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I did end up going to Simchat Torah ("rejoicing in the Torah") services at Romemu yesterday - and enjoyed every minute of it! We danced and sang in the synagogue, holding each other, holding the torah scrolls, dressed in their silver and embroidery, like a child or a lover in our arms. All that joy and ritual over a TEXT - a collection of carefully-preserved and collected words . . . (made me think, only half-jokingly, that we should have a similar community ceremony at WFC for LOTR and a handful of other Ur Texts!).

But it also reminded me that singing and dancing are as much enjoined on us for the High Holidays as fasting is on Yom Kippur. It's all part of this 40-day continuum. It is a shame that most of us (myself included) usually only go for the painful one, and skip the joy and general goofiness. --Or the sensuality of carrying - and smelling - the etrog & lulav around the synagogue - and then eating outdoors in a Sukka smelling of autumn fruits and leaves - for Succoth…. Something to remember: take the Yom Kippur fast seriously, but remember that it is just part of a whole that includes these others, and give them equal measure.
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Yes, my friends, the Grey Sweater is this year’s Fashion Must.

How do I know this?

Well, last night, after a delightful evening at the Cirque Alfonse, followed by dinner at L’A.O.C. in New York’s now fashionable Greenwich Village, Delia Sherman & I walked to the subway along the it-used-to-be-funky-and-weird but is now nauseatingly full of trendy and unaffordable big-name boutiques Bleecker Street … and what did we see in *every* window (on mannequins you wouldn’t bring home to meet your mother)? At least one - sometimes 2 or even 3 GREY SWEATERS!!!


And what was I wearing? The dear little grey sweater that Delia knit me 2 years ago.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

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Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quo Does Not Need Worldbuilding

Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL)
Mary Anne Mohanraj (M), Tobias Buckell, Kate Elliott, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Ellen Kushner

Fantasy world-building sometimes comes under fire for its pedantic attention to detail at the expense of pacing or prose style. Do descriptive passages clog up the narrative needlessly, when reader imagination should be filling in the gaps? Where does that leave the landscapes and cultures that are less well represented in the Western genre: can world-building be a tool in subverting reader expectations that would otherwise default to pseudo-medieval Euro-esque? If fantasy is about defamiliarising the familiar, how important is material culture - buildings, furnishings, tools, the organisation of social and commercial space - in creating a fantasy world?
Note: the title of this panel is a reference to Kate Elliott's essay:

Reading: Ellen Kushner
Friday 18:00 - 18:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

:25 - what shall I read??  Something old & well-loved . . . or the WIP?

Translation-Wish, Translation-Obstacles
Friday, Capital Suite 6 (Level 3), 8pm - 9pm

Many of us have read work in our own languages that we would love to propose to Anglophone publishers.  But how to fund a rough translation of such work?  The Interstitial Arts Foundation is looking to create a new initiative to bring translators together with national and international funders to create a way to make something happen!

- I'm not on this one, but I am its Faerie Godmother, so I'll be there! If you're interested in the Interstitial Arts Foundation, this will be a good time to meet some people & talk about it, too.

Autographing 2 - Ellen Kushner

Saturday 13:30 - 15:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)
o god, please come and hang out with me!!!!  No one is going to want that many autographs, and I am honor bound to sit there for an hour and a half, feeling like an idiot and staring off into space or trying to look busy!  A great time to come say Hi, introduce yourself, offer me small but precious gifts, or just sit around talking about books and shoes. I will be a sitting duck.

Literary Beer

Saturday 17:00 - 18:00, The Bar (ExCeL)
All of the Above, but with Beer. YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS ONE IN ADVANCE (AT THE CON).

Imagining the City

Saturday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Science fiction and fantasy are filled with memorable imaginary cities, from Minas Tirith to New Crobuzon, Trantor to Vorbarr Sultana. How do writers imagine their cities? What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating a city from scratch versus using one or more existing models? And are there differences in how SF and fantasy approach this task?
- Cannot wait for this one!!

You've Ruined It For Me

Sunday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Screen adaptations of genre works are big business, and fan conversation about them often revolves around issues of accuracy and deviation. But what are the other discussions we could be having about the relationship between novel and film? How does our experience of an adaptation shape the way we read a particular book, whether for the first time or on a re-read? Is it possible, any more, to talk about The Lord of the Rings without reference to Peter Jackson? Are 'book purists' too defensive against what is, after all, simply someone else's reading of a work with a budget, or do blockbuster adaptations carry a popular cultural weight that makes them hard to escape?
 [MODERATOR! 'Cause what the hell do I know about movies?  But there is The SwordsmanWhose Name was Not Death….. Do you think the play just ruined the book?]

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Due to my own stupidity, I am blessed (or cursed) with a spare set of rooms for LonCon3 which I do not need but cannot cancel and must therefore pay for:
2 rooms at the Ibis Styles London Excel-custom House Hotel, right across from the convention center & next to the tube stop for easy escape from ExCel-land.
I booked 5 nights each (August 13 - 18) for:

* 1 Standard double, GBP 540
* 1 Superior Double, GBP 590

All offers gratefully considered.
Please feel free to pass this on to any friends who might be wavering about attending, or who were not able to book at hotels close to ExCel, or who signed on for a super-crowded share and have since thought better of it....

I can be reached directly on gmail at KUSHNER (dot) ELLEN etc.

Delia & I WILL be attending the con - but I subsequently booked us at another hotel and then forgot to cancel this one. I do hope my carelessness will allow someone else to get a good room at a good rate!  All offers gratefully considered, however small.  I'll feel a whole lot better knowing someone will get the good of it!

ETA:  And, no, we do not sleep in separate hotel rooms - the second room is for a friend!
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We saw Lithgow & co's KING LEAR last night at Shakespeare in the Park. Well worth seeing.  Really really smart and interesting direction. Lear & Fool's relationship best I've ever seen:  Fool genuinely bitter about Cordelia's loss at first, all his jokes barbed - then he takes over as Lear's glue & caretaker:  "Keep me in temper" spoken to him and not the gods.  And Edmund a classic Shakespearean sociopath - dispassionate & charming & in cahoots with the audience - in a line with Richard III & Iago - he should always be played that way!  Because of miking, every word crystal clear & some vocal subtlety allowed.  Best Lear-Edgar-Kent-Fool ("I took you for a joint-stool") scene ever, because they were ALL PLAYING OFF EACH OTHER instead of fading into the background when it wasn't their turn.  Edgar's Mad Tom was utterly freaking out the Fool, who kept edging away from him.  Tom very physical, jumped on top of Kent at one point.  Everyone united in trying to protect the unraveling Lear.
Kent genuinely funny, Gloucester genuinely dignified - if a bit of a fool (and his eventual transformation less than satisfying).  Cornwall a true brute; Albany irresistibly reminiscent of a nice Jewish man who just wants everyone to be decent - til he sees it's hopeless.  Cordelia's opening scene terrific, as you can see she & Lear have a special bond, so she expects him to get what she's doing…. and everyone's dawning horror when they realize he means it and is not quite himself and nothing anyone can do about it.  How Kent tries! What a writer, that WS - the number of times Kent refuses to give up….
Best closing lines to a play ever ever ever:
The weight of these sad times we must obey;
Say what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest have borne most; we that are young
Shall never see so much nor live so long.
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Wonderful Samuel R. Delany posted his list of "Children of Dr. Thomas Browne" - that's Sir Thomas Browne to you, author of RELIGIO MEDICI ("A Doctor's Religion"), URN BURIAL, and like that - and invited people to discuss it.*

But one line of Delany's jumped out at me - and with his permission, I share it with you here (in context):

The Brontes? Emily, possibly. But not Charlotte. And not Anne. Writers who (as it were) fetishize straightforwardnes, yes--and see high style as a way to achieve it. That's Browne's legacy. But not clarity. And clarity is one of Charlottes virtues, which lets her out of the direct descendents of Browne. (IMHO.) And she's prior to Flaubert, by a hefty handful of years. Charlotte was a William Makepeace Thackeray freak,** and she did it better than he did. So today we read her more than we do him--good as he was. And he was very good, indeed.

I was introduced to Browne by my beloved Columbia U. Shakespeare professor, Edward Tayler.  That summer, I found an old cloth-bound copy of RELIGIO MEDICI, and read it over and over, trying to untangle the 17th century prose and the thoughts both alien with time, and immediate in humanity.  I'll put some of my favorite quotes in Comments when I have time - meanwhile, what are yours?

Anyhow, I'll take Delany's definition as mine own with pride - indeed, maybe you want to inscribe this on my Literary Monument? (You know, the one that has the life-sized carvings of all my characters mourning my passing - like that one we saw in Prague….?)

She fetishized straightforwardness, and saw high style as a way to achieve it.

*The discussion is Friends locked on Facebook, but I assure you it's well worth reading! As wide-ranging as Delany's considerable intellect - and sometimes as dense to those of us less gifted.  It ranges from Milton to Melville, and his list of "Children" includes Djuna Barnes, Virginia Wolfe, James Agee and D. H. Lawrence.

** Errrrh. I, too, am a Thackeray freak.  Indeed, my favorite Bad Review (of the Swordspoint audiobook) on Amazon is full of righteous indignation that Neil Gaiman compares me to dear Jane Austen, when I am so obviously devoid of all sensibility and am a mere Thackeray bacchante!  I wear the badge with pride.
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When I sat down to write "Prise de Fer" for the new Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner anthology Games Creatures Play, I knew that I was going to have to go begging wide and far for information on not just fencing, but how modern fencing differs from 18th century sword-fighting.  This is, after all, what the plot hinges on - and no amount of Riverside flummery would serve me in a story set in France in 1963, about a young New Yorker with a terrifying French grand-mere, who goes to a snooty summer-school in Normandy just so she can learn fencing from a 1953 Olympic champion . . . . only to encounter an older inhabitant of the château who wants her to do things his way.

