Monday, November 29, 2010

Reviewed: PELZMANTEL @ UnBound

Nice surprise for me this weekend:

K.A.Laity | Peltzmantel

When we are small fairy tales being with, 'Once upon a time' and end at 'happily ever after'. As we get older we discover nothing really works like that, life doesn't start at Once Upon or end at Ever After and the only stories that stop there are ones that no one really believes in.

Peltzmantel starts, as much as any story can, towards the end of one life and the start of another, remaining a small part of the storytellers own long years. It ends, as much as any story can, at a point of hope and renewal, as good a point as any to stop. Although then there are snippetts, short stories, windows into episodes of other lives to follow.

Read the rest over at UnBound and be sure to check out their wide variety of interviews, reviews, conversations and peeks into the writing life. They're about to announce their new video editions as well. I'm quite pleased that such a comprehensive site gave me a positive review :-) I was chuckling on Twitter about a review I came across of The Sandman Papers that focused particular scorn on my essay for its use of an "obscure radical feminist" theorist. I realise Hélène Cixous may not be a household name, but she's a fairly venerable writer at this point. I guess any feminist is "radical" to some folks and there are the kind of fan boys who won't accept any criticism of Neil Gaiman. It's nonetheless pleasing to have the very first essay I ever wrote on comics getting attention yet (it's better than being ignored). I've learned so much since then. Every writing project teaches me something.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Books: Lord Malquist & Mr Moon

Although a bit late in the day (just got home this afternoon and had to spend some time soothing Kipper's complaints about being abandoned for a whole day and a half), I wanted to try to get back in the habit of writing up a "forgotten" book for Patti's round-up of titles.

"Let it be said of me that I was born appalled, lived disaffected, and died in the height of fashion."

Lord Malquist and Mr Moon is (to date) Tom Stoppard's only novel. Of course he's one of the most celebrated playwrights in the world, but this novel seems to often be forgotten in discussions of his work. Not quite out of print (there's a trade paperback edition from Grove that came out about five years ago), it's seems to have a very low profile. The novel came out in 1966 just before Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead and Stoppard's first real success, although he had been writing short dramatic works for both stage and radio (the collection of his radio plays appears to actually be out of print and is also a wonderful book to pick up). 

In this novel, the Czech-born British knight (by way of Singapore and India) indulges in some of the same obsessions that fill his plays -- peculiarities of class and station, misunderstandings, confusions, sexual entanglements, surreal slapstick humor and an actual ticking bomb. It's by turns hilarious and insightful and always brilliantly timed. So I'm just going to give a few random quotes to give you the flavor of the story that mixes up the would-be Boswell Mr Moon and the haughty noble (as well as his wife, a cowboy, a lion and more):

"I find crowds extraordinarily lacking," said the ninth earl. "Taken as a whole they have no sense of form or colour. I long to impose some aesthetic discipline on them, rearrange them into art. It would give a point to their existence."

It was all a question of preparing one's material. There was no point in beginning to write before one's material had been prepared. Moon, who had experimented on a number of variations of a first sentence, felt this quite strongly. He found that the vastness of his chosen field reassuring rather than daunting but it did cramp his style; he could not put down a word without suspecting that it might be the wrong one and that if he held back for another day the intermediate experience would provide the right one. There was no end to that, and Moon fearfully glimpsed himself as a pure writer who after a lifetime of absolutely no output whatever, would prepare on his deathbed the single sentence that was the distillation of everything he had saved up, and die before he was able to utter it.

"I got dizzy," he explained.
"I should think you did -- what were you doing?"
"Nothing," said Moon. "I was trying to face one way or the other and I got confused and fell over."
Let that be my epitaph.

For Style is an aesthetic, inbred and disengaged, and in such precarious times these are virtues. We all have an enormous capacity for inflicting harm, and hereto the only moral issue has been the choice of the most deserving recipient..."

"You see, he understood that substance is ephemeral, but style is eternal."

"Be poetic, dear boy, be poetic and take your text from d'Aurevilley -- La verité m'ennuie."

"Idealism is the thin edge of madness -- console yourself, dear boy, with the thought that if life is the pursuit of perfection then imperfection is the nature of life."

As in his plays, Stoppard enjoys creating characters whose opinions oppose diametrically and then setting them at each other. The hapless Moon manages to be both pathetic and hopeful, the imperious earl both infuriating and amusing. Sex has its allure but always seems just out of reach. The randomness of life (as deliberately arranged by the writer) creates mad moments of black humor. I'd love to see Stoppard write another novel, but he seems happy with plays (not that I mind). Nonetheless, it would be fun.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I'm thankful for many things like the wonderful words of Kurt Vonnegut and about a billion other things that make me laugh, sing, cry and sigh. Far too many to list, though today while I made my chocolate chip cheesecake, I watched this:

I'm always thankful for the Marx Brothers. My column today also features films as my suggested Thanksgiving meal.

6 Courses of Films Perfect for Thanksgiving Day

If you need to survive the holiday by distracting yourself from thoughts of murder, what better way to do so than by fixing your glassy stare on the nearest video screen? Here are six "courses" of films to help get you through Thanksgiving.

Appetizer: Home for the Holidays

Get yourself in the right mood with Jodi Foster's film about the horrors of family, which gives a bunch of great actors a chance to play eccentric and loopy.
It's also a very human film that suggests that time heals a lot of wounds....

Read more:

Off to Bertie's for a fine fine meal; I'm bringing along a chocolate chip cheesecake for nourishment. I'm sure Robert will cook other things as well. I won't be cooking, although I might be drafted into peeling potatoes. My christmas cactus continues to beat the season:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Carrot & Stick

I have a favor to ask of you: it's not really much and this time of year, you might be spending a lot of time in the particular location anyway. I have a birthday wish. I realise it's a few weeks away yet, but you need some preparation time. The good news is that it costs you nothing but a small amount of time (otherwise I'd be hitting you up for donations to Heifer International or Kiva for micro-loans).

As you know, there are more places than ever to get the word out on your books and products, and even more people trying to do the same. It's hard to get a signal through all the noise. But there are a few things that will help get the word out on my behalf: tags and reviews.

Over at Amazon, it is possible to tag items so people know this book is in the same category as this other one. The more tags -- and the more agreement about the appropriateness of tags -- the better, as people are more likely to find your book in searches ("if you liked X you may also enjoy Y"). So if you have some time on your hands, I'd love more tags for all my books on Amazon.

And reviews! They needn't be elaborate, but they are helpful to have there so people have some idea what the book is like; be creative. Once you're on a roll, consider adding reviews (they could be the same ones) to places like GoodReads and Library Thing. Be sure to friend me there, too. Most of my Library Thing entries have been done by the lovely grad students (thank you!).

Thanks in advance for your help! It's the best birthday present I could get (other than a big lottery win -- I can hope).

Now the carrot: I hope you've all seen the new series Sherlock which revamped Conan Doyle's stories for the 21st Century. Fun stuff! Sherlocking is a fan site for show and they ran a fan fiction contest recently (no, not the naughty kind). I had been poked on Twitter to submit a story but with one thing and another, I nearly forgot until the last day. So, not my best work, I suppose -- and it may not make much sense to someone who's not seen the show -- but the kind of exercise that can be fun in a thousand words or less. So here it is:

"A Charming Situation": Holmes and Watson visit the London Zoo

Enjoy! If you prefer something less linear, drop by my page at the New Absurdist. Or if steampunk is more your style, drop by the serial. I think I finally figured out where I was going off the rails there: I got sidetracked on Helen's father before I developed her enough. That's the thing with first drafts; they seldom stay that way.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Humor: Panopticon? Yes, please!

Yes, when I get obsessed, I get well and truly obsessed. So here's my humor piece for Polite Company magazine on -- wait for it! -- the panopticon:

Panopticon? Yes, please!

Messieurs and Mesdames,

Inasmuch as your efforts toward gentling the population have not gone unnoticed, I wish to be more forward in encouraging your movements. Yes, we have all adjusted to the latest round of indignities required to meet the threats anxiously imagined in corporate-funded think tanks surrounding Washington. We are prepared to travel in the buff and drink no liquids for the duration of the flight, even if that means standing (eh, Ryanair?).

We’ve grown accustomed to software that tracks our every click, bosses who control whether we can be Facebook friends or not, and warnings attached to every email that warn it could be scanned for copyrighted content, do not reproduce. We even luxuriate under the motherly eye of CCTV, be we cat molesters or not, safe in knowing that we’re not out of sight.

But it’s not enough...

[read the rest at Polite Company and be sure to "like" it on Facebook or share it on Twitter -- or just recite it out loud to passers-by]

If I can get things together, I'm going to try to do a Friday Forgotten Book. I'm actually trying to make my schedule more regular as people seem to like consistency. It's not really part of my nature, but I can be accommodating.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

BitchBuzz: Panopticon

Happy Birthday, Alan Moore, who doesn't use the intarwubs, so he'll never see this, but he'll know somehow ;-)

Here's my column for the day which risks disrupting the space/time continuum by discussing French literary theory with a popular audience:

Welcome to the Panopticon!

