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IMG_1821 Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. Born on January 19, 1809, Edgar lived only 40 years, but his impact on writing has lasted much longer.

Many of today’s writers of dark fantasy, horror, and detective stories can trace their genre’s roots back to Poe. And arguably, even science fiction short stories can find a rootlet embedded in one of his tales.

I, too, have always been a fan of Poe’s wonderfully fantastical tales and lyric poetry. So it is with admiration that I say, “Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!”

For those who want to learn more, here’s a link to more information on this American writer.

Yes, Winnie-the-Pooh fans, today is the birthday of Alan Alexander Milne, the author of the two original books about Pooh Bear and his friends. Born on January 18, 1882 in London, England, AA Milne based his most famous books on the adventures (real or imaginary) of his son, Christopher Robin Milne and his stuffed animal playmates.

As a child, mom, and granny, I’ve always loved the characters who inhabit the Thousand Acre Wood. Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo, and of course, Christopher Robin, each bring a smile to the millions of readers who’ve spent some time in their presence.

Winnie-the-Pooh, published in 1926, and The House at Pooh Corner, published in 1928, are gifts to the children of the past, present, and future. Like all writers, I hope some of my stories will positively impact a few readers – so I guess, in a way, I aspire to be like AA Milne!

Want to learn more about AA Milne and his writing? Check out this link.

2016 Summary

One year over and another one begins. It seems a perfect time to look at my 2016 writing and art stats, and set some 2017 goals – which are to write/draw/publish more than I did in 2016! And I don’t want to forget to say a heartfelt Thank You to all my readers for buying and reading my work. 🙂

2016 Awards: “Bloodguiltless” won Silver Honorable Mention, Writers of the Future Contest.

2016 Publications:

Cover-Electronic-GreenerForest Books:

The Greener Forest ( fantasy story collection) revised, enlarged, and re-published by Pole to Pole Publishing.

Murder on Marawa Prime (sf novelette) from Pole to Pole Publishing.

The Enchanted Dagger (revised fantasy novel) from Pole to Pole Publishing.

In a Cat’s Eye (co-edited) from Pole to Pole Publishing.

Short Stories:

“The Cafe at the End of the Lane” in The Night Cafe anthology.

“Shoreside” in Fantasy Divinia Magazine and in their Memories of the Past – 2016 Best of Anthology.

Murder_Cover_CS_front “Appleheads” in Les Cabinets des Polytheites anthology.

“The Garden Shop” online in The Lorelei Signal.

“Pawprints of the Margay” in The Great Tome of Fantastic and Wondrous Places.

“Bad Moon Rising” in Unoriginal.

“The Burryman” in The Great Tome of Cryptids and Legendary Creatures.

“The Monk’s Fosterling” in FrostFire Worlds.

“Feathers” in Trysts of Fate.

51q9gur7vpl “Gifts in the Dark” released as an eBook by Digital Fiction Publishing Company.

“The Clockwork Owl” in FrostFire Worlds

“Henkie’s Fiddle” podcast in Cast of Wonders.

“Balming the Thorn” in FrostFire Worlds.

“Smoke and Sprites” in Jouth UFO Anthology.

“Tower Farm” in Outposts of Beyond (and included in re-issue of Dogs of War)

“Justice” in Devolution Z.

crist-dagger “Beneath the Summer Moon” in Hoofbeats – Flying with Magical Horses.

Essay: “Country Stroll” in Culture Cult Magazine – Spring Issue

Poems:

“Flower-Face” in The Dark Ones – Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods

“Owl Light” in 47 – 16 Volume 1 – Short Fiction and Poetry Inspired by David Bowie

“Goblin King” in 47 – 16 Volume 2 – Short Fiction and Poetry Inspired by David Bowie

catseye_final-72dpi “Mourning” in The Grief Diaries

“Phoenix” in The Show Must Go On – Short Fiction & Poetry Inspired by Freddie Mercury & Queen

“September Fifth” in The Show Must Go On – Short Fiction & Poetry Inspired by Freddie Mercury & Queen

“Venus” in Garland of the Goddess – Tales and Poems of the Feminine Divine

“Night” in Garland of the Goddess – Tales and Poems of the Feminine Divine

“The Deluge” in Culture Cult Magazine – Monsoon Issue

“Tree Frog” in Culture Cult Magazine – Monsoon Issue

Art:

“Boy and Dog in the Purple Mountains” (cover art) Spaceports & Spidersilk Jan. 2016

“Scarecrow” (cover art) Spaceports & Spidersilk Oct. 2016

3 interior illustration in Alban Lake Publishing magazines (my apologies if I’ve missed any publications – I’ll update later if I find any more).

Now on to 2017!

The holidays are over and family houseguests have all returned to their own homes. The time has finally arrived for me to focus on my new collection of stories set in Lifthrasir, the world of my epic fantasy novel from Pole to Pole Publishing, The Enchanted Dagger.

crist-daggerThree of the stories to be included in Beyond the Sheercliffs are well on their way to completion. Working titles of these tales are: “The Velvet Gown,” “Greathearted,” and “Magpies.” By the way, I’m introducing each story with a scrap of a nursery rhyme. I imagine children everywhere, Lifthrasir included, sing rhymes!

It’s a tricky thing to write stories connected to a novel. I’m giving some background information on several of The Enchanted Dagger’s characters and letting my readers glimpse other parts of Lifthrasir. Plus, introducing a new race.

While expanding my fantasy world by writing Beyond the Sheercliffs, I’m mentally preparing to complete Book II of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir, (title still too nebulous to name) where my readers will follow the continuing adventures of Beck, Logan, Fafnir the dragonette, and friends (and enemies).

So Best Wishes to my readers for a Happy and Healthy 2017 as I dive into the world of Lifthrasir and write, write, write!

November 30, 1835 was the birth date of Samuel L. Clemens, known by most by his “writing name” – Mark Twain.

He was a favorite author of mine as a younger reader, and continues to be one of the writers I revisit on a regular basis. In my mind’s eye, I picture the episode in Tom Sawyer where Tom feeds Aunt Polly’s cat some medicine – and I still laugh out loud! And though the book has become controversial due to its language, I’ve always felt the complicate portraits of Huck and Jim and questions put forth about slavery in Huckleberry Finn make it a must-read book.

I had the pleasure of visiting Hannibal, Missouri this year and seeing many of the locations made famous by Mark Twain’s books. The town was charming, and its museum on Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain fascinating.

I think Mark Twain deserves the label “Father of American Literature” which is often attached to this son of Florida, Missouri.

For more information, here’s the link to a video about his life.

Today, of all days, it seems a difference of opinion is what it’s all about. But I’m not here to talk politics!

I did get drawn into a Facebook conversation about unicorns and Pegasus. (I know — my geeky side is about to shine).

Someone argued that a winged unicorn must be called an alicorn. I beg to differ. Alicorn is indeed a term sometimes used for a winged unicorn, but I believe the word means the horn of a unicorn. Originally, it appears alicorn comes from the Italian alicorno, alicorne meaning “unicorn.” And alicorno, alicorne appear to have their origins in a Latin word for unicorn: unicornis. (And I just confirmed what many have thought, I was one of the weird kids who chose Latin as my “language” in middle school and high school).

Alicorn remains a really cool word, just as the idea of a unicorn’s horn as a cure for poison is most magical. Alicorns or unicorn horns also appear on various coat-of-arms and other insignia, as well as in spell books and healer’s journals of long ago.

catseye_final-72dpi Which brings me to the first review of “In a Cat’s Eye,” the marvelous anthology of cat stories I recently edited (with Kelly A. Harmon) for Pole to Pole Publishing. I’m delighted with the review, and thank NerdGirl and NerdGirl Vamp for a wonderful review.

Alas, one of my favorite stories in “In a Cat’s Eye,” the reviewer, while saying it was good, didn’t really get. Oh, no!

But then I pause — language, politics, editing, and reviews all benefit from a difference in opinion — even if we don’t see it at first. For how boring this world would be if we were all alike.

 

I fondly remember the card catalogs in the libraries of my younger days. The sound of the drawers being pulled out, the feel of leafing through the manila-colored cards, and the smell of recently oiled wooden cabinets when I looked for a book I wanted to locate among the aisles of shelves are burned into my memory.

I even knew the Dewey Decimal System somewhat –  due to volunteering hours and hours to help out at the school library of Perry Hall Elementary when I was in the fifth grade. Many of you at this point will exclaim out loud: “Card what? Dewey who?”

It seems in this age of computers and instant answers, the time it takes to search through a drawer of cards each labelled with information about a particular book – is wasted time.

Sigh. I beg to differ.

The quiet of the library, the dust motes floating in the light which entered from windows at the rear of the room, the feeling of anticipation as I gazed at books on shelving units taller than me, and the eagerness with which I flipped through those card catalog cards cannot be replaced by an online experience.

So fellow book-lovers, let us mourn the passing of the card catalog! Read more here.