Herod the Great
I know well enough that the Jews will keep a festival upon my death, however it is in my power to be mourned for on other accounts, and to have a splendid funeral, if you will but be subservient to my commands. Do you but take care to send soldiers to encompass these [illustrious] men that are now in custody, and slay them immediately upon my death, and then all Judea, and every family of them, will weep at it, whether they will or no.
This was how Herod intended to ensure mourning at his funeral. Yikes. (Fortunately, these orders were not carried out after his death.) Continue reading
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why write from history? Because seriously, even my caffeinated imagination couldn’t make some of this stuff up. From my (very rough) NaNoWriMo work in progress:
“Now, don’t judge him too harshly,” Saman said. “After all, the man is capable of deep love. When he left for the dangerous task of negotiating with Octavian, he feared that if he died, he would be separated from his wife, who would surely find another husband with her great beauty. So he left orders that should Octavian kill him, she should be executed at once, so that no other man might have her and he could be with her in death.”
Arash simply stared at his master.
“She learned of this, and rather than appreciating his vast devotion, she grew to hate him. In the end, he tried her for treason and saw her executed, and he grieved for a great while.” Saman’s voice was flippant, with a deeper undercurrent of disgust.
“I… should think he might,” Arash ventured.
“He named a tower for her,” Saman said. “The Miriame. It is quite beautiful.”
This is a lot of time-consuming research — really not ideal for the on-the-clock NaNoWriMo — but I confess to having some fun with it. I may post more findings later, but in the meantime, I’m quite behind on my word count, so back to work!
Cover of Something Wicked This Way Comes (film)
So Monday night I attended for the first time our local library’s book club. It may also have been my last.
The club was discussing Something Wicked This Way Comes, the creepy seasonal novel by Ray Bradbury. I’ve always felt vaguely guilty about not liking this novel quite as much as it probably deserves, but after listening to everyone else give their impressions, I felt like a positive fangirl. Oh, sure, a few enjoyed it, but at least half the group hadn’t even finished the book.
That’s not what got me into trouble, though. No, this particular session of book club offered dinner and a movie, and we watched the film adaptation for further discussion.
I realized I was both dominating the conversation and sounding rather negative, both of which I figured were bad for a first-timer, so I squelched myself a bit. And thus a blog post was born! But the comparison really does offer a really spectacular example of what removing the stakes and changing motivations can do for a story. Continue reading
To celebrate the recent release of Fae, an anthology of fairy tales like you haven’t seen them, some of the anthology authors are taking turns interviewing one another. Today I have the pleasuring of sharing a virtual chat with Shannon Phillips, author of “The Fairy Midwife.” Continue reading
Today I can share with you a nifty interview about the Kitsune Tales series over at the blog of Annie Douglass Lima. She’s running a series called “Realm Explorers” about worlds built in fantasy (or fantastic history, as in this case), which is a pretty fun idea.
Hop over there and check it out — you might even learn something!
(Also, don’t forget that today is Digital Book Day and you can grab a free copy of Con Job, today only!)
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
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
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
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
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?”
“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