Thursday, November 23, 2023


Getting ready to stuff myself and regret my life choices, but it will be so worth it. I am grateful for my family and friends. And taste buds. Let us not take the humble taste bud for granted.

Favorite dish to savor:  candied sweet potatoes

Favorite Thanksgiving activity:  napping to football

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Sanjen Performs Everywhere

It's time to move on from Kindle exclusivity. I weighed republishing my stuff through IngramSpark or Draft2Digital, and decided to go with D2D. At least, with my darling guinea pig novella, "A Nocturne In Red." (The process was so simple that I'll likely do the same with all the others a little at a time.)

As of this week, Sanjen's first adventure is available, not just at Amazon, but everywhere D2D distributes books. I cannot express how excited I was to be able to download my book from Apple Books. Yes, I was my own first sale there. 😋

So now my beloved messed-up bard is "booked" at Apple, Kobo, and Scribd, and will soon perform at Barnes & Noble and all other venues too. If you want to follow his rising career and fall under the spell of his magical music, this is the link to all his current bookings:

Crossing fingers that greater exposure widens his success with fans.

Here's the cover to look for:


Sanjen Laurelius, a lute-wielding bard, is a rising star.

He's also wanted by the emperor.

When he calls upon his special brand of song-magic to fight off a rampaging harpy, he finds himself the object of unwanted attention: a powerful officer in the emperor's service hires Sanjen to find the cure for a curse that has transformed a favored concubine into a bloodthirsty monster. But Sanjen's past is catching up with him. Can he find a way to save the victim of the curse before his employer discovers his true identity—and returns him to the emperor in chains?

Genre: somewhere between dark and epic fantasy

Length: novella (a quick weekend read)

Content warnings: drug use, gore, language, allusions to sexual content

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

I'm A Proofreader at Fiverr

proofreading Gig has been approved at Fiverr. I'm so excited to toss my net over somebody's manuscript or website and snag those pesky typos and grammatical slips. I just need somebody to take a chance on my skills and click that Order button.

The link to my Gig can be found AT THIS LOVELY LINK.

Or THIS LINK. Both should lead to the same place.

So what is this Gig all about? I'll just quote the Gig description:

My job = final polishing by correcting the following: 
  • spelling 
  • grammar 
  • punctuation 
  • typos 
  • floating words 
  • omitted words 
  • word usage 
  • format inconsistencies 
  • broken links 
What this Gig is NOT about: 
  • changing your writing style, voice, or message 
  • editing for clarity, structural, or developmental issues (that's a whole other kettle of fish) 
  • working with early, unedited drafts 
  • beta reading for plot arc, character arc, etc. 
Genres I love to tackle: 
  • fantasy, sci-fi, horror and all related subgenres 
  • historical 
  • literary
  • mystery/thriller
  • middle-grade
  • nonfiction: including memoir, blog posts, articles, essays, website content 
Genres better suited for someone else
  • romance 
  • erotica 
  • religion 
  • hardcore military fiction 
My rate: $5 per 1000 words of any total length, be it 500 words or 150,000. 

Delivery times: 
  • up to 5000 words = 5 days 
  • up to 25,000 words = 14 days 
  • up to 100,000 words = 30 days 
  • over 100,000 words = 45 days


Once I get a few jobs under my belt, I'll be raising those prices a bit, so whoever comes along first will get the better deal.

For this Gig to work, I can ONLY be contacted about this job at the above links. Any attempt to solicit a job here on my blog or other social media outlets will be refused and the link sent to you anyway, so just follow the link.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Meme of the Day: Childlike Wonder


One of the most important things we carry with us (if we're lucky) and one of the first things I fear we lose is the ability to view the universe and the people in it with a child's sense of wonder.

Decades ago, I made the conscious decision to hold onto this quality, and it takes conscious effort to put it into practice, because it forces me to step out of my concerns for tomorrow and regrets of the past and linger in the moment.

It's in the little nature things: the veins in a leaf, the sparkle of sun on snow, the texture of water, the glide of a cloud. And in the silly things: the burn of mint toothpaste, the galaxy swirl of foam in my espresso, the way my cats' eyes "blow out" when they stalk a string, sledding with kids.

And it's primary expressions are gasps, sighs, laughter of delight, and the question "Why?"

Hold onto it. If it's slumbering or dormant, reawaken it. Because life is as dull as cardboard without it.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

I'm Reading: Murder & Mayhem

Seems I'm reading several things at once, because, I mean, who's suffering from overstimulation these days? Anyway...

Reading # 1:

I feel scarred. Scarred, not scared. I just finished reading the short story "Shards" by Ian Rogers, which is included in Ellen Datlow's anthology Best Horror of the Year, Volume 14. I haven't been too impressed with Volume 14's offerings (I liked Volume 13 better), even though I've passed the 50% mark of the ebook. And then today I reached "Shards." Holy shit. I'm sick and disturbed and deliciously satisfied by it. 

I'd even argue that it's one of the best horror stories I've read to date. Even the ending did not disappoint, which I can rarely say about stories in this genre. "Shards" passed all my pet-peeve checks with flying colors.

The quick and easy summary: Five fast friends vacation in a remote cabin (classic) and discover a gramophone in the basement, then all hell breaks loose. 

Sounds simple, maybe even cliched, but it blew my socks off. And I'm still reeling with a queasy feeling in my gut and a creeped-out swooping sensation in my brain.

Reading #2:

Cain's Jawbone
. Ever heard of it?

My nephew ran across it recently and bought me a copy (sweetest guy ever). I had heard the title in some remote past, but had no idea what it was nor what I was getting myself into. The 100-page "novel" is actually a whodunit puzzle: "the world's most fiendishly difficult literary puzzle," says the book's tagline. Since its publication in 1934, only 3 people have been able to solve it.

The first problem is that the mystery was published out of order. Literally like the author Torquemada had tossed all 100 of his neatly typed pages in the air a few times then gathered them up at random and handed them into the publisher as-is. The margins of the pages have that little "scissors" symbol inviting the reader to cut out all the pages and arrange them in the proper order -- if they can.

The second problem is that the different characters all tell their part in first person, so you're not sure whose point of view you're reading until you read enough to start putting clues together.

The third problem is that the characters are hardly ever named. You run across first names, nicknames, occasionally a whole name (used a single time), or career references ("the minerologist" for example), and it's up to the reader to figure out who is who -- and to separate the actual characters from random names tossed in to confuse things.

All that in addition to having to solve who killed whom.

At first, I thought it sacrilege to cut out a book's pages, but now, having acquainted myself with the puzzle on a first read-through, I'm eager to dig out my scissors and get chopping. Though, even if I figure out the pages' proper order, I doubt I'd be able to wade through all the obscure 1930s references, red herrings, and vague naming scheme to solve the murders.

I may spend the rest of my life puzzling it out…

Thanks, beloved nephew.

Monday, June 19, 2023

June Reflection

June has been a crazy-busy month with several fun things worth remembering.

* To kick off, my niece and I embarked on a LOTR marathon. She had never seen the movies before, so it was a highlight of my life to get to be the first to watch them with her (she's not the apple of my eye or anything). By the time the day arrived, I had a spread of delectable foods that any Hobbit would drool over. It's a long journey to Mordor and back, after all, and we definitely did not starve.

* FINALLY, I got to take my camper (affectionately called Little Blue) to an actual camper spot and spend the weekend in it in nature. Bought the adorable R-pod 180 last August and every attempt so far had fallen through. At last! And did we get put through the hoops. My poor husband had to back the thing into THE WORST spot ever: a steep incline with several curves in it and washed-out drop-offs on both sides. WTH. Despite his anxiety about it, he rocked it. Then we learned that the water spigot was 85 feet away (WTH), and we had 25 feet of hose. So as soon as we get parked, we had to drive 20 mins into the nearest Walmart for gobs more hose. The next morning, a storm blew in with winds that, thankfully, had decreased from 65 mph to 45, and Little Blue did great.

The glorious things: taking my second home with me like a crab wearing a shell, wearing a bathing suit in the rain, a pair of Canada geese with four goslings, nosy crows, the sound of waves at night, fishing with my nephews and catching a 20 pound catfish (WTH). 

Still to come! 

* My 23rd wedding anniversary on the 24th, for which my husband and I are driving to Colorado to attend the Pike's Peak Hill Climb. We've never attended this race, and to claim a good space to watch, we have to be climbing up that mountain at 2:30 IN THE MORNING! This ought to be a crazy adventure.

* I ought to finish the first draft of my historical WIP--which will earn me a bottle of champagne. It's a bloody mess, and I can't wait to dive into edits.

Pics from the camping trip:

This pic doesn't even capture the horrendousness of the drive hubby had to back down.

Gorgeous sunset view from our camping spot.

The storm's gust front pushing in at 6:30 am.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Review: Remarkable Creatures


Fossils are a huge attraction for me, so Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures was a given for me to read. I even photographed the book with an ammonite impression my friend and I discovered in Colorado, and a conglomerate of crinoids I found on a lakeside. 

I was so excited to read about these two historical women, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who pioneered the science and discovery of fossils. The novel did not disappoint. It's a quiet story without the huge dramatic dramas we expect from fiction. The tension is mostly internal as these two women take up scientific pursuits in the early 1800s when science was exclusively male. Both spinsters, they also struggle internally with feelings of self-value and significance and must unearth their own inner strength.

The historical aspect is so convincing that I forget I'm not stepping into this time as my current reality. Chevalier is clearly at home with the historical genre b/c the narrative feels so authentic and natural without being heavy-handed with factoids and explanations of antiquated practices in an attempt to make it feel authentic while achieving the opposite. I have a lot to learn from this author.

What's tragic to me is that, except for the few people in the field and certainly the people of Lyme Regis where Philpot and Anning lived, the huge contribution these two women made in the development of paleontology is still largely unsung. Their names were successfully buried from most of us by the male-ruled scientific community. This novel manages to bring them out of the shadows and display for the world the beauty and the legacy these women left behind. 

For that alone, Remarkable Creatures is worth reading. Then, on top of that, we get the gorgeous prose and wise insights we love in well-told fiction. So it's a double win.