Tea with a Cheshire Cat

Jun 23

Review: Immersion by Aliette de Bodard

After months away, I am back. We had power surges that took out our laptops. We are not in a place to just buy another, so it took some time. Then there was the recovery… I lost one writing group and me out of the habit of reading, writing and a grumpy bitch.

I recently got a copy of The Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 7. I hope to read a story from it everyday and do something with it, and by “do something with it” I mean to try and chew it up, swallow it in small bits so it can tumble around in my brain, and come out my fingers.

I randomly I picked a story: Immersion by ALIETTE DE BODARD.

The first part of the story is written in second person, which is rather uncommon, and I think put me off; then it switched to third. A lot was happening in the story. Lots details told from two sides. I was lost. Not because of the writing… but it’s a story that dense and you must be present. I was reading it with cats, kids and cooking; not a proper way to read a story. Like most everyone there is always something that needs doing. This is part of getting back into a good place for reading and writing.

I thought I might find if there was a podcast of the story and there was. The following day the boys were at the movies so I gave it a listen as I read a long, knitting while I read.

On the second round I found the name so understood, and how of course the story had to be second person. How it allowed the reader to be emerged - to see the world that has been lost and worth fighting for. It also strikes a cord with me. How we can lose ourselves to fit in.

There were wonderful description to really displayed the story and showed how characters felt.

"Her avatar is but a thin layer, and you can see her beneath it: a round, moon-shaped face with skin the color of cinnamon—no, not spices, not chocolate, but simply a color you’ve seen all your life."

"You raise a hand—it feels like moving through honey. You speak—struggling to shape words through layer after layer of immerser thoughts."

It is a story that doesn’t leave you wanting more. It makes you feel like you do after a good meal. Although there is sadness to all that’s salt that makes the story deeper, and it is lightly spiced with hope.


What ideas came from it?

Bread that when eaten shares memories of life once lived, of what was lost, and feeling of how we must go forward by going back to what we were.

A women who refuses to give birth. The child grows so large that she cant really move. They speak, but in the end the child must have  its own life. I think he will have someone move in with him and she can become a house?

I have the feeling there was another but where it went, I do not know….

: I

Mar 11

Bitching Again and Where I Want the Story to go.

Goals for story: 

I never want to say that she thinks her mom is a seilke. I want to show it. 

I want it to touches a of a fairy tale. 

I don’t want the ending to be obvious but not come out of no where.

I want the story to feel like it is rooted in Seattle, with new creators living in the corners of coffee shops.  

I of course want the story to be published 


OK… I belong to 4 writing groups and in one there a dedicated person who is very nice. But they don’t give reviews that are written or helpful. In fact most of the time they repeat what someone else has and if they do offer some new, I often disagree with it. 

This is the sixth story or so they have given to the group to review, and I am going to skip. It is a horrible story and needs so much to even make sense that it would suck up so much time that I would spend hours and hours doing. I just don’t think they can write. And really, that person is the only who can say that about. However they are having a good time and I am now God Word so all the more power to them. But for me, I will do other things other read and review. 

After reading four hundred words or so of the current story had to stop. Every line was jumbled. 


Poor Matt, My poor hubby. I shove stories at him and I argue with him over points, and all most all of the time I do listen and do change what he points out - although he was super wrong about the pie line. It did make sense. 


Today I will add 600 words and I will send out my zombie story, and read something fiction and out of Wonder Book. 

Today I will make French onion soup and bake a chicken. 

Today I will order a new wrist guard. 

Today I will take all of my pills and not forget. 

Mar 10

imageExcerpt from short story: Oceans of Magic

A harbor seal watched in the waves as Ferrell scoped sea foam into a jar. It went into a knapsack and stood next to a jar of seawater and a bag of grey and white pebbles from the shore. She pointed a branch of bleached driftwood at the harbor seal and then made symbols in the grey sand. It was a somber day, a stern day; a day for serious magic.     

 Ferrell added pebble like breadcrumbs to the new grey-white path. Bare, frigid, muddy feet took her past waist-high evergreen huckleberries and sword ferns. Something scurried. She knew it was the small brown ones, the artesians, who loved nothing more than pranks. Most of which were saved for those who had drank too much beer; some, found themselves down wells.

 The house loomed ahead. Rough black shingles crested on the eaves that were too narrow, like witches’ hats. A façade of cool grey grinned at her.

 As she placed a grubby hand on the rail of the porch, she heard, “Wash your feet.”

 Her head went back so forbidden words would slide down her throat and not spill out, making a mess for her stepmother to fuss over as she tended to the dishes.

 Ferrell turned, knowing her stepmother would see even if did not appear to be watching. Ferrell narrowed her dark eyes as she splashed them clean.

 Bare feet slapped on the wooden steps. “You’a know elves don’t bring shoes. Do you still have yours?”

 “Yes,” annoyance traveled on the edge of the word.

 Ferrell’s black tennis shoes hung from a tree near the ferry. Without the ferry she was bound to Fox Island.

 She cocked her head to one side and rolled her eyes and nodded. Shoes made her feet itch and bare feet grounded her.

Ferrell stroked one of the seagull feathers in her wild hair. 

