Archive for the ‘Other People’s Stories’ Category

FF: Finished Up

February 12, 2021
Persephone Relaxes With A Good Book

I haven’t chosen what novel I’m going to read next, but am sampling a variety of shorter works, most of which aren’t holding my attention.  Probably I need to go stare at my bookshelves and see what appeals to me.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.

Recently Completed:

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  I’ve meant to try a Liaden book for years, and am finally getting there.  Strong characterization, even of minor characters.  Great setting.  Plot is action-packed, after the fashion of a spy thriller.  Oh, and I loved the Turtles (aliens).

In Progress:

The Renaissance by Will Durant.  Audiobook.  Looking at the shifting of visual art styles from Medieval to early Renaissance.

Also:

Back issues of Vogue.

FF: Intrigue and Rebirth

February 5, 2021
Mei-Ling Is Not Quite So Camera Shy

This week my list is a considerable distortion of my reading, because most of my reading time is occupied with my own work, but I do find time to read other things, usually during our afternoon break, and before bed, with a smattering of audio between.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.

Recently Completed:

The Realm of the Gods: Immortals Book Four by Tamora Pierce.  Audiobook.

Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie.  Featuring a variety of her detectives, and showing off her versatility as a creator of mysteries.

Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie.  An Hercule Poirot.  Very clever conceit that I can’t discuss because it would give too much away.

In Progress:

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  I’ve meant to try a Liaden book for years, and am finally getting there.  Opening combines non-stop action and a touch of intrigue.

The Renaissance by Will Durant.  Audiobook.  I’m not quite ready to go back to the Dark Ages (The Age of Faith was the last Durant to which I was listening) but I thought I’d give a little later on a try.

Also:

Back issues of Vogue.  Each issue, I’ve found at least one article to hand over to Jim.  One about innovative distilleries that are “upcycling” what would be waste from production of another edible into boutique booze.  Another on a “re-wilding” project in England, that makes me want to read the book, Wilding, that it was based upon.  Another about the newly elected Vice President.

FF: Myriad

January 15, 2021
The Mysterious Mei-Ling

Lots of reading this week, mostly shorter works.  I’m also writing.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.  I’ve discovered a lot of good books that way.

Recently Completed:

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon).  Mona is a minor mage with a gift for working with dough.  Lovely imagery and a gripping, if sometimes a bit improbable, plot.

Nine Goblins: A Novella by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursual Vernon). Quirky characters which is good, given that this is an extremely character-driven plot, and an antagonist who is terrifyingly amoral.

The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie.  A re-read of one of my favorite Agatha Christie works.  This series of interconnected short stories are based on the idea that we see events more clearly after time has passed.  Added bonus: the belief that age has value in giving perspective.

In Progress:

Emperor Mage: Immortals Book Three by Tamora Pierce.  Audiobook.  By odd coincidence, a book about dealing with the aftermath of violence altercation that was never quite a declared war.

DreamForge Magazine, issue seven.  One of the missing magazines!

Also:

All but one of our missing magazines has shown up!

FF: Yep! Still Reading.

January 8, 2021
Roary: Now Nine Months Old

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.  I’ve discovered a lot of good books that way.

Recently Completed:

Armenian Folk-tales and Fables retold by Charles Downing.  I enjoyed the translator’s note at the beginning.  Bonus: At the end of the book is a list of short proverbs.  Great windows into a society’s values.

Wolf Speaker: Immortals Book Two by Tamora Pierce.  Audiobook.  Daine is a year and a half older, and racking up the magical abilities as fast as she can concentrate.  Warning for wolf purists: the wolves are more like dogs in their body language, with a culture built more around human idealizations of wolves than “real” wolves. 

In Progress:

Emperor Mage: Immortals Book Three by Tamora Pierce.  Audiobook.  By odd coincidence, a book about dealing with the aftermath of violence altercation that was never quite a declared war.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon).  Mona is a minor mage with a gift for working with dough.  Lovely imagery and a gripping, if sometimes a bit improbable, plot. 

Also:

We discovered that three of our December magazines did not arrive in December when January issues started showing up. 

FF: This Is It!

December 18, 2020
Roary Considers the Problem of Keeping Warm

Prioritizing holiday stuff and writing, back and forth as the demands of one take over from the other, hasn’t left as much time for writing as I’d like.  But I’m still writing!

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy by James Anderson.  Published in the mid-seventies, this is both an affectionate homage to the classic detective stories of the 1930’s, and a good yarn in its own right.

Prisoner’s Base by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.  One of Archie’s attempts to prod Nero out of his typical lethargy has unexpected consequences, and Archie ends up as the client.  A good story, although sadder than many.

In Progress:

The Wood Wife by Terri Windling.  A lovely book of mythic fantasy that is also a tale about the cost of inspiration.  Despite being firmly rooted in a specific time period and a specific setting, it does not seem in the least dated.

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  Apollo and Meg return to Manhattan where their journeys began.  Possibly the oddest thing about this book is the repeated mentions that only six months have gone by since the first in this series.  These kids should have seriously PTSD with what they’ve been through.  And, perhaps they do.

Also:

Holiday prep and writing haven’t left me a lot of reading time, so other than glancing at a few magazine articles and often re-reading the same paragraphs over and over, this is it!

FF: Taking It Easy?

August 28, 2020

“Hold Still, Mei-Ling! You Will Get Your Picture Taken!”

I was going to take time off last week to celebrate completing  a draft of SK4.  But a short story galloped into my imagination so instead I ended up writing right through the weekend.  Anyone want to place bets as to whether I figure out how to unwind this coming week?

Remember to join us for free at Virtual Bubonicon this Saturday.  Convention website is here.  Information on the panel I’m on is in this week’s WW.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Maddigan’s Fantasia by Margaret Mahy.  Excellent.  Post-apocalyptic magical realism with both science and magic, and a protagonist who, while annoying at times, is worth rooting for.

DreamForge Magazine, issue six.  I very much enjoyed.

In Progress:

Dark Whisper by Bruce Coville.  Third book in the Unicorn Chronicles. Audiobook.  I’m almost done, but writing cut into my listening time.

Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt.  A re-read, impulse chosen because I felt like smart humor.  This book contains the single funniest and yet oddly sensible summary of Wagner’s Ring Cycle ever.

Also:

Archeology Magazine, finishing one in time for the next to show up!

Unexpected Smile

August 12, 2020

Roary Admires the Cover of Wolf’s Search

Last week ended with an unexpected bit of good news.

The cover for Wolf’s Search (seventh book in my Firekeeper Saga) was one of the works included in the long list for the Chelsea Award in the Best E-book or Paperback Cover category.  Wolf’s Search is in very fine company as you can see here.

The credit for this achievement goes not to me, other than in that I had the very good sense to select a lovely piece of art, but to artist Julie Bell, who gave me permission to use her “Andre” for the cover art.  If you’re interested in owning a print of the piece, it’s available at her on-line shop.

Further credit goes to Linda Caldwell, who did the cover design, including the titles, format, and otherwise adapting Julie Bell’s art to the needs of my novel.

What else?  SK4 (the fourth book in the Star Kingdom/Stephanie Harrington series I’m collaborating on with David Weber) is now in Jim’s hands, and I’m using my “free” time to do a bunch of things to prepare for the next book.

Although these books are set in the Honorverse, they’re prequels set some 400  years in the past.  This means that, while much of the world building  must be done from scratch, it also must be careful not to violate anything in the future.  Another challenge is that this series features treecats in a more central role, which means developing an alien culture and its first contact with humans—while, once again, not violating anything that happens later.

So my current task is gathering together the results of numerous scattered conversations with David Weber, then creating reference documents.

I’m also working with my friend Jane Noel (art director of DreamForge magazine) on updating my website.  She’s doing all the pretty stuff, and I’m writing text.

Anyhow, I’d better get back to it.  Catch you later!

FF: What Is Old Is New Again

July 31, 2020

Mei-Ling Reads!

Mostly, actually, I’m reading , proofing, and line editing SK4 (the yet-untitled fourth book in the Star Kingdom series I’m writing with David Weber).  However, for a few moments here and there, I’m taking time to read for fun.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson.  Sequel to Skyward.  Space opera that isn’t military SF, even though military action is an element.  Very character driven.  I quite enjoyed, despite one technological element I couldn’t quite buy into…  Thanks again to the FF reader who recommended this series.

In Progress:

Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville.  First book in the four volume Unicorn Chronicles. Audiobook.  I read this series years ago, and all I remember is that they were good.  Let’s see how they hold up to a second pass!

Maddigan’s Fantasia by Margaret Mahy.  Re-read also.  After enjoying The Magician of Hoad, I had a great desire to re-read this.

Also:

Oddly enough, the most recent issue of Vogue had some of the most thoughtful essays I’ve read so far about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on lifestyles and attitudes.

The Age of Faith by Will Durant.  Audiobook.  Non-fiction.  I got through the post-Crusades, but I needed a break from accounts of nations founded on hope and idealism that crashed after about 200 years.

FF: This Is A Blank

July 3, 2020

Kwahe’e Is Never Unpleasant

I’ve been writing like a mad fiend, which does cut into my reading time…  But the weekend is coming!

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  Trials of Apollo, four.  Quite good, although I felt as if Riordan lost some of his usual grip on mythic elements and use of humor in non-humorous settings.  Nonetheless,  I enjoyed.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers.  As with her prior novel, a story in which timing is a key element.

In Progress:

For once, this is blank because I probably won’t have time until Saturday to figure out what I’m reading next.

I think I need a break from classic mystery.

Also:

Earlier in the year, I subscribed to a couple of short fiction magazines, in addition to DreamForge, which I read pretty much as soon as I get my copy.  I’ve been dipping into these.

FF: Next Year, I Guess

May 29, 2020

Nothing Frightens Persephone

Just learned that Bubonicon, New Mexico’s largest SF/F con, will not be being held this year.  This will be the first time I won’t be there, I think, since 1994.  I might have missed one year in there, but I don’t think so.  I’ll really miss seeing those of you I usually get to chat with there.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

The Black Dudley Murder by Margery Allingham.  This is the book that introduced Albert Campion as a Bertie Woosterish twit, who might actually not be so twittish.  Allingham had no idea he would become the protagonist of so many future works.

Death On the Air and other Stories by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  Also includes some non-fiction by her about her own work, and the script for a play.  The final essay of advice to a young writer is still about 90% valid, only aspects of the business had changed.

The Fear Sign by Margery Allingham.  I had to skip several because they’re not in my collection, but this is a good one with a treasure hunts and it introduces Amanda.

In Progress:

Flowers for the Judge by Margery Allingham.  A locked strong room mystery tied to a disappearance many years before.

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce.  Audiobook.  I read this when I came out and haven’t since, so, again a re-read with a new read feel.

Also:

Writing.  Beading.  Sneezing.