talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Yep, it was another week of writing behind the scenes on projects yet to be published! This happens often to the working writer. However, I should have some publications to share soon, and I’m putting together a special Halloween freebie to drop in the last weekend of October. You can make sure you don’t miss it by signing up for my biweekly newsletter: look to your right. The sign-up form is in my sidebar.

Things that I read: 

A Tale of Two Rulers, being a web comic by my friend Lorraine Schleter. It is by turns funny, dark, and touching – and altogether a great read for any fans of The Legend of Zelda.
You Really Have No Idea Who the Villain of Frozen Is,” being a hilariously convoluted theory by Steve Wetherell at Cracked.
This Storify of “Seanan McGuire on #NationalComingOutDay,” being full of important words.

Thing that I made: 


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness features a pune, or play on words! The adorably macabre reference illustration is “Headless Cat” by Siamés Escalante, who is doing #30scarycats on Instagram.

Things that I’m excited about:







Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

So many things to share this week, and I’m excited about all of them! Let’s jump right in.

Things that I wrote:

A review of Roses and Rot by Kat Howard, featured over at the SurLaLune Fairy Tales blog.
A review of the Stranger Things soundtrack, over at Nerdspan.
Great Cats of History, Part 2, over at Front Page Meews.

Things that I read:

Salvador Dali and Walt Disney: A Forgotten Collaboration That Will Leave You Breathless,” being exactly what it says on the tin.
Delightful Ways We Refer to Groups of Animals in English,” being full of great collective nouns.
In Defense of Villainesses” by Sarah Gailey at will make you cackle with understanding.

Things that I made:

This be a preview of the banner.

This deliciously creepy wallpaper can be YOURS when you back the Kickstarter for Wine, which I told you about yesterday! Let me know when you’re a backer, and I’ll send you a download link for this wallpaper in a variety of sizes (including those perfect for Twitter and Facebook banners).


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness is in honor of Seanan McGuire‘s October Daye urban fantasy series! The 10th book just came out last week, so a rose goblin seemed appropriate. This drawing is inspired by kadharonon’s cute illustration on DeviantArt.

Things that I’m excited about:







Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

And, of course, I’m terribly excited about the Wine Kickstarter! Back it here: 


Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)

A couple of weeks ago, I read Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire.

This is a book in which some speciest assholes with a vendetta against an awesome-pants family and a whole world’s worth of innocent-and-not cryptids decide to come to NYC and throw down on a ballroom-dancin’, ball-bustin’, arsenal-carryin’ honey. (Who is the local rep of said awesome-pants family.) If you foresee bad things happening to the speciest assholes, I would generally be all “Here! Have a cookie!” Except I’m sorry to tell you that these are militant, sorcery-packin’, zealous speciests who are indoctrinated, not dumb. So the book is a bit of a nail-biter along with a hoot-out-louder. It also comes complete with dragon princesses, cuckoo-induced terror, a sometimes-wolfbear Lolita, and talking religious mice. Honestly, though, that’s not even the half of it.

Right about now, you should have already ordered this book from your favorite book purveyor. If you haven’t, you might be asking yourself: “Self, why should I read Midnight Blue-Light Special?”

[Well, here are 5 excellent reasons! With bonus pictures, and cursing.]
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

SRN: The Signal

You might have noticed that I rather enjoy talking endlessly about my geeky fascinations. I also have to admit that I enjoy being a bit silly. More than a bit, really. So, with my friend Lisa Stock – an equally keen and playful partner – on board, it seemed inevitable that we do an Internet radio show.

SRN: The Signal is that Internet radio show.

What is SRN: The Signal? Here’s a snippet from our press release:

Broadcasting from Siren Rock (their moveable studio on the doorstep of the Atlantic) and various live locations, these two reporting sirens will be delivering news and commentary on the SFF and mythic genres. Television, film, comics, video games, literature – all will crash upon the rocks of The Signal’s broadcast to be served up for your entertainment. Tune in for enlightening banter with regular contributor Keith Brooks, guest spots from notable creators, and a variety of music.

