Tags: fantasy

More news!


Yesterday I mentioned that N.K. Jemisin's THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS was a 2010 nominee for the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy.  Did I mention that Rachel Caine's GHOST TOWN is up for Young Adult Fantasy?  There's stiff competition!  Cast your vote today.

In other news, over on my character blog, my heroine, Gina, is running the first of what will be a new feature: "How Not to be a Hot Mess."  Check it out!

Happy Release Day and Captains' Log

Happy release day to the amazing N.K. Jemisin for THE BROKEN KINGDOMS, sequel to her critically acclaimed debut THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS!

“The very best kind of sequel: as lush and evocative and true as the first, with all the same sense of mystery, giving us the world and characters we already love, and yet with a new story and a wonderfully new perspective on the whole dazzling world and pantheon the author has built.”           —NYT bestselling author, Naomi Novik

“New authors often falter when following up on a noteworthy debut, but Jemisin proves more than up to the challenge.”                 —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“The second in Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy takes place ten years after the first, but is intimately connected with it.  Told from Oree’s point of view, the narrative voice is authoritative and original—this is a book that readers won’t be able to put down.  The way Oree stands up for not only herself but for those she loves is an amazing display of courage in a world that doesn’t always reward such behavior.  A magnificent novel and one of the best books this reviewer has read this year.”  —Romantic Times, 4 ½ Star Top Pick!

Blurb: In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree's guest is at the heart of it. . .

Want to know more?  THE BROKEN KINGDOMS is a feature this month on the Barnes & Noble SF & Fantasy discussion boards, so you can talk and hear all about it!

In other news, you should be able to spot two of my authors (David Mack and Keith R.A. DeCandido) tonight on "The Captains of the Final Frontier," a documentary about Star Trek airing on the Biography Channel tonight at 9 p.m. ET.  Check it out!

Halloween Blog Bash with Carol Berg

Talk about a Halloween horror...I woke up Sunday morning to find my router fried to a crisp and thus am late posting my blog today because I had to run off to my local Barnes & Noble for Internet connectivity!  So now you know, folks, life without the web is my own personal nightmare.  If society breaks down tomorrow, I will be one of the first to go.  (Probably because rather than preserving all the knowledge of our society, per The Big Bang Theory and Lucifer's Hammer, I'd be saving all the fiction, because while I can go a day without food, a day without fiction would be unbearable...even more so than the lack of Internet.)

But enough about me and my problems, let's talk about the amazing Carol Berg.  Carol is an award-winning author (Mythopoeic Award and Colorado Book Award just to name a few).  She's singlehandedly responsible for the stunning fantasy words seen in her Rai-Kirah, Bridge of D'Arnath, Lighthouse Duet and new Collegia Magica series (check out the stunning covers below).  I've coerced her away from her novel-writing long enough for a guest blog!

Mystery on an Autumn Night by Carol Berg

Point, the first.  It wasn't the candy.  Honest.  I liked the candy,
yes, and our neighbors were generous. (Though I was never a popcorn ball
fan.  Yes, those were the days when some people actually /made/
Halloween treats and gave them away.)

Point, the second.  It wasn't the dressing up.  We dressed up all the
time to play.  And by the time I lusted after the long, gorgeous blue
mantilla that a friend of the family had brought from Mexico, my elder
sisters were too old for Halloween and my younger sister too little to
wear the mantilla, so I pretty much got it whenever I wanted to be a
princess or a dancer or a fairy queen.  And, oh yes, I wanted.

Point, the third. It wasn't the tricks.  Please!  I was a good girl with
three sisters.  We never played tricks (except on each other).  Besides,
see point, the first, above.

Then why, you ask, was Halloween second only to Christmas Eve in dreamy
deliciousness to this girl who never imagined she would become a fantasy

It was the dark, of course.  Early sunset.  And even the night's magical
lights, the stars and moon, could hardly push the weight of it aside. 
Our flashlights and lanterns certainly couldn't.  We would run down the
street through the piles of oak leaves, our steps pushed just a little
faster by the pooled shadows just beyond the light beams.  Why does
darkness cause those delicious shivers?   

Vincent Van Gogh said that "the night is more alive and more richly
colored than the day."
Uh-huh.  He knew.  There's a reason I love his "Starry Night" better
than his "Sunflowers."

Certainly marvelous things can happen after sunset.  Unexpected
visitors.  Romance.  Fireworks. Escapes.  Rendezvous.  Kisses at the
front door. Or in the garden. Or while floating down the Thames.  Danae
dance under the autumn moon.

But, of course, the dark can hide dangers, too.  Thieves.  Potholes. 
Spiders.  How often do you read about "the Light Forest?"  Ghosts,
invisible in the daylight, take shape against the dark. Whispers and
rustling are lost in the noisy business of day, but not in the night. 
And the highwayman comes riding, riding...  Wouldn't have been the same
if it was noon and the road was a ribbon of asphalt.  Shapes blur. 
Endless possibility.  Uncertainty blooms...

