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Announcement: VIKINGVERSE COVER ILLUSTRATION RELEASED!

ANNOUNCEMENT Official summary of ALL FATHER PARADOX along with color cover illustration! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard,...

Announcement: New Comic Coming from Outland Entertainment!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Announcing Riddle of the Loremaster, an all new original comic series written by Melanie R. Meadors, with art by Nicolás Giacondino! Here is a sneak peek at some of the promo art: Riddle of the Loremaster is a comic for mature readers set in a fantasy...

Women in Dark Fantasy Have Changed by Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered,...

Alethea Kontis on Imposter Syndrome

Earlier this year, I met the only student Katy Kellgren ever had. He told me he just about had to bully her into being his teacher. This amazing, multiple award-winning voice actress with hundreds of audiobooks under her belt truly didn’t believe she knew anything...

Announcements: HATH NO FURY Has Arrived in the US!

Backers of the paperback and hardcover editions of Hath No Fury will be happy to learn that the books have arrived at the printer's headquarters in Chicago! Now, they just need to be sent to our head honcho Jeremy Mohler, and then they will be sent out to backers...

Fairies with Dark Faces by I.L. Cruz

I like fairies—not a difficult admission for a fantasy writer—and I don’t mean the safe Victorian ones with gossamer wings that spread sparkles when they walk. I mean the ones that steal little children and make Faustian bargains. They were ancient and magnificent and...

Announcement: Launching New Transmedia World, VIKINGVERSE

Announcements Introducing the beginning of a new transmedia project with fiction, comics, and games in development! VIKINGVERSE From a concept created by Ian Sharpe, Vikingverse is going to launch this fall with a novel called All Father Paradox. Here is the line art...

The Secret Origin of “Daughter of Sorrow” by Maurice Broaddus

“Mr. Broaddus, you need to start a Creative Writing Club.” Thus began a four week campaign in which different members of my eighth grade class wore me down and I agreed to run an after school program. We ended up with nearly a dozen intrepid souls in our merry band,...

Knaves Has Funded, and Then Some!

Thanks to our awesome backers and readers, the Kickstarter for our anthology, Knaves, has been a success! Four hundred eighty-nine backers came together and invested $15,342 to make Knaves happen. Not only will this anthology be produced, but the authors will all get...

You Like Me Because I’m a Scoundrel

I remember watching Phantom Menace in the movie theater wondering what the movie was missing. There was awesome Jedi action (and way better choreography than the original trilogy). The music was fantastic. Tatooine looked pretty much the same, and pod racing was...
A Slice of Kaiju Story with a Side Order of Crazy Writing LIfe

A Slice of Kaiju Story with a Side Order of Crazy Writing LIfe

We’re pleased to highlight Guadalupe Garcia McCall, who will be writing a Kaiju story for our Kickstarter anthology, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II! Support the anthology here!

It always feels strange when someone asks me to write on command. “Write something with me,” someone will say, and I find myself having to decline. One, because I don’t know what “something” means for them and two, because I’m usually pretty busy writing my own kind of “something.” Then there was the guy who leaned over, made googly eyes at me, and said, “Write a poem for me.” That was just creepy, so I declined that one too.

Occasionally, though, there are requests that are intriguing enough to make me look up from my laptop and say, “Really?” Like when Alana Joli Abbott asked if I would write a Kaiju story. A Kaiju story—now that’s never been on my radar. But I like writing things that challenge me, things that take me completely out of my comfort zone.

So, I said yes and spent the next few months worried that I wouldn’t be able to deliver because I had no earthly idea where to begin. You see, I write about people who wear chanclas and eat chicharrones. I write about the love of mothers, the bond of hermanitas, and our past struggles in this country. I write about familia, not giant monsters stomping on things.

I perused the stories in Kaiju Rising and watched Pacific Rim. After that adrenaline rush, I came up with something I could write about. I sat at the computer the first week of Christmas break and started outlining a story about a giant-prehistoric-looking-baby-creature that somehow ends up in the clutches of an evil man (insert strange professor with an eye patch here). Yes. Yes. I was on a roll.

