Tag: Fantasy

Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming

Okay, I know that line has been taken, but it seems that winter is a theme running through my writing these days. I recently finished a new alternative history mystery novel, (as yet unpublished—still at first reader stage) that arose out of a writing workshop I attended on the Oregon Coast. It is set in what is Kyrgyzstan in our world. Okay, okay. I can hear you now. KYRGYZSTAN? Where the heck is Kyrgyzstan?

Think north of Afghanistan in and around the Tian Shan and Allay mountains.

It’s a small, ex-Soviet Union country—one of the ‘stans’.

My story grew out of an exercise at a Historical, Time Travel, and Alternate History workshop presided over by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, author of such wonderful time travel novels as Snipers. She asked us to take an event out of the wonderful non-fiction book The Great Upheaval, and use that as a jumping off point for an alternate history story. The short story that arose presumes that history diverged way back in the late-1700s at the time of Catherine the Great, or Yekaterina as I call her. It was around the same time as the American and French revolutions when Catherine was the great Tsarina of the Russian people. She was an interesting lady who wasn’t even Russian by birth, but she married the Tsar and then usurped his throne. Like I said, interesting lady.

In her younger years Catherine was tempted by the influence of the great statesmen and philosophers of her day to consider democracy for her people, but eventually decided that it wouldn’t work—for Russian peasants. Instead she went to war against the Ottoman Empire. In our world she won her battles because the Ottoman Empire was waning.

But what if Catherine’s depredations (and they were vicious) woke the Ottomans up? What if the Ottomans found their strength again and took the battle to Catherine and the Russians? The Russians were stretched by conflicts on their northern and southern borders and with Poland.

Because the Ottomans won (in my version of history), it led to a world very unlike this one. It led much sooner to the end of the French Revolution so that Napoleon never became emperor and never ruled. As a result, the French government never supported the fledgling United States in their great democratic experiment, and that led to Great Britain taking over most of North America.

At least in my made-up world.

In the novel that grew out of the short story, a rag-tag group of Russian refugees escaped the Ottoman juggernaut and now live in a small country called Fergana. Fergana lies caught like the gristle in a joint between the two behemoths of the Chinese and Ottoman Empires. In the late fall of a modern day New Moscow a young girl is found dead in a city park. Thus begins my new novel, After Yekaterina. It’s late October and the first snow is threatening as Detektiv Alexander Kazakov stands over her body.

That is how I came up with my latest mystery series. And now, as I start the second novel in the series, the autumn ocean storms are settling in over my home, but in Fergana it is deepest January and the long winter has arrived.

My goodness I like this writing thing.

There be Dragons…

There be Dragons…

A new bundle including the illustrious Kevin J. Anderson and myself and others is available at your favorite online retailer.

My novel, Ice Dragon, is a post-apocalyptic YA with zombies, romance and, yes, dragons!

Check it out!

Back to Burma (Myanmar)

Back to Burma (Myanmar)

I traveled to Myanmar (Burma) in 1997 while I was living and working in Thailand. At the time, the country was still mostly closed to foreigners. Only select parts of the country were open. During my month ‘in-country’ (the maximum the visa allowed) I conducted research on the Burmese puppet troupes and stayed at small guesthouses for a better chance of meeting local people. Unfailingly, everyone I met was giving of their time, knowledge and their kindness.

That began my love affair with Burma. (You can read more about my travels here.)

Since then I’ve written a number of novels set in Burma, including the modern, paranormal romance Shades of Moonlight.

In April 2017 Guardbridge Books published Death By Effigy, the first in my historical Aung and Yamin Fantasy Mystery series, in which an aging puppet singer and a mischievous puppet, must solve the murder of the king of the puppets or risk the destruction of the entire troupe.

I’m pleased to announce that the second in the series, A Death In Passing, has just been released, continuing the trials and tribulations of Aung, the puppet singer, with his troublesome assistant, Yamin, as they try to solve the murder of Burma’s most powerful spirit dancer.

In all of these books I’ve attempted to be true to the country’s culture and to accurately present the wonderful nature-magic systems (with a few embellishments). Burma seems to be in my blood and I envision more novels set in this wonderful and varied country. Whether historical or modern novels, I hope to capture the country’s magic for readers.

If you’ve traveled in Burma, I’d love to hear how I did.

Upcoming Anthology Cover Release

Upcoming Anthology Cover Release

With One shoe front coverPLAYGROUND OF LOST TOYS – Editors Colleen Anderson and Ursula Pflug

Release date December 1, 2015

A dynamic collection of stories that explore the mystery, awe and dread that we may have felt as children when encountering a special toy. But it goes further, to the edges of space, where games are for keeps and where the mind plays its own games. We enter a world where the magic may not have been lost, where a toy plays for keeps or computers and gods vie for the upper hand.  Dolls, stuffed animals, wooden games of skill, ancient artifacts misinterpreted, and items that seek a life or even revenge; these lost toys and games bring tales of companionship, loss, revenge,  hope, murder, cunning, and love, to be unearthed in the sandbox.

The Playground of Lost Toys contains, With One Shoe, by Karen L. Abrahamson.

Two New Releases

Two New Releases

Two new releases came out in December. One is the short fantasy story of the first case of Vallon Drake, the heroine of Afterburn and the American Geological Survey series. The story is called All She Can Be.

The second new release is the first in a contemporary romance series with  touches of magic and suspense. The novel, Unlocking Her Heart leads off a series of books in what will be the Unlocking Saga.

All She Can Be

Karen L. Abrahamson

When someone moves the Canada/US border along the flooding Red River, the American Geological Survey assigns freshman agent Vallon Drake to find the culprit and repair the damage. If she doesn’t it could destroy the peace between the two nations.

But solving a crime in the shadow world of the AGS is never straightforward, especially when assigning blame can have serious career repercussions.

Karen L. Abrahamson once again transports us to the change-ridden world of the AGS, but this time she takes us back in time to Vallon Drake’s first dirty little case.

Available on:

Unlocking Her Heart (The Unlocking Series, Book 1)

Karen L. Abrahamson writing as Karen L. McKee

When Kylee Jensen left Africa she left behind her fiancée and brought with her a badly broken heart. To heal, she seeks out her best friend in the idyllic lakeside town of Peachland where she meets bad boy vintner Brett Main. Kylee knows her barely mended heart can’t take a man like Brett, but meeting Kylee might just be the incentive Brett needs to change his ways. When a mysterious death disturbs the peace that Kylee sought, and she finds a puzzling bracelet that refused to be removed from her wrist, only Brett’s help can keep Kylee from being next on the killer’s hit list.

Karen L. Abrahamson creates a cast of wonderful characters in this, the first book of the Bracelet contemporary romance series. The book will take readers to the sun-soaked Okanagan Valley where orchards and vineyards cover the hills and sometimes magic raises its head, like the ancient Okanagan lake monster.

Available at:

Finally here: Aftermath, Book Three of the American Geological Survey series

Finally here: Aftermath, Book Three of the American Geological Survey series

Well, it’s finally here and I’m thrilled about it. Now available in e-book form and they tell me print publication will be available early in March. I think this is the best one yet!

Happy reading,

Karen 

Aftermath – Karen L. Abrahamson

After surviving the attempted destruction of the American Midwest, Vallon and her allies face an even greater danger: Homeland Security’s decision to destroy all Gifted – those people who can rewrite the landscape using only their minds. In a breakneck race to save her kind, Vallon rushes back to Seattle, only to find that friends are not really friends and nothing is what it seems. Will circumstances force her to break every moral code to stop an imminent war between Gifted and unGifted?

Karen L. Abrahamson establishes the American Geological Survey series as a thriller roller coaster of a ride within the urban fantasy genre. A fantastic story of cartographic magic, danger and betrayal, Aftermath will grab readers by the throat and drag them through to the end. Unputdownable.

Available  as an e-book at: 
Ray Bradbury and Rewriting the Map of Canada

Ray Bradbury and Rewriting the Map of Canada

Woodland trail, Yukon, Canada (2009) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson

Ray Bradbury died this week and as a science fiction and fantasy writer, his was some of the writing that most inspired me. I will forever be haunted by his horrific short story “All Summer in a Day,” but some of Bradbury’s best work were his cautionary tales like Fahrenheit 451, a terrifying look at the death of freedom and the burning of books in a fictional future. You might wonder what this has to do with the map of Canada, but bear with me.

This post will probably be as close to getting political as I will ever get, but events here in Canada have pushed me to the place where I finally have been forced out of the silent majority. You see the map of Canada is about to change. Not the physical map, perhaps, but the environmental map and the map of our hearts and our place in the world, and our children’s future is under attack so badly that I have to speak out. It feels very strange for a business person and writer who has always focused on fiction. For those of you who don’t live in Canada, here’s what’s at issue.

Small fishing lake in the B.C. Interior. (2011) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson.

1. Our federal government is currently introducing legislation, Bill C 38, that will abolish most of our environmental protection legislation. They claim that they are trying to clean up the legislation in order to make it ‘make sense’ for municipalities and farmers, but in reality, while they might cut some red tape, they are getting rid of any legislation that might block the immediate implementation of major corporate initiatives, like the Enbridge Pipeline that will cross some of the most rugged and pristine landscape in Canada, from Alberta to the Pacific Ocean. This pipeline will cross hundreds of miles of wilderness and thousands of salmon-spawning streams to bring the dirtiest type of oil to the Pacific Ocean. Once there, this same legislation erases much of the laws in place to protect the pristine waters of British Columbia. It will allow oil tankers to ply the delicate environmental areas of the inland passage to take this dirty oil to China—one of the worst polluting countries in the world. Think Exxon Valdez. The legislation also removes the safeguards in place for many endangered species, because, the new legislation says, these species aren’t really important.

Kayaking the coast of British Columbia (1996) Photo (c) Karen Abrahamson

2. At the same time this government is systematically silencing any opposition. Along with this salvo against the environment which shortens any environmental assessments and limits who can even participate in the discussions, the government has also launched an attack against non-profit societies and charities, by imposing restrictions that stop these charities from any sort of advocacy against government actions. This attack has specifically been leveled at environmental organizations because they receive donations from other countries and this government is threatened by the groundswell of reaction from around the world about what they plan to do. They are changing the rules to hamstring any opposition against the huge oil corporations.

At the same time, they either stop funding scientific research, or they place gag orders on all remaining government scientists who might provide a voice of reason or evidence that government actions are wrong. But then I shouldn’t be surprised. This government doesn’t believe in science.

Even Members of Parliament who try to express what their constituents want are silenced. And when members of the United Nations commented recently on the impoverished state of our First Nations population, this government told them to go away and focus on third world countries. It seems Canada, in this government’s eyes, is beyond criticism.

All of this paints a picture that should terrify anyone concerned for our future. For someone who has always been a proud Canadian these actions are only the tip of a blood-chilling iceberg. It leaves me to think that, instead of the great white north that has stood proudly for freedom, integrity and honour both here and abroad for 145 years, we are being transformed into a country I only read about as in Ray Bradbury’s writing.

Welcome to totalitarian Canada – next comes the book burning.

 

 

Book 2 of the Terra Trilogy is now available!

Book 2 of the Terra Trilogy is now available!

I’m thrilled to announce that book two of the Terra Trilogy is now available in e-book and the print publication will be available in May.

In the years after the ‘Big One’ destroyed most of human civilization, a lone city perches precariously on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America.

When nomadic marauders attack the Independent city of Couver, seventeen-year-old Terra Vargas must choose: use her Cartos powers to protect her city, or rescue her mother from the marauders’ camp. But as her control over the earth power erodes, so does her ability to choose wisely.

Stay or go?

Either way, there will be a horrible price to pay.

Available on Amazon and at Smashwords and other fine e-tailers.

 

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