Sunday, February 3, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly

READING: Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. Privilege subtext, where the reader knows more than the character, is a great storytelling technique, but it's slightly overdone here -- rather than me feel superior and creating tension, it made Dex come across as a little obtuse. But that said, I do love this series and it's fun to see characters, such as Doakes, that aren't in the TV show any more.

Short stories: up to 50 of 500. Faves include:

Child-Empress of Mars by Theodora Goss reprinted at Lightspeed
I've never read the 'Mars adventure' stories that this is riffing off (note to self: you should rectify that) but it was still interesting to see this kind of thing done from the aliens' perspective, and I liked the themes of performance and storytelling. The world-building initially seemed random and overwhelming, but quickly became charming.

Dysphonia in D Minor by Damien Walters Grintalis at Strange Horizons
Sweetly melancholy story of love and destruction, using an interesting song-creates-buildings metaphor as backdrop. It's a shame we don't find out more about Lucia's motivations, but it's still an effective story.

WRITING: a short SF tale set on a red planet and featuring the theme of 'wherever you go, there you are'. Which is not necessarily a good thing.

WATCHING: Utopia, on Channel 4. Only seen the pilot, but what a pilot it was. Interesting, diverse characters, an involved plot, great bad guys and a nightmarish, creepy vibe. Definitely coming back for more.

LEARNING: how to create epub and mobi files by hand, without using conversion software. It takes a while to get your head round it, and it's fiddly, but once you've got the basic structure (and templates) down, it's not that hard. And you know you're getting nice, clean, stable ebooks that a) do what you want them to do and b) are easily updated with new links etc. It takes time, but it's worth it. Which leads on to:

PUBLISHING: Transient Tales Volumes 1 and 2 - 20k collections of short SF, fantasy & horror stories.

Volume 1: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Smashwords / Kobo

Volume 2: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Smashwords

FINDING USEFUL: The Submission Grinder by Diabolical Plots. I always kept my subs on a spreadsheet (because, spreadsheets!) so I didn't feel the loss of Duotrope that much, but I did miss that sense of being in a Rejections Submissions Gang. It's nice to see all the reports coming in -- makes it feel that much less lonely.

WORKING WITH:  the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night, which gives surprisingly upbeat, positive, self-help style readings. It creates a bit of cognitive dissonance to get a 'Woo, yeah, you can do it!' pep talk from vampires, but I like it.

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