Ah, there it is.  Uncertainty and possibility create tension, the magic
ingredient in any story.  It's what keeps us hooked, peeking around that
next corner...or page.  Night's essence is mystery.

Or perhaps Lemony Snicket said it best: "It is one of life's bitterest
truths that bedtime so often arrives just when things are really getting


Lynn Flewelling on "Sex is Hard"

As many of you may know, the fabulous Lynn Flewelling began her publishing career in 1996 with LUCK IN THE SHADOWS, the adventures of Seregil and Alec...rogues, thieves, spies and two of my favorite fantasy characters ever written.  The Nightrunner series continued with STALKING DARKNESS, TRAITOR'S MOON, SHADOWS RETURN and THE WHITE ROAD. More books are forthcoming.  In addition, she's written the wonderful Tamir trilogy, set centuries before The Nightrunner series, in the same world but with different characters and events surrounding an early queen (Tamir) who was disguised at birth as her twin brother so that she wouldn’t be killed to clear the path to the thrown that's passed along through the female line.

Those of you, like me, who adore Seregil and Alec might be interested in her new release, a short fiction collection set in the Nightrunner world.

Thanks for having me back, Lucienne! I’m very excited about the release of my Nightrunner short fiction collection, Glimpses, which contains some erotica, the first I’ve written. Here’s a little bloggage about it.

Sex is Hard

OK, sex is pretty easy (and fun!) if you know what you’re doing, but writing about it? That’s a whole different kettle of naughty bits. And when you’re a woman writing gay sex?  A challenge, to say the least, and one I tackle in my new Nightrunner short fiction collection, Glimpses.

For years now I’ve been tap dancing around sex scenes in my Nightrunner Series, and gay sex at that. When the first books were published back in the mid 90’s, graphic sex scenes were not encouraged for books intended for the mainstream, so I had to be coy, showing the kissy stuff, lead ups, and morning afters, but not the deed itself. This led to a some frustration among a sizable portion of my readership, who are into that sort of thing. Complaints were made. Fan fic ensued—or so I’m told.  Inquiring minds wanted to know, especially about Alec and Seregil’s first night of love making, once they became a couple at the end of the second Nightrunner book, Stalking Darkness.

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Chat and other info


The fabulous Diana Peterfreund, who I must say looks a little like the picture on her cover above, is chatting tonight at The Knight Agency site.  Aside from the pleasure of Diana's company, there will also be giveaways.  Hope you can joine us at 9 p.m. ET. here.

Also, for anyone who's enjoyed Marjorie M. Liu's Hunter Kiss series (or hasn't yet, but really, really should), there's a wonderful write-up from Paul Goat Allen at Explorations, the Barnes & Noble sf/fantasy blog, complete with discussion thread so you can add your own input.

In still other news, Orbit Books has been posting an interesting set of articles and charts on fantasy art and elements.  Check it out.

Last, but absolutely not least, I have to kvell a little for my client Michele Lang, who's just received a starred Booklist review for her historical fantasy, LADY LAZARUS.  And I quote, "Lang crafts a creative and tense story as all of Europe awaits the September invasion of Poland. Lang is a writer to watch and is sure to have wide appeal to fansof Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, and other urban-fantasy A-listers. An outstanding debut."  So excited for her.  And, of course, I second that emotion.

Putting on my author hat....

I'll be signing Vamped and Strip-Mauled on Friday at the big author signing in connection with the Nebula Awards weekend.  Details:

Friday, May 14, 2010
6:00 pm
Seahorse Room of the
Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront
1550 North Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Sponsored by Barnes & Noble
Merritt Island

There will be a ton of fabulous science fiction and fantasy authors in attendance (Joe Haldeman, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Laura Anne Gilman - no relation - Sarah Beth Durst, Jeff Carver, Neal Barrett, Jr., David Levine...), so I hope you'll stop by if you're in the area!  (And I hope we all get back from the shuttle launch in time!)

I was featured today in one of our local papers, The Laker!  My very first newspaper interview, which is probably not as exciting to you as to me, but to me it was amazing!  Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an on-line link to the article, but if I get permission to scan and post, I will certainly do so.

Breezed right past that shuttle launch, didn't I?  On Friday, May 14th at 2:20, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch.  Tickets were made available for sale on a first come, first-served basis, and if we weren't the first to jump at them, we were very nearly at the front of the line!  We're really looking forward to seeing a close-up launch.  Oh yes, there will be photos.  Stay tuned.

Awesome and worthy review!

 I know it's after 9 p.m. the day after Christmas and likely very few people will see this before next week, but I had to share the very awesome review for an incredible debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (forthcoming in February 2010 from Orbit).  And I quote, "This is an astounding debut novel.  The worldbuilding is solid, the characterization superb, the plot complicated yet clear.  Yeine is a fantastic protagonist and her journey is compelling and memorable....Look no further for an original and thought-provoking novel."  Romantic Times, Top Pick Gold rating!  This after a rave from Publishers Weekly as well.  An incredible start to an amazing series.

