Me again? What?

Yeah, I go away for long periods. Sue me.

Here’s a great panel of amazing writers: Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Brian Lee Durfee, Brian McClellan and Matt Kirby

Worth a look and just under 50 minutes long.

 

Enjoy! Bean out!

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Where Have I Been?

Seriously. Where have I been? I just logged in and I haven’t posted anything since April. There goes that resolution.

Well, let’s see. I’ve been reading and now I’m having book hangover. I bought the eARC of Monster Hunter Siege and read that as fast as I could. I never buy the eARCs but I just couldn’t help myself this time. It’s a darker tale. Kind of left me feeling a bit blue. Part of that is the letdown that always occurs after reading a book by your favorite author (the realization you’re going to have to start the waiting process … again!) and part of it is the content. Not that it’s a letdown, just that it’s not all jolly, jolly. Dark times, my friends. Dark times.

I got a friend of mine into Monster Hunter International. She’s become a complete addict, reading them all back-to-back obsessively. My work is done on that score. Can’t wait until she reads Grimnoir.

I also read Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner. I’ve been waiting about six years for this book. Whenever she has a new one out I try to savor it. They’re not long books. It’s not like Diana Gabaldon taking six years to put out a giant tome, these are more … tidy. So it might seem like I would be resentful that she takes so long for each installment, but I can’t argue with the results. They’re great stories and I reread them again and again. Right now I’m listening to the new book after having read it a few weeks ago. I try to spread this addiction, but so far I haven’t achieved it. I’ve even bought the books for people and they just don’t follow through. They have no idea what they’re missing.

I read the final two installments of Ilona Andrews’s Hidden Legacy trilogy. Not as good as Kate Daniels or Innkeeper, but definitely better than a lot of things. Some nitpicks and pet peeves will take away some star value, but I wouldn’t turn away more stories in this world.

Okay, that’s it for me tonight. I’m tired. I guess that’s why I never blog. I’m just too freaking tired by the time I have a moment to sit down at the computer. But here I am so I may as well cast something.

Milo from Monster Hunter International:

Yep, that’s Haley Joel Osment. He’s changed a lot, and is probably chunkier than Milo, but he’s awesomely talented and he’s got a good start on the beard.

That’s all for now! Sweet dreams!

Larry Correia on World Building

Larry Correia — reminder: I’m a true fangirl — has made a blog post about world building. I’ve seen posts by him that describe all that was involved with creating the world for Son of the Black Sword, but they were FB posts so not really anything I could link. Now there’s a nice, long, blog post.

His take on world building is interesting and instructive. I think authors often have an idea, but they don’t follow through to the absolute minutia of the world. The monetary system, the traditions, the laws, the dress and the where and why of it. And so much more. You can see the lack down the line in a series when things go haywire because they haven’t settled those systems.

So here’s the post. I think it will make a good reference tool later on.

Ask Correia 18: World Building

Music Post: Sam Hunt

I found this post in my drafts from two years ago. I can’t believe I’ve been a Sam Hunt fan for two whole years. Of course, he’s a bit overproduced these days, but this album is early and more bare bones than his current work. You can really get a sense of his talent here.

I love that he’s created his own style that no one can imitate. I know it drives the labels insane because they absolutely love to find a trend and run it into the ground. But nobody tries “Hunting” without looking like an idiot. It’s too specific.

A good singer/songwriter always just blows my mind. Putting the words and the melody and the rhythms together, making it meaningful, delivering it with passion and sincerity … just bliss to listen to.

Today’s inspiration music (the entire mix):

You can’t download this album anymore. I have no idea why, but it’s a shame. I’d pay good money for it.

Bean likey. Sweet Dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Quitting a series

It’s been a whole month since I last posted something. There goes my plan to be very active and reliable on this blog. Oh well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of quitting a book series. I’ve done it before and some of the times were harder than others.

It’s amazing how difficult it is to drop a book series that you’ve been reading for a long time. Even six books in there’s an investment and it’s so hard to let go. Especially if you’ve become part of a fandom and you’ve made friends over speculations and discussion.

I’ve left a few series that I’d put time into so I know what I’m talking about.

I read the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evonavich up through the fourteenth installment. But I hadn’t liked it for multiple books before that. Seems like it should have been easy. I actually wasn’t involved in the fandom — no message boards or Goodreads groups or even discussion on Amazon — but it was actually very difficult to stop myself from buying the fifteenth book.

Why did I quit that one? Because it had become incredibly repetitive and it wasn’t going anywhere. The characters had reached the pinnacle of their development and the storylines were just warmed over from the first eight or so books. The whole love triangle thing (which I’m given to understand has still not been resolved) had become tawdry and had diminished all three characters involved. The humor was stale and there was basically little to no joy in reading them.

And still I had a hard time letting go. Habit? Pretty expensive. As I’ve noticed in the time since, the books have gotten thinner but more costly. And as I understand it, there’s some bed hopping which doesn’t do any of them any favors. I think I got off that train just in the nick of time. Eek.

