Friday 24 October 2008

Lynda Williams - Author Interview

Courtesan Prince
Righteous Anger

Throne Price
(with Alison Sinclair)

The Lorel Experiment


Guide to the Okal Rel Universe
The Okal Rel Universe Anthology I
(edited with Virginia O'Dine)


Latest Book
Pretenders uses the familiar fantasy concept of a struggle for possession of a throne to explore how the characters struggle to play roles unnatural to them. I think of it as similar to the challenges we face every day of our working lives. Just more fun with higher stakes. Pretenders is part 3 of the Okal Rel Saga. It can be read as a stand alone book, but it will probably give the most enjoyment in the company of Part 1: The Courtesan Prince.
I am also editor of the ORU Legacy series. Next up in that line are Horth in Killing Reach by Craig Bowlsby and Okal Rel: Third Anthology edited by Jennifer Sparling. These are e-books which will also, soon, be available in print. See

Books I Love
My favorite books change from month to month but three on the top of my current list are: Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond; The Merman’s Children by Poul Anderson; and The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan — each for very different reasons.

Characters in My Own Work
Amel is my enduring favorite, but I fall in love with other characters from time to time: Ann while writing The Courtesan Prince, Horth in Righteous Anger, and of course Di Mon and Ranar. I love Amel because he has the strength to keep believing in relationships no matter how often people let him down. He would like to be a tougher guy, but he’s stuck with his sensibilities, and he has to make a come back from a really bad start in life. None of my characters is me, but I put a bit of who I am into all of them. In my youth, I felt angry about the conflict of feeling sexually attracted to men when it always seemed to imply being dominated at the same time. But I didn’t act out a solution like my character Ev’rel! Amel represents my longing to be a good person, but I’m not as selfless or as brave as he can be although I can be as confused as he sometimes gets. I’m working on a new character, now, called Samanda, or Sam for short, who represents aspects of myself I am working through in middle life, although she’s going to have to grapple with them earlier. Ranar reflects my optimistic, humanist, pro-rationality stage of development. I don’t think I would like to be any of my characters all the time. I put them through some pretty rough stuff. But I would like to live on Rire even if many of my readers think the transparent society they take for granted is more alien and scary than the wackier, neo-feudal side of my universe. I would have enjoyed living in the Star Trek Universe, as well, but only the old one when the Federation could be trusted and things were pretty safe and well-managed back on Earth.

My First Novel
Part 1: The Courtesan Prince was the first novel I published, solo, and it took me my whole life to write. I can write a novel in six months now. I hope that means I’ve learned something. The hardest scene I ever wrote occurs in Part 4: Throne Price, which due to an accident of fate was actually published first. It was out of my comfort zone in terms of nastiness, as much for the emotional betrayals as the physical abuse concerned. I was pretty close to Amel in those days, too, in the sense of feeling things along with him while I wrote, and he didn’t want to do that scene! Anyone who reads Throne Price will know why. One young reader, Sarah Trick, who is now an adult friend, said she threw the book across the room. I’m glad she retrieved it and finished the book afterwards. It isn’t a scene that will rock the socks off any hard core horror buff or anything like that. If it has an impact, it’s because the reader is feeling along with the character — like I was. I wanted to make it painful because hurting people is painful and has consequences. We take it so much for granted that characters get hurt and get up and go on as if nothing much happened. That’s a bad way to act in real life.

Fan Story
I am collecting a following among younger readers than I had NOT anticipated when I wrote Throne Price, in particular. I think the most unexpected thing was discovering they liked to do art based on my series, and to dress up in costumes, and think of songs that match the situations in the stories. It’s delightful, of course, and in retrospect I shouldn’t be surprised since the roots of the ORU are in my own adolescence and rich with latent stories to tell. That’s why I started opening avenues to include talented people with a sincere interest in the themes and stories to take part in the joy of creativity with me. I also work with professional writers and artists but when work has value for me I don’t make a distinction. Two recent examples of young adult art are the commissioned picture of a grab rat by Lisa Proulx and the chibby versions of three characters, by Mel Far, which I included in The Encyclopedia: Guide to the Okal Rel Universe. I asked Mel what I should call the section of the guide book reserved for things like chibbys and she picked “Character Mockery” as appropriate. My characters are in still in shock but I don’t have to tell them everything.

