Visit me on SFSignal!

Hi, all.

Paula S. Jordan here, and I have wonderful news!

John DeNardo of SFSignal has invited me to post monthly on his well-produced and widely-read site.

My first post there is up this week: On The Characters Who Seize the Reins,

The column is entitled A Writer’s View.

I’d love to have you drop by.

Thank  you.

Meet Jo Walton

Hello Fellow DarkCargoites, I have taken up residence at my new web site,, and would love to have you drop in for a visit there. If you like Jo Walton, or would like to know more about an excellent writer whom I have just found out about, please click on the link after the excerpt below. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you.

Copyright 2015 by Paula S. Jordan

My Real ChildrenHave you read Jo Walton yet? The author, poet, and blogger/reviewer who will be the Guest of Honor at Balticon over the Memorial Day weekend? I am just becoming acquainted with her, literarily speaking, and am bemoaning the past fifteen years that she’s been writing behind my back!

I am starting to make up for lost time: to date, one novel, My Real Children, and a few selections from What Makes This Book So Great, a collection of Walton’s book reviews for That may not sound like much, but it’s more than enough to appreciate her impressive but unstuffy breadth of knowledge and her great talent for complex ideas and depths of feeling expressed in brisk, matter-of-fact language. To say nothing of her unusual story lines, and characters so real you almost hear them breathing. I loved every bit of what I’ve read and am looking forward to more.

Early in Walton’s novel, My Real Children, an old fashioned telephone rings in a girls’ school in a remote area of World War II-era England. The young teacher who takes the call is asked a question. She hesitates, read more

Note on the Following Post …

As noted below, this post was written just after my reading of Jim Butcher’s Summer Knight, the fourth novel in his Dresden Files series. Now I have read all of them, including Skin Game, and have been continually re-impressed with his insightful characterization and ever-more-powerful writing skills. Felt like a good time to revisit that old post.

I’d also like to invite you to visit my new web site and Wordshop blog here Or go directly to the blog here for my report on Mysticon 2015.

Once there, please click on the blog title to open up the like and comment features below.

It’ll be good to hear from you.

New Words: Propitiation


“At two a.m. we passed Point Lazaro, one of the reputedly dangerous places of the world, like Cedros Passage, or like Cape Horn, where the weather is bad even when it is good elsewhere. There is a sense of relief when one is safely past these half-mythical places, for they are not only stormy but treacherous, and again the atavistic fear arises–the Scylla-Charybdis fear that made our ancestors people such places with monsters and enter them only after prayer and propitiation.”

The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck

the act of placating and overcoming distrust and animosity
syn: placation, conciliation
the act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing (especially appeasing a deity)
syn: expiation, atonement
ORIGIN: c.1395, from Late Latin propitiationem “an atonement,” from Latin propitiare “render favorable,” from propitius “favorable, gracious, kind,” from pro- “forward” + petere “go to.”

New Words:hornswoggle

(just because it actually is in the dictionary; I didn’t expect it to be…)

All the way to Genua there were people who’d been duped, fooled, swindled, and cheated by that face. The only thing he hadn’t done was hornswoggle, and that was only because he hadn’t found out how to.
Making Money by
Terry Pratchett

horn⋅swog⋅gle /’hɔ:n,swɔgl/
deprive of by deceit
syn: victimize, swindle, rook, goldbrick, nobble, diddle, bunco, defraud, scam, mulct, gyp, gip, short-change, con
ORIGIN: “to cheat,” 1829, probably a fanciful formation.


My bro and I attended the Academic Library Association of Ohio annual conference today.

There was cake!

It was a nice close out to my year-long career as a para-professional part time customer services librarian. I was asked to co-present a poster with a co-worker on the FIFA World Cup programming we did over the summer.


Our urban community college library showed the FIFA games on the large media screen during the World Cup.

Many of our students in the library are Somali and Ethiopian. They asked me several times in early June where we would be showing the games. Of course we would be showing the games, no question in their minds. Soccer is such a huge part of their lives that it just doesn’t compute that Americans don’t really care about the sport too much.

I brought that question to my co-worker, who also happens to be the only soccer fan in America, and she put together a lot of reference and instructional programming on Soccer as a portal question for library services, coordinated the Media Studio for the game broadcasts, and made a video.

