mirabile: (Angels in America)
([personal profile] mirabile Jul. 20th, 2017 05:57 pm)
I am so glad to be home, sitting quietly. It was too big a day, again.

I was a tad late to Mother's because Webster and I were on hold with his GP's office while they tried to find his file so they could tell us why they left a voicemail for him yesterday. Finally they asked to call back, but I just had to leave for Mother's so Webster told them to tell me, and I left.

To my surprise, when I got there Mother was gone. I asked the floor nurse where she was and he said, BINGO. Bingo? But she's blind? Well, someone is helping her. I was thrilled, though pretty surprised, but I went back to the room to start arranging the flowers I'd brought her.

My sister called then and she also marveled at BINGO? I don't think Mother's ever played a game of Bingo in her life! At that moment a therapist rolled Mother back in: turns out she was at her first occupational therapy session. They did an assessment, checked the X-Ray, and the diagnosis is de Quervains tenosynovitis, and you say that five times fast! It's a sort of tendonitis, very similar to carpal tunnel, and they think her wheelchair is too high so she has to push with her hands too much. They are going to lower her chair a big, plus do therapy, and I had to buy her a right-handed thumb spica splint. So not a fracture, thank goodness, and now maybe she'll start recovering a bit.

No Bingo, though :)

After we talked for a while, I took her to Olive Garden for a gin and tonic and a bowl of her favorite soup, zuppa toscana. She only ate about half the bowl, which worries me, but she had eaten a couple of the cookies I'd brought her, plus some candy my sister had sent from Hawaii, so presumably she got enough calories. I hope.

When we were back in her apartment, I discovered I had missed a call from the GP's office, so I called back while I was with her and sat chatting until someone finally came on. The conversation was very distressing and, imo, almost incoherent. This wasn't a doctor, I think she was a clerk? But she didn't really identify herself. At any rate, if I understood her, Webster is in trouble because his bloodwork showed he did NOT have any demerol in him.

I explained (why is this not obvious?) that he only takes the demerol when all his other migraine drugs don't work. She said (I think she said) that the instructions are to take them everyday, so he isn't following the instructions. The implication being he must be abusing them? Selling them?

Foolishly I tried to discuss this with her but quickly realized she was both 1) ignorant and 2) hostile, so what the hell. I told her that, per the doctor's instructions, Webster had an appointment this Monday with a neurologist that the doc had recommended and another appointment with the doc in ten days to follow-up. She sounded bored.

Well, you can imagine how I felt, so double or triple that and you can imagine how Webster took the news. NOT WELL. He has drafted a letter to the doc and will continue to work on it, but I dunno. When he last saw the doctor, he was told that the doctor had received a letter from the DEA saying that he, the doctor, wasn't permitted to prescribe anymore narcotics. Today we hear something completely different.

I know the DEA is being extremely heavy-handed about narcotics, so maybe the doctor is just CYAing?

Anyway, we were worried enough about meeting the new neurologist (we have seen so many over the years), and now he's extra worried. Perfect migraine recipe! My god, do I miss Kaiser Permanente in California.

Okay, enough droning on about my weird day. When I got home, I had a glass of wine, made potato soup and vanilla pudding, and now I'm going to take a long cool shower and read.

Oh, a link! I haven't spent a lot of time with this, but it looks fun: the most iconic book set in every country. You have to scroll down a bit but they really do mean every country. I think a better title would be "the most iconic book IN ENGLISH in every country," though.
cocoajava: Skeptical (pic#128378)
([personal profile] cocoajava Jul. 20th, 2017 07:52 pm)
 BEANS! First picking. That colander is a foot and a half wide, so that's some beans. I'll have a snap-party in a minute, watch something on the iPad and snapsnapsnap.

It's 4000% humidity outside but I managed to pull two large buckets of weeds, picked raspberries (not many today but I have a lot accumulating in the freezer), pulled up some viney stuff, checked the grapevine and counted over a dozen halfway grown grape clusters, the grapes are about 1/2" big and green and beautiful. Then trimmed five tomato plants, and picked all those beans.

Sure glad we decided on a 'small temporary garden' this year. *eyeroll*

Posted by Ana

Title: White Tears

Author: Hari Kunzru

Genre: Speculative Fiction, Horror

Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: March 14 2017
Hardcover: 304 Pages


Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America’s great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it’s a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.

Standalone or Series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Format (e- or p-): Ecopy


I’ve been sitting on this review for weeks, mulling over my conflicted feelings about White Tears. It’s a really thought-provoking, engaging book: a terrifying ghost story, a revenge fantasy, that attempts an extremely timely exploration of race in America and a look at the ails of cultural appropriation.

