Friday, March 18, 2016

Next on my Writing Agenda: "Children of the Music"

Known as a serpent, this antique musical instrument
looks like the trumpet that plays such a significant role
 in Children of the Music
By Sguastevi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons

    First off, let me say that from now on most of my posting will be on this blog.   My Termitespeaker blog (entitled "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head") has lost relevance because I have now completed the series.  I had also used that blog as a vehicle to discuss myth, especially myth in literature, but I've kind of moved away from that, so I'll reserve Termitespeaker mostly for book reviews of the series.

    Today I'm going to talk about Children of the Music.  It's one of those manuscripts that has been stored in a drawer for 30 years and has now been taken out and dusted off.  That's supposed to be a no-no, but I see no point in trashing something that I believe has merit.  Here's how it came to be written.

    I started writing in 1969 and I churned out an unending manuscript over a period of years.  It got way out of control for length, because of my propensity for improvisation in the middle of books.  I always have a beginning and an end, but how in the world do you get from here to there?  And since this was the first thing I'd ever written, I kept going back and rewriting the beginning, which never made it shorter.  Finally I threw in the towel.  The book could never be finished.  I have shelves of manuscript for this book, which bore the title To Sing with the Wind (somebody once said to me, "You should just call it 'Sing with the Wind,'" but you see, that's the wrong connotation.  I'm not ordering somebody to sing (imperative) -- I'm emphasizing the process of learning how "to sing with the wind."  And yet to use the infinitive really does weaken the impact).  

    But that's beside the point.  When I gave up on my Tolkienesque first novel, with its evil sorceress, white-bearded wizard, young female heroine, and tragic young hero, I decided I needed to write a prequel.

    That prequel is Children of the Music.

   It features the past history of the two peoples who exist at the beginning of the humongous piece and depicts the families of the parents of To Sing with the Wind's hero and heroine.  And it benefited from my "million words" -- the amount you're supposed to have written before you can call yourself an author.  It turned out really well -- it had an appropriate beginning, middle, and end, and some really intense storytelling and compelling characters.  And it's a reasonable length of 118,000 words.

   Now I'm planning to publish it after some revision.  My problem is, I don't anticipate ever completing the book that was supposed to follow it.  Children is complete in itself, but it does contain some prophecies that foreshadow the main book, and it kind of leaves things hanging at the end.  Am I capable of writing a totally different book to follow it?  I somehow doubt it.  I simply don't like the book I originally wrote.  My original idea in To Sing with the Wind was to investigate a race of beings who were immortal, and somehow I don't want to do that anymore. These days, I'm not much into magic -- seers and prophecies are fine, and hints of the interference of gods, but my worlds are always real worlds, not governed by magical principles that have nothing to do with scientific reality. And my characters are always human.  (And if you say, well, giant termites aren't human ... just ask the people who weep over their story whether or not they have human appeal.)  

    But Children of the Music really does have sufficient merit to stand on its own.  Until I complete its revision, I'm going to blog about the book from time to time, and probably post excerpts.  I also have some questions I want to throw out to anyone who is interested.  But that will have to wait for another day.

    (Sorry I have no drawings yet for Children of the Music.  I do have some planned, however.  And take a gander at the great serpentine trumpet at the top of this post.)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Read an E-Book Week (March 6-12) - Special Prices on Smashwords

I've made all my books 50% off on Smashwords
for the period of March 6-12.

The purchase page will give you a discount coupon to use when paying. 
Imagine getting both volumes of The Termite Queen for only $3.00! 
-- or all seven volumes of The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head for only $7.00!
Or if you're not ready to commit to the series, 
get started with v.1 The War of the Stolen Mother for only $1.50.  

See all my books at 

Friday, March 4, 2016

New Review of The Termite Queen, Volume One

Since the front cover is splashed
all over the place,
I'm showing you the back cover.
(Click for larger view)

See this 4-star review 
(and read more reviews)

I enjoyed this rather quirky book that deals with first contact between humans and insects. Very intelligent insects mind you, and goes on to show the complex relationship that develops between the insects and the humans they encounter.

It was a well-thought out future-world story full of intriguing characters, mostly termite, I wasn’t too keen on the human characters, they didn’t seem as well defined as the insect ones. That aside, this is an unusual and overall satisfying book that deals philosophically with power struggles, romance, coming to terms with death and so much more.

The most satisfying parts of the book for me are when we are in the termite mound Lo'ro'ra, and witnessing the inner turmoil and complex power play between the high ranking termites. There are also moments of tenderness too when a dying termite finds solace in the comforting arms of a linguistics expert and main protagonist, Kaitrin Oliva. I also loved the moment when Kaitrin finally manages to understand their language. A real fun Eureka moment in what is sometimes a little dry, narrative wise.

There was plenty of real science too, which gave a sense of authenticity to what could have been just another Sci-fi alien contact story. The first books ends with the humans landing on the termite planet so, lots to discover and explore in the next book.

Although the cover, which I really like, made me think this book was for children, it most definitely is not. Well, not younger children, as the phonetic language and wonderfully quirky names would not be suitable for the younger reader. Neither would the length. It is quite wordy. I however, thoroughly enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read quality science fiction with a quirky edge.

[This review was written by Nicola McDonagh.  You can find all her books here on Amazon, also.]