Popcorn Kittens

I have a bad case of popcorn kittens.

What, you may ask, are popcorn kittens?

photo of surprised kittenWell…here’s the amusing origin of the concept. Go ahead, click the link. It’s just a 3 minute video on YouTube, and it’s fun!

And here’s the more serious explanation of of the term. (Warning: Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog can become a serous addiction, if you’re interested in the massive upheaval transpiring in the publishing industry these days!)

Short version of that “serious” essay: an abrupt change from scarcity to abundance produces the impetus to action on a gazillion different projects at once.

So why do I have popcorn kittens?

I have too many stories I’m longing to write, and each story is calling me to write it right now.

I’m hoping to get some feedback from my readers about which projects interest them the most. If you could choose from a list of 20 stories, each of which sings to this writer like a Greek siren, which one would you chose to go to the head of the work-in-progress queue?

I’ve already written the opening for a number of these stories. So I’m thinking I might share the openings with you over the next few weeks. And when you see one you like, you can yell: “Write this one! This one!”

And just to get things off to a good start, I’ll list the entire roster, each entry with a few explanatory remarks.

Deep breath! Here we go!

Three for 2013

The Dragon’s Egg: Livli’s brother Jorgan learns his calling in life when a troll, a dragon’s egg, and a Tromme-land shaman intersect. Hammarleeding fans will like this one.

Imsterfeldt: During Sarvet’s wanderyar, she has an adventure in Imsterfeldt involving a ghost and the ruined mooring tower for an airship. Sarvet’s fans will like this.

Inula’s Trumpet: Hans (from Troll-magic) finds adventure in the forests of Cambers involving a golden fauve, a troll, and lethal deceptions.

Science Fiction

Dragon’s Tooth: The Zero Stone by Andre Norton meets The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Metamorphosis Buffet: Steven has lost everything and schemes to claw his way up from the bottom. While working on his own problems, he encounters something so bizarre, he must investigate and is drawn into a threat of a much larger magnitude.

(The opening for Metamorphosis Buffet appears in an earlier post all about writer tips for writing strong openings. Metamorphosis Buffet is the third and last example, all the way at the bottom of the page. πŸ˜‰ )

Fox in the Hen Coop: A cybernetic “hen house” guards the planet Lapis V from space toxins that spiral down to poison its biosphere. Something has gone wrong with one of MRY97’s (Mary’s) microchips.

Read-Only Beauty: The Sleeping Beauty meets Independence Day. (My short story of the same name – completed recently – would become a prologue to this novel.)

Mythic Novels

Witch’s Sweet: Demons threaten Callie’s family, and she defends them with her witchcraft and with…baking, of all things.

The Theft of Odin’s Horse: Loki’s latest prank threatens all 9 worlds anchored to Yggrasil’s mighty branches. How will his aunt save them all?

The Green Knight: Neptune enjoys the ministrations of a harem of 50 nymphs. One of them wants to escape. Can she?

The Golden Ka: Ancient Egypt meets Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones.

New Short Story Ideas

Tally the Betrayals: Three loyalties tear Gael in three directions. Will he protect innocent humans? Will he support his fellow trolls? Or will he obey his heinous master?

Troll-witch’s Promise: Livli’s son, Rede, encounters a troll-witch with disastrous results.

Fate’s Door: A handmaiden to the three Norse norns, the Fates, sees her forbidden lover threatened. Dare she work against fate itself to save him? And if she dares, how can she succeed?

Doorstopper Novels

Steal from the Sea: Livli’s brother Jorgan has grown up, but seeks a second wanderyar – partially on his own account, partially to seek a nephew who’s been gone too long.

Ruin the Earth: A re-telling of the Norse “Widow’s Son.” Gabris and Emoirie from Troll-magic travel from Bazinthiad to get involved.

Break the Sky: A re-telling of my own Gethaena (a role playing game) in novel form. Demons, a prison, and transformation.

The Soldier’s Daughter: Our heroine must rescue three princesses of Elamerony (the land of the southern emissaries in Troll-magic) from the demons in Break the Sky.

Eclipse the Sun: A re-telling of the Norse “The Lassie and her Godmother.”

The Dawn Trilogy: The lodestones of ancient Navarys fell into dangerous hands. Three heroes, each with something to learn, play a part in the recovery of these powerful artifacts.

And there you have it, the ideas luring me. It’s hard to decide! πŸ˜€

(First story opening coming next week!)

* * *

Update: It’s 8 months later, and I’ve posted quite a few of the openings for the stories mentioned here. In the list above, I’ve linked each title that has one to its posted opening.

In the time between July 2013 and March 2014, I’ve also posted a few openings not included above. πŸ˜‰ Here’s a list of all the openings – popcorn kittens of all vintages, new and old:

Fate’s Door
Dragon’s Tooth
Witch’s Sweet
Dream Trap
Tally the Betrayals
The Green Knight
Fox in the Hen Coop
Read-Only Beauty
Last Tide
The Theft of Odin’s Horse
Metamorphosis Buffet (last opening in the post “The First Lines”)
The Player King



11 thoughts on “Popcorn Kittens

  1. Looks like a great year coming up! I’m excited for these–lots of great ideas. The Dragon’s Egg, Green Knight and Golden Ka sound intriguing. Also interested to see your science fiction work. Can’t wait!

    • Uh oh! I can see how it might look like “Planned for 2013” was the title for the whole list! I wish it were. (And sorry to mislead you!) If only I could write that fast! Unfortunately, only those first three titles are planned for the remaining months of 2013. It will probably be 2014 before I tackle titles from the rest of the list. Unless a title from the other possibilities jumps the queue! I’m currently really tempted by The Golden Ka. πŸ˜€

  2. First, I now have a intense psychological need to HAVE A KITTEN!!! I have no place to keep a kitten, but I’m heading out the door right now to search up and down the streets for one. Must Have Kitten!

    Soooooo Cute!!!!

    J.M., since you caused this, please send help immediately to talk me down off the KITTEN ledge.

    I love the idea of “popcorn kittens” as short stories. That’s great. And I am in total awe as to the enormous list of books you want to write. So many ideas – that is really impressive J.M.!

    Golden Ka sounds terrific!

    • LOL! In an attempt to talk you down from the kitten ledge: litter box, vet bills, limits on travel, friends with allergies, furniture damage. How am I doing? Not a dent, right? Kittens are cute!

      I’m going to attempt to shoehorn in a few short stories around the novellas and novels. And Golden Ka may be jumping the queue! πŸ˜€

  3. Pingback: Sharknado: Movie of the Year | Shantnu Tiwari

    • LOL! I wish, I wish, I WISH I could write faster. πŸ˜€

      (And yay! We got your comment through. Thank you for persisting. I love hearing from readers. And writers. And everyone who visits my blog from time to time!)

  4. Coming in rather late to say that I’ve always thought Gethaena should have been a novel. It’s flawed in many ways as an RPG adventure, but almost always because it’s so obviously a fully-developed story that it’s hard to find ways for the players to participate. (Not that I’ve let that stop me from finally trying to run it, after many years of contemplation. The players are at the Gates of Gethaena right now, talking to Myrlaenis and pondering what to do about the guards.)

    • Your comment is very timely, because I’ve just finished my work in progress – Fate’s Door – and am beginning to contemplate the next project.

      It tickles me that you are putting players through Gethaena this very month. How cool is that!

      I agree with your assessment of Gethaena as an RPG module. I suppose I was always a better storyteller than I was a gamemaster. πŸ˜€ I hope you and your players have fun with it. I’d love to hear more about your experiences with how you modified it to allow the PCs a greater role in the events.

      Small bit of trivia: I can no longer remember where exactly it is – it might be in the structure of the Gates – but in a bunch of chambers with stained glass windows, there is one window showing 5 children kneeling before a grave. The oldest boy of those children is a point-of-view character in Troll-magic, and his siblings appear with him in his segments of the story arc.

  5. Actually, now I’ve thought about it, let me put that a different way. The structural problem is that the PCs are just one strand of a larger story, and it’s hard to make the rest of the story visible when the point-of-view is locked to the PCs. That’s not a problem in a novel, obviously.

    So my problem as a GM isn’t making the PCs more central to the story so much as how to let them know what’s going on without too many info-dumps. I’m having… limited… success at this, but the players seem to be having a good time.

    My other problem is that I had a bit too much fun chewing the scenery as Gadrel, and now they’re very nervous about the Ishru. πŸ™‚

    But I don’t want to get into too much detail about something you wrote years ago and isn’t as fresh in your mind as it is in mine. The important thing is that when I read Gethaena it stuck with me as a story (and a place, and characters) that I wanted to bring alive, and I’m having fun doing that. I’ll certainly check out some of your novels now I’m aware of them.

    • You’re quite right that it is much fresher in your mind than in mine. I remember only the broadest of brush strokes at this point. πŸ˜€

      But I’m glad that both you and your players are having fun. (I’m relieved to hear that the PCs don’t seem sidelined. Your analysis of lots of events transpiring “off stage” makes sense.) I can totally relate to having fun with Gadrel. He/she is one warped and cruel villain. Probably the worst of the bunch running around Gethaena. The players are right to fear him/her!

      I’ve wondered if any of the gamers who enjoyed my RPGs (Gethaena in ShadowWorld, “Dawn Comes Early” and “Over the Misty Mountains Cold” in Lord of the Rings Adventure Game) would discover my novels and novellas. You’ve answered that question. Yes, at least one! πŸ˜€ I hope you enjoy them when you find a moment in which to read.

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