1. Please, tell us about your latest book.
This is book 2 in the Land’s End comic fantasy series, which some reviewers have called “Game of Thrones Lite” and “The Princess Bride with sex.”
When Rowena is abducted back to medieval Land’s End, all is in turmoil. Gareth is trapped in the middle-world. Cedric is losing his soul to the black arts. And her beloved Thane is stuck back in Arizona.
What’s a modern girl to do? Learn how to control her powers of magic, of course. Things go wrong when she accidently conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle. Now she has to prevent Roman and Land’s End warriors from killing each other.
A royal banquet quickly dissolves into a brutal battle. The Dark Lord appears and raises the stakes by trapping Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again, Rowena is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.
2. Tell us a little about one of your favorite minor characters. Will they show up in another book?
Yes! Look for Lars to play a major role in book 3, Rowena and the Viking Warlord. He just kinda grew on me. Oh yeah.
3. How do you go about picking your character’s names?
In my case, it was a natural. Rowena is a family name. The castle I write about in the Land’s End series was a real Norman castle in Shropshire, belonging to a distant relative (meaning he died a long time ago) Viscount Clegg-Hill. It burned down in 1550. But I was regaled with tales about it when I was young, and they stuck in my mind.
4. What is your favorite thing about writing?
I have complete control of the story. I sure don’t have control of my real life!
But also – and just as important – I love the people I meet; other writers and readers.
5. How did you get started in writing?
I won a national fiction writing contest over twenty years ago. Then I started writing freelance humor columns for newspapers. Picked up a regular column, and then was approached by a comedian who read it and liked my style. I started writing standup for comedians.
6. What does your family think about your writing?
They think I’m nuts. But then, they always did. I was the class clown.
7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? How about anywhere in time?
Perfect question for me. I would be time traveler, of course! Able to visit all sorts of eras and have a lover in each of them . Make my Tardis fuchsia, please.
8. If you could have a truly unusual pet, what would it be?
A dragon named Cinders! She appears in book 3, Rowena and the Viking Warlord, out in the fall.
9. If people from the future could describe you or your career in one word, what word would you like it to be?
Hilarious. (okay, nuts.) My goal is to make people laugh – to lighten their day. Truly, there is no greater high for me than taking a reader out of real life for a few hours and giving them a fun escape.
10. Do you have any hobbies?
Eating. Okay, and fast cars. I blew my last advance on a 1992 white Corvette convertible. I know – completely irresponsible. Love the thing.
11. What writers have inspired you the most?
Douglas Adams. Janet Evanovich. Charlaine Harris. Yes, there’s a pattern here.
12. When did you realize that you were a story teller?
At the age of 4. My parents called it ‘lying.’ Really, that was so shortsighted.
13. What is the biggest mistake that new writers make?
Thinking it’s going to be easy. Writing is work – hard work. We all think it should be easier, but it’s not. Sometimes, in those magic moments, it doesn’t seem like work, and that is grand. Those are the moments we live for.
14. What is something that always makes you happy?
Animals. Dogs in particular, but all animals. This is reflected in my Land’s End series. Rowena is a veterinarian and animal whisperer.
Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich. She has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and 4 novels. She has won 6 awards for fiction.
ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, book 2 in the hilarious Land’s End fantasy series, is NOW AVAILABLE at the special introductory price of .99! (regular price $3.99, after May 1.) Buy Link:
And the one that started it all: ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL, book 1 in the Land’s End series
Today’s guest is Tina Smith, author of the Wolf Sirens series. I’ve posted both of her covers…aren’t they lovely? (You all know by now what a sucker I am for covers.) Tina will be awarding jewelry in theme of her books (wolf charms, charm bracelets etc), ThreeD book marks in shifter themes (Wolves, tigers, panthers etc) and Sun catchers (beaded glass and crystal) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour…the more you comment, the more likely you are to win!
Please, tell us about your latest book. Wolf Sirens is about a teenage girls coming of age, when she is moved to strange town after her parent’s divorce. A myth about a Demi Goddess and a legend about the wolves which haunt the valley forever change’s the course of her life. Caught between two worlds she must decide between duty, desire and love.
Tell us a little about one of your favorite minor characters. Will they show up in another book? Yes, I love to include a few names which I then develop into a more pivotal character in subsequent books in the series. Shelly Bealy is a favorite; she is a high school teacher that Lila, the MC, meets her first day in Shade. Unfortunately Shelly is not seen after that because she is rumored to have left her husband, but the truth is ultimately more grisly. In book three the reader finds her again and sees that she is in a very conflicting situation.
What inspired you to write this novel? Twilight took paranormal to a new level, as has Maggie Steifvater – so both of those writers. And every author who has left a piece of their heart on the page. Virginia Andrews and Emily Bronte.
How do you go about picking your character’s names? I like this question, no one has asked me this but I find it is a huge part of my writing process. It’s the issue of trying to use an individual name that suits the character that isn’t anyone you know and that doesn’t conflict with other names or seem too out there, I want my names to be believable but at the same time unique, like my characters. I spend a lot of my spare time collecting names. It’s odd really. I got the name Angele (Angie) from a book about a Indian man called Grey Owl, the book had a picture of Pierce Brosnan on the front because he played him the movie adaptation (which I haven’t seen)(that’s not to say I won’t).
What is your favorite thing about writing? You have some major highs and some lows, moments of inspiration and hours and hours of typing to get a scene just right with the imagery and dialogue to achieve the direction you desire. I love working with my good friend Sally on editing but it’s a long time before I get to that stage. I believe anything worth doing is worth doing well. But that moment when you have got your word count, a good plot and interesting characters – you just feel elated. It’s when I think I might have something good, so that would be my favorite part. Then I go back in and perfect the scenes. A writer’s work is never done. Edit and edit again.
How did you get started in writing? I always kept journals – since I was eight. In primary school I rewrote fairytales for fun. I got awards for a story or two. Throughout troubled parts of my life I try to cope by writing but to be honest I really never wrote a novel until Wolf Sirens – I saved up all of my mojo for one great thing.
What does your family think about your writing? My mum and Dad are very proud. No one in my family reads, I would say they are all extroverts. I am the weird one. Others are dubious because they don’t get me and I have blind sighted them with my hobby. I wrote because I was lost, I knew if I put my all my artistry and heart into writing the best stuff I could that it would bring great and true people into my life, thus far that has been successful. I have discovered what I was meant to do.
How do you come up with your ideas? Do you start with an image, a character…? My process is organic I don’t do plans or time schedules. I work like crazy, I’m just not choleric. I drawer inspiration from all kinds of places, from life and my dreams and television and books and other artists. My higher brain sorts it out. The process is an enigma.
If you had a monster living under your bed, what would you name it? What genre are we talking? Children’s entertainment? Mr. Freckles? Thriller -Tommy, Horror – Meat grinder, Romance – Edward Cullen.
If you were an amusement park ride, what would you be? I hate roller coasters. If I was a ride it would be the car you put two dollars in that barely moves anywhere but makes some good noises, so it and the kids think they are getting a thrill.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? How about anywhere in time? Anywhere in the world would be Paris with my daughter, she wants to see the Eiffel Tower and the snow. In time, Ancient Rome?
Do you have any writing rituals? Water and Lip balm, green tea is nice. It all help makes me comfy so the juices flow. My note book.
If you could have a truly unusual pet, what would it be? A hologram of a whale. Life size. It’s not really a pet. But if it had to be breathing, a dragon like Falcor from The Never Ending Story would be cool.
If you had to share a house with a vampire, a werewolf or a ghost, which would you pick? The ghost would watch you in the shower, but the other two could eat you alive. Maybe the ghost.
What are you working on now? Wolf Sirens Night Fall – which is the third in the series. I plan to write six in total. It has just about consumed me right now. Even when I’m cooking dinner I stare off into space. I imagine my daughter thinks the lights are on but no one’s home, it’s just that I can’t switch off the ideas. I’m home but I’m thinking.
If people from the future could describe you or your career in one word, what word would you like it to be? I’ll go with this. Fictional Deity, or as The Writer Who Changed Fantasy. It would be cool if in the year 3000, my books were paranormal classics and studied in university like Dickens and Bronte. I’m imagining a Futurama-type setting, where I am worshipped like a god. Maybe my head can be in a jar?
Do you have any personal catch phrases that you use a lot? Catch twenty two. There’s no doubt I have other phrases that I don’t realize I use. My mother always says it’s not what you know it’s who you know.
