Rules vs. Guidelines in Fantasy. If you can imagine it, fantasy will let you write about it, and that is the most powerful and enduring reason that it is my best-beloved among the genres. Fantasy means never having to say, “It can’t be done.”
Other than that, my sister got into town yesterday afternoon. We had Torchy’s Tacos and hung out. Today is for hiking with the pup, dim sum, home-brews with a friend, and then some downtown bar-hopping action. The last is at her request, I assure you.
This is something I’ve had on the brain for awhile, and have hinted at here on the blog, but it’s finally happened! I’ve opened a 2nd shop, specializing in design services and digital goods. It’s called Dragonflight Digital, and will eventually have WordPress and Blogger templates, Etsy shop banners, digital prints, listings for pre-made mix-and-match options, and completely custom design services options (logos, blog headers, sidebar ads, etc.). I just opened less than 2 weeks ago, so there’s not a whole lot there yet. But I’ve already had two sales, which was kind of amazing to me.
Here’s some examples of some of the things on offer so far:
And don’t worry, the Dragonflight Dreams shop is staying open. I still love my screenprinting. I just wanted to do digital design-centric stuff, and a separate venue seemed like the best way to go about it.
So that’s my big news! I hope you’ll stop by and check it out, maybe give it a heart.
Any advice for digital products that would be useful to you? Have you ever had two shops open at once?
I’m a big fan of Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series, so I was excited to read his new standalone, fantasy-horror YA book. It’s the story of Zoe, a girl dealing with the upheaval her father’s unexpected death has had on her life. Her best friend is a boy she only sees when she’s asleep, and her newest hobby is hanging out at a record store whose strange proprietor offers her the chance to talk with her dead father. This propels Zoe on a strange journey into the world of the dead, where magic is possible and nothing is as it seems. Something is off in this world; Zoe’s life and the souls of the dead she loves are in danger. As just a mortal girl, what hope does Zoe have against age-old mystical forces?
This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. It was ok. It was more on the fantasy side of things than horror, which was good. And it was entertaining enough and well written enough to keep me reading. But coming from Kadrey’s other books and knowing what he can do, this just seemed… watered down. Maybe that’s because this was for a YA audience rather than adult, but I’ve read YA that is still surprising and original. This was not really surprising, or exciting. I kept having this thought in the back of my head that I’d read this story before; I don’t know if he based it all on a myth I came across somewhere or what, but it seemed like a retelling of something, not a new story. And retellings can be striking and original in their own right, but this one just wasn’t. It was formulaic. His spin with the record store and old music angle was mildly interesting, but it seemed an odd choice for a YA audience since they a) don’t use records and b) likely wouldn’t have heard of any of the bands he referenced (I hadn’t, and I’m older than the target audience). Again, though, it was well written technically, and interesting enough to have me finish the book, so definitely not all bad. But if you’re going to read some Kadrey, I’d recommend the Sandman Slim series over this.
I give it 3/5 stars.
I was given a promotional copy of this book by Harper Voyager U.S. for review.
In case you missed it at the start of the year, one of the things I’ve decided to do with the shop this year is donate a portion of all sales to charities or causes that I support.
April has a whole bunch of things going on, including World Health Day, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and STD Education & Awareness Month. To support all of those at once, this month’s charity is Planned Parenthood. You’ve probably heard of them, but if you didn’t know Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care and sex education to millions of people (not just women!) worldwide. For nearly 100 years, this organization has promoted a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning. That right there is about as perfect a summary of my opinion on the matter as you can get. If you feel the same, you can support the cause by a direct donation on the their site, or by shopping in my shop this month.
An extended version of PP’s mission: “Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual’s income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual’s right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships.”
At the beginning of this month $10 was donated to the March shop charity – thank you!
Totally forgot to blog yesterday. Ah well, it happens. And there’s a bunch of good stuff in the links today, so that should make up for it, yeah? Yeah.
I’ve got a lot to get done this week. Work stuff, shop stuff, and house cleaning stuff, because this weekend is busy and then my sister gets here on Monday and I’ll be out of office all next week. Yay sister visit! But I have a housewarming and a wedding to go to this weekend before that. So many happenings! I’m particularly excited about the wedding, because I’m friends with both the bride and groom, and I get to enjoy their wedding without the pressure of being a bridesmaid or photographer. Woot!
Time for another fairy tale retelling! You know I love them. In While Beauty Slept, Blackwell tackles the story of Sleeping Beauty through a historical rather than magical lens. It’s told through the point of view of Elise, a farm girl whose family is decimated by the plague and so she goes to the castle to look for a new start. Eventually she becomes handmaiden to the queen, and so witnesses Rose’s birth, the power struggles with the king’s aunt Millicent, their dramatic clash, and the way fear can erode personal relationships as well as a kingdom. It’s an interesting read, and despite Elise being ‘only’ a maid, she has more of an influence on events than just as ‘witness.’ I also like that she has a life of her own going on (her own secrets and struggles and heartbreaks) instead of it only being about the royal family. Elise is the narrator, and the framework is such that she’s an old woman finally telling this long-kept story to her great-granddaughter. Which, at times is not a believable framework since the story does get graphic about violence, sickness and sex. Also, even though I liked the story and consider it a good read, the link between Elise’s story and how that supposedly morphed into the Sleeping Beauty we all know is still a pretty thin one. And I saw the end coming from a mile away, which is always a bit of an anticlimax. But overall, still a good historical fiction read with dashes of intrigue and romance! Give it a whirl.