Tag Archive | Fantasy

Cover Reveal Day

Cover reveal day is an awesome event for any author. I’m glad that I get to be a part of the reveal of this goregous cover for Shannon Wendtland’s new novel, Heliodor.

 

 

Heliodor_72dpi

 

Blurb:

Malfric sees through the eyes of the dead – literally reliving their last moments as if they were his own. This ability is highly sought and highly priced, which is why the unscrupulous Captain Finch hires him to find the murderer of a nobleman and the whereabouts of a valuable artifact.

Quantex, the able-bodied first mate of Captain Finch, quickly becomes Malfric’s foil as he demonstrates uncommon intelligence during the investigation. Together the two uncover several clues that lead them to the killer, the artifact, and the frayed end of a mysterious plot that begins to unravel the moment Malfric takes it in hand and gives it a good yank.

Available March 22, 2016

 

Congrats, Shannon! It looks like  an awesome read!

 

 

 

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Character Letters

There are so many ways to get the creative juices flowing, and having your character write a letter is one of them. Yesterday, I woke at 3am with a heavy heart. I miss writing fiction, and my son wants me to try again at the real novel length…. so I wrote a letter to the character of the first novel I ever completed. Yes, I write my imaginary friends letters. Here it is:

Dear Alexandria Draconia, Mistress of the Dragons,

I miss you. I miss having you inside my head, living under my skin and behind my eyes. You were my first, and best, alter ego.

I am dreaming of riding dragons again.

I first “met” you while in college. You proved my instructor wrong, when he said not to even attempt genre, because most in the class couldn’t sustain it. He allowed me to write you, though. Mom loved your story, what was written before she died. And you were with me, grieving as well, when she died my senior year. Writing with you got me through the darkest days I had ever known at that point.

You’ve always been more than a character to me. More than an imaginary friend. It’s been 20 years and more, and still I miss you terribly. Hell, I’m writing a letter to my imaginary super hero.

Yes, super hero. You live in an Epic Fantasy setting, ride dragons and kick ass. But I’ve never been able to go all in for the super heroes. Super Girl is ok, and so is Wonder Woman. But as much as I want to love them, I just can’t.

I have my superhero. She wears trousers, not an ice-skating skirt– because trousers are more practical. She flies– on a dragon. And she carries a sword.

She’s not invulnerable. She kicks ass precisely because she does not commit to battle unless she is willing to die for it.

I need my super hero back.  I’m trying to raise my son the best way I can, but sometimes I get overwhelmed. (Although, I have raised him to believe in & love dragons) Pops is asking me to go through photos, and it’s a heart wrenching job because of why he wants to go through them now.

I was in over my head when I first wrote your story. I had no clue about world building, how to add depth and feeling. My writing style is still kind of sparse, but I’m getting better. I don’t know if I have the skills to do you justice this time around or not… But I do know that if I never try, it will never be written.

I also know a really great editor now, too.

I haven’t written a novel length work to completion in over a decade. I’ve been sprinting lately. But I think it’s time. Don’t you?

I want to ride a dragon, feel the wind in our hair.

I wrote nonfiction and poetry over the summer. I needed to deal with the situation with Dad and my own issues without the veil of fiction. It was very therapeutic– like writing in a journal, with more intent. But now, now I need my Super Hero back. Someone I can believe in, even if she happens to be fictional. When the chips are down, she always come through.

Sincerely,

Wynwords

Now, that would be so freeing, even if that’s the only thing that happened. But soon after, I received a (wrong number)  text that read “Congratulations Alex! Call me if you’re up!”  For some reason, I think the universe is telling me something….

Getting the Words Down

When you first start writing a story, do you start where you as a writer need to start? Or do you try out first lines/paragraphs until you get it just right? I just finished 6 handwritten pages, and I know that it will all be backstory. The character that is the focus of that chapter isn’t a main POV character— but what happens to her is what sets the whole shebang going.

I needed to know what happened to her, what set everything in motion before I could start the rest. And still, I’m stuck. I know where I need to go, but I’m trying to figure out whether to open it up with the drunken knight or the scared little boy. These two characters are the ones that will change the most within the story— but I’m still probably going to start with the drunk. Simply because it’ll be fun 🙂

I’ve struggled with this one. Partially because I almost always have written female main characters. This will be a leap for me. My last big leap was a modern paranormal in first person. All in one shot! I think I’m at the point where I want to not only enjoy writing, but also stretch a little when I do it. The paranormal needs a lot of work before I send it out again, and I’m debating writing more on it….

But for now, I want to go back to magic and mayhem and horses and knights who are a bit broken. And the POV’s will be mail, and also…probably not quite the same tone as I normally use.

How do you stretch yourself as a writer? Do you change up POV, genre, style?

Get your pens ready: Submission call

I promised to get this to you this weekend and am scraping in by the skin of my teeth! I love Mocha Memoirs Press, and they currently have a Steampunk Anthology call out. Go check it out here   You’ll notice that they are also looking for a couple of types of romances… I don’t write those, so all I can tell you is this: I love my publisher and they are great to work with!

I actually finally got a beginning that I like for my story for the anthology. Sweet! The Golden Apple‘s book birthday on Friday was wonderful. Thank you all! The best compliment I’ve gotten on it has to do with one of the interludes, and I think I’ll discuss that in it’s own post. The subject matter kind of dictates that. So. I have one just published. One in with the publisher. One being written, and then next perking around on a back burner.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

I love my life!

