The Fine Art of Literary Theft

I had an absolute blast this past weekend at the Emerald City Writers' Conference -- the friendliest conference you'll ever attend! For some reason, they let me have access to a microphone and a slide projector, so I was able to subject a room-semi-full of people to a presentation on genre tropes, mash-ups, and ethical artistic stealing. The slides are very pretty (thanks, Slidevana!), and some bits of it may in fact be intelligent as well! So I thought I might post it on Slideshare and on this here blog, for those who couldn't attend the conference in person. There's audio somewhere, and when that is available I'll see about posting that as well (or at least letting you know how to find it elsewhere).

{Edited to add this one single slide, as a reference link and teaser.}

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The Robot Girls of Ancient Greece

In Homer's Iliad, there appears the following passage. Translation by yours truly, because if you can't use your 7 years of ancient Greek for translating things like this, what can you use it for? ... And to their lord hastened Golden servants like living maidens. In them were minds and hearts, voice and strength, And they have learned skills from the deathless gods. They hurried around and about their master. (Iliad 18.417-421)

Why am I posting about ancient Greek lady-robots made of gold? It's a secret—for now. Feel free to let your imaginations go wild. (Lord knows I did!)

 

Idle Hands

Well! The vacation was lovely -- even during the part where I threw up on a fish -- but it took us two full days to get home again. And then! I undertook a full backup of my computer -- a huge backup that erased all the other littler backups -- and in the middle of this important process my hard drive up and died like Sean Bean when he's got second billing. For a while it looked as though I'd lost everything -- photos, music, the entire contents of my documents folder, with its current manuscripts and past manuscripts and half-finished manuscripts, can you imagine -- but luckily the inimitable Mr. Waite was able to salvage the documents from the half-finished backup. And now I'm writing this blog post from a brand-new, shiny computer.

But what does a writer do when her primary mode of composition is unavailable?

This writer makes jewelry.

A turquose, white, and gold bangle with pearl accents made of glass, crystal and seed beads. It rests in the palm of a pinkish hand.

I'm calling this the Botticelli Bangle. The pattern is the Scheherezade Bangle from Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasiesthough I took liberties with the colors and bead amounts. Bonus: it continues this summer's Grecian theme! I can wear it to the other four weddings we're attending in the months to come!

So yes, I promise I'll be back to blogging regularly now. But it's nice to know I can be productive even when I'm being unproductive.

Announcing: Damned If You Do, Coming Soon From Ellora's Cave!

It is with great delight that I announce my third novella, coming soon from Ellora's Cave! Damned if You Do is an erotic Regency romance set in Hell—yup, actual Hell—that tells the story of the demoness Idared and her love for the damned Lord Lambourne. This cheeky little book answers some overlooked but fascinating questions, such as:

  • What happens to a human soul that commits sins when already in Hell?
  • What could a damned aristocrat and an ambitious demoness possibly have in common?

And:

  • How does Lucifer really feel about the violin?

Dore's image of Francesca and Paolo from Dante's Inferno.

Things I Imagine Are Happening At RWA Nationals (From A Perspective Of Neurosis, Envy, And Also Ignorance, Unless Twitter Counts)

  • There is a champagne fountain in every room, and one entire hotel tv channel devoted to nothing but period pieces with elaborate costumes.
  • The air is filled with compliments on how marvelous everybody looks—because obviously everybody has gone to some trouble to look unbelievably splendid.
  • You get a RITA! And you get a RITA! And you get a RITA! …
  • Every author whose books you've loved are hanging out and talking about how much they hated your debut novella and how it's a relief you aren't here so they can finally all say how much they dislike you both personally and professionally.
  • Every author whose books you've loved are hanging out and talking about how there's just something missing—like maybe there's some magical future friend they have yet to meet but who will fill the missing gaps of the imaginary friendship circle and make life a wonderful adventure rich in laughter and warmth and shoe shopping.
  • Bacchanals, orgies, and general debauchery.

Black and white photographic image from an ancient Greek red-figure vase: several ladies in drapey clothing with loose hair cavort generally about, with the bearded limbless figure of Dionysus in the center.

  • Your Dream Agent is signing somebody else whose squidshifter/sexbot/lady engineer steampunk space opera menage erotic romance is not nearly as brilliantly written as yours.
  • Impromptu dance-fights break out between publisher parties: Ellora's Cave does the samba, Harlequin approximates a Lindy Hop, Samhain dances like Molly Ringwald in that scene where everybody gets high in the Breakfast Club, Avon waltzes with great sweeping passion, and Penguin does a jazzy sort of modern dance choreography that's really way too hip for the crowd to comprehend.
  • The Pulitzer Committee happens by and decides the industry is so vibrant and lively that they're instituting a whole new award just for romance.
  • The cast of True Blood is offered up as a sacrifice for success in the coming romance year.
  • Nobody ever feels hungover, overwhelmed, jet lagged, or intimidated.
  • Everyone goes home happier, energized, and excited to get back to work.

The Amazing Glass Sculptures of Lucio Bubacco

We here at Olivia Waite did not sleep particularly well last night. (Dear dream dictionary: what does it mean when you dream that the bottom of your foot is pink and black and flaky like a grilled salmon? We are totally stumped.) As a direct result, we are a little slow of brain this morning, so writing the incisive, thoughtful blog post we wanted to write seems a bit beyond our capabilities. The warm, sleeping puppy snoring in our lap is hardly helping matters.

So instead, here are some pretty pictures of the work of Lucio Bubacco, an Italian glass artist. I've never seen anything like them.

Cream glass winged figures with clear glass supports.

A goblet surrounded and supported by the figures of cream-glass angels and red-glass devils.

A white glass woman opens her legs for penetration by Zeus in the form of a white glass swan.

A dark purple glass woman with hand outstretched, and sinuous purple glass snakes for hair.

A black glass figure of a woman, Daphne, whose arms are becoming branches, hair leaves, and legs the roots of a tree. The black glass figure of Apollo attempts to embrace her as she transforms.

An Unlikely Story: Polyphemus and Galatea

You know Polyphemus mostly as the cyclops blinded by Odysseus. But did you know that in some variants of the myth he was also an anguished lover of the sea nymph Galatea? Well now you do. In Ovid's version, Galatea is in love with a young man named Acis, who is then killed by Polyphemus in a jealous rage. So Galatea turns Acis into a river -- because transforming your dead beloved into a river/tree/flower/rock is the mythological equivalent of the modern post-breakup pint of Haagen-Dazs. It's just the thing you do, and then you move on.

However, there is a frieze found in Pompeii that suggests Polyphemus was a more successful lover than Ovid allows him to be.

The back cover copy might read:

Cursed by mankind as a monster, one-eyed Polyphemus broods on the coastline and shuns society in favor of the solace of nature. His only companions are the animals he raises for wool and food -- until he meets Galatea.

The sea nymph's beauty and warmth awaken a powerful longing. But she only has eyes for the handsome and superficial Acis. Can the rugged cyclops shed his rough habits enough to charm his beloved?

Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Dogs of Crafting

Some days, a warrior attitude is all that stands between survival and crushing defeat. Wouldn't that attitude be much easier to attain if you were wearing something like this brilliant handcrafted helmet?

I could don this masterpiece and yell my favorite line from Virgil: Dux femina facti! And a woman was made their leader!

Problems: vanquished.