Archive for March, 2020

FF: C is for Comfort

March 27, 2020

Persephone Loves Comfort

This last week the unfolding news wasn’t exactly tranquil.  Like many people, I turned to old favorites for some of my reading time.  However, I also finished reading for the shorter categories for the Nebula awards.  This year, I was particularly impressed by the novella category.  As the week has rolled on, I’ve moved to two books that are new to me.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

And I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.

In Progress:

Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions by Henry Lien.

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.  Audiobook.  I put off finishing this series, because we’ll never get to Z.

Also:

And research.

Veering Off Target

March 25, 2020

Aftermath

Saturday afternoon Jim and I were out in the yard throwing atlatl darts, as one does on a lovely spring afternoon.  One of my shots hit the edge of the stacked hay bales we use as targets, veered right, went through a cedar tree and then through both sides of a five-gallon bucket we had set to catch rainwater under a gutter.

The bucket slowed the dart—yep, despite the darn things being taller than I am, the proper term for them is “dart”—thus preserving the thirty-two gallon trash can filled with water that was there.

So, good luck?  Bad luck? Raw chance?

How you choose to see it is up to you.  Or who you are, I suppose.  The bucket would say “bad luck.”  The trash can “good luck.”  The dart “raw chance.”

All I know is that I need to get another bucket…

Dealing with what I can is how I tend to function.  On that note, I’ve had a lot of queries as to how Jim and I are doing in these days of social isolation and such.

I’m happy to report that very little has changed.  I already work from home.  Jim is now retired, so not only doesn’t he need to go into work, he’s available to run what limited errands we need run.  This keeps asthmatic me one step away from random infection.

Certain things are slowing down.  Wolf’s Soul is to the stage where I need to review a print proof.  Since I use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, needless to say, there’s a slowdown.  I’ll get the proof when I get it.  The e-book is pretty much completed, but I’m holding it so I can release both books at the same time.  This also enables me to make sure any errors I catch in the print version can be fixed, if necessary, in the e-book as well.

With the new e-book versions of the three “Breaking the Wall” novels out, and Wolf’s Soul as far along as I can take it for now, I’m moving my creative energies over to working on the yet untitled fourth novel in the “Star Kingdom” series I’ve been doing with David Weber.  I’ve been working on SK4 through all the rest, but much of that work has been in the form of research rather than actual prose.  My hope is to get prose written this week.

I may be writing longhand for a bit, because that’s often a good way to convince my brain to go sideways into a new universe and set of characters.  We’ll see.

I wish for you what I wish for myself: May you turn bad luck into good luck, and embrace what chance hands you.

Special Saturday Surprise!

March 21, 2020

A Mysterious Hero Enters the Fray

The art above was inspired by a post I made on Facebook and Twitter recently.  It was drawn by John Poling, a New Mexico comic book artist and Army veteran.  (You can see his work at Dos Guerros Comics) In my post, which I’ll repeat here in just a sec, I challenged people to be the fighter of their choice against the menace of hysteria and fear.

Here’s what I said:

Fear.

Fear is really dangerous, but for some people it feels exciting. That’s why roller coasters remain perennially popular. You’re scared, but deep inside you know you’re safe.

Covid-19 is a real threat, but I want to encourage you to be positive about dealing with it. Not afraid. Containment can work. That’s why efforts to do so are being promoted.

Promoting safe actions through fear, though, that’s ultimately going to backfire.

I was talking with my friend, artist Elizabeth Leggett, about this the other day. When I expressed my frustration at the hysteria and fear-mongering, she reminded me that this is a fight. We’re down now. We can win.

So instead of being afraid, imagine yourself the fighter of your choice. Imagine Covid-19 slipping on a bar of soap. Drowning in a pool of hand sanitizer. Whatever. But don’t give into fear because, after the excitement is over, fear leads to stress and stress makes you more vulnerable.

Wishing you good health! Clean hands. Calm souls.

John read the shorter version of my post on Twitter, and was inspired to draw the fighter of his choice: The Liberator.  About the Liberator, John says: “the Liberator was a character I wrote and played in a wacky web series 10 years ago, and I felt a bit of humor was needed considering the epidemic.”

I wish I could draw, because I’d draw a swashbuckling two-handed fighter armed with a sword carved from soap in one hand, a bottle of hand sanitizer in the other, or hmm…  maybe a squirt gun with hand sanitizer.  That sounds like fun!

Let me know how you’d arm the fighter of your choice.  Illustrations are welcome if you know how to attach them to the Comments!

FF: An Illusion

March 20, 2020

Mei-Ling Bravely On Top of Her House

This week the FF will look as if I’m not reading, but that isn’t true.  I’m just reading a lot of works so I can vote responsibly for the Nebula awards.  I don’t list these because if I don’t like something enough to finish it, I don’t want to need to say so.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

And I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

In Progress:

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

Also:

And research.

