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Sunday, March 6, 2022 10:34 AM
You Get a Book! And You Get a Book!
 by Fëanor

Hi, folks! Just popping on to mention that you can now purchase my latest book, RING AND IRON: A STRANGER WORLD ADVENTURE, in paperback format on Amazon!

It wasn't supposed to come out until tomorrow, but Amazon is weird about paperbacks and doesn't let you put them on presale or set exactly when they're going to be published; you just have to push the button a little before they're supposed to be available and hope for the best. So you get it a day early! It'll be officially released in paperback and eBook everywhere else tomorrow.

I'm afraid the Amazon paperback edition of RING AND IRON is a bit more expensive than the previous volumes in the series, and I'm honestly not entirely sure why. It's a bit longer, mostly because I increased the font size, so that might be it. But it's also possible that production costs have just gone up.

The good news is, if paying for books is not your thing, I've still got you covered! Now until the end of March, you can enter a giveaway for a FREE copy of the Kindle eBook edition of RING AND IRON on Goodreads! A lot of people have already entered, so better get on it if you want your chance.

I've said it before, but RING AND IRON really is my best book yet, and it catches you up on the story so far, so if you've been avoiding the series until now, I hope you'll give this one a try.

Regardless, as always, thanks for reading!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Ring and Iron (Not)
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Thursday, December 2, 2021 10:49 PM
Interview!
 by Fëanor

I got interviewed! Check it out.
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Sea and Sword (Not)
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Tuesday, November 2, 2021 08:46 AM
Do you like free stuff?
 by Fëanor

If you're curious about my books, but aren't sure you want to spend money to find out if they're any good, I have good news for you! I'm giving away my latest book, RING AND IRON: A STRANGER WORLD ADVENTURE! There are separate giveaways running now on Facebook and Twitter. It's easy to enter, and if you win, I'll send you a free signed hardcover copy of the book! Just get in there soon, because I'll pick the winners in six days, on 11/8/21.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Ring and Iron (Not)
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Sunday, October 31, 2021 08:36 AM
(Last updated on Sunday, October 31, 2021 08:38 AM)
My New Book Is Out!
 by Fëanor

Hey, I totally jumped the gun and released my new book! BOOM! RING AND IRON: A STRANGER WORLD ADVENTURE is out now!

Wee!

Yeah, I was planning on holding out until 12/6 for the release, and putting it on pre-order tomorrow, but then I was reading about supply chain issues that are effecting the publishing industry, and how book orders later than early November would likely not make it to folks in time for the holidays, and I decided to just pull the trigger. I want you to have it in your hands before the end of the year, so here you go!

If you don't want to buy it on Amazon, you can also pre-order it on Barnes and Noble. It'll come out on that site on 11/14. They wouldn't let me release it any earlier than that for some reason.

Keep in mind, this is the hardcover release; the paperback and eBook versions will come out some time next year.

Because I'm a self-published author, my books survive on "word of mouth," so I would really appreciate it if you would tell folks about RING AND IRON. It's my best book yet. It has magic and adventure and monsters and mystery, and I think it's good fun for all ages, 8 to 1000. Post about it on social media! Review it on Amazon! Tell people about it when you pass them in the street!

Of course, RING AND IRON is even better if you've already read the first two entries in the series, TREE AND BEAST and SEA AND SWORD, but you can start here and not be lost. I do the thing in the beginning where I get you up to speed on the story, don't worry!

Anyway, I hope you all love the book. Thanks for reading!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Ring and Iron (Not)
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Sunday, September 26, 2021 12:41 PM
(Last updated on Sunday, September 26, 2021 12:42 PM)
Let's Talk Some More About Books!
 by Fëanor

Hey! I remembered I had a blog, and some things are going on, so I thought I'd post!

  • My next book, RING AND IRON: A STRANGER WORLD ADVENTURE, the third entry in my Middle Grade fantasy series, will be out in hardcover on December 6th! Mark your calendars! I'm not sure when I'll put it on pre-sale on Barnes & Noble...probably some time in November? Anyway, I will definitely shout about it when it happens.

  • Kirkus Reviews just reviewed the book! You can read it here, and I added a quote from the review to my Published Works page. TL/DR: they liked it! Although apparently they think the kids these days don't know about LORD OF THE RINGS, and might not get my references to it. Well, they should! That's all I have to say about that.

