End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017

I feel like I’m saying that a lot these days. Every New Year’s I turn to the past year and scream BURN IN HELL YOU ASSHOLE and then turn to the next year like it’s going to be better. And then it’s not. Or it is in some ways, but worse in other ways.

Anyway, this year is no exception. 2017 was long and hard and yet surprisingly short, and while I’m glad it’s over I also want to hit Pause for a few days because I am so not ready for 2018, y’all.

Continue reading “End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017”

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

life updates

oh hey, i remembered this thing exists.

ok, so, long and short of it — i’ve been up all night and i can’t see straight at this point. yesterday i got informed we have another flood. for those of you keeping score at home, this is flood number 3 in our time here. the first was the weekend before our wedding, the second was last november (so only a few months ago), and the third was yesterday.

the good news is this flood seems to be the least severe of the three, so they’re getting better? i guess?

regardless it meant i spent yesterday dealing with flood stuff instead of WORKING AS I WAS SUPPOSED TO so i have now been up all night getting work done that needed to be done for today.

anyway i’m too tired to deal with proper capitalization right now. or maybe ever. also, if you see any extra t’s in my post it’s because that key is coming up on my keyboard and i have to periodically SQUISH ITS TINY HEAD.

so sunday was my very first author takeover! how exciting is that! if you missed it, that’s ok, i’m sure to do another one at some point. and if you really wanted in on the giveaways, no worries, i’ll do more of those too. (hey, if you really want to know about future book giveaways, become a member of Loony Nation! so important i capitalized it.)

anyway the takeover was a lot of fun and i had a lot of engagement on my posts, so that was very nice. made me feel like i was not completely failing at it, which my brain convinced me i was going to do in the lead up to it. because my brain hates me and wants me to suffer.

but it was a good event so my brain was wrong this time and haha, i bite my thumb at it. which is a very awkward position to get into.

so because of the flood i have now taken down my xmas trees and am in the process of putting away xmas stuff, which i suppose should make me feel like i have my life together but it really doesn’t. also, we found a box of books we didn’t know we owned and for a while i was very confused as to if they were even ours. it was a weird fucking combo of fantasy books (most of which were likely Mr Katje’s) and stuff like The Poisonwood Bible or a book on companion planting or stuff from Oprah’s book club. also The Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades 1 and 2.

i mean those last 2 also make sense because of my fifty shades of drinking video log that is on indefinite hiatus because of computer issues, mea culpa mea culpa, except that those copies were clean and not filled with notes in the marigins to the tune of FUCKING KILL ME ALREADY THIS BOOK IS CANCER, as does the hunger games because i actually like that series, but with the rest of the stuff thrown in it was such a fucking weird mess i was very doubtful they were ours, but MORE doubtful they belonged to the landlords.

when mr katje got home we figured it out; it was a box of stuff from his room that his mom had added a bunch of books she wanted to get rid of to. at least we think that’s the case. so now i have a stack of random books on our freezer that i need to find a place to put away. could be worse!

book writing and stuff

ok so one thing i really wanna say before my eyes completely crap out on me and i need to stumble into bed to put my monstrous machine over my face so i can not die in my sleep is that i am finally getting back to writing. it’s been like, a year and a half, and in that time i have not felt excited about my writing at all.

sometimes writers’ block is really depression.

but i’m finally excited again! i’ve been doing a lot of worldbuilding writing and plotting out of from the ashes, which is the sequel to stranger skies and book 2 in the borderlands saga overall. i am so excited to get back into this story, so thrilled to work on this series again. and that’s an amazing feeling when you’ve been spending a year and a half feeling like you’ll never be able to write again. i’ve even plotted out the book after from the ashes as well! (currently titled the moonrunner. except capitalized. don’t judge my laziness right now. writing is hard.)

i have some specific goals with this series which i’m not going to get into here/now, because it’s too soon, and anyway, newsletter subscribers hear it first. but i am going to be sharing my writing progress updates publically on facebook and google plus, so if you’re on those social media networks and you want to read about my getting words on the page, you should follow me! you should also subscribe to my newsletter, hint hint. i promise i won’t zerg rush your inbox.

i will also be posting writing update compilations here, ie, grabbing a week’s worth of fb/g+ posts and putting them in one post here, because some of the posts might be super small and i don’t want to make several small blog posts.

but yes, i’m going to be starting real work on From the Ashes again really soon and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT YIPPEEEE.

ok 2 more updates and then bed

BELLICA IS FREE ON KINDLE. this took me like a year of work and one or two ritual sacrifices but it finally happened and kindle price-matched bellica to free. huzzah! so if you have friends who haven’t picked it up yet, or if you haven’t for some weird reason, go forth and download from the mighty Zon. (it’s also now available through Pronoun, which pushes books to big distributors a bit like Smashwords except i kind of like it more. sorry smashwords. i will still use you for the other distributors that pronoun doesn’t cover though!)

–expect to see a few posts go up here in the near future that were originally published on my medium account. i’m still going to be publishing stuff to medium, just also publishing it here when i do, and i hadn’t yet done that with the posts that are currently up.

 

ok i’m off to sleep

later fellow loons

-katje

My Dysfunctional Relationship with Library Books

I adore libraries. I love them so much. They are my happy place, and I have a not-so-secret but currently-impractical-as-fuck desire to be a librarian. (Impractical because, um, yeah, don’t have money to go back to school for a COMPLETELY NEW SET OF SKILLS.)

I love to go to the library and browse books. The shelves are full of possibility for me, even when the SFF section is severely lacking (as it often is, where I’ve lived — why would we have book ONE in a series anywhere in our system? MADNESS — here, have books #6-9, they’re much better. I jest, only partly). The library is about so much more than the tried and true SFF for me — it’s about exploration, finding something new.

Several somethings new.

Every time I go to the library for one book I invariably come home with a bag that is BULGING with them. My library book bag is a good size; it’s canvas, from the Questionable Content store on Topataco. It carries a good number of books — it carries the amount of books I will actually read in the time I have them out. Yet I always overfill it, sometimes carrying books in my arms, too.

At some point in my life, my reading skill went down. I used to be a fast reader with high comprehension. I am now a slow reader, with high comprehension only if I have enough energy — which is often not the case. I like to blame university for this change — you can often hear me lamenting that I used to be an avid reader before 10 years of academia broke me. That’s partially true; it took me a while to be emotionally ready to be a reader again.

I am emotionally ready now, and still my brain won’t cooperate.

Continue reading “My Dysfunctional Relationship with Library Books”

Fifty Shades of Drinking is on hiatus until mid to late September

I know, I’m bummed about it too.

Possibly October.

I mean, you guys probably figured that out already — I have a broken leg, therefore no drinking — but I figured I’d make an official announcement.

Theoretically, I could fake being drunk, but where’s the fun in it? And it would just feel wrong. You watch it for off the cuff super drunk Katje being angry and ranty. I can’t fake that genuine anger. It wouldn’t be right.

So until I am healed — which should be late August, meaning I might be ready to drink by mid-September, but we’ll see how it goes — FSOD is on hiatus. I’m very sorry, and trust me, I am not happy about skipping this. The book might make my brain bleed, but doing the series is actually fun and I was looking forward to this month’s episode!

Ah well. Can’t be helped.

However, I might be doing a regular vlog one of these days. Depends on if I can get some proper clothing on myself. I am open to topic suggestions! Leave yours in a comment below.

Until next time,

-Katje

Chapter 5 of Fifty Shades of Drinking is up!

Chapter 5 of Fifty Shades of Drinking.

Prepare yourselves for vodka and amazing rainbow suspenders! Also I’m super angry about everything.

Don’t forget, you can play the Fifty Shades of Drinking drinking game if you want to join me in the liver-killing shenanigans!

If you enjoyed this outrageous spectacle, you can support my habit the series here at my Patreon page.

Exciting News!

I’m tipsy because I just filmed *Chapter 5 of Fifty Shades of Drinking*, everyone’s favourite “Katje gets drunk and angry” vlog!

Well, I’m excited. And a little tipsy.

That’s right — I’m tipsy because I just filmed Chapter 5 of Fifty Shades of Drinking, everyone’s favourite “Katje gets drunk and angry” vlog!

Wooooo!

I’ll be editing tomorrow because that great writing advice from Hemingway whom I don’t really like as a writer but some of his quotes are damn awesome, anyway, that advice about writing drunk and editing sober holds so damn true for film, too. Not that a lot of people are filming drunk, so I guess it can’t be widely applied. But in this case, where I am playing a drinking game designed to kill you, it does.

EDIT: I just looked it up apparently the quote isn’t by Hemingway, it’s just attributed to him and is actually a paraphrasing of a quote by Peter De Vries, which now that I’ve read I actually quite like. But Hemingway did say “Fuck literature” so my above comment about liking some of his quotes holds true. Huzzah.

So, I’m editing tomorrow. Tonight I am going to cook dinner and drink a hell of a lot of water to offset the hell of a lot of vodka I consumed during filming. I’ll post the video here when it’s done.

-Katje

May Reads

I read things last month! I did some reviews! Here they are!

I actually got back on the reading wagon last month and knocked some books off both my Currently Reading and To Be Read lists. I’m proud of myself.

Instead of doing separate blog posts for each review, I’m just linking to my reviews on Goodreads with an excerpt. (Or, if they’re incredibly short reviews, posting the whole thing here.)

First, the digital books! Not necessarily in order of reading.

BrokenSleepebookcoverfinal400x

Broken Sleep by Kaimana Wolff

4 out of 5 stars

I may be coming from a biased place because my mom is the author and I’m the publisher…but I don’t think that should count against my review. We’re all biased in some form; one of the first lessons of Journalism class was there was no such thing as objectivity. My relation to the author makes me no more biased than the fact that I went through a lot of the events in the book.

A harrowing exposé of abuse…hard to read, as someone who’s lived through it. But a necessary book — if you’ve ever wondered why a victim of abuse stays with their abuser, this book might shed some light on that for you.

My review at GoodReads.

WritePublishRepeatcoverWrite. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant with David Wright.

4 out of 5 stars

Non-fiction I read as part of my ongoing efforts to improve myself as a writer and my author career. 90% of the book I’m on board with, but they lost me near the end.

These guys know their stuff when it comes to writing and marketing, but they should stay away from topics they know nothing about. Dieting and weight loss are billion dollar industries that have nothing to do with individual health, worth, or work ethic.

At this point I won’t be picking up their fiction, though I planned on it, because I don’t know what kind of fatphobic ideas might lurk within. I’ll continue to read their non-fiction because I think they do know what they’re talking about when it comes to an indie author career — and I do think this book is an essential read if you’re an indie author and you don’t really know what the hell you’re doing — but in the end, their ignorance and perpetuation of fatphobic stereotypes has cost them a cross-pollinated (non-fiction to fiction) reader.

My review at GoodReads.

And now, the paperback/hardcover books!

May reads.

Medicine River, by Thomas King

3 out of 5 stars.

I picked it up because I love Thomas King. It’s not my favourite of his work, but I didn’t hate it.

Bottom line: if you’re used to Western (white dude!) literature as the dominant narrative, then you need to erase your expectations when picking up this book. It does not follow the dominant cultural narrative we have around literature: it deliberately bites its thumb at those expectations. It’s different, and that’s not always bad.

My review on Goodreads.

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom

4 out of 5 stars.

I went into this with the full knowledge that I would likely cry at the end. It’s a very quick read, but that doesn’t lessen the extent to which it tugs on one’s feels.

Well, I cried.

Can’t say much other than: beautiful book, quite touching, do recommend it.

Bloodchild and Other Stories, by Octavia E. Butler

4 out of 5 stars.

A collection of short stories with afterwords by the author, as well as 2 non-fiction essays at the end.

I really liked Speech Sounds. It’s a post apocalyptic story with a bit of hope at the end — basically my favourite type of story. And it’s sad, too. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s good, and I recommend it. Possibly the best story in the book.

My review on Goodreads.

Hopefully I’ll do a similar post for June. I’m trying to actually read the myriad books in my collection instead of just smelling them to get my daily fix of book-scent.

-Katje

Fifty Shades of Drinking update

I am terrible at deadlines, especially self-imposed ones.

I know, I know, I promised another episode early in the new year and I have not delivered. I am terribly sorry about that. However, life has been pretty insane since coming up here to visit my mom, and a few days ago I was put on a run of antibiotics to clear out the infection my wisdom teeth — so I can’t have any alcohol till that’s over, which will be the 23rd or so.

I will get an episode up by the end of the month, I swear. (Or, like, a few minutes after midnight on the first of February.)

Thanks so much for your patience and understanding, y’all, and rest assured I have not abandoned the project. I want to continue to rip apart the books while getting sloshed as much as you want to watch me do it.

The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life.

Cover image of The Writer's Journey, Third Edition, by Christopher VoglerI’ve started reading through The Writer’s Journey (Third Edition) by Christopher Vogler. I was given the book ages ago by mom and never really sat down to read it. (I have such a huge pile of books that are TBR.)

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life. The Hero’s Journey is the idea that every story is, at core, the same. It’s a monomyth paradigm put forward by Joseph Campbell.

There are a lot of problems with this paradigm being touted as universal. The Hero’s Journey has a definite Western bias and trying to apply it to non-Western stories and myths is, to my mind, a form of literary colonization.

However, I still think the book will be useful to me. Not because the Hero’s Journey is universal, but because it is specifically biased to Western civilization, and I am a Western writer, with a Western audience.

The book also doesn’t push formula, which is unexpected, honestly. It puts forth the Hero’s Journey as a form, but says that to make it really work, one must internalize one’s understanding of it and then do one’s own thing. It’s form, not formula. It’s a map, with possible rest stops marked out, not an itinerary from which one may not stray.

The rest stops he marks out are as follows, with my own understanding of what each rest stop means.

Continue reading “The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1”