How an 18th century social theorist foresaw the wretched state in which we find ourselves today.
Your every keystroke on the computer is recorded; CCTV follows your progress around the city; you agree to changes without a second thought—or a second read of the license—every time iTunes wants to update, and you squeeze your toiletries into 100ml or 3oz containers in order to board that flight.

And you don't even complain any more.

Welcome to the panopticon. Back in the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham (yes, the man whose dead body still sits in a cabinet of the University College London—sans head—except for the occasional College Council vote) proposed a prison that was a model of efficiency. The watched cannot see the watchers but know they can be under observation at all times. You don't really need to have that many jailers because a few can keep the paranoia at peak.

Read more:
Yes, a big part of this grows out of the TSA nonsense and the rather gratifying pushback against it. Lazier security does not mean better security: it just means it's easier to implement. But that's how it works: by wearing people down from their resistance. Don't accept it.

Well, my Xmas cactus apparently decided to get a jump on the season already (I think it might actually be a Diwali cactus). I remain a Grinch. But I am amazed at how much it has grown from that little clipping.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Over at the League

I have a post up over at the Women's League of Ale Drinkers today on Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. It's a fascinating book on why people who can synthesize information across borders of various kinds, find the narrative hooks and figure out what people really want and need in their lives will thrive in the new information-saturation world.

I woke up this morning dreaming I was walking in Lady Gaga's shoes. As if! You will recall how badly I inured myself on perfectly flat shoes and a very small hill; imagine me actually trying to clomp around in these. Even Gaga took a spill in the middle of Heathrow.

Grading this morning; revising this afternoon. I got my contract for Craft Critique Culture at U Iowa. Now I have to decide some things about next summer: what do you reckon? Iceland or New Zealand? Iceland could be combined with England (the Great Writing conference will be in London this year), but I've never been to New Zealand. Of course it's a lot more money too, unless I can get someone else to foot the bill (when's that grant deadline?). Hmmm.

UPDATE: Part 7 of La Ronde over at Eric Beetner's blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Round-up

Here's Kipper showing why it's so easy to find excuses not to write. Good intentions often get trumped by someone who really wants attention right now and will sit on your pad of paper to make sure he gets it. One of the things I was trying to do on that paper was try out my new fountain pen (which I think I neglected to mention when it came last week -- I really do need to have some minions and/or acolytes! What kind of a cult is the Cult of Kaity if it remains minion-less?!).

The Victorian which I got from His Nibs is quite lovely and looks suitably retro to be either steampunk or a murder weapon in a Wilkie Collins novel. Inspiring to write with -- or that's the plan. I did manage to get a good bit of writing done this weekend after a week of mostly frustration and discarded dreck. Like the man said, sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't.

Sunday I took part in the first of what will be a monthly series of open mic readings at the Arts Center in Troy. Hosted by Dan Wilcox and Nancy Klepsch, it featured both poetry and prose! Okay, let me repeat that: PROSE! All the open mics around here are open to poets only. Why doesn't prose get the love, too? Part of the reason I started Prose at the Rose is because there are precious few outlets for reading prose. I love reading, I love hearing other people read, but no one but poets allowed in most readings. So kudos, Dan and Nancy. I read "Vironsusi" from Unikirja and it seemed to go over well, despite going over the time limit (d'oh! just cut me off next time, I told Dan). Second Sunday of the month at 2pm will be the regular slot. Come on by and bring something to read.

One more thing I forgot: here's one of the costumes from A Winter's Tale at Shakespeare and Co. They had some out in the lobby at The Real Inspector Hound. It's always so lovely to see the fine craftsmanship on the costumes up close. Really wonderful work. They had one of Richard III's costumes there, too. Wonderful work. I forgot, too, to mention that when Inspector Hound made his entrance at last, he had these steampunk accessories which made me laugh.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Books: Renegade

"I don't really write from a solid idea. It's never that certain at the start. You get to what you're saying through the writing, the process; and then you move on." ~ Mark E. Smith


My entry may not really be 'forgotten' so much as completely unfamiliar to many. I bought a copy in one of the bookstores on the Southbank last year, which was near the start of my growing obsession with The Fall. I'd only seen them live once, but I've been obsessed ever since. A big part of that is irascible frontman Mark E. Smith who has keep the band going through various personnel changes since the heyday of punks. Their most recent release, Your Future, Our Clutter, proves they are still amazing all these years later.

