30 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (95)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

(You may have noticed that I missed this event last week; I forgot to post when I usually do and then ran out of time later in the day. Sorry, everyone.)

The rules for participating:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I'd heard about it, looked it up, and discovered it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and so decided to check it out. It's about two boys--cousins--around the time of World War II who break into the then-burgeoning comic industry. It's an interesting story, though I'll admit I know next to nothing about comic books. I love the writing style: The descriptions are very good and the sentences run relatively long. (I do appreciate long sentences, though most books seem to be heading in the opposite direction.)


Two Shriners in fezzes drape him with chains and help him into a heavy canvas mailbag. A lady from the suburbs cinches the neck of the mailbag and fixes the ends of the cord with a ham-sized padlock. Big Al lifts him as if lifting a swaddled babe and carries him tenderly to the coffin, which has been carefully inspected beforehand by the mayor of Empire City, its chief of police, and the head of its fire department, and pronounced tight as a drum.
-p. 129

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Know much about comic books? What book(s) are you reading now? Got any teasers to share from a current read?


-----The Golden Eagle

29 October, 2012

A Hurricane Is Coming. Oh, Hooray . . .

The eastern half of the United States is usually pretty quiet, geographically-speaking. No major storms, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, maybe snowstorms if it's a bad winter.

But Hurricane Sandy is threatening to knock the socks off a fairly large swath of the eastern seaboard, with the effect being worsened by a full moon and consequent high tide. Things are shutting down: Schools, transit, businesses, so on and so forth. People are being warned to make sure there's nothing loose outside, to have food, and to expect power outages--I'm sure those of you who live in areas prone to hurricanes are used to all of this, but it feels slightly surreal here.


Just wanted to say that if anyone else is in the path of Sandy, I hope you (and your homes) make it through the storm okay. Stay safe, everyone.



-----The Golden Eagle

24 October, 2012

On Appealing To Women Voters: Why Can't Candidates Just Try Appealing To Voters In General?

As you may know, the USA is getting ready to elect a new president. Incumbent President Barack Obama is running against former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and the race is very close. Consequently, each candidate's campaign is trying to reel in as many distinct groups as it can: The Hispanic vote, the environmentalist vote, the gun rights vote, the anti-abortion vote, the you-name-it-there's-a-bloc-for-it vote.

And, apparently, "women voters" are considered a swing vote in the election.

Look. I'm female and pay attention to politics. I fully acknowledge that there are some big issues being discussed in Washington right now that can heavily influence a woman's life; equal pay, contraception, abortion, women's rights in the workplace, etc., etc.

However, regardless of how one feels about such topics, what I strongly disagree with is the idea that women voters are somehow separate from other voters and can be swayed by how a candidate presents his or her (though with two male candidates, mostly his) position.

Allow me to elaborate. As I said before, there are issues being addressed by politicians and Congress in general that are important ones. I could go into a long spiel about the committees on abortion and contraception that had no female members, but I'm not going to because that's not my point.

My point is, women voters are so often referred to as though they're not usually an active part of the discussion. I certainly do agree that there should be more women in Congress and other positions of power and they should earn the same as men (and generally be able to make their own life decisions) but boy howdy am I annoyed by all the "Women voters are going to make or break this candidate's campaign!"

Whenever I hear someone saying that I'd like to say this: Women have been voting for decades. In recent years there have been more women voting than men in presidential elections, so it's not like there's some sudden, enormous, untapped resource that 2012 is going to exploit. Sure, if candidates make stupid, sexist and/or misogynistic comments it's going to detract from their campaigns, but I would hope such comments would affect male voters as well.

Which brings me to my second point. A lot of pundits have been talking about Mitt Romney's aggression not appealing; Joe Biden's (Barack Obama's Vice President and running mate during the election) attitude being unattractive; and overall weighing of the candidate's appearances. Especially with regard to how women perceive them. Not how the candidates' talking over each other and the moderator is disruptive and a bit rude in all circumstances, but how women are going to take it.

Perception is important. But it affects all people, and as a female I don't care if one candidate is more aggressive than the other if the candidates are discussing something of substance. I care even less when it comes to electing the president (or other person of importance) of the country, because that person needs to prove they can govern, not be charming and suave.

I cling to some desperate hope that women and men will vote with their brains and base their opinions on what campaign policies are on November 6. It's tiring to hear dozens of people saying "Women didn't like that!" or "That doesn't appeal to women!" when talking about the campaigns because really, women are people with intelligence and logic, too. I daresay a significant number of them pay more attention to the topics discussed and the candidates' positions over some alpha male display, despite the fact so many people declare that they don't.


**********


And so ends my rant. I hope you, dear reader, don't mind me diving into some politics on this blog, but I care about politics and I needed to get this off my chest.


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What about you? Do you agree or disagree with the points I made?

