Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's been a bad year

We've had bad years before, but at least we had our health. Where have I been lately?

Six months unemployment ended when I started a new job in mid-March. Two days later, my appendix burst, with complications, and landed me in the hospital for two weeks. Our reserves were already gone, our credit that was once so good has tanked. I'm at my wits' end. I have started back to work, but so many bills are backed up, I don't know how we'll ever recover. Any contributions will make a huge difference to getting us back on our feet again. It will also help keep the lights on, which is kind of critical since the new job is all telecommuting!

And since stressing about bills and health and everything else tends to stop the creative flow, you'll also be contributing to the further adventures of Ben and Raven and their friends in a substantive way. If you prefer not to put your credit card number out there right now, please drop me a note and I'll email a mailing address.

More news soon about The Mermaid Stair, coming May 25, 2014 from Crooked Cat.

Many thanks in advance!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blog Tour!

I've been invited by historical author Mark Patton to join the 'My Writing Process' blog tour and I'm a little late but here it is. 

First, a few things about myself.


What am I working on?
I have a number of irons in the fire. The main one, of course, is my new novel The Mermaid Stair, which will be released by Crooked Cat at the end of April. Right now I'm working with my editor to get the manuscript tidied up for publication. As I mentioned last time, this third adventure in the Harper Errant series features Ben Harper, sometime reality TV host now full-time folk musician and recording entrepreneur. Assisted by Raven, principal gentlemen to the king of Faerie, Ben searches through time to track down a madman who is tormenting and killing the river nymphs of England. find him, and stop him, at no small cost.
I've also been writing short stories again. The first one placed
immediately, and "Jack's Day Out" will appear in Forest of Dreams from Fantastic Fantasy Writers in the spring. You remember Jack, the one with the Beanstalk? I'll bet you never knew he had a little brother. Taking another tack, "A Rescue in Graphite" will appear in an in-house anthology from Crooked Cat Books around Easter.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The fantasy genre allows for a lot of variation, and even then I think I'm approaching it in some unique ways. You could say I'm writing urban fantasy except that the "urban" setting can be the London of Charles Dickens, or William Shakespeare, or of the 2nd century AD.
Or of last summer. Or you could say I'm writing time-travel stories that also engage with the realm of Faerie. In other words, the Harper Errant books take up the heroic ideal as practiced in the past, present, and beyond the fields we know. But I'm also experimenting with both the fairy tale and the classic ghost story. Each has its challenges and charms. 

Why do I write what I do?
I love history and I love faerie, and most of all I look for the mythical in the every day, to discover the places where the realms of Faerie intersect the mundane. As a historian, I'm basically a gossip who just can’t stand that someone might have done something 400 years ago without my knowing about it, including who else was there, what
they had for dinner, and what they were wearing at the time. A life
spent with old movies, old stories, and the Renaissance Pleasure Faire (the real original original faire) has fed the passion and provided the tools to continue the search and present what I find for the good of all... which is the hero's goal, after all.

How does my writing process work?
Oh good lord, who knows? All right, well, sometimes it starts with a question: What if my friend Ari had to solve a mystery? What would be about? What would he need? What would he stand to lose if things go wrong? What will he gain? Who can he ask for help? (That's the question that brought the fae into the story.) And most of all, what is at stake? 
Sometimes it starts with the words--poems nearly always do. But usually, there's a character. Then an outline. Not the kind we learned in school, it's more like a story board that goes scene by scene. When I start writing, it goes pretty fast, although there are always lots of holes and events--even sentences--in the wrong order. The revision process is a bit like putting together a jizsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing--and having to manufacture the missing ones from scratch.
The short story process, well, I'm still figuring that out. Sometimes I just start with "Once upon a time..." and go from there.

That's enough about me. This tour also introduces a few new authors, and here they are. Each of these ladies will do the same next week (ideally on Monday, 24 February): 

Penelope Anne Bartotto started writing as soon as she stopped eating her crayons and hasn't stopped since. Her first published work sits proudly in the elementary school library where she wrote about Paul Bunyan. Later she began to explore the art of writing...whether journalism, poetry, fictional works, or the next speech she would use to win a debate, her pen flew across the paper more often than not. Publication started in the world of journalism, both print and digital. Starting in 1996 she worked for America Online, joined Oxygen Media in 1998, and has continued to write articles on a variety of topics.

In 2013 she took a chance and entered a writing contest for an anthology and to her surprise her fictional short story was selected for PARANORMAL ANTHOLOGY WITH A TWIST. She is currently working on a number of novels, and hopes to have a few more titles published in 2014. You can find her always haunting The Library at the End of the Universe both Online  and on Facebook 


T.E. MacArthur is a historian, writer and artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her first love is history. “There is no such thing as boring history,” she says, “only those who haven’t learned to see the mysteries, stories, intrigues, humor and joy in antiquity. Her next love is writing fiction. Historical fiction. Romantic fiction. Thrilling fiction. Mysterious fiction. 

When asked “if money were no concern and success guaranteed, what would you be?” she answers “novelist, historian, painter, improv actor, teacher, geologist, anthropologist, shamanist.” However while aiming at all of that she works for a world news organization and has even been published as a sports reporter. She is also an amateur geologist and lava-junkie. And, as you can imagine, her first novel, The volcano Lady concerns a lady geologist in the 1880′s.

A costume and artist too, Thena lives with her cat, Mac, who puts up with the costume bits, paint brushes, and mangled edited hardcopy pages strewn across the floor. If not plugged in and typing furiously while sipping coffee at a coffee house, she can be found at the S.F. Bay Area Tarot Symposium, PantheaCon, the Dickens Christmas Fair, the Pacifica Pier, or a dusty old bookstore.



Sharon Cathcart Books by internationally published author Sharon E. Cathcart provide discerning readers of essays, fiction and non-fiction with a powerful, truthful literary experience. A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sharon has been writing for as long as she can remember and generally has at least one work in progress. Her primary focus is creating fiction featuring atypical characters. Sharon lives with her husband and an assortment of pets in the Silicon Valley, California.



Friday, January 10, 2014

It's Time to Walk the Mermaid Stair

It's about time I mentioned... Crooked Cat Publishing has accepted The Mermaid Stair for publication! The third book in the Harper Errant will be released sometime in late April, 2014. The exact date is still TBD. 

The novel, like the series, features Ben Harper, sometime reality TV host now full-time folk musician and recording entrepreneur. Assisted by Raven, principal gentlemen to the king of Faerie, Ben searches through time to track down the madman who is tormenting and killing the river nymphs of England--and stop him. 

While interviewing nymphs and goddesses, a bored British matron who longs to be a mermaid, and a fairly well-known playwright with a wry sense of humor, the boys also have to look for the lost goddess of the River Fleet. When the two tasks overlap, the chase becomes doubly deadly.


The course of their pursuit sends the boys from the rivers of Faerie, down the length of the Thames, from the markets and villas of ancient Roman Londinium to the taverns and palaces of Shakespeare's England. Music, adventure, and terror abound as The Mermaid Stair reaches its enchanted conclusion.


         

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A new year's list




If you must make resolutions, may I recommend a few? 
Some time, or many times, or all the time in the coming year

Be kind to someone who may not deserve it.

Create something wonderful, or useful, or both.

Be thoughtful of yourself a little.

Discover something new, and share it.

Be joyful.

Stop doing a thing that gives you more pain than pleasure.

Be magic, now and then.

Breathe.