A Drift of Quills: Lunch Date With an Author

A Drift of Quills is sitting down to a virtual lunch, each with the author of their choice. Who do you think we’ll choose and why? Read on to find out…

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

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.”


Choosing a single author to sit down and have a chat with is as bad as choosing your favorite book! Or color! Or child! There is a spectacular list to choose from, and stalking up and down between my bookshelves left me dizzy with indecision.

A Drift of Quills Goes on a Lunch Date with an AuthorIf I were to choose someone from the past, what kind of language and societal hurdles would we face when we tried to communicate? That’d be a whole conversation right there, but let’s assume we’ve been endowed with translation devices so we’ll both be on the same page (pun alert!). In that case…

I still had to hem and haw, and eventually decided that I’d use the same criteria for choosing my favorite color: It depends on what it’s for and how I feel at the moment. I might change my mind completely next week.

Today’s lunch will be al fresco at The Cheesecake Factory, and Mr. C.S. Lewis will be joining me. I’m not sure how much talking I’d do—I’d be such a bundle of nerves that I’d either clam up or babble. Probably the latter—but I would be happy to listen to what he has to say!

Author C.S. LewisHow did he come to write The Chronicles of Narnia? I struggle with “length”; how did he accomplish (so beautifully) “shorth”? How did he go about the process of writing, and how did he discover what worked best for him? What does he think of the world today—and would it prompt him to write a series of dystopian novels? What did he give up to write (because we all have to give up something), and does he think now that it was worth it? Who in his past most influenced his writing? How did he feel about JRR Tolkien’s criticism of his Narnia books?

We might have to stay until breakfast…


“P.S.Author of A Hero’s Curse (The Unseen Chronicles Book 1)
PS’s website

During a recent interview, I mentioned my favorite storytellers, and I even had to decide which author I’d want as company in a submarine. This go around it’s lunch with an author from the past. Over hamburgers, we’d talk about habits and describe growing up. We’d finish off with a milkshake and chat about what informed their writing.

It’s a heavy decision, obviously. I mean, you have to agree on where to eat. My pick may surprise you, but I think you’ll follow my reasoning. (What reasoning would that be, exactly? Click here to find out!)


Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

This might be the most difficult question presented yet! There are so many logistics to consider. If I choose someone no longer living, just how would the two of us arrange this lunch? Where would we meet? On this side of the divide? Or the other? (Oh, imagine!) If I choose someone whose native language is neither English nor Sarcasm (which is to say, not one I speak), how will we understand one another? Use some instant translation program? (Oh, I can see the problems arising from that already!)

Even assuming all the “how and where” details can be arranged, I have to consider whether I’d rather have lunch with a famous historical figure/politician who also happened to have a gift for words (See where Patricia is going with this here!)

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How about you? Who will you have to lunch (or drinks, or any other meal)?
What will you talk about? Give us a peek in the comments!

Image by Unsplash via Pixabay is licensed under CC0 1.0

What’s almost as good as a crate full of chocolate?

food-1465499_640Well… nothing, but the news that I’m zeroing in on the end of Book Two of the slower-than-cold-tar Mage’s Gift series is almost as good, right?

You may (or may not!) have noticed a lack of blog posts the last few weeks. They will continue to be sparse as I turn my newly adjusted razor focus on finishing the bleepity-bleep books. RAWR.

I’ve had a particularly good week—I won’t jinx myself by quoting numbers, but suffice it to say I’m breaking all kinds of personal records. NaNoWriMo, eat my dust!

In the meantime, As the Crow Flies is getting the revised cover I’ve been dreaming about since—well, for a long time. If you’ve been following on my Twitter Feed or Facebook, you’ll have seen some of the options, and maybe had a chance to offer your opinion on which one is best. We’re still working on a few little details, so this isn’t officially official, but…

Here’s a teeny, tiny peek.


I’m stoked. Stay tuned for the officially official cover reveal, coming SOON!

Books We Love #6

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #6

It’s time for A Drift of Quills and the last of the summer reads! We’re relaxing out on the deck with a nice cool drink and a few good books while the weather (here in the northern hemisphere) is still warm.

As you might have guessed from the title, we’re sharing a few more Books We Love. It’s so hard to choose! Never fear, intrepid readers—we won’t let you down!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

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.”


After standing in front of my bookshelves tapping my chin and saying “Hmm… Hmm…” several times, I finally chose Fortress in the Eye of Time, by C.J. Cherryh, the first of her incredible “Fortress” series.

Dontcha love when there’s a whole string of scrumptiousness lined up when you get to the end of a book and wish for more? There are five books to keep you going—and marveling.

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #6 — We’re relaxing out on the deck with a nice cool drink and a few good books while the weather is still warm. And we're sharing!Fortress in the Eye of Time begins with the shaping of our main character—a boy born of magic. And such magic it is! Complicated, terrible, and with rules separating wizardry from sorcery. The wizard who creates Tristen is beginning to fail with age, and Tristen is born fully formed, but without any knowledge of the world or his place in it.

On his journey to discover himself he makes friends with Prince Cefwyn, heir to the Marhannen throne. While he is challenged with the fractious nobles at court and learning to assert his authority, Tristen is hunted by Hasufin Heltain, an old enemy of the wizard.

The first part of the book doesn’t move particularly fast—but that’s okay, because it gives the reader time to become immersed in Cherryh’s beautiful, haunting style. She has a unique voice, and such attention to details! Her characters and settings are wonderfully complex and vivid.

There is a reason Fortress in the Eye of Time was shortlisted for a Locus Award in 1996. Read it and see why.


Parker BroaddusAuthor of A Hero’s Curse (The Unseen Chronicles Book 1)
Parker’s website

We are fond of our pets. We have a dog, Indiana, (Indiana Jones reference, anyone? “We named the dog Indiana!”), who is one part funny, two parts hardheaded, but all three parts loving (Remember The Incredible Journey? We thought we were getting Shadow but Indy is really more like Chance). So when you find a tale (oh no, puns…) with talking animals, there is nothing to do but read and share. (Click here to see where Parker is going with this!)


Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

It’s my turn! It’s my turn!

For my part, I’m going to share about the work of an author I met at the Literary Classics awards ceremony this past April. Amalie Jahn writes YA sci-fi. In her debut novel, The Clay Lion, Jahn asks young readers to consider what they might do if they could go back in time to save someone they love. I previously reviewed The Clay Lion, and would like to share some of my thoughts with you now.

You know how, when you listen to a symphony, all of your senses are engaged? You catch the sight of the furious violinists; the feel of the pounding percussion beneath your feet… (Read more!)

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Have you read something you’ve just GOT to share? Tell us in the comments!

Image by Ben White via UnSplash.com is licensed under CC0 1.0

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
“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
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
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
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
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%)


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


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.

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.”

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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!


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!

A Hero’s Curse

A Hero's Curse, by PS Broaddus

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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)


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