Smith's narrative ranges freely over the many years of his career, projects as diverse as the ballet performed at the Edinburgh Fringe to accompany I am Kurious Oranj and the play he wrote about the rumored stories behind the sudden death of the first Pope John Paul, Hey, Luciani -- not to mention a lot of great music in between, as well as fights, marriages, sackings and a lot more. I can think of no better way to tell you what this book is like than to let the man speak for himself.

  When I was five I used to go and sit with my next-door neighbour, Stan the pigeon guy, in his back garden. He was a Teddy Boy, and in those days, before everyone had phones, the Teds used to send pigeons off to their girlfriends in Blackpool or wherever, with little messages attached.
  Sometimes he'd have three pigeons, each with a girl's name on it. I'd say to him, 'Why you doing that, Stan?'
  'So at least one of them will get through.' (11)

  That's why I've never aligned myself to the whole punk thing. To me, punk is and was a quick statement. That's why most of the main players couldn't handle the fall-out of it all, they were like a bunch of shell-shocked army majors stuck in time, endlessly repeating their once-successful war cries. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I wanted something with a bit more longevity. (42)

  I used to do tarot readings as well. I went through a phase of reading books on the occult. I was fascinated by it. I still believe that things leave vibrations. America, for instance; I've visited all these Civil War sites and the atmosphere is incredible. You can almost reach out and feel it. (67)

  Women are more in tune with rhythms than men. It's very hard being in an all-male group. They don't get anything I say to them. The tunes in my head don't go past three chords. But men can't get it. There's something in their brain that's out of touch with this idea. I feel alienated from men musically, whereas women can transform my ideas into reality a lot more accurately. (129)

  I've always tried to dress smart. It's important... (130)

  [On Orson Welles] He was in another zone. Telling stories on stories until in the end he himself is a story. He didn't seem afraid of living in that world; and it's childish in a way, but when you can deal with it and use it, the results are evident.  I think it's like heightened awareness, similar to when you don't eat for a few days, or you've been on a bit of a bender -- you see things differently. And not always in an obvious way. (235)  

See the other Forgotten Friday Books rounded up at Patti Abbott's blog and of course, Todd (who persuaded me to take part again with some guilt-provoking) always does an FFB.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

BitchBuzz: Women, Sex and Stephen Fry

What's the link, you're asking yourself:

Women, Sex, Shame, and Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry's recent faux pas highlights a cultural blind spot about women's sexuality and shame.

There have been such brouhahas in the Twitterverse this past week. Most writers focused on the take down of Cooks Source magazine, but the more frivolous among us—scandal seekers all—followed the shocking revelation that Stephen Fry apparently suggested that women don't like sex. Well, OK —it's not really that surprising that professionally beloved gay bon vivant Stephen Fry proves himself to be less than knowledgeable about women's sexual practices.
In an elaborate response on his own website, Fry detailed the conversation that spawned a simultaneous tsunamis of outrage and smug we told you so head nodding. Fry was astounded that anyone would believe this for a moment:
"I suppose the keenest disappointment I feel about the past week and the almost incredible weirdnesses it has brought in its train is the idea that there are people out there who actually swallow the notion that I am so stupid as to believe that women don’t enjoy sex. That I not only believe it but that I am dense, dotty and suicidally deluded enough to make a public declaration of such a crazed belief..."
Read the rest:

Have you also been reading all the terrific interviews over at the League? How about the new serial, Airships & Alchemy (which is still finding its feet, I think)? And did you know Kit Marlowe has her own Amazon author page now?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: A Disappearing Number and The Real Inspector Hound

The National Theatre live broadcast of A Disappearing Number proved to be a stunning experience. A heady mix of drama, math, physics, love, romance, ritual, music, classical Indian dance and rhythms -- it sounds too complicated to work, but it does. In fact, it's kind of magical. Put together by the theatre company Complicite, this production explained a lot of complicated math, but weaved it together with a love story, a history lesson, an explanation of the beauty of numbers and their patterns, an insightful examination of the situation for an Indian in Britain before the first world war and the ways we build our own private languages of love.

It sounds like an awkward jigsaw puzzle of clashing pieces: yet it was over two hours of non-stop dazzle of ideas, characters, ritual and movement. This is the kind of piece that shows all theatre can be, how it can be so much more than a story unfolding on stage before an audience. It was exciting, it was enthralling and it was inspiring. Thank you, Spectrum 8 for carrying the broadcasts; thank you, National Theatre for broadcasting these productions; thank you Complicite for visionary theatre; thank you to a talented cast and crew for a spellbinding experience.

Sunday was the last performance of Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound at Shakespeare & Co. As one of Stoppard's early plays, it's more about playful and clever fun than about weighty issues, though there's an underlying almost hysterical theme of anxiety about the elasticity of reality as the observers get dragged into the play they're observing. This element, however, became completely buried with the focus on physical humor.

Directed by actor Jonathan Croy, the cast made the most of the opportunities for slapstick wackiness, even making the dementedly brilliant choice to have the charwoman, Mrs. Drudge, be blind. The actors had a ball. Moon and Birdboot, the two critics reviewing the play and talking through it, were sitting next to us in the first row stage left. It really invited audience interaction, which happened, including a young man telling the two troublemakers at the end of the interval that he hoped they would be less disruptive in the second half.

Second half: that was the problem. This is a one act play. All the slapstick inserts helped stretch it to two hours with an interval. You could really feel the stretching in the first half. Stoppard's dialogue suits a snappy pacing that ties the moments together. All the inserted bits subsumed the dialogue. The physical humor clearly pleased the audience and the actors seemed to be having a ball. It was fun, and I was probably the only one chafing at the slackness of the pace. The set pieces like the card games and the tea service were funny, but also brought the story to a standstill, so it had to start up again and pick up speed once more. They may have decided that a one-act would not leave an audience feeling as if it got its money's worth; when the Home Made Theatre Company put it on, they added The Fifteen Minute Hamlet, which made a nice addition to the production. Great fun.

By the by, I got my contributor's copy of this so I conclude it's available now. The volume includes my essays "The Gilda Stories" and "The Vampire Lifestyle":

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Well, the most unexpected thing yesterday was the snow that fell after the weather report suggested no more than the possibility of some light rain. My first reaction was disbelief, then dismay as it continued to fall. We finally accumulated over an inch and a quarter. There's something distressing about getting snow this early, though there's a part of my brain that says, well, maybe we're getting it out of the way early in the season though of course another part of my brain whispers, oh god, it's going to be a real long winter, isn't it?

Today is advisement day, which always fills me with misgivings. What advice can I offer? Don't do what I do? Life is easier if you conform, follow the rules and do what everyone tells you to do? Nah, I can't really advise that -- then again, all they really want to know is what classes to take next semester. I can do that. Well, with the help of my computer interface, I can do that.

The other unexpected thing came in the mail. Accustomed to getting rejections in the mail (acceptances usually come via email or phone), I experienced a sharp stab of disappointment to see a thin envelope from CIES in the mail yesterday.  But I opened it to find more encouraging news:

Namely that I've sailed over the first hurdle toward the Fulbright. That's something: not everything, but something. My file is now being sent over to Ireland to be considered along with the other finalists. How many finalists? Don't know. When will I know if I make the final cut? Somewhere between "March and May" although sometimes it can be beyond May, depending on, oh, a host of factors. You can be approved, not approved or held in reserve as an alternate. For the latter, you might have to wait until first stringers decide whether to take the opportunity. So more waiting. Trying not to think about it -- yet plan for the possibility of going abroad for an extended period of time. Or not.


"Only the first phase": I love the sentence, "Given the multi-phased review process, it is important that you do not take any irreversible action based on expectation of an award." In other words, don't tell your boss off, quit your job and sell your house.

Two theatre outings to review soonish; a Moore essay sent off that should be appearing in Studies in Comics eventually, part of a themed issue from the Moore conference in Northampton last June.

UPDATE: It's Tuesday, so it's time for another entry in "La Ronde," the round robin story started by Patti Abbot. Check out  Evan Lewis' story.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Publication: Sex and How to Get It

Drop by Polite Company magazine to see my humor piece, "Sex and How to Get It." Worth a chuckle or two, I hope. Feel free to leave a comment or repost it to Twitter or Facebook. That's how word of mouth spreads these days.

Which reminds me: Kit Marlowe's The Big Splash can now be purchased through Amazon as well as with the publisher, so now it's listed on GoodReads and LibraryThing as well. Reviews or recommendations would be really helpful! If you've read it, consider offering your opinion in any of the above.

