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phoenix
16 July 2017 @ 07:33 pm
I'm moving to Dreamwidth!

http://rainwaterspark.dreamwidth.org

Since April was a haze of rushing to finish my law school requirements and stuff, I totally missed out on the changes to LJ's ToS, and since I often review queer fiction/talk about asexual issues, I was worried about my LJ getting deleted or something because of that. (Also, I'd wanted a name change for my journal forever, but didn't want to shell out the $$ to change it.)

I'll keep this LJ as a backup/record. I've imported all of my entries, though on DW I'm deleting a few (seriously only a few) entries that I regret writing.

EDIT: Forgot to add that I'll still be cross-posting here, for the time being.
 
 
phoenix
09 April 2018 @ 08:01 pm
I think I have roughly 20k words, out of a target of 50k, for my current project (which I oh-so-helpfully call "QCARxJ").

It might be time to sit down and try to flesh out all the major scenes, and then link them together, and then see where I stand in terms of wordcount after that.
 
 
phoenix
08 April 2018 @ 11:22 am
Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward

Genre: contemporary (w/ light sci-fi elements), thriller, suspense, MM romance

The thing you have to know, going into my review, is that I've read a LOT of assassin stories, and specifically a lot of assassin MM romance.

I cut my teeth reading and writing Winter Soldier fanfiction. I've been dreaming up stories about assassins since I was a teenager (don't ask why).

I think, if I had read this book without my thorough background in assassin stories/MM romance, I would've enjoyed it a lot more. But now, it just sort of feels like...eh, shrug.

Stories asking about whether assassins are "human" aren't interesting to me anymore, and that was kind of the premise: Whether notorious assassin Ethan Blade was "human," and the contrast between him being polite to Jack but at the same time a killing machine. Eh. Shrug. Politeness =/= humanity.

I was also bothered by the book's depiction of Jack as a biracial character (half white, half Indian). Jack kept obsessing about skin color, especially the contrast between his brown skin and Ethan's white skin, and while I'm totally not the right person to comment on this, that obsession felt...iffy, if not fetishizing.

Secondly, there was the issue with Jack having no friends or close family members who were Indian. His mom was dead, his sister hates him, and again, he has no Indian friends. This is one of the rare instances that comes off to me as token racial representation, because PoC frequently have PoC friends, especially friends of the same race/cultural background. Why doesn't Jack have any Indian friends? Why isn't he at least close to any of his Indian family members? Why is Jack's race only mentioned when it gives him a convenient cover story and/or allows him to "blend into" a certain environment? All of this together screams "white author not understanding how to write a PoC" to me.

(Also Jack hates India because he has trauma associated with there, but...India is so big, with so many different languages and cultural groups. It felt kind of as though a white character would be like "I NEVER WANT TO GO TO ALL OF EUROPE" after their family member died in France.)

So, yeah. The beginning of the book was excellent, but weirdly, even though there was a lot of action, the pacing felt like it started to drag after the first 10% or so, up until maybe the last 80%. Also, the romance felt structurally clichéd: Jack and Ethan bonded because they kept getting injured, meaning the other person had to take care of them, and that wasn't quite the romance structure I was hoping for. Sigh.
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phoenix
31 March 2018 @ 05:09 pm
I'm not necessarily against queer retellings of Jane Austen stories, but I think M/M retellings of Jane Austen books kind of destroy the whole point of the book.

Especially a M/M retelling of Sense and Sensibility where Elinor Dashwood is male but Marianne Dashwood is still female. Like...you do realize that having the guy be the "sensible" one while the girl is the emotional one is super stereotyped, right??

Sigh.
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phoenix
11 March 2018 @ 09:05 pm
I dunno, I don't really have a pure favorites list right now, but there HAVE been a few queer books that stuck with me, and they are:
  • Empty Net by Avon Gale - I'm not sure about the demisexual rep and the touch-aversion rep, but goddamn, this book made me care about hockey, and I don't care for any team sport.
  • From the Ashes by Xen Sanders - There are a few things I'm iffy about with this book, but the quality of writing is. Goddamn, it's really good. Almost enough to silence the few questions I have in my head about this book.
  • All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher - I'm not really a fan of this author anymore for other reasons, but so far this is still the only ace rep in all of queer fiction that I actually enjoy.

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phoenix
09 March 2018 @ 10:42 pm
It's arriving soon, and I can't wait!

Initially, I thought I'd never need an e-reader because I'd always read physical over e-books. But then I started reading indie-published and self-published books, which are impossible (for me) to get a physical copy from the library.

