The Ferrets’ Fantasy Cover Flashfiction Challenge!

You know the feeling of finding a really awesome cover on a fantasy novel – or an incredibly mad-looking one? Especially if you’ve been reading fantasy for a while, or have ever wandered into the shelves of a secondhand book store or library where the ‘70s speculative fiction novels dwell . . . I’m sure you’ve seen more than your share.

You know when you find one of those covers, either insane or fascinating or both, and you read the book, and somehow nothing on the cover even remotely happens in the book? (Or when you look at a book and just know . . . there’s no way that scene is in the novel itself.)

Rebekah and I were having a conversation about such books as we sorted through them at a secondhand book sale a few years ago, and hit upon the idea of this challenge. Take one such cover, study the art, and write a short story that shows or fits that scene.

The other Ferrets were equally tickled by the idea, and we decided to take it to our blog! On our last Ferrets on the Town excursion we visited Boarding House Books in Claremore (which is really a lovely place) and while we shopped, we also looked around for some wonderfully crazy book covers and snapped photos.

Over the next few weeks, we Ferrets will be writing short stories inspired by this, our chosen (by popular, internal Ferret vote) cover!

Note: we have not read this book, we were just really snagged by the cover’s craziness.

Flashfiction pieces will be no more than 2k words.
Probably they will remain in the fantasy genre, but if one of my fellow Ferrets can make that into another genre, more power to her for it!

I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what I’m going to do with this cover as inspiration myself, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the others do with it! We hope you enjoy the results.

(And if you have any really fun, crazy, or intriguing book covers to show us . . . we’d love to see them!)
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Required Reading – The Rants: Grendel by John Gardner

I didn’t exactly love every book I read for ‘school’ purposes, no, but it was rare I was left with the ‘I want to set this book on fire’ reaction.

Required Reading, book rants, Grendel, John Gardner, Serena Saint-Marceaux, classic books

The book for my Required Reading Rave came to me immediately when we Ferrets were discussing this series. As it happened, a few minutes later when I was trying to think of required reading books I utterly loathed . . . this one came to mind almost as quickly.

 

A Classic I Loathe:
Grendel, by John Gardner

Grendel, classics, required reading, John Gardner, book rant

Grendel, by John Gardner

. . .oh, the irony. I actually wasn’t going to choose this book for this post, much as I hate the dratted thing, but . . . well, among other things, Michelle encouraged me to do so. After the third time since our Ferret Meeting in January that she has heard parts of my rant about this bloody godsforsaken book

Okay, deep breaths. It’s okay – I’m calm. Continue reading

Required Reading – The Rants: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Required Reading, book rants, The Lord of the Flies, William Golding, Eris O'Reilly, classic books

(A/N: I had this written before I saw Rebekah’s blog post. XD Looks this is going to be just a continuation of why she’ll never read this book.)

LordOfTheFliesBookCover

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

Like a lot of kids taking public education in America, I first had to read Lord of the Flies in high school. And to tell you the truth, I couldn’t even finish it. I managed to get just far enough in it that I could fake it for a C on the essay test. (I don’t even know how I accomplished that, but I did. Read only about two-thirds of it, still managed a C. I wonder if this says more about me than the book, or vice versa.) I have no idea what the ending is. I’m pretty sure they murder a kid? And possibly eat him? I have no idea.

Anyway, the reason I couldn’t stomach it is still very clear to me. It’s a bunch of entitled white boys doing terrible, horrible things to each other. And frankly, I could see that every day—my high school was full of entitled dudes doing awful things to each other and everyone else. I really didn’t need to read a book about it, even if the backdrop was an island paradise.

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Required Reading – The Rants: Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn by Mark Twain

First off, Happy Independence Day to all our fellow Americans! Please be safe, and don’t blow any fingers off if you’re playing with fireworks. It makes writing a tad difficult.

Required Reading: The Rants, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, classics we love to hate, Mark Twain, Rebekah Loper

My pick for my classics rant is… probably a tad controversial (similar to Lissa’s pick with Invisible Man).

