Tag Archive | Lois McMaster Bujold

Another one bites the dust …

Well, it is gone, done, finished. The first assignment for this year’s course with the Open University is submitted. It is winging its way across the ether as we speak. It actually turned out not to be a complete nightmare AND I got it submitted by the deadline, whoo! The large part got done two weeks ago when I had my bright spot and worked my way through all the diagram questions. Today and yesterday I was focused on getting the last of the short answer questions out of the way. I now know what the legal and ethical implications of database management are or at least my assignment knows. I’ve already overwritten those files in my memory.

When I haven’t been assignment working (most of the time) I have been (surprise, surprise) reading. Given my slow brain melting state the last few days I’ve been going back re-reading some favourites. Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favourite authors. Her Miles Vorkosigan series blew me away when I first got started with Cordelia’s Honor back in 2008. Since then I have gone on to read everything she has every published that I can get my hands on! Anyway I was started off on this path of remembrance by her latest release – Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance. Having read the newest book in the series I decided to go back and read the earliest. I’m now back up to book 12 in the series so I’ll soon be back to where I started!

As a break in the science fiction writing I also started reading a book I’d been recommend by Amazon. I recently worked my way through the Nola O’Grady books by Katherine Kerr starting with License to Ensorcell. I loved these books – urban fantasy with a dash of humour. I can’t wait to find out with her next adventure might be. Since I’d run out of Nola’s adventures to read I tried a new book Blood Wager by Connie Suttle – book 1 in her Blood Destiny series. I really enjoyed it. I really like the heroine Lissa – a newly turned vampire. It’s fun hearing her complain about her new life not coming with a manual. I must say the ending annoyed me mostly because I wanted to thump one of the male characters round the head. When you start composing rants as you lie down to sleep dressing a character down for their behaviour you know you have been well and truly sucked into a series.
To distract myself from my spiraling rage I went back to visualizing my latest fantasy novel idea. I really should be trying to visualize in the novel I’ve already started but right now I don’t have the heart for it. I hope that I’ll feel more myself as the summer draws near and will then tackle the Moon Daughter project. In the meantime I’ve been dreaming up new worlds and characters. My ‘what-if’ from a couple of posts back (8th March 2013) has matured into 3 fleshed out characters, a world magic system, 2 local environments and 3 visualized scenes. This is still a very early phase though. I am nowhere near having a plot or character arc in sight!

Well now that I am done working for the day I shall head off to read the next book on my list either A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold or Blood Passage by Connie Suttle.

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 5 hours in 1 session 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 2 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 2 😀
Fatigue : 4.5 🙂
Brain Fog : 5 😐

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Mind the sinkhole websites …

I spent far too long on the NaNoWriMo forums today. I dragged myself to the dentist to get the last of my fillings, yeah! 🙂 I then spent 4 hours pottering about on the internet when I got back. I should have gone straight to bed but I kept getting sucked into another post ! Worse I found a new website to get sucked in by – www.superheronation.com

The website contains a great set of writing guides which had me absorbed for hours ! I worked my way through:

You can see why I got stuck on the internet for far too long today!

Before I got stuck in the sinkhole of forums I did manage to get some plotting work done on my novel. I went and found a piece of free timeline software which will allow me to keep track of where everyone is across three story arcs. I’m not actually including the villains much in direct text but their actions affect everyone so I need to know what they are doing and when. It is especially useful because I need to know when certain parts of the campaign happen so I know when the news would reach my characters. I can’t have them reacting when it hasn’t happened yet or a week too late ! I don’t think I’ll actually use a date system in my book but it helps me keep track of the time between events i.e. traveling between cities takes time.

I started reading Elizabeth George’s Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach To Fiction and the Writing Life while hanging around at the dentist’s. I’m not very far in but I am enjoying it so far. I really must get back into reading fiction again. I’ve been off the boil for the last week or so. I shall make a determined effort to read a J.D. Robb or Lois McMaster Bujold tonight or tomorrow to keep my hand in. Also I really must get back to doing some Open University work but I still have the interview to transcribe for my mum, boo! 😦 Maybe tomorrow / today I will be more productive.

