compilation of images from Sirens

I Spent Two Weeks Attending Two Women-Focused Geek Cons And It Was Pretty Awesome [Repost]

Five years ago I attended my first Sirens conference. The theme: Reunion. In a couple of weeks I’ll be back at Sirens teaching and sitting on a panel. The theme this year? Reunion. <3

I love the fact that when I started going to SFF conventions there was one prominent and overtly feminist convention (WisCon) and now there are multiple conventions that center women SFF writers and women readers. This is why I was excited to go to Sirens the first time and even more excited to go to GeekGirlCon that same month. On the very next weekend, even.

My feelings about GeekGirlCon are more complicated, five years on. Sirens has just gotten better. Both cons give women and people of all genders the chance to experience what it’s like when a con centers women and their voices and their contributions. Both help make the space for other conventions and gatherings to do so. And after the past month? Hell, past three years? This is needed.

Earlier this week I found out that the media company that owned xoJane deleted the entire website. I went and saved all my posts, and in doing so re-read the piece below. It was my first for xoJane, and I’m still proud of it and also still find it relevant for the commentary on Sirens, GeekGirlCon, New York Comicon, PAX, and other SFF conventions. So I’m republishing it here on my blog.


I Spent Two Weeks Attending Two Women-Focused Geek Cons And It Was Pretty Awesome

When I found out that these two women-centric cons took place on consecutive weekends in cities just four hours apart, I knew it was time for a lady geek excursion.

compilation of images from Sirens

I love going to science fiction/fantasy conventions. It’s one of the biggest drains on my wallet throughout the year and I regret nothing. I love talking about SF/F media and literature with other people who love it the way I do.

When I first started attending the WisCon Feminist Science Fiction Convention, it was the only women-centric SF/F con I’d heard of. Over the years, I got wind of others and friends encouraged me to attend two in particular: Sirens, an academic conference and retreat on women in fantasy literature, and GeekGirlCon, a convention celebrating women in media, science, and technology. When I found out that these cons took place on consecutive weekends in cities just four hours apart, I knew it was time for a lady geek excursion.

Avoiding the Rocks

I started my female-centric con experience with the Sirens conference, which took place at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA. It’s a 40-minute drive from Portland, OR through the Columbia River Gorge. Driving along roads that cut through forests laden with turning leaves and close-clinging clouds that occasionally parted to reveal stunning waterfalls is the perfect way to get into the retreat mindset. By the time we crossed the Bridge of the Gods I knew I was heading to the perfect setting for a weekend of discussing fantasy literature.

Sirens is a very small conference with a narrow focus and only about a hundred women in attendance this year. This intimacy, combined with it being a conference and not a convention, gives Sirens a different vibe than most cons I’ve attended. There’s an emphasis on group discussions (not just panels), meals together, and individual keynotes each day. The narrow focus on academic discussions of women and fantasy literature gets even more specific in the keynotes and sessions that take on the yearly themes: warriors, faeries, monsters, retelling, and, in 2013, reunion.

Another thing affecting the vibe: a nearly complete lack of men. There were only three or four attending, so the conference space was almost exclusively women. (There may have been trans, non-binary people, and other folks whose gender I did not know, as well.) This might not seem unusual for a con that boldly announces the high presence of girl cooties up front. And if you’re familiar with academic conferences that focus on women’s issues, this won’t surprise you. It might if, like me, you’re from the world of SF conventions where even the most girl-cootie-filled among them (WisCon, for example) can still attract a decent number of guys.

Each of these elements contributes to the idea of Sirens as a “Safe Space” for women. Over and over conference organizers and attendees emphasized that point, and there is obvious pride in Sirens being the type of gathering where people can disagree yet still sit down to dinner together. Still, there are varying ideas of what makes a space safe.

As a woman of color, I don’t always find spaces created by white women or white feminists to be safe. Same with geeky or fandom spaces. Navigating the con scene means quickly assessing if a space is actually safe for me regardless of the label on the tin. It’s not often that someone sets out to make me uncomfortable or unwelcome at a con. Instead, I’ll encounter an unwitting microagression. Or, a person with no concept of their privilege, let alone how to check it, says or does something upsetting. That wasn’t my experience here.

