annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

This is the second of the two memes I’ve been tagged on on Facebook recently, and this one came at me via fellow Here Be Magic author Sonya Clark. As with the previous meme post, I won’t outright tag people on this. But if you’re a fellow writer and want to jump in, feel free!

From Sonya’s post:

Amy Burgess tagged me to share a “heart” book and the story behind it.

This one’s almost too easy, really. Because even with five released books, to this day I continue to think of Faerie Blood as the Book of My Heart.

And not just because it’s my first released novel, either. Every author’s going to be partial to their first release.

I could say as well that Faerie Blood‘s notable for being the book I finished Nanowrimo with in 2003, which gives it extra heft in my affections. But that’s not really why it’s the Book of My Heart, either.

What makes Faerie Blood my Heart Book is that I’ve thrown so much of what I love into it.

Music, obviously. Elessir is an “unofficial” Elvis impersonator and Christopher is a bouzouki-playing Newfoundlander for music-fangirling reasons that will be obvious to anybody who knows me: i.e., that I’m a lifelong Elvis fangirl and that Great Big Sea remains my all-time favorite band. But not even just that. Multiple characters in Faerie Blood are musicians, and not for any reasons that are particularly relevant to the plot or the worldbuilding, but rather, just because I feel very deeply that making music is an important part of life.

This is also why there’s a scene in Faerie Blood in which Kendis and Christopher geek out a bit about bouzouki tuning, and another in which they just hang out together and play their instruments. The latter in particular has its origins leading straight back to Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, and how much I simply adored that Aubrey and Maturin took the time out in between all the action to just hang out and play music together. That won my love as a reader, and that love hung out in the back of my writer brain until I was able to write a “characters hanging out and bonding over playing music” scene of my own.

Then there’s the Sidhe. I know it’s fashionable in the SF/F genre these days to dismiss elves as a cliche. I know there’s such a thing as the Our Elves are Better trope and the Screw You, Elves trope. I know there’s even an entire filk album called Everybody Hates Elves.

As y’all might guess, I do not count myself amongst that “everybody”. C.f. all my previous commentary about how Elfquest is such a formative influence on me.

Now, also obviously, Faerie Blood is only the first step into my Warder universe. And I’ve got a lot coming that I’m very eager to share with you, stories that will hopefully do for you as readers what they’ll do for me as a writer: deepen the universe, show you more about what’s going on, and give you more to love about it.

But really, Faerie Blood is what started it all. And for that, it’s the Book of My Heart.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)
Ghost Talkers

Ghost Talkers

Earlier this year, y’all may recall, a lot of ebook customers got a lot of credit from the settlement of the lawsuits pertaining to ebook pricing. I’m still annoyed that agency pricing has returned as fallout from this, because it’s put a big dent in my ebook buying.

On the other hand, it also means I got a boatload of credit from Barnes and Noble for my history of purchases with them.

Part of me is a bit wry about this, given that I have moved my ebook purchasing by and large over to Kobo. But hey, I’m still willing to go scarf books on barnesandnoble.com if I don’t have to pay for them, so hey! It took me a while to decide on the titles I want to get. I have however finally finished up spending that credit tonight, so here’s a roundup of all the things I got as a result of the credit drop.

Purchased from bn.com in print:

  • Elfquest: The Final Quest Volume 2, for generally obvious “because it’s delightful to be able to buy new Elfquest graphic novels again” reasons. I’ve been buying the individual issues in digital form direct from Dark Horse, but I absolutely wanted print copies as well. So I’m racking those up in print as they come out.

And, here are the ebooks I’ve gotten over the last several weeks, most of which were acquired tonight:

  • The Bone Whistle, by Erzebet YellowBoy. Contemporary fantasy. I had my eye on this story way back in 2007 when it was originally published by Juno Books, with the author using the name Eva Swan. I never was able to get a copy, though, before Juno shut down. She later released it herself under the name Erzebet YellowBoy, so I finally was able to grab it in ebook form.
  • Le combat des dieux, by ร‰lodie Tirel. High fantasy. Book 3 of her Luna series for young readers. This is of course the third of the series I’ve been reading in French to try to improve my reading comprehension in that language, and since I enjoyed the second one (at least what I could pick up of it), I’m moving onward to the third. I continue to be rather charmed by how the series seems entirely unrepentant about hitting all the classic fantasy tropes hard. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Historical/WWI fantasy. Grabbing this one because I’ll pretty much grab anything Kowal chooses to release, and this is her latest novel, about a squadron of mediums whose job it is to get intelligence on the front from the ghosts of recently slain soldiers.
  • Arabella of Mars, by David D. Levine. SF. Pretty much my entire feed of followed blogs and social media pals lost their minds over this release, so yeah, the buzz, it is strong with this one. And it sounds like great fun, with a blend of SF and steampunk viewed through a lens of English colonialism. Sure why not, I’ll have some.
  • Radiance: A Novel, by Catherynne M. Valente. SF. This is another recent title in the vein of SF with a heavy side helping of classic/pulp flavor, only this one also throws in a hefty dash of classic cinema flavor as well.
  • An Accident of Stars, by Foz Meadows. Fantasy. Specifically, portal fantasy. Grabbing this because I’ve read several of Meadows’ blog posts and appreciate her way of expressing herself. And also because portal fantasy with several leading female characters? Fuck yeah, I’m on board!
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. SF. Because again, the buzz is strong with this one, a novel that started life as a self-pub release and later got itself a formal book deal. Plus any SF novel that invokes Firefly in its buzz is pretty much bound to get my attention.
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle. Horror/Lovecraft pastiche. This one got a lot of attention because of revisiting Lovecraft–and specifically, one of his most racism-steeped stories, “The Horror at Red Hook”, bringing an African-American perspective to the events that story mentions. Since I’m one of the folks who likes Lovecraft’s worldbuilding but has a hard time dealing with his racism, I expect to particularly appreciate this one.
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson. Another Lovecraft pastiche, this time bringing in a female perspective. Given that I very much liked the She Walks in Shadows anthology that came out last year, I expect to like this too. Particularly given how I came out of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath with a very strong “WTF DID I JUST READ?!” reaction!
  • The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match, by Juliana Gray. Historical romance. Picked this up because I saw it favorably reviewed on dearauthor.com (you can see me in the comments on that link). And because I’m charmed by the idea of a romance featuring older characters.
  • HEX, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Horror. This is the English translation of a best-selling Dutch horror novel, which I saw get some positive buzz on Tor.com, such as this review here. This story sounds like it blends the modern and the gothic very well, and I liked what I read of excerpts, so I’m going to dive into the full book. Plus I appreciate being able to read something that originated in a non-US market.
  • False Hearts: A Novel, by Laura Lam. SF. Picking this up again because of seeing it plugged on Tor.com (really, those folks at Tor.com are a large contributor to my book purchasing decisions!), and specifically, because I saw this nice little short story set in the universe of this novel. Between that and being intrigued by the premise of a pair of (originally) conjoined twins as the protagonists of the story, I wanted to pick this up.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm, by Greg Keyes. Bought because I’ve quite liked the two movies in the current Apes franchise, and because I wanted to see what the prequel story setting up the plague we see in Dawn would be like. Also, because I’ve read stuff by Keyes in the past so I know he’s capable of laying down a good story.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, by Alex Irvine. This is the official novelization of the movie which came out a couple years ago. Because hey, I liked the story! And I do still like a movie novelization every so often!
  • It Takes Two to Tangle, by Theresa Romain. Historical romance. This went onto my queue a couple years ago entirely because of this review on Smart Bitches Trashy Books. And, now that I’m refreshing my memory about the book and see that I had in fact dropped a comment on that review, I am pleased to be reminded about this novel’s delightful opening line.
  • Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho. Steampunk/fantasy. Yet another strong-buzz book, with Tor.com contributing heavily to my hearing about this one. I particularly like that both of the lead characters are people of color.
  • The Last Witness, by K.J. Parker. Fantasy. I heard about this one through Tor.com because it is in fact one of their releases! The protagonist is someone who makes his living by ridding people of unwanted memories. Except now he’s been targeted by someone because of one of the secrets he now holds. Sounds fun!