The Modern Fencing bit was easy:  remember what I could of my Basic Fencing college classes (where I triumphed - when I did - with my Glare rather than my Form) . . . and pick the very generous brain of competitive fencer and fellow-author Kat Howard, beginning with her Lightspeed Magazine article "The Pen and the Sword," and then making her answer many questions over the phone.

Then I went on FaceBook & Twitter, with this simple plea:
If anyone knows the fine points of the differences between 18c smallsword fighting and contemporary fencing, you'd better tell me now. #amwriting

Teel James Glenn, Ken Burnside and  many others were terrifically generous with their knowledge, and gave me their permission to share it with you here.  I hope it's as useful to you, someday.


[All boldface notes mine -- including this:

- helpful any? ]

I also owe a great debt of gratitude to swordmaster and Broadway fight director J. Allen Suddeth (Aladdin!!!! yayyy! Newsies!! and and and!), who took me under his wing and invited me to demo bouts and sent me videos and notes . . . . It was such a joy getting to work with all these folks, to deepen friendships and relationships . . . .And to - oh yes - WRITE THE STORY AND PUBLISH IT!!!!!

Here is the BRITISH cover, which I just love:

appears in bookstores on
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (no fooling)

. . . . with a pretty hot ToC that I am so pleased to be a part of!  I do think the anthology should be subtitled "Stories about Sports by People who really hated sports when they were kids . . . . " -- Take a look at the descriptions, and you'll see ;)
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I'm delighted to announce that Delia & I will be returning to Hollins University to teach again in Summer 2015 for their MA/MFA Program in Children's Literature - and that Terri Windling joins us there as 2015 Writer-in-Residence!

Now, here's the catch:  In order to study with me, you need to be at least a second year student.  Which means you must apply now for this year's program - deadline March 15th, 2014 ** EXTENDED NOW TO APRIL 15th!** - so that you can begin classes this summer. (Terri & Delia will be available to everyone in 2015. This is just for people who want to take my Advanced Seminar.  And there's nothing to stop you from applying now for 2015!)

Now, don't get your knickers in a twist. You probably are "good enough." The program encourages all levels of students. Seriously.  And there is Financial Aid.  It's a 6-week summer semester, a chance to find out just what you're capable of; and during the year, you can acquire credits through on-line courses.

If you wait to start classes in 2015, you'll get to take Delia Sherman's amazing "Introduction to Fantasy Writing" class, aka "How to read (and think) like a writer!" I didn't think such writing could be taught . . . until I inherited some of her students last year, in my Writing Seminar, and saw how far they'd come since studying with her. Delia works with Fairy Tale, MG fiction, and with the inside of your head and the outside of your pages.

As 2015 Writer-in-Residence, Terri Windling will be lecturing, meeting individually with students to read mss. and give feedback . . . and, of course, hanging out in the Writers' Livingroom (which I founded back in 2011) for the first 2 weeks of this 6-week semester.

I will be teaching a 4-6 person Advanced Seminar again in 2015:  Essentially, a 6-week workshop on how to get your thesis - i.e. your novel - to move forward and keep going.  I work hard to create a supportive atmosphere, with an emphasis students helping each other, not "critiquing" to show off. Both Delia & I keep office hours, and really enjoy meeting one-on-one outside of class.

You also get to take academic classes with the likes of the truly amazing Karen Coats, Brian Attebery, and more - in fact, if you want an M.A. instead of an M.F.A., your primary classes will be with them.  But you still do some Creative Writing for your degree - and if you're an MFA, you still get to take some Academic classes.

And this year, for the first time, Hollins is offering a combined MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating! Artist faculty Ruth Sanderson, Ashley Wolff & Elizabeth Dulemba have become very dear friends; you'll love studying with them.  In fact, much as we love teaching, our other reasons for returning again & again to Hollins are (a) It's in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area rich with folklore & traditional music (Friday nights! at the Floyd Country Store!!); (b) the chance to hang out all summer with the above-mentioned colleagues, also including Hillary Homzie, Lisa Fraustino, Chip Sullivan, and many more……all creative, funny, charming & supportive teachers who have become dear friends.

Come join us?

Here's how.

**And - because one does not enter grad school lightly or precipitously: Say "Ellen sent me," and our fabulous Program Director will accept applications through April 15th!
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As we programmed my national public radio show Sound & Spirit every year, we tried to throw in something seasonally appropriate.  Valentine's Day was the best - our programming ranged from the affirming . . . .

MY BETTER HALF (written with Titilayo Ngwenya)
From Edvard and Nina Grieg to Gala and Salvador Dalí, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears to Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill, Sound & Spirit explores the intimate, extraordinary, sometimes unusual relationships crafted by two people in love. Hear words and music by and about significant others, and sample the sweet fruits of conjugal affection and creative partnership.

