The Fork is Out

April 21st, 2019
Fork against a blue sky with white clouds
The Fork

You guys. I have sent Bound In Smoke to my editor. The fork is out. Photo by yours truly. It’s one of my best on-accident photos.

Repeat! THE BOOK HAS BEEN SENT TO MY EDITOR!

Here is the cover of Bound in Smoke, by the way.

Cover of Bound in Smoke, Book 1 in the Street Witch series. Cover features a tough looking witch admd a fiery, dramatic, urban gritty background.
Cover of Bound in Smoke

Bound In Smoke is book one in a new paranormal romance series. It’s got witches and demons and there’s enforcement zones, and it’s pretty awesome. I do not have a final blurb yet, but you can read a little bit about the series here.

Ember Azuria is a street witch who accepts a job from a trained witch and ends up blamed for the disappearance of a valuable talisman and with a demon warlord sent after her. The problem is, you just don’t want Ember pissed at you.


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Hello March! February, Where Did You Go?

March 11th, 2019

Should I even mention January? What the hey with time passing so fast? March is almost half over and where the heck did February go?

Today, I returned from the RWA Board meeting, which was busy busy busy and very productive. The meeting involved a time zone change for me and there was the time change omg and I had a very early flight back. I can’t decide if I’m so badly time-shifted that I’ll be fine tomorrow or whether I’ll be a zombie. Any bets on that?

The tulips are coming up and as soon as a few more are blooming, I’ll post some pictures.

I am, as I keep saying in truth, almost done with Bound in Smoke. I have done two major revisions — which is what I like to see in my drafts that I really really like. I have approved the final cover and hope to show everyone shortly.

And now, I will get some writing done, or fall asleep at the keyboard. I’m not sure which.

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Women, Art, and an Emotional Story (for me)

February 23rd, 2019

I love antique stores and finding neat things, so it makes sense to me that I enjoy the occasional video on the subject. I don’t think there’s a way to write this post that doesn’t include spoilers because it would require watching 6 videos, all of which are at least 40 minutes and longer and then not seeing the one that made me cry and have a lot of feelings.

If you want to try, you’d start here:

Otherwise, this twenty minute video is well worth your time.

Basically, this Canadian man ended up buying a house from the relatives of a woman who they said was a prominent Canadian potter (true). But he had the impression that she had passed away and I watched all the videos believing that this was so. My grandmother was a hoarder, and I was slightly uncomfortable watching the videos, but this was was not an ordinary hoarder house because the inhabitant was an artist with deep connections to her work and the art world. This wasn’t a series of videos uncovering rare collectibles. It’s uncovering important, significant art.

Over the course of the videos, he discovers her art, and it just takes your breath, or at least it did mine. The first time he finds some of her sketches, it was obvious that the woman was gifted. Keep in mind that at the request of family, he was keeping her name private.

When he started to find her pottery, my breath caught again and again and again. He was so respectful of her, and it was clear that understood what he was uncovering.

And then came the video where he interviews her. Because she had not passed away. She is (as of this post) 102 years old, mentally sharp, but in a assisted living facility. I tell you I just cried because it was amazing to actually hear this woman talk about her art. He now hopes to preserve her house and I sincerely hope the Canadian government agrees. She worked into her 90’s, by the way.

Some Thoughts About Women and Art

As I was watching the videos, and before I knew she was still alive, I kept thinking, this is what can happen to women artists who don’t have a wife doing all the housekeeping. I am branching out now from the specifics of this artist and speaking more generally.

There’s so much talk about male artists with ZERO recognition of the women who make their dedication to their art possible. These men do not raise the children, cook, clean, or run interference to protect the art of the women they know. The Art World seems to take this protection of male artists for granted.

There’s almost no recognition of what we lose in art because women artists cannot dedicate themselves to their work in the same way. I can’t help but think that a male artist whose work was in museums in his lifetime would have been protected. Someone would have stepped in to make sure he was not pestered with the details of daily life. Was that true here? I have no idea.

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A Bad Day was Had

February 6th, 2019

I had to travel to a two day conference at the other end of the State and upon returning late in the evening, go to work the next day. This morning AT 5:45 AM, when I got up we had no internet and my carrier was saying they expected service to be back at 4:11 PM. Wow

Less than an hour later, I dropped my thermos of coffee, which happened to be open because I had had just taken my second sip, and my coffee spilled everywhere. ALL OF IT.

