Archive for Mary Robinette Kowal

Behind the Curtain

Posted in Events, New release, Recommendations with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2014 by jaclemens

Howard and Mary blindside Dan with an award while Brandon looks on at Westercon.

My FantasyCon experience began in the same way as FanX: with a booksigning by Dan Wells! In this case it was not at Wellers, but at Westercon (Wellers was onsite). My press pass allowed me to enter the FantasyCon floor early, get the lay of the land, then cross the street for the launch party of Shadows Beneath: A Writing Excuses Anthology. All four authors from Writing Excuses were guests at Westercon, so I was able to meet Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler for the first time.

The anthology collects the transcripts of the podcasts (both brainstorming and critiquing), the first drafts, and all the edits that went into the final version of each story. Sanderson also included his own analysis of the process, as well as notes from his own writing group. This is the entire process, warts and all. Four seasoned authors go beyond giving advice: they reveal the challenges each faced, and the exact tools of the trade they used to surmount said challenges. The final versions of the stories alone are worth the price, but the glimpse behind the curtain is priceless. (Incidentally, Dan managed to wear a cloak through multiple international airports without anyone asking for a glimpse of what he had under it!)

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Drawn In

Posted in Fiction, New release, Reading List, Recommendations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2012 by jaclemens

I was drawn to Epic: Legends of Fantasy by two names: Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. I confess I was slightly disappointed to find that the selections from those two personal favorites were excerpts from novels I had already read, but their inclusion served its purpose well. I wasn’t familiar with the other works in the anthology, so this proved to be a great introduction. I wouldn’t have looked into Aliette de Bodard or Paolo Bacigalupi otherwise, and their stories stood out from this top notch collection. I really enjoyed the lead story by Robin Hobb, and it was good to read a story by Mary Robinette Kowal, one of the Writing Excuses podcasters. I also liked Melanie Rawn’s “Mother of All Russiya” and Kate Elliott’s “Riding the Shore of the River of Death.” I was drawn in by familiar authors, but what I’m taking away is that there plenty more fantasy writers, female fantasy writers in particular, with whom I ought to be more familiar.  As the editor John Joseph Adams states in the preface, “Epic fantasy has become the literature of more.” After reading this anthology I have to agree!