I had a lot of fun recording our first episode, which covers the multifaceted and seductive figure of the siren. Lisa is a wonderfully enthusiastic collaborator, and Keith Brooks is both erudite and hilarious. If you listen to the broadcast, you’ll even catch interjections from my quixotic husband, Andy – who also happens to be our producer!

This program is chock-full of playful banter, geeky references, hilarious character pieces, and music by Priscilla Hernandez and Seanan McGuire. Meet our news and weather guy, Fisherman Angus Crouton, find out where you can buy Selkie Sea Salt, and learn more about the historical evolution of the siren. There’s even a trivia question with the opportunity to win a few prizes!

I’d really like to know what y’all think – you can listen directly via the audio player at the bottom of this post, but I encourage you to check out our official posting at the SRN: The Signal Tumblr. (Follow us on Tumblr too!)

We’ll be available soon via iTunes, after we work out the technical aspects.

Oh, and isn’t our logo fabulous? It’s by the inimitable Paula Arwen Friedlander.

Without further ado, I give to you the premiere broadcast of SRN: The Signal!

Sorry, guys, but the embedded audio player doesn't work in the crossposting! You can find it on the original post, or directly accessible via the SRN: The Signal Tumblr.

Mirrored from You can comment here or there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Look sharp, everyone! Something marvelous is coming:


Oh, yes. Mia Nutick is back with a whole treasure trove of new Chimera Fancies, all inspired by Seanan McGuire's A Local Habitation. Goodness, not just inspired by but also made from. With her usual (but never taken for granted!) genius, Mia has taken an ARC of the second novel in the October Daye series and transmuted it from engrossing book to wearable art. Further, each piece has been signed by Seanan herself before receiving their last coat of sealant. These wee beauties are remarkable and collectible!

I have been lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the entire batch, and I am absolutely intoxicated by the colors, textures, and evocative phrases Mia has woven together. She never ceases to astound me, or to inspire me creatively. (Just like Seanan, as a matter of fact, whose awesome accomplishments as a multi-talented creator regularly infuse me with renewed energy in my own endeavors.)

I really cannot exhort you enough to keep an eye on [profile] chimera_fancies tomorrow and Saturday for the sale: even if purchasing one isn't your goal, these poem-pendants are more than worth the viewing. Think of tomorrow as a virtual and revolving art exhibit opening!

They'll go live in batches over the next two days, hopefully allowing a wide spread of people the opportunity to snag a favorite. These pieces tend to go fast! So, while you're hanging around looking for those sale posts - and after you've perhaps requested one of your own - come back here and tell me which ones are your favorites. I'm curious to know.

To see past examples of her work, feel free to scroll through my Chimera Fancies tag, or look through Ryan's Flickr gallery.

This entry was originally posted at Livejournal. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Right now, I should be working on my paper regarding the use of folklore in Charlotte Mew's poetry. In fine academic fashion, I am instead procrastinating by doing other neglected tasks, making lists, organizing my deadlines, and randomly posting to Livejournal.

At least I've made an outline? And now I'm here with book recommendations!

First up: Mira Grant's Feed.

Feed is the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy, featuring a world in which humanity has made it through a zombie apocalypse and is keepin' on keepin' on. Really, I can word no better endorsement than Publisher's Weekly has already done in their starred review:

Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue) picks up a new pen name for this gripping, thrilling, and brutal depiction of a postapocalyptic 2039. Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman's daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office. Shunning misogynistic horror tropes in favor of genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what's true and what's reported.

If that hasn't sold you yet, here's how excited my husband is:

Andy's jazzed about FEED! Why aren't you?

Mira also appeared on John Scalzi's blog for the Big Idea last Friday: read her post for some background about the series! And then check out this kick-ass immersive website Orbit has put up for Feed.

Catherynne M. Valente also had a book birthday this week! Two years ago, she began her Omikuji Project: each month, she sends an original story to subscribers. Those who subscribe to the postal version receive heavy paper sealed with fax, each carefully wrought missive an ode to classic letter-writing. And since her project is named after the Japanese sacred lottery, Valente creates an original work of art - be it graphic collage or beaded necklace or knitted minotaur hooves - that is sent to one random subscriber.

With the assistance of the Omikuji community, Valente has created This is My Letter to the World: The Omikuji Project, Cycle I. This collection features the first 24 stories of the project, excerpts from each month's letter, and original art by community members.

If you'd like some idea of what you can expect, read my review of the inaugural story "The Glass Gear" at my website.

Back to the page-mines I go...

This entry was originally posted on Livejournal. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
This past week has been a mess: my stepdad died and my family is devastated.

I have been scarce, but I did manage to put some content up for your poetry-reading and interview pleasure at Cabinet des Fées to celebrate the tail-end of National Poetry Month. For previews, check out [profile] cabinetdesfees.

For now, I'll just tell you that Seanan McGuire has stopped by, along with Amal El-Mohtar. Oh, and I believe that a certain Cat (of the Valente genus) isn't far behind...

As always, you can find the posts at Cabinet des Fées.

This entry was originally posted on Livejournal. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: Toby is my favorite changeling P.I. She should be yours too. (rosemary and rue)
It's time to talk about the Campbell awards, y'all!

For those not in the know, and quoting the Writertopia website, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer "is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy was published in a professional publication in the previous two years. For the 2010 award, which is presented at the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon), the qualifying work must have been published in 2008 or 2009."

I know several excellent and brilliant people who are eligible for this award this year: Camille Alexa, Cecil Castellucci, Michael J. DeLuca, Amal El-Mohtar, Shira Lipkin, Seanan McGuire, and Shweta Narayan. Each of their names links to their Writertopia pages, giving you a handy listing of what publications qualified them to be eligible for the Campbell.

Each of these people are fine writers, several are my friends, and I would be over the moon to see any of them so honored for their talent and hard work.

But I really just have to take a minute and paint you a picture of amazing creative proportions:

Seanan McGuire.

She writes: she has the distinction of having two forthcoming series in her first year as a professionally published author, beginning with the first three books of the October Daye series from DAW (with Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation currently available, and An Artificial Night coming in September). She has a horror trilogy forthcoming under the pseudonym Mira Grant, with the first installment, Feed, poised to drop next month. She's already appeared in two anthologies: Ravens in the Library and Grant's Pass, and she's serializing her Sparrow Hill Road series of stories about the hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall at The Edge of Propinquity. Also, she's an active member of the Book View Cafe; did I mention she's also writing an irregular crowdfunded series called Velveteen Vs. Everything about superheroes in a corporate world? And, of course, she has approximately three or four other series of books that she's currently noodling in her spare time - something I'm not sure she's allowed to have in a sane world of linear and finite time. But she does. Possibly because she has a TARDIS somewhere in her back pocket.

She sings: No, seriously, she has three albums currently available for purchase (though quantities are seriously limited on a couple of those - get them while they're in print!). I can attest to the general excellence and keen sing-ability of these albums. Also, she wrote nearly every song on them. In fact, the number of her songs that she's actually recorded is startlingly low: a look at her online songbook reveals hundreds of songs in her unrecorded catalogue. (Seriously: TARDIS.)

She draws: Again, not kidding. She's done a promotional strip or two for Rosemary and Rue which you can see here and here. Plus, on her website, she has a gallery of her quirky Art Cards and a fledgling gallery of her irregular comic series "With Friends Like These..."

Beyond all this productivity, she also manages to be a completely delightful person: she's the best kind of bizarre and often hilarious. She's full of fascinating and terrifying facts, and I'm pretty sure she's allergic to dullness. She's also generous with her attention and affection (possibly to a fault, given everything she needs to do), incredibly supportive, and kind. And she still has to work a full-time job.

Did I mention that she's in the midst of a 50 essay series on different aspects of writing?

... I mean, I don't know what else to say. If she's not a poster child for the Best of My Writing Generation, I don't know who is.

If the following nominating or voting criteria apply to you, I really hope you'll support your favorite candidate in this year's Campbells:
"To be able to nominate a writer for the 2010 award, you must have been a member of Anticipation (the 67th World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal) or a member of Aussiecon Four (the 68th World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne) before Jan. 31, 2010. (Members include both supporting and attending members."

And, seriously, guys, let me throw out my endorsement of Seanan McGuire one more time: let's make 2010 the first year an urban fantasist takes the Campbell. Especially one who can put her bid in so stylishly:

Seanan McGuire Would Look Great in a Tiara.
(Clickenzee to embiggen!)

This entry was originally posted at Livejournal on March 4th, 2010. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: Toby is my favorite changeling P.I. She should be yours too. (rosemary and rue)
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire is officially out in stores today! All of you folks interested in urban fantasy and fairy tales should go out and buy it. Now. Don't worry, I'll wait. If you're in a Barnes & Noble, look for the standee! If you haven't yet gotten your hands on Rosemary and Rue, the first book of the series, go ahead and buy them both.

Oh, yes, my friends. They are that good.

Let's steal a peek at the book blurb from Seanan's website, shall we?

After spending fourteen years lost to both the fae and mortal worlds, only to be dragged back into Faerie by the murder of someone close to her, October "Toby" Daye really just wants to spend a little time getting her footing. She's putting her life back together. Unfortunately, this means going back to work for Duke Sylvester Torquill of Shadowed Hills, doing her duty as a knight errant. That isn't the sort of thing that exactly lends itself to a quiet existence, and before she knows it, Toby's back on the road, heading for the County of Tamed Lightning in Fremont, California to check on Sylvester's niece, January.

Things in Tamed Lightning turn out to be a lot stranger than they seemed at first glance, and Toby's talent for finding trouble isn't doing her any favors. With Quentin—a young foster from Sylvester's Court—in tow, and the stakes getting higher all the time, it's up to Toby to solve the mystery of Tamed Lightning, or face a failure whose cost will be too high for anyone to pay.

Mystery! Suspense! Danger! Also: dryads! Bannicks! Cait sidhe! And probably more coffee than you can shake a stick at.

And, now, an endorsement from my cats:

Tiger Jack fights off a nap in order to make sure you're not thinking of stealing his book.

+4 more Cat Endorsements behind the cut... )

* Just to reassure you all that I wasn't torturing my cats by taking these pictures: Kaylee is opening her mouth in this picture in preparation to begin washing herself. She's not actually pissed. ;) Also, while I gave Kaylee the book in the latter pictures, Tiger Jack actually snuggled up to it by himself later in the day when I took the top pictures. Seriously, he likes to dream of Tybalt.

This entry was originally posted over at Livejournal on March 2nd, 2010. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: Books + tea, books + coffee, either way = bliss.  (reading is a simple pleasure)
I promised you all two posts concerning free fiction this week, and I mean to deliver! Unfortunately, my TMJD really wrecked me last night and so now I only have ten minutes here before leaving the work to make this post. So! Without further ado, please check out the following stories:

"Baby in the Basket" by Cecil Castellucci (Strange Horizons 5/18/09)

This story is absolutely fascinating, beginning with a domestic hook that I never thought would work as well as it did and slowly drawing us into a world fundamentally-the-same-yet-radically-different from our everyday lives. I don't want to spoil the experience of discovering the differences and enjoying the bizarre revelations, so please: just read.

"Dead Man's Party" by Seanan McGuire (Edge of Propinquity, 02/15/10)

Sparrow Hill Road continues unfolding the story of the hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall in the second installment of "Dead Man's Party." This is a locked-room story, brutally focused and unyielding. If I were producing a Sparrow Hill Road television series, this would be a strong candidate for an introductory episode: it gives readers a familiar entry point into the series via the diner hold-up and then gets weirder and weirder from there. Deeper into the twilight. "Dead Man's Party" is definitely a worthy continuation of the series and I'm still incredibly excited to see where Rose goes next.

This entry was originally posted at Livejournal on February 19th. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
The time has come for more Wicked Girls icons! As before: Comments are keen. If you use, feel free to credit [personal profile] talkstowolves. And I am totally open to requests!

If you have no idea what this is all about, see this post.

