Get a Story Each Month
Want to get a brand new, original Cat Rambo story in your mail each month for as little as $1? Check out Cat’s Patreon campaign.
This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Tag Archives: guest post
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.
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.
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?
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.
It’s always bothered me that fantasy and science fiction get lumped together into a single category. The two genres seem very different, at least on the surface. Fantasy usually features some kind of magic as a core speculative element. It often takes place in a secondary world at a pre-industrial state of technology. Science fiction, in contrast, usually takes us to the future in which some as-yet-nonexistent technology underlies the plot. Granted, there’s a huge overlap between fantasy and science fiction fandoms. Maybe that means we live for escapism, whether to a fantasy world or outer space.
Because I’ve run a number of guest posts on my blog and get offered additional ones from time to time, here’s the guidelines. I prefer they fall into one of the following areas but I’m open to interesting pitches: Interesting … Continue reading
First, I didn’t set out to be a humorist. And I’ve only got one sci-fi comedy novel so far, Where the Hell is Tesla?, so I’m not sure I qualify as anyone you should listen to. But I’ve always loved funny sci-fi, like Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or John Scalzi’s Agent to the Stars, or Pratchett and Gaiman’s Good Omens, and I love the process of writing humor. It seems like a fit. I’m sticking with it.
Along the way, I’ve learned a ton from great writers, and great teachers, and from screwing up in every conceivable way. So here are a few of my favorite little nuggets that you might find it useful in your own writing:
Hard science fiction tells stories based on the hardest of hard sciences, particularly on the engineering and technological application of these sciences. If a story doesn’t have space ships, terraforming, anti-grav, robots, or semi-accurate descriptions of planetary orbits and atmospheres, … Continue reading
The second-most interesting thing about writing for video games is that odds are, the bulk of the writing that you’ll be doing will have very little to do with the “main” plot and its showier expressions. Yes, there is dialog … Continue reading
Reading makes you smarter. Let’s go ahead and assert that as fact. Research actually indicates that there is a direct correlation between reading and intelligence. For that reason alone, you should be reading fantasy. Beyond that however, what’s so special … Continue reading