Episode 4: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest with Marilag Angway and James DeBruicker

Another Reblog! Seriously, Meg @ La Foi Aveugle is amazing, and kudos to her for taking the time and getting this audio edited!

In this episode, we discuss Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, a steampunk zombie adventure (yes, you heard me) taking place in Seattle during the American Civil War (yes, you heard me again). Steampunk has always been near and dear to my heart, considering I write in this subgenre so much!

Source: Episode 4: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest with Marilag Angway and James DeBruicker

Judging Book Covers #3: Silk by Caitlin Kiernan

I know, I know. I’ve taken a short blogging hiatus and I come back with a reblog instead, lol! I promise some more updates in the next couple of days, but this is just as important, promise!

My friend Meg @ Le Foi Aveugle has been pretty busy starting up her first podcast, and I’m so excited for her! This particular podcast is all about books, and I had the pleasure of being a guest for these next two episodes. On episode 3, we discuss the book Silk by Caitlin KiernanIf you like podcasts, or, well, like books in general and want something to listen to in the background while you do other things, hop on over to the Judging Book Covers Podcast and have a listen!

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts: iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play| Pocket Cast| RSS Feed Word of the Day: Weird For episode 3 I welcome two new guests, James DeBruicker and Marilag Angway! We discuss Silk by Caitlin Kiernan, which is a darker book than the previous two […]

via Episode 3: Silk by Caitlin Kiernan with James DeBruicker and Marilag Angway — Ramblings of Blind Faith

Chasing Volcanoes: A Czech Translation

seaisoursOnce upon a time (re: a year and a half ago), I wrote a steampunk story that revolved around a destroyed Northern Philippines (speculative volcanic eruptions and the like). I sent it out, I squeed about finding a home for it (many thanks to the wonderful editrixes Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng, and publisher Bill Campbell at Rosarium Publishing for the acceptance!), I squeed again when it got illustrated (by Pear Nuallak), and I practically did a funny little dance in the middle of my living room when it finally, finally, FINALLY got published.

(I did another funny dance at the local B&N soon after I saw it on a scifi anthology shelf…but I swear I didn’t cause that much of a scene!)

And while I am grateful that this particular story went out into the world amidst critiquing eyes and steampunk enthusiasts, I am still wonderfully surprised at the feedback over “Chasing Volcanoes.” I certainly didn’t expect to get an email about it–and the rest of the The Sea is Ours anthology–being translated into Czech. The fact that the title of said Czech book IS a translation of “Chasing Volcanoes” has gone above and beyond any expectation I have with the stories I’ve written.

But there you go. It’s happened. I’m squeeing again. I’m writing about it again.

Thanks to Jan Kravčík at Gorgon Books, “Chasing Volcanoes” has got a Czech coating. And honestly, that cover is beautiful. While I know nothing in the Czech language (well, correction, I now know what “Kroceni Sopek” means), I am truly astounded–and excited–at the increasing readership, both for my story (because honestly, why wouldn’t I be excited that my work goes out there?) and for the wonderful fellow Southeast Asian authors I’ve shared the anthology with.

Now, if only I’d known about this translation BEFORE I’d gone to Praha last summer. I suppose maybe next time (because there most certainly will be a next time!) I visit Prague I’ll try to find my way into a bookshop.

Anyway, for the Czech readers out there, watch out for Kroceni Sopek, coming to you in a few weeks!

Writing Wednesdays #6: Prompt Exchange

Of course it’d be me who ends up with a romance prompt. Leave it to my writing voldies to drag a kissing story out of me. And then make me end it in a TRAGEDY.

I’m getting way too ahead of myself, though.

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This week, I had the writing voldies think up different prompts, which would then be thrown into a hat (or, in my case, a basket), and then they would randomly grab a prompt written by either themselves or by someone else. To keep it interesting (since I have no idea whether their prompts would be vague, obscene, or uninspiring), I added some of my own.

Amusingly enough, a bunch of my own prompts got picked out of the basket, and I was right glad that one of my voldies had to do a poem about cookies. Right. Glad.

Anyway, I ended up with one of my eighth grader’s prompts. And I spent a great deal of time telling her how much I hated her for having me write a bad romance. With a tragic ending.

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Write a romance story that ends in a tragic event. What happens to the girl/boy that is left behind? What do they do after the tragedy? Or are they both dead?

Oath and Blood

“Better return that,” the knight warned, her dark eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. “I can see your scrawny shadow from all the way over here.”

The thief chuckled. “I should be flattered to be watched by you of all people.”

The knight grunted. “It’s my job, you cretin. Put it back.”

The “it” in question had been a priceless heirloom handed down from one Mage King to another. Strangely enough, while the artifact itself–a ring of potentially combustive power–had tons of magic, it couldn’t be protected by magic. Which explained why Cala was stuck guarding the Ring while the rest of her mates were at the new queen’s coronation.

How could she even explain what San was thinking?

“I trust none but the Queen’s Champion, Cala, you know that.”

Sure, Cala had seen the logic to that. The problem with guarding the most sought-after relic in the kingdom was that many thieves would test the waters and attempt a theft in the middle of the coronation. Guards would be too focused on the new Queen San, and rightly so.

