Three New Treasures For Your Reading Self

I’m neck-deep in coordinating author events (maybe even a mini-tour!) and working on a new novel right now, and honestly, all I’m listening to these days is the Hamilton soundtrack, so the Monday Earworms are a little thin on the ground. Sorry about that — we’ll get back to them soon, I promise. In the meantime, what are you listening to? Tell us in the comments!

I want to take a moment to highlight three exceptionally worthy projects just made available. Give them some love, won’t you? I think they’re great.

(And stay tuned to the end of this post for a few more exciting newsy bits.)

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TWO BLOCKS FROM EMANCIPATION by Casey Fleming

This new blog project by essayist Casey Fleming bravely addresses emancipation in many forms, including on the subject of race. Casey is one of the most compelling essay writers I’ve ever read; she even did an outstanding guest post here years ago for the Fashion Friday series. Here is a brief excerpt from her site about the nature of this new project itself:

To live two blocks from something as wonderful as emancipation–as an ideal, a psychological space, a lived reality–is to live in the border between what’s possible and what’s yet to manifest, between what America aspires to be and what it is. Living on the border is always disquieting and dangerous. Some of us take up permanent residence there, and we must risk speaking from that painful proximity to liberation.

I encourage you to check out Casey’s essays and follow this new project.

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UNDER THE FLICKERING LIGHT by Russ Linton

Russ Linton hit the scene a number of years ago with his sci-fi debut Crimson Son, a book which defied typical conventions of the sci-fi/super-hero genre and gave us not just an endearing snarkster extraordinaire in its young adult protagonist Spencer, but also a series set in a compelling literary universe.  This new book stands alone but jumps far forward in time to the year 2300 in Spencer’s world, when AI overlords have made some…modifications to our human landscape. Russ has also written some really original fantasy as well. Check out his website for more about his books and his current entertaining and meaningful nomadic adventures in the real world.

I’m a big fan of Russ’ work and hope you’ll give it some attention, too.

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THE SOUL SNATCHERS by Richard Sanford

Richard Sanford is one of the fiction authors over at Odeon Press, which is how I know of him, and his new book sounds really exciting! Here’s the blurb about it:

The Soul Snatchers is a sci-fi thriller about social media addiction and cyber derangement. There’s also a love story, a secret code hidden in a mesmerizing mandala, and Svetla, the Bulgarian rideshare driver.

Tzaro Janssen, a seismologist in a next-gen lab in the San Juan Islands, sees his girlfriend Therica become … not herself. Stories like hers are lighting up media around the globe—psychotic breaks, social isolation, explosive violence. And no known cause. At the center is Therica’s obsession, the mega networking platform Wundrus.

From early reviews:

“The Soul Snatchers is an energetic and entertaining romp through Cascadia … a fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable science fiction thriller with Sixties throwback touches.”

“I thought that The Soul Snatchers by Richard Sanford was a fascinating and fast-paced read. There was no good reason to put the book down … I am usually pretty good at solving mysteries, but was blown away by this one.”

And here’s a statement about the book from Richard himself:

I wrote The Soul Snatchers to be entertaining, but it also has a point to make about something we’re seeing everywhere—isolation, among ourselves and our kids. Everybody’s hyperconnected, but nobody’s talking.

That sounds both topical and timely, doesn’t it?

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Now for the promised newsy bits:

I may be adding another reading to my slate for Houston in early March. Stay tuned for details.

I’ve just settled another event in Austin for next month. I’ll be reading at Malvern Books at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 16th. Come join us! Bring friends! Bring acquaintances and other people you want to impress! Or, you know, just bring yourself, and I’ll be thrilled with that.

I’m also looking at doing an event or two in the area of Blacksburg, Virginia. Drop me a line if you’re out that way and want to come do some booksy, writingsy things with me!

More exciting details about these events will be posted on my website as they become available.

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Poem-A-Day: me

Today is my daughter’s twelfth birthday. I cannot believe it. There’s no need for you to experience all the usual platitudes about how quickly children turn into adults or the beastly parts of adolescence. We know, we know. They know, they know. We and they know everything and nothing.

So today I’m posting one of my own poems. It started as a litany exercise, really, and evolved into a list of advisable things.

There’s so much I want to help my daughter understand about the time of life she’s going through, and we do talk, a lot. In her birthday card, I’m giving her a copy of this gorgeous and vital essay by Casey Fleming.

And then there’s this poem, which I’m sharing with everyone else, too.

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Litany

 

When you are given arbitrary instructions, take the nugget of common sense buried within them to heart.

When you have too many toys to play with, share all of them with anyone who needs them.

When the bread dough doesn’t rise, begin again once the sun is shining, remembering that flour and yeast are cheap.

When your pillows are expanding beneath you while you and your room remain the same size, take a deep breath and summon your inner peaceful goddess, the sleeping infant, the remembrance of time immemorial.

When you are given too many books to fill, pack them into a beautiful cabinet, all but one, and scribble your thoughts one page per day.

When you cannot stop sneezing, leave the house for an hour with your allergy medicine and a washed face, clean shirt, brushed-through hair.

When you burn your family’s dinner, know they still love you and will appreciate tomorrow’s feast all the more.

When the spiders come into the house, clear out the corners to give their webs room, and tell them the ground rules you’ve set. And know your wish has been granted.

When you cannot find your entrance into a poem, let other people talk around it on the periphery of your attention.

When the novel inside you is desperate to emerge but you have no time to write it out, make your passion part of your workday, even if just for half an hour.

When your father takes you to the rodeo, enjoy holding his hand between the games.

When you dream of me, be generous, please.

When you reach the end of your to-do list, revel in the glory of a blessing.

When you grow so wise you realize I am an imbecile, recognize this is a cycle, too.

 

Fashion Friday 6/28/13

This week’s Fashion Friday post comes to us from guest blogger Casey Fleming. Casey is a friend and colleague of mine and an excellent writer. She also routinely comes to work wearing some of the most adorable and benign-envy-prompting outfits I’ve ever seen. Her post is also available on her blog, (Non)Secular Girl. Check it out; you’ll be glad you did.

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from the 1948 film "The Red Shoes"
from the 1948 film “The Red Shoes”

When I was in seventh grade, Charlie Chavez asked me to be his date to the homecoming dance.  We attended T.H. Rogers, a public school in Houston for “gifted and talented” kids, all bused in from neighborhoods as diverse and far away from each other geographically and culturally as Denver Harbor, Bellaire, and Third Ward.  Charlie lived in Sharpstown.  His single mother arrived with him to pick me up from my aunt’s townhouse on the Southwest side the night of the dance. Continue reading “Fashion Friday 6/28/13”