_5GoodThings06_ft

Five Good Things #6

I’ve procrastinated writing Five Good Things. It’s true. The other day I read a provocative (as in provoking thought—and controversy) article about the continued existence in speculative fiction of sexual violence against women. The author made some excellent points. So did the commenters.

I wandered off in a cloud of philosophical debate.

Someone in the discussion suggested reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. My To-Be-Read list is already huge. I can’t say what made the reading of this one so necessary, and so urgent.

_5GoodThings06_pinI read it.

It is a powerful commentary on humanity (male and female, individual and government).

It is also starkly beautiful in its prose.

I would like to take a week off to savor the language, the setting it portrayed, and the emotion it evoked.

So I’m listing it as the first Good Thing…

 

The Good Stuff

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
http://amzn.to/2bN2JuM
“A radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast.”

3 Ways to Use Scene Cards to Help You Write Your Novel
http://www.shesnovel.com/blog/scene-cards
Scene cards usually encapsulate a summary and pertinent details of the scene. Kristen Kieffer shows how to put some muscle on those suckers by using them in your pre-writing, drafting, and editing.

100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors
http://bookriot.com/2016/05/02/100-must-read-sci-fi-fantasy-novels-by-female-authors/
The Handmaid’s Tale features on this list, along with nine others I’ve read. Have I got my work cut out for me or what? I may have to re-think some of my choices for the A-Z Challenge I’m participating in on Goodreads—except I actually like reading books by male authors, too. In the interest of equality, is there a list of 100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Male Authors? (I know, I’m entering dangerous territory with that question, but please, I just want a good story!)

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Cheesecake
http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/menu/chocolate-hazelnut-crunch-cheesecake
Okay, I don’t actually know if this is good, but it’s chocolate (my favorite) cheesecake (my other favorite) and comes from the Cheesecake Factory. It’s a win-win-win!

Project Snowstorm by Djekspek
http://djekspek.deviantart.com/art/Project-Snowstorm-384143115
I love maps—especially fantasy maps. This one particularly appeals to my eye, from the beautiful color palette to the geographical artwork itself. Commissioned by Snowfury Studios“Project Snowstorm is the first game in a planned trilogy in which you become a character at the center of the collision of four realms.  As the barriers that separate the realms begin to break, creatures from the other realms force their way into your reality…and everything you’ve come to think of as normal begins to change.”

snowstorm_by_djekspekPurdy, ain’t it?

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What good things have you seen in your world lately? SHARE below!

Image by Blake Wheeler via UnSplash.com is licensed under CC0 1.0
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset

Aerisia begins in the real world and gets interesting with the appearance of a stump. No, really!

From the corner of the main character’s eye, this stump might be a bear, a wolf, a stray dog, a monk in flowing robes

Love the departure from the norm with that last item, and the setup for magic.

My Teaser

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset, by Sarah AshwoodAerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood
Genre: Fantasy / Coming of Age
Publisher: Griffineus Publications (April 16, 2014)
Find the Author on Twitter and Facebook
Available on Goodreads and Amazon

“He was Simathe, he was the High-Chief, and he would serve his homeland by serving his Artan.

And if she hated him for it, then she did.

So be it.”

~location 758 on my Kindle (20%)

Description

The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset.

Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth. She doesn’t have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren’t seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…

Want to Play Along?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

What are you currently reading?
Have you read 
Aerisia? What did you think?
Talk to me!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

Book Review: Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

stars-4

I just finished reading Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead. The series, King Raven, is one of the best retellings of the Robin Hood story I’ve ever read.

REVIEW of “Tuck

For the uninitiated, the series is set in the Welsh borderlands and in an earlier time period than we are accustomed to. The story progresses from book to book, though each sees the tale primarily through one main character: Robin (or Rhi Bran, as he’s named here), Will Scarlet—and Friar Tuck.

Fully committed in his loyalty to Robin, Tuck’s simple faith provides some pivotal moments in the story. Witty, pious, and wielding a good solid staff, he gives his all to helping Robin regain his throne against an oblivious king and the power-hungry Normans who want his rich lands for their own, even when it puts him in situations he finds terrifying and impossible. His faith and his faithfulness carry him through.

Written in third person omniscient, the story occasionally features other players so that the reader can understand a wider perspective of the story—and for the most part, this worked well. There were some instances, particularly toward the end of the novel, where I thought it felt contrived.

Lawhead does a fine job illustrating life in the middle ages, and it is not difficult to imagine the reality of mean shelters in the woods, humble houses of worship, and the rough halls of the nobility. The characters he paints fit there well. They are imperfect; they are human. Cultures clash, views of human rights cause divisions, personal character is tested.

Intrigue, desperation, and determination fill the pages of a truly wonderful story.

SUMMARY
Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

“Pray God our aim is true and each arrow finds its mark.”

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

This epic trilogy dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood as Stephen R. Lawhead conjures an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Filled with unforgettable characters, breathtaking suspense, and rousing battle scenes, Stephen R. Lawhead’s masterful retelling of the Robin Hood legend reaches its stunning conclusion in Tuck.

This book is for you if you:

  • Enjoy well-developed, realistic characters
  • Like historical fiction with a touch of fantasy
  • Are looking for Flinch-Free Fantasy

This book is not for you if you:

  • Don’t like attention to detail
  • Want a fast-paced story
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Have you read other books by this author?
What are you reading now? Share in the comments!

PS Broaddus, Quills new team member!

A Drift of Quills: Welcomes P.S. Broaddus to the Team!

Welcome to another edition of A Drift of Quills, bringing you fact, fantasy, and… a brand new team member!

When we had Parker—who publishes as P.S. Broaddus—as a guest a few months ago, we talked about Tackling Writing Challenges. We liked his style and his wonderful sense of humor so much that we hunted him down and trapped him in a dark corner invited him to join us as a full-time team member. Much to our surprise delight, he agreed!

By way of introduction, P.S. (Parker) has kindly agreed to be the subject of a mini-view: one question from each of us. (Is it cheating that they’re multiple-part questions?)

And, just as I suspected from the telltale gleam in his eye, he’s another pea in the pod. Er… writer in the ream! Hack in the stack?

Okay, before I get carried away and start doing Dr. Seuss impressions, let’s hear from Parker!

Robin: What is your most recent published work? Do you have a favorite character from it? If so, who, and why?

Parker: My most recent published work is my debut novel A Hero’s Curse, book one of the Unseen Chronicles. It was published this past Christmas, with the audiobook having launched last month, over the 4th of July. A Hero’s Curse follows the adventures of Essie Brightsday, a young blind girl, as she attempts to find her kingdom’s lost king. The nature and structure of A Hero’s Curse pushed Essie and Tig, her sarcastic talking cat to the forefront of the story. They get the most screentime. Essie is a fascinatingly complex young lady, and Tig’s dry, sarcastic humor is so akin to my own I can’t help but like him. But there are several characters who I really enjoy. Illiana, the cheerful and bubbly friend Essie makes in the Kingdom Above the Sun is unbreakable. She is a glass-half-full type character and she always makes me smile. King Mactogonii and Queen Leonatrix are interesting and powerful characters with tangled histories. I can’t help but want to know more about their past and their future.

I am working hard on book two in the Unseen Chronicles, with high hopes for another Christmas release. The structure of book two is completely different from A Hero’s Curse. Rather than a quest or journey structure, the story is a mystery, set in one city. There isn’t a lot of travelling and there are a ton of characters! Here’s my favorite part. Many of the characters I loved so much from A Hero’s Curse are back, but this time we get to see them developed in a way we didn’t get to in book one.

Robin: Secret? “Dry, sarcastic humor” is a prerequisite for becoming an official Quill! Scroll down to find links to Parker’s website and book—But don’t miss his answer to The Next Important Question!

Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

This is a particularly exciting time, as we Quills just added a new member, Parker Broaddus, who publishes under the name, P.S. Broaddus. And wouldn’t you know it? Parker, like Robin, is blessed with an incredible sense of humor. (Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit like chopped liver . . .)

In celebration of Parker’s joining us, we’ve decided we would interview him. Here are his initial comments. (Did I mention that he has a sense of humor?):

Patricia: What are your earliest memories of reading as a child? Did you visit a library regularly? A book mobile? How did that impact your life as a reader and/or writer?

Parker: (Read the answer on Patricia’s website!)

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Be sure to go visit P.S. Broaddus on his website, and don’t forget to check out his middle-grade book!


Website
A Hero’s Curse

A Hero's Curse, by PS Broaddus

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Reader or writer, who is your favorite fantasy character? Why?
Do you have any questions for Parker? Ask away in the comments below!

So I'm Writing, Right? (Novel Excerpt)

So I’m Writing, Right? (Novel Excerpt)

So I'm Writing (Novel Excerpt)Hello, everyone!

It’s Friday. (Surprise!) It’s also Blogday for me, and although I could write a post about grammar, painting and fancifying a wall, the book I’m (still) reading, or a short humor piece about a recent encounter with a doctor, I want to work on my book.

sooooo want to work on my book!

So I am! And I don’t want to stop. I thought I’d share a little excerpt with you because 1) I already wrote it, 2) fun!

So here it is… Continue reading So I’m Writing, Right? (Novel Excerpt)

SpelunkingForFunAndResearch

Spelunking for Fun and Research

SpelunkingForFunAndResearch_pinI have a WHOLE lot more sympathy for Crow’s experience in caves after spelunking (read: “crawling on my belly”) through part of Mammoth Caves…

Last weekend was the annual family reunion. 30 people in a 3-bathroom cabin in Brian Head, Utah. Yikes. Sounds cramped—but what a great group of people for making the best of things! I didn’t hear anyone complaining (except maybe about crickets… and spiders… and perhaps a mattress or two…!). There was bike-riding, hiking, tram-riding, fishing, games, s’mores, great food, stories, coloring, and… spelunking.

Driving to Panguitch Lake on Saturday, we passed the sign to Mammoth Springs. Hubby says, “I want to take you to see Mammoth Caves.”

“Okay. Let’s!” says I.

So we did. Check this out! Continue reading Spelunking for Fun and Research

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Fix: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love when Chocolate Time rolls around… And guess what?? It’s time. Making up a menu for a Family Gathering (a.k.a. Reunion),  my sister-in-law (Hi, Maren!) and I decided on a breakfast of muffins. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, to be specific.

Mmm… muffins.

Tasty. Portable. Perfect (when they have chocolate in ‘em!).

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 cups mashed banana (about 6)
½ cup milk
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In large bowl, beat butter until pale and creamy. Add sugar and mix well.

Add mashed bananas, milk, and eggs; beat until well blended.

Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, stirring just until blended.

Add chocolate chips (and nuts if used).

Line muffin tin with paper baking cups, spoon 3 Tbsp batter into cups. Bake for 15–18 minutes. Remove from pans immediately.

YIELD: 2 dozen

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Need more chocolate? Check out other recipes I’ve shared: The Chocolate
What kind of chocolate have you been creating in your kitchen?

Send me your pictures and recipes! There is never enough chocolate.

 

In-Search-of-Writing-Time_DoQ_ft

A Drift of Quills: In Search of (Writing) Time

Writers, what do you do to find time—or to make time—to write?

Readers, are you curious how the minds behind the books work some of their magic?

It’s the First Friday of the month, and A Drift of Quills is sharing tidbits on their MO (modus operandi). Ooooh, secrets!

A Drift of Quills

Time—we all need more, right? Can I have a secret extra day in the week? Or how about a clone?

In Search of Writing TimeI’m one of those blessed souls who theoretically has time. Awesome, right? Mmmmaybe…! Anyone who looked at my life would assume there are great gobs of the stuff lying around, waiting to be used.

