Archers and Heroes

Would there be a market for a children’s book on heroic archers of history and legend?

Chapter 1.  What is archery?  Describe types of bows.

Chapter 2.  Archers in history.

Scythian warriors, Egyptian bowmen, etc.  Biblical and Shakespearean quotes.

Chapter 3.  Native Americans.

Research legend of hunter who invented bow and arrow by tripping on a grape vine and vine threw his spear further than he dreamed possible.  Micmac, I think.

Chapter 4.  Robin Hood

Chapter 5.  William Tell

Chapter 6.  Danish legend that predates Tell.

Chapter 7:  Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Huntress

Chapter 8.  TV

Adventures of Robin Hood (Richard Greene), When Things Were Rotten (Dick Gautier), Robin of Sherwood (Michael Praed, Jason Connery) William Tell(Conrad Phillips)

william tell

Would there be a market for such a children’s book, do you think?

 

B Cubed Press Offers Alternatives

B Cubed Press

Since the days of the ancient Greek playwrights, writers have used humor to cut would-be tyrants down to size.  “The pen is mightier than the sword,” but the feather of the quill can be used to tickle.

B Cubed Press was developed to create books that hold a mirror up to the oaf in the White House and his neo-fascist henchmen.  Admittedly, sometimes it’s a funhouse mirror.  In an era of “Fake News,” censorship, and clumsy propaganda, B Cubed Press invites readers to think and laugh.

Alternative Truths, the first anthology in the series, has 94 positive reviews on Amazon.  It’s a five-star book that contains my Darrell Award-nominated contemporary fantasy “As Prophesied of Old.”

Alternative Truths anthology was formed, when on February 23, 2017, I, and many of my friends, asked what we could do. We could write, we could join that noble tradition of using the pen, to poke the powerful.  So was born, Alternative Truths. And our pens became word processors and our ideas became stories.  Bob Brown”  As my colleague K. G. Anderson said, “Twenty-four science fiction writers had one hundred days to think about Trump.  The result is Alternative Truths.” The book was published just before Trump’s 100th day in office.

More Alternative Truths was more of the same, but with poetry added.  (It contains a filk song I co-wrote with Nebula winner Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.)

Alternative Theologies: Parables for a Modern Age took a religious bent.  Some thieves took exception to the notion that there might be alternative interpretations to their theology and stole every copy of the book from MisCon in Montana.

Alternative Truths: Endgames is the fourth and final book of the Alternatives quartet.  It offers fictional possibilities of what might be the result of this interruption into the experiment of American democracy.

After the Orange explores long-term possibilities of what the current regime could do to us and our descendants.

Digging Up My Bones  is an anthology of feminist poetry.

It’s nearly time for summer reading.  Check out these B Cubed Press offerings at your local library or bookstore.  Also available on-line through Amazon.com.

B Cubed Press

Buy a book, then leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Reviews are love.  Even if it’s just a tweet saying “I liked this book.  You might, too.”

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the official opinions of Krypton Radio, Kelly Educational Services, nor the County of San Diego.

Judith and Jael

Science fiction author Esther Friesner suggested a legion of Handmaidens (from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale) march in the parade at DragonCon in Atlanta.  I think it’s time to remember Judith and Jael.

When discussing women in the Bible, Esther, Ruth, and Mary get all the attention.  Judith and Jael are overlooked.  If you’re Protestant, you may not have heard of either.  The Book of Judith is in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, but is considered noncanonical by Protestants.  Many biblical scholars regard it as the first historical novel. In the Book of Judges, the story of Jael may be found, but as it’s not a “nice” story it’s seldom taught in Sunday school nor preached from pulpits.

 “Judith beheading Holofernes,” by Artemisia Gentileschi.

Giuditta di donatello 04.JPG Donatello’s sculpture of Judith and Holofernes.

Judith slew Holofernes and cut off his head.  He was an invading general.  She distracted him and killled him.

Jael gave Sisera food and drink, and once his belly was full and his eyes were closed in slumber, she nailed a giant nail (or tent peg, depending on translation) into his head.  According to the Jewish Women’s Archives, some rabbis think Jael engaged in sexual intercourse with Sisera, and others don’t.  If she did, she may have done so deliberately, to wear him out, so he couldn’t escape and she could safely kill him. Or she may have submitted because she was afraid he would hurt her.  As women have done for centuries.

