Tag Archives: Torquere Press

Welcome Special Guest, Shira Glassman

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I have a treat for you today!  Shira Glassman is the author of The Second Mango, due out this Wednesday the 21st from Prizm Books, the Young Adult imprint of Torquere Press.  I am excited to bring you Shira’s post on developing her characters for her novel.  Take it away, Shira!

Developing the characters and central relationship in The Second Mango, due out from Prizm Books on August 21
by Shira Glassman

Mainstream fantasy and historical fiction is full of the trope of the straight woman dressing in men’s clothing for reasons completely separate from orientation or gender identity. She’s usually aiming for being taken seriously in a traditionally male pursuit, like Tolkien’s Eowyn, Disney’s Mulan, or even the one closest to my character ethnically, Singer’s Yentl. But she’s always straight, because mainstream fiction, until recently, has always been mainly straight, especially when we’re talking about the good guys and the main characters.

So often in their stories, the straight-but-crossdressing woman winds up with a woman in love with her male identity, but the inherent lesbianism of this is never addressed openly. “She found a way to deflower the bride [Hadass],” says Singer. Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio wants to marry Leonore. As a bisexual child, I was fascinated. But neither Hadass nor Marzelline are ever written as lesbians. They are always supposed to be straight women who were taken in by the male clothing. I was tired of being erased by this homophobic silencing. I wanted to see what would happen if one of these straight-but-crossdressing women came face to face with a real lesbian.

Hence the creation of Rivka, my crossdressing warrior woman, and Queen Shulamit, who hires her for protection.

And then, for kicks, I decided the lesbian would be very feminine (not to mention nerdy) because it amuses me when people hear the “gay woman, straight woman, and dragon” tag line and assume the gay woman is the one with the armor, biceps, and sword.

As far as the plot–well, once you’ve established that your two main characters are a lesbian and another woman who isn’t going to be a romantic partner, if you want to write romance, you have to go in search of other lesbians! And so they did. Of course, when you’ve got a warrior and a dragon with you, you’ve also got to have way more exciting adventures than just a Quest for the Royal Girlfriend, and luckily, those adventures came pretty easily and took over the story.

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Check out Shira’s book, The Second Mango, available Wednesday August 21st from Prizm Books.

Fantasy and Reality

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One of the challenges of writing fantasy is making it real to the reader.  To do this requires getting the details right.

In our upcoming release, TIGER TIGER, we have a trauma veterinary surgeon who discovers a rogue tiger shifter is killing homeless men in their neighborhood.  If someone with no medical background found a body, the descriptions would be shocked, horrified, even “grossed out”.  Since our main character is a doctor, we have to go with a more calm, clinical attitude.  Rather than describing the body in general terms, he would use the medical terms for things.  And when his friends are injured, he’s going to react as a trauma surgeon and want to fix it, rather than simply worry that they’re hurt, or run away in fear.

Any good fantasy or science fiction story is going to have this emphasis on the details.  In Battlestar Gallactica’s reboot with Edward James Olmos, they first showed paper with the corners cut off as a cosmetic detail indicating the expense of paper.  One of the special effects supervisors said they regretted that since the show had such a long run and they had to cut the corners off everything.  Details.

Even more silly shows that stand the test of time follow this rule.  Star Trek, the original, remained faithful to its own rules throughout its run.  Later, in subsequent, spin-off shows they kept to those same rules.  This made it seem like warp-speed travel is something we’ve already discovered and not something that was made up.

What’s your favorite fantasy or science fiction story that stands up to the details test?

 

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden:  The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter
Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page |  Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers | LGBTFFW FB Page
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Taking a Chance“, available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.

Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July 23, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.

Promptly!

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coffeetimeromance_groupsDuring the month of April, join me at Coffee Time Romance for a free workshop, “Using Prompts to Expand Your Creativity“. Over the coming weeks, we will experiment with using all five senses – and maybe even the sixth – to get onto the page and create some new material. Whatever your writing background, I think prompts can be useful as a tool for trying new things and for overcoming blocks.

Here’s what to expect:

04/07-13/2013: Week 1 – starting with prompts

04/14-20/2013: Week 2 – generating new prompt ideas

04/21-27/2013: Week 3 – resources for expanding your work

04/28-30/2013: Wrap Party

This week, we’ll talk about what, exactly, is a prompt?  How can one use a prompt to get onto the page? If you have ideas, or even healthy skepticism, I hope you’ll drop in and join the conversation. All you have to lose is your writers block.

Once we get the “what izzits” out of the way, we’ll get into the meat and potatoes of the workshop and start writing prompts.  The first assignment is up for you to play with, and will be joined by others as the week progresses. Do you have a favorite way to get on the page? I hope you’ll share!

Head on over to Coffee Time Romance and join me in the fun!

 

– E.E. Cummings

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden:  The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter
Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page |  Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers | LGBTFFW FB Page
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Taking a Chance“, part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.
Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.

Tiger Tiger Release Celebration and NaNoWriMo

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Join me today at the Noon and Wilder blog, Taurus and Taurus, for a look into the publishing process.  We’ve signed the contract for TIGER TIGER with Samhain Publishing, to be released in July of 2013.  Curious about how the publishing process works?  Stop by and check it out.


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Team Blogs: Nightlight | The Writers Retreat Blog | Beyond the Veil | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Taking a Chance“, part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.
Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.

 

Gender Stratification by Surprise

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When Rachel and I set out to write Emerald Fire, our novel from Torquere Press, we wanted to create a culture where male romantic parings aren’t just plausible, but part of the fabric of the society. In order to do that, we considered the age of piracy and the founding of the colonies on Australia, and extrapolated from there. In the process, however, we created a gender-stratified society by accident.

As a feminist, this intrigues me. I used to (and still do, in my heart-of-hearts) spell women with a y – “womyn” – and argue that there is such a thing as a patriarchy. Though some of my ideas of gender relations have mellowed with maturity, not all of them have. It still makes my blood boil that the posters required by the Labor Department in my former employer’s break room stated that in the state of Illinois, women earn $0.71 for every $1.00 a man earns. The fact that this tidbit is posted on a sanitized publication of the government like Minimum Wage requirements and paid time off just makes me ill. It’s not like the gender wars are over; they’ve just gone subterranean, at least for me.

On Persis, we created a class of worker we call “Keepers,” who fulfill the general duties of homecaring traditionally associated with “women’s work”: laundry, cooking, sewing, and tidying. Over the generations, each of the Keeps specialized in certain areas such as music, a particular art, etc. Keepers are only men; women go into the Guilds.

As we developed the world, both for Emerald Keep and for subsequent novels, we continued to focus on the men – mostly because those are our main characters, since the stories are M/M romance. But one day, we woke up and realized that, in effect, we’ve created a strictly stratified society in which men fulfill certain roles that women, by cultural tradition, do not.

Horrors! I immediately found myself wanting to write a novel of a female character who sneaks into a Keep to become a Keeper, or something similar. Rachel got into it too and we developed a character who runs off to become a Hunter and hires her own Keeper, but in a Contract with no intimacy involved. One day, she falls ill and the Keeper receives a shock when he finds out his male Contract is, in fact, not. We may or may not write this story as-is, or we might change it up and vary how we handle it. But I never expected to one day have to gender-bust in my own world that I created myself!

What surprises have you found, if you’re a writer, in your own writing; or as a reader, in your favorite novels?


My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
Knoontime Knitting: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Team Blogs: Nightlight | The Writers Retreat Blog | Beyond the Veil | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Press.
Watch for Taking a Chance, part of the Charity Sips 2012 Series from Torquere Press, benefitting NOH8.