I have plenty to do, believe me. There are the regular chores that come with being an adult and the extracurricular chores that spring up when you belong to a group or indulge in hobbies. On top of that, there are the tasks that fall on the plate of any indie author (a.k.a. “marketing”).

And there’s research (a.k.a. “rabbit holes”).

And homework (a.k.a. “reading”).

Quote-IfYouDontHaveTheTimeToRead

So for me, it boils down to making the time to write. Or rather, making myself write. I seem to be most productive late at night, but convincing myself to stay up when my comfy bed is calling and my eyelids are drooping is almost as hard as scheduling dentist appointments.

Okay, not really. I’d far rather stay up late writing every single night than go to the dentist.

But…

Structure and Goals Are Not Bad Words

If when I stick to a schedule and plunk my keester in the chair before my computer every morning, I’ve found I build up steam. I might start small; I’ve set a goal to write no less than 100 words a day. In the beginning, that hundred words can be like pulling teeth. (Ha! Pun!)

But the more I stick to the schedule, the more I write.

You’d think that with such a reward,the sticking would be easy. Inspiring. Exciting!

Quote-WithoutConsciousAndDeliberateEffort

It is exciting. It’s also challenging.

So what helps me?

  • Joining a writing challenge (x-number of words per day)
  • Having someone to be accountable to
  • Giving in to my competitive side (trying to beat the high word counts in the above-mentioned challenge)
  • My awesome writing partner, Kristie
  • Reading
  • Music
  • Letters, comments, and reviews (especially reviews!) from my readers

I don’t list these in order of how well they work, it depends on the day and it depends on my mood (and health). The more of the items I employ, the more likely I am to sit down and write.

And apparently writing about writing helps, too. Bye, I’m gonna go practice being a fictionista!

Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

 

Time in a bottle.

Time will tell.

A time to love, and a time to hate.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .

A time for every purpose under heaven.

Time flies.

The time is right.

Time and tide wait for no man.

Hey! Have you got the time?

This is the question we Quills consider with our post for July 2016.

Most would agree, I think, that there never seems to be enough time to go around. So how, in a life filled with family, friends, day jobs, and more, do we find time to write?

I recall as a child, my mother saying that it annoyed her when people asked her how she found the time to do things. With eight—yes, count them, eight—children, she was a busy woman. She always said: “I don’t have time, I make time.” I guess… (Read more!)

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How do you find—or make—the time to write or read?
What would you like to see us talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: “Clock” via StockSnap.io is licensed under CC0 1.0
Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Tuck

So. Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead. Book three of the so-far amazing King Raven trilogy. It took far longer to finish book 2 than I planned—and then I remembered that I have to read a book a week to get through everything in my TBR stack. And, well, insomnia. At least it’s good for something!

I think I enjoyed book 1 better, but only barely. I love the history, the setting, the very real situations, choices, and setbacks the characters face.

There was a spot in Scarlet that had me surreptitiously teary…

It’s funny, but when I’m all by myself I have no trouble bawling my eyes out over something that happens to a fictitious character.

But I wasn’t alone! And I feel silly being sappy in front of other people!

Anyway… Book 3! I can’t wait to read about Tuck’s antics; he’s such a fun, sweet character. And, of course, I must find out what happens to Rhi Bran and his merry band!

My Teaser

Teaser Tuesday: Tuck, by Stephen R. LawheadTuck by Stephen R. Lawhead
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 14, 2009)
Find the Author on Twitter and Facebook
Available on Goodreads and Amazon

“He picked up the dead man’s sword and stuck it in his belt. ‘You can stay if you like, Abbot, but they are probably watching from the forest.’

Casting a hasty glance over his shoulder, the abbot hurried to rejoin his bodyguard and scuttled back to the abbey in undignified retreat.”

~Page 76

Description

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

Want to Play Along?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

What are you currently reading? Share below—and be sure to join my TBR Challenge!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”