Altered States Once More

If you don’t like Barnes and Noble, Altered States of the Union is also available from Amazon and Kobo.

Madhouse Manor

Altered States of the Union

The anthology Altered States of the Union has been released.   Read our short story, “Gertrude of Wyoming” in its pages.

Buy one!  Better still, buy a dozen.  They make excellent gifts!

If you don’t want to go the paper route, it’s available in all the usual electronic formats.

Gertrude of Wyoming

by

Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald

The train from New-York slid into Bishop Brook International Station in northern New Hampshire at nine in the evening. Trudy gathered her carry-on luggage, then walked across the platform to the customs booth for her transfer onto the shuttle train to Pittsburg Village on the other side of the border. It had been a long time since she’d been home to the Republic of Indian Stream, and under other circumstances she might have been looking forward to a few days of nostalgic relaxation before the meetings that were the real reason…

View original post 71 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Up and Over

Another entry in Jim Macdonald’s continuing series of posts featuring songs from the 1844 Whig Songbook.

Madhouse Manor

Grand National Whig banner.


THE TARS WILL MAN THEIR GALLANT SHIP.

Tune — “Washing Day

The Tars will man their gallant ships,
And fling the canvass free,
Again unfurl the “Bunting stripe”
And cheerily put to sea,
They’ll heave, and weigh, and stow, and pull,
And sing and hoist away,
They’ll hoist, and hoist, and hoist, and hoist,
And hoist in Henry Clay.

The Carmen long to see the loads
Of merchandise arrive,
For then the wharves, and streets and roads,
Will be a busy hive,
They’ll back, and pack, and pile and lash,
And drive and cart away;
And cart, and cart, and cart, and cart,
And carry in Henry Clay.

The press foretells a brighter day,
To cheer the Printer’s breast
They’ve turned the world the other way —
There’s Sunrise in the West!
They’ll set and impose, correct and revise,
And print, and publish away,
They’ll publish, and publish…

View original post 192 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

So We Saw the New Ghostbusters Today

Short verdict: Haters to the rear. It’s a good movie.

It’s not just a good movie, it’s a good genderflip AU, in that it doesn’t just paste the guys’ names and roles onto some female bodies actors and call it a day, it actually asks itself things like, “If this basic character type had been born, raised, and socialized female, what would she be like?” and “What sort of public reception would these people doing these things get if they were four women and not four men?”

So the Venkman character as played by Melissa McCarthy is not the at-least-50%-charlatan that Bill Murray’s version was; and the four ghostbusters, instead of getting citywide acclaim after their initial successes, are treated in the media (with the connivance of City Hall and Homeland Security) as being either frauds or delusional or both.

An all-male remake would have just been putting a new coat of paint onto the chassis of an old classic; by going with a true genderflipped version, the creative minds involved managed to take their inspiration from the old classic and use it to say some new things. And the haters were right to be scared of it, because – in its lightshow-with-explosions kind of way – it’s pointing a mocking finger at the very sort of male privilege that they’re so obnoxiously, and anxiously, defending.

So yeah, go see it. And stay through the credits.

4 Comments

Filed under Art and Entertainment, Film and Television

One of Those Summers

Summer is always a bad time for nasty stuff to go down . . . too much heat and too much humidity and nobody ever being quite comfortable enough. Long ago, I read a piece by Judith Martin – writing in propria persona, not as Miss Manners – opining that this was the real reason why so many holidays of national independence are in the middle of local summer: too many days in a row of heat, humidity, stinky streets, and flies, and all it takes is one more incident and the next thing you know they’re hanging the aristos from the lamp-posts again someplace.

And this is an election year in America, which always makes the summers worse even when we aren’t afflicted with as polarizing a pair of candidates as I think I’ve ever seen. (Though I’m amazed that the right-wing true believers haven’t given up on hoping to pin something on Hillary by now. You’d think that after over two decades of trying and failing, during which she’s been under almost constant investigation by a regular clown parade of different interest groups, they would wise up to the fact that either there’s nothing there for them to find, or that where leading a double life is concerned she’s got Batman, Superman, Daredevil, and the Amazing Spider-Man all beat to hell.)

This year, though, it isn’t just us here in the USA. The UK has got the results of the Brexit vote to contend with, and France has mass terror attacks, and Turkey has an attempted coup, and it’s generally difficult to put your finger down at random on a spinning globe and not hit someplace that’s having a hard time at the moment. And thanks to the wonder of immediacy that is the internet, we get to have everybody’s bad day in our faces all at once, instead of getting the news delivered to us in more manageable, staggered-by-distance chunks, so that we have time to process things in between.

(Overly serious people sometimes complain that the internet is too full of pictures of people’s cats. I maintain that the ability to go look at the pictures of cute cats in Japanese train stations, in New York City apartments, and in backyards all over is a necessity in a world where we are regularly slapped in the face with bad news from everywhere, whether we’ve asked for it or not.)

Maybe when the cool weather comes back around, things will calm down a little. Probably not, but one can hope.

Meanwhile, it’s back to the word mines for me.  If anybody out there has a manuscript that needs editing, they can always get in touch with me by way of the About or Contact Me links on this page.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Listen to Me, People.

“As” is not a co-ordinating conjunction.

It does not join two independent clauses of equal weight.

It does not link actions that happen in sequence.

It is a subordinating conjunction, and it links a primary action to a secondary action that takes place at the same time as the primary action.

So for Pete’s sake, don’t commit sentences like this one:

“I think this is the main road,” said Joe, as he surveyed the landscape around them, as he stood next to Jane.

Break it down into its components:

  • Joe said, “I think this is the main road.”
  • Joe surveyed the landscape around them.
  • Joe stood next to Jane.

Then decide which parts are primary and which are secondary, and rewrite your paragraph accordingly:

Joe stood next to Jane and surveyed the landscape around them.  “I think this is the main road,” he said.

Or, if you decide that the fact he’s standing next to Jane is more important in the overall scheme of things than the fact that he’s looking around, you could write it this way:

Joe stood next to Jane as he surveyed the landscape around them.  “I think this is the main road,” he said.

Don’t just string your clauses together any which way.  Think about their relative weight and importance first.  This will make your sentences a lot less monotonous; as a side benefit, it will also make your writing clearer and more effective.

1 Comment

Filed under Words and Language, Writing

Where We’ll Be Sunday

Madhouse Manor

This Sunday, the 26th, Doyle and I will be reading at the HyperText Bookstore in Lowell, MA.  2:00 pm is the time.

Gertrude of WyomingOur reading will very likely be the World Premiere of “Gertrude of Wyoming,” a short story that will be published in Altered States of the Union later this summer.

See also: HyperText Bookstore Cafe expands offerings in Lowell’s city center

HyperText Café and Books is located at 107 Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass. 01852; 978-677-7191.

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Trio of Assorted Links

A guide to semicolon usage, with illustrations.  Some people find semicolons intimidating; this is the post for them.  Other people love semicolons not necessarily wisely, but too well; I’m not sure if there is any help for us.

An article on Slate, ranting about the overuse of unnecessary synonyms for “said.”  I’ll be over here on the sidelines, waving my pompoms in enthusiastic agreement.  Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, “said” is all you need, assuming you need a dialogue attribution tag at all.

And Great Britain’s Arts and Humanities Research Council has released a digitized collection of Jane Austen’s manuscripts, including drafts and juvenilia.  I love living in the internet age, I really do . . . time was, to see something like this, you’d have had to make a trip (in the case of Jane Austen’s MSS, a number of different trips) to visit the material in person.

1 Comment

Filed under Books and Reading, Writing