Most Fun About Being a Writer
Connecting with so many different people is the part of promotion I like best. I do school visits, which can be scary (no one cares!) or exhilarating (they love you!). I have done a key-note address about the importance of science in the lives of young women, because without the skills you can’t “fly for your own reason” as I explain it in my online story “Going Back Out”. (Google “Going Back Out” in quotes).
I love interviews because I believe writing is about more than selling books. It’s about having something worthwhile to say. Or ask.
I love meeting other writers and creative people who are encouraged by the growing interest in my work, although as my daughter will tell you I lecture about “don’t give up the day job!” Some days it feels as if the world is too busy filtering their mail and responding to beeps to think about anything for more than thirty seconds, and it’s terribly depressing to me. I have made a career of working with applied computing technology, but I loved computers originally for the sake of the long, quiet hours one could spend in perfect communication with them, programming. So I say, if the Okal Rel Universe can find an audience in the world, the ability to think about something for more than 30 seconds, even for entertainment purposes, can’t be entirely dead.

The Day Job
Yes, I still have a day job and expect I will for the rest of my working life. It’s a good job. I am Instructional Designer for the School of Nursing at the University of Northern B.C. I hold an M.Sc. Computation and a Masters of Library Science in Information Technology. I’ve been an innovator in social computing for twenty years, from founding a freenet to introducing WebCT for online learning at my institution while I was Project Manager for E-Learning there. Some days it is frustrating not to have more time to write, particularly with a novel wanted every six months until I’ve completed the series, and a list of novellas waiting in the wings. But having a day job has benefits. It makes it possible to write for your own reasons, for one thing, instead of needing to cater to the hot topic of the month in order to pay the bills. I used to rankle at the advice on how to succeed which seemed to negate everything I cared about in my own work, but now I think of it as a choice. Dickens and Jane Austen were both great writers. Dickens was a pro who had to churn out work and do the promo circuit stuff every day. Austen didn’t have to feed herself with her writing, although money is always a nice thing for anyone no matter what their circumstances. There isn’t one model for how to be a writer in a meaningful way.

Tips for Writers
If you are a writer, accept it and find a way to make it work in your life. If you aren’t, find another way to honor your love of story-telling and be happy about it because it is all part of the same continuum. I know all too well the angst writers suffer, the hopes and the fears. I believe the world needs writers. But most of the time, being a writer feels like standing in the middle of downtown traffic, yelling into the wind. It is so hard to get a hearing, and it is hard to sell books once you land a publisher. I am making money these days, but I still invest more than I earn in the mission of promoting my work in the world and honoring the involvement of others who believe in it. I do it because I think it is worthwhile. Don’t let people tell you that your work isn’t worthwhile if you know better. Everyone’s got an opinion. Try to learn from your mistakes at the same time. If you are a writer, you will get published in the end, but the outcome may never match your wildest dreams of success. If you love the writing and you believe in your work, that won’t matter. So be sure you are doing it for the intrinsic rewards, and then you won’t be wasting your time, no matter how great or small your success in the eyes of the big, noisy world. Easy to say of course. Hard to live. I wrote a whole short story about the struggle, years ago, called “Going Back Out”. It helped me. Of course, the one thing I do know about this business is writers are as individual as snowflakes and I can’t know whether anything I have to say might be meaningful for someone else. All I can say is, if you are a writer, it’s your reality — embrace it. And ack rel! For English translation, see: (

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Zombie Movie: The Ultimate Guide - Event

Come to the WBB Thursday October 30th at 7 pm to meet Glenn Kay, author of Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide. Mr Kay will be talking about zombie movies, showing clips and signing copies of his book.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Maria Snyder Book Signing in Toronto

And last but not least, Maria Snyder, author of:

will be in town to sign her books at the World's Biggest Bookstore on November 7th from 6-8 pm. Please join us at any and all events!

For more information about these events, call the store at: 416-977-7009.

Dave Gibbons Signing in Toronto

The second event we have ligned up is a signing and question & answer period with Dave Gibbons, illustrator of:

He'll be talking about his new book:

which details the making of the graphic novel The Watchmen. Meet him on November 2nd at 2 pm.

Violette Malan Book Signing in Toronto

Looks like the WBB is going to busy the next few weeks. We have some excellent authors coming to town. Starting with: Violette Malan. Author of:

Violette will be in store on October 26th from 2 to 5 singing copies of her books.

