Tag Archives: TheGales

New Story – “The Ugly Woman of Castello Di Putti”

ugly woman small
Here’s what Tor.com says about “The Ugly Woman of Castello Di Putti,” which is live on the site today. (The lovely cover illustration is by Richard Anderson)

Returning to the world of Stormwrack where she set the Tor.com story “Among the Silvering Herd,” A.M. Dellamonica offers a new story that takes us deeper into this fascinating world, the setting of her new fantasy novel Child of a Hidden Sea.

The Fleet, integral to the governing of a world that is mostly water sprinkled with a number of islands, must deal with a unique form of magic, inscription, which is so subtle that its effects can sometimes only be known in retrospect. When a ship of the Fleet visits an island where scripping is common, the crew members of the sailing vessel Nightjar are at a disadvantage when faced with local matters of which they know little. Strangers on the shore, indeed, they may enjoy the local customs… but also may attract unwanted attention that could cost them more than embarrassment or money.

The Castello di Putti has a suggestive sound to it, but don’t be deceived. This is a story of civil strife, of culture shock, and ultimately of the risks and rewards of naval duty. Filled with Dellamonica’s fresh, inventive worldbuilding and the joie de vivre of a society in flux, it shows a side of Stormwrack very different from that presented in the previous tale.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

They had barely come ashore before the riot started.
Sindria, capital of Erinth, was a city of black marble and volcanic glass, a dark architectural foundation layered in color and light. Carved urns and stone window boxes built into the structures all burst with bougainvillea and daisies. Fruit trees nodded along the avenues, laden with oranges, lemons, and sun-burnished golden plums.
As they strode up from the landing, they passed a young couple, a fine-featured woman and handsome man, decked out in vivid fabrics, leaning on each other and sharing the support of a sturdy hardwood walker.

Cover art @tordotcom : “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”

ugly woman smallAs you can see, I have a cover now for my upcoming Tor.com novelette, “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.” It’s small here, but if you want a better look there’s a link here you can use.

This story is the second of the series I’m calling The Gales. The first was “Among the Silvering Herd”, and like that story, this one features Gale Feliachild, ship’s Captain Royl Parrish, and their ridiculously handsome first mate, Garland Parrish. Their first adventure took them to Redcap Island, where Gale realized that Royl was considering turning the ship over to Parrish, because he’d like to retire. The second takes them all to one of her favorite island nations, the volcanic island of Erinth, for something of a holiday. Unfortunately, there seems to be a conspiracy afoot against her good friend, the ruling Conto.

The story will be out in early March. I will keep you posted.

(But wait! There’s more! Buy now and we’ll give you… um… forks?)

These stories cover certain events on a world called Stormwrack many years before the opening of my upcoming novel, Child of a Hidden Sea. I hope to be unveiling that cover soon… it is not quite finalized, but what we do have is gorgeous.

Last official @ClarionWest #Writeathon Word Count

I admit I was hoping to break 60K by the end of today, but to do that I’d have to be self-abusive and willing to write what–even by my lax first-draft standards–would be unsalvagable drivel. Pages upon pages of “And then McReporterpants did the thingie with the watchamacallit. Theodolite? Look this up later.”

So – today, words that are better than the above:

July 27 2,308 for a grand total of 58,378 words. Here’s what they looked like before I typed them:

Extremely rough draft, with chamomile tea.

(Sponsor me here! Win Naming Rights to an Island on Stormwrack!)

I had a look at the outline and I’m not as far from the end of the plot as I would have guessed. Maybe another 15,000 words until the thing’s Frankensteined together? I’ve never been good at making these kind of guesstimates.

What I did today to celebrate the end of the Write-A-Thon was go to the Urban Tea Merchant and spend two and a half hours imbibing Royal Darjeerling tea, little sandwiches and luxurious baked goodies while scribbling the above words. It was a very enjoyable wrap-up to the whole Write-A-Thon ritual; I commend it to you all.

