Today Only: It’s Like #ComiCon For Your #Kindle!

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In celebration of SDCC 2015, Amazon has a special promotion on over 70 comic and SFF titles, all for only $1.99 each – including both books in my Dream Stewards Series, THE WELL OF TEARS and THE KEYS TO THE REALMS! Click the image below to get this deal. HURRY – it’s only for one day!

ComiCon For Your Kindle

Black Moon Rising

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black-moon-fairy-fairies-18

Also known as the dark moon, today’s lunar super-phenom is synonymous in folklore with the Lilith Myth – Eve’s shadowy alter ego. Historically depicted as a demoness and cast as the wanton woman in cautionary tales, the Lilith spirit more accurately and appropriately represents the fiercest and most independent aspects of the divine feminine. For feminists, Lilith calls to mind the qualities of free-will, self-determination, strength, and power.

Here’s a particularly informative and detailed article on the history of Lilith, with links to more reading:  The Lilith Library

Another article on the metaphoric relationship between the Lilith Myth and the perceptions of women in history and religion : Eve and the Identity of Women

phases-of-the-moon

And for the more scientific minded moon watcher, there’s some good information on why tonight’s moon is so special over at Universe Today .

Ageism in Fiction – When did I get so OLD?!!

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Stadust Witches

One of the most unexpected responses to my debut novel, THE WELL OF TEARS, was the negative reaction from younger female readers about the age of the protagonist in the book (she’s around 40), and the fact that she has a long-standing, functional, and happy life partnership.

Really?!!

THE WELL OF TEARS is more or less a multi-generational family saga  with characters who range in age from 19 to 153. The lead protagonist, a sorceress called Alwen who embarks on a quest she has waited half her life to complete, must face a host of complicated challenges and heart-rending losses – the kind that come to someone who has lived long enough to acquire the obligations that come with adulthood – duty to family and community, and to self.

Concepts that are, apparently, inaccessible and / or alienating to younger women.

Really?!!

As a wife, mother, sister, aunt, and feminist – this pains me. It seriously pangs my heart to discover that the only kind of relationship angst some young women want to experience in their reading is whether or not the girl gets the guy. As if there isn’t far more riveting relationship angst to come after the hook up?

Wow. Come on, ladies. Dream bigger.

How I wish I’d been able to find a heroine in the stories I read in my twenties to model the woman I wanted to become, rather than female leads who merely made me feel less alone in my own romantic quagmires. But then, maybe I shouldn’t expect more from readers who are still giving jell-o shot syringes five star reviews ;).

So tell me, young(er) women readers of SFF – why is an older protagonist so unappealing to you? I really wanna know.

When Women Rule the World – If Hermione Were The Main Character in Harry Potter

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In keeping with my #girlpower mantra and feminist mood this week, I leave you with this fabulously funny (and probably NSFW due to multiple F-bombs) post from BuzzFeed – If Hermione Were The Main Character in Harry Potter: (aka Hermione Grainger and the Goddamn Patriarchy):

(click here to be taken to Daniel Dalton’s badass #bosswitch article)

Why Peggy Carter is My Hero

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I am a woman of a certain age – meaning I am now referred to as “ma’am”, and “mature”, and “experienced”. I am a a card-carrying member of Generation X, and AARP, and therefore can claim to know a thing or two.

I find myself mildly annoyed by professional, educated women under the age of 40 today, who vehemently protest the lack of equality for their gender in today’s society – as if no progress has been made. They tend to overlook the fact that they are carrying on a fight that in very large part, has already been won. The BIG battle was fought for the legal right to equality – which, thanks to the generation who came before mine, has been ours since 1972.

Now, I am NOT in any way suggesting that sexism doesn’t still exit. It does, and there is much work yet to be done. But I am suggesting that the younger feminists of this society sometimes fail to acknowledge that they have it much easier than the women who came before them. So. Much. Easier.

Suffragettes

I was born in the 60’s and came of age in the early 80’s, in the midst of the second most profound feminist movement of the last century (I count the Suffrage movement as first, because without the vote, well…) I have the right to claim real understanding of economic and social oppression and the fight to gain women’s rights through the ERA and EEOC – because, hell, I lived it. I was also lucky enough to be a part of the generation that changed it.

I was a first – the first woman hired into professional level jobs that had previously been held exclusively by men – in the first three professional jobs I was hired to do. At three separate companies, in three separate industries.

It was a big deal, but I didn’t really understand it at the time – the significance of it, the challenges I would face, and the out-and-out anger and resentment and abuse I would experience. After all, I had been raised to believe and presume that all paths were open to me. I was raised to believe and presume that equality was an inalienable right.

The problem was, that wasn’t really true – at least not yet. Title IX (equal opportunity for girls in school sports) was passed and implemented when I was in the 5th grade. Girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school in my district until 1974. And the ERA was not fully enforced until I was a college student in the early 1980’s.

My first career level job was a paid internship for The Seattle Times advertising department – a position I was awarded after working my way through a highly competitive selection process in which candidates had to be nominated by an adviser in one of three specific fields of study. Only three schools in the region were invited to submit candidates, and only one candidate from each university was allowed. I was the only female candidate. I got the job.

This scenario played out two more times in my career – in my next successive positions, both at Fortune 500 companies. The experience was the same in all three situations. I was the first (and only) woman hired into the job class / office / district / region – as a result of EEOC compliance requirements. And I was unwelcome.

What does unwelcome look and feel like? I could go into gruesome detail, but to do so would require digging up a painful set of memories I have worked hard to bubble-wrap and pack away. It was openly hostile. It was openly abusive. It was openly threatening. And there was nothing I could do about it but stand my ground – or quit. I was alone on the front lines, without a a chain of command or any allies. No one had come before me, so there was no one to call on for help. We women had gotten what we had asked for, and now we had to suffer the cost of victory. Change often comes at a very high price.

But it got better. So much better. In fact, so much better that my now twenty-year-old daughter had no idea that girls didn’t always get to play on sanctioned basketball teams and go to college on sports scholarships. It never even occurred to her that there was a time when women couldn’t be police officers or firefighters or anything else they wanted to be. She never learned about the origins of the modern feminist movement in her very progressive suburban school system. I had to tell her.

And I continue to tell her, and all of her friends, and countless other Generation Nexters and Millennials I encounter about the realities of blood, sweat and tears they won’t have to shed because their mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers slugged it out for them. Things still aren’t great, sure, but they are better. So. Much. Better.

Agent Carter

Which brings me to why I admire the ABC / Marvel min-series AGENT CARTER. There are only two cultural epochs in modern US History which parallel my personal experience as a professional woman in a time of change – black men (and eventually black women) entering the job market in white corporate America following the Civil Rights Act, and the plight of women in the work force and society at large after the end of World War II.

AGENT CARTER harkens to and pays homage to women who were every bit as essential to the defense of their country as the soldiers who were celebrated. And it does so with humor, and honesty – and a fair measure of accuracy.

Peggy Carter’s world of women is one that begs and deserves to be honored and represented well and truly. It is one which today’s young women need to understand and appreciate, in the same way my generation needed to understand and appreciate it. Because we all stand on the shoulders of super heroes.

So carry on, young women of today – fight the good fight. But do so acknowledging that even though it might not feel like it, you have the privilege of denouncing sexism from a platform elevated by a struggle you will (hopefully) never experience.

And Peggy Carter? She friggin’ rocks.

Peggy Carter

Marketing Monday: On Query Letters, from agent Amy Boggs

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One of the toughest parts of the process for a writer seeking publication is querying agents. Don’t we all wish there was a tried and true template for success? I’ve seen a lot of examples floating around out there, but today’s bit o’ wisdom from SFF agent Amy Boggs over on on Pub Hub is the best I’ve read. To feast on her expertise, click the banner:

Considerate Craft – The Three Stages of a Query Letter, by Amy Boggs

Workshop for Seattle Area Fiction Writers: Beyond the First 50 Pages

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Twice each year I co-present a six-week intensive workshop (hosted in my home) with fellow industry professionals Jennifer McCord and Scott Driscoll. The workshop focuses on story structure and uses a unique outlining approach designed to help writers with a full length novel in progress assess the plot and character development in their story. It’s a great class and it fills up quickly every time we teach it.

It’s a small group, with enrollment limited to 9 students per session. We don’t usually promote the course publicly, but as luck would have it, our Winter 2015 session still has some openings!

If you’re in the Seattle area and are looking for some support with your current work, this might be just what you need. Here’s the link to the workshop home page – where you’ll find a detailed description of the course, dates, fees, and enrollment deadlines.

Check it out:

Beyond the First 50 Pages – When the real work begins!

Snoopy Writer

Dream Stewards Character Profile: Thorne Edwall – The Mage Hunter

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The hunter called Thorne Edwall led his party into the Sovereign’s receptory. He walked with an athletic grace that was uncharacteristic of a warrior, but he carried himself with the confidence of one. Everything about this man was dark and intimidating – his mood, his manner, and his dress. Even his hair and beard were black. All but his eyes, which were the most luminescent blue Glain had ever seen.

Mysterious Warrior Portrait 1

Perhaps the most skilled mage hunter of his day, Thorne Edwall is a tortured hero who struggles with the darker side of his calling. Like all men of the Ruagaire Brotherhood, Thorne has devoted himself to an order that is founded in faith and honor, and is bound by an uncompromising code.

Thorne embraces his vocation with his whole heart and soul, but the brutality of his actions and the sacrifices he must endure have taken a heavy toll. He is a man of conscience and often finds himself at odds with the demands of his duty. But he is also a man who will do what needs be done, no matter the personal cost. Above all else, Thorne Edwall is driven by a deep sense of purpose, and the long-suffered love his oath has forced him to deny.

Thorne had already dismounted and was no longer listening to anything but his own needs. By the time his foot reached the first step, the doors were thrown open and she was there. The flame-haired goddess who haunted his dreams and the only woman he would ever love.

Drydwen

Want to know more about the mysterious warrior-monk Thorne Edwall, and the powerful sorceress who holds his heart?

Discover the dark, dangerous world of the Dream Stewards:

The World of the Dream Stewards: Creature Feature #1- The Demon Mount

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Great news just in time for the holidays – as part of the Amazon 200 Kindle Book Bargains promotion, both Dream Stewards books are on sale for $1.99 through December 14, 2014. Click here to get yours:

The Well of Tears (The Dream Stewards Book 1)

The Keys to the Realms (The Dream Stewards)

So, let’s have some fun! I’m resurrecting the weekly Creature Feature Trivia Challenge, in celebration of the season. Read the article below, answer the trivia question correctly (answers can be found somewhere in the blog archives), tell your friends about it, and you could win a $10 Amazon gift card!

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A single monstrous barrel-chested creature with a bulbous head burst through the trees, gnashing a grotesquely protruding jaw of jagged teeth the length of Hywel’s forearm. The creature had staggering height and breadth – at least three times the size of his horse – taller and broader and hairier – and oddly boar-like with its hulking shoulders and thick neck. Its roar rattled his bones.

Bully WhippetIn the mystical White Woods that surround the ancient home of the Stewards, all manner of magical creatures exist – some more demonic than others. In THE KEYS TO THE REALMS, Hywel encounters the Hellion Horde and the horrific beasts they ride. These beasts have no known name, but they are as fearsome and deadly as the Hellion warriors themselves.

These frightening creatures first appear in THE WELL OF TEARS, and are inspired at least in appearance by a real animal. This animal, however, has an entirely different nature and is actually quite remarkable.

Meet Wendy, the Bully Whippet – a much-loved pet who suffers from a genetic disorder manifested by a mutation which causes double-muscling. Her general health is not affected by this anomaly, only her physique. Although her extraordinary looks invoked the image of a monster in my mind, her real-life story warms my heart. Who wouldn’t want this lovely girl as their canine companion?

TRIVIA CHALLENGE: 

The Dream Stewards series centers on a prophecy that foretells the rise to power of a legendary leader, who was also an actual 10th century ruler. What is the FULL name of the king of the prophecy?

(hint: if you haven’t read the books, the answer can be found in the blog archives, by using the search box at the top of this page. Just type in “Hywel” and browse the articles)

Post your answer in the comments section below to enter. If you also like and/or share this post and mention where in your comment, you’ll get an extra entry. One lucky winner will be chosen at random from all the correct entries received by midnight on Friday, December 5th, 2014. The prize is a $10 Amazon gift card!!

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