Category Archives: A Drift of Quills

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #8 — A Drift of Quills adheres firmly to the adage that you can never have (or read) too many books. And here we are again, reading and sharing our finds in another installment of “Books We Love…”

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #8

A Drift of Quills adheres firmly to the adage that you can never have (or read) too many books. “I add ‘Read Books’ to my to-do list every day so I know I’ll get at least one thing done.”

Here we are again, reading and sharing our finds in another installment of Books We Love

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links it won’t cost you a cent, but I’ll get a small affiliate commission, which helps keep my computer running. Thanks!

 

I really love chatting with my readers, and in a recent email exchange someone recommended a book for my Flinch-Free Fantasy list: The Dragon and the George, by Gordon R. Dickson.

Hey! I’ve read that!

About a million years ago…

I recall liking it, and the foggy memory tickled my brain until I had to go pick up a copy and read it again. It didn’t disappoint. True, the style is dated and it took a little too long for the real action to start, but what a fun read.

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #8A modern couple is transported into another version of our world. The kicker? Our hero ends up in the body of a dragon. The land is populated with knights, magicians, wolves, tough-but-fair maidens, crazy-inducing sandmirks, the mysterious Dark Powers, evil henchmen, a giant slug, an ogre—and don’t forget the Auditing Department, which keeps a careful ledger of the balance between those Dark Powers and those of the Light. (You can earn credits if you’re canny and brave.)

Jim (or Gorbash, depending on your point of view) must rescue his damsel, but to do so he must acquire some official Companions, figure out how a dragon body works, and come to terms with who he really is. Bouts of introspection are balanced with humor. How could anyone not laugh at the image of a dragon and his Companions (with a capital C) sitting around the table at an inn drinking jacks of ale while they plot?

Classic!

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of the Oathtaker Series
Patricia’s website

Recently, I read Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders Trilogy, consisting of Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, and Ship of Destiny. While I wouldn’t say I “love” these books, exactly, there are parts of this series that I very much enjoyed—so much so that I quickly read them one after the next.

I liked the set-up of the Bingtown’s oldest families and I loved the concept of the liveships. As for … (the rest of the story)

P.S. BROADDUS

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

The Hardy Boys series is formulaic and simple, and often plods into the cliche. I couldn’t help thinking however, how well they build their mysteries through the story. While bland, they get the formula right. I just finished a second one in as many weeks, and it was a good study in the structure of the genre. While I may not want to copy The Hardy Boys series when writing my own mystery, there’s value in internalizing the genre, the beats, and the structure on display. You’ve got to know the rules before you break them and I love that the series feels like a set of training wheels for writers. Fun, whimsical, dated training wheels.

But I didn’t come here to talk about The Hardy Boys. I’ve actually been ruminating on a story I just finished that involved an old man and a big fish…

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #8 — A Drift of Quills adheres firmly to the adage that you can never have (or read) too many books. And here we are again, reading and sharing our finds in another installment of “Books We Love…”

Click on these links to find The Liveship Traders and The Old Man and the Sea on Amazon.

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

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

 

A Drift of Quills are talking to the Head Muse (Department of Music) to find out what—if anything—helps promote the mood to write or inspire scenes, moods, or any other parts of our imagination.

A Drift of Quills: Muse (Department of Music)

A Drift of Quills are talking to the Head Muse (Department of Music) to find out what—if anything—helps promote the mood to write or inspire scenes, moods, or any other parts of our imagination. What kind of tunes do you think we listen to? We share a lot of things in common; is music one of them?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Ten Tunes That Rock My Writing

I write better when there is music playing.

I dream better.

Thanks to my mom and older sisters, I grew up listening to a wonderful variety of music. Sadly, not a one of us can play any instrument but the stereo. It’s a shame, really. Music is powerful stuff. Being able to play music gives you an even better boost than listening to it, but listening can Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Muse (Department of Music)

A Drift of Quills: Under the Influence

Stories uncovered! Secrets revealed! Sounds like an article straight out of the tabloids, right? This first-Friday A Drift of Quills are looking at the way people, news stories, or current events play a role in our works. Are we under the influence of current events? How do we use it?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links it won’t cost you a cent, but I’ll get a small affiliate commission, which helps keep my computer running. Thanks!

Use people? And places? And stories?? I’m innocent!

Well… mostly innocent.

Maybe “unconscious” would be a better word, because while I don’t (usually) intend to put current happenings and humans in my stories, I’ve had people point out that this is like that, or Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Under the Influence

A Drift of Quills: Where Do You List Your (Book) Loot?

A Drift of Quills: Where Do You List Your (Book) Loot?

We are a list-loving society, and for those of us who adore books, that means keeping some kind of inventory of what books we own, what we want to own, what we’ve read, what we want to read—and how well we liked what we read… Today A Drift of Quills delves into the subject of social cataloging for books—What do we use? What are some other options?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Where Do You List Your (Book) Loot?

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