We’ll be at OryCon40 in Portland, OR from November 9th through the 11th. Come by and see us. We are in the Authors’ Ally, just to the left as you enter the art hall. You can’t miss us!
Author: Clarence Harper
Jed and Zeke – The later years
Zeke came trotting back into the gas station, shouting “Jed! Jed! I just saw the ghost of Ethyl Perch in the back of her granddaughter’s car!”
“Well,” Jed muttered from behind his morning paper, “What’d she want?”
Zeke shrugged. “Nothin’ much, I’d guess, seein’ as she’s dead. Being a ghost usually means yer dead. Don’t really need much at that point. Still, it’s nice to see the old folks takin’ an interest in the youngins”
Jed nodded in agreement. Why, back in his day, folks understood duty and loyalty. They weren’t all trying to get out of their obligations by dying or changing their names or moving to another town.
“But you’ve gotta admit, Jed, it is a little strange. Used to ya saw maybe one ghost a week pull through here. Two tops, if you count that old ‘phantom hitchhiker’ fella. Now, it’s like folks are just dyin’ to get up and stretch their legs a bit, if you’ll pardon the joke.”
“Which I don’t.” Jed said, pointing to the coin filled ‘pun-ishment’ jar on the counter.
Zeke sighed as he fished a quarter out of his pocket with his good hand, watching a misty form drift past on an unseen breeze.
“You think it has anything to do with that curse?”
Jed rolled his eyes and let out a dismissive sigh. “Curse. Pfffft! Old Henry Blair was just a cantankerous old dog who wouldn’t know a hex if it bit on the heel. No, if anything were to be blamed on that curse, it’d be us stuck at 6:00 AM for all eternity.”
Zeke scowled a bit. “I thought you were a mornin’ person Jed.”
“I was,” Jed said as he contemplated the sun yellowed plastic of the cash register, “Still am. But I’m tired of having to repaint every east-facing wall every two years because the sun’s done bleached it out. Dunno. Maybe I should hire that Eastlake kid to do it.”
“Yep. The kid’s good. Dependable. Does fine work and doesn’t gouge you on the price.”
“Well,” Zeke said with a doubtful hum in his voice, “You may want to double check if he’s still up for it, because his funeral was last week and he didn’t seem too eager to keep up with the handyman gig.”
Jed sighed. “Shame. Well, next time he comes by I’ll ask him. Never hurts to ask.”
“It never hurts to ask!” Zeke echoed in a friendly tone. He leaned against his broom and contemplated the perpetual sunrise and the blurring worlds of the the living and the dead. It made him smile.
“Not much of a curse, is it?”
Jed leaned back against the counter with his paper. “Nope. As far as curses go, could’ve done a lot worse. Pretty fine curse, as long as you’re a mornin’ person.”
Zeke smiled out toward the street, tipping his cap to a passing apparition. “Yup. Pretty fine curse.”
A Common Language
There are a number of companies making glasses that correct for certain kinds of colorblindness. As a result, there are many videos out there of people seeing colors for the first time.
Go watch some.
Now if you are like most people, you’ll find yourself getting a bit sappy at their joy and wonder. Chances are, you can relate. Was it the first time you stood at the edge of the ocean? Or the moment you looked down from the airplane window?
Sailors are on the sea everyday. Loggers in the woods. Pilots in the air. This is their daily bread. But when you find yourself dwarfed be sea and sky and forest, seeing it through fresh eyes, it can knock you to the ground in awe.
After picking yourself up, sobriety returning, try to describe it to those that haven’t experienced it. You fall to simile and metaphor, or steal quality lines from cut-rate poetry.
But what if you don’t have that to fall back on. What if you just spell it out like you experienced it? You’ll probably feel like you sound crazy. You do sound crazy. But it is because you don’t have a shared language for the experience of wonder.
Later, though, you will hear someone talking crazy, and know that you have glimpsed what they have. They just got back from the sea, or the morning desert, or deep places, and are still drunk on wonder and trying to make others understand the experience.
Flattery and Devildogs
Spoke with my Mom today. Her copy of the book still hasn’t shown up, but she read my aunt’s copy. While she may not get around well these days, I believe her when she threatened to buy several cases and sneak copies into hotels to place alongside The Gideon’s nightstand offerings.
I am flattered.
Parents are required by law and custom to lie to their children about their water colors and macaroni pictures. That said, Mom was always more interested in engaging and challenging her kids rather than flattering them.
Mom may be biased as hell, but I can live with that.
We talked about dreams today. I remember being a toddler when she told me of her nightmares about the hellhound that would sit menacingly at the foot of the bed. When Ghostbusters came out, she was a little disturbed that the devil dogs in the movie looked like horned versions of the thing from her dreams. After that, I was keenly aware of the many stories shared by friends and strangers about giant, shadowy dream-dogs. It seemed a common theme. So, it made its way into On Both Banks.
