Tomorrow I will be at Arcanum for Old Fashioned Days, selling my books and trying to stay out of trouble. There will be food trucks, chainsaw sculpting, youth groups, and most likely, beer. Come visit me. I’ll be down one of the side streets… lurking.
It is May Day and I am drawing close to putting the third book of the Arcanum Faire trilogy to bed. The action of all three points to one thing: Opening Day for the renaissance faire at Arcanum, Ohio. And that day is May the First, or Beltane. To celebrate and give you all a taste of what I have in store, here is a behind the scenes look at the two queens preparing for their first parade.
Enjoy, and Merry Beltane!
Eleazar had been pleased to find the Faerie Queen underneath two stilt-walkers in a travel trailer, but there had been considerable wear and tear on the merchandise. Titania received last moment make-up and wardrobe assistance from Amber, Crystal, and Ivy, and they were doing magic with concealer, rouge and body glitter. As she was being made presentable, her Faerie court, in wings and bits of stylized armor, formed up on the gravel track behind the jousters’ stables.
Queen Elizabeth and her own court jockeyed for position ahead of them. A dozen lords and ladies in velvets, brocades and pearls tried to look cultured and elegant in spite of the dust and rising heat.
The Teufelkindern Landsknecht unit squared up in their tercio formation to lead the parade and escort the queens. The arqubusiers looked away with guilty expressions as the battered knight from their ill-advised black-powder demonstration cantered up on his butterscotch steed. He had little time to notice them.
Queen Elizabeth waved her fan and shrieked at the horsemen:
“No, no, no, no! You— go back there!” She gestured to a position behind Faerie Court. “I am your Queen and there is no WAY that I will march behind the horses!”
“Relax, Peggy. Nothing’s going to muss up your embroidered slippers,” said Lord Pumpkinpants. Eleazar couldn’t remember the actor’s name, or his persona’s, but his globular pantaloons were certainly the largest in the Faire.
“And I was supposed to have a carriage!” she shouted to no-one in particular. “What the HELL happened to my carriage?”
Eleazar rushed over to calm the raging queen.
“Milady.” Eleazar quickly was reminded of her position by the flames in the Queen’s eyes and the flare of her nostrils. He bowed low. “Your Majesty. There was simply no way we could acquire two fitting carriages before the festivities.”
“I only need one carriage,” the Queen said regally. She had always refused to accept the unorthodox arrangement of two courts royal courts.
“Extra wide!” Titania hooted. The Fae felt no need for courtly behavior, especially when hungover.
“I will kick your bony elfin ass from here to Pennsic!” Elizabeth snapped.
“Can you lift your leg that high?”
Queen Elizabeth snapped her fan shut, rendering it a sandalwood truncheon she was known to use frequently.
“Come at me, Tinkerbell!”
Titania closed with Elizabeth, but two of her court grasped her to prevent regicide. Eleazar stepped in between the two hotheads of state, though unwillingly.
“Ladies! Ladies! My most august royal personages. You have your champions to fight for your honor upon the list fields.”
“I’d rather pull out her cheap red hair with my own hands,” The Queen of All Faerie snarled.
“Like you’re a natural blonde,” Good Queen Bess retorted.
“I need you both to behave like the magnanimous historically-inaccurate potentates that you are.” Eleazar realized there was too much naked steel and horseflesh around to allow this conflict to continue.
“She started it,” Elizabeth muttered.
Titania made a response that was all vowels and exhalations.
“Or I can summarily declare this faire to be a democracy and fire you both.”
The prospect of losing a paying position as royalty quickly enough put cold water to hot tempers.
“I can save it for the jousting field,” Elizabeth said.
“I can, too.” After a surly moment of thought, Titania added: “My Oaken King will pop open your champion like a can of Spam.”
The other Queen slapped her closed fan across her palm with an audible crack.
“Sir Pepin will squash him like a bug.”
“That’s the spirit!” Eleazar cheered. “Now, off to your neutral principalities, just like Switzerland.”
The queens glared at each other and returned to their positions in the parade. Eleazar began creating space between , first by wedging in the merchants and artisans, which was then vetoed by Titania as a diminuation of her prestige. Finally, a second honor guard was improvised from Vikings and assorted re-enactors to escort the Faerie Queen and to act as a buffer between the courts.
As the procession ultimately made its way onto the Faire grounds proper, Eleazar wondered if there existed a Renaissance World Peace Prize he should be nominating himself for.
Happy Vernal Equinox everyone. This is the first day of Spring, the beginning of the work week, the onset of our later lives. With some helpful changes in our home life and changes in my medication and supplement regimen, I hope to opening up a happier, more productive period of my life.
The twenty-second anniversary of my daughter’s death is also coming up this week. Hard to have much to say in that context that isn’t like opening a vein. And I’ve made promises that I would not be opening any veins in the foreseeable future.
Move forward, look back, take your vitamins.
Smell the flowers for me.
Yesterday was a very good day for me on a literary scale. I found that Kristin Dreyer Kramer had released her review of my second book “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove” yesterday on Lakeshore Public Radio. It was very pleasant to hear her take on my work, even when she pointed out the weakness of it being a transitional middle book, which it is. Just wait until you see what happens in “The Ren Faire at the End of the World” when it comes out next year. No laid-back, transitional there, I promise you.
Anyway, it was very nice to hear, very nice to learn that it is broadcast in Indiana, also. The segment will broadcast on my Columbus local NPR station WCBE Monday evening at 8pm. I’ll save any links until then.
I also found yesterday that I will be a panelist at World Fantasy here over the Halloween weekend. I will be speaking on the panel about Masks in Fantasy Thursday afternoon, and I will have a reading from my WIP RFEW on Friday morning at 10:30 am. All times, I’m sure, will be up for last minute changes. Terry-Linn Smiles and I will be sharing a table in the Dealers Room, so you should be able to catch me and my Arcanum Faire books there throughout the convention.
Last but not least, this weekend will be my first appearance at Imaginarum in Louisville KY. I will be doing panels on writing RPGs, scripts, and Steampunk in general. Unsure if I got a signing slot or not this weekend, but I or my books will be at the Post Mortem Press table in the Dealers Room on a regular basis.
So, Goodbye, thanks for all the literary love and remember to register to vote. Your ballot will be the one to save us from mandatory Federal Spray-Tanning.
This week a dear friend flew in from Japan and I was able to put my two books in her hands. Once she gets home, that will be four continents where I will have a literary presence, as sparse as it may be.
You don’t have to fly twenty-five hours to get my books. In fact, if you live in Southern Ohio, I will be coming to you. Friday evening, I will be at the Grand Opening of Keystone Books & Gifts in Circleville, between 6 and 7 p.m.. Come down and you will be able to see the sights before all the pumpkin tourists arrive.
Saturday, the good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, I will be with my publisher Eric Beebe and other members of the Post Mortem Press Cadre to sell and sign books. Our own if we can, or forge others if we have to. My friend Seth Lyons will be there and this event is billed as Stan Lee’s last appearance ever. Join the fun, this will be my third year in a row.
I don’t do well with people, as a rule. I don’t have social anxiety, per se, but my tolerance for pettiness and ego approaches zero pretty damn quickly, especially when there is no talent to back it up.
Cliques are the worst of it. In theater, publishing, gaming, and reenacting, cliques are the engines that drive the world. Fannish cliques are perhaps the most galling, cliques of misfits which say “We all like each other because we don’t fit in, but you don’t fit in in entirely the wrong way.”
Good thing I have my wife, my cat, my son and three and a half jobs.
The truly annoying thing is that all the interactions follow the same blueprint and I keep going through it over and over a gain in hopes that something will change. Here’s the step by step:
1: Friendly overture towards group.
2: Snub, snipe, or incompetent behavior that has to be ascribed to malevolence because “really, how could these people actually be this dumb and run a ()?”
3: I, feeling miffed, point out they are acting in a cliquish/moronic fashion.
4: The group’s representative responds with outrage and sincere hurt that I should think so little of them and their inclusiveness.
5: I apologize for my boorish behavior and promise to make an effort to fit in and be all friendly-like in the future.
6: Second friendly overture.
7: Continued snubbing and incompetence, just to prove I wasn’t hallucinating things the first time.
8: I take up heavy drinking.
I could give you some examples of this, but even with changing names to protect the guilty, it would get back to them. That would be me returning to Step 3, and you see how far that got me on the flow chart.
So, I’m leaving this:
I’ve been thrown off my rhythm by events that didn’t happen a week ago (keep an eye out for a post titled “I Made It All Up”), but I thought I’d pop in to announce I will be in Arcanum Ohio today, tomorrow, and Sunday. I will be selling my books set in the fictional Arcanum Ohio within a stone’s throw of the lovely cottage that is the Arcanum Public Library.
Saturday is National Readathon Day, so read lots, preferably mine, and stop by the family festival with lumberjacks and chainsaws. I’ll be the man with the black hat, a handlebar mustache and a little red tent.
This weekend, Kit and I will be gong to the Ashville Viking Festival together. This is a follow-up to our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary last weekend when we attended Ohioana and the Statehouse reception together, I helped her tag Victorian clothes at The Alley and we fell into unconscious heaps on the bed. We also exchanged wheeled carts: a rolling garden seat for her and a folding dolly for my fifty pounds of books. Apparently, Twenty-Eight years is the Rolling Cart Anniversary.
Come down to the park in Ashville OH. See the Vikings and other reenactors of many ages. Peruse the many renaissance faire style vendors, from food to leather to books. Meet my lovely wife Kit, the Demi-Goddess of Sales and Shopping.
And me and my Arcanum Faire Books, of course. I will even have a few copies of the flash fiction anthology 44 Lies by 22 Liars that includes my flash horror piece about fishing with cormorants.
I kid you not.
Here is the link to actual information:
It’s been a fun week with a successful Ohioana Book Festival, prepping for the Asheville Viking Festival this weekend and reuniting with my old writer’s group buddies. Beyond the accelerated writing schedule for Book 3 of Arcanum Faire and promotions, there’s been little time for proper blogging.
So, I’ll leave you this. Enjoy!