Music Monday: The Lumineer’s “Stubborn Love”

Last week’s post got me nostalgic, and that got me thinking about another song/video that really punches me right in the gut. By itself, The Lumineer’s “Stubborn Love” is a good song, with a particularly profound lyric, “The opposite of love’s indifference.”

But when I saw the video for this song, and every time I’ve seen the video since, it kills me. Because the story told feels like my story. Yes, the little girl in the video is older than I would’ve been, but this video/song combo taps into my unconscious memory, because I feel like I’ve been here (and based on what my mom has told me about growing up, I have).

This is the rare case where the video really elevates the song into something more. At least for me.

Take a listen:

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 2

Wonder-Woman-Teaser-posterHave you discovered Speculative Chic, yet? We just finished our SECOND full week of posts, and below is what you may have missed:

On Monday, Nancy sat down with Sharon, Casey, and Carey to discuss their Favorite Things: spoiler alert: Lindsey Stirling, Heavy Metal Comedies, and Female Superheroes are involved!

Then Tuesday brought us our second Sound Off! where Nancy, Keyes, J.L. Gribble, Betsy, Whitney, and Sherry all told yours truly what they REALLY thought of Star Trek Beyond. Spoiler alert: comments get controversial!

Wednesday brought us the second book in our Hugo Best Novel examinations with Snow Crash-loving Keyes thoroughly examining Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. She tells us the good, the bad, and the perplexing. The amazing woman even read the book twice!

On Thursday, our convention-guru Venessa Giunta sat down to explain what conventions are, why you should go, and most importantly, HOW TO SURVIVE. I’m telling you, I wish I had this advice two years ago.

113Last but not least, our Creativity Coach Sherry Peters came back on Friday to talk about the value of having a creative outlet, and how there needs to be no other goal than creativity for creativity’s sake. For someone like me who has to make EVERYTHING competitive, it’s a damn good reminder.

What about next week? NEXT WEEK WILL BE EPIC! It’s the first week we’ll be doubling up: not EVERY day, but at least TWO days: you’ll get one post first thing in the morning, as usual, and then another will go live in the afternoon (assuming you’re on the East Coast, of course). We’re wrapping up our Hugo Best novel reviews with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass, and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. We’ll also have our weekly mash-up of favorite things, and a few other treats besides!

So don’t miss out! You can’t guarantee I’ll remember to put up these round-ups EVERY week, so the best way to get every post is follow the blog or subscribe to the feed,and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, where our moderators are doing more than mirroring Spec Chic posts: you’ll find a TON of fun, extra goodies!

And if you’re already there? Be sure to show the love: like what you like, share what you want others to see! And feel free to stay in touch: is there something you’re hoping to see on our ‘zine? Just let us know!

This concludes my weekly, shameless plug for attention. You may now continue about your regularly scheduled activities.

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Culture Consumption: July 2016

So Happy August! I bring you the belated Culture Consumption for July, but at least this month, I know where the month went: Speculative Chic! So far, so good, but starting a fanzine meant less time for other things, like…oh, I don’t know…READING. I still managed some movies and television though, so let’s take a look at what July had to offer, shall we?

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Politics in Fiction with Matthew S. Rotundo

P1060077Welcome to Part Two of Calico In Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. If you missed Part One: Taking Off Like a Rocket, feel free to click here to catch up!

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through July of 2016.

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Let’s dig into Petra. It was a lot of fun re-reading it after reading the initial draft, what…. nearly ten years ago? I also remember at that time, I was a complete crazy person who read through that sucker TWICE (I don’t do that anymore with novels), so the published version is my third time through, and still, despite remember various details and broad strokes of the story (your ending is specifically memorable), I found it to be an engaging, fast read, and I’m really disappointed there wasn’t more interest when you shopped it around. I mean, I know SF has been a hard sell in the past ten years, but dang. This is one of the most professionally polished self-published books I’ve ever read, and believe me, I’m not saying that because I know you. You mentioned you hired a copy editor and a cover artist. How did you go about finding the right ones for your book?

