Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beautiful Words or Wonderful Ideas?

I don't read many mainstream fiction writers regularly. One of the few I do is Sarah Addison Allen, and that's because she writes magical realism. If you're not familiar with the genre, it's similar to old-school urban fantasy (like de Lint), but with the fantasy or magical element made far more subtle. Books like these seek to elevate you above the ordinary with beautiful language. On the other hand, fantasy also wants to transport to a different world, but it takes a more literal approach. Depending on the subgenre, the style may be elevated for high fantasy or straightforward for modern urban fantasy. Patricia McKillip excels at combining a poetic writing style with a sense of wonder, and I would say Bujold does as well.

Do you have a preference for beautiful words or wonderful ideas? I'm sure many people will say they want both, but do you think one is more critical than the other? Which authors do you think do words, ideas, or both well?

Monday, August 25, 2014


Even I have heard by now of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. However, have you heard of the Pies for Parkinson's challenge? My husband decided to combine the two challenges, but he needed a little help from our son. If you follow the link, you can see the result. Enjoy! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Science of the Week: 8/22/14

It's the first day of second grade for my son today.Yes, it may seem strange that he goes back on a Friday, but I think it's partly because his school goes from preschool through high school, and the older kids have special events that take place earlier in the week. Or perhaps it's so the young kids can get the first day excitement out of the way, recuperate over the weekend, and start fresh on Monday. I'm just as excited as Alex is--perhaps more so.

Anyway, here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

Why global warming is taking a break

The doctor can see you now: high-tech health gadgets to watch for

First indirect evidence of so-far undetected strange baryons

New home for an "evolutionary misfit"

FDA-approved drug restores hair in patients with alopecia areata

Laser device may end pin pricks, improve quality of life for diabetics

MIT helps drones monitor their own health on long flights

The ABCs of animal speech: not so random after all

How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic "recipe"

 Have a good weekend, and I'll see you on Monday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ren Faire

My family and I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire on Sunday. The last time we were there was before Eugene and I got married; Alex has never been there. We had great weather and a good time. Unfortunately, the pictures I took on Eugene's camera are in the wrong format for posting, but here are a few shots from my cell phone.

 A fairy posing by some flowers. Fairies were everywhere.

Eugene helps Alex with the crossbow.

Eugene and Alex after fencing with each other. (Eugene won quite handily. There's a video on my Facebook page.)

EDITED TO ADD: By request, here's a picture of me with someone else in costume.

In addition to all of this, we watched jousting, falconry, and a fire-whip show; tried archery; examined armor; and just enjoyed the atmosphere. I wore my queen costume and braided my hair and got some compliments on them. 

Have you ever been to a Ren Faire? What period of history would you like to see recreated?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Seasons' Beginnings Available for Pre-Order!

Last week, Amazon gave indies the ability to make their books available for pre-order. Naturally, I decided to try this new feature. It involves uploading a draft file, but luckily I already had that formatted. I just have to have the final draft uploaded ten days before the due date. Hopefully my beta readers will get back to me on schedule so I have time to make any last-minute changes.

The publication date is October 21, 2014. You can pre-order the eBook for $2.99 at this link. The paper version will be $14; I'll try to make it available close to 10/21. Here again is the cover and blurb:

Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?

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