God Damn, I Love Patricia Briggs

I mentioned in a write-up a little back about the books sitting in my to-be-read pile that I’d gotten burned out on urban fantasy. There’s a lot of the same characters put in the protagonist roles: men who are (or become) crazy powerful while still being snarky; snarky badass women who shoot first, ask questions later, and still love an alpha male; everyone’s a private detective or other investigator, even if that’s not their job description; etc.

(I want to note before I continue that I fully accept that a lot of this experience with urban fantasy may simply be because I’m not widely read enough.)

Despite this self-proclaimed burnout, I decided to pick Dead Heat to read next, by Patricia Briggs. (Links: AMZ, BN, GR, Kobo, IB.) It’s the fourth book in the Alpha and Omega series. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stick with it, but it had been on my shelf for probably two years at this point and I wanted to at least give it a try.

Within twenty pages I was reminded of everything I love about Patricia Briggs. Continue reading

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Comic: On Running In Discovery Park

A four panel comic. Panel 1: Ian running through the woods, with the line "When I run, there are often noises in the bushes." Panel 2: A close-up a fern, with a "rustle" sound effect. Panel 3: Ian runs off-panel. Top of the panel reads "What actually happens." Bottom reads "Nothing." Panel 4: Top of the panel reads "What actually happens." Image is of Ian being mauled by a Mountain Lion.

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Snips and Clips

Hi all! I’ve spent the last few days more prone to motion sickness than a pregnant woman on  a tilt-a-whirl, which means that I don’t really have any one big thing to blog about! So you get a bunch of small things from around the internet instead. There’s something for everyone!

Disabled Heroes and Where to Find Them by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

My buddy Elsa is Barnes & Nobles newest blogger! This is a great post about finding disabled characters in genre fiction, and how just because a character doesn’t have the exact same disability as you do doesn’t mean they’re not exactly who you need to see to feel represented. It also reminds me that I really, really need to read the Vorkosigan books at some point. And Necrotech.

The Steam Summer Sale Begins

Like death, the Steam Summer Sale eventually comes for us all. I’m looking at picking up a bunch of expansions to Crusader Kings II, because it looks like a good handful of them expand on all of the elements of the game I dig the most. (More character decisions! Less watching time tick by with nothing happening!) But I think literally everything on my wishlist is on sale right now, and if that’s true for me and my outdated wish list I bet something you want is on sale, too, and then you can save a few bucks. Though, as always, I’d encourage you to check out Good Old Games first, because DRM free might well be worth a couple extra dollars. Continue reading

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The Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start But Haven’t


Hey, it’s Top Ten Tuesday, a fun little meme/post prompt thing from the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s about the top ten series I’ve been meaning to start. I have no good excuse for not digging into these yet. Some I don’t own, but even the ones I do have been languishing in the TBR pile, buried under other things. Hopefully this list will provide a little inspiration for me to move them up the priority queue. Though I know I’m not the only one with more than a few series (and trilogies, and duologies) waiting in the wings of their reading theatre.

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

I’ve sort of burned out on urban fantasy at this point, but I love Kevin Hearne on Twitter and this seems like a very fun take on the “high powered supernatural person in a normal world” concept. It’s mostly been on my TBR list forever because the library doesn’t have an audiobook of it, and I sort of keep hoping they’ll get one in. However, the print version has a relatively short hold list, so I’ll hopefully read it that way soon!

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey

I know, I know, bad Ian. I love science fiction, especially clunky-spaceship, lived-in science fiction and from everything I’ve heard The Expanse will scratch that itch. I have a copy of the first book, but it’s so big it’s hard to carry around, so I haven’t given it a shot yet. I have seen a few episodes of the TV show, though, and that just made me want to read the books more.

The InCryptid Series by Seanan McGuire

Funny story: one upon a time, I put Discount Armageddon, the first book in this series, on my wish list because an urban fantasy with a ballroom dancer as the protagonist sounded awesome. I still think that! But I shied away from reading it because I wasn’t sure where the book fell in the series, or if I even needed to read the InCryptid books in order. Well, it turns out it doesn’t matter, because it’s the first! Now I just need to remember to track down a copy when I’m in an urban fantasy mood. (And probably after I’m caught up on Patricia Briggs’s work, because a few of those books are staring at me from my shelves already.) Continue reading

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Hey Ian, Watcha Into Lately?

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I thought it might be fun! Is it? YOU CAN BE THE JUDGE. I HAVE NO AGENCY.


Without further ado–


Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig

I’d gotten about 1/3rd of the way into this book and put it down because I ended up busy with other things, and only recently picked it back up. I’m so glad I did. I’m loving it. The characters are well established at this point, and Wendig is having a field day by having them bounce off each other and showing just how much each character has grown since the start of the series. Conder also made a triumphant return, which was more than I was expecting from a relative side character from book two. This makes me incredibly happy, because non-LGBT-specific literature needs more gay boyfriends, even if, at the point of the story I’m in, they’re ex-boyfriends. I’m very much rooting for him and Sinjir, and I hope I’m not disappointed. The action is well-written, and Wendig’s pacing is on-point as always. Even the interludes, often just used to paint a picture of the broader galaxy, are tying into themselves in new and interesting ways.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jill recommended this book to me many moons ago, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it until now. I’m stalled about halfway through, because I’m a fool and started reading this while I was still in the middle of Empire’s End, but I really like what I’ve read so far. Jude and Noah have very distinct voices, and that they vary so much with age is even more impressive. I’m waiting for my feelings to get stomped on later in the book, as the anachronistic order is definitely setting me up for something. I just haven’t figured out what yet. Continue reading

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June Check-in

A suspension bridge spans across the Columbia river. The sun beams down from the top of the frame. A few bushes and trees appear on the edges, closer to the camera, but do not obscure the bridge.

