I looked at an entry today on a website for fantasy fans (Fantasy Faction) and read a thought-provoking contribution about preconceptions and prejudice in the industry that are preventing women from taking their proper place in the pantheon of great fantasy writers. Or perhaps rather, preventing them from getting recognition in the pantheon of great fantasy writers. You can check it out here http://fantasy-faction.com/2014/women-write-fantasy

The post and the debate in the comments section beneath it certainly made me think on the subject. The contribution of Cecily Kane particularly made me think. Cecily can be found on Twitter or at her website (manicpixiedreamworlds.wordpress.com). My own site is still under construction (and may be so forever), so I added the great Patricia McKillip to my listing in the links of this website as fantasy authors I esteem for ensuring that realistic protagonists (and antagonists, for that matter) populate their works. There is another women writer whose books I liked a lot, but for the life of me I can’t remember her name, so I’ll have to do some digging before I post a link to her work as well.

I hope that in my writing I do not send a message saying, even subconsciously, that “this is not a place for you.” Au contraire, I hope that the works are accessible and portray genuine women. 

I thought about the role of women in a fantasy setting a lot during the writing of Gallows Gem. I was torn between either portraying a sexist world and the injustices in it to parallel our own world, or, portraying a world as it could be, with more balance. And yet, the vast bulk of my characters turned out to be men anyway! Damn! How’d that happen? I asked my copy editor, Linda, about it and the women I asked to review the draft, and I got surprising answers back. Yes, the bulk of the characters are men, but the most important character is arguably a woman (resolving to tear down an established church in a kingdom is pretty audacious after all). There are women portrayed in positions of power. Some are principled, some are principled to their own damnation, and others interpret their principles flexibly, also to their own damnation or salvation. In short, they liked it.

As I move to publishing Gallows Gem (hopefully in the coming months … or perhaps even weeks) I will be interested to get feedback on this point.

On my March 12th blog entry, you will recall I winged about needing cover art. Well, I have been working with a very talented designer, Steph Pham, and he has produced something very interesting. Without further ado, here is the cover of The Gallows Gem of Prallyn! 

Feedback is welcome!

If you ever want to work with Steph, contact him at www.stephanepham.com