February is Women in Horror month and my favorite fiction podcast is joining the party with a line-up of female writers who love their craft, or their Lovecraft, as the case may be. So if the standard February world dripping in red paper hearts is too much for you, you might head over to Pseudopod and check out some stories dripping in something else. If that's your cup of poison, that is. I found last week's story "The Godsmaid Clara and Her Many Smiles" by Sharon Dodge greatly entertaining, and the reader, Kim Lakin-Smith, nails it. Good times, always presuming you're not the one requiring Miss Clara's services.
I also hear that you're encouraged to honor Women in Horror month by heading down to your local blood bank and making a donation. You've got to love the poetry in that. And it's Valentine's, so poetry's pretty much in season.
I'm celebrating Valentine's Day in more traditional manners as well. I'm helping the kid make bookmarks for his classmates and cookies for the class party. And my husband and I took a romantic couple of days to wander around someplace-that-isn't-here last weekend. This incarnation of someplace was San Rafael, because it's nearby, we hadn't wandered around there before, and it passed the bookshop test.
What's the bookshop test, you ask? If you're considering visiting a downtownish environment, pull it up on google maps and search "books". If you get nothing, or if you only get things like "Barnes and Noble" which doesn't count, then your potential destination has failed the bookshop test, so don't bother. I'm not saying the only thing I want in a vacation spot is a bookstore, but they serve as a bio indicator for a healthy downtown area. With bookstores come game shops, toy stores, galleries, comics, breweries, coffee, and if you're lucky, a yarn store. Two independent bookshops and you won't be bored. Three or more and it's positively quaint. Never fails.
So we've covered fiction, books, blood, and true love. That about sums up Valentine's Day, eh?