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Tag Archives: Anthology

Poetry Giveaway

poetry-anthology-coversalt-flats-and-moon

It’s a short volume — less than seventy pages — but it spans two or three decades’ worth of poems inspired by the author’s life, relationships, troubles, daydreams, and family.

And she’s giving away signed paperback copies to five winners of a Goodreads giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Laughing at the Moon by Elizabeth Easter

Laughing at the Moon

by Elizabeth Easter

Giveaway ends March 31, 2016.

 

 

UPDATE (April 5, 2016):
The giveaway is ended, and the winners are chosen! They are from Italy, Ireland, England, and the United States. Congratulations to all!

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Pilgrimage, Heroic Fantasy, and Robin Hood

Pilgrimage, Heroic Fantasy, and Robin Hood

The difference between wanting to write and having written is…hard, relentless labour. It’s a bridge you have to build all by yourself, all alone, all through the night, while the world goes about its business without giving a damn. The only way of making this perilous passage is by looking at it as a pilgrimage. ― Shatrujeet Nath

What a pilgrimage it has been — and it’s far from ended.

I meant to write a blog post last month, or perhaps the month before, about the most influential character I ever encountered as a reader, and thought the character and the words would come pouring forth with ease.

I shoulda known better.

My imagination went into hiding, I seemed to forget every story I’d ever read, and all the words evaporated like summer rain in the desert.

HFQ 6x9 front cover ONLY-croppedAdd to that sudden betrayal by my brain the equally sudden request from my friends at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly: They’d finalized the stories and poems for their anthology, and were ready for me to do my part — design and format the book.

I’d been preparing for this event for about two years. It is one of several reasons I published Dragon’s Rook after almost throwing it away. Needing material on which to practice, I heavily revised the novel and restructured it, then learned how to format it for print and e-book, and then — with the artwork and cover design from a friend — published it independently. The experience and skills gained from that process has been put to excellent use in helping bring HFQ’s anthology to the public.

Words may have hidden from me, but book formatting is a different kind of creativity.There wasn’t much time to bemoan the lack of storytelling or blog posting — there was a cover to design, and text to manipulate, and fonts to sample. And a deadline to meet.

Still, I pondered which character(s) could be considered “the most influential”, but didn’t know the answer until it strolled onto the scene in a private message exchange on social media. A fellow writer said he was preparing to read my book, but had lost some of his enthusiasm for the genre.

There’s more to his message, and more to my reply, but this is the portion pertinent to this post:

(I)f you proceed, I hope you’re pleasantly surprised. People see swords and dragons, and they form opinions without knowing how those items are used in the story. Rather than being a Tolkien knock-off or a GRRM wannabe, Dragon’s Rook is its own thing.

Couldn’t duplicate GRRM or Robert Jordan or most others, even if I tried, because I’ve never read them. My reading is mainly in other genres — detective mysteries, for example.

The main stylistic influence is Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, a book which led to trouble one summer when I confessed to having read it x number of times and was about to read it again. Dad decided I needed to get out more, so he made my brother and me cut and haul pine on BLM land that needed to be cleared, and then we stacked it at our house in preparation for winter. (Yes, I have stories about stories.)

Bingo! Robin Hood! How did I not realize that before?

a photo of the rough front cover of my beloved Velveteen-Rabbit-ed copy (KB)

a photo of the front cover of my beloved Velveteen-Rabbit-ed copy (KB)

He isn’t the only character who has influenced my life once I read his/her story, but Robin i’ the Hood certainly had an impact on my plans that summer.

My dad meant to make me exercise and soak up sunlight, but he’s also the one who introduced me to this edition of the book, and he used to read portions aloud, so — loving it as he did — what did he expect but that I would love it, too?

I loved it so much, in fact, that the copy pictured here has begun to fall apart. Several years ago, I purchased a replacement copy — in much better shape, almost pristine — of this very same edition. It is the best, mimicking an illuminated text, and rich with color and action.

I’ve read other versions by other authors, but none beats Howard Pyle’s. It’s robust, full of humor and tragedy and exploits, and it fired my imagination until I composed pale imitations of the adventures of Robin and his merry band.

In seeking for something Robin-like, I stumbled upon other classic tales, such as Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.

You guessed it. That book’s falling apart, too.

 

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For Your Reading Pleasure

For Your Reading Pleasure

In the middle of October, an international crew of authors — with the considerable aid of Plaisted Publishing — produced two volumes of short fiction: Awethology Light and Awethology Dark. Both are free as e-books, but are also available in paperback for a reasonable price. A Christmas-themed anthology is also in the works.

A quirky mashup of genres, my story “Modern Mythology” opens Awethology Light, but there’s enough strangeness in it that I might get away with recommending the story as a non-scary Halloween read.

However, the Dark volume — which I have not yet had the opportunity to read — contains the kinds of stories its name implies. So you could keep this book open on your e-reader and be entertained tonight in the pauses between trick-or-treaters at the door. 🙂

Note: Light is okay for older children and teens through adults. Dark, however, might be best for ages 18 and up.

awethology-covers

 
 

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Annotated Dracula (part 2)

Dracula, Hollywood Wax Museum, Branson, MO (c2013, KB)

Dracula, Hollywood Wax Museum, Branson, MO (c2013, KB)

(Below is a revised re-post from February 14, 2010.)

‘…Oh, but I am grateful to you, you so clever woman. Madam’—he said this very solemnly—’if ever Abraham Van Helsing can do anything for you or yours, I trust you will let me know. It will be pleasure and delight if I may serve you as a friend…all I have ever learned, all I can ever do, shall be for you and those you love. There are darknesses in life, and there are lights; you are one of the lights. You will have happy life and good life, and your husband will be blessed in you.’

In the last installment concerning this topic (part 1 can be read here), I expressed my doubts that Bram Stoker was making any sort of point about female sexuality in his classic horror novel.

Of all the commentary presented in the edition of Dracula I read, the material I can most readily accept as being part of Stoker’s intentional vision for the material is the inclusion of possible jabs concerning the tensions between Ireland and England*. As a writer, I have included names or versions of events that are jokes or jabs or homages, and it’s kinda fun when a reader recognizes them, too, and tells me so.

But over-analyzing the work of a long-dead author can lead us in directions he or she never intended. And he or she, being dead, cannot correct our errors.

I find it interesting that no mention was made to the Biblical allusion in the above dialogue from Van Helsing, which also later includes this:

‘Your husband is noble nature, and you are noble too, for you trust, and trust cannot be where there is mean nature.’

The Biblical reference that came to mind when I read this passage is found in Proverbs 31, verses 28 and 29:

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Funny. Among all the other bits of trivia, historical references, suggestions of repressed sexuality, that didn’t make it into Valente’s notes at the back of the book.

Euripides, a Greek playwright from way back, said this: “Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” So, I’m questioning.

Valente also asserts that, since Dracula casts no reflection in a mirror, he doesn’t really exist.

The notion of the immortal count being only a projection of one’s inhibitions or subconscious desires doesn’t stand. After all, Stoker writes that Dracula has been around for centuries before the novel’s characters meet him, and he has been served by the gypsies for generations. Sounds pretty corporeal to me.

Valente states in the notes, “The manner of Dracula’s death tends to confirm his status as a psychic emanation rather than an autonomous being.”

Uh, you sure about that? He crumbles into dust. As in “from dust we were made, to dust we shall return.” Again, sounds pretty corporeal to me.

There is also an argument made that blood in the novel can be seen as a metaphor for racism i.e. “bad blood” that is undesirable for mixing with one of pure blood.* That, and the fact that Dracula is proud of his varied and warrior heritage. I can sorta see that idea (refer to my above remark about the conflict between Irish and English, that is referenced subtly in the book), but it has the look of reaching about it; as if, once again, more is being read into Stoker’s words than he may have intended.**

— to be continued —

* The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization by Stephen D. Arata (1990)

** “I Would Be Master Still”: Dracula as the Aftermath of the Wilde Trials and the Irish Land League Policies (2002) by Tanya Olson at thirdspace, a journal of feminist theory and culture. The article suggests Stoker may have been homosexual, and that the character of Jonathan Harker was also homosexual and functioned as Stoker’s stand-in.

Of Further Interest:
Tales of Woe and Wonder by Jeff Chapman, an excellent anthology of nine sideways stories, including “The Princess and the Vampire”, a tale of princess who decides to take a vampire for a lover.

 

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Launch Day!

It’s the official launch day for Raygun Chronicles, the space opera anthology inspired by Ray Gun Revival.

[Visit Goodreads for a chance to win a free copy.]

Cover^small

I am privileged to have a story included among others by far more famous and skilled authors. My story is “Shooting the Devil’s Eye”, a standalone prequel to Thieves’ Honor, the serial I wrote for the magazine.

Should you be in need of short science fiction to read, you can catch up with Thieves’ Honor here on the blog: Season 1 or Season 2.

Thanks to a group of fellow serialists and other writers, I hope to finish the series during the coming year.

Meantime, here’s a sample from “Shooting the Devil’s Eye”:

Finney landed the ship with nary a bump, shouldering between two larger vessels, as cozy as a bird in its nest. Air sighed out from the slip, creating a vacuum that held the ship steady while docked. It could only be released by the harbor master—a measure supposed to prevent pirating, but this was Vortuna, and piracy was its stock in trade.

That was no fuel off Finney’s engine. Wasn’t her ship.

The all-clear sounded. She unstrapped, stood, grabbed her duffel from the locker, and exited the wheelhouse, thudding down the companionway in boots two sizes too big. Hers had been stolen at the last port.

The captain, arms folded, blocked the passage. “Was it something I said?”

“Twenty percent share.” Finney held out a hand. “And a new pair of boots.”

“Thirty percent, and you stay aboard for the next run.”

“It’s been a week, ship’s time. Can’t have you gettin’ too fond of me.”

“Too late, darlin’.”

Finney adjusted her grip on the duffel straps, her other hand still extended. “This can just as easily become a fist.”

The captain rubbed his bruised jaw, and grinned. “See the purser on your way out.”

A new bag of colonial coin weighting her bag, and the purser’s leather boots on her feet, Finney strode down the gangway and onto the noisy wharf.

Remember to stop by Goodreads to enter the drawing for a free copy of Raygun Chronicles!

And then I promise to shut up about the book for a while — at least here on the blog. I make no promises otherwise. (wink and a smile)

 

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Raygun Chronicles — Coming Soon!

A few years back, one of the Overlords at Ray Gun Revival magazine — Johne Cook — stumbled upon a comment I made on a blog somewhere, wandered over to mine, and discovered my science fiction serial, which I was posting a few hundred words at a time.

It didn’t have a title then, just a placeholder: “Space Pirates”.

I’d already been reading Johne’s serial over at RGR, so when he invited me to join the crew, I was honored.

And terrified.

You mean, put my work out there for the world to read? One chapter at a time? What if I change my mind about the story’s direction? What if I write myself into a corner? There aren’t any take-backs, y’know! Once it’s done, it’s done.

photo-mainI took the challenge.

And wrote an awful lot of crap.

But I had fun, too.

So did readers, who weighed in on the characters. I received e-mail about why the hero was a jerk (yet strangely likable), or with guesses as to who was the mole aboard the Martina Vega.

Now, six years after the first words were written in the space pirates yarn that became a blog serial that became Thieves’ Honor, an origin story — “Shooting the Devil’s Eye” — is appearing in Raygun Chronicles, an anthology including some reprints from the magazine, as well as several original stories from RGR authors and others.

The book is being released at Orycon in early November, and then will be available to the great wide world December 3, 2013. The awesome cover art is by Paul Pederson.

RaygunChronicles“Shooting the Devil’s Eye” shows how freelance pilot, Fiona Grace (Finney), navigates the fiery seam of a ruined moon and accepts a permanent berth aboard the aging freighter, Martina Vega, owned by Captain Kristoff, a war hero turned smuggler (and occasional pirate).

Although the serial didn’t end before Ray Gun Revival went into hiatus, I’ve re-edited and re-posted all the existing episodes here (Season 1 and Season 2), and hope to finish the entire story within the next year or so.

 

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Tales of Woe and Wonder

Just a short post after a long silence.

Here’s a review of a book I recently finished reading:

Tales of Woe and WonderTales of Woe and Wonder by Jeff Chapman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Tales of Woe and Wonder” is an excellent title for this collection of short stories. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I dove in, but I’m glad I did. There’s darkness here — as there was in the old fairy tales — but also much wonder.

Sometimes I stopped to re-read a sentence or a phrase, enjoying the way the words sounded, how they fit one another. Enjoying the actual writing in a novel is a rare thing for me these days, so when I encounter it, I share it with the world.

I highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Books, Reading, Stories, Uncategorized

 

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