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Hi! ¡Hola, y bienvenidos! My name is Lisa Bradley. I write speculative fiction and poetry. My work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Cicada, and Stone Telling. My collection of poetry and short fiction, The Haunted Girl (Fall 2014, Aqueduct Press), can be purchased from the publisher or Amazon. My agent is Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore and Company. For more information, including a list of my publications, please refer to my author website.

I'm originally from South Texas, but I've lived in Iowa for ~20 years. In addition to being a writer, I'm a wife and mother. I have chronic depression, but it's under control and I don't need medical/lifestyle advice, thankyouverymuch. (Some more labels: Latina! atheist! anarchist! bisexual!) I love horror movies, cars, gothic country, jigsaw puzzles, gin, NBC's Hannibal, whisky, dark chocolate, art journals...

I have written a series of posts, "Writing Latin@ Characters Well." I've provided links to each post below and will update this master list as necessary.
What are you?
Where are you from?
No, really. Where are you from?
But you don't *look* Latin@.
Say something in Spanish!
I LOVE Mexican food!
Putting out those fiery stereotypes
Banging down more stereotypes
Ingroup versus Outgroup conversations

Thanks for visiting. I hope we can be friends. :)

Uncanny Poetry

This week I had two poems published!

The first, "Aboard the Transport Tesoro," appears in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 7, alongside work by fellow poets mariness and sovay. Also, I'm pretty tickled to share a ToC with Yoon Ha Lee, a Sirens guest of honor. By chance I was invited to join him and two other Sirens for a last, con-lagged lunch at the airport. (Hope I didn't get him sick.)

"Aboard the Transport Tesoro" grew from my sickbed thoughts about chronic illness and ancestor worship. I got up and wrote it in the middle of the night, cleaned it up, and sent it out. Quickest turnaround between composition and publication I've ever had!

The second poem, "glass womb," is online at Interfictions. This poem has perhaps my longest turnaround between first draft and publication. It took me a really long time to find the poem's final form. I can't say why exactly, why it never clicked, why I never abandoned it. I think I had to wait for tumblr to be born and show me pictures from the Mütter Museum and the specimen still lifes of Frederik Ruysch.

And that's my good news for the week!

Thinky Double Features for Halloween

This isn't exactly a Friday Faves installment. I wanted to do something Halloweenie, but there's no way I can list my favorite horror movies, books, stories, or anything. I love too many things. I didn't want to randomly recommend "movies to watch on Halloween," either, since everyone's tastes are different and our moods affect what we want to watch when.

I can't remember the last time a horror movie actually scared me. Revolted, yes. Saddened, yes. Lately I've been thinking, Even if a movie were to scare me, it wouldn't be enough. I want art that makes me think. With that in mind, I've paired up horror movies into double features that excite my "compare 'n' contrast" tendencies. Maybe you'll find something in this list to satisfy your itch, whatever that may be.

1. Carnival of Souls (1962) and Donnie Darko (2001 but set in the '80s) -- Carnival of Souls is a black-and-white, low-budget, minimally-cast thriller starring the absolutely luminous Candace Hilligoss. Donnie Darko is a full-color, big (enough) budget spec film, with a star-studded ensemble cast and Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role. Both movies focus on a person out of synch with the rest of the world, but in Carnival the consequences are individual, insular; in Donnie Darko, everyone is affected. Both films are spookier than they are graphic, although there are some brief moments of gore in the R-rated Donnie.

2. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, set in 1900) and Here Comes the Devil (2013) -- In both of these films, children on a holiday outing explore a mountain and something goes wrong. The PG-rated Picnic is less forthcoming about what exactly happened, obscuring with ethereal atmospherics apropos for late-Victorian repression, whereas the unrated Here Comes the Devil graphically depicts sex and violence. And yet, neither really explains why the tragedy unfolds. Perhaps the characters offend the genius loci? Maybe some places are just bad? Either way, both films are unsettling in their ambiguity.

3. The Descent (2005) and The Babadook (2014) -- On the surface, these are very different movies. The Descent follows women on a spelunking adventure who get lost in an unexplored series of tunnels. The tunnels are inhabited by humanoid cryptids and as the women fight to get back to the surface, they die in various brutal, bloody ways. The Babadook is about a grieving woman trying to survive daily life with her acutely sensitive child, who finds a book about a bogeyman-type monster that he thereafter insists is threatening their tiny, broken family. The Descent is a hard-R, with monsters and gore, while The Babadook works up to its R rating with psychological, real-world horror. But both movies are woman-centered explorations of grief in a world where bad things happen to good people, and they keep on happening.

4. Somos Lo Que Hay (2010) and We Are What We Are (2013) -- The connection between these two flicks is clear: The latter is an American remake of the former, which is Mexican. And I'm going to have to spoil it for you, because I don't think it's fair to send you into a movie and not warn you that it depicts [Spoiler (click to open)]  cannibalism. What's interesting about this pair is how very different the movies are, despite the shared premise. Somos takes place in a city; We Are has a rural setting. The family is complicated in Somos; in We Are, it seems a pretty straight-forward, misogynist patriarchy. I think Somos is about a lot of things (economics, power dynamics, ritual and modernity, homosexuality, nature versus nurture, etc) but We Are opts for a narrower, easier to understand focus. For extra "food for thought," maybe watch Jug Face (2013), about a young woman who tries to escape her rural community when she falls afoul of its peculiar customs.

5. Pontypool (2008) and Berberian Sound Studio (2012) -- I love both these stories because they are obsessed with sound in a highly-visual medium. Former radio shock jock Grant Mazzy hates his new assignment in Pontypool, a small rural Canadian community. A mild-mannered sound engineer, Gilderoy hates his new job creating the sound effects for The Equestrian Vortex, which is not a movie about horses, as he imagined, but a gruesome giallo flick. In Pontypool, a bizarre virus infects the town and Mazzy and the other employees of the local radio station must piece together the truth from conflicting reports, incoherent witnesses, and mysterious military injunctions. In Berberian Sound Studio, Gilderoy is an innocent adrift, desperately trying to hold together his reality even as it merges with the grisly fantasy he's forced to help create. Both films interrogate the gaps between sounds and meaning, facsimiles and reality, consensus/objectivity and dissent/subjectivity.

So there you have it: some brain candy to accompany your Halloween candy. I wish you a pleasant mix of tricks and treats. Happy Halloween!

Friday Faves: Sirens Edition

I missed an installment of Friday Faves because I was at the Sirens convention in Denver, too nervous about my presentation, then too relieved when it was over, to focus on blogging. Thus it seems logical to devote a FF to the happiest bits of my first Sirens experience.*

One-on-one whiskey-fueled chat with blairmacg. Although we'd met in passing at a previous WisCon and had some exchanges online, this was my first opportunity to sit down and talk at length with Blair. I'd tell you what we talked about, but then I'd have to kill you. And, thanks to Blair, I know how! Oops. I've said too much.

A slightly rebellious walk with asakiyume. In what may be our tradition, after two ReaderCons and now Sirens, Francesca and I had a walk-n-talk. And when the path didn't go where we wanted it to, we scuttled down an embankment and infiltrated a golf course. Given that the theme of this year's Sirens was "rebels and revolutionaries", it seemed the natural course of action.

An audience for my presentation. Seriously, I was braced for the possibility that no one would show for a paper on an obscure Mexican poet. To see more than a handful of folks take their seats and look to me expectantly was a HUGE relief. I think the presentation went well--I may have read too quickly, but my timekeeper never gave me the signal to slow down, and I was a little awkward deploying the Prezi, but I didn't feel like I fumbled my words too often or lost the emotional thread of the talk. I plan to submit my paper to the Sirens compendium. I'm also looking into Hispanic Lit journals, to see if I can get it published without much revision.

Rae Carson talking about Elisa, her fat heroine, getting skinny. After Carson's keynote speech, an audience member asked if Carson had experienced backlash for presenting a fat heroine in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Now, one of the very few complaints I saw in reviews of Carson's first book was that the thrill of seeing a fat heroine in its opening pages was vanquished when said heroine lost weight and became conventionally attractive to the more-shallow characters, something I call the weight-loss "redemption" arc. Carson explained that in her original vision, the rapid weight loss was very much Not a Good Thing and Elisa gained back the weight. In very diplomatic terms, Carson noted that publishing was in a different place just four years ago, pre-Dumplin'. I was very relieved to hear her explanation, and I admired how she refrained from casting blame or aspersions.

The wedding singer. A totally sappy moment for me. The hotel's main restaurant is beside a banquet hall where wedding receptions and other special events are held. One night I slipped away from a rousing, writerly dinner party to use the bathroom and I heard the John Legend song "All of Me" being sung next door for a wedding party. Is that not the most perfect song for a first dance? I instantly teared up, so I didn't stick around for the whole performance, lest I return to my table and have to explain my cryface.

*I missed another installment because I got so damn sick at Sirens. This seems to be my MO: Look forward to an outing for months, then get so sick before during or after that I swear I'll never travel again. Having a hard time figuring out how to organize a Friday Faves post based on that.

Friday Faves: TV Party

Friday Faves is late today but I didn't forget. I was just busy! I outlined my third story in three days, and then it was Movie Night at Tweetie's school. They were showing HOME, which I like very much, so I actually voluntarily attended a school function. Imagine that.

This week's faves are television shows. Since Hannibal ended (*ugly cries*), there hasn't been much must-see-tv for me. I watch stuff on Netflix or Hulu that's the entertainment equivalent of junk food. But sometimes junk food makes me happy, y'know? And this week, these were the highlights:

1. Sleepy Hollow -- It's back! I "missed" the first few minutes, but only in the scare-quote sense, since I saw promo tweets and then folks were live-tweeting. I was VERY happy to see our power trio--Abbie, Crane, and Jenny--were all integral to the plot and got some emotional development. That alone has me cautiously optimistic that this season will repudiate the huge mistakes of season 2, but the introduction of Betsy Ross worries me. Not that I expect colonial-era Crane to have "saved himself" for Abbie, but why do the writers keep force-'shipping Crane with (white) Women Who Are NOT Abbie? Why must they fight the obvious, ridiculously powerful chemistry of Crane and Abbie? Even if there's not a romantic relationship between the two, shouldn't their relationship--their partnership--be at the forefront of this show? (The answer is YES.)

2. Elementary -- I resisted this show for a long time, thinking I preferred the BBC Sherlock. I appreciate "sociopathic" characters like Moffat's Sherlock because they're basically me on a bad day, impatient with everyone else's bullshit, furious that they don't grok the social contract everyone else seems to intuitively operate by. But sociopath is different from asshole, and I'm really tired of assholes. JJ started watching Elementary, and I watched some with him, quickly warming up to Jonny Lee Miller's nuanced portrayal of Sherlock. This Sherlock is still socially inept, brusque, often insensitive, but his tenderness toward Joan Watson is touching. You can tell he really does value and admire her--and fuck, it's Lucy Liu so hell yeah, he'd better! But then I hit episode 16 of season 1, where he proposes in all earnestness that she become his apprentice, and it was so sweet I cried. I'll definitely be watching more.

3. American Horror Story, Coven -- Definitely the weakest of the first three seasons storywise, but more enjoyable for the simple reason that it's all about women. Women of different eras, ages, shapes, sizes, abilities, temperament, race...hmmm, I don't recall any queer characters but I can't say for sure. The women were the plot-movers, the men were peripheral. Every episode--almost every scene, in fact--passed the Bechdel-Wallace test. I was reluctant to watch this season because I didn't think the show would handle the race aspects well. I'm still not sure it did, I have many reservations, but setting those aside, the acerbic wit of these witches made for a diverting binge-watch.

I haven't been watching Empire, but I'll definitely catch up later in the season. I want to test drive Scream Queens also (though I'm not sure how much of Emma Roberts' bitch persona I can take; it looks like the American Horror Story folks just told her "hold that pose while we shift you to this comedy."). My dalliance with Revenge is pretty much over. Any recommendations for more tv to rot my brain?

Friday Faves: New Words!

I like to learn new words. Not from word-a-day websites or calendars, but from my own reading, where context is more likely to make the new word stick. This week, three words impressed themselves upon me, three lovely little morsels of brain candy.

1. Jerboa -- I encountered this noun while reading Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns (a somewhat misleading title, btw). The jerboa is described as a desert rodent with a long tail, and the jerboa is caught and cooked in a (much maligned) stew by folks traversing the desert. I assumed the jerboa was a mythical "smeerp" type critter that resembled a squirrel or chinchilla. Then I saw a picture of a real-life jerboa online. And was instantly, retroactively revolted at every mention of the stew. I think it's the tail. And the long skinny legs. And the skin on its bat-like ears. Considering how many of the online mentions of jerboas emphasize their cute-itude, I suspect I am in the minority with my revulsion, much like snowy_owlet and her feelings toward sloths.

2. Caudillismo -- I've seen (and looked up) this word many times before, from my general interest in Mexican history and the polysci copyediting I did years ago. But it never really stuck until this week, when I came across it again in Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiques of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. A caudillo is defined in the book's glossary as "a charismatic political leader who derives his power from his military experience, prowess, and bearing." So caudillismo is that form of leadership. Why should the term stick now, when it never did before? For one thing, you're familiar with the idea of "my TV (or book) boyfriend"? Well, Subcomandante Marcos is my Rebel Boyfriend. Any word I learn from him has instant cachet. Also, the fact that the book has a glossary means I can flip back and refresh my memory, and the memory is further solidified by the look of the formatted text.

3. Sankofa -- This is an Akan word from Ghana that I learned from reading "lifestream," Sofia Samatar's account of the Princeton symposium "Ferguson Is The Future." I see from several online sources that, roughly translated, sankofa means "reach back and get it" and is associated with a proverb along the lines of "there's no shame in going back for what you forgot." Most often sankofa is symbolized by a bird flying forward while twisting its head back to take an egg in its beak. There's a picture of the symposium poster in Sofia's post, and it includes a different sankofa symbol near the center: the twisty, twirly heart-shape. The concept of sankofa, of retrieving precious things from the past, resonates with me partly because of the research I've been doing on Sara Estela Ramirez, a nearly forgotten rebel poet of the Mexican Revolution. Much of her poetry was published in newspapers, which are so ephemeral, and even more so when they are of and for a marginalized population, as was Ramirez's writing for Mexican exiles living in South Texas around the turn of the 20th century. I can't even find a surviving photo of the woman, though I've seen several of her contemporaries. I would very much like to reach back and retrieve ALL the work of this amazing antepasada.

Have you learned any new words this week? What made them stand out for you? Maybe you made up a new word? Please share in the comments!

Friday Faves: Pantry Edition

Trying something new here, in an effort to revive my flagging blogging powers. On Fridays, I aim to list a few things that have made me happy over the week. Today, it's treats from the cupboard. Feel free to talk up your faves in the comments!

1. Cinnamon Somersaults. I picked these bite-sized cookies up because I wanted to jumpstart Fall. They're delicious and filling. I don't think I've eaten a full serving in one sitting, because just a few satisfy me. I'm interested in the Salt and Pepper ones, too. Anyone tried those?

2. Adagio Teas, especially the fandom blends. This week I restocked my faves from the Hannibal-themed sampler I bought awhile back. And I bought some sample tins that continue my theme of "Desperate for Fall." Yesterday I melted over Halloween Caramel Apple.

3. Caramel Apple Dip + Pepperidge Farm Gingerman Cookies. Tweetie and I dunked the cookies in caramel apple dip for dessert last night. We each had 2 and a half cookies and were completely satisfied. Sooo rich, sooo good, sooo autumnal.

I'd hoped to take the family apple picking this weekend, but it's rained so much the last couple of days. I don't think J and Tweetie really want to go slopping through the soggy orchard. So these treats (and my scented candles!) will have to satisfy my autumnal yearnings for a little longer.

How do y'all scratch that seasonal itch?

The 7-7-7-7 Challenge

Many thanks to Alexa Piper (@ProwlingPiper) for making me dust off Ye Olde LJ by issuing this challenge:

Go to the 7th page of a work in progress, go 7 lines down, post the next 7 lines, then challenge 7 other writers to do the same.

So here goes, a little more than 7 lines (so as not to cut off mid-sentence) from Border Blaster, my current novel in revision:

At [Mettie's] words, Keegan’s boys sauntered closer, nostrils flaring, biceps flexing under their tweed coats. Their menace was slightly undermined by the odd gait of the musclehead closest to Aurelia. Maybe his fancy cowboy boots were too tight.

Behind her, Aurelia heard Davis getting out of his squad car. He donned his hat as he hurried to the gate. Their new company only unsettled Mettie for a moment.

“So you got thugs and coppers in your pocket, do you? Then I’ll talk to the papers,” she vowed, pointing at the doctor. “You know it was some hot-shot reporter at the Chicago Tribune got Doc Porter’s license revoked in Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska, don’t you?"

I was challenged via Twitter, so that's where I'll tag 7 buddies to continue the fun. But by all means, feel free to play in the comments!

Regarding my Elgin Award nomination

It's come to my attention that my collection of short fiction and poetry, The Haunted Girl, has been nominated for the Elgin Award, which is given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association for best book of poetry published in a preceding year. I was not informed by SFPA of the nomination. I only learned my book was on their website's list of nominees when voting members requested review copies of the book for consideration.

I am honored by the nomination and grateful to the person(s) who nominated my book. As I understand the rules, however, my book is not actually eligible for this award. The description of the Elgin Awards provided on the SFPA website states, "Books containing fiction as well as poetry are not eligible." Because The Haunted Girl comprises 21 poems and 5 short stories, it would not seem to be eligible. I have notified the Chair of this year's Elgin Awards that I am declining the nomination and I've asked them to remove my book from the list of nominees.

Again, I am very grateful that someone considered my book award-worthy. Thank you. I hope that one of my future collections will be nominated for (and maybe even win!) an Elgin Award.

Poetry Announcements!

While I was on vacation, I accumulated some good news.

First, the table of contents for Spelling the Hours, a poetry chapbook forthcoming from Stone Bird Press, has been announced. The chapbook (a bonus for backers of An Alphabet of Embers) focuses on previously forgotten figures in science and technology, and it includes my poem "A Personal History of the Universal History of the Things of New Spain," which is about the unknown Nahua artists of the Florentine Codex.

Second, my poem "glass womb" is slated for publication in the fall issue of Interfictions. I think I've been subbing this poem for over ten years, but it crystallized into its final form quite suddenly in January. I credit gruesome pics on tumblr.

Third, my poem "The Skin-Walker's Wife," originally published in Strange Horizons, will be reprinted in the Queers Destroy Horror! issue of Nightmare magazine, which should be out around October.

More details (possibly even poem notes!) when publication draws near.

Cheers, my friends!


coffee wtf
Lisa M. Bradley

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