Showing posts from March, 2014

Cephalopod Coffee House

This month I read Rapture, by Kameron Hurley. is the final installment in the Bel Dame Apocrypha, a science fiction trilogy. The previous novels were God's War and Infidel, and they all follow the adventures of Nyxnissa so Dasheem.  

Rapture brings Nyx out of exile and out of retirement for one last job. The war between Nasheen and Chenja may finally be coming to an end, but with thousands of men returning from the front, Nasheen is teetering on the brink of chaos. Nyx’s job is to find her old partner and bring him to the Queen before he can incite a revolution.

Rapture is a fast paced, engrossing read, just like its predecessors, but also like the previous two books it kind of falls apart in the third act. I thought at first that it was just me, but after three books, it’s obvious that Kameron Hurley can create great characters and an alien, yet believable, world and situations, but struggles to tie everything up in the end. Would that stop me from recommending the book or series to anyone? No, it wouldn’t. And here's why:

There are many great things about the Bel Dame Apocrypha. The world that Hurley creates is an alien one, despite the fact that the characters are human. First, there is the technology of Umayma. The technology is a mish mash of genetic engineering and magic. The author is obviously a fan of “show, don’t tell,” because not much is explained. Each book gives just enough information to describe what’s happening, but almost none explaining how it’s happening. This is a good thing, I promise you. If even a tenth of what was going on was explained, no one would read past the first chapter of the first book. After a while you just take it for granted that their entire technology is based off of manipulating insects, and that people not only sell body parts, but they can also be rebuilt using spare parts. Among many other things that are too spoilery to mention here.

Second, there is the society she has set up. Based mostly on Islam, the religion and society of the world have been molded and shaped by the stresses it's had to endure. In addition to the inhospitable planet, the two largest countries in on the planet Umayma (Nasheen and Chenja) have been at war for centuries, and because of this the societies in each country deal with the shortage of able-bodied men in different ways. In the society of Nasheen, where Nyx is from, women are the dominant force, because men are conscripted into the war at puberty and not allowed to return (if they survive the front) until they are middle-aged. Other than the daily calls to prayer, much of the customs and traditions bear little resemblance to the stereotypical view of traditional Islam many readers might have.

Third, is the character of Nyx, who is a Bel Dame – a sort of state sanctioned assassin and bounty hunter. On the surface, she is a thoroughly unlikeable character. She uses people to get what she wants. She murders people without remorse. Everything she does is for her own self-interest. But through the trilogy, she becomes more sympathetic. She is still a remorseless killer, but you come to understand why she is that way.

So, while the entire trilogy has its problems, can't help but be impressed with the world building, character development and storytelling.

I Finally Did It.

I finally broke down and signed up for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

This will be my third year, and I waited so long to decide because I wasn't sure if I would have the time or energy to fully participate this year. As if I ever have the time or energy to do it. Like many of you I start off strong the first week; publishing my entry, responding to and visiting commenters, visit some favorite bloggers, and meet 5 to 10 new bloggers. But by the time Q rolls around, I'm just so burned out by the process.

I'll try to do better this year. I couldn't not participate, because it's such a great way to meet new bloggers. I love the variety of people who participate, and the sheer volume (I'm number 1240 on the list). And once I hit on my theme on my long-ass drive home from work the other night, I knew I had to do it.

I came up with something that I think is original enough, and I hope, easy enough. I am going to use a random word generator. I will choose the first word I come across that starts with the letter of the day. Then, I will write a couple of sentences using the word as inspiration. It won't actually be flash fiction, because I don't have any intention of putting in that much effort this year, but if something coherent comes out, that would be nice.

Indie Life

 What is Indie Life? When: Post on the second Wednesday of the month. What: Write anything indie related: something that will inspire or help a fellow indie; something that celebrates a release or a milestone; something that talks about the ups and downs, joys and heartaches of Being Indie.
Go here to join or see a list of participants.

The point of Indie Life is to talk about the ups and downs of being an independent author, and this past month has been nothing but.  

I’ve published two things as an Indie writer in the past 4 months. My novel, Weaver, is on the market, and while I’ve sold a couple of copies to friends and family, it really hasn’t taken off. I didn’t expect it to, but seeing my numbers frozen in one spot is kind of disheartening.

On the plus side, my novelette, Snowbound, has been doing better. I’m actually on one of the myriad of top 100 lists at Amazon. Kindle Store> Kindle ebooks>paid>literature and fiction>horror>short stories to be exact. When I first noticed this last Friday, I was at #71. I was so excited that I had to tell everyone I know. When I checked again on Saturday, I made it up to #45. The last time I checked I was at #69, so still there on the list. I also got my first review, 5 stars, which made me happier than perhaps it should have.

What does this all mean? I haven’t a clue. I haven’t sold that many copies of Snowbound, so it’s not like I’m a bestseller. Or maybe I am. Does being on a top 100 list make you a bestseller? Anyway, after the initial excitement, my default mode of pessimism and cynicism set in. While it’s nice to see my name on a list anywhere, I don’t think this is as good a thing as I want it to be.

It doesn’t seem to do much for browsing. If you actually search horror short stories, I don’t come up in the first several pages. I am way outranked by people offering their stories for free. The fact that I’ve sold more copies of Snowbound than people I personally know is a surprise to me. A surprise that I keep expecting to crash and burn.

So enough about me, how is everyone else doing?

Success of some kind...

I was just checking my numbers, and I just saw that Snowbound is #71 on Amazon's top 100 paid ebook horror short stories. Proof: