Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So you think not many women write epic fantasy/sword & sorcery?

I've been busy busy busy with revisions on The Labyrinth of Flame (now approaching the 50K revised mark!), a big day job project, and yes, more than a little skiing.  Yet amid all that, I haven't been ignoring the internet entirely.  So when Teresa Frohock posted on her blog about the challenges she's faced as a female author of SFF, and then Mark Lawrence ran a poll asking his readers whether their decision to buy his book would've been different if it'd said Mary Lawrence on the cover, not Mark, and then on Reddit's r/Fantasy forum a huge discussion sprang up about Mark's poll...I followed the conversation.  And after I saw about the fifth instance of someone saying, "Well, but not many women write epic fantasy..."  I couldn't take it anymore. 

I marched over to my bookshelves and scribbled down 40 books written by 40 different female authors that could be categorized as either epic fantasy or sword and sorcery, and posted the list in a thread on Reddit.  (Note: since people on Reddit appeared to be using a fairly broad definition of  "epic fantasy," so did I.  I included alternate histories with significant magical elements, though I did NOT include sword-and-planet SF, or dark/mythic fantasy, or YA fantasy). 

I was delighted at the response!  Hundreds of commenters added more names and said how excited they were to have new books to try.  I know it's a drop in the bucket of this weird invisibility that female-authored novels seem to have in online fandom, but it's a drop that makes me happy and renews my hope that things are changing. 

And speaking of reviews and visibility, my absolute favorite kind of reviews are long, detailed, thoughtful ones.  Like this one Tainted City recently got from Renay of Lady Business.  (The hilarious GIFs are just the icing on the cake!  Also, I am totally using the pull quote "Courtney Schafer is THE WORST." :D) The best part of all is that the comments continued the discussion.  It is surreal but also 100% awesome to see people analyzing my characters and story and discussing their reactions, no matter whether those reactions are positive or negative.)

And now, back to radio silence and revisions...