Since I missed Music Monday last week, I'll do two things this week! AND they're both instrumental for the crowd that doesn't much like to listen to lyrics, haha ~

First on this Monday is "The Scorpio Races", composed by Maggie Stiefvater (also the author of the novel of the same name). Not only it is absolutely-flipping-perfect for the book - which I love love love - but it's a rollicking instrumental piece with wonderful Irish/Celtic influences. I feel like it could make really great writing music for my author friends out there, so give it a try!

If you like: horse racing, sea spray, salt on your tongue, or just good music - please do listen.

Apparently, some people are good at everything. *sigh*

I don't know this violinist or this piece very well, but "Czardas" is an exhilarating musical adventure.

So, instrumentals for this (admittedly somewhat dreary) Monday!

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To make up for missing Fiction Friday last week, I'll do a special double edition for you all! Read on -

Luna Station Quarterly is just another one of those speculative fiction magazines that is a joy to read. With sixteen issues so far of SF/F that are all absolutely fantastical (see what I did there?), LSQ is superb.

"Entry #92" by Tara Abrahams is one story that stands out to me - it's not speculative in the conventional sense. It's bittersweet, observant, and achingly human, despite its centering around a girl in love with a robot. An excerpt:
Still, he looked beautiful, arms gleaming silver in the fluorescent glow of the cafeteria lights. I thought I saw constellations in the scratches and rust on his metal plating, but I’m not sure. It might’ve been a trick of infinity.
Also, be sure to check out Tara's new serial novel, GLITCH. It just... Tara's style is so, so unique and that really shines through in this story.

And now - though I suppose this is sort of cheating - I'd like to spotlight a piece from the literary magazine that I run, The Teacup Trail. It's a short, sharp flash fiction called "The Dueling Orchestra", and it was written by E.R. Warren, a writer I truly admire. The first sentence for your reading enjoyment:
I am trapped in a timpani.
From what I've read of E.R.'s work, her style ranges from ethereal to snappy, and it can change moods in an instant. (Some people have versatility like that. *sigh*) E.R. is also on Figment, where she regularly updates The Princess and the Fox Demon - a novel loosely based on medieval Japan that I am completely and utterly in love with. (Chirikai and Asuka. DONE.)

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Lullatone is my second Music Monday pick. Although everything I've heard of theirs is instrumental, it's very pleasant, cheerful, sweet music. It's perfect for just what the album is called: everyday adventures.

Actually, Lullatone is a husband-and-wife duo - Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida. These dreamlike, happy tunes will be sure to make your day and paint nicer colors into the background of your mood.

Next is "Soften and Shake", a song by Olivia Broadfield that Lee was kind enough to recommend to me.

Apparently this was part of an episode of The Vampire Diaries, which I don't watch, but no matter. The song is actually perfect for a certain couple in On the Midnight Streets, so discovering it has made me feel very nice.

Been good been bad 
Been hard to break 
With you I feel myself soften and shake 
So please be good to me 
And I'll be good to you

So here are two bits of music for you that I hope you'll like as much as I did!

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Inspired by LiAnn Yim's "Fiction Fridays" over at Little Fictions, I'll be sharing some choice bits of fiction with you all every Friday, to go with my weekly Music Mondays.

One of my favorite literary magazines to just browse through is The Golden Key (which LiAnn actually co-edits) - described as publishing "poetry and fiction that is open to the strange and marvelous possibilities of the world around us. Each issue explores one of the wonderful things – either literal or figurative – one might find upon opening the little iron chest. Each celebrates the curiosity and enchantment of the Grimms’ tale with work that is odd, surprising, and unafraid to venture down the unknown path." It's inspired by the Grimms' story of, well, the golden key, and the work that can be found here in these free-to-read issues is just exquisite.

illustration for "Bones", done by The Golden Key's talented resident artist Libby Burns.
Today's piece that I'd like to spotlight is "Bones" by Sylvia Linsteadt. Here's a small excerpt:
They sink fast into the earth, faster than iron and glass. As the ground presses them to pieces, they first break with jagged edges and sharp ends. To become smooth, this takes centuries, this is always resisted. And then they echo and echo, like the whale vertebra reverberating its once-song.
Linsteadt does a beautiful job of bringing magic to an archaeological dig, and her prose is truly rich in quality. There's history in the curve of her words, breath in her sentences. It's awe-inspiring, really. If you've got a spare five minutes or so, I highly recommend you read it. It's one of my very favorite parts of Issue One, but honestly, I've been through The Golden Key's archives so many times because it's a wondrous literary magazine. Happy reading and happy Friday!

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As part of my 2014 resolution to post on this blog more regularly, I'm going to run a weekly feature called "Music Monday", where I share music that I've found that I love. (Fellow bloggers, feel free to join in! I'd love to see your music picks in a link in the comments or some such nice thing.)

My first found-sound (haha, that has a nice ring to it, huh?) is "Picture Perfect" by nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter Paola Bennet. I first found her on Tumblr, where synthetic-synaesthesia had reblogged a cover song of hers.

I think this song is so perfect because it's a simple, sweet way to commemorate finding yourself in a big, lonely place - and that feeling of wandering is so well-captured in these lyrics and Paola's beautiful voice.

Go on, get the keys - drive 
Until we hit the coast 
See the beach at night 
The stars I love the most 
You may be picture perfect, babe, 
But there are things you don't know

So hit play, my dears, and enjoy this bright addition to your Monday!

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I mentioned these awards before, in my post about where OtMS had gone, and now the regional results are out.

Unfortunately, since OtMS was submitted in the 'Novel Writing' category, which is a special category and therefore not regionally judged, I don't know anything about the status of that yet. However, national medalists will be announced on March 17, so there's a little over a month left to wait!

Along with my novel excerpt, I submitted a science fiction/fantasy short story and a poem collection.

While my poetry didn't win anything at all...

The short story won a Gold Key.

A Gold Key, the first year I entered.

What that means is that the story is advancing to national judging. *squee* I'm crazy excited even though I am fully aware that less than 5% of Gold Key winners receive medals. I'm still. So. Crazy. Excited. This is the first notable award I've won for my writing and it makes me feel so good.

Again, thank you for your lovely reader support throughout this wonderful time! I love you all :)

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