Roll Up Your Car Windows . . .

lock your doors, draw the blinds and close the drapes! Do NOT make eye contact with neighbors who are carrying grocery bags. If a neighbor comes toward your front door carrying a bag and has a determined, almost desperate look on his face, hide and do not answer the bell! Yes, it is . . . .




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Buy, Rent, or Borrow?

N.B. The post title refers to non-fiction research-type or reference books. Always buy or rent your fiction books. Really, I mean it. (Not that I’m biased or anything, pinkie swear 😉 )

So I’m in the throes, or throws, depending on the day, of writing the third WWI-Interwar novel (tentative title is “Against a Rising Tide.”) Which means research again, in a period I really don’t enjoy reading about. Europe between 1918 and 1938 generated a great deal of depressing history in my opinion, and it is one of those periods I’d rather skip over. There are too many very-human follies and woes on display for me to enjoy reading about the politics and economics of the time. But I need it for background, and to make the alternate history aspect work, so on I slog. The regional libraries do not have much about this period unless you are interested in a few biographies, NSDAP-related stuff, some Weimar culture, or aviation. So how do I get material that is not on the Internet? Continue reading

Blog News

Ah, school is starting. The stores are full of Back-to-School specials and teachers are stocking the teachers’ lounge fridge with their own Back-to-School specials (one jigger of bourbon, one jigger of simple syrup, mint leaves, crushed ice. . . [JUST KIDDING!!]) And your humble scribe is losing her former free time as she answers the siren song of the classroom. Continue reading

Wandering Stars and F.J. Turner

Paint Your Wagon is not a documentary, really its not, despite all my in-classroom jokes to the contrary. But you can get a decent feel for the history of the US west by watching it. And understand why Clint Eastwood never did another musical. Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Harve Presnell, Alan Dexter and Jean Seaberg, along with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, spin a tale of farming, prospecting, gambling, and the different people who went West and why. Plus great music, neat settings, and some of the greatest throw-away lines in a movie. Continue reading

I’ve Been Raptored!

A family of marsh hawks AKA harriers moved into a park where I go walking in the mornings. As the hawks multiplied over the past few years, the number of rabbits, mice, squirrels, and small birds decreased, and I have not seen any possums, either. Granted, the foxes might get some credit, but still. It’s fun to watch the hawks warming up in the mornings.

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Books Review: The Wolf and the Ward; Lions and a Library

Catelli, Mary. “The Wolf and the Ward,” (short story) and “The Lion and the Library” (novella) Kindle editions

What can a woman do? Powerless, subordinate, dependent on family and on the good will of powerful men, Charity in “The Wolf and the Ward” and Lena in “The Lion and the Library” have nothing but wits, determination, and the will to use what they do have in order to see justice done. When magic is twisted and warped, these ladies find ways to untangle the knots and shine light on evil.

Mary Catelli’s spare writing style gives the reader just enough to build a world and to imagine the scenery without any excess. You do not need to know the story of the conquest of the Celestians by the Solanians to detest the results. Nor is it vital to understand what Duke Leonard rules over or about the fire. The stories both begin in the middle, with protagonists who discover that they must unravel a mystery. The style pulls the reader in and engages very well. As in, don’t start these when you have stuff to do or need to go to bed within the next few minutes. “I’ll just read a few pages” didn’t work.

For those who are getting tired of the “damsel in distress whips out sword/spellbook/Ninja training and saves self and dude,” don’t worry. The true Lord Martin and Erion the Scholar (and Scapegoat King) do not stand idly by.

This is just the sort of fantasy I used to enjoy and then had trouble finding on the shelves. Fortunately, Catelli has a very long list of works available through a number of stores and I look forward to reading more.

Highly recommended and suitable for younger readers (12+).