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Crazy

That's how I feel right now. We got home to a mountain of merchandise that needed to be inventoried and priced. Between that and changing from outdoor-event to comic con setup, it pretty much ate the last three days whole.

And then we get to Cincinnati Comic Expo and discover that this city really doesn't have good long-term parking for large vehicles. One lot charges the living earth for vans, and the other one requires that the meter box be re-fed at 4AM. So it looks like I'm going to be hauling my sorry behind out of bed in the middle of the night and trundling down there to stand around until 4AM so I can feed the meter box. Tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday night.

Not exactly a recipe for a restful night's sleep. And I was already working with a sleep debt, so this is going to leave me even worse off.

If we ever do any other events in Cincinnati, we're going to stay at a suburban hotel and commute. At least then we can buy daily parking each morning when we arrive, and leave before we have to go back and feed the meter box again.
  • Current Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
  • Current Music: "Money" by Pink Floyd
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Surfacing

I'm at a primitive campground for a week for an outdoor event. It's a lot more low-key than the comic cons and anime cons, so I'm hoping to get some time to catch up on various projects and reflect upon where I want to go with them.

So there may be some introspective posts in the next few days, depending upon time and broadband signal strength.
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Just a Promo Before I Go

I'm getting ready to head off for our fall campout event, so I may be scarce around these parts for a while. I'll see if I can post some brief items while I'm at the campground, but the iOS interface doesn't lend itself to cutting and pasting long links.



Journeys and Wizardry by Mary Catelli

Drunken mermaids -- a clan cursed to become crows -- a magic book that even the Nameless Necromancer fears -- and more in this reprint collection of thirteen stories and a poem.



A Man and a Plane by Joseph T Major

Who could stop Hitler? Germany in 1933 tottered on the brink of revolution, dissolution, and destruction. The Nazis were some kind of a solution.
There was no one who could be an alternative.
A stroke of fate took from the scene one man who could have made the difference. In that fateful April of 1918, Germany's hero fell from the skies.
And if he hadn't?



Grandmaster's Gambit by Leigh Kimmel

The disastrous war of 1913 is over, and young journalist Isaak Babel has used his fame as a war correspondent to win a peacetime job covering an international chess tournament in New York City. However, trouble is aboard the airship Grossdeuschland, in the form of the notorious Bolshevik terrorist Koba and his henchmen. Men with a dark plan, and New York City will not welcome their visit
  • Current Location: home
  • Current Mood: busy busy
  • Current Music: "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles
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Both A and Not-A

The Passive Guy has an interesting article about contronyms, words that have two opposite meanings. In addition to the shift of meaning "literally" has undergone, there is the word "seed," which can mean both "to remove the seeds" and "to plant seeds."

Another interesting one is "cleave," which can mean both "to split" (as in the cloven hooves of even-toed hooved mammals) and "to join" (as in the Bible verse so often quoted at weddings, about a man leaving his parents and cleaving to his wife).
  • Current Location: home
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
  • Current Music: "Oh Lord, Please Do Not Let Me Be Misunderstood" by the Animals
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Obsession Gone Wild

A trivial slight turns into a nightmare of revenge. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending in which the innocent woman was cleared and justice was done (although incompletely, since the culprits have managed to hide significant assets from the civil judgment and are whining about how terribly strapped they are when they're probably living better than a lot of us, even in their reduced circumstances).

But it's scary to think how easily this story could've turned out very differently, perhaps if the cop were a rookie who felt the need to prove himself or someone with a friend or family member whose life had been ruined by drugs. Or if it hadn't happened in such an upscale community, but instead in a struggling school in a poor neighborhood, where drug dealing is commonplace and unsurprising.

Not to mention Ms. Peters' fear that even trifling blots and smudges on her record could come back to haunt her: the company phone she threw out the car window when she quit her job in exasperation, or even just the sort of speeding almost everyone does. Because how many of us don't have some little blots and smudges here and there that could be dredged up to make us look like a Bad Person: the stupid prank in jr. high that didn't hurt anybody but touched on a Sensitive Historical Period, the carelessly phrased comment that gets misunderstood because a word critical to its sense isn't heard, even just the bill that got paid a few days too late?

It doesn't help that we're getting into a mindset in which, especially with crimes that are perceived as particularly heinous, defending the accused is seen as tantamount to condoning the crime.

It's sure not a fix I'd want to be caught in.
  • Current Location: home
  • Current Mood: uncomfortable uncomfortable
  • Current Music: "Oh Lord, Please Do Not Let Me Be Misunderstood" by the Animals
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Books for Fall

In the United States, Labor Day is considered the beginning of autumn for social purposes. Traditionally, white shoes and hats were put away until Memorial Day, outdoor public swimming pools were closed, and school reopened for the fall semester after summer break.

Today the rules aren't nearly so strict. People wear whatever colors they want throughout the year. Heated pools stay open well into fall, and a lot of schools open near the beginning of August, shortening summer vacation in hopes of increasing retention of skills learned the previous year.

But it's still a good time for some fun books.



I Am a Wondrous Thing by Rob Howell

War looms in the west as sword, axe, and flame sweep the Kreisens and threaten to drag all of the neighboring realms, including Periaslavl, into the maelstrom.

Irina Ivanovna, ruler of Periaslavl, knows that war would destroy much of her land. Even though magic has kept her body young, she is tired and sees that she is not the one to lead her land through the upcoming storm.

She steps down in favor of her heir, as tradition dictates, and disappears from sight. She heads to the Kreisens to see if her magic can halt the bloodshed and pain.

But the storm was orchestrated by foes she does not know she has. They stalk her, knowing her magic is the key.

She must elude the hunters so she can discover what is truly threatening not just Periaslavl, but all of Shijuren.

Where will the lightning strike?

(This is the third and latest volume in the World of Shijuren.)



The Death of a Bandit: The Lady Was a Bandit volume 1 by Joseph T. Major

You can easily find the tale of the Diverse Band of Ordinary But Special People questing for the Magic Knickknack of Querty to help them win the Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil which will mark the End of the Faerie Folk in Our World. This isn't one of those stories.
A bandit queen finds herself forced to choose between domesticity and execution. A scholar goes to extraordinary ends to find a wife. Together, they seek to solve the problems presented them in a world where magic and faerie are, well, just there.

WARNING: Contains violence, sex, and family.

(Humorous fantasy -- avoid choking, don't read while eating or drinking)



Whispered Magics by Sherwood Smith

As a child, Sherwood Smith was always on the watch for magic: no fog bank went unexplored, no wooden closet unchecked for a false back, no possible magical token left on the ground or in the gutter. In these nine stories, the impossible becomes possible, magic is real, aliens come visiting. How would our lives change?

(Although Sherwood Smith's muse usually runs to novels, even whole sequences of novels, every now and then it serves her up a perfect little gem of a short story. These are stories from the heart, that have stuck with me ever since I read them in the now-vanished magazines and kids' anthologies in which they first appeared).



Salt of the Air by Vera Nazarian

You are familiar with the salt of the earth. But did you know there is an even finer, more delicate essence?

Take wisdom and imagination, responsibility and beauty, and mix them together in arcane proportions to form a rich and peculiar brine. The resulting water of life is an emotional muddy liquid, filled with existential sediment swirling in the light of secret reality and reflecting prismatic colors of hope and wonder. If allowed to evaporate -- escape, flee, ascend into the ether and join the music of the spheres -- what remains is the quintessence; a precious concentrate that is elusive and volatile, neither fully solid nor so illusory as to be devoid of pithy substance. It is the Salt of the Air.

In this debut collection from the critically acclaimed author of Dreams of the Compass Rose and Lords of Rainbow, the nineteen stories are distillations of myth and philosophy, eroticism and ascetic purity. Dipping into an ancient multi-ethnic well, they are the stuff of fantasy—of maidens and deities and senior retirees, of emperors and artists and con artists, of warriors and librarians, of beings without a name and things very fey indeed....

Don't be afraid of ingesting ethereal salt.

Open your mind and inhale.

"Cautionary, sensual stories of love, reversal and revenge upend fairy tale conventions in Nazarian's lush collection... Sumptuous detail, twisty plots and surprising endings lift these extravagant tales."
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"These are beautiful, haunting confections, reminiscent of Tanith Lee's erotically charged tales... Fine shades of emotion, mythic grandeur, crystalline prose, sharp revisionist intelligence: these are Vera Nazarian's hallmarks..."
-- Nick Gevers, LOCUS

Vera Nazarian immigrated to the USA from the former USSR as a kid, sold her first story at the age of 17, and since then has published numerous works in anthologies and magazines, and has seen her fiction translated into eight languages.

She made her novelist debut with the critically acclaimed novel DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE, followed by epic fantasy about a world without color, LORDS OF RAINBOW. Her novella "The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass" with an introduction by Charles de Lint made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2005. This first collection Salt of the Air, with an introduction by Gene Wolfe, contains the 2007 Nebula Award-nominated "The Story of Love." Recent work includes the 2008 Nebula Award-nominated, baroque novella "The Duke in His Castle."

Ancient myth, moral fables, eclectic philosophy, and her Armenian and Russian ethnic heritage play a strong part in all her work, combining the essences of things and places long gone into a rich evocation of wonder.

In addition to being a writer and award-winning artist, she is also the publisher of Norilana Books.

Official website: www.veranazarian.com

(A collection of Vera Nazarian's fantasy short stories that don't belong to the Compass Rose universe.)



Mortis Operandi by Kfir Luzzatto and Dru Pagliassotti

Although not every criminal is a monster, nor every monster a criminal, you might be forgiven for mistaking the two as you investigate the gritty underworld of supernatural crime. Join officers of the law, private eyes, firefighters, bodyguards, crime-scene cleaners, security specialists, and other not-so-everyday citizens as they struggle against the macabre machinations of MORTIS OPERANDI.

MORTIS OPERANDI features stories that revolve around the investigation of a crime and in which the supernatural plays a central role.

(This anthology includes my short story "Once a Chekist," which belongs in the Gus on the Moon timeline but is set in Russia).



The Shadow over Leningrad by Leigh Kimmel

In Stalin's Soviet Union, Tikhon Grigoriev lives a precarious life. He knows too much. He's seen too much. A single misstep could destroy him, and if he stumbles, he will take his family down with him. With Leningrad besieged by Nazi armies, the danger has only increased.

He's not a man who wants to come to the notice of those in high places. But when he solved a murder that seemed supernatural, impossible, he attracted the attention of Leningrad's First Party Secretary.

So when a plot of land grows vegetables of unusual size and vigor, and anyone who eats them goes mad, who should be called upon to solve the mystery but Tikhon Grigoriev. However, these secrets could get him far worse than a bullet in the head. For during the White Nights the boundaries between worlds grow thin, and in some of those worlds humanity can have no place.

(The sequel to "Gnawing the Bones of the City," which appeared in Fiction Vortex in 2015.)

And over at Sarah Hoyt's blog, there's the annual Indie Author Labor Day Sale.

Crossposted at Through the Worldgate and The Billion Lightyear Bookshelf blog.
  • Current Location: home
  • Current Mood: excited excited
  • Current Music: "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles