Monday, December 18, 2023

Go for the Unrealistic - Tips for the New Year!


Jinx isn't afraid of the 'impossible' -

I want to wind up 2023 with a meaningful idea, and the topic that comes to mind is What's Next? It reminds me of a piece I wrote a few decades ago after hearing Will Smith talk about doing the impossible. I've tweaked it to fit the NOW. Hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday season, and New Year 2024.

Will Smith said in an interview once that it’s unrealistic to bend a piece of metal and fly people over the ocean in it but fortunately, the Wright brothers didn’t think so

It all begins with this premise. 

Michael Parkes

A lot of advice for emerging writers, students, biz owners, teachers, apprentices, and entrepreneurs centres on ‘being realistic'. For example, you have to start at the bottom, take baby steps, like... forget about landing an agent if you haven’t published, and definitely forget about a major publisher without an agent. What you want to achieve is very hard work, $$$ will be tight, and rejection du jour so keep your day job...  It's enough to sink your dreams into the sludge.

But is the advice realistic? Probably. 

Do you let that guide you? No!

I highly recommend these five unrealistic tips to set yourself up to do the 'impossible' in 2024. 

Tip #1 Forget about being realistic. Stop thinking about the practical advice and the ‘cold hard facts’ and develop your craft/heart/goals. If you have a dream, something you are enthusiastic about, develop the skills to deliver it. All the talent in the world won’t fly if you don’t have the skills to communicate your vision. Develop them!

Tip #2 Think in terms of component parts. In publishing, you don’t set out to write a 500,000-word, multi-book series. You don’t even set out to write a single novel. You get up in the morning and you write five hundred words. You do that for a time and get some confidence and maybe, after a while, you find yourself writing a thousand words a day. Then two thousand. Same with a new business plan, thesis, art show, album, you name it. Component parts, day by day.

Tip #3 Say you can do it. He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both correct. Confucius. Think about that for a while.

Tip #4 Know your motivations. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ motivation for your artistry. It might be that you want to prove something to the world. You might want to feel of value. You might be obsessed with telling a story that will touch people’s hearts. Whatever your motivation is, know it. Know thyself. The awareness of what drives you is your touchstone.

YaoYao Ma Van As

Tip #5 Decide, devote, deliver. But first, just decide that you will do it, that you will achieve your dream. Devote your whole heart to it, and allow for compassion for others and the planet to be part of that devotion. Deliver what you promise to yourself and to others—one step at a time.

Bonus tip. Remind yourself to go for the unrealistic. I mean, what if we’d listened to any of this ‘realistic’ advice?

Everything that can be invented has been invented.  Charles H. Duell, an official at the US Patent Office, 1899

The singer (Mick Jagger) will have to go; the BBC won’t like him. -First Rolling Stones manager Eric Easton to his partner after watching them perform.

I’m sorry, Mr Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language. –The San Francisco Examiner, rejecting a submission by Rudyard Kipling in 1889

You better get secretarial work or get married. -Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modelling Modelling Agency, advising would-be model Marilyn Monroe in 1944.

With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself. Business Week, August 2, 1968.

There will never be a bigger plane built. – A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin-engine plane that held ten people.

If anything remains more or less unchanged, it will be the role of women. David Riesman, conservative American social scientist, 1967. (Of boy!)

I hope these ideas offer you inspiration for the New Year 2024!

Blessings to all,



About Kim Falconer

Kim Falconer, currently writing as AK Wilder, has released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows as book 2 in the series. Currently, she is working on the third book, out in 2024.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Throw the bones, read your horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the site

Friday, December 1, 2023

Bromance & The Band -of-Brothers in "Daughter of Blood" by Helen Lowe

A classic theme for '23

Phew, made it to December 1 and the final post in m'2023 blog series -- and with three weeks in hand until the full festive-palooza kicks in! Awesome: high fives all round!!

For the past few years I've been blogging to a theme and this year's has been the "band of brothers" trope in fantasy fiction, right alongside it's joined-at-the-hip sibling, the bromance. (The full list of posts, with direct-link-goodness included, is at the end of this post.)

Currently, I'm rounding up the theme with a closer look at both bands-of-brothers and bromance in m'own The Wall Of Night fantasy series. Today, for the final post, the spotlight's on Book #3, Daughter of Blood.


Bromance & the Band-of-Brothers in Daughter of Blood

Last month, I asserted that Book #2, The Gathering of the Lost was "band-of-brothers central", an assertion I reiterate in respect of #3 Daughter of Blood. Only in this case, bromance is definitely part of the mix as well.

Kalan in the Red Keep

The central character in this respect is Kalan, one of the series' two main characters. (The other is Malian, the Heir of Night, but she is far more of a loner.) In the first part of the story, he competes in a grand tourney to select an honor guard for Myr, the Daughter of Blood of the title. 

The tournament not only comprises feats of arms, it's also rife with plots, politicking, and skulduggery. As an unaligned stranger in this mix, Kalan must find warriors of like mind to guard his back -- thus his first 'band', which as well as three adult warriors (Bajan, Taly, and Dab) comprises two pages (Faro and Liy) and the castle's pack of wyr (magical) hounds. 

(Using 'brothers' in a very loose and all-encompassing sense, needless to say -- as has been the case throughout. :-) )

Garan and His 'Merry Eight'

The story's second band, operating independently of Kalan, Malian, and their adventures, is more of a "happy few." A Night soldier called Garan, with his eight-unit (the foundational military unit in the world's armies) shift from what they call "nursemaid duty", escorting non-combatants, to a hunt for a missing person. 

Readers have met Garan and his eight before, but they come more fully into the picture in Daughter of Blood, where their experience and camaraderie is the glue that holds their part of the story together.

Kalan and the Bridal Caravan Assault

Following the Red Keep tourney, Kalan and eight exiled House of Blood warriors, together with thirteen of the Red Keep wyr hounds, must defend a bridal caravan--and the bride--from an unexpected attack. The odds are against them, but they team up with a Sea envoy's marine* escort, to form the nucleus of the caravan's defense. 

Again, it's all about brotherhood and shield-walls, this time in dire circumstances -- a brotherhood that's unexpectedly expanded when a prince of the House of Stars, together with his honor guard, join the defense: 

"The two commanders grasped each other’s forearms in the traditional greeting between warriors and equals, before the Stars leader bowed, demonstrating that he possessed his House's traditional grace as well as its glamor. Both drawl and smile were back in place as he regarded Kalan. “We are yours to command, my brother.”

The sharp-eyed among you may spot bromance. And you would be right! The alignment between Kalan and the Star prince is crucial in the events that follow -- just as the band-of-brothers is integral to the weft and warp of the Daughter of Blood story.


And that's it for 2023, my friends. Enjoy the holiday season -- and see you on the other side, in 2024! 

* Note: "marine" in its original sense of "solders-that-fight-on-ships", as opposed to various specific marine corps that currently exist -- a distinction discussed here: Sea House Marines in The Wall Of Night series.

Previous Posts:

February: Honing in on 2021Celebrating the "Band of Brothers"
March: Celebrating the "Band of Brothers" in Fantasy #2
April: Celebrating the "Scooby Gang" #3
May: Celebrating the "Band of Sisters"
June: From Band of Brothers To Bromance!
July: Sister Acts: from the "Band of Sisters" to True Sisterhood
August: When Brotherhoods -- and Bros -- Go Bad!
September: "The Band of Brothers" -- A Few More Fantasy Favorites
October: The Band-of-Brothers in The Heir Of Night
November: The Band-of-Brothers in The Gathering of the Lost


About the Author

Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet, and lover of story. With four books published to date, she is currently completing the final installment in The Wall Of Night series.

Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we.