Guest Post by M.D. Presley: All Fantasy is Cultural Appropriation

All Fantasy is Cultural Appropriation. In the Best Possible Way.

Cultural appropriation is seldom said with a positive connotation, and for good reason. Because nothing is more offensive than seeing suburban kids dolled up in hip-hop attire, or idiots donning red wigs and drinking themselves to oblivion because it’s Saint Paddy’s Day.

I think we can all agree that for both those examples punishment is in order. Preferably corporal and with extreme prejudice. You know, because of their extreme prejudice.

But in the case of the fantasy genre, cultural appropriation is necessary; a cultural and historical shorthand aimed at the audience that actually forms our sub-genres. And, unlike the examples above, in fantasy the cultural appropriation shows appreciation for the chosen culture because fantasy authors add a little something extra to it to make it their own.

Because, like it or not, all fantasy authors are actively appropriating, even if they’re not aware of it. Mainly because, with perhaps the exception of Urban Fantasy, authors simply do not live in the time period or culture we use as the basis to build our worlds upon. Yet we take cultures and histories and reshape them in our own graven images, and it’s from this appropriation that the fantasy genre as a whole is defined.

Don’t believe me? Well consider what the average reader thinks of when they hear a story belongs in the fantasy genre. Nine times out of ten they’ll envision a vaguely medieval setting with a large dose of European cultural parallels: Stories of castles and knights, swords clashing against armor with loads of milords, thees and a smattering of thous. To the vast majority of readers, fantasy as a genre is decidedly Euro-centric with maybe an elf or dragon thrown in.

Subtlety was not exactly Howard’s strong suit in his European cultural appropriation.

Subtlety was not exactly Howard’s strong suit in his European cultural appropriation.

And for the most part, they’re correct, as the sub-genres of High Fantasy, Epic, Heroic, and Sword and Sorcery all reflect a medieval flavor with strong overtones of Europe; because the seminal works in these subgenres were largely written by Europeans drawing from their own culture and history for inspiration. They chose European settings and medieval time periods because that was what they knew, and over time those cultural and historic anchors became cornerstones of the sub-genres.

In short, sub-genres are defined by which culture and history is being appropriated by the author, examples including Gunpowder Fantasy, Gaslight Fantasy, Arabian, Wuxia, Steampunk, Prehistoric, Mythic, Arthurian, Portal and Fairy Tales. As soon as a potential reader sees what sub-genre the book belongs in, s/he instantly know what to expect in terms of cultural and historic parallels within the story. Because the cultural and historic appropriation works as a shorthand for both author and audience to find each other and share their similar interests.

The other aspect in fantasy that keeps our cultural appropriation from being the decidedly bad kind comes down to each author inserting their own fantasy conceit into the appropriated culture and history. It’s this introduction of the unnatural that makes it fantasy rather than alternative history.

Some authors wear their fantasy conceit, as well as their cultural/ historical influences, on their sleeves, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, or Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Others, like Lord of the Rings, are subtler with their medieval England reinterpreted with the introduction of elves, dwarves, and wizards. Game of Thrones keeps the same basic English cultural cornerstone, but then adds other real-world cultural parallels with the definitely Mediterranean influenced Dorn or Bravos. And still others, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, eschew Europe altogether and draw heavily from Eastern influences.

Audiences expect a certain cultural and historic parallel to anchor their experience to this new world fantasy authors are tossing them into, so authors should use this expectation to their advantage. For my Gunpowder Fantasy novel The Woven Ring, I leaned into my appropriation with my first words from the blurb: “A fantasy re-imagining of the American Civil War…” This was a conscious decision on my part to orient any potential readers to the expected culture (American), historical (1900s), and thematic parallels (Civil War) from the onset and let them know what they can expect when they enter my world.

And, for the week of Feb 20-24th, they can expect to get the Kindle download for free. So download a copy lickity split.

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The famous quote is “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” but the lesson I take from it (“appropriated,” if you will) is “those who do not know their history are doomed to write bad fantasy.” Because, consciously or not, fantasy audiences crave a sense of authenticity in regards to the appropriated culture/ time period. So it pays to not only be consciously aware of what time period you are appropriating as an author, but to research it extensively so as to give your audience that sense of authenticity. Little details like the style of dress or food at the time go a long way in creating this and are appreciated by the audience, even if they’re not consciously aware of it.

That said, your personal fantasy conceit you’re interpreting your appropriated culture through should not be ignored either. So while it’s nice to know specifically what style of armor your knights would wear to be historically accurate, the story should never suffer from being beholden to the details.

