swan_tower: (Default)

Pseudopod (Escape Artists’ horror-themed short fiction podcast) is running a Kickstarter to raise the funds to pay their narrators. I am not wholly a disinterested party in this, as I’ve narrated for them several times (without pay); but I will say that I wholeheartedly support the notion that the people who read you the stories in a podcast deserve to be paid for their work. They already compensate their authors well, so this is the next step, and I applaud them for taking it.

Also, don’t forget that you only have until the end of this month to purchase prints from my Autumn and Halloween galleries:

Paired photos of a single autumn leaf and an angel on a cross

You can get them in practically any medium (paper, acrylic, metal, canvas, glass, wood) and any size, or a digital license for use as book covers etc.

Finally, I’m over at Unbound Worlds talking about the most influential book I’ve ever read. You have to know the book in question or the things it’s based on to understand why it’s Halloween-themed, but trust me, it is.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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First of all, my friend Mike Underwood’s Genrenauts Kickstarter campaign is already nearly funded, because I’ve been crazy busy in the last week and a half (house-buying drama; turned out okay, thank god), but you’ve still got eighteen days left to back it. This is the “Season One” collection of Genrenauts, comprising six novellas (two already published, four to come), plus a bunch of extras. If you’re not familiar with the series, it involves a group of highly-trained agents parachuting into alternate realities governed by the laws of different genres, seeking to right imbalances that threaten the stability of our own world. Basically, catnip for anybody who likes thinking about and playing around with the tropes of narrative — which of course is why Mike started writing them, and why you all should read them!

Second, I’ve put up two items for auction via Con or Bust, a nonprofit that helps fans of color attend conventions they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. The first is a signed hardcover of In the Labyrinth of Drakes, and the second is a 9-CD edition of the audiobook for A Natural History of Dragons, narrated by the amazing Kate Reading. It’s for a good cause, so please, bid high!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (gaming)

This one is for all the RPG fans out there. Gallant Knight Games are Kickstarting Tiny Frontiers — an authorized SFnal port of the Tiny Dungeons system.

Why do I bring this up? Because I’ll be contributing a micro-setting to Tiny Frontiers — a place and a situation, with a few hooks for plots you could run in it. I’m still in the process of writing that up, but as a teaser, I’ll give you two words: alien. god.

The Kickstarter has five days to go, with several stretch goals of various types: funding goals, social media goals, and so forth. My setting will be included in the core book, regardless of whether those goals are reached, but there are plenty of other goodies to be had! So if this kind of thing sounds fun, do head on over and take a look. It may be tiny, but it’s a giant pile of fun. 🙂

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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We’re down to the last couple of days, and CP5 is within striking distance of its goal. This is the anthology series that previously brought you “A Mask of Flesh,” “Once a Goddess,” “The Gospel of Nachash,” and “What Still Abides” — along with, of course, a host of stories from other writers, ranging from newcomers to Tanith Lee.

There’s an AMA underway on Reddit, where you can (as the name indicates) ask editor Mike Allen anything. Check that out, check out the Kickstarter, and let’s get this over the line!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

Clockwork Phoenix, the anthology series edited by Mike Allen, is back for a fifth round. Kickstarter page is here.

I have a particularly fond relationship with this series, because I’m one of two authors (Tanith Lee being the other) who has had a story in every volume so far. Previous installments have included “A Mask of Flesh,” “Once a Goddess,” “The Gospel of Nachash,” and “What Still Abides.” Mike is the guy who will buy a fake book of the Bible from me, complete with King James-era prose; he bought a piece written entirely in Anglish. Clockwork Phoenix is where I can cut loose stylistically, or explore weird philosophical concepts in story form. I know what I want to write for this volume — in fact, I’ve started writing it already — but of course the anthology needs to happen before I can sell anything to it.

So go forth and Kickstart! The CP books have been great so far, with a wide range of really weird and beautiful stories, and I’d love to see the series continue.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Sonya Taaffe (sovay on LiveJournal) has just set up a Patreon to back her film reviews.

