Monday, March 26, 2012

Blog Tour: Bonus Stop!

Thought I was done? Guess again! I've got a bonus stop over at Diana's blog:

Guest Post: Lindsey Duncan on Unusual or Strange Sources of Inspiration

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Today, I thought I would share a fragment from a Flow-verse story, "A Dose of Aconite." This is the opening of the story, which is about to get some editing out of me prior to submission. So please pardon any "rough" here.

As an aside, the SleepRite here is vaguely modeled after a real hotel (chain name removed to protect the guilty) outside of Oberlin, OH ...

Crouched over his laptop in a dank SleepRite motel somewhere southwest of Cleveland, Mannix Tippet waited for the werewolf to call.

The beast was not expecting Mannix to answer. The room three doors down was temporary residence of the water-witch Tala Blight, who had offered him sanctuary and a cure - as if that could absolve him of the blood he had shed. It had been simplicity to tap the hotel phone system. When the beast called Tala's room to confirm where they would meet tonight, he would not reach her.

Mannix shifted on the bed, starting a minor fugue in the springs, and pulled up his file on Blight. There before him, all the electronic details of her life: her saving habits to her tastes in fiction to how many times she had purchased lavish presents for friends who never reciprocated. Something more precise and useful than magic. Witches relied on it too much; she didn't even own a cellphone.

He knew, without asking questions, that he would kill her. His malice was not for her personally, but it was also immutable. His superiors in the Borderwatch had told him there was informal peace and the supernatural threats both organizations had to face were more important than any difference in methods. The word 'peace' was hollow when a good man like his cousin died on a mission - and the unidentified witch who guided him emerged without a mark on her.

His cousin had drowned.

Mannix had read the official report, which claimed it had been an accident. That meant nothing when a few bytes could erase any truth.

"Take the beast," were his official orders from the Borderwatch. "Use her to find him if you have to, but make sure you can deny it."

There was more than one way to accomplish that. He had already decided if he could not find the real culprit behind his cousin's death, then he would destroy the next witch he encountered. Pity Tala that it was her.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blog Tour: Stop #6!

My sixth and final stop, over at Daniel Ausema's blog:

Blog Guest: Lindsey Duncan


White Cat ( just purchased my "Didn't I Mention ...?" for July! This is a rather quirky flash piece: a sideways-and-backwards recounting of a tale by a rather forgetful storyteller ...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

And now I trundle towards the end of my blog tour ... I somehow survived and I don't think I made too much of a fool of myself with my posts. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented.

This means I can finally get back to writing ... or ... shoot ... no. Editing. I'm still doing a readthrough on Scylla and Charbydis. Debating whether or not I'm going to do the random page review I did on Journal of the Dead. It will depend on how much stamina I have, as I have yet another novel waiting for its closeup ...

How does everyone else deal with having a lot to edit when you'd rather be writing?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blog Tour: Stop #5!

Early post - for Wednesday, I'm over at Barbara's blog! Check it out:

Guest Post: Lindsey Duncan, Author of Flow

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

I had a crazy St. Patrick's Day and spent most of Sunday recuperating, so I missed having a Sunday snippet this past week. So instead, I've decided to intersperse my blog tour with a bit from later in Flow. Ergo ... meet Hadrian, as the girls are trying to find a source for a fake ID for Kit - who can't yet legally drive ...

Sigvard Repair was north of the city near Norwood. It sat sandwiched between a secondhand record shop and an all-night grocery. There was no closed sign, but the darkened windows said it all. Not for Kit. She caught the handle and braced. The door jerked open into stale darkness. Dimly, she sensed the saurian shadows of metalwork and machinery, some with guts splayed all over the room's low tables. An anemic strand of light escaped from underneath the door to the next room.


So fast she couldn't track the movements, someone caught them both around the shoulders, opened the door, and ushered them through it. His hand was deft on her right shoulder as he pulled them into the back hall and turned the light up.

"So," that unmistakable baritone said, dropping a few lazy syllables into the bass range as he continued, "what can I do for you ladies?"

