Summer Reading Report

Summer Reading Report

Summer’s almost over for me, so I figured it would be good to review some of my reading escapades before I get slammed with grad school and copyedits and have no time for any books except those that I am directly involved in producing. So! Here’s a look back on my summer reads this year.

Last year, in my lumbering effort to catch up on Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings universe, I read through the Liveship Trader trilogy, which was a worthwhile effort but, damn, those books are heavy. In all senses of the term. This year, I wanted to focus on books that are a little more light-hearted or at least was more “creepy because zombies” and less “creepy because prevalent systematic sexual violence”. I also wanted to expand my reading to incorporate more men of color, since up until this point, the number of fantasy books written by MOC that I’ve read has been tragically tiny. Here are the books I’ve read this summer:

Half-Resurrection Blues and Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel José Older. The first two books in Older’s Bone Street Rumba series, a creepy urban fantasy series set in New York about an undead man named Carlos Delacruz who works as a sort of freelance MIB agent but, like, for ghosts instead of aliens. Both books focus on Carlos becoming entangled in the mechanisms of sinister supernatural groups who endanger both the humans and the ghosts of New York. These books were great fun, and Carlos is an incredible jackass of a main character who’s just sensitive enough to be sympathetic. The various types of ghosts and zombies and cultists made Oogey Boogey-style out of bugs bring a great fantasy element to the authenticity of the bustling New York setting (I assume, I’ve never been to New York, but Older sure makes it feel realistic). Midnight Taxi Tango was especially stand-out to me as Older expands the point of view characters to include Kia, Carlos’ teen friend who gains the ability to see ghosts after she gets caught in the crossfires of supernatural conspiracies, and Reza, a butch lesbian gangster who likewise becomes entangled. Older’s talent for character voice, which was already apparent in the first book with just Carlos’ PoV, is really showcased once he expands the main cast of the series. The third book, Battle Hill Bolero, is on my to-read list, so here’s hoping I can make some time for it before next summer rolls around.

Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi. This book has been on my to-read list since I first got in talks with Angry Robot about Moonshine. While I was researching them, the cover of Kojiki’s sequel, Kokoro, really caught my eye. I haven’t yet read Kokoro, but Kojiki was definitely worth the ride. I will admit: I learned in the course of reading this book that my stamina for long battle sequences is not what it used to be, and that slowed me down quite a bit. But if epic, landscape-destroying clashes between gods and their minions is your speed, this book should be very enjoyable. It follow Keiko Yamada as she travels to Japan to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance and encounters an old ally of his, a kami named Yui. Yui introduces Keiko to a conflict among the kami surrounding the kami of fire threatening to destroy the world in pursuit of his obsession over the kami of water. The story does end up focusing quite a bit more heavily on the kami than I was expecting, and I would have liked to have seen more of Keiko herself, but the conflict between the embodiments of the elements does make for some very vivid scenes and sort of cinematic battle sequences.

Silent Hall by N.S. Dolkart. This was an exception to my search for MOC authors, and I picked it up more because after reading through the above books, despite my immense enjoyment of them, I was really just feeling some high fantasy, and this was another book whose cover caught my attention as I was signing on with Angry Robot. Silent Hall follows five teens who are the sole survivors of an island cursed by a god, who then fall in with a mysterious wizard as they attempt to rebuild their lives on the mainland among the warring followers of various gods. The book follows them through a series of sometimes loosely-connected adventures which gave the story a very Earthsea-esque flow that I was really feeling. The five main characters were all excellent–realistically flawed but very easy to root for, which is exactly what one would hope for with a cast of frightened, desperate teens. It was only Hunter who came off a little weaker than the others in the first half of the book, but this was largely the result of his general stoicism and he grew into himself as the story went on. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Narky as the traditional roguish scoundrel who shined a little brighter to me than the others (plus, greatest naming of a fantasy character ever?), but they all had strong personalities that harkened to but didn’t rely too heavily standard fantasy archetypes. (Although, again, Narky’s adherence to archetypes really only bolstered my opinion of him, since he is very much My Type in terms of fantasy characters.) It’s a great, mythological sort of story that brings all of high fantasy’s good stuff to the table without having all that Good Ol’ Boy fantasy nonsense of its genre predecessors from the 90s and early 2000s.

As for what I’m reading now, I’m working on one print book and one ebook: Among the Fallen by N.S. Dolkart, the sequel to Silent Hall, and Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus, a steampunk novella about a Jamaican ex-spy on the run with a young boy wanted by multiple political factions (this is yet another book that has wooed me largely by the sheer beauty of its cover, but while the premise is pretty straightforward, the execution has been lovely.) I’m loving both so far, and while I might be able to finish up Buffalo Soldier in my last week of summer, I don’t know if I’ll get far enough into Among the Fallen before school starts to really count it as a “summer read.”

Overall, while I couldn’t get through as much recreational reading as I wanted, I made some solid choices with what I was able to get into. For those of you with more spare time to read than I have, I highly recommend any of these titles. In the meantime, despite my soon-to-be-limited free time, I’m hoping to carve out enough reading time this fall to finish Among the Fallen and get into Jeannette Ng’s upcoming Under the Pendulum Sun and Linsey Miller’s recently released Mask of Shadows.

More updates on Moonshine, end of summer plans, etc.

More updates on Moonshine, end of summer plans, etc.

Hello again, here’s another summer update!

Finally, I’m in the home stretch with my edits for Moonshine, so I’ll be finishing those this weekend and returning to drafting the second Moonshine book. And hopefully titling it because boy would I love to have something to call it.

Summer Writing Update

Summer Writing Update

Here’s what’s been going in my neck of the woods lately:

  • A Study of Fiber and Demons released! You can go here to find links to your vendor of choice. If you’ve already read it, it’d be swell if you could leave a quick review on Amazon or Goodreads.
  • Queer Summer Reading had me for an interview! You can read that here.
  • I’m still working on edits for Moonshine. It was tricky getting started on it, but now I’m having a good time rewriting some of my scenes that need a little work. I should be done with that soon, and then I can take an actual breather from these back-to-back edits for the first time since February. (You can see why I’m so excited to have my novella out? It means I’m all done editing that book, at least.)
  • Not writing-related: I’ve been working a bit on cosplay. I had to finish the sewing project I was working on (a skirt to replace the one I ruined because I got it covered in grease stains, whoops), but now I’m working on Taako from The Adventure Zone and a pajama-themed revival of my Terra Branford cosplay. I’m also planning on making Edward from The Adventure Zone but I haven’t…. exactly…… gottenstartedonityet… Well, summer’s not quite done yet, so now that I’ve got the ball rolling, hopefully I’ll get all these costumes done before school starts back up.
  • Also not writing-related: I’ve started learning Welsh on Duolingo! I’m very bad at it because I can’t roll my R’s!

As for what’s next, I’m still expecting to soon hear details on Moonshine’s Official Cover Reveal™, so stay tuned for that. Once I’m done with my Moonshine edits, I hope to also get back into drafting the sequel and perchance planning out a fun promotional thing I have in mind for Moonshine’s release. I’ll be updating here on all of that as things come along.

And, of course, I’ll be officially starting grad school in the fall, so that will be a fun challenge to balance against all of this writing stuff. But for now, it’s still summer, so I’m going to focus on these edits and watch the eclipse on Monday.

 

 

 

Dear Congressperson,

Dear Congressperson,

Here is the template letter I emailed to my senators and representative last night. Consider this public domain, so feel free to copy/paste and quote relevant passages when reaching out to your own Congresspeople. If you don’t know who your Congresspeople are, you can find them at http://whoismyrepresentative.com. #ImpeachTrump


Dear [Congressperson],

I am writing again to ask you to begin firmly and unambiguously calling for Trump’s impeachment.

Trump’s response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville have been vile, racist, and the very antithesis to the values that the United States of America should stand for. The white supremacists/Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville murdered a woman and assaulted many others. Their entire march was an incitement for violence (and an actualization of violence) against people of color and Jewish, disabled, and queer people and their allies, and as such is not defended by the First Amendment. There is no “both sides” to this issue, and every thinking and compassionate American knows it.

I work and go to school in Portland and regularly ride the Max line on which a white supremacist murdered two people defending young black and Muslim girls. That white supremacist also believed that it was his “First Amendment right” to assault and murder people of color and their neighbors who would stand against such violence. Trump’s cowardly, waffling defense of the white supremacists in Charlottesville will only embolden similarly vile people across our nation to continue perpetuating these assaults and murders.

Trump is not fit to lead our country and needs to be removed from the White House immediately. He now has America on the brink of both nuclear and civil war. More Americans like Heather Heyer will continue to die the longer Trump continues to occupy the Oval Office. The [Senate/House] must take a strong stance against white supremacy, including acting upon declarations that it has no place in our country by working to remove white supremacists and their spineless sympathizers from the White House, Trump included.

Please, you must begin acting to remove him from office. Many private-sector advisors on his councils are cutting ties with him in light of his heinous words and actions – now is the time for Congress to carry that momentum. I hope that Oregon’s leaders will have the courage and strength to take such action.

Thank you once more for all of your hard work in defending the interests and rights of Oregonians and Americans.

Sincerely,

Jasmine Gower

Happy Book Day, A Study of Fiber and Demons!

Happy Book Day, A Study of Fiber and Demons!

Happy bookday!A Study of Fiber and Demons is officially released today! If you didn’t get the chance to preorder the ebook (or you want to snap up the paperback version), check out the book’s main page for links to vendors. So far, Amazon is the only one I can find that has the paperback available for purchase at this moment, but I’ll keep updating that page as I find other links for the paperback version going up.

(And if you’re hoping for a free copy, LT3’s Goodreads giveaway is still going on until August 21st.)

One Week Until A Study of Fiber and Demons

One Week Until A Study of Fiber and Demons

In one week from now, A Study of Fiber and Demons will be released. You can still preorder the ebook until 7:00 PM EST on August 8, so if you’re hoping to get that sweet, sweet preorder discount, be sure to get on that soon. Less Than Three Press is still running their Goodreads giveaway, as well, and you have until August 21st at 12:00 PM EST to enter that for a chance to win an ebook copy for free.

I gotta say, I’m very excited for this one. I’ve talked before how For All the Gold in the Vault was a very sort of experimental story for me, and while I had a ton of fun with that novella, A Study of Fiber and Demons is much more within the bounds of my typical type of story and, even more so, my typical kind of characters (which is to say, rude jackasses.) And while FGV had a similar enemies-to-lovers vibe, it was great fun playing around with more, let’s say, cheesy romance tropes in A Study of Fiber and Demons. Working with a cast that actually possesses something of a sense of humor, compared to Arturo and Ezekiel, also made it a breath of fresh air and lent itself to a sort of narrative rhythm that I think turned out really well for this particular story. Plus, there are monsters in this one, which is an element I’m kind of sorry I wasn’t able to work into FGV. You all know how I am about monsters, and I’m really proud of the design and mannerisms I came up with for these demons.

Overall, I had an absolute blast writing A Study of Fiber and Demons, and that’s always especially helpful when the story itself is supposed to be funny and sexy. I’m really hopeful that my readers will have just as much fun with it.

Content Warning page added

Content Warning page added

The content warning page is now live, although it currently only includes warnings for A Study of Fiber and Demons. You can find it listed under “About” in the menu at the top of the screen.

I’m likely to rearrange or add to that list soon, but for the time being, it covers the particularly notable content in as spoiler-free wording as I could manage.

Fiber and Demons Giveaway, plus miscellaneous updates

Fiber and Demons Giveaway, plus miscellaneous updates

 

A Study of Fiber and Demons is now less than two weeks from its release date (wow!!), and Less Than Three Press is holding a giveaway for it and more of their soon-to-be-released titles over on Goodreads. If you’ve got a Goodreads account, now’s a great time to head on down there and see what kind of great books could you potentially win.

In the meantime, I’m currently working on putting together a content warning list for A Study of Fiber and Demons here on my site. LT3’s official page for the book does include a warning for the sexual content, but I wanted to add a more comprehensive list for potentially triggering content that I hadn’t considered when submitting my book form to LT3 (or left off because I didn’t want to clog up their page with a long list of super specific warnings). Naturally, the list isn’t going to be able to account for all possible triggering content, but I wanted to add warnings for some of the more obvious, common, or intense examples.

I’m hoping to get that content warning page live sometime this weekend so anyone still thinking about preordering can make an informed decision before the book’s release. I’m trying to finagle it into a practical format for expansion (in case I need to add anything or to add separate lists for my other books), and I’m playing around with the idea for a feedback form so readers can suggest things they found in the book that they feel would be useful on such a list, but these features might have to come later as I try to figure out my not-so-customizeable WordPress layout.

As for other updates, I’m in the heart of editing country for Moonshine right now. I’ve also seen the final draft for its cover and WOW! I can’t spoil anything until after the official cover reveal, but damn it is stunning. But since I can’t show you that yet, please enjoy this picture of my roommate’s cat instead.

 

 

A Study of Fiber and Demons – Cover Reveal

A Study of Fiber and Demons – Cover Reveal

With all this book news lately, it’s nice to have some visuals to go along with it. Here’s the final cover for A Study of Fiber and Demons, created by Michelle Seaver.

I absolutely love the color and glow effect used – it’s exactly what I had in mind for the demonweave. I’m so glad for all the hard work Michelle put into this.

As a reminder, A Study of Fiber and Demons comes out August 9. (Wow, that’s… really soon! I didn’t even realize how close it was.) You can pre-order the ebook version here.

As for me, I am in the middle of the final copyedit for this book, so I’d best get back to work on that.