I went out for Coffee and I’m the one who got Roasted

9 Jul

I just sent Titan’s Ascent to Champagne. Turns out I’ve been neglecting it for a few months and when I did my edits mostly yesterday it was mostly fine. I have a bunch of work to do for Magus’ Gambit, but my goal was to get TA sent off because after the next four days I am on VACATION.

Now, I already agreed to a trade and I’ll pick up, but I need a break. No help is coming for the healthcare system; the people in charge seem to want to run it into the ground. If you’re thinking I’m whining, we’re looking at a 25% nursing vacancy, and it used to be unheard of to have a truck out of service, and now they’re out all over. I doubt I’ll be working out of my own station, instead mandated to go everywhere. I’m mostly frustrated because I’ve helped out and gone out of my way to keep trucks in service in the past, and it seems that it was for nothing.

As for goals/blah blah blah I have been working really decently on a project I’m just going to call Puppet Masters but it will have a better title eventually. My goal is to write 1000ish words a day and get it finished (rough) for September, as well as I’d like to rewrite something else and send it to Cassie – I think by November (nanowrimo) is ambitious but I like goal setting. I’m going to hopefully kayak and oil paint and mountain bike, but I’ll be volunteering at the Bull Bash at Austin and we’ll see what happens.

As for the title, I ordered a T-shirt from The Babylon Bee and two of the baristas at the daily grind were so amused, despite probably not knowing what The Babylon Bee is, kept dropping bee puns at me. Like, took turns at the register, gave me a cube, and proceeded to come make more Bee related puns. I loved it; I used to study at The Grind when they were at the old location for University/Paramedicine so when my province decided to lock everybody down they were the business I went out of my way to support. So if you’re looking for a coffee shop in the west end of Winnipeg, give them a shot. Just don’t expect them to Beehave.

He does look a little too excited. The barista said he looked Buzzed.

Happy Canada Day!

30 Jun

               I’ll be at work for it (as per the norm, LOL) but I will be heading to Battle for Canada at the Goldeye’s Stadium for Saurday and Sunday.

               Witchslayer’s Scion is now available in print. My niece has the only print copy of Witchslayer’s Scion in the province I am aware of, but more are ordered. I hope they don’t take as long as my DoM copies but I will let everyone know when I have them in my paws.

Reflections of Writing for an Audience Part 2

               A few years ago, I read a short story by Ron who was entering it a contest and it was for a high school audience. His story featured the casual use of alcohol. I pointed out that there was nothing wrong with that, but he ought to remove it. Why? Students in High School drink alcohol all the time.

               It’s not the audience, it’s the librarians and parents.

               Most parents aren’t naive and think their Precious Junior would NEVER – but there’s a difference between acknowledging reality and condoning a behavior. Removing the use of alcohol in the scene changed nothing (I believe the characters wanted hot chocolate, with a little extra kick or something). There’s plenty of stories for young readers that deal with adult issues, and that’s a good thing – but ultimately I think the majority of parents can have justified concerns. I was ready for Star Wars at eight, but other kids might not be ready until they’re closer to ten, and it may not be a violence issue so much as a sensory issue. Letting people know, being aware of concerns, it allows for the writer to have a general framework for what is acceptable for that target audience. It’s not censorship so much as understanding what the audience demands are.

               A lot of the stories I grew up enjoying weren’t age appropriate, and I’ll be honest – when I write, I often enjoy it when I don’t have to go the route of having the hero punch his way through the plot. There’s a time and a place for Conan the Barbarian, but there’s also a time and a place for stories where heroes use their wits as well as their brawn. When I’m done TA I’m going to be tweaking my MG steampunk mysteries, and they are similar to the tone of Ducktales and The Adventures of Tintin. There’s a lot that wouldn’t fly today – I’m not talking old fashioned depictions of race or gender stereotypes, so much as Tintin getting knocked unconscious and kidnapped a lot and there’s an awful lot of firearms.

               In general, I think because kids develop at different levels, it’s important to know not everyone’s ready for the same stuff at the same time, and just because I’m more advanced in my language or math, doesn’t mean I’m emotionally ready for some more complex ideas. That’s when sensitivity readers have their place when you want to talk about these complicated issues. I’m not saying they’re always right, but it certainly helps to have different perspectives.

