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Posts by Dorothy Grant

What were you reading?

We’ve all read those reviews – the ones that leave us scratching our heads and saying “What book did they read? ‘Cause that wasn’t the same one I read.”

Okay, aside from the review of one of Peter’s space operas complaining about the alien invasion of earth being cliched (there are no aliens, and it’s not set on Earth, but on a space ship), usually the reviewers are actually talking about the same story. The mental furniture they use to view the world, and the emotional baggage they bring to the story, is just radically different from ours.

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It’s all over but the shaking.

Yes, the shaking. Back when I was a young pilot in Alaska, so new eggshell was still stuck behind my ears, I got myself into a situation that I just barely had enough skill to get myself out of. (Luck played an important part in that, and the grace of G-d, as well as training.)

After the airplane was no longer trying to become one with the most firma terra, after I’d flown home, after the airplane was parked and tied down (for the elements and the machine will never stop trying to kill you, until the flight is fully finished), I sat down and shook. For almost an hour.

Later, when talking to a mentor who’s been there and done that has worn out the stack of t-shirts, I was rather shamefaced and chagrined at the whole thing – and quite embarrassed at shaking like the last leaf still stuck on a tree in an artic gale ripping through the pass at over a hundred knots. And he said, very gently, “It’s all right to shake, after it’s over. It’s normal. It’s… everybody does that, girl. The key is – after it’s over. Do what you have to do, and then shake and scream and cry and cuss afterwards. Nobody who’s been there is going to look down on you for that.”

So… 2019. Yeah, it’s pretty much all over but the shaking, the after-action review, and the paperwork. Speaking of, 4th quarter taxes are due on Jan 15.

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Why read me when there are new books out?

The new Alternate History Anthology edited by James Young, Trouble in the Wind, has stories by current and MGC members Sarah Hoyt, Brad Torgersen, and Peter Grant… as well as S.M. Stirling, Kevin J Anderson, and David Weber!
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Nine and Sixty Ways of Constructing Tribal Lays

“The other day” I was talking to a person, and when they were complaining about End Of The World for ebooks, I said, “Eh, it can’t be that bad, and we’ll survive it fine. Don’t you remember the KDPapocalyse and the huge shakeup from KU1 to KU2, and the Kobo-pornopocalypse? This, too, will pass.”

They made noises of pure confusion, and I realized… Indie is over 10 years old, and Peter and I have been there since pretty much the beginning. (Don’t ask me about working the Christmas rush inside Amazon when the world suddenly decided it wanted kindles, and e-readers went from a weird niche geek beta-test market to The Hot Christmas Gift. Because you are on the other side of a screen, and can’t hand me brandy enough for that story…) The person I was speaking to hadn’t been indie for 3 years, yet. They didn’t know The History Of Our Tribe.
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The name’s the thing

I know there are authors who come up with a character name, then fill out a character sheet like they’re doing a D&D game, and proceed from there unto the plot and story. I am not one of those people.

I know there are authors who put tons of research into their names, and crafting them carefully to match the world.

I know there are authors who have multiple baby-naming books or sites, and cruise through them until they get something that matches the character already in their heads.

Me? I often end up using placeholder names, of something that caught my eye, until I finally figure out (you know, about 25,000 words in) what the character’s actual name is. And then comes the find & replace joy. (Fun fact. Find and replace treats Seth, Seth’s, Seths & Seth’ as 4 separate words, and will only replace one at a time. So make sure you look for potential misspellings and possessive cases. And plurals. Or your (hopefully beta) readers will go “Who’s this?”)

How do you handle names? What resources do you use?

InkTober Prompts After-Action Report

As some of you enter into your third day of NaNoWriMo, and others enter into your third day of thinking about whether you could catch up, or wishing you could do NaNo this year, I’ve just finished my month-of-writing. Here’s how my month of Inktober Prompts turned out!

The Goal: Using InkTober’s 2019 prompt list, write every day. Read more

Eating the elephant?

There’s an old saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Of course, this presumes that you have refrigeration handy, and you’re eating it alone, where my husband’s stories of shot elephants seem to involve villagers turning up with great cast iron pots and firewood before dust from the creature hitting the ground settles. (Bush telegraph. Is faster than magic.)

They also involve the hilarities of villagers inside the elephant carving out meat above them up to the ribs, and more on top carving meat down to the ribs, and the screaming and cursing when an assegai or machete pokes out between and finds a human foot…

But realities aside, back to metaphors. Read more