Category Archives: A Drift of Quills

Today A Drift of Quills are looking at writerly things. We’re writers. It happens. I don’t know about you, but as a reader I love learning about how my favorite authors work and what they like to use. And read. And see. It makes them more whole in my mind’s eye (if that makes sense).

A Drift of Quills: Break Out the Toolbox and Write!

Today A Drift of Quills are looking at writerly things. We’re writers. It happens. We’re breaking out the ol’ writerly toolbox and taking a peek inside. I don’t know about you, but as a reader I love learning about how my favorite authors work and what they like to use. And read. And see. It makes them more whole in my mind’s eye (if that makes sense).

But I digress!

The question du jour is “what are our favorite ‘tools’ for writing”? And I quote, so the emphasis on “tools” got my mind dashing off on tangents. Read on to see where the three of us went on this expedition!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

There are so incredibly many tools for a writer to use today. (Not like in the Old Days, when it was pen and paper, a set of encyclopedias if you were lucky, and the library!) What a wonderfully rich age we live in!

What are a few of my favorite things? Er… tools? Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Break Out the Toolbox and Write!

A Drift of Quills: TV We Love #1

A Drift of Quills: What’s Poppin’ our Peepers?

Hello, and Happy Spring! The daffodils are blooming, the trees are budding (in the northern hemisphere, anyway!), and A Drift of Quills are branching out. We usually talk about bookish things, but this month we’re exploring a different format of entertainment: television. What programs do you think grab our interest and get our brains working overtime?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

 

I remember going through a period of time several years ago when I was bored with television. Oh, sure, there were some decent dramas to watch, and maybe few good action programs, but my speculative fiction soul positively yearned for fantasy and science fiction and the pickin’s were extremely slim.

So-called “reality” tv is definitely speculative—and certainly beyond belief—but I’d rather clean house than subject myself to watching those… Continue reading A Drift of Quills: What’s Poppin’ our Peepers?

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love (#7)

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #7

A Drift of Quills love to read as much as we love to write. Books help us relax and take us other places. Books inspire us. They introduce us to new ideas, cultures, and places. What’s not to love about reading?

Join us as we uncover a few gems in another installment of Books We Love

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

I so enjoy doing our regular “Books We Love” posts! Do I pull one of the (usually older) books off my library shelves? Or do I choose something (usually newer) from my e-reader? I love revisiting my favorite books—and I love exploring new ones! Decisions, decisions…

You’ll be happy to know I made one.

I am delighted to spotlight A Hero’s Curse by our very own P.S. Broaddus. The book is a wonderful middle-grade/young adult fantasy-adventure about a twelve-year-old blind girl and her talking cat.

I have a confession to make… I’m not much interested in talking animals (with a few narrow exceptions), but this particular cat is haunted by the question of why it can talk. It is not exactly common.

The writing itself is vividly descriptive. Even if Essie can’t see, the reader can. Essie’s world is one of sound, smell, and touch, except for a single brilliant memory that both gives her comfort and anchors her to the world she cannot see. The story is full of interesting people and dangerous situations. Essie wants more than anything to be independent, yet she must learn how to rely on others and accept not only their help but their support and friendship. It is a complicated process and a complicated concept well supported by the notion that such relationships go two ways.

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love (#7)In truth, posts about “books we love” are a bit difficult for me. This is due to two oddly co-existing—yet seemingly entirely contrary—truths: (1) there are so many I love; and (2) it is so difficult to find one that I love. How is this possible?

There are numerous changes going on in the publication world, which means that one cannot always have a sense of certainty in advance as to whether a book will be worth the time and expense. Still, there is so much out there to read! So, I’m going to step back in time… (Find out what Patricia has to say about the book she chose!)

P.S. BROADDUS

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

Today our group is writing about books we love. I had to wrestle with what to recommend. I just finished Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and the ever phenomenal Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. But today I’m especially excited to get to recommend Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. (See what Parker has to say about “Stone Fox”!)

Click on these links to find The House of Mirth and Stone Fox on Amazon.

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

A Drift of Quills: Care and Feeding of Fictional Characters

A Drift of Quills: Care and Feeding of Fictional Characters

Hello, and welcome back to A Drift of Quills! 2017 is already leaping out of the gate, but not to fear! We have our quills sharpened and our writing hats firmly settled! This month we are answering the following questions:

Do you plan characters in advance or in the moment, and how do you keep track of them?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

For me, the answers are… Yes. And it depends! (Oops, my questionable sense of humor is showing!)

I tend to flesh out a few key characters briefly, but they grow from that organically. Every now and then random characters stroll into the story uninvited. I am not a fan of those “Get to Know Your Character” worksheets with a bazillion trivial questions, but I occasionally find them helpful when a necessary character refuses to take shape. What is this “shape”? Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Care and Feeding of Fictional Characters

A Drift of Quills: 5-Year Plan (Characters in Question)

A Drift of Quills: The 5-Year Plan (Characters in Question)

This month A Drift of Quills has another character interview. It’s been awhile! Last time, our characters told us whether they were honorable or not. What fun that was!

This time around, we’re asking our characters another revealing question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

More fun! Let’s see where this goes…!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

This post contains affiliate links— if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

 

Let me introduce you to our guest Bairith Mindar, a principle character in my book Blood and Shadow. He is a nobleman by fate, by birth, and by strength of character. His slight build, angular features, and graceful manner suggest elvish descent. One does not ask such things in polite society. Not straight out… Continue reading A Drift of Quills: The 5-Year Plan (Characters in Question)

Congratulations to Our Fantasy eBook Giveaway Winners!

A Drift of Quills is happy to announce the winners of our Fantasy eBook Giveaway!

