One Step Closer


I finally finished my first revisions and proofreading of Hell’s Dodo. The next step will be to send it in to my editor. I will have to find out when she wants it.

I also need to get to work on the cover art for it. Viktor is going to ROCK that frock coat.

Random Thoughts


This has pretty much ben my mental state this weekend.

First, I would like to send out a prayer for the families of ALL those slain or injured this past week in the attacks on military installation here in my home town, Chattanooga, TN. Thankfully, it looks as if this act of brutality has been answered by overwhelming efforts to unite and heal the community and all the faiths that make it up. Yes, there are instances of knee-jerk reactions and hate, but they have been overshadowed by acts of love and forgiveness. In this instance, I am proud of my hometown’s refusal to rise to the hate-bait.

I am reminded that the world is a dangerous place, and living is a dangerous business. This does not trouble me as much as one would think. Safety is at best an illusion, and at worst a lie and a prison/loss of freedom. I accept this fully and would not have it otherwise. I also refuse to live in fear or what may happen.

To quote Jimmy Buffett, “I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.”

Next up: The writing has begun to flow again, so I’m past the block. (I warned that these are RANDOM thoughts.) I also got a good deal of proofreading/revising done on Hell’s Dodo.

I still haven’t started on the cover art. Cat containment projects have taken up most of the weekend. My husband will soon be re-entering the work force, so we had to come up with something better than shutting the cats in their room while we’re at work. (They are not allowed outside, and we don’t want to risk any escapes when we come in or leave. There are predators and parasites here we don’t want them exposed to.)

The solution has been to install a screen door in the hallway between the door of their room and the back door. We don’t use the front door, since we park in back. This will give them their room, the kitchen, the living room, and most of the hall to romp in. It also allows us to run them out of our room (a necessity for sleep thanks to Cricket-of-Boundless-Energy’s tendency to run over our heads, play with the pull cords for the blinds, talk to Ceiling Cat from the top of the TV, and generally be a sleep-preventing nuisance when we turn out the light) without cutting down the air-flow. cricket-of-boundless-energy

Hopefully, Tribble will overcome her fear of the new door soon. Star and Cricket are still bothered by it, but will pass it. Wally and Louie could care less about its existence.

We also have an unusual squirrel in this year’s crop. I’ve never seen a grey squirrel with a ringed tail before. I think this must be a mutation, but a nifty one. I can’t promise I’ll ever get a picture of it, since I don’t keep my phone or camera with me constantly.

That’s all I can think of to post about right now. This is already a day late, and I need to get to bed soon to prep for a week of night shift.

Thanks for indulging me.

Work work work

It will be interesting to see how much I am able to get done on my author related projects this month. My employer has declared 50 hour work weeks for all of July.

This will probably hinder my progress on proof-reading and pre-editing the manuscript of Hell’s Dodo before I send it to my editor. However, if I can get the story back to a good flow, this should allow me to get more work done on the first draft of The Daedalus Enigma, since I do the majority of my writing during work breaks. The cover art for both books will have to wait for the week off I will have in August. I would say I could work on it during the weekends, but with the extra ten hours of work each week, I doubt I’ll have the energy or time on the weekends. Everyday life has priorities that must be met, after all.

Sisterhood (and Brotherhood) of World Bloggers Award Nomination

I have been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. Normally I do NOT do chains, but this one can actually serve a good function by letting new readers quickly find out interesting things about a blogger: hopefully things that help them connect.

I would like to thank for nominating me.

The rules:

1) Thank and link the blogger who nominated you.

2) Answer the questions the nominator has provided.

3) Nominate 10 other bloggers.

4) Create 10 questions for your nominees and notify them of their nomination.

The questions…

1. What made you start blogging?

A. It was something I’d been putting off for quite a while. Facebook’s new rules and restrictions on pages prompted me to create my blog as a work-around.

2. What is your favorite show?

A. Currently, it’s a toss up between Game of Thrones and Black Sails. I’ve found that if I start liking a show on commercial television, it’s a sure sign of impending cancellation for that show.

