Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Joshua Palmatier

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Joshua Palmatier was born in Coudersport, PA, but since his father was in the military he moved around. Alot. He’s lived in the states of Pennsylvania (three times), Florida (twice), Washington, California (briefly), Virginia, Texas (twice), and now resides in upstate New York. He has spent the majority of his life so far going to school, earning a Bachelors of Science and a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University, followed by a PhD in mathematics from Binghamton University. He is currently teaching mathematics (what else) at the State University of New York–Oneonta, taught for two years at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, and taught for three years at Bloomsburg University while taking a break between his masters degree and the PhD.

Joshua started writing science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories in the eighth grade, when the teacher assigned a one page Twilight Zone-ish short story. He wrote a story about Atlantis. It was from the perspective of one of the inhabitants as he escaped in a spaceship, watching his world being destroyed by water from one of the viewports of the ship. He got an A. Joshua has never stopped writing since, mainly focusing on novels.


By Joshua Palmatier

DJ invited me to guest here at the blog today so that I could talk about the small press Zombies Need Brains and our current Kickstarter (check out tinyurl.com/ZNBPortals) attempting to fund three brand new SF&F anthologies.  I thought it might be nice to explain where the themes for these three anthologies came from.

First, the lead anthology, which is really my own little baby.  I grew up reading fantasy novels in the 80s, which means I read a ton of novels with characters from our world transported to another world.  Books like Andre Norton’s WITCH WORLD or Stephen Donaldson’s CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT. There were many, many others, but I noticed that I hadn’t seen or read many “portal novels” in either fantasy or sci-fi recently.  I loved those stories, so thought, “Why not do an anthology with portals as the theme?” Hence, PORTALS was born (although the original name I had for the anthology was WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE; I think PORTALS is much more concise and explains the theme rather well though).  Even though this was my concept, I decided I’d let Patricia Bray and S.C. Butler edit it. I expect I’ll read a fair amount of the submissions to the open call though, perhaps stick my nose in occasionally with a thought. *grin*

The second anthology in the Kickstarter is TEMPORALLY DEACTIVATED.  This theme came about when I received a spam email from a bank I didn’t have an account at that warned:  “Your account will be temporally deactivated unless you respond to this email now and confirm your account! [suspicious link here]”  Zombies Need Brains had just released the anthology TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER (to great success) and I immediately thought “SEQUEL”! I added it to my list of potential themes and then promptly forgot about it … until David B. Coe got the same email a few years later (these things never die) and pinged me about it.  He’d had the same thought: “SEQUEL!” And so the theme was revived and of course David B. Coe is now editing it with me.

The last anthology for this Kickstarter came out of the blue.  I’d honestly been considering doing just two anthologies this time, but Steven H Silver emailed me with this cool concept for an alternate history anthology, ALTERNATE PEACE.  Most alternate history novels and stories begin with a change in the outcome of some kind of violent event, such as a different result for a battle or a war. His idea was to find alternate history stories where the divergence from our own timeline came from a peaceful change, such as a discovery (or lack of) in science or a societal culture change.  That change could lead to violence, but the change in the timeline itself was peaceful. I liked the concept and thought it fit well with the other two themes, so I decided to add it to this year’s roster.

So that’s how the three themes for this year’s Kickstarter were selected.  If you’ve got a moment, swing on by the Kickstarter at tinyurl.com/ZNBPortals and make a pledge!  Help bring these themes to life! It’s only $15 for the ebooks and $48 for the paperbacks. And once the Kickstarter is funded, there will be an open call for submissions, so anyone can submit a story for consideration.

And if you haven’t heard of the small press Zombies Need Brains before, we are a relatively new press with 10 anthologies under our belts.  We’ve been recognized by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SWFA) as a professional market and we have had three of our past stories in anthologies up for the WSFA Small Press Award.  Two of those stories are up this year and we hope that one of them wins! Fingers crossed!

You can find out more at www.zombiesneedbrains.com and tinyurl.com/ZNBPortals.  I hope to see you on the backer list!

