Monday, June 25, 2012

Gone to Croatan -- er, Wordpress

Everything K. A Laity-like can be found now over at the website, I won't be deleting this site; not everything transferred (apparently some of the 5000+ comments gathered over 8 years had problems). But everything can now be found in one easy-to-negotiate place -- without the clever but obscure name. Trying to be more transparent: make it easy to be found.

Change your book marks please! The new era has begun: and doesn't it look good (mostly thanks to S. L. Johnson, I must say). If I've missed things that ought to be on the website, be sure to let me know.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Con-Eire

Thanks, Linda Parsons.
The blog has moved: this is the last post that will be here apart from a housekeeping kind of post tomorrow. Everything's been moved over to the website for your ease and comfort. We'll play over there from now on.

It's Six Sentence Sunday again: they're going to be wrapping things up come January. It's a lot of work to coordinate something that keeps growing in leaps and bounds. I'm grateful for the new readers it brought me.

This week I offer a few sentences from my play Con-Eire which gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the workings of a spec fic convention. Having helped with quite a few of them, I have seen the enormous effort that goes into running them and the often capricious behaviour of 'big names' who have forgotten the fact that the people who run these are not paid and work only for the love of the stories, art, programmes and films that they love.

We catch up with the various members of the Con Com after news that their guest of honour, Very Famous Writer, has threatened to pull out because he discovered that the artist GoH is Very Famous Artist, with whom he has "history" as they say. But the complications multiply: we had a staged reading of this at Trinoc*coN which was a hoot, if I do say so myself. It was helped mightily by a very game cast and a whole lot of giggles.

Well, everything’s very hush hush—which is to say, nobody is too sure—but Minor Writer claimed that Very Famous Artist may be delving into her past for the next romance.
I feel like we need a scorecard.
Artists have to be free!
They always say that, but none of them gets anything done unless somebody else is taking care of the bills.
Well, that’s all I know: Someone from the past...
If you think you might like it, you can pick it up as an ebook at Amazon:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Gig: History Witch

Out of the ivory tower and into the streets!

Or at least the blogosphere. I'm proud to unveil my latest gig, which sprang directly from the interest generated by Rook Chant: I am now the History Witch for the Witches & Pagans site. I'll be bringing the fascinating but often rather challenging information from my studies to an appreciative audience with varying kinds of knowledge and interests.

Witches & Pagans coalesces a variety of publications and readerships, reaching a wide and diverse audience across the world, so I have a potential audience of tens of thousands. Something to put me on my mettle for sure. I expect to have some lively conversations. I join fellow bloggers like my pal Byron Ballard.

I have spoken for some years now about the need to communicate the importance of scholarship in an increasingly (or perhaps returning) anti-intellectual climate, especially in the United States. Many great minds engaged in fascinating pursuits share their discoveries with a too small audience. Many American universities discourage this kind of work and frown on those who engage in it. Colleagues can be dismissive. But it's key to promoting the message that education is not a business. It's a dedication to improving your mind and thinking critically. Most of all, it's important.

In Britain, it's still possible to be considered quite interesting for having a lively intellectual curiosity. The new president of Ireland is a poet. In Italy it's possible to appear in the Paris Review and the bestseller list at the same time. Though all regions have their anti-intellectual forces, it's become particularly virulent in the States because of corporate-funded propaganda like the Murdoch empire.

So this is me stepping out in my own small way, hoping to encourage other folks to do the same and show that academics are not "snobs" or irrelevant, but deeply engaged in understanding the world in which we live from many different angles.

I begin with a little piece about Anglo-Saxon magic. Drop by and say hello.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FREE for International Short Story Day

Yes, the longest day of the year is devoted to the shortest of stories. Happy summer solstice -- how are you spending the longest day of the year? I'm sharing some of my short stories that are available on the net for your reading pleasure, which ought to keep you busy a while:

“Homework.” Flash fiction. Necon E-Books. June 2012. Honourable mention, May Flash Contest.
“Twitter Wedding.” Poem. Asinine Poetry (Summer 2012).
“Just Waiting.” Short story. Near to the Knuckle, 5 June 2012.
“On seeking a place for a picnic.” Poem. Short Humour, 22 May 2012.
“Biscuits.” Flash fiction. Short Humour, May 2012. Also available at Postcard Shorts, May 2012.
“Bill is Dead.” Flash fiction. Pulp Metal Magazine, Spring 2012.
“Words.” Flash fiction/podcast. Dogcast 5: March 2012.
“Yuletide Feast.” Short story. Short-Story.Me: 21 Jan 2012.
“Mandrake Anthrax.” Short story. A Twist of Noir, 14 Dec 2011.
“A Charming Situation.” Short story. Written for the Sherlocking fan site: Scribd (Nov 2010).
“Touched by an Angel.” Short story. Kalkion (Jun 2010).
 “Wixey.” Flash fiction. Wild Violet 8.1 (2009).
“Fluorescence.” Short story. The Harrow (Jul 1008).
“Palakainen.” Short story. New World Finn 7.2 (Apr-Jun 2007): 4-6. Reprinted: Mythic Passages (Feb 2009).
“Sinikka Journeys North.” The Beltane Papers 25 (2001): 14-19. Reprinted: Mythic Passages (Feb/Mar 2004). Collected in Unikirja.

 ~and the one that started everything off
“Revelation.” The Official Clive Barker Page, Winner, MGM/United Artists/Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions Short Story Contest, November 1995.