Then because I still had another week to write, I went to see a movie with The Man. As I was sucked into the gorgeousness of The Shape of Water, I thought, “That’s how I should be writing this. I just need to believe it could happen.”

After the movie, I was standing in the hallway waiting for The Man to refill our drinks when the Anti-muse popped into my head and grinned at me. “Yes, but is your story-line believable? Are your characters solid? I mean, who wears an eye patch anymore? A one-eyed professor walking around with a deep dark secret? Really?” my soul-crushing, overly-critical Anti-muse asked.

I was in the midst of complete and utter writerly despair when the doors of a nearby theater opened and a crowd of movie-goers walked out. And who should be leading the crowd but an older, professor-ish looking man with an eye patch. Yes! In your face, Anti-muse! The universe said yes, and I went home to write my short story.

Although I like it when the Anti-muse packs her bags and my zany, overzealous, dramatic, overachieving Real Muse shows up, the truth is my Real Muse is kind of a tyrant. She puts vats of Diet Coke on the counter, banishes my dear husband, and makes me write like the house is on fire and we have to finish and submit the story because we can’t take the laptop with us when we run outside.

Four days and forty-five pages into the project, I realized the Real Muse was out of control. “I can cut it back later,” I told myself. “I can still trim this down.”

Five days, several more characters’ points of view, and sixty-four pages later, and it was official—I was writing another young adult novel. However, as shiny and bright as the whole thing was (writing different points of view is new and thrilling for me), I was in deep trouble here. It was Friday of the second week of Christmas break and I only had two more days to write the Kaiju short story for Alana.

I messaged my buddy, David Bowles (the master of all things Sci-Fi) and he gave me some good writerly advice. “Write a short story in the same universe,” he said. That night, I went back to my laptop. “What if there were other creatures?” I asked the Real Muse. “Who would find them? And how would he/she get rid of them?”

In the end, I wrote a short story called, “Rancho Nido” for Kaiju Rising, Age of Monsters II and submitted it on time. “Rancho Nido” is a little morsel, a prequel to my bigger project, a young adult book which I am labelling my “Borderlands Kaiju Novel.”

“Rancho Nido” is different from anything else I’ve ever written before, but it’s coming from a fun place, a place where families sit around a fire pit and tell crazy historias de monstros. So, wait ’til dark, kick your feet up, and enjoy it with a taquito.

About Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Guadalupe Garcia McCall is the author of Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low Books), a novel in verse. Under the Mesquite received the prestigious Pura Belpre Author Award, was a William C. Morris Finalist, received the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Literacy Promising Poet Award, the Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award, and was included in Kirkus Review’s Best Teen Books of 2011, among many other accolades. Her second novel, Summer of the Mariposas (Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books), won a Westchester Young Adult Fiction award, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, was included in the 2013 Amelia Bloomer Project List, the Texas Lone Star Reading List, and the 2012 School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. Her poems for children have appeared in The Poetry Friday Anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. Ms. Garcia McCall was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. She immigrated with her family to the United States when she was six years old and grew up in Eagle Pass, Texas (the setting of both her novels and most of her poems). She is currently a high school English teacher in San Antonio.

About Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II

A few years ago, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters smashed onto the book scene, collecting stories from some of the best writers of monsters in the business. Now, the age of monsters continues on with the follow up anthology, Kaiju Rising II, featuring stories from authors like Jeremy Robinson, Marie Brennan, Dan Wells, ML Brennan, Jonathan Green, Lee Murray, Cullen Bunn, and more! If you love movies like Pacific Rim, Godzilla, and Kong, you won’t want to miss it. Support this anthology from Outland Publications on Kickstarter now, keywords Kaiju Rising.

Summer Reading: Emotions

Summer Reading: Emotions

If you’re anything like me when reading a book you’ll slowly, but surely, start to feel – and show – the predominant emotions of the narrative.

Say the character is under a lot of stress and constantly antagonizing all around them. I wouldn’t go that far, BUT I would carry myself pretty angsty for no real reason for the whole reading period.

Crazy? Maybe. Maybe not.

Perhaps you’re not the emotional sponge I am [which is pretty good news], but you will always feel – even if just for the brief moment when your eyes are flying through the pages – that you are indeed a part of that world and as such you’ll share the emotions that live in it.

All of this serves as a warning: choose what to read on your vacations carefully.

You don’t exactly need to feel blue and stressed out, while soaking in the sun on a tropical beach or even just laying on your on couch. (You can if you want!)

Just another thing to bear in mind when choosing your Summer readings: the emotions that overpower the narrative.

Think about what you want to experience when you enter your reading pause and bear in mind that the effects might linger for awhile longer…

S.G.

Check out the 1st Summer Readings post!

 

Summer Reading

Summer Reading

I think it’s safe to say that the holidays have officially crept in.

Whether or not you’re already enjoying the so called “free time”, your thoughts are most likely there.

You might be set on spending it with a bunch of super active, super healthy activities or… Just lounging around the house, your backyard or the beach.

Whatever your summer rest of choice is you’ll always need a good’ol book with you. Really. If you’re traveling or planning a visit to a theme park, there will be lines, there will be times when you can’t take another step and just need to stop (or others need to stop) and you’re forced to be there looking at the empty air around you (yes, yes, there are sights: but you might want to escape them!).

And here comes your savior: the new shiny comic you bought at the airport or maybe the tattered book you picked up from your nightstand on the way out.

This will help you travel even further, while giving a rest of all the craziness…I mean, lovely holiday surroundings you’re experiencing.

In this new genre discussion “summer edition”, we’ll be mentioning a few of the favorite go to options. We won’t dwell on concrete brands, but instead what each genre has to offer in terms of enhancing your summer holiday mindset!

S.G.

Cons : A Melting Pot of Genres

Cons : A Melting Pot of Genres

(I would say ‘conventions’, but as Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk state, Con sounds much cooler)

Cons are a constant in a geek’s life. Whether you can afford the money and time to enjoy them in person or live through the photos and videos made by fellow fans.

Cons have the power of bringing a miscellaneous group of people that, no matter what their costume is or if they are not wearing one, will rejoice to discuss pretty much any comic / TV show / movie / videogame / RPG /…

You are sure to get out of those three days with a heavy sense of geek enlightenment. But beware: it will just last until you take off your costume and lumber into your everyday routine.

Everyone has opinions, theories, favorite characters, suggestions of things to try. Some have travelled a long way just to be there, others a mere five minutes journey.

No matter what, everyone is united in helping others get their idols autograph or simply walk past them. Saving seats, taking pictures, offering a kind word when someone cries their eyes out just because they missed their favorite actor: it’s a healthy comradeship.

 

For the sake of Cons everywhere, I’m leaving out the jump the queue acts, the rudeness in discussions and some costumes that are appalling offenses to the original characters and their creators. What? It’s not all lightsabers battles and cheering.

 

Anyway, talking about cosplay you’re bound to brush shoulders with any character from any fandom, from the more straightforward references to the more obscure ones.  The point is you are surrounded by allusions to all genres: sci-fi, fantasy or steampunk.

Unless it has a specific fandom at its core say the Star Wars Celebration or the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration . Then you’ll only see Chewbacca and Princess Leia or on the second case, walking TARDIS and countless Doctors.

 

Stay tuned for personal convention stories as we enter the “Convention Season”!

(Don’t worry: we’ll let you know where to find Outland Entertainment!)

 

S.G.

Time travel: a purely sci-fi element?

Time travel: a purely sci-fi element?

I’ve never been sure of that. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of time travel, even though, going back a few years, I didn’t see myself as a sci-fi fan. It appeared in the books and movies I avidly consumed, but was it science-fiction or fantasy?

How much scientific accuracy there needs to be for a narrative to be considered science-fiction? Is that even at all relevant? Sure you have time travel that is so technical and scientifically structured that you don’t hesitate in calling it sci-fi – in perceiving it as such. Take H.G. WellsThe Time Machine, for example.

But then the lines start to get blurred. And a detective story – the movie Memento – or a love one – the novel & movie adaptation The Time traveler’s Wife – get’s you thinking. You even have a time-turner in Harry Potter, which there is no doubt of being Fantasy through and through.

So what does it take for time travel to be freed from the sci-fi spectrum?

Time travel is more often than not associated with the sci-fi universe, but it surely is not confined to it. Do you find it more often there? Is it more cohesive or realistic (if we can call it that)? Maybe, but it finds place in all kind of narratives.

From fantasy to romance to science-fiction, it can appear in any of these genres. The main difference is perhaps the level of imagination or scientific norms that rule that possibility: the paradoxes, the multiple timelines, what can or cannot be changed.

Through the Doctor in his TARDIS to Dr. Emmett Brown in his DeLorean we’ve been taught a lot about this matter, even if some of it is contradictory. We have seen a myriad of theories and rules, from the unchangeable force of the fixed points in time to the dangerous repercussions of changing the slightest moment in history.

We may question how something takes place, we probably don’t even agree or think that some theories are simply too farfetched.

Nevertheless, I dare you: have you never dreamt of travelling through time?

And that’s it. The universal force that binds us all to this story element, no matter the genre it is wrapped in.

 

S.G.

Belonging to a Fandom: (The Good) The Bad and the WT#?

Belonging to a Fandom: (The Good) The Bad and the WT#?

So you’re part of a fandom. A whole group of people shares theories, art and fanvids fervently. You finally feel at home with all those likeminded peers.

Sure it’s fun BUT have you read or watched anything else for the past <introduce a ridiculously long amount of time>?

I’ll go out on a limb here and say you haven’t.

You’ve been sucked into a vortex of active participation (or sometimes just passive contemplation) of characters, story arcs and entangled theories.

Remember the “strange consequences” I mentioned on the previous post? Well, if you’ve ever been part of an active fandom, I think it’s safe to assume that you did cut some ties with the real world during your fanatic days.

And then maybe it got cancelled or you simply turned that dreaded last page. I’m pretty sure you felt angsty and acted snarky towards those clueless around you: withdrawal symptoms.

And that’s when you venture into the fandom’s gloomier place, reserved to relive those darkest hours that marked the end of the world you were so completely immersed into.

But we know this is how it goes. It’s a vicious cycle. So why?

Why do we feel the need to tear our eyes out watching favorite characters suffer, die, live impossible loves?… Doesn’t real life provide us enough pain? Do we really need more? Are we supposed to be living in such a perfect world that only their hurt – the one we watch, read -gives us the pathos escape we need?

I believe our lives are far from perfect many times. As it is often said we have moments. Of happiness, sadness, even despair. But this doesn’t mean that our lives aren’t good.

No matter how grateful you feel, there is always a little “something” you wish was different: for me is health. If only I had Disney’s Rapunzel magical healing powers… But it’s fiction. Fantasy. And there lies the reason why we take refuge in fictional worlds: there are no limits, or rephrasing it, the limits are different.

By this point you’re probably thinking “Eureka! What a breakthrough, Sherlock.” And you’re right. I’ve been just stating the obvious. Now, what I am trying to get to is why do we torture ourselves with fan art of those final agonizing moments of a character or story?

Having had some reasons to cry in real life, I found myself crying with one of those fanvids. I am not even talking about watching, say “Angels take Manhattan” (Doctor Who’s 7th season finale], where you are experiencing the whole thing for the first time and find yourself grieving the characters that you’ll miss, the familiar faces that won’t be on screen every episode. I’m talking about masochistically re-watching episodes and fanvids with “tear trigger” music. Seriously: what’s wrong?

I think we have to go back to the beginning: “why” are we part of a fandom?

We need to belong, to share our experiences through those worlds.

We need to have heroes, but they have to be flawed and able to get hurt.

Only then we get our catharsis.

You cry for their pain, while secretly crying for yours. Are we really that shallow? Can we just show feelings over fictional characters? No. But it’s easier. You don’t have to explain it. It’s there. It’s the lost of your favorite character or the love story that will never be.

It isn’t. It’s you. But that doesn’t have to be said to anyone, not even to yourself.

 

S.G.