Nov 25

Deeds of Honor Cover Reveal

Posted: under artwork, Collections.
Tags: ,  November 25th, 2014

Looks like the powers that be have approved a cover design, and I like it.

So, here ’tis.    There might still be changes, but I suspect this is it.

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Nov 20

Triple Good News on the Writing Front

Posted: under Crown of Renewal, the writing life.
Tags: ,  November 20th, 2014

1. I was informed today there’s an offer on the new Vatta book.   Agent is  on it–details will be hammered out…er…peaceful negotiations will result in a contract most pleasing and desirable for all parties.

2. Kirkus Reviews picked Crown of Renewal as one of the best fantasy novels of the year.

3.  In this fascinating graphic of 62 different stories of the future,  a lot of information is turned into one stunning timeline.   And one of my books is on it.



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Nov 18

What HAS She Been Up To?

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  November 18th, 2014

A  lot, actually.   Where we left off, the Mozart Requiem–it went well, even though I was beginning to feel off, and sure enough was sick the week following with a nasty sore throat.   Got better, and was able to sing one service the next Sunday.   We had a small birthday party for our son.   Everything seemed to be moving well towards Thanksgiving but this past week, we had some bad medical news.  My husband will need another cancer surgery–there’s a new tumor in his stomach.

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Nov 04

Short Fiction in Paksworld: Through “First Blood.”

Posted: under Spoiler Space.
Tags:  November 4th, 2014

As y’all know, there’s a little bit of Paksworld short fiction on the Paksworld website, some that was out in various online venues before, and “First Blood” is now officially out in Shattered Shields. So the discussion of Paksworld short fiction within this thread is fine. However, since some people object to spoilers for short fiction, please keep any discussion within a thread that starts with “Short Fiction”–like this one. And if spoilers bother you, don’t read in such threads unless you’ve read all the bits out so far.

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Nov 04

On Discussion and Spoilers

Posted: under Life beyond writing, Reader Help, Spoiler Space.
Tags: , ,  November 4th, 2014

Crown of Renewal has been out long enough now that it’s OK to discuss it–and the rest of the existing Paksworld books–without needing to use Spoiler Space.

However, a question for the group: Some of you have by now read the Paksworld story “First Blood” in Shattered Shields and others of you may not have…and yet you might want to discuss it in relation to the surrounding milieu. The same is/will be true of “Mercenary’s Honor” in the forthcoming Operation Arcana anthology, and the new (and maybe older) Paksworld short fiction in Deeds of Honor. So do we need a Spoiler Space specifically for short fiction? Does it bother you as much when a short piece is discussed before you’ve read it?

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Oct 26

And Away It Goes

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags:  October 26th, 2014

There’s a book in progress now (it’s over 100 pages–that makes it a book in progress) It is not (alas for Paksworld fans who don’t like my other stuff) a Paksworld book. What Robin McKinley calls her Story Council (determining what she can write next) I call my Plot Daemon. The Plot Daemon shot down several previous book starts in the past year, some Paksworld and some not, but finally got steam up in the old Inchcliffe Castle* when I quit handing him ideas and said (with all the ire of a frustrated writer) “Fine, then: What do YOU want to do for the next year?”
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Oct 17

Why No Plagues in Paksworld?

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags:  October 17th, 2014

With the Ebola situation that’s grabbed the attention of the country (not to mention those of us in Texas) for the past few weeks, some of you may be wondering why I didn’t throw some plagues into Paksworld. I did consider it, at one point, and as you recall there were illnesses, but a full-blown plague would have diverted the story to something else.
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Oct 13

Bad Guys III: Psychology and Anthropology

Posted: under Craft.
Tags:  October 13th, 2014

Psychology offers a lot of ways to complicate bad guys (when you want to) and handy shortcuts for when you don’t. Its sources concentrate on the individual and the family (though not all writers about psychology ignore culture, what’s published under that name is rarely broad and deep enough to serve the fiction writer, especially in fantasy and science fiction.) Anthropology covers the “outside” nurture, the broader context of why people become who they become and do what they do. Both are excellent areas for fiction writers to study, though with the warning that your characters should not read like case histories, and readers should not be able to recognize which book that character came out of. Moreover, fiction should not read like the writer’s own therapy sessions. Even when the story requires that a character be in therapy for something, and the writer has had the same therapy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 09

Bad Guys II: How Do They Think?

Posted: under Craft.
Tags:  October 9th, 2014

“The line between good and evil,” Solzhenitsyn wrote, “runs right down the middle of every human heart.” That’s a starting point, but some people have that line apparently stuck closer to one side than the other. In a society where honesty is prized, how does a dishonest bad guy justify dishonesty to himself or herself? In a society where kindness is prized, how does someone justify cruelty? Or, conversely, in a society where cruelty is prized, how does someone justify kindness? From the point of view of a storyteller, a bad guy character is a character and that means the bad guy has agency–acts for reasons that make bad-guy sense. Saving the mentally ill bad guy, bad guys use the same internal thinking processes (but not outcomes) as good guys. That’s what this post is about: how do bad guys come to the decisions and behaviors they exhibit in a story–the ones that define them as bad guys? Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 09

Bad Guys: Thoughts on Writing Them

Posted: under Craft.
Tags:  October 9th, 2014

Many stories–especially in fantasy–include one or more bad guys–defined for the moment as someone in opposition to the protagonist.   I’ve written before about characterization, ways to approach creating characters that work as fiction but appeal to readers as real people.   But I haven’t specifically dealt with writing bad guys (villains, traitors, tyrants, etc.) , and there are differences in writing them because of the different roles they play in the story being written.   It would take a book (or more) to deal with all aspects of writing bad guys–and then it wouldn’t be complete because someone would invent another, and besides no two writers are likely to agree on what the difficulties are–but this is one way–just one way–to consider what goes into making a bad guy who is not too weak, too strong, too boring, too fascinating, too…much of anything, for the story in hand.

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