Category Archives: Five Good Things

Five Good Things: I discovered that the world is full of cool at a really young age. At age eight or so, I'd found heaven—And now our ability to learn wonderful (and sometimes weird) things is limitless: we have the internet! I sometimes stand in severe danger of walking in and never coming out again. The world is full of cool.

Five Good Things #10 (The World is Full of Cool)

I discovered that the world is full of cool at a really young age. My mom had several sets of encyclopedias from different decades. They were rich in coolness. It breaks my heart that they disappeared, but I can understand her not wanting to tote them around as she moved from one place to another.

I can remember sitting on the landing at the top of the stairs when I was elementary-school age. One wall had a bookshelf built in, and I would perch there beside it and browse through those encyclopedias and the scores of other books living there.

At age eight or so, I’d found heaven.

And now our ability to learn wonderful (and sometimes weird) things is limitless: we have the internet! I sometimes stand in severe danger of walking in and never coming out again. Except for food. I like food. Continue reading Five Good Things #10 (The World is Full of Cool)

Five Good Things #9 (Recent Finds from the Ethersphere) from fantasy author Robin Lythgoe

Five Good Things #9 (Recent Finds from the Ethersphere)

The ethersphere is full of fantastic goodness—and by that I mean there are a lot of cool fantasy-type things and fantasy-seeming things out there for us to discover! Sometimes it’s hard limiting myself to just five pieces of awesomeness, but if I didn’t we’d all be down an endless rabbit hole.

Away from the ethersphere, I’ve been rubbing my hands together as I plot new tales — and toil away at the rewrites for book two of The Mage’s Gift. Watch this space for more news on those!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links it won’t cost you a cent, but I’ll get a small affiliate commission, which helps keep my computer running. Thanks!

In the meantime, here are some recent good reads from the Ethersphere: Continue reading Five Good Things #9 (Recent Finds from the Ethersphere)

Five Good Things #8: Pencils, books, a map, a quote, food…

Five Good Things #8: Pencils, books, a map, a quote, food…

Are you ready for Five Good Things #8? In Real Life, the Green Gomboo is sticking to me like glue. Luckily, there are more exciting things going on in the world than my slow-as-a-herd-of-snails recovery. Like pre-orders for Tad Williams’ new The Witchwood Crown, which comes out in June of this year. I am eager to return to Osten Ard! Have I got the first book in the new series yet? Well… no, but it’s on my wishlist!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links it won’t cost you a cent, but I’ll get a small affiliate commission, which helps keep my computer running. Thanks!

In the meantime, here are some recent good reads in the Blog World: Continue reading Five Good Things #8: Pencils, books, a map, a quote, food…

Five Good Things (#7): In which we talk about The Handmaid’s Tale Takes to TV / Creative Writers Retreats / How Big is Your Vocabulary? / A Tiny House Village for Vets / Fantasy e-Book Reader Poll

Five Good Things #7

I love this digital age. There is so much information to discover: history, technological progress, people being cool to each other, and… well, books, of course! Welcome to another installment of “Five Good Things”!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

The Handmaid’s Tale
, by Margaret Atwood

In the last installment of Five Good Things (#6) I talked about Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Very shortly after that, I saw that Hulu will be airing a mini-series based on the book. It goes without saying that I have reservations about watching it. Part of me is afraid of seeing the story too much changed. Part of me is eager to see how they handle it.

With a cast including Elisabeth Moss as Offred and Joseph Fiennes as the Commander, I think I’ll take my chances. Queue me up, Hulu!

Creative Writers Retreats

I dream of going on a writer’s retreat. My sister keeps sending me links about writing retreats on cruise ships. Continue reading Five Good Things #7

Five Good Things #6

I’ve procrastinated writing Five Good Things. It’s true. The other day I read a provocative (as in provoking thought—and controversy) article about the continued existence in speculative fiction of sexual violence against women. The author made some excellent points. So did the commenters.

I wandered off in a cloud of philosophical debate.

Someone in the discussion suggested reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. My To-Be-Read list is already huge. I can’t say what made the reading of this one so necessary, and so urgent.

_5GoodThings06_pinI read it.

It is a powerful commentary on humanity (male and female, individual and government).

It is also starkly beautiful in its prose.

I would like to take a week off to savor the language, the setting it portrayed, and the emotion it evoked.

So I’m listing it as the first Good Thing…


The Good Stuff

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
“A radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast.”

3 Ways to Use Scene Cards to Help You Write Your Novel
Scene cards usually encapsulate a summary and pertinent details of the scene. Kristen Kieffer shows how to put some muscle on those suckers by using them in your pre-writing, drafting, and editing.

100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors
The Handmaid’s Tale features on this list, along with nine others I’ve read. Have I got my work cut out for me or what? I may have to re-think some of my choices for the A-Z Challenge I’m participating in on Goodreads—except I actually like reading books by male authors, too. In the interest of equality, is there a list of 100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Male Authors? (I know, I’m entering dangerous territory with that question, but please, I just want a good story!)

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Cheesecake
Okay, I don’t actually know if this is good, but it’s chocolate (my favorite) cheesecake (my other favorite) and comes from the Cheesecake Factory. It’s a win-win-win!

Project Snowstorm by Djekspek
I love maps—especially fantasy maps. This one particularly appeals to my eye, from the beautiful color palette to the geographical artwork itself. Commissioned by Snowfury Studios“Project Snowstorm is the first game in a planned trilogy in which you become a character at the center of the collision of four realms.  As the barriers that separate the realms begin to break, creatures from the other realms force their way into your reality…and everything you’ve come to think of as normal begins to change.”

snowstorm_by_djekspekPurdy, ain’t it?

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What good things have you seen in your world lately? SHARE below!

Image by Blake Wheeler via is licensed under CC0 1.0
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Five Good Things

Five Good Things (Mar 11)

Five Good Things is such a great article to put together. I get to share some of the cool things I’ve found while procrastinating researching my own writing!

Use Scrivener to Manage Your Blog
Writing straight into your blog software (WordPress, Typepad, etc.) presents its own problems—you can’t write offline, and searching through old blog posts to find mentions on a specific subject can be difficult. Boy, has Joanna Penn got some great advice! I’m definitely bookmarking this page.

The Arcanist’s Mill – A Wizard’s Tower Map with a Twist
Jonathan Roberts makes awesome, drool-worthy maps. Lands of Ice and Fire, anyone? Check out this article, in which he shows how he mapped “a wizard’s tower with a twist – somewhere a mage with a little bit of a steampunk leaning could hide out and experiment.”

Leftovers and Palette Gremlins
As long as we’re talking about artists, I’ve got to send you over to the site of one of my all-time favorites: Michael Whelan. I hope you recognize the name from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné books, Tad Williams’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn — and the epic Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. “Leftovers are little spur-of-the-moment doodles or sketches created from paint left over from a work in progress. Most of these quickies end up in the trash, but some are kind of cool on their own and others have lead to full scale paintings.” Go see! Be entertained.

10 Engrossing Fantasy Books Like “The Lord of the Rings”
“Embark on an epic journey with one of these fantastical sagas.” Oh, darn, more books to add to my TBR (To Be Read) list… I’ll bet you can hear me groaning in dismay all the way to your house. Riiiight…

Free Chains of Honor Prequel Story: A Question of Honor
I read Lindsay Buroker’s Warrior Mage and loved it. I’m behind on the story now, but look! A free tale about how Yanko and Dak first met! I’m all over that.

Image: “Beach” by Ravi Pinisetti is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal

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What good things have you seen in your world lately? SHARE below!

Five Good Things (Dec 11)

I have Five Good Things for you! Actually, I have a  lot more than that, but this is supposed to be a quick read. So many bloggers and writers out here in the internet world create such good stuff, sometimes it’s hard to choose!

Pay What You Want For Ten Great Novels
StoryBundle is an awesome idea from the get-go. “The VanderMeer Winter Mix Tape Bundle,” curated by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, is a collection of ten novels including the original anthology Bestiary, with new fiction from China Miéville and Catherynne M. Valente. Christmas gifts, anyone?

Top Christmas Gifts for Writers in 2015
If you’ve got writer friends in your life, Helping Writers Become Authors has a list of great things. And KM Weiland knows this stuff. Really well.

23 Things Harry Potter Characters Taught Us that We Fail to Notice
Reading opens your mind. Reading teaches us—even when we’re not looking for lessons. I loved reading (er, looking at!) these points. It made me wonder what’s been hiding in some of the other books I’ve read. I get so wrapped up on the story, I overlook things like this!

How to Use Scrivener to Start and Finish a Rough Draft
Scrivener is the cat’s pajamas when it comes to organizing, outlining, and writing your masterpiece. Twice through the interactive tutorial got me up to a speed that actually produced stories, but I’m always learning new tricks. Anything to streamline!

The Jean Thompson/Teddy Stoddard Story
This story has evidently made quite the rounds through the story-telling world. Why am I sending you to Snopes? For the real story behind the story. And it’s a good story. We all need to remember that there’s more going on than meets the eye when we look at a person…

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I found five good things—What good things have you seen in your world lately? SHARE below!

Photo by symphony of love

Five Good Things

I’m a little late getting this post written and going — and I have a good excuse! It is not book-related, but I’ll write about it soon. Look for the update in two weeks, on September 11th.

In the meantime, here are some recent good reads in the Blog World:

Pacing Your Stories
How stories should be paced: the good, the bad, and the infuriatingly slow.

