Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Run For Ruby

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Hey, it’s for charity.

A “blog friend” of mine, Jessica, aka Sassy Suspect, is running for charity.
In fact, she got her sister to run, too. Or, maybe it’s the other way around.  In any case, the charity is the MAGIC Foundation, which is meant to help the families of children with Panhypopituitarism. More importantly, it’s a foundation that’s helped Jessica’s niece, Karenna Grace, aka “Ruby”. And, really, that’s all that matters to me. So, if you can afford to support them financially, go to the site they set up Run For Ruby, and make a donation.

If Jessica supports it and it’s helped her family, it must be a worthwhile place to donate your money this holiday season.


Red Herring Friday

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Hey’s it’s Friday and I have no theme to my crazy links.

Look I paid all my important bills last night and I’m too tired to come up with any real theme here, but these all are perfect links for a Friday.
First, in honor of Halloween, I bring you a link to the story, via Boing Boing, of a cyclops baby born in India.
Also in honor of Halloween, and via Boing Boing, I bring you horror furnature props.  Those things are totally cool!  And, luckily, they’re not cheap or I’d be giving my friends heart attacks all the damn time.
And, finally, since I’m sure you’re probably reading this at work, I thought it was high time I helped you sneak around on the web without getting caught. It’s a site called Work Friendly and it will open browser windows that are camoflaged as Micro$oft Office files. Pretty clever, huh?
So, if I do this NaNoWriMo thing, I’ll have to queue up a bunch of Friday Fun Posts this weekend, since I won’t have time otherwise. Well, in any case, this Friday, you can enjoy these crazy links.


Ideas: 10 Cents for a Dozen

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Ideas are easy to come by.

What’s more rare is the ability to shape that idea into an actual story. By way of example and illustration, I regularly come up with interesting settings and characters, sometimes both at the same time, but rarely have a full story to make it all gell.

In fact, to prove to the few readers this blog might still have how cheap ideas like this are, I’ll give one away for free. Here’s a world setting idea that I’ve been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of weeks.
Start with one of my old favorites, magic as an STD. That mixes in all sorts of potential conflicts and uncomfortable conjunctions that result in stories. (In fact, I wrote a story with nothing but this as the premise some time ago, called The Chrome Girl.)
Now, mix in a little artificial biodiversity accomplished by way of genetic engineering. New species of plants and animals and insects just loaded with transgenic material waiting to get loose in the world to recombine in ways we can’t predict. So, this gives us a world with magic, however you care to actually define that, and all sorts of interesting beasties, perhaps including things like dragons and sphynxes and pegasus and … Well, you get the idea. Now, we could stop there and have a pretty decent world with all the fantasy and technology mixed together. There are any number of stories that might come from this and an author could make an entire series of books, not to mention a career, with the landscape I just described in a few short sentences.

But, let’s keep going…
Now, let’s add a lot of time. Enough time, in fact, that people forget the technology but still have the STD-produced magic and the assorted mythical beasties and plants and such. Maybe throw in the collapse of modern civilization, just to make sure technology is dead. This isn’t too different from what Anne McCaffrey did with the Dragon Riders of Pern series. (For a great look at her world, check out The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern, Second Edition. There’s no magic there, but the rest is pretty well dead on.)

But, let’s say everyone’s worst fears about global warming came true and the polar ice caps pretty well melt. That would raise sea levels at least 215 feet, according to some sources. So, that would significantly change coastlines world wide. It would also force a bunch of population to move about to accomodate the changes in climate and habitable land.
Now, you might think that’s enough to do to our mythical future descendants, but I’m not quite done with them. Let’s add a shift of the Earth’s magnetic poles. It’s not as far fetched as you might think and, really, we have no idea what effects it might have on Earth. Frankly, almost anything could happen, much of it not great. With any luck, for our future story setting, it would reduce population and plunge us into a kind of modern dark age. Why is lucky for us? Well, because adversity like that makes for wonderful stories! Now, assuming the human race survives all that, when we come out of our new dark age, all sorts of exploration and rebuilding possibilities exist. All of which, of course, results in more story opportunities!

So, where’d these ideas come from?
Well, the first one came to me while watching a science program in college. The show was about diseases or virii or some such, but mentioned “chicken pox”. Apparently, chicken pox is actually a form or herpes and, as such, actually alters a victim’s genetic code to create the tell-tale spots.
The artificial biodiversity idea came from several science articles I’ve read over the years, both about genetically engineered plants and animals and assorted topics on extinction. It seemed a logical jump, to me, that someone might try to artificially encourage biodiversity via genetic manipulation. And, of course, who wouldn’t want their own, pet dragon?
The melting polar ice-caps is an old theme and right out of current science a political news.
The bit about the shift of the magnetic poles was first suggested to me by my mother as a possible explanation for how magic somehow returned to the world. You just never know what Mom’s going to come up with next!

But, notice, I have all this just floating around in my head, with no actual stories or plots. Amazing, isn’t it? They’re all just “out there” floating around, waiting for someone to write them down.
So, what are you waiting for? Go think up some stuff to write about, then do it!


SteamPunk Drawing

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Well, more specifically, SteamPunk machines.

This great site, called CrabFu, which seems to be dedicated to cool toys of a steampunk flavor, offers some advice about how to draw steampunk machines. Now, I’m no artist, but their advice really made sense!
Still, if you just like the pretty pictures, scroll to the bottom of the page and you can see some rockin’ steampunk concept art.

Way cool!
Enjoy your Friday!


Global Conspiracy Friday

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

And, yes, by that I mean, Friday the Thirteenth.

I always thought it was because Judas was the Thirteenth Apostle or something like that. No, according to this article on, it has to do with the plot to suppress the Knights Templar. Hey, stop laughing! That’s what it says!! And, I quote:

The modern basis for the Friday the 13th superstition stems from Friday October the 13th, 1307. On this date, the Pope of the church in Rome in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant against “the Knights Templar”. The Templars were terminated as heretics, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long. There Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was arrested and before he was killed, was tortured and crucified. A Black Friday indeed!

So, there you have it, Friday the Thirteenth is a global conspiracy! Personally, I usually have better luck on Friday the Thirteenth, but, then, I always have been a little out of step with the world. Oh, and here’s a link to some alternate ideas why everyone else is afraid of Friday the Thirteenth.
Enjoy it.


Paying Markets

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

‘Cause it all comes down to the dough, re, mi!

Sometimes, it feels like there just aren’t any paying markets for fantasy and science-fiction short stories. Of course, that’s not true, but, still, outside of one of the Writer’s Digest Novell and Short Story Writer’s Market books, where are you going to find a place to send your work? Try looking at these pages to find someone who would like to buy your work:

The Writer’s Write Paying Market List
The “Goblin” Markets
Story Pilot’s Science-Fiction and Fantasy Market Engine
SFWA Magazine List
Julia West’s Paying F&SF Markets List
So, now that you have places to send the work, the only thing you need to do is write the story!


Happy Birthday, Mr. Herbert!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Today is Frank Herbert’s Birthday.

Of course, we haven’t had him with us since 1986, the year I graduated from high-school, but his work lives on. Mr. Herbert is primarily known for his seminal work, Dune, and the other books in the series that followed. Though, interestingly enough, he never intended to write sequels.
Often refered to as the science-fiction Lord of the Rings, the Dune series of books detail an amazingly rich science-ficiton culture. The novels are some of the first science-fiction to have detailed political and sociological sub-plots, not to mention ecological sub-plots! The way Mr. Herbert used religion in his work is quite interesting as well. In a genre that often avoids discussing religion, he explored the topic in detail and with a depth that was personally inspiring.

There hasn’t been anyone else quite like Frank Herbert and I am in awe of the ways in which he influenced the genre, which is why I celebrate this every year.


Search Terms

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Full Moon

So far this year, May has been my biggest web traffic month.

I had an average of over 6500 hits per day in May and these were the search terms that brought people to my site:

# Hits Search String
1 69 5.79% scroll comments
2 59 4.95% fantasy names
3 42 3.52% oceanside
4 36 3.02% scroll
5 16 1.34% funny name generator
6 15 1.26% free timeline generator
7 14 1.17% free graph paper
8 13 1.09% invetions
9 12 1.01% military phrases
10 11 0.92% fantasy map making
11 10 0.84% demon voices
12 8 0.67% alien landscape
13 8 0.67% fantasist
14 7 0.59% chrome girl
15 6 0.50% funny fantasy names
16 6 0.50% how fast can a swallow fly
17 6 0.50% how to write in elvish
18 6 0.50% military robots
19 6 0.50% novel title generator
20 6 0.50% word generators

Now, you might be asking yourself why I’m mentioning this… Well, that’s a good question.  It’s a test, of sorts.  A little experiment to see if it’s the content or the search terms that make the biggest difference.  I’m betting that my hits go up for at least the day or so after I post this and then drop off.

Well, only one way to know for sure!

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