Here’s a picture of my mood at that point:

I had to buy replacement coffee that wasn’t the coffee I make which I love because I make it the way I like it. AND because it was morning, I decided to get almond milk instead of regular milk and only realized too late that I might end up having to replace that coffee too.

Mornings. I’m telling you. The brain is not firing on all cylinders when there’s no coffee fueling it.

As for Mouse, the cat I adopted from the shelter last December, who turned out to have diabetes, her numbers have stayed good, so we’ll go two more weeks without insulin and recheck her to make sure she’s still doing well. She has at last decided to wander the house a bit and is currently on the couch with the big dog. Both are napping

The almond milk was actually OK.

How was your day?

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Hello there 2019!

January 1st, 2019


Happy New Year to everyone who observes the Gregorian Calendar. As I write this, Maybelle, our one-eyed rescue chihuahua is scavenging vegetables dropped by the macaw. This is how food environments work, and I’m pleased to see it in effect before my very eyes.

The parrot drops bits of vegetables when he has breakfast and animals lower in the canopy clean up the mess. Maybelle is on a strict diet because she has deep seated food issues from having been in a hoarding situation where food was scarce. The vet says she can have all the vegetables she wants so this works out well.

Mouse, the new cat, is improving. I brought her home from the shelter the Friday before Christmas. According to my vet, she is closer to 10 or 11 rather than 8, and she has diabetes and a urinary tract infection. Both those last two were undiagnosed at the shelter, so it’s good she’s getting treatment now.

She’d been at the shelter for a very very long time, and had been returned once by someone who wanted a more affectionate cat. I just can’t take her back. She’s a sweetie and it turns out giving insulin injections is easier than I thought. So . . . we will find a way to manage. Plus, she’s already doing much better.

Freddie the Macaw has added to his verbal repertoire and now calls for Bella, the other dog, in my Dad’s voice. He also barks like Maybelle which causes people to run around trying to figure out why Maybelle is barking. Freddie and I are good friends now.

For anyone who stuck it out this long, I hope to have Bound in Smoke to my editor shortly. I’m in the final stagings of my revisions. I have seen the first draft of the cover and it’s pretty awesome so stay tuned!

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Happy Holidays

December 24th, 2018

Happy Holidays to All. Here is picture of a daffodil thingy. It’s white and yellow and very pretty. May your life be full of beauty and joy.

A close picture of a daffodil type flower with white bottom leaves and a yellow bell. It's very cheerful and happy.
A Daffodil sort of flower. Photo by Yours Truly taken Feb-2018

To everyone who loves Romance and a Happy Ever After story, may all your stories thrill and charm you.

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Updates and Pretty Pictures

December 8th, 2018

I’ve been busy revising Bound in Smoke and I’m really happy with it, just saying. My cover artist has started work on the cover, and that’s really exciting.

Last weekend I was at a writing intensive near San Diego. We rented a house right on the beach and spent the weekend talking business. I hadn’t realized how isolated I’d become from being around other writers and it was lovely and invigorating. Here are a couple of pictures from the weekend:

Waves in the foregound, brillilant sunset at the horizon. The Sun is almost down. Mood is peaceful
Sunset over the Pacific
Lots of foamy sea water. Ocean is greenish gray.
Sun on morning waves
Morning sun on waves. The sky is clear but it had been storming so the ocean is rough.
Pacific Ocean, Oceanside California. Morning sun on waves

I took these photos standing on the various patios of the house so you can see I am not kidding about the house being right on the beach.

One of the many takeaways from the weekend was a reminder of how important it is to be around other writers talking about writing and books and the business.

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Report from Jewel HQ

November 17th, 2018

Greetings from Northern California where the air quality is currently the worst in the world. :::We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1!:::

Here’s a picture of what it’s been like here, 200 miles south of the Butte County fire. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the fires in northern and southern California.

Smoke filled air. Every is dirty smoky gray.
Smoke Filled Air

Writing Tools (Insert Frowny face)

Nuance, the create of Dragon Naturally dictation software is abandoning the Mac OS version. Dictation is a frustrating experience in MacOS and that is true of the native dictation or Dragon. I use both and sadly, the Mac dictation is actually worse than previous versions. Dragon, while incredibly frustrating, is functional. Mac dictation, in it’s current iteration, is completely useless.