I plan to keep up the current pace, of course, until I finish the draft. And then go back and rewrite, and rewrite some more, and then some more.

All I #amreading is student novels…

My UCLA Extension Writers’ Program course, Novel Writing II, is in full swing and I haven’t yet found a book that goes well with fourteen student novels-in-progress.

I am continuing to write about 1200-1500 words a day on my current novel, as part of my Clarion West Write-A-Thon commitment. The naming contest is still on the go for sponsors. Right now, a donation of any size will get you into the draw for a chance to name a landmark, person or animal species. It’ll take at least $35 to be the biggest donor and thereby get the right to name an island nation. Here’s a snippet about another island, Tiladene:

“Perhaps, too, since you’re an outlander . . . ”
What else had she done? “Yes?”
“Lais Dariach . . . he’s from Tiladene.”
Tiladene. That word was on one of Gale’s coins. “You said that. So?”
“They’re somewhat . . . promiscuous.”
The significant look on Dracy’s face made her want to giggle. “You mean sexually promiscuous?”
“They don’t believe in marriage–in faithfulness.”
“Okay, got it. Your other passenger–”
“Lais.”
Lais is from Friends with Benefits Island.”
Planet of the Polyamorous Sluts, she thought, lightheaded. Didn’t the Star Trek guys used to go somewhere like that for shore leave?
And then: A little shore leave wouldn’t be the worst idea I ever had. And he is cute.

New Words, #Writeathon Words, and a #Buffyrewatch

Over at Tor, I’m up to rewatching “The Zeppo.” How fun is that?

Meanwhile, a recent peek at the Clarion West Write-a-Thon notes (Sponsor me here! Win intangible things!) reveals the following metrics:

July 9th 1,092 words, for a total of 36,155
July 8th 1,017 words
July 7th 1,415 words
July 6th 1,400 words
July 5th 1,147 words

Here’s a snapshot of an island nation you can’t name on Stormwrack, a little place by the name of Tallon:

Home. Royl could make out the drydocks, the riggers, the sailmaker’s quarter. Standing well back from the water was an ugly brick plug of a building where the spellscribes worked, enchanting unbreakable masts, wheels that could hold a course, for a time, without a navigator and figureheads that called out in the fog or the dark, whenever a vessel came within sight of their carved, painted eyes.

The Yards were the one great sight of his birth island, a long stretch of busy industry as far as the eye could see, men and women assembling the bones of cutters like the one he’d been sailing these past thirty years. The ships of the Tall were famous. Many a great ship of the Fleet–Constitution, the seat of the government, came from the Yards, and so did the fastest ship on the Nine Seas, Courser. The poor doomed frigate Gulietta was a Tall’s ship, as was the craft that sank her, the stolen pirateer Bleedlove.

This comes from one of The Gales, a wip currently called “Losing Heart among the Tall.”

Back in the @ClarionWest #Writeathon Groove

My trip last weekend involved more research than actual words-on-paper but once I’d been home a couple days I was back to the 1K words daily pace. Will that get a draft done by July 27th? I’m not entirely sure I shouldn’t step it up to a daily goal of 1300 or so. What matters is I’m making my way through the plot and I’m happy with how it’s coming together.

I invited the people who came to my readings to pledge support and enter the contest, and I did get some takers. (Folks, I’ll be e-mailing you soon if I haven’t already.) The deal, if you haven’t already heard it, is this: whoever gives the most money gets to name one of the island nations of Stormwrack. Anyone who gives money gets a chance to name a ship, person, city, landmark or plant/animal species… whichever floats your boat.

Here’s a sample, to give you an idea of what the world’s like, from “Among the Silvering Herd.”

Parrish’s voice carried across the plains. “On the island where I grew up, Bendi, we take in those slain by magic. Such murders are doubly tragic, because nothing lasts forever. It is a given that the scrip will be destroyed in time; that the spell will revert and the murdered person will live again. So the victims must be kept safe.”

The pulver was staring at Parrish’s lips.

