Saturday Snippet: Eerily Familiar

I’m getting tired of stories jumping up and grabbing me. This is the opening of the next Familiar novel.

“I just do not know,” Shoshana declared, paint-stained hands waving. “I do not know. The air is wrong.”

Lelia didn’t push the artist for more. If Shoshana Langtree said it was wrong, then it was wrong. Lelia was the last person to question Shoshana when it came to art and atmospherics. Instead she asked, “Is there a way Tay and I can help?” Tay, the ring-tailed lemur perched on Lelia’s shoulder, nodded his agreement.

Shoshana walked from the easel to the workroom door and back. She folded her arms and glared at the painting. “Can you make the bad air go away?”

Tay wrinkled his nose as his mage sorted out what Sho might mean and what mage and Familiar could do about it. “Um,” Tay started, “Uncle Leopard. If we talk to Uncle Leopard, and find out what he does, then we can build on that and cast a ward. Maybe?” Continue reading

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Painted Villages

To the west of Krakow is an area known for the folk-art on and in the houses. The painting started out of necessity, and then became an art-form, complete with classes in how to make the stencils and which paints to use for what surfaces… It also shows just how wonderful life was under the Communist governments.

Painted on an old barn

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Sorry…

I’m trying to get caught ahead, because I will be doing concert stuff all day on Saturday (0800-2100).

I’ve gone through Shikhari 6 again, and will let it sit for a week or so before sending it out to beta readers.

The climax of a new Familiars novel hit me on Monday night while working on a piece of music. My muse has an appalling sense of timing, since I was sitting on the front row center, right in front of the conductor, in the middle of the piece, at the time.

The cover for Fountains of Mercy is in the final stages and once that’s done, all that is left is formatting and upload. The artist will begin the cover of Hopling and Pouchling not long after that.

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Better for the Planet?

Apparently, because of not living on the Coasts or in a major city, I missed the memo that 1. waffle cones will save the planet from the evil polluting effects of cardboard bowls and plastic spoons, and 2. that plant-based ice-cream has a smaller effect on the environment than does Ye Olde cow-milk sort. Since I’m a fan of waffle cones, I see no problem with people eating the serving dish rather than throwing it away, although some of the bright colors (hot pink, kelly green, electric blue) are a touch disconcerting.

I’m not certain about the plant-based ice-cream being better for the planet, though. Continue reading

Tuesday Tidbit: The Vapors

In which Rigi, while visiting Aunt Kay and Uncle Eb adds to her list of valuable skills… (NOTE: two chunks are missing in order to avoid a Spoiler of Unusual Size.)

Which inadvertently reminded her. Rigi memorized the composition, shaking her head a little at all the dilated animal eyes, and returned the book. “Um, one other thing. How exactly does one have the vapors?”

Lexi’s eyes widened. He pivoted and bounded from the studio, closing the door behind him. Aunt Kay rolled her eyes. “So sensitive.” She put the book aside. “First, are you trying to distract people from something else, or to make a point that cannot be made any other way?” The older woman’s posture grew intent, eyes fixed on Rigi.

There were different sorts of vapors? Rigi considered. “Ah, making a point, probably. I’d think that there are better ways of distracting people.”

“It depends on one’s persona. If you are acting as Rigi Bernardi-Prananda, then yes, wailing and having a swooning fit after a brief bout of hysterics will more than adequately communicate your distress and displeasure. Stay seated.” Kay stood and began moving things out of the way, clearing a large open space in the center of the room. “However, if you are the quiet, proper NeoTraditionalist wife of Major Prananda, never raising your voice, always restrained, then an attack of the vapors will completely absorb the attention of the room, at least for the first little while.” Kay shook as if loosening muscles long unused. “We are fortunate in that our style of dress lets us throw fits without descending into dramatic immodesty, although I have seen that work. I do not recommend it, however.” Continue reading

Two Mighty Days: August 17-18, 1969

I grew up around people who took hurricanes very seriously. They’d all lived on the Gulf Coast when Hurricane Camille struck in 1969. Not since 1935 had such a powerful storm swept onto the low-lying areas around the Gulf of Mexico, and in part because of that, some people didn’t take the storm that seriously. After all, it was just another hurricane, so there’s be wind, and rain, and water in the usual places, but nothing really out of Gulf-Coast ordinary.

I’ve ridden out Category one and two hurricanes, on what was then the far northern side of Houston. “The rains fell and the wind blew,” but that was all the excitement at my grandparents’ house. But those were weak, and further weakened by coming ashore and moving 50 or so miles inland. Not a Category Five storm riding a plume of unusually warm water. Warm water is hurricane fuel, and the Gulf was warm in the summer of 1969. Continue reading

In Honor of Choir Season’s Onset

In some churches, the end of summer means a return to more formal worship, with a full choir and everyone back in robes and stoles (or collars). It also means that some professional choruses, including mine, are gearing back up after a three month lull.

The composers Austin C. Lovelace and Ron Hodges wrote the following, to be sung to the tune of “Immortal, Invisible” (St. Denio). I’ve seen it dedicated “To the Distraught Director:”

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