Friday, May 29, 2009

Wake review and Sawyer and Ellison in the news

My review of Wake by Rober J. Sawyer is finally up over at Mostly Fiction.

I'm looking forward to www.Watch.

In other news, Rob's book, Calculating God won the Audio Publishers Association's Audie Award for Best SF/F Audio Book of the Year.

Check out this audio interview with Harlan Ellison. It's a hoot. You can find it at Studio 360, Public Radio International’s Peabody Award-winning, nationally syndicated weekly show about creativity, pop culture and the arts, hosted by Kurt Andersen.

Did you know that Ellison was tracked down by the Pinkerton detective agency as a youth after running away to join the circus. He also reads from one of his short stories "Jeffty is Five". He also says that his 15 minutes of fame have lasted since the 60s as though it's just a fluke.

A doco on Ellison, Dreams with Sharp Teeth, is now available on DVD.

For those interested, I've added photos to the previous post from BayCon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

BayCon 2009 report part two

So, here's a recap on my panels.

On Friday I sat on the Stop Killing My Childhood panel. And pretty much just sat... That's what happens when you're the only girl on a five member panel. They talked about comics and cartoons while I listened. Although I did manage to point out that I preferred the remake of King Kong to the original. Why? Because of Kong's interest in her was because she did acrobatic tricks. She amused him. Far more believable -- if I can use that word about King Kong -- than him being attracted to Fay Ray because of her looks. Come on! Her arms were too short and she was far too hairless.

On Saturday, we had a lively discussion on the panel, Can You Hear Me Now, which was about social networking. Thanks Jennifer Brozek for representing the fairer sex with me. ;) She shared a rather disturbing yet interesting tale about being virtually stalked. And Jay Freeman had some doozies as well about Second Life. All in all a good, stimulating panel.

The next panel I was on was Editing a Manuscript. Wow! We could have gone on for hours. But I think we gave the forty or so attendees a lot to consider when they next take out their red pen.

The last one was Can Science and Magic combine in SF, or some such. The name was changed in the 11th hour. Anyhow, that was a rollercoaster ride. The panel had been named Metaphysics: Supernatural & Spirituality in SF. The moderator sort of went with both titles. You can imagine where that lead. You know that old saying that you shouldn't discuss politics or religion at the dinner table? There's a reason for that. Martin Young managed to reel things in, however, for an enlightening hour of friendly debate. That's Juliette Wade in the kimono and ElizaBeth Gilligan with Irene Radford.








Friday night was the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading. It was just me and Valerie Frankel again as all the other "Broads" were at WisCon.

I enjoyed getting to know some new writing friends and seeing some old ones.


Adrienne Gormley



Dani Kollin


And because I'm crazy for Dr. Who, this was my favorite costume. Recognize the episode? Look inside the helmet.



Sunday night, we went to the Tempest concert. It was ab fab. All the more so because it was a small venue and free with the price of the BayCon membership. They're impressive.







I got a great shirt in the dealers room. It has a scream painting on the front with this written over it: Stop me before I volunteer again! How appropriate.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BayCon 2009 report part one

BayCon was a blast. Hubby went with this time (as a con virgin). He had a wee bit of culture shock the first night, but he adjusted magnificently. He even took photos for them all weekend.

I had the opportunity to speak with some great writers, old friends and new friends. Photo highlights today. In depth report on Thursday with pics from the great panels I sat on, including one on editing. How can you cover editing in an hour?????


Here I am with Irene Radford, both of us blissfully ignorant of our reflective specs.


Here I am with Jennifer Brozek, this year's Toastmistress. She has a post-apocalyptic anthology. No, it's not coming out after the apocalypse. You can read the review and an interview with her by yours truly when it comes out in August.


This is Tony Todaro. I met him last year. We weren't on any panels together but did find time to chat.


Valerie Frankel, a fellow Broad Universe member. She read from one of her Henry Potty (Harry Potter parody) books for our Rapid Fire Reading on Friday night.


This is "RadCon Bob". He's the programming guy for RadCon in Pasco, WA. Irene tells me Radcon is the second largest sf con on the west coast. I'll be there next year. Bob already has me on the flier. :)

And here's a friend who couldn't make it, but who I managed to get a shot with at the CWC joint meeting in April. Meet Cindy Pavlinac, talented photographer and writer. Notice the hats.



