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Top Row, L-R: Deborah Crombie (with Dax), Anna Lee Huber, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Catriona McPherson, and Louise Penny. Middle row: Ingrid Thoft, Jenn McKinlay, Julia Spencer Fleming, Paige Shelton, and Rhys Bowen. Bottom Row: Hallie Ephron, Elly Griffiths, Maggie Robinson, and Amy Pershing. (See complete photo credits in IMAGE CREDITS below).

Mystery Woman

By G. S. Norwood

Male authors, including Edgar Allen Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, were pioneers in crime fiction—a genre which arose in the mid to late 1800s.  Even Charles Dickens tried his hand, with his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. But, from femmes fatales to the distraught daughters of the landed gentry, there has usually been a mystery woman at the heart of any crime novel. And it wasn’t long before women began to put their own distinctive mark on this form of popular fiction.

Dame Agatha Christie

At left is a montage of 36 of Agatha Christie’s book covers. At right, a black-and-white shows her in her home, typing.
Masterful mystery writer Agatha Christie wrote at least 77 books, of which the montage at left shows 36 covers. (montage: Cocosse Journal; photo: Getty Images, via Forward).

One of the first women out of the gate in the race to include female voices in crime fiction was Agatha Christie.  And what run she had! She sold her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1916. Her 66th and final novel, Sleeping Murder, was published in 1976. Over the course of her 60-year career, she defined the conventions of the mystery genre for all the generations since.

She wrote a continuing series of novels that featured professional private detective, Hercule Poirot. Her Miss Marple character became the archetype for all the amateur sleuths who populate today’s sub-genre of “cozy” mysteries. Her 1926 novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, was voted “Best Crime Novel Ever,” by the British-based Crime Writer’s Association. Christie’s play, The Mousetrap, set the world record for longest initial run of a play—November 1953 until the coronavirus pandemic shut the theatre down in March 2020. 

Agatha Christie has sold more books than any other crime writer. Her novel, And Then There Were None, is one of the best-selling books of all time. She was rarely out of the best seller lists during her lifetime. Her works have spawned countless plays, movies, homages, and outright rip-offs.

Is there a way to dispatch your enemy that Christie didn’t think of first? Her victims were stabbed, clubbed, strangled, and shot. She served in hospital pharmacies during both World Wars, and was rumored to have spent at least some of her time there studying up on deadly drugs and poisons.

By the time this mystery woman left the scene, the genre was well-entrenched in its traditions—many of which were pioneered by this one redoubtable writer.

Kicking Butt and Taking Names

P.D. James with the covers of her two Cordelia Gray novels.
P. D. James’ fictional detective Cordelia Gray kicked butt in 1972. (Express/SecondSale).

About the time Christie’s career was winding down, a new type of mystery woman stepped onstage. Christie led the way, of course, with amateur sleuth Miss Marple’s sharp tongue and very pointed knitting needles. Then in 1972, British novelist P. D. James took a step back from her investigator Adam Dalgliesh to offer us a professional private eye who was a woman—Cordelia Gray in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

But over in America, the genteel female detective caught the wave of mid-century feminism.  Somewhere along the way, she swapped DNA with the grimmer male private eyes of authors like Dashiell Hammett and John D. MacDonald to give birth to a whole new breed. Sara Paretsky’s V. I. “Vic” Warshawski was as hard-boiled as the big boys, a woman, and completely ready to kick your ass if you suggested there was anything wrong with any of that. 

If fictional detectives had embraced feminism by the early 1980s, it was glaringly apparent that Mystery Writers of America had become something of a boy’s club. All the critical acclaim, major awards, and fat movie deals were going to male writers and male detectives, even though MWA had been founded to promote the work of all mystery writers. Paretsky was a leading force in founding Sisters In Crime, an organization meant to promote the careers of female mystery writers. Both organizations now actively support efforts to be more inclusive of diversity in all its forms.

Sara Paretsky and covers of her 20 V. I. Warshawsky novels.
Sara Paretsky with her 1995 Jaguar XJS convertible, and a montage of her 20 V. I. Warshawsky novels. (CrimeReads/FantasticFiction).

You Can’t Keep Secrets from the Help

From 1992 through 2000, author and activist Barbara Neely published four Blanche White novels that are not only outstanding mysteries, but give readers a fascinating window into the Black female experience rarely seen in detective fiction. 

Blanche White was the antithesis of her name, and far from the femme fatale. Heavy-set and dark-skinned, Blanche was a mother, a housekeeper, and far smarter than the greedy, pretentious, entitled snobs she worked for. And you know what they say—you can’t keep secrets from the help.

Neely broke new ground and crushed a lot of stereotypes with her Blanche White mysteries.  In December 2019, Mystery Writers of America awarded Neely their 2020 Grand Master award.  Neely died in March 2020.

Black mystery writer Barbara Neely with covers of her Blanche White mystery series.
In a field dominated by white people, Barbara Neely drew on her activist instincts to inform her Blanche White series. (YouTube/Goodreads/Bookshop).

Killer Romance

Giving Dame Agatha some stiff competition for that best seller title, romance writer Nora Roberts entered the mystery field in 1995.  Roberts is a prolific writer with more than 225 titles to her credit.  Her books have spent a cumulative 1,045 weeks on the on the New York Times best seller lists—the equivalent of 20 years.  With more than 400 million copies of her books in print all around the world, it’s estimated that 27 copies of her work are sold every minute.

When she launched her In Death series under the pseudonym J. D. Robb, Roberts was looking for a way to release more books each year without being in direct competition with herself.  The novels written as Nora Roberts tended toward classic romance and romantic suspense.  She wanted J. D. Robb’s books to be completely different. Featuring Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband/partner Roarke, the In Death mysteries are futuristic police procedurals that combine gritty street life, adult behavior, crackling dialog, and characters who have continued to evolve over a span of 52 books and counting. 

I confess!  I have read and enjoyed all of the books in this series, and sometimes re-read a favorite when I wanted the opportunity to slip back into the very entertaining community Roberts/Robb has created.

Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb, with a montage of her “In Death” novels.
Nora Roberts in her J. D. Robb persona, with many of the covers in her “In Death” series. (MysterySequels/USA Today).

Find Your Own Favorite Mystery Woman!

Today, women are killin’ it in the field of mystery fiction.  No matter what your taste, from the coziest of cozies to the hardest of hard-boiled, you can find many outstanding mystery novels by women. Any one of these excellent writers are guaranteed to give you a great reading adventure:

Louise PennyJulia Spencer FlemingDeborah CrombieElly GriffithsJenn McKinlayCatriona McPhersonHank Phillippi RyanHallie EphronRhys BowenPaige SheltonAnna Lee HuberIngrid ThoftMaggie Robinson

This montage shows photos of the fourteen women listed in the final section of Norwood’s post.
Top Row, L-R: Deborah Crombie (with Dax), Anna Lee Huber, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Catriona McPherson, and Louise Penny. Middle row: Ingrid Thoft, Jenn McKinlay, Julia Spencer Fleming, Paige Shelton, and Rhys Bowen. Bottom Row: Hallie Ephron, Elly Griffiths, Maggie Robinson, and Amy Pershing. (See complete photo credits under IMAGE CREDITS below).

And add a bright new talent to the long list of fine mystery women! Amy Pershing published her first mystery, A Side of Murder in February 2021.  It’s a delight.

Do you need another clue?  Get reading!


Many thanks to Cocosse Journal for the Agatha Christie novel-covers montage, and to Getty Images via Forward, for the photo of Christie at work. We are grateful to Express for the photo of P.D. James, and to SecondSale for the Cordelia Gray book covers. Many thanks to CrimeReads for the photo of Sara Paretsky with her 1995 Jaguar XJS convertible. Also to FantasticFiction for the cover images for all twenty of the V. I. Warshawsky series covers (in separate images). Jan S. Gephardt assembled the montage.

We’re really grateful to YouTube for the photo of Barbara Neely at Book World Prague in 2012, to Goodreads for the Blanche on the Lam cover, and to Bookshop for the covers for Blanche among the Talented Tenth, Blanche Cleans Up, and Blanche Passes Go. In addition, we’re thankful for the photo of Nora Roberts personifying J. D. Robb, we thank “MysterySequels.” And we deeply appreciate USA Today for the “Wall of In Death” montage of covers.

Contemporary Mystery Women

In addition, we have what seems like a bazillion people to thank for the Contemporary Mystery Women collection. Jan S. Gephardt put together this montage, too. On the top row, we really want to thank Deb Crombie for the photo of her with her German Shepherd, Dax, WBOI for the photo of Anna Lee Huber, Tor Forge and photographer Chitose Suzuki for the photo of Hank Phillippi Ryan at home, Enterprise and photographer Sue Cockrell for Catriona McPherson’s photo, and BookPage for Louise Penny’s photo.

