(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Random Book Review - Redemption In Indigo

I'd like to thank fellow author Albert Berg for pointing me to this book.

Today (okay, not today, like a month ago and I was too busy to write this), I read Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord.

I recommend it.  Like always, there are caveats.  The tone is 'verbal folk tale', which like fairy tales some folks will find too stilted.  It is creative, reproduces the feel of verbal folk tales well, and generally fun.


As above, the book attempts to reproduce the tone of verbal folk tales, specifically the stories of the Caribbean which were a mishmash of the religions of slaves from all over.  This is an ethnic legend set I'm unfamiliar with, and all I recognized was a nod to Anansi from West African religions.  Karen Lord is a sociologist, so this is actually her area of expertise.  I get the impression she did a bit of recasting herself, but it was wonderful to be immersed in another culture's myth system.

The most interesting parts, to me, was the first third of the book, where the heroine leaves her odious husband.  It follows the world-wide folk tale pattern where he comes after her, and she has to come up with clever trick after clever trick.  The wonderful twist is that he's an idiot, and she has to come up with tricks to keep his stupid acts from completely humiliating him.  That would embarrass her in turn, and she doesn't want their breakup to be hostile.  She just wants to get away from a bad marriage.  She's very merciful and compassionate.

After that, the book becomes a little more traditional.  In facing the corrupted chaos spirit, she enters a modern American story pattern.  It's still handled in an unusual way, where the conflict is handled very passively.  He seems to win every battle, showing her time and again how she's wrong, but that she continues to care reawakens his own compassion.  That proves to be the real story.

Because it was more like a modern American novel, that part was less satisfying to me.  The clever and unusual twists also make it slower.  That was really the worst negative of the book.

I'll counter that with the best part of the book.  The oral story telling voice is perfect.  The narrator sometimes stops to chat with you about stuff.  Once in awhile that disrupts immersion, but mostly it has the feel of listening to your grandmother tell you a bedtime story.  I really liked it.

So, to sum up, neat book, unusual in format, but that strangeness is also fascinating.  I recommend it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chi Fi: So Many Costumes

I have returned from Chi Fi, a tiny first year convention up in Chicago.  A friend of mine had an extra ticket, and invited me.  He had a prepaid vendor desk, and I would provide company and sell the small handful of my books I had lying around.

Note to all considering going:  From an organizational standpoint, the convention was a shambles.  Attendance was miniscule.  Entire concerts happened with no audience because there was no schedule posted.

I had a wonderful time, because the very few people there were the nicest, most intelligent, most cool and interesting I've met at any convention, ever.

This is my pictorial of their awesomeness.

SUDDEN DETOUR.  This is a shirt sold by the booth across from us!  I bought one for Dana.

There were no ID badges.  All they had were these wristbands.  I have to say, this was the con's promise, and they DID deliver.  Many fandoms were united, and we were all gloriously one.

The first corset of the convention!  Not the last.  There were SO MANY corsets.  It was wonderful.  This nice lady stopped to chat several times.  In fact, anybody you see photographed in front of our table probably stopped to chat several times.  I left this one uncropped to show you our table.

Something awesome was revealed to me at this convention.  When adults buy my books for tween girls, they buy Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain.  When the girls are unsupervised, they gravitate to Wild Children.  I tried to obtain photographic evidence.

Notice this woman's hair.  I couldn't get her to bend over and let me just photograph the top of her head.  Her hair had cool swirls.  It must have been Hell to arrange that every day of the con, but she did.

EDIT - This lady asked me to include her twitter if I put up her photo.  At least, I'm pretty sure it's this lady.  I had trouble remembering who gave it to me.  Anyway, her handle is @Kcrowemcp, but do note there is NSFW stuff on her feed.

Check it, there's some writer named David Webber who has his own fan military.  They had a booth.

Random elf.  You know how it is.

I guess these guys are patriotic or something?

Another customer!  Or... maybe she's just the kid I flagged down for a random photo.  To be honest, it's completely blurry who I sold what to.

One of many, many, MANY Jedi.  I only photographed one, but they were every freaking where.  There was no point to having a whole stack of Jedi photos.

I love this dress, and I love it front and back.

Cosplay of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite.  I was in love.

