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Posts Tagged ‘Weathermaker’

I’ve been a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series of books since they were first published. I think I fell in love with the idea of a dragon who was both apart from a character and a part of the character. I even had compassion for the poor watch-beast who tried to protect Lessa in the first Pern book.

Perhaps it’s because I was born in the Year of the Dragon (I’ll leave you to figure out which Year of the Dragon that is), but those magical reptiles have always held a special place in my heart. I’ve included a dragon in a few short stories, most notably in “Weathermaker,” included in my book The Greener Forest (soon to be updated with an additional story and poem included and released from Pole to Pole Publishing).

Plus, a dragon plays an important role in my novel, The Enchanted Skean – though Fafnir is a wee dragon in this first book of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir. For fans of the The Enchanted Skean, look for a novelette length tie-in book from Pole to Pole Publishing by year’s end.

Now, back to Pern! I loved the fantasy vibe of the series, even though it was officially science fiction. These books tread that delightful ground between genres where I often like the stories I read (and write) to exist.

So hoorah! Though Anne McCaffrey is no longer with us, her marvelous dragon-filled world can still bring joy to fans new and old. As for me- I can’t wait to see what movie technology and good live-action can do for The Dragon Riders of Pern. Here’s the link to the article.

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I’m a great fan of ravens – whether the Baltimore football team or the darkly feathered bird of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem. I’ve visited Poe’s grave and attended football games. One of my poems about both the Ravens football team and Edgar Allen Poe was published in The Baltimore Review and released as part of a poetry CD. Another one of my poems, Raven, is competing until midnight Jan 26th on the Preditors & Editors Poll.

I challenge Baltimore Raven fans and Poe fans to vote for my poem, “Raven,” until Jan. 26th midnight at: http://www.critters.org/predpoll/poem.shtml Let’s put the word RAVEN at the top of the poll!

And for those who’d like to read Raven, along with my nominated Short Story-Science Fiction, Weathermaker (pub. in Dragon’s Lure); NonFiction article, Tussie-Mussies (pub. in Faerie Magazine); and view my nominated artwork, Wizard (pub. in Aoife’s Kiss), – check out a temporary page on my website: http://www.vonniewinslowcrist.com/preditors__editors_nominated_work

 If you’re so inclined, you can also vote for me, Vonnie Winslow Crist, as author, poet, and artist in the Preditors & Editors Poll. Here’s the link for Artwork to vote for Wizard – you can easily get to the other categories from here: http://www.critters.org/predpoll/artwork.shtml

So thanks to all you who decide to vote. Hooray for Edgar Allen Poe, whose birthday is later this month. And Good Luck, Ravens in tomorrow’s game!

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 At November’s FaeryCon, I had the honor of meeting and chatting briefly with illustrator extraordinaire, Michael Hague. An admirer of his work for many years, I’d brought along 2 books with hopes for an autograph. Not only did he sign, The Little Mermaid, but he sketched in ballpoint pen a wonderful mermaid and fish on the first pages of the book. His sketching style, quiet manner, and kind smile reminded me of Pop (my grandfather) who used to spend countless hours drawing with me when I was a child. I must admit to being a little misty-eyed when I thanked Michael and turned to leave.

“Wait, isn’t that Tolkien’s World?” Michael asked pointing at the unsigned book I held.

 “Yes,” I responded, and began to explain I didn’t want to take too much of his time since there were other fans waiting in line for autographs. Michael waved his hand in the air, then proceeded to sketch a roaring dragon’s head opposite his painting of “Smaug the Magnificent” from The Hobbit.

 Born in the Year of the Dragon, those legendary creatures remain my favorite fabulous beastie. And in 2010, not only did I manage to place my dragon story, “Weathermaker,” in Dragon’s Lure: Legends of a New Age and became the proud owner of a Michael Hague dragon sketch – but I just learned that a recent review of Dragon’s Lure features a paragraph about “Weathermaker.”

So thanks to BSC Review and their book reviewer. For those who’d like to take a peek at the review: http://tinyurl.com/review-of-dragons-lure (Paragraph #4 focuses on “Weathermaker”)

 And now, to begin a dragon sketch of my own!

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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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 Great news: My zombie love story, The Return of Gunnar Kettilson, has been accepted by the print magazine, Cemetary Moon. Editor Chris does a wonderful job. The magazine is perfectbound with nice cover art, and I’m delighted to be included. This is my 1st zombie tale, and it begins:

“Celia sat straight-backed on an oak bench in her moonlit kitchen with the long-handled ax stretched across her lap. She listened for the shambling footsteps of her husband, Gunnar Kettilson, comforted in small measure by the presence of her great-aunt beside her on the bench. ‘Do you think he will come?’ Celia whispered as she rubbed the wooden ax handle with her thumb and wondered if there’d be maggots…”

I’ve finally completed the rewrite on my dragon story, Weathermaker, and sent it off to the editor of the Dragon’s Lure anthology. Will it be accepted? I have no idea, but I do know is it’s a better story now that I’ve addressed some of Editor Danielle’s concerns. Plus, I got to add some more dairy product lures (milk, string cheese & yogurt), some cool info on the stages of Chinese dragonhood, and a bit about Chinese painting.

Perhaps you can tell that I do research on the topics included in my stories. Research not only gives an author more information to help her create the world of her story, but also lends an air of authenticity to the writing. And sometimes, a scrap of myth or folklore discovered while doing research will push the narrative in a new and exciting direction.

In conclusion: Hooray for Zombie Love! Let’s hope Lung, the dragon in Weathermaker, proves lucky! And writers, why not try a little research?

For those interested, both of these tales are now available in my book, The Greener Forest.

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 Yesterday, I re-read the comments from Editor Danielle on my short story, “Weathermaker.” Yikes! There were suggestions, questions & changes galore. Now, comes the tough part: Do I find a way to solve all the problems pointed out by this editor in the 2 weeks for re-write she has given me & re-submit the story, or do I leave “Weathermaker” as is & send it elsewhere?

So here are my choices: 1) Easy answer: leave it as is & send story elsewhere. 2) Some work answer: make a few changes & send story elsewhere. 3) Lots of work with no promise of publication: make the changes, lengthen the story, explore areas of the narrative that are just hinted at, delete areas of the story that are not necessary for the forward movement of plot, make the characters deeper, etc.

If the writer respects the editor (and I do), then the choice she makes says a lot about what she values. #1 is for the writer who’d rather see a work of lesser quality published just to be published. #2 is for the writer who’s willing to put in some effort to improve her writing, but is still publication driven. #3 is for the writer who’s committed to putting her best writing on the editor’s desk, and hopefully, in print.

Which did I choose? #3 – While after days of rewriting & revising, the resulting version of “Weathermaker” might not make it into this anthology, the story will be the best one I can write at the moment. And the resulting tale should have a better chance of publication elsewhere. So — Thank you, Editor Danielle for challenging me to write a better story!

Update: The finished story can be read in The Greener Forest.

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