A Week of Reflection

First of all, my website has been renovated! Thanks to David Alfonzo, Webmaster. I simply don’t have the time and the expertise but my site now has a new flavour until the next update.

In the meantime, I’ve finished China Mieville’s THE IRON COUNCIL. Dark, dank and delicious. Mieville’s tale doesn’t focus on characters you can identify with, rather his powerful images are centred on places and settings, and on his monsters. In his PERDIDO STREET STATION, I was more attracted to his ravenous slake moths than to his human protagonists. What can I say–I have a darkly slanted mind.

Lastly, these weeks since Easter was a time of sadness. You may not work closely with a person in your office other than chance meetings in the hallway or the lounge but when that person, a young person, has passed on so suddenly, it leaves a void, and sad, very sad memories. Rest in peace. The troubles of this earth are behind you.

Getting to Know You – Blog Hop Day 4

Hello, and welcome again to the Getting to Know You Blog Hop, Day 4 with another excerpt from my book.
We have an eclectic choice of bloggers for this hop and it will run from January 29, 2013 to February 1, 2013. I’d like to thank Vicki M. Taylor (http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com). She’s the author and blogger who created this hop and made it happen for all of us.

Let’s get started on getting to know me.

Where are you from?
Since 1989 my country of choice was Canada and I’ve been living here ever since in the City of Edmonton, a place of short summers and long cold winters. In fact, as I’m writing this down, snow is blowing outside.

When and why did you begin writing?
In the beginning, before words took shape in meaning and purpose, I told my stories in doodles. I loved the comics and the Tintin illustrated magazine of Belgium (now out of print). Especially the latter had powerful stories to convey. Perhaps I could have been a cartoonist but the books I read in elementary school decided it for me: I loved to read but I also started to love to write and be the one controlling the flow of the story.

What books have most influenced your life?
Reading the masters of literary science fiction definitely set me on the path writing speculative fiction. And in that genre I would mention here the works of Gene Wolf, Dan Simmons, Mervyn Peake and China Mieville, to name but a few. The ideas, imagination and lyrical writing style of these masters of worldbuilding and mythmaking are truly inspiring.

What is your favorite book from childhood?
The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen with their enduring theme of sacrifice and redemption. Case in point, in the original story, there’s no “all’s well that ends well’ for the Little Mermaid; she gave up her life to save the human she loved.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Yes. The names of characters in my opinion reflect the manner in which they will take a life of their own in the novel. Since I write in an environment of alien worlds, I gave my characters names that would reflect their diverse surroundings.

What’s your favorite fruit?
I like all fruit in general. I would say that mangosteen, that’s hard to come by in the North, is one of my favorites.

Do you ever wish you had an entirely uncreative job?
Absolutely not.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Passion, persistence and the secret pleasures of writing.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The ability to adapt to change. Our world is constantly changing, be it for better or worse. To adapt is to keep your mind and ideas fresh.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are so many science fiction writers I would choose for a mentor. After careful thought I would choose Tim Powers for his wit and powers of creativity.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My most current work is Engelinkyn: The Jewels of Huemancy, which is the sequel to Engelinkyn: The Winged Hemisphere and is part of a 3-volume project that will conclude in Engelinkyn: The Towered Hemisphere. They’re available at Amazon. The following is an excerpt from the Towered Hemisphere:

As by the day the company drew nearer to Tzigon, Seat of the Heights, aurora flush began to fill the evenings, not just random flashes for only those farseeing to glimpse but a persistent display of kaleidoscopes diminishing the fires of supper to a faint flicker. An eerie experience for the eastern folk who had never travelled to these remote uplands but when the first fright was mastered the travellers began to enjoy the passionate panoramas of the northwestern skies. No celestial songs came during the last stretch of the mountain road but after the path had crested a ridge and wormed down to a dell the dirt road widened into a cobbled street.
A party adorned with festive furs and the brightly striped wool of the Chlanin Heights awaited them in a glade before the mouth of an underpass. A lady clad in pale blue and riding a khud the colour of the purest snow approached Erlvar and Ängereim. Her hair flowed in ripples around her shoulders and down her back, shimmering raven as a star-clustered night one moment, purple-blue as a summer gloaming the next. Fine gems and pearls were threaded through her hair and a many-rayed sapphire blazed on her ice-white bodice.
She folded her fingers around Ängereim’s. Erlvar felt their contact like the embrace of two suns. A binary of two Talents, one blossomed, the other blossoming, was forged.
“We know each other already, Lord Ängereim,” the lady spoke in the music of mountain springs. She turned her head slightly and her eyes throbbed like pale-green stars on the bosom of the universe.
“By the glint of your eyes I know you as well, Lord Erlvar. I am Nirwa, Blue Huemanceress of Thought and I say this to you, Opener of Gates: Talent is not just a gift. It is the ripening of a people.”

