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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

CLundoff Publicity photo Whimsical Words welcomes guest author-editor-publisher, Catherine Lundoff. Catherine Lundoff is a Minneapolis-based award-winning writer, editor, and publisher. Her recent stories have appeared in Tales of the Unanticipated, Curious Fictions, The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade V20 Anthology, The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Tales and The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Professor Moriarty. Her books include Silver Moon, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories and as editor, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). She is the publisher at Queen of Swords Press.

Catherine Lundoff’s latest book, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), is a new anthology fans of pirates and adventure are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—Think pirates are all about the rum and the pieces of eight? Let these fifteen tales draw you into the adventures of a new kind of pirate. Sail with them as they seek treasure, redemption, love, revenge and more. Raise the Jolly Roger and sharpen your cutlass (or recharge your raygun) and climb aboard for some unforgettable voyages. Featuring stories by Ginn Hale, A.J. Fitzwater, Geonn Cannon, Joyce Chng, Elliott Dunstan, Ashley Deng, Su Haddrell, Ed Grabianowski, Mharie West, Matisse Mozer, Soumya Sundar Mukherjee, Megan Arkenberg, Peter Golubock, Michael Merriam, and Caroline Sciriha.

ebook QoSP Scourge 432 x 648 72 dpilundoff Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)?

I started my own small press last year and I wanted to publish an anthology. Originally, it was on a different theme and was going to have a different editor, but that fell through, so I decided to go ahead with another theme that I liked. I’ve always had a fondness for pirates, fictional as well as historical, starting with reading Treasure Island when I was a kid. Since pirates historically turn up all over the world, as well as in fantasy and science fiction, I thought it would be a great opportunity to solicit stories from writers from different countries as well as subgenres. I also opened it up to stories featuring protagonists of any gender or orientation to try and get to a reflection of the diversity of the topic.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Ooh, that would be a challenge! I really like all the stories in different ways. I think you really have to get to a point where you appreciate all the strengths of every story you accept when you’re editing an anthology. Between story selection and rounds of editing, you’re going to be reading and rereading those same stories a LOT. Multiple rereads in, I still love all the protagonists in a book with stories that range from the aftermath of the Trojan War to outer space, (most of) the 7 seas and the lands beyond!

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

It’s traditionally published in the sense that it’s being released by a publishing house; however, Queen of Swords Press is my small press so things get a bit complicated there. I have edited or co-edited two previous anthologies for a different small press though, so I have something to compare it to. The contrast between editing for someone else and doing it on my own is the scale of work involved. I’m doing all my own publicity for Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) as well as for other Queen of Swords Press titles and I’m taking all the financial risks. On the other hand, I get to make my own decisions without needing to answer to anyone else and pick stories based on what I like. I’m pretty pleased with the mix of stories that I selected and I know that it would look somewhat different if I had to answer to a different publisher.

What is your writing/editing process like?

I’ll talk about my editing here, instead of writing, because that’s been my latest focus. In terms of story selection, I tried to put a lot of thought into the kind of anthology that I wanted to publish. I wanted a mix of pirate stories set in different parts of the world as well as in fantastical settings and in outer space. I wanted a range of protagonists to somewhat reflect the historical diversity of pirate ships and crews. Add to that, I wanted authors from different parts of the world as well as protagonists of different genders and sexual orientations. So I did an open call where I specifically asked for international authors and for protagonists of any gender or orientation. I ended up getting submissions from authors in fourteen countries, which was pretty amazing.

From those submissions, I had to go through and pick the strongest of the stories that I got, then decide which ones I wanted in the anthology. I tried to pick based on my goals: having a diverse range of pirate stories and an anthology Table of Contents that wasn’t all white guys or all cis people or all from the U.S. Fortunately, I had a lot of really good stories to choose from so it was a more a matter of picking “best in class” rather than “I must take it because it’s the only thing like it that I have.” Editing themed anthologies can be challenging that way. I say this despite this being my third one, so you would think it would get easier with practice. At any rate, everything after the story selection part was reading and rereading and providing feedback to the authors and incorporating changes and getting copy edits back and so forth.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had a LOT of favorite books as a child and they changed every couple of years. The first book I ever read on my own was Alice in Wonderland, then I went through a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson, fairy tales and other related work. Alexandre Dumas and Jane Austen got me through my early teens. On bad weeks, The Count of Monte Cristo is still a map of my mental landscape. When in doubt, I can always count on getting a mental image of tunneling out of the Chateau d’If with a spoon. Puts everything in perspective. I have a list of every book that I’ve read since I was ten years old so I can backtrack through the Narnia years, the Lloyd Alexander years, and so forth. I owe my fragile sanity entirely to reading, but I have to say that it was a collective effort. I can name ten to twenty favorite books, but not just one.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Blood Moon, the sequel to my menopausal werewolf novel, Silver Moon. Blood Moon focuses on the same protagonists as in the previous novel and has more mystery and romance elements than the first book. Apart from that, I’m working on a couple of new short stories and some gaming-related projects. And the next books for Queen of Swords. I like to keep things lively.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

It’s a toss-up between “Learn to love rewriting” and “Pick a day job you don’t hate, because you’ll spend more time there than anywhere else.” They are both useful, if somewhat depressing, in their own way. I think both pieces of advice are also very realistic and sometimes, we need to hear that. I know there’s a strain of thought, particularly in genre fiction, that “real writers don’t need day jobs,” but I think that gets less and less realistic for most of us as the field changes. And rewriting for me is like painting: you do a sketch, and then, start adding layers. Those layers add depth and beauty, if you do them well, in the same way that rewrites help you to create a better story and become a better writer.

Want to learn more about Catherine Lundoff and Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)? Check out her:  WebsiteFacebook pageQueen of Swords Press Website, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) from Books2Read or IndieBound.

Thanks to author-editor-publisher Catherine Lundoff for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Meriah Crawford on February 14, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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DawnVogel-pic Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Dawn Vogel. Dawn’s academic background is in history, so it’s not surprising that much of her fiction is set in earlier times. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, co-edits Mad Scientist Journal, and tries to find time for writing. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. Her steampunk series, Brass and Glass, is being published by Razorgirl Press. She lives in Seattle with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats.

Dawn’s latest book, Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map, is a fun read for those who love adventure. A quick summary for my readers:
dawn vogel book On the hunt for a legendary, cursed map that leads to treasure unimaginable, the crew of The Silent Monsoon, led by the pertinacious Captain Svetlana Tereshchenko, soon discover they aren’t the only ones hunting for riches. But there’s more than gold at stake in this pursuit. The Last Emperor’s Hoard is rumored to contain the Gem of the Seas, a device that gives its owner the power to control the oceans.
Wanted by the Air Fleet and dogged by spectres both real and imagined, Svetlana and her crew will have to call in every favor and pull every string—even if it means stirring up more ghosts—to complete the map before the High Council does. This race will require courage, determination, and sacrifice. Will Svetlana have what it takes to win, or will the map’s curse be too high a price?

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map?
My latest book is a sequel to my first published full-length novel, Brass and Glass: The Cask of Cranglimmering. The original book started life as a short story, but grew into a novel. When my small press editors and I were working through the edits on the first book, they asked if there were more books. I hadn’t outlined or planned the other books, but I knew the story wasn’t done yet. So I said yes, I thought I could get a trilogy out of this idea. So in many ways, the second book directly stemmed from my editors loving the first book. The first book also helped to dictate what needed to happen next–the protagonists were in search of a map, and they needed to find all of the pieces. Midway through, they discovered that perhaps the map was more than they’d bargained for, being called the “long-cursed” map and all.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?
Of course I adore my protagonist, Captain Svetlana Tereshchenko, but I have a lot of fun writing Indigo, the ship’s mechanic. He’s a teenage boy who grew up in a culture that was far removed from the predominant culture in the books. So he’s often encountering things for the first time in his life that the other characters just accept as part of reality. He also has an abnormal speech pattern, which is both challenging and rewarding to get just right.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?
My book is indie published through Razorgirl Press, which is a small press based out of the Seattle area. Because it’s a small press, the editors are people I interact with directly and regularly—we will get together at a coffee shop or other locations to work on edits or discuss plans for the book. Because the cover art and editing are done in house, I feel like I get a lot of input into those things, which I might not have as much if I were traditionally published. The downside, of course, is that the marketing also falls on our shoulders, so it’s not as easy to publicize the book as it would be if I was with a traditional press that has a team for marketing and publicity.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?
I started out as a pantser, but I quickly found that path was not a good fit for me. I started planning out all of my books, and I found I was much more productive that way. That isn’t to say that I never wander off down a garden path while writing, and some of those diversions have wound up being fantastic additions to my plans. But I need at least the bare bones of a structure to keep me on track and not wandering off into the woods beyond the garden.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The one I most remember reading (again and again and again) was The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. One of my teachers in grade school had this book in her classroom library, and I checked it out and read it so many times that at the end of the school year, she gifted it to me. The main thing I remember about the plot as an adult was that the main character had telekinesis, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I’ve gotten a new copy of the book recently, but I haven’t managed to re-read it since re-acquiring it!

What writing project are you currently working on?
The third book in the Brass and Glass series is in my editors’ hands, so I’ll be working on edits for that in the near future. But in addition to the countless short stories that I’m currently working on, I’m editing the first draft of another novel, this one a post-apocalyptic novel about recovering from past traumas and finding a new place to belong.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?
Neil Gaiman once said: “You will learn more from a glorious failure than ever you will from something that you never finished.” I took that advice to heart and try to finish all of the stories that I start!

Want to learn more about Dawn Vogel and Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map? Check out her :  Website & Blog,   Facebook Page,
Twitter,   or Amazon Author page.   Or better yet, purchase a copy of Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map. 

Thanks to author Dawn Vogel for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Kathryn Sullivan on December 6th.   Happy reading! – Vonnie 

 

 

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Murder on Marawa Prime (reviewed in the December 2016 issue of Analog magazine) is my only published murder mystery/ action adventure tale. Yet, I enjoy reading murder mysteries and crime fiction. In my “in progress” fiction files, there are several other crime stories which, I hope, will be completed, polished, and submitted to magazines or anthologies in the not too distant future.

Murder_Cover_CS_front Like all writers, I try not to use clichés, so it was with interest I read an article on clichés in crime fiction (which will include murder mysteries).

Here’s the link – I hope you enjoy Crime Fiction – 10 Cliches to Avoid from Freelance Writing.

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Skean copy As I promote my Young Adult fantasy/adventure novel, The Enchanted Skean, I’ve given talks for several writers’ groups. The latest program was sponsored by the Annapolis Chapter, Maryland Writers Association on the Young Adult/ Cross-Over Market — and it also included The Enchanted Skean‘s strange journey from a scribbled first chapter to a published novel.

As you’ll see and hear, my presentation is animated and enthusiastic. A couple of the points I made: Be ready when opportunity knocks (I wasn’t). Be persistent (I am). Writers don’t always agree with their editor’s comments, but an editor is editing for the reader and (sigh) they’re usually correct in their suggestions. And, yes, it’s hard to admit my editors are usually right about their suggestions – I really don’t like to revise work, but I know it’s part of the publishing process.

I had fun doing the program, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. (Please ignore my rather disheveled appearance. I drove over 2 hours in rush hour traffic on a hot day to do the presentation). So here are the 2 links. Thanks to Annapolis Chapter MWA for inviting me, and thank you David Joyner for recording the talk and sharing. Enjoy!
Part 1:  https://vimeo.com/73053339
Part 2:  https://vimeo.com/73054182

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Usually, I have a guest author on Mondays, and decided to do so this week through the magic of links and videos. As you can imagine, as both a fan and writer of fantasy adventure tales, one of my favorite authors is Terry Brooks. I own many of his Shannara books, and have read most of the others.

The World of Shannara One of the favorite books on my bookshelf is The World of Shannara by Terry Brooks and Teresa Patterson. (I own the 2001 version with a white cover, the newer blue cover version is the updated edition). It presents not only an informative guide to places, people, and events having to do with Shannara, but includes lots of wonderful illustrations. And as an illustrator, I admire the many beautiful pieces of artwork between the covers of this volume inspired by the fantasy world of Terry Brooks.

Terry Brooks has a great website maintained by webmaster and author in his own right, Shawn Speakman, and it is to a video of Terry Brooks on that site that I link. I hope you enjoy this amazing author speaking about “Why I Write About Elves.” Enjoy! www.terrybrooks.net/2013/06/tedtalks-why-i-write-about-elves/

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MikeAuthorPhoto9 Thanks to author J. Michael Squatrito, Jr. (my first male guest author), for stopping by and sharing what it takes to make a male fantasy hero. And you’ll notice at the end of the post, he’s looking for guest bloggers for his site.

The Making of the Male Fantasy Hero by J. Michael Squatrito, Jr.

Before I get started, I want to take the opportunity to thank Vonnie for letting me guest blog on her site as well as to be the first male adding content here! With that thought in mind, and no pressure of course, I figured it would be a good segue into the mind of the male author and in particular, the male fantasy hero. My Overlords books are firmly planted in the fantasy genre and the lead character, Harrison Cross, is a young, righteous warrior. He is the prototypical fantasy protagonist – blonde hair, blue eyes, six feet tall, muscular and fit, an accomplished warrior, etc. and he gets the girl in the end (and a beautiful one at that!). So, why should you care?

Harrison might appear to be your regular run of the mill fantasy hero on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I personally hate seeing movies or reading books where things always fall neatly into place for the lead characters. Or anything that Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger star in! Though my books are fantasy fiction, I want to give them a dose of reality. Harrison might be talented, but he’s young and inexperienced. He makes mistakes. He gets his fellow adventurers into precarious situations due to his inability to realize when you need to fight or when you should walk away. He’s selfless and puts others ahead of himself. He’s fiercely loyal to his team members and to his love, Tara. And no one hurts his canine companion, Lance. Even though Lance is a dog, he never leaves him to suffer, even at the expense of his group.

Harrison is not the biggest of warriors, and many times he is beaten, hurt, over-matched, and imprisoned. Through all of his trials and tribulations, he never wavers from his goal to reunite humanity. These qualities, I feel, draw the reader to root for Harrison, to want him to succeed, to believe in him and his cause. And isn’t that what we all want in our heroes?

Overlords_book_1_final2 When creating Harrison, I had to make sure of many things, such as not making him a super hero, not letting him be too sensitive or too aggressive, not allowing him to win the heart of a beautiful maiden too easily – everything that would not happen in ‘real life.’ You see, male heroes have a lot to live up to. They need to think a certain way and they can’t be allowed to go overboard, but most importantly, they need to be admired by male and female readers alike. For the boys, the male hero must be strong and decisive, someone to rally around, and for the girls, someone they can trust and believe in and, if I’m lucky, someone they can fall in love with. I feel that I’ve accomplished all of that in creating Harrison, and I hope you read his story and agree with me.

You can learn more about me and my project at www.the-overlords.com and you can contact me directly at mike@the-overlords.com . As you can see, I’m looking for other authors to guest blog on my site (Vonnie’s going to post in May!) and if you’re interested, please contact me.

You can purchase my books and eBooks on my website or if you have Amazon and Barnes & Noble accounts, at the following: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=squatrito%20overlords or Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/squatrito-overlords?store=book&keyword=squatrito+overlords

And for authors-to-be or self-published authors looking to help spread the word about your books, I have a self-publishing consultancy called Self Publishing Insight that might be right for you. I have experts that provide services for editing, artwork, social media, self-promotion, eBooks, and much more. Let us help you!”

Thanks again to J. Michael Squatrito, Jr. for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastic day! – Vonnie

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Older, but no wiser than the last time I blogged, I wish each of you a Happy Star Wars Day!

As for me, I fell in love with George Lucas’s saga from the opening frame of Episode IV, and have over the years read most of the Star Wars books and watched (multiple times) all 6 of the movies. And unlike many diehard fans, I have no problem with Star Wars Episodes I thru III. I enjoy them for what they are, and don’t compare them to Episodes IV thru VI.

Nevertheless, Episode IV will always be my favorite Star Wars movie. As I sat in the darkened theater those many years ago, spellbound by the action unfolding on the screen, I was reminded of my love of adventure tales with heroes, villains, damsels in distress, sidekicks, and exotic locales. Whether Treasure Island or Tarzan or Buck Rogers or Lord of the Rings, I’ve always been a fan of adventure tales. And that’s what Star Wars is – an adventure tale.

Wait, you say. It’s a science fiction world built by George Lucas and the various writers who’ve contributed to the Star Wars universe. True. But location, spiffy space vehicles, and lightsabers aside –  it is the sense of daring, of plunging forward against incredible odds, of using wits and magic and luck to battle the dark forces of the world, and the friendship between unlikely allies that lure us into the story. And oh what a story!

For writers like me, there’s much to be learned from Star Wars: world-building, appealing characters, redeemable villians, fallen heroes, complex non-human species, gadgets and gizmos, and creating a compelling adventure tale that is fun to read. Remember, dear readers and fellow writers, good storytelling is good storytelling whether it’s classified popular fiction/cinema or literary fiction/cinema.

For those who’d like to revisit a bit of the Star Wars world, the place to be is: www.starwars.com For those even geekier (I say that with no judgment. How would I know of the link had I not visited it?) — there’s Wookieepeida: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

So on May 4th, all puns aside – May the Force be with each of you!

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