Dear Friends,

I’m going off the Internet starting now until January 4, 2016 except for email, which I’ll check intermittently. If you’re waiting to hear from me, please be patient and I’ll get back to you.

2015 was a pretty good year for me. I published two stories in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, was granted and gave two interviews in F&SF. I participated as an author in the Time Travel Bundle at Storybundle.com, curated and participated as an author in the Philip K Dick Award Bundle, and am now curating the 2016 Story Collection Bundle, as well as participating as an author. Other projects are underway for 2016. And I’m serving as a judge for the 2016 Philip K Dick Award and was recently appointed as the chairwoman of the jury.

The biggest change on the home-front is that, after eight catless years since Alana died, Tom and I adopted a young girl cat, a blue-eyed Siamese-Angora mix, whom we named Athena. After being raised by a cat breeder, Athena is making leaps and bounds on a daily basis towards transforming herself into a loving, calm, smart, delightful family member. We’re so lucky to have found her!

Christmas will fall on a Friday for the first time in years and also on a full moon in the astrological sign of Cancer, a water sign associated with emotion. Passions should be running high! Go easy on the adult beverages, please.

And if you’re planning on telling your spouse on Christmas that you want a divorce—you wouldn’t believe how many Christmas parties I’ve been to over the years where I’ve had to witness this—restrain yourself, puh-lease. Wait till the New Year, at least. If you do it, you’ll not only ruin the holidays forever for your soon-to-be-ex and your family, but you’ll be pissing in everyone’s punch. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, 2016 ushers in, under Chinese astrology, the Year of the Monkey. Yep, he’s the Trickster. Expect surprises, nasty and otherwise. Beware, take care.

I want to wish you all now a Very Merry (and safe) Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! See you next year!

On newsstands and available now, but you have only two weeks left to get your copy! The must-read magazine for the holiday season!

The Winter Wraith” by Jeffrey Ford
Hob’s Choice” by Tim Sullivan
The Thirteen Mercies” by Maria Dahvana Headley
Gypsy” by Carter Scholz
Her Echo” by KJ Kabza
The Fabulous Follicle” by Harvey Jacobs
DreamPet” by Bruce McAllister
Cleanout” by Naomi Kritzer
It’s All Relative at the Space-Time Café” by Norman Birnbach
The City of Your Soul” by Robert Reed
Tomorrow is a Lovely Day” by Lisa Mason

Within the whimsical cover, you will find very adult and very beautiful stories, poetry, and humor.

The death of a mother, of a father-in-law. The challenge of leaving a decimated Earth and confronting grief and loss over the natural world a poet had to leave behind. Living the worst day of your life over and over—and what you figure out to do about it. Facing a winter blizzard alone in the house, your spouse off on a business trip, and confronting a scary, mysterious presence. And a hilarious hair-cutter to the stars—only they’re werewolves!

Four reviews of the issue:

SFREVU of Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=16505

Tangent review of Tomorrow is a Lovely Day” by Lisa Mason http://www.tangentonline.com/print–bi-monthly-reviewsmenu-260/221-fantasy-a-science-fiction/2932-fantasy-a-science-fiction-novemberdecember-2015

Locus Magazine review of Tomorrow is a Lovely Day” by Lisa Mason in Nov-Dec F&SF http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/

Amazing Stories review of Tomorrow is a Lovely Day” by Lisa Mason in Nov-Dec F&SF http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/10/magazine-review-magazine-fantasy-science-fiction-novdec-2015/

11.22.15.LISA.MASON.FANDSFNOV.DEC.2015

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, on Wikipedia, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

No, urban development in Los Angeles moved on after the war years. The Garden of A—a fell into disrepair and was leveled in the 1960s. A strip mall and parking lot were built over the grave of the beautiful historic Mediterranean apartment complex.

Joni Mitchell’s delightful ditty, Big Yellow Taxi, is about the demise of the Garden. The song goes, “Don’t it always seem to go; you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved Paradise, put up a parking lot.”

I never knew that, did you? I read about the connection recently in an article in The Hollywood Reporter. I’ve received that trade journal for free ever since I sold my Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” to Universal Studios. I don’t know who comp’ed me! It’s pretty funny. Every year I receive an email from THR begging me to renew my free subscription!

The Garden of Abracadabra was built in Berkeley in 1850 during the California Gold Rush. This beautiful Mediterranean building won’t be demolished any time soon!

5.19.15.TGOA.CVR.TINY

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Yes, partially, and also on an historic apartment complex in Hollywood in the 1940s.

What on earth was that? It went by what was considered a whimsical name, The Garden of A—. It was a Mediterranean apartment complex with bungalows and a pool. Sheilah Graham wrote a memoir with the same name about the place, which was inhabited by many famous actors of the 1940s, like Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, and Greta Garbo, usually before they attained their fame, and also by the New Yorker crowd of writers, like Dorothy Parker, John O’Hara, and Robert Benchley, who came to Hollywood to write screenplays. Sheilah and her lover, F. Scott Fitzgerald, also spent a great deal of time there.