This roundup all by itself doubles my total of acquired books for the year, taking me up to 36.

(And I should note for the record that some of my ebook settlement credit went to things that are not books: namely, two MST3K DVD boxed sets! But I think that any of my fellow fans of cheesy movies will agree that more MST3K in one’s library is always a good thing.)

ETA: OH HEY I forgot one. I also grabbed Jo Walton’s The Just City, because Tor.com has an ebook club now and that was this month’s freebie. Make that 37 for the year!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

I got tagged on a couple of writer-related memes going around Facebook. I don’t do memes per se, including tagging people on them, as I’ve said before. But I will absolutely use them as an excuse to write up something here on this blog! First, there’s the Influential Authors meme, on which I got tagged by Shawna Reppert.

From her post:

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. List 15 authors (poets included) who have influenced you and who will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can identify in no more than 15 minutes. Tag at least 15 friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing the authors my friends choose.

Let’s do this thing. These are not in any particular order.

  1. Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Julie Czerneda
  4. Tanya Huff
  5. Doranna Durgin
  6. Anne McCaffrey
  7. Naomi Novik
  8. Rachel Caine
  9. Susanna Kearsley
  10. Wendy and Richard Pini
  11. A.C. Crispin
  12. Patricia Briggs
  13. Mercedes Lackey
  14. Terry Brooks
  15. Esther Friesner

And I know I am probably fudging on things to list the Pinis here, given that Elfquest is a comic book series, not a book series. But I take the liberty of including them because a) as I’ve mentioned before on this site, they are a huge influence on my perceptions of what elves ought to be like in my stories, and b) if you wanna really get technical, there are Elfquest stories in book form, so there. I do have all the Blood of Ten Chiefs anthologies, as well as the novelizations of the first three graphic novels!

Tolkien is on this list for reasons which are similarly obvious to anybody who knows anything about my personal history as a reader as well as a writer; noting him among my influences for worldbuilding as well as language geekery. Likewise Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, who is a formative influence on what I like in leading men in a story, and the level of romance and suspense I want.

Anne McCaffrey’s influence on me cannot be understated–I did, after all, spend years in Pern fandom, both offline and online. And I still have a lot of Pern fanfic on my hard drive, as well as all my surviving roleplay logs from PernMUSH. All that time I put in playing F’hlan, bronze Tzornth’s rider, and his daughter Mehlani was character practice, you guys!

Julie Czerneda and Tanya Huff are both on this list on general “I want to write like them when I grow up” grounds. I love Czerneda’s worldbuilding and rich portrayals of alien species. And Huff’s here because a) she is awesome, b) she’s a fellow Great Big Sea fan and HOW CAN I NOT LOVE THAT, and c) she was my initial introduction to how you can have queer people in a story and not have the fact that they are queer be full of OHNOEZ DRAMA!

That said, Lackey is on this list because she actually beat Huff to the punch in alerting me that you can, in fact, have queer people in a story. Shoutout to all my fellow readers of my generation who were gutted by Vanyel. Second shoutout to all my MUSH-playing pals who wanted to get a Valdemar MUSH going, and could not.

Doranna Durgin is here because before she wrote paranormal romance, she wrote a lot of fantasy, and her earliest fantasies are among my favorite of her books. Her urban fantasy as well. To this day her A Feral Darkness ranks very, very high on the list of pinnacles to which I aspire when I wing out urban fantasy of my own.

Novik is here because good lord I love me some Temeraire, and in particular I love her handling of the dragons in her world as characters in their own right. I love her dragons even more than I loved the dragons in the Pern books. She is a glorious example of how to write non-humanoid characters.

Rachel Caine is on this list because I would gleefully sacrifice a few pounds of flesh to gain her ability at pacing.

Kearsley is kind of an extension of the influence of Michaels/Peters. I deeply admire Kearsley’s pacing, though hers is much different from Caine’s; while Caine pretty much sets a plotline on fire right out of the gate, Kearsley takes more time and gives you a lot more atmosphere. I love Kearsley’s way with building atmosphere, as well as her skill at setting up relationships that eventually charm my socks off. The Shadowy Horses, I am looking straight at you.

A.C. Crispin, gods rest her, is here because her glorious Han Solo backstory trilogy, even if it’s relegated to non-canon status along with the rest of the Star Wars EU, was everything I ever wanted in Han Solo backstory. The new forthcoming movie is going to have a REAL high bar to clear to top her stories, I’m just sayin’.

Patricia Briggs is here for reasons very similar to Durgin–in that I found her before she turned to urban fantasy and in many ways I actually prefer her earlier fantasy novels. What I like about her in particular is how she set up secondary world fantasies that nonetheless were very relatable to contemporary eyes. She’s arguably some of the influence on how I wrote the Rebels of Adalonia books.

Terry Brooks has to get props for being some of the earliest high fantasy I ever read, since I found him at the same era of my childhood when I found Tolkien. And some of my earliest surviving writing has a lot more to do with Brooks than Tolkien! And unlike a few other high fantasy authors of the era (e.g., Eddings), I actually still periodically hunt down Brooks novels I haven’t read yet. I’m still working my way through his setup of the backstory for the Shannara world.

