Foz’s Key to Starveldt

In 2010, first-time author Foz Meadows saw the publication of her urban fantasy novel, Solace & Grief. It got great reviews and much interest. (See my previous posts: “Books with bite” and “Authors with bite”) Then, in 2011, the sequel was published. But writing a sequel is no easy task. Just ask Foz. Actually, don’t bother — I’ve already asked her. 🙂 Take it away Foz…

Writing a sequel
By Foz Meadows

The thing about sequel volumes is that, even when you’ve planned them, they have ways of unplanning themselves.

Much like Tamagotchi toys, characters thrive when you play with them; and if you do it for long enough, they have a disconcerting tendency to evolve, Pokemon-like, into new and exciting forms. (90s pop culture references, I has them.) It’s a beautiful thing when the people who live in your head start to take on lives of their own, but an absolute bugger where plot outlines are concerned. Because the thing about real people – and, by extension, real characters – is that they have free will. In a situation where being an author is roughly analogous to being the supreme creator of a parallel universe, one very soon realises that, all powers over life and death aside, your creations can still defy you. Characters who were meant to choose one path choose another, while those who were offered no choice at all start bashing at the walls of the world until they’re given one.

This is true of all books, of course, because characters are mercurial and tricksy, but it’s especially difficult when it comes to sequels. For one thing, the characters have got the bit between their teeth by then: the momentum of the previous story carries them forwards, but not always in the right direction. And for another, you can’t go back and rewrite the previous volume to fit with any subsequent changes: you now have a canon to keep in mind, which means there’s a real possibility of throw-away comments coming back to bite you on the posterior.

All of which is what happened when I sat down to write The Key to Starveldt, the sequel to Solace & Grief. I had plans for my characters! They would do my bidding! They would get drunk and have karaoke in a pocket dimension! There would be a magical trial and the accidental acquisition of a sentient wolf! And then, three quarters of the way through the first draft, everything fell to pieces. The wolf vanished; the trial became impossible; the karaoke was set aside. I’d been making my characters go where I wanted without considering whether it was actually something they’d do, and once I realised that, it was back to the drawing board. It took me several abortive attempts to figure things out, but once I did, I could feel the difference immediately. The story moved more smoothly; the character interactions made greater sense. Where before it had increasingly felt as though I was tugging the story through syrup, now I was skating on ice. Not that I didn’t still encounter pitfalls, but the lesson that, creator or not, I couldn’t just force my protagonists into whatever shape I wanted, was an important one.

The Key to Starveldt is a book I’m hugely proud of, not only because of what it taught me about writing, but because of what it taught me about my characters. I might have given them life, but they’re the ones who ultimately choose how to live it – and even if I still have to nudge them from time to time, they’re grown up enough to take the hint.

George’s bit at the end

Want to know more about Foz and her books? Check out her blog.

Catch ya later,  George

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Dracula down under

Vampires! Lots of them! And they are in Australia. In our past, our present and our future. Thirty-three blood-sucking stories in one huge book — Dead Red Heart.

Lately, I’ve been hearing talk that the vampire has had his day in popular fiction, at least for the time being… That the sparkliness of some recent vampires has dulled the appeal of the blood-sucking genre. And yet they keep showing up. From the recent YA novel Department 19 (reviewed here) and its upcoming sequel, to a new picture book by Margaret Wild and Andrew Yeo, called Vampyre. Despite what some people may say, I don’t think there’s any danger of the fictional vampire fading into obscurity.

I’m particularly enamoured with vampire stories set in Australia. Apart from a simple interest in my homeland, the concept of vampires in ‘a sunburnt country’ is rather fascinating. One of my favourite vampire novels is Narrelle M Harris’s Melbourne-based tale, The Opposite of Life. I’m told that a sequel is on the way, and I’m very much looking forward to it. Then there’s the Sydney-based Solace and Grief by Foz Meadows. The sequel, The Key to Starveldt, comes out in October.

But while I’m waiting for these two sequels, I’m satisfying my bloodlust with Dead Red Heart. Edited by Russell B Farr and published by Australian small press publisher Ticonderoga Publications, it contains stories from writers both established and new. Even I feature in its pages with a little story called “Vitality”, about a vampire and a hill hoist.

Dead Red Heart is large book, and I’ve got a stack of review books to get through, so I’ve been dipping into this anthology rather than working my way from cover to cover in one go. I’ve been picking out a couple of stories between each of the novels I’m reading. I’m not even half the way through but I am enjoying it immensely. Despite the common subject matter, there are such a variety of stories. My favourites so far are Felicity Dowker’s wonderful tale of vampires, tattoos and revenge, “Red Delicious”, and Jeremy Sadler’s take on the Ned Kelly story, “Such is Life”.

“Such is Life” deserves a bit of a special mention in that it is the author’s first professionally published story. So I asked Jeremy to tell us a little about his publishing experience…

It did not feel real until the book was in my hands. I had sent my story, “Such Is Life”, off into the wild with the expectation that I would never hear about it again. Though secretly, deep inside, metaphorical fingers were crossed.

Everything I’ve written up to this point that appeared in the public domain has been self-published. From various fanzines to a partnership in producing Frontier: The Australian Science Fiction Media Magazine, to articles and reviews on the Internet, it has always been my hand that has delivered my words to the world.

This makes it a momentous occasion for me when someone else deems something I have written as worthy of publication. I never anticipated my first “professional” published work would be Australian vampire fiction — but then it seems so appropriate.

The book in my hands finally gave substance to the excitement, and there was a certain joy in re-reading what I had written, as if it was new. It sat among fabulous company from notable authors. How could I not be pleased?

Now it’s a matter of using that excitement to feed more writing and having more items published, and to enjoy even more “now it feels real” moments.

My thanks to Jeremy for sharing his “now it feels real” moment with us. If any other first-time authors would like to share their experiences, leave a comment. And if you’ve got a favourite vampire book you’d like to tell everyone about… yes, you guessed it… leave a comment!

Catch ya later,  George

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The Aussiecon Author Videos, part 1

I’ve been promising these videos for quite a while, and I’ve finally managed to drag myself away from my word processing program long enough to open up the video editing program and prepare the videos. When you watch the videos, you’ll probably notice that there isn’t very much editing at all. So, what’s taken me so long? I’ve only ever used the program once before, and I couldn’t remember how to use it. So it took me a while (lots of trial and error resulting in much colourful language) to re-learn the program and then to get the videos ready. Okay, enough with the pathetic excuses. On with the show…

In September 2010 I attended Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Melbourne. (Check out my Aussiecon 4 Memories post.) There were an awful lot of authors wandering about, so I thought I’d corner a few of them and stick a video camera in their faces. I asked each of them to introduce themselves and then to tell me about the book (or books) which has had the greatest influence on them.

And so here are the first four authors…

Michael Pryor is the author of many YA novels, including the Laws of Magic series. He is also co-creator, along with Paul Collins, of The Quentaris Chronicles. Check out his website.

Foz Meadows is the author of The Rare trilogy — the first book, Solace and Grief, was published last year; the second book, The Key to Starveldt, will be published later this year. Check out her blog.

Jane Routley is the author of numerous fantasy novels, including Mage Heart and Fire Angels. She writes under her own name, as well as Rebecca Locksley. Check out her website.

Richard Harland is the author of numerous novels for kids, teens and adults. His most recent novel is Worldshaker. Its sequel, Liberator, will be published later this year. Check out his website.

And tune in next time for another four videos. I promise. Maybe.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter… or I’ll post a video of myself. 😉

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A Celebration of Books at the Ford Street Literary Festival

Last week I attended the Ford Street Literary Festival at Scotch College in Hawthorn and I really wanted to blog about this inspiring example of kids having fun with books and their creators.

(Pictured below are Jo Thompson, Meredith Costain and David Miller who got down to the bare bones of writing and illustrating at the Ford Street Literary Festival.)

What better way for an author to spend a day than in the company of other authors and illustrators and 175 enthusiastic kids and their dedicated teachers?

Graham Davey (champion of children’s literature in Australia) was the MC for the day and he kept the kids entertained and the day moving along smoothly.

Students from schools across Victoria from Years 5 to 10 gathered to talk books and writing with Paul Collins, Meredith Costain, Justin D’Ath, Hazel Edwards, George Ivanoff, , Phil Kettle, Doug MacLeod, Felicity Marshall, Foz Meadows, JE Fison, Liz Flaherty, Sean McMullen, David Miller, Michael Salmon, Jo Thompson and me.

