Tag Archives: fiction

On the Passing of Terry Pratchett — a personal story

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I can only seem to make sense of the passing of Terry Pratchett by writing about how he influenced my life and my work. The rest has been said by better people than me.

In 1999 I was drifting. I was in my first year of college, my roommate was sucking the life out of me, I was doing badly in classes, I was depressed, and I would possibly go weeks at a time without talking to another human being. I was miserable, and I could only deal with it by escaping into books.

After consuming several dozen titles, I came across “Equal Rites.” I had tried reading it in 7th grade, but I put it down in embarrassment because the first page had the word “sex” in it. I thought I’d give it another shot this time, so I began to read… and read… and read. I was done with it in three days, I recall skipping a few classes to finish it.  I adored it. I laughed. It was rare to hear me laugh in those days, unless it was cynically. A little cloud had lifted off of my heart.

But it wasn’t enough. When I put it down, there was a hunger in me. I wanted to play in this world again I needed to play in this sandbox again and never leave it. I looked in the inside leaf to find out what other books there were and dashed to my college bookstore to see what I could get. I quickly finished Colour of Magic, Light Fantastic, Sourcery, and Wyrd Sisters. Over my 4.5 years in college, I bought EVERY book in the Discworld series that was out (Sorry, Mom. Most of it was money that was supposed to be for food and texts). When I’d bought them all, I’d bug the staff about ordering the rest. They started to recognize me by face after a while. It wasn’t uncommon for them to greet me with things like, “No, honey. ‘The Fifth Elephant’ isn’t here yet.”

And in reading those wonderful magical books, my eyes were opened.

Terry’s writing voice was like mine—the running Mystery Science Theatre 3000 that was always in my head when I read fantasy. He was pointing out tired plot devices and character tropes that I had long ago become sick of. He seemed to be as tired as I was of all the myriad of fantasy authors who were attempting to ape Professor Tolkien.  Not only that, but he too became tired of his own fantasy world. As the Discworld series progressed, everything became less about heroes and more about the little guy. It wasn’t about dark lords and farm boys and prophecies. It was about parents, and career women, policemen, bureaucrats, teachers, journalists, hippies, kids—ordinary people, made extraordinary by their larger-than life personalities.

Philosophically, I was enthralled as well. His portrayals of Death, culture-clash, capitalism, government, women, and people of faith and non-faith alike made me question my world and see his world in it.

Later on, his bravery and humor, and cutting observations inspired me to make my own sandbox: Tereand. Linus Weedwhacker, I can’t deny, would not have been possible without Terry’s influence.

I’ve been blessed with some good reviews for my books, but the only one that made me feel like I truly succeeded—that I was able to give back some of what was given to me— was the review that compared my work to that of Terry Pratchett’s. I considered that a compliment of the highest honor.

God bless you, Terry Pratchett. Hopefully, it will be revealed to you how much we all loved you.

Terry Pratchett was born in 1948.

In 1971 he published his first book, The Carpet People.

The first Discworld Book The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007 and struggled with it while still writing and devoting countless hours to raising money for further research into the virulent disease. He wrote over 70 books, finishing the 40th Discworld book, Raising Steam, last year.

He leaves behind his wife, Lyn, and his daughter Rihanna.

 

His family is currently asking for their privacy to be respected and for well-wishers to leave donations to justgiving.com

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Learn to Speak Elven Part 2

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Tereand Elven Part 2. 

Vocabulary:  

Ilf/ Ilfani: Elf/ Elfan

Uman/ Umani: Human/ Human (of human race)

Duerga/ Duergani: Dwarf/ Dwarfen

Trok/ Troki: Troll/ Trollish

Yrch/ Yrcha: Orc/ Orcish

Hobya/ Hobyani: Halfling/ Halfling (of Halfling race)

Additional Vocabulary:
e, en : a, an

note: The second form is also the plural form of the race ie: Ilfani=Elves, Umani=Humans.

Homework Excersise Two:

Translate the Following sentances:

Ex. I am a Troll.  Il as en Umani.

1.They are human.  ___________________

2. Are you (plural) haflings? ______________________

3.We are not dwarves.  _______________________

4. Yes, we are elven. _____________________

5. You are trollish.  ____________________

6. My name is (your name.) _______________________

 

Learn to Speak Elven Part 1

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I’m on Spring Break this weekend so I decided it might be fun if I did a little “Elven Lesson” in Tereand Elvish. These fake exercises are how I started building the Elven language that I put all novels in Tereand (like Must Love Dragons and Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid). I’ll actually be doing a panel on language building at Ravencon next week so I thought this would be a good exercise.

These are all words in the OFFICIAL Tereand Lexicon (ie, the excel file in my doc. folder) and I’ll attempt to be as “official as possible.” Ready? 🙂

Lesson One / Falthe Enn

My Name Is… / Mei Maineh Es…

Vocabulary:

 Il: I

mei: me/ my

ta: you (informal)

thee: you (formal)

wen: us/we

theeyn: they/ you (plural)

di: it

as: am

es: is

ere: are

yae: yes

nae: no/ not

name: maineh

 Mei maineh es__________: My name is__________

*****

HOMEWORK Exercise 1:

Translate the following phrases:

Example:  E. You are    Ta ere   

1. Yes (informal), I am _______________________

2. You (formal) are _______________________

3. We are not_____________________

4. They are __________________

5. It is ___________________

 

Liebster Award

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This week I was awarded the Liebster Award by the wonderful talented writer, Sabrina “Stabby” Zbasnik for my writing career.  With it is the condition that I have to nominate 3 other writers and ask them a series of 10 questions. Those three are:

Emma Newman, author of the awesome Split Worlds series.

Angela Capozello author of the awesome Nox and Grimm series.

Fellow Hunt Press author, Barrie J. Rosen . You should buy her books. And mine. Buy mine too.

Your 10 questions, ladies,  are as follows, and I’m going to pretend really hard that I’m not secretly asking for tips:

  1. Are you a planner or a pantser (as in seat-of-the-pants)?
  2. What’s your favorite stage of writing?
  3. What kind of tunes do you listen to while writing; do you have a favorite song?
  4. Do your characters ever “get away” from you and if so, how do you cope?
  5. How do you deal with writer’s block?
  6. Who’s your favorite character to write for and who’s your least?
  7. Who was your favorite character growing up?
  8. What’s the craziest real-life experience that wound up making it into your fiction?
  9. Why do you write?
  10. If you could spend a day at a theme park with your any of your characters, who would it be, what ride would you go on, what would you eat for lunch, and how would it end?

And now for my questions as asked by Stabby.  I’m thrilled to answer these.

  1. What’s your favorite character?
    My favorite character is definitely Linus Weedwhacker, who first appears in Must Love Dragons. There was some magic symbiosis between him and me. It was giving a name and a face to the cynical, sarcastic voice whispering into my ear, telling me to look at the monsters in life and laugh when I saw the strings. At the same time, there’s a lot of heart to Linus and a lot of strength to him. I find myself drawing from that strength and becoming inspired by it when I feel small and helpless.
    Or to phrase it in my brother’s words: deep down inside me is a chainsmoking, hardened, 52-year-old man.
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  1. Is there a character that you were going to kill/write off but something changed your mind?
    Vilori Reagan was never meant to be more than a cardboard background antagonist to Linus. He was just a rich snob and a financial facilitator to Linus in Runs in Good Condition and then somehow he started to have this unexpected depth, weaseling himself into more of the book than I had intended. He even upstaged Avery who was supposed to have a bigger role. Now he’s another favorite character to write for and I find myself wanting to learn more about this cold weird bastard. He’ll probably be showing up in more books of The Linus Saga.
  2. Are you more of a plot/character/idea/throw words against the wall like spaghetti author?
    Yes. I remember sending a query to a good friend that said, “Guys show up, stuff happens, good guys save the day.”
    I’m a conversationist writer. My usual method is to put several people in a room together and just have them talk and see what happenes. Some of my best scenes have come about by simply letting the personalities clash, but then sometimes it’s like herding cats to get these guys to stop talking and actually, ya know, DO something.  I call it “couch syndrome,” because it’s like trying to get your kids off the couch to go play outside. Lynald Winguard and Ev Kelly are the worst for that.
  3. What’s the stupidest idea you’ve ever had?
    I don’t think anything tops having a Regency-esque protagonist with the last name Weedwhacker. But that was just his name. There was nothing I could do about it. I’ve gotten used to it and it will occasionally take me by surprise when I suddenly re-realize, “That’s a really STUPID surname. I can’t believe I did that.”
  4. What’s the best idea you’ve ever had writingwise?
    I think my best idea was to ditch the epic adventure ideas of grandeur that I had earlier in my life. I wanted to be the next Tolkien and that’s just not who I am.  I’d rather write about life. Life isn’t always about going out and slaying a beastie or saving the world. Sometimes life is simply about living through it. It’s about the people you share a home with, work with, fight with and love.
  5. Out of all your settings, which would you most like to live in?
    I think it would be pretty cool to live in Burrowsborough, the Halfling village featured in the upcoming 3rd book of the Linus Saga, No Shoes, No Service (working title). Intimate, comfortable, and by the sea-shore, even if it does seem to rain every other day. And with lots of good food and beer. I wouldn’t go barefoot, though. I need to have my boot collection.
  6. What’s your biggest writing win? 
    The Linus Saga has been my bread and butter. I’m glad that people genuinely connect with it and keep asking me to do more. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I really have to credit my friends at Tangent Artists for getting me thinking about writing again. I never would have done it if it hadn’t been for them.
  7. Do you have a specific genre or do you like to bounce around freely?
    I tend to bounce between Fantasy genre and Urban Fantasy in my various works. I like anything with a lot of myth and legend to it no matter when or where it’s supposed to be set. I suppose that’s why I’ve never managed SciFi yet. My lens is firmly trained on the past; I’m a really history nut. I like looking back at what we believed, the drama and pathos of past struggles, and comparing how far we’ve come. And I like vampires. They’re like evil sexy Elves.
  1. Favorite spot to write?
    My favorite spot is in my living room around 8 am, when the kids have just got on the bus to school. I look at the sun shining on the kitchen and my wide picture window looking over pine trees. I usually think about going back to bed, but the laptop calls me and I forgo that extra hour of sleep, still holding that first cup of hot coffee. I get an adreneline rush and a warm fuzzy feeling as I switch on some Alan Parsons Project or Penguin Cafe Orchestra and just write.
  2. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
    Yes. It looked a bit like this:
    (copyright, Jim Henson Productions. I do not own this video clip.)~Ciao! :3

Building Tereand

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Building Tereand

This is the first map I ever drew of Nor Vredon back in 2008, The Northwest province of Tereand, which I refer to in my novels (even Madame Bluestocking!) As you can see it’s pretty rudimentary looking and I suck and things like forests and mountains. I made it to keep things straight in me head. That’s something they don’t tell you about world-building when you jump in. You have to take lots of notes.
I later modified this to look more “mappish” and less “school geography project.” I’ll post that later.
In fact I eventually put in notes by 10-year-old Carson and his Form 6 teacher.