What I’m Reading

End of March, 2017 edition.

Whoa, this post has proper capitalization! Wonders are not ceasing!

Anyway, it’s Friday, so I’m going to talk about books I’m reading/have read/plan to read. Actually it being Friday has nothing to do with; I just wanted to post this and today seemed good. If I post this sort of thing again it’s doubtful it will fall on a schedule. Still putting it in the Friday Reads category though!

Note: I’m linking to the Amazon pages for these books and using my affiliate link. If you buy via one of these links, I make a little money, and you don’t get charged extra. So I really appreciate it if you choose to do that. <3

What I just finished

Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff. I read this at the suggestion of my husband and I finished in 2 days, which is the fastest I’ve finished a book in a long, long time.

It’s military sci-fi, it’s hilarious (I was constantly laughing and reading out little bits to my husband), it’s heart-wrenching, and it’s just darn good. I’m probably late to the game on it seeing as it’s been out for 17 years but hey, better late than never. If you enjoy military sci-fi I highly recommend this book.

I was actually going to read the rest of the series that we have right away after, buuuut I had to actually get work done and couldn’t spend the next week reading non-stop. Soon I’ll be able to take a reading vacation (hopefully) and when I do I am devouring the next few books.

What I’m currently reading

The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols by Genevieve von Petzinger. SO GOOD.

This is non-fiction; it’s about a series of symbols found in cave art in many different places and times. It’s fascinating; I’m only a little bit into the book, but I was lucky enough to see von Petzinger speak in October at the Writers’ Fest. It was then that I was like OK I NEED THIS BOOK, so I managed to convince my mom to pick it up for me.

One of the really cool points von Petzinger makes in the book is that throughout human history, we’re always building on what our ancestors did, standing on the shoulders of giants — but these people that she talks about, these early humans, they were “the original giants.” They’re the basis for all we have now. All the art and meaning and culture they had, that was the beginning. And by learning about it, we can better know ourselves.

Also, the thing that made me fall in love with von Petzinger a little bit when I heard her speak was her talking about making all her research, when she’s done with it, open-source — so that anyone wanting to continue it, build on it, do their own thing inspired by her work, doesn’t have to re-trace all her steps. All her work will be open to scientific community. Which is a great and necessary attitude to take, in my view.

Seriously, highly recommended book, especially if you find anthropology and archaeology as fascinating as I do.

What I plan to read next

Showdown by Diane Morrison.

Diane Morrison is an indie author friend of mine, and she hosted the Pagan Fiction Authors Takeover event I did a couple of weeks ago. I ended up winning a copy of her new book, Showdown, in a giveaway she hosted recently, so it’s next on my list of books to read.

I’m pretty excited to dive into it because it’s pagan fiction and a western and I find that blend pretty intriguing.


Ok, that’s it for this edition of Friday Reads. It will be a while before I do another one because I am a very slow reader. Also no idea if it will even be on a Friday.

Loonily yours,
~Katje

Book Launch for Stranger Skies this Saturday in Powell River

StrangerSkiesebookcoverPress

Stranger Skies

Queer Pagan Fiction with a YA Bent

“The scent of death and fear hit her then — she’d found her first Minae wolf….”

A goddess’ fall from grace leaves her on an alien world, bereft of her followers, trapped in a mortal body. Should she strive to regain her godhood or accept her mortality and find love?

Silva, Queen of Wolves, Lady of the True Woods, seeks her only friend Etan, who, along with other deities of the Council of Divinity, has gone missing for reasons unknown. Her search traps her on a world where the wolves have lost faith in her; she becomes a mortal woman whose remaining powers could brand her as a witch.

Through the chaos of war and the turmoil in her own heart, Silva can’t escape a persistent feeling: her fall was not an accident.

~~

Just a brief heads up before I go collapse into a codeine-induced coma:

I am having a book launch for my latest novel, Stranger Skies, this Saturday the 22nd at 4 p.m. It will be held at the café “A Step Above” on the second floor of Quality Foods on Joyce Avenue.

From the event page:

It’s finally happening! Stranger Skies is having a book launch this Saturday in Powell River!

Stranger Skies
First Novel in The Borderlands Saga

“Any reader who loves wolves, woods and wonderful characters will devour Stranger Skies.”
— K. Wolff, La Chiripa

Have your copy of the first volume in this magnificent new science-fiction/fantasy saga signed by Katje van Loon, author of Bellica.

