From Alba to Albany

By the time this posts, I should be on my way via planes, trains and automobiles (not to mention the bus to the airport in Edinburgh). It’s hard to believe my fantastic year has drawn to a close. Needless to say, I have no wish to leave Scotland and already have my ticket back. My sweetie awaits.

The Fulbright has been a great gift. I have written so much and I have so much more to write. I will be burying myself in the work this fall and hope to have some splendid things to show for it.

I have new friends and new ideas and a whole new outlook. So much has changed and so much more will change.

Classes begin on Monday. It will be quite a shift to be back in teacher mode. Somehow it will happen, but I’m not sure how at this point. I’m sure the mere process of traveling will provide transition as it always does. The “no-time” of airports instantly takes you out of normalcy, so it will doubtless have that effect again.

I’m not looking forward to the jangling roar of constant commerce. I’ve been surrounded by small towns and beautiful countryside much of the time and very few harsh American voices. I’m dreading the political season and the seemingly non-stop vitriol from pig-ignorant zealots that has made people here shake their heads with disbelief (even as their politicians begin to take on the same madness).

It will be a test of my abilities that I have cultivated in the last few years to remain resilient and hopeful, to hold onto that indestructible happiness within me. It cannot be reliant on being in a particular place or with particular people: just me, wherever I am. And I think I will be able to do that. I miss my friends after all, even if I do not miss the country of my birth. Many of my friends have had great difficulties and griefs in the last year while I have been crowing in my happiness. I can do my part to help heal their sorrow. My Kipper has had a difficult year, too. I will be glad to see him once again.

All will be well.

There’s Got to be a Word for It

Here’s a thing: from one of those ongoing discussions, most recently on Facebook, but other places too. There’s a phenomenon that crops up all the time, yet has eluded naming so far. As I mentioned when sharing Peg’s post (right) about director Brenda Chapman on Facebook, the usefulness of the term “gaslighting” has been amply demonstrated in the recent bout of video game misogyny. So it would be terrific to find a word for this:

It’s an experience many women have had repeatedly. I know in my professional life especially it’s been the cause of much teeth gnashing. Less assertive men know the experience, as well.  As Young Louisa noted, too, “It happens with jokes too. You give a witty response; nobody hears it. Two minutes later a man/more glamorous person cracks the same response, gets a big laugh from all present. Should we just talk louder?”

I don’t know if talking louder helps, because of course then we’re dismissed as “shrill” you know, or some other variety of ‘straw feminist’ clichés. The idea that someone like Chapman can be removed from her position while millions continue to be sunk into the completely negligible talent of M. Night Shyamalan boggles the mind.

How’s that Year of the Woman going?

So there’s got to be a word for it — but what? Maura McHugh suggested with a wink, “Manpproval? Manappropriation?” While I like an analogue to mansplaining, I had a thought we needed something more metaphorical that gets at the unfairness we instantly feel at having our thunder stolen as well as instantly recognisable. I’m trying to think of a film that captures this in an instantly recognisable way like Gaslight, but I can’t think of one that has a single word that will work.

I had in the back of my mind the parable of the Prodigal Son (you didn’t expect that, did you? guess what, medievalists have to know a thing or two about the bible). The Boarshead Theatre in my home town did a fantastic version of Godspell years ago, that was a hoot. They reimagined the Prodigal Son parable as an episode of Leave it To Beaver. The lesson is supposed to be about the infinite grace of the lord, but for most people there’s a sense of “Hey! He didn’t deserve to get the fattened calf!” Yet it doesn’t lend itself to catch phrasing: Hey, don’t you take my fattened calf! Hmmm.

More thought needed: what would make a good term for this?

No, I did not have to make this meme.

If you need a unicorn chaser, here’s my poem for Miss Sophie’s favourite toy, the flying seal.

Keeping Abreast of the Fabulous

Sunny Dundee

All right, even I am having difficulty at times keeping up with all the news, so if I repeat something here, it just means you’re paying attention, well done, here’s a cookie! Soon I have to leave the glories of Alba for the um, gories? of Albany. Alas. Which means I have to figure out a few things that I haven’t yet. I will probably be a bit of a gypsy at least for a time, as I plan to be back here as soon as possible. More anon.

Have you read my interview with Lenore creator Roman Dirge? Do! He’s a hoot.
Good news: my story “Guide Me Soft” will be appearing at Shotgun Honey in October. I’m very pleased as they are a tough site to get into and you really have to tell a tight little story to thrill them in 700 words. Yes, the strange and seemingly ungrammatical title comes from a Fall song, although the events of the story were sparked as much by another song, “Wrong Place, Right Time”. I’m lucky to have such a bountiful muse in Mark E. Smith.

If you missed my last story out, “ASBO Bambi”, that’s up at Pulp Metal Magazine along with a load of other good stuff. I have to say, the darker the crime, the nicer the people. Like I’ve found in the horror genre, the people who write these torrid tales of murder and vengeance tend to be quite nice folks who exorcise all their darkness on the page.

Never cross a romance writer though! 😉

I’m about 20K words into the new novel White Rabbit. It’s supernatural crime which isn’t quite mainstream (I’m working on it!) but given the success of folks like John Connolly and Sarah Pinborough, I’m hoping that it will be a bit easier to market than oh, let’s say a science fiction/urban fantasy/alternate history/shamanic/road trip/retelling of the Descent of Inanna. But I should have news on Owl Stretching‘s cover art soon. I’ve seen the final version of the text. Just waiting on Ruby’s (doubtless gorgeous) art.

