Another Awakenings update!

I’m now posting Chapter 4 of Awakenings and will complete the posting of that chapter tomorrow, then move on to Chapter 5 on Monday and a resumption of multiple PoVs for about a week or so before Chapter 6 takes us back into Marin’s dysfunctional brain (not that her brain is any more or less functional than those of any of her friends).  Chapter 6 will also finally get the story off of Day Zero (toss confetti and celebrate, they’ve survived the first day of the end of the world and the birth of the new).

For the folks who haven’t been exposed to it yet, take a peek.

On another note, I’m finally listed on not one, but three webfiction sites!  I’ve been listed on Web Fiction Guide (online novels, reviews), Novels Online, and the Web Fiction Wiki.  The direct links to my listing for the Web Fiction Guide and the Fiction Wiki are here and here.  It’s very exciting.

I’ve been advised by an old colleague from a past job (and current volunteer gig) that I should put up a Paypal donate button.  Still a little on the fence, since most of my readers at the moment know me personally.  If any said friends have thoughts on this, please leave me a note or poke me!

It’s summer, and I should be writing

I think the title says it all:  It’s summer, and I should be writing.

I don’t know what it is about the summertime that makes me…well…less inclined toward writing.  It’s strange, but the dim days of winter tend to inspire more, the sun-dappled leaves of fall tend to encourage more.  But coming up is one of the best times for me to write: the annual family outing to Elkhart Lake, WI, where the women of the family camp out by the pool and take long walks and the men go off to play golf.  It’s an absolutely beautiful place and I get an amazing amount of reading and writing done while staking out pool space for the family as soon as the pool’s unlocked in the morning.

This year, it will be thesis reading, thesis writing, re-reading Brent Weeks’ amazing Night Angel Trilogy (as I get increasingly excited for the August release of his new book, The Black Prism (I am of the opinion that he should be dressing up as a hot mystery author for ComicCon, too) and working on my own fiction, in this case, more than likely a continuation of The Last Colony or perhaps Epsilon.  I don’t think fantasy will be figuring much into the equation unless something like Princes of the Universe decides to rear its fair head and demand my attention.  While I adore some of the things I was doing with Princes, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it will likely be left to languish for a long, long time without revision and replanning.  I’ll probably return to the storyline for Preserver long before I get back to Princes.

I’d like to have the thesis draft done by the third week of July.  Apparently, between three solid weeks of mega hours at the store (which I’m biking to for most of the summer, which will hopefully help with the belly problem I seem to be having in every bloody picture I’m in that’s not me in garb), having most of my research books in boxes (something I should attempt to remedy after vacuuming and such tomorrow), and family in town for my baby sister’s high school graduation…methinks perhaps my hope to have the draft done by the 16th was a titch too ambitious, given circumstances.

But damnation, I want to fully switch bedrooms, paint, and be able to use the beautiful desk Dad made me!  Of course…being able to do anything organizational up there would require my brother to actually not sleep until 2 in the afternoon.  Ahhh well.  Some things you can’t control.

The upshot of him sleeping until 2 in the afternoon is that I can steal time to play Assassin’s Creed…instead of writing.

I did, however, find time to impress my grandparents with my sewing and clay-playing prowess while they were in town (in part perhaps because I found it difficult to consistently be on my laptop, which is a bad habit of mine but perhaps a good habit for someone who should be writing all the time).  I finished cutting out the 2.5×2.5 inch squares I needed for an absolutely insane quilt that I’m making, a pattern based on one found in a stash-busting quilt book (and believe me, I have quite a stash of cottons for quilting!).  I have a quarter and then a few rows of the quilt top sewn together as a result of my grandparents’ visit for Kendall’s graduation…and then I also go some more pendants made of sculpy, at least two of which are intended to be for earrings (and I think they’ll look cool after I sand them).

On Google books…

Checking my university e-mail is always an adventure, in part because of the RSS feed that gmail automatically puts at the top of my e-mail list (Oakland University’s e-mail is powered by gmail).  Today, I hit a link about the continuing controversy over Google Books and the negotiations, concerns, and the like brought up by its existence.  That link led me to this one, which just begged to be shared.

The author of the article, working on a book right now about green technology, is a visiting scholar at the University of California.  And he makes some good points.  Library catalogue software as it stands these days is limited, though it’s come light years since card catalogs (yes, I remember those, and moreover I remember how to use them–I worked in my high school’s library for the equivelant of two years).  Keywords don’t tell you what’s in a footnote, or an index–and the index doesn’t always tell you what’s in a book, if the book has an index at all.

