What I’m Reading Now 1/1/18

January 1, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Welcome to the New Year!

I love to read, but over the years my reading time has gone down. Other things and life suck up the time. Still, I try to read as much as I can. I’m reading several books at a time in a combination of fantasy and nonfiction with some science fiction thrown in. Starting this year I’m going to occasionally share what I’m currently reading.

First, I’m a member of a book club where I work. We take turns picking books. The choice for this month was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The book is considered a classic in  the genre with a new movie coming out soon based on the book. I found the book entertaining, but wasn’t that impressed. Could be my age, since this book is usually read by a younger audience. Maybe time passing and thinking about it will help improve my opinion. Still, it’s a nice book for younger readers.

Another book I’m reading is Cold Days by Jim Butcher which is a part of the Harry Dresden series. I’m reading this one after finishing Ghost Story and wanting to find out what happens next to the main character. I enjoy the books because they are fast paced with plenty of action and a character that grows and changes in each book.

Finally, I’m reading a book on writing called Do It Yourself MFA by Gabriela  Pereira. The author explains the basics of what MFA programs teach without having going to college. The book is interesting and helpful. Writers would find it useful.

Until next time.


Fantasy Links 4/28/17

April 28, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

A writing article about depicting internal conflicts from Mythcreants:  http://mythcreants.com/blog/depicting-internal-conflicts/#more-18260

An article on worldbuilding about siege and siegecraft:  http://fantasy-faction.com/2017/sieges-and-siegecraft-part-two-defenders

An article about the new “American Gods” tv show and the importance of reading the novel first:  http://io9.gizmodo.com/why-you-should-read-the-american-gods-novel-before-watc-1794638929

For those readers and watchers that love anime, here’s an article about anime coming out in the spring:  http://www.tor.com/2017/04/28/spring-2017-anime-preview-can-we-stop-adding-re-to-anime-titles-now/

Lastly, for fun this week an article about to name your nerdy cats:  https://theportalist.com/cat-names-for-your-nerdy-feline

Fantasy Links 4/21/17

April 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Life events as usual interfere. Here are some links to keep you going. Thank you.

An article for writers about poisons. http://www.harpervoyagerbooks.com/hvsciencefair-poison/

Here’s an article about worldbuilding and choosing a weapon for your characters. http://mythcreants.com/blog/choosing-a-weapon-for-your-hero/#more-18217

Here’s an article for readers of Brandon Sanderson and his Cosmere books. http://fantasy-faction.com/2017/introducing-cruising-the-cosmere

Mythic Scribes has a writing article about Foreshadowing. https://mythicscribes.com/writing-techniques/foreshadowing/

The Mad Genius blog has several entries of interest this week.  https://madgeniusclub.com/

Finally, Magical Words has several links posted this week of interest for readers and writers:  http://www.magicalwords.net/

Fantasy Links 3/31/17

March 31, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Happy End of March! And Happy Friday! Here are some links to interesting articles to end the month. Enjoy.


For some fun and women in fiction here’s an article about favorite all women super teams:  http://www.tor.com/2017/03/31/your-favorite-all-female-super-teams/#more-261622


Here’s an article about writing series by author Gail Martin:  https://civilianreader.com/2016/07/07/guest-post-beginning-ending-and-extending-book-series-by-gail-z-martin/


An article by author Myke Cole on diversity in history and writing:  https://geekdad.com/2017/03/myke-cole-on-historical-diversity-and-writing-fiction/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=GeekDads&utm_content=Myke%20Cole:%20On%20Historical%20Diversity%20and%20Writing%20Fiction


For those who like books with strong women warriors here’s an article about twelve books with such warriors:  https://theportalist.com/12-fantasy-books-with-powerful-female-warriors


Here’s an article by Ed McDonald on writing and publishing grimdark fantasy when you’re not George R.R. Martin :  https://edmcdonaldwriting.com/2017/01/25/you-are-not-george-rr-martin-how-to-get-published-in-the-grimdark-era-of-fantasy/

Fionavar Tapestry Revisited

March 18, 2017 at 1:20 am | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Recently I decided to reread the Fionavar Tapestry books by Guy Gavriel Kay. It has been at least twenty years since I read them, but they have remained strong in my memory all that time. Rereading them has not altered my perception. Kay’s blending of memorable characters, mythic themes and a sense of hope still resonates with me. Some people might argue that the books are a poor imitation of Tolkien, however I think they are a powerful statement of hope in time of war in a story with some grimly, dark scenes like some modern fantasy books taking prominent positions now.