I have watched Mac dictation perfectly render the words I said and then “update” those words to nonsense. So, there is a point in the dictation tool that works beautifully and accurately, and for some reason, Apple decided to add another layer of fixing. Apple. Please stop that. Then there’s the straight quotes business. OMG.

So, very soon, Mac users will be without a minimally functional dictation tool. This is terrible for too many reasons to enumerate.


RWA Board

The RWA (Romance Writers of America) national board meeting was last weekend in New York. I am just about over the jet lag. We got some great work done.

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What Was I Going to Say?

November 1st, 2018

I can’t recall because I came to my blog and there were more updates and one of them hung and then I had to disable one, and do some manual updates, and sometimes the internet here is so s. . . . l. . . o. . . w that I give up after a while. Good grief.

Anyway I was going to say whatever it was. I’m sure it would have been AMAZING. So instead, I’ll say, I hope everyone who observes Halloween had a wonderful time. Oh, and I’m going for broke on the covers for the Street Witch series. The photographer/cover person did the shoot last week with all three models, and I have been through all 750+ photos and selected my top several for each.

The next step is to take a look at the processed favorites and start talking with them about which ones to go with. I will be an awful tease and say that the images are beyond awesome. All three models nailed what I was going for and, of course, so did the photographer.

I am very excited!

The first book is close to being ready to send for editing so I’m hopeful the book will be out in early 2019.

Maybe later I’ll remember what I was going to write about.

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Writer’s Toolbox

October 21st, 2018

The Search for the Perfect Writing Tools

Writers need the right tools for their work, and boy do I have opinions on this. With respect to software, my opinion is that the people developing these tools spoke to anywhere from zero to one actual writer. In fact, I think they developed whatever their programming environment made possible and then justified that result to writers. Which means the tools in general lack the flexibility required when actual people use those tools.

Until about a year ago, I wrote in WordPerfect. I run a Windows virtual machine on my desktop and laptop so I can continue to use a tool that actually IS pretty darn flexible and doesn’t impose the Microsoft “YOU WILL WRITE THIS WAY BECAUSE” paradigm. Oh, and formatting. The formatting is so awful. Anyway I have been increasingly annoyed and irritated by the VM I use. (Parallels).

Parallels mostly works but when something goes wrong or when you need to contact the company for any reason the experience is dreadful and I have been searching for a WordPerfect alternative because in my perfect world, I never have to give the Parallels company another dime of my money. If anyone from Parallels reads this; I hate your company and I hate your broken, opaque website and I hate that you hate your customers.

For years I have  been looking for a tool that would allow me to write in MacOS. Because I’m telling you Word ain’t it. I have to have MS Office in order to be compatible with the rest of the world, but I really really really hate Word. That said . . . The MS office suite tools that allow you to open and edit documents on any iOS device are wonderful. Editors, copy-editors, and proofreaders tend to work in Word, so this ability is a must have for me, and in this case, MS nailed it.

This tool works. So, for every purpose except writing fiction, thumbs up to Office 365 and its MacOS/iOS tools.

I did try Scrivener. I really did but its not a tool that works for the way I write. I envy all the people who love this tool and haven’t had to fight their natural writing process to use it. I just can’t

I tried a bunch of other tools; Open Office and Pages were total fails. I tried several apps that proclaimed they were great for writers and none of them were, and most did not mean “great for people writing fiction of 100,000 words.”

Ulysses is the only tool I’ve found where I started a writing project and was able to complete it in that tool instead of moving it to WordPerfect.  I wasn’t wasting hours trying to do simple things like work with individual chapters sometimes or with the entire document other times, oh, and being able to assemble and reorder chapters. I didn’t have to fight to have an environment that was pleasing to my eyes and it exports to a docx format (and several others) without forcing me to spend much or any time reformatting. It’s good enough to send to editors etc.

I wrote an entire novella in the tool and it was fairly seamless. I’ve written Bound in Smoke in Ulysses, and that book is just about done. I haven’t used WordPerfect in ages. I have a few things I wish it would do but nothing that keeps me from writing and getting the output I need.

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