Shorts & Excerpts!

Well, as promised, I have begun a new page.  It can be found at the top of my main blog page, and is entitled ‘Shorts & Excerpts’.  Despite this title, it has nothing to do with clothing or newspaper clippings, and is in fact the place to look for bits and pieces of my writing from upcoming books.  The first short is ‘A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend’, uploaded in the hope of whetting your appetite for ‘A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend: The Complete Adventures’, which is loosely scheduled for release on Kindle October 1, 2014. 

Enjoy.  More excerpts should follow in the weeks to come.

Oh, and if you’re too lazy/can’t find the main button, here is the link: Shorts & Excerpts

Don’t hesitate to comment, good or bad.  I can take it.  Really.  And if you see someone weeping messily in the corner IT’S NOT ME.

New Thing!

I have a New Thing.  It started out as a short story about two time-travellers, Kez and Marx, who travel through time and space in a stolen craft.  Then Kez clawed her way out and demanded another story.  Marx backed her up, of course.  

So I wrote them another story.  Then another.  Now excerpts and reports are popping up everywhere around the galaxy as my characters tinker with time, steal stuff from the Time Corp, and just basically cause annoyance around the galaxy.

Now I’m going to share some of those excerpts on my blog.  Yeah, that’s right, you’re all just THAT FLAMIN’ LUCKY.  

Words are being polished, the ebook cover is getting its (hopefully) final touches, and there will be an immense amount of formatting underway shortly: which all means that it will be at least a month before The Complete Time-Traveller’s Best Friend appears on Amazon Kindle.  But in the meantime, look out for excerpts and other fun stuff that will be popping up on my blog.

Favourite Authors: Patricia C. Wrede

I have a Top Three favourite authors.  By necessity it is a fluid top three: how else could I fit in Diana Wynne Jones, Patricia C. Wrede, Steven Brust, Jane Austen, Terry Pratchett, Kate Stradling, Alexadre Dumas, Lloyd Alexander, Lillian Beckwith, Gail Carson Levine, Robert Louis Stevenson and so on?  It crosses most genres (though you might have noticed a decided tendency toward fantasy) and quite a few centuries as well.

Patricia C. Wrede has been part of the Top Three since before I even knew I had a Top Three.  As far as I recall, the first book of hers that I read was the last of the Enchanted Forest Quartet: Talking To Dragons.  I picked it up at my local library one day, enchanted by the gorgeous watercolour cover that was all muted greens and greys until it got to Shiara’s flaming hair, and added it to my already high stack of books.  That was in Queensland, when you could still check out fifteen books at a time, and I always had a full card.

I loved the way Patricia Wrede bent her fractured fairy-tales, imbuing Daystar with a kind of practical wisdom learned by rote from his mother Cimorene; and I loved watching Shiara’s bursts of temper that derailed the good his manners had achieved.  I loved the stupid yet clever princess, who was determined to ensnare a man.  I didn’t yet know about the thing called Worldbuilding, but I was already beginning to appreciate it.

I found Dealing with Dragons a year or so later, a cheap paperback with a really bad cover, sitting on the shelf at an opshop.  It wasn’t until after I read it that I began to remember names and situations, and to wonder where I had heard them before.  After that, it was back to the library to scroll through the microfiche in search of more books by Patricia Wrede.

There are so many good things to say about Patrica C. Wrede.  So much I could go on and on about.  Her characters.  Her world-building.  Her wonderfully wacky situations.  From her Enchanted Forest quartet to her Mairlon the Magician, and from Sorcery and Cecelia to the Lyra Chronicles, I’ve loved almost everything she’s written.  At the moment, my favourite among her books wavers between Mairelon the Magician and The Raven Ring.

Mairelon is a favourite almost purely because of well, Mairelon.  And Kim.  And Hunch.  And the fact that it’s set in a kind of regency England that emulates the best of Georgette Heyer’s regency England.  It’s pure, madcap amusement.

The Raven Ring is a favourite because of much better reasons.  I still love the characters: in fact, I love them more than almost any other of Patricia Wrede’s characters.  But added to that love is the appreciation I have for her worldbuilding in this particular book.  In her Frontier Magic chronicles, I felt that Patricia Wrede focused on worldbuilding to the detriment of her characters.  They’re a wonderful study in worldbuilding, and I do sincerely like them, but I feel that the characters and plot have suffered as a consequence of the extensive focus on world and system. There’s no such division in The Raven Ring.  The characters are drawn finely (Eleret and Karvonen have stayed with me for far longer than most other characters), and the world is a richly layered one with all its own colloquialisms, customs, ways of life, and hierarchies.  It has just the right amount of everything.

Added to my admiration for her work is my appreciation for Patricia Wrede’s writing advice, which came at a time when I was wondering if anyone else thought about writing in just the same way that I did.  I stumbled upon her blog one day and found that she was saying things I had just begun to learn by myself.  It was a huge encouragement. Since then, I’ve begun to regard her as something of a writer’s writer: she, more than any other writer I know, has influenced my writing by both word and example.  In short, she’s everything a favourite author should be.

If you want to check her out for yourself, her blog is called Six Impossible Things, and her books are available well, everywhere.

Hanging On

It’s been a tough week.  Well, it’s only Wednesday, and I’m already talking about my tough week.  Ya get me.  Some of last week seems to have leached into this week and turned it into a long, weary campaign instead of the quick march I expected it to be.  I’m dead tired, undernourished, and annoyed to pieces that I haven’t written more than 500 words this week.  But I’m surviving- as you do.  After all, the house has to be paid off, and groceries must be bought even if one has no time to sit down and eat them.  Appearances must be kept up.

So I thought that instead of talking about the bad, I would mention the good things of this week.  (The above paragraph doesn’t count as whinging, because context, yanno?)

1.  The dog did not poop in the house.  This is very, very good.

2.  I’ll have my first aid certificate by tomorrow afternoon, God willing.

3.  I got half the pantry cleared out and put in order.  The door now closes.  Score!

4.  I was reminded again that regardless of how I feel, God is still looking after me, and is always there when I remember to look.  Feelings get in the way sometimes.  Especially those nasty, anxious ones that make you want to chunder your breakfast all over your shoes.

5.  My sister is awesome and buys me presents.  Cos, well- presents.

I’m still not sure whether I’m hanging on or losing grip, but right now I have my sars, and a poptart (yah, the Americans do something right) and season 3 of 24.  I’m doing all right.

Bring it on