Archive | May, 2022

Blog Tour Winners / I finished Wheel of Time (Part 1 of many, probably)

27 May

Sorry for the delay, busy busy as always it seems:

Winners for the Witchslayer’s Scion/Mermaid and the Unicorn Gift Cards

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures


Bea Rocca

Anita Yancy

Congratulations to everyone who participated; I have self-published another book this month but I’m going to make a few changes to the back cover. I have more books I could self-publish, and I am going to hire someone to help me edit Underman, but as of right now my plan is to get Titan’s Ascent to Champagne Books soon(ish) and try to enjoy the summer. I will do more books for younger readers, but I feel like I could get burnt out with how poorly our healthcare system is being run, so right now I need to do stuff to try to stay sane.

So after a year and a half of listening to probably 500+ hours off audiobooks, I finally finished Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. To recap, the Wheel of Time is the story of a chosen one fated to save the world, only in this case, he’s fated to go mad and die. It spans fourteen volumes and has multiple POV’s, story threads, and basically takes one aspect of the fantasy genre and runs it hard. It’s one of those Hallmark works of fantasy pretty much everyone’s read.

Except for, up until about a year and a half ago, me.

I do remember one of the guys telling me I should read it when I was working at Pizza Hut, so I was somewhere between the ages of 17-19 when I first made the attempt. Between my senior year of high school and early university I was stupid busy, not to mention I was being super anal about what I was reading because I was an aspiring writer at the time. People were really giving me the gears because they had a very narrow idea as to what fantasy consisted of, so I was trying to avoid anything that was too similar to Tolkien or what people expected for fantasy. Ironically, this is also around the time The Lord of the Rings had their theatrical release, so I wasn’t as gung ho for them as I am now.

I’m really glad I got to revisit this series as a writer, because it goes into world building and is very consistent with its rules. Basically, at the very beginning of the story humans are living in a sort of utopia, but there’s still evil in the world. Humans are able to channel magic, but it’s divided along the lines of gender. The men decide they’re going to lock away the dark one’s influence in the world, but the women decide the plan is foolish. The men somewhat succeed, but their half of the power becomes corrupted, leading any man who channels to go mad. Their leader, a man so powerful with the One Power known as Lews Therin, in his insanity kills his wife and family, realizes he’s plunged the world into darkness and kills himself. Humanity is left picking up the pieces until he’s reborn some three thousand years later, and is destined to cleanse what he did.

The world went from a vaguely higher-tech one to a medieval era matriarchy, where women have taken the lead for the most part on the world stage because they’re the only ones who can safely channel. They’re not immune from the darkness that has enveloped the world, as they’ve lost their ability to do some spells (weaves) and ample knowledge has been lost, and their central tower where women who can channel go to be trained has become fractioned and their original purpose misguided.

And that’s the main part of the world. People treat those who can channel differently in every country, but there are folk who live outside this as well. From the harsh desert-dwelling Aiel to the overseas conquering Seanchan, everyone has their own way of dealing with those who can channel. Oh, and there’s also powers that manifest in ways outside the one power, as well as a dimension of beings who are able to make talismans where magic won’t effect the bearer.

I think depending on the maturity of the reader, it’s fine for an audience around 11+ as there’s intense violence, but it’s not gory. There’s love, but it’s not Smexy. It’s not written in a way that you need to make notes; at first characters can come across as one-bit from their community, but this is a series with a cast of thousands, and while I’m sure super-fans can tell you about some obscure character’s past in some detail, there are characters who you won’t see for books and books and I needed to look up to remember. It’s not all that bad; I’d say there are maybe a dozen principle characters that you need to know; five of which come from The Two Rivers and another three are introduced there too. You get to know them right away but you don’t really get to know the *real* them for several books, because while there’s growth and especially the main character Rand is put through the ringer, they’re put in situations that would not be realistic for people growing up in a small community would have any notions of dealing with it.

What I really liked though is that while it does have a Chosen One story line, the story is also smart enough to build up other characters as being important. Rand for instance, is the reincarnation of Lews Therin and has to make up in this life his mistakes in the one previous. There’s only a handful of other characters who were hinted as to who they were and why they were chosen. If you don’t like plot armor, or even the chances of not only the most powerful male channeler but potentially the most powerful female channeler being born in the same backwater neck of the woods, (I know two characters can bypass her, but still given her track record…) this story may irk you. Rand and two others are Ta’alveran, which basically means they are so intrinsic to the Wheel of Time that the pattern will bend around what they are doing. Also leaving his village are two female channelers, one of which is without a doubt the most powerful one that’s been seen in centuries, and the other is no slouch or even average. Consider the Plot Armor to be divine providence and the story does take time to slow down, and show what normal, and even below average channelers can do, and it makes the story make more sense. I thought some of the best parts of the final book was where we went to the black tower and one of the male channelers has a talent for making portals. Tiny, almost insignificant portals, which normally take a lot of power but most of the others consider him useless. The portals aren’t big enough for anyone to travel, but he can make portals that spells/weaves go into, and the portals reopen behind their caster, making this guy not dangerous by himself, but intensely useful when provoked.