And now for the previews:

Twelve more icons behind the cut! )

In order, this particular run of Wicked Girls icons stars: Eowyn (as portrayed by Miranda Otto, from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, of course), River (Firefly), Zoe (likewise Firefly), Yvaine (as portrayed by Claire Danes, from Neil Gaiman's Stardust), Yvaine again (this time as drawn by Jeff Smith & Eric Olive, and Michael Zulli), Rose Marshall (from Seanan McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road, drawn by Amy Mebberson), Ace (Doctor Who), Mina Harker (as portrayed by Winona Ryder in Dracula's Horror Bordello), Talia (from Jim Hines' The Stepsister Scheme &c), and Snow White (from Jim Hines' The Stepsister Scheme &c).

I did actually cheat a bit and include icons made from requests placed on the original post, but I hope you'll forgive that! And, as always, thanks to Bauble for the icon table generator.

This entry originally posted at Livejournal. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
This week's free fiction highlight comes with a bit of context; if you're not too concerned with context, I recommend you head over to The Edge of Propinquity right now and start reading. The Edge of Propinquity is a well-established zine with a significant back-catalogue and multiple recurring universes. As the lead-in goes, it's "a series of short stories from four different authors in four different universes exploring the world that lurks just beneath the surface of everyday life. It is the world of the unexplained, supernatural, magic, horror, duty, responsibility, black humor, conspiracy, unknown heritage and power. This semiprozine is updated on the 15th of every month."

The story I'd most like to recommend debuted in the 15th January edition: "Good Girls Go to Heaven" by Seanan McGuire, set in the Sparrow Hill Road series. It's a whole lot of America and folklore and ghost story rolled up in a pretty little dead girl package, and I can't recommend it enough if you like any of those things.

Now, let's go back...

A few years ago, I first got to listen to Seanan McGuire's Stars Fall Home, an excellent and eclectic album that immediately earned a prize place in my usual rotation of most listened-to CDs. There wasn't a song on there that I disliked, and its overall quality and complexity ensured that different songs would capture my interest, moving to the fore or fading back depending on mood or recent media exposure or what the highway called out for me to sing, full-throated, as I rolled along the miles. And one of the best songs for eating up those miles was the ultimate song on the album: a rockin' 50's girl-quartet piece called "Pretty Little Dead Girl."

In "Pretty Little Dead Girl," we're introduced to the urban legend of a hot car-loving, fiercely independent, no little dangerous ghost by the name of Rose Marshall. After several conversations with Seanan and reading her journal, I came to realize that there was an incredible untold story to Rose Marshall and so much more - and so much different - than the one framed in the song. The song is fun and catchy and specific and creepy, as all the best urban legends are. And, like all the best urban legends, it's neither the only story or the one closest to the truth.

In Seanan's songbook at her website, you can find several other versions or aspects of Rose Marshall's story:
"Graveyard Rose"
"Hanging Tree"
"When I Drive"
"Waxen Wings"
"On Dead Man's Hill"

Each song will give you a different window onto Rose Marshall, although I recommend not reading "Graveyard Rose" until after you've read "Good Girls Go to Heaven." You'll see why. Also, I've linked to the lyrics for "Pretty Little Dead Girl" above there, although I definitely recommend picking up one of the albums that it appears on. (Those albums would be Stars Fall Home or Pretty Little Dead Girl.)

I was incredibly thrilled when [personal profile] jennifer_brozek announced that Seanan would be one of The Edge of Propinquity's resident writers for 2010, and that she would be developing the story of Rose Marshall in a series of short stories called Sparrow Hill Road. I haven't ridden with Rose as long as some, but she's often been a companion on long drives for the past several years. I've wondered at her character, and found some roads in Georgia I just bet she'd wander along, if she ever moseyed on down south. And so, with all this, how did "Good Girls Go to Heaven" measure up?

Oh, it measured very high indeed.

Here's the thing. Folklore is my bread and butter: it fascinates me, it's what I study, it's one of my things. It's also one of Seanan's things and in her bones. I trust her to have done her research (hell, to have internalized her research), and thus to be steeped enough in these tales and bits of culture and Americana that she can create compelling folklore. Further, I trust her to be able to weave that part-created, part-borrowed folklore further into excellent fantasy.

My trust is not misplaced.

