WisCon Report, With New Novel!

Nancy Jane with The WeaveMy science fiction novel, The Weave, made its first appearance at WisCon. Aqueduct Press had copies shipped by the printer directly to the convention, making its table at WisCon and Madison’s Room of One’s Own bookstore the first places to have it for sale.

That’s me standing in front of the Aqueduct table holding the book. Despite the expression on my face – I always think I’m smiling for pictures when I’m not – I was very, very happy to hold it in my hands and to read from the print copy at my convention reading.

This was a very soft launch for the book, which officially appears in July. Aqueduct will have it for sale through its website soon.

Having my book out made this year’s WisCon very special, but WisCon is always a great event for me. Continue reading

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Nancy Jane Moore’s Column in Strange Horizons

Nancy Jane Moore’s essay, “The Golden Age of Science Fiction is Twenty-Nine,” is currently available at Strange Horizons.

The best science fiction tells a good story while being chock full of ideas. That, I think, is what all the different corners of the genre have in common.

Strange Horizons

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Pitfalls and Pet Peeves

Pitfalls of Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Vonda N. McIntyrePitfalls and Pet Peeves

by Vonda N. McIntyre

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has just curated a storybundle, The Write Stuff, which includes my BVC writing chapbook, Pitfalls of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy, plus Writing Horses — The Fine Art of Getting It Right by Judith Tarr and Business for Breakfast by Leah Cutter (both BVC colleagues).

The rest of the storybundle:

  • The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer
  • Break Writer’s Block Now! by Jerrold Mundis
  • Writing Into The Dark by Dean Wesley Smith
  • Making Tracks by J. Daniel Sawyer
  • Rejection, Romance, & Royalties by Laura Resnick
  • The Write Attitude by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Playing The Short Game by Douglas Smith
  • 30 Days in The Word Mines by Chuck Wendig

You can read about the Storybundle in general and The Write Stuff in particular at this BVC News item. Continue reading

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Sherwood Smith’s novelette about superhero teens, “Zapped,” is up at  Tor.com today.

Secrets and secret powers don’t necessarily help each other.

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Writers vs Truthers: The Big WHY

question-mark2I commented in an earlier post that I have observed similar thought patterns and behaviors in some inexperienced writers and conspiracy theorists (or truthers, as they are often called).

In my first article on the subject—“Truthers vs Writers: Time, Freeze Frames, Connections and Back Story”, I explored some of the common elements in the narratives spun by truthers—specifically Sandy Hook truthers, in that case—and inexperienced writers I’ve worked with over the years in different contexts.

Some of those elements include:

  • The importance of time. For example, that video cannot be taken of an event before reporters or even people with cell phones have had time to reach the scene.
  • The continued existence of persons or characters involved in the narrative and their pre-existence before the narrative.
  • The interconnectedness of those persons or characters with other persons or characters.
  • The marks that people leave where they live, work, go to school, shop, etc. In other words, paper trails and backstory.

My interest in conspiracy theories as fiction narratives was piqued again more recently when an online colleague, Chris Hernandez, posted a couple of articles (here and here) on the recent dust up over Jade Helm 15. Jade Helm 15, for those who may not have heard of it, is the latest in a series of war games that our military conducts in the US to prepare our soldiers for battle. It has precipitated a number of conspiracy theories about The Government’s real intent in holding these joint military exercises.

For me, the discussion crystallized a common element in both intentionally fictional narratives and conspiracy theories: the absence of a motive. Continue reading

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[links] Fishing With Horses and other cool links

Fishing With Horses:  There are only about 11 horse fishermen in the area of Oostduienkerke but the two men I have photographed are the only ones who actually drag for the shrimp for part of their income the rest just do it for tourism of the town.  I am not sure how much longer this old tradition will stay alive in this actual form but I am glad to have a chance to photograph these amazing draft horses and the men that work with them. The horses are so relaxed and I realized after going into the sea my self how much the waves have so much force and the sand shifts under you feet as you sink slowly into the wet sand. I think for these horses it is such a unnatural thing for them to do, but you can see that they have total trust that their riders will guide them and that is what true horsemanship really is, working with a trusted partner to get the required job done easily. Before mules were used for the job but because of the weight of the larger nets the Brabant draft horse is now used because of their tremendous strength and easy going attitudes. They could not have picked a better breed.


The Evolution of Snakes: “We infer that the most recent common ancestor of all snakes was a nocturnal, stealth-hunting predator targeting relatively large prey, and most likely would have lived in forested ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Dr Allison Hsiang of Yale University, lead author on the study.




Science Fiction Fodder: Ether-Based “DNA”: In the search for life beyond Earth, scientists have justifiably focused on water because all biology as we know it requires this fluid. A wild card, however, is whether alternative liquids can also suffice as life-enablers. For example, Saturn’s frigid moon Titan is awash in inky seas of the hydrocarbon methane.  Here on warm, watery Earth, the molecules DNA and RNA serve as the blueprints of life, containing creatures’ genetic instruction manuals. An immense family of proteins carries out these instructions. A new study proposes that molecules called ethers, not used in any genetic molecules on Earth, could fulfill the role of DNA and RNA on worlds with hydrocarbon oceans. These worlds must be a good deal toastier though than Titan, the study found, for plausibly life-like chemistry to take place. Continue reading

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BVC announces Tainted Waters by Leah Cutter

Cutter_TaintedWaters_133x200Sometimes you need more than eyes to see.

A terrorist bomber threatens Minneapolis during the run-up to the Aquatennial. None of the Post-Cogs can get a fix on him: whenever the bomber arrives, the timelines get corrupted.

Cassie has other problems, too. No one will hire her because of how she came into her abilities. Her life of bliss with her girlfriend Sam has soured. She’s even fighting with Chinaman Joe.

When Cassie discovers that the bomber moves like Hunter, the vet who claims ghosts taught him, she’ll have to invoke the Norse gods—as well as any others who are listening—to stop the madmen determined to raise the dreaded Old Ones and create Hell on earth.

Sequel to Poisoned Pearls.

Continue reading

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Riding Basics for the Non-Rider, Revisited


Several BVC members are participating in a Storybundle this month. It’s called The Write Stuff, and it’s made up of 11 books on the business and craft of writing (and one software coupon) by longtime professional writers. Writing Horses: The Fine Art of Getting It Right is one of the books in the bundle. Here, for your delectation, is a chapter on a subject of interest to any writer who wants to write horses. You can find the rest of the book in the bundle, along with an explanation of the concept, here.

Riding is a lot like writing. Everybody has seen enough of it in films and television or even in real life to think it must be pretty easy and anybody can do it. There’s also a general vocabulary that gets thrown around, a collection of words that are known to apply to the concept, so everybody must know what they mean. Right?

Well, not always. The great collective semiconscious knows what bit, rein, saddle, and spur mean. They know the end that bites is in front (with bit in it) and the end that kicks is in the back, and you sit in the middle. What exactly you do there is a little bit foggy. Continue reading

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Story Excerpt Sunday: From La Desperada by Patricia Burroughs

Burroughs-LaDesperada200x300La Desperada

by Patricia Burroughs

She refused to ask how much longer they would be riding. Instead she chose her words carefully to find out the same information, she hoped, without seeming to complain. “Have you chosen our destination?”

He cast her a sidelong glance from under the brim of his hat. For the past few miles their horses had walked side by side, still steady, though definitely the worse for wear.

Your destination,” he replied.

“Mine? You mean you aren’t going with me?” Her mind was too numb to question the panic that set her heart racing.

“We’re about half an hour from Fort Davis. I’ll get you that far.”

“Fort Davis? I can’t go to Fort Davis!” This time there was no effort to hide the panic, the fear from his scrutiny. She tugged hard on the mare’s reins, pulling the confused beast into a sharp turn as she tried to change direction. Coulter reached out and grabbed the horse’s bridle, holding it steady before she could take off.

“Just what are you—” He broke off, and she saw him eyeing her left hand and the narrow gold wedding band glinting in the sun. “I should have known.” He jerked his hand away. “Running away from your husband, bringing a whole town after me before it’s over with.”

She stared at the wedding ring, and for a moment she saw blood, black and sticky. Joel’s blood. Maybe Clayton was right. If it weren’t for her, Joel wouldn’t have killed himself. Wouldn’t have—wouldn’t have —

She fought the memory, seizing instead on the one thought she must convey. “I can’t go to Fort Davis.” The words were measured, even, showing none of the emotion quaking through her.

“Lady, you don’t have a choice.” Continue reading

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Pastoral Fantasy


John Anster Fitzgerald being twee

John Anster Fitzgerald being twee

Some twenty, twenty-five years ago, I recollect a lot of scorn poured on the pastoral fantasy. Which is fine—no every subgenre pleases every reader, blah blah—but (as people will) the pastoral novel was derided as being not only twee but backward-looking, especially compared to the Cool New Cyberpunk, which was all about the edge of the future.

Of course there were readers who cheerfully admitted to liking both. I remember rolling my eyes and bailing discussions as soon as they devolved into if-this-is-good-that-has-to-be-bad. Especially when “pastoral” was narrowly defined as twee stories about sweetly eccentric English hedge witches and revampings of Beatrix Potter. (To which I once responded, have you actually reread Beatrix Potter recently? Or the poetry of William Blake?)

Continue reading

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