Stuff And Things…

So I’ve been tossing up ideas about what I’d like to do for MASQUE’s 1st birthday, and I’ve found a few things that I want to do.

Firstly and most importantly, I’m setting up a giveaway (1x signed pb of MASQUE, 1x rose gold plated masque earrings, 1x Tea-Time necklace by Purple Bird Creations, & 1x I am ALWAYS up to something MASQUE t-shirt).

The giveaway doesn’t start just yet (so don’t go clicking on the collage above–it won’t take you anywhere helpful) but it won’t be long. It will run from January 1st, so keep watching this spot!

Also, bloggers, if you are interested in hosting my giveaway for one day in January, please let me know! I already have a few lovely bloggers who are willing to help out–thanks guys!

Secondly, MASQUE is on a 99c special for the entire month of January, right up until Feb 2nd.

Thirdly, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to release MASQUE in audio as a series of podcasts. I say it occurred (in the past tense) because that was before I knew how much hard work it would be. I spent about half an hour in my car this afternoon (somewhere enclosed,

masque rec 2

My recording equipment…for now

insulated, and with a buffer of soft, sound-swallowing things that won’t echo) and besides heat stroke, I now have a very good idea of what I’ve let myself in for. It is exhausting. Also, my voice sounds horribly Australian. Yeah, yeah, I know: I am Australian. I just didn’t expect to sound quite so okker. My voice is naturally pitched low, which doesn’t really work, either. Listening to the whole thing has given me a pretty good idea of what I need to work on, though, so it’s not all bad. So far in my list of things to remember is:

  1. Pitch voice higher.
  2. SLOW DOWN.
  3. Leave a buffer between paragraphs and–most importantly–between dialogue and prose.
  4. Drink lots of water.
  5. Don’t shuffle around. Like at all.
  6. Do it at night when the neighbours won’t look at me oddly. This will hopefully also help with the heatstroke issue.
  7. It’s gonna take at least 25 minutes for each chapter. Get really comfortable.

I’m sure there will be more, but those are the big ones. My iPad Mini and a set of bluetooth headphones w/mic have proven to give reasonably good results so far, but I’m leaving my options open.

If you want to hear the okker, rasping, uncertain sounds of me attempting my first reading, go ahead. Check it out, you masochist, you. Be warned, however: I’m not just saying this–it’s awful. I can only promise that I’ll try to do better in the real thing!

Also give me a yell out if you’ve done anything similar and have any advice to offer. Your expertise will be appreciated. As will any snide/sarcastic/witty/and/or/clever remarks upon my first foray into recording.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and wish you a similarly wonderful new year!

Your Assistance Is Requested…

Quite a few of you out there on the internets, from the US to Sri Lanka and beyond, were lovely enough to preorder TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY.

Thank you!

Some of you even bought it after it was released.

You have my undying gratitude!1

Now I’m asking even more of you (yeah, I’m greedy like that). In the lead up to Christmas–in fact, in just over a week–I will be running a promotion on TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY concurrently with a preorder promotion on the 2nd novella in the series, FIRE IN THE BLOOD.

I’d love to have at least a couple reviews for TDOF on the Amazons (.au, .com, and/or .uk) by the time that happens.

2nd Shards_FireInTheBloodYou don’t have to have loved it (though of course I’ll love you better if you did 😀 ) and you don’t have to write The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. A short, meaningful review is just as valid as the longest, most praise-laden one out there. I’ll appreciate every one of those words.

And as always, there is always a free copy of either novella for those book bloggers who are looking for the next blog post and want to read and review. Just contact me via the comments or my contact form.

Thanks, guys! And to all my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!!

I’m Obsessed. But It’s A Good Thing…Really…

I’m a little bit obsessed at the moment. I’ve been having so much fun writing TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY and it’s so very nearly finished! As a result, I’ve been taking the ‘big computer’ to work every day and sitting down at lunch to ignore everyone with my ipod plugged into my brain, then coming home with said big computer just to sit down and ignore everyone here, too. My reward for this is a very nearly finished novella and a slightly messed-up brain, plus the joyous satisfaction of having written 1000 words per day on my off days, and 3000+ on my on days–an unheard of burst of productivity that I’ve never before managed.

