Monday, January 29, 2007

Glitter! And Sugar! And Skulls!

I love glitter. Pink glitter. Red glitter. Black glitter. Gary Glitter.

Ayah, so maybe I draw the line at Gary. But I still like glitter.

How joyful then to find Madison, Wisconsin's premier purveyor of all things glittery (and something that are not) The Glitter Workshop. The Glitter Workshop bills itself as "cottage industry for the 21st century" and that's pretty accurate. Imagine an entire store filled with crafty things made by crafty girls, an emporium of craftsters' craftiness. You never know what you are going to find at the Glitter Workshop--Ikea curtains repurposed as skirts; evil dollies; hand-made valentines; skull and bone earrings and hair pins; and, of course, glittery things.

I love the idea of crafty girls having an outlet to sell their crafty things. When I was a super crafty girl, there was no internet (this was before the Deluge, my pretties), so even had I thought of selling my crafty things there would have been no where to sell them. Glad I am then, that Internet aside, a place like the Glitter Workshop exists, turning super crafty girls into hard-headed businesswomen, using glitter and imagination to take over the world. Look out NASDAQ--here they come!

Now, one thing I might just possibly like more than glitter is skulls. (I know that should be skull since thing and is is singular, but don't that make the sentence sound funny?) And so when I was doing some Christmas shopping at the Glitter Workshop last year, I was thrilled to find there the most cunning little fabric card case made out of fabric printed with a sort of weird relief of skulls, and which I quickly snapped it up. This cunning little card case was made by Sugar Kitty, who also makes hand-bags, jewelry and other cleverly cute, yet slightly ominous, stuff. "Sweet as sugar, but tough as nails" is Sugar Kitty's motto and that's a motto I can get behind. In addition to accessories, Sugar Kitty also makes corsets, or as Flora would call them: "stays".

Today corsets have a pretty bad reputation--most people think they are terribly uncomfortable, more an article of torture than an undergarment. I have worn stays, not only worn them but chopped wood in them, boiled laundry in them, cooked over an open fire in them, hiked in them, and even ridden in them. And I have this to say: a properly fitted and properly made pair of stays is more comfortable than the modern alternative.

We'd all be better off if we went back to corsets. Straighter posture & sleeker stomachs. We'd just have to remember, when dressing, to put our shoes on first!


You may notice that the Califa Police Gazette layout currently looks a bit weird. I was trying to spruce up my template--add a little color, a little zip--and, instead, I added a little messed up.

I should have left the coding to the professionals. Famous last words, eh?

Anyway, while I wait for a professional to fix my mistake, you'll have to bear with me and my weird layout.

Muchas gracias.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Another another Nice Notice

Flora has received another nice review at time she's grouped with Tamora Pierce's latest, Beka Cooper, which is pretty august company to be in!

Girls of Pluck and Power is the name of the review...Wish I'd thought of that particular alliteration... Who knows, maybe someday I will!

Thank you, Infodad!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Hello Admiral!

I love John Galliano.

Udo and the Dainty Pirate would, too. In fact, Udo and the Dainty Pirate would kill for Galliano's admiral outfit.

And Sieur Galliano even did a pirate jacket in his 2001 collection. Although I think it might be a bit breezy on the quarterdeck, sometimes one must suffer to look beautiful.

Wanna be a pirate like Sieur Galliano? Here's the pattern, and here's info about the pattern. Alas, I must leave the sewing to Udo; I personally have no talent for it.

Galliano is brilliant and fearless, if there is ever a movie version of anything I ever write, I would grovel before him most pathetically in an attempt to get him to do the costumes.

(NB: For those wondering why Sieur Galliano is dressed like an old timey admiral, his current collection is based on Puccini's opera Madam Butterfly, which is about the doomed love affair between a 19th century U.S. Navy lieutenant and a geisha. I guess the uniform of a mere lieutenant didn't have enough gilt for Sieur Galliano. I have no explanation for the Little Lord Fauntleroy curls.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Little Photograph on the Prairie

Still thinking about book covers...Newsweek currently has an article about a cover makeover for the "Little House on the Prairie" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. After sixty some years of Gareth Williams' artwork, the new editor of the series thinks its time for a change, calling him too "old fashioned". So he's been jettisoned for a more "modern" look.

