jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The authors of Under an Enchanted Skyline box set ($0.99, available only until Dec 31st), participated in an urban fantasy roundtable.

Most Urban Fantasy stories focus on magical creatures and entities. Even so, ordinary people still play important roles within the story line. Do these “normals” have much of an impact in your story…and if so, in what ways?


Erik Scott de Bie: As a superhero adventure, Eye for an Eye is a bit of a black sheep: it features exactly one character with magical abilities—Lady Vengeance. In addition to her high-tech hero opposite, Stardust, the story features a series of mundane characters, including The Raven, who is the tech-based vigilante you’d get if you combined Iron Man and Batman, and Elizabeth Stevens, Stardust’s non-superhero wife, tech company tycoon, and the smartest person in the whole novella.

Phoebe Matthews: Always. It is the normals who have to solve the problems created by magic and by paranormals. Sorry, no superheroes here.

Django Wexler: Yes, definitely. Again, a common UF trope is that the protagonist is in some way special, somewhere between the monsters and the normals so he or she can serve as a guide to the fantastic for the readers. In the John Golden stories, this is literally true, since John’s only real power is to transport himself to the fairy burrows and back again. But since fairy burrows run on real-world computer systems, he has to deal with the “normals" who build and maintain them – system administrators, executives, users, and so on. He’s more or less an exterminator, since fairies are a nuisance!

Janine A. Southard: As the collection’s compiler, I don’t have a story in this boxed set. I have, however, had the chance to read them all. Each author in this bundle blends fantasy characters into the normal world, or vice versa. There couldn’t be a super-natural adventure without a familiar jumping off point. In some cases the protagonists are as magical as magical can be, making their way in our normal world. In others, simply touching the magical world transforms a normal person’s experience.

Cedar Blake: Well, Luke and Chalice provide the impetus for Rachel’s “transition,” and Rachel’s rotten manager Margie supplies the push that gets her going. Her pal Ashli (inspired by a real-life friend of mine back when I lived in the Bay Area) adds an essential (in)sanity check for Rachel, and Kim the Yoga Girl acts as sort of a benevolent archon figure, watching over the point of transition and providing a small yet significant test as the hero steps from one threshold to another. So yeah – Rachel’s story could not exist without these key figures. “Normal” or otherwise, they provide foundations and activities that make everything else possible.

Jennifer Brozek: Absolutely. The mundane people in a story become the “everyman” characters that the Reader can identify with. They are the normal people who have to face extraordinary circumstances. Many characters in my UF series are normal people just trying to get by as they are affected by the supernatural events going on around them. Many times, they show that the normal person can be just as effective as the supernatural creature.

---
Other questions and their roundtable answers are with: Phil, Erik, Phoebe, Doug, and Janine. This was a great roundtable. And I hope you all enjoyed it.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Guest Blog: I talk about why Human for a Day is my favorite anthology edited so far.

Interview: Pat Flewwelling (who has the coolest last name) interviewed me for Nine Day Wonder with an editor's focus.

Interview: Dave Gross interviewed me for his Creative Colleagues blog series. We talked about keeping a schedule and balancing editing versus writing and RPGs.

Review: A starred review in Publishers Weekly - Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters - I have a story in this set in the wild west called "The Price of Family." It's a dark story.

Recommendation: Broodhollow. A lovely, creepy webcomic by Kris Straub set in the 1930s. You should start at the beginning. It's got a subtle wrongness to it on top of the outright horror.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The Colony Saga
i.e., Let’s Talk Zombies

Okay, short bit about me (so’s y’all know I’ve got street cred, yo): I’m an indie author.  I write spec-fic: sci-fi, fantasy, horror.

Mostly horror.

I’m a produced screenwriter (two horror movies), member of the Horror Writers of America, and have been one of Amazon’s Most Popular Horror Writers for most of the last year.  I’ve written about ghosts, vampires, serial killers, demons, devils.  If it goes bump in the night, I’m interested.  But one thing I’ve never done is a multi-volume work. 

Until now.  And it’s a zombie story.

Usually when I write, I can tell pretty much how long the book’s going to end up being.  But when I started writing The Colony Saga, I discovered to my chagrin that the first two plot points took over two hundred pages to cover.  And that was because I was trying to do something a bit different with my zombies. 

In most zombie stories, the zombies are essentially interchangeable with a force of nature.  They are an earthquake, or a series of twisters, or a tsunami.  They are there to be dealt with as an additional problem in between the “real” story issues: a marriage on the rocks, a group of plucky survivors who have to deal with the power mad/rapey governor/priest/ex-biker/whatever who lives nearby and wants what they have.  The real questions aren’t about the zombies (“Where did they come from?”  “How do we get rid of them?”), they are about the people.  So the zombies become a stumbling block in service of the author.


Concerned Husband: Honey, let’s sit down and talk about our marital problems.
Spunky Wife: You just haven’t understood me since we lost little Timmy.
Concerned Husband: But I’m here now.  Let’s figure it out.
Spunky Wife: Okay, let’s –
Zombie Horde: Rowrrrr!
Concerned Husband: Oops!  Gotta get outta here!
Spunky Wife: I know!  We’ll figure out our marriage after this brief survival episode!
Zombie Horde: ROWRRRR!
(three weeks later)
Spunky Wife: Good thing we found that abandoned military installation and weapons cache!
Concerned Husband: I know!  Should we talk about our marriage now?
Zombie Horde: Rowrrr!
Spunky Wife: Headshots rule!


I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to create a world where zombies are THE ONLY problem.  Where you don’t have time to really get into a bitch-slap fight with your neighbor, because time is all too precious.  If you argue, you die.  That’s it.  But that meant I had to create a whole different kind of zombie.  A kind of zombie immune to typical “zombie killing” methods.  Headshots won’t work.  Setting ‘em on fire isn’t an option.

And the zombies had to have a reason.  Most zombie stories are, again, about a natural event.  Even the viral zombies that are so in vogue now are at heart a natural event, in the sense that nature has fought back against humanity overstepping its bounds.  So the zombies become a sort of modern wrath of God.  A crucible to burn away the impure – morality plays on a massive scale.  But never really explained beyond that.

I wanted zombies with purpose.  I wanted them so scary that there literally appears to be no way to stop them.  I wanted survivors who were at their cores good people, willing to put aside differences in order to try to save not just themselves, but the human race.

And I wanted to do the one thing that no zombie story has ever really done, to fully address the most horrific aspect of zombies. 

As to what that is… well, I gotta keep some secrets in reserve.  But there are things worse than dying.  Worse than not staying dead.