               With kids stories, I like an invisible contract with the reader: Your hero may get in trouble, but we’ll get back to the problem we started with. That was honestly my reason for making Lorelei such a soft villain in TMatU. In that story, Daphne and friends encounter a lot worse characters than the sea witch responsible for beaching Daphne on land. They want different things, but there’s an unspoken promise to the reader – hey, we need to get back to Lorelei. I know things look bad, but we’ll get through the current obstacle. I asked my niece when she was younger how she felt about the Puppeteers and, if it was too scary and we could skip it. It was her favourite part of the book, and the puppeteers is the current WIP. Another kid, or even an adult, might find that part incredibly squeamish (kind of like how Neil Gaiman’s Coraline gets creepier as an adult then as a kid), but it’s good to know that when she was on the younger range of age appropriate, she adored that sequence so I know I’m not an outlier in the audience.

               This is where knowing your audience is super important. For instance, let’s pretend I retire in Pinawa with my parents and start my own Kayaking/Adventure Tour companies. I offer breakneck boating, death marches into remote locations, all the stuff that should be attracting hard core athletes.

               Then I find out the Red Hat Lady’s society would like to book me so they can go bird watching and have a pleasant hike (that needs to be accessible for everyone). Also, there’s another group who wants a pleasant pontoon around the lake and, another group is also interested but they’ve got small kids, so please no walkie into bear territory. If business is booming, I may refer them to someone else who does that or, I could recognize a need and tweak my business accordingly. There will be people who want EXTREME and I get to take them kayaking, but there’s going to be people who just want the boats and to go (they’ll be fine) and the people who have never done it before and need some lessons and a guide.

               That’s how I feel about changing a story. It’s not really censorship, so much as knowing what an audience would like and trying your best to accommodate, if accommodation is the goal. Not everyone is going to agree, because there would be people in the Red Hat Society who would have loved a more robust hike, but when they’re with their group, they probably know that while they’re with their group, this is the sort of activity that’s appropriate.

               For marketing purposes, people generally like to see an idealized version of themselves using the products they do. So when I’m writing a book for an audience who is twelve years old, they want to see themselves as older and more capable as opposed to average or more child-like. Not quite the opposite happens as we age – most people don’t want to be younger, but be mistaken for being younger because we associate youth with health, fertility, beauty, etc.

               When i was a kid I basically thought 16 was an adult. A very young adult, but a 16 year old could do everything I deemed important (have a boyfriend, drive, stay out late, have a job, they looked more like an adult than a kid) whereas when I was sixteen I was starting at myself and my friends, and as someone who hit puberty early, the only thing I got on my sixteenth birthday was my abs. The driver’s license came like, three weeks later (first try!) but I was still living under my parent’s roof and, I learned even as an adult, if I don’t tell my mother what I’m up to for extended lengths of time she gets stressed out. Shoot, even as an adult living on my own I have to text her in bad weather when she knows I’m on truck.

               I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sticking to your vision for your product, but I like to think of it as a framework when writing. Needs beat the hierarchy as opposed to wants, so if I were to approach this as a low language, high interest project, the needs are different than that of a child. What that means is that the prospective audience has low literary, but they don’t want to read books written for children. They need familiar language, but they want to be engaged – just as everyone else. So you as the writer have to make a decision – not so much as the story, but as a product as a whole. I love me some thick bricks – and the niece commented on that when she picked up Witchslayer’s Scion, and I told her that was the size I used to like to write when I was getting started, and it sits at around 135k. Usurper is still sitting around 160k, and my goal is to chop it down and send it to Champagne Books this year. I hated Ron’s suggestions that I cut it up into multiple books, but I also have to look at feasibility. Other authors get to put out 200k bricks, but while I’m capable of writing that length, I’m realistic when I’m looking at the POD prices. I can sell The Mermaid and the Unicorn and Dreams of Mariposa cheaper at events because they’re not super thick, and we don’t have the budget to mass print 600-800 page novels.

Reflections of Writing for an Audience

15 Jun

               I just signed Rogue Healer: Magus’ Gambit with Champagne Books. I have a decent leg up on the series as I’m basically just preening Book 3 and because I cut so much stuff out of said book, I have more than a decent leg up on another title. Not The Next One, as the focus will shift away from Koth in Book 4, and focus instead on Una and Sajera, but honestly I’d be lying if I didn’t say I started it like a year ago. Just a few scenes, and my other goal is to get one of my science fiction novels to Champagne for year end so it doesn’t feel like all I’m doing is the series.

