September Updates

Work has started on the cover of Hopling and Pouchling. As soon as the cover is ready, I’ll release the book, so I hope to have it out by early October.

Eerily Familiar is at 32,000 words and counting. Halloween as a release date was too optimistic, so I’ll aim for mid-November.

White-Gold and Empire has been set aside for now. I will try to have it ready for a January 2020 release, but I can’t promise anything.

Called to the Council is now the title of the sixth Shikhari book. A pre-Christmas release is planned, and the book is in alpha read at the moment. I’ll be asking beta readers to look at it soon.

Right now, I do not have anything else simmering, although we all know what that means. Yes, something will hit me from left field and the muse will stand there and point and laugh. Perhaps something based on Charles X of Sweden, who really should have quit while he was ahead?

Music of the Night

Ah, Michael Crawford as the Phantom of the Opera. I had such a crush on him when I was in my “I love darkness and dead trees” teenage years. Enough so that I memorized the entire soundtrack of the musical, and learned the piano version of four of the songs. And discovered that holding that last note against the accompaniment is bloomin’ hard, especially if you are seated and playing the piano as you sing. Mom took me to LA to hear Crawford live as a graduation present when Phantom was still touring. We also went to the La Brea tar pits, and got to experience a small earthquake. It was a fun long weekend.

I even read the novel, which is… probably not something that fans of the musical really want to do. The Phantom was not a nice character. The original silent movie shows that, and it is more of a horror story than a romantic love story. Romantic in the “Romantic” overblown emotion sense, yes. Kissing, cooing, and love? No.

Continue reading

Of Course I’d have to be Different…

If things dental bother you, read no farther.

I’ve never seen a dental tech’s eyes go that wide before. I hope I don’t again. Not even when my retainers glued themselves to my teeth because of the too-tight fit that led to a vacuum developing.*

A little back-ground. Because of a congenital jaw malformation, I’ve been through three rounds of braces, four passes with retainers, and developed severe TMJD (tempro-mandibular joint disease). That led to The Year of the Dentist and orthodontic crowns. Continue reading

Country Music… and Western

I grew up listening to everything except then-current rock and R&B. Odetta, Kingston Trio, Bach, Brahms, Ian and Sylvia, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and CCR, the New Christie Minstrels, the Limelighters, opera, military marches, Gregorian chant…. It was all fair game, and we had LPs and then cassette tapes full. The Irish Rovers and Bothy Band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo… If it had a melody, harmony, and lyrics that were either fun or made sense-ish, then it found a way onto the family play list.

Sunday night, I wandered through the living room as Mom and Dad were watching the lead-up to the new Ken Burns series about country music. And western music. And yes, there is a difference, especially today. It was great fun, with a lot of good music, and no, I have never heard “Orange Blossom Special” done on a mandolin and I swear to Bast that smoke was coming from the instrument before the song finished. I was impressed! Continue reading

September 11th

I’ve posted here before about my experiences on September 11th, 2001. And some of what I did later, my little part in the fight against Al Quaeda’s internet presence and that of some of their successors.

None of my students were alive then. What is clear auditory and visual memory for me – the radio reports, the tails of the diverted planes looming over the little terminal at the airport where I was working at the time – is history for them. In a few more years, if I’m still teaching, the Thirty Year Rule* will turn September Eleventh into history and I’ll have to teach it. Continue reading


Ah, summer. When you can’t go outside in the afternoons and evenings and expect to be able to hear yourself think.

We have cicadas around here, especially in towns. Grasslands don’t have many places for them to latch on to when they molt, but tree trunks, brick houses, and the like are perfect. They are annual, not episodic, and loud. Very, very loud. And startling if you have not met one before. Continue reading

Not Nice, But Good

Cedar Sanderson’s post at Mad Genius Club about the Holocaust museum and fiction, and Lawdog’s eloquent commentary on the life and demise of Robert Mugabe, kicked me into wondering about those people who are not nice, are not saints, but who do the right thing in hard situations, sometimes for reasons that make would-be hagiographers flinch.

This summer, I visited the Schindler factory in Krakow. Oskar Schindler was no saint. He wasn’t Dietrich Bonhoffer by a long shot. He protected Jews possibly in part because he was ticked off about trying to meet his quotas when his skilled labor kept being hauled away to the camps. But he ended up saving 1100 people, and is listed as being among the Righteous Among the Nations for what he did. But I got the impression from the book, the movie, and the museum, that he’s not the kind of person Sunday School teachers would hold up as a moral role model. Continue reading

Unleash the Auroras!

Fountains of Mercy is now live and available at Amazon.

What do you do when the world seems to end? For the residents of an as-yet still un-named city, Colonial Plantation LTD is the source of everything. Until it isn’t. For Susannah “Basil” Peilov, it is a necessary evil, one that she increasingly dislikes.

This is the story of the Great Fires, of survival, and hope, and making a new world your own.

It comes first in series internal chronology, and eighth in series numbering.