It was fantastic to see kids enthralled by books and coming to an event like this prepared with enthusiastic and informed questions for authors and illustrators.

A book quiz challenged the kids to work together and share their book knowledge to win a box full of books for their school – and all competitors attacked the task with enthusiasm.

Then Michael Salmon (pictured right with Phil Kettle) did an illustration demonstration that kept the kids mesmerised until it was time for JE Fison’s launch of her exciting new Hazard River Series.

It was great for me to catch up with fellow Boomerang Books Blogger, George Ivanoff from Literary Clutter – and of course the entire group of inspiring Children’s  authors and illustrators.

After the quiz and author chats with students, we all moved to the auditorium to watch Michael Salmon work his magic.

Then there was the sales and signings where students could buy their favourite Ford Street titles.

The Ford Street Literary Festival was a reminder that there are so many great ways to celebrate books and what they can bring to a child’s life.

Aussiecon 4 Memories

The 68th World Science Fiction Convention is over! Five days of panels, talks, signings, parties, awards and other related stuff, has ended. People from all over the world are making their way home… or perhaps sightseeing across Australia before departing our golden shores. I’m now sitting in front of my computer at home in Melbourne, still exhausted, trying to come to terms with the fact that it will probably be at least another 10 years before the Worldcon returns to our country.

Since the convention finished, the blogosphere has been inundated with reports and reviews. Check out the report from Foz Meadows, author of Solace and Grief, for ABC Radio National’s The Book Show Blog. Also, check out the blog from Narrelle M Harris, author of The Opposite of Life. If you’re on Twitter, you can see posts about Aussiecon 4 at #Aussiecon4 and #Aus4.

The Dealers’ Room!

Reading the various reports, it is evident that different people had very different experiences. Some people partied; some people networked; some people collected autographs and listened to their favourite authors; some people promoted; some people shopped in the dealers’ room; and some people sat around chatting and drinking way too much coffee. I tried very hard to do a bit of everything! 🙂 And now it’s time for me to add my view of Aussiecon 4 to the ever-expanding blogosphere.

The Ticonderoga Publications table in the Dealers’ Room.

The writer Guest of Honour was Kim Stanley Robinson, author of numerous science fiction novels, including Galileo’s Dream and the Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars). I’ve never read any of his novels, as my taste in science fiction tends to lean towards lighter, adventure-based story-telling, rather than hard science. Despite this, I made the effort to attend his Guest of Honour speech… which was thoughtful, humorous and very entertaining. What I enjoyed most about it, was the insight into his non-writing life; and how he felt that one of the greatest things given to him by his writing career was the opportunity to work from home and watch his kids grow up. As a writer who is also a stay-at-home-Dad, this really struck a chord with me. I’m even tempted to go off and read one of his books.

Kim Stanley Robinson giving his Guest of Honour speech.

The artist Guest of Honour was Australian illustrator and author, Shaun Tan, creator of many wonderful books, including The Lost Thing, Tales From Outer Suburbia and The Arrival. I’ve heard Shaun speak numerous times over the years, but I never tire of listening to him. Given that my artistic abilities do not extend beyond stick-figures, I am in awe of anyone who can draw… and can this guy draw, or what? And he makes it look so easy. And he comes across as such a nice guy.

Shaun Tan (right) on a panel about art with D.M. Cornish (centre) and Richard Harland (left).

Now, let’s move on to Doctor Who, because as any regular Literary Clutter reader will know, I am a Doctor Who fanboy. Two writers who worked on the revived Doctor Who series were in attendance at the convention — Paul Cornell (who I’ve previously interviewed on Literary Clutter) and Robert Shearman (who wrote first season’s “Dalek”, the last truly awesome episode to feature this race of pepper-pot encased aliens). I got the chance to meet both of them, and even spoke on a panel with Mr Cornell — “Playing in someone else’s sandpit: franchise writing”.

There were a number of interesting Who related panels, including the one I was on, “We are all fairy tales: Doctor Who’s fifth season”, which was a discussion of how the series had changed with its new production team. It was during this panel that I referred to head writers Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffat as “Rusty and the SMoff” and made the grand statement: “I’d have the River over the Pond, any day!” — although I guess you’d need to be a fan to find any humour in this. Thankfully, neither Paul nor Robert were there for that one!

