Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Here's my teaser for today, and here's the link for this weekly host at Should Be Reading which posts the rules. 
"You say that like I have a choice. These are the ideas that come to me. These are the ideas that have always come to me. If it can bleed me,eat me, or fuck me, I want to write about it. -L.K. on why she writes about sex and monsters in 'Flirt' Afterword

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Reads (4)

Friday Readsis a weekly meme supported by readers and other bookish folk from all over the world where everyone posts what they are reading this week. This week I'm tackling:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme sponsored by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers, authors and other bookish folk talk about books they are highly anticipating. 

Today I take a slight departure from both National Poetry Month and my usual waiting on wednesday fare to something a little different than my normal urban fantasy/paranormal romance/young adult genres. I do love to read the occasional memoir, especially of women, so I was interested and curious when I came across "The Last of the Live Nude Girls" by Sheila McClear. 
I'm facinated by the lives and stories of women who have lived and worked in the sex industry. I'm a huge advocate for a dialogue about sex in this country, and I think we need more first hand accounts of what its really like in the trenches, so to speak. It's a really tenuous line to cross and the debate circles around in several circles: is sex work empowering or degrading to women? Can it/is it both? I can't wait to see what Ms. McClear has to say about it, so that's why this book is my pick this week.
Title: The Last of the Live Nude Girls: A Memoir
Author: Sheila McClear
Publisher: Soft Skull Press (August 1, 2011)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trailer Thursday (4)

In the spirit of National Poetry Month, I'd like to post some excerpts of poetry slams, one of my very favorite types of poetry. Love it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poet Profile: Eileen Myles

Poet Eileen Myles brings moments out of time and shows the reader, through the particular lens of her perspective, the significance of that moment, or sometimes a shared universal experience in matters like love, war and death.
Many of these moments can be found in her volume of poetry, School of Fish. In this volume of poetry, she brings to the reader personal moments of experience.

The moments Myles presents in her poems range from the dark explorations of the possible reasons behind her father’s suicide, to the more mundane: sitting on a park bench watching her dog chase geese in a park.

She writes of stripes of light, of her dog Rosie and city animals; she writes of water and homeless men; she writes of her father and food; she writes of being a lesbian and what it might be like if she were a man.
In this collection, Myles states her poetic manifesto in The Lesbian Poet. She writes about her identity as a lesbian poet, and the responsibilities she has to both men and women.
In many of her poems she writes about being a man, or feeling like a man, and she also writes about being female. She writes to an audience of both men and women and wants both to be included as an audience.
Although she had been celebrated as a feminist poet, and indeed identifies herself as a lesbian, Myles clearly states in her poetic manifesto that her poems are for everyone. She is not an isolationist.


Her most famous poem in this collection is Merk, a poem she has since been defined by in poetic circles. Almost anyone can relate to the feeling of being “eaten” in society, trying to survive on one’s own, or trying to speak to a lover and gain their understanding, which is what Merk is about. This poem encompasses many of her main themes in her work: being a lesbian, food, loving and death.
The poem speaks of being safe in a lover’s mouth as a piece of food, living forever as a part of that person. This can be seen in one of the lines of the poem: “We must offer ourselves/up as food or eat/someone.”

New American Poetry

Her poetry most closely resembles “New American” poetry, as stylized by Beat Poets Gary Snyder and Robert Creely, because she shares some traits with them: especially the idea that America has so much potential, and that poems should make us think about America and its complicated history.
Like Creely and Snyder, Myles mixes metaphor and reality, which is at times specific and at times general.
Myles chooses to write in a free form style, and rarely, if ever, does her poetry rhyme. The lines are usually very short, sometimes only consisting of one word, usually not longer than five or so together. The stanzas are equally short, consisting mostly of three to four short lines.
There is a tremendous amount of white space on the page, which gives the reader a real sense of reading poetry as opposed to a work that is more narrative.
Myles has described words as magical and transporting, the whole reason many people read poetry and other kinds of literature, to feel something extraordinary, to escape, to be inspired, to look through someone else’s eyes for moment, to forget, to remember, to gain perspective.
Myles expresses a desire to continue to be a lens of perspective with which to view the devouring city and society for anyone who wishes to survive.

