Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

Cover reveal: Collaborators

I'm re-issuing my Lambda Literary Award Finalist novel, Collaborators, in an author's revised version, with additional maps and blog posts about writing the book. It's slated to be released March 10, 2020, from Book View Cafe, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine outfits, in print and ebook editions. Stay tuned for sneak peeks and more details.

Here's the first look at the cover, designed by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff:

Friday, January 17, 2020

Short Book Reviews: A Treasure from Lisa Goldstein

Ivory Apples, by Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon)

Lisa Goldstein is one of the treasures of fantasy literature, with each new work a gem. Ivory Apples is, I think, her best yet. It centers around a book of the same name, one of those magical favorites that gets re-read a hundred times by obsessive fans, that helps readers weather desolate times, and that spawns fan clubs, websites, and entire conventions devoted to the story, its character, and its mysterious author. It’s also the secret in the lives of young Ivy and her three remarkable sisters. From as long as she can remember, her Great-Aunt Maude has been a recluse, an extreme introvert terrified of publicity, the family visits to her remote home never to be spoken of. For not only is Maude the author of Ivory Apples, she wrote it while partnered with an actual Muse. Soon the entire family becomes the target of Kate, manipulative and unscrupulous and single-mindedly set on getting a Muse of her own. I found myself swept up and captivated by the story in very much the same way Maude’s readers have been transformed by Ivory Apples. This book is a true treasure, worthy of multiple re-readings, a perfect holiday gift for the child in all of us.

Monday, January 13, 2020

In Troubled Times: Rumors of War

World War II cast a long shadow, and my generation was born in the aftermath. Then the shadow burgeoned into a decades-long frenzy of terror of communism. The Soviet Union was the incarnation of evil, of course, and war was ever imminent. Not just any war, though, for the atomic genie had been released from its bottle. The world came perilously close on a number of occasions. In between crises, every international twitch was scrutinized, analyzed, and dissected. Meanwhile, we kids were practicing “duck and cover,” as if hiding under a school desk could protect us from a nuclear blast.

Presidents came and presidents went, and the threat of annihilation waxed and waned but never left us. We focused on smaller wars where we had the illusion we could actually change the world. As it turned out, all those protest marches against the Viet Nam War did make a difference in the end, although at the time it didn’t seem so. In retrospect, I believe the sense of powerlessness and insignificance caused as much damage to our confidence in the future as any military threat. Which is not to say that the threat of nuclear war was not real, but rather that my generation internalized it in a way that left us vulnerable to being triggered by other events.

Humans aren’t very good at estimating the relative danger of various things. We exaggerate some risks and minimize others. Some dangers frighten us out of all proportion to the odds of them happening to us. We casually ignore other things that are much more likely to injure or kill us. The possibility of war and its affect on us, personally and nationally and globally, is no exception. We panic or we shrug or we pretend or we drive our fears into our subconscious minds, where they erupt as irrational behavior or nightmares.