Just back from the 69th World Science Fiction Convention — it was held in Reno, so there was no way I was going to miss it. I thought I might be a bit late getting today’s post up, but at least air travel affords lots of opportunity for reading, which means here’s the post, right on time. Today’s line-up includes Lazette Gifford, Hiromi Goto, and Valerie Griswold-Ford. As always, if anything mentioned sounds good to you, please check it out, as well as other work by the author!
Ana Nish Pura by Lazette Gifford
Marcus Trevor’s life changes explosively at the beginning of Ana Nish Pura, and not for the better (because where would the fun be in that?). This is not a fast-paced novel in the sense of one event quickly following upon another, but it is well-paced, with a lot of tension, and a very well-developed alien world populated by the Kailanians, genetically modified humans, adapted to life on (and in) a watery planet. The interactions among the clans, their language, and their attitudes toward the IWC, which Marcus serves as a pilot, all serve to enrich this story of a man who desperately wants others to know the truth of what’s going on. An excellent science-fiction story, and a good introduction to Gifford’s work.
About her writing, Lazette Gifford says,
I began my first science fiction novel when I was 13 and I have never stopped delving into that wondrous well of storytelling. I still enjoy looking into the future and imaging the people and adventures there. Although I also write epic fantasy and urban fantasy (and dabble in other genres), science fiction has always been my first love.
Ada Nish Pura is part of my Inner Worlds Council (IWC) science fiction universe with over 50 stories (novels and shorter works) already written and placed along an extensive timeline. Some of the works have been published (such as Farstep Station, Yard Dog Press) and a few are no longer in print, though they will be again through ACOA (www.aconsipracyofauthors.com). Two of the currently published short stories in the IWC universe are Stand the Line, which is set in the very far future and No Beast so Fierce, which is an odd inclusion, but does represent a subsection of the IWC storyline. Both can be found on Smashwords, along with a plethora of other things including the infamous Author Vs. Character (the woodle pooves story)
Half World by Hiromi Goto
Half World is the place between the Realm of the Flesh and the Realm of the Spirit. Ages ago, the Realms split apart and balance was broken. Now the only hope is Melanie, born of two parents of Half World. Hers is, in many ways, a traditional journey story, wherein she is called to adventure and has help along the way. It is also a fairy tale, where the help comes in the form of animals and stones that come to life.
Above all else, it is a wonderful book (and a fairly quick read), even if it doesn’t have a traditional “happy ever after” — but how could it, when the very premise is that her parents are dead to begin with? Still, Melanie strives to saveher parents and do what’s right. An enjoyable read from this author.
Here’s what Goto has to say about her writing:
I write the books and story that I do because of some combination of (or all of) curiousity, fascination, passion, frustration/anger, social engagement, and the delight of “making”.
I don’t write under discrete genre categories (Are genres so distinct? I’m not convinced…) and so maybe they should put a sticker on my books *genre-fluid* so that readers expecting a particular trope don’t experience genre-disappointus. My YA/crossover writing, in which I include Half World, has strong elements of the fantastic, but it also has aspects of the horrific. This is likely because I’m interested in exploring ideas and manifestations of the monstrous, rather than approaching a tale as a particular frame to be coloured in. The goal is not to write to a form (i.e. say, a monster novel), but to explore ideas/concepts. For those who are interested in my more fantastical work they may like to stick to my YA and children’s books. My books all have diverse, strong female characters.
What I call my “adult novels” (i.e. written with an adult audience in mind as opposed to writing porn, which I have no issue with, but am not interested in going in that direction for now) may be of interest to readers who appreciate a more “realist” vein. However, my writing almost always have elements of the magical or fantastic or monstrous in some way or form. My writing torques. The Kappa Child won the James Tiptree Jr. Award. It’s a combination of an immigration tale, a study in rural poverty, a revisiting of Little House on the Prairie, and kappa visitations. Oh, and a mysterious pregnancy to boot!
The companion novel to Half World will be released in the Spring of 2012 with Penguin Canada. Darkest Light returns to Half World with an unlikely troubled hero. Aided by a surly cat and a new-found erratic friend, young Gee must enter the darkness, the darkness that has been following him all along…. Jillian Tamaki will be doing the illustrations once again. I’m really excited about it!
You can find Hiromi Goto online at www.hiromigoto.com.
Not Your Father’s Horseman by Valerie Griswold-Ford
In a world similar to our own, but one where magic and technology coexist, some people try to combine the two. The result is not always what they expect — in this case, young Nikki Jeffries, who wants to spend some time writing a book, with photographs that she’ll take herself. Along the way, she discovers a ghost who wants to control her, the truth about her own origins, and more about magic than she could have imagined.
This first book in the series is a wonderful read, rich in believable characters (including Nikki’s smarmy ex-boyfriend) and world-building. It is a take unlike any other I’ve seen for the Four Horsemen, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
About her writing, Griswold-Ford says,
I write . . . well, I write a lot of things. I started as a reporter, and I’m interested in so many different things that it seemed wrong to try and pigeonhole myself. Ah, let’s be honest. I get bored easily. Luckily, folks like what I have to say so far.
I started in non-fiction, with a chapter on mythology in The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, Volume 1: Alchemy with Words. I co-edited the second and third Complete Guides (The Opus Magnus and The Author’s Grimoire), but as much as I like non-fiction, it’s fiction that holds my heart.
Currently, I have two full novels published, both by Dragon Moon Press, which are the first two parts of The Apocalypse Cycle. The first is Not Your Father’s Horseman and the second is Dark Moon Seasons. Both follow the continuing adventures of Nikki Jeffries, a young woman with a Destiny. This, as my friend Mac would say, is important. The only thing is, Nikki has no idea that her destiny includes magic, evil Shadow Lords, other realms and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I’m working on book three of the trilogy, Last Rites, currently. In the same universe, there’s a short story in Writers for Relief 2, concentrating on some of the characters from the Horseman books when they were back in college. The short is called “Blood Sacrifice.”
There is also a non-canon short novella that I’ll be putting out on my own in a few months, called Snow. It’s a fun fanfic of my own universe, exploring the Jack Frost myth in my own twisted way. It’s sex magic, so be aware, it’s explicit. It was previously released by Lilley Press, which has since gone away, so I’m going to do some tweaking and self-publish it in electronic form.
I’m also doing a serial fantasy pirate story over at Flying Island Press, called Tales of the Scorned Lady. And I’ve got a short story in two podthologies this past year: one in Philippa Ballantine’s Tales of the Ministry (called “The Price of Pain”) and in Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine’s Tales of the Archives Vol. One (called “The Sun Never Sets”). The Ministry story was my first dabbling into steampunk, and the Archive story is my first horror steampunk offering. I’m also doing an upcoming story for Pip’s Erotica a la Carte podcast, which ought to be fun. The story is based on reader choices off a menu, which I’ve never done before either. It’s a year of firsts for me!
Finally, I’m editing the second pirate and magic anthology for Dragon Moon Press. The first one, Rum and Runestones, was released last year. Spells and Swashbucklers is on track to be released this November. After I send that out the door, I’m working on a paranormal murder mystery set in a Maine coastal CrossRoads town. The detective is a talking CrossCat that looks like a lynx, is desperately waiting for Santa Claus, and enjoys Earl Grey tea.
I told you, I get bored easily. 🙂
Find more from Val Griswold-Ford at vg-ford.com.