Charity_able and Unseelieaccords on tumblr dared the fandom to rewrite Hamilton songs with Dresden Files lyrics. Here’s my take on “Burn.” (Warning: Spoilers for “Ghost Story”)

Aeronaut’s Windlass Map Trio

The other two maps are back from the printers! Check out the gorgeous copper foil maps of Habble Morning, Habble Landing, and Predator from Jim Butcher’s Cinder Spires #1: The Aeronaut’s Windlass! Click the above images to enlarge.

You can buy signed prints at my map store. They’re even more stunning in person!

Habble Morning in Copper Foil!

IMG_5501 IMG_5489
What’s steampunk without a little copper?  Check out the lush 13″x19″ copper foil posters of my Habble Morning art for Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass, now for sale in signed and unsigned versions!

I couldn’t be happier with the work of Leiman and his team at Nonstop Printing, located in Los Angeles at Santa Monica and Vine.  Leiman actually asked for permission to hang a copy in the store to show their customers what they’re capable of, and I was only too happy to comply!

After seeing these stunning results, I’m going to try to have posters of Habble Landing and Predator ready for Jim’s book tour in early October.  I’ll be attending the signing in Houston and possibly also Santa Monica, and I’ll be launching a preorder soon.

Farewell, Pterry

Today, I bid farewell to one of my favorite authors, one of the most extraordinary minds on the planet.

I’ve been a Pratchett fan for over half my life, a figure that absolutely astounds me. I picked up my first book at 14, after getting a rec from a friend at summer camp. The first day of school, I asked my librarian if she had anything by “a woman named Terri Pratchett.”

I was Angua for Halloween my senior year of high school. I still remember the looks I got at the pet store when I tried on potential dog collars.

After running out of Harry Potter books to read aloud to my parents, I started in on Discworld. Of the Watch books, I read “Guards! Guards!” through “The Fifth Elephant,” then when I went off to college, I recorded myself reading “The Truth” as a Christmas present.

On one of those classic “a dare takes on a life of its own” adventures, I wrote a fair chunk of “Men at Arms: The Musical.”

This past November, I reread Monstrous Regiment. The first time I read Monstrous Regiment, when it was released in 2003, I didn’t like it. As a big fan of the City Watch, I resented that we were teased with cameos from Vimes and Angua but we didn’t see their characters evolve, and I thought the ending was too contrived. From the sidelines, I watched my fellow fans EXPLODE with love for the book and produce reams of fanart and fanfic, never participating myself. I made a mental note to maybe give it another go, but I never got around to it.

So last November, in a fit of feminist fury, I bought the audio edition and listened over the span of a few days. And I realized that oh my god, this book is phenomenal.

I think I read it at the wrong point in my life. In 2003, I’d just graduated from an all-girls’ high school. I went to an all-girls’ summer camp for a big chunk of my childhood, too. I was fed a steady diet of girl power propaganda, which was ultimately meaningless because I didn’t really understand what it was like to live in a universe where to be a woman meant feeling lesser or unwelcome. I grew up with Female as default, and I was told I could have anything I wanted, because I wanted to be an engineer and the world was desperate for women engineers! Of course, one month into my first semester of my 90% male computer science major, when this book came out, my ego was busy being CRUSHED. I felt like everything I’d been promised was a lie, because the subject that had always come easy to me was kicking my butt, and I had no idea how to make friends to work and study with, making me even more useless. And I couldn’t reach out for help, because admitting failure felt like I was failing on behalf of ALL women.

I don’t know if I resented the book because it was too close to home, or if I was in denial about what I was experiencing, but now that I’ve grown and rebuilt my self image, I can fully appreciate this marvel of a book and the struggles Polly faces. It wasn’t what I needed at 18, but it’s exactly what I needed at 30. It was a balm on my soul.

And more than that, I felt like the universe had given me a gift. It was like discovering a gem from Pratchett’s heyday for the first time. I love these characters. I love the world they discover and how they shape it. This book is GENIUS. I actually got a little teary explaining to my roommate about how meaningful the experience of rediscovering this book was. It was like my favorite author reached forward into the future to write the book I needed when he was still in prime shape to write it.

So thanks, Pterry. Thanks for always being the author I needed, no matter my age. Thanks for creating a world so nuanced and intelligent and dense with humor and references that each time I revisit it, I’ll discover new territory.

De Chelonian Mobile,

WordPress, Baby!

After several years of “wouldn’t it be cool if…”, I finally made the switch to WordPress!  I’ll be adding more content over the coming weeks.  Yay for learning new things!