Myles, Eileen. School of Fish, 1997, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 193 pages
(IBSN: 1-57423-032-8)

This is a reposting of an article I wrote a while ago for Suite101.com, regarding her poetry collection, School of Fish. Learn more about Eileen Myles and all her awesome poetry @ her

Monday, April 11, 2011

Morning Pages (4) National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is a month long poetry party celebrating poets and poetry, began in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. The concept of NPM is to gain some attention to individual poets and poetry in general to the media, to what poetry is, and to celebrate living and dead poets.
The goals of NPM are to bring notice to the accomplishments of the American poets, expose more people to the awesomeness of reading (and watching, and performing) poetry, expose poetry to the public, make poetry more important in our education system, increase poetry sales, and encourage people of all ages to write their OWN poetry.
This week I'll be posting some poetry themed teasers and audio and video clips highlighting my favorite poets and poetry.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Reads (3)

Friday Reads is a weekly meme supported by readers and other bookish folk from all over the world where everyone posts what they are reading this week. This week I'm tackling:
When I find an author I like, I have to read their other stuff. I haven't read much steampunk, but I'm enjoying what I'm reading so far. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review: Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

BLOODSHOT by Cherie Priest

“Bloodshot” is a kind of mixed genre novel combining urban fantasy, mystery and just a little bit of romance. All these elements are flawlessly blended into a literary concoction you’d love to just stay at the bar and knock back with.
And Ms. Priest’s main character, Raylene, is definitely the kind of character you’d like to have a drink with, if she’d accept it.
It’s almost a staple of the urban fantasy genre that the kick ass heroine must in fact kick some ass, and that’s something Raylene does with aplomb, ranking right up there with Anita Blake on body count (a compliment to both authors, by the way).
Raylene is hired by the mysterious and blind fellow vampire Ian to hunt down and steal his medical records from the government that experimented on him. A blind vampire…that’s pretty cool, we so seldom, if at all, think of vampires as having any kind of real “disabilities”, being immortal and having special powers and everything.
Raylene, as some other reviewers have noted, is not your typical vampire, and might I venture to say, that is SO refreshing. She might be rich, filthy rich in fact, but that’s where the similarities end as far as vampire stereotypes are concerned. She doesn’t really like hanging around other vampires, she likes her solitude, revels in it even, and doesn’t sit around bemoaning her vampire fate or waxing philosophical about life and death.
Raylene is a professional thief, which is why Ian hires her in the first place. Known as “Cheshire Red” in international thieving circles, she knows how to get what she wants, or what her clients want, without being caught. She’s the perfect candidate to figure out why the government experimented on Ian and other vampires, and nothing gets in her way of finding out, despite being chased by Men in Black and the mad scientists who funded the who experiment.
Not to mention Raylene has a somewhat (at first) reluctant sidekick, an ex-Navy SEAL dude who can also rock a glittery silver thong and high heels.
Raylene’s sarcastic sense of humor had me both cheering for her and laughing out loud. It takes talent to write a character that can be both caustic AND sympathetic, and Ms. Priest can do both.

When the vampire genre is so full of weak females needing to be saved by some dreamy hunk, I can tell you not only does Raylene not need saving by some dude, she’d break off the offending males most favorite body part and burn it. She doesn’t NEED love, NEED tenderness and understanding, or a guy to complete her or make her happy, she needs a good mystery, adventure and the adrenaline rush of thieving and spying.

I began reading the story with interest and I followed along, appreciating Raylene’s “fuck you” attitude, but the moment I truly jumped on her bandwagon was when she escaped from the military compound in the middle of a Minnesota winter, defeating and defying the government tools trying to capture her. As she sprints across the snow, papers tucked securely away, she exclaims “Fuck those guys and all they stand for!” and I have to tell you, I was right along with her, along for the ride, with the full confidence of knowing that whatever she faced, she was going to get hers, no matter what.

Raylene has a number of great quotable lines in this book, but I have to say that “Listen, punk, when you get to the end of the street, I want you to go into that coffee place and buy some hot chocolate,” had to be one of my favorites.

This is the first book I read by Cherie Priest, and I can tell you it won’t be the last, since after finishing “Bloodshot” I had to go and put “Boneshaker” on my Kindle. Not wanted to. HAD to.  “Bloodshot” is the first in a series called the “Cheshire Red Reports”, and I’ll be marking down the calendar until I can read more about Raylene. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Here's my teaser for today, and here's the link for this weekly host at Should Be Reading which posts the rules. 

