Chains of Command: Or Why André Answers to a Chaplain

Ah, Army logic, and military logic in general (pun intended). In the Familiars world, the Spell Eruption Event caught a lot of people by surprise, including military around the world. As happens with most [all?] bureaucracies, the military was slow to sort out just how to deal with this, or if magic existed at all.

According to tradition—and each branch of the US Armed Forces claims it for their own—military magic began with a ticked-off NCO who possessed greater creativity of invective than most. Continue reading


Proportion and Scale: Reset

I was finally able to attend a service of worship in person recently. We were very few, widely spaced, following all the current rules, and I needed it. After some recent events, I had gotten mentally wrapped around the axle dealing with a problem that was my responsibility but outside of my control at that point. (Said problem has been resolved since then.)

My problem was a matter of scale. Everything has been shrinking since mid-March, to the point where if it wasn’t Day Job, household, or virus-news-of-the-day, it was almost impossible to get good information or to maintain a healthy sense of perspective. It happened so gradually that I didn’t realize how bad it had become. Continue reading

Why is the Teacher Beating the Back of my Head?

Ah, high school chemistry class, where most students first encounter (nowadays) science that might hurt, maim, or kill you. Those with parents in industrial chemistry might have already come to understand the in-jokes and winces, but for most, this is the first time they get to play with fire, things that produce toxic fumes, or go “boom!” Continue reading

Tuesday News

Ah, true love, magical bombs, “philosophical disagreements” over the age of canned goods, and his-and-hers makeup boxes. The courtship continues as André discovers why humidity is not his friend. Lelia realizes that her true love doesn’t share her grocery shopping philosophy. They do agree, however, that attacking their friends is not to be tolerated.

And that “for Familiar, for worse” needs to be in the wedding vows, no matter what Tay and Rodney claim.

Horribly Familiar is now available on Amazon.

Memorial Day (observed) Book Review: The Old Guard

Cotton, Tom. Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery. (Kindle e-book).

When military history buffs think of a unit called the Old Guard, we tend to think of Napoleon’s famous reserve group. It is from that French regiment that the US Army’s 3rd Infantry takes its nickname – the Old Guard. They are charged with serving at official functions of honor, preserving the history and honor of the Army and the US, and serving at Arlington National Cemetery. Most people probably assume that their jobs center on funerals and on guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As Tom Cotton, a veteran of the unit, shows, there is a lot more. Continue reading

Well, So Much For Making it Easier

Due to a massive communications failure of which I was not aware until after a deadline had gone whooshing past, I spent my blogging time in a four-way e-conversation trying to sort something out and discover why I literally did not get the memo.

As the Air Force Academy student newsletter phrased it so well: Good communication is never having to say, “Huh?!?” Good communication . . . was not achieved.

I’m a third of the way through the edits on Horribly Familiar.

Book Review: The Greedy Hand

Shlaes, Amity. The Greedy Hand: How taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It. (1999, Kindle e-book)

Death and taxes. Depending on one’s personal philosophy, one can be pretty certain where death came from. But what about the various federal taxes that US citizens pay? Amity Shlaes’ short history of the various major individual income taxes is an intriguing look at the history and philosophy behind the taxes, and the problems with them. Although it is now twenty one years old, the book still rings true. Continue reading

Why’s the Stream Doing That?

Part of my graduate work included learning to think like a hydroengineer. Which also means learning how streams work and don’t work, and how to “unfix” (as one prof put it) well-intended potential disasters.

To do this, first you have to understand why streams do what they do, or what they don’t do. The Platte River in Nebraska, or the lower Elbe in Germany, will never be trout streams. No amount of human effort will turn them into cold, clear, briskly flowing streams with stony beds. Likewise, the upper Cache le Poudre or the Rhone headwaters will not become slow moving, sandy, meandering lazy rivers. Continue reading

Quick Price and Availability Update

I will be doing some corrections and uploads of clean manuscripts starting on Monday. I will also return the prices on some books to their pre-April level. If you are interested in Shikari at the lower price, and the third and fourth Colplatschki books at their current price, now is the time.

I don’t know how long it will take for the uploaded corrections to go live. (I meant to do this during Spring Break, and I told several people who sent corrections that I’d do it then, but . . . Life.)