Prairie Starport: Stories in Celebration of Candas Jane Dorsey
I wanted to to do something to honour Candas Jane Dorsey, because she has done so very much to help me and countless other people. And not just writers or editors or publishers. No. Though she does that as well, Candas doesn’t limit herself to working to benefit people in the publishing industry, she has dedicated her life to helping people. Period.
That deserves recognition.
In fact, it deserves more recognition than I have the power to give, but I wanted to contribute what I could. As did all the authors and artists who contributed to creating Prairie Starport. Though my name is on the cover as the person who put all these things together I could not have done anything without the support and contributions of tonnes of other people — including, of course, my fellow contributors.
This collection contains work by Timothy J. Anderson, Greg Bechtel, Eileen Bell, Gregg Chamberlain, Alexandrea Flynn and Annalise Glinker, Barb Galler-Smith, Anita Jenkins, Laina Kelly, Derryl Murphy, John Park, Rhonda Parrish, Ursula Pflug, Robert Runté, Diane L. Walton, BD Wilson and S.G. Wong.
My contribution is “Sister Margaret” which is a short story about a vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman trying to save prostitutes from a vampiric pimp. I wrote it a looong time ago but it still remains one of my favourites.
And because my goal with this anthology is to show appreciation for and celebrate Candas, not to turn a profit, I am giving the electronic version away for free.
(In case you’re curious, yes, I could have used the word contribute in its various forms more if I’d tried. I really could have :-p )
One of the stories was accompanied by art. Since the interior only allowed for black and white art, we also included the piece on the back cover so that it could be displayed in colour… albeit with a text overlay.
When I looked at the list of things I wanted to signal boost this week I actually felt a little dizzy. “How the hell am I going to fit Twitter, Facebook and blog posts for all those things in without sounding like a social media spam-bot?” I wondered.
Then I got smart and decided to just put all the things into one big blog post. Yay!
Firstly, check out this character portrait:
This is Bayne.
He’s a half-incubus swordsman who figures prominently in many of the stories I’ve written set in Aphanasia (Sister Margaret, Lost and Found and the forthcoming Shadows — which is subject to re-naming LoL).
Bayne is also the character I will be playing with at the Character Death Matches at Pure Spec next month and he’s also the only character from those stories who hasn’t been on a book cover… so didn’t have a portrait.
My daughter, Danica, felt bad for me as she watched me struggle to find a stock image I could crop, Photoshop or otherwise fake to fit my character and she drew this portrait for me 🙂 He looks a little younger in this than he is in the stories I’ve written about him thus far… but I’m taking this as a sign that perhaps I ought to write some stories about a younger Bayne… someday.
Anyway, I’m super lucky to have such a talented kid who is willing to draw character portraits for me. Thank you, Danica! He’s awesome and I love it 🙂
As I mentioned, Bayne features strongly in Aphanasian Stories. If you haven’t read Aphanasian Stories and you like straight-up fantasy, have I got good news for you.
This week I’m participating in #CreepyFreebies. As part of that I am giving away copies of the most recent issue of Niteblade and I’m running a raffle to win a copy of Aphanasian Stories.
However… there’s this t-shirt I wanted (Roots of Remedy) but my Paypal account was a bit short, so I spontaneously decided to put Aphanasian Stories on a super big sale — 70% off (Coupon code: VG96R at Smashwords — click here) to try to top it up a bit*.
That made me feel bad for having Aphanasian Stories as the raffled off item, so I’ll also be throwing in a copy of White Noise for whoever wins. And if you win and you already own a copy of Aphanasian Stories, I’ll give you something else instead. Because.
I’m not just doing CreepyFreebies though. I’m also taking part in #CoffinHop2014 🙂 This is a super fun little system where rather than interviewing one zombie author a day, Julianne instead asks several of us one question each day. The posts are pretty short too, which in today’s world full of constant distractions, seems like a good thing. So far the posts have included:
I was interviewed by Virginia from StarkLight Press recently to celebrate the launch of White Noise. It’s not a very long interview, only about six questions worth, but I really think it gives a lot of insight into what’s going on in my skull. If you’re even a little intrigued, it’s a quick read that ought to satisfy some of your curiosity. You can check it out here:
Annnnnnd there’s only a few days left to get your submissions in for Scarecrow and Corvidae. Our deadline is Halloween, which is my 10 year anniversary so you can bet I won’t be sitting at my computer watching midnight come around so I can officially cut off submissions, BUT if your work isn’t in my inbox by the time I get up on Saturday I won’t be able to consider it.
Related to anthologies, at the World Weaver Press hosted #SFFLunch last week we announced the subject matter for my next WWP anthology:
When submissions open (in 2015) I’ll be looking for siren stories to fill its pages 🙂
Lastly, I think. I will be attending World Fantasy Convention next month, as will several of the authors from Fae and A is for Apocalypse. I’ll post another reminder nearly the time, but just as a head’s up, C.S. MacCath will be having a reading where she’ll be reading from her A is for Apocalypse story, N is for… on Thursday afternoon (plus I’ll be reading part of it with her, so be sure to come by to watch me shake in my boots) AND Adria Laycraft will have a reading Saturday evening which will feature her story from Fae, Water Sense.
Unrelated to this post at all, but I have noticed that my website is running slowly these days. I’m in the process of moving domains over to a new host as they come up for renewal so please bear with me until that process is done at which time things should speed up significantly.
*Great plan except that the Smashwords quarter comes at the end of December LOL Oops. #brainfart
I’ve bundled up three of the stories I’ve written which were set in Aphanasia into a collection I have cleverly titled Aphanasian Stories, and it’s now available for you 🙂 Including in this collection of re-released stories are Lost and Found, which was originally given away here on this blog, A Love Story, which was originally published by Sam’s Dot Publishing as Shades of Green and Sister Margaret which was originally published by Wild Child Publishing.
A Love Story: Z’thandra, a swamp elf living with the Reptar, discovers a human near the village. When she falls in love with him, she faces the most difficult choice of her life, a decision that will affect the Reptar for generations.
Lost and Found: Xavier, the escaped subject of a madman’s experiments, and Colby, a young lady on a mission to save her brother, must combine their efforts to elude capture and recover the magical artifact that will save Colby’s brother before it’s too late.
Sister Margaret: A vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman are hired by a priestess to kill the undead pimp that is extorting, torturing and murdering vulnerable girls.
The physical copies of these books are fan-freaking-tastic, no word of a lie. The original art is the illustration I commissioned from Darek Zabrocki long ago for Lost and Found and Jo (my husband) had turned it into the sort of wrap around cover that dreams are made of (mine anyway). However, if you like to read electronic books I’ve got good news for you. The Kindle version of Aphanasian Stories is available for free for May 15th and 16th.
When you combine Lost and Found, Shades of Green (with a new title) and Sister Margaret into one self-published collection you get Aphanasian Stories. Clever title, no? LoL This book is available now but I don’t have time to promote it yet so what I’m going to do is pretend that it’s not available. Yet. Come the middle of May when the Niteblade fundraiser, Blogging from A to Z, Camp NaNo and April Poem a Day are done, and I’ve recovered a little bit, I’m going to officially release this book.
My plan is to do some intensive promotion over the first five days (May 15-19th) and I’d love for you to be a part of that. If you have a blog that accepts guest posts, does interviews or book reviews please get a hold of me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would really like to send you a copy for review or make an appearance and share my book with your readers. I promise not to be spammy 🙂
These pictures are going to be book covers when they grow up 🙂 Click them to see the full image, WordPress crops the thumbnails.
I’ve decided to put a few of my previously published works up on Kindle. Sister Margaret and Shades of Green seemed like the ideal stories to start with, so I commissioned some cover art from Marge Simon.
I can’t share actual cover design yet because Jo is usually my cover design guy and right now he’s up to his eyeballs in getting the June issue of Niteblade ready, so I’m practicing being patient. I will ask him to textify these for me in the not too distant future, though. I guess that means I better get back to trying to learn how to format books for Kindle 😉
This post is about video games. I was originally going to write about the video games I play these days, but then I had a better idea. Let me tell you about a fantastic video game that was never made.
Abbadon’s Curse is a game I wanted to create over ten years ago. I looked over the main game description document that I gave to the developers and it looks like it was created in early 2002 and I’d been working on stuff for the game long before I began that file.
Abbadon’s Curse was going to be fantastic. It was an MMORPG with all of the usual MMORPG-type things in it, but there were a lot of other cool things that I hadn’t seen done in games up until that point. Night and day, for example, with certain spells and abilities only being able to be used in one or the other. Capes which could be designed (like tabards are now in WoW) to have a unique look for each guild (or character). It was also going to be very story-centric, very lore-based.
The game was set in the world of Aphanasia. A place where, upon the death of her son in battle, she blessed that land so that any who died in battle would not remain dead but rise up once more to fight again. Unfortunately, despite the fact her intentions may have been good, in reality her blessing turned out to be more like a curse. Dun dun dun.
Moonberrys were also very important in that world, as was the magical tree they came from. They were especially important to a race of lizard-men called the Urbagdú or the Reptar who used them in every part of their society. The wise men used the berries for medicines, the mages for magic and the warriors used shed boughs from the trees for weapons. Moonberries were even the closest thing the society had to a currency.
In developing the game and it’s storyline we focused a lot on the reptar because they were going to be our first set of adversaries (you know, after everyone was done leveling off rats, and moving on to wolves, and then…) and we needed to give them depth and story. We had several other races in mind we were going to use as spice in our first release and make more important in the future. The Reptar were found mostly in and around the swamp, but the mountains were home to a race of shadow elves, and pirates tended to prowl the coastlines. And of course, what kind of RPGMMO would be complete without vampires? We had them too… In fact, one of our important, named NPCs was a vampiric pirate 😉
In addition to our races and plots and maps and game design documents, we also had a series of gods for the denizens of Aphanasia to worship (the icons for each are along the bottom there). Abbadon, Calamyr, Rakkir (named after a character I used to RP with), Xaphan and the Dragon Gods.
Alas the game fell apart. I totally blame myself. I was the lead on the game, the story was mine, the bulk of the world development was mine, and it was my work that filled the game design documents, but I can’t program. Not even a little. I wasn’t able to provide strong leadership to the programming team and I think it was largely because of my ignorance in programming. I couldn’t set reasonable timelines or expectations and I didn’t know how to crack the whip.
I’m still very sad this game never got to become a reality, but I was determined not to allow the insane amounts of work I’d put into the world development for it to go to waste. That’s why, if you’ve read any of my Aphanasian stories, a lot of this stuff will sound familiar to you.
The moonberry tree got a bit of a makeover, and I set my stories in a time after Abbadon’s curse has ceased to exist (so far anyway LoL). I tweaked my races and my world to suit the world of fiction better than that of video games, but the skeleton of that world definitely comes from what I developed for a video game.
All the above stories are set in Aphanasia, and most of them can be read for free, if you’re interested. It looks like the e-zine that published The Legend of the First Reptar is no longer in existence, but the other stories are all still available (except Shadows which I just finished LOL)
So, yeah. While I’m terribly sad that Abbadon’s Curse will never be a game you can download and play (barring a minor miracle anyway LoL) I’m pretty pleased with myself that I managed to continue to use the world I’d created for it, making it even more lush, detailed and populated than I had for the game.
This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter V for Video Game. Tomorrow my husband Jo will be doing a guest blog. He won’t even tell me what it’s going to be about except that it has something to do with chickens. I hope you’ll stop by, it ought to be entertaining 🙂
That reviewer will be happy to hear that Shades of Green (my upcoming release from Sam’s Dos *squee*) is set in the same world as Sister Margaret -and- I’m still working on a sort of sequel to Sister Margaret too. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may have heard of it…it’s a little novel I like to call Shadows 🙂
I am very addicted to Tim Horton’s coffee. Almost as addicted as I am to World of Warcraft. I always said I should take a camera with me on the walk to Tims (which I make at least once a day). There are three Tim’s within walking distance from my house, but my favorite is on 118th Avenue. It’s not that long a walk, about 20 minutes each way, but it takes me through the playground of the school I volunteer in, near the abandoned hospital that intrigues me (and is where Deadmonton starts) and through a small wooded park. I always see something interesting on my travels, but never have the camera to record any of it. Until this time.
I took the camera with me the other day, and managed to get a picture of this blue jay. I got a few other great pictures, including one of a squirrel who really didn’t want me near his tree and a magpie that was sitting at the very top of a giant pine tree, looking quite majestic.
This story, by the way, has nothing to do with the news I wanted to share today, but I wanted an excuse to post the picture, so there you go 🙂
So right, news. I’ve got some 🙂
Firstly, my poem, Fae, is in this month’s issue of Lorelei Signal. I love the illustration that Holly Eddy did for it. It’s very nice 🙂
Also, there has been a new review of Sister Margaret that I’m very excited about 🙂 Anna, of Genre Reviews said:
Is it possible for a story to be simultaneously grim and fun? Because this one pretty much is. In the spirit of urban fantasy, there’s equal parts intrigue and action, the battle against an evil vampire, and a plethora of folks living in a gritty reality. I loved Bayne, who isn’t really a sidekick but fills the quirky content nicely, and the plot twist at the end is a great one, unexpected but logical.
My last bit of news for today is that I’m going on vacation to San Francisco. Yay! We are leaving on Sunday and will be gone for a week. While I’m away I will be completely offline, I’m not even taking my laptop in order to force myself to not work, at least for a little while. I will see you when I get back though 🙂
I’ll leave you with a picture of Danica finishing up her ice cap from the aforementioned trip to Tims. Why? Because I think she’s awesome.
My auction for ad space on Niteblade, a copy of Sister Margaret and a copy of Lost Innocence ends at midnight tomorrow. Right now it has one bid on it (thank you Greg) for $5. Surely we can do better than that? The auction is here please check it out.
In other news, my short story “How It’s Supposed To Be” is up at The Legendary. Sadly, this story was inspired by a very similar situation that happened here in Edmonton not so very long ago.
I don’t actually know yuki_onna or justbeast . I’ve never read any of Catherynne’s work and they aren’t on my friends list. That being said, when I read about their troubles I wanted to help. So I’m donating ad space on Niteblade, a copy of Lost Innocence and a copy of Sister Margaret to the auction to raise some money for them.
My auction is here. Please stop by and place a bid. For $5 you could win two great things to read and ad space on Niteblade Magazine. Plus, you’ll be help some people who really need it. If you can think of something else I could throw in on the auction to make it better let me know, I’m very open to suggestions.
Sometimes you just gotta screenshot things. Even if they don’t actually mean anything. This is one of those times. Sister Margaret is actually tied with all these novels in that we all have five or more ratings and 100% of them are ‘great’. I’m sure this exalted status is only temporary but how could I not take a screenshot when it looks like my story has been rated higher than The Lord of the Rings? Dude, that is one of those oppourtunities that if you don’t take it you’re a fool. I’m lots of things. I hope a fool isn’t one of them.