In one short story thus far, Sparrow Hill Road has managed to introduce me to an area of folklore previously unconsidered and left me considering it (i.e. truck-drivers and highway diners); evoked a believable urban legend and made the central figure of that urban legend multi-faceted and sympathetic; and enchanted me and fired my imagination with the intoxicating glimpses of a myriad of Americas, clothed in daylight, twilight, midnight. The other sides. The ghostside.

I absolutely cannot wait to see more of this series unfold and discover where Rose Marshall goes. Also, though I am always excited to investigate my best-loved field, I cannot deny that Seanan has provided me with a fresh infusion of enthusiasm for urban folklore.

Seriously: do yourself a favor and follow me into Sparrow Hill Road.

This entry was originally posted at Livejournal. You can comment here or over there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (Daw, 2009).

Full disclosure: I am a friend of the author. However, as a committed and ethical reviewer, I ask you to understand that I will be a consistently critical reviewer in spite of any personal relationship. If I am unable to be impartial, I do not review a work.

It's such a tried-and-true formula in urban fantasy: mythical creature and/or fantastical society live one step to the left of humankind's mundane existence. There are a million hidden interstices that most of us never notice, and we'd be grateful for this if we knew, for the fantasies lurking beyond our sight are more often fanged and dangerous than sweet and friendly.

October Daye, a cynical and perpetually caffeinated lapsed PI, is a half-faerie attempting to keep her head down and lead a mundane life in San Francisco. The novel proper begins after some significant torture and personal losses, so she's pretty dedicated to this drama-free lifestyle. Unfortunately, as a knight still in the service of Sylvester Torquill and a friend to some of the more powerful local faerie denizens, Toby isn't allowed her wish. The death of Evening Winterrose, hated friend and beloved irritant, and her last, powerful curse drag Toby back into the wonderful nightmare-world existing in tandem with our San Francisco: a world of cat-like rose goblins, doors into the Summerlands, runaway changelings, and an ancient sea witch. It's a world where one wrong step - political or otherwise - could kill you. Or worse.

As you can see, this debut novel from Seanan McGuire plays to type; yet I can say, without a doubt, that this is the best urban fantasy novel I've read in five years. I make this assertion drawing from a pool of novels by Charlaine Harris, Tanya Huff, Emma Bull, Patricia Briggs, and others.

One important element to any urban fantasy is the urban aspect: it's not enough for the narrative to take place in any city, where the urban center is poorly described and becomes passive background. The city must become as much a character as any changeling investigator, with clearly described locales and an affecting atmosphere. McGuire succeeds in spades here: I have never been to San Francisco, but the city came to life for me in this novel and the immediacy of that understanding heightened my immersion in the story. Rosemary and Rue was clearly written by someone who has walked many miles in that city and is intimately acquainted with its heart.

McGuire's main character, October Daye, is as strongly and uniquely portrayed as San Francisco. Toby, as a halfblood and a PI, could so easily have become a bland cipher; instead, she is a believable, strong, and yet flawed heroine with a nuanced voice. Toby is almost perpetually annoyed and sleep-deprived, spends most of the novel subsisting on caffeine and sheer stubbornness, and yet her perspective never devolves into tiresome whinging. She is a deeply-hurt woman who is stumbling toward a measure of recovery while trying to do right by a friend and, incidentally, save her own life. The resulting journey is fascinating: the perspective is truly first person limited, so Toby sometimes does seemingly stupid things and is blind to things the reader may think are apparent - but things aren't always so blazingly clear, are they, when you're the one experiencing some serious and real drama?

Beyond developing a compellingly dynamic protagonist and portraying San Francisco in an absorbingly realistic manner, McGuire succeeded in creating a three-dimensional fabric of reality: the other characters in the narrative aren't just background for Toby to interact with. They are people who have lives and backgrounds that are clearly important both to the current story and whatever is to come. The King of Cats has a long history with October, the moonstruck-mad Queen wasn't always so, and the kitsune duchess seems to tend secrets as much as roses in her underhill home. They are all worlds unto themselves. This is the best sort of debut novel: a window into a reality ready-made for exploration, where causality is as much a force as it is in our real lives.

