Book Excerpt: Between the Rock and a Hard Place

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Diane Morrison

sables-privateers-book-cover

From the Wildspace Spelljammer blog, an excerpt from my fan fiction series that takes place in the Spelljammer D&D setting:

Spacefarers everywhere agreed: the Rock of Bral was a wretched den of vice, thievery and betrayal; the midden-pit of the Universe.  But everyone came there eventually.  That’s what Shaundar Sunfall was relying on.  Sooner or later, if his sister yet lived, she would come to this place.

He had been in port three months now, however, and he wasn’t sure he could wait here much longer.  The handful of coins he’d arrived with when he hit the shore had quickly dwindled away.  Shaundar had no idea how expensive everything was here.  The last time he had been on the Rock, he’d still been a member of the Imperial Elven Navy, and they’d seen to his needs at the base.  Now that he was officially a deserter, to return to…

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So I’m Writing a Magicpunk Kindle Serial

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Diane Morrison

So I’ve been kicking around this idea for a steampunk/magicpunk series for a few years (since 2012, it turns out).  I was intending to sell a couple of stories to some magazines to build interest, then publish a book that was a collection of short stories.  But instead I’ve been collecting rejection slips, and those who offer critiques and feedback tell me it’s because it seems like part of a larger work.  Since that’s essentially true, I guess I have to accept that!

My current thought is to publish them instead as a serial short fiction series on Kindle (and possibly other e-book platforms too; we’ll have to see, but I thought Kindle was the logical place to start) for 99 cents per approximately 6000 word story, with a regular publication schedule of one every two or three months (because otherwise I won’t have time to write anything else).  Is…

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I Tried to List the Top Ten Books I Read in 2016, But…

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Diane Morrison

…I apparently read a lot of outstanding books over the course of the year and simply could not pick a top ten list!  More than twenty of the 56 that Goodreads tells me I read (my goal was 50,) I gave a rating of five stars to.  And choosing which ones stayed with me the most between them was frankly impossible.  So instead, I’ve decided to show you the summary from Goodreads, and cover a few significant highlights.  Among them:

  • Reading challenges and book clubs are a great way to expand your horizons.  Because we’re all monkeys, we read more if we offer ourselves little (meaningless, personal) rewards for doing so.  And if our challenges are well-chosen, we read things we otherwise would never have read, often discovering brilliant work in the process.
  • When you take a bunch of stuff that nobody ever does and mix it all together, it often works…

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When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Princess Leia (RIP Carrie Fisher)

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Diane Morrison

leiastampIt grieves me deeply to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher, whose humour, cleverness and bravery have been an inspiration in my life.  Carrie Fisher’s legacy includes bravely sharing some of the most intimate details of her lowest points, from her struggles with drug addiction and bipolar disorder to the objectification that she was subjected to as an actress, to nasty, petty remarks from an entitled media whom, it seems, were angry that she didn’t just stay perfect in her gold bikini forever and had the audacity to get old.  She faced it all with courage and a cynical and sarcastic wit that I, who have had some considerable struggles in my life, find both inspiring and smugly satisfying.  She was an accomplished writer, penning memoirs, script band-aids, and her bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge, which was later made into a movie starring Meryl…

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Seeking Beta Readers!

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Diane Morrison

Hello there, friendly readers! I’ve been working on a hard science fiction project for National Novel Writing Month and I’m just about finished. Sometime in early 2017 I will be looking for beta readers to give it a peruse and offer opinions.

A beta reader, if you don’t know, reads an unpublished manuscript at some time before it’s submitted for publication to help guide the author in the editing process. The benefit to you is that you get to read a brand-new novel for free before anybody else has a look at it. The drawback is that, being as it will be an unfinished manuscript, it’s not as likely to be as well polished as a published work you’re buying from the store. Also, I’ll be circulating questionnaires after each chapter that I’ll need you to fill out in order to pin down areas where the work needs improvement.

Part…

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Book Review: Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton

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Diane Morrison

Web of the Witch World (Witch World Series 1: Estcarp Cycle, #2)Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction Challenge.

I think I really like Andre Norton. This is only the second book of hers that I’ve read, the second of the classic Witch World series. I really love what she’s done here but I think you’ve got to have read the pulp fantasy and sci-fi classics – in particular Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s Barsoom series – in order to fully appreciate it. She’s spun a new take on classic pulp fiction. In a way she was the George R. R. Martin of her time; she was flipping the tropes. But she was also establishing new tropes.

In this, the second book of the series, it’s like a continuation of the story of Witch World where it left off. Simon Tregarth, interloper from our own world into the…

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Book Review: Witch World by Andre Norton

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Diane Morrison

Witch World (Witch World Series 1: Estcarp Cycle, #1)Witch World by Andre Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge and the Second Best Reading Challenge (for sci-fi/fantasy books that were nominated for awards but did not win).

Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, and Andre Norton – the forgotten triumvirate of women who moulded the science fiction and fantasy we know today. Well, also Ursula LeGuin, but for some reason people remember her. I think perhaps the difference is that LeGuin is considered a “literary writer”; not that this is something she asked for or sought out.

Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, and Andre Norton (who took said pen name because when she was writing sword and sorcery, publishers believed it was necessary to market to adolescent boys because girls didn’t read that sort of thing) are legends in the field, if you ask other science fiction and fantasy…

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