Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Lesser Twin

"The Lesser Twin" also appeared in the short-short story issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine (issue #9). In addition to all of the short-shorts (under 1000 words), there was a long story for each section, and this was the one for the Fantasy Section. "Long" in this case is about 2800 words, so it's very much relative.

By this time I had spent over a decade in Berkeley, and the novelty of the environment had long since worn off. I had seen too many men who treated women as interchangeable sex objects and too many women who tolerated such behavior. I had finally come to understand what the minister leading a retreat for our church youth group meant when he said, "Sex isn't bad. Sex is too good to be cheapened." I grew up in a very sheltered environment where people got married, had children, and stayed married until one of them died, so I didn't really have any reference for "cheap" sex when I was a teenager--especially while I was in a girls' boarding school.

This story was inspired by a friend of mine who told me she was in love with a man who had a new mistress every year or so. My initial reaction was incredulity, followed by the belief that she had lost her mind. She got over it pretty quickly, but by then I had written this story.

"The Lesser Twin" is available for Kindle and Nook.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weather Witch

I tend to approach a lot of my writing in the spirit in which I used to approach my homework in school -- hence my unofficial motto: "It doesn't have to be perfect; it has to be Thursday." But "Weather Witch" actually was a homework assignment. I don't remember now exactly when I wrote it, but I believe it was sometime between 1975 and 1977.  This is a good example of why you should save everything you write; even if it doesn't sell in its original form, you can always adapt it as part of your later work. I hung on to this for well over a decade, until MZB was doing a short-short story issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine. She needed really short stories, and it just so happened that I had one handy.

"Weather Witch" is part of my collection MAGIC IN SUBURBIA, which is available in paperback and Kindle formats.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gunnora's Gift

I wrote "Gunnora's Gift" for Andre Norton, who asked me to write a story for a Witch World anthology she was editing. This story was actually written between "Sin Catenas" and "Golden Vanity"; it was one of the times when something gets written, submitted, and accepted, but doesn't get published for a few years. It used to take about a year from the time a book was turned in to the publisher to the time it was published. Publishing can be done much more quickly now that submissions are already in electronic form and don't have to be typeset from a paper manuscript.

"Gunnora's Gift" is available for Kindle and Nook.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Living with Marion was a real education. Before I met her I knew very little about opera; after a few years in her household I could sing arias in the shower. (We took a water exercise class together at the local YMCA, and we used to sing duets in the shower there. We must have sounded reasonably good, because nobody ever complained. Some people even complimented us.)

Naturally, given Marion's love of opera, her house contained an entire library of opera videos. One day we were watching a tape of Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera by Gluck that tells the story of the musician Orpheus, who attempts to bring his dead wife back from the underworld. There are many versions of the myth, and in most of them he fails, but in this opera she is eventually returned to the world of the living. As we finished watching it, I turned to Marion and said, "Is it really the act of a loving spouse to bring someone back from heaven?" Then I wrote "Shadowlands" for SWORD AND SORCERESS 6. I guess you could call it my version of the myth.

"Shadowlands" is available for Kindle and Nook.