“There was a young monk once, whose job was to bear corpses from the sea to the monastery of the sleeping dead. But he loved a woman whose farm lay on the route from the port. He’d stopped at her cottage, once, and a grass fire caught near his wagon. The coffin and the woman lying within were burned.”

To Sponsor Me: Go Here!

Are you in the WriteAThon? How are you doing?

Islands on Stormwrack, Readings in America, Link on Intertube

Here’s a little snippet from one of The Gales, about the island nation of Erinth, a place inspired, more than a little, by Catania:

All Imported-1

Sindria, capital of Erinth, was a city of black marble and volcanic glass, a dark architectural foundation layered in color and light. The carved urns and stone window boxes built into the structures all burst with bougainvillea and daisies. Fruit trees nodded along the avenues, laden with oranges, lemon trees and sun-burnished golden plums.

The title of the story this comes from is “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”

As mentioned, I am posting these island snapshots because I’m giving away naming rights to one nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion West in my name this summer. I will also have a draw for naming rights to a landmark, animal species, sailing vessel or city on Stormwrack. It’s your choice. Anyone who wants to qualify for that one need only donate something, even if it’s the minimum.

And you can do it in person! Just show up either at my reading at Borderlands Bookstore on Saturday June 23rd at 3:00 p.m. or at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Monday the 25th at 7:00 p.m. Give me cash and a way to contact you, and you’re in the running.

To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info.

Finally, links: there’s a Buffy essay up now, called “Real Vampy Love Bitches of Sunnydale“. (This is the “Lovers Walk” essay and, yes, it’s out of order. My fault, I’m pretty sure. I wrote it, but then I was travelling and sick, and Something Ate It.)

Readin’, Research, Write-A-Thon Giveaway

I am going to Victoria tomorrow to do some research for the series of books and stories I’m currently writing–in point of fact, I’m going on a short day sail on a tall ship called the Pacific Grace, which is owned and sailed by S.A.L.T.S. It should be a neat experience. If I’m not clinging to a rope every minute, there will, of course, be pictures.

I am really excited about this, except in the moments when I wonder if it will involve barfing or hard labour.

But back to the current project, I have firmed up my decision to give away naming rights to one island nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion West in my name this summer. I will also have a draw for naming rights to a landmark, animal species, sailing vessel or city on Stormwrack. It’s your choice. Anyone who wants to qualify for that one need only donate something, even if it’s the minimum.

To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info. The Clarion site’s supposed to let me know about contributions, but this didn’t work out so well last year–I’m doing something wrong when I log in, is all I can conclude, because I have immense troubles with the site, and I’m the only one. (It’s me, lovely wonderful Clarion folks, it’s not you. You’ve tried, Chaos knows you’ve tried…)

The reason I’m clattering for donations should be blindingly clear, but if it isn’t: Clarion is a great program. It does terrific work. It made a difference in my life. I wrote six stories in the weeks before I went to Seattle (see, I had a pre-season last time too!) and 220 pages of new fiction while I was there. It helped me improve at my chosen art, it got my nascent writing career on track and introduced me to some of my best friends in the world.

But wait, there’s more, and it’s not frickin’ steak knives!

You need to know what kind of a place Stormwrack is if you’re gonna name an island, right? So as I continue to Thon, there will be posts from all the interconnected works set in this world, and they will be about the island nations I’ve established so far. For example, in the first of a series of stories called The Gales, I have this, about Redcap Island:

To distract him, she asked: “What do you know of Redcap Island?”

“It’s a kingdom,” he said promptly. “Government is stable, king’s rule is absolute. The crown passes to the eldest son upon the death of the king or his sixtieth birthday, whichever comes first. Elder kings go into a kind of ceremonial exile, along with any other sons…”

“Yes?”

“There’s usually just one other son. They must use magic to affect the succession.”

Gale nodded. “Once there’s a healthy heir and a second son, the king’s consorts bear only daughters. The Blossoms Majestic—the princesses—run the government.”

From “Among the Silvering Herd,” out on Tor.com and available as an e-book too!