A fantasy serial by Siri Paulson
Another town, another floating market. Payut settled his conical straw hat more firmly on his head and paddled closer, already planning what he would say. The market thronged with narrow boats, hawking fruit and rice, fans and sarongs to the townspeople on the docks. Every town market smelled almost the same, with small variations if one went far enough up the waterways – a different spice mixture here, a different oil there. This one smelled of incense and fresh fish and deep-fried bean curd. His stomach gurgled.
As he brought his boat in to an empty spot on the docks, children were already crowding close. “It's the charms man!” they shouted, overlapping each other in their excitement. “What did you bring us?”
Payut smiled. “Dolls and toy soldiers, fans and tops. I even have an emperors-and-footmen board for sale.”
A little girl called down, “Don't you have any charms?”
Payut kept his smile in place. “Of course. Love charms, schoolwork charms, charms to make you faster at martial arts or steady your hand at weaving sarongs.”
An older girl, who looked very like the first, frowned at him. “What about health charms?”
Here it came. “You don't need any health charms, Little Sister. You're the very model of the five harmonious elements.”
The little one shook her head vigorously. “It's not for her. Mama is sick.”
Instead of a blog post today, we bring you some exciting news: Turtleduck Press is expanding, and we want YOU!
Starting in May, we will be looking for new members. If you're a writer of science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction, you have a polished novel manuscript, and you're interested in joining a publishing co-op, we'd love to hear from you. We'll be opening to submissions shortly -- stay tuned for details!
Hi, folks! It's your international correspondent here...except I'm not so international anymore. My big trip is over and I'm back in my own North American urban life.
More or less, anyway. Travel changes the traveler. I'm not quite the same person I was when I left, and that means my sense of home isn't quite the same, either. Everything's just slightly off-kilter.
For example, I no longer take for granted:
- electricity that works all the time -- in Kerala, India, power outages were common, and in Kathmandu, Nepal, the power was turned off for eight hours a day
- sidewalks and sane traffic -- throughout Asia, sidewalks were sketchy and traffic operated by no natural laws that I was familiar with
- equality of women -- on a more serious note, in a lot of India we saw very few women driving vehicles, working with the public, or walking around after dark