I ended up pleasantly surprised at the depth of the attendees’ knowledge and interest in fantasy literature that goes beyond the white/white-washed epic tomes so often held up as great examples of the genre. Everyone I met was eager to understand different points of view and experiences of the world beyond their own. Nowhere was this clearer to me than in the Q&A sessions after the guest of honor keynotes by Alaya Dawn Johnson and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Both women of color gave deeply personal speeches full of intersectional ideas, and the understanding and solidarity they received back from the room impressed and bolstered me. This is the kind of space I feel safe in.

Meanwhile, At New York Comic Con

That same weekend my friends back home went to New York Comic Con. Each time I hopped on Twitter or Facebook to see how things were going, I discovered some new instance of harassment. It made me glad I was on the other side of the country.

There had been concerns prior to the con that one or more groups of dudes looking to entertain their fellow dudebros on YouTube might come to NYCC for the express purpose of harassing women there. Between the self-styled Referees of Cosplay who intended to call out women “too fat” to dress up as their favorite characters, the guys kissing women without permission so they could film their reaction, and the horrid SiriusFM-affiliated Man Banter dudes engaging in both sexist and racist harassment, the weekend was chock full of fail.

The good aspects of the con didn’t always balance out the fail for some people, especially women targeted for harassment. The swift action of the NYCC organizers to address the harassment is praise-worthy; it still doesn’t address the underlying problem. Even though Mike Babchik is banned, there are plenty of other men ready to take his place. And these men feel that New York Comic Con is an appropriate venue for their activities.

Thinking about why that might be, and the contrast between my friends’ NYCC experience and my Sirens experience, got me thinking about the kind of conventions I attend and why. I only go to NYCC because I live in NYC, and even then only if I get a free press pass. I used to wish I could go to San Diego Comic-Con, but I prioritize my budget toward attending WisCon, World Fantasy, ReaderCon, or DragonCon. I stopped going WorldCon regularly several years ago. I would rather clean toilets than attend either PAX.

All of these cons cater to what I love — though the focus, vibe, and general purpose differ — and are ostensibly safe spaces to be a giant geek. Yet I do not feel that my geek self is welcome or wanted at SDCC, NYCC, PAX, or WorldCon.

Women Are Ambassadors

After San Diego Comic-Con I saw this quote, attributed to Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller, popping up around Tumblr:

“What was really great about Comic-Con, it shows that the core demographic is young women… It’s all young ladies. Women love genre, they’re more open to genre in a strange way. … Women are the ambassadors.”

This is not new information. It’s also not just anecdotal. When Networked Insights measured social media response and engagement around the media being discussed at SDCC in 2013, women made up the majority. Brett Schenker’s compilation of statistics from Facebook show that 40% of the people who Like comic-related things are women. Facebook’s Doctor Who fandom is mostly female, according to this data. Women make most tech buying decisions, download more movies and TV shows than men, and play more games on certain platforms.

In his book “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture,” Rob Salkowitz points out that “women today are the loudest and most compelling voices in fandom.” Yet the average media, comic, or science fiction convention is generally dismissive of, if not hostile to, the non-cis, het male population.

I could bring up a mountain of examples, but here are three:

SDCC 2011: Batgirl vs. DC Comics

ReaderCon and WorldCon 2012: Renee Walling vs People Who Don’t Want To Be Sexually Harassed 

PAX 2013: Dickwolves vs All Common Sense 

This crap is flying at women from all quarters: con attendees, con runners, con guests, con sponsors. It’s not surprising that more conventions and conferences now exist to offer respite from the nastiness. Sirens is one approach, GeekGirlCon is another.

Re-Centering The Focus

GeekGirlCon, now in it’s third year, is a more varied convention. It’s similar in style and scope to media and comic cons, though throws the net wider than most by including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) alongside literature, games, comics, TV, movies, and more. For such a young con I’m impressed with how ambitious GGC is in terms of providing a space for everything from tabletop gaming to professional networking, all with a focus on women.