Kit blinked as she got a good look at him. Tall and attenuated, he was thin almost to the point of the macabre, nothing helped by arched cheekbones and a high-bridged nose. His skin was ghoulishly pale - she felt as if she was staring at a ghost. His intensity was overwhelming, pulsing out of him in waves she could almost touch.

"Uh, a friend of mine said you could help with something unusual," she said.

Of course he was still in business, why else would he be so calm with two women in his backroom at this hour - but she had to be careful.

"We are looking for false identities," Chailyn said brightly.

Or not. "Something like that," she said, trying not to grimace.

He grinned, an expression that made him look more human, glacial dark eyes catching a spark of warmth.

"Have no fear; I've completely forgotten what numbers to dial for the police," he said. "Hadrian Sigvard, at your service."

He looked severe, even priestly with the hard angles and the way his hair was pulled back - and it was faintly blue in this light, deeper than black - but the lingering, sardonic mode of his words made it easy to forget that image. There was something off about him, but Kit couldn't put her finger on it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Stop #3!

I'm over at Nyki Blatchley's blog today, talking about worldbuilding:

Flow Guest Blog By Lindsey Duncan

(First time Nyki has ever had a guest, too!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

In the middle of this blog tour, I take a moment for my regular feature ... which hasn't been regular for a while, but I now vow to restore it to its rightful place.

That said, there hasn't been much writing of the past week. Instead, I've been busily working on my posts for this here tour. But I've found that serves its own purpose: it reawakens some of the joy of the initial act of creation, something I've been far away from with the last edits of Scylla and Charybdis (and the first edits of Who Wants To Be A Hero? still to come). Don't mistake me, I love the editing process, at least the fine-tuning, word tweaking, reshaping, part ... but there's nothing like the first encounter with an idea.

It's a universe that will hopefully see more stories in the future - besides the one forthcoming and the three I want to get sold, I have a few other ideas sitting in my file. One of them is just a sparker, to have a secret stop on the DC Metro that somehow links to the water-witches. Others were exercises I did from The 3AM Epiphany (which is absolutely the only writing exercise book I would ever recommend - great stuff) or other sources, snatches of dialogue and conflict. All of them need some fleshing out before I'd be ready to write ...

But isn't that the fun of it?

Depending on how Flow does, there's also a few sparks in my head about a potential sequel ...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's In A Name?

A rose by any other name, etc, etc ...

Today, I wanted to talk briefly about the names in Flow. All three characters had their origins in (short-lived) roleplaying venues, so I had chosen the names independent of each other.

For Enid Katrine Morgan / Kit, I merely knew that I wanted a female name that could plausibly abbreviate to "Kit," and something that had a Welsh background. I decided on Katrine as a more interesting of Catherine, and to "justify" the interpolation of the i (over the more obvious a), I decided to shuffle the names around and have it come from a first name the character would hate.

For Chailyn Lang, I was browsing the internet - ah, of all things! - when I came across the name and thought it had the perfect look and feel. As to Lang,
I knew that her father was "some European businessman" (this developed further, of course). I wanted something short and sweet, and how could I pass up the reference to those fairy tale compilations, the (Color) Fairy Books?

For Hadrian, I honestly don't remember any thought process going into the name choice. I simply got the first name picked out and trawled
my name book - the highly recommended Character-Naming Sourcebook, by Kenyon, Blythe and Sweet - until I found an appropriate surname to match.

So you can see that I'm not much inclined to choosing names by meaning, instead narrowing on look, feel and sound, with secondary concerns for the ethnic origin of the name and connection to backstory. I tend to avoid meaning-based names, in fact, unless the character for some reason named themselves - or were named by someone who was in a position to predict / comment upon that attribute.

One notable exception, not in Flow but in the same setting, is from "A Dose Of Aconite," where every single character is derived from taking the common names of aconite - wolf's bane, monk's hood, etc - and then picking names with those meanings. For a short, compact work with no intended follow-up, I thought it worked well - a sort of Easter egg for the name-inclined. (Or ... those who follow my blog, now.)

But names are very important to me. The Borderwatch agents are all named in my background material, even though their real names (with one exception) don't appear in the book, only their handles. I needed to know what they were "really" called to properly write the characters.

And Charity, well ... that name was pure irony ...

Anyone have any interesting name-origin stories?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blog Tour: First Stop!

Today, I'm over at Cherie Reich's blog. My interview is here:

Book Chat Special: Interview With Lindsey Duncan

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Snippet

To kick off my forthcoming blog tour, I thought I would post a snippet from a little later in Flow than the teaser available on Double Dragon's website. Here's the opening of chapter three, as Kit returns home:

Most of the lights were off, but Kit found the gloom more comfortable than the gingerbread warmth of normal light. She made her way down the front hall by feel.

"Hey, Terri?" she called. She found the wood handrail into the living room, trying to shake off a weird sense of tension, as if someone were looking over her shoulder. "I want you to meet…"

The sensation deepened as the shadows gained color, a blur of muted hues that closed in and hit her hard. A fist smacked her chest and her body went awry in response, arms flying, spine cracking into the rail. She howled; her second muscles coiled in readiness, all wild animation and adrenaline poisoning. Instinctively, she tried to place where her attacker stood. Something slammed into her left leg.

She twisted with it, trying to roll over the blow, but a flare of pain sent her mind screaming - not the tendon, not when it had taken so long, not when another pull could damage it permanently - and she surrendered, collapsing in a puddle on the steps. A long white-gloved hand caught her chin and knocked her head back against the rail. Hooded grey eyes played over Kit's face, neutral, assessing. She saw a flash of metal out of the corner of her eye and flinched. The point of a knife replaced the hand.

"I know what you can do," the woman said. "The first false move will be your last."

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Well, by now everyone has seen my big news for the week, and I've been consumed with the tour aspect - writing answers to interview questions and incubating what I want to say for the more open-ended blog posts. I want to thank everyone who was all right with having me visit them. You folks are awesome.

Now that Flow is out, I've made a mental note to shift my story editing priorities - next goal to get out the three unsold stories in the setting: A Dose of Aconite, Splinter Cell, and an untitled third story. A fourth story, X-Mas Wishes, has already been sold for Gypsy Shadow Publishing's charity holiday anthology - originally intended to be released this last December, now due next year.

Two of the short stories involve werewolves, a facet of the setting unseen in Flow, but a logical extension of what I've already built. Two are written from the POV of a Borderwatch character. Splinter Cell takes a sympathetic course; A Dose of Aconite is one of the few (if not the only) stories I have written from the perspective of a character intended to be interpreted as the villain. At least one of these stories (I won't divulge which!) involves a fairy halfbreed ... and in all of them, I've had tremendous fun playing with different species of fairies and their traditional strengths and weaknesses.

And Splinter Cell is the story in which I have far and away the most fun with modern pop references ... even a crack about Kirsty MacColl's "Darling, Let's Have Another Baby." (Easily one of the funnest dumb songs ever.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Blog Tour!

For the release of Flow, I'll be taking a tour of some blogs, either with interviews or guest posts. My hope is to have other information / material on my own blog for the intervening days. Here's the lineup:

Monday, 3/12: Interview by Cherie Reich
Wednesday, 3/14: Interview by Aubrie Dionne at Flutey Words
Friday, 3/16: Guest post over at Nyki Blatchey's blog on worldbuilding for Flow
Monday, 3/19: Guest post over at Angie Lofthouse's Notes From The Writing Chair about writing short fiction and how it helped my writing / career
Wednesday, 3/21: Guest post over at B.A. Barnett's Writerly Wackiness, tentatively entitled "Three's A Crowd"
Friday, 3/23: Guest post over at Daniel's Ausema's Twigs and Brambles, where I'm thinking of discussing the use of scent - but this may change

And further ahead ...

Sunday, 4/29: Interview with Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson at Writing Commando

If anyone wants to talk to me during intervening or subsequent days, please let me know! I'm up to rambling about just about anything.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Flow released!

