Search:
 
 

Falling in Love Again…

I mentioned in my last blog post that I was hitting up my keeper shelf in an effort to break out of a writing slump. The writing slump is slowly easing, but reading-wise? I’m IN THE ZONE.

I’m re-reading one of my favorite series for the upteenth time, and falling in love again. The objects of my affection? Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and his creator, Lois McMaster Bujold.

Where do I start?

The Vorkosigan Saga, currently up to 30 books, is a genre mash-up – though having won multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards (including a 2017 Hugo for Best Series), I consider science fiction to be home base. The characters are amazing – more on that in a moment – but let’s start with the world.

Bujold hasn’t so much built a world as she has a freaking galaxy, comprised of numerous planets as well as the ability to travel and communicate between them. Staid, aristocratic Barrayar, free-wheeling Beta Colony, dome-enclosed Komarr with its poisonous outer atmosphere, lawless Jackson’s Whole, ancient and sturdy Old Earth, and so many more… Over the series, we meet each planet’s citizens, immersing ourselves in various government and political systems, religions, histories, geologies, military battles, galactic manufacturing and trade arrangements, reproductive and sexual ethics systems, genetic manipulations, and advanced technologies (or lack thereof). It all gets a place on the page, beautifully rendered and exquisitely textured. The conflicts which inevitably arise as people from different cultures meet provide a fine opportunity for today’s reader to explore issues we face in our here and now—which I think the best science fiction does.

Bill Gates (1985)

As a technologist, I’m astounded by Bujold’s powers of extrapolation. Consider the state of digital technology in 1986, when Bujold’s first Vorkosiverse book, Shards of Honor, was published. Mainframes ruled; THE computer at my university took up an entire room in the Science Building. Personal computers were just entering corporate America, and network connectivity was in its infancy. (Modems, baby!) Yet Bujold, child of an engineer, imagined where these technologies could go. Many of the devices and technologies she references in her world – secured com-consoles, hand readers, miniature digital trackers—didn’t exist at the time she wrote Shards, yet they’re ubiquitous today. I hope Bujold’s prescience extends to synthetic bones, uterine replicators, sleeptimers, and wormhole jumps, too. 🙂   

To the characters…  The Vorkosigan Saga is multi-generational; Miles’s parents, Aral and Cordelia, are the main characters in the first few books, and they kick ass in their own right. They meet in wartime, fall in love, and start a life together. We see the horrific, politically-motivated chemical attack that damages their fetus’s bones in utero. We’re there the day Miles is born, adored by his parents, but whose grandfather would rather see die rather than befoul the family’s aristocratic bloodlines. Over several books and a number of years, we cheer for this hyperactive, hyper-intelligent little boy as he strains to overcome his body’s limitations. 

Not QUITE the Miles of my imagination…

In later books, we see Miles grow to adulthood. “Grow” is a relative term; due to the soltoxin attack, adult Miles tops out at 4’9” tall, his entire body scarred by injuries and surgical procedures, with an “oversized head exaggerated by a short neck set on a twisted spine” (Brothers In Arms, p.77). (As you might imagine, it’s impossible to capture Miles’s essence via cover art. No model or illustration quite does him justice.) Despite his physical limitations and distinctive frame, he crafts a career as the most successful undercover operative in Barrayar  Imperial Security’s Covert Ops division, enjoying exotic lovers from across the galaxy, until a tragic mistake changes his life forever. Despite this, he starts anew, meeting Barrayran-born widow Ekaterin Nile Vorsoisson and her son Nikki, who completely capture his heart.

With a deft display of craft, Bujold conveys Ekaterin’s erotic curiosity about Miles’s physiology without fetishizing him, and vice-versa – which is some feat, being Miles’s eyes are level with her cleavage. 🙂  Their HEA does not come easily, but these two make my heart go pitty-pat. The proposal scene from A Civil Campaign is one for the ages. 

For me, brains, humor and kindness outweigh brawn any day of the week – and if pressed, I would select Miles Vorkosigan as #1 on my “Top Ten To Do” list—yes, edging out J.D. Robb’s Roarke for the top spot. Series-wise, I think The Vorkosigan Saga stands among the greats. Such is Bujold’s gift.

So, thank you, Lois McMaster Bujold, for creating a world, and characters, I can fall in love with over and over again. I’m not quite out of my writing slump yet, but reading your work helps me think that it might be possible sooner rather than later – a gift beyond price.

Ah, the keeper shelf – where you can fall in love over and over again, with no guilt whatsoever! Which series do you compulsively re-read, and why? Which heroes and heroines appear at the top of your personal “Top Ten To Do” list? 🙂 

-tammy

They say that opposites attract, but this is ridiculous!

Tamara Hogan’s latest book, ENTHRALL ME (Underbelly Chronicles Book Four), is available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and in paperback.

Visit her on the web at www.tamarahogan.com!

 

Assume Positive Intent

I had a wonderful boss a few years back. Not only has she become a dear and treasured friend, but she gave me a piece of advice at a moment I genuinely needed to hear it. Assume positive intent.

Ruby Cookie Exchange Hop!

**AND WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!**  Kay Pflueger, congratulations!! And thanks to everyone who joined us. We hope it made your holiday season just a little brighter!   Happy Holidays! In this season of parties and festive treats, the Rubies would like to share our fabulous cookies with you! So start hopping through our Holiday Cookie […]

How To Be A Successful Hooker

 Hooker?   Did you come to the blog thinking I was going to talk about a very old profession? If you did well….  HA! Made you look. You fell for my HOOK.    I’m talking about hooks in your writing. Hooking a reader into your story. Grabbing them so hard and fast they can‘t put your […]

The Same…But Different: Using Popular Tropes to Make Your Romance Novel a Familiar Favorite With an Exciting Twist

Romance novels are all about the tropes. What’s a trope? A premise / plot device so popular a bajillion (that’s a scientific term) books have used it. Like an accidental pregnancy. Or a woman who falls for her brother’s best friend. Or a secret baby. Maybe this is one of the reasons people sometimes criticize […]

Origins of Christmas Traditions

Pine trees are being strapped to vehicles. Giant sized socks are being hung in the living room. Blue, white, and multi-colored lights are flashing all over the place. I’m forcing my kids to smile with threats of no electronic gifts to get a decent photo. An overweight man in his 60’s has sent elves to […]

Take Aways from the Where Are They Now Golden Heart Posts

Today, the Golden Heart contest opens for entries.  This is your moment, aspiring romance authors!  And if you need some extra motivation or reasons to enter, check out our Where Are They Now posts.  For the last two months, we interviewed a number of Golden Heart finalists from yesteryear in our Golden Heart: Where Are […]

FUNK VS BRAND

My life has been in a funk the last few years, to say the least. Sometimes, I don’t know which way I’m going and for what reason. I’m sure many of you, if not all, have had times when you’ve felt the same way. The dark funk began after I received some heart-wrenching news. I […]

Tips from a Contest Judge

The Golden Heart opens for entries THIS FRIDAY (though the entries themselves don’t need to be turned in until January 11) – which means many an aspiring romance author out there in Romancelandia is frantically finishing or polishing their manuscripts for the premiere romance contest for unpublished authors.  And if you’re one of them, how […]

Let’s Be Thankful

Today’s the day. Many of us have been rushing around gathering food, packing it away in every little inch of our over-worked refrigerators. Others of us have been filling suitcases and making travel arrangements, bravely venturing out on the road during the busiest travel-time of the year. We find ourselves frantic, exhausted, and downright ornery. […]

Where Are They Now – The Rebelles (Class of 2017)

Welcome to the final edition of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now?  The Golden Heart opens in just over a week and as the aspiring authors are getting their entries ready, we have one last chance to check in with a Golden Heart class – this year’s finalists, the […]

Where Are They Now – The Mermaids (Class of 2016)

Welcome to the final week of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now?  We’ve loved checking in with the Golden Heart finalists from years past to see what paths their writing careers have taken them on and this week we’re closing it out with a two-fer of our two most […]

HOLIDAY WRITING RECIPE

Writing Holiday Recipe Ingredients you will need: Several Holidays stacked on top of each other One home or an apartment already in desperate need of cleaning will do Family members—The number depends on your lifestyle

Where Are They Now – The Starcatchers & Lucky 13s (Classes of 2011 & 2013)

Welcome to Week Seven of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now?  We’ve been at it a while now and we’ve met quite a few Golden Heart finalists, but each week we’re finding new and unique stories on the post-Golden Heart journey.  This week, we’re visiting with the Starcatchers of […]

Let’s Live Stream on FB!