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 11 hours in 2 sessions 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 3 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 4 🙂

My, what white teeth you have …

It’s been a really long day today. I have to get up at the crack of dawn (08:00) to leave the house at nine for my latest Cognitive Behavioural Therapy appointment. The hour of talking went by really quick but I was exhausted afterwards. We did a quick depression and anxiety checklist at the beginning and I have halved my scores !! 😀 I am now on the high end of being an anxious person rather than over the threshold and suffering anxiety. My depression levels are within normal range for an ill person.

 

After that grueling episode I had a wonderful half an hour being prodded by the dentist. I now have some extra fillings and am getting over cramp in my jaw muscles! I had to take some painkillers and go an lie down when I got back just because my jaw muscles were in complete spasm causing me to have a vicious headache. And two hour nap solved that problem though and when I got up I chilled out by re-reading The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold.

 

Then I spent a perplexing 5 hours writing my novel. This resulted in 3000 words written but I’m still scratching my head a bit. I had to go and do lots of web research on titles for servants in royal households and who has responsibility for what. Then I had to tackle the dreaded scene with my hero’s father :-S That’s why I chose to read The Warrior’s Apprentice because the main character Miles Vorkosigan has to deal with lots of authority figures as well as duel roles of soldier and noble. Very useful ‘research’ on how to get the tone of the authority figures right. That and I really love this series !!

 

I’m now trying to work out if anything else should go in this chapter. At the moment it is about 2000 words shorter than the other chapters: on average my chapters so far are 6000 words long. There is a scene I was intending to include but I wonder whether it would be better left as flashbacks as the main element would be quite hard to write; I have to tell an eight year her entire family has been murdered. On a cheery note the next chapter is back in a location I already have a map for so that should make it easier to write. I still have to tackle making some maps to go with Chapter 5. While I don’t need them particularly for descriptions in Chapter 5 I’m likely to need them in the future so that I don’t contradict myself on directions.

 

Well it is almost my bedtime so I shall try to persuade myself I want to go to sleep rather than stay up and plan the floor plan of a palace.
Hours Sleep Today so far : – 9 hours in 2 session 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 4 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 4 😦
Fatigue : 5 🙂
Brain Fog : 5.5 🙂

Hail Christopher Anderson …

Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 8 hours in 1 session 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 5 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 4 😦
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 6 😦

So while I wait for the library to gather in the books I want to read by J D Robb I have been devouring a new author. I’ve been reading the Alexander Galaxus series by Christopher Anderson. I liked the first book so much I even left a review on Amazon.co.uk which is very rare for me. I haven’t been reading scifi for a while now but reading the newest release in the Galaxy Unknown series by Thomas DePrima peaked my interest in the genre again. Christopher Anderson has certainly added himself to my list of must read scifi authors.

I’ve read the Alexander Galaxus series yesterday and today and now I’m considering whether to read the Space Cadets series. I really want to but am worried that as it is set 200 years after the Alexander Galaxus series that the author will reveal what he is planning for the ending of the Alexander Galaxus series simply as background info in the new series. Anyway as I debate that issue I have been trawling my Kindle to consider which of the 39 other unread scifi books and 17 samples I should read next. Of course I am pulled towards old favourites like Galaxy Unknown by Thomas DePrima or Miles Vorkosigan by Lois Bujold McMaster but I shall endeavour to reduce my to-be-read pile instead.

Well on that note I think I will go back to studying my Kindle. It’s a shame I can’t read several books simultaneously – I just can’t decide on only one to read first !!

