Category Archives: My Novels

Posts about my published novels and book-length works in progress.

CHS Review @Quillandquire

imageYesterday was one of those days. The kind where the computer attempts to die and the kittens take a leak on your dirty clothes, and when you go downstairs to pitch the reeking laundry hamper, the dumpster full of compost belches unspeakable fluids all over you. Plus the building’s hot water is down for the day for necessary annual maintenance.

You remember this last bit after you’ve peeled your clothes and begun attempting to decontaminate.

Then, in the evening, you hit yourself in the front tooth with a salad bowl without any idea of how you actually achieved that.

I spent much of the day alternating between grading student exercises and deconstructing my office, so the floor repair could get done today. Having to fix the floor so soon after having put it in has been a bit of a morale dampener.  (Then again, so was having those boards crackle underfoot.) Having to put the house back in a state where it looks as though we’re only half moved in has also been less than joy-inducing.

But! Kelly fixed the computer, I kinda hated that hamper, there was  (after a disheartening interval) just enough hot water even though the “Hey, we’ve turned on the fire again!” announcement didn’t come until two hours after I got in the shower, we’ll feel better when our floor no longer crackles, I might rearrange my office, the tooth didn’t chip and yoga, as always, heals much.

My dear friend Fearless wrote to say she loved my book, and the Quill and Quire did too. Which means, on balance, the day was definitely a win.

 

Tag, I’m It: Writer’s Process Blog Tour

write memeIn our last exciting episode, the kittens continued to be incredibly adorable, while Caitlin Sweet tagged me and Kelly in the Writer Process Blog Tour. She’s posted her answers to the questions in that meme here.

What Am I Working On?

I’m currently waiting for other people to get back to me on a few things, so in the meantime I’ve been writing short stories, putting together grant proposals, and looking over old projects. I wrote the first chapter of a mystery novel to see if I liked the voice and the direction I was considering. This week I reread a horror novel I drafted in about 2011, but haven’t yet rewritten. There are a couple anthologies I’d like to submit stories to, but I’m not happy with any of the ideas I’ve had for them.

(Yet, she said hopefully.)

In other words, I’m sort of snuffling around to see what grabs my imagination hardest. This is less fun than it probably sounds.

How Does My Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?

Early in my career a writer friend praised me for, essentially, having a wild imagination. Now, whenever I’m stuck, that’s where I try to push things. I’m not saying my work is more imaginative than anyone else’s–that would be insanely egotistical and untrue–but lately I’ve been getting praise from reviewers about the worldbuilding in Child of a Hidden Sea. I see the two things as being related: the positive reinforcement for some crazy-ass thing I wrote fifteen years ago and the invention of a world with over two hundred island nations, each with its own microclimate, magical resources and system of government.

By that token it could mean that imagining stuff means, for me, going out of my way to make it horrifically over-complicated.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

The only thing I don’t write much of is straight-up literary fiction, so the answer to this is: because I’m greedy! I want my mysteries, my horror SF, my seafaring adventure crime procedurals, my magical toxic spill sexfests, my thinly veiled Vietnam War stories. I write because I feel driven to write, unable to stop.

And I write all sorts of things because that’s part of what makes it fun.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I write drafts longhand, except when I type them directly into the computer or dictate them into a note on my phone. From there they go straight into a properly formatted manuscript document on a simple word processor–no Scrivener for me!–and I rewrite them from beginning to end. Then I rewrite them again. And again. And, OMG, again. And then I get someone to read it and I rewrite it again. And again. And again…

I often do over twenty passes on a single project. Sometimes I reach a point where I’m convinced it’s irrevocably broken, but I’ve invested too much time to quit. (Sometimes it’s irrevocably broken.) Other times, there’s a moment where the clouds part, and I see a fine thing shimmering just beyond my grasp, and I run after it like a fiend. Only, you know, from a seated position, in a coffee shop.

Eventually I find myself desperate to write something else, or making it worse rather than better, or the deadline comes, and so I send it off to market.

Tag tag tag! I tag Jessica Wynne Reisman and Gemma Files.

I’m a Functional Nerd! (for a Day)

imageMiss the sound of my voice? You can hear me on the Functional Nerds podcast today, talking about Penny Dreadful, a Twitter tiff Kelly and I had about whether (film) Tony Stark is a better man than (film) Steve Rogers, and, of course, Child of a Hidden Sea.

There are also new reviews on Eloquent Codex and BookNerd. And Julia, at All Things Urban Fantasy, says:

And it was just this mix of personal ability and magic that made this book irresistible. While exploring a new world is nothing new for contemporary fantasy, Sophie and her brother Bram do so with zest and personal abilities, not through the emergence of heretofore unknown magical legacies. Their very human approach, albeit aided by considerable intellect and prior knowledge in natural sciences, opens up this new world in a very believable fashion.

Midnight Garden Review of Child of a Hidden Sea

imageKim, over at Midnight Garden, has posted a squeeful 4.5 star review of the novel, and says, about Sophie and Garland Parrish:

…I think things are definitely leaning a certain way for future volumes and I am in eager anticipation of that! Parrish is a dreamboat. Handsome, kind, stolid, and giving out smiles but sparingly. You know how I love my stoic captain (yes he is a captain!) types.

She also notes, much to my delight, that it’s an adult book full of superfun things we usually reserve for younger readers: pirates, adventure, magic and “moments of grotesque horror.”

Hmmm. Sophie/Garland doesn’t necessarily make for an excellent romantic mash-up moniker. Sophland? Garphie? Definitely not Garphie.

Launch today! And a Bibliotropic Review!

imageThe Bibliotropic review of CHS says:

To say that Child of a Hidden Sea is indulgent fantasy is doing it a disservice, and yet I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It takes so many tropes that herald a bad story, and turns them into something that’s golden and great and nothing but pure enjoyment to read. An alternate world, a modern-day person being teleported to one, finding out she’s of that world all along (and with political clout, no less), these are all things that tend to have a person’s eyes rolling, and yet Dellamonica pulls them all off and makes a great story from them, set in an interesting fantasy world. Combine that with intelligent and diverse characters both on terms of ethnicity and sexuality, and you pretty much trip all my instinctive happy triggers for my reading.

Does anyone not know the book launch is today, at 3:30, at Bakka-Phoenix Books? If you need more info, let me know.

Dreamcasting Child of a Hidden Sea = Gross!

Campaign for the American Reader asked who I’d cast in a dream version of Child of a Hidden Sea. I’ll let you go there to see my answer, but if you’d rather play guessing games first, who’s this charmer gonna play?

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I have chosen a reading for this Saturday’s launch at Bakka-Phoenix Books in Toronto. I’m going to read the beginning of “The Boy Who Would Not Be Enchanted,” which is another of Gale Feliachild’s early adventures with Captain Parrish. This one is told from Tonio’s POV, and begins thusly:

The first time I stowed away on Nightjar, I was twelve.
She sailed into my beautiful city of Cindria, a swift cutter with pearly sails, dwarfed by the great ships of the trading fleet and the pleasure craft of our courtiers. Smaller, neater in aspect, without ornamentation, she slipped into port by night, like a doctor calling on a rich man who’d caught something embarrassing.
Aboard her were the woman they called The Hag, accompanied as always by Nightjar’s captain, Garland Parrish. The two of them visited our island’s Conto, bringing with them a whiff of faraway lands and espionage, government plots and excitement.
Irresistible, no? I’d had it in mind since childhood–sail away with them, just once, and catch a glimpse of adventure. So I offered to help my cousin Franceso take a delivery of sausage out to the crew, then lost myself in the hold when he was haggling with the cook.
I hadn’t counted on being a bad sailor.

If you’re local and you haven’t got an invite to the launch yet, consider yourself very welcome indeed! It’ll be at 3:30 p.m.; the store is at 84 Harbord Street. There will be a prize draw, snacks–including the delicious cookies you may have encountered at other Bakka events–and more of the above story.

Links and posts and a giveaway, oh my!

A. M. Dellamonica, 2014, photo by Kelly Robson
A. M. Dellamonica, 2014, photo by Kelly Robson

It’s been a fun couple of days. A pipe in our sink broke, necessitating emergency plumbing, and humidity made our front door swell just enough that we were trapped in the apartment yesterday morning. The security guy for our building had to come up and kick the door in so we could get to work.

I must say, if you’re going to be in a situation where your door’s getting kicked in, that’s probably the way to go.

Anyway, these bits and pieces of drama have delayed my telling you about Oh Magic Hour’s four-star review of Child of a Hidden Sea. Emily at OMH has also interviewed me, and the site is giving away a copy of the book in their Pirate Pack Giveaway, which is part of their Swashbuckling Summer event.

Go! Enter! Swash ye some buckles!

I’m also up at SF Signal with a bunch of other Mindmeld authors, talking about how to avoid Jo Walton’s Suck Fairy.

Last but certainly not least: Book Launch! If you happen to be in Toronto this Saturday afternoon, Bakka Books is holding the official Child of a Hidden Sea launch at 3:30 p.m. There will be cookies, a giveaway, and… me! I will probably read from one of “The Gales,”–I’m thinking about a Tonio story none of you has had a chance to read or hear.

Novel Gazing Redux reviews Child of a Hidden Sea

imageOver at Novel Gazing Redux, Marissa Lingen says:

Sophie loves her adoptive family like crazy, but she’s still curious about her birth family. When she goes looking, things get wild very very quickly. There’s an angry birth mother who wants nothing to do with her, there’s an aunt who’s slightly more reasonable, there are people attacking the aunt, there’s transit to a watery world of ships and weird magic tech and different species of bug and bird and sea critter, with variable languages and national customs…and the variable languages and national customs matter. A lot. If you’ve ever complained about books where it was raining on such-and-such an entire planet, Dellamonica has your back.

Gardner Dozois may have had a hand in that. One of the things I remember most from Clarion West was his throwaway mention that too many writers imperfectly imagine their SF-nal settings, and that in particular they simply assume that each planet (sometimes each solar system, or galaxy!) will have one culture, one language, and one government. A lightbulb went off.

Anyway, now I have a planet with two hundred and fifty nations. Plus assorted languages, religions, official state sciences and other cultural ephemera.