Thanks to Peg Aloi, I’m going to be appearing with her (and possibly some other folks) on a panel tonight after the documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry on 2nd wave feminism of the 60s & 70s. Join us for a lively discussion. See The Linda’s site for more info.
Join me this Sunday at 2pm-ish for a workshop on writing with added beer. The beer is great and the workshop/reading will be fun. I’ll be joined by local writer Jim Labate. I might read this story unless I think of something else.
Come hang out. It’ll be fun. Yes, I’ll have some books with me.
Beginning of the semester is always busy and this one is no exception. Things coming up where you might run into me — apart from as always the productive Write 4 a Day sessions — include the 2nd Sunday @ 2 reading in Troy, as well as two new events.
Divine Write is a new series of readings + workshops featuring local writers at the Beer Diviner Tap Room. I’m planning to hit the first one tomorrow to get a feel for things because I’ll be on stage with Jim LaBate in February. Come along, try the beer and bring your pen. Yes, books will be on offer.
I’ve also thrown my hat in the ring to be a host for @WeTheHumanities the week of February 6th. I’ll be curating the discussions that week which means throwing out topics, responding to commentary and trying to keep a world wide conversation going on between all my usual activities. Madness, I know. I got a taste of how fun/nerve-wracking it can be guesting a couple times for @FolkloreThursday — including the day the Beeb decided to cover them, eek!
If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow along, ask questions and get involved in the discussion. The aim of the activity is to reach beyond the communities of academics and show how the humanities enrich our lives. In a time when rhetoric, history and literature provide some of the best material for speaking truth to power, that may seem easy, but conversation only works when a variety of voices join in.
So start thinking of the topics and questions you have. Me? I’m trying to stick to staying on top of work, but then my mind wanders to things like:
Hey, I’m a guest host over at the #FolkloreThursday twitter account today from 5pm-6:30pm UK/noon-1:30pm US eastern time. I’ll be seeking out stories to share with everyone and asking questions about the lore out there. Join us!
Also, today only you can get the third Hecate Sidlaw adventure for FREE! Hard-Boiled Witch: Charms O’erthrown spins a little yarn about alchemy, an ancient artifact and the wonders of your local library (well, the Dundee Library is kind of special).
Check it out what the reviews say & get a copy here.
And happy birthday to my muse, Peter Cook.
I’ll be joining a bunch of local authors including my fellow Mavens of Mayhem AKA the Upper Hudson chapter of Sisters in Crime for a gathering at the East Greenbush Library. We’ll have books to sign and sell and plenty of time to chat.
Join us 3-4pm at the East Greenbush Community Library!
I will have copies of HOW TO BE DULL with me as well as whatever else I have around here…
Here’s Janez Grm, me, Funda Cinoglu, Vassilis Danellis, Avgust Demšar AKA Tomaš and Alibi mastermind Renato Bratkovič at the legendary Bar Grega. In Casablanca, everybody goes to Rick’s; in Slovenia, everybody goes to Bar Grega.
I was unprepared for just how amazing Slovenia would be. I thought it would be fun of course, as it usually is hanging out with other writers — but I had no idea how crazy beautiful this country is. Seriously, book your holiday today before everyone discovers it.
See the whole photo album here. There’s just too many wonderful pictures. Renato was a brilliant host: he took me to Lake Bled where we had their famous cream cake, then I got to nap a little at Hotel Jakec to get over my jet lag, then my first visit to Bar Grega to be greeted by the genial host Borut, who had the welcoming mat out:
The next day the other writers arrived (not having to come quite as far) and I met Janez, Vassilis and his lovely wife Funda — they live in Instanbul so it was fascinating to hear their perspective on current events, plus they’re both delightful. Avgust AKA Tomaš is quite a legend, like the Val McDermid of Slovenia. He has a wicked dry wit. We were lavished with attention at Bar Grega, then taken to dinner at the amazing Gora pod lipo, a stunning alpine restaurant set in a restored country house with all modern meeting rooms and the food — did I mention the food yet? Surrounded by vineyards and served the most tasty array of foods. When was I ever so spoiled?
As Renato said, nothing’s really free. He had us draw from potential titles because Saturday we would be back at Gora pod lipo to write the stories. Yes, we had most of the day to write, pampered with tea and wine and snacks like roasted pumpkin seeds covered in dark chocolate (oh, and I thought I hated pumpkin!). So of course I wrote about 6K — haahahaa! Imagine how much I’d write if I always lived like this.
Then we were whisked off to the cinema to see Psi brezčasja / Case: Osterberg, a noir film presented by writer Zoran Benčič and producer Tomi Matič. Zoran is also lead singer of Res Nullius, Slovenia’s premiere rock band (check them out). The film is based on his novel. Though we didn’t have a subtitles, it was pretty easy to follow the story (I’ll write a proper review over on Graham Wynd, maybe tomorrow). I was surprised to learn it was a no-budget film as it looked really good. The film premiered at the Festival of Slovenian Film in September 2015 and received unanimous critical acclaim while also winning the FIPRESCI Film Critics award for best film.
Then we all repaired to Bar Grega to chat and drink more Laško Noir — the official beer of Alibi — until everybody was too tired. So Renato drove us back up the winding mountain roads to Hotel Jakec (I think Janez probably still dreams of those drives and wakes up ill).
Sunday it was back to Gora pod lipo. I put the finishing touches on my story (would Borut live or die? 😉 following in Eddie Vega’s footsteps I put our Bar Grega host into my tale) then just enjoyed the beauty of the mountain and the bounty of our hosts. They took great care of us. Then it was time for the reading in the wine cellar. You can’t beat that for cool.
Then we had a wonderful dinner with Renato’s family to wind up the day and it was just the thing we needed. His daughter is a budding Evelyn Glennie and his wife Alenka made sure we were all eating enough. It’s a wonder I did not burst at some point during the weekend.
It was hard to say good-bye! Good thing I had Venice to entertain me — but more of that later.
Okay, there’s my attempt at a crazy click bait headline. Will it work? I don’t know. I can’t say I care these days. I am too busy to bother trying and none of it seems to work, so I will labour away in obscurity and do what makes me happy, or as Dorothy says,
But I shall stay the way I am
Because I do not give a damn.
If you are among the select group who find some interest in my shenanigans here’s what’s up:
SPELK: My story ‘Fur Baby’ is up at Spelk Fiction today. Thanks, Gary, for giving a place to this disturbing little tale of folklore horror and crime. Sign up to get a little tale every day from this great site.
HÁVAMÁL: The latest translations of verses from the Eddic poem are up on my History Witch page at Witches & Pagans. It’s chock full of medieval advice from the viking perspective. I’m slowly making my way through the poem, offering commentary as I go along to put the words into context. When I get to the end, I will doubtless gather them up in a book.
RED TENT: I will be speaking and/or reading at the Red Tent event tomorrow at 2 in Schenectady. Join us and share your favourite books. I will bring a couple of my own along with me.
WRITE 4 A DAY: The next one is on Sunday. I am really looking forward to it — well, I always do, but this month I have so much to write and it has been far too busy around here.
FOX SPIRIT announces their new young readers line: FENNEC. Give them a look!
TEETH: I had a wisdom tooth pulled this week, which I don’t recommend unless it’s unavoidable. Also, despite insurance that and the crowns to come are making me glad that I am getting a refund for taxes. With the elimination of professional development funds at our institution it’s made it even more of a challenge to keep up my professional life. With Leeds this summer and a bunch of very useful exhibits on for my research I will be doing some travel beyond Scotland which will eat away even more funds. There’s also —
SLOVENIA: I’ve been invited to the Alibi Crime Writing conference in Slovenia this autumn and I am delighted. They take care of everything once I get there, but I need to get there. Would it be cheeky to do a fundraiser for my flight? Give me ten bucks and I’ll send you a postcard from Slovenia? Take a picture you get the only copy of? Tchotchkes? I don’t know. Pondering.
Making my escape in about a month: can’t wait and yet there’s so much to do before I jet away again…