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.

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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.

No Rome-ing

There’s no Rome. No ruins, no battles, no armies wandering through, no sewers turning up in interesting places. History starts in the 700s or later. Where on earth am I and what’s gone strange?

Welcome to the history of the Slavic part of Europe.

Before my readers of Polish, Czech, Slovak, Sorb, Serb, Slovene, and other ancestry start excoriating me with declarations that indeed, those peoples have histories even if they were not recorded at the time, I’m aware of that. But I’ve been doing so much in the Roman-influenced parts of Europe for so long that not having Romans, Roman ruins, and Roman sources makes my head feel empty. 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

How Do You Define a “Western”

I was at a “pops” concert this past weekend that was all music about the American West, either tone poems, cowboy poetry set to music, or themes from TV and films. Which was a wonderful break from everything else going on in my world, and got me thinking about what exactly is a western?

This ties in a little with the fuss about a new slogan for the University of Wyoming, and the university deciding to stand their ground and not bow to political correctness. There’s a stereotype of a “western,” that seems to include 1. only Anglo-Saxons, 2. horses, 3. cattle and cowboys, 4. women are saints or sinners (the harlot with a heart of gold…), 5. abuse of non-White people, 6. Indians shown as Red Savages and 7. farmers are the victims (if there are any farmers around). So Zorro, the Cisco Kid, and a lot of other movies and TV shows are not Westerns. Continue reading

Saturday Shikari:

In which our intrepid explorers break the hardware, and find something else odd.

Whrrrrrr BING!

“Oh, damn and blast it,” arose from the test pit simultaneous with “Dust and dander!” and Thorna’s resigned, “What did you break this time, Sirs?”

“I did not break it,” Micah protested, waving his hat in the air, then slapping it against his leg. “It broke itself.”

Rigi had been engaged in trying to catch an especially beautiful bird with a very long tail and white-spotted crest plumes. Martinus, attempting to be helpful, had startled it, then pestered it. He was not supposed to do that, Rigi noted. She’d have to check his programming again. He was due for a deep-maintenance and program check.

Makana emitted a deep, soulful sigh. “Mistress Rigi, do all unmated human males behave so?”

Given that Dr. De Groet was the only old bachelor of her knowledge, Rigi said, “I do not have a large population to draw from, but I am inclined to say yes. Based on limited observation.” Continue reading