annathepiper: (Final Test)

Since I continue to have time on my hands and no active leads bringing me in for interviews this coming week (so far), I’m moving forward with laying down the plans for my coding demo.

As I said in my last post about this (here for those of you reading on Dreamwidth), I’ve succeeded in setting up a test WordPress site in Docker.

The rest of this operation is going to look something like this, at least for phase 1 of this project:

  • Actually get some content into that test WordPress site. This will probably involve just doing a database copy down from my backup WordPress site up on angelahighland.wordpress.com. If for some reason I can’t do that, I’ll install a lorem ipsum generator plugin (there are a few for WordPress, I looked) and generate purely random content.
  • Study up on the REST API WordPress makes available for any given install.
  • Once I know what service endpoints are available, use that to scope out what test cases I can do.
  • Write out those test cases in a Java BVT suite, similar to the ones I wrote at Big Fish. Tools I will need for this: IntelliJ, TestNG.

A possible Phase 2 for this project will involve extending the testing to include front-end testing. In other words (for those of you unfamiliar with how web testing works), hitting the pages of the test site in a browser and verifying that expected things are there, and/or that you are able to do certain things (e.g., log in, do a search, leave a comment). Tools I will need for this: Selenium (also in a Docker image), with a side helping of the Selenide framework. This would be a followup on my previous research that I did as one of my last projects at Big Fish.

Possible stretch goal: replicate some of the same test cases in Python, just to brush up on my Python skills. Tools I’d be using in this part of the work: PyCharm.

I’ve been writing out some tasks for myself in Things, by way of a task breakdown, and I suppose this blog post kind of counts as a spec. Ha. :D

And when I’ve got some actual code, I’ll be checking it in on my personal Github account. This will be fun, hopefully, as well as a way to keep my skills active until such time as I can convince somebody to give me another job!

(EDITING TO ADD: This, by the way, is a separate project I’m planning in addition to doing a WordPress plugin! So I’ll have multiple things I can eventually point at by way of demonstrating I can code. What I’m talking about in this post is more along the lines of demonstrating something similar to the last code I wrote at Big Fish.)

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

I was going to post this sooner, but I got smacked upside the head by an end-of-year cold. So let’s open 2019 by talking about the last few ebooks I grabbed during 2018, shall we?

Acquired from Kobo:

Blood Orbit, by K.R. Richardson. K.R. Richardson is a.k.a. Kat Richardson, and as y’all know, I loves me some Greywalker books. So this, her first outing into SF, was something I’d had my eye on to get for a while. Finally picked it up during Orycon, when I chatted with Kat there.

Head On, by John Scalzi. This is book 2 of his series that began with Lock In, and which I quite enjoyed. Finally snagged this when it went briefly on sale in ebook form.

Solomon’s Seal, by Skyla Dawn Cameron. Saw this one talked up on the Smart Bitches site in a roundup of ebook sales. And it sounds like potential Big Silly Fun, for which I’m willing to plunk down 99 cents. The sample I read on Kobo’s site seemed promising, too!

That puts me at 57 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Final Test)

So one of the things I want to do during my between-jobs downtime is practice my coding. And in particular, since I thought it’d be nice to a) start small and b) play with something I’m actually interested in coding (as opposed to, say, just focusing on random interview-type questions which will eventually bore me to tears), I decided I’d try to play with making a small WordPress plugin.

I’ve already done one that I’m running locally on Annathepiper.org: namely, to show y’all my archive of roleplay logs. Eventually I want to do a newer version of that, something that might let me actually practice setting up a simple web service.

For now though I’m going to do something less complicated. There’s a very old plugin called “lj-tag-parser”. This thing has a very simple job: allowing the LJ-style syntax for usernames and communities in your WordPress posts and comments. I’m using it right here on annathepiper.org, which is why you can actually see LJ-style usernames and tags if I write something like, say, userinfoannathepiper.

However, this thing hasn’t been updated in ages. And I thought it’d be nice to expand it to allow Dreamwidth-style syntax in addition to LJ-style, and possibly also allow generation of such tags via shortcodes.