  • As I mentioned in my last post, I asked some folks to read the early draft of my next, non-Stranger-World novel, the title of which I haven't decided on yet (currently I like IN THE CITY OF A HUNGRY GOD - what do you think?), and they gave me a lot of useful feedback. One thing I kept thinking about was the complaint that it didn't feel like it had a solid conclusion. I had indeed purposefully left things at a cliffhanger, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought the first book in a series shouldn't end that way. It did need some more satisfying ending, in which our heroes accomplished something more tangible. As I said to my brother, "this one should be A New Hope, not Empire Strikes Back." I thought maybe I could slap together a better ending in maybe 5 or 10 thousand words. Well, 27,000 words later, I was done! Yeah, it's quite a bit longer now, but I'm also much happier with it.

  • Still on the topic of the new book: I'd assumed as I was writing it that it would be for the Young Adult audience. But the new word count puts it outside the established range for YA - even for the traditionally longer fantasy genre. I talked to a literary agent friend of mine, describing my problem, and he pointed out that since two of my main characters were adults, what I had wasn't really YA anyway. So yeah, turns out I wrote an adult fantasy book. I guess it's also technically urban fantasy, since most of it takes place in a present day city. Who knew?? Anyway, that's actually good news really, since for adult fantasy, my word count is just right.

  • The next step for my new book is for me to do yet another editing pass, making sure it all hangs together and sounds good. Then I'll send it back out to my test readers again for them to do another pass. I'd also like to get a sensitivity reader or two to take a look at it, as I'm dealing with some minority groups here and I don't want to be saying anything stupid by mistake. Then I start searching for a literary agent who's interested in this kind of book. Then I write query letters, send them out, and cross my fingers. I hope you'll cross your fingers for me, too!

  • As for stuff I'm reading, I'm currently on the final book in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series, SINNER. Each book in this series has been better than the last, and this one features a particularly complex relationship between two particularly broken individuals. Interestingly, it's focusing a lot more on real world emotional issues than it is on the werewolf stuff. It's good!

  • Other books I've read recently are STORMSONG and SOULSTAR, the last two entries in C.L. Polk's Kingston Cycle (thanks to my friend Cynthia for turning me on to this series; I stalk her Goodreads and add everything she rates highly to my "to read" shelf!). These are also fantasy romance books, like The Wolves of Mercy Falls, but they also each feature a murder mystery, and are set not on a subtly altered present day Earth, but in a completely different reality full of magic, ghosts, and angels. Also, the romances featured are LGBTQ+. The final book has the most complex romance, as there's no meet-cute or passionate first kiss; instead, we follow along as two people who were separated 20 years ago re-learn how to be a couple. It's well done.
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Ring and Iron (Not), Witches (Not)
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Friday, July 30, 2021 02:41 PM
Books! Wow!
 by Fëanor

A couple of updates for all of you fine folks who still check in on my website (bless you, all two of you): I created a page on Goodreads for my new book RING AND IRON: A STRANGER WORLD ADVENTURE, which will be the third entry in my STRANGER WORLD series. I really think this one is my best book yet, and I'm not just saying that. It introduces one of my favorite characters, and features a life-or-death game of Candy Land. Not a lot of authors can claim their book has that! You can add it to your Want to Read shelf on Goodreads, if you'd like. That would be awesome. (There was a bug with those Goodreads buttons on my site, but I fixed it, so should be easy to do now.) The book also now appears in the Goodreads widget over on the side of my blog, and I made a space for it on the Published Works area of my site. The plan is to release this one in hardcover on December 6th, 2021, so mark your calendars! I'll set it up to go on pre-sale on Barnes & Noble by Black Friday/Cyber Monday, so you can order it as a gift for the holidays. (Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to put self-published books on pre-sale for some strange reason.) So, everybody's going to order each other copies of my book for Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, right? Please??

I've also finished the first draft of a new novel which is the first entry in what I plan to be a YA fantasy trilogy. It's about an alternate history version of America where an evangelical protestant church basically runs the country, magic is real, and witches are outlawed. I sent it off to some family members and am anxiously awaiting their responses. I have to say, I'm a little sad to not have any writing project to work on at the moment. Maybe I should start the next entry in the series...

Meanwhile, I've been obsessed with the work of Maggie Stiefvater lately and have been reading all her stuff. She's pretty amazing. I particularly recommend her Raven Cycle (starting with The Raven Boys), which is followed by the Dreamer Trilogy (still ongoing), and also her standalone book The Scorpio Races which really blew me away. I've just started her YA werewolf romance series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, which is fun.

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote a post this long on here! Anyway, happy reading everybody.
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Ring and Iron (Not), Witches (Not)
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Wednesday, May 19, 2021 03:35 PM
(Last updated on Thursday, May 20, 2021 11:50 AM)
UPGRADE!
 by Fëanor

Hey folks, just letting you know, I went ahead and upgraded my website to a newer version of PHP, because my host warned me the one I was using was painfully, unsupportably old (oops!). So, please let me know if you see any issues as you're poking around. Thanks!

ETA: While I was at it, I also got myself an SSL certificate, so you can now visit my site in a secure fashion using https! Very exciting. To me, anyway.
Tagged (?): Meta (Not)
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Tuesday, April 6, 2021 06:58 PM
On the Viewer - Justice League: The Snyder Cut
 by Fëanor

I live-tweeted my reactions to watching the Snyder Cut a while back, so just thought I'd collect all those tweets here, for posterity.

——

[Thread #1]

Ok, I'm watching the Snyder Cut, it's already annoying me, this should be fun.The sound waves of Superman's yell flying across the earth was just...weird. I get what they were trying to do, but I feel like it could have been done in a way that wasn't so silly.

——

Bruce meets a random guy who is probably a fish man, and just immediately tells him he's Batman? In public? And lets fish man talk about it in front of everybody? Why??

——

The lady smelling Aquaman's sweater is just creepy. He's got this town of people practically worshipping him.

——

Martha Kent's dog is named Dusty? Not Krypto?

——

Of course the Kent farm has been foreclosed on. Everything is so gray and colorless and mopey. It makes me mad. You're a comic book movie for God's sake! Have a little fun!

——

Oh my god this ridiculously elegiac song playing while Lois stares at the monument to her dead boyfriend in the rain, jeez!

——

Wonder Woman showing up standing on the arm of a giant gold statue of Justice is a bit on the nose. Just a bit.

——

Oh my god, this movie is terrible. I was going to say something nice about it, because it was fun watching Wonder Woman beat up terrorists, then they ruined it with the "can I be like you some day" bit.

——

I'm curious if there's going to be any point to that scene. Was it just to introduce Wonder Woman? She doesn't really need an introduction at this point. Or will the terrorists somehow tie in to the larger story? I don't see how...

[Editor's note: no, there will no point to it.]

——

"Maybe it's going back to sleep."
"Evil does not sleep. It waits."
Ugh, I just rolled my eyes so hard.

——

So, I thought the idea was that Steppenwolf is showing up after thousands of years absence. But didn't we see him hanging out with Lex Luthor at the beginning of the movie? And what's the point of sealing the cave, didn't the central chamber have a big skylight?

——

I went back, it absolutely does have a big skylight. There's no point sealing off the entrance if you could just climb out. There's even guys in there that can fly. I mean...wow. This is so bad.

——

Ok, but now the entire thing fell into the sea. Maybe that was the plan?

——

Ok, I will say a nice thing now: some of the action scenes with Steppenwolf were good.

——

Now back to bad things: so much sad choral music! Oy.

——

Why was Diana restoring an ancient statue while wearing a fancy sheath dress?

——

The dialogue is just very bad.

——

Diana lights a torch and suddenly she's in an ancient pit?! Where did this come from?

——

Okay, I will say another nice thing: the ancient frescoes of the mother boxes and Darkseid are really cool.

——

This scene of Aquaman saving a guy feels like another introduction scene - except we already met him...

——

He just came in from the ocean wearing a shirt, but before he dives back in, he tears the shirt off and throws it on the ground, just like he did earlier. What does he have against shirts??

——

Willem Dafoe, erstwhile lighthouse keeper, demands that Arthur take up his mother's trident! And offers him a weapon with five spikes on the end. Don't tridents have three spikes? Isn't that the point of the whole "tri" part?

——

Steppenwolf and Desaad have a conversation that is mostly exposition. He owes Darkseid 10,000 more worlds?? Man, you've got some work to do, dude.

——

There's a computer effects-laden epic flashback battle showing the last time Darkseid came to earth and was fought back. It's kind of lame. It doesn't help that Wonder Woman is there to provide incredibly corny and completely unnecessary narration throughout.

——

It is cool that we get to see Darkseid and the previous Green Lantern. But they turn Darkseid into a big gray brute who grunts and hits things. Not at all the thoughtful, aloof Darkseid I know with the colorful outfits and cool crooked laser eye blasts.

