Mermaids in Wheelchairs

Mermaid drawing by deviantart user boobookittyfuck. So my friend posted this thing and I was like, guys, there are already tons of books like this? Then my stupid internet browser at work ate my comment, so here I am!

Okay so:

First, specific recommendations based on the above, and then just general “look, fantasy books that are doing the damn thing.”

Mermaids in wheelchairs:

  • Deadshifted by Cassie Alexander (Edie Spence #4). The character is actually a siren, if I remember correctly, but she has a tail. This is the least exciting book in the series in my opinion. The first book is about a night nurse in a supernatural ER ward. There are shifters and vampires and mysterious multidimensional entities, oh my!
  • One Salt Sea (October Daye #5) by Seanan McGuire. See below for the first book in the series. **added 01/12/18

Sirens using sign language:

  • High Demon and First Ordinance series by Connie Suttle. The characters are by and large villains in this universe, but there is one in particular whose vocal cords were damaged intentionally and he uses telepathy and sign language to communicate. Trigger warning: Suttle’s books contain a lot of violence and misogyny and her characters are largely disempowered women with massive trauma issues. Many attain power and status and resolution later, but it didn’t sit well with me.

Religious vampires:

  • Blood Rights (House of Comarré series #1) by Kristen Painter has a vampire named Preacher who lives in a church.
  • In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes also has several characters who have to reconcile their religion and their vampirism. There are honestly so many more but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

Disabled fairies fighting for accessibility:

  • The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. The pixies in these books have to fight for fair wages and anti discrimination. Also Jenks is just an all around fun character.
  • Rosemary and Rue (October Daye series #1) by Seanan MacGuire also deals with this, delving even more into drug abuse, and racism.
  • A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton. Although in this series the fairies are disabled mostly as a direct result of violence inflicted on them by a twisted and sadistic society or three.

Spirits fighting fires and saving people from natural disasters/situations that are too dangerous for the living:

  • Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires series #1) by Rachel Caine.
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (though more so as the series progresses).
  • Grave Witch by Kalayna Price. The ghosts in this series are more bidden than selfless, but they are present!
  • Shadowland (The Mediator series #1) by Meg Cabot. Kind of. Again, more bidden and subjective rather than a ghostly task force.

Fae snatching children from abusive homes while changelings wreak havoc:

  • Seanan MacGuire again, October Daye.
  • Trailer Park Fae (Gallow and Ragged series #1), by Lilith Saintcrow. This series is so so so good!

Liberated genies using their powers to fight for human rights:

  • Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison. This is a romance novel and doesn’t have much plot to speak of. Mostly the Djinn is just horrified at the poverty this hot witch is suffering through, but I like this series, each of which can be read as standalone novels.

Psychic doctors, psychologists, teachers, etc:

  • Calderon’s Fury (Codex Alera series #1) by Jim Butcher. All of the healers in this world are also empaths.
    This is actually a really common element in urban fantasy, so it’s very odd that I am otherwise drawing a blank.

I didn’t get into a couple of the suggestions: shapeshifters with stretch marks is weirdly specific and I’m positive there are hirsute female shapeshifter protagonists with normal, stretch-marked bodies, but it isn’t treated as a point of contention or mentioned. Let me know in the comments if I mentioned any of your favorite, or if there are any I should check out!

I’ll leave you with a strong, genre subverting recommendation which is an awesome, 5 star read: In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan. Excerpt:

“What’s your name?”

“Serene.”

“Serena?” Elliot asked.

“Serene,” said Serene. “My full name is Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle.”

Elliot’s mouth fell open. “That is badass.”

The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else. Don’t try to smuggle a phone or any other piece of technology over the wall that marks the Border—unless you enjoy a fireworks display in your backpack. (Ballpoint pens are okay.) There are elves, harpies, and—best of all as far as Elliot is concerned—mermaids.

Elliot? Who’s Elliot? Elliot is thirteen years old. He’s smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands.

It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there’s Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there’s her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There are lots of interesting books. There’s even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world.

Thanks for reading!

So This is the New Year

Woody Guthrie’s resolutions, 1943.

& I don’t feel any different. I mean, the calendar system we use in the US is so arbitrary. I’m really more of a lunar cycle kind of girl (btw, is that series any good? I’ve never had much inclination to check it out).

Throwing it back to last year’s post on this day, 2017 was chock full of THINGS. I did less traveling than the year prior, and most of it was for job interviews with airlines. Some time around the end of March I decided to give up the ghost, take some time to have a regular sleep schedule and maybe be a flight attendant again in a couple years when I’m more financially secure.

