Tag Archive | Lynn Flewelling

Keep your mitts off my books!

There’s been a ration of poo slung around this spring/summer regarding women in fantasy fiction and, more recently even romance. I kind of have to shake my head at these posturing potential potenates…. who don’t realize that if the conversation were fictionalized and thrown into a fantasy setting… well. They would not be the hero. Oh, no. They would definitely be the evil wizard/king/crybaby trying to force everyone into their own way of thinking. You shall not pass.

I mean really. Are you truly trying to tell me that Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg and Mercedes Lackey are… lacking? Shame on you! Don’t like the new crop of fiction coming out? Don’t read it. But don’t presume to know what’s good for me.

What really saddens me is that these kind of arguments have been going on for a very long time. Because something is popular with them, the masses, women it must be inherently bad. Suck it up, buttercup, cuz those readers are still going to read the books they want to. They will buy them in droves, propelling them UP the NYT Best Seller list while your own languishes in the stacks. 
 Oh, and by the way? Shakespeare? Wildly popular with the masses. All those bawdy jokes, don’t you know.
While I was at CSU, I often hid what I was reading due to jack asses. Fantasy was fine, but let someone catch me with a romance? I cringed at the thought. Until someone tried to book shame me, in my creative writing class, and the professor said something to the effect of… well… You can support yourself with that sort of writing. Live very well, if you have the talent.
This was the same instructor who told us on our first day not to even try genre fiction (especially horror or sci-fi / fantasy) in his class. I was terrified when I went up to speak with him. But I write fantasy, I said. “Prove it,” he told me.  Turns out he’s not against the genre, just the bad habits of new writers. I wrote my first novel under his guidance, a work of fantasy fiction.
A lot of what I read and write has to do with belonging. About taking what you’ve got and making it work. Finding a way through the darkness. There are books who have held me up (Anne Bishop) during the worst time of my life, and others that echo those days and reinforce that we are survivors (Cathy Lamb). There’s the joy of love (Eloisa James, Julia Quinn), and family and friends.
If you’re so afraid of women in fiction, then I kind of have to ask. What are you so afraid of?
No matter the answer, keep your mitts off my reading material. I don’t need that sort of help.
Ogres need not apply.
 
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Shards of Time by Lynn Flewelling (APRIL 2014)

Review: Shards of Time by Lynn Flewelling

 

I love Seregil and Alec. They, and their adventures, have captured my imagination and my heart. So when I heard that this was potentially their last novel, I was saddened. And then I read Rex Regis, the last in the Imager Series by L.E. Modesitt, and I was afraid of what would happen to my favorites (Alec and Seregill). I cried with frustration with Rex Regis. It was a book too far, something that should have been an extra few chapters on the last book.

I didn’t need to worry.

Although I did cry.

Several times.

This one is gonna yank you in and not let you go until the end. It takes what is best from all the varied stories and wraps them together. While it harkens back to the first trilogy, with a nod to the Tamir Trilogy, this book will stand on its own two feet. The characters feel as if they are living, breathing humans that live just beyond our sight. Which is what great fiction is all about.

And most importantly, she leaves the boys where we love them. Enjoying their life, having adventures. While the story may be over, their story is not. It’s a happily ever after for the fantasy set.

Make sure you turn the page, and read the Afterword, too. I can’t wait to see the new adventures that await us with Ms. Flewelling.

 

Wyn

Book Stores

 

Book Stores

 

When I was going to college, I worked in bookstores. The first one was an itty, bitty local store. I then graduated up to Crown Books, and into management there. My next book job was at Media Play, which (when it opened, at least) had a full book, video and computer program section (and probably others that I no longer remember.

Even still, I can still remember the first Barnes and Noble book store. I know! I felt like… Finally! Here were people who understood me. I was in graduate school, working at Media Play, and still it took my breath away.

Since then, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with B&N. Because while they understand the love of books, they still suck in 2 respects. (Please keep in mind that I am ONLY speaking of my local store).

  1. They have people who do not know their alphabet shelving books. It’s a relatively simple process, people. It is so frustrating to have the temptation to take down a shelf and re-shelve all the books in the right order while in a store. Or even worse—I shouldn’t have to pocket a book you have 4 copies of! If you have 4 copies, get it cover out! PLEASE!
  2. The Science Fiction and Fantasy section sucks. If a new novel comes out, how about stocking the previous books in a series? They only seem to stock X amount of any given author. Carol Berg is one of my favorites, but I don’t really care for her current series. She has much stronger work in her backlist, but they have maybe one title at a time. Anne Bishop, Lynn Flewelling and others are not kept at the levels they need to be. Romance is the same way—Eloisa James has a book called “Pleasure for Pleasure”, and I look for it EVERY BLASTED TIME I GO IN. They have the other books in the series. But not this book. And if it has sold out each and every time, maybe B&N should order in more than 1 copy at a time. (Please don’t bother telling me that I can get it online or on my Nook— I hate my nook and it’s the principle of the thing now.)

Now, there are some really bright spots. They poached one of my Borders’ Boys. Borders was great because they loved books and could make actual recommendations. The local Barnes and Nobles seems to be going more that way: I’ve actually had discussions with some of the workers about books. Before, I’d get blank stares if I asked if they had heard anything about a book. (Really? You work in a book store and you’ve heard NOTHING about this book that is number 1 on the NYT list? Huh.)

People who sell books should love books. Or at least like them. I know it’s a really snobbish thing, and I know everyone is trying to save money. But trust me on this. All those little girls running around reading Twilight and all those other books? They will grow up at some point. And if we want to nurture their love of reading, we need to give them something more than the paranormal romances that are so prolific right now. Because some will want to continue on with that, and some will want to expand their horizons.

Broadening those horizons is good for all of us in the book world. Readers, writers, publishers and bookstores.

World Building

We’re gonna talk about world building tonight, kiddos. I recently realized that I read a lot of series, especially in the fantasy genre. (wow, wyn, great alliteration there!). Successful authors of a fantasy series, or any series, has to do with these things at some point or another.

The author needs to keep it fresh for themselves, allow themselves to grow while still hanging onto the original readership, and keeping from going out of their ever loving mind while doing it. Because who wants to read, let alone write, the same novel over and over again?

This first came to mind with me while reading one of Mary Janice Davidson’s novels (Undead and Unwelcome, I think). Because that book blew me out of the water. While before there had been lots of cute jokes, there hadn’t been a whole lot of growth. Until that book, when it took a hook for the dark side and the main character started to grow up. It was a humbling moment. As a writer who reads a lot, it showed all the ways to grow not only your own writing but your character at the same time, dragging your core audience gasping and yelling at you all the way.

Bridge of Dreams, by Anne Bishop was the second novel to make me wonder about that. Part of a series that is preceded by Sebastian and Belladonna, Bridge of Dreams takes the reader to a portion of the world that feels foreign, new and exciting along with new characters. But the world was built that way from the very beginning, giving limitless options for scenery, potential stories, lots of ideas. (The way the three sisters are handled is amazing!)

Kind of like Anne McCaffrey with the Pern series. You have the normal books, then of course there is the southern continent, and the sci fi element they may or may not go back to but even if she does, the people in the here and now are trying to figure out what feels like future technology.

And of course there’s Lynn Flewelling, who with the Bone Doll’s Twin took me and shook me completely to my core. She went back into her land’s distant past and told the story of the queen. That trilogy is written so differently from the Nightrunner books that it was a “WOW” moment.

So. Writers! Have your escape plan hatched. Because if you’re lucky, you’ll need it!

B&N Nook: Glimpses & Winning the Wallflower

So I got myself a Nook from Barnes and Nobles for myself for Christmas. It’s the simple, black and white edition. Since my son’s name was going on the tag, I gave it to pops to put away until Christmas. I now think I’ve given it enough time to give a review (if you’ll forgive it’s not being for an actual book… although I’ve got 2 e-books I’m going to review in here).

Let me be completely forth coming. I like books. I like the smell of paper and ink, the weight of it in my hand. I can hold a book open to read one handed and not crack a spine. I love books. I have resisted the Nook and/or any e-reader for a long time. I just can’t see cuddling up in bed with a good… computer app?

Christmas Day I damn near threw the thing through the wall. The only thing that saved that poor little electronic device was the fact that I knew Barnes and Nobles would be open the next day and more than happy to help me out. They were. Both open and happy to help. I can’t imagine getting another brand e-reader and not having someone that you could bring the device to for help. Part of the problems I had that first day was because I was having problems with the website. Which brings me to one of the biggest CONS of the thing. In order to order books, even free books, you must have a valid credit card linked to your account. As I understand it, even if you have a gift card you’re using, you have to have a credit card on file. Times are hard. A lot of people don’t have credit cards. A lot of people don’t have wireless, either. But the wireless part can be taken care of by going into the brick and mortar store, where it’s free. The credit card… Well, if you don’t have one, I suggest getting a pre-paid card. That actually might be even better than using your own credit card anyways.

The next item makes me want to go DUH. I checked the manual several times after charging it up the first time. NO WHERE did it say exactly how to power the durn thing off. The lady at the store didn’t even look at me funny when I asked. All the instructions point to the little button on the bottom, which brings you to the main navigation screen. And just as an aside, that unlock tap & slide dance is annoying me! She showed me how to shut it down, and asked me if I was interested in the Nook Class.

He. He.He.

Now. Enough of the bads. Because there are many a good thing about the Nook. Novella’s and short stories, as well as actual books for free. Turning pages is easy peasy, especially considering all the problems I had just switching the thing off. It keeps your place for you, and extremely easy access to where you’re reading in your book. And, did I mention, the LIVE, NICE SUPPORT PEOPLE IN THE STORE? It’s a lot nicer than I thought it would be. I’ll definitely keep it. Just don’t expect me to give up my actual books for it and we’ll all be happy. I can see where this will be especially handy when travelling, or even to help curtail your pile o books, like I am.

Now, onto the Nook Books I actually have bought and read. I don’t have publishers off hand for these, please forgive me.

Glimpses, by Lynn Flewelling.

This is a must have for those who love the Night Runner series by Lynn Flewelling. This collection of short stories gives the reader glimpses into times that were either glossed over or only hinted at in the series. Great writing, as is usual for Lynn. I bought it as a Nook Book only because I couldn’t find it in the stores. Savings was one whole dollar. But I should have ordered the print version— Glimpses is also filled with fan art, some of which looked like it would be quite good. Except it was very teeney-tiny on the screen.

Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James.

OMG. I loved this little novella. Sweet, charming and laugh out loud funny… I have never laughed so hard at the word “moo” before in my life. But I swear the writing and tone is so on target that you can see the expression on the heroine’s face as she mutters the word. The writing is seamless from beginning to end. Although on the nook I can’t skip around the books and read the ending, I didn’t miss it one bit on this one. And in a delightful little twist, it happened to be free. Doesn’t matter, would gladly have paid for it. Kind of wish I could get it in print so that I could send it to my sister. (That’s where “The Help” went.)

So… It the Nook is nice, convienent, has a large library of free items. Free items are good for writers, it gives something to your fans and also makes it easier for people who normally wouldn’t pay the price for an unproven author to pay full retail.

But I’m still gonna buy real books in a in a real book store too 😛