Monday, September 30, 2019

Free eBook!

I have an announcement to make! The new edition of Espionage: A Companion to Time Captives is here and the eBook is free to newsletter subscribers! All you have to do is sign up, and you'll get to download the book in the format of your choice.

Already a subscriber? You get something extra! What, you might ask? Keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow and you'll find out. ;)

Also, if you subscribe before midnight, October 15th, you are eligible to win a paperback of the brand new edition of Espionage!

I'm sure you would like to see the cover. I'm super excited about it. So here it is!

About the Book

“Sir Roland has invited us to visit for the Autumn Feast.”

“Do we have to go, Papa? I couldn’t feast with the most crooked politician in all of Briznom.”

As the daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord, Vannie Cumberland has spent her childhood immersed in the world of politics. Relations between Briznom and the neighboring country of Calhortz are
strained due to the tyrannical rule of the strytes. A proposed alliance could calm relations between the two countries, but would come at the cost of Briznom’s freedom.

When her father’s political archenemy invites them to the Autumn Feast, Vannie uncovers an evil scheme endangering the life of someone close to her. Personal enmity comes to a dangerous head as Vannie struggles to expose the corruption and stop the alliance. Time is running out.

Events are becoming too big for her to handle. Will Sir Roland’s son help or will things finally spiral out of control?

A tale of treachery and political intrigue in a turbulent time, Espionage is a companion novel that sets the stage for Crannig Castle, the final installment of the Time Captives trilogy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Thirst Cover Reveal

I have a cover reveal for Jill Williamson's upcoming book today! As you know, I'm a huge fan of Replication and the Blood of Kings trilogy, and of Jill herself. Jill's so awesome! So I'm super excited to share her new cover with you. The book is called Thirst and it's a prequel to The Safe Lands trilogy, which I haven't read yet, but really want to read. (Naturally, I must read all her books.)

Before I give you the amazing cover, here's a little bit about the book:
The end of the world is only the beginning. A waterborne disease has contaminated the world’s fresh water, decimating the human race. Seventeen-year-old Eli McShane and his friends flee the chaos and violence in Phoenix and journey north toward the rumored location of a safe water source. They add several to their number, including the mysterious Hannah, who is being hunted by a dangerous man. Desperation brings out the worst in many of the travelers, infecting even those closest to Eli. When division comes, will he be able to hold his group together or will each fall victim to their own thirst for survival?

Join some old friends from Glenrock and Jack's Peak in this thrilling first book of the Thirst Duology. Best-selling author Jill Williamson has brought back the breathtaking suspense of the The Safe Lands series in this chilling prequel that will leave readers panting for the next installment.

 Doesn't it sound awesome? I can't wait to read it! It'll be here in November!

So here's the beauty in several angles.

Isn't it amazing? I just really need to hold it in my hands right now. November won't get here fast enough!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Charles Wallace Murry--A Wrinkle in Time

Please allow me to introduce you to my little brother.

What? You mean I can't claim Charles Wallace as my little brother? I'm Meg Murry, right?

Okay, so maybe he's not my little brother, but I always wanted him to be. Once as a kid, I made up a little brother named Charles Wallace—though, if I remember right, that was a part of a fantasy that somehow combined an Indian in the Cupboard style cupboard with...a dance studio. Don't ask. I don't remember how it all worked. Just know that whenever I name a character Charles it's after Charles Wallace Murry. And if all you know about Charles Wallace is from the 2018 movie, forget everything you know right now. Even the personality was radically wrong for my baby brother.

Charles Wallace is a blond haired, blue eyed five-year-old, though I actually picture him like this because of the TV movie:

He's different. Somehow new. A very special little boy.

He's the youngest of the Murry children, about five years younger than the twins, and brilliant far beyond his years. But so not like anyone else. He didn't begin talking until he was nearly four—after his father had disappeared—and with none of the usual baby preliminaries, using full sentences. But he doesn't usually talk to people outside the family, except to Calvin, who basically is family, and, well, people who aren't from Earth. He always seems to know things, to be able to read people, to communicate in ways that are beyond speech, which we learn in A Wind in the Door is kything. A language beyond speech, beyond telepathy, even. He's kind and sensitive, often seeming older than Meg (who's probably about 12, since she's older than the twins [10] and younger than Calvin [14], but it's unspecified).

And just so smart. Here's an example from the book:

"I'm a sport."
At that, Charles Wallace grinned widely. "So'm I."
"I don't mean like in baseball," Calvin said.
"Neither do I."
"I mean like in biology," Calvin said suspiciously.
"A change in gene," Charles Wallace quoted, "resulting in the appearance in the offspring of a character which is not present in the parents but which is potentially transmissible to its offspring."
"What gives around here?" Calvin asked. "I was told you couldn't talk."
"Thinking I'm a moron gives people something to feel smug about," Charles Wallace said. "Why should I disillusion them?"

But because he's so far beyond everyone in his normal world, he has much more confidence in his abilities and his strength than he should. His pride and arrogance may—and do—cause his downfall, but that brings me to the next bit of his story that's just so sad (and also why he's a difficult character for such a young actor to play, though David Dorfman did a really good job).

He thought he could go into the Man with the Red Eyes, go into IT, and keep part of himself out. He thought he was strong enough. But he wasn't. And Charles Wallace controlled by IT was so cruel and evil. So not himself. It took the power of love to bring him back. Meg's unconditional love for her baby brother. This sweet little boy who's so very, very special.

