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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’

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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Eddie Louise Final-square med-res Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Eddie Louise. Eddie Louise has had a lot of experience writing. As a child, she composed nonsense songs to keep herself company herding cattle across the lonely Wyoming plains. Discovering the theater led her to write melodramatic plays full of artful alliterations, which in turn led to composing the book for a musical on the beaches of Monterey. She ran away from home to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she explored her passion for writing novels. Having landed back in California she is writer of the hit Audio Drama Podcast, The Tale of Sage & Savant and the novel TransMIGRATIONS, The Tales of Sage & Savant Book One, published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

2018-03-26-TransMIGRATIONS_Cover-DRAFT Eddie Louise’s latest book, TransMIGRATIONS is a novel steampunk fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—Telesensation agent Justin Bremer studies time—specifically the effects of journeying through it. His assignment, funded by a mysterious organization, ‘Les Charges de L’Affaires,’ is to observe the timeline of a young Victorian scientist who lived approximately 2000 years in the past.

Equipped with an AI neural-interface, Bremer carefully documents the experiments of Dr. Petronella Sage and her archaeologist friend Erasmus Savant. The Doctor, while investigating the effects of electricity on human flesh, becomes obsessed by the curious and vivid shared hallucinations induced after she and Savant are accidentally electrocuted.

Each fantastical adventure (which they call a ‘transmigration’) takes the intrepid duo into the unimaginable lives of persons and places throughout history. Justin Bremer observes and dutifully records it all.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, TransMIGRATIONS?

It is terribly clichéd to admit this but the idea came from a dream. I am a very visceral dreamer and often my dreams play out with cinematic clarity. I also have serial dreams where a story will continue over many nights. This is a talent that is very helpful in writing stories! Unfortunately, sometimes I get ‘stuck’ where the same dream or snippet of a dream plays over and over, night after night. Sage and Savant came from just such a dream. Every night for about two weeks I dreamed the same fragment: I was a female scientist in the Victorian age (corset, long skirts, lots of hair) and I had been given a VERY limited time in the Galvanistic laboratory to prove my thesis to the male supervisors of my program. I would set up a bank of very complicated electrical equipment and then electrocute myself. That was it—each and every night I electrocuted myself which would shock me awake and my first thought would be, ‘It worked!’ Eventually I decided I had to write about this scientist and figure out why anyone would do such a thing and think of it as a victory.

VarnerPhotography-6550 Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Doctor Petronella Sage. She is clever, complicated, and conceited. She has never met a problem she couldn’t solve through sheer obstinacy. She loves passionately, yet denies herself the expression of that love because it would end her career. She is a mad scientist whose motto is ‘Death is no barrier to science!’and I love her!

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

I am traditionally published with Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing out of Canada. Edge is the Canadian equivalent of Tor. The chief advantage of the traditional route is that you have a whole team helping your book into the world. The cover art Edge secured for me is amazing and all four books will be consistent and visually stunning. The typesetting on the inside of the book helped deal with some really gnarly problems I had created. (Namely conversations that take place via neural implant and ALSO out loud in the same dialog section—my publisher figured out how to indicate out-loud speech separate from thoughts, separate from in-head conversations without breaking the flow of the scene—they are geniuses!) The disadvantages—well of course you are not in control of timelines or price points. In truth, I plan on becoming a Hybrid author with some self published titles alongside my traditional titles.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I love the choice. I would say I’m an architectural gardener. I like to lay out a basic plot line (I call it my Tentpoles) but then free write everything else. For me some remarkable things happen when I do this. For example, I am currently writing Book Two, TransANIMATIONS and I had to deal with a plot hole I had created in the 3rd episode of Season Two of the podcast. EXCEPT it turned out it wasn’t a plot hole—it was foreshadowing for something that we find out about in Season Three. I had no idea of this when I wrote the original story, but my subconscious had it all worked out and let me know about it when the time was right.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I grew up on a 20,000 acre cattle ranch in the middle of Wyoming. I had never seen a body of water larger than a reservoir and a creek. At age seven, I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and I knew I would grow up to be a pirate and sail the seven seas. That book opened an entire world as magical to me as Narnia was when I read that the next year. The ability for this arcane magic we name story and inscribe on the bones of trees to create truth out of thin air, to open portals, to transport us is alchemy of the soul and RL Stevenson was my first tutor in that art.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I am just putting the finishing touches on TranANIMATIONS, Book Two of The Tales of Sage and Savant, and of course I have a monthly episode to keep abreast of. By next week I am hoping to dive into the final edits for Palace Du Mers, a Steampunk novel set on an elegant ship that I plan on self publishing in spring.

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

My writing teacher in Scotland said: “Drafting a novel is like a potter throwing a pot. Step one is to mix the clay. Your first draft is just this—the clay from which you will form your pot. The only thing you need in enough clay for the pot you envision. Don’t worry about the pot shape; that will come later when you put it on the wheel. For now, just mix the clay.” This advice freed me to write a messy first draft. Sometimes I write a scene two or three times sequentially trying different approaches. Then when I move the clay of my novel onto the wheel of editing I choose what serves and what doesn’t.

Want to learn more about Eddie Louise and TransMIGRATIONS? Check out her: Website, Sage and Savant WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy. Available in Kindle, Nook, Kobo and bookstores everywhere or for a Signed Copy go here.

Thanks to author Eddie Louise for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Claire Davon on February 5, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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Robert Louis Stevenson Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote some of my favorite books: Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Even though he died in 1894, his work still resonates with readers. The Robert Louis Stevenson quote I’ll share first is often re-worked and painted on signs, embroidered on samplers, and printed on buttons: “That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much.”

In my life, I try to live as well and kindly as possible, laugh (at no one’s expense) often, and love my family and friends. I also try to show love and kindness to all the creatures with whom I share the planet.

 

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Well, shiver me timbers! Once again, September 19th has arrived, and it’s time to celebrate the roguishly fun Talk Like a Pirate Day. The official website offers a new sing-along this year in addition to their usual pirate fare: http://talklikeapirate.com For those of a more delicate disposition, might I suggest viewing the options listed for kids after you enter the site.

Why such interest in pirates? Nowadays, we have Johnny Depp and Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow to thank for renewed interest in these scallywags of the seas – but long before the films arrived in theaters, pirates had captured our imaginations. William Kidd, Black Bart, Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, and others seemed to live a life filled with swashbuckling escapades. They sailed to exotic lands, captured treasures, drank a lot of rum, and had romantic encounters with beautiful women.

And speaking of women, there were a few ladies who cast aside their frilly gowns, dressed in male garb, and pursued the life of a sailor. In the 17th and 18th century, there are records of female pirate captains including Charlotte de Berry, Mary Read, and Anne Bonny. But like their male counterparts, their life of adventure ended badly.

 After a shipwreck, Charlotte’s husband lost the “drawing of straws” selection process, and was eaten by his starving shipmates. Once they were rescued, Charlotte chose to join her dead husband, and jumped from the ship into the sea. Mary Read and Anne Bonny were eventually captured, tried as pirates, and sentenced to hang. They avoided the noose by claiming they were pregnant. Mary died in prison. As for Anne Bonny – she vanished. The romantic in me likes to believe a guard fell in love with her and let her escape, or another pirate was so smitten with her independent nature that he risked all to set her free.

And who can forget Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island? As a teen, I read the novel and saw the movie. The book introduced me (and many other young readers) to: “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest…” (Chapt.1) and “Pieces of eight!” shouted out by Long John Silver’s parrot, Captain Flint (Chapt. 27). The beauty and wildness of the exotic locales visited by pirates was aptly captured by Stevenson, especially in this bit from Chapter 27: “Suddenly a kind of brightness fell upon me. I looked up; a pale glimmer of moonbeams had alighted on the summit of the Spy-glass, and soon after I saw something broad and silvery moving low down behind the trees, and knew the moon had risen.”

But it was the ambiguity of Long John Silver that I liked best in Treasure Island. (Writers take note!) Despicable and likeable, he was the forerunner of Captain Jack Sparrow and his comrades. Robert Louis Stevenson introduced his readers to a most complicated character. And like the charming and deadly, Long John Silver, pirates are to be scorned and envied:

“’John Silver,’ he said, ‘you’re a prodigious villain and imposter – a monstrous imposter, sir. I am told I am not to prosecute you. Well, then, I will not. But the dead men, sir, hang around your neck like mill-stones.’

‘Thank you kindly, sir,’ replied Long John…” (Chapter 33)

The words most often associated with these privateers gone wild: independent, romantic, freedom, and adventure – are, I think, the reason we find the pirate life so appealing. Most of us value freedom and independence. Many of us crave adventure – though more tame than battling opposing pirates with knives, axes, pistols, cannons, and machetes. Lots of us daydream about the romantic life at sea – minus, of course, the scurvy, worm-ridden food, appalling living conditions, and violence.

But let’s set aside the reality of trials and hangings, torture and peg legs, and poor hygiene in the extreme – at least for one day a year, we can shout “Aarrgh!” for no reason. We can relax the  workaday-world seriousness, and greet our office mates with an “Ahoy, mateys” rather than the usual “Good morning.” And we can thumb through a copy of Treasure Island dreaming of adventure.

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