Geeky Wedding Roundup

My baby cousin is getting married tomorrow.  Technically, she is no longer a baby, so it’s not a creepy wedding of gothic horror.  But, you all know how this goes, she’ll always be MY baby, blah, blah, weeping into keyboard…

Sorry about that.

ANYWAY, in honor of the occasion, and the many, many times we watched Star Wars together when I was babysitting, here’s some geeky wedding pictures for you.  It’s not too late, Cousin, you could still dress up as Princess Leia!

The Dresses

I like this link because the dresses are the ones the fictional characters wear as opposed to the recreations.  I also like that they include some dresses that aren’t actually wedding dresses, but could work.  Seriously, if you are a child of the 1980’s, you cannot tell me that you did not dream of getting married in this dress from Labyrinth, and to David Bowie, in a bubble full of muppets:

Labyrinth

We live in a bubble now? Seriously?

The Details

If you’re really serious about planning a geeky wedding, this tumblr site is a must.  And Mental Floss has ideas for gorgeous ring boxes, like this one:

Wall-E ring box

The Stealth Approach to Geekery

Finally, I believe that of all the elaborate geeky weddings I’ve seen online, this subtle approach may be my favorite.  On the surface, this wedding seems pretty traditional, but then there is the reveal!

Secret Indenty groomsmen

Wednesday Video: Women Getting Shit Done in the 19th Century

WednesdayVideoWell, this is just…cool!  Here’s a thirteen minute long video on women in the 19th Century that somehow manages to incorporate a reference to Wonder Woman and to Princess Leia.  It’s funny and inspiring.  Check it out!

“But wait!”  you say, “There’s no video here!”  Due to technical difficulties, I’m including a link but not embedding an actual video.  Darn technical difficulties.  On the plus side, you get to check out The Mary Sue, which is a great website.  Consider it a two-for-one Wednesday deal!

http://www.themarysue.com/woman-a-being-to-come-home-to-thirteen-minutes-about-women-accomplishing-stuff-in-the-19th-century-u-s/

The Hand to Hand Project: Advice from Writers of Speculative Fiction

The first (official) draft of my first book is due on July 31st.  Will I make it?  For inspiration, I have the following link to a project called Hand in Hand. In this project, writers of speculative fiction wrote writing advice on their hands and sent a photo to aspiring writers at Wofford College.

Here’s a couple of samples.  There are many more at the link and they are awesome.  Let’s start with the one that is most pertinent to me at this precise moment:

Hand to Hand

Patrick Rothfuss

Here’s one that is pretty and practical:

Jody Lynn Nye

Jody Lynn Nye

And alas, my regular readers know all to well that this one should be tattooed onto me:

hand to hand project

Angela Slatter

Check out the link for more.  I have to go sit my ass down and write!  More about the book later…stay tuned.

Mini Review: Sky Riders, By Fae Sutherland

Cover of Sky RidersSky Riders is a science fiction/Western m/m/ romance novel.  It resembles the TV show Firefly in many respects – the mash-up of Western and Science Fiction genres, the theme of always being in morally gray territory and always being on the edge of both the law and financial solvency, and the theme of creating a family.  Sky Riders has a lot of action and dialogue, and I kept thinking that it would make a great web series.  The romance had parts that worked for me and parts that didn’t.  I didn’t like the macho stuff that the two protagonists go through in their relationship, but I did like the way they grew as a couple, and the fact that they accept each other for who they are.  By the end of the book, they recognize each other’s strengths, weakness, and flaws, and embrace them, which I found moving.  You can find my full-length review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Here’s the thing I found most refreshing about Sky Riders:  nobody cared about the genders or races or ethnicities of the two protagonists.  In this particular science fiction setting, there are all kinds of social, legal, and economic issues that affect the main couple, but racism and homophobia are not among them (at least, not based on the content of Sky Riders, which is the first book in a series).

June is Gay Pride Month, and it was a pleasure to celebrate it by picturing a world in which people’s relationships are judged by how well they treat each other and how much love they share as opposed to the appearance and function of their genitalia.  I also celebrate the science fiction stories that have used dystopian futures to illustrate the horrors of discrimination in all its forms.  Science Fiction presents us with thousands of possible futures and says, “You have the power to pick one of these for your own (or for your descendants).  You can have a world in which there is more love or you can have a world in which there is more fear.  Which do you choose?”

Book Hoarding – A Happy Tale From Alethea Kontis

Today’s video is about a girl who lives surrounded by books – on shelves, on tables, on the floor, on the stairs – they are everywhere.  I had the great pleasure of meeting Alethea Kontis at the Nebula Awards in May, and she told me this story about a surprise she found in a collection of books from Andre Norton:

I wrote her  [Andre Norton] a letter, which turns out that was the perfect thing.  She was very heavy on correspondence.  She sent a card for every holiday, including Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year.  We corresponded quite a bit, even though we only lived a couple of miles from each other.  Because, you know, it was the last few years of her life, and she couldn’t get around very well, and I didn’t want to bother her or force her to stay up or be active if she didn’t want to.