It’s my precious book …

Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 9 hours in 1 session 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 2 😀
Nausea level : 2 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 0 😀
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 6 😦

 

No luck with the library yet despite the number of times I’ve checked my account !! I’m nearly to the end of Winds of Fate and have started carrying the next book around with me just in case I need it. Sadly the number of times I check my account does not effect the speed with which my reserved library books travel from other libraries to mine.

 

As the holiday to Florida looms I took a few minutes out of my day to check my Kindle and see if I could improve it’s running speed. I have got 1762 items on my Kindle with 1GB of space used. Despite the fact that I have 2 GB free and only half less than 2/3rds of the storeable items used the Kindle is definitely running slower the more items I put on. I dearly wish that it was possible to have nested categories. I currently have 8 pages of categories since I store my books by author name for series or genre for stand alone books. Anyway I thought I could look through my Kindle and take off any books I wasn’t going to want to read on holiday. This proved to be more challenging than I anticipated. The problem is that I’d look at a category and think ‘Well I know I haven’t read anything in it for over six months but I might want to next week’. This basically happened every time I looked at a category. I ended up not removing any books / categories at all !! I’m going to make a more concerted effort tomorrow.

 

I’m intending to just move the books into a folder on my computer and move them back when I get back from holiday. Still I had severe difficulty today – tomorrow is going to be a real battle. I think it is shared toy syndrome ‘I don’t want it till I can’t have it’. I have the same issue when I offer books to my sister to read. When she gets near the end of a series I offer her a couple of different first novels in order to choose from. The moment they enter her bedroom I want to read them for myself. I think part of this is that I end up describing them to her which reawakens my own interest in the books, and part of is that the books are temporarily somewhat out of reach. Of course with my reading speed it is no problem to take the book from my sister’s bedroom, read it and then put it back before she is back from her work day. Some of the books do end up disappearing into her room for months as she works through a different series so I have her permission to nick them back as long as I remember to put them back in her room so we keep track of what she has left to read.

 

After 2 years of concerted reading I think my sister has now read about 1/3rd of the books I own. She probably only has 3 or 4 more series left that I’m certain she’ll enjoy. She has surprised me before though so I may yet convert her into being a more serious scifi fan with C. J. Cherryh’s Alliance-Union Universe. She did read Ender’s Game and the sequels by Orson Scott Card and seemed to enjoy them. I didn’t try her on the Bean companion novels though as I considered them a bit too politically intense for her. But that was right at the beginning of her dive into reading for pleasure. Since then I have persuaded her to read some other scifi novels Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan series which she really enjoyed and the Kris Longknife novels by Mike Shepherd.

 

Because of my new tendency only to buy the Kindle version of books I want to read I am going to have to persuade my sister that she’s wants to use a Kindle which so far has been a lost battle. However maybe I can bully her into trying it for one book and hopefully she’ll get hooked like the rest of us addicts.

 

Turning my bedroom into L-space

Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 12 hours in 1 sessions 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 1 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 0 😀
Fatigue : 8 😦
Brain Fog : 8 😦

Well that was an interesting night sleep. I had the most vivid dream involving the stealing of radioactive material, a bombing of the building I was in, the packing of all my worldly belongings from a single shelf (!), the smuggling of said radioactive out in my suitcase past mob thugs to be rescued my my mum in the car park. Well it was certainly entertaining. I once again had great trouble pouring myself out of bed. Once downstairs I was greeted by the wonderful aroma of boiling vinegar as Dad cleans the coffee pot. Making my porridge was a pungent affair.

So having said last night that I was going to go have some yoghurt I actually spent an hour putting together my top 10 authors :

If all these authors had books out on the same day this the order I would read them in :

1. Nalini Singh – Psy / Changeling series
2. C.J. Cherryh – Foreigner Series
3. Terry Pratchett – Discworld series
4. Lois McMaster Bujold – Beguilement / Miles Vorkosigan series
5. Anne Bishop – The Black Jewels / Pillars of the World / Ephemera series
6. Sharon Shinn – The Twelve Houses
7. L.E. Modesitt – Imager / Sage of Recluce series
8. Elizabeth Vaughan – Chronicles of the Warlands series
9. Katherine Kerr – Deverry series
10. Orson Scott Card – Ender Series

Now posted on the ‘About Marion‘ page under Books I Like.

