-down)
3rd piece: Son-nez les ma-ti-nes, Son-nez les ma-ti-nes (Down-up-down-up-down-up, down-up-down-up-down-up)
4th piece: Ding-dong-ding, ding-dong-ding (Down-up-down, down-up-down)

So it’s the 2nd and the 4th pieces that are confusing me a bit, because those are tuples, not doubles. And I can’t do two down strokes in a row, right? So should I go down-up-down, up-down-up? That would seem like the right thing to do, but I am not a hundred percent sure.

Any string players want to advise me?

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Han Says NO (Han Says NO)

I just saw the news breaking: Carrie Fisher has passed away at the age of 60, following a recent medical emergency.

Goddammit 2016. :~(

I was afraid we’d see this, when the news originally broke about her medical emergency a few days ago. I’d been at least a little hopeful given that we then saw news that she’d been stabilized… but apparently, this shitstorm of a year just had to get in another punch and take General Organa from us.

Much has been said on the various blogs I follow about Fisher’s openness talking about her past addiction issues, as well as her capabilities as a script doctor in Hollywood, something she hasn’t gotten nearly as much credit for as she should have. But for me, of course, she will forever be Leia Organa, princess and rebel and general. Given how important Star Wars has been to me as an SF/F fan–particularly with my history of playing Han on Star Wars MUSH, which of course meant that I roleplayed with multiple people playing Leia, so yeah, the character is real important to me–it’s safe to say that she’s one of the most iconic characters of my childhood. And arguably the most important female character I encountered early on, in my initial exposure to SF/F.

Star Wars was the first movie I can consciously remember seeing in a theater. I’ve written before about the visceral memory I have of seeing that opening shot of the Star Destroyer rolling up the screen. But I also have very early memories of me and my brothers having Star Wars action figures, and my always being a little jealous and protective of the Leia figure.

And of course when Empire came out, I had gotten old enough to start crushing on Harrison Ford. Part and parcel of this, of course, was how vital Leia was as a part of that–because sure, Han was totally swoonable and all, but Leia’s part of all their wonderful scenes in Empire are just as critical to me as Han’s.

Han: C’mon, admit, sometimes you think I’m all right.
Leia: Maybe. Occasionally. When you’re not acting like a scoundrel.
Han: Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
Leia: I happen to like nice men.
Han: I’m a nice man.
Leia: No you’re not–
*SMOOCH*

Not that I’ve memorized that scene or anything. :~}

But oh god yes her lines in Star Wars, too.

“You came in that? You’re braver than I thought.”

“Will someone get this walking carpet OUT OF MY WAY?”

Fuck. Fuck this fucking year.

I think I gotta rewatch A New Hope and Empire now. I was kinda going to do that anyway after seeing Rogue One… but now, yeah.

To all my fellow Star Wars fans, many hugs.

To Carrie Fisher’s family and loved ones and all her fans, deepest condolences.

I choose to believe that General Organa has damn well gone to become one with the Force. As she damn well should, y’know, being Force sensitive and all.

Han and Leia

Han and Leia

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Blow This Thing (Blow This Thing)
Rogue One

Rogue One

I now get to say this twice in a row: that? That was a goddamned Star Wars movie.

Dara and I went to go see this thing in 3D IMAX today, and when the credits rolled, we took off our glasses and looked at each other. We’d both been crying. And we nodded knowingly to one another as we realized that, and came out of the theater talking about how we both had ALL THE FEELS.

Because yeah, even more than The Force Awakens (which, let me remind you, I quite adored), this movie grabbed hold of everything I loved from A New Hope and brought it roaring back to life.

Open the shield for transmission because I am about to broadcast SPOILERS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Thinking)

My colleagues over in NIWA are having a discussion about trigger warnings on our Facebook group tonight. I’ve added a little bit to that discussion at the level I thought appropriate, and would now like to come over here into my own space to go into a bit more detail about my stance on the idea in general.

I have seen a lot of sturm and drang about what trigger warnings actually are and what purpose they serve. There are a lot of folks out there who have negative opinions about them, but I don’t want to get into that; I already got into that in 2015, and do not need to do so again. The point of this post is to just talk about what I believe trigger warnings to be and what purpose I find them to serve.

There are two ways I can talk about this: as a reader, and as a writer.

As a reader, there are certain things that cause me to actually appreciate a thoughtfully worded trigger warning. For example, anything warning about sexual violence as a plot point. Due to my own history and that of more than one of my loved ones, the vast majority of the time, I’m really not going to want to engage with any story that involves sexual violence.

I would be overstating the matter to claim that such a story would trigger me; it probably wouldn’t, not in the way that I understand that word to be used when people talk about being triggered by things. But at the same time, I want to know before I actually start to engage with a story if there’s going to be rape involved or any other kind of sexual abuse–because if there are other aspects to that story that might counterbalance that and make me want to engage with it anyway, I want to be able to factor that in when I’m making my decision about whether to read or view that story.

Here’s a specific example. While I’m a big Marvel fangirl and have happily watched all the various Marvel movies, both seasons of Daredevil, and some of Luke Cage, I have specifically avoided watching Jessica Jones on the general grounds that I know that story’s about a woman dealing with having been sexually abused. And while I rationally understand that it’s a very powerful story and that in fact David Tennant by all reports does a brilliant job of portraying the bad guy, I also know that I would really not enjoy being a viewer of that story.

Again, it would be overstating the matter to say that it would actively trigger me, and I don’t want to disrespect the term by claiming it would. But I also will not dismiss my own less potent reactions. I know I wouldn’t want to engage with that specific story, so I won’t.

Also, let me emphasize that if I know a story has sexual violence in it beforehand, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not going to engage with that story at all. What it does mean is that I’ll probably go to greater lengths to find out whether it has other aspects to it that might counterbalance my distaste for that kind of plot and make me want to take that story in anyway. In the case of Jessica Jones, I read several reviews and recaps of episodes just to see whether the plot sounded like something I could deal with anyway, and to get a sense of what the fandom felt about the material over all.

With a book, I’d do much the same. If I’m looking up a book on Goodreads and I see a mention in the reviews on it that there’s sexual violence in the story, if there are other things about that book I may want to engage with anyway, I’ll take greater care before deciding whether I want to buy it. I might check it out from the library instead. And I’d go over the reviews for it in more detail, just to see what people have to say about it.

In short, a thoughtfully written trigger warning about sexual violence in a story is something I feel would let me make an informed decision about whether I want to deal with a particular story. And the key phrase here is “informed decision”.

I also don’t feel as though a trigger warning about some other thing (e.g., graphic non-sexual violence, e.g. a car crash, or whatever) would annoy me. The presence of a trigger warning on a story in general is not going to make me specifically not want to read it. It’d be a neutral piece of information for me, one that would not be immediately relevant to my own decision about whether to engage with a story. But I am totally fine with it being there for someone else to make that same informed decision.

Now let me talk about this as a writer.

To date, I haven’t written anything that I feel really warrants a trigger warning. As you might guess from the first part of this post, it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll ever write sexual violence into one of my plots. I’m not saying I never will, if a story presented itself that legitimately required it, but the bar for that story to clear would be very, very high. (In fact, as a younger writer, I actually tried working a rape plot into a draft of one of my earliest novels. It… did not work. And that’s a decision I do not feel I would make lightly now that I’m an older and more experienced writer.)

If I were to write something that would warrant it, though, I’d be thinking about how to present a trigger warning in a thoughtful way. I don’t feel like I’d make it hugely complicated or blatant–just a little note at the beginning of a story, to alert potential readers that “hey, this story has potentially sensitive items X, Y, and Z in it”. I also don’t feel like it’d be appropriate to go into too much detail, because spoilers are not a thing I want to throw out willy-nilly, but I could see myself inviting readers who do in fact need to know more to contact me directly.

