2024 debut books to support, thanks Cait Corrain

Cait Corrain tanked their writing career by review-bombing debut books by authors of colour whom they considered competition. See their victims’ exciting books here.

If you’ve been on Twitter recently–or read the normal human news–you will have heard about the Cait Corrain review bombing scandal. If you live in a cottage in the woods without internet (in which case how are you reading this?), the short version is that Cait, who was to be a 2024 debut author, created a bunch of fake Goodreads accounts to give 1-star ratings and nasty reviews to a bunch of 2024 debuts written by authors of colour, while giving 5-star reviews to their own book.

If you want the long version, which reads like an inept villain story, withcindy gives a much more detailed explanation in this video.

Continue reading “2024 debut books to support, thanks Cait Corrain”

How logical does a fantasy system of magic have to be?

In worldbuilding for a new fantasy world that is thick with magic, I ask myself how much sense a fantasy system of magic has to make. And contemplate the nature of the human soul.

I’m worldbuilding for my new fantasy novel, and an important part of that is figuring out the universe’s system of magic. I’m trying something a bit different in this story, with a universe that’s less earth-like and more magical.

We’re talking isolated settlements floating over a void through which people must travel to move between them, venomous tree octopuses, and magical orbs exuded by a leviathan of the deep void. You want magic? It drips from every tree.

The problem is, it’s really hard to come up with a unified concept of magic that explains all the weird magic stuff in this universe. I know magic is allowed to be mysterious and, well, magical, but I’ve always preferred magic systems that have a certain logic to them, even if the logic includes a few leaps of possibility.

Continue reading “How logical does a fantasy system of magic have to be?”

The definitive* list of fantasy novels with older female protagonists

I asked on Twitter for recommendations of fantasy novels with older female protagonists, and here’s what everyone came up with. (Note I was joking about “definitive”.)

* I lied. This list is most certainly not definitive, sorry.

Some time ago I wrote a post lamenting the dearth of older women who are fantasy protagonists. (At least, I think that’s what the post was about. It’s been a while.)

Recently someone reached out to me referencing the post, and because my TBR list isn’t long enough** I decided to seek out a list of such books.

I posted this tweet asking for recommendations. (I’m not embedding the post because that comes with malicious code.) As you can see, it garnered a lot of interest.

A tweet by A.S. Akkalon that reads:

I'm looking for fantasy books with protagonists who are older women. How much older? Anything older than your standard teen or twenty-something. Any suggestions?

#books #AmReading #WritingCommunity
A hot question, as it turns out.

In this blog post I pull out an (unfortunately not entirely) comprehensive list of the suggestions I received for your reading pleasure. Also to help me plump up my TBR pile.

Continue reading “The definitive* list of fantasy novels with older female protagonists”

How writers can distinguish themselves from AI

AI writing is spreading, but generative AI will never have your power. Do this to lean in to your humanity and distinguish yourself from AI.

Generative AI is here. If you tell ChatGPT to write a 300 word story about a hedgehog with hiccups, it will happily do so at least as well as a ten-year-old writing their first Harry Potter fan fiction.

The bad fan fiction doesn’t seem like a big problem, but give that ten-year-old time to grow up and the fear of many writers–that their beautiful stories will be replaced with soulless AI-generated tales–becomes a lot more plausible.

However, some aspects of human writing may never be replicable by AI. Each person brings their unique soul and experiences to their writing in a way AI can’t (we hope).

If you want to distinguish your writing from AI-generated writing, play up your humanity.

Not sure how? Here are some ideas.

Continue reading “How writers can distinguish themselves from AI”

Fantasy maps, publishing, editing, and writing: an interview with Dewi Hargreaves

I interviewed Dewi Hargreaves about his freelance work making maps for fantasy books, working at an independent press, and much more.

I’m here today with Dewi Hargreaves–writer, artist, editor, and all-around fantastic human being.

Picture us sitting in front of a crackling log fire, in a room with dark wood panelling and a wall covered in bookshelves. On the rug before the fire sleeps a unicorn.

We’re actually doing this by email, but I think it’s more fun if you picture the room with the unicorn.

I asked Dewi to keep his responses PG rated, and he almost entirely succeeded. I only had to bleep out one word. Otherwise Dewi’s responses are entirely his own, except for a few additional paragraph breaks.

Continue reading “Fantasy maps, publishing, editing, and writing: an interview with Dewi Hargreaves”