Had a wonderful afternoon yesterday during the Facebook launch of "The Voice of the Land". How can an author not enjoy talking about her own work? I think I may have handed out too much Malbec though, we did go off topic a few times. :)
But, yes, questions about why a clone? The main protagonist of the story is Steven Carogan. So why did I choose to make him a clone? The answer is quite simple. I wanted a blank slate, although of course he wasn't. He had been indoctrinated since birth to obey his makers. Which left him innocent as to real life and somewhat bitter about what he was. The story opens with him contemplating a fellow clone's suicide and this is the catalyst for change. He sees himself, not least because Jon harvey is an exacty copy of him, but he'd never thought about death. Never truly questioned how he was used.
On the world of Cavan, it seems like the natives want to use him, too, but the difference here is that he is given a choice. Which way he turns and why is his story within "The Voice of the Land".
Today's photo - eleven year old Makoiyi, my hearthound.
When your first novel comes out and the editor asks, "And send me the acknowledgements" my first instinct was to ask - how long have you got? If I personally thanked everyone who helped in some shape or form, it would be longer than the novel.
From the guy who (foolishly) first leant me his PC, to all those on the On line writing workshop for science fiction and fantasy, to the lady in the library who requested my book. That would be hundreds.
To those who listen and put up with all my panic attacks, to the people who read...
Today's picture is a few years old and shows just three of my 'men'. Tom is now six foot, Makoiyi the wolfhound is eleven years old and Rich is no longer with us. My eldest son now lives in Malaysia and for some reason my husband is always behind the camera, the horse it out in the field and the cat is--wherever. All guys. Because a question I am often asked is why I write from a male perspective. The answer is simple. I am surrounded by testosterone and if I didn't learn to think like a guy then I would have been insane before now. But it is because of them and their support that I am able to write. How many times has 'mother' had her back to everything, trusting in those guys to do things when I am otherwise occupied? How many husbands put up with a wife who is 'somewhere else' in her head and conducting relationships with strangers on paper?
So when I say a novel doesn't write itself, what I mean is, there is an army of people behind it. And no matter whether you are writing purely for yourself or for an audience, that army has to battle with you through every word.
Most people don't do it for acknowledgement, I know that. They don't need their names emblazoned in the front of a book, but the point is, I do want to acknowledge them. Without their brainstorming, their expertise, their friendship, their love, I would never have written a word.
I've been trying to chart my progress as a published writer. The ups and downs, the frustrations and the joys. A while back someone said that if you have more than one book out you can gradually build a fan base. That basically has been my goal. True, I only have two novels out at the moment, but don't worry, there is more! *G* And with each novel I hope I learn something new.
The first learning curve was how to edit a heck of a lot better, along with really focusing down on what is important to the story. "Games' has a couple of flaws but at the time I didn't realise they were flaws. Not to say it isn't a good book--take a look at the reviews. I know people have truly enjoyed it.
What I have noticed, however, is that the numbers have jumped with the second book. By that I mean, both people buying and people taking interest. I am hoping that is because they did enjoy "Games" and want a look-see at "Voice of the Land". Whatever the reason it gives me a great deal of joy.
What I have been doing is quietly twittering, blogging (yes, prob too much but I was so excited by that review yesterday), and just being 'there'.
I am excited about our official launch on FB on sat at 3.pm. EST. There may not be a ton of people going but the ones who have already signed up are going to make it a lot of fun. Do come along; the more the merrier! Just look for my name and you'll find me. There is a Goodreads giveaway but I should think of something else as a prize just for coming. Any ideas?
Today's photo - On patrol in Afghanistan - Richard Curnow
It is a spamming kind of day. For good reason.
I am not renowned for my patience. It is why I am a terrible shopper. I have an idea, I go buy it, end of story. I don't weigh the consequences or stand for half an hour making comparisons. I just buy (providing I can afford it).
So when it came to having a book published, I am not at all sure what I expected. Not 'instant fame' for sure. I am not enough of an egotist for that. But when you look through other books and see all the reviews and you see none or few on yours you start to wail like a child. "Where's mine!" Words like 'what am I doing wrong' 'Why does no one lovemeeeeeeeee" etc etc, you get the idea.
I whined a little bit, I admit it, while I seethed internally at the sheer amount of competition, and I hadn't a hope in hell of getting anywhere. Que hand against brow and cries of woe is me!
I should have had patience and that belief in myself that I talked about. Belief in myself and the words on the page. When I get reviews like this: (And yes I have posted it in full because I am So Damned Proud of my little book.)
Tali Spencer's review
Mar 12, 13
5 of 5 stars
Recommended for: Lovers of deep, complex books; readers who enjoy
Read in March, 2013
I read some early chapters of this book a few years ago as a beta reader,
but never read the finished book until now. Those few chapters made a vivid
impression and I was happy to see my memory wasn't embellishing the story: Games
of Adversaries really is a vivid tale of harsh survival and lessons learned the
Both main characters suffer for their arrogance. Yiahan truly believes he is
more evolved than the humans he meets after his spaceship crashes on an
isolated, primitive world already reeling from an unimaginable (to them) attack
from space. Yiahan is not directly involved in the conflict and does not, at
first, even know there has been one. All he knows is his beloved wife and child
are dead and he is in the hands of brutes. The second main character, Marcus,
was easier for me to relate to because he is so completely human, charged with
responsibilities and also suffering from the loss of his wife and child to the
Curnow tortures Yiahan in creative ways, and often, and the villain never
really came into focus for me, but what I came to love about this story is how
both main characters grow to understand, respect, and even love each other as
men and soldiers. This is a book about men and war. True, Yiahan needs a little
help in the soldier department--he has been a dancer and mystic all his life,
whereas Marcus is a warrior--but Marcus benefits just as much from Yiahan about
what's important in life and the differences between their cultures and beliefs.
Yiahan loves peace, but comes to understand that Marcus, for all his readiness
to engage in killing and death, does not love war, and that war is sometimes
This is a clear-eyed book that does not flinch from a difficult subject and
it also has a large overarching plot with the fates of planets hanging on the
outcome. Marcus and Yiahan, especially, provide some wonderful character
moments, as do the mostly male supporting cast. But Games of Adversaries managed
to do what few books do: it satisfied my love of philosophical underpinnings.
Much as I sometimes love simple, fluffy books because I need the lightness, few
things make me as happy as a deep, complex book that gives me a few things to
think about. Five stars for that and for taking me on an exciting journey
Don't you often wonder why an author wrote a particular novel? Where they got the 'idea' from?
Come and find out about "The Voice of the Land" in a Facebook discussion and celebration of the launch of my second novel on Saturday March 16th at 3pm EST.https://www.facebook.com/events/425660444182984/425713290844366/?comment_id=425732407509121¬if_t=event_mall_reply
There will be virtual bubbly, and cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. And I hope some wonderful conversation.
Got a question you've always wanted to ask?
Is Sue as batty as her novel? And why the heck did she choose bats in the first place? What is that on the cover of the book? And you did what with genomes?
Chocolate chip cookies and possibly some Lagavulin for special friends.
Don't be shy! I'm not behind my computer screen :)
Interesting article by Jonathan Raunch pointed out to me by Gio Clairval on FB. It interested me because it is me to a 't'. The ability to communicate is not lacking, far from it, but the exhaustion of doing so it very prevalent. We used to just be called 'shy' and sometimes that shyness can get mislabelled as 'snob', which happened in my case a few years back. People thought I didn't want to talk to them because I felt I was above them or something. The truth was - complete stangers? I didn't know how to begin a conversation. The best thing I did was work as a waitress, because, to get 'tips' you actually have to smile, be polite, have a brief conversation about 'whatever'. And I discovered that the majority of people don't bite. That, what you give out often comes back. Like that smile. It was still exhausting and I definitely needed the serenity of home once it was over, but it was an achievement.
The same as getting that first book out there. The introvert part of me always says, no one could possibly want to read my drivel. Which vies with the other part which says, of course they will, it is damned good.
The whole philosophy seems to be, why should anyone be interested in what *I* have to say? Why should anyone be interested in *me*? You can hide behind the internet, for sure. In theory you could be anyone you wish to be - like a character in that book - but that is no more real than the novel.
The truth is, if you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone believe in you? Because there is no conviction in what you have to say. I will never be an extrovert, but I will certainly stand up for myself and what I believe in.
What about you? Are you one of the other or neither?
Today's picture, Kitty Kerpow keeping those white bits immaculate.
I really am too tired to post much. Work has kept me too damned busy, so forgive any typos.
What I will say though is that "The Voice of the Land" is gaining some good reviews and people who have begun it are enjoying the story.
Well, I did say it was a good book, didn't I?
So I am going to be cautiously optimistic and wait and see what other reviewers have to say.
When I get some brain power back I will write a more interesting post. Meanwhile I will leave you with a gorgeous view of Oahu coastline. And yes I know I date is all wrong. new camera and I couldn't work out how to change it. "Technically-challenged".
I would love to give acknowledgement for this photo, because for me it is profound. So, if it is yours, please let me know and I will gladly advertise the fact. Because I 'get' that photo.
And this is what I wanted to say. I may whine and moan about a dearth of reviews, but the ones I have so 'get' the stories I have written that I am humbled.
They see that human connection which has enabled me to cross genres and reach people who usually don't read science fiction and fantasy.
I could never write romances or 'straight' literature. By that I mean I need that outlet of imagination which takes me beyond the norm. Because through my own experiences, if we take life at face value, it is never enough.
I know this through the death of my son. I know this through simply living. Life is not the mundane existence we often insist upon ourselves. It is so much more. So that when it is a struggle to get that down on paper, I can't do it in a way that many people think life should be. It is often beyond our expectations or our comfortable little boxes. And it is only when we think out of the box that we see what is out there.
While fantasy and science fiction may be the milieu of the imagination, it has its roots in reality. The thing is we don't always see the same reality.
But, if you will, go read "Games of Adversaries" and now, "The Voice of the Land" and see what you think. Is it fantasy or science fiction? Or is it real life?