Gen Con 2015 Schedule

Gen Con is fast approaching! Here’s where I’ll be:

SEM1577058—Writer’s Craft: Atmospheric Writing
Thursday, 12:00-1:00 PM
“Authors often want to give a story a particular “feel,” such as dread, wonder, romance, or weirdness. Learn how to create atmosphere through word choice, sentence construction, & other techniques.”

SEM1577059—Editing Your Work
Thursday, 1:00-2:00 PM
“Writing requires more than putting words on paper; you also have to edit & revise your work to make it as good as possible. Learn the best ways to edit your writing from some masters of the craft.”

WKS1578872—Finding Work for Your Inner Critic: Self-Editing for Fiction
Friday, 9:00-11:00 AM
I’m doing a workshop! Possibly because I’ve lost my ever-loving mind! But no, seriously, I’m glad Marc Tassin was interested in this idea. See, if you write, you know the voice of your Inner Critic and you know you have to ignore it. But the truth is, I never stopped listening to mine. I just learned to put it to work at the right time. Bring some pages of a current work, a notebook, and a pen. The workshop costs $8, which covers the cost of the room, handouts, and maybe some donuts, since this is the first time I’m running it. We’ll see.

SEM1577142—Crafting Languages
Saturday, 3:00-4:00 PM
“A good fictional language adds depth to your story; a bad one can ruin it. Learn from authors with experience at imaginary languages how to avoid pitfalls & use language to enhance your story.”

SEM1568164: Candlekeep Presents: The Women of the Forgotten Realms
“Come for our fourth gathering in celebration of the Realms and its history. This year’s seminar will focus on the women who make the Realms: its heroines within the world and among its creators. We will be joined this year by a number of surprise guests, so please check our web listing to find out who will be joining us!” This is the closest you’re getting to a Realms seminar this year!

WKS1577147—Read & Critique
Sunday, 9:00-11:00 AM
“Each attendee reads something they’ve written, and our panel of experienced authors provide on-the-spot feedback. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get personal feedback on your work! Only participants will be allowed in the room during the Read & Critique session. Each attendee should come prepared with a few pages of their writing (typically 5-10 minutes worth). Attendees should also bring material for taking notes. Attendees who are unable able to read their own work should talk to the facilitator at the start of the session and we’ll make special arrangements for you.” This costs $8, and there are only two tickets left! Hurry up!

I will also be doing some signings with the Ed Greenwood Group. I’ll add the times when I have them. Hope to see you at Gen Con! Unfortunately, EGG is not coming, so no signings there. I will sign books at any of the places above, and if something else comes up, I’ll  post it here.

Also, at the repeated suggestion of the Husband, I now have a Periscope account. Follow me for periscopes of Gen Con fun (and possibly the bottom of my purse; I’m still figuring this out)

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FIRE IN THE BLOOD, ASHES OF THE TYRANT

Good morning, readers!

One of the problems with having a blog aversion is that when it clears I have SO MUCH TO TELL YOU! I’ve literally started writing three blog posts this morning! But this one seems the most critical (and technically it’s two, so bear with me).

First, as of August 4th, Fire in the Blood is now available in paperback! It’s a nice, chunky little tome, for sale at all fine bookstores.

Build Your Own Tiny Word Fortress!

Build Your Own Tiny Word Fortress!

This is absolutely my favorite book of the series so far. This is in a lot of ways the story I’ve been trying to tell. Royals, politics, war, magic, history, passion, really gross possessions! Fire in the Blood sends Farideh and friends to Suzail, the capital city of Cormyr, in the middle of the War of the Sundering. Brin tries to find a way to reconcile the life he’s made and the life he wants, until the Crown Prince of Cormyr–Brin’s father-in-law to-be–disappears, pushing him perilously close to the throne. While Havi, Brin, Mehen, and Constancia race to find the missing Crown Prince, Farideh remains behind, balanced precariously between Princess Raedra and the Crown, and Dahl Peredur and the Harpers–both looking for Sharran traitors. Then everything goes wrong.

I love it. I love it. I think you will too.

Also, someone else loved it:

ELAINE. CUNNINGHAM.

ELAINE. CUNNINGHAM.

***

If you have already ready Fire in the Blood, perhaps in hardcover or as an ebook, and perhaps you have already gotten yourself an extra copy or two to hand out to friends who would like the book as well (…other people do this, right?), then you might be more interested in what’s coming next!

(People who have not read Fire in the Blood, minor spoiler: There are more books in this series. Farideh doesn’t die at the end)

Is she standing on a pyramid? Yes she is.

Is she standing on a pyramid? Yes she is.

From the catalog copy: In a direct follow-up to her fourth book in the Brimstone Angels series, Fire in the Blood, Erin M. Evans thrusts her signature character Farideh into a fast-paced murder mystery rife with political intrigue. 
 
In the wake of the war brought on by the Sundering, Farideh’s adopted father Mehen has been called back by the clan that cast him out, and Farideh and Havilar mean to go with him. Just as Mehen confronts the head of his former clan, a clutch of young dragonborn is found in the catacombs, brutally murdered, an infernal summoning circle that looks all-too-familiar to Farideh, nearby.

What that doesn’t tell you is that this story fits into the Rage of Demons story arc. So if you are curious to read more of that, more of what’s happening in the world beyond the Sword Coast, this is your book.

Also: You get to meet Dahl’s family. His grandmother is the single greatest thing I’ve ever written. Granny Sessaca 4EVA.

Posted in Brimstone Angels, Fire in the Blood, Forgotten Realms, MOAR BOOKS, Writing | 2 Comments

On Playing a Dragonborn in Forgotten Realms: Part 2

Hello, readers!

I’ve had a follow-up question to my earlier post about dragonborn from Micha. Do you have more of these? I’m happy to answer them as time allows. Like I said before: this stuff is coming out my ears!

So,  the vayemniri don’t care for dragons.   How is the relationship with metalic dragons?   I would assume that the tyrranical dragons of Abir were chromatic.   Do they see a difference, or have both dragon types been lumped together?   Since we have a new world that lacks a history of dragon overlords, would a visiting dragon be treated with hospitality, or are we talking prejudice?    How would the vayemniri look at the dragon worshipping kobold?

 And what about the Wall of the Faithless?   I assume that is still around, and I imagine its demonstratably real.

 

Good questions! Let’s break it into two parts.

DRAGONS
To the first point, I cannot speak with absolute authority—the information on Abeir is–intentionally, I suspect—a little thin, so you can craft your own lore. But the impression I’m left with is one of a world corrupted by the tyranny of the Dawn Titans/primordials. The laws of nature in Toril are not the laws of nature in Abeir, and so metallic dragons aren’t necessarily as good as they were at the beginning of time or in the current age in Toril.

Here’s why I say that: the dragons in Abeir gained their power in a lot of the same ways the dragonborn gained their freedom. They begin as the steeds and property of the titans. They fight them, defeat them—mostly—and throw off the shackles, then set to building their own empires on the backs of humanoids. Chromatic dragons and metallic dragons are in the same boat here, and once different dragon kingdoms start establishing themselves, it’s very plausible to me that each dragon is only thinking of their counterparts. Humans, elves, dragonborn, etc.—these never get a real chance to gain a solid foothold the way they do in Toril. They are chattel and creatures—not “real” like dragons. And so even given the possibility of a metallic dragon that is capital-G Good, with the general state of things they’re probably good in a very paternalistic way: they treat their slaves very well, but they’re still slaves. Poor things couldn’t make it on their own. More likely, I would think, is the possibility that Abeir has corrupted them too. Humanoids are acceptable collateral damage in stopping chromatics/primordials/etc.

But that’s not how metallic dragons are in Toril—this is true. And if you look at the sourcebooks, there are definitely examples of dragonborn who are convinced that metallics are different, including the worshipers of Bahamut, the Platinum Cadre. On an individual level, this is extremely plausible.

On a cultural level, the Vayemniri haven’t had enough time to adjust and the right overtures haven’t been made.

Assume one silver dragon arrives to welcome them to the neighborhood (and I’m going to assume that takes a little while, given the previous neighbors were not the dragons’ best friends either). The whole city is going to go into defense mode. Every dragonborn in the place is going to go, “IT’S THE BIG ONE!” and beat the war drums (there are literal war drums on the market level, per Whisper of Venom!). Even if they can’t defeat that silver dragon, even if that silver dragon is just trying to give them a fruit basket, they know you can’t take chances with dragons and they’d fight like their lives and their offspring’s lives depend on it. The dragon, I would think, would bail out and tell other dragons that those people are crazy. Don’t bother.

Could good dragons change the Vayemniri’s perception? Maybe. With time, or maybe with a mass show of goodwill, like a big flight of them settling down at a safe distance with muffin baskets. But they don’t really know, necessarily, what they’re up against. What they have to, in a sense, prove they aren’t. They really can’t just say, “Guys, we’re not like that!” because that’s what an Abeiran dragon would say! And come to it, the Vayemniri aren’t really missing out on much by not dealing with good dragons.

(As for kobolds, I would expect they don’t like kobolds at all.)

FAITHLESS AND GODS
This is a tricky one, because this is a case where they are potentially losing out. For those who haven’t delved into the nuances of the religion and afterlife of the Forgotten Realms, divine magic comes from the gods, who are very much real and have definite opinions about who deserves that magic, and the dead are judged by Kelemvor, the god of the dead, and then claimed by the gods who love them best. Those who worship no gods, who deny the gods, are hung on the Wall of the Faithless for eternity—unless they take a deal from a devil to escape to the Nine Hells and take their chances.

