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What's New:

The Neverland's Library Anthology is now on sale! With an introduction by Tad Williams and stories by Mark Lawrence, Marie Brennan, Jeff Salyards, Miles Cameron, Joseph R. Lallo, Mercedes M. Yardley, William Meikle, J.M. Martin, Teresa Frohock, and many more, the Neverland's Library Anthology is a collection of original works will take readers back to that moment when they first fell in love with the genre.

Miserere is now available at Audible.

My short story "Naked the Night Sings" is only one of the many fine stories in the urban fantasy anthology Manifesto: UF, edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann, Angelic Knight Press, 2013.

Free!

 

Death comes for us all.

Keep her as your friend.

 Read "La Santisima"

Novels

"Filled with show me now and tell me later prose, [Miserere] was one of the finest debuts of 2011 and remains a novel that I remember details from nearly three years later." Justin Landon, Tor.com

Download an excerpt of Miserere here

Monday
Jul182011

Urban fantasy, or is it? by Alex Bledsoe

Thanks to all the great bloggers who have (and have yet) to participate in my blog tour! I've got a couple more interviews coming up this week, but I thought today, we'd take a break from me and let someone else talk for a while.

My friend Alex Bledsoe, author of the Eddie LaCrosse series and those devilish vampires in Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood, is taking the helm today to talk about urban fantasy and his newest novel, The Hum and the Shiver. I've had a chance to read an ARC of The Hum and the Shiver, and Alex once more shows off his versatile talent by dishing up a new tale that moves like a song on a summer night.

And there is a contest, so be sure you read for your chance to win a copy of The Hum and the Shiver.

For those of you who don't know, Alex grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland and twenty minutes from Nutbush. He has been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls and mustard, writes before six in the morning and tries to teach his two sons to act like they've been to town before. You can keep up with Alex on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, and read his blog here.

Urban Fantasy, Or Is It?

by

Alex Bledsoe

Elizabeth Bear defines urban fantasy thus: “In urban fantasy you don’t leave the chip shop and go to another world to find the unicorn. Rather, the unicorn shows up at the chip shop and orders the cod.”

But what do you call it if the unicorn has to bring his tacklebox and catch his own cod? Or climb on the tractor and put the weevil spray on his cotton field? What do you call the tropes of urban fantasy if they're no longer urban, but are still contemporary?

This is what I've run into trying to describe my next novel, The Hum and the Shiver, out in September from Tor.

It's set in the modern, contemporary, up-to-the-minute world. There are cars, trucks, cell phones and computers. But the characters are farmers, returning soldiers, and small-town ministers. They may brush up against faery magic, but they do it in the mountains of East Tennessee, not the gritty streets of Chicago or St. Louis.

So what is it?

The obvious inversion, "rural fantasy," seems kind of...blah. "Urban" implies trendy fashion, electronics, fast-paced transportation and the smell of exhaust pipes, which then makes a vivid contrast to "fantasy." "Urban" implies sophistication. "Rural," though, conjures up images of fields, forests and lakes, which are very much the traditional fantasy setting. And you have the same problem with terms such as "agrarian fantasy," "rustic fantasy," or "country fantasy." None of them imply modernity.

There are other synonyms: "pastoral" might work, except that my story has trucks running from highway patrolmen, knives drawn in anger and at least one mention of dangling intestines. "Arcadian" has a nice lilt, but most people wouldn't know what it means; same with "bucolic," which sounds like an advanced form of colic, and believe me, that's nothing anyone wants to experience.

Maybe my process is wrong, though. Is looking for antonyms to "urban" and/or synonyms for "rural" too obvious? Perhaps we need a totally unrelated term that connotes modern, yet rural, reality. Something that says farms, trailers, pickups and railroad crossings.

I like "dirt road." "Dirt" implies the rural location, but "road" carries connotations of modern vehicles. Which gives us the term, "dirt road fantasy."

What do you think? Is "dirt road fantasy" a valid opposite for "urban fantasy"? Will it ever catch on? Or do you have an even better idea?

The best suggestion will win a free signed copy of The Hum and the Shiver.

The contest will end July 24, 2011.

Sunday
Jul172011

the devil is in the details ...

...and anywhere else worth hanging out.

Everybody gets hung up in their stories from time to time. Sometimes a subtle shift in gears will speed things up. For me, it was:

  • one character's gender had to change; and
  • I had to approach a scene from a different character's point of view.

It doesn't sound like a lot, but the gender change enabled me to add new plot twists that deepened the stakes for the characters. I'm always looking for that emotional build-up for my characters, and until this week, all the action was there, but very little emotion. Without the emotional angle, my reader isn't invested in the characters or their problems.

The point of view change gave me the ability to show the reader information that my protagonist wouldn't know. I don't like frustrating my readers, and in this case, changing point of view moved the story along a lot faster. It's okay for my protagonist to be in the dark; however, the reader needs to know what is going on at all times.

People seem to be enjoying Miserere, so I'm moving ahead with my synopsis of Dolorosa and will revisit Woerld as time allows.

Meanwhile, I've got a couple of interviews that will be posted this week, more giveaways for Miserere to announce, and just in case you're bored with me (I know I am), Alex Bledsoe is going to stop by this week with a guest post. You will have a chance to win a copy of his latest novel The Hum and the Shiver. Very, very cool book and yes, you wants it, precious, I know you do ...

