Series: Anthologies from Seventh Star Press

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press – whilst I participated on the blog tour in [2014] for this title, I was unable to read the stories for review until this year [2018]. I received a complimentary copy of “Hero’s Best Friend” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What originally drew me into wanting to read this lovely anthology:

Hero’s Best Friend

What I appreciate the most about this particular collection of stories is having each of them capture the essence of a genre-bending sphere of literary delight! They are representative of their actual genres, but they sound as though they give a bit more than what those branches of literature might usually encompass at the very same time! I love fiction that takes on new meanings and new depths, whether I am soaking into a book, a short story, or even whilst immersed into the latest Doctor Who episode I am discovering for the very first time! I find that the series is the epitome of ‘genre-bending’ and brilliance of execution on captivating a person’s attention at the jump-start beginning!

Sandridge and I share a common ground for appreciating animal companions, as his top three choices match my own, as I quite literally rented “Benji: the Hunted” from the rental shoppes so often they nearly gave me the VHS tapes for free! I say ‘nearly!’ as they never could seem to get permission from corporate to do so! Oy! I was simply captivated by Benji, for the same reasons I loved “The Adventures of Natty Gann” in which Natty’s companion is a wolf; “The Neverending Story” who as the wickedest dragon on the planet! (another film in common, he mentions this elsewhere on the tour!); the Mountain Family Robinson trilogy where Crest protected the family; previously I have mentioned my affection for “Pete’s Dragon”; and many others I am failing to draw to memory today! What I appreciate about Jack London is his ability to get your heart attached to a wolf in a way that is different than Natty Gann but is a bit similar to “Due South”; a tv series which features a deaf wolf who takes interest in protecting a Mountie!

From our beginnings of noting animal companions and animals in fiction, we differ a bit on our paths after childhood because I am suspecting the video games are not the ones I’d personally play myself! I’m always going to have half a step and foot on the family and children side of the ledger, not only because I’m a future foster-adoptive Mum, nor even because I’m an Auntie at present, but because I tend to like the innocence in stories for younger generations. I’d wrap myself into a family film far quicker than I would an intense video game! I am a gamer, a title I apparently acquired at three, as I’ve been playing games on the computer since I first started using one! Wayy back when Atari was all the rage and long before Nintendo or the ability to borrow my neighbourhood friend’s Sega Genesis so I could play with Sonic, the quirky hedgehog!

The best news of all, no matter how we gather our passions for animal companions, nor where we wander to find the companions that mean the world to their masters, we each have our own ‘coveted niche’ in the genres we appreciate reading and watching! And, I for one will always celebrate the uniqueness of our individual passions if we can sometimes draw a common thread towards each other and celebrate the love of story-telling which ignites a fever pitch passion for our imaginations!

-quoted from my Spotlight on behalf of Hero’s Best Friend

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. SandridgeHero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions
by (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge, Herika R. Raymer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Publisher

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!

Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you're a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you! So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero's Best Friend.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1937929510

Also by this author: , Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Gifts of the Magi

Series: Anthologies from Seventh Star Press


Also in this series: Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, , A Chimerical World, Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions


Genres: Fantasy Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th February, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 472

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Trade paperback & Ebook

Genres: Short Story | Fantasy | Animals in Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #HerosBestFriendAntho & #7thStar

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Stories inside: Hero’s Best Friend:

Joy Ward: “Toby and Steve Save the World”

Frank Creed: “Dusk”

Cassie Schau: “The Hunter’s Boy”

Steven Donahue: “Grit”

Jason Cordova: “Hill 142”

Herika R. Raymer: “Dook”

Essel Pratt: “Brothers”

Lisa Hawkridge: “Ezra’s Girl”

S. H. Roddey: “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Steven S. Long: “The Wolf Sentinel”

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum”

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat”

Ian Hunter: “Scarheid in the Glisting”

Steven Grassie: “The Masterless”

David Wright: “Wind of Change”

Renee Carter Hall: “The Emerald Mage”

Nick Bryan: “The Violet Curse”

Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: “The Restless Armadillo”

Douglas J. Ogurek: “Stuck on the Squigglybounce”

Sheila Deeth: “Passage”

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge

Scott M. Sandridge Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor.

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
Divider

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Action & Adventure Fiction, An Editor Point of View, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Convention, Bookish Discussions, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Imaginarium, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Writing Style & Voice

+Blog Book Tour+ Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. Sandridge, featuring an Editor Guest Post!

Posted Sunday, 22 June, 2014 by jorielov , , 6 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Heros Best Friend Anthology Blog Tour with Tomorrow Comes Media

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress), 12 February, 2014
Official Author WebsitesBlog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 472
Genres: Short Story | Fantasy  | Animals in Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #HerosBestFriendAntho & #7thStar

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

There are books which enter our lives and conscience heart well ahead of their actual publication date, and this particular anthology came into my view in late 2013. It was around the time of the first-ever Twitter party for the debut writerly convention Imaginarium in Louisville, Kentucky this coming September! I was quite charmed by the premise of the stories which would be lit alive inside its covers and I was quite eager to learn more about the collection as it came time to review it for a blog tour! Clearly confident in my ability to secure a tour spot, as sometimes when you believe in a book, you just have to go the extra mile! (as I have for Uncovering Cobbogoth and Portals, Passages, and Pathways!)

Imagine my gobsmacked horror to realise that the complimentary copy of Hero’s Best Friend went plumb amiss in the Post! Yes, dear hearts, somewhere out there between Kentucky and here, there is a copy floating through the mail system! You see, I had planned to compose my observational thoughts on the stories today! Never one to throw in the towel if life throws me lemons, I quickly contacted the editor Mr. Sandridge and conferred with him about an impromptu Guest Post in lieu of the planned review!

Sandridge came through for me and provided me with lovely insight into how animal companions and animals inside stories have enchanted him as much as they have myself! I am always delighted finding others who appreciate the same interests I have but to have such a stellar essay whipped up as quickly as he threw this one together is a blessing to a book blogger! I cannot thank him enough for giving me a way ‘back on the tour!’

Please take a moment to look over the information on the anthology’s contents before proceeding into his essay about the genre-bending inclusion of ‘animal companions!’

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Heroes Best Friend : Anthology by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit: Enggar Adirasa

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

May I take a moment to express my gratitude for the artwork by Enggar Adirasa! The front cover’s image simply draws you into wanting to seek the stories out inside this collection of shorts! Especially if you are an appreciator of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe motion picture! (I did not get as enraptured with the books!) I would love to hear your take on what alights in your mind as you look a bit at the cover and compose your thoughts in the comment threads below! I look forward to seeing what you share! It is still a bit of a mystery for me to know of which story this illustrative piece is referencing! And, I cannot wait to find out!

Anthology Synopsis: Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions

Scott M. Sandridge

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!
Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you’re a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you!

So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero’s Best Friend.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Stories inside: Hero’s Best Friend:

Joy Ward: “Toby and Steve Save the World”

Frank Creed: “Dusk”

Cassie Schau: “The Hunter’s Boy”

Steven Donahue: “Grit”

Jason Cordova: “Hill 142”

Herika R. Raymer: “Dook”

Essel Pratt: “Brothers”

Lisa Hawkridge: “Ezra’s Girl”

S. H. Roddey: “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Steven S. Long: “The Wolf Sentinel”

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum”

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat”

Ian Hunter: “Scarheid in the Glisting”

Steven Grassie: “The Masterless”

David Wright: “Wind of Change”

Renee Carter Hall: “The Emerald Mage”

Nick Bryan: “The Violet Curse”

Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: “The Restless Armadillo”

Douglas J. Ogurek: “Stuck on the Squigglybounce”

Sheila Deeth: “Passage”

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Animal Stories Span Genres

By Scott M. Sandridge

Growing up, I watched all the classic films of Lassie and Benji. Reading White Fang showed me that the best animal stories are the ones done from the animal’s point of view, and I later realized that they can be some of the most difficult stories to write. Cujo showed me that animals can make for great characters in Horror, and Lord of the Rings introduced me to Shadowfax. And who hasn’t seen Mad Max or The Beast Master?

