All posts by csecooney

C.S.E. Cooney lives and writes in a well-appointed Rhode Island garret, right across the street from a Victorian Strolling Park. She is the author of How To Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes and Jack o’ the Hills. She won the 2011 Rhysling Award for her story-poem “The Sea King’s Second Bride.” Links to her work may be found here, where she also blogs.

Dark have been my dreams of late.

My brain took “smash the patriarchy” very literally last night, as I took a hammer to the head of a Stephen King-esque father-figure (think Rose Madder, The Shining, It), who kept trying to kill me by making me fix the roof, and then boobytrapping all points of access to it. Finally, when a huge hammer (meant for my head) fell from the roof to my feet, I took it and went after him. He had lined up his wife and children, and was waving a gun around, talking about how he could kill all of them with a single squeeze of his trigger.

I hit him in the head. He scoffed at me, told me to do better. I hit him again. I kept hitting him, hard. He wouldn’t go down. After one really good blow, he turned to me, eyes kind. In a gentle voice, he said, “Keep hitting me. Don’t stop till its done.” And he was much more like my father then, and I was crying, but I kept hitting him with a hammer, because he’d kill everyone if I didn’t. He wanted me to stop him. Anyway, brutal.

In another part of the dream, we had a Gaston-like villain shouting racial slurs and abuses at the top of his lungs. A line of Live-Action Disney Princesses stood against him, shouting back in Arabic.

One of the princesses was the Cinderella. She said, “I lied about my age to work here. I’ve been 22 for 15 years. I’m 37 years old. I used to be a janitor.”

She had a sparkling blue ball gown that was an AI. It had been with her since her childhood, and grew as she grew. It had once been sort of like her teddybear and nursemaid/nightgown, and now it was her confidante and Disney Princess costume. And it looked fabulous.

Then I had to teach a class about the anthology Mad Hatters and March Hares to schoolgirls who didn’t speak English, and only spoke a little French. So in English, French, and really bad pantomime, I started telling the story of Merlin, figuring you have to begin with King Arthur to even get up to speed on Lewis Carroll? I have a strong memory of saying, “Merlin . . . vie . . . backwards!” And walking backwards.

I tried to explain that Merlin would die just as he was about to be born by pantomiming a pregnant woman. This, the girls understood, and all started talking about how many babies they wanted to have.

So. There was more. But those were the highlights.

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Middle, Holding Flowers: Homecoming with Hugo

THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY.

Amal El-Mohtar

Before anything else, I need to talk about my family.

It was the last night of Worldcon. I’d retreated from the dead dog party in search of sleep. In order to travel home from Helsinki, I needed to wake up at 4:00 AM to get to the airport by 5:00 AM for a 7:00 AM flight. My itinerary would take me from Helsinki to Stockholm to Frankfurt to Ottawa, and I’d be arriving during rush hour.

I said all this to my family, FaceTiming with them around midnight on the last day of Worldcon, staring down the three hours of sleep I expected to have. “I can just take the bus home,” I said, reasonably. “It’ll take me 20 minutes. You don’t have to drive all the way to the airport in rush hour to pick me up.”

“OK,” said my mother, equally reasonably.

24 hours after that conversation, this…

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October Appearances

I will be so happy to see Amal in Columbus!

Amal El-Mohtar

If playing catch-up were a sport I’d be a star in the big leagues.

So much has been going on — in the last several weeks I’ve moved from the countryside to the city, picked up my husband and cats from Montreal, settled them in the new place, all while working several new jobs. It’s been a bit of a season, and now that I’m no longer straddling two households while trying to get it all done, I’m gradually finding the wherewithal to do things like blog.

Without further ado, here are some places you can find me in October:

chiseriesottawabanner-oct2016October 18, Patty Boland’s, 7:00-9:00 PM
I’m really excited to be reading at Ottawa’s upcoming ChiSeries event alongside Kate Heartfield and Tanya Huff! This is also the day that The Starlit Wood is released into the world, so I’ll be reading from “Seasons of Glass and Iron.” I have it on good authority you’ll be…

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Uncanny Magazine Podcast Wins a Parsec Award!

I was very proud to be a part of Uncanny’s podcast narration staff for a little while. I loved everything I read for them.

Amal El-Mohtar

What it says on the tin! Last night at DragonCon it was announced that Uncanny‘s podcast — where I read stories and poems! — won a Parsec Award. I’m thrilled to have contributed to this, and super excited to have one of these trophies! THEY’RE SHAPED LIKE STARS.

2012_parsec_award_moi

Among the things I’m grateful to Uncanny for is introducing me to Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, the podcast’s producers, who are basically wizards. I’m always amazed by how cool they make me sound, how kind and patient they are with my absurd schedule, and just how great they are to work with generally. And as a podcast listener (and a one-time interviewee, for “Pockets“!) I’m always delighted to hear Deborah Stanish’s fantastic conversations with the magazine’s contributors; she’s such an insightful interviewer, and her voice is so soothing and smooth!

Big shout-outs, too, to CSE Cooney, Heath Miller, and…

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Reviews: NPR, LA Times, CSZ

Woman is amazing.

Amal El-Mohtar

Readercon was a whirlwind! After a day on the road car-conning back to Ottawa, I’m home-ish, catching up on correspondence and things that need announcing before I can even begin to process what an incredible, beautiful, excellent weekend it was.

So! Reviews!

First, Stina Leicht’s Cold Iron comes out today, and my review of it dropped this weekend.

In the acknowledgements for Cold Iron, Stina Leicht writes that one of the questions at the core of her new Malorum Gates series is, “if Tolkien had been American, what would fantasy look like?” It’s a fascinating question — and I don’t intend to sound cynical or glib when I say that, according to Cold Iron, the answer is, at least partly, “more full of guns.” Cold Iron very attentive to the nuances of early modern warfare, on both land and sea. It explores the clash between competing technologies and philosophies…

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