There’s a lot I feel like I should write about right now. I just finished the audiobook of The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson, and should write a review. I have at least one gamemastering article half-written in my head. I’ve been having lots of thoughts on friendship, loneliness, depression, and other mental/relationship health things lately, and while I’m not sure any of them amount to more than a self-pitying wank of an essay, maybe I should try to write that, too. But, instead, mostly because of those issues, I’m giving you all an update on how I’ve been doing this year. Overdue, too, since I haven’t written one since…MARCH?!? Sweet Historical Jesus.


Writing Consistently: This has been improving as of late! I’ve been getting more editing in, and I even managed to do a quick draft of a few flash fictions the other day. I really miss putting together new work, but prioritizing editing means I’ve been making semi-consistent progress on Shivering Deeps, and I love how that feels. Now I just need to get to the point where there’s no week-long gaps between editing sessions and I’ll be happy clam.

Picture of a left hand in typing position on a keyboard. A small bearded dragon lizard stands next to the hand, facing away from the camera, with one foot on the hand.

My sometimes-assistant is very sweet, even if she gets in the way of my typing sometimes.

Reading: I’m currently mired in a ton of books, from I’ll Give You the Sun to Aftermath: Empire’s End. I did just finish The Ghost Map and learned more about 1800s London’s poop-disposal systems than I ever thought I would, in the service of learning about the 1850s cholera epidemic. It was fascinating, though! I’m hoping to wrap up the couple of books I’m in the middle of right now, read my library book on frugality, and then roll into reducing my TBR pile a bit. Continue reading

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Book Review: Lifeless New Worlds

Review of Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System (audiobook edition) by Ray Jayawardhana, Narrated by Bronson Pinchot

I was excited going into Strange New Worlds. I’m a sucker for astronomy, but I don’t keep up with it as much as I should, so I was looking forward to getting to hear about the new techniques and results in the field. Especially as relate to exoplanets and alien life, something I’ve been acutely interested in since I started working on a science fiction RPG.

I got what I asked for, and I wish I hadn’t. Continue reading

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Re-reads: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Part 1)

Dear friend,

Re-reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower is like holding a tin can on a string, and the other end is pulled taut by myself in 9th grade. I think that’s when I first read it, as that would be around when I was dating the girl I think of when I try to remember the time period. I don’t even remember where I got my copy, which probably means it was from the ASPCA thrift store downtown. It was a good way to spend a day, especially when you were borderline broke and in a town full of a perfectly wholesome nothing to do. Besides, I didn’t know any of the kids that had pot, and I’m still convinced my parents are psychic and would have known if I ever got high anyway.

My dad told me once that I wasn’t a very good liar. I can’t really dispute it. Continue reading

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(Tentatively) Hanging Out My Shingle

Hey everyone. As you may have guessed from a few of my previous posts about job searching and stuff, I’m ~on the hunt~ for new opportunities as my current gig at the datacenter dies down. As such, I figured I would take this opportunity to hang out my (admittedly still unfinished) shingle. If you have any freelance writing or editing gigs you could point me towards, including blogs that could use more content, research projects, general articles, or copy editing, please let me know! Oh, and fiction. God yes to any fiction opportunities, including writing for video games, tie-in fiction, ARGs, etc. If you don’t know of any, that’s okay too! I just want to get the word out as I ramp up to trying to do more paying writing.

You can contact me directly through the e-mail linked in the right column of the site, or leave links in the comments.

I’ve also started doing some work so I can pitch myself more effectively to potential employers. I finally put together an updated portfolio that includes example posts and academic papers alongside some of my older game projects. I’m also in the process of making myself a professional site because I love this site too much to keep it the kind of sterile that professional sites often end up being. I want to be my whole self here, not just my best self, and a little separation between professional and (semi-)personal never hurt anyone.

It’s been fun thinking of ideas to write articles about, too. The only issue I have is that I’m not super sure where to pitch them. If anyone has any recommendations for where to pitch articles about history, including zoological history, please let me know in the comments or via an e-mail. It’d be shame to do a bunch of research, finish an article, and then have nowhere to house it.

So, yeah! Exciting things are afoot. The last thing I want to ask of you, my loyal audience that numbers ~possibly the double digits~, is your opinion. I’m thinking of putting my new professional site at the domain name scrivian.com. (Scrivian = scrivener + Ian.) Is that straightforward and professional enough? Or do you think I should go back to the drawing board?

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Hey Ian, Watcha Into Lately?

It’s been forever since I did one of these, and I thought it might be fun.  A quick tour around the games, TV/film, books, and music I’ve been digging on lately.


Hunter x Hunter

Peter and I have been watching a ton of Hunter x Hunter. It’s a great anime, and is interesting because the main character, Gon, is a very shonen-anime protagonist in a world that does *not* support his optimism. It’s a nice twist on the genre, and so many of the characters are well-developed it’s fun to watch even if sometimes the plotting on a per-episode basis can be a little stiff. It’s also pretty good at keeping the season arcs and opposition varied.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

I’m including this just because it’s completely bonkers and has Angela Lansbury being a child-hating literal witch in it. It’s great, the overall plot makes no sense, and there’s an almost completely out-of-place animated sequence in the middle. Oh, and a set that we were pretty sure is from Mary Poppins shows up in the middle. Highly recommended, if only to see it once and embrace the madness. Continue reading

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