Also, we’re really grateful to Sisters in Crime of Puget Sound for the great action shot of Ingrid Thoft, to Jenn McKinlay for her photo, and to Peter Hedlund IMGP7808.jpg (original image) and Wikipedia for the photo of Julia Spencer Fleming. In addition, many thanks to Goodreads for the photo of Paige Shelton, and to Criminal Element for the sunny picture of Rhys Bowen, all on the second row!

Finally, several whoops and a holler of thanks go to Wild Mind Creative for the photo of Hallie Ephron, to The Norfolk Wildlife Trust for the Elly Griffiths photo, and to Poisoned Pen Press and photographer Jan De Lima for Maggie Robinson’s photo. Lastly on Line Three, Penguin Random House provided the photo of relative newcomer Amy Pershing. And we thank them for that.

I'm going to FenCon, and this montage shows glimpses of things I'll do there, under a FenCon header banner. I'll bring my artwork, the art of my friend Lucy A. Synk, and I'll promote my book, "What's Bred in the Bone."

Friday Readings at FenCon XVI

I really love going to readings at science fiction conventions. There’s always a new story, something interesting, and a chance to talk with the authors one-on-one. As I did at SoonerCon in June, I went to lots of readings at FenCon XVI, and I discovered some real delights.

I caught four Friday readings at FenCon XVI. All were delightful, but I was having a terrible time with my access to Facebook and Twitter, and in the process I lost some of the specifics about the selections being read. I was able to recover most of it, however. Enough to share with you here.

Rhonda Eudaly

You probably won’t be surprised, after recent posts, that I made a point of being there to hear Rhonda Eudaly’s reading. As I’d hoped, she read her short story “Peri Potter and the Sorcerer’s Bowl,” which is quite entertaining (did you read it from its link in Monday’s post? If not, here it is again.) The story hasn’t been published elsewhere, as far as I know.

First of the Friday readings at FenCon that I was able to attend was the presentation by Rhonda Eudaly, who read her short story "Peri Potter and the Sorcerer's Bowl."
Rhonda Eudaly reads “Peri Potter and the Sorcerer’s Bowl” on Friday at FenCon XVI. I regret that I lost my note on which photo Rhonda preferred, but this is the one I thought most aptly captured her dramatic reading of the story. 

Monalisa Foster

After Rhonda’s reading, I stayed. I didn’t know who Monalisa Foster was, but I was primed to hear another story, and I’m glad I stayed.

Monalisa Foster's Friday reading at FenCon was her story "Catching the Dark," an alternate history about the Russian "Night Witches" of World War 2.
Monalisa Foster reads from her story “Catching the Dark” on Friday at FenCon XVI. It’s a gripping alternate history about the intrepid Russian “Night Witches” of World War II.

She read “Catching the Dark,” a fascinating alternate history that involved the amazing Russian “Night Witches,” a daring group of women so feared by the Nazis that anyone who downed one of their biplanes was automatically awarded an Iron Cross. The story has been anthologized in Slip the Surly Bonds, edited by Chris Kennedy and James Young, and released earlier this month.

If the rest of the anthology is as interesting as Monalisa’s story, it belongs in the library of anyone who loves alternate history. For a fairly comprehensive list of this interesting author’s work, visit her website and her Amazon page.

Kimm Antell

The next author to arrive, Kimm Antell, discovered long ago that “Brownies are my thing,” that is, her favorite “monster” to write about. They weren’t really all that monstrous in her story “Brownout,” but they were true-to-form in many ways. These particular brownies inhabit the cubicles of computer programmers. Assorted hilarity and life-change events ensue, after Cedric, the kind-hearted but shy protagonist discovers them.

Kimm Antell's Friday reading at Fencon was her delightful story "Brownout."
Kim Antell read “Brownout,” a really delightful, funny-but-affirming story about brownies who inhabit an office where programmers sit in their cubicles and write code all day.

try to remember to ask permission to photograph, write about her, tweet, and utilize Facebook, and I was particularly glad I asked before I started taking photos of Kimm. She told me she didn’t normally allow anyone to photograph her, but she felt comfortable enough, because I asked, to allow me the liberty. I deeply appreciate her permission, because it allows me to share my discovery of another wonderful talent.

Julie Czerneda

Turns out  Julie Czerneda, one of FenCon XVI’s headliner guests, is an accomplished dramatic reader. She’s as fun to watch as she is to listen to, and no one photo of her in action will suffice, so I offer a “gallery” of them.

The peripatetic Julie Czerneda reads excerpts from several projects during her Friday reading at FenCon XVI.
The peripatetic Julie Czerneda reads excerpts from several projects during her Friday reading at FenCon XVI.

You’ll note she’s not reading only from one book in these photos, either. She offered up intriguing glimpses from several different projects. As you’d expect, she did read from her latest release, The Gossamer Mage. But she also shared excerpts of other projects, including A Thousand Words for Stranger.

All in all the Friday readings at FenCon XVI were funny, gripping, dramatic, and altogether a delightful way to spend a large part of my afternoon.

IMAGE CREDITS: All photos are by me, Jan S. Gephardt, taken 9/20/2019 in Irving, TX. Please feel free to reblog or share them, but please always with an attribution and a link back to this page, their original source.

All the artwork at FenCon's art show is being prepared in this photo.

Artwork at FenCon

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

displayed my artwork at FenCon XVI. You might remember I mentioned that in my mid-week post.

I spent a large chunk of time Thursday on the FenCon XVI Art Show. That was “setup day,” when the tables and display panels went up, and then the first of the art (the mail-ins and the work of artists able to arrive today) did, too. 

The artwork at FenCon is coming together at last in this photo of progress in setting up the art show as of about 5:00 Thursday evening.
Here’s how much of the artwork at FenCon XVI had been set up in the Art Show by about 5 p.m. Thursday. I’m not sure whether you can tell by comparing with my photo from last year, but t’s a much larger space than they had for last year’s Art Show.

As much as possible, all the rest of the art went up Friday, preferably before the Art Show opened to the public on Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Artist Guest of Honor Peri Charlifu

Peri Charlifu is one of the most talented and generous human beings I know–and I don’t think I’d get any naysayers if I asked others who know him if that was a fair characterization. He’s this year’s Artist Guest of Honor at FenCon XVI, so of course Ty and I found him working as hard as any member of the Art Show staff. His artwork at FenCon this year is a glorious bounty, and he gave me permission to photograph his artwork and post it online.

Rhonda Eudaly helps Peri Charlifu set up his artwork at FenCon.
Thursday Art Show setup with Rhonda Eudaly (L) helping Peri Charlifu (R) set up his display in the FenCon XVI Art Show.

I’ve taken full and gleeful advantage of his permission to photograph and post about his artwork at FenCon. He knows I love to tell my readers about cool new artwork that I encounter. 

Furthermore, he dares me or anyone else to take his ideas and execute them as well as he does. It’s a dare I would never take. I’ll happily promote him and his work till the world looks level, but the only way to get a real Peri Charlifu piece is to buy it from HIM.

Here's another look at more of Peri's commitment to bringing artwork to FenCon.
Peri Charlifu brought a dizzying array of artwork to FenCon XVI. They include awesome ceramics, sets, and kits, as well as 2D work.

If you’re on Facebook, I invite you to wander through the in-depth gallery of his work I posted on my Artdog Studio Facebook Page, as well as the Tale of Peri Potter and the Sorcerer’s Bowl, which involves a fun story about Peri, the author Rhonda Eudaly, and the special alchemy of artists inspiring each other.

Some of the artwork at FenCon has more than its share of unusual visual, "Petunia's Bowl of Prophecy" is definitely one of them!
This deceptively simple piece of art, Petunia’s Bowl of Prophecy, 2019, by Peri Charlifu, is partially from the mind of Rhonda Eudaly, the author whose manuscript is hooked under the edge of the pot. Read the story of how he inspired her, then she inspired him on my Artdog Studio Facebook Page.

My own artwork and that of Lucy A. Synk

Since DemiCon, I’ve been acting as an art agent for my friend Lucy A, Synk–or at least, my son Tyrell and I have been. I contact the show and manage the paperwork, but usually it’s Ty who puts up the show. And it’s also usually he who takes it down afterward. So of course we brought her artwork to FenCon.

All of these pieces of artwork are ©2019 by Lucy A. Synk. Each is a one-of-a-kind original. (Photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt, 2019).
All of these artworks also are ©2019 by Lucy A. Synk. Each is a one-of-a-kind original. 
(Photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt, 2019).
I also had artwork at FenCon. Thank goodness, my panel wasn’t quite as crowded as the one at SpikeCon, but almost.

IMAGE CREDITS: Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me, Jan S. Gephardt, and they may be re-posted or reblogged freely, as long as you attribute me as the photographer and include a link back to this post. Many thanks! 

If you wish to reblog or repost images of Peri Charlifu‘s workartwork, please attribute him as the artist, and provide a link back to his website. I’d also appreciate it if you’ll identify me as the source, with a link back to this post, please.

If you wish to reblog or repost Lucy A. Synk’s artwork, please attribute her as the artist and Tyrell Gephardt as the photographer, and link back either to Lucy’s page or to this post. Many thanks!

Eid-al-Adha Mubarak, hope-faith-and-joy.

Hope faith and joy

This evening begins the holy festival of Eid-al-Adha for our Muslim friends. From what I’ve been able to learn, an appropriate greeting is “May the divine blessings of Allah bring you hope, faith, and joy on Eid al-Adha and forever.”

This design image shows a beautiful repeating design in blues and greens, and the words "Eid-al-Adha Mubarak" to wish you greater hope, faith, and joy.

I’m trying to stay current with holiday greetings for major religions throughout this year, instead of only thinking about holidays in December! This festival changes dates, based on a lunar calendar, but if I got this right, it runs from this evening through Wednesday evening. We all could benefit from greater hope, faith, and joy, in the spirit of this festival!

I remain convinced that we must seek stronger bonds of understanding across cultural differences, so that we may build bridges (PLEASE, not walls!) between ourselves and our neighbors. Eid Mubarak, my friends.

IMAGE CREDIT: many thanks to Religion World, for this beautiful design.

This women's equality themed quote-image is our quote of the week.


The Artdog Quote of the Week

My Quotes of the Week this month are inspired by Women’s Equality Day, which this year  happens to fall on a Monday (when I try to make sure my Quotes of the Week go live). 

This illustrated quote reads: "When men are oppressed, it's a tragedy. When women are oppressed, it's tradition." The person who said this was Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

When I went looking for appropriate quotes for the rest of the Mondays, I found this little gem from Letty Cottin Pogrebin. She’s the writer and social activist who founded Ms. Magazine (full confession: Ms.was massively influential in my early life). 

This is one of those quotes that makes me nod and say, “Oh, she got that right!” So it was a natural for me to include in this women’s equality-themed month.

But although the place where I found this quote is full of lots of cool quotes and images, I didn’t particularly groove with the way this one had been visually realized. I had a different thought about how it should be presented. I hope you like it. 

SHARING IMAGE CREDIT: The visualization of this women’s equality quote was all mine, but I couldn’t have done what I wanted with it, if I hadn’t had a little help. My help in this case came from Wikimedia Commons and a photographer named Andreas F. Borchert, who photographed the perfect pediment for me to make my point. 

Part of this image is an adapted detail from Borchert’s Dublin Roman Catholic St. Audoen’s Church PedimentIn order to fulfill the creative commons usage requirements, it’s important for me to credit this source (though you know me: I would have anyway). And I certainly did take Mr. Borchert’s license to “remix” his image pretty far. I cropped the section I needed, then applied the Sketch: Reticulation filter in Photoshop. I finished the work in Adobe Illustrator, where I created the typography and reduced the opacity of the pediment photo. 

Now it’s your turn: if you like this women’s equality-themed quote-image realization and want to use it, please credit both Jan S. Gephardt and Andreas F. Borchert, with links back to his license page and this blog post. Thanks!

A cartoon-style rendering by Matt Frank of a person in fantasy armor, or possibly an anime-style mecha is part of the SoonerCon 28 header image used to promote the June 2019 science fiction convention.

More readings at SoonerCon 28

Authors, Reading–Part Two

Last week I posted about several authors whose readings I attended and enjoyed at SoonerCon 28. But wait! There are more!

I hope you enjoy this series of posts. Wherever I could, I’ve linked the authors’ names to their websites and/or books, so you can learn more about any who interest you.

