Category Archives: sword and sorcery

The Wonders of Digital Fiction Publishing


by Lillian Csernica on March 17, 2017

 

Michael Willis is a  lovely man who treats writers with respect. I’ve sold three short stories to DFP so far, and I look forward to submitting more work there in the future.

David Tallerman, another DFP writer, has encouraged me to share his excellent blog post on the merits of working with DFP.

10 Reasons You Should Be Submitting to Digital Fiction Publishing

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5 Favorite Guides to Get Writing Again


by Lillian Csernica on February 28, 2017

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Writing is hard. We all know that. Some days we get sidetracked by avoidance behavior. Some days we procrastinate out of laziness or confusion about the story. Some days we’re just plain stuck.

Today I’m having one of those days. Here I sit, working on a blog post, when I’d meant to be making progress on my latest short story. Well, at least it’s productive avoidance behavior, right?

In the spirit of solidarity with my fellow struggling writers, I offer this list full of tips, information, and excellent methods to restart the writing engines. Enjoy!

Four Ways to Rediscover Your Passion for Writing

Nailing Scene Structure

100 Prompts for Writing about Yourself

Stop Putting Off Writing: 9 Experts’ Solutions

End Writing Procrastination Now

 

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Don’t Cross Tinkerbell by Lillian Csernica


Cool art, Alisha! Thank you so much!

Transmundane Press

The loving, helpful fairy godmother is largely a figment of Disney’s imagination.

If you take a good look at the original fairy tales, fairy godmothers appear most often in stories written by the French précieuses, the best-known being Madame d’Aulnoy. These fairy godmothers are not the grandmotherly rescuer of Disney’s Cinderella, nor are they the well-meaning but sometimes slapstick versions portrayed as Flora, Fauna, and Meriwether in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Fairies who choose to help human beings most often do so because it serves their own purposes. Madame d’Aulnoy and her colleagues made everyone in their stories members of the nobility, especially the fairy godmothers. Even the shepherds and maids were princes and princesses sent into hiding for their protection.

Classic fairy godmothers are willing to guide their godchildren and lend a little magic to the cause, but in return, they expect obedience and respect…

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Halloween 99 cents Sale!


Don’t miss out! Makes a great “treat”!

Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

by Lillian Csernica on October 7, 2016

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Halloween is my favorite “howl-iday.” Since October is the month of “things that go bump in the night,” I’ve dropped the price on The Fright Factory to just 99 cents from now all the way through Halloween itself!

Horror can be anything from the most elegant ghost story to the total freak-out of a bloodthirsty serial killer. The Fright Factory can show you how to make the most of your story ideas:

Choose the best setting.

Build a better monster.

Learn the fine art of creating suspense!

It’s all here, including an essential list of the worst horror cliches no editor wants to see.

GET YOUR COPY NOW!

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After the Happily Ever After


by Lillian Csernica on October 16, 2016

Today is a very exciting day for me!

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After the Happily Ever After: a collection of fractured fairy tales is a massive anthology that features more than seventy stories that transform the well-known and strange fables into sweeter, darker, and more fantastical tales. These certainly aren’t the stories we grew up with.

Please take a look at the gorgeous book trailer the wonderful folks at Transmundane Press have put together. On behalf of all my fellow contributors, let me say we appreciate your support!

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NaNoWriMo Round 2


by Lillian Csernica on October 12, 2016

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Back in 2014, I won NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words of Garden of Lies, the second book in my Flower Maiden trilogy.

I have just signed up for NaNoWriMo 2016. I hope to get to the 50,000 word mark on the third book of the trilogy. 7 pages a day, every day.

I thumb my nose at the Forces of Chaos that beset me on a daily basis. Come what may, I shall write my daily quota. By December 1, I will have at least half of the first draft of my new novel.

(Then comes the Labor of Hercules known as Editing the Manuscript, but I’ll get to that when the time comes.)

I send my best wishes to everybody else crazy dedicated enough to embrace NaNoWriMo!

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Trip Report: Con-Volution 2016


by Lillian Csernica on October 6, 2016

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I had a wonderful time! As always, I was sharing a room with my usual traveling companion and parter in crime, Patricia H. MacEwen. There was a lot to see and do, between the panels and BoFs and the evening events and the hands-on workshops. Big kudos to Con Chair Jason and his Mighty Minions! (My apologies for not getting these links put in sooner. Last week included five appointments, two meetings, plus all the usual chaos.)

It’s Shirley Been 100 Years

I’m very happy to have been appointed moderator for this panel. I had to catch up on some background reading, which brought to my attention just how prolific Shirley Jackson really was. As primary breadwinner for the family, she had to keep the work going out and the money coming in.  At the same time she had to shoulder the load expected of a ’50s housewife. All four children were her responsibility, along with every household chore.  What an inspiration!

Kaiju, As Far As The Eye Could See!

This panel brought me the best of both worlds. I got to participate, drawing on my fascination with Japanese culture. Then I had the pleasure of listening to my fellow panelists and learn from their amazing expertise. Wanda Kurtcu made an excellent moderator, keeping us all in line when the synergy of ideas got too rowdy!

Fear of the Other

The diversity of panelists made for a variety of perspectives on this topic. We were happy to welcome Garrett Calcaterra to his very first con! He got thrown in at the deep end, and he acquitted himself very well. Keep an eye out for his YA fantasy series, The Dreamwielder Chronicles. The first two books are available now!

Stranger Things BoF

I managed to catch the last thirty minutes. Lively and intelligent discussion of our favorite characters. Debates about their true motivations and upcoming loyalties or desertions. Much love for the Christmas lights as a communications device! Many thanks to Mark Gelineau, our host and moderator.

DIY Room: Monster Pop-Up Cards

It’s not often I have time at cons to go indulge myself in a programming event just for fun. Trish Henry displayed her amazing skills at paper sculpture by walking us through the basics of making a pop-up card. We started with a heart. From there people made butterflies, a dragon, even a house! Trish provided plenty of colored paper, glitter pens, other decorative supplies, and chocolate eyeballs! Does it get any better than that?

Green Room

Minions #1, #2, and #3 provided simple, hearty fare that was ready and waiting no matter what time I wandered in. Chili over potatoes both baked and quartered, veggie pasta with an excellent sauce, and much to my utter screaming delight, my absolute favorite: homemade biscuits with sausage gravy. Snack baggies held a choice of popcorn, M&Ms, and even wasabi peas!

The Party Floor!

When I first got off the elevators on my way to my hotel room, I all but walked into a sign that proclaimed the hotel’s policy of keeping things quiet between nine p.m. and seven a.m. That made me burst out laughing. I was on Three, where the Quiet Zone started. The Party Floor was on Two, and it was crowded! Walking the big circle brought me to a new sign every three or four doors, heralding another party with another theme. On Friday night I spent most of the evening hanging out in Kevin and Andy’s ’60s themed bash. On Saturday night the ConJose party was the place to be. Gorgeous lighting effects, lots of comfy furniture, and some salted dark chocolate caramels that were divine!

I’m looking forward to Con-Volution 2017, at the San Ramon Marriott!

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5 Ways to Improve the Action in Your Story


by Lillian Csernica on August 13, 2016

Writers tend to be visually oriented. We see our stories playing out much like movies inside our minds. Whatever we can do to enhance the clarity of the images and information we want to convey to the reader will improve the strength of our stories. That clarity begins with making sure we can see exactly what’s going on.

Map out the key locations.  Start with just the distances between the major settings. If you want to get into topography, go for it. Bear in mind there’s a difference between miles on land and nautical miles.

Draw the important action. Draw one scene between two characters on a stage. You could also look down on the action, using an aerial view to keep track of items or characters outside of the protagonist’s sight lines. Split the page into four sections and take the comic book approach!

Storyboard the whole plot. Here’s yet another instance where the index card is the writer’s best friend. I recommend 4×6 size. A cork board, some push pins, and you’ve got your whole story laid out in front of you. On Pinterest you can find another definition of the novel storyboard which might also be quite helpful.

Illustrate the main character’s state of mind. Color can be very powerful on the intuitive level.  Put aside realism for the moment and have a go at the Impressionist school of art. Give the character’s dominant emotion a color. If emotions are clashing, assign a color to each and show that. Does the primary motivation suggest a particular color? Is there a Dark Secret lurking in the back of this character’s mind?

Color code the wardrobes for the major characters. This might sound silly, but if you have more than half a dozen characters to keep track of, you’ll be glad to have an easy way to keep this straight.  This is an even higher priority in historical fiction, where the clothing gets a lot more complicated, along with the fabrics, shades, and appropriate accessories.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t require Da Vinci level drawing skills. The whole purpose of the exercise is to get a clearer picture in our mind’s eye so we can choose the best words to describe the action. Have fun!

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A Happy Day in Writer Land


by Lillian Csernica on July 9, 2016

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Happy News Item #1:

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I’ve sold another story! Details will be forthcoming upon completion of the usual paperwork. I am happy to sell this story, and I’m even happier about the market.

 

Happy News Item #2:

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My Christmas ghost story “The Family Spirit” is now available as part of Digital Fiction Publishing’s Uncommon Senses anthology.

Grab it now and savor all twelve of the marvelous stories it contains!

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Norwescon: Fun Fun Fun!


by Lillian Csernica on March 31, 2016

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I’m home now, but there’s so much left of Norwescon that ought to be mentioned.  To all the people included in the events mentioned below, allow me to offer you my most sincere thanks for your hospitality, your generosity, and your wonderful senses of humor.

The Fukushima at 5 panel — Some very insightful and useful information.

The gracious lady who pointed out to me that I was wearing one ribbon I probably didn’t understand the meaning of, so I might want to understand it.  She explained, I was enlightened, and I kept on wearing the ribbon.

More ribbons than I have ever seen on one person at one time!

Owen — Some day I have to see that bow of yours up close and in action.

The Vikings two doors down — You folks were great neighbors.  Noisy, yes, but highly entertaining as well.

Cajun and his party crew — I have now tasted R’lyeh Punch, and I like it!  Also, thanks for the super-cool Mardi Gras beads.

Rand the Vampire — Thank you so much for your explanation of balloon burlesque.  I must look into the biography of Sally Rand.  She sounds like a most fascinating woman.

The crew for the Hospitality Suite — Good food and friendly smiles always available.  The book swap was a cool idea.  Loved your chili!  Hot but not too hot, especially with the guacamole.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport registration desk staff — They were cordial, helpful, and the cookies were always warm!  Thank you for making our stay that much more delightful.

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Everybody who got me pointed in the right direction every time I got lost, which happened a lot on Thursday and Friday.

The fabulous group of dedicated geniuses who make up the Norweson Con Com.  You people really know how to throw one hell of a convention.  I can’t wait to be there in 2017 for the 40th anniversary!

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