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I write because I enjoy it and that would be the case with everyone here on this blog. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to give advice on writing skills but I would just urge writers to continue believing in themselves in face of disappointment and cynicism.

Thank you for reading a bit about me and I’d like to introduce you to other authors along this hop. Their links are below:

http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com
http://tenthchild.com/wordpress/
http://candacegauger.wordpress.com/
http://traceeford.wordpress.com/
http://pacificrimpressblog.wordpress.com/
http://www.notanotherbookreview.blogspot.com/
http://ninjananny.wordpress.com/
http://www.charleneraddon.blogspot.com/
http://simplifyandsave.weebly.com/blog-save–simplify.html
http://candysmonsters.com/

Getting to Know You – Blog Hop Day 3

Hello, and welcome to the Getting to Know You Blog Hop, Day 3 with a new excerpt from my book.
We have an eclectic choice of bloggers for this hop and it will run from January 29, 2013 to February 1, 2013. I’d like to thank Vicki M. Taylor (http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com). She’s the author and blogger who created this hop and made it happen for all of us.

Let’s get started on getting to know me.

Where are you from?
Since 1989 my country of choice was Canada and I’ve been living here ever since in the City of Edmonton, a place of short summers and long cold winters. In fact, as I’m writing this down, snow is blowing outside.

When and why did you begin writing?
In the beginning, before words took shape in meaning and purpose, I told my stories in doodles. I loved the comics and the Tintin illustrated magazine of Belgium (now out of print). Especially the latter had powerful stories to convey. Perhaps I could have been a cartoonist but the books I read in elementary school decided it for me: I loved to read but I also started to love to write and be the one controlling the flow of the story.

What books have most influenced your life?
Reading the masters of literary science fiction definitely set me on the path writing speculative fiction. And in that genre I would mention here the works of Gene Wolf, Dan Simmons, Mervyn Peake and China Mieville, to name but a few. The ideas, imagination and lyrical writing style of these masters of worldbuilding and mythmaking are truly inspiring.

What is your favorite book from childhood?
The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen with their enduring theme of sacrifice and redemption. Case in point, in the original story, there’s no “all’s well that ends well’ for the Little Mermaid; she gave up her life to save the human she loved.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Yes. The names of characters in my opinion reflect the manner in which they will take a life of their own in the novel. Since I write in an environment of alien worlds, I gave my characters names that would reflect their diverse surroundings.

What’s your favorite fruit?
I like all fruit in general. I would say that mangosteen, that’s hard to come by in the North, is one of my favorites.

Do you ever wish you had an entirely uncreative job?
Absolutely not.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Passion, persistence and the secret pleasures of writing.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The ability to adapt to change. Our world is constantly changing, be it for better or worse. To adapt is to keep your mind and ideas fresh.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are so many science fiction writers I would choose for a mentor. After careful thought I would choose Tim Powers for his wit and powers of creativity.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My most current work is Engelinkyn: The Jewels of Huemancy, which is the sequel to Engelinkyn: The Winged Hemisphere and is part of a 3-volume project that will conclude in Engelinkyn: The Towered Hemisphere. They’re available at Amazon. The following is an excerpt from the Jewels of Huemancy:

The Book was brought, or rather rolled into the chambers on a scarlet velvet-covered cart and Erlvar settled in his corner with the tome nearly crushing his knees while the Suzerain Margrave and the Lord Cardinal discussed matters of importance in low voices. Though quietly they spoke, the frowns and the dark flashes from eye to eye spoke volumes of the willpower contest between two strong-willed, powerful men while this thick volume with the gold-painted, not gold-engraved, eagles, told another tale, that through the sortilege of His Lord Eminence an elegant book had grown to a dead weight overnight, and acquired a second emblem: a crown of white flames surmounting the eagles. Unable to divide his attention between the debate and the contents of the Book, this heavily embellished copy, Erlvar soon concentrated fully on the scriptures, on the history the Book recorded that had always been foremost in his waking and sleeping hours.
But soon he closed the Book. The longed for trip of discovery was a disappointment; he felt cheated. The many sanctimonious letters, the clutter of canons and articles of doctrine, the ever-present call to redeem corrupted Tauhls with the spirits of the innocent, to gain immortal glory through the ultimate sacrifice, paled beside the passionate mysteries of the Four Huemancies. Yet, garnishments of creed cannot entirely entomb the snails of history.
Out of the heavens, out of the clouds burst a white fire of wrath. He saw in his mind the Holy Prior of Anviolk clutching his stylus as he bent over his parchment and wrote these words by trembling candlelight while outside the fumes of death suffocated his village. And threw awry the balance of worlds. Threw awry nearly everything and imported a new word kyn that had been däin in the older tongues. Yet again, snails could be shunted as well, for ‘the living kyn shall redeem the departed kyn who have erred’, so the Great Silver Tauhl spoke when he appeared before the Prior. And ‘Silver shall be the colour of my Tabernacle’, the Holy Prior ordained.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I write because I enjoy it and that would be the case with everyone here on this blog. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to give advice on writing skills but I would just urge writers to continue believing in themselves in face of disappointment and cynicism.

