Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

An interview with Australian author Carol Hone

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Today, I’m interviewing Carol Hone about her debut book, Edge of Humanity

1) Can you give us a brief bio?

I’m a veterinarian who has an absorbing passion for writing. My family get my attention in between the manic phases of writing that I go through. I even pat them sometimes. Luckily they don’t seem to mind eating takeaway food and dodging the rolling balls of hair and feathers that accumulate in our house due to the sixteen or so pets we own.

2) Briefly, tell us about your books.

My first book, a novella called Edge of Humanity, came out on October 18th from Lyrical Press. It’s a fantasyEdge_of_Humanity300dpiwith elements of steam punk but also with a nod towards some science fictional ideas. My main aim in creating the milieu for this book was to use some of the almost-sciences that abound in our world and insert them into a magical world.

So herbology, acupuncture and the manipulation of the body’s aura all get a look-in. As does a made-up profession that you might call bio-mechanical magic.

Kara is the female protagonist of Edge of Humanity. She narrates the story through the filter of her own perceptions and memories and proves to be an unreliable narrator. After escaping from an airship she goes on a journey to find her parents, having been separated from them while a child. From the start, she has suspicions that her masters on the airship have done something dreadful to her and she is never quite sure that anything she remembers is true.

The story unfolds as a mystery and writing it taught me a lot about how to seed clues and hints throughout a story so that by the end, the reader should have an, ‘ah-hah!’ moment. If you don’t have one of those, I’m hoping for at least an, ‘Oh-h-h, I see,’ moment. Though it is listed as a fantasy romance, don’t expect the usual HEA or happily ever after ending.

3 ) How do you develop characters?  Settings? Plots?

I tend to grow such things organically. If I feel the need to write a story, I pay closer attention to everything around me. Radio, TV, books, what people talk about. Everything. Eventually something will grab me, and then one or two other aspects of life will sit up and beg for attention also. I subscribe to the idea that to make a good story you need to combine things in a way no one else has yet done. So it’s as if there is a critical mass of ideas.

4) Do you have specific technique to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Before I start a story I like to have clear in my head some of the pivotal plot points, who the main characters are, what the setting is, and a visual idea of the ending or a major scene near it. If I can see the action playing itself out in my head and get excited about it I know I’m heading the right way.

Whenever I get bogged down while writing I ruminate about the plot and I often set down on paper almost a synopsis of what should be happening. Though I don’t call it a synopsis because those things give me the heebie jeebies – which is a technical term for going insane.

5) What are your current projects?

At the moment I’m planning my steam punk-ish novel as well as thinking about rewriting a novel called Magience, which is set in the world of Edge of Humanity. Another novel, Needle Rain, that’s also set in this milieu, is going through the beta reading stages. In that story I used the Needle Masters who are acupuncture mages, as the pivotal profession. My three main characters commit terrible wrongs and then spend the rest of the story repairing the damage they’ve done.

6) Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

My website:

And also my site at my publisher, Lyrical Press:

14)What type of writing do you do?

I write dark fantasy mostly though I am trying to expand my genres. Steam punk with a dash of the excitement of urban fantasy is one of my near-future goals.

Photo on 2010-10-17 at 15.08 #27) What is the best thing about writing?

That you can do anything. Want to fly? In a novel you can. You can give your characters any ability you want to and then send them across continents and universes to retrieve the Sword of the Abyss that can command demons from the fiery depths of hell, or you can send them on a journey to the corner store for a cup of sugar. No one will want to read the latter, but you can write it.

8) Is there a specific time of day that you write?

Any time I get a chance to sit down without being interrupted. I do find I work best when the house is empty of other sentient beings, and that includes children.

9) Any parting words of advice for writers?

Doing some writing always helps. Thinking about it is only good if you’re sitting down and applying fingers to keyboards more than you’re thinking. Though I don’t believe in the write at all costs method, because that often produces drivel if you’ve not considered where you’re going with a story.

Don’t give in if you love what you’re doing.

Listen to those who criticise if they balance the good comments with the bad.

