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.)

“You Stick the Pointy End into the Bad Guy, yes?”

To paraphrase one of my favorite lines from the movie, The Mask of Zorro where the young man demonstrates his, let us say, lack of knowledge of the finer details of fencing and swordsmanship. Anyone who is familiar with the enormous range of styles, techniques, and blades used in sword-fighting, fencing, and other martial arts disciplines chuckles at the line, because it sums up what a lot of people think about edged weapon use. You just slash or poke wildly until the other party quits fighting, yes?

It depends. I’ve done foil fencing and some stage fencing, two very different skills and styles. Continue reading

Call for Readers


I need a few volunteers to read over Horribly Familiar for typoos, homonym glitches, and awkward turns of phrase.

Contact me at my e-mail if you are interested.

(E-mail can be found on the About page.)

UPDATE: Thanks to all who volunteered! I really appreciate all your offers. I have plenty of eyes now looking at the story. Intensely Familiar is coming along quickly at the moment, so I will probably need some help on that one in June or early July.

Armed Forces Day 2020

The third Saturday in May is Armed Forces Day. To me, it marks the start of what I sort of think of as “Patriotic Season,” which includes Memorial Day (actual and observed), Flag Day, and peaks with the Fourth of July and Independence Day. Armed Forces Day was instituted in 1949 in order to bring all four of the branches of the military under one roof as far as celebrating their “days.” It went along with the creation of the Air Force as separate from the US Army (no more “Army Air Corps,” and “Army Air Force,” even though I knew older vets who always sang, “Nothing can stop the Army Air Corps” until the day they died.) It also marked the creation of the Department of Defense, as opposed to the Department of War and separate Departments of Army, Navy, and now Air Force. Continue reading

Red Sky at Morning

To my mild surprise, a pocket of storms that rolled off the Rockies Sunday evening managed to make it to the central Panhandle around two thirty Monday morning. I say surprise because these were more heat-generated storms than jet-streak fueled storms, and the “monsoon” hasn’t really begun yet. I’d left the computers plugged in, so when the thunder woke me around 0230, I glanced at radar, then unplugged everything and went back to sleep until the alarm went off at “oh Lord it’s too early*.” Then I dragged myself out of bed, petted the cat, and went for a walk. Continue reading

The Hawks are Back

I opted to wait until mid-morning to take my walk. OK, scratch that, I’d slept in and since it was still heavily overcast and in the low 40s, figured I could stroll without incurring the wrath of dermatologist since I’d be in dark glasses, a hat, and gloves. I got to the end of the block and observed a commotion in the grass of a yard. I tried to detour, but it wasn’t far enough, and three Mississippi kites erupted from the grass. Two attacked each other, talons locking in mid-air, then breaking apart. The third, a larger female, settled onto the top of a tree down the next block. After another aerial spat, one of the males joined her. Continue reading

May ’20 State of the Author

The draft of Horribly Familiar is done. 75K words. The last section needs to “rest” this week, but it’ll probably be ready for Alpha readers at the end of this week.

I’m thinking that there might be a short story, “Familiar Vows” to bridge the gap between this and the next book, and to cover the adventures of AndrĂ©, Lelia, and the Utah Wedding. A small family affair, only a hundred guests or so . . . Continue reading

A Rose is a Rose but what Kind of Rose?

A re-post from the past, since we are into “Oh, that looks pretty, let’s get one and plant it” season.

Floribunda, Old Rose, rambler, climber, hybrid tea, damask… There seem to be scads, if not thousands, of different kinds of roses. They come in all shapes and sizes, from miniatures to climbers and ramblers that will take over the entire landscape, very simple flowers to flowers that make bees wonder if they’ve fallen into an M.C. Escher drawing, colors from pure white to deep purple to almost black to “all-of-the-above.” Some thrive from being ignored, some almost require being tucked in every night. After DYCs*, roses seem to be the largest swath of generic flowers. “What is that?”

“A rose.”

“What kind?”


Arrrrrgh! Continue reading