But before I do all of that, I wanted to make sure I could set up a clean WordPress dev install.

In the past, when I’ve played around with dev-type WordPress stuff, I just did this on a separate blog on my annathepiper.org network. But coming at this with my SDET hat on, I thought it’d be cleaner and more appropriate to developing my coding experience if I set it up the way I’d do it in a work environment.

Which means a brand new, clean WordPress dev install. And in particular, using official WordPress and MySQL images from Docker.

For those of you who aren’t in the tech industry, suffice to say that Docker is a tool that lets you do exactly this kind of thing. You can set up a thing you want to play with in its own little container on your system, without having to worry about it interfering with anything else you might be doing. Docker lets you go about this in a few different ways. You can go get official images for things (like, say, the latest WordPress install) and do a single run using that image.

Or, if you want to do something a bit more complicated (like, say, running the official WordPress image AND a MySQL image that you’ll need to actually power the WordPress install), you can chain them together using a thing called Docker Compose.

Docker Compose works by you setting up all the config data you need in a file called docker-compose.yml. I’m still fairly new to the syntax this thing requires, but fortunately, I learned a bit about it while I was still at my previous day job at Big Fish. So I was able to utilize that knowledge to build a file that’d let me set up that clean WordPress dev install I want.

I did have to jump through a few hoops to get all the info I needed, though. Here are some pages that proved useful:

So now, as of this writing, I have a nice little set of Docker containers running on my dev box on Linux. And the nice thing about doing this via Docker, especially, is that I could take this exact same docker-compose.yml, reboot my box into Windows, and use it there too. All I need to be running locally is Docker and Docker Compose. The rest of it comes in with the images I specify!

And for the interested, I have checked in my final docker-compose.yml up on my personal Github account, and you can see it right here.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (On the Moon)

It’s been a while again since I’ve posted on angelahighland.com. For those of you who haven’t seen my recent annathepiper.org posts (or my posts to social media), here’s a quick overview of what’s been going on in my life lately.

Day Job: I got laid off from the day job at the end of September. I’m still sad about that, as I really loved that job! Since then, I’ve been working on a short-term testing contract while I search for other full time employment leads. This contract job is still in downtown Seattle, but it’s a bit farther south in downtown than I’ve worked before.

It’s also meant that my hours have been somewhat wacky, and I’ve been pretty fried by the time I make it home in the evenings. So I’ve barely had any time to keep up with regular adulting-type things like paying bills. Never mind actually writing anything. That said…

Writing: I’m still working on the next print edition of Faerie Blood. This is something that HAS to happen, given that the espresso book machine I’d been previously using at Third Place to do my print editions is no longer available. Once the day job situation stabilizes, I’m hoping I’ll actually be able to resume work on this. Right now, working on an edit pass seems like it’s more without my power than writing anything new.

(I know I haven’t written anything new in a while, and that DOES stress me out, you guys. But I gotta get my writing mojo back with baby steps, apparently.)

General Site Housekeeping: I had previously tried to spin up sub-sites of my annathepiper.org network, a dev site and a photo site, only to discover that trying to maintain two many different WordPress sites is annoying. So the dev and photo functionality I wanted to do is getting rolled into the general annathepiper.org site.

Angelahighland.com will retain its focus on my books.

For the time being, the bulk of my blog writing will remain on angelahighland.com. Annathepiper.org will get posts specifically related to that site. (This is only relevant to y’all if you’re following my sites directly. If you’re following me on Dreamwidth, you’re going to get both sites’ posts regardless!)

Any questions? How are y’all anyway?

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

This is a test, this is a test, this is a test. This is me playing with the new “Gutenberg” editor that comes with WordPress 5.0, and yep, this is sure different.

Gutenberg is oriented around the concept of “blocks”. It keeps offering me things to do to various types of them, including paragraphs and shortcodes. I’m not sure yet if I like this experience yet. But at least there’s a plugin I can install to restore the classic editor if I decide to get rid of this.

For now, anyway, I’ve got this version of WordPress installed on my personal network of sites (which includes both annathepiper.org and angelahighland.com). Assuming nothing obviously explodes, I’ll be rolling it around to the other sites hosted on murkworks.net this weekend.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

I have a tendency to let projects get away from me if I’m not careful, and lately this has tackled me again as I’ve found myself trying to spin off two separate WordPress sites on my network–one for doing indie SDET work, and another for photos. The first was motivated by me getting laid off recently from my long-running day job. The second was brought on by Flickr announcing that they were going to start limiting free users to 1,000 photos and/or videos on their site, which made me think that I might want to move a lot of my Flickr content here.

Both of these projects were nice in theory. But in actual practice, I discovered that having too many WordPress sites to keep track of is annoying for me.

I also discovered that while I liked the idea of a standalone photos.annathepiper.org, this meant that I couldn’t easily get at the photo galleries I wanted to put on it. Say, from pages on the main annathepiper.org site, or old posts. So I’m opting to do the photos thing here instead. And while I think I like the theory of having a standalone dev site on my WordPress network as well, again, I think it’s a bit too much fracturing of how much I need to keep track of with WordPress.

So I’ll be pulling the few posts I put on both of those sites into the main blog on annathepiper.org, as well as the photo gallery plugin I’ve been playing with.

Y’all may also notice that I’ve changed the theme here to WordPress’s Twenty Seventeen theme, since I got tired of looking at Twenty Fifteen, which I wasn’t ever really happy with anyway. And I’ve put up one of my favorite pics as the header. This is my stuffed mammoth Jean-Claude, next to Andre Brunet’s guitar, as taken at Camp Violon Trad in 2017. <3

I’ve taken down the previous menu I had up, as I think about what new things I want to add to it instead. A lot of my older content on this site is stuff I don’t really want to get rid of. But I also don’t want a gigantic menu either!

Anyway. Hopefully this may lead me to actually play with this site more. Let’s see if it does!

(EDITING TO ADD: Hi Dreamwidth people! If you’re seeing this post there, this is of course me talking about rearranging things on my annathepiper.org site, not on Dreamwidth. But the extra bonus of me doing more with annathepiper.org is that you get to see it, too!)

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

Hiya!

Dec. 2nd, 2018 07:33 am
annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

If you’ve been reading me a while, you probably also know that I’m mostly a writer and a geek and an amateur musician. You may also know that periodically I like to take pictures on my iPhone.

Up till now I’ve generally posted my pics both on Facebook and on Flickr. I’ve been using the latter site in particular because while I’m active on Facebook, I also want to have a way for people who aren’t on Facebook to actually see what pictures I take.

This has been lovely up till now. The problem, though, is that as of January 2019 Flickr is moving to a model of allowing free accounts only 1,000 pictures and/or videos. My problem: I have over 1,400 photos there.

Now I have two considerations before me:

  1. I don’t quite care enough about Flickr to want to pony up for a Pro account there.
  2. I do actually have my very own web server.

So this is me playing around with using annathepiper.org as a place to archive older photos. Right now I’m using a WordPress plugin called FooGallery, which offers some really nice UI for album-creating and gallery-creating purposes.

I don’t expect this to be high-traffic. If I turn out to be wrong, I’ll have to tweak the gallery functionality accordingly, and/or post significantly smaller pics than what I can pull off my phone. (Because y’all don’t really need to be downloading full 8 megapixel pics off my phone, do you? Though if you like one of my photos and you DO want the full version, hey, that’s what Dropbox is for.)

Anyhow, let’s see how this works.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

There’s some new Julia Czerneda in my near future, but until THAT happens, behold! A few more books I’ve picked up lately, all from Kobo:

Within the Sanctuary of Wings, by Marie Brennan. The final book in the Lady Trent series, which I’ve finally been able to pick up as the price came down some more. VERY much looking forward to savoring this.

Chapel of Ease, by Alex Bledsoe. This is I believe the fourth book in his Tufa series, which started with the wonderful The Hum and the Shiver.

To Guard Against the Dark, by the aforementioned Julie E. Czerneda. This is the third book of her Reunification trilogy, and I’m looking forward to savoring this too!

The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin. The second and third books of her Broken Earth trilogy. VERY much enjoying this. Plowing through Book 2 right now and should be charging into Book 3 in the next week or so.

This brings me to 54 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Good Book)

So yeah y’all may or may not have noticed I’ve been really behind on getting things posted around here. I’ve got a lot of things I just petered out on completely, and I’ve been trying to explore new ways of dealing with that.

But in the meantime, yes, hi, this blog still exists, so here, have a quick ebook roundup post!

Purchased from Amazon:

Stillhouse Lake and Killman Creek, by Rachel Caine. I have a long history of loving Caine’s work, though these two are a change of pace: they’re thrillers in which the heroine has to deal with discovering her husband is a serial killer. (YIKES!) I will probably have to be in the right headspace to read these, and I don’t know when that’s going to be. But I got them because a) Caine! and b) they were on sale.

I also nabbed them from Amazon specifically because this particular series is in fact _only_ available on Amazon. For favorite authors, I will in fact purchase from Amazon if that’s the only way I can get their work.

And back in the land where I usually purchase my ebooks, i.e., Kobo:

A Conspiracy in Belgravia, by Sherry Thomas. This is book 2 of her Lady Sherlock series, which I grabbed again because it was on sale, and also because this series has gotten talked up a lot on the Smart Bitches podcast. Thomas is a delightful interviewee, and that as well as just being fond of Sherlock Holmes pastiches drove me to go ahead and pick up book 1 earlier. Now I’ve got book 2 as well.

(And for those of you unfamiliar with this particular series, it’s still Victorian England, but ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is a cover identity of a young lady of the gentry, Charlotte Holmes. I’m reading book 1 right now as of this writing, and so far, I’m pretty intrigued by her backstory. But I’m anxious to get to the part where she’s actively solving crimes.)

Wonderful, by Jill Barnett. Historical romance. This had been hanging out for some time on my wishlist, until I recently discovered that the author had new editions of the trilogy. And also that book 1 was free. I like free! So I finally nabbed this one.

The Fall of Gondolin, by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien. And absolutely NONE of you should be surprised I nabbed this. This is going to possibly be the last volume of the truly great stories out of The Silmarillion edited by J.R.R. Tolkien’s son Christopher, if nothing else just due to Christopher Tolkien’s advanced years. But I’m very much looking forward to diving into this. I always felt that the fall of Gondolin was a story given short shrift in The Silmarillion!

(It should also surprise none of you I will also be picking this up in print. The print edition is currently hanging out on my Amazon wishlist. We’ll see if it shows up around Yuletide this year.)

Pre-orders which have shown up now but which I counted already:

The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Now that I’ve read The Calculating Stars, I’m VERY much looking forward to diving into this.

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, by Seanan McGuire. Another book 2 I’m looking forward to, after an excellent book 1.

This brings me up to 49 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Nabbed from Kobo in the last couple weeks or so:

The City & The City, by China Mieville. Had previously owned in print, re-bought in ebook, nabbed it because the ebook was on sale.

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, by Seanan McGuire. This is another preorder! And I nabbed it because it’s a sequel to her earlier Rose Marshall release, Sparrow Hill Road. I quite liked that first Rose Marshall, and I’m looking forward to this new one. It’ll be coming out very soon after this post!

And my preorder for The Calculating Stars showed up, which I am ALSO very much looking forward to reading. 😀

44 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Castle and Beckett and Book)

Because I forgot to note that I nabbed it as Tor.com’s May freebie, here’s that for the ebook roundup:

The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi. SF.

Also, two of my pre-orders mentioned in the last roundup post came in, yay! Looking forward to reading Witchmark and Trail of Lightning!

But meanwhile, I also nabbed all three of Tanya Huff’s Peacekeeper trilogy from Kobo, now that Book 3 has dropped. This is of course military SF and I grabbed ’em on general “Because Tanya Huff needs more of my money” principles, and because I’ve liked the Torin Kerr books that came before these. These books are An Ancient Peace, A Peace Divided, and The Privilege of Peace.

42 for the year (I’ve already counted Trail of Lightning and Witchmark).

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

This month’s free ebook from Tor.com’s ebook club was V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, so I nabbed that one. Because hey, free!

Nabbed from Kobo, because they were on sale:

Provenance, by Ann Leckie. I’ve been enjoying the Ancillary novels quite a bit (I’ve read the first two, still need to read the third), so I wanted this one as well.

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente. Because if you tell me a book is essentially “Eurovision IN SPACE”, then why yes you HAVE MY ATTENTION. ;D

And pre-ordered from Kobo, because all of these are relevant to my interests:

The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Pair of novels set in the same universe as her excellent short story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”. VERY much looking forward to these.

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse. Urban fantasy. Nabbing this one because a) it’s urban fantasy utilizing Navaho mythos, and b) written by an actual Native American author. Also VERY much looking forward to this one. 😀

Witchmark, by C.L. Polk. Fantasy. All the buzz about this one talks about this one as very reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle in terms of the culture it’s set in. But it’s also got a queer romance in it, and all in all, from what I’ve seen in reading excerpts and descriptions, there’s a high likelihood of this being charming. I particularly like the heavy emphasis on bicycles being important to this book’s culture!

38 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Star Wars Procession (Star Wars Procession)

There’s been a lot of dubious buzz over the last several months about Solo: A Star Wars Story. A lot of folks have been concerned about the change in directors, and about whether the movie would deliver a cohesive story. It’s only been out a week, and there’s buzz now about OHNOEZ DID IT FLOP, apparently because it hasn’t made quite as gigantic a pile of money as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have done.

With all this negative buzz going around, you could easily conclude that the movie sucks. I am delighted to report, Internets, that this is not the case.

As y’all know I’m a lifelong fangirl for Harrison Ford in general, and for Han Solo in particular. So I was absolutely expecting to come into this movie all Judgy McJudgypants. Because of my Ford fangirldom, but also because of my longstanding love of the Han Solo backstory novels by Brian Daley and A.C. Crispin. The Crispins in particular are near and dear to my heart, as I relied upon them heavily for inspiration when playing Han on Star Wars MUSH back in the day.

Happily, while this movie’s story is of course different in the minor details (while getting the major ones generally right), its spirit felt entirely like those novels. It was just generally fun in a way we don’t usually get with Star Wars flicks. By which I mean, we’re not dealing with galaxy-shaking stakes here. This is an origin story, a heist-flick-in-space, with the Empire only a background presence rather than the main point.

And while Alden Ehrenreich isn’t Harrison Ford, I am now happy to accept his take on Han. Also, Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian is absolutely glorious, and so is the droid L3.

All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan–and especially if you’re a Han fan–go see it!

Now let’s have a swing past the Spoiler Mines of Kessel, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Whoops, I missed a couple of Kobo receipts that should have been in my last roundup! And I have a few others to add to those, too.

These are all Kobo books, and in all cases, I nabbed ’em because they were on sale for low prices. I buy most of my ebooks on sale these days, in fact. Mostly out of general disgruntlement about ebook prices getting jacked up! Though I’ll also very specifically buy certain titles due out this year. (Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars, I am looking straight at YOU.)

By Greg Bear:

The Forge of God. Which I already owned in paperback, but I haven’t read it yet. Nabbing an on-sale ebook copy raises the chances I’ll actually read it before the decade is out!

By Max Gladstone:

The Ruin of Angels, Four Roads Cross, Last First Snow, and Full Fathom Five, all part of his Craft Sequence series.

By Becky Chambers:

A Closed and Common Orbit, book 2 of her Wayfarers series, which began with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I really rather love her titles. And when I’m in the right mood for it, I also rather like her heavily character-driven fiction.

By Anne Fortier:

Juliet. I am unsure whether this qualifies as a mystery, fiction with a historical tie-in, or both. It’s been on my To Read list for ages as a library read. Went ahead and bought it since it was on sale, as mentioned above.

(Sidebar: this is yet another novel with “A Novel” included as part of its title. I suppose it’s nice of them to clear that up, but I swear, every time I see “A Novel” as part of a book’s official title, I keep wanting to ask “As opposed to what? A ham sandwich?”)

And by Georgette Heyer:

Cotillion. Nabbed this one because Heyer’s name keeps getting spoken of reverently in romance circles, and this title in particular keeps getting mentioned as one worth checking out.

Lastly, I should also mention that since I’m on Tor.com’s mailing list for their ebook club, I nabbed Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning. I’ve already read it, but it was nice to get my own copy!

31 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Acquired from Kobo:

  • Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler. I already had a copy of this in paperback, but I snagged the ebook as I’d built up enough credit points with Kobo to snag it for free. And having an ebook copy ups the chances I’ll read it, which I want to do because I definitely need to read more Butler.
  • The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. Another book I already own in print, but I snagged the ebook as it was on sale.

Acquired from Angry Robot:

  • Hunger Makes the Wolf, by Alex Wells. SF. Nabbed this one as it was on my To Read list, but it got an award! So Angry Robot put it briefly on sale, and I nabbed it then.

22 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

My household doesn’t usually see movies on opening weekend. But a couple of days ago Dara informed me that spoilers were falling like rain on her social media feeds! So yesterday evening, we scampered off for a viewing of Avengers: Infinity War at one of our local theaters.

I was deeply amused that said theater was running the film on almost every single one of their screens. I was equally amused, on the way out, to see that one of the ticket takers was dressed up like Loki. So they were clearly milking the Marvel money cow for all it’s worth.

As for the movie itself? This post will talk about it in a general non-spoilery fashion. I’ll do another post with in-depth spoiler-laden commentary.

Pacing and cast

I’ve seen multiple headlines of reviews talking about the movie being overstuffed. These reviews are not wrong. Almost every single character we’ve had introduced to us in the last ten years of the MCU shows up. Some get more screen time than others, as is inevitable with a cast this large. But with so many characters in play, the film has very little time to do much with any of them, except for the ones specifically involved with the biggest plot points.

And, given that the film’s running time is 2 hours 29 minutes, that’s a lot of time to be juggling so many characters.

Fight scenes make up a lot of the two and a half hours. Dara and I talked about how in some ways the pacing of this movie felt like The Battle of the Five Armies, in that it was almost non-stop fighty fighty fighty fighty. Because of this, some of y’all may find the film kind of exhausting. I personally didn’t; despite the long running time, I mostly felt like it moved well. I felt only a time or two that things were dragging a bit, and those moments were fleeting.

So very much in media res

I cannot stress this enough: this film expects you to know what happened in the films that led up to this one. If you haven’t been heavily invested in the MCU up until this point, this is so very not the place to come into the storyline. This is the cinematic equivalent of trying to come in on the Harry Potter books with book 7, or The Lord of the Rings with Return of the King.

For me, this was just fine. I have been heavily invested in the MCU. But I can definitely see that a casual moviegoer, someone who may have missed one or more of the previous movies, could come into this movie and be very, very lost.

So what I’m saying here is, brush up on previous MCU plots before you go see Infinity War. Go read Wikipedia plot summaries of them at the very least, if you don’t have time to watch the actual films. You don’t need to know every single previous MCU film well for the important plot points of this one to make sense. But you should brush up on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Comic book cosmology, oh my yes

One more important point I want to make: we are now well and thoroughly into the territory of some of the wackier aspects of comic book plots here, people. In particular, we’re getting into the cosmology of the Marvel Universe, with the entire notion of the Infinity Stones, and what Thanos wants to do with them.

A lot of the action is in space, or on worlds that aren’t Earth. Some of these sequences are handled more realistically than others. Dara told me after we came out of the film that certain parts of it knocked her right out of the story, because of her immediate “uh, no” reaction. You’ll want to break out the industrial strength cables for the suspension of your disbelief here, y’all.

There are multiple on-screen deaths, be warned. But more than one of them failed to hit me with the Feels that I think the film wanted out of me, specifically because I knew that this was a comic book plot and that deaths are almost never final in these sorts of storylines. Knowing that we’re into the wackier cosmology of the Marvel universe at this point distanced me in a way some of the earlier films didn’t do, because of their better grounding in realism. (Notably, the first two Captain Americas.)

That said: I did totally tear up at certain points during the climax of the story.

Thanos

Last but not least, Thanos, our Big Bad. How well he’ll work for you will, again, depend upon how well you roll with wacky cosmic comic book plots. Arguably, Thanos’ motivations are shaky at best. But given that, Josh Brolin played him well. We get into some of Thanos’ general backstory, as well as the backstory of how he took Gamora off her home planet when she was a child. That helped make me buy his direct interactions with Gamora and Nebula, at least, if not his overall motivations.

And I’ll say this: the big guy was legit scary in battle. So were his minions, generally referred to as “the Children of Thanos” on screen. (These characters do actually have names; I looked them up on Wikipedia. But I don’t recollect hearing any of them called by these names in the movie.)

All in all, Infinity War definitely entertained me. One more warning, though: this movie ends in a dark cliffhanger-y sort of place. The real resolution isn’t due until the next Avengers flick drops in May 2019. So if you’re not a fan of cliffhangers, consider whether you want to see this film in a theater now, vs. watching it much closer to when the next one comes out.

Stand by for the spoiler-y post, wherein I will talk about this flick in a lot more depth. 😀

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Great Amurkian Novel 2)

After working with fellow indie authors in NIWA for a few years now, I’ve decided that it’s stupid that I don’t have print copies of my books available on Amazon (and by extension, a couple other places that carry books published via CreateSpace/KDP). Some time in the next month or so, I’m going to fix this problem. There are going to be new Faerie Blood and Bone Walker print editions!

The particular motivation here: I’m flat out of copies of Faerie Blood, since I sold my last remaining five copies at Norwescon (yay!). I’m down to only five copies left of Bone Walker as well. These will be the last remaining espresso-book-machine copies of that book!

So if anybody wants ’em, this would be a real good time to get ’em. I bumped the price down to $12 at Norwescon after I sold out of Faerie Blood, and will keep that price until they’re gone. Likewise, I have a couple of copies with misprinted covers, and a couple of damaged ones, available for only $5. (The damaged ones were ones I’d signed and mailed out to Kickstarter backers. But they were damaged by the Post Office in transit and came back to me.)

Since I’m doing whole new print editions, I’ll also do a minor edit pass on both books. Notably, I’ll finally correct that typo in Chapter 20 of Faerie Blood in the name of the demon, Azganaroth! But I’ll fix a few other minor typos as well as I find them. Dara will make any adjustments necessary in the PDF and print masters, including the edition numbering in the books’ front matter pages.

Once I finish the edit passes, I’ll deploy the print PDFs up to Amazon. I’ll be able to get author proof copies and vet them before finally releasing the new editions for sale.

The end result? Hopefully, more discoverability and ease of purchase for people who don’t already know me or follow me on social media. Hopefully nicer covers, too! Once I deal with any hiccups in the process, I’ll deploy print books this way moving forward. I’ll be doing Walk the Wards this way as well.

Any questions? Talk to me in the comments!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

For the longest time, I’ve been reading ebooks on my last purchased Nook, a Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet, with a side helping of periodically reading on my iPad or iPhone. But this has been bugging me for a while, for a few reasons.

The problems

One: I’m getting older, and my eyes are getting weaker. Which has made me want to go easier on them. Given this, I thought it’d be nicer to shift my digital reading back to an e-ink device rather than on devices with much brighter screens.

Two: These days I want to be less distracted by my technology. But I still love ebooks, and I’ve missed my prior experience of reading on e-ink devices. Which is to say: devices whose entire reason for existence is to do one thing, show me whatever I want to read. They can’t distract me with Facebook or Twitter or games or email or whatever. There’s something very restful in that.

Three: The ongoing slow decline of Barnes and Noble has made me disenchanted with the idea of ever buying an ebook from them again. Never mind a new device.

Four: While most of my ebook purchases these days are from Kobo, I haven’t liked reading on the Kobo device I own, a Kobo Mini. I like how tiny it is. But I don’t like that if I load it up with even a reasonable fraction of my library, its performance slows down considerably.

And while Kobo has higher-end e-ink devices, those are hard to come by in the States. There have been reports of Kobo beginning a partnership with Walmart to sell ebook cards and devices here. But as I flat out refuse to set foot in a Walmart, buying a Kobo device from them isn’t on the table.