Located at the cafe above Quality Foods in Powell River — “A Step Above”. Go to the end of the cash registers, past the frozen foods section, and take the elevator or stairs up!

Hosted by The Pearl Review, Powell River’s book-lover’s collective.

Cover art by Autumn Skye ART.

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page here.

(Let me know if it doesn’t work; FB continues to mystify me. The event is set to public but who knows.)

If you’re in Powell River this weekend I hope to see you at the launch!

If you don’t live in Powell River, I will be having other book launches for Stranger Skies in the coming months both on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland. It’s an informal book tour — informal, because we’re not planning the entire thing out beforehand and are just doing it as and when and where we can.

However, there will be more notice than a few days’ worth for other towns. We meant to get the word out earlier for this one, but moving + travel + surgery + recovery has kind of eaten our lives.

Speaking of recovery…I’m going to go do more of that, in bed, for several hours. Sleepy time! Codeine is kickin’ in with a vengeance.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

-Katje

Reading more women authors

This is not actually something I need help with, in the most general of terms. I tend to read women authors by default, and often have to work to seek out male authors.

I consider myself lucky — in this one, small way, my brain has escaped patriarchal programming.

Well, perhaps. I think I still read a disproportionate amount of cisgender, white, able-bodied, women authors, and I often only read the speculative fiction/SFF genres. My defaulting to women authors still does not yield much diversity in what I read.

So I am taking a page from Lilit Marcus’ book, here in 2014, and actively seeking out more women authors — but more specifically, queer and trans* women (including genderqueer folk who are socially classed as women/assumed to be women), women of colour, indigenous women, mixed race women, and women with disabilities. Also, I’m going to attempt to branch away from SFF and read other genres.

I won’t be reading women exclusively — as I said, I already default to reading women authors, so I actually have to actively seek out male authors most of the time. However, if I read a book by a man, I will then read 2 by women.

And I’m not sure how many books I’ll get read. I don’t do much reading these days; I think university killed my joy in it. But I will try; I will work very hard to read several books this year, and to seek out different types of books by more queer, trans*, indigenous, mixed race, WOC, and disabled [women] authors.

Are you participating in #readwomen2014?

(Worth noting: the hashtag was created by Joanna Walsh, and most of the credit for the idea is given to her — but Lilit Marcus deserves credit for the idea, and I’m giving her her due.)

And if you have any recommendations for books by queer, trans*, indigenous, mixed race, disabled, and/or women of colour authors that are not SFF, please let me know in the comments!

 

Fiction Friday Reads: Aristeia: A Little Rebellion, by Wayne Basta

Some of you may remember I hosted Wayne Basta several months ago for his blog tour in honor of the release of the second book in the Aristeia series. I bought Kindle copies of both Revolutionary Right and A Little Rebellion back then, and then I also won the contest he was holding and I got a hardcover, signed copy of each book delivered to my door (along with two other hardcover books from his publisher, Grey Gecko PressA Fancy Dinner Party, edited by Hilary Comfort, and The Dying of the Light: End by Jason Kristopher).

I started reading the first Aristeia book, Revolutionary Right, on July 1st, but I didn’t finish it till September 11. This isn’t a reflection on Basta’s writing; it’s a reflection on my very slow reading rate. I’m terrible at finishing books quickly. Especially when I’m moving.

I thoroughly enjoyed Revolutionary Right and dove right into the next one, A Little Rebellion. Life has unfortunately been ridiculously busy this month (I’ve spent all of six nights in my new place), so I haven’t had much time to sit down and read. I’ve been reading the Kindle edition while traveling on the ferries, if I haven’t been napping in my car, and when I’m home I read the hardcopy.

Mild spoilers ahead.

Continue reading Fiction Friday Reads: Aristeia: A Little Rebellion, by Wayne Basta

Blog Tour: An interview with Aristeia author Wayne Basta!

