Short Posts

Hey there. I participated in the 2018 Women's March. I had a great time. Although, I'll leave writing books about it to someone else. However, there was a glaring silence that I seemed to hear from the media on just how many people marched. So, I decided to make a Google sheet and see how many people I could count by looking at various news sites. It's surprisingly hard. Many newspapers for local areas don't even mention the march. Often, there aren't specific numbers. But I have persisted and have a decent list. I will mention, I'm not the only one with this idea. crowdcounting.org, which has been counting marches for the last year. Now I could have stopped looking, but I'm not that kind of gal. 

Anyway, if you wander onto this site, and don't see your 2018 march on this list, well, ping me over on contacts with a number.

Untitled Post

posted Nov 14, 2019, 6:30 PM by crystal carroll

I've recorded an audio book for 1 Story Ticket: After Dinner

Audio Book for 1 Story Ticket: Campfire Stories

posted Aug 26, 2019, 4:04 PM by crystal carroll

I've recorded/released an audio book version of my children's book "1 Story Ticket: Campfire Stories" through Audible, and Apple/iTunes.

For those early adopters who have a physical copy, there are going to be a few textual differences (as in I realized slightly different phrasing worked while I was recording it). Otherwise, the same stories are ready for your small human to hear.


Hoping to do more of these since I really do enjoy the shape of the spoken words as well as the writing of them.

To Sail the Comet Roads and Other Dreams

posted Jul 20, 2019, 8:14 AM by crystal carroll

Fifty years ago (plus a few days) humans sent the largest rocket ever built into space (with some humans on board). As that great vessel stood on the launch pad, readying herself for her journey, her sides moved as if she was breathing. Apollo 11 went to the moon in peace. To do the other thing. With some national pride, sure, but ultimately it was a drive for all humanity to see. Explore. The kind of imagination sorely needed at any moment in history, but certainly now.


We can do tremendous things if we decide to do it.


Today, I'm putting out another book of short stories about anthropomorphized space ships, comets, martian rovers, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and so on.


Didn't I just put out a book of short stories? Yes. Certainly. But as the excitement over the 50th anniversary of the moon landing got closer, I remembered that I'd written a short story (previously published in anthology New Horizons - available on Amazon) about the Apollo 11 launch. More of a prose poem than story. It got me to looking through the short stories I've written over the years about anthropomorphized comets, planets, robots, etc. I had about enough for a tidy little collection. 


Sadly, no not the tale of Steve the Not Aurora and Karl the Fog, I promise I will write that eventually. Possibly to go into a book of short stories about natural phenomenon. Some day.  

Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1080924019

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VDTYD4S

Smashwords will happen in a bit when I wrangle the formatting into place.


Intrepid Horizons

http://www.amazon.com/Intrepid-Horizons-Lynn-Townsend-ebook/dp/B01DUJK8K4


1 Story Ticket: After Dinner

posted Jun 23, 2019, 12:02 PM by crystal carroll

I've written another children's short story collection based off story tickets.
For many years now, I've been giving my friends' children story ticket to turn in for a story where they define who the characters are and what those characters might be. I get a lot of princesses and fairies, some robots, the occasional wacky turn as they try to see what I'll tell them. 

The kids get to keep the cards, but I take pictures of the drawings on the back to give me an idea of what I told them.

This collection features original art, which this time around I experimented with hand drawing and coloring with colored pencils.

A really fun project and I can't wait to see the kids faces when they get a hard copy of the stories they've already been told. 

1 Story Ticket: Campfire Stories

posted Jan 6, 2018, 11:34 AM by crystal carroll

A new year and a new book. A children's book.

It grew quite naturally out of stories that I've been telling my friends kids while camping (or okay, sometimes when we get together). The title comes from how this storytelling works. It's important to set a limit on the number of stories or I'll end up telling story after story (err... this may have happened one trip). Each child gets one or two story tickets (don't tell them they are index cards). When they turn in their ticket, they get to choose who is in their story (name and what). I then tell them a story based on what characters they picked. Unicorns. Goddesses. Robots. etc.

I write the characters names on their ticket (this is the only way for me to remember the cast) and draw some quick images as I tell the story to show what's going on.

