Dec 31 2021

Okay, 2021, don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.


We started this year with with such high hopes!   But here we are with the same damn pandemic, the same anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, and polarized politics.

Well, not everything is actually dreadful… but honestly, 2021, I’m very disappointed in you!   You’re fired.  Let’s see how your replacement does.

Meanwhile (no longer apostrophizing to the departing year ) I hope your holidays gave you some joy.  Mine did, as I got to spend some time with some fully -vaccinated pals on Christmas Eve-eve.   Food, conversation and board games!

Also, I’ve been recently tested and appear to be COVID-free.  Also good.   A Very Long Line was involved, over an hour and a half wait, during which I read more of James S. A. Corey’s Leviathan Falls.  Those guys have such a good grasp of pacing, and characterization, and the apt word.  It’s inspiring to read something that good.

With my sister off in Florida, I feel no guilt whatsoever at trying to maintain a deep-dive on my current project (not the next Steerswoman book, as I know you are about to ask; taking a breather on that).  I’m at that stage where you can’t stop thinking about it, but the parts that keep attracting you are not the parts to which you should be paying attention right now

So it’s sort of: Come on, settle down, pay attention, get this bit right, you’ll be much happier and things will move better overall… 

I’m going to give myself January, and see how things sit then.

And… If I don’t post this soon, it will be 2022 already!  So…

Let’s all thrive next year, okay?  Like my lucky bamboo!

Lucky bamboo is theoretically the easiest plant to care for, since you just stick one end in water, and make sure it never runs dry.  This is one that I’ve had for something like 10 years, maybe more:

It lives in my office and asks for nothing but sun and water.

I gave it lights this year, as reward for its perseverance.  I do believe it likes them, as it’s grown at least four inches in the last month, specifically (so I suspect) to show them off.

So: the simple things, plus a little extra shine.  Good prescription for 2022, I think.


Dec 1 2021

November becomes December


I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was lovely. Mine was — my sister and I celebrated it early, heading up to hang with our pals in New Hampshire. Everyone was fully vaccinated (and some even boosted); it was just such a relief to not have to worry about proximity and masking. Good food, great company and conversation — and bonus fuzzy kitty.

And when it was all over, my sister hit the road. Yes! The condo was sold, three days after going on the market. No more: painting, cleaning, trips to the dump, trips to Goodwill, spackling, sanding, hauling, tossing, organizing, reorganizing, floor-scrubbing, repainting, polishing, putting in storage, angst, exhaustion, etc. She’s in Florida now, resting from her (OUR) labors and regrouping. Shortly, her search for the perfect camper-top to put on her Silverado will commence.

As for me, I’ve been gearing up to do a deep dive into writing — and having no one around for the holidays is pretty attractive right now! Historically I lock myself away for the Thanksgiving holiday week; this year it’ll be most of December. Clearing the decks, trying to get as many chores done ahead of time as possible. Limit my social media, ignore non-urgent emails. We’ll see how it works out.

In other news: Over on Goodreads, the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club did a group read of The Steerswoman, and asked if I would do a Q&A.   And I did!  It was fun.

Books recently read:

Piranesi by [Susanna Clarke]

Well, there’s Susanna Clarke’s Piranisi which I utterly loved.  If you haven’t read it yet, avoid any reviews that describe the events even slightly!  One of the beautiful things about the book is the grace with which Clarke controls the reader’s slow accumulation of understanding.  It is slipped to you piece-by-piece through the eyes and voice of the protagonist.   Mystery and discovery.  So wonderful.

And in my never-ending quest to catch up on the good books of the past that I have missed:

Larque on the Wing by [Nancy Springer]

Nancy Springer’s Larque on the Wing — what an odd, sweet, sweet, joyful little gender-bender of a book!  It made me very happy.

And bless Open Road Media for bringing out-of -print books back on the market.   Not everyone is game for the self-pub route.   Open Road does good.

Jo Walton’s kickstarter to get audio version of her novel Lifelode has reached its goal, so yes, there will be an audiobook.   I think it’s still possible to contribute, and for the $15 level you an ebook version, and the audiobook when it’s done.  Worth doing.

Also  my Kindle reader just presented me with my pre-ordered copy of the final volume of James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series, Leviathan Falls. Frankly, I’m afraid to start reading it, because I’m likely to drop everything else and use my time reading instead of writing!  But  I do love that series so much.

But I’m a fast reader… and you know — a little inspiration?  Might not hurt; could help.

Last bit of news:  it snowed.  A little bit.  A few flakes.  But there it was.


Oct 29 2021

Can you spot the difference between these two pictures?


Look closely, now….

Picture One:

Picture 1

Picture 1

And Picture Two:

Picture 2


Picture One is the little footbridge just outside my office, crossing over a branch of the Quinnipiac River.

Picture Two is the exact same footbridge,  improved by the presence of the other two members of the Fabulous Genrettes: Laurie J. Marks and Delia Sherman!

Yes, the Genrettes have met again, and for the first time it’s in my town. In, in fact, my actual office.

This made possible by the state of Connecticut finally realizing that if they want people to use public transportation more, there has to be more public transportation.  In the form of, say, trains.

We always had some trains coming by, and my town always had a train station; but the trains were few and inconveniently timed.  Now, we have much nicer train station, and more trains.  Enabling people from, say, New York City, and who don’t like to drive, to come to my town!  And go back on the same day.

It’s still a long ride, but Delia is a veteran train-traveler.   She used the time to good effect.  Working on her novel.

It was lovely to be able to host the Genrettes right in my own special creative space.  And coincidentally, I had just rearranged and reorganized it, to make it especially roomy and and comfortable.

Laurie J Marks, just hangin’ out.

Laurie has been here before, as she lives closer than Delia does.  And does not have to negotiate New York City traffic to get here.

But I hadn’t seen Delia since before the pandemic set in.   We are all completely vaccinated, so no masks, no distancing… Just three chums, catching up, eating sandwiches, drinking tea and coffee.  Talking books, and plots and ideas, and life in general.

I have to say, it was such a relief.  And a great lift to one’s spirits.

Delia also had the opportunity to admire Laurie’s artistic projects.

One big notebook, one smaller….Both full of wonderfulness.

Laurie’s been working hard on her nature drawing, and some of her pictures are just stunning.  They really strike me as the sort of drawings that a Steerswoman might do in the field, recording her observations and discoveries.  That sort of style and clarity.

You may click to embiggen. In fact, I urge you to do so.


It reminds me of the work of Hannah Hinchman, and her book, A Trail Through Leaves, which I have mentioned before

This is a book I love a lot.  Hinchman also has this Steerswomanly way of observing the natural world.

And in other news, Jo Walton has set up a Kickstarter to make an audiobook of her novel Lifelode.  The Kickstarter met its goal; I checked the page and it looked like they’d closed it to new contributions.  But it means that the audiobook is in the works, and that’s a good thing!

And by the way, the ebook version is currently priced at less than a cup of coffee.  I don’t know how long that will last…

Lifelode by [Jo Walton]

I really enjoyed the book when I first read it years ago; in fact, its time for a re-read.

And in other other news: some chores and obligations that I had have now been completed, and my time is my own again!  Whew.

Oct 29 2021



Apparently something wonky happened with WordPress, and ALL my previous posts now have odd control characters inserted at the ends of sentences, and next to some punctuation marks, and occasionally just randomly in a line.

I’m not sure I can correct this globally… It’s going to be a chore to do it by hand.    I’ll fix them all eventually…

But until then, you have my apologies.

The new posts seem not to have this problem…


Sep 2 2021

Emerging from limbo briefly…


Yep, still wrapped up in Real World labors — but the end is in sight.  When it’s all over, I plan to immerse myself completely  in one of my projects, work at it to the exclusion of all else, and hide from anything resembling Real World responsibilities. Just saying.

Meanwhile, news about people who are not me:

I’ve known authors Geary Gravel and Ann Tonsor Zeddies since way back in the previous century, when we three had the same editor at Del Rey Books. It was Shelly Shapiro who introduced me to each of them, and I believe that it was me who later introduced them to each other.  And we just fell into a friendship that has lasted all these years.

Geary has been a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs since he was but a wee little tad, and he has read (and reread and reread) Burroughs his whole life.

And now– he’s written a book set in Burroughs’ universe, as part of the expansion officially sanctioned by the Burroughs estate.

The ERB Universe website is urging people to pre-order, as the book will be available in but a few days… but they fail to mention that the ebook version is available right now. If you’re a completest, or a collector, of course you’ll want the hardcover… but I have to admit that the ebook version is much more within my price range.

So I nabbed one.

This promises to be great fun. I’ve only started reading it (do not skip the Forward, for the full effect!), and although I’ve not really been a big Burroughs fan, I’ve always been a Geary Gravel fan.  So far, I’m loving his take on Burroughs’ tone and style. (And there’s a little video interview about the book you can watch...)

But, you say, what does this have to do with Ann Tonsor Zeddies?

That’s what.

Each of the new books in the ERB Universe also includes a novella by another ERB author, concerning another protagonist. And Ann got to do this one.  It’s Gravel and Zeddies in one volume — that’s never happened before, folks!

Meanwhile —

No, wait; did I forget someone?

Artist Cortney Skinner has been a friend of Geary’s since grade school — and, why, look at that: there he is.

So many friends in one place…

Well. Looks like the torrential rain is over, the tornado warnings have stopped, and the flood emergency alerts on my cellphone have stopped their ear-blasting tones.

Probably safe to go home now…

Catch you on the flip-side.

[Edited later to remove some wonky symbols that got spontaneously inserted when I  copy/pasted from MS Word.  Serves me right.]

Jul 20 2021

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth…


(… Although, that might actually be interesting, in an SFnal way.)

Nope, still here.  Long period of non-blogging is largely due to activities and issues in the Real World Out There, requiring way more attention than I hoped, not to mention actual physical actions. Such as dashing about, lifting, lugging, tossing, shifting. Oh, and painting.  Let’s not forget painting.

Add to that, matters not (technically) in the Real World Out There, but still requiring attention, consideration, decisions, and in some cases interaction with bureaucratic entities — Blogging fell to the bottom of my To Do list for a while.

Meanwhile: yes, I’m in my new apartment, which I dearly love.  Largely because, small as it is, it’s all mine.  It’s not quite fixed up entirely to my preference yet; almost there, but other requirements of Reality are taking precedence for a while.  Such as the aforementioned considerations, decisions and interactions.

Also: my sister is selling her condo in order to take to the highway as a modern nomad, as I’ve mentioned before.  And this means lots and lots of fix-up and painting.  Some of which is being done by hired hands, and some (plenty!) done by her and myself.  It’s the least I can do after she put up with me for so long!  We’re getting down to the wire, and much still needs to be done.  We’re on it.

Of course, I decided at the exact same time that my office needed certain refurbishings:

Why the pumpkin colors?

My blackboard with fluorescent markers under black light worked so well that I wanted more, and I increased its size by about 40%. Tricky to install (it’s contact paper), but worth the effort. Especially for structural planning, it’s good to see the whole pattern laid out in real space.

In other news: I’m fully vaccinated — and so are many of my pals!  Which means that socializing in RealSpace has come back. I recently saw a whole slew of people at one gathering (an engagement party, where we met the bride-to-be, a true gem!), and will see some more next week. It’s so lovely to be able to, you know — hug people!

Okay, out of time, gotta go… More later (which is always true, come to think of it).


Mar 8 2021

In my defense, February was a very short month


… A short month, also suddenly filled with new and immediately urgent things to do, as well.

To wit: I’m moving!

My sister’s plans to take to the road and live the nomad life meant that I had to find my own place to live. I wanted to stay in town, or nearby, because I have this office space, which I dearly love. But since I do have the office, and spend most of my time there, my actual living space needs are quite modest.

Luckily. Because, have you seen apartment rent rates lately? Yow.

I’ve been looking for a while, and an affordable studio finally became available. And now I have all that to do! A lot of throwing out of no-longer-needed items will take place, given that the place is so very small; also, many sessions of hauling things across town. Not to mention buying a bed! That must be done.

January was such a great month for writing, for me; but now I’m hanging on to it by my fingernails, so to speak, as I deal with Real World necessity. It should all quiet down once I’m in my place, snug and warm.

