June ’20 State of the Author

Packing for FoolzCon.

Also working on edits and revisions to the next Familiars novel. J-Familiar is well in progress, and I’ve got the stories for Familiar Vows sketched out, as well as two of them started. I’ll probably put those on hold for the moment since I’ve got to get some other things done before Day Job work resumes in mid-July. Continue reading


Modern Folk Music

For reasons known only to my musical hind-brain, two modern folk songs have become linked in my head, and they tend to run together as ear worms from time to time. I first heard both of them on a very eclectic radio show that would have Ian Tyson, Loreena McKinnet (all of “The Lady of Shallot” or “Mummers’ Dance,” not the radio edits), modern country, alternative, and I-have-no-idea music, so long as it was melodic and didn’t violate FCC rules.

Those songs are “Crossing Muddy Water,” and “Transit (Somewhere near Paterson).” Both are ballads. Continue reading

Tuesday Tidbit: The Fun Store

In which Lelia discovers that her husband is on a first name basis with a store owner . . . Before you start fussing about terms, remember that Lelia is the one thinking, not the author.

Two weeks later, Lelia peered at the items inside the counter of Baker’s, a place her husband apparently frequented, based on the enthusiastic greeting by the manager. “Good morning, André! You’re out early. Your ammunition’s still en route.”

André had the grace to turn a little pink and cough as he studied the carpet. “Neil, my wife Lelia Chan. Lelia, Mr. Neil Baker. She needs something for self defense that can tolerate purse carry. Not semi-auto, I don’t think.”

“Ah.” The manager hitched his belt up a little. He wore a fancy tooled leather belt with a very large pistol in the holster on his right side, as well as suspenders holding up brown work-pants. He had a little pot belly, and kind black eyes. “Have you ever fired a handgun before, ma’am?” Continue reading


I wore an Edwardian-style sun hat to church a few weeks ago. As such things go, it was relatively plain – no half-birds, no cabbage roses as large as my cat, no yards of veil and netting. I still got lots of “Great hat!” and “That’s a beautiful bonnet,” from people at church, and from people in the pop-shop where I stopped on the way home. I was also wearing my usual summer “Edwardian white” style dress. Continue reading

B.C. : Before Countries

One of the really hard things to keep in mind about history, at least for me, is that borders didn’t exist the way we think of them today. Even today, there are more places in the world than most people realize where the lines on the map are not as hardened and precise as in the US or parts of Europe. But when we talk about, oh, the Roman Empire, or better, the Holy Roman Empire (either version), the modern mental image of fences, border patrols, and well known lines of demarcation separating “our bit” from “yours for the moment” bit doesn’t work. For parts of the Roman Empire at some periods of history, yes, but even then the Limes was . . . more porous than Rome would have preferred. Continue reading

What is Beauty?

What is beautiful? How do we determine “This is beautiful” as compared to “This is lovely/stunning/dramatic/very attractive” but not quite beautiful? It is easy to say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “aesthetics are purely subjective,” but are they? Or is beauty something that resonates within us in a way we don’t entirely understand, but recognize?

I got to musing on this because of a TV program, and because of reading some Romantic-era poetry, among other things. Continue reading

Winter Wheat

Harvest season for winter wheat started in mid to late May down here, although it is running later than usual farther east and south. Unless you grow up around winter wheat, or study farming, the name sounds really strange. Does it mean that the wheat is planted in winter? Or that it needs snow and winter for some reason? Or is it just white-colored or something? And why is it so much shorter than what Laura Ingalls Wilder and others talked about with wheat? Continue reading

Quick Bread theme and variation

Baking has been rediscovered this year. Those of us who use yeast bread as a way to vent frustrations (or get an upper arm and shoulder work-out at home) wondered what took people so long, although we are also the ones who acknowledge that home-baking costs more per unit loaf than does buying generi-loaf from the supermarket. We also grumble about the Great Vanishing Yeast problem. Thus we revert to quick breads, in places where we can still find flour.

MomRed has been trying out various Quick Breads, in part because of the banana problem (which even the Wall Street Journal has written about.) She found a really good basic recipe on-line, and has been tinkering with it ever since. NOTE: this not for the keto/ lo-carb/gluten free diet.

Continue reading