If you don’t understand why I’m signal-boosting this, you probably haven’t been reading her reviews. She writes beautifully about film, primarily with an eye toward the performances of the actors: she has a knack I envy, of describing characterization and behavior in a concise, vivid fashion, and showing how characterization is revealed in behavior. She also has wide-ranging tastes; while a good deal of her blogging is about classic or forgotten films from decades ago, she isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a snob. Here is her review of Thor, and here is The Avengers. Both, as you might expect, pay particular attention to Loki:

Marvel can do whatever it likes with gods I don’t have a personal stake in, but I expected to be bleeding from the ears from the reconfigured family relationships alone. Instead I wanted much, much more of him. I love how he has a habit of appearing in mirrors, how you can almost never tell what is calculation and what he really feels; how, black-haired, blue-eyed, feverishly pale, he’s a callback to the icy dark of Jötunheim, but the dusk-blue that burns up through his skin at its touch, hel-blár, is the one mask he never knew he was wearing. He has a thin-skinned, transparent look about him, a raw edge under glass. It makes him an effective deceiver: he looks as though you should be able to read him with one level stare, which will only show you what you want to see. And it makes him vulnerable: the incredible, child’s desolation in his face as he lets go of everything that has been his life and falls into Ginnungagap like a collapsing star. Like a good trickster, he is never a single, quantifiable thing. All of his scenes are exactly as they should be.

Or here she is about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the ten minutes of really great movie buried in the middle of an extremely mediocre one.

I love her film-blogging enough that I sent her a complimentary DVD of Seven Souls in Skull Castle, just because I want to know what she might have to say about it. (And by the way, if you want to see that movie for yourself, you can now buy your very own copy.)

So if you want to see more of that, consider supporting her Patreon. More lovely film-blogging for everybody!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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<looks at subject line> Apparently I’m in a weird mood today. :-P

Found out recently that a friend of mine is running an IndieGoGo campaign to fund the post-production for a documentary on the Rocky Horror Picture Show phenomenon. Why the post-production only? Because they ran a Kickstarter to raise the money for the whole project, but so many of their pledges defaulted that although they officially made their goal and then some, they didn’t actually collect all the money they needed to finish the task. They’ve been traveling the country to film and interview the various casts, and the result is likely to be awesome . . . but they do need the rest of their funding. Since it’s an IndieGoGo flexible funding campaign, every bit of money you pledge will help — it isn’t an all-or-nothing deal.

And while I’m at it, I should mention that both the Not Our Kind and Daughters of Mercury campaigns are still running, if you haven’t checked them out already.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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These both came to my attention recently, and deserve a signal boost:

Daughters of Mercury — this is an art project, creating portraits of trans women “how they want to be represented, either complicating the conventional portraitist’s art of flattery with the dynamics of gender dysphoria, or celebrating features stigmatized as masculine as a woman’s features.” I know the woman behind the project, and I also know an increasing number of trans women (one of whom brought the campaign to my attention), so there’s a personal weight to this one: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gender identity, passing or choosing not to pass, etc, and there aren’t any simple answers. But we can accept trans women for who and what they are, and I think projects like this one are part of how we can do that.

Not Our Kind — this is an anthology built around the theme of “outsiders.” Not only does a friend of mine (Marissa Lingen) have a story in it, along with several acquaintances of mine, but the topic sounds pretty dang appealing. I’m pretty sure I’m going to love the heck out of it . . . but first it needs to be funded, so.

Go forth! Support!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

The hard part isn’t running a Kickstarter campaign. The hard part is dealing with all the work after your campaign succeeds. :-P

Good news is, I’m being organized. I’ve made a spreadsheet for all the backers, noting which items go to whom, so that (hopefully) it will be easy to track what’s been taken care of and what still needs doing. It would be easier if I could take care of everything in one go, but of course that won’t work; a lot of rewards involve Chains and Memory in either print or ebook format, and I can’t send that out until after I, y’know, write the book. (And revise it and copy-edit it and proof it and so on.)

But the ball will get rolling pretty soon. I’m just waiting on a half-dozen remaining surveys, at which point I can start sending out the rewards that are ready to go. After those, I’ll deal with the stuff that involves actual production (t-shirts, miniscript photocopies, etc) and/or coordination with the backers (tarot readings, tuckerizations). And then so on from there. This is going to be an item on my to-do list for a while, I can tell.

Such, my friends, are the laments of success. :-)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

Just over an hour to go.

The number currently stands at $4,377*, and given that when I launched this I was moderately terrified I wouldn’t reach the $2000 goal, that’s pretty excellent. :-D It’s been exciting to watch the pace pick up, too: there have been more pledges in the last three or four days than any time since the first couple of days. Which is how these things usually go, so it doesn’t come as a surprise — but knowing it’s pretty common doesn’t make it any less exciting.

Anyway, if you want to get in on Chains and Memory, now’s your last chance! All the rewards are still available (though there are only two Tuckerizations left). You’ve got 66 minutes left, as of me hitting “post” . . . .

