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.

In the novel category:

Medicine for the Dead, by Arianne “Tex” Thompson. Solaris.

 

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?

18 May 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Comicpalooza interview and schedule

I will be at Comicpalooza this weekend, May 22-25. This is the biggest convention I’ve ever been to and I’m looking forward to it. A media con is a vastly different creature from a literary convention, and I am preparing myself to be overwhelmed.

I was interviewed by AFK for the convention, which you can find here:

AFK Show Austin: Interview with Patrice Sarath

My schedule for Comicpalooza is as follows:

Saturday:

2:30-3:30 Tips for Aspiring Writers
New to writing? Not sure where to start? Come and learn from published authors; who will share tips; dos and don’ts; and personal stories about how they began their writing careers. Rachel Caine, Mercedes Lackey,Patrice Sarath, Martha Wells, Rachael Acks, Larry Dixon

Sunday:

1-2 Should You Self-Publish Your Book? (CBW)
We hear more about self-publishing success stories every day. What are the real advantages of self-publishing vs. the traditional approach? And what about the risks? A panel of pro writers discuss their insights and the pros and cons of self-publishing. Patrice Sarath, Jake Kerr, Heather Long, Carrie Patel, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, Russ Linton

4-5 Great Characters / Books That Have Inspired Me (SF)
From Hamlet to Captain Picard; from Huckleberry Finn to The Hunger Games; writers are often inspired by the characters and books of other writers. Come and listen to our panel of authors talk about the stories and characters that have been their greatest sources of inspiration. Who knows; maybe you will discover something new that will inspire you! Raymond E. Feist, Patrice Sarath, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Kimberly Frost

25 April 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Daredevil, Kimmy, The Americans

Daredevil, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and The Americans have nothing in common except:

  • I’m watching them
  • On Netflix or Amazon
  • They each have a different way to tell a story and I’m learning from each one, including what works and what doesn’t.

What doesn’t work, for me at least, is Daredevil. It started strong, we got the origin story, and then it went into progressively darker comic book violence, culminating in an episode of such a sickening murder that I gave up.

I can handle some violence and I don’t shy away from dark themes. But the violence in Daredevil is played for titillation only — once again, prime motivation seems to be, “see how transgressive we can be!” — and I say, “nope.” Additionally, the actor playing Daredevil has fallen into a terrible case of Batman voice, and I think that is a clear case of creative failure.

I was extra disappointed because Agent Carter was so good, and both shows are the Marvel universe, so I had high hopes. I suppose the difference is network TV vs. streaming.

So if I’m such a weenie, why am I watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Can I only take violent themes if they are safely wrapped up in pastels and jokes? The 13-episode show takes a look at rape and kidnapping and hands it to us with a goofy theme song and rapid one-liners. UKS has caused controversy over its treatment of the main gay character, Tituss, and the main Native American character, Jacqueline.* It also brings us a look at a survivor of a heinous crime, and we get to laugh at her predicament and foibles.

You either love UKS or you hate it, and I loved it, even if some bits didn’t work. Terrible things have happened to Kimmy, and she has been deeply impacted. She has a decision to make everyday — do I stay curled up in bed and never leave the house again, or do I embrace life and people? She chooses to embrace life.

Daredevil tells us when bad things happen, we’re broken by them, and even worse, we become the people we are fighting. UKS says, bad things happen, and we do more than go on, we laugh again, and we live, and make our best efforts to bring people to justice. Daredevil was never meant to be a comedy, and I’ll miss seeing Rosario Dawson, but I’m not going back into that world view.

The Americans. I am just starting this show and I love it. It’s violent and dangerous (see, I’m not a total wuss), and completely fascinating. Since it takes place in the early 1980s, it’s a period piece (part of the charm). The characters are relatable, especially the Russians. Since everyone in the show is constantly in danger, and we in the audience know all the moves each character is making, it’s a fantastic story-telling technique. The writers don’t hide pertinent information from the audience– they hide it from the characters. So the tension is absolutely riveting. (Also, no Batman voice.)

I’ve said it before, the best writing is not just in books. TV, whether cable, streaming, or network, is really putting out some great stuff. While it does cut into writing time, nowadays a writer must stay up on good storytelling,wherever it’s to be found.

* I thought the Jacqueline storyline was clever and at times hilarious. And the actors who play her parents, especially Gil Birmingham, were also funny and over the top — watch the show for the “Iron Eagle” joke, which still makes me laugh.

 

13 April 2015 ~ 1 Comment

Election season

Okay, Hillary has announced. The election season has officially begun, and it’s going to be a long hard slog, so here’s a reminder about the newsworthiness of the variety of news organizations that are likely to be hitting your Facebook feed for the next several hundred months, or however long it’s going to feel. Seriously, it’s like the Earth’s orbit around the Sun takes a few loop-de-loops.

Here are the easy ones:

Fox News and Huffington Post are equal in value as far as newsworthiness, for the values that are zero and anything times zero. Doesn’t matter what side you are on. Both are excellent at the confirmation bias game. They require a very large grain of salt.

Likewise, in the same category are Salon and the Daily Mail. Now, there’s an interesting thing about the Daily Mail. I’ve noticed a lot of Americans think it’s an objective source for news about the US and the world, just because it is published in the UK. What you’re thinking of is The Guardian, or even The Times of London, and possibly The Economist. The Daily Mail is none of those things. It’s a crap newspaper that makes up stories and quotes, and gets away with it because it uses British spelling. Avoid.

Don’t trust Salon on anything other than its columns about culture, especially books (Laura Miller! I love you!) and possibly its articles about sex, but even that’s dubious.

Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Upworthy (gag!) have nothing but entertainment value. Share their political “news” in your feed, and you deserve to be mocked.

And any news organization that uses clickbait headlines such as “Shocking!” deserves to be shunned.

Slate. Slate has its good points. Slate’s political coverage leans left (as Colbert famously said, “reality has a well-known liberal bias”) but it also provides links to thoughtful coverage with a different viewpoint, and I think it can be counted as a decent source for the election season. However, it is doing the thing I hate, which is provocative headlines without context. Yeah, Slate does clickbait, but then it also has decent coverage.

For my liberal friends, here’s a surprising source: The Wall Street Journal. Their reporting is solid and objective. Their editorial page is a crazy-ass display of conservative frothing, but the actual news is good. Ignore the silverbacks in editorial, and you can amaze your friends by linking to cogent reporting (and watch them all unfriend you, but it’s that time of year anyway).

For my conservative friends: Yes, The New York Times drives you to drink. We get it. But ignore the editorials and the columnists, and just go for the news. They’re still good at what they do.

Reuters. Once upon a time Reuters sent news scoops by carrier pigeon. This is so awesome that you can’t even make that up. Reuters news is written by reporters who were cryonically frozen in the 1950s. They write their stories on 25-pound solid iron Underwood typewriters on a solid sheets of newsprint, and yell things like “Copy boy! Copy boy!” and “Stop the presses!” They may even still send their editors dispatches by carrier pigeon. The point is, Reuters doesn’t have a bias. It just has news. It’s like news ingredients. It’s like news that other organizations buy in bulk (they kinda do) and then add their own spices to.

It’s really kind of boring. But you will probably make some 1950s-era reporter’s day to find out that you’ve shared his story on Facebook.

(If he even knows what that is.)

The Atlantic and The New Yorker. You know who you are. You know what you read. Yeah, they do the confirmation bias thing, but at least it’s real.

PBS News Hour. I think the last time I watched was at least six months ago. What can I say? Virtue is boring.

So what are your sources? Where do you go for enemy intel or sneak out to find tasty tidbits of truth, fact, and unbiased reporting? In a frothy atmosphere of lies and manipulation, where we are forcefed banalities and ginned-up outrage like geese undergoing gavage, where do you go for a palate-cleansing who, what, where, when, and why?

Here’s to the next billion years of an election cycle.