Item One: Scattered Werewolves spotted, with chance of howling.
If you glance to your left you will see the gorgeous cover to a Bigby-centric Fables original graphic novel (coming out not soon at all) called Werewolves of the Heartland. Its title is not, as too many comics sites have posted, Werewolves in the Heartland, which sounds more like a weather report to me, rather than the more poetic of the. Small differences can be vital ones.
The cover was painted by the vastly talented Daniel Dos Santos whose website, which is chock full of wonders, you can visit here. The Werewolves piece is a wrap-around cover, so you are only seeing the front half of it here.
So who is that achingly lovely blonde in Bigby's arms? It certainly isn't Snow White. Is it Cinderella or Rapunzel, as many have already guessed, or somebody new entirely? You will of course have to read the book to find out.
Item Two: A small private debate made public.
I had an interesting exchange with Stacia Kane, the author of a number of fantasy books. You can learn more about Miss Kane and her books by visiting here. On her website, or blog (or I forget), she expressed such a strong dislike of first person narrative in general, and a vow never to perpetrate it in one of her novels, in specific, that I had to find out why. As an admirer of the first person story I felt a need to stand up for it and the following mini debate ensued (paraphrased in parts, due to my doddering old man's memory):
Me: First person has one quality I like. With damn few exceptions (such as unreliable narrator) it's loyal to one character in the story. True and dedicated loyalty is so rare in real life that I want to experience it from time to time in fiction. First person almost requires the reader and the point of view character to be allies. Almost. When's the last time you spent so much time with a person you knew you could count on, when the chips were well and truly down? So that's one among the reasons I like first person. It forces you to pick a side.
She: Good point, yes, but I write in a very tight third, single character. I don't jump into other POVs. In actual first person I'm forced to deal with the filter of the POV character -- all those "I felt, I saw, I blah blah blah," -- whereas in third I can almost cut out the middleman. I think it feels more intimate, rather than less. At least the way I do it.
Me: Granted. Very tight third person single character POV is just as good. Your rebuttal to my rebuttal is on target. I yield the point. (And then, following some back and forth nonsense): Take what victory trophy you deem most fit.
She: I win! I win! But you don't want to give me that kind of freedom. You'll end up with my name tattooed on your very attractive ass. (Okay, she didn't actually say "very attractive" there. I may have inadvertently added that part. The original transcript seems to be a bit garbled there.)
Me: How about I write a blog post about our wee debate in which I admit you fairly out-argued me? Will that suffice to prove I am well and truly owned?
And so it went. But, regardless of having to concede a highly narrow point to Stacia Kane, I am grateful to her for forcing me to put into words one of the more compelling reasons I am a fan of first person narrative in fiction. And, with my limited research powers, I can't find that my specific argument has been made before. I have yet to do a prose novel in first person -- at least none that have been finished and published. Now I need to. I've got the bug.
Item Three: The Robert E Howard Day, One-Man Contest.
Look at the post below by Mark Finn. He's always a good writer, but he's seldom better than when writing about Robert E Howard. All three of those points he made are cogent and compelling. I must use the term "tall liar" in a story soon. When Mark makes the claim to be a Robert E Howard scholar, I suspect he might be guilty of understatement. But how often can Mark write about Howard? Why not instead pay tribute to that author we both love by writing a Howardesque story?
From time to time us Tick Tock Men (back when we were all male, so no intention of leaving you out, by using the old, defunct term, Marjorie) would issue writing challenges and contests to each other, often with mixed results. But they were always fun and revealing. So I hereby issue the following writing challenge to Mark Finn alone: You will write a prose short story in the Howard style and post it here. Your opening line is: "Brannon Harak, the northern warrior, kicked the door open. There was murder in his eyes and cold steel in his hands."
Here are the rules:
1) You can fix that opening line(s) a bit, but not much.
2) You must finish and post the story within five days, starting tomorrow, Sunday. And no, I won't accept as an excuse that you didn't see this post in time. You and I share many aspects of the same ego, buddy, so I know you've been checking back here at least daily to see who's commented on your latest post.
3) You are limited to between one and two thousand words, max, but fewer is even better.
A) If you simply finish on time and within the rules, I cook you a victory dinner at the next Clockwork retreat (with the same dinner for the others too, if you deign to allow it).
B) If all other Clockworkers unanimously vote that it is an excellent story, then not only do you get all of the above, but I do the deed, cooking and serving, in full formal mode (ala the Famous formal dinner in which you and Brad cooked and served and you-know-who had to wear the chicken suit), cooking a menu of your decree. No, guys, I'm not the one in a chicken suit, in this scenario. I'm in the fancy pants "Happy to be of service to you, sir, will there be anything else?" part of the famous bet. Ask Mark for details if you must.
And Mark, of course you are allowed to campaign for "excellent" votes from your peers. We are still a silly people at heart.