(…I think. There are a lot of ideas that seem to collide in this, which kind of makes sense. I don’t imagine a lot of people come back with detailed accounts of the bureaucracy of the afterworld.)

So the dragonborn are not atheists, specifically. It’s hard to exist in the Realms and not accept that there are gods. But they don’t have any interest in them. Mehen describes the gods at one point as being like beggars—you give them a little attention and they’ll be after you and your coin purse for all your days.

Which means dragonborn ought to end up on the Wall of the Faithless.

There are two things about that though. One, for all that sounds like a terrible fate, I don’t know that it’s not better in the eyes of the dragonborn. If the alternative is having your soul go to some god’s plane of existence, separated from your clan for eternity, and then serve that god for eternity, I can see a lot of Vayemniri asking if the Wall’s available.

Two, the question that needs to be asked is actually “What’s the afterlife of Abeir like?” There are no gods in Abeir—the gods got Toril, and the Dawn Titans got Abeir, and the Dawn Titans don’t collect souls. For all but the last hundred years of their existence, the Vayemniri dragonborn haven’t worshiped gods because there weren’t gods to worship.

This is where it’s fun to piece together the bits of information given in the FRCG and other sources: They’re as close to atheistic as you can be in a world where gods literally pop down. They have no formal temples or shrines in their city. But they have catacombs—they have funerary customs, and those funerary customs include preservation of the dead. If all these are true, this tells us a couple of things:

  1. The gods haven’t made Djerad Thymar a priority. Gods, it’s been theorized, gain strength and power and realness from worship. This is a city of tens of thousands where there is no competition for worship, and converts are individual and minute? The only group with numbers worth noting are the Platinum Cadre, the worshipers of Bahamut. Are the gods super racist or impossible divas? “No, you come to me!” Or are they holding off for some reason? Regardless, I would argue that the gods are culpable, too, in the faithlessness of the Vayemniri.
  2. The Vayemniri probably have some sense of an individual soul. Funerary customs are really interesting and bring up a lot of fascinating nuances between cultures, but if you’re preserving the body (e.g. keeping it intact) it’s usually because that person’s immortal soul needs it. (It’s alternately possible that there were a lot of problems with necromancy in Abeir, and keeping your ancestors’ bones close is how you prevent them being defiled by assholes. But that still assigns value to the body.)
  3. They built this enormous city with catacombs—they arrived with this custom in place.

 

All these things come together in a few possibilities:

  1. Do Abeiran souls go to the same afterlife as Torilian souls?
    1. YES. Is their lack of worship still relevant?
      1.   YES. The Wall of the Faithless is full of Abeirans and this is what the Vayemniri expect from their afterlife.
      2.  NO. The gods are scooping up deserving Abeirans from the Fugue Plane, and since they clearly haven’t signaled the rules have changed, they continue to scoop Vayemniri and the Vayemniri continue to live their lives to the best of their abilities, without giving the gods much thought.
    2. NO. Is there an Abeiran afterlife?
      1. YES. Then the Vayemniri may well go to a kind of limbo state, like a god-less upper plane. A god could step in and claim them, but it would be a hard sell.
      2. NO. Then the Vayemniri’s souls may be obliterated.
      3. WELL…SORT OF. The Vayemniri’s souls persist as ghosts that stick around their bodies. Maybe your ancestors literally influence you this way.

There are other possibilities, too, and I have my favorites. But suffice it to say, nothing is canonical yet.  And one reason for that is that the dragonborn probably lack divine magic: you probably don’t get a lot of dragonborn returning from the dead to tell everyone what they experienced. You probably also don’t get a lot of quick, complete healing, which is also interesting in my opinion. The dragonborn probably have a very different experience of injury and disability than the rest of Faerûn–someone like Shestandeliath Geshthax, the patriarch of his clan, whose right arm was amputated, is probably a stranger sight in other parts of the world where a priest can regrow that arm, but in Djerad Thymar he’s an elder who’s seen battle, probably one of many.

I suspect, too–given this and given the text which describes them as avid gardeners–that dragonborn have a more robust knowledge of what I’d call traditional healing–their healer’s kits should come with an extra bonus.

 

Enjoy this breakdown of dragonborn culture? Consider pre-ordering Ashes of the Tyrant, the upcoming Farideh novel that ties into the Rage of Demons storyline and returns to Djerad Thymar. 

Have more questions about dragonborn? Ask ‘em here, or use the contact form and I’ll write another post.

Posted in Forgotten Realms | 3 Comments