If you've watched the US presidential debates (and vice presidential debate) what did you think of them? If you live in the USA, will you be voting this November?

If you don't live in the USA, do the pundits and politicians say the same things about "women voters"? Are there any political catchphrases circulating in your country's news that really annoy you?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 October, 2012

Blogfest: Did I Notice Your Book?

The Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight, and is all about spreading the word about books.

Post about a book you've noticed. You can choose a book that you've read, something you saw on a blog or social media site, Goodreads, or a sales website. Anything that caught your eye because of a great cover, blurb or reviews, but DON'T tell the author that their book has been noticed. Instead, shout out on social media sites, and encourage others to do the same, until the author finds his/her book.

Leave a blog comment at Ninja Captain Alex's BLOG or Ciara Knight's BLOG when the author finds their book.

Only two rules:
  1. You can't post about your own book.
  2. The book shouldn't be on the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list. 
This is your chance to shout out about a book that might not have been noticed by others.

I had a hard time deciding which book to post about for this. I follow hundreds of authors, many of whom have published their work, and they're all impressive. However, as I had to narrow it down to something, here's what I went with:

Year Zero by Rob Reid.

An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet.
Worse, they were lawyering up. . . .


In the hilarious tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Rob Reid takes you on a headlong journey through the outer reaches of the universe—and the inner workings of our absurdly dysfunctional music industry.

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news.

The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity’s music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything—and the aliens are not amused.

Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he’s an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He’s scared of heights. He’s also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he’s packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.

Soon he’s on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has forty-eight hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.

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What book(s) have you noticed recently and/or are on your TBR? If you're participating in the Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest, which book did you choose? Heard of Year Zero before?


-----The Golden Eagle

16 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (94)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Can't believe it's Tuesday again--it feels like I was just posting for this a few days ago!

Rules for participating:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser is from The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, the first book in The Fionavar Tapestry series. This is the third book by him that I've tried; the other two being Under Heaven and Ysabel, both very good.

(I really like this illustration on this cover. I just wish there was more of it and less of the bright red title panel, which seems a little busy, IMO.)
Beyond the gates and the walls of the town, the depredations of drought came home. The impact of a rainless summer could be measured in the heavy dust of the road, in the thin grass peeling like brown paint on hills and tummocks, in stunted trees and dried-up village wells. In the fiftieth year of Aileill's reign, the High Kingdom was suffering as no living man could remember.
-p. 82

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What are you reading right now? Have a teaser to share?


-----The Golden Eagle

15 October, 2012

My Novel Is The Next Big Thing!

Well, okay, maybe not. But Chris Kelworth (of The Kelworth Files) and David Powers King (of The Cosmic Laire) both tagged me in the Next Big Thing, or Be Inspired, meme-whatsit that's been circulating in the blogosphere and asks people about their current works-in-progress. Thanks for tagging me, guys!

The questions are a little different for each tag but basically ask the same things, so I'm going to mix and match from both. The WIP in question is my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel since I've pretty much decided what I'm going to write about. This will help me flesh out my ideas, at any rate.

On to the tag!

1. What is the title of your book?
I don't know, actually. It's just half an outline and an underlying concept at the moment.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
A bit of a long story. You see, I was feeling destitute of good ideas, and in hopes of jogging my creative side I decided to write down ALL of the things I liked in fiction onto slips of paper (separated by category, such as Writing Style, Plot Element, Point of View, etc.) and then randomly combine a few from each. One of those combinations inspired the idea of a ship traveling to a new planet. Then, editing the idea, I thought:

"What if colonists decided to land on a known and as-yet-unexplored continent, but while journeying to their destination were plagued by mysterious disappearances and tragedies onboard an airship? And what if the main character befriended the saboteur behind their problems?"

Yup. That's the stuff that comes out of my brain.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Science Fiction/Steampunk. I love reading Steampunk but I've never actually tried writing it myself. I'm not positive about the age group, though I think the protagonist will be from 15-20 years old.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Other than the obligatory Alan Rickman somewhere, no clue. I'll probably have more of an answer after the book's been written.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
On the way to a new world, the son of a prominent airship captain becomes tangled in the beginning of war that could lead to the destruction of his family and his career.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My dream, at the moment, is to have my work represented and traditionally published. I think self-publishing is a great and highly viable alternative, but I think I'd try submitting to agents first. Just to see if anyone liked what I had to offer.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?
Seeing as I haven't written anything yet, I'd estimate this novel to take around two months. I finished last year's NaNoWriMo novel during December.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to?
I am hoping for a Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld/Airborn by Kenneth Oppel/Jules Verne-ish feel. I'm sure it will fall far short of such works of fiction, but those are the novels with a Victorian Era setting that come to mind. Though it's not exactly Victorian Era; the world isn't Earth and the society has key differences.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
All Steampunk authors influence me, but other than that, there aren't any specific people.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I'm contemplating adding a few steampunk dragons--and other animals. Hovercraft, cyborgs, and sentient trees are already in there.

11. Tag five people!
I'm going to do the same thing David did here and tag the last five people who commented on my blog (though if anyone I list would rather not do the tag, that's fine with me):

Ellie Garratt
Nutschell
Patricia Stoltey
Rachna Chhabria
Anthony Stemke

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What are you working on right now? Are you gearing up for NaNoWriMo or brainstorming for some other project?


-----The Golden Eagle

09 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (93)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters. It's co-written/adapted by the same author who did Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and published by the company who came out with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I love these kinds of books (mostly because I think the originals are tedious); I'll admit, part of my motivation to finish Anna Karenina was so I could read this. It's better than I expected, since there's a strong Science Fiction/Steampunk feel, and it's only 538 pages long--as opposed to Tolstoy's 800+.


In the next moment, the mysterious woman and her robot appeared again in the door of the Grav. "Could you see if Stepan Arkadyich Oblonsky is here, and send him to me?" she said politely to a II/Porter/7e62, who scuttled off obligingly. Vronsky understood now that this was Madame Karenina, and this her Class III, Android Karenina.
-p. 75

(In case you're wondering, despite the cover and the fact Anna Karenina's robot is named Android Karenina, Vronsky doesn't seem to be in love with the machine. Just thought I'd clear that up.)

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What are you reading now? Have you ever read any of the classic book mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Android Karenina? If not, would you consider reading them?


-----The Golden Eagle

04 October, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

Rachel Morgan from Rachel Morgan Writes is releasing the cover for The Faerie Guardian today. The book comes out November 5, 2012 and is comprised of four separate stories published individually which have been brought together into a single book.

Blurb:
Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamour follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.
     The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out of it alive. 
[This novel was originally published in four separate parts: Guardian, Labyrinth, Traitor and Masquerade. It includes bonus scenes at the end.]
Goodreads link.


Also, because this is a paperback release, there's a full wraparound cover image which is as gorgeous as the front alone:





Giveaway Time!

The bonus scenes at the end of the book are NOT written from the main character's point of view. If you'd like to win a $10 Amazon gift card, all you have to do is guess whose point of view these scenes are written from! Head on over to the cover reveal post at Rachel Morgan Writes and fill in the Rafflecopter form. There's a list of characters there that you can choose from. Good luck!


Read any of the books from The Faerie Guardian: Guardian, Labyrinth, Traitor, Masquerade? Know Rachel Morgan and/or follow her blog?


-----The Golden Eagle

03 October, 2012

Time To Begin Worrying About NaNoWriMo: An IWSG Post

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. From his blog:
It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.

I'm sure most of you writers know about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where the goal is to write 50,000 words in a month, or about 1,613 words per day. I've done it for two years in a row and have every intention of participating in 2012, but now the questions are: What the heck do I write about for those 50k words? And when am I going to find the time to write for hours every day for a month?

As for the first, I have a few story ideas. For one I've written half a detailed (and maybe even decent) plot outline for, and the others are vague-ish notions floating around in my head. Not the most pressing, since I can always write about marauding squid or psychedelic ninjas or whatever if I'm absolutely desperate.

But for the first time in a two-year NaNo history, I'm worrying about time. I'm sure you know what I mean: Getting the most important or unchangeable things done and then discovering the day's almost over, or feeling like you do stuff all day and finding out at the end only half the list's been crossed off. I'm already having trouble keeping up with the blogosphere, and I'm not even writing as much as I did last year during non-NaNo season.

I think I'll be able to swing it so I have time to write. But something will clearly have to go, and I really don't want it to be The Eagle's Aerial Perspective for the entirety of November.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo or thinking about participating? Doubtful if you'll be able to find the time to write everyday and reach the 50k goal, or do you already have a schedule down?


-----The Golden Eagle

02 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (92)

Teaser Tuesday--a weekly, bookish meme--is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel, sequel to This Dark Endeavor, a series based on Frankenstein. Oppel's one of my favorite YA/MG writers, and his steampunk Airborn/Matt Cruse trilogy is one of the best in the genre and YA age group. In my opinion, of course.

(I like the style of the original This Dark Endeavor cover better than the new photograph-based one which matches Such Wicked Intent, to be honest. Not that the new style is bad since it works for the story, but it's slightly generic. It feels like they went: Victorian dress! Centered font! Boom, cover.)

"Will you come then, Henry?" I asked.
   "Well, I'd leap it normally, if it weren't for a certain rare phobia of mine."
   "Which is?"
   "Feat of death," he replied.
-p. 53

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What are you reading now? Got a teaser to share from it?

Who's one of your favorite Young Adult authors, if you read YA?


-----The Golden Eagle