Category Archives: A Drift of Quills

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
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

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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!

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
A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

Does the word “research” give you the shivers? Dark memories of term papers or visions of endless numbers and figures? Well, it’s the first Friday of June (already!), and A Drift of Quills  is here to show you what research means to fiction writers!

A Drift of Quills

“My name is Robin and I am a member of Researchers Anonymous…”

ResearchOrTreasureHunt_DoQI blame it on my mother. I read a lot when I was a little girl. When I’d come across a word I didn’t know, I’d ask Mom what it meant. She invariably sent me to the dictionary.

A hundred years later (okay, not quite a hundred…) I find myself somewhat suspicious of her motivations. Did she actually (sometimes) not know the definition? Or was that just her way of making me an independent, curious wordie?

Either way, what happened was an addiction.

Oh, it started innocently enough. Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

A Drift of Quils: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills is back on this beautiful First Friday! This month we’re talking about tough writing challenges we’ve faced, and how we’ve resolved them. And—we’ve got a guest! We’re so pleased to welcome P.S. Broaddus, who has  recently released his debut middle-grade fantasy novel.

A Drift of Quills

My partners in this month’s endeavor will probably not be glad that I’ve procrastinated writing this until the last minute (I have a laundry list of excuses reasons!), but it’s given me the opportunity to get a sneak peak at what they’ve chosen to write about.

It’s good stuff— Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #5 (The Woodcutter, A Hero's Curse)

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love (#5)

“Books We Love” is a recurring topic for A Drift of Quills. Sometimes there’s a feast, and sometimes there’s a famine… Does that ever happen to you? Luckily, we’ve got a couple of tasty tidbits to whet your appetite!

A Drift of Quills

On to the Books!

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #5 (The Woodcutter, A Hero's Curse)

At the beginning of the year I joined the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. I started out with a bang, burning through 14 books in a little over two months. Last month? Not so much, though I’ve started several. In order for my “read” to be counted for the challenge, I actually have to finish it, and there have been some books that I’ve set aside. (Gently, because I love my Kindle—Otherwise, I’d have thrown them across the room in frustration.)

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.”

 
Books We Love: The Woodcutter, by Kate DanleyMuch to my delight, I stumbled across Kate Danley’s The Woodcutter. What a wonderful, unique twist on fairytales! Danley weaves her own style into a retelling of familiar stories and does not disappoint. I love the brevity of her descriptions; it is a rare author that can convey so much information and emotion with so few words and still maintain such a lyrical quality. I was completely enchanted by her prose and by the story itself. Duty, treachery, love and sacrifice wind throughout a mystery that the Woodcutter must solve. He has help on his long and twisting journey, and we’re given a sizable dose of the old-fashioned magic one rarely sees outside of fairytales. Humor, setbacks, and plot twists lead to a climax and resolution that surprised and delighted me with its emotional impact.

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Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

I’m going with an Indie read this time. Truth to tell, one must wade through some things to find gems, whether they are traditional- or Indie-published. But for those who enjoy fantasy for the young, I can recommend, A Hero’s Curse, by P. S. Broaddus.

What intrigued me when I read the blurb for A Hero’s Curse, was that the main protagonist is a young—blind—girl. Since so much of our world is what we see, and since in our writing, we authors must disclose that world to our readers, I was intrigued with the concept of using a blind heroine. P. S. Broaddus did not fail to deliver . . . (Read more!)

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What have you been reading lately?
Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to share this page!

Are you taking part in the Goodreads’ Challenge? Be sure to hop over to my TBR Challenge post and link me up to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my upcoming book!

This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. What’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction?

A Drift of Quills: The Purpose of Magic

Magic—what’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction? This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. Naturally, we’re talking about why we, as authors of fantasy, write about magic.

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folksSince we were wee sprouts we’ve been enchanted (punny, right?) by stories about magical beans, geese, unicorns, dragons, kings, gingerbread houses, swords, ships, and all kinds of diverse things. Magic opens the doors to new ideas, exciting places, amazing people. It encourages our imaginations and broadens our horizons. Best of all, it allows us to step out of the mundane, lift our heads, and engage in wonder.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein

Magic in fantasy is a feast for the eyes, a symphony of the senses. Anything is possible. Charles de Lint said something absolutely profound about magic and life:

I do believe in an everyday sort of magic—the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we thing we’re alone.

