My Current Podcast Playlist

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: (Calissa)
[personal profile] calissa

Podcasts, Earl Grey Editing

I’m a podcast fiend. I find they’re a great way to keep me entertained while I’m doing housework. Over the last few years, I’ve ended up with quite a few shows to listen to. They fall into three broad categories:

Books, Media and Culture

This is far and away the biggest category. It includes podcasts featuring interviews, discussions about fandom, and reviews of books, movies and TV shows.

Fangirl Happy Hour: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Renay of Lady Business and Ana of The Book Smugglers. They review books, movies and graphic novels, as well as discuss what they’ve been reading or watching more generally. They also talk about the state of SFF fandom and often segue into political commentary and discussions of mental health.

Galactic Suburbia: This Hugo-Award-winning podcast is hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Alexandra Pierce. Much like Fangirl Happy Hour, they discuss the state of SFF fandom, albeit from an Australian perspective. The two podcasts occasionally end up in dialogue over vital issues, such as what can be classified as cake. The ladies of GS also discuss the culture they’ve been reading, watching or otherwise consuming.

Not Now, I’m Reading: A new podcast just started by Chelsea of the Reading Outlaw and Kay Taylor Rae which focuses on reviewing genre books and media. As a keen reader of romance, I appreciate that their focus is a little wider than just SFF and the way they’re unapologetic about their passions.

Overinvested: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Morgan Leigh Davies review movies, TV shows and comics. Most are genre, though not all. These ladies are savvy critics who really know their stuff and are also not afraid to love material they know is rubbish.

The Skiffy and Fanty Show: This Hugo-nominated podcast is headed up by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink with a large cast of co-hosts. They do multiple segments of varying kinds, including signal boosts, interviews and Torture Cinema (wherein a panel reviews a movie deemed to be awful by pop culture).

Radio Free Fandom: Another new podcast, in which Claire Rousseau interviews guests about their fandoms. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far and am still getting a feel for it.

Reading the End: I usually prefer my podcasts to be solidly genre, but I make an exception for the Demographically-Similar Jennys. Gin Jenny and Whisky Jenny do often discuss and review genre books, but are just as likely to be reviewing contemporary literature. They also discuss their favourite instances of particular tropes and occasionally delve into research on space, the sea and Arctic explorers. At all times, they remain utterly charming.

SFF Yeah: Book Riot’s new SFF podcast. Sharifah and Jenn discuss SFF news and favourite literary tropes. I’m still deciding if this one is for me.

Sheep Might Fly: A podcast of serialised fiction by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Tansy alternates between previously published work and completely new stories. It’s a delight to hear them in Tansy’s own voice.

Tea and Jeopardy: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Emma Newman. Each of the guests she interviews has a connection to SFF and each interview takes place in a different (fictional) lair arranged by her morally-dubious butler (voiced by Peter Newman). Guests often find themselves in a bit of difficulty as they leave. The fictional framework doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it fun.

The Math of You: This is a relatively recent discovery from me. Lucas Brown interviews a range of guests about the pop culture that influenced them while growing up. Not strictly SFF; this is geekdom in many flavours. Lucas is a warm and enthusiastic interviewer.

The Writer and the Critic: Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond review a range of speculative fiction. I initially picked this up due to its Ditmar nomination this year and have liked it enough to keep it on. The contrasting perspectives make it engaging. However, I’m also adverse to spoilers, so haven’t yet delved into many of the episodes.

Gaming

This is the newest category in my podcast list and focuses exclusively on tabletop RPGs (which, I’m sure, surprises no one).

The Gauntlet Podcast: Primarily hosted by Jason Cordova, the podcast interviews game designers and signal boosts RPGs being crowdfunded. The hosts also discuss the games they’ve been playing and what has been inspiring them.

The Gauntlet crew also run several other related podcasts. I’ve not yet listened to +1 Forward, but it has recently been nominated for an ENnie Award. However, I have listened to Pocket-Sized Play. I don’t usually go in for Actual Play podcasts, but I’ve been loving their Monsterhearts campaign, Mercy Falls.

Writing Advice

The last category in my list is short. While I appreciate some measure of discussion about craft and industry, I find too much counterproductive for me (it’s hard enough to mute my inner editor).

Ditch Diggers: Hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace. I picked up this one because it was nominated for a Hugo this year and I wanted to judge it fairly. Mur and Matt discuss craft, answer questions and interview other creators. It’s a solid show, though I occasionally find it abrasive in ways that weren’t intended.

Writing Excuses: These short episodes are hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler. Each season has a distinct theme and guest co-hosts. I appreciate the diversity of voices (though it remains sadly US-centric). Each episode ends with a practical exercise.