It’s the latter two that I am not so sure about because I am not completely certain the author took the story to the place where it could – should? – have been.

Believe I buy a graveyard of my own
Believe I buy a graveyard of my own
Put my enemies all down in the ground
Put me under a man they call Captain Jack
Put me under a man they call Captain Jack
He wrote his name all down my back.

Two young white dudes become best friends in college over their shared love for music. Most specifically, the type of old Blues created by black creators – the type that nowadays exist only in prized, expensive collections. Carter is the Rich One, the one that collects records and has an idealised look of history, music and above all, blackness. Carter is White Privilege impersonated. Seth has a love for tech, for recording sounds – one of his hobbies is to walk around experimenting with his tech creations, capturing sounds made by unsuspecting people (i.e. a creepy stalker). We are primed by the story to loathe Seth and Carter – they are both creeps hiding as regular “cool guys” white dudes.

Seth – by way of his brilliant creations – is somehow able to capture sounds of the past. It is one of those that ends up the catalytic for what happens next. A remarkable song is recorded in passing, its author a black man he happened to overhear singing in the park, a song with lyrics so powerful that Seth and Carter decide to tweak it to appear “authentic” and release online under the name of Charlie Shaw. They are contacted by an old collector who say that their fake record is real, that Charlie Shaw existed and that he had been looking for the B side for years. And years.

And that’s when things start to get out of control: first Carter is beat to a coma and Seth is expelled from their apartment and loses all of his equipment. Aided by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, Seth feels he needs to “make things right”.

But this story has a B side. Like all B sides, we know it exists from the moment the story starts playing. Seth’s narrative points to recurring paranormal phenomena that more or less prepares the reader for when the B side is played. From that moment onward, the story becomes an utterly terrifying, time-slipping ghost story in which the present seamlessly morphs with the past and Seth experiences in his own skin the memories and life of the real Charlie Shaw. Charlie is a black man and his is a difficult, tragic, unfair life in the Jim Crow South. The story spirals frenetically from here, with Seth losing his footing in reality and it all eventually reach a gory climax – as Charlie finds his revenge on the very people who wronged him.

And here is where my conflicted feelings find harbour: the moment when the story becomes a deeply personal story of experience racism as opposed to a story that truly examines racism on a systemic level. When we learn that the things that happened to Carter and his family are not random, that his family’s has a history of not only cultural appropriation but of exploitation of black labour and of black lives for over a century and are directly responsible for what happened to Charlie, it ended up removing some of the power the story could have had for me. To me it would have been more powerful, more relevant if the terrible things that happened to Seth and Carter were utterly unfair and random, just because of their race. But I guess even in this, white privilege wins (perhaps that’s exactly the point).

On the other hand, history is experienced by people on a personal level. It doesn’t matter that what happens to Charlie is the result of systemic racism because for Charlie what happens to him, happens to him. It is personal and perhaps removing this element would detract from his narrative, his story, his history. I still can’t help but to feel that by doing so, by making the story so attached to a very specific family of Very Evil white people, the book is somehow letting history down?

I said I had complicated feelings.

Also, complicated – and by complicated, I mean terrible – is the lack of women representation in the story. Although the story is from Seth’s limited viewpoint narrative and it has been established that Seth is not a good guy, it still matters that women are non-existent or end up dead (and their death used a catalyst for Seth to slip further into Charlie’s story).

The book goes far into exploring cultural appropriation, white privilege and systemic racism via a terrifying ghost story. I am just not entirely convinced that it went far enough.

Rating: 7 – Very Good

Buy the Book:

(click on the link to purchase)

The post Book Review: White Tears by Hari Kunzru appeared first on The Book Smugglers.

mirabile: (Saguaro Sunset)
([personal profile] mirabile Jul. 19th, 2017 07:55 pm)
Another busy day, but not nearly as busy as yesterday and certainly not as upsetting. I was up before six to get to the lap pool so I would be ready at 7:30 when our contractor returned. Yes, a return to the mess! But this is just a little job. We went with him to Lowes' and purchased the material for the shelves we want installed in the closet, and to decide on a door that will separate the master bedroom from the master bath. DONE. He will start work on next Thursday.

After we came home and had a brief rest, we headed out for our dental appointments. Webster has some issues so after a lot of searching, we found a highly recommended dentist but she is way the hell out in Scottsdale. But she turned out to be just as good as we'd heard and he feels comfortable in her hands, so it's worth the drive. Plus it was a beautiful day with enormous billows of clouds, and on the way home we saw virga and rain.

