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From Every Mystery Unexplained

1

As long as the human mind delights in mysteries, so it will love magic and magicians. I would say to all beginners, Keep three things in mind:
First–Practice constantly new sleights, novel devices, and invent new combinations of old feats. You must always have something new wherewith to dazzle.
Second–Make your work artistic by clothing each illusion with all the glamour and shadows of fairyland and the suggestions of incantations and supernatural powers in order to prepare the observer’s mind for a mystery.
Third–Leave every mystery unexplained.
–Harry Kellar, The Greatest Magician in the World, 1887

My father is done with the doves and colored scarves by the time he gets to the spirit show. “And now, ladies and gentlemen,” Uncle Brady announces, his voice as sonorous as a Shakespearean ghost, “Professor Flint will endeavor through his astonishing, miraculous, and mysterious psychic powers to establish communication with the Spirits of the Dead!”

“Endeavor to establish communication with the Dead,” I whisper to Mr. Pannini, the booking agent for the Tivoli Theater, as we watch from the wings. “A pity he seldom endeavors to establish communication with me.”

The audience shifts and titters, restless in the early evening, which is awfully cold and gloomy even for fog-haunted San Francisco. Gaslights flicker, leaking fumes into the chill, damp air. A smell of mold clings to the dark velvet curtains, a sepulchral odor that leaves me uneasy.

“The old man is a boiled shirt, is he?” Pannini says with a grin. He is a dapper, clove-scented, well-oiled dandy in fancy gabardine and a velvet bowler, a massive mustache curling over his lip. Some ten years my senior, I suppose, with the air of the rake about him. My father dislikes him intensely. “Nothing a young gentleman like yourself cannot handle, I’ll wager.”

“I endure,” I say, “the dutiful son.” I like Pannini. He slips me a Mecca cigarette. I light up, quick and guilty. My father has forbidden me to smoke.

My father has forbidden me to grow a mustache till I reach the age of one-and-twenty, which has been a source of more contention between us than cigarettes, since extravagant mustaches are all the rage for gentlemen in our year of 1895. A requirement of fashion that occupies many of my thoughts despite other concerns, such as the bank panic, massive unemployment, and civil unrest throughout our great nation of America. What lady will consider me without a mustache? I chafe at each passing day of these next nine months, shave the scant fuzz from my lip–dutiful son–and speculate pessimistically on what poor bristles may be produced when Pop’s injunction has expired.

“And what will you do, Professor Flint,” Uncle Brady is inquiring onstage, “if you should encounter the Grim Reaper Himself?”

“I shall challenge Him to a duel!” my father replies.

“A duel?” Uncle Brady says, inviting the audience to marvel with him.

“A duel to the death!” my father declares.

Onstage, my father arduously prepares himself to establish communication with the Spirits of the Dead. Of Pop’s many talents, this is one of his best, the dramatic preparation for impending dire difficulty. Uncle Brady assists him, yanking off Pop’s cutaway coat, ceremoniously withdrawing the dueling sword from the trunk. My father effects much rolling of eyes, rolling up of sleeves, girding of loins. He kneads his forehead, unleashing psychic powers.

A pity he had not prepared so well for my mother’s death.

From Every Mystery Unexplained

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Mason.

Every Mystery Unexplained was published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), a hardcover anthology including stories by Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Kevin J. Anderson, and F. Paul Wilson.

Every Mystery Unexplained is now free exclusively on Kindle Select until March 1, 2013! After that date the ebook will be back on sale on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modeska Mystery).

Romantic suspense January 2013!

When I was asked by the late editor, Janet Berliner Gluckman, to contribute a story to David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible, I jumped at the opportunity. Yes, it was that David Copperfield, the famous stage magician, who would contribute his name and image, a short story of his own, and an introduction to each piece. Plus, the anthology was to be a gorgeous hardcover published by HarperPrism and foreign rights would sell all over the world.

I figured quite a few of the authors would write about stage magic, given our eminent sponsor, but strangely they didn’t. I was virtually the only one. I didn’t want to write about contemporary stage magic (a lot of which is computerized and gimmicky), but about the Golden Age of Stage Magic—the 1880s through the turn of the century. I’d recently turned in The Gilded Age to Bantam and was conversant in the fin de siècle period.

But what about the magic?

My husband, Tom Robinson, the acclaimed San Francisco artist and bespoke jeweler, grew up in Glendale, California, a charming suburb northwest of Los Angles and next door to Pasadena. He, as a young teen, had been enamored of stage magic. He could perform decent sleight-of-hand, but didn’t really want to go onstage. He was more interested in how the illusions were constructed, how they worked.

In one of those instances of Real Magic in life, he and a friend were roaming around the neighborhood one day and happened upon a fenced backyard that had a lot of odd constructions lying about. Constructions that looked a lot like stage magic illusions. The boys hopped the fence and in no time Tom was assisting one of the greatest illusion-builders in the world, a fellow who furnished Blackstone and other famous stage magicians with props for their acts.

Tom fell in with a group of Hollywood stage magicians, went to the Magic Castle (a magicians’ hangout in Hollywood, now recently renovated and opened to the public), and participated in a fake séance or two.

Tom liked to collect stage magic books and magazines, new and used, and carted around a boxful of these in his various wanderings. That box wound up in our library and there I found the research for my story. I learned about the conflict between Spiritualist mediums of the time and stage magicians like Harry Houdini. Houdini wanted to believe in communication of the Dead; he wanted to speak with his beloved deceased mother. But time after time, he debunked Spiritualist mediums as using stage props and stage magic techniques to bilk the bereaved out of their hard-earned money.

There too I found the image for the ebook’s cover, an illustration of a Hindu stage magician from the early 1900s, the wonderful quotation from Harry Kellar, which opens the story, and the story’s title.

I hope you enjoy the following blog with the opening of Every Mystery Unexplained!

The year is 1895, and Danny Flint is a young man living in the shadow of his controlling father, a famous stage magician whose fortunes are fading. Uncle Brady, Professor Flint’s trusted assistant and business manager and Danny’s best friend, cannot stay in the same hotel as them—Uncle Brady is African-American.

Danny is grieving over his mother’s recent accidental death, for which he feels he is to blame.

When a mysterious beautiful lady begs them to conduct a séance so she may speak with her beloved husband, Danny and his father will confront the ethical dilemma between spiritualist séances and faked séances performed by stage magicians like them. Danny unexpectedly discovers he may have talent as a medium. Will he actually contact the spirits of the lady’s husband and his mother in a séance?

With the help of the mysterious beautiful lady, Danny will learn to reconcile himself with his grief and guilt, learn the secret of Uncle Brady’s identity, and assume his place at center stage as a talented magician in his own right.

Every Mystery Unexplained was indeed published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), a gorgeous hardcover anthology including stories by fantasy masters like Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Kevin J. Anderson, and F. Paul Wilson.

Every Mystery Unexplained is free exclusively on Kindle Select but only until March 1, 2013. At that time the book will be back on sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Look for it, Nook owners!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modeska Mystery).

Romantic suspense January 2013!

The year is 1895, and Danny Flint is a young man living in the shadow of his controlling father, a famous stage magician whose fortunes are fading. Uncle Brady, Professor Flint’s trusted assistant and business manager and Danny’s best friend, cannot stay in the same hotel as them—Uncle Brady is African-American. Danny is grieving over his mother’s recent accidental death, for which he feels he is to blame.

Danny and his father will confront the ethical dilemma between spiritualist séances and faked séances performed by stage magicians like them.

And Danny will learn to reconcile himself with his grief and guilt, learn the secret of Uncle Brady’s identity, and assume his place at center stage as a talented magician in his own right with the help of a mysterious beautiful lady.

Every Mystery Unexplained was published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), a gorgeous hardcover anthology including stories by fantasy masters like Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Kevin J. Anderson, and F. Paul Wilson.

Now free exclusively on Kindle Select only until March 1, 2013. At that time the book will be back on sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Look for it, Nook owners!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modeska Mystery).

Romantic suspense January 2013!

The year is 1895, and Danny Flint is a young man living in the shadow of his controlling father, a famous stage magician whose fortunes are fading. Uncle Brady, Professor Flint’s trusted assistant and business manager and Danny’s best friend, cannot stay in the same hotel as them—Uncle Brady is African-American. Danny is grieving over his mother’s recent accidental death, for which he feels he is to blame.

Danny and his father will confront the ethical dilemma between spiritualist séances and faked séances performed by stage magicians like them.

And Danny will learn to reconcile himself with his grief and guilt, learn the secret of Uncle Brady’s identity, and assume his place at center stage as a talented magician in his own right with the help of a mysterious beautiful lady.

Every Mystery Unexplained was published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), a gorgeous hardcover anthology including stories by fantasy masters like Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Kevin J. Anderson, and F. Paul Wilson.

Now free exclusively on Kindle Select only until March 1, 2013. At that time the book will be back on sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Look for it, Nook owners!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modeska Mystery).

Romantic suspense January 2013!

