Kat is not a Zant.

Hello, my real name is Kat Zantow, and I am dissolving the lovely pen name of Evelyn Zant.

Shadowing: A Henchman's Tale (Moonblind)I published Shadowing under the pen name of Evelyn Zant, and it has taken me just under one month to realize that it was a terrible mistake. Evelyn Zant is such a pretty name, old fashioned but edgy. It seemed like such a good idea, until I encountered Kimberly.

I encourage every writer who has firmly decided to write under a pen name to consult this extremely important checklist. Let me walk you through my process:

Pen Name Selection Checklist

  1. Google it. Does it return few search results?  -  Under 400. Good.
  2. Search Amazon. Is there already an author of that name?  -  Nope. Excellent.
  3. Is the twitter name free?  -  Yep. And now I'm all ready for social networking. 
  4. Search Amazon for just the surname. Many readers search this way when looking for an author. Are there other authors with this surname?   -  After I published the book I did this check. Hello there, prolific writer of erotica, Kimberly Zant. 

Haunting Melody (Sexphiles)As much as I love the name Zant, which is less confusing than Zantow, I would prefer that a reader not have to scroll through three pages of entwined nude bodies, and find my book, on a good day, right next to The Howling: The SeXphiles. Tagline: the sex is out there. 

So forgive me, dear readers, for my abrupt about-face of identity. I would stick with Evelyn, but I don't really want my books to have to climb up through an orgy to be found. So thank you Kimberly, for giving me the courage to use my real name. Look for a global change by the week's end.

Now on Amazon: A Zantow! Hm. Amazon Associates still is stuck with the old Zant image. At least the picture with the obnoxious 'buy from amazon' link works. 


Cupcake Fiction


Cupcakes are in fashion right now in the world of food and deliciousness. They are bitesized and fun and different and glittery and delicious. I like to think that short novels are the cupcakes of the internet.

In honor of this epiphany, the henchmuffin above is an interpretive artwork of what Shadowing would look like as a cupcake. Unfortunately it became strikingly reminiscent of a cupcake version of Vincent Valentine, although it has been topped with with some cute little frostwings.

Full recipe:
1 1/2 cups pack mentality and telepathy
1 1/4 cups all-purpose cloak/wings
2 sticks or daggers. Substitute: claws/fangs.
4 large life-changing events, room temperature.
1 cup blood of Shadows
1 teaspoon softheartedness.

Top with a whipped icing, flavored with the essence of wistful wyvern. 

Recipe source: Food Network.

Moved from http://fictician.blogspot.com/.


Trump card? Batsign

MS Paint on a netbook trackpad. I should illustrate a book with these skills.

Is Donald Trump Batman?

Because he's the hero the media deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

There have been mixed reactions to Donald Trump's recent political speeches. Some have postulated that he is making noise to distract the public from serious Republican opposition. This makes him a liberal hero. He’s pretty much pulling a Batman. Sure, he didn't take on the infamy of a two-faced killing spree, allowing himself to become the target of both bullets and public fear. But the parallels are unavoidable. Bruce Wayne throws around a lot of money on buildings and womanizing. So does Trump. Coincidence? I think not.

Tump has faced danger. He has been shot by the media's enthusiastic cameras. And he takes on the burden of hate and mockery from the very liberals for whom he so selflessly sacrifices his good name. There is a true hero hiding beneath that candyfloss hairpiece. The topping was inspired by a childhood trauma in a wig shop, and he wears the hair to become a symbol, and strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.

And yet, as Sirius Gordon says, we don't need this hero right now. Sarah Palin has had it under control for quite some time. What can happen with these two heroes loose in the city? This election cycle can only turn into a dangerous game of one-upmanship between Batman and Batgirl. Guano is going to hit the fan.

Watch out. This is bat country.

Originally posted at http://fictician.blogspot.com/ 


Missed Marketing Opportunities

When you have complete a work of fiction, it is important to explore all marketing opportunities. Here is an example. This product should have been proposed and developed for Silence of the Lambs. With the language of the movie, the product would practically sell itself. There's no doubt how to use the lotion. [You] put the lotion on the skin. It could even be sold in a big bottle, as pictured above, just for the big girls! 


Unpronounceable Names: Asp-Spider

"What's in a name?" Shakespeare's Juliet asks. "That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

However, when Lisa Simpson raises this point to Bart, he counters: "Not if you call them Stench Blossoms."

