Thursday, December 27, 2007

Partridge in a Pear Tree

This is awesome.

The first twenty seconds are normal.

Then all carol breaks loose.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


"Behind every successful woman are several confused men who give her something to make fun of." -- Sarah Miller

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


For "Sails and Sorcery" story "Currents and Clockwork" -- scroll down, I'm in the last third of the anthology or so.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Seth Crossman's "Forbidden Speculations" anthology was just released - no, really! It's out! Amazon link is:

I'm sure no one will be rushing out to buy this sight unseen, but still ... cool.

They'll be announcing the final winner of the contest portion of this soon.

Afterburn SF

"Chatter Me Timbers" is now available to read at Afterburn SF ( Stop on by and enjoy a dose of pseudo-classical-Greek pirates.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Traveling Along

The last of my song collection CDs, songs about departing or coming home, moving along, traveling, driving, biking ... you name it.

1. Coming Out Of The Dark -- Gloria Estefan
2. My Way Home -- Kirsty MacColl
3. Anywhere Is -- Enya
4. In My Car (I'll Be The Driver) -- Shania Twain
5. Roots and Wings -- Anne Murray
6. Across The Universe of Time -- Hayley Westenra
7. Runaway -- Anna Sahlene
8. He's On The Beach -- Kirsty MacColl
9. On My Way Home -- Enya
10. Lead Me On -- Amy Grant
11. One Of These Days -- Michelle Branch
12. Runaway -- Cher
13. Miss April -- Chantal Kreviazuk
14. Journey's End -- Clannad
15. I Drove All Night -- Celine Dion
16. The Journey Home -- Sarah Brightman
17. Don't Look Back -- Thalia
18. I Move On -- Chicago soundtrack

I think this is far and away the most varied collection as far as artists. And ... Christmas music? Surely you jest. I'm a professional musician. When I'm not playing it, I am trying to escape the stuff.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Retirement in Anthology!

The Lorelei Signal runs a yearly anthology with the best stories from each year. This will be the second anthology - and the first one was nominated for an EPPIE (a major ebooks award). And ... Retirement, where I sprung flash fiction upon a poor, unsuspecting editor, will be printed in the anthology!

I am, of course, proud of my story, but I think the illustration was better. ;-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Taste regarding ... Good Taste

My story "Good Taste" in Aoife's Kiss will be eligible for next year's best-of anthology if it receives enough votes. The online version of the magazine is here:
The vote page is here:

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Three's a Crowd

Moving on with the music ... sadly, I had more than enough songs to do a "Three's a Crowd" mix, songs where there's another woman, competition for a relationship, or ...

1. Celestine -- Kirsty MacColl (where the "other woman" is her alter-ego)
2. To Love You More -- Celine Dion
3. Baby, I'm In Love -- Thalia
4. I Can't Say Goodbye To You -- Helen Reddy
5. England 2 Columbia 0 -- Kirsty MacColl
6. Heaven's What I Feel -- Gloria Estefan
7. Coulda Been -- Kimberley Locke
8. Misbehavin' -- Thalia
9. Don't Think of Me -- Dido
10. My Affair -- Kirsty MacColl
11. Strong Enough -- Cher
12. (If There Was) Any Other Way -- Celine Dion
13. Free -- Sarah Brightman
14. If Only She Knew -- Michelle Branch
15. Treat Her Like A Lady -- Celine Dion
16. Words Get In The Way -- Gloria Estefan
17. Julia -- Chantal Kreviazuk
18. Blame It On Me -- Anna Sahlene
19. Music Gets The Best of Me -- Sophie Ellis-Bextor (where the "other man" is ... not a person.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

State of the World

CD collection the third, songs about ... well ... the state of the world.

1. Nobody Home -- Amy Grant
2. This One's For The Girls -- Martina McBride
3. Evacuee -- Enya
4. Time Waits -- Gloria Estefan
5. The Power -- Amy Grant
6. A Little Good News -- Anne Murray
7. Children of the Revolution -- Kirsty MacColl
8. Famous -- Gloria Estefan
9. Weight of the World -- Chantal Kreviazuk
10. Big Yellow Taxi -- Amy Grant
11. Seal Our Fate -- Gloria Estefan
12. Miss April -- Chantal Kreviazuk
13. Wait For The Healing -- Amy Grant
14. Higher -- Gloria Estefan
15. So Magical -- Martina McBride
16. Do You Know The Way To San Jose -- Dionne Warwick
17. What About The Love -- Amy Grant
18. One Name -- Gloria Estefan
19. Something To Believe In -- Sarah Brightman

Yeah, awful lot of Grant and Estefan in this one. Just seems to be they do a lot of songs I like in this general category. I actually decided to start this one because I was looking for a place for "Children of the Revolution" and "A Little Good News."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Mixes!

I've switched over my music again to have new things to listen to in the car, and of course, I had to theme my CDs. The first one is a character-related collection and means nothing if you don't know my past six or seven PCs. The second is called "Fun In Dysfunction" (as in, it puts the - it was too long to write on the CD) and is full of songs where uh, yeah, this relationship is messed up. It includes:

1. Are You Happy Now? -- Michelle Branch
2. A Boy Like That -- Selena
3. Can't Stop Killing You -- Kirsty MacColl
4. Damn -- Leann Rimes
5. Dangerous Game -- Gloria Estefan
6. Dear Life -- Chantal Kreviazuk
7. Disappear -- Anna Sahlene
8. Find Your Way Back -- Michelle Branch
9. Hunter -- Dido
10. I'm Not Giving You Up -- Gloria Estefan
11. Just Ain't Feeling It -- Dian Diaz
12. Loser -- Anna Sahlene
13. Murder On The Dancefloor -- Sophie Ellis-Bextor
14. No Angel -- Dido
15. One Night Only -- Dreamgirls (this one doesn't totally fit, but I wanted it on one of my cuts)
16. The Universe is You -- Sophie Ellis-Bextor (ditto, although it has shades of potential dysfunction)
17. When The Wrong Loves You Right -- Celine Dion
18. Before You -- Chantal Kreviazuk

In the last few rips, I started kind of having a final song that takes a different tactic or a more upbeat note. 18 is an "It all gets better" song to round out the dysfunction.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Good Taste

This story is now available (online! Free!) at Aoife's Kiss ( Frankly, writing this one perturbed me a bit ... if you want a take on the idea of well, sentient food, try this one.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Black Eyes

Black Eyes and Black Arts, a sword-and-sorcery parody featuring the hapless Javarien and his vampiric sword (ahem), just sold to Worlds of Wonder! This is one of my longest stories and I believe will be broken down into a serial ... not unlike the story it originated from.

Javarien was one of six characters in a "hapless band of adventurers" story I wrote with Beth several years ago (three each). We used to put an episode in Eye of Unicorn, Tongue of Dragon every quarter ... good times. Only the character and his sword are intact here, though.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now Available!

My short story "Menagerie" is now available for reading at The Sword Review:

Go check it out!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The English

This quote made me giggle. Twice. So I had to clip it:

"The English may not always be the best writers in the world, but they are incomparably the best dull writers." -- Raymond Chandler

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Betraying the Fans ...

This reminds me of something I heard Orson Scott Card say about fans who complain that movie studios have "ruined" a book with their terrible versions. His simple response? "The book is still there."