That is: photographs.

To bolster the argument that kids today (those darn kids!) prefer photographs over drawings, a young lady--age ten--is quoted as saying that drawings look "fake."

Apparently this young lady hasn't yet figured out that fiction itself is "fake". That is why it is fiction.

Another young lady, age 9, says she prefers photographs because she'd rather "read something where I can picture the person."

As someone who works completely with words, no photographs in my work, I find it very discouraging to hear someone, even someone of tender years, say she can't picture the person if there is no picture to picture. What happened to your imagination building on my carefully worded description? Is this not the entire point of reading--the writer feeds you the descriptions and then you create the picture yourself?

(And in this particular case, since there was a real Laura, and we have photos of her as a girl, why not use one of those? I guess the real Laura is probably too old-fashioned to appeal to today's readers.)

As far as fiction/fake goes, The Little House books have always been presented as fictionalized reality; that's part of their appeal, that they supposedly chronicle the real experiences of real people. Happily most of these avid readers (full disclosure: of whom I was one--I adored this books in my salad days) don't find out until they are much older that Ms. Ingalls took many many liberties with her memories, and that, as charming as they may, the books are really as realistic as, say, "The Lion, the Witch in the Wardrobe." In other words, they are fantasies.

But they are charming well-written fantasies, and well worth reading. And perhaps if it takes photographs to draw in new readers, than okay, that's what it takes. But there is something about this tactic that bothers me, and I haven't been able to quite put my finger on what that something is.

Drawings and photographs can be equally as representational, and equally as inaccurate. And, despite our quoter's belief, just as "fake". So does it matter that the cover of the book shows a photograph of a real girl gussied up in super farby outfit rather than a drawing of a real girl gussied up in a super farby outfit?

Probably not.

But it still bugs me.

(Though I have to say in all fairness: at least they got the breed of the dog right.)

(And they left the inside illustrations alone.)

Flash Mob for Glass Books!

I'm envious.

Great idea, and great cover, too. Much nicer than the U.S. version.

Big surprise.

Words, Words, Words...

Fooling about on the internet, I came across this super cool Word site, The Urban Dictionary. It bills itself as: "The Urban Dictionary is a slang dictionary with your definitions. Define your world."

As you may have gathered, I love words, and there is something particularly fascinating at how language grows and changes organically, despite attempts by linguists and grammarians to rein it in. So the idea of a site where the public can submit and define words just tickles me. I urge you to check The Urban Dictionary out.

With one caveat. The site doesn't appear to be moderated, so some of the language is coarse, rude, or deals with adult topics. (I suspect that suddenly the site is much more interesting to some of you!). Click at your own risk!

I have already learned such new and useful terms as "to musk up", "king kong", "glass feet" and "cheet".

Shakespeare would love the Urban Dictionary...

"To musk up or not to musk up...
That is the question..."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thank you, thankyouverymuch...

February's Harper's Magazine has an excerpt from an essay by Ian Jack, the current editor of Granta, regarding author acknowledgement. As Sieur Jack points out, back in the day, writers didn't really do acknowledgments. Of course if there was a patron who required a dedication, then a dedication was so provided, but otherwise was Moby Dick prefaced by three pages of thank you's, including one to the bar-maid at the Spouter?


But many of today's authors seem to think that their opus is incomplete if it doesn't begin with several pages of single-spaced gratitude. Sieur Jack isn't the only one who has noticed this trend. I have also recently read several books which devoted multiple pages to thanks yous, mentioning everyone from editors to computer companies, from parents to other authors, now long dead.

