Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kickstarter Day 8 (21 left): Elves Chasm, a spy thriller, and my r/Fantasy AMA

As I write this, the Kickstarter for The Labyrinth of Flame is at $5499.  I gotta say, as an engineer I twitch every time I look at that.  Must...round off...number!  High five to the next person that pledges and saves me from my mathematical agony.

Today I'm doing an AMA ("ask me anything") over at r/Fantasy - if you've got questions about the Shattered Sigil series (or mountains, or figure skating, or Colorado, or, well, anything), come on over & ask away!

For today's pic, I'm leaving the heights to plunge into the depths...of the Grand Canyon.  Elves Chasm is a gorgeous little grotto seen primarily by river runners or by those backpackers willing to tackle the strenuous Royal Arch Loop (the descent requires a rappel).  I regret to say I haven't yet done the latter, but I did do a 3-week "hiker's special" river rafting trip through the length of Grand Canyon.  The trip was incredible - Elves Chasm was one of many, many amazing spots we visited.

Climbing to the grotto behind the waterfall (there's an easier way up around the rocks to the right, but where's the fun in easy?).  Once up, the water's deep enough for jumping.
My husband watches as our friend Jim takes the leap of faith.

And for today's book rec, I'm varying off the beaten path of SF/Fantasy to rec one of my favorite spy thrillers: The Tango Briefing, part of Adam Hall's zillion-book Quiller series.  The Quiller series is to James Bond as Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire trilogy is to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.  Told in near-claustrophobic first person by a solitary, intelligent, deeply messed up (and aware of it) operative, the books are a grittily realistic master class in tension, tight plotting, and compelling character voice. (I once used a passage from The Tango Briefing to illustrate a post I wrote on pacing for a "Spec Fic 101" blog series over at 52 Book Reviews.)  The Tango Briefing isn't the first in the series, but it's an excellent entry point; Hall wrote the books to be (mostly) independent of each other, and by this fifth entry in the series he'd really hit his stride.  I don't read a lot in the thriller genre, but I own every single Quiller book and have re-read them all multiple times.  I think what I find so compelling about the series is that Hall treats the psychological aspects of Quiller's missions with equal (or greater) importance as the action.  The earlier books in the series were out of print for a long time, but recently they've been re-released as ebooks, so there's no better time to give them a try.