 “There’s a slice of blackberry pie and cocoa.”

 From under her breath, “She’s trying to fatten me up.”

 Ferrell got another glass and poured half of the cocoa out and replaced it the forbidden bean- the magic bean of energy and imagination. She enjoyed the squish of warm berries; the way they hung off of fingers and plopped in her mouth.

 Ferrell watched. Her mother stood in front of an opulent mirror, pinning blacker-than-black hair. Behind, a vast painting of the sea reflected a sunset of amethyst and deep pink. A group of black dots floated. Ferrell knew. They were seals.

 “You’ve got homework to do. And I need you to round up laundry.”

 As she drank her cocoa-coffee, Ferrell thought, ‘I will do a ritual and call homework gnomes and cowboys to round up laundry.’

Ferrell longed to speak her mind, to do as she wanted, to not eat fish three nights a week. She wanted meatloaf, hot dogs, pizza and to not live on the island. She wanted to live in yellow house with white trim and a real mother. Her real mother was imprisoned. Imprisoned in her stepmother’s shop, Ye Curiosity Shop. ===

Mar 07

Why write? Why not a melted cheese sandwich instead? -


For the first time this year, I noticed the days getting shorter. The moon was a tiny sliver this evening. I stood too close and its edge nicked my heart.

A writer friend posted a question on a forum that has me brooding. “You know, make connections. Isn’t that what writing and reading is for?”

Write for the delight. At least this made feel delighted in the reading. 

Even though there is a very low chance of getting into Women Destroy Fantasy, I am still going to try. I have wanted to write a selkie,  but I did not want to write about how someone found a selkie skin and kept her as a wife. I wanted a fresher take. I think part of what makes a story stand out is that it isn’t something you have read. I know I am not so cleaver as have my first few ideas be somewhat original. Then you need a plot, and characters and their motivation, and setting and how magic works and what creators live there.  And then… there are the words. 

Finding the right words that tell a story that someone will love. Finding the words express what I see in my mind and feel in my heart. The trouble is there is so much distance - between mind, fingers, words and heart. Leagues, fathoms, and more. 


The story before this isn’t done either, but it is much further along. And it personal. 

It is tale that takes many notes from mother’s and father;s deaths. 

Most of it is straight forward, which bothers but I still like. I think that I might go in and write another where the metaphor is increased. 

I do use a metaphor for my mother but the trouble I am lacking one for me father. My mother is a butterfly, and my father… I thought about spider, but they seem female to me. Perhaps bee? Always working and has a stinger. This is the one I am going to try out. 


Mar 04

Women Destroying Fantasy: What I’ll Be Looking For -

(Source: catrambo)

Streets of Shadows is Open For Submissions -


You think you’re safe. What a joke.

You don’t think about the places you pass every day. The side streets. The alleys. Under bridges. The shadows. All you’d have to do is take a step to the side. Then you’d know.

From editors of Dark Faith, Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, comes Streets of…

Feb 26

Review: Nebula Nominated story, If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love

If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love


Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop and graduated from Clarion West in 2005. Her short fiction has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including 

Subterranean Magazine, and been nominated for a number of awards, including the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the World Fantasy Award. In 2010, her novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” won the Nebula Award. As a kid, she watched too much Fairy Tale Theatre and memorized the score to Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

And was published by Apex Magazine. 



At first this seems childlike and reminded me of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and had wonderful cadence to it. It first it was a cute love story. 

Then it changed lovely surreal images and the romance is heightened. 

Then it changed again. And all of what came before meaning has changed. Why a T rex? Because they are strong an fierce and nothing bad happens to a paleontologist. 

The story is poetry and makes sense out of that does not. Humans are so frail. Dinos aren’t; it took a cosmic event to get rid of them. 

Review: Nebula Nominated, Selkie Stories Are for Losers


Selkie Stories Are for Losers

is a Nebula nominated story for 2013.

By Sofia Samatar

Sofia Samatar is a fantasy writer, poet, and critic, and a PhD student in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria (2013). She blogs, mostly about books, atsofiasamatar.blogspot.com.To contact her, send email to sofiasamatar@gmail.com.

It was published by Strange Horizons. 



I am going to be honest. For about half of the story I was not really that impressed. I liked it more as I read along, and more upon the second reading. 

Why is this? I tend to like lacy language. This story is not written in such away. The voice is that of a young woman and the emotional notes are edged with fear, anger, resentment; all because her mother abandoned her, and the girl she has runaway with may leave her too, which in part she cannot stand because she -ikes-her-likes- her. 

That said, since this is the story that author wrote and mine, the voice is spot on. It does a wonderful of saying things without saying them. 

Unlike most seikie stories, it does not focus on the seikie or the man that loves her. Instead it focus on the child that is left behind with no thought to their well-fair. It is about how when any parent leaves a child it changes them. 

This a good story and does deserve all the attention it is getting. 


I intend to write my own seikie story someday. Soon I hope. I have not because I had no idea what I could say that had not been said. And now I know. 

Mine child will wish her mother was a seikie, want her to be a seikie. Give her an old fur coat, hoping she will swim away. I think the mommy might be found floating in water, a wet fur coat on the rocks among sea foam. She will try and change her into a seikie. image