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Sunday, December 21, 2014


Clive Hicks-Jenkins, artist--his image
on the jacket, and this photo his!
Albany Times-Union review 
21 December 2014

Clip: "Readers of literary fantasy will welcome the novel "Glimmerglass," the 12th book by Cooperstown author Marly Youmans. It layers gothic romance, ghost tales and medieval dream visions into a coming-of-age story set in the village of Cooper Patent."

Marly at Tor

Clip from The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Strangest thing you’ve learned while researching a book?
I live in a house built by a writer (Colonel Prentiss’s newspaper is still in print) in 1808. It’s a straightforward federal center-hall house, and it would appear to have few secrets. But if I dig in the garden, I find a Dutch pipe or a clay marble or shards of transfer-ware. Concealment shoes (meant to kick witches out of the house) were hidden in one of the chimneys. It’s the same way with peering back into time; surprise is everywhere. The main thing I’ve learned through historical research is that nothing is as they tell us in history books. Nothing is generalized, and everything is specific and strange and not at all simple because people are individuals and the rules for life change. When I was researching American slavery, I ended up reading about all sorts of oddities—the freedmen who owned slaves, the occasional white slave, peculiar punishments, holes in the ground for singing-into, etc. When reading Scots-Irish lore for two books set in the Carolina mountains, I was surprised by (and then used) beliefs having to do with witchmasters. Research is enticing because it steers in unexpected directions, yet also functions as a temptress who can lead a writer into the drear realm of info-dumps. But we don’t have to tell everything we know…


  1. Your posting reminds me of something that is probably apropos of nothing . . . but here it is:

    I once doubted such things as spirits and ghosts -- and then I experienced a ghost-encounter when I was 18 years old (and quite sober).

    Then there is this -- Among other things that go bump in the night, witches too often get a bad rap . . . except for Glenda in Wizard of Oz . . . and I wonder why writers do not capitalize more often on that shoddy treatment. What the world needs is a few more stories about good witches . . . Now if I were a writer . . .

    Postscript: I hope all continues to go well for you and your family in the snowy northland. And now I close with this: Merry Christmas, Marly. Please know that I very much appreciate your kindness, patience, support, and -- Glimmerglass.

    1. Ah, thank you, Tim--glad you have carved out a few niches for yourself since arriving online. I've been rather perfunctory here of late (too many tournaments and sickies and deadlines) but will be better in the new year.

      I'd like to hear your ghost encounter. I am surrounded by haunted houses in Cooperstown. A former resident saw three child-ghosts in our living room, probably about 25 years ago. They have not appeared for us...

    2. Glimmerglass -- my procrastinated reading treat -- emerges from my selfishly self-stocked Christmas stocking for my special holiday reading.

      My ghost encounter is awfully personal -- it was my father within 48 hours of his death in 1964 -- and I do not know if I will ever tell the story.

    3. I have known people who had such encounters. I have never had one myself.

      Enjoy the book...

  2. Happy Solstice, Marly! Hope you will have a restful holiday after your extremely busy fall and early winter.

    1. I hope so too! Fetching my daughter today...

    2. And a very merry Christmas to you on the other side of the continent!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.