Archive for the ‘Random Wanderings’ Category

FF: A Free Read and More

January 14, 2022
Roary Steals the Skies

I learned on Wednesday that my short story, “Fire-Bright Rain,” a prequel to my forthcoming novels Library of the Sapphire Wind (February 1) and Aurora Borealis Bridge (April 1) is available now, for free, here.

“Fire-Bright Rain” is set about twenty-five years earlier than the novels, and does provide a minor spoiler to the novel…  Minor in that it will reveal something that you learn within the first chapter or so of Library of the Sapphire Wind.  There is no crossover of characters, or spoilers for major situations, so you can read without fear, and just enjoy a look at a new world.

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 it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.  Two of the series I’m trying right now are due to FF reader mentions.

Completed:

The Liar’s Knot by M.A. Carrick.  Sequel to The Mask of Mirrors.  Almost done.  I’m enjoying very much.  The “knot” in the title has at least a double meaning, probably triple.  I approve.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.  Audiobook.  Book five in the series.  I skipped right into a major spoiler, but Aaronovitch is a skilled enough writer that I now want to read book four, as well as one and two.  This is not always the case for me, so praise is due.

In Progress:

Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Audiobook.  Fourth in this series of novellas.  Combined with five, it would make a decent novel.  Since I read out of order, I had a few spoilers, but that hasn’t quenched my reading pleasure.

Stolen Skies by Tim Powers.  Third of his Castine and Vickerybooks.  This one takes on UFOs.  Some great visual images, as well as crop circles, cults, and cuisine.

Also:

Archeology Magazine with the summary of 2021 discoveries.  Discoveries seemed an odd mix of choices, but the longer articles have, overall, been quite good.

Eleven Years, 364 Days Wandering

January 12, 2022
Dandy Smiles for the Camera

The other day, Jim asked, “How long is it you’ve been doing your Wednesday Wanderings?” 

I checked and discovered that tomorrow, January 13, marks my first, very short post.  January 20, 2010 was my first longer post.  So, we’re coming up on twelve years.

During that time, I haven’t missed a week.

The Wednesday Wanderings are definitely wandery.  I wander on about everything from the birds in our yard to the garden to places we’ve been and, of course, about my work and writing in general.  Some of the columns about writing have been collected in a short book called Wanderings on Writing.

There are also, possibly, too many pictures of cats, guinea pigs, birds, lizards, as well as our garden, almost all taken by my husband, Jim Moore.

This coming year, as I mentioned last week, I have three books coming out in six months (Library of the Sapphire Wind, February; Aurora Borealis Bridge, April; A New Clan, with David Weber, June).  So, the WW will definitely have announcements about book releases, if I’ll be attending any cons, doing book events (virtual and otherwise), and the like.

It’s also a great place for you to ask your questions about my books, writing, and the like.

Also on the same site…  For seven years, Alan Robson of New Zealand and I collaborated on the Thursday Tangents.  He and I continue to correspond, and a little kiwi told me that a complete e-book with all the Thursday Tangents is in the works.

Somewhere in there, I added in the Friday Fragments: a more or less inclusive list of what I’m reading.  That’s still on-going.

If you want more, I erratically post to Twitter @JaneLindskold, and on Facebook. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these twelve years as much as I have, and I look forward to continuing these pieces into 2022.

FF: Re-Reading SK4

January 7, 2022
Roary Dreams of Treecats

Mom left the 27th.  By the 28th, I was immersed in re-reading the fourth of the Star Kingdom books, written by me in collaboration with David Weber.  He’d just addressed the editor’s notes, and my job was to see how smoothly it went.  Since I hadn’t read the book since late 2020, I had a good, fresh point of view.

Oh, when will it be out?  June 2022, now titled A New Clan.

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 it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.  Two of the series I’m trying right now are due to FF reader mentions.

Completed:

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch. Audiobook.  Book three in the series.  Much enjoyed.

In Progress:

The Liar’s Knot by M.A. Carrick.  Sequel to The Mask of Mirrors.  Almost done.  I’m enjoying very much.  The “knot” in the title has at least a double meaning, probably triple.  I approve.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.  Audiobook.  Book five in the series.  I skipped right into a major spoiler, but Aaronovitch is a skilled enough writer that I now want to read book four, as well as one and two.  This is not always the case for me, so praise is due.

Also:

Archeology Magazine with the summary of 2021 discoveries.

