It’s Release Day!!

After eight months, lots of learning, and lots of people putting major effort into it, the Queens & Courtesans anthology benefiting the Sirens Conference is available! I’m extremely proud to have been a part of it from the beginning – and to see how everything has come together.

Women have long wielded power in various ways. This collection explores two prominent archetypes, the Queen and the Courtesan, in memorable stories that cross speculative genres. Whether finding love or finding themselves, coming into their magic or other strengths, these complex women rise above the roles that confine them to ask: Who will you be?

You can find it via the following links:

Help us out and share this post and these links with your friends and family. If you can, and are inclined too, purchase a copy and review it for us on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else.

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Queens & Courtesans Anthology Cover

Tomorrow I’ll be posting links to posts from other members of the anthology group. Everyone stretched themselves and got something different from the project.

A Different Look at Queens & Courtesans

Queens & Courtesans – by Kristen Blount

A queen and a courtesan: That’s your writing prompt.

What comes to mind? Maybe two women, each powerful in their own spheres, fighting for dominance of court or a king. Sex vs. Politics? Sex as politics?

Until I signed on as a beta reader and editor, I never imagined the number of possibilities that the prompt could produce. Queens & Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology, edited by Jessica Corra, showed me a wide range of ways powerful women could interact. In fact, it tells the stories of women who are powerful in so many different ways … from ruling queens, to spy masters, to experts at swordplay, to space navigators, to mothers, and so much more!

I have often said to my friends (and anyone else who cares to listen) that a good working definition of modern feminism is supporting women in making the best choices they can in the places they are. No given path is right for every woman. Queens & Courtesans offers the best illustration of that principle as I have ever seen. Just take one of the stories I was lucky enough to proofread: All the characters are female: the ex-military space navigator/pilot, the nuns, and a bevy of school girls, one of whom is queen presumptive. You only think you know what’s coming in this story, but you really, really don’t. Plot twists aside, these women with different skills, agendas, and needs come together in frightening circumstances to work for a common good.

In another story, one for which I acted as a beta reader, I met a prince’s lover … who was chosen by his mother because she’s blind. This story is strictly told from the blind girl’s point of view, and it brings a richness of other sensory details with it. I have begun looking for those sorts of interesting bits of knowledge from hearing or touch, and miss them when they are absent. Every story in this anthology gave me something to mull over in the days, or weeks, after reading.

As interesting as the individual stories, the group of women who wrote, edited, and organized this project is equally wonderful. We are connected through a literary conference, Sirens, that focuses on women in fantasy. Sirens offers a valuable weekend each year for women to come together to discuss topics that matter to us, both within literary boundaries and in our communities. The anthology group began as a subset of Sirens conference attendees, and quickly agreed that the sales of the book should benefit the experience that brought us together as friends and colleagues.

If you have the opportunity, please consider supporting Queens & Courtesans. It offers encouragement and professional luster to up-and-coming authors. It promotes the voices and concerns of women within the speculative fiction field. And mostly, it contributes to continuing the Sirens Conference. If you have the opportunity, I also encourage you to consider joining us some year for a weekend of reading, talking about reading, and writing.

An Eight Month Adventure

Back on February 4, 2016, I was having a problem with two characters who were insisting that I tell their stories right then. Neither character was in the manuscript I was working on at the time. I posted on Facebook about it just to try to get these characters to shut up.  A few friends, all fellow Sirens attendees commented about similar characters or story ideas my post brought to mind.

Eight months later, I’m sitting at my computer  and looking at a release date (Thursday!)  for Queens & Courtesans.

I’ve spent a lot of the last eight months with the refrain of “What the heck just happened/is happening?” running through my head. It’s still there. It will still be there later this month when I attend Sirens – the conference that inspired all the people involved in the anthology to lend a hand. It will still be there as discussions begin about a follow-up anthology.

Had I planned on being involved in a benefit anthology this year? No – at least not according to my 2016 planning page on this site. Did it through my writing schedule complete out of whack for most of the year?  Yes!  Did I know what I was doing? No – and neither did many of the people involved. Could we have done it better? Most definitely – and I have no doubt that the next one will be more organized and run smoother.

Would I change anything now? No.

This anthology was a labor of love for everyone involved. It was a perfect combination events that I would barely even hope could happen – never expected and still find hard to believe.  I know I learned an immense amount – especially when people thought I knew what I was doing! I didn’t really – not most of the time, anyway.

Sirens is a wonderful community to begin with. Being able to do something to help the community and the conference grow is extremely satisfying. That I made new friends, learned new things, and got to see one of my personal goals come to fruition are all side benefits.

At this point, I know I’m not dreaming, but it feels like I am. And I don’t want to wake up.

Release Week

This is release week for Queens & Courtesans. That means that everyday this week will have a post about the anthology.  For those that find this final push to be too much, I apologize.  For those who follow me here or on Facebook – if you would like to help me and encourage me to write more, please share and comment on these posts and, if you can afford it, purchase either the e-version or print version of the anthology on Thursday.

That’s all for today! I’m off to work on a revision.

Decisions, Decisions

The benefit anthology that I wrote a story for is coming out soon.  As the US “publisher” I’ve been very involved in getting it set up with several different distribution channels. It hasn’t been too difficult, though they’re all just a little different.

But there’s a problem.

That book, sitting there all by itself on each distribution page, looks lonely.

My name is on the book, if I had other stories published – traditionally, or self-published – I could take advantage of any sales on the anthology.  There won’t be any “By the same author” links for any of my writing.  Some of my fellow contributors probably will see links like that with their names in them.

I’ve always intended to self-publish some of my writing. But I’ve been concentrating on a couple of novels that I was planning to submit for traditional publishing. I don’t have anything ready, polished enough, to self-publish right now. And a month probably isn’t long enough when I’m working on promoting the anthology.

So, do I pause the projects I’m working on? Self-publish them instead of going the traditional route? Or do I pull out some of the story ideas I haven’t written yet, finish and polish them with the intention of self-publishing them as soon as possible?

Decisions, decisions…