Do you have any hobbies? Soaping and beading. I make goat milk and olive oil soap. I sell it in a few shops in Adelaide.
What writers have inspired you the most? Emily Bronte, Jack London and Maggie Steifvater, Stephenie Meyer.
When did you realize that you were a story teller? When I was a kid I would read books on tape and sometimes I would read books but make up the stories when I was reading to other kids. So maybe there was something telling in that. My favorite story was Puss in Boots, even at five years old I appreciated the clever plot in that fairy tale.
If you weren’t a writer, what would your dream job be? Writing.
What is the best part of world building for you? Imagining unusual things and being able to use them were ever I want. That’s why Paranormal and fantasy is so great.
City or country? Suburbs
What is something that always makes you happy? My dog Billey.
Kind of cool…alright, the blog’s pretty low, but it’s nifty to be included!
An infographic by the team at CouponAudit
I finally sat down and watched Amanda Palmer doing a TED Talk called The Art of Asking.
TED talks are awesome. I watch them fairly often…they are about the bigger ideas and give lots of food for thought. The TED talk with Amanda Palmer is really wonderful and heart felt. And she talks about the art of asking…how to get people to pay for music, but I think that Writers could watch this and get a ton out of it too, because it’s not about how to get people to give you dough.
It’s about how to get people to connect with you. If people connect with you, if they see you as a person, they want to help.
I have some trouble with this…to be honest, every time I need to post a link about reviews, or contests, or anything that is about how awesome my book is, I feel guilty. I feel like a pest, like i’m not being a good friend. And because of my reluctance to publicize, I lose any good momentum I have…because I may make jokes about wanting to be a hermit, but at the end of the day I mean what I say about just wanting people to read my books, to value them.
This is something I’ve wanted to do but feel like I’m failing at. Any article about being a successful blogger, they tell you that you need to target your audience, that you need to get to know them, and provide them with content that they care about. If you want people to read your writing blog, you need to focus on giving good writing advice. You should never write about home improvement or travel or whatever comes into your head.
Which I do all the time. Because I am easily bored with writing articles about writing. Oh, if I think of something I’ll write it, but, well, aren’t there a billion articles on writers writing about writing? Unless you genuinely have an insight that might be helpful, why bother? And then I want to write about whatever I feel like, what ever I feel might be entertaining or enlightening, and then I’m like…well, it doesn’t fit the mold.
I am also, apparently, poor at making posts people want to comment on. But maybe my posts don’t reach anyone.
So. How do I connect with you? What do you want from me? I want us to be friends. Not bosom buddies, which would be kind of scary, neither of us knowing the other, but friends. Not because I want you to buy my book, but because…I want to connect. I want to feel like what I do online matters to someone besides me.
So. How do I connect?
This post is to prove it, yes…and to put up pictures while I wait for a technical difficulty (Apparently my gmail sends Google Drive requests to spam. Yay. And I have no memory banks…so I completely forgot about this.)
EDIT: Difficulty has passed! Now you have an awesome interview to read!
I kind of feel badly or Ms. Wharton. Apologetic, even.
But, anyway, she has an awesome new book out, called Finding Esta, which sounds wonderful. It’s a New Adult Paranormal/Urban Fantasy. There’s a great description here.
INTERVIEW FOR Cindy at email@example.com
1. Please, tell us about your latest book.
Finding Esta is the first book of The Supes Series.
Luna is a fledgling journalist who yearns for the love and acceptance, and for an end to her own chronic isolation. Unable to touch, she settles for the lover’s caress of a stranger who visits her dreams, and her only friends in the world are Shadows – spirits who reside within in her fragile mind, seeking refuge from the Shadow Lands. Impatient for parental respect, she attempts to solve a twenty-year-old child abduction case by travelling to Esta’s family home in Cornwall, situated on an abandoned cul-de-sac.
Searching for clues to Esta’s tragic fate, she finds much more than she bargained for.
More alone than ever and desperate for answers, Luna struggles to retain a sense of identity, and the light grip on reality she’s been used to. Will she find Esta, and if so, will Luna live to tell Esta’s story?