Because really, at the end of the day, it’s all about that aforementioned informed decision. It might cost me a reader, who might say “well shit, I guess that story isn’t for me”. But on the other hand, it might also gain me a reader, who might say “oh dear, well, this one bit of the story sounds like it’ll be a problem, but I like these other bits so I want to read it anyway, and by the way, Anna, thank you for actually warning me in advance”.

‘Cause really, sticking a trigger warning on a story is going to cost me at most a few sentences worth of effort. Which, if you’re a writer writing a 100,000 word novel, really isn’t that much effort at all.

And if it happens to make a potential reader’s life a little easier, I certainly can’t see the harm in that.

Given the world we live in, I think we need all the little gestures of compassion we can get.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Good Book)

Finally, another post in the Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread series! This post provides my commentary on the French edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, and specifically on Chapter 1.

As I get into the bilingual commentary on these chapters, I’m going to be following a similar format to what I’m doing in the Harry Potter Reread posts. So I’ll be borrowing many of the same headers I’m using on that series!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

I currently have the following things available for direct purchase from me!

Faerie Blood

I have six total print copies of Faerie Blood left in my main stock.

Additionally, I have one extra copy that has a slightly different coloration on the cover, since it’s one of the earliest copies printed and we were still experimenting with the color tones. So it’s a bit paler than the usual copies. Still looks good though so I include this as available at the same price as the usual copies.

Bone Walker

I have 10 total print copies of Bone Walker available.

Additionally, I have two extra copies that have wildly miscolored covers. These were bad copies that came out during the original print run, and Third Place Press just let me keep them. These are available at a significant discount, since they do look very weird. These copies are otherwise fine, though!

I have another copy that has faded a bit on the spine, since it was sitting on the shelf and got some sun on it. So I consider this a cover problem as well, and will make this available at the same discount.

Lastly, I have two damaged copies of Bone Walker. These ones were originally intended for Kickstarter backers, but came back to me damaged in the post. Their covers were damaged, and since they were backer copies, they are signed made out to those backers. These are also available at a steep discount.

Faerie Blood Ebook Bundle CDs

These are the limited run of CDs I burned with an ebook bundle of Faerie Blood in various formats on them. This disc includes both the Drollerie Press edition of the book as well as the current edition. As a bonus, it also includes the short story “The Blood of the Land”.

I actually sold a copy of these at Orycon, go me! I now have eight of these left, and will not be making new ones with this specific set of files.

All of these items are purchasable via my Square store. Additionally, the print copies are available via the Bandcamp merch pages Dara set up for me, which you can find here.

The next convention I will likely have items available will be Conflikt in January, and after that, Norwescon. But if people buy from me before either of these, I’ll be in a position to do fresh print runs of both books.

Questions? Let me know!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Little Help?)

So here I am working on Warder Soul, Book 3 of the Free Court series… but I have a problem, y’all, and my problem is this: my awesome cover artist for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker is no longer available. 🙁

Which means I am in the difficult position of needing a new artist! This is made more complicated by these specific problems:

One, a lot of indie cover artists these days appear to focus on doing photo manipulation art instead of line art. I specifically need someone who does line art, in order to match the style of the previous covers.

Two, in my ideal world, a new artist would have already have a style that’s similar to Kiri’s. Because while two different artists may each be individually awesome, I acknowledge that asking artist B to draw like artist A, if artist B doesn’t already have a similar style, is asking a lot of that artist! So I’d like to make a new artist’s life as easy as possible here, and start from a point of “new artist already has a style pretty close to old artist”, if at all possible.

What will make this at least a little easier is that I do not actually need this new artist to worry about doing the actual cover layout. Dara will take care of that for me, as she did for both Faerie Blood and Bone Walker. I just need someone who can do a piece of art for me that’s reasonably close to Kiri’s style, in dimensions similar to what the Book 1 and Book 2 pieces were, so that Dara can take the Book 3 art and do the same layout to it. I already have a pretty good idea of what I want that art to look like, even; I just need somebody who can actually draw it.