3. Do you prefer spicy or non-spicy food?

A. yes

4. Do you have a favourite song at the moment?

A. no. I enjoy a very eclectic range of musical genres.

5. Are you a Marvel, or DC fan? Or both?

A. Both: I grew up with DC and fell in love with Marvel during my teen years. My very first rejection letters were from Marvel Comics and Disney Animation, back in the mid ’80s, when they were completely separate entities.

6. What’s your favorite book?

A. I refuse to pick a favorite. The others will get jealous, and I already have to deal with that from my cats.

7. Do you have a favourite colour?

A. I used to.

8. Do you read fanfiction?

A. Haven’t read or written fanfiction in a few years. I do good to work on my TBR pile without adding to it.

9. Would you rather sit down and be on the computer 24 hours a day, or go outside and get sunburn?

A. Neither is healthy, nor an option. I admit a mild internet addiction, but I also enjoy the outdoors. Sunburn, not so much. I had sun poisoning when I was 13. It is not an experience I care to repeat…ever.

10. Do you automatically connect to the fangirl memes, and say, “HEY, THAT’S ME!” Or just stare at it and wonder why you understand all of those fandom’s quotes and hairstyles…

A. I am a pre-internet relic. “Meme” is still a relatively new term to me. I do get a lot of it, but I’m nowhere near as rabid in my fandomness as I used to be, having not had the access to other fans for most of my life.

My questions for my nominees

1. What prompted you to begin blogging?

2. Do you have a favorite fandom?

3. What is your favorite movie?

4. Are you a pet person?

5. What is your favorite food?

6. Do you have a favorite genre to read?

7. What country are you from?

8. If you were a plant or animal rather than human, what would you be and why?

9. What kind of music do you enjoy?

10. Do you have a hobby?

I nominate (with the full knowledge and understanding that some of you may not wish to and are not obligated to participate):

LibertyCon28 Report, Contests, and Squirrels


“Let’s Bitch at Brandy” closing ceremonies for LibertyCon

I want to thank the wonderful staff of LibertyCon for yet another fantastic convention. Liberty is, by far, my favorite of the three conventions I make sure to attend every year. It has become family over the past five years for me. I regret that I didn’t even discover this convention existed until 2009, when I saw an article in the local paper AFTER the convention had wrapped up. (I’ve noticed that about our local paper where scifi or multifandom conventions are concerned: they only get mentioned, maybe, in the Sunday edition on the last day of the con. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any kind of advance notice story on them like I have for festivals like Riverbend or Bonaroo. That makes it very hard for fans new to the area, or, in my case, returning home to the area after a two decade absence, to find out that there is a community for us.) LibertyCon was founded in the mid-1980s, a few years before I left Chattanooga.

This was the busiest convention I’ve had since I started attending as an author and panelist rather than only a fan. I’m used to being scheduled to be on maybe three events over the course of a convention. For LibertyCon28 I was scheduled for three events EACH DAY. Thank you to Rich Groller for doing the bulk of the programming groundwork and to Kevin “Fritz” Fotovich for taking up the torch when Rich and Tish had to leave town before the convention for a family emergency. My personal experience was a very smoothly run convention.

My deepest condolences to the Groller’s on the loss of Rich’s mother.

On a brighter note, I had a Friday book sale for the first time since my books became available in hardcopy. Over the course of the convention, I only sold three copies of Blood Curse, but that counts as three new readers. Hopefully, they will continue to follow the series. I also met new people and made new friends.

My Red Shirt contest was a success. I had 16 entries gathered from Facebook and Plurk. The lucky(?) winners are Myfanwy Davies and Susan Fox. The will have their last names applied to two unfortunate pirates from the crew of the Incubus, and will receive free .pdf copies of Black Venom, the fourth book in the series. Their names will appear in The Daedalus Enigma, the sixth book in the series, due for release from Gypsy Shadow Publishing Fall 2016. I shanghaied Jacob and Heather Holo to draw the names when they got too close to the autograph table in the dealer room during my first autograph session Friday.