I realised this morning there were a few favourite authors missing such as Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Pierce, Lynn Flewelling. I wonder whether I should do a top 15 instead ! I have realised there is a difference between single read authors and multiple read authors. I tend to only buy in paperback authors who I expect to read over and over again. I have occasionally bought paperbacks when there was no library copy and no other option if I wanted to be able to read the book. But that was pretty rare because I would have to be very interested in the book just from the Amazon reviews. I mostly tried to read the first book of any author from the library to check compatibility before buying the paperback. Apart from the cost implications it was mainly due to the fact that I previously only had one bookcase which meant I had to have regular clear outs of single books in order to get any new books on the shelf. Eventually I had my collection pared down to the bone with only books I would never get rid of filling the shelves twice over. I then had four different piles of books around my room of specific authors : Lynn Kurland, Terri Goodkind, Tamora Pierce and then a pile of assorted others. These authors just happened to come last to the party which is why they didn’t get shelf space.

The Christmas 2009 my parents invested in three floor-to-ceiling bookcases for a joint birthday and Christmas present. I had to get rid of a few clothes cupboards but that was no problem compared to the joy of having all my books having their own home. I naively thought that I would have plenty of expansion space but managed to surprise myself when I put all the books from my room on the shelves and then my parents pulled the two boxes of packed books out of the downstairs box room that I had completely forgotten about. I had great delight rediscovering some books that I had bought while in uni and which had then not gotten unpacked when I got home for lack of space. I filled all three bookcases immediately ! ! I’ve been double stacking from the start which was a surprise and a slight disappointment but I’ve made the system work for me. It took a few tries with rearranging the series till I got them organised the most logical way I could manage. It is a bit of a pain because not all the shelves could be full height and some series have very variable height books. I’ve taken to just stacking the large books on their sides rather than try and get them on a shelf upright.

Of course this in the pre-Kindle (pK) era – the great watershed occurred in Sept 2010. I can now buy any book I like and not have to worry about space. I do have to worry about budget ! 😥 I made up the first complete list of authors in order to have something to read on holiday – the reason my parents bought it for me in the first place. We were going away for 3 weeks and I did need to be able to take some clothes in my suitcase. I wanted to be able to have Kindle copies of my current authors (in 2009). I made up a spreadsheet and went to find out who was publishing on Kindle and who was not. Since then more authors have joined the club thankfully. I had to make up several lists of desired books until I got to a budget I was willing to spend on that first wave. Since then I have been gradually filling out the rest. I think I have about half of Terry Pratchett at this point but all the latest ones on Kindle. Why have a paper copy when Kindle is just as good if not better ?

Of course now I am a Kindle addict and will spend money on authors for a Kindle copy that I would never have bought in paperback simply because it was never the money it was always the space that made me hesitate to buy new authors. If you don’t like the Kindle book it can sit on your Kindle and not cause any grief compared to what to do with a book you don’t like. I physically can’t throw a book in the bin, my library is a bit touchy about donations after they had some issues and the local charity shops are a pain to get to to donate. No Kindle is definitely the way to go for trying an experiment with an author. I’m still on the fence about what to do with my paper copies of authors. If I have it on Kindle I am never going to read the paper copy again. Do I really need it on my shelf ? But they look so pretty and I couldn’t hack not having a wall of books to look at. Actually the shelves are easier to scan when trying to decided what to read next- since I have them organised to my preferences. I frequently scan my bookshelves and then go and read the Kindle edition.

Well I realise I’ve been going on a bit today so I’ll hop off til tomorrow. My sister will be home soon wanting entertaining ! 🙂