Autumn 2018 Key Chains and More

Hello again Alchemists, Rebels, and Readers! Today’s post comprises brief news items, which I’m uploading between marking sets of university midterms.

Thanks to Sarah at BytheBookBoutique, my keys are now sporting an Alchemists’ Council library catalogue key chain, which I custom ordered from her shop on Etsy. My correspondence with Sarah, the artist and shop owner, was delightful. The key chain’s quality and functionality is excellent, with the clip having proven repeatedly useful.

Key Chain Enlight

BytheBookBoutique offers a variety of library book options (both literary and historical) in a range of designs (necklaces, bookmarks, and more). Here, for example, is a Brown v Board of Education necklace.

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I was particularly happy to hear from Sarah that both The Alchemists’ Council and The Flaw in the Stone are available through her local branch of the Chicago Public Library. As of today, all copies are still in use; thus, I assume they currently reside either with Sarah or another Chicagoan! Thank you Chicago!

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Sarah’s comment prompted me to check other American libraries to see whether they carried the books. To my utter delight (as someone living and working in a small Canadian town), several do! I certainly enjoyed learning that Book One has been signed out multiple times at the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library. Thank you New York City!

NYCLibraryF18On a final note to this brief seasonal post, I want to express gratitude to two recent book reviewers. First, thank you to Christina Paige for her creative and detailed review from September 2018. How could I not smile at the phrase “compared to Tolkien”? To read Paige’s full review, click on the Amazon image.

Amazon PAIGE F18 Drop ShadowAnd, second, thank you to Matthew Rettino for his nuanced review of The Flaw in the Stone. I especially admire his close reading of the historical allusions, as depicted in the excerpt below. To read Rettino’s full review, click on the excerpt’s image.

Rettino Book 2 F18As to Book Three of The Alchemists’ Council — The Amber Garden — the first full draft has been submitted. My editor and I will be working on the manuscript over the next year, heading toward a release date in 2020.

Have a colourful autumn filled with plentiful reading time!


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Time & Travel: Summer 2018

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Here we are once again–the summer almost over, and the new semester about to begin. As of next week, I will return to full-time teaching (and all related activities) at VIU. But, today, I will take the opportunity to update readers on book-related summer news!

My primary focus over the past few months has been the completion of the manuscript for THE AMBER GARDEN (Book Three of The Alchemists’ Council). Since this volume represents the final installment of the trilogy, its construction has proven the most challenging of the series for me. All threads from the first two books had to be brought together here. Given the myriad characters and hundreds of years involved in the plot of this series, detailed charting became an ongoing necessity. The photo below depicts a segment of the 18-page timeline document.

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To make timeline consistency even more complex, Book Three involves multiple time-travel scenes. Consequently, over the next few weeks, I plan to reread Books One and Two, checking yet again for continuity issues. If only I could employ some bloodline time-manipulation alchemy to provide myself a few more weeks of uninterrupted reading!

Flaw Working Copy

Earlier this month, during a two-week trip to Ontario, I had the pleasure of meeting Okiki Kendall. Okiki is the person who will be narrating the audio version of The Flaw in the Stone. We spent the better part of a day together discussing the book, the pronunciation of character and manuscript names, and some of our personal philosophies related to subject matter of the series. I feel very fortunate and grateful that ECW found such a talented vocal artist to be Book Two’s narrator. At last report, Okiki had finished the initial recording sessions, which means the audiobook should be available sometime this fall.

Okik at ECW2

Of course, visiting Toronto also provided me the opportunity to meet with other ECW folk, including David Caron (Publisher) and Jessica Albert (Digital Production Manager and Art Director). Our conversations ranged in subject matter from Scrabble strategies to Book Three plot points–all while sipping iced-tea at Rooster Coffee House on Broadview and enjoying delicious BBQ at Beach Hill Smokehouse on Main. During my visit, Jessica was also featured live on CBC Radio to discuss the growing popularity of audiobooks. Click here to listen to her interview.

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The Toronto visit also allowed me time to stop by the Riverdale branch of the Toronto Public Library, where I found Book Two, complete with a maple-leaf sticker. (Yeah Canadian writers!) Though I consider The Alchemists’ Council series to be fantasy, I gathered that various genres of speculative fiction are labelled as “Science Fiction” here. Frankly, I am pleased that The Alchemists’ Council books are available at Toronto libraries no matter their designation!

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Back home on Vancouver Island, during a stroll through the Nanaimo Night Market, I was fortunate to find an item representative of Book Three: a bee on a timepiece! This beautiful pendant was fashioned by artisans at Long Lake Studio in Nanaimo. Click here to be directed to their Etsy page, where you will find numerous delightful pieces of eclectic jewellery.

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Of course, shortly after returning to town, I also dropped by Nanaimo Chapters to sign the store’s latest copies of Flaw in the Stone. If you live locally and want to pick up a signed copy, please do!

Chapters Stickers

I hope the upcoming season is a positive and productive one for us all–professors, students, writers, and readers alike! Feel free to write to me if you have any questions about the books. Meanwhile, Long live the Quintessence!

ECW B&W Photo taken outside ECW Press in Toronto

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Adventures at World Fantasy Con 2017

ProgramMy first experience at World Fantasy Con truly was fantastic! I enjoyed every moment! Attending panels, hearing authors read, wandering around the art displays, and talking with various writers, publishers, and other people interested in fantasy literature were pleasures through and through.

The CrowdsOne highlight was the opportunity to meet folk who stopped by to chat at either Friday night’s “signature event” or the ECW booth throughout the convention. Special thanks to the people who came to my reading of The Flaw in the Stone Saturday–a small but enthusiastic group!

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Conversations with fellow writers Michael Wigington and Timothy Ray were both inspirational and delightful. Both of these generous authors provided me with one of their books, and Tim even gave me a second book to pass along to a colleague who teaches zombie literature at VIU. Thank you Michael for The Bloodstone Reckoning (Book One of The Earth Mother Saga) and Tim for both The Acquisition of Swords (Book One of the New Age Saga) and Charon’s Blight: Day One (Book One of the Rotting Souls series)!

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Spending time with David Caron and Jessica Albert, from ECW Press, was especially gratifying. Between events we shared stories and laughter, delicious Texan meals and San Antonio-style margaritas. One of our dinner-hour discussions notably brought us to develop a plot point for The Amber Garden (Book Three of The Alchemists’ Council).

David and Jessica

For those of you who picked up a copy of the ARC of The Flaw in the Stone at the convention (or elsewhere), keep in mind that the new book is a continuation of the story established originally in The Alchemists’ Council. So be sure to read (or re-read) The Alchemists’ Council (Book One) prior to venturing into The Flaw in the Stone (Book Two). In a future blog post I plan to expand on this topic, but for now let me simply say for readers to fully appreciate the characters, worlds, and ironies of Book Two, reading Book One first is paramount.

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Thank you ECW Press and World Fantasy Convention for making this adventure possible! And thank you, people of San Antonio, for hosting us all!

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The Flaw in the Stone

After a summer of revising Book Two and writing (as much as possible of) Book Three, the new academic year is upon us. For now, I must set aside the fantasy writing and turn my attention to teaching courses in medieval literature and composition.

But today, before venturing into The Canterbury Tales, I wanted to announce that Book 2 will be published in March (with ARCs available within the next few months to reviewers). Until then, here’s the cover image followed by a brief teaser from the Prologue. I’ll be back here with updates as soon as possible!

Flaw in the Stone RGB Final Cover

From the Prologue to The Flaw in the Stone:

Genevre trembled. Once again, she removed a piece of glass from her pocket, reopening her wound for the second time. She held her bleeding finger above the first folio while applying pressure with her thumbnail to ensure the release of large drop of blood. At first nothing happened as the blood hit the page, and she suddenly feared the repercussions if anyone were able to trace the manuscript defacement to her. But, as the minutes passed, the folio began to bear forth its message. The illumination emerged first, rendered in dark crimson and gold. It featured what appeared to be a small being within an ancient alembic, or some kind of transparent vessel. Shortly thereafter, a few words appeared above the image. Their size, style, and placement suggested they formed a title, but Genevre could not read the ancient script in which the words were written.

“Congratulations.”

Genevre spun around. Dracaen stood directly behind her.

“You have done what no High Azoth, including myself, has ever managed to do. Your bloodline alchemy truly is extraordinary.”

Genevre blushed, ashamed at being caught but simultaneously proud of her accomplishment.

“You are no mere outside world scribe,” continued Dracaen. “But neither are you, as yet, an alchemist — rebel or otherwise. Thus, as High Azoth of the Rebel Branch, I must ask you to leave this chamber immediately.”

“But—”

“We will return here together one day, but for now — for your own safety and that of the entire Flaw dimension — you must leave and allow the manuscript to mature.”

“I don’t understand.”

“One by one, over the years — three decades if the scriptural enigmas have been correctly interpreted — the words and illuminations on each folio will emerge. We cannot risk contaminating the sacred process with our impatience.”

“At least tell me what these words say.” She pointed to the letters inscribed above the image of the alembic, now fully revealed and spectacularly vivid on the first folio.

Dracaen moved closer to the manuscript. He smiled and sighed. “Finally.”

“Finally?”

Finally, the Rebel Branch has gained an advantage over the Alchemists’ Council. Even if you choose to leave us on your Day of Decision, today you have repaid our hospitality beyond measure. The Rebel Branch will be forever grateful. With this manuscript, our greatest potential has begun to manifest.”

“What do the words say?”

“Roughly . . .” Dracaen began but then paused as if pondering the best translation of the manuscript’s title. He announced it solemnly: “Formula for the Conception of the Alchemical Child.”


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Welcome Readers, Alchemists, and Potential Initiates!

Last Update: October 2018

Book with Bee Card

Welcome to News from Council Dimension, a blog focused on The Alchemists’ Council series.

From the HOME/BLOG page scroll upward to access MENU items (including BOOK REVIEWS) or downward to read the latest BLOG posts. Scroll to the bottom of the HOME/BLOG page to access the OLDER POSTS, ARCHIVES, and SEARCH.

Click here to learn to pronounce the CHARACTERS’ NAMES.

Click here to learn about the symbolism of the COUNCIL LOGO.

Click here to learn about the significance of conjunction and THE ALCHEMICAL HERMAPHRODITE.

Click these links to read a few of my favourite blog entries: The Amber GardenFrom Pen to Parchment, and The Bunny Poem and Other Juvenilia.

If you have a QUESTION about the books, feel free to ask it in the comment area of this pinned post. Or click CONTACT to send me a note–I enjoy hearing from readers!

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Long live the Quintessence!

I live as the Flaw in the Stone!