Wayne Basta

Today I’ll be interviewing Wayne Basta, author of Aristeia: Revolutionary Right and Aristeia: A Little Rebellion, which just got released on June 1st. Wayne is on a blog tour in honor of his latest novel release and Gossip Diet is one of his stops. I’m excited about this, and I hope you are too.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

Inspiring me as a writer? Aside from the writer of every good book I’ve read not really. There are a lot of people who have instrumental in me becoming a writer. First, my Dad for introducing me to science fiction. And then my wife for backing me in this endeavour despite the loss of one income. There’s also many people on the internet, particularly some webcomics, who took that plunge to pursue their dream careers.

If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?

None. Any book I’ve liked there’s nothing about them that I would change. They may have some flaws, but everything does. If I were to mess with them, I know I’d ultimately ruin their greatness. There are plenty of books I haven’t liked that could stand to be rewritten, but if I didn’t like a book I tend to forget about it.  

Now, there are quite a few movies and tv shows I’d love to redo.

Do you have any special routines or rituals?

Depends on what you mean by special :-). For my writing, I don’t like big outlines, they just don’t work for me. The story needs to be able to evolve naturally. But I do find it helpful to do a daily outline for what I’m going to write during a particular day.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’ve watched, and enjoyed the entire series of the Sopranos but I’ve never seen the Godfather.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Caribbean.  One idea for my next series is a fantasy pirate adventure. So naturally I would need to visit a lot of tropical beaches. For research.

Does your significant other read your stuff?

Sometimes. She read my first novel and critiqued it. But when I was ready for her to read the second one she was 8 months pregnant and a little distracted.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Depends on my mood and the scene I’m working on. Sometimes I just want some good classic rock or some 80’s/90’s music that I grew up with in the back ground, other times I want a good exciting film score to help move an action scene along. But I often write in silence to help myself stay focused.

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?

Accept the fact that you’re going to have to throw a lot of your work away. It can be tough to do, especially if it’s something you’ve put a lot of time and effort in. But if it’s not working, it’s not working and sometimes the only way to fix it is to start from scratch.

 About Aristeia: A Little Rebellion

Unlike her brother, Saracasi Ocaitchi has always known that her loyalties belong to the ideals of freedom and democracy, not the government of the Alliance, and that protecting those ideals would require a fight. But now that the rebellion she has dreamed about has finally begun, she must come to terms with what that truly means: for herself, for her brother, and for all of the people who will die in the coming war.

Purchase Aristeia

Aristeia: Revolutionary Right: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Aristeia: A Little Rebellion: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Aristeia: A Little Rebellion

Today’s post is a bit of a deviation from the ordinary: I am hosting Wayne Basta on a blog tour for his upcoming new release, Aristeia: A Little Rebellion.

Aristeia: A Little Rebellion

Unlike her brother, Saracasi Ocaitchi has always known that her loyalties belong to the ideals of freedom and democracy, not the government of the Alliance, and that protecting those ideals would require a fight. But now that the rebellion she has dreamed about has finally begun, she must come to terms with what that truly means: for herself, for her brother, and for all of the people who will die in the coming war.

The second novel in the Aristeia Series by Wayne Basta. Available June 1, 2012.

You can visit the author’s website at http://waynebasta.com for more information and to enter a contest to win FREE books.

You also have a chance to purchase the book before its official release in the Prelaunch Blitz: http://waynebasta.com/aristeia-contest/prelaunch-purchase-blitz/

Continue reading Aristeia: A Little Rebellion

30 in 30: Day 18 (Wiccans in Space, female-dominated societies, and the family Jewels)

Cover of "Daughter of the Blood (Black Je...
Cover via Amazon

Favourite Opening Scene to a Book

This is honestly something I haven’t given a lot of thought. Either the opening scene of a book is interesting enough grip me and I read the rest of the book, or it’s not and I don’t. I don’t rank the opening scenes as “favourites”.

A few books’ opening scenes that stand out are Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk, and an as-of-yet unpublished work the name of which I can’t remember by Kara Smith, an old friend of mine from high school. It was science fiction — Wiccans in space, basically, except way better than that phrase would lead you to believe. I need to find my copy back and reread it — Kara is an excellent storyteller, and the work is unfinished (well, the copy I have is), so it’s really the biggest clit-tease in the world to read the story over and over again. I should try and look up Kara again. Haven’t spoken to her in ages.

I digress. Aside from those opening scenes, I don’t know. Like I said, it either grips me or it doesn’t, and beyond that I really don’t think about it.