Due out in November: History Will be Kind: An Anthology of Historical Fiction

history-kind-sml-2My days of writing fiction feel like history, yet I’ve got a story floating around still. My short story “Into the Forest” has been included in The Copperfield Review‘s first anthology. Books are now available to order! And if you’re on Goodreads, go visit our page there.

This gorgeous cover was designed by Robin Ludwig–I love its warmth. Special thanks also to Meredith Allard, the Executive Editor of The Copperfield Review and of this anthology.

“Into the Forest” is based on one of my husband’s ancestors. According to family legend, Mourning Medley was a Cherokee woman who, along with her children, was rounded up and taken to the holding pen at Fort Butler. That was one of the places where the United States soldiers took the captive Cherokee people to await the long journey that would later come to be fortbutlerfortbutler2known as the Trail of Tears.

She was later rescued from the staging area by a man named Samuel Medley, but no one has been able to discover any records to find out who he was or why he did it. I had so much fun looking and talking to family in other parts of the country, but we all reached a dead end.

Fort Butler is now a small park in Murphy, North Carolina.

A few years ago, I decided to find it. I asked around town to find the park, but few people there knew what I was looking for. Eventually I found some women outside at a yard sale who were able to point me in the right direction. The park is up on a hill overlooking the town and surrounded by littered woods and poverty. At some point, it seems that someone cared enough to create a monument and set aside this space, but the neglect left me feeling sad and angry. Has history been kind to the Cherokee people?

Hermit huts

This past summer I explored the California coast with my husband and our two teenagers. We flew into LA and headed north from there. For the first week it was an adventure a day: the Avila Adobe in historic Los Angeles, Ojai, Morro Bay, Silicon Valley, Tiburon, Mt. Tamalpais … miles of California landscape flew by each day as we made our way up to Trinidad in Humboldt county, where we spent the rest of our vacation time. From the heat and palm trees to the endless fields of greens and orchards of olive trees, sea otters and zebras, up towards field after field of grapes and into the land of the giant redwoods: we got to see a broad picture of life there on the west coast.

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  In two weeks, we couldn’t hope to see all there was. We had more suggestions and ideas than we had time, so we took things day by day and found the places that suited our mood and whims that day. And each day had a story to tell. I recorded bits of stories in travel journals, and I’m hoping to bring back memories of the stories we found on our west coast adventure, one short essay at a time.

Between San Francisco and Trinidad, we couldn’t resist stopping to see the Hermit Huts at Hendy Woods State Park. A relatively small park, Hendy Woods hosted a Russian immigrant named Petro Zailenko who lived alone in the woods for nearly two decades.

This was our first venture into the redwoods, and the forest swept us into a fairy tale for a few glorious, mysterious hours. Petro built his huts out of fallen limbs and burned out tree stumps, surviving on squirrels and whatever he could scrounge from surrounding farms and park visitors. He even dismantled shoes that he found, sewing them back together to make complete pairs in his own size. According to some articles posted in the park, he was satisfied with his lot in life and lived fairly comfortably, considering the circumstances. As romantic as it sounds to live in the woods, I imagine it was a tough life. It gets cold in those woods, and he had only what he could find in his limited area. Still, he had made peace with it, which I suppose is the best answer for anyone. His story is a reminder to us that gratitude is both possible and necessary. If he had plenty, so should we.

Treats for you sci-fi and fantasy lovers

Here’s a list of science fiction and fantasy treats I’ve been accumulating. Enjoy!

  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to promote this upcoming anthology of fantasy and science fiction stories: Altered States, edited by Amy Locklin. Published by the Main Street Rag, it includes an urban fantasy story written by yours truly (scroll down on the page, you’ll see me there in the list of contributors). I would love for you to order a copy for yourself or give it as a gift, it’ll be a treat!

  • This History of Science Fiction map, created by Ward Shelley. You’ll want to order a large print so you can read the detail and see just where Philip K. Dick, Jack Vance and Mary Shelley fit into the grand scheme of things. So much literature originates with fear and wonder, take a look. I dare you to resist.
  • Just for fun, see how old you are on other planets, and gain a few more birthdays: Your Age on Other Worlds. If you write these types of stories, I suppose this could be useful in character building too.
  • A summer reading list of fantasy titles for you. (I’m loading the Kindle for vacation with a few of these.)
  • And, finally, here’s a link to the Absent Willow Review. With science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories, it’ll pull you out of your orbit for a little while.

Alien Yart

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