This week's teaser: "The scent of evil flowers was stronger, like we were bathing in jasmine perfume, but underneath was heat, dry grass, and then lion. The scene in my mind came into focus again like crystal, all hard edges and unbelievably brilliant in color the way dreams so seldom are." 
Pg. 97, "Bullet" by Laurell K. Hamilton

Monday, April 4, 2011

Morning Pages (3)

In this week's Morning Pages, I thought I'd post a writing prompt I borrowed from Writers Digest.com, which has an excellent database of prompts for daily journal writing, to kickstart a story, or provide inspiration for something you've already got going. And if my comment section would work, I'd love to see other people's responses...
You always look out of dark windows wondering if something is out there. One night when you look, a small face with bright eyes appears at your dark window. Write about what you would do if you saw such a face, about who/what it is, and why he/she/it is there. 


Friday, April 1, 2011

Fantasy Friday (2)

Title: Angel Burn
Author: L.A. Weatherly
Published By: Candlewick, May 2011
Genre: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

Summary: Two exceptionally different teenagers simultaneously discover their talents and fall in love as they fight to save the world from strange angel invaders. Alex is dark, Willow is light, but each seems to hold the key to balance the light and dark within each other.
I don’t like to waste too much time on summaries, they are easy enough to find on goodreads or amazon or the author’s website, so you can read it for yourself.

My Review:
Structurally and creatively, this is a very well crafted and constructed novel.
Structurally speaking, we have a story written consicely, with no extraneous information of over description, composed of small chapters that help the reading clip along. We have characters that are well developed and grow and change from beginning of the novel. It contains the Aristitlean unities of build up, rising action, climax and denoument.

I know some people had problems with the idea of angels as evil. I thought it was a pretty clever take on on the alien invasion theme. Its possible in the realm of fiction that a world exists parallel to ours in which these beings live. It’s also believable to think you’d need training in charkas and energy sensing, grounding and centering yourself in order to see or communicate with these beings. Surprisingly, the writing doesn’t get tripped up over itself or convoluted as far as energies, vibrations and charkas are concerned.

The only “problem” I really had is something that will probably be resolved in future books (I didn’t know this was going to be a trilogy until I looked it up AFTER I read it and AFTER my review). It’s a problem that’s sort of hidden in plain sight, and it’s the fact that Willow is half-angel. For one, you never get a concrete idea of how many angels actually exist in the world, but it’s a pretty decent number. So why do the angels believe its so inconceivable that a half angel can exist. They themselves admit they’re not totally sure about the human-angel breeding process: it’s not something that happens very often, but they don’t rule out the possibility either. It’s just that they keep referring to her as an abomination, and that’s its totally impossible and well, clearly it ISN’T impossible if she exists. The second part of that is I find it hard to believe that Willow is the only one of her kind. But like I said, the way the author sets everything up in the novel, I’m sure this will be explored in later novels, so its not a really big deal.

The other minor issue I had were the characters of Sophie and Nate. They felt rushed and somewhat one dimensional for not being introduced to us sooner and developed through the story. I couldn’t find myself to care too much about Nate’s self sacrifice to save Willow. Sophie was merely a functional device to get Willow where she needed to be.

I read some other reviews and saw some reader’s dismay at the thought of angels being malevolent (it’s fiction, ladies and gents!) what I got out of the novel was more of a commentary about the ways religion is perceived in society. Many people succumb to a religion or religious fad--like when angels were really popular in the early 90’s. many of these people will rush to this fad, or a particlar charismatic leader (such as Raziel in the book) without any aforethought or research, blindly following a dogma with no critical thinking or rational thought. Its like people in the book assume that these beings from another world show up, pretending to be benefactors and saviors, while literally draining the populace dry.
Hmm, where have we seen THAT in history before?
Maybe people in positions of power aren’t exactly who they say they are. Maybe people in positions of power don’t exactly have our best interests at heart. Maybe its not a good idea to trust that some wonderful selfless being will literally swoop out of the sky and make everything all better.
Sometimes, they might just make it worse. 

Falling off the Challenge--It's all on Me

It's that long stretch of afternoon that usually gets me. Especially on Sundays. I always have things to do, but they're at war with...