Food for thought, in any case.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Staying Sane

This was said by Allison Janney, best known (at least, to me) for the role of CJ on The West Wing:

(on staying sane and happy) "Dogs tether you to the earth in some really good way. And exercise, of course. And martinis. And sexy high heels. That's it. Good work, a nice pair of heels, a martini, a dog and a man - not necessarily in that order." - as quoted in the magazine Living Fit

Found this on IMDB, and for some reason it struck a chord.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


When, at about mid-day yesterday, I had only written about 800 words, I decided that perhaps Nanowrimo wasn't in the stars for me this year. Well, I missed it last year and I'm badly out of practice with long spates of writing so ... last night happened.

Three thousand words later, I'm only a little over one thousand words in the hole for today - that's all I need to accomplish to be "on schedule" - and the novel is clear before me ... at least, until I hit the POV change after chapter four. Then the story goes into journal mode (at which point it starts *earning* the title "Journal of the Dead") and ... we shall see.

I'm very psyched about this. I've been planning to work on this novel since the spring, when I finished Flow. Second edit for that project is due after the Nano period - I don't honestly expect to finish this work by then, as I don't know where it's going as of yet and, with several interwoven "substories" planned in the back of my head, it's not going to be short. 100 - 120 thousand is not unreasonable as a vague estimate.

Now if only I hadn't been awakened by drilling at 8am.

Who has construction work done in a residential area at 8am on a Saturday morning?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Pop over to now and check out "In The Home of The Gods!"

And please ... be gentle with the rotten tomatoes.

Also! Direct your browsers to:, where "Coldsnap" has just gone up ...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Wow, I can't even count the twists and turns this story has made in finding a home (including two revisions, the second of which partly removed changes from the first), but it finally has. Reflection's Edge will be publishing "Coldsnap" circa soon, pending ironing out of last editing points.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And ...

That story will be out Thursday! November issue of Byzarium about to air, and "In The Home of The Gods" has a ... home right there. Whoo!

Title Change

Byzarium asked to change "Job Description" to "In The Home of The Gods." Apart from my being completely unable to get the capitalization right there, I decided I was good with this. Names may be important; they are not my skill. Whenever anyone has a better idea, I tend to be happy that they shout out. I'm not sure why this is: when titles hit like a bolt from the blue, they're perfect. ("Lightning Strikes" being one of those, ironically.) When I have to push around for them, they end up mediocre.

For instance, I *really* have to change the title of my story about an assassin and her footware from "In These Shoes?" No, the Kirsty MacColl reference is not appropriate in a high fantasy setting.

(For the record:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Places To Be ...

Currently reading "Places To Be, People To Kill." This is actually a pretty satisfying collection, except for one thing ... half of the stories aren't really about people I would consider assassins. A sorceress who has to defend herself against her father; a royal executioner; a summoned shade sent to slaughter a village ... all very intriguing in their own right, but not what I wanted to read about when I picked up a book that billed itself as being very specifically about assassins. Even the fact that most of these are good stories doesn't belay a certain sense of being cheated by the contents. For instance, I really enjoyed "All In The Execution" by Tim Waggoner, the aforementioned executioner story, which portrays an interesting society, an unusual character, and an amusing solution with deft ease ... just not an assassin story.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Job Description

This story, detailing the travails of a god trying to adapt to the times, has just sold to Byzarium! ... more fool they. No, I'm happy for it to have a home, as it's a fun flash piece.

And I'm more tired than I can remember being in eons ...

Friday, October 19, 2007

So ...

If someone has a passionate interest in photography, would they study the Camera Sutra?

A Pun Worse Than Death

This one ... made me facedesk:

Sunday, October 14, 2007


So, it's been a surprisingly long time since I've posted in here - life has kind of been doing a tumbling act. This quote (my calendar says it's from an athlete in her eighties), amused me:

"You lose a lot of speed between eighty and eighty-six." -- Ruth Rothfarb

I so want to be that kind of old lady, though I truly expect I will be the *other* kind of old lady.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Poetic License

This story has been sold! to Forbidden Speculation, an anthology run by OG's Speculative Fiction. This is also a short story contest with prizes, so more information forthcoming ...

And an obligatory: wheee!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No, Really?

I'm trying a nasal spray as an alternate allergy suppressant. Written on the bottle is: Do not spray into eyes.

... I really wasn't planning on it, thanks.

In other news, I have been counting the days that a specific piece of mine has been at Ideomancer. It's been long enough (and the story is short enough) that it must have garnered a little approval, at least. ... or they're swamped. Never can tell!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The TV Set

(Warning: implied spoilers for the above movie. Just in case.)

I saw this movie last night, and it stuck with me as bothersome. It is a funny comedy in its own right, though much of it also has the viewer cringing in sympathy - even if one is not particularly familiar with the creative process. Unfortunately, the ending, the simple, complete surrender of the main character, leaves a troubling taste in the mouth that makes the laughs that preceded it somehow tainted and less enjoyable. We are tantalized with an apparently irrelevant thread in which it appears that the narrator might have some small victory ... yet instead there is a bait and switch, and the movie ends disastrously.

This is not simply a story where the main character struggles and fails - we need these occasional stories, if only to provide tension for the "real" successes. Instead, it is a David and Goliath story where David falls back ... and falls back ... and finally runs back against the wall ... he has to take a stand ... and he's squashed. It's a disturbing portrayal of the decay of creative vision. I admire this part of the story - it's poignant - but I don't think the movie played fair with viewer expectations or traditional structure. There was no give and take ... with a few small exceptions, the story just went downhill from the start. After such a painful process, a little vindication for the audience is only sporting.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Poetry In Motion

So for some reason, I'm in the mood for poems again. I've only had two poems published so far; they always fall to the "bottom" of my submissions queue because I haven't yet found a reliable way to self-edit them. The editor of OG's Speculative Fiction was a tremendous help with my haiku sale, suggesting some direction for alteration that made a real difference to that piece. (And yes, I have a submissions queue. It is a long story, born of the stuff of neuroses.)

I find that I have a strange fascination with form poems, the more precise, the better. The pantoum has led me astray enough that our love affair has ended with some murderous looks and broken dishes, but there's still hope for reconciliation ... just not right now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Also ...

"In Need of Storage" - an urban fantasy story about a potential storage facility customer who has ... unusual storage needs - was just sold to Tales of the Talisman for their September 2008 issue. There remains nothing like this feeling of YAY!

Hooray For Rain

... and hooray for my hand feeling well enough that I can make vapid little posts such as this one.

We're supposed to have about thirty inches of rain by this time of year and are behind over ten. The local trees are in shock, and our autumn is going to be "leaf scorch" - not the natural color change, but a phenomenon where the leaves simply shrivel due to heat and lack of moisture. All this is to explain why rain has become a thing of some wonder here, and why it was wonderful to have a downpour last night and this morning. I'm not sure how much of it is soaking in ...

Friday, September 21, 2007


This one is funny not so much for the substance, but for who said it:

"My dad always used to tell me that if they challenge you to an after-school fight, tell them you won't wait - you can kick their ass right now." -- Cameron Diaz

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Too Appropriate

After having had a shaky weekend over perceived errors at the Celtic Festival, this stood out to me:

"Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough - that we should try again." -- Julia Cameron

Now if only I could remember this.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Review ...

Just put up a reading recc for Connie Willis' "To Say Nothing Of The Dog." With a sore wrist, I've been reading. A lot. (It's a five hundred page book. ;-))

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Western Front

(All's quiet on, that is ...)

Will be scarce again - I'm "de-medding" in preparation for left wrist carpal tunnel surgery on 9/18. As this is my dominant wrist, I'm expecting recovery to conservatively take about twice as long.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Here, Rabbit, Rabbit ...

Attended a wedding rehearsal today. It's fairly rare that clients pay me to be present at the rehearsal, but it was very useful in this case as I was making use of my speaker system. Got a good handle on the logistics, how loud to set my sound system, and extra drive-time not advertised by Mapquest as to actually getting from the park entrance to the Nature Preserve itself.

There was an adorable chocolate-brown/black rabbit who hovered around for most of the rehearsal. I suspect it was someone's pet who was abandoned there, because he was so comfortable around people, but he looked content and well-fed. At one point, I looked down and he was about three feet away sitting on the cable connecting my two speakers. And looking curious.

Me: ... don't even THINK about it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Powers of Detection" review

The introduction to this book sets a somewhat ambivalent tone. While Dana Stabenow’s tongue-in-cheek manner made me grin, I felt somewhat put-off by her definition of fantasy as “woo-woo” in the introduction of a speculative fiction anthology. Her self-deprecation doesn’t go far enough to cover a slightly sour first impression.

“Cold Spell” by Donna Andrews is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek story about the young apprentice to a malady-afflicted sorcerer. She ends up along for the ride when he is summoned to solve a murder. Almost every piece of information in the story ties in a neat and satisfying fashion into the conclusion – without feeling too pat. Unfortunately, what this story lacks is context. Why is Gwynn outside of the door of the Headmaster when the story starts? Why doesn’t he find this odd? Why not send another mage to solve the murder if the one requested by the duke is under the weather? Compressed detail is a virtue in a short story, but this one eliminates to the point of feeling generic. The duke, the king (named what? Of where?), magic vaguely described and some of the rules provided too late in the story – these elements don’t kill “Cold Spell,” which is still a satisfying read, but keep it from being truly immersive.

“The Nightside, Needless To Say” by Simon R. Green, on the other hand, exudes context and flavor, packing a potent combination of a gritty other-world, a noir plotline and a wise-cracking narrative. As a newcomer to the Nightside, I found this slice of the setting cohesive and intriguing. I didn’t even feel I needed the introductory scene explaining the nature of the Nightside. This is a fast-paced, entertaining story that unfortunately ends a bit lopsidedly – like the author had some kind of set word count and realized they had to tie it off soon (I’ve been there!) – and like me, you may see it coming. I was also distinctly off-put by the author using bodily functions to make a story point. As to the plot, mystic detective Larry Oblivion has a personal problem. A big one. To say anything else might give the game away.

“Lovely” by John Straley is a bird’s-eye view – literally – of a murder. The narration is swift and entertaining, and the story moves at a lively clip. One really gets inside the head of the raven-turned-inadvertent detective, and the story is the perfect length to sustain the somewhat limited vocabulary and syntax Straley uses to enhance the viewpoint. The only flaw here is that an important event in the end is too casual, an unsatisfying accident.

While “Lovely” was not openly comedic, it definitely had its moments. By now, I’m beginning to wonder if there should have been a “humorous” in the anthology title.

“The Price” by Anne Bishop is the second story in this collection set in the same world as one of the author’s series. Former assassin Surreal investigates three deaths … in a society where murder is not a crime, an interesting twist. Unfortunately, the balance of background and action here is uneven, with several patches of explanation that are obtrusive or clumsy. Even at that, I was not totally sure of the society being portrayed because there were so many comparisons drawn to places and people that didn’t need to be referenced. The character of Surreal is intriguing and sympathetic, and I would enjoy another peek inside her head … and “sidekick” Rainier provides some very satisfying moments. Though I was somewhat annoyed by the cameo of high-powered assistance (both novel protagonists) near the end of the story, I cheered the eventual denouement.

“Fairy Dust” by Charlaine Harris was, for me, a lively introduction to the world of Sookie Stackhouse, who is recruited by fairy twins (or is that triplets?) to solve the murder of their missing third. The prose is clean and quick-paced with a nice dose of humor and the bizarre. The fact that most of the suspects work at a strip club is handled without turning gauche, though there was a part in the story where I had to think, “Geesh, everyone here is horny.” A nice dose of madness in a tight, tidy package. I thought this was a great introduction to Sookie and her world, and it made me glad that I have “Dead Until Dark” waiting on my bookshelf.

“The Judgement” by Anne Perry is a witchcraft trial set in an amorphous world, where Anaya – our heroine but not protagonist – is charged with killing her sister’s husband when he spurns her sister’s advances. This story is told in a unique omniscient point of view and in general carries it off with grace, though the switches don’t start early enough to sustain the style smoothly, and it is somewhat hampered by Perry’s decision not to give the Prosecutor, Defender or Judge proper names. The conclusion is foreshadowed and paced to perfection, though the story could been told in a more compressed form. I confess that the twist in the end – after the solution to the crime – missed me entirely. It didn’t seem to fit.

“The Sorcerer’s Assassin” by Sharon Shinn is a delightful story about the mayhem that follows when one of the quarrelsome senior mages in the Norwitch Academy is found dead … and his contentious colleagues are left to put the pieces together. The main character’s misanthropy and the office “politics” are narrated with panache, and I couldn’t help rooting for her – even as I recognized that if I ever met someone like this, I’d want to throttle them. I particularly liked the element that the narrator, though in charge of the investigation, was a suspect herself … and had to put up with being investigated in turn by her own prime suspect. I only had a few small quibbles. The initial arguments of the sorcerers sometimes seemed too childish for grown adults. I also felt that the spell which saves the narrator later on was misrepresented as being common practice, which makes its crucial influence feel cheap.

“The Boy Who Chased Seagulls” by Michael Armstrong is an intriguing urban fantasy story that slowly unveils both the central mystery and the fantastic element. Uncle wanders the beaches, picking trash and beach glass according to precise rules. It is when he catches a boy chasing seagulls and decides to tell him a cautionary tale that this work of fiction takes wing. Armstrong does a great job of making the ordinary rich with detail, though there are couple descriptions in the internal tale that break the otherwise absorbing mood. I do question whether this story belongs in this anthology, as though there is a mystery, there is no crime and no process of detection.

“Palimpsest” by Laura Anne Gilman follows the team of Wren – a magic-using Retriever – and Sergei on a museum heist that turns into murder. The characters are likeable, the nature and consequences of magic intriguing, and the story whets the appetite for more. Unfortunately, I felt that the murder was an afterthought, inadequately explored and somewhat confusing, while the heist – though worth reading the story in of itself – carried a disproportionate weight. The conclusion, nonetheless, is an enjoyable one in large part because of this emphasis. One minor quibble: Wren seems to have an inordinate number of alternate names. I’m sure there’s a story behind this, but it’s distracting in a work of short fiction.

“The Death of Clickclickwhistle” by Mike Doogan is a madcap science fiction story – the only one in this anthology – of two young men, one diplomat and one ship’s officer, who stumble upon the corpse of an alien representative. This story is quick-paced and humorous, with interwoven pop-culture references that feel fairly natural, and entertaining takes on the difficulties of inter-species translation. A particular highlight is the bizarre menagerie of alien species Doogan introduces. There is so much going on in this story that it can become easy to lose track – and the narrator is largely passive through most of the second half of the story, dragged along by his officer cohort. Still, this story strikes an excellent balance between parody-and-humor and a believable element, from first page to last.