Of course, there was much discussion of both film and television during the course of the convention. One session I found particularly interesting was George RR Martin’s on-stage interview with Melinda M Snodgrass. Melinda is author of numerous novels (including the Circuit trilogy) as well as being a scriptwriter who has written for, amongst other shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation, SeaQuest DSV, The Outer Limits and Sliders. George is author of countless novels (including the Song of Fire and Ice series) as well as being scriptwriter of 14 episodes of the 1980s television series Beauty and the Beast. The interview worked extremely well due to the obvious rapport they have from being long-time friends and colleagues, and was a wonderful insight into the world of television writing.

And then, of course, there were books… many, many books! And much discussion of those books. Some of the panels I attended included “YA speculative fiction: industry overview and insights”, “Getting published in YA spec fic”, “Nuts and bolts: editing YA spec fic, an insider’s view” and “What’s hot and what’s not: trends in YA spec fic” — do you see a pattern forming here? There were also lots of great readings, by authors local and imported. The highlight for me was the tag-team reading session by Richard Harland and Jack Dann, each providing character voices for the other’s reading.

I’ve barely scratched the surface and I’m out of blog space. Tune in next time as I continue to ramble on about the awesomeness that was AUSSIECON 4!

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter… I’ve now got more than 100 followers, so I must be worth following. 🙂

Family reading

Just a simple little post today — a round-up of what my family and I have been reading.

As is normal for me (see earlier post: Clutter, clutter and more clutter), I am part way through several books, mags and newsletters. But all this reading stopped a little while ago when my copy of Carole Wilkinson’s Sugar Sugar arrived in the post box. It had to have priority! I am a huge fan of Carole’s writing and have been reading her stuff ever since her first novel, Stagefright, hit the shelves way back in 1996. Stagefright is a great little YA novel about a group of highschool kids putting on a musical production of Shakespeare’s Richard the Third. Its offbeat story and terrific characters hooked me from the first sentence:

“Velvet S Pye stood outside the gates of Yarrabank High and a creeping feeling came over her.”

I have been eagerly awaiting each successive novel ever since. And Carole has never disappointed. I can honestly say that I have loved every one of her books that I have read… and I have read most of them (there are only a few of her non-fic titles that I haven’t caught up with). I’m now four chapters from the end of Sugar Sugar. It’s brilliant! As soon as I’ve finished it, I’ll be writing some questions for Carole to answer in an upcoming post here on Literary Clutter. So stay tuned!

I’m not the only reader in my family. My wife is an avid devourer of the written word who consumes about three times the amount of books that I do, as she reads a lot faster than I. She’s just finished Trudi Canavan’s The Magician’s Apprentice. Now, on my recommendation, she is reading Solace and Grief by Foz Meadows. She enjoyed the former, describing it as a rollicking good fantasy read that could have only been improved by a “few more kissy scenes at the end”. And now she’s really enjoying the later, although she’s not far into it yet… her first reaction was: “Thank goodness it’s not another vampire novel”… followed closely by: “He turns into a cat? I wish I could turn into a cat!”

At age seven, my eldest daughter also has a love of books. My wife and I are extremely proud of her reading skills and interest. She has just finished Susannah McFarlane’s EJ12 Girl Hero: Hot & Cold. She really enjoyed the book, but said it was a little too scary in places, especially when EJ was trapped inside a volcano. I had to step in and read a couple of the chapters out loud to her until she was sure that EJ would escape. Obviously the experience wasn’t all that traumatic, as she has now asked me to get the next EJ12 book for her.

My youngest, at 14 months, is a little too young to read to herself just yet. But I read to her every day. Her current favourite is Ed Heck’s Big Fish, Little Fish. I love reading this book to her … SPOILER ALERT … especially the final page, where you lift the flap to discover that the biggest fish, which we have only viewed as a shadow thus far, is actually a whole bunch of little fish banding together to give the big fish a scare. She squeals with delight every time she lifts the flap. Okay, so it’s the lifting of the flap to discover another picture beneath that appeals to her at the moment… but she’ll eventually come to appreciate the subtleties of the story. 😉

So that’s what we’ve all been reading. What about you? Anything to recommend? Anything to avoid? Leave a comment!

And tune in next time to see a few of my favourite book trailers.

Catch ya later, George

Authors with bite

Vampires! Post number two in a series of three about the pointy-toothed blood-suckers we all love to read about.