That said, GeekGirlCon is a work in progress. The con’s track record on intersectionality is muddy, starting with the first year. A friend of mine warned me off this con because she got a strong vibe that she is not the “right type of geek girl” due to being a person of color. That was more about the attendees than the con itself, though this year a swell of anger rose up when people learned that problematic career feminist Amanda Marcotte was invited to participate in programming. As I said, work in progress. After talking to members of the staff and geeks involved in the community around GGC, it seems the con is worth the work and is also important on a larger scale.

At the Changing Culture in Mainstream and Alternative Spaces panel, I and my fellow panelists talked about the value of cons that focus on sub-sections of the geek community, such as women or LGBT people, and whether it’s better to create our own safer spaces or to try and make the mainstream conventions a better place for all geeks to be. Ben Williams, a founder of GaymerX/GaymerCon, spoke about how separating from a larger, less inviting culture has big benefits in helping people feel like they really belong.

However, Jo Jo Stiletto pointed out that even creating your own thing — in her case, roller derby — for your in-group doesn’t mean that it won’t grow and change into something that no longer feels right for you. Game designer Shoshana Kessock advocated for changing cons from the inside because she feels that if we completely withdraw, then the mainstream will only see geeks as the stereotypes we leave behind.

I can understand that point of view and I am often an advocate of changing instead of abandoning the cons I love. It can work; just look at how WisCon and ReaderCon have shifted in the past five years. However, there’s a big difference between those cons and PAX or SDCC, entities that aren’t as susceptible to big changes enacted by dedicated volunteers. I say the only way to force a change in that type of con is to starve them of their lifeblood: geek money and attention.

There Are A Lot Of Men Here

That’s where cons like GeekGirlCon come in. Here you have all the same kinds of events and panels and activities as other cons but with women at the center of the conversation. In this environment women hopefully feel like their voices and experiences and way of geeking out are celebrated and appreciated. If you listened to the common wisdom about centering women, you’d think that this type of con would result in a low male turnout. Not as low as Sirens, of course. But guys wouldn’t flock to this type of environment, would they?

Uh, yeah, they would.

There were far more men at GeekGirlCon than I expected and they participated at every level: on staff, on panels, and as attendees. And yet GGC people also spoke of the con as a Safe Space. Again, the idea of what is safe differs depending on what type of woman you are, yet I was pretty confident that there wouldn’t be anyone there saying that they “want to buy an umbrella [that comes] with an Asian girl,” no matter the gender. It’s not about banning or even discouraging guys from coming to the con, it’s about making it clear what is and is not valued that leads to a con women can feel safe attending.

So forget any ridiculousness you hear about how cons that cater to specific or marginalized groups are all about self-segregation. They’re not — not completely. Because if the con has all the elements geeks flock to cons for, it will attract all the geeks. And if these cons can attract geeks away from events that foster a hostile environment, then those other cons (and the media entities that support them) will either have to change or die.

There Are A Lot Of Women Here, Too

I’m torn on which option I want: Change or Die. The cons that represent the most problematic environments — NYCC, SDCC, PAX — aren’t the kind that I like to attend, anyway. I much prefer cons that are for the people attending and not media companies and sponsors looking to sell and market to us. Cons where fans and creators can share panel space and where attendees are treated with respect and not like cattle to be herded. And, after my two-week women-centric con adventure, I’m more reluctant than ever to go to cons that center the 18-49 year old, white, heterosexual male, explicitly or not.

Neither Sirens nor GeekGirlCon are perfect events and could benefit from a little change themselves. And I want to be part of that change. Because making a con better for me and women like me means making cons that are better for everyone.

Guess I’d better start saving up now.

Daily Writing Exercises - NaNoWriMo Edition

Daily Writing Exercises – NaNoWriMo Edition

Practice and warm-ups are fundamental to every artistic discipline, from the musician who practices scales for hours on end to visual artists who cover reams of paper with sketches to dancers and actors who rehearse for months. Practicing craft is important for writers, too. Especially when you’re about to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Doing one 10 – 20 minute writing exercise every day before diving into your novel can help kick your brain into creative gear without pressure and give you the chance to try out new craft skills.