I got the happy task of asking our students to write out the word for soccer in their home language. Many words are a variation on British “football”, of course, but the whole experience from the circulation desk was one of community building and giving ownership of the library to the students: making it their space. (video)

It took everyone on staff to make the programming happen, from the librarian who narrates the video above, to the evening media studio worker who would every day post the new stats and game times.

The conference was a great day, spending a little more time with my colleagues before moving on to the new job on Monday morning.

Vampires? In New England?

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

I always figured the only vampires in the US were in New Orleans, neatly interred — at least in daylight — between the pages of Ann Rice’s books.Gravestone

But not so.

There was a real live, er, undead one in Rhode Island, with a really eerie grave where no grass grows and the tomb stone “must be anchored down by a steel post.” Or so goes the story. Coins, shells, rocks, even printed prayers, have been left there as gifts for 19 year-old Mercy Lena Brown.

Mercy died in the deep winter of 1892 and her body was stored in an above-ground tomb until the ground thawed enough to bury her. When suspicions of Rock Cropvampires arose, Mercy’s body and those of her also recently deceased mother and sister were exhumed. The decayed condition of the other two bodies was enough to acquit them. But Mercy’s, having lain only two months in the freezing, above-ground tomb, was in perfect condition. It was reported, in fact, that she still had fresh blood in her veins. Proof positive that she was “feeding off the living.” So they cut out her heart and burned it on a stone.

In another instance, the body of a 50 year old man, buried around 1830 in Connecticut, was “completely rearranged” some time after death. The skeleton was beheaded, the ribs fractured, and the head laid on the chest with the thigh bones crossed beneath it as on a pirate flag.

And they weren’t the only ones. Rhode Island Folklorist Michael Bell has exhumed some 80 “questionable” burials, some from as early as the late 1700’s or as far west as Minnesota, but primarily in backwoods New England in the1800’s. He suspects there are many more.

Stone crypt at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Exeter, RI, where Mercy's remains may have been kept in the winter of 1892.

Stone crypt, Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Exeter, RI, where Mercy’s remains may have been kept the winter of 1892.

But what raised such powerful suspicions among the good people of New England?

Turns out, the one linking factor among all the known disturbed burials is that they occurred around the time of virulent outbreaks of consumption (tuberculosis.)

People falling ill without explanation? Wasting away till death claimed them?

What would you think?.

P.S. It’s been suggested that one Bram Stoker, traveling in the United States with a theater company the same year as Mercy Lena Brown’s exhumation, may have taken note: Lena + Mercy = Lucy??? And a doctor attending at her exhumation as with Miss Brown’s?

P.P.S. H.P Lovecraft specifically mentions Mercy’s exhumation in “The Shunned House,” and includes a living character named Mercy.

Extensive analysis and commentary here:
The Great New England Vampire Panic, Smithsonian, October 2012

mystery of Rhode Island’s vampire revealed

Kat’s TBFinished pile

I finally compiled my TBR list. I’m hoping to get through these in the next year. I always find more to read on my kindle library too, but these are the ones I’ve been thinking about and I figure if I put them in a nice list I will remember to look at it and prioritize! I do own all of these books, so, realistically I should read them before buying yet another kindle book on sale. Just kidding. ;-) Also, I already started most of these. sigh. so this is more of a TBFinished pile!

My abbreviations are [HB] hardback, [PB] paperback, [K] Kindle

In no particular order:
~House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty [K]
~Ignition Point by Kate Corcino [K]—->this is my friend! read this! she’s good!
~Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Sea [PB]
~Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch [K] (kind of a re-read…turns out the audio book I listened to 4+ times was abridged! The horror!! But hey! Now I get to read this awesome book about the Gentlemen Bastards again for the first time.)
~Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch [K] (more Gentlemen Bastard adventures)
~Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss [K] (this is a re-read for when the new side story book comes out!)
~Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey [big fat PB]
~Icarus Rising by David N Pauly [PB]
~Wool by Hugh Howey (re-read 1-5, then read the rest, I think there are 8?)
~Great Gatbsy by F Scott Fitzgerald [K]
~PT Barnum by Kunhardt [HB]
~Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi [HB]
~The Doctor and the Dinosaurs by Mike Resnick

whew! wish me luck!

Unseaming by Mike Allen

We got this beauty up and running, too! Enjoy the creepy!




Available at: Kindle



Book Trailer


Mike Allen has put together a first class collection of horror and dark fantasy. Unseaming burns bright as hell among its peers.

—Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All