February 11th, 2008

turtle

progress report

3500 words on the weekend in various spots. I need to make a list of scenes I'd like to include. I've done that before, and it helps me if I sit down with the laptop and feel at a loss.

Still waiting for the first check. I have decided that the day a check finally arrives, or maybe the day after since that's the day I can deposit it, shall be named "Money Day," and it shall be celebrated annually from now on. Any suggestions for how I should celebrate?
turtle

2007 Norton Jury picks

The jury for the Andre Norton Award has announced their choices to add to the final ballot:

Adam Rex, THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY
Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, THE SHADOW SPEAKER
Elizabeth Wein, THE LION HUNTER

These will join the books that made the preliminary ballot:
Steve Berman, VINTAGE
Sarah Beth Durst, INTO THE WILD
J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
Ysabeau Wilce, FLORA SEGUNDA

Congratulations to all the nominees!!!
turtle

Clare, FLOOD and MIXED SIGNALS

I never wrote up these two Black Lace novels by Anna Clare. I read Flood first, as it has werewolves, and very sexy ones, too; and best of all, it was a historical, set in the Victorian period. I really liked the lyrical, intense writing in this. The only flaw was that it was less a novel than a series of vignettes tied together by the werewolves. It felt unfinished to me, because I wanted more!

I especially liked the variety of sexual activity. Two young men, ostensibly straight, end up having sex when they model for a famous, eccentric sculptor with a disturbingly erotic mistress. The sex ends up being much more meaningful to them than they'd expected. I really wanted to read all of their story, but once they've returned to England, you don't see much of them except from the outside. One of the young men also has an encounter with the sculptor's mistress. The other main couple is a young seamstress and her patron, for whom she makes a gorgeous, elaborate dress that is a character in itself; I think the seamstress falls in lust with the dress before she falls in lust with her patron. That relationship, to me, was more intense and satisfying than the heterosexual one she ended up in, but my feelings might have changed if the story had gone on longer. There just wasn't a chance to get to know her final partner beyond their first encounter.

Highly recommended. I also made note of her successes and possible problems in integrating the paranormal element with the erotica. I really liked her approach because it was less straightforward than most werewolf novels.

Mixed Signals is a contemporary, and much more heterosexual than Flood, though it also has considerable variation.

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Overall, I liked Mixed Signals less than Flood, despite the intriguing plot elements, because I prefer my erotica to be more fantastical and fun. Though beautifully written, it was a little too real.
WWI soldiers

Coulson, "The Rainbow"

The Rainbow

Watch the white dawn gleam,
To the thunder of hidden guns.
I hear the hot shells scream
Through skies as sweet as a dream
Where the silver dawn-break runs.
And stabbing of light
Scorches the virginal white.
But I feel in my being the old, high, sanctified thrill,
And I thank the gods that the dawn is beautiful still.

From death that hurtles by
I crouch in the trench day-long,
But up to a cloudless sky
From the ground where our dead men lie
A brown lark soars in song.
Through the tortured air,
Rent by the shrapnel's flare,
Over the troubleless dead he carols his fill,
And I thank the gods that the birds are beautiful still.

Where the parapet is low
And level with the eye
Poppies and cornflowers glow
And the corn sways to and fro
In a pattern against the sky.
The gold stalks hide
Bodies of men who died
Charging at dawn through the dew to be killed or to kill.
I thank the gods that the flowers are beautiful still.

When night falls dark we creep
In silence to our dead.
We dig a few feet deep
And leave them there to sleep--
But blood at night is red,
Yea, even at night,
And a dead man's face is white.
And I dry my hands, that are also trained to kill,
And I look at the stars--for the stars are beautiful still.

--Leslie Coulson