Zombies are a lot of fun to read, and a lot of fun to write.  Whether I’ve accomplished my mission of creating a completely new kind of zombie is something that I can’t answer – I’ll have to leave that to my readers.  But it’s taught me a lot about horror, about the nature of community, and about the things that are truly worth fearing.


The Colony: Genesis (The Colony, Vol. 1):
Kindle
Paperback

The Colony: Renegades (The Colony, Vol. 2)
Kindle
Paperback

---
Michaelbrent Collings is a #1 bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His bestsellers include Strangers, Darkbound, Apparition, The Haunted, The Loon, and the YA fantasy series The Billy Saga (beginning with Billy: Messenger of Powers). He hopes someday to develop superpowers, and maybe get a cool robot arm. Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and much MUCH cooler than he is (also a low bar). Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on Twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for awesome news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I've never met Matt but I gotta give it to him... I love this book trailer. It's the kind of book trailer I'd like. Give it a look.-JLB


---


The Correct Response is "Whoa"



by Matthew Warner



As in, "Whoa, baby. That looks awesome." As in, "It looks so awesome, I gotta buy that book right the hell now."



That's the reaction I want you to have to my new book trailer about The Seventh Equinox, coming Nov. 6 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. (Hopefully, you'll remain that enthusiastic after you read it.)



Did you know someone owns the term book trailer? Yep. It's a service mark, registration #2868140, duly recorded at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But that doesn't stop hordes of writers from creating videos about their novels and calling them "book trailers," as if they're on par with trailers at the movie theater.



But here's the rub. Most of them suck. I'm sorry, but they do. They're text-heavy, too long, and they look like they were made with PowerPoint in less than 15 minutes. But you get what you pay for, and most writers don't have the dough to hire actors and CG artists. I'm not saying I do, either. Not usually. In fact, I'm certain I blew all my future royalties several times over when I collaborated with Darkstone Entertainment to make the 2.5-minute video linked below. But I'm happy to do it in the interests of recruiting new readers, hopefully ones who will stick with me for life. I have another job to keep me in whiskey, so I don't mind raking all my writing income back into advertising. My publishers don't seem to mind, either.



For this trailer, it helped to have a target audience firmly in mind. The Seventh Equinox is set in the fictitious city of Augusta, Virginia, based on my home of Staunton. I didn't set it in the real Staunton because I wanted some leeway in my descriptions of geography and government, and also to insulate me from potential libel suits. In my book, the sheriff is an alcoholic, bigoted redneck, while the real-life Staunton police chief is anything but.



Anyway, I still want locals to buy my book, because its descriptions otherwise ring with regional flavor. That's why a Staunton landmark, the Clock Tower, appears on the book cover. And that's why, when I wrote the trailer script (which you're welcome to read here), I loaded it with Staunton landmarks, such as Betsy Bell Mountain. During the three-day shoot, I even revised it to include more local landmarks, such as the Gypsy Hill Park band stand and the iconic DeJarnette buildings.



The other thing I did differently with this trailer was to load it with multiple settings and story lines, more like a real movie trailer. My previous three trailers for Blood Born were each confined to one or two locales. That made this one three times as hard to make. Read more about the sausage-making at The Seventh Equinox's production blog.



So, what did I learn from all this? New ways to nervously pull my hair out when production problems sometimes cropped up. I also learned I should keep my mouth shut when an actress is working herself into an emotional state at my request. (Major kudos to actress Elle Clark for crying real tears.)



The jury is still out on my main questions, which are: did it help to target a local audience, and was the more cinematic writing style worth the trouble?



Maybe you can help me figure it out. In the meantime, enjoy (book trailer link)!


 





Matthew Warner's new novel, The Seventh Equinox, comes out from Raw Dog Screaming Press on Nov. 6, 2013. Preorders receive $2 off.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’ve never met Louise but I follow her archeology blog because she’s always got something interesting going on. I’m pleased to hear about how she used her work and love of history to come up with her debut novel, Fire and Sword (Amazon US, Amazon UK).

---




First of all, a big ‘thank you’ to Jennifer Brozek for her invitation!  Deciding what to write has been quite a challenge:  I wondered at first if I should talk about why I actually write historical fiction, when my background as a reader and a writer is  grounded firmly in science fiction and fantasy.  But I’ve decided instead to focus more closely on the plot of my debut novel, Fire & Sword (published by Hadley Rille Books)  and the research which underpins it.

History is littered with drama and intrigue, undertaken by a plethora of sometimes quite unsavoury individuals.  And yet I chose to write my novel about a relatively unknown individual who is hardly mentioned in the national story.  Why I took this difficult path and the work involved in pursuing it is what I’d like to talk about today.

I live in Renfrewshire, just west of Glasgow. When I started writing Fire and Sword, it seemed practical to write a story set close to home, mainly because I was unemployed at the time and the wealth of on-line archival resources that we have now was unheard of. 

The local history books were full of inconsequential details along the lines of, “See those Semples?  They were dodgy characters, always feuding.  See those Montgomeries?  They were a right bad crowd, always feuding.”  After wading through page after page of this kind of stuff, I must admit I found myself wondering how I’d ever find something worth writing about.

Then something caught my eye.  A brief passage, referring to John, 1st Lord Sempill.  I can’t remember the exact wording, but it went somewhere along the lines of, ‘His father Sir Thomas Sempill died defending the King at the Battle of Sauchieburn in June, 1488, and a year later John was made 1st Lord Sempill.’

Now, King James III was murdered after Sauchieburn, which meant that John Sempill’s father was killed while fighting on the losing side.  This meant that his son and heir, John, was back in favour with his successor James IV just a year later. 

I was intrigued.  I continued my research, and learned that the constant feuding was invariably an aggrieved response to specific political events.  By weaving together the national picture with the local historical accounts, I unearthed a story which was very interesting indeed, but much was inference and supposition.  As a historian or an archaeologist, I couldn’t take the next step which linked all this together. 

But as a novelist, I could.

The facts formed a rigid framework around which I had to build a story, but everything else depended on the characters.  The process of creating characters who seemed realistic and compelling and true to their time was another major challenge.  With some individuals, including John, I didn’t even know their date of birth.  Some major detective work ensued.  How many siblings did they have?  Who were their closest relatives?  What did they achieve in their lives? Who did their children marry? 

In John’s case, he was the only son in a family which included at least three girls.  While his father was clearly allied politically with the Cunninghame clan, John became increasingly linked with their local rivals, the Montgomeries.  The Montgomeries and the Cunninghames were at each others’ throats in nearby Ayrshire.  But during John’s life, while he was Sheriff of Renfrew, these same two families maintained a peaceful co-existence.

I like to think that John, 1st Lord Sempill was ahead of his time.  While most of his contemporaries were happy to feud and burn, John was a builder, a supporter of the arts.  His legacy includes one of the few privately funded collegiate churches to be built in the west of Scotland, a site which still can be visited today.  He was, in effect, a true Renaissance man. 

Even the most accomplished of historians can’t give John much of a voice or an identity.  With just a scattering of charters to his name, his was a fleeting presence in a world dominated by much louder, more strident personalities.

But a novelist can take a leap of inference, and travel to places that the historian or archaeologist can only dream of.  And what an adventure it has been, trying to accomplish this in a manner which is entertaining to the reader, while remaining plausible and convincing and sympathetic to the facts!

--
Louise Turner’s debut novel Fire and Sword is set in late 15th century Scotland and has recently been published by Hadley Rille Books.  For further information about Louise and her work, see www.louiseturner.co.uk.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Jay Lake’s Process of Writing is officially out! Of course, we, at Apocalypse Ink Productions, need to have a contest for it. Link this page on Facebook, twitter, or your blog between now and September 30th to be entered into a contest to win the last signed and numbered limited JayWake hardback edition of Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, complete with Howard Tayler’s artwork. You will also receive a JayWake pin and a JayWake smooshed penny. This contest is not limited by geography.

If your entry is on Facebook or on your blog, post that link on Twitter directed to @ApocalypseInk or contact us through email at contest@apocalypse-ink.com

===========
Sample Tweet:
Just released from @ApocalypseInk - @Jay_Lake’s Process of Writing. Win the JayWake edition! http://bit.ly/13fXDMg #contest RT to win.

===========
Sample Facebook status update:
New from Apocalypse Ink Productions, Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. Now available in physical and e-book formats. Win the JayWake edition! http://bit.ly/13fXDMg

===========
What will you win? We’re glad you asked. Take a look.



Hardback limited JayWake edition of Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. #47/50 and signed by Jay Lake.



The smooshed JayWake penny gifted by Janna Silverstein.



The JayWake pin designed by Howard Tayler and gifted by Minerva Zimmerman.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)


Is it possible to have worked on a book for nearly 30 years?  No, strike that... a lifetime?

You see, my novel Shirewode will be released on 09 September, the second book in a duology of Robin Hood.  It is singular amongst other recent retellings of the legend, in that it melds the hard edge of historical fact with the undeniable myth and magic of a vanishing primordial forest.  It also has high romance straight from the original ballads... with a subversive and timely twist, of course.

And time has haunted these books.  It's been a bloody long haul to get here, to this place where I have two actual novels in my hand instead of promises, and good reviews in print instead of well-meaning reassurances. The duology originally began over thirty years ago as a trilogy called Greenwode, on the verge of contract with an SF/F publisher.  The main editor of that imprint died, and in the fallout a lot of things that were going to happen, didn't.  It was the beginning of a run with very, very bad luck on so many fronts--and we all know luck is a big factor in publishing.

I retreated from the field, done in.   But the writing still lay in wait.  Other books were written, shared amongst comrades, put away in the files.  And amidst them waited what would become Greenwode and Shirewode, patient outlaws in ambush.  These manuscripts, gift from a childhood of pretending to be Robin Hood... of hunting and running wild over ploughed fields and through thick forests, of shooting arrows and falling in ponds, of climbing trees and chasing cousins and half-wild ponies that stood in for Sheriff's Men...

Well, these manuscripts were determined to be my debut upon a battlefield where I never again thought to stand.  I'm no longer a starry-eyed twentysomething, and it was on mere chance and whim I pulled the trilogy-that-was from my file cabinets and thought about rewriting them... then did rewrite them.  A lot.  Then, in a process so lacking the chaos of my previous encounters that it felt like the fates were, finally, aligning beside instead of against, publication... happened.  A copy of Greenwode sits in glorious colour upon my shelves.  Not too long ago I got my just-as-glorious copy of Shirewode.  End, yet merely another beginning, Shirewode sits on my shelf next to its mate, right between Heinlein and Herriot...  and what fine company is that?

So.  I spent some years railing at whatever gods would listen (still do, sometimes), but it all comes down to this:

I'm writing better books than I was thirty years ago.

Shirewode, and Greenwode, and whatever books come after are, perhaps, the books they intended to be, all along.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Dylan Birtolo is a great friend of mine and I have had the privilege of working for him several times. This time, I do have skin in the game. It is my company that will be publishing the Sheynan trilogy. The Kickstarter (5 days left) involved is already funded with extra books coming from Apocalypse Ink Productions. Dylan is here to tell me who his fictional hero is and why.

---
We all have heroes when we are growing up – people that we respect, admire, and want to emulate or even become. As you can imagine, I was a very imaginative child and grew up with a lot of science fiction and fantasy, for which I am immensely grateful. Heck, I am told that the first book I “read” was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story I have been told is that I had it read to me so many times that I memorized the words and “read along.” Needless to say, there were a lot of opportunities to find heroes.

The one that rose to the top was Buckaroo Banzai from the cult hit The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Why was he my hero above and beyond all of the other stories I read or watched? I had Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and more to pull from – a very competitive lineup. Quite simply, he did everything. He was a scientist, a race car driver, a neurosurgeon, a martial artist, a rock star, and had his own comic book. He was everything that you could possibly be. I guess when I was a child and my parents said I could be anything I wanted, I took that to mean that I could be EVERYTHING.

With writing, I get a taste of that. For me, writing is a form of wish fulfillment. I get to create worlds and characters that can do anything, where anything is possible. I have the opportunity to write the stories that I want to read. There are characters and worlds in my head that I want to explore, and “what if” questions I want to see the answers to. Writing is a way to do that. Not only that, but it also lets me share those ideas with others.

This is especially true because I write a lot of fantasy. The idea for my first novel, The Shadow Chaser, was born from a very simple wish. I wished that I had the ability to change into an animal. That got my brain going. What if I could? What if I wasn’t the only one? How would it work? What if there were hundreds of people living in this world who can do it, and we just don’t know about them? That was the seed that grew into this novel.

While I may not be able to do everything (although I am making as good a stab at it as I can), being a writer lets me emulate Buckaroo in my own way.

Right now I am in the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to rewrite my first two novels and write the third in the series. I’m excited about this. It is an opportunity to revisit one of the first worlds I created with all of the writing skills and knowledge I have now. I have gotten to the point where, while I am proud of what I have done with my first novels, I cringe a little to read them because I know I am a much better writer now. With this project, I will be able to go back and give this world another turn so I can share it again with people.

