Working with my critique partner recently, I learned how hope can make a scene irresistible. (This is not a writing advice post.)
I don’t do writing advice posts. Nope, nope, nope!
But occasionally I discover something about writing I want to share, and do so in a post. This is one such post.
Recently I’ve been working intensively with my new critique partner, both giving comments and suggested edits, and receiving and implementing them.
I’ve also been on a bit of a writing craft bender. I haven’t been counting, but I’ve probably read a good five craft books in the last few weeks. Not new ones, just some of my old favourites from the bookshelf.
All this means I’ve done a lot of cogitating about what makes a scene work, what’s different about the scenes that excite me or suck me in, and how I can implement this magic in more of my writing.
(I’ve also discovered I’m addicted to the words “something” and “filled” and the phrase “going to die”. You decide what that says about my WIP.)
I’ve been a fan of D. Wallace Peach since I beta read one of her books several years ago. Now her new fantasy novel, Liars and Thieves, is out, and it just jumped to the top of my TBR list.
Liars and Thieves
Behind the Veil, the hordes gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.
Three unlikely allies stand in his way.
A misfit elf plagued by failure—
When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.
A changeling who betrays his home—
Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.
If you’re designing a magic system for a fantasy novel, here are some more questions you might want to ask.
My last post gave five questions you might find useful to ask when designing a magic system for a fantasy novel. Here are five more questions that should have been in that post but weren’t because it was getting long.
What is the downside or cost of magic and how long do any negative side-effects last?
If magic is free, life will be too easy for your protagonist. They might love you for it, but your readers won’t.
So magic must come at a cost.
Maybe magic is forbidden, and if a user is discovered she risks being dunked in boiling butter.
Perhaps the cost of magic is lifespan–each spell cast shortens the practitioner’s life by a month.
Or each spell cast means someone close to the spellcaster will randomly die in a horrible accident.
If you enjoy zany humour you might enjoy Gobbelino London & a Scourge of Pleasantries by Kim M. Watt, a hilarious urban fantasy about a cat private investigator. If you hate cats, you might not.
I finally got around to reading the first Gobbelino London, PI book by my prolific and talented friend, Kim M. Watt. (Did I mention I interviewed Kim recently?) This book has been on my to-be-read list for some time now, but you know how devious and ever-expanding those lists are.
Anyway, boy am I glad I did.
As we talked about before, I know you won’t believe any of my gushings about a book written by a friend, so instead of gushing I’m going to talk about who might and might not enjoy this book.
“Tigers. Snakes. Alligators. Tears in the skin of the universe.” Susan shrugged. “I think I saw a kraken in the sink, too.”
Find a missing book.
That was the job the woman in the Doc Martens gave us. Easy money, right?
Only now it seems she’s actually an ancient, powerful sorcerer, and the book is a Book of Power that doesn’t want to be found. It wants to tear reality apart at the seams, and it’ll use anyone it can to do it.
So now we’ve got one spectacularly displeased sorcerer, a hungry, still-missing book, a dentist with bad hygiene, and a neighbourhood having some reality issues to deal with. Plus about a day before the book turns our world – and us – inside out.
We’ve totally got this. I hope.
This is the first book in the Gobbelino London, PI urban fantasy series, centred around the adventures of a mercenary feline PI and his human sidekick. It contains snarky cats and other gods, many bad jokes and terrible puns, plus a large serving of mythological and real creatures behaving badly. It will appeal to anyone who likes their fantasy funny, modern, and filled with friendship rather than romance – and also to those who suspect their cat may be living a great and secret life when they’re not looking.
Which, of course, they are.
Who might enjoy this book?
* Anyone who needs a zany, hilarious escape from 2020. I think everyone can agree 2020 has major personality problems, but don’t fret, here’s the escape you need. I laughed out loud so many times reading it. Sure, it’s ridiculous at times (okay, most of the time), but in a way that oddly makes sense. It’s urban fantasy with a capital F.
* Cat people. Yes, the main character is a cat. Smart, opinionated, and a little too knowledgeable about life. He’s probably more intelligent than his human sidekick, but he can still put on a brainless cute kitty act when cornered by a livid dentist. And he understandably hates getting wet. If you don’t fall in love with him, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
* People bored with your average fantasy book that takes itself way too seriously. Gobbelino London (the cat, that is) does take the world very seriously, and that makes his snarky comments all the more funny. His world of Leeds, however, has seriousness (as well as reality) issues. Or maybe that’s just the Book of Power, bent on making the world a better place… before it destroys it. Enter pastel coloured rats, bewildered penguins, and so much more.
* People who enjoy physical humour in their books. Sure, the cat private investigator of the title does some cerebral sleuthing, but a lot of the laughs (and there are many) come from Gobbelino’s attempts to save the world while being, well, a cat. I would so love to see this book as an animated movie. Rich friends, where are you?
Who might not enjoy this book?
* People who hate cats. What can I say? Such incomprehensible people should go back to their dog parks and play catch with Rover.
* People who hate long book titles. I admit I didn’t think too much about the title before I read the book. But looking back now it’s kind of perfect–apart from being long. Leeds is facing a wave of transformations that make it a nicer place… but nothing so nice comes without a cost. (And sometimes it tries to eat you.)
* People whose hearts stop every time a cat runs across a road without looking both ways. I mean, I love you, Gobbelino, but please stop giving me heart attacks. I don’t care what you’re running from. Be more careful crossing the road.
* People who are offended by blasphemy. It’s not extreme by any measure, but it’s understandably there. I mean, you try teaching a cat polite language.
Have you read any of the Gobbelino London books? (Shortly there will be three!) Do you want to now, or are you a dog person?
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