My Current To-Read List

I have a list of stuff I’d like to read on my Goodreads list, but posting here makes a nice artifact for future reference, plus it’s a little easier to get a sense of priorities without all the noise.  There’s a bunch of stuff on my Goodreads list that I have little interest in reading at the moment, but I don’t want to remove it from my To Read list, if that makes any sense.  Oh well.  It makes sense to me, and that’s all that matters for these purposes. :D
  • Isabel Allende — Daughter of Fortune; House of Spirits
  • Peter S. Beagle — The Last Unicorn
  • Amber Benson — The Witches of Echo Park
  • Pierce Brown — Red Rising
  • Lois McMaster Bujold — The Curse of Chalion
  • Jim Butcher — Peace Talks (beta version, sorry. I doubt it’ll come out in 2015)
  • Octavia Butler — The Parable of the Sower; Wild Seed
  • M.R. Carey — The Girl With All The Gifts
  • Charles W. Chesnutt — The Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales
  • Harry Connolly — The Great Way trilogy; A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark
  • Samuel R. Delany — Dhalgren
  • Kate Elliot — Cold Magic
  • Laura Esquivel — Like Water for Chocolate
  • Jasper Fforde — The Woman Who Died a Lot, The Last Dragonslayer
  • Kate Griffin — A Madness of Angels
  • Nick Harkaway — Tigerman
  • Deborah Harkness — A Discovery of Witches
  • Russell Hoban — Riddley Walker
  • Nalo Hopkinson — Midnight Robber, Brown Girl in the Ring
  • N.K. Jemisin — The Kingdom of GodsThe Killing Moon, The Shadowed Sun, The Awakened Kingdom, and The Fifth Season (August)
  • Howard Andrew Jones — The Desert of Souls
  • Ken Liu — The Grace of Kings (April)
  • Scott Lynch — The Thorn of Emberlain (TBA)
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez — Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Seanan McGuire — Half-Off Ragnarok; A Red Rose Chain (August)
  • Walter Mosley — The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey; A Red Death
  • Nnedi Okorafor — Lagoon; The Shadow Speaker; Akata Witch; and Kabu Kabu
  • Mallory Ortberg — Texts from Jane Eyre
  • Tim Powers — Declare
  • J.K. Rowling — The next Robert Galbraith mystery
  • Salman Rushdie — The Satanic Verses; Midnight’s Children; and Haroun and the Sea of Stories
  • Brandon Sanderson — Shadows of Self; Steelheart; and Firefight
  • V.E. Schwab — A Darker Shade of Magic
  • Sherwood Smith — Inda
  • Neal Stephenson — Reamde
  • Sam Sykes — The City Stained Red
  • Catherynne Valente — The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Deathless, and Six-Gun Snow White
  • Jo Walton — The Just City
  • Chuck Wendig — The Cormorant (finally being released in audio format 1st Quarter!); The Hellsblood Bride (TBA); Atlanta Burns (January); Zer0es (August)
  • Jaye Wells — Dirty Magic
  • Dangerous Women, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
  • The Lion and the Aardvark: Aesop’s Modern Fables, edited by Robin D. Laws
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, edited by Kate Bernheimer
  • Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
  • Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology
  • Snow White, Blood Red, edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow
  • Troll’s Eye View, edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow
  • Women Destroy Science Fiction!, edited by Christie Yant
  • Karen Abbot — Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy
  • Reza Aslan — No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
  • Tara Bennett — Showrunners
  • Ed Catmull — Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
  • Julie Sondra Decker — The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality
  • Jared Diamond — Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  • Pamela Douglas — The Future of Television
  • Roxane Gay — Bad Feminist
  • Douglas Hofstadter — Godel Escher Bach
  • Walter Isaacson — The Innovators
  • Leslie Jamison — The Empathy Exams: Essays
  • Michio Kaku — The Future of Mankind
  • Rodger Kamenetz — The History of Last Night’s Dream: Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul
  • Sam Kean — The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons
  • Elizabeth Kolbert — The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
  • Mike Madrid — The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines
  • Randall Munroe — What If?
  • Jenny Nordberg — The Underground Girls of Kabul: n Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan
  • Cory O’Brien — Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology
  • Michael Pollan — The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
  • William Poundstone — Are You Smart Enough To Work At Google?
  • Frank Rose — The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories
  • Christian Rudder — Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)
  • David O. Selznick — Memo from David O. Selznick
  • Alan Sepinwall — The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers, and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever
  • Nate Silver — The Signal and the Noise
  • Rebecca Solnit — Men Explain Things To Me
  • Laurent Tinard — Moviemakers’ Master Class
  • Malala Yousafzai — I Am Malala
Pre-Priscilla Books:
  • Sanora Babb — Whose Names Are Unknown
  • Alice Guy-Blache — The Memoirs of Alice Guy-Blache
  • Barry Hughart — Bridge of Birds
  • Daphne du Maurier — Rebecca
  • Oscar Wilde — The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Importance of Being Earnest
Comics and/or Graphic Novels:
  • Kate Beaton — Step Aside Pops (Sept 22), The Princess and the Pony (June 30)
  • Jim Butcher — Down Town
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick — More Captain Marvel, Bitch Planet
  • Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson — Lumberjanes
  • Phil and Kaja Foglio — Girl Genius
  • Matt Fraction — Hawkeye
  • Kieron Gillen — The Wicked + The Divine
  • Gail Simone — Red Sonja; Secret Six; Birds of Prey; Wonder Woman?
  • Craig Thompson — Habibi 
  • Brian K. Vaughan — Saga
  • Kurtis J. Weibe — Rat Queens
  • G. Willow Wilson — More Ms. Marvel
Short Stories:

  • Harry Connolly — Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy
  • Neil Gaiman — Trigger Warning collection
  • Intisar Khanani — The Bone Knife
  • Kelly Link — Get In Trouble (Feb 3rd)
  • Ken Liu — upcoming short story collection (TBA)
  • Seanan McGuire — whatever Toby Daye or InCryptid stuff I haven’t read yet
  • James Tiptree/Alice Sheldon — Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

Okay, internet.  What is falling off my radar?  

