Monday, February 8, 2016

What a Difference Thirty Years Makes!

Tentative cover for Part I of MWFB
I have no artwork for Children
of the Music yet.
I'm in the process of formatting The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars for publication, and at the same time I'm scanning into the computer my early piece called Children of the Music. Yesterday I worked on MWFB in the morning and then scanned and edited another chapter of Children in the afternoon.

Viewing both books in such close succession caused me to be impressed by how my style has changed. Children was written in the late 1970s and MWFB was written somewhere between 2006 and 2010, after I had written the termite books. In the late '70s I was still under the influence of Tolkien -- heroic fantasy was the order of the day. Children is laid in an imaginary world with two races of humans who exist at a level of technology that is fairly primitive, agricultural or pastoral in nature. My style at times verges on the grandiose, and I use a lot of description of setting (I was impressed by how successful these descriptions turned out to be). By 2006 I was definitely a realist, writing about the future of Earth. This started in The Termite Queen and persists into MWFB.
And yet I feel both styles are equally effective for the purpose intended. In fact, I was impressed by the chapter of Children that I worked on yesterday. It depicts the invasion of a pastoral people by a horde of "barbarians" and it stirred me emotionally, which is a good sign. (It's been more than thirty years since I read the manuscript.) It has a feel of both high fantasy and realism.  And I consider the straightforward narrative technique of MWFB to be equally compelling. I'm going to give you an example from each book so you can compare them.

From Children of the Music:

The good weather held, with a flawless blue sky above their heads and a dry northwest wind from the mountains that blew briskly down the neck and whipped the long manes across the horses’ eyes.  At night the cold sharpened, but the days warmed enough to have made life pleasant if only the wind could have dropped.  In the early morning the east was hazed with river mist, but elsewhere and at other times the air was like crystal.  Always the white bluffs barred the west, drawing closer as the caravan progressed southward, and in their breaks the Epanishai could see the ruffled horizon of dark silver mountains. 
In his impatience Daborno pushed the caravan faster than usual, only to suffer on the morning of the fourth day a broken axle on one of the oldest wagons.  After heated contention with the wagon’s family, he ordered it to be abandoned.  “We haven’t time to repair it, by the god of this world!  Where do we get seasoned ash for an axle, tell me that?  What do I care if this wain was made in the south?  Load your goods on the oxen, curse it!  Disperse them among the other vans!  Sirrah, I don’t suggest – I command!  Get this line moving, you snails’ spawn!  “
“What’s the rush, Daborno?” asked Leftis irritably, when they were underway again. 
The Chieftain glanced darkly at Rashemia and made no reply.  Leftis followed his eyes and did not repeat the question.  The High Codian had uncharacteristically taken no part in the altercation and now she rode three or four paces ahead of them, head held high, face pale and eyes farseeing – hoodless, with the wind tearing at loose strands of her hair.  The sight of her imperious otherness made Daborno quake with apprehension.  So they rode, past midday, into the afternoon. 
Suddenly, in a silence of weariness, a low cry came from Rashemia’s throat.  She drove her heels into the brown gelding’s flanks and dashed toward a long, sere brake of alder and birch that seemed to mark the line of a dry watercourse.  After a moment’s hesitation Daborno spurred after her, with Leftis and his wife not far behind. 
The Chieftain crashed through the brush and reined up beside Rashemia, rising in the stirrups to look where her hand pointed.  Before them lay hay fields, with neat, round ricks ready for winter.  Some eight furlongs beyond, in the valley of a lucent silver stream, was a shepherd village surrounded by its frail palisade, its flocks scattered over the slightly rising ground to east and west. 
Along the bluffs not half a league from the village, the woodland of bare birches and hazel thickened, punctuated by the brilliant darkness of cedars.  Amidst the white and gray hatching of the trees, against the chalk brightness of the bluffs, an indistinct lattice of heavy, black shapes teased the eye. 
It was into that distance that Rashemia’s sight strained, but Daborno’s was nailed southward, on the broad, bare knob of land that rose beyond the stream. 
“Aftran.  Aftran!  Rashemia!  Is this it?” He clawed at her arm, her horse’s mane, its reins, half beside himself. 
“Yes.”  The confirmation came, blunt, toneless, crushing down the emotion. 
“Aftran!  Aftran!  We are here!” The words roared from Dabornos throat as he pivoted his astonished stallion.  Then the rowels were buried in the beast’s side and it leaped forward, streaking across the fields, with the other three behind. 
On the north side of the brake, the caravan heard and there were whoops and war cries of disbelief, of elation, of ecstasy.  Everyone who was mounted coursed through the trees and followed the Chieftain.  The drovers screamed at their cattle, stampeding them into the brush; the wagoners beat the oxen with their goads, heaved the wains with shoulder and hip and hand, slashed at the trees with axes to clear a path – shrieking, weeping with frustration at being left behind – abandoning the more hopelessly wedged vehicles to pound on foot after their lord. 
Through the fields east of the village the ragged line of riders and wagons hurtled, hoofs shaking the earth, cloaks flying in the wind, the bound hair of women loosening and streaming behind like black banners.  The wild yelling scraped across the ancient, sunlit air, raw and terrifying as the music of an untuned viol.  The foremost horsemen dashed helter-skelter through the stream; the drovers and the wagoners gave up their charges on the north side and forded on foot; every human creature of the Axe and Owl beat their way up the slopes of the round, bald hill. 
The cavalcade had passed not two furlongs from the easternmost flocks, paying no attention to the two shepherds who rose up with fright on their faces, stared momentarily upon the careering wildmen, then turned and sprinted toward the village to the west.  

