I went into a prolonged (for me) depression and haven’t read much in my new book for…almost a couple months now? Wow. But I am still making my way through The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. I’m halfway through and thoroughly enjoying it, when my anxiety isn’t convincing me the worst thing ever is going to happen to the characters, they’re all going to die, and the book itself is going to burst into flames in my hands (only a slight exaggeration). My sister read The Gentleman’s Guide first and assures me it’s wonderful and has a happy ending.
So I keep going. I hope to have a proper review up soon, but I can’t make a guarantee. I’m not giving up on either the blog or on reading though. I wish you good health, mental and physical, and good books.
Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, is the third and final book in the Dr. GretaHelsing series. Greta has been called in by a friend to temporarily run Oasis Natrun, an exclusive health clinic for mummies. Something is causing the patients to black out and it’s up to Greta to find out what. There’s also the matter of her best friend being cursed and needing to be taken to Hell, Sir Frances Varney proposing, and reality itself coming under attack.
1—The Whole Gang
All my favorite characters show up. Greta, of course. The vampire Ruthven and the vampyre Varney. But also the vampires Grisaille (who’s now Ruthven’s sweetie) and Emily from the second book. And from the first book there’s Cranswell—Ruthven’s friend who works at a London museum—and Nadezhda, Hippolyta, and Anna, Greta’s team at her London clinic. Not everyone gets a starring role, of course, but they’re all there. And there are new people to meet too—mummies, and angels, and Dr. Faust himself.
A week of depression hit, followed by finals week, so I’m still not done with my new fiction book, but I’m getting close. I did finish my non-fiction book, Audio for Authors by Joanna Penn. Highly recommended for anyone of the writerly persuasion curious about doing audiobooks—how to do it, why to do it, etc—podcasting—why to do it, types of podcasts, etc—or using voice technology—AI, voice assistants, dictation, etc. I loved this book and I’ll be rereading it. (Also, if you want more of this kind of information, check out intro and futurist segments of Joanna’s podcast, The Creative Penn.)
My two book system worked to get me through the last new book I read, but I haven’t needed it this week. I haven’t yet finished the new book (Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, book three in the Dr. Greta Helsing series) I’m reading, but I have managed to read just my new book without resorting to the old favorite (Curtsies and Conspiracies, by Gail Carriger, book two in the Finishing School series) this week. I have been reading some of my non-fiction book (Dreyer’s English, by Benjamin Dreyer), but that doesn’t take as much time as reading the old favorite, and I didn’t switch to it to come down from anxiety so much as because I just wanted to. Also I’ve often gone back to the Grave Importance after, which I’m about 1/3 of the way through! And though I haven’t managed to read every day this week, I’ve read more days of the week than not, which I consider another big win. All in all, I’m happy with my current reading progress.
Beneath the Sugar Sky, a novella by Seanan McGuire, finds us back in Eleanore West’s Home for Wayward Children—where the children who go to another world and then come back to ours go in hopes of finding their way back to that other world. When a girl in a cotton candy dress falls out of the sky and into the turtle pond, the students find their questing days aren’t yet over.
Rini—the girl who fell out of the sky—has come to get her mother Sumi and bring her back to the world of Confection—except was murdered in the first book in the Wayward Children series. Rini, Kade, Cora, Nadya, and Christopher decide to go on a quest to resurrect Sumi before the Queen of Cakes—whom Sumi was supposed to/will defeat—comes back from her own death to oppress Confection. Also, so Rini can exist in the first place—pieces of her keep disappearing. But first they have to find all the parts of Sumi—her bones, her soul, her shadow/nonsense. And to do that, they’ll have to travel to various worlds that aren’t quite home—but might be closer to home than Earth is. Continue reading “Beneath the Sugar Sky—Living Statues and Soda Seas”→
I’m still working my way through my new book, so here’s a collection of podcasts that focus more on the business side of being a writer—important for both indies and traditionally published authors to know, since either way, being a published author means being a small business owner. Also, I’ve posted about most these podcasts somewhere before, but not in in a collection with this focus, so I’m doing it anyway.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve developed anxiety, which isn’t helped by the current everything-ness of the pandemic right now. But I have developed a new strategy to help myself be able to read new things. I’ll be reading two fiction books at once—first I’ll read the new book (currently Seanan McGuire’s Beneath the Sugar Sky, which I’ve been looking forward to getting to for a long time) until I can’t stand the tension anymore, then I’ll switch to my comfort read book (currently Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger). If I still feel like reading when I’ve had my fill of the comfort read, I’ll switch back to the new book. Hopefully I’ll have a review for you next week or the week after. Wish me reading luck.
Meat Cute, a short story by Gail Carriger, is the story of how Miss Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Maccon meet. If those names mean nothing to you, that’s ok, this story is really for the fans of the Parasolverse.
Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, which is, as of this writing, the only version of Meat Cute in print, but it’s available in ebook and audio book.
Basically, Sophronia and Soap set up Alexia and Connal to meet. Takes place just before Soulless. There’s other Easter eggs in the story, if you’ve read ALL the Parasolverse stories, but even if you’ve only read the novels, or just the Finishing School series or just the Parasol Protectorate, you should like this short story. If you have not read either of those, maybe wait until you have to read Meat Cute. But yeah, I adored this little gem.
Romancing the Inventor, a novella by Gail Carriger, follows Imogene, a maid at a vampire hive, as she falls in love with a heartbroken lady inventor.
Heat level, open door on the sex scenes but not terribly graphic.
Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, but Romancing the Inventor is available as a stand-alone.
Everyone thinks Imogene arrogant because she won’t take a husband, but the truth is that no man appeals to her. She secretly pines for women, a thing illegal in Victorian England. So Imogene takes a job as a maid with the local vampire hive, hoping the countess might take an interest in her—supernaturals are exceptions to the law—but the countess, indeed all the vampires, ignore her. Continue reading “Romancing the Inventor—Unexpected Chances”→
Ask the Bards is a podcast for writers by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson, both New York Times bestselling authors. I’ve read and loved their jointly authored Tales of Pell series, so I decided to check out the podcast. It’s only two episodes in, as of this writing, but I’m enjoying it. They cover both the writing and business sides of being an author, with the advice—at least so far—being geared for beginning authors. If you want to ask them a question, you can hit them up on Twitter with the hashtag #askthebards .