“Extolled above women be Jael,
Extolled above women in the tent.
He asked for water, she gave him milk;
She brought him cream in a lordly dish.
She stretched forth her hand to the nail,
Her right hand to the workman’s hammer,
And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head,
She crashed through and transfixed his temples.” (Judges 5:24-26)

 

All illustrations shamelessly “borrowed” from Wikipedia.

It seems human life of the feminine persuasion is less valued than it used to be.  Too many judges and legislators seem to regard women only as living incubators.  Rapists are getting lighter and lighter punishments in court.

 

 

Go see ENDGAME ASAP

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{image via Disney}

My husband and I saw Avengers: Endgame Friday. We don’t usually see movies on opening day. We usually wait a week or two to hear some word-of-mouth reviews, but we wanted to see who would be saved and how, and who would be lost and how and why. We also wanted to avoid spoilers with this movie, which can be difficult on Facebook.

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Chris Evans as Captain America {image via Marvel}

If you wish to avoid spoilers, go see Avengers: Endgame as soon as possible, because everyone will be talking about this.

It’s long, three hours, one minute, but it keeps your attention enough that it doesn’t’ feel long while you’re watching it.

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Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper {image via Marvel}

Nearly every favorite character (heroes, villains, sidekicks and supporting character) from the MCU makes an appearance. There were three characters I would’ve loved to have seen whom I didn’t notice. Sorry I can’t tell you who: this is a spoiler-free review.

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Brie Larson as Captain Marvel {image via Marvel}

The movie is PG-13 for violence and profanity. Language: Cap! Nothing worse than what you would see or hear at the average junior high these days.

If you’re old enough to remember Disneyland in the days of tickets, this is a real E ticket ride. This is not a good movie to begin the MCU with. I don’t recommend watching it unless you’ve seen the other 21 movies in the MCU franchise and the Agent Carter TV show. However, if you’re already a fan of the MCU, I predict you’ll enjoy Avengers: Endgame.

Science fiction/fantasy author Rebecca McFarland Kyle said “Endgame was worth full price and I would go see it again.” In this economy, that’s high praise.

The comments section below is waiting for you. No spoilers, please.

Writing Portfolio

I’m a wordsmith.  A writer , a proofreader, a copy editor, an occasional ghostwriter,  a journalist,  a blogger, a poet, and a would-be novelist.  If you’d like to hire me to write for you, here is a sample of some of my writing.  I ghost-write blogs and articles.  I do not write students’ essays: that’s cheating.  Forgive me for bragging, but I’m good at SEO.

 

Portfolio for writing clients

Articles

Dying from Exposure” – Is “Working for Exposure” an Opportunity or Exploitation?

The Dead Don’t Die – A Peek at the Trailer for the New Zombie Comedy

Levar Burton Granted Inamori Ethics Prize

Netflix Announces “Dreamworks Dragons: Rescue Riders”

This one was an SEO champion.  The first article Google showed when you looked up the new show.

Star-Lord to Marry Terminator’s Daughter

Hidden Figures Dr. Gladys West Honored

Mercedes Lackey Making Full Recovery from Poisoning at GenCon

This article went viral.

Fiction

The Kissing Bridge

Poetry

Macbeth and Gruoch

Black Agnes

Blog

Blog from February 20, 2017 My Favorite Place in Summit County: Keystone

I formerly worked for a content writing service.  Almost all my writings were anonymous.  The above is the only one I have the client’s permission to reveal I wrote.  Some of the others would be better references for my services as a ghostwriter, but I’m contractually obliged to maintain my clients’ privacy.

The 40th Annual Arkansas Scottish Festival

Last weekend my family and I went to the 40th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.  Due to my husband having a crazy work schedule before he was forced into premature retirement, it’s the first time we’ve been in five years.  I would say it’s good to be back, but the weather had an unfortunate effect on the festival..  It wasn’t rained out.  The rain was steady, but never harder than a good Scottish mist.  But there was enough rain, combined with some cool breezes to cancel some events and move others (blessedly!) indoors.