The post-apocalyptic video game series, Fallout, expanded my view of the different genres that animal companions can be in. Fallout and Fallout 3 introduced me to the roughest, toughest, and most loyal companion you can have on your team: Dogmeat, a dog so tough he can take down a super mutant with his bare teeth (and can survive my very bad aim with grenades). Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas introduced me to robot dogs and cyborg dogs. They were pretty tough, too (but could never survive my bad aim with grenades, alas).

When I pitched my idea for an anthology about animal companions to Seventh Star Press, I knew the Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery genres would be well represented. Animal companions have been a classic mainstay in those genres for a long time. But by allowing the anthology to be open to all genres, I became pleasantly surprised at the submissions that arrived. In Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, not only will you find Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, and Contemporary, but also Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, and Bizarro. If Hero’s Best Friend proves anything, it’s that animal companion stories can span all genres and subgenres.

And why not? Our relationship to animals, and their relationship to us, tells us as much about the human condition as human-to-human relationships. Just as we see our real life pets as extended family members, in fiction (when the writer does it right) the animals we read about become just as real to us as the human characters. They make us laugh, make us cheer, and make us cry: just as much as, if not more than, the human characters do.

I’m honored to have been the editor of such an anthology, with a theme so dear to my heart. And I’m thankful that Seventh Star Press gave me the opportunity to have such an anthology available for all of you to enjoy.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What I appreciate the most about this particular collection of stories is having each of them capture the essence of a genre-bending sphere of literary delight! They are representative of their actual genres, but they sound as though they give a bit more than what those branches of literature might usually encompass at the very same time! I love fiction that takes on new meanings and new depths, whether I am soaking into a book, a short story, or even whilst immersed into the latest Doctor Who episode I am discovering for the very first time! I find that the series is the epitome of ‘genre-bending’ and brilliance of execution on captivating a person’s attention at the jump-start beginning!

Sandridge and I share a common ground for appreciating animal companions, as his top three choices match my own, as I quite literally rented “Benji: the Hunted” from the rental shoppes so often they nearly gave me the VHS tapes for free! I say ‘nearly!’ as they never could seem to get permission from corporate to do so! Oy! I was simply captivated by Benji, for the same reasons I loved “The Adventures of Natty Gann” in which Natty’s companion is a wolf; “The Neverending Story” who as the wickedest dragon on the planet! (another film in common, he mentions this elsewhere on the tour!); the Mountain Family Robinson trilogy where Crest protected the family; previously I have mentioned my affection for “Pete’s Dragon”; and many others I am failing to draw to memory today! What I appreciate about Jack London is his ability to get your heart attached to a wolf in a way that is different than Natty Gann but is a bit similar to “Due South”; a tv series which features a deaf wolf who takes interest in protecting a Mountie!

From our beginnings of noting animal companions and animals in fiction, we differ a bit on our paths after childhood because I am suspecting the video games are not the ones I’d personally play myself! I’m always going to have half a step and foot on the family and children side of the ledger, not only because I’m a future foster-adoptive Mum, nor even because I’m an Auntie at present, but because I tend to like the innocence in stories for younger generations. I’d wrap myself into a family film far quicker than I would an intense video game! I am a gamer, a title I apparently acquired at three, as I’ve been playing games on the computer since I first started using one! Wayy back when Atari was all the rage and long before Nintendo or the ability to borrow my neighbourhood friend’s Sega Genesis so I could play with Sonic, the quirky hedgehog!

You’ll even note a new ‘tag’ on my Twitter profile which sums me up quite well: Vintage Gamer! By board, card, or video, I like a bit of a unique ‘vintage’ or ‘yesteryear’ spin to what I game! Not to say I don’t like an action-based game either, as let’s face it, I cannot deny I helped beat “Street Fighter” in sixth grade! I digress!

The best news of all, no matter how we gather our passions for animal companions, nor where we wander to find the companions that mean the world to their masters, we each have our own ‘coveted niche’ in the genres we appreciate reading and watching! And, I for one will always celebrate the uniqueness of our individual passions if we can sometimes draw a common thread towards each other and celebrate the love of story-telling which ignites a fever pitch passion for our imaginations!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour Stop, courtesy of Tomorrow Comes Media

Heros Best Friend Anthology Blog Tour with Tomorrow Comes Media

Virtual Road Map of the “Hero’s Best Friend” Blog Tour:

16 June: Guest Post of Scott M. Sandridge “Writers Are Born, Then Made” @ Beagle Book Space

16 June: Interview: S.H. Roddey (author of a short) @ Deal Sharing Aunt

17 June: Guest Post of Essel PrattSheila Deeth

18 June: Guest Post of Henrik R. Raymer @ Come Selahway With Me

18 June: Guest Post of Scott M. Sandridge “Animals & the Hero Archetype” @ On Cloud Eight-and-a-Half

19 June: Guest Post of Sheila Deeth @ Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

20 June: Guest Post of S.H. Roddey @ Beauty in Ruins

21 June: Guest Post of Scott M. Sandridge “Animal Stories Span Genres” @ Jorie Loves a Story

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comCheck out my upcoming bookish events to see what I will be hosting next for

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Host

and mark your calendars!

I am going to be reading & reviewing “Hero’s Best Friend” 

as soon as I receive a copy of the anthology!

Stay tuned!

Watch my tweets!

And return back to this blog!

What draws you into reading anthologies in the fantasy realms?! What are some of your favourite fantasy-centered anthologies of short stories!? Are there any authors you were ‘introduced to’ via an anthology that you regularly read now!? Who are some of your favourite ‘animal companions’ in fiction and motion picture?! And, don’t forget to share your thoughts about the book cover art!

{SOURCES: Editor photograph, Editor Biography, Book Synopsis, Book Cover, and TCM Tour Host badge were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and were used by permission. Jorie requested an Author Guest Post from Scott M. Sandridge by way of Mr. Sandridge, of which she received a reply. She wanted to remain on the tour when the book went amiss in the post, and he obliged her with this wicked post topic! Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Sunday, 22 June, 2014 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, An Editor Point of View, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Convention, Bookish Discussions, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Imaginarium, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Writing Style & Voice

*Blog Book Tour* A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court {a faerie anthology of short stories} edited by Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Monday, 19 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Parajunkee Designs

A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court (edited by) Scott M. Sandridge

Chimerical World Vol 1 Anthology by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit by: Enggar Adirasa

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress) 12 February, 2014
Official Author WebsitesBlog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 434
Genres: Short Story | Fantasy  | Faerie Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #AChimericalWorld & #7thStar

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the dual anthology virtual blog tour for “A Chimerical World”, opting to read the ‘Seelie’ Court vs the ‘Unseelie’ Court installment of the dual anthology release from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and was happy to see more anthologies being offered for review. I received a complimentary copy of “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interest to Read a Faerie Anthology:

I should be honest, my heart is always going to be attached to #dragonfiction (I created the tag for it even!), but part of me was always equally curious and endeared to seeking out wicked quality stories of faerie fiction too! I have several authors and books slated TBR (to be read) at some junction in time, but to truly get a nice overview of what is currently been written and offered, there is not a better way to accomplish this task than by seeking out an anthology! I find myself motivated lately to keep a fingertap on those thematic explorations inside science fiction & fantasy which whet my palette of interest. Previously, it was attempting to sort out my own heart’s desire in seeing science-based Steampunk and/or inventive Steampunk which runs the gambit of traditional Steam and deviates into Clockpunk or Automation stories.

Coming out of that well of endless possibilities, and keeping myself hinged to the cosy side of everything I read, I leapt at the chance to be a part of a new anthological tour for short stories within the world of the fey! I am always most curious to learn the new approaches of revealing a particular character inside of a story as much as I am a natural bourne book cheerleader who loves to rally behind creative stories which light the mind with deeply enriching worlds of creative thought. I never quite know where I am being lead in my literary wanderings, but half the fun for me is the art of discovery! Thus, my expectations for reading this anthology is to simply soak into different perspectives of the fey and see which of the stories give me the most joy in reading them!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Anthology Synopsis: A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Scott M. Sandridge
Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

Tales of the Seelie Court:

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Stories inside: Tales of the Seelie Court:

“Extra-Ordinary” by BC Brown +
“Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker
“Taggers” by Christine Morgan
“Wormwood” by Alexandra Christian
“The Harpist’s Hand” by Steven S. Long
“Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau +
“Mark of Ruins” by SD Grimm
“Birdie’s Life at the School for Distressed Young Ladies” by JH Fleming
“Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps
“Seelie Goose” by E. Chris Garrison +  
“I Knocked Up My Fairy Girlfriend” by Brandon Black
“The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen +  
“The Last Mission” by Cindy Koepp
“The Beggar-Knight & the Lady Perilous”
by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern
“Keys” by Michael M. Jones
“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge
“Gnome Games” by Saera Corvin
“The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My Review of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

{ am electing to highlight the stories within the anthology

which piqued my interest the most out of the nineteen offered inside }

| “Extra-Ordinary” by B.C. Brown |

The mark of a well-written short story is the effect after it is concluded for the reader to double-check to make sure that the next short is not going to start right at the very moment she’s inclined to read more of the one she’s consumed! And, yet, that is unfortunately what happened as I turnt the page to see what becomes of the lovely hidden world revealed inside Extra-Ordinary! I must admit, I have appreciated the fey for such a long time that I never even questioned what I knew of them or what I could be lacking in reading faerie fiction! Clearly, there is quite a heap I have not had the pleasure of knowing, and inside this little gem of a story lies such a wondrous truth to who they are and how they appreciate interacting with humans! Or rather even, how some humans have the ability to interact with the fey, people you would not realise due to outward appearance or living circumstance could in effect hold a key to a world wonderfully unique and brilliantly more magical than the one we live in. I truly wanted to spend more time snuggled into this young boy’s life, seeing what he saw, and breathing in world of the fey in which alighted inside his ordinary hours. The writer had the clever sense to build upon our knowledge of the young boy as a regular school-aged curious wanderer of thoughts and imaginative possibilities — seeing beyond where he was and knowing there was more yet to come. And, within that innocent world-view and isolated piercing glimpse his everyday hours, we find ourselves meeting a young boy who will electrify our curiosity to know the fuller truth of who he is and how a shoebox can transport us there.

I felt as though this were a Prologue teaser to a larger story which would evolve into this wicked adventure between Marcus and the fey! How lovely it would be to see this knitted into a novella or a full-length novel!

|  “Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker |

At first I wasn’t sure the direction this particular story was going to take-on, as the possibilities for it to extend into certain dimensions of believability were extensive. The cat in the story (Mephyst) gives Andrei a bit more than he bargained for when he agreed to ‘cat sit’ a client’s rather feisty and demonic charge. Demonic here refers to the fact that this particular outdoor dwelling cat had a penchant for bringing his ‘kills home’ and leaving them rather ceremoniously on his owner’s doormat, but with a bit of a twist of what he ‘kills’ verse what his end-goal is once he returns home with them. I loved how Walker gave equal measure of attention on both Mephyst & Andrei as their paths intertwined for a short period of time. This short reminded me of fabled life lessons swirled into mystical and fantastical stories of a past age. Where you can root out the symbolism of right and wrong, as much as good verse evil by the way in which the story is fused together. Andrei is the unspoken hero of the story, who by rather clever devices sorts out the insidious nature of Mephyst, rights the malicious wrongs he has created against the fey, and takes-on a sense of freedom in knowing that his limited knowledge of the Other World affairs trumps the superficial elite attitude of Mephyst’s owner. For me, what kept me tuned into the story is the determination of Andrei to be a qualified cat-sitter in charge of a cat who is not quite like other cats at all! The lengths this bloke went to ensure not only the cat’s well-being but the well-being of innocents truly warmed my heart! In the end, I nearly could see him changing his stars and lifepath to something a bit more interesting than pedaling errands and message-driven deliveries. He is the character you always hope to find inside of a story – he completely surprises you and endears you to his cause.

| “Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau|

A mystical and Eastern story illuminated out of the stories of the Seelie Court, to where my heart-strings were taut in the pull of the narrative to emote such a soul-tinged story of love. I may have not readily said this, but I have not read any of the collective works by the authors in this collection, and are therefore a bit blind to what they regularly write or offer in their individual worlds of fiction. What I found inside Sanae’s Garden is what I would consider a classical mythological story where you can barely notice the veil of the human world and of the world of the wood sprites. Harou and Sanae are unconventional soul-mates in how their love grew out of their innermost desire to protect and care for those who need it most. Their child Masaki was blessed to have such a loving embrace of joy, love, and parental bliss attached to him as he grew but it is how he came into being that was the mark of a chosen path towards embracing true love. I loved drinking in this story, a paragraph at a time and allowing the images filter into my mind’s eye as I etched out their characteristic qualities and the semblance of where the story was taking place. I wanted to explore more of this world, digging a bit deeper into its heart and seeing how this one perception of time could be walked back through in the future. Boudreau gave us such an enriched tale as to endear us to the possibilities of not only following our hearts in all areas of our lives, but in owning to a greater truth of what a well-lived life can encompass by scope of depth.

My heart-felt full enough to choke my throat with the tears of a grateful reader who was blessed to know their story. The nature lover in me celebrated the close-knitted connection of the characters to the living garden and trees, as I am a firm believer that the longer you spend outside in nature’s loving arms of grace, the more you will find yourself in balance; rooted to the living well of the cycles and seasons of Earth. Trees have a kinetic way of sensing our presence and of returning our love for them in the gentle whispers only heard by heart. I felt everything that Sanae felt and I celebrated Harou’s ability to guide her towards a life she never dared dreamt was previously plausible.

|  “Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps |

The innocence of Clarrisa is a warm spring of hope stitched into this short story where a moral choice is the defining moment of her young life. What I appreciated about this story is that it is not set-up in the regular way you are expecting it to be. You’re entering a story already in-progress where the fates of those who could be affected by the actions of the characters both seen and unseen hang in the balance. Clarrisa is a faerie of conscience who unlike her peers aligns her life choices with those of her heart, spirit, and mind. She elects to take the harder path if it means that she can live without remorse etched into every fibre of her being. She is a gardener of dreams and of the tangible joy life can unexpectedly bring as you live your life forward. She reminded me a bit of Sanae in this regard, as she put her entire focus of how she wanted to live into the cultivation of her garden. The garden knew her innermost truths and where she would find her heart leading her next. Bourne without wings, a blight for any faerie other than her, she found strength in both resilience and in owning her uniqueness. The best part of the story for me, is watching how she evolved inside the Ministry of her employ to carry forward a mission of self-sacrifice and freedom. Each of us has the ability to embrace the right path but it takes the strength in knowing by doing what is right, you have to face those who might not agree with your reasoning.

|  “Seelie Goose” by E. Chris Garrison |

About my Connection to Garrison: I had the absolute pleasure of guesting on The Star Chamber Show on the same episode Garrison was appearing as a Guest Author. I was the Guest Book Blogger that night, and I appreciated the opportunity for our airtime to cross-over on each other. From that day forward, I have enjoyed our continuing conversations about all things bookish, including how we respected each of our differences in writing as well as our individual stance on ‘Vulgarity in Literature’ but came out of it on solid ground. I respect Garrison as a new-found friend and as a writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Garrison through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

