The BIG Reveal

In which I introduce my newest book available April 26.

Ta-da. I could probably hook up some sort of music file here to produce a fanfare, but music erupting from a web site can be pretty obnoxious, so I will refrain. However, you can help me. Right now, imagine a trio of horns blasting a triumphant fanfare as I introduce …

 

Stone Key 1000

 

The Stone Key is my latest book, and it will be available April 26 as both an ebook and a print book. You can preorder it now at Amazon. (Or if not at this moment, any second now)

If you can’t tell from the cover, The Stone Key is a time travel novel.

Sworn to protect a powerful artifact, Arden of Throckmorton is reluctant to carry out her duty until the relic whisks her nearly eight hundred years into the future. Her only way home is to find it. Modern England is no place for a medieval maid.

Hawkins Arlington is a prominent medievalist and just the man to help her, once he gets over the whole time travel and magic nonsense. Besides, the chance to study a real medieval woman is too brilliant to pass up.

But when a villain from the past appears, Arden and Hawk race to find the artifact first, risking their lives, their homes, and their reputations. And if they find it, can Arden discover what her heart wants and will Hawk be able to let her go?

I hope you will check out this newest adventure of mine. More inside stories will follow.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

“I’m Your Biggest Fan”

I don’t care if you think you’re the biggest fan of my favorite book. You’re wrong. And here’s why…

You want to know the magic of books? It’s that every book is yours. Allow me to explain. When an author writes a book (I may just be speaking about myself; if so, just change the generalization to references to me), he or she is trying to give life to a story floating out in the nebula of our brains. I don’t care how much you plot, plan, or plead, the story you write will never achieve the vision you held in your head. So we do our best because we want to share our vision with the reader. And notice how I wrote “the reader,” not “the readers.” Of course authors want many readers; hell, we would all love to hit the lists, but when we speak about those who enjoy our work, we tend to speak in the singular. Yes, we are trying to reach many, but each book can only reach one person at a time.

Some (very few) of my favorite books--the ones that were close enough that I could take this pictures quickly.
Some (very few) of my favorite books–the ones that were close enough that I could take this picture quickly.

What I take from a book is different from what you take. Yes, we can both (all?) love the hero, hate the villain, but when I’m reading it’s just me and the page. When I’m in a book (and I would say I am in a book), every image is mine. Yes, the words create them, but my mind pictures are different from the author’s and different from yours. When I love a book, it doesn’t matter if someone can beat me in a trivia contest over its contents, or can name every fact. The only thing that matters is how I respond to it. Because it’s now mine. The book, its story, the characters, and my experience with them. Mine, mine, mine.

As an author I can tell you it’s hard to let your book go out into the world because part of letting others own the book is that some will not like it. Their experience will be unsatisfactory. They will think the hero stupid, or the heroine weak, or the villain too over the top. Unfortunately, those are valid responses as well. Remember, the book belongs to the reader.

And thus the magic. When you pick up a book, you bring yourself to it. Your responses are yours—you don’t have to justify them, or support them, or debate them (although if you can support your arguments in a debate and like that sort of thing, it can be fun). When a reader says he or she is the book’s biggest fan, he or she is right, even if there are thousands that say so. When I’m reading or rereading a favorite novel, it’s my book, and I am the biggest fan. Of course I’m the biggest fan (or biggest detractor), because the story I read/experience is different from anyone else’s; it is mine. It is unique.

And that’s magic.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

Honor’s Price by Alexis Morgan

The Paper Magician and the Woman Who Invented Her.

I am so thrilled to host Charlie N Holmberg here as my guest today. In her debut novel, The Paper Magician,  she has created a world and a story which is fantastic in the true sense of the word. And it’s terrific too. I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more from Charlie. Smart, fresh, sweet, and full of heart, I highly recommend it.  Here to explain her world better than I could is Charlie herself.

The World of THE PAPER MAGICIAN: What It Was and How It Changed

My debut novel, The Paper Magician, takes place in an alternative 1902 London, England. I say alternative because magic has tweaked it. In the world of The Paper Magician, people have learned how to cast spells through manmade materials: glass, paper, rubber, metal alloys, plastic, even fire and flesh. So, though it’s 1902, plastic is in wide use. Advancements in metal and rubber have made automobiles fairly common. Electricity is still somewhat new, but is often replaced with bulbs consisting of enchanted glass and flame.

Funny thing is, The Paper Magician wasn’t actually written to be in our world at all.

The first couple drafts of the book take place in Perget City, which is the capital city of Amaranda: a country modeled after early twentieth-century England.

I usually write other-world fiction. One of its perks is that I can more or less invent whatever I need for my story to work. I want a boat scene? Bam, the city now has a river. My protagonist needs someplace to hide? I wave my magic mouse and there’s now a mountain range riddled with caves. So long as I stay consistent, I can make the world whatever I want.

But it was a lot like England. Enough so that my editor caught on and strongly suggested I change the setting to England, which ultimately worked well with the story and gave it a historical flare. Perget City became London, Amaranda turned into England. The continent of Manomas shifted in Europe, and all was hunky dory.

Well, not quite. There were tricky revisions to make.

Now I needed to be accurate. Because The Paper Magician is more or less a journey through a magician’s past, my protagonist visits a lot of places. Places that now had to actually be real. If I mentioned a theater, I had to dig through articles and websites and Google Image Search to find a similar theater in London—one that actually existed in the time period (the “existing” thing came up more often than not. A lot of fancy old buildings got demolished before I could use them). Once I found something, I then had to tweak my description of the place to make it match. I did this with auditoriums, parks, churches, and schools as well, not to mention renaming streets and various geographical locations. (I did take some artistic discretion with statues. In a world altered by magic, there could spring up all sorts of important people we’ve never heard of!)

In the end, I feel the setting of the book makes the story much more relatable, and it let me wonder, What would this real place be like with the advancements of magic? It’s also inspired me to try my hand at a true historical in the future . . . we shall see!

A brief  synopsis of The Paper Magician:

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.CharliePic1.1

About Charlie:

Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses.

Links

Website: CharlieNHolmberg.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CNHolmberg

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1q2JDCC

Amazon purchase page: http://amzn.to/1yjGbom

 

 

I hope you enjoyed hearing about this wonderful tale and author. And if you need a good read, you know what to do.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

 

Tastes and Age

Lately I find myself engrossed in a couple of television shows. I was a firm fan of How I Met Your Mother, but it’s over now. I watch The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, but I’m absolutely hooked on Grimm, Once Upon a Time, and Agents of Shield. I’ve glommed a few series on Netflix: Dr. Who, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Primeval, The Dresden Files, Firefly; and I’ve caught a few episodes of Torchwood and Farscape (not glomming those, though). Most of my friends who are not in the writing world don’t watch any of these. They don’t read the same books as I either. They’ve all seen Breaking Bad, which I am currently watching, but more out of a sense of “need to” rather than “want to.” I recognize the superior story crafting, the superb acting, but it’s just not my thing. I’ve been pleading with them to watch Game of Thrones with little success. We own the discs and the books.

It’s left me wondering about tastes and age. I suppose most people believe that as one ages, one’s tastes become more serious. I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’m gravitating even more toward the paranormal (to use a generic term for sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction). I recently visited my daughter in Boston, and I think I shocked her roommates when I not only understood their references, but added my own insights to their conversations. We watched Pacific Rim together and had a great time.

So am I just more youthful in my tastes? I don’t think so. I believe that all entertainment, whether it’s books, movies or television, is about the characters. It’s the great characters that keep us glued to a show or a book. It’s just the delivery method that changes. A character gives us someone to recognize and cheer for. When they change, we grow. When they hurt, we ache. We feel with them and experience universal truths through them (This ties into Theme, which proves that you can’t isolate one element of a story with any kind of success). Tyrion Lannister is a fair, loyal, and just character with great flaws who happens to be a member of a ruthless family from whom he’s learned some of his behavior. Does that sound like Hamlet to you? (Okay, not exactly, but you get the picture.) And when [SPOILER–skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know even this non-event specific fact] they push him too far, he finally rejects them. He is honorable in his own way. We root for him even more than the outrightly noble character of Ned Stark, because liking Ned is too easy (Not that his death wasn’t heart-breaking, but, really, he was too good.)

Perhaps I like my characters in settings that aren’t of this world because I am so aware of the realities of this world. I’m highly political (which I try to keep from these pages), aware of current events, scientifically minded, and have my own personal demons I battle. In my entertainment, I don’t want to face those realities in a realistic setting. I would argue those same realities are in the paranormal, but in a background where they are easier to handle and comprehend and still be entertained. I would also argue that historical fiction is also not of this world. Must be why I like it too.

So don’t expect me to write or read the next great American novel. Give me magic, fairies, spaceships, and time travel. I’ll take my characters and morality from real fiction instead of reality fiction. Disagree with me? That’s fine. I’m not asking you to change your mind. But don’t judge my tastes either.

Meanwhile I’m waiting for a friend of mine to return from her European trip and bring me the Harry Potter series in German. Can’t wait to re-read them.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin (re-read)