Monday, May 27, 2019

Image Book 46

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I think I was just being silly here, coming up with a mock diagram that made no literal sense.

Then again...

The text reads: If this disturbs you, why are you here? Not a bad question.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 29 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Sunday, May 26, 2019

APSA Day Two

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Woke up at 6 a.m. and started dealing with business correspondence. Soon I'll go down for breakfast and out into APSA. Did I mention I have to give a speech today?

No pix, alas. Next time I go overseas, I must make sure I have the proper software for uploading snapshots in a usable format.

And from the Image Book . . .
 
Okay, now we're cooking. I cut an image from a fashion magazine and pasted it over one from an art mag. You'll note I cut off the arms. Normally, that would make the figure look mutilated and powerless. But by my reading, this one is only made stronger and more threatening. Whatever this entity is (and she's not human), she doesn't need arms. If she did, she'd have them.

The text reads:

She was there already. She
was not there.

WHY NOT?

Which is just me thinking out loud.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 31 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Another Planet Science Fiction

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So I'm in Beijing for the Another Planet Science Fiction Conference. A lot of my Western friends, like Allen Steele, Crystal Huff, and Derek Kunsken (among others) are here too, and new ones as well. Also Zhao Haihong, whom I esteem highly as a writer.

The conference is in full swing. More about it when I can.


And from the Image Book . . .

The image comes straight from an REI ad. No alternations needed.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 32 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Friday, May 24, 2019

Pinocchio in China

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Today, I arrive in China. I'll be exhausted, so I'll go straight to my hotel. And I believe the guests of the Another Planet Science Fiction Conference will have a party/gathering tonight. So if I don't get around the serious work of blogging, please forgive me.


And speaking of the Image Book . . .

The text reads:

More than anything, pinocchio wanted to be real. A boy, a pupppet, a plank of wood careless by parts over & over. Until it (something) all colors without (something) fo any of them at all. BUT HE WANTED TO BE A REAL BOY!!!

Not sure what Pinocchio is doing here. But he never made it into the novel."


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 33 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

And As Always . . .

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I'm on the road again! This time, I'm off to China for Another Planet Science Fiction Conference in Beijing. I'll keep you posted if I can. But there are no guarantees in this life.


And from the Image Book . . .




Another two-page spread! One is a creature from my subconscious. The other is a gas mask sculpted in marble.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 34 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday Image Book

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Two pages from the Image Book because I was working out a single character. This is one of Caitlin's fellow dragon pilots. They're a dangerous bunch.

And tomorrow I leave for China! That will be an adventure.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 35 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tuesday Image Book

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Today is election day in Philadelphia, so once again I'm working the polls. It's a primary election, so there won't be the crowds and excitement of (say) a presidential election. But it is a self-evident truth that democracy is important and those who value their freedom will support it. On this I and the loyal opposition on the other side of the aisle are as one.

Oh, and don't forget to vote!


And the picture up above . . . ?

Okay, I admit it. There's a lot of sex crawling around inside this novel--but the bulk of it occurs under the surface. Where it's the most disturbing. So that's okay.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 36 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Vagueposting

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Wow. Do I have a lot on my plate? Yes, I do. And since it's not the time to reveal what I'm talking about, I guess I'm vagueposting. Is that a word? I'm sure it is.


And up above, my from Image Book . . .

A male dryad, apparently.

The bulbous irruption below him in the bottom of the canister from the previous page.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 37 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Vision of the Goddess

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There she is--the Goddess Herself. Just as Helen saw her in yesterday's post. Direct sightings of the Divinity are rare and dangerous. When Moses saw God on Mount Sinai, it left a physical mark on him. (In the Middle Ages, it was thought the mark took the form of horns. Which is why Michelangelo's Moses has two sharp nubbins poking out of his hair.)

The Goddess is taken very seriously indeed in this book. Even if the idol of her is obviously a pressurized gas canister.

The text reads:

This was the Goddess in her aspect as Death, the Negator, the refusal of consolation. Her silence spoke loouder than words.

Death, too, is taken very seriously in this novel.

Neither the above text nor yesterday's made it into The Iron Dragon's Mother. But they were a crucial part of the ideation, I think.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 38 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Helen Sees an Idol of the Goddess

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In a cave in the desert, Helen came upon an idol of the Goddess. It was carved of black granite. Or else it was cast iron. Either way, it was faceless, breastless, sexless. It rose up from the ground as a cylinder sloped inward toward a blunt, cylindrical head [I surely meant rounded here], was symmetrical at all heights. Reflections played upon its rough  finger-smudged surface.

              --A Dream

I forget whether this was an actual dream or meant to be a dream in the novel. To the side, I scrawled l. u. proper phrasing. The l. u. means "look up," and the curl at the end means "ing" in m own private semi-shorthand.

Waking, she recognized the idol as something she had seen as a very small child--a propane tank, perhaps?--and been inexplicably terrified by. On reflection, it seemed to Helen V. that what she had been terrified of was the simple, implacable fact of existence.

If the first section came from an actual dream, this was a waking continuation of the dream-image.

There's also a nude with the caption "Idol of the Goddess."

Oh, and Helen V. is the other protagonist of the novel. It's complicated.

Tomorrow I'll show you what Helen saw. 


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 38 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Friday, May 17, 2019

Everything But The Book!

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Look what came in the mail yesterday! It's the cover of The Iron Dragon's Mother, scheduled to be published in 39 days.

The Dragonstairs office rug is delighted.


And today's taste of the Image Book . . .




Two pages today: To the left, a first glimpse of Caitlin's brother Fingolfinrhod, a.k.a. Lord Sans Merci, San Merci of Sans Merci presumptive, Rod, Roddie, Fin-fin,Finn, etc. He plays a significant part in the plot.

Believe it or not, That horrible scrawl he's avoiding looking at is a working-out of part of the plot.

On the facing page, the word SCAPEGOAT does not apply to him. It is, however, also a major part of the plot.

I may have already started writing at this point.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 39 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Duchamp's Unicycle

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The text says Plato's Cave and Unicycle.

Yes, that's Marcel Duchamp's readymade, Bicycle Wheel turned upside-down. One of the major concerns of The Iron Dragon's Mother  (and, indeed, the trilogy as a whole) is the relationship between Faerie and Earth--or, as they call it, Aerth.

So this picture was a reminder to myself that assumptions and expectations would have to be upturned or reversed if the novel was to work as planned.


And today's obligatory advertisement . . .

As mentioned before,  the good people at Tor.com are promoting my forthcoming novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, with an ongoing sale of the ebook of Chasing the Phoenix. For the entirety of the month of May, it's on sale for $2.99.

You can find a more riveting sales pitch and buttons leading to the sale item on various platforms here.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 40 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

After the Cleansing

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Charlotte/Alias
After the Cleansing

At this point, I was still considering using Charlotte as the protagonist's name. I wasn't really happy with it, but I hadn't yet decided on Caitlin as her proper name or on Cat as her alias.

You may well recognize the image as being one of Andrew Wyeth's paintings. It's a postcard I bought at the Brandywine Museum specifically for the Image Book. A bit more sexualized than I'd prefer for the character. But, like the goddess Inanna, she makes a voyage to the depths, surrendering a piece of her armor at every stage.

I should emphasize that this is not literally what Caitlin looks like. The skin color is all wrong, for one thing and the model a little young. Think of it more as a psychic impression.

The text reads:

She turned her back on the grave and began the long but necessary processs of forgetting everything that came  before.

These words will not appear in The Iron Dragon's Mother. But an important scene near its very end is beginning to form.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 41 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Mask from the Image Book

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Continuing the theme of masks. A very simple collage.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 42 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Anna Kashina in Books-a-Million

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On Saturday, Marianne and I jaunted to Books-a-Million in Springfield, PA for Anna Kashina's book signing there. There she is, up above, autographing a copy of Shadowblade, newly published by Angry Robot. I bought a copy  and you should consider doing likewise.

And immediately below is the cover of her book. It looks terrific.




You'll note that the blurb mentions her ability to describe sword fights.That's because she belongs to a group called Modern Gladiatorial Arts, dedicated to the practice of mock-combat which sword, singlestick, and related weapons. They were present for the event and giving free demonstrations and lessons during the event.

So quite a festive time was had by all.


And today's page from the Image Book . . .




I like this one, the mask in particular. A lot of the characters in my novel are wearing masks. They just happen to be their real faces is all.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 43 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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A Self-Referential Page from the Image Book

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I was wondering why I hadn't posted a page from the Image Book yesterday until I looked at what the page would have been. Not exactly appropriate for Mother's Day.

So this is my Mother's Day gift to you... that you didn't have to look at this yesterday.
Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 44 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Minor Conjuring

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"A minor conjuring."



And today's obligatory advertisement . . .

As mentioned before,  the good people at Tor.com are promoting my forthcoming novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, with an ongoing sale of the ebook of Chasing the Phoenix. For the entirety of the month of May, it's on sale for 2$.99.

