#amwritinghistoricalfantasy

An image of the Blessed Virgin accompanied him into every battle, resting on the pommel of his saddle. The Saint was a trickster, a conjurer. At his first victory, at the walled fortress of Quesada, his men scaled the walls in the darkness, first muffling their ladders with cloth.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Hope to Get to 266 pp. Today

Spent five hours writing this morning. Produced seven pages.

That is blisteringly slow.

Setting: 18th century Spain

Dorotea bites her lip and shakes her head. “Many have given their lives in the service of the faith. And you wish to be in their company. I know your ambition. It was ever large.”

Self sincerely  hopes that dialogue sounds 18th century enough.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: THIS IS END

#amwritingdystopia #amwritingfantasy #amwritinghorror

sequel to her stories First Life (in Juked.com) and First Causes (in Quarterly West)

Floating, off to the right: the remains of the former space station, the Kobayashi Maru.

It caught fire. The wreckage drifted, was lost. Then found. Then lost, and found again.


Ice, another of her dystopian stories, will be in the Fall issue of Bellingham Review, which drops Nov. 15.

Stay tuned.

#amwritinghorror

Calling this one The Rorqual. What the Rorqual is — well, you’ll just have to wait till the story’s finished to find out.

Setting: the Bering Sea

He remembered the day it all changed. It was the day they spotted a ship, sailing languidly along the ice-clotted harbor. It seemed meandering, yet sure of purpose. It drifted to shore, riding high in the water.

(And, just so you know, self knows absolutely nothing about ships or about seafaring or about the Bering Sea. Which is why she chose to write this story about ships and seafaring and the Bering Sea)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

PERSONAL HEROES: FIREFIGHTERS OF CALIFORNIA

Trump is rather disinterested in the raging wildfires that have wrought havoc on Northern California.

Fires started over a week ago.

Self’s flight to Albuquerque on Thursday, 12 October, was cancelled due to “weather.”

Self’s flight to Albuquerque on Friday, 13 October, was cancelled again due to “weather.”

Self learned from another passenger in the SFO United terminal that the cancellations began on Wednesday.

Son’s wedding was on Saturday, 14 October.

The only thing that saved her was: another of son’s friends, Alex Case, was in the United terminal, scheduled for the same 11 a.m. flight to Albuquerque. Somehow, we found each other (first sighting since son’s high school graduation and Alex had grown at least two feet), found an American Airlines flight to LAX, and then got another flight from there to Albuquerque, finally arriving 8:30 p.m., missing the rehearsal dinner.

But: she made her son’s wedding! She made her son’s wedding! She made her son’s wedding!

Last night, she flew back to the San Francisco Bay Area. Her seatmate said, “There’s still smoke.” We looked out at the darkness. Above the twinkling lights of the city was an area that was a different pall. And self thought: the firemen have been fighting since the fires started, over a week ago now. And the fires have only just started being contained.

Each fireman deserves a medal. A big fat gold medal.

Stay tuned.

Spotlight on: CAFE IRREAL

With nods to Kafka. Kafka. Kafka.

Café Irreal is an online zine, edited by G. S. Evans and Alice Whittenburg, that has been in continuous publication since 1998 (Oh, kudos. Major kudos). Its focus is on writing about The Irreal.

They published self’s Appetites and The Secret Room.

The opening of Appetites:

  • When she was a girl, she ate crab, bitter melon, rice soup. She loved milkfish, which at that time was still abundant. The cook, who was as dear to her as her own mother, served her glutinous rice cakes, salmon cured with tamarind salt, grilled squid stuffed with chorizo, the meat of young coconuts.

Food is life. Yes.

Stay tuned.

 

Recommended Reading: Women Writing (Comics, Nonfiction, Novellas)

Essay:

Skinning the Rabbit, by Jane Eaton Hamilton (The Sun, July 2017)

The Cone of Uncertainty: Parenting on the Edge of Climate Change, by Sarah Grey (Salvage Quarterly, 28 November 2017)

On Yoga, Diversity Lite, and the Empire of American Wellness, by Namrata Poddar (CounterPunch, 3 November 2017)

The New Bad Girls of Contemporary Literature, by Myriam Gurba (Literary Hub, 1 December 2017)

Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers? by Debbie Weingarten (The Guardian, 6 December 2017)

Comics:

DC New Talent Showcase 2017

Food-Related:

In Search of Lost Butter Chicken, by Sukhada Tatke (National Geographic Traveler: India, June 2017)

Novella:

Day of All Saints, by Patricia Grace King (Miami University Press, November 2017)

I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do), by Tatiana Ryckman (Future Tense Books, September 2017)

 

 

nth Draft, Novel-in-Progress

Mebbe this novel will never see the light of day? Mebbe it was ever meant to be a long short story? Like, 50 pages long?

Here’s a conversation that was in the very first draft, three years ago. And survived today’s mad pruning. So, this is the kernel. The nut. The Ground Zero:

“Describe it,” the Archbishop says. “Did it descend from the heavens? Or was it walking along the street? Was its countenance clearly visible? Did it seem expressive?”

