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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Gaiman’

DawnVogel-pic Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Dawn Vogel. Dawn’s academic background is in history, so it’s not surprising that much of her fiction is set in earlier times. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, co-edits Mad Scientist Journal, and tries to find time for writing. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. Her steampunk series, Brass and Glass, is being published by Razorgirl Press. She lives in Seattle with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats.

Dawn’s latest book, Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map, is a fun read for those who love adventure. A quick summary for my readers:
dawn vogel book On the hunt for a legendary, cursed map that leads to treasure unimaginable, the crew of The Silent Monsoon, led by the pertinacious Captain Svetlana Tereshchenko, soon discover they aren’t the only ones hunting for riches. But there’s more than gold at stake in this pursuit. The Last Emperor’s Hoard is rumored to contain the Gem of the Seas, a device that gives its owner the power to control the oceans.
Wanted by the Air Fleet and dogged by spectres both real and imagined, Svetlana and her crew will have to call in every favor and pull every string—even if it means stirring up more ghosts—to complete the map before the High Council does. This race will require courage, determination, and sacrifice. Will Svetlana have what it takes to win, or will the map’s curse be too high a price?

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map?
My latest book is a sequel to my first published full-length novel, Brass and Glass: The Cask of Cranglimmering. The original book started life as a short story, but grew into a novel. When my small press editors and I were working through the edits on the first book, they asked if there were more books. I hadn’t outlined or planned the other books, but I knew the story wasn’t done yet. So I said yes, I thought I could get a trilogy out of this idea. So in many ways, the second book directly stemmed from my editors loving the first book. The first book also helped to dictate what needed to happen next–the protagonists were in search of a map, and they needed to find all of the pieces. Midway through, they discovered that perhaps the map was more than they’d bargained for, being called the “long-cursed” map and all.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?
Of course I adore my protagonist, Captain Svetlana Tereshchenko, but I have a lot of fun writing Indigo, the ship’s mechanic. He’s a teenage boy who grew up in a culture that was far removed from the predominant culture in the books. So he’s often encountering things for the first time in his life that the other characters just accept as part of reality. He also has an abnormal speech pattern, which is both challenging and rewarding to get just right.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?
My book is indie published through Razorgirl Press, which is a small press based out of the Seattle area. Because it’s a small press, the editors are people I interact with directly and regularly—we will get together at a coffee shop or other locations to work on edits or discuss plans for the book. Because the cover art and editing are done in house, I feel like I get a lot of input into those things, which I might not have as much if I were traditionally published. The downside, of course, is that the marketing also falls on our shoulders, so it’s not as easy to publicize the book as it would be if I was with a traditional press that has a team for marketing and publicity.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?
I started out as a pantser, but I quickly found that path was not a good fit for me. I started planning out all of my books, and I found I was much more productive that way. That isn’t to say that I never wander off down a garden path while writing, and some of those diversions have wound up being fantastic additions to my plans. But I need at least the bare bones of a structure to keep me on track and not wandering off into the woods beyond the garden.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The one I most remember reading (again and again and again) was The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. One of my teachers in grade school had this book in her classroom library, and I checked it out and read it so many times that at the end of the school year, she gifted it to me. The main thing I remember about the plot as an adult was that the main character had telekinesis, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I’ve gotten a new copy of the book recently, but I haven’t managed to re-read it since re-acquiring it!

What writing project are you currently working on?
The third book in the Brass and Glass series is in my editors’ hands, so I’ll be working on edits for that in the near future. But in addition to the countless short stories that I’m currently working on, I’m editing the first draft of another novel, this one a post-apocalyptic novel about recovering from past traumas and finding a new place to belong.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?
Neil Gaiman once said: “You will learn more from a glorious failure than ever you will from something that you never finished.” I took that advice to heart and try to finish all of the stories that I start!

Want to learn more about Dawn Vogel and Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map? Check out her :  Website & Blog,   Facebook Page,
Twitter,   or Amazon Author page.   Or better yet, purchase a copy of Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map. 

Thanks to author Dawn Vogel for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Kathryn Sullivan on December 6th.   Happy reading! – Vonnie 

 

 

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“A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels and dreams, and a world in which there is hope.” – Neil Gaiman

And this is the kind of world Neil Gaiman sets his stories in — and the kind of world most speculative writers try to set the stories in. Me, included.

Neverwhere was the first Gaiman novel I read — I’ve been a fan of his writing ever since. Neverwhere is set in the subways and underground world of London. In my mind’s eye, I imagined all the stations mentioned and districts of London. I imagined the smells, sights, and sounds of the London, England above and below. I thought I heard the distinct British accent of the characters, also.

I had the good fortune to visit London this summer — using the subways (or The Tube, as most everyone I met referred to it) for transportation. London above and below was an experience I’ll not soon forget. And as good as my imagination is, I didn’t get the location of Neverwhere quite right.

Neil Gaiman does a great job of creating his Neverwhere world (complete with monsters, ghost, things that want to steal your heart, angels and dreams). And now, I’m re-reading the novel to add my experiences in the locations mentioned to the book experience.