Speaking of rain here, that big rain we had a few days ago included a microburst over Phoenix, and someone photographed it from a helicopter; check it out here (scroll down a bit). I'm so glad that wasn't over our house!

Today is Hyacinth-sky747's birthday. Remember her? My god, what a writer. Wherever she is, I hope she is happy and healthy and having a wonderful day.

This essay isn't for everyone, so click with care, but it's written by a journalist with a brain tumor, the same kind that John McCain was just diagnosed with: Going out like fireworks: A reporter investigates his own illness -- brain cancer. Really powerful.

Also, I've never been a fan of McCain, but holy shit. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. And his enmity with Tr*mp has proved really helpful, so for very selfish reasons I want him well and in the Senate. Dang.

My hat, but I want some chocolate. Alas, I don't have any in the house except one frozen Pret a Manger brownie that I'm saving for a really, really bad day.
splix: (Default)
([personal profile] splix Jul. 19th, 2017 10:57 am)
I've had that in my head since I saw Spider-Man, which was probably one of the best superhero movies I've seen in a couple of years. Zippy and fun and charming and not GRIMDARK oh god I'm so tired of grimdark at the moment. I guess it has its place, but it's not for me right now.


My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. I had a really nice weekend. I went out with some friends and saw The Beguiled which I liked - not the best movie I've seen this year but it was pretty and I sometimes really dig Nicole Kidman's chilly remove, and then I went to brunch with my sisters and had a ginormous Belgian waffle. Got a lot of lovely presents also.

Had chemo on the 10th and spent the rest of the week fucking sick. So fucking done with this mentally and emotionally, but only halfway through, unless the CT scan, which is on the 25th, shows that the chemo hasn't been working. So whatever, blah blah.

I spent the entire week alone and curled up in the dark [except for Nina, who is such a wonderful nanny dog, bless her] so when Sunday came and I actually felt well enough to walk around I immediately ran to some thrift stores and blew every penny of my birthday $$, and then went and spent the gift cards that I got. Part of it was just wanting to get out of the house, and I think part of it was some sort of oppositional perversity, a kind of fuck-you to isolation and illness, and then part of it was a kind of reaction to my eating disorder, always present but especially right now unable to indulge because almost everything I eat tastes like metallic garbage. Except ice cream and like cheese and butter, and I know I can't eat a fuckton of that stuff because of course it's the highest in calories, FML. [Vegetables are especially disgusting. I used to look forward to a giant salad every day; I still eat one because nutrients, but I choke it down, ugh] I couldn't eat, so I shopped. :-/

That said, I didn't break the bank [I can't. Chemo bills are a-comin']. I went to the Goodwill 99 cent store and got a couple of pairs of pants because mine are too big right now [I'm keeping the old ones because god knows what my body is going to do in the next couple of months]. I also got a couple of cool vintage dresses for fall. I went to the antique mall on Central and got two vintage handbags, and a tiny sweet navy hat that I'll be able to wear once my hair grows back again. Then I went to another antique store where I know the folks who run it - they were having a half-off sale on their bin costume jewelry, which is usually super-cheap anyway, like a dollar for a pair of earrings, so I got like seven pairs of earrings and four necklaces. Then I went to Sephora and got the Anastasia Modern Renaissance eye palette. OMG it is so beautiful. The textures are so creamy and the pigments are so intense. For the first time evah I watched a couple of tutorials on Youtube to get some pointers on how to combine some of the colors. Then I went to Savers and got a little painted concrete skull and some candles for fall, and a new king-size bottom sheet for my bed.

I'm reading a book called Glamour that is very resonant to me - it talks a lot about how glamour [of all stripes] tempts and feeds [never fully] unfulfilled longing and my particular brand of materialism. Made me laugh, ruefully, and I showed it to my therapist. We discussed a lot of it. She actually thinks I'm over-pathologizing my shopping because I don't spend enough to make a big dent in my finances, but I still feel guilty about spending any money for pleasure on myself, for having lots of pretty things because I grew up with very little, and we were always made to feel like there was never enough money for frivolities. It's complicated; I'm still working through it.


I haven't made any progress on my auction story. :-/ I mean, as excuses go I guess I have a good one, but I just want to keep going with it. I hate losing momentum. AAAAAARGGH. Going to make an effort this weekend, but still, RRRRRGHGHGHGHGH.


I hope everyone who went to Con*Strict had a great time. I am so sad to have missed it, but I'll be there with bells on next year. :D


Summer classes are almost over. Fall semester starts in four weeks. Tempus fugit. o.0

Posted by Thea

In which we reveal the cover for the fourthshort story in our 2017 season of Gods and Monsters: it Came Back by Samantha Lienhard!

