Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s “The House on the Coast” (Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 19, No. 2: THE WEST COAST & BEYOND)

Crab Orchard Review: In its 20th year of publication, an Icon of Literary Publishing

Crab Orchard Review: In its 20th year of publication, an Icon of Literary Publishing

Self is starting with the first short story, by Lucy Jane Bledsoe, “The House on the Coast.”

SPOILER ALERT!

Backstory: Narrator breaks into a nice house on the coast, decides to raid the wine supply. While she’s resting, a visitor comes by, who turns out to be the estranged daughter of the house’s owners. The daughter, whose name is Henrietta, tells the narrator about the recent death of her three-year-old.

“I’m a perfect candidate for a crystal meth habit. I’ll do anything to interrupt the — ”

“Pain,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said.

She did that hand-waving gesture of hers. “What do you think is the next step? Call my parents?”

I didn’t have a clue how to answer.

“They never met her,” she said. “They did ask. I just never thought they asked genuinely enough. I have to live with that, that I kept her from them. I’m sorry.” She looked up at me, her eyes flashing and her thin-lipped mouth open with grief. “The two most stupid words in the language.”

The next short story in this issue of the Crab Orchard Review is Alex Colin-Shotwell’s “Strike-Slip.” It begins:

You’re up on the roof of a house in the Hollywood Hills and you’re surrounded by a darkness so palpable you can almost wear it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Felix Landau’s Diary: Cracow, 1941

Alternating between Clockwork Prince and The Third Reich at War, be forewarned.

Events in Cracow from the diary of Felix Landau, part of the SS’s Task Force C:

Landau watched Jews forced to dig their own graves, mused in his diary:  “What on earth is running through their minds during those moments? I think that each of them harbours a small hope that somehow he won’t be shot. The death candidates are organized into three shifts as there are not many shovels. Strange, I am completely unmoved. No pity, nothing.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How DARE You, Mr. Ragnor Fell!

Self may be getting ahead of herself, but life is short.

There are two choices open to her when she leaves Ireland:  Yorkshire or Wales.

Yorkshire because a crucial scene in Clockwork Prince takes place there. P. 169:

Ragnor Fell, High Warlock of London: “What’s on the carpet, then, Charlotte? Did you really call me out here to discuss dark doings on the Yorkshire moors? I was under the impression that nothing of great interest happened in Yorkshire. In fact, I was under the impression that there was nothing in Yorkshire except sheep and mining.”

Oh la-di-dah, Mr. Fell. Yorkshire isn’t that boring. She was there when she was 11. She was sent to summer camp, somewhere in Yorkshire Dales. She saw the magnificent cathedral.

And Wales?

Something so alluring and romantic about Wales. Aside from the fact that Wales is where Will Herondale was born and lived until he was 12.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#fridayreads: Because It Is Impossible to Try and Quote Shakespeare in 140 Characters

Henry IV, Part One, Act One Scene Two (Self is so inspired after watching the Globe production of “King John” two days ago, with poet Joan McGavin!):

Prince Henry:  Good morrow, Ned.

Poins:  Good morrow, Sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-and-Sugar? Jack, how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul that thou soldest him on Good Friday last, for a cup of Madeira and a good capon’s leg?

Prince Henry:  Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain, for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs; he will give the devil his due.

Poins:  Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

Prince Henry:  Else he has been damned for cozening the devil.

Poins:  But my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o’clock early at Gadshill. There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ROY G. BIV: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self learns today that ROY G. BIV stands for the following colors:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge involves sharing “an image that contains all the colors of the rainbow.”

Quite Easily Done!

Self has currently been partaking of the glories of the United Kingdom. Naturally, she’s been taking photos like crazy. London and Dublin are extremely colorful places.

Somewhere near Blackfriars Bridge, South Bank, London

Somewhere near Blackfriars Bridge, South Bank, London

A few days ago, self was invited by her friend, poet Joan McGavin, to participate in a demonstration for action on climate change. The gathering took place near Lambeth Bridge on Wednesday, 17 June 2015. Self noticed a young woman wearing the most beautiful jacket.  She asked where the woman had bought her jacket. The response: Camden Market. It only cost 20 pounds.

A Demonstration Calling for Action on Climate Change: Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A Demonstration Calling for Action on Climate Change: Wednesday, 17 June 2015

And finally, a shot from the day self spent in Cambridge, visiting ex-classmate Dodo Duterte Stanley:

Cambridge, UK: Punting boats waiting for passengers on the River Cam

Cambridge, UK: Punting boats waiting for passengers on the River Cam

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

London Is So Vivid: First Stop on the Shadowhunters Tour of London

Yup, self is once again in a foreign clime.

It was not so bad, the change this time. London is only eight hours ahead of California.

And it is warm in the city.

Warm = good.

Self’s first stop (after arriving from the airport ) was Westminster Abbey. Because, The Infernal Devices. This is, after all, her Shadowhunters London tour.

Here’s a passage from p. 9 of Clockwork Prince:

She had known that famous kings, queens, soldiers, and poets were buried in Westminster Abbey, but she hadn’t quite expected she’d be standing on top of them.

She and Jem slowed finally at the southeastern corner of the church. Watery daylight poured through the rose window overhead. “I know we are in a hurry to get to the Council meeting,” said Jem, “but I wanted you to see this.” He gestured around them. “Poet’s corner.”

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And it is true, dear blog readers, that one is really standing on top of stone slabs that say:  Charles Darwin. Charles Dickens. Samuel Johnson. William Wilberforce. It feels a little disrespectful, but even though a man decked in out the bright green robe of a docent insisted that the actual bones of the famous gents were underneath the stones, she didn’t quite believe him. It is also quite strange that there are some children buried there, along with Isaac Newton and Edward the Confessor, and also some anonymous knights. Mary Queen of Scots gets her very own chapel. And why do Jane Austen and the three Bronte sisters have to be beneath a whole wall of names of MEN: Keats and Shelley topping the whole.

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Photographs are not allowed, so these were a few random shots self took from outside the Abbey.

She had lunch at the on-site restaurant, the Cellarium Café. Try the duck with bok choy. The waiter recommended it, and it was so much better than the roast duck she had at Fung Lum in the San Francisco Airport.

The grass is so vividly green in England. Afterwards, she made an entire circuit of St. James Park, and wished she could linger, but she was also in a hurry to take a nice, warm shower. Because it felt like she hadn’t showered in 48 hours. A terrible feeling.

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Another place prominently featured in The Infernal Devices is the Thames, because of course Jem and Will spend a lot of time conversing on the riverbank, the Victoria Embankment, where they can look at Cleopatra’s Needle and, to their right, Hungerford Bridge. Self might make that the next stop on her Shadowhunters tour.

Self was telling a cab driver about Cassandra Clare’s mention of Poet’s Corner and the Pyx Chamber in Westminster, and suddenly the taxi driver said, “That sounds a lot like Harry Potter.” Which surprised self exceedingly but really shouldn’t have, because she knows that Clare got her start writing Harry Potter fan fiction. So of course, that overlay of the magical with the mundane — Clare was definitely influenced by J. K. Rowling.

But self likes Victorian Steampunk so much better than plain old Harry Potter magic. Because she adores the scenes of violent demon-slaying and all that mayhem occurring on Blackfriars Bridge. She really is such a bloodthirsty soul.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vivid: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is VIVID.

The Daily Post cites the Vivid Festival of Sydney, Australia, which opened May 22 and closes June 8. This year, the festival features “over 60 light art installations, illuminations, and 3D artworks . . . a kaleidoscope of color and light art.”

Sounds fabulous.

Here are self’s takes on VIVID:

Orchids are so vivid!

Orchids are so vivid!

From April through May this year, self participated in the Banff Writing Studio. She loved Banff, and being surrounded by artists. Here’s a picture she took during her first week in Banff. The red structure is something that immediately caught her eye.

The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada: April 2015

The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada: April 2015

The Canadian sky was a vivid blue, that last week of April:

Banff, Alberta: late April, 2015

Banff, Alberta: late April, 2015

And that’s all she has for VIVID at the moment, dear blog readers!

Stay tuned.

Shadowhunter London: A Promise, A Plan

Self is shortly going to be in London.

And she’s bringing The Infernal Devices trilogy with her.

