Red Crow Company: Episode 2

My first impression of the Red Crow Company headquarters was light, noise, and the general feeling that I’d walked into a low-end pub. Not much in the way of decoration – just some mismatched tables and chairs, with a long bar across the side wall – and at least a dozen people hanging around, talking and drinking and doing whatever it was people did when hanging out in a low-end pub, I guess. Across from the bar were a few people playing darts… well, throwing small weapons at a target. Mostly knives, a few darts, some other things I didn’t recognize.

Aleric was nowhere to be seen.

“Hey kid.” I looked over to the voice; a heavyset man in rough clothing with a short pale-blue ponytail was sitting at table nearish the door, looking at me with an amused expression. “You lost?”
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A List of Favorite Trope-Thingies

A couple people in my erstwhile writing group (Lyn and Wyste) did a very informal list of tropes and such they like to see(/use?) in fiction and I thought hey, this seems like a fun bandwagon, I think I will hop on!

Without further ado, and in no particular order:
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Red Crow Company: Episode 1

I tightened up the drawstring on my purse again with a sigh, answered by the growling of my stomach. I’d been in Monserrat for a whole week, trying to find some kind of work with no luck at all. Everyone wanted someone with experience, or were all “you’re too young!” – well, except for that one guy, who said I was too old. No job meant no money, and no money meant I’d gone through all my savings. I had enough for maybe two meals at this point and then if I still didn’t find anything, I’d be begging on the streets. At least the weather was nice this time of year.

It had seemed like such a great idea at the time. Instead of being stuck at home being a useless girl while my parents complained about how useless I was at being a girl, I could go to the nearest big city – Monserrat, where I was now – find a job, and make my own living doing something I was actually good at.

The problem was, it turned out I wasn’t good at anything. All right, that’s not really fair to myself, but it was starting to feel that way. No one else thought I was good at anything, not good enough to hire me at least, and it was starting to get to the point where I believed it. But what could I do? Go back home with my tail between my legs, let my parents roll their eyes and say “I told you so”? No thank you.
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Shades of Milk and Honey: A Review

I’d been considering reading this book for… a few years now, but for one reason or another I only just purchased it yesterday. And decided to read a little bit before bed. And stayed up for three hours to read the whole thing.

Whoops?

Well, as that most likely indicates, I enjoyed the book quite a lot. The book itself is a Regency romance style book, with the well-woven addition of the magical art of glamour giving it a fantastic boost above others of similar genres

Mary Robinette Kowal, the author, has certainly made no secret of Jane Austen’s influence on her work, and comparisons to Pride & Prejudice abound. In fact, when I started the book and it presented me with the primary characters: elder Jane, younger Melody, their father – whose estate was entailed away to a nephew – and their mother – who was once beautiful but now was often an invalid and weak of nerves – were so similar to P&P that I was, I admit, slightly unnerved. Was this going to be just a thinly veiled copy – one step away from Pride & Prejudice and Zombies?
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Not-so-April A-Z Challenge

As you all have probably noticed, I, er, rather failed at the challenge of posting a letter every-day-but-Sundays. Cough.

I’m still going to do the whole alphabet, but it’s going to be much less often and I don’t think it really counts for the challenge. Ah well.

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[D]ragons

For today, I am reposting a little fanfic drabble I threw on tumblr a while back. Setting is Hogwarts, characters are based on a novel I’ve been working on for… a while…

“For the last time, Theo. Dragons are dangerous and worst of all illegal.”

“But just think, having your own dragon!”

“I am thinking.” I sighed in exasperation. “You’re not. As usual.”

“I mean, Alarie is a great owl,” he continued, ignoring me completely, “but imagine having a dragon delivering your mail! You’d be sitting at breakfast and suddenly there comes this great flapping of wings, and this majestic dragon lands right in front of you–”

“On the table?”

“Right in front of you, as everyone stares in awe. There in the silence, the dragon holds out its taloned claw, to you and you alone, delivering your letter.”

“Charred remains of your letter, you mean.”

“Oh shut up.” Theo swiped at my head, but I easily ducked. “You’re such a spoil-sport, Sam.”

“It’s a difficult job you know, having common sense for two people.” I sniffed disdainfully, doing my best to look down my nose at him. It’s not easy when you’re almost a foot shorter. “You should appreciate me more.”

“Alright then.” He deftly reached over and snatched my notebook out of my arms.

“Hey! What are you doing?” I made a grab for the notebook but he easily moved it above my reach.

“I promise I will pay more heed to your common sense if you can get this back. Without magic.”

“Oh come on, that’s not fair!” I glared up at him. “You’re going to make me late for class.”

“It’s perfectly fair! You have common sense for two people, while I,” he placed the notebook on top of his head, “have an excellent new hat.”

“It’s a stupid hat. Give it back.”

“No, thank you.”

“Theo!”

“Sam!” He mimicked my tone exactly.

I fumed silently at him, counting to ten. Finally I pulled out my wand. “Accio notebook.” It flicked neatly out of his hands and into my arms.

“Cheater,” he accused me cheerfully.

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[C]ommas

I do beta-reading (basically proof-reading and checking for tone and consistency) for a couple web serials, and I like to joke that I take commas away from one author and give them to the other. But really, my poorly-kept secret is that I am much, much more strict with their comma use than my own.

I use so many more commas than I probably should, but I blame the Victorians. (I blame them for all of my writing’s perceived flaws. They can’t argue being my scapegoat, either, because they all died decades ago. Hah!) But despite not having too much of an effect on my writing, the editing’s been very educational. I’ve had to look up situations to know whether a comma is really necessary or not before adding or removing it and learned quite a lot about punctuation in general.

For example, the American standard is to put the closing comma inside the quote, before the attribution, and not after. Which personally I hate, especially when quoting text. You should put anything inside the quotes that wasn’t actually in the thing you’re quoting! It is, as Spock would say, highly illogical.

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[B]rainships

Most people, it seems, get into reading Anne McCaffrey by discovering her Pern books. Which makes sense; they’re probably the most popular and most successful of the settings she wrote in. And I’m not going to lie, I definitely read them all and was all about having a telepathic dragon partner.

But my introduction to Anne McCaffrey – the book by her that I read first, and which led directly to me hunting down more of her books to read them – was actually The Ship Who Sang. It was amazing. Here I was, reading a book where the protagonist was a space ship. And not a robot spaceship, which I was familiar with from Isaac Asimov. A human person. Who was also a spaceship.

It was the most fascinatingly awesome story premise I had ever read, at the time, and it’s still one of my favorites. I started reading Starwalker – a web serial about a spaceship AI who gains human sapience – largely because it reminded me of the brainship stories. I also lost track of it a few years ago and am thus very, very far behind… ah well. It’s good, though. To the point I last read it.

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[A]ddergoole

The trope of the Magical Boarding School became much more commonly known after the rise of Harry Potter. Addergoole is the name of one such place… except not really. Hogwarts is the kind of school you wish you could go to. Addergoole is the kind of school you run away from as fast as you can. (Except once you’re there, you can’t escape. Bwahaha. Haha. Ha.)

The eponymous web serial is by a good friend of mine, Lyn Thorne-Alder, and my reading the story is actually how we first started talking and eventually became friends, which is cool. I found out about it through the #weblit circles on twitter, back in, oh, 2009 or so. And I’ve been reading her work and (cough) writing Addergoole fanfiction for, what, five years now?

Yeah. Five years. Wow.

The basic premise of Addergoole is that there are these students, generally social outcasts in America, who somewhere in the middle of highschool are sent off to this special boarding school in the middle of nowhere that is literally underground. None of the new students really know what the school is; an institution for problem children, a prep school for gifted intellects, et al.

Well, as it turns out, it’s a school for demihumans. Magical faerie people. And all the students sent there are magical faerie people, but they didn’t know it yet. Sounds great, right? Yeah, that’s because I haven’t mentioned the magical slavery, borderline eugenics, or the gang fighting, or… well, you’re getting the picture.

Lyn is currently in the process of rewriting the original series in novel series format – I’m helping her put together the kickstarter, which I would give a rough launch date estimate right here if I had one.

Oh, and also, Addergoole is not only a great dystopian setting by itself, but is set in the greater “faerie apocalypse” universe where the world basically ended in 2011 after a huge faerie war. I’ve written a few things – well all right, I’ve written a buttload of things in Lyn’s faerie apocalypse universe, but I have a few of them on this site.

If you’re interested in checking out the original series, start here!

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April A to Z Challenge

Because apparently doing Camp NaNo to work on my novel revisions isn’t enough, I’ve decided to do the “Blogging from A to Z” challenge this year.

I’m going to keep it simple and give myself between 100 and 500 words per post, so I don’t get carried away or start feeling overwhelmed. Also, if you’re interested, my blog is number 1606 1601* on the list.

And as for a theme? Who knows! They’ll probably be related to writing in some way, most of the time.

* Some of the links ahead of mine must’ve gotten deleted; my number changed. o.o

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