I’ve previously mentioned that I’m no longer associated with the publication titled Excursions from the Citadel but for completeness’s sake, I thought I should mention that there’s now an official website for the Excursions: http://www.exftc.com/. It is very unlikely that you have become a fan for this anthology series through this particular blog but on the off chance you are, please refer to this website from now on for official news. There is also a Facebook group for this publication if you are interested.
It has been out since 31 August. The full title for it is Wizards: Excursions from the Citadel Issue 2. There are more authors that have come on board for this particular issue which is great if you appreciate diversity. I am personally exiting this enterprise as contributing author and the grand finale to my serial story A Thread of Chance will now be published as a standalone novella by itself.
For those of you who have purchased either/both copies of the Excursions issue 1 and 2, I will be providing coupon codes in the future so you can get a free copy of the Thread novella when it comes out.
Sorry about the late notice but it’s going for free now till 4 September!
Those who follow this blog would know that the Excursions from the Citadel, an anthology series for fantasy and science fiction (even though the first issue just covers fantasy), is now available for sale on Amazon. This is not just another ad that I’m putting up to elicit sales. Instead, I’m offering three free copies of it in exchange for unbiased Amazon reviews. If you are interested in taking up this offer, please leave me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This offer is not just valid for my blog followers but also my Women Who Write group that originated in meetup and now moved to Facebook and anyone who chance by and see this. So first come, first served. Three copies only available!
In addition, what distinguishes my offer from others of similar nature is that I’m willing to type up your review on your behalf and then send it back to you via email so that you can copy and paste up to the Amazon website if you can’t be bothered typing it yourself. Just to clarify things, this is just an option for you to take up on if you want, not as a means to manipulate reviews. I genuinely want unbiased review on this product that I’ve helped to make and believe is ready to public eyes. However, it is a very new enterprise and we really need feedback from readers in order to know the objective quality of our product.
Just an announcement that my multi-author epub Excursions from the Citadel has gone alive on Amazon
I’m really happy with the overall quality of the epub at the moment and this is what prompts me to write up this post in which I would give an outline and reviews of all the pieces included.
Let’s talk about Thread first (this is my blog so of course I come first :P). I feel this is the stronger of my 2 pieces in the underlying ideas. However, since I wrote this whilst the closing of submission is real close, I fear that my execution might not have done the underlying idea justice but judge for yourselves. Shapeshifters only come into this story in a very peripheral way and that’s the way it’s like for all except for a single chased-by-shape-shifters story in this collection. Thread part 1 sets up the journey that two Chinese wizards or Geomancers will set out on to search for a plant that is part of the cure for the Crown Prince who have fallen to a fatal malady. It includes two coolly described scenes of how a Geomancer divination is done. The setting is a fantasy version of ancient China. It has 100% genuine Chinese feel to it because it is written by a Chinese, yours truly. And me and another collaborator of mine on this issue are pretty much head-over-heels in love with my prose on this piece (he is, I’m a modest person so I will just say I’m solidly happy with the prose I’ve produced). But enough of tooting my own horns.
Next, I want to move onto my personal favourite in this collection, which isn’t written by me. It is also the only novella in this collection, titled Winged Invasion. It is the story of a false hermit asked by a group of shape-shifters to undertake a ritual for them and instead of the shape-shifter being forced into a situation of being pulled between two conflicting allegiances, it is the human protagonist that is in such a situation. As I said, I think that’s one “turning things on their heads” approach that can be done with a shape-shifter theme. And it’s my personal favourite because it chimes with me on a personal level. And there’s also a lesson that I think everyone can take away from this story in general.
My second favourite, titled Grey, is a work written by yet another of my collaborator. It is a very dreamy, slightly sad story interspersed heavily with poetry that unpacks a lot of the feel of this piece in a very tight way that leaves a lot of ‘aftertaste’ in one that I personally always appreciate in a piece. In fact, it could just as equally be one of my favourites except that it doesn’t really chime with me on a personal level despite that the writing really wooed me. And I was wooed both on the idea and execution. This story only relates to the shape shifter theme insofar as a key character has the ability to shift forms. We have half of the pieces which aren’t really about conventional shape shifters so that’s why we are calling this issue “Shifting shapes” instead. A subtle change in wording but more encompassing in meaning.