               This is mostly not about my more adult work (as in meant for a more mature audience) but thinking about writing for other people.

               The main problem I see when I join review groups or agree to review something, is often I’m not the intended audience. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a profile on people like *moi* but I seem to not care about the romance being in the forefront, and I’ve been lectured lately that I should be more empathetic. Enjoying science fiction and fantasy has become more widespread accepted, my guess because of the internet but this is about writing for a younger audience.

               When I took my first creative writing course at university, I didn’t really get it when my professor asked, “Who are you writing for?” He asked if we were writing for an audience or for ourselves, but I naively thought that there was a market for books I liked to read. Why wasn’t it both? “I’m writing the book I wish existed,” summed it up. Translation: I’m doing this for me, and other people will like it.

               Should like it. Could like it (maybe).

               Things changed when my sister started having kids. It wasn’t just books, as I became hyper critical of cartoons, video games, and whether or not things were appropriate for her kids. Little things – like “Hey yeah come do zumba with me on the wii.” And me going from not caring what the character was wearing to very much caring what she was wearing. I don’t normally read popular books when they’re popular, but I’m not ignorant of popular culture and I noticed retellings of stories, and what’s emphasized and what they do now as opposed to ‘back when I was a kid’ (I don’t really remember the 80’s in any great detail, but bright colors, cheap animation unless they were Disney for the most part) I started to think about the stories that her kids would grow up with, as well as the stories I wished existed when I was a kid.

               So although I didn’t have time to finish it until I got laid off, I came up with and eventually wrote Garnet and Silver. I didn’t aim it at my niece for when she was a baby and a toddler, but I wanted her to have an alternative to some of the media she’d be subjected to when she was older. I didn’t feel comfortable writing for a super young child, but when she graduated from picture books to early readers and then chapter books, I realized she enjoyed a lot of the same stuff I did when I was growing up. It wasn’t all the same – for the most part I don’t watch much animation meant for kids, but I drafted The Mermaid and the Unicorns basically thinking about the kind of story I would have liked when I was about 8 or 9, although it’s marketed towards 10-12 year olds. I drafted another novel aimed at a more male market prior to drafting Daphne’s tale, and I’m editing it now but it doesn’t really sparkle the way TMatU did.

               She’s since outgrown the original audience I envisioned the book for, but she has made a request for another book, about the puppeteers that appeared briefly in TMATU. Honestly, I was tempted to cut the puppets scene because it was a little intense, but I let her read it when she was age appropriate and it was her favourite part. Let’s just say that story’s coming along, but also that I’m not thinking so much of the 10 year old as the teenager giving me feedback and what she’d like to see in a story.

               My aunt has pointed out there’s a need for books aimed at boys the same age that I did TMatU, as the vast majority of books are aimed at girls (and she thinks if I had rebranded and put less focus on Mermaids, I could have gone with a little more gender neutral marketing because it’s not really a girly-girl book. Then I saw the cover and loved it so…) so I’m also drafting up another novel aimed at that 10-12 year old demographic; not so much aimed at boys but aimed at people who like star wars with a male protagonist. I have also written two steampunk adventure-mysteries, so if you’re noticing that I’m reading a lot more YA or even Middle Grade on Goodreads after I finish the Aurora ballot, that’s why.

               I think it’s more natural to want to write to an audience if you see a need for them, but I’ll be honest, my big issue when writing for younger readers was I quickly graduated from them. Don’t get me wrong: The Adventures of Frog and Toad are brilliant, and I remember being at Costco and seeing a boxed set for Narnia as a teenager, wanting it but feeling too embarrassed to pick it up. I wasn’t discerning in taste as a child, but I knew chapter books were better than books aimed at my demographic. I didn’t get all of what the ‘adult’ books were trying to say, and I thought it would be weird to write for a group I wasn’t familiar with.

               In truth, what it took was being invested in people who needed a product from that demographic. It’s like there’s always a need for low-level high interest reading material. Basically the problem with low-literacy rates is that adults who need to learn to read don’t also need to learn their colors or what sounds farm animals make. They need to practice on material that’s easy to read, and also holds interest. When they move on to chapter books, they want to read material of interest for their age group now, not stuff they would have found interesting when they were a child.