*I love it when I have to revise that number while drafting a post. ^_^

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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A bit more than twenty-four hours left on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter. Over the weekend, we went from “might make it to the third stretch goal; might not” to “that’s the third stretch goal sorted; I wonder if we’ll hit the fourth?” Which is, in a word, awesome.

This means that everybody who backs the project will be receiving not two but five rewards: a thank-you in Chains and Memory, “Welcome to Welton” in ebook format, a short story in the Wilders setting, and the soundtracks for both novels. A couple hundred dollars more, and everybody’s copies of Lies and Prophecy will be illustrated to boot!

I’m going to try not to haunt my email today. Your mission, dear readers, should you choose to accept it, is to make that nigh-impossible for me: I still have Kickstarter configured to notify me every time there’s a new pledge, and if they come in at a good clip OH HEY LOOK THERE’S ANOTHER ONE no seriously, I just got another backer while I was typing this — what was I saying? Oh yeah. I would like to be driven to distraction by a steady flow of new pledges. :-) Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LJ, Myspace, USEnet, carrier pigeon . . . whatever method you prefer, signal-boosting is a wonderful thing. It’s the last push, and I’m dying to see how far it can go.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Combining these two into one because there’s less of a story behind them than the other two.

Tuckerization is the process of either naming a character after a real person or putting that person into the story as a character (those being not quite the same thing). It is, as you might expect, named after a real person.

In my case, what I’m offering is the use of someone’s name for a character. I’m actually not the sort of writer who bases characters on specific people — at least not mostly. There may end up being a cat in Chains and Memory who is both named and modeled after a friend’s cat, for no better reason than because I was thinking a lot about the book when I knew that friend in grad school, and Hitomi wandered randomly into Kim’s life in my imagination. (Cats, man. Not only do they go where they aren’t supposed you, you can’t even confine them to a single world.) I can’t be specific about which characters yet because I need to see what people end up playing a role in Chains and Memory, but there are a lot of Washington, D.C. types as well as wilders who will be passing through the story, so those are the most likely groups. I’ll be working with anybody who chooses Tuckerization to see what role they prefer out of the available options.

As for t-shirts, there are two options, basically one for each book. The Welton University t-shirt is for Lies and Prophecy, and features a six-pointed star, which is one of the frequent shapes given to the Seal of Solomon in Western occultism. The other is the seal of the Bureau for Special Psychic Affairs, a federal organization that features more heavily in Chains and Memory. The three-pointed star indicates the traditional division of the “psychic sciences” into the telepathic disciplines, telekinetic disciplines, and ceremonial magic. The laurel branches indicate the BSPA copying the look of the FBI seal to give themselves an aura of legitimacy, what with being a relatively new bureau and all. :-P And the motto . . . ordinarily it would be in Latin or English, but I’d established that Irish Gaelic was (for reasons of folklore and history) adopted as kind of the banner language of magic after First Manifestation, and so I decided to go with that here, too. It says “power, wisdom, restraint” — and yes, I know srian means “restraint” in the sense of a bridle, but that’s deliberate. These are the people who control wilders. And the book is, after all, called Chains and Memory. If the last word of the motto strikes you as a little ominous, you aren’t wrong.

That’s it for the “special” rewards, i.e. the things that aren’t books or progress reports or what have you. Plus there’s the stuff from the stretch goals, of course. Just a few days to go, and then the rewards can start rolling out!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

Of all the rewards I’m offering on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter, I think this one is the most special to me.

Changeling: The Dreaming has a concept it calls “dross”: objects invested with so much emotional significance that they actually contain energy of the sort changelings use to power their magic. They literally embody somebody’s dreams. Sometimes a piece of dross is famous or valuable — e.g. Babe Ruth’s bat — but they can just as easily be personal, like your beloved teddy bear from childhood.

That miniscript? Is dross. Back in the fall of 1999, when I had finished the first draft of the novel eventually known as Lies and Prophecy, I knew I needed to edit it. Since I was going on a weekend trip to a football game with the Harvard Band, the bus ride seemed like a good time to read through the book and mark it up — but for that, it needed to be portable. And, well, I hadn’t told anybody other than my then-boyfriend (now husband) that I’d finished a novel, and I didn’t want anybody saying “wow, that’s a giant stack of paper you’ve got there; what did you do, write a novel?” So I invented the miniscript: eight-point font, half-inch margins, single-spaced, full justification, print on both sides of the page, and voila, you’ve got a book on forty pieces of paper.