Now I certainly think that if an author writes a book that takes a lot of research, and the author has aid in this research, or if the author writes on a topic that perhaps could use a bit of further explaining (a historical novel, for example, and wants to point out what is fictionalized and what is made up), then it seems to me that an afterword is appropriate, for then it conveys information that the reader might actually want to know. But does the reader care to wade through declarations of love, gratitude, and shout-outs just to get to the story? This reader does not. This reader is sure that the writer probably loves his wife/mother/agent/editor, and doesn't need to be told so. This reader cares not if the novel was written on a yellow legal pad, or a stone tablet.

I agree with Sieur Jack that lengthy thank yous does show a quality of graciousness that can be lacking in our hurly burly world. But, I also wonder if he's not correct in surmising that: "Might it be (and this is the most ungenerous thought of all) that (the author) is mighty pleased with his himself--that he thinks his work is so brilliant that its worth needs some explanation?"

Hmm...might it be?

And I won't even get started upon the publisher's front-loading a book with pages and pages of previous reviews, lavish praise and blurbs. I don't buy a book because Norman Mailer loved it, but maybe some people do--anyway, a few blurbs and pull quotes seem fine. But four whole pages? Come on now...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another Nice Notice!

Yay for Flora, who got a nice notice at Gateway Monthly, a British literary blog. I also did an interview with the kind gentleman who runs the blog, which can also be found on the site. If you haven't gotten enough of my bloggy pontification, then check the interview out!


Not to harp on Battlestar Galatica, but, as I was walking Bothwell this afternoon, the thought struck me that one of the reasons that I like the show is that it really emphasizes consequences. Almost every decision that anyone on the show makes has consequences, and some of those consequences are not good. Good people make good decisions and bad things happen. Good people make bad decisions and bad things happen. Decisions come back to haunt the deciders (if only our Decider were a bit haunted!), and they must deal with the consequences of those decisions, and sometimes understand that they are sacrificing the short term for the long term, or vice versa.

I really hate it when characters get off scot-free--when at the end of each episode or book, it feels like they are reset back to where they started, off the hook. The X-Files fell into this trap, after a while; Mulder and Scully never seemed to learn anything or deal with any of the horrible things that happened to them. This lack of consequence made Mulder and Scully look like cardboard characters--which, indeed, they ended up being. (I knew the show had lost me when the fan-fic was better than the show itself!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer was much much better about dealing with consequences; the mighty Joss Whedon never let his people off the hook. If they screwed up, it always came back to bite them. Sometimes literally! In books, consider Dorothy Dunnett's Chronicles of Lymond (my favourite book series ever)--Lymond is all about the Consequences--they (and their henchmen Guilt and Self-Hatred) are the engine that drives his every move.

Consequences are something that I really wanted to stress in Flora Segunda. Flora makes some bad decisions and they come back to haunt her. In fact, in a way, one of the themes of the book is that being an adult means facing up to the consequences of your actions. And she's not the only one who is having to deal with that issue. Buck and Hotspur have their baggage, even if Flora doesn't fully understand what that baggage is. Even Valefor is paying for something that he did (which we'll find out more about that in Flora Redux). All of them made choices, at various points in their lives, and these choices now drive their lives--and the lives of those around them, too.

(Slight Spoiler Ahead)

It was extremely tempting to have Flora Segunda end on a happy note; everyone reconciled and All Made Up. And, of course, if you don't give the reader some sort of resolution, then the whole book can seem an unsatisfactory cheat. As humans, we want a happy ending--that's one of the reasons we read fiction to begin with. But as an author you want to be true to the characters, and so sometimes that means that you can only give the reader hope of a happy ending, rather than a happy ending itself. So that's how I went--it would be untrue to Buck, Flora, & Hotspur to have them change in a second--can any of us change so quickly? But we can want to change, and hope that can we do so, and maybe we can rise about our issues and end up happy, or maybe we shall sink under them, and drown.

But in the end, the important thing is that we face those issues, and that's why I like tv shows and books that explore what happens after you make your decisions--and plays out if those decisions were wise or not. In my own work, it would be a cheat to do anything else. It would be unrealistic and unfair to my characters--and to my readers, as well.

