Tag Archives: Father

Coming Soon: Citadels of Darkover!


by Lillian Csernica on October 30, 2018

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I am honored and delighted to announce that my story The Katana Matrix will appear in the upcoming Darkover anthology Citadels of Darkover due out in May. Many thanks to editor Deborah Ross.

In The Katana Matrix, Nakatomi Madoka discovers the Comyn lord who hired her to rescue his cousin from bandits is after something else.. If Madoka can’t stop the rogue Comyn and keep what he wants out of his hands, he could destroy Darkover.

The stories you can look forward to reading include:

DANCING LESSONS
By Evey Brett
SACRIFICE
By Steven Harper
BANSHEE CRY
By Marella Sands
THE KATANA MATRIX
By Lillian Csernica
SIEGE
By Diana L. Paxson
SEA-CASTLE
By Leslie Fish
FIRE STORM
By Jane M. H. Bigelow
THE DRAGON HUNTER
By Robin Rowland
FISH NOR FOWL
By Rebecca Fox
DARK AS DAWN
By Robin Wayne Bailey
CITADEL OF FEAR
By Barb Caffrey
THE JUDGMENT OF WIDOWS
By Shariann Lewitt

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To appear on the same Table of Contents with Diana L. Paxson is a dream come true. When I was in high school, I read Diana’s novel Brisingamen, a contemporary fantasy novel centering around Freya’s magical necklace. I was blown away by the story, the historical detail, and the excellent prose. Back then we sent fan letters the old fashioned way by snail mail. Much to my surprise, Diana replied! Using a notecard with a drawing of Gullinbursti, Diana thanked me most graciously.

Right now I’m looking forward to the cover reveal for Citadels of Darkover. The cover art for the previous anthologies in the series has been great, so this one should be wonderful as well!

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Filed under classics, dreams, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Japan, publication, science fiction, sword and sorcery, Writing

H is for Hotel


by Lillian Csernica on April 9, 2016

An important part of any travel is where you’re going to stay for the night.  If you aren’t fortunate enough to have friends or family in the area, then you will probably end up getting a room in an hotel.  I have quite a few hotel stories.

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When I was 10, 13, and 16, my father and I drove from Southern California to Toledo, OH to visit my grandmother.  It took us about 3 days to get there.  We stopped for the night at cheap local motels.  On the inside, they all looked pretty much the same.  Knotty pine walls, thrift store furniture, ugly paintings, and sagging mattresses.  Until I was old enough for a driver’s license, I had to invent various games to keep myself entertained during the long hours on the road. On one particular trip  I recall sitting up late in the bathroom with the door shut so the light wouldn’t keep Daddy awake.  I wrote postcards to a friend of mine from my debate team days.  I’d drop them in the mail at post offices along the way so the postcards arrived one after the other like those old Burma Shave signs!

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At BayCon one year Pat and I didn’t make our hotel reservation in time, so we ended up at the Motel 6 down the street.  The room was clean, with a bed and a shower, which is pretty much all I really need.  We did discover one very strange feature.  The light switch for the bathroom was on the wall outside the actual bathroom itself.  Do I need to tell you what happened next?  Pat and I would sneak up on each other and flip the switch at some very inconvenient moments!

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My husband and I met at the Northern Renaissance Faire and even worked there together for a few years.  When I became pregnant with our first son, I wasn’t working Faire anymore, but Chris and I did decide to go visit for a weekend.  We booked a  cheap motel near the Faire site and woke up Sunday morning to the sounds of the people in the next room having a very good time.  So good they were slamming their headboard against the wall just on the other side next to our heads.  I got up and took a shower.  Now I was at that stage of pregnancy where your balance starts to change.  The shower/bathtub unit was brand sparkling new, no mat or traction pads on the bottom, and no safety rail.  My husband told me later what happened next.

There I was, in the shower, washing my long hair.  I got soap in my eyes, leaned back to wash it away, and lost my balance.  Our neighbors reached the Big Moment in their good time.  He screamed, she screamed, and then I screamed.  My husband told me there was a moment of stunned silence, a sudden thumping as of running feet, then the door to their room opened and shut.  Car doors slammed, the engine revved, and they took off.  I stepped out of the bathroom minutes later to find my husband still whooping with laughter.

 

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Photo courtesy of A Creative Writing Place

On a side street just off of Beverly Hills boulevard, quite close to some of the big, glitzy hotels, there is a small family-run hotel that was built in the 1930s.  Pat and I stayed there about 12 years ago when we were working on some screenplays for an actor who was also a world champion martial artist.  One night, quite late, we heard sounds in the room above us like somebody was bowling or moving heavy furniture.  In the morning we asked the manager about it.  He insisted the room was unoccupied.  This was an old building, under partial renovation.  OK fine.  The next night,  after midnight, we had a plugged toilet some plumbing problems.  We knew the manager and his wife were already asleep, so I went downstairs looking for a supply closet.

This was a bad idea.  No, I was not in the basement.  I did have to walk down a hallway I’d never seen before.  The light was on, the doors were shut, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for.  When I turned around to walk back, some of the doors were slightly ajar.  I had that horrible feeling of being watched.  And then I heard three or four little kids whispering and giggling.  There were no children in the hotel.  At all.  I bolted upstairs like I had hellhounds chasing me.  Between my panic and the resulting asthma attack it took me at least ten minutes to tell Pat what happened.  She went downstairs and came back with the plunger we needed.

We never stayed in that hotel again.

 

 

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Embracing the Pain


by Lillian Csernica on November 27, 2013

For A Lady Who Must Write Verse

Unto seventy years and seven,
Hide your double birthright well-
You, that are the brat of Heaven
And the pampered heir to Hell.

Let your rhymes be tinsel treasures,
Strung and seen and thrown aside.
Drill your apt and docile measures
Sternly as you drill your pride.

Show your quick, alarming skill in
Tidy mockeries of art;
Never, never dip your quill in
Ink that rushes from your heart.

When your pain must come to paper,
See it dust, before the day;
Let your night-light curl and caper,
Let it lick the words away.

Never print, poor child, a lay on
Love and tears and anguishing,
Lest a cooled, benignant Phaon
Murmur, “Silly little thing!”

I’ve been having running conversations with my two best friends, also writers, on the subject of improving the depth and meaning in my writing.  Both have advised me to work with and through the considerable amount of trauma I’ve experienced.  Car accidents, surgeries, family upheaval, my sons’ disabilities.  Yes, it could always be worse, but I do have some rather weighty material to draw on.

Right now I’m up against a good example of what could be an opportunity to prove my friends right.  In the short story I’m working on right now, I’ve come to the scene where the hero is forced to watch his father get eaten by the monster.  If the hero’s father had taken the hero’s warnings seriously, this probably wouldn’t be happening.  Part of the conflict between the father and the hero is the hero’s refusal to play along with his father’s corrupt business practices and participation in a major cover-up.  To the father, that translates as the son being a real disappointment to him.  As the hero watches his father suffer a really horrible doom, the hero isn’t thinking his father is getting what he deserves.  The hero sees this as the culmination of being such a disappointment to his father, even though the hero knows he’s made the better moral choices.

I’m having a really hard time writing this scene, even though I understand it and I’ve got the action blocked out on paper.  Why?  Because November 18th would have been my father’s birthday.  Daddy died seventeen years ago, one month before Michael had to be delivered by emergency C-section.  This is a very hard time for me.  Thanksgiving is all about family gathering together and being grateful for who’s there to share the feast.  My father never got to see his grandsons.  I know how much he was looking forward to me having children.  Daddy would have make a terrific grandfather, taking the boys fishing, playing games with them, and best of all, going bowling.  Every time we take Michael and John to the bowling alley, I feel like Daddy’s spirit is there with us.

So you can see the trouble I have with making my hero watch as his father gets eaten by a monster.  It’s easy to kill characters you hate, characters that might be based on people in real life who have given you reason to dislike them.  It’s much harder to kill characters you love, especially when they’re based on people in real life whom you love.  I don’t know how Joss Whedon or George R.R. Martin stand it, I really don’t.

Now let me say that my hero’s father isn’t much like my own father.  My fictional world is probably better off with one less corrupt business executive.  That’s not the point.  My main concern is my hero and his emotional turmoil.  How can I sit here at the keyboard and take the empathy that even now has tears running down my face and translate that into the words that will express my hero’s suffering and the decisions he makes based on it?  I don’t know, honest to God I don’t, but I have to find a way.  I have to draw on my pain and reshape it into the pain as it is experienced by my hero, in a way that will resonate with my readers.

Dorothy Parker wrote, “Never never dip your quill/In ink that rushes from your heart.”   To get to the level of writing I want to achieve, that’s exactly what I have to do.  I have to take that quill and stab myself in the heart, over and over again, keep that ink rushing out, and write my stories from the very essence of my heart.  I’m going to cry a lot, and I’m going to get headaches, and I’m going to get sick to my stomach.  Nobody ever said it was easy being a writer, and anybody who thinks so is a fool.

I will complete this story.  I will do right by my hero and my father.  And then I will move on to the next story, sharpen the next quill, and spill my metaphorical blood across the page.  Because I am a writer, a storyteller, and this is what I do.

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Filed under Depression, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, Horror, Humor, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing