Oct 292013
 

dovington castle model 2013-10-29 13.44.47

 
I needed to post this somewhere, because eventually I will want to use the casserole dish the model is stored in.

I sort of assumed that signing up for nanowrimo would make me act weird, but I did not anticipate how weird. This did turn out to be a decent way for me to get a map of the city, though. Maybe next time I will do the countries.

Anyway, this model of Dovington Castle is built from kinetic sand, sugru, toothpicks, and bits of cardboard. Then I took a picture with my phone, dropbox magically copied the picture to my laptop, and I used MSpaint to type and draw map bits on it.

Oct 132013
 

2013-10-13 06.59.16I am on Martha’s Vineyard to hang out with Steve and everyone else for VP. This morning I picked him up from the airport after his CA signings, but yesterday was a full day of lounging about this paradise and entertaining myself. I found some groceries in the morning, and took a beach stroll in the afternoon.

Horseshoe crab shells littered the tideline, and as I passed a huge clump of scrubby roses, I recalled Teresa mentioning the year when there were so many rosehips that she made jelly from them. So I filled the pockets of my windbreaker with rosehips.

Back at the Inn, I googled rosehips and learned that one has to take out the seeds and fuzz, which was only a little bit tedious. I ended up with about a cup of rosehip shards, and sliced up a cup of strawberries. I crushed them, covered them with water, and proceeded to boil the hell out of them with two cups of water, the tiniest bit of vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Result: JAM.

2013-10-12 18.51.20 (539x640)

I use a tiny dab of butter to keep the foam down during the boiling process, which works quite nicely. I assume it has something to do with surface tension.

Sep 222013
 

Yesterday I was on a four-hour road trip taking the scenic route to a party, and the following sprang into my mind. This fannish masterwork is for the multitudes out there who love both Renegade and Ancillary Justice.

She was a ship, and good at annexations.
But she discovered the ultimate sin,
And was uncivilized towards the Lord of the Raadch,
A tyrant who tried to kill her,
But got the officer she loved instead.
A single corpse soldier,
Now she prowls the galaxy,
An ancillary….
A RENEGADE.
*cheesy music swells*

Starring Lucy Lawless as Breq, naturally.

I can’t look away from it. The leather vest with no shirt. Lorenzo Lamas’ perfect hair and glistening biceps. Animal skulls, giant blazing guns, a burning wanted poster, a scantily-clad babe who is framed headless, and no, I wouldn’t mind riding that motorcycle even a little bit.

Sep 212013
 

This is from back in July, but apparently I posted it on goodreads and forgot to put it up here. I don’t actually trust that site to keep my little reviews stored forever. Anyway.

Republic of Thieves broke my heart a little, in all the best ways. I had all the feels. I shouted obscenities, cackled with glee, and tried to reach into the pages to cuddle the characters through their moments of frailty and strength. I bookmarked a couple of passages for future “fuck-yeah-feminism-in-fantasy” reference. There’s romance and adventure and daring crime, plus surprises and the difficult trick of mixing a satisfying conclusion with leaving us needing the next book.

There’s an A and a B plot, taking the form of the main timeline chapters alternating with ‘interlude’ chapters that follow a section of Locke’s past. Instead of being separate stories that simply tie together at the end of the book, the plot lines complement each other throughout, giving us a complex picture of Locke and Sabetha’s relationship. The A-plot is a cool, darkly detailed intrigue with a multilayered payoff that had my eyes wide and heart racing, but I found myself far more invested in the B plot, which is entertaining and has lots of fun moments for characterization junkies.

As usual, Lynch’s use of language is fucking delightful. Creative threats and cussing are my not-so-secret favorite aspect of his work in this series, but it would be a crime not to also point out how he uses just the right amount of descriptive detail to build a fabulous world. I loved it and look forward to reading it again.

Sep 152013
 

I received an early copy of this book either because I have some supernaturally hypnotic powers of which I am unaware, or because awesome books are one of the glamorous insider perks of being a writer’s girlfriend. Either way, I was ecstatic to read what had been (accurately) described to me as “The Prestige meets The Avengers.”

Vicious features the finest evil sciencebros in all the land, the keenest little girl sidekick since Penny, and a twisty, darkly animated plot. The story is told through alternating points in time and points of view, but Schwab paints the visuals and nails the characters with the perfect amount of detail, so we’re never left confused by these jumps.

I don’t read many comics and this may be the first novel I’ve read in the–well, are we calling “superhero” a subgenre yet? I found myself visualizing the scenes played out in the typical college and sleek downtown hotel settings of Merit as comic book pages. The dialogue is full of grand pronouncements and villainy while the characters battle and betray each other with knives, guns, and (best of all) cruel insights.

The story has a lot of emotional intimacy, but that doesn’t mean there’s romance. Early on, one of the first sparks that sends the main characters into their self-obsessed descents into madness is the girl who comes between them. However, we quickly see that their possessiveness and bad relationships with their own true natures bar them from sensuality or true passion, and there’s a cautionary aspect to that. Love is really just another weapon, along with friendship and fear. Musings on loyalty and the powerful effects of trauma lend profundity, elevating the whole above the level of entertaining romp; not that being merely that would have been a bad thing, but it is nice to have things to think about when the last page is turned.

Do the ability to make a creepy, pesky kid feel safe and a quirky hatred of absentee parents make up for more than a decade of being a bad man? If you’re saving humanity with superpowers and God is on your side, does that make you a holy tool? Most importantly, how many heroic tropes does a writer need to stab full of holes and then raise from the dead before we go forth and proclaim the work a brilliantly dialectical piece?

Vicious is out September 24. That’s a Tuesday, so if you do yourself the favor of purchasing it, you can stay up all night and finish it before you go to the comic shop for your pulls.

*****

Here are a bunch of links that I had trouble slyly working into this post:
An excerpt on tor.com!
Warm Up, an endearing related short story on tor.com!
Holy shit, the author has made really cool trading cards and I just drooled a little on my favorite shirt.
And what the hell, why not a B&N link, too?