Because let’s face it – a world where some people can take on the shape of an animal sounds like a lot of fun.

jennifer_brozek: (Author August 2011)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I met Scott at a convention. He was funny, happy, and enthusiastic. A real pleasure to be around. When he asked me to write for By Faerie Light, I agreed and I'm so pleased with how my story, "A Nightmare for Anna," came out. Thus, I'm not unbiased about this anthology or kickstarter. Just 10 days to go to fund this kickstarter. And there's so much more offered by Broken Eye Books than the marvelous anthology talked about below.
---
byFAERIElight2


What is By Faerie Light? It's the bump in the night, the forgotten memories, the stolen children. It's the worlds unseen within your dreams, hidden in the trees, lost in your cupboard. It's the tricksy, dark, otherworldly personalities of the fae.

By Faerie Light is an anthology of dark fantasy. Specifically, it focuses on the supernatural creatures you like to call fae. These are tales of moral ambiguity and emotional intensity. Frightful and fanciful. They draw from our own mythologies and folklores, but these aren't fables or retellings of classics. There are no lessons here to learn. We just want to play with your heads.

And really, that's our greatest joy. The fair folk are such a treasure trove of wonderful stories. They’re unpredictable and complicated. Anything can happen anywhere and anywhen. You never really know just where you stand, and even when you think you do, you’re generally wrong. They are unconcerned with your quaint customs and morals. You’re typically just a bother, a toy, a fling to them. It’s when they start to pay attention to you that you should worry.

And what better way to bring something so multifaceted, so complex, to life than in an anthology, my most favorite of beasts. You get to see through the eyes of different authors, each with their own take on what it means to be fae. What it means to be human interacting with a cold, remorseless, alien world.

Eighteen short stories woven together by the editors, Caroline Dombrowski and myself. All from top-notch authors with the knack for hitting just the right notes of creepy and weird: Jennifer Brozek, James L. Sutter, Elaine Cunningham, Erin Hoffman, Shanna Germain, Cat Rambo, Jeffrey Scott Petersen, Christie Yant, Lillian Cohen-Moore, Torah Cottrill, Erik Scott de Bie, Andrew Romine, Ed Greenwood, Amber E. Scott, Jaym Gates, Nathan Crowder, Julia Ellingboe, Minerva Zimmerman, and Dave Gross. Each bringing to life an exciting and strange new world to explore.

We're just putting the final wards on this title now. You know, for your protection. It’ll be available to the public in November, but you could get it a little earlier by joining in our Kickstarter, which offers this anthology along with four novels and some other special goodies to choose from.

It appears you’ve heard their call already. They’re beckoning you, aren’t they?  May history forgive us for unleashing this overwhelming, amoral tide of tales upon you.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Jim Hines is a friend of mine, a great writer, and I love these books. I think all readers and writers want to know what it would be like to pull something--a lightsaber, a wand, the grail--from a book to have for their very own. Here, he talks about his protagonist's greatest love.

---



One of my favorite things about Libriomancer and Codex Born is the protagonist’s attitude toward magic. Isaac Vainio is a librarian and shameless geek, with the ability to pull things from books—phasers, light-sabers, magic rings, pretty much anything that fits through the pages.

And he loves it. Isaac is completely and utterly in love with magic … occasionally to the detriment of whatever he’s supposed to be doing at the time. Even when he’s facing steampunk-style insects that escaped from a book and are oddly determined to kill him, a part of Isaac’s mind is distracted by the beauty of their construction, the combination of magic and miniature jewels and gears, the elegance of the metalwork...

He’s constantly asking “What if?” about both the books he reads and magic in the real world. How far could Harry Potter travel with that apparating spell? Did J. K. Rowling’s witches and wizards ever blip over to Mars to explore the planet? Could magic seeds from Piers Anthony’s Xanth series be pulled into our world to revolutionize farming? And where could Isaac get his hands on a magical chronoscope that would let him check out the lost episodes of Doctor Who?

Magic comes with a cost, of course. Overusing a particular book leads to magical charring, damage that spreads through every copy of the book and can make Bad Things happen. Magic also weakens the boundaries between the lirbiomancer and the book, meaning characters from those books can begin to creep into the libriomancer’s mind. And there are the occasional monsters and villains trying to use magic to take over the world.

But the core of the series is about hope and discovery and the thrill of learning something new. It’s about an insatiable need to learn, and to explore the possibilities of magic.

I have nothing against darker, grittier fantasy novels. But there seems to be an awful lot of it these days, where the world is a harsh, ugly place, and magic is a burden to be suffered with stoicism and occasional angst.

Isaac’s life certainly isn’t perfect. Any number of things are busily trying to kill him, his love life is confusing to say the least, and he’s not on the best of terms with Johannes Gutenberg, the centuries-old founder of the world’s magical organization. I mean, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t torment my characters?

But no matter what I put Isaac and his companions through, it never takes away that central thread of joy. The thrill Isaac feels when he discovers something new or finds that a long-understood “rule” of magic was actually more of a guideline.

At the heart of the series is the idea that magic is awesome. And that’s one of the things that makes these stories such an absolute blast to write.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I will be at Convolution in the SF Bay Area, Nov 1-3. I'd really love to see the Goblin King's Masked Ball happen.

---
I'm Kimmi Allbee, and I'm Chairwoman of this really amazing convention- Convolution 2013.  We're a new sci-fi/fantasy genre con, taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area on November 1-3rd.  Last year was our inaugural event, and we had unexpected success.  This, our second year, is shaping up to be more of the same-I have a hard time not gushing when I speak of how awesome it's going to be. 

Our Guests of Honor include Brian Froud & Wendy Froud, who's work you'd recognize from films like "Labyrinth", and "The Dark Crystal", Wendy & Richard Pini, celebrating 35 years of their brilliant ElfQuest comic book series, and Richard Kadrey, author of the dark fantasy series "Sandman Slim", which was recently announced as being developed for a new television series.  Featured Guests include Toby Froud, puppeteer and filmmaker, and Ivan Van Norman, RPG game creator, and one of the finalists from TBS' "King of the Nerds" TV series.  We're also closing the weekend with a private screening of the Cabal Cut of Clive Barker's epic horror film "Nightbreed", which was just announced at SDCC as being picked up for a new DVD release with the all-new, reworked scenes that were cut from the original release, bringing it back in line with Clive's original vision for the film.  Russell Cherrington, the man behind this film being made will join us, along with Craig Sheffer, star of Nightbreed, who played Boone.

When I first bid to chair this year's convention, I had a dream, and it's been amazing to watch that dream become a real thing, and to get to share it with all the people who are so excited for it to happen. We're also working our collective butts off to make it be a bigger, more amazing thing than it could have been on it's own, by running a Kickstarter campaign for Saturday night's dance, The Goblin King's Masked Ball.

