Froud - bad faeries

The new book! Lava Red Feather Blue

I haven't posted here about the new book, have I? Here is its magnificent cover!

Cover of Lava Red Feather Blue by Molly Ringle: mountains, starry sky, jewels, trees
Cover of Lava Red Feather Blue by Molly Ringle: mountains, starry sky, jewels, trees

All of you who love the idea of a m/m Sleeping-Beauty-inspired urban fantasy set in a fictional island country full of fae and witches: please go request it on NetGalley, preorder it (release date is January 5, 2021), or just put it on your Goodreads shelves to remind yourselves later.

This was the first time I've invented an entire new country for a story, so that was especially fun. I'll probably write more books set on this island, now that I've gone to the trouble of building it.

That is all. Hope you are all as well and sane as is reasonably possible in a year like this one. 

Zuko, Avatar

"Which do you choose, a hard or soft option..."

Magic systems in fantasy! They are not all alike, as you know, but here's one of the ways to categorize them: a spectrum between "soft" and "hard" magic. Hard magic systems have defined rules on how they work, and the reader is told what they are—e.g., the four element types of bending in Avatar: the Last Airbender have certain basic limits, which is why the characters are astounded when, say, Toph invents metalbending. Soft magic is more mystical and indefinable—e.g., we don't really know HOW Gandalf does all the magic he does, or even what his limits might be; we just accept that he's a wizard and such things are unknowable to the likes of us.

I tend toward soft magic, though moderately so, in my fantasy books, because I feel like the more you give precise, quasi-scientific explanations for magic, the more it's likely to bug people who actually know science. (Also the closer it comes to being science fiction instead of fantasy.) That said, I do put limits and costs in my magic systems: the fae in The Goblins of Bellwater (and Lava Red Feather Blue), though very soft-magic in terms of having large and undefined amounts of power, must nevertheless adhere to deals they make, because that's just the rule.

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MST3LOTR-dance - arwen_elvenfair

Which book? How to choose?

I asked myself something yesterday when I was trying to decide which of the many possible story ideas I should commit to working on next. I'll share it with you in case you have some decision to make, to which this line of questioning may apply.

I essentially had three story ideas revolving in my mind as main contenders for The Next Novel; we'll call them A, B, and C. (As with many writers, my problem isn't coming up with ideas, it's choosing which of my many ideas to use at a given time.) Naturally I first tried asking myself, "Which do I want to write most?", but for some reason that didn't give me a clear winner. I could justify why I might like writing each of them, or "should" try writing each of them.

So I turned it around and instead asked, "How would I feel if I learned that someone else just wrote and published this exact story, and therefore I could never write it myself?"

And that was more interesting. Because for stories A and B, it turned out I didn't mind so much. I thought, "Oh well; that might be for the best. Someone else with more expertise on subject A or subject B would probably write it better." But for story C, I felt regret at the idea of giving it up—"Aw! I could've had fun with that. I would have come up with something cool."

Thus we have our answer.

...Although don't hold me to that. I could yet change my mind. 

Froud - bad faeries

Being a memoirist again, just for tonight

Here’s a story about an alluring guy I met online.

It was the late '90s, in a chat room for fans of The Cure.

He swooped in and defended me against a troll by delivering witty, cutting comments that drove said troll out of the room. I messaged him to say thanks, and we became friends.

He lived on the other side of the country from me, with his folks. We were still in our early 20s, so it wasn’t too unusual that he lived at home. He basically seemed to invest funds rather than work, and was well educated.

Not only did we share tastes in music, but we both enjoyed snarky takedowns of stupid people. Always a thing to bond over in one’s 20s. The friendship continued for the next few years, despite our frustratingly slow dial-up connections.

We confided in each other. I told him about relationship trouble with my boyfriend sometimes, but my online buddy was a gentleman; he never tried to cybersex me or otherwise audition to become my next boyfriend.

He told me about having loved and lost. About a fiancée recently who’d died in an accident. My heart ached for him.

There was sometimes flirtation. Or at least, I read it as such, and I reciprocated. The affection was expressed through rare, shy compliments, songs sent to one another in mp3, and occasional gifts shipped across the country.

We even talked on the phone a couple of times. He was charming, exactly as he was in our message window. Hearing his voice made him so real. Although not quite as real as I wanted.

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Doing nothing...except WRITING!

We all like to joke about how the majority of us lately are at home doing nothing; wearing pajamas, Netflixing, posting photos of our pets, obsessively refreshing news sites. I'm doing all of that for sure. BUT! I'm also writing! And editing. And plan to keep doing a lot more of both.

I asked myself: If I were going to die soon—a possibility that's seemed a lot more real for everyone lately—what would I wish I had done? Since I have to scratch off things like "see Italy" for now, I looked to the other items, most of which are things like:

Finish the story I'm working on
Try writing that play adaptation I was talking about
Think about the next book and decide what I most want to write in all the world, and write that

And, yeah: read delightful books and watch shows and films I've always meant to, and be extra loving with my kids and husband and pets. But not to the exclusion of creating.

Because, you know what, I probably still have a long future ahead, and you probably do too. And when quarantine finally lifts and real life rushes out the gates again, I want to emerge with lots of new finished products in hand, ready to share.

HUGE side benefit: focusing on all of the above makes me much less anxious, and I am naturally a person prone to anxiety. Especially health-related anxiety! So this is a major perk.

Take care out there, and worry less by living more. In your space. At a safe distance. 

:) ❤️

girl reading with moon

88 Lines About 44 Women Writers

So, I made a thing. I heard that ‘80s song about 44 women, and I decided to write…


Enheduanna was a poet

From four thousand years ago,

Sappho, too, wrote lyric lines

For lovers we may never know

Murasaki’s Tale of Genji

Might be the first novel ever,

Hildegard knew plants and music,

Mystical and wise and clever

Héloïse became a scholar,

Writing reams to Abelard,

Veronica the courtesan

Penned poems earning high regard

Aphra was a spy and playwright,

Boldly blazing cagey trails,

Marie-Catherine charmed the salons

With her retold fairy tales

Mary wrote on rights of women,

Did her gender proud and fine,

And her daughter, also Mary,

Gave the world a Frankenstein

Jane created Mr. Darcy,

Satirized society,

George’s books (or Mary Anne’s)

Show kindness and variety

Elizabeth, she loves thee, let her count the ways,

Her romance soars,

Charlotte gave us Rochester

And Jane Eyre out upon the moors

Emily is famed for Heathcliff,

Turbulent and dark and grim,

Anne wrote with more realism,

Sensible and calm and prim

Christina held a Goblin Market,

Lovely, eerie, and fantastic,

George romanced Chopin and kept her

Gender expression elastic

Harriet, with Uncle Tom,

Helped to encourage abolition,

Emily wrote eighteen hundred

Poems despite her shy condition

Louisa and her little women

Still cause us to rhapsodize,

Edith scored the Pulitzer,

The first woman to win the prize

Virginia urged a room of one’s own

For all women who would write,

Colette captivated France

As actor, novelist, playwright

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Free audiobooks, cheap ebooks, and a New Year's resolution that works

Happy February!
Deals seem to be the theme of the month so far. First, thanks to The Wild Rose Press trying a big new promotion, there are LOTS OF FREE CODES for Audible, up for grabs for both UK and US users, for The Ghost Downstairs and Summer Term in their audio editions. Go claim one! And if you are willing to be so kind, a review afterward on Amazon and anywhere else you leave reviews would be much appreciated.

Yummy listening.
Yummy listening.

For those who prefer reading on screen, some of my ebooks are also currently going for only 99 cents on Kindle: 

These would make great romantic gifts on the cheap for Valentine's Day, for your Kindle-reading loved ones. (The first two would, anyway. Goblins is a good choice for those friends with more twisted tastes.)

Now for my New Year's resolution that has actually been working:
What I did was choose more of a theme than a resolution. My theme is a three-part one, interrelated:

Reading, writing, editing.

My resolution is basically: focus on doing one or more of those things for the majority of my day. If I'm doing something else—e.g., scrolling mindlessly through social media—I try to pause and ask myself, "Does this count as the reading, writing, or editing I'd like to be doing?" Generally, no, it does not, so I close that window and do one of my chosen things instead.

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dome - Gothic Choir

Art you can keep vs. art you give away

Yesterday I listened to this podcast interview with Megan Whalen Turner, whose Queen's Thief series I totally adore, and she said something I have thought too:

To paraphrase, she said she's grateful she's a writer, because she can create something and give it away or sell it, yet still have it. People who make ceramics or paintings or other physical crafts have to either part with their creations or live surrounded by a sea of their art.

I am in awe of people who can make physical art like ceramics and jewelry and paintings, and am so glad they are willing to let them go to us in the wider world so we can have them. At the same time, I'm selfishly grateful that writing is my art of choice (or maybe it chose me), because I get to keep all my work and share it at the same time.

Do some art today! (And turn off social media.) 

Froud - bad faeries

Oh hi, new contract!

Hello all -

Exciting news first: there's a new book on the way! I've just signed a contract with Central Avenue Publishing (my awesome publisher for the past several books as well) for my next novel, currently titled Lava Red Feather Blue. For those who read The Goblins of Bellwater and wanted more fae, I have heard you! This one has loads of fae, including a protagonist who's half-fae, half-human. Meanwhile for those of you who read All the Better Part of Me and wanted another male/male love story, I've heard you too: this one also has that! It's set on a fictional island nation in the north Pacific, and I'll have plenty of time to tell you more about it in the coming year, but for now, you can add it to your Goodreads to-read shelf. And here's a teaser graphic with character-inspiration images.

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Dirk - crayons

The shame we carry forward from youth, and the empathy of writing

“I’m a novelist, not a memoirist.” It’s what I keep saying, in defense, when people ponder dubiously, sometimes viciously, in online book reviews, whether I (as a 40-something-year-old mostly-straight woman) have the right to write a novel about a 25-year-old bisexual male. Or someone from another country. Or someone with a disability I don’t have. Or any other difference you might name. I still stick to the defense that writing about people different than ourselves is the exact point and the exact job description of being a novelist, and that the empathy gained in the experience is wonderful for all of humanity. Same goes for reading novels. But, today, because it’s been on my mind, I’ll be a memoirist for a bit.

They say, “You don’t have the right to talk about what it’s like to be disparaged for who you are, your identity, your sexuality, because you don’t know.” But how do they know if I don’t know? Granted: right, Molly, how would they know your background when you haven’t told them? I haven’t told them because I didn’t want to talk about it, put it all on display. I didn’t want to be a memoirist; I wanted to be a novelist. Maybe I thought that was safer. Well, it clearly isn’t, in terms of being judged (nay, crucified at times), so I might as well put it out there.

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