Welcome to the homepage and (somewhat) serious blog of Christine Lucas, writer of historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction and their occasional blend-ins. Oh, and cat stories too.
She was born and raised in Athens (of the country of Greece). The English language found her when she was five years old via her mother with an English Lit background, and stayed with her ever since, insisting on daily sacrifices of poetry and prose. She grew up in a pre-Internet era and in a society where the aspiration of becoming a writer attracted many funny stares. Very much like telling people that you’re off to Hollywood to become a star. Yeah.
So a career in the military seemed like the sane thing to do. Well, not to Christine, but let’s not go there. Long, painful story.
Twenty years of service later, with a honorable discharge due to medical reasons (that ‘sane’ thing mentioned above) she decided to start typing the stories that played on inside her head (‘sane’, you said?). She even joined writing workshops and took writing lessons.
Hmm, cat stories, you say? Fantasy cat stories? Hon, you’ll never get published writing that sort of stuff.
She heard that comment, and variations of it, many times, from many people. Thankfully, there were editors out there who thought otherwise. Or, perhaps, editors with cats that thought otherwise. Including awesome editor Ellen Datlow, who chose Christine’s short story “Dominion” (from ASIM #37) to feature in her cat-themed anthology “Tails of Wonder and Imagination” for Night Shade Books (out now – February 2010).
And Christine never regretted her choice to write fantasy, historical fiction and science fiction. Oh, and cat stories too.
And that was the sane thing to do.
…and look what the cat dragged in.
A writer who forgot how to write. And now struggles to remember.
Thankfully, although I took a long break from writing, I didn’t take a break from reading, so everything came back to me after a while. Jumping right in with Liberty Hall’s Flash Challenges every weekend helped a lot too.
The difficult part came when it was time (at long last) to ship stories out to magazines. See, my old PC, where I wrote everything until this past February, sits alone at home in the company of my poor neglected kitties. Everything I wrote or edited since February was done at the bf’s home, on my new laptop, and its unfortunate predecessor, who didn’t survive its second motherboard transplant. On this new laptop I have no Microsoft Office and, given the situation here, I don’t think I can afford to buy a copy any time soon. So, I have to work on Libre Office. Which is fine, as far as writing goes.
And then comes the time to format the story to Standard Manuscript Format.
Ohai thar, my old pal Headache. And I see you’ve brought your cousin Migraine along.
Not only had I totally forgotten how to do that in MS Word, everything in this new software is located elsewhere. The first time I tried to format a story to send it out, and mere hours before the deadline at that (it was the cat’s fault I was late, really. No, really) it took me two and a half hours to do what I used to do in ten minutes tops.
I think the best way to wrap up this attempt to revive this poor neglected blog is to mention about two of my stories that were published during my long absence, and both very dear to my heart.
The first one is “What now, Callisthenes?”, published in the Triangulation: Morning After anthology. Written in second person POV, an experiment that apparently worked, this story deals with a popular Greek legend regarding the fate of Thessalonike, the sister of Alexander the Great. It was one of the recommended stories in Tangent Online’s 2012 list, and had an awesome review in Future Fire.
The other one is still very dear to my heart: “Ouroboros”, in the Other Half of the Sky anthology. There’s too much I can tell about this one that it requires its own post, and the anthology’s editor, Athena Andreadis, has my eternal gratitude for believing in the story.
I have four more stories lined up for publication, but each of them will have its own post, once I know more about the specifics.
Well. It’s good to be back. So I guess now I can go and gawk at the open document and the unfinished story I’m supposed to be working on.
It is, of course, the cat’s fault.
“…Love the Greek mythos, and how the author weaved the clash of the sexes without it coming off as man-hating. And an excellent ending to wrap things up.”
I’d like to add that the protagonist in this story is an old, blind grandma who kicks ass because of her choices and not, say, a tall redhead in chainmail bikini armor wielding a big phallic sword.
…and it’s nice to NOT be called a ‘feminazi’ for a change… *sigh*
Writing-wise, the past week has been good. I submitted one story, and wrote two, none of which currently in submittable state, but hopefully I’ll have enough feedback mid-week to send at least one out.
Also, today I flashed, after a long time, over at Liberty Hall. I had forgotten how much fun flashing is, especially when the Muse comes up with something unexpected. (While the Mews are totally predictable and *whinewhimpercomplain* the entire time I’m trying to write). And I really like the little story I produced. It’s highly unlikely it will remain at flash length (very few stories of mine do), but I like it anyway.
On the other hand, writing has been extremely frustrating in the last year. For starters, I haven’t sold anything in the last six months or so. This is, for the most part, due to the fact that I haven’t been writing many stories up to a submittable stage. And then, most of what I have out is still with the editors, who take forever to get back to me.
Only adding to my frustration is the fact that, of all the stories I sold last year, only two have seen print. The others are still waiting publication. For some, like ASIM and the Quiet Shelter There anthology, I knew that they wouldn’t be out until Summer 2012. Others, like Warrior Wisewoman #4, have encountered financial issues. Others, I have no idea where they’re at.