2. Tell us a little about one of your favorite minor characters. Will they show up in another book?
Sybil is rather special, although I can’t give away too much without my explanation spoiling the story. I will say that she is a 40 year old hairdresser… with layers. There is also Flo and Ada, who are the Shadows seeking refuge within the mind of Luna. They’ve been with her since childhood and are her only friends. Flo is a tiny framed, feisty woman and Luna’s best friend. Ada is a grandma substitute on one hand, and Shadow warrior for justice on the other. Then there’s Eliza, a beautiful red head, with a smart mouth, a sordid history, and fangs. All of these minor characters (all integral to the plot I might add) will be in the next book at some point.
Whether they’ll make it to the third book, though?
3. What inspired you to write this novel?
A flash fiction writing challenge to create a spooky story about a haunted house, around 4 years ago, before I’d ever written a story. Twenty thousand words or so later I knew I have a series on my hands.
4. What is your favorite thing about writing?
Heavy answer for a heavy question. I’m a loner at heart, although I crave connection to others. I hate small-talk (because I’m so bad at it) and the inconsistencies of petty social interaction. I used to go out all the time, to parties and what-not, fearing I’d miss something. But I searched for what I needed in the wrong places, as it was within me all along. Basically, writing nourishes me, from the inside, out.
5. What does your family think about your writing?
I have always loved reading and writing poetry (two publishing in anthologies). Maya Angelou is my favourite, although there are too many others to list here. My father wrote poetry, and songs for local bands, and turned me on to it by writing poems to me, with the grand expectation that I should respond poetically. This began when I was only around seven years old, if I remember correctly. If I didn’t do as he asked, he wouldn’t reply. Mostly, I feared disappointing him; I loved the old scally-wag, what can I say?
He taught me (more than school) a genuine love of language. It also allowed an outlet for the extreme mood swings of misdiagnosed bipolar disorder. But that’s a whole other story.
In general, I think my family are proud. None have read my book, to my knowledge. My kind of fiction isn’t their thing, and there is still such prejudice where indie publishing is concerned. I wish, more than anything, that my dad had lived long enough to write something we could have published. He never knew the freedom of the indie publishing movement, and like me, he never had the confidence to send his work to a traditional publisher. Up until a few years ago, just like him, I wrote in the dark, quietly and for myself. I never expected to willingly throw my words, like children, out into the world. I never expected to be writing anything more than drawer linings.
6. How do you come up with your ideas? Do you start with an image, a character…?
Character, always. I fell in love with the main character, Luna, and before I knew it, I’d developed a story about her self-development and survival, amidst a supernatural and alien backdrop, spanning three books.
I chose Cornwall because I’m a quarter Cornish and love St Ives. I wanted to capture its magical quality, to set the scene. I had to research a few things, like names of streets, and about the train Luna takes to reach Esta’s house, where she finds much more than she expects. But the way it looked, the way Cornwall felt, is written mostly from childhood memories.
7. If you had a monster living under your bed, what would you name it?
I had a monster (true story) under my bed – her name was Witch, unimaginatively. But there was a zombie in my wardrobe (my dad made me cut school to watch Dawn of the Living Dead on VHS with him, when I was around nine years old) called Trevor. Why? Because my dad said if I named him something normal it would remove his power and stop him entering my dreams. It didn’t work straight away, but eventually, no more monsters. Hurrah!
8. If you were an amusement park ride, what would you be?
A roller-coaster: Lots of ups and downs, because hey, I’m round the bend, but I’m fun, too.
9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? How about anywhere in time?
I love period drama, so perhaps I’d flip to our past and become a character such as Jane Austen’s, Emma, or Bram Stoker’s, Wilhelmina Murray? Or would I prefer to shoot off into the future, when I believe we might fly to the moon on holiday. Wow, what holiday snaps! J
But I also love the idea of living in a large, quiet, open space by soaring mountains and water, perhaps in a cabin with a huge and somewhat prerequisite, roaring fire. Lovely for Bobby, our German Shepherd.
Oh, but then I love the chaos of London and Manhattan, too. We do enjoy the theatre. It’s difficult. Great question, but seemingly one I cannot answer.
10. Do you have any writing rituals?
That would take organisation, but I am organisationally impaired. I do like to create a play-list and play it (while adding to it with each scene) as I write. That’s about as far as I go with rituals. The rest happens, or doesn’t.