Changing Gears with Laura Anne Gilman

Today's guest blog is with the multi-talented Laura Anne Gilman (suricattus ), fantastic editor, short story and novel writer, wine connoisseur, friend, and client of "rival" agent Jennifer Jackson (arcaedia ).  (I put rival in quotations not because we're not competitors, but because it's not a hair-pulling and name calling sort of thing, even after said wine has been consumed.)

Changing Gears, without Losing the Love by Laura Anne Gilman


[this essay was inspired by a conversation Our Hostess and I had over drinks one night, about how difficult it can be, sometimes, to reach into yourself and pull out what a story needs… how scary it can be to face expectations – of both ourselves, and our readers.]

Writers write.  That’s a given.  But sometimes we write… different.  And it terrifies us.

For the past five years, I’ve been best known for the urban fantasy “Retrievers” series, a kick-ass heroine in a contemporary setting, magic and mayhem and moral complications, all happening at the rat-a-tat pace of New York City.

I love those books, and the way people respond to them.  And yet… even as I was having a fantabulous time with urban fantasy, there were other things tickling at my brain, other stories I wanted to tell; other styles I wanted to play with. 

There’s a risk in changing gears, though.  What if your readers don’t follow you?  What if the book is terrible? What if, what if…?   Writers, dear readers, are neurotic and delicate creatures, even when we’re trying to be tough as nails. So although I played around in my short fiction, I stayed focused on urban fantasy, and the Cosa Nostradamus novels.

And then a passing comment by my agent triggered an idea: a wine-based fantasy.  Why not?  I am a wine nerd of good standing (I even spent a year working in a wine store), and the idea of wine-makers as magicians seemed to make absolute and perfect sense to me – what is the transformation of grape juice into wine but the most basic alchemy, after all?  And thanks to Christianity, wine already carries mythical overtones, and the setting of an alternate 14th Century world was ripe for what I’d been wanting to write about....  And then the character’s voice hit me.

I couldn’t stop myself, I ran with it – or, more precisely, it ran with me.  For a year, I lived with this book even as I was working on the next Retrievers novel.  I researched historical methods of winemaking.  I read articles on vinification and the genetic diversity of grape varietals.  I traveled to Burgundy and spent ten days getting my hands – literally – dirty in the fields, soaking up as much detail as I could to make my “Lands Vin” as true as possible.  I talked to everyone, from the guy who hired out his horse-and-plow to the scion of a multinational winemaking family, to make my characters as real and as grounded as possible.  I tasted as many wines as I could, to get a feel for the different types of grapes that would make up the Second growth within my world.

(Oh, okay, you caught me.  I tasted as many wines as I could because I love discovering new wines.  But it was legitimate research, too!)

And now, 18 months later, Flesh and Fire: Book 1 of The Vineart War, has hit the bookstores.  The reviewers have already been quite kind – it got a starred review from both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal – but I have absolutely no idea how my readers will react.  

And I’ve discovered… I’m okay with that. 

Changing gears was scary as hell.  It made me look at my writing, my storytelling, and my own hang-ups and fears under a bright and occasionally painful light, pulling me totally out of my comfort zone.   But the results were worth it – and I will carry what I learned forward for the rest of my writing career.

The important thing -- in writing, in love, in life – is not to be afraid.  Happy Book-birthday, Flesh and Fire.  And thank you, for reminding me of that.

Relinquising Control

Well, something had to give.  There was no way I could agent, author, mommy and keep the house clean all while maintaining my sanity.  What sanity? I hear some of you ask.  The little I have left, of course.

Those who know me well know I have certain Monk-ish tendencies, though I don't have the time I'd like to actually polish my eggs.  (Okay, even I wouldn't go that far.)  I'm a 120% kind of gal, and it's killed me that I've had to let the house slide to keep up that level of effort everywhere else in my life.  So...I've hired someone to be Monk in my stead.  And here's the funny thing, I resisted for so long partly because I knew, I knew that I'd clean the house in advance of the cleaning lady because I couldn't allow anyone to see the place a disaster, even if that's what she was coming to take care of for me.  My husband joked that apparently all we've needed is the threat that someone will come in and take over.  (Not that I have any control issues.)  Anyway, room by room, my baseboards are getting cleaned, my mini-blinds dusted, the grout bleached...all those things I was just never going to find time to do.  Little bits of my sanity are being restored.  My son has declared me a "neat freak."  If only he'd seen my college dorm room!

Don't forget that Monday begins Epic Fantasy Week!  Guest bloggers will be:

Monday: Lynn Flewelling on book promotion
Tuesday: David B. Coe on writing series
Wednesday: Diana Pharaoh Francis on world-building
Thursday: Carol Berg on character-building
Friday: Sarah A. Hoyt on how to make your fantasy plausible in a scientific world

It will continue on to the following week with Michele Lang on writing historical fantasy and will probably feature other guest bloggers as well.