Guided by Magic is Here!

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“I never told anyone that I saw the Grassman steal our baby.”

So begins Book II of the Karakesh Chronicles.

If you read Book I, Tangled in Magic, you met Scrub, the waif Agatha rescues in the forest.  In Part 1 of Guided by Magic, Sada tells of her quest to find Scrub, the changeling the Grassman put in the pram, and whom Sada grows to love.  The only thing Scrub leaves behind is a magic necklace.  But are the visions in the necklace to be believed?

In Part 2, Miela, Sada’s little sister, sets out on her own quest.  Trouble follows her, threatening to destroy her dream.

Guided by Magic is particularly special to me because I had the opportunity to do the illustrations.

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I used linocut to achieve the brooding quality of the story.

Guided by Magic, as well as Tangled in Magic, will be available from me at the Car and Craft Show in New Paltz, on September 29, at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.  I will also be selling the books at the Unison Arts and Crafts Fair on December 2.

Guided by Magic will soon be on Amazon, too!

Please add a book review!

 

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Claremont Art

Here are the final photos of Claremont that I couldn’t upload onto my iPad.

The Margaret Fowler garden at Scripps College.

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Bird sculpture at the Square I gallery/ two horses in a garden/sculpture in a village park

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And a Green Man in someone’s garden!  The Green Man/Leshy character shows up in my fifth Karakesh chronicle, so I’m partial to this image.

 

 

Claremont, Rearview

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The trees of Claremont, above.

We’ve returned to New York, to the lush green and the humidity of the Hudson Valley.  My conclusion: Claremont is a wonderful place, full of culture, friendly people, and beautiful scenery.  BUT– the rest of LA between Claremont and LAX is mostly ugly.

So here are photos of Claremont that I couldn’t wrangle onto my iPad when in Claremont.

fullsizeoutput_1ea0   This garden is typical of the desert landscaping around Claremont houses.

 

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I met this rangy coyote on my morning walk.

It was great to hang out with my sister and her friends.  I loved the cool, breezy mornings and evenings, when the air stroked my skin.

Travel provides new perspectives, and a respite from the responsibilities of life at home. I’m sure we’ll be back in Claremont within the year, as we have a new family member on its way.

 

Claremont, California

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My sister has lived in Claremont for many years.  She has an extensive network of interesting, talented friends who have been dropping by with news and goodies now that she is post-surgery.

I actually lived in Claremont in 1973, just after graduating college.  My sister, Jan, found me an apartment and a job.  Even back then she had many connections.  I worked making hand-forged jewelry for a now-defunct store named Figg.

Recently I read that Claremont is known as the City of Trees.  There are many venerable eucalyptus, pepper, palm, and sycamore trees, along with many others I can’t identify. And of course there are the six colleges whose quads and gardens make for great walking.

The houses around the village are highly individual and imaginatively landscaped. Here’s my sister’s front walk.

imageThe inside of my sister’s house is more like a museum.  We wander around looking at the art on the walls and the collections of old dolls and wooden chests of drawers full of beads and yarns that she uses in her artwork.

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The figures in the foreground are a collection of carved wooden doctors she found in a shop somewhere.  We had fun guessing which specialist each depicted.

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Writer’s Corner

Thinking About Plot

School will be starting soon, and I’m gearing up to do some author visits.

One of the class presentations I’m developing is about plot.  It started me considering how I created the plots of the five books of the Karakesh Chronicles.  Each book involves one or more characters on a quest.  For me this theme is no surprise, as I view life as a quest.  We may not all be seeking the same thing, but I believe we do have some common goals.

In the beginning of Awakening Magic (Book III), Prince Emric knows what he doesn’t want.  He must defy his family and the social structure, and make a great sacrifice to achieve the life he desires.  True to the quest plot, Emric encounters obstacles and setbacks as he moves toward his goal.

Book IV, as yet untitled, stars Demara, a girl whose father is a selkie. Her mother is a Traveler.  Demara longs to be a pureblooded selkie, and to be able to live with her father in the ocean.  She, too, encounters obstacles and opposition, and in the end, discovers what she really wants to be.

In the fifth book of the Karakesh Chronicles, the main character, Bimi Lightfoot, longs to find his birth parents.  Bimi wants to know who he is, and where he came from.  All he does know is that his mother is a faerie, and that she let Liri Flare, her cousin, give Bimi away.  As he searches for his parents, Bimi experiences his own transformation.

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I’m looking forward to exploring the quest plot with students.  Writing with kids is fun and full of surprises.

 

 

Fabulous Flamenco

fullsizeoutput_1e81Anna Librada Georges

The musicians and dancers of the first Hudson Valley Flamenco Festival performed for a full house at the Rosendale Theater on August 11.  At the end of the show, the audience was standing, shouting, and stamping feet.

The director, my daughter Anna, managed to bring together a dozen local artists to dazzle those attending.  Most of the groundwork for the festival was laid from Anna’s home in Spain.  That she pulled off such an accomplishment speaks to Anna’s skills and determination.

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Anna is already working on the second Hudson Valley Flamenco Festival.

If you missed the show on August 11, you’ll have another chance to enjoy great music and dance next year.

Ole!

 

What I’m Reading

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

Back Bay Books, Little, Brown and Company, NY, 2009. (YA and Adult readers)

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I loved this book.  LOVED IT.

After listening to an interview with Urrea in an On Being podcast, I was so impressed with his responses, his poetry reading, and his humor that I ordered the book.

When I was reading the end of the story, I think I actually shouted at our heroine, “No!  Don’t go away now!”  I was instantly struck by the fear that I was turning into my Aunt Helen who got so swept away during a Broadway play that she yelled advice to  the actors.

Urrea’s characters are broad and deep, original, and delightful.  I enjoyed the back-and- forth with English and Spanish, and the street talk.  Atomiko, in particular, was a stroke of brilliance.

Into the Beautiful North is a quest novel, but it also provides an education for those of us who don’t know of the conditions at the U.S./Mexican border.

These days, I firmly control my book-buying and use the library system.  However, I’m glad to own Into the Beautiful North, because I plan to read it again, more carefully.  The first read is for the story.  The second read is for the writer.  I kept asking myself, “How does he DO that?”  I want to write like Urrea, to be able to use description, devices, and humor in such a smooth, fresh way.

Regarding humor, my stories tend toward the serious, even though Archer and Carl the Third are amusing in Tangled in Magic. I just take the world too seriously, even worlds with talking birds and magic.

It’s tough to be learning a craft in my golden years, but certainly a welcome challenge that keeps me working.

Thanks, Luis Alberto Urrea, for a wonderful book.