Without further ado, behold the smugglerific cover!

It Came Back

About the Story

“Luna Anderson…” He stared at me with an intensity that made me fidget. “The lost sheep has returned at last.”

After five years of avoiding her past, Luna finally returns to her childhood home. Her imposing grandfather may be long gone, but his specter hangs over the estate like a curse–Luna is eager to sell everything and leave the Anderson House behind her for good.

But when she stumbles across a sheath of letters, Luna discovers her grandfather’s past is darker and more twisted than she ever could have imagined. A secret is uncovered, and a monster awakens…

Curses don’t stay buried forever.


A Word From Your Friendly Neighborhood Editors (and Book Smugglers)

When we set out to establish our annual short story call theme for 2017, we both loved the idea of Gods and Monsters. And, horror fans that we are (ok, that Thea is), we were hopeful that we would receive–in addition to submissions featuring benevolent gods–tales that would encompass the #TeamMonster part of the theme.

Then, we received Samantha Lienhard’s It Came Back.

A classic horror story, set in the 1980s, featuring an estranged daughter, a partial epistolary narrative, an otherworldly artifact, and a family secret, It Came Back hit all of the right horror tropes–even better, it manages to do all these things and still be truly scary. We couldn’t have dreamed up a more terrifying specter to kick off the monster portion of Gods and Monsters… we hope you’re as taken with Samantha Lienhard’s nightmare stalker as we are.


About the Author: Samantha Lienhard

Samantha Lienhard

Samantha has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and is an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association. Her other publications include a horror/comedy novella called The Zombie Mishap, a Lovecraftian serial called The Book at Dernier, and a short horror story inspired by Japanese mythology called “Rokurokubi.” When she isn’t working on her stories, she can usually be found playing video games—and writing video game scripts.

About the Artist: Tomislav Jagnjic


My name is Tomislav Jagnjic, I am from Herceg Novi Montenegro currently living in Novi Sad Serbia. I’ve been painting and drawing since kindergarden. After seeing some amazing artworks on Deviantart in 2009, I instantly got inspired and bought a pen tablet. Since then I’ve been working with a large amount of clients as a freelancer as a concept artist and illustrator. I started learning 3D and combining that with painting back in 2015 and I’m still using that technique as I find it the easiest and quickest way to execute my initial sketches to final artwork. My style is all around, through fantasy works, creatures, landscapes to imitating traditional painting in digital. My inspiration are other artists on Artstation and artist friends on Facebook. But not inspiration as competitive as much as just when I see something good I just want to paint and practice till I reach that level, it keeps me going, if you now what I mean


How to Get the Story

It Came Back will be published officially on July 25, 2017. You can purchase the DRM-free ebook (EPUB, MOBI) that contains the story as well as an essay from the author available for purchase on all major ebook retail sites and directly from us.

Preorder the Ebook Today
Smashwords ¦ Amazon US ¦ Amazon UK

Want the book right now? Buy the DRM-free ebook edition directly from us and read the story today:

Buy Now

Add the book on Goodreads, and read It Came Back for free next Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

The post A Smugglerific Cover: IT CAME BACK by Samantha Lienhard appeared first on The Book Smugglers.

Posted by Ana

Happy Wednesday and welcome to a brand new monthly feature in partnership with Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard’s Cooking the Books Podcast!


Today’s guest is Ken Liu, with a special, exclusive to Book Smugglers, Cooking the Books Interview, in time for the author’s second Dandelion Empire book release in paperback!


Check out the chat below:

Wall of Storms is out now.

A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, Ken Liu (http://kenliu.name) is the author of The Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series (The Grace of Kings(2015), The Wall of Storms (2016), and a forthcoming third volume) and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (2016), a collection.

The post Cooking the Books with Ken Liu appeared first on The Book Smugglers.

mirabile: (Jack Fuckin' Daniels)
([personal profile] mirabile Jul. 18th, 2017 06:37 pm)
Oh my god, what a day. My alarm went off at 5:45 so I could be ready for the sprinkler repairman who came at 6:30. To no one's surprise, we needed a new controller but he had everything required and I was pleased with the price. He showed me how to use it and left a manual, and I'll try tomorrow to make sure I remember how. He also showed me a few more things about the system, like how to turn the water off if there's a leak, and of course the most important thing: how to run some valves manually.

He left around 8, and I left around 8:30 to swing by Safeway and buy Mother a bouquet. They had a really nice one -- usually I buy a bunch of mums or carnations, not a pre-made bouquet, but this was lovely and even my nearly-blind mother really liked it. I also brought her more cookies and two of the cinnamon rolls I made yesterday. She ate those right away! So I will make a larger batch and freeze them. Maybe tomorrow or Friday.

We had a nice visit. My sister called as usual, but Mother's AIM person (Aging in Motion) came a little early so she took Mother down to the gym to start her workout and I talked, in private, about what's going on and what's worrying me. You already know it all: how prevalent my late uncle and aunt are in Mother's conversation, how short her memory is, and an issue with her right wrist. Then I went down to hang out in the gym and cheer Mother on. She is in remarkably good physical shape for a 93 year old, and she loves her AIM person. One of the PTs caught me to let me know that Mother's doctor has prescribed some occupational therapy for her -- OT is for the hands.

I was a little puzzled and talked to the director of PT. He explained that Mother's nurses had noticed that she had trouble transferring herself. That irritated me: yes, because of her right wrist, which I have reported and complained about for two weeks. We talked (with Mother) and the plan is they will do an assessment of her wrist. He will also check that it's been x-rayed (Mother thinks it has, but you know her memory). If it hasn't been, he'll arrange for it to be (they have a portable x-ray so they just do it in her room). If there's no fracture, they'll start OT for a week and then re-assess what's going on. I know where his office is so I can catch him and get information.

After I left Mother I also talked to the nurse on her wing, a really nice guy I've come to know and appreciate, and told him the story. He said he and the director of PT had already talked and he felt they were on the same page. So let's hope.

The good news is that's lots of people coming to see Mother: the AIM person, regular PT they have for all the residents twice a week, and now OT. Plus me, of course, and my sister's calls.

After I left, I hit Costco and then finally home. Webster came out to greet me and help me carry stuff in; when he saw me he said: Have you been crying? Are you all right? Well, I hadn't been crying but I was so exhausted and a little frustrated. I called my sister again and brought her up to speed, and of course he listened in so he knows what's going on. My sister advised me to have a drink, and I would have except then the a/c guy came by to check on a freon leak and instead of a five-minute check he just left, after two hours. So still no drink for me! I think I'll open a bottle of wine :)

But I did have a pleasant afternoon with Webster, once I'd settled down, and it looks as though we might have another storm tonight, yay! More rain would be lovely, even though the humidity + heat is pretty rough.

Oh, I found two cool videos on Jason Kottke's site:

Y40 jump: Guillaume Néry explores the deepest pool in the world. Only two minutes but my hat, what a video. What a pool! This is at a hotel in Italy, and I want to stay there and swim in the pool. No free diving, though.

Awaken, a documentary full of arresting imagery: This is the trailer for a movie coming out next year. Some of the images brought tears to my eyes. Also not very long but so beautiful. "Arresting imagery" is exactly right.

Now, what about that drink?

Posted by Ana

Hello everybody and a happy book birthday to our very own Cassandra Khaw!

We finally unleashed Bearly a Lady into the world today and we are celebrating with a giveaway! Go over to our Instagram page for a chance to win a paperback copy of Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw, Scrabble inspired magnetic bookmarks, and a yummy bag of gummy bears!


About the Book:

Zelda McCartney (almost) has it all: a badass superhero name, an awesome vampire roommate, and her dream job at a glossy fashion magazine (plus the clothes to prove it).

The only issue in Zelda’s almost-perfect life? The uncontrollable need to transform into a werebear once a month.

Just when Zelda thinks things are finally turning around and she lands a hot date with Jake, her high school crush and alpha werewolf of Kensington, life gets complicated. Zelda receives an unusual work assignment from her fashionable boss: play bodyguard for devilishly charming fae nobleman Benedict (incidentally, her boss’s nephew) for two weeks. Will Zelda be able to resist his charms long enough to get together with Jake? And will she want to?

Because true love might have been waiting around the corner the whole time in the form of Janine, Zelda’s long-time crush and colleague.

What’s a werebear to do?

Read an excerpt over at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Buy the book

Kindle ¦ Paperback

Add the book on Goodreads.

The post Bearly a Lady is OUT NOW (& A Giveaway) appeared first on The Book Smugglers.

mirabile: (Saguaro Sunset)
([personal profile] mirabile Jul. 17th, 2017 07:16 pm)
I drove my car for five different errands today. None of them were walkable -- well, two of them would have been but it's too hot. So: to the lap pool, to the pool store to have the water tested, to the dermatologist so Webster's treated basal cell cancer can be looked at (it's healing very well; they are pleased); to my ukulele lesson; to the car repair place to pick up the Jeep. My hat, but that is too much driving on a day off.