I also learned the hard way to take the card reader OUT of the headphone jack of my phone if I want SOUND on the video.

Red Shirt Contest video on YouTube

I am still trying to get mailing information for the winner of my convention-members-only drawing for a signed copy of Black Venom. If anyone knows Dawn Paris, please tell her to check and ANSWER her gmail. I have the copy of the book made out to her, and will mail it to her as soon as I get an address, since she was not present at the noon drawing on Sunday. I know several people had to leave Sunday before the convention finished because of flight and travel schedules. She may have been one of them.

If she has not responded by Wednesday, July 1, I will email Brandy Spraker, chair of LibertyCon, to find her in their database. I take my duty to my contestants very seriously.

The above picture refers to the “Let’s Bitch at Brandy” panel. This is the traditional closing ceremonies of LibertyCon every year. It started as the “Let’s Bitch at Uncle Timmy” panel. Tim “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo founded LibertyCon when his daughter Brandy was still in elementary school. The “bitch” session gives everyone a chance to give feedback, both positive and negative, about the convention and recognition to the staff members that helped pull it off for another year. I will say that the folks at Liberty take all suggestions and complaints seriously and do everything within their power to make it a better convention every year.

There was talk of relocating the computer gaming room next year. It seems the room used this year was too small to handle three days of teenage boy sweat. Someone in the audience shared a most dire threat they overheard during the convention: “If you don’t knock it off, I WILL roll you in Cheeto dust and throw you in the gaming room.” (This makes me want to break into gales of maniacal laughter. A most excellent threat, indeed!)


(I apologize for the blurriness. My camera does not have a stabilizer, and flash photography is not allowed during the show.)

Atlanta Radio Theatre Company put on a fantastic show, as they do every year. This year’s main feature was The Passion of Frankenstein by Thomas E. Fuller. It was very well done. I plan to contact them about doing adaptions of my books rather than pursuing a straight narration version of audio book. I want to at least get an idea of what it would involve. ARTC has been doing radio theater for three decades. They made mention of upcoming auditions, if anyone in the Atlanta area reading this is interested, by the way. (My publisher does not do audio books, so I retain the audio rights.)

The Mad Scientists Roundtable was successfully moved to the Roosevelt Room this year. It was nice to have AC and a banquet hall rather than an over-crowded hotel suite and noisy shop fans. Next year, there should be more than one microphone, too. Subjects of conversation this year ranged from medical and military implementations of neural stimulators, entomology and the more than doubling of documented genetic variations of Springtails, current laser weaponry technology, and what can be done to increase the number of students entering the scientific and technical fields. A high school teacher stated that most teenagers see no use for science studies in their lives, their priorities being more socially and hormonally driven (my words, not his). One elementary school aged attendee lamented that science curriculums at the elementary level are usually made fun, but are not made challenging. More focus is on reading levels and test scores than on feeding the desire to LEARN. (This just makes me glad I am childless. Seriously.)

All in all, it was a fantastic con this year.

Now, about those squirrels…..

There is an abundance of blackberry brambles in the brushy area between my yard and that of the house behind me, up the hill. They are much thicker this year than I’ve seen them since moving here, and they bloomed quite heavily. Surprisingly, most of the berries are making and have begun to ripen. These are wild blackberries, so they aren’t huge like the ones you’ll find in the produce section. The largest of these are about the size of my thumb nail. I’ve watched the past two evenings as one of the squirrels has picked berries. He hasn’t limited himself to the low-hanging fruit, either. This evening, he jumped up in the bushes to get at the higher growing fruit, too.

Can’t blame the critter. I picked and ate a handful Sunday night. Some are very sweet, but most are that mean, tart I remember from childhood, picking berries with various adults, and Granny’s blackberry cobbler. I think my blood sugar went up a few points just thinking about that cobbler. Yum!

And on that sweet note, I will close out this blog entry. See you next week. If you’re in the USA, have a safe and happy 4th!