               The problem as I see it is that most aspiring writers have an idea what they want to do, and that may change over time, but they need to be invested in what they write. I was told that the two ways I’d make money as a writer was : 1) Write Romance 2) Write Non-fiction (Technical writing) and part of me wanted to bang off some romance novels for the $$$. The problem, one of my professors said, was that they’ll seem disingenuous. You have to want to do it. I don’t particularly like looking for romance novels. I’ve read some that are done brilliantly, but generally, it’s not my jam. Don’t get me wrong, there’s times where you want to abandon/burn every project, but I think in general her point stands. The best parodies are written by people who love the original work, because they know it beyond the superficial.

               Deciding out of the blue, “I want to write for children” without thinking about a child you know who has a want or a need, really that’s writing for yourself and using a child-friendly format. There’s nothing wrong with that; the book Go the F*** to Sleep was written for adults.

               That’s not to say you have to relearn everything from square one: Far from it. But it would be like me deciding to start writing westerns when I haven’t read any in probably ten years. It’ll take time to know what’s standard, what’s cliché, and what a modern audience wants. And I like watching westerns from time to time.

               This is getting a little long so I’ll do a part 2 when I talk a little bit about some of the choices I make and marketing.

Dealing with The Quiet of The Quest

6 Jun

I will start this by saying this is sort of but not really a response to the reviewers last month that said that some of my scenes dragged in TMatU. It prompted me thinking of the idea, but really the idea isn’t “Hey this scene is too long” so much as, “What do you do if you’re at a boring part of the journey?” Some writerswill just skip to the next interesting bit, but some authors want the reader to really get a sense of what the characters are going through. I think there’s different strokes for different folks, so I’m going to be looking at this from a lens for those who like mainstream adventure-style stories, not more literary ones.

Wheel of Time is infamous for the “Slog” where very little happens in several of the middle books. Things do happen – major events, really – but those events take up a relatively short time in a book where we spend a lot of time posturing with nobles for a succession story that could easily be removed, as well another story about one of the main characters searching for his kidnapped wife that could have been removed without effecting the plot, but ultimately built up the world and characters. It seems that they take up an awful lot of time and when we could be learning about the Dark Tower, as well as taking away from the fracturing of the White Tower.

 WoT isn’t unique to this. In the final Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows, tensions rise and the trio get into an argument and Harry points out that Ron shouldn’t be expecting to find a Horcrux every other day.

The PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus only has boss battles, but it’s not like you go from colossus to colossus immediately. Part of the reason for not having any other real obstacles – short of you pitching Wanderer off a ledge that will kill him – was to emphasize how alone and isolated he was except for his lone horse companion.

Video games don’t translate like books though. I think if you don’t want to bring it to the audience’s attention, you can use the lull to build something up. That can be character development, or world development, or something else that the reader would find interesting.

For the most part I think it depends on the audience and expectation, but for the most part this is not a big deal so long as you consider who your audience is and what their expectations are. There is already a precedence for really long, really involved world building, so if that seems to be your audience, they might be fine with it. That being said, if people are waiting years between sequels, I think it’s important that they have some pay off in books. I’m was told that I could skip certain books if I so chose, but because it was a first read through, I wade through.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I for one like the extended scenes in the original Lord of the Rings even if they don’t have any real bearing to the overall story. Small scenes, especially in the shire, build up the world. I like the scenes where Bilbo painting his kinfolk in an unflattering light, them choosing baking over a kiss and the comforts of home over grand halls or great feats. I also never complain about the ‘fake out’ endings for the end of Return of the King, if anything I was disappointed that the Scouring of the Shire didn’t happen and at least in the theatrical version, what happened to Sauromon and Grima Wormtongue was left ambiguous. Would another battle at the shire have seemed smaller and less significant then the climax of finally destroying the ring? Yes, but Tolkien wasn’t writing an action-adventure cliffhanger novel. It’s stood the test of time and builds slowly, and because it did the work, the pay off is there and doesn’t seem hackneyed.

I don’t think there’s an easy answer and I don’t think writing tight novels where every scene counts is necessarily a bad thing. I do know, however, that I for one will skip sections if I see that the author doesn’t have dialogue (and we’re not in a battle) or even POV’s I could care less about. For the most part I think audiences don’t want the author to show their work and marvel at world building as much as to know what happens next, or how someone they’ve built an emotional attachment to will triumph. I think there are definitely audiences for slower, more literary styles where we spend an awful lot of time contemplating feelings, but for the most part I would give audiences some pay off or mention that the character was bored on the long dusty road, and almost got into a scrap for amusement and then move on to the next part of the story that people would reference. It may not always work and there’s no pleasing everyone, but I think in general that less is more – that most audiences will fill in the gaps that the writer doesn’t tell them. It’s not the easiest to show loneliness, doubt, or despair, because these aren’t emotions that the majority of readers particularly want to feel when they’re reading.

It’s like characters who brood. A little goes a long way.

Blog Tour Winners / I finished Wheel of Time (Part 1 of many, probably)

27 May

Sorry for the delay, busy busy as always it seems:

Winners for the Witchslayer’s Scion/Mermaid and the Unicorn Gift Cards

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

Kit’n’Kabookle

Bea Rocca

Anita Yancy

Congratulations to everyone who participated; I have self-published another book this month but I’m going to make a few changes to the back cover. I have more books I could self-publish, and I am going to hire someone to help me edit Underman, but as of right now my plan is to get Titan’s Ascent to Champagne Books soon(ish) and try to enjoy the summer. I will do more books for younger readers, but I feel like I could get burnt out with how poorly our healthcare system is being run, so right now I need to do stuff to try to stay sane.

So after a year and a half of listening to probably 500+ hours off audiobooks, I finally finished Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. To recap, the Wheel of Time is the story of a chosen one fated to save the world, only in this case, he’s fated to go mad and die. It spans fourteen volumes and has multiple POV’s, story threads, and basically takes one aspect of the fantasy genre and runs it hard. It’s one of those Hallmark works of fantasy pretty much everyone’s read.

Except for, up until about a year and a half ago, me.

I do remember one of the guys telling me I should read it when I was working at Pizza Hut, so I was somewhere between the ages of 17-19 when I first made the attempt. Between my senior year of high school and early university I was stupid busy, not to mention I was being super anal about what I was reading because I was an aspiring writer at the time. People were really giving me the gears because they had a very narrow idea as to what fantasy consisted of, so I was trying to avoid anything that was too similar to Tolkien or what people expected for fantasy. Ironically, this is also around the time The Lord of the Rings had their theatrical release, so I wasn’t as gung ho for them as I am now.

I’m really glad I got to revisit this series as a writer, because it goes into world building and is very consistent with its rules. Basically, at the very beginning of the story humans are living in a sort of utopia, but there’s still evil in the world. Humans are able to channel magic, but it’s divided along the lines of gender. The men decide they’re going to lock away the dark one’s influence in the world, but the women decide the plan is foolish. The men somewhat succeed, but their half of the power becomes corrupted, leading any man who channels to go mad. Their leader, a man so powerful with the One Power known as Lews Therin, in his insanity kills his wife and family, realizes he’s plunged the world into darkness and kills himself. Humanity is left picking up the pieces until he’s reborn some three thousand years later, and is destined to cleanse what he did.

The world went from a vaguely higher-tech one to a medieval era matriarchy, where women have taken the lead for the most part on the world stage because they’re the only ones who can safely channel. They’re not immune from the darkness that has enveloped the world, as they’ve lost their ability to do some spells (weaves) and ample knowledge has been lost, and their central tower where women who can channel go to be trained has become fractioned and their original purpose misguided.

And that’s the main part of the world. People treat those who can channel differently in every country, but there are folk who live outside this as well. From the harsh desert-dwelling Aiel to the overseas conquering Seanchan, everyone has their own way of dealing with those who can channel. Oh, and there’s also powers that manifest in ways outside the one power, as well as a dimension of beings who are able to make talismans where magic won’t effect the bearer.

