A couple of notes from around the blogosphere today. One of my links is to Bernita Harris who has recently had a story published in Weirdly: A Collection of Strange Stories. I picked up this collection in ebook format yesterday and immediately turned to Bernita's story, which is entitled "Stone Child." I had read and very much enjoyed snippets of Bernita's fiction on her blog and was curious how she would handle a complete piece. I'm happy to say I found it a truly fine work. I felt immediately comfortable with her characters. Although there is obviously considerable backstory with the characters, the reader gets only enough to develop a liking for them and to realize that there is more that could be revealed in future stories. I see so many pieces that bog the tale down with character details at the expense of "getting on with the story." This didn't happen here.
Two other strengths of "Stone Child" deserve mention. The setting, a northern forest wreathed in mist, is strong. I love stories set in wild natural environments. Cold in the Light is an unapologetic ode to the woods I grew up running. Bernita captures precisely the feeling one sometimes gets even in relatively tame forests of being watched, followed, haunted. Finally, it's rare to find so much fresh language in modern stories. This was the main reason I wanted to get this piece. From Bernita's blog I've seen that she has a wonderful facility with language and imagery and I hoped she could bring that talent to bear on a complete story. I wasn't disappointed, and I highly recommend "Stone Child."
Also from around the blogosphere, Steve has a great post on setting. I don't think setting gets its due in most work written about writing, but it's incredibly important to me, and not just as a writer. As a reader I adore a good setting and will, frankly, devour paragraphs that simply put me in an interesting "place." I want to post on setting myself at some point, particularly about how important it is in SF/Fantasy/Horror. Steve has some great thoughts about it and it looks like he may post some more on the topic as well. I'll certainly be following that thread.