This time around I have enlisted the help of two authors who have written vamp fic. I’ve asked each of them to share with us their favourite vampire book.

NarrelleFirst cab off the rank is Narrelle M Harris, author of The Opposite of Life.

John Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In is a superb vampire novel. It’s Swedish, but the English translation captures its setting of a bleak suburb in 1980s Stockholm perfectly. Oskar, who is viciously bullied at school, befriends strange newcomer, Eli. The fact that Eli is a vampire and a killer is contrasted with the idea that Eli is also an abused child. The line between victim and monster is blurred, here and elsewhere in the story. It’s a disturbing horror story, but also ultimately a gentle love story. It’s elegant, atmospheric and unlike any other vampire story I’ve ever read.

You can find out more about Narrelle and her writing on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter. And for those of you who’ve read The Opposite of Life, you can also follow her two lead characters, Gary (the vampire) and Lissa (the librarian), on Twitter.

FozNext up we have Foz Meadows, author of Solace and Grief.

I love the Evernight series by Claudia Gray. On starting the first book, I was aggressively sceptical, but once I reached the halfway point, I couldn’t put it down, while the sequel volumes, Stargazer and Hourglass, were mesmerising. Gray’s characters are vividly realistic; her plotlines pull no punches. The more the series develops, the more it becomes apparent that a skilful long game is in effect: the mythology is built with care, and there are no loose threads – only questions that haven’t been answered yet. The writing is sleek, the pace swift, and the tension perfectly orchestrated. Definitely worth reading!

You can find out more about Foz and her writing by checking out her blog.

My thanks to Narrelle and Foz for stopping by.

My last post mentioned the vampire books that I loved. But I have read others — from the good (Thirsty by MT Anderson) to the not-so-good (The House of Caine by Ken Eulo). And then, there’s the disappointing…

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice. This is a book that lots of people have raved about. My first encounter with it was the film version. I really liked the film and so I thought to myself… most film adaptations are not as good as the original books, so I must go and read Interview With The Vampire. Which I did… Unfortunately. I found the characters annoying, the style dry and the whole thing long-winded and boring. After spouting my disappointment at anyone who would listen, an avid Anne Rice fan insisted that the second book in the series was much better and that I should give it a go. I didn’t. In fact, I’ve never read another Anne Rice book. Life is too short and there are way too many other books that I really want to read.

Which now brings me to the Twilight books.

Tune in next time as I tell you why I haven’t read Twilight.

Catch ya later,  George

Books with bite

Vampires seem to be the in thing at the moment. Almost everyone is going ga-ga over the Twilight books and there is now a glut of teen vamp fic. Hollywood is, of course, cashing in on this, with numerous pointy teeth films and tv shows gracing our screens. For a bit of a laugh, check out the trailer for I Kissed a Vampire, a musical web series.

DraculaVampire fiction has been around for a long time. The first vampire book I ever read was Stephen King’s Salom’s Lot. It remains one of my favourites. Since then, I’ve read the occasional bit of vamp fic, including the granddaddy of them all, Dracula (which is well worth a read, even if you’re not into vampires). The one that really sticks in my mind, even though I read is about 13 years ago, is Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls. She has an interesting take on the vampire mythology. Her vamps are a separate species and breeding with humans results in each successive generation being less vampiric. The oldest vampire in the book can eat or drink nothing but blood, has pointy teeth and can be harmed by sunlight. The youngest is a bit of a goth — sunlight won’t hurt him but prefers to go out at night; his teeth aren’t pointy and although he doesn’t need to drink blood to live, he does come to develop a taste for it. There’s a lot more to it, but I’m working from memory here.

I’ve always thought that what this world really needed was some good vampire books set in Australia, preferable Melbourne (my home city). A number of years ago I read Vampire Cities by d’ettut (yes, d’ettut is the name of the author… pseudonym perhaps?), which was partly set in Australia. I remember thinking it was a weird, arty sort of book and that vampires weren’t actually the focus. It mustn’t have made much of an impression on me as I can remember nothing of the story.

