Ordinary Day

And it's all your state of mind...

Housekeeping-type site updates
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

As a general note of interest, I’ve updated a few things on the site today.

First, I’ve added several bits to the FAQ, to update the references to Vengeance of the Hunter, to add references to Victory of the Hawk, and to clarify what genres I write in and what other authors are useful to compare me to. Also, for giggles, I’ve added in a bit about this whole Quebecois trad thing I can’t shut up about, the Trilingual Hobbit Reread, and what other things you can expect me to start posting about once the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy is done.

Secondly, I’ve activated pages for both Victory of the Hawk and Bone Walker. Both are pretty bare-bones at this point, but they ARE the official sources of data for both of these books. Watch them for further updates. You’ll be able to find both of these books on the site’s Books menu now.

Third, the Rebels of Adalonia page has been updated to include Victory‘s official release date of April 6, 2015.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Victory of the Hawk status update
Great Amurkian Novel 2

Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, all my pals of the Internet, last night I finished the final scene in the initial draft of Victory of the Hawk. There is an Invader Zim quote that seems appropriate at this time:

I have fired the complete, LONG overdue manuscript to my editor and am now on standby for her requested developmental edits, which I am expecting to fall on my head any time now. Chances of my needing to hunker down this weekend to work on these edits are VERY high. Chances are also good that when I go up to Canada next month, I’ll be charging through line and/or copy edits by then, too. Given how long it took me to turn this thing in, I promised my editor as well that I’ll be doing everything in my power to get the edits done as fast as possible. We need to finish this puppy up before Christmas.

Meanwhile, given that our targeted release date is April 6, 2015, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all that if you like high fantasy and you haven’t yet read Valor of the Healer and Vengeance of the Hunter, now would be a very good time for you to do so. The two of them together are only around six bucks from Carina! And as always, you can find all the buy links you can shake a stick at on the Rebels of Adalonia page right over here. Don’t forget, either, Valor of the Healer is also available in audio format.

I have to clear Victory off my plate before I can also turn long overdue attention back to Bone Walker, but stand by for updates on that score, too. I hope to be diving back into that the instant I finish the final Victory edits.

Very much looking forward to delivering this final book to the trilogy, you guys, and closing the arc on Kestar, Julian, and Faanshi. I hope you all will enjoy it!

And also? HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS this means I’ve written six, count ‘em, six complete novels. Victory will be my fourth one on actual sale, and I’m VERY much looking forward to getting Bone Walker out to you hopefully at the same time if not before, to become novel #5 on sale. And then? Then comes Queen of Souls!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Murkworks power is BACK
Alan YES!
So local friends, if any of you are still without power and you need somewhere to charge your devices and/or laptops, contact us.

Dara has brought the servers back up, but door is being wonky, so some of our hosted sites still aren't working quite correctly. And I haven't been able to restart the MUSH yet. Will continue to poke at our system functionality until we're fully running again. More bulletins as events warrant.

Meanwhile, much relieved, as this means I can continue work on Chapter 20. Not to mention do my laundry so I will have something to wear to work tomorrow!

Murkworks power is DOWN
Hard Day
For the benefit of anyone who didn't see me post to the social networks, the power at the Murkworks has gone down in tonight's windstorm. I've reported the outage to Puget Sound Energy, but no estimate yet on when we'll be back online. Given that they're up to over 70,000 customers with reported outages, I think they're in for a busy night. So we may be dark for a while.

We still have outgoing connectivity, but to be on on the safe side Dara has taken down our servers. So our web and mail connectivity is out, as well as the MUSH. Apologies to all who have resources hosted with us. We'll bring stuff back up as soon as we have power restored.

Meanwhile, Dreamwidth/Livejournal people, keep an eye on my posts on these two places. People who follow me on the social networks, I'll be posting updates to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter as well as long as we have backup power for our laptops and devices. And I'm reachable at my gmail address, annathepiper, if you need to send me email.

Writing Chapter 20 via lamplight, woo!

Boosting the Signal: Raven’s Wing, by Shawna Reppert
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

I meant to get this posted a few days ago, for which I apologize–this is what happens when I’m flattened by dental surgery! But that said, this is another book with a crowdfunding campaign to which I’d like to draw your all’s attention, especially as the Indiegogo campaign is down to its final hours.

Shawna Reppert is a fellow Carina author, and like me, she’s got some self-pubbed work as well. She’s gotten some high praise for her first solo effort, Ravensblood. Now she’s looking to publish the sequel, and is calling on potential supporters to back her up right over here. Hours are counting down, so go give her a look, won’t you?

