Episode 63: Delilah S. Dawson

Photo by Shane LeonardI am excited to share this week’s episode with you. Delilah is one of my favorite author’s to read  and it was a blast chatting with her!

Delilah S. Dawson is the New York Times bestselling writer of Star Wars: PHASMA, Servants of the Storm, the HIT series, Wake of Vultures and the Shadow series (as Lila Bowen), and many others. She has written a variety of short stories and comics. Delilah is on the show talking her books and comics, inspiration, and a love of Star Wars. She goes into what it’s like writing Rhett Walker of her Shadow series, and the history of other characters. Delilah also talks her journey to writing comics.
Find more about Delilah: https://www.whimsydark.com/

Listen! Share! Subscribe!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/ADfDEm
Stitcher: https://goo.gl/haPsei
Google Play: https://goo.gl/kn8SSN

Support the show on Patreon https://goo.gl/mDyWCE

Episode 56 with Fran Wilde

I have Fran Wilde on the show talking world building, switching narrative voice, and her amazing Bone Universe!
episode56promoTwitterFB
Her novels and short stories have been nominated for two Nebula awards and a Hugo, and include her Andre Norton- and Compton-Crook-winning debut novel, Updraft (Tor 2015), its sequels, Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017), and the novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” (Tor.com Publishing 2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She holds an MFA in poetry, an MA in information design and information architecture, and writes for publications including The Washington Post, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, io9.com, and GeekMom.com. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at franwilde.net.
You can also find the episode on Stitcher, iTunes, and Google Play!
Fran’s words are beautiful. I can’t recommend these books enough!!!
fran covers
 

 

a script writer, a comic book artist, and a novelist

E53promo.pngHey guys! I have not one but two guests this week. I talk with writer, Mark Allard and comic artist, Elaine Will. We talk their graphic novels Look Straight Ahead and Arkade. They get into the inspiration behind them as well as the process of their current works in progress. Mark, Elaine, and I discuss the ups and downs of creation and how an accurate depiction of creators is hard to find in existing Media and what the one exception is. Before the interview, I talk NanoWrioMo preparation and mindset. The weekly read recommendation is comic collection, Niobe out through Stranger Comics.

Listen. Subscribe. Share.
Support the show on Patreon! https://goo.gl/S94MmS

New episode with Kat Howard

photo-by-shane-leonard

Kat Howard is on the showing talking about her new release “An Unkindness of Magicians” and her exciting new book deals with Saga Press. Kat and I get deep into the process of creating and what it is like to do yoga with pets. At the end of the episode there is a bonus section where Kat answers big questions about “An Kindness of Magicians” for those who have read the book. Before Kat comes on, I talk about NaNoWriMo and my crazy plans.

iTunes: https://goo.gl/7cLaso
Stitcher: (coming soon)
Google Play: https://goo.gl/byqqnK

Support the show on Patreon! https://goo.gl/S94MmS

Book Review: An Unkindness of Magicians

UNKINDNESSfrontcover_final-740x1118.jpgEvery so often a book comes around that is much more than a good read, or an engaging story. Certain books feel more like a portal, like the pages are kissed with magic and anytime you pick it up you are a hundred percent a part of the world as if you were inside the pages yourself. It’s those books that keep us digging through shelves. “An Unkindness of Magicians” by Kat Howard was all of that. “Unkindness” caused a similar stir in my mind that I experienced when I was read Harry Potter and Narnia as a child but I felt it as an adult. Magic is right there under our noses. Anything is possible. But, much like adult life, everything costs something and sometimes that cost is great.
Kat Howard threads an enchanting, mysterious, and dangerous world of social-climbing magicians with the familiar New York City, weaving a world both comforting and exciting and terrifying. The Fortune’s Wheel turned earlier than it should have. Powerful magical houses must get ready to hire their champions and battle to be the head of the Unseen World.
Hands down my favorite aspect of this book is Sydney, an unhoused magician with incredible magical talent and a fantastic backstory. I like to keep my reviews spoiler-free so this will remain no different BUT I will say that Sydney’s character arc is a raw and relatable thing of beauty. Every character in the story is complex and stands on their feet in their way. All of them kept my interest as the expertly woven story unfolded. Sydney is strong, brave, and full of faults and fear. I was rooting for from the moment I met her. Character-wise she’s one of greats.
I love the magic in this book. The magic is a character of its own. Many fantasy books have magic in them but so seldom does the magic come across on the page as having feelings, obstacles and faults. The visuals Howard painted of the magic casted were beautiful and never once slowed the story down but she also gave the magic a personality. This personality changes depending on who is using the magic and that is just fantastic.
I’m going to call out one more awesome aspect of this book and then you just have to go grab a copy because this is so worth reading. The relationships in this story (and there are many) are so organic and varied and real. Howard juggles multiple family dynamics and she does this with such a natural rhythm. I was invested in every one whether they were relationships built long before the story started or new ones we got to witness.
“An Unkindness of Magicians” is by far my favorite book I’ve read in 2017. Like I said in the beginning I felt the adult version of what I felt as kid when I read Harry Potter. That is awesome. So yeah, if you haven’t read it, grab a copy! You won’t regret it.

 

New Comic Review: LADYCASTLE

I have been a comic book lover since I was a kid. The glossy pages and the “new book” smell are the first steps to a world all its own. Comics are a special place to visit. As a writer, reading prose isn’t always an option, ladycastle-elsacoverbut comics are always there. There is something special about experiencing a story in panel form. My brain reacts to the story in a different way. That being said, I’m always looking for new, fresh comics. Something I haven’t seen yet.

I reviewed an early copy of the first issue of LADYCASTLE which is a gender-flipped Arthurian comic written by the fantastically talented Delilah S. Dawson. Ashley A. Woods is responsible for the gorgeous art.

I am being perfectly genuine when I say this is the comic I’ve been looking for, for years. Power. Wit. Action. Hope. It’s all there. This is a completely spoiler-free review, so I’m not going to get into specifics. You have to experience it for yourselves. I will, however, say this, there are at least eight times where I thought, “Yes! This is awesome!”

Dawson does a fantastic job weaving the beginning of this female-powered world I want more of. I can’t believe LADYCASTLE is her first comic. It reads liladycastle1coverke she’s been doing this her entire life. I really hope to see more comics from her. I’ve been trying to get myself amped up for this next phase in my career with music from some rocking women from the 90’s, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

Woods’s gorgeous art creates a rich mid-evil aesthetic that complements Dawson’s words flawlessly. I can’t wait to read more LADYCASTLE, and you should start.

The official release date of the first issue is January 25th, but you can preorder here: Get me some LADYCASTLE

Anthology Review: Upside Down

upside-book-coverI received a review copy of Apex Publication’s newest anthology UPSIDE DOWN: INVERTED TROPES IN STORYTELLING. This anthology is a treasure for both readers and writers. Editorial super team Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli did a splendid job compiling stories, poems and essays of well-trodden fantasy and science fiction tropes turned on their heads.

Unlike novels, anthologies give you the option of jumping around and reading at all different places in the book. Sometimes I do that right from the get-go, and I did the second time through with this anthology. But, my first time through, I was glued to each page from the very first to the last. The index of tropes and the stories that tackle them encouraged me to go back. Twice. The introduction sets the stage by getting into the comfort of tropes and the importance of them. “We all love comfort food. We all love surprises. A well-executed story trope, like a favorite meal, is always there when you need it, eager to satisfy. A chosen one destined to save the world. A love interest ready to transform your dull life…” -Jerry Gordon

It’s true. There is comfort in tropes. As readers, they give us something to hang our hat on and as writers we need to wield them. There is a fabulous array of authors such as Delilah S. Dawson, Alyssa Wong,  Micheal Choi, Sunil Patel, and Micheal Matheson—to name a few—who take common tropes and do extraordinary things with them. Alex Shvartsman takes all that we count on when diving into an epic fantasy and riddles a satire native with “Nouns of Noun: A Mini Epic” that kept me chuckling. I was delighted by “Drafty as a Chainmail Bikini” by Kat Richardson, which comments of the absurdity of women’s armor in the fantasy genre.

Each story has its “WOW” moment. There are a few stories that stood out to me so strongly I had to go back and reread them and soak in the beauty again and again. That’s the thing about the written word. Stories can carry a certain weight or personal response that just clicks instantly. When that happens, it’s a beautiful thing.

In “The First Blood of Poppy Dupree” Delilah S. Dawson takes the trope of an unprepared preteen’s first period. She paints an incredible picture of a girl who knew it would come, adds some Greek and Southern Gothic mythology and writes a story I wish I could have read when I was a preteen. I was in Walmart wearing white terrycloth shorts when mine first came without a clue. Dawson took all the shame out of it and made getting your period truly badass, raw, and slightly terrifying.

“The White Dragon” by Alyssa Wong is one those stories that reels you in with every sentence and then when its ended, everything just washes over you. Wong built so much in so few words. She tackles the trope of Yellow Peril, which is the fear that Asia poses a dire threat to Western civilization. Wong’s characters are so deep and well conveyed. The layers of magic realism packs such a punch.  It’s truly amazing.

“Those who Leave” by Micheal Choi tore my heart out and convinced me once and for all magic is in the world. Choi took the trope of the cold and calculating Asian scientist and built a world with hope, magic, and the ever-complicated mother/daughter relationship. Just gorgeous from start to finish. I teared up a little.

After the string of awesome stories, the impact of the essays detailing some tropes such as “Into the Labyrinth: The Heroine’s Journey” by AC Wise and “I’m Pretty Sure I’ve read this Before” by Patrick Hester really ties it all together. Each essay detailing basic story concepts somehow made every story I read prior more powerful.

There is whimsy and underlining darkness, heartbreak and satire, that flows well throughout the anthology. UPSIDE DOWN is really worth the grab!

You can find copies here!