More recently, I read Narrelle M Harris’s The Opposite of Life, which is set in Melbourne. I LOVED this book. It’s got lots of blood, dead bodies and pointy teeth and yet it’s a very atypical vampire story. The heroes are a geeky librarian and a slightly podgy, daggy vampire who wears loud Hawaiian shirts.  The book makes marvellous use of its Melbourne locale and is worth a read for that alone. Harris is writing a sequel… I can’t wait. Check out my review of The Opposite of Life.

Solace & GriefI also recently read Solace & Grief by Foz Meadows. The author calls the book an “urban fantasy” rather than a vampire novel. The main character is a vamp, as is the main villain, but there are other supernatural characters as well. It’s a young adult novel set in Sydney (not as good as Melbourne, but hey, at least it’s in Australia) and it’s got quite a different feel to it from any other vampire book I’ve read. It’s been getting some great reviews and with good reason – it’s a really good read. It is the first book of a trilogy called The Rare. Book 2 is currently in the works… definitely one to look out for.

There are probably other Australian vampire books out there. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never made a point of searching them out. The ones I’ve read were those that I happened across. So if anyone out there has any recommendations, I’m all ears… um… err… teeth?

Tune in next time for another vampire post, this time with the assistance of authors Foz Meadows and Narrelle M Harris.

Catch ya later,  George

Foz Meadows and the Land of the Published

Gotta love blog titles that accidentally come out sounding like Harry Potter books… Moving on! Today, we play host to Foz Meadows, whose debut novel, Solace & Grief was recently released. It’s a fantasy novel set in Sydney – it’ll do for the Sydney CBD what Platform 9 3/4 did for London’s King’s Cross Station (what’s with all the Harry Potter references this morning?!). Let’s just say, you’ll never look at Town Hall the same way ever again…

FOZ MEADOWS:
The first foray into the Land of the Published Author

It’s pretty exciting that people are now able to read Solace & Grief. If I’m honest, though, it’s also a little terrifying. Here’s a story that I’ve sweated over, that has two planned volumes yet to come, and which constitutes my first foray into the Land of the Published Author. How could I not be nervous? The fact that I believe in the story and love my characters doesn’t mean that everyone else will. It’s a bit like the feeling I get whenever I walk through a pair of those anti-shoplifting machines: even though I know I’m not breaking any rules, part of me still tenses up, worried that the alarm will go off anyway.

With the book on shelves, I’m finally starting to realise that this is real. Back when I was dancing the submission-rejection tango, it felt like all my favourite authors were at a party I hadn’t been invited to, but was desperate to attend. It’s something I blogged about late last year, well after I’d signed the contract, but still during the editing process, and months before I ever held a copy of the book. To a certain extent, it’s how I still feel, even though my metaphoric status at the party has changed: instead of snooping around the kitchen, I’m clutching a rumpled invitation, laying out a dress to wear and giddily endeavouring not to fall over in a pair of unfamiliar heels. Here is the paradox of determination: I’ve spent so long dreaming about this point in my life and struggling to reach it that, now the moment is upon me, I can’t quite grasp it. When I imagine the post-publication life, it feels like I’m sixteen again, my head on a desk as I doze through class – and then I realise I’m not, and it isn’t, and the book thing is actually happening.

All of a sudden, something that used only to matter to me now involves the opinions of other people. Will they like Solace, my brave vampire girl with the cynical sense of humour? Have I done justice to Sydney – will any readers walk it in their mind’s eye, or have I made it an unfamiliar place? Are the things I intended as funny actually funny? It’s like starting a new school all over again, waiting for the hive-mind to make itself up. But despite my nerves, my worries and general tendency to babble at inappropriate moments, I wouldn’t miss a minute of this. I’m proud of Solace & Grief, and I cannot wait to see where being an author takes me.

Which brings me to the story itself. I try not to quote the blurb if I can possibly avoid it, but then, it’s difficult to know what to say without spoiling things while still giving a reasonable hint of what’s to come. So: there is a girl who has grown up with secrets. She has enemies, but also manages to find some friends. There is drinking, and mischief, and probably a few bad decisions, and at least one attempt to catch an ibis. There are dreams that might be more than dreams, and coincidences that might be more than coincidence. There is a riddle-song, and laughter, and loss. And, as always, there are questions. They might not always be answered prettily, of course, but still they raise their heads, like jasmine flowers twisting towards the moon.

That’s Solace & Grief, or part of it. And if you should choose to give it a try, I hope you don’t find it to be entirely full of suck.

– Foz Meadows