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New Christyule year..tide..thing

It's been a year of several halves and a bit of a curate's banana to boot, but hey, it's just a ride so what can one expect?:)
Peace love and fun, y'all.

Broad with a Sword Strikes Back

(Crossposted) Published November 4, 2013 | By KT Davies

Yes folks that’s me; a woman who owns swords. Heck, I even use them from time to time*.

“Write about what you know” they say, so upon occasion I write about women who use swords, like in my debut novel The Red Knight.

But that isn’t all. Oh my no. I also write about women who don’t use swords, likewise men, and the odd half human half-lizard type individuals. In fact I write about all manner of beasties who do and don’t get their shiv on from time to time.

I’m all about equality me. So when ‘broads with swords’ is even mooted as a ‘thing’, I get a little…Ohmyfuckingodswhat?! about it.

I mean seriously? How othering is that for Grud’s sake? Would Guys with Swords be an issue for debate? Noperoonie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that question posed any where or when. So why, in the 21st century, is Broads with Swords even a topic, other than to make it seem weird and wrong and other?

It forces the point that there are men things and there are women things, and broads with swords is just plain wrong, EVEN IN GENRE LITERATURE. Dragons? Fine. Magic? Go for your life. Rape and pillage? Oh, yeah we love the grimdark. Women with swords? OH MY GOD! HOW MAD IS THAT!?

That this was even up for debate I find disappointing. That women writers engaged with it, likewise. NB: I strongly believe that everyone has a right to their opinion.

That one panellist said that female characters who use swords was a cliché was…odd.

I’m (clearly;) not the grand high Wizard of Words, so I thought I’d check that cliché meant what I thought it meant, which it did:


1. a trite, stereotyped expression, sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.

2. (in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of colour, musical expression, etc.

3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

Now, I certainly haven’t read ALL THE BOOKS, but I’m pretty sure a handful of sword wielding female characters do not a cliché make.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that people saying women with swords is a cliché is in fact the cliche because I’ve heard it a fair bit of late. And surely, since we’re slinging cliché grenades around, aren’t there more male characters wielding swords than female? Which brings us back to the 1950’s ideology that there are men things and there are women things. That people advocate this viewpoint (or seem to) is pretty sad given that it’s 2013 not 1320.

And in the real world, I don’t think of myself as a cliché, or those women I know who engage in pointy shenanigins. But this isn’t the real issue that I have with this…thing.

It is primarily that it is regarded as a thing at all, and thereby worthy of serious debate that I have trouble with.

I, as well as everyone with eyes and ears and a brain in between, know that women in the real world do pretty much the same stuff as men. Y’all know that, right? In fantasy and SF we accept a whole boatload of weird and wonderful shit that simply doesn’t happen in the real world. So why single-out women who get stabby as something other and unnatural?

If you want your women characters to save the world with the power of tea, great, go for your life, enjoy! If your protag is an arch diplomancer, I’m happy for you; go in peace. If your heroine heals the universe with the power of love and cupcakes, fine. It’s all good in my book. The more variety, the merrier.

And that’s the thing. It’s all good… isn’t it? Or perhaps I missed the memo where it said only certain character and gender roles are acceptable for men and women in genre literature. If so, could someone please point me at the Proscribed list? That would be doubleplus good.

Not only are women with swords not a cliché, but like onions and Shrek, good, stabby fem-chars have layers. Whatever. At the very least, they should be no more worthy of note for merely existing than men with swords. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

I would therefore ask that, rather than engage with othering perfectly valid characters (and real, living people;) That folks of all flavours channel their energies into the quest for equality rather than alienation.

*My swordy CV

I practiced Kendo for about eight years off and on. I’ve done oodles of re-enactment, sometimes with a musket, occasionally with cannon, sometimes with a bow, and much to the detriment of music, a drum. I also study European martial arts and have even dabbled in mounted combat which I suppose makes me a broad with a horse and spear as well.

I also do other things, ‘cos like all good characters, I like to think of myself as well rounded ;)

The Merry Wanderer of the Night

And even though the hour is late, I do not refer to mi sen.
Today I went to the Student Guild Hall of Brum uni to listen to Robin Hobb speak n' read. It's nice, innit? Loving the Costas on site.

I also got a book signed, not my first by this author. I think Mr. Manby might recall (or not as he's nearly died since then) going to a book signing of hers avec moi many, many moons ago in...Huddersfield was it?

Anywho, today she agreed to be interviewed by me for SFCrowsnest which is grand, more than grand, it's a proper cool thing. I mun choose mi questions wisely.

Later this week I'm going to World Fantasy Con in Brighton. It's one of those, many birds with one stone kinda gigs. I also said I'd do a review of it, 'cos I am way behind on other reviews.

Speaking of gigs. Bristol-Con was great fun. Not only did we get to see chums, but I was on a panel with Mark freaking Buckingham *pause for fangirl moment* I'm a big fan of his work, so that was cool.

The house is very slowly taking shape. I confess; I'm ignoring the unfinished bits in favour of those that are finished. I'm sure I'll get enthusiasm for DIY back at some point before Yuletidemasss...FUCK! IT'S ALMOST YULETIDEMASS!!!

I done a blog interview...thing.

I was asked some questions, I answered them. http://iuchiatesoro.wordpress.com/

Photos from Death Unto Darkness


Also, do my Odyssey playing Roman chums have room in their group/country/thing for a little me? I'm thinkin of something like an attendant or priestess/anything except a philosopher really. Ta.

What I Done Did at the Weekend

I went to play this http://www.deathuntodarkness.org/ At Consall scout camp http://www.consallscoutcamp.co.uk/ It’s lovely, it’s very hilly, but it’s lovely. Saturday morning I woke up to see frolicking wabits, one of whom was black. (A touch of the Mirkwoods about the place.)

Until I got there I didn’t realise how much I needed a break: The book launch had gone to shit due to a screw up by Kindle (s’ok now though). Initially we didn’t know that the problem was at the Kindle end, and I left with E on the phone to mi publisher as they tried to work out what the blazes had gone wrong. Combined with a couple of other issues, I was not the happiest of bunnies. I was also tired because I still ended up making kit the night before the event. Why Gods of larp? Why must it always be so? *weeps*

I was persuaded to go to DuD by my friend Fi, or the Force of Nature as I like to call her. She got me when I was…*coughs* in my cups. Her dad was in the navy, and she’s from Portsmouth, so I ‘spose I’m lucky I didn’t wake up on a Man-O-War somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

The group background was penal legion, which made me giggle like a child, obvs. (Hur, hur she said penal). I didn't know the chap who came up with it, (Ben) but I thought, what the heck?
Anywho, Shenanigins ensued.

Upshot was that I had a blast. I caught up with peeps I hadn’t seen since Maelstrom, which was lovely, and I met lots of smashing new peeps. The thing that struck me was how friendly the crew and players were, and how everyone worked together to make gud game. I’m not struck on the rules, but there were quite a few moments of seriously awesome rp. In fact, on reflection, pretty much the whole event was ropelay tastic.
I am now physically very broken.
I am told there will be photos, for once and I'm cringing as i write this, I did not hide from t'camera. I think given another 30 or 40 years I might actually get into this 'having your picture taken thing'. I of course reserve the right to cry like a baby when I see my ugly mug on the DuD gallery.

Happy, Sad, Fish...?!

I want an interrobang on my keyboard, not least because it sums up my default setting almost perfectly. We're all born dazed and confused by our surroundings, some of us maintain that state throughout our lives. Anywho.

Went to London to talk word turkey yesterday. The village by the muddy estuary set out to prove my grumpiness unfounded as even the Apple i temple/store couldn't annoy me. Had a nice-ish Thai meal, talked book stuff, then went for a very quick arf in an O'Niells down by Liberty.(We lamented that we lacked time to catch up with Londonites at this point as we could have settled in for a reet good sesh). The pub and surroundings felt very Secret World;) The pub was not thronged, the ale pleasantly cool, the streets not too busy; t'was grand. The train back was packed up until B'ham Intl. Airport, where the Brazillians and their, alas, screaming baby, got off. Tired bunnies staggerted into bed at 3-ish:(

Good news is that a temple of geeky-nerdiness in London is prolly gonna be stocking mi book (hurray!) and I got mi first (possibly last!:) review for The Red Knight. It made me smile. He grokked my book. It's here anyways, http://www.theeloquentpage.co.uk/

I've got a shed load of real work to do:( *And* kit to sort for this weekend when I'm off to Death Unto Darkness. I am rather stoked about this as I have heard gud about the game, and of course, one gets to hang out with lovely peeps. This weekend not only sees the book's Erelease, and larp shinanigins, but also mi Dad's birthday, something that keeps, like now, provoking foolish attacks of eyesnot. He's the only person in my family I would have wanted to tell about my book (and in fairness, the only one who would give a rat's anyway;), and he's not here.

The Red Knight release...thingy

The book is getting its E release on the 27th of this month, print to follow...when it's printed I suppose. Anywho, pretty picture...for a given value there of.

The Red Knight. My novel, by me.

It’s about a knight WHAT IS A CHICK. And a spy WHAT IS A BLOKE. See what I did there? *shrugs* Whatever.

I have used you, my friends. I have used you, and history, and the news, and politics, and those funny thoughts you get at 3 in the morning when sleep just won’t come. I’ve used madness — my own and that of others, I’ve used loss, and I’ve used humour. I’ve smushed all this braindough together over the period of… gods, must be eight years or so. I’ve wrapped feelings in armour, and called a dream a dragon. I’ve turned thoughts into swords and I’ve hacked at beautiful ideas with clumsy prose and uncouth words. Hey, I tried.

And I hate it. And I love it. I won’t lie — I think it could be better, but I initially set myself ridiculous goals: to flip the gender script, (I did this, I am happy with this), to only use certain words, themes, colours, allusions. What a dick! I hear you say. I can’t argue:)

But even after the latest of a million read-throughs and edits, I still got caught up in the story, and here and there are bits of prose that are… *whispers* really quite okay.

Whoa! Steady on now; I’m not about to get all big headed. I got my first big grounding when I sent the great work off to a pro for editing. Man, was I surprised that he didn’t cut his eyes out after reading it (because he’d never see anything as brilliant again, natch). The skin, she thickened. I learned. I'm still learning.

As I’ve said before, it almost, maybe nearly possibly, got published by a mainstream publisher or two. ‘Proper’ pros have said it’s good — better than that sometimes, but what’s an adjective or two between friends, hmm? There is even the possibility that some of you might read it, slim, I know.

All I know for certain is that I tried, and as soon as my brain unscrambles, I’m going to do it again. I’m going to continue the story about a knight and a spy...and pain, and loss, and love, and hope, and rugby...rugby?! — forget that. It’s just part of the DNA; trust me — you won’t even know it’s there.

I won’t judge you if all you see are knights and elfsies and dragons, that’s cool; that’s what it’s about. It’s just not what it’s all, or only about, and, clearly, it will just mean that I haven’t been able to communicate effectively. That’s the real kicker — that I can’t write as well as I want to...yet, if ever! That I can't express my thoughts and feelings exactly as I would like, that I can't paint a Turner with words. Sheesh! it's not too much to ask, is it?;)

Mini FAQ

Apparently, it's epic fantasy, *shrugs*whatever.
No, I haven’t read Game of Thrones.
Yes, I do have a favourite character.
Yes, I am, but then, they’re all me, even the nasty ones…even the nice ones;).
Where? See above.

An End to Interesting Times?

I do hope so, frankly, I'll take boring over interesting any day of the week. Anywho.
I dun got a short story in, Day of Demons, an anthology edited by Colin F. Barnes, and copy edited by non other than a certain Russell Smith. My story is first up, it's called The Deal.

Erm...weird, selfconscious plug over. But it is cool to support, if not me, micro presses, in this case Anachron. (They don't fix high book prices on Amazon;)

http://www.amazon.com/Day-of-Demons-ebook/dp/B007SYEU52/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334255068&sr=8-1 (USA)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Day-of-Demons-ebook/dp/B007SYEU52/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334255068&sr=8-1 (UK)