——

Dude comes jumping in with a big axe and hits Darkseid in the shoulder. Reminds me a lot of Thor jumping in and hitting Thanos in the shoulder with an axe in Avengers. Just saying!

——

Really unimpressive showing from Darkseid here. If the point of this flashback was to make him look big and scary, they failed miserably. He gets hit a couple times and passes out in the back of his van.

——

Have I mentioned that there is no color in this movie? Everything is gray and washed out. I don't get it. It's just ugly.

——

I like that the Atlanteans and the Amazons have these fancy rituals and ceremonial locations for sealing their mother boxes away, and the men just...put theirs in a hole and cover it with dirt. :LOL:

——

I enjoy that they introduce the Flash with a REDUCED SPEED AHEAD sign. And he's late, of course. Good old Barry.

——

Ah, an entirely manufactured emergency so Barry can have a reazon to show off his powers. Sigh.
So many of these scenes feel jammed in here for no good reason. Why not have Barry's intro be worked into the overall story? Instead we're wasting time with a cliche traffic accident.

——

The soundtrack is so melodramatic!

I like the idea of Barry running right out of his shoes, but...how do the rest of his clothes stay on? Not that I want to see him naked...

——

Also, really uncool that he is stopping to touch the girl's hair in the middle of saving her. Seriously. Not okay. Creepy and bad.

——

The touching, romantic music as he takes the time to steal a hot dog...

——

Think I'll sleep for now. Perhaps more tomorrow night!

——

[Thread #2]

Picking up where I left off with the #SnyderCut .

They trying to set up a romance between Diana and Bruce? Huh.

I like the extra backstory for Cyborg. This is actually good character development here.

——

What kinda dude tries to cheer up his depressed, angry teen son by telling him he has the power to destroy the world??

——

Yeah, I really liked the Cyborg sequence there, and I really liked the scene in the prison between Barry and his dad. Plus "you're living in the past; make your own future, Barry" feels like foreshadowing of Flashpoint, which is fun.

——

"Fluent in gorilla sign language" feels like a Gorilla Grodd reference, but maybe I'm reading into this too much now. Regardless, love this scene between Barry and Bruce.

——

"What are your super powers again?"
"I'm rich."
Ah yes, the only true super power.
I'm actually really enjoying the movie tonight. Not sure if this part is that much better, or if I'm just in the right mood...

——

I like that merely because Diana did an internet search for him, Cyborg immediately found her, hacked her system, set up a meeting.

——

Really like the scene between them, with Diana connecting with him over loss and learning to open yourself back up again. Really, loss and what to do about it is what all these characters are about.

——

"Hi, Barry, I'm Diana. That's not right. Great." :LOL:

——

Another conversation between Desaad and Steppenwolf that feels mostly unnecessary. I guess we did learn that Steppenwolf now has working defences for his fortress...

——

Now we got most of the team together, talking to Commissioner Gordon about parademons! Fun stuff.

——

The music in this movie is mostly bad, but I really love Wonder Woman's theme.

——

Sometimes the computer effects are really good and sometimes they're really surprisingly bad. There's a scene where Batman's grapple gun almost falls off a metal walkway, and the way it moves is just really obviously unnatural and fake.

——

I appreciate the extremely matter-of-fact way Alfred says, "catastrophic failure of all systems."

——

Ok, so I like that we're bringing Anti-Life into it, upping the stakes, that's cool. But...how exactly did Darkseid and his minions "lose" Earth? How did he not know this was where he suffered his great defeat, and where the equation was written? I mean, that makes no sense.

——

Cyborg is pretty central to this version of the story! And now we're going to use the mother box to bring Superman back. Interesting!

Wait, did he try to bring his mother back? Hmm...

Anyway, gonna stop again for now. Good night, folks!

——

[Thread #3]

Ok, it's #SnyderCut time again! Moving into the third hour now.

——

Ok, very unexpected cameo from Martian Manhunter there. He couldn't have just asked Martha to stop by?

——

This is a good setup for the next part of the movie. Use the box to try to revive Superman, but using the box calls the enemy. Their only chance to win could also bring on their defeat.

——

"She's 5000 years old, Barry. Every guy's a younger guy."
Heh.

——

"This red cape charges back" isn't really the thrilling line they think it is...

