Workshop Episode 39 (Guest Host: Cecilia Tan)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 39, with Cecilia Tan and Nobilis Reed Cecilia Tan – author, visionary, and activist who’s passions are as diverse as the literary works they inspire – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to infuse this Workshop episode with he unique and eloquent brand of literary awesomeness. We are joined by Guest Writer Nobilis Reed, a veteran author in his own right with a wealth of stories, podcasts, and audio adventures to hisĀ  name. His erotic noire steampunk fantasy (yeah, that’s right… a four-genre mash-up. One might say a veritable orgy of genres *rimshot*) inspires a vigorous discussion from all sides of the table, which leads – as always – to a mighty hoard of Literay Gold. (And, after you fill your pockets, there’s even more writerly goodness in Cecilia’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: Scrolls by Paul Elard Cooley

Workshop Episode 39 (Guest Host: Cecilia Tan)

[caution: mature language and themes – listener discretion is advised]

Check out this and all our episodes on iTunes and on Stitcher Radio!

Coming up for Cecilia…

  • The Velderet” in audio as well as print and ebook
  • “Daron’s Guitar Chronicles” also available as an audio tale:
  • In final edits of “Slow Surrender” (Cecilia’s version of “50 Shades of Grey”) digital version late December
  • Currently editing the baseball prospectus for the Spring


  • Arisia (Austin, TX January 18 – 21)
  • (and hopefully) Balticon (Baltimore, MD May 24 – 27)!


… and from Nobilis:


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Comments (6)

So many awesome possiblities in one story. Squee! I love noir. I love dark. I love gray areas and ambiguous morality. I love stories where the choices are all bad.

I want to play with theme here for a bit. It sounds like you weren’t quite sure how this was going to end. I don’t think it necessarily has to be happy, even with the fantasy expectation. Think Elric. So I’m going to run in that direction. (Surprise surprise.)

What I see here is a story about a woman who has always been between two worlds. I haven’t listened to the other stories yet, but how comfortable is she with being a bastard half-breed? (Having a couple bastard half-breed characters myself, I know they are their own special kind of fun.) It seems like she’s pretty cool with it, maybe even prefers having a foot in both worlds as opposed to having to choose a side. She’s certainly turned her back on her mother’s people, even if she may not have done so to her father’s.

So what would be really awful for her? Being forced to choose sides. Slowly, as the story progresses, she is forced over and over again to favor one side or the other. Slowly she is forced to become what she hates. Then confront her with it. Show her what it means to choose, what the consequences will be. Does she choose? Or does she walk away? Go all Tennessee Williams “The Glass Menagerie?”

Having to be her mother’s heir sounds like a pretty bad fate in her mind as well. If the choice was down to her stepping up to the throne, or the complete destruction of her mother’s culture, what would her answer be? And if it’s an emphatic “screw them” at the beginning of the story, can you make it a really hard decision by the time she comes to it? If not saving the dark elves means X would happen, what X would be bad enough that she’d want to prevent it by bringing power back to the dark elves, or by sacrificing her own freedom in order to rule them?

Make the consequences of the “right” choice be just as bad, if not worse, than the consequences of the “wrong” choice. And of course right and wrong are totally subjective. Regret is a big theme in noir, and reflective narrative fits that perfectly.

(Thought: if she is the vehicle of the dark elves’ destruction, she is just finishing what her father started. It’s like he’s manipulating her from beyond the grave.)

So what is the glue that keeps her involved? What keeps her from walking away? Is it the death of her apprentice? Maybe in following his case, she keeps getting drawn into this politcal battle she’s been desperately trying to ignore. What’s worth more to her: solving/avenging his death, or refusing to be ruled by her parentage?

Awesome stuff, Mercy.

Being her mother’s heir really _is_ about the worst thing that could happen, but if her sister is the heir that would be pretty damn high on the list as well. Her mother was content to rule over a broken shadow of the Dark Elves’ old glory; Nalathnee is not.

Classic double-bind. I like the idea of her father manipulating her from beyond the grave; or at least that she feels that way. Maybe even his soul is bound into the sword, somehow, the price for its power?

Anyways, thank you for the lengthy comments. I’ll add that to my file of goodies to sift through when I am able to get back to this manuscript.

Once again the panel thoroughly explored the topic so I have little to add. I will say to Nobilis: No matter what you tell yourself your story’s tropes are (Erotic, Noir, Steampunk, Fantasy), only one is more important than the others.

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