A Year Belatedly In Review

Er. So. February is the new January, right?

WELL IT IS NOW. LET US REVIEW 2014 AND PRETEND I AM NOT AS LAZY OF A BLOGGER AS I REALLY DEFINITELY AM.

Health:
2014:
No complaints for my health, though my partner ended up having the flu and surgery in a single year. That was not so much fun. No lasting complications, but hopefully there will be less of that stress this next year.

For 2015:
Check ups. All of the checkups need to happen. Hopefully not twice. Don’t know why they’d need to happen twice. But yes, planning to get all the testing done.

Wealth:
2014:
Let’s not talk about Bacon.
(Expensive town + current work situation = Ehhhh, money, that happens to other people?)

For 2015:
Hoping to diversify revenue streams. As in having multiple. Taking active steps in this direction, but revenue may not materialize. Will cope with the result either way.

Love:
2014:
So apparently I have been in a relationship for the last five or so years? That happened? Is happening? I’m really, really good at this, okay.

For 2015:
The goal is really to avoid buying Maine Coons and that’s all there is to it.

Prosperity:
2014:
Finished two novels, edited a third, scribbled a whole bunch of miscellaneous shit. Not a bad year at all. Not like any of this stuff is ready to be seen by other people

For 2015:
I HAVE THINGS. MOVING PIECES. ALL OVER. NO I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THEM YET IF I TALK ABOUT THEM THEY MAY STOP EXISTING LIKE FAIRIES. It’s fairies that do that, right? If you tell someone you saw a fairy they cease to exist, right? Though I’m not sure where all the clapping comes in?

Anyway, my main writing goal for 2015 is to get better at editing things, ie, doing it faster and more reliably. Because first drafts are fun, but they are also crappy. To not be crappy, they need editing. I am bad at editing. I want to fix that.

Resolutions:
2014:
1) Keep up with the blogging
Ehhhhh. I did… okay-ish? Things got blogged. More like monthly than weekly, but reasonably consistently either way. This year, I have so far totally failed at blogging regularly BUT HA HA 2015. NOT MY RESOLUTION THIS YEAR. TAKE THAT.

2015:
1) Color more.
I have color books. I should take breaks from work and just color in them. Because pretty pictures are awesome and it’s a way to unwind and give my brain space.

2) End the Year With Fewer Unread Kindle Books
So, I have, oh, twenty pages on my kindle? Of books I haven’t read? And there’s some REALLY GOOD books on there. And a lot of crap. But I can’t tell which is which and seriously, TWENTY PAGES OF UNREAD KINDLE BOOKS. So, the goal is to end the year with fewer books unread than when I started. Which is not to say I can’t (and won’t) buy more kindle books. Just, you know. Need to try and read through the back log. That’s the goal.

This has probably been my silliest year end review and I think I’m okay with that.

Review: So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction

I am tackling a great mystery today: How the hell do you review a collection of short stories?

The inevitable truth of short story anthologies is that there are going to be some stories you really like and some you really hate. Personal taste can be so selective and even when a story is good, that doesn’t mean the reader is going to enjoy it. So do you judge by your favorite story or by how much you hated or do you do it by averages? I hated three stories, but really liked four, and the other six were fine, so does that make it a good collection?

The mark of a good editor is not just in finding quality stories in the piles of slush, but finding stories that work together. Space is a premium in every anthology, every story has to count. A really good editor might pick a slightly lower quality story over a slight higher quality one, if the lower quality one fits the theme better and resonates well with other stories already slated for the collection. I don’t envy editors their task, but some people return to the task, again and again, putting forth collection after wonderful collection.

So Fey is a collection of stories centered around crossing queer characters with literal fairies. Obviously inspired by the usage of ‘fairy’ as a pejorative term for homosexuals, this anthology embraces and explores the connection between homosexuality and the fey. Gay and lesbian protagonists in a variety of places in their life (from confused teens uncertain of where they fall on the spectrum to aging gay men trying to cope with that issue) come head to head with fey.

What I like best about this anthology is that there are very few good fairies in the collection. There are some, (Mr. Grimm’s Faery Tale and Charming, a Tale of True Love come to mind) and these are good stories. But most of the fairies we see are ambiguous in their morals to outright dangerous. The anthology features stories with the Wild Hunt, fairies trapping and tricking mortals, and the difficulties of mortals and fey trying to love one another.

I couldn’t be happier. I get so sick of sugar coated fairies, wish granting sweet tempered beings who represent nature or some lost human innocence or whatever. I like my fairies with teeth, with dark sides and inhuman perspectives on matters. I like them unearthly and other and above all else, dangerous. And that’s what makes many of these stories so thrilling. They’re about people coming to terms with their sexuality or other aspects of themselves while in real danger, physical, spiritual, or otherwise. It’s exciting, it’s interesting, and I recommend the anthology for anyone with a fondness for fantasy, queerness, and/or fairies.

A few of my personal favorites are as follows:
Dark Collection by Luisa Prieto
Year of the Fox by Eugie Foster (which I’ve read elsewhere, but I still adore it)
Ever So Much More Than Twenty by Joshua Lewis

If you like gay stories, but aren’t a fan of fairy tales (the puns, please send help), then check out other works by Steve Berman. He’s edited a number of collections out, including annual collections of some of the best gay speculative fiction printed each year (Wilde Stories) and another yearly for lesbian speculative fiction (The Heiress of Russ). On top of those, he has various themed collections which he edits. I picked up Suffered From the Night, which centers on the idea of queering Bram Stoker’s Dracula on the hopes that it will contain dark, dangerous, and gay vampires.

I have a weakness, okay?