Friday 10 October 2008

Pulp SF and Fantasy

Here's a new reading list since I haven't posted one for a while. As with the other lists, it's not comprehensive (ie, it doesn't include ALL pulp SF and Fantasy books) and they're written in no particular order.

Gary Gygax - Anubis Murders , Samarkand Solution, Infernal Sorceress
Robert Howard - Almuric, Bran Mak Morn: The Last King, Kull
Robert Jordan - Conan Chronicles
Murray Leinster - Planets of Adventure
Michael Moorcock - Elric: the Stealer of Souls, Elric: To Rescue Tenelorn, The Metatemporal Detective, City of the Beasts, Lord of the Spiders/Blades of Mars, Masters of the Pit
C. L. Moore - Northwest of Earth, Black God’s Kiss
Norvel Page - Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham, Spider: City of Doom
Robert Chambers - The Yellow Sign
Leigh Brackett - Ginger Star, Secret of Sinharat
Pierre Boulle - Planet of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs - Princess of Mars, Gods of Mars, Warlord of Mars, Tarzan of the Apes
Isaac Asimov - Fantastic Voyage
Lord Dunsany - In the Land of Time
H. P. Love craft - Call of Cthulhu, Thing on the Doorstep, At the Mountains of Madness

Monday 6 October 2008

C. L. Wilson - Author Interview

Lord of the Fading Lands
Lady of Light and Shadows

King of Sword and Sky


> Pitch your series.

Long ago, in the magical holocaust known as the Mage Wars, the immortal Fey and their allies fought to defeat the grasping evil of the Elden Mages and their dark-gifted supporters. During those wars, in a fit of grief-induced madness caused by the death of his mate, Fey shapeshifter Rain Tairen Soul nearly destroyed the world in a blaze of tairen fire. Now, a thousand years later, the fierce Fey king must fight to save his race from the brink of extinction and once again stop the evil rising in the homeland of his enemies, the Eld. The key to his success lies in the mortal city of Celieria, where the Mage Wars began, and with a young woman whose soul sings to him in ways no woman’s ever has, whose presence reawakens the primal fury of the tairen within his soul, and whose vast, untapped power can either save or destroy him and his people.

Beginning with Lord of the Fading Lands, continuing with Lady of Light and Shadows and King of Sword and Sky, and concluding with Queen of Song and Souls, the Tairen Soul series tells the story of a mortal woodcarver’s adopted daughter, Ellysetta Baristani, and the Fey king, Rain Tairen Soul, as they fight to save the tairen and the Fey, defeat the dangerous power of the Eld Mages, and complete their truemate bond.

KING OF SWORD AND SKY, which comes out this October (Sept 30) is book 3 in the Tairen Soul series. In this book, Rain and Ellysetta return to the Fading Lands, where Ellysetta begins adjusting to her new life as a powerful immortal and the queen of a fabled magical land. As the Eld plot their next deadly strike, Ellysetta struggles to master her vast magic and discover how to save the tairen, while Rain confronts open challenge to his rule and prepares to lead the Fey army to war.

> What are your favourite three books (not by you, either in the field or out of it)?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Limiting my favorites to just three is so difficult. I’ve had different favorites at different times of my life, and with so many wonderful books coming out month after month, I’m constantly enthralled as a reader.

I have to say, on the romance front, a pure historical romance, my favorite book is probably Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. Or Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. Or Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale.

On the paranormal romance front, Dark Desire by Christine Feehan hooked me so completely and drew me forever into the love of her Carpathian series. (I’m also a big fan of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Karen Marie Moning’s highlanders.)

On a pure fantasy front, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series both impacted me so greatly, they continue to be among my favorites, even though I haven’t re-read them in years. I adored Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule as well.

> In the books you've written, who is you favourite character and why?

Oh, gosh. Well…I confess, I adore writing Gaelen. He is a man who lives life by his own rules and to hell with anyone who disagrees with him. He fights for what he believes in, and is willing to pay any price to do what he thinks is right. He’s also a cheeky git, and that makes him huge fun to write. Yet for all his “in-your-face” attitude, deep inside is an honorable man who loves his country and his friends and his family so much, he would do anything to protect them. In the words of the wonderful movie, “A Few Good Men”, he is the man who will stand on the wall and say “Nothing is going to hurt you tonight. Not on my watch.” He is a man who will never give up, never let anything stand in his way – not even laws. And because of that, he’s something of a double-edged sword, which is part of what makes him so interesting to me.

