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Posts Tagged ‘Deby Fredericks’

Should your story include a romance? I’m speaking here about romances being included with stories that are not explicitly part of the Romance genre. There seem to be a lot of strong feelings about this issue.

From time to time I see people get very angry about romance being a part of other genres. There especially seems to be a sort of science fiction fan that complains about this. Science fiction is supposed to be about pure ideas, they say. Never mind that science fiction has always had other elements, such as social commentary and political theory (especially Libertarian theory). They seem to feel that the romance somehow pollutes the genre.

These rants always puzzle me. We want to read about characters who are interesting and fully formed, right? Well, romantic feelings and needs are part of every biological entity. Why should authors prevent their characters from having those feelings? If the author decided this wasn’t want they wanted their story to be about, that’s one thing. It just seems like a line is being drawn (or attempted to draw) that doesn’t need to be there.

To put it another way, I wonder why some fans are so uncomfortable hearing about romantic emotions?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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“Hag” is the short story I’m currently working on. I’ve mentioned that, but it’s possible not everyone knows what I mean by saying that my main character is a hag.

Probably the most familiar usage of “hag” is as a synonym for a witch. It can also be used to insult a woman by implying she is ill-tempered and/or appears old and wrinkly. In folklore from the British Isles, a hag was a kind of evil fairy. Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth are two well known hags from folk stories.

Night Hags were believed to fly around at night. They would sit on people’s chests and cause them to have terrible nightmares. When they woke up, they couldn’t move. Sleep paralysis is a real thing, and it’s thought that stories about Night Hags was an attempt to explain it.

River Hags were cannibals who lived in lakes and rivers. They were said to lurk near the shore and snatch up children who strayed too close to the bank. These folk tales are clearly cautionary, intended to warn children away from the danger of drowning.

In other cases, hags were believed to control the weather. They were blamed for causing bad storms in winter. Some others are thought to be diminished forms of ancient Celtic goddesses, who would sometimes disguise themselves as old women.

As for my story, the hags of Dolarus Swamp are River Hags. Long ago, they banded together with human wizards to defeat a demonic empire. The demons are still imprisoned beneath the waters of the swamp, and the hags are responsible for keeping them there. Like the goddesses of old, they have shape-changing powers and can impersonate any creature that lives in the swamp.

I also worked in the child-snatching thing, in a different way. Some of the humans who live near the swamp would abandon unwanted children there. They believed the hags would eat the children. Instead, the hags adopted the kids and performed a series of rituals that transformed them into new hags. So even though they did not have children, the race of hags could go on defending the Dolarus Swamp.

Working with folklore is lots of fun. When editors eventually see this story, and remember the legend of cannibal hags, I hope they will be surprised by how I used the material.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Yep, just like a video game, I leveled up! That is, I completed the third draft of my short story, “Hag.” I had to abandon the second draft, which is something I hate to do, but the POV change just wasn’t working. This story was always meant to be seen through the eyes of the sarcastic old hag who keeps having to chase human intruders out of her swamp. I cut a subplot that was tangling things up, and got the hag daughter to say a bit more. Turns out she’s just as snarky as her hag mother. The poor young wizard who gets caught between them just hardly knows what to say.

The story still has a lot more work to be done. Basically, I’ve got the skeleton of the plot to connect and move properly. My next draft will make sure a couple of critical lines didn’t get cut in the transition, and then I can really start to flesh things out. In particular, I’ve been vague about what my hags are wearing. They swim a lot, so it has to be something that won’t drag in the water. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

By the way, I have also been giving status notes on “Hag” on Twitter. One person there has been asking for a snippet. An unknown writer like myself doesn’t get many requests like that, so I put up a couple of paragraphs in a thread. Check it out, if you’re interested.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’ve been working away on my short story, Hag. Yesterday was very much disrupted, though. We’ve been waiting almost two months for the roofers to schedule their work. Suddenly they arrived! It was a different company, though. We had to call around a bit to make sure they were not trying to scam us.

But they were legit, and they got right to work. Unfortunately for me, my office is on the second floor. So all day while I tried to work there were loud footsteps and intimidating noises as they pulled off the old roofing. Our poor cats didn’t know which way to run. Later, when that was all off, came more loud footsteps and lots of banging as they nailed the tar paper down.

We were very impressed with their efficiency, although my poor plants were somewhat the worse for having tarps thrown down on them. Today was better, and I feel like it’s going well.

At least, until the roofers come back…


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Gasp! Yes, our gaming group is all immunized and able to meet in person again. Our first session was last night. Three members were out of town and joined by Discord. Four of us were at my house. It went pretty well, although there were a few technical difficulties. Anyone who’s been in a Zoom or Teams meeting will be familiar with the occasional lag and signal loss. I thought it went pretty well for our first try at the format.

What game do we play? Right now, we’re playing Starfinder, which is part of the Pathfinder framework. It’s set in the far future, in space. Currently our crew is invading the flagship of an armada that is trying to seize an ancient artifact. If they get it, THE UNIVERSE IS DOOMED!! As a writer, I appreciate having the stakes spelled out so clearly.

Anyway. A good time was had by all. I hope you are also able to reconnect with some of your favorite friends and activities.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’m back from my family visit, which was equal parts stressful and boring. Between my elderly, demanding father and my mentally ill, demanding brother, I could definitely see why my sister jumped on the opportunity for a getaway with just her own family. I don’t begrudge her at all. My husband, however, wanted to have a “real” vacation and insisted that we take long drives to two different museums and two different beaches. After three straight days in the car, he finally was ready to stay put and get bored. Now we’re back home, and I want a “real” vacation!

But, duty calls. I’m in charge of the programming for SpoCon, a science fiction convention on Hallowe’en weekend. With the pandemic and all, we haven’t been certain if we can do an in-person convention, but as of now, it’s a go. So I’m wading into all the program ideas I’ve been offered and setting up a spreadsheet that will allow our speakers to choose what programs they want to be on. It’s a little stressful, but exciting, too.

On my vacation, I brought along the first rough draft of my short story, Hag. Being thrown out of my normal routines, I never really got to do more than glance at it. One idea I did have was to change the POV character from an older, experienced woman to someone younger and less confident. I’ve been working on a new draft, and it really isn’t jelling.

This is where I ask all of you wise friends which approach you think is better. 1) The older, experienced hag who is defending her daughter. She is powerful and confident, but maybe it’s all too easy for her. 2) The younger, less confident hag who is defending her mother. I feel like there could be more drama with the second option, but it also could be kind of a predictable trope where a young person has to step up.

I’d love to hear that you all think. Should I go with youth and strength, or old age and treachery?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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On my vacation this year, I pulled a few old paperbacks off the shelves to take along. It was sort of eye-opening to read stories from 80 years ago and see how they did it in the beginning of modern SF. The two books I’ve finished so far are Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore (1930s) and The Book of Ptath by A. E. VanVogt (1947). What’s the deal with the initials, you might wonder. I know Catherine Moore may have needed to conceal being a woman if she wanted to be taken seriously. Maybe VanVogt just thought the initials looked more classy.

Characters. By current standards, the characters are really sparse. Good or Evil are practically branded on their foreheads. They have just one or two defining traits. Jirel has red hair and incredible pride. Ptath, a reincarnated god, has an overwhelming self-esteem and I couldn’t really tell you what he looked like. Also, everyone is gorgeous.

Landscapes. The authors made a lot more effort at creating fantastic landscapes and creatures. Maybe they were still closer to the age of discovery in the 1920s and the readers valued that.

Magic. There is generally a sense that mages are evil, or at least sketchy. They seek power by meddling with forces beyond their ken. Also, the magic often overlaps what you could think of as mental powers. There’s a lot of astral projection and dimensional travel rather than fireballs and such. In Ptath, they take over people’s bodies a lot.

Endings. As with the characters, the endings are very chopped off. They solve the story problem and two sentences later the story is over. Modern endings seem to have a lot more reflection on how things have changed during the story, or in the case of a series, they think about what problems are left in the series.

Problematic material. There’s a lot of fat shaming in the VanVogt. Interestingly, the evil woman was still gorgeous. It was the merchants and politicians who were grotesquely fat. I also thought it was questionable how they possessed people without asking. In the Moore, there was sexual assault all over the place. No matter how fierce and strong Jirel was, men kept grabbing her and kissing her. I wondered if this was something Moore herself experienced, or if the social mores of the 30s required an independent woman to have some sort of cautionary experience.