A Classic I Loathe:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I’ve heard great things over the years about Mark Twain’s stories. Some of his books are still on my ‘want to read’ list, such as The Prince and the Pauper. I picked up The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn years ago because I’d heard that they were some of the best American literature (and Wishbone made it sound like a neat story!)

I didn’t make it very far, and what I came away with was a lasting impression of:

Mark Twain is why the rules about dialogue tags, and using dialect and colloquialism in fiction, exist. 

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Required Reading – The Rants: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Required Reading- The Rants - Dracula

Y’all, I was into vampires in high school and college. Well, into a lot of fantasy and paranormal stuff, really, but I really enjoyed vampires in particular. I ended up taking a class called Vampires and Voodoo when I was a freshman in college, which no one believes, but it actually ended up being a lot of fun.

Despite all that, I hadn’t ever read the granddaddy of vampire literature: Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’d seen the 1992 movie, which I rather like, but I’d never made the time to read the book.

Now that I have, I can honestly say I almost wish I hadn’t.

A Classic I Loathe:
Dracula by Bram Stoker

Continue reading

Required Reading – The Rants: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

required reading, rants, classic books we didn't enjoy, rabid rainbow ferret society, Lissa Clouser, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

I was usually the kid that didn’t mind required reading in school. I didn’t mind reading the classics, and I could usually find a redeeming quality in almost any book set in front of me. Usually.

A Classic I Loathe:
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

A quick glance at Wikipedia (about all the effort I’m willing to put into this book some 10+ years later) tells me this book won the National Book Award in 1953. Modern Library ranked it #19 on it’s top 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. (That list, by the way, was released in 1998. Didn’t want to give the end of the century a chance, eh?) Time Magazine put it on a similar list.

At over 500 pages, I consider it Continue reading

Required Reading, Part Two: The Rants

required reading, rants, classic books we didn't enjoy, rabid rainbow ferret society

We’ve talked about the classic novels that we loved, the ones that made the “required reading” portion of our school careers not quite so bad (or the ones that we sought out before they had to be required).

Now it’s time for part two: the rants. These are the books we hated, the ones that it was torture to try and finish reading, the ones that made us all feel Dorothy Parker’s famous quote on a deep and spiritual level: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

We’ll also touch on the so-called classics that we haven’t read, but based on evidence and feedback from friends, we never, ever want to.

We’ll be flinging around some seriously uncontrolled rage for the next few weeks. And feel free to share with us some of the classics that you absolutely hated being forced into reading.

The Ferret Libraries – Serena’s Collection

 

Prepare to be welcomed on a tour of my dragon hoard of books! (I always did like the term ‘bookwyrm’ more than ‘bookworm’.)

Having seen Ferret Lissa’s collection both in person (before) and in her post recently. . . I’m actually still not entirely sure who owns more books. Definitely safe to say either Lissa or I, of the Ferret cadre, though!

(Note: upon finishing this post, I am still not sure if I have more books or if Lissa does. Either way, though, mine are far less . . . ‘contained’. Also I have spent almost a full day on this project, which amazes me.)

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The Ferret Libraries – Eris’s Collection

Sadly, my collection cannot be featured here easily.

Right now I have a sad, small little bookcase on the other side of my bed from the door.

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my tiny, sad little bookcase D:

The books share the space with my games and movies, as I have no other place to put those, either. In fact, looking at the picture, I realize that the bookshelf is mostly games and movies. >.> I should… probably do something about that.

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The Ferret Libraries – Lissa’s Collection

I’m not sure if I have more books or if Ferret Serena does, but our collections could comfortably be called dragon hoards at this point. (And I think we are both very okay with that.) I have zero issues when it comes to having an overabundance of books, and while I am slowly trying to cut back in other areas of my life when it comes to “stuff” laying around, books are not one of them. In fact, even though it is years away from being possible, I fully intend on constructing a library building on my property one day. The perks of having more than 2 acres on which to play! Continue reading