Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daughter of Heaven

In "Daughter of Heaven" (Treasures of Albion #5), Michael and I decided to deal with Laurel's problems with the geas that kept her living with her brother and his wife: life in campus housing; not being able to work farther away than the Customs House; and the impossibility of avoiding her her ex-boyfriend. Of course we dealt with this by giving her an entirely new set of problems--and while she wanted to get away from campus, China was probably not what she had in mind.

This story was inspired by several things: a piece I saw in an exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, which we used as the Pin; an exhibit called Power and Glory: Court Arts of China's Ming Dynasty, which went from San Francisco to Indianapolis in 2008, allowing both Michael and me to see it; and a video about the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Ming Garden, showing how they brought the materials and the workmen--and the cooks--from China to do the installation.

"Daughter of Heaven" was published in SWORD AND SORCERESS 23 in 2008 and is in the second volume of TREASURES OF ALBION.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TIGER BURNING BRIGHT

I have spent a good part of the past month preparing TIGER BURNING BRIGHT for eBook publication. First I cleaned up the scanned file. Then, when I thought it was clean, I converted the file so I could read it on my PDA, which allowed me to find a lot more errors. It's amazing how much you notice when your screen displays about five words per line. But the truly amazing thing is that just after having gone through it twice, I still like it enough that I bought a copy for my Kindle.

TIGER BURNING BRIGHT was published in 1995. Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton had been part of a collaborative book five years earlier (BLACK TRILLIUM), and they decided to try the process again. The basic idea is simple: you have a few major characters, each author writes her character's part of the story, and one of the authors assembles the book. So Marion was writing the character of the Dowager Queen Adele, Andre was writing Queen Lydana, and Mercedes Lackey was writing Princess Shelyra (as well as several relatively minor characters). I was away at skating camp at Ice Castle (see the post for "Ice Princess") when Marion got sick again. I remember spending a lot of time on the phone plotting with Misty as I took over Adele's part. I must say that all the time I spent in a convent really paid off, as we created the Gemen (we didn't want to use Brother and Sister as titles, so we derived one from the Latin word for twin), the Temple, and the religion. Andre wrote Lydana, giving her jewelry-making skills as both a hobby and a profession to hide in, and Misty did nearly everything else. I'd e-mail my day's work to her each morning, we'd talk about it, and then I'd do another stint. It was actually a lot of fun. We've even talked about doing a sequel to it, but that would require finding some spare time in Misty's schedule, so I'm not holding my breath. Maybe someday.

TIGER BURNING BRIGHT is available in paperback, and for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crosswort Puzzle

"Crosswort Puzzle" is the fourth story in the "Treasures of Albion" series, written by  me and Michael Spence. Due to a geas placed on them, Laurel has to live with her brother Stephen and his wife Melisande until Stephen passes his Senior Ordeal, even though she, being a teen-age prodigy, has already passed hers. (Michael had finally finished his dissertation by the time we wrote this story). To make matters worse, her ex-boyfriend is still around, so she can't avoid him either. She does manage to get an internship off-campus, working in the Customs House. There, in an attempt to find a more efficient way to process all the documents passing through her hands, she accidentally lets something slip through that she should have stopped: a version of crosswort that Michael and I called "anti-St. John's wort." Instead of relieving depression, this stuff causes it.

This story also addresses an issue I've never quite been able to resolve about forgiveness: we're taught to forgive those who hurt us; but what do we do about forgiving those who hurt others--especially people we care about?

"Crosswort Puzzle" first appeared SWORD & SORCERESS 22 in 2007 and is also in the first volume of TREASURES OF ALBION.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pride, Prejudice, and Paranoia

"Pride, Prejudice, and Paranoia" was the third story in the "Treasures" series that Michael Spence and I have been been writing together, although Michael wrote most of this one. Like its predecessor "Salt and Sorcery" it deals with Stephen's Senior Ordeal (Michael was still working on his dissertation when this was written). Stephen's wife Melisande finally managed to get him to take it, and he failed ("I told you I wasn't ready"). So Melisande has to figure out why he failed. Unfortunately for family amity--and teenage love--it turns out that his little sister's boyfriend had something to do with it.

"Pride, Prejudice, and Paranoia" first appeared SWORD & SORCERESS 19 in 2002, and it is in the first volume of TREASURES OF ALBION.