Tag Archives: J. Kathleen Cheney

MIND MELD: Best Books of 2014

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Can you believe 2014 is almost over? I’m sure you’ve seen your share of “Best of 2014″ lists, so I thought I’d add to the fun and ask a few folks what really revved their literary engines during 2014.

Q: What have been a few of your favorite genre reads of 2014, and why? Although it’s a plus if they were published in 2014, they don’t have to be!

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: The Books That Should Be Films & Fancasting Who Should Star in Them

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We all have fave books that we’d love to see on the big (or little) screen, so I asked this week’s panelists this question:

Q: Got a favorite book (or books) that you’d like to see on the big screen? Tell me which one and fancast it with ANYONE you want, past and present

Here’s what they had to say…

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[GUEST POST] Special Needs in Strange Worlds: J. Kathleen Cheney on Trying to Write Blind

NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author J. Kathleen Cheney! – Sarah Chorn

J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, The Golden City came out from Penguin in 2013. The sequel, The Seat of Magic debuted July 1. Her website can be found at www.jkathleencheney.com.

Trying to Write Blind

by J. Kathleen Cheney

One of the more irritating bits of critique I’ve ever received: “Have your POV character feel her way around her bedroom so we know she’s blind.”

Seriously? Is that what people think a blind person does in their own bedroom? Feel their way along the walls like they’re a character in an exaggerated 1920s movie? Or are they the ‘magical’ blind person who goes the other way, never steps a foot wrong, and never walks into the corner of a table?
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MIND MELD: How to Avoid The Suck Fairy of Re-Reads

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This week we asked our participants to talk about the perils of re-reading. Going back to a book read in one’s golden age of SF reading can be a fraught exercise. Characters we thought we wonderful can turn out to be wooden. Settings we thought diverse and open turn out to be monochromatic. Plots that enthralled us can seem facile. Books we enjoyed can be rife with questionable material. Writers whose work we loved can turn out to be terrible human beings.

Q: Let’s talk about Jo Walton’s “Suck fairy”. How do you find the process of re-reading a book? How does a re-read of a book change your initial bliss and happiness with the book? Do you have any strategies for avoiding disappointment? What books have managed to escape the suck fairy for you?

Here’s what they said…

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[GUEST POST] J. Kathleen Cheney on Forgiving Anne McCaffrey


J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, The Golden City came out from Penguin in 2013. The sequel, The Seat of Magic debuted July 1. Her website can be found at www.jkathleencheney.com.

Forgiving Anne McCaffrey

by J. Kathleen Cheney

Writers have an ingrained fear of being stuck in an elevator at a convention with the person who turns around and says, “On page 213 of Book 4, you contradicted a statement made on page 119 of Book 2. How do you explain that?”

I have to admit, I’ve got a bit of that reader in me. I’m constantly noting continuity errors in movies and TV shows. Don’t get me started on inconsistencies in The Big Bang Theory. And yes, I always noticed them in books. When I hit something that bothered me, I would go back to double check whether I’d simply misread something.

Now, I love the works of Anne McCaffrey. In high school, I voraciously read every word of hers I could find. But there were problems…
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MIND MELD: 2013 Debut Authors on Lessons They’ve Learned Since Getting Published

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There were so many wonderful debut authors in 2013, so I asked a few of them this:

Q: What was the most fun/unusual/interesting/etc thing you’ve learned since becoming a published author?

Here’s what they had to say…

April Genevieve Tucholke
April Genevieve Tucholke is a full-time writer who digs classic movies, redheaded villains, big kitchens, and discussing murder at the dinner table. She and her husband—a librarian, former rare-book dealer, and journalist—live in Oregon. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is her first novel.

Some interesting/unusual things I’ve learned as a 2013 debut:

  1. Use discretion when telling people you’re a writer. There is a 95 percent chance you will end up in a Fifty Shades of Grey conversation.
  2. Being an author means people will assume you’re rich and that you drink all the time. No matter what. They just will.
  3. “April Genevieve Tucholke” is far, far too long a name. It’s cocky, almost arrogant. What was I thinking?
  4. People will try to sell you their ideas for your next book. Try not to kill them.
  5. People will ask you how your sales are, and you will be too stunned every damn time to think of a good comeback.*
  6. If you leave your book lying around your parents will read it when they stay for the holidays. And you will regret those steamy scenes.
  7. Getting to meet (and occasionally hang out) with other authors never gets old.
  8. Readers rule.

* Such as: “I don’t know. How’s your salary?” or “Here’s my bank info. Why don’t you log on and check things out for
yourself?”

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MIND MELD: What Book Would You Like to Experience Again for the First Time?

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There’s always been one question I’ve asked in my author interviews that gives some of the most interesting and enlightening answers, so this week’s MInd Meld question is:

Q: What book, or books, would you love to read and experience again for the first time, and why?

Here’s what our panelists had to say…

Philippa Ballantine
New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.

I wish I could read again for the first time, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler.

It was a story that was so full of the beauty of the other, and spread over such a huge expanse of time and the globe itself. It opened my eyes to so many things, and it struck me very deeply. I was able to think beyond my little space as a teenager in New Zealand, and experience something much, much wider. I would love to feel that wonder again.

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