Category Archives: fantasy

Ascension of Peary revisited

It occurs to me that I haven’t really categorized Ascension of Peary or who it is aimed at in any way for my readers. I call it a mid-grade/YA hybrid, since it is aimed at those between 6th and 12th grades, and I know the latter are targeted by YA these days. It is a fantasy, a coming-of-age story, with epic dimensions since it involves a conspiracy against the emperor of a vast empire. The tools of war tend to be swords and magic, with the latter usually prevailing. Since the heroine is a 17-year-old girl and her skill is magical, that certainly colors the nature of the battles.

There are witches and wizards, demons and scholars, lords and ladies, and everyday people, something for everyone. My younger beta readers (at the lower end of the age group) are very excited about it and one reports that it is “Awesome!” If you know of any younger folk in the age groups mentioned who love fantasy, I sincerely hope that you will offer this book to them. I even know some adults who like it!

Daily Prompt: Study Abroad

If you were asked to spend a year living in a different location, where would you choose and why?

I think probably London, since there are many places in the British isles I would love to visit, either as day trips or with an overnight. I have internet friends on the Isles of Man and Jersey; my cover artist lives on the main island; I would love to take a side trip to Edinburgh, a  city that has intrigued me for years. And this isn’t even touching on the wonders of London itself.

As a reader of classic mysteries and steampunk, I would like to see areas cited in both kinds of work. Of course I realize that many of the sites no longer exist, but I’m sure a certain Baker Street address has been preserved for posterity. And of course there’s the Tate and the British Museum, and Karl Marx’s grave. And don’t forget the new replica of Shakespeare’s theater, the Globe.

I hope the year abroad is paid for. I intend to be an expensive customer.

Fantastical Trips, redux

My first novel is at the editor and she has given me some initial feedback. It has helped to improve my sanity. First, she says I have too big a vocabulary (comes from word lists foisted on me before the SATs in 1968) and that simpler words could convey the same impression. I have no doubt that it will take more words to say what I was trying to say, or else I wouldn’t have picked the long word to begin with.

She says the magic is consistent so far (phew!) which is a great relief, since it’s a large part of the story. She points out that I tend to wander off topic occasionally, and, heaven knows, I am aware of that tendency. Finally there are places where I tell the story when I should show the story. None of these is earth shattering and leads me to believe that it might see publication by the first of March. I know, I know, I keep moving the date back. But I want this to be as good as it can be before I foist it on an unsuspecting public.

As I have said before, it’s a fantasy based on a woman being snatched from our world to a parallel earth. On the parallel earth she finds 10,000 year old sorcerers of apparent human stock. She finds aware and verbal evolved creatures such as bipedal cats (felixities), enlarged ravens (avanees) and speaking dolphins (fliperlies). There is also a small, apparently human, race of people who are very short but otherwise proportionate. These are called kerps, and you will get their story in the first part of the book. The novel comes in four parts, each involving a different but related problem, with fights, conspiracies, wars and some humor, I hope.

And there is the surprise introduction of another species in the third section. Let me whisper in your ear.  Shhhhh. They’re dragons!

My Hero/Daily Prompt

Who’s your hero? Tell us a story about why that person plays such an important role in your life.

My hero is a character in my first book (now at the editor) Fantastical Trips (probably available this spring, but no promises!). He is a felixitie, a humanoid cat with upright ears, a  fur covered body, but no tail. His face is also feline. He is the head man of his group of felixities, and he is noble of purpose, wise beyond his years, and as gentle a person as you are likely to meet. He resolves conflict, leads communal hugs that transcend the physical, and leads with grace and humor. He assumes everyone is well intentioned until he sees evidence to the contrary, and he speaks badly of no one who doesn’t deserve it.

He is not a weakling, but assertive, without being aggressive. In fact, he is all around good, except with two flaws. He is occasionally arrogant with the testiness that sometimes goes along with it, but he admits his mistakes (mostly). The second flaw can only be found by reading the book (no spoilers here!)

He is not the hero of the book, although he has a rather large role. He is not the hero of the second book (now being written), though again he has a large role. Why, you might ask? Because a hero who is this good in a book is boring and can’t advance the story very well. He supplies humor, observations, reprimands when necessary, and a good companion to others. It’s certainly the role I would like to play in life, but I don’t have all his good characteristics. But this is why I write, so that I can play at being good.

Real life heroes are those like Malala Yousafzai who are willing to sacrifice their lives for worthy causes. She is strong, noble and admirable. But the world is otherwise generally bereft of those characteristics, which is why I live in fantasy.

To Be Resolved/ Daily Prompt

We’re entering the final days of 2014 — how did you do on your New Year’s resolutions these past 11.75 months? Is there any leftover item to be carried over to 2015?

Who does resolutions after the age of 30? Anybody? As a youth, I was hopeful and happy in the belief that I could resolve things in a year. And I tried hard to do whatever at least through March. And then something or another came along and the resolution was out the window. Looking back from a much greater age, I can see that some of those resolutions were foolish, some unobtainable under the best of circumstances, and some that were well on their way to being true, through no help from me.

Under the circumstances, I cannot say how my resolutions fared, since I didn’t make any. I would have been surprised, very surprised, if you had told me last January that I would be a blogger by now. I would have been even more amazed at the thought that I would be a writer of fantasy with one book finished and at the editor.  Since those wonders are enough to please me any year, I have to say that any resolutions would have paled by comparison.

I feel no need to make resolutions. I just look to the future and hope it will be better than the past. And this coming year has a lot to live up to, to be better than this year just passed. This has happened so rarely in my life that I am living in the glow, but writing fiercely to get the sequel of that first book ready to go. What would make this year better than the one just ending would be to be able to say at the end of the year that I have two books published. Now that would be wicked cool, as I used to say a long time ago.

A Writing Fool

I have continued writing on my sequel, and I suppose the good news is that it’s going so fast that I may have the first draft done before the first book is back from the editor. So far are the conflicts in the new book are human caused, though I expect that to change when I get into the second part. I am nearing the end of the first part at slightly over 23 thousand words. I expect no more than one or two thousand to complete it, but my characters have tricked me before. I make no commitments now that I know how much control they really are in. All it takes is for one to go walkabout, and the whole thing will screech to a halt.

The unrelated book I was writing and got stuck on might have been a simple walkabout that I missed. Of course it was probably 20 thousand words earlier than I was, and I know no one is willing or happy to discard 20 thousand words. There’s a lot of sweat equity in those words! However, I knew when I wrote them that they weren’t working, or should have. If I’m bored writing it, won’t my readers be equally bored? Didn’t someone once say, “Surprise the writer, surprise the reader?” Well I’m sure the corollary is “Bore the writer, bore the reader.”

There is still no evident title for the book. I can imagine something as terrible as “Rebellion: The Act of the Day” but that won’t fly. Maybe Trippy Rebellions to play off the first book’s name. Not likely. So the writing goes on, and the characters tell me what happens. It’s more than my life is worth to ignore this bunch. We’ve got some miles behind us, and I know which ones are tricksy and which are straight shooters. I just hope I’m fair to them all in the stories. I’m sure they’ll let me know if I stray too far, unlike the ones in that other book. No way these guys will lead me astray for more than an hour or two. But they’ll do that to keep me on my toes. I caught them a little earlier when I hadn’t written more than a hundred words off, and they were half pleased, half bummed that I’d cottoned on to them so quickly.

Well, I’ve got to get back to writing. They say I’m giving too much away about my writing process. But they also say it will work for anybody, just to listen to the characters. After all, it’s their story.

The Sequel–Ta Da!

Well, I’ve just come up for air after some very productive writing on the sequel to Fantastical Trips. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m not worried. I’ve got quite a ways to go, having recently crossed the 10,000 word mark, but there have been two surprises and at least two plot lines established. This is way better than I was at a comparable place in Fantastical Trips, so I’m hopeful. If I don’t appear for a few days, it’s because I’m writing away at this book while the fire is still hot.

I don’t know about the name thing. The trips in the first book were between parallel earths, mainly. This book, so far,  looks like it will all be on the parallel earth. It also looks like the main characters are dealing with threats to the Alliance of the six sentient species by people from our earth and by sorcerers from that earth. Nothing immediately springs to mind to draw in the image of multiple threats either to the alliance or to the integrity of one of the species.

On the other hand, I’m a pantser. The characters will tell me where to go with the story and I don’t have any control over that. It is, as I have said before, their story, their party. If I do what I did with FT, and give it a name now, that name will no longer be pertinent if they show me something completely different later on. So I’ll stick with Sequel until inspiration or a turn of phrase  hits me upside the head. Then I’ll start with the naming game.