Thought of the Week: What Should I Read?

All right, confession time: for a writer, I’m very poorly-read. I haven’t actually sat down to read a book in years.

I have my excuses: work, raising a child, working on my own books, depression, etc. etc. etc. The point is that, if I really wanted to, I’d have read. And I feel kind of embarrassed, and ashamed about that. What kind of writer doesn’t read?

I suspect that if I did genuinely have more time I would read, but when every free moment is spent trying to write, I just can’t get around to reading.

However…I’d like that to change. I’ve been away at this work training thing for two weeks by the time you read this, and I will have already chosen a book to read (this is a shame, because I would have very much liked your opinions). I may not even get around to reading that, but I thought I’d share with you the list of books I’ve bought over the past few years and simply never got around to reading.

The Lake, The River & the Other Lake – Steve Amick (2005)

The resort town of Weneshkeen, nestled along Michigan’s Gold Coast, has become a complex melting pot: townies and old timers mix with ritzy summer folk, migrant cherry pickers, wily river guides, and a few Ojibwe Indians. As the summer blooms, these lives mingle in surprising ways – a lifelong resident and Vietnam Vet pursues the take-no-guff deputy sheriff, while plotting revenge against the jet-skiers polluting his beloved lake; a summer kid from downstate stumbles into a romance with the sexiest rich girl in town; the town’s retired reverend discovers the Internet and a new friend in his computer tutor.

Little Wolf Slayer – Donald E. Cooke (1952)

Ship of Magic – Robin Hobb (1999)

Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships-rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.

For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her – a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea’s young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.

But the fate of the Vestrit family – and the ship – may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles…and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will…

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson (2011)

The Charnel Prince – Greg Keyes (2004)

When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, a season of darkness and horror fell upon the Kingdom of Crotheny. Now countless breeds of unspeakable monsters roam the countryside. An epidemic of madness has transformed peaceful villagers from the wildlands into savage, flesh-eating fiends. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treachery on every side, and their last surviving daughter, Anne, has fled the assassins bent on destroying her family.

Close on the heels of the runaway princess, young knight Neil MeqVren, the queen’s one trusted ally, is sworn to rescue Anne from her murderous pursuers. Anne herself undertakes a perilous journey toward the sanctuary of her distant paramour’s arms, but along the way lie the sinister agents and hidden snares of a sprawling conspiracy that few might hope to evade.

At the same time, spies in the service of Praifec Hespero, the powerful Churchman, embark upon a mission to destroy the Briar King in the heart of his domain. And the power-hungry Church, spurred on by the mystical events, has launched an inquisition whose repercussions threaten even the queen. As the noose of intrigue tightens across the land, personal fates and a kingdom’s destiny alike will be decided in a conflict between virtue and malevolence, might and magic.

Full Dark, No Stars – Stephen King (2010)

The Song Spinner – Pauline Le Bel (1994)

Step into the land of Pindrop where Hush Laws keep everyone quiet. Very quiet. The melancholy ruler, Frilo, has decreed that even birds are not allowed to sing. Meet young Aurora who hears beautiful music in her head. While she does her whispering lessons like other good children and wears her Hush Cloth, she dreams of a day when everyone will may joyful sound again. Into this silent land, comes the mysterious Zantalalia. Banished to the Water World because she refused to stop singing, she has secretly returned in time for the Sunwatch holiday with a precious gift for Aurora. Now it will take all the courage Aurora can muster to get past the dreaded Captain Nizzle of the Noise Police and convince Frilo to lift the shroud of silence.

The Dragonriders of Pern – Anne McCaffrey (1988)

Wildwood – Colin Meloy (2011)

Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. That is, until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in – or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval – a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intention. And what begins as as rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Trinity Fields – Bradford Morrow (1995)

The Pact – Walter J. Roers (2000)

In the summer of 1948, young Mike Dougherty and Ricky Stedman become firm friends and begin a series of adventures in their working-class Minneapolis neighborhood. Their pleasurable pastimes are overshadowed, however, by harsh family realities that the boys are slow to reveal to each other.

