alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Writers and writing instructors constantly try to figure out rules for writing. The truth is, there are few rules, and most good writing advice repeats those few worthwhile comments. Recently Ilona Andrews pulled together some basics on her blog.

For me, her conclusion was the most valuable, because it is easy to get swept away in studying the market and screw with your writing.

The bottom line is,

Focus on writing the story you want to tell. Don’t worry about how many words, what genre, and especially about people who tell you that you will never make it. They’re not important. Finish the thing and try to do your story justice.

Follow the link to see how she got there.
alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
Because you might want to know how to do this! Or I might. Here's how.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
"I sent the six queries I had planned to send that day. Within 24 hours George had five responses—three manuscript requests and two warm rejections praising his exciting project. For contrast, under my own name, the same letter and pages sent 50 times had netted me a total of two manuscript requests. The responses gave me a little frisson of delight at being called “Mr.” and then I got mad. Three manuscript requests on a Saturday, not even during business hours! The judgments about my work that had seemed as solid as the walls of my house had turned out to be meaningless. My novel wasn’t the problem, it was me—Catherine."

From Jezebel
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Milky Way over WA Coast)
Who is she? Where were the pictures taken? A thrift store purchase has turned into a mystery, and the woman who bought the negatives is asking for help finding the photographer and the beautiful subject. From Atlas Obscura.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Just to help people out with planning, here's my schedule for Friday and Saturday:

Friday

Fr1700D Alternate History
Fri 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Ballroom D
Antonelli, Brown*, Dimond, Kimbriel, Mills, Waldrop

Why is this genre so fascinating, and how does it relate to the rest of speculative fiction? What special challenges does it pose for the writer -- and reader?

Fr2030CC Reading
Fri 8:30 PM-9:00 PM Conference Center
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel

I can read from new Nuala or Night Calls short pieces.

Saturday


Sa1000E Silkpunk: Asian themes and influences in SF/F

Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Ballroom E
Chu, Kerr, Kimbriel, Landon, Liu*, Oliver

Exploring the use of Asian concepts and locations in the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaiman, and Ken Liu contextualized as just a few of many.

Sa1400DR Autographing

Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Dealers' Room
Cardin, Cherry, Downum, Kimbriel, Mancusi, Stoddard

I will bring some books to Adventures in Crime & Space.

Sa1600D Speculative Fiction as a Mirror to Religion
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Ballroom D
Blaschke*, Cardin, Kimbriel, Marmell, Morrow, Swendson

Illuminating human institutions, belief systems, theology, and cosmology.
alfreda89: (Blankenship Reeds)
My friend artist Douglas Potter​ found this over at the Times. How many of you have similar ceremonies? I have old address books from the beginning of my career. I used to type on the back of old business cards and paper clip people's info into the book, because my handwriting is large, and people move a lot.

Enter digital address books, which never displayed all the data I wanted to keep together. Then my digital address books started dumping--or the programs became obsolete. This happened when I was ill, so getting things transferred over didn't happen. If I used to have your address? This is why you don't hear from me. I don't have it anymore.

But I can't bring myself to cut off dead Facebook accounts, or toss old phone number lists (I just tried to make myself do it. I think I tucked it back into a box.) I don't envy future scholars. We have made it much harder for them to figure out who the people of the late 20th-early 21st century were. Because we keep remaking ourselves, and corporations don't care if we can carry our past with us.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Over on the Word Wenches blog, writer Susan Fraser King--who wrote her dissertation study on the iconography of St. George in medieval art--talks about St. George and those dragons. George is on horses, off horses, has patrons, goes it alone, saves princesses, saves villages--and always, there's a dragon.

"George was one of the few saints, perhaps the only one, to cross over into the truly secular arena. He was the movie star hero of his day, killing dragons and rescuing princesses for the sake of chivalry and adventure rather than religious fervor. Very likely the Saxon English responded to him early on because St. George reminded them of Beowulf and Grendel, and the various Viking and Germanic/Saxon tales that include dragons. They understood and enjoyed George, with his dragon and his princess and his many heroic deeds. Newly Christian Britain retained a pagan flavor in their beliefs (and that still exists today). There are plenty of classical ties too—Bellerophon and Chimera, and Perseus and Andromeda, that can be factored in to the mythic origins of this very old tale."

For me, the interest is the dragon.

But that's another story.
alfreda89: (Tea -- the universal cure (ask the Docto)
After many years of carefully crafting my panel attendance on this blog, I am simply putting up the link to the programming by names. There is also a programming grid. Life, Interrupted has seen the mountaintop.

Yes, there will be some books in the dealer's room, if Adventures in Crime & Space wants to sell them. I will be there at least Friday and Saturday. Give me incentive to show up Sunday!

During the convention there will be a sale on-line of Fires of Nuala. This precedes a Bookbub ad next week. Get your ebook for .99!
alfreda89: (We the People)
UPDATE #2:

False alarm, I am glad to say. The suggestions from the Copyright Office are not as extreme as we all feared. That doesn't make them great, but it's not hysteria time. Just time to read and understand the proposals.

Can you say "copyright law changes are trigger-y?" Of course you can--and they are. Here for more.

UPDATE:

I trusted my source and hadn't gotten through the topic completely, and turns out we had incomplete information. Writer Sharon Lee (who is [livejournal.com profile] rolanni) took down her other post, and has these links for your perusal. Marking so I can read them, too.

Pass on through for more...
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Night Calls)
Some very nice things were said over at Auntie's Alcove:

"One of the things that most surprised me was how literary the book was. That adjective came to me while I was reading the story, and afterward, I read a thing on the author's Goodreads page about how she's been deemed too literary for regular readers and too regular to be classed as literature. (That's paraphrased.) Now, that could very well represent the views of the publishers, but I'd have to disagree with them. This author actually combines the best of both worlds into something that is artistic and enriching and amazingly entertaining all at once.

(Frankly, I think whoever does the marketing for her publisher ought to have his or her legs taken off at the knees. I devour fantasy, and even though the book has been around for nearly 20 years, I'd never heard of it or her. I feel cheated!)"
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
The Bowl of Night is the third of the Bast mysteries, and Edghill continues her exploration of the 1990s New York City NeoPagan scene. Bast has been a pagan a long time, long enough that she has finally separated from her coven and is expected to form her own. She keeps postponing that because responsibility is something she doesn’t relish (despite being more dependable than most of her acquaintances.) Early October has arrived, and that means she can use Hallowfest as an excuse to either dodge the question or find a priest to anchor her own role as high priestess of a new group. She’ll sell merchandise for the neighborhood magic store, crush on the manager, who is coming among this year, and in the end, become the go-between for the festival and the local police department when she stumbles across a body.
Read more... )
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2: The Dead City & The Dark Earth BelowStories of the Raksura, Volume 2: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below by Martha Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The lovely thing about this collection is that even if you have not yet discovered Wells’ magical fantasy adventures about the alien Raksura, you can fall in love with them here. Written with swift yet intricate grace, Wells gives you ground to stand on and open skies for unexpected adventure. The Raksura are shape shifting, flying sentients, their complex society matriarchal, their lives filled with danger around every turn. This world has dozens of disparate sentient peoples, most of them wary and interacting only for trade. The Raksura are among the few who are both cautious and yet open to alliances and even friendship with new peoples.

The collection includes two novellas as well as a scattering of short fiction. Both long stories feature Moon, the male protagonist of the Raksura trilogy; he’s a foundling who finally finds his place in the world. One novella, “The Dead City,” takes us back a few cycles when Moon is still very young, on the run, and has no idea what he is or what name his people use. In it we see him as he cannot see himself—curious, inventive, adaptable, strong. Also bitter, as winged he looks all too much like a species feared the length of his world. He can never stay anywhere for long.

In “The Dark Earth Below,” longtime readers finally get to see Moon handle impending fatherhood, as he is now consort to Jade, the Sister Queen of the Indigo Cloud court. We are given a many-layered tale that weaves together family, external threat, mystery, and claiming a home into one satisfying whole.

I highly recommend starting with the novel The Cloud Roads, but there’s no reason not to try a taste of The Three Worlds through this collection. Looking forward to more Raksura!




View all my reviews
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Amy Sterling Casil's new publishing concern Chameleon Publishing just finished the first of its three market validation surveys (if you hurry, you can still participate in the survey.) She talks about the value of books, the value to readers--and the fact that neither New York publishing nor Amazon.com has a clue about what readers what. However, this is a fact, something most of us don't think about when we buy from Amazon:

At the 1995 Book Expo America, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told a competitor that Amazon, then identified in a large banner as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” that his company

“intended to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers.”