Skinjob on Board!

So, after the downer second season finale of Battlestar Galactica, I just couldn't face Season 3, and I let the eps stack up on my PVR until I felt more in the mood to deal with cylon occupation, insurgents, and Gaius Baltar. Then, my stupid comcast PVR ate all my episodes, so that I had to wait for the mid-December marathon, and, then the holidays came and went, but finally, last Saturday, there was no more procrastinating. Season 3.2 started Sunday night, and if I didn't catch up before, I'd never catch up at all.

So, I lay down upon the U.S.S. Martha Steward (our sofa) with a box of tissue and much foreboding, and watched eleven hours of BSG, straight.


Talk about an emotional roller coaster! I'll say one thing for Sieur Ronald D. Moore--he really knows how to put his audience through the melodramatic wringer. No victory is so great that it can not be tinged with defeat. No character so noble that he/she can't do something mindblowingly appalling. No character so appalling that he/she can't do something mindblowingly noble. He really really likes to keep his audience on an uneven keel, and there's a great story-telling lesson in there--keep the shocks coming!

I'm going to try not to be a spoiler-girl here, for those who might be reading who haven't watched the show yet, but I'll just say that:

My respect for Tigh, who previously I wanted to cashier straight to hell, has risen to an all time high. He's the type of soldier who we can't live without but find it hard to live with--the guy who makes the hard decisions even if it destroys him, so that we may not be destroyed.

Someone needs to feed Starbuck out of the nearest airlock. The woman just doesn't seem to have the capacity to learn. She is so caught up in her own &(&#&(*! that she can't even see when she's being played. It drives me nuts.

Helo: Yay! Yay! I was afraid they'd kill you on Caprica--how happy I am that they let all 6 feet 4 inches of you still live.

Laura Roslin & Bill Adama: They, at least, know when they've made a mistake, and take the responsibility for it--would some leaders in our world (mentioning no names!) could do the same. (Though--Laura--it is sure is easy to be forgiving when Tom Zarek has done your dirty work, eh?)

Three: Where did you get such a perfect blonde flip? It was nice to hear Lucy Lawless's real voice, tho'.

Baltar: Watching him squirm and wiggle, and flip back and forth, and sooooo sincerely too--because you know when his skin is on the line he means every word he says--is delicious. He really is a villain for the ages--and yet, it's hard not to pity him. It's not that he's evil; he's just weak. But then that's the worst kind of evil, innit?

So, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. At the end of Season 2, I was really doubting Ron Moore's ability to pull of his giant leap in story-line, but I think he did an excellent job of using the missing year as a pull for the audience to try to figure out exactly what happened during, and he's certainly kept story going in a compelling manner.

And for those who haven't watched the show, I'd like to say that you are really missing something...There are other shows out there that have been trying to reflect the post-911 reality, but I think BSG has done the best job--by dealing with real today issues (suicide bombings, insurgents, failed occupations, torture) in a fantastic setting, it is much easier to actually pose hard questions. Each character on BSG is so well-drawn, and none are unambiguously good or bad, that the audience can face hard questions, and their unpleasant answers, in a much more impartial way. When a character who you respect, and whose moral code you have previously applauded starts arguing for genocide, you suddenly understand how good people can be driven to do bad bad things, and this makes you think pretty hard about your own world-view--and what you would do if pushed to the line. Not happy things to think about, but issues that we must face.

One slight nitpick: the cylons and humans keep being referred to as "races". Shouldn't it really be "species"? (Unless, Moore is trying to posit that they are different races of the same species? I guess we have to wait and see about that...)

A last thought to an extremely long post: I think BSG is a good show for anyone interested in telling a good story to watch. It's a serial that has to juggle many themes and characters, and whose writers have to throw out clues to a mysterious future while maintaining audience interest over a very long plot arc. The techniques involved in doing this are worth examining. Ron Moore does a podcast for each ep wherein he discusses the creative and technical issues of the episode, and some of the writers meetings are also available as podcasts. It's very very interesting to listen to writers working in another medium--and one with an expiration date--hash out their creative issues. So, I highly recommend giving the 'casts a listen.