I am familiar with Garrison’s character Skye from my previous reading of Virtual Blue, however, at that particular point in time I had not realised the full scope of Skye’s character! You see, Skye was ‘lent on loan’ to Sullivan in order to create the Urban Fantasy story in which I reviewed on a previous blog tour! I remember reading about the ‘Seelie Goose’, as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story will recognise that I also hosted a Cover Reveal for Garrison and around that point in time or thereabouts I became familiar with the short story I now have happily read! For one thing, the comic brilliance of the anarchy of the fairy-tale world spun into reckless flight of an attempt to stop a wedding was most keen indeed! The way in which people react to weddings and those of whom wish to marry is always fodder for comedy. No one seems to understand nor accept that when two people fall in love, it is their right to marry of whom their heart speaks true! Whether that is goose for gander or goose to goose; matrimony should always be a freedom of both choice and of celebration of love. I was caught in the trance of the moment, seeing the absurdity of how one ruffled feathered Mum could not let her daughter be free to live her own life whilst noting how Otherworldy Skye is still attached to walking a life-like no one else could! Skye is not involved in this story but a part of Skye is central to how everything is resolved! I was most taken by how giddy I was to see the resolution and how happy I was to find a story by Garrison which I can do nothing but celebrate the joy of reading!

The descriptions of the geese were especially intriguing as I loved how their wings and feathers were worked into their quirky personalities and how their essence of being geese set the tone for how they interacted with everyone else! By far it was a clever story to be told! Especially considering how ‘rhyme’ took on a new level of meaning as it was used as a method of communication rather than of prose!

| “The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen |

Cautionary tales of how far man is willing to push the envelope on technologic advances and the window which separates reason, logic, and the pursuit of progress are ones that I have always enjoyed reading. They speak to a greater level of knowledge towards where humanity has travelled and how far humanity continues to push the barriers between right and wrong. Ethical repercussions emerging out of the fever of wanting to go further than we dare, when even we can acknowledge that a thin line is being crossed in the sand. I could feel the harbinger tone of this short story even before I settled into its rhythm. There was a back-note of ominous danger igniting into the forefront of where the central characters were acting out of duty rather than out of honour. I enjoyed watching the internal conflict grab hold of them and appreciated where Madsen choose to take them whilst they were conflicted. The choices we make can have ripple effects on people we may or may not know, yet it is within the golden moments of those choices we can ultimately choose which path we will set our feet to tread upon. And, in the end what matters most is whether or not we were willing to sell our soul in order to survive; or take the harder path and do what was right.

The technology that is expressed in this short is always the kind of tech that I hope we do not cross the line to bring into reality. Where the fusion of technology against the condition of humanity would slowly erase and decode the very essence of who we are as there would no longer be a bridge between who we are and the advances science could provide us. To study and to grow in knowledge is one thing, to help others who have lost the ability to use their limbs is another, but to take away our humanity for the sake of replacement without cause or reason? That is quite another. We would be playing God to the worst degree of illogical pursuit.

“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern |

A new appreciator of stories of the Jinn, courtesy of a book I discovered from my local library (The Golem and the Jinni, of which I reviewed last year) I was most delighted to see a short of the Jinn included in this collection! Ever since I met the Jinn in the forementioned story, I have set myself up to uncover more Magical Realism stories (hence my ever-expanding and growing tCC List!)!! The gentleness of this tale was refreshing as by time I had reached a moment to read it, I was ruminating in my mind about how reflectively open and honest the rest of the shorts are presenting the current state of time. From economic hardship to the uncertainty of how the future always hangs in the balance just out of view from where we are in the present. The shorts in of their own are knitted together with commonalities as you read through them. A pulse of forbearance as much as keen insight in where we aspire to be and how circumstances can never paint our future’s black. The Jinn in this story took a different angle of acceptance towards her new charge, and it was through her no-nonsense approach that her charge learnt the most from her. I like being unexpectedly surprised when I read, as much as I like entering new worlds to walk around.

“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge |

I was happily surprised and thankful to see a more traditional faerie story included, as for a while I felt that perhaps the collection was only going to yield more modern spins on the fey. In this particular short, what struck me the most was the breadth of the world created to explain the differences between the Courts, and as Hawkridge did such a great job of doing this, I could start to envision the differences between the Seelie & UnSeelie Courts! The very basis of the dual-anthology collection which I am reading! I think the hardest part for the world of faeries is understanding who to trust and to understand which motives are being presented once you undergo accepting an accord with someone who appears to be above-board with you. Iona is on the edge of reasoning out how to contribute more to the collective good of her kind whilst being drawn into plans that might have an outcome she would not appreciate. The entire hierarchy of the fey reminded me a bit of the honey bee. Everyone has their own duties and responsibilities, but at the very same time, there is freedom to choose how best to create the contributions which help the collective survive. In this way, I appreciated seeing the point of view given in this short as it aligns with how I felt the fey might interact and live together.

| “The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle |

This short was as stirring and gutting of emotions as “Sanae’s Garden”, as the fate of one family to save the entire towne is pushed into the forefront of reality when an over zealous ruler twists their chance to survive. I have not had the chance to read a lot about Centaurs or even of faeries who are not quite dark but are not living within the light either. I have read a few stories of the fey which were more depressingly melancholic than enlightening, but this story is more of a classical one. It takes on the drunken intoxication of power set against the welfare of the innocent. Where what is perceived as truth is not what it appears and what is feared cannot always be recognised. Although my heart was lurching with each new step the characters took towards facing their fate, I appreciated the level of sincerity Hoyle gave to the story. It is not one anyone will quickly forget once they read it. Nor should they.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Each of the stories I have highlighted desire second and third readings in order for the mirth of their tales to be fully enjoyed, processed, and appreciated. I am grateful that I have had this opportunity to become introduced to new voices in fiction, and of being able to settle my mind a bit around where the fey live and how they choose to interact with humans. Each of them approach us in different ways, some with a smarting of bewitchment in their eyes and others with a slight tendency towards maliciousness. Yet, each of them own true to who they are and what their innermost gift is to give and/or to takeaway. The stories themselves are a delight to read and I found myself unaware of the hours ticking off the clock as I was fully absorbed into the collection itself and only gave a nodding of what I was finding through my tweets prior to publishing my finalised reflections!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comFly in the Ointment:

Being this is an anthology collection of stories, the blessing for me was skipping over the stories which either did not give me enough to sink into their narratives or wrinkled my nose due to the cursing of choice words during the telling of the story itself. Therefore, as I have read and highlighted the stories which appealed to me directly, you may or may not find the same to be true for you. Everyone has a different reading temperament and mine is not one to accept a parlay affect of strong language within the context of joyful reading explorations. I truly only skipped over a few stories that held strong language, the others I did not mention did not touch me in the same way as I read them as the ones I did mention.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This Book Review is courtesy of:

A Chimerical World Virtual Tour via Tomorrow Comes MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Virtual Road Map for “A Chimerical World Anthology Tour”:

18 May: Editor Interview @ Jorie Loves a Story

19 May: Review @ Jorie Loves A Story

20 May: Guest Post: Four Simple Writer Mistakes by B.C. Brown @ Deal Sharing Aunt

21 May: Guest Post: Heavy Metal Faeries by Scott M. Sandridge @ Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author

21 May: Guest Post: Making of Seelie Goose by E. Chris Garrison @ Vampires, Witches, and Me, Oh My!

21 May: Guest Post: My Favourite Because It’s All About the Numbers by Scott M. Sandridge @ Beauty in Ruins

21 May: Interview Part 1 @ The Bird’s Word

22 May: Guest Post: Creating the Unseelie Court by DeeDee Davies @ Bee’s Knees Reviews

22 May: Promo / Spotlight @ Spellbindings

22 May: Guest Post: Pros / Cons of being an Anthology Editor by Scott M. Sandridge @ I Smell Sheep

23 May: Guest Post by Carmen Tudor @ The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies

June: Review: Tales of the Seelie Court @ Heroic Fantasy Writers

24 May: Guest Post: Rituals of a Seelie Writer by Alexandra Christian @ Sheila Deeth Blog

25 May: Interview: Scott M. Sandridge @ Come Selahway With Me

I am happily honoured to be:

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Host

Previously on this blog tour stop,

I featured an Editor Interview with Mr. Sandridge!

