The Case of the Missing Giant Potato

The world of fiction isn’t the same as the world we live in. In “After Eden” (my story in Nevertheless, She Persisted) I added hints that the town in the story wasn’t the real town. They were hints that only … Continue reading

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The Rambling Writer Returns to Greece, Part 21: Earth Goddess in Ancient Delphi

Stand with me at the “navel of the earth” in ancient Delphi, where the earliest Neolithic settlers worshipped an Earth Goddess

NOTE: Since my 4-month backpacking trip around Greece too many years ago, I had been longing to return to this magical land of myth, history, and dramatic landscapes. I recently made a fabulous 3-week return trip there, to research additional settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT. My first post in the new series, on September 30, gives an overview of my rambles with my husband Thor from Athens to the islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Naxos, and finally a pilgrimage to the ancient center of the world at Delphi.

I do want to repeat an earlier disclaimer: I make no claim to be an historian. In these rambles, I’m simply drawing on my experiences and sampling numerous sources of history and mythology. My hope is that you will enjoy the journey.

There are so many tangled strands of history and mythology woven into the sanctuary of Delphi and its surroundings, it’s difficult to pick a strand to follow. Today, I’ll start with the earliest evidence of settlements and worship in the area. Archaeologists seem to agree that the hillsides around Delphi, and the slopes of Mount Parnassos, supported villages in the Neolithic Era from around 5000 BC, segueing into the Early Bronze Age of 2900-2000 BC. These cultures are thought to have worshipped a form of Gaea, or the Earth Mother. The site of the later Tholos of the goddess Athena was originally dedicated to this earth goddess, and the mounded hills across the steep Pleistos River valley seem to hold a female form. I can testify to a sense of calm strength and peacefulness in this place that has drawn pilgrims for thousands of years. Continue reading

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New Worlds: Divorce

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

It’s common for Christian wedding vows to include the phrase “till death do us part” . . . but the truth is that marriages don’t always last.

The circumstances under which they can end, though, range all over the board. Who’s allowed to call it quits: the husband, the wife, their families, some higher (secular or spiritual) authority? What cause, if any, is required before you can cut the tie? What hoops do you have to jump through, and what are you allowed to do afterward?

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Audiobook Giveaway!

Yes, Book View Cafe now publishes audiobooks too. And to celebrate we’re giving away eight copies of The Aunt Paradox audiobook. All you have to do is email bvcbap@chris-dolley.com and say which Audible store you’d like to download the audiobook from (Audible.com or Audible.co.uk) and we’ll send the Audible download codes to the eight winners. Winners will be selected by a simple draw next week.

The Aunt Paradox is the third book in Chris Dolley’s Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries series. It’s 2 hours and 35 minutes long and narrated by Paul J Rose, who narrated the first book in the series – What Ho, Automaton! You don’t need to have read the earlier books in the series to enjoy the story.

The Aunt Paradox is on sale at Audible, Amazon and Apple.

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BVC Eats COMFORT FOOD: Kedgeree

I’ve been reading about kedgeree in English novels all my life and decided to try it.

This is regarded as intensely British food, meaning, they got the smoked fish from Scandahoovia and the curry and the basmati rice from India and where else does that kind of crazy happen except in Britain? Continue reading

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Not Trapped in a Bubble

I’m getting very tired of being told that the solution to the political problems in the U.S. today is for me to get out of my “partisan bubble” and go talk to the white people who supported Trump. I’m particularly tired of hearing it from political columnists who haven’t left their secure cocoons in New York or Washington in years.

But I’m also tired of hearing it from more thoughtful people like Arlie Hochschild, a fine sociologist who has done excellent work studying right wing white people in Louisiana. She keeps saying that we need to get out of our liberal enclaves and reach out to these people. She’s from Berkeley. Perhaps she has always lived in a place where liberal views and educated people formed the majority. Maybe she really did need to go meet those people to see them as human beings.

But I don’t. Yeah, I live in California now, but I wasn’t born here nor was I raised in a place of liberal isolation.

I grew up in a small town outside of Houston and I went to public school in the nearby town of Alvin. Every morning I caught a bus with the kids of the white oil field workers who lived up the road. And every morning I heard some of those kids say, “Don’t let those Mexicans sit down” when a couple of Mexican American kids got on toward the end of the route. Continue reading

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Returning to Oil: On Beyond Zebra

by Brenda W. Clough

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being creative, it’s that you don’t just stay here. Like in the song, you move on — beyond the photo, beyond the plot, through to something new.Something of your own! What you write is not necessarily all that is there, and what you paint is not necessarily what you see.

So! Like the Art Garfunkel song says, reality is not for me. Here is a run at carrying it on — beyond green, beyond mere representational landscape. One of the things with oils is that you can set the tone by blocking out the work with a color. Burnt sienna is the traditional hue for this, and I used it for the 1.0 version. In this 3.0 version, I used alizarin crimson.

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Writers vs Truthers: Time, Freeze Frames, Connections and Back Story
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question-mark2Let me first say that this is not my usual Wednesday to post a blog, but I felt the need to post this week. I beg my fellow BVCer’s indulgence. Second, I did not want to make this post a regular event, but circumstances make it imperative that I rerun this; it was originally posted in 2014. The name Parkland has joined Newtown, Las Vegas, and Columbine in fame. I speak, of course, of the latest high fatality shooting, which took place in Parkland, FL last Wednesday.

This time the victims were old enough and articulate enough and motivated enough to speak out for themselves. The survivors and families are mobilizing very publicly and, as a result, adults who should know better are already tossing out conspiracy theories to counter them. This is not just coming from fringe extremists. I’ve seen ‘mainstream’ politicians suggesting that the kids are scripted or that they’re padding their college accounts via George Soros or that they’ve been brainwashed or that this was another “false flag” aimed at taking away everyone’s guns.

So, here we are again. And again, I offer a take on what such trutherism looks like to someone who makes stuff up for a living.

oOo

I had the truly bizarre experience of conversing with a Sandy Hook truther or two this past weekend. After listening to the litany of “reasons” that they have for suspecting a hoax or conspiracy of some sort (what sort varies), and hearing their questions, and reading some of their source material, a pattern began to emerge.

They seemed to have little awareness of a number of things that, as a writer, I must take into account in every story I write and every plot I conceive.  Continue reading

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In Troubled Times: Bystander Intervention Training

In January 2018, I attended a seminar entitled Stand! Speak! Act! A Community Bystander Intervention Training. The subheading suggested I would learn how to nonviolently support someone who was being harassed. The event was presented by the local chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), the Muslim Solidarity Group, and the local rapid response team. The idea of becoming a nonviolent ally in directly ameliorating the harm from harassment greatly appealed to me. I found the seminar enlightening, although not always in ways I expected.

To begin with, although two of the event’s three sponsors were specifically Muslim solidarity groups, the techniques and strategies apply whenever a person is being targeted. Although hate crimes against Muslims have increased drastically (first after 9/11 and then ongoing since the last presidential election), racism (anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian) still accounts for the majority of incidents, and anti-LGBTQ violence continues. Most of my friends and relatives who have been harassed have been targeted because of race, sexual orientation, or gender identification, but by far the greatest number have been because of race. The principles of intervention remain the same, and if in the future some other group becomes a target for extremism and violence, allies will step forward. Continue reading

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BVC Announces Trickster’s Dance by Irene Radford

Trickster's Dance by Irene RadfordTrickster’s Dance
Trance Dancer: Book 1
by Irene Radford

Devastating floods allow new Utopias to rise in isolated villages. But change, stability, and the loss of a charismatic leader leads to a crumbling of ideals. How long can a young girl thrust into the role of shaman hold together an ideal society?

The axis of the Earth changed its tilt. All the glacial and polar ice melted. Humanity was reduced to a tiny fraction of the once teeming masses. Continue reading

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