Ordinary Day

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

Orycon 2015 report!
Blue Hawaii Relaxing

It’s a bit weird these days for Dara and me to show up at a convention that we’re not actually working–or which I wind up missing because I need to blow the whole con actually writing because I suck at deadlines. *^_^*;; Medical shenanigans have also kept us from going to cons we’ve wanted to go to for a few years running.

Like, for example, Orycon! We missed the last couple ones due to those medical shenanigans, but this year, we finally made it down. This was the first Orycon we’ve been to in some time, so it was pretty much like going to the con for the first time all over again.

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Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Boosting the Signal: Getting It Back, by Elizabeth Harmon
Castle and Beckett and Book

I meant to have this post ready to go earlier today–but if you follow me on the social networks, you’ll probably have seen that we had a windstorm in Seattle earlier this week, and I was without power for a couple of days. THAT SAID: neither wind nor rain will stand in the way of boosting a signal for long! Particularly if a fellow Carina author is involved. I had Elizabeth Harmon on the blog earlier this year, and she’s back now for an early look at her next Carina release, the contemporary romance Getting It Back. This is book three in her Red Hot Russians series, and she’d like you all to meet her hero Misha, who has very firm ideas about what he wants to do in the world of figure skating! Pre-order links for the book are below!


Getting It Back

Getting It Back

Imagine sacrificing everything to achieve your dream…and falling short.

Since leaving competitive figure skating, Mikhail “Misha” Zaikov, the hero of Getting It Back, my upcoming contemporary romance, and the third book in the Carina Press Red Hot Russians series, has been haunted by what might have been.

Once Russia’s top male figure skater, Misha was the favorite to win gold at the Lake Placid Winter Games. But an unlucky fall cost him victory. Though he hoped for another chance…a devastating injury brought a too-early end to his skating career.

He’s tried to turn his back on figure skating, but Misha is unmoored and drifting—until he decides to return to competitive ice.

Misha is sure a successful comeback will help him get back everything he’s lost—fame, fortune, and the love he’d thought was gone forever. But if the stakes are high, the risks are higher. Another injury could prove catastrophic, and he needs the help of Amy Shepherd, a young American athletic trainer, who is the only woman he’s ever loved. Amy wants to help Misha reach his dream…but is just as determined not to risk her heart.

Read on, as Misha shares a little of his story.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a figure skater.

That might sound like exaggeration, I know. How can a little kid be a skater? But in Western Siberia where I grew up, skating was as natural as running or jumping. I started, wearing my cousin’s old hockey skates. But when I was five, I got brand new black figure skates for New Year. From then on, there was never doubt of what I would be.

A skater, just like my papa.

You see, my father was Ilya Zaikov, one of the best men’s singles figure skaters in Russia, if not the world, in early 1980s. He competed in many championships and would have skated at Sarajevo in 1984, but was injured and forced to retire. His life after skating didn’t go as planned. Ilya hoped to coach in Moscow or St. Petersburg, working with our country’s best skaters. Instead, he was sent to work as skating instructor in the poor, coal-mining town where I was born.

His life was filled with hardship and disappointment, but there was nothing I loved more than watching him skate. When he gave me his old medal from Soviet National Championship, and said that one day I would win one too, I swore to make him proud.

But the years after Soviet Union fell were hard for many in Russia, and my family was no exception. Both my parents lost their jobs, and when Ilya could no longer afford medicine to relieve pain in his knees, he turned to vodka. Out of work, he put everything he had into coaching me.

When I was twelve, I competed for first time in Russian National Championships. It was exciting to come to Moscow and when I placed fifth, I was very happy. Unfortuantely, my father wasn’t. Drunk, he confronted some of the judges in the hotel bar. It was humiliating, and the best day of my life became the worst. One fortunate thing did come of it, though. My performance attracted interest from great coach, Yuri Bogdanov. When Bogdanov invited me to train with him in St. Petersburg, I left everything else behind, including my father.

For the next ten years, skating was what I lived, ate, and breathed. At seventeen, I skated in Winter Games in Oslo and four years later, was favored to take gold in Lake Placid Games. I took bronze instead. Most people see that as an accomplishment to feel proud of. But considering everything I sacrificed, it’s never felt like enough.

Even so, skating was my sport, my identity, my life. And then one day, it was gone.

I tried other jobs…I was coach for a time in Chicago, but it didn’t last. I was short order cook for an even shorter time. That didn’t last either, thanks to beautiful and fearless woman I like to call Tiger. Amy Shepherd was my athletic trainer, and she is the one person who makes me question whether going back to the ice is really what will make me happy.

But just as Amy uses ice to soothe aches and pains after training, for me, the ice is the only thing that seems to soothe the ache deep inside. I know that I’m becoming my father in a way I never wanted to be—a broken man, tormented by what he lost. I don’t want that to be the end of my story. That’s why I’ve decided to return to competition.

