Guest Post: Annie Douglass Lima & The Collar and the Cavvarch

You’ve heard me talk about modern slavery in the real world, and you’ve even helped me raise funds to fight it. I’ve talked briefly about a WIP called Shard & Shield, which includes among its worlds a Renaissance-like society in which Greco-Roman slavery never died out. Annie Douglass Lima imagined a more modern world where it yet persists, and where modern gladiators fight not for television fame, but for freedom.

I’m excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
Continue reading

Wild Foxes and the Photographer of the Year

red fox carrying bloody Arctic fox corpseDon Gutoski captured the graphic and stunning image he called “A tale of two foxes,” winning Photographer of the Year. You can see a large version and read more here.

I usually try to keep an eye open for good fox photography, but this is a really unusual image, demonstrating the rawness of nature and the conflict between species due to climate change.

I wonder if this image might inspire a scene in the next Kitsune Tales installment? Hmm….

Light from the Past

English: Pleiades Star Cluster

Pleiades Star Cluster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’m sitting in a session at Realm Makers 2015, called “The Fabric of the Cosmos: Philosophy and Theology as Found in Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Which is a pretty fascinating topic, really.

And the speaker, Steve Laube (both an agent at Steve Laube Agency and editor at Enclave Press) mentioned something I’ve heard before, but it’s not the kind of thing that gets old. Continue reading

…It’s for the kids.

Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, June 1988.

Market Square Arena, the site of Elvis’s very last concert. Dun dun DUUUUN! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not gonna lie — I am not a fan of crowdfunding an unknown creative project. Every time I see someone posting, “Hi, you don’t know me and I have no evidence of work ethic or talent, but please give me thousands of dollars to encourage me to be artistic,” I get a little rage-y on behalf of all those who do the work first.

It’s a bit different when it’s an established creative who has proven talent. I have contributed to crowdfunding projects by artists whose work I’ve enjoyed previously.

And it’s more different still when the crowdfunding is to enable 100% of the sales to go to a good cause, without having to first pay back production costs. Continue reading

Route 66: Ruins and Ghost Towns

This entry is part of 16 in the series GDB & Route 66

One of my favorite things about Route 66 is discovering relics of a previous age, America’s answer to ancient ruins.

Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale: What’s good about sad?
Sally Sparrow: It’s happy for deep people.“Blink,” episode of Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat

Route 66 is full of old things, and many of them are falling apart from decades of abandonment. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite findings. Continue reading

Ask the Author and S’Mores

The water was a lot of dead algae and also a thick pancake batter-like sludgy foam. Yech.

The water was a lot of dead algae and also (not pictured) a thick pancake batter-like sludgy foam. Yech.

So, I missed the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference last weekend, and I feel pretty bad about that. I’ve been to the Colorado Gold only once, last year, but I really enjoyed the people I met there and the conference sessions themselves.

We should maybe rethink some of our environmental stewardship choices.

Dead fish everywhere. We should maybe rethink some of our environmental stewardship choices.

But I did get to spend a weekend at another (non-writing) event with friends, being eaten by mosquitos beside the highly questionable waters of Maumee Bay and Lake Erie, so that was some consolation. The tap water was officially safe again, but the lake water, not so much. I’ll let you know if the pollution-affected mutant mosquito bites turn out to have imbued me with superpowers. We can always hope. Continue reading

The Newtown School Shooting, Guns, and Us

I want to post something today which is pretty off-topic for this blog. If you choose not to read, that’s fine – if you do read, I ask that you read to the end, because it might not be going where you assume and I would hate for you to have the wrong idea of me.

As news started coming in on the Newtown school shooting, Twitter exploded. Within a few minutes I saw one statement on necessary background checks for gun purchases and a whole lot more calling for gun bans. Most disturbing, though, were the tweets characterizing gun owners as child murderers or enablers of the same. Continue reading