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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
Editor of all fiction genres.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Unexpected Q&A: LIEBSTERS, late but loved

Hello, hello! 

Well, I thought I'd sneak in at least one last post before the year slips away from us. Of course, I'm tragically behind on here, but you haven't seen the last of me. 'Tis the time for silly things, though, so I'm going to post the Liebster Q&As I've been putting off. 

Liebster blog nominations
I was nominated for this by Shannon McRoberts @Obsidianpoet on shannonmcroberts.com, Caster Rowe @CasterRowe on http://dreamsofalchemy.blogspot.com, and John Dolan of http://johndolanwriter.blogspot.ca/
About Liebster:

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. “Liebster” is German for “Beloved, Dearest or Favorite”. All of the images are from the internet. 

The Rules:

When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!). One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees. One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog! One pastes the award picture into ones blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!).
I am going to cheat a bit, and nominate a huge batch of new people with only 11 questions. Also, I will post my random facts once, rather than setting up 11 facts three times over. I could probably give you 11 random facts, but they would get progressively weirder and probably make people run away screaming. I will, however, answer all of the questions the authors gave me. So: Without further ado, my Liebsters!

11 Random Facts:

1) Almost of my favorite foods used to be things I hated to eat as a child. Mushrooms, tomatoes, cinnamon, dark chocolate, scrambled eggs…

2)  I am left-handed and a bit ambidextrous; I can write with both hands. Also, I can write BACKWARDS with both hands in cursive. (Not that well with the right though.)

3)  I have tested this officially, by the way—I’ve got synaesthesia, a slightly rare but not totally uncommon neural condition that involves mixing the senses. Some smells have colours, and music very frequently has color as well. I love my synaesthesia and it has grown and developed in other areas through being focused on. I do sometimes get irritable when ‘letters are the wrong colour’ or ‘things are a different colour than they smell’. I also can’t stand most automatic music rendering programs, because the colours and patterns they use look utterly wrong to me.

4)  I love writing about the end of the world, but I like to skew my worlds towards letting the plants and animals get their revenge on us. I do eat meat, but I’m pretty strongly on the side of environmental conservatism. I try to keep up with the news on global climate change and other ecological disruptions as well.

5)  My partner and I have a cat named Maxwell, who is a Jellicle cat and definitely a clever little beast. He can open doors, measures his jumps, hides things, and has learned to mimic a few words. We reckon he’s either part Siamese or part demon.

6) I can wiggle my ears and twitch my nose like Samantha in Bewitched. Also, I can curl the tip of my tongue into the shape of a w.

7)  I’m fairly fluent in geekery and know far more about Star Wars, H.P Lovecraft, and Warhammer 40K than is probably sane.  If you get me started on talking about books, I’ll probably only stop when I run out of breath.

8)  I’ve been writing since I was 13, which means that I’ve been a writer for ten years now.

9) I wanted to publish for I turned 18 so I could be a prodigy. Since then I’ve learned that the only real sure-fire way to gain cachet is a) work hard, b) be friendly and gracious, and c) most importantly, write the best damn books around.

10)  I absolutely love Leonard Cohen’s music and it often brings me to tears.

11)  I can’t stand the sensation of my fingernails on unglazed china.

Questions for me:

From Shannon: 

1)  Pepperoni, Ham, or Bologna?

None. Prosciutto. Om nom nom. Delicious Italian ham.

2)  What are you current working on that isn't top secret?

“The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming”, my third book, is an anthology of short stories and will also include a couple of longer works. It’s probably going to include a novella as well, but said novella is blossoming into something enormous and I’m really hoping it won’t mutate into a novel. If it does, well, I’ll just have to continue this 10,000 words in four days thing.

3)  Any promotions going on now?

Yes! My novel, “And the Stars Will Sing”, is free on Kindle from Dec 6- to Dec 10. Download it here!
“The Stolen: Two Short Stories” is also on sale for 0.99, so grab that while you’re at it!

4)  What is your favorite TV show?
I only really watch things on Netflix, but the answer is probably ‘Farscape’, closely followed by ‘Community’. I liked CSI Vegas and Law & Order (original) but then they went into rerun mode. I also adore cartoons.

