Blatant advertisement

I’ve been negligent about updating this blog; it’s about time I got back to it.

I’ve recently discovered a really good author, Krista Walsh.  Among other things, she’s been writing fantasies set in the world of Andvell.  The latest Andvell trilogy is the Cadis trilogy, comprised of Bloodlore, Blightlore, and BladeloreBladelore is just about to be released.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb for Bladelore:

“War has come to Andvell. Enemy after enemy takes its place along the northern border, each one a terrifying result of dark magic and experimentation. In the face of the great army, Andvell’s resources are few.

“As the enemy marches, unlikely hero Venn Connell must act or be lost in the flood — one final mission to end the war, no matter the cost.

“Standing on the brink of devastation, Venn is forced to question her most deeply held beliefs and trust her friends to see her through the darkness.”

You can buy these ebooks for Kindle, Nook, or just about any tablet, or, of course, for your PC or Macintosh computer, here http://www.kristawalshauthor.com/bloodlore/

I’m including a picture of the newly released Bladelore cover.

Yes, as the title says, this is an ad.  The obvious question you should be asking yourself is, “What is Margret getting out of this?”  First, of course, I get to share a new author whose books I enjoy reading.  Beyond that, in all fairness, I have received free copies of some of Krista Walsh’s books in return for honest reviews.  The operative word in that sentence being “honest.”  I would never recommend a book I don’t like.

For more information, go to Krista’s website, The Raven’s Quill.  You can also download some free stories there.

Here is the cover of Bladelore:

Bladelore-lores

 

All of Krista’s work is excellent, in my opinion, and I highly recommend it.

Margret

 

Advertisements

Artwork, and religion

Okay, everybody.  I don’t believe in proselytizing, and I have no intention of doing that here.  What you believe is entirely up to you, and I encourage you to follow your own path as well as you can, and to get whatever help you need to do that.

That being said, I’m an atheist (i.e. I don’t believe in the existence of God), and an agnostic (I’m honest enough to admit that I could be wrong), and a Unitarian Universalist, largely because U.U.s believe that the proper task of a church is to help its members to find their own paths, and walk those paths to the best of their ability. I mention all of this because it’s germane to this picture that I’m about to upload.

Several years ago, my U.U. Women’s Group did a project where we each composed a personal Credo. I had just been reading a book about Mind Mapping (Wikipedia has a good article on the subject), so I decided to create my Credo as a mind map. A friend has encouraged me to share this mind map with other people.

Please note that this image is copyrighted by me, in 1997. (The image of a comet near the top was inspired by Comet Hale-Bopp.)

And here is where to find it: http://wp.me/a4redL-1s

I welcome any comments you may have about it, but please don’t preach at me.

Margret

Margret

New recommendations, and Poem

Okay, guys. I have a couple of new recommended books for you: Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, and Impossible Things. These are both collections of short stories by Connie Willis. You should be able to find them in paperback, and they contain some of the funniest stories I’ve ever read. Also, one of the most beautiful: “Epiphany,” which is about the second coming of Jesus (I’m not even a Christian, but I love this story). You can find “Epiphany” in Miracle, and “Even the Queen,” “Spice Pogrom,” and “At the Rialto” in Impossible Things. For all you physicists, “At the Rialto” is a hilarious story about an attempt to find a new paradigm for quantum mechanics. And I have a poem of my own for you. Do please note my copyright.

Margret

SING ALONG

by Margret Rosenberg,
copyright © October 30, 1990

Brook sings to itself,
And the song seeps into our souls.

Campfire crackles counterpoint.
Marshmallows brown and flare.
Our quiet laughter joins the melody.

Dragons dance in the flames,
And we sing tales of distant lands,
Times that never were.

Flames burn to coals.
The sky is a blaze of stars:
Distant lands, indeed.

Brook sings on,
And the song seeps into our dreams.

Voyage to the Moon, by Archibald MacLeish

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. No one knew what dangers might await the astronauts, and NASA wanted them to be well rested when they actually stepped out onto the surface of earth’s nearest neighbor, so it wasn’t until July 21st that Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” (He meant to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” but in his excitement he flubbed his line. I think that’s perfectly understandable.)

