Tag Archives: fantasy

One Question, Many Answers #5

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “fan”?


“Someone who is interested enough in something to indulge in it and probably knows a lot about it, in an avocational rather than vocational way, and likely of someone else or someone else’s work.”

–ELF (Author and fan)
Taj Mutt Hall Dog Diary
Word Whirled


“Someone who is enthusiastic about a thing, event, or social activity.”

–Douglas Berry (Author and fan)
Make a Wish Foundation–SF Bay Area


“The appliance, although primarily the miniaturized version used in computers and involved costuming.”

–Norman (Fan at BayCon 2017)


“Someone here at BayCon.”

–Fiddlerbird (Fan at BayCon 2017)


“A cool breeze.”

–Elond Castro (Fan at BayCon 2017)


One Question, Many Answers #3

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “reading”?


“The odd places and attitudes I see children put themselves into while reading. I worry that ‘today’s kids’ don’t read. But SF/F novels’ popularity belies that concern.”

–Anonymous fan at BayCon 2017
East Bay Linux Users Group


“Books, lots of books.”

–Anonymous fan at BayCon 2017


“Imagination and excitement.”

–Jean Martin (costumer, editor-in-chief, dancer)
Creative Avocations


“Detectives, desolate highways, coffee, comfy chair, rain.”

–Tyler Hayes (Author)
The One About Jacob” (short story)


“How many books I have to finish.”

–Anna Rose (Author)
A Darker Shadow by Jake Keplin


“Being entertained by my own head, on my own terms, a perfect comfort and best pastime.”

–Meg Elison (Author)
The Book of Etta


One Question, Many Answers #1

At BayCon 2017, a science fiction and fantasy convention that’s taken place annually in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past twenty-five years, I cornered people in the hallways and asked them to participate in my One Question, Many Answers series.

Fans answered the following two questions:

  1. What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “fan“?
  2. What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “reading“?

Authors answered the following two questions:

  1.  What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “writing“?
  2.  What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “reading“?

Every couple of days over the next week or so, I will post answers to these questions, along with people’s names or pseudonyms and links to publications, passion projects, or charities that the fans and authors want to promote.

I’m going to start with a few of the authors’ answers to the first question.

Q.  What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “writing”?


“That I should really be writing and not doing whatever it was I had been doing.”

–Anna Rose (Author)
A Darker Shadow by Jake Keplin


“Being a god, creating a world to make it my way and finally have the control that real life never gives.”

–Meg Elison (Author)
The Book of Etta


“My desk, coffee, morning, being cold, knit hats, penguins.”

–Tyler Hayes (Author)
The One About Jacob” (short story)


Guest Interview: Denise Tanaka

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Denise Tanaka, the talented writer of a delightful fantasy novel, Truth in Cinders.

Denise is a lifelong writer of magical beings and fantastic worlds. Her short stories have appeared in issues of SQ Mag (edition #17), of New Realm (Vol. 1 No. 12 and Vol. 2 No. 6), in the annual anthology Once Upon A World No. 7, and her latest story appears in the AlternaTEAS anthology edited by Elizabeth Gilligan. In her spare time, she creates historical and fantasy-based costumes. Her live spin transformation Diana Prince-to-Wonder Woman costume won Honorable Mention (Journeyman) in the masquerade at Sasquan the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention.


Welcome, Denise, and thank you for talking with us today.  Let’s jump right in.  
Is there a difference in your short stories and your novels, other than length?

Yes, my short stories tend to be contemporary urban fantasy and my novels are epic other-world fantasy. One reason is that short stories don’t give a lot of space for elaborate, original world-building. I need to dig right in to a short story whereas a novel has more room to explore. Short stories focus on a moment, or a single revelation, and a novel is a longer journey with a sequence of many moments leading up to a conclusion.

What’s one of the first books you remember reading or having read to you?

One of my earliest memories is sitting on my mother’s lap while she read The Gingerbread Man. I still have the book, though it’s a bit tattered by the years. It has colorful illustrations. I recall feeling a bit sad in the end when the gingerbread cookie meets his untimely demise.

What attracts you to the fantasy genre?

Fantasy has the most possibilities. It can have the most unique, imaginative creatures or events. It is not constrained by the laws of physics. The hero and heroine don’t have to wind up happily-ever-after together. Literally anything can happen! Frankly, I am often bored by mainstream fiction or romance-for-the-sake-of-romance type books. If I weren’t writing fantasy I would probably write detective mysteries. I love unlocking secrets and discovering surprises in the end.

What do you feel like when you are writing?

I feel removed from the real world yet still a part of it. I am in a semi meditative state, almost hypnotized, yet lucid and aware of structure and grammar. I swim in and out of my own imagination.

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?

I’m a fan of old t.v. shows like, “The Immortal,” “The Invaders,” “The Fugitive,” and “The Incredible Hulk.” I wanted to tell a story from the point of view of somebody who lends assistance to the lone man on the run. In the t.v. shows, the people who shelter the hero seem to accept his innocence pretty quickly. But if you’ve just met this guy, how can you be sure he’s telling the truth? That he didn’t do it? I overlaid some fantasy elements, tied it into my original universe, and I was off!

If I could add one more thing? I wrote the first draft of this novel many years ago when I was part of a writer’s group with Elizabeth Gilligan, Teresa Edgerton, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and others. I got some great feedback but, at the time, my writing skills were not yet developed to the point where I could implement their advice. Then, I reconnected with Beth Gilligan at a local convention and she asked about this story. After all these years, she still remembered some elements of the plot. It inspired me to dig it up out of the drawer and do a fairly extensive rewrite of the magic system and the events of the second half. I’m glad that I put it aside while I built up my skills on other manuscript drafts. I’m pretty happy with how this final version turned out.

Which of your characters do you feel closest to or enjoy writing most?

In this novel, I feel closest to the main point of view character. You can’t write 400+ pages in a fictional person’s head without getting to feel close to her! I slipped in a lot of my own insecurities and awkwardness. I also gave her a speech impediment, and although I never stuttered quite this badly, I’ve always had trouble expressing myself verbally. I used to dread speaking out loud in class. If I get nervous or if I’m put on the spot, I can easily slip into mild stuttering where I’ll hesitate, repeat a word several times, or fill in gaps with “ummm.”

Which scene was particularly hard to write, and why?

The opening! That first page needs to grab the reader’s attention while relaying information about an unfamiliar world. Originally, I had a couple of pages watching Condrie the tavern maid go about her morning chores and thinking about her life. I put it up for critique in an online forum and they convinced me to shave it down.

How do your hobbies or real-world passions and projects show up in your writing?

For most of my life, I’ve pursued a hobby in historical or fantasy costuming. I am a member of the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild http://www.gbacg.org/ When I describe my characters’ wardrobe, I am very conscious of the materials and fashion.

Do you write full time, or do you have another role? If so, what?

My day job pays the bills. I work as a paralegal in an immigration lawyer’s office. I’ve in this field for about 12 years.

If you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go, who would you take with you, if anyone, and why?

Easy! Viña del Mar in Chile. A few years ago, I researched a non-fiction true crime story that happened 100 years ago. One of the key personages came from Chile and I became fascinated with the colorful history of the area. I would love to explore the amazing sights of Easter Island, Patagonia, and the Andes mountains. Whoever wants to come along is welcome.

About Truth in Cinders by Denise B. Tanaka

Condrie the tavern maid befriends a man on the run only to discover he is a firebird disguised in human form. Together they must elude the tyrant king’s relentless forces while seeking the truth of who massacred other firebirds enslaved to the king.

Truth_in_Cinders-400jpg.jpgAvailable from Sasoriza Books at www.sasorizabooks.com

Available from Amazon (print and Kindle) at http://a.co/exAvijA

Available in other formats (Nook, iBooks, Kobo, etc.)
at https://www.books2read.com/u/3kZyQO

Visit Denise on Facebook




BayCon 2017 Costumes

Shael in knitted
Shael Hawman knits fantastic costumes.  For BayCon 2017, she knitted a Star Wars flight suit!

Last year, Denise Tanaka was Wonder Woman.  This year, she is … faceless.




Review: A Shifter, a Vampire, and a Fae Walk into a Bar

Book_Final_lr_6x9-200x300.jpgThe light-hearted tone and good-hearted characters in Thianna D.’s A Shifter, a Vampire, and a Fae Walk into a Bar make this romantic fantasy novel a delightful read, especially if you’re in a bad mood and just want to get away from it all. The heroine is a human, the hero is a shapeshifter who can take wolf form (“not a werewolf”, he insists), and the secondary characters include vampires, fae, demons, warlocks, and other supernatural beings, which makes an entertaining mix. This is the first book in a series, and much of the plot centers on the main characters coming together and becoming closer, creating their own little family of friends and eventually a home for themselves beyond space and time. Because the characters are so likable, it’s easy to root for them to succeed, and it’s easy to see why they are drawn to one another.

This isn’t a novel full of frustrating drama or deep angst or deadly danger, and the romance isn’t stuffed with endless longing or heated sex scenes. Instead, the book is soothingly humorous, and the sex is mostly off-screen and sweet. This is one of those novels that makes the world a little brighter.

BayCon 2017

I will be at BayCon 2017 on May 26, 27, and 28, participating in a few panels and lusting after the goodies in the dealer’s room.  BayCon’s theme this year is Dystopia/Utopia, into which Beneath the Skin  fits rather perfectly, seeing as it’s a romantic space opera set in a dystopian future.   If you are going to attend the convention, let me know, and maybe we can meet up someplace!

My three panels so far:

Writing a Dystopia While Living in One (on Friday)
Creative Hobbies for Writers (on Friday)
Love During Wartime (on Saturday)

Teresa Edgerton will be there, too.  And so will Jennifer Carson.  And Denise Tanaka.  And Carrie Sessarego.  And Gail Carriger.  And more!



Worldcon 2018

Bring Worldcon to San Jose in 2018!



Backstage at Convolution 2014

Here I am backstage many hours before the masquerade at Convolution 2014, as yet unaware of how I am heading ever deeper behind the curtain.

I contemplate the consequences of saying yes.


Overheard at Convolution 2014

Random comments overheard at Convolution 2014 this past weekend, stripped of their conversational context and written as a list in the order they floated by:

“I can set out the tablecloth once.”

“I’ve already cut you there, and you’re going to bleed out.”

“I’m back again. Again.”

“I’m on my way to the kinky panel. I’m a good sister.”

“I have trouble openings things anyway. Lace gloves don’t help.”

“I have a pen. Do you have a pen?”

“Thankfully, someone was hurt, so it was transferred off my desk.”

“I’m having so much bustle and ruffle envy right now.”

“Number one rule of costuming: go to the bathroom first.”

“We are going to do a video of me.”

“She has achieved cleavage!”