Autumn and Early Winter in my hood

Fall didn’t last nearly long enough, if you ask me. I love these colors, and miss them already.

This little guy was living in my attic. I chased him out and had words with him one day while he clung to the side of my house and barked at me. Apparently I had invaded *his* place.
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Finally the Christmas tree and lights are up. More and more gingerbready everyday.




I found this video on YouTube tonight. It’s made by a young woman named Megan in a nearby city. She read One for Sorrow and has taken photos as well as quotes from the book and set them to music by The Bravery. The song totally rocks. Megan says in the beginning of the slide show (and in her summary on YouTube itself) that these photos and this song remind her of the book, and that the book echoes for her. Megan, if you read this, I just want to say that this montage you’ve made echoes for me, too. I love it. Thank you.

More Happy Things


The finished copy of the book came today!


Me acting like a grade school boy with his spelling bee award or something to that effect.

And second:

guardian3.jpgThe Endicott Studio’s Journal of the Mythic Arts has its Summer YA issue live now. They’ve got fantastic stories, poetry, art and essays over there, so go take a look. My story “The Guardian of the Egg” is reprinted in the issue. It originally appeared in Salon Fantastique. Now it has artist Greg Spalenka’s work illustrating it, and it’s really fantastic. I love it. The girl with the tree growing out of her head has only been visually represented by one other artist, and that artist doesn’t actually know it. I took inspiration for the story from Leonora Carrington’s painting, “The Giantess” along with the story of Daisy Head Maisy by Dr. Suess. In any case, go take a look at the issue. It has work by Gwenda Bond, Jeffrey Ford, Holly Black, Steve Berman, Terri Windling, Midori Snyder, Will Shetterly and Catherynne Valente, among others. You can’t get a quarterly publication for free that’s better than this one, I think. So take advantage of it.

Lastly, pictures from mine and Tony’s trip to NYC this month are in my Flickr box in the sidebar. We did a lot of sightseeing. Some of the pictures are really nice, thanks to the sights we were seeing. My favorites are the ones at the Cloisters, but I love the memories of the dark piano bar we visited called Marie’s Crisis.

Summer Festival of the Arts

This weekend was Youngstown’s Summer Festival of the Arts. (Pictures in my flickr, just click on the sidebar pics to see them all). It was held on YSU’s campus. I hadn’t been to the festival in years. Last year I’d been at Readercon in Boston when it was held, and missed it. I was glad to be home to see it this summer. It’s grown so much since the last time I’d attended in 2004. There were artists from all over the states, so many vendors, tons of great food from various ethnic communities in Youngstown, and lots of music, dramatic skits and so on. My mom drove out and visited the new apartment beforehand, then we went down and spent the afternoon at the festival eating haluski and pierogis, seeing old friends and buying stuff (mostly Marcie Applegate’s jewelry, which my mom loves).


It was good to see such a huge crowd of people, and all the really beautiful things the artisans had made to sell. After my mom left, I drove back to the festival to hang out with my friends Brooke and Rob for a little longer. Brooke bought us all Hawaiian Ices and we walked around talking about the upcoming season of plays and musicals for the Oakland Center for the Arts, and my upcoming book launch party for One for Sorrow, which will be at the Oakland at the end of August, and how really nice it is to see the arts scene

coming back to life in Youngstown. Rob’s tongue turned blue from his ice. People felt the need to comment on this. Brooke wore a really big hat Rob had made for a drag queen benefit show for the Oakland, and people kept stopping to ask her which artist was making the hats. Come to the next Stage at the Oakland, which is on July 21st, my birthday, and maybe Rob will have the hat with him. Hmm, maybe you could commission him to make one for you, if tall drag queen hats that make Audrey Hepburn’s hats look

understated is the style you’re looking for. It’s my birthday, but I’ll be there. Hope to see those of you nearby people there, too. Afterwards I’m thinking birthday martinis at Imbibe. Come buy me one! 🙂

Two links

Just so you know, Jeff Vandermeer has a new website that looks pretty damned cool.

And if you haven’t seen the Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts’s “Then and Now” website commemorating their twentieth anniversary, check it out.  It has great photos of writers and artists and editors who are part of the Endicott Circle, myself included.  I like seeing twenty year old pictures (or thereabouts) of people I know now.

Still busy catching up with work that got away from me while in North Carolina.  More soon.

Moving in

I am moved into a new apartment (same building, now on the second floor), which is pretty damned big and cool and well-decorated (thanks to Tony–I’m so not an interior design oriented person).  Pictures of the new place in the flickr box on the sidebar.  Go and admire my new office and bedroom and living room etc!

This week has been really busy, trying to settle into the new place, catching up with my weekly routines, revising the story I took to Sycamore Hill, and beginning to catch up with and spend some time with friends and family before I go gallivanting to New York City for a week next month and totally lose touch with my regular reality for yet another week.  I don’t teach during the summer, yet somehow life feels busier for me now more than ever.

I owe lots of people email, and will be trying to catch up with those real soon.  Hopefully next week won’t be as hurried and harried.  I mean, come on, it’s summer!  I really need to go swimming and to BBQs and picnics real soon, or it’s just not going to feel like summer to me at all.

Cafes of Youngstown (Updated)

picp1010023.jpgDuring winter I don’t like to leave my apartment unless I have to–I was born a summer child, so although I enjoy the Christmastime mood of the beginning of winter, I prefer warmth and light. So for those winter months, I write at home a lot. In Spring, Summer and Fall, though, I like to get out of my apartment as much as possible. Lately I’ve been going to cafes after I work out, to write and do writing-related things. Having a wi-fi connection and a decent cup of coffee or tea, along with good scones, are my first criteria for spending hours in a cafe, so this series of good writing places in Youngstown I’m going to write about from time to time will probably be shorter rather than longer, but the places I’m going have something really special about them, so I don’t need a lot of places to choose from.

picp1010021.jpg Today I went to Cedars, probably the oldest cafe in the downtown. The front of the place is the cafe and restaurant, and around the street corner it sits on is an entrance to their bar, where some of the best local bands come to play every week. It’s been a favorite place of mine in Youngstown for the past thirteen years, since my freshman composition instructor invited me to come see her read poetry there when I was eighteen and she snuck me a glass of red wine to sip on through the evening. Cedars has art by local artists hung everywhere in its cafe, and a gorgeous patio as well. I tend to sit on the patio, but when it’s raining I head inside for the day and drink coffee with butter rum instead of iced tea. I totally look forward to getting up every day, knowing that after I get my exercising done, this will be one of the places I get to spend several hours in for the rest of the day.


Speaking of writing, the new issue of Realms of Fantasy with my story “Little Miss Apocalypse” in it arrived the other day. The boy wizard from England is on the cover. There are lots of good stories inside. Take a looksee.

**Forgot this at the time, but my story in this issue of Realms of Fantasy actually has a couple of scenes in it set at Cedars.

Scaping the Street in Downtown Youngstown


This Saturday was Streetscape in Youngstown’s downtown. A couple of hundred volunteers from the community came out to plant flowers and to landscape the downtown together. It was a really awesome thing to be a part of, working side by side sometimes with people from your city that you know, and with people from your city that you’ve never met before. Even our congressman, Tim Ryan (below in our “Defend Youngstown” pose), came out to lend a hand.



There was a spirit of togetherness all morning while we worked from 8 until noon, at which time we ate an incredible meal supplied by a lot of the local restaurants and cafes. Everything from BBQ to five different kinds of salad, cookies and brownies, Italian greens. We also received nice green Streetscape T-shirts for volunteering to work. I saw lots of people wearing them from past Streetscape events and decided maybe I should start to collect these myself. I plan to be doing the same thing this time next year too.



If you’re a Youngstowner, or someone who would like to be a part of events like this in the future, take a look at the Cityscape website. Hopefully we’ll have more projects like this to complete in the near future. More pictures from the day can be found in my flickr on the sidebar, so click and go look at some photos that, for me, are truly inspiring. I think many of the people who volunteered on Saturday were surprised to find they weren’t the only ones who care about making Youngstown a beautiful place to live again.