Merlin and I say Happy New Year from snowy Alberta!

It has been a strange year, still dominated by the loss of our son, Richard, because that kind of event shapes you, sometimes without you even realising.

Yet, life never stops unless you choose it.

Highlight of this year was definitely getting "Games of Adversaries" published, because it returned me to that wonderful place of passion with the written word.

Success might be termed in numbers or it might be termed in achievement. That doesn't always mean fame and riches but a quiet satisfaction that a goal has been reached.

So, I have a son at university, a horse whose back is slowly improving (the boy fell awkwardly jumping a fence to escape llamas). Makoiyi, our  eleven year old Irish Wolfhound is hanging in there. Mica the cat is, well, a cat.

A big thank you to all those who stayed with us through some difficult times, especially to my wonderful husband and son. I wish all of you a wonderful new year and will send out vibes it is a good one for all my friends.

Years ago I wrote book. The very first book I had written entirely. It was
written in three parts and I even drew a separate cover for each heading. I
placed snippets from various poetry at every heading. I worked out maps for
every world, the monetry system, politics, religion etc etc. I sent it to a
publisher where they said it was a 'tremendous feat of the imagination'. Then
somehow or other I ended up with three sons *G*, which took rather a lot of my time. (Can't think why). But I never stopped writing. In between nappies I wrote and expanded the world. I wrote another story linked to that world, which became "Games of Adversaries". But in actual fact, the hero of "Games" Yiahan rial Krias, had a brother called Ohrelian, and it was he who began the tale. So basically we can blame him for everything. I wouldn't have been a writer without Ohrelian, who, in the story is named 'David Stormon'. He taught me how to write.

How to make the scribblings of a newbie into a coherent whole. So I think he
definitely deserves to be in print one day.

Right now, though I am working on the 'sequel' to "Games". You'd think it would be easy with all the wonderful info I already have, but it isn't, because like me, these guys have grown up a bit. They've been through rather a lot and still have some to go. Then there are all those lives they touched during their adventures. The men and the women and their worlds.

Lots of thinking going on here.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and made the most of those rare times when family and friends all get together. Life, as I well know, can be far too short and there should be at least a few times a year when issues are forgotten.

Merlin and girl friend say Happy Christmas! It was -31c on Christmas morning, so we were all a bit chilly!

As to reviews. It is so great to get reader reactions and I've had several so far which have really boosted my confidence. Such a delight to receive them and for them to be positive. You really don't know how people will react so it is huge for me to know.
Dec 23,
Giacomo        rated it        
A refreshing read.

I have been looking for a good sci-fi/fantasy novel for a while. Something to sink my teeth into and relax with. The problem is that they are difficult to find. I write mysteries, but I truly enjoy reading sci-fi/fantasy, and Curnow didn’t disappoint me with this one. Her writing is beautiful. Sparse when it needs to be, and perfectly descriptive when it calls for that.

I have always enjoyed books where an author combines fantasy with sci-fi, and cultures at different stages of development. Curnow does this nicely and gives us glimpses inside their minds so we can experience the differences as we read. There were a few times when I felt the author dwelled too long on emotions, but that could be me, as I tend to favor very quick visits into self-reflection. I also felt we could have had a bit more depth in a couple
of the secondary characters.

With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Games of Adversaries, and finished it in two nights, something I haven’t done in far too long. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys sci-fi/fantasy. Also, to note, the formatting and layout were done well and the book was very high quality. Too many books are riddled with mistakes. You won’t find that in this book.

I have a system for my ratings and I rated this a 4.2, but it was such a refreshing read that I rounded that up to 5 stars.
Personally I don't think there is anything better than cheese. So to have my novel described as 'better than a grilled cheese sandwich' is high praise indeed.

Although I do know the lady who described it as such, this was the first real reaction to "Games of Adversaries", so it was a huge thrill to know that someone enjoyed the novel, couldn't put it down, loved the banter, and wanted the next one now!

I'd better get writing, hadn't I?
When children are slaughtered, the act raises emotions to high levels. The horrific tragedy was caused by a human being. We think/hope that our children are safe. The sad truth is that they never are. Yet you can't live with that idea.

As a writer who writes both fantasy and science fiction, I don't live in a 'fantasy' world, In fact, most times i write from reality. For example, within "Games of Adversaries" there is a message about PTSD. Within the "Warriors of the Land" trilogy, there is a message that if we don't change as a race then we will destroy our world by indifference.

As writers we often study the 'human condition'. Attempting to understand why people do what they do. Unfortunately there will always be people who snap, always people who unfortunately have mental issues. Always people  who will blame everyone but themselves for their actions. Banning guns won't stop people, not if that person had always intended to do something horrific like killing children. You cannot have a moral compass to do something like that.

Is there an answer? I doubt there will ever be a true one. Sad but true.
As a writer all I can do is to sometimes open eyes to how people interact, show why they do what they do. If that happens to be in a fantasy setting sometimes people will listen to that more than a lecture. So while many novels are sheer entertainment, maybe there is a message between the lines if you look hard enough.
I'm participating in a fun author blog hop called The Next Big Thing. I was
tagged for this exercise by Elizabeth Hull, writing as C N Lesley, author of  Darkspire Reaches. A fantasy novel coming out in spring 2013 from Kristell Ink.

Elizabeth can be found at - http://cnlesley.wordpress.com/blog-tours/https://www.facebook.com/#!/elizabeth.hull.39

The  blurb for Elizabeth's forthcoming and very yummy novel:
Darkspire Reaches –  C.N. Lesley

Her birth mother left her as a sacrifice to the Wyvern,  believing a second born twin had no soul.
Her foster mother thought  Raven possessed the magic of the First born. She believed she raised a  slave.
The emperor of all the lands believed she knew the secret of his  birth and that he must silence her.
Her tribe thought they could trade  her for safe passage out of the emperor’s lands.
The Wyvern knows  better. He is coming for her. His fury has no limits.

Definitely recommended.  Go check out the details on Elizabeth's website and get a sample of her writing with a wonderful short story.

I actually did this a week or so back for "Games of Adversaries" which is now available through Artema Press, Amazon, and my website

A  short blurb written by Elizabeth.

Jealousy, hatred, covetousness and greed for power inspire a space going race to invade a medieval planet. When Yiahan’s space craft crashes, the inhabitants have to know if he is one of the guilty. Marcus, responsible for the safety of his king, and hurting from the loss of his family to the invaders, must find the truth. The world and lives of all his people are at stake.

So I thought I would speak a bit about my next project.

What is the working title of your book? The Voice of the Land -  Book One of The Warriors of the Land.
Where did you get the idea for the book? A few years back I read an article in an old Pears Encyclopedia.

It was a discussion about how bats had been around since the dinosaurs and how  closely akin they were to man. Along with that chain of thought, I found a  thesis written for a medical paper on the successful combination of bat and
human blood for medical research. Then the what-of ideas began.
What genre does your book fall under? Science  Fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a  movie rendition? Ummm, I don't watch enough of these things!

Steven Carogan:  I don't even like him all that much but I could see him doing this - Brad  Pitt

T'saquin Mrthfarr: Someone tall, dark and brooding.

Deran  Torborchiev: Handsome black guy - argh, can't think of any names. Can 'see' him,  can't name him. Pooh.

Rosa Grunerson: Cate Blanchett.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It  will be published by Artema Press in Spring 2013

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I  couldn't give you an exact date. First drafts are usually pretty quick for me.  So, less than six months for the original idea. It is the next drafts that take time.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? What if you could  fly?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? As usual,  I hate comparisions but the closest I can come to is Martha Wells Raksura Novels.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? The idea of someone  playing with genetics and that glorious what-if factor. I also wanted to write a  very different form of vampire story, although that wasn't the original inspiration and it isn't a 'vampire' story.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Oh  goodness: Clones! Genetic manipulation! Nutty bad guys who want to keep  everything for themselves. Terraforming. How to survive in a jungle without  being eaten.

Now I am supposed to tag people. Okay, you're it! Even if you've done this  before, there is no harm in doing so again. No obligations, it is  fun.
Crash Froelich

Crash has a book coming out shortly called Never. Elizabeth had the privilege to beta read this and can say it is a stunning story about what happens after the story ends. Every action, or the lack thereof, has a consequence. The children were supposed to wish Tinkerbell better after she drank the poison intended for Peter. They didn’t, leading to drastic consequences, full of the unexpected, and yet grounded in a vivid and real setting.

SKS Perry  on  Facebook under the same name. Website: http://sksperry.com/ In between training soldiers to defend our nation, Steve writes hilarious and witty fantasy. Think  Harry Dresden with a bigger sense of humour. Darkside 1 & 2 already have  fans and I know Steve is working on number 3.

Rhonda Garcia also on FB under the same name. Living in Trinidad with its wonderful carnivals, Rhonda brings a unique persepctive to writing. Rhonda has a novel coming out soon and we would love some details, Rhonda! An amazing writer of science fiction, she should have been published years ago.

Worlds Apart and Worlds Within

A novelist twists facts and turns them into fiction.  How or even why they do that, is a question not even they can often answer. It's just, they have to. I have done so since I was a child. According to my mother I was born reading--only a slight exaggeration.

For years I read and read and read. I devoured libraries and realized very soon that I often came home with Fantasy or Science Fiction. Not a conscious choice back then, but it only seemed natural to write in those genres.

I told you where I came from in my bio. "Who" I am is for me to decide but what shapes us is not always by our choice.

The picture above was taken in 2010 at the Rememberance Day service in our small town. The handsome young man is my son. By May 2011 he was taken from us, not in combat although he had served two tours of Afghanistan, but by accident.

I stopped writing because suddenly it seemed trivial. You can't live in a fantasy world, not after you lose a child, because it doesn't matter how old they are, they are always your kid. But this particular kid always loved what I wrote. He even downloaded all my novels and took them with him to Afghanistan.
So it was for him that I began writing again. It is why I am here, why I have my first novel out. Of course I had a lot of help; I couldn't have done it alone, but it is mainly because of him. I hope you enjoy my work as much as he did.