. . . . to the "Yeah, well, what about those of us who are NOT in a couple this year?" cranky . . . .

BREAKUPS (written with Justine Larbalestier)
Like the beginning of a relationship, the breakup of a romance is a time brimming with possibilities and questions. Questions about the future: Who am I now? How can I live without you? What will I do with my freedom? Will I ever love again? Questions about the past: What was it that we had together? Is it gone now? Did I waste those years? In this award-winning program, Ellen Kushner looks for answers, with the help of poets and musicians from around the world.

. . . . to those wishing to slip the surly bonds of earth altogether:


What is the line between Carnal and Divine love? Over the centuries, music, poetry and mysticism have blurred it, and each one has fed the other - as we'll hear in this week's show! Ellen explores the way that American Gospel music provided the heat for Motown Soul, how the Sufis of Turkey and Pakistan sing of divine passion being found through earthly friendship, and how a modern rock singer, Joan Osborne, even turned to Sufi star Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn to learn how to express her passion.

(Actually, I'm not sure we ever programmed "Love Divine" for Valentine's Day - but we should have! I'm doing it now.)

Click on each title to listen to the show.

Playlists are clickable on each show's page.

And if you can figure out a way to get rid of that irritating blue stuff above (without re-typing the whole thing) . . . just let me know!
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Hey!  Look what else we've dug up while packing up our beloved arts retreat!  Even if you've never been here, this is a great chance for you to keep a piece of Endicott West history . . . or to acquire unique works of art by Terri Windling, the creator and presiding spirit of Endicott Studio, the Journal of Mythic Arts, and the original Boston Endicott Studio - which gave its name to Tucson's Endicott West.

Thanks to everyone who bid on our previous auctions this week.  Running concurrently with this one is the Pre-Raphaelite Blow-Out, which also includes boxes of Liberty Prints & Guatemalan Fabrics from the Endicott West retreat.

who have stayed at ENDICOTT WEST over the years
Signed & Personalized by them to Endicott West*:

Close-up of books

* exceptions to this: SARAH CANARY, OUR LADY OF THE HARBOUR (both first editions), signed (but not inscribed) by de Lint. Fowler not signed, but in pristine condition.  Everything else has some version of: "To Endicott West" plus a date, by authors & illustrators who stayed here 2002 - 2014.  All books are shown above . . .
. . .and we're also throwing into the book box:
"Eddie and the Fae" T-shirt (Emma Bull, Size M) and
"Green Man Press" Sweatshirt (Charles Vess, Size XL)

EWest Guest books

See some of the photos and comments by guests who've stayed at Endicott over the years.


brownline prints drawings 2drawings 1Set of prints

…and she's thrown in some extra prints from her Etsy shop, because she's such a nice person!

Also visit the Endicott Pre-Raphaelite Auction (last post) - bid here for Morris fabric, PLUS Guatemalan & Cowboy Quilting Fabric from Endicott West!


1) LOOK below in Comments for the SUBJECT LINE for either #1 (BOOKS + t-shirt + sweatshirt) or #2 (SKETCHES).

2) Click REPLY UNDER the LAST (most recent) HIGH BID on the one you're interested in (NOT in the General Comments for this post! and NOT under the "Minimum Bid" Comment, either), being sure to bid higher than the person before you did. And say what you're bidding on, just to avoid confusion.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A LIVEJOURNAL member to bid:  JUST COMMENT as a GUEST - but leave a name so we know who you are.

HIGHEST BID in each category at 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 29th wins.

We will notify you HERE in Comments,
so check back to see if you won so we can contact you.  If we don't hear from you in 48 hours, the prize will go to the next highest bidder.  Nothing will be mailed out before we have received your PayPal payment of your pledged bid, which should be within 48 hours of our hearing from you.

• U.S. only - no mailing abroad:  Sorry, but the extra work of figuring postage & filling in customs forms is just not something any of us can cope with as we close up the house.  If you've got a friend in the US who will accept the package for you, that would work for us!
• Books will be mailed by Feb. 8th, at Media Rate.  
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So many treasures have emerged as we close up our beloved Endicott West arts retreat in the Tucson desert!  All her life, Terri Windling has had a passion for matters Pre-Raphaelite. Her precious collection spans the decades . . . and now it's time to pass some of it on to you.  For those few hearts unmoved by William Morris & Co., we offer a final cache from the soul of our little retreat . . . . So click on, and bid high:  All proceeds go to moving a portion of Terri's things across the Atlantic, and to help repair the flood damage recently done to her home in the UK.

Jacket 3
1) Terri's own "HELL'S PRE-RAPHAELITES" motorcycle jacket:
Painted for her by illustrator Cortney Skinner
OK, so after 20 years in the desert, Jane Morris looks a bit like Rossetti dug her up along with his poetry…. But don't worry:  We're sending it to Cortney to touch it up so you can wear it for another 20!  As a result:  This jacket will not be available before April 2014.  But it will be so worth it….

