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Viewing Blog: The Califa Police Gazette, Most Recent at Top
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Fabulist and scribbler. Author of "Flora Segunda, Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominious Butlers (One Blue), A House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog" and various monographs of the history of the Republic of Califa. Editor-in-Chief, Bilskinir Press. Imbiber of Much Coffee. Mincing Malicho of Malice. Adoring Slave to Good Boy Bothwell, the Cutest Dog in the Universe.
Statistics for The Califa Police Gazette

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 2

I'm probably going to shift most of my blogging over to tumblr, since it's easy to add pretty pictures. If you do tumblr, please follow me there. If you don't do tumblr, I will still post here sometimes, but tumblr & twitter are where my action is at these days.

Ah social media. What an entertaining time suck!

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Did I mention I'm on tumblr?

You should go there; I post pretty pictures, and trenchant aphorisms, and sometimes videos of border collies doing parkour.

Plus, I am needy for followers. 

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Hardhands does not like children. This dislike is nothing personal; he doesn't like chicken either, or rainy days, or socks that were too tight. In fact, if asked to rank dislikes he would have put these last three higher up on this list, easily. Maybe that was because chicken, rainy days and socks that were too tight intrude into his life. Children do not.  Still, his little experience with children, confined mostly to his dreadful niece—four years old and a red headed terror—have left him quite firm on the matter.

Hardhands does like dogs. He also likes sleeping late, double mochas and scrambled eggs, particularly the way that Paimon makes them, creamy and cheesy, and particularly on a late morning after a later night, after a particularly good show. Last night's show had more than particularly good, it had been fantastic, brilliant, fabulous, being superlative. The drums had rolled like thunder through the crowded club, crushing all before them, and his voice had balanced perfectly on the knife's edge of the guitar, cutting and quick. The invocation had been so superlatively heavy that the band had managed to manifest Forneaus, who had produced the most killer bass solo ever heard at the Octagon Theatre. The show was so fabulous that half the audience had staggered out into the early morning street with blood streaming from their ears, agog in bliss.
Now, still in afterglow, Hardhandshelps himself to more cheesy eggs out of the silver chafing dish. He is humming the bass line to Bury Me in Immortal Oblivion. If he had been asked what could ruin his perfectly good mood, he would have said, in between egg and coffee, absfuckinglutely nothing.

 That was before his grandmamma joins him at the table.

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Your chance to get the Japanese editions of FLORA'S FURY is gone.

But you may well have another.

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Here's your chance to get the two volume set of the Japanese edition of FLORA'S Fury, and contribute to an extremely worthy cause--keeping the KGB reading series going for another few years.

Forty-five bucks is all it takes (same caliber as Flora's side-arm, dontchaknow), and since I'll be sending the books directly to you, I may be motivated to include goodies beyond my gorgeous signature. She who lives will see, as Nini Mo says. (Or He, as the case may be.)

I've already blogged about why it's important to support KGB even if you don't live anywhere near NYC and don't think you'll ever be able to attend a reading, so I won't repeat myself now.

But I will say that the Japanese edition of FLORA'S FURY is by far the most gorgeous edition of any Flora book ever, and well worth having for the art alone, even if your Japanese is slim to non-existent.

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Let's play what's in her dispatch case.

  • a black light scorpion flashlight
  • wallet
  • a packet of Snoopy brand tissues
  • appointment book
  • pen case full of pins
  • case with knife, fork & spoon (I hate plastic)
  • iphone charger
  • bag of nuts
  • bag of Gail Ambrosius cocoa covered dried cherries
  • Little My coin purse 
  • 2 bars of Dandelion chocolate 
  • Power block battery charger
  • five lipsticks
  • collapsible bag 
  • 7 pens of various descriptions and hues
  • the menu from Delica, scribbled with reading suggestions from Sarah Gran
  • Kindle Fire
  • notebook 
  • black sparkly headband
  • green toy car missing its wheels
  • Kindle fire charger
  • Ikea pencil
  • Thermos bottle full of ice tea
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
Nini Mo would say: "Where's your knife?" That's a good question...where is my knife...I must have taken out when I flew last and not put it back in...

So what's in YOUR dispatch case? 

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I have always written chronologically until now. With each of the Flora books I started at the beginning and then just plowed forward. If I got stuck, I was stuck, and there I stayed until I could figure out how to unstick (Get out of bed, Flora! It's not that bad!). This worked well enough, although sometimes it meant I sat around for weeks waiting for Flora to get out of bed. She likes to lay around and moan, that girl.

But for years, I've been accumulating bits of METAL MORE ATTRACTIVE; short stories, longer pieces that clearly fit in the narrative somewhere, but where oh where? And while I had an idea of what actually happened in the end, I didn't have any idea how the pieces fit together or why things happened, or what the over arcing story line was about other than Hardhands' burning desire to burn.

