Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for August, 2013

Who We Are; What We Do

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Maybe because writers are enamored of words, we’re always seeking definitions. Yesterday on twitter I didn’t quite avoid reading a diatribe about what those of us who publish our own work should call ourselves. My choice is on display at the top of this blog. Ask me, and I’ll tell you that my last three novels have all been indie published. This is the same thing as self published, but the synonym I prefer is “indie.” It sounds better to my ears, and is entirely accurate in that I have — independently — pursued, overseen, contracted for, or done myself, every aspect of the publishing process. But the comments on twitter passionately rejected my terminology, to the point of name calling.

To which I can only say, suit yourself and I’ll do the same. In the end, it’s not about the publisher or the publication process, it’s about the book.

Another twitter post referred to an article with a title something like “Ten Indie Writers You Should Be Reading” … as if the fact of being an indie writer was recommendation enough. But wouldn’t an article on “Ten Novels Worth Your Time And Money” be more useful? I know, I know—not as catchy, but again, it’s the book that matters, right?

In recent years I’ve changed the process that I use to get published, but my goal with each novel is the same as it’s always been: I want to write the sort of story I would love to read, and I want to make a living doing it. I don’t see any need to define my novels as either traditional or indie. They’re all books that I wrote because I wanted to write them — and that’s a huge privilege, and I’m grateful for it.

The Wild: Chapter 34

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Tree and stones; artist Sarah Adams
Chapter 34

For all his life Kit had lived side-by-side with Marshal. Everything they did was shared, be it work or play or the danger of the hunt. Zavoy had grown up much the same way, with his sister Luven as his constant companion and confidante. But Marshal and Luven now preferred one another’s company, and as the spring advanced they were often gone away together into the forest. So it was natural that Zavoy and Kit should find companionship with one another.
It became their custom to hunt together. In these forays they would leave at dawn and not return until after dark, but days had passed since they had last found any arowl. The forest was grown so safe that on a morning in mid-spring Zavoy gave in to the pleas of his young cousin Lehe, and consented to take her along on a hunt. Kit was not altogether pleased. Lehe was not accustomed to venturing in the woods, and perforce went slowly and needed to rest, but even his hard heart could not hold on to resentment long in the face of her winsome spirit, and nor was he immune to her admiration.

It was a bright morning, with the trees wearing their new green, and flowers blooming amid the grass. They had stopped at a stream to drink, and were lying together in the sun-warmed grass when a faint, plaintive wail sounded from the east. Lehe sat up, at once on her guard. “The arowl are hunting!”

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“Light and Shadow” to be included in War Stories

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

War Stories: preliminary coverI’ve just received the good news that my story “Light and Shadow” will be included in the anthology War Stories, edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak. Here’s the official announcement.

“Light and Shadow” is set in the story world of The Red, though it’s otherwise independent, with its own characters and a different writing style.

War Stories will soon be starting a Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial publication. I hope you’ll participate!

Locus Review of The Red: First Light Now Online

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Back on August 1 I posted that Locus, “The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field,” had reviewed The Red: First Light.

That review can now be read online. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

The Wild: Chapter 33

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Snowy Mountains. Artist: Sarah Adams

~ Part 6: The Winter War ~

Chapter 33

Pantheren, Jakurian and Zavoy retreated with all haste before the storm, but they were not fast enough to outrun it. A blizzard rolled over them. Its swirling snows hid them from the arowl, but hampered their return. The horses grew exhausted and could not carry them. They walked the last miles in deep snow. When they finally won their way back to the cavern, there was nothing there for the horses to eat. So the poor creatures were slaughtered as the light faded on that day, and what meat remained on them was taken and preserved against the many days of winter still to be faced.
Pantheren’s fingers and toes ached from the cold and he was feverish and fell into a deep sleep filled with nightmares of leering arowl faces. But all that night Halméd chanted the healing spell and when Pantheren awoke his fever was gone.

He washed himself, and Lehe came to him with a clean shirt and took away his soiled one. Then he settled himself by the fire. His face was composed, but his heart was broken and on its crumbled fortifications he waged a great battle against despair.

Lanyon had gone on.

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The Wild: Chapter 32

Friday, August 16th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Snowy Mountains. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 32

Bennek was awakened in the night by an onslaught of fear—not his own fear—it came to him from afar, from out of the north, a terror too faint for words, brushing the edge of his senses and sending his heart into hammering panic. Lanyon, Lanyon. Not for a moment did he doubt it was her.
Has Édan found you?