From The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria

Diary

6 May 1941. We’ve arrived at last after months in Casablanca, which I once remembered fondly & now loathe. Sold all my good white linen bed sheets for Moslem shrouds to raise money for our sea passage. The Faithful must meet their Maker wrapt in the colour of purity, but I would’ve slept on straw, on mud, on a bed of nails to leave Africa.

Every day we were in danger. Everyone knows B.B. supported the Loyalists in Spain & wrote editorials for La Revolution Surrealiste & corresponded with Trotsky, for godssake. Fascists in every bar & café. Nazis, too, now that Rommel has taken over the Occupation & his officers carouse their days away. The Soviets will make mincemeat of you within the year, B.B. told anyone who would listen. Didn’t care a fig who listened in. Every night I feared the knock on our door, which thankfully never came.

As for our sea passage, I have little to record. I was sick, B.B. was sick. Everyone sick & absolutely grey with fear. We sailed on a Union Oil tanker, The Montebello. A favorite sport of Nazi U-boats, torpedoing a merchant ship with refugees aboard. No more than a rifle or two to defend us, should we be attacked. Every day the radio told of another sinking–in the Atlantic, in the Caribbean, & all hands lost. Nazi U-boats take no prisoners, save no survivors bobbing amongst the waves. I began to wonder what it must be like to drown. Your hair streaming up into sunlit waters, your feet plunging into blackness below. The fearsome struggle to breathe–would it be swift or slow? Would you notice fish? When would they start nibbling at the lobes of your ears?

I had to set this journal aside. Force myself to stop conjuring up horrors.

When we hobbled ashore at Tampico, I fell on my knees & kissed the beach. I mean literally. B.B. laughing & lurching about on his sea legs. I can still taste the sand on my lips. Filthy, but marvelous. The marvelous taste of our deliverance.

Nothing but the shirts on our backs & two little bags between us. We haven’t got a penny.

It’s completely true what Breton says of our destination.

Mexico is the Surrealist place par excellence. The land blazes with a savage golden light. A tiger light. The jungle spreads its tendrils to the very edge of town & the leaves of certain palms possess a clarified green the like of which I’ve never seen in Britain nor in Europe, save perhaps Tuscany. Blossoms have their wanton way in every window box, on every street corner, through every crevice in the ancient stone walls. Brick & mortar are no match for the lusty thrust of Life. I love the lascivious pinks, the regal purples. I spied a scarlet that actually throbbed, as if the colour of blood was pulsing from a newly opened wound. The natives wear their modernity lightly. As if civilization is but a garment to be donned or disposed of at one’s will.

I should like to feel that unencumbered of my past.

From The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Mason

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria is exclusively free on Kindle till March 1, 2013!

Inspired by the lives and friendship of the brilliant visionary Surrealist artists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington.

A List of Sources follows the novella.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria was published in Full Spectrum 5 (Bantam). Full Spectrum 5 also included stories by Michael Bishop, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, and Neal Stephenson.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl: A Lily Modeska Mystery. Romantic suspense!

When I read in the Market Report of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (the professional writers’ organization I belong to) that a new volume in the Full Spectrum series of anthologies published by Bantam was open to submissions and the eminent editor, Jennifer Hershey (who now pretty much runs Random House), was spearheading the project, I sat down at once to write a story I’d long wanted to write. I hadn’t done so yet because I didn’t know where I could publish it. The story was not genre science fiction or fantasy and not strictly mainstream because it was historical and had some speculative elements.

Lest that last sentence sound like gobble-dee-gook, I assure you that fitting a work into a niche was important back then and is all the more imperative these days.

I know, I know. A writer shouldn’t have to think about this stuff, but simply write whatever she is drawn to. You may certainly write whatever you want to if you wish, but—as they say—it won’t sell.

My story was inspired by the Surrealist art of women. We all know about the guys—Max Ernst and his set—but the gals are not as well-known and approach the Surrealist imagery from a totally different perspective. A woman’s perspective.

The art of Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, while unique to each artist, shares a detailed vision of the fabulous and the fable-like, with images of women as powerful, confident, magical creators. Not the queens and slave girls, sex objects and rape victims, madonnas and mothers of classical art. Both artists were superb craftswomen as well, whose fathers had been engineers and taught their daughters how to draw perspective. Nice dads, huh?

So I had my story and, thanks to the sophisticated Ms. Hershey, I had the perfect place to publish it!

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria is exclusively free on Kindle till March 1, 2013! At that time, the story will be back on Barnes and Noble, so Nook owners, please look for it then.