This is taken to its logical conclusion with how different cultures interpret the use of magic. For instance, in Rand’s village, they treat Aes Sedai with suspicion, though it’s shown that their wisdom and other women channel but use it in such light amounts it’s paramount to them getting what they want. They are also somewhat at the mercy of The Children of the Light, a group of Crusaders/Inquistor types who search the land for Dark Friends – those who have sworn themselves to the shadow – and they consider all Aes Sedai Channelers to be Dark Friends.

Taking a step back when they leave the two rivers, they find that different countries treat girls who can channel differently. It’s considered a gift by some and others keep it silent, and the Aes Sedai themselves have a code of conduct that prevents them from using their powers as a weapon. Another step back, you have The Windfinders (sea farers) Aiel and Seanchan. The seanchan are from overseas and conquer, and their ‘solution’ to the problem of women who have power is to chain them and not allow them to channel with the exception of at the command of their handler. These women are treated like animals.

Men on the other hand tend to be hunted down and ‘gentled’. People with the ability can be severed from it, and often times, people kill themselves because they’re cut off from something glorious, and a part of them doesn’t recover. The Aiel on the other hand send their male channelers to go fight monsters in the waste alone, knowing that if they’re mad they can’t hurt anyone who’s not a dark friend.

I’ll probably talk about aspects of the series more in the coming days as there’s plenty to talk about. Overall, I’d say if you’re going to be upset with the magic lines being male/female then this story will irk you again and again, but I think it’s a great read for writers, at least to consider world building. I also think that other writers have no doubt borrowed from the stories, so I think it was ground-breaking for its time, but it’s been around long enough where it’s caused a cultural influence, even if most of us don’t acknowledge it.

Oh, finally I will say that the author died before finishing the series, but Brandon Sanderson was hand-picked to finish the books. This didn’t particularly bother me, but if a change in tone or direction or voice would irk you, it may be a deal breaker. When I started reading the books, at least two people told me they couldn’t finish the series because the voice shifted too much.


Final The Mermaid and the Unicorn Review Links / Thoughts on The Green Knight

19 May

I was waiting to announce all the winners together, but apparently you have a few more days. The winners for the Witchslayer’s Scion GC have received theirs, but there’s still time to enter the draw for The Mermaid and the Unicorns

Book Reviews:

Fabulous and Brunette

The Avid Reader

Huge thank you to everyone who’s been following along since the end of April, and especially to the reviewers as I know that there’s a lot of people who want not only reviews, but favorable ones and all that. I like it when you’re honest, let’s leave it at that.

Thoughts on The Green Knight

I haven’t really watched too many new movies besides anything I’ve paid to stream, so we’re sitting at like 2 in the past two years. I wanted to see The Green Knight because I’ve studied the story and some other medieval literature. If you’re unfamiliar with the tale, you can google a written version of it but here’s an animated version that’s reasonably faithful:

I’ll be the first one to defend older Disney titles when they really took liberties with tales to extend them to an hour and a half (more like 75 minutes but whatever) and I really didn’t mind that The Green Knight was shot with more of an intent to show cool visuals (attractive people can look weird and I question historical accuracy but then the scenery looks amazing and I find myself questioning everything, like why his cloak is color X and what I’m missing and is the director screwing with us) or focus more on Gawain’s shortcomings as opposed to the heroic knight figure that was implied in the story. I could go on and on about the notions of Christianity / Paganism, or life / death, bravery / cowardice, etc., but I found the central thing I wanted to talk about being, “Why am I okay with a formalistic interpretation of one work, when I didn’t like The Wheel of Time adaptation? There aren’t a million interpretations of Gawain and the Green Knight, surely we should have a more straight forward adaptation.”

The short answer is the Morte D’Arthur and Robin Hood have multiple interpretations and, in the case of Robin Hood, some characters aren’t added to the cannon for centuries. The Brothers Grimm didn’t just make up stories, they composed stories from the oral tradition and adapted them to the written form – so I could only imagine someone excited to get a collection of stories, only to find out that their local variation didn’t stick. “This isn’t right! The treacherous servant wasn’t killed, she repented!” or whatever.

Wheel of Time though by some measure IS an interpretation of The Legend of King Arthur – it’s not obvious (at least it wasn’t to me) and I’ll talk more about WoT specifically as I’m approaching the half way mark on the final audiobook so I will talk about it after I’m done. Rand is Arthur (as well as Artur Hawkwing) Lan is Lancelot, Nyneave is Nimue (Lady of the Lake) Moraine is Morgan at the same time as representing other mythology and lore as well.

The difference is though is not only have we had multiple interpretations of King Arthur tales, but often times the old stories do leave some room for interpretation of the character personalities, as well as flesh out a story. A story in history might be summed up in a few paragraphs, but depending on what the director wants to focus on, there’s room to really explore a story or a time period and make it feel immersive for the audience.

The difference, is we haven’t had an onscreen adaptation of Wheel of Time before. Even if there was a relatively good animated version, until we have a faithful live-action version of Camelot, we won’t appreciate Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail. I understand the desire to want to make it appeal to the audience, I think ultimately what’s going on is you’re going to get the fans that like something else and want something else and alienate the fans of the books.

That, and Wheel of Time already goes at great length to flesh out the major characters and the world. There are multiple books, and while I’ll be the first to complain that the first book took a while to get going, there’s certain things an author can do in a longer series that they can’t do in a stand a lone book.

Take something like Robin Hood or King Arthur – there’s no definitive version so long as you stay somewhat true. The audience may still dislike it, and while I think that were definitely things in The Green Knight basically to appeal to the Game of Thrones crowd – the beginning where Gawain wakes up in a brothel and we see tits in the background for really no good reason – it’s not offensive because no one “owns” the lore.

I think if you’re going to watch The Green Knight and expect an epic fantasy adventure, you’re going to be disappointed when you see something that comes across as more of a film that paints Gawain’s fears and short comings front and center stage. There aren’t any knightly heroics and him doing the things we would want – fighting villains, though he does rescue a maiden it’s not in the way you’d expect. I don’t think it’s a bad interpretation of Gawain as he overcomes his short comings as opposed to setting out already as a virtuous person and having those virtues tested, but it’s more artsy and less action adventure, but given the source material I think it’s fine.

So TL;DR, that’s also the problem with Rings of Power. People are trying to lean their own ideas into Tolkien’s world (“Modernizing” Tolkien), and I say Tolkien didn’t like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I doubt this is going to go the way the show runners think it will.

Round up of Witchslayer’s Scion Online Book Tour

13 May

This is the final week of the Witchslayer’s Scion online book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. I’ll have two more for The Mermaid and the Unicorns review-only on Tuesday, so I might wait to announce the winners of the GC until that draw is done as well. As I’m writing this there’s still time to enter the draw, and check out the blogs of the authors just because.

Witchslayer’s Scion Interviews and Articles

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

Seven Troublesome Sisters

Viviana McKade

Dawn’s Reading Nook

Long And Short Reviews

The Mermaid and the Unicorns Book Reviews

Gina Rae Mitchell

Our Town Book Reviews

In other news I’m enjoying days off but not getting much writing done. Well, more like editing but honestly not much of either. Burnt out but last tour was a nice change of pace, so hopefully a little more rest and I’ll be right as rain. I have a car to get fixed up and sell and the water’s receded on my property, so I’m thankful for what I have and hoping to be back to the swing of things next block off. We are drastically understaffed – and believe me, we’ve been short staffed before, but the entire healthcare system in Manitoba sucks right now – but there’s nothing I can do about it so I’m going to pace myself and do what I can. And no – this has nothing to do with the pandemic. People are getting sick from it but we have a backlog of surgeries and people failing to cope with other issues that need attention.

I’m also going to be hiring an editor for Underman. I thought about it; it’s not like Strawman that it was a practice run but I’m not going to have time to edit it for a few weeks. I found a good resource to find editors for my genre, so I’ll probably get on that for June. I’m like a broken record for Titan’s Ascent, but as of right now I checked in with the publisher concerning book 2 and I resent everything, so there’s no real rush. It’s more like, I need to get it to a level I like it. I’d love to say that means “And then there’s one less thing to worry about” but I then just shift the focus to another project I’ve been meaning to get to. It never ends, but it is nice to be able to focus on something that’s been percolating.

This Week’s Virtual Tour Round Up

8 May

Thank you to everyone involved in the online book tours – I feel like I’ve come a long way since I started promoting Tower of Obsidian. I’ll be reading a lot of different books on Goodreads because of the Aurora Awards – and hey, if you want to get a lot of titles to read and get to vote for what you like best, go join, be a member, support Canadian Authors etc.

Check out the following blogs for more than just interviews and articles by me. Some are writers, editors, and just people who love books and fiction.

Witchslayer’s Scion – Articles and Interviews
The Avid Reader
Fabulous and Brunette
Sybrina’s Book Blog
Christine Young Romance Author


The Mermaid and the Unicorns – Reviews
Gimme the Scoop Reviews
The Reading Addict

In other writing news I launched Garnet and Silver on Tuesday. I will not have any print copies just yet, to explain below:

It’s been kind of a crazy few weeks for me because we had a blizzard mid April that did in my car. I got another car and I’m still thinking of getting the other one fixed and selling it, but then we had flooding. The water really went down last night, but we’re supposed to get more rain.

Where I am going with all this, is that I will order print books but I haven’t had time to deal with my car and I’m tempted to sink the money into fixing the car so I can sell it and then order books. I may have a crisis where I am dealing with flooding, but so far it is looking really good. I am not going to Keycon because of their V– Passport policy, but I will be doing shows at Shelmerdine’s Farmer’s Market so I hope to have both print copies of Garnet and Silver and Witchslayer’s Scion as well as the others I already have in print.

You will also be able to pick up a copy of The Mermaid and the Unicorns if you are in Lac du Bonnet MB and check out the Manitoba Made Store. They just moved, and I’m hoping to get out that way and visit my parents now that things are hopefully going to calm down.


Available May 3, 2022

2 May