Shatner Rules – William Shatner (2011)

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The Redemption of Erâth: Midwinter Pause

So I hope you’ve been enjoying Brandyé’s journey into the world of Erâth over the past few months. Throughout the last fifteen chapters we’ve seen Brandyé be captured by, and eventually live alongside, the seafaring Cosari. He reunited with his childhood friend Elven and learned of terrible happenings in his home country, and set out to discover the world with him. Along the way they met a mysterious race of beings called the Illuèn, who appear to know much of the world past, and something of what is to come.

I am just as excited to know where this is going as you are, but the time has come for a pause in the telling of this tale. My current focus during the autumn is going to be A Gothic Symphony, a work that I’ve been continuing for many years. I would like to finally see that near to completion, and this is the year to do it. Alongside this I will be working toward the (finally!) publication of the first book, Consolation. I can’t wait to get it back from the editor, and I’m becoming very anxious to send it off so that I can finally see it in print. If I can get it out before the holidays, that would be fantastic.

So what does this mean? Things will be quiet on the …Erâth front for a while. Expect updates when I get the manuscript back; I will certainly be letting you know how things are going toward publication! However, there will be no new chapters at least until the new year, at which point I hope to have the first book published and most of A Gothic Symphony finished.

It’s been a wonderful journey so far, and I hope you’ll forgive this temporary absence. I can absolutely promise you that Brandyé’s journey is not over; there are still five-and-a-half books left to write!

Take care, enjoy yourselves, and if you’re interested feel free to dive back into the world of Erâth from the beginning: all the chapters are here.

I look forward to seeing you in the new year!


Satis 2013

A Gothic Symphony: Chapter Three – Introductions

If he hadn’t known better, he would have thought it was a setup. Considering where things ended up leading, it might as well have been. All of it, just to meet that one girl.

Marlon was crazy. He owned a huge apartment in the expensive part of the city, and no one really knew where he got the money; he worked at a divorce attorney office, the kind that don’t require a spouse’s signature. He had first met Marlon when he still worked at the big law firm, and he’d fallen in with him right away – the guy knew how to throw a party.

He never quite figured out why Marlon left; something to do with his boss, who Marlon had never really liked. In his mind, that didn’t really justify leaving a cushy job with an almost infinite upward path for a downtown crap shack that got people out of your life for $300. There was no way he was making any decent money there, even if they kept things off the books (which was pretty likely). It didn’t change a thing; he’d kept the apartment, the expensive TV and white leather couches, and he still threw mad parties.

Most of the people who’d shown up were young urbanites fresh out of college (some still in college), starting their career and living the good life in a big city. There was always something to do on a Saturday night, and apparently this was the thing to do this night. There must have been fifty people crammed into that apartment, and there was wine and champagne and expensive beer. The music was loud, the people were louder, and there was a lot of laughter, a lot of joking, and a whole lot of flirting.

He’d come because Marlon had invited him; he liked the atmosphere, when people started getting hammered, when their hair and their guards came down. A lot of the girls were single, and it was a good place to pick someone up (or get laid, if the mood was right). At any given time, there was something or other going on in the bedroom.

Tonight, though, he wasn’t really all that into it. He’d just come off the back of a week of fifteen-hour days, and frankly was planning to stay an hour, get wasted, and go back to his apartment to sleep for twenty-four hours straight.

He’d secured himself a comfy seat in a corner near the windows, having made sure it was only big enough for one. He had a glass of scotch in his hand – no ice – and had surreptitiously liberated the bottle from the little bar shelf in the open-plan kitchen. If he didn’t finish it, he told himself, he’d be taking it with him. It was Marlon’s, and it was expensive, and he didn’t give a shit. […]

Read the full chapter here.