Always leave yourself open to learning but remember that some of those who comment on your writing may have no real knowledge of what they’re talking about. How to tell the useful comments from the ones that should be trashed? Ah, that is something you have to learn through experience, meditation, and repeatedly banging your head on your desk.

Wastelander Author Interview

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Manda Bensen, a British author, talks about her latest book, Wastelander.

How did this story come about?  Did a newspaper or TV story trigger the process?

When I was a kid I was remember watching the binmen through the window. They came every9780956608000 week and emptied all the mess I’d made out of my parents’ dustbin, squished it flat in a machine, and took it away in a process that to me seemed almost magical. The bin lorry (I think it’s called a garbage truck or something else in America) always had ‘Dennis’ written on its front grille. I didn’t understand at the time that Dennis was the name of the company that manufactured them — I thought it was the name the binmen had given their lorry. The place the bin lorry went was the Rubbish Tip, or so my parents told me.

So, as an adult I wondered if writing a story about where our rubbish goes would interest children. I had the idea of a clan of Viking warriors living in the rubbish tip amongst all the mucky things we discarded, and it occurred to me that these people would probably find what we would call worthless and disgusting valuable and delicious.

Who did the drawings?

I did. Those familiar with my other work may see a resemblance between these and my HyperGolf illustrations.

Are there any lessons for children to get from the book?

It’s meant to be just a fun coming-of-age adventure story about a boy who gets lost and has to find his way back to his people through the trials and strangeness of our own world. On its simplest level, I’d just like people to enjoy reading it for its silliness. On the other hand, it would be nice if it could get kids thinking about what happens to our rubbish and to be a bit more careful not to waste stuff. I also hope Lenny’s story of survival and self-reliance encourages children.

Is there a moral to the story?

Lenny succeeds through courage and perseverance plus a little help from friends, but other than that, not really. I think it’s more important to tell a funny story that will entertain children and encourage them to read, rather than bother with stuff like this.

What’s next?

MandaThe next story I’ll be publishing through Tangentrine Ltd is also for children and it’s called ‘The Weatherman’s Niece’. It’s a sort of humorous antifairytale about climate change. It’s not out until the 10th of October but you can preorder it from Amazon UK or read more about it at

Tales From Gundarland review

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Here is Fran Lewis’s review as posted on Amazon: 5 stars

Welcome to Gundarland, a unique place filled with humans, dwarfs, Yuks, elves. Enter this world created by a god who sneezed. You read that right He sneezed with such force caused byGundarlandEbook3D snorting an overdose of His favorite recreational powder. Gundarland is the largest land mass of planet and you’ll want to read this outstanding, hysterical, humorous, creative and wildly funny novel by author Hank Quense. Buy the book and you’ll get your very own gold passport to visit this wonderful place.

Hank Quense is the master of humor, satire and hilarity in this great book filled with magic, wizards, humans, and many races and, of course, some zany characters that I hope he brings back in his next book.

As to the stories themselves:

When Romeo and Juliet meet in ballet class it’s love at first sight. But her brothers do their best to destroy any hope of happiness for these two lovebirds. With a chaperone that is evil and brothers who think they can best Romeo, this story will delight readers, renew your faith in love and make you definitely crack up laughing.

Next we meet the newest superhero Zarro who rides his fractious mule Belinda, and hopes to make the world safe from Yuks and Elves alike. Stopping the execution of a dwarf and ridding the town of Yuks, Zarro hides his identity from friends, foes and family to make his world a safer place for the dwarves. This is the only the first part of the novella, Chasing Dreams.

In Boggerts Blue, we meet a kidnapped princess who refuses to accept her rescuer because he is not a noble and not part of the right social class to rescue her. What a rude thing to do.

The Big Bang is about loyalty, friendships, caring, protecting others from harm. It’s heartwarming, and tears that will fall from your eyes and soak a tissue from laughter,

In the Queen’s Hero, the longest story in the book, you’ll meet a tinker-warrior, a semi-honest ship’s captain, a weather witch, a yuk pirate admiral, a queen, her three daughters and a band of irritating bureaucrats. Great fun!

In the Merchant of Venison, you’ll learn what happens when a man wants a pound of flesh as a loan payment rather than the money. What does the judge decide and how is the debt finally paid? What law is invoked at the end that changes everything? Read this story and learn why lending money can be hazardous to your health and more.

The Inter-Racial Musical Playoffs involves wizards trying to fix the competition so they can rake in a bundle of money on their bets. Wait until you read this ending filled with twists, turns, spells and more.

The final story in this book is Tactical Surprise and it will endear you to the main characters and renew your faith in friendship, honesty and laughter.

For a list of book sellers follow this link.

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

The setting for this story is in a fantasy country that resembles China.  The main character, Shen Tai, goes to an desolate area to bury the bones of dead soldiers killed in a battle won by his father.  He buries the bones of the dead from both sides and the enemy in that battle  gives him a gift of 250 prized horses.  In his country, folks would cheerfully kill him to steal the horse.  The impact of 250 of the horses is unimaginable. Suddenly, powerful people are anxious to meet him while others are hiring assassins.

It would take me a few thousand words to adequately relate the plot of this wonderfully complex story.  Instead I’ll just say that this is one of the best books I’ve read in years.

Five stars

Tales From Gundarland: Announcement

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Laughter is contagious.  Enjoy some by reading this book. It’s filled with delightful entertainment.  Without commercial interruption! Gundarland is populated by humans, dwarfs, elves and other races;Dwarf2 it’s the backdrop for unique adventures, brilliant heroes and cunning villains. This collection of humorous short stories and novellas is now available in both print (Amazon)and ebook (Smashwords) versions.

Check out the trailer on Youtube.

Brian Knight, a reviewer wrote: “Tales from Gundarland is an action packed, roller coaster. This wonderfully developed land with its inhabitants is a refreshing get away from the world we live in. All of the multiple characters are both believable and unique which is a testament to the author’s talent.

Each of the eight short stories deliver a fresh, humorous spin on some of the classic tales such as Romeo and Juliet and Zorro; while poking fun at political greed and social aspects of life. Action and adventure keeps the pace moving at a steady pace; when combined with the humorous aspects the stories take on a vivid presence in the readers mind. The common denominator that holds them all together is Gundarland.

From the first word, Hank Quense’s passion for crafting gripping tales and quick wit takes center stage. Instantly, you are immersed in the land of Gundarland next to the multiple individuals that inhabit the planet. With each passing page, it is virtually impossible not to become part of the humor and adventure within “Tales FromGundarlandEbook3D Gundarland.”

“Tales From Gundarland” delivers nonstop action and laughs with an intriguing pinch of romance. The unique stories, strong characters and multiple plots carry from story to story and page to page. This book is a must have for those seeking action, adventure and comedy bundled in short, deliberate stories.”

Here is a list of the stories and a brief synopsis of each:

Romeo and Juliet: Romeo, a dwarf miner, and Juliet, the elfin daughter of a rich gem merchant, have a rocky courtship because Juliet’s brothers are avowed enemies of Romeo’s family.

Chasing Dreams: This novella tells the story of twin yuk brothers on their journey from strong-armed thugs to highway robbers to bawdy house owners to politicians. The brothers are plagued and harassed by vigilantes.

Boggerts Blue: A warrior-cook seeks to rescue a kidnapped princess.  She refuses to be rescued by someone who isn’t noble-born.

The Big Bang: A wizard has to eliminate a dragon and his minions.  Along the way to complete his mission, he is tested by a shape-changer and a pair of trolls.

The Queen’s Hero: This novella is about a young tinker-warrior asSkiletManhe struggles to save his Queen from a pirate admiral trying to overthrow her and become king. The Queen’s three beautiful daughters have their own plans for the young hero.

Merchant of Venison: A dwarf butcher borrows money to help his best friend and soon regrets it.  The dwelf money lender has bloody ideas about the default payments.

Inter-Racial Musical Playoffs: A few greedy wizards attempt to fix a musical competition.  Other wizards try to protect the band leader who is favored to win the competition.

