Random Act of Cuteness

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Closed Circle Errata

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New Book!

NW: Homecoming Games

First Draft

70,500 of 150,000 Words (47%) complete

Battle of the Bulge

One day at a time

30 of 60 pounds (50%) complete

New Book on Hold

BRM II

First Draft

3750 of 120000 words (3%) complete

Hazards of being a Garden Elf

I’m way behind on everything…and this is one reason why. So much to do in the garden this spring! And a certain little house and garden elf doesn’t make things any easier….

Time for another overdue story!

Two years ago, Wiishu’s DoA hero, Miike, came to visit us after . So far, I’ve done up their little episode feeding the fish, but that’s only the middle of the story. Here’s another segment…

Carousel party—the rest of the story

The Carousel Adbenchur Continues!

Patty has given us the go-ahead, soooooo…

OMG Tanya and Nancy together again

Thanks to Sharon’s FB post, I found this gem. These two charming nutcases have put together a hallway “museum” to Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. They did a kickstarter for $75 to blow up some pics, and ended up with over $2000. It went into the museum and likely to the opening party. This is the official tour of the museum…and it’s a riot. Easy to see why these two are best friends…There are some good documentaries that come up with this one. The “anything to win” is really interesting. But serious. This is just fun!

GASP! Has it been two years!?!

Moooooom! You said you posted dis! I’m’s morteefiyded!

Pompeii!

Id wuz so bery excitin’! Pitchurs are much bedder dan words:

Disturbing trends in the name of equality

Several years ago, my agent talked me into reading a book by one of his other clients. This was, he claimed, the next best-selling phenomenon and he wanted me to write just like this author. (For those of you who know the book of which I speak, let’s not name names, OK? It’s irrelevant to the point of this post.) Anyway…I read said book, and was, to say the least, appalled. If he wanted me to write like this, he didn’t understand me at all. In the name of titilation, it betrayed every philosophical and ethical stand I’d ever taken. He was, however, right. The thing sold like crazy, the author became in great demand for “how to” lectures, and it became a successful TV series.

And I saw the beginning of a very disturbing trend. I’ve recently become very fond of a TV series (also based on books, which I’ve not read and likely won’t) which has, in it’s later seasons, taken a very bad turn, and has me looking at other relationships, both fictional and non, which have rubbed me the wrong way. Again, I’ll not name names and please don’t ask me. I have no doubt you can fill in your own titles.

Why is it that a woman, in the name of true lu-huv, is forgiven behaviors which would brand a man a “cad” (or worse)? Things like, because a marriage has gotten a bit rocky because the partners have been split up for a while and grown in different directions, the woman can, without censure on the part of the readers/viewers, and with little thought to the man to whom she made an honorable (not to mention legal and spiritual) commitment, leave said husband in a fit of pique, then jump the bones and fall in lu-huv with the first hunk who comes along to excite her hormones, and then proceed to further adventures without every really trying to return to/contact said husband?

Or why can a woman, in the name of lu-huv, leave their lu-huv, for his “own good,” of course, having better sense than he what’s best for him, then use marriage to someone else to escape the problem of dealing with the issues supposedly keeping the true lu-huvers apart—all without EVER explaining to said hubby-to-be the truth about her lu-huv for another man, and after making the hubby-to-be fall in lu-huv with her, with protestations of love and commitment—only to reignite the previous passion at the first temptation, grow cold and separate from the husband—without explanation—and then blithely skip back into the arms of the first man? Of course, she does all sorts of hand wringing and waving her arms about and claiming it’s not hubby’s fault…but does that make it right?Is it right to make two men miserable, ruin their reputations, all so you can be free to follow your hormones, all the while using their affection for you to manipulate them into doing exactly what you want?

And then, there’s the woman who has been married for years, whose marriage has gone rocky…even toxic. A woman who has every legitimate reason to request an end to said marriage to pursue her own life. A woman who finds new love and appreciation outside the marriage, then “finding the strength to act in this new lu-huv,” up and leaves the marriage—in the name of a “separation”—to be with the man who lu-huvs her and treats her “like a queen,” leaving hubby to find out the hard way that he’s been deserted. Why is that “strength” and “bravery” rather than “desertion?”

