I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors
And no one's future to decide
Most of you are aware that I’m co-writing the next Witchfinder mini-series with Kim Newman, and that the amazing Tyler Crook is providing the art, with colours by the multiple award-winning Dave Stewart.
I’ve now seen all the art for issues 1 and 2 and it’s terrific. I can’t wait until other people see it too.
On top of all of this we’ve been lucky to have Julian Totino Tedesco as our cover artist. I’ve seen most of the covers now and he’s doing tremendous work.
Recently on Facebook he posted the art progression of the first cover of Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland, and I thought other people would like to see it too. It’s the kind of thing I find fascinating. I asked Julian if it was all right to post it here and he gave his blessing.
Here was the rough he sent us as mock-up of what he wanted to do:
Then he did the pencils:
Here’s the final cover with the lettering:
It’s wonderful to work with talented people!
Mirrored from Kristine Smith.
I'm back from the dentist, where Minou the fur-coat-bear* was a Big Hit. I did not take the Valium before the appointment, though I had it with me, In Case. As it turned out, I didn't need it; the appointment was Very Brief -- a matter of grinding down about four teeth and polishing everything to a high shine. The recommended braces being out of the question, this ends the current Dental Adventure. I do need to see the hygienist again in another three months, but I expect to have positive news, then.
1. There's a new Liaden story up at Splinter Universe, the title is "Roving Gambler," and it's set on Surebleak. Here's your link.
2. An oldie-but-goodie. The following is a reprint of a post made in this blog in November of 2013. We have not changed our minds.
Don’t write and post fan fiction of our work.
The following is Lee and Miller specific, and it has been our stance for more than a decade. It’s not new, and it’s not a secret. Other writers have other stances and opinions. When in doubt — ask.
I know it’s a popular belief among many of the fan-fiction community that fan fiction does not hurt the parent work, that it provides much-needed publicity to the parent work, that it does not infringe the copyright or trademark of the parent work, and that the authors of the parent work can’t stop it, anyway.
Three of these four beliefs are just that — beliefs. They can no more be proven than can our belief that fan fiction materially harms the parent work — especially a parent work which is still evolving — provides no useful publicity, and does, indeed, infringe on the copyright and the trademark of the parent work. Note that we are talking about our own works here — see disclaimer, above.
To the fourth point, that authors are powerless to prevent fan fiction authors from ficcing whatever they want to — that’s perfectly true. Common courtesy would seem to dictate that the wishes of the author of the parent work be respected, however. So, we would ask for common courtesy.
3. For those who have friends that they need to addict to the Liaden Universe®, the ebook editions of Agent of Change and Fledgling are available as free! downloads from All of the Usual Suspects. I think you know what to do.
. . .and that's it. I would like to point out that I have three coon cats in my office as I type this, all of them projecting Professional Level Sleep Rays. And that my writing goal on the day is at least 2,000 words.
Right, then. More coffee.
See y'all later.
*Minou is actually constructed from an old fur coat. There was a woman in Winslow who was making fur-coat-bears and selling them through Back Door to the Moon, the local Pagan shop. BDttM is long gone, and I don't know what outlet, if any, there now is for fur-coat-bears. Minou was a Yule gift to me from Steve.
I forget the names of towns without rivers.
A town needs a river to forgive the town.
Whatever river, whatever town—it is much the same.
The cruel things I did I took to the river.
I begged the current: make me better.
—“The Towns We Know and Leave Behind, The Rivers We Carry With Us,” by Richard Hugo
Hamoudi holds court with a circle of border taxi drivers. We have reached the last mile of Jordan.
“Forty-five kilometers,” he informs them coolly, holding up an imperial finger. “Forty-five kilometers in a single day.”
Hamoudi (far left) and circle of admirers. King Hussein-Allenby Bridge, Jordan. Photograph by Paul Salopek
We gulp cups of water at a roadside kiosk. We chivvy the pack mules Selwa and Mana’ into the bed of a waiting truck. Hamoudi gravely shakes my hand, and takes his leave, rolling away with the animals back to the red-blue cordilleras of the south. Back to Petra. Back to canyons where the Bedouin yet inhabit caves. I hop a taxi to Amman and a week of research and writing.
Hamoudi Enwaje’ al Bedul: He drank his campfire tea sweet and boiling, like some molten precursor to candy. He steered me like a sled dog when I wandered too far ahead, calling out into the vacuum of the desert in sharp Arabic, “Walk left! . . . No, more left! . . . Right! . . . Straight! . . . Left!” He smoked too much. He ate little. He was tireless.
At our last camp in the Dead Sea Valley, I asked Hamoudi if he was ill. He had been lagging all day, sometimes by more than a mile. He replied that his favorite niece was dying in a faraway hospital. The news had come that day by cell phone. He had needed to weep alone, so he slowed his step, but that was over now. Across 300 miles of trails in Jordan, I heard not a single complaint from this man.
Back at the border, a Jordanian guard wagged his finger. Crossing the international bridge on foot was impossible, he said. It was forbidden. I argued. He shrugged. He blamed the Israeli Defense Force. The bridge was a no-man’s-land. For the first time since walking out of Ethiopia, I was forced to board a bus.
The Jordan River flashed beneath the bridge. I almost missed it. It was mud-colored, maybe two yards across. I might have vaulted it at a run.
The bus seats were covered in plastic. About 50 morose Palestinians sat in them, whispering. The absence of choice is true freedom. The Sufis say this. In this way, I entered the West Bank.
Yesterday, Chuck Wendig wrote a post called Ten Things I’d Like To Say To Young Writers (the man likes his lists) and I think it’s good, solid advice. Me, I’d like to add two more things. Here goes:
Have a favorite short story? Retype it. A favorite novel? Type out that first chapter. There really is no substitute for retyping a whole mess of text–just reading it, even aloud, doesn’t bring the same focus. Then read it through with a yellow legal pad next to you and, every five pages, jot a line describing what happened.
How quickly does the book get to dialog? To the main characters? How quickly does the book describe what the main character is searching for, if it does at all? How much space on the page is given to description of people or places? How soon does the conflict start? Depending on the genre and the style of book, the answers can be quite different.
Best of all is to choose a successful book that is very like the one you hope to write. Study it. Try to get a feel for it, because:
The universe is full of writers who crap on a keyboard and call it gold. Those people do not understand the way readers respond to their text; they know what’s in their head, they’re sure that’s what they put on the page, what’s wrong with readers/editors/agents/the world that they can’t see the awesome?
But, in fact, it can be very difficult to judge your own writing the way a reader will. We might hope the scene we just finished will be scary, or funny, or sad, but until we show it to complete strangers we’ll never really be sure.
What move people never say is that the ability to accurately understand the effect your own words will have on the reader is the first (and most difficult) step to becoming successful. So try to get a feel for your own books the way you do when you read the ones written by other people. Revisit stories you wrote the year before. Invite readers to tell you how they reacted to the story (but never what they think you should do.) Understanding those feelings are the way to mastery.
Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here but not there.
Justine Larbalestier and I have started a book club to talk about bestselling women’s fiction of the 20th century. We’re both curious about the whole idea of the publishing category of “women’s fiction,” particularly how and when that label started. And, of course, we also wanted to see how well the bestselling and most long lasting of the books with that label stand up. Because usually books like Valley of the Dolls (1966) and Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything (1958) and Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place (1958) are considered to be, at best, middle brow. Yet now some of these books are being taught in university and they’re all back in print or have remained in print.
Last month we started with Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. You can find the post and the discussion on Justine’s blog.
This month we’ll be reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe, which happens to have been published the year I was born! Bonus excitement!
The Best of Everything (1958) is Rona Jaffe‘s first novel. It is the story of five young employees of a New York publishing company.
PLEASE JOIN US on April 28/29 (that pesky international date line): in the evening on Monday April 28 in the USA and Tuesday April 29 in the Oz/NZ; morning April 29 in the UK/Europe.
The primary focus of the discussion will be here, on my blog, but there may be some spillover onto Twitter.
Mirrored from I Make Up Worlds.
So, yeah. Overall high marks for Show a) kicking it up a notch in terms of Events, b) using every damn tool in their toolbox to kick it up, and c) not pulling many punches.
But there was one punch that, for me, was straight to the gut.
The look on Castiel’s face was the pullback to the blow: What have you done?
Dean’s fine. Everyone’s fine. Right. And they part, each to do their bit to bring this to an end…
But when Castiel returns to his motel room, filled with the detritus of Being a Hunter (shades of John’s motel room in Season 1), the look on his face is of someone who is bleeding internally, who has taken the last blow before his knees buckle. Because Metatron holds the script, and Dean wears the Mark of Cain.
“You are not the hero in this masterpiece. You are the villain. I’m the hero.”
If they are not the heroes, if they are not The Righteous Man and the Angel - then what chance to do they have?
And then the blow lands - the moment when Castiel stops, turns, and tears down the wall of evidence, clearing it away to make the glyph of the Horn of Gabriel and call his troops to him …
It was the sheer violence that I loved in this scene [where loved means “oh Casbabyno”], the “get the fuck out of my way you useless pieces of paper that can’t save anyone” intensity of his slow-building yet sudden decision. That is not the rational strategist, the emotionless angel-soldier. That’s a heart in pain
”Fine,” he is saying. ”I will play your game. I will embrace the role you have made for me, leading my people to death in a futile attempt to destroy you. And we will see how it plays out…”
And oh, Cas, baby, you’re real close to becoming this 2014’s version of EndVerse Dean….