——

Lois has a pregnancy test in her bedside table drawer, and the brand name is Force Majeure. :grimacing face:

——

Oh man, the tension and foreboding as the countdown goes down to one, and then the vision of the awful future. So well done! And we get to see Darkseid use his omega eye beams!! Hooray!

——

Intense and brutal battle with a confused resurrected Superman. Then a powerful self-sacrifice by Victor's dad - which reminds me a lot of this same actor's self-sacrifice in Terminator 2! Poor guy is always pushing buttons to kill himself in an attempt to ward off apocalypse.

——

Part 6: Something Darker. That doesn't really fill me with confidence...But maybe they're just talking about the black suit.

——

I like that Bruce introduces Alfred by saying, "I work for him."

——

"I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells. He's never fought us. Not us united."
Nice.

——

Can somebody just text Lois and let her know it's important to hurry up with getting Clark back together??

——

Or, you know, we've established that Martian Manhunter is around. Couldn't he lend a hand? He has a very impressive power set of his own...

——

I have to say, there are some really great quiet character moments here. I'm really enjoying this movie now.

——

The "something darker" comes from Batman, as he's considering what his prophetic dream might mean - specifically, the bit about Lois Lane being the key. I seem to remember this dream being in the theatrical cut, but we didn't see it in this version...

——

...Or I could be remembering something from Batman vs Superman, actually.

——

Anyway, pretty neat moment as Clark hears the voices of his two fathers urging him on, and he puts on the black suit and heads out.

——

They spend the whole movie trying to get this thing to fly and on its maiden voyage Batman crashes it? C'mon Bruce!

——

Very fun action sequence as the team mows their way through a horde of parademons. They're like popcorn!

——

Oh man, Superman shows up, blows a puff of breath on Steppenwolf's axe, and one punch shatters it. Nice entrance!

——

They fail, they're too late, but it's okay - Barry can run faster than time.

——

Realizing how much this movie is about fathers, too. Superman's dads, Barry's dad, Victor's dad, Aquaman's dad. Lots of complicated father-son relationships here.

——

Barry runs the world back into existence. What a visual. Fantastic.

——

"I'm not broken. And I'm not alone." Such a great character moment for Victor. Really well done.

——

Oh man, the way they all work together to finish off Steppenwolf and send his corpse back to Darkseid? So badass.

——

But even as they defeat Steppenwolf and stop this attempt to destroy the world, the threat of Darkseid himself rises. Very ominous.

——

Epilogue! Lots going on here. More villains lined up to come after them, and another vision of a horrifying future in which Superman is an enemy. It's a bit much, really.

But yeah, I actually ended up mostly liking this movie! I'm shocked.
Tagged (?): DCU (Not), Justice League (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Tuesday, March 9, 2021 02:41 PM
Book Report: Circe
 by Fëanor

Circe (2018) by Madeline Miller is a novelization of the story of the goddess from Ancient Greek myth. If you remember her at all, it's probably from the story of Odysseus. On his long, wending way back from Troy, he shows up at her island and she briefly turns his men into pigs. In this novel, that incident is a pivotal event, but it is only one in a dramatic and engrossing life story full of pain, struggle, and yearning.

Circe is about women fighting to find their own place and their own power in a world dominated by men. It also contains one of the most bittersweet and painfully real descriptions of parenthood I've ever read - the agony, the lack of sleep, the desperate fear, the jealous aching love. Despite all the trials and suffering Circe endures, ultimately the book is suffused with a great passion and joy for life. Life hurts, and it ends, but it's beautiful for all that - maybe because of it.

A really fantastic book. I read it as an audio book, and the narration by Perdita Weeks really added to my enjoyment. She does a wonderful job.

Miller has another book called The Song of Achilles that I will definitely seek out now.
Tagged (?): DCU (Not), Justice League (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Monday, March 1, 2021 09:53 AM
For Amazonians Only
 by Fëanor

Exciting news! Amazon invited me to a private beta for self-publishing hardcover books, so both my books are now available on Amazon in hardcover format! Their hardcover format is a bit different from the Barnes & Noble format. Barnes & Noble prints the cover illustration on a paper jacket that wraps around the book. Amazon does what they call case laminate hardcover, which means the cover illustration is applied directly to the cover itself, and there is no jacket.

Anyway, here are the links! Thanks for looking.

Tree and Beast

Sea and Sword
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Book Report (Not), Books (Not), Mythology (Not), Sea and Sword (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books.

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