That’s what this course is all about. Starting November 1, you’ll get a writing exercise via email every day for a month. Each one is designed to get you warmed up and also to help you get to know your characters better, dig into details of your setting, and play around with voice, point of view, and other aspects of craft.

Sound good? Register Now or keep reading for more details.

Because community and support are key to writing, all participants will have access to a private chat space on Discord where they can share their experience with the exercises and support each other through NaNo month.

In addition to the emailed exercises, all writers taking the course can attend live online write-ins four times a week with me + special guests. Each write-in will start with that day’s exercise then move into 45 minutes of writing together via Zoom video conferencing software. These write-ins are optional and times/days will vary to accommodate writers across different time zones.

Four times during the month we’ll be joined by guest writers who will offer a short pep talk and a writing exercise of their own:

Tananarive Due Tananarive Due is an author, screenwriter and educator who is a leading voice in black speculative fiction, or Afrofuturism. Her short fiction has appeared in best-of-the-year anthologies of science fiction and fantasy. She is the former Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Spelman College (2012-2014) and teaches Afrofuturism and Black Horror in the Department of African-American Studies at UCLA. She also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles and the screenwriting program at Antioch University Santa Barbara.

The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author or co-author of twelve novels. Her short story collection, Ghost Summer, won a 2016 British Fantasy Award. Due also wrote The Black Rose, a historical novel about the life of Madam C.J. Walker, based on the research of Alex Haley. Due also co-authored a civil rights memoir with her late mother, Patricia Stephens Due, Freedom in the Family: a Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights.

In 2010, Due was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She has been named to the Grio 100 and the Ebony Power 100. Freedom in the Family was named 2003’s Best Civil Rights Memoir by Black Issues Book Review. Her parents, including her father, attorney John Due, were recently inducted into the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England. As a screenwriter, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA). Follow her on Twitter @TananariveDue.

Stina LeichtStina Leicht has been a finalist for the Crawford Award as well as the Campbell Award for Best New Writer (twice.) Her latest novel, Blackthorne, is a sequel to Cold Iron. Her two previous novels, Of Blood and Honey and its sequel, And Blue Skies from Pain are set in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Her Feminist essays were featured in the Hugo Award winning Women Destroy Science Fiction! Issue of Lightspeed Magazine. She is currently working on a novel, Persephone Station, a Feminist SF Space Opera to be published by Saga Press in 2019.
Stant LitoreStant Litore is the author of Ansible, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs, The Zombie Bible, and Dante’s Heart. Besides science fiction and fantasy, he has written the writers’ toolkits Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget and Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget, and has been featured in Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook: An Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. He has served as a developmental editor for Westmarch Publishing.
Monica ValentinelliMonica Valentinelli is a writer, artist, and game developer who lurks in the dark. Her ever-expanding portolio includes short stories, novellas, games, comics, essays, and pop culture reference books. Monica is currently known for creating the Make Art Not War Challenge and her publications set in Whedon’s Firefly universe which includes the Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse (2016), Firefly Encyclopedia (2018), and the award-winning tabletop Firefly RPG line.
Dates for special guest appearances will be announced to course participants on November 1.

Grants

There are 10 13 ((Thanks to writer Nick Bright for funding three more!) grants available to writers who cannot afford the registration fee for class. Seven grants are available to Black, Indigenous, and other Writers of Color, six are available to any writer from any identity background.

To apply, fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide a personal statement (up to 500 words) and a statement of financial need (300 words). Please Note: I define financial need broadly, from those who absolutely can’t pay to those who may have the money but can’t set it aside for a writing course. Don’t self reject!

Application Deadline: October 20th.

FAQ

Do I have to be doing NaNo to take this course?

Nope! If you just want a month of writing exercises that will help you with your novel or get you into a daily writing practice, this course is for you.

Will students get a copy of the write-in videos if they can’t attend?

Yes. The video will only include the exercise part. It may be uploaded very late in the day depending on when the write-in happens.

What is Zoom?

A video conferencing service similar to Skype and Google hangouts but specifically geared for meetings. It is free to use and participants will be set a URL for write-ins. You will need to download the app, which works for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android, or you can dial-in. Learn more.

