(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Teasing Teaser

Chapter three of the third Inscrutable Machine book.  This is all you're getting until it's finished and published, so make this last!  I'm hoping that rather than satisfying you, it will make you crave the rest of the story.  I chose these three chapters because they're sort of the book's 'part one', setting up what the book will be about - as much as that ever works with my books.

The Very Long Third Chapter

Enjoy.  You do enjoy reading these, right?  I'm enjoying writing them.  I'll admit it - this whole chapter was a hoot to write.

The Pictures I've Been Too Lazy To Post

Uh... moving is hard?

I've been collecting photos for awhile, mostly from my wildly failed trip to UtopYA, and never got around to posting them.  So here they are, and any other photos I had in that collection!

Here's the Curiosity Quills table in the dealer's room at UtopYA.  I spent most of Thursday and Friday there.  What do you not see in this picture?  CUSTOMERS.  The con was practically deserted.

This was directly across from me.  Every time I looked up, it was SIX PACK ABS.  That was entertainingly ironic, because these photos don't convey just how incredibly few men there were at the convention.  It took divine grace to position the one straight male author right across from the one steamy women's romance novelist.

The convention was a total loss from a business perspective, but I met a lot of other CQ authors, and they were the most wonderful women.  They had a room party Thursday night, and while I did not get a photo of them shouting profanities at the top of their lungs while laughing, I do have these:  The SO of one of the authors attempting a thing he heard about where you can open a wine bottle by putting it in a shoe and thumping it against the wall.  It did not work, so he went and got the downstairs bar to open the bottle, which none of us had thought of.  I think that means he wins!

So, there was no business Thursday, and a few people Friday who told us what everyone says at cons - that they would be back to buy on Saturday.  That's how it always works at conventions.  Well... UtopYA, in its infinite wisdom, closed the dealer's room on Saturday.  That left us CQ authors up a creek, and I went sightseeing with Vicki Leigh and Gail Strickland (the two most awesome women in the universe, by the way*) in Nashville.  This is them, posing beneath a gigantic gold-leaf statue of Athena.

Not kidding about the statue.  Nashville has a life size replica of the Parthenon, including a reproduction of the lost statue of Athena.  The gold leaf is real.  The ivory is not.

Photo with humans in it, so you can see that it really is quite a large statue.

Interior detail on the shield.

Ducks.  Always hiding.  Watching me.

But vastly better than all of that, I offer you this:  A birthday present drawn for me by one of my friends.  I'm trying to figure out if I can size it to be a banner here, or something.  Hopefully, at least some of you have read enough of my books to know what you're seeing!

*Okay, maybe not, but only because I know some truly spectacularly awesome women.  Vicki and Gail were pretty badass, trust me.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Please Don't Tell My Publisher

Spaghettis with it.  I'mma post the first three chapters of the new book as teasers.  From my experience, it can only hook people to want more.  Here is...

Chapter One
Chapter Two

And I'll put up Chapter Three when it's ready.  Plus, you get to see the awkward, pre-editing first drafts!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Inside Out: Not Really A Review

I went and saw Inside Out for the second time today.  The second time in three days, and after the first time I came home and wrote an entire chapter.  So, yeah, I loved it.


For anybody going to see it, just keep in mind that it's way less silly and way more serious than advertised.  There are heavy duty Feels, and lots of them.  You know the first ten minutes of Up!?  About a third of Inside Out is like that.  Very heartwarming at the ending, but MANY FEELS.

Oh, and I just mentioned writing a chapter.

So, yeah, I'm officially working on the third book.  I'm wondering if I should sneak chapter two, and maybe three, up here.  My publisher won't like it exactly, but if it's no more than that they won't especially fuss.  Personally, I think it's a good advertising hook.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Book vs. Movie, it's Howl's Moving Castle!

Some poor fool left a copy of Howl's Moving Castle lying on the table, so I stole it and read it.  It's very rare that a movie is better than the book, but I seriously loved the movie and I wanted to check it out!

I can't tell you which is better, because they're so different, but I can talk bout how they're different, which to me is a neat topic.

Like I said, the movie and book are very different.  The stories only vaguely resemble each other, with most of the major characters being at least recognizable, and Sophie's curse and Howl's deal with Calcifer being almost identical.  Since those two drive the plot, you can at least tell the book is the source of the movie.  This isn't like, say, Who Censored Roger Rabbit, where the movie (thank goodness) throws out everything but a few character names and starts over.  It isn't like Jackson's Hobbit movies or the Rescuers (or Peter Pan, or Mary Poppins, or... well, anyway, thanks, Disney) where the movie is the opposite of the author's intent.

Instead, they're... different.  What's the same and what's different?  Well, that's what interests me.  The book and movie have very similar beginnings, but as they go along the story diverges more and more.  Most of the movie's conflicts and events, like Howl's opposition to the war or Suliman trying to trap howl, aren't in the book.  The book focuses closely on Howl's conflict with the Witch of the Waste, and with Sophie's personality and her status as oldest of three sisters in a fairy-tale world.  These issues barely get walk-on parts in the movie.

Miyazaki blatantly uses the movie to push his own moral messages that aren't in the book.  There is only one brief mention of an upcoming war in the book, and Howl makes a lot of money providing services to the military.  The anti-war message in the movie is entirely Miyazaki's.  So is Sophie's hard-working patience and Howl's gentle, kind spirit.  The characters in the book are much more grey morally, with Sophie being angry and bitter, and Howl being a selfish womanizer.  You know the 'little mouse' sexual harassment scene in the movie?  In the book, it's Howl that harasses her, but he backs off when she doesn't like it.