That said, I think there might be room for me to use a few of the quirky things and people I saw in London above and below to create my own London story — with monsters, ghosts, angels, dreams…and hope.

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One of the most exciting and scary things an author has to do is the “Author Talk.”

I’ve been to many “Author Talks.” Some were so wonderful, I recommend attending this author’s events to fellow readers/writers (Sherman Alexie, Neil Gaiman, and Alice Hoffman come to mind). Some were so awful, I recommend not attending this author’s events to fellow readers/writers. (No, I’m not going to name names). Most were just “okay.”

Which beings me to a good article by Matthew Dicks, Re-imagining the Author Talk in Three Parts, published in Huffington Post. I hope you find the article as informative as I did. Here’s the link.

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Terry Pratchett is gone. Another sad death for those of us who’ve grown up on science-fiction and fantasy literature and television.

Life was too busy this week for a Wednesday quote, so I’ve decided to share 3 Terry Pratchett quotes today in honor of this wonderful speculative writer who created, among other fabulous places, Discworld.

I always tell writers to read. I encourage them to read inside their genre to see what’s new, but also to read out side of their chosen “type” of book to discover what else is going on in the world of books. It seems Terry Pratchett agreed: “If you are going to write, say, fantasy – stop reading fantasy. You’ve already read too much. Read other things; read westerns, read history, read anything that seems interesting, because if you only read fantasy and then you start to write fantasy, all you’re going to do is recycle the same old stuff and move it around a bit.” — Terry Pratchett

I like his logic for why you need to read out side your genre. I suppose if all you read were tales of super heroes, you’d end up writing a super hero tale that was quite similar to the books you’d read.

Another Terry Pratchett quote: “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

Okay, this quote rocks! It could have been written by Stephen King. Again, there’s a strange logic and a feeling of the great power and mystery to the darkness that was here before light, and will be most anywhere before light arrives. Horror and dark fantasy writers should rejoice in the idea. In fact, this is the basis of many a terror-filled tale.

Which goes quite nicely with a Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman quote: “Evil in general does not sleep, and therefore doesn’t see why anyone else should.” Terry Pratchett. Another marvelous quote for writers and readers of dark fiction to consider.

And lastly, I’ll pull another quote from Good Omens, this time from Pratchett’s co-author, Neil Gaiman: “If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boy and his dog and his friends. And a summer that never ends.”

And that is what I wish for Terry Pratchett — perhaps, adding in a cat, a hat, a pen, and an endless supply of paper on which to write.

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a chance for authors around the world to tell you what they’re working on. The author answers 10 questions about their next book, and tags the person who first tagged them, plus at least 5 other authors. So, I was very happy when I was tagged by Jennifer Allis Provost: http://www.jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html So here goes…

 What is the working title of your book? Owl Light. I stumbled across the word while reading, and instantly fell in love with the idea of a group of tales united by their connection to the dusky time of owls. Of course, coming from a background in art and creative writing, I had to toss in a few theme-appropriate poems and illustrations.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Each of the stories had their own beginning place. Often a scrap of folklore or fabulously strange news article inspired me. The mermaid story began with an article about a girl born with sirenomelia or Mermaid’s Syndrome. There’s a Day of the Dead story which includes lots of traditions that are used today – but it’s set in the far future on a distant world. And there’s a different take on the Rumplestiltskin fairytale. The remaining stories feature a clockwork owl, a selkie, a trow and his faithful buggane, ghosts, a future-seeing margay, the Daughter of Winter, an ancient sea giant, and other magical folks.

What genre does your book fall under? Speculative – which means that each tale is either fantasy or science fiction, though I did add in a couple of ghost stories. A little darker in tone than my 2011 collection, The Greener Forest, Owl Light is still Young Adult appropriate.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Since there are a dozen tales, there are lots of characters to cast. There are a couple of characters Johnny Depp would be perfect for. I can see Cate Blanchett, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Lawrence, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Cicely Tyson in some of the female roles. And Nathan Fillion, Alan Rickman, Elijah Wood, Christopher Walken, and Warwick Davis in some of the male roles.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Owl Light dares the reader to step into a world where owls wake from slumber, shadows appear where shadows ought not be, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Owl Light will be published by Cold Moon Press. But because CMP is a small publisher, as the author/illustrator, I have to take a lot of responsibility for promoting the book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Some of the stories were written a year or 2 ago, and some last week. I think a collection of stories begins to come together before an author realizes she’s writing a book. Then, once she’s determined to pull a book together using her short fiction, the author focuses and writes additional tales that complete the overall concept of the collection.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Perhaps a collection of stories from Charles de Lint or Neil Gaiman or Andre Norton would have a similar vibe. Of course, these writers are so amazing, I can only dream of reaching their level of skill.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Owls and moonlight! As I write in the beginning of the book: “In Owl Light, that darksome time when creatures of the shadows move amongst us, how easy it is to believe in the mysterious and magical.”

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Several of the stories have won awards, including a Writers of the Future Honorable Mention. I’m the book’s cover artist, and in the print version, there are over a dozen black & white illos of mythic creatures that populate the stories. And I did lots of research on owls to add in accurate details about these amazing nocturnal birds.

