What I’m reading and where I’m reading it. And what I’m drinking for part of the time I’m reading it.
So, this first one is a book about a woman driving alone in the mountains on her way to a horror convention, and encountering the Mothman or something like it and assorted other baddies along the way. For reasons I’ll explain in mid-April, that one skeered me. Below by Laurel Hightower is genuinely scary but it’s also empowering.
I enjoyed that book at Ebb & Flow Fermentations in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Ebb & Flow has got just the best vibe. Inside it’s eclectic funky, and outside it’s herb garden magic. It’s February, so we’re inside. They have a series of beers named after goddesses and made by their women brewers. This one is Arduinna, which they describe as a dark saison ale with chocolate malt and roasted hickory bark. It was a perfect match.
Into the Forest and All the Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo is a collection of poems based on real life / true crime stories of murdered and missing American women and girls. It is heartbreaking. It’s one thing to read or write fiction that has murders — even if you are drawing from your own experience, you know the story itself is fiction. It’s another to write true crime — most of that is written in a clinical, research-forward way. Cina Pelayo goes into the heart and all the way through to your soul. I’ve not read anything quite like it.
So after all that seriousness, it seems almost stupid to talk about reading it in a bar during Valentine’s week. Johnson Bar in Paducah, Kentucky was all done up for the holiday, in reds and blacks and pinks and hearts and arrows and naughtiness and snarkiness and a nod to the heartbroken. The red lighting made the pictures kinda cool. That’s a Paloma I’m drinking — they do complex cocktails very well, but that night I was more traditional.
I am honored to call Meg Pokrass my friend. She has been my flash fiction mentor, a source of encouragement and inspiration, and a supporter when I needed a hug followed by a kick in the ass (all virtual). She lives now in Inverness, Scotland, the gateway to Loch Ness, and if Nessie is going to show herself to anyone, it’ll be Meg. They are two of a kind — mysterious, shy, beautiful and playful. Kissing the Monster Hunter is a series of flash fiction stories about a monster hunter. And love.
I was at Hill Prairie Winery upstate in Oakford, Illinois. They have historic pictures of horses on the wall — Morgans, a Percheron stallion, mules, work horses, all of them previously associated with the place in days of yore — so you know I loved it. The wine in this picture is Fireside Cran-Apple Spice, which tastes like a mulled wine.