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Showing posts from November, 2010

Why I Had a Dead Cow in My Shed for Two Years

When I was a first year teacher, I was incredibly eager to please.  I still have a a tendency towards it, but at that point in time I took it to extremes.

The band room at the private school I worked in used to be a morgue when it was a hospital.  There were only two teachers in the basement, myself and the art teacher, Barb.  It was a miserable place to be.  The doors didn't work properly, it flooded twice with rain or freshwater while I was there, and I was only there one year.  I had the better end of the flooding deal.  Barb's room had flooded more than once with sewage, and my understanding is that it's flooded with sewage since I left, too.

One day, Barb and I were chatting.  We talked a lot since we were so isolated.  I had talked to her before about the type of art my grandmother does, which is painting western scenes on bones.  I mentioned in an offhand manner, "Wouldn't it be cool to get a whole skeleton, have a different kid paint each bone, and then w…

Discord's Apple

I just finished a book, Discord's Apple, by Carrie Vaughn.  Without writing any big spoilers, let me say that she made some religious assertions in the story with which I could never agree, but one part of the plot made me ache with longing.  King Arthur returned.  (Though he is not the main focus of the story.)

It took me quite a while to figure out why I longed so much for the return of a mythical King.  It's not like I knew the guy, though the character was written well enough to make me feel as though I did.  After some soul-searching, I found that I've been falling into our collective despair, praying that God would send someone, anyone, to deliver us from troubled times.  Why not Arthur?  He's cool and has a sword forged from pure awesome.

As I think on it longer, no matter how seductive the concept of an invincible crusader for righteousness may be, it's really a fool's errand.  The world doesn't change when a hero slays its dragons.  It changes whe…

Defining Urban Fantasy

I noticed that there have been several conversations on Twitter lately that have been trying to define urban fantasy.  I just attended a session that tried to do just that at the World Fantasy Con in Columbus, OH.  The panel was comprised of authors Holly Black, Michele Lang, Cinda Chima, and Stephanie Robertson.

To sum things up, urban fantasy:

holds hands with paranormal romance and contemporary fantasy.is often influenced by the mystery genre.takes place in the modern world or in the future.is comprised of weird stuff in the real world.  (This is the most broad and my favorite.)can have an open or closed world.Much was said regarding open or closed worlds in urban fantasy, mainly because the very heart of the genre involves blending the real with the imaginary.  The authors defined an open world as one in which the general population is aware of the supernatural/magical elements of their world.  A good example in my mind would be Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking.  She supplies …

Say Hello to The Portal's Newest Reviewer!

I wasn't able to post about it the other day, but I am one of the newest reviewers at the Portal.  For this month, I'm working on reviewing the current issue of Crossed Genres, and so far, I'm enjoying the hell out of it.  I'll be posting my review on the 21st of November.

Stop by and visit the site!

The Portal

There's a Story in There Somewhere

It sounds like it could be a sequel to The Hangover, but there's a story in there somewhere.

The Art of Leaving Things Out

On the last day of the World Fantasy Conference, I attended a panel regarding the art of leaving things to the reader's imaginations.  Some of the comments got me to thinking, and I knew this was an important topic for me, as I usually try to hit my audience over the head with whatever point I am trying to make.  Repeatedly.  With a big-ass hammer.

When I was a kindergartener, I suffered from chronic nightmares.  While my sister dreamed of watchdog rocks that blew her on the butt and scrambled her like a TV screen, I don't remember much of what I dreamed.  I only remember that it terrified me and occasionally gave me glimpses of Armageddon.

I loved to poke around in my dad's library in the office, which sounded grand, but it really consisted of a shit-ton worth of books on bowed bookshelves.  Most were pretty heavy-duty, consisting of dad's college texts from his chemistry degree, his chemistry set, and Step-Grandpa Art's artificial kidney.  There were range manag…

I Freakin' Love Hyperbole and a Half

Sadly, it sounds as though Allie has moved from Montana.

Gladly, she still runs her blog.  This post brought me joy as I waited for my delayed flight back from the WFC.