And now, on to some wonderful writers and their Next Big Thing (I’ll post direct links as soon as I get them):

Douglas Cobb- http://douglascobb.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop-article-douglas-r-cobb/

Laura Shovanhttp://authoramok.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing.html

Dianne Gardnerhttp://dragontargeseries.blogspot.com/p/next-big-think-blog-hop.html

Christine Stewarthttp://www.therealwriter.com/my-weblog/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html

Fernando WordPimp Quijanohttp://thewordpimpspits.blogspot.com

Craig Alan Loewen- www.literary-equine.livejournal.com

Tami Coxhttps://www.facebook.com/spiritsofgettysburg?fref=ts  (Scroll down to Oct. 13 entry)

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to make comments and ask questions.

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 We’re right in the middle of National Magic Week – when it seems all the world acknowledges that magical things are still possible. And I think it’s no coincidence that Halloween is just a few days away. But rather than magic in general, I’d like to celebrate the illustrators (like Gary Lippincott pictured here) I met at last year’s FaerieCon who bring their visions of the usually hidden worlds of fairies, elves, trolls, giants, and such to the reader.

 I’m one of those devoted readers and appreciators of illustration who drags a knapsack worth of books to a conference and patiently stands in line for the signature of the artist or author. FaerieCon, held this year November 4-6 in Hunt Valley, Maryland, is a great place to meet these artist-magicians. Last year, I met the gracious Michael Hague (see my Jan. 6, 2011 blog) and the fabulous doll-maker, Wendy Froud (see my Dec. 12, 2010 blog) – but they weren’t the only artists I chatted with. Brian Froud (pictured on the left), Wendy’s husband and perhaps the most well-known fairy artist working today, spoke as part of several panels and shared his delightful tales of bringing Faeriefolk to life. And if you took the time to stop by and visit with the Frouds, both Brian & Wendy signed their books and chatted amicably with their fans.

 Faerie Magazine, www.faeriemagazine.com , usually hosts several illustrators and authors at their FaerieCon booth. Last year, the colorfully-dressed and always-smiling Linda Ravenscroft signed 2 books for me. She seemed happy indeed to converse with her many fans as well as talk a bit about her art. (Linda is pictured on the right).

For those who decided they wanted to know more about the business of illustration, businesswoman and illustrator extraordinaire, Jessica Galbreth, gave a workshop.  Not only did Jessica tell the audience about the ins & outs and ups & downs of life as an illustrator, wife, and mom – but those who registered for the workshop also received a copy of her Artists Manual. And as the owner of an autographed copy of that manual, I can tell you it was a worthwhile workshop. (Jessica is shown to the left).

And lastly, but never leastly, Charles Vess, autographed 2 of the Neil Gaiman children’s books he’d illustrated, for me to give as Christmas gifts to my daughter. This year, Charles has a wonderful painting that will be displayed at FaerieCon.  For those who’re interested, you can see the progress of the enormous painting on Charles’ facebook page. I’ve already got my copy of a book of his magical art ready to take with me to hopefully get autographed when I visit FaerieCon in a little over a week from now. (That’s Charles in the photo to the right).

And what of my illustrations? I had a successful exhibit of fantasy paintings this summer (sold 4). My illos have been published in a few speculative magazines recently, and are scheduled to a appear on the covers of several more in 2012. A small crocus fairy illo of mine will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Faerie Magazine as part of an ad. And of course, I included over 30 of my drawings in my recent book from Cold Moon Press, The Greener Forest. For those who’d like to read more about what I have to say about illustration, check out a guest-blog from me at Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog:
http://wp.me/p18Ztn-17n

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The theme of the upcoming issue of the Maryland-based literary magazine, Little Patuxent Review, is “Make Believe.”  I’m delighted to say I’ll have an essay titled, “Fairy Stories, Magic, and Monsters,” in that issue.

Though I need to address Editor Laura’s suggestions, the essay will remain much as I first wrote it. In examining our enduring fascination with fantasy, I was able to use examples from stories by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, J.K. Rowling, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Neil Gaiman, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Nancy Werlin, March Cost, and Charles Dickens. But I could have written a much longer, more involved essay which included the work of dozens of other authors who’ve given readers magical worlds to inhabit as they turned the pages of a book.

 In my new book, The Greener Forest, I tried to bring a bit of that magic to my readers. Have I succeeded? Only time will tell. But I did receive my first email from someone who bought a copy of The Greener Forest, reprinted here with permission:

“Hello! I bought a copy of your book at the Mythic Faire in Maryland.  I finished it in one sitting–I couldn’t put it down.  Thanks for an enjoyable read; your stories were sincere &  full of wonder and joy. Keep up the great work! — K. Masters”

And thank you, K. Masters, for your note. Writing is a solitary passion and it’s nice to know that someone besides your editor enjoys the fantasy worlds you’ve created. Want your copy of The Greener Forest? Visit: http://coldmoonpress.com/quickbuy.html  And remember, the world is full of mystery & magic. We just need to look, listen, and believe that wondrous things are still possible.

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