On My Shelves: Academ’s Fury

The second book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher begins with a prologue: the terrifying and alien Wax Forest has turned dead, with no trace of the spider-like Keepers and other creatures that had dwelt within the resin-coated nightmare-scape. The young Marat, Kitai, who Tavi had first competed against and then cooperated with in the Wax Forest to earn the respect and cooperation of the Marat chief Doroga, has also found something else disturbing: tracks leading out of the ruined Forest, and, along those tracks, Tavi's lost backpack. [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Furies of Calderon

The story goes that Jim Butcher – author of the Dresden Files series – was told that one couldn't write a good story based on "lame" ideas. Butcher responded that he could do so with any two lame ideas of the challenger's choosing. The challenger responded with "Lost Roman Legion", and "Pokemon". The result was the Codex Alera series, with the first volume being Furies of Calderon. Speaking purely from the geeky point of view of "how well did he do with those two lame ideas", I have to say… middling. As a combination of "Lost Roman [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Curse of Immortality

I have previously reviewed Jeff Getzin's dark fantasy novel Prince of Bryanae on this site. While Prince rode as close to the dark edge as I'm generally willing to read, that novel is not the only venture into the world of Bryanae that Jeff has provided. I'm going to review all of the stories, but right now I want to review the latest of them. The story is told – as is thus far always the case – from the point of view of a woman who will cross paths with the frenetically cheerful swashbuckler D'Arbignal. Prince of Bryanae takes place in the [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 2

We continue snippets of my forthcoming Magical Girl-based novel. When we left off, Steve had been asked to do something that seemed physically impossible... -----     Chapter 2.      Steve goggled down at the slightly oversized rat with its overly-shiny white fur, tiny golden crown, sitting on his hind legs and regarding Steve with a far too knowing look. "Become what?" "Mystic Galaxy Defender, Princess Holy Aura," Silvertail repeated calmly. The repetition of the ridiculous phrase left Steve speechless. He would have [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: Deleted Chapters of Phoenix Rising, Chapter 50

Now we jump far, far ahead to near the end of the book. This chapter was deleted because the book ended very, very differently. Not only did Xavier only show up for a couple of chapters (being sent off to Idinus of Scimitar rather than the Wanderer, and thus not traveling with Tobimar and not showing up for the final battle), but also there was no "screw you" trap following Thornfalcon's death, and after their meet-and-greet, the three companions did, in fact, burn Thornfalcon's mansion to the ground and didn't confront the remaining Justiciars [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: Deleted Chapters of Phoenix Rising: Chapter 12

This chapter followed the introduction of Tobimar and Poplock, and implied some time passed. As you can see, the timeline got shifted some -- in the final draft, of course, it's implied that the first events for Tobimar and Poplock happen after Rion becomes a Justiciar.     Chapter 12.      Lighter blade parried greatsword with a chiming impact that diverted the larger weapon but also drove back the smaller with near enough force to disarm. Rion cursed mildly as he backpedaled, his fingers clearly stinging. Kyri laughed [ Continue reading... ]

On Writing: The Maintenance of Belief

Anyone heavily involved in SF/F fandom will have encountered something that shattered their "WSOD" – Willing Suspension of Disbelief – and kicked them out of their immersion in the story to say, in one way or another "What the heck? That made no SENSE!" As an author, of course, I have to be very sensitive to this; I don't want my readers cranking along happily and then suddenly having their train of thought derailed. This is not, of course, something it's possible to avoid in a universal fashion; things that won't bother 99% of readers will [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix Ascendant: Chapter 26

Kyri had made a very puzzling statement...   -----     Chapter 26. Poplock stared at her, as did Tobimar; Poplock hopped to her shoulder to talk to her more directly. "Um, that's what we've been trying to do for the last couple of weeks, Kyri. With all the magic I've got, all of Sasha's, and even Kelsley's." He could feel her pulse, sense it hammering far faster than it should be. "Magic – at least the magic we have – can't do it," she said quietly, still striding towards the south. "The Arbiter can't. Even the [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix Ascendant: Chapter 25

Kyri was, in some ways, in more peril than she had ever been...   -----     Chapter 25. Arbiter Kelsley wavered on his feet; Tobimar and Discoverer (previously Seeker) Reed caught his elbows, helped him to sit down. Kyri looked out of the holy circle, and Tobimar felt a phantom pain in his chest as he saw her understanding that even this had failed. "Nothing at all, Arbiter?" The priest of Myrionar shook his head reluctantly. "I can injure her easily enough, Balance save me. But to break that curse lies beyond [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix Ascendant: Chapter 24

Well, Kyri had had a horrific shock...   ------     Chapter 24.      Kyri found her hand on Flamewing's hilt, the sword already half drawn, before she caught herself. The horrific thought echoed through her, a sentence of death and failure. Not summon Myrionar's power? Be barred from Myrionar? No! "That fast?" Xavier asked, unbelieving. "C'mon, she's gotta have some time!" "The Curse is already on her," Tashriel said, the same horror in his voice, and a part of her understood that he knew what she felt. [ Continue reading... ]