BLACK RICE, a novella by K. M. Kaung

It is soooo hawtt!

Self, remember what you were moaning about only yesterday?  About how chilly it was inside the house?

Must you always need reminding:  BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR ???

Kyi’s novella, Black Rice, arrived in the mail today.  That was quick!  Self only ordered it on Tuesday!

The voice packs a punch.  The reader is immediately immersed in the narrator’s world, Burma during World War II:

. . .  The bricks in the old temples are held together by stucco cement mixed from nothing but lime, sand and boiled sticky rice.

Yet this rice-based cement has held the temples together for hundreds of years.  The monk and the nun fortune-tellers always say:  My name fits my skin color.  My skin color matches my name.  That is necessary for good luck and survival.  In our country these are necessities, like food and drink, like good health.  No one proves that better than the Old Man, Bright Sun himself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


All-Time Favorites WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 6

Oh, WHAT? The Daily Post Photo Challenge is going away?


For the final week of the Photo Challenge, we’re supposed to post our favorite Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge picture.

That is an extremely hard photo challenge — the hardest.

Anyhoo, here’s a picture from a trip she took with former Calyx Managing Editor (She was one of the founders) Margarita Donnelly in April 2013:

On the Vaporetto to St. Mark's, Venice, April 2013

On the Vaporetto, Venice, April 2013

Is this an “In the Background” kind of shot, in keeping with WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge theme of the week?

Self has no idea.  She would never have posted it, though, if she hadn’t been looking for a photo where “background,” or anyway the idea of background, was key.

So, it’s all good.

It turns out self’s fondest memories of Venice are not the paintings, not the magnificent churches, but the vaporetto rides.  Which thousands of people take every day, on their way to and from work in the city.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 5

Sticking close to home:

The Living Room Picture Window on a Hot Afternoon in late May

The Living Room Picture Window on a Hot Afternoon in Late May

Lately, The Man has taken to asking:  What.Are.You.Taking.A.Picture.Of.Now ???


Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 4

Venice, April 2013:  A mysterious courtyard

Venice, April 2013: A mysterious courtyard

Not sure if this photograph qualifies for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge Theme:  In the Background.

You decide, dear blog readers.

Here’s the WordPress prompt :

In the Background

The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us.  But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces.  In today’s challenge, let’s turn the tables.  Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background or . . .  the foreground the center of attention.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Author Photos, and Other Matters of Great Importance

Self received a message from Anvil Press of the Philippines, who published her third collection in 2009 (Don’t worry; you’ve never heard of it):  They owe her royalties of 3,000 pesos (about $73)

Whoopie!!!  Her first set of Anvil royalties!  She feels so, so validated!!!

She also heard, via La Hagedorn, that Anvil is putting out a Philippine edition of Manila Noir, just out Read the rest of this entry »

Recommendations, Last Saturday of May 2013

Frances Ha (directed by Noah Baumbach, and co-written by him and the actress Greta Gerwig) is a very beguiling movie.

It’s in black and white, which lends an almost documentary feel to it.

The heroine is clumsy, somewhat of a dork.  The scene where she gets an IRS refund check then immediately decides to treat a friend (who is actually 10x richer than she.  Seriously) out to dinner?  Classic.  The poor girl has to run to an ATM since the restaurant had a problem with her credit card.  She ran a really long way, and fell down.  When she got back to the restaurant, the guy, so sweet, said:  “Who do you know in Switzerland?” or “Did you have to go to Switzerland?” Ha. Ha. Ha.  Then, his next line:  “Why are you bleeding?”  “Oh,” poor Frances says.  “I’m bleeding?  Where?”

The girl is huge and ungainly (somewhat like Brienne of Tarth), but dreams of becoming a dancer.  It’s not happening.  Yet you root for her, all the way.

*     *     *     *     *

Alimentum, self loves you.  Why?  Not only are you rich in imagery and full of (meaty) content, self discovered this evening that her story “Cake” (which appeared a long time ago:  which is to say, last year) is featured on a sidebar in the Fiction section.  Yes!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Discoveries, Last Saturday of May 2013

It makes self sad to write the above.  Indeed, it is the last Saturday of May 2013 she will ever live through.  Then May will turn into June, and before you know it, July will be here (though she loves July.  And not just because it’s her birthday month!)  Before you know it, it will be Christmas again.  And those silly Christmas doo-dads she pasted on her dining room windows, and has been too lazy or too distracted to take down?  She’ll just leave them on, so that when Christmas comes, there will be no more of this hunting around for them in the garage!

Self has discovered a new Kindred Spirit Blogger!  She’s not sure how she stumbled on this site, but she must have added it to her Bookmarks after she got back from Venice.

Tonight, she was browsing through it and thought:  Hmm, it’s been a while since self blogged about another blogger.  Let’s just say, she was very moved by the series of sunset pictures on this blog.  They reminded her of the picture that Philippine Genre Stories used to illustrate her story “The Departure,” which was the very first story of that webzine, and which she’s been reading regularly ever since.  It was fun to see it on the site, and a few months ago she discovered that Ellen Datlow (Who is Ellen Datlow, you may ask?  Don’t blame you, self had to look her up:  She is the editor of Science Fiction Magazine) had given self’s story (and a couple of other ones by Filipino writers, one of whom was Kristine Ong Muslim, whose writing self likes very much) an Honorable Mention for Best Science Fiction 2011!

Just now, self wandered over to Kristine’s website and discovered that Kristine has “garnered multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize” and that “her short fiction and poetry were accepted in over five hundred anthologies, periodicals, and podcasts.”  Gadzooks!!!  Way to go, Kristine !!!

Later, self browsed for mentions of her own story, and found some other writer mention it in passing, saying it was “rather dark.”  To which self could only respond with a hearty


Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 3

A Pilgrim on Her Way to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, 6 a.m.

A Pilgrim on Her Way to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, 6 a.m. (February 2012)

The best time to see the Golden Temple in Amritsar is at dawn.

Arrive in Amritsar the night before, stay at a hotel, wake up at 4 a.m., be prepared to walk across a dusty street barefoot, bring a head scarf and make sure you fasten it firmly.  Self’s flew off several times and people around her started to mutter.

Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 2

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, July 2012

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, July 2012

It was a cloudy day.  It was the first week of July, 2012.  Self had just spent a month in Scotland, on a writing residency.  She went to Paris to fulfill a lifelong dream.  Her birthday was July 14, Bastille Day.  She didn’t get to stay until then, she went home a week early.  But at least she finally saw the City of Light with her own two eyes.  Yeeees!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: In the Background

Book Sale at Public Library, San Carlos, CA

Book Sale at Public Library, San Carlos, CA

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