And then in the next book, the Echthroi—those who destroy—are trying to kill him. He's so important to this fight of good vs. evil, has so much more to do, that they go into his very mitochondria, become part of his farandolae, to destroy him. And it's up to Meg and Calvin and Proginoskes the singular cherubim to save him. My poor baby brother.

Then in A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the fate of the world is truly on his shoulders as he uses kything to "go within" people throughout history, changing "might have beens" to prevent nuclear war.

He's such a hero. So smart. So special. So empathetic and kind. And I still wish he was my brother.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Puddleglum--The Chronicles of Narnia

Favorite character post!

Puddleglum, the only character Pauline Baynes asked for extra advice on how to draw.

Puddleglum is a Marsh-wiggle. He lives in a wigwam in a marsh at the northern end of Narnia, just south of the Shribble and Ettinsmoor. He's quite a wet blanket, always expecting the worst, and, well, Eustace says he's always wrong, but that isn't strictly true.

Saying that the wood would be wet, or it would rain and put out the fire, or that eel stew would poison Jill and Eustace, or that inside the suit of armor could be a skeleton or someone invisible, or a hundred other things aren't quite true. But when it comes right down to it, Puddleglum is wise and sensible and he was the one who saved them all.

I do have to wonder, though, what the other wiggles are like. Considering "They all say—I mean, the other wiggles all say—that I'm too flighty; don't take life seriously enough. If they've said it once, they've said it a thousand times. 'Puddleglum,' they've said, 'you're altogether too full of bobance and bounce and high spirits. You've got to learn that life isn't all fricaseed frogs and eel pie. You want something to sober you down a bit. We're only saying it for your own good, Puddleglum.' That's what they say. Now a job like this—a journey up north just as winter's beginning, looking for a Prince that probably isn't there, by way of a ruined city that no one has ever seen—will be just the thing. If that doesn't steady a chap, I don't know what will."

Puddleglum may overreact to imagined dangers, but when it comes to real ones, he's spot on. He didn't trust the Lady of the Green Kirtle, and he didn't think going to Harfang was a good idea. He did see that they were in a ruined city, he just wasn't forceful enough to make Jill and Eustace stop and see. He's loyal and determined, and helps the children do all they need to do in their quest. Even though Jill takes offense when he suggests she isn't remembering the Signs correctly. He's far from perfect, what with his wet blanket, pessimistic complaints, but he's still wonderful and has some good quips. Like this bit:

"Many have taken ship at the pale beaches," replied the Warden, "and—"
"Yes, I know," interrupted Puddleglum. "And few return to the sunlit lands. You needn't say it again. You are a chap of one idea, aren't you?"

And I love this:

"And you must always remember there's one good thing about being trapped down here: it'll save funeral expenses."

But the best part about Puddleglum, and I think everyone will agree, is his speech in Underland. I'll let it speak for itself.

"One word, Ma'am. One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world that licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."

He's faithful and amazing, and as Jill put it, "You're a regular old humbug. You sound as doleful as a funeral and I believe you're perfectly happy. And you talk as if you were afraid of everything, when you're really as brave as—as a lion."

He really is quite the reshpeckobiggle. XD

*all pictures are photographs of my copy of the full-color collector's edition of The Silver Chair, illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tiny Little Rocks

I'm updating Espionage to match Time Captives! Espionage is integral to understanding Briznom's role in Crannig Castle; however, it's been sort of left out in the cold. On its own. But no more!

I've got the cover redone, and those who have seen it love it! It's still the same general concept (I couldn't get rid of that) with the same model. Incidentally, the same girl I mentioned last week as being my student/honorary lil sis in our Hunger Games medley. See why I couldn't change it? But I did put her in a better forest, played with the photo effects, and redesigned it to match Time Captives. I have a proof copy on the way for the paperback, and I have something special planned for the ebook. More details on that coming soon. :)

Now, when I did the original edition, well, I decided last minute to draw pictures for chapter headers. In 2 1/2 days. Because I is crazy. Well, I was happy with most of them. Particularly the one of Vannie for the last chapter. But the one for the penultimate chapter...well, let's just say buildings are NOT my favorite thing to draw, I was tired of drawing, and I cheated. This is how it turned out.

I didn't like it, even from the start, but I was too tired and lazy and ready to get a proof to redo it. So I promised myself that when I did a second edition sometime in the future, I would redraw the picture. I hate me.

I hadn't intended to do this second edition so soon any more than I had Time Captives, but after Realm Makers, I decided I needed to go ahead and [details redacted] and to do that, I needed to do this second edition. So out came the sketch pad and the pencil and the reference pictures (well, the sketch pad was already out because of another secret Time Captives project I'm working on), and did just about everything else before I actually drew the picture. Because all the tiny little rocks. 😠 

I like drawing. Well, I like drawing people. I do not like drawing hundreds of tiny little rocks. But I'd made myself promise and I couldn't go back on it. And a couple days and lots of Disney music later, I finally finished. And I'm SOOOOOOO glad I did it. Even with all the tiny little rocks.

And now I can't wait to get my proof and share it with you and announce what I'm doing with the ebook, and with my other Time Captives project (though that one's much more labor intensive and will take a while), because it's going to be awesome!

But I've just got to say, this sign for a library display was MUCH more fun to draw.