But my swim was great, and it's good to have the Jeep back, though they're sending us a list of things that will eventually need repair (well, it's twenty-six years old, so even though we take excellent care of it, things happen, especially in this horrible heat). My ukulele lesson was a little different but a lot of fun -- I have an excellent teacher, I think. I'd like to get good enough to take my uke to Mother's so we could sing along with it, but I'm not there yet.

I made bread today, from the levain I prepared last night. Normally it makes two loaves, but I made one loaf and then two pans of rolls: one just regular sourdough rolls but the other I turned into cinnamon raisin rolls. Webster says they're like candy, so I think Mother will enjoy them. I also made chili for dinner which turned out really tasty, even though I had to ad lib the recipe.

I see Mother tomorrow but don't have anything planned. I'll bring her homemade cookies and a couple of the cinnamon raisin rolls, but I'm not sure what else to do. I think I'll leave home a little early and swing by Safeway to pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers. If it isn't too hot we can sit in the garden for a while. She's lucky because her assisted living area has a beautifully landscaped garden with two fountains. I love sitting there; it's just the heat that keeps me from spending more time there.

I have to get up super early tomorrow because at 6:30 a gentleman is coming to look at the controller for the drip system. I've done as much testing as I could but I need someone with more knowledge than the owner's manual. He came recommended by our handyman, who promised he wouldn't sell us a new system unless we really need one. My feeling is we need a new controller, but we'll see. Maybe I just need to learn how to use it.

We heard from our contractor and on Wednesday he'll be out so we can go together to Lowes' and buy the stuff he needs to build shelves in a closet. This is the last job for a while so I'm anxious to get it done: put a door in between the master bedroom and the attached bathroom (I know! why no door there???) and shelves in the closet. Maybe two days of building and then it's done. At least I hope so. It's been lovely not having people wandering around the house.

I'm pooped. I think I'll call it a day. Good night!

Posted by Ana

Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw is the third title in our Novella Initiative and is out tomorrow, July 18! We are delighted to welcome Cassandra to the blog today to talk about the inspirations behind the novella.

Cover art by Muna Abdirahman. Cover design by Kenda Montgomery

Cover art by Muna Abdirahman. Cover design by Kenda Montgomery

FOR THE LONGEST TIME, CHICK-LIT was my dirty secret.

I discovered Sophie Kinsella in college around the same time that my sister did. I remember coming home and finding a paperback on the sofa with a creamy lemon surface. Its title made me arch a brow. The Undomestic Goddess, it said. I’d snickered.

You have to understand that my alma mater was predominantly male. My classes had six girls, maybe eight. Some classes were all testosterone. The college I attended specialized in all things technology, taught only all things technology, and prototypical nerdbros were the status quo. As such, there were very specific ideas of cool. D&D was acceptable, Gilmore Girls was not. Video games were divisive: DDR made you effeminate (unless you can also breakdance), turn-based RPGs perched on the border, and multiplayer extravaganzas like DotA and Counterstrike meant you were the real deal.

And chick-lit? Chick-lit was social suicide.

So, I turned up my nose because that was what I was conditioned to do. Then, I sat down. Then, I decided to flip through the first few pages, just to see how bad it could get. Kinsella’s breezy, chatty prose was like nothing I’d read, a mouthful of meringue crumbled with blueberries and cream. The protagonist felt ridiculous, overdramatic. What sort of person runs away from a crucial professional mistake? Who walks into someone’s house and then allows themselves to be mistaken for the help? I was appalled, incredulous, mortified at this representation of my gender. Maybe, that’s why my peers couldn’t help but look askance at the girls. If this was the norm, well, maybe it was wrong.

But I ate up the book, anyway, fascinated by its domesticity, its fantasy of rising bread, of finding love even at your most imperfect. It was all so normal, so earnest. Years would pass before I realized why I’d loved it so much and why, despite the judgment of my peers, I would buy up her entire bloody backlist, inhaling her novels like gulps of summer air.

Chick-lit is, at times, what its naysayers describe it to be: a little silly, a little whimsical, full of unwise decisions, improbable joys. It demands that we believe that all a nervous marketing executive might be everything a high-flying CEO could want, that we can be friends with our bosses, that sometimes, everything falls into place and love, that bastard emotion, is all that we need. It is unrealistic, estranged from the cynicism of the real world.

Chick-lit also makes no apologies for women being women, or women being imperfect, or women wanting to take a step back from high-powered careers, to breathe in the country and the idea of being a wife. Good chick-lit doesn’t look down on make-up, BFFs forever, vintage clothes, body image issues, and impulse buys. Good chick-lit might make mothers out of their protagonists, but only because they wanted to be parents, and not because a grizzled protagonist needed someone to shepherd him through the tragedy of a wife’s death.

