sartorias: (Madam Pirate--against all flags)
In celebration of her birthday, Laura Anne Gilman is giving away a signed copy of a bunch of September releases, including one of mine.

Here is your cut for those who object to pimpage:
Read more... )
sartorias: (Madam Pirate--against all flags)
In celebration of her birthday, Laura Anne Gilman is giving away a signed copy of a bunch of September releases, including one of mine.

Here is your cut for those who object to pimpage:
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
Flycon's initial call for panel volunteers--a work in progress. Anyone can join, you don't have to be a LiveJournaler.

Small press pimpage: The Dragonslayer's Sword by Resa Nelson--despite the somewhat generic title, this dark fantasy was utterly unexpected.

Here's the opening:

When Astrid was eight years old, she was given to a child seller. Astrid was anxious but terrified at the same time, having no idea what the future would bring.

Astrid knew she was a monster, and she didn't know what the world outside her isolated home would do to monsters. But she knew for certain that her home was a bad place, and she would risk anything to find someplace better.


Nothing is what you expect--dragons, dragonslayers, or monsters. I found it a very compelling read.
sartorias: (Default)
Flycon's initial call for panel volunteers--a work in progress. Anyone can join, you don't have to be a LiveJournaler.

Small press pimpage: The Dragonslayer's Sword by Resa Nelson--despite the somewhat generic title, this dark fantasy was utterly unexpected.

Here's the opening:

When Astrid was eight years old, she was given to a child seller. Astrid was anxious but terrified at the same time, having no idea what the future would bring.

Astrid knew she was a monster, and she didn't know what the world outside her isolated home would do to monsters. But she knew for certain that her home was a bad place, and she would risk anything to find someplace better.


Nothing is what you expect--dragons, dragonslayers, or monsters. I found it a very compelling read.
sartorias: (Default)
Check out the Urban Fantasy Book Talk Podcast coming up in a couple of weeks. Nifty list of writers involved--should be fascinating!
sartorias: (Default)
Check out the Urban Fantasy Book Talk Podcast coming up in a couple of weeks. Nifty list of writers involved--should be fascinating!
sartorias: (Default)
Not sure what book to give a writer? Or to someone who reads in the genre but seems to have everything?

Here's a suggestion: Sarah Beach's The Scribbler's Guide to the Land of Myth

I have to admit that I've never really been into mythology. When I was a kid we got the usual introduction to Greek and Roman mythology, and being lefthanded, I got frustrated when I could never tell the gods and goddesses apart. Those were test questions, and if you put Zeus where you were supposed to put Jove, you were wrong! Then, except for Diana and Athena, they all seemed to be a bunch of jerks, especially the men, chasing after women for reasons incomprehensible to this impatient nine year old, and then zapping them into trees or stars or something they surely did not want to be.

Other cultures' gods and goddesses were even less interesting, especially if they were into devouring. And a lot of them seemed to be devourers of one sort of another. As a weenie who already had nightmares from those cheesy scifi films of the fifites, I didn't need more nightmare fodder. I wanted stories about people, even magical people, but gods and goddesses? Nope.

So a lot of mythological sophistication in literature passes me by. When [livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks told me she was working on this book, some years ago, I thought, cool, hey, sounds like something scholars could use, and besides cheering her on, I had no more than mild interest in reading it. Mythic elements and motifs not being my thing.

She finished and published the book herself, rather than take years and years to try to market it. But she got knowledgeable friends to index it, prUf, and she hired an artist for an engaging cover. She gave me a copy of the result, and I've been dipping into it ever since. I just realized last night that every time I pick it up meaning to read for five minutes, I get sucked in for half an hour or more. You can open it anywhere, pick up the context fast, and just read.

The book is written in a conversational tone, like talking over a table with someone interesting, rather than the high podium voice of academia. Yet she packs in an astonishing amount of information. She divides what she calls the grammar of myth into drama (comedy, tragedy), journeys, time, archetypes (including special objects), and popular mythologies. Her examples touch on literature but are drawn most heavily from TV and film--with specific reference, as she rewatched every single example she gives, rather than the vaguely remembered impression.

Anyway, if this sounds interesting, check it out. I think it would make a nifty gift for a young writer especially.
sartorias: (Default)
Not sure what book to give a writer? Or to someone who reads in the genre but seems to have everything?

Here's a suggestion: Sarah Beach's The Scribbler's Guide to the Land of Myth

I have to admit that I've never really been into mythology. When I was a kid we got the usual introduction to Greek and Roman mythology, and being lefthanded, I got frustrated when I could never tell the gods and goddesses apart. Those were test questions, and if you put Zeus where you were supposed to put Jove, you were wrong! Then, except for Diana and Athena, they all seemed to be a bunch of jerks, especially the men, chasing after women for reasons incomprehensible to this impatient nine year old, and then zapping them into trees or stars or something they surely did not want to be.

Other cultures' gods and goddesses were even less interesting, especially if they were into devouring. And a lot of them seemed to be devourers of one sort of another. As a weenie who already had nightmares from those cheesy scifi films of the fifites, I didn't need more nightmare fodder. I wanted stories about people, even magical people, but gods and goddesses? Nope.

So a lot of mythological sophistication in literature passes me by. When [livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks told me she was working on this book, some years ago, I thought, cool, hey, sounds like something scholars could use, and besides cheering her on, I had no more than mild interest in reading it. Mythic elements and motifs not being my thing.

She finished and published the book herself, rather than take years and years to try to market it. But she got knowledgeable friends to index it, prUf, and she hired an artist for an engaging cover. She gave me a copy of the result, and I've been dipping into it ever since. I just realized last night that every time I pick it up meaning to read for five minutes, I get sucked in for half an hour or more. You can open it anywhere, pick up the context fast, and just read.

The book is written in a conversational tone, like talking over a table with someone interesting, rather than the high podium voice of academia. Yet she packs in an astonishing amount of information. She divides what she calls the grammar of myth into drama (comedy, tragedy), journeys, time, archetypes (including special objects), and popular mythologies. Her examples touch on literature but are drawn most heavily from TV and film--with specific reference, as she rewatched every single example she gives, rather than the vaguely remembered impression.

Anyway, if this sounds interesting, check it out. I think it would make a nifty gift for a young writer especially.
sartorias: (Default)
We had actual measurable rain last night! And for two days I've been wearing long sleeve t-shirts!

Reading wise, (repeating what I said elsewhere) I regretfully finished R.M. Meluch's Strength and Honor. I say regretfully because I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want it to end. I really love space opera, and this one is right up there just below Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series in my pantheon.

I discovered Meluch last year, when talking to one of the editors over at DAW. She thought I might like these books. Boy howdy was she right. The first one is called The Myriad. For me, the beginning was fun, but I thought it was pretty generic space opera. Which is perfectly okay, especially when it has humor, but what she was doing was setting the reader up...easing them in...and then when a certain conversation took place between the captain and the, oh, let's say agent of change, suddenly I was riveted, and could not put that novel down.

And the end? Blew. Me. Away.

And I HAD to get the second one.

Anyway, the elements of really good space opera for me are somewhat the same as they are for epic fantasy :

big, grand vistas and larger than life characters.

These books have got that. In some books, especially some of the paranormal space operas, we're told how smart the protags and villains are, but the show...not so much. These guys are smart.

emotional complication

Oh yeah. Present in spades. This emotional side in some books can (for me) be too easily tipped over into melodrama or sentiment. Meluch keeps a tight rein on that, never telling the reader how to react, and using humor as a leavener--or to snap one free of easy sentiment.

Big ideas


Some space opera doesn't have much of that, but the storyline has blasters and aliens and space pirates and princesses and enough action to be involving. On the other hand, some space opera stops the story to lecture the reader in stodgy blocks of information-manual style in order to bring you up to speed. Or it's a flat-affect iteration of the mechanistic universe party line. Not my cuppa. Meluch finds what appears to me as a brilliant balance between all these tropes. The science and the tech and even the mystery about the monster aliens (something I usually flat out loathe) are so involving they become a character presence.

Surprises


Very hard for this old reader to be taken by surprise. But Meluch pulls it off, time and again.

Characters


Too often the big sweep means archetypes...which can so easily turn into stereotypes. The characters here have distinctive personalities. The Marines think and act differently than the bridge officers. The civs think and act differently than the military. And Romans and Americans are distinct.

OK...I've blattered long enough--back to work!
sartorias: (Default)
We had actual measurable rain last night! And for two days I've been wearing long sleeve t-shirts!

Reading wise, (repeating what I said elsewhere) I regretfully finished R.M. Meluch's Strength and Honor. I say regretfully because I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want it to end. I really love space opera, and this one is right up there just below Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series in my pantheon.

I discovered Meluch last year, when talking to one of the editors over at DAW. She thought I might like these books. Boy howdy was she right. The first one is called The Myriad. For me, the beginning was fun, but I thought it was pretty generic space opera. Which is perfectly okay, especially when it has humor, but what she was doing was setting the reader up...easing them in...and then when a certain conversation took place between the captain and the, oh, let's say agent of change, suddenly I was riveted, and could not put that novel down.

And the end? Blew. Me. Away.

And I HAD to get the second one.

Anyway, the elements of really good space opera for me are somewhat the same as they are for epic fantasy :

big, grand vistas and larger than life characters.

These books have got that. In some books, especially some of the paranormal space operas, we're told how smart the protags and villains are, but the show...not so much. These guys are smart.

emotional complication

Oh yeah. Present in spades. This emotional side in some books can (for me) be too easily tipped over into melodrama or sentiment. Meluch keeps a tight rein on that, never telling the reader how to react, and using humor as a leavener--or to snap one free of easy sentiment.

Big ideas


Some space opera doesn't have much of that, but the storyline has blasters and aliens and space pirates and princesses and enough action to be involving. On the other hand, some space opera stops the story to lecture the reader in stodgy blocks of information-manual style in order to bring you up to speed. Or it's a flat-affect iteration of the mechanistic universe party line. Not my cuppa. Meluch finds what appears to me as a brilliant balance between all these tropes. The science and the tech and even the mystery about the monster aliens (something I usually flat out loathe) are so involving they become a character presence.

Surprises


Very hard for this old reader to be taken by surprise. But Meluch pulls it off, time and again.

Characters


Too often the big sweep means archetypes...which can so easily turn into stereotypes. The characters here have distinctive personalities. The Marines think and act differently than the bridge officers. The civs think and act differently than the military. And Romans and Americans are distinct.

OK...I've blattered long enough--back to work!
sartorias: (Default)
The Lone Star Stories Reader, edited by Eric Marin, is out.

For this anthology Marin chose stories published in Lone Star Stories, his online zine which began very quietly just a few years ago, and has steadily gained both audience and respect. Marin usually features three stories and three poems. Marin, a poet himself, has an eye for the kind of poetry that engages me the most.

I read the anthology well over six months ago, but I still remember the stories. Many of them at least peripherally connect to the Southeastern US, but this is not a theme anthology. The stories range widely in tone, length, subject matter, etc, sharing one characteristic: they are stories containing a fantastical element.

The main thing I remember is that I enjoyed all the stories. Not a klunker among 'em. Some I enjoyed more than others, but with names like Gavin Grant, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jay Lake, and Catherynne M. Valente among the authors, I expected something out of the ordinary, and was not disappointed. There are new voices who are going places fast, like Stephanie Burgis and Josh Rountree, and authors in the midst of establishing, or having established, a solid and devoted readership, like Sarah Monette and Martha Wells.

I don't read as much short fiction as I do novels because novels tend to engage me more--the payoff is generally sharper, once I've been hooked. occasionally a short story gives me that sharp payoff. Though I liked all the stories--and can remember images from them all--the one that gave me the sharpest payoff was by Marguerite Reed. Wow.
sartorias: (Default)
The Lone Star Stories Reader, edited by Eric Marin, is out.

For this anthology Marin chose stories published in Lone Star Stories, his online zine which began very quietly just a few years ago, and has steadily gained both audience and respect. Marin usually features three stories and three poems. Marin, a poet himself, has an eye for the kind of poetry that engages me the most.

I read the anthology well over six months ago, but I still remember the stories. Many of them at least peripherally connect to the Southeastern US, but this is not a theme anthology. The stories range widely in tone, length, subject matter, etc, sharing one characteristic: they are stories containing a fantastical element.

The main thing I remember is that I enjoyed all the stories. Not a klunker among 'em. Some I enjoyed more than others, but with names like Gavin Grant, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jay Lake, and Catherynne M. Valente among the authors, I expected something out of the ordinary, and was not disappointed. There are new voices who are going places fast, like Stephanie Burgis and Josh Rountree, and authors in the midst of establishing, or having established, a solid and devoted readership, like Sarah Monette and Martha Wells.

I don't read as much short fiction as I do novels because novels tend to engage me more--the payoff is generally sharper, once I've been hooked. occasionally a short story gives me that sharp payoff. Though I liked all the stories--and can remember images from them all--the one that gave me the sharpest payoff was by Marguerite Reed. Wow.
sartorias: (Default)
Coming off the grim post previous about the book biz and so forth, it seems to me that word of mouth is about the only recourse for those of us who haven't a publicity agent in the family, or friends in High Places. So here's me pimping some deserving very small press work.

[livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks, an old Mythie friend (and chairdroid of Mythcon 40 this next summer, here in LA at UCLA* talks here about The Scribbler's Guide to the Land of Myth, ETA Introduction here. It also boasts an index by [livejournal.com profile] calimac. There ain't no one better at compiling indices than [livejournal.com profile] calimac, a professional archivist--there just ain't. I plan to buy this book as soon as the my wallet has something more in it than moths.

Another very small press book is by an old fan friend, Helen Davis. Ages back, Helen started serializing this story about what would happen if Elves had stayed here on Earth and time went on, mixing the cultures. Helen has a degree in science, and has always been terrific at worldbuilding. Her look at elves was unlike anyone else's. She kept a bunch of us fascinating with this story as it evolved. Now she's offering it through LuLu, here. The book is called By Blade and Cloth, and you can see more about it, and even sample a bit of it, at the clicky above. Helen is a nifty person, and I've love to see her find her audience.

Third up is Laura Underwood, fellow SFWA Musketeer, harpist, and writer. She's been steadily publishing stories about Keltora, her alternate Celtic world for twenty years, now. She mostly does short work, but has written a few novels, and her Dragon's Tongue came out from Meisha Merlin, doing pretty well, but when that publisher closed up shop, her sequel, The Wandering Lark, ended up in limbo. She's offering copies of the first for ten bucks, but here's where I come in. Yard Dog Press, a small press that has been a go-getter for giving a lot of new writers, especially Southern writers, a chance, is also struggling like so many to stay afloat. They said that if Laura could gain 100 subscribers to promise they'll buy Wandering Lark they will publish it. Just a hundred. Then maybe word of mouth would help it sell more, but first Laura needs a hundred people to writer to her at Keltora@sff.net and commit to paying 17 bucks whenever it comes out, maybe November or so. So if you like Celtic adventure stories, Laura's Keltora is there to be explored. Here is Laura's website if you'd like to learn more about her.

Okay, that's three--but hey, if anyone wants to pimp a small press project in the comments, please, go right ahead!

*I'm in charge of programming. Anyone local want to join/help with the con, let me know!)
sartorias: (Default)
Coming off the grim post previous about the book biz and so forth, it seems to me that word of mouth is about the only recourse for those of us who haven't a publicity agent in the family, or friends in High Places. So here's me pimping some deserving very small press work.

[livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks, an old Mythie friend (and chairdroid of Mythcon 40 this next summer, here in LA at UCLA* talks here about The Scribbler's Guide to the Land of Myth, ETA Introduction here. It also boasts an index by [livejournal.com profile] calimac. There ain't no one better at compiling indices than [livejournal.com profile] calimac, a professional archivist--there just ain't. I plan to buy this book as soon as the my wallet has something more in it than moths.

Another very small press book is by an old fan friend, Helen Davis. Ages back, Helen started serializing this story about what would happen if Elves had stayed here on Earth and time went on, mixing the cultures. Helen has a degree in science, and has always been terrific at worldbuilding. Her look at elves was unlike anyone else's. She kept a bunch of us fascinating with this story as it evolved. Now she's offering it through LuLu, here. The book is called By Blade and Cloth, and you can see more about it, and even sample a bit of it, at the clicky above. Helen is a nifty person, and I've love to see her find her audience.

Third up is Laura Underwood, fellow SFWA Musketeer, harpist, and writer. She's been steadily publishing stories about Keltora, her alternate Celtic world for twenty years, now. She mostly does short work, but has written a few novels, and her Dragon's Tongue came out from Meisha Merlin, doing pretty well, but when that publisher closed up shop, her sequel, The Wandering Lark, ended up in limbo. She's offering copies of the first for ten bucks, but here's where I come in. Yard Dog Press, a small press that has been a go-getter for giving a lot of new writers, especially Southern writers, a chance, is also struggling like so many to stay afloat. They said that if Laura could gain 100 subscribers to promise they'll buy Wandering Lark they will publish it. Just a hundred. Then maybe word of mouth would help it sell more, but first Laura needs a hundred people to writer to her at Keltora@sff.net and commit to paying 17 bucks whenever it comes out, maybe November or so. So if you like Celtic adventure stories, Laura's Keltora is there to be explored. Here is Laura's website if you'd like to learn more about her.

Okay, that's three--but hey, if anyone wants to pimp a small press project in the comments, please, go right ahead!

*I'm in charge of programming. Anyone local want to join/help with the con, let me know!)
sartorias: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jtglover wants speedy pimpage for his article in Fantasy Magazine here--and he, or you, or someone, wins a beer if you come in with commentary!
sartorias: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jtglover wants speedy pimpage for his article in Fantasy Magazine here--and he, or you, or someone, wins a beer if you come in with commentary!
sartorias: (Default)
Charles Butler, who wrote one of my favorite children's fantasies of 2004,

The Fetch of Mardy Watt , talks about luring readers and infodumps on "An Awfully Big Adventure", which is a group blog composed of 15 kidzbook writers.

sartorias: (Default)
Charles Butler, who wrote one of my favorite children's fantasies of 2004,

The Fetch of Mardy Watt , talks about luring readers and infodumps on "An Awfully Big Adventure", which is a group blog composed of 15 kidzbook writers.

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