So when I finished FLORA'S DARE, I thought this is finally the time to figure out what the heck is going on with that boy and his little tiny doom. When I tallied up the fragments I had over 80K words. That's more than half a book! They were pretty good fragments too; I just had to figure out how they went together. And that's what I've been doing the last few months. Fleshing some out some stuff, cutting out other stuff, discovering back-story that I hadn't realized I'd inserted, and even, in a couple of cases, finding important scenes that I have no actual memory of ever writing. So I guess in a way, I'm following Joss's advice for the first time ever. And it's working out pretty well. I'm still at about 80K due to the splicing, pruning and adding, but now that 80K actually fits together in a (dis)orderly fashion and I feel as though I have some good sense of what's going on. Although I've been wrong about that before. (Never trust a trickster who you think isn't even in the book and then turns out to have been there all along pretending to be other characters.)

And there is something to be said, I realize now, about writing the really compelling urgent stuff first and then connecting it together later. Hardhands and Tiny Doom are rather urgent people (unlike Flora, who wants the answers quickly but don't have no energy) and so I often drop in on them and find them doing in the middle of doing some incredibly urgent thing they don't have time to explain. I just have to follow along behind, scribbling notes furiously, and then once the fuss has died down try to figure what *that* was all about. This is much more fun than sitting around waiting for Flora to get out of bed.

(I love ya, Flora, but more murder, less art!)

I have to say this is also making the writing process much more interesting and exciting. And when you have no idea what's going to happen next, and maybe next turns out to come before, well, the solving the puzzle makes the second draft much more fun.

As Nini Mo once said: if you spend all your time looking behind you, you'll never see what's in front of you.

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"I used to write chronologically when I started, from beginning to end. Eventually I went, That’s absurd; my heart is in this one scene, therefore I must follow it. Obviously, if you know you have a bunch of stuff to do, I have to lay out this, all this dull stuff, and I feel very uncreative but the clock is ticking. Then you do that and you choose to do that. But I always believe in just have as much fun as you can so that when you’re in the part that you hate there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that you’re close to finished.”

Joss Whedon

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"Manna prepares a traditional Corsican dish, a boar fetus cooked in its mother, which Randle calls “The Criminal Meal.” In what he calls “The Quiet Hours,” each course is accompanied by headphones playing sounds of the sea, or rustling grass, or a waterfall, or a busy restaurant, or a factory floor, the intent being to match the dishes: scallops, salad, burned red pepper soup, shaved pork, macerated calf’s liver. The final course, the custard, is eaten in complete silence. He’s also experimented with dirt as food. He uses mud from fifty different states in fifty different dishes and calls the creation “The American Meal.”

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Flying Bothwell, as drawn by Theo Black.

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Kickstarter for KGB

The SF KGB reading series has a very worthy kickstarter going on right now. For those who don't know, KGB is a monthly SF&F reading series that's been going in the KGB in East Village for years. Moderated by Ellen Datlow and Matt Kressel, it's probably the most important SF&F reading series in THE WORLD. The list of luminaries that's read there is far too long to list, but does include your faithful author.

There are many wonderful things about KGB, but from a writer's POV the best part of participating in the series is a guaranteed audience. Writers are always longing to get a chance to read their work before an appreciative and adoring crowd, but the brutal truth is, even at cons, most writers are lucky to have three or four people show up. I just went to a reading given by a wonderful writer reading from a wonderful book that has gotten tons and tons of very deserved critical acclaim and only four people showed. Unless you are in the Hugely Big Book Leagues, people are just not interested in taking time to come to readings. This can even be true at cons; I've done readings at cons where I've had four people in the audience (thank you Kelly Link for coming and bringing three friends!) It's very depressing to know that even your peers can not be rousted from the bar long enough to stagger upstairs to the conference room to listen to you declaim your deathless prose.

(Cue Sad Trombone)

(Sound of Sad Trombone dies away.)

 (Cue Happy Trumpets!)

 But KGB is always full, always packed, always standing room only. It's the one place that writers like me can look out over a sea of happy faces and declaim our little hearts out. People come to KGB as much because it's an institution and because they adore Ellen & Matt than because they want to hear a particular writer. Which works to us un-particular writers very good advantage. So even if you don't live in NYC, and don't think you'll ever have a chance to attend KGB, please consider supporting it anyway. By doing so, you are supporting the authors you love and helping give them a chance to feel some love back. It's lonely being a writer, and so rarely do you get a chance to present your work yourself to an audience, get feedback, actually realize that you HAVE an audience (even if that audience is there as much for the bar, Ellen & Matt, as for you).

 Muchas gracias.

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Alas and fie for shame, I never managed to get my gorgeous Sparkly Website back up and running, so that's why you have come here, and not to the Gorgeous Sparkly Website. Fie on Flash, Fie! And fie on Apple for abandoning Flash and thus ruining my beautiful Sparkly website. I know that writers today must be their own marketing, their own social secretaries, their own everything, but at the risk of a Whine, it's so time consuming to get social media constructed, to keep it going, to decide where to concentrate efforts etc. I have a facebook but no one ever visits there; I have this blog, where admittedly I haven't been very good about posting here, but then no one ever visits, so I guess no one ever notices. I have twitter, I did myspace, I did lj, I have a tumblr which I can't figure the heck out. It's exhausting. With only a certain amount of energy available, you have to put it where it counts...and deciding what counts is hard as heck. Anyway. If anyone ever reads this, I promise to try to be more proactive about keeping things up. And I'm going to get that Sparkly website back, if it kills me. Someday.

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At long last "Flora's Fury" is available in paperback. Alas, don't look for it stocked in stores, but it can be ordered via Amazon, ordered in stores (I think), and, of course, through various indie sources. Buy a few, they are small...

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WANTED: Lead Singer to co-front four piece band Califa's Lip Rouge. Influences: Tygers of Wrath, Les Fauvres, Crash Worship, Halycon Turnip, Weatherhead, and Lotta Love. Must be able to hit G10. Must be stylish, tall, and pliant. Must be willing to carry heavy equipment. Must have experience with glamours, retroactive enchantments, and excitory catalysts. Apply in person to The Zu-Zu, Abenfarax House, Califa. Pay to play, please bring proof of funds or other fungible goods. Applications accepted between the hours of 8 pm and 9 pm only. (Boys only.)


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Great Review from Booklist!

The final book of the trilogy that began with Flora Segunda (2007) and Flora’s Dare (2008) is a roller coaster ride, tying together loose ends while bowling over readers with the inventive language, complex history, and intriguing culture of a richly imagined fantasy world. Flora casts a blood spell to find her true mother and eventually succeeds, but the road to that reunion is paved with ghostly octopi, a rude but attractive were-bear, Flora’s near death at the hands of a villainous Birdie, and the transformation of sidekick Udo from feckless fop to dashing leading man. Though the romance is predictable, this remains a charming conclusion to a fine fantasy series. Northern Californians especially will appreciate Wilce’s unique take on a magical, Spanish-influenced culture imposed on Bay Area geography.
— Debbie Carton

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Mariposa: Strange news from the past. I think you know what I mean. It’s best to keep moving and leave no forwarding address.

Zarigüeya: Console your Loss with Vice and pour Vinegar on an Open Wound! Well, what else do you need to know? Go do it now, before it’s just too fiking late.

Martillo: Houses can't always be trusted. You should consider moving to a hotel. Hot running water is laid in and they will bring hot buttered toast to your room.You really need some peace and quiet and a nice steamy bath.

Culebra: The snail watches with stalks. Do you like gardening? The dirt is very dirty and now is the time to invest in some soap.Snails sautéed in butter go most delightfully with peas. Find an Azote and combine forces. Two are far far safer than one.

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Azote: Please call upon your mamma. She is wondering whether you would prefer chicken galantine or peas for dinner. I would recommend the peas. This year's crop is very tasty and sure to give you great satisfaction. Plus, your mother will be pleased to know you are eating your veggies.

Jaguar: Time is running out, but if your shoes are red, you can probably catch up. Or better yet, take the trolley. There's one due at 14:40 and it will take you all the way, if you have exact change. Just be careful who you sit by. There are some strange people out there.

Aparajo: They who grab the moment before it's ripe, tears of repentance will surely wipe. If you don't have a good supply of napkins in the house, now's the time to stock up.Also, cough drops and a bottle of Madam Twanky's Sel-ray Salt Joy Juice. It will fix you right up.

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Horoscope for Sol, 25th Año Abenfaraxby Archangel Bob

Loliga: This will be a month of great upheaval. The sun is in calico in the fourth house and thus in direct opposition to everything. Do not attempt any major workings at this time or pulverized concrete is sure to ensue. Blow out your candle and curse the light.

Oso: Fishing is always fun on a sunny day and you never know what you might catch. Have you ever considering a monastic rite? This year would be a perfect time to build a hut of seaweed and count the waves. Watch where you sling those hooks, they are very pointy and they stick.

Alacran Do I feel a hot breeze? No, that's just the back draft from your funeral pyre. It is not enough for you not to smoke in bed, you must ensure that your lover does not smoke in bed either. Fire is hot no matter who starts it. Hold still, quit crying, and I shall get the butter.

Coyote: If your hair is red, dye it green, if it is green, dye it purple and if it is purple then there is nothing I can do to help you. I suggest the Monday steamer to Angeles. It is less foggy there and you will enjoy the enchiladas. Don't forget to pack a shady hat.  

Still more to come...

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The Time Elapsed for Digestion

Homemade Sponge Cake: 2 hours
Salt Pork: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Pinole Flour: 5 hours, 12 min & 8 seconds
Mule: 4 hours, 15 minutes, poor Evil Murdoch
Best Shoe Leather: 3 hours, mighty tough
Grass: 2 minutes &; keep a rag handy
Your Best Friend: 6 hours, 1 minute

From Nini Mo's Tips for Rangers

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I must now say a few words about my beautiful lovely wonderful website yswilce.com

It was created several years ago, and perfectly reflected, I thought, my writing, world building, and aesthetics. I was very pleased and proud of it and everyone who visited it thought it was just swell.

But alas time marched on and the website remained the same, and other things happened (more books, ipads, death of flash etc.), and I let it slide, ignoring it, while it waited like a neglected child for me to return. And when I did return finally, and began to take steps to update it, I discovered that, much like Dorian Grey, while the exterior was shiny and glamorous, the inside was rotten. (Inexact metaphor but you know what I mean.) The underlying code was so bad that the website could not be updated.

Now Porkopolis was not built in a day, Nini Mo didn't become a legend over night, and rebuilding the site is going to take time.

But never fear. You shall not be completely without me. In the interim, to be up-to-date, we have added a new portal page with information regarding FLORA'S FURY and links to my various social media personalities. We'll be juicing up the portal even more in coming days, with all sorts of delicious extras. I will continue to flog my stuff on The Califa Police Gazette, Twitter, and Facebook frequently.

When the glorious day of the relaunch comes, everyone will be informed.

Your indulgence is appreciated.

Your obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce

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Happy Bookday to FLORA'S FURY. It's been a long strange journey, these three books. Hard to believe that FLORA SEGUNDA came out so many years ago. Too much has happened in between. I feel a bit sad to have the series done, but I have no doubt that Flora and Flynn's adventures will continue, with or without me. (Hopefully with!)

Thanks to all who have waited so patiently and kept Flora in their thoughts all this time!

Yr obt. svt.,


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If I were going to be psychically close to a historical figure I would not have picked Thomas Cromwell!

Fascinating interview with Hilary Martel about writing historical fiction, being a woman, and being a woman writer.

(As she once put it, 'When you write you are not either sex. But when you’re read you are definitely gendered.’)

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It's old Arivaipa again, again
It's old Ariviapa again
They don't do the Califa dip
But they'll shoot you from the hip
Back in Old Arivaipa again, again

It's old Arivaipa again, again
It's old Arivaipa again
Full of outlaws and bad bad men
You've been there before
And you are coming back once more
Back to old Arivaipa again, again

Traditional Army of Califa Song 

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Ayah, it is true that at last, Califa will see the happy return of the Infanta Sylvanna Axacaya ov Abenfarax, the Warlord’s heir, to the Republic she will one day govern. Long has this day been looked for, and no one will celebrate the moment she sets foot upon Califa soil more than this newspaper. The return of the only daughter of the Warlord and the late blessed Warlady should and will be an event of much celebration.

But your editor would be remiss in his patriotic duty if he did not consider the implications of the Infanta’s return. She has been a guest of the Vicereina of Huitzil for almost fifteen years. In that time she has grown from a child to a woman, a woman whose knowledge of Califa is second-hand, at best. At worst, it has been influenced by our overlords’ attitudes, which have not always been kind towards Califa. As we welcome her grace, we must keep this in mind.

 Is the Infanta’s return a sign of the lessening of the tensions between our two countries? Or does the Infanta return because the Vicereina is certain the Infanta’s will reflect Huitzil desires and policies? Is the noose being loosened or tightened? Only time will tell.

From an editorial in The Alta Califa

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The Sun Signs In Brief:

Loliga: Squirmy and slick, tentacles surround.
Oso: Sleepy and stout, but fast as fury when aroused.
Coyote: Clever and cunning, brimming with fun.
Azote: Snappy and sharp, cracking with heat.
Jaguar: Long and lean, softly from behind, stealthily and still.
Aparajo: Solid and bearable, lift that load.
Mariposa: Glittering and giddy, bright colours flashing.
Zarigüeya: Patient and pragmatic, sitting very still.
Martillo: Lofty and looming, but always with a point.
Alacran: Stingy and red, quick to bite.
Culebra: Force and fire, all that lives delights.

From The Bilskinir Gazette

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