People have come to recognize me by my hat. Sure, why not? I love my hat. It hides my witch hair. ;) So, now Irene decided she needed a signature hat. It's blue with a flower on the other side. Very nice.



I finally remembered about my blogger persona on Sunday. I was in author mode before that. This was the first con since I started doing regular interviews here. But I finally remembered and lined up some great authors for you.

And what a welcome home I received. I sold a reprint of one my stories today to Chaos Theory: Tales Askew. It should be published in a couple of weeks. Woo hoo!

I have a lot of reprints that I need to find homes for, but haven't made the time to shop them around. Wouldn't a nice anthology be nice? >sigh<

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with Gareth L. Powell

For all those people who say LinkedIn or social networking is a waste of time: Neener, neener, neener! I found Gareth L. Powell on LinkedIn. And everyone who enjoys a good SF read or a good interview, will be glad I did. He's an emerging SF author from across the pond. He's been published in anthologies and translated (his work, not him) into seven languages. He won the Interzone Readers' Poll for best short story. His first novel will be released in 2010.

Welcome, Gareth, and thanks for playing here at SFOO.



AW: What has been your biggest literary triumph?

GP: I guess the publication of The Last Reef and Other Stories has to have been the biggest triumph so far. It came out in August 2008 to good reviews, and collects together fifteen of my most successful short stories.

AW:
What's your holy grail – literarily (my word, like it?) speaking?

GP: The goalposts keep shifting. When I started out, my aim was to have a story published in Interzone – which is kind of a "holy grail" for most budding British SF writers – but once I'd achieved that, I started thinking about a collection. Now, I'm writing novels and hoping to get them published. After that, who knows? A BSFA award maybe…?

AW:
Where do you get your inspiration?

GP: I get lots of story ideas. They occur to me while I'm daydreaming in the shower or sitting on the bus. But few of them ever make it onto the page. They just don't fire my imagination. The stories I actually write tend to start life as little more than a character sketch and a vague notion of setting, and the rest falls into place as I write. To take a story from my collection as an example, when I started writing "Flotsam" all I had was the name of the main character (Toby Milan) and an image of a container ship converted to house climate refugees. The remainder of the story flowed from there.

I'm not one of those writers who meticulously plan their stories in advance – although having said that, I did produce a three thousand word outline for the novel I'm working on at the moment, but that's very much the exception to the rule.

AW:
Which author changed how you thought about science fiction?

GP:
I grew up reading Larry Niven and Arthur C. Clarke and had this image of the future as a place of utopian technocratic expansion. Sure, there were aliens out there and the human race might get into trouble once in a while, but on the whole we were going to build spaceships, cure disease and death, and expand unstoppably into the galaxy.

I tried to write a few stories in that vein but struggled badly. I just couldn't find anything original to say. It wasn't until I read William Gibson's first collection Burning Chrome that I realized there was another way to do it. That book blew my socks off. It took the pristine future I'd been used to and rubbed its nose in the dirt. It took everything down to the level of the street. The characters were flawed, selfish, and greedy, and out for themselves. But more than that, it was extremely well written, in a pared-down prose that hooked me straight away.

From there, I went on to discover Bruce Sterling and the rest of the Cyberpunk movement, as well as Raymond Chandler (to whom Gibson's style owes a tip o' the hat), Ernest Hemingway, and Elmore Leonard – writers who all had the ability to describe characters and scenes using only a few well-observed and essential details.

AW:
Many of your stories are post-apocalyptic? What makes that setting attractive to you as a writer?

GP: I grew up at a time when the Cold War seemed likely to turn hot at any moment. We were shown "Protect and Survive" films at school, and I remember that the local doctor's surgery had leaflets about nuclear fallout and guidelines for the disposal of relatives who'd succumbed to radiation sickness. As a teenager, it was a scary time. It was hard enough dealing with all the emotional stuff teenagers have to go through normally, without the added worry that the world was about to end. I guess a lot of that fear worked its way into my psyche. Part of me still expects society to fall apart at any given moment, and so those stories are to a certain extent an exploration and exorcism of that fear – a way of confronting my personal demons.

AW:
Do you attend science fiction or writers conventions?

GP:
For the last three years, I've attended Eastercon, the annual British National Science Fiction Convention. The first year I went, it was held in Chester, then Heathrow, then Bradford, and next year, I think it's going to be in Heathrow again.

Events such as Eastercon are great because speaking as a writer, they allow you to meet your peers and to socialize and share a drink with editors, agents and other writers. I've made many friends through my attendance at those three cons, and also strengthened friendships that had previously only existed online.

