Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sudden Changes

the temperature plummets ten degrees.
The last flowers.

Late autumn is bringing us a killing frost and the first of our snow early next week, the forecasters say.  It's time for it.  I love my nasturtiums.  They are annuals, but if you leave them alone, they'll seed and return next year.

It's spring in Meiji era Japan, a beautiful season with cherry blossoms and moon viewings -- also steam ships and battles.  Book Three will come out for the Summer Solstice!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Series, Books One and Two.
Hard and e-formats available at:

and all the usual outlets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hunter's Moon (Haiku)

The October moon
shines through the western trees;
Rain falls overhead.

The Toki Girl and the Sparrow Boy series moves on!  Book Three is ready for Beta Readers.  Interested?  Let me know.

Hard and e-formats available at:

and all the usual outlets.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Freeze Frame

There's a bite in the air that nips my cheek.
Sally needs her coat; I need a hat and gloves.
We'll build a fire later.
Sumptuous leaves scatter from the trees,
carpeting the crystals of ice on the ground.
Soon the time changes and we enter the
Season of Night.

See the fog on the lake?  Yet, it's spring in Meiji-era Japan as I work on Book Three!  So exciting.
Check out books one and two here:

Hard and e-formats available at:
and all the usual outlets.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Read Maze of Blood -- "a beautiful and important book."

This is my review of Maze of Blood, by Marly Youmans.  It is such a good book.  Have a look.

By Marly Youmans
(Macon, Georgia, 2015, Mercer University Press.)

MAZE OF BLOOD, by Marly Youmans, is a book to be savored.  It is a book that digs deep, with every word of the spare and exquisite prose carrying level upon level of meaning.  It is a book that encourages, even requires, both thought and feeling in every line.  Though it will capture the reader immediately and never let go, it’s not a book to be taken lightly.  MAZE OF BLOOD is a book to read over and over again.

As she did in GLIMMERGLASS, Youmans twists time and space to explore the juncture of creativity between the material world and the spiritual.  This is the interface Youmans returns to here, revealing the very essence of creativity through the story of one man’s all too brief life.

Conall Weaver, the protagonist, fights to escape the physical and emotional confines of his life in a small Texas town.  He writes fiction and fantasy, leading a life of the mind that nobody else understands or respects, even though he earns a decent living at it.  Sere, hot, flat and empty, Texas itself becomes a metaphor for the human condition, something that constrains and torments the creative soul.

Youmans draws the reader into the tension between the restrictions of the physical environment and the spiritual yearnings of the mind and heart.  The reader is left to determine if the creative spark needs both to catch fire.

This is a beautiful and important book.  Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ illustrations show the essential whimsy and joy that permeate Youmans’ universe even in the midst of human turmoil.

Marly Youmans and I are of course vaguely related.  We’re first cousins generations removed by 500 years and 3000 miles, and have never met IRL.  I’d like to.  Her work is splendid.

Claire Youmans
Author of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy and The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book Two: Chasing Dreams (American I Publishing, Big Bear Lake, CA; 2014 and 2015 respectively) both available on Amazon and everywhere else.

American I Publishing
PO Box 576
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(760) 362-2173/ (760) 820-2212

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mountains Catch Clouds (poetry)

Mountains Catch Clouds

Thunder explodes the night,
crashing, shaking the house.
Lightning flashes -- sheets and chains.
The computer plays its wake-up song
and some devices turns on an infomercial.
Rain spatters hugely
While lightning crackles and thunder booms.
The computer insists on a software update
Before I can turn it off.
All's well this morning.
The world is refreshed.

The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy series is starting to reach its audience through excellent reviews.  Buy the beautiful hard copy or the e-formats everywhere!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yellow (poetry and pictures)

As I let my first draft simmer while I tackle the chores of fall, I let my thoughts drift to Book 4, to where I want to go my next trip to Japan, to what's going to happen, so I can make sure the seeds that will flower in Book 4 are well-planted in Book 3.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series is garnering such wonderful reviews and such great attention!  Connect with it all here.

But even though I'm not "writing" as in working directly on Book 3, I can't help it.  Poetry springs into my mind.  Sometimes it's
freeform, not formal. Here's today's.

The reds have faded and fall;
The yellows hit their stride.
Clouds bring promise of rain.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gorgeous Days, Chilly Nights, a little poem

Updated my Author Page and all the books now have editorial reviews posted.  You have to do them for each edition, and the requirements for some are different than others.  Huh?  See at Claire Youmans' Amazon Author Page.  This stuff is harder than one would think!

We have a last blast of warm(er) weather over the next few days.  No boats on the lake except the patrol.  I don't think it's going to stop me, though.

Our colors are like that here, except the deciduous trees are red and gold, and leaves begin to fall.

I think of autumn in Japan,
Fall colors brilliant under cerulean sky,
Clouds scudding by;
Whitecaps on the sea.
The ice cream vendors vanished with the change of seasons,
but there's still grilled mochi, dripping sweet sauce,
and the hope of red beans and rice, Osekihan, and
Roasted chestnuts.  I always buy a bag; I can never eat them all.
The sweet potato vendor pushes his smoking cart, redolent of the roasted potatoes, served in a twist of newspaper, his song reaching through an autumn rain, melancholy and joyous all at once.
Is it because it's harvest time that I always think of food
whenever I think of fall?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn and Apple Butter -- poetry

Editorial Reviews are up on Amazon for The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy.  Those for The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book Two Chasing Dreams will go up later this week.  Both will be expanded as more reviews come in.  If you haven't posted your own review of either book, please do so.  It makes a huge difference in being able to actually reach the readers who will like these books!  Thanks.  Did I say I finished the first draft of Book Three Sunday night?  Aiming for publication in June 2016.  It's so much fun!

A single tree aflame with autumn foliage,
deciduous among the evergreens.

It was across the lake and I couldn't get a picture, but it leapt into an Emily Dickinson-ish sort of poem.  This is a good one, though.

Compared to Tim Durkan and Goshka Crew, I can't photograph my way out of a paper bag, but it's so beautiful here, I can't resist.  Check them both out on Facebook. You'll like.  You'll also recognize Tim's photos of the Blood Moon Eclipse.  You know -- the one with the Space Needle.

This poem came to me this morning.  Like a squirrel, I am suddenly impelled to gather, to harvest and put up for the coming winter.  I got a cord of wood in yesterday, all neatly stacked and covered.  I have a little fire going.  Everyone here succumbs to wishful thinking about winter because we need snow to ski, but if the squirrels and chipmunks are any indication, we're going to have a cold one.  If El Nino comes through, we're going to have a snowy one.  Consumed by my squirrel side, I felt a compulsion to make apple butter.  I started yesterday, with six pounds of apples, cooked in the crockpot overnight.  Ended this morning with 4 little jars.  I will use ten pounds next time.  It needs to cook, on low, for probably 10 hours using 10 pounds of apples.  Using the crockpot makes it an overnight recipe, but do stir occasionally.  I used my stick blender to get it completely smooth at the end.  Boiling water process 5 minutes at sea level, 15 or 20 up here.

Autumn falls on the mountains with a vengeance.  
Suddenly, I find myself building fires,
Wearing jackets,
Looking for gloves,
Putting the place to bed for the winter.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October: Haiku


My feet are cold.
It's time for socks and shoes.
Soon, I will want my boots.  October.


The moon moves so fast,
I must watch it every day.
Never miss a trick.

My adventures aren't nearly as interesting as Shota and Azuki's in The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series, found here on Amazon, here on Smashwords, and at all the usual outlets, in all possible formats.  Check them out!