Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xray (and Qiu Xiaolong and X by Jack Croxall)

I racked my brain for authors I knew whose names began with X and came up with nada. Same for book titles I'd heard of before. Nothing.

I thought of pulling another sneaky trick and featuring favorite authors and bloggers like Dean K. Xiller (aka Dean K. Miller) and Richard Xeller (aka Richard Keller) but I pulled that trick earlier with Q and no one seemed to think it was very funny.

So I did some homework, and here's what I found:

Featured Author:  Qiu Xiaolong (and actually, the author's last name might be Qiu when considered in Chinese but this is the order the name is listed on the site in English).

From his website bio:

"Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai, China. He published prize-winning poetry, translation and criticism in Chinese in the eighties, and became a member of the Chinese Writers’ Association. In 1988, he came to the United States as a Ford Foundation Fellow, started writing in English, and obtained a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Washington University. He is the author of Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006), and Red Mandarin Dress (2007) in the critically acclaimed, award-winning Inspector Chen series; two poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003) and Evoking T'ang (2007); and his own poetry collection, Lines Around China (2003). He lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter."
So Qiu Xiaolong could have been my "Q" author as well. I consider this so serendipitous that I'm going to read the Inspector Chen series as soon as possible.

Featured Book:  X by Jack Croxall

Okay, technically this is a short story. But e-readers now allow us to purchase one short story in the format of a book, so I think this story should qualify.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, when I found this one, I immediately purchased it for my Kindle. Here's why:

"Fifteen-year-old X thinks she is going to die. Shacked up in the cellar of an old farmhouse, she starts a journal to document her last few days. Much less than a few days if the things outside manage to get in."

Creepy, yes? Intriguing? I thought so. I'm not going to read this one at night, especially if I'm home alone with the cat. She freaks out when she hears the house crack, and then I freak out too. If I was also trying to read a scary story, I'd end up under the bed with the cat.

Word of the Day:  Xray

No, this doesn't have anything to do with my creaky knees.

Xray is the communications for the letter X. Communications codes are used by aircraft controllers, military, and ham radio operators among others.

My husband and I are ham radio operators. He's pretty active these days but I've only been on digital radio once and voice radio zero times in the last ten years. But back in the day, I spent hours on the radio, making contacts, doing contests--I guess that should have been a clue I'd be one of those folks constantly reaching out on social media.

The old man's call sign is AB4TC (Alpha Bravo 4 Tango Charlie). I'm N4UNE (November 4 Uniform November Echo). The four in our call signs refers to Florida, which is where we lived when we got our licenses. My husband is very proficient in Morse Code. I am not. I passed the test when I took the exam and never used it again.

When we lived in Florida and were both radio active (snort!), we belonged to a group that worked in the Red Cross shelters during an emergency. We served during two hurricanes, including Andrew which was headed our way (Boca Raton) but veered south at the last moment and hit Homestead really hard.

Hmmm. I meant for this to be a short post. Oh, well...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't know you were ham radio operators. You should get back into it, Patricia.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

You are a very interesting woman! :)

And that short story sounds really good….

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Patricia I didn't know that you were ham radio operators. Sounds interesting.

RichardK said...

There has to be someone doing a challenge post on the X-Men. Have to do some research. BTW, Richard Xeller was my stage name during my time in La Cage Aux Folles.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I never would've suspected you were a ham radio operator.

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Oh, that's so cool that you know how to do ham radio. I tried it once, but I'll admit, never got the hang of it. I think it's wonderful that you used your skills to help during hurricane season. Hurricanes can be devastating and they're so scary, even though people usually have a little notice that they're coming.

And thanks for mentioning Qiu Xiaolong. I like his Chen Cao series very much. Folks, do try it.

Susan Scott said...

Lovely and interesting post Patricia thank you! Will check out the authors you mention. So great about being radio operators! And helping out in hurricane season.
Garden of Eden Blog

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That ham radio thing is cool. The letter X is really challenging.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Yes, I should, Alex -- my husband keeps saying the same thing.

Thanks, Madeline. I've put that story at the top of my list, hoping to squeeze it into my crazy schedule this week.

Being an operator is fun until you have to use it in an emergency as a Red Cross/FEMA communicator. Then it's scary work.

Wish I'd know that Rich. That would have made for a great X post.

Diane, I crochet too. :D

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot, the Inspector Chen series does sound good, and probably a lot more authentic than the old Charlie Chan movies (which I loved).

Susan 1 -- I'm not a bit sorry to be far away from hurricanes, though.

Susan 2 -- Yes, I actually had to do research to do justice to the letter X.

Trisha F said...

Croxall's story sounds scary and creepy, indeed. But definitely one I'd like to read. :)

Dean K Miller said...

I work with the initials Delta Mike (DM) at work. I think I'll start calling you November Echo for short!

Gotta check out X!

And when I miss one letter when typing my email is comes out "deankiller." I like Xiller better!

Grammy Staffy said...

How interesting that you and hubby are ham operators. I used x-ray in it's real meaning today... not as interesting as yours.
I'm using you in my Y post tomorrow.
Have a good day

Eileen Goudge said...

Love ham radio! Did it briefly back in the day. I think of nowadays when I do social media. It's Twitter without being restricted to 140 characters and you meet some pretty interesting characters who are "out there" in more ways than one.