So does anybody out there have recommendations for line artists who have an established history of fulfilling commissions in a reasonably timely fashion? Names, contact data, links to DeviantArt pages, other galleries of previous work, etc., would be most appreciated. Also, if you know anybody who might be appropriate and who is actively seeking commissions, please feel free to point them at this post, or at my own contact data.

I do have plenty of time to get this done, at least, since I’ve only barely begun work on the book and it’ll be a while before I finish it. But I do need to actually settle this now, so that any new artist will in fact have time to work on the piece and chat with me about any necessary changes.

Thanks in advance all!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Picked up on Kobo last month, and it’s taken me this long to actually post about it:

  • In the Labyrinth of Drakes, by Marie Brennan. Book 4 of her Lady Trent series. Which I have indeed already read, and good lord I loved it. (heart)

Picked up in print at Orycon this past weekend:

  • The Venomsword, by Stephen Hagelin. Fantasy. Picked this up because the author was working a table in the dealers’ room two tables down from me and Madison Keller. And he was a friendly young fellow who also is writing books about the fey, which is Relevant to My Interests! Also, I have to admit that I actually rather liked his extremely minimalist cover design, which he said was influenced by his affection for Japanese design sensibilities in book covers.

Pre-ordered on Kobo, so even though this doesn’t actually release till next year I’m counting it as acquired in this year’s tally:

  • River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey. Alternate history SF, a Tor.com novella which will be released in 2017. Grabbed this because I’ve been following the author on Twitter ever since her delightful livetweeting of watching the Star Wars movies, and lately I have also seen her reaching out to her readers in constructive ways as we all try to find our way through the bombshell of the election. Also, I totally want to read about her hippopotamus wranglers. More data on this story here.

61 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Han Says NO (Han Says NO)

Tomorrow I will write a short con report for Orycon. Tonight, I will simply note that I have updated my FAQ, since I continue to get email spam from random people who say that they are with such-and-such a company and think it would be super-awesome if I posted about some random topic that has absolutely nothing to do with either my books, or the things I have a history of being personally interested in (such as Tolkien, Doctor Who, feminism, and politics).

The updated items are at bottom of my FAQ page, and I will note them here as well:

  • Can I get you to run a sponsored post about topic <fill in the blank> on your site?

    No. This site has two purposes: a) to promote my books, and b) to be the master location for my blogging on topics that are of personal interest to me. The only exceptions I will make for this are for fellow authors who need a signalboost for their works, and even then, I will only do that within the context of Boosting the Signal.

  • Can I talk with you about running advertising about product <fill in the blank> on your site?

    No. I have no intention of running any kinds of ads on angelahighland.com for the foreseeable future. If I were to consider doing that, the only sources for ads I would be considering would be for other authors’ books. And even then, only under strictly controlled circumstances, in which I could guarantee that any such ads would not be intrusive on a user’s browsing experience.

  • I’m from commercial site <fill in the blank> and I think it’d be neat if you posted about <random topic that has absolutely nothing to do with my books or my personal interests>! Will you do that post?

    No. If you want to drum up interest in random corners of the Internet on topics pertaining to whatever you’re selling, might I suggest you put up a post on your own blog or social media, and get your readers to interact with you about that topic on your own site? Because reaching out to random authors elsewhere on the net to get them to blog on your topic of choice is useless, especially given that I would have no intention of linking back to you or indicating that this is a sponsored post in any way. See above item re: sponsored posts.

Note that anybody who actually regularly reads me and knows me, none of you are the problem. I’m mostly putting this up for reference because I HAVE started getting spam from people about this kind of thing, and it’s annoying, and I want something I can officially point at when I ask people to stop.

Also, pro tip: I’ll be much more inclined to take your email telling me what a great post I did seriously if you actually bother to point out a specific post.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)

Namely, I attempted to get over this whole “AUGH PHONES” thing and actually freggin’ call my state Senators and Congresswoman. The goal here was to give them constituent feedback on certain current events, namely:

  1. My strident opposition to Stephen Bannon holding any position whatsoever in the White House; and
  2. My strident opposition to any kind of Muslim registry, since that idea is getting bandied around by Trump’s gathering staff, and I find it particularly reprehensible that the Japanese internment camps are getting cited in some news report as actual legitimate precedent for doing that kind of thing, to wit, no.

There has been a thread going around on Twitter the last several days, which was posted by someone named Emily Ellsworth. She says she has six years’ experience working as a Congressional staffer, and because of this, she wanted the Net to know that making actual phone calls is still the very best way to make your voice heard to your representatives. The number of emails as well as printed letters or faxes that any given member of Congress gets is huge, and so they just have to scan them for keywords and tick off items on topic counters. But if you actually call and interact with a human on the other end, they take more notice of that.

The full thread starts here:

So because of this I made a point of calling the offices of both Washington Senators, as well as my district’s Representative to let my input be known on those two issues. I kept it brief. I introduced myself, identified myself as a Washington state voter and gave them my zip code, and just basically said “I wanted to let the Senator/the Congresswoman know that I feel this way on X and on Y”. And I made a point of thanking the various staffers for their time. They were all quite polite and were happy to take my feedback.

Side notes on this experience:

  1. I had way less trouble reaching Maria Cantwell’s office and Suzan DelBene’s than I did Patty Murray’s. Senator Murray’s office in Seattle never picked up on the line, and the voicemail box was full, so I couldn’t leave a message. Likewise for her office number in Everett. I had to call her Tacoma office to actually reach a staffer. Apparently Senator Murray has been getting a LOT of calls.
  2. Since this came up in discussion on Facebook, I am aware that Congress doesn’t have any actual veto power over Mr. Bannon’s appointment, given the specific position he’s been tapped for. That said, there is still some leverage here that the Dems or sympathetic Republicans can take, e.g., refusal to deal with holding hearings on the positions that Congress does need to give their approval for.
  3. I was a little nervous making these calls, I’ll freely own up to that, but it did help to keep it short. And also in that I’ve had at least some practice doing pitches for novels, which helps one focus in on short sound-bite editions of something you want to talk about.
  4. Senator Murray’s staffer in Tacoma chuckled ruefully when I told him that these were my two main issues I wanted to speak up on for the moment, but that I expected there would be more as we move into the new administration.
  5. As a Great Big Sea fan, I keep wanting to read Senator Murray’s name as “Paddy Murphy” and yeah no. 😉

All in all: not too bad as an exercise in civic awareness. Cell phones, especially smartphones, are powerful little gadgets. I feel like for once I’m actually harnessing the power for mine for something meaningful.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Since I am heading to Orycon in Portland this coming weekend, it’s time for another 99 cent sale for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker!

Sale prices will be in effect starting today, Monday November 14th, through Monday November 28th (which, conveniently, is also Cyber Monday).

As soon as price changes take effect on the various retailers, you should be able to see the sale price on all places these two ebooks are sold. For the duration, I have also set all my titles on Smashwords to be ‘Reader Sets Price’, so if you’re a Smashwords user, yes, this means you have an opportunity to snag both of these novels (as well as my two short stories “The Blood of the Land” and “The Disenchanting of Princess Cerridwen”) for free.

As always, the major locations you can buy these books are featured on their pages on my site. See the Faerie Blood page and the Bone Walker page for the Buy buttons at the top, and also the Preview buttons that will let you read samples if you are unfamiliar with my writing in general, or the Free Court series in particular.

Here also are direct links if you want them:

Faerie Blood:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play | Square

Bone Walker:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play | Square

Also, if you don’t want to go through any of the vendors where the book is on sale, you may buy the books directly from me via my Paypal account. You can do that on my Paypal.Me link here.

Spread the word!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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Anna the Piper

February 2017

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