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Posts Tagged ‘Blood of the Swan’

 2012 has started off with a bang! Tomorrow, I’ll be part of a Cold Moon Press presentation at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC at 12 noon. Besides reading an excerpt from my zombie love story, I’ll be discussing how to use traditional creatures/ characters from myths & folklore in creative writing. The public is invited if any of you are in the area and interested.

Again this year, my art work and writing are nominated in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll (which closes at 12 midnight, Jan. 10, 2012). For those who’d like to read the story- Blood of the Swan (published in “While the Morning Stars Sing”); the nonfiction piece originally published in Little Patuxent ReviewFairies, Magic & Monsters; or the poem published this December in EMG-ZinePenelope for free until Jan. 20th, you can go to: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/preds__eds_nominated_work

 Also nominated are my magazine cover for September 2011’s Aoife’s Kiss, the cover of my book The Greener Forest, and one of the illustrations from that book: Ningyo (reprinted here).

I just finished designing 2 logos for new imprints at Cold Moon Press – and they’ve been emailed to the editor for approval. (When approved & with the editor’s permission, I’ll give you a peek at them later.)

The end of 2011 featured a guest blog, Holiday Traditions for the Writer, on Tracy S. Morris’ website: http://tinyurl.com/holiday-traditions-VWC-blog and 2 interviews. The 1st is about being an illustrator: http://tinyurl.com/eraserburns-interview-vonnie   and the 2nd about being a fantasy writer: http://tinyurl.com/funzone-interview-vonnie

And for those interested in reading what I have to say about what goes into choosing a cover for a book, you can check out my guest blog at Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog: http://wp.me/p18Ztn-1Fa

And now, I need to focus on completing several stories for my next book. Title and other details will be announced shortly. Till then, here’s a hint: Dusk, darkness, and owls are involved!

Here’s hoping that each of you has a healthy and prosperous 2012.

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 If you’d asked me a year ago what a podcast was, I wouldn’t have known. But I’ve since become acquainted with the technology that allows a writer to share audio recordings of their stories (or poems) with listeners.

Although it’s intimidating to sit in front of a microphone, book in hand, and read — at least I can click on a button, stop the recording, delete the dreadful version, and re-record. Only Sandy the Black-Mouthed Cur knows how many times it took to get a useable recording — and she’s sworn to secrecy.

Public readings aren’t so forgiving. If you stumble on a word or mix-up a phrase or mispronounce your main character’s name — there’s no erase button.

 I have Broad Universe http://broaduniverse.org  that wonderful organization for women who write (and illustrate) fantasy, science fiction, and horror, to thank for pushing me into the world of podcasting. They have a monthly podcast anthology program that presents the work of their members. I participated in the May 2011 “Celebrating Motherhood” and September 2011: “Fairy Tales for Grown Ups” programs.

You can go to the Broadpod site and listen to my first 2 attempts at reading & recording  excerpts from 2 stories included in The Greener Forest:

“Birdling” – http://broadpod.posterous.com/may-2011-celebrating-motherhood – “Birdling” begins 1 minute & 51 seconds into the podcast.

“Blood of the Swan” – http://broadpod.posterous.com/september-2011-fairy-tales-for-grown-ups  – “Blood of the Swan” begins 19 minutes & 47 seconds into the podcast.

Just forgive my mistakes. I hope to get better at podcasting. Who knows, I might even manage to put together some music and a complete short story in the future and post it on iTunes. So take a listen, and enjoy!

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 After a long wait, I finally have in hand my copy of While The Morning Stars Sing – An Anthology of Spiritually Infused Speculative Fiction. Congratulations to editor Lyndon Perry for this big (over 250 pages), beautiful book. The cover art, Transcendence, by Lance Red is even more powerful in-person than on-line. I can’t wait to sit quietly tonight and begin to read the stories and poems that others have written.

But wait — isn’t the 1st thing I should do is re-read my story, Blood of the Swan? Actually, no! I’ve already spent hours writing the dark fantasy story, then hours editing it after in-put from my writing group’s comments (thanks Katie & Michelle). I re-read it, scanning for typos, before I sent Blood of the Swan to the Writers of the Future Contest where it earned an Honorable Mention. Next, I made a few more revisions before sending it out to prospective publishers. ResAliens Press was the 2nd place I sent the tale to, and upon seeing this anthology — I know it is where the story was meant to find a home.

And isn’t finding the right publication for your story the trick? First, you need to find that editor who connects with your characters, recognizes the merit in the tale, and has the space for your 5,000 words or so. Then, the book or magazine has to make it through the publication process. Sadly, many wonderful small presses fall by the wayside, their projects incomplete and unpublished. And finally, you hope that readers will not only enjoy your story, but remember it once they’ve closed the book.

For memorable stories that stir an emotional response, stay with the reader, and maybe even cause him or her to think about their views on a part of life are the goal of most writers. Not an early bird, I suspect as I stay up late this evening reading the work of my co-contributors in While The Morning Stars Sing, I might witness the song of morning stars and summer moon as the bats wing, the owls call, and the grandfather clock chimes midnight.

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The chilliness of late autumn has settled over Wood’s Edge. Juncoes & squirrels haunt the birdfeeders. And just a few days ago, I spent another wonderful Thanksgiving with family. This time of year causes me to think about the things I’m most grateful for. The blessings in my life are many, and family and dear friends are near the top of that list. What, you may ask, does that have to do with my writing? More than you may realize!

One of the reoccurring themes in my fiction is family. Sometimes, it’s a traditional family like the parents, children, and mother-in-law in my mermaid story, “Pacific,” due to appear in Shelter of Daylight from Sam’s Dot Publishing and my forthcoming book from Cold Moon Press: The Greener Forest. Sometimes, it’s a family of both blood relations and friends like the Chaloupek Brothers’ Amazing Oddities performers in “Sideshow by the Sea.”  And sometimes, it’s a patchwork family the protagonist builds through the course of a story.

Whether in fiction or real life, most people need security, a sense of belonging, and love. In “Blood of the Swan,” (another story set to appear in The Greener Forest) the main character, Jorund, is a member of a family and a village community. Yet while on his quest for a healer, Jorund finds he’s ready for a different kind of belonging and love. In my science-fiction adventure, “Assassins,” Flynn has abandoned the security of his mother and the family business. When he finally finds someone he wants to love and protect, he struggles to return home.

Home and all that word represents – that’s the key. Whether it’s Frank Baum’s Dorothy building a family of a scarecrow, tin man, lion, and wizard who still longs for Auntie Em and the farm, or Tolkien’s Frodo building a Fellowship who still longs for The Shire – the characters of a story can teach us about family, friendship, and that there’s no place like home.

And so, this November & December, I wish you a holiday season filled with family, whether traditional, non-traditional, or a combination of the two. May you feel secure and loved, and may you take a few minutes away from the football games and dinner table to read a good story or two.

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The third eye, the eye that sees into the mind of another or into the future or past, is often needed when writing a speculative fiction story.

In Science Fiction, it’s common for diverse cultures and alien beings to cross paths. But how do they communicate? A version of the Star Trek universal translator can be employed. I used a translation device in my SF short story, “Pawprints of the Margay.” But that technology isn’t always available in the storyline.

Another SF communication option is to have one or more of the characters able to read minds or sense feelings. An empath (think Star Trek Next Generation’s Troi), a mind-reader, even Spock’s Vulcan mind-meld will all do. The ability to see into another’s thoughts can be a trait of one of the races included in the tale, or a special talent of a select character or group. The singing opossum in my story, “Assassins,” seems to know what is going on in the mind of the central character, Flynn. In this case, the reader is never certain whether an animal third eye is being used, since the point-of-view of the tale doesn’t include the opossum.

In Fantasy, the universal translator is replaced by a wisewoman or wizard character who understands multiple languages (and quite often has special third eye abilities, too). JRR Tolkien’s wizard, Gandalf, and The Lord of the Rings’ elf queen, Galadriel, are examples.  In my story published in UK’s Ethereal Tales, “The Garden Shop,” the main character has the ability to speak and understand the language of plants — certainly an uncommon linguistic talent, but one necessary for this tale.

Sometimes in Fantasy (and SF) there is a Rosetta Stone that serves as a translation device. At other times, a “common” language (or tongue) that all races understand is present. But most often, one or more of the characters has third eye abilities.

In the new anthology from Dark Quest Books, Dragon’s Lure, the dragon in my story, “Weathermaker,” can both send and receive communication by thought. The young woman at the center of the short, May, speaks out-loud. She soon realizes the dragon must be talking to her in mind-speak as well as in an audible voice.

The Residential Aliens anthology, When the Morning Stars Sing, includes my fantasy short, “Blood of the Swan.” Liv, the swan-maiden at the center of this tale has foreknowledge of the arrival of Jorund, the man who comes to ask for her help as a healer. Liv not only has foresight, but also the ability to read some of what is in a person’s mind or heart. And that special ability is intrical to the plot.

Whether called an empath, psychic, mind-melder, thought-reader, swan-maiden, wizard, or dragon — it’s common to find a character with a third eye in speculative fiction. Just take a look at your favorite SF/F tales, and you’ll see what I mean.

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