We'll have live music performances from singer and cellist Unwoman, and from the trio of amazing performers who make up Tricky Pixie- Alexander James Adams, SJ Tucker, and Betsy Tinney.  We'll have local DJs spinning atmospheric music, and live performers from The Vespertine Circus.  The whole evening is themed after the iconic dream sequence in the film "Labyrinth", and we want everyone to don a fancy costume and mask, and come to the ball as your brightest dream, or your darkest nightmare, and revel for Halloween weekend in style and decadence.

We currently have 52 backers, with $4,944.00 pledged of our $12,500.00 goal, and we're not quite halfway done- we have 17 days left. We're at 39% funded-and this is a fantastic thing. In the next week, you'll see more updates as we add new performers, and unveil some extra reward level items to titillate new backers. We've gotten endless support from all of our wonderful Guests of Honor, and Featured Guests, and it just keeps coming, which is both humbling, and invigorating, as it repeatedly shows me that my dream is something that I can share, and have it become bigger than it was when it just lived in my head.

Please, go give it a look. There has been so much work, from so many people, going into making this project a success that I cannot possibly ask for more from any of them-but I can ask for more from you. Even if it's just $5, one less latte for the week-every little bit helps, and every little bit adds up to become part of a greater whole. And then, you'll have thrown a little bit of positivity out into the world, knowing you helped make a dream come true.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I have the great pleasure of calling John Pitts a mentor and friend. He is an excellent author and the Sarah Beauhall series deserves to continue on. I know a lot hinges on trade paperback sales. Forged in Fire is worth picking up in physical copy. Something to think about.

---
On July 23rd, the trade paperback of Forged in Fire hits the shelves.  This is the third in the Sarah Beauhall series about a young lesbian blacksmith in present day Seattle who repairs a sword that just happens to be the legendary Gram and the chaos that ensues.

In Forged in Fire, Sarah has uncovered even more that is wrong with the world in the form of a blood cult lead by a seriously anti-social necromancer.  Justin, the necromancer, just happens to have once dated Anezka, one of the blacksmith masters that Sarah has had the pleasure of working with.

I love this book for several reasons.  It was a good chance for me to step out of my comfort zone in several areas which is a HUGE bonus for writers.  Breaking through the walls and trying things, exploring themes or touching on subject matter that is outside our norm makes for powerful story telling.

Sarah really has embraced the way her world is unfolding and is approaching it with a fervor she never knew she had in her.  Katie, her lover and best friend, begins to really come into her own as a bard, with the music and magic literally bursting out of her. 

The rest of the crew jump in and round out the story with depth and consequences.  Every action has meaning, magic has a cost, and even the most well intentioned decision has a ripple effect that goes beyond any careful (or not so careful) planning on everyone's part.

Another thing I find fascinating about this series in general is the fun of layering in story.  I get a very real sense of joy by planting clues that may bear fruit in this book, or maybe the next.  The world isn't a single D&D adventure that is completely wrapped at the end.  Oh, the story has a fine resolution, but the world rolls on, the characters have lives beyond this book, and I dearly hope that you the reader can't help but wonder just what might happen next.

At least that's the feedback I've been getting from eager readers.  Of course, as the author, there are things I know that the readers don't always catch.  But I can live with that.  What I'd really love is when you read the books, that you'd contact me, ask questions, let me know what you liked and what you didn't like.  Let me know if there are things I should do better in the future, or things that you want to see.

I can't promise I'll do any of those things, but it's a real boon to a writer to hear what's working and what isn't.  I especially want to know if the things I'm foreshadowing are what you the reader is anticipating as the next thing.

Beyond that, I just hope you're entertained.  That's the whole point of this exercise, after all.  I'm a sucker for a damn good story, and I hope Forged in Fire fill that for you. 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Nayad is an author / editor friend of mind that I’ve been privileged to work with upon occasion. This is one such occasion. I have a story in the kickstarter anthology, What Fates Impose, that Nayad talks about below. In an unexpected turn, Nayad asked me to write my own “Tell Me” about the Karen Wilson Chronicles and the story that is in this anthology.

---
What Fates Impose: Tales of Divination

When I consider potential anthology themes, I'm really thinking about what kind of stories I would like to read. That's what led me to pitch the idea for this book of stories about predicting the future. I was curious about what various writers would think of when given the theme about fortune-telling. I wanted to see the dark side and the conflicts of divination, and the possibilities that other people would imagine. I was thrilled when Steven Saus of Alliteration Ink decided that he wanted to publish it.

Getting a glimpse of what's ahead is a special kind of cheat. It's not as easy as you want it to be. You don't know how the piece you're told will fit in with the whole puzzle of your life. You don't know when it will happen, or what will lead to it. Oracles are notoriously vague and inclined towards a trickster mentality; they're not trying to make life any easier for you. You can never tell how much of the truth they're telling, if they're telling any truth at all.

Looking at my own ideas about these matters: I don't believe that fortune-telling can work because I don't believe the future is already planned. I think that each decision we make steers the future in its own little way, but we each have a range of decisions we could make in any given moment. But what if predictions could be made based on trends and probabilities? What if there were ways to use magic to catch glimpses of what could be ahead? I can imagine worlds in which fate is inescapable, and worlds in which there are ways to change a predicted future.

The authors who wrote stories for me came up with ideas I never would have gotten on my own. A psychic elephant came from Eric James Stone. A conspiracy to fulfill a prophecy came from Ken Scholes. Jennifer Brozek's Tarot cards can change the world. Tim Waggoner shows us a fortune-telling creature that lurks behind a waterfall in the forest. And Lucy Snyder's predictions come from a grim creation in a secret cellar. All of the twenty-two stories I chose for the book showed me distinct, interesting possibilities.

From now until July 14, 2013, Alliteration Ink is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to pay professional rates for these stories. If we reach our goal, we get full funding, and if we don't reach our goal, we get nothing. Want to help? By pledging from the Kickstarter page, you can pre-order copies of the book and choose from a wide range of backer rewards. We are also offering random prize-drawings for backers when we reach important milestones. You can see it all here: http://bit.ly/kickfate (and you might want to do your ears a favor by listening to a portion of the book's intro, written and read by Alasdair Stuart). We will be gushingly grateful for all support.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

What is FCI?

It's my term for three of the most wonderful things in life:  fantasy, creativity and imagination

Life is a serious business.  We have to be deeply grounded in reality.  But life is also incredibly complex.  It’s made up of matter and the rules that govern matter, and it’s also made out of emotion, thought and desires that all affect one another in sometimes unpredictable and immeasurable ways.  In a complex world, FCI is one of the best tools to help us negotiate them all and find our place in life. 

