Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

Next year, I will buy the latest Jasper Fforde novel and this will be Thursday NEXT thoughts for a week. So there.

Not accomplished much this week. Been swamped and snarly - connected, but not a complete 1:1 correlation.

I have consistently kept up with my self-imposed boot camp, though, and turning out some starts that look like they could be fun stories. When I'm done, I'll browse back through and pick one to work on - for now. Amusingly, there are a lot of stories with romance aspects, more so than I usually do, because Plots Unlimited is heavily weight to those kinds of plots and subplots. Of course, I enjoy romance - every novel I've done that I can remember has had a romantic subplot or five, and I do short stories that either feature it or involve it - but it's never been a central concern. (That said, look for "The Weatherwoman" in a couple days, and that IS definitely a romance.)

I finished rereading the first six or seven chapters of Scylla and Charybdis. I had forgotten I made Valasca the chief doctor, which makes some changes to the timbre of this more recent sequence. Ready to pound the pavement in the next few days.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My take on previous boot camp

This, for amusement, is what I ended up doing with yesterday's exercise.


Darac has been the famous Black Road Highwayman for five years, but now is forced to return to hide out with his old cronies. When he is summoned by the mysterious female mastermind who runs the underground in the city, he gains a new perspective on his career.


With the authorities hot on his heels, Darac, the Black Road Highwayman, arrives in the city of Yieth to hide out among the pickpockets and bravos that were his boon companions before he took to the road. He is summoned by Carmeide, the female mastermind who still directs operations in the area. He is surprised to find how advanced in years she is. They are interrupted by the city guard. Darac offers to fight them off and is puzzled when she refuses. She offers him a place to hide and, when he accepts, turns him into a frog. After a few days trapped in her fishpond, the reckless highwayman is ready to consider a more measured approach.


"Will you keep your voice down?" Darac demanded, barely suppressing the urge to slap down his companion's hand. "I don't want to attract attention."

"That's not the Darac Broadhand I know," Peril said, his lip twitching and threatening to dislodge the straw mess of his fake mustache. "What gives?"

The other men leaned forward around the tavern table, thirsty for the excitement even though their lives were far from dull - not unless the Yieth city guard had gotten sloppy or the enigmatic Carmeide had gotten less ambitious with criminal crew.

Darac tried not to puff up his chest too much, but the pride of his forthcoming proclamation was heady. "I'm the Black Road Highwayman."

In any other company, save these men who had known him a teenaged ruffian, the inclination might have been to laugh. Darac was tall and muscular, but his build ranged to the heavy rather than the impressive, and his eyes were the green of dewey grass. The rotund, almost cherubic face, looked nothing like one would expect from a famed highwayman.

Which might have been the reason for the mask, really.

Peril emitted a low whistle. "That's some kind of turn," he said. "But why are

(Yes, I always stop mid-sentence, not just for this. ;-) Move along.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

GoodReads Review: Night Train To Rigel

Night Train to Rigel Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was a huge fan of Zahn's Star Wars sequel books when I was much younger, so I came into this hoping for a cracking good adventure ... and I was both disappointed and not.

The mystery and intrigue in this novel take off to a quick start when Frank Compton sees someone murdered in front of him and finds a ticket to the human colony Yandro on him ... made out to Frank. This ticket takes him on a path to the mysterious Spiders, who run the cross-universe railway system.

I found that understanding the details of the universe in which Frank operated came slowly and shakily ... which isn't helped by the fact that the plot twists, and twists again, and curves back on itself. It's an entertaining ride of itself, but made more difficult when a reader doesn't have a good grasp on the handholds first. I don't know quite why it was so difficult. I think part of it might have been that Zahn's descriptions are *so* straightforward and utilitarian that I tended to tune out.

Another element that makes it difficult is that Frank withholds some information with us that turns out to be not nearly as important to the story as the tentalizing hints / threats would make it out to be. I would have preferred knowing much earlier.

I also feel as if just a bit too much of the plot was the main character being moved around as a puppet by other players. It gets disheartening.

All of which makes it sound as if I'm down on this book, but there were some good facets: strong, quick-paced action. Shifting allegiances, some grudging, some wholehearted ... and probably one of the most intriguing, non-stereotypical "female sidekick" characters I've ever come across. Bayta is a book in herself. She's fascinating. Asexual, emotionless, and then peeling away like an onion without ever being anything other than true to herself.

I don't know that I would seek other books in this series, but it was an enjoyable ride.

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Boot Camp Begun - Best of Week #1

So I ended up starting my boot camp a bit later than I intended - this past Monday. Having done a full week of exercises, I thought I would share the most entertaining combination of elements with folks, and that happens to be today's. I just had a sheer, "What?" reaction when I got the items together ...

Archetype: The Protector (Hero, Males) - brash, physical, defender. The book calls this the Ares archetype (which I don't really agree with, but that's neither here nor there).
Plot Point: Wealthy criminal (X) returns to his home turf and the pals of his younger hoodlum days.
Elements: Frog, old woman

So it's all looking pretty straightforward and then ... frog? I did get something down, though. What kind of plot does this suggest to anyone else?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


For the record, if anyone reading has done this, I truly don't get mad - it's a very common, easy mistake. So no worries, eh?

I just double-checked the WFC membership page to make sure I was on there. They have listed: Lindsay Duncan.

No, people. Lindsay Duncan is a British stage actress. She is much older and much cooler than me. (Since a lot of you just saw Alice in Wonderland, she plays Alice's mother.)

I got used to people misspelling my name at a young age. It's hard to take umbrage when it happens more often than not. I usually don't notice when editors or agents do it, but when I'm already in a bad mood, or if I already have reason to be annoyed with the individual, I take it as insult-to-injury. A few people have written back with correction / apology, and that always raises them immensely in my esteem.

But it's a constant issue for me. I introduce myself as "Lindsey-with-an-e Duncan" in any situation where the person might need to spell my name - for instance, accessing my website or sending me email. (Though once, even that didn't work, because they'd sent the email to Lyndsey.) Whenever I spell the whole name, I make sure to emphasize the E. I've caught mistakes on my name multiple times in story / galley proofs.

Sometimes I wish my parents had named me Mackenzie, which was a near thing. At least that's harder to misspell. ;-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I just started Chapter Forty-Two of Scylla and Charybdis.

Sadly, it is not an appropriate place for a Douglas Adams homage.

Good thing I paused at that point, though: I have to go back to the first several chapters and brush up on the exact sequence of events that caused Anaea to leave the station in the first place, especially as relates to Valasca - who has come back into play as an antagonist, but if you think I can remember more than broad strokes any more ...

(I love Amazon names. They're so evocative. Thalestris. Valasca. Toxaris.)

This novel has developed intensely in the writing. It still follows (more or less) the basic shape I imagined, but the details were so much more important and interesting than I had realized. One of the main "details" I didn't even plan for is Flick, who is Anaea's guide and friend while Gwydion is out of the picture. So I invented him on the spur of the moment, found him massively entertaining to write, but figured that was it.

Then I find him stowing away en route to the final chapters. And now he's head over heels in geeklove with the programmer trying to block his hacking attempts - because who doesn't appreciate a challenge?

Gwydion and Flick interact badly, not because there's any romantic rivalry, but because they're on opposite ends of the code-of-honor spectrum. Gwydion's a small step away from being a white knight; Flick is a rogue with a hint of a Machiavellian streak.

The word count is going to come in well in excess of "reasonable length," but I know already that there's a lot of fat that can be trimmed - side detours that can be shortened (maybe cut, though I know myself and I usually have at least one good reason for keeping them), descriptions that will be too long and / or repetitive, and even, on the micro level, unnecessarily verbose sentences.

But I can see the finish line now. Right now, I have to tackle the next plot point, where I know what I want to happen, but not precisely how ... and then I have the last couple chapters mapped out to a T. Huzzah.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I saw How To Train Your Dragon last night. It was definitely cute and enjoyable. The characters were appealing and there was a lot of well-incorporated humor. (Astrid's intro scene, as a homage to cheesy action movies everywhere, particularly made me laugh.) I was especially impressed with the animation of the "lead" dragon and how the features go from looking menacing to looking puppyish ... with most of the work done by the viewer, not any actual change in the animation apart from facial expression.

One of the people I went with complained that the way they "typed" the dragons made it seem more cartoonish / childish, and after some thought, I have to agree. Sure, it's a kid's movie, but I think perhaps designing the dragon types in a simple way without funny names / powers would have enhanced the enjoyment of the film. My friend Amy (a flutist) and I sat there trying to figure out why Vikings had Scottish bagpipes.