5)  Do you believe the American dream is a white picket fence and 2.5 kids?
In a word, no. I’m bi, poly, and I’ve seen monogamy fail too many times to see it as the be-all and end-all relationship format. I do want kids and a family, but I think the way people try to have that setup generally fails. Also, picket fences are heck on your shins.

6)  What's your day job?  

Administration! I shuffle papers.

7)  Do you like your day job?

Actually, yes, I love it. No, really!

8)  How many books have you written?

Written or published? Published, number three is coming up; written…uh…there’s at least two full novels done, some MORE short stories that will be a full work, MORE short stories that will be put into another work…and fistfuls of projects currently on the backburner.

9)  Avengers or X-Men?

Neither, I’m a Vertigo (DC) fan.

10) Wolverine or Thor?

Wolverine. He’s funnier.

11) Do you like comic books?

I like Alan Moore’s stuff and graphic novels, but I find comics hard to follow. So—yes, but I need them to be in a nice big volume so I can figure out what the hell is going on. I’m hopeless with the thin little serials.

From Caster Rowe:

1.     What are you currently working on?
“The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming”, a new anthology with a horror slant that will be out in a couple of weeks. Currently the story “Underlighters” is occupying me and I’m trying to finish it before my projected release date, Dec 21st.
2.     Where does your writing inspiration most come from?
Depends on the story. Sometimes, Andrey (my partner) will throw me an idea, sometimes someone will say something and I’ll latch onto it, cackling madly as I scribble notes. Other books might spark a response from me, a desire to ‘talk back’ at their authors while creating my own work. Scrabble has also inspired me—yes, really. Sometimes I get the ideas from dreams or nightmares I’ve had.
3.     If any of your fictional works were made into a movie, who would play the protagonist and why?
Huh. Um…I’m terrible with actor’s names. However, I would love to have Allan Rickman play one of my villains at some point. That would pretty much make my life complete.

4.     Is there one book that made you decide to become a writer and how/why?
No, there were about a dozen of them. Roald Dahl definitely was influential, as was Diana Wynne Jones; lately, Alexandre Dumas is a big influence. There are a lot more, too, but I don’t even think I can remember all of them—any book that gets me thinking, crying, or arguing with it, inspires and influences me.
5.     If you had one super power, what would it be?
Double jump.
6.     What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in public?
Peed on a tree when I couldn’t’ get to a bathroom (I was a kid) or possibly taking a massive slip and slide fall when I was in 10thgrade. There’s probably a couple more embarrassing ones but I can’t think of them.
7.     If you found a million dollars and there was a $1000 reward for finding it, or you could keep it for yourself with no one ever being the wiser, what would you do?
Depends on who was looking for the million. I’d probably return it because I try to be morally sound—and if you know someone is looking for it, it’s not finders keepers, it’s stealing. I also would worry about my safety if I found a million bucks lying around.
8.     How old were you when you realized that mom and/or dad was not the source of all knowledge in the world, which is to say, she and/or he was just a dumbass like everyone else, and what was the situation?
Hard to say. I never saw my parents as omnipotent, for a variety of reasons, but the most soul-crushing realization of their mortality and imperfection happened when my father became deathly ill when I was 13. He’s fine now, but that was terrifying.
9.     What is your favorite meal to prepare?
I am a whiz at crepes and I make a pretty good steak, too. Mmmm. Now I’m hungry.
10.  Where were you when you heard that Hostess was going out of business and how will this affect your life as a productive member of society?
It won’t affect me because I don’t eat twinkies, and I believe I was staring at Facebook at the time.
11.  What is the one place in the world that you most long to visit or live?
Oooh, tough q. Paris appeals to me, but I want to go back to Montreal, because it broke my heart and enchanted me. I’d like to investigate London and New York, as well, and I’ve heard too many odd things about Tokyo to pass it up. Seoul is also on the list, and Rio…oh, fine, I just don’t want to choose.

From John Dolan:

What is the worst present you have ever received?

One time in 5th grade I had a party at the water park and invited all the popular girls. They all gave me hair products of various kinds. My hair was very messy as a kid and it was one of the more embarrassing things ever to happen to me.

2. If you were going to throw someone out of an aeroplane who would it be?
Depends on whether or not they get a parachute. If they don’t, Ann Coulter and a couple of other hate-spewing bags of trash are high on the list.

3. What is the most embarrassing thing you've ever worn?
For a kiwanis concert in 8th grade I had an all- pale-pink sweater set ensemble with matching jewelry and rosettes. I am still embarrassed of how dorky it must have looked. The other embarrassing thing I’ve worn was a helmet, pre-eye surgery (don’t ask).

4. If you could have been the writer of any song, which song would it be?

Hallelujah, but I wouldn’t want to be the writer—I just want to see the 80 verses and 2 notebooks Cohen considered before he went for the current seven.

5. If you weren't doing what you are doing, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be me. I love what I’m doing. However, I’m intrigued by the idea of being a gemologist; I’d probably be taking more university courses right now.

6. How long can you hold your breath for?

About 1 minute as far as I can tell.

7. If you had to have a tattoo what would it be and where would it be on your body?

I want a flock of magpies curving around my shoulder to my hip, and a large ‘order of the unified heart’ (two interlocked hearts, a bit like a star of David) on my left shoulder, the back part.

8. Apple or Microsoft?

Pfff. Microsoft.

9. If you could remove one country from the planet which one would it be?

None, but I’d love to do surgery on American culture. It’s sad and sick in a lot of ways. (Sorry, guys.)

10. Which extinct animal would you like to see not-extinct?

The black rhino. 

11. Which movie is most likely to make you blubber?

Hmm…which movie makes me cry…Well…to be honest, The Lion King still makes me tear up. I can’t remember bawling at any movie, ever, in my entire life. Yes, really.

Questions for Others:

1)  Cake or death?
2)  What are you currently working on?
3)  Any promotions going on now?
4)  What is your least favorite book every written? Be honest.
5)  Which country in the world would you like to live in more than any other?
6)  What do you do when you’re not writing?
7)  What would you do with $10,000 (currency of your choice)?
8)  Which genres do you like? Which are impossible to stand?
9)  If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
10) Cupcakes or cookies?
11) What would you have done if the world ended on Dec 21st?

My nominees: 
These are all awesome people whose blogs you should check out. Seriously. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Galericulate: JD's Review of 'And the Stars Will Sing'

Hello hello!

Just another short update, before I return to book land. I will have publicity stuff for you, such as THE COVER OF THE NEW BOOK, but I need to finish the damn thing first.

Here we have a glorious review of And the Stars Will Sing by John Dolan, talented author of Everyone Burns. His unsolicited review completely made my weekend. *UPDATE* I'm also going to copy-paste some of my Amazon reviews, which have also blown me away.

Sci-fi novels written in the first person have an additional challenge inasmuch as the technologies and worlds described by the narrator would be familiar to them while being unfamiliar to us. This presents the writer with a technical difficulty of conveying to the reader what is different to them without undermining the narrator’s credibility. Imagine the situation of a current-day narrator describing a journey by train. Exactly HOW fascinated would that person be with how the carriage was laid out or the technology of railway tracks? The answer is not very, particularly if they’d already travelled by train hundreds of times before.

I am pleased to say that Michelle Browne handles these structural issues with apparent ease while engaging her readers in a compelling narrative along the way. The descriptions of the future are handled almost as asides (which is as it should be) without getting in the way of the story.

Ms Browne’s narrator, Crystal Weiss – a copper-haired Martian - is a delightfully snarky creation. “Glass” as she is known to her workmates is difficult, argumentative and with an offbeat sense of humour. By way of a diary, Weiss records her experiences as a mapper on a deep space project to create a wormhole for interstellar travel.

Without getting into spoiler territory, I will say there is plenty going on to engage the reader’s attention. The only nit-pick I had with the storyline was a credibility issue as to why internal transporters would be left operational in a particular circumstance (I’m not going into detail on this, as it would give too much away).

The writing style is sparse and spiky, as befits the storyteller herself.

Well done, Michelle Browne. “And the Stars Will Sing” gets my vote for novella of the year, regardless of genre."

More praise from Amazon!