In honor of the occasion, The New York Times commissioned this poem, which they ran on the front page on July 21, 1969. I have loved it ever since I first heard Archibald MacLeish read it himself on NPR on one of the anniversaries of that giant leap: Voyage to the Moon, by Archibald MacLeish

Unfortunately, I can’t find a recording of that interview online to give you a link to it; apparently NPR doesn’t maintain their archives that far back. Too bad.

Margret

A few more cool links.

Now that I have asked for and received specific permission from both people who hold copyrights to this, I have one more link to add.  This is a song written by Cat Faber named “Word of God.”  It’s about the use of science to find out about the universe, and how we should react when the findings of science conflict with our deeply held religious belief.  The singer is Kathy Mar, a truly great filker, also a talented composer and lyricist in her own right.  And both Cat and Kathy were delighted to give me their permission.  I’m pretty sure I also posted a link to the lyrics, at the Echo’s Children website, but if I haven’t just go to their home page and you can find it easily (Echo’s Children home page).  And this is the link to the .mp3 of Kathy singing “Word of God”: Word of God mp3.

(BTW, Cat did make one mistake in these lyrics.  The church never tortured Galileo.  They held him in close arrest, and threatened to torture him, but Galileo, who frequently showed a lack of common sense, did not show that lack in this case.  He recanted before it actually got to the torture stage.)

This is a link to a description of filk, probably better than I can provide: Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Filk FAQ

And here, in case I haven’t already posted it, is a link to Cat Faber’s home page: Cat Faber’s Website

So have fun with these, keep making and flexing those flexagons, keep tatting all you tatters (and try really hard to avoid broken arms), and have fun.

Margret

Cool links and recommended reading list

Okay, everybody. Here are some of those cool links I promised you.

It’s Okay to be Takei

Today is the Day

Villain’s Cat: a Job Application

Oh, yes, and I personally believe this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written:

Ship of Stone, by Don Simpson

I may add more later as I discover new songs and/or get permission from the composers/lyricists/performers to post links to them.

As for the promised reading list:

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings, also by Tolkien
  • The Narnia books, by C.S. Lewis
  • The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (a delightful book for both children and adults)
  • The Gammage Cup and The Whisper of Glocken, both by Carol Kendall (wonderful children’s books)
  • Harry Newberry and the Raiders of the Red Drink by Mel Gilden (a very funny, very punny children’s book)
  • Anything by Connie Willis, winner of more Hugos and Nebulas than anyone else, ever. More on Connie later.
  • Anything by the late, great Janet Kagan, including her one Star Trek novel, Uhura’s Song
  • Another Star Trek novel, this one by Diane Duane, The Wounded Sky
  • Anything by Katherine Kurtz, especially her Deryni high fantasy novels
  • Emergence, by David R. Palmer (a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age novel from a female perspective)
  • David Brin’s Uplift novels (Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War, and the Uplift Storm trilogy:
    • Brightness Reef
    • Infinity’s Shore
    • Heaven’s Reach
  • Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Anything, on any subject, by Isaac Asimov
  • Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson (published by NESFA Press ― NESFA stands for the New England Science Fiction Association)
  • The Danny Dunn series, by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams (also children’s books)
  • Anything by Robin McKinley
  • Anything by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (though I do wish they’d stop using “proceed” when they mean “precede”)
  • Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • Anything by David Weber, specifically including the Bahzell Bahnakson series and the Honor Harrington series
  • Anything in the Ring of Fire series (1632, et. al.), also known as the 1632-verse, created by Eric Flint and published by Baen Books
  • Hokas Pokas! and Star Prince Charlie, by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson
  • Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Anything by Elizabeth Moon
  • Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien (collected in The Tolkien Reader, Tales from the Perilous Realm, and other places.) This one contains Garm, the best talking dog I’ve ever encountered in fiction.
  • Smith of Wootton Major, also by Tolkien. These last two are frequently included in the same book. I believe there is a paperback edition that includes both of them, and I know that they both appear in Tales from the Perilous Realm, along with a couple of other stories.
  • Anything by James H. Schmitz
  • The Little Fuzzy books, by H. Beam Piper
  • Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K. Jerome ― first published in 1889, this hilarious book has been in continuous publication ever since.
  • Once on a Time, by A.A. Milne. This little book was written as a fairy tale for grown-ups, but don’t hesitate to share it with your children. It turns all of the common fairy tale tropes on their heads. The villainous countess who is trying to take over the kingdom ends up marrying the king and becoming both a good queen and a good step-mother; the “charming” prince who’s supposed to put everything right is neither charming nor competent; and the princess, who believes herself to be a damsel in distress, actually knows exactly how to solve her problems by herself.
  • Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type, by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
  • The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, by Eugene Trivizas, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Both of these last two books work better when you can see the lovely illustrations. This YouTube version of The Three Little Wolves does, indeed, show the illustrations, but the YouTube version of Click Clack Moo is somewhat deficient in this regard.