Books I Read in 2014

Previous Years:

When I created the list of books I read in 2013, I was horrified at the low number of books I read that featured female protagonists.  My goals for 2014 were:

  • Read more books, period.
  • Read more books by and starring women and people of color
  • Read more books written before my birth
  • Continue to read a diverse selection of nonfiction subjects
To that end, I succeeded where women and nonfiction were concerned, but I continue to fall hideously short where authors and protagonists of color are concerned.  Reversing that needs to be a primary goal of 2015.
The books I read were:

Urban Fantasy:

Ashes of Honor, Seanan McGuire
Chimes at Midnight, Seanan McGuire
Indexing, Seanan McGuire
Skin Game, Jim Butcher
Sparrow Hill Road, Seanan McGuire
The Winter Long, Seanan McGuire
Legion: Skin Deep, Brandon Sanderson
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal
Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal
Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson
Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett
The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss
Valour and Vanity, Mary Robinette Kowal
Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett
Cinder Spires #1: The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
The Stupidest Angel, Christopher Moore
Parasite, Mira Grant
Lock In, John Scalzi
The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
Ms. Marvel, vol 1: No Normal, G. Willow Wilson
Captain Marvel, vol 1: Higher Further Faster, Kelly Sue DeConnick
The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith
If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, Kurt Vonnegut
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson
Yes Please, Amy Poehler
(Filmmaking & Writing)
Writing the TV Drama Series, Pamela Douglas
Difficult Men, Brett Martin
The Pluto Files, Neil DeGrasse Tyson
The Violinist’s Thumb, Sam Kean
I also listened to the following Podcasts:
No Such Thing As A Fish*
Children of Tendu*
Welcome to Night Vale*
On The Page with Pilar Alessandra
Writing Excuses
* In entirety
Total Pages: 9717, compared to 8052 in 2013 and 8886 in 2012! 2011’s 19,376 can stop bragging. Like half of that was from rereading Sandman.
Format: 24 audiobooks, 1 print book (Writing the TV Drama Series), 1 ebook (Indexing), 2 graphic novels (Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel), 2 beta texts (The Slow Regard of Silent Things and The Aeronaut’s Windlass).
Total Authors: 21
Gender of Author: Parity! 15 by women and 15 by men! Yes, I read the first volume of Captain Marvel on New Year’s Eve to bring it into balance. And yes, I’m counting J.K. Rowling’s male pseudonym as a woman, because I wouldn’t have read the book if I hadn’t known she’d written it.
Race of Author: A whopping 29 books by white authors, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson as my lone author of color.  What the HELL, Priscilla. No, having white Muslim woman G. Willow Wilson among those 29 does not make this figure any less shameful.
Gender of Protagonists: 5 starring men, 14 starring women, and 4 with multiple protagonists of mixed gender (or in the case of Lock In, a protagonist of indeterminate gender–though I listened to the Amber Benson audio performance, which biased me towards female). HELL TO THE YES.  This nicely compensates for last year’s galling revelation that I read almost nothing with a female protagonist!
Race of Protagonists: Again a poor showing with 20 books with white protagonists, 2 with protagonists of color (Lock In and Ms. Marvel), with maybe-kinda The Stupidest Angel slipping in with Mixed Protagonists, as one of the viewpoint characters is Latina.

Publication Date: Almost half (14) were published in 2014 (or 2015 for The Aeronaut’s Windlass), and the same number (14) came out within the last ten years.  Only two came out pre-2005: Monstrous Regiment (2003) and The Stupidest Angel (2004).
And man, I’m just realizing I left Jim Butcher’s “Ghoul, Goblin” and “War Cry” off this list.  Whoops.  Comics and betaing make everything complicated.
I’m frankly gobsmacked that despite my massive efforts to read as many female authors as possible, I ended the year at parity. Why am I not gravitating more toward the amazing women writing in fantasy?  I’m reminded of those studies where grade school teachers thought they were giving boys and girls equal speaking time, when they were really giving girls 1/6 of the speaking time, and when speaking time was actually equal, the boys complained the girls were doing all the talking.  
What do I need to do to make parity feel natural and effortless?  I need to look through recs of female authors and discover some new favorites, so they’ll take up more space on my “unquestioned auto-buy” list.  The auto-buys are where the guys are getting their edge.  They’re also dominating my nonfiction choices.
I also need to read more authors of color. Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist was high on my To Read list, but I didn’t get to it this year.  I utterly adore N.K. Jemisin and Nnedi Okorafor–I really need to catch up on their recent work.  I’ve been meaning to pick up a Murakami book for years.  There are a couple Octavia Butler books I’m curious about, despite my wildly differing opinions on two of her books (adored Kindred and was thoroughly skeeved out by Fledgling).  
Other authors of color for me to keep in mind: Salman Rushdie, Isabel Allende (really enjoyed her Zorro), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sherman Alexie, Samuel R. Delany, Malala Yousafzai, Nalo Hopkinson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Malinda Lo, and Charles Chestnutt.
Who am I missing?
So yes!  Goals for 2015 are only slightly modified from previous years:

  • Read more books, period.  My 2014 Goodreads goal was 26, and my 2015 goal is 30. 
  • Read more books by and starring women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups
  • Read more books written before my birth
  • Continue to read a diverse selection of nonfiction subjects, but with more books by women
  • Read more screenplays

Books I Read in 2013

I realize I totally neglected to do all the book analysis I did last year!

I drastically overestimated how much reading time I’d have this year, and I read only 21 books from my goal of 40.  For 2014, I’ve set my goal at a conservative 26.

While I succeeded in my goal to read more nonfiction (9 books to last year’s 4) and came down even on books written before my birth (3 in both 2012 and 2013), I fell lamentably short in my goal to read more books by women and people of color.

A paltry 25% of the books I read were by women (5.5:16.5, counting “Attached” as half and half due to its co-authorship), and a mere 2 featured female protagonists, compared to 1 with male and female co-protagonists and 10 male.  And of those pathetic two, one was a graphic novel and the other was a short story.  Good lord, that’s embarrassing.

I read two books by people of color–one Arab-American and one Native American–compared to 20 by white authors, though one of the white authors is a Muslim writing about Arab protagonists.

In terms of publication history, 8 were published this year, an additional 7 came out within the last 10 years, 4 came out between 2002 and 1984, and 3 came out pre-Priscilla: Looking for Rachel Wallace (1980), Dimension of Miracles (1968), and The Autobiography of Black Hawk (1833).

Genre Breakdown

Urban Fantasy:
Cold Days, Jim Butcher
Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson
The Blue Blazes, Chuck Wendig
Skin Game, Jim Butcher
In Sea Salt Tears, Seanan McGuire
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
The Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch
Looking for Rachel Wallace, Robert B. Parker
Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith
Watchers, Dean Koontz
Dimension of Miracles, Robert Sheckley
Under the Empyrean Sky, Chuck Wendig
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
(Filmmaking & Screenwriting)
Shooting To Kill, Christine Vachon
Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Storytelling, Robert McKee
Producing the Low-Budget Film, Robert Latham Brown
Hollywood Cinema 1963-1976, Drew Casper
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment, Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Religion: Zealot, Reza Aslan
Memoir: The Autobiography of Black Hawk, Black Hawk

(Pop Economics)
Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt
SuperFreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt

My Goals for 2014 are unchanged:
  • Read more books, period.
  • Read more books by and starring women and people of color
  • Read more books written before my birth
  • Continue to read a diverse selection of nonfiction subjects

Dresden Files Fanmix: Central Trilogy

Dresden Files Fanmix: Central Trilogy

The trio of Changes, Ghost Story, and Cold Days are the midpoint of The Dresden Files, and are often considered a “central trilogy,” because they represent huge transformations for different aspects of his character.  In Changes, his world; in Ghost Story, his body; and in Cold Days, his soul.

I’ve been tinkering around with this fanmix for a while now, and I still consider it a work in progress, but I figure it’s finally time to post it.

Enjoy!  If you dig a song, be sure to support the artist by buying the song or CD on Amazon or iTunes.

Oh, and SPOILER WARNING for all three books, duh.


Apocalypse Please, Muse — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

“They’ve taken our daughter.”

Declare this an emergency,
Come on and spread a sense of urgency,
And pull us through,
And pull us through!
And this is the end,
This is the end,
Of the world!

Born to Lose, Jenny Owen Youngs — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Harry draws upon every resource in his arsenal.

Somewhere in the night, a man is standing by
With a deal you won’t be able to refuse
No, you can’t call him, but expect your phone to ring
And brother, you prepare yourself to
Offer up what you were born to lose

Bottom of the River, Delta Rae — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Harry makes the deal he swore he’d never make to avert an even more monstrous fate.

The wolves will chase you
By the pale moonlight
Drunk and driven by a devil’s hunger
Drive your son like a railroad spike
Into the water, let it pull him under
Don’t you lift him, let him drown alive
The good Lord speaks like a rolling thunder
Let that fever make the water rise
And let the river run dry

Rabbit Heart, Florence and the Machine — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

In a scene we won’t see until Ghost Story, but which informs her every action in Changes and beyond, Molly agrees to help Harry arrange his suicide. She knowingly trades herself and the man she loves to save the daughter he’s never met.

I must become the lion hearted girl
Ready for a fight
Before I make the final sacrifice

And in the spring, I shed my skin
And it blows away with the changing wind
The water has turned from blue to red
As towards the sky I offer it

This Is War, 30 Seconds to Mars — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Team Dresden goes into battle! (Bonus fanvid in the YouTube link! I love this fandom.)

To the right, To the left
We will fight to the death!
To the edge of the earth
It’s a brave new world
From the last to the first

Kid, Amos Lee — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Ebenezar understands Harry’s struggle.

Been kicked around so long
You’re starting to get used to how it feels
The taste of blood that’s in your mouth
There’s still somehow it always heals
Don’t know how you keep on getting up
From all those ghostly blows
And all that pain that lingers
Deep down in the darkness where it grows
I know how hard it is
To keep your head up kid

Looking Out, Brandi Carlile — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Spanning “Changes” and “Aftermath,” Murphy helps Harry through the darkness, then wrestles with her own loss.

My one and only wrecking ball, and you’re crashing through my walls
When you’re outside looking in, you belong to someone
And when you feel like giving in and the coming of the end,
Like your heart could break in two, someone loves you.


Is There Anyone Out There, Delta Rae — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Those who relied on Harry are forced to find their own power to defend the city.

Oh, when we were young, we never knew
The pain that lay beyond, but then we grew
And all my heroes they were strange
But we all just want to be the same
But who will lead us when they are gone?
Who will save us when the wrong ones have won?

Remains, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Harry returns to a changed world.

Burn down my home
My memories hardened and are bright as chrome
Good times escape
While every mistake seems to be caught on tape

Terrible Things, April Smith and the Great Picture Show — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Molly grapples with hideous guilt and lashes out at those around her.

I know that I’m afflicted
But who could have predicted
The monster that I’ve become
I keep things carefully covered
So no one will discover
That I could be the culprit
I’m sorry I can’t help it

The Tower, Vienna Teng — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Murphy struggles to define herself in this new world.

She turns out the light anticipating night
falling tenderly around her
And watches the dusk
The words won’t come
She carries the act so convincingly the fact is
Sometimes she believes it
That she can be happy the way things are
Be happy with the things she’s done

Sing for Absolution, Muse — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Harry despairs over Susan’s death and the destruction he wrought.

Sing for absolution
I will be singing
And falling from your grace
Our wrongs remain unrectified
And our souls won’t be exhumed

The Man With the Hex, The Atomic Fireballs — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

I just threw this in for the big battle with Corpsetaker because it was too fun not to! (Fact: there is no battle scene that could not be improved with swing music.)

Save us from the man with hex!


45, Shinedown — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Harry and Mab’s dance.

What ever happened to the young man’s heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart

Bridges, Tracy Chapman — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Murphy makes clear to Harry how far he’s drifted from the path.

You should take some time maybe sleep on it tonight
You should take some time baby heed the words I said
You should take some time think about your life
You should take some time before you throw it all away

Harbor, Vienna Teng — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Molly offers Harry a new home.

Sail your sea
Meet your storm
All I want is to be your harbor
The light in me
Will guide you home
All I want is to be your harbor

Hysteria, Muse — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

The Winter Mantle eats at Harry’s soul.

It’s holding me, morphing me, and forcing me to strive
To be endlessly caving in and dreaming I’m alive
Because I want it now, I want it now, give me your heart and your soul

Raise Hell, Brandi Carlile — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Molly is caught between her new independence and her old apprenticeship and suffers the consequences of proximity to Harry.

I dug a hole inside my heart
To put you in your grave.
At this point it was you and me,
And mama didn’t raise no slave.
You took my face in both your hands
And looked me in the eye
And I went down with such a force
That in your grave I lie.

Landscape, Florence and the Machine — [ YouTube | Amazon ]

Nemesis wreaks havoc on the Ladies of faerie.

She’s just like the weather, can’t hold her together
Born from dark water, daughter of the rain and snow
Cause it’s burning through the bloodline
It’s cutting down the family tree
Growing in the landscape, darling, in between you and me

Through It All, Katy Pfaffl/Mighty Kate — [ No YouTube Link | Amazon ]

“I’ve got your back. Always.  So God dammit, don’t you start taking the highway to Hell. Because I’m going to be right there with you. All the way”

Even as our lives change
And it feels like we may fall
I stand beside you
With you through it all

2012 in Books


Charitable Getting, Sam Starbuck
My first book of 2012!

“Charitable Getting” is the first non-fanfic fiction I’ve read from Sam, and I really enjoyed it! Sam has a gift for writing complex, likeable characters.

I suspect anyone with passing familiarity with Sam’s blog will have no difficulty sussing out the big reveal from the first mention of the mystery, but I nevertheless enjoyed the chase. I look forward to reading more from him.
— Contemporary Fiction. E-book on Kindle.

Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi
Purely entertaining! This is much lighter than Scalzi’s later, more mature fare, and solutions to big problems tend to fall into the protagonist’s lap, but I found the book irresistible nonetheless.
— Contemporary Sci-Fi. Audiobook.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
This book was pure fun. Certain elements required a massive suspension of disbelief, and the supporting characters were a little flat, but I didn’t mind. It’s a lighthearted love letter to 80s pop culture, sci-fi/fantasy nerdery, and video games, and it features a massive robot fight–it’s not aspiring to be high literature.

I probably would have gotten greater enjoyment out of the book if I’d been a teen or a twentysomething during the 80s (I was born in 1984), but I could appreciate the references for what they were, and the references I did get were a delight!

One thing that bugged me about the book, however, was that the book took place in 2044, but there were almost no references (I assume) to pop culture produced after present day. It’s as if everyone stopped creating any new movies, TV, or books that were worthy of being remembered after Firefly and the Lord of the Rings movies. There’s some uninspired reality TV and propaganda and yes, a handful of computer games and educational software produced decades before the story begins, but virtually all creative storytelling effort seems to have been subsumed by endless rehashing of what has come before. In The Oasis, the population of Earth is living out eternal fanfic. Why not make passing reference to some sitcom produced in 2031, or a sci-fi trilogy masterpiece from 2028?

Meh. I still quite enjoyed the book, even more so with Wil Wheaton’s pitch-perfect audiobook performance.
–Cyberpunk YA Nostalgiagasm. Audiobook. Disclaimer: The author gave me a free ARC at Comic Con, though I ended up buying it again in audio format. The author is a super cool dude.

The Mists of Avalon #1: Mistress of Magic, Marion Zimmer Bradley
I’ve been hungry for some Bechdel-tastic media lately, and this was exactly what I needed. Marion Zimmer Bradley took an overwhelmingly male-dominant story and breathed life, personality, and agency into the female characters, giving them just as much influence over the course of history as the great heroes of Arthurian legend.