These days, I read a ton of e-books—and many of them are books that I feel obligated to read just so I can keep up with the state of representation in queer indie fiction. I also live in a city that doesn't have as good of a library collection as the city I used to live in, so sometimes I end up *having* to read e-books of traditionally published books that I can't get a physical copy of...

Anyway, I've got a whole collection of e-books on my TBR list that I can't wait to get started on with my Kindle, wheee.
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phoenix
05 March 2018 @ 12:46 pm
A Matter of Justice by JC Long

So I really did not get along with the first two books in this series, but reunited lovers is my kryptonite (pining! angst!), so I decided to give this a go.

It was...okay. 3/5 stars, if I had to give it a rating.

I don't know why, but I was surprised at how the romance really took a backseat in this book to the investigation. Once again, I'm left feeling like the problem was less about Allen and Conroy's emotions about each other and more about their mutual lust. I'm still not sure why they were initially attracted to each other, because they don't talk about their feelings for each other beyond lust until near the end of the book, and even then only briefly.

I rarely consider flashbacks necessary for any book—any competent writer can sum up the past without needing to go into a full-on flashback—but maybe adding them would've helped?

It was also hard for me to suspend my disbelief that the Dragons are a tough gang that...avoids using guns. I'm sorry, but bringing a switchblade to a gunfight is laughable, and any Triad gang that refuses to use guns for ideological reasons doesn't strike me as an effective gang.

Also, there was a pretty glaring continuity error: Conroy notices that Allen has a porcelain Mickey Mouse figurine from a prior trip, which plays a semi-important role, but later on it's described as a photograph.

More notes on the Hong Kong portrayals (this might get added to when I get a chance to ask my brother-in-law more questions):

- I'm almost certain "Ao" is not viable as a Cantonese name. (It's Mandarin for sure.)
- "Hwang" is a Korean last name. Is Johnny Hwang supposed to be Korean?
- If Inspector Yang is supposed to be a born and bred Hong Konger, his name should be Inspector Yeung.
- There was no reason for Ao to ask Allen if Conroy's last name was Wong or Wang, because Wong is Cantonese and Wang is Mandarin, and Mandarin last names aren't used in Hong Kong. (Seriously, author?)
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phoenix
- Read books!! (A Matter of Justice by JC Long & possibly Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward)
- Catch up with Black Lightning!!
- Catch up with The Flash!!
- Catch up with Lucifer!!
- Catch up with iZombie!!
- Edit vampire story? Edit E?
- Start writing queer Romeo & Juliet retelling??
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phoenix
27 February 2018 @ 08:14 pm
So I found out there is a MM retelling of Romeo and Juliet with an Asian character???

And the Asian character deals with depression???

EXCEPT...

(a) The publisher is tiny and it's hard to find this book anywhere other than Amazon...

(b) The characters are 19...but it sounds like they're in high school...? But the book is written in a kind of middle-grade style...? WTF?

Sigh.

I'm getting inspiration for writing my own queer R&J retelling, at least...
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phoenix
26 February 2018 @ 02:30 pm

Today on "I'm definitely failing the bar exam tomorrow and filled with anxiety about taking a 3-day exam" writing thoughts: Knowing your audience as a writer.

On Twitter, I saw an author, whose book I haven't read but have passing familiarity with, say they had no idea whether their book was Young Adult, New Adult, or Adult.

My immediate reaction: "No offense, but you're doing the author thing wrong."

As an author, it's really important to know your target audience. Why? For several reasons:

  1. It helps with marketing your book optimally.
  2. It helps to create the right expectations for your readers. Readers may be willing to cut more slack for a book marketed as YA (not saying whether that's right or wrong, but I believe that's often true). Readers may be less willing to criticize a book for not being "steamy" enough if it's marketed as YA. Potentially avoidable negative reviews can and do stem from readers not having to right expectations for a book's tone or execution.

(Also, if you query agents for your book, you're definitely required to know whether your book is YA, Adult...or NA, but that's kind of a dead genre to traditional publishing right now, unfortunately.)

Important to note is that classifying a book as YA does NOT mean adults can't read it or won't enjoy it.

I remember being confused that this author's book wasn't being marketed as YA, actually, because the main character was 18 years old, and the style of writing struck me as "YA-like." And, glancing through the Goodreads reviews for the book, I do think some of the mixed reviews might've been higher if the book had been marketed as YA—plus, it could've attracted the attention of YA book bloggers (who are numerous and fairly influential).

So, anyway: Knowing whether your book is YA, NA, or Adult is important.

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