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Category: Fantasy

Why Game of Thrones isn’t fantasy

Posted in Fantasy, and Genre

daenerys-dragon
How can I say that a series of books that includes dragons, giants, white walkers, and weir woods isn’t fantasy?

Easy — fantasy is a genre and it has conventions that define it. Game of Thrones follows a different set of conventions altogether.

Let me start with an easy example from a different genre — romance. A romance story in the modern world consists of two people, typically of opposite genders, who are attracted to each other and who face a series of obstacles that get in the way of their romance reaching a successful conclusion. A romance that doesn’t conclude with an HEA (Happily Ever After) ending fails the fundamental test of what a genre romance requires. Romance may be an element in other genres (westerns, historical novels, fantasy), but in the romance genre itself, it must fulfill some or all of the genre conventions to be satisfying to its readers. (Omit the HEA and find out what your readers think of you…)

Or take westerns. Westerns require one or more people, typically men, often of ordinary background, who rise to heroic accomplishment in the face of great odds. They might or might not succeed in their task, but they show courage and acquire moral clarity in the process, if they didn’t have it in the first place. They are tested, and good usually triumphs over evil, even if the hero doesn’t live to see the result.

I was contemplating what bothers me about Game of Thrones the other day, and it came to me — this is not fantasy, in the genre sense.

Structures of Earth (excerpt) – Chapter 1

Posted in Fantasy, Structures of Earth, and The Affinities of Magic

Structures of Earth - Full Front Cover - Widget

CHAPTER 1

Were they following me or are they just guessing?

Rushalentar used his SIGHT to peek around the stone edge of the doorway he’d ducked into, without exposing himself. The two guild proctors lingered on the corner across the street, with an excellent view of the servants’ door in the next block that was his original destination.

If they catch me with it, there’s going to be trouble.

He weighed the thick book wrapped in his cloak, and considered his choices. Waiting in a doorway in broad daylight was not appealing. He could BEND light past him, but since he wasn’t very good at it that was only effective for night use. The best thing would be to go all the way around the city blocks to the far side of the one he wanted and work back up to the alley behind the stable, out of their sight.

Well, nothing else I can do. Interfering old busybodies.

He sloped out of the doorway behind the two men and walked noiselessly away from them, turning right at the first alley, and took an alternate route along the streets and cut-through lanes until he reached the far corner of the block that the proctors were watching. He strolled a third of the way along and paused at the entry of the alley that ran through to the next street to wait for the foot traffic to thin out. He looked up at the huge guild house that occupied most of the block, everything on the far side of the alley, and he shook his head.

Someday. I swear, someday the mother house will reopen. I just don’t know how.

His eyes passed over the shuttered windows, the barred gates, and the whole massive five-story stone pile, derelict now, abandoned. No one left to pay for repairs, to heat the place, to keep it running.

Bound into the Blood – Book 4 of The Hounds of Annwn has been released

Posted in Bound into the Blood, Fantasy, Publishing, Release, and The Hounds of Annwn

Bound into the Blood - Full Front Cover - WidgetI'm delighted to announce that Bound into the Blood is now available at a variety of retailers in both paperback and ebook formats.

Much of the book takes place over the summer in the human world and reflects the changes that are the result of the discovery of the rock-wights and the new status of Gwyn ap Nudd, King of Annwn. For those of my fans who enjoy foxhunting, there's a bit of a puppy show, too.

I'm starting a new series, The Affinities of Magic, which will feature a young man who founds an industrial revolution and builds an academy for magic. Structures of Earth, the first book in that series, will come out this summer, to be followed by more work in both series.

You can find out more about Bound into the Blood and where to buy it here. As always, if you like the book, I encourage you to write a review wherever you bought it, or to post one on Goodreads or Amazon. Reviews make a big difference to authors.

Enjoy!

Just released – Tales of Annwn

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, Tales of Annwn, and The Hounds of Annwn

TalesOfAnnwn- Full Front Cover - 297x459I'm happy to announce that the first five stories set in the world of The Hounds of Annwn have been collected into an ebook edition as Tales of Annwn.

I plan to produce several more short stories, which I'll post here on the website first, so there will be a second ebook collection, and then eventually they will all be gathered into an ebook and paperback collection, once there are enough of them to make a paperback practical.

The stories are priced at $0.99 each, so a collection of five for $2.99 is a nice savings (40% off) for my readers, and the grand collection coming eventually will be an even better discount.

The next story to be told is how the Travelers' Way between the old world and the new came to be discovered by Trevor Mawr, long ago.

Short story – The Empty Hills

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, The Empty Hills, and The Hounds of Annwn

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

George Talbot Traherne shows a bit of the human world to family and friends, hoping to share some of the sense of wonder he discovered when he encountered the fae otherworld.

This short story takes place during the events in King of the May.


