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It’s been a while since I’ve written a bit about what I’m up to writing wise. To be honest, not much writing has occurred. Brain storming, making inspiration stew and watching all those other devious plot bunnies doing devious things (I’ll sell you a handful if you want them – just take them away!)

I’ve been dabbling in some ideas for another Fools and Heroes mission (be afraid …), jotted down some fantasy ideas and put my sci-fi collection to bed until I have a novel under my belt. In fact, most of what I’ve been doing is sifting through old stuff looking for ideas (I even started re-reading the old Elementalist trilogy …).

But I’ve also been indulging in reading epic tomes and revisiting old fantasy worlds and I think I may have found a way to get down to some actual writing.

For Christmas I got a new pile of reading books, something that I’ve got most years. But this year it contained two big fat books that I just couldn’t wait to get my fingers around.

Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind

I’d found the series “Legend of the Seeker” on youtube, an American series based on the Sword of Truth book series by Terry Goodkind. It provided some light entertainment and I admit I enjoyed it – a light romp through a fantastical world. But I felt like I was missing out on something as I got through the second season. The characters didn’t seem quite right, or something was missing. I went back to check I hadn’t missed an episode (a risk with watching the odd thing online), but I couldn’t place my finger on it. So, I asked for the first book of the Sword of Truth series, thinking “If I don’t enjoy it, then I don’t need to get the rest”.

I opened the cover on Christmas Day and I fell into the world of Westland, the Midlands, Da’Hara, Hartland Woods and the world of Richard Cypher.

It gripped me from about page three, that connected feeling that good books have where you want to find out what happens to this person you’ve just met. And once I got over my realisation that the TV series had deviated majorly from the book (as in, during the first couple of pages, the premise was totally different), I settled back to enjoy the adventure. And about a third of the way through, I knew I’d need that next book.

 

I’ve only just finished reading the first book (slowly as it’s a bit too chunky to take to work), but at the weekend I took the second book with me and with the chance to sit down and read (properly read) as I curled up on the sofa on Sunday to try and nurse my cold better (didn’t work), I’ve nearly finished the second book. Ah – reading. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed curling up with a good book when I don’t have any pressing worries.  Maybe I’ll read something else once I’ve finished book three? Or perhaps I’ll be reading the next few …

 

The Revenge of the Dwarves – Markus Heitz

It’s been awhile since I read the first two books in this series, so I haven’t yet gotten around to reading the latest as I think I need to give it the benefit of a running start. I did enjoy the previous two tomes and can’t wait to jump back in, but these are big books and I need some “light” reading when commuting to work …

      

Keys of the Kingdom – Garth Nix

Arthur is just an ordinary boy. Suffers from asthma. Just moved school. Just found out he’s a “heir” of a magical world that exists outside of normal time and space, a world made by a mysterious someone known as The Architect who left instructions in The Will on how the Trustees were to govern the house. But something’s run amok, the Trustees have broken their oaths and it’s up to Arthur to gather the Keys of the Kingdom and set things to rights – all without losing his humanity to the darker workings of The House …

I remember really enjoying these books when I read them before, but I never got to read Lady Friday, Superior Saturday or Lord Sunday as these came out whilst I was at University. So when my parents mentioned they had the full set, they mysterious disappeared from their bookcase …

  

The Old Kingdom Trilogy – Garth Nix

There is a place, separated from our world by a wall of stone and magic, that doesn’t exist in step with our time. It’s a place where dead things can come back to life, where death answers the call of a bell and where Kings and Queens fight against foes that “modern” weapons cannot touch. Sabriel belongs in both worlds, Lireal is desperate to prove herself in the Sisterhood of the Clayr and only together can they save both worlds – the Old Kingdom and the New – from a fate worse than death.

I love Garth Nix’s writing style, particularly in this trio of books, where a whole other world is fleshed out and grabs the imagination.

 

The Warriors of Alavna, The Warriors of Camlan – N.M. Browne

I read the Warriors of Alavna as a kid and loved the dark magic that swirled through this “people out of time” book. Then I found out that there was a second book based in the era of King Arthur which I recall reading once  … time to pick it up again?

 

Nicola and the Viscount, Victoria and the Rogue

A little light romp through Victorian England with the writer of the Princess Diaries, some light romantic fluff which is sometimes needed to lighten the brain with something that isn’t complicated or heavy. It always tickles my fancy to read a book with a character that has my name as the quick thinking heroine.

Sword Song – Rosemary Sutcliffe

I pinched this from my parents because I needed ideas for Viking style characters and culture for Fools and Heroes and because a good journey story is always appreciated. Some inspiration for Rowan Tait may have come from here …

  

Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb

Struggling to get started with my “Forester and Mage” novel, I picked up these books from my parents’ at the weekend to read more of my comfort reading books. These will be my commuting books for the next few weeks.

I was talking to a friend the other week, just chatting about books we enjoyed reading and these came up in conversation. You know who you are. Thanks for reminding how good these ones are!

I hope to also add them to my inspiration stew for my Working Title novel – The Forester and The Mage. Another Fools and Heroes inspired book, it’s my current plotline in progress. Once I get over my writers block/fear of failing, I hope to be able to get something down on paper and work towards something that other people might like to read. One day …

Talking of comfort books, these are my go to books for when I’m feeling low.

The Lioness Quartet, Wild Magic Trilogy, Protector of the Small Trilogy – Tamora Pierce

The first set was bought after I bought the first book as part of a bundle from a school book fair – I wasn’t that interested in it at first, but when I finally got round to reading it (I read lots as a child) I was caught up in the world of Alana as she strives to become the first female Knight in Tortall. I remember hunting through book shops when on holiday to find the next one in the quartet until I’d collected the set and these were amongst the few books that came to Uni with me. Well thumbed, the characters are old friends and I probably know the stories inside out by now …

My housemates gradually purchased the next two sets for me over a number of birthdays and Christmases as it turned out to be something one of them had in common. And imagine my joy when I discovered characters from the first books between these pages, my old friends – older and wiser – grown up as I was growing up. It allowed me to reconnect with them as adults. Okay, they play a smaller role but it was still good to find them within the world of Tortall.

    

Tales of the Otori – Lian Hearn

Another set that was gathered whilst at University, with characters I’ve known during some of the harder moments of exams, coursework and life.

   

Earth’s Children – Jean Auel

A set I gathered during my teenage years through to the final release last April.

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