Monday, September 28, 2009

"Things We Are Not" preorder

If you'd like an edition of Things We Are Not, copies -- both pdf and print -- can be purchased at http://www.mbranesf3.blogspot.com/. Please support me and all the other great writers who are included in the book.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday update

Well, the Saints trounced the Eagles, didn't they? Unfortunately, Bell received a knee injury, and things didn't look too good for him by the end of the game. I hope we have better news tomorrow.

That at least puts a happy ending on a week that otherwise was mostly disappointing. I had two rejections this week, but I'm fairly certain, with a little work, I can revise the two stories to fit other markets. If not, I'll just go ahead and post them on my site or here.

I'm also partway through Jeremy Purvis Sanson's Louisiana During World War II, which is the research I'm reading for my NaNoWriMo novel. The start of that is only a few weeks away now, and I have a few other projects to clear from my plate before the first of November arrives.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Teaser...

Here's a teaser of my story "Henri's Last Days," which you can buy as an ebook at my site http://www.cbcalsing.com/buy-a-story.php for only a dollar. If you want to read the rest, please go pick up copy.

The story deals with the guilt of a Confederate veteran who committed atrocities during the 1868 presedential election. This election caused great disruption in the reconstruction of the United States. Voters' rights activists died in the South as they worked to bring the recently freed slaves to the poles to vote, and many blacks trying to vote were also killed. Louisiana saw a lot of bloody action during that time, but ultimately Ulysses S. Grant won the election.

* * * * *

Henri's time had come. Death stood above him as surely as the pine floor lay beneath his feet. But he had prepared himself long ago for this, and he'd lived a good life. He'd seen many things, and the world around him had changed so much that he barely recognized it any more. The Civil War, Reconstruction, motor cars, electric lights...women's suffrage. The last turned his guts even more than the end of slavery had.

His heirs did right by him, though, setting him up on the second floor of their French Quarter building. He could catch the breeze up there and avoid the stench of the streets. In the morning, his granddaughter rolled him out to the balcony in his wicker chair, and he could watch the business on Royal Street. His daughter-in-law came at lunch and fed him cold cucumber sandwiches and mint tea. And in the evening, his son Jean would bring up a dinner tray and sit on the balcony, smoke his Cuban cigars while Henri ate, and tell him about the labor situation in the city. Henri could think of no more pleasant a way to spend his final days on earth before going on to his just rewards. On occasion, his son even brought him a pint of rum with his dinner.

When Henri's health continued to fail, he became confined to his couch. His heirs moved it closer to the balcony windows so he could still look out. The daughter-in-law began bringing him rice porridge for lunch instead of sandwiches, and his son no longer smoked near him. His granddaughter read to him from the Bible in the afternoons.

One rainy day -- a day Henri knew was quite close to the end -- he sat staring out the windows. Dusk lay not far off, and the clouds above hung heavy and swollen. The rain obstructed the view of the street, but Henri could see a few people dashing from one overhang to the next, sodden Daily Picayunes held over their heads to ward off the downpour. As he watched, he became aware that someone watched him back. A single figure leaning against a balcony support half a block down and on the opposite side of the street. A black man, his hands in the pockets of his outdated clothes, eyes clearly and shockingly trained on the window out of which Henri now stared. The insolence, thought Henri, of that shiftless boy to stand there like that, glaring at the window of a respectable citizen.

"Sabine," Henri called for his daughter-in-law, who minded the store downstairs.

"Un moment, Papa," he heard from below. He wished she'd break that dirty habit of speaking French. Were she in school today, the nuns would beat it out of her, as they had Henri's granddaughter, who spoke nothing but perfect English.

Before long, he heard the heels of her boots on the stairs. He turned toward the door, where she appeared.

"There is a colored boy standing on the other side of the street, staring at my window," he told her. "Find someone to send over and move him along."

Sabine crossed the room to look out at the street. "Papa, il n'y a personne là."

He glared out the window, sure she somehow missed the loiterer; he saw no one there. "He must have left."

"Oui," Sabine said and moved to adjust the coverlet on his couch. "Pardonnez-moi." She headed back downstairs.

Henri watched the now-empty section of banquette where the man had leaned. Something niggled at the back of his mind, squirming like a buck moth caterpillar only half squished on the bricks. The lost memory seemed made of ice: slick, cold, resistant.

* * * * *

Please, read the rest of the story by buying a copy of the ebook.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Buy My Story!

How's this for self publishing? If you visit http://www.cbcalsing.com/buy-a-story.php, you can buy e-book editions of some of my unpublished works. Each story, as I add them, will cost only a little bit. The story I just posted, "Henri's Last Days" only costs a dollar! Help me afford my coffee addiction and buy a story today.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"This Neighborhood" is up

Here is the link to read "This Neighborhood" at the Flashquake site. I already shared the story behind this piece in an earlier blog.

On Wednesday night last week, I attended the opening of the New Orleans Film Museum, which is housed within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in the Riverwalk Mall near the
Convention Center. Right now, the movie portion consists of about 300 square feet of corridor, with posters and a timeline of what movies were made here and when. Eventually, however, the musuem will take up another one thousand square feet or more and contain a lot of artifacts from films. The organizer mentioned that films have been shot in Louisiana since 1896, though they haven't found definitive proof of that. I'm a fan of SoFAB Museum, so I'm glad that they're adding further attractions to bring in more sightseers. I can't wait for the expanded film section, which is scheduled to open in December.