Last but not least, Esther Friesner is here as another early influence on my urban fantasy and in particular on my portrayal of elves. In particular, her books New York by Knight and Elf Defense had early resonance on my budding writing brain!

***

So there ya go. As I said, I don’t usually tag people on these things, but if you’re a fellow writer and you want to play too, go for it! And drop a link in the comments to your own post, so anybody who finds mine can find yours.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Aubrey and Maturin Duet)

Today I took another jaunt down to Olympia to see Lisa Ornstein and have fiddle lesson #2. So far, most importantly, I am delighted to report that I am still enjoying the hell out of this, and that there WILL be a lesson #3. And I think the big thing that I took away from today’s lesson is that I need to give myself permission to be patient with myself–because this is not going to be a fast process. I’d like to get to a point eventually where I can play something coherent on a fiddle, but there’s a lot of groundwork that needs to happen to get me there.

So today, Lisa and I did more of that groundwork.

Bow hand

Lisa mentioned a few different ways that players can use to get their fingers into the proper configuration to hold the bow. What appears to work best for me right now is doing a “bunny” configuration, which involves sticking my thumb between my middle and ring fingers, which become the “teeth” of the bunny. My index finger and pinky become the ears.

Then I bring the bow in under the “teeth”, which land first. Then my index finger comes down. Then my pinky, curled so that it sits on the bow. And my thumb comes in to sit in that little notch between the grip and the frog.

And I will definitely have to tell the folks at Violon Trad Qualicum next year that I remembered “don’t crush the bird!” I.e., to try to keep that curl in my thumb. Although this may now become “don’t crush the bunny!” in my brain.

Once we got my bow hand settled, we practiced just moving the bow around in various ways. Pretending to stir soup, and, while holding the bow vertically, raising and lowering it. This is all intended to just get me used to how the fingers feel while holding the thing.

All of which totally reminded me of the conversations at Fiddle Tunes last year about fiddlers and their bows being very much like Harry Potter universe wizards and their wands. The urge to yell EXPELLIARMUS when I’ve got the bow up is strong. Or maybe LUMOS MAXIMA. ๐Ÿ˜€

And given that I set the Aubrey gif as the featured image of this post, I must also note that I even mentioned Aubrey and Maturin to Lisa, just because of being reminded of that lovely bit in Master and Commander when Jack and Stephen are playing together for the first time:

โ€˜Did you notice my bowing in the pump-pump-pump piece?โ€™ asked Jack.

โ€˜I did indeed. Very sprightly, very agile. I noticed you neither struck the hanging shelf nor yet the lamp. I only grazed the locker once myself.โ€™

I will count it as a victory if I manage not to hit the lamp.

Neck hand

This was harder. I have a pretty good idea at this point about how to get the instrument into place on my shoulder, but there are still challenges with getting my left hand where it needs to be.

Namely, trying to find the optimum way to hold the neck so that my fingers fall in a natural curve, and so that my pinky doesn’t wind up trembling because it’s trying to do too much.

Lisa says that this is a function of how I have pretty tiny fingers (which I knew already and which has proven a bit of a challenge on some of my bigger flutes). So we had to experiment some with how to hold the neck. We tried various thumb placements, as well as settling the instrument in my lap as if it were a guitar, which is more familiar territory to me.

We haven’t yet found the optimum way for me to do this. I’m going to experiment more.

Bringing the hands together

I did actually make a couple of noises, it must be said! There was some general plucking on the E string, just to practice landing my fingers in the general area of where they need to be to hit notes. I surprised myself a bit with not missing the frets as much as I was expecting, though having no frets did still wig me out a little. But I did manage to land the notes in the ballpark. Not perfect, but they didn’t have to be; I am, after all, a total newbie here.

But we did also get me to the point of laying bow on strings and playing a few open notes, just pulling the bow back and forth in short motions and then a couple long ones. Which began to answer some of the questions that have been bubbling around in the back of my head re: how exactly bow motion on the strings works. Getting to actually experience that was fun!

More experimenting will have to happen there, too.

Overall

I told Lisa about my medical history, which was relevant to the lesson in that it impacts how a lot of my back muscles, my shoulders, and the base of my neck tend to get cranky and carry a lot of stress. So we worked a lot on practicing being aware of my shoulders and neck, and how to stand and hold the instrument in a way that puts least stress on those parts of my body. And we talked about several exercises I can do to gently strengthen my abs, all in the name of laying more groundwork.

Because, important to note: what I’ve already learned because of my medical history about my pain thresholds and being on top of that has to apply here. If I start hurting my wrists and hands, or any other part of me, that means stop what I’m doing. Playing through the pain is not necessary, and not useful, and is in fact actively harmful.

And the other lesson here is this: it’s okay to go slow. I need to give myself permission to be patient, and not expect to get immediately to making coherent noises. If I want to play a tune right now, that’s what I’ve got the flutes and whistles for.

The violin is a totally different experience, though, and I need to give it the respect it deserves and proceed slowly and carefully. After all, I didn’t learn to play the flute immediately, either. Or the guitar.

This lesson even turned out longer than expected–but we covered a lot of ground, and made it worth it that I drove all the way down to Olympia for the afternoon. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much looking forward to lesson #3!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

Not too terribly long ago I posted about why it’s not safe for Dara and me to visit Kentucky right now. I am pleased to report as a followup to this, though, that Kentucky came to visit me–by which I mean, my brother Marc and his wife just came out to Seattle to spend a lovely little weekend at the Murkworks. I was very, very happy to see them, given that it’s been about five years since the last time I was there (i.e., when my grandmother Hyson passed away).

Marc had been to to Seattle before–he had in fact briefly gone to school out here. But this was Didi’s first visit. And this was also the first time in a LONG while the two of them had been able to get some time to themselves, without having to worry about their children (who they’d left in the capable hands of their oldest daughter Meighan, now 24). So it was a win for all concerned. ๐Ÿ˜€

I took Friday off from work specifically so that I’d be available to show Marc and Didi around, and Friday we dedicated mostly to doing the Underground Tour. This was my second time doing it, and I was amused to see that the tour guides hadn’t lost a step with their patter for the crowd–although now, they’ve updated the routine to include Pokรฉmon jokes and asking people not to play Pokรฉmon Go in the tunnels (and we shall pretend we didn’t hear the guide stage-whispering about how they’re full of nothing but Zubats anyway, lol).

