Monthly Archives: August 2014

Doctor Who: Deep Breath– A (mostly) spoiler-free review

Author’s note: Trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but am hesitant to declare anything spoiler-free as some people would consider it a spoiler if you mention that there is a dragon in The Hobbit. (Oops, sorry. Let the cat out of the bag on that one)

So, first impressions: Deep Breath blew my mind. Possibly the best Doctor Who episode ever, and this is coming from an obsessive life-long fan.

Surface stuff: My steampunk self was squeeing non-stop– Victorian London, scary automatons, all sorts of gears and levers and a hot-air balloon.

Great checking in with the Paternoster gang. Especially loved Vastra and wife quibbling like any other married couple. Not sure if Strax’s descriptions of the various regenerations made it to the network version (I went to the theater), but hearing the Sontaran take on the first 11-plus regenerations was hysterical.

Also, the creepiest episode I have ever seen, and all without any on-screen gore. And much of it written over the head of the wee ones (At least, I sincerely hope the wee ones don’t get the implication of what the hot air balloon was made of.)

Lovely bit of clever ambiguity in the end, with one question never quite answered.

Lots of great inside jokes for fans, and lots of Scottish jokes as well. (More squee)

On to the deeper stuff, and oh, sweet gods, is there a lot of depth. Perhaps the first regeneration story to realistically address what it must be like for the companions/friends of the Doctor when, hey-ho, it’s a brand new and different him. Also explores the true nature of love, be it romantic or otherwise. (To quote the bard, which no one in the ep did, but should have: ‘love is not love that alters when it alteration finds’). With perhaps a slight meta-comment about the loyalty (or lack thereof) of certain groups of fans.

We meet a Doctor that at once harkens back to the tough, ready-for-action, maybe even a tiny bit ruthless Doctor of the Pertwee era, and yet is in some ways the most vulnerable of them all.

The first episode with a new Doctor is always a bit scary to die-hard fans. If this season continues as it began, I, for one, am ready to fall even more deeply, hopelessly in love with the series.

Gold Medal for Ravensblood!

So proud to announce that Ravensblood has won a gold medal in the Global Ebook Awards!

Blog Tag 2: Describe Your Protagonist

We interrupt our semi-regularly scheduled Cool Stuff blog story to play another game of blog tag. I was tagged by author Veronica Scott ( and challenged to answer the following questions about the protagonist of my current work-in-progress. In my case, it’s a bit of a cheat since I’m working on the sequel to Ravensblood.

Note to those who have not yet read Ravensblood (and why haven’t you?): There may be what some would consider SPOILERS below. About on the level of what you would get if you read the cover blurb of the second book of a series before you finished the first, but since some people are sensitive about that sort of thing, I thought it best to include a warning.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Corwyn Ravenscroft, or Raven, is a fictional character.


2) When and where is the story set?

In an alternate universe/parallel universe version of contemporary Portland, OR (and environs), a world where magic is real, life is full of impossible choices, and sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils.


3) What should we know about him/her?

Raven is the last heir of an ancient family of dark mages. As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he had turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time. William wanted a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not have been a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.
In the last book, Raven discovered that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.
He became a spy for the council that William wants to overthrow. His contact is the Guardian Cassandra Greensdowne, his former lover and apprentice.
In this book, Raven has won his pardon but is still very much an outsider in the Three Communities, although he has done some informal pro bono consulting for Guardian International Investigations, where Cassandra now works. He may find that he has more friends than he realizes— though his enemies are both powerful and determined.


4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

The Ravensblood is an immensely powerful dark magic artifact that Raven created in the beginning of the last book, an artifact that is instrumental in his defeat of William. It is taken from him by the Council at the end of the last book and held under the highest of security. When the Ravensblood is stolen, Raven is accused of the theft, his pardon is revoked, and he is on the run.
As long as the Ravensblood is in unknown hands, the Three Communities are in danger. Raven, Cassandra and their allies start to wonder if William is really dead. Meanwhile, an unknown enemy is moving in the shadows.


5) What is the personal goal of the character?

If you asked him, he would probably tell you that it is to live his life quietly and without harassment, research magic, go to the opera and play chess with his bookstore-owner friend, and be with Cassandra as long as she’ll have him. Yet he has an unmet and unacknowledged need to find a place in the community, or at least to find a community that has a place for him. He loves the challenge inherent in the sort of work done by Guardians. And his conflicting and unresolved feelings about his family history and his identity within it are about to bite him on the butt.


6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The working title is Raven’s Wing. The pre-publicity is still under wraps— look for a cover reveal, a book trailer and an Indiegogo campaign in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have not already read Ravensblood, the first novel of the series, you can find it here:
There is also a two-pack of short story prequels, Duet for Ravens, available here:
Or look for links elsewhere on my website, or simply plug my name into an Amazon search.
The trade paperback edition of Ravensblood is also available at Another Read Through bookstore in North Portland.



7) When can we expect the book to be published?

Tentative release date is Winter Solstice of this year (12/21/14)