Tactical Surprise: A general develops unusual tactics to defeat a rebel army.  The enemy leader is a close family friend making the general’s decisions more difficult.

Tales from Gundarland preview

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

GundarlandEbook3DYou can preview some scenes from the upcoming print version of Tales From Gundarland.  I appreciate it if you would read them and rate them.

Use this link

Interview with Nebula Winner Eugie Foster

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Eugie, Her husband Matt and the TROPHY (by Keith Stokes)

Eugie, her husband Matt, and the TROPHY (photo by Keith Stokes)

Eugie Foster’s story “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” (Interzone, Feb. 2009) won the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and is currently a finalist for the Hugo Award. Eugie also won the 2002 Phobos Award and was named the 2009 Author of the Year by Bards and Sages. Her publication credits number over 100 and include stories in Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, Cricket, Fantasy Magazine, and Apex Magazine; podcasts Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and PodCastle; and anthologies Best New Fantasy and Best New Romantic Fantasy 2. Her short story collection, Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, is available from Norilana Books.

* Can you give us some background on yourself and your writing?

Growing up, I was your classic nerdy kid, perpetually nose-deep in a book. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. My mother was a librarian at the University of Illinois (in Champaign-Urbana), so I was ensconced in library stacks and in one book or other throughout my childhood. There were the obligatory ballerina-veterinarian-jockey stages growing up, but they were always “I wanna be a ballerina and a writer” or “I wanna be a veterinarian and a writer.”

Cover art by Ahyicodae

Cover art by Ahyicodae

* How did you get the news that you won?

Lessee, I was sitting at the banquet table at Nebula Weekend, chewing my fingers to the bone waiting for Jack McDevitt to announce the Best Novelette winner. I remember him saying, “And the winner for Best Novelette is ‘Sinner… ‘” and then it’s something of a blur. I can’t recall going up to the podium, only that I was suddenly there, looking out over the assemblage of SF luminaries and clutching the note card with my acceptance speech on it—which I almost hadn’t written because I didn’t expect I’d really win—and very, very glad I’d decided in a last-minute fit of panicky optimism to write it. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “wow” and then some incoherent babble, at which point I’d gathered back enough of my wits to realize I really ought to stick to what I’d written on the card. Then Jack McDevitt was handing me this beautiful chunk of Lucite with my name inscribed on it, which I wobbled back to the table with, and promptly burst into tears of joy.

* Tell us about the story, its origins, a synopsis, the main character, the hook.

The central conceit of “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest” is a society where people change their identities, their societal roles, even their personalities based upon different masks they put on every day. I’ve always found masks so evocative. They’re universal icons, found throughout history and spanning nearly every culture. The donning of another face, or the corollary, the relinquishing of one’s own, is a transformative act, an unambiguous exchange of identity.

Fundamentally, “Sinner” is an examination and exploration of themes of identity and self: who we are against a backdrop of societal roles and expectations, the external and internal influences that affect our sense of self, and the choices we make that reflect who we truly are.

* Is there any politicking behind the scenes at the Nebulas?

This is the first year using the revised Nebula Award rules and procedures, and I think they have really gone a long way towards eliminated the political elements and the potential for logrolling that was in the old system—as well as increased nominations and voter participation overall.

Nominations are now anonymous, where they weren’t before, and there’s a set nomination period rather than having them ongoing year-round. Also, members can now only nominate five works in a category, where before there wasn’t any limit. Additionally, the system went electronic this year, although paper ballots and nomination forms are still available for folks who prefer that method. I think transitioning the process to an electronic system has really streamlined it and made it easier for members to partipate. I’m obviously coming from a position of bias, but I think the changes are a vast improvement over the previous system.

The Dragon and the Stars

The Dragon and the Stars

* What’s next?

As always, I’ve got several short works I’m working on in various states of completion, including a novelette that I’m wrestling to keep from turning into a novella. And I’ve been plugging away at a novel for a while now, although I keep getting sidetracked by various other writing projects.

