Painted Ladies, the Pinboard

painted ladiesI have stumbled over a couple terrific art boards lately and have begun gathering up portraits of women as a result.
Many of the women on my Painted Ladies pinboard may be familiar to you–a lot of them are celebrity paintings by celebrity painters. Others, though, are newer or more obscure.

It has been fascinating collecting these, and what I’ve realized is that there’s a real difference between a photographic portrait–even if it’s fanciful–and something painted from scratch. The element of imagination is different: the painter imbues their subject with personality in a way that seems less about capturing reality and more about creating or amplifying it.

(From this you can tell I am not versed at all in art criticism.)

What was most exciting, though, was to stumble over Kneeling Girl, by Thomas Saliot. This is as perfect a picture of the protagonist of my next novel, a woman named Sophie Opal Hansa, as I could ever have wished to discover.

Today’s moving-related discovery: Revenue Canada will let us write off a ton of our moving expenses this year.

Faith hits the #BuffyRewatch @Tordotcom

The season four two-parter featuring the return of Faith is up–it’s called “The Last of the Red Hot Slayers.”

I know this blog has been light on everything but Buffy posts lately, but I am hoping to get back to a more varied routine soon. Thank you for bearing with me as I put the finishing touches on the current novel. It’s slated to go off to my agent on Friday.

I #amWriting, amReading, amRithmetic

Sometimes I can get through a book without ever having to print up a manuscript and make hard notes. Not so with the current book, though. I’ve run it off, divided it into five separate hundred-ish page segments, and am most of the way through a pink pen edit. This is not a sekrit publishing technical term. It just means that the next edit will be a green or blue or possibly orange pen edit. I am hoping to only read it this way twice, as the story came together pretty delightfully once the scribbling commenced.

Work in progress: DAUGHTER OF NO NATION

And speaking of delightful, I am now about 70% of the way through my shiny advance copy of M.K. Hobson’s heartrending steampunk novel The Warlock’s Curse, which will be available to the general public so very soon. This novel is the follow-up to the Nebula nominated The Native Star and its sequel The Hidden Goddess. I won’t say anything more about it until I’ve read that last 30%, except for this: damn you, Mary, you’ve gone and made me all emo! Those sodas at your Orycon launch party better be amazing! And also: guys, this is a superfun novel.

Wouldn’t you like to be a portal too?

No sooner had I written that Next Big Thing article about my Stormwrack novels than this post went live on SF Novelists. It’s about portal fantasies, and was sparked by another post, by Rachel Manija Brown. The classic example is C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Books, which is why Marie Brennan’s post is titled “This Wardrobe is Closed Until Further Notice.”

I found this discussion super-interesting for so many reasons.

First, I’d missed out on the term portal fantasy, so I hadn’t realized that I was writing one. Well, three. (I knew what I was writing, just hadn’t heard this handy term.)

Second, the panelists referenced in the posts agreed that nobody in publishing is buying these things. And if they were, they certainly aren’t buying portal fantasies written for adults. To which, of course, I got to reply in comments: except mine! There’s perhaps a little egoboo to be had in selling the arguably unsellable.

Third, the meat of the panel was essentially literary and marketing criticism of the subgenre: it’s wish-fulfillment, they said, and therefore immature. The novels have no consequences for the real world. The protagonist always returns to their life at home, barely older and much much wiser. It’s all been done. (The actual posts are more articulate, of course.)

So, Marie says–I’m taking some liberties with my paraphrasing–that maybe someone will one day write a grown-up portal fantasy where people travel both ways and portal-worlders fall through to Earth, and the journey of the protagonist affects important stuff at home and maybe the heroes and heroines don’t automatically just leave the magical land behind and embrace their old life with a zesty declaration–“There’s no place like home!”

To which I say: Hahahaha! I’m there, I’m so there! Because not only are the Stormwrack novels this and much more, it’s safe to argue that Indigo Springs and Blue Magic are, in part, portal fantasies where what’s behind the portal takes out most of Oregon in the first book alone!

Here’s a picture of me being smug.
Everyone at #vcon is up and ready to have a great morning, right?

My fellow SF Novelist Marie Brennan has, by the way, done a Journeys interview here at Planetalyx.

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 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.