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

Lessons in book cover design

So we already know some things about book covers in this modern era: Besides the usual menu of needing to represent genre and tone, they need to be legible (both title and genre/mood) as thumbnails, and they should be high contrast for visibility on mobile and black/white ereader screens.

Yesterday I realized another new criterion: They should look good in push notifications.

screencap of middle section of BAIT in phone's push notification 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

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.)

#WIPjoy Day 17: Fear & Heroism

Einherjar are served by Valkyries in Valhöll w...

Einherjar are served by Valkyries in Valhöll while Odin sits upon his throne, flanked by one of his wolves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Today’s #WIPjoy suggestion is to share a line about fear.

I often have problems with word count, so here’s not a line, but a conversation. Continue reading

Loki Laufeyson, a Piece of Work (in Progress)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s #WIPjoy, Day 9, is a fun one: “Share a line that shows off your antagonist.”

In the spirit of sharing, I’m going to give you not a line, but a whole paragraph.

Here’s the thing: any time you find yourself in Norse mythology, even if you’re just visiting, you’re going to have Loki as an antagonist. That’s the nature of Loki. Even if he’s not the primary antagonist, he’s going to be an antagonist, because Loki.  In modern interpretations Loki is often something of an anti-hero, but that’s not consistent with the source material, in which Loki is pretty much just a turd to everyone. (A useful turd, sometimes, but still a turd. And if he does get threatened or beaten fairly often, well, he usually had it coming.) Continue reading

C is for Chimera Early Reviews & Pre-Orders

Greek-style chimera art on vase with superimposed C and authors' names

C is for Chimera

So the early reviews are coming in for C is for Chimera, and guess what was in the very first one?

On the more fantastical side of things, “N is for New Beginnings” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh and “I is for Ignite” by Sara Cleto were my favorites of the anthology, blending fairy tale and myth with characters who want to step outside the bounds their worlds have set for them.

Boom. I love days like this. Continue reading

WIP updates!

So first off, let me apologize for the state of the site over the last week and a half. We got hacked, and everything went merrily into a handbasket. Things should be all fine and safe again. I’ll catch up with the writing in Ireland posts and things shortly, I hope.

#WIPjoy daily listOn a brighter note, I’m playing along this month with the #‎WIPjoy ‬collective sharing project, authors sharing about their work in progress. I’m trying to post most days about some part of one work in progress — in particular, The Lamp and the Lie. (That’s a working title, very subject to change — as it’s already the second working title….) Continue reading

Ireland Is For Writers #3: Ashford Castle & Cong

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland
stone wolfhound chained at the front door

wolfhound chained at front door

We went on to Ashford Castle, which you’ve probably seen without knowing it. Ashford was founded in 1228 as the principle stronghold for the de Burgo family, and throughout the centuries the new owners (Bingham, Browne, Guinness) extended in contemporary style. In 1939 it was purchased and converted to a classy hotel. How classy, you ask? Well, there’s a heliport beside the front drive, and the rooms are the kind that start at about $350 US per night and continue to the range where you have to have your people call for a quote. It’s a favorite site for society and celebrity weddings, as well as for television and film locations (I hear Reign is shot there now). Continue reading

Cover Reveal! C is for Chimera

Today we unveil the cover for C is for Chimera, the next installment in the Alphabet Anthologies and my first appearance there. Are you ready? Continue reading