I loved the idea of an apartment building inhabited not by famous actors and writers, but by all sorts of supernatural people and entities!

As you would expect with a crowd of professional exhibitionists living in close quarters, the denizens of the Hollywood Garden were infamous for their shenanigans. Several scenes from Marx brothers’ movies were based on incidents that took place there: people hiding in closets, people charging through doors into someone’s bedroom. Various scenes in “A Day At the Races” or “Horse Feathers” were inspired by life at the wild and crazy Garden.

So, too, the Garden of Abracadabra is “the biggest, coolest party place in Berkeley.” I take the reader to several of the parties that supernatural entities throw!

5.19.15.TGOA.CVR.TINY

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

11.22.15.LISA.MASON.FANDSFNOV.DEC.2015

– Tell us a bit about “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day.”
Imagine a person from five hundred years ago observing how we live today. Indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Electricity and light bulbs. Radio and television. Cars and jets. Antibiotics and advanced surgery. Computers and home printers. Smart phones! The Internet!
I’m perhaps still best known for my two time travel novels, Summer of Love, a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist, and The Gilded Age, a New York Times Notable Book. In those books, I was determined to prove that in the far future, five hundred years from now, time travel and faster-than-light technology will be as feasible as the Internet.
The science of faster-than-light communication is speculative, true, but science nonetheless. For my two novels, I researched time travel and faster-than-light; a bit of that research has carried over into “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.” I consulted Paul J. Nahin’s highly regarded Time Machines published by the American Institute of Physics, John W. Macvey’s Time Travel published by Scarborough House, and Martin Gardner’s Time Travel published by W. H. Freeman.
One of the many paradoxes of FTL communication is that a faster-than-light answer sent to the past from the future about the future arrives before the questioner in the past poses the question. L.S. Schulman published technical papers about this theoretical phenomenon—“Correlating Arrows of Time” and “Tachyon Paradoxes”—in the American Journal of Physics in the 1970s, which are reprised in Nahin’s book.
I thought there was enough dramatic potential in that one paradox alone for an intriguing story.

– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?
Not faster-than-light physics at all, at least not at first.
One night I heard a pundit on a radio talk show discussing the medieval metaphysician Nostradamus and how, by gazing into a mirror or (by some accounts) in a bowl of water, he received communications from the future. He then composed a book of quatrains that purported to be predictions.
Predictions about the far future, not the price of eggs five hundred years ago. The pundit claimed that Nostradamus predicted, among other things, World War I, the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, World War II, the atomic bomb, and more. The quatrains he (the pundit) read on the radio sounded like implausible long shots to me but I wanted to read them for myself.
My husband, Tom Robinson, is a serious book collector going way back and has a supernatural ability to lay his hands on a specific book among the many thousands in our library. This must be what living with a water douser is like. I don’t even try to find the book. I just say, “Nostradamus,” and within moments Tom is pulling out The Predictions of Nostradamus from some stack.
I spent time with the book and had to conclude that the quatrains are, frankly, gibberish. I didn’t see how any of them accurately described anything in history, at least events that I could recognize.
Then ah-ha! There was the second theme of “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.”
What are we to make of any kind of prediction? When you listen, you hear predictions about everything under the sun on a daily basis. What the weather will be—well, they’ve got sophisticated satellite pictures and all kinds of scientific analysis, but they still don’t always get reality right. What will the economy do, how will the election turn out. “Authorities” are constantly predicting what the future will be and reality, when it arrives in the Now, can be tricky.

– Was this story personal to you in any way? If so, how?
Oh, I think everyone has their eyes on the future the moment your parents shove you out the door at the age of five to go to school. I know I certainly did. And focusing on the future doesn’t stop once you graduate, oh no. Then you have to get the job, succeed at the job, save up to buy a home, find a suitable mate, maybe have a family, save for retirement. And boom! You’re 70 years old . . . and then you have to think about your future ill health and dying.
There was a movement in the 1960s to Be Here Now. People took up meditation to be mindful of the moment. People dropped out the “rat race” to “live for today.” And they did have a point. Only when you attend to the moment can you perceive what forces are entrapping you, enslaving you. Only then can you take the first steps to free yourself. But first, you have to “wake up.”
Mind you, I realize it’s really important to plan for your future. But it’s also important to savor the moments of life that pass by only too quickly.
But what if a moment, a day, is really crappy? Just about everyone has had a day like that, what seems like the worst day of your life. You get into a fender bender, the boss yells at you, three checks bounce at the bank because you forgot to transfer funds, you burn dinner, and your spouse is in a lousy mood and yells at you, too.
What if that day somehow never ended?
And what if that day included the big, big transitions in life? Being born, giving birth or waiting for a birth, and dying are the most transitional moments of anyone’s life. What if those transitional moments were never consummated?
In “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day,” Benjamin finds himself on that supremely crappy day. He’s understandably focused on his future, on what he hopes to achieve the next day. But he must focus on the moment, even though it’s a crappy moment. He must “wake up.” Only then can he perceive what is trapping him, enslaving him. And only then can he do what he does to free himself and, by the way, free all of space-time.

