|Charging down a slope at Treble Cone|
|Hiking up to Treble Cone summit|
|Enjoying a gorgeous winter's day with my husband and son on the shore of Lake Hawea|
Getting up early doesn't help me focus, because the sunrises look like this:
Staying up late doesn't help either, since there's a chance of seeing the aurora australis, plus the stars are absolutely incredible. (Sorry, no star pics to show off. My camera isn't good enough to manage long exposures. But for the first time in my life, I've wanted to take up astral photography, because holy CRAP, you can see zillions of stars here thanks to very little light pollution. I didn't know such views were possible except on 14,000-ft peaks like Mt. Whitney. But here, you can see the Milky Way glowing bright amid a whole universe of crystal-clear stars right from your back porch.
ANYway, back to talking about writing. Yes, it is happening! Just, you know, with a lot of interruptions. (Not all fun ones, I admit. Even in New Zealand, I can't look away from all the craziness going on back in the US, from hurricanes to political horrorshows. What's at stake is too important to ignore.)
But I'm plugging through a first draft of a totally new novel, the one with the coral atolls and sea magic and spies. Plus I'm working on revising the Cara novella, since I had this great idea for how to make the action more engaging and the climax much more exciting. The only drawback is that I have to rewrite a bunch of the early scenes and rework some side characters. The result will be worth the effort, I feel. (But boy do I wish I were the sort of writer who had all the great ideas *before* writing an entire draft of the story. Ah well.)
Also, I took a little time out to write up a post explaining why everybody should read veteran fantasy author Barbara Hambly, for r/Fantasy's series on under-appreciated veteran authors. If you've never read her work before, then head on over to see what you've been missing out on! She's written in so many genres that she's got something for everyone.
Speaking of great books, Curtis Craddock's wonderful novel An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors is finally out in the world, hooray! If you've enjoyed my Shattered Sigil series, Curt's one of the critiquers whose keen eye for flaws helped me make my final drafts a thousand times better than my first. He also drew the beautiful maps for Labyrinth of Flame's illustrated edition, because he's disgustingly talented in art as well as writing. But I'm not recommending his book because of all he's done for mine. Even if I didn't know him at all, I'd want anybody who's seeking fun, hopeful fantasy rather than bleak/grimdark to jump on this read.
Mathematician princess Isabelle is a wonderful protagonist, clever and logical and constantly curious about the world. Jean-Claude the aging musketeer is likewise a delight, thanks to his wry, sarcastic humor. Plus the magic is so inventive, and the villain so imaginatively creepy, and the action rollicking, and honestly I could just rave about the story for ages but I'll stop here.
If you're looking for more great reads, check out the recently-released 2017 r/Fantasy Under-read and Underrated list, which has many excellent lesser-known books on it. (Including Whitefire Crossing, which has held steady in the #2 spot ever since the first list was done in 2014, how cool is that!)
Also, for those seeking books with LGBT+ content, Canadian author Krista Ball has put together an excellent spreadsheet database containing 278 SFF books/series, marked out by what type of characters the book contains (gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual, etc, and whether they are major or minor, or later in the series, etc).
That's all the news for now. Back to the mountains I go...
|Looking north from shore of Lake Hawea|
|View of Lake Wanaka from Treble Cone|
|Black Peak (left) and Mt. Aspiring (center background)|