Off this afternoon to catch the last performance of Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound at Shakespeare & Co. You know much I love Stoppard. I've seen other productions of this play, so it will be fun to see S&Co's take on it. Witty and lively and full of clever twists and turns, it's a play as much about the theatre experience as it is a tightly plotted murder mystery.

Friday, November 05, 2010

News Round-Up

Okay, the week has been massively mad -- more than usual? Oh I don't know! -- and I feel like I am scrambling just to be caught up on something. Or maybe I'll just distract you with this li'l doggie from CuteOverload. So... cute...!

Yesterday Steve and I took the tour around Albany, going to bookstores, a coffeeshop and lunch at Karavalli's (mmmm!) and then just hanging out here watching some comedy. It was good to have a chance to hang out with my big brother.

I've been working on the website for Women's and Gender Studies: I hate the web interface we have to use for the college. It's one of these "idiot-proof" systems that means it's infuriating to someone who knows what they're doing. Frustrating. So I've been listening to The Fall a lot ("Stop mithering!"). My endless cries for minions or acolytes go unheeded: there are articles that need reformatting to be sent back to editors. Tedious work! I hate tedious work.

On the plus side, I placed two humor pieces this week. More about these when they become available, but it was doubly pleasing because one of them was requested of me in very flattering language, which really bowled me over. I don't get asked to contribute to a lot of things and if I do, it's generally because I know the editor. This came out of the blue. Quite a boost to the ego, I can tell you. The editor said she really loved "The Last Ant" and wanted a piece like it. She thought the one I gave her to be "absolutely hilarious," so I am pleased.

What else? Over at the League, we've had interviews with the staff and next week with some of the contributors. I have a column this week at BitchBuzz, but it hasn't posted yet (not quite sure why, but there are some major changes about to occur at BB, so that probably has some effect because I need to incorporate new developments ). Patti Abbott's got part five of La Ronde, the ongoing round robin story I was part of over at her blog. Todd's got the latest entry in Friday Forgotten Books. Un:Bound is about to unveil a super secret project. Of course, there's always something interesting to see over at the Queen's Eyrie. There's lots going on!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Publications: High Plains Lazarus / Fear and Loathing in Deptford

I'm pleased to let you know that the zombie anthology, Rotting Tales, is now available from Pill Hill Press and it features my short story "High Plains Lazarus" -- obviously influenced by spaghetti Westerns as well as Joe R. Lansdale his own self, but with a mystical twist.

The book will be available on Amazon soon, but until Thanksgiving, Pill Hill will be selling the collection for a discounted rate of $15.49 so if you're thinking of picking it up, that's a great reason.

The story has a funny history, having been written at the last minute as I headed off to Trinoc-con one year and hated everything I'd ever written (it happens) and so started writing something just for fun. It was a big hit, with one exception: I'd only got half the story written. People were ready to kill me for stopping in the middle, but that's all I had. I finished (and read the rest the following year at Trinoc-con) and sold it to an anthology, who then proceeded to slowly reel out the days while contributors waited, and waited, and were reassured that it was coming, it was coming -- and then after two years, they just stopped responding. Sigh. Unfortunately, that's the life of small publishers. I'm glad it's got a home at last.

Over at the Women's League of Ale Drinkers, where the first issue of the journal is available for a mere 99¢ (such a bargain!), you can get the lowdown this week on our design director, Stephanie Johnson AKA the Queen of Everything, editor Vicky Squid and, er, me. We'll be getting to know many of the contributors to the first issue throughout the month. Enjoy!

Monday, November 01, 2010

WLoAD #1 and a Book Trailer Review

Hey kids, get yourself a fine publication for just 99¢! Yes, it's the inaugural issue of the Women's League of Ale Drinkers journal featuring some wonderful art by pal Stephanie Johnson (who designed the whole issue) and a whole lot more -- like my long unplaceable story, "Fear and Loathing in Deptford," in which I imagine how Christopher Marlowe's last night might be if he wrote in the style of Hunter S. Thompson (albeit with Elizabethan sensibilities). I got lots of compliments on the story from editors who nonetheless did not buy it because it was too this or too that (too obscure, too much strange vocabulary, and -- oh no! -- even some Latin!). Check out the table of contents for more delights including some familiar names.

My book trailer for Pelzmantel received a review over at 1st Turning. I'm learning a lot from people's comments -- things that never occurred to me. It's hard when you know the story inside out to think about how to introduce it to someone unfamiliar with it. Feel free to add your comments as well. I need all the feedback I can get as I'm starting to think about the trailer for The Mangrove Legacy: whatever will that have?