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Actually, I got up earlier today than I did yesterday, but I didn’t focus much through the day. Watched my husband game, talked to our daughter, read a bit of a novella …

Remembered a weird thing about my reading habits. Sometimes, in a lovely, lushly described work if I care for the characters, I stop reading early, especially if I can see how very much the characters have to lose. I don’t want to be torn apart inside as they go through hell. So I tend more toward light, escapist reading than heart-wrenching, award-quality reading. More true for longer fiction than short. (This is problematic for award nominations and voting, yes.)

Anyway, eventually eked out 656 words.

And wow, it’s late! I must to bed.

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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inflatable gargoyleSo, as per usual, at Boskone, I met lots of cool people and learned about lots of great books to check out. This is at best a partial list, based on my faulty memory and what notes I managed to jot down. (Some of these I’ve read already; some I have not.)Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Journal and fancy writing setTo try to spur my reading this year, I signed up for the GoodReads reading challenge, setting my goal at the fairly doable one book a week level. Fifty-two books in a year? No problem.

Now, I have some rules for myself. I can count books I started before this year but only finish this year. I do not count books I read with my daughter, no matter how wonderful such books (like Ursula Vernon’s Castle Hangnail, Hamster Princess, and the whole Dragonbreath series) are. Serials only count as a completed set, not individual episodes. Books that I don’t finish don’t count. And for every library book I read, I have to read at least one book on my Kindle or Nook app (mostly because of how many I have piled up on them — far more than this year’s reading can account for).

I’m actually trying to do a little better than 52 for the year, and I’ll let you know how that works out.

I’m also (inspired by Jeffe Kennedy) trying to put together an actual list of what I have to read, both electronic and hard copy, with notes about genre and how I came by the book (friend wrote it, saw it recommended, was looking up the genre on Amazon, whatever). I’m probably not going to post the actual list — I would be much too embarrassed — but it will be a good reference going forward, and possibly a reminder that buying more books will be counterproductive. (Will I let that stop me? Um …)

I’m also trying (prompted by Connie’s post) to remember to actually review the books I read. Signing up for the GoodReads challenge makes that easier because to get credit for the book, I have to go to GoodReads and mark it read. While I’m there, I can add a bit about what I thought without too much effort.

Don’t want to cross-post my reviews here, but I would like to talk about the kinds of things I’m reading. So what I’m thinking is taking Wednesdays to talk about a rotation of genres/subgenres, and different authors in those genres. For example, urban fantasy, steampunk, SF (may break this down more), paranormal romance (maybe even other romance!) … The point of the posts will be to highlight why an author fits into this genre, what notes they hit that readers look for (or at least that I do!), and where good starting points are to jump into this author’s work.

I’ll be honest. That can get intense, a lot to get written up, especially when I have both work and writing deadlines to deal with, so there may be weeks I don’t get the post up, or I may wind up tapering off or even giving up halfway through the year. We’ll see how this goes.

But if you have suggestions for genres you want me to include in the rotation, or authors to recommend (because really, I was kidding about having enough to read, right?), feel free to drop them in the comments. Or tell me what you’re reading right now that you’re really enjoying.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this bit of humor from when my son was doing a Google search. (No, I don’t remember what he was actually looking for.) Pretty sure that third one requires a getaway car.
Google search autofill

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Preface: I completely forgot to post my thoughts for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour this week. Fortunately, I’m only a few days behind. Can we all pretend I posted this on Tuesday when it was due? No? Ah, well.

So this month’s post is all about planned summer reading or rereading — what’s in the TBR pile, what am I reading, that sort of thing. I do try to talk about my recent reads in my newsletter, but one thing I have discovered is that if I talk about what I’m in the middle of reading, or (sometimes) what I’m planning on reading, that can take the fire and interest out of my reading, and I don’t wind up finishing the book. We’ll see if that happens this time.

A couple of rereads on my summer agenda: Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (first book in the Wheel of Time series), audiobook read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer; and Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip (entire trilogy: The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind). The audiobook is for vacation driving; no one else in the family has read any of the books, and epic fantasy is a solid choice for everyone. The other is a long-standing favorite of mine, more of a comfort read than anything.

Also on the audio end of things, except not really: I grabbed both Ivanhoe and the Man in the Iron Mask for me to read aloud to the family. Not light reading perhaps, but good adventure stories.

I picked up the epic fantasy book bundle from StoryBundle, with lots of interesting looking books in it, so there’s that, too. And I have some urban fantasy reads sitting in my Kindle app, including some shorter work from Kevin Hearne in the Iron Druid series. The only real questions for me are what order I’m going to read things in, and how much will remain untouched at the end of the summer.

Oh, and I have a couple of samples I’ve picked up, too, to decide whether to read the full books. I’ll probably talk about them after I read them and make decisions.

What’s in your TBR (to-be-read) pile?


Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Beach Reads” — June’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret, D. M. Bonanno, and Margaret McGaffey Fisk.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!


Subscribe to my newsletter now — receive updates twice a month, including a newsletter-only serial and recipes:


Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I talk about books everywhere — here on my blog, in my newsletter, on writers’ forums, on Facebook, on GoodReads — and I see them mentioned in a lot of places as well. I see covers posted by friends on Facebook, I see what’s coming soon via NetGalley e-mails, and I see reviews on GoodReads.

Where I hear the most chatter, however, is often Twitter. I follow a lot of writers, so I hear about what they’re working on and what they’ve got coming out, of course, but I also see a lot of “I just finished X’s latest book, and I’m still crying” or “I couldn’t put this down” or “Although I liked this, it had some problems,” as well as links to more in-depth reviews.

It’s not a readers’ community in the sense of people gathered just to talk about what they’re reading, but it’s a good snapshot of what’s out there at any given time.

Have you ever used Twitter or other social media to find a good book to read or to share it with others? How’d that go for you?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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pile of books

The spiral-bound one on top is The Sorcerer Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (due out in October). This photo doesn’t include the ones I have from the library (such as The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross) or the ones I’ve received via NetGalley (such as the graphic novel Amulet #6, which I’ve been waiting for) or Edelweiss, obviously.

Current triage plan is to sit down on Sunday and read through first chapters. Maybe first and second. Anything that doesn’t strike me as good or enjoyable by that point gets set aside. I still expect to read several of these.

What looks good to you? What books have you been eyeing recently?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I didn’t post goals back in January. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have ideas of what I wanted to accomplish — mostly writing, reading, and getting more consistent work. The details don’t matter much.

So how’ve I done?
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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Taking another question each from B.C and Nicki:

How do you stay motivated to send stuff out into the wide world of publishing?

Random digression: I grew up in Reno. As you might have heard, there are slot machines there, at least a couple. Casinos will advertise things like “97.3% payback!” Right — for every $100 you bet, you lose $2.70, and people keep playing. You have to ask yourself why.

Intermittent reinforcement. Basically, animals and people are more likely to continue a given behavior if they’re only rewarded some of the time. Those random payoffs? Keep people gambling, even if overall they’re losing money.

From a psychological perspective, the fact that I had an early success (short story sale), followed by intermittent other successes, predisposes me to maintain the pattern of behavior that leads to that reward. Fortunately, I’m only losing time, not money, to the process, and along the way I’m getting better at my writing.

That’s the other thing that keeps me going — as time has gone on, I’ve had more near misses, more personal rejections, more successes in the various ways that I define success. My writing is getting better, and the chances of selling it are going up. And as my thesis advisor often said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” If I don’t submit my stories to markets, the answer is automatically “No.” The only way to get a “Yes” is to send it out.

It also helps that I’m a stubborn woman from a family of stubborn people and most of the time, I treat “no” as meaning “You just haven’t tried hard enough yet.” (This is also why I spent much longer bashing my head against my thesis project in grad school than any rational person would have done.)

Best book you’ve read this month, whatever it was

I’m in the middle of a few, and some are really excellent. But I did recently finish an older how-to writing book, Writing Novels That Sell, by Jack M. Bickham. I took a while to read it because some of the chapters really required time to sink in. I wrote a review, and if/when it’s available online, I’ll post a link. Meanwhile, that’s my current nonfiction recommendation.

Oddly enough, most of my current TBR pile is MG or YA, and I’m actually feeling stressed because I’m getting so little of it done.

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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About ten years ago, I read every author’s blog I could find. I wanted to absorb everything I could about the business, about agent quests, about how others coped with disappointments, about the craft — pretty much, I wanted to learn everything about everything.

Over time, I’ve changed my blog-reading habits. I read more widely, and where I do read writers, it may not be for industry-specific advice so much as their perspective on the world.

Jamie Todd Rubin — This is my new go-to blog for everything. In addition to being a science-fiction writer, he’s also an Evernote Paperless Lifestyle Ambassador, holds a full-time job, and spends time with his family. His writing metric posts have encouraged me to work at writing every day, even if it’s just a little, even though I’ve been telling myself for years that I’m a binge writer. It’s probably going to take at least a year of trying this method of working to see how effective it is for me.

His focus on productivity has helped me learn more about how to use Evernote, as well as such services as Pocket (so I can read things later) and Buffer (so I can set up Tweets and Facebook posts for specific times).

Kristine Kathryn Rusch — Honestly, although I skim all of her blog posts, the ones that get my attention every week are the Business Rusch posts on Thursdays. She’s talked about everything from negotiating tactics to dealbreakers in contracts to literary estates to (her latest topic) discoverability.

Other blogs or newsletters? Tons — there’s Aeon for long reads, the Buffer blog with hints on productivity and social media, Co.Create with lots of information about creativity, Brain Pickings for more in-depth digging into books, Barking Up The Wrong Tree (which digs into how to make you better at life), and more. There are science-specific blogs, like Neuron Culture and Genotopia; writing blogs, like http://www.stevenpressfield.com; blogs of writers I know (you all know who you are!); blogs by big name writers who have no clue who I am and who talk about lots of different things (like John Scalzi and Chuck Wendig); blogs at the intersection of writing and law (namely Writer-in-Law and Passive Voice); at least one blog on language (Separated by a Common Language, on BrE/AmE differences); and more.

So what can we tell from my list of blogs?

  1. I like reading a lot of stuff. Okay, we probably knew that already.
  2. I still care about both the business and craft of writing, but I don’t have as much time to devote to reading about it (or possibly as much need, although that’s harder to say).
  3. I like reading blogs by entertaining people who talk about more than one thing.
  4. I want input on how to be both more productive and more creative.
  5. I have varied interests.

What about you? Do you have a favorite blog I should add to my list to check out?


Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Share 3 blogs you read regularly and why” — April’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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It’s been one of those weeks — actually, it’s been a pretty busy month, with back-to-back proofreading deadlines followed by being sick all of this week (because October and November, I always get attacked by the multi-week cold), plus tons of family stuff to do. (October is the busiest month for my son’s school band.) So I thought I’d just catch you up on a few things today, starting with stuff about my friends. (Or, er, more than a few.)Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Back at the beginning of the year, when the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour topics were picked, I thought this would be an excellent chance to point out the things I’d loved and get my ideas together for Hugo awards. Which is still true. However, the truth is that I’ve already talked about a lot of the books that came out this year that I’ve enjoyed. So my plan here is to list the ones I’ve talked with links to my earlier reviews, hit the ones I haven’t mentioned yet, touch on the ones in progress, and then list a few that have come out that I haven’t gotten to yet but that I recommend others check out. Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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As everyone who has been paying attention knows, I’m truly grateful to have electricity and Internet back. However, for my weekly gratitude post, I want to talk about something else — and I’m cheating a bit by melding this with my monthly Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour post, which should have gone up last Friday.

I am grateful for all the books that are available to read now. With the industry in its current state of flux, it might seem scary to some. However, I’m finding books that I haven’t been able to read for years — books where I read one book in a series from a library but couldn’t find others at new or used books stores, let alone the library; books that went out of print before I discovered the authors; and omnibus editions of books I’ve loved for decades. I’m also finding new new books — books by authors whose vision won’t sell enough to meet the bottom line of a corporate accountant, books by tried and true authors that I love (maybe writing out of their usual niche but quite possibly doing more of what I fell in love with), and books by authors I’ve heard of but never tried before.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, and I love it.

That’s what the current state of the industry is, and what I’m grateful for today. Whatever I want to read, someone out there is publishing it. What’s not to love?

What are you grateful for this week?


Today’s post was inspired by the topic “The state of the industry (i.e., my take on what’s happening in publishing)”– November’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on crossing genre lines, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Today marks the launch day of Laura Eno’s new book, Wish: The Awakening.
Cover of Laura Eno's Wish Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I just learned this week that there’s a blog tour aimed at encouraging people to read widely in SF/F: A more diverse universe. I wish I’d known of it sooner; I would definitely have participated. I’ve certainly read books by people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, and I’ve tried to talk about some of them here — Saladin Ahmed, Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, N. K. Jemisin, Aliette de Bodard, and Hiromi Goto come to mind. I’m also currently reading Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell, as well as occasionally dipping into the Apex Book of World SF 2.

Go, check out some of the offerings, and read!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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It’s always hard to figure out what I should include when someone asks me what’s in my TBR pile.

I’ve just put a hold request on Tobias Buckell’s Arctic Rising at the library. Ditto The Red Chamber by Pauline Chen (a re-imagining of the classic). I’m also considering picking up Knitting With the Color Guys on my next library visit. Meanwhile, what I have out from the library (but haven’t felt like reading yet) includes Miéville’s Railsea, Green’s Live and Let Drood, and Maberry’s Assassin’s Code. Oh, and I’ve just started Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens (also a library book). Also, I want to pick up another book by Madelyn Alt next time I’m in.

I’ve also got both of Mary Robinette Kowal’s books sitting here, loaned by my mom, so I can reread Shades of Milk and Honey and then read Glamour in Glass.

Then there’s Don’t Fall Asleep by Laura Eno (which I recently won in a giveaway on her blog!), as well as Raven and Wraith. Also by blogging buddies — or people I found through the A to Z blogging challenge: What’s the Worst that Could Happen? and Reunion (What I.F.?) (Nicki and Niina Ivey), Tidal Whispers (Kelly Said), and Breakthrough (Stephen Tremp).

I’ve got a few piled in my bedroom, too (as usual): Bios by Robert Charles Wilson, Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, Newton’s Wake by Ken MacLeod, and The Lost City of Z by David Grann.

Oh, and then there’s that compilation of romance novellas Valerie Comer blogged about last week, Central Park Rendezvous.

Um, and when I have time, I’d really like to read the Lawrence Block books on writing that I have, as well as John Gardner’s, and Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work and Turning Pro.

The problem, as ever, is deciding what order to read things in and not getting distracted by the next thing to come along (okay, so that last one is the real hard part for me). Also, there tends to be this habit I have of once I start talking about what I’m reading, not actually finishing it, so who knows what I’m actually going to be reading this month?

What about you — what’s currently on your reading shelf?

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “What’s on my to-read list?”– August’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonnano. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on crossing genre lines, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Last night, I stayed up until 1 in the morning to finish The Black Opera by Mary Gentle. It’s a marvelous tale, set in 19th century Naples, with Napoleon, the Inquisition, opera (obviously), zombies (sort of), questions about God, science and reason vs. superstition and faith, a ticking clock, and magic and miracles that come through music. (Also, Italian swearing for the beginner!) I had some issues with the editing and proofreading, but the story itself captivated me, and I was unwilling to put it down and get some sleep. Sure, I could have finished reading it today, but I just couldn’t bear to wait to see how it all turned out.

It made me feel my own writing was inadequate, but at the same time, I am so grateful that Gentle’s writing is so very immersive. I love discovering books that I don’t want to put down until I reach the end.

Have you read a book like that recently? What are you grateful for today?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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What have I been reading this week? Not a lot, to tell you the truth. I tried to read while lying in bed sick the other day, but the eyes just wouldn’t focus. Made some progress on the next Dragonvarld book by Margaret Weis, though. It surprised me a bit — I was expecting the second book to start when Melisande’s sons were around 20, not when they were just 6. Rather glad for the surprise, too.

I picked up Yseult by Ruth Nestvold the other day when it was (briefly) free on the Kindle store (currently $2.99). I’ve only read the prologue so far, but I like the voice. Also, it’s nice to start with Yseult’s point-of-view, rather than Tristan’s.

Today, I picked up Bits of You and Pieces of Me by Kimberly Kinrade. It’s also free for a limited time. I haven’t read any of it yet, but I do follow Kinrade’s blog, and it’s interesting to see the range of works she’s putting out.

I’ve also been reading blogs, Twitter, and Facebook (of course), as well as some short pieces of fiction for Hugo consideration. Really enjoyed “Thirty Seconds From Now” by John Chu.

This weekend, I’m hoping to finish up Alma Alexander’s 2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens, and maybe glance at a cozy mystery or two (There were a few of those in Kindle’s free selection, too).

What about you? What are you reading this week?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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As I’ve mentioned before, my blog series on women writers of science fiction and fantasy was never intended to be encyclopedic. Still, I find I had to leave out many authors whose work I love and many others whose work I haven’t had the chance yet to try. Below, I list some of the ones I left out, and works of theirs that I’ve enjoyed or that I really want to try. I end this post with a few links to help you find more writers. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me, and as always, if you have any favorites you want to recommend, please leave a note in the comments.
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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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And so we come to the end of the alphabet. For this final installment in my series on women writers of science fiction and fantasy, I turn to Sarah Zettel and Pamela Zoline. If you’ve enjoyed other works by these authors, if something I say strikes a chord for you, or if you have any other authors you’d like to recommend, please leave a comment.Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Today’s helping of women writers of science fiction and fantasy includes books by Margaret Weis and Connie Willis, as well as a short story (her first pro sale!) by Brooke Wonders. If you’ve enjoyed something else by these authors, or just have some comment on the works I’m reviewing, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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