And this year, for the first time, somebody came up to me and asked me to autograph a copy of a publication that had one of my stories in it, which was nice.

AW:
Do you belong to writers' groups or have first readers?

GP:
I belong to an informal group of local science fiction writers and fans (including Colin Harvey who recently included one of my short stories in the Future Bristol anthology that he edited for Swimming Kangaroo Books). We meet up once a month for a beer in a pub just off the city centre.

When it comes to first drafts, my wife reads all my stories and usually comes back with interesting and practical suggestions for improving them. She isn't a science fiction fan, so she had no patience with the usual tropes of the genre. She makes me explain the technology in my stories and won't let me get away with lazy reliance on science fiction shorthand.

AW:
What do you do when you're stuck?

GP:
If I'm not working on a story, I get crabby and restless. If I'm working on one and I've got stuck and don't know how to proceed, I drink beer and swear at the computer screen, and then I do something else for a while. I put the story away and try to focus on another project in the hope that distancing myself from it will give my subconscious the opportunity to mull it over and find a way forward.

This is a surprisingly effective method for dealing with writer's block, although the subconscious mind works to its own timescales and while the answer to your problem may pop up within twenty-four hours, it may equally take two or three years to work itself out – which is why you must never throw anything away, ever. Even the crappiest scrap of failed draft might suddenly have new light shed upon it when you suddenly find it a use months or years down the track.

AW: Tell me about your current project.

GP:
I'm currently working on the first in what I hope will be a series of novels. I can't say too much about them at the moment, but the first involves a group of present-day characters thrust into a far-future space opera setting.

At the same time, my first novel [Silversands Pendragon Press 2010] is due to be published soon, and I have some more short fiction due to be published later in the year – and I very much hope to find a publisher for a second collection of short fiction.

AW:
What review surprised you the most?

GP:
I try never to comment on reviews of my work. Luckily, I've been fortunate that the majority of the reviews I've seen so far have been positive.

AW:
If you had a golden ticket to collaborate with an author of your choice (past or present, we are talking SF after all), who would it be and why?

GP:
I'd love to have had the chance to work with Jack Kerouac, just to borrow some energy from that fantastic, poetic, hectic mind. Hell, I'd like to have had the chance just to sit and talk with him for an hour or so. Although our writing styles are quite different, I love the rhythms of his words and there's something about the way he describes the world that brings it so vividly to life.

I think Kerouac's a very misunderstood writer, which is one of the reasons I recently wrote a short story about him, in which I put the following words in his mouth:

"Thing is, most kids get caught up with the drugs and the kicks, and they miss the real spirit of it all, the great gone mystical lonely terror, the open spaces and the unspeakable, inescapable sadness of the American bop night."

I first read On The Road at the age of eighteen and still rate it as my number one favourite book of all time. I followed it up with Desolation Angels and Big Sur and The Dharma Bums, which led to an obsession with the Beat Movement that lasted all the way through my university days and well into my twenties, and which I still haven't completely shaken off.



To find out more about Gareth's work and even find some tips for budding writers, visit him at www.garethlpowell.com.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BayCon, writing and new SF mags

Ack! Larry Dixon and Mercedes Lackey are sick. They were to be the guests of honor for BayCon. The staff are still scrambling and trying to have them attend "virtually" etc. Of course I wish them a speedy recovery.

I had hoped to post my schedule today, but it is a bit fluid at the moment. They scheduled me to moderate a panel on vampire lit. Guess how much vampire lit I've read? So, it's still in flux. I wonder if the denizens of the Cloud City of Pyrocumulon (this year's theme) dance like Greeks? I could so teach Greek folk dancing. ;)

I finally finished that story with the whale-like creatures with humans living on them. Just a few tweaks and it's off to a magazine for consideration. I'm really enjoying reading The Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton. It starts with a bang and doesn't let up (so far). Review forthcoming.

Two magazines have contacted me. Though I haven't had time to look them over, perhaps my readers can help. They are iPulpFiction.com and M-brane SF, blog-based SF mags (M-Brane available in pdf).

Stay tuned for up and coming SF author Gareth Powell.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

UP, UP and a (gorgeous) way!

OK, so here's my excuse for posting my Zeppelin trip on my SF blog. The movie UP is fantasy, right? So, there you go! And the pics are great, right? I think zeppelins will have to feature in a future short story.










This kind of commute doesn't belong in the future. Will zeppelins take us to work one day?





Ready to book your flight? Visit Airship Ventures. It's an amazing experience. The Eureka is the biggest passenger airship in the world and the pilot for our flight is the only female airship captain in the world. I asked her how she got involved in airships. She said she was still trying to work that out. Right time and place, she said. She added that she could hardly call it a job. (Way too much fun!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Left coast con updates and other tidbits

As I begin to gear up for BayCon Memorial weekend, in San Jose, I thought I'd bring you some science fiction convention news.

First of all, the latest for BayCon:
The Celtic folk band, Tempest, will playing.
Unfortunately, little else has been updated there. I'm sure they'll pull everything together soon for another amazing convention. Author guests of honor are: Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon

FiestaCon (WesterCon) is in Tempe, AZ July 2-5, 2009. And they have Alan Dean Foster! I'll be giving a talk at an East Bay library instead. It's a bit far afield for me here in the North Bay.

And this just in from World Fantasy Convention 2009 in San Jose, October 29th to November 1st:
More guests of honor announced as follows:
* Lisa Snellings
* Michael Swanwick
* Ann VanderMeer
* Jeff VanderMeer
And Jay Lake will be Toastmaster.

Have you purchased your ticket yet? Do so here.

I received my official invite to SpoCon 2009 today in Spokane, WA. It's a new little con with lots of class.

Here's a handy convention finder to find a con near you.

I know you're wondering why I haven't blogged about the new Star Trek movie yet. Well, I haven't seen it yet. :( I put it off until Mothers Day and ended up letting my son beat me at pool instead. Ah well, much more sociable. I'll see it this week for sure, and there's no shortage of reviews for the movie anyhow.

Make sure to scoot on over to sfsignal for this fun little video showing George Lucas' reaction to the Star Trek movie.

I just finished WAKE and can only say WOW! Now that's an ending. I know I've said this before, but darn it, this is MY blog, and I'm going to say it again (perhaps better this time). When a reader picks up a book to read, he or she expects at least three things from that book: a beginning, a middle and an end. Just because it's a volume of a larger work, does not mean you can cheat the reader out of a satisfying ending. I understand the need for a bit of a cliffhanger to have them come back for more, but when they have to wait a year or two for the next volume, you can't leave them with next to nothing resolved.

Robert J. Sawyer's WAKE had a superb ending. The full review will be forthcoming at Mostly Fiction soon.

More news from Rob. ABC purchased 13 episodes of the series Flash Forward, an adaptation his book by the same title. He's a National Post article with more info.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Havin' fun

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary by going to the Herdeljezi Festival in Sebastopol on Saturday and Papa's Taverna on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the Roma Festival, meant to herald the changing of the season and the beginning of outdoor activities, was "rained in". But there were still lots of dancers enjoying themselves in the Vets Hall.



I went outside to cool off after dancing for a while. And then look what happened!

This was a sculpture by a local artist that was donated to help raise money.

Here I am getting my Greek on at Papa's.




And how's this for a new author photo? All thanks to hubby, Patrick.


The last in the Dirk Gently series, by Douglas Adams, published posthumosly has just been ordered for production at Radio 4. Read the tip here and more about the series here. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul is one of my faves. He's partially responsible for my Brit wit that seeps into Awesome Lavratt.

Ain't the world wide web grand? I just saw my interview with Robert J. Sawyer show up on Technorati Japan. :)

Finding that helped to deal with the rejection that came yesterday. :( Sent that story back out again. It WILL find a home.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Literary ups and downs...

My review of Anathem is up over at the "all new" Mostly Fiction. The editor's given the site a new look with a blog format. One of the advantages is that you can now enter comments after the reviews (hint, hint).

I just finished The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton. Excellent. I only have one complaint. There's one thing missing... an ending!!!! I know that this is the first book in a series, but I truly wish that more of the plot points could have been resolved. I hate that. Okay, I feel better now.

So, this book has telekinesis, the best part of which is his term "the third hand". There's power struggles, politics, hard science, religion, fantastical creatures and an amazing, living crystal city left by aliens on a world that is beyond the reach of the rest of the galaxy. Because it resides in the impenetrable void which outsiders can only (literally!) dream of.

