Blog’s Third Anniversary

Today my blog is three years old.

It’s a little hard to believe. I’ve learned a lot, grown a lot. I think my writing has gotten better, too.

There were times, especially in the beginning, when I wondered why I was doing this. But I love it now.

It inspired me to get involved with twitter, where I spend more time than I do on this blog. LOL

I can’t imagine my life without the blog now. Even though I still haven’t found the perfect theme.

fantasy · flash friday

Friday Flash: Red Sun

“Boss, boss, wait up!”

She continued walking, heels clicking on the sidewalk.

Squeak ran to catch up. “C’mon. Don’t be like that. I only meant you should -”

She stopped and whirled on him. “I will not now or ever offer my blood to any sanguisuge. I’ll hear no more of this, do you understand, Squeak?”

“Loud and clear, ma’am.” He sounded tired. “But we have to offer them something.”

“Filthy creatures,” she muttered. “Leave it to me, Squeak.”

He nodded his brown head. “Yes, boss.” He turned and walked down the block to the office. He closed up tonight.

She watched the glazed glass office door shut behind him. Even a block away, the words still caught and reflected the dying sun: Red Sun Magician: Custom Spells, Incantations and Enchantments.

Red Sun was her baby. Her dream, ever since she had come home from school to the sight the family store on fire. Both her parents died in the fire. Now the sanguisuges threatened to burn her down if she didn’t give them blood or an equal amount of money.

They believed they could intimidate her, a university trained magician. They were wrong.

She turned, pulled her pink fleece cap a little lower and walked briskly home.

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Drown

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their 
TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

She called Papi a desgraciado and a puto of the highest order for abandoning them, a traitor worm, an eater of public lice, a cockless, ball-less cabron. He showed Jo-Jo the letters, often at drunken bitter moments, and Jo-Jo would shake his head, waving for two more beers.

– Drown by Junot Diaz.


Teaser Tuesday: Legacies

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their  TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

Alucius turned the gray . . . when an enormous fist struck him in the back of the shoulder. For an instant, he could feel himself toppling forward before silver-tinged blackness – and a green radiance – swept up over him and swallowed everything.

Legacies (Corean Chronicles. book 01) by L. E. Modesitt.

This is from the book I blogged about yesterday.


On Understanding Why I Stop Reading

I am reading Legacies (Corean Chronicles #1) by L.E. Modesitt Jr right now. I have tried reading it about four times now. I am maybe a hundred pages in. I feel like this time I will finish successfully. It could still take a while.

I have finally figured out one of the reasons why I keep stopping. I don’t believe in the romance between the main character and the girl. Maybe it will change as the book moves forward (though I got doubts!) but the love interest character is not convincing. She’s so minor she hardly counts as a character! That, for the love interest, is not right.

The character I like most right now is not the main character, but his grandfather. That’s not right, either. Something is wrong with these characters; I just don’t know what.

I love the world. The world is why I am keep going back to it.  All the creatures, the magic, the odd sheep. I just wish the characters were better. 😦


Banned Books 2013

Banned books week of 2013 started September 22 and ended September 28. I am posting this a week late. I am very ashamed. But better late than never!

This list comes from the American Library Association website. Last year the top ten challenged books are:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

I think only The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was on last year’s list, too. Last year, it was number five on the list and this year it is number two. It moved up three spots. That’s quite an accomplishment!

The others are all newly challenged! Well, challenged enough to make this year list. I’ve never read any of these stories, so I can’t comment.

I will note 7 out of ten books were challenged because they are sexually explicit. 6 out of 10 books have been challenged because they are “unsuited for age group”. 6 out of 10 were challenged because of “offensive language”.

Also, I never imagined The Kite Runner has homosexuality in it.

I am not surprised someone challenged Fifty Shades of Grey. It was published in 2011 and right at the moment it’s the fourth most challenged book. Maybe next year it will number one. Maybe the other books in the series will make the top ten challenged books, too. It could happen.

fantasy · science fiction · Writing

Dare I call myself an Indian Speculative Fiction writer?

This article in Strange Horizons talks about Indian SF. It asks what Indian spec-fic is and what elements define it.

It strikes home, because I am Indian and I write fantasy. Yet I don’t know if that makes me an Indian speculative fiction writer.

Nine Indian writers try to answer this question. Some of them say Indian spec-fic is spec-fic that’s written by an Indian.

A lot of them talk about what it means. Do you have to be Indian? Do you have to live in India? Does it have to be published in India? Does it have to be set in India or inspired by India in some fashion? What if you are non-Indian living in India?

A lot of them couldn’t really say what elements make a particular work Indian spec-fic. Probably because there is so little of it, you can’t point to any single element and say: this makes it Indian spec-fic.

As for me, I am Indian. But I left India so young I remember hardly anything. Visits are infrequent. So I will likely never be published there. A few of my stories are inspired by Indian things –  folktales, music, movies – but no one has ever recognized the influence (too diluted, I suppose). But people invariably comment on the creativity of those stories, a lot more than my other stories.

I doubt that’s enough to call myself an Indian spec-fic writer. That’s odd. I’ve puzzled over the oddness for years, ever since I realized I want to write fantasy and there are hardly any Indian fantasy writers on the library shelves. I suspect there might be more SF set in India than there are Indian spec-fic writers. I’ve no words for how weird that makes me feel.

Then there’s the third question posed by the article. How does the audience (western/eastern) affect the style/content of a story? I tend to think of this as part of that are the usual world-building issues – what and how and when to describe something. The other part is using things like existing rituals or clothes or dance and things like that. I usually don’t use stuff like that, because I don’t want to devote the word-count to describe in the detail required to see the thing and doing less would be confusing. Also, because it isn’t important enough to the story to require lots and lots of description.

This last is probably the reason why even the Indian inspired stories don’t come off as Indian. The details that would make people think “Oh, Indian” are not present.

The thing is, if I knew my readers were Indian, I probably would put them in. Just a line or two, probably, as opposed to a paragraph or two.

So . . . I am editing details out. I have mixed feelings about that. It’s why the Strange Horizons article hit me so hard.

I am still not sure if I am right to do so. It finally depends on the needs of the story, yeah. But still. I don’t want to confuse anyone. I don’t want to use a hundred words to describe a minor, almost non-existent event. Especially when the story is less than thousand words long.