The year is 1941, and Hitler’s armies have swept across Europe. Nora, a budding young Surrealist artist, has fled to Mexico with B.B., a much older and acclaimed Surrealist playwright down on his luck. Hundreds of European artists and writers have formed a colony in Mexico City, and Nora befriends Valencia, a fellow Surrealist artist and refugee. Together the friends explore Jungian psychology and the power of symbols in their Art.

But Nora is plagued by an abusive relationship with B.B. She embarks on a harrowing journey deep into her own troubled psyche.

Inspired by the lives and friendship of the brilliant visionary Surrealist artists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington.

A List of Sources where you can see the art follows the novella.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria was published in Full Spectrum 5 (Bantam). Full Spectrum 5 also included stories by Michael Bishop, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, and Neal Stephenson.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl: A Lily Modeska Mystery. Romantic suspense!

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria is exclusively free on Kindle til March 1, 2013!

The year is 1941, and Hitler’s armies have swept across Europe. Nora, a budding young Surrealist artist, has fled to Mexico with B.B., a much older and acclaimed Surrealist playwright down on his luck. Hundreds of European artists and writers have formed a colony in Mexico City, and Nora befriends Valencia, a fellow Surrealist artist and refugee. Together the friends explore Jungian psychology and the power of symbols in their Art.

But Nora is plagued by an abusive relationship with B.B. She embarks on a harrowing journey deep into her own troubled psyche.

Inspired by the lives and friendship of the brilliant visionary Surrealist artists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington.

A List of Sources follows the novella.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria was published in Full Spectrum 5 (Bantam). Full Spectrum 5 also included stories by Michael Bishop, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, and Neal Stephenson.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl: A Lily Modeska Mystery. Romantic suspense!

Summer of Love Serials are free on #Kindle Select til March 1, 2013!

The Bantam classic is back! A Philip K. Dick Award finalist. A San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book of the Year. Prequel to The Gilded Age, A Time Travel.

The Omnibus Volume of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel remains available on Nook and Kindle.

Nineteen five-star Amazon reviews
“This book was so true to life that I felt like I was there. I recommend it to anyone.”
“More than a great science-fiction, a great novel as well.”

On a budget? For your reading pleasure, Bast Books has released Summer of Love Serials free exclusively on Kindle. Nook Owners! The Serials will be offered again on Barnes and Noble March 1, 2013.

The Serials are the complete Summer of Love, A Time Travel, which remains on Nook and Kindle.

Summer of Love, Serial 1: Celebration of the Summer Solstice

Summer of Love, Serial 2: Festival of Growing Things

Summer of Love, Serial 3: A Dog Day

Summer of Love, Serial 4: Rumors

Summer of Love, Serial 5: Inquest for the Ungrateful Dead

Summer of Love, Serial 6: Chocolate George’s Wake

Summer of Love, Serial 7: A New Moon in Virgo

The year is 1967 and something new is sweeping across America: good vibes, bad vibes, psychedelic music, psychedelic drugs, anti-war protests, racial tension, free love, bikers, dropouts, flower children. An age of innocence, a time of danger. The Summer of Love.

San Francisco is the Summer of Love, where runaway flower children flock to join the hip elite and squares cruise the streets to view the human zoo.

Lost in these strange and wondrous days, teenager Susan Bell, alias Starbright, has run away from the straight suburbs of Cleveland to find her troubled best friend. Her path will cross with Chiron Cat’s Eye in Draco, a strange and beautiful young man who has journeyed farther than she could ever imagine.

With the help of Ruby A. Maverick, a feisty half-black, half-white hip merchant, Susan and Chi discover a love that spans five centuries. But can they save the world from demons threatening to destroy all space and time?

A harrowing coming of age. A friendship ending in tragedy. A terrifying far future. A love spanning five centuries. And a gritty portrait of a unique time in American history with “wonderful and terrible consequences.”

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s OfficialWebsite for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl 1: The Heartland

A Lily Modeska Mystery. Romantic suspense!

1

DRAGON

Sing Lin skips down Fish Alley, seeking fresh shrimp for Master’s supper.

She swings her wicker shopping basket with a frivolous hand, her young heart bobbing with innocent joy. The city air is ripe with the odors of raw sea creatures and sandalwood incense, of the mouthwatering scent of peanut oil smoking in someone’s hot wok.

A mooie jai just doesn’t skip down the streets of Tangrenbu, not on most days. Certainly not on a day as fresh and crisp as this, with sunlight sparkling high above and a cool west wind from the sea. A day which Cook would have gladly savored for himself.

A lucky day.

But Cook has injured himself. His ankle has swollen up like a bundle of newspapers left out in a night rain. Cook took a wrong step into a pothole on Jasmine Avenue, and now he cannot step at all.

