Archive for May 2011

Crafting Matriarchal societies in SF/F

May 31, 2011

As you know if you’ve been playing the home game, I have a certain fascination with the way we breathe patriarchy with our air. It’s a driving force behind the worldbuilding in my series. Reading this blog post on the question of matriarchal societies in SF/F gave me some new food for thought.

Before you ask yourself “Why would anyone want to write about matriarchy?”, take a minute and think about how many of the really tired tropes in genre fiction stem from the assumptions of patriarchy. Then explore further–the above-linked  blog post from The Border House is a good place to start–and consider all the truly awful examples of matriarchal societies in SF/F lit and gaming. This is definitely one of the areas in which we can do better.

What would a real, functioning matriarchal society look like? What limitations would it impose on people of both genders? I’ve tried to look at those questions, in a limited fashion, in my fiction. What are some books (or games) that have gotten it right?

Writing Geekery

May 15, 2011

Have I mentioned that I’m a plot structure geek? Surely you knew that.

Last night about bedtime, I realized that there are so many one-on-one interactions  between Ellion and his enemy Nechton in this novel that they constitute an entire subplot, which I have not analyzed in terms of its own story arc–and that until I look at that thread on its own, I will be failing to maximize the opportunities inherent in those interactions. Today I am entirely too excited to sit down and do this piece of analysis. I can’t wait to see what surprises the Muse in his Architect aspect has in store.

I am an irredeemable geek.

Interview and sneak preview on Darkcargo

May 2, 2011

Today on the Darkcargo blog, nrlymrtl and I did a Q&A on The Shadow of the Sun. She asked some stunningly penetrating questions, mostly about the philosophy and craft behind the work. I found the interview amazing on two levels: the questions she asked led us to discussions from which readers who enjoyed the work might get new levels of insight into their own reading; but people interested in writing craft in general rather than this work in specific might also find new ideas to take home. I had a great time dialoguing with her, and I appreciate the depth of thought that went into her questions more than I can say.

Also, at their request, I passed along an excerpt from the second volume of the Way of the Gods series, War-Lord of the Gods, which the Darkcargo editors included at the end of the post. All you really need to know about that excerpt is that Ellion is having his worst day yet, and that’s saying something. 🙂

It’s all typical Darkcargo: so much more than we expect from review blogs. Stop by and check it out!

Beltane, May-Day, and other religious disconnects

May 1, 2011

When I was in first grade, on the first of May our classroom teacher herded all of us outdoors and made us “decorate the Maypole“, which I recall being an immense flag pole but (given that I was 7) was probably a tether-ball pole. She offered us no explanation for what we did except that it was May-day, which was explained to us as the first of May. Duh. All we knew was that we were to carry colored streamers which had been affixed to the top of the pole in concentric circles while some of us walked clockwise (er, was that deosil?) and some walked counter-clockwise (no one used the word widdershins), gradually wrapping the entire pole in multicolored strands. We had no sense of why we were performing this antic, although I’ll admit it was pretty.

Now, of course, I know that was a holdover from the pagan holiday of Beltane, though I’m certain my thoroughly Christian teacher had no idea what apostasy she was spreading among impressionable youth. Beltane, for those of you who haven’t been playing the home game, is one of the great festivals of the pagan religion and a fertility festival. (Take a moment; pause to consider the pole we were decorating. We were seven.) Personally, I’m a fan of a good fertility festival, but like so many of the holiday traditions I met as a child, it was just one of the things I had to connect the dots on later. Like, you know, the Easter Bunny. And, for that matter, Easter.

Schools are much more self-conscious about that sort of thing these days; I’m sure my younger readers never had such a bizarre and unexplained holdover of an older religion manifest at school. Except, uh, Halloween. Groundhog Day, anyone?

This sort of disconnect between received wisdom, religion, and the eternally elusive truth has always fascinated me. It’s one of the most important thematic drivers of the series I’m working on. And it’s probably no coincidence that the climax of the first novel, The Shadow of the Sun, takes place on Beltane.

That’s why, in honor of Beltane and informational disconnects everywhere, I’m giving away The Shadow of the Sun ebook throughout the month of May. Check here for details on how to get your own copy.

Free eBook of The Shadow of the Sun

May 1, 2011

Happy May! In honor of Beltane, May-Day, and all the intellectual disconnects those days imply, I’m giving away The Shadow of the Sun ebook. You can download the ePub/Kindle/Nook version from Goodreads, or read it directly on the Goodreads site. If you simply must have it in Kindle format, get in touch with me and I’ll hook you up.

There’s only one thing I’d like to ask in return: if you read the book, please take the time to post a review on Amazon. All of us rely on those reviews when making buying decisions; having people take the time to post a review, whether positive or negative, really makes a difference.

Happy reading!