I mean, this is fantasy after all.

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Author Bio:

MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But feel free to check out all his incoherent ramblings at mdpresley.com, or on the facebook at http://www.facebook.com/solsharvest/

Download your free copy here:

Guest Post by Michael R. Fletcher: To Be A Writer Is To Be A Junkie

When you’re a kid, you can point at pretty much any object, blurt out what it is, and people will cheer and pat you on the back and tell you how smart you are. It’s a great feeling, all that praise. You get addicted to the approval and accolades. But somewhere in your forties people suddenly become less impressed. You can point at a tree, yell, “Tree!” and no one is impressed. Sure, if you know exactly what kind of tree it is (Oak tree!) you might buy yourself another few weeks. But people soon tire of that too. Particularly as it may have been a maple tree.

Eventually you learn to live without the constant praise and adoration of your fellow humans. Yeah, your life is shallow and meaningless and you’re no longer quite convinced you’re as clever as your mom told you, but you soldier on. Maybe you do something particularly clever at work once like remember to label something correctly and your boss says “Good job” but you don’t really care. Maybe if she clapped and jumped up and down and got all giddy about it you might get some small taste of that old rush. But she won’t. And if you ask, she’ll look at you like you’re a nutter.

And then one day you write a book. It takes several years to write, twice as long to edit, and three times as long as that to find a home with an indie publisher. You’re pretty pleased with it. I mean, how often do you actually complete a task like that? In truth, this is the beginning of the end. You’ve started down that slippery slope to soul-destroying addiction.

When you read that first glowing review, a rush of that old pleasure slams through you. You’re three all over again and someone is raving about how awesome you are! More reviews come in and you bask in the praise of the good ones and plot terrible deaths for the fools who wrote the negative ones. Eventually the reviews stop coming in as it’s a tiny publisher and you’ve done a terrible job of promoting your book because you thought that’s what publishers did. You probably won’t clue in until your second book isn’t selling well, but that’s another topic.

You read the old reviews over and over but it’s not the same. They’re nice but you don’t get the same rush. You need a new kick!
So you write another book. This time, because you somehow accidentally learned a ton of stuff during the editing of the first book, this one sells to a big publisher. More reviews come in. Hundreds! You get to pretend you’re three all over again, and for many months you are constantly receiving praise for your efforts. Eventually, even that deep well dries up and you have to write another book. And another. And another.

It’s too late. You’re a junkie.
I gotta go now. I’m jonesing for a fix. The Mirror’s Truth just came out and is still getting reviews. Oh, fresh reviews! Does it get any better?

About the books:

The Mirror’s Truth is the second book of Manifest Delusions. First book is Beyond Redemption, which was critically acclaimed and well liked by the grimdark community. See my review here.

The Mirror’s Truth is even better and the characters and plots are truly stellar. My review is coming soon. Click the images to order the books.

Beyond Redemption

The Mirror's Truth

About the Author:

Michael R. Fletcher lives in the endless suburban sprawl north of Toronto. He dreams of trees and seeing the stars at night and being a ninja. He has a rather insane blog, which can be seen here: http://michaelrfletcher.com/

Guest Post by Brandon Draga: Why YA?

– “Why YA? Why Not?”

*Grabs a cup of coffee*
*Sits down*
*Sips*
Hi everyone, my name’s Brandon, and I write Young Adult Fantasy.
Hoo, okay, that felt good to get off my chest.
I guess you could say it started innocently enough, with my sister urging me to write something en vogue, something with a young female protagonist set in a dystopian society. Naturally, my inclination was to figure out how to do this in a fantasy setting.

Also, to make sure that I wasn’t writing a YA novel.
Denial was a huge part of a number of the creative decisions I made with The Summerlark Elf. I made Enna twenty years old solely so she wouldn’t be a teenager. I left out any trace of a romance subplot, never mind even broaching the idea of a love triangle. I kept the female protagonist and the dystopian setting though (sort of).

After the book was released, I was steadfast in my belief that it was decidedly not a YA book. I made sure to tell everyone who asked that it was meant for an adult audience, though I made sure to add the caveat that it could be read and enjoyed by someone as young as twelve.
Definitely not YA, though. Not at all, thank you kindly.
“But why not?” my girlfriend and cover artist asked on more than one occasion. “What’s wrong with YA?”
“I want to be taken seriously as a fantasy author.” I would reply, with a surprising lack of irony. “I want my books to appeal to a wide range of people!”

