Fantasy Links 4/28/17

April 28, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

A writing article about depicting internal conflicts from Mythcreants:  http://mythcreants.com/blog/depicting-internal-conflicts/#more-18260

An article on worldbuilding about siege and siegecraft:  http://fantasy-faction.com/2017/sieges-and-siegecraft-part-two-defenders

An article about the new “American Gods” tv show and the importance of reading the novel first:  http://io9.gizmodo.com/why-you-should-read-the-american-gods-novel-before-watc-1794638929

For those readers and watchers that love anime, here’s an article about anime coming out in the spring:  http://www.tor.com/2017/04/28/spring-2017-anime-preview-can-we-stop-adding-re-to-anime-titles-now/

Lastly, for fun this week an article about to name your nerdy cats:  https://theportalist.com/cat-names-for-your-nerdy-feline

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Fantasy Links 4/21/17

April 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Hello,

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Life events as usual interfere. Here are some links to keep you going. Thank you.

An article for writers about poisons. http://www.harpervoyagerbooks.com/hvsciencefair-poison/

Here’s an article about worldbuilding and choosing a weapon for your characters. http://mythcreants.com/blog/choosing-a-weapon-for-your-hero/#more-18217

Here’s an article for readers of Brandon Sanderson and his Cosmere books. http://fantasy-faction.com/2017/introducing-cruising-the-cosmere

Mythic Scribes has a writing article about Foreshadowing. https://mythicscribes.com/writing-techniques/foreshadowing/

The Mad Genius blog has several entries of interest this week.  https://madgeniusclub.com/

Finally, Magical Words has several links posted this week of interest for readers and writers:  http://www.magicalwords.net/

Fantasy Links 3/31/17

March 31, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Happy End of March! And Happy Friday! Here are some links to interesting articles to end the month. Enjoy.

 

For some fun and women in fiction here’s an article about favorite all women super teams:  http://www.tor.com/2017/03/31/your-favorite-all-female-super-teams/#more-261622

 

Here’s an article about writing series by author Gail Martin:  https://civilianreader.com/2016/07/07/guest-post-beginning-ending-and-extending-book-series-by-gail-z-martin/

 

An article by author Myke Cole on diversity in history and writing:  https://geekdad.com/2017/03/myke-cole-on-historical-diversity-and-writing-fiction/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=GeekDads&utm_content=Myke%20Cole:%20On%20Historical%20Diversity%20and%20Writing%20Fiction

 

For those who like books with strong women warriors here’s an article about twelve books with such warriors:  https://theportalist.com/12-fantasy-books-with-powerful-female-warriors

 

Here’s an article by Ed McDonald on writing and publishing grimdark fantasy when you’re not George R.R. Martin :  https://edmcdonaldwriting.com/2017/01/25/you-are-not-george-rr-martin-how-to-get-published-in-the-grimdark-era-of-fantasy/

Fionavar Tapestry Revisited

March 18, 2017 at 1:20 am | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Recently I decided to reread the Fionavar Tapestry books by Guy Gavriel Kay. It has been at least twenty years since I read them, but they have remained strong in my memory all that time. Rereading them has not altered my perception. Kay’s blending of memorable characters, mythic themes and a sense of hope still resonates with me. Some people might argue that the books are a poor imitation of Tolkien, however I think they are a powerful statement of hope in time of war in a story with some grimly, dark scenes like some modern fantasy books taking prominent positions now.

The trilogy takes place on the world of Fionavar, the first of all worlds created by the Weaver, the main god who weaves all creation at the loom. On Fionavar are many lesser gods such as Ceinwen the huntress, Dana the moon goddess and Mornir the sky god. The are not supposed to intervene in human affairs, but sometimes do. Many are responsible for the Andain-half human, half god children who can work either for or against humans. The dark, evil lord who needs to be defeated is called Rakoth Maugrim. He has been imprisoned for a thousand years, chained under a volcano. When he breaks free, the struggle for Fionavar and the universe begins.

The Summer Tree begins the trilogy with five Canadian college students transported by a wizard to the world of Fionavar. Once there, they find themselves caught up in the growing troubles of the world. There is an unending drought in Brennin, the main nation that takes the lead in the story. The kingdom has an elderly king whose two sons are questionable heirs. One is in exile and the younger son Diarmuid tends to be wild and unpredictable. Jennifer, Paul, Kevin, Kim and David begin to find different roles in the story. Kim finds herself being trained as a seer by Ysanne. Jennifer cements her friendship with the mage Loren Silver Cloak and his source Matt. Paul and Kevin are adopted into prince Diarmuid’s band. David is separated from his friends, lost among the nomadic Dalrei. Kay weaves various mythologies together to create vivid images and uneasy resolutions for the characters in the book.

In the second book, The Wandering Fire, things change for everyone. Mr. Kay introduces new elements into the story adding Arthurian characters to the epic fantasy and enhancing the story with a new theme. The students return to Fionavar facing an endless winter created by Rakoth Maugrim. They return with the Warrior who is King Arthur. He has been condemned to relive his life over and over until a final battle as punishment for killing the children to try to circumvent his fate. It is discovered that Jennifer is Guenevere and their tragic story begins to play out again on Fionavar. Two groups break off to go on separate quests. One group goes to an island to stop a traitor mage. The other group travels to the temple of the goddess to seek an end of the winter. Some events are resolved while new ones emerge making this a strong middle book.

The final book, The Darkest Road, finds all the characters must come together for the final battle to save Fionavar. Mr. Kay emphasizes the importance of the theme of the choice given by free will over fate or destiny. This theme is demonstrated through different characters. Jennifer’s son Darien must decide whether to serve Evil or Good on his own without any advice from anyone. The author uses the Wild Hunt as the random thread of the tapestry. Finn is the character who leaves his loving family to lead the Hunt, which kills indiscriminately. A young Dalrei boy, Tabor, rides a winged unicorn. Every time he rides her, he becomes more distant from his family and world, seeing to fade away. The Arthurian characters strive to break their endless cycle while the remaining students from Canada play their roles to the bittersweet end with their own decisions. The trilogy comes to a satisfying, poignant conclusion.

Rereading the Fionavar Tapestry brought back my emotions and memories from the first time I read these books. The author’s blending of Arthurian characters, mythic themes and epic fantasy tropes make the books a powerful, memorable reading experience. I gained a new perspective from the rereading and the twenty years of life experience that helped change my perspective. Readers will experience sad moments that bring tears and happy ones that give hope. The books are worth seeking out and reading.

Fantasy Links 3/13/17

March 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Sorry I’m late with this week’s blog post. Here are some links to interesting articles.

A video of a panel of five authors discussing the evolution of modern day fantasy:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/03/5-amazing-authors-discuss-evolution-modern-fantasy/

A writing article about five tips to writing a layered character:  http://mythcreants.com/blog/five-tips-for-creating-a-layered-character/

An article about the fairy tale archetype of the sexy witch:  http://www.fantasyliterature.com/expanded/the-expanded-universe-the-fairy-tale-archetype-of-the-sexy-witch/

Links for 2/10/17

February 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Sorry for the delay of blog posts. Life events intervened the last couple of weeks. Today you some links to interesting articles:

For those interested in author Patricia Briggs, here’s an interview with her editor and how they work together. http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/02/editor-anne-sowards-working-patricia-briggs/

An article about books that have dystopias. http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/01/want-read-dystopian-fiction-heres-start/

Here’s an article on writing memorable endings. https://mythicscribes.com/writing-techniques/how-to-write-an-unforgettable-ending/

Some authors get writer’s block. Here’s an article to help break that block. https://madgeniusclub.com/2017/02/10/breaking-through-the-blockage/

Writers can always learn from others mistakes. Here’s an article that does that. http://mythcreants.com/blog/lessons-from-the-sloppy-writing-of-the-tommyknockers/#more-17546

If you’re looking for some good books to read. https://theportalist.com/28-must-read-fantasy-book-series

For those who are interested in UFOs and such an article about interesting alien encounters. https://theportalist.com/7-mysterious-alien-encounters-before-roswell

Fantasy Links 1/6/2017

January 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Here are some links to articles and sites of interest.

An article about fantasy and science fiction books with titles inspired by poetry:  http://www.tor.com/2017/01/06/sff-book-titles-inspired-by-poetry/

A list of books coming out in January that are genre benders:  http://www.tor.com/2017/01/06/fiction-affliction-genre-benders-for-january-2017/

A list of epic fantasy books of where to start:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2016/12/want-read-epic-fantasy-heres-start/

A writing article on first person narration by James Van Pelt:  http://www.jamesvanpelt.com/

The blog of fantasy author Helen Lowe with many interesting entries:  http://helenlowe.info/blog/

Deborah J. Ross

December 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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It is important to have diversity in fiction. Reading different voices from other perspectives makes us better as humans by helping us see through others’ eyes. One group of voices are woman. There are many women fantasy authors in the genre expressing their perspectives today. Deborah J Ross in on of these women. Since 1982, she has contributed many books to the genres of fantasy and science fiction.

Her contribution to fantasy is a trilogy that follows characters as they fight to save their people from different forces. The Seven-Petaled Shield begins the trilogy with Tsorreh and her son Zevaron fleeing from their fallen city to find refuge among her mother’s people. They flee the grasp of the Gelon empire with the heart stone of the legendary Shield. Removal of the stone allows the elemental chaotic force Fire and Ice to grow stronger, setting the tone the the next two books. Shannivar, the second book, tells the story of Shannivar, a woman warrior from the clans. She travels with the the clans to a meeting to form an alliance against the growing Gelon empire. Along the way, she meets Zevaron and joins him on a quest to the north to discover what is happening there. In the final book, The Heir of Khored, Shannivar tries to save corrupted Zevaron from Fire and Ice. The trilogy is a fascinating, entertaining read set in a different world than the usual Medieval types.

Using the pseudonym Deborah Wheeler, Ms. Ross wrote the science fiction novel Jaydium. This is a time travel and space story. Kithri is a scientist stuck on a mining planet. She meets Eril who is an ex-pilot learning how to deal with peacetime. They are thrown together back in time to when the planet had a thriving alien civilization that is on the brink of war. Kithri and Eril must decide what to do is right in order to get home. Ms. Ross provides an exciting tale of adventure.

Northlight is another fantasy. This book is a story about a ranger searching for her lost partner and a scholar wanting to experience the world while getting away from his mother. Together they go on a rescue mission to solve the problems of Laurea.

Darkover is the science fiction world created by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley. The planet is a lost colony world where psychic mind talents were developed over technology. After Bradley’s death, Ms. Ross has continued to write novels and stories set in Darkover, expanding Bradley’s popular world. There are many novels and anthologies available. The most recent novel is Thunderlord. Realms of Darkover is the latest anthology.

Deborah J. Ross is a versatile writer. She is comfortable writing in the fantasy and science fiction genres. She also provides interesting new characters and stories set in Darkover. Her books contain interesting characters and entertaining plots. She has many books available for readers at Book View Cafe (http://bookviewcafe.com). Her blog and web site can be found at:  http://deborahjross.blogspot.com/ Readers will enjoy her books.

Where to Start

September 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Looking for something different to read? Inspired by an episode of a fantasy tv series or movie? Deciding where to start can be a daunting task because the fantasy genre is large. There are many subgenres within the overall genre, so there are many possible starting points. Readers have several choices that might fit their tastes. Here are a few books where to begin a journey into a new genre.

Epic fantasy is one of the largest sub-genres and has garnered much interest because of the“Game of Thrones” tv series. Some readers start with the books but there are other books that are good too. For Tolkien, The Hobbit is an easier place to begin with his works. Lord of the Rings is excellent but rich in detail and takes time to savor. Other good starting books are:

  • The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia McKillip

Another popular subgenre is urban fantasy which has exploded in recent years. These are books where magic, mythical creatures and the supernatural exists and interacts with our modern day world. There are many excellent starting points. Many of these books have plenty of action and interesting characters both men and women. Suggested books are:

  • Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series)
  • Stormfront by Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden series)
  • Moon Called by Patty Briggs (Mercy Thompson series)
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne ( Iron Druid Chronicles series)

The story of King Arthur and his knights spawned another subgenre with Arthurian fantasy. Authors explore some aspect or character from the legends to tell new stories in this sub-genre. Some books to try are:

  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Finally there is for me an unofficial subgenre of mythic and fairy tale fantasy. Authors use mythology, mythic themes or fairy tales in new ways to tell thought provoking emotional stories that resonate with readers in some deep fashion. Books in this genre began with two authors, Robert Holdstock and Charles de Lint but have other authors now. Books to read here are:

  • Mythagowood by Robert Holdstorck
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
  • The Onion Girl  by Charles de Lint
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Finding books to read in a new genre can be hard. The books mentioned in this article are great places to start. May the gifts of fantasy and wonder be yours. Happy reading.

Tim Powers

January 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Articles, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Fantasy genre encompasses a broad spectrum of possibilities from Epic to those books with a minimum of fantasy elements. Many authors write in the familiar parts of the genre while others find new territory. Tim Powers is an author that has carved out his own unique niche in the spectrum. He creates unique Fantasy worlds blending history and fantasy elements until there is a doubt whether it could be real or not. His books have wonderful characters and plots. Some of them have won the World Fantasy and other awards. Readers can find interesting new worlds to explore with these books.