Most importantly, maybe, good chick-lit is about women, not women as tropes, as things to be coveted, things to be pitied.

And with Bearly a Lady, which, I guess, is more of a “paranormal rom-com,” I wanted to capture some of that. I wanted a story that wasn’t moored in the elegiac monstrosity that defines so much of my other writing. I wanted to create something funny, something compassionate. I wanted friendship, bad decisions, muffins, and moaning about a terrible social life.

Because there’s a place and time for darkness and grim ruminations, and there’s a place and time for bisexual werebears with killer wardrobes and a soft spot for pastries.


About the Author:


Cassandra Khaw has written, written about, and been written about in a myriad of press releases. She does social media for Route 59 Games, freelances as a tech and video games journalist, and spends whatever time she has left writing fiction. Bearly a Lady is her first foray into romance, comedy, and people-not-dying-horribly. She can found on Twitter at @casskhaw.

About the Book:

Zelda McCartney (almost) has it all: a badass superhero name, an awesome vampire roommate, and her dream job at a glossy fashion magazine (plus the clothes to prove it).

The only issue in Zelda’s almost-perfect life? The uncontrollable need to transform into a werebear once a month.

Just when Zelda thinks things are finally turning around and she lands a hot date with Jake, her high school crush and alpha werewolf of Kensington, life gets complicated. Zelda receives an unusual work assignment from her fashionable boss: play bodyguard for devilishly charming fae nobleman Benedict (incidentally, her boss’s nephew) for two weeks. Will Zelda be able to resist his charms long enough to get together with Jake? And will she want to?

Because true love might have been waiting around the corner the whole time in the form of Janine, Zelda’s long-time crush and colleague.

What’s a werebear to do?

Read an excerpt over at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Buy the book

Kindle ¦ Paperback

Add the book on Goodreads.

The post Bearly a Lady: Cassandra Khaw on Inspirations & Influences appeared first on The Book Smugglers.

mirabile: made just for me (Default)
([personal profile] mirabile Jul. 16th, 2017 09:26 pm)
So a new Doctor Who! Now that Moffat has moved on, I think I'll give the thirteenth doctor a try. Besides, thirteen has always been my lucky number.

Had a nice, relaxing day. Slept later than usual, swam, then backwashed the pool. Webster and I grocery shopped, and then I made chicken and dumplings, his favorite meal (he's re-heating some right now). I also started a levain for bread tomorrow and fed my sourdough starter. I made another batch of buttermilk panna cotta but something went wrong and it isn't setting up. I guess we'll drink it? Practiced ukulele, but not enough. Oh well. My lesson is tomorrow at three, so I have some time.

There's a storm outside: lots of wind and lightning, but so far no thunder or rain. We keep peeking out the front door and back windows to watch the weather. Heh, I can hear Webster looking out the front door again. I wish we'd get some rain, but at least we've had some clouds. All of a sudden it's really humid, though; today while working on the pool the sweat literally poured down my face. I got in the pool a couple of times just to cool down, but I was very happy when I finished and could come into the air conditioned house. I honestly don't know how humans lived here before a/c. Webster points out that the rivers actually flowed back then and they would spend the hottest part of the day in the water. Sounds good to me.

Anybody read The Essex Serpent? I started it today; not sure how I feel about the characters yet. Guess I'll find out.

Good night!
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
([personal profile] mrkinch Jul. 16th, 2017 02:43 pm)
Two hours at the shoreline in mid-July? Still pretty damned boring. Shorebird migration is supposed to be happening by now, but you wouldn't know it where I was. Could have have been the hour (noon is late for land birds) or the tide (bracketing low tide is bad planning, but see below), but while I saw a hundred or so willets moving about there were only small numbers of the other large shorebirds, a few dowitchers, and no smaller peeps. When the most surprising bird is a black-crowned night heron it is not an exciting day. Still, the large waders were out in force; aside from the night-heron there were a number of snowy egrets, two or maybe three great blue herons, and a great egret. Other fun sightings were as many as three black oystercatchers inside Richmond Harbor and six brown pelicans surface feeding just off shore. Pretty damned boring: )

Also saw a spectacular anise swallowtail.

Despite the lack of thrilling birds I can't regret getting out, only that it took me til noon Sunday to manage it, and so I went out at a crappy time because it was then or never. I know that if I don't get out by sunrise I'm probably not going anywhere that day because I've missed the crowd-free window. But it's looking like if I don't get out Friday I'm doomed to inactivity all weekend. Absolutely have to get myself out Friday morning.
([syndicated profile] book_smugglers_feed Jul. 16th, 2017 12:48 pm)

Posted by Ana

Hello, friends! Happy Sunday–let’s get down to business, shall we?