Amy fears I’ll be injured again. With two fused discs in my spine, another injury would be very bad. Catastrophic, some doctors say. Others in the skating world say at twenty-seven, I’m too old, and can no longer master the quadruple jumps I’ll need to compete against up and coming teenagers. Do you know what I say?

Watch me.

You see, I am skater. It’s what defines me. It’s what I’ve sacrificed everything for. Would winning gold make those sacrifices seem worth it? Between you and me, I don’t know. All I know is that I have to try.


Pre-Order the Book On: Amazon | Nook | Google Play | Kobo

Follow the Author On: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Goodreads Page for Getting It Back | Blog | Amazon Author Page

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Trilingual Harry Potter Reread: Book 1, Chapter 8: The Potions Master
Beckett and Book

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do another of these posts, but I haven’t forgotten about them, I promise! This is what happens when you spend a few weeks fighting off a nasty cold and then, even after you’re more or less better, you have to focus all your energy on the day job and on trying to get some writing done.

But now I’ve got a few cycles left over for Harry Potter. So let’s get back into Book 1, shall we? In this post, I’ll look at Chapter 8! Which means everybody’s favorite potions master who really wants to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, and who really has it in for our boy Harry. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Severus Snape.

Snape, Snape, Sev-er-us Snape

Snape, Snape, Sev-er-us Snape

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Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Time for another Faerie Blood and Bone Walker sale in honor of Orycon!
Alan YES!

Dara and I are heading to Orycon in another couple of weeks! And as I’ve done at Norwescon and Worldcon this year, I’ll be contributing books to sell at the NIWA table.

WHICH MEANS: it’s time for another convention deal!

The ebooks of both Faerie Blood and Bone Walker are back on sale for 99 cents each. ALSO: since I’ll be doing this deal at the convention, I’ll extend it to online purchasers as well. Since the print copies of these two books normally sell for $15 each, if you buy them both together, you can have ’em for $25!

These prices are in effect until December 1st. Mostly this sale is in honor of Orycon, but also because Thanksgiving is coming up, so I thought hey, I’ll keep the sale going till Cyber Monday!

For the ebooks, the 99 price point is in effect now on all major platforms where I sell ebooks. Click over to the Faerie Blood or Bone Walker pages and hit the “Buy The Book” buttons to see the major places in question.

If you want the print editions, head over to my Square marketplace and click down to the ‘Paperbacks’ section. The bundle is the third option in that part of the page.

As always, shoot me questions if you have ’em! And spread the word!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

For the B’ys of Great Big Sea: thanks for all the good times!
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

This article that showed up on the OKP Facebook group this morning has a quote from Alan Doyle in it that makes it pretty much official now: Great Big Sea is done.

I’m not surprised by this. I’ve seen this coming since Séan McCann stood down from the band, and really, I had suspicions of it being on the way even before the 2013 XX tour. But part of me wishes it would have come a bit sooner, and I note we still haven’t had any sort of official announcement via the band newsletter, the band website, or anything of that nature. So people coming to the greatbigsea.com website still won’t have any actual idea that the band’s pretty much done.

But it is what it is, and I feel it’s important now to take a few moments to celebrate what this band has meant to me in the last fourteen years. They’ve brought me huge amounts of joy. They’ve led me to making lifelong friends, to learning brand new instruments, to discovering the dynamic energy of Newfoundland traditional music in general, and most of all, to looking forward to the yearly outing to a concert where I could bounce and sing at the top of my lungs. And sometimes more than one concert in a year.

They led me to founding the Three Good Measures jamming group, and I’m proud to this day of all the fun we had making those MP3s.

They made a guitar player out of me! And they are, of course, responsible for why my best guitar is named General Taylor.

Me and the General

Me and the General

They led me and Dara and a bunch of our friends to have ridiculous amounts of fun participating in the fan song contest in 2010, when Safe Upon the Shore came out.

(Not to mention that we also had a bunch of fun making the blooper reel for these shenanigans, too!)

And of course, Alan Doyle does still hold the record for killing me MOST DED WITH SWOON in any given concert, thanks to our getting him to sing “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. Okay yeah sure, this was an Alan Solo show, but I include this because it’s all part and parcel of the joy these guys have brought to my life!

Which of course also leads me to add that I was also very, very grateful to finally get pics of myself with Alan AND with Séan.

And last but most DEFINITELY not least, these boys are very specifically responsible for why Christopher in Faerie Blood and Bone Walker is a Newfoundlander and a bouzouki player. They are why the very first scene of Bone Walker is, in fact, at a Great Big Sea show, even though I don’t call them out by name. And they are why the third book of the Free Court of Seattle will be set partially in St. John’s, and why Dara and I had such an awesome time in 2012 going there for the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival. Where, I might add, we saw them sing on their home soil, with the added special bonus of Darrell Power showing up to help them sing “Excursion Around the Bay”.

