Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone


Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone is the start of a five book series (soon to be six) that’s garnered a lot of attention. Gladstone has been selected for several prestigious nominations, including finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in both 2013 and 2014, and a Hugo finalist in 2017 for the series, which is called The Craft Sequence. Admittedly there were awful problems with the 2015 Hugo awards, which resurfaced in 2016, but 2017 looks to have succeeded against small-minded bigotry. Gladstone is also publishing with TOR; if you read fantasy, you know that TOR has been a mover-and-a-shaker for a long time. Fans were not pleased in 2015 (see here and here) when president & publisher Tom Doherty of Tor Books came out in defense of the same racists and misogynists who were f*cking up the Hugo awards. (In 2017 there’s some weird stuff going on, too, but it seems to mainly be Scalzi v Vox in this instance.)

Despite all the recognition from ambiguous sources, Gladstone’s own work features several aspects of a diverse cast. And Gladstone doesn’t just write books—that’s right, I let my nerd flag fly—he also writes games and serials. In addition, his middle book (third to come out, fifth in the internal chronology of the series… it’s complicated) has been on just about every diversity reading list I’ve seen lately. I think the black woman and the Asian woman on the cover are lovers, but I’m not for sure. (I’ll keep you posted).

Anyway, that black woman, whose name is Tara, is our main character for this book, Three Parts Dead, which takes it’s quirky name from Betrand Russell, “To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.” A quick internet search will also advise that “three parts” is generally understood to mean 75%.

Tara is the lawyer mage, Abelard is the apprentice priest, and Cat is the addict cop. Together they find trouble, and ultimately, answers. Each of our trio has some scenes working solo and some teaming up. I like that our main characters are young, untested with something to prove. You can really see the character development and growth that happens in these pages.

If that doesn’t snag you, rest assured this book will also provide: gargoyles, vampires, murder, dead gods, and LOTS of magic use. And you can encounter such choice phrases as “the pretty young vivisectionist” who works with “dead human meat,” or the not-so-nice professor whose magic masterfully manipulates the very fabric of the universe, “time its warp and space its weft.” This volume has a very sci-fi feel for a book that’s considered fantasy, and there are also some parts that feel steampunky. And here’s some bizzaro fun with font and cover colors—apparently Gladstone is a little magical himself.


Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

  • PopSugar 2017 reading challenge No. 45 a book about an immigrant or refugee. I was trying to give this category the respect it deserves and save it for a serious nonfiction book, but I just don’t know if I’ll get there. The news is depressing enough. So I decided this book may be as close as I get. Tara talks about her family being immigrants twice. It was that or No. 20 career advice, since the novel explores Tara’s career path, but I think I’m much more likely to read another book about writing (my preferred career path).
  • Book Dragon’s Lair Audiobook challenge Nope.
  • Book Dragon’s Lair Pages Read challenge These 333 pgs bring me to 11,489 pgs.
  • Read It Again, Sam Nope.
  • My Reader’s Block Mount To Be Read (TBR) and Rock My TBR challenge While I have been wanting to read this series for a hot minute, the rules say I can’t count it because I checked it out from the library.
  • Diverse Reads challenge (here and here). Yes! The main character is black, as are some of the supporting cast, and Tara is a strong, capable, intelligent woman who also fights for freedom and what is right! Just the kind of hero we can love whole-heartedly. I also liked that, unlike in many books, the males in these pages play more submissive roles while the women do the lion’s share of fighting and detective-ing. This is also the first book of the series which promises an Eastern setting in book three. I will keep you posted.
  • The Book Date Full House challenge Nope.
  • The Book Date Read the Books You Buy challenge This one I have managed not to buy yet, but I make no promises for the future.
  • The Worm Hole’s What’s In A Name challenge Does “three” count for the number title, or is it disqualified because it isn’t written as a numeral 3?
  • Anne Read Along Nope.

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:


Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Step by Step Writing Class with Jobe: Reflection!

What a fantastic night with a fantastic group of people. Sci-Fi George, Romance Kim, and Poet Karen joined yours truly, Memoir Jobe! The conversation generated was so insightful and helpful, the writing written was so sparked and energetic and inspired! This was the most fun I’ve had in a minute.

I opened with introductions, as I always do, and then started with a super lame prompt because I was nervous and couldn’t find my notes. “I remember” was the awkward jump prompt in, but it went to great places from there. I told a little bit about Intention Inspired (I’ll do a blog post about just this later, but check it out, it’s cool). We discussed our strengths and weaknesses as writers. As always I had to also mention Nanowrimo.

From Writer’s Digest we took “Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for” and opened it up to any combination of personality/appearance of person you love/hate.

For future use: I loved the idea from Write to Done of the 7x7x7 exercise. I made sure to mention Writing Exercises from the UK, which has a TON of prompts. And Karen told us about a random generator, Watchout 4 Snakes. I forgot to mention Poets & Writers.

In a similar spirit as The Write Practice, we used random words and phrases I collected from spam emails to generate lists of options.

We started with sprints, just some really short timed writings to get us going:
Computers can beat humans at chess
my collection of photos & posters from   Israel.
Amorphous Distribution Transformer Core

I was so inspired by how open and positive the group was I felt we had to do writing exercises based on each person’s favorite genre! I daresay there were some unexpected and impressive results!

SCI FI prompts
prestressed spiral rib
for the widening of
is intended for
feel a little uneasy about
Here please find
for railway sleeper , electric

ROMANCE prompts
at war, with
More than 15 years
Family Promise
you know that we’ve saved you
View an example of a Premium listing
ice cream machine.

POETRY prompts
Afternoon of Magic
we have two types
reaching the people with
dots mosaic bathroom
The payment after satisfaction
pumps and parts

I ended with some creative non-fiction (my genre) prompts, which are less common online than you might think. My favorite is David RM, who has a number of different kinds of non-fic/prose prompts. We started with a light subject, “Opinion Prompt – Do convenience items better our daily lives or shortchange our life experience?” Then we continued to a heavy subject, “Opinion Prompt – Do you think that people have the right to decide when to end their life?” I mentioned And Then I Came Back, which I can’t wait to read after hearing Estelle Laura speak at LitFest.

We end on a personal and emotional prompt, and I was was so impressed by everyone there being so authentic:

“Write about an event or time that you made a deliberate change for yourself. Write about what motivated you to make the change, and how you think that change has affected your life.”

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I was so blessed by these passionate, open-spirited writers. ❤


Posted in Sci&Fi Saturday

Sci&Fi Saturday w Jobe

This article about the Hugo awards is really long but really interesting, and very current. From Wired.

Here’s a list of of the top 25 sci fi films of the century so far, from Indie Wire. And as we all know, great movies sometimes come from great written works, such are their picks for Battle Royale (originally a book) and Minority Report (originally a short story), or their honorable mentions for The Host (book), Cloud Atlas (book), and The Hunger Games (series).

And as any good reader of sci fi has known for ages, this Smithsonian article is all about how inventions from science fiction often become real.


Posted in Sci&Fi Saturday

Sci&Fi Saturday w Jobe

stickerHow to Build a Time Machine from IFL Science?!? Well folks, apparently it was only a matter of time. *cymbol crash* (Get it? Time?)

Do you love science fiction? Here’s a nice post from Book Riot.

How many fandoms can one sticker hold? Apparently, eight-ish, where no fewer than half are sci-fi fandoms. YES! You can get your own from Tracey Gurney’s etsy shop here. (That’s my Leuchtturm, also featuring a sweet rainbow from Joey Design.)

Posted in Reviews

Jobe’s January Reads

Howdy, y’all! What did you read during the month of January? I read three books:

Dune by Frank Herbert

Since I’m doing the PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge, this book counts as “a book that became a movie,” “a book with a one-word title,” and “a book set in the future,” but I decided to select it as my “book with more than 500 pages.” This book is classic science fiction.

Nymph by Francesca Lia Block

This book qualifies as “a book of short stories,” “a book you can finish in a day,” and, for me, “a book a friend recommended,” but I counted it as “a book with nonhuman characters,” because it had both a mermaid and a cat girl. This book seemed like literary erotica to me, because it had elements of the magical as well as the real.


Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

This book qualifies as “a book by a female author” (two, actually), “a nonfiction book,” and, for me, “a book by an author you’ve never read,” but I decided to select the category “a book with antonyms in the title.” This book is a nonfiction work that explores the topic of ethical nonmonogamy.

How did you enjoy your January picks? What have you got lined up for February? Hope you’re loving your ventures into reading as well as writing as often as you can.



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