Nora Fleischer's Journal|
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|Monday, September 16th, 2013|
|What I've been up to
It's been way too long since I've written here! But I have been doing a lot of writing--
Revising the alternate history novel (which is set in a world where the US lost the War of 1812), about a woman who is trying to avenge her brother's death. It's called Daughters of the Empire, and it's up at sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com.
And writing a new romance novella, which is like Men in Black with time travelers.
|Monday, May 14th, 2012|
I just learned I'll be reading at the Unsettled Foundation's "live anthology" on June 23. It'll be held in a spooky, semi-abandoned theater, and I'll be reading one of my spookiest stories. If you're interested in reading, let them know-- they've still got some spots available! http://theunsettledfoundation.com/
|Monday, March 12th, 2012|
|Monday, August 1st, 2011|
|Ghost of a Chance, part 3
Sophie appeared in Mr. Holmquist's apartment the following morning and found her employer wearing his pajamas and eating a bowl of cornflakes. Oops,
His face spread into a broad smile when he spotted her. "I thought I might have been imagining you."
"No, Mr. Holmquist."
"Dave. Certainly. I just wanted to tell you that I went to your wife's favorite-- um-- restaurant, and she wasn't there. And I met a very nice man-- another ghost, I mean-- who said that she hasn't been in that he remembers. But don't be disheartened. I'm going to her office today. Maybe she'll be there."
"I doubt it," said Mr. Holmquist. "It's Sunday."
"Oh," said Sophie. To her surprise, she found that she was slowly drifting upwards. She rose until her back bounced gently off the ceiling, where she stuck. My, this is comfortable,
He stood up. "I've been writing up a plan for you. Just in case I wasn't hallucinating."
She drifted after him to the other room of his apartment. Large easels of paper had been set along the wall. In bright, neat script, Dave had written a heading at the top of each easel: Work, Exercise, Friends, Shopping, Other, and Crash. Addresses followed each heading.
Sophie read hungrily. She'd spent a good hour in the park that morning, standing behind a provokingly slow newspaper reader.
"I wrote down all of Beth's favorite places," said Mr. Holmquist. "After you visit them, you can come back and report to me, and I'll help you read a chapter of Little Dorrit."
Sophie had reached the last easel. "What's 'Crash'?"
"Short for car crash. My wife was killed in a car crash."
"I'm sorry," she said, wishing she could pat him on the shoulder.
"She was the worst driver I ever met. She never paid attention to the road. She was always daydreaming--" His voice trailed off.
"Tell me about her."
"What do you mean?"
"Where did you meet her? At a social of some kind?"
He shook his head. "At a support group for families of people with cystic fibrosis."
She looked at him, puzzled.
"It's a sort of lung disease. Both of us had little brothers who died from it."
"Do you want me to find your brother, too?"
"If he's a ghost, he wouldn't be here. He'd be climbing the Himalayas or swimming the Amazon. You'd never be able to find him."
His sorrow was so intense that it frightened Sophie. "I should get started. I should go."
"I haven't read you any Little Dorrit yet."
She drifted back towards him. "All right. Just a chapter or two."
|Thursday, June 16th, 2011|
|Ghost of a Chance, part 2
Near dawn, Sophie floated wearily into the third place on Mr. Holmquist's list; his wife's favorite restaurant, a place with the unlikely name of Duke's. Once she glided through the door, Sophie realized that Duke's could not properly be called a restaurant. In fact, it was a bar. Sophie had never actually been in a bar.
A male ghost in a suit looked at her, smiled, and slid down from his barstool. He had a likeable face, and it was only at second glance that Sophie realized that it was also a rather attractive face.
"Hey there, pretty lady," he said. "You look like you could use a place to sit." A masher,
she thought, and nearly giggled. "I can't. I'm looking for somebody."
"Well, maybe you just found him."
"Not unless you're a redhead named Beth Holmquist."
"I'm a Gilbert DuBois. But you can call me Gil."
He held out his hand. Sophie remembered how unpleasant it had felt when she had touched Mr. Holmquist.
"Don't worry," said Mr. DuBois. "I'm perfectly harmless."
She shook his hand. It felt like a normal handshake. Perhaps because Mr. DuBois was also a ghost? "I'm Sophie Kilbourne. Have you seen a short, pretty redhead recently?"
"One of us, I guess? No. I don't remember having seen her. And I always notice the pretty ones." He smiled in a way that Sophie could not possibly take seriously. She was wasting her time, wasn't she?
