Posts Tagged ‘Writers’

Hilary Mantel, celebrated author of Wolf Hall, dies aged 70

The Booker prize-winning author of the Wolf Hall trilogy, Dame Hilary Mantel, has died aged 70, her publisher HarperCollins has confirmed.

Mantel was regarded as one of the greatest English-language novelists of this century, winning the Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa book of the year.

Writer and broadcaster Damian Barr said her death is “such a loss”.

“With every book she redefined what words can do,” he tweeted, adding: “She’s the only person I ever interviewed that speaks in whole, flawless paragraphs. I can’t believe we won’t have another book from her.”

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“The pen is in our hands. A happy ending is ours to write.”

— Hilary Mantel 

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The winds are cooler, the rains no longer soft. Bird feeders empty faster and the flowers look defiant rather than content.

I love summer, of course, but there’s something special about a hot bowl of soup and a warm blanket and crisp blue days and brightly colored leaves.

It’s a wonderful time of year for just about anything, but especially for taking stock and making plans.

Welcome to Fall.

Autumn equinox is the first day of fall. How is that different from a solstice? : NPR

Fall starts at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, a day officially known as the autumn equinox.

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Twilight Surprise

The sky burns down,
A rim of coals glowing gold and red,
Limned with orange again
And kissed with hints of pink.
The clouds reflect tangerine and plum,
Overshadowing the silent glory.
Darkness and light,
Balanced upon this equinox,
Dance together like old lovers …
… and beget beauty.

― Elizabeth Barrette, From Nature’s Patient Hands

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Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

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“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

― Marcus Aurelius

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Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

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Are you a writer? Afraid of rejection? Wish you had a thicker skin? Practice getting rejected with the Journal of Universal Rejection!

The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected. Despite that apparent drawback, here are a number of reasons you may choose to submit to the JofUR:

• You can send your manuscript here without suffering waves of anxiety regarding the eventual fate of your submission. You know with 100% certainty that it will not be accepted for publication.

• There are no page-fees.

• You may claim to have submitted to the most prestigious journal (judged by acceptance rate).

• The JofUR is one-of-a-kind. Merely submitting work to it may be considered a badge of honor.

• You retain complete rights to your work, and are free to resubmit to other journals even before our review process is complete.

• Decisions are often (though not always) rendered within hours of submission.

Folks, I conducted my exposure therapy the old-fashioned way, submitting story after story to multiple venues until my skin grew hard as nails. If only I’d known about the JoUR sooner!*

* Seriously though, it’s worth getting past this particular hurdle. Whatever works for you!

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“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

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Just keep going. Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

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I’ve always enjoyed Mary Roach’s science writing (especially Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal). I also have family in Colorado, spent many of my formative mountain-biking and blueberry-picking years trying not to encounter bears*, and passed a conservation truck with a (reassuringly sturdy) bear cage in the back just the other day. 

All of this means that Roach’s essay caught my attention, and so today’s fun bit of reading is about the perils, and promise, of life with bears. It’s an excerpt from her latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.

Black bears are back and in your back yard | New Scientist

With a growing percentage of Fat Alberts, will coexistence eventually become a possibility? Or even a policy? Could we live with bears in the backyard the way we live with raccoons and skunks?

* I grew up around black bears like those in this article. Large and potentially dangerous, sure (the rule was never get between a bear and her cub, because yeah, just no), but they’re not grizzlies or polar bears. They can be a very different kind of story. (One that starts with “nom” and ends with… you may not be around for the end.)

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Would you be this chill with all those mosquitoes on you? I would not. Photo by John Thomas on Unsplash

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It’s Tuesday, so you almost got an encouraging quote and pretty picture, but this short story appeared in my inbox. 

I was never a philosophy student but the message still tickles my funny bone (I probably would have taken that job, though).

You might like it too.

Recipe by Tina S. Zhu

Makes one reluctant vampire hunter.


     1 desperate jobseeker

     4 YouTube videos on cooking with tomato sauce

     2 fire alarms, batteries not included

     1 friend willing to smuggle blood

     4 cloves garlic

     1 gallon expired holy water

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Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash

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Whether your story rests on a historical foundation or you’re starting a world from scratch, writers, game-builders, and creators of all kinds can benefit from an in-depth understanding of how social and economic systems operate. 

There is a lot of related material out there but I came across this guide, specifically aimed at creators of fiction, and thought I’d share.

Resources for World-Builders by The Pedant, a.k.a. Dr. Bret C. Devereaux

I know a lot of my readers are interested in constructing fictional worlds which follow historical rules and patterns, where things like agriculture and armies make sense. So I thought I would gather together some of the material I’ve written that might be of use. 

As an example, here’s an analysis of what it took to for pre-modern farmers to make bread. It certainly makes me appreciate the ease with which we can now access high-quality flour (and legal protections, and insurance). 

Bread, How Did They Make it? (I, II, III, IV, A)

And finally, just to point out the obvious: farming labor is hard. It is back-breaking, uncomfortable stuff. 

The resource collection includes material on the following categories, with examples from history (fictional and otherwise).

This site has a Lot of other interesting material as well, so if (for example) you’ve ever wondered why the Industrial Revolution didn’t happen under the Roman Empire, this is the resource for you.

* Also note, for more on what and how people ate in the Western Middle Ages, SF Canada writer Krista D. Ball has a detailed and useful book on realism in fantasy food: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

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Photo by Mingwei Lim on Unsplash

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For Everybody

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”

― Erma Bombeck

Men too, of course. Dessert for everybody!

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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Smile: Wide

Today, I went shopping for a new bicycle. It’s been a long time since I was in the market, I used to ride a lot, first with my family and later through the beautiful Appalachian hills. 

I found this site useful when it came to research, pricing and comparative data. Lots and lots of data: 99 Spokes.

Because it’s been so long and bikes have changed, I also needed a refresher on bike terminology and geometry. This page was helpful: Understanding Bicycle Geometry.

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The weather was perfect, sun shining, warm with just enough humidity to make you appreciate a breeze, and a brilliant blue sky.

Lingering supply constraints (thanks, pandemic!) meant that my choices were somewhat limited, but I was optimistic. The owner of the store introduced me to several options, then rolled a bike outside and gestured toward the side of the building. “Go ahead, take it for a spin.” It was a gravel bike, something I didn’t know existed until a couple of weeks ago. (Told you it’s been a while.)

The bike shop was located in a little shopping center, the kind with a parking lot out front and a service road around the back and sides. The parking lot’s pavement quickly gave way to gravel, potholes and a little grassy hill. Perfect for testing. 

I took bike number one for a spin. Then bike number two. I convinced Mr Man to find a bike of his own and join me. Then it was back to bike number one. It felt right. 

Fit: good. Function: good. Smile: wide.

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Photo by Jordy Chapman on Unsplash

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I drafted a drabble. I drafted a haiku. I drafted another drabble. None of these pieces are ready to share, so instead I’ll leave you with this back-to-school story from Fireside ok, that was too scary so I’ll just go submit a story to an anthology!

Such is the writing life.

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Photo by Kerin Gedge on Unsplash

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