Concordance, Conschmordance

One of the MOST FUN THINGS about writing in the same world for a thousand years–stories that take place in different countries, in different parts of the timeline, some of it history and some of it myth and all of it in translation, but same damn world nonetheless–is that you get to reference yourself all the time and it’s all these little jokes EVERYWHERE.

Like Twice-Drowned Saint has this section that talks about two movies, but the two movies are two of my old stories (one of them in Bone Swans), and some of the first fiction I ever published: “Life on the Sun” and “Godmother Lizard.”

There’s a character in Saint Death’s Daughter, Havoc, who is loosely related to the Jack o’ the Hills stories. And my short story “From the Archives of the Museum of Eerie Skins,” forthcoming with Uncanny Magazine, has cameos from “The Witch in the Almond Tree” characters.

And don’t get me started on all the Dark Breakers references.

I SHOULD MAKE A WHACHOOMACALLIT! A CONCORDANCE!

This bit (below) was always in THE TWO PAUPERS, but now I’ve made it even CHEEKIER, and only those who’ve read BONE SWANS (and who remember it) will get it.

Also, THIS TIME, I added in an artist that I’ve named after my friend Lea Grover (author of Becoming SuperMommy). I used to model for Lea, back in Chicago. She’s got my butt up in her living room.

Lea, I think, would fit right into the Dark Breakers world. She’d certainly ROCK the Voluptuist movement of the New Century. She’d be one of the premier artists of Seafall, and give Elliot Howell a run for his money. And HE’D be HER biggest fan. So there.

***

“Desdemona had opted to dress as the iconic Swan Princess from legend, Dora Rose. Everyone knew the story; it was the sort of thing Voluptuist artists scarfed up like cheap wine and day-old bread. There were several famous paintings on the subject. (Gideon favored Leha Borgrove’s watercolor-and-inks over Elliot’s oils; Elliot tended to idealize the female and animal form, but Leha wasn’t afraid to make her swan girls ugly, mighty, and mean.) There was also a ballet (which Gideon had never seen), an opera (which he loathed), and a play that Ana had written for the Seafall Fringe Festival (which he had gone to watch every night, although Ana didn’t know that).”

– “The Two Paupers”: Revised and Expanded for Dark Breakers

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Our “Sinisterversary”!

PARTY TIME! Authors C. S. E. Cooney, Jessica P. Wick, Amanda J. McGee & Mike Allen celebrate the one-year birthday of A SINISTER QUARTET!

Dear Fellow Readers,

Last year, mid-pandemic, Mythic Delirium put out an anthology called A Sinister Quartet: four long fictions falling under the “weird dark fantasy and horror” category.

Some stories were inspired by fairy tales, some by myth, some by nightmare, and we are celebrating all of them in our one-year anniversary celebration!

Join the authors of A Sinister Quartet for a night of READINGS! GAMES! GIVEAWAYS! AUDIENCE Q&A WITH AUTHORS! AUTHORS INTERVIEWING EACH OTHER!

To get in the mood, we have the authors’ playlists for their stories, recipes based on their stories, and even drinks! Egad!

If you’ve already read the book and feel like dressing up like your favorite characters, that is totally welcome. The authors are already plotting to do the same for each other!

Register for your Free Ticket, and at noon on the day of the event, you’ll get your Zoom link for that evening!

More About the Authors!

C. S. E. Cooney is the World Fantasy Award-winning author of Bone Swans: Stories. In early 2022, her novel, Saint Death’s Daughter, will be forthcoming from Solaris , as well as her new short fiction collection, Dark Breakers, from Mythic Delirium.
Jessica P. Wick is a writer, poet, and editor. She co-founded Goblin Fruit with Amal El-Mohtar, a quarterly e-zine of fantastical poetry, and is a passionate advocate for the reading aloud of poetry and fiction. Her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award and received honorable mentions in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies. Her short fiction can be found scattered across the internet.
Amanda J. McGee is a mapmaker by day and a writer by night. She has degrees from Hollins University and Virginia Tech, where she studied languages, politics, and infrastructure. She is the author of the fantasy series The Creation Saga, one half of the podcast Pop Fizz!, and blogs weekly on books, movies, anime, and writing advice.

Mike Allen, publisher at Mythic Delirium Books, is the editor of Mythic Delirium and Clockwork Phoenix. His horror story collection Unseaming was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award and contained a finalist for the Nebula Award for short fiction. His most recent collection of verse, Hungry Constellations, was a Suzette Haden Elgin Award nominee. Allen also is the the arts and culture columnist for the Roanoke Times.

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Our Mermaid Story is LIVE!

Hey, hey, hey! Carlos and I are IN THIS ONE!

Issue #4 of MERMAIDS MONTHLY features our collaboration story, “A Minnow, or Perhaps a Colossal Squid,” which takes place on La Isla de las Mariposas, at the court of Reina Ténebra–and also in the depths of the sea, amongst the Sirenas of Garganta!

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Locus Magazine! Reviews! My audiobook! The Witch in the Almond Tree!

First of all, this whole Locus Magazine review by Amy Goldschlager is SO GREAT and it makes me SO HAPPY that Iof course recommend you just CLICK THROUGH AND READ IT AND SHARE MY GIDDY JOY!

This is the quote that Locus chose to tweet about, which makes me LOL my PANTS OFF!

I wrote a little bit about the process here.

This WITCH IN THE ALMOND TREE audiobook is a very dear project to me.

I, with my friend, New York director Miriam Grill, who’s been living with us throughout the pandemic, decided to make a little experimental audiobook in our downtime last year. (It was all downtime last year.) (I mean, I exaggerate. We managed to keep very busy. But as for making my living as a voice actor? That… didn’t happen. At all.)

Mir wanted experience directing audiobooks–she mostly directs for stage (well, and also sometimes for VR, and now for Zoom, and now for film; she’s very intrepid!)–and I wanted to put something new into the world. Also I wanted to work again with my awesome brother, Jeremy Cooney, and also with designer Brett Massé, and… well, you see where I’m going?

So we recorded this in Carlos’s and my bedroom at Queens, in a sort of tent fort/cubicle made of blankets and bookshelves, and Mir directed it, and my brother edited and produced it, and Brett did the cover, and Carlos was VERY GENEROUS as patron and supporter of THE ARTS, and here you have it!

Other than narrating Francesca Forrest’s Gown of Harmonies for her ongoing charity for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts last year, and sometimes narrating a few short stories for podcasts, I don’t usually record from home these days. I like going into a studio and just… being the “talent,” you know? (I suspect I’m just lazy.)

Also, the amount of toilet flushing, raucous blue jays, roaring of the (Wyrm of) LIRR, planes taking off and descending from BOTH JFK AND LA GUARDIA, and the spontaneous construction (drilling, hammering, grinding, etc) that just APPEARS OUT OF NO WHERE the MOMENT you start recording, you wouldn’t even believe!

But 2020 was… well, was 2020.

And we all did what we could with what we had.

And now Amy Goldschlager has listened to our little erotic fairy tale collection audiobook, and she has written about it in Locus, and it is all SUCH an honor, and a DELIGHT, and I am SO HAPPY.

You can buy it here, if you want!

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Mi Caballero Infernal

for Carlos Hernandez

most days he is mostly human,
or seems so:

writes dexterously, swears joyously, wears sweatshirts,
checks his iPhone, showers daily, bemoans the need for spectacles,
promenades amongst a virtual professoriate, holds office hours on Zoom,
drinks more coffee than is good for him, eats only cereal (except
when he comes flirting for a sweet thing, that he,
in his wisdom, requests I hide from him, in some dark corner
of my wardrobe, or high up on a shelf that is
mine alone, that he pretends he cannot see or reach).

you know.
normal things.

but then,
there are other signs,
some, extremely subtle:

a rectangular dent (only present in a certain
mood of mischief) appearing in the flesh beneath his left eyeball;
a tendency to prance or cannonball or piggyback–
with no provocation or otherwise word of warning–
and demand, in altered voice, “an ostrich with a diamond collar!
a ruby monkey! a zombie chicken with rockstar eyes, wheezing
with the agony of the damned!”
to bare his throat and bay for meat: rare, bloody;
for lujo rum in a dark and dusty bottle;
for a rainy day in Canada with a fine cigar; or,
spinning on his heel–pouncing!–he stares at me
with all the earnestness of a capricious spirit, and offers
anything–everything!–name a gift, he says–
“name it–and I’ll put a girdle round the Earth in forty minutes!”
as his eyes begin to glow,
not so subtly,
in the dark.

this is when I begin to suspect,
slowly and with circumspection
(with a growing sense of having thought this all before–
thought, yes, and been made to forget):

that it was not a man I married.
not an ordinary man.

no ordinary man.

