Saturday Story: RajWorld Part 7

. . . and discovers a little more than she’d anticipated.

Chapter 7: Hidden Shapes and the Beasts of the Field

Rigi didn’t feel grown-up as she drank her coffee and milk. She felt fuzzy on the edges, like her favorite pair of cool-season leggings, or her old stuffed wombow. She sipped more coffee, blinked, and studied the hot breakfast. There seemed to be a great deal of food for four people.

“Ah, good morning, Miss Rigi, Master Tomás, Mistress Kay.” Rigi turned and bowed to Lexi as he came in, followed by Uncle Eb.

“Good morning, Lexi. There’s a plate ready for you,” Aunt Kay said. Rigi liked her outfit of loose trousers and a belted tunic with snug lower sleeve cuffs. Since she worked with paints and e-drawing, she didn’t have to worry about messing her cuffs the way Rigi did with her pastels and soft pencils.

“Thank you, Mistress.” Lexi served himself from several of the warming dishes, then sat off to the side, away from the humans, his back to them. Rigi admired his manners—most Staré didn’t bother turning away. That also explained the amount of food, if Lexi ate with them in the mornings. Which reminded Rigi. She set her cup down and got food, including mushy grey that she hoped was not tam. A cautious taste revealed land-rice and milk pudding with warm spices. That she liked, and Rigi put away her serving, ate some odd tasting eggs and breakfast meat, dutifully nibbled at the heavy rusk until it disappeared, and drank more milk coffee.

“Rigi, don’t you put fruit on your rusks in the morning?” Tomás pushed a small bowl of red quivering stuff to her. She leaned away from the bowl. The contents kept wiggling after the dish stopped. And it was blood colored. She didn’t like blood-colored meat or soup. “That’s cheery fruit. It won’t eat you.” Continue reading

Intriguing Places and Names

Sogdia. Merv. The Oxus and Indus. Oxiana. Srubnaya. Alagou. Arachosia. Kyzylkun. Orontes. Lukka. Lusatia. Yenisei. Yilou. Maritsa.

All the names of places, most lost to time and existing only as archaeological sites or cultural names, fragments of parchment or preserved bamboo slices with travel records and receipts that survived in lost border posts at the edge of a desert or in a cavern or an off-hand mention in some traveler’s account preserved in fragments in a later work. For some reason they fascinate me, not just the sounds of the names and guessing their pronunciation, but the places they hint at and the stories they could tell. Continue reading

The Alexi Omnibus is Live

All of Alexi’s Tales, plus “Firebird’s Feather” are now available in one volume.

Cover art by Anita C. Young. She'= also does covers for herself and for James Young.

Cover art by Anita C. Young. She also does covers for herself and for James Young.

Action, adventure, wit, military paperwork, and far too many texting cats!

Alexi’s grandparents fled the Old Country. The Old Country followed. Now it’s his job to send the spirits back where they belong. He is Alexander Soldier’s Son.

Urban fantasy with a Russian twist.

Hoppin’ John

This is one of those dishes that have as many recipes as cooks. I can’t think of anyone within my ken who hasn’t modified it to their own taste, adding more spice, making it blander, what have you. It’s poverty food in the sense that if you need to stretch meat a looooong way, but you have some beans and rice and other stuff, you can make a filling and rather comforting dish. This was on frequent rotation when I was flying and in grad school, because I could make it in advance and have lots of leftovers. And yes, it can be inexpensive if you have a left-over ham-bone or meat bits from something.

Fancy New Year's version with fresh collards, as per tradition.

Fancy New Year’s version with fresh collards, as per tradition.

Who was John? No one knows. The recipe comes from the Carolina Low-country, where rice was first grown in North America, and beans with bacon over rice appears in receipt books in the early 1800s. (Receipt is the older term used in parts of the Coastal and Deep South for recipe.)

So, Hoppin’ John.

Continue reading

New Readers: Where Do I Start?

So if you are a new reader, or are interested in sampling some of my work, or are introducing someone to my work, where do you begin?

  1. What genre are you interested in? I have urban fantasy, military sci-fi with a dash of history, military sci-fi without history, and a few random sci-fi bits and pieces. And one romance story, although several of my books include an element of romance. And one novel that is straight hard sci-fi, although it is related to the military-history series.

Continue reading

Screwtape and Human Wave

“Dear Wormwood,”

So begins each chapter in a book about how to lure humans away from all that is good and eternal, and into darkness and evil. Screwtape, from the ministry of temptations, instructs his nephew Wormwood on all the varied ways that mankind slips into sin. You do not have to be a Christian to read some of the letters and feel a chill. The letters, written by C. S. Lewis between 1938-1942, could be written today.  Especially Letter XV. Continue reading

Book Review: Big Blue

Burkhead, David L. Big Blue (August 2016) Kindle Edition

Does anyone remember the movie posters for Aliens vs. Predator that said “No matter who wins, Humanity Loses”? Aside from thinking that it really should have been mankind instead of humanity? OK, how many of you are thinking that writing Marko Niska (“A candidate with a proven reputation.”) or Yellowstone Volcano/S.M.O.D. in for president is a better alternative to the present slate? Or you agree with “Vote Cthulu: Why settle for the lesser Evil?”

Your book has arrived. The pairing everyone has wondered about but feared to imagine is here. And North America is the half-way point. Don’t bother checking your insurance police, because nothing can cover you when the Great Old One collides with atomic weapons gone wrong. Continue reading