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/

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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/

Why Fantasy Matters Link

March 4, 2017 at 2:38 am | Posted in Fantasy Web Site | Leave a comment
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Hello,

Welcome to March. I didn’t quite get the article I planned for today quite finished, but I wanted to share this wonderful video about Why Fantasy Matters from Unbound Worlds. http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/02/tedx-speaker-elizabeth-chapin-fantasy-matters/  Enjoy.

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 1/13/17

January 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Writing | Leave a comment
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I’m busy working on a story, so this week’s post are some links of interest for you.

An article on writing advice at:  http://www.tor.com/2017/01/13/jumbled-writing-isnt-necessarily-bad-writing/

World of publishing for today at:  http://www.tor.com/2017/01/13/this-morning-in-publishing-january-13-2017/#more-254213

An article of grimdark fantasy books to read at:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/01/want-read-grimdark-heres-start/

A writing article on crafting a character driven story at:  http://mythcreants.com/blog/how-to-craft-a-character-driven-story/#more-16855

A helpful writing article from Mythic Scribes at:  https://mythicscribes.com/writing-techniques/novels-sucked/

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/

Year Endings and Beginnings

December 30, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For many people 2016 has been a stressful, busy and torturous year. Man changes have occurred leading fear and dread for the future there has been much sadness. I won’t speak to the politics or other events. That isn’t the focus of this blog.

The sadness stems from the loss of many artists of various areas such as music, books and movies. The year is ending with the death of Carrie Fisher the beloved Princess Leia from “Star Wars.” The fantasy genre has lost several authors this year with Richard Adams the author of Watership Down. Hopefully we’ll make it to 2017 without any further losses.

This year for the blog has been very scattered. Life events and work kept me away from keeping up with the blog on a regular basis. I hope to do a better job in the future. So here is the hope for the new year of 2017.

For new beginnings, you might want to try some new books in different sub genres of fantasy. Here are links to epic fantasy and urban fantasy books:

Epic Fantasy:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2016/12/want-read-epic-fantasy-heres-start/

High Fantasy:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2016/12/want-read-high-fantasy-heres-start/

Urban Fantasy:  http://www.unboundworlds.com/2016/11/want-read-urban-fantasy-heres-start/

Until next year, may the gifts of fantasy and wonder be yours. Happy New Year!

Interview with Deborah J. Ross

December 16, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Author Interview | Leave a comment
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This week’s post in an interview with fantasy and science fiction author Deborah J. Ross. Enjoy.

Debbie Ledesma: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you got started in writing.

Deborah J. Ross:  I have written and edited fantasy and science fiction for over 30 years. My recent novels include Thunderlord (with the late Marion Zimmer Bradley), Lambda Literary Award Finalist science fiction novel Collaborators (as Deborah Wheeler), and an epic fantasy trilogy, The Seven-Petaled Shield. My short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, F & SF, Realms of Fantasy, Star Wars: Tales From Jabba’s Palace, Sisters of the Night, and Sword & Sorceress. I’ve edited a number of anthologies, including Lace and Blade, Across the Spectrum, Mad Science Cafe, and Stars of Darkover. Along the way, I served as Secretary to the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and am currently on the Board of Directors of Book View Cafe. When I’m not writing, I knit for charity, play classical piano, and study yoga and dog training.

How I got started in writing? Well before I learned to scrawl my name, I made up stories, and once I could form proper words and pictures to accompany them, I began putting together whole books. My father was a printer, and our home was amply supplied with paper and ink. In my teens and twenties, I began many novels, even finished a few of them, but never knew what to do with them next, nor did I know any writers beyond a few school friends who were just as clueless as I was. I knew I loved to write, and I occasionally dared to hope that someday, my writing would be more than a secret pleasure.

In my early thirties, just after my first child was born, I hit career burnout and decided to work part-time from home. A friend invited me to join a women’s writing group. Although none of us knew what we were doing, I came home from the first meeting so exhilarated that I drafted the story I’d been playing in my head for the last year. No one told me it was crazy to write a novel in 6 weeks with a new baby and a part-time career. The real break came in 1991, when I lived in Lyons, France. A couple of months after I returned to the States, I sold my first novel.

DL: What authors, Fantasy or otherwise, influence your writing?

DR: The list is very long! Some of my favorite contemporary authors include Barbara Hambly, Mary Rosenblum, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sherwood Smith, Carol Berg, Freda Warrington, Jennifer Roberson, Chaz Brenchley, Judith Tarr, Vonda N. McIntyre, Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Stross, Saladin Ahmed, Diana Wynne Jones, and Tanith Lee. I love authors who give me a new way of thinking about story or language. Once it was possible to keep up with who was writing what, but the field is so large now, I’ve given up trying. I rely on the advice of friends whose taste I trust. It’s hilarious when a friend hates what I love and vice-versa, so I go for whatever they pan. When I go to a science fiction convention, I try to buy at least one book by an author I have just met but have not yet read.

DL: What genre is your favorite to write?

DR: I’m interested in a lot of different things and write for readers who are, too. My first two novels, Jaydium (an adventure through alternate time paths, complete with six-foot silver slug-like aliens) and Northlight (set on a lower-tech world, with romantic, ecological and spiritual themes) were science fiction. Besides seven Darkover novels, I’ve written epic fantasy featuring strong women heroes, science fiction dealing with gender and power, and some rather oddball young adult fiction that turns the usual paranormal tropes inside out.

My short fiction has provided me a place to be wildly inventive. I’ve written a Star Wars story (Tales From Jabba’s Palace) and whimsical fantasy, vampires (funny ones in Sisters of the Night, or a friendship between a vampire and an observant Jew in “Transfusion” in Realms of Fantasy), I’ve done kids’ stories (in several Bruce Coville anthologies), and almost-not-science-fiction pieces about grief and obsession and courage, grim near-future dystopic sf, and epic fantasy. Then there’s wacky stuff like “Harpies Discover Sex” for Olympus. A historical fantasy based on the life of Dona Gracia Nasi and another from the Indus Valley civilization. A story for Marion in Return to Avalon, based on the history of opera. My most recent short fiction has included “Among Friends” (F & SF) about Quakers, the Underground Railroad, and a slave-catching automaton, “A Borrowed Heart” (F & SF), which pits a prostitute against a succubus, and “The Hero of Abarxia” (When the Hero Comes Home 2) in which the hero, of course, is a horse.

DL: I’m always fascinated with Fantasy that has mythic themes. Do you use themes from mythology in your books?

DR: Not consciously, although I borrowed shameless for “Harpies Discover Sex” (Myth Fantastic, reprinted in Beyond Grimm: Tales Newly Twisted, Book View Café). I do frequently draw on archetypes for depth and resonance, although I may change them. The wise old (male) mentor becomes the middle aged (female) mentor, that sort of thing. Archetypes are valuable because they draw upon very deep psychological processes. Myths are culturally-specific, so although we might find stories from a different time or place entertaining, they don’t move us in the way they affect the people who gave rise to them. Archetypes seem to be universal and hence are more powerful.

DL: You also write novels set in Darkover the creation of the late Marion Zimmer Bradley. Is it difficult or easy writing stories in another author’s world?

DR: Writing Darkover stories is much like writing historical fiction. I do research, using not only Marion’s published work, but The Darkover Concordance and her articles in the old Darkover newsletters. I try to create story lines that are true to Marion’s vision of Darkover and the themes that were meaningful to her. Since I work closely with the MZB Literary Trust, I hammer out a detailed outline before I start. Once that’s approved, I turn the process over to my creative back-brain. Because I’m not trying to distort my own intuitive style, I can then write from my heart.

DL: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

DR: Writing is both craft and art. You already have the dream. Now you have to learn the craft. As exciting as the prospect of publication is, if you’re in this for the long haul, be patient. It takes time and work to achieve excellence. There are so many aspects of success you’re powerless over, but the quality of your work is one you do have control over. I wrote a series of essays about nurturing yourself as a writer as you wrestle with the skills, called Ink Dance: Essays on the Writing Life.

Read voraciously, and read the best writing you can lay your hands on.

Pay attention to what lights you up inside.

Study everything besides writing. History, astronomy, human biomechanics, African languages, oceanography, ancient runes, Balinese music, ballet, medicine, fashion design, dog training, walrus training, platypus training, whatever strikes your fancy. Once you have something to write about, something you care passionately about, then pay attention to the craft.

Meanwhile, write every day, even if it’s crap. A crappy manuscript can be revised and edited, but a nonexistent one will never become better.

DL: Thank you very much.

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.

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