Thusly, and in celebration, I’m gonna post another excerpt of TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY here for you guys (cos I just know you were slavering at the bit for this). Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

(Oh, and keep an eye out on Monday next for the Cover Reveal! I’m so excited!)

Excerpt from Day Eight

                “Unseelie again,” said Markon, peering into the soft darkness of the Door. “I’m beginning to sense a pattern.”

“There’s not too much difference between Seelie and Unseelie when it comes to humans,” Althea said. “To them we’re more like talking dogs than anything. The Seelie are just as happy to murder us as the Unseelie: the only difference is that they’ll do it with a smile instead of a wink.”

“Ah,” said Markon, grateful for the twin iron bands around his wrists. “Speaking of murder, which particular bit of magic do we have to thank for bringing us to this piece of Faery?”

“Sal was showing me some of the sights yesterday afternoon,” said Althea. “I found a few remnants of magic where Parrin’s first sweetheart and one of the ladies who tried to break the curse were last seen. It’s– well, it seems familiar, but I can’t place it.”

“Does the room look familiar?”

“I couldn’t even tell it was a room,” said Althea, reaching for Markon’s hand. “Familiar or otherwise. Are you ready?”

Markon wrapped his fingers tightly around Althea hand, said: “Oh, about as much as usual,” and stepped through the Door with her.

At first there was only confusion and soft darkness, while they stood together hand in hand to get their bearings.

Then a male voice said: “What a delicious surprise!” from somewhere in the velvet darkness. It was soft, smooth, and entirely seductive.

Althea said: “Bother!”

“Sweetness, that’s not very kind of you,” said the voice reproachfully.

Markon, his teeth set on edge, flexed the fingers of his free hand in an instinctive desire to wrap them around the throat of the speaker. He couldn’t make out anything in the darkness, but as he frowned into the shadows a flare of silvery light burst into being and swiftly formed a swirling ball that gave light to the entire room. In its light, a rather annoyed Althea could be seen, her gaze directed toward the rumpled bed where a half-naked male fae was lounging. He yawned and stretched sinuously for Althea’s benefit, then rolled lightly across the wine-coloured bedspread and to his feet.

“I thought I recognised the magic,” said Althea. “I should have picked another sample.”

“You cut me to the quick,” mourned the fae. His eyes flicked over her in a way that immediately doubled Markon’s desire strangle him, but it wasn’t until the fae strolled over and curled one arm around Althea’s waist that he said curtly: “I take it you know each other?”

“Oh yes,” said the fae, lowering his head in what Markon had no doubt was an attempt to kiss her.

Althea, putting one hand on his bare chest to push him away firmly, said: “Not particularly. Carmine, if you try to kiss me again, I’ll–”

Through his teeth, Markon said: “Again?”

“Sweetness, the company you keep is slipping decidedly,” said Carmine. He released Althea but still stood by far too close.

“This isn’t a social call!” said Althea. She sounded harried. “Markon, this is Carmine. He tried to buy me some years ago. Carmine, this is Markon. He’s my human, and if you even think about–”

“I’m not your human,” said Markon grimly.

Carmine said: “I wanted to marry you, sweetness. There’s a difference.”

***

[Insert Blog Post Here]

I should be here writing a blog post. In fact, you probably think I am. And maybe I am, just a little bit. But the fact of the matter is that I’m sick, I don’t feel like writing a blog post, and I’m more than a little caught up in the novella I’m finishing off this week (hopefully), not to mention the novella I’m plotting.

Happily, I have the good fortune of blogging to an audience of both readers and writers, who have great imaginations. So please, imagine a fantastic, thought-provoking blog post here. Shade it with all the colours of the imagination, and admire the careful strokes of its immense profundity.

Thank you.

Now I can get back to Markon and Althea, and that dashing and perennially shirtless fae, Carmine. You’ll thank me later.

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my mailing list, you really should. I’m doing a cover reveal for TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY in the latest edition, and you’ll otherwise have to wait another week or two -gasp!- to see it in all its beauteousity.

Spindle’s Publication Day Is Here!

Spindle has been released into the wild!

SPINDLE - 2000Aka, it’s publication day, I’m excited, and EVERYONE SHOULD BE EXCITED. As such, I apologise if my Facebook and/or Twitter accounts become overly repetitive. If you’ve been eagerly waiting to buy Spindle on publication day (and I just know that you have), here are the links:

AmazonKobo, iBooksSmashwords, and Createspace.