“Cairene Dawn” by Jay Caselberg is a story with a subtle speculative element, but one that will quickly become apparent to students of mythology as narrator Jacques looks for the dead husband of a mysterious woman. The strength of this story is the well-realized atmosphere of Cairo and the familiar myth that is never quite brought to the surface – a fleeting touch of the supernatural. At times, the story bogs down in the sheer amount of detail in the setting, much of which is unnecessary for the eventual denouement. The conclusion may come as no surprise, but it brought a grin to my face.

“Justice is a Two-Edged Sword” by Dana Stabenow is the story of two women appointed Sword and Seer by their country to dispense justice. Once the body of an unfortunate young girl is discovered – and the two main characters find themselves forced to solve a crime in the middle of the night and in the middle of a mob – the investigation and the evidence build nicely. There is a surprising but fitting sentence for the guilty party. However, while I appreciated the stylish way Greek mythology was woven into the underpinnings of the setting, I felt there was too much description of the background and most of it was placed too early in the story – there are multiple pages of history and explanation before the story’s central problem of the murder. It always seems a bit self-centered when an editor puts his/her own story in an anthology, and I question whether this story was exceptional enough to merit it.

Overall, this was an enjoyable anthology with some interesting worlds and flavorful narration. Most of the mysteries are solid and easy to follow, while still holding surprises for the reader. Some of the stories have problems with too much or too little worldbuilding, and what’s interesting is that the writers who seem to have difficulty aren’t necessarily those from the mystery background. A few stories rush or slight the mystery elements, but stand as solid tales in their own right. Out of this collection, “The Sorcerer’s Assassin” was definitely my favorite and seemed the most cohesive blend of fantasy and mystery here, though each story has a unique experience to offer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Dry spell broken!

Afterburn SF has accepted "Chatter Me Timbers" my pseudo-Greek heroic age pirate story.

Primary feeling? Pure relief.


I finished my pen-and-paper markings for my first Flow edit - actually went through the manuscript twice, once in order and once through random chapters. Next step is to convert the markings to computer. Looking at the enormous number of slashes and the relatively few (maybe a half dozen?) number of, "More here"s, I anticipate I'll probably lose 5000 words or so. This'll be interesting when I start shopping it, as the novel will top out around 70k ... good news for small presses, but maybe Too Short for some places.

Friday, August 31, 2007


I just watched this movie, and unfortunately, I thought it unraveled into something completely incomprehensible in the last half hour or so ... it was much more entertaining before they took the mystical element too far, let's just say. Up to the point, while I had some quibbles, the pacing of the suspense and foreshadowing, the historical detail, and the fascinating information about the invention of perfumes, was pitch-perfect. In particular ...

It's a risky idea, making a movie focused on scent in a medium that cannot directly convey the sense of smell, but Perfume makes the concept meaningful with close cameras angles, enhanced visuals and sounds, and a frame narration that prepares the viewer to be launched into a world where scent is all.

This is helped along by the initial use of elements where smell is closely connected to the "idea" of the item: grass and coffee beans are two that stand out as I think back. Maybe, as well, by the fact that the main character doesn't speak at all for the first forty minutes of the movie - his world is not an auditory one, and "shutting down" that sense makes room for others.

Perfume continues to build on the element of scent and its vital essence. If it doesn't quite achieve synesthesia, it comes almost as close as I can imagine film ever doing. Alas, the creepiness that is also built slowly throughout the film is destroyed by the ... plain weird of aforementioned last thirty minutes.

Still, there's an interesting assumption underneath it all ... do people really have scents of their own, or are they merely a combination of what they encounter?


Watch out, authors: it's *my* turn now.

I've decided the next short story collection I read - which will be either "Fantasy Gone Wrong," "Places To Go, People To Kill," or "Powers of Detection" (more likely one of the latter two) - I'm going to review the stories as I go, and post my impressions overall when I've finished. This seems to be good practice, and of late when I've been reading shorts I tend to analyze them in my head anyhow ... this will just take it a step further.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Okay, when I said I wanted to know where everyone was ... I didn't mean I wanted a rejection letter on one of my favorite stories.

Someone is going to take Scylla and Charybdis, I swear it. Actually, it'll be the first scifi story I ever have published if it does get accepted ... maybe this is telling me I shouldn't be writing SF. *eyes*

Sunday, August 26, 2007

That Stuff I Do ...

Been very quiet on the submissions front again. Haven't received any responses in August yet, I think. Makes me wonder if things are going astray ... I've already written one check-query letter and have another two or three that will go out at the end of the month. Is no news good news? My experience has been ... well, not exactly. No news just means that the editors are swamped.

Apologies for the pessimism, but it's been too long since my last acceptance - and a long time before that. Is it simply this batch of stories? A run of the wrong places / long response times? (By this I mean, of course, not that there's anything wrong with where I'm submitting, but that what I sent doesn't happen to match their image - which can happen even when I think I understand what they're looking for.) I am almost "catching up" to my list of forthcomings.

Where is everyone?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Staffs & Starships

My story "The Oracle Unlocked" is reviewed, with only one slightly negative comment:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I've acquired an unfortunate habit of late: I like doing edit-throughs for my short stories on paper. Somehow, seeing them in print increases my awareness of what doesn't read right, what can be cut, and where (less often than the rest) things need to be added. Me being in penny-pinch mode lately, I cringe to think of how much ink that is, but this visual-tactile interaction seems to help, and I can't argue with that.

The urge to start a short story with no planning and no certain goal has been whirring about in my head. I must be mad.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Book Signing

There was no particular rhyme or reason to the long lapse in posting, I just didn't feel like I had much to say ... now I do.

Today, I attended my very first book-signing at GenCon Indianapolis, for two of the anthologies I'm in - Bash Down The Door and Slice Open The Badguy, and Sails & Sorcery (just released). This is a massive gaming convention, and part of the angle was that some of the authors have also written gaming novels. Obviously I was not one of them. There were five of us authors, plus the publisher and editor - it was great to have my first face to face meeting with someone crazy enough to publish me, as well as fellow authors. Turns out I was the only one present who had a BASH story, so my frantic mental meandering as to trying to memorize who'd written what in said anthology ... luckily unnecessary.

It was a surreal experience, and the table wasn't jumping, but we signed a fair number of copies. I think some people just took pity on the five vaguely nervous people hovering at that table trying to look cute and writerly, but it was a blast nonetheless. I can't even remember who I signed to first - I wish I could, because there will be no other firsts. My own contributor's copy of Sails is, of course, fully signed ...

Can't thank William Horner enough for bringing his company out this way and getting us the slot at the Author's Avenue. The experience has ironically made me want to write a story for the Asian-inspired fantasy anthology forthcoming, which is totally not my thing ... pondering a Vlisa-and-Calais story set in Tandura, but I'd have to find a lazy way to get enough background on eastern mythos and a single fantastic element for an idea ...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Essay Clip

Here's a segment from an essay in which I try to convince the world that not only detective novels (the topic of the essay), but novels in general, can be said to follow the scientific method ...

These steps (of the scientific method) are not unfamiliar in stories outside of the detective field, although the steps may not be instantly recognizable and sometimes lead to a goal different from knowledge: getting the girl, saving the world, or just staying alive. Characters gather information or resources towards solving their problems, determine (hypothesize) what intermediary steps must be followed to reach that goal, test that plan of action, and then find out whether their choice was right. This result is not dissimilar to either a disproved hypothesis, which requires one to go back to the drawing board, or an upheld hypothesis, which allows one to continue with the next step in the investigation or journey.

To take an iconic fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings, the main story begins with an identifiable problem: the One Ring must be destroyed. After gathering information on how this can be accomplished, the companions must form a plan of action (a hypothesis), in one case traveling through the Mines of Moria. The Fellowship "tests" their hypothesis, traveling through the mines, and in the end uphold their suspicions that it was not the correct course when they (apparently) lose Gandalf to the Balrog. Their next plan of action takes them to Lothlorien, where these steps repeat through the long arc of the epic to the eventual destruction of the ring. Even this problem cannot be entirely resolved, however, as the final chapters of The Lord of the Rings display the evil that remains in the form of Saruman’s transformation of the Shire. Neither a theory nor the core problem in many novels can be solved in an unequivocal manner – some potential for doubt or a loose thread usually remains.

(A few paragraphs cut for discussion of what the essay was actually about. ;-))

With such close ties to detective fiction, why does the scientific method appear to be relevant more broadly? In stories closer to the modern era – The Lord of the Rings is a product of the mid-twentieth century – the scientific method has become such an intrinsic part of culture that it can be said to influence writers in an unconscious manner. In a broader sense, the scientific method is a codified process of thinking derived from the most effective ways of solving problems and answering questions. These underlying strategies – to identify an adversary before one can face it; to break an immense problem down into smaller pieces – have influenced linear plots long before the scientific method and detective fiction met and mingled.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sometimes ...

Every now and again, a story just doesn't gel. Sometimes, I don't really know the reason for it: the plot is working but I just can't push myself through it. With Smaller Deaths, which I am trying to finish now, I realize that the issues are two-fold: one, I left a big hole somewhere in the plot, and two, it is way too long. The story I had projected at no more than six thousand words, seven if it had to be, is running into the eight ranges now ...

Darnit, Jim, I'm a novelist not a short story writer.

Friday, August 03, 2007


For some reason, this quote amuses me more than it ought to:

"Dumb is just not knowing. Ditzy is having the courage to ask!" -- Jessica Simpson

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Am Interviewed

Check it out! A month of Sails & Sorcery interviews, and I'm spot number 2:

I am also very talkative.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Progress ...

It is truly sad when a rejection letter counts as progress.

My final submission for one of my novel projects just came back with three - four sentences of explanation typed into the letter. This marks the first time I've received a non-form rejection from a major press (Luna Books) and there were some nice things said, though she also confirmed what I've heard before - everything is simply too complex. Unfortunately, this really can't be fixed and still tell the same story, but it is still nice to be regarded well enough that someone took the time to comment.

This is something I'm trying to work on. "Journal" has the potential to be equally complex, but the advantage is that I can ease the complexity into the story, as it starts small and expands slowly. But really, how do you make a non-earth society with its own terminology and language and NOT be complex? Lord and Lady, dukes, counts, etc, really ground you in a particular European period, and that's not what I want. I tried to circumvent this in Butterfly by using ranks that were normal words and still fairly easy to interpret - the Grand Holder is the chief noble in charge of a city, a Scion-Grand would be his son/daughter.

My frustration right now is compounded by the fact that I think I lost several mails over Wednesday night, and I have no way of knowing which/how many/if any were in regards to submissions. I'm reaching the point where my "out" list is far long than my "forthcoming" list to the point where it's depressing. I wonder at the same time if my progress has halted ...


There is something indescribable about the sheer enjoyment I get out of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books. Sure, they're worthy of giggle-fits and make wonderful play out of the literary world, but something about the way it all fits together just ... makes me feel better, somehow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Home Again!

I'm back and settling in - still working on the story I started on the trip and planning ahead to test one of my convictions. I've always felt that the story takes precedence over imparting a message - now I'm contemplating a future work (short story) that will actually move in a direction counter to my personal beliefs. Can I do it? To avoid hypocrisy, I almost have to ...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Once Upon ...

Visited Newport, Rhode Island today, the town where my dad proposed to my mom ... or I should more say, the town where my mother got fed up and said, "Are you asking me to marry you?" It's a swank tourist town with old mansions that were built to keep very rich people occupied - the planning, building and decorating, that is, never mind the residing within.

Because we had my aunt and my cousin with us, we only had time to tour one mansion, the Marble House. The opulence was both astonishing and disturing. The four gilded depictions in the first room still nag at me. Three of them I could identify - Hercules rescuing his wife from the centaur Nereus, Aphrodite rising from the sea, and Poisedon (probably with Amphitrite) - but the fourth left me stumped. Maybe I should do something radical, such as look it up.

But I'm very glad I live now, when jumping out of a peach tree and punching a boy would not have made the local newspaper. Not that I'd even be in the tree in the first place, but the social fabric is very different.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Seen in a Bookstore

"Censorship is like telling a man he can't have steak because a baby can't chew it." -- Mark Twain

Then there's the exasperation of dealing with my relatives. It's a good exasperation, but sometimes it can only be summed up with the following statement of mine: "This family needs to give personality transfusions to the needy."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New World Old

Connecticut by the shore is wrapped in a gentle and mysterious fog.

Sunlight bursts in moody flashes. Most of the time, the lack of the light is matched by a lack of contrasts: the shadows are long, deep and cool, but not dark.

In the woods, the remnants of stone walls built by the early settlers. It's said that if all these walls were laid end to end, they would circle the earth three times. Maybe this is no longer true, for many of these walls have been broken down, bits and pieces taken away for other structures. It's a concept more enduring than historical preservation, cannibalizing bits of the past and putting them in a new context.

New England is a lot like old England, cramped roads and tight spaces jammed atop each other contrasted by incredible, endless open spaces, wild patches that seem contradictory when the nearest town is crammed elbow to elbow. New Englanders, on the other hand, don't seem as friendly as their counterparts on the other side of the pond ... maybe it's the lack of tea.

Drove to a rehearsal dinner today; the sky was stormy, cold shadow pouring over pure white. The deep woods swallowed us whole, delving deeper into the grey. The road branched; a hand-lettered sign the only indication of the cross-roads. Into the possible unknown we drove, and in the twists and turns without sign of human hand behind the road, it felt as if some amoral fey had pulled the road aside into a realm no mortal should tread.

The next bend brought civilization - and a graveyard.

Turns out we were sheltering under tornado weather. A close call with a distant storm ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Flashshot - while it's here!

I just realized that in the chaos of the past few days, I missed my Flashshot story "The Letter" hitting the presses. Quick-shimmy over to and read it! It should be near the bottom.

If you happen to miss it, give me a ping and I'll email it. Dated July 9th so it won't be on the last ten for much longer ...

(Note to self: update publication credits when back from vacation. Which yes, I am on as of now.)

Now For Reading

My second poem publication (ever!) is now available in the recent edition of OG's Speculative Fiction:

Fear my haiku.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Gosh, I hope not

"Tension is a prerequisite for creative living." -- Agnes Meyer

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I keep trying to understand the excitement, the energy and the angst that go into this yearly ritual of trying to finish a 50,000 word (or more - but finish) novel in a month. On an intellectual level, I realize that for some people, this is an immense achievement, that finishing something that might be rambly, with plotholes, logical leaps and errors abound - but FINISHED - is a big deal. On an emotional level, it doesn't quite make sense to me. If you want to write a novel, strike a bargain with yourself. Commit yourself to manageable goals per day or per week. Keep the inner editor in the next room, but keep the door open in case he/she/they shout something major.

Expect to lapse, but get back into it. It's like dieting.

I suppose I came into Nanowrimo with a weird perspective. I had recently discovered that with my "goofing off" journal project, which involved me posting a character's adventures in "real time" (as each entry was written), had averaged about a thousand words a day. I knew, and committed myself, to two thousand words a day as I got back into other projects. In other words, I wasn't looking at Nano as a wild ride, but as a hard-and-fast deadline with company.

I skipped it last year as I just wasn't ready to start something. This year, we'll see: I've fallen off my quotas and it's been long time since I've to meet them. I may be neck-deep into Journal of the Dead by then. Or ...

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I live fairly close to a private lake, which has been experiencing growing problems with algae blooms and flooding. The community association hired contractors to dredge and deepen the lake. Turns out they vastly underestimated the amount of work necessary and the amount of space they would need for dumping. Which leads us to ...

The lake as it stands.

After being drained bone-dry, the lakebed developed small fissures - canyon territory in miniature. Then it started to grow over. There was still low water, creating a marsh-like environment. The growth continued, now a wild underbrush filled with poison ivy. And as the dredging stopped from lack of funds - got to love contractors who won't finish what they started - great mounds of dirt have been left behind.

This has completely changed the local ecosystems. The explosion of turtles and bullfrogs subsided into a growing flock of herons and an osprey or two. The herons have become so comfortable they're squabbling for territory. The ducks have more or less vacated the premises for other local ponds. Worse, a lot of the fish are dead, and the buzzards are definitely enjoying themselves.

To date, the project has basically been abandoned for about a month. Now they seem to be doing something, but I don't know if it's fixing something or pumping the water back in and hoping for the best.

Sure glad I don't live ON the lake.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, er ...

I just had the following review posted. (I should explain that this story was submitted to a venue with a romance sub-line; the editor got permission to send even non-romance genre stories, hence the unusual heading here - erotic, even? Ack!)

This would be lovely except for one thing.

JWP shut down last fall.

But all is not lost! This has given me renewed determination to see this story in print.


Wanted to wait to announce this one until I had formal notification, but now that I have it (hooray!), my story, formerly "The Clockwork Oracle," now "The Oracle Unlocked," will be coming out in the premier issue of new magazine Staffs and Starships, focusing on traditional but literary-quality scifi and fantasy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Checking Out" is now available in the current issue of Tales of The Talisman:

At least this pub doesn't get reviewed by Tangent. This relieves me phenomenally.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

You're Only As Old As You Feel

One of the things that has changed over the years is the age of my protagonists - or more accurately, the ages at which I feel certain perspectives and experiences make sense. When I wrote the first draft of my novel following Nelia, she was seventeen. Along the way, she became nineteen, and if I rewrite it again it will probably be early twenties. My protagonists have allowed themselves to be older without taking the "cheat" of being immortal - one of the pivotal characters in Butterfly's Poison is in her sixties.

I've also become more interested in families. Again citing Butterfly, one of the main hero-villains (it's a bit muddy in this particular novel as to which is which) is a widower with a daughter. Journal For The Dead, my prospective next project, follows a mother trying to find her son.

Yet I feel one of my personal goals with writing is to never forget that children and teens can be more capable, certain and wise than anyone gives them credit for. They may need more protection and they may not have as much experience, but they are not necessarily lesser creatures for their age. Kahnrey, the servant girl from Pens In Silver and Gold, ultimately provides one of the MCs with the inspiration to solve one of the central problems of the story. Civine, twelve, vivid, stubborn, tough and yet still able to see the world in simple terms, picks her father up from the shadows of the afterlife and puts him on the right path. (Ten Cities Down, short story.)

If anything, I'm a bit too fascinated with the wise child, the precocious youngster who knows more than they should ... but it isn't necessary to take that path to create a viable child-or-teen even in a work of fiction directed for a "grown-up" audience.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


"The world laughs in flowers." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, June 30, 2007


"I can stand what I know. It's what I don't know that frightens me." -- Frances Newton

Post-carpal tunnel surgery. Expect scriptorial scarcity.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On The Road ...

I've traveled to New Jersey, Edinburgh, all along Scotland, Austin TX, Canada and other destinations, but this is the first time I've driven myself doing it. It was quite a trip, between the spate of torrential rain followed by ... lighter rain in bright sunshine ... (I am sitting in the car being weirded out by having my lights on my sunglasses on) ... and then getting lost not once but twice. When I finally hit SR 58, I discovered that they were re-paying the first strip ... but it was an adventure, and there was sunshine and ice cream bars and excessively loud singing.

I always find myself very soothed by rest areas. At least on the car side of the barrier, no one ever seems to be just making a daily grind; there are elderly folks on retirement vacation, neatly dressed families who will probably at the seams in another hour or two of driving ... compact trailer homes, vans, sporty vehicles. Today there were some non-transients; a couple workers carefully putting in another park bench. I got myself the aforementioned ice cream bar there to stay cool.

Passed a veterinary hospital in the wilds between nowhere and Wellington (aka Nowhere: The Sequel). Made me cry.

Off now to walk to Wendy's. It's only four blocks, broad daylight, and the idea of getting back in the car makes me cringe like nothing else. Cheerio!


Seriously, it's sad when the night before a trip, you dream about somehow missing the day you're supposed to depart.

The hour I can see - and I dreamed about that, too - but the day?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alphabet Soup

A simpler game for putting together a driving music CD - by the letters, but only if the word that the song title begins with is important to that title. Of course, I had to drop some seeing as a CD fits twenty or so and there are twenty-six letters, but ...

1. Always Tomorrow (Gloria Estefan)
2. Book of Days (Enya)
3. Carrier of a Secret (Sissel)
4. Disappear (Sahlene)
5. Everywhere (Michelle Branch)
6. Free (Faith Hill)
7. Golden Heart (Kirsty MacColl)
8. Higher (Gloria Estefan)
9. Isobel (Dido)
First Skip --
10. King Kong (Kirsty MacColl)
11. Lucky Girl (Gloria Estefan)
12. Miss April (Chantal Kreviazuk)
Skip --
13. One By One (Enya)
14. Pot of Gold (Dian Diaz)
Skip --
15. Reach (Gloria Estefan)
16. Suddenly (LeAnn Rimes)
17. Treachery (Kirsty MacColl)
18. Unison (Celine Dion)
Skip --
19. Wearing White (Martina McBride)
Skip --
20. You (Gloria Estefan)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fashion Facets

Those of you who are fashion mavens, maybe you can answer me this.

What is it with high heels? Why is a few inches of height worth potential broken ankles, broken wrists, and other mishaps? And why is that the higher the heel, the dressier it is? Is there something about formal occasions that requires risk to life and limb?

Purses! Why is that one has to search forever for one that falls to the hip, where it doesn't encumber the natural drape of the arm? What is this conspiracy that thinks, "Oh, the bag should be tucked under the arm and thus thrusting it out to ridiculous dimensions," is a good idea?

Don't even get me started on earrings - oww oww! who would wear anything that heavy? - and pantyhose, the use of which completely stumps. I'm sure the inventor of them is looking down somewhere, giggling and protesting, "It was a joke! A joke!"

I enjoy being a girl, but come on. I demand to be able to wear whatever I want until men are required to wear kilts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I think someone has a bit of sunblindness.

Yes, that is my mother. Yes, she will probably kill me if she knows I posted a picture of her on the web.
This look used to mean, "Hey. Stop ignoring me and the ball and play with me." (PS: Those are not my mother's legs.)

Dog. Parents. Dessert.

This is definitely the "I got away with something!" look.

I don't know how I caught her in exactly this pose, I really don't.

For comparison purposes, a picture about two years ago when the floor was torn up for remodeling. She looks vexed.

The fierce white wolf dozes. (PS: Those are also not my mother's feet.)

Her highness reclines.

"I'm on the move
I'm gettin' on
I'm breakin' out
And it won't take long
Behind the wheel
Got a song
Pedal's down
And I'm gone ..." --- Cadillac Car (Dreamgirls)

Pockets Full of Memories ...

Monday, after she had gone through a year of increasing illness and much longer of not being quite right, we had to put my dog Nimi to sleep.

Nimi was a birthday present for my sixteenth – my parents decided they had to do something when they found me kissing the hamster. (I believe the hamster in question was Willow, who was remarkably dumb even for a hamster but quite amiable and so much as you can say this about hamsters, affectionate.) Most kids want their own set of wheels by sixteen; I was delighted with the promise of a puppy as soon as a new litter was born. My parents found the Bichon Frise breed because they don’t shed and are hypo-allergenic.

We went out to see the pups when they were three weeks old. One of them crawled into my lap and fell asleep. Instant love – the breeders agreed to put a dot of magic marker on her so they could tell her apart. Then a long period of debate where we tried to find a name that would fit. We finally settled on Nimue (Nim-ooh-AY), the Celtic name for the Arthurian Lady of the Lake. (Seeing as formal breed registration requires a name long enough for (some) uniqueness, Nimue, Lady of the Lake is her officially registered name.) Nimi for short.

About a month later, I brought her home. The fateful moment – all the puppies were playing in the yard. One decides to trundle off in another direction, exploring … and all the others followed. Instant thought: seriously alpha dog. My father, with some trepidation, “Which one is ours?” to which the breeder replied, pointing at the lead dog, “Oh, that one.”

She was small enough at that point that I could carry her in one hand. I quickly found she was both very smart and very stubborn. She was second in her obedience class – out of two dogs. Supposedly, Bichons don’t bark – Nimi loved to and almost up to the last would kill her food, play bark, demanded out of her crate during meals, let me know at the top of her lungs when she wanted something … she always had to have the last word. If you scolded her for barking, she’d tack one more tiny little bark on the end as if to say, “So there.” An attempt to teach her not to bark using the hose just ended up in her refusing to be outside if it was on.

When wound up, she dashed frantically around the house, a pellmell explosion of energy. We called this “mad dog” and it became quite a sight when we remodeled with wood floors and she went skidding … she chased rabbits and never came close to catching them. She never learned to distinguish squirrels, except for the fact they were harder to catch; they were both “bunnies” to her.

The baby of the family, she loved being cuddled and scritched and would twist her body back into it. Stop, and she’d paw at you for more. She licked faces as “kisses.” She invited herself wherever she wanted to be, clambering over people if they were in the way and then stretching out to make room. She adored people and when I started teaching harp, could tell when I was setting up for arrivals and patiently sat by the window on the lookout for them. We’d joke about her “Lively intelligence” when she was playing dumb – really, she chose to be smart only when it benefited her.

Some of her favorite past-times were walks and rides in the car. She had (far too many) toys and seemed to have the most fun with the ones far bigger than she because they “fought back” when she tried to throw them around.

She wasn’t too fond of other dogs most of the time; for some reason, multi-colored canines were a particular source of trauma. We ended up referring to them as, “Plaid dogs.” She made enemies of the lawn-mower and the inflatable exercise ball, barking at them and then valiantly running away, but for some reason was never bothered by the vacuum-cleaner and completely ignored my harp.

But she was never right physically, from a very young encounter with kidney stones that required surgery to continuous infections that eventually morphed into a trip to the emergency pet clinic on Memorial Day 2006. She was way too smart about her medications, dunking her food to wash them out or shuffling them to the side of her mouth even when placed in peanut butter, though after a while she generally stopped trying to get rid of them; she seemed to recognize they were meant to help.

She was back at the emergency clinic in the fall; by spring of 2007, her condition had worsened to the point where the vet finally prescribed subcutaneous fluids. I, terrified of needles, had to insert one under her skin in two places twice a day.

For a short while, it worked. She was as bright and cheerful as ever, and I breathed a sigh of relief – knowing she didn’t have long, but thinking on the order of six months to a year.

It was three weeks before she started to mope again, refusing about half her food every day. Last Tuesday, she ate nothing the entire day. When she turned her nose up at breakfast, I brought her into the vet and found out that her kidneys (the issue all along) had failed and she had almost no kidney function. There wasn’t anything left to do.

Making the decision was horrendously wrenching, but the vet was able to provide us with some shots to perk her up and give her some energy for the weekend. So she had walks, she had car-rides, she had the people food she was usually forbidden – and my family and I went through 54 exposures of film between Saturday and Monday. But we could tell that even these measures weren’t working: between shots, she was confused, wobbly, depressed and refusing food again, and for longer each time.

So Monday, the appointment. The vet and vet-tech were wonderfully compassionate and caring. It was so easy it seemed unreal. Got home, where one of my students – who is renting my smaller harp – very thoughtfully dropped it off so a young trial student could play something that wasn’t bigger than she was. Turned out she’d had to put her dog to sleep earlier that day. I felt terribly guilty that I’d asked her to drop it by.

I’m saving Nimi’s crate bear and her collar; the latter will have a locket and a few strands of her hair in it. I hope if there is a heaven she’s found my grandfather Papa Tony, who loved his “nutsie muttsie,” and his old dog Hutch. Maybe they’ll startle a few butterflies back to earth for us.

Addendum – my only real composition, The Butterfly Waltz, was written last year shortly before my friend Lauren’s wedding (hi, Lauren!). It came to me after I was grousing on a walk that I was really bothered I could write accompaniment, write lyrics, write *books*, but not music, when a butterfly flitted across my path. My mother believes butterflies are my grandfather saying hello.

I was playing the waltz and writing the section about “butterflies” above when my uncle Chris called. He said he had lost a few items, including his car keys, and asked Papa Tony to find them. Sure enough, they showed up. My aunt Jeanne said she’d spotted a butterfly at about the same time and never seen one so high.

Hi, Papa Tony. Don’t let her boss you around too much.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Testing ...

One ... two ... three ...

Wind And Water

Another CD collection of songs. Many of these were 4-5 mins long, so I nearly overloaded the disk. Yes, there is some greater news, but at present I'm trying to distract myself from it, so ...

Collection theme is Water and Wind. It's more the former than the latter. Hence the billing.

1. A New Day Has Come - Celine Dion
2. All Soul's Night - Loreena McKennitt
3. I'm Gonna Fly - Sydney Forest
4. The Second Element - Sarah Brightman
5. Roots And Wings - Anne Murray
6. Rain, Tax (It's Inevitable) - Celine Dion
7. Breathe - Michelle Branch
8. Dust In The Wind - Sarah Brightman
9. Before You - Chantal Kreviazuk
10. Sisters In The Wind - Laura Powers
11. Titanic Days - Kirsty MacColl
12. River Deep, Mountain High - Celine Dion
13. Seven Seas - Sarah Brightman
14. Last Day Of Summer - Kirsty MacColl
15. 8th World Wonder - Kimberley Locke
16. The River Cried - Sarah Brightman
17. The Old Ways - Loreena McKennitt

Monday, June 11, 2007


"I have never been able to accept the two great laws of humanity - that you're always being suppressed if you're inspired and always being pushed into a corner if you're exceptional. I won't be cornered and I won't stay suppressed." -- Margaret Anderson

(There's a reason for my scarcity this time. Expect a longer post as soon as I've had some film developed.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Gratuitious Brag

Fantasy-writers is a smidge behind on their challenge results, so April just came through. I wasn't watching real carefully, because I'd assumed sheer length put me out of the running, but:

Go figure, I say. Just ... go figure. ;-)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Long Time No ...

Blink and time flies - I know it has been a while since I've posted. Been caught up in online gaming and the vagaries of rejection letters. (The writer's friend! Okay, not precisely.)

I keep having long, involved, story-like dreams. One is being adapted into a short story on a subject that has been bothering me for a while as one I simply have never been able to do. The other one appears to be blameable on Reign of Fire.

It's official: I *am* going to my cousin's wedding in July. Going to fly up early, more than likely, and spend a few days in Boston before trekking to Connecticut to see the relatives. Any especial recommendations?

Saving books for the trip as well. Currently reserving Something Rotten (Jasper Fforde) and Young Miles (Lois McMaster Bujold) - an omnibus of The Warrior's Apprentice, The Vor Game and The Mountains of Mourning, a novella/novelette that occurs between the two. For a third I'm going to want traditional fantasy, a mystery or an anthology, but haven't decided yet. Yeah, I doubt I'll read all of them. It's the packing that counts.

Have had *some* good news - Allegory is holding onto "Poetic License" as a maybe. I'll know by the end of the month.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I've had the Transient excerpt on my webpage since time immemorial, so decided to switch it to a story of different tone. This is a fairly significant chunk of "Shared World," a rather brief story that examines what happens when you write yourself into your fantasy world as a god ...

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Added a review for "This Is My Funniest" to my Reading Recommendations.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wow. Just ... wow

In the interests of providing a balanced view of reviewers (and of bragging), I just discovered this, which includes a review of "Hour By Hour" In Abyss and Apex #22 (keep scrolling down!):

Actual review starts, "I first read Lindsey Duncan at Alienskin magazine, and was very impressed with her skill and inventiveness."

Thursday, May 24, 2007


When I read short stories, my preferred venue is anthologies. While some magazines are fantastic - the now-deceased Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine was one of the best publications ever; I have an abiding love from Andromeda Spaceways, I recently picked up Talebones and was pleasantly surprised that I actually *liked* dark fantasy ... - I find anthologies more appealing. The unified theme, the opportunity to see several authors' take on the same topic (another reason I like the monthly challenges), plus the fact that anthologies seem to avoid the bizarre and experimental, the surreal stories that seem predominantly designed to make the reader realize that the author is far more profound than they are.

A quick sampling of the anthologies on my shelf:

Murder By Magic - a melding of the supernatural and sleuthing, written by both speculative and mystery authors
Twice Told Tales - fairy tales told from the perspective of the losers
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding - fantasy stories involving marriages and weddings
Sword & Sorceress XIV and XXI - sword and sorcery stories with strong female protagonists
Cosmic Cocktails - science fiction stories set around/involving ... bars and taverns
Thou Shalt Not Kill - mystery collection involving priests, either as suspects or investigators

Monday, May 21, 2007

BASH now available!

After patient waiting - and it was worth the wait! - the very first story I ever sold, "But Before I Kill You ..." a send-up of evil overlords everywhere, is now available in Fantasist Enterprises' Bash Down The Door And Slice Open The Badguy.

You can find details here:

In which newly-crowned Velarre determines to take on the role of evil overlady while avoiding the mistakes of her predecessors. Featuring a puzzling priest, a lumbering lord and formidable fashions.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Last Word

This is officially the final sentence(s) in my novel Flow:

Chailyn nodded. “I am sure I will need your help in the future, my friends.”

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This one is for "Hour By Hour" in the current issue of Abyss and Apex. This is the first fantasy mystery story I managed to sell, and I'm fairly pleased with the review.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I recently saw this movie in the comfort and privacy of my own home. The music instantly had me hooked. It's bright, energetic and infectious, and expertly woven into all levels of the story: stage performances of the group, "story songs" ala the tunes in a musical, and some pieces that were straight opera, with the dialogue and conflict sung. (I believe the term is "rock opera" here.) Many of these clips stemmed from or wove into rehearsal scenes, stage reprises, progress montages, radio announcements ... skillful integration of awesome music.

As far as the story itself, the last part of the movie slowed almost to the point of drifting interest and could have been truncated without losing any of the impact, but it was otherwise an engrossing storyline. What struck me the most was the fact that no character was completely in the right throughout. A series of partway wrong decisions created all the misfortunes, and you still sympathized with (most of) the characters despite them.

The performances were fantastic. I can definitely see both supporting act(or/ess) Oscar nominations (I'm indecisive about Hudson's win still), though this is definitely a movie where main and supporting blurs. Hudson's voice is shatteringly powerful, but what really impressed me was Beyonce's range. She managed to "tone down" when singing the stage-sets a character who was supposed to have a fairly unexceptional voice, and then ripped out for a few of the opera/story songs mentioned above.

(Mild spoilers below.)

Dreamgirls' story arc is best summed up by the two songs that are both, at pivotal points in the story, repackaged by another singer. These songs represent taking something raw and vibrant and commercializing it. It's particularly striking in the second set of songs, where one simple word-choice completely alters the meaning of the song. In the original (this song is performed, not story), the singer expresses her wish to love a man, but "you really don't have the time." In the recap, it becomes, "I really don't have the time." One little pronoun and a very striking expression of regret becomes bubbly, and the rest of the song thematics follow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

My clever plan to conceal my Mother's Day gift in my mother's keyboard tray went horribly awry.

I knew I had to act fast, because she was talking about going out and purchasing the book I left for her. So I asked her to check something for me.

Turns out she only needed the mouse. Never pulled the tray out.

So I, thinking frantically, suggested she go on and look for a coupon. She tells me to do it. I pull out the tray.

Mother talks blithely, looking up, looking down, never once at the keyboard. "What do you want me to do?" says she.

And I reply, finally at my wit's end, "Will you LOOK at the left side of your keyboard?"

Yep, that finally did it.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Second review I've ever received - mixed opinion, mostly bad on Winged Words:

Feeling a bit shell-shocked. Don't they know authors read these?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ambivalence in Fiction

Sorry I've been quiet ... life is insane. Here's a bit of a quote from an essay I just submitted. The theme is Poe, and I claimed that his story served to create a sense of ambivalence in readers - and uses claustrophobia to enhance it. To support why the heck you'd want to do that anyway:

Ambivalence is a powerful force in fiction because it leaves the reader unsettled. If a writer leaves clear signposts that a character is the hero – and portrays them with sufficient skill – then the reader feels frightened when the character is in jeopardy and relieved when they escape. The emotion is generally resolved in the mind of the reader and then forgotten. If a writer manages to create a sense of ambivalence, however, the reader may find himself in a state of emotional suspension. He cannot simply resolve the issue and move on. Many of the best stories cause these uncertainties to linger in the minds of readers. Claustrophobia can enhance this ambivalence because it metaphorically traps the reader. If the sense of being shut in is conveyed vividly enough, it transfers to the reader, just as reading about a frightening situation can cause his heart to race.

In reading Poe, what I was really impressed with was the flow of the language. It's very rhythmic, including the use of punctuational tricks you couldn't get printed nowadays. (So many good things have been thrown out with the bathwater of advances in literature! But I digress.)