(And man, it was satisfying to see Alan’s doubletake on the stage when he came out and saw Dara and me there, faces he usually saw on the other side of the continent. ;D Particularly since this was only a few months after the Elvis incident!)

And in fact, they did “Excursion” TWICE.

It is part and parcel of life that all good things must eventually come to an end. But the music still lives on in my collection, and in my fingers. I will still come to both Alan’s and Séan’s shows when I can. And I know that whenever I pick up one of my guitars or flutes or whistles, when I start singing “Ordinary Day” on a walk to or from work just because I can, it’ll be because these guys kindled that within me.

Thanks b’ys. From the bottom of my heart. <3

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Working titles for pending Warder universe novellas finally!
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my writing’s rather stalled out hard after the release of Victory of the Hawk earlier this year. I’ve released a couple of short stories for sale this past summer and fall, but that’s about it. I’ve been struggling to try to find the mental energy to keep going on other projects, and that’s been challenging–partly out of weariness with juggling the Kickstarter obligations with my obligations for Carina, and partly out of the simple fact that I do have a technically challenging day job, and it’s often difficult for me to muster enough mental oomph to pull words out of my brain when I get home from work in the evenings.

But I’ve gotten really tired of that state of affairs, and I think I’ve managed to replenish enough creative stamina to get back to work. SO!

I am very pleased to announce that I finally have some working titles for the three Warder universe novellas that are the final obligations I need to clear off my plate for the 2012 Kickstarter. To refresh everyone’s memories, these novellas are:

  1. What I was previously referring to as my “psychic chick of size” story, in which Elizabeth Breckenridge, a psychic in Providence, Rhode Island, must assist her client Ross Taggart in tracking down what or who murdered his sister Edith, the Warder of the city. This story now has the official working title “A Power in the Blood”. Bonus for those of you who have read Faerie Blood and Bone Walker: Luciriel, Queen of the Unseelie Court, will be making a guest appearance in this story. It’s actively back in being worked on again, thanks to Scrivener!
  2. A story featuring a tuba player who is recruited by the local Warder–a woman who also happens to play in the same community orchestra–to help her guide a migration of supernatural sea creatures when she discovers they’re being hunted. Possible working title for this story: “A Last Sweet Breath of Song”.
  3. And last but most definitely not least, an origin story for Millicent Merriweather, the Warder First of Seattle in Faerie Blood and Bone Walker, and how she first came to Seattle and became its new Warder. The possible working title for this is still kicking around in my head, but it’s likely to involve “Bone” somehow. (I realize this is repetitive given the title of Bone Walker, but there’s also a theme of “blood, breath, and bone” that I’m playing with here. I do however reserve the right to change my mind once I make it around to finishing this story up!)

I don’t have a target release date for these stories yet. I am however going to target finishing “A Power in the Blood”‘s first draft by the end of November, as a sort of unofficial Nanowrimo. December, the plan will be to hand that off to whoever would like to beta read it for me, while I shift over to writing story #2. Then I’ll need to finish writing Millicent’s story.

There is ALSO a potential fourth novella brewing in my head, one which will feature Christopher’s cousin Caitlin Hallett, and her imminent conflict about whether she’s going to take up her father’s mantle and be the next Warder of St. John’s–because she’s about to fall head over heels for Gabien Desroches of les Gardiens of Quebec. And when two young people of the Warder lineage fall in love, somebody is going to have to leave their home. In the meantime? They’ll have to save St. John’s, too.

I am not sure yet whether I will be releasing these stories for individual sale or whether I will do them as a collection. If I do the latter, chances are very high it will be under the title Walking the Wards.

Stand by for more data on this as it happens!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Now joining Team Scrivener: Me!
Alan YES!

I’ve been super stalled on my writing a lot these last few months–perhaps a combination of mental weariness (albeit a good weariness, the kind you get from having a technically challenging job) from my day job, and a bit of needing to rest up from getting the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy finished off. But this has been going on long enough that I’ve finally decided I need to do something about that. And what I decided to do about it is investigate a potential new way to shoot new life into my writing’s workflow.

A lot of authors I know swear by Scrivener, a program intended to help you better organize your writing. You can write stuff in it and do basic word processing, but that’s less of the point. The program’s a lot more oriented towards letting you organize not only your drafts of your writing, but also accompanying notes and research materials.

I pulled down the trial version on Friday night and spent some time this weekend going through the entire tutorial that comes with it. Which, I gotta say, was splendidly written and gives a great overview of the program and its capabilities. Speaking as someone whose day job is indeed technically challenging, I very much appreciate a well-written tutorial.

