Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ignorance Is Unbecoming

"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly." - C.S. Lewis

I don't normally react to things that I read in the news, since I read more than I care to. But I figured I'd add a bit to the noise surrounding Time columnist Joel Stein's article today titled, "Adults Should Read Adult Books."

Last I understood from my journalism classes at college, news articles were supposed to present the facts and editorial pieces were supposed to start or contribute to conversations. I don't recall studying to try and make myself sound cool or better than the next person by putting down another. But perhaps I went to a different type of reporting school, where they taught against that Ivory Tower mentality.

As a consumer of children's books, I'm quite satisfied in my reading choices. Do they make me less of a person? Last I checked, I have a steady income, pay my taxes, don't cheat and kill people, and...oh yes, I contribute to publishing and the economy as a whole by buying books. No one tells me what I can or cannot spend my wages and time on, especially not someone who hasn't bothered to read the books he's putting down.

Clearly, Mr. Stein enjoys literature that doesn't fall under the kidlit categories. And there's nothing wrong with that. To each his own. But to try and shame people who do enjoy Harry Potter and The Hunger Games by presenting his own preferences as superior? That seems, well, childish.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eligere NOW AVAILABLE and giveaway

Ebook Eligere is now available! Check out the My Books page for places to purchase it. Paperback Eligere will be available next month.

There's also an interview and giveaway for a signed paperback of Seranfyll going on at Word Spelunker today. Check it out and enter for your chance to win! The giveaway ends on 4/2/12.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Writing: How do you shave a goat?

So, Eligere is with one last beta reader. As soon as she's finished with it, I'll be able to format the ebook for launch. But while I'm waiting on her, I thought a blog update was in order.

I had a salty old journalism professor in college who used to say, "Get everything in writing. Even if you're momma tells you she loves you, get it in writing." And basically, he meant that we needed to do our research and cover our backsides when it came to writing the news. If something went out with your byline on it and it's riddled with untruths and/or errors, then you're a sucky reporter and you need to fix it or find another major.

I find to a degree that holds true even when writing fiction and fantasy. There are natural laws at play in the world that if you don't present subjects and situations in a logical fashion, they're going to come off as a bit shallow.

Image courtesy of...somebody else.
One master example of someone who pulled this off brilliantly, in my humble opinion, is none other than J. R. R. Tolkien. And the reason, I believe, is because he spent the time developing this world of Middle Earth complete with its own history, laws, and boundaries. So, when he wrote about it, it was as if it really existed. All Tolkien fans know that The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books are mere points on the grand timeline he had created.

Well, I'm no Tolkien. Not in the least. And rather than create my own worlds with histories and laws and boundaries, I have to borrow heavily from our own. So, thanks to the miracle known as the Internet, I often find myself researching in order to make certain aspects of my books believable. Some of my recent queries include:

1. How do you shave a goat?

2. What is a aft? What is a helm?

3. What is the technical name for "rock snot"?

4. Men's fashions of the seventeenth century.

5. Do horses cry?

6. What is a pyroclastic flow?

7. African drums.

8. How much blood can someone lose and still live?

9. Natural mosquito repellent.

10. Type of scientist who studies bugs.

And with that, I'll end this post with a clip from National Geographic about two Kenyans who meet fainting goats in Texas. Peace.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Eligere (aka Seranfyll 2) cover reveal

Another fantastic cover from Susan Windsor! And I'm really looking forward to launching the ebook in the next couple weeks and the paperback in April. Just to clarify, this is the second book after Seranfyll, and it takes place roughly two years after the happenings of the first book. For now, here's the cover and description:

Rain. Is. Bored.

With Coal at university and Domrey away on a constant string of assignments from the Royal City, she and her sister Snow are stuck at Seranfyll Manor with their tutor Professor Digory, who has to be the dullest teacher on the face of the earth. She craves a break from the monotony or, even better, an adventure like the ones she only gets to read about in books.

A voyage to the jungles of Amyrania should do the trick. When Domrey agrees to do a favor for the king, Rain and the others get to set sail with him on what sounds like an exciting but relatively simple assignment. However, despite its tourist-friendly facade, Amyrania is called the "Untamed Isle" for good reason, and this adventure will prove to be more than any of them had bargained for.