And in the meantime, here’s a Boosting the Signal piece that Shawna sent me! Of this piece, Shawna says: “Since Raven’s Wing is written with three POV characters—Raven, Cass and the villain (not gonna tell you who it is, you have to read the book) I thought it would be interesting to let one of the secondary characters have a say. Mick MacLean volunteered.”


Raven's Wing

Raven’s Wing

Mick sat at the kitchen table, nursing a cup of rewarmed coffee, listening to Raven’s soulful piano-playing in the next room. The boy was good, not quite concert-pianist quality, but only an educated ear could hear the difference. If Raven had devoted himself to music instead of the Art…but may as well say that if a sheep had gills, it’d be a fish. The Three Communities, and likely the rest of the world as well, had reason to be glad that Raven had devoted himself to the study of magic, whether they chose to acknowledge it or not.

Even in his younger days, Mick would have been no match for him, and he’d been formidable in time. Back in the day when he’d left his outback home and traveled to another continent to help the Three Communities bring down William’s father. Much as his boy had helped to bring down William himself.

Only Zack had never come back.

Raven still looked at him as though he expected to be blamed for Zack’s death, or maybe just for surviving when Zack had not.

Life had taught Raven to expect unfairness. Mick was determined to teach him to trust in kindness, as well. Ana had started the lesson. Cass, he knew, tried, but it was different with lovers, more complicated.

He liked the man. At first, for the sake of Zack, who had befriended him, and for Ana, who had mentored him and worried over him. Later, on his own merits.

Oh, there were bigger-scale reasons to offer the man sanctuary. Whoever had stolen the Ravensblood was powerful, cunning, and surely up to no good. Mick would do anything in his power to head off another William.

Or William himself, returning. They never had found the body.

But if the last Mage Wars had taught Mick anything, it taught him that if you lost sight of the small stuff, the human stuff, while focusing on the big picture, then you risked becoming the thing you fought.

He still wondered if Giles would be alive today if he hadn’t pressured him harder to get out. If he’d made more of an effort to be a friend to the man instead of a handler, maybe Giles would have taken his pleas more seriously. He asked himself if his failure to do so came from holding the life of a dark mage more lightly than he would have another source’s.

In all these years, he hadn’t been able to answer that question.


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Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

This week in Authors Behaving Badly

The Internet blew up over the weekend with the news that the Guardian had run a piece by author Kathleen Hale–in which Hale describes actually stalking a reviewer who’d given her a less-than-positive review on Goodreads. The *thunk* sound you may have heard was the sound of the Internet’s collective jaw hitting the floor.

I first saw this come up at the Bitchery over here, and shortly thereafter saw posts go up at Dear Author and on Jim Hines’ blog as well. All three posts and most of the comments in them are in accord that Ms. Hale went so far over the line that she left the line in another state entirely behind her.

Me, I’m going to take this opportunity to reiterate my personal policy re: reviews of my work. I don’t read them. I’m on Goodreads, but I make a specific point of avoiding reading any of the reviews on Faerie Blood, Valor, or Vengeance. All I’ll look at is the aggregate rating on those books, since I have them on a my-books shelf. Likewise, I do not rate my own books either. If a standalone review on a blog somewhere comes across my radar, I’ll go look at it–but I will not engage with that review unless it’s clear that I can do so without making the reviewer or commenters uncomfortable. I strongly feel that it’s important to let people be able to discuss your book without you looking over their shoulders.

Y’all have probably noticed that I’ve backed off heavily in writing up reviews of books, too. Part of this has been because I simply haven’t had as much time, what with writing my own stuff. But part of it has also been the increasing trend I’ve seen of authors reacting badly to reviews–even to three-star reviews. I see a surprising amount of unhappiness about three-star reviews, in fact. And I’ve seen more and more reports of authors dogpiling on reviewers, which for my money, just isn’t right.

For the record, if you’ve reviewed anything I’ve written, I’m happy you did so. Even if it’s three stars. Hell, even if it’s one star. I promise not to take it personally.

And if I do, I will never, repeat, NEVER engage you about it. DO NOT ENGAGE is the golden rule here. I just wish Ms. Hale had followed it when she was reminded.

