Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Additional 'I Love Fantasy' View

I love writing fantasy fiction because I love writing. I have tremendous admiration for authors, especially authors of historical fiction, who go through thousands of hours of meticulous research to get everything absolutely right. Me…I just want to write, and fantasy allows me to dive into my imagination unrestrained even by the laws of physics.
          Even when I try to lodge my characters firmly in the real world, they inevitably head off into a fantasy one, and who am I to argue? I just tell their stories.

Love Fantasy? Why?

Fantasy. Some readers love it, others can't stand it. I fall into the first category, but, as I've said before, all fiction is fantasy. Yet the genre Fantasy, like scifi and horror, with which it is often grouped, has other-worldly elements. I love fantasy for its fairytale elements, and because it goes wherever the author's imagination takes it, which sometimes can be visionary. Good fantasy, like a good folktale, plays with our imagination.

Author Eric Price

I read and write as a healthy means to escape reality. This has caused me to avoid non-fiction (too real), and at the same time, it has drawn me toward fantasy. Of all genre fiction, fantasy contrasts the greatest with today's world and thereby provides a more complete escape.
        Fantasy worlds often draw a similarity to our past. Sword fights, knights in shining armor, and vast, sparsely populated landscapes appear in many novels. But usually, the stories become even more, well, fantastic.
        Magic and amazing creatures frequently assist or hinder (usually both) our fantasy heroes on their quests.
        I'm not saying I don't enjoy a good horror or mystery, but when I want a real escape, nothing beats a fantasy.

Author Suzanne de Montigny
I love both. And I don't know why really. I think it's because it takes me away from reality.

Author Sherry Antonetti 
I've read fantasy since my father first decided we would read aloud Watership Down and The Hobbit one summer. Talk about setting the bar high for all that followed. What I loved was the epic nature of these stories that dealt with important things like friendship and loyalty, courage and leadership, and the comfort that good food and warm light could bring in the darkest points of the journey. In college, I still read comics and took a course called Fantasy and Philosophy where the professor opined that no century needed the journeys available via the imagination more so than the 21st century, where we seek to distill all the mystery out of our everyday existence via rational, logical and scientific thought. Fantasy fiction allows us to delve into the realm of myth, where truths can be revealed about our interior lives that our waking selves aren't quite ready to accept. We become in the play of the story, the hero or heroine, who saves the day, who rights the wrong, who inspires, who is a light, who recognizes good and evil and takes a stand. When we play at this role of being more than we appear, we begin to grasp the amazing truth that each of us has a singular destiny, and it is for us to recognize and chose to embrace, to be more than we have allowed ourselves, and to begin the amazing adventure that involves the dangerous thing of going out our front door.

Author Pamela Kelt
My first teen fantasy comes out on MuseItYoung in September. Ice Trekker is about the Grells of Hinderland, who face a bleak future. For the sake of his family, young Midge leaves his cozy home in search of a job and treks north to the mysterious icy wastes of Kr√łnagar.

Author Graeme Brown

I love to read and write fantasy, not just because of the 'anything is possible' flavor, but I relish the reassertion of good against evil in different guises. And who can resist a worthy quest?

Fantasy creates for me, as reader and writer, a landscape to explore free expression, like a dream bound up in the trappings of reality. Fantasy becomes reality, and with it, the ideas and possibilities that stir my senses when I experience this world expand in ways they'd never be able to. It feels when I read about imaginary worlds or enter my own to explore it like I am looking not into something impossible, but something that beckons - a reality that could be, that should be. It is a reason to dream, to imagine, to ponder, and to wonder. It is a place to make that all real, a sandbox where I can draw my fancies, or build castles that hold together long enough to admire.

Why do I write it? Why do I read it? So that I do not forget. There is a world of endless possibilities that lurk before us, an infinite landscape that all the years of eternity would just begin to reveal. When we are awake we work, we eat, we toil and groan and complain, and though we dream, we forget when we are assaulted by the next day. But when I enter the fantasy landscape, that is the time to remember; that is the time to balance the dream with the waking world, the time to remember what reality truly is and to dare to make it real, one word at a time.

Authur Ceci Giltenan

I love the ease with which I can suspend disbelief when reading fantasy. I write historical romance, although I have one fantasy novel started and another mapped out. When a book is "historical," some reviewers, fans and other authors are primed to criticize its historical accuracy. Although I aim for accuracy, the genre is primarily romance and occasionally facts take a back seat. Still, I understand historical inaccuracies, no matter how minor, can interfere with a reader's ability to simply enjoy the story. This is completely eliminated in fantasy because the author creates their own reality surrounding the story.

Author Jane Toombs

As a kid, I loved E.A. Poe-- I still do--because of his fantasies in stories and verse. As an adult, I even wrote a story about a gal who falls in love with and marries a ghoul (see Ten Past Midnight). And I always felt there really should be dragons, so I write stories about them (see Dragon's Pearl). I think it's because fantasy takes us away from the mundane and opens new possibilities of worlds where such creatures exist. I don't know if I'd like such a world, but it's fun to read and write about. (Jane passed away in 2014)

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Was Bombed!

In the nicest way. Cyrus Keith on his blog Distant Shores dropped a surprise on me today, what he calls a "Blog Bomb." Thank you Cyrus! He talked about Crewkin; read it and see what you think.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Character from Life

Have you ever met a real-life character?

It's never wise to judge someone by a first appearance, sometimes amazing people hide behind their less than glam exterior personae. I have been guilty of evaluating based on first meeting, but as a friend once told me, "Never judge, otherwise you'll never learn the whole story."

There is nothing wrong with Ms. W's exterior; she looks like your average near-eighty spinster who lives frugally and is a summer resident. She would not be considered beautiful, but pleasant -- far from ugly, just like so many of us average people. Mostly, I would guess, people tend to overlook her. Ms. W might prefer that, and I'm not sure why she chose me to befriend, but she extended me an invitation to visit her summer home.

While the exterior of the house she built within the last few years is different (only two windows), the sharply angled roofs juxtapose each other and insure no collection of heavy winter snow will mar their pristine lines. Then she told me she designed the house and has framed the architectural drawings she gave the builder. She finished the interior herself. Once you step inside you see Ms. W's soul. Every wall is lined with artwork, every surface holds a treasure. Surprise! Ms. W is an artist, and outside of her antiques and garage sale finds, she has made everything. The rooms are so full they are cramped with small walkways meandering between areas, but this is no hoarder's home. It is neat and tidy with everything in its place.

While I was visiting, Ms. W told me stories about growing up in this area and showed me her notebook of thoughts on living. I read the very insightful bon mots. When I asked her about the many candleholders (tall-- 24" and more-- ones she made them from discarded electric brass lamps!) in her bedroom, she told me she lights the candles when she gets up in the morning, makes coffee, and then climbs back into bed to watch the candles while she drinks her coffee. It is her morning meditation ritual.

While up north she spends her time trimming the giant spruce trees she planted many years ago and tending her garden. When I walked her woods, a sense of order and serenity engulfs me. This nature walk she began last summer shows a tremendous amount of work. Ms. W is a true character: opinionated, artistic, thoughtful, and generous, yet you would never guess her depths unless she gave you the opportunity. As I was leaving, she told me her philosophy, "If you want to do it, you can."

Some people you meet are meant to be a character in one of your stories. Someday I'll turn Ms. W into a mentor character in a story.

Take the tour on this topic! And if you enjoyed the posts considering joining the round-robin.
Next on this Round-robin life's characters tour is Lynn Crain.

Other participants:
Connie Vines
Beverley Bateman
Billie A. Williams

Ginger Simpson 

Margaret Tanner 
Diane Bator 
Rita Karnopp

Friday, August 16, 2013

Gigi the Cat Today

Gigi on the first day at home. Looking both relieved and worried
about how soon she will be thrown out.
I came across a photo of one of my cats the first day I found her in 2002. On the way home one late winter day, we took a side trip and drove down Queens Highway. Sitting in the middle of the road was a  hunched-over form that turned out to be a cat. It didn't move even when the car approached. Later I came to believe she was committing cat suicide.

Bill stopped the car and scooped the small cat up and handed her to me. She appeared to be three or four months old and severely malnourished.

I put her on the ground when we reached home, gave her food and water. Then my partner and I decided to take a walk to the woods on the back acres. The new little cat would not let us out of her sight. She followed us.

The next day we took her to the vets. It seems fleas were numerous and they had attacked her so badly they were sucking all the liquid from her blood. The vet kept her for a day to kill the fleas and re-hydrate her. $$$ already and just the start.
Gigi today -- queen of all she surveys.

That was ten years ago, now spade, with annual shots, Gigi has grown into a very healthy cat. She has several aliases, like most of our cats. Depending on the situation she sometimes goes by Poo-bear (this has nothing to do with Winnie the Pooh but more of an attitude thing), kielbasa-tail (she has quite a long, thick weapon that upon occasion speaks volumes if you know the language) and finally, La-Gee for the queen she pretends to be.  She particularly likes to sit on my lap when I'm using the computer. I always thought I wanted a lap cat... but not so much now that I have one. I think she would prefer to be in a one-cat only family, but she queen's it up over the other cats. She has a wither-away stare for those who intrude on her space and kibble and has a very loud howl-screech-growl that intimidates most of the other cats. However, a new addition, BB, loves to elicit such reactions. I kind of figure this will keep the old gal in shape and mentally alert. Children, however, are okay and treated gently. Dogs get a hiss, as do owners when they do something to make her unhappy. 

Update 11/2019: In September I carried a very skinny 17-year old Gigi out to the back porch. It was a nice, warm day. She somehow walked down the stairs but she never returned. BB had run away from the door one night the month before and never returned. Bill and I both walked around the house several times each following day until we knew, like BB, she was not returning. I still miss them.