"I met the author Michelle Browne in my social media ramblings. She's a snarky, interesting girl, which pretty much describes her writing.I have read A LOT of sci-fi novels and short stories. I subscribe to Analog magazine and enjoy every issue of it. This novella could easily have been a miniseries in Analog. It's top notch sci-fi. She has an easy-flowing narrative style in first person, essentially a woman's diary of her unusual work assignment aboard a wormhole mapping space vessel.
As the plot unfolds, the vessel receives a series of threatening messages from an unnamed source. The threat: If they continue their work on wormholes in that sector, they'll pay the price with their lives. The mapping isn't going well, unexplainable wormhole anomalies pop up where they shouldn't be. Something is definitely not right. Amidst this setting, our heroine is falling in love with a coworker, very much against ship regulations. Overall, it was a very interesting, creative, and entertaining read. My inner sci-fi nerd crept out from under its shell to smile.
I found it fascinating they actually map out and create or repair wormholes through space for interstellar highways. And the various different alien races that interact, sharing meals, relating to one another, bridging massive gaps of culture and language to find common ground. My only complaint is that it should have been longer. I would really like to see a full length novel of this quality sci-fi from Michelle Browne."

"Originality! It's what first sucked me into the Harry Potter series and it's what sucked me into And the Stars Will Sing. Upon starting JK Rowling's now hugely famous series (no one had heard of it back then) I was struck by how Rowling had managed to invent so many new and fresh ideas, names and incidents in a genre that I thought had been mined dry. Michelle Browne has pulled off the exact same magic (no pun intended) with her debut novella, And the Stars Will Sing. I was immediately impressed by the fact that she just lays out her world as if we're all as familiar with it as we are with Star Wars and Star Trek. And despite the plethora of alien names, races, planets, star ships and fantastically futuristic tech those two giants of Sci-Fi have flooded the world with, Browne has invented her own brilliant and fresh canon. It's nothing short of pure genius of invention, and in reading it, one comes to believe that Browne knows all about wormholes and the technology of future space travel, and one starts to believe that all this could well be real some day. At the same time she somehow manages to channel the hard SF of Asimov, Pournelle and Niven while also including a touch of the fantastical elements of CJ Cherryh and Piers Anthony. And all this clever blending is presented in Browne's own unique Young Adult diary style writing. Without revealing any of the plot, there are also two nicely subtle instances in which the book's title is incorporated into the story and one thinks ah, now I get it... and it's really cool. So no matter your age, if you enjoy hard SF and space operas alike, and want to take a quick trip to the farthest reaches of an unknown galaxy to discover why the stars do indeed sing, grab a copy of Michelle Browne's And the Stars Will Sing."

Yeah, I'm just going to sit here and glow with that. If you haven't got a copy already, you're going to want one. Here, just follow the magic link. 


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the good kind of crazy. Find me on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. Don't forget to check back for short stories, more politics, analysis, scraps of science, and even some reviews. (And no, I haven't forgotten those extra reviews I promised you...they're coming, really. Cross my heart.) There will even be more interviews. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Breaking News; A Very Quick Post

Hello hello!

This is going to be a VERY QUICK post, just to say 'hello' and welcome you into December. I've got lots of ideas for posts, but the final story in "The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming" (yes, that's what it's called! Yay!) is taking a LOT longer than anticipated, so it might be a thin month. We'll be back to our regular programming in January.

Just a reminder for those who haven't been on my Facebook page or have missed the rapid-fire chatter on my Twitter account--you can still get And the Stars Will Sing for FREE until Dec 10 2012, and The Stolen: Two Short Stories is a mere .99 right now! It's my birthday today, and I like to share my presents. You're welcome.

And the Stars Will Sing, or AtSWS for short, has been a bestseller on the free lists, climbing to #17 in Science Fiction Adventure's free side, and to #1255 overall in Amazon's free side. More than 300 people know this book is awesome, and if you grab it before Dec 11th, you'll find out why! The Stolen is also sitting in the top 100,000 of Amazon, which is pretty decent. Don't miss either the zap-gun space adventure or the darkly humorous dystopia.

Here are your links:

And the Stars Will Sing

The Stolen: Two Short Stories

Okay! That's all for now--I need to get back to writing about dreams, nightmares, and underground cities. Be sure to check out the books, and to share this one with friends! You definitely won't regret it.


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the good kind of crazy. Find me on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. Don't forget to check back for short stories, more politics, analysis, scraps of science, and even some reviews. (And no, I haven't forgotten those extra reviews I promised you...they're coming, really. Cross my heart.) There will even be more interviews. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out!