Of course, if you sign up to my mailing list, that’s a whole ‘nother rodeo. Those on my mailing list will be able to download Spindle at 50% off from Smashwords. Plus get access to other awesome freebies as they become available, so…what are you waiting for? Sign up here!

And in the meantime, here’s an excerpt from Spindle to whet your appetite!

Excerpt

“Well now,” said a soft, amused voice beside Poly. “Something seems to have annoyed Luck. I wonder what that can be?”

The younger of the two men had strolled away from Luck and was now standing beside her. Poly turned her head in what she hoped was a stately manner and took in the faintly challenging hazel eyes that glinted at her above a thin, sarcastic mouth.

“I can see why Luck likes you so much,” said that sarcastic mouth. It wasn’t said sarcastically, however: unless Poly was very much mistaken, those hazel eyes were looking her over with distinct appreciation.

“I’m Melchior,” he said. “That’s Pettis: he and Luck will talk for hours if left alone. Foolish of him, I think, when he could be whispering in your ear. You do speak, don’t you?”

“You’re very forward, sirrah,” said Poly. She was pleased to hear that her voice sounded thoughtful and quite cool. “Why are you addressing me?”

“Four reasons,” said Melchior. “One, I have a great interest in the Sleeping Princess. You’re something of a hobby of mine. Two, your hair is delightfully unusual. Those are spells, I take it? May I touch your hair?”

“Of course not!” said Poly, ruining her aloof tone of voice with an unfortunate squeak.

Melchior’s eyes lit with wicked amusement. “Three, you’re quite obviously an enchantress of some power; and four, well, I haven’t seen anything quite like this before.”

He was holding her gloved hand in his own, and before Poly quite knew what was happening he had kissed her fingers lightly.

“Stop that!” hissed Poly, her eyes flying to Luck. He hadn’t noticed, still deep in his conversation with Pettis, and Poly wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or relieved.

“Why? Because Luck isn’t intelligent enough to do it?” This time there was certainly a sardonic edge to Melchior’s voice. “You must have so many questions, princess: I’m certain that Luck hasn’t answered them all. Allow me to be of service.”

“He warned me about you,” Poly said bluntly. She was rewarded by a lightning-fast grin from Melchior, and was a little annoyed to find that she felt rewarded.

“Did he so! Clever Luck. Me in particular?”

“Not in particular, no. He did warn me against accepting any gifts, agreeing to any arrangements or allowing people to touch me, though.”

One of Melchior’s hands spread wide, indicating innocence, but the other didn’t release Poly’s gloved hand. Poly saw a brief glint of magic obscure his hazel eyes like the flash of light across glass, and knew that he was studying her antimagic hand. The magic was obsidian black, but it didn’t frighten her.

“No hidden costs, princess. Ask, and I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

***

Well, I hope you enjoyed that excerpt of Spindle! Now go out and buy it. Go on. Shoo.

A Brief Reminder

Just a brief reminder, gentle readers, that those of you who join my mailing list from now until August 1st will receive a Smashwords Coupon for 100% off my first book, Masque. The coupon expires August 4th, so you have until then to sign up and download your free copy!

Join W.R. Gingell’s Mailing List!

To those already signed and (hopefully!) enjoying Masque– you’re fantastic! This is just the first of many freebies, sneak-peaks, and/or brilliant stuff from my brilliant (and oh-so-modest) mind. I look forward to sending that monthly newsletter to each and every one of you!

* * *

Beauty met the Beast, and there was . . . bloody murder?

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated.

MASQUE - 2000In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse.

In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman.

And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman. The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain. Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger.  Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him. . .

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

Actors I Would Choose To Play My Favourite Book Characters

My mind works in odd ways- quite often particularly in comparisons and matching pairs. Mostly this involves spouting movie and book quotes at inappropriate moments because they’re so very, VERY applicable to the situation. But sometimes it involves watching movies and tv shows and scaring the dog by shouting: “Ha! S/he’d be perfect for [John/Jill Character] in [AwesomeBook]!”

One of my favourites is Benton Fraser from the Candian Show Due South. He’s a mountie (obviously) who thinks that the reason young street thugs are criminals is because they have “never been shown the rewards of a honest day’s work”.

DueSouthCaptainCarrot

When I started watching this show (and you should watch it, too, it is fantastic) the only thing I could think for several episodes was: “It’s Captain Carrot! It’s the quintessential Captain Carrot!” For those of you who aren’t (yet) fans of the late and great Sir Terry Pratchett, Captain Carrot is one of AnkMorpork’s City Watch, under the command of Sam Vimes. He is upright and kind and good and perhaps just a little bit stupid. But not as stupid as all that, and certainly no pushover. He believes so utterly in people that sometimes the sheer force of his belief causes them to act in the right way. He’s a wonderful character. He and Benton are brothers in arms, and if I could pick an actor to play Captain Carrot, I would pick Paul Gross. Canadian accent and all.

And speaking of Terry Pratchett’s characters, I’ve always been a bit annoyed at the actor they chose to play Rhincewind in film/tv. Because I would have chosen this guy: balfour

He’s got the long, weird face and big nose that I’ve always pictured Rhincewind with, not to mention the long, gangly limbs I’ve always thought necessary to the part. I’ve never thought of Rhincewind as being old. Long hair, scrubby mustache, robes, hat with ‘wizzard’ on it- yes. Old, no. So Vote #1 Eric Balfour For Rhincewind!

Of course, any list of actors I would choose to play favourite book characters wouldn’t be complete without one of Diana Wynne Jones’ characters in it.michael-fassbender-s-prometheus-robot-continues-his-alien-streak-f1

This particular one is from her A Tale Of Time City: an android called Elio. He is smooth and quiet and mostly emotionless, but he has a kind heart and a sneaking fondness for Vivian, Time City‘s young heroine. And there is a lot more going on under Elio’s smooth, pale surface than at first appears. He, of course, could only be played by Michael Fassbender.

I’ve even had this happen with characters in the books I write. I’ve had it happen for a few of them, but the most important one was when I first started writing Spindle, which is now on preorder for publication August 10th. The two main characters are Polyhemia – or Poly – a girl who is certainly not a princess, but who has been cursed to enchanted sleep just the same; and Luck, an absent-minded and long-lived enchanter, who has woken Poly.

Luck

At about the same time I wrote the First Ever Draft of Spindle, I was watching Supernatural (before it went all grand and huge and annoying). And at some stage through the series, Castiel came upon the scene.

I froze. Looked at the screen. Blinked. Did a double take. Stared at the screen again. But wait! That’s Luck! That’s him, to the very life! Even some of the mannerisms were right on. I knew right then that if Spindle ever became a movie (why yes, I do like my delusions thank you very much) I’d want Misha Collins to play Luck. Of course, he’d have to get rid of that pesky American accent, but he’s an actor, right?

What about you guys? Who are some of your favourite book characters, and who would you choose to play them if they were made into movies? And if you’re an author, who would you choose to play your characters?

‘Flu And The TBR Pile

Someone at the day job was kind enough to gift me with the ‘flu. I took it out and about with me yesterday in hopes of being able to regift it to someone else, but managed to return home with it in spite of myself. On the bright side, I did also return with medicine and a simply beautiful belated birthday present.

So today, with the exception of church, I’m staying home and coddling myself. I’ve got a couple of Richard Sibbes books for my Sunday reads (might even get back to Bunyan, if I get the time) and a nice warm cuppa, plus my trusty patchwork quilt wot me Ma made. Also, since Wolfskin is done and dusted (and available to buy as paperback and ebook) I have a greater amount of free time- which means my weekly TBR pile has again grown to a decent size.

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Raising Steam is because- well, Terry Pratchett. What else? Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is because it sounded awfully interesting and it has a cover with one of my favourite actors on it. Backlash is because I’ll be doing another Favourite Authors post on Nicholas Fisk next week (plus I adore his books, and Backlash was one of the first I read and really loved) and Madeleine L’engle is there because this is one of hers that I haven’t read yet. Her A Wrinkle In Time is one of my all-time favourite sci-fi titles, and Charles Wallace and Meg are two of my all-time favourite characters, so I’m always willing to give her books a try. JRR Tolkien’s Children of Hurin is there, oddly enough,because someone gave it a negative review, and everything in that review reminded me of what I loved about Lord of the Rings, so I thought that there was a good chance I’d like this too. Also, I still have The Adventures of Tom Bombadil to read, even if it’s not on the pile.

