#WIPjoy for Shard & Shield: Music and Playlists

Today’s #WIPjoy topic is “songs on your MCs’ playlists,” which is frankly too big to answer effectively on social media (sorry, Twitter), so we’re doing it here on the blog.

I have a bonus to this post, too. First I have my own playlists for primary characters, and then I have a guest DJ Kayla, who beta-read Shard & Shield last week and told me then she had made character playlists, which of course meant I had to ask her to chime in on today’s #WIPjoy topic.

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What is up with #Inktober?

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

If you follow my social media, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting ink drawings for #Inktober, and that they’re generally awful. You might have asked yourself why I would do that. Do I know how bad they are, or do I see my work through a blissfully ignorant filter? Is it some sort of prank?

So here’s what’s up with Inktober.

First, in case you aren’t familiar with it, #Inktober is a month for doing one drawing — in ink — and sharing it per day. You can find the brief background and this year’s optional prompt list from the creator Jake Parker. It’s something like National Novel Writing Month, but for visual artists.

Now, let’s recognize that I’m bad at drawing. No, I’m really bad at drawing. The local catchphrase for referring to truly hideous visual design is, “It looks like Laura drew it.” (Don’t feel bad. I’m often the one saying it. It’s not wrong to acknowledge my skills are in other sets.) So why on earth would I do Inktober, which unlike NaNoWriMo specifically requires publicly sharing one’s work?

I’m doing Inktober for several reasons: Continue reading

Conferences, Cons, and Solar Eclipse 2017, Or What I Did On My Summer Vacation

It’s been a busy month!

First I went to Realm Makers, which has become one of my favorite writing conferences, and then to a small local writing conference at Taylor University, my first time visiting there. In a couple of weeks I’ll head west again to attend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference. It’s like I’m trying to get my annual allowance of writing conference in just a few weeks!

Little girl (face obscured) in pink unicorn helmet with pink feathered wings

This little girl was so excited about the fairy unicorn wings she made herself.

Sign: Gen Con badges are now sold out.

Gen Con sold out completely. Not a badge to be had.

Then I had Gen Con, an awesome gathering of 65,000 or so (final attendance not yet released for this year) of your geekiest friends to talk about games, books, history, film, anime, and pretty much everything related. Gen Con is always super-busy for me, because I teach sessions (this year I presented twice on Japanese Folklore & Mythology and once on Norse mythology, as well as teaching costuming workshops from Featherweight Armor to Moldmaking to a make-and-take for simple, hallway-safe wings) and because we compete in the costume contest, which because of Gen Con’s process is mostly a whole-day affair. Continue reading

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Soda

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Chocolate.

The next installment in my chocolate sampling series! And I just plain forgot to plug in my mic for this one, so the camera mic was picking up background noises and my dog Undómiel warning off some nocturnal creature outside. My apologies. Also my camera was a bit high, but at least that means you get to see a better view of Mr. Snaggles, one of my dinosaurs. Continue reading

Doctor Who, Writing Female Characters, and Equality.

Jodie Whittaker in 13th Doctor announcement photo

Jodie Whittaker in 13th Doctor announcement photo

On the one hand, I can’t believe we need to have this discussion of how to write female protagonists and balance. On the other, since clearly we do need it, let’s have it.

With the announcement of the 13th Doctor as a female regeneration, the internet slightly exploded. I was actually at a fandom convention during the announcement and heard not only discussion of the announcement itself, but of reactions to the announcement.

We’re going to ignore those who were horrified to discover their Doctor now has girl cooties. They’re easy to ignore — or just borrow for humor, where they’re most useful. Anyway, the haters are vocal but seem to be a minority, or maybe I just have a better-curated network, and I don’t intend to waste blog space on that sort of thing.

But one repeated protest I heard repeatedly in several less-hysterical discussions was, now that the Doctor is a female, the male companions will be written down to idiocy so that she looks clever, and so everything will be less cool and the storytelling will suffer. I found myself saying or typing the same thing repeatedly, so let me just save time and put it here.

This is indeed a huge problem, only the problem is not the Doctor’s personal plumbing. Continue reading

We Won! A Video Snippet and New Anthologies

So, as you may have heard, my war unicorns Nova & Reaver won the Equus Battle Royal. While I totally played it cool, inside I was doing a Snoopy dance and singing something like this:

So, I’d promised that if Nova & Reaver went all the way, I would read you a snippet from an upcoming story. Since you got an excerpt of “Rue the Day” in the Equus battle, I decided to read something from a different story, but one that’s also coming soon. Continue reading

The Death of Baldr

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

Spoiler alert: Baldr dies.

River Song warns you of spoilers.Okay, seriously, there be spoilers ahead. Mythology nerds likely already know some of what goes down in The Songweaver’s Vow, but if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you grab a copy and then come back for the background material. (Though to be perfectly fair, even knowing the base myth won’t give you a complete picture, so as long as you’re fully apprised of the spoiler-ific nature of this post….)  Continue reading

Norse Mythology: What We Know

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

So to start, we don’t know very much about Norse mythology.

By Mårten Eskil Winge - 3gGd_ynWqGjGfQ at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22007120

Thor’s Fight With The Giants by Mårten Eskil Winge

Oh, sure, we have quite a lot of stories, and we’ve made them into quite a lot more stories. But we don’t really have a grasp of how old proto-Germanic religion functioned, how seriously people took these stories, and how these stories fit together.

The Songweaver’s Vow was a tough book to write, for a number of reasons. For one, this was the first time I was writing a story which wasn’t entirely mine and I had to follow a previously-defined plot, as the base story of The Songweaver’s Vow is a Greek legend. And Euthalia brought her Greek stories with her to Asgard, so this meant that I had two separate mythologies to blend while simultaneously trying to make the determined plot my own. It was like writing historical fiction which had to fit both our history and an alternate Earth history. Not gonna lie, it was a workout. Continue reading