jmc_bks: (Imperfect 2 by LJ Ase)
I'm alone for the first time in 10 days.  It's weird but nice.  I appreciate the great care I received from everyone, especially my mother, but feel a little relieved to be on my own.  Also, I'm glad Mom is going home to rest -- I feel like my illness was harder on her than me in many ways.

The review for K.A. Mitchell's new book, Bad Boyfriend, is in progress and will be posted over at WordPress later today has been posted at WordPress.  Once that's done, I'll settle down and address holiday cards -- I'd like to write personal notes rather than just sign the cards, but we'll see.  

Had to bail on the fic exchange because I knew it wouldn't be finished in time for the exchange due to health and timing issues, but I'm thinking that might be something to work on this afternoon, too, as a belated gift to the recipient (someone else is pinch hitting for the exchange) or to the comm generally.

I've been earwormed by Panic! once again, courtesy of [ profile] asimplechord's concert call from the secret acoustic show in Austin.

There's an email in my inbox about the Green Bay Packers' stock offering.  Back when I was a dead-broke student, they did their first offering in decades in order to raise money to improve Lambeau Field.  I desperately wanted to buy a share but at the time $200 was beyond me.  I could afford it now, but am feeling as if 1) any money spent on frivolous things right now should be for others rather than myself, and 2) since I just paid $400 to get my car fixed and am expecting to pay up to the deductible for my recent hospital stays, fiscal prudence is in order.  D:

There's also a Groupon in my inbox for The Economist -- $1 per issue (51 for the year), which is a huge bargain and a magazine that I find useful and instructive.  But I cancelled my subscription last year because I couldn't read them fast enough. Decisions. Hmmm.

jmc_bks: (flaming june)
That sleeping woman?  Could have been me.  I think I was asleep or dozing more often than I was fully awake all weekend.  And it wasn't even a holiday food coma!  The Chemist made an awesome Thanksgiving dinner (smoked turkey breast, duck and salmon, plus sides) but we didn't actually eat THAT much.

The visit to H&A was lovely.  It always is.  We don't have to DO stuff, it's nice to just hang out in the same space and chat and cling.  Which probably entertains A.  We watched a lot of tennis and football, went for a couple of walks around the neighborhood.  Spent an awkward afternoon with dad.  Had sushi at Japaneiro's once and beer (root beer for me) at the Flying Saucer twice.  I would highly recommend the vegetable tempura and the non-alcoholic mojito (made with green tea) at Japaneiro's.  And the Chef's Nirvana, but that pretty much goes without saying, right?  Julio the waiter was awesome -- he clearly knows H&A well, to the point of chasing them down with the left over sashimi he'd boxed for them :)  One of their cats was incredibly smelly because of a diet change; he totally deserved the smelly cat song.

My YAGKYAS fic is plotted and outlined (mostly) but not written.  It needs to be written and beta'd by the 12th at midnight.  BICHOK didn't really work for me this evening -- although my hands have been on the keyboard, they've been busy typing other things.  I <3 procrastination!  

And tomorrow I'm back to work.  I didn't miss it at all.

Also, FYI, I SBD'd over at WordPress about the nonfiction I read over the weekend.

jmc_bks: (Ray in b&w by meeks00)
Dear YAGKYAS writer,

Thank you so much for volunteering your time and creativity to writing fiction for me!  Aside from being an inveterate Brad/Ray shipper with emphasis on Ray, I'm not really all that demanding, I think.  AUs, crossovers, gen or m/m, any or all would suit.  Although gratuitous violence isn't my favorite thing, the canon is fairly violent, and that's okay.  Some angst is okay, too, although Brad and Ray have always struck me as a less angsty pairing than Brad/Nate.  Mostly I like banter and word play between Brad and Ray, because they both seem to love showing off to and for each other.

I'm sure I'll enjoy whatever you write, and I hope that you enjoy writing it.

jmc_bks: (GK_Bradabs)
I posted over at WordPress for SBD -- read and really enjoyed the PsyCop mystery/suspense or urban fantasy series.