After I did that, I started actually trying to do some work in the program. I built a new project from scratch, pulling in the already-written words for the still-unnamed Warder universe story about psychic Elizabeth trying to help Ross discover who murdered his Warder sister.

I’ve gone ahead and paid for the program to activate it, and will be using it as my primary means of writing a draft, moving forward. Still to practice: using it to export into useful formats, like HTML for building ebooks, and PDF for saving archive copies of drafts, and Word docs for anything I need to send to an editor.

What I really, really like about the program so far:

  • The aforementioned tutorial. If you’re at all interested in checking out this program, I highly recommend doing the tutorial, just to get a broad overview of its capabilities.
  • It’s super-helpful having the notes I’d written for the story immediately accessible in the sidebar, along with the individual scenes for the story itself.
  • The dialog box for showing your project target word counts is very helpful and motivating, if you’re trying to hit a daily word count. Progress bar for the win!

I hear rumors there’s an iPad build on the way, and I daresay I’ll be buying that–because having access to Scrivener projects via Dropbox on my iPad would ALSO be super-helpful.

But in the meantime, if you’re not already a Scrivener user and you think you might want to check it out, it lives over here. If you ARE a Scrivener user, what things do you like about it? Let me know in the comments!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

A book roundup brought to you by the Brownstone Spire
Beckett and Book


Two quick purchases from Kobo:

Welcome to Night Vale, the new novel from Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the folks who’ve brought us the amazing podcast by the same name. (Which I heartily recommend if you haven’t gotten into listening to it already.) I’m going to be plowing through this pretty soon!

Also, Earthrise, which I nabbed when I saw James Nicoll post about it. The cover attracted me, both for having a heroine of color and an elven-looking male who seems to be a primary other character and possibly a love interest. Also, set in space, which apparently means ELVES IN SPACE, and I’m down with that.

BONUS: Earthrise is apparently book 1 of a trilogy, and at least as of this writing, it’s FREE. Which I’m also down with. And the covers on the other two books are also lovely, so I’m hoping it’ll be a fun read!

77 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Hey, Kobo readers! 50% off sale for Faerie Blood!
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

Those of you who read on the Kobo, be advised that if you don’t already have Faerie Blood, you should be able to pick it up for 50 percent off over the next couple of days! The Writing Life folks are running a promotion described in full here.

Pertinent discount codes to use at checkout are as follows:

October 28th – October 31st
Promo Code: CA50SALE

United States/Australia/New Zealand
October 27th – October 30th
Promo Code: GET50SALE

United Kingdom
October 30th – November 2nd
Promo Code: UK50SALE

Spread the word around to anybody you know who reads via Kobo, won’t you? Thank you!

(Note also: this will only apply to Faerie Blood, since my other two indie titles, Bone Walker and The Blood of the Land, are currently deployed to Kobo via Smashwords and are not active in the Writing Life system.)

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Supergirl 1.01: Pilot
A Star Shines


I’ve been seeing good buzz for the new Supergirl show on the Mary Sue and Tor.com for ages now, and this week, the show finally premiered. Picoreview: I liked it! It had a few heavy-handed moments in it, and it does suffer from the whole “need to do the origin story” problem that just about all superhero storylines do. But on the whole I quite enjoyed it. Melissa Benoist as Kara is awesome. Callista Flockhart as Cat Grant was sublime, and plus, I hadn’t realized her character was in fact Cat Grant, who I also adored from way back in the days of Lois & Clark.

Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy James Olsen was an unexpected treat. NICE change of pace for Jimmy Olsen. 😀

Plus, the plot did some things right out of the gate that I was not expecting either. And in general I just really appreciated the overall upbeat, optimistic “yeah actually I have superpowers and I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE and did I mention HOLY CRAP FLYING IS AMAZING” attitude of it all. So yeah, I’ll be sticking around for at least the next few episodes to see what happens next.

The Mary Sue has their recap post for the episode up. Tor.com also has a review post up, talking in particular about how the episode establishes its intent re: feminism. I’m more or less on board with both of these posts, which will be no surprise to y’all. I did find the “rah rah feminism” a bit heavy-handed, but on the other hand, not unwarranted either–particularly in this day and age where so often, feminism is taken as a bad thing. There are folks out there that need to be reminded that yes, girls can be superheroes too.

But now that we’ve gotten the origin story out of the way, I look forward to Kara actually learning to be more effective with her powers–and hopefully, less dialogue gymnastics to try to keep everybody from having to identify Superman by name, or explain why he’s off camera and can’t be arsed to actually, y’know, pick up a phone and call his cousin every so often.

Because yeah. Flying IS freggin’ awesome. And so is a superhero show that brings some light and optimism to the watching.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.


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