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For Bek, on Her Birthday

First, to celebrate you, Bek Huston, I drew four cards from the Baraja del Destino, from our game Negocios Infernales.

You are the artist of these cards. Carlos and I are in constant awe of your rapidity, your cheerfulness, your thunderous talent, your ability to revise, and your glorious collaboration skills.

Without you, none of these cards would exist, and neither would the game as we know it.

Second, to celebrate you, Bek Huston–I adjure you, Tattooed People of the Midwest: make an appointment at her shop!

Third, to celebrate you, Bek Huston, I take these cards you helped us make, and I write you these four mini-poems:

Genius Prefers Effort Over Genius

in your veins run 
dreams like spilt ink
strange constellations scratched
on the bruised back of the sky
sleeping, you smile
with the Mona Lisa serenity
of a world-weary Sun
knowing
how art can break
a body open
one needle at a time

Where Have You Gone, O My Skeleton?

remember  
when your treacherous left arm 
shattered? 

how you sat up, 
and spilled 
extravagant kaleidoscope oracles 
from your right? 

Pain is the Opposite of Thought

for the woman 
who wields needles
for the woman 
who works miracles
for the woman 
who riddles the dermis with holes 
to flood our subsurface with color and 
codify our memories in flesh 

for this woman
I wish 
a sanguine clarity 
an easing of anxiety 
a handshake between her shadow-self 
and the lamp of power 
that is her living body

The Soul Loves All. The Mind, But Some.

let she who has been shushed
hush the lips
of the loudest
let she who has been bound
embroider
her broken shackles
let she who has been erased
stitch her place
in the stars
the west wind our witness
the east wind our witness
the south wind our witness
the north wind our witness

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Under Some Enchantment

I have set my alarm with the sound of the ocean. When the tide comes in, I must stop writing this blog. When the tide comes in, I must do the next thing: prepare tomorrow’s script.

But before I prepare tomorrow’s script, I will set my alarm with the sound of the ocean. I will only give myself 30 minutes to prepare tomorrow’s script.

Then, the tide comes in. After that, I must do the next thing: edits. But before I do edits, I will set my alarm with the sound of the ocean.

When the tide comes in, I will go for a walk. We will buy the meat for tonight’s meal. It is the anniversary of my best friend’s father’s death. We will eat his favorite meal, and toast to his twinkling blue eyes, which are the color of my best friend’s eyes.

But before I go for a walk, I make sure the next tide will roar in my reminder. Waves, waves to tell me that my friend in Rhode Island and I will sit and talk on Skype.

How many months has it been since we have talked? Too many months. Sometimes we are too far out at sea. Everything aches.

After that, I think, my ocean alarms can cease, can surge back into the long foam, the long dark, and it will be family time: food and entertainment, the ability to lose one’s sense of time.

It is all too easy to lose my sense of time.

I sit to write.

Suddenly, I find myself on the other side of the house, three hours later. What have I done in that time? Not write. Anything but write. But I find it hard to remember what exactly I was doing.

I am like that woman who opens her mouth to say what’s wrong, but all that comes out are nursery rhymes and fairy tales–except far more mundane.

I do not know what I did do. A great series of empty tasks. All I know is that I haven’t written.

I sit to write.

Suddenly, I am striding the nested crescents at the bottom of the hill, looking at all the flame-new flowers of spring.

I sit to write.

Suddenly, I’m grocery shopping. Suddenly, dishes. Suddenly something needs to come clean that has been dirty for too long.

Time passes. I haven’t written.

I have been afraid of my alarms, these constant jerks to attention, the rigidity. I have been afraid of becoming that stern cousin in Jane Eyre, the cold one, who sets herself a task for every hour. I want to be Jane Eyre instead, who can enter her flow state and emerge victorious with a strange new painting. Who can be wholly absorbed in the task she sits to.

Instead, this enchantment.

