Tag Archives: ancient wonders

Ancient Wonders: Pauline E Dungate

Oops, one more Ancient Wonders interviewee for you lovely peeps – our very own Pauline E. Dungate!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I spent all of my working life as a teacher but ended up as the resident teacher at Birmingham Nature Centre with a classroom full of exotic animals. I spend a lot of time reading, writing and reviewing when I am not in the garden. I take my camera on exotic holidays looking for wildlife. Last year it was Ecuador.

What inspired you to write “One Man’s Folly”? 
 
Every year there is a Middle Earth Weekend at Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham. Because of the Tolkien connection, the local paper often runs articles about his influences around this time. On the photo of Perrot’s Tower, an octagonal building, I noticed that the corner stones of the topmost floor looked very different from the rest of the brick built building. That led to the question of what they were made of. What if it was a stone circle in the sky. The story grew from there.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go? 

It would probably have to be Hadrian’s Wall – either that or British Camp, the hill fort on the Malvern Hills.  

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The mystery. We know so little about them so there is much that can be imagined and no-one can tell us we are wrong.  

What do you have coming out next?

I am working on a near future thriller set in Birmingham plus a number of stories. I write reviews and poetry as Pauline Morgan and there are plenty of my reviews around. The writers’ group I belong to has recently put out a pamphlet called Grapeshot which has three of my poems in it.

[Pauline E Dungate’s stories have appeared in anthologies such as Skin of the Soul, Narrow Houses, Swords Against the Millennium, Beneath the Ground, Merlin, Victorious Villains and Under the Rose. She has won prizes for poetry and has been a judge for the Arthur C Clarke Award. She reviews for SFCrowsnest and runs workshops covering all areas of creative writing. She lives in Birmingham with husband and fellow writer Chris Morgan.]

0f173-wonders1The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Kari Sperring

And our final Ancient Wonders interview is the one, the only, Kari Sperring!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write? 

I’m a mediaeval historian (specialising in Celts) by training and a writer by instinct – I started writing aged seven and I haven’t stopped since. I love swashbucklers, ancient mysteries, things and people who are not what they seem, complex worlds and intrigue, which get into everything I write. As does water; I can’t account for that, but most of what I write ends up with water as a key element.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go? 

Oh, goodness, that’s hard … I don’t know. Maybe the court of Louis XIII or Louis XIV: I’d love to meet the real d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes? 

That sense that the past is still there, immanent in every stone and that we are all part of the flow of history.

What do you have coming out next?

I have a sequel to The Grass King’s Concubine due from DAW, probably next year. It has no final title as yet, but the working title is Death and the Madwoman

[Kari Sperring grew up dreaming of joining the musketeers and saving France, only to find they’d been disbanded in 1776. Disappointed, she became a historian and as Kari Maund published six books and many articles on Celtic and Viking history, plus one on the background to favourite novel, The Three Musketeers (with Phil Nanson). She started writing fantasy in her teens, inspired by Tolkien, Dumas and Mallory. She is the author of two novels, Living with Ghosts (DAW 2009), which won the 2010 Sydney J Bounds Award, was shortlisted for the William L Crawford Award and made the Tiptree Award Honours’ List; and The Grass King’s Concubine (DAW 2012).]

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The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Lynn M Cochrane

Under the Ancient Wonders interview spotlight today we have the very fine and funky Lynn M. Cochrane!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write? 

Challenged to describe myself in three words, I answered, “Orange headed barrel”. Now you’ll recognise me anywhere (oh, and it has worked!). To quote my Scottish grandmother, I’m as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth, though I will admit to having both children and grandchildren. I prefer to write words. They often turn up as poems but they also appear as stories, usually hovering in the intersection of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Sometimes, the poems have tunes attached. Maybe they should be called songs. I’m a member of Yardley Baptist Church in Birmingham where I serve as Newsletter Editor and as a member of both the Worship Team and the Preaching Team – so perhaps you should add sermons to the list of things I write!

What inspired you to write “Ringfenced”? 

A photo of a standing stone, somewhere in the north-east of England, which had a ray of blue light firing straight up from its tip. Things like that burn themselves into my memory.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go? 

Ness of Brodgar. From there I could get to the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness, possibly also Maes Howe and Skara Brae, all on Orkney. So many questions: Are they linked, other than by location? How are they linked? Were they all in use at the same time? How were they used? Would I be able to gain and give some answers?

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

Pass the trowel … if only! I’m fascinated by the remnants in the ground (and anything still standing above ground) and by the puzzle of what such things and buildings were used for. I’d love to take part in archaeological explorations. Perhaps the big question is how someone from the 21st century would cope if they were dropped into the relevant point in time and space.

What do you have coming out next?

I’m always writing poems. It’s almost as if they catch hold of my hands and won’t let go until they’ve been attached to paper or the current electronic equivalent. I’m working on some short stories, a couple of which may well end up being rather longer – novellas or even novels; who knows? I also edit the showcase anthology for Cannon Hill Writers’ Group, Salvo, and its new little sibling, Grapeshot.

[Lynn M Cochrane lives in the outskirts of Birmingham. She has been writing most of her life and has produced three collections of poems. She has had short stories published in convention publications and in Raw Edge, the West Midlands Arts publication. She is a member of Cannon Hill Writers’ Group, leading writing workshops from time to time.]

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The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Anne Nicholls

And today in the Ancient Wonders interview spotlight, is the fabulous Anne Nicholls

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write? 

I love a good story: thrills, adventures, heroism, the writing of wrongs.

What inspired you to write “Dragonsbridge”? 

I wrote “Dragonsbridge” after I got back from a great little fantasy convention called Les Féeries du Bocage, held in a friendly village in rolling French countryside an hour south of Paris. We were sat next to Pierre Dubois, a famous TV presenter of all things to do with Arthurian romance, which was what I did my thesis on. And of course we were quite close to the forest of Brocéliande, which I looked up on Google Earth. Hmm, hidden valley, Celtic deities, portals to Otherworlds, and just desserts (and I don’t just mean those fantastic lemon tarts you get in France!).

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go? 

If I could TARDIS into any specific place and time in history it would have to be the Library at Alexandria in time to get the scrolls out before the ravening religious nutters set fire to it. I so want to see the maps of Atlantis, talk to the scholars and curators (after all, the TARDIS has a translation and interpreting program) – and enjoy the weather after all this late, blasted snow! I could free a couple of slaves who’d be grateful as well as good cooks and go off and have wonderful lives of their own. And I’d just generally enjoy ancient academia – before coming back to now with a small but tasteful treasure trove.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes? 

Hmm, ancient landscapes and sites. Well, all landscapes (except urban ones) are ancient. It’s the colour, the exoticism, the thought that so many different peoples have lived their individual lives shaped by the great cultural sweeps of history, climate and location, that’s what appeals to me. What about Florence in the time of Lorenzo? Wouldn’t you just love to see the procession he organised for his betrothal, him in his gold-bedecked armour, the courtiers in their jewelled robes, the musicians and the artists before Savanarola burned their pictures? The valleys of the Pueblo Indians when they were still alive? Tahiti before cargo cults? The great greenwood that carpeted the length and breadth of England as the last ice-age retreated? Charnwood Forest when it fringed a tropic sea?

What do you have coming out next?

I’m in the throes of finishing three short stories for Alchemy Press, and a couple of novels – one historical and one a fantasy, so I’m keeping busy. In fact, at times my life feels like a Heath Robinson contraption edited by Escher. Luckily I’m enjoying the ride.

[Anne Nicholls, has had ten books published in SF and the self-help fields. Her highly acclaimed novels Mindsail and The Brooch of Azure Midnight appeared under the name of Anne Gay. For four years she was the editor of LineOne’s Science Fiction Zone, which had around 140,000 readers every month. She is currently working on a YA fantasy trilogy. Anne also features in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.]

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The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky link!

Ancient Wonders: Adrian Cole

And let us not forget Ancient Wonders!  Today we have the excellent Adrian Cole under the spotlight…

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I’m a Devonian with Irish blood (County Cork) I live in Solomon Kane country and I’m a retired Business Manager now writing full time. I have a lovely wife, Judy, and two grown children, Sam and Katia; and the other woman in my life is Bella, my feisty calico cat. I write what I suppose could generally be termed imaginative fiction, if such a term could adequately cover SF, fantasy, horror, pulp, with a few crossbred bits. I have had over 20 novels published, and many short stories, since the mid-seventies. I enjoy writing old fashioned pulp stories but equally enjoy writing modern SF.

What inspired you to write “The Sound of Distant Gunfire”?

One of the ways I try to keep fit is by cycling and in North Devon we are blessed with some marvellous trackways, including an old railway line converted to a cycle path for nearly 20 miles. I’ve been up and down it numerous times and the countryside and unique atmosphere gave me the idea for the story, although I don’t actually find the cycle path spooky – it appeals to the elemental in me. (Or perhaps that should be, the mental in me).

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Machu Picchu, up in the Andes. I’d want to be disguised as a native, though, otherwise I daresay I’d be pegged out and sacrificed to the sun, or worse. I’ve never been there, but one day…

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

Like many people, I suppose, I relate to them in some kind of atavistic way. I am an outdoor person (but also, by contrast, bookish and movie-ish) and love the elements – I lived on the edge of Dartmoor as a kid and as a youngster I grew up around the Cornish landscape (mines and beaches); and I now spend a big chunk of the year in the sea (I go home for tea, of course). Much as I appreciate modern technology, I still feel moved by the ancient past. I think it is because people were closer to the earth and the elements in those days.

What do you have coming out next?

My next novel is due out in 2014 and is a science fiction book, The Shadow Academy. It is set in an alternative Britain, the action moving between Dumnonia (Devon) and Londonborough. It’s about a corrupt Authority and how it abuses power, a common theme in all my stuff! There are some short stories due as well, “Nightmare on Mad Gull Island”, a booklet from Spectre Press, and “You Don’t Want to Know”, which will be in Stephen Jones’ third Innsmouth collection from Fedogan and Bremer, Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth – both of these are Nick Nightmare stories and there are more of his stories in the works. He’s got a strong grip on my PC at the moment. And there are other various projects in hand, large and small. Watch this space!

[Adrian Cole is the author of 25 novels, beginning with The Dream Lords in the 1970s, through The Omaran Saga and the Star Requiem to the Voidal Saga in 2011. He is also the author of numerous fantasy and horror short stories, having been published in Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Forthcoming from Edge Books is the novel The Shadow Academy; he has a short story in The Worlds of Cthulhu anthology due soon from Fedogan and Bremer; and he also has a story in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Shannon Connor Winward

Continuing the author-palooza for Ancient Wonders – here’s Shannon Connor Winward!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I’m an American author and poet. Most of what I create is speculative – some sci-fi, fantasy, and what’s been called “mythpunk” – though I write a little bit of everything. On my blog I talk about real life: the writing process, the emotional ups and downs. I chronicle my experiences raising a child with special needs, because I feel there’s a lack of information and empathy for families who have to go through this, and it’s my way of contributing to a larger conversation. I like to write about what touches me, what fascinates me. A lot of my stories deal with death and madness, but not in a macabre sense. I like to explore liminalities.

What inspired you to write Passage? 

I minored in anthropology as an undergrad, with a special interest in the Celts of Britain and Ireland. I was writing a thesis on Celtic death rituals, which is largely speculative due to a scarcity of archaeological evidence. I came across a discussion of how the Celts may have used the monoliths as a means of connecting themselves psychologically to the landscape, since they had emigrated there, and places like Newgrange and Stonehenge predated their culture considerably. I became so distracted with the idea that I wrote “Passage” instead of what I was meant to be working on. I scribbled it in the middle of my research notes.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I’d love to visit Great Britain in the Iron Age – though, to be honest, if the Doctor came to get me, I wouldn’t be picky.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

I feel a closer kinship to ancient religions than to modern ones, at least in a spiritual sense. Our ancestors were more intimately tied to nature and her cycles, and that is reflected in their sacred sites.

What do you have coming out next?

I have poems due out in various magazines, all TBA, and I’ve been invited to participate in some local fiction anthologies. Right now I’m working on a sci-fi story inspired by Egyptian mythology and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a modern-day fairy tale about a wicked librarian. I’m also working on my second novel, an urban fantasy, and my first poetry collection. I publish updates and links to my work on my blog.

[Shannon Connor Winward’s writing has appeared in many venues including: Pedestal Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, Strange Horizons, Illumen, This Modern Writer [Pank Magazine], Hip Mama Zine and the anthologies Twisted Fairy Tales: Volume Two, Jack-o’-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy and Spectacular: Fantasy Favorites. Her poem “All Souls’ Day” was nominated for a 2012 Rhysling Award.]

wonders1The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: James Brogden

Aaaaand today we have Ancient Wonders author James Brogden under the spotlight!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I’m based in the Midlands; grew up in Australia and instantaneously fell in love with the UK as a teenager because of the dense layering of history, myth and legend that exists underfoot everywhere you go. I like to write urban fantasy – which is to say, horror without the clichés. Fantastical elements intruding upon everyday lives.

What inspired you to write “If Street”?

Robert Holdstock, mostly. I love the Mythago Wood books, which are very firmly rooted in the countryside, and have always been curious about what would happen in an urban setting, with all those ancient track ways buried under tarmac and concrete. I’ve also been researching Sutton Park for another novel, so the place was already stuck in my head.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I’d go to Hadrian’s Wall. Not only to see and appreciate the engineering, but also to get that sense that you are really on the edge of the world, that beyond this point there is no law or civilisation as you understand it. When my family moved to England we lived in the Borders, north of the wall, in the kind of place you got posted if you’d really annoyed someone back in Rome. I’d like to talk to them and ask them what that was like – but they’d probably tell me that they’re just soldiers doing their jobs and to sod off.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

That sense of common humanity which goes beyond time and place. We went on a family trip to Hadrian’s Wall one Easter and saw that there was monument to the fallen soldiers of the legions who had been posted there, and it was exactly the same kind of monument you see today in small country villages, and it struck me how similar their feelings and experiences must have been to those of the men and women who are currently posted in, say, Afghanistan. I love old Iron Age hill forts for the same reason. It’s mind-blowing to stand in a hut circle three thousand years old and know that here was the place where they cooked their meals, here was the door where a child probably looked out for his friends first thing in the morning. That kind of thing.

What do you have coming out next?

Couple of things: a story called “The Remover of Obstacles” in Anachron Press’ anthology Urban Occult, and a second novel, Tourmaline published by Snowbooks, out in July.

[James Brogden was born in Manchester, grew up in Australia, and now lives with his wife and two daughters in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, where he teaches English. His short stories have appeared in the Big Issue, the British Fantasy Society’s Dark Horizons, Gears Levers Volume One, and his first novel, The Narrows, has just been published by Snowbooks. When he’s not writing, or trying to teach children how to, he gets out into the mountains exploring the remains of Britain’s prehistoric past and hunting for standing stones. Fortunately they don’t run very fast. ]
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The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Peter Crowther

Today’s Ancient Wonders interviewee is the legendary Peter Crowther!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write? 

My real weakness in reading is horror and ghost stories and the kind of SF stories that are filled with awe and wonder … such as Bradbury, for example. Stephen King is the main man for me simply because of his characterisation. Sure, the stories are good — well, there’s an occasional so-so one but, with the sheer quality of his writing, you can pretty much forgive him anything — but it’s the depth of detail in his backgrounds as well as his foregrounds that puts the guy above anyone else writing today. And just to set my stall fully out, I’ve read several thousand books … with faves being the late Robert B Parker, early Updike, Richard Ford, all the classic SF and horror books (and I do mean all), stuff like Wodehouse, early pulps (Prather, Thompson, Goodis and so on), Fitzgerald and on and on and on. What do I like to write? Pretty much the same as what I like to read. I wrote a story called “Tomorrow Eyes” simply because I really wanted to write something Runyonesque, a story called “The Incredible Multiplicity of PhaedraLament” because I wanted to emulate Clarke’s White Hart, and so on. So I guess it’s the attraction of speaking in a specific voice that attracts me.

What inspired you to write “Gandalph Cohen and the Land at the End of the Working Day”? 

I loved Spider Robinson’s tales set in Callaghan’s Crosstime Saloon and I’ve long fancied having my own barroom for the telling of tall tales. “Gandalph Cohen” was the first of them; there are three more, each of them following the same formula … Jack Fedogan playing jazz on the bar’s PA system, the regulars sitting around a table chewing the fat or telling jokes, and a stranger coming into the bar with a “story” to tell or re-enact. There’s a nice story concerning these stories and Dave Brubeck … but I don’t want to bore you so I’ll tell it another time. Catch me at a convention and ask me about it sometime.

 If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go? 

I’ve always wanted to go back to the late 1950s and go knock on the door of our old house (I was born in 1949, 4 July). I love the idea of my mom or dad opening the door and asking if they could help me while, behind them, this wide-eyed nosy kid stands watching me from behind them, an open book or comic hanging from his hand. And I’d like to go to a US city of that period, with a wad of dollars in my pocket so that I could buy copies of great comic books for just a dime apiece. I wrote a story along these lines called “The Doorway in Stephenson’s Store” — if you read it then please do bear in mind that it was written and published some five years before Stephen King unveiled 11.22.63.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes? 

Just seeing the way things used to be. Rightly or wrongly, I am fascinated by (and attracted to) the past. Can’t get enough of it.

What do you have coming out next? 