Another distraction (but a welcome one): I’ve been auditing an online class on Natural History illustration from the University of Newcastle, Australia. It was writer pal Laurie J. Marks idea, and we’ve been doing it together. She’s putting in many more hours of practice that I’ve been able to, some of her work has become just astonishing. I’m limping along with the time I have, but it’s been great fun, and illuminating.


Yeah, but they were doomed anyway.

I murdered four roses to do this

Also, it’s a good study for how Steerswomen see and think, right?

Other news: I got my first Covid vaccination. The experience has been pretty seamless — the town actually contacted me, out of the blue, once I became eligible. This in contrast to my many friends in big cities, who can’t seem to get an appointment for love or money, as the saying goes. But I’m scheduled for the second dose already.

One more thing: As ever, I’m late to the party on this one, but if you have not seen Derek DelGaudio’s “In and Of Itself,” currently streaming on Hulu, do it now. I can’t say too much about it, because finding out what it is and what it means is part of the artistic experience. I’ll just say that it’s a film of the live performance of a one-man show that was performed off-Broadway over 500 times, and it is a work of heartbreaking genius. I do not use those words lightly.

More later.

Oh, and I’m trying to catch up on my emails, so… some of you might hear from me.

Jan 31 2021

Can I possibly post this before January ends?


Answer: I can if the post is short enough, and I do it quickly enough.

I entirely missed writing a post in December, and that’s a state I do not want to continue.

I did miss posting quite a lot last year, due to accumulating Personal Life Crap, and escalating State of the World Crap. Gosh, 2020 was the worst.

Over now! And of the two major ongoing World Crap disasters, only one remains.

Hm. I seem to recall saying something like that in my last post… and it turned out to be not quite true…

Well. Let’s not jinx this, hey?

As for my Personal Life Crap — things are looking up.

More later, as the clock is about to hit tomorrow (I work at night), and tomorrow is no longer January.

Quick Pic: Here’s my new black board, replacing my old white board.  Yes, I’m now using neon markers that glow in blacklight.

Nov 8 2020

Oh, thank goodness that’s over


Well, not entirely over, of course. Not until Inauguration Day.

And there’s bound to be a certain amount of whining, posturing, and two-fisted Twittering on the part of the Toddler-in-Chief, in the meantime. But it’s all just noise, folks.

Somewhat more worrisome are the possible actions of some of the swamp-creatures dredged up at his instigation. By which I mean QAnon and the Proud Boys, and that sort. But without him egging them on for the sake of increasing his own brand-recognition and TV ratings — well, I do believe they’ll fade back into the background, in due time.

Meanwhile, here’s a nice little combination of retro nerdiness and sheer virtuosity. I’ve been whistling this all day.

I’m ‘a make it my new theme song, I think.

Nov 2 2020

Emerging from blog limbo to say a few things about the election.


With all the difficult, miserable, unpleasant and scary things going on simultaneously right now, I thought I’d step up and remind you that this is probably the most critical national election in which you personally will ever participate.

That is, I certainly hope it’s the most critical. I dearly hope that there isn’t worse crap headed our way that would cause some future vote to be even more dreadful than this one.

Right. Well.

That being the case, I thought I’d let you know what I thought of Donald Trump —

— wait a moment.

Do you actually need me to tell you what I think of Trump?

I mean: you’ve read my books, right?

I’m assuming that you’re here because you’ve read my books. Really, there’s no other particular attraction to bring you here. It’s just a blog by some woman who wrote some books you’ve read. And probably liked.

Those books about a woman whose life is dedicated to truth.

Those books about logic, reason, science, and passionate devotion to the act of discovery — the better to understand the world, the real world.

Those books about finding truth, and sharing truth.

Those books about learning to see through the illusions and falsehoods; about standing up against the lies that being used to manipulate you.

Those books where the bad guys create divisions, force everyone to one side or the other side, and literally send you to war against each other — all for the sake of maintaining their place in power.

Those books where facts matter, where reality matters, where people matter.

You don’t need me to tell you what I think of Trump.

Human beings have two things: our lives, and our minds.

Anyone promoting ignorance, generating ignorance, and feeding off of ignorance is acting against humankind.

If you haven’t already voted, please do it. Don’t sit this one out.