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All posts for the month May, 2012

Excerpt #2 – The Sword of Danu

Published May 23, 2012 by christinenorris

Another little teaser for you all.  I will get one more out before the weekend…maybe.  Or I might just let you drool over these so you’ll buy the book…

 

A loud splashing sound behind them made Megan turn her head. The bridge was falling into the lake like a piece of wet spaghetti. The collapse started at the island and raced toward them.

“Too late. Run!”

It was difficult, since the water had risen to almost midcalf. Everyone splashed toward the shore as fast as they could. Ronan stopped for a moment to gather up the end of his cloak in one hand and prevent the wet wool from bogging him down.

The bridge continued to plop into the lake, and it was catching up. Megan tried to pull more speed from her legs, but with the water level rising, it was impossible to gain traction. Harriet was just ahead of her, completely lost to panic. There was still so far to go.

“Faster!” She passed Harriet, grabbing her hand on the way by and dragging her along. The collapse was only a few feet behind, and although the shore was close, it felt like they would never reach it.

Ronan and Rachel jumped to dry land and turned to face the lake, yelling for the others to hurry. Megan and Harriet had almost caught up with Claire, who was not a good runner under the best of circumstances, let alone through a foot of water.

Claire cast an uncertain look over her shoulder. As confident as she was about her brains, she was equally unconfident
when it came to anything physical. She tripped over her own feet playing soccer.

“Come on, Claire, you can do it,” Megan urged. “I know you can, but you’ve got to move!”

Claire’s speed increased a little. By now, Bailey had made it to shore. He stood with Ronan and Rachel, his hands balled into fists, pressed to his sides. Megan, Harriet, and Claire were still ten feet from the end of the bridge when the collapse caught up with them. All three dropped into the lake, screaming as they hit the water with a giant splash.

Megan flailed her arms, trying to get her bearings. Her feet touched the bottom, and she pushed upward. Her
head broke the surface; she took a big gulp of air…

And her feet were still on the bottom.

She shoved her sopping hair out of her eyes then twisted her upper body around, one way and then the other, trying
to make sense of what had happened. Claire and Harriet were nearby, spluttering with surprise as they stood in chest-high water.

There was a strange sound nearby, and at first Megan couldn’t quite place it. She dislodged the water fromher ears, and the source of the sound became not only recognizable but perfectly clear.

“Oh, shut up, will you! It’s not funny.” She pushed her arm through the water, sending a rooster-tail toward the shore, but it fell far short of where Rachel rolled on the ground, her face red from her howling laughter.

“Are you kidding? It’s hilarious! You should see the three of you, floundering about like refugees from the Titanic.”

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Teaser – The Sword of Danu

Published May 22, 2012 by christinenorris
So here’s excerpt #1 for The Sword of Danu (The Library of Athena, Book 4).  Enjoy!

Chapter 1– Trouble Always Knocks Twice

“Oh. My. God! Not again!”
Barefooted, hair dripping from the shower, Megan sprinted down the hall with her hands over her ears to block out the blaring of the burglar alarm, going off for the third time that morning. In her rush to get down the grand staircase she tripped, nearly colliding face-first with the eight-foot-tall statue of the goddess Athena on the landing.

Slipping and sliding on damp feet across the marble floor of the entrance hall, she managed to make it to the alarm panel beside the front door without killing herself or breaking any of the priceless antiques that filled the manor, which for her was a miracle.

“Shut-up-you-stu-pid-thing!” She punctuated each syllable with a jab of her finger as she keyed in the alarm code, all the while cursing whatever gods had decided that her blissfully quiet summer vacation needed some shaking up.

Two and a half months had passed without a single sign of the Order or its spies. Maybe they were on holiday, too, although she thought that was about as likely as it was for her to suddenly wake up in her apartment back in New York City. And now, on the day before she started her second-to-last year at St. Agatha’s College for Girls, the private school she attended here in England, the four month-old burglar alarm was having sensitivity issues.

She pushed the last number of the code, but the alarm kept up its incessant whine. Another try of the code was like pushing an elevator button, thinking it would make the car come faster—nothing happened. Maybe she had remembered it wrong?

“Why won’t you just be quiet!” She pulled a polished wand of wood from her back pocket and pointed it at the
alarm box.

“Quietis!”