– Did you have in mind any other examples in the rich tradition of time travel stories while writing “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day,” or did the story come to you organically?
Tomorrow is A Lovely Day” isn’t directly inspired by any other story. It’s definitely “organic,” a product of my own inspiration, the splicing together two different themes, faster-than-light communication and Nostradamus’ medieval predictions.
I like the technique of splicing two disparate themes and finding a common ground. My Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” which sold as the basis for a feature film to Universal Studios, weaves a succinct tale around burn wound healing technology and the purported crash of an alien spaceship at Rosswell, New Mexico.
That said, I’m always up for a good time travel story. A rich tradition, indeed! Or perhaps a broader, if less elegant, term would be “time manipulation” stories.
In the classic tradition of traveling in time in the same geophysical location, there’s of course H.G. Welles’ classic Victorian novel The Time Machine. Of more recent vintage is C. L. Moore’s wonderful novella, “The Vintage Season,” which in 1946 explored time travel as tourism, traveling to a different time and a different geophysical location. Robert Silverberg has often played with time travel tropes and published in 1989 a sequel to Moore’s novella, “In Another Country.” [A peripatetic world traveler, Silverberg often uses tourism or traveling as a trope in his fiction. “Sailing to Byzantium” (not a time manipulation) from 1986 springs to mind.]
Even more intriguing is moving in time within your own life and attempting to alter your own past. That happens in “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day.” My all-time favorite story in this subgenre (and maybe my all-time favorite SF story, period) is Robert Heinlein’s “All You Zombies—“. The story, so hilarious and fiendishly clever, could have been written yesterday. In fact, Heinlein published it in 1959. Silverberg weighs in with this subgenre, too, with “Needle in a Timestack.”
Finally, another fascinating subgenre within the time manipulation trope is traveling backwards in time within your own life. The classic tale in this subgenre is Fritz Leiber’s “The Man Who Never Grew Young,” published in 1947. F. Scott Fitzgerald tried his hand in “The Strange Case of Benjamin Buttons,” and Martin Amis in Time’s Arrow.
My major problem with these tales is that they’re all told from a man’s point-of-view. I think a woman protagonist would have quite a different take.
I’ve done just that in “Illyria, My Love,” in which a woman and man love each other, the woman a bit jealously so, against a horrific background of constant war on the planet they’ve immigrated to when life on Earth has become untenable. Only as they move backward in time does the reader discover the true nature of their relationship and, at the end, the shocking secret at its core. That story is still looking for a home.

Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books and stories, interviews and blogs, cute pet pictures, and forthcoming projects. Thank you for your readership!

Looking for something to read over the Thanksgiving holiday? Be intrigued, entertained, provoked, and amused? Try the November-December 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Single copy of the issue: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1511.htm

Abby Teller must learn Real Magic to defend herself against the Horde, gangster-sorcerers who murdered her father when she was a child of eight. It turns out that she’ll use techniques of Real Magic to deal with all of the supernatural people and entities at the Garden of Abracadabra.

She applies to and is accepted by the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts.

In Volume 1, she learns the First and Second Fundamentals of Real Magic. As research I consulted several volumes in my own library, including Real Magic by R.E.I. Bonewits, Natural Magic by David Carroll, Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall, The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians by Magus Incognito, and The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler among many others.

The First Fundamental of Real Magic is “Knowledge is Power” and, as a corollary, “Know Thyself.” The great philosopher and teacher Pythagoras coined that adage 2,500 years ago, but it still rings true today, especially in this age of media up to your eyeballs.

“Know Thyself.” Think for yourself. Investigate and research issues, then exercise your own judgment and will. Only then may you practice Real Magic in the real world.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Yet how many people allow themselves to be whipsawed by the media? Not to mention by other people?

Abby Teller applies the First Fundamental of Real Magic to come to grips with her feelings about her mother’s wasting illness and recent death. Her grief and guilt seriously compromise her ability to master her power.

5.19.15.TGOA.CVR.TINY

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

I had a high-concept setting and a heroine, but I didn’t think that was enough. I didn’t want a fantasy knock-off of an old TV situation comedy, “One Day at a Time,” with witches.

I wanted more plot, more tension, more to the heroine.

I don’t like slacker characters. Abby Teller is a vital, lively, witty woman and she needed an excellent reason for signing on for a mundane job like that.

Well, of course! She’s going back to college to learn Real Magic. She needs a job with flexible hours and a lot of independence. And she must learn to master her power to save her life.

5.19.15.TGOA.CVR.TINY

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

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