Seriously, if you write romance or Steampunk, go check out the guidelines. That is what they are currently looking for, but check back lots. We also do Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy… Lots of stuff!

Love you all!

Ageism in Fantasy

So, I read many, many books in the fantasy genre. I don’t read very much in the children’s or YA section, even the fantasy novels.

That may be about to change.

I just started reading the Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas (It’s super cheap on B&N for Nook right now). Cover looks like a children’s book. I got the “Free Sample” to see if it would be good to read with my son and ended up buying it for me to read. It’s a pretty good read. Good enough, in fact, that I bought the second book.

It doesn’t have the depth and reach that an epic fantasy has. It is… well… As Harlequin monthlys are to Eloisa James and Julia Quin, so these are to the normal fantasy books that I read. It has me wondering: If they took the cover and format, made it more adult, would it sell?

There’s actually precedent for this. The newest incarnation of the Herald series by Mercedes Lackey starts out with a young protagonist. It also has a different depth than the earlier books. Although they’re “lighter” than say, Vanyel’s story, still I go back and buy the new books about Mags, Bear and Lena every single time.

So is it the age of the protagonist, or the “lightness” of the story that propels these books into the children’s stacks? I’ve read some YA fantasy series that blew me away. I feel strongly that they should have been listed just as Fantasy, not YA books. Because a lot of readers, myself included, pre-judge a book based on where it’s filed. Is it fair? Nope. But it’s there.

I wonder though…. Why has no one come out with the Harlequin monthly books for Fantasy and Science Fiction? The work is there— just look at how many people are going indie with 50,000 words. Look to YA and children’s books that have a strong crossover audience in the adult section.

I think in looking for books to get my son interested in reading… I’ve opened up a whole new section of authors for myself. We shall see.

Keep your mitts off my books!

There’s been a ration of poo slung around this spring/summer regarding women in fantasy fiction and, more recently even romance. I kind of have to shake my head at these posturing potential potenates…. who don’t realize that if the conversation were fictionalized and thrown into a fantasy setting… well. They would not be the hero. Oh, no. They would definitely be the evil wizard/king/crybaby trying to force everyone into their own way of thinking. You shall not pass.

I mean really. Are you truly trying to tell me that Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg and Mercedes Lackey are… lacking? Shame on you! Don’t like the new crop of fiction coming out? Don’t read it. But don’t presume to know what’s good for me.

What really saddens me is that these kind of arguments have been going on for a very long time. Because something is popular with them, the masses, women it must be inherently bad. Suck it up, buttercup, cuz those readers are still going to read the books they want to. They will buy them in droves, propelling them UP the NYT Best Seller list while your own languishes in the stacks. 
 Oh, and by the way? Shakespeare? Wildly popular with the masses. All those bawdy jokes, don’t you know.
While I was at CSU, I often hid what I was reading due to jack asses. Fantasy was fine, but let someone catch me with a romance? I cringed at the thought. Until someone tried to book shame me, in my creative writing class, and the professor said something to the effect of… well… You can support yourself with that sort of writing. Live very well, if you have the talent.
This was the same instructor who told us on our first day not to even try genre fiction (especially horror or sci-fi / fantasy) in his class. I was terrified when I went up to speak with him. But I write fantasy, I said. “Prove it,” he told me.  Turns out he’s not against the genre, just the bad habits of new writers. I wrote my first novel under his guidance, a work of fantasy fiction.
A lot of what I read and write has to do with belonging. About taking what you’ve got and making it work. Finding a way through the darkness. There are books who have held me up (Anne Bishop) during the worst time of my life, and others that echo those days and reinforce that we are survivors (Cathy Lamb). There’s the joy of love (Eloisa James, Julia Quinn), and family and friends.
If you’re so afraid of women in fiction, then I kind of have to ask. What are you so afraid of?
No matter the answer, keep your mitts off my reading material. I don’t need that sort of help.
Ogres need not apply.
 

Book Review: A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

 

Anyone who knows me, based on the title and cover of this book, would think that I would be stark raving bonkers over it. Madley, passionately letting my inner geek out to play with the dragons.

Eh. Not so much.

This is one of those novels that I circled around forever. Sometimes, when I finally bite it is a great read. This time, it was a pretty good story, but the voice in it kind of… hmm… how to explain it.

The voice of the character is spot on. Isabella is writing after a long career, obtaining and sharing knowledge of her beloved dragons. A pragmatic scientist in a country and time that didn’t allow easily for women to do such… well… she finds a way. Through her husband.

Using Lady Trent’s voice is both brilliant and little bit off putting. There are clues hidden here and there, among things that she says to her readers or about her editors. Things that contemporaries of hers would know, but we the reader wouldn’t. Such as the following:

(SPOILER ALERT BELOW>> SPOILER ALERT BELOW)

The careful reader will remember that she signs the preface as Isabella, Lady Trent. But her husband wasn’t anything beyond a Mr. Hmmm….. I knew what was coming before it did, but even still…. it just was… too remote.

The voice, however, also puts a wall between action and emotion. It’s a little old fashioned that way. I wasn’t as intently invested in this book as I have been in others simply because of that wall. I may be a lazy reader, but I just didn’t feel like breeching the wall and taking apart the book piece by piece.

I did end up reading it all the way through— if it had been atrocious there was no way that that would happen.

Mixed feelings on this one, peeps. Have any of you read it? What did you think? Have you read any books that you couldn’t decide if they were good or not?