NEW NOVEL: The Soothsayer & the Changeling


After a horrific smashup on the interstate, Danny inexplicably acquires the ability to foretell and experience specific moments from others’ future lives. This gift destroys his marriage and pushes him to the brink of madness. He finds solace and release as a soothsayer in the back room of the Tree of Life Book Shoppe, handing out tidbits from the futures of his largely narcissistic clients.

Kristi, a Tarot reader extraordinaire at the shop, has known since she was an adolescent visited by strange beings who might be goddesses or aliens—who’s to say—that she can cast spells that transform peoples’ lives, sometimes with disastrous results. When she sets her sights on Danny to win his love, she makes a deal with the Triple Goddess—his love for the pair’s help in fulfilling a wish of the goddess’s own, to save the planet from its inevitable demise from human hands.

Thus begins The Soothsayer & the Changeling in which the varied self-absorbed lives of a stunning beauty, a no-talent screenwriter, a bereaved Christian widow, a disgraced professor, an over-medicated depressive, and a lonely mountain boy with a way with animals are woven together to yield a dream of doom to awaken the slumbering world before it’s too late.

Promising epiphany over apocalypse, The Soothsayer & the Changeling pits our deeply personal obsessive lives against a dying planet upon which all our dreams depend, and offers the possibility of hope and love.

Happy New Year!

This has been a wonderful year for me, though not at all in the way I expected or hoped for, but that’s the way with good years, isn’t it?  I had just finished one novel with promising prospects, and was into another I had high hopes for.  The marketplace shrugged at both.  I shrugged back.

Then I literally was called back to teaching fiction writing in February, receiving a call a few weeks into the semester asking if I would take over an advanced fiction writing class for an ailing colleague.  I’m not sure how effective I was, but I had a great time and met some wonderful young writers.  That led to a summer workshop and two in the fall, and another this spring.  I want to thank my students for showing me a wonderful time.  The experience has energized my short fiction as well.  I don’t know the publication date yet, but I just sold a story to Lightspeed Magazine which was particularly gratifying because it’s a new, ambitious piece that represents the kind of work I most want to do now.  Besides, Lightspeed is totally cool.

I’m looking forward to attending ICFA this year again in March and returning to Readercon in July.  I’ve been asked about other events, but nothing is confirmed yet.  Now that I have finally licked the muscle pain that plagued me for a couple of years, I can travel again—not to mention sit comfortably for a panel discussion.

About that pain.  I had made the rounds of physical therapists, acupuncturists, spinal injections, etc., and though it would get better for a while, it would always come roaring back.  Finally, my new cardiologist asked if I’d tried going off statins.  I was taking Crestor at the time.  I had, but had had the idea nixed by other medical professionals.  When I quit, the results were dramatic.  Within a few weeks of being off the statins, my pain steadily retreated.  As I have stated elsewhere, I also changed my diet in response to my heart ailments instead of dosing it and I feel infinitely better.

Another reason this has been a great year is yoga.  I have always hated any kind of exercise classes.  It was only through Sarah’s persistent suggestion (some would say nagging) that I gave it a try.  (Thank you, Sarah).  When I found a really good instructor, Viktoriya Kosta, I quickly became hooked.  Mind and body both are better for it.  Namaste, Viktoriya.

I’ve started another novel—I can’t help myself—and I have a half-dozen stories in various stages of completion.  For the first time in years, there are no doctor’s appointments looming in my future.  Sarah, Ethel, and I plan on lots of walks to the river.  Life is good on Maplewood.  I like 2013 already.

 

Delightfully Busy

A couple of intense summer classes and the last-minute assignment of a graduate workshop starting Tuesday have left me too busy to blog, but I’ve been having a blast.  The summer workshop was unbelievably good. A couple were so good I invited them to take the graduate workshop, and one has taken me up on the offer. I’ve met most of the members of the graduate workshop, and they are a smart, energetic, committed group.  I can’t wait.  Twenty-five years after moving to Richmond to take the VCU graduate fiction workshop, I’m teaching it.  Not a bad way to celebrate my 65th birthday.  Besides Medicare, of course.

Life’s Too Short

I received a mailer from a cleaning company the other day with the slogan, Life’s Too Short to Clean Your Own Home®  It sort of spoke to me.  At my age, a cancer and heart attack survivor, the brevity of life is a real attention getter.  I didn’t feel a great need to extend my life by foregoing housecleaning.  I rather enjoy it sometimes, sweeping up dog fur and so forth, but with this heart healthy high fiber diet I’m on, sometimes I feel like I could use someone to wipe my bum for me, but I suppose we all end up there if we stick around long enough, and there’s no sense rushing things.  After all, life’s too short.

But I did get to wondering if the women cleaning my home would suffer twice the life shortening effects of housecleaning by cleaning their own homes and mine too.  I guess I could refinish the basement, put a little apartment down there, so they’d only be cleaning one home.  This being a southern city, there’s already a toilet down there for the help.  Sort of like Downton Abbey.  It could be a real opportunity for someone.  I could post flyers on the trees as I hike through some of the more obscure reaches of the James—Life’s Too Short to Be Homeless.  Catchy, don’t you think?  First, I’d need to get that toilet fixed, but life’s too short for that.  Besides, plumbers cost a fortune.

Redemption in Indigo

I just read Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo, and I was completely enchanted.  At first I was reminded of Amos Tutuola, but Lord brings much more to the narrative table than reworked folktale.  Funny, wise, and cleverly constructed, this novel is a delightful antidote to the excess of urban fantasies whose heroines possess the ethical sensibilities of paid assassins.  Karen Lord packs more skilled storytelling in this 188 page novel than most wheezy trilogies can crank out in a 1000.  I loved it!