Thursday, February 16, 2017

My favs: blogs about writing

I've followed lots of writing blogs over the years, and these are the ones with staying power, for me:

Craft blogs:
I like Thinking through Our Fingers for two reasons. One is that the posts are interesting and shine a light on smaller aspects of craft (I especially enjoyed today's post about research in historical fantasy). The other is that they have a rotating cast of authors. They write often enough that I get acquainted with their voices and stories, but there's enough variety to appeal to lots of different writers.
I started reading Mary Kole's blog back when she was a literary agent (she freelance edits now). I like her no-nonsense style and the examples she includes of good and better techniques.
This one's kind of a cheat, because it's a writing podcast I enjoy hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal. I usually listen to new episodes while lifting weights at the gym, but I also visit the website every now and then to track down an older episode. I just searched their website yesterday for podcasts on "Endings" because I've written seven different endings for my current WIP. It needs an eighth. At least.

Business blogs:
Janet Reid is a hilarious literary agent who maintains a shark-like image online. I like her cut-the-crap style, the way she defends aspiring writers instead of treating them like nuisances, and how she shares insight into the business of agenting and publishing. I've learned tons from her.
I don't usually click through to read comments (or comment myself), so a lot of former agent Nathan Bransford's posts that are simply questions don't entice me. But he does a great feature called "This Week in Books" that rounds up news in publishing. It's a great overview of hot topics in the biz.

For querying:
I found my agent using the free database available at Query Tracker, so I'm biased--but it's wonderful. WONDERFUL.
Hands down, the best resource for stalking--ahem, researching--agents. It rounds up online resources and gives an overview of what agents are looking for. They also spotlight new releases, and I've found many great books thanks to that feature.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Books from 2016

I read lots of great books last year. I always do, because if I don't like something, I stop reading. Life is too short for books that don't intrigue me!

I logged 121 books and 47,093 pages on Goodreads in 2016, which is typical for me. I got my first smartphone for Christmas 2015, and I was afraid I'd quit reading once I had time-wasters at my fingertips.

A few wonderful discoveries from 2016:
  • Did everyone else know there's a thing of Regency novels with magic? I love Georgette Heyer with such a deep and abiding passion that I seldom read other Regency romances. But add a little magic, and I'm hooked. My favorite series last year was Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories--I especially loved that it follows a married couple through the ups and downs of their relationship.
  • Jack Reacher? Yeah, somehow I missed both those movies and all the books. I discovered these when I was laid low with a multitude of germs over the holidays, and thank goodness! I enjoy thrillers, I like people on the run, and I found these plots interesting and creative. And I really love finding an author with a bazillion books for me to read.
  • Middle grade is not typically my favorite, but I love sharing great reads with my boys. Summerlost by Allie Condie and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley blew us all away (also, we love Hamilton).
  • HISTORICAL FANTASY IS, AS EVER, EVERYTHING. This genre gets more exiting every year! Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson, My Lady Jane by the funniest coauthors I can imagine, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, Strands of Blonde and Gold by Jane Nickerson, The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye, Burning Glass by Katie Purdie. FIVE STARS TO ALL OF IT, ALL THE TIME.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Peter the Great Tease




Peter the Great loved pranks and stocked his bigger-n-better version of Versailles, Peterhof, with trick fountains. Here's one in the front of the grotto. He'd leave a bowl of fresh fruit in the middle, and anyone who tried to reach for it would get soaked.