What does Miyazaki take from the book?  This is the most fascinating part of all, to me.  It says a lot about Miyazaki, who was a manga artist originally.  He took images.  Suliman sitting in her chair bolt-upright in an opulent room surrounded by serving boys?  That's a vivid visual scene in the book, but the woman isn't Suliman and her relationship with Howl is totally different.  The appearance is copied almost identically.  In the book there's a wizard fight with a big swirling black cloud that is cut in half by lightning, with something leaping out.  That's Howl fighting the Witch of the Waste.  No airships or military wizards are involved.  Calcifer blazing up into a huge multicolored mass?  That's in the book.  The melting blob servants?  Those show up in the book very briefly in one scene.  The book is full of gorgeous imagery, and the movie only resembles the book at all because Miyazaki took those images, which usually meant keeping some shred of the book's story.

Oh, and there are no airships, no steam powered cars, no steampunk anything in the book.  Those are all Miyazaki's loves that he added for his own amusement.  He made them fit beautifully, but they're very much not part of the source material.  Everything military in the movie is a creation of Miyazaki, with no presence in the book.

So, yeah, I enjoyed studying how the book was adapted, since it came out so different.  What about the book itself?

I liked it.  The tone reminded me of that S. Morgenstern classic, the Princess Bride.  People live in a fairy tale world and know the rules of a fairy tale world.  It's not funny, but it is light.  Sophie and Howl are interesting people with an interesting relationship.  It contained only one terrible flaw to me.  In the book, Howl is from our world.  It's a horrible, immersion-breaking trope, and it seems completely pointless here.  Still, the book is a pleasant enough read that it wasn't hard to get past.

Howl's Moving Castle:  Book or movie?  Both, because they're different stories, each one worth your time.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Unanswered Messages

Okay, so!  I thought you folks deserved an explanation for why I have been so inconsistent answering messages left here.

I'm a flake.

That's it, really.  I could put qualifications in, but why obscure the basic point?

It may be useful to those who really want to get my attention to know HOW I'm a flake.  I get super-focused when I'm writing, or when some major life event is going on.  If a miracle happens, I'm able to drag myself away once or twice to post something, but mostly I just disappear.  Then when I get back, I post something during the scramble to catch up.

It's pretty common, by the time I have attention to spare to start answering messages, for me to have missed a whole slew of them.  It's not because I'm not interested in the messages.  On the contrary, the comments I get here TICKLE me.  I'm just a flake.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fan Art Roundup!

There is nothing an author loves more than fan art.  NOTHING.  It means that you liked our ideas so much, you wanted to make them your own.  Even when we're running screaming from pornography, we're skipping a step because you CARED enough to violate our sensibilities.

I figured it was time to gather together the fan art I've been receiving and show it off.  I am still a tiny name, and I don't get much, but it all makes me happy.

Most of it is from one person, my alpha reader Nicole.  Most of that are OCs of her own.  So, I guess I'll start with Wild Children.  I am not including Wild Children OC pictures here, which I swear I get more of than anything else by far.  Well, I'll throw in one, because Agouti Rex tried to Wild Children his own OCs.

Here is your I'm More Artsy Fartsy Than You Rant for the day:  Gosh darn it, people, I'd be more flattered if more of you noticed that Wild Children are almost never classic anthropomorphs.  I was so in love with the idea of random pairings of animal and human traits!

And yet, still, I treasure every picture.  Notice I have that one carefully stored forever in my fan art folder to show you folks.

Okay, I'll throw in one more, because this comes from Dana, who inspired Wild Children in the first place.  Funny story - she hadn't read the book yet when she drew this!
In the Not OCs section, I don't recall Wolfgang being this pudgy.  By MaeraFey

Jinx's story seems to be really popular, and I have two pictures by people trying to draw the Weaver of Pain!  One by Agouti Rex, and one by Nikki.  Sorry, Agouti - Nikki's is waaaaaaaay more accurate.  Still, I love the Weaver's design, and seeing anybody draw him is a PIP.  A PIP, Sir!

Those are the Wild Children pictures.  Nikki really really really liked Heartfelt from A Sidekick's Tale, and drew TWO pictures of her!

Next in this wandering, cold-induced fever dream of a post is Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Teeth pictures.  Oh, hey, I repeated the word 'dream' by accident.  I'm really out of it.  But check out these Coys!

Those are by Nerissa 'Queen Shubidu' Fuller and Pepfav.  The latter holds the title for actually drawing Fang closest to how he's supposed to look.  People keep wanting to make him a fluffy wolf.  He's more of a bulky silhouette of a dog.

Ooh, wait.  I almost forgot this, by my friend Ben!  It's probably the first piece of fan art I ever got!
Okay, so, so... Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain art!  Bad Penny by RiddleBanshee, eClaire by Phantom Dragon, and a giant crowd scene by Elyandrin!  Phantom Dragon is working on a picture of Juliet and Harvey, but I don't want to put it up until they've finished the book and learn more about Harvey.  Heh heh heh.

Oh, hey, there's a picture of Penny by Nerissa again.
And her interpretation of Goodnight, from 'Summer of Lob', the story of when Bull met Evolution.  I'm about 2/3rds done with that, if only I can shake this disease.
And now the moment you've all been waiting for - fifty million pictures of Remmy by Nikki, who loves Remmy more than life itself!  I was getting these one after another the whole time I wrote the book.  It was awesome.

Unfortunately, my fans... do not love Remmy.  So this was Nikki's response to the early reviews.

I'll finish up with my favorite piece of fan art, which is from Nikki.  Her interpretation of the Walpurgis Night scene from Wild Children.  Evocative, isn't it?