Now here is a scene from The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars (a little background   will help: The SkyPiercer Project, flying a starship beyond the solar system for first time, has just been made public.  Robbin Nikalishin, who is to pilot that mission, feels compelled to call his mother after this revelation.  His relationship with her is strained and difficult, owing to a dire misunderstanding that took place during his adolescence):

Robbie called his mother when Kolm wasn’t there, because he knew his public charm would vanish the minute he had her on the link.  When she came on, she said immediately, “Congratulations, son.  I know this is what you always wanted.  You made it happen.  Like you said in the news conference, you saw the stars and you never let anything stand in your way.”
“That’s – not exactly what I said, Mother.”
“Well, it’s the truth, isn’t it?”
There was a silence.  Then Sterling said, “Are they going to give you any leave before you fly in August?”
“I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so.  I don’t think they want us having open contact with the public.”
“So … you won’t be able to come home then … ”
“Probably not.  I’m – sorry … ”
He heard a sound at the other end that he couldn’t identify.  “Mother?”
“What if you get killed?” she said harshly.  “You could, I’m quite sure.”
“Mother, a person can walk out the door and fall down stairs and get killed.”
“Don’t give me that trite old probability crap!” she retorted sharply.  “The chances are much greater of dying in what you’re doing and you know it!”
He made no answer, clutching the side of his head, feeling paralyzed of will.  Then he said, “Mother … how can you … really want to … keep seeing me … after all that has … ”  His voice petered out.
It was her turn to be silent.  Finally she snapped out, “I want to wish you a lot of luck, son.  I’m gratified that you’re accomplishing your dreams.  It makes all my hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.  I only hope the rewards you reap will be as great as you think they will.  And just in case something does happen to you out there, I’m going to say ‘Goodbye’ and I suggest you do the same.  You may never find the time to ring me up again before you go and it would be a shame for a son to die without having said goodbye to his mother.”
“God almighty … ” said Robbie in utter misery. 
“Goodbye, son,” said Sterling.  “Say it!  Say ‘Goodbye’ to me.”
“No, I won’t!  I won’t say goodbye …  Dammit, I’m not going to die, Mother!”
But she had cut the connection.  Robbie stood for a moment clutching the com piece, and then he turned and threw it as hard as he could across the room.
When Kolm tapped on his door later that afternoon, Robbie didn’t answer.  Alarmed, Kolm banged harder.  “Robbie, are ye in there?”
“ … ’s not locked … ”
Kolm opened the door and came to a dismayed stop.  “Holy cry, man, what are ye doing?’
“Working really hard … at getting rotten drunk … ”
“Damnation.”  Kolm hastily closed the door.  “Where’d ye get that bottle?”
“Over at … Base Exchange.  … sell the stuff, you know … ”
“Ye walked right in and bought it, afore god and everybody?  What if somebody reports you to Lara or to Teeter?”
“Yeah, I walked right in … could do it then.  Don’t much know if I could do that at the moment … ”
Kolm went to where Robbie was sprawled on the couch and jerked the whisky bottle out of his hands.  “Whatever in Mairin’s name provoked ye to break training like this?”
“They have no right … tell us we can’t drink.  Sometimes a man has to do something … sometimes there are things … a man can’t stand … ”  Robbie squeezed his eyes shut, his face contorting.
Kolm knelt beside his friend.  “Robbie, did ye ring up yer mother?”
Robbie twitched his head.
“Man, this is the worst.”
“That’s right.  The worst.  Goody, I’m never calling her again … don’t care what you say to me.  I can’t stand it.  I hope I never talk to her again … never see her the rest of my life.”
Kolm took Robbie’s head hard between his hands.  “Robbie, I don’t understand, but I feel terrible bad for ye.  If it takes such a radical thing to keep ye from goin’ to pieces like this, I guess I’d have to say I’m for it.  But it’s a terrible sad thing and I wish I understood about it, but I know I never can and that’s all right.  Now, are ye just gonna lie there, or are ye going to get up and let me pour some coffee down ye?  It’s for sure that ye’ve got to be over this by tomorrow mornin’, or the jig’s up.”
And so Kolm was able to pull Robbie together and no one was ever the wiser about his lapse.  But Kolm remained on guard, and if Robbie got particularly moody or seemed to be withdrawing into himself, Kolm made a special effort to stay close at hand.  Robbie knew this and was deeply grateful.  He understood all too well that the masonry on which his character was founded was not the most stable and he relied heavily on his friend to be his keystone.

So do you like one better than the other?
Or do you like them both?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Realism and Fantasy - How My Writing Has Evolved

FREE on Smashwords
    I've been comparing my enthusiasm levels between the present day and November of 2011 when I first started to self-publish.  I have to say that in those four years I've lost a lot of stamina and certainly a lot of enthusiasm for self-promotion.  I assume my encounter with chemotherapy last spring is partially responsible for that.  Still, I intend to keep going -- nibble away at forming a larger fan base as best I can.  I wouldn't know what else to do.
      I've also become more aware of just what kind of literature I write, and I don't mean cut-and-dried genres.  I think I've lost my taste for typical heroic fantasy.  Elves, ogres, dragons, evil sorceresses, superheroes -- unexplained magic in general -- don't seem to appeal to me these days. I prefer the dark recesses of human (or perhaps one should say, sophont) psychology. 
    When I got my new computer, I added a printer/scanner with OCR capability, and I've begun entering a work I wrote in the 1970's which I liked a lot at the time, and which is standing up fairly well so far.  And I discovered that even in the early days when I was more under the spell of Tolkien, I never was really completely comfortable with the whole heroic fantasy panorama.  My very first endeavors were quite Tolkienesque.  They included a race of immortals, with a wizard very much like Gandalf, white beard, staff, and all.  They also included a villainous Sorceress who wreaks havoc on the lives of the main characters.  That story went on and on but never really developed into anything I will ever be able to publish.  
       But the way I described it at the time was "realistic imaginary world fantasy."  I considered that this was what Tolkien was writing.  My writing included magic, but I never really was comfortable with something that can't be explained by natural processes.  
       But then I turned from that and wrote Children of the Music, the book I'm currently scanning. It's a prequel to the big earlier piece, and it doesn't really include magic.  It's a world like our own, with overtones of the supernatural.  This is a setup I still use.  My termite books include a lot about Seers' prophecies -- certainly supernatural happenings -- and a descent into the Underworld, which is a requisite element of any retelling of epic myth.
     However, I always leave wiggle room.  When Ki'shto'ba and Bu'gan'zei return from the World Beneath, the Companions have an argument about whether what they experienced was real or a dream.  The three rationalists in the group -- Di'fa'kro'mi, Wei'tu, and Za'dut -- never become completely convinced that it was real.  They think it was a vision induced by drinking from the Pool of Memory.  They point out that the King of the Dead never answers any question where Ki'shto'ba could not have already held the answer in its mind.
     Anyway, I discovered that I wrote in a similar way back when I started.  Children of the Music is laid in an imaginary world for sure, one that includes elements of the supernatural -- a holy spring, a people who are simple and good and who live in the flow of the Music, which symbolizes the basic holiness of all life and time.  Unfortunately, however, reality always has to intrude.  Nothing so wonderful as the Siritoch people can last forever.
       Now when I was writing about this world, something else bothered me.  It was vaguely meant to be on a different planet, but it was exactly like our own world -- the geography, the plants and animals, the pastoral lifestyle, etc.  I hadn't fully developed the constructed world (conworld) mentality.  I had not at this time begun writing conlangs, although the book includes an extensive naming language, with a couple of words of the Siritoch tongue translated (Thran, the name of the village, means "bald," from a nearby treeless knob of land; and Wal or Walanath means "Grandfather" or "Grandpapa").
      By the time I abandoned that world completely and went on to Ziraf's World depicted in "The Blessing of Krozem" (FREE on Smashwords), I had begun constructing a milieu much less like Earth. Everything is blue, there are two moons, there are spirit beings that live alongside the humans, and there are four gods who control everything that happens.  I also worked more on the language, although it still consisted of simply a vocabulary with only minimal grammar.  But the basic premise of a realistic depiction of an imaginary world was still there.  And dealing with the dark recesses of human psychology was a major element.
      After I started writing again in 2000 after a hiatus of 17 years, I turned to science fiction.  The worlds have to work on scientific principles, even when elements  of the supernatural are included.  And I became interested in future history -- how is the civilization of Earth going to evolve?  I've never liked dystopian stories much, so even though I gave Earth its Second Dark Age, I also used the optimistic ploy of allowing humanity to rejuvenate itself and come back more rational and stronger than it had ever been.  No magic here!  But still I leave room for the supernatural, particularly when I write about other planets.
       And so we come to The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, which I'm going to be working on simultaneously with Children of the Music.  It's definitely science fiction, laid on 28th century Earth and dealing with space travel, but it occasionally includes hints of the supernatural, and it definitely deals with the dark recesses of the human mind.

Four of my ebooks are on sale for 99 cents
through Friday, Feb. 5, 2016

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Can You Make Your Readers Cry?

Sentimental -- what does the word mean?
I found this picture at  North American Victorian Studies Assoc.
No artist was given or further credit,
but it certainly sums up Victorian sentimentality
       According to, sentimental means "expressive of or appealing to sentiment, especially the tender emotions and feelings, as love, pity, or nostalgia [as] a sentimental song."  But the entry goes on to give another meaning: "weakly emotional; mawkishly susceptible or tender [as] the sentimental Victorians." It's that latter meaning that critics commonly employ when they condemn a book as sentimental.  I was always taught as an English major to avoid sentimentality at all costs.
       Yet as a writer I agree with that only up to a point.  I certainly believe that excessive, unjustified emotion should be avoided.  The story that dwells on the "tragedy" of a dead kitten or emotes for pages about how much a mother loves her dying child is not my cup of tea.  And of course I think many stories don't require any sentiment -- for example, murder mysteries or crime stories, especially the kind where the fun part is solving the mystery; or straightforward adventure tales, like the Indiana Jones movies; or a lot of science fiction, particularly the space opera variety.
       But any story that focuses on character needs to bring the reader to tears at some point, because that demonstrates that the author succeeded in making the reader care about the character.  If you read straight through and close the book and say, "That's an OK story, but now I'm done at last and I can forget about it" -- or worse, if the reader abandons reading halfway through, saying, "Ho hum, I just can't get involved emotionally with these characters," then I fear the writer has failed.
       Can you believe that a number of people who have read my series The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, and also its precursor, my novel The Termite Queen, have told me they have teared up or even wept at certain points of the stories?  I take that as a great compliment.  My characters are mostly giant extraterrestrial termites (called the Shshi) -- bristly, rather stinky bugs with no facial expressions beyond what their antennae can convey and strange habits like eating their primary dung in order to extract all the nutrients and also recycling their dead by eating them and thus conserving the protein.  How can you cry over such repulsive creatures?
       The fact that you can proves that I made them "human" -- I made them relatable to the human  psyche.  I read a SF book once (and frankly I can't remember the name of the book or its author now) that had an extraterrestrial race that was amphibious -- big frog-like creatures that spawned in water.  It was narrated from the point of view of the humans who had made first contact with that race, and I never could feel any relationship to them -- they remained remote and just too "alien."
       I think mine is successful partly because I tell the story from the point of view of the Shshi.  In The Termite Queen the point of view switches between the human anthropological team and the Shshi with whom first contact is being made, but the Ki'shto'ba series is narrated entirely from the Shshi perspective, allowing the reader to delve into their essence.  The reader can identify with creatures who have moral principles (or lack them, or are misguided), who care deeply about each other and the foundations of their way of life, who work together, rejoice when something good happens and grieve over loss.  They live full, realistic lives, which means not everything can always work out the way the reader might like.  That can make the reader say, "Not this character!  How could the author do that to this innocent character?" and that can bring on tears.
       I consider tears of that sort to be genuine emotion, and genuine emotion cannot be characterized as sentimentality.  Just killing off a character does not make me weep -- you've got to care about the character that was killed.  That's why we have "red shirts" -- because we need a surrogate for the main characters in whom we have a lot invested.  I can't give anybody instructions on how to make the reader care -- I'm not much of a teacher of writing skills -- but I seem to have succeeded with everybody who has read the entire Ki'shto'ba series.  Heck, I even succeeded with myself -- if I read some of the painful parts after being away from them for a while, I end up weeping over them every time!

       Why don't you give my books a try and see for yourselves if I succeeded?

Buy my books at

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A 28th-Century Christmas in Ireland

Wearing his "Mairin and Jaysus"
medal.  The drawing could use a
little retouching, I think.
I'm preparing my WIP, The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part 1, for publication. Some of you may remember that it's a fictionalized biography of Robbin Haysus Nikalishin, the starship Captain who made the first contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life in the 28th century  As a child attending the Epping Science Academy in the Islands of Britan, he became close friends with a fellow student,  who hailed from Eira, as Ireland is called in that period.  Kolm's home is an agricultural co-op not far from Wicklo, and when Robbie was 17 years old, he went home with his Eirish friend Kolm MaGilligoody, to spend the Midwinter Holiday on his family's farm near Wicklo.  I published this excerpt once before, but I thought it would be appropriate to republish the post.  (I've added a drawing of Kolm MaGilligoody that I made a long time ago.  I don't think I've published it before.)
       Some of you may also remember that in my future history, Earth has banned the open practice of religion because of the evils that dogmatic religious institutions have perpetrated over the millennia.  However, remnant groups of several different ancient religions have persisted and are tolerated as long as they keep a low profile, do not proselytize, and do not form organized entities dedicated to the promotion of their beliefs.  The Remnant Romishers in Eira are one such group.  Parenthetically, Robbie's middle name, Haysus, is an anglification of the Spainish Jesus, so he is always curious about the linking of the name to a god.
       Here is the excerpt from Chapter 9: Robbie's First Visit to Eira.
       Robbie had never heard of anything like the Eirish Midwinter festivity; his knowledge of the Romish religion came solely from a brief exposition in one of Prf. Doone’s classes.  Kolm’s father explained that the celebration took place on the solstice and incorporated elements from what ancient Romish worshipers had called “Krismess.”  The MaGilligoodys set up an array of little figurines in a cave-like setting; they called it a “kraytch.”  There was a woman in a blue gown with sparkly trim on it, a baby lying in a cradle, and a man standing beside them.  From the top of the cave projected a wire with a star on it, something like the star on Robbie’s space plane. Sheep and donkeys and (mystifyingly) a camel were arrayed around, and winged fairies were stuck up on the wall behind.  Facing this tableau were two men dressed in bright robes, holding out a box and a vial. 
       Kolm said, “There are supposed to be three of those, but last year one of ’em disappeared.  I think maybe one of the cats got holt of it and carried it off.”
       “What’s it represent?” asked Robbie, watching Kolm’s Grammy lighting fat beeswax candles at each end of the scene.
       “It’s the birth of that god-man Jaysus that’s on me medal,” said Kolm.  “That’s his mother Mairin watchin’ over him.  He was supposed to have been born this time of the year – that’s what we’re celebratin’.”
       “Who’s the man?  I thought you said he didn’t have a father.”
       “It’s his foster father, name of Josef.  Mairin was married to him, ’cause that was back in the days when women had to have men to look after them.”
       “What’s the star for?”
       “They say it burst out bright in the sky at Jaysus’s birth.  Probably a supernova, you know, if it ever really happened a-tall.  And the family was so poor that the babby was birthed in a barn, and yet this star set up right atop it.  Those chaps in the robes – they call ’em Wise Men – Professors, most likely … they got its coordinates and brought fancy gifts to Jaysus to show they recognized he was a god.  It’s supposed to have happened somewhere at the east end of the Mediterrian, where it’s all a Devastation Zone now.  A pretty tale, it is.”
       “And you Eirish really worship this god?” asked Robbie, looking at Kolm’s father.
       “Oh, I don’t know that I’d call it worship, lad,” Mat MaGilligoody said.  “But we Eirish tend to be a superstitious lot.  If it’s not gods, it’s fairies, ye know.  Two of those even got hooked up in this tale, ye can see there.  It’s just part of our tradition to do these here things at Midwinter – a nice, peaceful way of celebratin’.”
       Robbie found it totally bizarre, but nevertheless he stood looking at the baby and at the mother and at the star, unable to interpret the emotions stirring within him.
       On the solstice they had a big feast (the main course was goose, which made Robbie a little uncomfortable, afraid he was eating the one whose acquaintance he had made) and then they sang traditional songs.  Some were in an ancient tongue whose meaning was unknown even to the MaGilligoodys, but one was in an archaic dialect of Inge. 
Silent night, holy night ...
All is calm, and all is bright
Around the virgin mother and child –
oly infant, all tender, all mild …
May they sleep in a haven of peace …
Sleep in a haven of peace …
 Robbie thought he had never heard a song so tranquil and so moving.  “That mother and child – that’s your Mairin and Jaysus?” he asked.
       “Right.  The same as is in the kraytch,” said Mat.
       “I can’t help being a little surprised.  I thought the ancient religions were supposed to be violent and evil.  This doesn’t seem that way.”
       And Kolm’s mother said, “I’ve an idea, friend of me son, that none of them was violent in its heart.  I think it’s the hearts of humans that misunderstood the Right Way and made ’em so.”
       Later in the evening, Kolm played a tin whistle, a talent Robbie hadn’t known he possessed, and Kolm’s father played a grotesque musical instrument where the air was forced through a bag.  They told ancient Eirish stories that included tragic romances between humans and fairy folk, and they drank mulled ale; it was not Robbie’s first taste of alcohol, but it was his first time to drink a little more than was wise.  The next morning he was privileged to experience his first hangover.
       When the time came to return to school, the boys treated themselves to a sea journey – taking an excursion boat across Sainjorge’s Channel instead of catching a wing hopper.  The craft was operated by Gwidian Tours, the enterprise of an old family of seafarers from Kardif.  It was yet another first for Robbie – his first time to bob on the waters of the sea.  He got a bit queasy, but it excited him tremendously, and he hated to see the trip end.
       “Ye’re kinda quiet, lad,” said Kolm, as they neared the harbor.  “What are ye thinking about?”
       “I’m thinking that I envy you, Goody,” Robbie replied.  “I didn’t know – I couldn’t have realized – how happy people could be … with a family like yours … ”
       Kolm clapped him on the shoulder.  “Well, ye do seem to have had a bit of a rough time in yer life, friend of mine.  But ye’re welcome in my family.  Ye’re welcome to come back and soil yer boots in the goose shit as often as ye like!”

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fathers and Demons: Another New Review

At this point in time, Neil Aplin's new 5-star review of Fathers and Demons has appeared only on Smashwords.  I'm hoping he puts it up on Amazon soon.  Here is the review:

       In Fathers and Demons; Glimpses of the Future, Lorinda J. Taylor develops the character of one of her most fascinating protagonists, the Captain Robbie Nikalishin, who despite constant mispronouncements of his surname conquers this as well as the traumatic initial journey into the depths of the galaxy from a previous novel to find himself strong enough to accept the offer of a second mission, whilst at the same time learning more of the nature of the remnants of religiosity in the 28th century, particularly the Jewish culture and faith, interlaced with a generous helping of ruminations on the father-son/mother-son relationships.
       Perhaps an unusual juxtaposition for a story to start from, but Lorinda J. Taylor's imagination never strays too far from the unusual, and never fails to extract empathy and interest in equal measure from the reader. It is a concoction worth the sampling. Looking at the world through Robbie's eyes can be frustrating and indeed sometimes challenging, but never dull!
       We await the next episode of the Nikalishin saga with anticipation, not a little dread but the hope of some success.

The "previous novel" that Neil Aplin mentions is my WIP The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars.  I'm definitely planning to publish the opening segment of that marathon opus as soon as I can fit it into my schedule.  At the moment I'm still working on the sequel to the series The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head.  More information will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

TermiteWriter Is Being Interviewed on Internet Radio!

Annette Rochelle Aben kindly invited me to be interviewed on her program "Tell Me a Story" on the internet radio channel "The Magic Happens."  The interview will be live at 1:30 pm EDT, or you can access the Archive after the program airs.  Here's the URL for both the live broadcast and the Archive:

There is also a Facebook event running simultaneously.  The URL for this is 

I've made the ebooks of both volumes of The Termite Queen and 
v.1 of The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head (The War of the Stolen Mother)
only 99 cents
at both Amazon and Smashwords from today through Oct. 25!
So you have no excuse not to get acquainted with my writings!

Here are links for all Amazon outlets for the three books:
The Termite Queen, v.1:
The Termite Queen, v.2:
The War of the Stolen Mother:

I hope you'll join Annette and me!  I'll try hard not to bore you!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New 5-Star Review of Fathers and Demons

Here is a new review by Christopher Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape).  Amazon seems to be playing around with reviews again, because if you want to see this review there, you'll have to click on the 5-star bar.  It won't come up if you click on "See all reviews." 

       As with her series about Intelligent Termites, the author has researched deeply and given great consideration regards how to best use the knowledge she has gained.
       In this book (a precursor to her next story in this new series), the author has surmised how religions may have evolved by the 28th Century, particularly Catholicism and Judaism.
       Two characters, the Captain and the Chief Engineer, are survivors from a previous (failed) attempt to achieve deep space / intergalactic travel and the experience left them profoundly scarred mentally.
       However, with time and treatment, they have both been finally deemed fit to lead another attempt to conquer space.
       This book chronicles their individual journeys to understand and overcome their lingering fears regarding a malevolent 'something' they feel exists in deep space and is waiting for them.
The Captain, who has no religious beliefs of his own, has already learned some things from Catholicism that have offered him limited comfort and he now attempts to learn from Judaism.  I learned much from the wedding scenario being performed according to 'Judish' customs and beliefs, even more during the reception.
       The Chief Engineer, however, feels a strong need to meet and reconcile with his strong willed, opinionated Father and the Mother who ran away when he was in his early teens.
       It is true that there are no 'action packed moments' in the story, but that does not detract from the skill involved in building up the background of these two characters and help us understand their decisions and actions in the next book.

Thanks you, Chris, for great review!
Buy this book at the following sites: