“Writers are fortunate people.”
Susan Cooper

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Click to view original watercolor illustration by Kay Nielsen
this fictionette ain't goin' nowhere but maybe round the corner for a beer
Sat 2015-10-03 00:40:49 (single post)

The first Friday Fictionette for October is a small folk tale retelling, or a folk tale fanfic if you will. It's called "How the Lassie Didn't Go East of the Sun and West of the Moon," and it posits a lot more communication and common sense than is the norm in folk tales. I mean, seriously, a girl's got more senses than just her sight. If her mother imagines that her daughter needs a candle to tell whether the guy she's sharing her bed isn't a Troll, her mother has a very innocent idea of what goes on in bed. That's all I'm saying.

I was astounded to discover that all of Kay Nielson's gorgeous watercolor illustrations for the folk tale collection East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North are as much in the public domain as the text itself--or at least they are covered by "no known copyright restrictions." I incorporated one of these illustrations for the Fictionette cover art, because it's lovely and because it helps make clear exactly what folk tale I'm playing with.

I've also released a Fictionette Freebie for September, and it's "The Celebrated Frog Forger of Clackamas County." The PDF chapbook and the MP3 audiofictionette are now both available for free to subscribers and nonsubscribers alike. Enjoy!

And with that we head into the weekend. If you're in the neighborhood and want to hang out, I'll be among the crowd helping local brewery (and Boulder County Bombers sponsor!) 300 Suns celebrate their Grand Re-Opening on Saturday afternoon. Bring a game to play, buy some beer, and enjoy their new menu! That's what I'm gonna do. (My, that Lushious Belgian Ale with the ginger and lavender sounds tasty...)

Cover art features a public domain photo of a courtroom--not in Clackamas County, alas--and a Creative Commons licensed photo of a report card.
here is a fictionette, tomorrow you get another
Thu 2015-09-24 23:29:48 (single post)

So I didn't get it done Sunday. And I didn't get it done Monday. I got it done yesterday, and today you get the blog post about it:

"The Celebrated Frog Forger of Clackamas County" is your Friday Fictionette for September 18, 2015. So there. Why a frog? Because apparently I was on a talking frog kick last month, and went there on the least provocation. Why Clackamas County? I dunno; it scans right, I guess. And I lived in Oregon for a little while, so what the heck.

It was actually Josephine County that I lived in for the last couple years of the '90s. During that time, my mail kept getting randomly sent up to Marion County because multiple people saw envelopes and packages addressed to Selma, OR and "helpfully" corrected the obvious misspelling to Salem.

My goal is to have tomorrow's fictionette done on time. My goal is always to have them done on time, of course--at least, right up until the time I give up on it because I fail again. But this time I know ahead of time that my Friday the 25th will be packed with time-consuming things, so I have done a good bit of work on it early.

It will be about deer. Maybe talking deer. Deer that are capable of spray-painting graffiti slogans in English, anyway. I guess I've just been on a talking animal kick. This post-Spreading Sentience Syndrome setting may wind up in a pro-publishable story one of these days, seeing as how it keeps working its way into the fictionettes.

Anyway, here it is. And also, sorry for the long silence. I promise it's not because I got broken in Saturday's tournament. Nobody got broken! I just got bruised, and some of those bruises were from delivering righteous hits. But I did need more time to recover than I thought I would. Apparently, recovery involved two days spent more or less flat on my back with books. Or maybe it's just that I need days-in-bed-with-books from time to time, and derby recovery was a good excuse.

What I've been rereading is Sheri S. Tepper's True Game series, which is kind of like a cross between Xanth and Pern in its world-building, but its squick derives from aggressive pro-eugenics politicizing rather than from sexist rapey crap. I'm... not exactly selling it here, am I? Rereading Tepper is always a guilty pleasure. Her worldbuilding and her protagonists' development are fantastic. And even if I can't quite buy into the chess-like framework for the duels in The True Game, I kind of dig the attempt. But her politics are monstrous, the sort of stuff that gives feminism and environmentalism a bad name. She seems to think the solution to all societal problems is to have aliens or gods or sentient trees or whatnot kill off most of the population. It comes up in most of her novels. In the True Game books, she explicitly posits that physical "deformity" leads to moral deficiency because, what, living in a crippled/deformed/stunted body that's constantly in pain squeezes the soul out of shape? Somebody please find me a way to read the whole "Dupey" encounter in a more generous light? Because I can't. And it gets worse, because there are characters called Midwives (capitalized to indicate magical Talent), whom all good characters want at their side during childbirth (refusing a Midwife is an indication that you're corrupt and evil and selfish), whose future vision allows them to see which newborns will never "grow a soul" and therefore may be exterminated. Put those two bits together, and, well, way to tell a good portion of your readers that, due to whatever condition they were born with, they're congenitally evil and you'd prefer they'd never been born. And that's before we get into her conveniently subjecting two of her villains to misadventure resulting in dramatic facial wounds that make our sensitive protagonist want to throw up every time he lays eyes on them, but at the same time condemns these characters for vanity because they tried to magically hide their scars (shock!)... Argh. This is not your go-to author for handling disabilities and issues of physical appearance with compassion, is what I'm saying. And her villains tend to be two-dimensional strawmen, and half the time I think she uses a thesaurus written in baby-speak to come up with names for people and places, and she uses way too many exclamation marks.

...And I still turn to her novels for comfort reading. Some of them, anyway. (Any of the ones I read before throwing The Fresco at the wall, anyway. I stopped seeking out new stuff of hers to read after that.)

I seem to have gone off in a rant. Well, I'm now well into rereading the fifth book of the novena, so it's been building up. Remember, though, I'm choosing to reread them, so they've got to have something going for them, right? But they are decidedly not for everyone.

Well and so but anyway, see you tomorrow with a new Fictionette. Promise. (Double dog promise! Pinky swear!)

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