A is for Apocalypse edited by Rhonda Parrish, cover design by Jonathan Parrish

G is for Giftmas

It’s the season of giving, so I’m marking down A is for Apocalypse (because books make good gifts, yo!)

A is for Apocalypse edited by Rhonda Parrish, cover design by Jonathan Parrish

“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice-and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.”

– Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses

On sale now at:

CreateSpace (paperback) –> $17.99 $14.99
[Use promo code TY6D2CWD for a further 10% off]

Smashwords (electronic copies) –> $6.99
[Use promo code FC62Z to take $2 off]

Amazon (paperback) –> $17.99 $14.99

Kobo (electronic copies) –> $4.99
[on sale until January 4th]

Amazon and Kobo are being a little slow in updating, so if they aren’t showing the sale price refresh the page. If they still aren’t showing it, I apologize. They should soon.

White Noise -- Art and cover design by Jonathan Parrish

White Noise

White Noise -- Art and cover design by Jonathan Parrish

Just in time for zOctober (because, ya know, I didn’t have enough apocalyptic awesomeness to celebrate with A is for Apocalypse and Waste Not) I’ve released my zombie poetry collection:

White Noise

Poems of the Zombie Apocalypse

Yay!

I’ve been meaning to put this collection together for honest-to-gawd years but things never seemed to work out, until now. That’s why, though I’d normally wait, set a launch date and try to build up some excitement and publicity before officially launching a title, I’m not doing that with this one. It’s ready to go, and so I’m going to set it loose upon the world before something else goes wrong to delay its release LOL

White Noise contains 20 of my zombie apocalypse poems, some of them are reprints (including the one which was included in Imaginarium: Best Canadian Speculative Writing [2012] and the one which was nominated for a Dwarf Star award) and some are being published for the very first time.

Excerpt:

Obscured

Ghosts of the city
peer out of the gloom
around him
As a child he’d loved it
when the ‘clouds fell down’
and cloaked his world
in mysteries
Now, though,
it was just one more thing
to hide the shamblers.
One more obstacle to
his survival.
One more enemy.

Available At:

Amazon (paperback)
Amazon (kindle)
Smashwords

White Noise is $5.99 for physical copies and $0.99 for electronic ones.

Exceptions to this are if you buy a paperback copy (a great way to fill your cart when you need $5.99 more for free shipping, amirite?) you’ll get the Kindle version free and also, if you were subscribed to my newsletter yesterday you received an electronic copy for free.

White Noise on Goodreads

Praise for White Noise

“A collection of vivid scenes laid out in sharp and articulate verse, that when assembled, construct a grim narrative filled with tension, stark imagery, and unusual beauty. WHITE NOISE reaches in and evokes a visceral response— not always the one you’d expect.”

—Tim Deal, Shroud Quarterly

“In this collection of poems, Rhonda Parrish manages to capture all the emotions of life during an apocalypse: From fear and desperation to pain and sorrow. She even shows us love and hope. Some serious but most tinged with humor. This is a great collection of poems about the zombie apocalypse.”

—Carol Hightshoe – author of the Chaos Reigns Saga and Editor of Zombiefied I, II and III

“As soon as I read the first poem I was hooked! It was macabre but it wasn’t too far. Poetry puts our insides on our outsides and when it comes to zombies, well, that could get pretty gross in a hurry.

These poems were really good! They were passionate and made me think about zombies from new angles than I had thought about them in the past. There was a dash of the metaphysical put in and a lot of real living, non-zombie feelings as well. I’m going to go back for a second read, because they deserve it.”

—Virginia Carraway Stark, Starklight Press

Fae

Fae Release (Press Release)

A more personal post tomorrow, but for today:

Contact:
Elizabeth Wagner
publicity@worldweaverpress.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE

“FAE”

EDITED BY RHONDA PARRISH

Alpena, MI (July 22, 2014) – World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced FAE, a new anthology of fairy stories from classic tales to urban fantasy, edited by Rhonda Parrish, is available in trade paperback and ebook today, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

 Praise for FAE:

 “A delightfully refreshing collection that offers a totally different take on your usual fairy stories! I found it difficult to stop reading as one story ended and another began – all fantastic work by gifted writers. Not for the faint of heart, by any means.”

— Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® Winner
Anyone with an abiding love of Faerie and the Folk who dwell there will find stories to enjoy in FAE.”

Tangent (C.D. Lewis)
“The Cartography of Shattered Trees’ by Beth Cato and ‘And Only The Eyes of Children’ by Laura VanArendonk Baugh are shining examples of what could be done with the subject of faeries that surpass tricks on the reader, that build worlds and characters worth knowing and exploring, that have something important to say about the real world.”

Tangent (John Sulyok)
“Nibble on this deliciously wondrous collection of stories of fae one at a time or binge on its delights on one night, you’ll love the faerie feast this collection provides. I devoured it.”

— Kate Wolford, editor of Beyond the Glass Slipper; editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine

Fae CoverMeet Robin Goodfellow as you’ve never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales. Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. FAE is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies to modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis. FAE bridges traditional and modern styles, from the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale to urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist. This anthology covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters.

With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and new stories from Sidney Blaylock Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz Colter, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.

FAE is available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo.com, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find Fae on Goodreads.

Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. We believe in great storytelling.

Publication Date: July 22, 2014 • Fantasy / Horror Anthology $12.95 Trade paperback, 247 pages • $6.99 ebookISBN: 978-0692207918

Publicity/Reviews: publicity@worldweaverpress.com

Information:
www.worldweaverpress.com/books/fae

# # # # #

worldweaverpress.com
@WorldWeaver_wwp

Looking Back at 2013

Rearview -- Photo by Rhonda ParrishWhat a year. To say it’s been exponentially better than last year would be a huge understatement, but at the same time, it’s been far from perfect. It’s that time again when I look over my goals, see how well I did, celebrate the good things and figure out how to fail better at the others next year.

I’ll list my goals for 2013 below, bolding the ones I figure I accomplished and addressing each briefly. I don’t want to turn this into a novel-length blog post 😉

Health

  • Lose 25lbs
  • Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
  • No energy drinks
  • Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.

Right. So I totally fell down on pretty much all my health goals (though I mostly managed to avoid Red Bull).  I’m not even sure what happened to tell the truth, I just never managed to get back into the habit of working out and watching what I ate. This needs to be my primary focus for next year though because if I’m unhealthy everything else falls apart too. I may need help remembering that over the coming months though, so I’ll have to figure out a way to address that when I set my goals for 2014.

School

  • Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.

I took Psychology 304 – Research Methods in Psychology (which is required for my degree) and passed it with a B+. A very irritating B+. I was point five percent away from an A. >_<

Editing/Publishing

  • Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
  • Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
  • Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
  • Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
  • Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
  • Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists

Metastasis Cover FinalI sold the Metastasis anthology idea to Wolfsinger Publications and edited the hell out of that thing. I am *SO* freaking proud of this book. So proud, and my mother (who I dedicated my efforts to) would be as well. We’re still in the process of ‘promoting the hell out of it’ and our first statements haven’t come out so I’m not sure how sales are going yet. Fingers crossed though… and if they aren’t where we want them to be, well, I guess I’ll just have to put some more time in.

This year I did increase Niteblade’s readership, distribution and the number of file formats it is available in. We also held a super successful fundraiser (raising $604!) and even adopted a chimpanzee.

While I did check to see if there was interest in a NaNoLJers anthology, there didn’t seem to be. Maybe next year… And my sekkrit projekt kind of got left behind a bit this year, but maybe that’s something I can look to a little closer in 2014 as well because I sure wasn’t slacking when it came to editing projects this year.

In addition to Metastasis and Niteblade, I’m also working on an anthology with World Weaver Press. You may have heard of it, it’s this little thing I like to call Fae. And I also broke ground on the first of what is going to be a huge series of anthologies, A is for Apocalypse.

Writing

  • Participate in The Whittaker Prize
  • Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
  • Participate in Writo De Mayo
  • NaNoWriMo and both camp NaNoWriMos are all optional
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2012 NovPad prompts
  • Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
  • Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
  • Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
  • Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry

Tesseracts 17Well, you win some you lose some, right?