Why is it that “true lu-huv” in a female somehow makes betraying marriage vows right, whereas a male is accused of thinking with his nether regions, and being a dastardly betrayer of those same vows?

Now mind you…for me sex and hormones isn’t what makes a marriage, so for me it’s not the sexual attraction, it’s the lies. It’s the deliberate betrayal of a commitment made, whether that commitment is legal, spiritual, or a marriage of convenience. For me, having sex or even sexual attraction, isn’t the wrong-doing, it’s lying about it and leading people on. It’s the complete lack of honorable behavior, all in the name of self-indulgence.

Bottom line, the fictional models for proper behavior are getting seriously skewed, because such women are held out to be heroines. To me it feels a heck of a lot like the female version of “boys will be boys”…and it gives me the creeps.

Scrapbooks---the real deal

moms-scrap-book-back

Back in the 80’s, when I envisioned the ComNet, I thought I was exaggerating when Wesley complained about it being clogged with Joe Dweeblethorp’s grocery lists. I fear I was not too far off. I wonder, sometimes, what our legacy to the next generation actually will be. FB archives filled with, yes, grocery lists and minutia nobody but us could possibly care about? What about the so-called “history” and “news” sites filled with undocumented garbage.

I’ve just finished scanning my mother’s high school memory book, a task that had to wait until I’d found an 11×17 scanner I could remotely afford. It’s a marvel of a small slice of Spalding, Nebraska history, documented with newspaper articles, actual photos, and printed music contest schedules.

More than that, I met my mother, the teenager, through those hand-picked documents. I lived, for a few moments, in a very different time, when a graduating class was a dozen people, all of whom got a blurb in the local paper. When flyers were run off on mimeograph machines and tickets for special events cost a handful of pennies. When teenaged boys posed for the camera with their arms around one another, never fearing the “dire consequences,” when teachers and administrators took a cut in salary so that the music program could continue. I found sealed envelopes, meant to be opened later in life, with little reminders of special moments. This wasn’t a diary filled with teenaged angst, not a fancy scapbook designed to show off the kids, but a message to her later self, a reminder of what had really mattered to her, back in those formative years.

I wish, I truly wish, I’d known about this before she passed away. I wish we’d sat down together with it and I could have heard her reminisce about that time in her life. I don’t know why we never did. I came later in her married life. My “baby book” is sketchy compared to my older brothers’. I don’t know what happened or why the past was allowed to slip away. Was it my fault because I never asked? Or had something she’d dreamed of slipped out of her hands, and being the positive person she was, she chose to look to the possibilities ahead¬† instead of dwelling on might have beens?

I have my suspicions, some of which this wonderful handful of pages reinforce, but the fact is, the gentle, positive, fun-loving “Scotty” who made that scrapbook never let might-have-beens win. She was the queen of lemonade…served with a song.

I wish we’d talked, if only so she knew I cared, but on the other hand, I’m not certain I’d appreciate this book for what it is, had I been more familiar with it. And after living with her teenaged self for a handful of hours, I love her more than ever.

I’ll be adding a slideshow eventually of some of the pages…because I think she’d like that. For those of you whose folks are still alive, sound them out now, while you can.

Been a loooong time…

…since I’ve actually read a book. Embarrassing to admit, but between time, mental focus and a whole lot of things not worth talking about, all I’ve been able to do is skim and set aside the handful I wanted to read when the read-for-pleasure neurons reawakened. After finding the end to HG, and while I wait for it to percolate a bit before the final rewrite, I’ve actually WANTED to read again.

It’s a good feeling…it’s also one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging. There are only so many hours in the day and I am, as I believe I’ve mentioned, the world’s slowest reader.

