Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

There are a number of covers I’ve seen for this book, and while they all ostensibly represent the book, the one above is the only one I saw in person that feels appropriate.  It’s a very good book, definitely worth reading, and more than a little dark.  Here’s the other one I’ve seen in print for a spot of comparison:

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Attack of the Titles

I have been driving around with my brothers today, on our way to visit our mother for a big party / art show of hers.  To make up for my delayed post, I’ve overdone Chuck Wendig’s “come up with a title” challenge for this week; instead of giving you only one title, I’ll give you, um, fourteen.  Or maybe sixteen, though I suppose at least four of them are either variations or jokes of some sort.  Oddly enough, I found it far easier to write too many titles than to write just one.  As long as I thought I only had to write one, I felt kind of stuck.  Once I knew I was writing “lots,” I felt free to write whatever the hell came to mind.  It worked pretty well, I think.  Go past the break to read my list.  Quality not guaranteed.

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World Building: Where Have All The Dwarves Gone?

Today’s post is brought to you by the caffeinated musings which have distracted me from my homework and encouraged me to write world background material instead.

The setting of For The King! is largely lacking playable non-humans at the moment.  There are a few dwarves or elves who might be somewhere in the realm of Duval, and there are some gnomes and halflings and others scattered around, but most people, in most places, are human.  The orcs and half-orcs mostly live to the northwest of the kingdom, generally part of the large nomadic tribes which roam through those sections of the Trade Lands.  Heck there are centaurs too, but they generally stick to the lands northeast of the kingdom of Duval, and don’t have much direct contact except with traders who venture out onto the northern plains.

And yet there are remnants of dwarven architecture throughout the center of the kingdom of Duval, and historical records definitely suggest that they used to live in the area.  So… where have all the dwarves gone?

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The Golden Princess, by S.M. Stirling

It’s been a while since I read any S.M. Stirling, and I picked this one up more on a whim than anything else.  I’d gotten tired of the most recent spate of Change novels, probably because of a disconnect between my expectations and what Stirling was delivering.  I wanted Stirling to write an active story about a smaller group of characters, with palpable progress in the plot achieved in the course of each book.  Stirling did create that progress but it was far slower than I’d hoped for, and he spent more time focused on the milieu of the story rather than advancing the story that I wanted to see resolved.  In fact, after the first trilogy the pace of progress slowed precipitously, until it was almost a crawl.

The Golden Princess doesn’t change that pattern.  What did change was my expectations of what I’d find in reading the book.  And I have to say: reading these books as milieu fiction, as much about the world in which they take place as they are about any of the characters, is far more fun and rewarding than reading them with expectations of tight and fast plot.  Definitely worth starting up the series again.

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My Not-Exactly-Tintin Project Might Really Happen?

This update is totally last minute, born of a recognition that I forgot to make my usual post today.  In fact, by my clock, I’m already four minutes too late.  I did spend a goodly portion of my day traveling, but… yeah.

Fortunately, I have some awesome news to share.  Do you remember the time that I mentioned wanting to write a Tintin flowchart (way back in January)?  I just shared the underlying aim, of writing a new era’s Tintin comics, with one of my friends.  They responded by spending fifteen minutes drawing a picture of female Tintin with Snowy, striding along in her trench coat.  It looked really good.  They were really excited and want to talk with me about this project.  So now I’m really excited too.  Hell, I just busted out a big goofy smile for no particular reason.  No, not true, it’s for a very particular reason; this project is something that someone else wants to work on with me!

I’m not writing this to tell you that you should expect something soon.  I’m writing this to tell you that some day, maybe a few years from now, I’ll have another post to tell you about how awesome this thing I’m working on is, and how anxious I am about making it worth your time.  But I think that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be telling you that because I have some good old Tintin-esque glorious adventure for you to feast your eyes on.  I’m really excited about this.

Flash Non-Fiction: Why I Write

This week’s challenge from Chuck Wendig isn’t about fiction at all!  This week, he asked people to write 1000 words about why they write.  I took about that many words to think it through.  Some of my answer feels final, some of it doesn’t, and I’m sure there’s more to be said.  But my response begins below…


Why do I write?

That question makes me uneasy.  I don’t feel like I have a good answer to it, or maybe it’s that the answer I do have isn’t “good.” Part of the answer is very simple:

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Flash Fiction: Her Maritime Scowl


This is a bit late, but this week’s (last week’s?) flash fiction from Terribleminds involved using a randomly generated phrase.  I got “maritime scowl.”  This is what followed…

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Henry Bit Off More Than He Could Chew

I know I have a big mouth, but apparently I tried to fit too many words in it this time.  Sorry.  Normally I’d have a piece of flash fiction for you right now (and I have started it), but instead, here’s the beginning of a nonsense sonnet I’m in the process of writing.

The King begged the peasant, “Please sir won’t you
Deign to grace my table with thy good name?”
“I could not,” he replied, “give credence to
Your reign.  I think not, if it’s all the same.”

I’ll have more for you on Friday. Really.

Last Days of Loneliness: Revisions

Hey folks.  No flash fiction for you at the moment, just another piece of story from Last Days of Loneliness, the YA horror novel that I’ve been working on for a while.  Here’s the most recent piece I posted.  I think I’ve rewritten this scene about five times now, but this opening for it just came to me while I was lying in bed last night, so I had to give it a try.  Enjoy!

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Meta-flash fiction?

This week, Chuck Wendig wants fuel for his flash fiction fires.  It just so happens that I’d already been thinking of ways to use my foray into random D&D material for the purposes of flash fiction, so I came to this topic with an idea more-or-less prepared.  Some modification may be necessary.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use this Random Adventure Generator to create your prompt.  You may use as much of it as you like, but you must at least use the Theme, the Story Hook, and the Climax.  Write your story in 2000 words or less.

Also, I should mention: I’m going to be incommunicado for the rest of the week, and will thus miss my normal second post!  It’s time for me to live in a tent and do larp-camp staff training again.  If you’re anywhere near upstate New York, you should consider sending your children or your friends’ children to The Wayfinder Experience.  It’s good stuff.