Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Heir of Night

The Heir of Night
The Wall of Night, Book One

Helen Lowe
Eos, 2010

"If Night falls, all fall."

This book is a compelling beginning to an exciting new series.  Lowe has created a richly realized world of great depth, and peoples it with interesting characters.  Her tale begins in a mountain keep in a harsh land where the Earl of Night, of one the Nine Derai Houses, keeps the unending vigil against the Darkswarm.  This horde of warriors, necromancers and terrible demons has been the Derai’s foes “across worlds and time,” yet a recent lull in the conflict has allowed some of the Derai to settle into complacency.  Additionally, the Nine Houses are split by past treachery, which has also split the warrior line from the priestly line – and anyone who shows the least bit of the “old powers” is exiled to the Temple.

However, now the Darkswarm have returned, and swords alone are not enough against them.  The Darkswarm are after Malian, Heir of Night, the Earl’s daughter.  She discovers she is a child of prophecy and a wielder of the old powers.  With the help of a young novice from the Temple, Kalan, she survives the first terrible assault of the Darkswarm, but she quickly learns that there are traitors among her people and that the rift between warrior and priest demands that she be sent away for her magical gifts.

The tale is fast paced and exciting, even as it weaves in the complex culture and family alliances, the vast legendary history of the Derai, and tantalizing glimpses of the other peoples which live on the planet Haarth.  Malian and Kalan must find a way to learn how to use their powers, stay out of the hands of the Darkswarm, understand the great legendary forces that are awakening around them – and perhaps find a way to unite their world.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Submitting Short Stories

As my efforts to write short stories begin to yield some drafts that are nearing finished, I have been gathering a list of places to submit them.  Yesterday, I was very excited to discover Duotrope.  This website is a free resource for writers, which has a searchable database of markets for fiction and poetry.  By entering terms such as “High Fantasy” and “short story” I came up with a list of places to submit, most of which I had not found in my poking around on the web.  I found Duotrope through the website of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which is another very useful website in its own right.  I have been keeping an eye on their blogs, as there are useful articles on both the writing and the business side of things.

Duotrope: search for short fiction & poetry markets

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On a quest to the Renaisance Faire

M, N, D and I had an adventure trying to get the Renaissance Faire yesterday.  We started out by checking out a smaller festival that turned out to be a bit of a dud.  Then, since we were all dressed up, we decided to go to the bigger fair that (luckily) was also happening this weekend.  With a lot of getting lost, getting found, calling friends to look up directions and maddeningly slow people on country highways we made it to the Faire – about an hour before it closed.  We still had fun though, wandering around, eating pickles and ice cream. 

I love the feeling of being dressed up in costume and among so many others in costume.  It is also really fun to people (or, perhaps, character) watch at the Faire.  Sometime it would be interesting to go and take four or five pictures of different characters and then write a story based on them.  Here's a picture of our costumes:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Submissions for The Amber Grimoire

Back in February, I solicited submissions for The Amber Grimoire.  The May issue did not receive enough submissions to be published, so we are trying again.  Our theme is still "The Wild Wood," and submissions of poetry, short fiction, reviews and art work are requested by September 1, 2011 for publication in November.  Visit the submissions page for more information.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I just moved last week.  Moving is always an exhausting process – but I am excited about this one.  Our new apartment is full of light, and has lovely large double-glazed windows.  I am still living with my sister N and our housemate M, but our other housemate S, is now in a studio of her own, a mile or so away.  My new room is tiny compared to my old one…but I really like it.  It has south and west facing windows, one of which overlooks the balcony where all my potted herbs are living.

I took the opportunity of moving to organize my writing-self:  I have a file box dedicated to writing and three wall pockets for manuscripts in various stages.  My notebooks have a place to live – that is not just a stack – and I even have a spot to put my computer case.  Now all I need is the internet to be hooked up and I will be set.
I also discovered a coffee shop in my neighborhood – in my search for WiFi – which is my new favorite coffee shop.  It is under an apartment building and is long and thin, with a coffee counter on one end and fireplace on the other.  The whole north wall is windows and there is a pair of comfy chairs that I can sink deeply into.  I haven’t liked a coffee shop this much since The Dragonfly in Portland, OR.  Check it out if you are ever out that way.

Lovely inside too!

In writing, my next country is coming along.  I spent a while yesterday designing a flag for it.  It is called “the oak and stars.”  The country is Ariceda, which is the setting for the novel I have in very rough draft form.  I know that manuscript needs a lot of work – if for no other reason than I have done a massive amount of world-building since I wrote it.  The short story I am working on for Ariceda is a sort of prequel tale for the novel and will, I hope, flesh out some of the secondary characters.
Despite being worn out from the move, I have been full of energy for writing.  I am plugging my way though editing and am collecting places to submit some of the more polished pieces too.  I hope I will be announcing some sort of publication in the next year or so.