And of course, this story has been told and told ... the misfit who shelters one of the enemy and grows to understand him is one of the oldest plots. There are a couple of surprises in how this is executed, but it's certainly not a model of unique plotting. It's still satisfying to watch. It's one of those stories that you know how it's going to come out and you still can't help engaging in it.

The 3D wasn't really necessary for this movie. There were a handful of gosh-wow applications (one with falling ash blurring out of the screen comes to mind) but most of the time, it felt like the animators forgot they had 3D capability. They stuck it in a couple places just for the heck of it. I wouldn't rush to see this one in 3D, in any case.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

World Fantasy Convention

Just a note to one and all: you have two months (as of today) to purchase a membership for the World Fantasy Convention 2010 at the regular rate of $125. The conference fee includes not only attendance, but (at least, I assume they're still doing it) a hefty package of free new books. In 2008, I got a hardbound copy of Dave Duncan's (no relation) Mother of Lies as part of mine.

This year's WFC is in Columbus, Ohio, focuses on the whimsical side of fantasy, and has for a Guest of Honor the inimitable goddess of funny short fiction, Esther Friesner. Having attended three previous WFCs, I can tell you that a) it's an awesome time, no matter who's there and b) if you intend to go, there's probably not a lot more space in the convention hotel.

To clarify: this is a writers' convention, not a fan convention.

Details here: World Fantasy Convention 36

Thursday Thoughts

So the reading aloud experiment that worked so beautifully with Journal of the Dead? I applied it to the stories I'm prepping for submission and ... there, it did not work. I found myself mumbling and rushing through. I'm not sure what the difference is: maybe it's the short story pacing versus the novel pacing. Maybe it's the fact that this week has been hectic, hectic, hectic and I'm getting irritated because I can't edit and eat at the same time. It's not a first person issue: I haven't hit that part of Journal yet, and A Flattering Likeness is in first (while the others are third). I'm still picking things up, but it's torturous. Would not do again.

This week, I am behind. I am very behind. I should get my editing done, but that's at the expense of ... well ... just about everything else. Hoping this changes soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Irritating Trope

Let me preface this with an apology to anyone who is using this particular trope. It certainly can be done well, and there's nothing (necessarily) intrinsically wrong with it - it simply makes my teeth gnash. No one said personal preferences had to be rational!

The trope that drives me nuts - and I see it both in fiction and in computer games - is the fantasy setting with magic, fantastic beasts, etc, that turns out to be a planet colonized by people from earth. This is either a surprise reveal later on, or is hinted at / discussed throughout the source material with anachronistic references, particularly a specific pop culture element, taken out of context, that we're supposed to recognize.

Gah! I just can't stand this. I feel it's overdone, and it goes against what I feel a fantasy setting should be: another world, disconnected from our reality. (I have no problem with worlds where the fantasy setting lies on a parallel plane / reality.) And if you can explain those elements through science, then it stops being fantasy and becomes science fiction. Even if you can explain some but not all of the world, it blurs the line. (And again, there's nothing wrong with the line being blurred, I just don't care for this way of doing it.)

There's where Pern kind of falls into this and doesn't - McCaffrey is pretty direct about her setting being SF from early on, as I recall. (Correct me if I'm wrong, for it's been well over a decade since I read any Pern.) And I don't mind it so much in Wizardry 8 - which is a lovely little game - because it's bam-upfront about it with fantasy characters being loaded onto a spaceship and marveling at how it sounds like roaring dragons.

I suppose maybe what I'm saying is I don't care for the bait-and-switch. If you're going to give us fantasy-as-an-SF-world, be honest about it. Put the label on the package. Or make the reveal something twisty, mind-blowing and important to the plot.

What do y'all think?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sword and sorcery versus Sword & Sorceress and me

Having just finished the most recent Sword & Sorceress volume (and having read two earlier volumes in the past), I now have a fairly decent feel for the differences between the sensibilities of the subgenre versus the sensibilities of the anthology.

First, a tentative definition for sword and sorcery: a secondary world fantasy story with a focus on adventure and combat, where magic is either "the enemy," limited or capricious, with a lower technology level and personal stakes. There are caveats to these pointers - the Gray Mouser has magical training; Conan, after all, becomes a king - but these are central points of the subgenre.

