Hugo Thoughts

I would have had to be living under a rock to avoid the fracas surrounding last year’s Hugo Awards. I read a lot of author blogs, and follow a lot of writers on Twitter, and let me tell you the anthill was SEETHING when the nominations were announced.

I’m not going to publicly stick my oar in on one side or the other (although I’ll talk about it privately, I suppose, if anyone cares)…but one good thing that came out of the mess is that it got a lot of people talking about the Hugos. Continue reading

Review: The Oncoming Storm

Please note that this review contains spoilers and lots of ranting.

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In the year 2420, war looms between the galaxy’s two most powerful empires: the tyrannical Theocracy and the protectionist Commonwealth. Caught in the middle sits the occupied outpost system Cadiz, where young officer and aristocrat Katherine “Kat” Falcone finds herself prematurely promoted at the behest of her powerful father. Against her own wishes, Kat is sent to command the Commonwealth navy’s newest warship, Lightning.

Determined to prove she has value beyond her family name, Kat struggles to earn her crew’s respect and find her footing as the youngest captain in naval history. She soon discovers the situation on Cadiz is even worse than anyone in power anticipated. War isn’t just a possibility—it is imminent. Yet the admiral in position to bolster defenses refuses to prepare for a fight. Can Kat find a way to investigate the enemy, alert the Commonwealth, and whip an entire fleet into fighting shape before the Theocracy’s war machine destroys everything she holds dear?

The Review

I requested this book on Netgalley because I thought it was going to be a fun romp – something to relax with after a day working in the library. “Military SF with a female lead” is basically a recipe for  my perfect popcorn book.

Unfortunately, The Oncoming Storm didn’t live up to even those rather low expectations. I wasn’t looking for brilliance, but I was at least looking for originality. The Oncoming Storm cribs its entire setup from other books in the genre: Continue reading

Review: The Long Way Home (Sequoyah #1)

The Book

Moire Cameron ran to protect her secrets — ran to the heart of an interstellar alien war. Her fellow mercenaries care only about her fighting skills, not where — or when — she got them. You’d think that would be good enough.

But a false name and fake ID can’t conceal her dangerous lack of contemporary knowledge, and they won’t help fulfill her last order, given by a dying man eighty years ago. To do that she must find a reason to live again. A cause worth fighting for, comrades to trust, and a ship to sail the stars… Continue reading

On Catfights and Cliches

I could have chosen to write this post a couple of different ways. I could have framed it as a feminist criticism of a certain tired trope, and drawn on my own writing as an example. In fact, that’s what I intended to do when I came up with the idea for this post.

But I just finished a week of non-stop, intense academic work, and then I went to the Dean’s Christmas party and broke the cardinal rule not to eat English pizza because I’d had too much wine and not enough sleep, and then I sat on a plane for eight hours, came home, and fell on my face.

I’m tired.

So instead I’m just going to talk a little bit about two of my characters, and why I made some of the choices I did in writing them and their relationship. Continue reading

Review: Gaslight Carnival by Tracy Cembor

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Margo Crestley is an alchemist mixing elixirs in the Dreamless City without a license. When the district crime lord threatens blackmail, Margo pins her hopes on someone she has not seen in four years — her twin brother Leonard.

Sold to the traveling Gaslight Carnival by the twins’ father, Leonard is treated like property. Margo scrimps and saves to buy his freedom, but the Ringmaster is unwilling to let him go. The young alchemist can only win her brother back if she participates in the capricious Ringmaster’s cruel games.

Time is running out. The crime lord’s threats are turning violent, and the Gaslight Carnival will soon be gone. The giant glowing balloons and striped carnival tents are set up for three days only before disappearing for another year along with the daredevil stunts, the freak show, and the rigged games of chance. Can Margo save her twin brother in time, or will she be left alone to face the crime lord herself? Continue reading

Review: Company Daughter by Callan Primer

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A girl. A saucepan. A plan to conquer the universe.

Aleta Dinesen doesn’t see the point of hanging around home, not when she can cook a mean paella. But her plan to conquer the universe one meal at a time runs afoul of her overprotective father, commander of a tough mercenary company. And when he puts his foot down, he’s got the firepower to back it up.

Undeterred, Aleta escapes the dreadnaught she calls home one step ahead of the gorgeous, highly disapproving Lieutenant Park, the unlucky young officer tasked with hauling her back. But the universe isn’t the safe place she thought it was. Stranded in a dangerous mining community, she clings to survival by her fingernails. Only by working with someone she can’t stand will she have a chance to escape, proving to everyone that a teenage cook can be the most dangerous force in the universe. Continue reading

The Podcast Post

In Which I Am Reluctant

So. I have long been resistant to the aural tradition, because I honestly find it difficult to follow audio-only things. I am such a visual person that I have fits if my brother wants help with his math homework, because he reads the questions aloud to me and won’t let me look at the paper. (CANNOT. HANDLE.)

I tried audiobooks once (I think it was a “try one free” deal) and…didn’t work. I couldn’t follow the story at all, kept getting lost, was super frustrated the whole time.

In Which I Am Reluctantly Converted

I’ve been working at a nonprofit this summer, and a lot of the people there listen to music while they work. So I started listening to music while I worked. And I enjoyed that.

Then the girl next to me started talking about all the podcasts she was listening to.

Here’s the thing: I try to be a good aspiring writer – I follow all the authors and agents on Twitter (and see some interesting stuff that way), subscribe to the Publisher’s Marketplace newsletter, try to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. But there are only so many hours in the day.

ENTER PODCASTS. Continue reading