11. If you had to share a house with a vampire, a werewolf or a ghost, which would you pick?
I already see ghosts (true story) – so I’d choose vampire. But they’d have to be relatively friendly and self-sufficient. I’d be useless to feed on, and would die too soon. I’m a chronic anaemic. And I have enough of my own monthly issues, without sharing with a werewolf’s tantrums and changes
12. What are you working on now?
Finding Luna, part two of The Supes Series. I’m almost done with the final first draft. A few tweaks, then it’s edits. *Groan.
11.What three things (outside of necessities) would you take with you to a desert island?
I’d say Kindle, but there would be no plug – disaster. So books, crates and crates of books. One of which would explain how to survive on a desert island. Number two, food. Enough to last a lifetime, and would not spoil if stored in a warm climate. Lastly, tools to help me build shelter, cook, clean, live.
Think that should do it. Wow, that list looks surprisingly pragmatic, for me.
13.What are three of your favourite movies?
Difficult, but I’m going to try to select just three. My favourites list is naturally fluid. But for now….
1) To connect me to the world around me, I choose It’s a Wonderful World. James Stewart is fantastic in this, as in everything else he did. This was also my brother’s favourite movie (this, and Goodbye Mr Chips, another one of my top 10). He passed away 2004 by his own hand, and this movie reminds me to value my life, but mostly, to value the love in my life.
2) To connect with my sense of humour, I choose Hannah and her Sisters. Woody Allen just cracks me up. I love all of his movies in one way or another, although he shone in the eighties. I could line up a long collection of his best (in my opinion), but this is a tiny list of three, so I’m only giving him one.
3) To connect to the horror lover in me, I choose the 28 days Later / & 28 Weeks Later movies. I adore zombies and these movies do zombies perfectly. My favourite of the two is the first, but I think they were both exceptionally well done. I love to be so scared that I have to hide behind a cushion, grip my hubs arm so tight he loses blood circulation, and then to have nightmares. I don’t know why, but I do. And judging by the amazing popularity of The Walking Dead, I’m not alone.
14. What writers have inspired you the most?
Apart from the classics, I’d say poet Maya Angelous, song writer and poet, Bob Dylan, and fiction writers, Ann Rice and Charlaine Harris, each influenced me most, in different ways.
15. If you weren’t a writer, what would your dream job be?
I’d love to own a huge animal sanctuary in the wilderness somewhere. I’d also love to own several children’s homes around the poorest parts of the world. If I ever accrue wealth, I know exactly how I’d spend it. And no, this is not selflessness (I wish), I just know how hugely rewarding it would be (I worked in social work after graduating, between 1999 – 2003). A life of giving is not altruistic or heroic, it’s basic humanity. We all need some form of payback, regardless of the source of income.
16. What is something that always makes you happy?
Time spent in our ‘circle’. The circle consists of Hubs, Bobby (our German Shepherd) and me, lounging on our sofa together, watching a great movie.
Today’s featured author is T.J. Winter, author of Somerset Abbey: A Bloom in Winter. Here’s a blurb:
After Prudence’s desperate marriage and move to London, sisters Rowena and Victoria fear they have lost their beloved friend forever. Guilt-ridden and remorseful, Rowena seeks comfort from a daring flyboy and embraces the most dangerous activity the world has ever seen, and Victoria defies her family and her illness to make her own dream occupation as a botanist come true. As England and the world step closer to conflict, the two young women flout their family, their upbringing, and their heritage to seize a modern future of their own making.
With her delicate constitution but strong, unflappable spirit, Victoria has never followed societal conventions, the rules of fashion, or the pursuit of a husband. Instead, she finds herself drawn to the controversial—and dangerous—fight for women’s suffrage. But her dream is compromised, and her heart divided, when her struggles for equal rights collide with unexpected love.
After yearning to no avail for a certain young pilot to fly back into her life, Rowena fears her chances for happiness have been jeopardized by recklessness and scandal. Burdened with guilt for bringing her sister Prudence to Summerset Abbey as a lady’s maid while she herself led a life of privilege, Rowena hopes to one day make amends. But her desire to set things right is complicated by her passion for flight and a sudden engagement…to the wrong man.
