One book

I saw this meme posted by Sarah of Bookworm Blues over on Facebook and thought it would work well here.‎

1. One book that changed your life?

Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Dragonlance Chronicles #1) by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

2. One book you have read more than once?

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan – okay so it’s a series not just one book.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

One? Seriously? I read fantasy – there is no such thing as one book in fantasy. So. What series would I want on a desert Island? Hmmm. Well, it would have to be The Wheel of Time by Jordan, or The Sun Sword by Michelle West (including prequels) or the Elantra Chronicles by Michelle Sagara (aka  West)

4. One book that made you laugh?

I assume the question relates to intentionally humorous books. Well I don’t really read them. However I have read many a book that made me laugh that it was even published at all… Does that count?

5. One book that made you cry?

I get emotional in all the write places in most of the books I read.

6. One book you wish had been written?

Ummm… I don’t know. My own? So I could get with writing the next one?

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Hehe. Well, that would be telling, and I have no wish to make enemies before I am even published so… And no I do not mean Fifty Shades. I read that. it was okay for what it was.

8. One book you are currently reading?

I am currently reading Cold Days by Jim Butcher. And Orb Sceptre Throne by Ian Cameron Esslemont. And A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson. And… others 😛

9. What book have you been meaning to read?

I keep meaning to get back to The Grave Thief by Tom Lloyd so I can finish the series.

Opinions are like…

Or, How to win friends and influence people.

The second part of my Christmas list is up over on the booktopia blog – you can see it here.

The ever lovely Kate Forsyth decided my post was worthy of a comment. She said:

Mmm, I wonder if this list was compiled by a man – given that there’s not a single woman fantasy writer included? Nor, may I add, any Australian authors. Odd, particularly given the wealth of talent in this country. I have to say that my own personal list would be very very different …a sign, I guess, that the realm of fantasy is wide and deep and filled with many things ….

Well, now though I am sure you could guess I am a man given my name at the top of the post, the post she chose to comment on was only Part One… Part two did include female authors – not many if we have to count such things – but they are there.

Geez. What a strange thing to feel like I need to justify my choices.

Given my years working at a genre specialist bookshop I am on first name basis with almost all the spec fic writers in Australia, the majority of whom are female, and have been beta read for a number of them. I have no prejudice against female writers. In fact my closest published author friends are women – and know I feel like I am saying ‘some of my best friends are gay’. Go figure.

My list was compiled merely by going through pages of ‘coming soon’ titles on the Booktopia website and noting the ones that I was excited about. I did not think ‘I want most of these to be men’ I did not think ‘I am going to exclude Australian authors’. I just made a list that was from necessity restricted to 20 titles. I could have gone on and on and on. But…

I guess you can’t please everyone.

Step by step

I spent the weekend going over the last two chapters I had worked on last weekend. It seems I had forgotten a rather large thing I had meant to change (I really must go over my notes before I start writing) – so I had to go back and change it.

I am now facing two or three coming chapters where I need to at last introduce the two characters I removed from the first half of the story. So potentially I will be adding some of the words I had removed back into the draft. Actually there is no ‘potentially’ about it, I am going to have to.

But I don’t think it will be to bad – although writing the new stuff will be a ‘joy’ – it’s not that I can’t write it, it’s just how many times I am going to have to go over it to make it ‘work’.

In the meantime I have received from Gollancz an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of Miles Cameron’s debt novel The Red Knight – which you may recall I spoke of here.

Well I still stick to my guns about their choice of cover, but on this at least they have worked the blurb to match Orbits, and all of that aside I am really enjoying it.

Yay!

I love finding new author’s who’s next book is already going onto my ‘To Read’ list before I’ve finished their first one.

I will say however that the comparison to Martin they have on the back (George R. R. Martin) doesn’t really work for me. I understand why they use it but to do the book justice you need to be truer to the feel of the narrative and the world building – if I was selling it in store I’d be looking at fans of Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie rather than Martin – although I wouldn’t steer them away from it. And maybe a dash of Scott Lynch as well.

More to come when I am finished.

The Red Knight
Traitors Son #1
By Miles Cameron
BUY IT

Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.

Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern’s jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men – or worse, a company of mercenaries – against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.

It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he’s determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it’s just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can’t deal with.

Only it’s not just a job. It’s going to be a war. . .

Author Accessibility

Jason over at Fantasy Literature has written a post about the digital age bringing greater accessibility to the men and women behind the pens of our favorite books.

He asks: Do you miss the days when the back cover bio was all you really knew about your favorite authors? Does the political and diary ramblings of your favorite authors detract or add to their body work?


I have to admit I do miss the days when all you knew about an author was what their bio said and the glimpses behind the curtain in interviews they might do. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of finding the blog of an author who’s work I’ve really enjoyed only to find – reading their personal opinions – that I think they are a wanker and I no longer have any interest in their work.

Or their voice (and opinions) are so strong that when I go back to their work I can see/read/hear their ‘personal’ voice in their narrative – where previously I had no idea.

I’ve also come across the situation where I think the author is great, they are lots of fun and I like their POV – only to pick their book and instantly regret it. Now I like them but not their writing.

Ironically of course I wish to be a published author someday, and I will have to keep up a blog – much like this one I guess – and I will run the very real risk of turning potential readers away because I am (in their eyes?) a wanker who they wouldn’t spend their money on.

I recall conversations I’ve had with Terry Dowling about this very topic and his words, as related to him by Jack Vance, “An author needs to be like a foreign prince” – there, but yet hold a distance and mystique about themselves (and thus their work) that enables an enchantment that the 15 minutes-of-fame brigade tears away from themselves with uncomfortable abandon.

Will I be able to carry that off? Probably not  but then I don’t really have to worry about it yet 😉

But of course Edith Piaf is famous for (among other things) having said ‘use your faults, use your defects! that will make you a star!’ So… Who am I to judge? And I have had many more enjoyable experiences getting to ‘know’ author’s whose work has moved me than not.

What I have to learn to do is take things with a grain of salt I guess.

Whispers Under Ground – signed to me!

Whispers Under Ground
Rivers of London #3
By Ben Aaronovitch
BUY IT

A WHOLE NEW REASON TO MIND THE GAP

It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher – and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom – if it exists at all – is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as ‘the Faceless Man,’ it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and – as of now – deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah – that’s going to go well.
_________________________________________________________

I arrived home to find a very cool package awaiting me today.

It was this!

My very own signed and personalised hardback copy of Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch. How cool is that?

Now I just have to do a catch-up so I can read it 😉

The Long Quiet

Agh!

How slack have I been? No posts in like forever.

Well… I’ve been very busy.

I’ve been hosting signings with Fiona McIntosh, Jennifer Fallon, Kristin Cashore and having coffee with Robin Hobb… haha, I’m such a name dropper 😉

Not mention hanging out at the Aurealis Awards!

We have also moved the store back into the mother-ship. This has been a trial all on its own – and it is on going.

But what have I been reading you ask? As well you might I suppose. I’ve not been reading much of anything that has truly grabbed me (although I have been reading). I have discovered in the course of my frustration over the lack of books to gush about that I am a reader of epic fantasy, I don’t read simply for the sake of story.

Epic fantasy is what I like, it’s what I love, and I get bored (not always) and very critical of work that doesn’t fit that mold – which is completely unfair on the book and author. So rather than be scathing about those books I will simply put them aside as ‘not for me’.

I’ve also been working on the second draft of my own epic – not as much as I’d like unfortunately. Don’t you hate how life gets in the way of things? I would dearly love to be the type of author who can lose themselves in writing, who can find solace in their work. Unfortunately I am not that type of writer at all.

While I love having written the act of writing is very much work and not at all a comfort when I am experiencing emotional distress. Woe is me.

Anyway.

To distract myself I have been engaging in ‘comfort reading’ – which involves re-reading The Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM – and in playing WoW.

Any other WoW players out there? An old guild mate and I have relaunched our old guild STORM – we were once raiders and while Av is still raiding I am not. STORM this time around is going to be a social guild and a refuge (for me) from my own preoccupation with ‘things’.

We are a very small guild at present, but if any of you readers out there play Alliance, or want to roll it on the Khaz’goroth US server you are very welcome to come join us *g*

You can check out the guild website here.

Yes I will get back to book reviewing (and writing news) soon. I promise- in the meantime I am sure I have more old fav reviews in the ‘archives’ I can dig out for you.