Speaking of which, I should be able to unveil the cover art for Weird Noir soon. Stories are coming in and I am looking forward to reading them and sorting out what the final collection will look like and then turning it all over to Fox Spirit Books so they can do the hard part (i.e. layout and ebook coding). I should be able to flog it with a vengeance at Noir Con, which looks to be shaping up into quite an event. If you think you have a story that fits the criteria, send it along.

Speaking of Fox Spirit: Tales of the Nun and Dragon coming any day now! And a song!

My Wisty-ish guide to world domination is up at The How-To Issue. Drop by and see all the wise women.

Noir-writing women appear to be the new thing. Yes, like most ‘new things’, it’s been going on a while. I’m not above piggybacking on the publicity though!

And I think I forgot to post the trailer for The Claddagh Icon here. As always, getting noticed in the cacophony that is the digital world these days is the biggest challenge for any writer, so every little thing helps. And trailers are fun. It’s got some lovely photos from Mirko Merchiori that appear in the ebook. Check out the page at Atlantis (where you can add other books at a discount, so pick up my pals’ books like Red Esperanto or The Secret Hour) or on Amazon. The series got a nice write up at Noir Nation. Drop by and check out a really terrific site.

New Digs

One more week until it’s literally true; but it’s now virtually true.

I’ve moved the blog over here to the website and changed the feeds for Facebook and Twitter [something most of you will not care about or have any idea what it’s about, but never mind]. The serial has moved to Kit’s page over here, too. I’m not deleting the blogger accounts: some of the five thousand comments didn’t transfer and well, there’s eight years of history. I’m not going to callously discard it.

I am kind of amazed at the amount I’ve written on the blog. You might want to suggest that it should be turned into a book; well some of it has. And some more will be soon (let me whisper the title now: The Triumph of the Carpet Beetle) but anon. While some folks have suggested I “write too much” (a concept I don’t understand or accept) I’ll remind you that I’m making up for all the lax years where I wrote nothing (either through sloth or through fear, the latter far worse of the two).

Don’t worry about anyone judging you for what you write. Because they will, it doesn’t matter and it seldom has much to do with what you wrote anyway.

And some people will like it. So write, paint, sing, play music, build equations — create. It’s what we’re meant to do.

I’m guest reviewer over at UnBound today, writing about a wonderful book. Here’s a snippet:

From the low white walls and the church’s steeple,
From our little fields under grass or grain,
I’m gone away to the fairy people.
I shall not come to the town again.
Lord Dunsany, “The Fairy Child”

A handful of writers make up my “buy whatever they write” list and Joyce is one of them, along with people like Liz Hand and Clive Barker. The title of this one hooked me instantly, as fairy tales are kind of an obsession with me. I had the additional delight of speaking with Graham at Alt.Fiction about the “extremely dangerous fairy folk” as we should call them, because those who associate them with twinkly lights and tinkling laughs just don’t know the truth.

Be very sure: they are extremely dangerous… [read the rest]

The Big Day

I expect there will be very little in the way of communication today — perhaps the occasional burst of annoyance or alarm on Twitter or Facebook, but not much more. It all must be dealt with today. So I’ve got my kick-ass on and I’m ready for disaster-solving.

Of course I’m writing this from the relative luxury of yesterday because I am a Time Lord (or else I just know how to set posts to appear at a later time), where I can take a moment to say thanks to everyone (because I ache all over and it feels good to sit down for a moment). Thanks to everyone who helped (hopefully today that means Bertie is up here), who had brilliant suggestions or calming words as the need may have arisen, who listened to my endless whinging on Twitter (>_<‘) and everyone who took things! Grateful, grateful, especially grateful to Barb and Catherine for duty above and beyond with the precious things.

By the end of the day Kipper should be adjusting to his new foster home; he’s a tough guy despite his pampered lifestyle. After all, he was tossed over a backyard fence as a baby, so it’s all good since then. I should be down in Hudson with my two bags, computer and kantele, quite likely getting a nice meal from my brother and solace from Connor who will probably be licking my face as I fall asleep (I am so tired) perhaps even in my dinner. But all this will be done (oh yes, yes, it must).

I will miss all my friends in the area so much! Sad to be leaving you for a time, but so very happy that I have such wonderful friends to miss. And you know I’ll be back — all my stuff is here!

Kipper Help!

At the eleventh hour, I need to make new plans for Kipper’s care while I am in Ireland. If you can help out, please email me! He’s seven, very timid but very affectionate once he gets to know you. He’s a cuddler and completely an indoor cream puff. I had hoped to save him the trauma of a long flight since he’s been traumatised on the rare occasions he had to be in a car — and that was with me right there beside him. Argh. He’s been an only cat for some time, but he was fine with Maggie when she was alive (she, however, was less thrilled with the big guy who could stand over her!). My pal Barb has offered to take him, but she has a couple of dogs (including Oisín the Irish Wolfhound!) and we’re not sure how he’ll be with dogs. Any help, let me know. I am grateful.

A Song for You

Actually, a song for me. Something to sing while the endless packing continues. Just a few more days, just a few more days — where did all this crap come from…

Looking forward to tonight at the Point! See you there.