I know most fantasy readers discover this book much earlier than I did (I’m 27). Indeed, my high school librarian recommended it to me, but I read Bradley’s “The Firebrand” instead. I’m glad finally to have read it!

Davina Porter’s performance of the text was utterly spellbinding.
–Historical/Folklore-Flavored Fantasy. Audiobook.


Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed
I’m so honored to be a part of this series. The characters are an absolute delight, and the world Saladin constructed is entrancing, fresh, and grounded. Plus, all the descriptions of food make me HUNGRY. If you’re jonesing for some awesome non-European-inspired fantasy, look no further!
— Arabian-flavored Swords-and-Horses-and-Magic Fantasy. Audiobook. Disclaimer: I MADE ANOTHER MAP YOU GUYS. The hardcover edition was given to me for free, but I bought the audiobook, because that’s how I roll.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling
Charming and delightful, but it suffers by not being as spectacular as “Bossypants.”
— Humorous Memoir. Audiobook.


Shadow Ops: Control Point, Myke Cole
I met Myke Cole at NYCC 2011 and was somehow swept out to lunch with him and a bunch of friends. He has a magnetic personality, and I promptly vowed to read the heck out of his book. I did. It was awesome. Later, in a fit of the vapors, he asked me to illustrate a map for his second book, Fortress Frontier. I agreed before he could come to his senses. I’m so thrilled to be a part of this series! Myke is Good People, and Control Point is a riveting debut. Expect great things, people.
— Military Fantasy. ARC. Disclaimer: MAP #3 IN THE SEQUEL WHAT. The arc was given to me for free, but I bought the audiobook.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book. My boyfriend at the time gave it to me for my 20th birthday, and it took me seven-plus years to get around to it. My “To Read” list is kind of a monster. :D

Anyway, he was right. I adored it. The opening sequence was a gloriously kinetic festival of cyberpunk invention, and the world continued exploding outward and upward from there. The conflation of religion, viruses, and drugs was a fascinating thought exercise, and I loved the radical technological reinterpretation of Sumerian mythology and the Tower of Babel. I now find myself itching to devour more of Stephenson’s works. Highly recommended!
— Cyberpunk. Audiobook.


Womanthology: Heroic, every female in comicdom
I love what this anthology represents, and I’m delighted to have supported the Kickstarter! It’s a thrill to see so many talented, creative women getting visibility in such a male-dominated medium. However, I didn’t get much enjoyment out of reading it. The quality of work varied wildly, and the stories were too brief to really resonate. I got halfway through, then didn’t feel compelled to read more.
— Comic Book hodgepodge. Hardcover.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
A fascinating blend of nerdishness, Dominican culture/history/folklore, and pure heart.
— Magical Realism. Audiobook.


Angelmaker, Nick Harkaway
After I fell head over heels for Harkaway’s spectacular “The Gone-Away World,” “Angelmaker” became my most anticipated book of 2012. My patience was well rewarded! With scintillating wit and seemingly effortless style, Harkaway delivered another absurd and glorious adventure, introducing vibrant, complex characters and a frenetic, magnificently layered world for them to inhabit.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookseller and get yourself a copy. Or buy the audiobook, as I did! (Okay, I bought it in both print and audio, because I knew I’d want a lending copy. Don’t judge me.) Daniel Weyman, the audiobook reader, gives one of the most animated, engaging performances I’ve experienced, so if audio is your preference, you’re in great hands!

And now I want to reread “The Gone-Away World.”
— Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery/Humor with an Octogenarian Superspy. Audiobook.

Blackout, Mira Grant
An explosive, riveting end to a spectacular, heart-pounding trilogy! I love everything about this series, from its meticulously researched science to its compelling characters to its nuanced exploration of journalistic responsibility to its… y’know. Shooting zombies in the face and running like hell. McGuire’s storytelling challenges the mind and wrenches the heart–it’s a joy to read!

The mad science is quite a bit madder here than in the first two books, which pulled me a little out of the story at times, but I dove back in with gusto. There’s enough scientific grounding and logic underpinning the more fantastic moments that I always felt I was in good hands. I couldn’t put the book down!

Thanks, Seanan, for letting us join your intrepid team of bloggers on the ride of their lives!
— Zombie Apocalyptic Horror. Paperback. Disclaimer: I kinda beta for Seanan. I didn’t beta this, even though I think she credits me in it. Silly grad school, preventing me from betaing for anyone!

Midnight Blue Light Special, Seanan McGuire
This series is a freaking joy.
— Urban Fantasy Cryptozoology with some kissing and lots of intelligent hyper-religious mice.  Beta draft. Disclaimer: Beta!


The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson
I’m having a very difficult time deciding whether to give this book four stars or five. Neal Stephenson writes insightful, complex, gripping stories with extraordinary imagination, particularly in their approach to technology and culture, and if I were only judging this book based on the first 90%, I’d be wondering how to trick Goodreads into letting me give this book six stars. However, the ending was a total mess. Maybe that was the portion Miranda didn’t read to me. :D

I listened to this book on audio, and Jennifer Witsie’s performance was a delight!
— Sci-Fi. Audiobook.

Redshirts, John Scalzi
I laughed so hard I startled the dog. It’s kinda meta and self-indulgent (okay, EXTREMELY meta), but it’s so enjoyably and cleverly executed that I didn’t care. The meta-ness is part of its charm! Also, the glorious fusion of Scalzi’s words and Wil Wheaton’s audiobook performance is proof god loves us and wants us to be happy.
— Sci-Fi/Humor. Audiobook.