Do not forget to *VOTE* in my Reader’s Poll after reading the Interview! And, leave your response to my enquiry in the comment threads whilst your there too! I appreciate it!

Anthology Discussions on Jorie Loves A Story:

Comments are open on all blog posts!

Comment & Converse freely!

Please visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

It should be noted that I am curating the habit of tweeting my blog life on such handles as #amwriting | #amediting | #amblogging | #amreviewing | #amreading as much as there are antidote tweets being sent out prior to a blog post alighting on JLAS! Little snippets of insight into what I am going to reveal next and/or what I am anticipating will be a newly published post! Be sure to follow and/or keep an eye on my Twitter feeds! All pertinent links are also housed on my About.Me page as well for easy reference, access, and clickablity!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What do you seek out when sorting out which anthology to read next!? Do you appreciate the journey you are taking to seek out newly emerging writers & their stories? What are your happiest discoveries in both short story, novella, and novel offerings of the fey in fiction!? Which authors are your favourites to soak inside and visit for a short spell!? Are the stories I mentioned today encouraging you to pick up “A Chimerical World”!?

{SOURCES: Book covers for “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court”, Editor Biography and Book Synopsis of the anthologies were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Collage of all three anthology book covers created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Monday, 19 May, 2014 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cats and Kittens, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Magical Realism, Seventh Star Press, Seventh Star Press Week, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, The Natural World, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature

+SSP Week+ Book Review of Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy (edited by) Michael Knost

Posted Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , 9 Comments

Parajunkee DesignsWriters Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy (edited by) Michael Knost

[Previous Workshop: Writers Workshop of Horror by Woodland Press]

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Michael Knost
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Published By: Seventh Star Press, 14 May 2013
Official Editor Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Converse on Twitter: #WritersWorkshopSFF
Artist Page: Matthew Perry @ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio
Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 276

Acquired Book By: I am a regular blog book tour hostess for Tomorrow Comes Media, whereupon in conversation with Stephen Zimmer about my curiosity over the contents of this anthology due to the overwhelmingly creative book cover art; I was offered to receive a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

Being I am a writer of science fiction stories set in a modern world akin to our own and based on science fact (I always had leanings towards hard sci-fi rather than soft!), I am always quite the intrepid girl who becomes interested in reading the latest book of writing advice, tips, and sage wisdom from those who have gone before me and cast their stories out into the hands of readers! Science fiction was in my blood long before I ever put thought to pen, as I inherited a passion for Trek & Star Wars which goes back to the original canon of both franchises. I never expected to live in a generation where having to say I support the ‘original canon’ of either one would even come to pass! However, that aside, what drew me into this anthology wasn’t just the context of the subject at hand but the excellent cover art rendering by Matthew Perry! Whose knack for presenting such a cleverly creative jumping gate of a writer’s muse is in good form! I knew whatever was contained inside the anthology was content I was determined to read! The musings of writers always makes me smile, yet its the enduring spirit of putting your heart on the line, owning your own work irregardless of its popularity and being strong in your belief an audience is awaiting to read your story is what invigorates me!


Within the Workshop, you’ll find:

Prominent writers within the craft of science fiction and fantasy story-telling, impart sage wisdom and advice given through anecdotical essays, pertinent interviews; set to a rhythm of appearances which makes Editor Knost appear nearly telepathically inclined as the reader weaves through a symbiotic rumination!

Contents Therein:

  • Michael Knost: Introduction
  • Neil Gaiman: Where do you get your Ideas?
  • Lou Anders: Nebulous Matters or Speculation on Subgenres
  • Lucy A. Synder: Ursula K. Le Guin Talks about a Lifetime in the Craft
  • James Gunn: Beginnings
  • George Zebrowski: Middles
  • Jay Lake: Endings
  • Nayad A. Monroe: Time Powers Talks about Writing Speculative Fiction
  • Orson Scott Card: On Rhetoric and Style
  • Pamela Sargent: Talking Too Much, or Not Enough: Dialogue in Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • G. Cameron Fuller: How Alien the Alien: A Primer
  • Nancy Kress: “The Green-Skinned Zorn Laughed with Grief” Character and Emotion in Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Harry Turtledove: Alternate History: The How-to of What Might Have Been
  • Jude-Marie Green: Larry Niven Talks about Collaboration
  • Joe Haldeman: Hemingway Talks about Writing
  • Nisi Shawl: Unbending Gender
  • Alan Dean Foster: Reverse Engineering
  • Alethea Kontis: Kevin J. Anderson Talks about Spin-offs, Prequels, & Fan Fiction
  • Elizabeth Bear: Tactics of World-Building
  • Jackie Gamber: Ann VanderMeer Talks about Weird Fiction
  • Michael Knost: Short Fiction: A Roundtable Discussion with Short Story Editors
  • Max Miller: Long Fiction: A Roundtable Discussion with Novel Editors

I will be making selections of my reading to focus on throughout this bookish girl’s review of the ruminative musings which ignited in her mind’s eye as she drank through the pages with an eagerness all writers will understand! Writers reflecting on their craft and opening an honest discussion about the inner workings of writing as art is a moment to celebrate and cherish!

[Where Do You Get Your Ideas? an essay by Neil Gaiman]

The curious nature of readers is always to formulate a question directed towards the writer they unabashedly follow throughout their career as to explain the seemingly bottomless well of ideas the stories oriented from. The honest truths of where the genesis of an idea is first garnished is brilliantly executed by Mr. Gaiman (of whom I am aware of his works but haven’t yet read)! Your ideas percolate at a pace that you’re at times not even expecting to be able to fulfill a request of, because of the nature of the human brain’s processor of information! A writer is willfully able to head into the direction the first spark of inspiration alights in mind, but to follow the originating idea through germination and tether it to a solidified ending is walking through the unknown; proportions of which, none of us truly know of until we’re sitting down to write.

And, it’s within this boiling and brewing of ideas where I gather my energy for the story about to transfer out of my mind’s vortex and unto the written page! To take a thread of an idea, nurture it into being and then, allowing the freedom of the idea to transition and transmorph into its full-bodied existence of what its meant to be is a writer’s realised dream. Nibblements of ruminations sprinkled throughout a lifetime of experience and adventure start to ink out into our imagination. Transcending both time and memory, as pieces of ourselves are wrangled into the lifeblood of our characters! Being a writer is akin to being a nurturer of ideas and of ideals. We take our observations from our living realities, and pour our heart into our works attempting to yield a story that others might find palatable. I say ‘might’ find as I am one writer who writes the stories which flow through her rather than write a story which is hinged to a specific audience or topic. We (writers) all hope that the momentum and passion we have for an idea will garnish itself a foothold in a reader’s queue. Perhaps even, enlighten their outlook or perception, but moreso than naught, to give them a hearty piece of narrative which leaves them pensively grateful for the idea which started the words to fill the page!

[Nebulous Matters or Speculation on Subgenres – an essay by Lou Anders]

I felt especially blessed to find this particular section included in the Workshop, as I am always befuddled to understand which ‘genre’ is the stepping stone of each of the ‘subgenres’ in which I read! I have spent quite literally hours exhausting resources online to sort through the myriad labyrinth of descriptive analysis always walking away feeling a bit more muddled than clarified! There are a few exceptions, as one post floats to mind which I read during (#RRSciFiMonth) Sci-Fi November (my endearing name for “Sci-Fi Month” hosted by Rinn Reads!*) which was Top Ten Sci-Fi Sub-Genres (Part 1: Cyberpunk) by Leanne of Literary Excursion! Whilst I read her engaging post on a slice of science fiction I never felt I could honestly attach myself, I shared this remarkable observation:

I have a keen interest in the subject as I never knew what the differences were and its part of my learning curve this month with SFN! Cheers to you!

You know, I hadn’t even realised Steampunk came OUT of Cyberpunk! Learnt something new there! And, I was researching a LOT myself to educate myself on the origins of Steampunk but I must’ve missed the key references that would have connected these dots for me! Thankfully, you stepped in and saved the day!

Wait! Hold the TARDIS! I like “Dieselpunk”!?! Seriously!? Wow. I didn’t see that coming at all! But, right there in your essay it explains that “The Rocketeer” and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” (I *knew!* I missed one on my Top List for Films!) are listed! I seriously adore those films!!!

Wow. OKay, so I’m still processing,… I am a Cyberpunk who fits inside the Steampunk + Dieselpunk genres!? Wow. I can see I have more research to do after SFN! Thanks for pointing me off in two new directions!

You can clearly see that “Doctor Who” had a direct impact on my life at the time, as I actually said “TARDIS” as an expression rather than as a direct reference of the Doctor’s travelling box! Laughs within a smile. One of the resounding benefits for me in being part of SFN is that it allowed me the advantage of not only interacting with other sci-fi enthused readers, but it allowed me to talk about a branch of literature I’m over the moon passionate about! And, within that perimeter, I gained growth in the knowledge of how the genre is both supported, explored, and constantly being revolutionised by new ideas! I am going to be going back through all the lovely blogs of whom were populated with posts during SFN as I make my exodus backwards and through the rest of my own SFN experience!

Leading back to the book at hand, Mr. Anders brought to light several classic key points which interested me dearly:

  • The word “speculative fiction” has plagued me since Autumn 2013, as I was trying to unearth if it were in fact the broad stroke of description attributed to science fiction, fantasy, & horror OR if it were a new definitive space of works within those keystrokes which pushed past the barriers of straight-up foundational beliefs and entered into the cross-section of the unknown, the unfamiliar, and the remarkable. His answer finally closes the theory of mystery for me!
  • My mind was enraptured by science since I was a very young girl, to the brink that following myself into studies for various sciences was the track I was going to bookend to my creative pursuits. Those who know me well, know which of the ‘sciences’ pulls at my heartstrings the most, and as I blog about my reading escapades I am quite certain it will be revealed for others as well. Here, I only wanted to say that due to my background in science (and the continued studies I am pursuing on my own) the branch of hard science fiction is quite appealing as it goes into the exploration of where the limits of known science and theoretical science are heading right here in the living now of time. It was not a surprise to me to see Ringworld mentioned in relation to this branch, as Niven is one of the authors I have earmarked off to read since I first broached science fiction in the first place!
  • The curation of mundane science fiction fascinates me due to the dexterity of how far the writers can take the stories without the ‘theories’ of the inclusion of hard sci-fi elements. There is always going to be a balance between the personal beliefs of a reader & of a writer, as to how far each is willing to extend their imagination and the stories in which they each choose to define as a whole component of the living context of the genre. I’d be keen to seek out writers of this branch and see how their approach is leading the genre forward.
  • Space Opera was an inherent choice of mine to pursue! One of my favourite ‘personal discoveries’ was Babylon 5, as it eliminated the ‘box’ of how science fiction serials were once defined. For me, it leapt out of the convention a bit moreso than its counterpart of Deep Space Nine, which was still set to work inside an established reality and space. I even appreciated the folly of Galaxy Quest as a comic and cheeky side of being a geeky sci-fi appreciator! (I am not one who would normally gather a mirth of joy for folly, farce, or parody!) The ramifications for living interstellarly is too keen of an idea not to indulge in reading! And, there is of course the tv movie from the 1980s I am still trying to unearth the title of,…where they had to choose whether or not to stay on the moon or return back to earth?! The woman was pregnant and the choice would be between where to live and how the choice would affect their family long-term. Not a lot to go on, but it was brilliantly done at the time and I regret my memory cannot remember more!
  • New Space Opera leaves me curious as I am always seeking to read more British literature, and if the Britons have sorted out a new method of curating stories of this nature, I am definitely going to sort out how to find them! Verse Military Science Fiction taking a limited backdoor of plausible interest. I think for me, the film Starship Troopers wrecked the joy! As I watched it when it first premiered, had I know the level of intensity I would experience I would have omitted the desire. Conversely, I have a deep appreciation for military fiction stories, as I have been a long-term supporter of JAG, NCIS, and NCIS: LA, as much as seeing various incarnations of the military fiction in both tv and film. I never fully close a door, as I might wander back through with a book in hand which changes my perspective and illuminates a character which my heart grows empathy to meet. Two examples of military fiction I have been over jupiter’s moon in favour of are: Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy & Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger.
  • New Wave Science Fiction is one that I have noticed without the realisation of what I was seeing! And, yet am a bit on the fence if I am a reader who can attach herself to the stories of this category! Time will reveal… Cyberpunk I already revealed was a startling discovery of interest!
  • Steampunk Is a sub-genre I’ve had a deep appreciation for which was knitted out of a love of the Victorian Gothic clothing movement, the sub-culture of indie artists on Etsy, and a firm appreciation for Victorian technology merged into story-lines which elicit a new generation of science fiction with the heart of the old age intact yet re-defined for today! I am only in the very beginnings of reading ‘steampunk’ as my next foray will be The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart! (blogged about my discovery of the book) (posts on Steampunk)
  • Epic &/or High Fantasy Is singularly my absolute favourite to read due to the breadth and depth of the stories which bind together living worlds of imagined joy! I love wandering around a well-fused story, anchored by characters whose lives are visibly flawed but contain within the mirth of their scope an adventure, a journey, or a mission which takes you to the heights of their world and yours. I get all giddy about discovering new authors to seek out, because I know the story I’m about to merge my heart into is going to be one I’ll not quite forget! The author who proved her salt and my adoration for this branch was Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars saga which I began reading at the age of seventeen!
  • Sword & Sorcery as well as Urban Fantasy Are two branches I am always a bit hesitative to indulge in as I am not a grisly, gruesome, or intensely horror-filled sort of reader. Having said that, I have read Urban Fantasy books which might have resonated an issue with my personal preferences but the heart of the stories staid with me much longer than a twitching of an issue over a book turnoff contained within their covers! I always keep an open-mind whilst I read due to the fact you never know which book your going to read that might push you outside your known envelope of acceptance into a story that gives you back something you were not expecting to receive.
  • Dark Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Are two more areas in which I find myself at odds to begin reading; only because I haven’t yet found my proper footing to explore the writers who pen their tales! There are aspects of the paranormal which intrigue me to read (clearly, as I read the Ghost Harrison series by Heather Graham!), but its in finding which author who pens which story of whose characters resonate with me in printed form as much as say “Ghost Whisperer” does in its motion medium.
  • Sci-Fantasy To me sounds like a merger of two of my favourite literary excursions in which I cannot wait to journey inside! To empathises and mix the two genres into a lively genre-bender exploration of story and thought is beyond genius! One of my favourite genre-benders for science fiction (Sci-Mystery?) is The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester, another story I read at seventeen!

Ander’s way of capturing the tick-tocking dance of enticing offshoots of the genre, electrify the eagerness to drink in more of the stories which give us the most joy to read! His enthused approach to make the complexities of genre explainable to the causal reader as well as the experienced is a credit to his skill in understanding the foundations of science fiction. IF lack of space hadn’t been an issue, (as I presume all essays within the Workshop were under a limited word count), I would have rejoiced in reading more on the subject! Eek. Exciting stuff! And, for a girl transitioning back into the genre, it’s quite literally ‘a road map and treasure trove of where to wander off next!’

*As you may or may not be aware of, I am resuming where I left off with my Sci-Fi November postings, to where I want to complete what I originally set out to accomplish! I have numerous notes on the Doctor Who episodes I watched, as much as I want to complete the viewings I scheduled as it was such a fantastic introduction to the tv serial! My gratitude to Rinn for conceiving the idea & for running with it is a deep as the galaxy itself! I do hope it becomes an ‘annual’ event as it was quite literally the light and joy of my November!

[Jake Lake: Endings]

As it so happens the day I was first preparing this review to go live on my blog, I ended up readily engaged in quite a lively conversation through #LitChat which is a bi-weekly (Monday & Wednesday, 4-5 EST) literature conversation for the bookishly inclined! I stumbled across their feeds late in 2013, only to realise that it feels like I have found a nexus of readers who are as geeky and bookish as I am! The topics change weekly, as do the guests they feature on Wednesdays! As you can see, the topic on Monday was “Cliffhanger Endings” which I felt was appropriate to include here being that I was reading an essay on this very topical issue! How to properly end a story!

The following tweets were inserted using WP’s automated Tweet App: (as such I was trying to only include my words but the top tweet appears as well! They also appear in ‘reverse order’ because I like to be quirky!)

As you can clearly denote, I have a keen interest in why certain books are set to swirl my head with bone crushing emotion and anguish, only to have no resolution of the core of the climax! These are the stories which nestle into my heart, the characters of whom I have followed through strife and joy, only to emerge out of their adverse circumstances with an unresolved distaste in my mouth! I whole-heartedly understand when stories cannot end well in later chapters if it’s the beginning of a serial, but what about the stand-alone books which oft-times are written by début authors!? What then, pray tell? Do you chance the hope that a sequel will be penned and released within a twelvemonth or do you anguish over the grief of not having a proper Epilogue to guide your heart back through to reality outside of the realm of the book!?

Endings if you ask me, are dicey, and these were my ruminations BEFORE I entered into Lake’s essay! Whoa!

I am quite comfortable if the elucidation of the story’s resolve remains vague if enough of the climaxical angst feels as though nothing more can be said or done to alleviate the character’s anguish. There are as much unresolved endings in fiction as Lake credits to real life; and I completely concur! Except to say, there is a measure of a breadth of leeway for science fiction & fantasy to a certain extent. However, my comments in the LitChat feed was a broad stroke recollection of inter-genre discussion. As such, I never specifically said which genre or branch of literature I was respectively discussing nor which particular author. I’d rather debate the merits of a tool of the craft, in this case, ‘the cliffhanger ending’ rather than to specifically denounce a preference of a writer. Because in the end, the issue with the ending is mine. I’m the reader who picked up the story in the forethought of expectation of an ending I could live with once the book was set down on my shelf. IF my presumption worked against my heart in the end, it is only half on the fault of the writing. It’s difficult to brace ourselves for unresolved endings when in life we are constantly dealing with the peculiar nature of the unknown! Sometimes it is nice to have a purported dimension where more or less resolution is commonplace rather than elusive!

According to Lake’s assessment my key issue is with accepting a story which is writ in normative and non-normative format! I knew there had to be a reasoning behind my discontempt! Yet. There are moments in certain stories I would suspect or even hope that the ending wouldn’t be resolved if the issues contained within the heart of the journey are ones beyond the scope of the book. A story can only yield so much insight into the world in which it thrives in the space in which it inhabits. I think my classic mistake is expecting too much out of certain stories in which present a journey with an open-ended definition of ‘the end’.

I was smiling when I read the bottom paragraphs of page 51! At the footfall of page 52 arching into page 53, Lake touches on the exact sentiment I was attempting to explain myself! If a story is generated to be a complex tome of narrative, the reader not only presumes but requires the ending to resonate with a deft complexity as the rest of the text! Thank you, Mr. Lake! His final sentence of page 55 is precisely what I was hinting at! Precisely!

Ah, ha! My malaise can lift! I suffer from broken endings under the influence of the parachute technique!

[G. Cameron Fuller: How Alien the Alien: A Primer]

The opening sequence of this essay illuminates one of my favourite [fantasy] films of the past decade: Avatar! I quite literally wanted to soak into the world in which the Na’vi lived! To soar into the skies as a warrior would have made my heart thrive on the electric pulse of purpose! Except to say, I believe my gender is against me in this one regard, but oh, I suppose there is a bit of a feminist in all of us who strive towards equality for all genders to pursue what they individually wish to achieve! Including in fictional worlds we drink in with a mirth of a nod in awe!

What fascinated me is that the conjecture of the tone in this section is that the Na’vi were not altogether alien in the traditional sense but rather a humanoid species living on a different planet from our own! Strangely or not, this mirrors my exact thought processes whilst I was in the darkened theater watching it on the silver screen! The aliens for me were the para-military minded soldiers whose taste for blood winked out the last bit of my inner resolve for warfare! No one wins in war, but warmongers are not my favourite characters to meet in fiction nor in motion pictures. The level of the emotionally gutting plane is enough to eclipse a moon!

I could even reflect that whilst I was becoming a Whovian during the 50th Anniversary month of Doctor Who, there were more than one occasion where I felt the ‘alien’ species being highlighted were less alien than the contemporary humans! Did anyone else think the nurses whose faces were cats was not all that unrealistic? Or, what about the fact that the Doctor himself is quite alien but prefers to be human?! Data ring any bells!? (as in: Brent Spiner’s character!)

He delves further into a study of some of my most memorable ‘alien’ characters: from Star Trek, Star Wars & Battlestar Galactica (all originals for me!); to the HAL computer of Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the evolution of fear of technologic advances as explored in the works of Michael Crichton which I read from thirteen to seventeen! I devoured Crichton because I appreciated the balance of science fact and science fiction. Who else jumps into a dedicated passion for quantum mechanics and quantum physics due to the immersive jauntings of chaos theory encapsulated by the character of Malcolm in Jurassic Park? Which previously had been encouraged by Macgyver!

To put it more plainly, my personal preference of an alien race is one whose blendability is as translucently unseen as the subtle CGI special effects of films where unless you were given an outline could not deduce which sequence was digitally enhanced and which was shot in live-action!! Too much CGI makes a film portioned out of position which goes to say, that an alien who acts wantonly alien is going to have a more difficult chance of drawing empathy out of a reader!

[Nancy Kress: “The Green-Skinned Zorn Laughed with Grief” Character and Emotion in Science Fiction & Fantasy]

Compassion for characters through being a receptacle of their emotional cues whilst reading their stories unfold on the printed page is one of the main reasons I read fiction! I want the visceral experience to be all-encompassing without limiting myself of how far I am willing to take my emotional keel! I want to ache and anguish alongside the character who is woefully going through strife and adverse circumstances before embarking on a path towards redemption or enlightenment. I want to emotionally be convinced that my time spent with the character is one where I can feel as moved as though I had lived their life by the time the story concludes.

I do have my limits, naturally, we all do, but what I am referring to here is to be ensconced into a story within my limits and living every inch of the character’s life therein.

The following tweets were inserted using WP’s automated Tweet App: (as such I was trying to only include my words but the top tweet appears as well! They also appear in ‘reverse order’ because I like to be quirky!)

I couldn’t find the exact tweets I was seeking, which made me realise that perhaps the conversation was half contained in LitChat and half contained elsewhere! My memory is not drawing forward the exact ‘moment’ the topic was examined but the tweets I did discover to include bank around to the topic of why empathy for written characters is crucial to the reader’s experience of the story! If we cannot attach ourselves to the lead or supporting cast of characters on an emotional level, be that intensive or fanciful, we are not going to feel as though we read a transformative piece of story. We transform ourselves through the characters we read, as our minds process the experiences of their lives as experiences that become a part of our own threads of living. We process and analyse everything we drink in, which is one reason we all have to be cautious of what our internal limits are for subject, topic, and genre explorations! Its one thing to read to expand our horizons, it’s quite another to focus on literature which has a negative effect on our overall well-being. Which for me includes how far I am willing to absolve myself in gutting emotions if the off-set of the anguish is not released by a resolved ending!*

*The Time Traveller’s Wife (motion picture); Remember Sunday (tv movie); Follow the Stars Home (tv movie); The Notebook (motion picture); Backdraft (motion picture); Saving Private Ryan (motion picture); Life is Beautiful (motion picture); Alice I Have Been (book); The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (book);  are key examples of stories I watched or read but should have exited without seeing the conclusions. The emotionally gutting angst and anguish which followed each of them was wrecked physically by the nightmaric flashbacks and migraine! Sometimes writing can feel so hauntingly real to me, that I have to watch that I do not traverse through a section of narrative that will render me worse than when I first became engaged! Woe to all sensitive hearts like me!

Whereas despite the heavy emotional keel I experienced whilst watching Road to Perdition it was the sociological perspective of understanding the character Tom Hanks portrayed that leveled out the angst of watching his life unfold. I gladly rallied through Girl in a Blue Dress (book), The House Girl (book), and even The Spirit Keeper (book) to emerge out of where I had started. I cherish the stories which push the envelope only ‘nay far’ to where I can enter and exit without side effects of my visit.

Her conclusion is my reason for reading itself: to walk away feeling physically moved and changed by the story I’ve read to the brink where the characters, setting, and place are able to stay with me for many years yet to come! I crave seeking out the stories which leave pieces of their imprint on my heart!

[Elizabeth Bear: Tactics of WorldBuilding]

Her essay was keenly lit in my eyes as I had already blogged about my Top Ten Book Turn-Offs late in 2013. Wherein I would disclose that one of the hardest issues I have in reading is when I am ‘taking out of place’ within the confines of the story. I completely concur with her lamentations about the purity of research and the extensive amount of said research it takes to create the true atmosphere of a world built on a sturdy foundation. I personally thrive on research because I happen to have a curious mind of which is rarely quenched! I adore snaking through corridors of the past to spotlight a key notation that could lead to a recognition in a story I am creating. I love wandering and absorbing everything that whets my general interest in the subject at hand as well as the focus in which I am pursuing for a specific reason. I try not to limit my research in scope but rather in a methodology that allows me the genesis of spontaneity of creating dialogue and narrative at the brink of discovery!

There are two key elements for me when it comes to world building in narratives, which may or may not be as prominently important for others. Is the author a wordsmith? And, did the author conduct the research to stitch in clues of the ‘place’, ‘time’, and ‘setting’ in which the story is erected!? These are key for me, because I am not one who always appreciates the redundancy of words in fiction. There are certain genres which sometimes flutter an ire inside me, because they relay on the usage of ‘trigger’ words which repeat, reflect, and insinuate themselves to have their own harmonious hum in the story. I still read those stories if the character and context interest me, but my ire is aflame a bit to wonder, why not pick up a thesaurus? I should have mentioned this in my Book Turn Offs, but I didn’t originally believe I had enough to fill the list! The research falterations can become readily apparent to me in most instances and less so in others. It depends if I am reading for mere pleasure or if I want a heartier read where I quite literally want to feel, touch, and sense the world in which I am reading. The difference is subtle but the elements can reflect whether or not its a causal author you read OR if it’s an author you want to pursue long-term.

Her exposition on writers using other writers to give them the foundation of their stories is something I picked up on myself whilst reading certain genres which are saturated. You can start to notice the telling truth of writers who write stories solely based on the books they read themselves. Mostly because their own creations are limited to the world in which they read by another writer’s vision. Her intuition of a readers who send up ‘red flags’ whilst reading is reflective of my own reading life! If I reach more than three flags, I am considering why I am bothering at all! If it feels like a tornado siren is going off in my head, I simply discontinue right where I am!

Being a think writer myself, I understood where she is pointing her guiding hand; she wants writers to become aware of their worlds to where you could quite literally walk blind through them knowing every inch of its space. You have to be conscience of the dynamics your world is creating for you to build the story. If your confidence grows out of the knowledge of your world, your readers will automatically endear themselves to the novel long before the middle is reached! Whilst reading her essay I found a like-minded soul who reads with the same apprehensive excitement as I do! Apprehensive here refers to whether or not she or I will find what we are hoping to read inside the cover!


I am not one to generally gravitate towards a manual of ‘writing tips OR how to’ yield the most out of our craft [writing]. Except to say, I can honestly credit Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy alongside Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg as being my favourite discoveries thus far! The key elements of the craft are interlayed into both books, and I daresay, no matter what you elect to create, these are the two books of ‘writer’s craft’ guides you need in your personal library!

I have unearthed three distinctly different Twitter Chat interfaces this week, which I happily suggest you find time one week to engage in directly!

#SciFiChat = Fridays 2-4p
#SteampunkChat = Fridays 9p
#sffwrtcht = SciFi Writers Chat Weds. 9p*

*(runs concurrent with The Star Chamber Show, unfortunately! In which you may not see me until its concluded!)

Do you know of any other chat feeds and the days in which they chatter about a literary topic? Kindly share your experiences in the comment threads!

This Seventh Star Press focus week was brought together with the help of Tomorrow Comes Media, of which I am a blog tour hostess and book reviewer. To keep up to speed with which authors and books I will be featuring on Jorie Loves A Story in the near future via Tomorrow Comes Media, please check out my Bookish Events!

This marks my fourth post in contribution of:

2014 SciFi Experience
(“Strength and Honor” by Stephan Martiniere, used with the artist’s permission)

You can follow along on the official Sci-Fi Experience site!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

I open up the discussion to continue through you, dear hearts! Which of the sections I have highlighted through my own musings attached themselves to your own curious heart? Which inclinations of writing resonate to you the most? Which of the three branches of speculative fiction do you write? Which do you draw a breath of curious excitement to read? Are any of the writers contained in the anthology ones you read regularly? I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways from your visit! And, as this is a focus week on an Indie Press, which Indie Press do you gravitate towards for science fiction, fantasy, and horror? OR have you hesitated to read an Indie Press title or author? Which specific sub-genre do you gravitate towards the most?

{SOURCES: The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience was granted permission to use the artwork by Stephen Martiniere in their official badge for all participants to show their solidarity during the event! Michael Knost photograph & biography, cover art for Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Blog News badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets pulled from Twitter were able to be embedded by the codes provided through WP’s Tweet App in the Media section. Likewise, tweets can also be directly added by individual tweets on Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Writers Workshop of Horror: Interview with Editor Michael Knost  – (tor.com)

The Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy Kickstarter Project – (kickstarter.com)

A Basic Science Fiction Library – (sfcenter.ku.edu)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • The Sci-Fi Experience
Divider

Posted Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Babylon 5, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Doctor Who, Fantasy Fiction, Galaxy Quest, Indie Art, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Literary Workshoppes, Non-Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Seventh Star Press Week, Speculative Fiction, Star Trek (Deep Space Nine), The Rocketeer, The Sci-Fi Experience, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, TV Serials & Motion Pictures, Writing Advice & Tips, Writing Style & Voice