Inter-Familiar Relations

Those readers who follow the (mis)adventures of the mages, magic workers, and assorted normal people who populate the Familiars world probably wonder exactly how the Familiars know so much about each other, and how they relate to each other.

Short answer: they’re not telling, and generally pretty well. Generally. Not always. Continue reading


Mary Austin: Writer, Poet, Naturalist

In Familiar Roads, Rodney and Tay get into a mildly warm discussion about whether North American in general and the Southwest in particular can have geni loci, spirits bound to a place, or at least magical things that act as if they are spirits bound to a place. Part of what inspired that little scene was remembering a fragment of Mary Austin’s poem, “Southwest Magic.”

There are no fairy-folk in our Southwest,

The cactus spines would tear their filmy wings,

There’s no dew anywhere for them to drink

And no green grass to make them fairy rings. Continue reading

They are not Synonyms

Arrrgh. A textbook author hit my pedant button, hard enough that I snarled out loud. Fortunately, it was during my work period, so there were no witnesses.

Evangelical and fundamentalist are not synonyms. No, no, they are not, no, stop that, N. O. Evangelical Christians can follow the ideas put forth in The Fundamentals, but they don’t have to. And those who agree with the aforementioned ideas do not have to belong to the Protestant denominations frequently lumped as “Evangelical.” Continue reading

Trapped in Stories?

Last weekend, the psych blogger at Had Enough Therapy? blogged about a very sad woman who, to sum up a lot of mess, had her life dictated by the stories she found around her. Her existence post-college was determined by the stories she latched onto. This was not healthy, and I don’t think she will do well as time passes. Her story would have been fine – as the plot of a modernist literary novel. For a real person? Not good.

So, why was she trapped in such terrible stories? I use trapped, because that’s what the blogger, Stuart Schneiderman, uses. “She is trapped in fictional roles, and thinks that that is all there is.” Continue reading

Alas, Poor Dove . . .

The dove has experienced the Raptor. It is either a sharp-shinned hawk, or a Cooper’s hawk. The two are almost identical, other than the shape of the feathers on their heads.

We have three bird feeders, and the doves scavenge off what the smaller birds scatter. Every so often, a hawk “hunts over bait,” as Dorothy G phrased it. The bird books say to take down the feeders when that happens, so the hawk won’t hang around. As many doves and grackles and starlings as we have? Nah!

February ’20 Updates

Furiously Familiar and Familiar Sorrows are done, and the drafts need outside readers. I’ve got 20,000 words on Generally Familiar meaning two stories out of five or six. Some are older characters – Heike and Walburga, Barbara and her Shire mare Familiar Magda, others are new, and one wraps up a loose end from FF.

I’m digging back into White Gold and Empire, and hope to have that finished by April. Continue reading

Book Review: The Last Knight

The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I Pierre Terjanian, ed. (New York: Metropolitan Museum, 2019)

I asked for three things for Christmas – new work gloves, brown earrings, and this book. I’ve been interested in Maximilian von Habsburg for a while, and seeing the wonder exhibition of his art and books in the imperial library in Vienna this past summer just stoked the flames. This is the 500th anniversary of his life, and so the Met Museum in New York, in conjunction with the Prado, the Spanish Military Museum, the Kunsthistorischesmuseum in Vienna, and a few other places, had a very large show of his armor, art, and weapons. For those who don’t know, the Met has one of the largest collections of medieval and Renaissance armor in the world. This book is the catalogue of that exhibition. Continue reading

Piddlin’ Around

It is a colloquial term for doing things that might or might not need to be done, but that are small. Repainting the living room is not piddlin’ around. Pulling random weeds out of the garden as you walk past, then checking the bird bath, adding water to bird bath, then tying up a rambling rose that has rambled a bit much . . . that’s piddlin’ around. Continue reading