Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book releases, new tales, and familiar chaos

Greetings Familiar Friends!

The new novel in my series, Tree of Bones, A Familiar's Tale, Book 2 (published by the fantastic Sky Warrior Books)  is available on Kindle and through all the normal channels. I have only one review so far (but it is 5 stars-thank you.)

If anyone has read and liked my novel, please post a review on Amazon. It is the kindest thing you can do for an author.

Am deep in the creation process on other projects. One of which is a heroic fantasy where the heroine is the core focus of core. Heroines rules my words. I cannot reveal much about the novel of course, but the lead character's name is Sabine Fable.

I have submitted my final book in the Familiar's Tale trilogy to my publisher (Fires of Rapiveshta). It is odd to have the tale completed. I will miss my characters.

More exciting is on the horizon as I hear about release dates for my other books. Until then...read more fantasy!


Verna McKinnon

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tree of Bones release date and preorder!!!!

Hello Familiar Friends!
Tree of Bones, A Familiar's Tale, Book 2, is available for pre-order from my publisher, Sky Warrior Books at Amazon!! Happy dance.
I want to thank all my friends and fans for their patience in the release of my second opus in my trilogy. This is the wonderful cover art.
This is the wonderful link to pre-order my novel!
More to come. Hugs and chocolate for all!
Verna McKinnon

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fires of Rapiveshta done and other insanity.

Greetings familiar friends and readers!

Just a quick update about Fires of Rapiveshta, the 3rd and final novel in my Familiar's  Tale series. It is done. Complete at 104,000 words and submitted to my overworked publisher at Sky Warrior Books. I finished in early June, but my brain was so spongy after months of intense writing, which was made easier by a friend who is a darn good editor with a practical eye.

I am looking forward to the release of Tree of Bones, the 2nd novel in the series. I have seen the preliminary cover art and am excited.

Currently, I am recovering and organizing my next writing projects. I have several in mind. Until then, read more fantasy!


Verna McKinnon

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Write, write, write.

I have reached the 50,000 word mark in Fires of Rapiveshta. Am on a roll and need to keep the momentum cranked up. I am about halfway through novel. So I will not be posting for at least 2 weeks. Think of me as I feverishly type the fates of my characters in final book of the Familiar's Tale trilogy. I will also be off social media for 2 weeks. Can I survive?

I will be living on coffee and chocolate. And mashed potatoes. Sorry, but I am hungry and it's lunch time. I love this stage of writing. It is a mad rush as it all flows. I try to imagine I look like this:

But I am more like this:

More to come. Stay tuned. Until then, read more fantasy!


Verna McKinnon

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Heroine Julian Crane of "The Man in the High Castle"


As I write about heroines and their importance, it is worthwhile to point out someone new and exciting. The character of Julian Crane in the series, The Man In The High Castle, is definitely worth noting. I have watched the 2 seasons on Amazon, and am thrilled it has been renewed for a third season.

The series (based on the science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick) is set in 1962 in an alternative timeline where the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy, won World War II. Life in this America is not pleasant or safe, no matter where you live. The west coast is controlled by Japan, the east coast Nazi Germany, and there is a neutral zone in the middle.

Juliana Crane is a heroine of great substance, though not in the usual tough girl format. Wonderfully played by Alexa Davalos, she is a soft spoken woman who loves her family. She is trying to survive in a world where life is cruel and can be snuffed out on a whim. When her sister goes missing, she does everything to find out what happened to her, connecting her with dangerous people. It send her on a deadly path where even the so-called good guys (resistance fighters) cannot be trusted. Juliana makes mistakes along the way. She wanted to find her sister and give her justice, which doomed her to be used. She does not actively betray anyone, but her compassion and mercy endanger her.

That's the thing. Her compassion is what makes her a great heroine. Not her fighting prowess or if she can shoot or blow things up. She wants freedom, but is not willing to do anything or hurt anyone to achieve it. People hated and judged her for it. The man in the high castle (the one behind the Resistance & the films) did not want her killed when she failed to kill a target, but the hotheads who had her in custody were just as bloodthirsty as their oppressors. They try to kill her, but her fortitude and drive save her. She escapes to Nazi America with both Resistance and Imperial Japan in pursuit, trying to survive again, and being used by the Resistance-again. She does not like the Nazi's anymore than her life in San Francisco. The Resistance use her but do not forgive. There are people who knew her and loved her too, who see her gentle strength as something great.  But they cannot help her. She mus save herself.

"The man in the high castle," an enigmatic man with control of the strange films people covet (will not explain here-watch the show) understands her importance.  He has seen her impact in every version of the world and knows why. Her compassion makes her special. She is the hope that binds in the mysterious films. Her kindness is not only the hope of the world, but an change the fate of the world.

More heroines and writing news to come.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holiday madness, novel outlines, and cookies

Hello Familiar Friends:

As the holidays explode and Christmas cookies and truffles destroy my healthy eating plan, I am still working on my tales. I have been writing a chapter a day of late. A good friend (Chris W you know who you are) acts as my unofficial editor as I burn up my keyboard. Thank you, Chris.   

I do not use a strict outline when I write. I have a basic rundown of what I want to happen and to whom, and rough chapter outlines as guides. But when I am writing, that's when everything clicks together and I take the story onward to its conclusion.  I know exactly what needs to happen to my characters for the whole series of "A Familiar's Tale," as I do for the newest series I am working on for Sky Warrior Books. The new series is about a Dwarven female heroine named Rose Greenleaf, (Bardess of Rhulon) and it should be out next year sometime. Am excited. Kudos to to my favorite editor, Carol Hightshoe, for editing my novels. She is the best. But I know the outcome of my tales before I sit down to write. The stories roil my head and are crammed into notebooks, but I know what to do. With me there is no guess work about what to write.

My biggest writing problem, like so many others I think, is procrastination. I am quite guilty of putting things off in favor of a good X-Files marathon or baking cookies. But when I am in writing mode, I'm a possessed creature, whose feverish typing curse is only broken when I reach the conclusion of the end of the novel. Also rewarded by cookies. Goodness, but cookies are on my mind aren't they. I blame the elves. Darn sugar cookies. Darn elves with high metabolisms.

So, as I finish up Fires of  Rapiveshta, A Familiar's Tale, Volume 3,  Enjoy a safe holiday season and beware of spiked eggnog and sneaky elves.  Tree of Bones is coming soon. Watch for it!


Verna McKinnon

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dana Scully! Heroine of Science Fiction & Fantasy


Hello Familiar Friends!

Of course I am not done with honoring the heroines of science fiction and fantasy. There are so many worthy of mention.  Speculative fiction is chock full of amazing female characters in TV, film, and books.  So I am continuing my tributes after a long hiatus. This week we pay tribute to one of my favorites-Dana Scully of the X-Files.

Dana Scully is one of the best heroines in sci-fi TV & film history. From the beginning in 1993 with her baggy 90's suits on her tiny 5'2" frame, to her style evolution with sleeker suits and better haircuts, Scully is one of our favorite heroines. Let's face it, a real busy career woman on the FBI with a load of college degrees never fussed about fashion or spending an hour on her hair in the morning. She did not have time to shop for hours. She had a busy important life. I am glad they did not try to glamorize Scully too much. Her confidence and choices changed with time, but it was never overdone. It was the character that was important, not whether she could pull off a plunging neckline with a push-up bra or wear the tightest jeans. Scully was a force to be reckoned with, armed with smarts, integrity, and a firearm, Dana Scully became a legend in our hearts from the first episode. 

Though she was originally tapped to spy on Fox Mulder to debunk his X-Files project, she never did that. She was better than that. She did not fight her orders, she just did what she thought was right. She wrote her field reports, but they were  directed from her point of view as a scientist. Mulder and Scully connected in an instant. A trust formed between them, a trust that would be their foundation for the rough years ahead. She was  honorable, an attribute Mulder (who trusted no one) sensed and embraced. She clicked with Mulder from their first meeting, and we clicked with her. She was a rarity in early 90's television, not only highly educated, (degree in physics and a medical degree from Stanford), but as a respected FBI agent, Dana Scully was treated as an equal, not only by Mulder, but by the FBI. This was refreshing to me when I first watched it. A new perspective that I relished with each week as they fought the conspiracy of darkness and lies.

Often, Dana would counter Mulder's obsession with her facts and science, but she did so out of concern and love that only a true friend would. She bucked the system in her own way, subtly refusing to do what the powers above her wanted-to destroy Mulder. Our girl did not play that. She never wavered in her loyalty to Mulder. She was his champion. She never deserted him. Dana's scientific mind was a needed component to offset the hunt for the aliens, mutants, and supernatural that drove Mulder. It helped us as an audience to see both points of view. She provided balance and science when needed for the cases. She also had her own experiences of the mystical via religious myths Mulder never understood anymore than she of the alien  and government threat.

Yes, everyone wanted them to be together, because their chemistry was off the charts. But for me, the most important element was the trust and friendship they developed. They suffered countless threats and dangers in their pursuit of truth and justice. They shared love in the final seasons and had a child Scully gave up for his safety (weep here). Motherhood was important to Scully, but she was denied this wish due to the government experiments which nearly killed her.

Death shadowed them both. They lost family and friends, suffered abductions, and deadly diseases. They survived. Through it all, they were true to each other, no matter what. When one was threatened, the other would move heaven and earth to save the other.  That is what made it worth watching season after season, and why the final season was lacking. X-Files is Scully and Mulder. No one else can take up their quest. That's how good the characters (and the actors) were. Dana Scully of the X-Files, we honor you this week.

More blogs to come. So until then, watch more X-Files.


Verna McKinnon