With regard to new publications, The Dragon and the Stars anthology from DAW came out in May which includes my story, “Mortal Clay, Stone Heart,” and “A Patch of Jewels in the Sky” will be reprinted in the anthology Triangulation: End of the Rainbow, slated for a July release. There are also Spanish, Czech, French, and Italian translations of “Sinner” forthcoming in Cuásar, Pevnost, Ténèbres, and Robot, respectively.

* When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I could read, but I started writing seriously, professionally, and for publication in 2000 when I attended Ann Crispin’s Writers Workshop at Dragon*Con.


Eugie Foster

* Do you have any quirks when you write?

Quirks? I don’t think so. I have to write on a keyboard; writing longhand is too messy and too slow for me. But I write on a number of different machines: my laptop, various desktop PCs, and my Droid smartphone—which has a Word app installed for that purpose. So I can write in just about any setting or circumstance. My preference is a quiet room with limited distractions, but crowded trains, car rides, and between emails is more likely.

I am somewhat particular about my computer setup, I guess. I customize all the applications I use until they’re exactly the way I want them, frequently customizing my customizations in open source apps. Does that count as a quirk?

* What’s the best thing about fiction writing?

SF is the stuff that fires the imagination and leaves you wandering around in a cloud of “what if” and “ooo” for the whole day: the magic, the sense of wonder, the ideas, the fantastical worlds. The same fascination and love that draws me as a reader of speculative fiction is what attracts me to it as a writer.

* Where can folks find out more about your writing?

My website includes links to read and listen to my work, and I have a blog at I’m also pretty active on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (follow @eugiefoster).

If folks would like to read or hear my Nebula winning novelette, it’s available for free at Apex Magazine and Escape Pod, narrated fabulously by Lawrence Santoro.

Tales From Gundarland now available

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

My newest collection of humorous stories is now available in number of ebook formats from Smashwords.  A print version will be available during the summer.

Laughter is like free health insurance: you can’t get too much of it.  This book will give youGundarland3enough laughs to boost your health. It’s filled with delightful entertainment.  Without commercial interruption!

Gundarland is populated by humans, dwarfs, elves and other races; it’s the backdrop for unique adventures, brilliant heroes and cunning villains.

There are six short stories and two novellas in here.  All are new works. You’ll meet some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, a warrior-cook, vigilantes, along with beautiful, lusty princesses to mention just a few of the memorable characters in the stories.

The Table of Contents follows:

Gundarland: An introduction to the wonderful land of incongruity.

Romeo & Juliet: A poor dwarf miner, Romeo, falls in love with a rich elf maiden, Juliet. Alas, their families have been in a murderous feud for decades.

Chasing Dreams: recounts the rise of larcenous twin brothers from strong-armed thugs to highway robbers to saloon owners to politicians. During their journey they are harassed by vigilantes.

Boggerts Blue: Burga, a warrior-cook, rescues a kidnapped princess who decides he is too low-born. She returns to captivity to await a noble-born rescuer.

The Big Bang: The wizard Brodwin must evade and survive the clever trap set by his hated superior.

The Queen’s Hero: Knuben, a warrior-tinker is ordered to defeat a pirate admiral to save a queen’s throne while distracted by three beautiful and lusty princesses.

Merchant of Venison: Antonio, a butcher, borrows money from a hate-filled money-lender named Shylock and faces a dire penalty when the repayment is late.

Inter-Racial Musical Playoffs: Greedy wizards attempt to fix a musical competition to win a large bet at good odds.

Tactical Surprise: A general uses unusual tactics to defeat a rebel general without losing the rebel’s friendship.

Tales for the Troops

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

This collection of ten short stories has been available only to military personnel since it became available in late 2007.  It now is available to everyone in a number of ebook formats.  For more information check out the  website page on this collection.


New Interview

Friday, April 16th, 2010
Today, I’m interviewed by Sheila Crosby on her blog.  We talk about my novel Fool’s
Fool's Gold Cover
Fool’s Gold Cover
Gold. Sheila is an author and a photographer.  She’s also a Brit ex-pat living in the Canary Islands.