Saturday, January 24, 2015

Assorted Fiction Natterings

1. Polymath.

My cover artist, the esteemed Donna Casey, is at work on the cover. The eBook will be released when we’ve settled on a design.

Once again, my thanks to all of you who volunteered as test readers. Your comments and observations have proved invaluable.

2. Some Urban Fantasy.

In recent months I’ve encountered a few writers previously unknown to me whose works I can heartily recommend:

  • First up is newcomer Lexie Dunne. She’s got only one novel out so far, Superheroes Anonymous, but it’s unique and refreshing.
  • Next we have Richard Roberts. Roberts’ book Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain (soon to be followed by Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon) is apparently targeted at the “YA” audience, but it made delightful reading for this sexagenarian curmudgeon even so. If barely pubescent protagonist Penny, an “evil genius” who can’t quite control her gift, makes superweapons out of sugar, and desperately wants to join the good guys, doesn’t charm you out of your undies, check your pulse: you may have died and not noticed.
  • I tend to avoid anything that reeks of the “standard” motifs of urban fantasy – vampires, werewolves, and the like – but have nevertheless been charmed by Sierra Dean’s “Secret McQueen” series. Secret, Miss Dean’s “tough chick” heroine, is a strange hybrid of the supernaturals with several problems attendant thereto. Among the worst of these is that she’s being pursued by a minimum of two werewolves and one vampire: romantically pursued. And no, it shouldn’t be her worst problem.
  • I must give a qualified recommendation to Morgan Blayde. His stories of Caine Deathwalker, a human who’s been adopted into a demon clan and has become both incredibly powerful and a hopeless alcoholic, are stories. But the man desperately needs a proofreader, or at least someone to crack him over the knuckles several thousand times with a Bolo paddle for publishing his first drafts. If you can stand the plethora of low-level errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and homophone confusion for the sake of a good story, these books are for you.
  • Finally and with great applause, I give you Annie Bellet. I first encountered her work at Smashwords, where she’s posted several short stories. More recently I’ve been enthralled by her “Twenty-Sided Sorceress” series, which is compelling throughout, once again despite extensive use of threadbare urban fantasy motifs. Highly recommended.

Show ‘em some love, people. Indie writers need it more than you know.

3. Directions.

My readers often write to me, sometimes to ask questions about why I haven’t done this or that. Recently one asked why I’ve never attempted high (medieval-setting) fantasy, of the sort that made Tolkien and Merritt famous. I had to think extensively about my reply.

High fantasy is a heavily stylized subgenre. It demands a particular style of writing that I haven’t mastered. That’s a part of the reason the novel founded on “The Warm Lands,” a pseudo-high-fantasy, is taking me so long.

Yes, I have a somewhat archaic style. (That’s partly because so many of the books I’ve loved lifelong are old books, and partly because I’m a pompous ass.) Several readers who’ve complimented “The Warm Lands” suggested that the style I adopted for that story would be suitable. Perhaps it would be, but the problem lies in maintaining it for the length of a novel. When I write naturally, I don’t come near to the idiom required to do a convincing novel set in a pre-technological era. In particular, my scene-setting is too sparse for high fantasy, and my dialogue is too contemporary in tone. But perhaps I’ll get there in time...should the myriad of other projects I’ve been exhorted to tackle someday permit me to work on it.

4. More Directions.

Yes, there will be:

Stay tuned.


gamegetter II said...

The draft I read of Polymath was great,as were the previous books in the series-have you written anything yet for the next book in the Realm of Essences/Onteora County series?

Just wondering about the time frame-if you have one- for the next book-I've told friends to be sure to get Polymath when it's released.

Anonymous said...

Fran, about a year ago, you had a serial you published here, with New America I believe, is this available in book form? Also, are any of your other books in this realm? I'm 100% not interested in fantasy, anything with magic, spaceships, special powers, things that are unrealistic. But things that deal with future possibilities in a realistic way I enjoy very much. I also would enjoy alternate histories, IF they deal with it in a hypothetical way, and not in a "this is how it happened" way which requires the reader to suspend disbelief.

Also, for what it's worth, I'm primarily used to books with linen covers. Still life images are tolerable, but I find people's faces on book covers disconcerting.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I'm currently trying to define its structure and time frame, Game. Working title: Statesman. It usually takes me about a year to turn out a decent novel, so it's likely to become available some time in late 2015 or early 2016.

The book after that is presenting me with some hard decisions, specifically, whether to try to unite it (and by implication, the story arc of the Realm series) with the backstory of the Spooner Federation series. I've criticized other writers for doing such a foolish thing, yet I can feel its appeal. We shall see.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Anon: The "Tales of New America" were written by Mark Butterworth. He's published them under the pen name of Gunther Roosevelt. They're available at Amazon.

Reg T said...


If Morgan Blayde is confused about being homophonic, I'm not sure I can read him.

And, just for the record, I find people's backsides on book covers disconcerting. Unless it's Jennifer Lawrence's.

Francis W. Porretto said...

(chuckle) Well, yes, Jennifer Lawrence is an that and many other rules!