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Dark Carnivals of the Mind
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Hallowe'en afternoon, Heather was running a fever, so she went to the doctor again, and this time they finally realized, hey, something might actually be wrong, and so they're doing some tests. I picked her up from the hospital that evening, and she was feeling better, the fever broken, her pain lessening. Because it was Hallowe'en night, we went to Video Room to rent a horror movie (because all that was showing on the Sci Fi channel were the Wishmaster movies, and honestly, they're not even interestingly bad). We got Wrong Turn, which is a solid entry in the redneck killer cannibal sub-genre, and has Eliza Dushku. Thoroughly enjoyable, and we ate Starbursts and chocolate while we watched. After the movie, I read Glen Hirshberg's marvelous Hallowe'en novelette, "Mr. Dark's Carnival", aloud to Heather (to mix a little highbrow literary horror with the admittedly rather lowbrow movie). So it was a nice evening of scares, and sitting with kittens on the couch, and generally making a warm place together against the all-encroaching dark.

Today we went back to the doctor so Heather could have her blood taken (after fasting for 12 hours, natch), then ambled along Piedmont Ave. The kids were all out trick-or-treating. Lots of princesses, a couple of Wolverines, and various miscellaneous witches, elephants, lizards, and pumpkins. Quite cute. We had burritos for lunch, and walked down to the video store to return the videos, thus taking our walk for the day. On a whim we went to Best Buy and bought the fourth season of The Sopranos. It was kind of a rough week for Heather, and by extension for me, so we thought it would be nice to spend several hours this weekend immersed in compelling visual fiction. This evening we watched lots of The Sopranos, with breaks to play Diablo, and to work on getting Flytrap ready to mail (should go out to subscribers/orderers on Monday!), and -- for me -- to work on the Frog novel. Did another 1400 words. Things are about to start cascading in the narrative, with multiple plotlines coming to simultaneous fruition, and complications proliferating. There are kidnappings ahead, and martial arts battles, and trips to alternate time-streams, and sympathetic magic, and giant monsters demolishing buildings, and vengeance taken, and justice served. This is the part where I need to sit down with pen and paper and figure out sequence, since I've got a lot of elements to juggle. I know everything that happens, but I need to figure out when and how each thing happens in relation to everything else. This is one of the many fun parts of writing a novel.

My story "Straight Trade" has been reprinted at new webzine Ultraverse, which premiered mere hours ago. If you didn't read this one at Speculon back in 2001, now's your chance. It got an honorable mention in Best of the Rest 3, and it's my own fond variation on the weird-little-magic-shop story, but I didn't have room to get it into the collection.

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