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The Mind Is A Garden

A Return…With Friends!

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I’ve been away this past week due to two failures.

A hardware failure, and a failure to communicate.

The first was a stuttering failure of the household router. In an effort to fix it, a tech that shall remain nameless failed to communicate correctly and we had to go nearly a week without the internet. It was getting pretty nerve-jangling by the time a knowledgable tech showed up to configure a newer router. You’ve never seen an entire household go from stressed out to happy in so short a time!

Last night, I had a dream. No, nothing of Martin Luther King importance, but for me, it was fairly significant. I don’t normally remember my dreams, but this one concerned my novel-in-progress, ‘Infinite Worlds’. You might remember that IW is set on an Earth-like parallel world, New Olympus. Devi Aradesta and Coriander Wolf have to find a way to get to New Olympus and retrieve a missing team of Earth scientists. Last night, I dreamed of a side-story to ‘Infinite Worlds’, and this morning I started writing.

Friends, I can’t properly express how excited I am about this tale, which as yet has no name. Here’s the plot in a nutshell…

In a parallel universe, there is a world very much like Earth. New Olympus is ruled by a strong-willed woman who has a plan for her world’s future. That future includes the immigration of potentially thousands of Earthers. But there are some in her government who would rather see her dead than share New Olympus with off-worlders.

Despite the best warriors protecting her, and a watchful and dedicated bodyguard at her side, the Chancellor of New Olympus, Bia Andosian is growing increasingly ill. With no heir named to follow in her footsteps, and no second in command, a corrupt Minister plots to take her place as Ruler. And his plan for New Olympus includes death for all Earthers. Even the ones already on New Olympus.

Emery Mai’s day to day job is to keep Chancellor Andosian safe. While she struggles to learn why the Chancellor is growing increasingly ill, she must also discover who is behind a newly created faction of anti-Earthers. She has to find a way to save her friend’s life, as well as the future of her world. Two worlds, and their inhabitants, stand to lose everything if Emery fails.

Does this sound like something you might be interested in reading? Have any suggestions for a title? Let me know in the comments section below!

The Witch’s Kind ~ A Review

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This was not a genre book. There were no character motivations other than to keep a secret and survival. It’s not what you think it is. It is a moving, slightly disjointed book about Barrie Ann, and her Aunt Charlotte, and Willow, and eventually Emma. It is moving, it has heartbreaking parts, it has parts of generosity and wonder and so much more. I’ll warn you now though, once this book and its characters worm their way into you, they don’t let go.
This was another one that I read as much as I could, as solidly as I could. While eating, while driving, while in the bathroom, while I was supposed to be sleeping…you get it, right? I found myself awake at 4 AM wondering what would happen to them all now that I had closed the book. Now that the book was done…what happened to them after that? Did Emma grow up? Did she have the Gift? Was the farm successful? Did Will’s parents ever write again?
All these questions, and I might never know the answers.

This is literary fiction that outshines and surpasses all other lit fic I’ve read. And I’ve read a ton, despite what my Goodreads library will reveal.

This. Is. EXCELLENT!

The Cranky Cartographer Is Reborn

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I know folks talk about authors being God-like, and to some extent it’s true. We build worlds, we create people, animals and then give them lives. It crosses my mind every now and then.

Today though, it has been at the forefront of my mind.

Many of you know that I’m elbow-deep in my book ‘Infinite Worlds’, and one of the things that I have always struggled with is character motivations. Why are they there? What are they meant to do? Are they doing what they should be or are they standing around being a participant? (This always puts me in mind of the folks that stand around watching at a disaster, but never contribute anything productive.)

I had this come up in IW when I had killed off a character. My editor left this note in the sidebar, “You’ve now killed off the only male character you had.”

It was an eye-opening moment for me. I literally sat back in my chair, blinked and said aloud, “Well, crap. Now what?”

After days of soul-searching, I realized I did not want to kill him off. Yeah, he was a whiner, but I wanted him back. But what to do with him? What role would he serve in the overall plot? Could he develop as a better person over the duration of the plot? Was there any real reason to bring him back?

Yup, there was. So I did. But now what to do with him? More days of soul-searching, followed by charting his personality so I could get to the bottom of why he was a complaining, irritating crank. Then I delved into the research books to find out what sorts of things would make a whiny cartographer…whiny. Boom, he had a backstory. Boom, he had a past bleak enough to make me cranky about it. Then all I had to decide was what he wanted. Out of life and out of the mission he’d been thrust into against his will. Then I decided how he could contribute to the mission, quit his bitching and become a person I could actually like. Now, he’s made a friend! One I didn’t plan on in the slightest. She literally sat down beside him at a feast, and they’ve hit it off.

(It feels a little like when my boys made their first friends at school or on the T-Ball team)

So why am I telling you all this?

To share the wonder of creating worlds and people, I suppose. To reassure even the shyest reader out there that if Villpe Jarvus, cranky cartographer, can be a better man and make a friend, so can we all.

Do you remember how you met your best friend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Carolyn

Imminent Dawn ~ A Review

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Four people. One study. The internet-access brain implant to bind or destroy them all.

Art-school dropout Chandra would do anything to apologize for her role in her wife’s coma—including enroll in the first round of human trials for an internet-access brain implant. At first, the secretive research compound is paradise, the perfect place to distract Chandra from her grief. But as she soon learns, the facility is more prison than resort, with its doctors, support staff, and her fellow patients all bent on hatching plots of their own, no matter how invested they might seem in helping her communicate with her wife.

Making matters worse, a dark wave of uncertainty crashes down on the compound, forcing Chandra to become an unlikely but pivotal player in conspiracies stretching from the highest levels of the North American Union government to the lowest dredges of its shadowy hacking collectives.

To save herself and her wife, Chandra and her newfound friends from the study will have to overcome the scheming of a ruthless tech magnate, the naïveté of an advancement-hungry administrative assistant, and the relentless pursuits of an investigative journalist, all of whom are determined to outpace the others in their own quests to resurrect lost love, cover their tracks, and uncover the truth.

This was a fascinating book filled with new-to-me concepts and danger. Danger to individual characters both medically and morally. I can’t even imagine being hooked up to a massive network, just sitting in my brain. Once I started reading, I could barely stop to sleep. The characters were all individual, motivated and driven…to a point. The book was well-paced and I enjoyed the format of the chapters each focusing on an individual. I didn’t find juggling the characters difficult at all.
Now, that being said, there were a couple things that bothered me. Mostly toward the end.

Woodward, for one. He was dropped, just like a bag of rocks. He just disappeared and then was forgotten. He deserved better than that.
A couple of other characters dropped off the face of the book too, but it sounds like their stories pick up in the next book, so I’ll be patient.
The ending itself was chopped. I understand that there is another book, and I understand that this book was pretty large and can’t go on forever, but a smoother ending would have been nice.

However, I am very glad I was approved for an ARC, and I definitely plan on buying the next book.

Exclusive Scoops To Be Found Here!

The February issue of the Words&Worlds newsletter is out now, and it’s more than what you see here on the blog!

Do you get your very own copy?

No? Then tap the Newsletter Signup Form button on the website and signup today! You’ll get lots of exclusive scoops on future fiction, get treated to behind-the-scenes glimpses of my world, and from time to time even get subscriber-exclusive fiction! We talk books, plots, characters, dogs and life in Northern Ontario Canada.

What are you waiting for? Come and join in the conversation!

Carolyn