About halfway through the summer last year, I started taking pictures of the tickets once the story was done with the idea of writing up a few of them in the winter. After finishing Clay of Many Colors, and a brief holiday writing exchange, I wrote these stories and worked on the illustrations to fit the stories based on my ability to draw squares and circles in layers (Ah, computer drawing is a wonderful thing). Admittedly, they're a bit longer and more complex that what comes out in the moment. 

The first story: Sparkles!!! (which my editor tried to correct because multi exclamations isn't grammatical) is a mashup of a number of stories I told the first summer. I think I told 12 stories all with characters named Blue Sparkles or Red Sparkles or Rainbow Sparkles. There were a lot of sparkles.

The adventure of Princess Werdystyle was also a story from the first (unticketed year). I just love that a kid came up with that name and a dragon named Crimson Sparkles. Naturally, she had to be a Viking princess in search of the World Serpent. Have I mentioned that nothing much dangerous happens in these stories. There's a lot of tea and coco and cookies. Adventures are going some place. In this particular case, the drawings involve a certain amount of tracing, because there's no way I could draw the feathered serpent or the world serpent without a Meso American carving and a photo of the world respectively to work off of. I was also glad to see some images of mermaids wearing clothes while wandering the net, which gave me an idea of the image of the merfolk playing a game.

The story about the tree who dreamed of being a cloud was an idea (and line) that occurred to me when looking at a cherry tree in cherry season, and I saved to tell the kids when the moment came.  I wasn't expecting a child to ask for Plant Girl and Tree Girl, but when you're handed a perfect opening, you take it.

The Topsy Turvy story is really one of many stories I've told where I have characters body swap or transform. Generally when I get a cast of 10+ characters from a kid. It's a simple way to create tension without worrying them about anyone being in danger. BTW this is based on knowing my audience. This particular story includes a place for a kid to draw themselves and their own name into the story. This is because the girl asking for this story included herself and her mom's names in her story, and I let her pick what happened when the kid and the mom switched places.

The robot story has been changed from the original characters. One little boy asks for characters thoroughly in copyright. The story about the non-gendered robots (they're robots - they are not boys, they are not girls, they're bots), I drew based on images on the net of Afro-futurism & Samurai, because I am really looking forward to Black Panther. 

The low flying star is actually something I thought of outside of the children's story time, but it seemed like a natural to include.

Check them out and read aloud to a little one. 

Now onto the next writing project (and a little reading).
There will be an Amazon Kindle version, but they're still working on converting the images.

Clay of Many Colors

posted Nov 9, 2017, 6:39 AM by crystal carroll   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 9:42 AM ]

Not to bury the lead, but I've written another book, Clay of Many Colors. I've been hard at work crafting stories for many months. 

This one certainly has been my most political as stories were written in reaction to current events as a way to work through the roots of the various -isms and toxicity that we're currently subjected to. Although, in terms of content, not all that different from what I normally write.

"Clay of Many Colors" includes various stories interweaving various Religious traditions with mundane moments. A demi goddess in search of reliable birth control. A gender fluid princess-knight with angel armor. A Dreamer goddess trying to find her place between two worlds. A priestess following Enheduanna, the first named writer, into exile. A woman involved in the strike of the 20,000. A Suffragette working at Hull House. Okay, look there's over sixty stories. It just kept going. Inspired by my immediate feeling after the 2016 election wanting to wrap my arms around the world and try to keep it safe.

I can't do that physically, but I can write it.

Here it is, Clay of Many Colors – over sixty stories like bottles of hope that I'm sending out into the Universe.

https://www.amazon.com/Clay-Many-Colors-Crystal-Carroll-ebook/dp/B07778MG8C

https://www.amazon.com/Clay-Many-Colors-Crystal-Carroll/dp/0999611909

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/757799

A New Book - Lit Gloss: A Rose by Any Other Name

posted Dec 18, 2015, 3:00 PM by crystal carroll

I'll take a break from my regularly scheduled winter writing, to say, I've self-published another book through Amazon.

In any case...


Lit Gloss: A Rose by Any Other Name
Lit Gloss: A Rose by Any Other Name

The Bard of Avon. England's National Poet. William Shakespeare. He occupies a very central position in English Literature. Well, he has a canon, and students are forced to read him. Ben Jonson referred to Shakespeare as, "Soul of the age, the applause, delight, the wonder of our stage." Every production of a Shakespeare play is a variation on which aspects of the story that the director and the various artists involved want to accentuate.

Hopefully, people watching the plays have a similar level of engagement and walk away thinking about what those variations meant. They might wonder just why was Beatrice so opposed to marriage. One bad love affair seems like not enough reason. They might image that Shylock leaves Venice after the end of Merchant of Venice. They could try to decide if faking Juliet’s death was really the best plan? Actually, strike that one. It clearly was a bad plan. While not at Hamlet or Macbeth levels, things could have gone better. Instead they might like to think that Marguerite of Anjou and Joan of Arc hung out off stage in Henry VI Part I. It's fun to imagine what all the characters were doing off stage. Even the villains have reasons for being the way they are. They are, after all, the heroes of their own stories.

This collection of short stories explores exactly those sorts of ideas (pursued by bears) in the margins of the plays. When Shakespeare started writing (sorry Baconites), he was called an "upstart crow" by Robert Greene, because he wasn't a university educated playwright. While Shakespeare himself asked, "What's in a name?" and wrote plays based on existing stories. That's means examining Shakespeare shouldn't be a rarefied act of Bardolatry, but something joyous. It's what the Bard of Avon would want.

Lit Gloss: A Rose by Any Other Name is available through Amazon in either hard copy form or Kindle.

I realize this isn't really a triumph of self promotion. Not having really talked it up while writing/designing the cover (which I am ridiculously pleased with). But, shrugs, there it is.

The next one will be a collection of (surprise) mythology, which I'll work on once I finish yuletide for the year. Perhaps I'll do a better job talking that up. Consider this your warning! Bad ass goddesses who have no Fs to give will be coming your way in 2016.

Myth and Shakespeare

posted Sep 20, 2015, 10:38 AM by crystal carroll

I'm currently working on a couple of writing projects that oh, sellable, isn't the word that comes to mind when describing them. But really that's the beauty of self-publishing. I'm writing to write.

I'm assembling some of my non-The City Mythology stories and fleshing out some additional ones. Mainly this is a project in editing. Since each of these stories was written individually, and I'm working on turning them into a cohesive collection. Then writing some pieces that connect the themes.

While I was looking through my short stories, I realized that I've written a lot of Literature stories. Jane Eye and Rochester's wedding night. A modern retelling of Northanger Abbey. A lot of Shakespeare. After looking over the material, I've decided to put out a collection of short stories based on Shakespeare plays. Let's face it, with the exception of two stories, William (sorry Baconites) was retelling older stories anyway. The stories will either flesh out various analyses of the plays (such as Ophelia was pregnant in "Hamlet") or put the focus on women in the plays (such as while Oberon thinks of Titania's changeling as a king's son, Titania won't give him up because he's the son of a friend who died in childbirth, which never comes up again in the play). I have about 90% of the material I'll need. Although, then shall come the editing.

I figured in between writing stories, I should post to say something. So, I have.

Long Time No Post

posted Jan 28, 2015, 6:22 AM by crystal carroll

So, I haven't posted in over a year. You'd think I wasn't busy writing, but rather the reverse. 

Anyway, I do have news, 

I'll be attending <a href="http://www.aodsf.org/">AOD</a> (San Francisco's Anime, Video Game, and Cartoon Convention!) as a panelist for these panels on Saturday 1/31:


Nuts and Bolts – Making Yourself Understood/What Else is a Writing Ability Good For? - 11:00am

Description: We're analyzing world building, character creation (and development), plot and point of view. How can we use the English language for its intended purpose as communication, effectively and efficiently with proper grammar structure, spelling? Also, does writing fan fiction prepare you for anything else? What does the ability to write also prepare you for?


Why We Write - 1pm

Description: Why do we write fan fiction? What is the appeal, why it is fun? Does it provide a sandbox for aspiring writers to improve their craft? Or does it just fulfill a need to perform? Does the desire for “more” justify co-opting someone else’s work to make it your own? How does writing fan fiction feature into your development as a writer in your own right?


Fan Fiction Iron Chef – 4pm

Description: You're given a scenario, a location and at least two characters (you can pull additional characters if needed, up to five) and the theme is given to you at the start of the working hour as the secret ingredient! You then have one hour to produce a work of 1,000

words minimum in one hour. ALLEZ ÉCRIR!


