I’m pleased to mention that I have two stories in upcoming sister anthologies, Corvidae and Scarecrow, both from World Weaver Press later this year. Both are edited by Rhonda Parrish, of Fae fame.
My stories are “Sanctuary” and “Judge and Jury,” and while each can stand alone they are really one longer tale. It starts when a wildlife rehabilitator stops to pick up a bird struck by a car, and it ends with strange death. Well, actually, no, it doesn’t end there, either….
You can see the full tables of contents here for Scarecrow and Corvidae.
So on the final stop of my trip home, I went into the women’s restroom at the train station in Indianapolis. I found this on the wall.
He told me he was afraid of commitment with 13 tattoos on his body.
I confronted him.
“but I don’t have to worry about these tattoos leaving my body.”
/snap snap snap snap snap/ Rock on, restroom poet. Rock on.
This photo has nothing to do with this particular trip — it was taken on New Year’s Day at Lake Monroe, IN — but I couldn’t not share it.
My gift to myself for surviving December and January was to take the Empire Builder back home from Portland.
January was a crazy month: I taught workshops in Michigan and New Jersey. While in Michigan, I was rear-ended at a stop light during a hard snow, and my car had to be towed. (It’s fine now.) Then I flew to Portland to speak at Clicker Expo, a training and behavior conference (and one of my favorite times of year). There my brand-new computer decided to overturn its discouragingly predictable existence by freezing up and dying during my presentation. Twice.
So I was glad I’d planned ahead and booked the Empire Builder home. The Empire Builder is Amtrak’s premier passenger line, a run all the way to Chicago. I had a sleeping compartment, one of the small roomettes. Continue reading
So I can’t believe I forgot to mention this here, and I’ll just plead that I’ve been hyper-busy with work over the last month or so. But I really should have mentioned it.
My short story “And Only the Eyes of Children,” appearing in the 2014 World Weaver Press anthology Fae, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I’m most definitely pleased with that.
“And Only the Eyes of Children” also landed on Tangent Online’s 2014 Recommended Reading List, complete with a two-star mention (of 0-3 stars possible). I’m pretty pleased with that, too.
In other news, it looks like I’ll be signing at Robots & Rogues Bookstore in Lafayette, IN, during TippyCon, a pop culture convention meeting just across the street from the bookstore. That’ll be April 4, 2015, so mark your calendars!
Winter brings us pretty things. While the north apparently got some good accumulation, the Great Winter Storm turned out for us to be largely rain and slush — actually, I would have much preferred the snow — the mild temperatures did at least create some fun snow effects.
Snow sliding down the windshield, but still cohesive, coiled and then formed ribbons!
Like on this windshield, where the snow melted just enough to slip and slide, but not enough to come apart, resulting in some pretty cool snow ribbons.
I kinda wanted some heavy snow, though, so I could feel totally justified in holing up at home by a fire and catching up on blog posts, accounting, and other gets-pushed-back tasks. But I guess clear roads are better for the majority…. But for anyone else missing snow, hop over to the Yuki-Onna photos to get a chill.
In other news, I sold two short stories in January and hope to be able to announce them soon. And in other news, the groundhog apparently says we’ll have six more weeks of winter, so stock up on hot chocolate and a few more books of your favorite variety. I’m still holding out for my snow day!
So today’s just a brief announcement: I’ll be the Author Guest at Anime World Expo in Chicago, August 2015.
AWX is a small but mighty con with an emphasis on Japanese culture, not just anime and manga fandom (although there’s certainly that too). Previous editions have included seminars and hands-on workshops on Noh theater, martial arts, and Japanese dance, so I’m very excited to be able to speak on traditional folklore.
I’ll also be speaking on general writing and the publishing industry, and then be sure to catch my reading of antique translations of classic Japanese fairy tales. It’ll be fun!
So To Honor Him was released a day early to newsletter subscribers. Not only did they have the first look, but they had a different price: pay what you want, and all the profit would go to International Justice Mission.
(All direct sales profits last week went to IJM, but on official launch day, the price was a fixed $1.99.)
Amanda Palmer and I are very infrequently mistaken for one another. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wasn’t sure about setting up a pay-what-you-want day. I mean, that kind of thing works for people like Amanda Palmer, but, well, I’m not Amanda Palmer. What if everyone just grabbed the story for free and nothing at all went to International Justice Mission? Continue reading
Herod the Great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I know well enough that the Jews will keep a festival upon my death, however it is in my power to be mourned for on other accounts, and to have a splendid funeral, if you will but be subservient to my commands. Do you but take care to send soldiers to encompass these [illustrious] men that are now in custody, and slay them immediately upon my death, and then all Judea, and every family of them, will weep at it, whether they will or no.
This was how Herod intended to ensure mourning at his funeral. Yikes. (Fortunately, these orders were not carried out after his death.) Continue reading
Last time I talked about the prevalence of Little Drummer Boy figurines in Nativity scenes and the fascinating research I got to do for So To Honor Him. Today I’m going to talk about the obligatory soundtrack for the book: “The Carol of the Drum” or “The Little Drummer Boy,” depending on when it was recorded and by whom.
I’m not even going to try to list all the myriad covers of this song, or even just the better ones. Here I’ll simply point out some really stand-out recordings and explain why I think they deserve a mention. I know I’m leaving out a lot of favorites; feel free to comment below with a plug for your choice!
This is more than a bit ugly. And why does he come with a dog?
Maybe it’s always been there, but a few years ago I started noticing a curious trend of Drummer Boy figures in Nativity sets. Had the carol become so prominent in our Christmas traditions that we were now including the recent and wholly fictional character in depictions of the scene? And why were so many of them oddly inappropriate to the setting? I was simultaneously a little weirded out and a little intrigued.
I’d always liked “The Carol of the Drum” at least a bit. It’s simple and not terribly authentic, but it’s got a decent message (“your best is your gift”) and anyway it’s catchy, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum. It was only written in 1941, allegedly based on a similar Czech song but the original (according to Wikipedia, anyway) has never been found. It probably has more to do with the carol “Patapan.”
It became hugely popular after the Von Trapp family (of The Sound of Music fame) recorded it and Harry Simeone recorded it two or three times, renaming it “The Little Drummer Boy.”
K.K. Davis’ original “Carol of the Drum” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I’d always enjoyed the song. But it bothered me. I mean really, who plays a drum for a baby? Most of my time around infants is filled with admonishments to make no noise, lest we wake the sleeping screamer. I know people who even travel with white noise machines for their young children. And how did the Wise Men happen across a renegade drummer from an anachronistic military band? Because that’s how the kid is usually depicted in illustrations. And where are his parents, anyway?
If you want skip ahead to the story, jump to the bottom of the page.
If you want to hear about the research, read on for a bit.
This has bothered me off and on for years. And then I found my brain starting to do something about it. Where did this kid with the drum come from? Continue reading