Just a few stories here and there, and then my long-threatened mainstream novel Thanksgiving … currently standing at 110,000 words and waiting for the final spurt…

[Peter Crowther is the recipient of numerous awards for writing, editing, and as publisher of the hugely successful PS Publishing (which includes Stanza Press, the Drugstore Indian mass market paperbacks, PS Visual Entertainment and PS Art Books). As well as being widely translated, his short stories have been adapted for TV on both sides of the Atlantic, and collected in The Longest Single Note, Lonesome Roads, Songs of Leaving, Cold Comforts, The Spaces Between the Lines, The Land at the End of the Working Day and the upcoming Jewels in the Dust. He is the co-author (with James Lovegrove) of Escardy Gap and The Hand That Feeds, and has also written the Forever Twilight SF/horror cycle. He lives and works with his wife and business partner Nicky Crowther on England’s Yorkshire coast.]

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The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Bryn Fortey

Next lovely Ancient Wonders author under the spot light is Bryn Fortey...

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

OAP. Widower. GSOH. Friendship, maybe more – oh no, sorry, that’s the Two’s Company ad I’m trying to put together.

Writing-wise: it used to be short stories, then I wrote a lot of poetry, now I’m back to short stories. Sort of horror, SF, weird, oddball. I like crossovers and work that’s difficult to categorize.

What inspired you to write “Ithica or Bust”?

David A Sutton told me about the Ancient Wonder anthology only weeks before the deadline. Being so long out of the loop I had no real idea of what was required but wanted to have a go, so updated a bit of Greek mythology into science fiction space opera, throwing in as many references as I could squeeze onto the page. It was very untypical of my more usual output but I had great fun putting it together.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I would get the TARDIS to drop me off at Cheltenham Race Course one day next week so I could jot down all the winners and come back to make a fortune from the bookies.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

My problem here is that at my age I remember most ancient sites and landscapes when they were new.

What do you have coming out next?

Two stories in Shadow Publishing’s reprint anthology Horror! Under the Tombstone, and two stories accepted by the American audio magazine Tales to Terrify, but I have not been told yet when they are due to be used.

[Bryn Fortey appeared in various anthologies during the 1970s, including: New Writings in Horror & the Supernatural and New Writings in SF. He was also published in various Fontana anthologies edited by Mary Danby. Bryn’s beat-styled poetry magazine Outlaw was Best UK Small Press Magazine of 2004 in the Purple Patch Awards. In the same year he won the Undercurrent Aber Valley Short Story Competition with “The Dying Game”. In 2009 his “A Taxi Driver on Mars” was first in the Data Dump Awards for SF poetry in the UK. Bryn hales from South Wales.]

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The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers – see the anthology page here for linky links!

Ancient Wonders: Aliette de Bodard

Wahey!  Next of our fabulous Ancient Wonders authors to be interviewed is Aliette de Bodard.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you like to write?

I’m a writer, engineer and over-enthusiastic cook who loves to write character-driven stories in strange and familiar worlds (and to put fish sauce in everything, including stories!). I’ve written SF, historical fantasy and creepy horror – bit of an eclectic person, really.

What inspired you to write “Ys”?

“Ys” is inspired by a very famous Briton legend I read when I was younger; the image of a sunken city beneath the waves has always remained with me, as well as the idea that on clear days, you can hear the bells of the submerged churches ringing through the streets. Dahut/Ahes, the princess who doomed Ys, was thrown from her father’s horse after he discovered she had been the one to open the gates to the sea; and from there on it wasn’t much of a stretch to imagine both city and princess would still be around in modern-day France.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Hmm, it’s a tie, but I think I’d pick either Hue or My Son – they’re wonderful Vietnamese sites that you can only visit a small part of, due to all the bombs that got dropped on them during the Vietnamese/American war. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk there before destruction struck.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The sense of history; and wondering how people might have lived, and how different they might have been. Also, they’re usually very beautiful!

What do you have coming out next?

I have a limited-edition novella, On a Red Station, Drifting, which is out from Immersion Press (and nominated for a Nebula at the moment); and a couple stories forthcoming in various markets. I’m also attempting to wrestle an urban fantasy set in Paris into proper shape.

[Aliette de Bodard lives and writes in Paris, France, in a flat with more computers than warm bodies, and two Lovecraftian plants in the process of taking over the living room, one tentacle at a time. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction: her Aztec-noir fantasy Obsidian and Blood is published by Angry Robot, and she has been a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and has won the British Science Fiction Association Award.]