First, a couple of novels by long-time friend, Darragh Metzger,¬† Ironwolfe and The Strawberry Roan. I’ve had them for some time, glanced through them enough to know I could endorse them honestly, and have had them sitting by my bed waiting ever since. I had as much fun as I’d hoped and look forward to reading more. Ironwolfe is the first in The Triads of Tir na n’Og, her take on the land beyond the mists, the land of fae and all its associated magics and wonderfully weird intersections of time and space. (I particularly like her sun movement. CREEPY). Reality is very much in the eye of the beholder, a fact that takes our intrepid hero on an intriguing search for his own truth. If you like the world, there’s lots more where it came from.

The Strawberry Roan I can’t really talk about without spoilers, but our heroine has a delightful voice that carries the story, especially in the first half. I’m not sure the length really is warranted since the story depends on a bit of a gimmicky premise that got a bit thin after a while, and I think I’d have liked a bit more grounding in where it is relative to Earth-now, but it was definitely fun.

Darragh is an amazing woman…check out her bio on her website…and knows her horsey, historical, and battle-stuff. She’s multi-talented, and as sweet as they come.

Bottom line, I had fun reading both and really want to read her later works. These two were her first published and show her growth as a writer. I like where that growth seems to be heading. I’m not widely read in the fantasy genre, but for me, they were clever and different. She’s up on Amazon, with a whole lot more offerings than I have! Go ye forth and check her out.

Then, I turned to Patty Briggs’ Mercy books. I’d read the first two a couple of years ago—we used them as travel-reading, so I got to actually READ them—-but when I began the next, I realized I needed to go back and reread…and I’m so glad I did. Now, I need to find my other Patty books tucked into a box downstairs, just to savor. Patty is one of the few writers whose work I never skim. Each and every word counts. They are marvelously textural, and yet the details never drag. My only concern now is how flat my pocket book is going to get tracking down all her other books. It’ll take a long time to catch up (have I mentioned how slowly I read?) but I’ll enjoy every moment. To truly appreciate the above comments, you need to realize these books are everything I don’t normally read…vampire/werewolf, contemporary, first person…and I love everything about them.

And not just because a dear friend wrote them. It’s not that I haven’t tried others of the type, even others by writers I consider friends. They’ve just not held my interest. First person is very hard to write well and requires an extraordinary character to carry it. Angst is not first-person friendly. It comes off whiny. Well, Mercy isn’t angsty. She’s gutsy, clever, and just dumb enough to get herself into some tough situations. Luckily, she’s also smart enough to get herself out. There’s a wonderful balance of power, and a fascinating take on what boils down to nature vs nurture. I’m really—REALLY—looking forward to the rest of the journey with her.

Next on the agenda was an unpublished short story by Andre Norton. Jay Watts, who runs the “only estate authorized fan site” contacted me a couple of years ago about some photocopies of my work they’d found in Andre’s files, asking was I the Jane Fancher who drew them and if so, could they put them up on the site. I said, of course, and he did. Then last fall, he contacted me about a tribute he was doing for the tenth anniversary of her departure to worlds unknown and asked if I’d be willing to do an illustration for an unpublished short story he’d been given authority to post. Again, I said of course…but then realized I hadn’t drawn in years! And then, I got enmeshed in the ending for HG…and while I was reading Patty’s second Mercy book…I got a message from him pointing out the imminent deadline and was I still interested.

ARGH! I reread the little story, pulled out the now-centuries-old drawing tablet, located a pencil and, with no small trepidation, began sketching. Somehow, after a bit of floundering, my hand began to carve the two main characters out of the blank page and I managed a nice little portrait, which was what I’d sent her way back when dinos ruled.

It’s a nice little story, still, I believe, in rough draft, which actually makes it even more fun. I hope he posts it as he sent it to me, which was a pdf of the actual pages, typed on, I’ll swear to it, the same typewriter she used to write her kind letters to me, sent by dino-express, and with little hand-made corrections. It gives the whole thing a delightfully intimate feel.

Anyway, if you’d like to relive a bit of your youth, or if you never had the pleasure of reading Andre Norton and wonder what all the fuss is about, check out his page. The tribute will go up March 17, 2015.

http://andre-norton-books.com/

Next up: The Persian Boy, by Mary Renault