And I actually really enjoy writing Annoura, the mortal queen descending into darkness too. She is so human, so flawed. There is goodness in her – Dorian could never have loved her if there weren’t – but she is a woman falling prey to her own weakness and insecurity. She wants so desperately for Dorian to love her, but she was raised in such a cold, political, untrusting place (Capellas) she’s always looking for the knife behind the back…the betrayal she knows has to be coming. Ultimately, if you look for something hard enough, you will find it (or at least start seeing it, even where it doesn’t exist). She’s a tragic figure, because she had a deep and abiding love, and she couldn’t believe in it enough to keep it whole.

> If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

The way I torture them? Er, no! LOL.

> If you could live in your fantasy/sf world, would you? Would you live in somebody else's?

Oh, absolutely, but only if I could be one of those gorgeous, slender immortals with vast power and no need for dieting and exercise and no fears of going gray or getting wrinkles! What woman doesn’t think that sounds like heaven?
Seriously…I love the whole concept of the existence of magic, of entire races of people dedicated to honor and the protection of what is good and innocent in the world, and the idea of lifespans that last many, many thousands of years so long as you had a truemate – a perfect, unwavering soul-to-soul love. I don’t even think the threat of true evil that exists in my world would deter me, because a paradise without a purpose is just a different form of hell.

As for someone else’s fantasy world, I have to confess that as a kid, when I first discovered Anne McCaffrey’s dragonriders books, they so captured my imagination, that my childhood best friend and I use to have weekend sleepovers in which we’d pretend her basement room was a weyr and we had both Impressed our own dragon. I’d love to live on Pern (if I could be a Dragonrider!) but I’d get in trouble for smacking some of those obnoxious Holders in the mouth, I’m afraid!

> What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

The first novel I ever wrote (and completed!) was a 80,000 word contemporary romance called GHOST (unpublished) which I completed when I was twenty. It took me about 3 years to write it. I completed the whole thing in longhand on legal pads then taught myself to type by entering it into a word processor on a computer.

The first published novel was Lord of the Fading Lands (which in unpublished form also included Lady of Light and Shadows) and it took me probably about five years to write, revise, chop in half, rewrite, re-revise. Then I had to chop it in half again and revise it into two books for publication.

> What was the most fun book signing, convention, etc. you've attended and why?

So far, my favorite convention has to be this year’s DragonCon. It’s been a while since I went to a con, and I forgot how much fun they were. Although I was working a booth and didn’t get to get out to the workshops and panels much, it was four days of fabulousness. The costumes people wore were so gorgeous. I can’t wait to do it again!

> If you still have one, what's your day job? If you don't, how long did it take before you could support yourself only on your writing?

My day job used to be Manager of Training and Product Marketing for a telecommunications manufacturing company. I spent all my career in high-tech, working around computers and computer systems, but always in some capacity related to writing – marketing, technical writing, training. Though I have not yet made it to my first royalty statement, I quit my full time job 18 months ago before accepting a contract to write two more books in a year. I knew even that would be a stretch for me, working at it full time. Luckily, I have a husband who was willing to support my decision, and my family agreed to make the sacrifices necessary to give up my salary and let me write full time to pursue my life long dream.

> What is your university degree in?

My degree is in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. (Because I always wanted to be a writer and was determined one day to see my own books in print.)

> Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

For me? Fantasy, without a doubt, because I get to make anything happen “by magic” . And because science was never my particular strongpoint in school.

> When and where do you write?

All the time and everywhere. I have an office at my house, and I’m usually in the office from 3am in the morning until 6pm at night and sometimes much later, but I’m trying to force myself to write for a few hours, take a break for a few hours, then go back to writing some more. Juggling life and writing and managing a productive full-time writing output can be difficult. I’d really like to get to a point where I can comfortably write a book every six months, but I’m still not there yet.

> What's the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is the people I’ve met through my writing – readers, other writers, booksellers, librarians. The worst part of writing is my penchant to get stuck in my office for days on end and never leave it.