Also, this time next week I'll be with The Biochemist and the Texas Fangirl Contingent (that name may not be entirely accurate), who are on the Tour of Flail and Glee, shenanigating around Texas and up and down the East Coast for the PStump and Panic! tour.

Sidebar:  I like PStump's Soul Punk album, especially "This City".  But I like the EP/original version of "Spotlight (Oh, Nostalgia)" better than the Soul Punk remix.

Thirdly, I've got a comment fic brewing for the most recent Rocktober post at [ profile] we_pimpin.  We'll see if it gets posted tonight or tomorrow...
jmc_bks: (Polaroid Brad/Ray by meeks00)
I posted over at WordPress about 50/50. In short -- I liked it, especially the music, but wasn't thrilled with the handling of the girlfriend and failing relationship.

I also posted about books that I thought about buying today but left in the store.

Most Importantly: Rocktober has begun at [ profile] we_pimpin.  Today's pic post has me trying to reduce to paper the thief AU that's been bouncing around in my head.  We'll see how that goes.
jmc_bks: (Stupid)
♥ I have signed up for a holiday fic exchange. It could be good, or it could be a disaster. It coincides with my first attempt to write fanfic.

♥ A tweet joking about M&Ms in m/m prompted me to say that there ought to be M&M slash fan fiction. Yet I cannot find it, at least not on AO3. Which means I may write it. Fandom is crack. (Or so I assume, having never tried real crack.)

♥ "You know I love you more when you are cold and heartless." -- a True Blood line from Eric to Pam that I'm thinking about working into B/R.

On non-fandom fronts:

~ I made a decision at work that I may regret later. Have had a stomach ache and sleepless nights for the last week. *deep breath*

~ The Goofy Cat is getting skinnier and skinnier, despite eating like crazy. I know it's a function of her thyroid problem but still...

~ The Madrid SF (2009) between Nadal and Djokovic is even better than I remember -- and I remember it being a very good 3 set (5 hour) match that left Nole completely gutted and shell-shocked and *off* for months after. Had forgotten that he was still sponsored by Adidas then, wearing the smurf shoes, and that Rafa was wearing the sherbet colors.

Things I want but likely won't be buying/doing:

~ The Kindle Fire is very pretty and shiny. But I don't *need* a tablet.

~ Valencia and Sevilla are the two possible venues for the Davis Cup Final (Dec 2-4). I love Sevilla and have never been to Valencia, but it's just not in my budget or really in my schedule -- to close to Thx.
jmc_bks: (Ray in b&w by meeks00)
+  The [ profile] we_pimpin Fall Festival fics have been posted.  A lovely anon (I have a guess about who based on style and vocab) wrote "From Sea to Shining Sea" for me.  The amazing [ profile] schlicky worked hard as coordinator, doling out assignments and wrangling late entries.

+  Saw "Contagion".  Great cast, a lot of very good acting. (It's petty, but I felt a kind of glee as Gwyneth Paltrow's character died early; her holier-than-thou attitude really irrirates me.)  As a non-science person, the virus hunt seemed realistic to me, at least much more realistic than the last virus hunt movie I saw -- "Outbreak", which had so many things wrong with it even from a lay perspective. 

+  Finished reading three books:  New York to Dallas by JD Robb; Headhunters by Jo Nesbo; and Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen.  Reviews may be forthcoming, or perhaps just drivebys.

-  There's a whole empty beach out there, including at least 200 square yards unoccupied to my right; why do random strangers set up within five feet of my umbrella?  Seriously?

~  I slept twelve hours last night.  Accidentally.  I laid down with a book at 7pm planning to read until 9pm (Law & Order: UK) and woke up at 1am then 5am then 7am for good.  I had no idea I was that tired.

jmc_bks: (Nadasco - 08 Spain Davis Cup)
+  My summary of my US Open 2011 adventures is posted over at WordPress.

+  For better or worse, I've got a draft of my Fall Festival fic.  It's just over 2,000 words, much shorter than I expected.  Struggled with the prompts and the POV character.  But at least I'll have something to send.  And I'll include an apology in the intro to the recipient, because she really deserves better.

+  Jo Nesbo's newly released (in the US) book, Headhunters, arrived today \o/

+  I read an ARC for a book due out in December and I loved the book.  I want to squee about it so much but am restraining myself.  I do plan on writing a review this week, although I won't post it until closer to the release date.  But this way it's written and won't be forgotten as I read other books.

+/-  The biopsy on the mole removed by the doctor came back negative for cancer.  The cream she prescribed for my skin, which she warned would make things worse before it made things better, is making my skin really, really worse.  Blotchy, itchy, oily, uncomfortable.
jmc_bks: (Bad Romance)
Dear Fandom:

Please stop having characters who are blue collar Americans in canon use British English words and phrases.  

Fringe is not an American usage for bangs.  
Americans use wrenches, not spanners.
Generally we use cellphones rather than mobiles, and men don't wear Y-fronts. (Well, they might, but they call them something else.)
BrE and AmE treat "got" and "gotten" differently in the past tense.
Unless you are writing an AU, it kills the story.  If you can't get the foundation right, why should I waste time on whatever you're building on top of that?
Also, blonde is a feminine adjective; blond(e) is one of the very few adjectives in English that retains a gender variation.  Please to be paying attention.
Except, wait, there are also apparently problems understanding the difference between plural and possessive.  
Please get a beta. 

uh, what?

May. 17th, 2011 10:00 pm
jmc_bks: (meninas)
~  Fandom, why are you making me read George R.R. Martin?  I had managed to *not* pick up the behemoth books he writes.  But no, tumbleblogs and fic writers I follow are writing AUs and crossovers, so I must read Game of Thrones and understand the north wall and the appeal of Jon Snow.

~  WTAF, Hawaii 50 writers?  That season finale was a hot mess.  Steve arrested and broken hearted?  Danno maybe going back to New Jersey with his pregnant ex?  Kono arrested and Chin off being disloyal, which is totally contrary to his Hufflepuffish character?  The only thing that might explain this is an opening sequence next season a la Dallas in which it turns out that the entire episode was just a dream or nightmare induced by too many malasadas and Longboards.

~  Another romance blogger has posted a review of an urban fantasy novel that confuses me.  It's urban fantasy: the relationship is not the focus, and complaining about the protagonist getting her HFN midway through the series arc implies (to me) a lack of understanding of genre differences.  The series arc isn't about the relationship, it's about the larger conflict.  Asking what more can happen between them and lamenting the lack of tension now that the question of their relationship has been resolved makes me wonder what genre the reader/reviewer thought the book/series was.

~  It's months off, but I'm torturing myself, trying to decide if I want to go stay in Barcelona for a week, or if I want to rent a car and drive around the south, maybe stay in Granada and do day trips or just do a big, looping, coastal tour.  As much as I want to go north and do the camino de Santiago, that's a spring/summer trip, not a middle of winter trip.
jmc_bks: (Baseball)
+ Today was the home opener for the Orioles. After 10+ years of losing seasons, my hopes for the team this year are sadly low: .500. Is that too much to ask? Anyway, the Orioles are 4-0, sweeping the Rays and beating the Tigers today. Graciously, I refrained from calling my stepdad, The Yankee Fan, and taunting him. For two reasons: first, because it probably won't last; and second, because he doesn't take baseball trash talk well, even though he dishes it out.

+ I read Marie Sexton's Promises over the weekend. It'a a gay romance novel, not really gay-for-you, but close to it, with one of the protagonists being firmly in the closet at the beginning and edging his way out by the end. Felt ambivalent about the book, and I'm not really sure why; maybe it was the narrator, who felt like he spent most of the book hiding, doing the safe thing, taking the path of least resistance every time, on the personal front and the professional front.

+ Found Promises via the DABWAHA contest. Most of the candidates I had not read, some I'd never even heard of, which is a sad commentary on my reading. My pick as champion was K.A. Mitchell's No Souvenirs, which was sadly trounced early on. In the first go-round, I picked books I liked. In the second chance tourney, I tried to pick what I thought was popular and would likely win, but even there my pick (Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke) lost. Clearly I don't have a finger on the pulse of popular genre romance. The ultimate winner was a contemporary by Julie James, whose first two books didn't really work for me. The runner up was Courtney Milan's Trial by Desire, which I meant to read but never got around to. Eh.

+ Go take Jennie's survey on reading romance novels. It's quick and easy. And it's for a school project -- she's working on her masters in library science, I believe.

+ Clay court tennis starts next week! Well, qualifying matches have already begun. But Monte Carlo! Barcelona! Rome! Madrid! Then Roland Garros!

+ Davis Cup ticket presale begins tomorrow. The $90 nosebleeds may be for the whole weekend, not just each day; I've got to call and see. Which does sort of change my position on the ridiculous pricing, because $90 for possibly five matches is way better than $90 for two matches.

+ The Spring Fling exchange fics have been posted. You should go read the one that was written for me. It is awesome: it fits into canon and fanon, and it made me all flaily and happy as I read it.

- WTF, LJ?
jmc_bks: (armada4 - 08 Davis Cup)
Happy Monday!  I'm happy because I'm off today...which sort of makes up for the fact that I spent ten hours at the office yesterday.  But not really, since even on my day off I had to call in for a conference call.  (What's the point of a 9/80 work schedule when I end up working 10/95?)

Anyway, it's time for SBD!

I'm reading Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, a YA book about a girl who is sent to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school.  In the fall, this book got lots and lots of review blog attention, but I didn't pick up a copy until January (courtesy of [ profile] jperceval -- thank you!).  And after that, it sat in the TBR for a bit.  

In many ways, there's nothing new or different about this YA book.  There's an uncertain heroine who has been essentially abandoned by her family (although being left at a spendy boarding school in Paris isn't exactly a hardship, or as bad as being forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs and work as a house-elf); a potential love interest; learning about her new environment; building a new circle of friends while not completely losing the old; etc.  But Perkins is doing a pretty good job of reeling me in as a reader.  Even though I'm guessing that Anna Banana Elephant Oliphant will end up having a good year, I still want to follow along as it happens.

This description of Anna's father is such a clear dig at several authors who shall not be named, that it just tickles me.  Because I hate that they are considered mainstream "romance" instead of the utter schmoop that they are.  (There's nothing wrong with schmoop, but if you're going to make a living at it, own it, don't pretend it's high art.)  

...[H]is dream of being the next great Southern writer was replaced by his desire to be the next published writer.  So he started writing these novels set in Small Town Georgia about folks with Good American Values who Fall in Love and then contract Life-Threatening Diseases and Die.

I'm serious.

And it totally depresses me, but the ladies eat it up.  They love my father's books and they love his cable-knit sweaters and they love his bleachy smile and orangey tan.  And they have turned him into a bestseller and a total dick.

Also, I was fascinated by his clear decision about what he wanted to write.  There are genre romance authors who have made the same analysis, and who chose to write romance not necessarily because they think it's high art or even their preferred reading material but because it is an area in which aspiring authors can actually make a living, compared to other (more respected, socially accepted, pretentious) genres. 

At the store today, in the book/magazine aisle, I noticed that there's a graphic novel version of Twilight.  Really?  Was that necessary?  And sitting right next to that was The Harvard Lampoon's parody, Nightlight.  I was almost tempted by the parody.  But not quite.

Um, other than that, not much on the reading front.  Except I've got two paper boxes of books to donate to the library.  Anybody want some of them?  Most of them are books I read and enjoyed but am never going to re-read; some had been keepers but have fallen off the list; others I'm not sure how I acquired them at all because the blurbs are not at all appealing.  But if you're looking for some free books (and you are someone who has commented here before, please), drop me a line and I'll either send a list for you to choose from or do a random selection, your choice.  The books range from m/m to urban fantasy to category to historical to suspense.

On the fandom front, I have to say that it drives me crazy to read blue-collar American characters using British slang in their every day language.  The canon is clear -- Generation Kill could not be more working class and middle class American if it tried.  And still the characters sometimes use mobiles, or wear jumpers, or live in flats in fan fiction.  No.  Okay?  Just no.   A middle class Catholic boy from Baltimore would put on his sneakers or tennis shoes, not trainers; a dirt poor kid from Missouri would use a wrench, not a spanner.  That would be like having Dr Who talk about putting stuff in the trunk rather than the boot: not quite right and enough to drive a British reader crazy.


The US won its Davis Cup tie, and Spain won its tie.  Meaning they'll meet in the US for the quarter finals in July.  Potential sites under consideration by the USTA (?) are in Albany, San Antonia, and Austin.  I have family in Austin and San Antonio, and I've heard good things about Albany.  Road trip?

Okay, back to reading about Anna's year abroad.
jmc_bks: (Dimple by hawsome)
I think everyone should go read [ profile] queeniegalore  's fic On Hard Ground.  She wrote it for me as part of a charity auction for the Queensland flood relief and it is gorgeous.  You don't have to have watched or read Generation Kill or know anything about the fanon or canon to get it.  I'm all flaily because it is awesome and makes my heart hurt to read and yet I had to read it and re-read it.  Beautiful, damaged boys in love.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
Registration for #RWA11 opened today, and it seemed like everyone on my Twitter feed was registering and booking their hotel room or debating registering. I felt all D: because I'm not going. I don't actually care about the conference, per se: I'm not a writer or an aspiring writer so a lot of the workshops aren't relevant to me except in an academic sort of way; I don't need the free books -- given the size of my TBR, more free books would be ridiculous. But. But the people! So many people I "know" via Twitter or other online venues are going to be there! And I'm going to miss the opportunity to meet them!

Poking around, checking for new releases to buy or pre-order, I have not found much of interest. SEP has a new book out today that appears to be well-liked by the rom-reading community, but I stopped reading her several books ago, and even if I were inclined to give her a second or third chance, the price of the ebook is ridiculous. February doesn't seem to have many great offerings either: the exceptions are the new In Death book and Carla Kelly's inspirational (which I'm kind of ambivalent about). Jaci Burton's Play by Play will be out in early February, too, and it is one book that has been completely sold by the cover art. Call me shallow.

My reading slump seems to have accelerated. It's the 18th of the month and I've only read three books. Three!  The only thing that is remotely like a silver lining is that since I've read so little, it's been relatively easy to post about each book.

Erin Brockovich (of movie and class action fame) is now writing fiction? Legal(ish) suspense? Uh, okay. The curiosity factor might make me pick it up at the bookstore, but the hardback format would have me either skimming it in the store or waiting for a used copy from Paperbackswap.

The Biochemist broke my brain. Or caused me to break my brain, depending on how you look at it. We were exchanging emails about a potential fic for me to write when the conversation veered into the NYC pop/punk music scene of the late 90s. Ray Person + Gabriel Saporta = brain exploding.  Just the thought of the pair of them with their pimp shades...I can't even.

Dear Melissa Etheridge, I'd love to see you as St. Jimmy on Broadway during your one week run in February, but I don't think it'll happen due to scheduling issues.  This makes me very, very sad, because I think you'll rock the dissolute, seductive, threatening St. J. in a way that's completely different from Tony Vincent and Billie Joe Armstrong's presentations of the character.
jmc_bks: (GK_Not Impressed)
GK + Bujold's Vorkosiverse, yes/no?

I'm thinking that Babbling, Mad Miles could possibly be out-talked by one Joshua Ray Person.  And Brad would fit right in on military mad Barrayar.  LT as Gregor, the somewhat unwilling emperor, Gunny Wynn as Illyan or maybe Armsman Pym?  Rudy and his philosophical nature would mesh well with the Countess, too.  

At first, I thought Ivan the Idiot = Encino Man equivalent, but that's only a surface thing.  Ivan's idiocy is carefully cultivated in order to keep himself from being a political target, while Encino Man is just incompetent.

And the rest of the cast and crew as various members of  either the Council of Counts or the Dendarii Mercenary Fleet.