Wow. Thanks so much for the kind words. Petra is a labor of love, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. In addition to the writing itself, I went to some trouble to teach myself how to format both ebook and print editions of the book. That was an inordinately time-consuming process, but I learned a lot, and am grateful for it.

I do wish the market — i.e., publishers and agents — had shown a bit more interest. Of course, I think it’s brilliant, but then, I would, wouldn’t I? Still, there is a glimmer of a possibility that a traditional publisher might pick it up. In the meantime, though, I’ll just keep plugging along with it.

My copy editor, Tamara Blain of A Closer Look Editing, came recommended to me. She did a sample edit of the opening pages, so we could be sure her style meshed with mine. Did it ever! She really knows her stuff. Beyond that, though, she has a lot of experience with independent publishing, which has been invaluable to me. She pointed out issues I never would have thought of on my own. So a lot of the credit for the polish you admire goes to her.

As for my cover artist, Ryan Malm — he’s my niece’s husband, and a talented graphic artist. It was kind of no-brainer to contact him.

Who knows what the market will bring, and what it will look for? If not Petra and its sequel (sequels?), perhaps something else you write in the future will be published through a traditional house! Then again, maybe you’ll get addicted to being an indy author and eschew the traditional publishing process!

But let’s stop speculating: What advice do you have for authors considering the self-publishing route?

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Music Monday: Lindsey Stirling’s “Something Wild”

After a couple of weeks of possibly obscure, progressive rock, I wanted to do a little something different this week, and the perfect opportunity arose with the release of Lindsey Stirling’s new video for “Something Wild,” which features Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and is part of of the soundtrack for the 2016 remake of Pete’s Dragon, which I’m still not sure I’m okay with them making, but here we go.

I’ve been listening to this song off and on, as it was part of my pre-order for Stirling’s new album Brave Enough, so I had no idea it was part of Pete’s Dragon until I watched the video. And frankly, this is one of the cases when the song and the video goes pretty well together, and I love the way scenes of the movie are intercut with the story of the video, which features two children diving deep into the world of pretend. I admit, I get a little choked up, but I’m just going to chalk it up to nostalgia and move on.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 1.5

fifth-season_0I don’t intend do to this every week, but it’s been a week and a half since Speculative Chic launched, and I wanted to give you all a chance to see what kind of awesome my contributors have been publishing. So, if you haven’t yet started following Speculative Chic (the best way is subscribing through email/Wordpress), here’s what you may have missed:

Welcome to Speculative Chic

Sound Off! Ghostbusters

My Favorite Things: Soundtrack Love, Fairytale Dectectives, and Awesome Aps

You Can’t Kill The Truth: Re-Reading Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Series Part One: Feed

51OXCIqV26L._SX277_BO1,204,203,200_Broken Earth, Broken Characters: A Review of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season

Welcome to the Bookstore

Dear Sherry: Scared to Share

As you can see, we’ve already got a lot of content to sift through, and that’s not going to change! Excepting weekends, you can expect to see at least one new post daily, and the content varies from fangirling, commentary, reviews, writing advice, and the inner workings of bookstores. And it varies week to week!

So if you haven’t checked us out yet, please do! Feel free to like posts and comment on those that catch your interest: let Spec Chic’s authors know how much you appreciate their work!

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Winners: J.L. Gribble Scavenger Hunt!

I very nearly forgot about this, but the Scavenger Hunt to win a complete e-book set of J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series has come to a close! First of all, thank you to ALL who read the J.L.’s interview. If you’re coming to this late and you’re wondering what the fuss is about, you can start reading part one here.

Secondly, thank you to all the entries. Sadly, despite my best efforts at promotion, we didn’t have many entries at all, but fortunately, those that did answered the questions correctly. I’m forwarding your email addresses to J.L. Gribble so that she can get in touch with you regarding your prize!

Lastly, be sure to check out Calico in Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. We just kicked off his interview yesterday, and you can read it here. Yes, he’s interesting in hosting a Scavenger Hunt after his interview wraps up, but we’re going to do things a wee bit differently, so stay tuned, and keep reading!

Taking Off Like A Rocket with Matthew S. Rotundo

Matthew Rotundo
Matthew S. Rotundo

Matthew S. Rotundo wrote his first story, “The Elephant and the Cheese,” when he was eight years old. It was the first time he had ever filled an entire page with writing. To his young mind, that seemed like a major accomplishment. It occurred to him shortly thereafter that writing stories was what he wanted to do with his life.

Matt gravitated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror at an early age, too. He discovered Ray Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn” in a grade school reader, and read it over and over whenever he got bored in class. (Needless to say, he read it a lot.) Other classics soon followed — Dune and Lord of the Rings and Foundation, the usual suspects. As a boy, he often pretended his bicycle was Shadowfax, and that he was Gandalf, riding like mad for Minas Tirith. Yeah, he was that kind of kid. Half the time, his family and friends didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

Matt’s story “Alan Smithee Lives in Hell” placed second in the 1997 Science Fiction Writers of Earth Contest. In 1998, he attended Odyssey. The workshop led directly to his first sale — “Black Boxes,” in Absolute Magnitude. In 2002, Matt won a Phobos Award for “Hitting the Skids in Pixeltown.” He was a 2008 winner in the Writers of the Future Contest. He has since continued to publish in various magazines and anthologies, and is the author of Petra, the first book in The Prison World Revolt series.

Matt lives in Nebraska. He has husked corn only once in his life, and has never been detasseling, so he insists he is not a hick.

Editor’s Note: this is part one of a three-part interview. Parts two and three will be published August 9th and August 16th, respectively. Also, this interview was originally conducted in March through July of 2016.

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Now, to get started, I ask all of my interviewees the same starting question, and that’s this: how do we know each other?

We both attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop — I in 1998, and you in 2005. We got to know each other via an email group for alums. You graciously volunteered to read and critique an early draft of my novel Petra. (Thanks again for that, by the way). We’ve kept in touch ever since.

I’m really starting to go into denial regarding how quickly the years are passing. Tell me, since my initial beta read of Petra, can you talk about your process from that stage to the published stage it’s at now?

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Music Monday: The Dear Hunter’s “Waves”

So last week was so much fun that I couldn’t resist coming back this week and subjecting you to the music I put on repeat and listen to for hours. You’re welcome.

This week: “Waves” by The Dear Hunter. It’s an easy, accessible pick, one of the few songs that, when the outro is removed like it is in the video, it easily stands alone. But the song, like the album it’s part of, is part of a six act story told all through music: the birth, life, and death of a boy known only as “The Dear Hunter.” It’s fascinating, and the music, as expected for progressive rock, is a study in complexity and differing music styles, and if you really want to dig deep into the lead singer/songwriter and the story behind these albums, then click here, but then come back, because you have a song to listen to.

“Waves” is one of those songs that gives me very distinct visuals, and naturally, those visuals don’t line up with the video. That said, it’s a compelling and catchy song, especially in context of the greater album.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Announcing: Speculative Chic

So, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been jabbering about SEKRIT PROJECTS!!!  Sekrit Project #1 was Calico in Conversation, now wrapping up its second month and going into the third.

But Sekrit Project #2 is much bigger. Bigger, more complex, and a little bit crazy.

Guys? With a little help from my friends, I’ve started a fanzine.

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Logo Design by Gregory White

That’s right. A FANZINE. For those of you who used to follow me in my book blogging days, consider this a SUPER BLOG, with far more people contributing than little ole me, as well as a diversification of content. Yes, there will be book reviews, but contributors are talking about movies, writing, conventions, cosplay, music, games…. all kinds of things!

So please, go visit Speculative Chic.com. Learn what we’re about, see what we have to say. Follow us any way you can: subscribe, email, social media, whatever works best for you. And please, if you like what you see, or if you’re remotely interested, please spread the word!

I’m super excited to finally unveil this to you, as this has been in the works for MONTHS, and it’s already involved blood, sweat, and tears.

Welcome to Speculative Chic

Please enjoy. And while I continue to toil away with both Calico in Conversation and Speculative Chic, it’s time for me to embark on . . . you guessed it . . . yet another SEKRIT PROJECT. Three Sekrit Projects in a year…. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive all of this!