The trilogy takes place on the world of Fionavar, the first of all worlds created by the Weaver, the main god who weaves all creation at the loom. On Fionavar are many lesser gods such as Ceinwen the huntress, Dana the moon goddess and Mornir the sky god. The are not supposed to intervene in human affairs, but sometimes do. Many are responsible for the Andain-half human, half god children who can work either for or against humans. The dark, evil lord who needs to be defeated is called Rakoth Maugrim. He has been imprisoned for a thousand years, chained under a volcano. When he breaks free, the struggle for Fionavar and the universe begins.

The Summer Tree begins the trilogy with five Canadian college students transported by a wizard to the world of Fionavar. Once there, they find themselves caught up in the growing troubles of the world. There is an unending drought in Brennin, the main nation that takes the lead in the story. The kingdom has an elderly king whose two sons are questionable heirs. One is in exile and the younger son Diarmuid tends to be wild and unpredictable. Jennifer, Paul, Kevin, Kim and David begin to find different roles in the story. Kim finds herself being trained as a seer by Ysanne. Jennifer cements her friendship with the mage Loren Silver Cloak and his source Matt. Paul and Kevin are adopted into prince Diarmuid’s band. David is separated from his friends, lost among the nomadic Dalrei. Kay weaves various mythologies together to create vivid images and uneasy resolutions for the characters in the book.

In the second book, The Wandering Fire, things change for everyone. Mr. Kay introduces new elements into the story adding Arthurian characters to the epic fantasy and enhancing the story with a new theme. The students return to Fionavar facing an endless winter created by Rakoth Maugrim. They return with the Warrior who is King Arthur. He has been condemned to relive his life over and over until a final battle as punishment for killing the children to try to circumvent his fate. It is discovered that Jennifer is Guenevere and their tragic story begins to play out again on Fionavar. Two groups break off to go on separate quests. One group goes to an island to stop a traitor mage. The other group travels to the temple of the goddess to seek an end of the winter. Some events are resolved while new ones emerge making this a strong middle book.

The final book, The Darkest Road, finds all the characters must come together for the final battle to save Fionavar. Mr. Kay emphasizes the importance of the theme of the choice given by free will over fate or destiny. This theme is demonstrated through different characters. Jennifer’s son Darien must decide whether to serve Evil or Good on his own without any advice from anyone. The author uses the Wild Hunt as the random thread of the tapestry. Finn is the character who leaves his loving family to lead the Hunt, which kills indiscriminately. A young Dalrei boy, Tabor, rides a winged unicorn. Every time he rides her, he becomes more distant from his family and world, seeing to fade away. The Arthurian characters strive to break their endless cycle while the remaining students from Canada play their roles to the bittersweet end with their own decisions. The trilogy comes to a satisfying, poignant conclusion.

Rereading the Fionavar Tapestry brought back my emotions and memories from the first time I read these books. The author’s blending of Arthurian characters, mythic themes and epic fantasy tropes make the books a powerful, memorable reading experience. I gained a new perspective from the rereading and the twenty years of life experience that helped change my perspective. Readers will experience sad moments that bring tears and happy ones that give hope. The books are worth seeking out and reading.

Fantasy Links 3/13/17

March 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Sorry I’m late with this week’s blog post. Here are some links to interesting articles.

A video of a panel of five authors discussing the evolution of modern day fantasy:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/03/5-amazing-authors-discuss-evolution-modern-fantasy/

A writing article about five tips to writing a layered character:  http://mythcreants.com/blog/five-tips-for-creating-a-layered-character/

An article about the fairy tale archetype of the sexy witch:  http://www.fantasyliterature.com/expanded/the-expanded-universe-the-fairy-tale-archetype-of-the-sexy-witch/

Links for 2/10/17

February 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Sorry for the delay of blog posts. Life events intervened the last couple of weeks. Today you some links to interesting articles:

For those interested in author Patricia Briggs, here’s an interview with her editor and how they work together. http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/02/editor-anne-sowards-working-patricia-briggs/

An article about books that have dystopias. http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/01/want-read-dystopian-fiction-heres-start/

Here’s an article on writing memorable endings. https://mythicscribes.com/writing-techniques/how-to-write-an-unforgettable-ending/

Some authors get writer’s block. Here’s an article to help break that block. https://madgeniusclub.com/2017/02/10/breaking-through-the-blockage/

Writers can always learn from others mistakes. Here’s an article that does that. http://mythcreants.com/blog/lessons-from-the-sloppy-writing-of-the-tommyknockers/#more-17546

If you’re looking for some good books to read. https://theportalist.com/28-must-read-fantasy-book-series

For those who are interested in UFOs and such an article about interesting alien encounters. https://theportalist.com/7-mysterious-alien-encounters-before-roswell

Fantasy Links 1/6/2017

January 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Here are some links to articles and sites of interest.

