If you happen to be having one. If not, happy more-or-less midwinter / midsummer. I’ve never really got the hang of time and space. Let’s hope each day is better than the previous one, and pray for the strength to cope with each one as it comes.

“I will go out,” said God.

“I will go out, not only from the place that is mine,

But I will go out from the place that is me.

I will go out from myself and forswear my own presence.

We are one, I am three,

But we, but I, will be severed, sundered, divided,

Because it is my nature to rend my nature

For love.”

Marion Pitman c. 1968

Not sure what this is doing here on its own. Maybe I started to write it and got distracted. It’s the title of a story of mine in one of the Alchemy Press anthologies. I got the idea from the late great Paul Jennings, who among other things wrote a column in the Observer under the title Oddly Enough. Some of his pieces are hysterically funny, or at least I find them so; some are profound; some almost mystical. Some are all three. His pieces on Resistentialism and on English language without the Normans are erudite and unsurpassable. Seek out his books, if you find yourself turning words backwards, pondering on the names on long-distance lorries (my personal favourite, that I drove behind for some time once, is Pratt & Co, independent banana ripeners of Hemel Hempstead), or wondering why les choses sont contre nous, and where that Belfast sink in the storage unit that you have never seen before came from…

Real loves and true loves

Cyril Tawney, in his songs, generally used the term “real love” where the traditional folk song usually uses “true love”.

I can’t say I blame him. The term true love in folk song is flexible, to say the least. My “true love” can be the person I love. Or the person who loves me. Or the person I don’t love any more. Or the person who doesn’t love me. It can be my manifestly untrue love, who is shagging someone else, or indeed has married someone else. It can be the person I am about to brutally murder, or the person who is in the very act of murdering me. Sometimes it simply means, someone I had a fling with once, a sort of, “I think I had a true love around here somewhere, a long time ago.”

Of course, it may mean the one person I have loved through many reincarnations, and the other half of my soul. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Folk song is really not romantic.

New book from Jacey Bedford

milfordsfwriters

My new book, The Amber Crown is released into the wild today, published by DAW, and available on both sides of the Atlantic as a trade paperback (large format) and also as an electronic book (Kindle, E-book etc.). I’m delighted that it’s available on Kindle in the UK. My previous six books were only available in various e-book formats in the USA and Canada because the publisher only had North American rights. For the Amber Crown they have world rights, so distribution is international.

“An elegantly told story of intrigue, steeped in detail and rich character.” – Adrian Tchaikovsky.

I’m excited to welcome The Amber Crown into the world. This book has been a long time in the making. At the time I sold my first books to DAW (2013) I already had a first draft of this, but once I had my first three book deal, and then my…

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One of my favourite stories too

Ceci N'est Pas Une Blog

It’s time for my favourite Christmas story!

Experienced readers will know this is not your standard Christmas story. In fact, it’s not an actual Christmas story at all. I first heard this story over twenty years ago, and when the holiday season rolled around, it was the first thing I thought of. So I’ve been posting it every year, and will do so until further notice:

One night, Confucius had a dream about chopsticks.

In the dream, he was transported to Hell, where he saw multitudes of people sitting at enormous tables set out with wonderful foods of all kinds. There was so much food that the tables groaned under the weight and the various delightful aromas made the mouth water.

But the people sitting at the tables hadn’t touched any of it.

They had been told they could eat as much as they liked but only if they ate…

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I do like this!

The Cheesesellers Wife

Luxurious man, to bring his vice in use,
Did after him the world seduce,
And from the fields the flowers and plants allure,
Where nature was most plain and pure.
He first enclosed within the garden’s square
A dead and standing pool of air,
And a more luscious earth for them did knead,
Which stupefied them while it fed.
The pink grew then as double as his mind:
The nutriment did change the kind.
With strange perfumes he did the roses taint,
And flowers themselves were taught to paint.
The tulip, white, did for complexion seek,
And learned to interline its cheek;
Its onion root they then so high did hold,
That one was for a meadow sold.
Another world was searched, through oceans new,
To find the marvel of Peru.
And yet these rarities might be allowed,
To man, that sovereign thing, and proud,
Had he not dealt between…

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interesting interview with a terrific writer

milfordsfwriters

Tell us your biography in three sentences or fewer.
Born in the West of England where I now live. Have had a varied career, including witchcraft shop owner, SFF writer, college lecturer and international education administrator. Practising occultist.

Liz Williams

How and when did you begin writing, and what was your first published piece?
I started writing before the age of 10, with a plaigirism of Lloyd Alexander (I was an early adaptor of Prydain! – and I also loved the Welsh legends of the Mabinogion). I remember being uneasy about this at the time and thinking that I ought to come up with something more original. This has been happening ever since. My first published piece was, I think, actually in Pravda and related to the education system of Kazakhstan. I remember being impressed that it wasn’t censored. When it comes to science fiction, I had a short story…

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Includes a short piece of mine 🙂

milfordsfwriters

Christmas Present – a short story by Marion Pitman

Doris heard the slight plip of the cat flap, followed by the scrutch scrutch of claws at work in the doormat. There was a pause, then the plink of the name tag on a collar against the rim of the food bowl. After a while she heard the claws in the carpet behind the sofa, a pause, and the air was enriched by the fishy aroma of a well-timed feline fart.

Doris smiled and shook her head. She must start tidying the house – it would be Christmas Eve tomorrow, and Norman and Christine would be round early.

Doris wondered where she had gone wrong with Norman. He wasn’t a bad son; but one of the things that were immutable in Doris’s universe was that you didn’t leave your old mother all on her own at Christmas. They would come round…

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With my other hat on – putting this on here so I can refer people to it – I have a stack of Jack Payne Popular Music and Dancing Weekly from 1934/5. Some of the lyrics are incredibly daft.

May 16 1935 32

Out in the cold cold snow

the tower of London

The Lover’s Waltz

Antonio

Yvonne

Bon soir!

Dec 1 1934 (2 copies)

Without that certain thing

Swaller-tail coat

The sweetest music this side of heaven

Blue river roll on

Song of the dawn

Bonny Face

(Home)

Oct 13 1934

Easy Come, Easy Go

Lady of Madrid

Aloha beloved

The show is overcoat

Josephine

Icicle Joe (the Eskimo)

(Whispering)

Oct 20 1934

Unless

The beat o’ my heart

In other words – we’re through

Melody in spring

True

Hospitality

(Lady of Spain)

Oct 27 1934

My design for living

You have taken my heart

Lullaby in blue

Beloved

Coom, pretty one

In San Antonio

(Clap hands, here comes Charley)

Nov 10 1934

Dearest

Sweetheart of Red River Valley

Why not?

If

Nobody’s sweetheart

My Convent Belle

(On the air)

Dec 15 1934

Kickin’ the gong around

The old sow

Humming to you

Old monastery bell

Little wallflower

Spellbound

(You die if you worry)

Dec 22 1934

The sun has got his hat on

Driftin’ tide

It don’t mean a thing

At the corner of the street

What do I care, it’s home

The bells of home are ringing

(On her doorstep last night)

Dec 29 1934

Throw open wide your window

In my little bottom drawer

Go to sleep

You or no-one

Here’s to the ones we love

Hills of Devon

(Airman)

Jan 5 1935

Good night, lovely little lady

Moon Country

Best wishes

Prairie Lullaby

I’m one of the lads of Valencia

You’ve made my life complete, dear

(Casabiance)

Jan 12 1935

Grinzing

Who’ll buy my lavender?

Seven years with the wrong woman

Love thy neighbour

The captain’s daughter

If I hadn’t been green

(The changing of the guard)

Jan 19 1935

Cocktails for two

Cradle in the trees

Old father Thames

Ill wind

You’re in my power

Rio Grande

(What’s the use of money after all)

Jan 26 1935

The very thought of you

You’re just unfair

Rockin’ chair

Trouble in paradise

The ripping waltz

My sweet

(Sittin’ on a five barred gate)

Feb 2 1935

Madonna Mine

Remembrance

It’s all forgotten now

He was a handsome young soldier

I’m bettin’ the roll on roamer

A star that shines in the night

(Soldier on the shelf)

Feb 9 1935

I bought myself a bottle of ink

The breeze

That’s what life is made of

In the Cumberland mountains

Will the angels play their harps for me?

My Treasure

(Fairy on the clock)

Feb 16 1935

Isle of Capri

Faith

Little Dutch mill

Silly girl

You oughta be in pictures

Sonoma

(Cupid on the cake)

Feb 23 1935

Soon

Ridin’ around in the rain

The prize waltz

How’m I doin’?

The general and the private

When it’s springtime in Normandy

(Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!)

Mar 2 1935

Out in the cold again

There was an old woman

Riding on the clouds

Just a little grey-haired lady

The crazy song

That forgotten melody

(When I met Connie in the cornfield)

Mar 9 1935

Oh! Muki Muki Oh!

I read it in the paper

Marta

Where? (I wonder where?)

‘Fonso

Faded letters

(Dance of the rain-drops)

Mar 16 1935

Dreamy Serenade

In the hills of Colorado

Let’s make love

Snowball

What is there to take its place?

Away from the rest of the world

(Oh! Arthur)

March 23 1935

Every time I look at you

Over on the sunny side

You’re wonderful

Hold up your hands

Rufus on the roof

Blue moon in the sky

(Oh! Sailor behave!)

Mar 30 1935

The sob song

Lullaby lady

Someone’s laying the table

When days begin

Three o’clock in the morning

Offer up a little prayer for mother

(Please Percy)

April 6 1935

Way down south in North Carolina

Three of us

This is the rhythm for me

I’m going to meet my jolly old girl

In a gondola

I will have a real good time

The shamrock your wore in your hair

April 13 1935

He didn’t even say goodbye

Lady rainbow

Roll along Kentucky moon

Old Sweetheart days

The closer they nestle together

Oh! Suzanne!

April 20 1935

Argentina

I was in the mood

I heard

Rambling down the lane together

Wait for the kettle to boil

Desert Start

April 27 1935

That night in Venice

Song of the Nightingale

For ever

In the hollow of your hand

I’m a failure

I’ll always be sorry for you