Jacket close-up . . . Because  see how cool Terri looked in it circa 1990?  It's a Women's SIZE 8 (or maybe a small 10)
Terri on her motorcycle in The Jacket )

for the connoisseur  - includes rare and collectibles

The complete set is pictured here in these 2 photos.
For HIGH-RESOLUTION images, see Terri's post here.

Pre-Raphaelite box picture 1PR-Raph Box picture 2

When William Morris died in 1896 at the age of 62, he left behind him a body of work ranging from fantasy novels to fabric design, paintings to printing presses . . . his physician famously said, "He died of being William Morris!"  Here's a taste of his life & work, chosen by Terri from her personal library:
PHOTO of Books in "Strictly Morris" Box )

Scraps of fabric large and small (patterns below) which have adorned everything from seat cushions in Terri's original Boston North End Endicott studio, to bits of her celebrated collages, to tabletops at Endicott West.  Liberty's has stopped making many of these. NOTE:  These are smallish pieces, pretty much only suitable for quilting. Includes some velvets to go with them!

Morris-Liberty-velvet pieces
Extra photos I took of the same stuff, to try to give a better sense of what's in there. Not sure I succeeded, but:
More Morris Fabric Photos )

. . . And so we leave the Pre-Raphaelites, and Go West


Left over from the windows and chairs of Endicott West
Many are sun-faded in spots - perfect for quilters who want bits of pricey fabric, and to own a piece of history from Endicott West!  Also includes some fabulous Cowboy Fabrics:
PHOTO: GUATEMALAN & WESTERN fabrics from Endicott West )

for two very special additional auction offers from the famous Arts Retreat founded by Terri Windling, Delia Sherman & Ellen Kushner . . . lived in, loved, and visited by artists and authors including Emma Bull, Charles Vess, Charles de Lint, Ellen Klages, Alan Lee, Karen Joy Fowler and many more. Come see . . . .


1) LOOK below in Comments for the SUBJECT LINE for either #1 (Jacket),  #2 (Pre-Raph books), #3 (Morris), #4 (Pre-Raph fabrics) or #5 (Guatemalan fabrics).

2) Click REPLY UNDER the LAST (most recent) HIGH BID on the one you're interested in (NOT in the General Comments for this post! and NOT under the "Minimum Bid" Comment, either), being sure to bid higher than the person before you did. And say what you're bidding on, just to avoid confusion.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A LIVEJOURNAL member to bid:  JUST COMMENT as a GUEST - but leave a name so we know who you are.

HIGHEST BID in each category at ETA: 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 29th, gets the box.

We will notify you HERE in Comments,
so check back to see if you won so we can contact you.  If we don't hear from you in 48 hours, the prize will go to the next highest bidder.  Nothing will be mailed out before we have received your PayPal payment of your pledged bid, which should be within 48 hours of our hearing from you.

• U.S. only - no mailing abroad:  Sorry, but the extra work of figuring postage & filling in customs forms is just not something any of us can cope with as we close up the house.  If you've got a friend in the US who will accept the package for you, that would work for us!
• Books will be mailed by Feb. 8th, at Media Rate.  Fabric will be sent UPS or USPS.
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THE AUCTION IS CLOSED.  Thanks for your bids!
….and look for the Pre-Raphaelite -
 - and Endicott West Farewell - Blow-Out(s)
is now here!

Thanks to your support and enthusiasm for the Endicott West retreat and author, artist & editor Terri Windling's prodigious library here, we're offering four more fabulous flash auction packages, hand-chosen by Terri herself: a Baker's Dozen in each of some pretty special volumes. These are the last of these sort of boxes; all that's left is Monday's Pre-Raphaelite blow-out, which will feature art books and even fabrics.  And then we're done.

Your purchases are helping us to move her most important books, papers and lifelong possessions to her home in the U.K. - and at the same time giving tremendous joy to know that a lifetime of careful book-collecting is going to people who will truly value its fruits.

Here are the new Boxes on offer.  What you see is what you'll get - the 13 books in each box - thanks to Terri's own beautiful photos (yes, shut up, I know they are much better than the ones I took for the last auction) :

1) Biographies box

2)  Native American Authors box
includes some rare and hard-to-find volumes

3)  Poetry-Lover's box


4)  Short Story Lover's box
Many of these are the books from which Terri selected stories for her ground-breaking Year's Best Fantasy & Horror series.


The Great Pre-Raphaelite Blow-Out, featuring
• William Morris Box  • Pre-Raphaelite Art Books Box w/Collectibles • Wm Morris/Liberty Print Quilting Fabrics Box
It's a beauty; all Pre-Raphaelite-lovers will want to know about this one!
That will be our final auction, and then we're done.

ETA:  One more to add: We just found a big stack of books by authors who have stayed here, signed to Endicott West!
Includes Emma Bull, Ellen Kushner, Charles Vess, Charles de Lint & more. Some first editions. This will go up next week. The perfect way to close out the Retreat, and give someone a little piece of its history.  Bidding will start over $100 on this and the Pre-Raph collectibles, so if your budget is tight, we suggest you try for the ones listed here.

Meanwhile, here we go:


Read more... )
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It is sad to be clearing out Endicott West, which was an arts retreat for many years, as well as being the Arizona home to Terri Windling, where she created so much great work inspired by the Sonoran desert and its people. Terri's prodigious library here has given many people joy over the years, and I wish we could teleport it all to her little cottage in England - and build a new room to house it all in!  That being impossible, we're making sure it all goes to good homes (including the Special Collection at Northern Illinois U.) - and one of those homes could be yours!

To keep our spirits up - and to help support repairs on her home caused by the recent dramatic flooding in the UK - we are offering you the chance to bid on:

1) 25 Years of Books Edited by Terri
Including: Swan Sister; The Green Man; Ruby Slippers Golden Tears; Black Swan White Raven; Salon Fantastique; Sirens [all co-edited with Ellen Datlow]; The Essential Bordertown;  Faerie!;  Elsewhere Vol. 3 . . . and maybe a few surprises.  Each will be signed by Terri.
There will be *2* winners on this one: The last 2 high bids each get a box.

TW Bookshelf

2) Surprise Box of Terri's Favorite Fiction
At least 9 hardcovers + as many paperbacks as we can fit in the box of books Terri really loves, and has probably talked about on her fabulous blog and/or the Journal of Mythic Arts' celebrated "100 Books of Mythic Fiction."  You won't be disappointed.  Authors may (but are not guaranteed) to include Alice Hoffman, N. Scott Momaday, Vikram Chandra, Katherine Vaz, and others whose work Terri brought to the fantasy reading public's attention through her 20 years of groundbreaking work on The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror.

There will be *2* winners on this one: The last 2 high bids each get a box.

3) Terri's personal collection of Dorothy Dunnett novels!
You've heard me speak of them often: the Lymond Chronicles (recently discussed in my Facebook thread here): here offered in the 1980s paperback edition, with Terri's eye tracks on each page, and her wails of anguish across our apartment still ringing in my ears . . . Plus the Niccolo series, in the fancy trade paper edition, which she swears is all worth it once you get to the last volume.
TW Dunnetts TW Dunnett

Still to come:
• A box of Biographies (about Authors & Artists)  • A box of Art Books!  • Poetry! • Native American Fiction
* A box of Pre-Raphaelite books with some special collectibles!!*
 * 2 Boxes of Fabric Scraps (suitable for Quilters) culled from Endicott West decor

Look for those later today!

But let's get started now:


1) LOOK below in Comments FOR THE SUBJECT LINE for either #1 (TW Edited Collection),  #2 (Surprise Box), or #3 (Dunnetts).

2) Click REPLY under the one you're interested in, being sure to bid higher than the person before you did!


HIGHEST BID in each category at NOON EST on Friday, January 24th, gets the box.

We will reply HERE in Comments,
so check back to see if you won so we can contact you.

U.S. only - no mailing abroad, unless you're willing to pay international shipping yourself.
Books will be mailed by Feb. 8th, at Media Rate. If you want them faster, be willing to pay the extra postage.

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The London Review of Books yielded this at the breakfast table:

"In the words of A.S. Byatt, who worked with [Penelope] Fitzgerald at Westminster Tutors, the London crammer, she was ...  ‘someone with an austere, original talent’, and Byatt presents the way she came to understand this as an epiphany.

‘She said to me about
Human Voices’ – the scent rising, perhaps, from the sausage roll Fitzgerald was warming up on the radiator for lunch ['cause how could I cut that? - ek] – ‘that she wished I would write something … to point out that it was based on a German poem by Heine, “Der Asra”’. Fitzgerald’s fourth novel, on the face of it a tragicomedy of love and loss among careworn bosses and dewy office girls at the wartime BBC, resonated, in its author’s mind at least, with a poem in which a Yemeni slave explains how, for the people he comes from, to love is to die.

We are talking about a writer for whom intellect was a passion, and whose books as much recount romances with whatever she has been reading as they do anything else."


--Not Penelope Fitzgerald, obviously - unless she's a particular passion of yours - but if you write, do you do so in conscious - or unconscious - dialogue with other things you've been reading?

I would have said, "Probably not anymore" - but I am very conscious right now of the fact that all my first published work absolutely was just that!  I am re-reading Dorothy Dunnett's the Lymond Chronicles [a fun discussion on FaceBook], and it's bringing it all back - just how bouleversée I was by that series, and how much I learned from her technique, both consciously and un-.  I'm seeing now even more clearly what a perfect master she is of characterization, pacing, transitions, and POINT OF VIEW . . . but that's another post. I just mean to begin by answering my own question by saying that there have definitely been times when my work has been, not so much a romance with what I've been reading, as a response to it - or a way of engaging with it in some manner.

