Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Will you or won’t you Na-No-Wri-Mo? Here’s something for both sides.

The Artdog Image of Interest 

One more thought as we approach National Novel-Writing Month, AKA Na-No-Wri-Mo. Remember: one week from today, it starts! But I have to admit that this is usually my strategy!

IMAGE: Many thanks for the ever-wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her Will Write for Chocolate blog, for this cartoon!

No flash in the pan, this!

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If you’re trying out new creative challenges this month, and you’ve never tried flash fiction before, perhaps now’s a good time. If you’ve tried it in the past–or if you’re proficient–have you done any lately?

What is flash fiction? The usual definition is fiction shorter than 2,000 words. But in that category, believe it or not, there are shorter-length challenges, too. Try 300 words.  One hundred words. Even two sentences, like the Two-sentence Horror Stories I reblogged a few Octobers ago. How short can you go?

IMAGE: Many thanks to the ever-creative Debbie Ridpath Ohi, via Wendy Burke’s @WendyBurke101 Twitter profile, for this cartoon!

Don’t drive them to take up scorpion-petting

The Artdog Quote of the Week

IMAGE: Many thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Liana Brooks, for this reminder of the importance of book reviews. Thank your favorite author in a way that counts!

Found on Twitter

Jennifer Foehner Wells

Back in ancient days before the Tweeter-in-Chief became a thing and I became more focused on boosting my productivity, I could beguile hours at a time on Facebook and Twitter. I made some great discoveries during that time period, including the marvelous Debbie Ridpath Ohi (@inkyelbows), who writes and illustrates children’s fiction, creates delightful cartoons about the writing life, and turns doodles, found objects and table detritus into fanciful visions.

Patrick Weekes

I also discovered sf authors for older-than-children, especially Jennifer Foehner Wells, who’s become one of my all-time favorites (and a great inspiration), right up there with Lois McMaster Bujold and Louise Penny, as well as another Indie, Zen Di Pietrowhose space opera series I’m not done reading yet (reviews to come at a future date).

During the same period, I discovered Patrick Weekes, a fantasy author whose unique takes on magic systems and morality within what looks like high fantasy world kept me reading and chuckling (He also happens to be the lead writer for the Dragon Age game).

Since my theme this month is catching up on my reviews, I thought I’d dedicate this post to reviewing books by two of my “Twitter finds,” Wells and Weekes.

I’ve already reviewed two of Wells’ booksFluency and Remanence. I figure it’s now time for a couple more, along with Weekes’ Rogues of the Republic TrilogyYou know if they’re featured on my blog, I think they’re worth reading. Now let me tell you why.

The Confluence Series continues

Darcy Eberhardt’s story ended up being rebranded as Book Three of the Confluence Series (with two different Galen Dara covers), but whichever title you read it under, it’s quite a ride.
JaneAlanBrai, and the rest of the Speroancora crew are back for another adventure in Valence (with a Stephan Martiniere cover)–in which Zara, an interesting new voice, also chimes in for Book Four.

Turning the tables on The Most Dangerous Game

Inheritance (published earlier as The Druid Gene)

By Jennifer Foehner Wells

Here’s a new twist on the “abducted by aliens” idea, from an author whose entire “Confluence Series” deserves attention. Darcy Eberhardt is a second-year medical student who steals a break from studying for a test, to take an overnight camping trip with her boyfriend Adam. He’s determined to take her to a special place he’s found, so she can relax and rest.

It’s pretty special, all right. Unwittingly, Adam has led her to a place where a secret hidden for millennia in her genetic makeup can suddenly activate—and land them both squarely in the bulls-eye of an interstellar target.

Can Darcy learn to control and use her ancient gift—as well as all of her other aptitudes and capabilities—to forge new bonds with undreamed-of allies, and rescue both herself and Adam from the trap they’ve fallen into? Join her for a crash course in the myriad lifeforms of the “Confluence” universe (including a reunion for some Wells readers with Hain, protagonist of her novelette The Grove), as Darcy struggles to confront the most dangerous lifeform in her new, expanded world, and pass the hardest test of all.

A note on the covers: both The Druid Gene and Inheritance have covers by Galen Dara, whose distinctive style adorns much of Wells’ website, too.
A riveting space opera series, and a worthy new addition to the cast
 
The “Confluence” series continues to provide fascinating non-Terran worlds and cultures, and plenty of excitement, danger and suspense to keep me turning the pages. This book brings together our old friends, Jane Holloway, Alan Bergen, Ei’Brai the kuboderan, and the rest of the Speroancora crew, as well as their accumulating list of friends from an accumulating list of worlds.
Some of these friends realign themselves into new configurations in this episode. We also get relatively brief glimpses of Darcy and Hain, but even more striking is a parallel plotline that introduces a strong new character, Zara, along with some other very cool new characters and a whole lot of new complications.
All the while, our assorted friends do their part to support each others’ quests and keep the Swarm away from Earth. Relationships continue to evolve in realistic ways. Wells has written a worthy next chapter in this riveting space opera series, and has brought in a great new plotline. This is science fiction the way it OUGHT to be written! I already can’t wait for the next book.
A note on the cover: As with Fluency and RemanenceStephan Martiniere created the cover art for Valence. Wells has credited his covers as a factor in her early success. It’s a case in point for Indies: people DO often judge books by their covers. Invest wisely in a cover from a real professional!