"It's nice to meet you, Mr. DuBois." She turned to go.
"Wait. Why such a rush?"
She considered telling him the truth, and settled for a half-truth. "Because it's a long walk to Waltham."
"Walk? Why don't you just appear there?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, like this." Mr. DuBois disappeared, and then reappeared on her other side.
"We can do that?"
"There's a lot you don't know about this ghost business, huh, doll? Look, I just saved you a lot of walking. Why don't you sit with me for a while. Let me help you."
Some loneliness had crept into Mr. DuBois's voice, something real beneath the charmer's smile. "I could-- yes, I could do that, Mr. DuBois."
"Why so formal? Call me Gil." To her alarm, Gil's arm snaked around her waist. Before she could protest, she found herself seated opposite him at a booth in the back of the bar.
"Now, Miss Sophie, tell me why you're looking for someone you've never met before."
"Well, it's her husband who wants to find her. I mean, her widower."
"You got a living person to see you? That's pretty hot stuff."
"It's a trick I can't do. So, how does Mr. Holmquist know that his wife's a ghost? I mean, not all dead people are ghosts. Otherwise Boston would be neck-deep in 'em."
"He doesn't. He just hopes she is. Have I done something really stupid?"
He leaned back against the red cushions of the booth. "Stupid? No. Probably pointless, though. She's probably gone wherever the rest of them go. The really dead ones. Not us lucky few. But think about it, Miss Sophie. Might as well enlist in some hopeless causes. What else are we going to do with the time?"
"I've been trapped in a book for over a century," she said, more acidly than she intended.
A sympathetic look flashed over his genial face. "That's terrible, doll."
She patted her hair, embarrassed. "Oh, it's all right. I can't remember a thing. It was like a particularly heavy afternoon nap. You know, the sort where you wake up, and your clock says six, and you can't tell if it's evening or morning?" She furrowed her brow. "Do we sleep?"
"I'd call it vanishing, not sleeping."
"How curious. Does it hurt?"
The teasing tone returned to his voice. "Not in my experience, no."
"How am I going to find her even if she is a ghost? If we can all be someplace just by wishing, she could be on the Moon by now."
"Probably not. We all tend to stick around places that were important to us."
"That makes sense. May I ask-- why are you in a bar?"
Gil grinned. "Are you asking me if I was a drunk, Miss Sophie?"
She blushed a pale orange.
"I was a musician. A trumpet player. Not a bad one, either."
"I'd love to hear you play."
"And that would be difficult." He swept his hand through the condiments on top of the table. "I can't touch anything."
She could hear the regret in his voice. "I'm sorry," she said.
"Last call!" cried the bartender. "Last call!"
Sophie saw that sunlight was just beginning to trickle in the windows of the bar.
Gil stood up. "Come back tomorrow, Miss Sophie. I'll teach you everything I know about being a ghost."
|Tuesday, June 14th, 2011|
|Free short story: Ghost of a Chance
I thought I'd share a short story I wrote-- actually, it's a pretty long short story, so I'll post it in several parts.
Ghost of a Chance, Part One
Sophie Kilbourne fell out of the Boston Public Library's copy of Little Dorrit. She landed on the sidewalk and rolled to the feet of a man dressed like a little boy, in an undershirt and short pants. Hairy, thought Sophie muzzily. She was about to avert her gaze from the poor crazy fellow when she realized that the man was reading her book.
She struggled to stand. The concrete was spongy under her shoes, and she felt as dizzy as a waterbug on a windblown lake.
How on earth had she gotten to Boston Common? She hadn't been there a moment ago. Where had she been? It was on the tip of her tongue, like the long-forgotten name of an old schoolmate.
Never mind that, she thought. She just needed to get the book back. It was her book, the one she'd been reading just before the important thing, the thing she couldn't remember. In any case, it was hers. She reached for it, but her hand passed right through the pages.
She looked at her hand, held it up to the light. She could see through herself, as if she'd been painted on glass. Off in the distant sky she could see an aeroplane, flying unimaginably fast.
"Oh, dear," said Sophie. "Oh, dear." And then she remembered what had happened with the bus. It had been very frightening, and it had hurt a good deal. She squeezed her eyes shut and pushed it from her mind.
She didn't want to think about that. What she wanted was her book. Sophie loved to read. Or, to be more precise, Sophie needed to read. When she brushed her teeth, she rested a novel on her washstand. She kept a book open with one shoe while she tied the other. She even read while crossing the street, which, in retrospect, was a very stupid thing to do.
"Sir?" said Sophie. "May I have my book?"