Blackbirds, Chuck Wendig
With her foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, lurid, deliberately off-putting demeanor, Miriam Black is one of the most unique protagonists in urban fantasy. BLACKBIRDS’ level of obscenity and barbarism go far beyond what many readers expect when they hear the word “gritty,” and I suspect readers will either love this book or hate it. I fell into the former category!

Wendig delivers an original take on a familiar concept: the ability to see the circumstances of others’ deaths, and I recommend it to anyone with a sufficiently strong stomach. Also, the cover is staggeringly beautiful. Props to Joey Hi-Fi!

Looking forward to Mockingbird!
— Urban Fantasy/Horror. Paperback.


8, Dustin Lance Black
This all-star production dramatized the actual court transcripts from the trial to overturn Prop 8 in California. While the structure was occasionally disorienting, I found the actual contents of the play to be fascinating. I wish it had been longer–the play itself only comprises the first hour or so of the recording. The other half are interview with the cast, production team, and the lawyers for the prosecution.
— Political Non-Fiction. GLBTQQ Interest. Audiobook.

Don’t Read This Book, ed. Chuck Wendig
This anthology was AWESOME. Each author’s voyage into the nightmarish derangement of the Mad City was extraordinarily imaginative. I had high hopes for this anthology, because I hold so many of the contributors in high regard, and it wildly exceeded my expectations!

My favorite stories, in order of appearance:
“Don’t Lose Your Patients,” Stephen Blackmoore
“Don’t Toot Your Horn,” Laura Anne Gilman
“Don’t Bleach Your Memories,” Mur Lafferty (ooh, isn’t she nominated for the Campbell this year? I think I know who just became front-runner for my vote.)
“Don’t Chew Your Food,” Harry Connolly
— Urban Fantasy/Horror Short Story Anthology. E-Book. Disclaimer: I was given a free copy, because Fred Hicks is good people, but I bought it anyway, because Fred Hicks is good people.

Edie Investigates, Nick Harkaway
I need to reread this.  I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind the first time, as I had difficulty getting into the story.
— Mystery. Ebook.

Stingers and Strangers, Seanan McGuire
I need to reread this.  I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind the first time, as I had difficulty getting into the story.
— Cryptozoology FTW. Beta draft.



Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box, Mira Grant
Short, sweet, and full of impeccably researched atrocities of science! Exactly what I wanted from a Mira Grant story!
— Mad Science/Horror. Audiobook.

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant
“The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” is equal parts zombie apocalypse story and love letter to San Diego Comic Con, equal parts humorous and moving. I think the opening to “Feed” serves as a better hook for new readers, but fans of the Newsflesh trilogy will eat this novella up!

I like to think my tuckerized character’s dying words were “You can’t stop the signal.” :D
— Sci-Fi. Short Story. Ebook. Disclaimer: I have been Seanan’s roommate at SDCC. We were not eaten by zombies. Yet.

Movement: A Short Story, Nancy Fulda
I didn’t write a review at the time. I just gave it 4 starts out of 5.
— Sci-Fi. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu
I was kind of meh about this story. 3 stars out of 5.
— Fantasy. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.

The Homecoming, Mike Resnick
3 stars of 5.
— Sci-Fi. Short Story. Ebook.

The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu
My vote for the Best Short Story Hugo!
— Fantasy. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.

The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City. Prologue, John Scalzi
Absolutely freaking hilarious, particular the opening sentence/paragraph, but it lost steam as the story went on.
— Humorous Fantasy. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.


Cold Days, Jim Butcher
Months later, I’m still reeling. Ye gods, this book packs a wallop!
— Urban Fantasy. Beta Text. Disclaimer: I’m a beta.


Among Others, Jo Walton
While the treatment of magic and fairies was interesting, I wasn’t as captivated by this story as the rest of the world seems to be. Total Hugo bait. I suspect 80% of my enjoyment came from listening to the spectacular audiobook reader, whose accent was positively delicious.
— Fantast. Audiobook.


Dodger, Terry Pratchett
To give a Pratchett book any fewer than four stars would be a hideous disservice, because it’s a Terry Pratchett book, but “Dodger” didn’t quite resonate with me the way Sir Terry’s books usually do. Perhaps it’s because I kept wanting the book to not be historical fiction. I kept waiting for Vimes and William de Worde and the Patrician to appear, not Robert Peel, Charles Dickens, and Queen Victoria. I enjoyed all the original characters tremendously, but whenever a historical figure showed up, it pulled me out of the story.
— Kinda Historical Fantasy? Audiobook.

All About Eve: A Screenplay, Joseph L. Mankiewicz
— Drama. Screenplay. Paperback.


Legion, Brandon Sanderson
The concept is a fascinating one, and the characters are well realized, but I wish the story were longer. The plot was interesting, but it didn’t seem worthy of the huge potential of Leeds’ character and the fantastical camera. Five stars nonetheless!
— Fantasy. Audiobook.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag, Neil Gaiman
Delightfully creepy! Neil’s reading of this spooky short story is not to be missed.
— Spooky Story. Audiobook.


Action! Acting for Film and Television, Robert Benedetti
Assigned for my “Fundamentals of Directing” class. Some of the chapters were brain-thuddingly obvious, but others were insightful.
— Nonfiction: Acting/Filmmaking. Paperback.

