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This Tornado Loves You

Somehow, friends, we are halfway through the month of June. For me, that means I've just had my 37th birthday (my six-year-old daughter sang me a song that began with, "Happy birthday, Mommy! You're not 30, you're not 31)..." all the way up to the final number). It also means that there are gardenias blooming everywhere in North Carolina. I grew up in New England and I was used to mid-June being peony season, but I'm totally okay with gardenias, as well.  (And yes. I do share a birthday with a certain someone.)

The world continues to hurtle toward general WTFiness. But it's Pride Month and that's important. While there's no chance in the seven hells we'll see the White House bedecked in rainbows this year, it's an ideal time to step up your allyship. A good first step is to support queer authors. Educate yourself about what it means to live as a queer person in today's world. 

The Reading Situation 

One of the best parts of attending conventions is getting a ton of book recommendations. Having finished A Wizard of Earthsea, I wanted to dive into something different. Multiple people told me to get a copy of An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, but I am definitely a hard sell when it comes to science fiction. 

That said, an essential component of becoming a better reader is challenging yourself and reading things that don't necessarily fall into your comfort zone. I am very glad I gave this book a chance because I'm enjoying it thoroughly. The world building comes in beautifully, unfolding as the pages go by. The characters are vividly drawn, their range of backgrounds fascinating. I'm totally in love with Aster, the main character, right now. Bonus, the audiobook is absolutely gorgeous. I'm looking forward to reading more of Solomon's work as it becomes available; they are a very exciting new voice.
A Taste of WisCon: Weird West!

Coming back to the real world after Wiscon was not easy, but thankfully other folks had a better grasp on what happened than I did! One of my favorite panels was the Weird West panel, and moderator S. Qiouyi Lu put together a great recap you can find here. It's not often that I get a play by play of what happened, so I really appreciate what they did here! The panel also featured Gayathri Kamath and Eric M. Heideman. 

Not Everything is Terrible News
If you're like me, underwater animals are an unending source of wonder. While the squid and the octopus get a whole lot of press, the cuttlefish is truly a wonder. From their W-shaped irises to their eight arms and two tentacles (yes, only two... tentacles are often confused for arms) they are both adorable and magnificent. PBS has a great overview of their other special power: concealment!
Artistic Inspiration

A woman Pre-Raphaelite painter, a 15th-century man, and a kitsune.
Click on the portraits for more information.
America is Not a Place
"There are no Americans. Remember, that name is nothing. That name stuck by coincidence and probably because someone in marketing thought it had a good ring to it. There are only those who hope to be Americans or think they are Americans, but they’ve never read the syllabus. No one reads the syllabus."

What I'm Writing This Week

I erroneously said I was working on Masks & Malevolence last week, but that was a slip of the fingers. I am, in fact, working on Time & Temper, the final Frost & Filigree novella, completing the cycle. I'm writing very quickly at the moment, mostly by way of a coping mechanism. As per usual, my "novella" size is significantly longer than average. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and closing in on 20,000 words. My goal has been 1,000 words a day whenever I manage to write. So far that's working quite well.

Currently, Ophaniel continues to be my favorite character. It's the first time I've written an autistic-minded invidiual, and I wasn't exactly planning on it. But living with my son has given me a window into how his mind thinks, and I thought that the cherubim -- ancient and inhuman -- might have a mind much like his. 

     “I was just wondering about your provenance,” Ophaniel says. 
     “My what?” 
     “Provenance,” Ophaniel says. “I mean—”
     “I know what you mean,” Nerissa replies. “But I’m not a piece of furniture. I don’t have provenance.”
Ophaniel knows she’s not a piece of furniture. But to an angel the differences between furniture and non-angelic beings is very subtle. Armchair. Lamia. Divan. Sylph. Ottoman. Dwarf. Subtle. “Very well, then. Your place of origin. Every monster has a beginning.”
I miss George.
Thanks for reading! The lowest highest point in the United States is in Florida.

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Natania Barron · PO Box 16293 · Chapel Hill, NC 27516-6293 · USA