Discussions of writing projects.

Jan 212013

Jim C. Hines is a writer that’s been discussing sexism and the impossible-body-posing fetishism found on book covers. He’s been doing it mostly by personally duplicating book covers himself, posing and writing about how ridiculous and painful the postures are. You can check out his blog and see a bunch of his own crazy photo shoots.

As the discussion goes: Book sellers want skin and out-thrust bosoms and butts on their covers, so artists provide them by contorting their figures to crazy and impossible extremes. There’s also a tendency to wear ridiculous clothing, like all those nearly naked warrior women wearing metal bikinis in the snow. What does this say about us?

I became involved in the conversation when Jim proposed doing a group photo using science fiction authors to raise money for charity. If people donated enough he’d pull in some of the new big names in the science fiction field and do a group photo, reversing the genders. Well, the money came streaming in, three times what they expected was raised, and Jim contacted me to do the shoot at one of our local science fiction convention here in Michigan called ConFusion.

The models:

Within the fantasy and science fiction community these are all very well known folk. All are fun, generous, and active in the genre. All were also very willing to put themselves out there to raise money, join the discussion, and let everyone enjoy them stepping way out of their own comfort zones for a good cause.

Jim secretly sent us all the photo we’d be using. It was the cover art used for the Poul Anderson book “Young Flandry”, a James Bond styled action adventure in space novel. Jim gave everyone the option to say no way, but instead out came the cry, “Let’s do this!” Continue reading »

Sep 072010

A while back I won a “Writers Of The Future” award. This is a yearly award for science fiction and fantasy short stories. You’ll find my story, “The Girl Who Whispered Beauty,” in the Writers Of The Future anthology Volume 24.

“The Girl Who Whispers Beauty” is the story of a young woman who can use her breath to shape and grow other living things, but as she does so her own life diminishes. Such women are put into servitude to enhance the elite class, but our heroine, Etelka, has other plans.

Winning is quite a nice deal. The contest is judged by big name authors, so it’s great validation.  Thousands enter, but only twelve are selected. There is, of course, a decent monetary award, plus they buy all the winning stories for their yearly anthology, paying a rather good rate. You’re flown to an award ceremony (ours was in L.A.) and put up for a week so you can attend a workshop and a awards ceremony filled with all kinds of well-known, respected genre authors.

Each story in the anthology has an illustration created by one of the winners of the “Illustrator’s Of The Future” contest. Stephen Knox of Philadelphia created mine, and an excellent piece of work it is! This print hangs nearby as I type. Thanks, Steve!

Rich Horton mentioned “The Girl Who Whispered Beauty” and the Writers Of The Future v24 in his yearly recap. He said there were usually multiple entries under “Anthologies of New Writers”, but in 2008 we owned it.

The stories I particularly liked were “Simulacrum’s Children”, by Sarah L. Edwards, and Al Bogdan’s “The Girl Who Whispered Beauty”.

Rich reviews for Locus and has edited some excellent best of anthologies for Prime Books, so I’m thrilled to get his nod of approval.

Brent Knowles wrote about Writers Of The Future v24, and for my story he said the following:

This is a rather strange story, but delightful. Whisper girls, who cling to life in a precarious way, are able to modify humans. But these modifications cost the whisper girls and they have to careful in the application of their powers. Just a beautiful read, very imaginative and original.

You can find  “Writers of the Future, Vol. 24” on AMAZON

If you write science fiction or fantasy you should look into the contest. It’s quite an experience.