The Archbishop’s deep-set, green eyes focus intently on Matias’s face. He presses one slender forefinger against the side of his aquiline nose and waits for Matias to answer.

“It was a creature. Earthy. Very like a cow.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Heartfelt Thanks to These Intrepid Tweeters For a Year’s Worth of Sanity

@ProPublica

@mcspocky

@RealRBHJr

@marion_mcgarry

@TriskelCork

@LillianHowan

@NSIDC

@dailywalks

@TheMarySue

@RWAKissofDeath

@JanetFitch323

@_kingslayer2017

@WatchersOTWall

@kate_mccrea

@GraceLP

@Pigsyinspace

@jeanleesworld

@ErinLMcCoy

@FreeFolkMemes

@ASOIAFQuotesGOT

@thedailybeast

@karltaro

 

Liu Xia: “June 2nd, 1989” (Two Excerpts)

This isn’t good weather
I said to myself
standing under the lush sun.

* * *

 

DSCN0234

I didn’t have a chance to say a word before you became a character
in the news, everyone looking up to you
as I was worn down
at the edge of the crowd
just smoking
and watching the sky.

(from the collection Empty Chairs, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern, published by Graywolf Press in a bilingual edition in 2015)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More from Joan Acocella on Martin Luther (The New Yorker, 30 October 2017)

Still reading the Joan Acocella essay from a month and a half ago. It’s a great essay which somehow also manages to call up Freddie Krueger and his origin story (but self will not mention that here, as it’s getting close to Christmas).

In addition to fascinating examples of Luther’s ripe way with speech, it brings up Luther’s anti-Semitism (which was not uncommon at the time).

Acocella on the Jews: “Luther despised them dementedly, ecstatically.”

Then follows many scatological references. Also, this:

  • “what makes Luther’s anti-Semitism most disturbing is not its extremity (which, by sounding so crazy, diminishes its power)”

which recalls the present day (calling 45 “mental” thereby diminishing him — which does our country no favors because, after all, 45 is a dangerous guy, and probably NOT crazy)

Martin Luther lived to “an old age”: 62. But “the years were not kind to him . . . He spent days and weeks in pamphlet wars over matters that, today, have to be patiently explained to us, they seem so remote.”

This is sad!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

ASCEND: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 December 2017

It’s almost time for self to pack up her books and end another incredibly intense, productive stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

Her last hurrah: in honor of this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, ASCEND, here are shots of the stairs going to her writing studio.

DSCN0228

DSCN0229

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amwritinghorror: The Rorqual

The Mother of All Alien Invasions starts with a foot race.

Setting: the Bering Sea

p. 29:

The pago paws at the hull. Black angels, are they? Wearing coats of water, coats of snow. Wings cutting the air like blades.

The man from Endurance said they’d rolled their dead down slopes. His pregnant wife, he’d filled her mouth with shards of ice and rock.

DSCN1644

 

Stay tuned.

 

Place in Mystery Fiction: It Is Everything

Self is closing out 2017 with Tana French, and she is also reading Kelly Creighton’s Bank Hurricane Holiday, a super short story collection set in Northern Ireland.

Place is everything in the writing of these two women. She isn’t finished yet with Creighton’s book (just out from Doire Press) but she finished her first Tana French, earlier today: Broken Harbor. And she’s just started reading The Trespasser.

She’s very late in coming to Tana French, but why. She’s been coming to Ireland for years, if she’d had enough sense, she would have read Ms. French years ago.

Self loves mysteries. She especially loves the mysteries of: Henning Mankell, Morag Joss (only one book), Ruth Rendell, and Karin Fossum.

She thinks her love of mysteries in foreign landscapes began with Peter Hoeg’s mesmerizing Smilla’s Sense of Snow. (And now she writes dystopian fantasy set in snowy landscapes, what a coincidence)

p. 4, The Trespasser:

  • Murder works out of the grounds of Dublin Castle, smack in the heart of town, but our building is tucked away a few corners from the fancy stuff the tourists come to see, and our walls are thick; even the early morning traffic out on Dame Street only makes it through to us as a soft, undemanding hum.

Who doesn’t know Dublin Castle. Tourist mecca. Now, in her mind, Dublin Castle is the home of the Dublin Murder Squad. Love.

On to p. 5.

Stay tuned.

 

 

2018 SAG Awards Nominees: Personal Favorites

Some are very predictable to regular readers of this blog. Also, 2017 was really wonky since she didn’t get to see that many movies.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Baby Driver

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Jeff Daniels, Godless

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Game of Thrones

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: p. 101

A conversation between the Archbishop of Madrid and Matias, the MC of self’s (set in the 18th century) novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores:

“Are there testimonies of his cruelty?”

“There are,” says the Archbishop. “And yet, without the cruelty of Juan de Salcedo, none of this would have been possible.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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