Flora & Fauna in Fantasia

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background
Protected example of Common Ash (Fraxinus exce...

Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just because a book is a fantasy does not mean it does not require research (and in fact often requires more). Right now I am writing about the plants and animals of Asgard, and I am working to make them as probable as possible.

How do we know what animals lived and what plants grew in a land that never was? We look at where the storytellers lived. The Danes who first told these stories likely based their creatures and plants on the more familiar specimens they knew. Continue reading

Con Recaps! (And some cool news.)

So July was kind of a blur, and the first part of August, but all for very good reasons.

Cong Abbey by night, Celtic crosses and gravesIreland Writer Tours

Long-time blog readers know I blogged about writing in Ireland in 2015, and I went again this year. It’s a great week, full of fabulous touring and inspiration. But I stayed a little longer this year with organizer Fiona Claire to prepare for 2017, when I’ll be co-teaching with the talented Lorie Langdon!

Stay tuned for more information on this, but trust me, it’s going to be amazing. As I said in my newsletterWant to explore a 15th century castle, walk through an impossibly green forest to an ancient waterfall, and climb in the footsteps of both 8th century monks and Luke Skywalker? All while improving your writing craft and exploring your publication options? Continue reading

Ireland Contest Winner!

Well, no one won Ireland, not exactly. But I did have a contest based on my writing-in-Ireland (mis)adventures. Readers were asked to guess how many times I checked that I had my passport after so stupidly forgetting it. (Never let it be said that I present only a finely cultivated picture of my own perfection on social media….)

Guesses were submitted via blog comments and Tumblr. None on Twitter, which surprised me a little.

And the winner, who guessed nearest the accurate number, is….. Continue reading

Dún Aonghasa and Inis Mór

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

Dún Aonghasa is an ancient circle fort built on Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. It was probably a complete enclosure at one point, but the cliffs have eroded and collapsed with part of the fort into the sea.

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa's present structure.

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa’s present structure.

The cliffs are about 280-300 feet high above the sea and look upon the Irish coast on a clear day, which may have contributed to the choice of location. The site was first enclosed with a more primitive stone wall about 1100 BC, and ultimately it had four concentric stone walls of startling engineering, encompassing about 14 acres of protected area. It also featured a cheval de frise between the third and fourth walls, a field of deliberately placed upright stones meant to seriously impede any charge by an enemy force. Continue reading

Sirens: the Femme Fatales of Folklore

Sirens, edited by Rhonda ParrishToday’s guest post is about Sirens, the next Magical Menageries anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish, and is by Eliza Chan.

Sirens. That was Rhonda Parrish’s call for submissions for the latest World Weaver Press anthology.  The alarm bells started going, well, the connotations of sirens with the emergency services, wailing noise and flashing lights. How interesting that minor creatures from Greek mythology have become a word for warning, the noise of life or death scenarios. It made me think, why are mythological sirens portrayed as malevolent whereas mermaids fill the Disney store and waterpark shows? What makes a siren a siren rather than a mermaid, a nymph or another water creature? Or are these all one and the same? Continue reading

Writing in Ireland!

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

Guess where I am right now? (Or just look at the post title for an easy cheat.) That’s right, I’m back in Ireland! And there’s a contest in this post!

So let’s start with the embarrassing part. I was supposed to leave on Thursday. I drove a leisurely three hours to pick up my friend Kate (K.T. Ivanrest), drove another two hours to the airport, parked, took a shuttle, walked into the terminal, and immediately remembered that my passport was in my kitchen.

That’s right. It’s not that I only discovered my passport was missing when I was asked for it and couldn’t find it, no, my brain was fully aware that I wasn’t carrying it and just neglected to inform me of this important fact at any time prior to entering the actual terminal. Continue reading

Seems Legit.

There is a phenomenon in which some skeevy lowlife steals a title and often a manuscript from a published book and re-publishes them on Amazon in his own account, trying to fool readers into buying his “edition” of the story and stealing royalties from the author.

Most of the time, though, they do a better job of matching a more plausible cover. Continue reading

Writers Learn EVERYTHING.

I know I’ve talked about the fun and eclectic nature of story research before, but it’s worth returning to.

Devils Hole Pupfish Latina: Cyprinodon diabolis

Devils Hole Pupfish Latina: Cyprinodon diabolis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics I have researched for this single short story include but are not limited to:

  • the Devils Hole Pupfish
  • the history of Chinese bronze casting
  • the natural history of Kazahkstan
  • cassowary attacks
  • the destructive “Cultural Revolution” in China
A poster from the Cultural Revolution, featuri...

A poster from the Cultural Revolution, featuring an image of Chairman Mao, and published by the government of the People’s Republic of China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All to make the story more plausible and real. You’re welcome.

(This story will be published in early 2017.)

Never Peeve a Writer

Seat belt on an airplane, buckled-up

Seat belt on an airplane, buckled-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One Christmas I received a t-shirt which reads, “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.”

It had already been repeatedly announced that our flight was 100% full, every seat sold and occupied, no upgrades, no seat swaps, and no room for everyone’s carry-ons. So there was no excuse for the guy occupying both his seat and my own, one butt cheek planted firmly on each cushion, legs spread to encompass both seats fully. He wasn’t a particularly large individual who needed extra space, and he wasn’t resting there temporarily while tucking a bag beneath the seat; he was settled and just claiming extra territory. Continue reading

Since I’ve Been Gone….

I’m sorry; I know the blog’s been a bit dead, with no updates since March. Well, I had a good reason.

I was on vacation.

And it was such a vacation. I had been planning this trip for literally a decade. Slightly longer, actually. And I finally did it. Continue reading