The Ring was too tempting, though. Not even the most notorious thief could stop himself from its attempted pilfering.

Cala could take on any thief. She knew the one standing before her, much more than she knew the queen. And Cala knew this thief’s weakness.

She knew it because it was her weakness, too. Sort of.

“Come here, you felon,” Cala growled.

Corvin complied, taking the lady kngiht into his arms and placing a gentle kiss on her nose before crushing his lips onto hers.

Breathless didn’t even cut it. She was definitely in trouble.

“I’m sworn by blood oath, love,” Cala said. “You shouldn’t have come.”

“I know,” he whispered. “But it was time. And you were worth it.”

Cala was no delicate flower. Yet she couldn’t stop her tears. She pulled him down again for another kiss. She didn’t want it all to end. It would, though. It had to. She could feel the blood oath tugging at her, compelling her to do what she did not want to do.

“It’s fine. Do it,” he whispered, softly, sadly. “I forgive you. And I–”

The blade went through, silencing Corvin before anything else could be said.

Cala watched her lover slowly fall, and she looked at the Ring. The Mage Ring that needed protecting.

Damn the queenshe thought. Damn her and the bloody throne and the blood oath.

Damn the magic from preventing her to take her own life.

She looked at the ring again and shifted her stance. She could hear another thief coming.

It would be a long night ahead.


On a lighter note, the same eighth grader ended up with my “fairy princess wants to be an astronaut” prompt, and she totally drew the fairy princess character!

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I cannot with my writing voldies sometimes.

 

Writing Wednesdays #5: Continued Narration

This might possibly be one of the latest posts I’ve ever done, but it wouldn’t be a Writing Wednesday if I had it scheduled for the next day. Gods, no. All the same, I did just get back and I wanted to enumerate the lovely things I did with my little voldies.

Today we decided to take a field trip. And when I say field trip, I mean going across the hall to the library. Normally, I host my creative writing workshop at the 7th grade classroom, ’cause working Smartboard and the like. In retrospect, I think this was a better idea, because the minute I walked into the library, I’d gotten half distracted at all the books I could possibly take out (and almost did). Anyway, there really was a purpose to this writing field trip!

I’d decided to be calculating and random. Calculatingly random. So I told the little voldies to pick a book. Any book, really. Then, after picking said book, I told them to pick a number (which I asked them to do after I looked through the pages of their respective book). After they picked their number, I told them to go to that page number and read the first FULL paragraph, then continue the story from there.

fairestThe results were interesting. My scifi writer had immediately picked up a Star Wars book, which he then proceeded to turn into a genocide story (the poor Jedis never saw it coming). One of them turned a stalkery paragraph into a romance, another went all out in the romance, ending it with a damn punny knock-knock joke (which slayed me, by the way). My favorite–weirdly (or maybe appropriately enough)–was the one writing voldie who chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and chose to rewrite the ship in the book to Harry/Hermione (which tickled me black and blue, considering we had a conversation where I told her *I* ship Harry/Hermione XD). The wonders of my writing voldies never cease to amaze me.

For my part, I grabbed Fairest by Gail Carson Levine. I thought this was a good enough prompt for me, because a) I adored Ella Enchanted, but b) I never actually read Fairest. So I asked my kids to give me a number, and I wound up with the following (completely vague and short) paragraph:

Fairest, page 236 – “I wondered if it was morning.”

This may sound like a strange thing to wonder, but night and day were completely different in a world with two moons and a sun that flickered on or off according to its journey across the sky.

There was a story to that. My aunt Cassandra spoke about how our days were sometimes shorter and longer.

“It’s all about the birds, my dear,” she’d said to me.

Aunt Cass was a fae historian. No, she didn’t study just fae. She is fae. She liked to mention this to us non-magical folk whenever family gatherings happened. But as much of a braggart as Aunt Cass was, I have to admit that her stories were absolutely memorable. She always had one handy for the right occasion. Case in point, she had one that explained the sky.

There were these two birds, see. Well, there was one bird at first. And this one bird gave birth to this other bird. That other bird was called Sola. Translated, that means “sun” for us. So obviously this newly born firebird was emitting flames which pegged him his name. For thousands of years our planet had nothing but daytime, perpetuated by a streaming birdlike sun flying across the horizon.

But like any myth, things eventually change.

We got our moon when the firebird fell in love.

Aunt Cass loves this story because the firebird had fallen in love with someone from her neck of the woods. Like, literally, the forest fae that became the moon was a tree-way away from Aunt Cass’ old abode. Aunt Cass never knew the forest-turned-moon-fae personally, but she liked to brag about the almost famous proximity she had in the matter.

But yeah. We have a local moon goddess. And she had turned the sun around to dance to her tune.

—–

I actually based this off a writing exercise, where I’d talked about my firebird myth story. That exercise was a bit more polished, but then again, that also took me a lot more time to put together. The one above was a workshop result of 40 minutes and several blabbity-blabbing middle schoolers. All the same, I think I’m fleshing things out slowly!