My blog, Caution: Adults Playing, is where I take the misconceptions around FCI seriously, while having fun playing with them.  There is an oppression of young people, and an oppression of adults.  Like you can insult a man by comparing him to woman when you believe women are less than men, you can insult an adult by comparing them to a child because we believe children are beneath us.  The oppression of adults runs a little differently.  Adults are expected to sacrifice everything in order to be, or at least appear to be, capable and productive.  As such, you can’t be seen acting ‘childishly.’  Between the two oppressions, they account for most of the personal and societal pressure to cut FCI out of our lives just when we need it most: to counteract the wear and tear on us from the burdens of too many routines and over-responsibility.  Just like we don’t have to adhere to a list of attributes attributed to our gender, we don’t have to go from being a child to leaving everything from childhood behind in order to become an adult.  

In my writing I champion and explore the benefits of using your FCI.  And I write my stories using all three. 

My first book, What the Faeries Left Behind, is an urban fairy tale in which Abigail Watson—stuck in a rut—is given an unexpected opportunity to allow FCI back into her life to help rejuvenate it.  My second book, Defense Mechanisms (coming out later this month), is also an urban fairy tale.  It’s the story of how thirty something Janey was bullied into giving up FCI growing up, and what it takes for her to reclaim it and give herself permission to be her real, whole self.  And my third book, Sleepwaking (coming soon) is a modern adaptation of Through the Looking Glass that takes us back to Wonderland—an urbanized version of it with an adult Alice—because the satire, word play and innocent fun that delighted us as children can be just as refreshing and stimulating for us as grown-ups. 

I’m launching Deep Meaningful Fun:  Defense Mechanisms, an urban fairy tale—a Kickstarter campaign for the release of my second book—on June 24th, 2013, to run for the next three weeks.  As an author/artist I’d love to connect with more people who relish their FCI and want to read more fun fiction—deep, meaningful fun fiction that is.  Participating in the campaign is like ordering an advance copy of my novel and getting backstage passes to the behind-the-scenes world of writing and publishing a book. 

And come to www.ambermichellecook.com, the gateway page to more of my FCI:  my Wubbulous Writing Website, the blog, and Chromatic Daffodil Shadows. 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sarah at conventions and publishing her in anthologies. I’m really happy she got to do this anthology with Alliteration Ink. She and I will both be at Origins Game Fair Library this next weekend.

---
If you’d told me two years ago that I would be editing my first anthology in 2013, I would’ve laughed at you, because I was a new writer with hardly any publishing credits under my belt. Two years doesn’t seem like much time to go from barely-a-writer to editor. But a series of events conspired to place me in the right place at the right time and friends with the right publisher. Steven Saus of Alliteration Ink asked me if I had any ideas for anthologies I’d like to edit, and I said yes! In writing, every door that opens leads to bigger (and sometimes better) doors, and if you want to make writing a career you have to diversify and try as many as you can. So I took a deep breath and opened the Editor door.

The idea for Sidekicks! came from the novel I’ve been writing since Summer 2012. The book is about a girl who is the quintessential sidekick, someone who is perpetually overlooked and continually underappreciated...even by herself. I wondered what other authors would do with the same concept. Why would anyone choose to be a sidekick?

The anthology was invitation-only because I’m too busy with a full time job and graduate school to deal with hundreds of submissions. I primarily chose authors I knew from writing groups and conventions, and Steven gave me a list of authors Alliteration Ink had worked with in the past. So if you’re an aspiring author and you’re out there wondering how to get on an editor’s invite list, the answer is to join a writing group and go to a convention or two. Networking is still surprisingly powerful in this day and age.

Sidekicks! contains twenty stories in a variety of genres. The authors we invited took the concept of the sidekick and really ran with it. We have a few of the stories you’d expect, about superhero and supervillain sidekicks, but I think you’ll find the trouble the characters find themselves in unexpected and entertaining. We also have stories about a telekinetic gun slinger, a dictator’s conniving brother, a stone-faced Martian warrior, and a kidnapping victim who takes matters into her own hands. We’ve got sidekicks who are female, male, people of color, soldiers, students, gay, straight, etc. Some of the stories are quite funny, and others are very serious, and still others are rather dark, so there’s a little something for everyone. We tried our hardest to answer the question of what motivates someone to become (and remain) a sidekick. I think the answer is different depending on which character you ask--but they all have their reasons. And they’re all good ones.

If you’d like to hear some of the authors from Sidekicks! read their work, we’ll be at the Whetstone Library in Columbus, Ohio on June 8 from 5-7pm (Facebook event here). To keep an eye out for future events or to ask me a question about this blog post, please find me on my blog, twitter, and facebook! Thanks for reading!

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I've backed this movie kickstarter because it looks like exactly the kind of thing I love. Toss in some of my favorite creators and how could I say no? They are very close to being funded. Here's David to talk about the awesomeness of working with creatives.

--
Why Blood Kiss?

First, thank you Jennifer for letting me guest blog, I feel honored to contribute here plus it's great fun. There's a sense of magic on this site. And that leads to Blood Kiss.

There's a sense of wonder and magic in the screenplay and the people involved. I want to help bring a unique story to life, and work with some of the most wonderful creative people in the world. Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson, Michael Reaves, Tom Mandrake and Daniela Di Mase are warm, funny, creative, and inspiring. Every day one of them says or does something that makes me think, laugh, and do better than I could before. Being part of a great team is key to having a successful project, and somehow I fit into this creative team. We blend our skills and make something new happen every day.

We all want to make the best movie possible, and that involves a lot of people, time, money, and resources. With such strong personalities there are differing opinions, and finding a middle way that works for everyone is a real challenge sometimes. Designing the campaign for Kickstarter took months, and everyone contributed. Because we believe in the project, the final version looks great and holds your attention. All the parts fit and help tell the story. In a sense it's a microcosm of how the whole filmmaking process works. Collaboration-Communication-Completion.

I'm a composer and love the Golden Age of Hollywood. Blood Kiss is set in that world and gives me a chance to update grand romantic gestures and spice them with creepy electronica. To do that takes money to hire live musicians. People are better than boxes. And more authentic. That means we have to raise enough money to hire great performers, string players and brass. In a project like this everything goes on screen and the more we raise the better our production values. Everyone knows what classic movies sound like and I have to create that sound. A real challenge. But with the support of fans it's possible.

Michael tried to get the studios to see the value in a new kind of character driven, glamorous Hollywood vampire tale. They didn't get it. But you do. We can do this together with your support. That's kind of amazing, that Michael's dream can come true, Neil gets to act, Amber can sing, I can orchestrate melodies, do things we really believe in and do well. With fans giving us the green light.

A big reason I'm part of Blood Kiss is that crowdfunding gives me a chance to to my best work, be creative in ways the old system might never allow. If we have great success, maybe we can even change the system a bit.