The Box Arrived!

January 5, 2022
Library of the Sapphire Wind is Here!

My author’s copies of Library of the Sapphire Wind were dropped off as 2021 was on its way out, a very nice way to end the old year and start anticipating the new.

So, what is Library of the Sapphire Wind about?  Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at an early version of the cover copy.  I am choosing the one below because you can read the other elsewhere, and this is somewhat longer.  I’m also choosing this because a few early reviewers have expressed disappointment when they realized the book isn’t set at the Library.

Instead of Mentors, They Got Monsters…

That’s what Xerak, Vereez, and Grunwold think when three strange creatures shimmer into being within the circle of Hettua Shrine.  Their conclusion is reasonable enough.  After all, they’ve never seen humans before.

As for Margaret Blake, Peg Gallegos, and Tessa Brown—more usually known as Meg, Peg, and Teg—they’re equally astonished but, oddly enough, better prepared.  Age and experience have accustomed them to surprises.  A widely varied course of reading material has intellectually prepared them for the idea that other worlds, even worlds where people with traits more commonly ascribed to “animals,” may exist.

Then there is the mysterious verse that Teg speaks as they arrive, words that seem to indicate that the Shrine must have been at least partially responding to the request made of it.

Despite doubts on all sides, the three unlikely mentors join forces with the three young “inquisitors” and venture out into the world Peg dubs “Over Where.”  First, they must find the Library of the Sapphire Wind, destroyed years before.

Will they find answers there or is this only the first stage in their search?

I hope you’ll try the novel of which Publisher’s Weekly has said: “This vivid, magical tale is sure to please.” 

And I’d be very happy to answer any questions, especially if I can do so without providing spoilers.

It turns out that 2022 will be unique for me as a writer in that I’ll have three books coming out in something like six months: Library of the Sapphire Wind on February 1; the sequel, Aurora Borealis Bridge on April 1; and A New Clan, the long-awaited new Star Kingdom/Stephanie Harrington novel in June.

With that, I need to get back to work!

FF: Slowing Down

December 31, 2021
Jingles in the Magical Forrest

Happy New Year’s Eve, folks…

This past week, holiday cooking and house guests seriously cut into my reading time.

So has spending my work time proofreading, which I started almost as soon as I got home from putting my mom on her plane.  Therefore, I don’t think I have anything new to offer this week.  Therefore, we offer you a picture of one of our Christmas decorations: the Breyer pony “Jingles” and his sleigh load of misfit toys.

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 it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading.  Two of the series I’m trying right now are due to FF reader mentions.

Completed:

Written in Stone by Christopher Stevens.  Non-fiction on Indo-European root words.  Interesting, but not very scholarly, almost more like stream of consciousness association.  I’d love a recommendation of a book that was similar to P.E. Cleator’s Lost Languages, in that it would be partially about the deciphering process, partially about the people who took on the challenge.

In Progress:

The Liar’s Knot by M.A. Carrick.  Sequel to The Mask of Mirrors.  Very good so far. 

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch. Audiobook.  Great fun so far.

Also:

Finished the most recent Smithsonian and almost all of the most recent Vogue.  Human culture is certainly varied and complex.

Shy Mei-Ling and the Invader

December 29, 2021
Who’s Coming Down the Hallway?

My mom came for Christmas, our first overnight house guest since 2018.  Mei-Ling came to live with us in August of 2019, as a very shy fourteen-week-old kitten.  She had just begun to entertain the idea that people other than me and Jim in the house might be a good idea when the pandemic shutdown hit and she had the luxury of over a year to renew her opinion that visitors were not to be befriended, but to be waited out.

This was her tactic when Mom arrived on the 22nd.  Mei-Ling dove into the closet in our bedroom and refused to emerge, even for dinner.  When Mom settled down in the guest room, behind a closed door, Mei-Ling emerged, which is probably a good thing, since the litter box is not in our bedroom closet.

Roary, who also had never dealt with an overnight guest, was also uncertain.  At first, he hid in the closet with Mei-Ling, but by later on the 23rd, Roary (probably taking his cue from Persephone, for whom Mom is a longtime friend), began to join the party from a discreet distance.  By the morning of Christmas Eve, he even let Mom take his picture.

Maybe this is why, by mid-day on the 24th, Mei-Ling was at least up on our bed, and then, by evening, when we settled down to play mah-jong, actually came out to the front of the house.  It’s not as much fun to lurk and hide all by oneself as with another cat, and she and Roary are great friends.