What I’m not reading, but am looking forward to: A.F.E. Smith’s Darkhaven and Kate Stradling‘s newest book (which, alas, is probably still some time away.) Also the last Tiffany Aching book by Terry Pratchett, which will be published posthumously.

It won’t be all reading and cuppa tea-ing this week, of course. I’ve still got the tiniest bit of Spindle to finish, so there’s that: and since the first two new covers in my Time-Traveller’s Best Friend series are nearing completion, I’ve got to get cracking on the stories for Memento Mori also. Fortunately enough, all of the above can be done from where I am currently: snuggled in my patchwork quilt on a leather recliner, with my cup of tea right beside me, tissues at the ready. And the ‘flu means I have a very good excuse to stay exactly there.

So what are you guys reading?

Masque On Tour

Well, Masque is going on a book blog tour from March15-29. I’ve agreed to go along as chaperone, so if you see us out and about, say hi! If you’re a blogger and/or interested in signing up for the tour, the details are here: Enchanted Book Promotions Masque Blog Tour. I’ll post a schedule and further details a couple days before the tour kicks off.

masqueblogtourbanner

Strong Female Leads

I’m very definite about what I like in characters. I will very often put down a book without reading all the way through if I don’t like the main character/s, and I’ve been known to verbally remonstrate with TV characters who are doing stupid things. This holds true for all characters, but is more stringently applied to female lead characters I read/watch (mostly because I’m female and dislike seeing females made ridiculous without good reason. Men can mostly be as ridiculous as they like without upsetting me unduly).

If the female lead is, for example: a) Always relying upon the hero to save her, b) Always belittling/snarking at the hero, c) Making stupid decisions because the book/movie needs it for angst/danger, d) Always having sex because she’s a strong female lead who don’t need no man/rules/standards ETC, ETC, ETC-

I WILL BURN THAT BOOK/MOVIE.

(Actually, I won’t: I’ll probably just make a face and donate it to the op-shop/bin/a friend. But still. Ya get me. If I get really hot under the collar, I’ll compose snarky reviews in my head that will never see the light of a computer.)

There’s a lot of angst about Strong Female Leads. Someone is always trying to make sure that movies have enough Strong Female Leads, or that a book has a Strong Female Lead. It’s one of those things that you’re forever hearing about on the ‘net. I mean forever. There are tantrums and jumpings up and down, and accusations of misogyny etc, clouding the air and making things generally difficult to see.

I’ll admit, I used to roll my eyes about it a lot. (Actually, I still do at some of the more tantrum-like outbursts.) And then, the matter having been brought to my attention, I started noticing stuff.

It was most often in movies. (Books have weak, annoying, and/or stereotypical female leads, but they have an equal amount of weak, annoying and/or stereotypical male leads.) I’d be watching a movie, enjoying it more or less depending upon which one it was, and then BAM- there was a female lead wearing next to nothing. FOR NO REASON. Cos, trust me, if you’re a ninja/knight/samurai/whatever, you’re gonna want as much body surface covered. The male counterpart would be fully clothed. And then the female lead would fall/trip/get bashed and have to be rescued by one of the blokes for the seemingly sole purpose of being clutched to the well muscled chest of whichever one happened to save her.

So basically, the female lead was there for looks, and for the rush that the male ego gets for having saved a damsel in distress. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a female in a movie/book having to be rescued. But when it’s already established that she’s apparently the best/strongest/fastest, it’s really annoying to find that she has to be saved by the male of the piece simply because she’s female.

That’s not cool. It’s not cool to see female characters used in tv shows/movies simply for the purpose of eye candy. It’s not cool to see them always berating and/or sleeping with the male counterpart simply to prove that they’re a strong female lead who don’t need no man. C’mmon dudes, there has to be some middle ground here. And it’d be kinda nice to see female action figures, too (I’m looking at you Avengers. Yanno, while I’m on the subject).

It’d just be nice to see more interesting, reasonable females (action movies, I’m looking at you) who have their own stories and react to events/people/etc on their own terms and not merely with relation to the storyline of the main male character. I love action movies, but they’re the ones most guilty of female stereotyping (yeah, Taken.  I love you, but Liam Neeson’s wife needed to be murdered a lot sooner).

That’s all. That’s all I’m asking.