In summation: if you haven't been watching the show, get thee to Netflix and start with Season 1. If you have been watching the show--ain't it good?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Happy News!

So, I have just received word from Ellen Datlow that her co-editors on "The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror", Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, are talking my novella (or is it novelette, I can never keep them straight) "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire" for this year's "Year's Best." (As you may or may not know, all three edit this anthology, but Ellen picks out the horror and Kelly and Gavin pick out the fantasy.)

Whoo for me!

"Lineaments" was first published by Gordon Van Gelder in "Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine" back in July. It takes place in the Republic of Califa, a few years prior to "Flora Segunda" and stars young Hardhands, Tiny Doom &, of course, Pig.

It's quite an honor to crack "The Year's Best" and on only my third published story.

Whoo for me!

It's fabulous, of course, to have a story appear in magazines, but magazines have such a short shelf life. One month and they are gone for good. So, it's even more fabulous when the story is good enough to have a second life in an anthology. Anthologies end up on library shelves where they sit for years and years, and are (hopefully) checked out over and over again.

Whoo-hoo for me!
And for Hardhands, Tiny Doom and Pig, too!


Last night I read at the KFB Bar in New York City, as part of Ellen Datlow's Fantastic Fiction series. Paul Di Filippo was the other reader--our work couldn't be more different (he read from a work in progress about a post apocalyptic hippie couple, and of course, me & Flora), but it made for a nice contrast, I think.

The KGB is a good reading to do because there is a set group of people who always come, regardless of who is reading, thus there is always a nice crowd. It helps, too, that the room is small--so standing room only is easily achieved. The vibe is very dark and red, with portraits of revolutionaries glowering down from the walls. Very Russia, circa 1917.

I read the first two chapters of "Flora Segunda"--stopping at a cliff-hanging point in hopes that would inspire people to rush out and find out what happened next via book purchase. Vain hope, perhaps, but we try. No one walked out, or yelled "Freebird", or fell asleep (at least no one that I noticed). Thus I calculate it a success.

There was a brief horrible moment when Ellen Datlow called Pig (who, as is his wont was perched upon the podium while I read) "MISS PIGGY" before the entire crowd. She was soon put straight on that point, and Pig himself managed to take the insult quietly (no blood was shed) so that crisis passed quickly.

The other highlight of the evening for moi was meeting Richard Morgan. I'm not sure what he was doing at the reading--and he had to leave before I went on--but I was able to chat with him briefly, long enough to gush over how much I loved "Altered Carbon" and its sequels. Very well done Cyber-Noir (did I just make up that term?), a shining example of someone taking material that's been done to death and coming up with an entirely fresh and exciting angle. He has a new book coming out, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Apres reading, we went to dinner to the traditional post KGB Chinese Restaurant on St. Marks Place Whose Name I do Not Know, and ate much delicious Chinese food. The problem with going out to eat en famille after a reading, tho--is that you always end up at a table, static, and never are able to talk to everyone you want to talk to, and who you didn't get to talk to at the reading because it was dark and there were so many of them. My solution would be a la Mad Hatter--everyone sits and then after ten minutes must take up plate and switch seats, but I suppose with a group of 40 or so that would be logistically difficult. So, while I had a lovely time at the table I ended up, I would have liked to have mingled with the other tables, as well. Next time, perhaps.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shop Smart, Shop S-mart!

So I'm in New York City right now, to do a reading at the KGB Bar tomorrow night (Wednesday!), and tonight Paul Witcover, Ellen Datlow and I went to see Evil Dead: The Musical. Now, we were in the fourth row, so we just missed the splatter zone, and believe me, those who were in rows 1-3 got splattered indeed.

