Evil too close to home

Police van entering Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison in April 1955, Glasgow Evening Times (eveningtimes.co.uk)

What’s that police van doing here, you ask?

Well, it’s a subtle reference to the title character in one of Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy novels, whose villain Jean Lee (from Jean Lee’s World) discusses in detail in today’s Witch Week episode. Wheel yourself over to Calmgrove‘s blog and read what Jean has to say.

But beware: don’t let yourself get captured!

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If ’tis Sunday, ’tis hump day

Villains in Shakespeare! Of course there are. But ones fantastical? Oh yes.

16th century woodcut

For today’s Witch Week post, marking the half-way point through our celebration, Sari from The View from Sari’s World, gives us a dose of foul misdeeds. Do these evil-doers seem as happy in their work as the fiends in the woodcut above? You be the judge.

Take a ride through Sari’s post over at Calmgrove, and then let us know who your favorite Shakespearean villains are.

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There’s more than one kind of wolf

Today’s Witch Week post, from my WW2019 co-host, Chris at Calmgrove, is all about the despicable and heinous, the selfish and greedy — the altogether dreadful villains of Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles. Whether you know Aiken’s series well, or are just learning about it, you’ll find something fiendishly lupine in Chris’ review.

And then you can join the Ramones and howl at the moon.

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NaNoWriMo 2019 — Oh, it’s on!

Last night I went to bed convinced that I’d skip NaNo this year — with no new ideas and 4 (maybe 5? I’ve lost count) unfinished WIPs, it seemed pointless to start a new one.

But I woke up this morning with a plan: use NaNoWriMo as the prod to get me to work on one of those unfinished WIPs.

So here I am, with laundry in the machine downstairs and a frightening mess of a draft open on my computer for revision, officially announcing that I am participating in my 12th NaNoWriMo. Unlike previous years, I’ve done no pre-cooking or cleaning to prep for this month of madness, and I’ll be traveling during the last week of November (plus there’s Witch Week on now), so my normal crazed and glassy-eyed look will be just that much more magnified.

Enough procrastinating. Time to get back to work.

Posted in Am writing, NaNoWriMo | 2 Comments

Images most horrifying

The Bat-winged Hamburger Snatcher at the Magic Cookie Bush, Dan O’Neill (courtesy ArtieStick.com)

Day 2 of Witch Week, and I’m honored that my review of villains in graphic novels is featured today over at Calmgrove.

And someday I may explain all about the Bat-winged Hamburger Snatcher, who is, alas, NOT included in my Witch Week list of graphic novel villains. There just wasn’t enough room.

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Witchy art cards, from the NYPL

On Hallowe’en, 1908, NYPL collection, Image ID: 1587792

Thanks to the bloggers at the NYPL, you can find images of a few great Halloween-themed art cards from the Library’s collection here.

Hallowe’en Greeting, 1917, NYPL collection, Image ID: 1587794

Happy Haunting!

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Ghoulish image

Because there can never be too much Poe available on this spooky day, here’s a little something I spotted at a recent art show (IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair) in NYC:


“Edgar Allen Poe”, Horst Janssen (1929 – 1995), color etching, 1988

It was for sale, but I reluctantly left it there. Too much art, too little money.


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A frosty queen

First up for Witch Week, Laurie from Relevant Obscurity explores Narnia’s arch villain, Jadis. Read what Laurie has to say about this infamous evil queen at Calmgrove.

And as a little Halloween treat, this oldie from Sesame Street:

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Witch Week 2019 Begins

Witch Week — 7 days inspired by the writings of Diana Wynne Jones and dedicated to the appreciation of fantastical books — is here at last.

This is the second year that Chris at Calmgrove and I have co-hosted the event. Head on over to Chris’s on-line home to find out what villainous creatures we’ll be letting loose over the next few days. And we hope you’ll join us for a discussion of Diana Wynne Jones’ Cart & Cwidder.

Sign outside Sugar Hill Cafe, Harlem

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The dark sea beckons

The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Route 66, Oklahoma. Please note that Moby-Dick never smiled.

Chris at Calmgrove has announced this on his blog, so I guess I can’t back out now: He and I are going to spend the November days after the end of Witch Week reading and blogging about Melville’s monster-book, Moby-Dick, appropriate for this year of Herman Melville’s 200th birthday.

My faithful readers will know that I’ve spent a good part of the year reading around Melville, letting others take on the task of writing their thoughts on the big book itself. But those other bloggers have tempted me with their posts, and when Chris hinted this might be his year to read all of Moby-Dick, I decided to join him.

We haven’t made any plans yet about how this will happen as a joint project, but I know we’ll come up with something to keep our readers hoping for more. So, as the year moves deeper into autumn, let me give you this quote from Andrew Delbanco’s 2001 essay, on why “Melville has never looked better”:

In our own moment of horror and heroism, it is a book more salient than ever — unflinchingly honest about the human capacity for hate and brutality, yet filled with an undiscourageable love of humanity.

Yep, I could use a bit of that right now.

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