Monday, December 31, 2012

Poetry Mondays

Another George Herbert, this one titled "Love" (3).

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
        Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
        From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
        If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
        Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
        I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
        "Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
        Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
        "My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
        So I did sit and eat.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rough Draft Fridays

Here's another piece of Adence's story from Ebb, when he sees a phenomenon that might be causing problems in Apsia.

It wasn’t a cloud. Adence tried to lean casually against the side of the inn, the splintered wood biting his thin arm even through the robe and cloak, but he was an old man. No pose was ever casual for an old man; they were all just uncomfortable in different ways. At the back of his head, he could feel Erlandr’s smirk at that thought. Erlandr, who in so many ways was younger. Erlandr, who was dead and refused to die.
Adence forced himself to focus. It wasn’t a cloud. The patch of thick, puffy darkness drifted to a stop near a shack. There was little that was remarkable about the shack; smoke drifted steadily from a brick chimney, a sign of wealth in this part of the Gut, and a huge cauldron sat outside bubbling over a fire pit. The smell of scuttle-stew mixed with the smoke and the stench of garbage. Adence knew this place; he had been here once, to heal a peddler’s wife. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Novel Wednesdays

I hadn't heard of Brent Weeks until recently, but I saw his name pop up in a couple different places in a pair of weeks and thought I'd give one of his books a try. Here's an excerpt from The Black Prism that I enjoyed. I recommend the book; I feel like in many ways, I write a type of prose that is similar to Weeks, even though our story-types are very different.

Kip crawled toward the battlefield in the darkness, the mist pressing down, blotting out sound, scattering starlight. Though the adults shunned it and the children were forbidden to come here, he'd played on the open field a hundred times--during the day. Tonight, his purpose was grimmer.

Reaching the top of the hill, Kip stood and hiked up his pants. The river behind him was hissing, or maybe that was the warriors beneath its surface, dead these sixteen years. He squared his shoulders, ignoring his imagination. The mists made him seem suspended, outside of time. But even if there was no evidence of it, the sun was coming. By the time it did, he had to get to the far side of the battlefield. Farther than he'd ever gone searching.

What I like about this opening (this is how the book starts) are a few things: first, we know Kip has a clear objective, even though we aren't sure what it is; we get a good setting that has the potential for danger; and we get a good sense of some of the setting (this is a place close enough that children come here, the adults forbid it, there was a war sixteen years ago, etc.). I think it's a very effective opening.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Poetry Mondays

After Surrey, I think I'd like to stay with a couple more Renaissance poets. Here's George Herbert's "The Windows."

LORD, how can man preach thy eternall word ?
        He is a brittle crazie glasse :
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
        This glorious and transcendent place,
        To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie,
        Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preachers, then the light and glorie
        More rev'rend grows, and more doth win ;
        Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one
        When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and aw :  but speech alone
        Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
        And in the eare, not conscience ring.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rough Draft Fridays

Another passage from Ebb, this time from Joaquim's point of view.

The streets of the Gut were busy in late afternoon. Peddlers dragged worn-out carts along the side of the road, calling out their wares: fish, potatoes, ribbons, sweet-bread, pots and pans. Old whores combed the hair of young whores in windows—the winter air was still that sharp cold that had descended the day before, but the second-story windows were valuable places for advertising wares, and a man might be willing to seek a warmer bed if he had a glimpse of his bedmate first. A pale man with Canian coloring—fair skin, blond hair—glanced up at a pair of women in one of the windows. Two boys trundled past with a cart loaded with firewood, calling out their prices. Joaquim grimaced when he heard them. The price was outrageous, but unexpected with the siege. Another reminder of why Joaquim needed to keep Ciedne interested in him: he did not fancy freezing to death.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ebb Rough Draft finished

This has been a long time coming, but I'm happy to announce that the rough draft for Ebb is finished. I'm really, really pleased with how it turned out. It needs some revision for sure--there are some character arcs that need tightening up and a few scenes that need to be adjusted, as well as all the other normal parts of revision--but it is done. I'm thrilled about this.

The next step will be revision, so I'm going to aim to have Ebb ready for sale by the end of February. If I'm lucky and have more time, I will have it available earlier, but for now I think the end of February is the most realistic date.

Tomorrow I start writing the short story that will come between White City and Ebb. After that, I will be working on a different short story (separate from the books I've been working on), and after that I will start working on the third and final book in the Flesh and Fell trilogy (I'm so excited about this one I can't even tell you).

Anyway, that's all for now--Ebb was delayed by almost a month because of other things, but I'm hoping that things will be on track from here on out.

Novel Wednesdays

Here's another excerpt from D. B. Jackson's Thieftaker. I thought this one stood out for the characterization that happens through dialogue. Sephira Pryce is Ethan Kaille's nemesis, for context.

Sephira slipped the weapon into her pocket and looked into Ethan's eyes. "You were fortunate tonight," she said, her voice barely more than a whisper. Her breath smelled of wine.
"Being taken by the Church is fortunate? You know less about conjurers than I thought."
"You're not fooling me, and neither is your friend the minister."
She touched a finger to his lips. "Shhh. You're my Grail, Ethan. I quest for you. You may have escaped me again, but you'll be mine eventually. And before I'm through with you you'll wish you were back laboring in the Indies."

A lot happens here (especially when you've read the book up to this point) to change the relationship between the characters in a small but significant way. Or perhaps it simply opens up something new about their relationship. Either way, it's very effectively done with dialogue.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poetry Mondays

Here's another translation of the same Petrarch sonnet (Rime 140) that Wyatt's poem from the last week was done from. This one is by Surrey, Wyatt's contemporary.

LOVE, that liveth and reigneth in my thought,
That built his seat within my captive breast ;
Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought,
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
She, that taught me to love, and suffer pain ;
My doubtful hope, and eke my hot desire
With shamefaced cloak to shadow and restrain,
Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
And coward Love then to the heart apace
Taketh his flight ; whereas he lurks, and plains
His purpose lost, and dare not shew his face.
For my Lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pains.
    Yet from my Lord shall not my foot remove :
    Sweet is his death, that takes his end by love.