After the tour, we poked briefly around Westlake (where a visit to LUSH was definitely in order), and even more briefly into Pike Place, where I showed them the Marketspice tea place. Then around five we hopped into the car to head to I Love Sushi on Lake Union to meet Dara and Paul for dinner at 6. (That it took nearly that entire hour to get from Pacific Place to the restaurant, just under two miles, should indicate to y’all exactly how screwy traffic in downtown Seattle during rush hour on a Friday can get. Even if you’re not trying to get through the Mercer Mess.) And the sushi at I-Heart was, as always, superbly tasty.

Saturday, though, is mostly what I wanted to cover in this post! Because Saturday afternoon we designated for going to our most excellent Woodland Park Zoo. The weather was beautiful for it–mid 70’s, only partly cloudy, an overall perfect day for wandering around the grounds.

Which, of course, meant that the entire population of Seattle had the same idea. Because when we got there, it took us a good half hour just trying to figure out where the hell to park. I’m pretty sure I vultured my way through all of the zoo’s parking lots, to no avail. We finally wound up parking a few blocks north of the zoo grounds, on one of the nearby residential streets, and walking in from there. Thankfully, this went off without a hitch.

Inside the zoo itself we soon discovered that a lot of the biggest and most entertaining critters were in fact hiding. We expect that this was due to it being the hottest and brightest part of the day. But we did at least get to see several types of critters!

Like, for example, these tortoises. They were the first critters we saw as we came into the grounds, in a little cage near the stage where they have the Zoo Tunes concerts.

Most of the critters we wound up seeing being out and active were little ones–but the wolves and the bears were a notable exception, as they were the few big predators out and about in their enclosures. I spotted multiple wolves in the wolf pen. No doubt because the elk were also out, and the Woodland Park Zoo keeps the elk next door to the wolves. (A location decision which has always made me snorfle a bit, because TRYING to tempt the wolves there much?)

And OH MY YES THE BEARS. The bears were out and having great fun in their pool, and interacting a lot with each other. One of the bears got right up against the back of the pool, too, so its back was right next to us! This made for some great shots. ๐Ÿ˜€

And there were otters (two different kinds!), and giraffes, and very drowsy lions (though my pics of them came out looking like impressionist paintings, due to how you can’t properly zoom on an iPhone for distance shots), and a tapir, and pythons, and lots of monkeys!

The whole set of pics is on my Flickr account over here, and on Facebook here.

Great fun all around! And we eventually wandered home again, in time to get back to go see Ghostbusters that night. About which there will be an entire next post!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Aubrey and Maturin Duet)

On Saturday I had the great pleasure of visiting Lisa Ornstein for my very first lesson on the fiddle. And to my amused surprise, I didn’t play a single note on the instrument.

Yet I had a couple of hours of deeply satisfying conversation and instruction! So what did I do if I didn’t actually play anything?

A lot of exactly why I wanted to engage an experienced teacher: i.e., a lot of going over the overall anatomy of the instrument and the bow, to talk about what goes into making them and how they work. And a lot discussion of proper stance, both sitting and standing, and proper ways to hold both the instrument and the bow. I very much wanted to sit down with someone who knew what they were doing to go over this stuff, just because the violin does intimidate me a bit, and taking the time to examine it in detail helps address that problem. If I know something, it becomes less scary!

And as part of trying to make all that discussion stick in my brain, I’m writing it up now for all of you! There will also be pictures!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Buh?)

I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I will not critique somebody for their reading format choices. Print has its advantages. Digital has its advantages. And if you happen to be someone who embraces one over the other, more power to you! As long as it brings you joy in whatever you’re reading, I do not care what format you’re reading it in.

That said, I gotta raise an eyebrow at this post on The Digital Reader, which is in turn pointing off to this post on the Powell’s Books blog, in which the author of the essay describes how he tried to solve the problem of what to read while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

His solution was to buy tattered copies of several books he was interested in, chop them up into shorter pieces, mail them to himself at various points along his route, and slowly burn them as campfire fuel to get rid of the weight.

And my answer to this is “wut?”

Because seriously, this scenario strikes me as exactly when I’d want to be carrying a small ereader. There are very tiny ones, like the Kobo Mini. And hell, if you have a smartphone, you’ve got a reading-capable device right there, and most smartphones are going to be lighter than the various ereaders I’ve encountered anyway. For me, the issue here would be whether I could deal with reading on a smartphone for the duration of a hike, vs. reading on e-ink. But if I were in this guy’s shoes and wanting to minimize my carried weight, I’d be seriously considering just reading on my phone. Because I’d have the phone anyway, in case of emergencies. So why not read books on it?

To solve the power problem, you could carry a small battery like the one I’ve always got in my backpack, a Jackery. And to keep that charged, solar-powered hand-cranks are things that exist. (Why do I know this? Because you find out about these things when you live in an area prone to power outages!) Macworld describes several portable battery chargers in this post, including at least one described as specifically useful for camping.

And when you’ve got light, easily portable tech that can solve a problem for you, I can’t see why buying old paperbacks, cutting them up into pieces JUST so you can tape them back together, mailing the resulting hacked books to yourself, and then burning the results as campfire fuel is a superior option. Particularly when it involves destroying books. The essay writer even admits that that gave him some qualms, which he overcame in the interests of cutting down the weight in his backpack. And he handwaved off his qualms as well by pointing out that millions of books get thrown away or destroyed every year.

Which, to me, seems like a really odd justification for someone who prefers reading print over digital. I mean, if you prefer reading print, awesome!

But to deliberately put yourself into a position where, in order to read in your preferred format, you are destroying books in that format, on purpose?

All I can say is, again, “wut?”

Pete Has a Point

Pete Has a Point

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

Friend and reader userinfotechnoshaman wanted to know from me today if he could give Faerie Blood and Bone Walker as gifts, and if so, where the best place to buy them would be for that. First, thanks userinfotechnoshaman for the purchase! \0/ For the interested, he wound up buying the books directly from my Square store. (And if you’re not reading this post directly on angelahighland.com, that’s the link that says “Store” on the site’s main menu.)

And second, since I’ve been asked before about where the best place to buy my books from is, I just wanted to remind everybody that I do have an FAQ page. I have now updated that page with a revised version of the “Where should you buy my work from?” question. AND I have added a new question about how to give my books as gifts. Here’s the text of what I added, and you can find this as well as a bunch of other questions on my FAQ.

Is there a specific best place I should buy your work?

I get slightly higher royalties if people buy the Rebels of Adalonia books directly from Carina Press‘s own site. And certainly if you buy a book of mine from Amazon, that’ll bump my rankings up there, but that’s also true of any ebook vendor.

However, I encourage any potential readers to go ahead and buy the Rebels books via whatever channel you feel is appropriate. If you’re a Kindle user, go right ahead and buy them from Amazon. If you’re a Nook owner, from Barnes and Noble. Kobo, iBooks, Google Play–the same.

For my indie-published work, the very best way to make sure I get the most money is to just buy books from me directly–either via my Paypal.Me link, or via my Square store. In the case of Square, Square will still get a cut of the transaction, but it comes out slightly better than the cuts the ebook vendors take of transactions on those sites. But again, I encourage you to buy from wherever is most convenient for you. I make a point of deploying my indie titles out to a variety of platforms specifically so readers have a choice about where to buy them.

Trust me, I’ll be delighted that you buy them at all! As long as you buy them and enjoy the reads, that’s the important thing to me.

Is it possible to give your books as gifts?

Yes! For the print books, if you order them from me via my Square store, you can add an additional note to me if you want to purchase them as gifts, in case you want me to sign them for the recipient, or for me to send them somewhere besides your own address.

For the Rebels of Adalonia ebooks, Carina Press’s website does not have the ability to gift ebooks. But if you buy those books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks, those vendors have the ability to give ebooks as gifts.

For the Free Court books, if you buy them directly from me, you are more than welcome to use the files you’ll receive from me as gifts. One recipient per purchased copy, please! But if you do buy a book for a friend or loved one, you are welcome to ask for multiple formats of the same book for a single recipient. For example, the EPUB, PDF, and MOBI of Faerie Blood would all count as a single purchase.

As with the Rebels books, you can also give the Free Court books as gifts on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks. And, since the Free Court books are available on Smashwords, you can buy them as gifts there as well.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

This weekend Dara and I are attending Westercon 69 in Portland! We got here today and so far my convention has consisted of hanging out with fellow NIWA members Madison Keller and Rachel Robinson, a.k.a. Maquel A. Jacob! We’re teaming up to sell books at a table in the dealers’ room, and I noted with pleasure that behind us is the table where none other than Alexander James Adams is selling music. And across from us is Book Universe, who often sells so many wonderful books at Cascadia-based conventions.

Fellow NIWA compatriots Lee French and Jeffrey Cook, both of whom have appeared on Boosting the Signal, are running their Clockwork Dragon table as well. So even though we don’t have an official NIWA table at this con, we DO have a pretty strong NIWA presence! Which I feel is awesome. We’ll even be having a Meet and Greet as well.

And don’t forget: in honor of this convention as well as Clallam Bay Comicon which I’ll be attending next week, Faerie Blood and Bone Walker are on sale for 99 cents each in ebook form. That sale is in effect until July 16th!

MEANWHILE! In case you’re coming by to visit my site from Smart Bitches Trashy Books, welcome to you!

I have posted many a time about the awesomeness of the ladies at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, my one-stop-shopping place for where to find the romance novels I like to read. I like the Bitchery well enough that I am trying a new thing: I have signed up to sponsor two episodes of the Dear Bitches Smart Authors podcast, which SB Sarah runs jointly with Jayne Litte from Dear Author!

Today the first of the episodes I am sponsoring went live. You can find it right over here, and I am particularly pleased that the episode I am sponsoring involves neuroscience! And a lot of questions about female sexuality! There are heavy-duty topics called out in the episode description, and I’m looking forward to giving this a listen, because it sounds like an episode with some substance to it.

And that, O Internets, is why I wanted to show the podcast some sponsorship love: because it’s not just about romance novels, but also about crunchy topics like female sexuality and neuroscience and sometimes history and science and any manner of things that go into building the stories of the genre. Sarah and Jayne have even been perfectly happy to bring in interviewees who don’t write romance–I was super pleased, for example, that they interviewed Jim Hines earlier this year!

I figured, hey, if they can interview one of my favorite fantasy authors, thereby showing their readiness to step across genre lines, I want to step back across the same genre line and show ’em some sponsorship love. This week’s episode is sponsored by me with my Angela Highland hat on, and therefore by the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy! Next week will be sponsored by me as Angela Korra’ti, highlighting the Free Court of Seattle books! And both episodes are running tracks from the Bone Walker Soundtrack as well!

So if you’re coming over from the Bitchery to check me out, again, greetings and welcome and do drop a comment to say hi! And if you think you might like my urban fantasy or epic fantasy, do check out the books!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Buh?)

ETA 6/23/2016 9:37am: Hi, incoming visitors from The Digital Reader! Welcome!

According to a post I spotted on The Digital Reader this morning, the publishing industry’s new spin on why people aren’t buying as many ebooks anymore is “digital fatigue”. The Digital Reader’s post in turn points off to Publishers Weekly’s report, which describes a survey taken of nearly 5,000 readers as to why they aren’t buying as many ebooks anymore.

I’m dubious of the whole concept here, though. I see phrasing like “quality long-form reading experience”, and have to wonder exactly what that’s supposed to mean–if this is just code for “we keep thinking that the digital reading experience is supposed to be exactly like print”, or what. I’m also wondering exactly how they got their pool of respondents for the survey–because their results sound comprehensive, sure, but there’s no data in that article as to how they acquired their survey pool.

And while I note that the article does reference self-published titles (gasp! A publishing industry survey actually acknowledged that self-pubbed titles exist?!), I also note that nowhere in this article does it mention how the uptick in pricing lately has made ebook buying prohibitive for a lot of readers.

It’s certainly been a factor in my own ebook purchasing decisions the last several months. When I see a lot of new novels in SF/F coming out at digital price points of $12.99, $13.99, and $14.99, or novellas coming out at price points like $9.99, then yes, I’m going to buy fewer new ebooks. The publishing industry may not like that Amazon created a consumer expectation of $9.99 for novels, but the fact remains that they did–and I think it’s kind of silly to expect consumers to keep buying books at the same rate when the prices go up considerably. I’m still seeing a fundamental disconnect here between what the industry thinks it ought to charge for ebooks, and what readers are actually willing to pay for them.

I will at least acknowledge that I find fatigue with the devices plausible. I also find it plausible that people don’t really want to read ebooks on their smartphones–because while it’s convenient, it’s also a bit annoying to be only able to read a paragraph or two at a time on a small screen. This is why I generally do also carry a tablet around with me, for doing my reading. And I’ve gone to tablet reading (specifically, the newest Nook tablet I picked up) instead of a dedicated e-reader on the grounds that I want the tablet for other things during the day (occasional day job testing, game play), and it’s unnecessary weight in my backpack to also carry an ereader when I’ve got the tablet.

But a) I’m a techie, b) I live in a tech-heavy town, and c) I have a well-paying day job, so I’m probably an outlier in this. And my social media channels do slant towards fellow techies as well as people who continue to be power readers in the digital realm, like romance readers. (And I’m really, really curious as to whether that survey that PW is talking about included romance readers.)

In general, though: meh. It sure would be nice if the publishing industry eventually figured out that digital readers don’t want to pay high prices for ebooks, but I’m not betting on that happening any time soon.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)
League of Dragons

League of Dragons

Short but sweet, just because I’m cleaning out my inbox again and wanted to file the receipts for these! Picked up from Kobo:

League of Dragons, the final Temeraire novel by Naomi Novik. Picked up because duh, Temeraire! \0/ My love for this series has been long-running, from the very first day I heard it pitched as “Patrick O’Brian meets the Dragonriders of Pern”. I mean honestly, how could I not love a series that’s what you get if you take Aubrey and Maturin and make Maturin a dragon?

Tor.com says that League of Dragons sticks the landing, and Dear Author liked it too. (And I may not often comment on Dear Author but yeah, if they’re going to go and review one of my favorite fantasy series even though they’re usually a romance site, fuck yeah I’m going to speak up in that comments thread. ๐Ÿ˜€ )

And Tor.com has a lovely Temeraire reread series of posts that Kate Nepveu just did. Her reviews of the books lit a fire under me to finally get caught up on the series. I found Crucible of Gold very satisfying, and Blood of Tyrants uneven, despite it involving an amnesia plot (and I am a known sucker for amnesia plots). I’ve started League as of today. More thoughts on this to come.

(And also, let it be noted that I am sad, SAD I TELL YOU, that I apparently cannot acquire the entire Temeraire series in French in ebook form. I went looking, because once I eventually finish doing Harry Potter in Trilingual Form, Temeraire would be a very strong contender for another multi-lingual reread!)

Meanwhile, I also scarfed Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway while it was briefly available for $2.99 in electronic form. (Its standard price is $9.99 right now and that’s a little more than I’m comfortable paying for a novella.) But! I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about this story (including a lot of buzz at the aforementioned Tor.com), so I’ve been wanting to give it a go.

This makes 18 titles acquired for the year.

(Which, for those of you who pay attention to these posts, may strike you as a surprisingly low number given my book-buying history; here we’re halfway through the year already and I’ve barely cleared two digits. This would be because I am disgruntled at the return of agency pricing, which has made ebooks a lot more expensive from the big publishers again. So I’ve been making an effort to get caught up on reading books I already own, and for newer things by authors I don’t know yet, I’ve been checking those out from the library.)

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

I was going to hold off on this until July 1st, because Westercon and Clallam Bay Comicon are coming. But this week has been a trashfire of suckage, so screw it, I’m starting the sale early!

To wit: Faerie Blood and Bone Walker are now back on sale in digital form for 99 cents each. Price applies on all platforms where those books are sold, including “buying directly from me”. All links where the books are available are on their official pages; just click over to Faerie Blood or Bone Walker and look for the Buy button towards the top of each page, or go to my Square store!

If you want go pay me directly without going through any other channel, you can also pay me at my Paypal.me link.

These prices will be in effect until July 16th, one month from today. Spread the word if you are so inclined, and thanks as always for your support!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

I’ve seen a couple of posts going around this week that indicate there’s apparently a conversation going on in the writing blogosphere re: book pirating, why people do it, and such. In particular, I’ve seen these two posts:

Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me, by Sarah Madison

This is why we can’t have nice things…, by A.J. Downey

And I wanted to call attention to these, because they both highlight a thing that I feel is very important to keep in mind about writers–not only indie or hybrid writers like myself, but writers in general.

Namely: most writers don’t actually make that much money.

People are sometimes surprised when they hear I have a full-time day job, in addition to working on my novels. The reason for this? Writers don’t make much money. For the record, in any given month, I do well if I pull in enough off my novels for a decent sushi dinner. And as near as I can tell, based on what I hear semi-regularly from other indies, the fact that I can regularly manage about a dozen sales a month is pretty good.

Please remember, though, that most of those sales are for my ebooks. And that my ebooks are $2.99 usually for the novels, and $0.99 for the short stories, and I do not make back the full price unless people buy them directly from me without going through any of the ebook sales sites, or even my Square store. So for any given ebook sale, making about two bucks on the novels, and pennies on the short stories.

On the Carina titles, it’s less. Because I worked with a publisher there, and they get their cut of the sale, too.

Even if I’d been traditionally published on any of these titles, chances would still be high that I would not make much money. I know multiple traditionally published SF/F authors who’ve had their series collapse out from under them due to lack of sales. And I also know of multiple SF/F authors, pretty big names even, who’ve written for years before they’ve been able to bail on their day jobs.

And if the biggest name genre writers, the ones who get advances for the books that’re actually showing up on bookstore shelves, have to struggle to reach the point where they can support themselves with their writing… you can imagine how much more difficult it must be for the smaller names to pull it off.

So yeah. This is one of the reasons why I do in fact keep a full-time day job. Because I don’t make enough on writing to cover the costs of paying for cover art, or for editing services, or for actually printing physical copies of my indie novels. The day job lets me do this, and lets me also afford to go to conventions so that I can sell these books I’m writing.

But here’s the thing: I also had a childhood in which my family was, to put it succinctly, not well off. So I remember what it’s like to not have extra money to spare for things like oh, say, books. Even if they’re very inexpensive books. I get that.

If you’re someone who can’t spare a few bucks on an ebook, though, and you’d like to read my stuff, I’d like to strongly encourage you to contact your local library and ask them if they’d consider purchasing my titles. Some actually have, and I’ll be putting up a page to highlight which library systems are in fact known to carry either the Rebels books, the Free Court books, or both.

And if you’re local to Seattle, I certainly wouldn’t object if people contacted either the Seattle Public Library OR the King County Library System and asked for my stuff!

That way everybody wins. I get a cut of the sale to the library. You get to read my stuff. And other patrons of the library ALSO get to read my stuff!

ALSO: if you do contact your local library to ask them about buying me, mention to them that my titles are available via Overdrive. You can find the Rebels books on Overdrive here. And you can find my indie titles (Faerie Blood, Bone Walker, and both of the short stories) here.

As always, thanks to all for your support! Let me know if you have any questions!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

I am delighted to report, for those of you who didn’t already see me post this on the social networks, that Book 3 of the Free Court series now has an official working title! Until and unless something better presents itself, the book will now be called Warder Soul.

Though really, I’m pretty happy with this, so I doubt it’ll be changed. It fits nicely with the short, punchy two-word titles the previous two books have. It also continues an unofficial theme of Book 1’s title being about Kendis, book 2’s being about what’s going on with Elessir, and now book 3’s title tying in with Christopher. And there’s also a theme of “blood”, “bone”, and “soul”, which I like.

My In Progress page has been updated accordingly, and I can also now create a whole new post category as well!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Great Amurkian Novel 2)

The One With Christopher on the Cover: Even though that would be entirely accurate. And I can safely say that even without having gotten work on the cover art going yet! (Because Christopher WILL be on the cover of this book.)

The One Where I Am Terrible to Everybody in the Cast: Because:

  1. If a writer does her job, that’s usually EVERY book in a series! And it’d be like saying “The X-Files Episode With the Alien”.
  2. I’m not actually going to be terrible to EVERYBODY. Just mostly everybody! Certain characters actually get off pretty lightly in this plot. ๐Ÿ˜€

My Latest Awesome Story That You Should Totally Read: Even though every writer feels exactly like that about every new release. Don’t think we’re not tempted to call these books that, either, because we so totally are.

The Queen of George Street: Even though George Street is very likely to make an appearance in this story, and despite how Bone Walker actually starts with a not-mentioned-by-name-but-TOTALLY-actually-this Great Big Sea concert, and despite how “Old Black Rum” IS one of my and Dara’s favorite Great Big Sea songs to do.

The Hunger Games: Because I’m pretty sure that title is taken.

BUT ANYWAY.

More seriously, I am very pleased to actually have a clear idea of how this book is going to go, now. I continue to be delighted with Scrivener, and the ability it gives me to organize my work and have planning notes immediately available alongside the actual prose.

And, I’m hoping that if I have a coherent game plan out of the gate, this will serve me in good stead for actually writing this thing a lot faster than I have produced previous books. Some of y’all may remember that when I wrote Faerie Blood for the 2003 Nanowrimo, I did actually have about half a book’s worth of outline before November 1st that year. At the time, I felt like having that plan available was a strong contributing factor to being able to actually chug through the requisite word count.

Because here’s the thing: thanks to having a full-time day job in addition to doing the writing, as well as a strong interest in playing music as a hobby, I write real slow. Without a clear idea of what the hell I should be doing in a story, I can often go for days on end without actually writing new words, because I’m mulling the next advancement in the plot in the back of my head. And I gotta cut that out, if I want to keep producing words. I need to up my game, and pull in the turnaround time from the beginning of a book to the end.

So now, thanks to Scrivener–not to mention a lot of deeply satisfying bouncing of ideas off of Dara–I have a full five-act game plan for this story. The next thing I’ll need to do is to take this overall plan and see if I can do a chapter breakdown on it.

Then I’ll start some serious writing in earnest, to go along with the couple of thousand words I’ve already got. If all goes well, sometime by the end of this year, I’ll have a new book to offer you all!

And somewhere in here I will also figure out what to actually call it. Till then, it’s Book 3!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Little Help?)

Today while I was at Folklife, I ran into my friend and reader Jamie, who told me that a) she’d finally read Faerie Blood and Bone Walker, and is totally fangirling Elessir (YAY), and b) once she actually heard me pronounce “Elessir”, she asked me about a pronunciation guide for my works.

And I thought, y’know, this is a good excuse to do something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while: which is to say, setting up a little wiki for useful in-universe information about my books.

This has now been done. I’ve spawned off a supplementary site which will have the URL wiki.angelahighland.com. It’ll basically be a wiki only I can edit, so not really actually a wiki–but I’m calling it that anyway for convenience. And because I’ve slapped a theme on it to make it look wiki-like and hopefully navigate wiki-like as well.

So this is where you guys come in: I’d like to hear from anyone who’s read any of my stories as to what information you think would be neat to know. Pronunciation guides for both series of books, the Free Court books AND the Rebels ones, are probable. (Organizationally, how I’ll probably do that is to include a pronunciation guide for individual character pages, pages about places, and such, rather than just one big list of how to pronunce everything.)

But I’d also like to hear from y’all as to what else you think would be interesting to know. Talk to me in the comments! Once I have enough data on it for it to actually be useful, I’ll add it to the main site navigation here on angelahighland.com.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Buh?)

I’m seeing the Internet explode all over the damn place today, thanks to the new reveal about Captain America in the Marvel comics.

I’m not even reading Cap’s title right now; my exposure to him in the comics so far has been his periodic appearances in the titles I have been following. Notably, Black Widow and Captain Marvel, at least prior to the recent universe reset. The vast majority of my experience with the character has been via the movies.

But Cap’s also one of my favorites. I like him for many of the same reasons I like Superman: to wit, I actually appreciate the morally upright “boy scout” type heroes, when they’re done well. And Chris Evan’s portrayal, particularly in the recently released Civil War movie, has always been about his rock-steady moral center.

This new reveal? It’s bullshit. It flies in the face of everything the character has always been about. Not to mention that taking a character created by a couple of Jewish guys and doing this to him is just full of NO.

The reveal in question, I’m putting behind the fold just in case you haven’t managed to see it yet and care about spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)
The Jewel and Her Lapidary

The Jewel and Her Lapidary

Recently acquired from Kobo:

Temptations of a Wallflower, by Eva Leigh. Historical romance. Third in a romance trilogy by the author Zoe Archer writing under a new name.

The Jewel and Her Lapidary, by Fran Wilde. Fantasy. This is a novella release from Tor.com, and I grabbed it since I liked the sound of the blurb and really liked the cover art. (Relatedly, I also really liked this post on tor.com, in which the artist describes the process behind the cover art’s creation! It’s a pretty neat exploration of how cover art can be made in this digital age we’re in.)

Breaking Cat News, by Georgia Dunn. Comics. Grabbed this after seeing Dear Author review it. It’s a glowing review, and all I needed was one look at the included sample page in that review to go YEP I NEED THIS. It’s a brand new collection, the first released by the artist, who posts on Mondays and Thursdays at breakingcatnews.com. As of this writing, I have already read both the ebook and the entire archive on the site. Recommended. ^_^

16 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Dib WTF)

An official trailer for CBS’s MacGyver reboot has been released. Because yep, CBS has decided that it needs to reboot MacGyver. Here’s the trailer.

And I gotta say, you guys, I’m not impressed. Here’s a bit of a roundup of thoughts I’ve been having on Facebook and Twitter.

I adored the original show. Every last cheesy mullet-y duct-tape-and-Swiss-Army minute of it. I’ve rewatched a lot of my favorite episodes multiple times. Everybody always talks about how MacGyver’s thing was that he solved problems in such off-the-wall and brilliant ways–and sure, yeah, that was awesome. But it wasn’t even necessarily why I loved the show so much. It was more that it was just a focus in general on a hero whose first instinct was to think his way out of a problem rather than shoot his way out. And, I also always loved that MacGyver in general was a very down-to-earth, laid-back kind of guy. In the early seasons in particular, when they still did Mac’s voiceovers for narration, we particularly got to see this characterization of him in play.