I'll be curious to see what you have to say about your own.

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Thanks to the divine Paul Cornell, I am reminded that nominations for the 2014 Hugo Awards are now open, and that it is not shameful to let others know that one has eligible work.

And so we present for your consideration the unabridged audiobook of THE FALL OF THE KINGS for
Best Dramatic Presentation “Long Form” (more than 90 minutes)

Rules for who is eligible to nominate for the Hugos are here.  You can nominate for the Hugo Awards (if you've an attending or supporting member of this year's, last year's or next year's Worldcon) here.  More info (including fact that deadline is March 31st) here.

ETA: Bo Bolander reminds us: "If you attended LoneStarCon last year, you can vote on the Hugos/Campbell this year. It's that easy!"

Creator/Writer:  Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman
Studio: SueMedia/Neil Gaiman Presents

Produced by SueMedia & Ellen Kushner, narrated by Ellen Kushner (co-author with Delia Sherman), the audiobook features original music by Nathanael Tronerud composed for the Riverside Series, book by book, this book being the culmination.  Using our new "Illuminated" audiobook technique, SueMedia also creates original sound effects throughout, and we invited a host of wonderful actors to bring some of the dialogue to life - including the great Simon Jones (the original Arthur Dent in Hitchiker's Guide!), audio award-winners Katherine Kellgren, Nick Jones, Robert Fass . . . and Neil Gaiman as The Wizard in the Dreams!

Read more about it and listen to sample clips here.

I would point out the the first book in the series, Swordspoint, won an Audie Award in 2012, so we're selling quality goods here. And that, ehrm, very very few people actually nominate and vote in the Hugos, so every vote genuinely counts!

Thank you.

Full Size Cover Image by Tom Canty )
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So excited about this!

Hollins MFA Program is where
Delia Sherman & I teach every other summer. We'll be there next in 2015 - joined by Writer-in-Residence Terri Windling-Gayton!

I cannot recommend the place too highly:
Ruth Sanderson & her fellow Illustration instructors ashley wolff & Elizabeth O. Dulemba are creative, funny, charming & supportive teachers, and have become dear friends. Our academic and writing colleagues there (including in 2015 the amazing Karen Coats, hurray!!) have, too. This new program weaving together the 2 programs is the It if you want to illustrate!

If not, the Vanilla MA/MFA program is still available - and if you attend this year (2014), you'll be eligible for my 2nd year Seminar next yea (summer 2015).

Think about it. We're happy to answer any questions you might have. The fact that it's in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with Appalachian traditional music just down the road, doesn't hurt any either. Just sayin'.
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Sunday 15 December, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Delia Sherman & I are doing a holiday "house concert/lecture" - just think of it as coming and hanging out with us in a living room on the Upper West side, while we shoot the breeze about the way that fantasy literature and traditional folk music play nicely together and make beautiful children.  Come with your own examples of books and stories that do the trick, or get ready to hear us talk - and sing! - about Ellen's World Fantasy Award-winning novel THOMAS THE RHYMER (based on a Scots Border Ballad), and Delia's multiple short stories, like "The Maid on the Shore," plus, of course, her novel THROUGH A BRAZEN MIRROR (from Martin Carthy's rendition of the ballad "The Famous Flower of Serving-Men) . . . and how Ellen stole - er, recycled one of its plotlines.
And, yes, there will be singing.
To find out the Secret Location, call Heather at (212) 957-8386 for reservations and information.
General admission: $15. Folk Music Society of NY members or full-time students: $12.
Folk Music & Fantasy
Sunday 15 December, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Upper West Side
(call for directions: (212) 957-8386)
Presented by the Folk Music Society of NY
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When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old,
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For [love] and for valour he rode through the land.

No charger have I, and no sword by my side,
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride,
Though back into storyland giants have fled,
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead.

Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
'Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed;
And let me set free with the sword of my youth,
From the castle of darkness, the power of the truth.

When a Knight Won His Spurs is a children's hymn written by Jan Struther and set to a folk melody (Stowey) and harmonised by Ralph Vaughan Williams.The hymn first appeared in Songs of Praise in 1931.

Hear it beautifully done by my new favorite British folk duo, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker.

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Terri Windling, Delia Sherman & I are selling our beloved Endicott West, the house/arts retreat we all put together in Tucson, Arizona some 13 years ago . . . The letters are flying back and forth across the Atlantic, of course, as we three come to terms with this change in our lives, and say good bye to a past and a vision. In one of them, Terri wrote:

A wise woman I know named Ellen Kushner once said this in an interview in Locus magazine: "Now my generation, we're all hitting late-thirties to late-forties. Our concerns are different. If we stick to fantasy, what are we going to do? Traditionally, there's been the coming-of-age [novel] and the quest which is the finding of self. We're past the early stages of that. I can't wait to see what people do with the issues of middle age in fantasy. Does fantasy demand that you stay in your adolescence forever? I don't think so. Tolkien is not juvenile. It's a book about losing things you loved, which is a very middle–aged concern. Frodo's quest is a middle–aged man's quest, to lose something and to give something up, which is what you start to realize in your thirties is going to happen to you. Part of the rest of your life is learning to give things up."