Read on to see what is really up with modern publishing potential.
alfreda89: (Books and lovers)
Carousel Seas (Archers Beach, #3)Carousel Seas by Sharon Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Return to Archers Beach, Maine, which is part of The Changing Land (last, and some say least, of the Six Worlds.) Sometimes magic works there and sometimes it doesn’t—but always, magic Changes things. Kate Archer is the current Guardian and also keeper of the carousel, which is the portal to the other worlds and until recently was also the prison for the worst of criminals. The Wise sentenced them in hopes of Changing them for the better. The swirl of magic that was packed into Carousel Sun broke those bindings, freeing the criminals to die, flee, or hide.

Now Kate and her friends and neighbors must deal with one of the hidden, a powerful sea goddess who has designs on Kate’s boyfriend Borgan, the Guardian of the Gulf of Maine, and also on the Gulf. But this plotting injures the Sea herself—and when the Sea grieves, everything is at risk. Once again Lee gives us her atmospheric, densely woven story filled with curious, quirky, and very believable creatures from Beyond. There are also slow-moving romances and swift dangers, cats with agency, and a lesson in just how strong and subtle the least of the magic worlds may be. Kate has made both powerful friends and dangerous enemies, and the bindings she has made must take her into the future.

Recommended. I think you can read this as a stand-alone, but I recommend starting with Carousel Tides. Why not take the entire journey?




View all my reviews
alfreda89: (Books and lovers)
You do *not* use a toothpick to mark your place in a library book. How do I know if it is a used toothpick?

(Because it sticks to the page, that's how...)

#LibraryHorrorStories
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Eventually, I will have to send them take-down notices. Right now, I am in serious Life, Interrupted so it won't happen this week.

Remember that these sites exist to try and steal from you, or sell you an overpriced item they stole from someone else. Beware. The last one was a credit card scraper.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Including our obligation to stand up and say "I read. I read whenever I can."

Here's Neil.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
The Devil You Know (Vampire Files, #12.5)The Devil You Know by P.N. Elrod

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Perhaps the most important thing to say about this wonderful short novel by P.N. Elrod is that you do not need to know either of her vampire series (The Vampire Files or the Jonathan Barrett, Gentleman Vampire books) to enjoy this mystery laced with history, fantasy, and humor. Elrod makes you believe that journalist turned undead PI and nightclub owner Jack Fleming really does live in Depression Era Chicago, and really does head to a vampire funeral--where all hell breaks loose. It's up to Fleming and Barrett to solve their own attempted murders, as well as that of an inconvenient corpse found while Barrett was digging out a vampire crypt.

But things never go as you planned, or hoped.

The writing is clean and evocative, character speech rings true for class and era, and the mystery twists beautifully, making the title more appropriate than they could have imagined. Highly recommended.


View all my reviews
alfreda89: (Blankenship Reeds)
She was a staff photographer at Life Magazine from 1945-1972 when the magazine went to monthly, and over forty of the covers were her photographs. But very little is recorded about Nina Leen...which may have been how she liked it. She had a flair for photographing animals, and her slice of Midwestern life will ring a bell for many folks. They are time capsules, as I now look at them and think "Why are there no Asian,black, or Latino people?" Not at these events at this time.

“Nina Leen: Lenslady” will be on view at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York from March 26 through May 15.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Lots of interesting stuff over at the Book View Café​ blog today. Madeleine Robins​ writes about balancing acts in writing. You're writing a period mystery...and some of the attitudes and actions of the people of the past are abhorrent to well-meaning, thoughtful people today. You don't want to erase the sufferings of people who were abused and marginalized, yet you don't want to stick 21st century mores and words into your characters. What is the line there? How do you balance the concerns?

I think about these things all the time, too. I'm writing what evolved into a period fantasy. I can change things in my magical world, but how much? Will there be a civil war? There will be a war of 1812, because too many people had something to gain from it. But I am not sure Andrew Jackson will get to be a hero in a battle that should never have been fought. I plan to take William Henry Harrison's "victory" away from him, because if I can save Tecumseh I will.

Mad just had the Romani show up in her story. And her balancing act just became more intricate.

So--which way do you go? Should history ring true? Do you deny your characters the right to grow and change, see The Other as people, too--even if some of the things they say and do (at least at first) are not heroic? How do you handle this?

February 2017

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