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Hugh Likes Fiction: River of Teeth

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River of Teeth
Written by Sarah Gailey
Published by Tor

In a lot of ways, River of Teeth is your typical western, you have your wronged hero out for revenge, the manipulative riverboat gambling entrepreneur out to fix the system, and of course, a lake full of hungry feral hippos. A clever and unique alternate history, Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth consistently surprised me.
The basis for the story is an attempt by the U.S. government to import hippos as a food source in the early 20th century. While that plan fell through, Gailey took the idea and ran with it, pushing the setting back in time and populating her world with colorful Western archetypes. But Gailey made these tropes her own in a way that made me stand up and take notice.
This is a very queer book. Protagonist Winslow Houndstooth is unabashedly and unashamedly gay. Another character, Hero, is given neutral pronouns throughout, and these are accepted as given, as entirely mundane by the characters. Gailey writes these characters, their motivations and their reactions with a deft hand and clear understanding. There is no justification, there is no unnecessary explanation. She presents us her rich palate deep characters, and gets to the good stuff: Hippo cowboy antics.
The caper, or operation as is repeatedly corrected by the main character, is worthy of a big-budget heist. The weirdness of the concept, and the fact that it is based on equally weird historical fact, adds to the richness of the story, rather than detract from it. A stampede is exciting and dangerous. A 3,000 lb. bull hippopotamus is something else altogether.
River of Teeth is another outstanding novella from Tor’s line. You can find it on their site, or from Amazon and other online bookstores. I recommend picking it up before the sequel, Taste of Marrow comes out next month.

Thanks for reading this article. If you enjoyed it, please share it. You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Podcast: CCRC24: Night of the Living Dead (1990)

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After listening to the Chrononauts review 1968 original, join us for a live commentary of 1990’s “Night of the Living Dead” remake!

Spoiler alert: Harry Cooper still sucks!

Click HERE to listen along! You’ll have to find your own copy this week, though. Sorry!

This podcast originally appeared at Skinner.FM on May 19, 2017.

Thanks for listening to this podcast. If you enjoyed it, please share it or leave a review. You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh’s Schedule for Balticon 51!

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The City-final-5

Big news!
I will be a guest at Balticon this year, and you can come and see me, and buy a 1st edition print copy of The City: A Story in 140 Characters!

Here are the lovely panels I will be appearing on:

Friday, May 26, 7PM: Cutthroat Flashfic

A panel of writers creates flash fiction pieces in front of the audience – who gets to sabotage them by taking away words and adding silly rules.

Saturday, May 27, 3PM: Podcasting on the Cheap

Podcasting doesn’t have to break the bank, learn to set up and run a podcast on the smallest of budgets.

Sunday, May 28, 2PM: Nostalgia Pilots-Live

Three hosts take a trip down memory lane to discuss and review episodes of Gundam Wing.

Sunday, May 29, 3PM: LGBTQ Themes in Anime

Sunday, May 29, 5PM: The Freelance Hunters LIVE!

Hugh J. O’Donnell presents The Freelance Hunters, with a live reading, Q and A, and raffles!
Guest starring Erin and A. F. from The Melting Potcast!

I’ll also be hanging out, selling books in the dealers room, and taking in panels and games.
Find out more at balticon.org!

Podcast: CCRC20: RS ToQger VS KR Gaim

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Listen along as two Americans and three Canadians have no idea what they’re in for when two of Japan’s most beloved live-action toy commercials cross paths in Ressha Sentai ToQger VS Kamen Rider Gaim!

Click HERE for the commentary.

And HERE to watch the video online!

Highlights:

Citrus-themed space armor!

A lady robot that sells bento!

Straight-up hitting a monster-suit with a train!

A literal railgun that shoots train tracks.

Hugh Likes Fiction: Heartless

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Heartless:  The Parasol Protectorate, Book Four
Written by Gail Carriger
Narrated by Emily Gray
Audible.com
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Although I am not big on Romance, I’ve had a soft spot for Gail Carriger’s “Parasol Protectorate” series for a long time. It might have to do with her delightful sense of humor, or the richly detailed world of her supernatural Victorian London. Whatever the case, I’ve been savoring the series, and I recently devoured the fourth entry, for the first time in audio.
Alexia Maccon, Soulless, Lady of Woolsey, and Mujah to Queen Victoria, is never one to let little details interfere when she sets on a course of action. So when a ghost gives her a cryptic warning of a plot against the Queen, she isn’t going to let a little thing like being eight months pregnant stand in her way. Scheming scientists, maladjusted werewolves, and zombie porcupines aren’t going to have much of a chance, either.
Carriger does it again with her fast paced comic misadventures in Victorian supernatural society.  Her grasp of character and timing is once again on display as she navigates Alexia through mystery, society expectations and steampunk hi-jinx.
Emily Gray’s performance is spot on, and deftly juggles the wide-ranging accents and character foibles of the large cast. Her narration is a perfect balance of high society wit and action-comedy timing.
While this isn’t the best place to jump on to the Parasol Protectorate series, Heartless is a worthy entry. I heartily recommend readers pick up this one, or work their way up to it. You can find it on Audible, in a variety of formats on Amazon, or of course at your local bookstore.

