Showing posts from April, 2017

Saturday Snippets: Albion Apparent and Paper and (T)horns

I actually have snippets from two projects this time. First, a couple from Albion Apparent . “I wouldn’t expect an answer right away,” said Bill. I turned to see him standing at the door where he’d left me. “He tends to let us learn patience along with prayer.” Bill stepped forward into the wan light, his pulled-down hat making the covered eye seem like a deep pit. “I don’t think there’s much time for patience,” I said. “Most people don’t.” He stopped at the end of the pew where I was sitting. “It doesn’t change His timing.” *** “Who are you talking to, young Merlin?” “Nobody.” “I’ve heard that’s one of the signs of insanity,” said Robin. “Then again, it’s not nearly as fun as hallucinations, so I think it shouldn’t even count.” *** I clenched my fist, then relaxed it. I hadn’t realized mortals could read my emotions so easily. “You know I’m a Valkyrie,” I said, “and what that means.” He nodded. “Except I’m not anymore, not really.” I broke eye conta

O'Brien Read/Watch: Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah is Robert C. O'Brien's last novel, published posthumously by his wife and daughter (after they completed it based on his notes). Despite the fact that O'Brien's family finished the book for him, the style remains consistent throughout -- though I wouldn't necessarily say it's O'Brien's style. The reason for that is this: in the three novels of his that I've read so far, he maintains a different voice in each. Mrs. Frisby has its omniscient narrator peeking into the minds of animals, The Silver Crown 's narrator is more limited, sticking almost entirely to Ellen's perspective, and Z for Zachariah is written in first person as journal entries of the main character, Ann Burden. Set in an undefined future (from the perspective of the '70s), Z for Zachariah  follows Ann Burden's account of how she survives following a nuclear and biological war in her native valley. Ann's peaceful if isolated life is immediatel

Monday Musings: The Writer's Tag

I've had a number of friends do this tag in the last couple weeks, so I figured I'd jump in. 1. WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT? Genres: Fantasy (high, urban, contemporary, epic), magical realism (or something that's not quite full-blown fantasy), and I've got ideas for sci-fi and horror stories/novels that haven't been written yet Styles: Well, I only wrote in third person omniscient for a long while, but I've tended to use more first person in my writing in the last ten years or so. I almost always write in the past tense in my fiction. Topics: I haven't really written topically, but I have touched on some issues like infidelity, homosexuality, personal identity, and religion in my short stories and novels. One novel-in-planning will deal very heavily with child abuse and its effects on both the victims and their friends and families. 2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? I've been coming up with stories and writing them down sinc

ThrowBook Thursday: Books that Made Me

I've talked before about books I love to reread and elements of my childhood , but today I want to take a different slant. Last week, Mirriam asked her friends and followers for blog topics, and I suggested "Which books do you reread the most and why?" and she responded with this post about the books that shaped her childhood (and her writing). Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams I didn't actually realize just how much this series influenced my writing until I started rereading the first volume, The Dragonbone Chair , in anticipation of the sequel, The Witchwood Crown , coming out this June. This was the first fantasy with flavors of Tolkien that I encountered that was not simply a carbon copy. It has been called a deconstruction of Tolkien's story, but really it's just a more modern take on high fantasy. It turns a number of tropes on their heads (including prophecy, which is still one of the coolest things about this series). This series

Monday Musings: The Power of Choosing Kindness (A Review of Cinderella)

I (finally) got around to seeing the live action Disney Cinderella remake from 2015 a few weeks ago. (Hey, I never said I was up-to-date on pop culture. Ever.) I'd been planning to do a review because (like Pete's Dragon ) it impressed me more than I'd anticipated. Then Mirriam and Arielle both posted about villains and their thoughts on the matter coincided with my main praise for the film: the way it handles its villains (and its heroes). One of the main detractions I have seen lobbied against this film is that it's "just the animated film with live actors." Well, it isn't. Aside from the fact that the new film drops the songs and has a significantly different script, it also adds motivation for Cinderella and Lady Tremaine. First, Cinderella. In this version, her parents are given screen time, and a good portion, too. We see their happy life together before Cinderella is orphaned. The key elements of this opening sequence are twofold: first ar

Watercolor Wednesday: Swelling Sea

For this month's Watercolor Wednesday, I decided to finally paint a picture I've been stewing over for months (since before Christmas, actually). Another Tow'rs-inspired piece, this picture takes its cues from their song "Swelling Sea". The main images I wanted to include from the song were the Moon, larger than life and pulling on the singer and the sea, and the swinging "pendulum clock". The rough sketch Both of these made it into the rough sketch (although I did have to move the Moon to the right because it wound up too close to the pendulum at first). As I added some waves for the swelling sea, an abutment of land introduced itself, along with a lighthouse. Since the opening line of the song mentions a keeper (who I'd always envisioned as a gatekeeper or door guard), I decided the lighthouse was a fitting addition. It ended up being one of my favorite elements. The finished product I'm very pleased with the way the Moon and

Monday Musings: Pete's Dragon Review

A while back I made a deal to swap movie thoughts with Mirriam. She picked Kubo and the Two Strings , reviewed it quickly, and praised it left and right. (If you haven't seen it yet, go out and do so. It's a gorgeous Japanese hero myth.) I chose Pete's Dragon because I was excited to see what a fresh take on one of my favorite childhood films would look like.* Seven or eight months later, I can finally deliver on my end. (Oh the glories of Netflix.) First things first: yes, this movie is different from the original (and not just because it's not a musical). It is, like the other Disney remakes preceding it ( Maleficent and, to a lesser extent, Cinderella ) a new spin on things. In all three cases, this is a good thing. Breathing new life into old stories is part of the ongoing process of storytelling. I really appreciated the fact that the filmmakers wanted to take the heart of Pete's Dragon (an orphaned boy befriended and cared for by a dragon before fin

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Tricksters

April Fools' Day is just behind us, so I thought today I could list some of my favorite tricksters in fiction. Cheshire Cat, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Quite possibly the first trickster I encountered, the Cheshire Cat is one of my favorite characters, especially Disney's manic version portrayed by Sterling Holloway. The right balance of wise and demented, the Cat acts as both guide and roadblock on Alice's journey. He's the epitome of the trickster in that way. Bartimaeus, the Bartimaeus Trilogy The initial narrator of Jonathan Stroud's fantasy trilogy, Bartimaeus is the sarcastic and slightly unreliable djinni at the heart of the books. Beneath all the snark, he has a heart much bigger than he wants you to think. His friendships with his masters make him one of the most complex characters in YA fiction. Robin Goodfellow/Puck, A Midsummer Night's Dream I love him so much I put him in the Albion Quartet. 'Nuff said. The Marqui

Monday Musings: Fantastic Beasts Film and Screenplay Review

I finally had a chance to sit down and watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  this weekend (thanks to the home video release). I also read the print version of the screenplay. I'd been looking forward to this for a while now, and I was not disappointed. Here's a quick run-down of my thoughts on the story (in both formats): Newt is not only a Hufflepuff hero, but an introvert hero. And glory be, he is still an introvert by the story's end. He has made connections, to be sure, but he is still the same lovable people-avoiding magizoologist that we met in the opening sequence. The Obscurial mythology is intriguing and deep, and I hope it becomes a key point for the franchise as a whole rather than being a one-off idea. (I'm okay with it being utilized in as simple a way as explaining Ariana Dumbledore's tragedy, as long as it is used to good effect.) Jacob and Queenie are wonderful, but some of their best moments are stuck in the deleted scenes. Speaking