Bennek feared it was so. Jahallon had not yet launched his promised war against the sorcerer. He could not do it—not when all of Habaddon’s warriors were needed to defend the Protected Lands against Siddél’s unending assaults.

Bennek arose in the dark and dressed.

There was nothing he could do to help her.

Yet he needed to do something.

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“Strong”

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Twitter led me to a terrific post today by Sophia McDougall on the meme of “strong female characters” in fiction. It has the provocative title “I hate Strong Female Characters” but read on — there is an explanation for this, and Ms. McDougall has a lot of wise things to say. For example:

Part of the patronising promise of the Strong Female Character is that she’s anomalous. “Don’t worry!” that puff piece or interview is saying when it boasts the hero’s love interest is an SFC. “Of course, normal women are weak and boring and can’t do anything worthwhile. But this one is different. She is strong! See, she roundhouses people in the face.”

She also reverses the meme, asking “Are our best-loved male heroes Strong Male Characters?”

Is Sherlock Holmes strong? It’s not just that the answer is “of course”, it’s that it’s the wrong question.

What happens when one tries to fit other iconic male heroes into an imaginary “Strong Male Character” box? A few fit reasonably well, but many look cramped and bewildered in there. They’re not used to this kind of confinement, poor things. They’re used to being interesting across more than one axis and in more than two dimensions.

The idea that “strength” translates to ass-kicking ability has always annoyed me. I’m not really interested in superheroes. I’m interested in people who don’t always have the answers, who face moral quandaries, who do the best they can, and who — even among my antiheroes — have a moral core. Physical prowess is fine — I’m an athletic person, I love physical strength and endurance — and violence can serve a plot. I certainly engage in violence-in-plot, especially in my most recent books, but to me, “strength” is interesting when it’s strength-of-character.

So when the talk turns to “strong women characters” I like to point to Jubilee in Memory — along with her mother Tola, and Udondi, and Elek — because we’re allowed to have more than one. Or Clemantine, Deneb, and Hailey in Vast, or Katie, Roxanne, Ilene, and Nikki in Tech-Heaven, or Ketty, Takis, and Tayval in The Dread Hammer.

“Strong” comes in so many forms, because it takes all kinds of people — men and women both — to make a world.

Over a year ago I wrote my own post on “strong female characters” but never quite finished it. Maybe it’s time to finalize that one.

The Wild: Chapter 31

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Snowy Mountains. Artist: Sarah Adams

~ Part 5: Season of Storm ~

Chapter 31

On the night of the Solstice, Lanyon had volunteered to keep the midnight watch. She stood beside the windows, wrapped up against the cold in the coat the Snow Chanter had given her, her breath steaming on the quiet air. She had the talisman with her, strapped across her back in its carry case, as was her custom. She also had near at hand her bow and three arrows. Her fingers ached with the cold, so she kept her hands plunged deep in her pockets.
Outside, the snow-covered forest glittered under starlight. On this night the arowl were silent. Nothing moved in the forest and no sound reached her ears. Even the merry-making within the keep had fallen into silence.

So when she heard the creak of the rope bridge, she turned about with a start.

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My First Computer

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

(This post is part of a series at Book View Café, and is cross-posted there.)

Gather round children, and let me tell you a frightening truth: I got through four years of college without a personal computer.

Everyone did in those days, but within a year of graduating, the personal computer revolution had taken off. This was 1983. I was getting married. The husband-to-be wondered if I wanted an engagement ring. I considered it for about a second-and-a-half and said, “Get me a computer instead.” Because by this time I’d decided I was going to be a writer.

So we decided on a Columbia VP Portable, mostly, as I recall, because it was significantly cheaper than the “IBM Clone” desktops of the time. “Portable” is a slight exaggeration on the part of the manufacturer. It’s really a crushingly heavy 35-pounds, not something you’d want to carry with you while commuting on a bus, but it served my purposes. (more…)

The Wild: Chapter 30

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Mist & River. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 30

Tears streaked Kaliel’s face as he returned to the stream, a full hour after Bennek had fallen to the tiger. It had taken him that long to master his horse. Kina had come upon him as he struggled with the panicked animal, but when she saw Bennek was not with him, she disappeared again.
Kaliel rode with bow in hand, an arrow fitted to the string. He did not expect to find even Bennek’s body—tigers were said to carry their prey away to secret places—but he would look. He would make sure no hope remained.

So he was overcome with astonishment when he saw amid the mottled shadows a wounded figure walking in halting steps. It was Bennek, he knew it, for Kina stalked protectively beside him, yet Kaliel feared she escorted a ghost. He reined in his horse. “Bennek,” he called softly. “Is it truly you?”

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