I'm grateful to Michael, Neil, Amber, Tom, Daniela, Leah, Dave, Dan, Tommy, and Fernando for doing amazing work. Please see their work at PledgeBloodKiss.com We're making magic here!

—David Raiklen, Producer/Composer, Blood Kiss

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The whole concept of Geek Field Guide started with the idea of traveling the world and documenting regional and local martial arts styles for others who share our passion for that sort of thing. The idea quickly took on a life of its own, and grew as we assessed where our talents and passions overlapped that we could provide a more compelling project to a larger number of people.

Some background… Photography has always been a great passion for me, and I’d always felt restricted by technology. Using cheap 110 film as a child was a great learning experience, but the quality ultimately left me disappointed by the results. The 35mm point and shoot that my dad owned was a significant improvement, but it wasn’t something I could go play and experiment with due to the rather significant cost of the camera for my family at the time. It wasn’t until college that I took a photography course and bought an old fully-manual Minolta SLR that I really grasped photography as an art form.

The ability to present a view of the world with such carefully-tuned composition and exposure was a door flung open in front of me into a new world. Between my third and fourth year of college, I took a trip to Italy through the university and studied art in Florence (Firenze) for a summer. This falls under the category of Life-Changing Experience. This was when I realized that I was truly happy out exploring and seeing the world, camera in hand. But… You can’t make a real career out of that, right? So I went home, and continued down the path of life toward jobs that happen in office buildings. Fast-forward through over a decade of game development from QA to co-owning an indie studio, a couple years of finally giving in and taking up fiction writing (including one published short so far), and splurging to get a DSLR, I finally had the experience I needed to re-assess my dreams.

Working in an office was no longer a requirement to my subconscious after freelance writing and dev work. I’d spent enough time living in hotels that I found that while it is essential to have a home base somewhere, the amount of time I feel I need to spend there isn’t that significant. I realized that the time to put all the skills and networking to use had arrived.

As the idea for The Project (as we came to refer to it) became more concrete to me, I started reaching out to friends with varied hobbies and careers for feedback on what would be useful to them. The response was staggering. Finding good reference for the types of projects that geeks do for fun and profit can be extremely time-consuming, or sometimes impossible to find. Everyone I talked to wanted to see me try to make this project happen.

I'm a tech geek at heart. While I no longer get as excited about technology for the sake of technology, new hardware, software, and techniques for furthering my art will grab my attention every time.

For this reason, the increasing low-light capabilities of DSLR cameras (I prefer to shoot in natural light), portability of HD video cameras (such as the GoPro), and techniques such as photogrammetry (turning a series of perspective photos into a 3D model), leapt into my mind as ways that we could document the world in new and exciting ways.

We tried to capture a cross-section of these techniques in our promo video on Indiegogo.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/geek-field-guide/

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

jennifer_brozek: (Author August 2011)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I'm participating in Genre Underground's Tell a Story Day story. This is my first dip into the ongoing storyline.

--

The android tilted his head, its auditory sensors cranked up to detect the disturbance that certainly followed the elf to Assembly. As the sounds of roars, terrified metallic squees, and metal smashing against metal reached it, the android nodded. “I believe I have the trajectory of our quarry.”

“One moment.” The lawyer shuffled through his case again. “I need to make sure I have the correct contracts on hand. I’m biological but I’ve negotiated the right to traverse Assembly as needed in the pursuit of a case.”

“Logically, we are in pursuit of an elf with a troll who might have information on our case.”

“Yes. It all counts. Remember, I’m a master at the fine print.” The lawyer tapped his chin. “Which begs the question of how the elf was able to open a portal at all. I did remove his free will.”

As the disturbance in the distance gained volume, the android shrugged. “A thought experiment for another time. Our lead is getting away.” It turned from the lawyer and set off in the direction of the troll versus droid melee.

The lawyer jogged to keep up with the android’s long strides. “Troll first, then elf. Based on his actions, I deem the elf part of the case. Bounty hunter or not, he knows more than he’s saying. He knew the troll. He broke our contract. He came here. He may be part of the crime.” The lawyer stopped talking to save his breath for jogging as he searched his memory for how long he could be on Assembly without taking damage from the planet’s industrial tainted air. Not long if he remembered correctly.

As they came upon the scene of destruction, mauled bunny droid parts scattered hither, thither, and yon, their original quarry was locked in combat with one of the largest security droids either the android or lawyer had ever seen.

“Halt this combat immediately.” The lawyer pulled out his contract with Assembly and read. “By Section 37, Clause 3, Paragraph 15, of the Assembly Contract 597, this troll is to be bound and released into our custody.”

“Negative.” The security drone did not release the troll who continued to scream and pound against its metal frame. “In times of crisis, Security Protocol 19 supersedes Assembly Contract 597, Section 37, Clause 3, Paragraph 15.”

The android nodded. “This is a crisis.”

--

Jay Hartlove is next up.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Building a Worldbuilding Guide

How do you build a world? How do you convey that world to your readers? How do you manage the business of worldbuilding, whether it's your own world or someone else's? These are questions that everyone who's ever worked in science fiction, fantasy, and role-playing games has asked. When Wolfgang Baur asked me to edit an anthology of essays on the subject for Kobold Press, I was both excited and a little overwhelmed. It's a huge topic. I wasn't an expert, that's for sure. But between the two of us, we knew enough worldbuilders that we figured we might be able to get near to answering the question. And thus was born The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding, a collection of essays by some of the top worldbuilders in roleplaying and in fantasy, with an introduction by Ken Scholes, bestselling author of The Psalms of Isaak.

What did I love about working on this project? I loved working with the people who wrote for it. Wolfgang Baur, for example, isn't well-known to mainstream SF and fantasy readers but he's a rockstar in the RPG world, and he writes about the creative side of worldbuilding with the insight and flair of someone who’s done it his entire adult life. Wolf explains difficult concepts with ease and real authority. He explains what is and isn’t important with the experience of someone who’s done it for games including Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulu and, most recently, the Midgard campaign setting for Pathfinder.

I loved working with Michael A. Stackpole, with whom I’ve worked for decades. Mike’s produced wonderful original fantasy novels including The Books of the Crown Colonies as well as novels in some of the most beloved licensed universes around, including Star Wars and Battletech. He contributed a dynamite piece on creating cultures. Jonathan Roberts, who created the maps for George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, produced a terrific essay on creating the topography of a world, and writes as beautifully as he illustrates. I loved working with Jeff Grubb, who writes about post-apocalyptic worldbuilding—and who presents some key insights about it that never occurred to me before. Jeff’s fingerprints are all over Magic: the Gathering, Guild Wars, and Star Wars, too.