And they have, I’m proud to say. I’ve spoken to teens for their library book club, received fan mail from people well into their senior years (of life, not school), been read by the most hardcore genre fans and people who have never read a fantasy book in their life. But then, the same can be said of a lot of people who write books billed as YA, especially genre YA.
J.K. Rowling?
Suzanne Collins?
Veronica Roth?

Hell, look at people like Terry Brooks, David Eddings, or Raymond Feist. You cannot tell me that, had their respective series’ been released today, they would not be pushed as YA titles. Let’s take it further and admit that most post-Tolkien fantasy up until the mid-90s or so fits the most basic tenant of Young Adult fiction, in that the protagonist is a young adult.

Which, if the media is correct (I know), is anyone between 18 and 25. Not unlike Enna Summerlark.

So, that being said, what was my issue, and what changed my mind?
I think we can chalk a lot of it up to me, frankly, being an elitist jerk, and assuming that most fantasy readers are the same.
You see, a funny thing happened when I released The Summerlark Elf. For the first time since I started reading fantasy way back in the before times, I was interacting with other fantasy readers, readers who put my credentials to shame. Readers who, by and large, were perfectly happy to read a YA book, provided it was good. Not just that, but the more people read the book, the more they would tell me it felt like a YA book, and not derisively.

Moreover, something else happened this past year. For a tenure of about eight months, my books were being published by the ultimately ill-fated Realmwalker Publishing Group, and damned if they weren’t selling better that I had hoped. A large part of that, upon careful examination, was the fact that RPG had opted to start billing Summerlark, and its follow-up The Missing Thane’s War as Young Adult Fantasy! Apparently, the best way to broaden my readership was ultimately to narrow my work’s genre classification – who knew?!

It took me longer than I care to admit, but it doesn’t matter who I think my writing is supposed to appeal to, but rather who it does appeal to. Calling my books Young Adult doesn’t change the story in any real way; I’m still writing the books I want to write. And really, YA is a ridiculously large market with a really ridiculously large fan base. If my books sell as Young Adult books, then who am I to say no?
Still not crazy about love triangles, though.
I’m looking at you, Wil Ohmsford…

Author Bio

Brandon Draga was born in 1986, just outside Toronto, Ontario. His love of all things fantasy began at an early age with games like The Legend of Zelda, Heroquest, and Dungeons and Dragons. This affinity for the arcane and archaic led to his studying history at York University from 2005 to 2011. In late 2012, he began writing a D&D campaign setting that would lay the groundwork for the world of Olhean, the setting for his “Four Kingdoms Saga” novel series, compared by critics to the works of Terry Brooks, Michael J. Sullivan, and R.A. Salvatore. Brandon has also proven that SF/F can be made accessible at any age, writing the lauded picture book “Dragon in the Doghouse”. Brandon still lives just outside Toronto, and when he is not writing enjoys skateboarding, playing guitar, and playing tabletop games.

You can learn more about Brandon’s work on his web site: http://www.brandondraga.com/

Guest Post By Claire Frank: The Appeal of Characters With Questionable Morals

Assassin's Charge

Assassin’s Charge

Morally Questionable Characters

Thieves, assassins, bounty hunters, smugglers. We love books that feature characters who lead darklives, living on the edge of acceptable society. What makes stories about characters with morally questionable professions so intriguing?

The vicarious experience

Let’s be honest—most of us don’t actually want to steal things or kill people (or do we?). But in a book,we can experience things we’d never do in reality. The thrill of the chase, the fear of getting caught, theconfidence of being a badass. Morally questionable characters provide us with the opportunity toindulge in situations and actions we’d usually avoid.

Reading is an out-of-body experience, no matter the subject or genre. We can safely enjoy the illicit andforbidden, from the comfort of our couch—without the dire consequences.

The character’s growth

At the heart of a compelling story is usually a character who changes. As they navigate their waythrough the plot, the events leave their mark, forcing them to face their flaws and inner demons. Oftenthe protagonist grows, and becomes better. Sometimes, he or she doesn’t. Either way, the characteryou meet on page one is not the same character you say goodbye to when you turn the final page.

Characters leading dark lives pull you through the story, enticing you with the possibility for change. Will they do the right thing in the end? They keep us on edge, wondering what they’ll do, because we know their standards. They’re as likely to betray as to save, to embrace the dark rather than the light. The potential for a satisfying character arc is strong when the character begins as a thief, rogue, or killer.