I could go up to Vancouver and get a Kobo there. But that distance also means that if the thing breaks, there isn’t an easy way for me to see about getting it repaired or replaced.

All of which led me to do something I hadn’t ever foreseen myself doing: purchasing an e-ink Kindle. Specifically, an Oasis.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)
Binti: The Night Masquerade

Binti: The Night Masquerade

And now: the February 2018 ebook roundup!

This might wind up being my last one involving Barnes and Noble, after news this week that they’ve instituted some brutal layoffs. The Digital Reader talks about this story here, and there’s a similar and more in-depth post on tumblr here.

It’s very telling that the only ebooks I’ve bought from B&N in the last couple years have been due to ebook settlement credit or gift cards to spend. Most of the B&N purchases in this post were because I got my yearly VISA gift card from work. And I blew half of that on a B&N card because Kobo doesn’t sell gift cards here in the States, or at least not anywhere I’m likely to shop.

A few of these are ebook rebuys, for things I’d already bought on the iBooks store but which I wanted in a more accessible form. And getting B&N books into my master library in Calibre is slightly less irritating than doing iBooks.

The Amazon purchases are also because I had credit to spend. (In this case, from returning a gifted CD that I had already.)

Anyway, here’s the list!

From Amazon

Under the Empyrean Sky, Blightborn, and The Harvest, by Chuck Wendig. This is a YA dystopian trilogy by Wendig, and I got ’em all because they were on sale for 99 cents each.

From B&N

  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West. I don’t normally read non-fiction, but this came recommended to me. And since Dara and I got to see Lindy West as the Not My Job guest at the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me show in Seattle this past December, where she was quite awesome, I went ahead and picked this up.
  • Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer. This must have gotten recommended to me at some point? It’s a middle grade series about a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind, with fairies involved, and probably other supernatural hijinx as well. It seems like fun along the lines of Phineas and Ferb. We’ll see!
  • Rebels and Lovers, by Linnea Sinclair. SFR.
  • The Hobbit, which of course needs no introduction. This ebook edition is the special enhanced version that has additional art and audio embedded in it.
  • Semiosis, by Sue Burke. SF. This one has been getting talked up a lot on Tor.com and I thought it sounded intriguing, so I snapped it up. Liz Bourke reviews it for Tor.com here.
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor. SF. The final book of Okorafor’s Binti series, which so far I have enjoyed quite a bit.
  • It Devours!, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The second Night Vale novel!
  • Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz. SF. Another book I’ve seen talked up on Tor.com in the last several months, and which I’ve picked up out of interest in the samples and reviews I’ve read there. Notably, this review by Brit Mandelo.
  • Wind From a Foreign Sky, by Katya Reimann. Fantasy. This is an ebook rebuy of a book I meant to read a very long time ago.
  • The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin. Fantasy. I’ve received multiple recommendations for this. And on general grounds of “this won a Hugo” and “why yes I do want to read more things by women and by WoC in particular”, this clearly needs to be in my library.

But wait there’s more

I do also have one more book to mention, which I didn’t pick up from a bookstore. This is Capricious: The Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue, a special issue of the magazine called Capricious. I supported their Indiegogo to do this special issue, and received it in both ebook and print form.

If this sounds like a neat thing to you, you can find out more about the special issue right over here! They’re selling the print edition through Amazon as well as B&N, although in light of the news I mentioned at the top of the post, if you want the print copy, Amazon is probably your best bet. (I can however say that the print copy is nice. It’s shaped like a book, not a magazine at all.)

17 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Buh?)
Anna's iPad Pro

Anna’s iPad Pro

Every new January for me means the coming of my birthday! This year, since I got a nice yearly bonus from the day job, I treated myself to a birthday present: a new iPad Pro. Today on Here Be Magic, the group blog I participate in, I’ve got a post up about what it’s like to use this device to write on. Here on my own site, I’d like to expand on that somewhat and talk about what I like about this device so far, and why I decided to get it.

Long post is long! The rest is behind the cut.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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