Friday, May 24, 2013

The Seagull - At Last

FINALLY yesterday managed to get organised and fleshout the now almost forgotten promo threats from back in Jan and Feb. of 2013. Gathered up the bits and pieces, and put the fourth Everran book up on Kindle. At last!
Just to repeat the details, doubtless now long out of mind.

The cover - ta da, and courtesy of my very good mate and excellent artist, Caroline Husher. Thank you, Caroline, you've done some great covers for me and this is one of the best.

The blurb:
The only thing worse than being made a wizard is to be born a wizard.
The mage’s Arts came to Phaz at birth. His father Zam is the wizard guardian of the great desert Hethria. His mother Sellithar was a Crown Princess.  The rulers of mighty Assharral want him to inherit their empire. What choices does he have left?
Especially with a family who fear that evil is his natural bent?
He could always run. But just to help things along, Phaz has an Art of his own that offers glimpses of the future. Run or stay, his is not where you’d want to end up.
The Seagull is about voyages, in the world and in the heart. It is also a suspenseful high fantasy novel, set in a world firmly realised in the previous novels of the Chronicles of Rihannar, Everran's Bane, The Moving Water and The Red Country. The first received some enthusiastic reviews, the second was shortlisted for best fantasy novel in the Aurealis Australian genre fiction awards, and the third was described by SF Crowsnest as "a lovely book." Now, the story is going on.

For a preview, see the Kindle edition free sample, or shortly, check on here for the novel's own page and chapters.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Third Table Round One, Travelling Guest Fantasy Blog

Yes, after some discussion, we're back, with slightly changed personnel, for a third Round of the Table! Topic for May is/was "Shades of Fantasy" and the posts are now up over on Deborah J. Ross's blog - in the meantime, here's my effusion for the month. Enjoy!

Originally I meant to talk about sub-genres on this, but I’ve done that before, so instead I’ll look at shades in (mostly) high fantasy, varying by both authors’ style and time. Which logically lets me start with one of the fathers of modern fantasy, Lord Dunsany. Here’s the intro to his short story, “Carcassonne:”
They say that [Camorak’s] house at Arn was huge and high, and its ceiling painted blue; and when evening fell men would climb up by ladders and light the scores of candles hanging from slender chains. And they say, too, that sometimes a cloud would come, and pour in through the top of one of the oriel windows, and it would come over the edge of the stonework as the sea-mist comes over a sheer cliff’s shaven lip where an old wind has blown for ever and ever (he has swept away thousands of leaves and thousands of centuries, they are all one to him, he owes no allegiance to Time).
 Writing pre-WWI, Dunsany has more than an echo of Yeats’ Celtic twilight: whimsical tone, slightly formal, archaic usages such as the “they say” beloved of medieval romances. And characteristic of Dunsany, whimsy extended into a long, flapping, image-ridden sentence that in the wrong hands could come perilously close to a place in the Bulwer Lytton awards. No magic apparent in here, yet. This cd. be just a very formal historical novel.
From around the same period we have:
“His highness rode a hot stirring horse very fierce and dogged; knee to knee with him went Styrkmir of Blackwood o’ the one side and Tharmrod o’ the other. Neither man nor horse might stand up before them, and they faring as in a maze now this way now that, amid the thrumbling and thrasting of the footmen, heads and arms smitten off, men hewn in sunder from crown to belly, ay, to the saddle, riderless horses maddened, blood plashed up from the ground like the slush from a marsh.”
Yep, that other Daddy of the Genre, E. R. Edison, from the chapter “The Battle of Krothering Side,” in The Worm Ouroboros. And yes, nobody sounds or ever again could sound like Edison. The lavish detail, the exuberance, the outrageous yet so brilliant faux Elizabethan language is a Phoenix. One of a kind.

The writing in The Worm actually ranges widely, from battle scenes like this, sounding almost straight out of Mallory, to the ornate settings, and breathtaking natural beauty like the sunset that closes this chapter, or the first view of Zimiamvia. But it’s a good shade away from Dunsany, not least in the ferocity of its focus, and the equally ferocious insistence of its rhythm. And Edison can do serious magic, but not here.