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Feminine Fantasy

Anyone who’s ever read my books will discover, perhaps to their surprise, that I tend not to write heroines.  And sure, this is a habit I’m currently in the process of breaking, but as it’s been such a long-running thing, I figured I’d take this time to talk about why.

Women and fantasy have always had a curious and complicated relationship.  On the one hand, we’re a very large part of the reader’s market, but on the other hand, we tend not to embrace the geekiness in a particularly overt way.  Certain aspects of the genre – zombies and spaceships, mainly – are still considered largely a male-dominated preserve, while others – women having unwise relationships with vampires, for example – rake in the female readers like hungry pigeons to breadcrumbs in the park.  That said, at those few science fiction and fantasy events I’ve been to where writers are invited to mingle en mass, I’m regularly reminded of just how few female writers there are in this genre – or at least, how few turn up for the free crisps and bits of cheese on a stick.  As a girl discovering her innate geek, I did indeed endure those painful teenage years where the idea that I might like science fiction and fantasy books somehow made me outside the accepted norm of youthful female behaviour.  The cliché of the female fantasy fan is hardly a glorious one, often implying pale skin, bad hair, a dress sense worthy of a mortician and quite possibly a thing for Star Trek, only two of which I actually had – the dodgy complexion and bad hair – and that through too much time spent on the London underground and not enough sun.  Even now, when I announce that I am an avid fantasy reader, I often find myself on the receiving end of comments from my non-genre counterparts along the lines of, ‘oh, like elves and stuff?’ and the explanation of why this is a ridiculous way of understanding the genre usually takes more time than we have.  To go that one step further and declare that I’m not just a reader, but I write this stuff, for actual cash as well as glee, tends to produce an expression that I can only really summarise as ‘does not compute’ and usually a hasty retreat from further conversation on the subject.
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Orbit Podcast Episode 3, with Daniel Abraham

This week Jack Womack chats with Daniel Abraham, author of THE DRAGON’S PATH, which is out now. Subjects covered include economics and fantasy,  warcraft and tradecraft, sympathetic villains, and a writing trick Daniel learned from video-games.

You can listen to the full episode below, or subscribe on itunes or the RSS feed.

How-To Video: Equations of Life Poster

So I have written before about how I love the Simon Morden trilogy that has started hitting shelves. Samuil Petrovitch is my favorite kind of snarling sarcastic anti-hero, and a genius rocket scientist to boot. My kind of guy. And I especially love Orbit for letting me be a bit daring with the cover design and rock these really graphic optical illusion covers.

So what you don’t know is that the initial design was even crazier. I wanted to hide the cover text IN the optical illusions. Slight legibility problem, I admit, for a teeny book cover…but FABULOUS for a poster. And since I know you guys love these how-to videos, I screen-captured my process so you too can make your own Editable-Text Optical Illusion Poster…and melt the retinas of all your friends. After the jump you can even download the Illustrator file I used, and add your own text. Read the rest of this entry »

Equations of Life POSTER GIVEAWAY

You can learn to make your own in our How-To video, or you can win your own!  Just sign up below and you’ll be entered to win one of ten “Mind the Gap” posters.

UPDATE: Contest is now closed.


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Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed is a short story from my new Dresden Files anthology Side Jobs (originally in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, edited by P.N. Elrod). The story takes place between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty.

I wrote this for the very first anthology in which I’d ever been invited to participate. I’d met Pat Elrod at a convention and thought she was quite a cool person, and when she asked me to take part in her anthology, I was more than happy to do so.

When I wrote this story, I was thinking that the Alphas (a group of werewolves who often provide great backup for Harry at difficult moments) hadn’t gotten nearly enough stage time in the series thus far. It therefore seemed like a good opportunity to give them some more attention, while at the same time showing the progression of their lives since their college days, which I felt was best demonstrated by Billy and Georgia’s wedding.

Inane trivia: While I was in school writing the first three books of the Dresden Files, my wife, Shannon, watched Ally McBeal in the evenings, often while I was plunking away at a keyboard. I didn’t pay too much attention to the show, and it took me years to realize I had unconsciously named Billy and Georgia after those characters in Ally McBeal. Who knew? TV really does rot your brain!

Congrats to our Gemmell Award Nominees!

The David Gemmell Award nominees have been revealed and we are pleased to announce that Orbit titles have received a total of 5 nominations across the three categories!

The Legend Award

  • The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
  • The War of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz
  • Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Book Jacket

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, art by Cliff Nielsen


Congrats to all of our nominees!

Side Jobs: Unlocking the hidden Dresden Files

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files is the perfect intro to the world of Jim Butcher’s P.I. protagonist Harry Dresden (think Indiana Jones meets Dirty Harry with a generous helping of Sam Spade) since no previous knowledge is required to enjoy these bite-sized tales.

For Dresden Files fans, this collection will unveil the hidden stories between the full-length novels … Expect new revelations on Harry Dresden’s half brother, Harry’s love life and don’t forget — one short story takes place an hour or so after the climactic ending of Changes!

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be bringing you Jim’s own introductions to some of these short stories that will begin to unlock the secrets between the files.  Uncovering the rest will be up to you.

Hugo Nominees Announced!

Over the weekend at Eastercon, the Hugo Award nominees were announced. Both Mira Grant’s FEED and N.K. Jemisin’s THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS were nominated for best novel!

You can read the first three chapters of THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS here, and the first chapter of FEED here.

To see the full list of nominees, visit the Renovation website.

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Why Fantasy?

I am sometimes asked – why fantasy?  Of all the genres out there, why one that is often regarded as frivolous, clichéd, superficial and occasionally pornographic in a slightly weird way.  And let’s face it, fantasy has had its off days.  Glowing swords, ancient quests, and wizards who feel the need to talk in rhyme have traipsed across landscapes with more than a certain Tolkein-esque something about them, while, perhaps, lustful vampires deflower roaming princesses who curiously enough do wear white, even when mud is going to be a problem.

And I’m not here to defend this, particularly.  I mean, the defences are obvious – escapism, powerful storytelling, worlds full of could be and should be and all that jazz.  But for me, personally, it’s not why I love fantasy. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Soon: Perfect Shadow, by Brent Weeks

Brent Weeks burst onto the fantasy scene in 2008 with the launch of his internationally bestselling Night Angel Trilogy, which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.  Now, he’s returning to the world of The Night Angel Trilogy with Perfect Shadow, a novella that tells the origin story of the legendary assassin Durzo Blint.

The ebook edition of Perfect Shadow will be available in the US and the UK in June, 2011. It will be simultaneously released as an unabridged audiobook for digital download, online where books and music are sold.

In the official press release, Brent explains: “When I wrote Perfect Shadow, I was afraid it was going to fall into a publishing no-man’s land: too short to be distributed as a novel, too long to be sold as a short story. Orbit’s digital publishing has given me a way to get this story out. More than that, it’s given me the artistic freedom to write a story exactly as long as it needs to be.”
We’re glad he did! You can find the novella’s description after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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