I added several more odd jobs to my list of “I’ve done almost everything for money (but I won’t do that),” and btw, I would strongly discourage anyone from working in the cannabis industry in Denver unless you’re pretty solid dealing with dickbags and shady business. I quit my job, and spent a good amount of time crying on the phone before I checked my voicemail and heard my invitation to interview for a new one

So, for the second half of 2017, I worked a 9-5 in a law office, moved from a suburb to Denver proper (pretty close to downtown and “the action,” which is where I love to be), and got a lot of puppy snugs. I submitted poetry, was published twice! and closed out the year with potential and growth and all of that positivity nonsense you never hear from me.

What I didn’t do was finish anything. Does a poetry manuscript count? Even if I’ve written the majority of the pieces in it in years prior? I exist constantly in this weird pendulum swinging between trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

I’m moving next month, hopefully starting in an upward position at my company (send hopeful vibes!), and will hopefully crush it personally and professionally this year (by finishing a damn book). Even my personal life is looking pretty tolerable (although I have friendships and family to tend to, and men are trash, except the one that is currently less trash). I’m looking forward, and I hope I can drag a few friend’s gazes future-ward as well. I’ve been so lucky to not be under the constant yoke of depression and I want that for others, too.

With that, I’ll leave you with a link to Angel City Review’s current issue. I’m in there, along with a poem I wrote 6 years ago when I was bitter and angry. I’m still bitter and angry, but not in LA anymore, and less so.

Series recommendation: I Bring The Fire by C. Gockel

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, not for a lack of material, but because I’m lazy. This series demands recognition though, and I am totally floored that such an engrossing, imaginative, intricate story hasn’t become a sleeper sensation among fantasy readers.

Set in the US in the present, but spanning millennia and ages, I Bring The Fire incorporates mythology into a modern fantasy story. Many cultures are represented, in both the myths and mythological creatures that appear in the duration of the series.

The first book opens with veterinary student Amy Lewis driving home to Chicago during a vet school break. She gets run off the road by a serial killer and her unwitting prayer for help is heard by Loki, the trickster god of Norse legend.

Pretty much anyone who has enjoyed seeing gods and legendary figures in the media, The Avengers, for example, will enjoy the portrayal of Loki, his dynamic with Amy, modern America, as well as Thor, Odin, Mimir, and Hoenir. There are action, adventure, romance, and more myths than you would think possible all woven into this series. I’ve considered myself fairly knowledgeable about mythology in the past, but the depth of narrative and characterization Gockel has incorporated in the plot is very impressive. There are also some cool twists and adaptations of the traditional stories, like Baldur being completely different than in retellings.

Any fans of Jim Butcher, Rick Riordan, Ilona Andrews, and the expanded Marvel universe will probably get a kick out of these books.

My writing was published in a magazine!

 

photo credit: Birdy Magazine on Facebook.

A few months ago I wasn’t doing much writing, so decided that I needed to be a Real Writer™ and start submitting. I am floored because two of my poems have been accepted by two different publications and it’s seriously wild to think that other people read something I wrote and thought it was good enough to accept for publishing (and pay me for it!)

 

The December issue (vol. 48) of Birdy Magazine is out and one of my poems is in it and I’m all aflutter. Birdy is a local Denver magazine and it’s really very cool, chock full of art, and devoid of the kind of garish advertising you see in more “commercial” magazines. It’s also free. The quality of the printing makes each issue pretty and collectible, and the artists featured on each cover do such a great job. I couldn’t be happier to be featured, and I want to show everyone this issue.

However, it is deeply, deeply uncomfortable publicizing my poetry. I’ve never had an issue sharing stories, blogs, articles, you name it. Poetry, on the other hand, is like my deep dark secret activity. I’ve only really ever written it for myself, and I almost never show it to anyone. With the exception of a couple poems I submitted to a writing contest once and in workshops, I just don’t share.

I brought a few copies of the magazine to work, and after the fifth person tried to open the mag and read my poem right in front of me I started awkwardly insisting they go away first. As much as I love attention it seems really self aggrandizing to blather on, and I’m not falsely humble. I’m happy to brag, it’s just such a quagmire of emotions and awkwardness to share something personal. I should probably get used to it.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?

YES.

See, you didn’t even have to read through a long ad-studded listicle to find out. In my opinion and experience, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is absolutely definitely worth it.

I read a lot, and I also happen to own a Kindle Fire. These days I find that my phone’s Kindle app is my primary reading device, but the tablet is what got me on the platform.

Amazon recently took the purchasing functionality out of their iOS apps, due to Apple moving to take a percentage of in-app transactions. One may still purchase from a mobile browser.

With KU, I am able to select and download books to read for free directly from the Kindle app, because it is not a paid transaction. As an iOS user who is far too lazy to switch apps just to purchase a book, this is very convenient for me.

Not to mention how many awesome books are available.  Many of the authors I’ve read and loved and have yet to review here have whole series available through the service.

I read about three to six books a month, depending on my schedule and the book length. For $9.99 USD per month, this is more than reasonable. I don’t have checkout dates to worry about as I would when using the library, nor are there a finite number of copies available. In addition, I can reread a book whenever I want (although who has time to do that?! There are so many books to be read!)

Your mileage may vary, but if you’re an avid reader who has been on the fence about the service, and wanted an unsolicited opinion, you’ve just read mine.

And if you don’t trust me, Groupon is offering at free 60 day subscription so you can see if it’s worth the price!

https://www.groupon.com/deals/kindle-unlimited-national-2

**BTW nobody paid me to advertise this, I just like the service and found the Groupon this morning (but if you work for Amazon and want to throw money at me, feel free).

Writing, art, passion, loneliness.

I just sent in a poetry submission. To a real publication (I am still unsure if my community college writing contest counts, but that’s a question for a poetry editor somewhere), and I find myself feeling strangely not relieved or excited. Just the same strange strong obligation to march ever onward.

I tried explaining this to someone recently. We were discussing ambition and motivation and life-in-general stuff, and explaining my perception of my life and goals wasn’t very relate-able. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, not necessarily for money, or fame or success, but to do.

have to write. Not often or in any particular quantity, but it’s what I have, and I have always felt a weird undercurrent of obligation to do so. Also I’m getting kind of good at it at this point, so it’s easier than say, oil painting would be, in terms of expression of the self.

Anyway, the thing is, not everyone has that drive to share, to express, and I didn’t really know it until recently. Not every human on the planet is constantly obsessing about creating art in ways that other people can relate to. You see the urge in other things, relate-able social media, memes, etc. Storytelling is a part of most human cultures, but not everyone has a tiny voice threatening you every day to write, or else. Yeah, my passion threatens me, what does yours do?

The part we did agree on, in this conversation, was that any endeavor that requires focus requires ALL OF THE FOCUS. This is part I struggle with. I can’t neglect the routine, the self-care, socializing. Those are all  things I need to stay sane so I can write. I am never going to be that shut-in genius that people talk about in hushed tones about my dedication to my craft. I like living and doing and laughing, and if that means I blow off editing this damn poetry manuscript for another month, I shall. And you shan’t stop me with your guilt-trip, self. SHAN’T.

Anyway, writing is lonely. Unless you collaborate with another person (and this idea is HORRIFYING to me, because control issues), you’re bound to spend a lot of time alone, with paper. Lots of paper. And pens. And computers. That is an incredibly off-putting realization, for me.

But I just submitted some poetry. And I’ll do it again. And I’ll continue to (very slowly) write this book (and the three others I’ve started since I started that one).

Why I Swiped Left On You

Hell to no, to the no no no no no
Ironically, this photo was linked to a much less funny but similar post on HuffPo, written by a dude.

  • You have a lot of weird facial hair in every single picture. I interpreted this as an extreme commitment to your beard/mustachios/mutton chops. Like more commitment than you’ll have to an actual human relationship
  • you have no photos
  • you have one photo
  • you have all group photos
  • it is unclear who you are in each photo
  • your first picture is you and your extremely hot friend. The comparison is not flattering. Also can I have his number?
  • you are holding a fish and you’re not a marine biologist
  • you are petting a drugged tiger
  • you are posing with an extremely cute dog you don’t own, which I will therefore never get to meet
  • you have a shirtless photo and you’re not at the beach
  • you have a shirtless photo and you’re not even outside
  • you have a shirtless photo (leave me some mystery)
  • All of your photos are with girls
  • Any of your photos are with a girl. Oh, she’s your roommate/sister/cousin? Too bad you’ll never get a chance to explain that because I swiped left.
  • All of your photos are with one specific girl. Why are you on this app?
  • You’re smoking a tobacco product
  • You’re drinking in all of your photos.
  • Your first photo is at the gun range. I admire your Beretta but I am not interested in dating the Beretta.
  • You have sunglasses on in every picture. Why? Do you not have eyes? What’s wrong with them?
  • You have a hat on in every picture. I get it, some men have hair loss. I’m going to find out eventually.
  • Close-lipped smiles in every picture. I don’t have dental insurance either, bruh, but I’m going to notice your teeth like, right away, when we meet.
  • All of your selfies are taken from lap level. While I’m pleased to see there’s nothing in your nose, this is an extremely unflattering angle.
  • All of your selfies are exactly the same.
  • None of your photos show your actual face. I get it, you hate selfies, but I can’t see what you look like from 30ft away/with snow goggles on. Sick rail though.
  • All of your photos are “funny.” Like, Halloween costume, ladies heels, morph suit, you passed out on your friend’s couch. What a sense of humor!
  • You did something ironically in a photo and I thought you were serious. Esp. if you’re making fun of women.

Editor’s Note (I am the editor): As of like, one week after I initially wrote this in March ’17, I completely changed my swiping criteria. Here are the updated auto-left swipes.

  • You’re not a dog
  • or a cat.
  • You’re a human man.
  • You’re human.
  • No.
  • I deleted all of these apps.

I plan to die alone with cats.

The Year of Finishing Things

Ah, 2017. I’m excited to be in you.

Last year was long and eventful and a lot of stuff happened. For me, a lot of last year’s events were good! I got a job as a flight attendant, moved to a new state, made new friends, did a ton of traveling, and worked my tail off. I was very goal oriented and had a lot of personal growth and very little backsliding on things like eating a whole pizza in one sitting. One could call it a success.

I’m especially proud of how determined I was to write more in 2016. I worked a lot on the urban fantasy book I started in 2013. I attempted NaNoWriMo and actually did pretty okay for the first half of the month, given how much I was flying. November is always the busiest month. I wrote about 15,000 words, which is kind of a lot. And I’m not done. (btw, if you’re one of my super excellent beta readers I’ll start posting the newer bits soon!)

I also wrote poems and blogs and started a memoir/collection of stories about the funny experiences I had dating in LA while I was living there. I’ve only done about 7 tales/chapters but I made myself laugh and that’s the ultimate goal, non?

I also failed at a lot of things in 2016, but I’m not too torn up about it. I need adversity to really thrive, because let’s face it, I’m lazy as hell. Adversity gets me out of bed in the morning.

So, cheers to The Year of Finishing Things! Whether it’s the book I swore I’d complete in 2016, my Goodreads Reading Challenge (150 books was extremely ambitious, 100 is much more my speed for this year), projects I promised to undertake and didn’t, my laundry, and a good K.O. in Mortal Kombat, my only resolution for 2017 is to finish things.

Also: I’m not a quote person but I’m getting more and more basic so this quote by Brad Paisley. I keep thinking if I can just write a little bit every day I’ll have a Harry Potter length book by next year. Let me have this dream :p

How I read ebooks for free part II

Read part I

Method 2: BookBub

Bookbub.com is a subscription email service that sends you a daily email listing free or discounted ebooks. It’s a free service that helps millions of readers discover limited-time deals. Members receive a personalized daily email.

homepagescreen

Join for free by choosing your favorite ebook genres and retailers at BookBub.com. Once signed up, you get BookBub’s daily email with limited-time discounts on ebooks matching your preferences. When you see a deal you like, click through to the ebook retailer of your choice and download the book from there.

Pros:

It’s super easy to set up your preferred genres. The emails you get will be tailored just for your preferences.

Occasionally you’ll get author suggestions. Once you follow them, you’ll get notified when their books are free or discounted.

FREE! WE LOVE FREEEE. You’re going to discover a lot of new books by authors you might have not checked out if you had to pay for their books.

Cons:thedailyemail

It’s a daily email. If you, like me, are constantly drowning in a sea of unread emails (and books) this might be a bit much for you.

Some books are in the public domain (so you don’t need to pay for the format, it’s already available online) or self published, so I would definitely recommend looking into reviews and checking to see if they are quality worth reading before you begin.

Not all of the books in your list will be free. Some days you’ll get emails that are all books from 1.99-0.99. Which is fine. But we want freeeeeee.

Happy reading! Check out Part I!

 

p.s. This is not an ad. BookBub did not pay me to tell you about them, I actually use this service and I love it.

Waiting, Mental Health and Writing

Grave Visions (Alex Craft, #4)Grave Visions, the fourth and latest installment of the Alex Craft books came out today. I was fanatical about this series when I read them initially in 2012, which is when the third book came out.

I’ve waited four excited years for this day. Every time the publication date was pushed back I felt a bit of confusion and disappointment, but not much. The reason? Kalayna Price is an author. A really really good one. Her Haven series is also really great. That aside, she’s a human.

The only hint of explanation (which I was not owed, nor was any other reader) was a blog post from February of 2013, in which she told us that in order to maintain her health and wellbeing she needed to withdraw from touring and appearances and heal.

This resonated with me because I write and deal with health issues. Writing is extremely mentally demanding. The brain is a powerful thing, and the body is affected. In my experience dealing with mental health issues, the physical toll can be harsh. If your physical state is under stress, you can pretty much kiss goodbye any ease in using your mental faculties.
Kalayna Price is doing the dang thing and I’m incredibly inspired by it, whatever her troubles may be. Four years sounds like eons to an anxious reader, but to someone who has spent the last four years getting it together (me) it means work and recovering and more work. Brava, Kalayna. I can’t wait to read your book.