Thank you for reading a bit about me and I’d like to introduce you to other authors along this hop. Their links are below:

http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com
http://tenthchild.com/wordpress/
http://candacegauger.wordpress.com/
http://traceeford.wordpress.com/
http://pacificrimpressblog.wordpress.com/
http://www.notanotherbookreview.blogspot.com/
http://ninjananny.wordpress.com/
http://www.charleneraddon.blogspot.com/
http://simplifyandsave.weebly.com/blog-save–simplify.html
http://candysmonsters.com/

Getting to Know You – Blog Hop Day 2

Hello, and welcome to the Getting to Know You Blog Hop, Day 2.
We have an eclectic choice of bloggers for this hop and it will run from January 29, 2013 to February 1, 2013. I’d like to thank Vicki M. Taylor (http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com). She’s the author and blogger who created this hop and made it happen for all of us.

Let’s get started on getting to know me.

Where are you from?
Since 1989 my country of choice was Canada and I’ve been living here ever since in the City of Edmonton, a place of short summers and long cold winters. In fact, as I’m writing this down, snow is blowing outside.

When and why did you begin writing?
In the beginning, before words took shape in meaning and purpose, I told my stories in doodles. I loved the comics and the Tintin illustrated magazine of Belgium (now out of print). Especially the latter had powerful stories to convey. Perhaps I could have been a cartoonist but the books I read in elementary school decided it for me: I loved to read but I also started to love to write and be the one controlling the flow of the story.

What books have most influenced your life?
Reading the masters of literary science fiction definitely set me on the path writing speculative fiction. And in that genre I would mention here the works of Gene Wolf, Dan Simmons, Mervyn Peake and China Mieville, to name but a few. The ideas, imagination and lyrical writing style of these masters of worldbuilding and mythmaking are truly inspiring.

What is your favorite book from childhood?
The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen with their enduring theme of sacrifice and redemption. Case in point, in the original story, there’s no “all’s well that ends well’ for the Little Mermaid; she gave up her life to save the human she loved.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Yes. The names of characters in my opinion reflect the manner in which they will take a life of their own in the novel. Since I write in an environment of alien worlds, I gave my characters names that would reflect their diverse surroundings.

What’s your favorite fruit?
I like all fruit in general. I would say that mangosteen, that’s hard to come by in the North, is one of my favorites.

Do you ever wish you had an entirely uncreative job?
Absolutely not.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Passion, persistence and the secret pleasures of writing.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The ability to adapt to change. Our world is constantly changing, be it for better or worse. To adapt is to keep your mind and ideas fresh.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are so many science fiction writers I would choose for a mentor. After careful thought I would choose Tim Powers for his wit and powers of creativity.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My most current work is Engelinkyn: The Jewels of Huemancy, which is the sequel to Engelinkyn: The Winged Hemisphere and is part of a 3-volume project that will conclude in Engelinkyn: The Towered Hemisphere. They’re available at Amazon. The following is an excerpt of The Winged Hemisphere:

He wrapped himself with the tang of the sea and jumped, legs straight, arms stretched above his head. The ocean folded above his swirling hair. The keel of the trawler frothed darkish, dimming and thinning the deeper he plunged, the farther he cruised on his Trip among the noble families of Retranak. Sharks too stalked the underwater world, glimmering like metal as if planished from the polyfibres of the Orion. The dolphins weaved around his purple-smudged body, their snouts pumping kisses into his mouth, jangling playfully with his black earring. Stories they smacked out of their thick lips, rumours of war, horror tales of drowning men thrashing in the deeps.
The sharks swished by, sabres honed by the salt of the seas and the blood of their prey. From their palisades of serrated teeth streamed out spectres of carnage, of sky and sea mottled ruby by burning ships, armadas that writhed, screamed and fed La’utra with their brittle limbs.
They wound his hair around their teeth. We spare no one, they gloated, no one is safe from us scavengers, hunters, raveners. Not the smallest of dwarves, nor the mightiest of giants harnessed for the battle. Yet, we too know fear. You the trespasser, a man-youth floating along the deepest currents of the underwater, an invader who bonded with us so deep in our realm.
The sharks, dolphins, all creatures of the deeps wreathed beyond the curtains of his closed eyelids in the pastel hues of a twilight world. With breath bubbles he caressed the ones who came so close as to brush his cheeks. Do not fear. I shall never unravel the threads of nature, my Untouch will only probe, not change. A huemancer I shall become, who shall respect the fabric
of oceans, of lands and of skies.
Huemancer, they murmured, a sorcerer bowing to the forces of the Other Kingdom, us. Embracing the blackness of the deeps, us. Planktonlike he planed along from gulf to gulf, from womb to womb of Retranak who draped in smoky sheets around his dreaming psyche, his brine-covered body. Valleys of sea anemones he crossed, hills overgrown in algae, shores of coral, forests of kelp, lands unbronzed by sunlight, ravines dreaming under Eye and Arc warmed foam.
Help us, the dolphins pleaded, fondling his lips again, their tailfins wrapping around his hips. Blue electric flashes ran along the range of fins. A monstrosity is riding the foam of Retranak, man not man, beast not beast, an unnature, which even the gloating La’utra for all their bladed teeth cannot vanquish. Stand by us. Or better still, be like us, shed your skin, don our gills.
He shed his skin, he donned their gills and he saw. He could not say whether he had journeyed far in body or in mind but he saw dark battlements rising out from the Arc-lit sea, tall castles astraddle on tall cliffs enthroned on brooding islands. The yellow glow of flambeaus writhed in little holes of windows and shivered on the small, distant teeth of bartizans while in the steaming harbour ships of all sizes crowded together and echoes of all kinds rippled across the water. The rowdy songs and guffaws of men, the shrill chatter and giggle of women and from far away, far above the peal of mortal pain.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I write because I enjoy it and that would be the case with everyone here on this blog. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to give advice on writing skills but I would just urge writers to continue believing in themselves in face of disappointment and cynicism.

Thank you for reading a bit about me and I’d like to introduce you to other authors along this hop. Their links are below:

http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com
http://tenthchild.com/wordpress/
http://candacegauger.wordpress.com/
http://traceeford.wordpress.com/
http://pacificrimpressblog.wordpress.com/
http://www.notanotherbookreview.blogspot.com/
http://ninjananny.wordpress.com/
http://www.charleneraddon.blogspot.com/
http://simplifyandsave.weebly.com/blog-save–simplify.html
http://candysmonsters.com/

Reading into the Treasure Trove of SF – Tim Powers

The first book I read by Tim Powers was ANUBIS GATES and I was hooked by his writing ever since. At his panel at LACon in 2006 he told us he’d never been to London, England before and that struck us all with amazement because his description of London in one of his books was so vivid that he must have had at least set foot in that city and seen this particular building and that particular street with his own eyes. To which he declared, yes, he saw the city, but saw the city only through photographs which he lined up on the carpet in his living room and strung his tale around them. Which leads me to mention his book DECLARE which is a gripping alternate history of the British Secret Service, not only battling Nazis and Communists but also evil djinns. And from the foundation of DECLARE Charles Stross spun his tale of the Atrocity Archives.

Free will – to choose good or evil

As a writer, you write about the good things of beings (be they humans or otherwise), but there is also the bad, and the evil, that steers the plot of the story. I have watched documentaries about the history of the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust for this reason, to research that dark aspect in the psyche of man that drives man to commit unspeakable crimes, or is there some abstract outside force that compels the inhumanity of man against man? Recently I watched the documentary of the Goebbels-Experiment. For me it becomes disturbingly clear, from one maddened oratory to the next, from images of deliriously cheering crowds to the images of burning synagogues. Not only in Nazi Germany but in China as well during the Cultural Revolution. The people beaten to death in high school basements, all to follow Mao Tze Tong’s Thoughts and cleanse society of anti-revolutionary elements.
The people had allowed it to happen; they had endorsed the burning and the killing. They had cheered on the evil in their leaders.
From direct personal experience, from one being that we are providing a roof over its head freely in Canada, from the series of drunken rants, the racist outbursts against immigrants, comes this dark picture. What if there should appear an orator like Goebbels dispensing inflammatory speeches blaming the ills of society on ethnic minorities. Will the people protest, or will the people cheer him on and do his evil bidding of ethnic cleansing?

Home for the holidays

My last day at the office is today. I don’t have to get up early, like 6 am in the morning tomorrow, and doggies and me can have a long lie-in, wallowing in dog hair and the like (Jessie is shedding). Long lie-in? What am I thinking! I still have to finish DEMES OF THE WREATH. At the moment, the flow is stalled at the point when heroes and villains are about to infiltrate the insidious MetaCortex. How insidious I still have to map out. And I still have to mesh all scenarios in one coherent whole. Adventure on, my heroes! Hopefully, I will dream of you tonight.