I love autumn and winter.
Those are my favourite seasons - they're cold and snowy, without being soggy like spring. The air always smells like woodsmoke (in summer, the air smells like barbequed beef - which isn't always a bad thing, except when you walk home from the busstop with steak on your mind and you end up with boring old tuna casserole on your plate).
The nights are getting longer, the clouds are descending, and the shadows are gathering everywhere - to me this isn't a bad thing. It makes me feel warm and safe and cozy, as if I'm a tired moth cupped within the shelter of someone's hands. To sit in bed with a lamp on and a novel in front of me, it is bliss. I am learning to love reading again, although I'm still having trouble sitting down to write anything. The moment I start, it becomes work, so I start procrastinating. Ah well, "Desert Muse" is almost finished, and soon I'll start pestering Mother to read it and then set it in front of my online Writer's Group to see what they think.
I uploaded the first chapter of The Shining Empress onto the Writer's Group forum, and they basically concurred with what my mother thought of it.
I'm very talented at establishing imagery with my words, but too often I use three words where one would suffice. Also, my main character's a total bitchface. She gets better - but not that much. I always found Kisaino entertaining, and it was great fun to write about how silly she is, but that doesn't necessarily mean that other people will have fun reading that.
One different between what my mother thought, and what the people at the Fantasy Writer's Group thought probably had to do with the fact that the folks in my group were more used to reading fantasy than my mother.
My mother reads fantasy occasionally - Charles De Lint, the Anita Blake books, Jasper Fforde's stuff - but I don't think she reads it the same way I and the group members do. She found the names of my characters bewildering; if they both started with the same letter, she confused them - for several paragraphs she thought my warrior prince was a girl. The group members never quibbled about the names, although I suppose we're used to it. After all, I'm reading Robert Silverberg's The Queen of Springtime for Green Man Review, and half the time I think he picks his characters' names by closing his eyes and jabbing blindly at his keyboard.
Anyhoos, I'm starting to learn that I'm going to have to trim my prose down, and make more likable characters.
Next up: I'm going to be publishing my gigantic Books to be Read list - if you've read any of these books before, send me a comment about whether you liked it!