Naomi Novik

I originally thought about posting a Scott Lynch vid (he of Lock Lamora fame), I decided on a female writer instead, Naomi Novik in particular.

Depending on how you look at it, she either writes historical fiction with a fantasy bent or historical fantasy; I'm going with the historical fantasy label (because that's what I'm writing). Either way, history is an important element of the story.

BTW, some critics of her later books are saying these books are becoming more alternative history than historical fantasy.


To me, it's still a good read, whatever label you put on it. According to Ms. Novik, in the vid anyway (filmed in 2008), this one goes to nine (not 11, lol). I need to stock up ye olde PayPal and buy her latest, which I've neglected to do - not that I don't have anything to read :-). My TBR pile is up there, trust me.

One of the reasons I like the Temeraire series is the dragon is so smart and erudite and curious. Maybe that's how I look at myself (hah!), although some would beg to differ. In fact, that's the problem the MC in my WIP (Viv Cambridge) looks at herself, so I don't have a problem with self deprecation.

As I said, this is a Q&A (Part 1) at a bookstore in Seattle back in July 2008.


I still have a Wordpress blog

But I decided to resurrect this one...because it's more fun for me (and I can do neato things like suggest books, including my own (once that day comes)).

For the time being, I'll keep the Fantasy Scribblings blog, but I'll phase it out at some point.

Hmm...welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! (Remember the old sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter. Yeah, sung to that music.)

Fun to welcome myself back, wot?



I'll post this...

...because I can! :-)

Hubby and I LOVE Absolutely Fabulous (aka AbFab), with Bubble being the pinnacle in ditzy blondeness.  No, it's not about writing, but who cares?  We all have to have some fun, and if you live in the wintry parts of the U.S., isn't it nice to just take a few moments away from the crappy snow and have a chuckle?

Yeah, I thought so.  Enjoy!


What I'm Going to Do

I have a few ideas for stories (short stories) that aren't necessarily related to fantasy that I've been kicking around for a while.

That, and I also have an idea for a novella that is definitely not fantasy related (a romance - strange for me, because I can't remember the last time I read one).  I have just rediscovered a TV soap opera that I watched back in the late 1970s (Ryan's Hope), and I'm digging it again.

(Hopefully, Faith Coleridge won't give us any more examples of her dancing.  If you've ever seen Elaine Benes on Seinfeld dance...yup, just like that ::shudder::).

I've ordered a bunch of books on different things and hope to be writing shorts very soon.  Since I've been given more to do at this temp job thing (yay!), I'm encouraged to go for it.

And maybe some other things too.

 But more about that at some other time.


How some pro covers are made

Found this vid to be interesting, altho it goes by a little too fast for me. :-)

It's for Blameless, by Gail Carriger.  I have her first book in the series, Soulless, but haven't finished it yet.  (My TBR list is huge, lol.)


This makes my blood boil

I've set it up so that I do posts on this blog twice a week, but I couldn't let this one go.

Free Books Aren't Free

Click on that, and you'll see a post that exactly describes why you shouldn't illegally download books.  Those authors who want to be commercially published - and those serious about self publishing - have the right to be compensated for their hard work.

Look, I'm working a long-term temp job, I have a mortgage, COBRA is almost $400 a month for hubby & me (& that subsidy's going to end soon, alas), so I'm not exactly rolling in dough.  That said, if I couldn't come up with the money to buy a new book or buy a used book or buy an e-book...I'd go to the library.  Or I'd go onto Paperback Swap & see if the book was available there, the basic premise being that these are used books and might as well be shipped to people who are going to read them (give them a new home).

Yes, I've used that site to unload books I've already read (and I have plenty - yeow!), and I've also sold used books off of Amazon.  I'd give books away rather than have them sitting around the house collecting dust.

Think before you download illegally.



Word Count

Altho I didn't do any of my own writing today - a day at home & lost pay (I'm doing a long-term temp thing) makes me a bit irritable & very lazy - I have written since I last posted.

Number of words: about 8,700.

