From Galveston to Cozumel

{picture by Matthew T. Rader, By Matthew T Rader, https://matthewtrader.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89019658, borrowed from Wikipedia}

My husband, as I’ve mentioned before, is a travel agent. He is arranging a western Carribean cruise for his Facebook group, Real Men Wear Kilts. They shall set sail from Galveston, Texas on the Carnival ship Breeze, explore the warm, gentle waters of the Carribean Sea, and visit Mexico twice. I believe (I’m not sure) that both port calls will be in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

I know one stop will be on the island of Cozumel, which in ancient times was sacred to the Mayan goddess Ixchel. The late Jacques Cousteau claimed Cozumel had some of the best waters in the world for scuba diving. In addition to the beaches and the coral reefs, Cozumel is a grand place for shopping. The city of San Miguel has many shops, as well as the beautiful church that gave the town its name.

Eco-Tourism in Cozumel

The Mayan Bee Sanctuary

Punta Sur Eco Beach Park

El Cielo

Cozumel Pearl Farm

Historical Tourism

San Gervasaio Mayan Archaeological Site

San Miguel Church

Chocolateria Isla Bella

The Mayan Cacao Company

Museo de la Isla de Cozumel

Galo Art Studio Cozumel Art

Planetario de Cozumel Cha’an Ka’an

Cozumel has many beaches and shops. Souvenir finding is easy. The restaurants tend to be expensive. There are several walking and bus tours of various prices.

When my husband gets back from the barbershop, I will ask him where else the Breeze is going. Costa Maya.

REAL MEN WEAR KILTS Are Going to the Caribbean

{Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com}

My husband is a part-time travel agent who wants to be a full-time travel agent. He is arranging a Carribbean cruise for one of his Facebook groups, Real Men Wear Kilts. Come January 2023, they will be visiting the western Caribbean aboard the Carnival cruise ship Breeze. He’s already sold five or six cabins (two of them suites).

They will depart from Galveston, Texas, and visit Cozumel and other parts of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cozumel is noted for some of the best scuba diving in the world. I don’t dive, but I was an anthropology minor in college, so I’d be more interested in the Mayan ruins (if we’re able to go).

I don’t know if the gentlemen will wear their kilts to Mexico or merely aboard ship.

For more information, contact Highland Heather Travel. My Edward is a member of Travel Agents of Tennessee, and has an Associate’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California.

IN WRITING NEWS

My story “Zale and Zedril” will be published in Swords and Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Adventure, volume 2 in June, 2021.

{image via Parallel Universe Press – art by Jim Pitts}

My sasquatch story received its second rejection slip. I need to send it out a third time.

I finished my first werewolf story and submitted it to Humans Are the Problem.

I am working on my second werewolf story and intend to submit it to a charity anthology if/when it’s finished.

Sir Gawain and THE GREEN KNIGHT

(image via Pixabay)

There are many tales of Arthur the King and his bold knights. One of the most famous of those tales is that of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This summer Camelot returns to the big screen with an adventure of honor and courage. Dev Patel (Prince Zuko in the live action version of Avatar: the Last Airbender, Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire) will star as Sir Gawain, Ralph Ineson (Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2) has the title role. This version of the Green Knight looks more like the Green Man of pagan legend; he also bears a slight resemblance to the tree monster in From Hell it Came. Sean Harris (Solomon Lane in the Mission Impossible franchise, Satan in Paradise Lost?) appears as Arthur, the greatest king of England.

David Lowery, the director of the 2016 version of Pete’s Dragon, and writer/director of the 2017 A Ghost Story, has directed this latest retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The movie will be rated R, probably for violence. Sir Gawain does cut off the Green Knight’s head, and is honorbound to give him a chance to return the favor. It may also be rated R because of the seduction scenes, where Gawain’s chivalry and chastity are tested.

If you want to read the story before the movie is released July 30, 2021, most scholars agree that Professor J. R. R. Tolkien produced the best modern translation.

Are you looking forward to this movie? Have you seen any of the other versions of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? The 1973 version starred Murray Head and Nigel Green. The 1984 version stared Miles O’Keefe and Sir Sean Connery.

Swords and Sorceries #2

I am pleased to announce my story “Zale and Zedril” will be published in Swords and Sorceries #2.

Introduction by David A. Riley

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole

Illustrations inside the book are by Jim Pitts.