This brings us to two excellent resources: Project Gutenberg, and its sister organization, Librivox.org. Project Gutenberg is attempting the impossible task of putting all of the English language public domain books that have ever been published into electronic format for free download, and Librivox is attempting to put all of the Project Gutenberg books into audio format, for your listening pleasure. The Librivox books seem to work best when they’re either done by a single reader or are done as dramas, with different people recording the voices of different characters. Public domain books include almost all of the works of Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling (including Kim), Little Fuzzy (though not its sequels), Once on a Time, The Wind in the Willows, all of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s books, Three Men in a Boat, and more other works than I can even begin to mention.

On to the promised discussion of Connie Willis. Everything Connie writes is wonderful. Much of it is hilarious. There are only three problems with her works:

  1. They can be hard to find. She is regularly published in Science Fiction magazines, and if you aren’t a subscriber you may well miss something. This is somewhat offset by the fact that the best stories (especially the ones that win awards) tend to be re-published in collections.
  2. Many of her stories are set in Britain, and she never provides a glossary of British terms. (I can tell you, however, that “vegetable marrows” are zucchini.)
  3. Many of her books need to come with a body count. Do not begin by reading The Doomsday Book, or Passage. Your best bet is To Say Nothing of the Dog, but you’ll enjoy it more if you read Three Men in a Boat first. If you have any doubt which kind of book you’re getting into, ask me here first.

Connie is the only author I can think of who can kill off her protagonist two-thirds of the way through the book, keep her as the protagonist, and actually make it work (Passage).

Especially recommended stories by Connie are “Spice Pogrom,” “Even the Queen,” “At the Rialto,” “Epiphany,” and “Miracle,” all of which are available in collections.

I hope you all enjoy these books and links, and that you have joyful lives.

Margret

What is Filk

Since I included filk as a topic for this blog, I thought I should explain what it is for all my lace-making friends who may be logging on.

Filk is a variety of folk music, the kind sung by s.f. fans late at night at conventions, or perhaps once a month at someone’s house.  The songs range from serious to silly, with a few side-trips into gross and dirty.  The only rules (at least in Denver filkdom)  are that everybody gets a turn; on your turn you can pick (a particular song or topic or singer), pass, or perform; you don’t criticize anyone else’s performance unless specifically asked to (though compliments are always accepted), and you’re only allowed to apologize for your own performance once in the course of a filk.  (We added the last one after someone kept interrupting his own, very long song to apologize and start over from the top).  Performances are basically anything the filker wishes to perform.  There was one guy who used to show up at Denver filks for the specific purpose of doing a (bad) dramatic rendition of “The Raven,” by Poe.  I frequently read Ogden Nash poetry, and occasionally a short children’s story like The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig or Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type (both hilarious — I’ll post links later) and at our last filk, I sang “La Vie en Rose” (I’d been watching How I Met Your Mother: How Your Mother Met Me, and it’s a gorgeous song).  All Tom Lehrer songs are considered by definition to be filk, although no one knows whether Tom Lehrer himself is actually aware of the genre.

I’ll add a few links to explanatory webpages and various songs and singers that I like later, and if anyone wants to get involved in filking I’ll try to find out about groups that are local for you.  I have filk contacts in high places.

Later, Guys.

Margret

Handcrafting (including temari and lace) and Filk.