New Post Writing again

The Latest Doings & Goings-on


Court of___________ series. Sarah J Maas. Three books & a novella with more on the way. I gobbled them all up like potato chips and have moved on to the author’s other series, the name of which I have misplaced.  Good, solid European/Celtic-based fantasy but with some quirks that may or may not rub a reader wrong.  (1) There’s a definite romance feel to the relationship developments and the physical descriptions, and although the books are published by YA Bloomsbury, um…there are full-on sex scenes too. Which I like but was not expecting. (2) The characters refer to people as males and females…that one starts to grate after a while. I know, the rationale is that there are Fae and fairies and arguments are made about man/woman only applying to humans, but…I respectfully disagree and dislike the reductiveness of it nonetheless. (3) There’s a subtext of “marriage & family is everything,” with romantic love complications being the only driving motivation for nearly every character’s development.

Me, I didn’t mind them, and the books are wildly popular, but…still. These are things I notice.


Avengers: Infinity War. (Sorta spoilers?) I enjoyed it right up to the end, which wasn’t an end OR a cliffhanger and has left me with…mixed feelings.  It’s worse than if I’d gotten to the last page of The Two Towers and was told I couldn’t read Return Of the King for a year, because reading even the most visual of books is not as visceral and immediate as viewing a movie. The choice of a total downer endpoint (and the painfully problematic nature of some choices leading to that point) pulled me out of the story, and that was disappointing. I wanted to be excited about anticipating the next part. Now I’m merely hoping it isn’t a huge letdown. Oh, well.

Winchester. A delicious old-fashioned haunted house story, complete with a cast of flawed protagonists, loads of  mysterious supporting characters, family failures and secrets, and tons of jump scares. The historical elements—including the magnificent sets & costumes—made for wonderful atmospherics. It’s beautifully produced, crisply modern, and yet it sets a retro 70’s horror movie ambiance in the best way.


I have discovered that if I add an extra 1/2 c of greek yogurt and extra sugar to my cherry drop scone recipe, they taste a lot like cherry cheesecake. Next experiment: sub in some almond flour to see how it affects the texture.

And I’ve perfected the recipe I call “why buy teeny boxes of Boursin when I have goat cheese and yogurt plus herbs & spices from my kitchen & garden?”  It’s delicious on lots of things, and so easy I can make it in a bowl with a fork. Yum.


Spring has finally sprung. We’re still at half the average growing degree days for this point in the year, but with the summery days, we’re catching up fast.  I got the shrubs in need of shaping cut back just in time, before they leafed out practically overnight. And since Spouseman has enough energy back to join in the yard fun & games again this year (YAY!) the bindweed & dandelions in the beds are getting properly annihilated.

Most of the things I planted last year came back. I’ve added a few new perennials and moved around some that have been propagating.  On the annuals side, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are in, serendipity seeds have been scattered. Still to come: basil, more rosemary & lavender plants for pots and beds (maybe I can keep the pots alive this year…) and some geraniums for color.

And I need to buy more dirt. (Just writing those words makes me giggle—buy dirt?!—but it’s true. I harvest enough from the beds each year that I need to replace biomass. Because SCIENCE!)

And since you’ve made it this far, Writing:

My last post had the mopey details. The happy big thing is, I have met some fantastic folk at a sorta-local reading series. Gumbo Fiction Salon happens on second Thursdays at the Galway Arms in Chicago. There are a couple of featured readers every month and open mic. Genre-friendly to the max, but not restricted to science-fiction/fantasy, or even to prose. Supportive, audience of other writers 7 writing adjacent folk.  Good food, good company, good times. What’s not to love?

It’s only sorta-local because I’m near Chicago, not in Chicago. Near-ish. Like, it takes an hour to get there.) ANYway. It’s well worth the public transit adventure.

I’ll be there again tonight, reading from Rough Passages if I get a mic slot. I’ll definitely be reading in July, I’m a featured reader that month.





Because it’s pretty.

This year the sand plum, the flowering plum (unless it’s a cherry or some other  heirloom fruit tree, we and the arborists are still uncertain after 18 years) the forsythia, the hyacinths, and the scented daffodils, and most of the tulips decided to bloom within the same week. In a few more days we’ll have lily of the valley blooming too. If I don’t expire of hay fever from the pollen, I’ll be nose-drunk on all the perfumes.

If you squint at the garage in the pic with the orange tulips you can just see the edge of the porch where I often write during the summer.

Happy spring, all!

Not tired of my words yet? You could always buy something I’ve written. My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website.

Check out this page to judge all my books by their covers, click any cover for details and more links. Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works, so many choices!