Cook had seized her skinny arm as Sing Lin had knelt over the wash basin, scrubbing the sheets for Master’s bed. He flung her to her feet and said, “Here, you lazy girl, go get two pounds shrimp for Master’s supper, and make quick.”

“Yes, Cook,” she murmured.

Sing Lin had washed her hands and face, and retied her queue, and smoothed the wrinkles from her black cotton sahm. And she set out with Cook’s coins and her wicker shopping basket, her young heart bobbing with innocent joy. Shrimp is double good luck because, first, here she is, out of the house in such a long time. And because, second, Master will let Cook give her one spicy fried shrimp with her usual supper of boiled rice and greens. “You the shrimp girl, anyway,” Cook joked in his dour way. “Master bought you for ten pieces of gold, plus five pounds shrimp.”

Two more skips and a hop and a jump, and Sing Lin finds herself among the peddlers of Fish Alley. They are, one and all, clad in blue-denim sahms. Yet all are not alike in the throng of blue tunics and trousers, a truth that even Sing Lin’s eyes can discern. The ones wearing jaunty felt fedoras have taken to the new ways of the city. The ones in embroidered satin caps have not. And the ones who cannot escape their lot in life no matter where they flee to wear the flat straw cone of peasantry. They are, one and all, men. There is not a woman in sight, unless Sing Lin peeks at her own reflection in a shop window, and even she’s not a woman, not yet.

Master employs many men just like the fish peddlers in his drayage business along the waterfront. Once she overheard him talking to Cook. They are not, of course, human beings, Master had said. They are oxen to be led by a ring through the nose. Later, lying on her straw pallet in the pantry, Sing Lin had wondered for a long time what Master must think of her.

Now she glimpses the longing and the bitterness in the fish peddlers’ eyes and something else, something strange and disturbing. Anxiety casts a shadow on her happiness, and she is only too aware she does not belong here. After all, a mooie jai just doesn’t skip down the streets of Tangrenbu. It’s not a proper thing. Not on any day.

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Mason.

Daughter of the Tao is free exclusively on Kindle until March 1, 2013!

Published in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn (HarperPrism), which included stories by Charles de Lint, Karen Joy Fowler, Robert Sheckley, and Ellen Kushner.

Daughter of the Tao
5.0 out of 5 stars
a beautiful novella! April 23, 2012
By Mark Abrams
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The characters in this little book jumped off the page and you really cared what happened to them. It is a rare talent that can do that so well! This was a compelling tale of a girl sold into slavery as her culture allowed. I found myself hooked from the very first page as I followed her through the twists and turns of her life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a character-based story with a touch of magic and fantasy to it!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl 1: The Heartland

A Lily Modjeska Mystery

I was invited to submit a story to Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, which was to be a gorgeous hardcover anthology published by HarperPrism and to include stories by fantasy luminaries like Charles de Lint, Karen Joy Fowler, Robert Sheckley, and Ellen Kushner. Peter Beagle, of course, is famous for his classic, The Last Unicorn, so he’s an expert about all things with one horn.

The Unicorn has a rich history of myth and symbology in European cultures, representing everything from male potency to Jesus Christ. The stories were sure to draw from this body of literature and art and indeed they did.

I wanted to write something a bit different. I’d just finished writing The Gilded Age: A Time Travel (originally titled The Golden Nineties) and was conversant in the 1890s fin de siècle period, as well as Chinese culture in America during that time. It turns out the Chinese also have a rich and fascinating body of unicorn lore. The unicorn is one of the Four Fabulous Creatures in Chinese alchemy. There is the Unicorn, the Dragon, the Phoenix, and the Tortoise.

The Creatures fascinated me, and I knew I had my story. Daughter of the Tao is divided into four Parts, each titled with one of the Creatures.

Daughter of the Tao is free exclusively on Kindle until March 1, 2013!

Published in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn (HarperPrism), which included stories by Charles de Lint, Karen Joy Fowler, Robert Sheckley, and Ellen Kushner.

Daughter of the Tao
5.0 out of 5 stars
a beautiful novella! April 23, 2012
By Mark Abrams
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The characters in this little book jumped off the page and you really cared what happened to them. It is a rare talent that can do that so well! This was a compelling tale of a girl sold into slavery as her culture allowed. I found myself hooked from the very first page as I followed her through the twists and turns of her life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a character-based story with a touch of magic and fantasy to it!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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Thank you for your readership!

Coming soon! Celestial Girl 1: The Heartland

A Lily Modjeska Mystery

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