Author Patrice Sarath

Welcome! I am the author of The Crow God’s Girl, the third book in the Books of the Gordath cycle published by Ace Fantasy. My novel The Unexpected Miss Bennet is published by Robert Hale Ltd and Penguin Berkley. You can find excerpts of my novels and a few of my short stories via the Tales link above, and learn more about me in my blog. Thanks for stopping by.

26 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Best short stories of 2015

This time, folks, I’m doing it right. I’m going to  keep a running tally of stories that I really liked so that when review season comes around, I won’t be scratching my head going, what did I read again? Feel free to ping me with the stories that you have read so I can read them!

Beautiful Boys, by Theodora Goss. First published in Lightspeed in January 2015.

Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Apocalypse, by Claire Spaulding. First published in Daily Science Fiction in February 2015.

Labyrinth, by Amelia Grey. First published in The New Yorker, February 16, 2015.

The Other Side of Pain, by Haley Isleib, First published in Daily Science Fiction in March 2015.

This is the Story that Devours Itself, by Michelle Muenzler, Daily Science Fiction in March 2015.

 

 

18 July 2013 ~ 1 Comment

What readers want

A book is like a faerie door -- enter at your own peril.

A book is like a faerie door — enter at your own peril.

Announcing a new blog series, and I’m looking for your input. What Readers Want asks readers of all genres what they are looking for in a good book (or not so good book, we don’t judge). This isn’t market research per se; no one is going to run out and write a book based on elements people post here. But it’s a fair way to get at the mystery of what makes a good book.

So readers: Are there things you miss in books? Things you love? Things you are so over, you wish the genre would move on already?

Tell us all about the characters, plots, and settings that make your heart sing or the opposite — the ones that disappointed. I want to hear from you!

What Readers Want:

What do you like in a good book?
What ruins a book for you?
I want a protagonist who…
I want an antagonist who…
I long for settings and plot that…
I like series that…
I will read anything that has…

Answer in the comments or ping me with an e-mail on the contact form.

 

03 July 2013 ~ 4 Comments

YA vs NA

What’s the difference between YA and NA (New Adult)?

Depends on who you talk to. For some agents and editors, NA specifically means sexytimes, and NA is therefore shelved with women’s fiction. For other agents and editors, NA may have adult themes and older protagonists, but it doesn’t have to have adult sexual content.

With so many adult readers reading YA, it was inevitable that novels aimed at the 18-25 year old bracket would make it onto the shelves. I myself believe that it directly comes out of the fanfic and slash fandom communities. I think NA can be a fantastic addition to books for adult readers. Some YA is middle grade and younger, and while it’s great stuff, it doesn’t have the sophistication (perhaps) that can be enjoyed by older readers. Also, many 16 year olds may not want to be seen reading stuff for younger kids.

Ace fantasy book Red Gold BridgeBut does that mean that YA for older (say 16-18 year olds) is going to give way? Will there be a market for books for older teens that explores adult themes but doesn’t necessarily include adult content? Are we narrowbanding the genre and constricting it so much that we lose some of the upper-age group for this genre?

In my own books, the Gordath Wood series, they are definitely not YA, though the character of Kate Mossland is just barely 16 in the first book, and is only 17 by the third — and by then she has not only grown up, she has changed the very course of the history of her adopted country, and is embarking on a relationship with an older man. Although there is frank talk of sexuality, especially birth control, there is very little sexual content.

crow-gods-girl-front-smcrowYA or NA? I’m not sure.

What do you think of the new NA genre?

03 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

To write is to live…

But to live is to have something to say.

Lately I’ve read a number of essays and posts on writing, finding the time to write, and the impact of living — having children, a job, obligations — on one’s writing. It is no secret that women have less time to write than men. We bear children and raise them, and even if we work hard not to gatekeep, it is usually our time spent in the drudgery of child-rearing, not our husband’s.

I read somewhere that Ursula Le Guin felt she lost a novel for each of her children, that the time she would have had to write was given over to motherhood. Implicit in this statement is a sense of frustration, no matter how matter-of-fact she may have said the words.

And yet. We don’t have to bear children to lose time. Anything can take it from us — illness, caregiving, and even good things like travel, moving house, a career, a sport, a hobby. We can lose time by wasting it, by deciding that writing isn’t what we want at the moment, until we want it back again. Writer’s block can force us to wait, impatiently, for inspiration to strike, for long-atrophied muscles to get back into the habit of daily word.

We can be blocked by fear and we can be blocked by joy.

We should not blame our children for not writing. The physiological and mental changes of being pregnant and giving  birth are real and undeniable, and there is a price to be paid for motherhood that fathers don’t tend to pay. Lack of sleep, the very fact of giving our bodies to nourish our young, the emotional changes that both challenge and exhilarate, all of these factor into a barrier to sitting down and writing. Post-partum depression is real and debilitating, and the crushing melange of fear, love, exhaustion, rage, and happiness that accompanies the first year of our children’s lives should all be acknowledged and accepted and bitterly fought, and negotiated, and bartered, and challenged every step of the way. We should understand why we are blocked, and we should never let it stop us, and we should also know that it’s very purpose is to stop us. Biology grabs us by the lapels and screams at us — stop! You have only one job now, and that is to nourish the next generation at the cost of your self because your self doesn’t matter. Only protection of your genetic legacy matters. And we feel this from deep within our core, because it’s programmed in our cells. As far as biology is concerned, your soul, your desires, your ambition, and your emotions are useless. The only thing that matters is being a mother.

Be warned: Biology is a selfish asshole. It doesn’t care about you, and you should not care about it.

The point is this: life gets in the way of writing all the time. You don’t have to have a baby to be kept from writing. It’s only that women are made to feel bad about it.

From Bea Ballard’s obituary of her father, J.G. Ballard:

He had raised three of us single-handedly following my mother’s premature death when we were five, seven and nine. It was the 60s, when single fathers didn’t do that sort of thing. Most of his friends were sceptical. But he did raise us, as father, mother and much more besides. Fortunately for him, and for us, his work as a writer meant he could work from home and juggle writing with the care of us. So in between school runs, ironing school ties and cooking sausages and mashed potato, he wrote his novels and short stories – one minute conjuring up wild dystopias, the next watching Blue Peter.

There are a lot of things to unpack here. One is that for everyone, writing time is at a premium. Women have less of it than men do. Sometimes that is because our time is devalued by others and sometimes it’s because we devalue it ourselves, and we hand over the time we should be keeping to ourselves.

Another thing to unpack: writing time should be at a premium. We should be living. Doing. For some women, that means raising a family, whether we stay home or have a career outside the home. But that’s not the only path. Think of all the things you want to do, that fulfill you.

Long drives by yourselves. Painting. Woodworking. Learning languages. Dancing. Singing. Playing softball. Arguing politics. Having dinner parties. Volunteering. Dog training. Bike riding. Hiking…

It’s not writing. It’s living. And we should all be doing more of it, not less.

So when we think about the ways that our lives have constrained us and kept us from writing, we should think, yes. Yes, my life has kept me from writing.

But at least now I have something to say.

 

 

 

 

 

28 February 2015 ~ 0 Comments

My three Jewish Dads: Sarath, Nimoy, Oppenheimer

Edward Sarath, my dad.

Edward Sarath, my dad.

There were two men who reminded me of my father: Leonard Nimoy and J. Robert Oppenheimer. As a teenager I conflated the three of them so much that I think I may have intertwined details of their lives and thoughts with that of my real dad.

 

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

I of course came to know Nimoy through Spock, but it was never Spock that I was thinking of. It was always Nimoy.

 

J. Robert Oppenheimer

J. Robert Oppenheimer

And after I did a project on the Manhattan Project for History in high school, I definitely conflated Oppy with my dad. So essentially I have these three Jewish men in my life who were all one great big mixed-up father figure. I look back now and just shake my head — who knows that goes in the human heart that it recognizes something essential about three completely different individuals? Is it culture — or another quality that is brought out by that culture?

Here’s to Edward Noah Sarath, Leonard Nimoy, and Oppy. Jewish men, changing the world.

 

 

16 February 2015 ~ 0 Comments

ConDFW Recap

One of the best little conventions in Texas, ConDFW 2015 was a success as usual. I got to the con late on Friday and so I missed what looked like really great programming, but made up for lost time on Saturday.

This year I was tapped to do the guest of honor interview and had the good fortune to chat with Rachel Manija Brown, who co-authors YA (Stranger, Hostage) with Sherwood Smith and writes a werewolf-marines series (Laura’s Wolf, Echo’s Wolf) as Lia Silver. Brown is a PTSD counselor at a Los Angeles clinic, and she also makes a decent living as a writer. As someone who firmly believes that while the goals of most authors (including myself) is to support oneself through writing, it’s equally important to have a career that includes the opportunity to do cool stuff. Let’s face it, writing is boring. Brown talked about her day job with even more passion than about her writing.

The No Excuses! writing panel with Aaron de Orive, Kate Sanger, and Sue Sinor was very well attended. We discussed writers block and how to unblock, and there were many helpful suggestions from the audience too, such as journaling. As a long-time writer I have suffered from writers block and I’m sure I will again. We’re all in this together, and if you have something that works, then share it. I enjoyed the conversation.

My reading from the current WiP was well received. It’s so important to hear your words out loud, seriously. What you hear in your head is a far cry from what your readers are hearing in their heads, and frankly, the only way to even get close to how your work is received is to read it out loud. I’m definitely excited about the new project.

I confess that I stayed up way too late with friends on Saturday night, but as Tex Thompson said, a con is the only place where you can meet your writer-friend obligations, right? Just doing my job, ma’am, and I did it way past my bedtime.

See many of you at ArmadilloCon next!