For example, I participated in The Whittaker Prize (well, this year’s incarnation was the Not-Whittaker Prize) but when it carried over into November, when I was trying to do All.The.Things including NaNoWriMo I decided to drop out for my own sanity. I was successful with NaNoWriMo however… but then I totally haven’t written another word on my novel (which needs about 30,000 more of them) since then. >_<

I did participate in Writo De Mayo where my primary goal was to transcribe a family history my grandmother had written and format it as a book to give to her. I did, and she loved it very much making the month’s worth of work well, well, worth the effort. (Alas, now she has edited the proof copy so guess what I’m doing in May 2014? LOL).

I also self-published Aphanasian Stories. Sales have been pretty lame (read: nearly non-existent) but I’m glad those stories are out there and available to an audience who might want them, if not today, perhaps tomorrow. Plus, the reviewers seem to like them, so that’s good for my ego 🙂

I’m looking at bundling some of my other previously published short stories to re-sell as ebooks but right now I don’t have enough which aren’t under contract that have common themes, so that’s something I’ll have to look at again next year.

As for the zombie poetry collection? It’s a work in progress. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it before the end of the year, but I don’t want to rush through and create an inferior product. Because.

Under the writing umbrella for 2013 I’ve had a fantastic year. I’ve produced some stories I’m really, super proud of, and many of them have found homes with dream publishers. Highlights definitely include being published by Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, work forthcoming in Kzine, Mythic Delirium and the Trafficking in Magick anthology, poetry publications with Every Day Poets and especially the story I co-wrote with Jo for Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories.

Reading

  • Read at least 30 books

As of today I’ve read 47 published books. I’ve also been privileged enough to read one soon-to-be published book as a critiquer and a couple anthologies I may have mentioned above. I also read a crapload of short stories as submissions to Niteblade and those anthologies, so overall I think I crushed this goal 😉

A Month of LettersMisc

  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (bonus points if I come up with a theme this year)
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Take a social media retreat for one week a month all year
  • Attend WorldCon 2012 in Texas
  • Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
  • Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
  • Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling

I did well on these ones 🙂 Sadly I didn’t make it to WorldCon, we had some unexpected expenses that needed to be dealt with (stoopid money) and I kinda sucked at putting prompts up for NaNoLJers but other than that I rocked the goals in this area. My month of letters was a lot of fun and I still write to several of the people I met that month (in addition to the friends I’ve always written to — I’ve fallen behind on that, but working on catching up. Let’s blame a crazy autumn, okay?), I did the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with a theme (Niteblade), ran the writing bingo at NaNoLJers and significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend playing World of Warcraft.

My social media retreats have gone very well, except for during the times when I’m in the midst of a promotion or such and need to pop on at least once a day because of that. I think next year I’m going to set a daily time limit for social media stuff rather than trying to avoid it completely for one week of the month. I think it will be better for consistency and also my sanity. Taking a break has definitely been good for my productivity though, and my state of mind. It’s really easy to get caught in a loop when every time something happens you think ‘I need to tweet this!’ Stepping away regularly definitely helped me shift my perspective and live a more balanced life. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

In the next little while I’ll look at my goals for 2014 and share those here, but in the meantime I think I’m going to bask a little bit in the glow of a year which, while it wasn’t perfect, was pretty damn good.

Guest Blogger: Jon Pinnock

Are you kidding me? Take a look at that cover right there. How freaking amazing is that? I love it. Seriously. And I know, I know, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but dude! Also, I know Jon and happen to think he’s a pretty awesome guy and a skilled writer, so, ya know, that helps…

Right. I should start at the beginning, I suppose, instead of just sort of gushing randomly.

There’s this guy, right? Named Jonathan Pinnock and he submitted a story to Niteblade. It was a great story and I happily accepted it. I enjoyed working with him and followed him on Twitter. I have since gotten to know him better and consider him a friend.

His novel, Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens was recently released and though I haven’t yet read it (It’s sold out on Amazon.ca at the moment) I am seriously looking forward to it.

When I learned he was doing a blog tour, I invited him to make a stop here. I think Jonathan is my first ever guest blogger on this blog, and what did he chose for his topic? Um, in part, me. O_o

Give it a read and then please check out the links at the bottom, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

~*~

Hello everyone. I’m supposed to be here to say a bit to publicise something I’ve written, but I really think I ought to say a bit about Rhonda instead. Because Rhonda is one of a very special bunch of people that keep writers like me going: small press editors.