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*** Portals, Temporal Deactivation, and Alternate Peace! are published by Zombies Need Brains and are available to back on Kickstarter TODAY!!! ***

Back on Kickstarter!

http://tinyurl.com/ZNBPortals

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About the Books:

PORTALS:

In the blink of an eye, the familiar disappears as you step into the unknown. What new creatures will you meet? What strange planets will you explore? Will you find happiness, or doom? Open the pages of PORTALS, the newest anthology from the small press Zombies Need Brains, and you just might find out.

From wardrobes to monoliths, wormholes to fairy rings, there is a rich tradition of stories in both science fiction and fantasy that explore what happens when–by accident or design–characters are transported from one world to another. Join fourteen of today’s leading science fiction and fantasy authors as they offer fresh takes on this classic theme. Whether a routine trip or unexpected journey, each tale will explore new worlds of adventure, mystery, humor, and horror, with stories for every taste and fancy.

Edited by S.C. Butler and Patricia Bray, PORTALS will contain approximately fourteen stories with an average length of up to 6,000 words each. It will include short stories by:

  • Jacey Bedford
  • F. Brett Cox
  • James Enge
  • Esther Friesner
  • Nancy Holzner
  • Gini Koch
  • Violette Malan
  • Jaime Lee Moyer
  • Ian Tregillis

All other slots aside from the named authors will be filled by the open call for submissions following the successful completion of the Kickstarter.

TEMPORALLY DEACTIVATED:

In our spam boxes today, we both received notices that our bank accounts required resolution, and the content of the spam contained the following sentence: “We have noticed that you need to resolve important security issues on your account to prevent temporal deactivation.” Of course, our immediate thought was of a new anthology called TEMPORALLY DEACTIVATED!

For this follow-up to 2015’s TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER, we are looking for stories that take a person, object, event, or phenomenon and somehow, during the course of the plot, “temporally deactivate” it, whatever that may mean in the context of the story. “Temporal deactivation” should refer to something more than a simple death, malfunction, or termination, and instead should touch in some way on issues of time — its flow, distortion, dislocation, etc.

Edited by David B. Coe & Joshua Palmatier, it will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of up to 6000 words each. It will include short stories by:

  • C.S. Friedman
  • Faith Hunter
  • D.B. Jackson
  • Gini Koch
  • Stephen Leigh
  • Misty Massey
  • Jenna Rhodes
  • Edmund R. Schubert

All other slots aside from the named authors will be filled by the open call for submissions following the successful completion of the Kickstarter.

ALTERNATE PEACE:

All too often, alternate histories are based on a battle or assassination. We’re looking for stories where change grew out of more peaceful activities…science, business, and culture. Imagine a world in which the branch point from our own was caused by scientific endeavor, social change, natural forces, or other points of divergence which don’t rely on military activity or violence.

Edited by Steven H Silver & Joshua Palmatier, it will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of up to 6000 words each. It will include short stories by:

  • D.B. Jackson
  • Stephen Leigh
  • Ian R. MacLeod
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Kari Sperring
  • Harry Turtledove
  • Rick Wilber

 

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Guest Post: Women in Dark Fantasy have Changed by Linda Robertson

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Linda is an internationally published author. In 2006, she won first place in the OSU/Mansfield Florence B. Allen writing competition and soon after earned a cum laude Associate of the Art’s Degree in English. She is a proud member of Broad Universe, a nonprofit international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Linda will be appearing at International Horror Hotel and Film Festival June 2 and 3 in Richfield, Ohio, at DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend and World Fantasy Convention Nov. 1-4 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Working as Linda Reinhardt she composed, created, and produced an original musical score for Jovienne, which is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Website: www.authorlindarobertson.com

Facebook:
Interact: authorlindarobertson
Fan page: lindarobertsonbooks

Twitter: authorlinda

Goodreads: /LindaRobertson


Women in Dark Fantasy have Changed

by
Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered, from angles on escapism vs. exploration, to writing some kind of how-to. Then the search engine offered me a Pinterest collection, women in dark fantasy. Continue reading

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Guest Post: When Worlds Collide: Science Fiction and Physical Therapy by LJ Cohen

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LJ (Lisa Janice) Cohen is a poet, novelist, blogger, ceramics artist, local food enthusiast, Doctor Who fan, and relentless optimist. She lives just outside of Boston with her family, two dogs (only one of which actually ever listens to her) and the occasional international student. When not doing battle with her stubborn Jack Russell Terrier mix (aka “other dog”) or hanging out with her lab/hound mix (aka “good dog”), LJ can be found writing, which looks a lot like daydreaming. She writes SF, Fantasy, and YA novels under the name LJ Cohen.

LJ is a member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and Broad Universe, a national organization promoting women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

She also is a member of The Scriptors, an indie and hybrid author collective, where she blogs monthly on topics related to the writing life.

Once in a Blue Muse is LJ’s personal blog, where she has been posting about her life, work, publishing, and random observations since 2004.


When Worlds Collide: Science Fiction and Physical Therapy

by
LJ Cohen

I started writing stories when I was a child. At the time, I devoured anything even remotely related to science fiction or fantasy, so of course, those were the kind of stories I wanted to write.

The usual advice came my way from well meaning teachers and from my parents: Write what you know.

But what does any ten or eleven year old know? Like many kids, I lived in a world of imagination where the ordinary took on eldritch meanings. So I wrote about UFOs, magical talismans, and portals. But I didn’t have the lived experience or the knowledge to match the stories that seemed so brilliant in my mind.

I spent a long time believing this advice meant I couldn’t write what my imagination dreamed of writing.

Fast forward about three plus decades until I was a young mother with a rewarding career as a physical therapist. I still gravitated to reading SF&F and I still had the desire to write. So I returned to story ideas I’d had as a child and started writing again, but this time, I had the perfect rebuttal to my elementary school teachers: I took what I had been reading over a lifetime, added my professional knowledge to it, and linked them both to the emotional truth of my lived experiences.

What I knew wasn’t only the events of my day to day life; it was much richer and deeper than that. And my stories began to reflect it.

So what did I know best? I had studied anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy, kinesiology, communication and teaching methods, pain management, exercise and movement analysis, and differential diagnosis. I had some skill with early computers and programming. But I also had experienced love and loss, disappointment and good fortune. And change. Always change. 

Technology, medicine, and injury braid together to help drive each plot arc across all five of the volumes that make up the Halcyone Space series. Among my ensemble cast are characters with injuries, impairments, and disabilities. They also each have specific talents, interests, strengths, and struggles. These elements are not merely plot points, but are part of how each character reacts to external events and internal needs. This is particularly evident in ITHAKA RISING.

While the books take place in a near future world, there is still no perfect cure for brain trauma and Jem Durbin, a young computer genius, is overwhelmed with headaches, vertigo, and nausea, made worse when he tries to focus his vision. Desperate, he is willing to risk his life to get a black market neural implant. 

Lieutenant Commander Emmaline Gutierrez is an upper extremity amputee. She lost her left arm in the war that ended forty years before the events of the series. It is part of who she is that she makes the choice to use what appears to be a fairly primitive artificial limb with a claw hand, rather than a more anatomical and cosmetic one. That choice resonates with every other choice she makes in the books. 

Rosalen Maldonado is coping with PTSD from years of emotional abuse by her father. This, too, colors all her choices and actions. It especially makes acting as Halcyone’s captain and trusting her crewmates a challenge. There are times when Ro’s fear of trust and intimacy places them all at risk.

Barre Durbin, Jem’s older brother, wrestles with his guilt over Jem’s head injury. Jem would never have been hurt had he not been trying to help Barre escape the consequences of illicit drug use and their parents’ threats of forced commitment. 

Jem disappears. Ro and Barre attempt to rescue him. And because all choices have consequences, their actions lead to a planet that shouldn’t exist and decades-old secrets that could very well ignite a new war.

I’ve never uncovered conspiracies or fought in covert wars. I don’t understand the physics of wormhole travel and artificial gravity. But I do know a fair amount about people and some of the many ways we cope with adversity. 

For the rest, I rely on imagination, which is something we all know something about.

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*** Ithaka Rising is available to purchase TODAY as a part of the SFWA Scince Fiction Buyndle!!! ****

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Buy the Book:

StoryBundle


About the Bundle:

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Welcome to the largest, grandest and most out there bundle SFWA has ever done: the Sci-Fi SFWA Space Bundle! With 17 books that range from hardcore military sci-fi to character-focused alien encounters, we might have gone through the wormhole and out the other side.

SFWA serves authors at all points in their careers and we’ve embraced that diversity for this bundle. First, the Self-Publishing Committee reached out to a number of sci-fi authors throughout the genre who we know have enthusiastic and diverse fanbases. Then we opened the bundle up for submissions to our entire membership. We received far more submissions than we could actually put in this bundle, but after some rousing debate, we settled on a total of 17 spectacular titles.

Some of the proceeds of the bundle go to support SFWA in its mission to support, promote, inform, defend, and advocate for professional fantasy and science fiction writers. For more about the organization, see sfwa.org. For its grants program, see http://www.sfwa.org/2017/09/call-grants-2017/ – Daniel Potter

Not only that, but during our 3 week run, all StoryBundle newsletter subscribers get Qualify – The Atlantis Grail Book 1 by Vera Nazarian for free. Make sure to get that so you can enjoy Compete – The Atlantis Grail Book 2 by Vera Nazarian, available in the bundle!

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!


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Guest Post: Challenges and Rewards of Writing a Series by Dave Creek

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Photo by Andry Creek

Dave Creek is the author of the novels CHANDA’S AWAKENING and SOME DISTANT SHORE, novellas TRANQUILITY and THE SILENT SENTINELS, and short story collections A GLIMPSE OF SPLENDOR and THE HUMAN EQUATIONS.
 
He’s also published the Great Human War trilogy, including A CROWD OF STARS (2016 Imadjinn Award winner), THE FALLEN SUN, and THE UNMOVING STARS.
 
Dave also edited TRAJECTORIES, an anthology of stories about space exploration and its many challenges, and is the author of MARS ABIDES: RAY BRADBURY’S JOURNEYS TO THE RED PLANET, a non-fiction look at Bradbury’s Martian stories.
 
His short stories have appeared in ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT and APEX magazines, and the anthologies FAR ORBIT APOGEE, TOUCHING THE FACE OF THE COSMOS, and DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS.
 
In the “real world,” Dave is a retired television news producer.
 
Dave lives in Louisville with his wife Dana, son Andy, Corgi/Jack Russell Terrier mix Ziggy Stardawg, and polydactyl cat Hemmie.


Challenges and Rewards of Writing a Series

by
Dave Creek

Science fiction has a long tradition of stories that take place within a series or a common future history.  E.E. “Doc” Smith began his Skylark series in AMAZING STORIES in 1928, and continued with his Lensman series in 1934, also in AMAZING.  Catherine Lucille Moore chronicled the adventures of her hero Northwest Smith and swordswoman Jirel of Joiry.  Many other authors quickly learned the appeal to readers of revisiting characters and situations.   Continue reading

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Guest Post: What’s Important in a Story: Setting or Character? by Kayl Karadjian

Kayl Karadjian is a lifelong fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy books, Manga, and Role-playing games. He is the author of multiple books in the Tales of Ashkar and Dragonsoul series.

Catch updates and follow me on social media here:

https://talesofashkar.com

https://twitter.com/talesofashkar

https://facebook.com/talesofashkar


What’s Important in a Story: Setting or Character?

By Kayl Karadjian

It is the struggle of the author to bring to life the stories running in our heads. There are so many cogs that we must bring together to form our novels, and each piece must fit perfectly or else we risk the whole machine falling apart.

Often times, many authors (and in turn, many readers) approach a story by its setting first. In regards to fiction, we like to categorize stories by what setting they occur in. We think of fantasy, and our minds picture swords and magic. We think of sci fi, and envision a world far into the future. We do this with every genre, and only after we have committed to the setting do we think of the characters. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Development of The Dead Among Us an Urban Fantasy Series by J. L. Doty

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In late 2016 Jim finished his 11th SF&F novel, The Witch of Val d’Ossa, and with the release in early 2017 of Never Dead Enough, the 3rd book in The Dead Among Us, he has ten published SF&F books. He’s been unusually successful as a self-published writer; Child of the Sword went word-of-mouth viral about three years ago, and among all his self-published books he has since sold close to 60,000 copies. With that success, he was able to quit his day-job as a running-dog-lackey for the bourgeois capitalist establishment, and work for himself as a fulltime writer. He says his new boss is a real jerk. The self-pub success also led to traditional contracts with Open Road Integrated Media, and Harper Collins Voyager.

Jim is also a scientist with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering; his specialty is laser physics. He has a big pet peeve regarding lasers as weapons in science fiction. He spent decades working in the laser and electro-optics industry, even did some research on laser weapons in the 80’s. And when writers use a laser as a weapon in a story, they invariably get it wrong, usually by violating some basic law of physics. Jim gives a presentation on laser weapons, and what writers do wrong—no names please.

Jim was born in Seattle, but he’s lived most of his life in California, though he did live on the east coast and in Europe for a while. He now resides in Arizona with his wife Karen and three little beings who claim to be cats: Tilda, Julia and Natasha. But Jim is certain they’re really extra-terrestrial aliens in disguise.

Science has always been a passion of Jim’s, but writing is an addiction. In April 2016, Of Treasons Born, the prequel to A Choice of Treasons, was published by Open Road Integrated Media, and in August The Thirteenth Man was published by Harper Collins Voyager. He just finished The Witch of Val d’Ossa, the first book in The Valley of Bones series. Right now he’s working on By Treason Forged, the 2nd book in The Treasons Cycle, The BlackSword Regiment, a new military science fiction series, and the 2nd book in The Valley of Bones.

Jim intends to keep on writing and publishing more stories, but no laser weapons.


Development of The Dead Among Us
an urban fantasy series

by J. L. Doty

I’ve been asked a few times how I came up with the storyline for The Dead Among Us, my urban fantasy series, and I had to stop and think a bit to recall the process. I’d been writing traditional fantasy and hard science fiction for years, and I was ready to try something different, something in a contemporary, urban style of speculative fiction. I began with the concept that wizards, witches, demons, and all the denizens of Faerie, are living among us, but hidden in plain sight, and we mundane mortals are completely ignorant of their presence. One goal I set for myself was to write something that would be a fun read, though not a comedy.

I looked carefully at Irish, English, Scottish and Celtic folklore, and delved into demonology as it is depicted in various religions and cultures. That provided the inspiration to develop my own spin on the supernatural, which evolved into the Three Realms: the Netherworld, the Mortal Plane, and Faerie. The Dragon Realm is a mythical fourth realm, but since no one has ever been there, or met a dragon, everyone believes it’s pure legend.

As many other urban fantasy writers have done, in Faerie I adopted the Seelie and Unseelie Courts of Scottish folklore, though King Ag and Queen Magreth are my own fictitious characters. The non-aligned fey, the assassin Sabreatha of the black fey, and the whole concept of Leprechauns as neutral arbiters in the constant strife between the Summer and Winter Courts, are inventions of my own twisted mind. I must admit I had fun with Leprechaun’s names like Jim’Jiminie, Boo’Diddle and Dan’Dandio, and they provided a nice counterpoint to the more serious moments.

With regard to the Netherworld I needed some sort of hierarchy for demon rank, so I created a cast structure. At the bottom are non-caste demons like imps, succubuses and incubuses. Next are Tertuis cast, weak-willed creatures that, if physically manifest on the Mortal Plane, will feed on mortal souls in an uncontrolled frenzy. That invariably draws the attention of mortal wizards, and the Tertius is hunted down and annihilated rather quickly. A Secundus cast is stronger, will feed carefully, remain hidden, and with caution, might reside on the Mortal Plane for centuries, eventually building up enough strength to appear human. The most dangerous of all are the Primus caste, basically the nine princes of hell. The last time a Primus physically manifested on the Mortal Plane, the Roman Empire fell, and civilization plunged into the dark ages.

Enter our hero and heroine, Paul Conklin and Katherine McGowan, both thirtyish. Some time ago Paul’s wife and little daughter, Suzanna and Cloe, were killed in back-to-back accidents about a month apart. Paul took it hard and crashed emotionally. But he’s doing much better now, because the two have come back to him as ghosts, and are living with him in his San Francisco apartment. Paul knows that ghosts don’t really exist, so he’s pretty certain he’s simply lost all contact with reality and is hallucinating.

Paul is a wizard, but doesn’t know it and is completely ignorant of wizardly ways. When he spontaneously produces a powerful conjuration, he finds himself in a lot of trouble with dominant senior wizards like Katherine’s father, Walter McGowan, and Vasily Karpov and his Russian thugs. The situation is further confounded by the fact that Paul exhibits unusual powers not available to normal, mortal wizards. His strange abilities lead the senior wizards to wonder if Paul is demon possessed, or perhaps a demon himself. Karpov wants to execute Paul first and ask questions later. But Katherine sees two leprechauns help Paul, which they wouldn’t do if he delved into demon magic. So while everyone else is trying to join the let’s-kill-Paul party, Katherine takes his side, teaching him about magic as they try to survive.

I had a lot of fun with this story.

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*** Never Dead Enough is published by Telemachus Press and is available to purchase TODAY!!!! ****

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Buy the Book:

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords


About the Book:

Creepy Serial Killer Guy (SKG) has relocated from Dallas to San Francisco so he can hunt down Paul and Katherine. The demon in his soul can’t rest until it possesses Paul. But in Dallas, Paul and Katherine badly weakened it. So SKG’s master needs to gain strength before attempting to take them. He prowls the streets of San Francisco and the Bay Area looking for more Alices.

While creepy SKG hunts Alices, Vasily Karpov conspires with Ag, King of the Unseelie Court. If they can bring over a monstrous legend from the past, even if it doesn’t kill Paul, they hope to blame him for the damage and destruction, and discredit him with the senior practitioners.

Paul is haunted by thoughts of a powerful rune sword. Anogh, the newly restored Summer Knight, keeps interfering in Paul’s life. Sabreatha, the black fey assassin who tried to kill Paul with the heart arrow, les flèche du coeur, takes an interest in Paul and Katherine. And of course, the Summer Queen and her High Chancellor, Magreth and Cadilus, keep messing in Paul and Katherine’s lives.


 

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Guest Post: The Netwalking Space Plot Matrix by Joyce Reynolds-Ward

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Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a writer, horsewoman, former middle school learning specialist, and skier splitting her time between Portland and Enterprise, Oregon. Besides earning a SemiFinalist placement in Writers of the Future, she’s had short stories and essays published in Random Realities, M-Brane SF, The Fifth Di…, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night, Zombiefied, River, Gobshite Quarterly, Gears and Levers 1, How Beer Saved the World, Trust and Treachery, and Fantasy Scroll Magazine. Her novels in The Netwalk Sequence– Life in the Shadows: Diana and Will, Netwalk: Expanded Edition, Netwalker Uprising, and Netwalk’s Children are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites. The final installment in the Netwalk Sequence, Netwalking Space, will be available in December 2016/January 2017. Seeking Shelter at the End of the World (a cozy apocalypse) is available from eTreasures Publishing. Pledges of Honor, the first book in Goddess’s Honor, a high fantasy with a non-European setting, is now available. The prequel to Pledges, Beyond Honor, is now available, and Book Two in Goddess’s Honor, Challenges to Honor, will be available in 2017.

Joyce is also publishing short stories and novellas from the Netwalk Sequence which are illustrated using photographs of some of the pictures she has taken over the years which help illuminate the inspiration for the stories. Dahlia, Winter Shadows, and Shadow Harvest are all available on Amazon.

Examples of Joyce’s professional education writing can be found at ChildsWork.com. When not teaching, she’s often thundering about on her intrepid reining mare Mocha, living la vida ski bum, and writing. Follow Joyce’s adventures through her blog, Peak Amygdala, at www.joycereynoldsward.com.


The Netwalking Space Plot Matrix

by Joyce Reynolds-Ward

I owe a lot of the enjoyment and pleasure I had in writing Netwalking Space to a strategy I discovered when writing a previous book. In March of 2015 I had two big things going on in my life. The first was to write the next book in my science fiction series. The second was to move myself, my husband, and my horse 350 miles from Portland to Enterprise, Oregon, to begin a life split between the two places. I was already behind in getting that book out, so I couldn’t just put writing aside until most of the move was finished. But writing while moving meant that I needed to figure out how to keep track of a fairly complex book so that whenever I could snatch a moment, it would be possible to pick up the flow of my writing with minimal fuss and bother. Continue reading

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(Guest Post) Book Review: The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen

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Jade Sisti or aloneintown is an artist and author. Here is a link to her Facebook page, .

Her first novel, Stagnant Souls, was just published on Amazon kindle.

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The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erica Johansen

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: November 29, 2016

Edition: Paperback, 496 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5


It was everything I was hoping for in a conclusion and then some.
Continue reading

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Guest Post: One Possibly Useful Way of Categorizing SciFi/Fantasy: Northrop Frye’s Theory of Modes by Jack Teng

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Jack is a recovering academic, ashtangi, and grammar nut. He has one published novel Okanagan Messiah Cometh with Permuted Press, and one upcoming novel The Promise of a Battered Moon with Kristell Ink. Check out his website www.mybossisadroid.com and follow him on twitter @mybossisadroid.


One Possibly Useful Way of Categorizing SciFi/Fantasy: Northrop Frye’s Theory of Modes

by Jack Teng

First, let me offer my sincere apologies to any English majors and academics who have actually studied literary criticism — something I cannot lay claim to. In fact, if you’re familiar with Northrop Frye, I fear you’ll be horrified by my (very amateurish and likely highly inaccurate) interpretation of his Theory of Modes and how I use it to interpret cultural trends. But hey, thank heavens I no longer have any stakes in academia! Honestly, this is just my way of looking at thematic trends in science fiction and fantasy, which I thought could be at least entertaining due to its crackpot-ness or a nice conversation starter.

The Gist

I was introduced to Northrop Frye’s Theory of Modes and his Anatomy of Criticism about ten years ago when I was having a discussion with a former partner about the existence of cycles in history. I can’t remember what I was saying, but I suspect it was largely bullshit because at the time I was studying the soporific field of theoretical ecology, and I had taken exactly zero classes in history (or English). On the other hand, my partner (who was at the time pursuing a doctoral degree in medieval English literature) had started talking about the historical progression of Western literature through a series of literary “modes” that seemed to be repeating themselves. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Writing Through Hurricanes, Grumpy Spouses, And Maniacal Bosses: Finding Your Default Self by Edward Lazellari

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Born and raised in New York City, comic books were an important part of Edward’s youth and he spent many years working for Marvel Comics. He wrote his first professional story for Marvel Comics Presents starring Namorita (a.k.a. Kymaera) and illustrated the tale as well. After years as an illustrator, Edward returned to school to study English literature and creative writing at Rutgers.

His first published prose story, “The Date,” a dark comedy about a gigolo hired by conjoined twins, appeared in the October 1999 issue of Playboy magazine. This was an important boost to any budding writer’s confidence and contributed to his finishing his first novel, “Awakenings.” Edward has just completed the third book in the Guardians of Aandor series, “Blood of Ten Kings,” which is pending revisions.

His genre influences include: Stephen King, Roger Zelazny, Alan Moore, George R.R. Martin, Ann Rice, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Jean M. Auel, Ben Bova, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Frederick Pohl, Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, and Glen Cook.

Literary influences include: William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Jonathan Franzen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ayn Rand, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austin, Frank McCourt, Mary Shelley, John Irving, Aldous Huxley, Homer, Dante, and Voltaire.

Edward enjoys playing with his new baby daughter as well as his many hobbies such as poker, bike riding, playing softball, and pissing people off on social media through the use of rational thought and common sense.


Writing Through Hurricanes, Grumpy Spouses, And Maniacal Bosses: Finding Your Default Self

by Edward Lazellari

The universe is trying to keep you from your writing. It will throw all manner of distraction and chaos at you, and bind you with obligations–girlfriends who cry neglect, boyfriends who threaten to step out on your monogamy, bosses who insist that your not getting the work done in 40 hours is your fault not the workload. You will try to reason with the universe, work out a mutual arrangement where you borrow three hours here and two hours there to ply your craft; but the universe is a fickle bitch that knows full well you need uninterrupted blocks of time with which to craft your tales–time to let your story ferment and then time for revisions. You need a thousand hours to write two hundred decent pages. Lie back to the universe, steal the time you need, sacrifice personal pleasure and socializing, and then maybe…maybe, you will have a story of note at the end of the run. Continue reading

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