Now I just need someone in fandom to write it for me :)
jmc_bks: (GK_Not Impressed)
~  Amazon sent me a list of the Top 10 Romances of 2010, presumably based on my buying history.  Of the ten books on the list, I've read (or tried to read) one, Kresley Cole's Pleasure of a Dark Prince, which was...not a keeper, let's just put it that way.  The others look heavy on the European historical or just looked pedestrian to me.

~  Pumpkin walnut bread is baking.  I need flour, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and chocolate chips to make cookies and candy.  Also need to find the recipe for potato chip cookies so I can test them out.

~  Started telling The Biochemist my Brad/Ray plot bunny by email, and she wants the next installment now, so I guess I'll have to get cracking on that.  The eggnog cookie I plotted out for a comment!fic prompt still hasn't made it onto paper or Word, and it'll probably need a beta or at least a proof read by someone to tell me to stop attempting to write Brad/Ray before I post it publicly.  Anonymously, I think.
jmc_bks: (TDS)
Dear fan fiction author:

There is no "driving down to Baltimore" from Washington, DC.  Baltimore is NORTH EAST of Washington.  And elevation-wise, there's no difference, so no "down" in that sense either.  

Please look at a map.  Except, wait, you obviously did for other bits of your fic, which makes this blunder (used twice) even more peculiar.
Dear other FF author:

Having a character be shocked and complain about an attempted robbery "within a five mile radius of the White House" -- dude, seriously, do you know how big a five mile radius is?  No crime in that area?  Good luck.  Having an otherwise security-conscious character say that is just naive bordering on ridiculous.
jmc_bks: (LJ Ase's LMB flowers)
Fan's of E.E. Beck's A Deeper Season Gregor/Miles fan fiction, go check out A Place to Stand.  Which is full of win.
jmc_bks: (LJ Ase's LMB flowers)
[ profile] lightgetsin and [ profile] sahiya have posted another piece of their AU Vorkosigan fic in the [ profile] bujold_fic. This piece, Seeds, is from Ekaterin Vorsoisson's POV and is set in the lead up to the Emperor's wedding.

More reading blather. )
jmc_bks: (h's iris)
The Biochemist sent me the link to the ongoing discussion at Henry Jenkins' blog about gender and fan studies, which spends a lot of time on transmedia storytelling, negative capability (new concept for me), and the debate about canon vs. fanon. The conversation continues in a second part today, discussing ownership of fan fiction and authorship. Tosenberger makes an interesting point when she clarifies her own definition of literature:

I tend to use "literature" in a very broad "written prose, poetry, and drama" sense (and yes I know that's vague), and not as a term that marks artistic quality (i.e., "This isn't just a romance novel, it's literature!" -- a statement that makes me want to throw things). For me, fanfiction *is* literature -- it's written fiction -- that's not commercially published. I can see why there are those connotations, though; commercial publication lends such an aura of... respectability. It's been vetted by somebody, somewhere, who decided that *this* story was fit to sell. But "possibly commercially successful" and "aesthetically successful" are not the same thing. But the thing is, just because fanfiction hasn't -- and often can't, when we're talking about fanfic for in-copyright texts -- be commercially published, that doesn't mean it somehow isn't literature, and has no chance of being *good* literature, at that.

When TB and I were emailing back and forth (before I read the second post), we touched on a few things, including the heinous Scarlett**, the upcoming prequel to GWTW told from Rhett's perspective****, IP/copyright distinctions in the East and West, and the plethora of Austen prequels and sequels and retellings of P&P from other perspectives. Which made the link to a Salon article posted in the comments to the Austenticity post at SBTB all the more interesting to me. I don't have a problem with a critical evaluation of chick lit or popular fiction as a reinterpretation of Jane Austen...but I get the feeling that the author of the Salon article had much the same feelings as Geoffrey Long did back at Jenkins' blog -- it's noncanon and often outside the scope of "negative capability" and is therefore questionable and not literature (in a much narrower definition than Tosenberger's).

**as if she would ever have left Tara

****seriously, his allure is his mystery; if you reveal the man behind the curtain, his desirability will disappear, rather like that of Ranger in Evanovich's Plum series


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