In case you don’t know, Rhonda edits a Horror and Fantasy magazine called Niteblade. It’s a reasonably challenging publication to get into: according to Duotrope, only 7.5% of submissions get accepted (and you can bet the real figure is considerably lower than that). So for an aspiring writer, to get accepted by Rhonda is pretty encouraging.

Back in 2008, when I was struggling to make my mark on the world, I had stuff published in a number of small press magazines, including Niteblade (with a rather odd bodyswap story called “An Unsuitable Replacement” if I remember correctly). I think a clocked up somewhere between 30 and 40 hits that year, and each publication felt like another step along the very long and twisting road towards becoming a writer.

The editors of magazines like Niteblade aren’t in it for the money. It really is a labour of love. Again, according to Duotrope, rejections are sent out an average of 18.5 days after receipt and acceptances an average of 23.5 days. If you stop to consider the amount of consistent effort required to keep up that quality of turnaround (and also imagine what some of the rejected pieces must actually be like), you realise why so many of these magazines fold. But some of them, like Niteblade, keep going, publishing stuff from the likes of you and me.

So here I am, with my first novel in the shops. It’s called “Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens”, it’s a comic sci-fi sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” and it’s very funny if I say so myself (but I’m kind of biased, I suppose). If you want to read more about how it came to be written and published (by Proxima, an imprint of the extremely respectable Salt Publishing), please do take a look at some of the other posts on this blog tour (check out www.jonathanpinnock.com for more details). For now, I’d just like to salute the heroes of the small presses and thank all the folk out there like Rhonda who keep on doing it for the love. I wouldn’t have got to this point without you guys.

Important stuff about the book: the website for it is at www.mrsdarcyvsthealiens.com and it’s available in all the usual online places (including, amazingly, the Jane Austen Centre Online Giftshop, where they have some signed copies). If you’re in the UK, it’s still on promotion in WHSmith, so you can actually buy it in a high street store. How about that?

~*~

Thank you so much for stopping by Jonathan, and best of luck with Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens and all your future projects 🙂

 

Giftmas Bookstravaganza!

My family celebrates a secular version of Christmas I’ve taken to calling Giftmas. This year’s Giftmas was very book-centric.

I got:

  • The Hunger Games trilogy
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galxay trilogy (I know I should have read it before now, but I haven’t. Don’t judge :-p)
  • Entice by Carrie Jones
  • Dragon Bone by Patricia Briggs
  • Red Hood’s Revenge by Jim C. Hines

Whoot!

I can’t wait to get reading them, though I don’t know where to start. A dear friend of mine, Amber, sent me a crapload of books just before Christmas, and I want to read them too. I need a few more hours in the day, please. That would be fabulous. It’s also fabulous to have so many books I can’t wait to dive into 🙂

In related-to-my-book news I have a new review of Lost and Found to share. Clayton Bye, of The Deepening, reviewed it and he liked it. I liked his review, in fact it made my day yesterday.  Why? Well, in part because he said this:

Parrish represents a fresh and powerful voice in fantasy

*happy dance* How cool is that?

As you may have guessed he mostly liked the story with one notable criticism. The review is right here if you want to read it in its entirety, but be warned, it’s pretty spoilerific. If you don’t like spoilers you may want to wait until you’ve finished the story before popping over.

Speaking of the story, the next chapter will be going up on Monday 😉

We Have A Winner!

So, I consulted the random number generator and it chose a winner from the subscribers of my mailing list. It did, and I’m pleased to announce the Patricia W. will receive a free copy of Shades of Green just as soon as she emails me and sends me her mailing address. I have also dropped her an email to let her know.

Congrats Patricia!

Do you want to win a copy too? Like I said I’ll be running a contest closer to the release of Lost and Found to give away a copy of Shades of Green, but instead of having to like, think of something interesting to blog about, I’ve also decided to do another giveaway on GoodReads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shades of Green (Paperback) by Rhonda Parrish

Shades of Green

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends September 30, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Also, if you use Goodreads and we aren’t friends there? We really need to rectify that 🙂 Send me an invite, I would love to hook up with all my friends over there.

Summer Holidays / Summer Reading

What are you doing for summer this year?

I’m planning a couple day trips, largely influenced by where I want to go take pictures LOL We’ll be doing that as a family (Calgary Zoo, Drumheller, etc.). In addition to that though, my daughter is taking her first solo flight and going to visit her grandparents for a couple weeks. She will have a wonderful time; they live near the beach, which she loves, and will take great care of her. Jo and I have been trying to decide what we will be doing while she’s away. So far I’m coming up with nothing.

We have pets that would make it complicated to do something that involved leaving the house overnight or what not, but as much as we love Danica and will miss her, we’d like to do something special when she’s gone. No idea what that might be though.

One thing I plan to do a lot of is reading. Do you use a summer reading list? I never have, but I’m thinking about changing that this year…or maybe doing a book bingo thing. Our local library had it last year, if they aren’t continuing it this year I can make up my own card LOL Basically you got a bingo card with squares on it like ‘Read a book by a Canadian author’, ‘Read a book with a color in the title’ or ‘Read an autobiography’. That sort of thing. It could be fun.

So, summer reading. Do you do it? Wanna play bingo? I’m seriously thinking about it…in addition to trying to figure out what to do with two weeks while Danica is away.

Tidbits

For people who are subscribed to my newsletter this update post will have some news that you’ve read already. Bare with me (or is it bear with me?) though, there will be some stuff you’ve not read before too 🙂

First of all, Clarion West sent me their spiffy form rejection letter last week. I was disappointed, of course, but far less than I would have guessed. Truthfully, as much as I wanted to go to Clarion West (or Clarion), the idea of being away from my life and family for six weeks was a difficult one. It would have been tough on them, Danica especially, and I wasn’t sure I was actually willing to be that selfish, or what the cost for the people I love would be. Still, yes, disappointed. Maybe next year — Dani will be more independant then. We’ll see. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I keep writing. I entered the Whittaker Prize this year in an effort to give myself deadlines and also receive completely unbiased feedback on my work (since judging is anonymous and I don’t know the judges so they can’t recognise my style). I shared the story and poem I was submitting for the first round in my newsletter. The scores are in and I did better than I expected (74/100 on the poem and 85/100 on the story — surprising, I would have never guessed I’d score higher on the story than the poem.), now I’m looking forward to receiving my written feedback. I’m also working on my submissions for round two.

One of the prompts reminded me of a story I’d long wanted to write about Michael and Margaret. It’s set a long time before Sister Margaret but when it’s done I hope that you’ll be able to see the seeds of their future in its pages. It’s also meant to stand alone. Progress is going well on it, and it will make me happy to be able to submit an Aphanasian story for unbiased scoring and feedback. As for the poem…I’ve only a vague idea. We’ll see what comes of it. It is, of course, zombie related 🙂

Speaking of zombies, I will be doing the poem-a-day challenge in April. Sorta. My plan is to follow his prompts and write a poem a day, then after revision combine those poems (all zombie, of course) with the zombie poems I wrote based on Robert Brewer’s prompts in November and see if I can’t come up with a chapbook. I don’t know that I’ll do the ‘enter-the-contest’ part though. I doubt it.

Let me leave you with a short story about the kind of book I want to write. I was talking with my daughter about a book* she was reading and loving. We were discussing the storyline and one of the mysteries within. Danica said, “Well, that’s possible, but we think *insert spoilerific theory here*”. I said, “Oh, are some of your friends reading this series too?” she said no and asked why I’d think that. I said “Well, you said we think. That implies that you’ve been discussing this with other people.” Danica laughed and explained that no, when she said ‘we’ she meant she and the other characters in the book.

Think about that for a moment.

Those are the kinds of characters I want to write, the sorts of connections I want to make with my readers. Bravo Kelley.

*The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong. Danica loves what she’s read of the series so far. I, personally, enjoyed the first book in the series, The Summoning, until I realised there wasn’t going to be any resolution at all. I don’t like book series in which none of the books can stand alone.

Lastly, that picture? I just love it, and with the snow that has decided to return and cover my world with its beautiful but decidedly cold goodness I am truly longing for warmer weather and flowers.

Shades of Green

The contract has been sent, signed and sent back to the publisher. That means it’s official! My novella, Shades of Green has been accepted for publication by Sam’s Dot Publishing. *squee* The publication date is January 1, 2010 and I can’t think of a better way to start the year.

Shades of Green is an Aphanasian story, it was originally part of my novel-in-stories, Swamp Story, before I decided to rip it apart and make the stories stand on their own. Shades of Green is about a swamp elf, Z’thandra, who lives with the reptar, a fierce race of lizard-people who resent her presence and want her gone from the village. When she discovers a human in the swamp and falls in love with him, she needs to make a difficult decision, the reprecussions of which will affect the Reptar for generations.

It’s a love story…of a sort, and I am really proud of it. I can’t wait to see it in print and be able to share it with readers!

*does a little happy dance*

The Mermaid’s Madness

MermaidsMadnessBeing a writer changes a lot of things in my life, including how I read a book. I can’t read the same way I could before I started writing ‘in earnest’ for lack of a better phrase. I judge books differently too. These days when I’m finished a book and it’s time for me to assess what I thought of it I tend to ask myself questions beyond ‘Did I like it?’. Did I enjoy my time spend within its pages? Was I able to suspend my disbelief throughout its entirety? Did it make me think? Was it well-written? Were the characters real? Did they grow?

In the case of The Mermaid’s Madness the answer to those questions, for the most part, was yes.

Okay, biases out on the table, I adore Jim C. Hines. I like him as a person, a blogger and a writer. Thus far I’ve enjoyed every novel of his that I’ve read and I’ve paid (via charity auction) for him to critique my work. That’s a double-edged thing though, really, because while it means while I was pre-disposed to like The Mermaid’s Madness, I also had high expectations that could easily have been disappointed.

They weren’t though. Yay!

The Mermaid’s Madness is the second in Jim’s princess books, the first being The Stepsister Scheme. I thought this was a great book and enjoyed it more than I did the first. It had a darker feeling to it than The Stepsister Scheme, which could well be one reason I liked it better, but I think there’s more to it than that.

The characters were very real, three dimensional beings who grew and developed over the course of the story. Jim built on what he’d started in the first book and made it even better. This is where I find it difficult to really make points without giving things away…so forgive my vagueness.

One of my favorite things about this novel is that actions had consequences. The consequences from the first book weren’t simply forgotten, they carried over and touched this one. Not heavily really (except in one case…man I suck at vagueness), but they were there — just like in real life. I can’t abide stories where everything works out well in the end and everyone lives happily ever with nothing changing except for the better, blah blah blah. That is great for children’s tales…I suppose…maybe…in pre-school…occasionally… /digression . Happily, Jim doesn’t do that. Bad things happen, and they can’t just be made better by waving a magic wand or kissing the prince. I like that.

That’s not to say I think this book was perfect. In a couple places in action scenes I got a little bit lost and had to read back to re-imagine the scene and exactly what was happening, and I struggled a bit with suspending my disbelief at how quickly some people recovered from…things (stupid vagueness). Occasionally people seemed to have supernatural endurance/recovery powers that didn’t fit with what I thought probable, that sort of thing. But I wasn’t bothered enough by those things to set down the book or even slow my reading.

On a pseudo-related note, no matter how hard I’ve tried (and I have tried) the Danielle in my mind doesn’t even come close to matching the Danielle on the cover. Not. Even. Close.  I’ve given up on making the two match and I’m just going to enjoy how Danielle looks in my imagination.

Right, back on track.

The Mermaid’s Madness made me think, about lots of things. Stuff like reprecussions, character growth, real emotion and magic. Quite specifically about magic, magic systems and mechanics. I had a few revelations related to my own writing that was sparked by thoughts about The Mermaid’s Madness. This, as you can imagine, makes me happy.

I also enjoyed the ending, and the way Jim has started subtle mysteries in this novel I look forward to seeing how they develop in the next book…though waiting for it to come out may be painful. What do you suppose the chances are of my picking up an ARC of it before its release date?