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One of my readers (a fellow writer) gave me a topic that could easily turn into a book rather than just a blog, but I’ll try to keep it concise. They asked if I could talk about techniques I use for implying/showing the development or existence of a romantic relationship between characters without simply having the characters state it outright (perhaps because the characters are still working their heads around it) and without using sexual intimacy/desire (whether because the relationship is non-sexual or simply because that isn’t how I choose to depict it).

I've discused previously how the way that Alpennian characters talk to and about each other, and even what terms the use to think about each other, provides a constant commentary on their relationships and attitudes, whether it's of status, intimacy, or affection. But in some ways, I always had an out in that I was writing in the third person. A very tight third person, to be sure, but if Barbara thought something about the princess and called her simply "Annek" in the privacy of her thoughts, that could be chalked up to shorthand.

Jennifer Linsky is a Twitter friend who graciously agreed to write a guest blog for me.

Hello! My name is Jenny, and I’ve been invited by Heather to do a guest post this week. Since much of Heather’s blog content is about her great-great-grandfather’s civil war diary, I thought I would write a bit about my Ojii-kun, my grandfather, and an entirely different war: the war in the Pacific.  

No more Mother of Souls teasers! So while I'm plugging away at Floodtide I'll have to come up with some new writing-related things to talk about.

I received a lovely bit of fan e-mail from a reader last week, and she had some questions that she has graciously allowed me to use as a jumping off point for a blog. The first question was whether I put my Alpennian research and development notes somewhere (presumably, somewhere that an interested reader could look at them!) and the second was whether I had a map of Alpennia.

Just a brief snippet this time, sparking a consideration of magical healing. One of the first contexts in which Margerit designed her own "effective" mystery was in Daughter of Mystery after Barbara was attacked on the bridge by Langal's thugs. That mystery was for the purpose of protection, not healing, and Margerit bemoans the fact that every kitchen maid knows an array of healing charms and her more ceremonial interests are of little immediate practical use. But that raises the question of how "effective" healing charms are in the world of Alpennia.

There are few things more annoying to me as a reader than noting some sort of problematic aspect of a book or show and being told, "Oh, just hang on until the third book / the next season / whatever, and all that is addressed." I mean, why should I have to slog my way through a whole bunch of stuff that erases me or pisses me off just on the hope of a promise that maybe--just maybe--Things Get Better at some unspecified later date? Especially when there are so many other things I could be consuming?

The most common reaction I get to character demographics in the Alpennia books is, "OMG all the queer women, this is fabulous!" But very occasionally I get reactions along the lines of, "Why is everyone these characters hang out with a lesbian?" One of my first principles in historic research has always been, "If you find yourself asking 'Why is X true?' step back and ask, "Is X true?'"

It's the start of a new year and perhaps a good time to take stock of the writing projects I have at various stages (including some that are "just a gleam in the author's eye"). It's a way of taking stock and reminding my back-brain of what to think about. It looks like I've successfully gotten back in the habit of writing fiction every day, so...wandering through my writing folders, I can come up with this list:

Alpennia Stuff

To date, in 2016 I have posted 333 separate blog entries (in the early part of the year on Live Journal, and then both on and LJ). My goal was to blog every weekday, and while I missed some calendar days, I clearly over-shot that target in terms of total posts. As I've mentioned in a couple of recent round-up posts, I've been pondering exactly why I've pursued such a rigorous schedule and what I'm getting out of it.

Well-meaning people will offer a number of very strongly worded rules of behavior for authors. I will heartily endorse most of them, such as, "Never ever ever talk back to reviews" and "I don't care if you're a professional editor, nobody can edit their own work successfully." But there are other rules for authors that make certain unwarranted assumptions about the author's situation.


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