Further, McGuire's depiction of Faerie and its denizens reveals that an incredible amount of accrued knowledge went into the world of Rosemary and Rue. She delves beyond kitsune and selkies, beyond even Daoin Sidhe and Cait Sidhe, into coblynau and Tylwyth Tegs: while the specifics of her society and much of these faeries' interactions may be all McGuire, each of these creatures exists in folklore. Anyone interested in faerie lore and folklore, especially of the United Kingdom (in this novel), will be incredibly delighted by the breadth
and depth of the author's research.

Rosemary and Rue isn't without its flaws - at times, the exposition overbalances from stage-setting to distracting, and the mystery does seem to wander a bit aimlessly in the middle - but the exhilaration of getting to know this particular San Francisco and this particular Faerie more than compensate for any of those drawbacks. Moreover, these are flaws that I don't expect will continue past this debut: the occasional over-exposition was due to initial worldbuilding, and any issues with plot pacing are overcome with experience. Considering that DAW is poised to release two more titles in the October Daye series and that the author's blog indicates she is currently working on the fourth and fifth titles, McGuire is daily gaining more experience as a storyteller. I look forward to each Toby novel being better than the last, and can't wait to get my hands on them. Honestly: if you're an appreciator of urban fantasy and you're looking for some new blood that's actually vital, it's imperative that you pick up Rosemary and Rue.

Originally posted at Livejournal. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
On the heels of Rosemary and Rue, the second Toby Daye book will be forthcoming from DAW in March: [personal profile] seanan_mcguire has already started hosting contests for and giveaways of shiny, shiny ARCs of A Local Habitation. (My cats totally tried to help me win one some weeks back.)

Not only are ARCs being released into the wild, but [profile] taraoshea has designed some truly awesome icons and wallpapers in honor of A Local Habitation. She's really outdone herself with some of these; in fact, I'm including one of my favorites below:

(Click the image to be taken to the wallpaper gallery!)

How striking is that? An austere promise of murder, mystery, technology, and San Francisco. (Also: Faerie.) Yes, please!

(Pssst... A Local Habitation is totally available for pre-order. Also, here's a really shiny countdown meter to its release.)
talkstowolves: Toby is my favorite changeling P.I. She should be yours too. (rosemary and rue)
Rosemary and Rue by [personal profile] seanan_mcguire is the October book* for Publishers Weekly's Genreville's Book Club. Each month, Rose Fox and Josh Jasper lead discussions focusing on plot, setting, characterization, style, and how well the novel fits into the urban fantasy genre (or the given genre of the chosen book, I presume).

I wish I felt up to taking part in the discussions, but unfortunately I've either been too absorbed by this semester's classes or fighting the plague (just a viciously bad cold, I hope, I swear). I likewise wish I had been able to write my own review of Rosemary and Rue by this point, but I rather think that will have to wait for December when I'm finished with my classes.

However! If you've read Seanan McGuire's debut novel, you shouldn't hesitate to hie you over and discuss your thoughts! Here, I'll even link each of the discussion posts for you:

Day 1: The Plot
Day 2: The Setting
Day 3: The Characters
Day 4: The Style

Also, in case you haven't heard, Seanan has declared that she will shamelessly make a fool of herself record a performance of the "Hey, Mr. God" monologue from The Middleman (yea, even that short-lived TV show) if Rosemary and Rue is the October best-selling book at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. If you haven't bought a copy yet, therefore, I recommend you go ahead and do so. ;) Borderlands Books accepts telephone and Internet orders. Just sayin'.

* I know! How appropriate!
talkstowolves: Toby is my favorite changeling P.I. She should be yours too. (rosemary and rue)


The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery...before the curse catches up with her.

Still not convinced to rush out and purchase the inaugural installment of the October Daye series? Then read a free sample of the text on Seanan's website!

You can also read any number of reviews by checking out the reviews tag over at [personal profile] seanan_mcguire, not to mention the ones already present on the Amazon page.

In the California area and looking for a release party to attend? Look no farther than this Livejournal entry! (I do envy you locals: amazing things will be present at some of these releases and I'm not just talking about Seanan.)

