Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

New reviews are up at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show!

Title: In Dreams Begin
Author: Skyler White
EAN: 9780425236956

Three things instantly struck me when I started Skyler White’s In Dreams Begin. The first was the gorgeous fluidity of the prose. Skyler has obviously studied poets and is also one herself; she writes in a way that makes other writers in the genre (namely, me) exceptionally jealous. I took me almost a week to get through the first hundred pages, because I knew that if I didn’t read carefully, I would be missing some special nuance lost in the language. In Dreams Begin is by no means a quick read; I re-read many of the sentences multiple times, making sure I was getting all the information I needed. And I’m still pretty sure I missed a lot… (Read more)

Title: Hunger
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
EAN: 9780547341248

I read Hunger directly on the heels of Skyler White’s In Dreams Begin, and experienced an interesting juxtaposition. Where Skyler’s prose is weighty and thick, Jackie’s is much more accessible and even young adult friendly. Where In Dreams Begin took me over a week to finish, I gobbled up Hunger in one day. But where the previous one tripped through erotic fantasy, the subject matter of this book was the more difficult to . . . well . . . consume… (Read more)

Title: Alien Invasion & Other Inconveniences
Author: Brian Yansky
Audio Read By: Alexander Cendese
EAN: 9781441889966

Yansky’s book starts sort of like a gunshot, with — you guessed it — an alien invasion. I enjoy this get-right-to-it mentality in books I listen to on audio, because (let’s be honest) I bore easily. Sometimes, having a book read to me on tape is so incredibly soothing that my mind starts to wander, or simply falls asleep altogether. So it helps when the no-nonsense author gets right down to business. It also helps to have an exceptionally engaging narrator like Alexander Cendese. Cendese’s depth and breadth of vocal range makes for a cast of characters that feels like more than one person behind that microphone… (Read more)

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The Car Window Epiphany

It was a gorgeous day, too gorgeous to experience in the confines of a car. I rolled the window down part way…and then rethought my decision after immediately experiencing the wind and the noise that resulted. Defeated, I rolled the window back up…and learned something new.

Fairy GodBoyfriend: Did you fart?

Princess: Excuse me?

FGB: Did you fart?

Princess: No. Why?

FGB: You rolled the window down and back up again. That’s what guys do when they fart in a car.

Princess: (explodes into laughter)

You know, I’ve seen people roll car windows up and down my whole life, and it has never occurred to me that there was a common cause. What an innocent little princess I am. I’m not sure I ever gave much thought as to a cause at all. Now, every time someone rolls down a window, I’m going to be suspect.

I do love these little epiphanies.

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Sunset 12/27/10

I waked by the dining room table and realized that the light coming in through the closed porch blinds was orange-pink. And it wasn’t the Christmas lights. It was this amazing sky:

This was taken with my iPhone and is not touched up at all.

Simply breathtaking.

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Merry Christmas!

Hope you’re having the merriest of Christmas Days, no matter what you celebrate. Santa was good to our little tree…we’ve even had some flurries today but nothing has stuck yet. Fingers crossed we get some white, but perhaps not as much as is predicted to dump on NY tonight.

Everyone contributed to the Christmas Feast tonight — Joe’s cooking up the Christmas Steaks and portabella mushrooms with a white wine reduction. I’m taking care of the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, and gravy. The Fairy Goddaughters made shortcake from scratch, and we have strawberries in sugar just waiting to top it.

Yum yum yum! I should go back to cooking and watching TV marathons with the family.

What was your Festive Feast this year?

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Fascinating New Things

As Murphy’s punishment for staying off the internet yesterday and cleaning the house (like the Fairy Goddaughters’ rooms weren’t punishment enough), I missed a couple of Fascinating New Things:

1.) There’s a new Llamas with Hats episode. I’m guessing I was probably the only one who didn’t Tweet about it, but here’s the link in case you missed it. Explosions, hilarity, death & mayhem, just in time for Christmas. Caaaaaaaaarl…

2.) There’s a new forum up at Apex Book Company. I have a section there, all to my lonesome where you are all welcome to come chat with me! As you know, I’ve had my own forum on the Brian Keene Message Board for a long time, but you have to sign up to read that one. Guests on Apex can read any of the babbling to and from authors, and if you want to post, all you have to do is sign up on WordPress (which you have to do on most blogs/forums nowadays).

Right now it’s just a lonely little place with nobody talking about anything. I think I’m going to pop over and jazz it up a bit. You are absolutely welcome to come by and add your two cents! (Especially if you’ve had too much egg nog.)


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Fangirl Moment

I finished the edits for SUNDAY last night and sent them in (waaaaay early) to my editor as a Yule gift. I promised the Fairy GodBoyfriend that I’d take it easy today, so there’s going to be a lot of resting, cleaning the house, and watching Christmas movies. I may pop back in here and chat about the edits with you later…but I had to share this first.

I’ve been hearing from folks that SUNDAY was announced in the new issue of Locus Magazine — I kept checking at our local bookstore, but they were taking forever to get it in. (Note to family: subscription of Locus on my birthday wish list. Thanks!) FGB came home last night from work with a copy and I glanced at it quickly and smiled. I didn’t actually LOOK at it until this morning, when I realized that my big fat color picture was right there on top of the page with Toni Morrison and DIANA WYNNE JONES.

Diana Wynne Jones is without doubt one of my favoritest authors of all time. I listed Howl’s Moving Castle as one of my Top 21 Most Influential Books. Witch Week was the first novel of hers I read, and I’ve had a major obsession with Guy Fawkes Day ever since. (I still mean to actually celebrate Bonfire Night in England one of these years.) She has a way of making a really complicated storyline look so incredibly easy and her characters…my god, what characters they are.

She really was one of the authors who made me the ME I am today, and she is one of the reasons that publishing in YA fantasy has always been my dream. Someday, I want to be the book a lonely eleven-year-old girl gets lost inside. I want to give that gift to others, just like Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones and Tamora Pierce and Meredith Ann Pierce and Susan Cooper and Ellen Raskin and Roald Dahl and Lloyd Alexander gave to me.

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Unfollow the Yellow Brick Road

Yesterday, a few people and I were having a discussion about the drama associated with “unfollowing” on Twitter. I’ve discussed this phenomenon before, here on this blog, but I wanted to bring up a few new points.

Here are some reasons I’ve stopped following people on Twitter:

1.) constantly listing their location (damn you, foursquare!)
2.) constantly Blipping music
3.) copious flirting with his/her girlfriend/boyfriend (whom I also follow)
4.) excessive pessimism (don’t bring me down. I’m good enough at that.)
5.) excessive chatter about pets (I follow you, not your cat)
6.) constantly RTing people I don’t follow for a reason (I won’t hit the button first time you RT them. After that, all bets are off.)

The people I wish I *could* unfollow are all of my friends who have one of those unfollow applications. Yes, there are apps out there who will tell you when someone unfollows you. (Apparently there are also ones who will auto-tweet when someone unfollows you…and whoever designed that one should be shot.)

So far, no one has been able to give me a good reason for hosting all these follow-drives, or any good reason for knowing who just doesn’t feel like reading your nonsense today. If you’ve got one, shoot.

Otherwise, if I find out you’re using one of these apps, beware. I love you guys, but I really don’t want to enable that sort of behavior.

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‘Tis the Season to be Watching

Every year when I put up my Christmas tree, I watch Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that it’s my favorite Christmas movie. There are a few others I watch fairly religiously–pun intended–and sometimes even in this order, so I guess you could say those are my favorites too. Here’s a handy list for your convenience:

1.) Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
2.) Love Actually
3.) Die Hard
4.) The Holiday
5.) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
6.) A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, and/or the Muppets)
7.) Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas
8.) Scrooged

I’m sure there are more, but it’s still early. I will confess this, however: I have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life. I actually own it, since I found the DVD on sale one year and bought it so that I might finally watch it…and then never got around to it. Perhaps this year, the very first year I’ll have a Christmas with a family of my very own making, I’ll watch it and share it with them.

What are your favorite Christmas movies? What have I missed?

Edited to add: THE REF. Joe reminded me of this one, and I own it…on laserdisc. Guess who’s adding to her Christmas list RIGHT NOW?? Dennis Leary needs to be on my list.

Edited again to add: any of the Rankin-Bass films, tho my favorite is The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. I only own the VHS. Why is this not on DVD??


The Royal Christmas Tree

I wanted to take this picture in the dark, so you could get the full effect of our fabulous little Christmas tree:

It’s a little Frankenstein and a little Charlie Brown, and I love it to pieces.

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Literacy for Tots

Everybody’s heard of the Marine Toys for Tots foundation. Did you know that they have a Literacy Program as well? Because the gift of words keeps on giving far longer than the batteries in that shiny robot.

The program accepts new books only: To support the program in your community, please contact your local The UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc. location to see if they are supporting the program in your area.

For more information, check out the FAQs here on their website.

(thanks to Vylar Kaftan for the link.)

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