Which is still, to this day, the way I do my first round of edits. (You can tell me that is a bloody stupid way to print out a manuscript for editing. I will agree with you. And then I will go on printing miniscripts, because that is How I Do Things.)

The miniscript of Lies and Prophecy is quite literally the first time the first draft of the first novel I ever completed existed in print. Its creation is pretty much the moment that Marie Brennan, Fantasy Author stopped being a thing I wanted to be when I grew up, and became what I actually was.

It’s also a record of just how much the book changed over the years — and how much it didn’t. The first draft was flabby as all get-out, and I’ve added all kinds of new layers since then (the Yan Path stuff), fiddled around with secondary characters (Grayson used to be white; Liesel’s friends went through about eight different names apiece), cut out bits of worldbuilding that didn’t really contribute anything to the story. But it’s still the tale of Kim and Julian and the attack on Samhain and it ends pretty much the same way. If somebody ever writes an academic work on Marie Brennan, Fantasy Author, this miniscript will be a goldmine for their attempts to trace my growth as a writer.

And if you want a copy of your very own, you can have one. :-)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

I meant to post these a while ago, rather than in the last week of the Kickstarter — but hey, better late than never, right? So over the next few days, I’ll be making a few posts to talk about the non-book rewards available for Chains and Memory, and why I chose them.

First up are the tarot readings by my friend Emily Dare. I included these because Kim is a divination major at Welton, and tarot is her preferred tool, so it’s something that’s both very fitting for the story and also kind of unusual. And I asked Emily to participate because pretty much any time* Kim sits down with a tarot deck in this series, that’s Emily’s handiwork you’re seeing: I tell her what I want the reading to convey, and she reverse-engineers that to say what cards Kim should get, what layout she would likely use, etc. For Kim’s big reading in the early part of Lies and Prophecy, that ended up adding quite a lot of depth to the scene, because of Emily’s suggestions for how to complicate the process. And that’s exactly why I look for outside help: I could sit there with the itty-bitty Rider-Waite booklet and try to make something up, but I wouldn’t get the nuances and the neat little details that make it seem more real.

(Which is pretty much a true statement of any instance where I recruit help on a particular topic for a story. It’s always good to ask the people with the hands-on experience; they know the things you wouldn’t even think to ask.)

So that’s it for the first of the special rewards. I’ll be back later to talk about the miniscript, Tuckerization, and the t-shirts. Stay tuned!

*The exception being the Tower scene in Lies and Prophecy. I made up that particular reading all on my own. :-P

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

Eight days left on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter! We’re just $285 from a short story. Less than that, even, if I count the people who have donated via Paypal — which is a thing I should mention here, I suppose. If you cannot or do not wish to contribute via either Amazon or Facebook (and I can totally understand that decision), then I am more than willing to accept donations by other routes, and will include you in the appropriate reward level when I send things out to backers. Ping me here or by email and we can work out the details.

I’ve been working steadily on Chains and Memory for a little while now, so as to be sure I can finish it by October 4th, and it’s proceeding apace. There’s been some two-steps-foward, one-step-back shenanigans as I figure out how to launch the various strands of the plot, but I’m experimenting with Scrivener for this novel, and I think it may assist with tracking that stuff. Regardless, I am definitely on schedule for finishing the draft by the fifteenth anniversary of Lies and Prophecy.

Anyway, we’re headed into the final push. Do spread the word wherever you can, and let’s see if this thing goes to 11!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

Over the weekend, the Chains and Memory Kickstarter reached its first stretch goal. This means that every backer, current or yet to come, will also be receiving the next best thing to me sharing the novel soundtrack itself: a discussion of the “score” I made for Lies and Prophecy, with links to the songs where possible.

I’m looking forward to putting that together. The first song on the list is basically the reason I make novel soundtracks at all: I listened to it a bunch while writing the first draft of the novel, which caused it to become associated with the story in my mind, and then I leveraged that to help me get in the mood for writing, which led to me making playlists for books and so onward to the actual, formal score-type-thing. I love having the story in musical form; it adds another layer to how I perceive the characters and events. And now I can share that with other people!