Here’s another piece by me but in collaboration with the author of my second favourite piece of the collection. The name of the story is Labor of an Empress. It is basically a long poem in the words of my collaborator who wrote all the poems in this piece that were only edited or changed in minor ways by me. One can also call it a mood piece but it is also a character growth story for the protagonist, the Empress in the title. In the words of my collaborator who authored my personal favourite, it’s a very lyrical piece. In my own words, it is a quite charming piece containing a substantial number of imageries that I hope readers would appreciate.
We’ve also included a piece for a mature audience. The title for it is Lady down the Hall and the last word in the title should tell you that the sole theme of this story is decadence in a particular way. The title of this story is how the shape shifter in this story is known as.
Last but not least is the shape-shifter chase story that I mentioned previously, titled Atop a Pine-covered Mountain. It introduces two new elements/twists to the mould of a chase by not only shape-shifter but what-have-you. The first one is that the protagonist is someone with a lot of false bravado rather than any of the innocents or character you are really fond of nor any of the villains or manipulative people with ambitions. The second one I will leave to you to discover at your leisure.
That’s all for stories outlines and reviews. Again, stay tuned over next week for excerpt releases. I will release one for all six pieces from Monday-Saturday Australian time.
The first issue of the Citadel commercial epub, Excursions from the Citadel, will be out on Amazon Kindle on March 1st! We are taking advantage of the 5 days of promotion on Amazon in which our ebook will be free to targeted readers. So if fantasy or just good writing is your thing, tune in to this blog for announcements about when it will be going for free! It holds the collection of work by three authors including myself or “the circle of three” as we’ve dubbed ourselves. The theme is shape-shifters as I’ve already mentioned in a previous post. Before I delve into anything, I would first like to put up the following two links that provide good summaries of the different types of shape-shifter stories there are and the functions a shape-shifter serves in a story:
Themes in shape-shifter stories: http://www.writing-world.com/sf/shape.shtml
Role of Shape-shifter in stories http://www.betternovelproject.com/blog/shapeshifter/
Now, shape shifter is a very popular theme lately I was told and Keyword Analytics tell me the same thing. But I have to say that personally I think of it as a lame theme in the sense that I feel like the majority of stories starring shape-shifters fall into a couple of moulds that just don’t interest me or I’ve grown tired of. So if you are someone like me, I want to say that you can rest assured that the Excursions from the Citadel doesn’t have a single story in it that really falls into any of the conventional moulds as I think of them or if it does, then it tips around on its head.
We have 5 and ½ stories included in the first issue- the half a story is the first part of a two-part running serial story written by me, what I called Thread in my first post of this month. In this post, I want to focus on discussing how each of the stories relate to the designated theme of shape-shifter and takes it beyond the conventional moulds that I personally find hard to relate to.
Firstly, most of stories have applied the concept of shape-shifters as a story element in a broad way. By this, I mean specifically that it has taken the two concepts of transformation and transcendence under the umbrella of shape shifters or rather shifting in shapes as we prefer to call it.
Transformation is easy. A shape-shifter is technically a sentient being able to shift into another form, usually a bestial form when we think about shape shifters. But three of the stories here are really about shifting in shapes which is subtly different from such a conventional image of a shape shifter. In particular, who says that one of the form has to be a sentient form? That is how two of the stories have incorporated the transformation element of the shape shifters theme. The other story doesn’t go this route but is still subtly different from the conventional sentient being to bestial shape-shifter image that everyone has grown used to.
Transcendence can be seen as Mental or Character Transformation. It can also be about a final moment that leads characters to euphoria and a higher state to where they were. These are essentially character growth or self discovery stories and the element of a shape-shifter or shape shifting plays a somewhat minor or peripheral role in the story. In this issue, we have one story each with the theme on character growth and self discovery. We also have one story that I already alluded to briefly in the above paragraph that I think belongs to this category in the sense that the ending is imminently satisfying for the main character involved.
Now, we do have one story that includes the conventional shape-shifter and is essentially a story of a protagonist being on the run from shape-shifters. And there the novelty mainly comes from the type of the protagonist that the author has chosen. There’s an additional novelty in the setup for this particular story but I’m not giving all the elements away so I won’t get into it here.
Overall, I think this particular volume that I’m personally involved has something to offer for both those who really like to read anything involved shape-shifters or some like me whose taste run the other way. But don’t just take my words for it. There will be excerpt releases on this blog over the next week starting from Monday Australian time. On each day I will release a single page or scene’s worth of except for a particular story. So stay tuned if you are an avid reader of fantasy, the shape-shifter theme or just appreciate solid good writing.
Also, next to follow is my own personal review of each story in this epub which will provide more of an outline of what each story’s plot is. It’s a biased review but I’m in the mood for it.