NEXT BIRTHDAY: BRAZIL

It’s time for my annual State of the Birthday post where I talk about what’s ahead in my next year. The short answer: Brazil.

Now for the why…

There are a few good reasons for us to relocate to Brazil. The idea to move took root as I was researching for Tortured Willows in August of 2021.

I was specifically trying to find information on the shamanistic practices of the yuta. I could locate no practicing yuta in the United States, but there is a strong community of Shimanchu in Brazil—including yuta.

The stars began to align. My daughter had already moved to Brazil for different reasons and loves it. I now have an adorable grand daughter there. The Brazilian economy is kind to Americans. Ryan (my Australian husband) and I have always wanted to live in a country we could mutually discover together. We both work online. It began to be an obvious choice.

… and the who and the when.

We took a trip to Brazil in September to see how we liked it. It’s not easy to learn a new language and culture but we loved it. The people, the food, the quality of life… we decided to take the plunge and move. We’ve been liquidating everything we own to pack our lives into a few suitcases. We’ve rented the house out. I’m parting with books by the box. Ryan, my son and I (+three dogs) will be flying out of the country on December 28.

And speaking of books… I’ll be doing an online auction soon for some of my vintage, signed and rare books. I’ll have signed books from all sorts: Neil Gaiman, Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, R.L. Stine… vintage books from Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock, Weird Tales… and they will all be up for grabs. Some of my personal things will be up for grabs as well, including my vintage newspaper box and other loves.

I’ll be passing these treasures on to new homes and raising money for this move. It’s hard to part with most of these so I keep telling myself they are going to a new home. I’ll be announcing that on my social media in the next few days.

There’s a lot more news than this… big changes just ahead… but I’ll be posting.

And THANK YOU for all the amazing birthday wishes across all my socials, in my emails, sent as texts… I am shocked that I know so many amazing and wonderful people. It’s been a good birthday.

This is 54.

FOR A FRIEND…

DEAR IMPOSTER SYNDROME, F*CK OFF

I’m not going to lie, times are tough. Anyone who says everything is fine right now is a Pollyanna… or on some really good drugs. I spoke with several people today that are feeling crushed under the weight of it all. There’s a lot of negative stuff happening, but the last thing we need to do is doubt ourselves. Who else is going to believe in us better than us?

This video by Imagine Dragons came across my feed this evening, and I wanted to share. I love what Dan Reynolds does at the end with the chorus. That’s what we need to do: flip the script, think outside of the lines, “be the one to turn this car around.”

WHAT HAPPENS IN PORTLAND…

Welcome to the annual OCTOBER FRIGHTS BLOG HOP. Every year my friend and fellow writer A.F. Stewart puts together this event to help writers connect with readers and each other. At the end of this post you’ll find a list of participating blogs along with a link to the giveaway.

What happens in Portland is creative chaos and I loved every minute…

With Roni Stinger &
Frances Lu Pai Ippolito

Thursday, October 6th: I land in PDX early in the day and I am pleased to be greeted by a gloomy, grey sky. Perfect, I think to myself. No sun to hassle me here. This bliss lasted around 20 minutes, and the sun stubbornly glared for the rest of my visit.

The native Portlanders tried to act pleased by this, but I think they were embarrassed by the abundance of sun. They all assured me that it was a rare pleasure. I was polite about the assualting brightness and pretended not to notice.

I was visiting my friend Frances Lu Pai Ippolito. As soon as I landed she wisked me off to enjoy a lunch by the water. It was delicious. I suspect she is planning something nefarious for me that involves cannibalism. She pointed out that it is called canibalism, not can’tibalism. I should be worried, but I find myself intrigued. Just in case, I make a secret pact with Roni Stinger in case things get… interesting.

At Raven’s Manor

My suspicions were justified later that evening when she insisted I go to a themed cocktail bar called Raven’s Manor. It was horrifying, further proof that Frances was trying to put me off guard by making me happy. We were locked in an escape room, forced to make our own drinks and then fed more delicious food. Frances was getting into my head. Somewhere between the smoking skull cocktail and the glowing, alcoholic potion I decided I loved Portland.

Luckily, I managed to keep my wits and I was able to retire that evening still breathing. I am apprehensive to see what tomorrow will bring.

Participating Blogs
Always Another Chapter
Be Afraid of the Dark
Hawk’s Happenings
Carmilla Voiez Dark Reads and Intersectional Feminism
GirlZombieAuthors
Frighten Me
Brain Matter – The Official Blog of JG Faherty
Angela Yuriko Smith
James P. Nettles

DANCING MARY GHOST OF PORTLAND

Welcome to the annual OCTOBER FRIGHTS BLOG HOP. Every year my friend and fellow writer A.F. Stewart puts together this event to help writers connect with readers and each other. At the end of this post you’ll find a list of participating blogs along with a link to the giveaway.

As I pack up my suitcase and prepare to leave Portland I realize I owe you some details. Tomorrow I’ll post all the happenings this trip that involved Cthulhucon, book signings, publisher meetings, new friends, IRL hugs and an urban ghost legend. Today, I’ll just quickly introduce you to Dancing Mary ghost story in Portland.

I was introduced to this fantastic cemetery by my dear friend Gina of Dearly Beloved Creations (https://dearly-beloved-creations.com/). More details in tomorrow’s post, but I’ll just say we ate Mausoleum Cake. We have the photo to prove it.

As I rush out of Portland and back onto a plane I’ll be compiling notes to share tomorrow. For the moment, please enjoy learning about Dancing Mary who resides in the Mount Calvary Cemetery. Gina and I didn’t get to see her slowly spin but I plan to be back. Share any spooky stories you have in the comments… I love them.

Participating Blogs
Always Another Chapter
Be Afraid of the Dark
Hawk’s Happenings
Carmilla Voiez Dark Reads and Intersectional Feminism
GirlZombieAuthors
Frighten Me
Brain Matter – The Official Blog of JG Faherty
Angela Yuriko Smith
James P. Nettles

OCTOBER FRIGHTS BLOG HOP BEGINS

Welcome to the annual OCTOBER FRIGHTS BLOG HOP. Every year my friend and fellow writer A.F. Stewart puts together this event to help writers connect with readers and each other. At the end of this post you’ll find a list of participating blogs along with a link to the giveaway.

For my first offering this Halloween I give you a poem written for the Horror Writer Association’s Gallery of Poetry in this month’s newsletter (Volume 32, Number 267). Open to HWA members, the newsletter is free advertising, networking, craft news, inspiration and member promo. If you aren’t a member of the HWA yet but you are curious, find out more info at horror.org.

When I wrote this poem I was thinking of how much joy this time of year brings me. I wished I could consume every last drop of the season. I imagined myself some kind of monster, my jaw unhinging so I could swallow this holiday whole. This poem is the result.

🎃🎃🎃Seasonal Unhinging🎃🎃🎃

I unhinge to quaff
the season of Halloween—
every final drop …

when each phantom catches my eye and the knocking
under the stairs becomes the knocking of my heart
beating loud with tell tale fibberys and fictions
told at midnight, in starlight to warm up short nights
where the cold of corpses creep through our dreams
running chill fingers unseen to tickle our fancy
things we love, like black lace in dust, the rust and must
of what remains of us, the peeking through windows
letting moonlight in, the bones of a friend, saying “The End”
as autumn leaves drift into sunset detritus
the shivers inside us refuse to deride us for
we all raise our spirits to cheer pumpkin kings
with thanks for inky nights
and even darker things.

I break open wide
to make room for the shadows—
all hail Halloween.

🎃🎃🎃 🎃🎃🎃

Participating Blogs
Always Another Chapter
Be Afraid of the Dark
Hawk’s Happenings
Carmilla Voiez Dark Reads and Intersectional Feminism
GirlZombieAuthors
Frighten Me
Brain Matter – The Official Blog of JG Faherty
Angela Yuriko Smith
James P. Nettles

SCARING IS CARING FOR DARK POETRY DAY

Happy Nationa Dark Poetry Day!

Today is perfect for putting dark thoughts to paper. Edgar Allen Poe passed 174 years today, and today we pay tribute to a master of the macabre… and the macabre in general. HP Lovecraft referred to Poe as the father of Weird Fiction.

To celebrate, I’ve joined with acclaimed fellow scribblers Maxwell I. Gold, Sumiko Saulson, and Emily Loretta Flummox for the Poe-etic Ponderings: Influences of Poe on Dark Cosmic Poetry for CthulhuCon in Portland. If I’m able, I’ll share the link when I can. Things definitely got weird in the best of ways.

National Dark Poetry Day was created by HWA Poetry Showcase founder Peter Adam Salomon, a Bram Stoker Award®-nominated novelist and author of three poetry collections, his work has appeared has been performed by The Radiophonic Workshop on BBC Radio 6.

