Clearly Familiar

So, a little announcement. The first of two Familiars short story collections, this one entitled Clearly Familiar will come out by the end of this month, if all goes well. The stories are 99% done and need to be edited, compiled, and a cover put on them.

There are some well-known characters (Morgana and Smiley, Dr. Lewis and Blackwell, Shoshana) and a few new faces.

The last Colplatschki novel, Fountains of Mercy, will be out in mid-August. I hope to get the fifth Shikhari novel to you in September.


Art and Music: A Familiar Snippet

Shoshana is a hard voice to write through. This begins just after Oddly Familiar.

Two days later, Shoshana opened the back door to her studio and turned on the lights. A note rustled down from the switch, and she jumped, then crouched and picked it up. “Power connection now protected. Didn’t find any other problems,” she read aloud. Her landlord had signed it over the electrician’s tiny, precise cursive. She folded the note and added it to her business forms file, then went into the main gallery to check for phone messages on the machine. None. She glanced out at the main space and sighed. A tree had grown there during the power outage. It rustled a little in the wind from somewhere. This would never do—no one could get around the tree to look at her art!

Shoshana eased around the trunk and studied the leaves. Acrylics. She’d need to paint it in acrylics, if only so she could finish faster and get back to that second commission. She returned to the work area and dragged her heavy easel out into the gallery, then found the proper board and set that up. She assembled the rest of her tools, then maneuvered a small work table into the gallery, followed by a drop-cloth, just in case. She visited the tiny washroom in the back, then set to work. Continue reading

Saturday Snippet: Storm on the North Sea (Familiar)

Sooooo… there I was, trotting—OK, slogging away—on the treadmill at the gym, when not one but two stories in the Familiar universe jumped me. One has a Familiar, the other a sorcerer (I think)  but ties into Lelia’s ongoing training. This is from one of them. I sense two collections of short stories, otherwise it’s going to be one set of over 100K words. Oh, yes, the Lammkontor is a real place, and the food tastes amazingly good.

“Hast du deine Jacke?” Heike stood in the doorway, one hand on the heavy wooden doorframe.

Her Familiar’s voice came from the shadows inside, “Ja, aber die Knopfen…” Walburga’s frustration became apparent when she hopped closer. Heike could see the out-of-order button problem, and shook her head a little. Wallaby paws and fasteners…

She turned and crouched as Walburga reached the doorway. Heike fastened the jacket buttons, adjusted the hood so it fit better around the wallaby’s dark glasses and ears, and stood. Walburga cleared the doorway in two bounds, then stopped to nibble the salt-grass in the yard as Heike closed the heavy wooden door. The postman happened to be driving by, and his van slowed as he stared at Walburga, then sped up again when he saw Heike watching him. She smiled a little to herself. By the time he finished his route, all of Husum and most of Schleswig-Holstein would know that they’d rented the summer cottage. Continue reading

Dig it! Miners and Empire is now Available

The fifth book in the Merchant and Empire series is now available.

If it does not grow, it must be mined. Aedelbert Starken cuts stone and builds with cut stone. Then he leaves, moving to the next job. So he has always done, working hard to keep well clear of local troubles.

When the mines near Garmouth—Blue Cliff and The Scavenger’s Gift—need new smelters, they hire Master Aedelbert and his partner. It’s just a job. Quarry, build, and leave.

Except things are different now. The Great Northern Emperor has returned, and the gods move where they will. Especially the Scavenger, the god of death, miners, and stone cutters, as well as scavengers and beggars. And when the Scavenger moves, nothing can stand in His way, especially the plans of a stone-cutter.

67,000 words.


I just finished the edits on Miners and Empire. Fair warning, it still has a different feel than the other books in the series.

I will try to get the cover done early this week, so maybe I can format it for release by this coming weekend. Since I’m covering for Miss Verbum most of this week, it may be later.

Saturday Shikari: When Nature Moves

The men fussed with—and at—the transmitter for most of the afternoon before coercing it into brief life. “We got basic messages through, that I know. The data upload?” Micah shrugged with the hand not holding a spoon. Supper began with a thick broth flavored heavily with earthy, pungent aioni. Rigi had an idea which beast had provided the ingredients for the stock, and was not the least bit surprised when thin-slices of a very thickly grained meat formed the main course. The meat had a peppery undertaste, and Rigi chewed slowly, trying to sort out if Master Kahman had marinated the meat in the spice, or had used a rub, or incorporated the pepper into the sauce some how. Except the sauce was not spicy.

After several bites, Tomás had a sip of cold tea. “Would I be correct in guessing that there is a lush crop of fire-berry this season?”

Micah nodded. He finished his mouthful of greens before answering. “Exceedingly lush. The next village north? They had to move their leaper herd because the meat got a little too pre-spiced for comfort. I shudder to imagine what the wild leapers and fowl taste like.” Continue reading

Friday Familiars: Down by the Sea

More of the story of Gus and Dr. Custler. I am at 66K words on Shikari Five (still no title yet. Am open to clean suggestions) and opted to work on finishing that instead of the blog.

“… and this facility serves both our oceanic geology faculty and as additional space for some of our short-term research project staff.” The door opened the rest of the way and a harried, lean administrator ushered a middle-aged woman and man into the room. Dr. Custler straightened up from the core currently occupying the rock-rack on his desk as Dean Sudstrand and the two foundation representatives came in. “Mr. Dawkins, Dr. Sutledge, Dr. George A. Custler, our oceanic geologist on staff.”

Mr. Dawkins sniffed the air, frowned, and sniffed again. “I smell a tank. I thought you said there were no aquatic creatures in this part of the facility.” Continue reading