Tag Archives: Blue-Magic

CHS Review at Behind the Lines and Back Again

imageOnce again, I’m unabashedly posting one of my favorite bits, this one by reviewer Molly Wright, who says:

I really enjoyed this book, it had a taste of the humor/lightness of a young adult novel with the underlying messages and depth of a older book. I don’t know how it was light and deep at the same time, but maybe the author use a spell of some kind like Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger. It also had a wonderful magic system which combine some classic elements with the new.

The body count in my first book, Indigo Springs, is pretty low. By which I mean that perhaps a dozen people die in it, and only three of those are named characters who get it in the neck onstage. Nevertheless, it’s not a bubbly book. It opens after a magical-environmental disaster has turned much of Oregon into an enchanted, if litter-strewn, forest. Astrid Lethewood has lost her home, her freedom and just about everyone she loves. Will Forest, the police profiler tasked with finding out just how she got to that place, is struggling with the disappearance of his children.

Nobody’s real happy, you know?

In Blue Magic, the follow-up, the death toll is several orders of magnitude higher. I like to think the book has a happy ending, but you may have to squint to see it. (Do you agree? I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about the ending of Blue Magic with anyone.)

By chance, the stretch of time when I was working on that second book included some pretty rough seas. I lost a number of loved ones, and there were other things going on, things that enhanced that illusion we all get now and then, the one where Life, with a capital L, has chosen your ass as her personal scratching post.

When I set out to write Child of a Hidden Sea, one of my first priorities was to write a fun book, dammitall. Fun for readers, of course, but also for me. One whose point of view character was cheery and optimistic and someone I’d enjoy hanging out with even when her life was turning to crap. No matter what bleak happenstance I also packed into the story–mass extinctions, homicide, kids with abandonment issues, lost friends, a never-ending war with diplomatic red tape, debt, taxes, you name it–I wanted it to have lots of light notes. Froth, even. Bright skies, sandy beaches, and the occasional bit of silliness.

Did I succeed? Judge for yourself. Tor has posted the first chapter here. 

Dracula hits the #Buffyrewatch, plus bonus links!

That’s right–I’ve reached S5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here’s my essay on the best Riley episode ever.

In other news, I am building a not-safe-for-work Grammar Cop board on Pinterest. I’m hoping this will use up the energy I spend thinking, “Its, not it’s!”

Finally, author Lynette Aspey has written a lovely essay about my Books of Chantment, Indigo Springs and Blue Magic, as well as the tie-in novelette “Wild Things.”

Superstar superstar everyone’s a superstar on the #Buffyrewatch

Well, no. Jonathan’s a superstar. And here’s my weekly essay: “Slaying is Hard! Let’s Go Shopping!

I have enjoyed rewatching S4. It’s been long enough that I forgot a lot of the nuances and hilarious lines, and frankly it’s easier to gently mock the episodes that are, oh, let’s say a little shaky. This may mean that after S5 the rewatches will get funnier and funnier; that’s my hope, anyway.

And while I’m all me, me, me, link!, ’tis the season to remind some of you that I have Nebula eligible fiction. There’s my novel, Blue Magic, which was out in April, my novelettes “Among the Silvering Herd” and “Wild Things,” on Tor.com, and a new squid story, “The Sweet Spot,” about the Fiend invasion of Hawaii, on Lightspeed.

Free for the reading from @tordotcom: “Wild Things”

A couple weeks ago I told you all that this novelette, which is set in the same universe as my books INDIGO SPRINGS and BLUE MAGIC, was available for pre-order at the usual big e-retailers. Today it’s officially out, and you can read it on the Tor site.

“Wild Things” takes place between the events of the two novels, but is mostly set here in British Columbia rather than in Oregon. It’s a little picture of the mystical outbreak as it plays out in Canada, in other words. Here’s the opening.

My swamp man wasn’t what you’d call a sexy beast, though I found his skin strangely beautiful. It was birch bark: tender, onion-thin, chalk white in color, with hints of almond and apricot. He was easily bruised, attracted lichens, and when he got too dry, he peeled.

And the thoroughly gorgeous Allen Williams cover:

Wild Things art and random personal stuff

Look! It’s the cover art for my novelette “Wild Things,” which will be out on Tor.com on October 3rd. If you went to any of my BLUE MAGIC readings, this is the story whose beginning you heard; it’s set in the same universe, between the events of the two novels, and deals with the effects of the mystical outbreak in British Columbia.

wild things cover art

Here in the real B.C., (though there’s a lot of stuff about phones in “Wild Things”, oddly) our home phone stopped working, probably sometime last week. Maybe earlier. Did you fail to get through to us? Sorry.

It wasn’t just that we both have mobiles now that kept us from noticing. We’re neither of us much for the phone in any case, so everyone in our lives tends to e-mail us when they need us. Except, you know. The doctor. The pharmacist. The bank. Work.

I spent an hour yesterday futzing around trying to get it fixed, while simultaneously trying to get the tech to give me the number for the people who’d cancel it altogether. Here’s what being on hold looks like at Telus these days:

The new version of on hold for tech support.

In the end, the technician walked me through 90% of the let’s fix your phone script before I managed to convince him to tell me who to call to just kill the landline. I’d forgotten, though, that the phone jacks also control our door buzzer. And that too seems to be dead dead dead, so now I’m asking our property manager and strata guys to look into fixing a problem that probably wasn’t Telus’s fault in the first place. But which made them notice we weren’t using the phone, and which thus cost them a monthly more-than-pittance for phone fees.

Letting go of our old phone number was a little weird–we have had the same phone account and number since 1991. But paying to hang onto the number for nostalgia purposes seemed a little silly. It was weird, too, because it feels like a thing you do when you’re moving. And though we’re not moving, you can’t tell it from the state of my not-yet-painted office:

Still disassembling the office. Everything is now in about ten square feet.

New Blue Review in Strange Horizons

Tori Truslow of the ever-excellent Strange Horizons doesn’t love every word of Blue Magic, but does say this:

Besides Juanita, we get a gay male couple, bisexual Astrid, and transgender Ev. Thanks to the magical explosion, Ev is now able to have a male body—although Dellamonica does not fall back on magic as an excuse to ignore the potential complexities of transitioning as a middle-aged parent. I’m not in a position myself to assess how successful a portrayal he is, but I certainly believed in him and overall found the strong showing of queer characters—and the normalization of their queerness—refreshing.

Feline protest of Powell’s Reading

I am very happy to say I’m going to be reading at Powell’s Books in Oregon (the Cedar Hills / Beaverton location) on Monday the 7th, at 7:00 p.m.

This is a genuine bucket list item for me: here in the Pacific Northwest, Powell’s is pretty much mecca for bibliophiles, and I’ve always wanted to read there. When I am out and about in my Powell’s shirt, strangers ask, often in hushed tones if I’ve been there, and when I brag that I’ve even been part of the big post-Orycon group author signings at the store. . . well, they’re impressed. You must be a real author after all, is the reaction: it’s serious cred.

I’ll be reading from the steamy and mildly hilarious “Wild Things,” and signing copies of Indigo Springs and Blue Magic, and perhaps even a few anthologies I’ve had stories in. If you’re in Portland, I hope you’ll stop by.

As prep for this first foray into BLUE book touring, I hauled out the little red suitcase Wednesday and started putting in things I’m afraid I might otherwise forget. The battery charger for the camera, par example, and a certain catnip-flavored item for an exalted Portland entity named Xerxes.

So maybe it’s the smell of the treat in the suitcase, or perhaps it’s just the obvious sign that I’m gonna be gone, but Rumble is unimpressed. He’s spent much of the past two days alternating between dragging the case around the house and rendering it inaccessible by means of passive resistance.

Feline protests Powell's Reading

He was also extremely friendly on Wednesday night, and would not be deterred by the squirtgun, which means I spent more of the night awake than is optimal.