“Lights, camera, action!” Not the words you like to hear thrown at you? I definitely fall in that category. But I was asked to live stream a video at a Facebook party, and I took on the challenge. Low and behold, it was actually fun! Today, readers want to know more and more about their […]

Where Are They Now – 2008, 2006 & 2004

Welcome to another installment of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now? We’ve visited with some of the early Golden Heart finalists and some from more recent years, but now we’re going back to the middle – the even years of 2008, 2006 and 2004! As our Golden Heart series […]

Getting in the Spirit of the Season

Last Christmastime, I was the gym, jogging away on the elliptical (which is my happy place) and idly flipping through the audio for the various TV channels lined up in front of me when I saw the gorgeous Shemar Moore appear on screen to pimp his new (at the time) movie.  He talked about working […]

Care and Feeding of the Perpetually Peeved

I have a confession to make. This blog post is the first new thing I’ve written in over a month. My WIP, which I mentioned in my ENTHRALL ME release day interview last month, is stalled out at about the halfway point. I can’t bear to look at how long it’s been since I last […]

Where Are They Now – The Firebirds (Class of 2012)

Welcome to Week Five of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now?  Last week we got updates from some of the OGs of the GH, but this week we’re back to more recent years and welcoming the chance to catch up with the Firebirds of 2012! In March of 2012, […]

Announcing the Winner of the 2017 Halloween Hop!!

We had fun giving away all our virtual candy, and we hope you had a blast searching for it (and finding some great new books and other prizes along the way!) We had lots of Trick-or-Treaters participating, and now we’ve got the winner of our $100 Grand Prize Amazon Gift Card!! Her name is announced […]

Trick-or-Treat Halloween Hop with the Rubies!

Happy Halloween! To celebrate this spooky-fun season, we have treats and tricks for all of you (and they’re calorie free)! Just click on each of the links below to hop to a Ruby’s web site, blog or FB page for Halloween fun. Rubies will have giveaways or fun tricks and treats waiting for you. “Collect” […]

The 2017 Ruby Halloween Trick-or-Treat Blog Hop Starts Tomorrow!!

BOOOOOOOO!!!!! Happy Almost Halloween!! The Rubies had so much fun with our Halloween Blog Hop last year, we’re doing it again this year!! Just like last year, you’ll be able to hop from blog to blog trick-or-treating….i.e., finding out which candy each Ruby has stashed somewhere on her blog post. Keep an accurate list of […]

Where are they now? – GH classes of 2005 & 2007

Welcome to the next installment of our The Golden Heart Finalists: Where are they now? series. Today, the Rubies are hosting Golden Heart finalists from 2005 and 2007. Since the 2005 finalists were heading to Reno for the RWA Nationals, we chose to be “The Wild Cards.” The 2007 finalists met in Dallas–but, of course, with ‘007 […]

BECAUSE OF SEASONS

If you’re thinking this blog is about setting, you’re totally wrong.  Maybe I should’ve changed the title so you wouldn’t have thought so, but after I started brainstorming ideas for a blog it actually fit. My original idea was to write about two lessons I learned many years ago from my creative writing professor which, […]

Where Are They Now – Golden Heart Finalists from 2003 and Earlier

Welcome to Week Four of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now?  This week we have a two-fer! In the past few weeks, we’ve been catching up with the more recent Golden Heart classes of 2010, 2014 & 2015, but this week we’re taking it Old School, y’all.  On Thursday […]

Subscribe to the Blog

Coming Soon on the Blog

  • December 18, 2017
    by:
    I’m Not Your Prop
  • December 20, 2017
    by:
    The Illusion of Success
  • December 27, 2017
    by:
    READER CONNECTION: USING MEMORIES
  • January 10, 2018
    by:
    Let the 2018 Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival BEGIN!!!
  • February 6, 2018
    by:
    Research for contemporaries: the intersection of Oklahoma!, lady umpires, and autism

Newsletter Signup

Find the Rubies

The Rubies don't have any appearances scheduled. Please check back soon!