My New Gig

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be writing articles (hopefully on a regular basis) for HBO Watch, a fan-run community website for HBO shows and mini-series. Since I’m kind of an HBO show fangirl, I figured it was a good way to work on my non-fic writing and also get some bylines out in the world somewhere other than my own website. My first article ever, a reading list for True Blood fans who are in withdrawal while the show is on hiatus, was put up last week while I was on vacation. Along with True Blood, I’ll also be writing articles for the upcoming American Gods and Dark Tower series. Color me excitable. :)

-CM

 

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Science Affliction: Rebooted

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but some recent news has convinced me that I should start it up again. When Curiosity landed on Mars I stayed up way too late into the night to make sure the cutest little laser-wielding robot ever landed safely.What I remember most was what one of the folks in the JPL said right after they confirmed a safe landing, “Let’s see where our Curiosity takes us.” Cheesy as hell, sure, but it gave me goosebumps.

I’m not sure if I’ve said it on here, but to my mind curiosity is the most underrated human trait. I simply can’t understand people that don’t want to learn random stuff whenever they can. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. I meet people all the time that are amazed about the random useless stuff I know and they want to know how I picked it all up. I read. That’s all. I sometimes want to shout at people who can’t see past the tiny speck of their own lives to the marvelous wonder that is the universe. Use that big brain for something, will ya?

Sorry about the mini-rant… Anyway, as part my own battle against mental atrophy I’ll share some of the coolest and most awesome stuff I read in science news every week.

Uno: This first piece comes from my latest obsession. I haven’t shared it on here yet, mostly because I wasn’t sure anyone who came here looking for my writerly blog would be the slightest bit interested in aquariums. However, if that’s not the case let me know in the comments and I’ll share more about aquariums than you’ll ever want to know. I promise. Anywho, here’s a story about some male snails that have it pretty rough. Not only do they have to play Mr. Mom to the prospective brood, but they can even get stuck watching baby snails that don’t even belong to them.

Dos: From a new obsession to an old one: horses. Recent research has determined that specialized gaits in horses can be tracked to a single gene. Gene DMRT3 is used in the production of neurons in the horse’s spine, and thus can alter the way the horse’s limbs are controlled.

Tres: Astronomy news, just because it’s one of my favorite topics. The discovery of a possibly habitable planet in a binary star system has all the astronomers aflutter.

Quatro: You knew there was going to be some Curiosity news in here somewhere, didn’t you? The first human voice heard on another planet is officially Charlie Boulden, the administrator of NASA.

Cinco: More astronomy, just cuz. An interesting paradox regarding the most widely accepted theory of how the moon came into being.

That’s all for this week, kiddies. I hope you enjoyed your scientific snack. More to come next week!

-C

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Review of Working for the Devil

Working for the Devil (Dante Valentine, #1)Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book, with a capital L. In fact, I wish I had more stars today. I found this gem via the Dark Urban Fantasy Blog: http://www.darkurbanfantasy.com/

So much good here, I barely know where to begin. Dante Valentine is a great heroine, maybe one of my favorites of all time. She’s foul-mouthed, sassy, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. That occasionally makes her a little hard-nosed, but the way her character is built up makes that fitting. Her relationships are frequently hostile and always amusing. Japhrimel is another great character. His growth throughout the book made me smile.

Dante is “persuaded” to take on a job by none other than Lucifer himself–find a demon and return an item he stole to hell. Danny is reluctant until Lucifer explains that the demon is a serial killer she’s been after for some time.

Plenty of action and some cool bits of magic make this an exciting and interesting read. Probably not the best choice for die-hard paranormal romance fans, but a must read for lovers of urban fantasy.

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Sneaky Peeky

I’m in the middle of editing the second book in the Broods world, and I thought as a special treat I’d offer you a peek at Marked by Odin. Here’s a snippet from chapter 1:

Gunni sniffed several times, his muzzle lifted high. The cold air tickled the labyrinthine passages of his nose. Scents of fear and pain assaulted him, even from a few hundred feet away. Brand had sent him ahead to scout the Vancouver brood, and what he had to report was not encouraging. Madness was the best way to describe the events taking place in the valley below him.

He’d been raised in a relatively modern brood that shared a city with humans and blended in with them whenever possible. The chaos in front of him reminded him of the barbaric history of their kind that he’d heard about, but never imagined still existed. One female was dragged across the dirty snow between two dwellings. Her white-blond hair reminded him of Alice. The ache of her loss was still agonizing. Gods, how he missed her.

Gunni had trouble quelling the urge to run in and rescue another female set upon by male who laughed every time she screamed. Half a dozen males fought in the central clearing in front of an old-style longhouse for a haunch of meat that was quickly forgotten amid the violence of the exchange.

Going down there wouldn’t solve anything, and he would end up in an altercation where he would be vastly outnumbered. He was supposed to observe and report back to Brand, not try to resolve the issues himself. He knew that, and yet, turning his back was one of the hardest things he’d ever done.

The first few steps were the worst, but once he got up to speed, the joy of running through the winter night spurred him onward. He covered ground swiftly, his four paws chewing up the miles almost without effort.

The land here was beautiful, and more untouched than any place he’d ever known. Located in the mountains a few hours north and west of Vancouver and tucked away at the edge of a provincial park, the brood compound was a strangely anachronistic oasis of wildness in the modern world they inhabited. Though he’d be raised in what he’d thought a rural area, the wolf within him had pined for the expansive forests and hillsides.

He didn’t slow when he crossed the east-bound lanes of the divided highway. The light coating of new snow made the blacktop slick. He traversed the median in two jumps and emerged onto the west-bound lanes. Too late, he heard the squeal of tires. He turned and saw headlights closing with alarming speed.

He didn’t feel the pain of the impact. One moment, he was aware, and the next instant, he wasn’t.

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Review for Ill Wind

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, #1)Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ill Wind is the kind of book I love to read: sassy main character, interesting fantasy aspects, a sprinkling of romance. Unsurprisingly, I inhaled the book, and really enjoyed it.

In general I thought Caine’s characterizations were brilliant. Jo is fun and independent, just enough girl power but not over the line into ridiculous. I adored David. There are a bunch of great side characters, Lewis, Star, Paul, and Bad Bob.

The world building was just right for me. Enough detail to make things clear, but not so much that I feel like I’m wading through info-dumps through the first half of the book. There’s a lot I really like about this world and I can’t wait to read more.

I was a little irritated about why all the Djinn were so circumspect when they didn’t have to be. The cop out answer, of course, was that’s just how they are, but I didn’t really buy that. Why not just tell her what she needs to know? Arg!

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