I must invite absorption, snap out of this fugue. Why does it take me thirty minutes to put on my shoes? I don’t even need to look for them. They’re right where I left them.

It’s just… I sit to put on my shoes, and the next thing I know, I am in another room, brushing my teeth, examining the flame-new silver in my hair, making another meal I don’t need to eat.

No, no. I must break this enchantment.

I must choose the waves. Not to drown me. To call me back.

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The State of the Game: Negocios Infernales, a New Build!

A new blog at Hernandooney.com, the website that my husband Carlos Hernandez (writer, teacher, game designer) and I share! This one about the game we’re collaboratively designing: Negocios Infernales!

Carlos and I have been working on the instruction deck—“La Baraja de Consejos”—to accompany our oracle deck “La Baraja del Destino” for our game Negocios Infernales.

The seven sets of instructions are _almost_ done.

We also want to add in an affirmation deck at the beginning of Consejos. Something like “You, player, are great! You can’t be wrong! When in doubt, trust the cards! The cards are always right!”

That kind of thing. People get anxious with games sometimes, you know?

Anyway, as soon as these are done (SO CLOSE!), we are going to start RAMPING UP playtesting this summer: some virtual, but some NOT—as soon as all vax shots are current!

We hope to send a few decks to trusted friends/family out in the world to see how well this works as a GM-less, collaborative storytelling TTRPG game when *we* aren’t running it!

STAY TUNED!

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FIREBREAK: An Interview, Dramatic Reading, and Audience Q&A with Nicole Kornher-Stace, Co-Hosted by Amal El-Mohtar!

Dear friends!

I am so happy to present to you, in celebration of Nicole Kornher-Stace‘s recent (yesterday!!!) release of her adult sci-fi novel Firebreak, a night to brighten our world by!

I shall, with my brilliant co-host Amal El-Mohtar (This Is How You Lose the Time War with Max Gladstone, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author and the New York Times Book Review‘s science fiction and fantasy columnist), have the honor of interviewing Nicole Kornher-Stace in a sort of “Ask Her Anything” style:

We will cover video games, climate change, big corporations, container gardens, homeschooling, ace/aro relationships in fiction, and whatever the heck else we can think of!

Then, the three of us will present a dramatic reading of a few excerpts from Firebreak. We will conclude with a Q&A with the audience!

Nicole and Amal and I have known each other for not-quite-two decades, and it is with great joy that we bring you this night.

Yours Truly,

C. S. E. Cooney

Please register for free at Eventbrite.

We close down tickets at noon EST on Saturday. We will send you a Zoom link Saturday afternoon, and we will see you on Saturday night at 8 EST!

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MarMar Mermaidpants Presents: A Mermaid Extravaganza!

FELLOW MERFOLK!

May 2nd–THIS SUNDAY!–from 7 PM EDT–8:30 PM EDT

Join us for A Mermaid Extravaganza!

Hosted by MarMar Mermaidpants
(AKA Miriam Grill)
LIVE from her bathtub!

Come prepared!
You’ll need 3 things:

1.) Something Wet! (To drink!) (Or perhaps a foot bath!) 
2.) Something Salty! (To eat!) (Or again, maybe that foot bath!)
3.) Something to Remind You of the Sea! (Seashells!) (Sea-glass!) (Ropes of pearls!) (Or... a FOOT BATH!)

A Mermaid Extravaganza will feature:

The Musical Stylings of NEPTUNE’S OWN
Jeremy Cooney
(of Hail the Void podcast)

Makeup Artist Rhiannon Parker-Cooney
With tips on MERMAID MAKEUP:
“How to doll up those scales!”

An Interview with Julia Rios
Editor of Mermaids Monthly

A Dramatic Reading by Fantasy Writers
Carlos Hernandez
&
Yours Truly, C. S. E. Cooney
Bringing you their latest: “A Minnow, or Perhaps a Giant Squid”
JUST released in the latest issue of Mermaids Monthly!

We will end with a singalong of
“Scylla on the Rocks”
By Brimstone Rhine
Music and lyrics found here!

Costumes are encouraged!

Register for free at Eventbrite!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/marmar-mermaidpants-presents-a-mermaid-extravaganza-tickets-152350798339

Poster by Mermaids Monthly editor Meg Frank

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