You can find a more riveting sales pitch and buttons leading to the sale item on various platforms here.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 45 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

How to Read "Eighteen Songs by Debussy"

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A few months ago, I went to a recital of songs by Debussy by Lyric Feast at The Academy of Vocal Arts. As I listened, I wrote a story for each song, starting from the libretto for each song and adding a science fiction element. The stories were all set in the same world and, as they progressed, united to tell one overarching story. The next day, I did a clean-up draft and popped the resulting story, "Eighteen Songs by Debussy" in the mail.

It was published a little over a month ago in the March/April issue of Asimov's Science Fiction.  I was pleased how it came out.

If you want to understand the story properly, however, you should take the following steps:

1. Read the story through.

2. One by one, Google "Debussy" "English translation" and the name of each section. That will give you the poems the songs were based on. (Those fortunate enough to read French can go straight to the originals.)

3. Locate the songs on whatever music source you use, and listen to them.

4. Reread the story.

And that's all.  Enjoy!


And speaking of ebook sales . . .

As mentioned before,  the good people at Tor.com are promoting my forthcoming novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, with an ongoing sale of the ebook of Chasing the Phoenix. For the entirety of the month of May, it's on sale for 2$.99.

You can find a more riveting sales pitch and buttons leading to the sale item on various platforms here.


And today's page from the Image Book . . .

Above, you'll see what looks like it might be one of my collages. Actually, it's a fashion photo. But it gave me a character. This is Lieutenant Anthea, Caitlin's judge advocate. (I scrawled "Charlotte's lawyer" beside the picture because I was still trying out names for the protagonist of The Iron Dragon's Mother and because I hadn't yet checked on the terminology for military lawyers.) The glare, the hair, the panther face... all those went straight into the novel unchanged. She's wearing a uniform in all her encounters with Caitlin, of course. But that's how she might be dressed for a night on the town.

Lieutenant Anthea was a good character. And I doubt I would have found her if without the  Image Book.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 46 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Folded Face from the Image Book



Since I can't draw, I make collages. And since most faces ripped out of magazines are far too pretty for my purposes (see most of the earlier images in this series), I started folding and then pasting images of faces.

Came out not so bad, eh?

The notes have nothing to do with her, but with the image on the facing page. You'll meet that personage tomorrow.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 47 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Maybe You Should Begin That Biography Today

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I read a review the other day of a sorta-kinda-biography of Lorraine Hansberry (don't know her? neither do I, but she wrote A Raisin in the Sun, so maybe we should) wherein the reviewer lamented the bio's lack of new, fresh, and vivid biographical information.

Which kinda hit home for me. Because some while ago, I wrote a slim book titled: Hope-in-the-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees. It was, I am proud to say, the first biography of Ms Mirrlees ever, and it taught me a great deal about the difficulties of the genre.

At one point, Mirrlees's nephew, Count Robin Ian Evelyn Milne Stewart de la Lanne-Mirrlees, wrote to me applauding an anecdote recorded in my first draft of the book and suggested the whole would benefit from several more of these.

Well, yes. But the anecdote was one of very few such (that I could find) recorded by Hope's peers. Who surely had many such on tap had anybody asked them. But nobody did. While they were alive.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

If you're thinking that Someday you'd like to write a biography of somebody still living whom you admire but are putting it off until you're a much better writer than you are today...

Cut bait or get off the pot!

Seriously, there's no reason to wait and every reason to act. The first part of any biography is interviewing the subject, if alive. The second is interviewing as many people as possible who know or knew him or her. And the third part, the actual writing? Well...

That can take as many years as it takes. The history of biography is also the history of procrastination.

But when you finally get around to the hard work of biography, the information will be there, long after the people who provided it are gone. And if you turn out to be as talentless as you think you are (people who think this rarely are), well, then the information will exist or someone else to find and use the way you originally wanted to.

End of sermon.  Take a day, think it over. Then, if you're the person this post is aimed at, get started.

People yet unborn will be glad you did.


And yet another page from the Image Book . . .






Again, we are reminded how limited my drawing skills are. At the top, it says, "Half-Man Half..." And below it are possible things the fellow might be from the waist down.

Strangely enough, this character did make it into the novel. At any rate, he looks a lot like a triton named Pelagius who puts in a brief but memorable appearance at the Bay of Dreams. So the Image Book is beginning to work.

Still a long way away from starting the novel, though.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 48 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

Top: My slim book about Hope Mirrlees. The physical book is now pretty much unobtainable. But publisher Henry Wessells has made an affordable ebook available at Weightless Books. That was important to me because there's so little written about Mirrlees that if you're a scholar writing about her, you really do have to have read it. A page discussing the book and giving the link for purchase is  to be found at: http://www.avramdavidson.org/hope-in-the-mist.html.


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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Chasing the Phoenix Ebook -- On Sale!!!!

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I am really not very comfortable with or very capable at the whole self-promotion thing. Which puts me terribly out of step with the contemporary world. Luckily, I have have people to do that sort of thing for me.

Speaking of which,  the good people at Tor.com are promoting my forthcoming novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, with an ongoing sale of the e-book of my last novel, Chasing the Phoenix. For the entirety of the month of May, it's on sale for 2$.99.

Which, if you like e-books and the adventures of the Post-Utopian confidence artists Darger and Surplus, and don't already have the book, is a pretty good deal.

You can find a more riveting sales pitch and buttons leading to the sale item on various platforms here.


And today's page from the Image Book . . .




Holy guacamole but I can't draw! That's just awful.The exaggerated bulges are bad enough but that face is terrible.

Oh well. The picture, I think, came from a New York Times article about an opera. I was trying to reimagine one character as a horse-woman. The result was bad enough that she never made it into the novel.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 49 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Monday, May 6, 2019

The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein

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I haven't the time to review  Farah Mendlesohn's crowdsourced book, The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, alas. But I wanted to at least note its existence. Mendlesohn's stated intention was to examine everything that Heinlein wrote and find out what he was really up to--what his intentions were--rather than judge it by her own criteria.

I think it's a terrific book.

The single most important insight Mendlesohn has is that while we all thought of Heinlein as being a science fiction writer, he saw himself as being a satirist in the tradition of Mark Twain. This explains so much! It explains why he and the SF community were so often at odds, the frequency with which he confounded our expectations, and that strange drifting-away into bestsellerdom at the end of his career.

The problem was (and this is me speaking now, now Farah) that as a science fiction writer, Heinlein rocked. As a satirist, not so much. Ah, well. The man invested his life as he saw best. Second-guessing him at this point avails us nothing.

Most of Mendlesohn's findings or conclusions are, I think, solid. The emphasis Heinlein put into creating families is close to undeniable. Once or twice, I believe the book succumbs to thesis-creep. I honestly don't think that Heinlein saw the protagonists of Tunnel in the Sky and Glory Road as failures because they don't wind up creating families at the ends of their novels. A writer doesn't have to fit all of his thematic obsessions into every book he writes.

But that's just my two cents and you needn't take it to heart. As I said, I haven't the time to seriously review this book. At any rate, I recommend it highly.


And today's page from the Image Book .. . .




This one has to be from a fashion magazine rather than an art mag. It's just too weird. Whoever it is--Fata Narcisse, maybe?--she's definitely high elven.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 50 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sunday's Page from the Image Book

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Things are starting to move! This is a publicity photo of Helen V. from her younger days. Back then, she was a vibrant, exciting woman who had her share of men and made her share of mistakes. But she wasn't glamorous looking. She didn't need to be. She was on the production side of the camera.

(When I identify a character, I should mention, the picture isn't supposed to be taken literally. Helen may or may not have looked like this. But the picture says something about her character, her inner self, and that's useful to me when the time comes to write about her.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 51 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Saturday's Page from the Image Book

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There was always a possibility that Caitlin (the final name for the protagonist; the first several just felt wrong; but that's all in the future at this point) would have a drinking problem. A lot of likable people do. But in the actual writing that never came up and good for her. The other image was of a possible friend. She may have ended up as one of Caitlin's fellow dragon pilots.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 52 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Friday's Page from the Image Book

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Ive started falling behind again. I can only plead busy-ness, the details of which are probably more interesting to me than they would be to you. So let's cut right to the chase.

The snake was pasted into the notebook because it looked so much like an alchemical symbol--for infinity-and-a-half, perhaps. I wanted the fictional metaphysics of the novel to go beyond the metaphysics of our own world.

This image, perhaps, inspired the later relationship between Faerie, the Empyrean, and Aerth.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 53 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Yesterday's Post: Another Scribbledehobbledehoyden Hits the Shelf

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I finished a notebook the other day and, for the sake of those who enjoy trivia, thought I'd share it with you. Long ago, when I was young, I named my notebook Scribbledehobbledehoyden because James Joyce's notebook was named Scribbledehob and I was young and pretentious. The plural of my coinage is Scribbledehobbledehoydenii just because that makes the whole thing even more so.

I have no idea how many notebooks I've filled in my time--hundreds, probably. And when I finish them, if I remember, I give each one an individual name. So this particular Scribbledehobbledehoyden, which runs from March 18, 2019 through April 27, 2019. It's named The Devil's Own Day.

And that's all, really. Now the thing goes on the shelf, waiting for the day when muster the energy to fill a cardboard with notebooks and put them in the attic with their brethren.













Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Murder in the Spook House... A New Mongolian Wizard Story!

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It's been too long since one of my Mongolian Wizard stories has appeared. But the long drought is over! "Murder in the Spook House" is now live at Tor.com.

This one is a simple murder case--an isolated locale, a limited number of suspects, and an annoying character from one of the earlier stories. Ahhhh, but wait 'til you see who's been killed.

You can read the story here. Or, if you're new to the series and in the mood to binge, all the stories can be found in order here. Every word of 'them free.

And every one of them illustrated by Gregory Manchess. I love his work and I'm grateful for that.


Meanwhile, back in the Image Book . . .




This is a lovely image. I admire the gentleness of it. There are aspects of this world that are very appealing.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 55 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Thin Man

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Slenderman. He didn't make it into my novel because I'm not big on celebrity cameos.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 56 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Monday, April 29, 2019

Rabbit Redux

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Rabbit again. I suspect he's some variant of trickster. He keeps popping up up where he's not expected.

Or invited, for that matter.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 57  days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Flight

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An early attempt to establish what it's like to fly an iron dragon through Hell Gate. From the perspective of the pilot or the dragon, it makes no difference.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 58 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Another Collage

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Another collage. I folded the woman's face to make her stranger and pasted her over a secondary image to suggest an internal double nature to her. Not a good/evil dichotomy sort of thing. More the contradictory personalities we all hold within ourselves.

At this point, I still haven't found a character for the novel yet, though.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 59 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Friday, April 26, 2019

Read the First Chapter of the Iron Dragon's Mother--Free!

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The promotional season (had you noticed?) for The Iron Dragon's Mother has begun! Over at Tor.com, they've posted the first chapter for anyone who wishes a taste to read for free.

But before you do... I should say here that my novel is filled with flying mechanical dragons, fights to the death, the birth of a locomotive, passion, intrigue, excitement, and adventure..

I mention this because the first chapter is a careful depiction of an old woman dying in the hospital. When I told this to Paul Park, he smiled in that gentle, tolerant way of his, and said, "You really know what the fans want, Michael."

By which he meant that it might not be the most commercial possible opening to a novel.

Touche. Also mea culpa. But when your chief goal is not money but too simply write the best book you are capable of writing, you have to go where the muse leads. And in this case, she told me to let the reader know what a remarkable woman was dying and how deserving or not she was of the adventure she was about to find herself in. So I set out to bring Helen V., the dying woman, as vividly to life as possible. I hope I succeeded. But that's a judgement for the reader to make.

Now that you know all that, you can if you wish read the first chapter here.


And today's picture from the Image Book is . . .

 


This particular collage, I think, speaks for itself. I hope so anyway because I tried several times to explain it and finally had to give up.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 60 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Thursday, April 25, 2019

"The She-Wolf's Hidden Grin"

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Some time ago, I contributed a story to Shadows of the New Sun, a festschrift honoring Gene Wolfe. I began "The She-Wolf's Hidden Grin" by taking the first paragraph of Gene's novella "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" and performing a reversal--turning the two brothers into sisters, summer into winter, north to south, and evening to morning. Then I proceeded to write what I think of as a feminist Gene Wolfe story. If a rather horrific one.

I was quite pleased with how it came out.

Now Lightspeed Magazine has reprinted my story. You can read it online here. Or (and I think this would be the wisest course of action), you can go to the magazine here and wander about.

The magazine's editors asked me to "also remind readers that the entire issue is available for purchase for just $3.99, and/or that you can subscribe for just $35.88/year." So... done and done!


And today's extract from the Image Book is . . .



"Giantess"


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 60 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lady Moon

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I collaged two images to make this one. Lady Moon isn't in the The Iron Dragon's Mother but she's definitely somewhere in that universe. It's pleasant to see her in an interior for a change.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 60 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Pinup Girl

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The trouble with looking for images of women in art magazines is that most of them are made by men, so they tend to be sexy and/or glamorous, rather than profoundly disturbing. So I pasted an animal head over the picture, changing it rather a lot.

And why, you ask, was I specifically looking for images of women? I was thinking about the fact in the fiction, I grew up reading, both genre and mainstream, the default gender was male. If there was a reason for a character to be female she was. Otherwise, the stained glass artisan, doctor, chemist, or baker was male. This resulted in fictional worlds where, inexplicably, there were many times more men than women.

So I decided to reverse that and see what happened. I determined to make the default gender female.

It was an interesting experiment, but since we're still in the pre-verbal stages of The Iron Dragon's Mother, I'll discuss what came of that at some later date.


Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 61days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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