Now, of course, it’s on to Stretch Goal #2: Short Story. The most likely prospect is that I’ll write about Henry Welton during First Manifestation — the days when half the planet suddenly had psychic powers and no idea how to control them. It’s possible something else will suggest itself while I’m drafting Chains and Memory, though. Speaking of which: I’ve started work on it, and am now a little more than 7K in, counting some material that got written beforehand. That puts me on track to finish it before October 4th, with time off for being in Okinawa and having ankle surgery, with a bit of a cushion to spare. Fingers crossed that things continue to go well.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

(You have no idea how tempted I was to title this “Ni Presentas . . . Goal!” You have no idea mostly because I’m not sure whether anybody reading this blog even knows why the heck I would be tempted to say that in the first place.)

So, that Kickstarter I’m running? It made goal this morning. I woke up way earlier than I wanted to, because I had to drag myself to the airport for my Wiscon flight, and lo and behold: I found myself funded. In fact, we’re at $2060 right now.

Which is, in a word, refrackulawesome.

And if you’re familiar with Kickstarter, you know what that means: stretch goals! I have 25 days to go before this thing ends, so I might as well see how far we can go. If we hit $2500, I will share with all backers “The Music of Lies and Prophecy” — the track listing for the novel, with links to the songs (where possible) and notes on how and why I chose them. (I would share the soundtrack itself, but, um, copyright violations up the wazoo.) And if we hit $3000, I’ll write a short story in the setting!

If we go beyond that . . . well, you’ll just have to wait and see. :-)

So if those sound tempting, you can mosey on over and back the project yourself. Or if you’ve already done that, spread the word to some friends! The more, the merrier.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)
(One thing that isn't going well: my WP installation. I don't know if I'll be able to get it back up before this evening, but for now it's kaput, which means among other things that today's picture post is broken. If you click on the missing image or the link, though, you should be able to see the full-size version on Flickr. In the meanwhile, this is only posting to DW and LJ.)

I'm not sure I have adequate words to express how pleased I am at the progress Chains and Memory has made in its first day. We're coming up on exactly 24 hours since I launched the project, and in that time, it has achieved over 75% of its funding. I think the technical term for that is freaking awesome, yo. Chickens, unhatched, yadda yadda, and we're not actually there yet -- but I think we can agree that's it a rather good start, can't we? </understatement>

It's a good thing that I'm going to Wiscon this year. Tomorrow I will be on planes for many hours, and then I will be surrounded by friends and colleagues and new people to meet, and all together that means I will not be able to haunt my email like a cat at a mousehole for the next few days. (I said on Twitter that I take 2d6 points of SAN loss from Kickstarter emailing me every time somebody backs the project. But hey, if you're going to lose sanity, this is a good way to do it!) If you're going to be at Wiscon yourself, a) do come by and say hello!, and b) my plan is to read from Lies and Prophecy at 2:30 on Saturday.

I promise not to check my email under the table while the rest of my friends read. :-P
swan_tower: (*writing)

Fourteen and a half years ago, I completed the first draft of what at the time I thought was a stand-alone novel: Lies and Prophecy.

Within a year or two, though, I started getting Ideas. Fragments of ideas, anyway — bits and pieces about what would happen to Kim and Julian after the end of that novel. They piled up, and fed back into later drafts of Lies and Prophecy, until here we are more than a decade later, and those ideas have formed a can-can line and are performing choreographed routines in my head.

So I’ve decided to Kickstart them into reality.

My aim, if I meet my funding goal, is to draft the sequel of Chains and Memory this summer, while I’m doing the prep work for the fourth Memoir. In pursuit of that, I am offering a variety of book packages, plus other rewards like behind-the-scenes reports, t-shirts, tarot readings, and even the chance to appear as a character in the novel. Head on over to Kickstarter to check out the full list; it will be running for the next four weeks.

You can also help me immensely by spreading the word! Whether it’s on a blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or messages stuffed into bottles and dropped into the sea, any and all signal-boosting would be absolutely wonderful. I’ll be posting more information here over the next few weeks, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

You have no idea how excited I am about this. :-D

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)
SF Signal is giving away two copies of Clockwork Phoenix 4 (which, you may recall, includes my Anglish story "What Still Abides"). Trade paperbacks, and all you have to do is send in an e-mail to enter.

Daily Science Fiction is running a fundraising drive via Kickstarter, to cover a year and a half of publication costs. They're two-thirds of the way there, with eleven days to go; take a look, both at the project and the site itself, and if you like what you see, give 'em a bit of love.

Laura Anne Gilman has a new book out, Heart of Briar, which is loosely based on "Tam Lin." And you know how I loves me some "Tam Lin" retellings . . . .

And finally, just for grins, "The Devil Came Up to Boston."

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