Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dragon in Distress

Organized authors write sequels. My stories probably require advanced math to keep track of (topology, maybe?). This is especially true when I get together with my friends and we combine worlds.

Mercedes Lackey and I wrote "Dragon in Distress" for SWORD & SORCERESS 12, which was published in July 1995. This means that we wrote it in 1994; the contract date is May 14, 1994. As I recall we did the original plotting in the hotel pool during the Fantasy Worlds Festival -- I remember us hanging on to a pair of kick-boards and moving back and forth along the pool as we talked (probably one of the few times authors actually got physical exercise while working). We used Rowena and the dragon from "The Birthday Gift" and Tarma and Kethry from Misty's "Vows & Honor" series and had their worlds collide. Then at the end of the story we sent Prince Florian into yet another world, thus setting him up to be a character in "A Prince Among Frogs" (which is a sequel to both "Weather Witch" and "Things That Go Grump in the Night").

"Dragon in Distress" is available for Kindle and Nook. It is also part of the collection THE PRINCESS, THE DRAGON, AND THE FROG PRINCE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ice Princess

"Ice Princess" is the only story I ever wrote in the middle of the night; it was written between midnight and 3 AM on two successive nights. It was the summer of 1994, and I had just returned from Ice Castle, an international training center for ice skaters, which was my favorite place to go for vacation. I got plenty of exercise during the day (two freestyle sessions, a lesson from my coach, dance class, and workout time in the gym), and at night I was alone in my cabin with my laptop so I could write in peace. And every morning at breakfast at least one of the skaters would ask how much I had written the night before. It was very motivating.

One afternoon I was sitting around the swimming pool with a skater named Sharon, and she asked if I ever put real people in my stories. I told her that I usually didn't, and she remarked that she would like to be in a story. A few days later I returned home to find Marion and Rachel in a flap because the cover illustration for issue 24 of Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine was not going to arrive in time. This meant that the cover story had to be moved to the next issue, and they needed a new cover and story. They had some paintings from David Cherry available, and they said if I could write a story to go with one of them, they'd use it for the cover story. I picked the painting I liked best, and wrote a story for Sharon.  When I handed it in, Rachel looked startled and said she had been joking. I told her I wasn't joking, and that they were going to pay me the cover story rate. They did. The story was reprinted in THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF FANTASY STORIES in 1996.

"Ice Princess" is part of my collection MAGIC IN SUBURBIA, which is available in paperback, Kindle, and Kobo formats.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Capella

"A Capella" was my story for the last of MZB's Darkover anthologies, SNOWS OF DARKOVER, which was published in 1994. The story is another Darkover "out-take" -- I took a few characters I liked from HEIRS OF HAMMERFELL, added a couple of new ones, and set the story shortly after the book ended.

The reading period for SNOWS OF DARKOVER was a disaster -- due to some legal problems, everyone who submitted a story had to sign an agreement drawn up by Mrs. Bradley's lawyer before she could even look at the story. I was doing the organizational side of things, as usual, and the piles of manuscripts and legal documents took over every flat space in my bedroom because (a) the manuscripts couldn't go into the office until we had the signed form, and (b) it was always a battle keeping manuscripts and SASEs organized during an anthology reading period. We weren't quite drowning in paper, but we were close.

These days, thank God, it's much easier -- mostly because there's no paper involved. I will start reading for SWORD & SORCERESS 26 this Saturday, and I expect to get a lot of submissions, but they'll be RTF attachments to e-mails, which I can read without having to print them out.

"A Capella" is available for Kindle and Nook.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


"Connecticat" was written for Andre Norton's anthology CATFANTASTIC 3, which was published in 1994. The story was a collaboration with my friend Raul S. Reyes; he supplied Tibetan Buddhism, while I supplied life in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Talk about a clash of cultures!

Raul and I visited my parents in New Canaan once, and I told him we were going into New York. My father did the commute daily, so I was startled when Raul asked, "How many days do I pack for?" He spent most of his life in Texas or California, where going to another state was not a day trip. It's funny how many assumptions you never question until you encounter someone with a different set.

"Connecticat" is part of the collection MAGIC IN SUBURBIA, which is available in paperback, Kindle, and Kobo formats.