ETA: I have seen a bunch of people in comment threads asking what the Guardian was possibly thinking by running Ms. Hale’s piece. Dara has suggested to me that they may be looking at it in conjunction with the ongoing GamerGate debacle. Given all the stalking and harassment involved with that, I could buy that as a possible way that the Guardian might be looking at this.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Initial impressions of Yosemite
Final Test

Yosemite, OS X 10.10, finally dropped, so I’ve gone ahead and updated my laptop Aroree with it. So far my initial impressions of it are favorable. They’ve changed the overall design of it somewhat to make it better fit with the look of iOS 7 and iOS 8, which doesn’t surprise me. And performance-wise, my laptop now seems zippier, and I’m all for that.


As part of this update, I also pulled down iTunes 12, and I’ve got to admit that that’s the thing that made me go ‘buh?’ first–not because of the changed layout of the program per se, but because now there’s a red icon for iTunes on the dock. Which is a distinct change from the years of blue iTunes icons we’ve had, and I’m not sure I approve of changing the color like that. I keep thinking something’s gone wrong every time I look at the dock and see that red icon there–or otherwise that something needs my attention, since “red circle” in Apple’s visual language has for so long meant “there’s a notification here that needs you to do something”.

Inside iTunes itself though I think I’m good with the new layout. It’s a bit less cluttered, and while I’m going to have to get used to changing icons on the toolbar along the top to see what I want to see, that’s not difficult. It’s similar to clicking things on my web browser, so that’s all good. And I particularly like the prettier layout for podcasts. Still to determine: how well this flavor of iTunes keeps things synced with my phone, particularly the recurring issue I’ve had with iTunes periodically deciding to duplicate some of my podcast feeds for no apparent reason.


It’s pretty neat that I can message Dara via the Messages app on the computer and have it ping her on her phone. For that matter, the same conversation shows up on my phone and iPad, too. I haven’t tried to use the computer to make a call yet, but I think it’s pretty neat that that’s doable too.

I’m also going to want to try composing mail on the computer and seeing if I can pick it up again one of the devices, or vice versa. I don’t know how often I’ll use that feature, but it’ll be neat to try it out.


And speaking of mail, no huge functionality changes here as near as I can tell, other than Handoff. I’m seeing that a prior behavior that was irritating me still happens, but Dara’s theory is that this behavior is actually on purpose.

Specifically, it’s a behavior wherein if you have multiple mailboxes, let’s say A and B… and you get mail at Mailbox A but then move it over into Mailbox B, but then try to reply to the mail… it automatically defaults to replying from your B address. This is fine except when I’m trying to answer mail that goes to mailing lists. I keep forgetting which address I’m pointing at, and keep having to resend mailing list mail. Since this behavior has persisted through Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and now Yosemite, I’m clearly just going to have to make some tweaks to how I organize my mail.

I’m having to finally pull a lot of mail off my Gmail account anyway, since I’ve gotten tired of Mail.app choking when dealing with my Gmail accounts. I’ve seen ongoing problems with Mail refusing to download new mail from Gmail if I have a number of messages above a certain threshold. So before I updated to Yosemite, I’d already pulled a lot of mail off my Gmail accounts to try to reduce the amount of data that the program had to deal with. Thus, I don’t know if the problem persists in Yosemite or not. I’ll have to keep an eye out.


I do note with pleasure though that another long-standing bug does appear to have gotten fixed with printing of certain PDFs. One of our local utilities that we pay was doing something with its PDFs every time I tried to download the monthly bills, something that caused the files to get garbled whenever I tried to print them. So I’d have to mail them to Dara to let HER print them, since she was still on Snow Leopard for the longest time. Once she upgraded to Mavericks, though, the problem happened on her box too.

Now though, with Yosemite, the problem seems to have finally gone away. So I can print these bills again. Yay!

Weird computer name problems

I did see a new weird thing happen, though. My computer was mysteriously renaming itself from Aroree to Aroree-2, and I couldn’t figure out why. I’m apparently not the only person who was having this problem, according to my searches.

Renaming the box back to Aroree didn’t help, since the name would revert after a few minutes. What I finally had to do to fix this was to reboot into Repair mode, do a Disk Utility disk repair, and then reboot back into the OS. After having done that, the name change back to Aroree appears to have finally stuck. But any of y’all out there who’ve updated to Yosemite, you might keep an eye out for this.

iCloud Drive

I have this finally available, yay! Another thing I haven’t yet tried anything with, but it’s nice to see it there. It finally makes Pages potentially actually useful to me. And the reasons I care about this are a) Pages doesn’t talk to Dropbox, and b) as an iPad app, Pages has a somewhat friendlier experience than what I’m currently using to write on my iPad, which is DocsToGo.

For my next full book, I may try to use Pages instead of Word + DocsToGo, and see how that goes. I’ll report on that as it happens!

That’s everything I can think of to comment on right now. How about the rest of you out there? Who’s installed Yosemite and what do you think of it?

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Book review: Where I Belong, by Alan Doyle
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

As I’d already posted, I pre-ordered Alan Doyle’s new memoir Where I Belong straight off of greatbigsea.com, and that book got here yesterday, woo! (Although I only wound up getting it out of the mailbox tonight, since I worked from home yesterday and forgot to check the mail.)

But in the meantime I also pulled down the ebook via Kobo, since I wasn’t about to try to take a signed hardback anywhere in my backpack. And I’ve gotta say, I was expecting the read to be delightful–but hadn’t really quite grasped how fun it would be to go through a few hundred pages’ worth of Alan essentially telling us all about the first half of his life.

I already knew the man has a command of language; I have, after all, been following his blog posts on greatbigsea.com and his own site for years now. And I’ve been to many a GBS concert in which he’s launched into amusing tales while at the mike. I’m very, very familiar with the cadences of his voice at this point, after 14 straight years of Great Big Sea fandom.

And reading Where I Belong pretty much was just like hearing Alan tell a very long tale at a kitchen party, I swear. His voice came right through into his writing, and it was made all the more delightful by assorted pictures of his young self and assorted family members. At the end of each chapter came an additional anecdote, often tying into Great Big Sea, that gave the overall narrative good structure and eventually brought us to the big turning point of Alan’s life: i.e., the founding of the band that would make him, Séan McCann, Darrell Power, and Bob Hallett famous.

Some of this stuff I already knew, just from being in the fandom as long as I have. Some of it, though, I didn’t–particularly Alan describing the poverty of his early life. Boy howdy can I sympathize with that. And now that I’ve actually visited St. John’s, bits of the book kept resonating for me. Particularly Alan’s tale of the first visit he ever made to O’Brien’s–which has sadly now gone bankrupt. :( I’ve been in that store. And I have a very healthy respect for the significance it’s had to the history of music in St. John’s.

Those of you who’ve read Faerie Blood and who will hopefully be getting Bone Walker by the turn of the year–you also know my Warder boy Christopher is a Newfoundlander. And reading Alan’s book, for me as an author as well as a GBS fan, kept triggering little moments of “ah yes, this would be important to Christopher and all of his family”.

So yeah. Absolutely required reading, if you’re a Great Big Sea fan. And I’d even recommend it if you’re not a GBS fan, just on the strength of Alan’s storytelling. The man does have a way with a word. And I’m hearing rumors he may be already thinking of writing another one.

To which there can of course be only one proper response: yes b’y.

And here: both of my copies of the book, the signed one from greatbigsea.com, and the ebook on my Nook HD!

Where I Belong, in Stereo

Where I Belong, in Stereo

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Sean McCann at the Railway, Vancouver, BC 10/3/2014
Bodhran Sean

This is a somewhat belated concert report since I’ve been busy dealing with Victory of the Hawk, but I didn’t want to go too long without writing this up–because although I am possessed of a mighty sadface that we have no Great Big Sea to look forward to for the foreseeable future, it was nonetheless extremely satisfying to see Sean McCann do his solo show at the Railway in Vancouver on my last trip up to BC.

As this was my first visit to the Railway I didn’t really know what to expect, but I did like the venue. And other GBS fangirls, my usual Vancouver crowd, had snagged a table towards the front, which turned out to be a good thing. Because the place was packed, standing room only in a way I hadn’t really experienced since before GBS started playing the Moore in Seattle. It was a relief to be able to retreat to a place to sit down, just because so many bodies in so small a space ramped up the temperature considerably. The size of the crowd even startled Sean, who remarked that it was something on the order of seven times the size of the crowd from his first Railway show.

This was, hands down, the perkiest I’d seen Sean at a show in years. The show was just him and his guitar and his bodhran, and he was lively, engaging, and in excellent voice. He was in delightful humor, making jokes about starting the show late, and he’s apparently now comfortable enough with himself that he was able to make self-deprecating jokes as well about his battles with alcohol–and in particular, how his wife had sternly vetoed the idea of his putting a glass of scotch on stage with him to build tension as to whether he would snap.

He did a mix of songs off his current record and Great Big Sea material. In the latter case, it was unsurprisingly stuff on which he’d sung lead (and I’m pretty sure it was stuff he’d written as well, though I’d have to look up the credits on various songs). He did several things I hadn’t heard at a GBS show in ages, which was a pleasure to hear. Notable GBS ditties he did were “Good People” and “Safe Upon the Shore” (from Safe Upon the Shore), “Graceful and Charming” (from The Hard and the Easy), “Love” (from Something Beautiful), “Feel It Turn” (from Turn), “The Night Pat Murphy Died”, and “Mari-Mac” (Rant and Roar if you’re me, Play and Up if you’re a GBS vet who pre-dates me in the fandom).

My favorite ditty off the solo album that he did: “Red Wine and Whiskey”, for getting the crowd to sing along with him.

Favorite GBS ditties: VERY pleased to hear him do “Safe Upon the Shore”, though it was decidedly strange to NOT hear the harmony brick on the chorus. Those of us in the audience did our level best to make up for that, though it was less “harmony brick” and more “everybody’s singing at the top of their lungs”.

Also rather startling to hear him actually do “Paddy Murphy”, because of the heavy drinking theme of the song. But this was an example of Sean being very willing to take requests from the audience, while at the same time reserving the right to veto things he wasn’t comfortable singing. (I notice nobody tried to get him to sing “General Taylor”, for example, though SOMEBODY kept yelling for him to sing “Old Black Rum”, to wit–no. Partly because bad idea in general, but also because he didn’t write that ‘un, and it would not be appropriate for him rights-wise to do that one solo unless he’s got Bob’s buyoff on that.) He faked us out with “Paddy Murphy”, too! Sang the first line, pretended to stop, and then went ahead and did the rest anyway to the audience’s delight.

In general he was very active with engaging the audience in the show, and by engaged I mean he kept pulling people up on stage to sing with him. My fellow fangirl Vancouver!Angela, a.k.a. sticckler, got to be in the first round of this when she and a couple others came up to sing backup on the title track from Sean’s current album, “Help Your Self”.

But he didn’t stop there. He got a great big honking herd of us to swarm the stage with him to do his closer–“Mari-Mac”. I could not resist the urge to jump in on that, though it caused a moment of MASSIVE EMBARRASSMENT as I tripped over my own damned feet on the way up there. “OH NO,” Sean shouted, “piper down!” But I scrambled back to my feet and assured him as well as everybody else that I was in fact OKAY, and then we all yelled “Mari-Mac”, and it was awesome.

Afterwards I was a little chagrined on behalf of the band that had to follow Sean’s set–because the place cleared out fast after he was done. A lot of the fans lingered in line because he did in fact do a meet-and-greet after, and naturally, I had to hang around for that. Which resulted in this pic!

Me and Sean McCann

Me and Sean McCann

I was able to tell Sean to his face that I talk a good talk about falling at the feet of my favorite musicians, but don’t usually mean it literally. And I also made a point of being rather more serious and telling him that I’d also been reading what he’s been saying to the media lately, not only about his fight with alcohol, but also that he’s an abuse survivor. I know what that’s like. And I wanted to wish him love and strength and just general fan support. He thanked me very kindly for that.

So yeah. Great show all around and it does make me feel somewhat better about GBS being on extended hiatus. The question came up again on the OKP as to whether the band will ever emerge from that hiatus, and in what form. Nobody’s saying yet, but it was very noteworthy that Bob Hallett did show up on that thread and say “Never say never.”

I do find myself hoping that eventually Sean will be comfortable enough to rejoin the GBS boys. But until then, if he’s willing to keep singing to us by himself, I’ll absolutely show up for his shows.

Thanks for a wonderful performance, Shantyman. We still love you. <3

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

And now, an excerpt from the tail end of Victory of the Hawk
Alan YES!

Oh MAN, you guys. I want to gush at you about the tail end of this book so very, very much, and I can’t, because massive, and I do mean massive spoilers. But I will share with you this mostly context-free excerpt from the end of Chapter 18, about which I will simply say that this is the point in the Victory of the Hawk Movie In My Brain where the orchestra has just lain down some Okay, Shit Is Now About to Go Down ominous building chords.

If you’ve read the first two books, you’ll recognize the names of Kestar and Margaine. And yeah, let’s put this behind a cut, shall we? Since there is a spoiler here. Muahaha.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.