47North, Camille Griep, Jet City Comic Show, Jet City Comics, Kate Danley, Letters to Zell, Megan Chance, Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, The Well of Tears, The Woodcutter
Big news! Just returned from Sasquan (Worldcon 2015) in Spokane, WA – where much fun was had meeting and greeting and eating and signing books – to hear that I have been added to the guest list at this years Jet City Comic Show!
I’ll be appearing along with fellow 47North authors Camille Griep (Letters to Zell) and Kate Danley (The Woodcutter). And so very honored to be listed in the company of SFF greats like Terry Brooks and Robin Hobb. Big fangirl moment.
More details to be posted as programming and schedule are confirmed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
200 Kindle Book Bargains, 47North, Bully Whippet syndrome, Celtic mythology, Fantasy Series, Hywel Dda, magical creatures, Roberta Trahan, The Dream Stewards, The Hellion Horde, The Keys to the Realms, The Well of Tears, Welsh Folklore, Welsh History, Welsh Lore, Wendy the Bully Whippet
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:
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!
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.
In 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?
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!!
In support of the creative class, of which I am a card-carrying member, my gal pal and pop culture media maven Tara Bennett has posted her annual “support your local artisans” shopping list. If you’re looking to find some truly inspired and unique gifts for your loved ones, start with this handy guide of crafty wares from some truly talented folks – click the pics to go to her blog of wonder:
Tara has graciously included me on her list again this year – and as luck would have it, both books in my Dream Stewards series are on sale through December 14th as part of the 200 Kindle Book Bargains promotion, all just $1.99 each (for the ebook edition). There’s a link to the books (and lots of other great stuff) on Tara’s page, but you can also go straight to the front of the line by clicking the book images below!
Tara is also an amazing author herself! Don’t forget to check out her TV tie-in books like SONS OF ANARCHY: The Collectors Edition, and her latest release SHOWRUNNERS: The Art of Running A TV Show (click the pics to buy the books):
I crawled out of my writing cave this morning and realized I’d been in there a lot longer than I thought. Days, even entire weeks have passed – and I hardly noticed! I’d like to say I’ve got a completed manuscript to show for it, but the truth is I’m still a long way from finished.
I’ve got three core projects in the works – the first is an Urban Fantasy series that I just can’t seem to abandon, even though the publishing peeps have been telling me this particular subculture in the fantasy genre is dying on the vine. I’ve decided to put the words on the page and see where this first story goes.
Also on the story wheel is a novel length sequel to the short story I released through StoryFront earlier this year, AFTERSHOCK. If you’re into post-apocalyptic dystopian societies and hostile first-contact scenarios, you should give AFTERSHOCK a try. The novel picks up two years after the original event horizon, as the main characters are forced to confront the grim reality that life on earth is now more alien than human. This is an adapt or die situation that only the strongest can survive.
The project I’m most into this week is a full-on epic fantasy that takes place in a world where the balance of power has tipped too far in favor of a privileged few, and the scale is about to be reset. Akylah, the ruler of the Beyaz-at, is hell-bent to fulfill her father’s promise to lead the displaced tribe back to their ancestral home to reclaim the land and power that is rightfully theirs. To do that, she must retrieve a holy relic that holds no meaning for her, fight an enemy that isn’t hers, and broker a truce between opposing forces who would rather face extinction than make peace.
Sound interesting? I sure hope so. And while you’re waiting for me to finish, you might want to check out this stuff:
Over at SF Signal, Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues fame and I chat about women, research and the value of writing community –
And, on Thursday October 30th, I’ll be hanging out at a Facebook Hallowe’en Party featuring a whole bunch of fabulous writers who will be reading, chatting, and giving away prizes –
That’s all I’ve got on the calendar for now, but keep checking back for updates. Rumor has it I will be making a guest appearance or two in the Seattle area in the very near future!
Before I got my first book contract, I supported myself as a marketing consultant and personal publicist to some minor celebrities. That experience taught me a few important things about what it means to become a public person – a few things all authors should take into consideration.
Recently an uber-successful thriller author (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this blog post) took to his/her FB fan page to chastise his/her fans for wasting his/her valuable time with questions like “what is the reading order for series x?”. Later comments and posts to responses from fans who were offended by his/her rebuffs spiraled out of control, until his/her publisher asked him/her to remove them. This he/she followed up with yet another public post about how said publisher made him/her remove the posts, and how he/she had no regrets about his/her behavior, adding that he/she should have the right to set his/her own boundaries when it came to public interaction.
Well, here’s the thing. If you are going to invite the public to support you – literally, and figuratively – you are going to have to accept some hard truths. And the biggest truth of all is that once you accept that public support, you owe that public an unending debt.
That’s not to say you can’t draw boundaries around your personal life. You absolutely should – but those boundaries absolutely cannot encompass anything having to do with your books or your writing endeavors. If your fans ask you questions about your work (and this goes for all entertainment professionals, everywhere), no matter how trivial or inane they may seem to you, you owe them an answer. You also owe them your gratitude, the continued expression of your art, your personal time, and most of all, your grace.
47North, Fantasy, Interview, Post Apocalyptic, publishing, Publishing Advice, Roberta Trahan, Science Fiction, Summer Lane, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, Writing, Writing Belle, Writing tips
47North, A Dribble of Ink, ageism in SFF, Aidan Moher, Chrome-assed bitches, Jane Navio, mature heroines, Miserere, MJ Locke, Roberta Trahan, Teresa Frohock, The Dream Stewards, The Well of Tears, Up Against It, women in SFF, Women Made of Chrome
When I set out to write my debut novel, THE WELL OF TEARS, I took some pretty big risks. I hybridized the genre, I layered multiple story lines using many characters with unpronounceable names, and perhaps riskiest of all, I chose a mature female protagonist.
Alwen is a 40-something wife and mother who is also a skilled sorceress and wise leader who is heir to a powerful magical legacy. She is smart. She is strong. She is resilient. She is masterful. And she is a far superior version of herself at 40 than she was at 20. Life has honed her into the “chrome-assed bitch” she needs to be to outsmart a more powerful and far more diabolical mage and destroy the demon horde sent to obliterate her people.
The older the woman, the more dangerous she becomes. Older women didn’t need weapons to take the world down; they changed the course of history with a whisper. A word in the right ear brought down kings and queens, or maneuvered their kin into power. Chrome-assed bitches don’t need guns or swords, they have their brains.
I pulled the above quote from a recent article by Teresa Frohock, author of MISERERE: An Autumn Tale, which was one of my favorite reads of 2012. This quote kind of says it all. Teresa’s stunning debut dark fantasy novel features both a protagonist and an antagonist who are chrome-assed bitches in their 40s. These women have not only fought their way to respect and authority, but they have also acquired the mental discipline, social savvy and emotional seasoning it takes to survive and succeed along the way. With age comes experience.
I’m still surprised by the reviewers who disdain my choice of a mature heroine – calling her “old” and “unrelatable”. Without exception these reviewers are 20-something young women, who I suspect are still finding themselves and lack the foresight to envision the chrome-assed bitches they might yet become. That makes me a little sad.
Here’s the link to Teresa’s article on the blog A Dribble of Ink (edited by Aidan Moher). Teresa’a post includes a list of remarkable women in history worthy of the “chrome-assed bitch” epitaph. Check it out:
So what do you think? Is an over 40 heroine unappealing to you? If so, why?