May 26 2023

Catching up…


I’ve been mostly incommunicado for a while (except for some easy-post social media), while trying to make progress on  Some Things.

If you’ve sent me an email and I haven’t replied, that’s why…

I’ll be using part of the long weekend to catch up on correspondence and other neglected items.

Meanwhile, here’s my local place for nice walks.  Also, a bunny.

Just before sunset..


Not scared at all.

Mar 18 2023

News about people who are not me.


Astonished to see that my last post was in January!  Well.

I’ve been rather occupied with A Number of Things (nothing dire, I assure you), requiring my attention.  Including writing projects (but no particular completion date to report, as of yet).

But what propelled me to emerge briefly was to report that Laurie J. Marks, my pal and fellow member of the Fabulous Genrettes , has just released an ebook: Dancing Jack.

Dancing Jack by [Laurie Marks]

Yes, Laurie is re-releasing some of her earlier, out-of-print works as ebooks (as all wise authors do these days).  This one was originally published in 1993, well predating her acclaimed Elemental Logic series.   But when you read it, you’re going to see some conceptual links to the recent series.

Laurie’s take on magic is very different from what you’ll generally find in modern fantasy.  Most authors treat magic as if it were either a technology that you can operate with the right objects and commands; or as a source of power that you can use to enact your will upon the world.

But even in this early work, Laurie’s magic is more like a natural phenomenon, like gravity, the ocean currents, or the weather.  It’s always there, in the background, doing what comes naturally to it  —  and not so much operated by you as operating on you.

Oh, and this book has steamboats.  I like steamboats.

And a dog.

So, I thought I’d let you know (or remind you if you already knew), that the ebook is available starting today.  (Not just from Amazon, but also iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.)

Other people who are not me:

Max Gladstone (who, you may recall, wrote a really interesting analysis of The Steerswoman last year) has a new book in the universe of the Craft Sequence.

Dead Country (The Craft Wars Book 1) by [Max Gladstone]

Dead Country  starts off  a trilogy (The Craft Wars), and from the preview available, it looks like Tara Abernathy, extraordinary Craftswoman, is back, which makes  me happy.

If you haven’t read the Craft Sequence (or like me, you’ve only read the first book Three Parts Dead), it’s easy to catch up.  There’s a Kindle collection of all five in one set.  (Which I just now went and bought. Really. Just now.)

Okay, it’s 2AM.  I have to get out of here… I’m planning a Deep Dive on the current project, and I have to clear the decks tomorrow to make that possible.


Jan 1 2023

Okay, let’s try this again


Every New Year’s Eve I post something here to the general effect of: Well, let’s hope next year’s going to be better, right? 

Well, I want to be that hopeful this time, despite the fact that world events this year have been pretty craptacular, and show signs of continuing in a similar vein into 2023.

On the other hand, I’m watching the Times Square celebration on my iPhone, an object seemingly  from the future…

On its way down…

And the woman singing the traditional last song before midnight (Chelsea Cutler) is, surprisingly, not a spray-painted, sequinned mannikin-like sexual object, but apparently an actual human being.

And two guys proposed to their girlfriends on camera a bit earlier, which was sweet to see; and the midnight kisses caught on the big screens included a few same-sex couples, which I feel speaks well of Humanity’s humanity.

And the pandemic seems to have retreated to a manageable state.

So.. yeah.  Things could turn out okay.  Or  at least better than this year.

But… Ukraine is still being bombarded.   And the whole anti-abortion fiasco, with women being refused actual medically necessary procedures because  hospitals are afraid that helping clear out the remains of a miscarriage might be construed as providing an abortion, for which they could be criminally prosecuted.

Well, that’s bringing me down…

Hey, I just remembered that fellow Genrette Laurie J. Marks is coming over tomorrow to hang out, eat sandwiches from Rein’s Delicatessen, and natter!   Well, that’s a cheery event!

I’m hearing some fireworks in the distance, but cannot see them due to the rain and dense fog… but the effect is actually sweet, and sort of poignant.

Yeah, let’s give 2023 the benefit of the doubt, and just assume things (at least some things) are going to be much better.  I hope that you and everyone you care about are well and safe.


Dec 25 2022

The littlest tree. Plus: Xmas egg mystery!


Led lights are the only kind this guy can handle…

This little tree might look like it’s on its last legs, but actually has been with me for nearly twenty years!   I picked it up when it was a wee little sprout, just after I moved in with Sabine, and it’s been holding on and getting marginally larger ever since.   I had to change its pot a number of times.  It’s currently living in a plastic mixing bowl, because some time after I moved into my own place, I dropped it and broke its official ceramic pot.  Haven’t replaced the pot yet, but Little Tree seems not to mind.

The Christmas Duckie ornament has been in our family since we ourselves were wee little sprouts.