Christmas Day, Roary came to look at the boxes and wrapping paper, while Mei-Ling lurked at the edges.  Coming out of the back of the house had advantages, especially since if she skittered fast enough, she could go out on the porch, which she loves, and watch what went on in the kitchen from behind the security of a closed sliding glass door.

By the 26th, both Mei-Ling and Roary were behaving relatively normally.  When we settled in for our evening mah-jong game, Mei-Ling actually started meowing, trying to get either Jim or me to come into the living room and play with her.  She’s really quite out-going when she forgets she’s shy.

And on the 27th, Mom departed for her home.  Now we’re waiting to see how Mei-Ling will behave when we have guests next time.  Will she have learned that “stranger” does not equal “danger” or will she try to wait them out?

We’re going to be playing mah-jong later this week with our friend Michael Wester.  I wonder if the clatter of tiles will encourage Mei-Ling to come out and try to tempt us to play with her instead of with those noisy plastic tiles.

And Roary Up in the Tree

December 22, 2021
Stealth Roary

The tree has stayed standing to this point, although Roary has been up in it repeatedly.  Putting on ornaments definitely helped, since they were placed to block inviting openings.

Thus far, Persephone has been viewing the tree with the calm insouciance of a nearly ten-year-old cat who has seen it all.  Shy girl Mei-Ling thinks that it’s terrific that we’ve decided to give her a new place to sit under and feel safe.  She carries her treats onto the tree skirt to dine in secure comfort.

Since the tree is artificial, Dandy and Coco, the guinea pigs, have no opinion.  They would prefer we made a tree out of kale with a celery stalk trunk, and ornaments cut from various vegetables.  Carrot strips could serve as garland.

I made a lot of cookies this past week.  I’m shooting for a total of ten: cookie press butter, butter and walnut balls, pecan/maple, sugar, gingerbread, hermits, fudge, meringues, sesame balls, and…  I’m forgetting the last one…. Got it!  Linzer tarts.

The sugar cookies and gingerbread will be decorated in stages.  It’s more fun that way than doing a marathon.  My collection of cookie cutters is wildly varied, so in addition to the more usual trees, wreathes, stars, bells, reindeer and the like, we have buffalo, bears, rhinoceros, stegosaurus, rocket ships, and, of course, wolves and coyotes.  And cats and guinea pigs.  Can’t forget the cats and guinea pigs.

It occurs to me that I make cookies the same way I write: a lot of variety, not one type of cookie, or theme or motif.  Variety definitely fuels my creativity.

Now to go put jam between the layers of the Linzer tarts.  Last year I used cactus pear, the year before, raspberry.  This year will be cherry.  All three red, all three different.

May these crazy days leading up to the Christmas weekend be filled with fun for you, whether you’re travelling or home, being a guest or having guests, or simply enjoying some peace and quiet!

FF: Familiar, Unfamiliar, and Confusing

December 10, 2021
Roary Reads

This week I have quite a mix on my reading list… including one really popular book from this past year that I feel I must have missed something about.

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 it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 

Completed:

And the Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout.  Audiobook. One of my favorite of his endings.  I laugh every time.

Death Times Three by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.  Not bad, but I must have missed something, because I really can’t see what the fuss was about.  I’ve both read and written more complex surrealist fantasy.  Feel free to tell me what I might have missed.

In Progress:

Written in Stone by Christopher Stevens.  Non-fiction.  Chatting anecdotal look at the origins of modern language.  I wish this provided a little more about linguistic evolution, fewer pop culture references.  I find myself reading it as I would free verse poetry, less like a source of information.  Still, fun.

Terciel & Elinor by Garth Nix.  A prequel to Sabriel, featuring her parents.  I’m a little nervous about this, because it’s already established that they will die relatively young.  However, I really like Garth Nix’s work in general and his “Old Kingdom” setting, in particular, so I want to give this a try.

Curtains For Three by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.

Also:

Almost done reading the page proofs of Aurora Borealis Bridge, due out April 2022.

And read the most recent issue of Vogue.

It Never Gets Old

December 8, 2021
Coco Is Sure That’s a Crashing Spaceship

Just this last weekend, I received a copy of the first review of Library of the Sapphire Wind, my forthcoming February 2022 release.   It’s from Publisher’s Weekly

The review is a little spoilery, so out of respect for those who hate spoilers, I won’t quote it all here but I can’t resist quoting the final line: “This vivid, magical tale is sure to please.”

I’ve been a fulltime writer since mid-1994, with my first novel (Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls) coming out December of that year.  You’d think that finding out that a perfect stranger is enthusiastic about one of my books would get old, but it never does.

If you’re interested in learning more about the actual novels, Baen Books has eARC’s available.  You can find Library of the Sapphire Wind here, and if you really want a jump on the series, Aurora Borealis Bridge, which won’t be out until April, can be found here.

Remember, ARCs (advanced review copies) are based on uncorrected proofs.  In fact, my other job starting the middle of last week has been reviewing the proofs for Aurora Borealis Bridge.  I’m not making any major changes, so while the prose may differ slightly, the story remains the same.

In promised new news (and explaining the picture accompanying this piece), last week I finally finished getting the last of my backlist series titles up in a new e-book edition.  Artemis Invaded joins Artemis Awakening, both with new covers by Jane Noel, and extra content essays by me.

If you prefer print, I have hard cover copies of both Artemis Awakening and Artemis Invaded in my website bookstore.

Next title up for a new e-book edition will be my stand alone novel, Child of a Rainless Year, but this won’t be until sometime in the new year.

Right now, as I finish projects, I’m letting myself have a little downtime, but I’m not there yet!  Time to go read more of those proofs!

I Was Asked

December 1, 2021
Persephone Inspects My Recommendations

This last weekend, amid the flurry of holiday shopping, I was asked, “I always buy my sister a Fantasy novel for Christmas.  I like to get a relatively new one, because I can never remember what she already has.  Do you have any suggestions? Oh, she’s already read all of yours.”

Here are some of the titles I mentioned.  Even those that belong to series have a solid story arc of their own.

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick.   This imaginary world fantasy focuses on intrigue, rather than raging battles.  It was a hard sell for me, initially, because I am not a fan of books that make heroes out of thieves, assassins, or scammers.  However, one of the authors (who you may know as Marie Brennan) assured me that there was more to it than that.  She was right. I interviewed both authors in my WW a while back.  If you’ve already read The Mask of Mirrors, the sequel, The Liar’s Knot is a new release.

This Broken World by Charles E. Gannon.  An imaginary world novel with a high fantasy feel without being derivative.  Druadaen is an interesting protagonist.  On the surface, he is almost plodding: determined to pursue various career goals with a single-minded obsession.  Underneath, he’s wildly, even dangerously, curious.  The beginning is good, but the book really catches fire once Druadaen starts breaking out of the mold he’s set for himself, gathering a group of peculiar allies, and charging off to ask questions that many feel would be better left unasked.

Juniper Wiles by Charles de Lint.  Long-time fans of de Lint’s Newford stories have been over the moon about his first return to the setting in a long while.  Me?  I’m fond of Newford, sure, but nostalgia doesn’t do it for me.  What made this work was the new material. Juniper played Nora Constantine, the heroine of a popular cult TV show (think Buffy crossed with Veronica Mars).  Juniper is resigned to fans who can’t separate her from her fictional self, but when the latest importuning fan turns up dead, and she realizes that he’d already been dead when they’d had their chat, she finds herself forced to face that her reality may have become even stranger than anything her fictional alter ego has encountered.

The Wind in His Heart by Charles de Lint.  This is a slightly older release, but since lots of people missed it, I’m mentioning it here.  Set in the Southwest, it’s full of the magical realistic touches that de Lint does so well. 

Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon).  The third book in the “Saint of Steel,” bears some structural similarities to its predecessors (Paladin’s Grace and Paladin’s Hope).  There’s sword and sorcery spiced with romance, centered around another of the remaining paladins of the deceased god, the Saint of Steel.  As I’ve come to expect from Kingfisher/Vernon, underneath the apparent lightness, there’s a lot of heart and thought.  And this one has an end that, while satisfying itself, has me panting for the next book in the series.

So, there you are…    Feel free to add your own suggestions in the Comments.  I’ll make sure my friend sees them.  If you’re interested in what I’m reading, old and new, audio and print, you can always check out my Thursday Tangents.  It’s not a review, just a reading list with occasional commentary.   I always enjoy seeing what other people are reading, as well.  Sometimes you’ll see it turn up on my reading list as well!