Exciting news! So exciting! Get your excitement boots on!
Are they on? TO THE NEWS!
In just a few short weeks I’ll be releasing my fourth book, the novella My Father’s Death. This pseudo-sequel to The Vamps of the Marais will be set in Paris in 1905 and feature a death cult headed by an immortal deity and the unfortunate chemist who invokes their wrath. Feedback from betas has been overwhelmingly positive, with phrases like “complex and tightly interwoven”, “streets and streets ahead of other stuff I’ve read” and “I should finish it Tuesday” liberally applied.
But enough of that boasting. Today I just want to share the draft promo poster, featuring protagonists Hannibal du Noir, whom you may remember from The Vamps, and Paris’s unluckiest chemist, Roland Lambert.
Expect more – along with the actual cover – soon! If you’d like an advanced review copy, those will be going out totally free next week. And if you’re like, no, Anneque, I want to buy this from you and have you sign my Kindle, then you can do that too! I’ll be signing books and various body parts at Brisbane Supanova on the 27th to 29th of November.
Oh my… get ready!
Legend of the Boy by Toi Thomas
Novella, superhero fiction
A boy wakes up in restraints, no idea who he is or how he got there. It soon becomes clear that the boy is an alien, whose fall to Earth destroyed a city and threw humanity into panic. The CIA has hold of the boy, and they want him to use his alien powers to save the Earth from a cluster of a thousand comets headed directly for us. But the heart of the story is not whether the CIA can talk the boy into helping us; it’s whether we really want the kind of help he’s got to give.
It’s a neat little story, broken into four parts. It’ll take you under an hour to get through. What I found most admirable about the story was Toi’s ambition. From the boy’s beginning strapped to a chair being grilled by mysterious forces, I expected Toi to throw in a handful of tropes – a friendly CIA agent, a bit of bonding, a slow development of power, catastrophe averted and celebrations all round. To my delight (and aghast), this really wasn’t the case. The boy does save Earth, but at an enormous cost, both to Earth and seemingly to the boy’s love for humanity. By the book’s end we really would have been better to take our chances with the comets. The boy has all kinds of crazy super powers – turning himself into light, pushing away the moon, exploding things with the force of his mind. He’s not the kind of guy you want to annoy. But, unfortunately, he’s also not a difficult guy to annoy. I really liked this corruption by power of a character who starts out so sweet and eager to please. Toi handled it deftly and it really makes for quite a striking story. I can’t say much more than that without massive spoilers.
The book does have its issues. Mainly these are superficial – a handful of typos I’m surprised weren’t caught, a few odd word choices, some heavy-handedness with adjectives. All in all however the prose is solid, if not exceptional, and Toi shows great promise as a writer.
Also, and I’m not going to fault the book for this – I would if it weren’t self-published – but there is also this deceptive bit of weirdness with internal hyperlinks. After each of the story’s four parts, we’re given the option to return to the Table of Contents. I’m not actually sure the book HAS a table of contents, but even if it does, the option to go back to the TOC at the end of each part tricks you into thinking that the end of the part is the end of the story. Which, imagine my confusion when 20% of the way in I reached the end of part 1. If you are reading the book, just beware of this, and keep reading all the way to the end.
There you have it. Legend of the Boy. I had no idea what to expect going into it, and I was pleasantly surprised. Earnest, ambitious and fresh, Toi is shaping up to be one to keep your eye on. I’m giving it 3.5 stars.
Also! I’m still floundering away in a sea of magic school fiction. There must be a plethora of it written by independent authors, but I just can’t find it. Anything that is kind of Harry Potter but not, will do. If you know any independents who have magic school stories available, or if you are one such independent, please drop me a line. Independent, represent! Whoo whoo whoo! Or something like that.
You heard right. It’s done! It’s even on the right day! The video review for D. James Fortescue’s Sayeh and Zia is finished and it’s live and you can see it right here:
You can find D. James Fortescue here … and me, well I’m here. With you. Mwah. 😉
Have a great weekend and get those pens to paper!
Recently, living on my own and having very limited access to phone and internet, I’ve felt very lonely. To abate this I picked up reading Ai Yazawa’s Nana where I left off. Nana, if you haven’t heard of it, is a popular women’s manga series about the friendship between two women by the same name, Nana. One Nana is a rock star, the other just wants to be a housewife. It’s a very emotional and dramatic series, very beautifully drawn, sympathetic to its characters, and one can really sense Ai Yazawa is in tune with her readers. For me, both Nanas have always felt like good friends.
Anyway, I got to thinking about this novella competition Busybird is holding. Remind again me why the deadline is November 28th, tail-end of NaNoWriMo? How are we supposed to write a novel and a novella in two months (this is based on the assumption that all writing challenges are mandatory, not optional, as some people would have you believe). So I was thinking about this novella that I have a month to write while planning my NaNoWriMo project and entering a bunch of short story comps, and I thought of a really great idea. A story about the friendship of two young women… and mechs. Wow! I love mechs. They make everything better. They say a friend in need is a friend indeed, but I say a friend with a mech is a friend you want to hang out with.
The only problem with this story is that it’s … not… short. It’s certainly not 20-40K short. It’s more like 100K short. So it’s not so much a novella as a full blown novel.
But hey! Mechs are mechs, fun is fun, and life is for writing. I’ve got 20 weeks, give or take, to nut this thing out, get it written and edited, and then I’m going to break it up and serialise it throughout next year. That’s the plan. That way maybe my characters can be the friends to lonely girls out there, the same way Ai Yazawa’s characters have been friends to me.
…and after all that, I still don’t have a decent idea for a novella.