Don't miss out on the awesome icons and banners by [profile] raelee, or my Toby Wicked Girls icon.

You probably aren't wondering how keen on this day I am by now, but I'm going to show you anyway! ;)

Behold, the visual evidence! )

My own review of the novel will be forthcoming after I have a chance to reread it!
talkstowolves: Toby is my favorite changeling P.I. She should be yours too. (rosemary and rue)
I need a new planner. This planner is exceedingly necessary to schedule work, school, and the copious number of projects I never seem to make any headway on because I stare at how many there are and get stuck that way. Stare. Stare. The proverbial deer in headlights.

Anyway, when I do manage to snag a new planner, one of the first dates going in there is SEPTEMBER 1st, 2009. I will probably draw a little doodle, such as a jack-o-lantern or a wee flying fairy. Or maybe a consternated cat. It might even have thorns rather than fur.


I'll tell you why (or, rather, Seanan McGuire will):

(Psst, you can pre-order Rosemary and Rue at or your local bookstore. See Seanan McGuire on the Internet at her website.)

Also, I made an icon, because I just really can't seem to control myself:

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Way back when (where the value of when equals March 4th, 2008), the talented Mia Nutick debuted the amazing new [profile] chimera_fancies: pendants of various sizes, painted in gorgeous and sometimes glittering colors, featuring tiny poems constructed from the printed pages of old books. It was recycled creativity at its finest and the poem-pendants she crafted were nothing less than revelatory.

I was lucky enough to land one of the most beautiful early examples of her art: the black and red-glittering flower-kissed pendant that proclaims "wicked girls saving ourselves." Yet even though Wicked Girls came to live only with me, its influence has been vast.

On May 9th, 2008, [personal profile] seanan_mcguire wrote a song inspired by the poem-pendant, entitled, naturally enough, "Wicked Girls Saving Ourselves." It is, in a word, amazing, and you don't have to take my word for it. You can listen to a recording here or even watch a video of her performing it live at Duckon 2009 with Vixy & Tony and S.J. Tucker! (Seriously, listen. You need to, even if you don't know that you do.)

The concept of wicked girls saving themselves is one that's very inspiring to me and close to my heart (and I don't just mean when I'm wearing the pendant, hah). For all intents and purposes, I've been a wicked girl for most of my life and definitely had to save myself a time or two. Poem-pendants and beautiful songs that encourage this behavior simply enrich my life. I dare say that's true for more girls than me.

Seanan recently engaged in penning some apocryphal verses to her song, because she's crazy and always plays the best party games. As she says in the title of that post, the world is in need of wicked girls. That sparked something inside me and so an icon meme was born. And so, for your pleasure, I present to you the birth of a new line of "Wicked Girls" icons, starring some of my favorite wicked girls:

There are seven more behind the cut! )

In order, this particular run of Wicked Girls icons stars: Toby Daye (from Seanan McGuire's forthcoming Rosemary and Rue!), Ofelia from Pan's Labyrinth, Coraline from Neil Gaiman's Coraline, Emma Frost of X-Men fame, Alice from Resident Evil, Elizabeth from Pirates of the Caribbean, Elphaba from Wicked, Flying Snow from Hero, September from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and Sorrow from The Orphan's Tales (the latter two being by Catherynne M. Valente, of course).

Comments are keen! If you use, feel free to credit [personal profile] talkstowolves. And I am totally open to requests!
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
First, [personal profile] seanan_mcguire is giving away another ARC of Rosemary and Rue for the price of one comment. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, detective stories, fairy tales, or bad-ass Fae... you want to read this book! Comment here for a chance to win. Check out her website to learn more about the series.

Secondly, [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith has put up an interesting poll on cyberfunded/crowdfunded fiction, asking questions about what creators prefer to create and what consumers prefer to consume. If you engage in crowdfunded projects or read them (such as [personal profile] haikujaguar's Spots the Space Marine series or [personal profile] catvalente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making), please do participate in the poll!

Which reminds me: If you like young adult fiction, especially such excellent fare as Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan... you should really check out the following serialized novel:

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