Covering Wolf’s Soul

March 18, 2020

Wolf’s Soul Front Cover

Last week I shared the cover blurb for Wolf’s Soul.  Here’s a look at the cover that will go with that blurb.

And here’s a look at the cover that will wrap around the trade paperback version.

Cover Flat for Print Version

The art is “Three Hungry Wolves” by Julie Bell, who did the original cover art for the first six Firekeeper novels, and whose “Andre” was the basis for the cover of last July’s new release, Wolf’s Search.  You can see “Three Hungry Wolves” here.

Wolf’s Soul is in the final stages of proofing and polishing.   It is the second part of the story that began in Wolf’s Search and, as such, probably does read better if you’ve read the previous book, although you do not need to have read (or reviewed) the entire Firekeeper Saga to read Wolf’s Search.

As with Wolf’s Search, Wolf’s Soul will be available as an e-book from a variety of vendors, and as a trade paperback as well.

Any questions?

FF: Reading As A Job

March 13, 2020

Persephone Contemplates Conspiracy

Right now some of my reading time is being given to getting the final versions of Wolf’s Soul done.  After doing a lot of close focus on the manuscript, I am very fried.

When I cease being fried, I am also reading so I can responsibly vote for the Nebula Award.  Changes in the rules some years back mean that we now have one month from the final ballot to the final voting day to read a huge amount of material.

I didn’t cram this much even in grad school.  Seriously.  I’d get the reading list for my novel-centered courses in advance and read during term breaks.  And, no, it’s not possible to predict what will make the final ballot and read in advance.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

And I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Marque of Caine by Charles E. Gannon.  Not just a Nebula TBR for me.  I’ve known Chuck since I was nineteen or twenty.

The Big Four by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  An over-the-top pulp adventure, quite unlike her more usual Poroit.  Closer to the type of story she’d usually do with Tommy and Tuppence.

In Progress:

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  Because!

Also:

Reading a lot of short fiction before voting for the Nebula Award.  I won’t be itemizing my Nebula reads most of the time because with the short reading time, if I don’t have a reason to finish something, I won’t.

And research.

As You Wished…

March 11, 2020

Warning! Potential Spoiler Alert!

Last week, when I mentioned that I’d finished the cover copy for Wolf’s Soul, excitement was expressed.  I asked if people would like to see the copy sooner, rather than later.  Here—as requested—it is!

Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read last July’s new Firekeeper novel—Wolf’ Search, aka Firekeeper 7—then this is going to include some spoilers.

(In case you wonder, Wolf’s Search can be read without the need to re-read­­—or even read—the six books that come before.)

We’re working on the cover design for Wolf’s Soul, which is based around artist Julie Bell’s wonderful painting, “Three Hungry Wolves.”  More on the cover when it’s ready.

So now, without further delay, here’s the cover copy for Wolf’s Soul.

Firekeeper has always believed that her heart is a wolf’s heart.

Now the time has come for her to prove it.

Blind Seer’s search for a teacher of the magical arts brought him and Firekeeper to Rhinadei, a land rich in magical lore, but intolerant of those who would rebel against its core precepts.  Now, eager to aid Wythcombe, his new teacher, Blind Seer agrees to lend his keen senses to the hunt for Kabot—Wythcombe’s childhood rival and leader of a band of fanatical blood mages.

In this hunt, Firekeeper runs as ever at Blind Seer’s side.  Rounding out their pack are Laria and Ranz, two young humans with potent magical gifts of their own; Farborn, a yarimaimalom falcon; Wythcombe himself, and the ever enigmatical Meddler.

Yet, despite the versatility of this pack, Kabot’s blood mages miraculously elude them, leaving behind the tantalizing scent of more power than they should possess.   Suspicion builds that Kabot has acquired a new ally: an ally who may be one of their own pack turned traitor.

Interested?  Any questions?

FF: Mystery and Adventure

March 6, 2020

Kwahe’e and Poirot

With the new editions of the “Breaking the Wall” ebooks done and my tax stuff completed, I moved to reviewing the copy edited manuscript of Wolf’s Soul, also known as Firekeeper 8, the direct sequel to last summer’s Wolf’s Search.  Such is the glamorous life of a writer.

Listening to my long-time favorite, Agatha Christie, I had an idea for a murder mystery…

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

And I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

The Hollow by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

In Progress:

Marque of Caine by Charles E. Gannon.  Quite long.  Still plowing through.

The Big Four by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  An over-the-top pulp adventure, quite unlike her more usual Poirot.  Closer to the type of story she’d usually do with Tommy and Tuppence.

Also:

Back to research reading for my next project: the fourth Star Kingdom novel, in collaboration with David Weber.

5,000 Words Plus

March 4, 2020

Masked Dancer: Petroglph National Monument

Here’s a riddle for you.

Why is this week’s WW called 5,000 Words Plus?

Golden Cliffs

Jasmine and Her Ball

Apple Blossom With Bee

 

 

Skinny and His Kid