Now, we have always been a critter-oriented family and it seemed odd that the object of her fear, time and again, was a canid. As I listened to her share these dreams, I came to realize that the dogs were intent on being seen. They wanted her to wake up. They needed her to. So, that also made its way into the book.
There were numerous “devildog” stories that were written ahead of On Both Banks. They served as inspiration for Baskerville and her compatriots. Perhaps there will be occasion to take them out for a walk sometime soon.
On Both Banks is now Live!
It is with a great deal of excitement that I announce the release of On Both Banks, now available via Amazon in print and kindle editions!
On Both Banks follows the lives of nightmares as they traverse the spaces where humans dream. Carla is a young girl who lives in two worlds, unaware of her mother’s role in those in-between places. It is the story of enmity between a malign intelligence called The City and the twisted horrors that stand in its way, and of those unaware they have been touched by shadowy benefactors.
Chances are, you’ve played a role in the story already.
Customers who buy the print edition can download the drm-free kindle edition at no cost.
Well, 2018 is chugging along nicely. I am pleased to say that Jana Heidersdorf has agreed to illustrate the cover of On Both Banks. I fell in love with her work as soon as I saw it, and am so happy she agreed to take on this project. You can see her work at https://janaheidersdorf.com. The draft artwork look amazing, and I look forward to being able to share it with you soon!
With Life, The Universe, and Everything sliding along at its current rate, we should be on target for a March release! I can’t tell you how excited I am. Just imagine Kermit the Frog flailing his arms, screaming “Yeeeeaaaaahhhh!!!” and you’d arrive at a reasonable approximation.
Also, this little placeholder of a site will be spruced up soon by the talented Stacy Six. She is a skilled web designer and talented artist, and you can see some of her work at http://stacysix.com
Then there is Facebook. I have lived this long without it, but many folks have offered the same blunt advice: If you are going to self-publish, you need a Facebook account.
So I made one, and they temporarily disabled my account and asked for a headshot. I sent them a picture of my beautiful mug and they fully disabled my account.
Well, ain’t that a slap in the face. I’m not Facebook’s type, it seems.
My wife was more irate about it than I was as she has spent the better part of five years trying to convince me to make a Facebook account. And when I tried? Ha!
“Pthththtb!” as Bill the Cat might say.
Well, I hope your January is going smoothly, and I’ll keep you posted.
Happy New Year!
January 1st is here again, and with it, the grand schemes and broken promises that we call “New Years Resolutions.”
How did last year’s resolutions work out for you? Mine was to outlive 2017 without becoming completely cynical. I know that seems pretty flippant and blandly absurdist, but dude, did you see the news this year? If you came out of the last year without having burnt out the empathy centers of your brain, you deserve an award.
So, instead of a list of resolutions, of promising to alter my habits or behavior in such a way that I end up feeling bad about failing, I’m posting four things I want to achieve. This way I can check back around this time next year and see how I did.
1) Start Something and Finish something in the same year.
This is a bold one for me. I generally work on the “Primordial Ooze / Stewpot of The Gods” creative method: On low heat, keep throwing stuff in a pot until something edible turns up. Or, you know, you create life. This year, I am typing the first words of a project today with the goal of having it published, even self published, by year’s end.
2) Learn how to sell myself.
I come from a family where self-aggrandizing was a sign of a poor story teller. We’re sort of a self-deprecating lot. We tattle on ourselves for comedic affect, and there is nothing like a good story of poor-planning and self-inflicted injury to liven a family gathering. With On Both Banks coming out this year, I’m going to have to really get out there and put on a show. Sell the Author. Sell the Book. I can do this without self-aggrandizement, and hopefully without setting the kitchen on fire again, neither.
3) I grok the flavors for mixing my own chili and barbecue seasonings. I want to learn the same for sweet and savory curries. I mean, a premixed curry powder in a jar is convenient and all, but is a poor facsimile for what I can get at the food truck two blocks over. Crap, now, I’m hungry…
4) Do not succumb to the Curse of Greyface. As you get older, it’s tough sometimes to remember how to dance, especially when balancing a farm on your back, so to speak. The last couple of years, I’ve looked up a few times and went “Oh! Oh HELL no!” Ran to the closet, threw on my most garish clothing, and spent the day doing all the things I would have done anyways, but this time doing them fabulously. Do everything fabulously. Be vengefully fabulous. But do not inhale glitter. Pneumonia is nobody’s friend.
So, 2019 me. How’d I do?
The First of Many
Well, just as certain brothers from Chicago were compelled to “get the band back together,” I am returning from my social media hermitage to rebuild the Great and Glorious Clarencian Empire. For those of you just joining us, I am the former editor of semidomesticatedprimate.org, the author of City of Leverite, as well as author of several books coming down the pike in the next couple of years.
I hope you will join be on this next bit of silliness as I put myself online without a pseudonym and dance around like a fool.