Aside

Howdy West Virginia Book Festival!

Did you find this site by looking at one of these cards?

TheHagExpert2Final-FJM_Mid_Res_1000x1500

If you did, thank you so much for stopping by.  There’s a subscribe button down on your left, so you can subscribe to my newsletter.  (If you’re on a phone, you’ll want to press the cog wheel/star thingy to see the list of old blog posts, etc. Just scroll all the way down to the bottom.)

When you subscribe, you’ll get a password to unlock my short story, “WONDER WOMAN WALKS INTO A BAR”.  And that’s not all—-

—Not all you say? Stop the madness!

Once a month I’m giving away something to a random subscriber of KETTLE’S WEIRD NEWS.  Could be a new speculative fiction book, could be an old s/f classic, or a cool t-shirt, or some yummy food treat.  Given how wee tiny my new subscription list is, let’s just say your odds of being that random subscriber are pretty high if you sign up now.

Meanwhile, I wish I could be there at the festival because you all get to see Neil Gaiman in the flesh don’t you? Sigh, sigh, sigh.neil-gaiman

Finally I’m sending out big hearty thank you to Sue London, because she was the one who offered to hand out these cards at the festival at her booth.  You rock, Sue!

Wis Con — My people!

I just registered for Wis Con — a feminist science fiction and fantasy conference in, you guessed it, Wisconsin.  Woot!

When they described this conference as one for people interested in speculative fiction that has a strong interest in feminism, race, class, and gender I about swooned.

That’s me! That’s me!

I cannot wait.  It’s May 22nd — and my hope is to come back with a cool reading list and a fistful of new social media friends.  I am stoked!

 

The Graveyard Queen: Amanda Stevens & Considerations of ‘Darkness’

Dear Reader:

(I mean that literally.  Wordpress stats tell me I have one reader: you.  My singular one.)

If you happen to like your paranormal mysteries in a super romance-y form, you might want to check out this writer that I’ve just read about.  Her name is Amanda Stevens, and she is writing The Graveyard Queen Series.

I think her latest book is called The Restorer.

Here’s a blurb.  Now brace yourself, it’s quite long:

Never acknowledge the dead

Never stray far from hallowed ground

Never associate with those who are haunted

Never, ever tempt fate.

My father’s rules.  I’ve never broken them…until now.

My name is Amelia Gray.  I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts.  In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father.  But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore.  The clues to the killer–and to his other victims–like in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret.  Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy.  To warn him would be to invite them into my life.  I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

Okay — that’s all I know.  Haven’t read the book, you’ll just have to check it out yourself and let me know what you think.  I do, however, quite admire the angel on the cover.  She reminds me of an evocative gravestone at Hollywood Cemetery, which is a famous old place here in Richmond.

See?

I admit I was instantly drawn to this author because she’s a self-proclaimed taphophile.  I didn’t even know what that was, but I quite liked the sound of it.

Turns out a taphophile, or if you prefer, someone afflicted with taphophilia, is drawn to morbid curiosities, all things funeral and associated with death.

Cool.

Speaking of using words with great precision:

Let’s agree to bring back the word macabre into common parlance, shall we?  First of all, it’s a very exact word, less jokey than ghoulish, and more precise than perverse.

Second of all, everyone describes books, plots, villains, and post-apocalyptic situations as dark these days.  Why–why–why? I’m not thinking this blog post will change the world or anything, but I’d just like to put it out there:

Doesn’t describing a plot, etc. in a way that connotes a negative edge or problematic depth as ‘dark‘ seem well, a little racist? I don’t put this out there lightly.  Living in the South–and the heart of the old confederacy at that, I kind of wince every time I see the word used that way.  What are people thinking? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Meanwhile, I have a few other issues with using the word the word dark to describe stuff.

1) it’s vague.

2) dark stuff is not negative to me, it’s mostly awesome.  Sleep, for instance–one of my favorite all time occupations–is often done in the dark.  Sex–another of my altogether favorite occupations– frequently occurs in light challenged contexts.  Right there, you’ve got two worthy reasons to embrace total darkness.

Meanwhile, dark chocolate is sublime, and I am quite fond of the color black–both in terms of clothing choices and in terms of skin.  I embrace dark wooden floors, teak stained antique furniture…I mean, the list goes on and on.  It’s sunny here in the South.  I burn easily.  All hail darkness.

To me dark is cozy.  To me darkness is divine.

I suggest we go back to the good old days and use the word macabre when flinging down our adjectival descriptors.  When you say it (mah-cawb) —-it just bursts forth from your mouth like flying crows.

Does language get any better than that?

Longing Can Be Addictive

Here’s a round-up of folks talking about one of my favorite topics: longing.

I guess one of the things that inspired me to start writing a romantic mystery is that I love the idea of having a character longing for a mystery man.  Yet longing is not an easy thing to portray.

Meg Benjamin talks about longing in romances here.  Very comforting words.

Madeline Iva responds to Meg’s comments here with a few observations.

Airborne Toxic Event, meanwhile, has a song that drips with the most angst-ridden, emo longing song ever called Sometime Around Midnight.

Do you think the world divides up into those who long and those who are longed for? I seem to be one of the former.

Later,

K.

Shadows are falling…

This is the best time of the year.  Summer is receding with tropical storms bringing rain and, yes, some havoc as well.  With rain comes relief for the parched ground.  Tropical rains also sweeping away the stultifying heat as they pass over us.

spooky tower houseThe harvest is also coming upon us soon.  Harvest is a time of year that I particularly relish.  With harvest you can feel the deep human roots of ritual.  The roots of our folk history come out and get some elbow room.  We are aware once again of man going along with the rhythms of nature.  Also, there’s kettle corn at harvest time and nothing is better than kettle corn.

I’m hoping to get out to the cemetery this month or the next and perhaps get out to the James River Writer’s Conference as well.  The conference is October 6th through October 8th, and I know many mystery writers who I personally enjoy will be there.  Writers like Meredith Cole, Donna Andrews, Mollie Cox Bryan & Howard Owen.