I recently said I was going to do a chapter or two from the antagonist's viewpoint.  And I did.  Now I'm not so sure I want to go that way.  Not because I can't, but because I came up with a great idea for the first big event to happen (that first door that James Scott Bell talks about in his fantastic how-to, Plot & Structure).  This will propel the story into the middle, usually the land of muck and mire and much that is swampy (read: boring).

I'm hoping that doesn't happen, and I don't think it will.

You'll notice under the Writing Helps section that I've listed Godchecker.com; what a find that was!  It's given me more ideas to further shape the antagonist, and, no, I'm not going to make him all evil, all the time (mwahaha!).  That would be boring.

Onward and forward!


Brandon Sanderson Video Interview

I recently purchased the doorstopper called The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson.  Now, I enjoyed the Mistborn trilogy, never bothered reading Warbreaker, gave up on the Wheel of Time series a loooong time ago...

But I was curious to see if I would like his newest series (10 books, at this point in time), so I went out of my way to buy the hardback version (unusual for me).

This is an interview of him.  Ignore the little water fountain thingie next to him, lol.


Word Count

Chapter 5 is going to be in another person's POV (that of Kathleen's brother).  I feel it's necessary because I want readers to understand where he's coming from, that he's not all bad.

Wrote 750 words today.  Yay!

Query Letter Help

I decided, as a way to get me back to writing my WIP, to write a query letter.  Or at least the barebones of a query.

If you want an agent, as many wannabe writers know, you have to write a query.  (In the U.K., I think it's referred to as the cover letter.  Same idea, though.)  So, how do you distill the essence of your 80K novel into three paragraphs?

Answer: not easily.

This thread at the Absolute Write boards helps by giving you 3 questions to answer:

1. What does your protagonist want?
2. What does s/he have to do to get it?
3. What happens if s/he fails to get what she wants? (the stakes)

Pretty good way to take those first tentative steps, hmm?  :-)  I thought so, too, but I was having trouble using that with my current WIP.  It takes place in 1942 Los Angeles.  The main character is Viv Cambridge, a woman who has "run away" from her blueblood mother.  (There's bad blood between them.  That was a joke, son, as Foghorn Leghorn would say.  Well, anyway...)  She's an editor at a crappy small publisher, lives in a house with a starlet who thinks nothing of bringing home "strays," women who've been kicked out of their homes, and is a witch-in-training, to boot.

That last, the witch-in-training bit, is a way for Viv to get back at her mother.  But I'm not going to say how in this post.

Back to topic.

Those initial 3 questions just weren't working for me, because I start off with Viv saying she's pissed off at her mother for various reasons.  What the hell agent is going to want to read pages if I say something like, "Viv wants to live a normal life," or "Viv ran away from her blueblood mother at the tender age of 26"?  (Well, the last one is true, but it won't draw in agents.  I mean, did it draw you in, dear reader?  No, I didn't think so.)

But then the OP of the thread qualified those questions: go for the bigger goal.  This works for me, dear reader.

The answers to the questions are:

What does Viv want?  To save Kathleen

She's the latest stray (magical).  Viv needs to save her from her brother, who's trying to kill her (yes, he's magical, too).

What does Viv have to do to get it?  Spirit Kathleen away from the starlet's house

What happens if Viv fails? (the stakes)  Viv, the starlet, and Kathleen will die

and who knows who else?

Viv's big problem is that she has a hatred against Japanese Americans (due to something that happened in her past), and after she accidentally gets rid of Kathleen's glamour (she's erected a veil to disguise the characteristics of her face), Viv has to deal with the fact that Kathleen is...a Japanese American.

How does deal with that to get to the point where she's helping Kathleen?  I have a few twists up my sleeve.  ::cue wicked laughter::

Is writing a query easy?  For most people, no.  But the answers to these questions - including the qualified ones, which are talked about in this post of the thread mentioned above - may help you cut through all the flotsam and jetsam that are your twists and subplots.

And that's what you have to do: Get it down to the essentials and build up (somewhat) from there.