The character’s competence

Often the thieves and killers in a story are remarkable at what they do. They can scale a wall, pick a lock, hide in the shadows, or talk their way out of anything. Whether the story includes the character learning these skills, or they already possess them from the beginning, reading about a badass is fun. There’s a deep satisfaction in seeing characters pull off the impossible, and a delicious sense of anticipation as we watch the story unfold. We know that this time, their skills might not be enough to get them through in one piece.

Writing an assassin

As an author, writing about morally questionable characters proved to be as much fun as reading them. I always enjoy exploring a character who views the world very differently from me. Writing a book from the perspective of a cold-hearted assassin was fascinating. What would she do when facing a challenge?

How does she interact with the people who cross her path? How would she react when her own life is threatened?

Pairing an assassin with an innocent child took the story in an intriguing direction. The main character is faced with saving the life of the person she was hired to kill—which sends her on the run, pursued by her fellow assassins, and a notorious bounty hunter. A moral hero would handle this adventure in one way—an assassin takes quite a different path. Throughout the story, she’s able to use her skills to help her along, often facing odds that are stacked against her. And the events that unfold challenge not only her worldview, but her view of herself. All in all, it made for a very satisfying story to write, and I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Assassin’s Charge: An Echoes of Imara Novel

What if you were hired to kill the only person who could save you?

Rhisia Sen is one of the Empire’s highest paid assassins. Living a life of luxury, she chooses her contracts carefully, working to amass enough wealth so she can leave her bloody trade. She is offered a new contract on the outskirts of civilization, and almost refuses—until she sees the purse. It could be the last job she ever has to take.

But when she reaches the destination, she discovers her mark is a child.

The contract, and her reputation, demand she kill the boy—if she can banish his innocent face from her mind. But another assassin has been sent to kill her, and a notorious bounty hunter is on her trail. She doesn’t know why the boy is a target, or why her former employer wants her dead. Saving the child could be her only chance at survival.

Claire Frank is the author of the epic fantasy series Echoes of Imara, and the brand new novel, Assassin’s Charge, a stand-alone story set in the same world. By day, Claire is a busy mom of three. By night, she writes, giving voices to the characters who clutter her mind during the daylight hours. Her husband David is her co-creator and collaborator, adding his ideas and feedback to her work. Together they banter ideas, craft worlds, create characters and develop stories, usually over too much coffee. Learn more at www.clairefrankbooks.com

Guest Post by Marc Turner: Why NaNoWriMo Just Doesn’t Work For Me

Today’s guest post is by Marc Turner, author of The Chronicle of The Exile series.

Why NaNoWriMo Just Doesn’t Work For Me

It’s November, and for many writers that means NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t already know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of people are currently trying to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. That breaks down to just 1,666 words a day, which sounds simple, right? At the end of the process, participants have a finished manuscript that they can begin to edit into something of publishable standard.

My debut, When the Heavens Fall, came out this May, but it’s actually a book I wrote a few years ago. It’s also the first book I ever completed, so I was discovering my writing ‘voice’ as I went along. At the time, I’d read books on writing craft that stressed the importance of getting your first draft finished. Ernest Hemingway is supposed to have said, “The first draft of anything is sh@t.” That’s a quote I have drawn immense consolation from over the years! There are times when I read my first drafts back and think I could teach my dog to do better. And I don’t even have a dog.

The thinking goes, it doesn’t matter how bad your first draft is. A first draft can always be improved, whereas even the best writer will struggle to revise a book that hasn’t been written. I have a friend who always has half a dozen different projects on the go, but none of them ever seems to get finished. Sometimes that’s because a new idea captures his imagination before he is done with the old one. But mostly it’s because – as he himself admits – he is afraid to reach the end of a project, since that means the next step will be to send the book out for others to pass judgement on. And that’s a huge step for any writer to take.

“Just get the story down”, though, is an approach that hasn’t worked for me in the past. Some authors are planners and some are “pantsers”. I fall into the planning camp, which means that before I embark on a book, I write notes on each character and each culture that will feature in it. I also work out a rough blueprint for the story. I write big, sprawling, multi-threaded epics with plenty of twists and turns, so if I tried to write a story like that “on the fly”, I would quickly write myself off a cliff. That’s not to say I know everything that will happen in the book – I like to leave room for inspiration to strike. But the impetus that some authors feel to find out about their story as they go along just isn’t there for me.

Also, I have discovered that little of worth is produced when I write from the top of my head. There are some people who can sit down with a blank piece of paper and find that inspiration flows from their pen as readily as the ink does. I, on the other hand, prefer to plan out each scene – or even part of a scene – before I write it. Sometimes a good idea will come to me in the course of the actual writing, but mostly I prefer to do my thinking away from the computer. Often my best ideas come to me when I’m relaxing and listening to music, or late at night when I should be sleeping.

I could, of course, do the thinking after I’ve finished the first draft; that’s what I did all those years ago when I wrote When the Heavens Fall. When I came to re-read the book, though, I found that large sections were – how can I put it? – decidedly lacking in inspiration. I spent a huge amount of time re-writing parts and cutting others, then tightening and polishing – before starting the process all over again. It struck me as an inefficient way to work. I hear of writers who, in the course of revision, can throw away a third or even half of their book. I couldn’t do that. I have learned from experience that I would much rather put the extra effort in at the start of the process and create a first draft that I’m happy with.

Or happier, at least.

Now, I set myself a modest target of 1,000 words a day. As a result I spend a lot less time editing than I used to. I could try and increase that word count, but the extra words wouldn’t be worth the time spent on them. I might finish the first draft faster, but the book as a whole would take longer to complete.

Of course, there’s a danger in my approach to writing. Taken to extremes, it could mean that I spend so long thinking about what I will write that I don’t actually do any writing. There are also times when I feel frustrated at how slowly I am progressing – particularly when I read about other writers knocking off 10,000 words in a morning. As ever, the best solution to the problem is probably a balance. In writing a first draft, you should take enough care in your work that you do it to the best of your ability. But don’t take so much care that you start editing each sentence before you move on to the next.

If I have a conclusion, it’s that there is no such thing as a writing process that suits everyone. If NaNoWriMo isn’t working for you, don’t get disheartened. Find a more realistic word target, and stick to that instead. But whatever you do, just make sure that you are always moving forward.

About the author:

Marc Turner was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in England. He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford University, in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in law, and subsequently joined a top ten law firm in the City of London. After realising that working there did not mix well with simple pleasures such as having a life, he fled north first to Leeds and then to Durham in search of a better work-life balance. Unfortunately it proved elusive, and so in 2007, rather than take the next step and move to Scotland, he began working part time so he could devote more time to his writing. Following the sale of his debut epic fantasy novel, When the Heavens Fall, he started writing full time.

Why writing? Because it is the only work he knows where daydreaming isn’t frowned upon, and because he has learned from bitter experience that he cannot not write. The authors whose work has most influenced him are Steven Erikson and Joe Abercrombie. Consequently he writes fast-paced, multi-threaded novels with a liberal sprinkling of humour; novels written on a panoramic scale, peopled by characters that stay in the memory. Or at least that’s the theory…

He lives in Durham, England, with his wife and son.


When The Heavens Fall Dragon Hunters

Guest Post: Santa and Fantasy by MICHAEL R. FLETCHER

Beyond Redemption by Micheal J. Fletcher

Today I have the privilege to have Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption, visit my humble blog for a guest post.

Don’t forget to check out Michael’s other awesome guest posts at Beauty in Ruins, mightythorjrs and Bookwraiths.

Santa and Fantasy

My five year old daughter recently lost her first tooth. She was very excited at the prospect of a visitation by the Tooth Fairy and asked many intelligent questions. How will the Tooth Fairy get in when the door is locked? Does she come through the window? How big is she? Can she carry the tooth if she’s really small?

My wife—who grew up without Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy—let me field the questions. As I answered I began to question what I was doing.

Why was I lying to her? How would she feel when she learned the truth? Why do we do this, why do will fill our children with tales of magic and wonder that we ourselves don’t believe?

On top of that there’s my close friend, [REDACTED]. He’s the first person to read everything I write and is in fact the guy I write for. His feedback has shaped my novels and stories for many years. Even though he’ in his 40s, he’s still pissed at his parents for lying about Santa. He’s probably just a crazy outlier, but I have trouble ignoring him.

I glanced at my wife (she’s gorgeous, I spend a fair amount of time looking at her) and it occurred to me how different we are. I love escapist literature—fantasy and science-fiction in particular—and she does not. She finds it strange, has trouble suspending disbelief when she sees how unrealistic it is. Look at Beyond Redemption where people’s delusions manifest as reality; that’s crazy! It’s so ridiculously unrealistic that she finds it difficult to read.

Why is that?

Where I grew up in a world where Santa and his ilk were all very real, she did not. She knew it was her father who brought the presents on Christmas. Where I awoke once a year to find chocolate hidden about the house (and would still be finding those chocolates hidden a little too well months later), she did not. There was never an Easter Bunny. No one collected her teeth and left money under the pillow.

Where my parents read Lord of the Rings to me as a young child, hers did not.

How much did these differences shape the adults we became?

My employment history looks like the random wanderings of a schizophrenic. I’ve flipped burgers, been a short-order cook at a pub, hung out the window of a Cessna at one thousand feet doing aerial photography. I’ve done front-of-house sound for over ten thousand bands, and Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered countless albums. I ran a mobile recording studio, worked in another as an in-house engineer, and played guitar in a gothic metal band. I’ve written web content for lawyers, boutique butcheries, corporate coaches, software companies, and multi-national engineering and manufacturing firms. I’ve been employed, unemployed, self-employed, and self-unemployed. I went to university to study philosophy and dropped out after a year and a half to drop acid, smoke pot, and drink beer. I went to college to study audio-engineering and dropped out just before graduation because I’d landed a regular gig mixing bands for $50 a night. I wrote 70,000 words of a fantasy novel back in the mid 90s and gave up with no real reason. I also wrote several short stories and did nothing with them. Twenty years later I rewrote one (Intellectual Property) and sold it to Interzone in the UK. I grew up being told I could be whatever I wanted, though my parents neglected to mention how much work was involved and I’m a little slow.

My wife went to college to become a pharmacy technician, graduated with honours, and became a pharmacy technician. As a child she learned the importance of a good income and wise investments (she’d purchased a condo before we even met). She is why we own a house. She is why I can bash away at this mad dream of being a writer.

That night as we put our daughter’s tooth under the pillow and I explained how the Tooth Fairy’s magic worked, I wondered what I was doing to my child. I don’t pretend that what kind of person she turns out to be is up to me, but I suspect I have some influence. I know she will do and be whatever she wants. Maybe she’ll pursue the arts but do it far more intelligently than I. Whatever choice she makes I will back her with all my heart.

That said, what kind of person do I want her to be?

Knowing my own struggles and the difficulties one faces when choosing a non-standard life-path—and let’s pretend it was a choice rather than a meandering path I stumbled along while fleeing responsibility—I hesitate to promote that to my daughter. Would she not be better off with regular employment and a reliable source of income? I want her to know security. I want her to be able to vacation in the tropics instead of Brantford. I want her to know a stability I never had.

But then I wonder, would I be happy with an office job? Could I even keep one? Do I really give a shit that all-inclusive vacations at five-star resorts are usually beyond my means? How much do I love daydreaming and writing? Would I be willing to give all this up?

Back I come to the Tooth Fairy and Santa. My daughter flat out asked me if the Tooth Fairy was real. I stalled and distracted her. I’m not sure I can lie and yet I want her to have some magic in her life. Even if I don’t believe in magic, I love the idea; I miss it.

What would you do? What do you tell your children? Is magic and fantasy an important part of childhood? Do your small children believe in Santa? If your five year old asks for the truth, what will you say?

About Michael R. Fletcher:

Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author. His novel, Beyond Redemption, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, was published by HARPER Voyager in 2015.

His début novel, 88, a cyberpunk tale about harvesting children for their brains, was released by Five Rivers Publishing in 2013.

The next two Manifest Delusions novels, The Mirror’s Truth, and The All Consuming, are currently in various stages of editing while Michael tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.

Michael is represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

About Beyond Redemption:

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn’t an axiom, it’s a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one’s delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question, then, is:

Who will rule there?

GUEST POST: THE RULES OF A RESPONSIVE REALITY by MICHAEL R. FLETCHER

authorspotlight

Continuing my personal crusade to introduce everyone to great books, I am honored to have Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption, visit the blog for Part Three of his THE RULES OF A RESPONSIVE REALITY blogging tour. Here Michael will explain the madness and mayhem behind the world of Manifest Delusion; a place where insanity is the means to shape reality to your will!

Be sure to check out Part One of Michael’s post over at Beauty in Ruins and Part Two over at mightythorjrs before reading below.


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RULES OF A RESPONSIVE REALITY – PART THREE

Types of Geisteskranken

In Part One I defined some basic terms such as Geisteskranken (crazy people capable of warping reality with their delusions) and the Sane folks who are only capable of shaping reality as a group. In Part Two I looked at the factors defining and limiting the powers of a…

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