2016 Drift of Quills Fantasy eBook Giveaway Winners

Grand Prize Winner:
Amy C.

Runners Up:
Julia M.
Jacqueline M.
Raquel E.
Alan M.

Each of the authors will contact the winners by email. Then it’s time to snuggle up with hot cocoa, Christmas goodies, and a brand new book!

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

~From A Drift of Quills

Robin Lythgoe, fantasy author  Patricia Reding, Fantasy Author Parker Broaddus, Fantasy Author

A Drift of Quills: Fantasy eBook Giveaway!

To celebrate this holiday season A Drift of Quills has something awesome for you—We’re giving away e-books!

A Drift of Quills is giving away e-books! Enter now for your chance to win. Contest ends Dec 18, 2016The Grand Prize Winner gets a virtual stocking stuffed with all five books in the format of your choice. (mobi, epub, pdf)

One copy each of As the Crow Flies, OathtakersA Hero’s Curse, and Obscurely Obvious will go to 4 separate runners-up. (One book per winner, notification by email.)

As the Crow Flies, by Robin Lythgoe
When a psychotic wizard traps a first-class thief—well, a man’s got to do what he’s told. Until he can think of a better plan.

Oathtaker, by Patricia Reding
Mara swears to protect her charge with her life, then discovers the price her vow will exact. Abiding by an oath requires sacrifice.

Select, by Patricia Reding
To discover their callings, and in fulfillment of prophecy, the twin ranking members of the Select journey across The Tearless where they face three challenges. To triumph, they must first believe.

A Hero’s Curse, by P.S. Broaddus
The fantastical adventure story of a young blind girl and her talking cat taking on a perilous quest to find her kingdom’s lost king.

Obscurely Obvious, by Robin Lythgoe
A collection of five short stories including In the Mirror, The High Roads, Tourist Trap, Deliver Me, Elran’s Journey, and a bonus story.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays from A Drift of Quills!

Robin Lythgoe, fantasy author  Patricia Reding  Parker Broaddus

A Drift of Quills is giving away e-books! Enter now for your chance to win. Contest ends Dec 18, 2016
A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#3)

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#3)

A Drift of Quills is bringing you their worlds—in brilliant technicolor! “Picture This” this is a recurring subject with the Quills. Why? Because it’s so darned fun! We love sharing our worlds with you, giving you a peek behind the scenes. Take a look at some of our favorites…
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.”

 

A Drift of Quills: Picture This #3—We love sharing our worlds with you, giving you a peek behind the scenes. Take a look at some of our favorites…

Making up worlds is one of the best things about writing in the fantasy genre. It’s also hard work! There’s a lot of space for the fantasy author to let their imagination run wild, but we also need to tether our settings to a reality the average reader can relate to.

My short story, The High Roads, opens in the woods as night approaches…

Foggy Redwoods—the setting for "The High Roads" short story
(mage of Foggy Redwoods courtesy of mrwallpaper.com)

Shifting shadows beneath the giant greenwood trees gave the forest an eerie appearance. Dense strands of mist from the sea intensified a sense of the ethereal. Telic Ruan waited against a tree trunk, gazing up at the branches that hung some hundred feet above his head. He refused to let the capricious ghosts of the coming night intimidate him.

That picture, that description, sets up the entire story. Well, duh, right? That’s what it’s supposed to do!

Right, but the trees and the fog are symbolic! So are the ghosts. Those four sentences lay out Telic’s problem—and his problem with the problem.

He thinks his problem is the Luzzil Ones, a race of inferior but sentient creatures who live in caves.

Luzzil Caves—setting in "The High Roads" by Robin Lythgoe
(image via Stopford_lad on 28dayslater.com)

“Not slaves — useful and productive members of society. Can’t you see that’s the best thing for them? They can’t organize themselves in any practical way. They can’t even take care of their own! You’ve been to their villages — if you can call them that. They don’t even know how to build! They live in caves full of filth and disease. All we want to do is help them lead productive, healthy lives.”

He doesn’t understand the real problem…

Have you read The High Roads? How do you picture the setting? The characters? Send me your pictures!!

(If you haven’t read the story, you can get a copy for the price of joining my email list. The link is in the sidebar! It’s also available on Amazon.)

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

The Oathtaker Series is set in a medieval sort of time. Of course, as it is a fantasy, it does not correlate to any actual historical age in our world. Thus, as the author, I had the pleasure of making it exactly what I wanted to be. With a fantasy, the author chooses all of the details of that world in which the tale is set. So, that world is what the author says it is—nothing more, and nothing less. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to what technology might be available, how people dress, what they eat—or even the language they use or the way they speak. (Few of us could read the languages actually spoken in our world during the medieval period anyway, so why pretend to write in a manner exactly representative of those days?) Consequently, “medieval” is not an altogether apt description of Oosa, the land of the Oathtakers and Select.

I’ve decided to share pictures of a couple of buildings from my tales…  (See what Patricia is sharing!)

P.S. BROADDUS

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

Long have images stirred my imagination. I recall flipping through dusty old classics looking for illustrations. I would sit and stare at The Chronicles of Narnia, or histories on Greek myth, entranced by the sketches within.
But images do more than keep me flipping through my tattered copy of Treasure Island–pictures are what start the whole story for me. C.S. Lewis talked about the same. When discussing how he came to write the books of Narnia, he wrote that they “all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.” My own storytelling is similar. I write from images in my head. For me, it was the picture of a young blind girl standing in the desert, listening to a long-awaited storm rolling in… (What will this lead to?)

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Many authors have “setting boards” on Pinterest. Do you follow any? Which are your favorites?

Let us know in the comments below!

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. BROADDUS

“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 REDING

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
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.

P.S. BROADDUS

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 REDING

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