☼ The big news is the cover art for UNQUIET DREAMS, my forthcoming story collection from Tirgearr Publishing. I love the spooky gal in the hennin and the magpie OF COURSE! Judging by the reaction when I posted it on Facebook, folks dig it. I am quite bowled over by Mike (FREAKIN'!) Mignola saying, "Wow - great cover!" I tell you, Kem is floating on air with that praise. And the always generous Steve Bissette has given me a sweet pull quote (thanks!):

“Kate Laity’s Unquiet Dreams  is the long, deep plunge in the coldest quarry in the woods; the lingering look under the rotting wood at all the writhing life there; the stare into the abyss until one realizes something is staring back.”

☼ The lovely Maura trundled me out on a little jaunt to Kinvarra, Yeats' Tower and Coole Park, which was simply glorious. You can see the pictures beginning here. It was a magical day! Fitting as I took "unquiet dreams" from Yeats, I owed him a visit.

☼ A new poem up at the Short Humour Site: "Kingsley Amis in the Afterlife" -- be sure to check out ChloĆ«'s poems, too!

☼ My post "How to Write More" over at A Knife and A Quill seems to have hit a nerve, and I have an hilarious interview with Mr B where we do our best Morecambe and Wiseing. I have another writing gig to announce soon, the direct effect of ROOK CHANT. I don't want to jinx it, but everything's coming up Milhouse lately: I hope it lasts.

☼ I'm planning to migrate the blog over to the website, where you may notice I've been tinkering with the layout and the look. It would be advantageous to have everything in one place, though it's a bit of a wrench to shift from here where I've been for EIGHT years. I experimented by migrating the serial over to Kit's page and all seems well, though of course there are about ten times as many posts here. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Rook Chant

All right, it's Sunday again -- and Father's Day! Happy Father's Day all -- so here's my six. A little change of pace: not fiction, but non-fiction. A little taste from my latest publication, Rook Chant, which offers a compendium of essays, translations and reviews on one of my favourite topics: magic. I write about it from many different angles, often bringing fairly obscure things to a general audience. My way of saying, "look at this cool stuff I found!"

Here's my six from a presentation I gave at the Harry Potter Symposium in Salem, MA. What a fun event that was! Charles de Lint and MaryAnn Harris were there (and singing!) and many other luminaries. My presentation tried to give the basics of Anglo-Saxon magic to an audience that included all ages. This  will give you a taste of the charms:

By the time these charms are being written down, England is a mostly Germanic-speaking land with a healthy population of Celtic folks, fighting off Vikings and often one another. The one constant was magic. The charms of Anglo-Saxon England  consisted of words, herbs and actions. The Anglo-Saxons believed that words had a magic of their own especially when spoken aloud, but that the application of the right herbs would help the healing processes along, too. Sometimes other actions were required to create the right atmosphere or to move bad luck along to someone else. Used in conjunction the result was simply magic.

I've already got a lovely review and several requests for review copies. I also will be announcing another exciting piece of news soon that's a direct result of Rook Chant. It just goes to show, the real magic is making your dreams manifest. Audaces fortuna iuvat!

Check out the other Six Sentence Sunday entries and find yourself a few new authors!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Dotter of her Father's Eyes

I've talked about this book so much, I assumed I had already reviewed it somewhere, but no. Bloomsday seems the right day to do so at last. I considered spending Bloomsday in Dublin -- being in Ireland after all -- but when I thought about the six hours I'd have to spend traveling back and forth, I thought Galway's the perfect place to spend the day writing. I will go on my own wander about town later.

Mary and Bryan Talbot's Dotter of her Father's Eyes offers the very finest graphic storytelling: a compelling and complex narrative that relies on the magic interplay of words and pictures. It's a book full of visual delights: the design shows such attention to detail, from the end papers to the three intertwining narratives rendered in different but complementary styles. If you've read other works by Bryan, that's precisely what you've come to expect.

I was going to say I hadn't been familiar with Mary's writing before this, but of course it turns out I had, as she's written quite a lot on gender, language and consumer culture. I just hadn't connected the Talbot names! This is Mary's story of her childhood, of remembering her childhood and how she's sees it through the prism of Lucia Joyce's life because her father, James Atherton, was a prominent Joycean.

Lucia's life is a heartbreaking one; there are parallels between their lives -- headstrong daughters butting heads with their famous (and equally willful) fathers. But the contrasts are perhaps more important and show why Talbot achieves success and happiness while Lucia ends so tragically. Part of the difference is time: women's lives have improved despite the continuing madness of retrograde morons. Part too is due to finding a true partner: the book itself shows the beauty of that relationship, but the story brings it to life. Ultimately, the power of creation -- and the horrifying effects of having that human need crushed -- offers the most powerful beacon.

Exquisite art: there's such beauty here, but the most harrowing images seared my brain: Robin's birth and Lucia's "dance" in the sanatorium. It's an incredibly moving story with a lot of sorrow, but ultimately reaffirming. You'll treasure it.

Buy it by clicking the picture below. Visit Mary's site and Bryan's too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Drabble: Goin' to the Chapel

Patti Abbott has made another challenge to her pals: a drabble -- a story of exactly one hundred words --  inspired by one of three pictures. Succinct, yeah? Here's mine.

"Goin' to the chapel..."

The parson looked nervous. Bart smiled to reassure him, then nudged him along with the Berretta. Now it was his wedding day, he didn't want to wait.

"Dearly beloved..." he paused.

"What now?"

"We need witnesses." The man swallowed.

Bart shook his head. "God is my witness. Ain't that right, Bonnie?"

The parson went on, his voice shaking. "Do you--"

"Bartholomew Jenkins Evans."

"Take this woman--"

"Bonnie Louise Ormond." He gave her a squeeze.

Happiest day: a few more words, "You may kiss the bride."

He lifted her limp head by the bruised neck. Bliss.