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My Victorian World

What does a Victorian world look like? Science fiction and fantasy authors have created a rich variety, from Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate to Mark Hodder’s Burton & Swinburne series, just a couple random picks from that great range of steampunk offerings.

Here is a glimpse of my own Victorian world, in A Thousand Perfect Things.

Big ben reversedOn the surface . . . my Victorian world is a recognizable one, with elegance, manor houses, and women seeking good matches. It is a world of carriages and colonialism, matchmaking and manor houses. My alternate England is a land where science reigns supreme, but where a woman, no matter how brilliant, cannot be admitted to the realm of science.

On the other hand . . . not all is so calm. England’s men of science are so enthralled by logic and engineering that they condemn an alternative way of knowing that is very real: magic. The continent of Bharata (an alternate India) is a kingdom of the most powerful magics. Tired of the colonial yoke, Bharata’s mages send attacks of magical terrorism to England, such as enlivening iron statues and sending them on killing rampages. A 500 foot high cobra made of water rises out of the Thames and wreaks destruction. Read More…

Twenty feet from being Stephen King

Today’s offering is a guest post from Louise Marley, an award-winning author of historical fiction as well as science fiction and fantasy. Her musings on the writing life and the reach for stardom are generous and profound. Enjoy!

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“There’s never a level playing field,” says Sting, in the brilliant documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom.  You can skip this little essay and go straight to your television to watch that film if you like. It speaks for itself.   As a metaphor for the show-biz aspects of writing, or indeed of any artistic endeavor, it has no equal.  And it comes accompanied by spectacular music.

The documentary traces the lives and careers of back-up singers, those gifted and hardworking artists who Sting filmstand twenty feet from the “star” and whose names hardly anyone outside the industry knows.  Some of them made substantial, long-lasting careers.  Some even had glimpses of stardom.  Others, through no lack of talent or discipline or effort, remained—and remain—obscure.  The great Merry Clayton made a life in music, and won the respect of everyone who worked with her, but she’s hardly a household name.  Darlene Love tried a solo career, was betrayed and marginalized, and only succeeded after she had been in the business for more than twenty years.  The incomparable, mesmerizing Lisa Fischer is the most perplexing.  Hers is a voice of enormous range and beauty, and she possesses an enviable musicality, but again, hers is not a name the man on the street could call to mind.

Stephen King is a very, very famous writer, and he has legitimately earned his stripes.  Even his nonfiction memoir is a compelling read.  He also seems to be a thoroughly nice man, and a generous one.  To my knowledge, no one resents his success, but is he that much better than all the other writers in his genre?  Or does he possess that elusive and indefinable something that makes him a “star”? Read More…

Best little writing conference around

You gotta love it. Write on the River in Wenatchee. Join us in wine country May 16-18 for sunshine, workshops, exciting teachers, and the great Jess Walter.

Featuring:

Jess WalterJess Walter, Keynoter. Friday evening, May 16. Author of Beautiful Ruins. Walter is brilliant and funny, humble and inspiring. Meet Jess and enjoy an evening of words and wine. Separate tickets to this event only $15.

 

 

HurstGuest agent, Andrea Hurst who will hear pitches and talk about Crafting Fiction and Memoir that sells.

 

Sunday Master class and Saturday story engineering class with Larry Brooks, author of Story Oct 13 HeadshotPhysics and the Wolf Schmidt thriller Deadly Faux.

Beth_Bacon_Booktrope

 

Guest Editor Beth Bacon from Booktrope, a hybrid publisher that has the chops to produce a quality book, put together a marketing team, and share the revenues with the author.

 

Plus: Nonfiction with Wendy Call and Peter Stark, science fiction and fantasy with Nancy Kress and Jack Skillingstead, fiction with Craig English, social media with Jason Brick, YA writing with Suzanne Selfors and much more!

Registration now open!

@SFWAauthors

On the road

I’ll be getting around a bit in the next several weeks. Love to see some of you at these events: (I realize I live in the upper left hand corner of the country . . . but hey, how about San Diego?)

