Author Archives: Cat

About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.

The Merqueen’s Report: Nebula Awards Weekend, 2018

I will add pictures in later, editing them in as they get processed. For now, I want to record some of my thoughts and memories from the past weekend, before a brand-new weekend eclipses any part of the splendor. Kudoes … Continue reading

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Guest Post: E.D.E. Bell Serves Up Five Simple Vegan Foods to Try

Hello. I love, read, and write fantasy fiction. Oh, and I’m a vegan.

When I sell my fantasy novels at Comic Cons, I’ll usually sneak a little reference onto the bottom of my table white board, such as Vegan, or Vegan-friendly. In my mind, this covert signal will draw vegans to my table, whispering, “I am one too. Tell me, sister, about your fiction.” Like that first moment of connection in a dystopian novel. This doesn’t happen. Instead, people skip all the other great things on the board, point right to vegan, loudly state, “Look, it says veggan!” and then laugh. This hasn’t dissuaded me from the attempt. About half of those times, someone will ask, “Vegan-friendly fantasy fiction? What’s that?” They laugh. Then when I start to answer, they leave.

In my mind, whenever someone asks what could be vegan about fantasy, it proves to me that they’ve never been a vegan reading fantasy. In addition to a lot of the violence and war in the genre (it’s usually a central component, even outside of grimdark), the best scenes feature someone riding their steed in a fine leather vest to grab a hock of ham. I’m not even sure I know what hocks are, but I have concluded they are key to the development of fantasy heroes. So, you know, my fiction is just focused a bit differently.

I’m not here to get into all of that, though. I’m here to talk about one of Cat’s and my favorite subjects: yummy food. Now, I’m not an authority on gourmet cuisine. Go to a vegan restaurant or check out many amazing online vegan chefs for that. (I’m particularly fond of Richa Hingle.) Hey, I’m not even a great cook. But I haven’t eaten meat in over two decades, so I can definitely speak to “what we eat.” Don’t worry. This is just a quick blog to spark some ideas. But if you don’t mind eating plants, here are five simple foods you could give a spin.
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Guest Post: Sheryl R. Hayers Stirs Up Crockpot Short Ribs of Hope

I’m not the world’s best cook by any means. If given the option, to steal more time for writing I will order in or use prepackaged dinners. But there are things I make when I need that extra comfort that take-out or microwave meals won’t provide. It was no surprise that one of my favorite home-made meals made its way into my novel Chaos Wolf.

In that scene, Jordan is due to present herself to the alpha werewolf of the Black Oak Pack for one final test. Alpha Shane has made it clear that if she can’t prove that she is in control her shapeshifting, he will kill her. She has just confronted Montgomery, her vampire mentor, about information he has withheld from her. Her trust in him is shaken when she needs his support the most. She’s exhausted emotionally and physically and needs something she can look forward to beyond mere survival. So she cooks.

Jordan doesn’t toss something into the microwave that warms up in two minutes. She doesn’t reach for the take-out cartons from the dinner the night before. She chooses to make a meal that will take a half hour to prepare and ten hours to cook.

In an act of quiet defiance against all of those who think she’s going to fail, Jordan chooses to hope that she will be there to eat it when it’s done. In her mind, it’s not her last meal, but her next meal to look forward to when she returns home.
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Advice for Attending a Writing Workshop

A student wrote in to let me know they’d made it into Odyssey, huzzah, and asked if I had any advice about attending a workshop. As a matter of fact I do. Like many things in life, you get more out of a workshop if you’re willing to invest a little effort beforehand, during, and afterward.

I went through a number of workshops in college at both the undergraduate and graduate level, but the place where I learned the most was Clarion West, a six week workshop in Seattle. My instructors were Octavia Butler, Andy Duncan, L. Timmel Duchamp, Connie Willis, Gordon van Gelder, and Michael Swanwick; my classmates included Ann Leckie, E.C.Myers, Rashida Smith, and Rachel Swirsky, among others. If you read a lot of F&SF, you may recognize many of those names and realize how incredibly privileged I was to be part of that year.
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Guest Post: Kate Heartfield Excavates Food of the Underworld

Imagine a Hellmouth. No, not the one in Sunnydale, California—a medieval Hellmouth, straight out of a manuscript illumination. Pointy teeth, flames, unhappy people.
When I decided that I wanted to write a book about a medieval woman who leads a raid on Hell, that was the sort of underworld that immediately came to my mind. A mouth, though, implies a throat, and a stomach, and, well, everything else.

So I had a Hellbeast on my hands, a creature that spends centuries underground, but occasionally makes an appearance on the surface. It’s a little like a platypus, but without the bill. And a lot bigger.

Within the Hellbeast, there are revenants. But there are also humans—some have been altered in various ways, and some are extremely long-lived, but they are humans nonetheless. This led me to an unusual world-building question: What do people eat in the underworld?
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Recent Newsletter Stuff

Hello! It’s full-on spring here in Seattle. Trees are in bloom, and construction projects have shifted into high gear, so the sidewalks are full of pylons and freshly poured concrete. I’m looking forward to comparing this weather to other places … Continue reading

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Press Release: Hearts of Tabat

Look at the pretty press release Wordfire put together! FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dryads. Minotaurs. Centaurs. Can magical creatures force social revolution in Tabat? Monument, Colorado. WordFire Press is proud to announce the release of HEARTS OF TABAT, Book 2 of … Continue reading

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Guest Post: R J Theodore Gives Away an Old Family Secret

Everybody’s tried to make a meal they mess up. A pile of perfectly good ingredients that just won’t come together into something palatable despite our best efforts. And when time and money and supplies are tight, sometimes tossing out the pot and starting over is not an option.

In each act of my new spacepunk steam opera novel, FLOTSAM, the four-person airship crew sits down to a meal. They come together to eat, to debate, and to problem solve. Their thoughts in these scenes are filled with worry over finding work, getting paid, keeping the ship in good repair, and staying out of trouble long enough to spend any money left after that.

Each meal is a backdrop to what’s going on in the story at that moment: an easy, familiar meal to celebrate getting away from a confrontation in one piece; a load of their favorite takeout as distraction from unpleasant news; and, finally, a dinner that goes horribly wrong before coming together in the end.
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Where I’ll be at Norwescon, 2018

I have a table in the Writers Alley this year and will be there starting Friday morning. Stop by! I will have books for sale as well as the “Writers Just Fucking Write” keychains. Friday Literary Techniques for Genre Fiction: … Continue reading

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Guest Post: B. Morris Allen is 5×5

5 stories, 5 times

Have you ever wondered how your favorite story would sound if written by another author? What is it exactly, that makes writers different? What does each one bring to the story they’re writing, in terms of style, mood, tone, etc? How would the story sound as written by someone else?

That’s what the Reading 5X5 anthology explores – twenty-five SFF writers writing five variants of five stories. I asked five groups of five authors to start from the same basic story brief, but write in their own way. The result is fascinating – five wildly different approaches to each of the five briefs, but each telling, at its core, the same story.
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