I have a new book of short stories out. They are mostly urban fantasy with a bit of humor.
Currently, I am coming to the end of chapter two in a book I am writing. At least I think it will be a book. (I have been mistaken before.) I would be much further along if it wasn’t for Mercedes Lackey.
For Christmas, I received an eagerly anticipated trilogy of books. I knew I would get them. I had asked for them specifically when people inquired what I wanted for Christmas. Mercedes Lackey has been one of my favorite writers for a long time. I picked up one of her Valdemar books at a thrift store when I was too young to appreciate it and hated the book.
Then I discovered the Bedlam Bard books and fell in love. They were rare treasures I would search shelves for. That was how I discovered the Serrated Edge series. I loved those too but I hated them as well. Those books turned a flashlight on the dark corners of humanity. They absorbed you as you read them, immersing you in the story until you felt all of the horror and pain but also the hope. It was wonderful and awful at the same time. I read some of them over and over.
Years after my first introduction to Valdemar my sister started telling about this book she was reading. It sounded awesome. It had magic, adventure, and was written by one of my favorite authors. Then I found it out it was a Valdemar book. By then I knew Valdemar had quite a large fan base but I don’t like jumping on bandwagons. I honestly thought the Bedlam Bard series was better and that people were fans of the wrong series, even though I had never really given the Valdemar books a chance.
My sister can be quietly demanding when she wants to be. She gives you unspoken orders and you hop to, only later realizing what happened. I don’t think she even realizes that she does it. Which was how I was presented with a stack of Valdemar books from her collection and told to familiarize myself with this world she was always talking about. I devoured them all and came back for more. The storytelling was great. Later as I learned to read as a writer, I picked out a couple of things I thought could have been done differently and made a few of the books better. (In my opinion of course.) I was fool enough to mention these thoughts out loud.
Learn from my mistakes. If you are discussing books with someone who showers a story world with complete adoration, never ever ever suggest that there is something wrote with it. Ever. Not even if it is just saying that the ending felt a little rushed and you wonder if the author had to hurry through it to make a deadline. Don’t do it. You will regret it. (Unless of course, you are trying to start a fight or have odd compulsion to have the skin ripped from your body with words. If that is your goal then insulting a favored author or book series is an easy way to accomplish it. Even if the slight is only perceived, it will do the job.)
So after eight books or so I wandered away from Valdemar and on to something else. Then this Winter I was poking around on Amazon, looking for gifts for others when I stumbled across something called “The Herald Spy Trilogy”. I am a sucker for rogues and I enjoy Lackey’s writing so I asked for them for Christmas. I received them, eagerly sat down to read after the holiday craziness was complete, and discovered I had no idea what was going on. References were made to characters I had never heard of. Confused I contacted my local Valdemar informant, A.K.A my sister. She did some google-fu and produced a list of books that come before the trilogy I wanted to read. And to her surprise, she only owned three of the five and they were in storage. (Another long story.)
So I set out to acquire the five books that came before the trilogy I got for Christmas. Then I had to wait for them to be shipped because I bought them online. In the meantime, I got an idea for a book of my own after speaking to a friend and started writing. I managed to get a chapter and a half in when my books acquisitions arrived. I ignored them for a few days but then the person who got me the trilogy started asking questions about if I had read them yet and if I liked them. So feeling guilty for ignoring my gift, I started on the Collegium Chronicles and am now on the fourth book. However, I have only written a couple of paragraphs over the past few days since reading has taken over my writing time.
My writing is suffering from my lack of focus, concentration, and sleep. If Mercedes Lackey wasn’t such a hell of a storyteller I wouldn’t have this problem. The compulsion I feel to read and purchase these books because I enjoy them so much is fascinating. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could be like that one day?
(By the way, during the writing of this blog post I stumbled upon another book in one of Lackey’s series that I haven’t read and ended up buying it too.)
Remember how I said you will probably be hearing from me a lot this week? You had a two day gap. I hope you enjoyed it, because now that the paying the bills job is over for the week, I can concentrate on that writing thing I do. Part of that is to tell you all about the awesome from LibertyCon 28, possibly the best convention I have ever been too.
So on with my Con Tales.
You meet a lot of interesting and talented people at conventions in a variety of ways. Sometimes other people introduce you. Sometimes you just fall into conversation at a panel or you ask the right question at the right time.
However, I do not recommend having your phone tumble from your pocket into the next occupied stall over, while you are in a public restroom. True story. To make matters worse the camera turned on when it hit the floor.
Fortunately, for all parties involved, it wasn’t set for selfies and instead the screen showed a blurry black view of the tile. After apologizing and retrieving my phone, I made a hasty retreat before the other person came out of their stall. Yes, I am a coward but I thought it best to avoid any more awkwardness. The fates disagreed.
Later in the day my friend Ernest Dempsey was signing autographs in the dealers room. I stopped by to say hi and to thank him for listening to me whine earlier. (You didn’t think I would tell my stories in order did you? Yeah, I should have, but this is the one on my mind so it is getting told first. Ranting about schools and talking to random Australian tourists will come later.) He was just finishing up and told me about the man who had, moments before, been seated to his left.
Jacob Holo is an author of science fiction and also has a young adult book that looks really interesting. According to Ernest, the man was just as interesting as his fiction. He is one of those rare individuals who seem to be happy in all their lives: personal, professional, and even day job. He suggested I talk to him because I like to meet interesting people. (By the way, you can check out some of Ernest Dempsey’s books for free if you follow the link to his website.)
I caught up with Jacob outside of the women’s restroom where he was waiting for his wife. (Yes, the same one.) I asked him for an interview for my blog to which he graciously agreed. Once his wife returned ,we all three moved outside in order to be able to hear each other better.
I introduced myself again and took a look at the people I was about to interview. Jacob was a well dressed young man in a bow tie. His wife was a bouncy woman with sort of a pixie hair cut and a happy smile. I also noticed she had good taste in shoes. In fact I had already seen that exact pair of shoes once already.
As many of you know, sometimes my brain is connected directly to my mouth with no stops in between. So of course I blurted out, “I know you!” And then proceeded to introduce myself as the person of the awkward phone fall. I could have let the whole thing remain unspoken and only something floating around in my head, but no. My brain doesn’t work that way. Instead I outed myself as the odd phone woman and we all had a laugh.
(She really does have good taste in shoes. I was wearing the same ones, only mine weren’t as clean and were trimmed in blue instead of pink. But back to Jacob. )
I found Jacob Holo to be accommodating and well spoke. (He also recovers quickly from odd conversations.) He writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and YA. The book covers are absolutely stunning and I greatly regret not picking one up for him to sign. I did purchase one of them in ebook on Amazon and so far it is fantastic. I think I may have found another favorite author. If you are looking for something new to read, I suggest you check out: The Dragons Of Jupiter, Time Reavers, and Bane Of The Dead.
Bane Of The Dead is the first book in his new Seraphim Revival series. It is also the book I am currently reading. If you like mechs done right this is the book for you.
Also keep your eyes open in the future for Heather. She writes under the name H.P. Holo. Her first book should be out by late 2015/early 2016. It is a steampunk fantasy novel filled with murder, wizards and a talking pug butler. (Yes, you read that right. The butler is a pug, as in the dog breed.) I am really looking forward to it.
I may have to go down to two posts a month rather than one every week. That is something I will have to consider later. Right now it is November so that means it is Nation Novel Writing Month.
Truthfully, I did not plan on participating this year. I have so much going on I did not intend to add one more thing. That was before vampire slaying hobos happened though. (Long story.)
So now a friend of mine and I are writing novels about the same characters hoping that by the end of the month, between the two of us, we will have an actual readable book or at least a few short stories. We only have working titles right now but look for our finished project sometime in January.
Right now I have some writing to get done. Since both kids are home sick I need to get to it while they are still asleep. Have a great day everybody and happy writing!
A couple of weeks ago I went to LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN. While there I picked up a copy of Witchfinder by Sarah A. Hoyt. It takes place in her Magical Empires world and I absolutely loved it.
It has been a while since I read a book I just couldn’t put down. (I think the last one was Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.) In fact, I got so engrossed in Witchfinder that I smuggled it to work with me and got a stern talking to for reading on the clock.
It was one of those days where I was stuck behind the counter. My boss will probably end up borrowing the book from me later though. Some how I don’t think that that was what the author meant when she signed my book and wrote “Sometimes you have to break the law.”
If you like fantasy novels, if you like magic, and if you like regency era fiction this is a book you really need to check out.
I haven’t slept. I spent the night chain watching Harry Potter movies with my 12yr old daughter. It is her first time watching them and mine too in some cases. I read all of the books as they came out, (I worked in a bookstore at the time and it was very hard not to.) but I never got around to watching all of the movies.
My mom loved both the books and the movies and has all of both versions. We borrowed the movies from her and my kiddo is now expressing interest in the books as well. We still have the last two movies to go, so we will see if she changes her mind.
Regardless, I will probably pick the first book in the Harry Potter series as our “chapter a night” bed time read after we finish the book we are on. Both of my kids read well above their grade levels but there is just something about snuggling up together and sharing a book. I don’t have to read to them but I sure do enjoy it.
My Saturday at LibertyCon is winding down I can’t help but be satisfied. I got the chance to meet and talk to some talented writers, I bought a ton of books, and got a few new short story ideas sketched out. Most recently I went to the book release party for Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin.
Truthfully, I had not heard of Gail Z. Martin before this convention. I am incredibly glad I’ve been introduced to her now and I very much look forward to reading her new book. It sounds like it is really going to be a good one. (It’s urban fantasy just in case anyone was wondering.) She has some short stories in the same setting. (And quite a few other books as well.)
I got some good tips on writing from Louise Herring-Jones and Gail. There were suggestions that I reverse plot my space opera and maybe take a look at my point of view. I think that maybe just what I need in order to straighten out some of the problems.
Earlier today I went to some great panels and listened to Scott W. Baker, Timothy Zahn, Louise Herring-Jones, Gail Z. Martin, Dan Hoyt, Travis Taylor, John Ringo, and many others. I have books signed by Sarah A. Hoyt, Jason Cordova, Eric S. Brown, and D.B. Jackson.
This has been a great convention and just what I needed. It has been a learning experience, a mini vacation, and a sort of family reunion all rolled into one. Or rather, a Friendly reunion. I’ve seen friends I usually only see once a year like Ray, Stephanie Osborn, Dan and Lindsey Hollifield, and Scott W. Baker.
Daryl “Doc” Osborn also made me a “subtle” balloon hat when we watched his Balloons of Doom act. Bright orange, red, pink and yellow; it is almost as tall as I am with a red heart perched at the top. I had to bend it over to enter and exit buildings and the elevator had me worried. He also turned one of the hotel golf carts into a bat mobile using balloons.
LibertyCon 27 has been awesome but now it is after midnight and I need to sleep. Good night.