I don't remember saying all that!  But I do recognize both those thoughts as coming from conversations I had with Michael Swanwick, back when I used to visit him in Philadelphia after Philcon.  We'd stay up late talking, and then he'd drive me around the city, showing me local curiosities and dispensing wisdom and pensées - mostly just posing questions, and chewing on them happily together.

I like to quote my sources, so:  Thank you, Michael.

Fortunately, Mr. Swanwick wrote up his thoughts on Tolkien in a gorgeous essay for Karen Haber's Meditations on Middle Earth.  I invited him to speak about them on my public radio show, Sound & Spirit, for one of the last shows I did, The Lord of the Rings - and, Lo!, someone has transcribed his words and put them up on The One Ring Forum, here!*   (You can also listen to the entire 1-hour radio show - including the Swanwick interview - here.)

Oddly enough, speaking of the LOTR S&S show, I just got FB Friended by a guy in Poland with the rather elegant name of Ryszard Viajante Derdzinski who says, "Your broadcasts are famous among the Polish fans of JRR Tolkien. Thanks to you I discovered The Tolkien Ensemble and Varttina."

Wow.  What goes around . . . certainly goes around!  And Finnish women's neo-trad singers Värttinä can't have too many fans.

*Swanwick quote from Sound & Spirit: The Lord of the Rings:
When my son, Sean, was nine years old he told me I had to read him Lord of the Rings because his friend had LOTR read to him and he was only eight years old so Sean was suffering from major loss of prestige. It was a really wonderful experience to travel through Middle-earth with my son. Every night at bedtime, for months, we'd follow the Hobbits through Middle-earth. And it was really a great experience for both of us, but... as we read, I realized that Sean was hearing a very different story from the one that I was reading. The story that he was hearing was the same one I read when I was sixteen. It was the greatest adventure story in the world. He really loved it, but... as a forty one year old man, what I was hearing was the saddest story in the world. Everybody in that book is in the process of losing everything they hold most dear. And there's nothing they can do about that. Galadriel mourns the withering of Lothlorien. The Elves are leaving Middle-earth. Ents are slowly dying away as a race and turning back into trees. The Shire is changing and not for the better. Frodo loses more than anybody. At the end of the three books, Frodo has lost everything. He's saved the entire world but there is no place for him in all of Middle-earth. All that he can do is go to the Grey Havens and die. That was an important book. I probably read it 20 times through. I might even have read it 20 times in a row, straight through. And then, at some point as an adult, I went away from it and I was afraid to come back because I was afraid it would be a children's book. And then, I reread it... it's an adult book. There were depths in it I could not appreciate at 16. Sean couldn't appreciate at 9. And you have to have experienced sorrow and loss to be able to appreciate it. Tolkien knew that, if you want to live in this world, the price you have to pay is, at the end of the ride, you have got to die. But that's okay. That's a small price to pay. )
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To celebrate the completion of all three “Riverside” audiobooks for Neil Gaiman Presents, you’re invited to a special live performance of selections from all three novels, featuring the authors as narrators, along with members of the original audiobook cast.
When I teamed up with SueMedia Productions to narrate my own audiobook of Swordspoint, magic happened. Our audio version won a  2012 Audie Award, and we went on to do the next two in the same innovative “illuminated” style, featuring original SFX and all-new music for the series by exciting young composer Nathanael Tronerud.
Please join us
The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art
138 Sullivan Street  (between Houston & Prince St.)
New York City
Our CAST will feature multiple Audie-Award winning performers:
Barbara Rosenblat (Orange is the New Black, Elizabeth Peters’ “Amelia Peabody” series)
Katherine Kellgren (L.A. Meyer's “Bloody Jack” series)
Robert Fass
Bill Rogers (Pokemon!)
Doug Shapiro
Ryan McCabe
Jordan Smith
……in their original roles
with authors Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman narrating their own work!
Refreshments will be provided.  Come ready to celebrate a truly remarkable achievement, and to peek behind the scenes at a live audiobook performance!
Part of the NYRSF Reading Series:  "Admission free; $7 donation suggested.”
* * * * * *
Can’t make the show?  You can still hear Neil Gaiman’s own introductions to the three books here on my website … and then just click on each the titles to hear a sample clip from each book!
To download a FREE audiobook of Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword or The Fall of the Kings, try Audible.com free for 30 days here: Audible.com/exclusive ….or just order a copy on iTunes or Amazon.com
Have a great Thanksgiving!

October 2014

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