But, I did go to the library a few times, and the last time was when she sold off the library.  When I went there, I bought $600 worth of books.  We were going through all the research stuff, and she was pulling them off and putting them in my cart, because she knew I would end up using them for research, and for writing.  She gave me a bunch of paper dolls, because those are helpful for costume design and description.

I didn’t open the boxes for years later, and finally I was cleaning up this room full of books, and I looked at the boxes, and I said to myself, “You are never going to read all these books.  Go through them, give away the ones you’re not going to use – come on!”  So I’m sitting there with a book in my lap, and the title is, Live Alone and Like It, by Marjorie Hillis.  It’s from 1920.  When am I ever going to read this?  But I couldn’t put it in the give away pile.  I just couldn’t do it.  So I thought, “Well, OK, if you’re going to keep it, you need to read it”.  So I open the book, and in the front, it says, “A talisman for Andre.  May it bring you what it brought me.  Anne”.  And I went to my Dragon Riders of Pern, and I checked Anne McCaffrey’s signature.  And it was a book, for Andre Norton, signed by Anne McCaffrey.  And I’m holding this in my lap, and I’m thinking, “I can’t give any of these books away, ever!”

How do you collect books?  Do you keep just a treasured few?  Do you keep them on your ereader?  Do you pile them up all over the house?  What books can you not live without?

Gateway Drugs: The Romance Edition

door opening onto poppiesMy greatest joy in life (well, one of the greatest) is when someone says, “Oh, I haven’t read much romance.  What should I read?”  This is because, like any other shameless drug pusher, I have a stash of gateway drugs all ready for you – books to show you how diverse, smart, funny, and moving romance can be.

So, you want to try out the romance novel genre?  Try these out:

Contemporary:  Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie

Bet Me is moving and hilarious and sexy and wonderful.  Interestingly, however, I’ve loaned this book to many friends, all of whom liked it enough to read another book by the same author, but one called me later to say, “Bet Me was good, but I just finished Faking It, and it was even better!” and another person said the same thing about Fast Women.

Romance is all about emotion, and different books hit different people’s emotional buttons very differently.  Bet Me deals a lot with body size acceptance and trust.  Faking It is perfect for anyone who feels they have to pretend to be something they are not in order to make other people happy.  Fast Women deals with the aftermath of divorce.  The books have solid emotional heft to them, but they feel light because they are so funny and joyful.  Crusie’s books are notable for featuring a variety of happy ever afters (marriage, dating, contented single life, babies, no babies), heroines of various sizes and ages, and fast, witty dialogue.

Science Fiction:  A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold

A Regency romance and crazy comedy set in space.  Features the greatest dinner party ever written (Jennifer Crusie tends to feature insane dinners in her books, too).  Part of a series, but you can jump right into this book – I did.  Then you’ll want to read every thing Bujold has ever written – and she’s written quite a bit.  Do not miss this!

Steampunk:  Riveted, by Meljean Brook

Steampunk is something of an esoteric genre, and yet I can’t imagine anyone not liking Riveted, regardless of their interest in steampunk, or, for that matter, romance.  This book has wonderful world-building, beautiful use of language, and tons of action.  Riveted is part of the Iron Seas series, and you can jump right into it.  The first book in the series, The Iron Duke, is also excellent, but features a brooding, domineering hero who I, personally, can’t stand even though I think his character is well-written and developed.  The hero in Riveted is a kind, brilliant scientist who is thoughtful, respectful, good at communicating, and also quite the action guy.  Love him, love the heroine, love the setting, LOVE this book.

Historical:  anything by Courtney Milan

Really.  Anything.  She’s wonderful.  Look out for some serious angst, but also humor and humanity.   My second choice would be the hilarious Regency novel What Happens In London, by Julia Quinn, which features some of the best, and funniest, dialogue I’ve ever had the immense pleasure of reading.

And the runners-up:  

For crazy old school cheesy adventure:  The Windflower, by Tom and Sharon Curtis.  This insane and delightful book features the convoluted adventures of a group of pirates.  They have a pet pig named Dennis.  Either that sells you on the book (which is a historical, sort of) or it doesn’t.

For seriously well-done angst that will make you cry:  Flowers From the Storm, by Laura Kinsale.  I sobbed over this book.  I also cackled hysterically when I discovered that the original cover of this serious, delicately written historical features Fabio.  Fabio!  Try to forgive it.

I’m planning to run several posts along these lines, so if you have suggestions for gateway drug books in the genres of mystery, science fiction, YA, and science writing, let us know!