Catherine Cooke-Montrose reads an excerpt from a fantasy work in progress, on an iPad at SoonerCon 28.
Catherine Cooke-Montrose reads from a fantasy work-in-progress, inspired by the Byzantine era. She’s recently been republishing her Mask of the Wizard Trilogy (formerly published by Tor Books) on Amazon under the author name Catherine Cooke.
Adam J. Whitlatch reads an excerpt from his novel "War of the Worlds: Goliath," at SoonerCon 28.
Here is Adam J. Whitlatch, reading from his book War of the Worlds: Goliath,
Jeff Provine holds up a smartphone to show an illustration from the selection he was reading. It was a post on his "This Day in Alternate History" blog.
Blogger Jeff Provine read from This Day in Alternate History, a fascinating concept for a blog, in my opinion.
Laura J. Underwood reads part of her story, "The Demon of Mallow" at SoonerCon 28.
Laura J. Underwood read from her 2011 story The Demon of Mallow, set in the same mythical land as her 2013 book, The Lunari Mask.

I have one more “Authors, Reading” collection to share next week. I hope you’re enjoying this series.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SoonerCon 28, and artist Matt Frank, for the header image. All other photos were taken by me at SoonerCon 28, June 7-9, 2019, with the express permission of the persons being photographed.If you wish to reblog or use them, please include an attribution to Jan S. Gephardt as the photographer, and if possible provide a link back to this post. Thank you!

Capricon 39, “Strange Beasts Arise” (Between storms)

Ty and I made it to Chicago between storms, and then again home from Chicago, between storms. We lucked out massively, and for that I’m intensely grateful

Sheltering in place: Here’s how it looked on Sunday night before we were supposed to drive home Monday. The Wheeling, IL area near the Westin Chicago North Shore got at least 4 inches of snow. But Chicagoland can handle it!

Better yet, Capricon 39 made it WORTH dodging storms in Chicago in February. Con Chair D’Andre Williams and his concom outdid themselves, and for that I’m also intensely grateful.

It was a full-range sf convention, featuring an Art Showgamingspecial eventspanels, a large, well-stocked dealers’ room, and a fine range of excellent parties, including a bunch of them on Thursday night of the conCapricon cultivates its evening parties, and the results speak for themselves. Great job, Jason Betts!

Seanan McGuire was the Author Guest of Honor, Phil Foglio the Artist Guest, Carrie Dahlby was the Music Guest, and Doug Rice the Fan Guest. It bears noting that Foglio and Rice go way back, and they can be very entertaining. All of the GoHs were engaged and engaging.

As I am at most sf conventions I was primarily interested in stimulating panel discussions and the quality of the Art Show. Each of those departments will be the subject of upcoming blog posts.

Wheeling’s snow removal professionals ROCK! By the time we left at noon, the main hazards were the potholes. No snow-pack, no icy patches, we were even blessed with blue skies!

IMAGES: I took the “weather photos” myself. Feel free to use either, with link back and attribution. The Capricon 39 header is from their website.

Participating in the Arts

The Artdog Image of Interest

There are lots of ways to participate in the arts. What are your favorite ways?

The best way I know to activate one’s creativity is to actually do an art. You don’t have to actually be good or “go professional” to enjoy performing or making things.

Did you take arts classes in school? What interested you the most? Have you attended a live performance or art show in the past 12 months? Taken classes? Participated by doing?

What art forms are a regular part of your life today?

IMAGE: Many thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, for the infographic on the ways that Americans participate in the arts.

Universal human rights

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Yesterday was Human Rights Day, when this post was originally supposed to go live (many apologies!). But human rights are important every day. My theme for the December Quotes is homelessness. I think this excerpt from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rightsratified 70 years ago in 1948, is fittingly consistent with that theme.

IMAGE: I created today’s image. The background photo is one I took last September in Dallas, TX; the words, as credited, are from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25(1). Please feel free to use the quote image if you wish, but kindly include an attribution to me (Jan S. Gephardt) as the creator and a link back to this post. Thanks!

Reading outside the Western World

How “worldly” is your reading?

This post started as a panel at Westercon 71/ Myths and Legends Con 6. It was presented on Saturday, July 7, 2018, by panelists Olivia WylieStant Litore, and Amalie Howard.

From L-R: Amalie HowardStant Litore, and Olivia Wylie at their Saturday Westercon/MALCon panel.

They discussed the lively and fascinating world literary scene, and the diverse literary works that are becoming more and more widely available in English. During the panel, Wylie announced that she was compiling a list of the books, stories, and resources mentioned during the panel discussion.

She has kept her word. Better yet, she has agreed to let me share her list on here on my blog. Links within the list are those provided by Olivia Wylie. Cover artwork and other imagery chosen to illustrate the list on this post, as well as links embedded outside the list, have been my choices.


Here’s a second collection of reading opportunities, from among the marvelous options on this list. They are, L-R: Dream Keeper, by Morrie RuvinskyLabyrinth Lost, by Zoraida CórdovaMulengro, by Charles de LintThe Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker; and The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline.
Yet a fourth collection of covers, and we still haven’t exhausted the list! L-R: Arresting God in Kathmandu, by Samrat UpadhyayMemories of Sun, ed. by Jane Kurtz; Wavemen, by Robin and Cory Childs & associatesThe Roads of the Roma, ed. by Ian Hancock, Siobhan Dowd, and Rajko Djurićand Nyota’s Tyrannosaur, by Stant Litore.

For The Kiddos

The Desert Is My Mother/El Desierto Es Mi Madre-Pat Mora

Yes, I did have a hard time narrowing it down. Here are young peoples’ book covers for: All the Colors of the Earth, by Sheila HamanakaMing Lo Moves the Mountain, by Arnold Lobel (bilingual English and Hmong); The Story of Noodles, by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by YongSheng XuanAru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi; The Desert is my Mother, by Pat Mora, illustrated by Daniel Lechon (bilingual English and Spanish)and The Serpent’s Secret, by Sayantani DasGupta

As panelist Amalie Howard put it, “Diversity isn’t a ‘trend.’ It’s a reflection of the world as it is.” This list is truly a trove of wonders that traverse the world as it is–and as it might be, given a rich imagination and a world of fantastic possibilities.

I hope you’ll explore it for untold riches! And if you have additional suggestions, please offer them in the Comments section! We’ll all be the richer for it!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS and IMAGES: First of all, MANY, many, many thanks to Olivia Wylie, for compiling this list, and also to Stant Litore and Amalie Howard, for their suggestions for it and participation in a fascinating panel discussion.

The photograph of the panelists at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 was taken by Jan S. Gephardt, with permission. If you wish to reblog or repost it, please credit Jan as the photographer, and identify (ideally with hyperlinks to their websites!) AmalieStant, and Olivia, plus please include a link back to this post, as well. Thanks!

The logos representing some of the websites in the “Resources” list are those of Escape PodPodCastleNative Realities Press, and Singing Bones, for all of which, I thank them!

For the five covers in Book Collection One, I owe many thanks to Amazon: Lagoon, by Nnedi OkoraforAmericanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieIs’Nana The Were-Spider, by Greg Anderson Elysee, illustrations by Walter Ostlie; and Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasi; and to  Marcellus Jackson, via Djele’s DeviantART page, for the Steamfunk! cover.

For the five covers in Book Collection Two, I once again owe thanks to Amazon, for Dream Keeper, by Morrie RuvinskyLabyrinth Lost, by Zoraida CórdovaMulengro, by Charles de LintThe Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Weckerand The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline.

For the third set of book covers I’d like to thank Penguin/Random House, for the cover for Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed, as well as Amazon for these covers: Want, by Cindy PonThe Sea is Ours, ed. by Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng The Mistress of Spices, by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni; and  The Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanley Robinson.

For the fourth set of book covers, I’d like to thank Moko Press for the cover of Wavemen, by Robin and Cory Childs & associates; and Stant Litore for the cover art for Nyota’s TyrannosaurMany thanks to Amazon, for these covers: Arresting God in Kathmandu, by Samrat UpadhyayMemories of Sun, ed. by Jane Kurtz; and The Roads of the Roma, ed. by Ian Hancock, Siobhan Dowd, and Rajko Djurić

Certainly not least, I am grateful to Amazon, once again, for all the covers in the Youth Collection: All the Colors of the Earth, by Sheila HamanakaMing Lo Moves the Mountain, by Arnold LobelThe Story of Noodles, by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by YongSheng XuanAru Shah and the End of Timeby Roshani ChokshiThe Desert is my Mother, by Pat Mora, illustrated by Daniel Lechonand The Serpent’s Secret, by Sayantani DasGupta

My deepest gratitude goes out to all resources named!

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