PybusPybus Market Author Signing. Wenatchee, WA. Saturday, Feb 8, 11:00- 2:00 p.m.

Think Locals First! I’ll be at Pybus farmers market to sign with fifteen other local writers. Authors include Derek Sheffield, Bill Layman, Robert Wells, Patricia Clark, Theresa Monsey. Door prizes and a book buzz!

 

journalism deptWenatchee High School Journalism Class Fundraiser.  Pybus Market, Wenatchee, WA. Thursday, Feb 13, 6:30.

All proceeds to WHS nationally acclaimed publication, Apple Leaf, and year book. Dave Herald from Sunny FM will MC, and I’ll be giving a nice little talk on what to believe and not believe about being a novelist.

RadconRadcon SciFi/Fantasy Convention. Pasco, WA. Feb 14-16.

Guest of Honor Mike Resnick! Yes, the great man is coming to Eastern Washington, and we are ready! Here’s my schedule.

Fri Feb 14 – 12:30 – 2:30. Kennewick High School visitFri Feb 14. Plots Within PlotsSat Feb 15. AutographingSat Feb 15. Alternate HistorySat Feb 15. Dropping the World (avoiding info-dumps)Sat Feb 15. Kay reads from A Thousand Perfect Things
Feb 14, 2014 12:00pm – Feb 16, 2014 5:00pm – See more at: http://www.kaykenyon.com/about-kay-kenyon/#sthash.6HZhCdGM.dpuf
Fri Feb 14 – 12:30 – 2:30. Kennewick High School visitFri Feb 14. Plots Within PlotsSat Feb 15. AutographingSat Feb 15. Alternate HistorySat Feb 15. Dropping the World (avoiding info-dumps)Sat Feb 15. Kay reads from A Thousand Perfect Things
Feb 14, 2014 12:00pm – Feb 16, 2014 5:00pm – See more at: http://www.kaykenyon.com/about-kay-kenyon/#sthash.6HZhCdGM.dpuf

Fri Feb 14 – 12:30 – 2:30. Kennewick High School visit

Fri Feb 14. Plots Within Plots

Sat Feb 15. Autographing

Sat Feb 15. Alternate History

Sat Feb 15. Dropping the World (avoiding info-dumps)

Sat Feb 15. Kay reads from A Thousand Perfect Things

Condor Condor. San Diego. Mar 21-24.

Another great SFF con. Sunny San Diego this time. I’ll be there. Hope to see some of you!

#SFWApro

Fri Feb 14 – 12:30 – 2:30. Kennewick High School visitFri Feb 14. Plots Within PlotsSat Feb 15. AutographingSat Feb 15. Alternate HistorySat Feb 15. Dropping the World (avoiding info-dumps)Sat Feb 15. Kay reads from A Thousand Perfect Things
Feb 14, 2014 12:00pm – Feb 16, 2014 5:00pm – See more at: http://www.kaykenyon.com/about-kay-kenyon/#sthash.6HZhCdGM.dpuf

Tori Harding: A Victorian Heroine

While writers strive for a dramatic plot, stories are always about people and their relationships to each other. Here’s a character sketch from my notebook on the protagonist of A Thousand Perfect Things. Available in paper and the eBook at $5.99.

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In 1857 Tori Harding is eighteen years old. She lives in world where magic has lately invaded her country, escaping from a mystical continent called Bharata.

shadowsTori is a devoted student of her grandfather, Sir Charles Littlewood/ She has a passionate love of science and especially botany, a discipline learned from Sir Charles. She suffers from a club foot, and this infirmity has oddly made it acceptable for her to train in science, since she has little hope of marriage.

Far too used to expressing her opinions, Tori can be brash in social settings, something she tries (a little) to control for the sake of her sister (Jessa’s) need for a suitable match and in light of her mother’s relentless social agenda to brighten Jessa’s hopes. Read More…