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 will be published within the next few months and will be 270 pages long, compared to 222 pages in Volume 1.

Find out further details by visiting their website: https://paralleluniversepublications.blogspot.com/

I Really Am a REAL WRITER

In one of the Tammy movies, Sandra Dee is thrilled when she sticks a key into her bosom for safekeeping and it doesn’t slip down to her shoes.  “I really am a woman, fully growed!”  Who can forget the scene in Pinocchio where Pinoke transforms from a wooden puppet into a real, live boy?  Well, I really am a Real Writer.

According to Stephen King, I’ve been a Real Writer for a while now. “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”

I just sold a story to a low-paying but prestigious British anthology.  While I would have preferred a higher paying market with less prestige, I am especially pleased that this is the second story I’ve written since my stroke that I’ve sold.  Even with Brain Damage, I am still a writer.  I may not be able to dress myself without help on a daily basis, but I can write a story aimed for a particular market and sell it.

Also, I wrote an article for SciFi.radio, formerly known as Krypton Radio (sci-fi for your wi-fi) which Amazing News linked to.

Editor David Riley of Parallel Universe Publications referred to me as one “of the best writers in the genre [sword & sorcery] today.”

Editor Ben Thomas of House Blackwood Press referred to me as one of “today’s greatest weird-fiction authors.”

In my fanfic days, I used to say no one bought a fanzine because it had a new Macdonald story listed in the table of contents.” Maybe my name didn’t sell fanzines. Maybe it doesn’t sell anthologies or magazines now. But maybe someday it will.

I’d like to say thank you to Roy Thomas, for getting me started in this career. Mahalo, Roy. And to editor Dana Bell, who bought my first story to sell for filthy lucre. Gracias, Dana.

Happy Birthday, Gina Torres

If you’ve watched any science fiction or fantasy shows on American TV in the past decade, then you’ve almost certainly seen and admired Gina Torres. Her best known role was as Zoe Washburne in Firefly and Serenity, Mal Reynolds’ loyal second-in-command. The first time many of us became aware of her was in Xena, Warrior Princess, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. She was Cleopatra on Xena and played Nebula, a Sumerian princess in several episodes of Hercules. She was the evil Jasmine in Angel. She was Helen “Hel” Carter in the short-lived Cleopatra 2525. Torres appeared in Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions as Cas. She appeared in the pilots for M.A.N.T.I.S and Dark Angel, but not in the shows, as Dr, Amy Ellis and LeMayne, respectively. She was Lauren in Westworld.

Gina Torres has had many voice roles in cartoons and videogames. She’s been in Star Wars and been two DC superheroes, as well as a sorceress and a queen for Disney. She voiced Ketsu Onyo in Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Forces of Destiny. She has also voiced Airachnid in Transformers Prime. She was Wonder Woman and Vixen. For Disney, she was the sorceress Chatana in Elena of Avalor and the Queen of Ingvarr in Tangled: The Series. In the Destiny franchise of videogames, she is Ikora Rey. In the Matrx Online videogame, she voiced Niobe.

She has not been in Star Trek or Dr. Who yet, but give her time: she’s only 51. Gina Torres was born April 25, 1969 in New York City. She was married to actor Laurence Fishburne from 2002 to 2018; they are now divorced.

Book Review: How to Write a Fantasy Novel – Worldbuilding

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC copy of Lawrence Grabowski’s How to Write a Fantasy Novel – Worldbuilding.

How to Write a Fantasy Novel – Worldbuilding is short enough to read in one sitting, but as a reference book, you may prefer to take it slowly, bit by bit.  Grabowski includes exercises at the end of each chapter, whereby you can attempt to apply his advice to your own writing.  Grabowski tries to convert worldbuilding from marking off items on a checklist, to developing a cohesive, organic whole where setting, theme, and conflict combine to support each other.

I would recommend How to Write a Fantasy Novel – Worldbuilding for those who want to write speculative fiction or RPG GMs.

Writing should be fun, if you’re doing it right.  Lawrence Grabowski tries to help other writers make worldbuilding fun, rather than a tedious chore.

{Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com}

Susan Murrie Macdonald is a published fantasy author, with stories in Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy, Vol. I, Tales from Omnipark, Sword and Sorceress #31, and other anthologies. She will be applying Mr. Grabowski’s advice to her own fiction.