My sister is now a nomad, currently catsitting in Florida, whilst I am tucked into my cozy apartment, while outside it’s so freakin’ cold!   It’s the lower edge of that bomb cyclone that’s been dropping tons of snow over much of the United States, and crazy-cold temps over the rest of it.  The other night it went down to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s  -13.88 Celsius to the rest of the world).   Cold enough to make you not want to leave the house.


In unrelated news, I’ve had an odd encounter with eggs…

The other day, I wanted an omelet.  Stopped by a neighborhood store that I don’t often use, picked up some all-natural eggs, which I don’t often buy, jumbo-sized, because Why Not?

Got home, cracked the first one and it was a double-yolk!

Well, isn’t that nice, I thought.  Double yolk means free extra egg!  Kind of.  Ah, the mysteries of Nature.

Then I cracked the second one, and — hey, wait a minute…

I became suspicious.  I cracked a third.  This is what I got:

Free extra eggs!

Heh.  What are the odds.   Posted the event to Facebook (as one does).  Thought no more of it.

Until Christmas eve, when, hey, I wanted another omelet.   Some big cheesy thing, lots of mushrooms and scallions because: Christmas Eve brunch!

And I got this:

Okay, hang on, here…

Okay, so, what if…

Then I realized that even if my suspicions were true, it would be very easy for someone to fake double-yolks in a photo. So I videoed it.      (Link only; I found that I couldn’t easily embed my own video directly in WordPress.)

Six consecutive eggs from one carton, all double-yolk.   Yeah, this is beyond natural probability.   And that means that someone did it.  On purpose.

So, today when I decided to make some egg salad for use in the upcoming week, which required hard-boiled eggs…

Only the last is not a double.

So here’s what I think happened:  Someone at the egg-packing facility knew (or strongly suspected) which eggs might be double-yolk.  And decided to put them all in one carton.  Specifically in order to surprise, amuse, and possibly mystify, and send into trains of logic and probability some future unknown random customer.

That’s exactly what I would have done in their place.  I am on the side of those who choose to surprise, amuse, possibly mystify, and eventually elucidate.   My people.

I hope your holidays bring you and yours unexpected gifts, laughter, and enlightenment.

And stay warm, if you can manage it.


Dec 18 2022

Nerd heaven!


There I was, minding my own business, preparing a blog post.   Thought I’d take a break, and popped over to Twitter to see what’s up there… and:

Randall Munroe’s online comic xkcd has a lovely interactive game  today, where you can pilot your ship to explore different planets full of SF/F references. And one of them has a steerswoman!


I cannot express how chuffed I am at this!   I love xkcd, nerdly nerd that I am.   And look, there’s a steerswoman in it! Right there!

Seriously, how cool am I now?

The interactive game is quite complex and varied!  Navigation is tricky, and seems only possible on a computer with a keyboard.  And it’s a bit counter-intuitive, as GRAVITY seems to actually operate.  You can get caught in a gravity well, loop around in orbit of something just out of sight, or spin off into space if you’re not alert.  I ended up in the center of the Sun more than once, and my little ship did not have enough ooph to escape.

I have so far been unable to actually reach the steerswoman’s world… if you manage to get there, let me know how you did it!

(If you get stuck, I think the fastest way to reset is to hit “previous” and go to a previous comic, then hit “next” to get back and start all over.)



Nov 13 2022

Okay, about Rings of Power….



I do NOT mind that there are that are Elves who are not pale-skinned and golden-haired.  Doesn’t bother me a bit!  Why not?  Humans come in colors; why not Elves?  Tolkien didn’t have non-pale Elves, you say?  Meh.  If he lived and wrote today, he probably would have.  I do not consider this an issue.

I do NOT mind that Galadriel is swinging a sword and fighting battles.  Fine by me!  Sure, she wasn’t swinging a sword when Frodo and the gang met her in Lothlorien–  but that was, like, a thousand years later.  People get a little slower as they age, and trading fisticuffs for wisdom is a pretty good trend, as far as I can see.  (By the way, I also did not mind it in the Lord of the Rings films, when Peter Jackson kicked Glorfindel to the curb and gave all his derring-do to Arwen.  In the books she was a pretty non-entity; in the films, a person of power.)

Those are the things that most Rings of Power complainers complain about… But to me: no problem.

Here’s what bothered me:


Elrond to Galaldriel:  “…it is natural for you to feel conflicted.”

This is late 2oth, early 21st century pop-psychological lingo.  When it was uttered, I literally yelled at the TV: “What?  What? Are you serious?

Alas, they were.

Sure, Galadriel might actually be conflicted over events, and have some feels about them.   But it would never be said like this–  like some sort of psych diagnosis.

Want another one?

In the opening scenes, little-girl Galadriel makes a paper swan-boat,  and sets it sailing down a little brook.  Lovely!  I was charmed.   Then, little-boy Elf throws rocks at it, and sinks it, laughing all the while, saying scornful things, to Galadriel’s anguish…

I said to the TV: “But, but…”

These are not humans, these are Elves!   Any Elf who intentionally causes sorrow and distress to another Elf, and actually takes pleasure in the act, and in the other’s pain —

Well.  That Elf-child has obviously been TOUCHED BY EVIL, and seduced by some DARK POWER.   You’d think that everyone would rally around, and try to help this child, and try to find out how the kid’s soul became POISONED enough to come to love others’ pain.

