Tag Archives: M-.-Edward-McNally

What a clever promotion for the Channel War!

M.Edward McNally just posted something quite unique on his blog, The Sable City. To promote the upcoming launch of his latest book, the Channel War, he selected 38 lines of dialogue, one from each chapter, and listed them.

That’s it. And yet, because the dialogue is so good, the net effect is intriguing, and at times very funny.

These are just a few of my favourites :

“The rest are novice priests, though experienced villains.”

“Even should nothing happen, I suppose the damage to my reputation is done.”

“Be a dear and shoot the archers first, will you?”

You can find the complete list here :

http://sablecity.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/the-channel-war-in-38-lines/

What more can I say, the man is a genius, and I can hardly wait for April Fool’s Day to get my hands on The Channel War. Go Ed!


Vokhtah is on Indies Unlimited!

Sorry guys, I know you must be getting sick of this by now, but…  I really am on cloud nine at the moment so bear with me, please!

I’ve mentioned Indies Unlimited [IU] quite a lot in the past because it’s a fantastic place to learn, and hang out with other writers. The regulars are warm, generous with their knowledge and just plain funny. IU is also a place where I have found some brilliant books to read. I’ve reviewed many of them so indie authors like M. Edward McNally, Laurie Boris, J.D.Mader and John Barlow [to name just a few] should be at least a little familiar to you.

Well, IU now has an even more special place in my heart because Vokhtah is featured there. If you have the time, please drop in and have a look. Better yet, join in one of the many conversations that are always happening at IU!

The link to my little piece of IU is here.

Before I go I’d like to send a huge thank you to Lord David Prosser who began one of the best weeks of my life with his interview yesterday. On the off chance you missed it, that link is here.

I may have missed my birthday deadline for publishing Vokhtah [by a couple of days] but I am always going to remember turning 60 as one of the very best times of my life.

-huge hugs to all-

Meeks


Work-in-progress Blog Hop

Just when I think I’m starting to understand the blogging world, something happens and bam, I feel like a nOOb again. Today though, I’m more than happy to be a nOOb because I’ve finally found out what a blog hop is all about. I’ve also been nominated for this particular blog hop by a buddy of mine, Alex Laybourne. Alex is a writer, a kindred spirit [even though he writes horror -gasp-] and a participant in this year’s nano marathon, so basically he is an all-round great guy. Thank Alex. 😀

Now, is there anything a writer likes to talk about more than their current work-in-progress [WIP]? That was a rhetorical by the way. Clearly, the answer is no, so it should be obvious why I jumped at the chance to wax lyrical about my WIP. My only problem is… which WIP? Technically I should be talking about Vokhtah, book 2 but, I’d rather talk about the story I’ve been ‘plotting’ ever since I decided to do nano this year.

I hate the straitjacket feel of an outline which is why I am a pantster through and through. This time however,  I’m not allowed to jump in and start writing until November 1st, so I’ve been scribbling ideas down instead. Some of these ideas relate to the plot, so technically I am outlining something,  but I fully expect most, if not all, of this pseudo outline to disappear after the first 1000 words. Imho, logical outlines lead to predictable plots and I hate reading those, so I encourage my inner pantster to take me in unexpected directions. -cough- End rant.

Rules:

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog.
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

What is the working title of your book?

Innerscape. Or possibly Mira. I may just go with Mira because it’s shorter. 🙂

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for the character of Mira came from the very first short story I wrote – 2080. But I’ve been thinking about the evolution of online gaming and virtual living for a very long time. Tad Williams explored the idea in his wonderful series called Otherland, and I’ve read other sci-fi versions as well, but I wanted to push the concept a little further.

What genre does your book fall under?

Hmmm…. the closest definition I can think of is ‘soft-ish’ science fiction. No two writers agree on exactly what soft sci-fi is but the definition I like the most is psychological, social sci-fi. I’m going to be adding a bit more speculative tech to the mix but the overall focus will be soft.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ugh, this is a question I don’t even want to think about. The minute you visualize an actor in the part, some of their quirks and mannerisms inevitably colour the character’s development. I really don’t want to do that, especially at such an early stage.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Another problematic question this one. And no, that was not my answer! Just sort of thinking aloud. Okay, this is the best I can do for now : ‘If you could extend your life by entering a digital reality, would it become heaven or hell?’

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

As this will be a nano project I don’t expect the story to be ready for publication for a very long time. However, once it is, I expect to publish as an indie.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Oops. As this story is still just a twinkle in my eye, I can’t really say anything about the gestation period. Knowing me, however, I’m sure it will take years!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The obvious choice is Otherland, by Tad Williams. One of my favourite series 🙂

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My direct inspiration was Lady Julia Prosser. She is fighting a losing battle with cancer, yet she lives each day to the fullest. Being a writer, I couldn’t help wondering how I would spend my time in similar circumstances. That’s the underlying thread of the story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite my hard-baked, cynical facade, I am a romantic at heart, so there will be a romance of sorts in the story. Hmmm… correction, there will be love in the story and there may be a bit of romance as well but please don’t expect it to be the focus; you’ll be disappointed!

My 5 nominations are:

[This is hard as so many of my friends have just published so I’m not sure if they have WIPs or not but I hope they do!]

Candy Korman

Ilil Arbel

Laurie Boris

M. Edward McNally

Lord David Prosser


Dr Horrible’s blog award

My blogging schedule is completely up the spout this week and I shouldn’t be posting today but Daud [aka Lord David Prosser] sent me such an interesting award nomination that I simply couldn’t resist. Thank you Daud!

So, what makes this award so interesting? Well, there is no set number for how many other bloggers you can nominate. If you’ve ever spent hours agonizing over who to nominate you’ll understand what a joy this is.

The second interesting thing about this award is that it’s like a mini interview with three set questions to answer. Again, this makes life so much easier, especially as the questions are kind of fun. I’ll list them before I answer them.

And of course there’s the graphic of the award itself. I’m a bit of a graphics whore so this one really appeals to me. 😀

And the 3 questions are :

a) If you ran the world, what would you outlaw immediately?
b) Boxers or briefs?
c)If you made a Nobel speech, who would you thank?

Now for the answers. Daud’s answers were witty and b) in particular was very funny as he interpreted ‘boxers’ as pugilists [e.g. Muhamed Ali] and ‘briefs’ as lawyers [I think that might be English only].

I can’t do funny, except by accident, so I’m going to be super serious. 😀

a) If you ran the world, what would you outlaw immediately?

Meeks : Well, I believe food is the single most basic thing that all living things need, apart from air, so I would ban GMO’s of all descriptions. [GMO = genetically modified organism]. Food ain’t broke, it don’t need fixin’ so leave it alone Monsanto!

b) Boxers or briefs?

Meeks : Hmmm…. I’m female so sorry, not going to wear either, however on a guy it would just have to be boxers! Briefs are what my late father wore. No contest.

c) If you made a Nobel speech, who would you thank?

Meeks :  I thought this one would be easy but it’s not! I mean, what am I winning a Nobel prize for? Peace? Neuroscience? [rofl] I’m sorry, I did say I’d be serious.

Ok, I’m going to thank fate for all the kicks and shoves that pushed me out of my comfort zones and made me think. Why? Because no-one ever achieved anything of lasting value by sitting in a comfy chair with fluffy slippers and a glass of shiraz.

And now for my nominations. After due deliberation I’ve decided to nominate 3 bloggers who will all be launching new books in the near future :

Alex Laybourne – Alex is a writer of horror.

Candy Korman – Candy writes literary thrillers on a monster theme.

M. Edward McNally – Ed writes epic fantasy.

All three of my nominees push the boundaries and innovate. They also write damn well.  Check them out!

-hugs-

Meeks


Is creativity a leisure time pursuit?

I feel as if a big fat finger is poking me in the back, prodding me to write this post so here goes.

A few days ago  Medmcn [also known as M. Edward McNally] and Ilil Arbel, both very talented writers, were talking about the years they had wasted doing responsible things – like earning a living – before finally being able to follow their passions.

Then just yesterday my neighbour Sallyanne, an incredibly talented photographer, laughed off the slow growth of her business with the words
“…but the kids come first”.

The photo on the right is a portrait Sallyanne took of my late father for his 89th birthday. Dementia was slowly eating away at my Dad but Sallyanne managed to capture the old Dad and immortalize him as he used to be. For me that was a minor miracle and shows just how talented she truly is.

The final prod came this morning when Metan, another very talented lady blogger, mentioned how hard it was to find the time to do her research when the dishes had to be done, kids uniforms washed etc, etc.

How could I ignore that fat finger of fate any longer?

The trouble is that I don’t quite know where to take this post. Should I talk about the historical absence of women in the arts? Should I draw parallels with women’s ongoing responsibilities to their families as the cause? Or should I explore the idea that art for art sake can only happen when the artist is freed from the daily grind for survival? Yet as soon as I think along those lines my brain pipes up with ‘but what about the cave paintings?’ It’s hard to see how caveman artists would have had the leisure for art unless art was somehow functional.

I honestly have no answers here so I’m throwing the question[s] out into the void.

If you’ve got any ideas please jump into the discussion by leaving a comment.

Cheers

Meeks


Death of a Kingdom – a review

Good morning all! It’s Tuesday morning here in lovely wet Warrandyte. I’m sitting here listening to my new Two Steps from Hell CD called Invincible and all is well with my world so it’s time to do some serious stuff!

Some time ago I wrote a review of M. Edward McNally’s first book of the Norothian series entitled ‘The Sable City’. In that review I made a point of saying how much I liked his world building, amongst other things. Since then I have also nominated McNally as one of the five indie authors who have inspired me with the quality of their work.

When I began reading ‘Death of a Kingdom’, the second book of the Noroth series, I fully expected to enjoy it but I did wonder if McNally would be able to live up to the standards he had set in the first book. I’m very pleased to be able to say that he did. And then some!

Second books are a little like the second-born children in a family – by the time they come along the newness has worn off and their parents are expecting those smiles of wind and gurgles of delight so these second-comers are faced with a much harder life path to follow. Not only do they have to live up to the expectations raised by their older siblings they also have to find some way of distinguishing themselves as individuals in their own right.

In ‘Death of a Kingdom’, McNally has pulled off quite a feat. Not only is the second book as good as the first, it is actually better.

As I began reading ‘Death of a Kingdom’  I started to feel a growing sense of excitement. This book was different. The more I read the more I realised that this time I was going to be taken much, much deeper, not just into the world of Noroth and the lives of the characters but into the lives of nations as well.

The storyline is much more complex, going off in two separate directions. One follows Tilda and most of the original adventurers as they struggle with the aftermath of their trip to the Sable City while at the same time trying to help Claudja in her ongoing battle to save her people. The second follows the life of Nesha-tari, the half human, half Lamia servant of the great blue dragon Akroya. Both streams become deeply embroiled in the politics of Noroth.  Things are no longer simple. The lives of nations are  now at stake. And more. When the devil Balan appears outside of Vod’Adia and begins stirring the pot you just know that the story is headed towards truly epic levels.

Everything in ‘Death of a Kingdom’ is bigger, deeper, richer, stronger. It is meatier. If I were to compare the two books I would say that the first book, while delicious is just an entrée. Book 2 is a main course. This is where the story truly takes off. McNally introduces us to some new and very interesting characters who reveal layers of politics and intrigue never before seen.

Politics and intrigue almost always lead to battles between armies, huge, confusing, bloody battles and ‘Death of a Kingdom’ is no exception. Some of the battles in the book are fought for the best of reasons, others are fought for reasons the combatants do not understand. But in the heat of battle there is no time for questions of why. Those questions come later, for those who survive.

Everything I have said about the storyline of ‘Death of a Kingdom’ applies to the writing as well. It is richer, stronger and even more vibrant than before, painting scenes large and small with a confidence that was only hinted at in book 1.

This is true epic fantasy and I can hardly wait to jump into book 3, ‘The Wind from Miilark’. Whatever McNally has in store for me I now know that it is going to be big. Yet at the same time I have every expectation that the story will still retain the delicate balance between epic and human that has made ‘Death of a Kingdom’ so very, very pleasurable.

Roll on book 3!


Illuminating blogger award

I’m not sure what it is about these awards that turns me into a fumble-fingered ignoramus but I inevitably mess up in some way and today has been no exception. I tried to follow the instructions to the letter and thought I’d succeeded until, shock horror, I realised I’d put my acceptance comment in the wrong award.

So before I do anything else I must apologies to Food Stories Blog for being an idiot. As Bluebottle* would say – “I feel a proper fool.”

Now that I’ve confessed I can move on to step 2 of the instructions. I’d like to thank Lord Daud for nominating me for this award.

