Two Links for Sunday, and a Happiness to Share

Here are two tidbits that I thought might keep you interested and warm on a day that many of you are finding snowy, windy, and far too cold for comfort (sorry sister-dear! I’m sending warm thoughts your way).

First off, Fireside Fiction is holding a fundraiser of a different stripe. No, it’s not a Kickstarter. Instead of repeating their whole schtick, let me just send you to their site and ask you to consider subscribing, making a one-time donation, or becoming a Patron. They publish some fine work, and I for one would hate to see them close shop. And for some of the Patron levels, you’ll get artwork by Galen Dara–which is just awesome!

Also, just do some reading there. All the stories are free on the site, and as I said, they’ve got some great stuff to fill your mind with wonder and glee.


dashergrinIf you’ve read this blog for oh, any time at all, you’ll probably notice that I really love dogs. So, when I read this article about Darwin’s Dogs, I hopped right over, signed up, and filled out the forms. It was fun! And they’re going to do DNA analysis of my dog using his saliva–how cool is that?!? I’m all for research that will not only add to canine understanding, but also human health.

I got a new year’s email from them, and here’s a fun excerpt:

At the start of a new year, we are excited to send out the inaugural Darwin’s Dogs progress report. We can sum it up in one word – WOW! When we put out the call for dog owners to join our project, we’d hoped to enroll thousands of dogs over the first few years. We clearly underestimated you. Enrollment has jumped to over 2300 dogs in under 3 months

Their stated goal is 5,000 dogs. While they’re well on the way, it’s not too late to sign up, fill out their surveys, and help genetists and canine behaviorists find the connections underpinning our best friends’ health and happiness–and maybe our own. You needn’t live in the US (although for the DNA analysis you might), and your dog can be purebred or mutt. All are welcome to join.


My happiness? I started a new story yesterday, for a contest I love. Today I finished it (first draft form, of course. But still!)  🙂

That’s it for today.


LCRW #33 is now available!

I’ve been quiet for awhile, because I’ve just returned from visiting some friends in Germany, and wow! It was warm there! Like, crazy-warm. After they had such a long, cool spring, it seems like we took central Florida weather along with us.

It was nice to be back in Germany, and to speak German again (mine had gotten quite rusty) and hear it around me. To see old stones and new architecture mingling and merging into a city, or a neighborhood. Or more like the gentle, respectful rubbing of shoulders of the generations, each lovely and unique, and yet best as part of a conversation that creates a greater, complex society. (I may post some pictures later, as time allows.)

While I was gone, some exciting things happened:

I’m very excited to announce that the Michael J. DeLuca guest-edited edition of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is now available for purchase–especially because I’m one the included authors. Putting Down Roots is my included story, and I’m very pleased to be included in this amazing lineup!

Putting Down Roots started as a prompt to write a story with a format other than traditional narrative prose. I had never attempted this before. It was a challenge, and fun, to write an SF story into one side of a conversation. Also, I’d been reading about research into trees and the fact that they do communicate…and here came this story.

I found this entire issue to be amazing. I hope you do as well.

Also, my story The Giveaway Box was accepted at Abyss & Apex, and should be appearing there in October! Hurray! This one is contemporary fantasy with a light speculative element.

I hope your July (July already! Ack!) is going well. And now, I’m back to catching up on all the things that fell behind while I was away. (You guessed it: laundry, cutting grass, weeding, etc.)


goals, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Enter Title Here

^^ That prompt in my title bar seemed as likely a title as any. As is so often the case of late, life seems somewhat fractured into odd bits, that, strung together, compose my life. Let’s go over some.

Dasher. Well, his “final” appointment after the second surgery was Tuesday, but I already knew the outcome. He’d been charged by 2 larger, aggressive dogs in three days, and both times he’d retreated backwards and sideways precipitously, yiping in pain. On the morning following the second charge, he started gimping about three-legged once more. Verdict: patella out of alignment, flowing out freely and not remaining in position. Sigh. Now we’re trying some physical therapy, hoping that by increasing muscle mass on his emaciated rear left leg, he might increase muscle and tendon tension enough to hold the patella in place (once it’s put there again), or at the very least, that it will give another, more extreme surgery a better chance of holding, post-surgery.

Still, he’s a tail-wagging kind of boy. His at-home therapies include: walking over water noodles, walking backwards in a straight line, alternating sits and stands, and holding up his “good” rear leg for a few seconds, forcing him to carry weight on the weaker leg. At the UF vet school hospital, he gets an underwater treadmill. You know how walking with your legs in shallow water drags, slowing you down and forcing you to work harder? Same idea here. Only his legs are in the water, so he works harder to walk, strengthening his muscles.

While all these things they can do for animals are really cool (I got a tiny tour “backstage” to glimpse some of what they can accomplish–it was pretty amazing, let me tell you!), I certainly wish I wasn’t needing to know anything about it, and that my dog hadn’t needed the first surgery, let alone a potential third one! C’est la vie.

The proof copy of next month’s Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet came. It was so amazing, looking at this gorgeous layout, reading the table of contents and seeing my name and my story there.  I found the Editor’s Letter lovely and moving. It really highlighted my the feelings of being overwhelmed at being a part of something so wonderful. Huzzah!

Editing and Submitting. Yes, I’ve been plugging away at this, and yesterday managed to submit two more stories into the world, where they now wait patiently in their queues. (Oddly enough, both stories are SF and both titles start with “D.” For reasons unknown, this amuses me.) This brings my current submissions to 8, and leaves four stories in my “second round” editing pile, and four in the “first round” editing pile. Not bad, not bad. But regardless, my inner slave-driver tells me that, however much I work, it’s never “enough,” that I have plenty of time that I fritter away. Sigh. Brains: Can’t live without ’em, much as I’d like to sometimes.

Novella series. I’m currently working on the outline for the third (and I think final) volume of the urban fantasy series I plan on writing and self-pubbing. But…I’ve hit some kind of mental snag. I can’t seem to get past a certain point, which also happened with Book Two’s outline. Eventually, it came to me, so I’m confident I’ll overcome whatever mental barrier is halting me here, as well. But it would be really nice if it came sooner, rather than later (hint, hint, subconscious mind!).

Guests and travel. My sisters are arriving for a visit on Monday, and I’m preparing for that. Also, Spousal Unit and I will be visiting friends and former neighbors soon, and I’m looking forward to that. Ah, the chaos of travel balanced against the joy of travel. But travel usually wins over staying home–for me, at least.

Heat. Yes, it’s been hot lately. And humid. And dry. The rain has gone mostly around us, except for a few hot, flat splats four days ago as I spoke to a neighbor, and a sudden short burst of rainfall Friday, which quickly was evaporated off the sizzling hot roadways, sidewalks, and rooftops. At least the plants got a quick shot of relief. (Not enough, though. My potted plants still needed watering twice that day.) How hot? We’ve had 100°F on the weather app, and the car I was in, after driving some while and coming to stasis, registered 104°F. Guh! I love going barefoot, but let me just say that at these temps, concrete and/or blacktop in the sun actually burns my tough feet. Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Watermelon. Watermelon is in full, glorious season here. It’s utterly amazing. So succulent and sweet. It’s what’s for dinner when it’s too hot to think. And Dasher thinks watermelon is pretty tasty, too.

And there you go. Some relevant bits of my life, along with some not-so-relevant bits for good measure. Happy Sunday to you!


And so it goes…

With the Unending Novel’s first draft completed, I feel strangely light and liberated. Also, more than a little aimless. This is despite having concrete goals in place for my “non-novel-writing time” between the first draft and starting the first revision.

What goals? To re-cap, edit short stories (I had 10 of them in a queue, waiting for revisions before their first submissions), finish taking 2 online classes over at Holly Lisle’s website, and finish the planning on a series of novellas that I plan to write and self-publish. In non-writing, to catch up with all the things that I’ve let slide during the push to finish the first draft.

Well, I’ve edited five of the stories to a near-ready state. And I’ve taken classes, just not as often as I’d like. The dog has been demanding more and more attention when I’m home, acting like the obnoxious all-about-me teenager that he is right now. And doing non-writing chores eats into time that I’d normally use for writing, and I can’t make it up with “dog” time. Add to this a week of solo time with Dasher the dog while the spousal unit was on a business trip, which made the dog and I rather sick of each other’s company (ugh!).

So…despite making actual progress on my goals, I’m feeling very adrift. As if I have nothing to show for my writing time. As if I’m being defined by writing on the novel. Which is so odd, since for the longest while, I felt vaguely guilty writing the novel and not short stories. Oh, how my brain delights in flummoxing and annoying me (and, I suspect, most writers)!

In the interim, I’ve been reading some interesting things. The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker, is a lovely story about (strangely enough!) a golem and a jinni, both of whom end up on American shores in the late 1880’s. I’m not finished with it yet, but it’s engaging, with much loveliness in tone and telling.


publication, Uncategorized

And “Amma’s Wishes” is up at PodCastle!

That’s right! “Amma’s Wishes” went live at PodCastle today, so you can click the link and listen to Marguerite Kenner narrate my story.

It’s more than a little weird, and very wonderful, to hear someone else reading your words, and putting voice to your characters. Ms Kenner does great job bringing Amma, Fillmorr, and the rest of the characters to life by infusing their emotions into her reading voice. So, thank you, Marguerite Kenner!

Waiting for the small tidbit about this story’s creation? How about this: the story came about due to having read advice to “never start a story in a D&D style inn.” When I read that, I thought, “Ha! I could pull that off. After all, no one ever writes from the POV of the serving wench there.”

Needless to say, I spent a summer in high school as a waitress. And while “my” restaurant was nowhere near as bad as the Dragon’s Beard Inn, it hosted some interesting characters, including owner/managers with some oftentimes strange notions of how things should be.

And so it goes. Life becomes art, becomes life again as I type up this post about a story sale. Pretty wonderful.

I had a blast writing “Amma’s Wishes,” and I hope you enjoyed listening to it. And of course, if you did (and you can spare it), tip a donation to PodCastle by clicking their donation button on their website. Thanks!


Back at Home

I was away for a week due to a death in the family. It wasn’t unexpected, but it came far too soon, and far too fast for those of us left behind. I’ll admit to being in a daze yet. I will greatly miss my brother-in-law. He was a good man, and his laugh was infectious.

While it’s so good to get together with far-flung family members and catch up with them, why does it seem to take a funeral to get together with the extended clan? My brother-in-law would have enjoyed the gathering we held in his honor. His absence was noticeable (duh! but still, I kept expecting to hear his voice, his laugh), and he was missed.

Rest in peace, Chuck.


Happy Autumn!

Well, it’s here: officially, it’s the first day of fall here in the northern hemisphere. Weeee!

In north-central Florida, that seems to mean the temps may fall into the upper 60’s at night, and only reach the mid-upper eighties, maybe 90F, during the day. And it rains a bit less. It’s become garden-planting season, since the intense heat and humidity of late summer (which wilt and rot new growth) are waning. I am so ready for this.

I’ve got carrot seedlings to plant out, and green onions, too. Yellow pear tomatoes to transplant (and as always, extras to try to squeeze in or give away. I always seed so many, thinking that none will grow–and they ALL grow. Then I feel bad thinning them…). This is not my “normal” fall activity, but I’m okay with that. Life is change, blah blah blah, and all that.

Then Spousal Unit and I went to a greenhouse yesterday, and came home with a fig tree. Really! I can’t wait for the first harvest of sweet, tiny figs. Add that to the Meyer lemon tree I brought home earlier in the week, and … well, you can see I have a problem with food plants. I love them: love growing and nurturing them, and harvesting from them. Love having them around. They make me feel rich. But fitting them in is hard. Especially if they’re trees.

Other fun things: in the evenings, I’ve been hearing a male short eared owl. In the wee hours of the night/morning, I often hear a great horned owl. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology makes identifying the unfamiliar calls not only possible, but fun! A red-shouldered hawk soars overhead during the day, with it’s keening cry, and feeds (or attempts to feed) from our bird feeder. Not the seed–the birds eating there are its target meal. This place is way more fun than should be legal, wildlife-wise.

Just so you don’t think I’ve given up on writing, let me assure you that I’m still getting words down on the novel. And short stories are banging against my cranium, trying to get in. Or out. Whichever. But stories follow their own seasons, not those of Mother Nature.

If you’re somewhere in the north, and fall is descending upon you with its normal temperate fervor, enjoy a crisp fresh apple for me. A Winesap, when they come in. Or a McIntosh. Yum. I promise to eat an orange for you, when they come ripe December-ish, just south of here. 🙂


Yesterday, even my Fish Celebrated with Me…

…by having babies!!!!!!

Yesterday was a wonderful day, despite the discovery of new, glassy commas that are swordtail fry swimming in my fish tank. (And really, it’s only a 2-gallon tank. Where does she think these things are going to go? Note to self: get a fish version of a book on family planning.) Really, it was amazing. Getting my story in the mail from DSF was…interesting. Cool, and a bit freaky. Something I could definitely get used to, however.

I want to thank everyone for the great feedback and support on this little success story (publication) of mine. I was ensconced in a golden glow most of the day, just beaming. Even when writing new words (which didn’t want to come out onto the page, BTW), I was more content than usual. From this I learned something very useful: for me, writing is wonderful. Sometimes I love it, other times I hate it, and usually I get lost in the words, in the “trying to translate this cool thing onto the page.”  And acceptance is awesome. It makes me giddy and gleeful. But sharing the joy of publication? That’s where it’s at, the true gold. For me at least, and right now.

So, thanks for sharing this journey with me. Now, it’s back to unpacking… (Speaking of which, I’m still looking for subtropical house brownies. Anyone know how to draw them in to do housekeeping chores?)