The principal entertainer was Patrick Regan.  Other folksingers performing were Jon Healey and Rickey Pittman.  I was disappointed few of the vendors had musical tapes or CDs for sale.  I know Arkansas is too far for Haggis Rampant or Uncle Hamish and the Hooligans to come, but it would have been nice if their tapes were there, even if they weren’t.  (The picture above is Steve Brownlee, who wasn’t present, but is quite photogenic, if his wife will forgive me saying so.)

I will say the Ramada in Batesville had the nicest handicapped bathroom of any hotel room I’ve used since my stroke. I was able to take any actual soak-bath — my first bath since August! on Friday night and Sunday morning my husband and I showered together.  Glorious!

After waiting a few years for a good Scottish meat pie, I was disappointed to find mediocre meat pies.  The second worse I’ve ever had — most disappointing.  Too much pepper.  My husband and son said the Angus steakburgers were good.  My daughter tried her first haggis and liked it.

I meant to spend time as a clan tent cavalier.  Didn’t happen.  Sorry, Clan Donald.

Lyon College has pink dogwood trees.  Very pretty before the wind blew all the petals off

pink-flowering-dogwood-2-600x600.

One of the vendors had superhero t-shirts I really liked:  a Batman shirt with the bat silhouette filled in with Celtic knotwork.  A red Wonder Woman shirt with a golden W filled in with Celtic knotwork.  Three different Superman shirts with the S (the crest of the House of El) over the St. Andrew’s flag, over the Irish tricolor, and filled in with red Celtic knotwork.

Friday night we checked into the Ramada, then went to dinner at Mazzio’s.  Saturday after the festival we went to Freddy’s Steakburgers (it’s similar to Culver’s).  Sunday we ate dinner at home.

We saw more dancing than usual.  The Highland dancers are mostly juvenile.  No one wanted kids to get sick.  So they performed in Brown Chapel, where it was warm and dry.  We watched them, more from a desire for comfort than appreciation of the Terpsichorean art.

We looked at the vendors’ wares.  I made a shopping list and set a budget before we left home and stuck to it.  One t-shirt, and a Celtic cross necklace.  (I had hoped to replace my Boudicca t-shirt, but no one was selling that this year,)  My husband and I compromised on a shirt to share, one that bragged of Scottish heritage.  Had I been buying for myself alone I would have gotten the Wonder Woman shirt.

I had planned to watch the athletics and possibly interview one of the athletes as research for a story I’m writing called “Hot Cocoa and Shortbread.”  I don’t know if the athletics were cancelled or not, but no one wanted to go looking for them in the rain.  I’ll have to do my research on-line.

Please read and share my Krypton Radio articles.  It will make my editor very happy.  Please read and share my colleagues’ articles, too.  That will also please my editor.

DISNEY PLEDGES $5 MILLION TO REBUILD NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS, BUT UBISOFT HAS SOMETHING SPECIAL TO GIVE

 

Seth MacFarlane, Star/Creator Of “The Orville” To Receive Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

 

Mirrored: a book review

Alex Flinn‘s Mirrored, like Mercedes Lackey’s The Serpent’s Shadow is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Mirrored is a contemporary YA novel.  Most of the characters are appallingly shallow, because most of them are teenagers.  Ms Flinn has written several YA novel retelling classic fairy tales.

The book starts with Violet in the 80s.  Homely, weird, cruelly teased, she foolishly thinks physical beauty will solve all her problems.  She has a crush on Greg, a boy who seems to appreciate her weirdness and her intellect, but who falls for the prettiest of Violet’s tormentors,  Volet meets Kendra who claims to be a witch and centuries old.  Kendra tells Violet she has magical powers, too, and begins instructing her in these gifts.

Part 2 of the book is told from the POV of Greg’s daughter by Jennifer, Celine.  Celine becomes Violet’s stepdaughter (oops! spoiler) as Violet’s goals haven’t advanced since high school.  Be beautiful, get Greg, get back at Jennifer.  Where Violet actively desired beauty and schemed to get it, Celine hates the fact that A, she is beautiful, and B, most people judge her only by her beauty.  (Not a problem I’ve ever had, but I can see where it would be annoying.)Celine befriends Mauricio “Goose” Guzman, a short but sensitive boy in the school theater program.  Celine is a mega-fan of singer Jonah Prince, a One Direction-type performer, as is her BFF Laurel.  Celine and Goose co-star in the school play, getting better acquainted.  They meet Kendra and learn Violet is not just a bitch, but an actual witch.