David is one of those incredibly generous people who spend a great deal of their time helping others achieve their dreams. His most recent gift of friendship was to email me with a long list of short story competitions. He did this because he knew that I would skin a cat* forever before finding the courage to look for them myself. That gentle, not so subtle nudge pushed me into entering 2080 into not one but two competitions. I don’t expect my first short story to win anything but just entering it was a huge achievement for me and will give me the courage to enter other competitions in the future.

Now, according to step 3 of the instructions I have to reveal one thing about myself. I doubt that anyone will be surprised when I say that I’m a little challenged in the courage department. I’m a miniature tiger when it comes to defending others but I’m a chihuahua when it comes to promoting myself. This is not a good trait in someone thinking about becoming an indie author. All I can say is that I’m working on it. Baby steps so far but I am trying. So thank you David. 🙂

This is my third award and I would really like to say thank you to everyone I’ve met online but I’m limited to nominating just five bloggers. This makes things bloody hard I can tell you. In the end I decided to go with the theme of indies, so now I would like to celebrate bloggers who have shown me that being an indie author can be synonymous with innovation, beautiful prose and a level of quality that puts many traditionally published authors to shame. They’ve inspired me and I’ve loved reading their books. Thank you one and all.

Illuminating Blogger Nominees :

Candy Korman for her innovative fusion of literary monsters and crisp, modern prose.

Lord David Prosser for his gentle humour and wonderful way with words.

Rachel Abbott for her compelling thriller that took the genre to a whole new level.

Stephen Faulds for his beautiful portrayal of love and falling from grace.

M. Edward McNally for creating the kind of fantasy world I would love to live in.

 

*Bluebottle : a favourite character from the 1950’s radio show The Goons.

*Skinning a cat : procrastinating.


Tell me about yourself award

Mary Ann from Mypenandme just left a lovely comment on my blog saying that she had nominated me for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award. I’m rather stunned because I’m still very new to blogging in general and awards in particular. To me just logging into wordpress and seeing those bright orange numbers up there is an award in itself and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, or may write in the future! My special thanks though go to Mary Ann who has talents in the poetry department that I wish I had.

Now, according to the rules of these awards I have to write 7 things about myself that I haven’t revealed before and then I have to nominate 7 other bloggers for the same award. Oh and copy/paste the proudly displayed award into your own blogs! I hope you guys are paying attention because I know I messed up on the instructions when Daud [aka Lord David Prosser] nominated me for my very first award so try to get it right 😉

Ok, here we go. 7 things I haven’t yet revealed.

1. This is a biggie – I’m 59. That is just one year away from the big six-o when I officially leave the ranks of the late middle aged and become a baby oldie.

2. I’ve learned many things over the last 59 years but none of them has made me grow up, not properly. I can pretend to be dignified for about five minutes but after that I tend to revert to my true age which fluctuates between 10 and 35.

3. I used to ride motorbikes in my twenties and I still love them but I lost my nerve years ago. I blame my Kawasaki 400 which was so big I couldn’t put both feet on the ground at the same time, even on tippy toes.

4. I’m short – see 3 above.

5. When I was younger I used to wear 4″ heels to make me look 5’8″. Being short is hell!

6. I’m an absolute softie when it comes to kids and animals. I do however draw the line at spiders. Nothing with 8 legs need apply.

7. I don’t believe in god or in any religion but I do believe in goodness and I venerate life in all its forms. I justify my stance on roast chicken and spiders as hypocrisy with extenuating circumstances.

Phew, that was actually quite hard. Be warned my lovelies!

Now for the easy part – Seven bloggers I nominate for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award :

–  Jennifer Scoullar.  Jennifer is another aussie but I’m nominating her because she can write like crazy.

The Pink Agendist.  Because this is a man with a big heart. And he can cook!

Courtney Bluebird.  Bluey is not an aussie but she could be 🙂  She is also teaching me about poetry and deserves a medal of valour for that.

Maggie O.  Maggie is funny and kind, she is also funny and loves animals. Oh and did I say she was funny? Well she is 🙂

Alex Laybourne.  Alex writes horror but it’s his understanding of human nature that is his greatest talent.

Caressingthemuse.  Stephanie is a whiz at marketing and shares her knowledge with great generosity. She also has a way with words that makes learning fun.

Sable City.  M. Edward McNally creates worlds I want to visit and has a sense of humour that hits all the right buttons with me.