Those are a few of my observations. What have you been reading lately?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Bear with me as I untangle a thought here.

I was watching an animated series that was supposed to be about samurai. I suppose I should have expected a bit of hacking and slashing. They’re samurai, after all. They have swords. As I got into it, there really was an extreme amount of beheading. Like, every single battle, multiple beheadings. Also limbs cut off, bodies sliced at the waist… All that gory goodness (?). And did I mention there were sorcerers and giant robots?

Yeah, it wasn’t exactly historical fiction.

As a viewer, I have a limited tolerance for beheadings, impalings, and so on. As an author myself, I see them as a sign of an inexperienced writer. Someone who isn’t confident in their characters and plot, so they try to keep up interest by throwing blood around. Also, show how cool and edgy they are, I guess.

But come to the end of the series, there was one death that stood out from the others. Just a simple beheading wasn’t gruesome enough for this character. She had to be magically twisted into splinters by some sorcerers who showed up, did her in, and then never appeared again.

It made me wonder about why the screenwriter chose to do that. Why was that character torn apart, when so many others were “only” beheaded? The other female fighters in the series were shown to be more feminine, caring for loved ones and loyal to family. When they died, it was mostly off screen or in silhouette. But not the lady were-bear.

Why was she treated differently? Was it because she was Russian, and some of us apparently haven’t let go of the Cold War mentality? Because she was a mercenary fighter, not a noble samurai? Because she was a woman who dared to be as deadly as her powers allowed?

It’s been a while, but this is a topic I come back to from time to time. What is the writer’s thinking when they decide when, why and how to kill a character? I would suggest that we ought to be a bit thoughtful when we decide these things. If we aren’t careful, we might leave our readers or viewers with questions that aren’t so easy to answer.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Summer break only started for me on June 22nd. Boy do I need it! My husband and I are going to travel over the next week. I need to check in with my 92-year-old dad and give my sister a break for her own family to travel. We’ve just made it through a terrible heat wave, so ironically it will be cooler in L. A. than here in the Inland Northwest.

What I’m Working On. June was taken over by my summer book event, Queen Titania’s Court. Since most of that was scheduled ahead of time, I still found time to complete and publish The Renegade of Opshar, fourth in my Minstrels of Skaythe series. Check out that cover on the sidebar! I can always use a few more reviews, if you catch my drift.

What’s Next? For my summer project, I’m working on a short story about a hag (the folklore kind) who lives in a swamp and everyone knows she is evil but really she is protecting the world from something awful. This hasn’t been an easy go, but I should have a good draft to take with me. Something else to read on my vacation. After I return, I’ll begin the serious work of designing programs for SpoCon, which is coming up in October.

Fun and Games. Currently I’m playing Conan Exiles, a fantasy survival game. The building aspect is fun, but there’s really no narrative arc. I’m also playing solo, which makes some of the battles harder. For the cuteness quotient, with building but no battles, there’s always Animal Crossing. My village has been the same for about a year, so I’m pondering a few revisions to the layout there.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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As the music fades and the last guests depart, Queen Titania relaxes on her throne. This evening was a personal and diplomatic accomplishment. So many attended the Grand Ball! Some are casual visitors, others whose friendship will grow and deepen with time. Perhaps the connections forged this evening will even prevent a war or two.

Already a host of brownies and other sprites appear and begin the process of clearing away leftovers and removing the most precious relics for safekeeping. This festival hall, with its connection to so many realms, can only exist for a few glorious hours. Soon the tides of magic and nature will dissolve it back to its mundane state.

Until then, the glow of her triumph lights the hall better than any sun.


This is where I thank all of you for making Queen Titania’s Court such a wonderful success. We had more authors this year, and I appreciate every one of you. Especially those who didn’t know me and took a chance on a stranger’s promise of free publicity. I am especially grateful to everyone who reposted or retweeted the blog. You all made this so much fun.

I hope you all reap the rewards of your effort, whatever that means to you. Perhaps a few books sold, or new followers for your own blog, or just a chance to talk shop with new friends.

Thank you so much. I hope to see you again in 2022!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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