Friday
Jul152011

the best of times with my friend Kelly

I'm hanging out with my dear friend Kelly Kennedy Bryson over at her blog today! Kelly talks about how we met and her overuse of the word "gel" in her critiques (as in: "that scene where the horse lives doesn't gel for me" [so I killed the horse] or "Wow, when the cross flips upside down in that exorcism scene, it really gels" [evil laughter]).

Kelly had a lot of super questions for me and we talk about Miserere, writing, and books that really blew me away during my research.

The one book that absolutely blew me away was Armando Maggi's Satan's Rhetoric: A Study of Renaissance Demonology. Maggi's analyses of Renaissance treatises on demonology and his correlation between language and possession astounded me. He writes that in a possession, the "'virus' assaulting the mind is the mind itself. In a demonic possession, the mind listens to its own annihilation" ... [READ MORE]

 

Wednesday
Jul132011

Talking about Wicked Women in a Den of Dark Fiction

I've been reading Gef's blog for some time now, so I was totally thrilled when he asked me to do a blog post for Wag the Fox. I think this is one of the best dark fiction blogs out there. If you haven't been reading Wag the Fox, take a peek. There are super posts on book and movie reviews, guest posts, and more.

Today, I'm talking about my lovely Catarina and our expectations about villains and gender:

... it never occurred to me to make Catarina anything but female and violent. She uses sex as a weapon; it’s not about satisfaction, it’s about power. She is physically and verbally abusive—in many ways, she exhibits the personality of an addict. I could have made her male and given her all those attributes and no one would have blinked an eye.

Does that mean we expect that kind of behavior from men? Is that why we have no problem with male villains? Guys are born to be power hungry and driven—we expect violence from men? ... [READ MORE]

Tuesday
Jul122011

an interview is up at My Bookish Ways

I've got an interview up today with Kristin at My Bookish Ways where I'm talking about Miserere, libraries, and early writing influences among other things ... Cool questions and ANOTHER chance to win a copy of Miserere at Kristin's blog:

I grew up in a rural area where we were within walking distance of nothing. So every Saturday morning, my dad would round all three of us up and drive us into town to the Reidsville Public Library. We’d get there around nine in the morning and stay until the library closed at noon. We were allowed to check out as many books as we liked, and I spent the whole summer reading. I think it was that early exposure to the library that really defined my love of literature. It’s one of the reasons I love libraries so much and see their value to our communities ... [READ MORE]

Monday
Jul112011

my idea of a perfect day

It involves my family and my favorite season, autumn. Please grab a snack or your favorite drink and join me for a quiet moment with Karen at her blog For What It's Worth.

Sunday
Jul102011

how Miserere and Woerld ended up anchored in real traditions

This afternoon, I'm spending time with my colleague Max Gladstone over at his blog where you can learn a little about Max and me. Max wanted to know how (and why) I decided to use real traditions in Woerld. He was also curious whether I encountered conflicts between Woerld and the traditions and religions featured in Woerld.

... I think each religion has something very unique and beautiful to offer its adherents, and to merge them all into one giant religion would lose those distinctive qualities. So I chose to express their commonalities by showing their differences.

Writing Miserere made me realize how little I knew about Christianity. I mean, I knew the basics, but not the history of Christianity, the angelology, the demonology, or Gnostic Christianity and how it all fit together. It was like a whole new world had been opened up to me ... [READ MORE]

Sunday
Jul102011

when fighting monsters ...

Yesterday, another post went up in my blog tour and I was unable to post my companion piece here. The post looks beautiful and I am visiting Sherrie at Write About Now. Sherrie had the most interesting question about fighting monsters, and I talk a little bit about Woerld's monsters:

When I originally envisioned Woerld’s bastions, they were more like universities, military academies where the Katharoi learned the art of warfare, but also more about their enemy, the Fallen. The more I delve into Woerld and the cultures of the bastions, the more I realize that they place a great deal of emphasis on learning and on older Katharoi guiding the younger members. [READ MORE]

Friday
Jul082011

Rady--Chapter Two by Kacey Condon

Chapter two of Rady is now up! Kacey takes the story I started and puts a really cool spin on Rady. Here's a teaser:

Early morning was the worst time for Jimmy. Even before Grandma was gone, in the last year he had been expected to wake his brother. Granddaddy proved how important that job was early last fall.

“The most important thing you can do is be ready to cut yourself. If you hesitate, there will never be time to make up for it. Now, fold this up like I showed you, and let’s get to it.”

Jimmy took the knife from Granddaddy’s hand and, holding the razor edge away from his body, pressed the tiny button. The snapping sound always made him jump, but his hands moved without thought by now. He pushed the smooth heaviness into his jeans pocket and tried to breathe back the fear. [Read more]

Keep up with Rady in my sidebar. I'll be posting new chapters as they're written ...

Friday
Jul082011

talking about social media with Erika Marks

We've known one another online for a while now, but fellow NC author Erika Marks and I met in Charlotte back in June for a fabulous dinner and a discussion of social media. Today, my one question blog tour takes me to Erika's blog where I talk about social media tricks that worked for me and some things I would do differently if I was just starting out.

When I decided I wanted to pursue writing for publication, as opposed to writing simply for the fun of it, I knew I would need a blog. I wanted one for two reasons: 1) to hone my writing skills; and 2) to get my name out there.

My only problem was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. In the end, I geared my first blog helluo librorum toward the craft of writing. I felt it would be a way for me to connect with other writers and get my name out there for agents and editors. [READ MORE]