What are the technical requirements?

To get the exercises, just an email account. The virtual write-ins are optional. You don’t need a webcam and, if your connection is slow, you may dial in to hear the audio.

What is Discord?

A group chat service that you can access on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Within the course Discord there are multiple channels/chat rooms where students can share their exercises if they want, discuss challenges and epiphanies, set up their own virtual write-ins, and post daily word counts. Joining Discord is optional. Learn more.

Join the Course

September Microfiction

Monthly Microfiction – September 2018 [Patrons Only]

I’m back to writing Wolf & Bunny stories. Because it’s been a while, I went ahead and added the other two stories to the blog here so you can read them if you didn’t before or forget what happened in them. There’s a TOC at the bottom of this post.

The stories in this series are based on the artwork of Chiara Bautista which is amazing and gorgeous and you should look at all of it.

I’m including stories based on two images this month since the first story didn’t feel quite substantive enough. I hope you enjoy and please do let me know your thoughts in the comments!

There Are No Stars in the Sky Tonight

She came down here to be alone. Up there she’s never alone. But then he came down to join her and that ended up being all right. Because she realized that what she needed wasn’t to be alone. She just needed a change in perspective. And perhaps, just a little, to feel some proof of love.

To read the rest of this, become a patron on Patreon! If you’re already a patron, click here, then enter the password. Not a patron yet? You can get access to this and other content by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the banner on the sidebar.

Celebrating the Equinox (an excerpt from The Copper Scarab)

The autumn is upon us, and it’s time to celebrate the harvest and wave goodbye to summer ~sniff~. I try to mark the quarter days (equinoxes and solstices) with something special. And there is stuff to celebrate! Those of you who backed the Sunspot Jungle Kickstarter should be getting your hardback copies of the book very soon! The paperback and eBook editions will be out on December 1 (and are already up for pre-order!).

I have a story in volume 1, a reprint of my Pyramids and Punk tale The Copper Scarab. When I was writing it I had this vision of how I wanted the last section of the story to go. I knew the sphinx at Giza would be involved, but needed some other element to make it all click. I went poking through all my research files and found an article I’d saved talking about the connection between the sphinx and the eastern horizon and the timing of the inundation of the Nile (which is a plot point in the story) and everything fell right together into this passage below.

This is from the last section of the story but does not include the end. It’s minorly spoilery, but I doubt the reading of it would be “ruined” for you if you read this.

Excerpt: The Copper Scarab

In the darkness before dawn on the equinox, Khemetans who came from across the delta and White Fortress region gathered around the base of the Great Lioness. Their voices quiet, reverent; their bodies newly wet with water from the still anemic Nile. They sat with eyes trained on the eastern horizon. Like the giant stone Lion of the Horizon, their faces would greet the dawn directly on the day marking the beginning of the harvest season. Most of them tried not to think about how poor that harvest would be this year, just as last year, and possibly all the years to come. Instead, they waited for the life-giving rays of the sun to warm their skin and remind them of the first eternal truth: Everything changes, but the dawn always comes.

Half a shade after the sun disk pushed fully over the horizon, the Lioness seemed, impossibly, to shudder. Sounds emerged from under the ground that ricocheted around the still quiet crowd–vibrations that didn’t make sense.

They had begun to murmur when the copper scarab emerged from the sand between the stone paws, hissing and clicking and gleaming in the sunlight. The people’s silence held for one breath, two, before everyone reacted at once. Amatashteret watched from a short distance as some scrambled away in fear, some fell to their knees in shock or in reverence, and some ran to get a closer look. The engineers surrounded the scarab, lifting the copper wings to the right position and ensuring the steam pressure stayed at the right level. Once they gave the ready signal, she and the other chariot riders rolled past the machine, heading into the desert and upriver toward the capital.


Pre-order Sunspot Jungle to read the whole story.

Pyramids and Punk DVD Extras

Background Sketch: Sitamun 1 – DVD Extras [Sneak A Peek Patrons Only]

Now that I’m moving into Section 3 of the book Sitamun, Ibi’s mom, is about to be on screen more. So I’m writing out some key interactions between her and Ziwat to give myself more context for the dramaaaaaaaaa that’s about to take place.