2016 Roundup

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It’s a new year! The champagne has been toasted, friends have returned home, and the holiday decorations have been put away for another year. The only thing left to do is report back on my Page of Awesome results for 2016.
The Page of Awesome is the space in my notebook, and the widget on this page, where I keep track of my tasks for the year. And without further hedging, here are my totals:
Podcasts: 50
Blog Posts: 52
Short Story Submissions: 28
Patreon Posts: 17
Agent Submissions: 0
Self-published eBooks: 0
Compared to 2015, I stayed even on Podcasts. I had hoped to do better last year, but there were some lengthy absences on The Way of the Buffalo.  Some of these issues were technical, others were personal, and some were just me not putting enough time in the chair or prioritizing other projects. The good news is that I finally finished The Dark Wife, and am currently remastering it to submit to ACX. More on my podcast plans for this year below.
I fell way short of my expectations on blogging and reviews last year. Part of this shortfall came from bookkeeping. I reblogged a lot of podcast content here to create a new main podcast feed, but did not count these as new blog posts. I want to do more reviews and personal writing in 2017.
I also stayed about even with fiction submissions, and even had a few pieces published in 2016! Last year saw the publication of my story “A Woman of the Old School” in Andromeda Spaceways, after a delay due to technical issues. I also had a pair of pieces published on The Melting Potcast. The crew in the Disaster Kitchen are always a delight to write for, and I plan to continue writing for them in 2017.
My Patreon post count was lower than I would like, but I didn’t focus on Patreon as a major outlet or revenue stream last year, so I’m not particularly worried about it.
The last portions are where I really fell down in 2016. I didn’t finish any major editing projects last year. That means I didn’t send anything out to agents, and I didn’t self-publish anything, either. While a writing career isn’t a race, I know that editing is probably my biggest weakness. I need to focus on getting my butt in the chair and polishing manuscripts rather than chasing the latest shiny short story idea.
But 2016 is over! It’s dead! Time to move on!
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So with the Page of Awesome reset to zero, what are my plans for 2017?
First of all, after finishing the last round of short fiction for The Way of the Buffalo, The podcast will be going on an indefinite hiatus. It may come back later in the year, or a new interview podcast may rise to replace it. I have some compelling ideas about what I want to do next with the format, but first, I need to focus on other projects. The City is going to get an audiobook edition in 2017, either on this page or through ACX. Maybe both. After that, who knows? I’ve been considering a gaming microcast, but the project might work better as a vlog.
I’d like to continue blogging as well, but it might take a backseat to other projects this year. I’ve set a simple goal of two blog posts a week, and will add more if time and workflow allows.
This year I’m going to up my game and get serious on story submissions. I recently joined a new writers group that is a mix of experienced and new writers, and their feedback has given me a lot more confidence in my editing. I’d like to double my output over the last two years.
Patrons will hopefully see a steady stream of early podcast episodes, and I will be releasing a brand-new Freelance Hunters novel chapter by chapter in my Patreon feed. I don’t think Patreon is a great model for growing an audience, but I hope to pull in more Patrons this year through marketing elsewhere.
One of those places is Wattpad! In late 2016 I started using Wattpad to rerelease The City, and Freelance Hunters shorts. I’m going to use the platform to try and grow an audience with more 140 Characters stories this year.
Those stories will also get eBook and maybe even print releases. I always start the year with ambitious plans for self-publishing, and I invariably fall flat due to my inexperience. This year I will reach out to experts, editors, and cover designers to make my work shine and make sure it gets out the door.
I also have some projects that I’m keeping close to the vest, but will hopefully see an agent’s inbox by the end of the year. I am doing prep work for second-round rewrites on a novella I began at the Smoky Writers retreat in 2016. I earnestly believe in the project, a YA Fantasy series set in later days of a crumbling empire. I’ll be blogging more about it as the year goes on.
And that about covers my look back at 2016 and the year ahead. Professionally, at least. Art and entertainment are torches in the night, and the world looks to be headed into a dark place in 2017. Keep safe, and keep making things.

Podcast: Nutty Bites 93: Vintage Video Games

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Nutty, Tek, and Hugh sit down and talk about the great video games of yesteryear.

Click HERE to listen online.

This podcast originally appeared  at Nimlas.org on December 30, 2016.

Thanks for listening!

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