My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, Top Ten Tuesday gives a weekly prompt for a list of books, and this week’s theme is villains. Interestingly enough, when I was going through the list of the books I’ve read, I found that I usually remembered the protagonists much better than the villains. So for me, this became an exercise in finding the stories where the villains stood out in my memory, where something made them stand out. And then figuring out what that something is.

In no particular order:

The Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

A woman stands in a forest, with butterflies flying around her. The text reads "New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, Hugo Award nominated series, The Brightest Fell, an October Daye novel"
Image: Tor

The character of Amandine had been vaguely hinted at in earlier books in this urban fantasy series, a picture emerging of a distant fae mother with a rift in her relationship with her half-human child, who nonetheless cared about her kid’s life. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when we finally met her. But it wasn’t for her to become the villain of the story. Continue reading “My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday”

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7.25/10 Score from the Critic’s Report of the Booklife Prize for Chains Carried on Wings

Some publishing updates on my projects:

1. As the title of my post indicates, my YA epic fantasy novel received a 7.25 out of 10 score when I entered it into the Booklife Prize. I made the Critic’s Report publicly available on my Booklife profile such that anyone can see the critic’s comments on plot, prose, originality, and character development.

It isn’t enough to move onto the next round–it needed to rank in the top 10 in the YA/Children’s genre for that, and it currently sits somewhere around 20 (at least out of the entrants who chose to make their scores public)–but I’m pleased nonetheless. Continue reading “7.25/10 Score from the Critic’s Report of the Booklife Prize for Chains Carried on Wings”

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Novellas and Short Stories

Haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday list in a while, but I’m actually really excited by this one.  It’s now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

In no particular order:

The Jonathan Healy and Francis Brown stories by Seanan McGuire

A poster for a circus with two pistols lying over it. The text reads "New York Times Bestselling Author Seanan McGuire, The Star of New Mexico, An InCryptid Story."
Image: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Historical Fantasy

Length: vary in length from 15-60 pages each

Available: Here (most are available for free, but some are collected into anthologies)

I could have filled the entire list with this series of short stories–there are over a dozen of them. In a world where cryptids (folkloric animals) are real and in hiding from the rest of the world, the Healys are a family of battle cryptozoologists who both protect humans from dangerous cryptids and cryptids from extremist humans. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Novellas and Short Stories”

Sweep of the Blade: Badass Single Mother Integrates into Space Vampire Society

 

A woman wielding two swords stands with the background of planet behind her. The words read
Image: Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban fantasy/sci-fi/romance

Synopsis: Maud was born into an Innkeeper family, and taught the customs of the varied alien races who used the inn as a waystation—or a safe house. But she left her family to marry a vampire, entering a society that viewed her as weak due to her humanity, despite her martial prowess. She had a daughter. And then her husband got all three of them exiled onto a dangerous planet where they had to fight to survive. Continue reading “Sweep of the Blade: Badass Single Mother Integrates into Space Vampire Society”

Down Among the Sticks and Bones: The Broken Bond Between Two Sisters

An image of a desolate, gray, and rocky landscape with an opening chest and a leaf-less tree. Words read "A jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C.S. Lewis' classics, even as it carves its own precocious space between them." - NPR on Every Heart a Doorway; "Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire, New York Times Bestselling Author."
Image: Tor

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/ YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Jack and Jill are twins, two young girls suffocating under the strain of living their parents’ expectations. Then they walk through a portal into a world of monsters and mad science, a dark, dangerous place–where they somehow belong. But their upbringing has shaped them, and they carry the consequences of that with them, even as they start to build new lives. Separate lives, nonetheless entwined together, for better or for worse. Continue reading “Down Among the Sticks and Bones: The Broken Bond Between Two Sisters”

Comment on American Gods, a Strange and Violent Contemporary Fantasy

I could’ve sworn I’d written a post on American Gods back when I watched the first two episodes of it, but I can’t find any evidence of that post existing. So I guess I never actually did it?

I didn’t get a chance to continue the show since then, but I did want to mention my first impressions.  Continue reading “Comment on American Gods, a Strange and Violent Contemporary Fantasy”

Terrestrial Magic Goes Live

I maybe, kinda, sorta am posting an urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic web serial online. So…surprise?

The first chapter has just gone up, it will post on Thursdays, and here’s the premise:

Most sensible people avoid fire-breathing carnivores that prey on humans. But Jordan has built a career out of studying such legendary animals, creatures thought mythological until their reemergence in the world three decades ago. She and researchers like her believe that knowledge is the key to reclaiming the land they’d lost back then, when humanity retreated into designated safety zones.

But when the humans moved out, the legends moved in. They were the descendants of mythical heroes, inheriting the powers of their ancestors, and they weren’t afraid of the monsters. Jordan never expected to run into a legend, but when a field expedition turns into a trap for her team, she realizes that one deliberately tried to kill her. It’s a diplomatic nightmare the Roman authorities might happily sweep under the rug. But if Jordan doesn’t figure out who attacked her and why, they could try again. Yet even if she does solve the mystery, what could one stubborn scientist possibly do to stop a powerful legend?

For those of you who know something about me, you’ll notice the premise incorporates a lot of elements that rely on my own particular knowledge: my scientific background, my semester abroad in Rome, and my study of ancient history. Hopefully, I’ve managed to take all of that and tie it into a decent story.

The Brightest Fell, and the Beautiful Tragedy of Deals with the Fae

A woman stands in a forest, with butterflies flying around her. The text reads "New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, Hugo Award nominated series, The Brightest Fell, an October Daye novel"
Image: Tor

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, half-fae and half-human, not quite belonging in either world. It’s been hard, but she’s finally carved out a home and family for herself. But when her estranged and massively powerful mother shows up, demanding that she find her sister August–who’s been missing for a century–that place in the world is threatened. And the consequences of mistakes made decades ago, before she was even born, might fall on Toby.  Continue reading “The Brightest Fell, and the Beautiful Tragedy of Deals with the Fae”

Character Journeys in Once Upon a Time: the Savior, the Evil Queen, and Rumplestiltskin

The last time I talked about Once Upon a Time, I posted an overview of the show’s pros and cons over its six season run. And there were plenty of both.

Now I’d like to get into more detail about the character journeys, and how I felt about their development. I’ll start off with the three characters who drive the show, the ones with the most agency. Emma Swan, daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, the Savior who wields light magic. Regina, the Evil Queen who hates Snow White–and who unknowingly adopted Snow White’s biological grandson. And Rumplestiltskin, a dark wizard who’s always playing his own game. Continue reading “Character Journeys in Once Upon a Time: the Savior, the Evil Queen, and Rumplestiltskin”

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, A Ghost Story About Longing and Choices

A cornfield overlaying the image of skyscrapers in the background, lit by the light of day.
Image: Tor via Goodreads

Genre: Urban fantasy/ghost story

Synopsis: Following her sister’s suicide, Jenna dies in an accident before her time. She’ll remain as a ghost until she bleeds her remaining time from others–making them younger while making herself older, until she reaches her dying day, finally able to move on. Approaching that moment slowly, she’s adamant that she earn the time she takes. But she may never get the chance to move on, to find out if her sister is waiting for her. Because there are dangers in this world for ghosts who linger, and one of those dangers has come for the ghosts in Manhattan. Continue reading “Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, A Ghost Story About Longing and Choices”