Then there was the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Again, I wasn’t involved in a fandom except for some discussion on the Amazon boards, but I did read the first six books before I finally said, “enough is enough”. Truth be told I skimmed the fifth and sixth books quite a bit. The writing had become self-indulgent and poorly paced. The plot lines had gotten more insane and it was purely absurd that absolutely everything happened to Jamie and Claire. They had all these other characters around them and whatever thing was going to happen would always happen to those two. It got a little creepy and ridiculous.

I haven’t watched the television show, but I’m interested in seeing it. I’ve heard it’s a very well done adaptation. I did really like those first books — the second one was always my favorite — but I don’t watch much TV so it’s hard to fit that into my schedule.

Leaving that series was much easier. For one thing, Gabaldon takes years to write new installments, so I had time to get used to being a former reader. However, when the next book came out, I nearly plunked down the dollars, but then I decided to read the spoilers instead. Turns out that was enough for me. I’ve actually got the seventh book because there was a bundle sold for a ridiculously great price and I bought it. I had read the books in hard copy so it seemed like a good idea to get them for my Kindle. I don’t see myself reading it, though it catches me by surprise when I come across book 7 in my library. Then I feel some guilt.

Why guilt? Because being a fan of a series is a commitment. However mild it might be, it’s still something into which you’ve put some effort. I feel like I’m letting myself down if I don’t find out what happens next. But if I wasn’t enjoying what happened last … *sigh*

Another series I bailed on was the Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh. Now, I’ll be honest — I may have given a couple of those books five stars, but I was never as thrilled with that series as many of my friends are. I really disliked the whole Psy world building. It necessitated repetitive story lines for those characters. I much preferred the shifters. Their stories were more varied and their emotions could run the gamut.

But I would have stuck with it if the publisher hadn’t been part of Agency 6 pricing; where the publisher sets the prices for their books instead of the seller. The problem with this is the price hike they hit us with as soon as they pushed it through. Money grubbing. Very off-putting.

So when the A-6 pricing scheme took over, I decided to cull my “auto-buys” and Psy-Changling was on the chopping block. I did read one more that I got from the library, but it didn’t engage me enough to make me deal with the whole borrowing thing on an ongoing basis for that series. See? A-6 pricing lost them money. Because I’d much rather buy the book than bother with the library, especially if I want to read a new release, I would have bought their books. And now I don’t buy them at all.

Lara Adrien’s “Midnight Breeds” series was always hit and miss for me. A couple of the books were so good that I gave them five stars. But others were really bad. Lazily plotted and lacking continuity and logic.

I gave up on that series after the 8th installment. The seventh had been a five star for me, and the 8th — Taken by Midnight — was set up in that one so I was anxious for it. What an incredible disappointment! The main couple hardly had any time together and the plot spun completely out of control. It was just plain lame. I couldn’t bring myself to buy any more of them. Again, agency pricing might have gotten in the way, but I don’t even remember now. Every once in a while I think I should pick it up again, and then I just don’t bother. I have not missed it.

So I have a lot of experience in walking away from a series that’s not working for me. The problem really comes in when you’re a part of the fandom of a series/author. When you’ve met people and made friends through your mutual enthusiasm for a world and the characters that inhabit it the idea of leaving is a lot more disturbing.

I’m in this dilemma now.  A lot of time put in, many friends made, and good books in the past. It’s difficult, I tell ya! At one point I was sure I was going to leave. Done! Wash my hands! Then I talked to a friend and I couldn’t imagine leaving that community behind. So I’m staying. For now. The books may only offer me reasons to rant at this point, but I do so like my friends and the Goodreads fan group is a great place to meet up with them.

Is it too crazy to hope the author will have an epiphany and do better? Yes. I’m sure it is. But I will hold out hope for a while anyway. Until then, I will hang with my friends and hope the author doesn’t do any more stupid things before the next book. Unlikely.

We can always hope though, right?

 

Early Friday Morning

You know who I have a crush on right now?

I think it’s Cassian I have a crush on, to be honest. Not that Diego Luna isn’t crush-worthy, but Cassian is an ideal. A concept. His character arc and his style lit up the screen for me. A hero lost and found.

And I loved this movie. So much. I’m going to buy the book, I loved it so much. And the Blu Ray when it comes out.

To be clear, I’m not a Star Wars fan. At all. I think every installment after the first two has been hugely contrived and poorly executed. Often boring and poorly written as well. The latest one … The Force Awakens … was nearly, freaking awful. It just didn’t reach the depths of the prequels (good golly what a trio of stinkers).

If they did more like this — basically movie fan fics in the Star Wars world — I’d become a fan and quickly. Of course, the quality of screenwriting, acting and production would have to be there as well. I can dream.

And on that note: sweet dreams of Cassian, kick ass battles, and redemption!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Ilona Andrews on commercial writing

I like to link to writing advice by successful authors. Ilona Andrews often gets questions about writing and occasionally addresses them on the blog. Here is one:

Ilona Andrews: commercial writing

That’s a really good, quick rundown.

And the first commenter included a link to a site called Magical Words, which is all about writing advice from authors. I’m sure some of it overlaps and some of it contradicts, but with all those established voices chiming in on the subject, there are bound to be some pearls of wisdom that the learning writer can take to heart.

Magical Words

That’s it for now. Sweet dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg