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Guest Post: Tremontaine’s Karen A. R. Lord shares her Philosophy of the Sword

18 Oct

This blog post originally appeared at Serial Box, where you can find serialized fiction released in episodes week after week. Karen Lord is one of the writers on Tremontaine season 3.

Tremontaine is the critically acclaimed prequel to Ellen Kushner’s beloved Riverside novels, which developed a cult following beginning with Swordspoint in 1987. The “Fantasy of Manners” focuses on decadent world building and interpersonal intrigue, and has been noted for its progressive expression of gender and sexuality. Team-written by some of today’s most exciting authors, Tremontaine season 3 is brought to you by Ellen Kushner, Joel Derfner, Karen Lord, Delia Sherman, Racheline Maltese, Paul Witcover, Tessa Gratton, and Liz Duffy Adams. The first episode is available for free at Serial Box and can be found here.

Being a writer is like being a director with a crowd of characters demanding ‘So, what’s my motivation?’ Like real-life actors, they don’t always listen when you tell them your plans, which is why flexible plots and rewrites are a part of my process.

It’s a process that works when I’m writing a book by myself, but a joint writing project like Tremontaine is a different beast. The world belongs to Ellen Kushner, the characters belong to Ellen and the full team of Tremontaine writers, and being on the same page is not a mere metaphor, but an absolute necessity. The Tremontaine writers are passionate about the world and the characters, and it’s been an exciting experience to work with them. Continue reading


Behind the Scenes of the Clan Chronicles Take 3: The Science by Julie Czerneda (Guest Post)

5 Oct


On a previous stop on my tour, I began answering readers’ questions about the series’ content. On another, about my writerly process. Last, and far from least, comes the group about the science beneath my work. For those unfamiliar, my background and passion is biology, plus space science, occasional physics, geology, chemistry…it’s all so FUN, there isn’t time in a life. A very good thing, therefore, that I write SF. Continue reading

Guest Post by Stephanie Burgis: Alternate History: Taking a New Path

15 Sep

I love historical fantasy, both as a reader and a writer – which won’t surprise anyone who’s read any of my first five novels. Three of them (forming the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy) were frothy, fun MG adventures set in Regency England; two of them (Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets) were dark, romantic adult fantasies set at different historical points in the Habsburgs’ Austro-Hungarian empire.

My first three MG novels and my first two adult novels have been very different in tone from each other, but there was one thing all five of those novels had in common: They all approached historical fantasy as a secret history, in which magic worked discreetly behind the scenes of our real history books. (For instance, the opera house at Eszterháza Palace really did burn down in the historical year I wrote about in Masks and Shadows – but in reality, I very much doubt it was burned down by an act of dark alchemy! Or at least…that certainly wasn’t the official explanation that landed in any of the history books I read. 😉 )
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Horror Review: John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester (Reviewed by Penny Reeve)

10 Sep

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a glorious cover. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with flying in the face of the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” in my opinion, especially when it’s for John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester, a glorious anodized looking thing which calls to mind a washed out ’70s psychedelic vibe, the colors layered over a cornfield ready to be shorn of its produce. Strangely haunting, one look saw Universal Harvester make its way onto my Amazon wishlist almost before I’d read the synopsis. It also helped that the novel is the second by John Darnielle — brainchild behind the Mountain Goats, whose work I admire — though I must confess this is my first foray into his literary work. Continue reading

Guest Post: The Hobby-Writer’s Tale by Basil Mahon

1 Sep


I took up book writing after retiring from regular work. It’s a wonderful hobby, but a harsh one. Being able to write well is not enough. To gain even the most modest success you need passion for your subject, great perseverance, and a measure of luck. I am one of the lucky ones, having had three books published which together have sold about 50,000 copies and been translated into five languages. This hasn’t made me rich but I have the tremendous satisfaction of knowing that every day someone, somewhere in the world, is getting enjoyment from reading my words. Perhaps something of what I’ve learned on the way may be useful to someone setting out on a similar path. I hope so. Continue reading

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