Slow and Steady Gets Books Written

It seems to take me forever, but generally speaking, I do eventually work to finish up my plans. Some of them I even manage to accomplish in reality, not merely simmer internally until they’re fully formed imaginings. Another book, for example, that has finally hatched.

Photo: Hot Flash Fiction (photo credit: Blurb.com)

The newest baby from a past-childbearing-aged person….

Hot Flash Fiction is coming your way.

Yep. I have completed another book, and there are several more in the proverbial pipeline. This one, of course, joins its predecessor Miss Kitty’s Fabulous Emporium (Vol. 1), which is still conveniently available at Amazon, and the new book, Hot Flash Fiction, will be for sale both at Blurb.com and Amazon as soon as it ‘goes live’—I’ve submitted the posting materials and only await the gnomic decree from Amazon to finalize the book’s availability. While MKFE-1 is only available in soft cover/paperback, it has hundreds of poems and graphite drawings. Now that I’m going full-color and making the new book available in both paperback and hard cover versions, it is necessary to keep the book shorter in order to make it affordable enough to be worth my while (and yours!), but then I think a shorter book, since this one is dedicated to ultra-short fiction, is entirely apropos. And I’m pleased with the rich color and crisp details of the print. I think you will be, too.

MKFE-1 (photo credit: Amazon.com)

The one that started it all.

Hot Flash Fiction is a collection of tales with tiny twists, terrible turns, and ticklish tidbits everywhere you look, both in their texts and illustrations. A jot of the ridiculous here, a dot of the delirious there—from science fiction to steampunk, from romantic follies to childish fancies, from cradle to grave and back again, it’s all squeezed into the compact form of exceedingly brief flash fiction. The illustrations, collages of my photographs interwoven with vintage finds and digitally drawn and painted elements into complex treasure-maps to enhance the stories, are a complete turn-about from the entirely hand-drawn black and white images of MKFE, but merely reflect another aspect of my many visual loves.

I look forward to returning with somewhat greater frequency to this blog in the year ahead, but am working in the meanwhile to put together yet more and further different books, so I shall leave you for now with this invitation to dive into these two while the others are still in their formative stages. Happy reading, image-gazing, and most of all, a happy autumn to you all!

Oh—and lest you think I’ve been lounging around listlessly while not posting and only writing books of my poetry and short fiction and art, I have also produced, with the help of a nice company in France called BlookUp, the first of a series of books documenting this blog. Which, I suppose, is yet another book of my poetry and short fiction and art. Never mind! But in case you’re interested, Art-Colored Glasses is now available, too. I recommend the e-book version of that one, because it’s printed on lovely glossy paper in full color and loaded with content, so it’s expensive. But pretty darn entertaining, too, for all that.

Photo: Art-Colored Glasses 1

Book 1 of my blog-documenting series, Art-Colored Glasses. With a Certain Someone silhouetted on the cover, no less.

Dangerous Romance

Love & Homicide in the Wings

A mere moth should never marry A too-pretty Fritillary:

Ay, anterior, posterior, She’ll always act superior,

And opt, yea, to co-opt her an Obnoxious Lepidopteran

To ransom her; by chance some’re Both fancier and handsomer.

Tears will roll like many pennies When he uses his antennae

So he really realizes Not all butterflies are prizes;

Though he scarcely found it scary Marrying a Fritillary,

Someday soon he surely will, her Arrogance the caterpillar

Of his innocent devotion Kill; its wings will know no motion.

Down the alleys ghastly, ill-lit, Flits, forlorn, the moth; to kill it

Is a mercy of the fires On his thwarted old desires—

Clasp a gaslamp, doomed Cecropia! Love you once believed Utopia

Ne’er loved you, never trusted That you weren’t just maladjusted.

Ah! Madame, your Butterfly, alack, will only stab you in the back;

The price of your hubristic pride Could well become Cecropicide.Digital illo: Another Moth Myth

Under-Wonders

One of my crew of amazing nephews, a highly skilled entertainer from birth both by design and in the usual way of natural surprises that occur in our family, was on a train with his parents and, seeing the fitted white head rest covers, blurted out Hey! Whose underwear are these?! They did look a lot like underpants. An understandable identification, to be sure. Pants, by the way, are not always as easily identified as one might assume.

