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.

Feb 1 2022

Just checking in…


The deep dive I planned for January proved not as deep as planned, due to life-type chores  and some  other things that required a bit more attention than I had expected…

Result: Doin’ it again for February.  So far, just a couple of appointments, and a couple of Zoom social events…

So, if you were expecting an email that you haven’t got yet, this is why.

I might take a day to clear up the backlog… then back into the fray.

In other news:

Author Catherynne M. Valente caught COVID19. And not the semi-friendly version.  Pop over to Twitter and wish her well!  (@catvalente) And/or sign up for her Patreon , which I did the other day.

My inspiration for doing that was this amazing rocket that she built for her son — go and check it out, and be in awe!

Be sure to scroll or click to see ALL the pictures.

I’m also reading a book of hers (technically a novella, I think):

The Past Is Red by [Catherynne M. Valente]

I had heard her read from it at a previous Readercon, and loved the excerpt.  So, naturally, in my head Tetley Abednigo speaks with her voice now.


Genrette Laurie J. Marks sent me a drawing of hers:

Running out of wall space in my apartment!

You know how much I’ve been raving about Laurie’s art.  Now I have one to keep!

Heck– it just turned past midnight, meaning that this is a February post and not a January post.  Except for you folks in other time zones…

Well, better get back to it…




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.]