Writing again

The latest in etcetera with occasional SHOUTYCAPS


A little of everything in this last go-round.


One Last Quest M. A. Ray. I bought this short on Amazon and gobbled it down that evening, but it’s also being released as a serial on so I’ve been  re-visiting it there. Because it’s that good. If you have not yet ventured to the world of Rothganar, make plans now. (I really need to get better about listing the indie ebooks I read along with the print ones. Memory like a steel sieve, that’s what I have.)

Nature’s God Matthew Stewart.  Chewed through it. Dense, immense, packed with mind-blowing historical and philosophical material.

The Royal Sentinel L Davidson. It’s the sequel to the Redwood Rebel, which I reviewed on this blog ages ago. (obligatory link here)  Royal Sentinel being released as a serial too. Follow it on the author’s blog or on Wattpad.

The latest in fluff: Lady Claire Is All That Maya Rodale, The Trouble With Dukes & The Heir Grace Burrowes

Side note: I logged a bunch  o’ books into Goodreads. (go, organization!) I’m at 60% of last year’s total already, and the year isn’t half done.  (35 books to last year’s total of 50, for the numbers people.) Kinda highlighted for me  how bad last year truly was. And how much time I was wasting on channel-surfing the internet.  I mean, I knew, but…yeah. Doing more feels better. Yay.

TV & Movies

Moana. Loved it. LOVED IT. So many quotable lines. I didn’t even mind the songs. The song Shiny is a fabulous David Bowie homage. And Maui at one point says, “If you start singing, I’m going to throw up.”

Inferno. Based on a not-so-good Dan Brown novel. (like most Dan Brown novels, the plot pivots on a premise so flawed I cannot stomach the rest of it.)  The movie? BADDER. SO BAD.

Ben-Hur: The Remake. AKA Ben-Hur the Cliff’s Notes edition with God voiceover, Ben-Hur the Pretty People version, Ben-Hur re-imagined by committee…  It was horrible. The plot is less historically accurate, less theologically accurate, AND less true to the original book than the Charlton Heston movie, a feat I didn’t think possible.

Still watching Grand Tour with Spouseman. Episode 4 is the big winner so far. Silly, silly, fun. And Jeremy Clarkson admitted that Porsches are fantastic. So there.


Spent a half-day off on a celebratory “Woo-hoo, Spouseman is done with radiation treatment” trip to the botanic garden. Results: many pretty pictures, fresh air, exercise and actual appetite, and (later)  wipeout exhaustion. Deli overload celebration meal was also a success. I took zero food pictures, and the leftovers made for delicious lunches and dinners.


Spring means I start eating pickles with everything. I don’t know why.  I crave pickles and fresh mushrooms too, actually. Luckily Makes me glad almost any veggie can be quick-pickled (except greens. I would not recommend pickled kale. Or spinach.) ANYway. Green beans, peas, corn niblets, red peppers…all of ’em go in the fridge jar.

Scones.  I have made so many different kinds of scones lately. So. Many.  Why haven’t I made chocolate chip cherry ones yet?  That will have to happen soon. <cue music>


How I celebrate that it’s almost Real Spring: I bought my summer bulbs. Dahlias and gladiolas, mostly.  I know I could dig up glads and the dahlias in the fall and overwinter them, but…I never do. I picked up a big bag of mixed Asian lilies this year too. It’s time to bump up the color variety. They come back every year, but every year more and more of them are orange. I thought I might be mis-remembering, but no. I checked old photos. Yellows and pinks and white. Last year. ORANGE EVERYWHERE. This year I am going for a bit more variety.

And that’s a wrap.

Not tired of my words yet? You could always buy something I wrote. Check out this page to judge all my books by their covers. Or head straight to Amazon, if that’s your preference.



Writing again

The most recent ramblings of me

I’ve been busier creating more than consuming of late, and I’ve also taken some tedious life detours, but here’s the latest “what I’ve been enjoying” scoop.


1636 Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz: Kerryn Offord & Rick Boatright. Fun, lighthearted alternate history sf/fantasy.  It’s an installment in the Ring of Fire bookset. (21 novels, 7 anthologies and going strong.) That is both an asset and a drawback. Good: It’s a familiar world, yet it is so thoroughly filled with unique characters that nothing ever feels like a retread. Bad: There are so many intersecting plots that it’s easy to lose track of all the tangential characters who get mentioned. And it’s just…there.

Wild Harmonic: Beth Patterson.  Great setting, clever concept, urban fantasy that feels urban AND fantastic. Good, solid fun read.  Reminded me a little of War for the Oaks in that it’s all about musicians and hidden worlds, but it’s also nothing like WFtO, and I was immensely pleased that it captured the feel of New Orleans as I’ve experienced it instead of going all cliche smoky-sugary-angsty vampire-packed like certain other NOLA-based series do. I liked it so much that I barely minded it using present tense.  And I do not get along with present tense at all. Nope.

I’m including a purchase link with because it’s also a brand new book by an author I know, that isn’t available in most bookstores (REMEMBER TO ASK YOUR LIBRARY TO BUY IT) and well, you know how I am about pushing things I like. Here you go: BUY LINK.

Once Broken Faith (and more) Seanan McGuire. More urban fantasy. All fae, all the time.  I started this series with book 1 and I love the way it’s developed. This is the the latest, and I embarked upon a re-read. I think the plot doesn’t hit its stride until book 3 or 4, much like the Dresden novels, and like those, I enjoy a periodic visit down memory lane.  I’m into the third book again.

Viewings both TV and Movies

Supergirl continues. Season 2 moved to the CW, and I still like it.

Frequency. New series based on the same concept as the movie from 2000. (Cross-time ham radio communication between parent & child.) Was recommended to me by someone who knows my dislike for time travel, so I risked the pilot. Glad I did.  Four episodes in, it’s atmospheric, dramatic, polished and well-acted.

Designated Survivor got booted off the viewing list. They put in five good episodes before pulling out the flags, regressive ideas and dog whistles, but they did, and now I’m out.

Veronica Mars. The Movie. It did a good job of capturing the feel of the television series, the story was engaging, and I enjoyd it. There is something to be said for fan service, and this movie did it well.

Locke. I don’t remember why I ordered this movie from Netflix even after viewing it. Tom Hardy may have entered into the decision process.  It was an interesting exercise in storytelling through conversation, it was a phenomenal character piece…and it all takes place in a car, driving at night. Hrrrrrrm.

Silver Chalice. Paul Newman. This oldie was showing late-night on a commercial free channel. I hadn’t seen it in 40 years and decided what the hell. Good choice? I dunno. Perfect for the time, but I in pain on pain meds. It was as awful, stilted, and trippy this time around as when I was young and didn’t know how bad bad could get.  It’s like a sword & sandals New Testament epic interpreted by someone taking LSD.  So weird. SO BAD.

Big Screen:

Dr Strange. Cumberbatch + cape + special effects+ fabulous cast = excellence. Wong the librarian is glorious, and Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One…well. I can’t think of a movie she’s in where I haven’t adored her.  (Yes, even the awful Constantine movie. She was phenomenal in that, and she’s delightful in Dr. Strange.)  ANYway. It was good. I’ll see it again. I’ll own it. And when Thor 3 comes out, I might have slightly higher than bargain basement hopes for it, since it appears it will star, Thor, Loki AND Dr. Strange. (swoon)

That’s all in the “taking things in” category.

Kitchen magic:  Made apple crisp and applesauce and only burned some of it. Used up old frozen bananas and stale beer to make delicious banana beer bread, proving bad ingredients can make tasty results. Laid in the first of the frozen winter cookie doughs. PErfected my salsa/rice/chicken lazy bake. And last week all my food energies went into making puddings, jelloes and experimental mashed potato varieties, courtesy of oral surgery recovery.

For those keeping score, I like strawberry jello and red raspberry but not black raspberry–and never lime or orange–and the pudding has to be the kind that gets cooked in  pot and chilled. Vanilla is best. Seriously. Baked sweet potatoes mash super well in a bowl with butter, salt and onion powder, but mashed white potatoes are better if they’re boiled, drained and whipped together  with cheddar cheeses, milk  (and butter. Because butter is the secret of life.)

Dirt therapy: SPOUSEMAN AND I GOT OUR FALL BULBS PLANTED RIGHT! I wouldn’t be all shouty-caps excited except that last year I…didn’t. Spouseman buys some every year as a little treat to our spring selves, and we plant them together. Last autumn nothing was fun and life fell on our heads and I ended up shoving bulbs into the ground like a manic squirrel around Thanksgiving so I could stop feeling guilty about spending the money. It worked out, the bulbs all came up, but the experience was neither relaxing nor healthy.  This year, there was a day of sunshine and digging and much satisfied soreness the next day. Huzzah.

And that’s all the all there is right now.

Obligatory regular reminder: I write books that can be bought with money all over the interwebs. NOT ONLY ON AMAZON! Here is a handy link:

And I shouldn’t leave out Amazon because books are exclusively available there: even has audio editions of some books. You can buy them direct on Amazon or iBooks too.