the peril of proper names

the peril of proper names

It all started with pimchie flowers. The Blue Sword is one of my favorite books and a few years ago I finally got it into my bookclub for everyone to read the wonder that is Robin McKinley. And for about 20 minutes at the beginning of our discussion, all they could talk about was pimchie flowers. McKinley mentions them a few times in the opening chapter; nothing I would have considered over the top. I got what she was doing – trying to create this world with some nice, specific but foreign thing that said this wasn’t our earth. But my book club didn’t care about pimchie flowers and if […]

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myth vs fairy tale

myth vs fairy tale

For several years I’ve thought about the distinction between myth and fairy tale. It’s an interesting conversation and this is just a blog post on what could probably be an entire college course. In some ways the two might seem unrelated, especially since we exist in a culture that recognizes the stories that are myths and the stories that are fairy tales, by their titles if nothing else. There are, however, similarities. Both are forms of fantasy narrative. We don’t really create either anymore (and the how and why of that is an entirely different post). And we retell both frequently. So what makes one a fairy tale and another […]

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Enchanted Storms Cover Reveal

Enchanted Storms Cover Reveal

When I revealed the cover of Tattered Heart, I had a whole story behind it. The images that eventually became incorporated into the cover were such an inspiration and focus while writing the novel that the final cover would have seemed incomplete without the story. It wasn’t the same with Enchanted Storms. I came across the images for Tattered Heart. I would have had to search for Enchanted Storms. And it felt like if I had searched, I would have somehow been defining the story by those images; making it fit into their frame and scope. Something in me needed to let this story be whatever it needed to be; […]

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Fairy Tale Legacy: Enchanted

Fairy Tale Legacy: Enchanted

I know it’s not a proper fairy tale but Enchanted was really the first movie that set me down the path of understanding the fairy tale legacy. I know a lot of people love this movie, and this post isn’t meant to diminish that in any way because it is a fun, sweet movie. The thing is, Enchanted was the first time Disney essentially said, ‘We spent decades making movies about these fairy tales. We’ve made these princesses weak and naive and utterly sweet. We’ve made these princes stalwart and therefore unrealistic, unflinching heroes. It’s a farce and we need to fix it. We need to show real men in […]

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things of 2015

things of 2015

If 2014 was the year of traveling, 2015 has been the year of author events. I discovered, somewhere along the way that there’s a lot of great book community activity around me and I jumped into the middle of it. Even made a new friend on New Year’s Eve. The other part of this year has been editing my audiobook. I had no idea when I started everything that would be involved or how long it would take. My goals for the year were laughable. I was going to publish the audiobook of Tattered Heart by March and publish Enchanted Storms (which didn’t even have a title yet). I was […]

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Fairy Tale Legacy: The Snow Queen

Fairy Tale Legacy: The Snow Queen

We have this false idea that fairy tales are about weak and passive heroines, damsels in distress. So we are always fighting against a fairy tale legacy that doesn’t exist. The interesting thing about The Snow Queen is that most retellings center their story around the villain rather than the heroine. Hans Christian Anderson’s story was all about Gerta, this girl who went to the end of the world to rescue her friend and adopted brother, Kay. She is waylaid and helped and thwarted in her quest. But it is very much her quest; her choices to save him. Disney’s Frozen, perhaps in opposition to the fairy tale legacy, eliminates […]

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Their Fractured Light

Their Fractured Light

This story is not nearly as much fun as the one for These Broken Stars. Mostly I was excited to see Amie and Meg again because they are so much fun. And to complete the trilogy and get Their Fractured Light. I had no idea I would laugh so hard or be so giddy when the night was over. Amie started off with, “I flew 20 hours yesterday so this is either going to be glorious or a car crash. I’m as excited as you to find out which.” It was, in fact, glorious. I think, perhaps, this just made them a little more free when answering questions, which they […]

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Every day sci-fi

Every day sci-fi

I was thinking about my topics for Sci-fi November, considering what I wanted to explore in the genre or specific books or tv shows to discuss, I realized everything is kind of sci-fi these days. It’s really not, but in some ways sci-fi has strayed in very ordinary places. Some stories have space ships and time travel and highly advanced technology, obviously sci-fi. And some shows are just ordinary dramas or crime shows with technology just ahead of where we are today. Technically sci-fi by using technology that doesn’t exist, but not really. I think we’ve reached a point in our technological evolution where it’s so simple for any writer […]

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Sci-fi and fairy tale legacies

Sci-fi and fairy tale legacies

I really wanted to pull off a sci-fi fairy tale legacy. How cool would that be to look at a sci-fi story that’s really a fairy tale and explore how it fits into or defies the fairy tale legacy? But I couldn’t find one. Mostly I looked at tv shows because that’s my favorite sci-fi medium, but I also thought through books and movies and I couldn’t find anything. Which got me thinking – what makes a story a fairy tale? Does it have to be a retelling of one of the classic tales (like Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles)? Does it have to include fairies (like The Treachery of Beautiful […]

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the 80 percent rule

the 80 percent rule

I have an 80% rule when writing. It is the supporting caveat to all my other writing rules. You could say, though I call them all rules, that it turns them more into guidelines. Because the 80% rule is that I only follow all my other rules 80% of the time. The thing is, writing is not the domain of the perfectionist. You will never do everything in any story 100% of the time. You will use adverbs. You will need boring dialog tags. You’ll need an extra “that” to make the sentence flow or a passive verb just to get the point across. I will absolutely have fragment sentences […]

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