Teacher Creates Harry Potter-Themed Classroom Of Our Dreams
Middle-school teacher Stephanie Stephens has become an Internet sensation after her Harry Potter-themed classroom went viral.

Read Tomorrow’s Best-Sellers Today
Enjoy curated stories and give feedback to their writers.

Why Do So Many of This Year’s Book Covers Have the Same Design Style?
A few years ago, the headless woman was one of the most commonplace sights on bookstore shelves (if the lack of something can be considered a “sight”). But lately, another cover design trend has been popping up on this summer’s crop of beach reads: the flat woman.

Augmented Biology: New Mode For Healthcare and Human Enhancement (Unfortunately this article is no longer available. What a shame!)
As computational biology races forward, scientists are tweaking cell-level processes with ever greater precision. Meanwhile, we are manipulating life on the scale of the human body through innovations such as prosthetic hands capable of tying shoe laces and biologically-printed living tissue. “Augmented Biology” (AB) describes the group of applied sciences taking humanity into a brave new era of life design.

Five Good Things

Ready for some great stuff? Me, too! I loved my vacation, but getting back to the Real World has been something of a challenge. I’m trying to organize my time better (like using rigid iron braces to keep myself from falling down the wonderful rabbit hole that is Pinterest)—and take advantage of some non-Pinterest inspiration. It is awesome that so much information is available to us, and that so many people are willing to share their knowledge and experience. Hurrah for a worldwide community!

Here are some great recent finds in the Blog World:

For Readers Everywhere!
FREEDITORIAL is a free and global meeting place for readers and writers from all over the planet. People from several continents have collaborated on this initiative. “We invite you to download and read your favorite books and articles for free.” 

27 Great Tips to Keep Your Life Organize
I’m a pretty organized person (a class I took said so!), but being organized helps us to “find” more time—time for important stuff like Pinterest. I mean, like writing! And reading!

A Writers View: On Characters Who Seize the Reins
“As [a writer] works with the character, internalizing the details of the unique set of drives which she has given it, the various elements she has selected begin, somehow, to interact among themselves, something like a kit model of a functioning personality.” These pretend people can be astonishingly like A.I.s …

Bite-sized Tales for Readers
“We publish “science fiction” in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream– whatever you’d likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction (flash fiction) each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale.” Okay, what’s not to like? I like reading stories during my lunch break better than reading emails…

Getting in the Groove
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Music can make us feel good. It can also provide a powerful creativity boost. “Even for those of us who are more visual in our imaginings, music remains one of the most powerful daydream launchers.“ Want to see what I like to listen to when I’m writing or daydreaming? Check out my Pinterest Music Board.

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How do you like to get into a creative mood?
What’s your best way to get inspired?

Five Good Things

If you’ve been keeping up with my Facebook page, you’ll know I’m neck deep re-working the outline for my Work In Progress. I suffered a round of depression when I calculated that Act 1 needs to go on an extreme diet or I’ll end up with a 1200+ page doorstop, just for the first book! Using a physical plot board rather than the computer screen has helped a lot. It’s much easier to see what’s going on and what’s missing. (Don’t worry, Beloved Scrivener [], I still love you!) I’ve used the board to reorganize my Scrivener files and I’m rarin’ to go!
In the meantime, I want to share with you some fun news and articles from people who are not suffering Writer’s Embarrassment.
“HEA is thrilled to unveil the cover of Fierce: Sixteen Authors of Fantasy, a multiauthor boxed set that features 16 of the most entrancing high fantasy reads from Mercedes Lackey, Michael Manning, K.F. Breene, Morgan Rice, Michael J. Ploof, Daniel Arenson, Kate Sparkes, David Adams, Amy Raby, C. Greenwood, David Dalglish, K.J. Colt, Shae Ford, Endi Webb, Michael Wallace and Terah Edun.”
Game Of Thrones: PowerPoint Edition
Stock shapes in PowerPoint take fantasy to a new level.
Hardback Editions of Thread Slivers and Thread Strands
My friend Leeland Artra is about to bring his books to the world as both hardbacks and mass-media paperbacks. And his video is pretty fun to watch, too.
Dragon Sketch by HELMUTTT on DeviantART
“This is just a quick sketch of a dragon I did. really nothing special and actually quite boring.” Methinks he doth protest too much.
Joe Abercrombie’s Fantasy Land
“With the second book in his YA-flavoured Shattered Sea trilogy out this month – featuring a quote from none other than Game Of Thrones’ George RR Martin on the front – novelist Joe Abercrombie talks to Vision about why fantasy is just as adept as literary fiction in reflecting the world in the 21st century.”
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What fascinating fantasy have you seen on the ‘net recently? Comment below, and share this post in your Google+ groups.