Bonus Shikhari

Right. No poker playing wombows. However… The following is all y’all’s fault for poking the Muse.

“So, you have a bird problem?” Kay sat near her reference book shelves and smoothed her soft grey divided skirt.

Rigi inhaled, then exhaled. “I have a scale problem. I’ve been asked to paint a five meter by two meter depiction of the greater fauna of Shikhari and Home. Together.” Rigi reached into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out her smallest drawing pad, flipped past some other things to the very rough sketch. “Like this.”

Kay put on a detail lens and studied the pencil sketch. She looked up at Rigi, delicately angled eyebrows rising a centimeter, then back at the sketch. She lowered the pad. “Wombows… dancing?Continue reading


Tuesday Tail: Fitting a Familiar

In which Leila and Tay visit a master tailor, and find interesting things…

Donnie couldn’t have been more than Lelia’s height, maybe a little shorter. He had a heavy build and wore a white shirt with dark cuffs, tailored brown trousers, and a dark waistcoat with a watch chain draped across it. Tiny silver scissors and thimbles served as fob charms on the chain. “Come into the light, please, ma’am.” Tay giggled and Lelia could have thumped him. She did as asked and the designer walked around her twice, looking at her clothes and figure. “Lovely tailoring, ma’am.”

Lelia blushed under her make up. “Thank you, sir.” She’d worn one of her favorite skirts and the peplum jacket that she’d found at the Community Thrift and had cut down to fit. She’d managed to preserve the soutache trim on the jacket, and really liked the neo-Victorian style, even if it had taken the better part of a month to get everything set, re-fitted, and reassembled. The lining had almost defeated her.

“Not neo-Revolutionary,” the tailor announced. He crossed one arm over his chest and held the opposite elbow while cradling his chin with the other hand. “No, nothing bustling in the back.” He moved a little to the left. “Do you ever wear a train?” Continue reading

Saturday Shikhari: Boys

Shikhari Six ambushed me very early on Thursday morning, the entire plot spilling out for me. This is the opening of the first chapter.

Auriga “Rigi” Bernardi-Prananda neither frowned, nor raised her voice at the sight of her youngest son and his play-fellows as they tumbled in the grass between the house and the woods. She confined herself to a short, sharp exhalation of maternal annoyance and tapped the planks of the verandah floor three times with the toe of her house-shoe.

“Raymundo Capella Timothy,” she called, pitching her voice to carry over the sound of young males’ commotion. Continue reading

Shikhari 5 Alpha-Reader Call

Howdy! I need a few good readers to look over Shikhari Five (still working on a title) and flag problem spots, typoos, and Misspellings of Unusual Size.

For those wondering, yes, there will be one more Shikhari book. Two major plot threads couldn’t get resolved in this volume, not without turning it into a GRRM-worthy tome.

If you are interested in helping, please ping me at my e-mail address (available on the About page)


It should be Clearly Familiar…

From travels (and travails) with a catfish to the challenge of a barn-owl with balance problems, it’s a Familiar world out there. Five short stories starring friends old and new. Morgana and Smiley meet for the first time, while Prof. Grayson and Chester try to sort out why a witch went nuts, and Shoshana fights a very private battle. Laughter, tears, dark magic, and the usual chaos you’ve come to associate with the Familiars.

The short stories total 47,000 words.

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.

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