The Forgotten Tale

A Summary of My 2015

I wrote two novels, a novella, a few shorts; two novels I wrote launched; five anthologies in which I had shorts or essays launched; I signed and announced two new book series (whaat??); got injuries that I am still recovering from (come on, me, being immobile is so 2006); had my heart absolutely crushed to sludge twice; moved back home with the rents (best. roomies. ever.); made my comic-writing debut; and made some amazing new Tumblr friends that I adore to pieces (one of whom just proposed to me last night. I’m moving to the Deep South, y’all. I hope she realizes that I’ve decided her joke was serious. :p ).

So in short: I’ve had lots of amazing things happen on the professional side, some really awful stuff happen on the romance side, so absolutely crappy stuff happen on the health side, and have had some amazing friends and family helping me through it all. Really am blessed in that category, and I won’t forget it.

Now onto the granular breakdown:

January

  • Announced that my two comics “Bloodsuckers” and “Toronto the Rude” had been accepted into Toronto Comics Vol 2. (I got a great pair of illustrators assigned to my stories, too!)
  • Midway through the month I took a slip on the ice outside of my house and (though I didn’t have a full diagnosis until November) herniated a disc, got micro-tears in the muscle of my back, wrenched my knee, tore the muscle at the top of my ankle, and tore the squishy stuff in the socket of my hip. Slept for the rest of the month with the really good drugs.

February

March

April

May

  • Unable to work full time due to my injuries, I moved home to live with my parents, and focus on getting better and meeting my contracted writing deadlines.

June

July

August

September

October

  • Attended EerieCon17
  • The War of the Worlds” happened, and I realized I was really, really not healthy enough to be treading the boards yet. It was interesting and extremely painful.
  • Began writing “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 1”
  • Second round of edits for “The Untold Tale” begins

November

  • NaNoWriMo: wrote two short stories,one novella, and finished writing “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 1”
  • Wrote and Launched “Ivy”, an Accidental Prequel
  • Finally got all the diagnosises for my slip and fall. Have now had enough MRIs and XRays to glow in the dark.
  • Finished line edits for “The Untold Tale”

December

 

Goals for 2016

  • Finish a short story for Peggy (so close to being done!)
  • Finish the second Accidental Novella (so VERY close to being done!)
  • Write two more Accidental Shorts
  • Write “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 2” (And possibly 3, we’ll see.)
  • Write “The Silenced Tale”
  • Assemble all my Peggy Barnett short work into a short story collection, add a few new stories
  • Be faithful to my diet and loose some of the weight that makes my injuries worse
  • Walk every day, or ride my Recumbent Exercise Bike

Goals for 2017

  • Publish the Peggy Barnett short story collection
  • Write “The Skylark’s Search”
  • Write “The Skylark’s Sacrifice”
  • Finish some short stories set in the Skylark world
  • Be faithful to my diet and loose some of the weight that makes my injuries worse
  • Walk every day, or ride my Recumbent Exercise Bike
JM FreyA Summary of My 2015
Read more

Post the First Sentences of Your 10 Last Stories and Search For Patterns

I was tagged in this challenge on Tumblr, and because I’m super curious about this, and I wanted to do this for both my fanfic AND my original fiction. I wonder what patterns there are (if any), and in what way they will emerge.

Fan Fiction:

“What?” Dum Dum asked, prodding his seatmate in the ribs with his meaty elbow for the umpteenth time. “Seriously, Falsy, what?” (The Driver)

Mark nodded without looking up, bent to shovel. “If it’s hard on yer back, you could feed them instead.” (Basil and the Bales)

There was a time, Myrddin mused, that he would have been inclined to reach out to the horizon and murmur a soft spell, just to make the sun linger a few seconds longer on the horizon, just to treasure the rich red hues and the marvelous indigo that spread like an exhaled stain across the tops of the far mountains. (The Once and Future Kingdom)

Carson Beckett poked his head into the primary astrophysics lab hopefully, and sniffed the air. “Oh,” he said softly to himself when he realized it was empty and the enticing scent he was searching for was not there. (Five Times Doctor Rodney McKay Was The Topic of Conversations He Had No Idea Were Going On)

Johnny Sheppard was born when he was ten years old. Or, one hundred and fifty seven years old, depending on how you wanted to count it. (Flight)

I am wrongways up, and it hurts. My swimming pool has leaked all over the cloister again, and the bottles of the library books are akimbo on their shelves. My Time Lord is not within me. I moan, wheeze futile, and then open my external scanners wide, and search for the two Hearts I cradle within my own. (Not The Doctor I Was Expecting)

Kalp is uncertain, but his employer says that the dark blue of his work apron makes the green striation markings around his eyes and mouth attract attention. (Trenti)

On Christmas morning, John unwraps a big box. That’s what it looks like, anyway, and it’s from the Millers, even Madison. John is too excited opening the present to stop and read what the box says, but Rodney sees enough through the flashes of garish paper to make an educated guess at the contents long before John can sit back and take it all in. (Mondayish)

Jack Harkness was reminded of the children’s book he had seen in Gwen’s apartment. “Alexander and The No Good, Terrible, Very Bad Day”. Or something like that. What-fucking-ever. (Respected II)

When Johnny Sheppard was six years old, he begged his father for a toboggan for Christmas. He got an algebra set. (Tobogganing)

Original Fiction
(already-announced projects only, I’m afraid…)

Once upon a time, when we were all Bella Swan, my first crush was a sarcastic know-it-all Immortal named Methos. (“How Fan Fiction Made Me Gay”, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls)

The envelope from Elgar Reed came a few months after Alis’ first birthday. (The Silenced Tale)