I am a big fan of The Evil Dead movies, though my favorite of the three is Army of Darkness, which is the one where Ash goes back to fakey medieval times and kicks some serious Deadite booty with his 'boomstick'. The musical focuses more on the first two films, and it was pretty hilarious, very bloody, and over-all extremely well done. The lead actor did a great job channeling Bruce Campbell, though his chin didn't quite have the heft and bearing that Sieur Campbell's chin boasts, and the other actors, acting a la ensemble, did a great job, as well. The songs were snappy, though my favorite one has a title that I will omit here so as to maintain the pretense that the Califa Police Gazette is a family newspaper. I will note that the song was set to a tango rhythm.

Now I feel like getting out my chainsaw and watching Army of Darkness again.

"Klaatu verata nikto--hail to the king, baby." The Fort Gehenna Excelsior.

"They sing, they dance, they gnaw your guts out--with laughter!" The Pudding Pie Courier.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Histrionic History of Britian

I've been sick, and lying on the sofa watching the 15 hour miniseries "A History of Britain". This documentary is hosted by Simon Schama who has a very compelling histrionic narrating style, and who loves to emphasize his pronouncements by pausing towards the end of his sentences and then coming down hard on the last word. Very dramatic. I love it.

Of course in 15 hours you can only hit the selective high points (Romans, Henry & Eleanor, Black Death, Poor Richard II, Henry & Anne, Reformation, etc.) and one could argue as to why those particular high points (Magna Carta in passing only; Jane Grey who?), but there's so much history to cover that you can only cover so much history. I'm only up to Charles I and the Roundheads, so I have another four hundred years to go, and I know enough of it on my own that if I doze off during Cardinal Wolsey in the mule's saddle and then wake up to find Thomas Cromwell now in charge, I'm not confused. A red hat for a black cap and keep moving...

And when you are sick, there's something comforting about historical documentaries...The hurley burly of the historical pageant, all silent and still now. During her lifetime Anne Boleyn's problems seemed pretty big ones (at least to her), but it's all over now, quietus, and that sure puts your own problems in perspective, innit? You may think your life sucks, but no one's going to chop your head off for fertility problems. So enjoy yourself; it's not as bad as you think.

Anyway, if you find yourself lolling on the sofa, with a lot of time to kill, you could do worse than spend some time wandering through the ages with Sieur Schama. He'll keep you entertained and informed, and there's some pretty cool music, too. If you don't want to plunk out the cash for the entire set, you can get it at Netflix too.

Saturday, January 6, 2007


Continuing with in a liquidy theme, I just finished reading Thirsty by M.T. Anderson. Sieur Anderson's most recent book, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, just won the National Book Award (Huzzah), but Thirsty, his first book, is where it all began.

Thirsty is a coming-of-age novel, full of teenage angst, confusion and disgust. But unlike--say Catcher in the Rye-- the book's hero, Chris, is turning not into a teenager--but into a Vampire. And since Vampires are feared, hated and executed on television in the town where Chris lives, this transformation really really sucks. (!!)

Thirsty follows Chris as he fights his passions with his intellect, struggles to sublimate his desires of the flesh to his desires of the heart, and tries to save his fellow townspeople from the threat of Tch'muchgar, the Vampire Lord, who is about to escape from his unearthly prison. After a thousand years banishment, The Vampire Lord is thirsty, too. Very thirsty. Throw in the clueless parents, the jerky best friends, one of whom is actually named Jerk, a perky Being of Light, a gorgeous geeky girl, and a dog named Bongo, and Chris's life is a mess. There--don't you feel better about your own messy life now? At least you aren't sprouting fangs or fighting the desire to eat the family dog.

Now I must say that Sieur Anderson has a way of tossing in juxtapositions that just tickle me magenta. Chris's world is exactly like ours except for the vampires, and the ordinary manner in which the vampires fit into his world is quite charming. When Chris attends a vampire potluck held, he is offered an array of casseroles, but instead of tuna and chicken, the meat is actually Jennifer Carreiras & Dave Philips. Dave is garnished with broccoli & Jenn with a special cornflake crust. Alas, for me that I found this sort of detail charming, but so I did. If there were real vampires in this world and they were having a pot luck, of course, they would have human casserole garnished with cornflake crust. (Unless that particular vampire's mother always used chow mein noodles instead.) (You may note that vampires don't traditionally eat their victims--trust me, Sieur Anderson is ahead of that criticism and has provided a Clever Explanation, so you can save your breath.) Other charming details: a White Hen Pantry built on a ritual site, and they are sacrificing virgins in Boston, and vampire executions shown on tv. All hilariously described, and yet...unsettlingly horrifying, too.

But Chris' real problem is his growing thirst.

How he deals with this thirst leads up to a powerful conclusion that avoids sappy easy answers and an unrealistic deus ex machina (out of the blue) ending.

My one complaint: I wish there had been more Bongo. But then I always wish there was more Dog, and a Dog named Bongo is a double-whammy--irresistible

"Darkly humourous or humourously dark--take your pick."---The Alta Califa Literary Revue.

"Make mine a double. Stirred, not shaken."--- The Calo Res Jump Up.

"A salivating start to a mouthwatering career."---The Ariviapa Rattler.

The Flora Segunda PR Waggon Rolls Along...

Now that January has arrived, and with it, Flora Segunda's official publication date, the PR is starting to roll are the reviews, which I'm happy to say, are (almost exclusively) positive.

I've got an interview up at the fabulous book review Gateway Monthly and also the fabulous Kelly Link took time out of her super-busy schedule to do an interview with me that appears in this month's BookPage.

Other happy news on the writing front: my short story "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire," which appeared in July's Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine has been picked up by two different Year's Best Collections! More details there when they become available.

All in all, a pretty good start to the New Year!

A Kindred Spirit for Udo!

If Udo works hard, someday perhaps he will grow up and be a Mammal of Paradise, too. At least he has Lord Whimsy to show him the way...

I bought The Affected Provincial's Almanack when it was only a zine, available at fine zine stores everywhere. In his manifesto for the Dandy of the Twenty-First Century who must navigate the treacherous waters of yabooism, low-rise trousers, and floppy hats, Lord Whimsy gives both hope and sartorial advice to all those who understand that if clothes makes the man, then many men today are made of pretty poor stuff. Now this magnificent tome has been reprinted by Bloomsbury and is available to those who have been born to Dandyism, those who have achieved Dandyism , and those who would have Dandyism thrust upon 'em by their lady-loves.

What is a dandy, you ask? Lord Whimsy explains: "A Dandy uses himself as the focus of his art; his dress, manner, speech, and mind are his palette...The Dandy is a 'palace within a labyrinth'". Consider Oscar Wilde, Beau Brummell, Fred Astaire.

The Affected Provincial's Companion contains such useful chapters as "On the Perils of Sportswear" (a peril--for both men and women--which I myself believe can not be characterized strongly enough); "Dandyism vs Foppery" (by which scale Udo comes out, alas, on the foppish side); and the absolutely essential "How to Ride a High Wheel." For those seeking an even higher state of being: "How to Become a Bon Vivant" provides detailed instructions. Informative charts and graphs are plentiful, and the book itself is deliciously bound in acid green paper, with silver emboss.

"If only more guys today would pay attention to aesthetic geography and arctic peat masks, as Lord Whimsy so bids them; perhaps then the streets of Califa would be transformed from a wretched river of sartorial abominations and slouching postures into a shining sea of "Ambassadors of Heaven"--From Guys to Gentlemen!"--- The Warlord's Wear Daily

"A gentleman who can turn a rustick woven flower pot into a hat is a gentleman to watch. Chin straps for all!"--The Dainty Pirate

Available at fine bookstores everywhere, and, of course, Amazon, as linked above.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

A Mini Site!

Hey, Flora's got a mini-site on the Harcourt website. There's an interview with the Authoress (me!) and an excerpt and a contest.

Whoo-hoo, and thank you, Harcourt!