I think depending on the maturity of the reader, it’s fine for an audience around 11+ as there’s intense violence, but it’s not gory. There’s love, but it’s not Smexy. It’s not written in a way that you need to make notes; at first characters can come across as one-bit from their community, but this is a series with a cast of thousands, and while I’m sure super-fans can tell you about some obscure character’s past in some detail, there are characters who you won’t see for books and books and I needed to look up to remember. It’s not all that bad; I’d say there are maybe a dozen principle characters that you need to know; five of which come from The Two Rivers and another three are introduced there too. You get to know them right away but you don’t really get to know the *real* them for several books, because while there’s growth and especially the main character Rand is put through the ringer, they’re put in situations that would not be realistic for people growing up in a small community would have any notions of dealing with it.

What I really liked though is that while it does have a Chosen One story line, the story is also smart enough to build up other characters as being important. Rand for instance, is the reincarnation of Lews Therin and has to make up in this life his mistakes in the one previous. There’s only a handful of other characters who were hinted as to who they were and why they were chosen. If you don’t like plot armor, or even the chances of not only the most powerful male channeler but potentially the most powerful female channeler being born in the same backwater neck of the woods, (I know two characters can bypass her, but still given her track record…) this story may irk you. Rand and two others are Ta’alveran, which basically means they are so intrinsic to the Wheel of Time that the pattern will bend around what they are doing. Also leaving his village are two female channelers, one of which is without a doubt the most powerful one that’s been seen in centuries, and the other is no slouch or even average. Consider the Plot Armor to be divine providence and the story does take time to slow down, and show what normal, and even below average channelers can do, and it makes the story make more sense. I thought some of the best parts of the final book was where we went to the black tower and one of the male channelers has a talent for making portals. Tiny, almost insignificant portals, which normally take a lot of power but most of the others consider him useless. The portals aren’t big enough for anyone to travel, but he can make portals that spells/weaves go into, and the portals reopen behind their caster, making this guy not dangerous by himself, but intensely useful when provoked.

This is taken to its logical conclusion with how different cultures interpret the use of magic. For instance, in Rand’s village, they treat Aes Sedai with suspicion, though it’s shown that their wisdom and other women channel but use it in such light amounts it’s paramount to them getting what they want. They are also somewhat at the mercy of The Children of the Light, a group of Crusaders/Inquistor types who search the land for Dark Friends – those who have sworn themselves to the shadow – and they consider all Aes Sedai Channelers to be Dark Friends.

Taking a step back when they leave the two rivers, they find that different countries treat girls who can channel differently. It’s considered a gift by some and others keep it silent, and the Aes Sedai themselves have a code of conduct that prevents them from using their powers as a weapon. Another step back, you have The Windfinders (sea farers) Aiel and Seanchan. The seanchan are from overseas and conquer, and their ‘solution’ to the problem of women who have power is to chain them and not allow them to channel with the exception of at the command of their handler. These women are treated like animals.

Men on the other hand tend to be hunted down and ‘gentled’. People with the ability can be severed from it, and often times, people kill themselves because they’re cut off from something glorious, and a part of them doesn’t recover. The Aiel on the other hand send their male channelers to go fight monsters in the waste alone, knowing that if they’re mad they can’t hurt anyone who’s not a dark friend.

I’ll probably talk about aspects of the series more in the coming days as there’s plenty to talk about. Overall, I’d say if you’re going to be upset with the magic lines being male/female then this story will irk you again and again, but I think it’s a great read for writers, at least to consider world building. I also think that other writers have no doubt borrowed from the stories, so I think it was ground-breaking for its time, but it’s been around long enough where it’s caused a cultural influence, even if most of us don’t acknowledge it.

Oh, finally I will say that the author died before finishing the series, but Brandon Sanderson was hand-picked to finish the books. This didn’t particularly bother me, but if a change in tone or direction or voice would irk you, it may be a deal breaker. When I started reading the books, at least two people told me they couldn’t finish the series because the voice shifted too much.

Final The Mermaid and the Unicorn Review Links / Thoughts on The Green Knight

19 May

I was waiting to announce all the winners together, but apparently you have a few more days. The winners for the Witchslayer’s Scion GC have received theirs, but there’s still time to enter the draw for The Mermaid and the Unicorns

Book Reviews:

Fabulous and Brunette

The Avid Reader

Huge thank you to everyone who’s been following along since the end of April, and especially to the reviewers as I know that there’s a lot of people who want not only reviews, but favorable ones and all that. I like it when you’re honest, let’s leave it at that.

