I picked up The Red Wolf Conspiracy in a used bookstore in Asheville, NC because of nothing more than guilt. My wife and I had spent so much time – almost an hour – browsing the store’s collection that I felt bad for the owner that we weren’t buying anything. The only reason I chose Red Wolf was because a few readers I knew liked it so well, but at the time, I had minimal hopes for the book. A talking rat? A young boy called a ‘tarboy’? Sounded silly and unappealing.
The reason I remember the circumstances so well is because of how wrong I turned out to be (it is known to happen on occasion 😉 ). The Red Wolf Conspiracy turned out to be the first book of a series that didn’t get nearly enough acclaim when it was first published.
I thought this entire series was terrific. Is it YA? Sure, if you want to categorize is it as such, but that doesn’t mean it lacks depth, either emotionally or in terms of the world building. It certainly isn’t grimdark, but that doesn’t mean the characters are all white hats. In fact, I found the characters to be the best part of the novel. They were vivid and real with great flaws but greater strengths. They were so interesting, and many had a fascinating weirdness about them. Some reminded of Stark from Farscape: an absolute loon, who was nevertheless strong and fearless at times and cowardly in a humorous way at others. What really struck me about the books, though, was how fun they were to read. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I felt that way. Perhaps it was because the characters were young and fearless, always running from one end of the vast ship to the other, and always on the brink of disaster Sometimes they even fell into the hot mess, but they never let their setbacks get them down, at least not for long. Their tragedies didn’t end up defining them. At least in the first book.
Here’s an excellent synopsis and review of the book at SFFWorld.
When not studying, I’ve been detoxing with Farscape. Almost done with season 3. It’s my second go-round with the show. I didn’t see it when it was first aired, just like I never saw Firefly until AFTER I saw Serenity in the theater.
Firefly and Farscape. Two great shows that should have had longer runs.
I got my first fan ‘letter’ the other day, and it’s from South Africa of all places. It was posted on my Facebook page, and reading it put – and kept – a huge smile on my face. Learning that people are liking my book is one of the finest compliments I’ve ever received.
Of course, the Facebook post did raise another question: how did my book somehow land in the hands of someone on the other side of the world? I have no idea, but I love how connected our world is becoming.
I posted this before, but it’s about to disappear from Blogger, so here goes.
Book 2 of The Castes and the OutCastes is going to be titled A Warrior’s Knowledge, and I expect it to be around the same length as A Warrior’s Path.
Right now, I’m 3/5 of the way through with the first draft, but there is a large problem with a big chunk of what I wrote, and I’ll have to essentially redo that section. It’s nothing to do with plot but more to do with execution.
That’s the good news.
Now for the bad news.
Because of events outside my control, until 4/30/2014, I won’t be able to get much writing done. It’s all because of my other profession. In the job that pays the bills, I have to take a periodic examination called Board Re-certification. It’s an unholy pain in the backside, but it’s absolutely necessary. There’s no winging it. To pass the test I’ll be studying several hours a day every day. In other words, it pretty much takes up all my free time.
I am truly sorry that I can’t finish A Warrior’s Knowledge more quickly, but this is the way life sometimes works out. However, as soon as the test is finished, I’ll be jumping straight back into A Warrior’s Knowledge.
Also, I should be able to work the section that I don’t like into shape by the time of the test. Then it’s just another 2-3 months to complete the novel followed by editing. One final piece of good news: I’ve already completed a large chunk of what’s going to be Book 3 as well, so the wait between book 2 and book 3 will be shorter.
In my last post, I mentioned how life/work has gotten in the way of my writing and how frustrating I find the situation. It sounded a little whiny, but the truth is I have little reason to complain because by any measure, I’ve been blessed. Yes, there are things that I wish were different. My father is ill, and I worry about my mom since she gives so much of herself taking care of him, but overall, I have so much more for which to be thankful.
Yesterday, after church, my youngest son and I were driving home, and he asked which part of my life has been the best: when I was a child or now as an adult. I had to stop and think about it because I had a wonderful childhood, but I also really enjoy my life right now. I can’t honestly say which is better. That insight alone told me what I should always remember:
Be grateful for the joys with which I’ve been blessed.
And the corollary: It could be worse
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