Monday, March 31, 2008

Stoker results

The Bram Stoker Awards were given out Saturday night in Salt Lake City. I couldn't attend, but the ceremony live streamed, so I sat in front of my computer (along with 75 other people--the website kept a tally!) to watch.

I was pleased Jonathan Mayberry won in his category, since we have corresponded a bit and he is a very nice guy. Gary Braunbeck gave an absolutely extraordinary acceptance speech in his category, about a loss he experienced which had me blinking back tears and counting my blessings.

And since I couldn't win in my category, I was very happy that the person who did is also a Colby graduate! Congratulations, Sarah Langan!

The next day, I attended the "Have you read it yet" bookclub in Oakland, which has met for an astonishing 18 years! These ladies know how to have fun. Unlike my book club, which merely tries to (sometimes) cook meals to match the book we read, they actually dress up. Since they had read Woman of Ill Fame, they all showed up in garters and lingerie with curled hair and ribbons and boas...they certainly dispelled any momentary gloominess over the Stoker!

Not only that, but they had created cardboard replicas of the signs the prostitutes hang over their beds so their fellas know who to request next time, replete with flowers and cirlicue handwriting. I've got my Erika sign, so if I ever fall on hard times...

We drank champagne, ate a fabulous brunch, and they actually read aloud passages from the book that they liked... I pretty much wanted to lie on the floor in a delirium of shamefaced happiness.

Thank you, Dale Marie and all you wonderful "lasses with asses."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Forgery associated with the Malleus Maleficarum?

A reader contacted me about the Malleus Maleficarum, the witch hunter’s Bible mentioned in my novel The Witch’s Trinity. She wanted to be sure I knew that the pope’s endorsement of the Malleus Maleficarum was a forgery—but research shows something a little different.

Printed at the beginning of the Malleus is a papal bull from Innocent VIII, a reference letter of sorts for the authors, Kramer and Sprenger. The bull, known as the Summis Desiderantes Affectibus, says that the two inquisitors, “our dear sons,” were empowered to witch hunt and preach the word of God to the faithful. The bull dates to 1484. It is not a forgery, but its placement at the beginning of the book may be somewhat misleading, as if the pope endorsed the book and not simply the witch hunting activities of its authors.

There is difficulty dating the first edition of the Malleus, but certainly the bull predates it by a few years.

There is, however, a forgery (at least most scholars think it is a forgery)—a letter of endorsement for the Malleus Maleficarum purportedly written by the faculty of the University of Cologne. This too was inserted in some editions of the Malleus, but not in my Dover reprint of the Montague Summers’ 1928 translation so I didn’t know about it.

However, a little quick googling yields the information that at least one scholar is opening the case back up and asserting that the letter is not a forgery. This scholar recently translated the Malleus –actually there were two new translations in 2006 and 2007. Read this article for more information.

The Montague Summers translation is very strange because he believed in witches and in witch hunting. Rather than writing an introduction that reflected dolefully on how women and men of the past were persecuted, he calls the Malleus “one of the most important, wisest and weightiest books of the world.” More on this later.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Van, what ARE you talking about?

On the way home from Sacramento from the Authors on the Move event, I was listening to the radio and an old Van Morrison song came on. I vaguely knew the chorus, “Oh, the water, oh, the water” but because I was trying fiercely to stay awake, I listened to the lyrics for the first time.

And immediately I was confused. What was that song about? Something stung him to his soul… something in the water stung him. Was it a jellyfish? He does talk of a jellyroll, but is that what they call jellyfish in Ireland?

I listened and puzzled and finally had to google when I got home.

Actually, he was STONED to his soul.

That makes sense.

This has nothing to do with the Witch's Trinity.

. . . .

Authors on the Move

The event I participated in this weekend in Sacramento was amazing! Incredible orchestration on the part of the organizers, who drew together 300+ guests and around 30 writers for a dinner and auction.

We writers would sit at an eight-top for 20 minutes and talk about our books with the guests, then move on to another table. That sounds nervewracking...but the kindness of the people I sat with made it actually very pleasant. Plus, what a great cause: the Sacramento Public Library's literacy programs and other library projects.

The writers pre-ate together before the guests arrived, and that was really nice too. I got to meet some great people and talk shop. I haven't met any writers in my new community, so it was so relieving to get a chance to hang with other writers.

Thanks, Kathy Les and other organizers!