What I’m seeing in this trailer is not that.

What I’m seeing in this trailer is a smart young guy who’s a bit too aware of–and arrogant about–his own brilliance. Now, I’m grudgingly willing to allow for the possibility that Angus MacGyver might have been more of a douche in his 20’s. People who are assholes when they’re young do sometimes pull their heads out of their asses as they get older and wiser; it’s been known to happen! But I’m not really buying it for this character. It feels wrong.

(Also, while I have no particular beef with the actor they’ve cast, even if my only prior experience with him being as a member of the X-Men plays a little weirdly in trying to get me to buy him as MacGyver now, I will also say this: this kid has no mullet. HE COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE MACGYVER WITHOUT A MULLET. I’m just SAYING.)

Second problem: the trailer’s trying way, way too hard to play upon MacGyver’s place in popular culture now. It’s assuming that its potential audience knows about the character and respects what made him so popular, and that therefore, we’re all eager to see him come back. To wit: not so fast there.

For one thing, I’m very, very, very tired of Hollywood’s current trend for rebooting every goddamn franchise on the planet. Even the ones I adored when I was growing up. That I adored MacGyver as a younger woman doesn’t necessarily mean I want to see a second version of that same show now. (Particularly if the newer version doesn’t really capture the aspects of what I loved about the first one to begin with.) Honestly, I’d much prefer to see more emphasis on exploring series ideas (or in the case of movies, franchise ideas) that haven’t been done before.

For another thing, if you’re going to return to a previously established franchise, I want to see you do something actually new with it. And rebooting the original storyline so that “now it takes place in the 2010’s rather than in the 1980’s” doesn’t really count as “new”.

Y’know what I would really have loved to see them do? A new MacGyver show that goes the “sequel” route rather than “reboot”–and has a female lead character rather than a male lead. We’ve seen the “quirkily brilliant guy solves his way out of crises” thing. But I would have adored seeing “quirkily brilliant woman solves her way out of crises” thing.

Particularly if she happened to be Mac’s granddaughter. The original series established in its final episode that Mac did have a 20-year-old son. This much later, it would be totally plausible for that son to now have an adult daughter. Who inherited Grandpa Angus’s smarts. And his Swiss Army knife. I would watch the ever-living fuck out of that show.

Angharad MacGyver. I can see it now. I even whipped up an intro paragraph for her on Facebook, in the vein of those aforementioned voiceovers the original show used to do.

A lot of girls, when they’re eight years old, get dollhouses or Barbies for their birthdays. My Grandpa Angus gave me a Swiss Army knife. Okay, yeah, I also got a dollhouse. Three hours later, after I took that sucker apart with the knife, my mom tried to explain to me that that wasn’t how you played with a dollhouse. Grandpa Angus just smiled, handed me a roll of duct tape, and told me to see what I could make by putting the pieces back together.

It was also pointed out on my Facebook thread that Mac’s son from the original show could have a whole passel of children by now, too. And I just giggle and giggle imagining four or five MacGyver grandchildren who all inherited Grandpa Angus’s smarts. Thanksgiving at their house would be EPIC. It would be an exercise in “how can we cook the turkey this year and NOT make everything explode?”

Sadly, CBS did not see fit to consult me on the matter.

Dara says that the acting in the trailer is not impressing her, but then again, she never was a fan of the original either; she flat refuses to be in the room if I’m watching it. And I’ll say straight up, I will cheerfully grant that the original wasn’t exactly a masterpiece of acting genius! It’s also possible that this newer edition of the show will establish its own brand of cheesy, quirky charm.

But I’m dubious. The bombastic fanfare this trailer’s got, with the HUGE! FONT! CHOICES! and the Inception-style blaring horn strikes, just doesn’t match what I think of when I think of MacGyver. And “I’m so awesome” smirking doesn’t match, either. And another of my Facebook commenters also justly points out that the whole core concept of MacGyver, i.e., “quirky genius who solves crises with everyday items” has been followed up on a lot in shows that came after it. So it’s not as fresh an idea now as it was back when the original series aired.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this. But before I commit to actually watching it, I will be paying VERY close attention to reviews. And right now, I’m thinkin’ that if I want to revisit Mac, I’ll just break out the original show again.

(Though I may have to write me an Angharad MacGyver fic, too.)

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)
Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall

Dara, Paul, and I went and saw Captain America: Civil War last night, and I can say without reservation: gracious, that was satisfying.

Now, Cap’s name is in the title of this thing (and Dara opined that its title should have been Captain America: Why Don’t Any of You Fuckers Listen to Steve?, or perhaps Captain America: He’s Not Perfect, Except For His Abs). But really, this is way more of an Avengers movie. Though granted, it also has a huge focus on Cap. I mention this though because if you go in expecting this to have the same focus on Cap that the previous movies did, you might be a bit disappointed. But if you think of this more as an Avengers movie with a focus on Cap, it works way better. Particularly given how so much of this movie’s plot draws from the events in Age of Ultron.

But of course, it’s also drawing on events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is not a good movie to come in cold to the MCU, is what I’m sayin’ here. If you haven’t seen either of those movies yet, this one will make way less sense.

I’ve seen a lot of enthusing about the new kid playing Spidey. Of whom I mostly have this to say: I’m having a hard time mustering much giveadamn for yet another iteration of Spidey, particularly when pulling him into the MCU delayed Captain Marvel. Marf. Though, even given my crankiness about that, I’ll cheerfully grant this kid was charming and fun. Yesterday I put up a post on Here Be Magic about why I love Supergirl, and one of the things I call out there is how DC’s doing such a lovely job bringing a tone of brightness and optimism to that show. This iteration of Spidey is helping do that for the MCU, I feel, and I can’t help but appreciate that.

Still, though, I think I would have been way more on board with another Spidey if this one had been Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker. Which is why, when it comes to the new faces introduced in this movie, I was way more excited by Black Panther. His character was amazing, and I am 100% ON BOARD with his forthcoming movie.

Before I get into spoiler discussion, here are some other reviews from sites I regularly follow, which I just doublechecked now that I’ve seen the movie myself. I’m pretty much ON BOARD with everything these links have to say, too. Particularly the parts about the biceps. ๐Ÿ˜€

Captain America: Civil War is the Emotional Pinnacle of Superhero Movies on Tor.com

Review: Captain America: Civil War Is Good (but Too Stuffed to be Great) on The Mary Sue

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

And now, for spoilers! ALL THE SPOILERS behind the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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Anna the Piper

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