A Story by Betsy James: Paradise and Trout

Road Through Woods by Betsy James with permission.

When Hally Kass died, his father put a bridge in his hand.

Anyone would have said it was a reed, the jointed kind that Hally, when he was small, had liked to pull apart and put back together. But it was a bridge, and when his father laid it–it was about eight inches long–on his son’s chest and wrapped his cool fingers around it, he told Hally how he was to use it.

“Go out the door,” he said. “Turn east and follow the road to the mountain. Any being you meet is a demon. Don’t speak.” A willow twig, burned to charcoal, had been laid between the boy’s lips to remind him of what, now, he was.

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The 2017 World Fantasy Award Finalists

The 2017 World Fantasy Award Finalists were posted Wednesday 26 July.

The awards will be presented during the World Fantasy Convention, held November 2-5, 2017 at the Wyndham Riverwalk in San Antonio TX.

The World Fantasy Awards Finalists for novels are:

  •    Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  •    Roadsouls, Betsy James (Aqueduct)
  •    The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  •    The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Claire North (Redhook; Orbit UK)
  •    Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff (Harper)

We here at Girl Cooties congratulate everyone but include a special shout-out to Betsy James who contributes here! Woohoo!

On Cutting for the SF Artist

Original by Betsy James with permission.

“Top-heavy, too earnest, too detailed” describes most early drafts, certainly my own. That’s how it should be. In the beginning you have to let ‘er rip, pile it on, explore, make a mess. If you don’t you’ll get self-conscious and inhibit yourself.

Then you cut.

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On Cutting: Sharpen the Blade

That machete was my Dad’s. In the 1930s he was a mining engineer in Argentina, working pack mules in the Andes. The machete saw a lot of use then, but when Dad died neither of my brothers claimed it. Heirlooms shouldn’t leave the family; I took it myself, feeling odd that the only daughter should inherit that gigantic phallic blade.

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On the Use of Archaic English: Prithee, Risk It Not

A friend who grew up rural poor says his grandpa’s advice was, “Don’t steal unless you know how to steal.” Mine is:

“Don’t use archaic English unless you know how to use archaic English.”

I’m pretty fair at it, yet I’d never risk it in print. I adore when the high-born Irish love-interest in the fantasy romance says, “Hast thee strided anon upon ye poop deck, milord, forsoothly begorra?”

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