There were the Pants of Mystery that lived in our house for several weeks until I discovered them lurking on a clothes hook behind a door and started asking around about them. They were definitely not mine or my husband’s. Several more weeks passed while I was learning that they didn’t belong to any of a half-dozen friends of ours who had stayed at our home in the past months or who had changed clothes there before or after a concert (yes, it happens). Didn’t belong to anybody…or did they? After a couple of months’ intermittent staring at the attractive yet enigmatic trousers, I had nearly given up on finding their long-lost owner when a different friend wrote a note from out of town and inquired regarding their whereabouts. I didn’t really need to require an identification from him as proof of ownership, of course, though I was tempted just because of the ridiculous weirdness of losing one’s pants and not noticing they were missing for months at a time. Though to be fair, he does own other pants. There are always enough pants to keep the world operating, evidently, at least my particular part of the world.Photo: I'm about to be Schooled

In fact, there might be more pants floating around than one might even expect, or need. When we were on our summer travels this year, we visited such beautiful places, so many that beckoned me to pull on some pants and get out to enjoy them. I loved hanging about the piers and bridges, beaches and marinas where I could get my fill of gazing into natural open water, such a scarce commodity in north Texas. I loved looking at the barnacles and mussels, the sand washed up against seaweed washed up against driftwood and rocks. Seeing the flicker of little tadpoles, sprats, fingerlings as they flitted and swam up from the depths and around the pilings. Watching as jellyfish seemed to bloom in the darkness.Photo: Blooming Jellyfish

And lo, seeing that one dramatic jellyfish wasn’t a jelly at all. Another pair of pants. How they got to drifting in the water right near the pier is beyond me. I don’t know if anyone will see this post and claim them, let alone ‘fess up as to how they arrived, empty, off the pier right there in the big city, but I like to think that they’re just part of the cosmic company of pants, having an adventure of their own en route to serving as headrest covers on a train in Norway, as a minor mystery-with-history appearing on the back of my door when I don’t expect it, or perhaps becoming the King of Pants in an alternate universe where trousers rule and find stray people as curiosities and mysteries to solve.Photomontage: Not Your Grandfather's Swim Trunks

Get Ready to Get Scared

Autumn is a strange time of year, isn’t it—the season when the evidence of the end of all living things surrounds us in greater than ever abundance is also when we’re imbued with the sense of newness as the school year and performance seasons begin. One month turns into the next over a period of ritual remembrance for the dead, a time that has managed to segue in modern times into a monstrously (pun intended) popular holiday rife with commercialism and partying that have in most cases long since obliterated any sober or spiritual content that once attached to the occasion. Confusing, perhaps, this odd mix of the haunting and the hilarious, the grotesque and the goofy.

I rather like this time of year for that very reason. The bizarre and the beautiful make such interesting partners, don’t they. It’s so perfect, the way this sort of thing reflects the natural intersections of the true and the terrible, the gruesome and the glorious—of life and death.

Me, I’m scared of practically everything. I’m not all that enamored with the more popular forms of terror-tainment, the horrific haunted houses and splatter movies, never mind the creepy cults of murder groupies and the like. But I’m human; I’m not immune, either, to a good, cathartic thrill and chill. So I get my kicks in the particular ways that allow me to feel a modicum of control, usually because I made up the scary stuff myself. As puppet-master I can enjoy the frissons until I’m, well, not enjoying them, and then put the story on hold until I’m ready to face my own death again. Mortality is such an adventure. I know you think about it, too, whether it’s Halloween month or not. Meanwhile, sleep well.Digital illo from photos: Let's Get Scared

Vintage-Montages

I love Old Stuff. Maybe it’s the increasing affinity I feel as I age, myself. Maybe it’s the lovely and mysterious history carried by venerable objects, the sense of time folding back upon itself to reveal hidden, intertwined stories that intersect, and somehow remain embedded, in the visible and tangible archaeological detritus of the past, whether immediate or ancient. I’d guess it’s both admiration and affinity. I like to think that eventually, somebody bulldozing through the dust-heaps of unremembered time will come across a mark or two of my having existed and find, rather than the dull and quotidian facts of who I was or what I did, a trove of enchanting imagined possibilities colored by the rust and the wreckage.

On this past summer’s travels, it was, as it always is for me, a magical treasure hunt for old and arcane stuff that would feed my imagination just as much as it was a journey of love and learning and newly delightful experiences. Much beauty, a bit of humor, and lots of mystery. So I give you now a collection of the images I found that filled this particular vault of my affections, with more—undoubtedly—to come.Photomontage: Dolly's Destiny

Photomontage: Milk Bottles & Machinery

Photomontage: Rust/Rusticity