A blue ball of energy erupted from the end of the wand and shot into the panel. With a loud POP, a shower of sparks, and the smell of ozone, the squawking alarm stopped, leaving its dulcet tones echoing in her ears.

“Crap.” Other words ran through her mind, but she wouldn’t say them out loud. She put her wand back in her pocket and punched the panel, angry for messing up. Again. “Bailey!” She probably could have used the bell pull
or even gone to find the butler, but yelling made her feel better.

“Yes, Miss?” Bailey appeared in the archway between the entrance hall and the lounge as if he had just popped into existence. He looked annoyingly perfect for so early in the morning—spotless, wrinkle-free black tails, the dome of his bald head shining as if he polished it like the banister.

“You roared?” Bailey’s face was dour and stoic, and Megan heard the disapproval in those two little words. He might as well have added what he really wanted to say in his nasal British accent: Shouting across the house
is rude, Miss.

Megan refused to let him guilt her into better manners.

Review – The Sword of Danu

Published May 20, 2012 by christinenorris

Here’s the first (!) review of The Sword of Danu. Eric is an ‘agency brother’, and was kind enough to read the book and review it on his blog, here. 

Much thanks to Eric!

Harry Potter becomes the Magic Tree House and then becomes so much more.  Jack and Annie become teenagers and embark on a National Treasure-like adventure.

 Christine Norris uses well developed characters that have a deep connection with each other and sends them on a fantastic mission – to recover the Sword of Danu.  The characters interact with each other well and that dynamic is expanded as other characters enter the scene.  I can picture the interactions in my mind; I can visualize the teenage girls vying for the cute guy – all done with a true sense of realism.

The wording is very descriptive and the conversations are appropriate and mature while keeping a sense of the audience.  The Sword of Danu is written for a younger audience, but that doesn’t make the book just for tweens, or even just for females.  The suspense is written well enough to keep anyone turning the pages.

The dragon scene is more Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but also has elements of The Hobbit.

The ending was somewhat cliché but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or well written.  A reminder of why teamwork is so important.

Overall, the book is a lot of fun to read.  It is lighthearted enough for the reader to enjoy the words with enough touches of seriousness to make the characters believable.  The ending is abrupt (which is good) and sets up the next installment of adventure.

More information on Christine Norris and “The Sword of Danu”: http://www.christine-norris.com/books/the-sword-of-danu

The Way of Publishing

Published May 19, 2012 by christinenorris

So, as with all things, publishing falls within the realm of Murphy’s Law– that which can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time. Thus has it been with getting this book out the door.

Everything started out great…I got the galleys in plenty of time. I went over them, picking up every little mistake (and only about 30 in 269 pages is pretty good, I think). Then I got to the end and noticed a HUGE continuity error. ACK. Wasn’t going to be a quick fix either, and I was headed out of town.

BUT… the place where I was had wi-fi. So I was able to fix the problem AND email the new bits to the editor. Whew!

THEN… I find out that the cover artist has totally dropped the ball insomuch as he has not finished the flat. The ART was done, but the flat was not ready. C.R.A.P. If I had not been planning to launch at Balticon, it would not have been an issue. But we are on a deadline.

Yes, I was freaking out. Just in case there was any question about that.

BUT…then last night my excellent editor emails me and says that we can make the art work. The flat will be done TODAY and uploaded to the printer. And then (barring any major catastrophes at the printer) the books SHOULD be ready by Tuesday.

I’m leaving Friday afternoon.

Again, awesome editor comes through. She will ship books TO THE HOTEL, so they will be there when I get there.

I seriously need an umbrelly drink.  Cross your fingers that all this works out.

Meanwhile, I will be posting teasers and reviews all week long.  If you will be stopping by Balticon, the launch party is Sunday night from 7-9 pm. I will only be staying until 8, since I have to head to a panel.  I will also be autographing and reading at the Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading, in case you miss the party.  But the party will have prizes and food 🙂

The Currently Official Balticon Schedule!

Published May 15, 2012 by christinenorris
So this is the as-of-now Balticon schedule. For Tea and Tarot, I WILL be doing readings, free of charge. Hopefully traffic will allow me to get to the hotel, check in, and arrive at the Mix and Mingle on time. We can always hope. I’m pretty sure I’ll make it.
 
SE-9a. Friday Face Time: Meet the Guests — Mix and Mingle
Friday at 9:00 pm in Con-Suite
Mix and mingle with the Guests of Honor and Balticon 46 Program Participants.
Moderator: Con Chair Patti Kinlock
Speakers: Jody Lynn Nye (Guest of Honor)


Autographing: Jaclyn Dolamore, Christine Norris and Jean Marie Ward
Saturday at 2:00 pm in Maryland Foyer
Jaclyn Dolamore, Christine Norris and Jean Marie Ward at the Autograph Table in the Maryland foyer.
Speakers: Christine Norris; Jean Marie Ward; Mattie Brahen


F-30. Tea and Tarot
Saturday at 4:00 pm in Frankie & Vinnie’s
The Maryland Faerie Festival and Chesapeake Pagan Community invites all for Tea and Tarot in Parlor 1041 at 7:00 PM, Sunday evening.
Speakers: Jamie Schoonover, Christine Norris


R-50. A Ritual of Passage for Modern Western Civilization
Sunday at 9:00 am in Salon D
Look to SF and Fantasy for sources: Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky is a good example of a story that tells us how to turn kids into grownups at puberty or early adolescence. Bring maturity into the teen culture, and ground the ritual in the larger culture. Do we want young adult literature to, without preaching at them, encourage young people to become responsible adults.
Moderator: Tyler Waldman
Speakers: Janine K. Spendlove; Paul D, Lagasse; Judi Fleming; Christine Norris

BL-5. The Eternal Launch Party
Sunday at 7:00 pm in Garden Room
The Dark Quest Books release of Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s Eternal Cycle Series of urban fantasy novels, including Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, and the newly released Today’s Promise, as well as other 2012 titles, to be announced. Be sure to stick around long enough to hear the music of SJ Tucker and Jonah Knight!
Moderator: Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Speakers: Jonah Knight; Mike McPhail; C.J .Henderson; Jeff Lyman; Neal Levin; Elektra Hammond; Keith R. A. DeCandido; John Hemry (Jack Campbell); Patrick Thomas; James Daniel Ross; Charles Edward Gannon; Bernie Mojzes; S.J. (Sooj) Tucker, Christine Norris (7-8 pm only)

T-4. Teen Writers’ Collaberation
Sunday at 8:00 pm in Parlor 1041
Teen’s put their heads together to write a short fantasy story. The moderator will present 3 themes, the group will choose one or, if they reject all 3, have 3 minutes to come up with and agree on a new one. The group has 5 minutes to choose a. to focus on theme or characterization b. to write as character/narrator or observer/narrator c. to write in present or past tense d. to go for serious or humorous e. to elect an “editor-in-chief”. Then they write! The moderators will assist or stay out of it to whatever extent the group requests, but will stay in the room to help with any creative crisis that comes up.
Moderator: T.J. Perkins

T-1. Fessing Up to the Adult Themes in YA Literature
Sunday at 9:00 pm in Parlor 3041
Young adult literature is growing up, tackling such hard issues as good and evil, abuse, abandonment, grief and loss. And then there’s sex. Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed or is no subject taboo for today’s teens? A roundtable of teens and YA authors discuss these topics and takes questions and comments from the audience.
Moderator: Jean Marie Ward
Speakers: Sarah Taylor; Janine K. Spendlove; Michael Andrew D’Ambrosio; Daniel Hack; Sarah Sexton; Christine Norris

R-36. The Discreet Charm of the Historical Fantasy
Monday at 12:00 noon in Salon D
What prompts otherwise sane writers to spend years researching the Imperial Japan, the Silk Road, or the Ripper’s London? How do they know when they’ve gotten it right?
Moderator: Christine Norris; Speakers: Michael D. Pederson; Diane Weinstein; Patrick Scaffido; Bill Fawcett; D.H. Aire; Jean Marie Ward

 

Get ready!

Published May 14, 2012 by christinenorris

Yes, so it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. Things have been happening at breakneck speed around here, which is why I’ve been away. Part of the reason is that we’ve been putting the finishing touches on THE SWORD OF DANU, which, if the gods are smiling and the wind is blowing right, SHOULD be available soon. This week soon. I plan to launch the book at Balticon over Memorial Day weekend, so keep your fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, that means I will be posting excerpts and whatnot…maybe doing a contest or two.

So get ready, because it might just get crazy in here.