Sexual Tropes in Fan Fiction (18+) – 9pm

Description: If the internet is for Porn, what are you doing writing fan fiction? Oh, wait. Oh, wait a moment there indeed – what IS going on there? What does sex in fan fiction have to do with feminism, gender identity/expression, rape culture, AIDS, pedophilia, gamergate, harassment and the like? Slash, Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Ships (those that do and do not go bump in the night), no the anatomy DOES NOT do that, and more.


It's at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. San Francisco Airport. Come hear me talking about writing, fiction, etc.

Corner of First and Myth

posted Nov 13, 2013, 9:18 PM by crystal carroll   [ updated Nov 13, 2013, 9:19 PM ]

Hmmm... so I haven't posted since July. Well, okay then. I've been busily working on the next book. The Corner of First and Myth is a collection of 14 short stories set in the City where mythology mashes up with the mundane.

Here's what it's all about.

A Day at the Mall

Description: The dead rise. This makes it difficult to run a shop at the mall.

Source: Crosses characters from the "Epic of Gilgamesh" with a woman working in a shop at a mall.

Why?: This is the era of silly (or not) zombie stories and I wanted to start with a normal woman opening the closet and finding not a talking cup, but a toothless zombie.

 

Waiting

Description: Hades waits for the return of spring.

Source: From the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. The kidnapping of Kore/Persephone, the Greek goddess of the spring, by Hades, Greek god of the underworld. The story is from Hades point of view.

Why?: I was reading Dante's Inferno (Canto 7) and for some reason Hades kidnapping Persephone sprang full blown into my head pretty much as you see it.

In Whose Savage Heart

Description: The goddess of nature searches for her missing daughter. A woman mourns her dead son. A mediation on winter and springtime.

Source: From the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. The kidnapping of Kore/Persephone, the Greek goddess of the spring, by Hades, Greek god of the underworld. The story is from Demeter's point of view. Includes triggers for non-consensual sex.

Why?: Having written "Waiting", I wanted to work my way through different perspectives on the same events. Here I wanted to balance Demeter's divinely immense desperation at the kidnapping of her child with the quieter story of a "normal" person mourning her missing son.

Into the Looking Glass

Description: The other side of the mirror, spring in the land of the dead.

Source: From the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. The kidnapping of Kore/Persephone, the Greek goddess of the spring, by Hades, Greek god of the underworld. The story is from Kore/Persephone's point of view.

Why?: A woman's journey to experience tends to be, "She had adventures and then she got married. Happily ever after. The end." I wanted to play into that trope of becoming an adult, while using the later Adonis story to look at the "ever after". Which is why so many of the stories in this collection are, in their way, variations of the Persephone story.

Queer as the Fork When the Knife Ran Away with the Spoon

Description: Beauty grew up in a box. He divided himself. How could he know who he was, unless he undid the wrapping?

Source: A retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" if Beauty were a black, gay, magic man with a velvet fetish and knack for roses.   The Beast really doesn't know what to make of the Beauty who showed up.

Why?: I knew I wanted to do a gender reversed Beauty and the Beast, but I didn't really want to write the monstrous feminine. From there, this story sprang to life full blown, because Beauty needed to exist.

A Little Goddess

Description: Like when Isis went to live in the marsh and begged for food for her baby, Serqa went to live on the roof of the Gorgos Sisters Hellenic Gymnasium for girls. Like Isis, she had a curse to lift and steps to take through the world that was full of magic if you’d stop to tell the tale.

Source: A very modified retelling of Francis Burnett's A Little Princess in an Egyptian/Greek magical realism setting. Mythology referenced is the story of Medusa and the very complicated Egyptian mythological family dynamics.

Why?: I've always loved a A Little Princess and I wanted to play with the redemption of a monster, who if you're familiar with the myth of Medusa, really got the short end of the stick. Although, that describes quite a few myths.

The Tyrolean CEOs Virgin Secretary

Description: From secretary - to kept man!

Hunt Zmenn had worked as Snow White's personal secretary at the Tyrolean Mining Corporation for three years. For three years, he'd kept the secret of his love since, after all, Snow White was a wealthy CEO and he was just a secretary raised in an orphanage after his parents were eaten by wolves.

When Ms. White's fiancé, Mr. Charming, left her for another woman, they ended up making love in the office!

Soon, he and Snow had more than just a working relationship. Where once Snow was happy to have Hunt safely behind his desk, now Snow wanted him across hers - passionate and willing.

Could Hunt surrender to Snow's erotic program and not lose himself to a whirl of desire? Could he find a way to pencil in love to Snow's agenda?

Source: A parody of Harlequin Present's romances with the roles reversed and the characters (but only the plot in the loosest sense of the word) from the story of Snow White, but with a lot more sex and axe carving as well as guest appearance by Little Red Riding Hood. Also references the Lamia, who is a snake/woman monster from Greek mythology.

Why?: There needs to be more Harlequin role reversal parody in the world.

Monstrous

Description: On a dark desert highway, travelers stop for the night at a lonely stop.

Source: A riff off of the trope of travelers getting into horror/hijinks at a mysterious hotel in the middle of nowhere. The mythology mixes the Mayan Hero Twins, who are Mayan trickster gods, with the Lamia, a Greek mythological monster. I've given the Lamia some of the characteristics of Circe from the Odyssey. The poetry starting each Circe section is from "The Lamia" by Keats.

Why?: I listened to Los Lobos singing their cover of "Hotel California" one too many times.

Under the Skin

Description: Marie could have managed horrible dreams. The soldiers who returned from the trenches missing arms and echoes in their eyes had horrible dreams. Everyone had nightmares. She dreamed of Papa tangled in the barbed wire, split in half by a winter hail of bullets as he drowned in mud, but that was normal. The Comtesse Melusine de l'Eau could have told her that they came from under the skin.

Source: A very loose version of the "Robber Bridegroom" crossed with Melusine (dragon lady/fairy ancestor of the Plantagenets) from French folklore.

Why?: Having written the Lamia as an old female monster being defeated, I wanted a triumph.

Last Nickel in the Nation Sack

Description: Sometimes there ain't nothing for a walking man to do, but play the sweet Delta Blues.

Source: The Greek myth of Orpheus retold as Southern gothic with various Vodou loa. The title refers both to a song by Robert Johnson and a vodou practice in which a woman keeps a "nation sack" with coins and various articles on her person to keep her man faithful.

Why?: With so many stories drawing on Greek mythology, I wanted to give a Greek myth a new context, while still playing on a story that featured a variation of the Hades and Persephone figures.

Moaning of Dust Around Which Branches Leaf

Description: Adonis never grows in the winter when he lives with his underworld Mother, Persephone. In the springtime of the year, his bones stretch and crack as he grows six months at once. The house of his above world Mother, Aphrodite, is a wild place. He is wild there.

Source: Gives the myth of Adonis the Flowers in the Attic treatment. It also borrows somewhat liberally from Dante's Inferno and the Sumerian myth of Inanna's descent into the underworld. The title is a reference to lines form the poem Khalida by the poet Ali Ahmed Said (Adonis).

Why?: Because I've always found the idea of Aphrodite raising Adonis from infancy and then becoming his lover as inherently creepy.

Lent Wings by the Storm

Description: Her first thought is no one will believe her. Her second is that someone must pay.

Source: Crosses the Sumerian myths of Inanna's descent to the underworld, which is about Inanna's journey into the underworld, Inanna and Shukaletuda, the story of Inanna's rape and her ensuing smackdown of everything, and some references to Inanna and the Mes, the story of how she got her mojo. The title comes from a poem by Enheduanna, who was both the first author in recorded history, and an Akkadian high priestess of Inanna.

Why?: I couldn't riff multiple times on the myth of Inanna without actually writing an Inanna story.

Chrysalis A Love Story

Description: Psyche dreams stained glass butterfly wings to fly her high above the City. Eros already has his wings.

Source: Retelling of the Greek/Roman myth of Eros and Psyche. It also borrows somewhat liberally from the Sumerian myth of Inanna's descent into the underworld.

Why?: One of the oldest stories in this collection. I was reading an article about Monarch butterflies in an inflight magazine and it came full blown to life. I wrote it on the backs of receipts in my wallet and my flight itinerary.

Fingers that Shine like Justice

Description: She is the whirlwind, which is fortunate, because it’s a sale day.

Source: African mythology

Why?: Since we began at the mall, I wanted to end there as well. Wrapping up with a goddess who rules marketplaces and war.

 



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