Do You Like Valkyries?

BNF Lee Gold, filker, editor of the gaming APA Alarums and Excursions, and the filkzine, Xenofilkia, has just published her debut novel, Valhalla: Absent Without Leave. It’s the story of a bookworm/cancer patient/RPGamer who dies heroically and is taken up to Valhalla. However, she doesn’t stay there, hence the title. If you like Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase books, you’ll love this. Warning: this book ain’t for kids. I haven’t finished the book yet, but what I’ve read so far is Very Good, but probably rated PG-13 or a light R.

“Weapon storm is a KENNING for battle. So is whirlpool of swords and assembly of chainmail and din of shields. If you google, you can find a webpage with nearly two thousand kennings. It’s got over six dozen kennings for battle and less than a dozen kennings for drinking and dancing and food and sex combined, which could be fun if you tried it with the right friends. That shows what Viking poets and their audiences were and weren’t interested in. This isn’t a Viking poem, in case you haven’t noticed.”

According to Wikipedia: “Her professional credits in the RPG field include Land of the Rising Sun and Lands of Adventure, published by Fantasy Games UnlimitedGURPS Japan, published by Steve Jackson Games; and Vikings, published by Iron Crown EnterprisesLand of the Rising Sun (1980) was a Japanese RPG which used the Chivalry & Sorcery system, and Lands of Adventure(1983) featured a system intended to run historical fantasy games.,” so a fantasy novel about a modern woman in Valhalla is hardly surprising.

RIP, R. B. Macdonald

R. B. Macdonald (1940 – 2021) {photo by Mary Accampo}

Roger Burdette (Mac) Macdonald of Memphis, TN passed away March 23, 2021. He was born in Hackensack, NJ on June 29, 1940.  He is survived by sisters Kathleen Champagne and Alvateen McCavitt,  two children, son Edward Macdonald and daughter Mary Accampo,  eleven grandchildren, grandsons Tristan Accampo, Christopher Accampo, Ian Macdonald, Turin Accampo, and Aydin Accampo, granddaughters Mhairi Hirt, Felicia Accampo, Brangvyne Accampo, Kathlyne Accampo, Caitlin Macdonald, and Mariah Accampo, two great-grandchildren, Wyatt Hirt and Sadie Hirt. He was predeceased by his wife, Louise, and a brother, Philip Lozier. He was a master level photographer with the International Freelance Photographers Organization and a member of the IFPO Hall of Fame.  He was a member of the Memphis Scottish Society for many years.  Visitation to be held at Memorial Park Funeral Home on Monday, April 5, 2021 at 1:30 with the funeral following at 2:30 pm.

R. B. Macdonald was my father-in-law and the principal photographer for R is for Renaissance Faire.

He was a stubborn Scotsman with a warped sense of humor. A lot of people will miss him. He died of complications from liver cancer.

Buy These Books:

Shameless self-plugging to follow:

Tales from OmniPark is finally available for sale. It’s the weirdest book I’ve ever been in and I’m looking forward to receiving and reading my contributor’s copy. It contains my story, “The Selkie Who Loved Buttermilk Biscuits,” set in OmniPark’s Realm of the Deep. It’s the second best story I’ve written since my stroke.

Under Western Stars contains my Old West romance “French Cooking and Fibs.” I don’t know what the other stories are like, because again, I haven’t gotten my contributor’s copy yet.

Swords and Sorceries, Tales of Heroic Fantasy, Vol. I is mostly full of Robert E. Howard-ish stories. My story, “Trolls Are Different,” is more MZB-ish than Howardesque. It’s the best story I’ve written thus far (IMHO); it was written before my stroke, when my brain was sharper. There is currently an open call out for submissions to Vol. II. Excuse me, I said currently, I meant in April 2021.

R is for Renaissance Faire is a self-published alphabetical guide to a RenFaire. The photographs by the late R. B. Macdonald are gorgeous.

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Boosting the Signal for a Friend

Fans of Vera Nazarian’s The Atlantis Grail series will love Aeson: Blue. It’s a prequel novella, introducing Prince Aeson Kassiopei before he went to Earth and fell in love with a Terran refugee. Although I enjoyed Aeson: Blue immensely, I do not recommend reading it unless you’ve already read one or more of the original TAG quartet of novels. If you have read TAG, you’ll want to get this ASAP.