When (spoiler warning again!) Greg dies, we learn Violet’s goals and dreams have not matured since her teenage years. She’s one of those women who can’t cope without their man.  (I did mention most of the characters are shallow, didn’t I?)  When Violet decides Celine is a complication she no longer needs in her life, Goose’s family takes her in.  Part 3 of the book is told from Goose’s POV.  He decides that Jonah Prince can awaken Celine from Violet’s spell.  It’s not easy for a teenage boy to get access to a rock star heartthrob in another city, but for Celine’s sake, he’ll try.

I’d give this a 7/10. I might have liked it better if I were a teenage girl instead of the mother of one.  I much preferred Lackey’s The Serpent’s Shadow, where the characters are older and have more depth.  That’s part of her Elemental Masters series, set in Edwardian London.

ALA Booklist said, “Plenty of action to enhance the traditional tale, and a completely satisfying ending will leave readers with a big smile.”  I don’t disagree with them.

Aquaman: a movie review

Avast, mateys, here be Spoilers!

trailer

Last weekend, my husband and I went to the discount theater to see Aquaman.  The Bartlett Tenplex gets movies about the time they come out on DVD.  They charge $3 a head.

Jason Momoa doesn’t look a thing like Aquaman in the comic books or the old Saturday morning cartoon, but he did a good job as Arthur Curry, King of Atlantis and Protector of the Seas.  Aquaman was created in 1941 by writer Mort Weisinger and artist Paul Norris.  Weisinger may have be influenced by the song “Keeper of the Eddystone Light.”

The movie begins with the meeting of Aquaman’s parents.  Tom Curry is a lighthousekeeper, played by New Zealand actor/singer Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett in SW 2: Attack of the Clones, and Cmdr. Cody in SW 3: Attack of the Clones).  Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever, Mrs. Coulter in The Golden Compass) plays Atlanna, Queen of Atlantis.  Tom finds the wounded Atlanna on the beach, rescues her, nurses her to health, and falls in love with her.  She explains she ran away from an arranged marriage.

When little Arthur is about three, Atlantean soldiers come to fetch the missing queen home.  She demonstrates incredible hand-to-hand combat skills when throwing them out of her home.  (It was at that point I thought to myself:  the heck with Aquaman.  I want an Atlanna movie.)  She realizes that having found her, the Atlanteans will come again.  She decides to return to the sea rather than endanger her husband and child.  Tom promises he will wait for her at the end of the pier every day at sunrise, to watch for her return.  He faithfully keeps that pledge for years.

Cut to modern day:  Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, is a modern-day pirate, is attacking a Russian sub.  Aquaman boards the sub, fights Manta and his crew, and is recognized by the imprisoned Russians as “Aquaman!”  Michael Beach is a scenestealer in an all-too-brief role as Jesse, Manta’s father and second in command.

TV news makes a passing reference to the man social media has nicknamed the Aquaman.  Tom Curry refers to Vulko training his son.  I remembered Vulko from the comic book as Aquaman’s vizier and friend.  We later learn through flashbacks that Vulko came from Atlantis to train young Arthur in Atlantean fighting techniques and culture.  About middle school, by the look of him, and again as a teenager.

When Atlantis sank, it divided into seven kingdoms, some of which evolved in different directions, to the point where their inhabitants are mercreatures that can no longer pass as human.  One of these kingdoms is ruled by King Nereus (unrecognizable as Dolph Lundgren, who’s lost weight since his He-Man days, in addition to having his hair dyed.)  Nereus’ daughter Princess Mera goes to find Arthur.  His half-brother, King Orm, wants to declare war on the surface world, which has been polluting the ocean.  If Orm can ally four of the seven kingdoms to his side, he will be named Ocean Master, and granted great political and military power.

Mera tries to convince Arthur to depose his brother on the grounds if he claims the throne as firstborn son, he can revoke his brother’s declaration of war.  Orm continually refers to Arthur as his halfbreed bastard brother, so apparently Atlantean law doesn’t recognize Atlanna’s marriage to Tom.  Orm pushes Arthur into a corner, where he has no choice but to challenge his brother to personal combat.  After a crowd-pleasing spectacle of a public fight,, Mera helps Arthur escape, so they can look for King Atlann’s magic trident.  Their quest takes them to the Sahara and Italy.  They fight Orm’s soldiers and Manta’s crew, and eventually find his ancestor King Atlann’s tomb, where only the true heir to the king can claim his trident.  A character alleged to be dead turns out to be alive, and a powerful ally for Arthur.