The first indication that something was off was the phone call from the Smithsonian Museum. His typewriter, the old race-car red Olympia De Luxe his aunt had given him in the late’ 70s, had been stolen. (The Wondrous Woes of the Writer)

The air above the barn rips apart, wind against wind, power thrust into the multitudes between of the skies and raking through the void. Feet braced apart, bracketing the barn’s peak, a slight woman reaches into the sky and slices again. (The Forgotten Tale)

Once upon a time, oh yes, so very long ago, there was of course a lovely girl who came to learn to sew. (The Dark Lord and the Seamstress)

Creepy bastards like this always go for the eyes. Bevel doesn’t know why. They just do. (The Garrulous Ghost of Gwillfifeshire)

When I catch sight of the cart and its cargo approaching through the thick glass of my study window, I assume the body in the back is a corpse, brought to me for study and then burial. But no one handles a corpse with such care, and driver is directing the horse to travel slowly, avoiding each hole in the dirt road. (The Untold Tale)

In Saskwya thievery was punished with the forceful, bloody removal of a thumb. This was usually done on the spot by the soldier who caught the perpetrator and with whatever sharp implement they happened to have at hand, clean or not. Robin Arianhod still had both of her thumbs. She was thankful, because she couldn’t have picked the lock on the factory door if she had been missing them. (The Skylark’s Song)

When Mary comes to, she is lying face down in the grass beside the road. (The Dark Side of the Glass)

A body collapsing with no muscular control onto plush carpeting makes a kind of muffled thudding, all raw meat and cut strings. (Triptych)


 

So, do you see any patterns? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

JM FreyPost the First Sentences of Your 10 Last Stories and Search For Patterns
Read more

Editing Thoughts, and Angst About Character Description

I am doing edits on The Forgotten Tale (The Accidental Turn Series novel #2).

These are feminist, meta-fantasy novels about what fantasy teaches its readers, and the messages that fantasy readers – men, women, readers of all faiths and ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, and sexualities.

And thus, these stories are set in a very stereotypical “Western Concept of Sword and Sorcery Fantasy World”.  It’s meant to be Middle Earthian, and like every other white-centric fantasy realm that has been inspired by Middle Earth.

This is the point, because when my MC arrives, an Asian-Canadian from Vancouver, she looks around her and goes. “Oh FFS. Are you kidding me? You can have a half dryad in the taproom, but not a black dude? Not a brown girl? Jeeze.”

It is deliberately meant to be a commentary on white=goodness in these sorts of narratives. Which of course goes with black=badness.

It’s pointed out, it’s referred to, it’s actually discussed, within the narrative itself.

I, as a white woman, have been cautious and I have tried really, really hard to be respectful, and careful about how I construct the exposure and subversion of these tropes.  I have second-guessed the crap out of every choice I’ve made, and discussed it from here to kingdom come with lots of author-types.

After getting ripped to tiny, quivering chunky bloody pieces by Requires Only That You Hate for Triptych, I can tell you I’m nervous AF about this. I want to talk about it. I want to. I want to be a good ally. I want to do this right.

So, part of the subversion is that I’m slowly populating the Hero’s Party with PoCs who are genuinely good people. The Hero, of course, is white. He’s power-fantasy jock type who sleeps with everyone he can. But by the end of the series, I’m aiming to have him outnumbered by PoC.

And it makes me squirmy-yucky cringy, but I’ve decided to make the pirates black. Because in these sorts of books and films, black=badness. I hate doing it. I hate reinforcing this stereotype, even consciously and for the exact point of inverting it. So there’s this pirate character who is a Good Guy, and that’s the point. He’s black, but he’s not evil because he’s black. He’s just a dude. Who just happens to not be white.

Speaking to my beta reader last night, she said that she didn’t understand that one of the characters, who I introduce in the middle of the first act of the book, was black. That I hadn’t been obvious enough about it and …

uuuhg.

The thing that always bothers me is that characters are Assumed White Until Proven Otherwise. And then the PoCs are described as food-coloured which… no. PoCs are not consumables, and do not exist to be some sort of sensual sensory experience. I try very hard not to describe any character’s skin colour as a consumable, unless I’m doing it for all the characters.

So I try to avoid describing my PoC characters any differently than I would my white characters. I talk about facial structure, eye and hair colour, the tone of their skin if they’re blushing, or ill, or sunburned, etc. or the way their colouring is set off by an outfit.  (Something that ROTYH missed when she lambasted me for Triptych. She said there were only two PoC characters in the book. She’s wrong. And then, in my next book, where the Book Boyfriend character was black – as they so rarely are depicted – she accused me of Exotifying The Other. Like, jeeze, lady. Make up your damn mind. Which is it? Do you want PoC leads or not?)

Only it appears that I’ve been too subtle in my description of the black fellow in The Forgotten Tale. And now I am feeling all squirmy. Because I could easily go back in and add more descriptors to make it clear that he’s black, but then … that feels like unfairly singling him out and Othering him. I don’t say, “BTW, Kintyre’s white.” Why should I have to say “BTW, Wyndam is black”?

But on the other, other hand, Representation Matters, and I want it to be clear to all readers that this character is a PoC. That, yes, there is a black guy in this epic fantasy book, and he is a thoughtful, good, intelligent young man with a big heart and good intentions. I want there to be no mistake.

And now I am sitting here, staring at the blinking cursor, feeling all kinds of uncomfortable, uncertain how to approach this. Do I leave it as is? Or do I try to find a way to indicate Wyndam’s blackness without being offensively obvious?

JM FreyEditing Thoughts, and Angst About Character Description
Read more