But nope.  Yeah, kids will be kids — whaddaya gonna do, hey?

Elves are not like us.  The writers of Rings of Power have made them like us.  Elves have a sort of grandeur.   They are deep and mysterious.

In Lothlorien, Frodo asks Sam (who has always been fascinated by the idea of Elves), what he thinks of them, now that he’s seen them.

“They seem a bit above my likes and dislikes, so to speak,” answered Sam slowly.  “It don’t seem to matter what I think about them.  They are quite different from what I expected—so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were.”

Okay, last one: not witnessed by me, but reported to me….

A Harfoot said, “Okay!”

If “okay” existed a thousand years ago, it would have persisted until Bilbo and Frodo’s time.  They’ve been okaying right and left.  Very useful word. Once it gets in your culture, it’s there to stay.  Used all over the world, nowadays.

But those-a-days?  I don’t buy it.

Right.  End of rant.

In happier news, I’m reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which is utterly charming.  And hair-raising.  A different take on the “school of magic” trope.


A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance Book 1) by [Naomi Novik]


Oct 29 2022

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…


I lied.  I don’t have a ranch.  But there is much to catch up on.

(I do sometimes wonder about non-American readers, and whether they know the derivation of “back at the ranch.”  For that matter, if persons born in this century know what it means, and where it came from… it even predates my lifetime!)

Cool things I’m going to be telling you about in upcoming posts:

SCINTILLATION – The SF/F convention in Montreal run by Jo Walton and friends, which took place way back in (holy smokes!) June, and was so wonderful.

BOOKS I’VE READ – including A Half-Built Garden, by Ruthanna Emrys; Cat Pictures, Please and Other Stories by Naomi Kritzer; Last Exit by Max Gladstone; A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers; and others.


Hard copy only, folks.


WHY I CAN’T BEAR “THE RINGS OF POWER,” PREQUEL TO “LORD OF THE RINGS” seriously, don’t get me started.

MEMES OF YORE – How, oh, how did we ever manage to share them before the Internet?

Also:  whatever else occurs to me.   All in service of the above-mentioned Catching Up.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of the koi in the restaurant at the at the Holiday Inn in Montreal, where Scintillation took place this year (and will again next year).

Cruisin’ for scraps…


Aug 7 2022

Problem resolved!


All fixed. Apparently…

As an old IT professional, I get suspicious when things fix themselves mysteriously.  But!  Better than not fixed.

I here’s a picture of office mascot Theodore Fox feeling relieved.

Not a diet Coke endorsement.

Aug 7 2022

Test post to see if ANYTHING is working…


Well?  Are they?




Apr 1 2022

Surfacing briefly to assure you that yes, I am still here…


… just currently involved in some things that are taking a lot of work and attention…

And for some reason WordPress has stopped automatically emailing me when a comment is posted here!  If you posted, and wondered if I would ever reply, this is why that’s been delayed.

Fussing with the WordPress settings… I blame it on the same update that inserted quirky extraneous characters in all my previous posts (which I still have to go through and clean up by hand).

And now, of course, everything has to stop for:


My taxes being particularly bizarre, with different income streams and business deductions.  It’s a chore, but thank goodness for tax software!

(If you’re thinking of suggesting that I get them done professionally:  the amount of time it would take me to explain to a professional exactly what’s going on, and sort out all the receipts and expenses, is about the same as the time it would take for me to do it myself with the software.  So.)

In other news:,my sales have been up for the last couple of months, due to some lovely reviews and endorsements, by:

Janny Wurts: You know how people who don’t know anything about publishing, and who meet an author, will inevitably ask: “So, did you paint the cover yourself?” Causing the author to laugh long and hard and say “Hell, no!”  Janny Wurts is the only SF/F author who says “Why, yes I did!”  Seriously.  Go look at her website. (And then buy her books… and there are lots of them, so you’re not likely to run out! — I just bought The Curse of the Mistwraith.)

Blaise Anaconda at Under the Radar SFF Books : A really nice review, and I do appreciate his avoiding any spoilers, while pointing out some attractions. Warmed the cockles of my heart…

Max Gladstone:  Max wrote quite a detailed analysis of The Steerswoman, and I found it very interesting!  You heard me rave about This is How You Lose the Time War, which he wrote with Amal el-Mohtar.  His latest, Last Exit, is getting some great reviews, and is now in my stack of books to read.

Twitter is the place where I hear about these things.   My source of news in the SF/F world in general, actually.

Meanwhile, it’s gone past 1AM, and I should have been working, y’all! Or reading research.   Lots of research recently…

Hm.  Missed blogging both February and March.  (This knuckling down better pay off…)

More later.