That’s where things like Google Books come in.  A completely searchable engine for books, especially those out of copyright?  I’ve become in the past year an avid user of the Internet Archive, which has been all but invaluable to my research.  Google Books, in its limited capacity, has become equally useful to me when dealing with older tomes and even primary documents such as the Rolls Series and collections of Welsh poetry–even works by William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth are to be found between the two.  This sort of thing is invaluable to a researcher.

Publishers and authors are concerned about the fate of the publishing industry and having enough funds to keep it going–and I can understand and sympathize with this.  Traditional libraries are concerned because they may become very quickly obsolete (I pray this never happens–there’s something about actually having the book in your hands).  But at some point, the cost-benefit analysis has to match up with the reality of the situation as well as examining who’s using the service–and for what.  I imagine that a lot of the people who have been using Google Books are in fact researchers, writers, and scholars working on their next project using a combination of all the resources available to them–databases like JSTOR and FirstSearch, the Internet Archives, their local and university libraries, and Google Scholar and Google Books.  It’d be  a very sad thing if Google Books was shut down for good, and would set back the ability for researchers to do their work by miles.

What I’ve been reading

So over the course of the past week or so, I’ve had the opportunity to do a bit of pleasure reading, which is a welcome relief from everything else in my world. The house has been quiet and I haven’t felt incredibly guilty about taking some “me” time to curl up with a good book–or three, in this case. In this case as well, I’m reading something that’s a touch different from my standard fare. I tend to generally keep to fantasy universes for my pleasure reading unless it’s a shared universe such as Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battletech. The sole exception to this has been Jack McDevitt‘s Alex Benedict series, which straddles the line between mystery and science fiction (don’t ask my why I like it so much–it’s probably the beautiful relationship between Alex and his assistant/pilot, Chase).  Coincidentally, in hunting down his web site, I found out that he’s released a fourth book that I’m going to have to pick up when it’s released in paperback (I can’t justify buying the hardcover since it’s out of stock at my local Borders).

Fantasy novels in author-created universes tend to be what attracts me, though in the past few days, I’ve found at least one science fiction series that I’m going to have to start following.

I discovered LE Modesitt Jr.‘s work purely by accident when I picked up The Chaos Balance on a whim at the drugstore–my family had been nagging at me to read something other than the Star Trek and Star Wars novels I’d become addicted to–and my affair with the Saga of Recluce began.  I never did make it all the way through The Chaos Balance, but Fall of Angels got me hooked on the series completely.  I kept reading until after the release of Scion of Cyador and never quite caught up again after that (I don’t know, something about Hamor doesn’t really interest me the way Candar and Recluce did).  Then, the first summer I was home after graduating from college, I picked up one of Modesitt’s science fiction works (as well as a couple books of the Corean Chronicles)–it was The Ethos Effect.

The book was and still is amazing, even reading it again.  I finally picked up a paperback copy for myself a few weeks ago but hadn’t read it because I was waiting on getting to read another book–this one for the first time.

The Parafaith War is set in the same universe as The Ethos Effect, though the latter book takes place more than three hundred years later.  And it was every bit as good as The Ethos Effect.  It centers around an Eco-Tech officer by the name of Trystin Desoll, an outsider despite his family being amongst the founders of the Eco-Tech Coalition.  The Ethos Effect centers on a similar character, though by no means the same, in Van Cassius Albert, a RSF officer who’s too good at what he does and is very clearly an outsider amongst his fairer, lighter-skinned peers.  Both men have to make hard decisions about the fate of the universe they live in, and both pay a price for making the ethical choices they make.  Both books are amazing and I highly recommend them because they’re a good read–so long as you’re not afraid of a little social commentary and intellectual stimulation during your science fiction experience.

Then, in browsing through books on Amazon (I try not to buy on Amazon, though I’ll occassionally use it to check release dates and the like), I came across another series that was often purchased by people who bought LE Modesitt Jr.’s science fiction.  It happened to be Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series.  So yesterday, I picked up the first book, Dauntless, after work and started reading it after I got home.

The humor in The Lost Fleet: Dauntless mixes well with the darkness and desperation of the situation the ship of the book’s name finds itself in.  I do not often find myself laughing or shaking my head and smiling–physically reacting to and interacting with–novels I read.  It’s a very rare thing for me.  But this is what I found myself doing as I began to learn more and more about the situation John Greary, sudden commander of this lost fleet, finds himself in.  I’ve already decided that I’ll have to pick up the rest of the series when I go to work tomorrow.  It’s been a wonderful read thus far and I’m looking forward to making it all the way through–and finding out if Black Jack Greary can actually live up to the reputation that was built around him while he was in cold storage.  He’s sort of a science fiction King Arthur sort of figure–which makes it even more amusing for someone like me to be reading it.