The autumnal waves of cool and cold fronts have begun sweeping down from the Dakotas, Alberta, and the Arctic. The plains warm up, then drop twenty degrees under grey clouds, then warm up again, but not as much. The grasses are changing color, starting to shift from green to a near infinite range of browns. A few cottonwoods are starting to turn as well, their bright green becoming fluttering, shimmering gold. And the birds are forming herds. Continue reading


Human Wave Redux – 2015 Edition

What is Human Wave? According to one of the founders of the movement, Sarah Hoyt, it is stories that are not boring. And stories that do not leave the reader or viewer more depressed and hopeless than when they started reading or watching. (With the possible exception of those of us who sigh, “Dang, I wish I could write that well.”) “First, tell interesting stories.” And then go from there. Sarah followed that thought up a little later, and I’d like to add my own take on it. Continue reading

How Do You Read?

Well? How do you? How do you read a novel versus a tech manual versus a history book or memoir? What about a dense, older novel as compared to a fun I-need-a-brain-break modern book? I’d never thought about it before having to work with someone to teach them how to read for data as compared to skimming to make a page count (so to speak.) It raises an old question again: is reading an unnatural act? Continue reading

Azdhag Honor Blades

One of the items that appears in the new Cat Among Dragons book (soon, my Presciousssss Readersssss, very soon) is an honor blade. Rada Ni Drako, or Lord Reh-dakh as she is now known, has served the Azdhag Throne for centuries but has never been granted one of these weapons. Readers familiar with the Azdhagi will not be surprised at the blend of archaic tradition and very high technology that are incorporated in the weapons. Continue reading

A Report from Occupy Toilet Mat

Or “What my evenings would be like if Athena T. Cat spoke English.”

A.T. Cat’s interest in the little rug around the base of the commode has not faded as I had hoped it would. She now camps out there every evening, after first blocking the path between the bedroom to the office (via the bathroom) in hopes of drive-by petting. Then she marches into the den and assaults my lap, usually about the time I finish what ever I am drinking and need a refill. Cat timing – gotta love it. Continue reading

Did I Write That? Owch.

In the course of working on what became A Cat at Bay, I re-read and reworked material I had written way back when I first started the Commander Ni Drako stories, in 2006. I’d worked over a few of the chapters before, taking out some really, really heavy references to life stuff, and trimming out some copyrighted material. But I had not sat down and really read through them with an eye on publication. I wrote the stories as a way to vent and keep from doing something uncharitable to grad school faculty (among others). And since that time, I’ve written, oh, two history books, and several million words of fiction. So I sat down and started work. Ow. Continue reading

Tripping on the Past

I have a bad habit of roaming, especially when in mostly-safe foreign countries. In the early morning or in the evening, if traffic and weather permit, I’ll head out from the hotel or inn pointed in some random direction. Maybe there’s a quasi-castle-like thing I can see at the end of the road, or a church tower peeking out of trees on a ridge. Or I’ll hear an intriguing sound and go wandering around the castle grounds to discover the local aerobatic practice box and sit on a bench among roses and specimen trees watching someone practice for an aerobatic competition. (In a Zlin. It was in the Czech Republic, of course it was a Zlin.) Or I’ll find Roman bits and an intriguing hint about a Hausberg hidden among the trees. Continue reading

Mercenary Justice

Something from the scrap bag . . .

It was a good thing that young mammals and reptiles never got near Rada’s computer display, she mused as she read the message from Avri Wolkskind. “Anatomically impossible but interesting to imagine,” she muttered under her breath at one of his imprecations. Rada felt a taloned forefoot on her shoulder and braced as Zabet rose onto her hind legs and leaned over her Pet’s back to eavesdrop.

<<Ouch! I’m surprised the display hasn’t melted!>> The true-dragon commented. <<He seems a tad upset.>>

“I would be too. He got rolled, hard, and wants to meet with a bunch of us for an informal information swap and contract-control session,” the dark-haired mammal explained. “Don’t read the last paragraph – I don’t want your delicate sensibilities distressed.” Continue reading

Folklore, Myths, and Fairy Tales

I grew up reading folktales and mythology. There’s still a shelf in the bedroom at Redquarters with folktale collections on it. The big (800 pages) Russian collection is now elsewhere, since I’ve been reading Russian tales from various sources, but there are still Hungarian, American Indian of different sorts, Tartar, Japanese, Hawaiian, and four books of stories about the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime on the shelf. I have the original Grimm stories on my e-reader. And I survived Bruno Bettelheim, who in my opinion took some of Freud’s and Jung’s ideas to the edge and then jumped over. So yes, I’m kinda fond of folktales and folklore. Continue reading