Monthly Archives: June 2014

Guest post by Sarah Daltry, author of PRIMORDIAL DUST

A common theme in all of my writing is the idea of morality and choice, as well as the concept of defining yourself rather than being defined by others. I know many see me as a romance writer, but romance isn’t the point. A love story maybe, but it’s also about how we accept others and how we find people in the world who can see the flaws within us, and make them something we learn to appreciate.

In Primordial Dust, I used an assassin, because I wanted to explore the concept of hate and violence, but also in a way that deals with perception. Why is Seamus a killer? He happens to be born in a kingdom where killing is his job. However, he’s not unkind. The novel questions why we accept our roles so willingly – and what it takes to question them.

The story is not really about him or his assassinations, so it may be a disappointment to someone expecting the journals of Altair! Instead, it is about evil, morality, murder, and how we can excuse certain things with conditions. We say that someone who kills is evil, but we have armies. We watch the news and condemn countries who perpetuate violence, yet we allow it to be perpetuated daily within our own country. Why is our own violence acceptable, but that of others makes them evil?

I could spend a lot of time on this topic, although I know it’s important to keep it short. I also have no desire to alienate anyone, merely to open the conversation. Why is one person’s good another’s evil? Does conviction play a role? In my novel, magic is suppressed, because it is dangerous, but the characters also understand the basic tenet of magic: Intent is all. Again, an assassin hired to kill someone sent to kill his king could be preventing a war. Who is the villain then? And who is hero?

My cowriter for my gamer geek comedy, Backward Compatible, Pete Clark, wrote a play and one of the monologues in it specifically stated what I think is a key theme of my novel: “Everyone plays the hero in his or her own story. What you have to ask yourself is in how many stories do you play the villain?”

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Find out more about Sarah at the following links:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahDaltry
http://twitter.com/SarahDaltry
http://sarahdaltry.com

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Fantasy Authors Are Making Myths Before Our Eyes: a guest post by the author Tracy Falbe

tracy-falbe

Fantasy fiction has always been something more than adventures with magic. This genre breaks the path into an inner world where people are tested by great forces.

I believe fantasy authors of all stripes are trying to do the deep work of creating new mythologies. The eminent late mythology scholar Joseph Campbell stated often that we live in an age with inadequate mythology. In his televised talks with Bill Moyers, he said, “The old-time religion belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe.”

He continued to explain that the psychological support offered by old myths and religions no longer functions for people of today. Furthermore, no new mythological forms are present to aid people in the rational and spiritual processing of their lives.

The profusion of fantasy literature in all of its forms is the result. Collectively authors and readers are exploring their imaginations and seeking to construct new guide posts that illustrate the challenges and stages of their lives.

For example, we live in an age suffering from vast ecological damage. Some old religions speak of end times and apocalypse, but waiting around for everything to collapse is not exactly functional.

The reality of this condition is at the heart of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings. Saruman’s devastation of a forest to feed his industrial fires represents the industrial revolution and its attendant war machine. The same goes for Sauron in Mordor, a pitted and blasted place where armies huddle in the rocky volcanic fume.

But a small band of courageous players confront this horror against all odds. In the end the evil power of Sauron consumes itself. It cannot sustain itself. This story informs us of this truth and offers a psychological template for coping with life in this reality.

According to Campbell mythologies are “a systematized organization of fantasies in relation to the values of a given social order. So that mythologies always derive from specific environments.”

Therefore I ask: What mythologies are being created from our society?

An example that offers mythological support to the people of today is the film The Matrix, written and produced by the Wachowski Brothers. In this techno fantasy, Neo is offered the choice to take the blue pill or the red pill. Blue delivers the bliss of the manufactured reality of modern society without thought or question. The red pill breaks him free from the machine-ruled Matrix but leads to a grim reality of privation and always being hunted. But at least these people are aware of reality. Their thoughts are their own. Their feelings are their own.

Fantasy like its better-educated cousin science fiction is well known for exploring social ills. I’m particularly fond of the cruel matriarchy depicted in R.A. Salvatore’s popular Drow Elf Trilogy. It’s not that I think that women would be evil if given mastery of society. Rather, I admired how the story showed the injustice and suffering that naturally follow gender-determined authority. And the main character in this story sustains his compassion and ethics despite constantly being encouraged to be otherwise. That is a good myth to live by.

All artists including fantasy authors are doing the work of projecting society upon the psyche and provoking us to imagine our best selves. Although it’s nearly impossible to snip a sound byte from the writings of Carl Jung, I find this quote by that extraordinary thinker very illuminating.

“Therein lies the social significance of art: it is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking. The unsatisfied yearning of the artist reaches back to the primordial image in the unconscious which is best fitted to compensate the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present.”

With its magic, monsters, grueling quests, epic battles, and life-changing disasters, fantasy fiction provides inspiring examples. As a reader, I imagine being heroic. I imagine myself possessing the courage to walk into Mordor. Society may have serious problems, but solutions begin with my actions.

In our admittedly frightening times when many people are spiritually adrift and institutions are failing, fantasy authors construct stories to teach our spirits to persevere.

People are turning to genre fiction to satisfy their normal human need for mythological guidance. The prevalence of various fan conventions like comic cons, anime cons, and gaming cons reveals a widespread public need for a shared mythology. At conventions they gather around themes of common stories that speak to them with meaning. They costume and celebrate the creators of their favorite stories. From this teeming mythological multiverse, millions of people find community, inspiration, and courage to be themselves. It’s more than entertainment. If you merely find something entertaining, you don’t engage in cosplay and buy collectibles.

The conventions I’ve attended remind me of pilgrimages and festivals associated around temples in India. There is always a story behind what they are doing too.

The many thousands of stories produced by fantasy authors every year are fulfilling our natural mythological needs. Will any one of them rise to become a widespread myth? Not very likely. A few will resonate with large audiences and may fulfill mythological needs for a time. And then new stories will be created to reflect the needs of our ever-changing societies. But each story will serve a small audience in a meaningful way.

What myth have I consciously portrayed in my writing?

When I wrote the Rys Rising series, I was creating a mythic telling of a society experiencing its last days. The elites were unable and unwilling to recognize their own failings. It’s ultimately a story of watching everything change but staying courageous and striving to survive. Giving up is not an option. For me this is the story that reflects the life I face and gives me spiritual fortitude.

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All nine of Tracy Falbe’s fantasy novels are available worldwide at her Brave Luck Books website. A free ebook copy of Rys Rising: Book I can be downloaded at http://www.falbepublishing.com/braveluck/free-fantasy-ebook-rys-rising.html

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Her novels are also available online at many retailers.

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E-book piracy: What to do if you find your book available for sale or a free download without your permission

During the recent months, we are finding an increasing number of sites that pirate e-books and either sell them cheap or list them for free without an author’s permission. Many of these sites are located overseas. Some operate as on-line bookstores, others claim no responsibility for the files shared through their web site, but the bottom line is still the same. These sites infringe copyrights. Sadly, they more often target indie authors and small presses, driven by misguided sense that they would be less likely to fight back. This makes the problem even worse.

Here is what to do if you find your book illegally available on line:

1. Go to Whois directory (http://whois.net/) and look up the web site listing your pirated title. There will be several e-mail addresses listed there for registrant, abuse, etc. Copy all of them.
2. Look at the “contact us page” of the piracy web site. Harvest all the e-mail addresses from there.
3. Write the following e-mail to all these addresses at the same time:
___________________

SUBJECT: Notification of Copyright Infringement

TEXT:

Dear <WEB SITE NAME>,

I hereby notify you that:

The copyrighted work at issue is the ebook <BOOK TITLE> by <AUTHOR NAME>, which appears on <WEB SITE NAME> at the following URL:

<PASTE THE URL HERE>

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

You can reach me at <YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS>

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Sincerely,

<YOUR NAME>, Author

____________________
It is important to use this, or similar legal wording when sending your message. In most cases, your book will be de-listed within hours of sending this message.

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Summer Solstice Sale: two critically acclaimed titles for 99 cents each!

To celebrate summer solstice, download a copy of Anna Kashina’s MISTRESS OF THE SOLSTICE” and W. B. J. Williams’s THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD for 99 cents at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo. Here are the links to the Amazon pages for the books:

Adobe Photoshop PDF Garden_Cover_FINAL

MISTRESS OF THE SOLSTICE by Anna Kashina is a dark romantic fantasy set in the exotic world of Russian fairy tales, the silver medalist in 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD by W. B. J. Williams is a medieval historical fantasy about the journey of maid Gwenaella and the unicorn Britomar to the mythical Garden of Eden.

Both authors will be attending ReaderCon from July 10-13, 2014, so if you are an attendee, this is also a chance to reserve your copies to have them autographed.

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Radio interview by R. S. A. Garcia, the author of LEX TALIONIS

R. S. A. Garcia has just did her first radio interview with Radio Ujima of Bristol, UK, talking about growing up in Trinidad and her roots in science fiction writing. Please excuse a minor technical glitch in the beginning of the program, where the interview restarts after the first few lines.

The entire podcast of the program will go up next week, and that will be the one where everyone can learn more about the book. In the mean time, check out this link:

http://listen-again.ujimaradio.com/index.php?id=16880

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Guest post and cover reveal: PRIMORDIAL DUST by Sarah Daltry

young pretty kissing wedding couple against sky

Book Info:

Title: Primordial Dust

Author: Sarah Daltry

Genre: Fantasy (Romance/YA)

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Sexual attraction, scents, and smells

Anna Kashina

I have recently seen some on-line discussions (including those of my books), questioning the use of scents and smells, especially in romantic fiction. This also came up more than once during some fiction workshops I was on, and I thought that overall it is an interesting topic to be discussed.

Scientific research shows that sexual attraction is actually to a large part driven by smells — usually not the overt kind that we can easily detect from a few feet away, but the more subtle kind, the chemical stimuli that we often don’t consciously register. These smells actually transmit a signal of genetic compatibility, since biologically sexual attraction is all about procreation and in the end the main reason for being attracted to a partner is the subtle sense that she/he will be the right parent for your offspring.

Some people are more sensitive to those smells than others. Those…

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