This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. What’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction? In my book As the Crow Flies, magic plays several roles. I like the complex depths that mix offers. I like the contrasts. In Crow’s life, it doesn’t have a particularly good reputation and his opinion isn’t improved when a wizard sends him on a suicidal mission. He comes up against more “bad” magic but… he also has an experience that affects his very notion of himself. His imagination is sparked; his horizon changes.

In the Mirror, a short story, encourages reflection of self. What choices have we made in the past, how have they impacted us, and how might we change our path in the future?

The story, The High Roads, focuses on talents and responsibilities. How do we use what we’ve got?

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

Some of my earliest reading memories are of stories that included magic. I recall reading, over and over again, Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett, and Mio, My Son, by Astrid Lindgren. Also, Bewitched was amongst my favorite television shows. When Samantha’s nose twinkled, you never knew what might happen next. Those tales engaged my imagination and sense of wonder. They moved me out from my world of cares and worries (such as they were as a child) and into another realm where anything was possible.

When a story engages my emotions, I’m involved. But when it also encourages my sense of wonder, I’m hooked. This is what magic does. It creates something I’ve never before seen, heard or felt. It makes me wonder, each step of the way, “what if…” (Read more!)

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What does “magic” in fantasy mean to you?
What book have you read that best illustrates the ideal magic?
Are you an author? What is the purpose and value of magic in your writing?

Comment below—then be sure to hop over and join my 2016 reading challenge!

A Drift of Quills answers the burning question, “What is our favorite social media outlet and why?”

A Drift of Quills: Playing Social Media Favorites

A Drift of Quills is on the loose again! Today we ask the burning question, “What is our favorite social media outlet and why?”

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Oh, decisions! Decisions! There are so many outlets to choose from and so many reasons to choose them (or not)! It’s no surprise that they each accomplish different things, so if I wanted to be technical (I don’t. Lucky you.), I’d list which ones are my favorites for which purposes. But… Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Playing Social Media Favorites

A Drift of Quills: Looking Back and Going Forth (Happy New Year 2016)

A Drift of Quills: Looking Back and Going Forth

in It’s a new year! Happy New Year to you! Today A Drift of Quills is taking a look back and a look forward. What happened last year, and what are we looking forward to this year? Read on to discover our inmost thoughts as we reflect on our bookish (mostly) progress—or lack thereof. 😀

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

 

I can’t help thinking “Wow! 2015 went by WAY too fast.” It really did. But ready or not, it’s 2016 now—I feel like I need to fasten my seatbelt for another speedy ride!

A Drift of Quills: Looking Back and Going Forth (Happy New Year 2016)Thanks to Leeland Artra and the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network Writing Challenges I (finally) finished the first draft of a book I’ve been working on for far too long. (You’re probably sick of me dribbling tiny tidbits of info about it…) Revisions took a back seat to NaNoWriMo, but the good news is that I’m 47,000 words into the second book of the series. (Yes, I went back and tidied up my Very Messy Manuscript. I couldn’t help myself!) And… I wrote a fair number of words for another book in the same series, but it comes further down the road.

I am soooooo looking forward to releasing Book One soon, and Book Two by early summer. I have another book for Crow sketched out (Woot! Woot!) and plan to jump into that after I get the current project wrapped up—

And if that sounds confusing, it’s because I haven’t settled on a title for Book One yet, and because One and Two are kind of a “parts A and B.”

Yes, that’s clear as mud, isn’t it? Hang in there. As my hubby says, “It’ll all come out in the wash.”

Last year I also took part in the reading side of things with the annual challenge that Goodreads runs. I’m planning on doing that again this year. I keep telling my hubby that we need to set aside one night a week (at least!) for Reading Only. Generally, our lack of oomph degenerates into watching television, and the last year or two has seen some really good programs come out. Not to mention our binge-watching of Falling Skies… I must put my foot down! More reading, less turning into a zombie!

I really enjoyed these books and gladly recommend that you read them, too:

In Siege of Daylight (Gregory S. Close, where is the sequel? Huh? HUH?)

Warrior Mage, Chains of Honor Book 1, by Lindsay Buroker

Transformation, by Carol Berg

By Divine Right, by Patrick W. Carr

The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In Siege of Daylight, but Gregory S. Close Warrior Mage, by Lindsay Buroker Transformation, by Carol Berg By Divine Right, by Patrick W. Carr The Curse of Chalon, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I did read more than these, but they were particular favorites during the course of the year!

Also on the schedule is the creation of the two covers I’ll need for the new books as well as reworking the cover for As the Crow Flies. And a map. I’m making a map! Or two! One for each world?

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

At the outset, I am happy to say that 2015 went a bit better for me than 2014 had. That was the year from . . . Well, enough about that. For 2015, there were a few interesting events that I’d like to share with you.

I wrapped up Select: The Oathtaker Series, Book Two, in late May. To write the final scenes of a story is to reach a true milestone. One cannot compare the feeling to any other. (Starting the work is a bit akin to bearing a child. Publishing it is like setting that child free to live its life. It is scary but necessary …) (Read more!)

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What was your favorite post last year from A Drift of Quills?
What would you like to see us talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

Today A Drift of Quills goes on a short visual expedition, sharing pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#2)

Wow. This is the last first Friday of the month for this year! (Did I bend your brain with that?) Today A Drift of Quills will take you on a short visual expedition. We want to share with you pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Levin Liam (in the movie "Wolfskinder")
Levin Liam (in the movie “Wolfskinder”)

For my person I’ve gone with the obvious choice: the main character. Sherakai’s tale begins when he is a youth, about fifteen years old. As the youngest of four boys, he’s got a pretty easy life. His father and his older brothers are warriors, and although he admires that, he has no inclination to follow in their footsteps. He’s not keen, either, on being sent away from horse and home to study at the faraway College of Magic. Of course nothing goes the way either Sherakai or his parents plan…

Photo by Alvarictus, via Flickr
Photo by Alvarictus, via Flickr

Sherakai’s beautiful home is located in rolling hills at the edge of the mountains. His father raises the Indimi-o per’la Tojitu there. The Children of the Wind are horses endowed with just a little bit of magic.

When Sherakai arrives at Nemura-o pera Sinohe—The Gates of Heaven—his life takes a turn down a dark path. His guardians, Fesh and Teth, look something like this:

Concept art from DMC: Devil May Cry
Concept art from DMC: Devil May Cry

 

Teeth clenched, Sherakai pushed the threads away, but it hurt as though he were tearing out parts of himself. The creatures howled, and Bairith’s voice rose above them, his spell-weaving become a command. Desperately, Sherakai reversed his actions and tried to pull the threads back into himself. He had more success at that, but the creatures came to their feet, writhing as they tried to escape the hands on their heads. Their howls increased to very human screams. The guards crouched next to them, wrapping arms around the distorted bodies to hold them immobile. A third guard moved behind Sherakai, clamping a hand around his throat and applying steady pressure.

Today A Drift of Quills goes on a short visual expedition, sharing pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.As consciousness began to fade, the tugging renewed and the dog beasts quieted. Darkness edged his vision, but it could not blanket the helpless sense of violation.

“There,” the mage said at last. He released Sherakai’s hands and gently stroked the animals’ misshapen heads. “There, it is done. All is well. Hush, hush …”

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

As we are approaching this holiday season, with all the “busy-ness” that it entails, it seemed right to keep things a bit simple this time around. Thus, we’ve decided to share with you, pictures of our imagined people, places and things from our work.

For a picture of a person, I’m actually going to expand this definition to include a character that is not a person. That is “Bane,” from Select: The Oathtaker Series, Book Two. Bane is a wolf that Jerrett mistakenly takes for a dog. Because of his connection to the animal via his attendant magic, Bane assists Jerrett in an escape . . .

… (Read more!)

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This is how we see our stories, and we hope these pictures pique your interest in the tales!