If you want to see the other background scenes leading up to this I now have navigation at the bottom of this and other DVD Extras posts so you can easily find them.

support me on patreon

Patrons on the Sneak A Peek level, click here to read the scene (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this piece and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Tempest Challenge – Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente [Patrons Only]

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The second Tempest Challenge book this month is Space Opera!

Click here to watch the video if you’re a patron on the Tempest Challenge level or higher (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can get access to this and other content by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

Originality 22: I Am Hugely Motivated by Spite with Kelly Sue DeConnick

Originality 22: “I Am Hugely Motivated by Spite” with Kelly Sue DeConnick

For this episode I got to interview Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of the Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly comics, among many others. We talked a good deal about collaboration, especially in the world of comics, but my favorite bits are where she talks about the creative tools she learned while working in television and how she brought them over to her comics process. And, as the title indicates, we talked about how spite can be a good motivator for creating amazing art. Aleen and I had a great conversation around these and other aspects of the interview, and you should listen to the episode to hear it all :)

You can listen to the podcast below or on the episode page where you can see the show notes. Comments are always welcome!

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Goth Rose

Story Notes: August Patron Fiction

Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected places.

Earlier this week I took an out of town friend up to the International Rose Test Garden here in Portland. In the Shakespeare Garden area we sat to chill and my friend, Shveta Thakrar, read to me from a book of faerie stories.

One of the stories she read was The Lothian Farmer’s Wife, a tale I hadn’t heard before.

The wife of a farmer in Lothian had been carried off by the fairies, and, during the year of probation, repeatedly appeared on Sunday, in the midst of her children, combing their hair. On one of these occasions she was accosted by her husband; when she related to him the unfortunate event which had separated them, instructed him by what means he might win her, and exhorted him to exert all his courage, since her temporal and eternal happiness depended on the success of his attempt. The farmer, who ardently loved his wife, set out on Hallowe’en, and, in the midst of a plot of furze, waited impatiently for the procession of the fairies. At the ringing of the fairy bridles, and the wild, unearthly sound which accompanied the cavalcade, his heart failed him, and he suffered the ghostly train to pass by without interruption. When the last had rode past, the whole troop vanished, with loud shouts of laughter and exultation; among which he plainly discovered the voice of his wife, lamenting that he had lost her for ever.

When she finished I said: “It’s a reverse gender Tam Lin except, when a man has to do the bold brave thing, he fails. This is why men ain’t shit.” And we had a hearty laugh.

Then I kept thinking about the story, and about Tam Lin, and about how I have never thought that dude was all that great despite really loving some arrangements of the ballad, such as my favorite one by S.J. Tucker[1]:

The more I thought about how the people in this story might have known the people from the Tam Lin ballad and how Tam was probably not the best husband a Janet could ask for, the more I started to spin a backstory on why the wife got taken and then the first draft of this month’s microfiction poured right out of me.

It is, as some of you are aware, not all that micro! It’ll likely get a bit shorter once I polish it and send it out into the world for publication. Patreon patrons get to read it right now.

Footnotes

  1. P.S. You can buy the studio version of this track, which is excellent, on Sooj’s website []
August Microfiction and the Faerie Queen

Monthly (Not So) Microficition – August 2018 [Patrons Only]

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This story came out of nowhere for me. There’s a post on the blog about what inspired it, if you’re interested. I plan to send this off to some beta readers and polish it up. If you have thoughts on it, please don’t be shy about letting me know.

The Farmer’s Wife and the Faerie Queen

Once, long ago and in a faraway place, there was a farmer who lived what he thought was the perfect life. He had a beautiful wife, a strong son, and a dutiful daughter. He had abundant crops, enough food to eat and to sell, and lived in the most bountiful valley in the county. He had everything he wanted and no complaints. Until the day the Queen of the Faeries came to town.

To read the rest of this story, become a patron on Patreon! If you’re already a patron, click here, then enter the password. Not a patron yet? You can get access to this and other content by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.