Bart wins with the more poignant point. This should not surprise, since the wisdom frequently touted as Shakespeare's actually comes from his angsty teenage character who voluntarily put herself in a deathlike coma and fillets herself when her equally angsty lover in too-tight tights follows suit. These are the starring lovers of cross-eyed wisdom.

No matter what you're writing, the names do matter. This is Rule 18: Think hard, but not too hard about the names of people and places in your fiction.

If you do not think much about your character names, you may end up with very generic names (Like Jeff, Jake, Anne, etc.), which imply very generic characters. If you try too hard to make the names unique, especially by adding y's, (a la Ravyn, Estrogyna, Satyra) then no matter what dialogue you give them, the reader will know that they are pale with too much eye liner and a secret wish to become vampires. Try to make the names cute, like Page Turner, or Sherry Creamer, then you're in danger of heading into parable or stripper territory.

If you think too much about a system names, you may find yourself clever, but the reader may not catch on or care. For instance, if you name the characters in alphabetical order, alternating male and females, using only names on hurricane lists, well, that's all well and good. But really, does that add anything to anyone's experience?*

Character names are not the only ones you must think about. If you write fantasy or horror, your invented creations must have names that are appropriately horrifying or fantastical. Unless you are writing a comedy or an epic poem, try to avoid alliteration and other dumb poetic devices.

Also avoid giving creatures names that are hard to say. For instance, a creature that is a combination of snake and spider has a lot of scare potential. (See top of the post.) Many people have phobias of snakes, and many have phobias of spiders, as both are natural arch-nemeses in evolutionary history. By combining them, you hit twice as many phobics with night terrors in one fell swoop! Genius! However, if you give it a stupid name, the creature will be far less effective on that part of the population which lacks phobia. Let's say we call the creature an Asp-spider. This would be a poor choice of a name. Asp Spider. Say it ten times fast, I dare you. You will find yourself stuttering or whispering psst, like you and the critter are old friends who go way back, sharing secrets. You can't be afraid of it. You will end up thinking that the creature is silly and the writer is dumb.

*If your book is targeted solely at meteorologists, then use all the hurricane names you want, just make sure you don't make a mistake, or they will have an 80% chance of catching errors.


Lan: A Face all Planes and Angles

Every once in a while, an author makes a seemingly conscious decision to use piss-poor language to describe a central character. Occasionally the description is evocative enough that the author decides it is all that is needed, and he may even use it more than once. However, poor language can become a crutch. This should be avoided.

This brings us to Rule 39: Do not beat the reader over the head with descriptions that say next to nothing.

Rule 39 is prominently violated by the dearly departed fantasy author, Robert Jordan, in his 13 book epic Wheel of Time series. The following is a collection of descriptions of character Lan Mandragoran, drawn from multiple books throughout the series. Citations compliments of Google books.

From the Wheel of Time series:
  • The Eye of the World (book 1):
“That face was made from stony planes and angles, weathered but unlined despite the gray in his hair” (46).

  • The Great Hunt (book 2):
A narrow band of braided leather held the Warder's long hair back from his face, a face that seemed made from stony planes and angles, a face unlined as if to belie the tinge of gray at his temples” (2)
  • The Dragon Reborn (book 3):
“The flames cast flickering shadows across the Warder's face, making it seem more carved from stone even than it normally did, all hard planes and angles” (27).

  • The Shadow Rising (book 4):
A braided leather cord held Lan's dark hair, gray-streaked at the temples. His face looked to have been carved from rock, all hard planes and angles, and his sword rode his hip like part of his body” (92).
  • The Fires of Heaven (book 5):
“Which was to say as still and calm as his face, all stony planes and angles in the moonlight, and with an air of being on the brink of sudden movement that made the Aiel appear placid in comparison” (165).
  • A Crown of Swords (book 7):
Brilliant blue eyes regarded her intently from beneath lowered brows, in a face all planes and angles that might have been carved from stone” (237).
  • And from the Eye of the World series, From the Two Rivers:
“That face was made from stony planes and angles, weathered but unlined despite the gray in his hair” (30).

Taken individually or together, these descriptions lead to only one possible mental image:
A stony face all planes and angles.
This is a composite sketch from the many descriptions of the character. What could Lan be, but a face all planes and angles? Twin-tailed plane for lips? A plane for a nose? Biplanes for eyes, perhaps? As for the angles, his description does not reveal the true degree measurements, so the true angles are unknown. There is a gray tinge in his hair, and his face is kind of like stone. The character, as described, may have difficulty passing through society without notice.