Monday, December 24, 2012

A Wider Glimpse

I've found that it is one thing to have writing samples on my website, and another to turn them into books. For the next three months, at least, two of my samples about Lord Carvin, captain of a great sailing ship, will be on Amazon exclusively. For several days in that time, they will be for free as part of the KDP select program. Visit my author page on Amazon to get them or, if you miss the free days, to see a sample.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Wheel Turns and the Hobbit Journeys

I'm an entertainment junkie and this holiday season is filled with more than I have time for.

It actually started a couple of weeks ago with the release of Skyfall. The James Bond movies are always action packed with plenty of mystery to keep you going. Doesn't really relate much to my writing, but it doesn't have to for me to just enjoy it. Besides, I can't wait to see the opening animation to go with the title son by Adele.

Next up is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The Hobbit itself is a pretty packed little story, but when they add in the parallel story that Tolkien shared in the LOTR appendices, there is a lot going on. I'm somewhat surprised that we are getting three movies, but very pleased. The more Middle Earth the better. I was late to reading and appreciating LOTR, having read what some feel to be an inferior copy in Terry Brooks' Shannara series. But that doesn't lessen my excitement any the less. Two years from now we will have the complete Hobbit trilogy and that is pretty exciting. I think I'll hold off watching LOTR again until then. Maybe they might just fix the blu-ray of The Fellowship of the Ring that they screwed up (it's tinted green throughout).

Then on Christmas day Les Miserables comes out. My introduction was the complete symphonic recording and I finally got to see it last year on stage. Magnificent. I've read the book and Victor Hugo is a rambling genius. I don't know too many authors who could hold my attention with a detailed examination of the Waterloo battlefield, but he did. I'm really excited to see the movie because they actors were recorded singing live. A rare thing, but in just the few instances I know of in other movies, it is a more riveting performance when the actor drives it. More like the stage, but even more intense. For those looking for perfect recordings of their favorite songs, you probably aren't going to get it. This is more about digging into the songs and pulling out the raw visceral emotion. This musical is full of that.

And lastly, on January 8 we will at last see the fourteenth and final volume of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. He did not live to complete it himself (though he did pen the final scenes), but he left enough notes that Brandon Sanderson was able to put together the story Jordan wanted to tell. Jordan's widow, Harriett, has edited this book like she did the previous thirteen so I am hoping it feels consistent. I stopped reading early in book 9 when I realized that this wasn't going to be done in 10 or even 11 books. I've been waiting a long time for this final book. I have the rest and have just been waiting. If I can swing it, there is some marathon reading ahead. I have some real-world things to consider, but I am also being drawn to write by some characters that seem to be growing impatient to have their story move forward. So we'll see when I might get to it.

Lots of good stuff coming out, and I'm sure there is more, but that is quite enough for me to busy myself with for now.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The World of the Chanai

Every world created by a fantasy author is, in some or in many ways, different from all others. Two things inspired me in creating the world of the Chanai; the over abundance of European culture and myths in fantasy, and Stephen R. Donaldson's Tomas Covenant series.

I started off with a few good stereotypes, a blonde farm boy and a prophesy. Then I created a world based more on Japanese myths and Asian culture. I probably still have a pretty noticeable western slant, but that is to be expected of someone who grew up in Colorado. However, I also added a decidedly Pakistani female lead character to fill the role of the Chanai in this outing. I have been told by at least one Pakistani reader that I nailed it. I hope that comes across.

Starting with stereotypes and cliches isn't a good thing, but I turn things on end. I should, at this point, warn that I am prone to both reveal and to seek out spoilers. Read on at your own risk. It turns out that the prophesy that everyone has been reciting for a thousand years isn't accurate. New things have crept in and when our current Chanai gets her hands on the original, it is much more helpful. But the job was done. The prophesy gave her power to BE the Chanai and get things done. And the farm boy? He's more the sidekick and he doesn't get the girl (though there more on that later). Things wouldn't happen without him, but Luke Skywalker he ain't.

And I know, I could have just called them vampires, but sucking the soul and the blood just aren't the same. There are no coffins involved or sleeping in the ground, no burning from sunlight, so I called them Ninnun instead. But in most ways, they are vampires.

So, if this all sounds interesting, you should wander over to Smashwords or Amazon (more to follow when Smashwords starts distributing) and pick up a copy of Counterpoint to Chaos. And remember that if I left any loose ends, there is going to be two more books with Nazia and Anton.