Chinatown: A Screenplay, Robert Towne
Awesome awesome.
— Noir. Screenplay. Paperback.

Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Film and DV Production, Mick Hurbis-Cherrier
Read for classes. Good stuff.
— Nonfiction: Filmmaking. Paperback.

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold
A delight! Bujold is brilliant at creating chain reactions of chaos.
— Sci-Fi/Romance. Audiobook.


The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson
This is easily my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas. “The Alloy of Law” and “Legion” didn’t quite feel like they were the right “size” for the story and concepts therein, but “The Emperor’s Soul” was pure Goldlilocks. I loved the psychology and sense of history inherent in this book’s magic system. As with all Sanderson stuff, the worldbuilding is top-notch. The characters, too, are fabulous, as is the somewhat meta analysis of writing and constructing characters.

Sanderson has stated that this novella takes place in the same universe as Elantris, but don’t feel you have to read that first. There are no spoilers. Any connections between the two works are of the “blink and you’ll miss it” variety.

I listened to the audiobook, and Angela Lin’s performance was pitch-perfect for the character and tone.  Check it out!
— Fantasy. Audiobook.


Cold Days, Jim Butcher
I had to get the audiobook and reread it! So glad to have Marsters back. His performance was a credit to Jim’s fantastic story. My only beef was Marsters’ blatantly manipulated voice for a certain new character. It took me out of the story. Fortunately, Jim quickly reeled me back in!
— Urban Fantasy. Audiobook.


A Christmas Card from the Middleman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach
I love this man.
— Sci-Fi/Humor. E-text.


Books I read in:
Hardcover – 1 (seriously?  I bought so many!)
Paperback – 4, plus 2 screenplays
Audiobook – 13, plus 2 novellas, 2 short stories, and 1 audio play
Ebook – 1 novel, 1 short story anthology, and 8 other short stories
Beta – 2 novels, 1 short story
Total – 21 books, 1 short story anthology, 2 screenplays, 2 novellas, 12 short stories, 1 audio play

Male/Female Author ratio: 28.5:12:5.  Yikes!
Nonfiction: 3 books, 1 audio play
Written By and/or Starring a person of color: 7 books, 2 short stories, 1 novella (mixed authorship and lead ethnicities in Womanthology and mixed lead ethnicities in Don’t Read This Book; each counted as a half)
Books written before my birth: 1 novel, 2 screenplays — Mistress of Avalon (1983), All About Eve (1950), Chinatown (1974)

Priscilla in Publishing:

  • My second fantasy map was published!  Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, first in the Crescent Moon Trilogy, hit stores in February and won spots on a substantial number of Best SFF of 2012 lists.  
  • Also, my third fantasy map was illustrated and published!  Kevin Hearne’s Trapped came out in November.
  • I illustrated my fourth fantasy map for Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops 2: Fortress Frontier.  It’ll be published later this month.
  • I modeled for Lee Moyer and Pat Rothfuss’ fantasy literature pin-up calendar!  I portrayed Jim Butcher’s character Molly Carpenter for “April.”  Pin-up shoots make a fantastic fitness goal!
2012 in Review:  Wow, I sucked.  My reading resolution was to read more nonfiction and non-fantasy fiction, more stuff written before my birth, and more stuff by POC authors.  Not a very impressive result.  Also, due to grad school, I got WAY behind in betaing.  Obviously, grad school is a much higher priority, so I stand by that decision, but I wish there was enough time in the world to do it all!

My Reading Goal for 2013:  More screenplays, more nonfiction, and more stuff written by women and POC authors.  Let’s see if I can’t bump up my page count this year, too.  I’ll read all the short stories nominated for the Hugos and endeavor to read all the novellas and novels.

Books I started in 2012 but haven’t finished yet:

  • The Kingdom of Gods, N.K Jemisin
  • Ashes of Honor, Seanan McGuire
  • Dinocalypse, Chuck Wendig
  • The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron
  • Fated, Benedict Jacka
  • On Filmmaking, Alexander McKendrick

Books I most intended to read in 2012 that I didn’t:

  • Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun, N.K. Jemisin
  • Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog, Chuck Wendig
  • The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Books I’m looking forward to in 2013:
  • 01/29: Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier, Myke Cole (featuring my map!)
  • 01/31: Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente
  • 04/02: Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal
  • 04/19: The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, anthology ed. John Joseph Adams
  • 05/07: Gods and Monsters: Unclean Spirits, Chuck Wendig
  • 05/14: The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson
  • 06/18: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
  • 07/23: The Long War, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  • 09/06: The Chimes at Midnight, Seanan McGuire
  • 09/24: Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson
  • Cinder Spires #1: The Aeronaut’s Windlass (working title), Jim Butcher
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (50/50 chance of being released in 2013)
  • Half-Off Ragnarok, Seanan McGuire
  • Stormlight Archive #2, Brandon Sanderson (estimated late 2013)
And whenever they come out:
  • Stormlight #2: Highprince of War, Brandon Sanderson
  • Locke Lamora #3: The Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch
  • Kingkiller Chronicle #3: The Doors of Stone, Pat Rothfuss
  • Shades of Grey sequel, Jasper Fforde
  • Raising Taxes/Scouting For Trolls/the Next Discworld Novel, Terry Pratchett