Raised like a sister to Victoria and Rowena, then banished to the servants’ quarters when their father passed away, Prudence has seen both sides of life, upstairs and down. But once the truth about her parentage was revealed, Prudence forged a new life for herself, married to a penniless veterinary student. Living in poverty in a shabby London flat, she wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake—and there’s no turning back…
It’s also worth mentioning that T. J. will be awarding to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour a 4 piece Whimsical Butterfly Tea set. The tea set is handcrafted by artist April Cook of white stoneware slip and painted with a unique whimsical design of a butterfly in lime green and plum glaze. It is both dishwasher and microwave safe. The set includes a 32 oz. tea pot with lid, creamer and sugar bowl (To see more of April’s designs, see www.etsy.com/shop/speeglecreations). (US ONLY)
It’s very pretty! But then I am a sucker for tea things…
Victoria sat impatiently, her fingers skittering across the shining top of her lovely round desk, once used by an ancestor who would no doubt be completely scandalized by the plan she had just proposed to Kit.
“Let me get this straight,” he frowned at her, his dark red brows furrowing like caterpillars. “You want me to help you to sneak into London for a week?”
She glared at the mocking tone of his voice. “You know, you’re usually quite handsome, but right now, you look more like an ogre from a Grimms’ fairy tale than a human, so you can stop glowering at me.”
His head came up and he looked at her, his eyebrows unfurrowing and shooting up on his forehead in such a comical way, she couldn’t help but giggle.
“You think I’m handsome?”
Victoria shrugged. “Yes. Sort of like a fox, with your ginger hair and sharp eyes. But don’t let it go to your head; Sebastian and Colin are far better looking than you. Now back to my plan.”
He rolled his eyes at that and got back to the matter at hand. “The only way it would work would be to bring Elaine into it. There is no way your aunt would approve of your traveling to London on your own, and she certainly would never let you drive off alone with me.”
Victoria shook her head, frustrated by the fuss. “These people do know I’m of age, right? Why may Cousin Colin come and go as he pleases, yet Elaine and I are required to inform everyone where we are at every moment of every day? How is that fair?”
“Do you know you’re rather lovable when you act like a suffragette?” he teased.
She threw a fountain pen at him and missed. It exploded on the mantel. “Oh blast! Now see what you made me do.”
He laughed. “Made you do? No, leave it,” he said when she stood to clean it. “No one comes back here and we’ll call it art, much as that crazy art nouveau crowd calls their stuff art.”
“Oh!” She stamped her foot. He knew she loved art nouveau.
“Now don’t get your petticoats in a bundle, kitten, and let’s figure out how to get you to London so you can meet with…whom?”
“Harold L. Herbert, the managing editor for the Botanist’s Quarterly,” she said, sitting back down.
“Ah yes, so you can meet with Hairy Herbert. And what do you hope to gain from this meeting?”
For a moment, Victoria drew a blank. “Well, he said he wanted to meet with me. He finds my writing thought-provoking. He not only paid me for an article, but is also interested in more of my work. So, more assignments, I suppose.” She tilted her nose up in the air, waiting for him to make fun of her.
To her surprise he didn’t. “So you’ve never met Hairy Herbert. Have you spoken to him on the telephone?” He took the seat across from the desk and crossed his long legs. His eyes regarded her gravely.
Victoria shifted uneasily. “No.”
“So he doesn’t know that the author of the scientific article he paid ten pounds for is, in fact, an eighteen-year-old girl?”
Victoria opened her mouth, but no sound came out.
TJ Brown is passionate about books, writing, history, dachshunds and mojitos. If she could go back in time, she would have traveled back to England, 1910, Paris, 1927 or Haight-Ashbury, 1967. She resides in the burbs of Portlandia, where she appreciates the weirdness, the microbreweries, hoodies, Voodoo Donuts and the rain.
So, in 2004 I started writing a book. I wrote 80,000 words, but got stopped, and tried to fix it by adding a subplot. The subplot made things messy, and wrong, and I stayed stopped.
In 2004 I’d not written a lot of the things I have written now, such as The Chocolatier’s Wife. I’m a different person, both by years and by experience. And I think, maybe, I’m ready to open this baby up and fix her. But it is so much work…writing has never been this much work for me. Cutting the subplot out without mercy. Getting angry at my heroine for being so completely wet…how could I have written someone so wimpy? She’s a sweet girl, yes, but seriously.
So, that’s what happens. I write on something (like a promised sort of sequel to CW) and I am hot and it’s all coming out and I know the ending…and I get stopped. I come up on a wall. I claim that I never get writer’s block, but really, I do. And if I can’t clear the path, then I do something else for awhile. Sometimes nine years later, but, eventually.
So, back to the operating table. I’ve cut away a lot of stuff, added some…there’s some good stuff in here, I just need to polish it.
And figure out what the bloody point is. Kind of need to build towards that.
Patricia Briggs: The first book I ever picked up of her’s was Dragon’s Blood…I got it as a review copy (The review is here: http://www.sfsite.com/06a/db153.htm) and fell in love. When I read her Mercy Thompson series it was confirmed that I’d found a favorite new author.
Janet Evanovich: Her books are always pure escapism. Funny and so much fun.
Barbara Hambly: She writes such amazing things. She has written my favorite vampire, my favorite dragon…and she can write mysteries with equal brillance as well as fantasy.
Sue Grafton: I love Kinsey. She’s more serious than Stephanie, the stories are very well written.
Preston and Childs: Agent Pendergast is one of my absolute favorite charatcers, ever. THe stories are a mixture of mystery and horror.
Lee Child: Jack Reacher is the toughest, most competant, no-nonsense man out there. The stories drag you in and never let you go until the last page. I’d want him on my side if the Zombie Apocolypse hit. (If you’re imagining Tom Cruise, that’s not who I meant. I like Tom Cruise, but Jack could tie him into a pretzel.)
Terry Pratchett: Discworld is a fantastically drawn world. Tiffany Aching, Sam Vimes…they are all wonderful people. Pratchett’s satire isn’t cruel, it’s funny, and true, but not at all mean spirited…his observations are not bitter, but seem to come from someone whp cares about people. Like an oldwe brother teasing us.
Neil Gaiman: My co-worker, Darlene, introduced me to him through Smoke and Mirrors, and of course I had to get The Sandman though interlibrary loan. I loved…they are stories about stories and everything that touches our lives.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Universe Comics: Various. I’m addicted…after four tries (I’d buy the antho off of Half.com, the seller would return my money…) I finally received the second IDW Angel Omnibus in the mail, so I’ll be reading that, and Fray, and finally I’ll be able to re-read Season 8 and feel like I’ve got what’s going on…
I’m finally getting around to blogging about a short trip I took to Roscoe Village. http://historicroscoevillage.com/erie-canal-boat/ We went in September 2012.
It really is a nice walk…well paved and comfortable.
When we got there we went to the Canal boat right away. That was the main reason why we went, we wanted to ride the Monticello III, the only Canal Boat around still pulled by horses.
The tickets are moderate, 8.00 for an adult. We parked in the Roscoe region, but there’s a parking lot right next to it that we ended up walking through. I don’t mind…the walk, through a tunnel, along side old locks, was really lovely. It’ll take about 15-20 minutes each way. I would not call it wooded, though there are trees…to the left (going to the canal) you have a hillside, and at the top of that is a lake. (So yes…you’re lower than the lake!) and to the right are fields…both farming and soccer.
If you go off the path you can walk through the old locks…cool, eh?
When you get to the boat, you’ll see a long, cream colored boat with green trim. It’s actually very nice. They don’t let you pre-board, so you’ll have to wait at the benches until they let you on. The interior is filled with more benches…the front gives you the best view, but the side/fronts are also nice.
There is a gentleman who tells the story of the canal, how it was built, the fact that most of the benches didn’t exist, but that there were beds inside the boat for people to sleep on. That stuck with me because the boat isn’t that wide…and I was struck by the idea of people taking the canal for so long that they had to actually sleep. That was definiatly something for the mental compost heap. Also, there are awesome stories of less reputable captains knocking each other over the head in order to get a better position in the canal…
The water turned bright green from algae as we went, and watching the water churn and things appear and disappear through the bright green muck was kind of fascinating. I was relived, however, when we got to the main lake and it looked pretty clean.
We turned around…the horses are pretty magnificent, by the way. I love horses, especially large ones. They don’t seem to be bothered by this…they trudge there, they trudge back, they rest, they go again. I can’t help but wonder if they are a bit FML, but, well, not everyone can be a pet, I guess.
Don’t they look super impressed? Oh, look, another human! We don’t see many of those around here!
They really were handsome, and well treated, though. You could tell the guy who guided them liked them a lot.
The handsome boys pulling the boat, like they did when the canal was complete and in use.
When we got back we realized that we had to hustle to get to Roscoe Village before everything closed! And hustle we did.
Mostly, it’s a great place for looking around. It’s not a shopping place for me, because I don’t buy antiques (in general) and crafts. But I did spend some money at the Medbury Marketplace. One of the things I really enjoy is trying new things to drink or eat, so I bought a half dozen different sodas…Rose Lemonade, Raspberry Ginger soda, Lavender Soda…just all sorts of cool stuff. We also found some really lovely soap the was organic and smelled like roses. I had a lot of fun shopping there. I really, really wish we had something like it close by: http://www.medberymarketplace.com/
There are some unique places to eat, but I wanted to drive home and I could not settle myself…so we ended up goingt to Captain Nye’s Custard, rather than one of the fancier places that would take (I thought) longer.
Captain Nye’s (http://www.captainnyes.com/) was pretty wonderful. It looks like a soda shop from the past…old signs decorate the walls, old style white cast iron tables and chairs provide where you sit to eat. There are tons of different custards…and some great sandwhiches. Their toasted cheese with Bacon was delightful, as was their hot roast beef and cheddar. And of course, the custard…between this and the marketplace, part of me would kind of not mind living there.
There is also a lovely garden there.
Bonus! A picture of me I don’t actually hate! My publisher asks me for pictures from time to time and I’m like, “OMG NO I’M UGLY LEAVE ME ALONE.” Yes, they are lovely, and very kind and long suffering.
Oh, this Tuesday Top Ten is exquisite.
I shall do my favorite characters in Fantasy and SF…
1. Mercy Thompson, by Patricia Briggs (The Mercy Thompson series). She’s tough and vulnerable at the same time…I love the fact that she’s also slightly off kilter, being both a VW Mechanic and a Shifter…not a werewolf, but a coyote. Just so much interesting character development, there…
2. Killashandra Ree, by Anne McCaffrey (Crystal Singer trio). I always loved the idea of “singing” crystals to be able to cut them correctly. She really changes through the stories, and even though I don’t remember much about the books…it’s been a long time…her name was the first that came up.
3. Antryg Windrose, by Barbara Hambly. (Dark Mage, Silicon Tower, etc) I have always had a fondness for him…he’s a wonderfully complex character, strong, charming, brilliant, and probably more than a little mad, with a dark past. Pretty much perfect.
4. Sandtiger, by Jennifer Roberson. (The Tiger and Del novels, Sword Danger, etc.) I couldn’t decide between him and Del, really…both of them are awesome. Del is cool, calm and the brains of the group, Tiger is macho and funny and weak willed but so dedicated. They both become so much better people as the stories go along. And maybe that’s what makes him slightly more my favorite…Del is someone I’d like to be a little like someday, Tiger is someone I would like to drink with.
5. Gerald Tarrant, C.S. Friedman (The Coldfire Trilogy) Do you like heroic darkness? Those mysterious men who may have done Terrible Things yet still seem redeemable? No one beats Gerald Tarrant. I find him fascinating.
6. Yvaine, Neil Gaiman. (Stardust.) She is a bit more powerful in the books than even in the movie, strong and purposeful and a little snarky. You really do know, in the end, who the stronger one in the relationship is…she’s really quite nifty.
7. Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde. (Lost in a Good Book, The Eyre Affaire…) She’s witty, practical, and someone whose job is to travel into books. She also has a streak of kindness that makes her charming…interesting character, interesting job. What could be better?
8. Sam Vimes, Terry Pratchett. (Discworld) My favorite detective, too…he’s also witty, smart…worked himself up through the ranks. Not comfortable with his lofty position, but a good man who does what’s needed.
9. Mara of Acoma, by Janny Wurts and Raymond E. Feist. (Empire series.) She starts off as a simple woman and grows in strength and character…you cheer her on as she develops. Such a great character.
10. Morgaine, by C.J. Cherryth (The Morgaine Cycle.) Competent, strong, dedicated. And her relationship with her companion is awesome.