An article about fantasy and science fiction books with titles inspired by poetry:  http://www.tor.com/2017/01/06/sff-book-titles-inspired-by-poetry/

A list of books coming out in January that are genre benders:  http://www.tor.com/2017/01/06/fiction-affliction-genre-benders-for-january-2017/

A list of epic fantasy books of where to start:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2016/12/want-read-epic-fantasy-heres-start/

A writing article on first person narration by James Van Pelt:  http://www.jamesvanpelt.com/

The blog of fantasy author Helen Lowe with many interesting entries:  http://helenlowe.info/blog/

Deborah J. Ross

December 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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It is important to have diversity in fiction. Reading different voices from other perspectives makes us better as humans by helping us see through others’ eyes. One group of voices are woman. There are many women fantasy authors in the genre expressing their perspectives today. Deborah J Ross in on of these women. Since 1982, she has contributed many books to the genres of fantasy and science fiction.

Her contribution to fantasy is a trilogy that follows characters as they fight to save their people from different forces. The Seven-Petaled Shield begins the trilogy with Tsorreh and her son Zevaron fleeing from their fallen city to find refuge among her mother’s people. They flee the grasp of the Gelon empire with the heart stone of the legendary Shield. Removal of the stone allows the elemental chaotic force Fire and Ice to grow stronger, setting the tone the the next two books. Shannivar, the second book, tells the story of Shannivar, a woman warrior from the clans. She travels with the the clans to a meeting to form an alliance against the growing Gelon empire. Along the way, she meets Zevaron and joins him on a quest to the north to discover what is happening there. In the final book, The Heir of Khored, Shannivar tries to save corrupted Zevaron from Fire and Ice. The trilogy is a fascinating, entertaining read set in a different world than the usual Medieval types.

Using the pseudonym Deborah Wheeler, Ms. Ross wrote the science fiction novel Jaydium. This is a time travel and space story. Kithri is a scientist stuck on a mining planet. She meets Eril who is an ex-pilot learning how to deal with peacetime. They are thrown together back in time to when the planet had a thriving alien civilization that is on the brink of war. Kithri and Eril must decide what to do is right in order to get home. Ms. Ross provides an exciting tale of adventure.

Northlight is another fantasy. This book is a story about a ranger searching for her lost partner and a scholar wanting to experience the world while getting away from his mother. Together they go on a rescue mission to solve the problems of Laurea.

Darkover is the science fiction world created by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley. The planet is a lost colony world where psychic mind talents were developed over technology. After Bradley’s death, Ms. Ross has continued to write novels and stories set in Darkover, expanding Bradley’s popular world. There are many novels and anthologies available. The most recent novel is Thunderlord. Realms of Darkover is the latest anthology.

Deborah J. Ross is a versatile writer. She is comfortable writing in the fantasy and science fiction genres. She also provides interesting new characters and stories set in Darkover. Her books contain interesting characters and entertaining plots. She has many books available for readers at Book View Cafe (http://bookviewcafe.com). Her blog and web site can be found at:  http://deborahjross.blogspot.com/ Readers will enjoy her books.

Where to Start

September 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Looking for something different to read? Inspired by an episode of a fantasy tv series or movie? Deciding where to start can be a daunting task because the fantasy genre is large. There are many subgenres within the overall genre, so there are many possible starting points. Readers have several choices that might fit their tastes. Here are a few books where to begin a journey into a new genre.

Epic fantasy is one of the largest sub-genres and has garnered much interest because of the“Game of Thrones” tv series. Some readers start with the books but there are other books that are good too. For Tolkien, The Hobbit is an easier place to begin with his works. Lord of the Rings is excellent but rich in detail and takes time to savor. Other good starting books are:

  • The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia McKillip

Another popular subgenre is urban fantasy which has exploded in recent years. These are books where magic, mythical creatures and the supernatural exists and interacts with our modern day world. There are many excellent starting points. Many of these books have plenty of action and interesting characters both men and women. Suggested books are:

  • Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series)
  • Stormfront by Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden series)
  • Moon Called by Patty Briggs (Mercy Thompson series)
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne ( Iron Druid Chronicles series)

The story of King Arthur and his knights spawned another subgenre with Arthurian fantasy. Authors explore some aspect or character from the legends to tell new stories in this sub-genre. Some books to try are:

  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Finally there is for me an unofficial subgenre of mythic and fairy tale fantasy. Authors use mythology, mythic themes or fairy tales in new ways to tell thought provoking emotional stories that resonate with readers in some deep fashion. Books in this genre began with two authors, Robert Holdstock and Charles de Lint but have other authors now. Books to read here are:

  • Mythagowood by Robert Holdstorck
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
  • The Onion Girl  by Charles de Lint
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Finding books to read in a new genre can be hard. The books mentioned in this article are great places to start. May the gifts of fantasy and wonder be yours. Happy reading.

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