Write Fights Right!

Sanjuro final duel, two samurai facing each other with spectators in background

If you’ve seen Sanjuro, you know this isn’t a still, but a playing video.

I love good fight scenes. In a story, I want to feel the action. In a film, I want tightly choreographed combat. It’s fine if it’s realistic (the long tension of Sanjuro‘s final duel, and we’ll just ignore the period blood effects), fake realistic (the bloody impact of Logan), crazy physics-defying martial arts (the alternate-world movement of The Matrix), or just plain fun (Captain America kicking Nazi tail). But lame action, the writer glossing over it or the director trying to fake it with shaky cam, makes me feel cheated.

So I try to write good action scenes. And most of the time I feel I do an okay job.

But I’ve been really struggling with one scene. It’s very short, an attempted bar fight which is over in under three seconds. But because it’s so fast, it’s hard to write; I don’t want to lose flow or add length with a lot of explanation, yet the physical actions are fairly complex. I’d been frustrated by this for an embarrassingly long time. So I called in an expert, Carla Hoch. Continue reading

#EquusFight: The Saga Continues

white horse head with black title text EQUUSThe drama continues over at #EquusFight, the contest where the equine stars of the anthology Equus are pitted against one another in a Battle Royale!

My trained war unicorns Nova and Reaver made it through the first competition, but they are neck-and-neck with a Sleipnir-inspired rival. Now, normally you know I’d be all supportive of Sleipnir, because of The Songweaver’s Vow and other stories, but not this time. This time it’s war. Unicorn war. Continue reading

EQUUS cover reveal!

You want a story about unicorns? Of course you want a story about unicorns.

You want a whole books of stories about unicorns, winged horses, water horses, sky horses, ordinary horses, and even Sleipnir? Yeah, I thought so. So you want the upcoming anthology Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish and the final installment of the Magical Menageries. Continue reading

Background: Loki & the Gods’ Gifts

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

When you’re working with two full mythologies, there are a lot of tidbits to include that just don’t get the screen time for full explanations. There are a lot of these “Easter eggs” hidden in The Songweaver’s Vow, and I’ll have a whole pile of them to share — in March. (Yes, in March, because some of them would be spoilerific, and we don’t need to revisit exactly how I feel about spoilers, do we, hmmm?)

But here’s a snack to hold you over. Continue reading

Revisions In Progress

The Songweaver's VowSo I’ve been chatting on social media this month about The Songweaver’s Vow, sharing tidbits for #WIPjoy. Right now I’m throat-deep in revisions, which is always a challenge but especially so with this book, as I did not write it linearly (start to finish, straight through).

I know a lot of writers who can write out of order. Apparently I am not one of them. These revisions are kicking my butt like… well, like Vikings trashing a fishing town. 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 14: Cliffhanger

Share a cliffhanger? I’ll keep this short, in the spirit of #WIPjoy, but here’s Euthalia’s first day in the Norse village, beating out communication with the very few words she knows with a kind older woman.

It was fresher than the boat’s provisions, at least, as they had saved the spices and treats to bring back to the village. And Euthalia, no longer surrounded by dozens of strange male warriors, found herself relaxing enough to feel real hunger. She devoured the bread.

“Good, good,” praised Birna. She nodded. “Eat. Tomorrow, slagtoffer.”

Euthalia did not know the word. “Slag — what?”

Birna smiled, a little tightly, and drew her hand across her throat.

Well, then. Continue reading