“Dark poetry has existed for centuries,” said Peter Adam Salomon. “One of the oldest surviving works of literature is the Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates to the 18th century BCE. Poetry doesn’t get much darker than that. It’s been almost four thousand years since the time of Gilgamesh, but a vibrant, vicious thread of darkness has haunted poetry ever since. And celebrating that thread is the purpose of National Dark Poetry Day. In dark poetry we share in the ancient knowledge that the darkest of poetry shines a light on the greatest truth.”

FIGHTING NIHILISM WITH EEOAO

Have I mentioned that Everything Everywhere All At Once is my favorite movie of all time? This show made me happy, joyful and all the best parts of confused. It came at a time in my life where I was wondering what I was doing and if it really mattered.

TLDR: No, it doesn’t matter. But that’s why it’s worth doing.

The comprehension of it comes in waves. The more I think about it, the more I love. I’ve watched it 2.5 times now with every intention of watching it many times more. If you haven’t seen it or you have and you are wondering WTH just happened to you, here is the best take on what this movie is about. Then if you can, go watch the whole thing.

You’re welcome.

BACK FROM BRAZIL

We are officially back from Brazil and my only regret is I didn’t blog about it while we were there. There was so much to see, drink and eat but the best thing about Brazil were the people.

At “The Nass Hole”

In the US we talk a lot about accepting ourselves for who we are. In Brazil, they just do it. I hadn’t been there more than a few hours when I realized that I felt okay about myself physically. What I have and am was enough. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Reality kicked in on the way home. I walked into the international flight back and the hostility was so apparent I was temporarily stunned. In the US, we act bitter and hostile. This is how we feel about ourselves.

Since I’ve been back I’ve slipped back into too-short-too-fat-too-poor-too-quiet mode, but I have seen the other side. I have peeked through the mirror and seen wonderland. The grass isn’t only green on the other side… it’s emerald.

What did we do in Brazil? We mostly went to see family so I didn’t share many photos. We did do a LOT of eating. No preservatives, everything fresh. There were a lot of parties and gatherings. There was some drinking involved. There were a lot of gorgeous walks. We passed a bookstore and I do have a book of “chronicles” I’m trying to read in Portuguese. It’s slow going.

I’ll break down more specifics soon, but it’s already time for me to get ready for the next place: Portland! I’m being kidnapped by Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito so if I don’t return, look there. I’ll try to keep up here, but if you wonder where I’m at, check my socials.

🦜Twitter: @AngelaYSmithKo-fi: @angelayurikosmith
👍🏼Facebook: @Angela.Yuriko.Smiths 📷Instagram: @angela_yuriko_smith

I don’t have a lot of photos I can share but here’s a slideshow.

Raising funds with 11 Acclaimed Authors to Stop Violence Against Women

The Pixel Project presents the “Read For Pixels” 2022 (Fall Edition) campaign featuring livestream readings+Q&A YouTube sessions with 11 award-winning bestselling authors in support of the cause to end violence against women. Participating authors include Alan Baxter, Alastair Reynolds, Carol Goodman, Daniel H. Wilson, Jenn Lyons, Kathryn Purdie, Namina Forna, Nghi Vo, Rin Chupeco, Romina Garber, and Tim Lebbon.

These awesome authors have donated exclusive goodies to this special “Read For Pixels” RallyUp fundraiser to encourage fans and book lovers to give generously to keep our anti-Violence Against Women work alive. Additional goodies are courtesy of publishers including Random House Children’s Books and Tor UK as well as award-winning bestselling authors Adiba Jaigirdar, Dana Cameron, Charlaine Harris, Eugen Bacon, Jeffe Kennedy, Julie E. Czerneda, Kwame Mbalia, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Meg Gardiner, Pintip Dunn, Roseanne A. Brown, SJ Rozan, Sue Ann Jaffarian, and Sujata Massey.

Goodies will be released in weekly rounds, so check back every Friday to get fresh dibs on the latest lot of exclusive donor perks!

Funds raised will go towards developing and/or expanding our campaigns, programmes, and projects to end violence against women. These include: providing a daily Twitter session featuring rape and domestic violence hotlines in 205 countries worldwide; producing educational resources including an anti-VAW virtual toolkit and interviews with anti-VAW activists; as well as online engagement programmes for various communities including survivors, fathers, fandoms, and more. 

All perks will come bundled with a special virtual toolkit of resources to help donors learn about violence against women, how to kickstart conversations about stopping the violence in their communities, and what donors can do if their family, friends, or anyone else they know is facing domestic violence or rape.