Book Review: Memoirs of a Mouthy Dame

So, you guys may have seen me talk about +C. Corey Fisk before. You’ve seen me wax all glowing and girlcrushy about her because, frankly, she is crushable on pretty much all conceivable levels of crushability.

Beyond that, though… this woman is tough as shit and frakking brilliant.

If you follow her stream at all, you know that; she’s one of the people at the forefront of the +Virtual Photo Walks™ project, she agitates in favor of the disable, and she’s also a fantabulous geek. And, of course, Corey is a writer.

She wrote much of this book several years ago, and it is finally coming to print. I have had the multifaceted honor of not only being able to read this book, but also to actively partake in working on making its sequel come into being. Memoirs of a Mouthy Dame — Beyond Repair: Living with MS is, as I have told its author, an important book.

That’s not quite right. It’s an Important Book.

I don’t know about you guys, but I used to have only the barest of familiarity with multiple sclerosis. I knew it was a thing, a disease, and it was the sort that if someone got it we’d talk about it with hushed whispers and sad demeanour. MS is, honestly, not something I’d talk about while jumping up and down and playing accordion. But thanks to Corey’s book, I actually have a working knowledge of it without having felt like a moron while it was explained to me.

Even better, she was able to explain it to me in such a way that I giggled while I learned, and then this bold woman went on to ask questions I never would have asked – some of them because I wasn’t consciously aware that I had such questions to ask.

Below is the link to Corey’s book. It’s currently 25% off until March 24, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this launch sale – if possible, by two or three copies, so that you can keep one for yourself and give the others away to friend show might otherwise try to steal it from you!

And if for some reason you don’t have the money to snag this jewel of a book for yourself… please share this post. Hopefully one of your friends will buy it.

Then you can yoink their copy. 😉

http://www.lulu.com/shop/c-corey-fisk/memoirs-of-a-mouthy-dame%E2%80%93-beyond-repair:-living-with-ms/paperback/product-18935175.html

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Book Review: Redbacks, by Aaron Crocco

It becomes increasingly tricky to innovate a fairly well-explored fiction genre, and the idea of a zombie apocalypse is no exception – zombies are fast or slow, voodoo or viral, after your brains or simply any iron-rich tissue of the body, a tool for a gorefest or an allegory for society. Sometimes it seems like, in the overal body of work involving zombies, it’s all been done.

Then +Aaron Crocco comes along and gives us something new.

_Redbacks_ is book 2 of his _As Darkness Ends_ series, but can be read standalone (although, having read it, I want to go back and read book 1). It begins with the world ending – or so it seems to some of the characters. An earthquake shakes not just most of Manhattan, where protagonist James Cole works, but the actual entirety of the earth. James manages to avoid upheaving streets and crumbling skyscrapers, and post-quake bands together with a survivor who saved his life in order to try to get through the city to make his way back to his estranged wife.

Then they discover that buckled streets and precarious architecture and infrastructure are far from their biggest worry – the eponymous, violent antagonists of the tale appear, wreaking havoc and killing survivors, moving in animal-like packs, though they clearly used to be human.

And all of this under a sky unnaturally darkening under a black cloud moving to cover the earth.

It’s a quick-paced adventure with roots in zombie literature and religious apocalyptica alike, and one I quite enjoyed – it grabbed me from the quaking get-go and dragged me along through the ruins of one of the great cities of the world, to a conclusion that I honestly never saw coming.

 

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Redbacks-As-Darkness-Ends-ebook/dp/B007ETKF2S
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Redbacks-Darkness-Ends-Book-Volume/dp/1470034441
Amazon Paperback of Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/As-Darkness-Ends-Book-One/dp/1466251654
Smashwords Book 1: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82830
Smashwords Book 2: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137369

See the author’s site at http://www.aaroncrocco.com/ for more links, info, and a way to purchase an autographed eBook!

*facepalm #1*

Don’t you hate when you’re going along, having a perfectly good conversation, and say something flippantly extravagant that suddenly makes your brain click over and reveal a previously hidden pile of plotbunnies?

Do you have a phone I can text if I am suddenly descended upon by a troupe of vaudevillean wildebeest and carried off on an epic tour of Grand Olde Europe, forced to knit amigurumi before a chainsmoking audience for an hour at a time and allowed but the briefest periods of respite in my multicolored silk tent before rising to bravely fend off the uncouth advances of a Prussian llama-trainer named Gvordiko?

Yyyyyyyeah.

My face. I palm it.

Dammit Gvordiko, why you gotta be like that?

-B

New Release: Vinnie Tesla

Huzzah! This is a happy day, and not just because I am double posting.

Vinnie Tesla – author of the fantastically awesome victorian-era sex comedy The Ontological Engine, or, The Modern Leda has written a sequel, and it is now available! It’s up at Smashwords, Amazon, and Fictionwise (where I am told that as of this writing it is a dollar off for a new addition). If you have not yet read The Ontological Engine, I recommend that you do so straightaway – and pick up The Erotofluidic Age right away as well, so that you can continue on from the one right into the next.

I have quite literally forced The Ontological Engine onto my friends (“No seriously, pull this up on the screen, fill your wine, and I’ll just read… I’ll read this, it’ll take a little while but I swear you’re going to love it!” (Two hours later I had no wine, but a room full of fans.)) and have had the delightful honor of hearing an excerpt from the sequel only a few weeks ago. I can’t wait to read it!

If you enjoy it as much, please let me know. I want more people to fangirl with.

– Bliss

Five Things

In the interest of not being up all night, he texted to me, I shall only text you five times.

This amused and delighted me; a bondage of sorts, self-imposed and unrequested, unexpected even – and like any really good bondage, a sweet commingling of restraint desired (because one needs sleep) and restraint to rail against (because to stay up past our bedtime, to connect through impossible and invisible currents on the air carrying carefully constructed communiqués back and forth… it was like whispering on the phone late at night once had once been; it was like that time I curled up in a cool divot in the sand against a warm body, murmuring a half-remembered snatch of Dave Matthews Band’s Satellite into the starlight night over the beach; it was a quiet magic).

Bondage done well as me both reveling in the feel of what holds my limbs down and apart, or sometimes up and together, delighting to have someone indulge my desire for it while at the same time giving me something to jerk and lash and strain and struggle against, trying to refute physics to close the gap and get to touch what is there before me, just out of reach. And it is knowing that, because the person I let bind me is the sort of person that knows what I want, I will eventually get it when the time is right, which is not always right away when I want it.

I will not relate his texts here, but I will note that one of them included a scenario that first made me chuckle. On it’s base raw surface, it seems a pseudo-goth scenario of the sort that, were I to see it as the single-sentence summary of a piece of erotica, I’d likely pass it over to search for something a little more creative, a little more inventive. Yet as soon as that chuckle passed, I got a clear and visceral sense of being in exactly the situation described, and it plumbed my stomach. I could feel my cheeks getting hot in the darkness, blushing at the screen of my iPhone. My response was delayed as I began to truly consider and enjoy the idea not as a skeletal outline of setting and position, but as something actual possible (Heck, probable) to come about.

Powers above and below, but it got me hot.

It still does, just thinking about it now, and it has tweaked my brain a little bit in terms of my erotic writing. Very often I am searching for the more inventive, the creative, the clever. I very much enjoy thinking about things differently, about finding a way into a scene or bit of plot via a path separate from the norm.

Case in point, another writer chucklingly said in conversation,

“In sex between a winged fairy and a vampire, what positions would work best?”
Ah, Livejournal!

While I understand it in the context of our conversation, that it seems a silly sort of pairing, I couldn’t help but braindump all the questions I would have asked in response.

It really depends… aside from the one having wings, and the other being a bloodsucker, are both the creatures in question humanoid? What physical gender are they? Do they have any racial quirks – like can the vampire only bang while sucking blood? Do the fairy’s wings fold or tuck out of the way for certain positions, or are they perhaps useable for achieving loft for positions not afforded to a normal wingless humanoid?

This sort of intensive examination of what lies before me and what an be made of the unusual portions of a scene/story/pairing is, I believe, one of my strengths. Heck, I didn’t even get into asking more specifics about the wings, nor the flavor of vampire (Twilight? Hamiltonian? Ricean? Stoker?) which could affect still more positions available and their relative efficacy. Yet given the text I was sent and how it has consumed my brain in the intervening hours, I am set to wonder at my ability to take more ostensibly mundane scenes and make them live and breathe, to have them get my readers off (as it were) by firing their imaginations the way his words did mine.

A story lives or dies by the breath of the characters; if they’re not living on the page, they’re not going to live in the minds of the reader. No one gets invested in a set of stick figures* – characters have to be people for the reader to care about them, to identify with their successes and failures, to move with them through the conflicts that define their story and the touches that limn their trysts.

If I can do this, and do it well, if I can make my characters be people that my readers give a shit about, that I care about as more than just a vehicle to illustrate my own clever way of thinking about something? THAT is what is going to improve my work from where it stands now. I need to find their flaws. I need to feel out their mundanities. These are the things that will create the boundaries of their character and, in so restraining them, define them as the creatures that strain and yearn to be more than text on a page.

* xkcd notwithstanding, natch.