Languages and Stories

No, not how fancy or plain, active voice or passive. Alien languages and non-English in my fiction, and why I do it.

I seem to have a knack for learning foreign languages. I catch inflections and accents easily, to the extent that I speak German with a Bavarian-Austrian accent rather than American. Having the ability to recognize patterns helps immensely, and my long span of musical adventures also helps, because I pick out phrases and sounds very quickly. This overflows into my writing, as long-time readers know. Continue reading


Solstice Story: Of Night and Power

A little tidbit that I never found a place for…

Once again, Rada stood knee-deep in snow beside a megalith and wondered if the power was worth the price. She looked into the snow-silent darkness and felt the energies underlying the Isle of the Mighty as they flowed through age-old channels in the land. Behind her, the British Branch headquarters complex squatted in the now, the gardens nothing more than lumps under a blanket of white. A slight rise of land hid the lights from Rada’s sight, leaving her alone in the cold. Or perhaps not as alone as she thought, Rada realized as she heard someone shuffling towards the standing stone. A mean little smile appeared on Rada’s face and she eased towards the stone, her dark coat blending into the dark gray rock.

Sergeant John Andrews, or Lone Tree as he preferred to think of himself, almost missed the sacred stone in the darkness. Rada heard him catch himself and turn. Then she smelled burning grass and realized that he’d brought some kind of incense to the rock. Not smart, she growled silently. Logres agreed, and Rada felt the Power stir briefly as it commanded her to drive off the interloper. Logres gained nothing from the human’s misguided attempt at worship and power access. Rada’s smile grew into a toothy snarl as she opened her shields, drawing on all the energy available to her on this longest night of the year. Continue reading

Raffle Update

From Farmmom, via OldNFO:

I have struggled for a couple of months now on how to say thank you to all the folks that have helped my family.  Every time I sit down to try to write, I end up not being able to see the page.  Darn Colorado dust.  This morning I sat down and made myself soldier through, and I hope I can express the unending gratitude I feel without ending up blubbering like an idiot.
In this day and age it’s surprising to find a few people that will go out of their way to help someone else… To say the least I’m astounded for this many people to help someone that most of them don’t even know.  It reminds me that there are still good people out there, and that have an amazing amount of compassion for their fellow man.  You folks are the best of the best.  I’m humbled to know some of you and would welcome meeting the rest, because folks like you make life better just for knowing you.

Continue reading

No Smoking, Or Else!

This spot was not beside the road when I went to work. It was most certainly there as I left.


Thanks be that the winds were calm. Two days before, a grass fire south of a public high school almost got really, really interesting thanks to 25 MPH winds gusting to 35. We could see the smoke from Barnes and Noble, and even from Redquarters. Continue reading

Darkness Inside

This is the time of year I go back to Susan Cooper’s series The Dark is Rising, especially the second and fourth books (The Dark is Rising and The Grey King.) Greenwich is also scary, but in different ways, and I prefer Will’s adventures on his own to those with the other children.

But something about this time of year also makes me look inside. As you can guess from some scenes in my books, especially the Cat series, I have a dark streak inside me. Not only a tendency toward depression and despair, but I have a tiger inside as well. He is not a nice monster.

I learned early on that I have to keep a hold on myself, especially when the baser passions are stirred, because what lurks inside me is vengeful, cruel, and would love to lash out. I once spent an hour walking around and around until I was absolutely certain I could stay in control of that side of me. Continue reading

Turkey-Frame Soup

Because some people just can’t use the word “carcass,” apparently, one of my cookbooks has a recipe for “Turkey Frame Soup.”  You know, what is left after you carve said bird. There’s usually still meat on the bones, but unless you want to gnaw on them, it’s not worth futzing around with. Enter one large soup pot and a really good strainer. I strain out everything that will strain and keep the results as broth.

I also won serious brownie points for pre-carving the bird and taking the sorted meat, on platters, to the parties and gatherings. What other people don’t know…

Continue reading