And she’s going to go to every single place listed in the three books:  Blackfriars Bridge, Kew Gardens, the Serpentine, etc etc

Self promises you, dear blog readers: Just as her trip last year to London and Ireland became epic, truly epic, because it brought her to Stonehenge and so many other places she had only ever read about, the one upcoming will be epic as well, though for a different reason. (And maybe she will finally get to see more of Wales? Last year, she only got as far as Holyhead)

And so now, the time for SPOILER ALERTS has arrived.

Because self did force herself to read the Epilogue, finally. And here’s a sentence that just about killed her:

ONCE AGAIN SPOILER ALERT!

It still seemed incredible to her sometimes that they had managed to grow old together, herself and Will Herondale, whom Gabriel Lightwood had once said would live to be no older than nineteen.

P.S. Cassandra Clare: Can you please explain why Will Herondale is mortal when his father was a Nephilim? Isn’t the Nephilim blood always dominant? Self just can’t stand the thought that once Will is truly out of the way (i.e., DEAD), Tessa then gets with Jem who very conveniently did not have his mouth sewn shut like the rest of the Silent Brothers and therefore is still available to kiss, etc. For eternity. As he’s immortal. And so is Tessa. AAAARGH!

THE END (of self’s reading, that is. She still can’t bring herself to read about Will on his deathbed, so she’ll just skip the next pages)

Stay tuned.

On the Way: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ON THE WAY.

The prompt, by Michelle W., gives an example:  Michelle’s photo of tulip fields taken as her plane was descending into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

In an attempt to interpret this theme, self is posting pictures from last Saturday, when she and the other artists took a class in bookmaking in a store in downtown Banff (Gingko & Ink) It was a lot of fun. The photographs below are self’s way of documenting the process. So, transitions. So, ON THE WAY. ON THE WAY TO MAKING A BOOK!

Writer Corinna Chong is hard at work!

Writer Corinna Chong is hard at work!

Stan, who came here with Beth Follett, founder of Pedlar Press: He's hard at work, too!

Stan, who came here with Beth Follett, founder of Pedlar Press: He’s hard at work, too!

And here’s what Stan’s finished book looked like:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day, CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 389

Self is still reading Mark Twain, but to Twain does not belong the Sentence of the Day (Is that even correct grammar, self? Something wrong with the construction, apparently. Nevertheless)

She has reached p. 453 of Clockwork Prince! And tomorrow she mails the book back to her niece in Calgary, who lent her a hardback collector’s edition. Thank you soooo soooo much, Karina, for introducing self to The Infernal Devices! (And oh by the way she’s still into Peeta Mellark, and she still writes Hunger Games Everlark fan fiction, and she’s also still in the Banff Writing Studio, but none of that matters now, because, because — now she has to reveal her Sentence of the Day!)

SPOILER ALERT MAJOR SPOILER ALERT DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE SPOILERS

The climax of Clockwork Prince is when Magnus Bane kisses Will Herondale.

Ooops — NOT!

Clockwork Prince is a really great novel. Self would have given it five stars if not for all those wasted scenes between taking-so-slow-to-die Jem Carstairs and that Silly Twit Tessa Gray.

There is no sentence like a Cassandra Clare sentence when she describes Will Herondale in action. Allow the slight digression, dear blog readers, but self will never forget that sentence on p. 446 of Clockwork Angel when Will was hurrying to save Tessa from the evil and lascivious clutches of a certain gentleman (This is Victorian London, after all! Did you perhaps think this was a Sarah Waters novel — BWAH. HA. HA!), and he has to ride bareback through the streets of 19th century London, and he has to take out his stele while on a dead run, and he hits a locked door in the Institute, whereupon:

He slashed the stele across the door’s surface, creating the fastest Open rune of his life.

Now, in Clockwork Prince, tiresome Jem has broken a leg or something and is completely useless against a giant automaton and Tess’s dastardly brother Nate has been quite brutally slappiing Tess about, and only Will is left to protect Tess from an explosion set off by one of Henry’s infernal contraptions, and of course after it goes off Tess is all sad because her evil brother has died, and very belatedly she looks at Will and notices that he is lying very still because:

His gear had been shredded all along his spine and shoulder blades, the thick material torn by flying shards of razored metal.

EEEEK!!!

NOOOOOO!!!

So once again, Cassandra Clare has dug in the knife and self can’t even.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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