 

Altogether, these make up my current playlist. Does anything catch your attention? What would you recommend I check out?

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

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Trust by Kylie Scott

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Trust, Kylie Scott, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: Self-published in July 2017
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Young adult, contemporary romance
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available:Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~Kobo

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love… the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight–getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first–losing her virginity–their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose–each other.

Trust is Kylie Scott’s first foray into Young Adult and I certainly hope it won’t be her last because I was pretty impressed.

There was so much that was great about this book. I appreciated its diversity. This includes race and sexuality–two of Edie’s new friends are lesbians and the other Vietnamese–but it also goes beyond that. Edie herself is an unconventional protagonist. She may be white and blonde, but she’s also considered overweight and has no desire to change that. She has seen her mum go through the constant torture of diets and would rather be happy than subject herself to the same. Of course, she is bullied for being a socially-unacceptable body shape but never by the narrative. Instead, she is also shown as being desireble–and desirable by someone who has a socially-acceptable body shape.

Another thing I loved about the story is the way it advocates for healthy relationships and boundary setting. Edie is not shy about cutting people off if they violate her privacy. She has zero time for other people’s bullshit. While her relationship with John didn’t start under the best circumstances, it is a healthy one–with each one supporting the other through the changes they’re making in their lives. There is also one scene that takes a bit of a dig at Twilight when John unexpectedly shows up at Edie’s bedroom window one night.

This is not a book that pulls its punches. It kicks off with the robbery Edie and John get caught in at the convenience store, and takes us all the way through that traumatic experience. It has all the bodily fluids (and I really do mean all). There’s onscreen sex–and, being a romance writer, Scott isn’t shy about it. There’s awkward sex and sexy sex, and good consent practices at all times.

All in all, I loved Trust to pieces and I’m hoping we’ll see more YA from Kylie Scott.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Loose-leaf Links #43

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Amaretto, Tea Centre, Loose-leaf Links, loose-leaf tea, Earl Grey Editing

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Amaretto from the Tea Centre. This flavoured black tastes strongly of marzipan, making it a favourite of mine.

Follow Up ) Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

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(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 01:50 pm
turps: (dino)
[personal profile] turps
The men are here fitting the toilet today, so everything is chaos and I've floorboards taken up in the living room. It was supposed to be a two day job, but they think they can get it all done in a day, including the electrics. Of course, they've got here and decided to run the wiring under the floor and not via the cupboard, which means it didn't have to be touched. But, I'm not too bothered about that as it badly needed sorting out anyway. Plus, new toilet soon! It's going to make so much difference to James, and make his life so much easier.

Kynren was amazing. In fact, Saturday itself was amazing. It was also the Durham Miners Gala, or as it's known locally, Durham Big Meeting. We decided to stop off there on our way to Kynren, and as expected Durham was crammed. We had to park a ten minute walk away, and then the closer we got the more the crowds increased. But oh, what an atmosphere. At one point we were standing listening to a brass band play a version of Michael Jackson's Thriller, and it was so busy, people all around, but all cheerful, and the flags were flapping in the breeze, it was sunny and I just thought how much I'd missed experiences like that, but didn't actually realise that until I was reliving them again.

We had a quick walk along the river front after that, and then drove to Bishop Auckland, where we were still far too early for Kynren to start, so we had a walk around the shops, then checked out the castle gardens. Then finally it was Kynren time.

The show is set in a specially made area deep in the countryside. When you book tickets you're assigned a parking area and then either walk for about ten minutes, get a shuttle bus, or if you have mobility issues get assigned one of the closest car parks, where you can either walk the last bit if able, or if not, golf buggies would drive you down. James was using his wheelchair, so I just pushed him down.

Security was tight with armed police and bag checks, and once you were past those there were various food trucks set up around the tribune -- the area the performance takes part in. We would have eaten there but had bought stuff for a picnic earlier, so just sat in the sunshine and waited for the time we could take our seats.

Everything in the show is done by volunteers, the actors, people selling merch, showing you to your seats, everything. And every single one was so proud and excited about their show. It took us ages to walk the distance from one end of the food area to the other because every volunteer asked if we were looking forward to the show and talked about it.

Finally we could take our seats. The show started at 9:30, and we went in about an hour before. Because James was in his wheelchair we had a front row seat, but because of the strange set out where the wheelchairs users were positioned in-front of their companion, anyone who could transfer just sat on a seat, which is what James did so we were side by side.

We had such a good view. Only a few feet in front of us was the sandy track where the animals ran past. Including geese, cows, sheep, and the most exciting, horses and knights jousting. The show itself was about the history of the north east, with a young boy, Arthur, travelling through time and meeting loads of different people from different eras. There were fights between the Scots and English, complete with fiery arrows being shot and bagpipes with flames coming out of the pipes. A pit disaster, the Bishop of Durham, so much stuff that just went on and on complete with sets appearing out of the lake, and projected onto back lots, and fireworks and so many people fighting and dancing and doing all kinds of things. It was hard to know where to look as you'd look to one side and meanwhile more characters would appear from the other.

The only slight downside was due to it being a night show it got really cold. We'd taken Corey's thick warm cape he had made for a comic con, and shared that, but I was still cold. But even so, I'd go back in an instant.

Some pictures, only a fraction of what we saw, and some not the best quality due to conditions, but still, a nice hint of the show. )

Corpselight by Angela Slatter

Jul. 10th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Corpselight, Angela Slatter, Verity Fassbinder, Earl Grey Editing, tea and books, books and tea, Australian fantasy

Published: July 2017 by Jo Fletcher Books
Format reviewed: Trade paperback, 386 pages
Series: Verity Fassbinder #2
Genres: Urban fantasy
Source: Hachette Australia
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available: Publisher (print) ~ Abbey’s ~ Amazon~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia ~ Dymocks ~ Kobo

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This review contains spoilers for previous volumes/books.

Life in Brisbane is never simple for those who walk between the worlds.

Verity’s all about protecting her city, but right now that’s mostly running surveillance and handling the less exciting cases for the Weyrd Council after all, it’s hard to chase the bad guys through the streets of Brisbane when you’re really,reallypregnant.

An insurance investigation sounds pretty harmless, even if it is for ‘Unusual Happenstance’. That’s not usually a clause Normals use — it covers all-purpose hauntings, angry genii loci, ectoplasmic home invasion, demonic possession, that sort of thing — but Susan Beckett’s claimed three times in three months. Her house keeps getting inundated with mud, but she’s still insisting she doesn’t need or want help . . . until the dry-land drownings begin.

V’s first lead takes her to Chinatown, where she is confronted by kitsune assassins. But when she suddenly goes into labour, it’s clear the fox spirits are not going to be helpful . . .

As I’ve mentioned before, I love a good urban fantasy and Angela Slatter’s Verity Fassbinder series is turning out to be one of my favourites. Corpselight does some unusual things with the genre.

For a start, it’s refreshing to see a pregnant protagonist. And I don’t mean just pregnant, I mean almost-ready-to-drop pregnant. This raises the stakes in some interesting ways. Verity has scaled back her activities as an investigator for the Council, but events conspire to draw her in. She’s forced to weigh her duty to the Weyrd community against her daughter’s safety.

The theme of motherhood plays out in several strands of the book. In particular, it is concerned with neglectful mothers and examines where this can be fairly benign all the way through to where it facilitates abuse. Readers should be warned the story is quite dark in places, involving off-screen family abuse and on-screen suicide.

The book is not without humour, however. Fassbinder’s Law of Handbags made me chuckle, and I cackled out loud at numerous points of the story. I also appreciate a book that takes its cake seriously… though marshmallow and caramel sounds a bit sweet for me.

One of my criticisms of Vigil was its depiction of Verity’s love interest, David. I was pleased to see him get a little more screen time in Corpselight. He’s still a relatively shallow character–but this is by design. It reverses the gender dynamics often present in male-led urban fantasy and noir. David is the supportive spouse, there to love and enable Verity. While this was also true of Vigil, his added screen time gives weight to the affection he and Verity share.

The story kept me on my toes. Every time I thought I’d figured out the direction it was going, it proved me wrong. The ending, in particular, shook things up and I’ll be interested to see how events play out in the sequel.

Overall, I found Corpselight to be a thoughtful example of urban fantasy and an excellent continuation of the series.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

(no subject)

Jul. 7th, 2017 05:30 pm
turps: (mwlight)
[personal profile] turps
I've made a start on the cupboard. As of now all the Christmas decorations have been taken upstairs -- which means there's actually floor room in there now, and I've started to sort a little. But there's so much in there, camping stuff, scout stuff, old boxes for electricals, the list goes on. But, at least it's started.

Tomorrow we've tickets to go see Kynren which is going to be pretty amazing. It's an outdoors show that's performed from sunset, so it doesn't even start until 9:30. Hopefully it won't rain as you're not allowed to use umbrellas, but we have bought two of those throw away all size fits all pack a macs, so even if it does rain we should stay relatively dry.

James has wanted to go since last summer, so he's thrilled, and I'm really looking forward to it, too. We've a wheelchair ticket which means front row, through from what I've read, none of the seats are bad and all have a good view, no matter where you sit.

It does mean we won't get home until after midnight. Hopefully I won't turn into a pumpkin.

ETA: There's a Bake Off story in the BBB claims. My heart!

June 2017

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