This Week on The Book Smugglers:

On Monday, we kick off the week with Cassandra Khaw’s Inspirations & Influences essay behind her novella, Bearly a Lady. If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, NOW IS THE TIME!


Tuesday, we are delighted to publish Bearly a Lady, available as ebook and paperback – and we celebrate it with a giveaway!


On Wednesday, we reveal the cover for our fourth Gods and Monsters story. “It Came Back” by Samantha Lienhard is our one true horror story in the series! After that, we co-host a new Cooking the Books special episode with Ken Liu


Thursday, Ana reviews White Tears by Hari Kunzru.


And on Friday, Ana closes out the week over at Kirkus with her review of Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn.


It’s a busy week! Until tomorrow, we remain…

Art by Martin Bruckner

Art by Martin Bruckner

Spaghetti Toes

~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Book Smugglers

The post Smugglers’ Stash and News appeared first on The Book Smugglers.

timetobegin: (shadowhunters [ clary ])
([personal profile] timetobegin posting in [community profile] fandom_icons Jul. 16th, 2017 07:54 pm)
angel(2), agents of shield(4), buffy(4), killjoys(2), lost girl(3), superstore(2), riverdale(3), legends of tomorrow(37), shadowhunters(1) and supernatural(1)

all here
mirabile: (Peggy Carter)
([personal profile] mirabile Jul. 15th, 2017 10:11 pm)
Just finished re-watching the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. My hat, but I laughed a lot. I enjoy a lot of the MCU, but I think Guardians is my favorite. But when I re-watch Doctor Strange, that'll probably be my favorite, and wow, am I looking forward to Black Panther, which will probably then be my favorite. When does that come out, anyway? Oh dang, IMDB says it won't be released till next year. *sulks*

Saturday is Mother's day, but we kind of mixed this up. I drove out and spent a couple of hours with her, during which my sister and her wife called. Then I brought Mother back to the house so she could see the remodeling (she keeps forgetting that she's already seen the changes), and then Webster, she, and I had lunch at Red Lobster. She ate everything on her plate + two biscuits, so that made me happy.

During all this, I got an email from my sister-in-law asking if I would pick up a bouquet of roses for a friend of hers who was going into hospice at Mother's assisted living facility. Across the street from the Red Lobster is an AJ's Fine Foods, which is an upscale grocery store, kind of a local Whole Foods, so I left Mother and Webster in the car with the a/c running and had a bundle of white roses and alstroemeria put together, with a card I signed for my s-i-l. We dropped it off when we took Mother home. I've had texts and emails from my sister and her wife thanking us for doing that -- apparently the flowers were one of the last things her friend saw before she passed away. I'm so glad we were in a position to do something like that. It kind of shook us up, as you can imagine.

So we kissed Mother goodbye and came home and collapsed. I swam a little bit but a storm was threatening and I could see lightning in the distance, so I didn't stay long. Came in and started watching Guardians, and now it's time to sleep.

Oh! Someone on Tumblr linked to this brilliant MCU vid, Glitter and Gold, by djcprod and Grable424. Awesome, awesome stuff, and one of my favorite songs that I like to bellow when I'm cleaning house. Now I want to re-watch all the MCU movies.

Posted by Ana

Today, to celebrate the release of Robert Beatty’s Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Book 3 in the Serafina series) we are delighted to be hosting a giveaway in partnership with Disney-Hyperion!


About the Serafina Series:

Serafina and the Black Cloak Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Set in the magical Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling series stars the fierce, resilient character of Serafina, a wild girl longing for kinship and struggling to understand her place in the world. This timeless story of finding one’s true family and best self chronicles an epic battle between good and evil and rewrites the rules of who can be a hero.

Book 1: Serafina and the Black Cloak
Book 2: Serafina and the Twisted Staff
Book 3: Serafina and the Splintered Heart

About the New Book:


The storms are coming….

Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it’s too late.

With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina takes her rightful place among literary champions as she battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.

About the Author:


Robert Beatty lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives he was one of the pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the CTO and chairman of Narrative magazine. Visit him online at www.robert-beatty.com.

Enter The Giveaway:


The Storms are Coming!
One (1) winner receives*:
– the complete Serafina series;
– a cloud light and colorful umbrella;
– plus custom Serafina and the Splintered Heart earrings!

Open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

Use the form below to enter and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Serafina Giveaway: All the books and more appeared first on The Book Smugglers.