Hunting in the Snow

The rain shifted to snow just after a grey dawn that never really embraced the change from twilight into day. Not simply a light fluttery dusting, but heavy, wet gloppy flakes driven by the north wind into a horizontal mass of white that devoured the world more than a quarter-mile away. As I drove to the school a few flakes danced down, mixed in with drizzle. The wind cut a little, but not badly enough for me to turn up my collar. I was glad I’d worn the heavy flannel petticoat, though. Nothing gets through that, no wind, rain, nada. Continue reading

Friday Fragment

The beginning of an urban fantasy story. Sometimes the Devil really is in the details . . .

“ . . . and you really need more emphasis on the role of women and other marginalized groups, Ms. DeHahn. Look in the lacunae in the sources,” Dr. Eyrinie sniffed. “I’m certain that you can find material other, less objective, researchers have ignored, if not actively set aside.”

“Yes, Dr. Eyrinie.”

What she could see of her research proposal appeared to have been attacked by birds that had waded through orange juice. The professor used anything but red. “Red is too oppressive and negative,” the department chair had intoned. “We need to uplift and encourage students, not criticize them.” Melissa DeHahn thought that red, green, or purple plaid didn’t make much difference. Anything Dr. Eyrinie returned looked as if it had been bled upon. And that was if she liked you. She’d returned Robert’s paper in pieces, having changed, corrected, or marked every other word, then torn it in half. He switched advisors that afternoon. Melissa thought once more that he was the smart one.

“You see what I want?”

“Yes, Dr. Eyrinie.”

“Good. This has real potential if you can bring in non-traditional individuals and methodologies, Ms. DeHahn. And don’t forget theoretical and epistemological materials. Re-read Zhing L’clar’s article on post-Feminist structural critiques of Medieval sources, as well as Foucoult and Fanon.”

I’d rather walk over burning coals wearing magnesium socks. “Yes, Dr. Eyrinie.” She dutifully underlined that bit in her notes.

“Good. I won’t keep you any longer.”

Melissa did not flee, but she felt like it. Neither did she stand in the hall practicing her primal scream. Screaming made the secretary nervous, and poor Mrs. Whittier did not deserve any additional stress. Instead Melissa walked up two flights of stairs to the graduate student work area and faculty “Siberia,” cleared a space on the big, heavy conference table that someone had shoehorned into the room, and attacked it with the stress pillow. A long-ago grad student advisor of blessed sense and understanding had made a half-full pillow out of heavy canvas and sacking to be used when the urge to scream, break furniture, or throw things at faculty became overwhelming. Melissa would have preferred to go to the range for some recoil therapy, but not until she calmed down. Continue reading

Thursday Tale

I may have posted this before. I was reminded of it by Cedar’s post at MGC about Gothic romance and why it goes “thunk” for some readers.

Haunted Scotia?


The bitter, unseasonable east wind swirled around her, tangling her long skirts and cutting through her shawl. She peered into the night, searching in vain for some sign of life, some hint of a rescuer. The woman saw only darkness, felt only cold mist stinging her face. She’d snuck into the grim castle’s tower searching for answers to her questions, not expecting an unseen hand to slam the door behind her. She pushed long, dark hair out of her face and huddled next to the cold stones of the wall, trying to find a respite from the wind. Then she heard footsteps, slow, measured, heavy, coming up the stairs to the tower’s upper chamber.

Could it be Lord Gregory? Surely not. He should have been asleep, as exhausted as the others. But if not him, then whom? The woman pushed herself deeper into the small stone alcove as the first hint of light appeared in the doorway. The light glinted off patterns set into the floor, patterns that chilled the woman to her core. If only she’d refused James’s invitation!

# Continue reading

Curiosity: Good, Bad, or Plot Point?

Athena T. Cat has no curiosity, or at least far less than any other cat I’ve encountered thus far. If you present her with something new, meaning you put it within a few inches of her, she may sniff it and possibly lick it. Otherwise she ignores new things, new people, and other intrusions into her world. I know people like that, and I always wonder how they can go through life content not to ask, poke, visit, read more about it, or see more than is presented. They are not bad people, just mysterious, at least to me. Continue reading

So Many Books! or Productivity for the Distracted Writer

Since January 2013 I have written *counts* twenty novels. Plus several short story collections and novellas. That looks like a lot of words on screen or page. In some ways it is, especially compared to a lot of literary fiction writers, or people like George R. R. Martin. Compared to Larry Correia or the old (and modern) pulp writers? I’m a lazy piker.

So how did I come to write so much? Habit. Continue reading

Great Read by New Writer

I beta-read the first draft of this story and it hooked me, hard. Think a bit of the Eiger Sanction, the poems of Robert Service (“There are strange things done ‘neat the midnight sun/ by the men who moil for gold . . .”) and old-school adventure romance, with a government conspiracy lurking in the background. I’ve been around the edges of hard-core winter weather and mountain weather, and Dorothy nails the dangers and the beauty.

Highly recommend.

FTC Notice: I read this in draft form as a beta reader. I received no remuneration from the author or publisher for this review.

A Three-nager Already?

Wow. This blog is almost three years old. It started February 14, 2014.

I published the first Cat Among Dragons book in December 2012.

I’d been hanging around Kris Rusch’s blog, DWS’s place, The Passive Voice, and According to Hoyt for about six months or so, likewise Mad Genius Club. Maybe a little longer, actually. I’d commented on other blogs, including Peter Grant’s place and The Lawdog Files for a while, and had been on the ‘net since the days before the Great Blog War and the decline of the Blog Which Shall Not be Named. [Those who know the blog also know why I don’t want the place or its owner named here, either. That kind of traffic is not good, especially on days when I can’t be on-line constantly to moderate things or catch the start of an attack.] But hanging around on the ‘Net is quite different from the committment of blogging. And I’d never done a website (still haven’t), had no digital image catching device, and blogs were for grown-ups, not for me.

Saul Bottcher and a few others convinced me otherwise, and so I launched Cat Rotator’s Quarterly. The rest is a lot of blog posts and a bit too much of what will be history in 30 years or so.

Thank you to my blog readers and commenters, and to my followers! I appreciate the time you take to stop by and see what’s new, even when it’s a “Sorry for the lack of post” post. Thank you for good conversations, witty comments, and new information.

Oh, yes. And I’ve started going back over the steampunk novel Language of the Land to see about getting it editor-ready.

Housecat: Some Assembly Required

My (and Athena’s) bedroom reached critical fur last week. I have mild dust and dander allergies, more dust than dander. I have to really clean everything at least once every three months, as well as dusting surfaces on a weekly basis. But I had not cleaned Under The Bed for a while. Then I had to fish something out and observed that the carpet had aged from light tan to dark grey. Continue reading

Who Started It?

Germany of course.

If you ask almost anyone, “Who started WWI?” the answer will be that it was the Germans. Getting past that may elicit the agreement that yes, a Serbian student affiliated however loosely with an anti-Austrian group did, ahem, trigger the chain of events by assassinating someone, but Germany gave Austria a “blank check” to beat up on Serbia after Russia told them not to, and then Germany invaded Belgium and war began. That was the version that appeared in the 1920s and was reinforced by the events of the 1930s-40s. Since Germany had started WWII, of course they started WWI. Except . . . Except things are changing a little as archives come open and people are looking at documents in new ways. Continue reading