Arthur and Orm fight again, and the firstborn son of Queen Atlanna is recognized as King of Atlantis.  Given that Mera was betrothed to the King of Atlantis, rather than Orm personally, this makes her Arthur’s fiancee.

The city of Atlantis is not quite as impressive as the capital city of Wakanda, but it is impressive, a masterpiece of the special effects artist’s craft.

This was a fun movie.  We got every penny worth of our three dollars.  I told my husband if he wanted to, he could buy me the DVD for my birthday.

I’d rather see a Queen Atlanna movie than Aquaman II as a sequel.

Queen Atlanna

 

 

Submission Possibilities

http://shortstoryaward.co.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/The%20Sunday%20Times%20EFG%20Short%20Story%20Award%202018.pdf

It’s easy to lose track of open calls and their deadlines, so for the benefit of my fellow authors, here are some links I hope will be useful.

possibility for judge authors by context essay if/when they reopen:  http://www.noveltymag.co.uk/submissions/

http://astoundingoutpost.com/index.php/astounding-publications-2/current-call/

http://otterlibris.com/open-projects/mcsi-magical-crime-scene-investigation/

http://atlaspoetica.org/?p=1761#5lines

http://arsenika.ink/submissions/

http://www.mythicmag.com/p/submissions.html

https://dfpcorp.submittable.com/submit/50605/digital-fantasy-fiction-open-call-for-fantasy-fiction-reprint-short-stories-o

https://escapepod.submittable.com/submit/92674/artemis-rising-4

http://www.3lobedmag.com/submissions.html

https://persistentvisionsmag.com/fiction-submission

http://www.urbanfantasist.com/-submission-guidelines.html

https://thearcanist.io/a-call-for-submissions-244f646d25a4

https://www.poetrynook.com/forum/contest-winners

 

Still Not Dead Yet

Labor Day weekend I had a minor stroke.  My husband called 911.  I rode in an ambulance to the hospital.  Once I got there, they took very good care of me, other than serving breakfast too late.  (I’m used to an early breakfast.)

I had the best therapists in the world, and am out of the wheelchair and can walk with the help of a cane.  (The picture above is at the Memphis Zoo, just before Halloween.  Our insurance wouldn’t cover a home health aide, so my husband is my primary caregiver.

Downside:  my concentration and short-term memory are shot.  Don’t know when or if they’ll come back.  My left arm is more decorative than useful, so driving remains a long-term goal.

Upside:  I’ve been out of diapers since October or November.  Thanks to my speech therapist, I can speak reasonably intelligibly.  I recently submitted a poem to Cricket and  a short story, “The Lizard-Men from Outer Space to B Cubed Press’ Tales of the Space Force.  I also completed a fantasy story, “Trolls are Different” to accompany my application for the SLF Older Writers Grant.

Since I am unemployed and unemployable at present, I’ve resolved to work on my writing more seriously.  My Iron Writer Quarterly Goals are to

  1.  write and submit three stories, one per month.
  2. Blog weekly.  (which is why you’re reading this)
  3. Exercise my left arm and eventually regain the use of it.

That last one may be a long-term goal rather than a quarterly goal.

People keep reminding me that I’m doing much better than other stroke survivors.  That at seven months, many stroke survivors aren’t able to get out of bed yet.  I may be complaining of all the things I can’t do yet as well as minor pain, but most stroke survivors have it worse.  And I’m still on the right side of the dirt:  I’m not dead yet.

 with a cane.  After reciting “eleven benevolent elephants” more times than any sane person should, I can speak reasonably Thanks to the efforts of my speech therapist, I can spe However, my concentration is shot, as is my short term memory.  My left arm is more decorative than functional.  I am learning to do things one-handed.  The PBA was the worst of the side effects (uncontrolled crying jags and laughing fits).  Diaper rash was the second worse.  Luckily, shortly after I learned to change my own diaper, I graduated to being able to go to the bathroom by myself.