And then she put her jacket on, and looked even more adorable.

I took a few photos of random well dressed gents.  This is one of them.

My policy is to insist on photographing every teenage girl in a fez that I see.

This girl in the Homestuck costume was AWESOME.  She's standing next to her mother here, but she dragged her mother physically over to my table, whining and begging for her mother to buy her Wild Children.  And then they posed for photos.  This is one of my two favorite memories of the convention, and photographing the lounge singer Hollywood Monroe would have been impractical.

This lady had style.  I needed no other reason to capture her soul with my devil camera.


These young ladies represent Midwest Anime-con.  I was ordered to watch the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies, and despite my misgivings I shall.  My policy is to do anything a girl with candy in her hair tells me to do.

This is probably a character?  It's a well dressed woman in an eyepatch smoking a cigar.  If that's just how she dresses, that's more than good enough for me.

Is there such a thing as Too Steampunk?  This guy is trying.

Again, no idea who this is.  A woman in a beautiful white dress was sitting in a chair, so I took a photo.

This is Jen.  She cosplayed as Kim Possible at the convention, and we talked for HOURS.  So friendly and sweet!  I know her entire family history, now, how they shop, what she knows about kicking people in the knee, her parental issues, everything.  Man, was she great.

Remember Elizabeth?  I asked her Bird or Cage.  She chose Bird!  Notice the super tasteful way she covers her cleavage in the closeup.

A luchadore succumbs to capitalism.

There was a ball pit.  At one point it was used to dispose of a body, but this is not that moment.  I left this photo extra large for legibility.


In retrospect, Finn and Tank Girl would LOVE each other.

Just, you know, an ordinary Saturday lunch.  I don't know any of these people.  I just thought they looked cute.

THIS.  This wonderful young woman bought Sweet Dreams Are Made of Teeth, my very last copy of the old cover.  Then she came back to buy Quite Contrary because she was loving it.  She praised my genius effusively.  Also, she knows, like, eight types of martial arts and can break parts of you that you didn't know you had.  Once you put the raven on her hat, she became the Perfect Woman.

Some character from Kill la Kill.  Taking this photo, I realized that I've watched the series, kinda liked it, know exactly who she is and what she's wearing and the sword and all, but damned if I know the name of ANYONE (or anything) in the series.

Another super well dressed man.  I took a lot of photos of him, and none turned out.  This was the best I could do.

Another hallway, another pretty dress.  I couldn't even come close to photographing them all.

This girl is probably with the other candy maids, but who knows?

YOU'RE A WIZARD, HARRIET.  Photographed primarily for Dana, who loves Harry Potter.

I'm not 100% sure this photo is ethical, because I'm not 100% sure he ever knew I took it.  I'm at least 95% sure he wouldn't mind, so I'm goin' ahead and posting.

More really fabulous dresses.

At some point in any con they let the succubi in, and it all goes downhill.

Fortunately, a vulcan showed up to kick ass.  She burst into hysterical laughter seconds after I took these photos, but that photo was too blurry to show.

The general consensus was that I had photographed this woman's dress before, but I don't think so.  Maybe her, but not this dress.

Her friends did The Wave while I took photos, and it was so adorable I had to photograph them, too.

I felt thoroughly chastised by this gentleman, and left the gaming floor forthwith.

Gandalf got no respect.  Seriously.  Joke after joke after joke.

I didn't know what was prettier, the girl or the costume.  I keep forgetting who the character is.  Maybe I just love 40s fashion.

Seagulls on the way back.  Because seagulls.

No photo I took in a moving car could capture the vast numbers of windmills on this wind farm, but this photo looks kinda nice.

And that, for the moment, is that!  Back soon with speculations about genre.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Book That Wasn't

I have loved seeing people actually discuss my books, and I'm grateful to you all.

Here is a present.  This was going to be my next book, completely unconnected to any previous, about a girl who falls into a magical land - or, more accurately, about her sidekick.

I put it in PDF format.

It didn't work.  It's nice to read, but it's not page-turningly gripping, and the problem is built into the book so tightly I would have to rewrite from the beginning.  I'm putting away the ideas, and they will be part of some new book in the future.

But for now, hey, maybe someone will enjoy a third of a book.