It’s not a money issue for me. Well, at least not *just* a money issue. I just feel that the initial joy of getting that acceptance letter got flushed down the drain by circumstances beyond my control.
I’m guessing that the best cure for this is to write more. Send more stories out. Balance the scales over these “unfortunate” stories. But there are times when this is getting very, very hard.
Little Shorty (Stumbos in Greek) is currently on my lap while I’m trying to finish that darned story. He is, of course, purring at road construction level. What do you think this purring can mean?
a. You saved me from the gutter and certain death! I love you, Mommy!
b. You saved me from the gutter and certain death! Now it’s your DUTY to pet and cuddle me and give me noms and pet me again, until the End of Days! (Yours, not mine. I have nine lives. NEENER, NEENER.)
…yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s #b.
One of my goals this year is to be more consistent with my writing. Moreover, I aim to rediscover the Lost Fun of Writing. And, by goal, I don’t mean a New Year’s Resolution. My kittehs laugh at those. And then pee all over them. Which what generally happens to them, by the end of the year, figuratively speaking. Or not.
Anyway, I’ll give another go to this Write 1 Sub 1 thing. I tried it last year, and then Life happened, which included computer woes, sick cats, health issues and ongoing financial troubles. On the other hand, a large part of 2011 consists of empty days: I cannot recall what I did during those times, especially from February to May. But I do recall how every one of my stories came to be, even though it was painful at times: I had to endure heat without a/c, my back and shoulders hurt, I came out of my study (or back from my coffee shop) to find kitteh chaos but, in the end, I had my stories.
I don’t want any more empty days.
So I’ll give that W1S1 thing another go. Pretending, of course, that Week One did not exist.
Write 1: Expanded a Liberty Hall Flash from 1000 words to 4000. Historical Dark Fantasy, based on a mix of Aegean myths and inspired from the works of Greek poet Nikos Kavadias. It was a challenge to write: First Person POV, present tense, and a male POV at that. The setting was also a challenge: early 16th century Barbary Coast. I had to research a gazillion little things for every other line: food, spices, currency, clothes, expressions, evil eye traditions, naval terminology (shoot me now), and many more. But I loved the outcome.
Sub 1: The above-mentioned story. But I won’t say where. All this research about the Evil Eye rubbed off some superstition on me. I fear that if I say more, I’ll jinx it.
Anyway, off to work on my Week 3 assignment. And I hope I’ll be able to keep it up.
Until, that is, Diablo 3 comes out. Oh, hello there, Black Hole of my days… :/
In one of my writers’ forums, there’s an ongoing game where one replaces word(s) from films and books with ‘bacon’. The results are quite often hilarious.
And, last night, my Muse (Mews) came up with this:
On a skillet hot and greasy, cooking eggs just over-easy,
Adding bacon and sausage, breakfast for my sweet Lenore,
By my stove I’m almost napping, suddenly there was a tapping,
Clawing, scratching, mewing, rapping, rapping on my kitchen door.
Cats and kittens came a-lolling, rolling on my kitchen floor.
Tails erect and claws expanding, lolcats bacon demanding:
“Can haz bacon! Fry sum moar!”
(With my sincere (not) apologies to Mr. Poe. The cats made me do it).
The last couple of weeks have been of the “Writing? What writing?” type, due to a number of factors, mostly health issues. And now we’re entering heatwave season here, so writing won’t be as easy.
And I have three deadlines in June, including WOTF. I have no story for them. Unless something fitting comes back, I might have to sit this quarter out. As for the other two, one story is researched and outlined save for a few details, and the other has a 1000-word opening that I may or may not keep.
On top of that, RBE is having their annual fundraising challenge (details here, check it out!) with a cool theme and awesome art, and I’ve already been bitten by a plot-kitten for that one. At least the deadline for them is far in the future, alongside next quarter’s WOTF, so I have time for this. I hope.
Oh well. At least I flashed (sort of) this week over at Liberty Hall. I’ve given up hope that my stories will remain at flash length.
- Death to Courier New. Standard Manuscript Formatting should be done in Comic Sans.
- Refreshing the Duotrope “Recent Responses” page every fifteen seconds won’t get the editors to get back to you any faster. No, really, it won’t.
- More cover letters should be written in Standard Lolcat. “O Hai. U can haz sabmishun. I can haz contrakt nao?”
- If you’re not already owned by one, get a cat (or more). Then you can blame your typos on them. Like misspelling your own name. And especially when you misspell the editor’s name.
- When all else fails, remember that most good editors are cat-owned. Have your cats contact them through mew.com, provide the appropriate brib-, um, offerings of catnip and tuna, and sit back and relax while the editing kittens purr hypnotic suggestion into their humans’ brains.
This works with d*g-owned editors too, but you’ll have to contact the Paw Hammer branch of Interpurr for them.
Back to my poor, neglected story now. Ooh, look, catnip!