The Rogues of the Republic Trilogy

Cover design and illustrations by Lili IbrahimDeron Bennett and Jason Blackburn do a remarkable job of keeping the look of Patrick Weekes‘ Rogues of the Republic series visually consistent (extremely important) despite the changing artistic hands for each book.
Will skill, grit and a large bag of magical tricks be enough?
Getting imprisoned for life on the impossible-to-escape crystals of the lapiscaela was not necessarily part of the plan.
But Loch, along with her band of rascals, rogues and magical miscreants are adaptable. Misdirection and sleight-of-hand might be pickpockets’ tools, but they know how to employ those techniques and a whole lot more to further their ends—which actually are more worthy than they’d ever want to admit. Now, if only the implacable Justicar Pyvic wasn’t so dedicated to tracking them down!
Soon it becomes clear that escaping from the lapiscaela was the easy part of their quest to regain a treasured artifact stolen from Loch’s family. Before it’s over she and her diverse companions (who include a shapeshifting unicorn, a talking magical warhammer, a disgraced mage, and a handful of others) will take on thugs, bullies, and power-mongering politicians, take a zombie for a stroll, and fight the Hunter Mirrkir, who is not mortal. But that’s just the warm-up.
Patrick Weekes brings to life a memorable cast of characters in a vivid fantasy world that is diverse, perverse, and consistently unlike others you may previously have explored.
May the best cheater win . . . 
How can a book of naughty elf-poetry keep the Republic and the Empire out of a war?
Former Scout, rogue, and daughter of an all-but-extinct noble house in her homeland, Loch doesn’t mind indulging in a little thievery, if that’s what it takes, and she has an intrepid band of friends and fellow miscreants to help her. This crew of sorcerers, sleight-of-hand artists, safecrackers, acrobats and others, as well as possibly the outcome of a high-stakes card game, may be all that stands between peace and mutually-assured destruction.
But there’s a lot of interference to run, between the golems, daemons, elves, dwarves, mercenaries . . . And did I mention the dragon?
A more unlikely lot of heroes you’d be hard-pressed to find, and they line up some unlikely allies, too—some of whom prove more trustworthy than others. Patrick Weekes once again brings all the seemingly-chaotic parts together for a fast-paced, adventure in which the dangers are high, but the cost of losing is even higher.
Beset on all sides in the hardest test yet

The Paladin Caper

Targeted where it hurts the most: their families!
The Ancients want to rise again, but they’ve been stymied by Loch and her band of “unusual suspects” twice, now. This time they’ll stop at nothing, and they have a head start. They’ve already infiltrated the highest ranks of the Republic. Their tentacles reach everywhere, and Loch’s group has no lack of mortal enemies with grudges too.
Not to mention enthralled elves and dwarves, golems galore, and a temple full of reanimated-but-dead priests among the obstacles. With the team scattered and hard-pressed, and the Glimmering Folk on the march, Loch would die to stop the Ancients.
Or has she, already?

IMAGES: Many thanks to Joe’s Geek Fest, for the head shot of Jennifer Foehner Wells (be sure to read Joe’s review while you’re at it!), and to Goodreads, for Patrick Weekes‘ head shot. Thanks are due to Amazon for ALL of the covers: The Druid GeneInheritanceValence, The Palace Job, The Prophecy Con, and The Paladin Caper. 

Perhaps a smile

Every year I go into the holiday season hoping it will go smoothly, and that no one will flame out. It’s a modest dream, and sometimes it comes to pass.

no longer strive for “picture perfect,” or anything even close–that way lies madness (trust me: I know this for a fact). The less I try to control things, decorate things, schedule things, and be all things for all people, the happier I’ve found that I’ll be. 

It’s not that I’m the Grinch . . . well, sometimes my inner Grinch does come out. Too much Christmas music, especially before Thanksgiving, will nearly always do it.

But I’d rather do a little judicious decorating than turn my house into a sparkling holiday jewel box. I’d rather check out Costco’s holiday dessert aisles and take home a few prize items than spend days on end baking 58 different varieties of Christmas cookies.

A Christmas tree glows just as beautifully in the dark when it has a moderate number of ornaments on it, as it would if you loaded it with every ornament you’ve ever acquired or been given.

And I’d rather laugh than write a long post. So perhaps you’ll enjoy this small collection of smiles (or perhaps wry grins) about the holidays.

I just had to throw in at least one “writer” comic. This is certainly what hope for, each year!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Eat Hard, Work Hard for the “Stressed” meme; to Love This Pic for the “Christmas Tree in the Dark” photo; to Brian Gordon for the Fowl Language comic, and to Shoebox Greetings for the Santa-on-Facebook comic–BOTH Kansas City-sourced! I deeply appreciate the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and her “Will Write for Chocolate” comics.

How’s the writing coming along?

The Artdog Image of Interest

We’re about halfway through Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month). Time to check in, again . . .

Whether you’re participating in Na-No-Wri-Mo or not, I hope your creative endeavors (whatever they may be) are going well. The creative process always involves frustration–but don’t let that stop you! Keep going!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi, her ongoing comic “Will Write For Chocolate,” and her Twitter feed for this image. It’s always a pleasure, “Inky Elbows”!

The writing process

Everyone who wants to write will eventually develop his or her individual way of writing, but if you’ve embarked on that effort it’s guaranteed you’ll also discover lots of ways that don’t work for you! It’s all part of the creative process. Keep trying. And consider these thoughts:

I’ve dedicated the majority of my posts this month to writers and writing. November is Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month), when writers all over the world are moving heaven and earth (or not) to carve out time to write a cumulative total of 50,000 words.

My life is currently in enough upheaval that I knew I couldn’t compete at that level, but I’d like to provide a small cheering section for those who can. Best wishes to all of you!

IMAGES: I’m grateful to Now Novel (and to Barbara Kingsolver) for the quote and image about writing for oneself. Also to Authors Publish and Freedom With Writing for the image and quote from Neil Gaiman. Many, many thanks to the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi, for her “Will Write For Chocolate” cartoons, including this one. And finally, I appreciate the image and quote from Beth Revis, as presented by Freedom With Writing. You’re all inspiring! Thanks!

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