Thoughts on The Green Knight

I haven’t really watched too many new movies besides anything I’ve paid to stream, so we’re sitting at like 2 in the past two years. I wanted to see The Green Knight because I’ve studied the story and some other medieval literature. If you’re unfamiliar with the tale, you can google a written version of it but here’s an animated version that’s reasonably faithful:

I’ll be the first one to defend older Disney titles when they really took liberties with tales to extend them to an hour and a half (more like 75 minutes but whatever) and I really didn’t mind that The Green Knight was shot with more of an intent to show cool visuals (attractive people can look weird and I question historical accuracy but then the scenery looks amazing and I find myself questioning everything, like why his cloak is color X and what I’m missing and is the director screwing with us) or focus more on Gawain’s shortcomings as opposed to the heroic knight figure that was implied in the story. I could go on and on about the notions of Christianity / Paganism, or life / death, bravery / cowardice, etc., but I found the central thing I wanted to talk about being, “Why am I okay with a formalistic interpretation of one work, when I didn’t like The Wheel of Time adaptation? There aren’t a million interpretations of Gawain and the Green Knight, surely we should have a more straight forward adaptation.”

The short answer is the Morte D’Arthur and Robin Hood have multiple interpretations and, in the case of Robin Hood, some characters aren’t added to the cannon for centuries. The Brothers Grimm didn’t just make up stories, they composed stories from the oral tradition and adapted them to the written form – so I could only imagine someone excited to get a collection of stories, only to find out that their local variation didn’t stick. “This isn’t right! The treacherous servant wasn’t killed, she repented!” or whatever.

Wheel of Time though by some measure IS an interpretation of The Legend of King Arthur – it’s not obvious (at least it wasn’t to me) and I’ll talk more about WoT specifically as I’m approaching the half way mark on the final audiobook so I will talk about it after I’m done. Rand is Arthur (as well as Artur Hawkwing) Lan is Lancelot, Nyneave is Nimue (Lady of the Lake) Moraine is Morgan at the same time as representing other mythology and lore as well.

The difference is though is not only have we had multiple interpretations of King Arthur tales, but often times the old stories do leave some room for interpretation of the character personalities, as well as flesh out a story. A story in history might be summed up in a few paragraphs, but depending on what the director wants to focus on, there’s room to really explore a story or a time period and make it feel immersive for the audience.

The difference, is we haven’t had an onscreen adaptation of Wheel of Time before. Even if there was a relatively good animated version, until we have a faithful live-action version of Camelot, we won’t appreciate Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail. I understand the desire to want to make it appeal to the audience, I think ultimately what’s going on is you’re going to get the fans that like something else and want something else and alienate the fans of the books.

That, and Wheel of Time already goes at great length to flesh out the major characters and the world. There are multiple books, and while I’ll be the first to complain that the first book took a while to get going, there’s certain things an author can do in a longer series that they can’t do in a stand a lone book.

Take something like Robin Hood or King Arthur – there’s no definitive version so long as you stay somewhat true. The audience may still dislike it, and while I think that were definitely things in The Green Knight basically to appeal to the Game of Thrones crowd – the beginning where Gawain wakes up in a brothel and we see tits in the background for really no good reason – it’s not offensive because no one “owns” the lore.

I think if you’re going to watch The Green Knight and expect an epic fantasy adventure, you’re going to be disappointed when you see something that comes across as more of a film that paints Gawain’s fears and short comings front and center stage. There aren’t any knightly heroics and him doing the things we would want – fighting villains, though he does rescue a maiden it’s not in the way you’d expect. I don’t think it’s a bad interpretation of Gawain as he overcomes his short comings as opposed to setting out already as a virtuous person and having those virtues tested, but it’s more artsy and less action adventure, but given the source material I think it’s fine.

So TL;DR, that’s also the problem with Rings of Power. People are trying to lean their own ideas into Tolkien’s world (“Modernizing” Tolkien), and I say Tolkien didn’t like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I doubt this is going to go the way the show runners think it will.

Round up of Witchslayer’s Scion Online Book Tour

13 May

This is the final week of the Witchslayer’s Scion online book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. I’ll have two more for The Mermaid and the Unicorns review-only on Tuesday, so I might wait to announce the winners of the GC until that draw is done as well. As I’m writing this there’s still time to enter the draw, and check out the blogs of the authors just because.

Witchslayer’s Scion Interviews and Articles

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

Seven Troublesome Sisters

Viviana McKade

Dawn’s Reading Nook

Long And Short Reviews

The Mermaid and the Unicorns Book Reviews

Gina Rae Mitchell

Our Town Book Reviews

In other news I’m enjoying days off but not getting much writing done. Well, more like editing but honestly not much of either. Burnt out but last tour was a nice change of pace, so hopefully a little more rest and I’ll be right as rain. I have a car to get fixed up and sell and the water’s receded on my property, so I’m thankful for what I have and hoping to be back to the swing of things next block off. We are drastically understaffed – and believe me, we’ve been short staffed before, but the entire healthcare system in Manitoba sucks right now – but there’s nothing I can do about it so I’m going to pace myself and do what I can. And no – this has nothing to do with the pandemic. People are getting sick from it but we have a backlog of surgeries and people failing to cope with other issues that need attention.

I’m also going to be hiring an editor for Underman. I thought about it; it’s not like Strawman that it was a practice run but I’m not going to have time to edit it for a few weeks. I found a good resource to find editors for my genre, so I’ll probably get on that for June. I’m like a broken record for Titan’s Ascent, but as of right now I checked in with the publisher concerning book 2 and I resent everything, so there’s no real rush. It’s more like, I need to get it to a level I like it. I’d love to say that means “And then there’s one less thing to worry about” but I then just shift the focus to another project I’ve been meaning to get to. It never ends, but it is nice to be able to focus on something that’s been percolating.

This Week’s Virtual Tour Round Up

8 May

Thank you to everyone involved in the online book tours – I feel like I’ve come a long way since I started promoting Tower of Obsidian. I’ll be reading a lot of different books on Goodreads because of the Aurora Awards – and hey, if you want to get a lot of titles to read and get to vote for what you like best, go join, be a member, support Canadian Authors etc.

Check out the following blogs for more than just interviews and articles by me. Some are writers, editors, and just people who love books and fiction.

Witchslayer’s Scion – Articles and Interviews
The Avid Reader
Fabulous and Brunette
Sybrina’s Book Blog
Christine Young Romance Author

Fundinmental


The Mermaid and the Unicorns – Reviews
Gimme the Scoop Reviews
The Reading Addict

In other writing news I launched Garnet and Silver on Tuesday. I will not have any print copies just yet, to explain below:

It’s been kind of a crazy few weeks for me because we had a blizzard mid April that did in my car. I got another car and I’m still thinking of getting the other one fixed and selling it, but then we had flooding. The water really went down last night, but we’re supposed to get more rain.

Where I am going with all this, is that I will order print books but I haven’t had time to deal with my car and I’m tempted to sink the money into fixing the car so I can sell it and then order books. I may have a crisis where I am dealing with flooding, but so far it is looking really good. I am not going to Keycon because of their V– Passport policy, but I will be doing shows at Shelmerdine’s Farmer’s Market so I hope to have both print copies of Garnet and Silver and Witchslayer’s Scion as well as the others I already have in print.

You will also be able to pick up a copy of The Mermaid and the Unicorns if you are in Lac du Bonnet MB and check out the Manitoba Made Store. They just moved, and I’m hoping to get out that way and visit my parents now that things are hopefully going to calm down.

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Available May 3, 2022

2 May

First Week of Big Ol’ Virtual Tours

30 Apr

Just a quick round up of this week’s virtual blog tour. Check out these blogs beyond interviews and my articles; some are authors and editors. Also follow along for a chance to win a Gift Card to an online book seller of your choice (Let’s be honest, almost everyone will pick Amazon but I’m a Kobo reader). Just always be respectful in the comments when it comes to opinions.

Witchslayer’s Scion (Interviews and Articles)

Sadie’s Spotlight

Andi’s Book Reviews

Kit ‘n Kabookle

All the Ups and Downs

Lisa Haselton

Book Reviews for The Mermaid and the Unicorns

Kit ‘n Kabookle

Sandra’s Book Club

We got more of the same for the next few weeks. Witchslayer’s Scion will run during the week until May 13, and The Mermaid and the Unicorns the reviews will launch Tuesday until May 17. In the meantime, if you’re new to my work or the blog welcome, feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to keep it book related, but my property is slowly becoming waterfront. Eeep.