Rose Hill's Writing Grove

A Fantasy author in the Twin Cities

Book Review: If I Were An Evil Overlord

I don’t know if I have previously mentioned my love of anthologies (I’m reasonably certain I have), but in case I haven’t, let me state it again.  Anthologies are a great way to discover how a bunch of different authors tackle the same sort of theme.

If I Were An Evil Overlord is, as might be guessed, an anthology about evil overlords and dictators.  Being an anthology, there were some stories that I liked better than others.  This time around, I decided to do a quick recap of each story, and my general thoughts on it.  Keep in mind, this is based exclusively on my personal taste, which yours probably won’t match up with.

  • If Looks Could Kill: The story was a delightful LOTR spoof, then ended on a transphobic joke.  Disappointing.
  • The Man Who Would Be Overlord: Eh.  I don’t know whether it was a stupid character or plot holes, but there were too many big gaps in this story to find it truly enjoyable.
  • Ensuring the Succession: I liked this one.  There is something satisfying about competent evil characters.  Plus, a successful succession is the main problem most empires face–this handled it well.
  • The Life and Death of the Fortune Cookie Tyrant: Not bad.  The premise is a bit silly and incompletely explored, but it is still entertaining and ended in a satisfying fashion.
  • Daddy’s Little Girl: I have a deep love for creepy children, so this was perfect.  Just perfect.
  • Gordie Culligan vs Dr. Longbeach and the HVAC of Doom: This story made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.  Plus, I enjoyed the conversational tone and the look at ordinary people using totally practical skills to save the day.  Probably my favorite story in the anthology.
  • The Sins of the Sons: Intriguing, especially the family dynamics.  Not bad, but also not memorable.
  • Loser Takes All: This has a particularly satisfying ending.  The actions in-game reflect in reality and reach their expected bitter consequences.
  • The Next Level: Eh, I feel like the planned rape at the end was gratuitous to establish the character as an evil overlord.  It left a bad taste over what was otherwise an entertaining story.
  • Advisers at Naptime: I’m tickled by this simply for the direct reference to the Evil Overlord List about five-year-olds.
  • A Woman’s Work: I love smart villains.  Especially ones smart enough to make themselves beloved of their people.  This was perfect.
  • To Sit in Darkness Here, Hatching Vain Empires: Okay, this was actually one of the more chilling ones.  The villain won.  Completely.  And he has the resources and skills to do it again, world after world.
  • Stronger Than Fate: A delightful story with an excellent closing line.  Pay attention to the details.
  • Art Therapy: This story felt almost disappointing.  I liked the voice of the villain, but he went all soft at the end.

 

Overall, I liked the blend of stories that let the villains win and those that didn’t.  Definitely an entertaining read.

Recommended for: Fans of fantasy anthologies, fans of villain protagonists

Anthology Submissions

A periodic call for short story submissions that I think look interesting.

APPETITES
Theme: What do your characters hunger for?
Deadline: February 28, 2017
Payment: $0.02 per word
Word Count: 6K max, 3K preferred

LOST WORLDS / SUPERNATURAL HORROR / TIME TRAVEL / HEROIC FANTASY
Theme: As the title of each would suggest
Deadline: February 28, 2017
Payment: $0.06 per word (SFWA qualifying market)
Word Count: 2K-4K, not firm

A FOOL FOR YOU
Theme: Queer romance with a trickster of some sort
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Payment: $200 flat payment
Word Count: 10K – 20K

PROBLEM DAUGHTERS
Theme: Intersectional feminism in speculative fiction
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Payment: $0.06 per word
Word Count: Up to 7.5K

SNAFU JUDGEMENT DAY
Theme: Post-apocalyptic military horror
Deadline: April 31, 2017
Payment: 4 cents per word, AUD
Word Count: 2K-10K

LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE
Theme: Fantasy and Sci-fi
Submissions Period: April 1 – April 30, 2017
Payment: $0.08 per word (SFWA qualifying market)
Word Count: 1.5K – 10K, 5K or less preferred

SWORD & SORCERESS 32
Theme: Sword and sorcery with a female protagonist
Submissions Period: April 24 – May 14, 2017
Payment: $0.06 per word
Word Count: Up to 9K, shorter preferred

Science for Sci-Fi Writers

Hey all,

Looking to firm up the science behind your space opera?  Check out Launch Pad Astronomy and get a chance to pick up some real space science.

I am not affiliated with this program in any way.  I heard about it through one of my publishers, but since I write Fantasy rather than Sci-Fi it’s less useful for me.  If it’s something that could help you, check it out.  The deadline for applications is March 1st.

FANTASTICALLY HORNY Out Now!

Hello all!

I know this is a little delayed, but you can now purchase another of my short stories.  Check out “The Fourth Husband” in FANTASTICALLY HORNY.

Check it out here in paperback, or here in Kindle.

Check me out in Sword & Sorceress 31!

Check out the link below to buy it in your preferred format.  Get it for yourself or your friends for the holidays.

http://www.mzbworks.com/s31.htm

 

New Circlet Book!

Hey all,

This is not an anthology that I’m published in, but one that is coming out from Circlet Press, who should theoretically be publishing one of my shorts in an anthology eventually.  🙂  Also, it looks cool.

 

Check it out!

Anthology Submissions

A periodic post of random calls for submission that I think look interesting.

 

Anthology trio!

SUBMERGED, ALL HAIL OUR ROBOT CONQUERERS!, and THE DEATH OF ALL THINGS

Theme: SUBMERGED – water; ROBOT – classic robots; DEATH – Death as a person
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Payment: $0.06 per word
Word Count: 7.5K max

 

IF MOM’S HAPPY

Theme: mother erotica
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Payment: $50 plus two copies
Word Count: 1.5K – 4.5K

 

HUMANS WANTED

Theme: Humans being badass in space (sci-fi only)
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Payment: $250, flat rate
Word Count: 3K-6K

 

GODS AND MONSTERS

Theme: gods and/or monsters
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Payment: $0.06 per word, up to $500
Word Count: 1.5K – 17.5K

 

A SCANDAL IN GOMORRAH

Theme: More queer Sherlock!
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Payment: $0.03 per word
Word Count: 2K – 6K

Cats of Circlet Press!

Hello all!

My cat has showed up on the Cats of Circlet Press!  Check it out!

Cats of Circlet Press

Anthology Submissions

This is a periodic feature of submission calls that I find interesting.

HORROR LIBRARY VOLUME 6

Theme: Short horror stories
Deadline: September 15, 2016
Payment: $0.03 per word, contributor’s copy
Word Count: 2K – 6K

BEHIND THE MASK

Theme: Everyday lives of superheroes
Deadline: September 15, 2016
Payment: $0.02 to $0.06 per word, with no mention of how they determine the particular price you’d be paid
Word Count: 3K-6K

LAWLESS LANDS

Theme: Weird West
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Payment: $0.04 per word, contributor’s copy
Word Count: 3K – 7K

Ok, this one is both non-fiction and non-paid, but it’s interesting anyways, so I wanted to throw it out here.

BLOOD AND ROSES

Theme: Devotional work in honor of Aphrodite
Deadline: December 1, 2016
Payment: Coupon for contributor’s copy at cost
Word Count: 100 – 10,000 words

Education Systems – Adult Education

People generally conceive of education as being directed towards children, but that has never been true.  Adults have had cause to learn new things throughout history.  In many cases, one might be required to be of legal age (whatever that age may be) before they are allowed to learn something.

 

What are some reasons an adult might seek education?

  • Continuing their education from childhood
  • Adding additional degrees
  • A change in profession
  • Immigration/emigration

 

Some of the same questions that apply to children apply to adults as well.

 

Who teaches adults?

Do people who teach adults need to have the same credentials as those who teach children?  In the US, those who want to teach children need to have a teaching license.  Depending on the educational institution, all that is needed to teach adults is some form of higher degree.

 

The qualifications of who teaches adults will change depending on the reason an individual seeks the education.  Someone who has moved to a brand-new country and needs to learn the language needs someone fluent in the new language more than they need a teacher with fancy degrees.  Someone changing their profession wants a teacher skilled in their new profession; higher education is only relevant as long as it pertains to the job in question.

 

What discipline methods are allowed?

Typically, corporal punishment is out of the question because adults will fight back.  But this may change depending on the circumstances of the education.  So, how are the adult students kept in line if they get unruly?  Are they sent out of class?  Given lower grades?  Refused permission to return?

 

There are also some questions specific to adults.

 

Who chooses an adult’s profession?

Is it self-chosen?  Do they follow their parents’ profession(s)?  Do their parents/guardians pick their profession for them?  Does a local leader make that choice?  Who gets to make this decision will tell you a lot about the level of autonomy vs social control in your particular culture.

 

Also consider what sort of professions are available.  Hunting isn’t generally an available option in an extremely high-tech society.  Nor would it be viable in a vegetarian society.  Similarly, a computer programmer would be out of the question for a low-tech world.  Consider what sort of jobs your culture would have available and what value they hold in society.

 

Don’t forget to add social class into the mix.  The higher up the social ladder one goes, the less likely you are to find them cleaning waste from the streets.  The lower on the social ladder one is, the less likely they’ll be working in places they might contact the ruling class.  This will impact what jobs are available for your characters.

 

Can a person learn more than their particular trade?

Are people allowed to switch professions?  This will tie into who gets to choose a person’s profession.  If an individual can choose whatever they like, they might be able to change their mind later down the road (assuming that finances and other concerns allow).  But if someone in power chose a person’s profession for them, there is less of a chance that the profession is changeable.

 

What if a person doesn’t want to change their profession, they just want to pick up a new skill or hobby on the side?  Where can this person go for teachers?  Who controls that knowledge?  Are certain trades open to anyone to learn?  Are certain trades restricted to certain individuals?  Are there adult education classes that teach hobbies like these?

 

Can a person be a jack of all trades, and dabble in a bit of everything?  Are they, perhaps, expected to, like a Renaissance Man of old?