THE EMPTY HILLS

The Empty Hills - Full Front Cover - 297x459

George Talbot Traherne turned in his saddle and checked to make sure everyone had followed him through the way without difficulty. The last time he’d brought them to the grounds of Bellemore a week ago, he’d had to cut the visit short, but this time he was determined to show them a bit more of his human world. His discovery of the fae otherworld a few months ago had changed his life and brought him a family, and he wanted to give them the opportunity to discover adventure in his world in return.

Angharad rode by his side, the new life within her not yet showing. He was nervous about her being on horseback but she’d assured him there was nothing to fear, this early. She’d had other children in her long life and he knew she was a better judge of it, but he would be a father for the first time and he couldn’t help worrying.

She looked at him now, rightly judging his concern. “I’m fine,” she said. “Is the weather the same in both places? It seems to me it was cloudier on the other side.”

She peered up at the sky, her auburn braid touching the saddle behind her as her head leaned back. It shone against the rich blue of her riding habit.

King of the May – Book 3 of The Hounds of Annwn has been released

Posted in Fantasy, King of the May, Publishing, Release, and The Hounds of Annwn

KingOfTheMay - Full Front Cover - 297x459I'm delighted to announce that King of the May is now available at a variety of retailers in both paperback and ebook formats.

This was an ambitious work for me, with lots going on in several settings. I ended up focusing on the primary characters whose adventures were in the old world, not because I wanted to scant the efforts of their friends in the new world, but because it is, in the end, George's story, and he couldn't be in two places at once.

I'll satisfy my urge for more new world detail with some of the upcoming short stories. For example, you'll get to see George's fae family take a car ride in the new world sometime in the next few months.

You can find out more about the book and where to buy it here. As always, if you like the book, I encourage you to write a review wherever you bought it, or to post one on Goodreads or Amazon. Reviews make a big difference to authors.

Enjoy!

Short story – The Call

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, The Call, and The Hounds of Annwn

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

A very young Rhian discovers her beast-sense and rushes to the rescue of an errant hound.

This short story takes place before the events in To Carry the Horn.


THE CALL

The Call

In all of her eight years, Rhian had never had a better time out hunting. Her pony Dreinog had kept up with the bigger horses on this gorgeous fall day, and she’d jumped every obstacle that came her way. It was always fun, she thought, but somehow today seemed different, more exciting. It’s like I could feel what a good time Dreinog was having, following the hounds.

She hastened to untack him and groom him in the stables behind her foster-father’s court. Gwyn insisted that she see to the care of each of her animals, and she enjoyed doing it. Normally she liked these quiet moments after the hunt with her pony, lingering to talk to him all about the adventures they had just had. But this time there was something wrong, something nagging at her. She wanted to find Isolda and talk to her instead. Isolda would know what to do. After all, she was three years older.

She hurried out of the stables and ran to the kennels to look for her friend. Isolda was usually there, helping her father Ives and the other lutins who were responsible for the well-being of the hounds. She found the usual stir of the pack recently returned, the lucky hounds who had been out telling their left-behind packmates all about it, in their own way.

Rhian ignored the noisy hounds, but she was surprised not to see any of the hunt staff. They hadn’t come to the stable, either. She ducked her head into the kennel-master’s office, and found Isolda there instead of her father.

“What’s happened?” she asked.

“Gwennol’s missing,” Isolda told her. “Iolo brought the rest of the pack home, but he’s gone back out with the hunt staff to find her.”

Rhian was shocked. She liked Gwennol about best of all the bitch hounds. The young hound had a habit in the field of swooping after the quarry, like the swallow she was named for. Was that what was wrong, what had been bothering her in the stables?

Short story – Under the Bough

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, The Hounds of Annwn, and Under the Bough

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

Angharad hasn’t lived with anyone for hundreds of years, but now she is ready to tie the knot with George Talbot Traherne, the human who has entered the fae otherworld to serve as huntsman for the wild hunt. As soon as she can make up her mind, anyway.

This short story takes place between the events in To Carry the Horn and The Ways of Winter.


UNDER THE BOUGH

UnderTheBough - Full Front Cover - 297x459“I haven’t lived with anyone for hundreds of years,” Angharad said. “I’m much too set in my ways, too used to living alone.”

Her old friend Tegwen looked at her pointedly in recognition of the feebleness of these excuses.

“You’ll adapt,” she said.

But do I really want to, Angharad wondered.

“What do you think of George? Truly?” Tegwen prodded.

She couldn’t help it. Her face warmed and she smiled affectionately. She glanced around the morning room to see if Tegwen’s husband Eurig was in sight, but he must be outside seeing to the running of his estate. They were her oldest friends. They had come to the new world in exile together, when Gwyn ap Nudd, Prince of Annwn, had transferred his domain.

She owed her honesty. “He’s kind, bold, even… ardent.” She looked at the floor. “He makes my knees melt.”

And makes me laugh, too. But was that enough?

She voiced her deepest fear. “He must think me a dried out old lady,” she whispered. “He’s so young.”

“And his age bothers you?”

“Not by itself, no, but we hardly know each other.”

Tegwen asked directly, “Do you have any doubts of him?”