Monday, January 14, 2019

Lace and Blade 5 Author Interview: Pat MacEwen

From lands distant or nearby, familiar or utterly strange, historical or imaginary, from ancient times to the Belle Époque comes a treasury of luscious, elegant, romantic fantasy. Come with us on a journey through time and across boundaries, inspired by the longings of the heart and the courage residing in even the meekest person.

The release date is Valentine's Day 2019, but you can pre-order it now:

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2PBzyj6

I think I ran across Pat MacEwen at our local science fiction convention, BayCon, but didn't really get acquainted with her work until I edited two novels, Rough Magic and The Dragon's Kiss for Sky Warrior. I look forward to many more.



Deborah J. Ross: Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you come to be a writer?
Pat MacEwen: I’m told I started when I was four. I would use crayons to draw the story, and then I would tell it. Often, those stories featured my favorite toy, a rubber giraffe missing one foot the dog had chewed off. In my stories, there was always a grand adventure involved in how that happened because I knew even then that heroes wind up scarred by life, win or lose. Some of that may be genetic – my father’s people were bards and seanachies for the Campbell clan for centuries, and my mother’s people include lots of preachers and teachers. We’ve always had a tale to tell.

DJR: What inspired your story in Lace and Blade 5?
PM: The fairy queen Sathyllien came out of my first novel, Rough Magic, where she does forensic work on modern murders involving magic. She has a history stretching back over centuries, and a habit of using Elizabethan insults. I wanted to find out more about that period in her life, and her relationship with a human queen of great renown. So I started with a basic problem – a murder victim who’s been concealed by being rendered invisible. And I tied it to another fae and bits of hidden history concerning the Virgin Queen. It so happens that lots of information has survived about her 40th birthday party, organized by the original “Nosy” Parker, then Archbishop of Canterbury, so I set it then and there.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Short Book Reviews: Explosions and Loaded Guns, Oh My!


They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded, by James Alan Gardner (Tor)


Sequels are always challenging: how much backstory to include, how much to omit; how to bring new readers up to speed without boring those who’ve just finished previous volumes; and most of all, how to keep the series fresh and engaging. They Promised Me succeeds on every measure. If anything, it’s more entertaining and has even more heart than All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault.

In Gardner’s intriguing world, people acquire Dark and Light superpowers, Dark by paying obscene sums of money for immortality (and surrendering any control over their form this “gift” takes – vampire, ghost, demon, or something incredibly squicky and nameless). Light sort of happens to folks, as it did in the first installment, turning our current protagonist, hockey player and science student Jools, into Ninety-Nine, the human Olympic-level best at everything (including WikiJools, encyclopedic knowledge resident in her mind).

Throw into the mix an array of Mad Geniuses and superhero/Mad Genius Robin Hood (who steals from the rich but can’t give to the poor without revealing his secret identity) and his Merry Men, a supernatural bazooka claimed by the villain in the first book and sought after by all and sundry, and a handful of unexpected explosions and side-effects, and the result is a delightfully wacky first-person narrative. It’s got an immense amount of heart, too, because now that the basic rules of this world are established, Light/Dark sides drawn, and action moving right along, the choices Jools makes and the sacrifices she’s willing to make for the people she loves are really what the story is all about.

I hope this one-two switcheroo in point of view character follows through in subsequent volumes, and as I would love to get to know the other flatmates/superheroes in the gang as their lives unfold.

Highly recommended, but do read All Those Explosions first for maximum enjoyment.




Monday, January 7, 2019

Lace and Blade 5 Author Interview: Gillian Polack

From lands distant or nearby, familiar or utterly strange, historical or imaginary, from ancient times to the Belle Époque comes a treasury of luscious, elegant, romantic fantasy. Come with us on a journey through time and across boundaries, inspired by the longings of the heart and the courage residing in even the meekest person.

The release date is Valentine's Day 2019, but you can pre-order it now:

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2PBzyj6ePub: https://www.books2read.com/u/bwYJwP

My introduction to the work of Gillian Polack was The Wizardry of Jewish Women, a concoction of pink tutus, sarcasm, amulets and bushfires. and oh yes, Jewish women with and without magic, set in Australia. I was instantly literarily smitten.



Deborah J. Ross: Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you come to be a writer?
Gillian Polack: I love telling people that when I was eight I stopped in front my Grade Three Classroom - for I was in Grade Four and had just been moved to the Big School to study with Mr Remenyi – and said to the empty air, “I’m going to be a writer. I’ll need another job because I won’t make enough money to live on.” My other job was going to be in history, though I flirted with other careers from time to time. I have no idea how I could have known that much about myself or the writing world when I was eight. I suspect Mr Remenyi was a part of it, for he taught us Christina Rosetti’s work and it was love at first reading. I knew I wanted readers to react to my work with the same voraciousness we reacted to her poems.

DJR: What inspired your story in Lace and Blade 5?
GP: I had just been diagnosed with glaucoma and told it was not responding to treatment. I spent three months talking myself through the emotions of it. This story was to remind me that blindness is not going to stop me being myself and that I need to find the people who will see that in order to lead a happy life in future. This story, then, is my declaration to the world about the future I’m carving for myself.