It's official:

Double Dragon Publishing has just released my contemporary fantasy novel, Flow. Take a journey with Kit, Chailyn and Hadrian through the eastern United States, hunting fairies (or is that being hunted by them?), evading the Borderwatch and unraveling mysteries along the way.

Publisher's website: Double Dragon Publishing
Direct link to Flow

First scene teaser available on the site ...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sunday Snippets

This is the first time I've had a Sunday snippet in a while. I've not been writing as much as I'd like, mostly editing Scylla and Charybdis - and I'm far enough into that manuscript that it's difficult to pick out sections that work out of context without spoiling plot.

This, however, is the opening of a short story I'm working on entitled "The Base of the World," about a grieving healer and her new assignment ...

Turgid artic waters rushed about Adris Isle, swept by low currents towards the icelands and the base of the world. From here, Liva could see the dim shadow of the immense column that anchored the world in the field of stars, but that was not her destination.

She clutched her cloak tighter, a speck of brown in the small boat: a figure no smaller than a child, though girlish amber curls had been given a hatchet job before she applied. She had been the first healer to do so - the only healer to do so. No one wanted this post.

The boatman rowed without glance or sound, but his apprentice kept peeking under his elbow at her. "Why are you doing this, miss?" he asked finally.

The voice did not match the woman, resonant, midnight-deep. "Someone has to."

It was more complicated than that, but Liva allowed herself enough vanity to be pleased with the way it sounded. The moment of delight passed as the encampment came into view, tents and temporary wooden lodges pressed together like a pile of dead leaves. She had come here to prove to herself she didn't have to be trapped in her past, but had she simply exchanged one prison for another?

"On a clear day," the apprentice whispered, "they say you can see the dead descending the pillar to visit their relatives on earth."

Liva shook her head. If such apparitions were possible, she would have had company months ago. Her chest tightened as she thought: if Islu didn't blame her as the others had. Some said children could forgive anything, but in her experience, they held blame more fiercely.

The encampment's dock was as rickety and dull as the tents. The boat oozed to a halt, bumping against the wood. Liva squinted, but saw no one waiting for her, not even as a cleverly disguised shadow.

"We're here. Go." It was the first thing the boatman had said since they departed.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Anatomy of an Idea: Three Great Loyalties

This post is (more or less) spoiler-free, but you might get more out of it if you click the link below to Niteblade and read Three Great Loyalties first. It's only a suggestion!

This story started as an hour writing prompt - from which I've gotten a lot of my best work, but these also tend to be the stories that need the most front-end editing to remove slowness. The prompt was to turn a bad day at work into a fantasy story. I chose a wedding I had played for where I was contracted three weeks out and ... well, the logistics of setting it up were a mess, and then it was a September evening wedding and the bride was upwards of forty minutes late - so our thirty minute prelude went on a lot longer than that. While it was getting dark. And cold. I distinctly remember a bridesmaid in a sleeveless gown with a massive rose tattoo on her shoulder.

Very little of this actually appears in the story. In hindsight, I should have at least included the tattoo. But the configuration of musicians - harp, dulcimer and flutist - is accurate, though the genders were flipped and the personalities given a makeover. That is to say ... any resemblance to real-life figures is coincidental.

But for me, stories rarely come from a single source, instead resulting in a collision of two unrelated ideas. In this case, the opposing force was the idea of ghost brides (see ). I had just seen an episode of Numbers which featured this concept, and I wanted to tackle it in my own fashion. Very well, then - a bride for the afterlife. But in a fantasy setting, the dead don't necessarily remain mute ...

So a late groom, in this case - in both senses of the word. But that was just the setup ...

This story is slightly unusual for me in that the point of view character is more of an observer - it's not her story. The main characters are the flutist and the bride ... and with that, I run back into spoiler terrain, so thanks for reading and enjoy your day.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Now available!

The March issue of Niteblade is now available, with my story, "Three Great Loyalties":