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Don’t give up! The road to publication is littered with the dead dreams of wonderful writers who gave up too soon. It isn’t easy. It isn’t rewarding. Putting yourself out there – your writing out there – and getting rejection after rejection is one of the hardest and most demoralizing [things] an artist can do. But keep at it. How can you expect anyone else to believe in you, if you don’t first believe in yourself?

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in November

(Note: the site I get the dates from tends to cut off a few days before the end of the month, so this list includes a few books from October and will be missing some that will be released at the end of November.)


Stars Like Dust - Isaac Asimov
Watermind - M.M. Buckner
Ender in Exile - Orson Scott Card
Queen of Oblivion - Giles Carwyn & Todd Fahnestock
The Gods Return - David Drake
Forgotten Realms: The Sword Never Sleeps - Ed Greenwood
Swallowing Darkness - Laurell Hamilton
V: The Original Miniseries - Kenneth Johnson
Primeval: The Lost Island - Paul Kearney
Fools’ Experiments - Edward Lerner
Thirteen Orphans - Jane Lindskold
Heir to Sevenwaters - Juliet Marillier
Dragonheart - Todd McCaffrey
The Devil’s Eye - Jack McDevitt
Strength & Honor - R.M. Meluch
The Lord-Protector’s Daughter - L.E. Modesitt
Search for the Star Stones - Andre Norton
The Company - K.J. Parker
The Golden Tower - Fiona Patton
Claws That Catch - John Ringo & Travis Taylor
Fortune & Fate - Sharon Shinn
Saint Antony’s Fire - Steve White
Odd Girl Out - Timothy Zahn
Impossible Encounters - Zoran Zivkovic

Trade Paperback:

Clouded World - Jay Amory
Myth-Fortunes - Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye
The Hounds of Skaith - Leigh Brackett
The High King’s Tomb - Kristen Britain
Jorgen - James Cabell
The Tamuli - David Eddings (3-in-1 reprint)
The Beyond - Jeffrey Ford
Memoranda - Jeffrey Ford
Rudyard Kipling’s Tales of Horror & Fantasy - Neil Gaimen, ed.
Leapfrog - Stephen Hendry
The Dark World - Henry Kuttner
Blood Bargain - Maria Lima
War Hammer 40K: Imperial Guard Omnibus - Steve Lyons
Star Wars: Wild Space - Karen Miller
Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress - Michael Moorcock
The Engine’s Child - Holly Phillips
Dreadful Skin - Cherie Priest
The Flame & the Shadow - Denise Rossetti
The Orc King - R.A. Salvatore
Blood of Elves - Andrzej Sapkowski
Black Glass - John Shirley

Mass Market Paperback:

Eberron: The Queen of Stone - Keith Baker
War Hammer: A Massacre in Marienburg - David Bishop
The Devil’s Due - Jenna Black
Halo: the Cole Protocol - Tobias Buckell
The Last Battle - Chris Bunch
Captain’s Fury - Jim Butcher
The Crown - Deborah Chester
Firstborn - Arthur Clarke & Stephen Baxter
The Warrior’s Tale - Allan Cole
Perfect Circle - Carlos Cortes
Forgotten Realms: Crimson Legion - Troy Denning
The Mirror of Worlds - David Drake
The Black Ship - Diana Francis
Better Off Undead - Martin Greenberg & Daniel Hoyt, ed.
Black Magic Woman - Justin Gustainis
Future Weapons of War - Joe Haldeman
Succubus Takes Manhattan - Nina Harper
A Dark Sacrifice - Madeline Howard
Radio Freefall - Matthew Jarpe
Bloodring - Faith Hunter
Deryni Checkmate - Katherine Kurtz
New Tricks - John Levitt
Inside Straight - George Martin, ed.
War Hammer 40K: Horus Heresy: Mechanicum - Graham McNeill
Magic to the Bone - Devon Monk
Seaspray - Mel Odom
Dead Reign - T.A. Pratt
Star Wars: Death Star - Michael Reeves
Forgotten Realms: The Fractured Sky - Thomas Reid
War Hammer 40K: Dark Disciple - Anthony Reynolds
Sister Time - John Ringo & Julie Cochrane
Kris Longknife Intrepid - Mike Shepherd
Starfist: Recoil - David Sherman
Dead Easy - Wm. Mark Simmons
The Unwilling Warlord - Lawrence Watt-Evans
Dragon Lance: Amber & Blood - Margaret Weis
Dragon Lance: The Survivors - Dan Willis