I recommend it, but only if you have his new one, The Temporal Void handy. I'll be reviewing that in full at Mostly Fiction right after Wake by Robert J. Sawyer. The Wake review has been delayed by the trusty USPS. The review copy was sent on the 6th of April and never arrived. Nor did a few other items from other places. I'm wondering if some of my mail is ending up in the Void or perhaps an alternate universe.

I also have several more authors on the hook for interviews, so stay tuned for those.

I can include this here because of Star Gate SG1. Dom DeLuise passed away yesterday. He shall be missed.

My short memoir, "The Rosary," had been picked up by a second anthology last year. I just got word today that the new volume will be available on December 1, 2009. It's called The Mystery of Fate: Common Coincidence or Divine Intervention? What a great Christmas gift those will make! ;)

This last bit is both up and down. I received another rejection of my latest story. That's the down side. But on the upside, it came back in record time. I'm choosing to discern that as a sign that I have a killer cover letter and a great title, thereby moving my story to the top of the slush pile. I'll be sending it back out tomorrow, remembering that the first editor said it was "powerful and well done". It just has to find the perfect place to fit in.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Meet Danielle Ackley-McPhail

For your reading pleasure and edification, please meet Danielle Ackley-McPhail. She's a speculative fiction author, anthology editor and fellow member of Broad Universe.



AW: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

DA-M: I don't know that it was ever that conscious a decision. You had to write for school and I enjoyed it and was good at it. From the point they taught me language skills and my mom got me my library card, books and writing have been a constant part of who I am.

AW: Why fantasy?

DA-M: I read and write pretty much everything, but fantasy (and all the other speculative genres) really makes me think and gives me so much freedom to play ... I like to play. My favorite thing when writing is to be given a topic I have to write on and then finding the twist I can put on it that technically observes that topic while giving the reader something they totally did not expect.

AW: Tell me about your current series, Bad-Ass Faeries.

DA-M: Bad-Ass Faeries came out of a friend's artwork, a dreadfully under-attended author event, and the dissatisfaction with this cleaned up and sweetened view everyone has of faeries ... a la T-belle and Walt. If you go back to the original myths and legends faeries were to be respected at best, feared at worst. They are the reason the phrase "terrible beauty" was coined. We took that essence of the tradition and brought them into the modern day, giving our readers urban faerie fiction that kicks butt!

AW: What inspired you when you were creating Yesterday's Dreams and Tomorrows Memories?

DA-M: I am — to listen to my father—somewhere in the region of 75% Irish. I never knew what that meant, having lost virtually all of my family history but regardless have always been fiercely proud to be Irish. The music, the accent, the tales have always moved me beyond any reason. Because of this I have been drawn to fiction with a Celtic element. I have been highly frustrated when, in picking up that fiction, I discover that most of the authors took an Irish word or two, or perhaps an element of the mythology and built a story around it where all but the barest kernel was completely fictitious. I wanted to learn something about what it was to be Irish, explore the myths and legends, and instead I was trapped in someone else's creativity. So, I wrote my own. I researched the mythology and brought it into the story as a part of the plot and the background color. To distinguish among the aspects that were from the myths and legends and those I extrapolated myself for the purpose of the story I included a glossary at the back for those like me who wanted to know more.

AW: What's it like collaborating with your husband? (So It Begins and Breach the Hull)

DA-M: Oh ... oh ... that is touchy. We are both very strong, opinionated personalities. We duke it out when we are working on a project. In the end the book is fantastic, but we each have clear ideas of how things should be. It makes for an interesting project but we draw on each other's strengths. He takes advantage of my characterization skills and he keeps me honest on the technology and science. That is for our personal stories. For the anthologies, as a whole, things run much smoother, mostly because of the quality of authors we work with. The biggest decisions are what order to place the stories in, which makes our jobs simpler.

AW: Tell me about the project you're working on now.

DA-M: Oh no ... which one?! LOL I am afraid my personal motto is "better to be busy than bored." I have Dragon's Lure and In An Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk in the immediate future, both anthologies I'm working on for Dark Quest Books. In addition to that we've signed the Bad-Ass Faeries series with Mundania Press so we are busy converting the files for that and starting work on the third volume, Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory, which will be slightly military themed. On a personal note, I am working on The Halfling's Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, a novella for Dark Quest Books, Maiden, Mother, and Crone, a trinity for Padwolf Publishing, a Blood Will Tell (series title) novel about unconventional vampires that is unsold, and that is about it for now.

AW: How has your editing experience helped your writing?

DA-M: Editing so many anthologies has made me more aware of common mistakes I've made myself that I now strive to avoid. It also makes me conscious about what others are writing, what works better than something else, and humbles me when I come across such authors as Bernie Mojzes or Jack Campbell and the effortless way they seem to turn out solid and original stories the reader (in this case me) loves to read ... to the point where I stop editing.

AW: What has been your most remarkable find when researching for a project?

DA-M: Hmm ... I don't know that I would call it a remarkable find, but when I started working on Yesterday's Dreams an eon ago, I named my antagonist Evil, in gaelic, of course. There are many words for evil in that language. I chose Olcas because it looked the most like a name. So I have my bad guy labeled and I'm doing my research on another point and lo and behold I encounter a listing in my Irish Mythology dictionary for Carman, the goddess of black magic, and her three sons, Calma, Dubh…and Olcas! I read what little there was about the myth and all of a sudden my novel turned into a trilogy. This gave me a basic framework I could work with directly based on existing Irish myth. The four of them, by the way, terrorized ancient Ireland, killing and destroying until finally they were stopped by the Sidhe, the Celtic elves. The mother, Carman was bound in iron chains and made to watch as her sons were destroyed. The legend says she died of grief. I put my own spin on things, though, but you'll have to read the books to find out what that is. :)

AW: Tell me about your most rewarding convention experience.

DA-M: Hmm ... I think it was when I launched the first Bad-Ass Faeries book. They had put me in a regular programming room where the legal room occupancy was 40 people. We had 88 people show up and ended up taking over the entire corridor. People stayed the entire time and the party was a blast. I felt so loved. :) Ever since then our launches have taken on an air of legend that is gratifying. People like our books, a lot. In the small press market, authors and editors rarely get to see that first hand.

AW: How has Broad Universe helped you?

DA-M: Broad Universe is a wonderful support structure. Not only do they promote the books through their online catalog, print catalog, and via flyers at various events around the country, but they give a place to share and commiserate. We warn each other of problems in the industry, share submission opportunities, present a united front at conventions and sales conferences. And you will never find a better group of ladies. To meet them in person is to feel an automatic connection, a friendship to be built upon. Of all the groups I belong to this one has benefited me the most both professionally and personally.

AW: Please list three things for writers to avoid when building a fantasy world.

DA-M: This one is tough for me because I deal primarily in urban fantasy when I write fantasy. However, avoiding melodrama and purple prose is very important. I do find myself doing those two things on the rare occasion that I write pure fantasy. It's like we equate such things with the age of Chivalry or something where their English was much different from what we speak today. Another thing to avoid, and this goes for any genre you are writing in, are clich├ęs and over-used tropes such as the poor boy that becomes king, or the bored girl that pretends to be a boy, or any number of things we've come to expect from faerie tales. If you've come to expect something, well that is a sure sign you should be trying something else.

AW: What advice can you give to new writers submitting to magazines and anthologies?

DA-M: Learn patience and learn to accept rejection without letting it undermine your confidence. Magazines are a tough market because so many of them have disappeared and they are the first place anyone thinks to send a short story. Anthologies have a bad rap because people assume they don't do well, but there are an amazing number being put together, particularly as more magazines fade away. This means that there is a lot of competition. Read the guidelines and submission requirements and FOLLOW them. If you get a rejection, turn around and send the story out somewhere else the same day, it is the only chance you have of reaching that one person that is meant to take your story. After all, publication is as much a matter of luck as it is skill. You are banking your story lands in front of someone with similar tastes in fiction and that the venue has not recently accepted a story that is similar in plot to your own. It can take a while to get there because of this.

AW: If you could only recommend one book on writing or genre writing, what would it be?

DA-M: You know, I don't really read books on how to write, I just do it. However, I have heard very good things about Donald Maas's Writing the Breakout Novel. Dragon Moon Press also puts out a wide range of writing guides (The Complete Guide to Writing...) that are very good. I've written chapters for some of them.

AW: Who are your favorite authors? Why?

DA-M: Hmmm ... Mostly women. Don't know why, just drawn to them. Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, PC Hodgell, Robin McKinley, just to name a few. All of them write grand epics. Rich, vibrant worlds with solid characters. A touch of melodrama and a hint of purple, without crossing the line. Whether they are writing fantasy or science fiction, their work contains the essence of the myths and legends that I love. Truly modern faerie tales I can read over and over again without losing my appreciation of them.

Read more about Danielle and her work on her website, Sidhe na Daire.