Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

I’m happy to report that while it is a Monday (on this side of the planet, anyway), that fact is completely outweighed by the yay that is a new publication:)

The Peculiar Grace of Bees” is free to read, and it is available now from the ever effervescent Flash Fiction Online.



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Here’s a quick update to let you all know that I’ve got a new story out today, yay! “Last Light” is a flash fiction piece that’s quick and free to read, and it’s available now from the good folks over at Page & Spine.


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Today’s free fiction is An Owomoyela and Rachel Swirsky’s “Between Dragons and Their Wrath” from Clarkesworld (there’s a free audio version too, if that’s your thing).

My name is Domei. I think I am fourteen. I will probably die today. If not, I will probably die tomorrow.

When it happens, I don’t think I’ll be surprised.


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Am I doing NaNoWriMo this year? Yes. Am I doing it the way I have for the past several seasons? I am not. Here’s why I think that we should all feel ok about making NaNo into whatever works for us.

Reason One: Because why not? This whole endeavor is borderline batty anyway (in a good way!), so if you aren’t doing it for yourself, why do it at all?

Reason Two: NaNoWrMo is a tremendous opportunity to start something, and to finish something. That does not mean that we all do those things the same way or that we are all at the same stage in our particular journey.

For example, I have managed to hit my word count target every year. Yay. So I know I don’t have a problem with word production at the most basic level. Given that, it strikes me as sensible to ask how I can use this time to address some of the other issues popping up along the way.

So that’s what I’m doing this year. I’m using the month of November to focus on what is giving me trouble. Word count just doesn’t happen to be one of those issues, so I’m not focused on it right now.

I’ve made a deal with my creative side: write a decent amount a decent number of days, get back into the habit of constant production, and let me know what you need to keep the awesome ideas coming. Seriously, chocolate cake, sunset-colored drinks with umbrellas, giant cups of tea lattes from the cafe around the corner, a detailed schematic of the Death Star, you name it.

And if I need to take a day to brainstorm and that day only happens to net me a thousand words? I’m ok with that. Heck, I’m more than ok, I’m pleased as punch, because it means I’m working on the solution, not just throwing more words at the problem.

Now, I’m hardly the first person to say these things. Check out the NaNo author pep talks or any of the multitude of related discussions and you’re likely to find bits on writing in ways that work for you.

Got news for you: You don’t have to do it that way. Anything that gets words on the page is the Right Thing to Do. — Diana Gabaldon

This is the first year I’ve given myself full-on permission to do it the way that works for me. I’ve got to tell you, it feels great.

However you decide to work this month, happy noveling!

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Apropos of my recent comments about Miss Fisher I feel it only appropriate to link to new fan fiction by the esteemed Mary Robinette Kowal. Her short story is a delightful combination of Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries:
A Study in Serpents

“I’m dreadfully sorry to intrude like this, but we are in need of some particular expertise.” She turned, silk flowing around her and gestured to the Detective Inspector. “Would you mind terribly looking at a specimen, Lady Trent?”

While you’re exploring fanfic, you may also want to enjoy Marie Brennan’s take on Mary’s Glamourist Histories, in which she explores the uses of glamour for representing classical mythology and, well, what else? Genteel (very, nothing explicit to see here) porn, commissioned by none other than Lord Byron:
A Classical Education

“The delicacy is really quite remarkable. Just the faintest hint of a blush across her face and her — ah –” She faltered, then forged ahead, knowing there was more than a faint hint of redness in her own skin. “A student of lesser skill would have left her looking like a tomato.”

Both of these pieces were born with off-hand comments and laughter, followed by quick and gleeful explorations of another world. Delightful, and a good lesson for writers of all stripes.

Have fun if you possibly can:)

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Ooh, fun! I’m happy to announce that I have a new flash fiction story at EGM Shorts*: Magic Life. The story is free and (by definition) short, so if you find yourself with a moment to spare and the urge to slip into a bit of fantasy, check it out:)

* Short for Evil Girlfriend Media, a most excellent name.

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I’ve come across an interesting new project spearheaded by writer/editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch. As a way to spotlight women writers in science fiction, she is building an anthology for Baen Books of classic stories and more contemporary works, all written by women. She proposed this project as a way to preserve excellent but often underexposed work:

I don’t want this volume to look like something you have to read in a college literature class… I want these stories to be by women, yes, but about anything. And I want them to be rip-roaring good reads.

While I agree the anthology’s working title of “Tough Mothers, Great Dames, and Warrior Princesses: Classic Stories by the Women of Science Fiction” is unwieldy at best, this looks to be a great project overall.

Rusch has also started a Women in Science Fiction website linked to the project, as a way to highlight and preserve women’s history in speculative fiction. The site showcases authors by award nominees, female firsts, and genre, among other categories.

The website is brand new and still a work in progress, and she’s open to suggestions. Part of her goal is to supplement the admittedly limited amount of work she’ll be able to include in the anthology. If you’d like to recommend a favorite female author or story for inclusion, feel free to comment on her Suggestions page.

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Gerardus Mercator was born today in 1512. Yes, that Mercator, as in maps, as in one of cartographic history’s groundbreaking creations, the Mercator Atlas. The Mercator projection* displayed latitude and longitude as a grid, which (while causing all sorts of difficulties with pole-proximate object scales that persist to this day**) allowed sailors to plot their courses in straight lines. Sounds like a simple thing? Try calculating where you are, and where you need to go, while tossing up and down on the deck of a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, using hand-held scientific instruments and a flattened, rum-stained ellipse with sea monsters at the edges, then see how you feel;)

In honor of Mercator’s 503rd birthday, I want to point my fellow writers to an article on the right ways (and wrong ways) to build a cartographic history for your fantasy land:
10 Rules For Making Better Fantasy Maps

I particularly like suggestion #3 for urban fantasists; when it comes to understanding city form, it’s hard to go wrong with Kevin Lynch at your side.

Map: a useful distortion of reality.

* For more on Mercator’s process and the social context in which he produced his maps, see this excerpt from Mark Monmonier’s Rhumb Lines and Map Wars, via the University of Chicago Press.

** Check out this interactive puzzle map for a fun demonstration of size distortions.

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Ursula Le Guin has an interesting piece up at the Book View Cafe blog about Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel The Buried Giant. She has issues with specific elements of the book but the part that caught my attention was the reason she felt compelled to write the piece in the first place.

In an interview, Mr. Ishiguro wondered whether his readers would label the book as fantasy. And, as Ms Le Guin says, “It appears that the author takes the word for an insult.” Regardless of Ishiguro’s intentions, this provides Le Guin with a jumping off point for discussion. Her defense of fantasy is concise and compelling.

Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality.

As she lays out the case for fantasy as more than “childish whims,” I am again reminded that the value of imagination lies not in its escape from reality, but in its distillation of significant questions of life and death, purpose and perils, loss and joy. In short, the human experience writ across the universe.

That’s big. I’d better get back to work.

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While I don’t post on Twitter some tweets do come across my desk from time to time. Emergency kittens. Puppy vines. And, more significantly, writers in need.

Right now Katherine Kerr, author of the Deverry series and more, is in need of support. Her husband has Alzheimer’s and as his sole caregiver she barely has time to check her email, much less write. If you love her books or just want to provide her with a bit of breathing room in a difficult time, there is a YouCaring page set up for contributions.

Because writers are people too. And so are readers.

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