I have dear friends I haven’t nominated this time around but DaudCandy, Metan, SweetMother, I love you all!


The Sable City – a review

I can’t remember how I found my way to Indies Unlimited but once there I was hooked. One of the features I liked the most was [and is] ‘Ed’s Casual Friday’, a weekly post written by M.Edward McNally. Witty and always beautifully written McNally’s articles made me wonder what kind of a writer he was when he was ‘at home’, slaving over a hot keyboard. After a little diligent searching I discovered that he writes fantasy. Yay! After sci-fi, fantasy is my next favourite genre so buying one of his books was a natural progression.

So which book did I buy and what did I think of it? The book was The Sable City, book 1 of The Norothian Cycle and I was so impressed with it that I will soon be buying book 2!

As a genre, Fantasy is a strange beast; when it’s done well it’s wonderful [think Robin Hobb, Tad Williams etc], however getting it right is not easy. Not only must the author create vivid characters who leap off the page and demand to be loved, or hated, those characters must also live in a world that has depth and a sense of solid reality to it. McNally has achieved both with The Sable City. The characters are well written and each has a past and little quirks that make them immediately recognizable. One of my favourites is a devil named Balan. Despite being one of the ‘villains’ of the piece his wit and sartorial elegance make his every appearance a joy to read. Tilda, the main character in the book is strong, honourable and tenacious yet at the same time believably female, a rarity amongst male authors. She grows as a person in response to the events of the book, as do the two male characters – Dugan and Zebulon – but the growth never seems forced, rather it is a seamless, natural process that you would expect from ‘real’ people. The less major characters also experience growth. None of them remain static and that is one of the things that makes the book such a pleasure to read.

A good story however, requires more than just good characters. A good story also requires a believable world for those characters to inhabit. That world has to have geography. It has to have climate. It has to have varied and interesting cultures. And it has to have history. In the real world everyone has a sense of the past, even those who have no interest in formal History. The past is where we came from. It not only tells us where we have been as a people or a race, it informs our present. In many ways history is what motivates a whole people so a story without history is like a painting with only the main features coloured in. McNally knows this and his world is rich in references to the past, making the reader feel that the present is just an extension of what came before. As it should be.

But what is The Sable City about? What is the story that pulls us along?

In essence The Sable City is the story of a quest. The quest begins in the island state of Miilark where the trader family of Deskata suddenly finds itself without a direct blood heir. The only Deskata left who could save the family was exiled years before so Captain Block is sent on a mission to try and find the exile and bring him home. Block chooses only a Guilder apprentice by the name of Matilda Lanai to help him as secrecy is paramount. And so the quest to find John Deskata begins. They do not have much to go on. They know that Deskata has brilliant green eyes, a family trait, but not much else. Along the way they meet a deserter from the Legionnaires called Dugan who seems to know where Deskata may have gone but he has his own agenda and the plot soon thickens with deceptions large and small that add an interesting element of  ‘who dunnit’ to the story. As the plot unfolds we are introduced to a colourful array of characters that includes a samurai from the Far West,  a bored Circle Mage, a Duchess incognito and a mysterious woman called Nesha Tarii who has a seductive effect on all the men she comes in contact with… but she is not what she seems. And then of course there are the dragons.

I could say more but that would be giving too much away so I will content myself with saying that all these strange characters are brought together by fate and their own personal quests in a mysterious city of black stone called Vod’ Adia but the ending is not something you will be able to predict. That is one of the things I liked most about the book. I like being surprised and I think you will too.

The only small criticism I have of The Sable City is that at times the dialogue feels too… modern. Or to be more exact, too familiar, as if the banter was happening between two people in present day New York or some other large city. It did not happen often but when it did I would lose that sense of being elsewhere, just for a moment or two. I know many people will consider this criticism to be nit-picking but for me it was a little disconcerting. Other than that The Sable City did not jar with typos or poor grammar or awkward phrasing. It was well written and well edited and the story flowed just the way a good story should.

I think I can honestly say that this is the first fantasy book I have read in a while that I enjoyed and it is definitely the first indie fantasy that I have finished with a warm sense of satisfaction. The Sable City is a good story and I am looking forward to returning to the world to learn more.  I recommend it to anyone who wants more from fantasy than just magic and battles.  There is magic and there are battles but there is also much, much more. You will not be disappointed.


%d bloggers like this: