Bring 14 publishers and author-groups together under one umbrella.
Have them all agree to the same low sale price for a short period of time.
Yes, today we aren’t just letting you know about a couple of BVC bargains. We are letting you know about other bargains as well because we are readers, too. We know that sharing bargains helps all of us stretch our reading-budgets that much farther.
They may be funny or horrifying. They may have fairies or robots. Or in the case of this special, magical motorcyles, pets in space, deities running amok, psychic landladies, automatons, vampires, dragons, steampunk… the list goes on and on. Go check them out. New stories by familiar writers. New writers to discover. And a wider selection of speculative fiction short stories than you knew existed.
Ends tomorrow [May 1] so act quickly!
English Mastiff breeders share a common anecdote: by the end of the second World War, the English Mastiff all but vanished from Britain. American breeders helped to revive the breed in England.
This intrigued me. Plans for a historical novel began to take shape, a post-war romance in which a young widow and an army veterinarian come together in the pursuit of exporting puppies to British breeders. The book is sidelined by other needs for now, but still resides in the task-list, which keeps growing longer.
My research for this book brought to light events that differ only slightly from the breeders’ version.
Let us thank a mastiff named Sally. According to the Rockport Mastiffs Kennel in British Columbia, Sally was the last breeding bitch in England by the end of the war. Bred to the willing Taurus, she produced a large litter. In this litter was a very special bitch named Nydia. Continue reading
This series started on Oct. 15 and continues every other Saturday. I’m taking a trip back in time to my 4-month backpacking rambles around Greece in the early 1980s, which planted the seed for my recent novel The Ariadne Connection. Now, as I work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect, I’m reflecting on the ways a writer’s experience can be transformed into fiction. I hope you find the journey illuminating, or at least entertaining. Sadly, most of my photos from the trip were lost; these below are borrowed.
When I emerged from the shadowy spell of the flooded caverns of Pyrgos Dirou in the Peloponnese, I blinked in the shock of afternoon sunlight like Persephone released from the underground into the upper world once more. Jim and I then hiked to Pyrgos town to catch the last bus to Githio and a budget hotel. Nightfall brought another thunderstorm with barrels of rain (emphasis from my journal, which also notes that we tore the thin packaging film off the bottom of our mattress to make “fashionable” rain ponchos in order to dash through the streets in search of a restaurant for dinner).
The next morning we caught an early bus to Sparti, the rather ugly modern town in the valley of ancient Sparta. We then set out for the Byzantine city of Mystras on the highlands overlooking the valley. From my journal:
Mystras climbs a steep mountainside above the lush plain of Sparti, walls and crumbling churches and palaces topped by a fortress on the peak. The foliage is the closest to a jungle we’ve seen in Greece. Everywhere, graceful maple-like trees spread broad limbs, and vines and flowers climb or tumble over the tops of jagged walls. Across the bright green hills and valley, the dark accents of narrow cypresses stand out like exclamation points. Continue reading
Love is one of the guiding principles of the human condition. Things have been done in the name of love – both great things and evil things – that defy explanation, or rationalization. Love is what love is, and when it comes down like a ton of bricks there is nothing you can do except be buried in it.
Come on, admit it – what is the first thing that comes into your head when the issue of “romantic love” is invoked? The deathless (if you can call it that) Romeo and Juliet, isn’t it? But yet, remember the envoi from that play –
For never was there a tale of more woe
Than that of Juliet, and her Romeo.
It isn’t a love story, except in the shallowest of ways. It’s a story of two unformed teenagers and their infatuation and obsession with one another. This is something that ends badly for literally everybody, starting with the two young lovers themselves – and yet this is the ultimate romantic thing, something that is as firmly attached to the idea of romance as are red roses and chocolates and Valentine’s day (yes, I know. They’re just as shallowly symbolic…) Continue reading
(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)
Closing out the topic of names (at least for now), let’s dig into how they get used.
This is something I think Americans sometimes have trouble grasping, because our society has jettisoned a huge percentage of the etiquette of names. The speed with which we get on a first-name basis with one another is shocking by historical standards — assuming we don’t just start there right out of the gate. (Writing this post, I realized I don’t even know my neighbors’ last names, because we all introduced ourselves with first names only.) In many cases, the only gradation of formality we mark is whether you call someone by their actual name, or by a less formal nickname.
But in many times and places, including various parts of the world today, the given name is reserved for people with whom one is on fairly intimate terms: family members, maybe very close friends. For everyone else, or in non-private situations, you use something else.
BVC member Phyllis Irene Radford and her collaborator Bob Brown announce that their anthology, Alternative Truths from B Cubed Press, launched this morning with best-selling numbers on Amazon.com
“In true American tradition, we lampoon our politicians – particularly those with overblown egos. And our current President has an ego big as – well, a wall. His own staff member provided the inspiration for this anthology when she used the term “alternative facts.”
Since the President won’t come to the correspondent’s dinners, we’re bringing it to you. Alternative Truths is a collection of twenty-four stories by authors specializing in genres from political commentary to science fiction and fantasy. Once started, it’s impossible to put down. The topic of prevarication is addressed in manners from humorous to deadly serious. Contexts range from the past to dystopic futures. The collection is powerful, provocative, and in some cases – hopefully not precognizant.” R. Kyle
Many a writer I know claims that the best part of writing is rewriting – going back through the piece and making it work.
Others hold out for writing the first draft. I think that is particularly true for those of us who define ourselves as pantsers. The fun part is figuring out what the story is, which we usually do by writing it.
But the other day I figured out my real favorite part of writing: The thinking part.
I was lying in bed, and began to work out in my head how a story was supposed to work. I got it figured out, and then I got up, made coffee, fed cats, had breakfast, and sat down at the computer. It was like pulling teeth to get myself to write it up.
I’m not a lazy lie-abed. I walk everywhere, partly because I frequently do great thinking while walking. Often I create a complete scene and repeat it to myself enough to remember it.
Then I get where I’m going and confront the reality that I have to write the damn thing down. Continue reading
This weekend past I was a reader at SF in SF, the San Francisco SF reading series. I like reading to an audience–I’m a lapsed Theatre major, and while I’m not a great actor, the opportunity to ham it up still appeals. But mostly it’s fun because I get the opportunity to give expression to the voices I heard when I was writing my dialogue.
Okay, so I like being in front of an audience. Not everyone does. And not everyone who likes it is–no, let’s reframe that: everyone, even those who like being in front of an audience, can improve. So for my next couple of posts I’m going to talk about reading to a crowd, and give my undoubtedly one-sided and entirely idiosyncratic advice on the matter. Please feel free to ignore or follow, as you list.
If you’re a first time reader–or just don’t like speaking publicly–you may be dreading giving a reading. The question arises: then why do it? “Because my publicist told me to!” “Because I was invited to it, and no one has ever invited me to do anything.” “Because it’s important to promoting my work!” “Because it’s the writerly thing to do, and all the cool kids…” None of these are necessarily reasons you MUST do something. But if you decide you want to do it, just… do it. Continue reading