In case you’re curious, I didn’t just edit the book; I contributed an essay about worldbuilding in licensed universes—breaking in, following the rules, managing your role in such a situation. I’ve worked with properties including Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Superman, and so many others. I’ve got opinions and I didn’t stint in sharing them.

Now, I know what my friends in mainstream SF and fantasy will say; I know that there’s a prejudice in our business that divides novelists and book publishers from game designers and game publishers. We don’t talk about it in polite company. Having straddled the divide between the two industries, I’m here to tell you something very important: the business of building a world is the same, whether you’re writing a novel or designing a game. If there’s a difference, it’s in how that world is conveyed to an audience, whether via a novel or interactive storytelling. But the effect is the same: drawing an audience into a fully realized world, convincing them of its authenticity, and carrying them away from their own lives in the service of adventure.

There’s no question that this book, targeting as it does, aspiring RPG designers, has a slant toward game design. But the lessons apply to novel-writing in ways you may not expect. I certainly didn’t when I started this project, and Ken Scholes certainly didn’t until he started reading the essays in order to write his introduction. The people who contributed to this collection have made worldbuilding their business, and they have a great deal to teach. What I want people to know about this book is just that: There are teachers here offering decades of knowledge about what it takes to make a world live and breathe. Take their advice; it’s solid gold.




The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding
Edited by Janna Silverstein
Essays by Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, David “Zeb” Cook, Monte Cook, Jeff Grubb, Scott Hungerford, Chris Pramas, Jonathan Roberts, Michael A. Stackpole, and Steve Winter
Introduction by Ken Scholes
Kobold Press, January 2013
http://www.koboldquarterly.com




--
Janna Silverstein is a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor with a number of anthologies and short stories to her credit. Her work has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, 10Flash Quarterly, and in the anthologies Swordplay and The Trouble With Heroes, among others. She was twice a Writers of the Future semi-finalist. She edited The Kobold Guide to Game design, vol 3: Tools & Techniques, and the Gold ENnie Award-winning Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design, both from Kobold Press. She lives in Seattle.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)



Printing Emerald City Dreamer - When Thoughts Become Reality


Why do I believe in faeries?


 


I'm not sure if I believe in faeries. You might call me a faegnostic. The existence of faeries is just about as likely as most other phenomenon of the unseen world. There certainly are enough eye-witness accounts to put them on par with more serious cryptids. Yet extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.


 


What I can prove is that I write about faeries. And maybe I believe in magic.


 


Sometimes I get lost in all the mechanics and business of writing to remember why I focused in on these ethereal beings, out of hundreds of other speculative topics I might have chosen. Across three novels and a handful of short stories, I've written 275,000 words about faeries. So they must be important.


 


Over the weekend, I attended Faeriecon West. But not for fun. I had a quest to scope it out, with four simple tasks:



  • Find a spot to place my promotional bookmarks; 

  • See if any book vendors might carry my print copy of Emerald City Dreamer next year; 

  • Make some faerie-industry contacts; 

  • Develop ideas to promote my books at Faeriecon in the future.


I chickened out on most of these. A very jaded me walked past, with barely a glance, at merchandise I've seen at a hundred other cons. All the faerie costumes and glitter and twigs and flowers.


 


To fill the time, an uncharmed me listened with a skeptical ear to Raven Grimassi, who believes in actual faeries. His stories threatened to destroy my world-weary veneer, especially when he spoke about a faerie he met, who believed humans are the only magical creatures in the universe. Faeries can turn thoughts into things in a way that seems magic to us, he explained, yet these objects are made of ether that disappears when thought moves on. Only humans can turn thoughts into real things – by constructing chairs and buildings and books.


 


A me not-long-past would have reveled in the whole spectacle, silk and wands and pagans and all. Instead, I went home early.


 


It took at least an hour into the Woodland & Faun concert the next night for all the fae stuff to finally sink in, and I remembered what it is about faeries that has drawn me to them year after year.


 


It's their magic. It's not always good magic; sometimes it's quite terrifying. But it's magic all the same. Real or not, the fae represent the hidden wild nature of humanity: our animal instincts, our emotions, our occluded fears. Our subconscious, be it collective or individual.


 


Fae folk are earthy, childlike, capricious, and full-of-wonder. They are also vicious, cunning, duplicitous, and debauched. They represent the powers of creation and the other edge of that bronze-age sword: the powers of destruction. The fae are avatars of dream and nightmare, and that is how I present them in my Dreams by Streetlight world.


 


I am releasing Emerald City Dreamer in print this month, and I needed a reminder of their energy in the midst of the mundane work of cover design, font-choosing, layout formatting, software troubleshooting, and price-calculating. These tasks are as oppressive as cheap newsprint that rubs off on your fingers and clothes. Hardly inspiring.


 


As dull as the minutia of publishing can be, it is a form of creation no less important than the day two years ago when I created Ezra, the religious boy unaware he is a troll. No less charming than planning the BrughHaHaus, a University District dwelling full of faeborn housemates ruled by their Elf Queen. No less enthralling than giving the antagonist enough magic to torment, attack, enslave, and terrify my other characters.


 


No less vital than drafting, revising, and editing the thousands of words to form the novel in the first place.


 


And nothing could be as inspiring as the moment I first held a hardcopy of my novel in my hands, with its glossy cover, the captivating image of Jina staring at me, determined to use that sword or guitar or both; to turn it over and admire the layout on the back and spine; to flip through the pages and see all those words, in tangible form, for 320 pages.


 


In my novel, I label some people as dreamers. They are the creators of art who, through their power of painting or singing or writing, produce the energy consumed by the fae. The fae transform those dreams into glamour to create illusions – things that seem real, but are not.


 


Faerie magic.


 


In my way, I have done the opposite. I have transformed my thoughts and dreams into words, and then, through a humdrum process of layouts and formatting, transformed the words into a physical object – a book.


 


I made a thing from a thought, just like the magic described by Raven Grimassi's faerie.


 


It's no mistake that the word "spell" is a homonym with two meanings: "to correctly write a word" and "to create something of magic." A book is a real thing full of thoughts that, while imaginary, will never disappear.


 


Perhaps I am wrong to be skeptical. Raven's faerie spoke wisdom. Humans possess true magic.


 


--


Luna Lindsey lives near Seattle, WA. At some point, she accidentally became an expert on mind control, computers, and faeries. She began writing full-time in 2010 and has been published in the Journal of Unlikely Entomology and in Penumbra eMag as the January 2013 Rising Talent. She tweets like a bird @lunalindsey and blogs at www.lunalindsey.com. Her novel, Emerald City Dreamer, is now available both on Kindle and in print.


July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
234 5 67 8
910 1112131415
16171819 202122
2324 2526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 27th, 2017 02:37 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios