Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

"The Comb" at Far Fetched Fables

Fantasy Magazine, no. 7 (2007) Editor Sean Wallace.
Reprint in Fantasy: The Best of the Year, edited by Rich Horton (Prime Books, 2008)
Podcast at Far Fetched Fables No. 20 Bill Congreve and Marly Youmans

"The Comb" is the most drastically pruned of any short story that I have written--it is a third or perhaps a fourth of what was originally written. At the time when I was revising, I remember fearing to weaken the main character by not revealing the rest of her story. While I always feel that what is cut from a story remains as a kind of shadow to the work, extending outward by little, broken tendrils of shade, that was a lot to cut and so meant a very large shadow. I've been curious about whether any of that shadow is visible to readers, though it's hard thing to know.

Eventually stories and poems are finished with the writer and her worries. They wander away to find a place in the world or else to get lost and then go unread. "The Comb" has been published, anthologized, and now is read as a podcast by actress and writer Nicola Seaton-Clark. So the story keeps moving along in the wilderness of the world, finding a home.

Thank you to Nicola Seaton-Clark for reading and liking and now recording the tale! And thanks to Gary Dowell and the rest of the Far Fetched staff.

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements.  She also hosts this podcast…..

Monday, September 01, 2014

Publication day for Glimmerglass!

Comments and images

Full front quote:
I cannot recommend an author more 

than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose 
is absolutely gorgeous and haunting.
ébastien Doubinsky

Glimmerglass (Mercer, 9/2014),
Links: indies (search), online venues, and Mercer.
SIN: 0881464910 ISBN-13: 978-0881464917
Interior/exterior art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

a novelist

Glimmerglass is a series of mirrors and panes that splinter and soften to let you fall deeper into the heart of myth and artistic desire. A resonant, beautiful exploration of fragile hopes and the courage that comes from resisting their trampling by others.   
        --Margo Lanagan, author of Sea Hearts, Black Juice, and others; winner of World Fantasy and Printz awards

an editor

You might not even know what you are seeking, but once inside the pages of Glimmerglass, you’ll find exactly what you need: “a cup of music, a hill of sea.” In the Republic of Letters, Marly Youmans is our Magician in Chief.   
       --John Wilson, Editor, Books and Culture

Clive Hicks-Jenkins sketch for Glimmerglass

a poet

I know of no writers other than Marly Youmans who has the genius to combine the spine-tingling suspense of Gothic storytelling with the immense charm, grace, glamour, realism, and simplicity of Hawthorne. Glimmerglass does more than shimmer and grip; it entertains and hypnotizes. Youmans, one of the biggest secrets of contemporary American fiction, writes with freshness and beauty. Whether she’s writing historical fiction or fantasy, her characters leave one breathless. Her ability to describe a person, a place, or the psychological underpinnings of a plot or individual, ranks with the great novelists, the highest literature. A tale of love and intrigue, mystery and pathology, Glimmerglass’ appeal is the warmth and charge of a tale told round a fire fused by Hitchcockian anxiety, empathy, and relief. Nature, architecture, dread, thrill, sexual dilemma, and murder echo against Youmans’ gorgeous prose and terrifying romance, which glides like a serpent―without a single extraneous or boring word. Youmans is my favorite storyteller. I come back to her as if to a holy well.
       --Jeffery Beam, award-winning poet
         of The Broken Flower, Gospel Earth, and many more books

pre-pub review
 This stylish contemporary variation on the Bluebeard legend from Youmans (A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage) serves up an appealing blend of myth, mystery, and magic... 
       --Publishers Weekly July 2014
Perhaps it was a sense of estrangement from the everyday that drew Cynthia Sorrel to the village of Cooper Patent. The failed painter was lured by the gate house with its seven doors, the lake with its tower, and the magical air of a place that couldn’t quite decide whether it was fictional, mythic, or real. The gate house should have been a first clue that she was on a journey, and soon she begins to glimpse and then to pursue a figure in the woods near her house, convinced she has seen the Muse.  
As she reclaims her calling as a painter and moves deeper into the uncanny world of Cooper Patent, Cynthia is finds herself at the heart of a labyrinth of mystery. She will have to navigate its dream depths and secrets, brilliant or dark, locked behind a door that opens into the earth.  
Sébastien Doubinsky writes, “I cannot recommend an author more than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose is absolutely gorgeous and haunting.” Now this “best-kept secret among contemporary American writers” (Books and Culture) has scaled the tree of books and plucked twigs of gothic romance, ghost tale, medieval dream vision, and belated coming-of-age story, with a leaf or two from the novel of manners and fantasy. The transformed result,Glimmerglass, is a gift to literature like no other.
A step on the way...
On August 13th, the book arrived at the warehouse.
Prefer buying direct from the publisher?
"Call us and place an order, or order online 
(20% off discount code: Facebook). 
Toll free 1-866-895-1472 or locally 478-301-2880."

Books and Culture Magazine, August 27, 2014

Speaking of superb novels, let me recommend two others that will be appearing not too long after you receive this issue. In September, Knopf will publish Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which imagines the aftermath of a global pandemic of unprecedented ferocity. We follow a wandering troupe as they make their circuit in the upper Midwest, stopping at tiny settlements to perform Shakespeare and play music. In the same month, Mercer University Press will publish Marly Youmans' Glimmerglass, set in Cooper country in New York State, a book in which the fantastic and the quotidian are cunningly interlaced. These two novels have very little in common except for the quality of their imagination—but that is more than enough to make them kin.

A sample of the profuse interior decoration 
by Clive Hicks-Jenkins

A Clive-sketch for Glimmerglass!
A step on the way to the final jacket--soon the spine lettering 
would shrink a little, and other minor tinkering would happen.
And a larger version here.

detail of the jacket by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
book design by Burt and Burt
Mercer University Press, September 2014
A detail from the cover art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins

Mercer makes a postcard...

Lady Word of Mouth 
thanks you for noting the book's 
first day in the world.

Antique printer's flower
with harp to sing and wings to soar...

Upcoming events here

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Katrina Kittle's writing class

I met Katrina at the Antioch Workshops this summer and can say that I like and recommend her. She's running an online writing class that starts very soon:
Are you interested in creative writing, but need a kick in the pants to finally start a project...or to finish one? Katrina Kittle's online class series "Inspiration and Motivation" begins September 3rd. This 5 week class is for writers of any level of experience. Each week will focus on some aspect of the writing life (such as creating and defending a writing schedule, and dealing with the inner critic) and loads of writing prompts to jumpstart ideas. If the time/dates don't work for you to interact live, you can watch the class recording afterwards whenever it's convenient! Details here:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Glimmerglass by starlight

Click on the picture for a larger version
of the catalogue page.

I ended the day last night with stargazing... The brilliance of the sky lured us to wander down to Council Rock park and use the ipad to identify constellations hanging over Otsego Lake aka Glimmerglass. The lake looked especially glimmerglassian by starlight, quite smooth with very slight motion and one little fish making an ecstatic jump from the water and back again. The hills made black shadows on the lake, the edge of the lake and the surface punctuated by pinpricks and smears of pale yellow light from lawn and lake-edge lamps.


I was so very pleased to be on novelist-and-more Midori Snyder's facebook list of 10 books that made a lasting impression that I'm going to post the whole list:
So my friend Terri Windling-Gayton called me out to pick 10 Books that have made a lasting impression on me...which is rough because there are just so many, many books! And by lasting, I think I should include the books of my childhood too...So here goes in an approximate chronological order from younger to older of just the fiction:

Half Magic by Edgar Eager
Once and Future King by T. H. White
Everything by J.R.R. Tolkien
100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ingledove, by Marly Youmans
Just about every short story by Flannery O'Connor and her letters
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Urea
St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
I liked and was interested in her reasons for picking the book, and think it was a good pinch of attention for me--I need to get that one back into print.


Tomorrow is pub date for the new novel. It managed to sneak up on me because I forgot the old verse beginning, "30 days hath September." [Addendum: No, it's not! I finally got the rhyme to go right, and pub date is Monday...] Those of you who have been friends to my writing and helped get the word out, thank you. Word of mouth is a great thing for a midlist writer, and I am grateful. If you are so inclined, please share the news. That's the best kind of launch for a book. You have my once-and-future thanks!

I'll be doing various sorts of events in Virginia, New York (including the city), North Carolina, and perhaps Georgia (working on that idea.) More are in the works. You can see current plans here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Word frolics in Norfolk

In September I'll be doing an event at the SIBA trade show in Norfolk. And now I've added an open-to-the-public reading with Luisa Igloria. It'll be my first event for the new book--and I think for hers at well. We've planned to get together for years, and now an event is finally happening. We shall read and eat (and frolic and drink chipotle lime margaritas with our feet on Alice-in-Wonderland tuffets! Something like that...)

Double Trouble: 
A Book Launch and Reading Celebration
featuring Luisa Igloria and Marly Youmans
4:00-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 20th
Café Stella
1907 Colonial Avenue
Norfolk, Virginia

We both have brand new books--Glimmerglass (novel) and Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (poetry collection.) You know that idiom about hints, put a bug in someone's ear? If you have a book-reading friend in Norfolk, please put a go-to-reading bug (about the size of a pencil eraser) in his/her ear...

And here's a prose poem from Luisa's Night Willow, recently out from Elizabeth Adams's Phoenicia Publishing in Montreal. (They also published Thaliad, so we have one publisher in common.) I'm reading Night Willow now.
Night Watch

And if I say heat, expected rain, lassitude--the hollows of my bones begin to mimic the throats of brittle plants. I was seized by thirst, reading a catalogue of inks: morning glory, transparent blue as raindrops on its cheek; moonlight, brazen crimson of azaleas. Purple berries, named after the lady-in-waiting who wrote the first novel. The names of women were not even recorded in her time. I think of her, restless on her sleeping mattress, mining the indigo shade of night after night for illumination. Green sentinels of bamboo; ochre fields, stalks bursting with grain--each pointed like a nib.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pushcart news

Thanks to Joseph Salemi, editor of the print-and-also-pdf magazine Trinacria, for nominating "The Nuba Christians" for a Pushcart Prize. The poem and another called "The Midden Cross" are in issue 11--first time I have sent there. Mr. Salemi is a highly opinionated poet and professor, but his strongest demand for poetry appears to be that it be formal and well-wrought.

As guest editor at The Raintown Review, he once accepted a poem of mine, "A Fire in Ice" (a riposte to a Billy Collins poem, "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes." That one has proved to be popular, as such things go... Here's a video of it.

I think this is my third recent nomination, but I have been quite bad about keeping track of such things, so who knows? Shall resolve to do better... I think that the last one to get a nomination was "I Heard Their Wings Like the Sound of Many Waters" (click for digital copy and audio version), nominated by qarrtsiluni in 2011 (Dave Bonta and Elizabeth Adams, founders and managing editors, Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita Thompson, issue editors.)

* * *
Update: I just remembered another recent-ish one. The late (and very great inventer of 'zines) Paul Stevens nominated "The Clock of the Moon and Stars," published in his 'zine, The Flea.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jot of glory + dewy-new interview--

from "Letter from the Editor," Books and Culture Magazine

Speaking of superb novels, let me recommend two others that will be appearing not too long after you receive this issue. In September, Knopf will publish Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which imagines the aftermath of a global pandemic of unprecedented ferocity. We follow a wandering troupe as they make their circuit in the upper Midwest, stopping at tiny settlements to perform Shakespeare and play music. In the same month, Mercer University Press will publish Marly Youmans' Glimmerglass, set in Cooper country in New York State, a book in which the fantastic and the quotidian are cunningly interlaced. These two novels have very little in common except for the quality of their imagination—but that is more than enough to make them kin.

Online interview

The industrious G. G. has an interview series called Writers Who Read, and she does indeed seem to be curious about everything in book land and describes herself as "writer of romance, reader of everything." Thank you to her for a new interview. When I reread the responses this morning, I was surprised by a few things, and that's probably to the good. Jump here.

How it starts: Who are you? 

Marly Youmans. Some people know me as the author of 13 books, counting this year’s Glimmerglass and next year’s Maze of Blood. I write poetry (mostly formal, including long narratives), short stories, novels, and the occasional essay. Other people know me by my married name, and as the mother of three children. A few village spies have figured out that I am both of those people.

And from there it rambles on to beloved books, (dis)organization, modes of reading, and more. Take a peek and know me better...