Tor.com content by

K.A. Doore

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

The Girl Gets the Girl: Happily Ever Afters in Merry Shannon’s Sword of the Guardian

Humans can’t help but look for patterns in the chaos of our lives. We create and share stories for many reasons, but primarily to make sense of it all. We shape our stories with structure and pattern in mind and those stories, in turn, shape us. We set our lives to the beats of stories, even plan our futures based on them. A good story can help us make a decision, give us expectations, even hope.

A bad story can hurt us.

The stories I grew up on had a clear progression: the main character starts out weak, young, and naïve. They are challenged. They fail. They try again. They fail. They try again. They triumph over evil.

And the boy gets the girl.

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Five (Somewhat) Forgotten Books Featuring F/F Relationships

Queer fiction—that is, stories with more than just a token side character and about more than just the trauma of coming out—has exploded in the last few years. We still have a long ways to go before the representation becomes acceptable—becomes more than just cis white guys and gals, that is—but I think it’s fair cause to celebrate.

That said, sometimes it can feel like not even five years ago we lived in a land of nothing but heteronormativity, which isn’t as true as it feels. The number of times I’ve seen someone lament how there are no queer protagonists in fantasy makes my nose itch. While it’s important to celebrate what is coming, it’s equally important to celebrate what we have. Queer authors have been paving the way for this explosion for decades now, with their words and wit and wisdom and, most importantly, their persistence.

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Series: Five Books About…

Read Chapter One from K.A. Doore’s The Impossible Contract

Thana has a huge reputation to live up to as daughter of the Serpent, who rules over Ghadid’s secret clan of assassins. Opportunity to prove herself arrives when Thana accepts her first contract on Heru, a dangerous foreign diplomat with the ability to bind a person’s soul under his control. She may be in over her head, especially when Heru is targeted by a rival sorcerer who sends hordes of the undead to attack them both. When Heru flees, Thana has no choice than to pursue him across the sands to the Empire that intends to capture Ghadid inside its iron grip.

A stranger in a strange city, Thana’s only ally is Mo, a healer who may be too noble for her own good. Meanwhile, otherworldly and political dangers lurk around every corner, and even more sinister plans are uncovered which could lead to worldwide devastation. Can Thana rise to the challenge—even if it means facing off against an ancient evil?

The Impossible Contract is the second book in K. A. Doore’s high fantasy adventure series the Chronicles of Ghadid, where a determined assassin travels to the heart of the Empire in pursuit of a powerful mark. Available November 12th from Tor Books.

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How Do You Fight an 80-Foot Sand Dune?

Everybody knows deserts are dangerous. You’ve got your dehydration, which can kill you in less than two days. You’ve got your venomous animals—snakes, scorpions, spiders, lizards, and I’m sure I’m missing some others—which, with just a bite or sting, can either kill you outright or kill you more slowly. Then you’ve got your sandstorms, which have buried many caravans and even some armies (if Herodotus is to be believed…but that’s a different discussion).

That’s enough to make you nervous and keep your distance, where deserts are concerned. But say you’re really intent on making the desert your home, and you’ve accounted for all of the above. You figured out where to find water (didn’t you?). You’ve taken precautions to avoid being bitten or stung. And you’ve learned what to do should you be caught in a sandstorm (see: don’t be).

You could be forgiven for forgetting about dunes.

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