I’ve been working on a few more projects: revision, new ideas, and figuring out where this new short story goes after I set everything on fire. (Really, after you’ve set everything on fire, the story should be at an end, but it isn’t. Maybe I need to move the fire.) I’ve also discovered that Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is the paper ancestor of TV Tropes — I can spend hours going from cross-reference to cross-reference, only to remember after I’m done that I really did have something to look up in the first place.
I’m unlikely to be dressing up for Halloween, sadly; we don’t get many trick-or-treaters at our house, and I have few other excuses. But in the spirit of the season, here are some beautiful and chilling comics from Emily Carroll. I first found these last year with “His Face All Red,” and spent a good long time shivering after reading it.
Out the Door (just one page)
His Face All Red (several pages, keep following the links at the bottom)
Margot’s Room (five parts, all linked from this central page; follow the rhyme at the top for the order)
What spooky stories do you share on Halloween? What gives you a chill?
(and if all that was too much spookiness, here, have a duck.)
Viable Paradise has always been an immersive, intense experience, regardless of whether I was there as student or staff. This year was no different in that regard, and I suspect I’ll have the ghosts of that week trailing around me for months to come. When I got home yesterday (and did not post because I was nearly asleep on my feet), there were a few hours where it seemed that everything reminded me of the island.
We had great students this year, and I think the workshop helped all of them. I even got to stand up in front of them for a few minutes and blither about what it’s like after VP. And in between the cooking, the administrative matters, the sous-chef duties, my best Counselor Troi/Captain Hufflepuff impersonation, the fudge (dear lord the fudge), the late-night singing, and learning why I should never play poker with Steven Brust (if I want to win, that is; entertainment is another matter entirely), I got four chapters revised and another few for a new, unformed project started. Hell, I even sold the lobster story while I was there!
Now, to clean up the messes I left behind, scream in horror at my work inbox, and tomorrow, start on the next chapter.
The reading at Flights of Fantasy was awesome. Léna is a delightful person, and our hosts Maria and Eleanor made everything perfect. I read a little from the lobster story, because why the heck not, and got to hear a little from Edges. And then I caught the bus back and found that the resident organist had made pumpkin bread.
Life is good.
Tomorrow I head out to Martha’s Vineyard to help with this year’s Viable Paradise workshop. I’m staff, so I’ll be sous-cheffing (wow, that is very much not a verb) and shepherding students through workshop. I loved my time at VP, so it’s great to see other students going through the same thing and finding the same joys I did. (And the same difficulties — mid-week is always tough, no matter what.)
Other news: the Kindle edition of The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Two is now out, including “A Serpent in the Gears” as well as other excellent stories from BCS. I’ve been sending some more short stories out into the world, including one that disturbed me while I was writing it and disturbs me still. And I’ve been going over the Big New Manuscript with a red pen to see what needs to be fixed to bring it out of Crappy First Draft stage. What’s strange is that aside from a few chapters that would have to be changed simply because of the revisions I made to the earlier book, and a couple of chapters that I knew were iffy when I wrote them . . . it’s not bad. It almost hangs together. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this . . . naaaah.