Here is how Sword & Sorceress compares:

Secondary world: Check (though there is one contemporary story in XXIV)
Adventure and combat: Half a check. There's a lot of adventure and action in the anthologies, but not necessarily all of it has to do with fighting or spell-slinging. I mentioned in my review above that the primary action in one story is a foot race. And a small number of the stories have external goals but no "adventure" thread.
Use of magic: This is one of the most noticeable differences - Sword & Sorceress features a number of characters who make use of magic, are born of mystical origins, or make pacts with beings for sorcerous powers. Where it does prominently align with the sword and sorcery theme, however, is the fact that the magic is mysterious. When it's a tool in the hands of the main character(s), it's never fully understood or fully under control.
Lower technology level: Check (with a few exceptions)
Personal stakes: This is the other place where Sword & Sorceress differs. There are a number of queens and ladies fighting to defend their territory, and / or where the fate of an entire kingdom is threatened. Some (but not all) of these stories give the personal stakes of the character equal weight.

So in sum, a sword and sorcery story would generally fit well with the Sword & Sorceress anthology series, but a story suited to Sword & Sorceress is not necessarily a traditional sword and sorcery story.

I enter the fray feeling better about my story selections. I have four that I'm preparing - yes, four. There are three reasons for this. First off, I know from previous experience that they reject stories within a few days, with the exception of those held for the final cut. Second off, my previous history has been that I usually don't get a "hold" on the first story. It could certainly happen, but I don't want to give up if that's the case. Third off, while my editing skills continue to improve, I still don't seem to have dead-on accuracy for what my best story is - so best to have a few options.

So my current roster, as lined up to send, rounded to the nearest five hundred words:

Just The Messenger / Her Father's Daughter (9k): Thorn is a Scion of Whispers - a messenger whose route takes her through the perilous shadow realms - tasked with a message she will only learn when she reaches her destination. When elderly healer Squirrel invites himself along, Thorn finds an unexpected ally against the perils of the ride. (I haven't definitely settled on the title here, ergo the slash.)
A Flattering Likeness (9k): Anaphys is a painter without peer, using mystical paints derived from the essence of his subjects. The mysterious mercenary woman Aura bails him out of an attack by an irate monarch, and the pair strike out in search of a way to make amends. (This one needs a bit more editing for at least one reason: it's currently over the 9k limit.)
Bird Out of Water (7k): Vri is the child of a harpy / merman romance - awkward, isolated, believing herself a monster. When the tantalizing offer of escape - the chance to become human - turns into betrayal and imprisonment as the latest attraction of a zoo, Vri must decide what she really wants.
Saplings (5k): Once an herbalist, Hevia found herself burdened with childminding powers and a position as royal nanny. But of all her charges, why do mysterious tree-spirits abduct the son of a gardener?

I think I'm fairly well-calibrated with the Sword & Sorceress lens, but whether any of the stories are good enough to pass (especially since they're all in the upper word counts) is another story. We'll see!

Thursday Thoughts

I just began what I think will be my final editing pass for Journal of the Dead, my read-aloud pass. At first, I felt really weird and self-conscious doing this, even though no one else was in the house (except my dog, whose responses are confined to pawing to get up onto my lap or licking my face or both). Then I got into the groove, and I found that I really did become conscious of the flow of sentences - and how dialogue fit into the voices of the individual characters. Parik has a distinct (stuffy) voice, and I found myself tweaking to match it.

Oddly enough, though, I caught at least two consistency issues while reading out loud. I'm not sure how this makes sense because the references aren't anywhere near each other ... but I noticed I called Parik a second son in his introduction and then later, he describes himself as the eldest. Fixed that. And noticed Ihseye refers to the journal in HER introduction, but never mentions it in her execution story. Wrote myself a big note in purple ink to fix that when I get to it, as it's a bit more extensive than just changing a word.

Maybe it's that I'm experiencing the story in a different way. Or maybe it's just that I've been over the whole thing and incubated it enough that now I'm truly seeing it as a whole.

Still tapping on Scylla and Charybdis. I'm a bit concerned that the last two chapters ended on a similar cliff-hanger, both involving Orithia, Anaea's ex. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to finagle the next part of the story, but I have some good ideas ... they just need to percolate. Anaea's personal crisis should hopefully cascade down to a resolution of the whole book. Finally. I'm looking at hopefully typing the last sentence before summer.

Then it may take me the rest of my life to edit this beast.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Goodreads Review: Sword & Sorceress XXIV

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress XXIV Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress XXIV by Elisabeth Waters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A solid, entertaining collection of fantasy stories from a female perspective - slanted towards action, but not exclusively, with foot races and puzzles represented as well as sword and spell fights.

This book runs the gamut from princesses coming of age to professional spies to a contemporary private detective. While most of the stories occur in familiar fantasy territory, a few evoke more exotic and unusual settings. Particularly well done on that front are Owl Court (K.D. Wentworth) and Soul Walls (Julia H. West).

The stories vary in quality. None were bad, but a few read more like a detailed summary of an interesting story, a few were rushed or confusing in other ways, and one I simply found boring. The two stories mentioned above are highlights of the anthology, and many stories offer the welcome warmth of humor. If I have a complaint, it's that none really hit the "amazing" mark. The anthology closes with a short, sweet laugh.

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The Winter Queen now available!

Golden Visions is out today with my story, The Winter Queen! It's in the print / PDF issue, not the online segment - kind of neat that they have two completely different tables of content (tables of contents?), but a little disconcerting.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Double Shot of Helen Reddy

I've Googled this repeatedly, the lyrics don't seem to be up on the web, and the song is older than I am (ahem), so I feel justified posting them. Why, you ask? (Or not.) Because this song feels to me like a good description of the emotional throughline in Scylla and Charybdis - especially if you don't confine heartbreak to romance.

POOR LITTLE FOOL (as sung by Helen Reddy)

The many days you traveled
And the distant ways don't matter now,
'cause what can you do,
Poor little fool?

You laid your life wide open
And you let your heart get broken,
Never knew what you could do
Poor little fool

Go slowly through the night
You can't give up the fight tonight -

You poor little fool

From here to everywhere
Is scattered everything you ever had
And broke all the rules
Poor little fool

The passing of the days
Brought you so many different ways
To break away - why didn't you?
Poor little fool

Go slowly through the night
You can't give up fight tonight -

You poor little fool

Don't let tomorrow bring another day like yesterday,
Don't let them see me down this way.
If this is all that's meant to be,
Then I'll be on my way ...
(x2 and fade)


It's quite simple musically, but powerful and lovely (well, I think) - the lyrics are why I post, though.

And just for bonus points, the song I consider (one of) my theme song(s): Angie Baby

Livin' in a world of make-believe ... well, maybe.

And yes, I am conscious that is a very creepy song. ;-)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Review typo ...

I just noticed that, instead of typing, "to the detriment of plot cohesion" in the last review, I actually typed, "to the detritus of plot cohesion."

I'm leaving it.

In a funky way, it more accurately says what I meant to say. ;-)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Goodreads Review: Death Masks

Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5) Death Masks by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ah, the Dresden Files. There's nothing quite like the vivid mythology blended with invention, the wisecracking narrator or the breathless pace of these books. It's hard to put any of them down.

Some of my favorite aspects of this book were character related - I think Ivy has to be one of the most whimsical and unique figures in this series, and I hope this isn't her last appearance. Susan's evolution is well-sketched and bittersweet. And Marcone ... I just keep finding myself approving of him despite my best intentions.

Overall, though, what keeps this book from getting five stars is two-fold ...

First, I think it suffers from sequel-itis. The carryover from previous books is generally well-handled (though I think there's an awful lot of it), but too much feels as if it was left dangling by the end.

Second, I've always enjoyed the fact that Dresden has fast balls coming at him from all directions ... but this time, I think there were just too many of them, to the detritus of plot cohesion. Rather than the novel coming to a single climax, it kind of wobbles through two or three smaller ones.

That said, I am definitely up for more, and I had a blast reading Death Masks.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, April 02, 2010

Movie Recommendation: Fido

I've wanted to see this movie for a while: I heard a capsule description of it and was intrigued. It turned out to live up to the promise of the (very) quirky premise and then some.

In brief, Fido is a "boy and his dog" story in an alternate 1950s America where a radiation dusting caused people to rise from the dead as zombies. In the wake of the zombie war, idyllic America goes on behind containment fences and many households have a zombie - secured with a pacifying collar - as a servant. (Because I was watching the movie on the Sundance channel, I actually missed the first minute because I thought the very clever short film-within-the-film intro was a channel thing, not part of the movie, but I caught on quick.)

I can't praise the detail and thought that went into the setting enough. Most of the elements play perfectly into the black comedy atmosphere of the movie. The 1950s, with
its repressed portrayal of perfection, is the ideal time period for the storyline and characters. Children are taught marksmanship in school; people pay for special burials where the head is interred separately.

So much of this movie is so wrong and it works wonderfully. There's the cavalier attitude towards the continuous risk of zombies breaking free - it's almost treated as a nuisance. (The whole timbre with which the subject is treated prevents the movie from treading on horror territory.) There's lines like, "So your father tried to eat you. Does that mean we all have to be unhappy? Forever?"

And Carrie-Anne Moss makes a fantastic 50s housewife. Though it's her son Timmy's story, her transformation throughout the movie is the thing to watch.

Billy Connolly, despite having top billing, doesn't have much to do except grunt and stare dumbly. And spend a lot of time in makeup (presumably).

I think possibly the only thing that jarred me is there was a point at which I couldn't reconcile the consequences of loose zombies with the sympathy we're supposed to feel for the main characters. In a non-comedy, they would be required to wail, gnash and wallow in guilt. Here it's not appropriate, but the disconnect was slightly bothersome.

That said: I don't like zombie movies. I don't like plotlines that are weird just for the sake of it. But I really enjoyed this movie. It's worth seeing - but understand it's definitely a black comedy and you have to be a bit morbid to appreciate it.


So a week or two ago, I went to adjust my publications list and noticed the month and date on the very first story of mine that appeared in print: April 2006 (The Dreamweaver's Dispute in Leading Edge). That means as of sometime this month - I can't remember exactly when the magazine came out - I have been publishing short stories for four years.

Some great landmarks have happened with that: my first book signing (with the Sails & Sorcery anthology), my first reading (from "Hour By Hour" out of the Abyss and Apex Best of), other firsts - first poem, first flash - and a sale to semi-pro GUD. I wanted to be further along the path to novel publication by now, but I can't argue that there have been some great moments.

And I've discovered that I genuinely enjoy writing short stories, flash and poetry. I've relaxed enough about market requirements to write a novella (or novelette, depending on where, exactly, you break the word count). I started writing short fiction to gain credits for novel pitches ... now I've come to love it in its own right. Not a bad result at all.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Belated Anatomy of an Idea: Sleepwalking

I printed out my list of names so I could do the last blog post somewhere off-site. It happened to be the last page of my story sparkers / notes file. I found this at the top of it:

Sleeping, Ruin, This Can Fly, Child, Disguised, The Curse was lifted as had been foretold.

And then, sure enough, a two line plot summary of Sleepwalking.

I hadn't honestly remembered that anything in particular inspired this one, but verily, the evidence is there.

This came from the Storyteller cards I mention below in my Boot Camp post. I drew five regular cards and an ending ... and then worked with the elements until they shaped a story in my head. The involvement of my narrator's dear friend didn't come up until I started writing, though, and decided I needed a more personal motive for this attempt to rescue the city.

I also found the notes for my "girl with nanny powers" story - thirty-some words all beginning with H. I did what I call a word tumble with that one: just start writing with no clear plan, but every hundred words, I have to incorporate the next word on the list. It's a zany thing, but it's given me three good stories (one of which, The Winter Queen, will be in Golden Visions sometime this month).

Thursday Thoughts

Firstly - this is a no-April-Fool's-joke zone. Sorry. ;-)

Now that I have that off my chest ... working busily to finish my new story for Sword & Sorceress. I've been slowed up by the fact that I'm also working on my novels (editing and writing respectively) ... which is pretty normal for me. I do better multi-tasking. However, after I finish what I'm doing with Journal - since it was a weekly goal on Thurs-Thurs cycle for me, and I'm not going to admit defeat to the group - I'm going to put my head down and finish.

I've been having a blast with it and enjoying the fact that my main character is a bit surly and snappish ... and dealing with an elderly villager with an overactive sense of humor. Though it's definitely an action story with an action goal, arguably the underlying thrust of the plot is the character interactions and how she comes to understand and respect him.

And for your amusement, my list of names plucked from validation strings for blog posts: Manis, Jadom, Tratio, Aingeari, Undeop, Obstdra, Nistious, Distori, Myocs, Mildiesi. At this point, I decide to stop unless I see one that's really a gem. Already, I think I've got enough for two stories, especially since some of these names probably don't belong in the same tale (unless I'm doing a mixed culture riff ... which is one of my things, so you never know).