He did not respond. Of course,
thought Sophie. He can't see me.
"Sir?" She reached out and tapped him on the shoulder. He felt like a red-hot cast-iron stove, and she snatched her hand away.
Sophie sighed. It was probably useless. She should just go and do whatever it was that ghosts did. Because she was a ghost now, wasn't she? That's what she was. A ghost. I need that book.
"Please see me. Please see me," she begged. She wished with all her might to be seen. To her alarm, her body flashed bright blue.
When she looked up again, the man was staring at her.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm Sophie. Sophie Kilbourne. And I believe you're reading my book."
"Dave Holmquist. You're a ghost." He looked Sophie up and down with an intensity of interest that she had rarely inspired when alive.
"I suppose so," said Sophie.
"This was yours?"
"I never actually returned it. So, technically, it still is mine."
"Would you like to hear me read the rest of it?"
"Oh, yes. Very much."
"Then let me make a deal with you." He smiled and looked quite handsome, despite his unnervingly hairy legs. "I want you to find another ghost for me."
"Oh. Your wife. Of course." She chastised herself for being disappointed.
"I can tell you anything you need. Where she worked. Where she died. Her favorite restaurant. Anyplace she'd probably be."
Sophie had never done anything quite so daring in her life. But without Mr. Holmquist's help, she'd never learn how her book ended. Would Arthur Clenham ever return Little Dorrit's love? "Find your wife. Like a detective," said Sophie. "Yes, I think I could-- I could do that."
End of Part One!
|Saturday, May 14th, 2011|
|Monday, April 11th, 2011|
|Just found the perfect quote for my novel
"Is there an agreed definition of what is a zombie and how they get that way? Not that I know of. I think zombies are defined by behavior and can be "explained" by many handy shortcuts: the supernatural, radiation, a virus, space visitors, secret weapons, a Harvard education and so on."-- Roger Ebert
|Wednesday, June 16th, 2010|
You can now get a copy of "Self-Made Man" at AnthologyBuilder-- and Nancy Fulda just said some very nice things about my story!
"I particularly like Nora Fleischer’s Self-Made Man, the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to make her fortune in 19th Century New York, and runs afoul of swindlers, magicians, and love along the way."
See this link for more information: http://community.livejournal.com/anthobuilder/
|Friday, May 28th, 2010|
|Anyone want a free movie?
I just saw a really fun locally-made movie called Destination: Outer Space. The director loves 50's B-movies, and he's made several in that style with his friends and relatives, filming in his basement and yard. But they're really well-written and acted, and also funny. They reminded my husband of old-school Dr. Who.
I happen to have an extra DVD, and I'd love to send a copy to anyone who's interested, especially if you'd like to talk about it somewhere-- your blog, magazine, whatever. I will send it to the first person who replies to this post.
More information here: http://www.sainteuphoria.com/
|Friday, May 21st, 2010|
|Totally forgot to mention--
I will be presenting on "Accurate Historical Research" at Coyote Con in about a half hour. Come chat with me! The site is www.coyotecon.com.
|Sunday, February 28th, 2010|
|Tuesday, February 16th, 2010|
|Sunday, February 14th, 2010|
|Hooray for the Drollerie Blog Tour!
Welcome back to the Drollerie Blog Tour! Today I am hosting a new guest-- Brandon Bell, short story author, editor (of the Aether Age), and writer of this engaging blog: http://nithska.blogspot.com/
Your turn, Brandon!
"Hopefully you've done some extra reading today among the blog tour set up by Drollerie Press
authors and some non-Drollerie folks like me. If not you should find some links below to lead you on to Good Stuff(tm).
The writing prompt suggested for this introduction was 'best/worst experience with a work in progress'.
The worst experience as a writer is that moment --and it arrived for the first time when I was a teen-- when you read something achingly beautiful and realize: I'm not that good
And, for me, that's not something I went through and left behind: it's a shadow that follows me. I can find worth in what I do, but satisfaction is difficult. This is one of those character traits that can be debilitating or the greatest motivation.
Selling my first story (The Fourth Horseman
), my first story to a print anthology (Return to Luna
), getting the title story in an anthology (Things We Are Not
), and now co-editing an anthology (The Aether Age
)... these are the biggest payoffs I've experienced.
To keep things in perspective, I keep all my rejections from F&SF
pinned to the wall right in front of me. I'll crack that egg eventually.
Of course I hope to pique enough of your interest that you'll click through to my blog
and give a listen to the free audio version of Broken Vessels (and another audio surprise to follow soon) , and then click the links to read my stories. Of my blog posts, I am most proud of the sporadic reviews I've posted (everything from Leigh Brackett
to Alice Munro
, Jack Vance
to China Mieville
) along with posts about the small press/ genre fction, and some
of the social issues
Most of all, I hope you will check out and keep an eye on The Aether Age
I think it is interesting, when I look at Ralan's Anthology page, how many anthologies get churned out with --from the outside looking in-- a marked lack of inspiration or joy. Aether Age isn't one of those. That it be a great shared-world story collection will be for you to decide. I believe it will: there is much talent and passion working to be sure it is. M.S. Corley
has presented us with amazing cover-art (preview to come soon). We have T.C. Parmelee
(did you check out the free recording of Broken Vessels on my blog? Well, come on!) doing the audio version, AND we have the Chameleon Chamber Group
on board to do a soundtrack. Can you say: OMG? Eric S. Raymond
is writing an introduction for the anthology (you can read why on the Aether Age blog). And the writers... no comments yet since we don't have a finalized TOC, but stand by!
We are knee-deep in slush reading and still weeks to go. I think The Aether Age
is going to be special, but this is 'me' and I'm going to obsess until we send it over to Hadley Rille
to go to the printer.
As someone once wrote, it was the best of times, it was the worst of
|Saturday, January 2nd, 2010|
|Wednesday, December 30th, 2009|
|Monday, December 21st, 2009|
|Drollerie Blog Tour Time!
It's that time again-- the time when we Drollerie Press authors have our blog tour! Today, I'm hosting another refugee from academia, the delightful Sarah Avery (aka Dr. Pretentious), author of Atlantis Cranks Need Not Apply, among others. You can read excerpts here: http://drolleriepress.com/authors-and-excerpts/sarah-avery/
Today our theme is "The Most Dangerous Writing You've Ever Done."
And may I also suggest that you visit the Drollerie Press website, where they have an e-reader giveaway? http://drolleriepress.com/
I didn't know it was dangerous until too late.
It was like leaning into a shady spot after a long hike, only to discover the shady spot is a shaft that drops you into Mammoth Cave. You don't know where in the cave you are, or how to get out, or even, once you turn on your flashlight and see the wonders around you, whether you're in any hurry to get out at all. Next thing you know, you're the legendary lost hermit who's lived for years uncounted in a chamber of crystals, subsisting on eyeless fish.
I'd tried writing novels before--I'd even tried writing that same novel twice, years earlier--and had never finished one, so when I took it up again, I thought it would be a minor diversion while I was between teaching gigs. Grad school was finally behind me. I was ready relearn how to write for pleasure.
Pleasure is dangerous. Stories are dangerous. Soon I was happy in my work for the first time in a decade. I was writing four to eight hours a day. Before summer was over, I'd piled up more pages than I'd written for the dissertation that took me five years. The thought of continuing in the profession I'd trained for made me queasy.
I started saying things to myself like, "Better to work dead-end retail jobs for the rest of my life and come home at the end of the day free to write whatever I damn well please, than to be an academic and write scared. Life is too short for writing books I don't believe in." Then I started saying that to my spouse, and to my grad school friends, and then to my mentors at the university.
To their credit, none of them tried to change my mind, though I'm not sure anyone quite believed I meant it until my husband said, "That's quite a leap of faith you're considering. Can I take one, too?" He wanted to leave a job at a big stable company that drove him crazy for a job at a tiny start-up that would drive him a better kind of crazy. "Let's do it," I said. Can I say we never looked back? No, but I can say we shudder when we think about how things would have gone if we'd stuck to Plan A.
That vast first novel, my own Mammoth Cave, is still unpublished. From time to time I can find an editor who'll follow me into the smaller painted chambers. Come on in. The petroglyphs are lovely, if I do say so myself. You can skip trying the eyeless fish, if you want. All the more for me.
On to the next blog! E. G. Diehl is over here: http://www.angelakorrati.com/2009/12/23/special-bonus-drollerie-blog-tour-post-elisa-diehl/
|Thursday, November 5th, 2009|
|Wednesday, October 21st, 2009|
|October Drollerie Blog Tour
It's Drollerie Press blog tour time! Today I get to host the talented Angela Korra'ti, author of Faerie Blood, which is available here: http://drolleriepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=83
. This post will make you want to go out and buy her book right now:
"October is of course best known for Halloween, but many of us authors at Drollerie Press only recently learned that it's also the month of a less well known holiday called Sweetest Day. The name might lead you to think that like October's more famous occasion, it could be candy-oriented; according to Wikipedia, there have certainly been criticisms that the holiday was made up mostly for an excuse to sell sweets and cards.
But despite the name, the general point of the holiday is to celebrate those who have been helpful, kind, or encouraging to us. And since we're making Sweetest Day the general theme of this month's blog tour, I did a vignette about a moment of encouragement in the life of my protagonist from _Faerie Blood_, Kendis Thompson. Hope you enjoy!
Aggie Deveaux, Seattle, 1981
The scrape of a child-sized bow against the strings of a child-sized violin wasn't exactly the smoothest sound in the world. No--to be honest, Aggie had heard few more grating sounds in all of her born days, and that was saying a lot when she'd lived through volcanic eruptions and hurricanes. But she wasn't about to let on to her young niece that the noises she was making were only slightly more harmonious than the spitting of an angry cat; it was, after all, important to encourage a child to practice if she wanted to learn to play a musical instrument.
Kendis, though, had already caught on. The fumbling arpeggio cut off abruptly on a noise that could be only charitably described as B flat, only to be replaced by the girl's outraged wail. "I sound _stupid_!"
Even from the next room, that strident voice caught Aggie's ear the way the awkward practicing had not. She rose swiftly from her desk, leaving the half-balanced checkbook behind, and stepped down the hallway to the door of her niece's bedroom. "What was that you said, Kendie baby?"
At age six, Kendis wasn't a big child; there was hardly any meat at all on her little bones, and the smallest violin Aggie had been able to afford was almost too large for her. Yet there was nothing tiny about the rage brimming in her eyes, or about the tears threatening to flood down her cheeks. "I can't get it right!" she howled. "I sound STUPID!"
Violin and bow alike shook in Kendis' small hands, and Aggie blew out a breath as she stepped forward into the room. "Honey, you just go and put that fiddle down before you drop it," she said sternly. "We're paying good money to rent that, and you don't want us to have to take it back to the store broken, do you?"
Her lower lip trembling, Kendis did as Aggie bade her, and laid the instrument more or less neatly down in its case at her feet. But self-disgust still roiled across her face as she muttered towards the floor, "Maybe we oughtta take it back. 'Cause I sound stupid!"
Gentling now, Aggie scooped up the little girl and set her down upon her bed, then took a seat beside her and curled an arm around her shoulders. "You do," she admitted. Before a louder howl could erupt from Kendis, though, Aggie laid a finger across her mouth. "But it's _all right_. Do you know why, Kendie baby? Because you're just a little bitty thing with her very first violin and you're only just starting to learn. It's all right for you to not sound good yet."
Kendis scrubbed a hand across her face and then grabbed hold of one of her own pigtails, twisting it about nervously. "It's not supposed to sound like that," she countered. "All creaky and stuff! It's supposed to be pretty!"
"It will be, baby," Aggie promised. "But only if you keep practicing."
"But how do you _know_?"
At that, Aggie had to suppress a chuckle. There were many answers she could have offered--that she'd known it the instant Kendis' face had lit up the first time she heard a violin concerto over the radio, or how the music teacher at Kendis' elementary school had been startled to find a first-grader peeking into the room where the fifth-grade orchestra was playing. Then there were the answers she couldn't give, not yet--how Kendis' mother, strange and beautiful Elanna of the Sidhe, had drunk down music as though it were the very air she breathed. Or how, just over five years ago when they'd first come into the city and an old Warder woman had welcomed them in, infant Kendis had seized hold of Millicent Merriweather's tin whistle and tried to stick it in her mouth so she could play it too.
There was no other sign of Seelie blood emerging in the girl, not yet. The good Lord willing, there wouldn't be for a while. Aggie had plenty to handle just trying to be a black woman on her own with a child to raise, without that child up and turning fey on her. She wasn't at all sure what she would do when the blood the girl's mother had given her would wake up.
Until then, though, she was sure she could help Kendis find her music.
"Because I'm your auntie," she said, dropping a kiss on the youngster's pigtailed head, "and I just know."
For the next stop in the Drollerie Blog Tour, swing over to Meredith Holmes' site
and check out Heather Parker's post
on Sweetest Day!"
|Saturday, October 3rd, 2009|
|Drollerie Press Mega-Sale
Hey, the weather is terrible, maybe you also have a giant cold like me-- why not buy a few new fun books to read? Drollerie Press is having a amazing sale. Check it out here: www.drolleriepress.com.