December 30th, 2005


where have you gone, my feather-light heart?

Today, Elizabeth would have turned thirty-five.

The writing went well yesterday. Very well, in fact. I did 1,077 words, starting and finishing "IX. The Demon of Hopekill Swamp." I think it's the best bit of the story so far. Definitely my favourite. Most of it was entirely unexpected. I thought it would just be an odd little interlude before getting back to Dancy, and, instead, it turned out to be a thousand-plus word look at Dancy (and many other things) through the eyes of the "monster." I think yesterday was the first day that I've enjoyed working on "Bainbridge." That's not unusual. I rarely enjoy writing, but it's nice when I do. Oh, and something neat. For years now, since some idiot somewhere online was criticizing me for using "made-up" names for my characters, I've been trying to recall just where I came across the surname Flammarion. It's common enough, of course, but I knew there was some place in particular that I'd taken it from. Yesterday, I was reminded. brokensymmetry posted about the occult photography exhibit at the Met (sadly, it ends tomorrow). I followed a link to a site describing the exhibit, and the page included one of the infamous Cottingley Fairy photos (below), apparently courtesy Fonds Camille Flammarion, Société Astronomique de France, Paris. All I'd been able to recall is that I'd come across the name Flammarion while reading a biography of Houdini (Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss by Kenneth Silverman; 1997, HarperCollins), during the early part of my work on Threshold and fell in love with the name Flammarion. I do that. I fall in love with names. I encounter them, and then they turn up in my books. For instance, Dancy is the name of a small town in western Alabama near where I used to do a lot of paleo' field work. Anyway, Camille Flammarion had some correspondence with Houdini, though I can't quite recall Flammarion's role in the whole Cottingley fiasco. I know Houdini was critical of Conan Doyle's guillible enthusiasm over the photos. I should read that biography again. Too bad I haven't the time.

An authentic Art Deco fairy.

There was a lot of other non-writing, writing-related work yesterday. I spent a couple of hours setting up a profile with's new "Amazon Connect" thingy, which is supposed to promote authors and allow more author-to-reader contact. We'll see. I got the new scanner (a Canon LiDE 500F) up and running and installed an eema-load of new software. Because I now have the external floppy drive, I began going through a mountain of very old diskettes filled with data that needs to be transferred to CD. In the process, I discovered something I'd long feared lost, an unfinished story, "And Prayers for Rain." I started the story in Athens, and for a long time it was known as "the orphink," since it had gone neglected for years. Then, somehow, in one of the moves, the hardcopy went missing, and I feard that was that. But here it is, at least all that I ever wrote on it. It's a story about Magwitch's grandmother (you'll recall Magwitch from "Bela's Plot," etc.) and is sort of a lesbian werewolf story set in the 1930s. I don't know that I'll ever finish it, but at least it's not lost.

So, yes, a very long day yesterday. Except for a short dinner break (a very yummy pizza Spooky cooked), I was at my desk for twelve straight hours. Finally, around eleven p.m., Spooky made me stop and come to bed. She read me more Harry Potter, and then I read her Irvin S. Cobb's short story "Fishhead." I first read this story in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents anthology about 1972. I think I was in second grade. It was undoubtedly an influence on Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" (Lovecraft wrote about "Fishhead" somewhere or another), and I half suspect that Tolkien was familiar with it, as well, because there are definitely powerful premonitions of Gollum in "Fishhead" (first published in 1913). And I'd had a feeling it had an influence on what I wrote yesterday, and I was right. I think I got to sleep about three a.m.

Sissy called last night while I was futzing about with the ancient diskettes, and Spooky talked to him. We're planning on making a trip to Jacksonville in February, once Alabaster and Daughter of Hounds and the next issue of Sirenia Digest are all out of the way and I can take a week or so to breathe. Sissy and Kat may drive up from Tampa and meet us there, which would be drad. It would be my first vacation in a year and a half.

I'm extending the free Silk offer for just one more day for new Sirenia Digest subscribers. You have until midnight. Just click here. Also, Spooky's making really gorgeous "cozies" for the lettered copies of Frog Toes and Tentacles, black velvet lined with red silk, a perfect match the the black leather and red foil design of the cover. Each cozy will have the book's letter embroidered upon in. I'm cutting the fabric, and she's sewing. The first of these will go up on eBay as soon as we can get to it. Meanwhile, have a look at the other auctions. Thank ye.