Achievement Unlocked: Art

I have a short list in Evernote titled “Unofficial Goals Indicating I Have Arrived :D”. There are only a few entries, formatted as a checklist, of cultural ripples I have observed around successful stories.

I keep the list a secret, because I don’t want to influence the process. I want to see the organic ripples — I want a reader to tweet my title on #FridayReads because she was enthusiastic about the book, not because a friend did it just to make me feel good. Only once an achievement has been unlocked do I allow myself to share that it was ever a goal. (Yep, a #FridayReads appearance was one!)

And today I can check off another. Fan art. Continue reading

Blog Hop: Serials!

Author TR Goodman, of the [amazon text=Abigail Abernathy&asin=B00ET8F7IE] series of shorts, was kind enough to tag me in this blog hop on serials. (That link is to the first in the series, presently free! You should consider clicking on it.)

First, what is a serial? Most traditionally, it’s a series of short fiction pieces released sequentially as a part of a whole. The Hound of the Baskervilles, for example, was published a bit at a time but formed a complete story. In modern times, a serial’s individual “episodes” (for the serial has acquired television terminology) may form smaller individual stories while continuing to build an overarching plot. We caught the villain-of-the-week, but the Big Bad is still out there!

That’s the form that my serial-in-progress will be taking. I don’t have enough yet to launch, but the story (working title The Thief and the Scholar, though I don’t like that enough to keep it) will follow characters through short, personal adventures and build to a world-shaking finish. Continue reading

CON JOB — Cover Reveal!

I am ridiculously excited to get to share this with you.

I asked Kristie Good of Crash Bang Labs to do the Con Job cover art, in great part because she is also a longtime geek and would understand the flavor such a cover needed. Kristie does comics as well as artwork, so check them out on her site.

She obliged with very fun, manga-inspired front and back cover art. The front features our protagonist Jacob and his friend Sam, and the back shows their friends Jessica and Zach in their costumes. I have the front here for you today.

Are you ready? Can I get a drum roll, please? Continue reading

Alpha Males & Fiction

English: Samson, alpha male (leader) gorilla i...

Samson, alpha male gorilla in Givskud Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had an interesting Twitter conversation a while back when World Weaver Press tweeted a link to an article about hot alpha males (“dangerous,” “possessive,” “dominating,” etc.) in paranormal romance. Being a total behavior nerd, I replied that most of these “alpha males” were actually displaying lower-ranking behavior – real alphas don’t posture, act aggressive or defensive, etc. — and we chatted briefly about the implications for fiction and PNR in particular.

Don’t confuse the “alpha male” and the “bad boy.” They’re different things. It’s a common myth, the posturing alpha male, but it’s a myth. Simply put, if you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it. Only those worried about their position waste time, energy, and other resources in reminding others of their position. Continue reading

I’m very visual. Except when I’m not.

English: Drummer James Roddick of the 92nd Gor...

Drummer James Roddick of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, defending Lieutenant Menzies during hand-to-hand fighting in Kandahar, 1880, signed and dated ‘ W. Skeoch Cumming/1894’ (lower left), pencil and watercolour, 28 x 42½ in. (71.1 x 107.9 cm.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two reactions I get from pretty nearly all my beta readers and critique partners, regardless of the story:

“I don’t know exactly what your characters look like; don’t you ever describe them?”

and,

“Holy smokes, your action scenes are really detailed.”

These may be phrased in various ways, but the general gist is almost always there. And it’s a problem for me. Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday — Shard & Shield

Oil on Canvas

The Fallen Angel, by Alexandre Cabanel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another short excerpt for #TeaserTuesday! This one’s from Shard & Shield, which is today’s project anyway.

Ariana sipped at her drink and traced a finger through the condensation on the table, drawing loose geometric designs. Idly she asked, “Did you know some ancient art includes winged men as icons of beauty? Not quite Ryuven, but wings, anyway.” Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday — Kitsune-Mochi

Prince Hanzoku terrorized by a nine-tailed kit...

Prince Hanzoku terrorized by a nine-tailed kitsune (fox spirit). Print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 19th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another short excerpt for #TeaserTuesday! Continue reading

An Outsider’s Perspective

Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by...

Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Noel Paton: fairies in Shakespeare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just came home from opening night at the Indiana Reperatory Theatre‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I gave it a glowing review, but I wanted to comment on a technique they used which made the play more accessible. (And let’s be honest, Shakespeare often unnecessarily intimidates potential audiences, just because of the language and reputation.) Continue reading

Rape in Life and Fiction

Tarquinius and Lucretia

Tarquinius and Lucretia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that’s not a pretentious blog post title or anything…..

As I write this, society (or at least social media) is still reeling with the verdict from the Stuebenville rape case, in which two high school athletes (illegally drinking) sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl (illegally drinking) and were convicted with minor sentences, possibly never carrying the sex offender label, with a warning from the judge to be careful “how you record things on social media that are so prevalent today.” That’s right, kids, if you’re going to rape, just be sure your friends don’t post incriminating evidence on YouTube.

My opinion’s clear enough in the above paragraph on that case, so I won’t spend any more time on that. But the trial prompted me to review a topic I’d been mulling occasionally already, on rape in fiction. Continue reading

Fantasy, and Why We Need It

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(Photo credit: Hani Amir)

Today I intend to justify fantasy as a genre. Not that it needs justified, no more than any other genre, but I’m going to anyway.

But first, I’m going to tell you a story. Continue reading