Mr. Powers first book was _Drawing of the Dark_. It is the story of the soldier of fortune Brian Duffy in 1500’s Vienna. The Turkish armies are coming to take the city. Brian must save the world from evil by protecting a tavern that makes a famous special beer. He is assisted by a mysterious wizard and King Athur’s spirit. Mr. Powers{ weaves Arthurian elements, the story of the Fisher King and real history to create a book full of action and adventure with some sly humor.

The next book of this author was _The Anubis Gates_, which became an award winner. It mixes time travel, Egyptian mythology and strangeness in Seventeenth Century England. A scholar of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Brendan Doyle, travels back in time and gets caught up in stopping a plot to destroy the English monarchy. He must fight several evil creatures, a band of Gypsies and Egyptian sorcerer. This book demonstrates Mr. Powers talent for writing tight, action filled plots with interesting characters. Historical details give the book a realistic touch to the Fantasy elements.

_Dinner At Deviant’s Palace_ is a different book than the author’s usual. A post apocalyptic Lost Angeles is the setting for this tale. Greg Rivas must infiltrate a cult to save a woman he once knew. The cult is run by the mysterious Norton Jaybush and his members eventually disappear for good. All of this happens at the private club Deviant’s Palace. Mr. Powers creates a dark story with cynical characters and dangerous horrors in a strange future world.

The Carribbean region of 1718 is the setting of the next book of _On Stranger Tides_. Pirates and voodoo magic appear in the tale of John Chandagnac, a bookkeeper caught up with Blackbeard the pirate. They are on a quest for the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Supernatural elements are woven into this pirate story by Mr. Power’s usual unique talent. It has plenty of action and frightening moments.

Horror is the primary theme of _The Stress of Her Regard_. Michael Crawford is a doctor in 1815. He awakens in bed one morning to find his bride’s savaged body next to him. Blamed for the previous deaths of a brotherÄ and other bride, Dr. Crawford flees to Italy to meet Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and John Keats, seeking answers to his curse. This book incorporates the mythologies of vampires, succubi and lamia to provide a detailed, vivid horror story that is one of Power’s best books.

Las Vegas is a fantastical city in the Nevada desert. It is the setting for _Last Call_, a mythic Fantasy that revolves around the Tarot and legend of the Fisher King. Georges Leon is the current King. He tries to maintain his throne by destroying his sons. The mother saves the youngest son, Scott, by throwing him onto a boat passing by on a trailer. Scott is raised by the wizard Ozzie and comes back to challenge his father for the throne to get revenge. The throne is decided by playing poker with magical Tarot cards. Scott gets help from various people including the ghost of Bugsy Siegel. This book has a dark˝ edge, but is filled with good characters and a memorable story.

_Expiration Date_ takes place in Los Angeles of the 1990s. This is a ghost story with Mr.Powers unique ideas about them. Koot Parganas is a young boy who steals a small vial containing the ghost of Thomas Edison. He later is possessed by the ghost, which gives him strange powers, and this makes Koot a target of dark things. Various strange allies help him along the way. The author wrote an entertaining tale of ghosts in a contemporary setting.

In his next book, _Earthquake Weather_, Mr. Powers brings back characters from the last two books mentioned for a new story. The theme of the Fisher King is visited again when Scott Crane, the King of the West is assassinated by a ghost possessed woman. Loyal followers move Crane’s body to a protected home where Koot Hoomie lives. Koot is thirteen and suffers from a wound that won’t heal. He should become the next King, but he is too young. There is a race to restore the King of the West because California is slowly being destroyed by earthquakes, riots, fires and floods. This novel is an intricate blend of plot and characters from previous books. Mr. Powers succeeds again in providing a vivid story.

[His most recent novel is _Declare_. In this book, Mr. Powers creates a Fantasy spy thriller. Allan Hale was a retired former spy until he receives a call in 1963 bringing him back to duty. Mr. Hale must contest with the Russians to complete a mission he failed to accomplish after World War II. The Russians are trying to awaken supernatural entities that sleep on Mr. Ararat. There are several historical events of the Cold War that the author weaves into this book to produce a richly complex tale of espionage with fantastic elements. Mr. Powers created a powerful award winner to add to his works. This book is nominated for 2002 Mythopoeic Award.

Tim Powers is an unique Fantasy author in the genre. He takes historical people and events, weaves them together with supernatural and fantasy elements, and provides entertaining, thoughtful stories for readers. His characters are memorable with interesting human characteristics that make them realistic. The depth of detail and research put into his works demonstrates what an award winning talent he is. He is a real gem of the Fantasy genre.

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