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Aran and Voting

Aran registered to vote for this election. It was easy enough--we downloaded the form on-line and dropped it off at the county clerk's office (rather than waiting at the Secretary of State's office).  A week later, his voter registration card arrived.  Then we applied for an absentee ballot for him, since Aran waiting in line to vote would be all kinds of problematic.

When it arrived, he filled it out and sent it in.  And now Aran has done his duty as a citizen!


Agent Announcement

I'm pleased to announce that I'm now also the client of Travis Pennington of The Knight Agency.  Travis will be representing various non-genre novels of mine.  I'm excited about this!

Lucienne Diver, also of The Knight Agency, is continuing to represent my genre fiction, both past and future.

This is so cool  I feel like the popular kid at Homecoming!  :)


The Shaver

Maksim has been needing a shave for a while.  The youngest!  Sunday we went to the department store to get him new shoes and a razor.

Maksim showed a definite preference for an electric razor.  I always use a wet razor because my facial hair is so heavy, electric razors either don't do a good job or they take for-bloody-ever to do anything, but Maksim doesn't have this problem and he didn't want to risk cutting himself.  Okay.  Electric is cheaper in the long run anyway.

We selected one that looked like it would be good for him and brought it home.  After a couple of false starts, he got the hang of it. He is now a well-groomed freshman.  "It feels weird," he said.

And all the men in the household are shaving.


Four Burner Friday, with Oven

Today was a Difficult Day.  Fridays are difficult anyway because I do the weekly grocery shopping on the way home from work (mostly to get it out of the way for the weekend). This time, because of the Difficult Day, I was tired and in a bad mood.

So I splurged on the Friday menu and cooked a lot.  It became a Four Burner Friday, with Oven.

Garden Salad
Garlic Hoisin Baked Salmon
Paprika Cod
Sauteed Shrimp
Steamed Crab Legs
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Braised Carrots
Cheese Plate

This required quite a lot of careful timing.  I had to figure out how to get everything done just as Darwin got home from work.  It wasn't out of any demands made by him, but merely that Darwin gets home from work late, and the rest of us are hungry, so we want to eat when he walks in through the door.  I cheat a little here and use the tracker on his cell phone (to see how close he is).  I set the salad and cheese to chilling in the fridge first, with the sweet potatoes boiling on the stove next, since they take longest to cook.  When Darwin was about twenty minutes away, both kinds of fish went into the oven and I set the carrots to simmering on the stove, then mashed the sweet potatoes and set them back on the stove.  Ten minutes out, I heated up the pan of olive oil for the shrimp and dropped the crab into bubbling salt water.  It was a four-burner job!

Darwin got home just as everything was finishing up.  Everything headed for the table and we had a tasty meal to defuse the Difficult Day.

And I should get a medal for the perfect timing.


Over the weekend, I finished the final draft of another novel.  This book I actually started over eight years ago, if you can believe, but what with one thing and another, I didn't finish it until just now.  It's a YA mainstream novel.  The big question is, will it sell?  We'll have to see.

This book makes 25 novels I've written in my writing career so far.  Whoa.  In case you're wondering, the other 24 are:


In the Company of Mind, Baen Books, 1998

Corporate Mentality, Baen Books, 1999

The Nanotech War (Star Trek: Voyager), Pocket Books, 2002

Identity (movie novelization), Pocket Books, 2002

The Exorcist: the Beginning (movie novelization), Pocket Books 2004

The Plague Room (The Ghost Whisperer), Pocket Books, December 2008

The Blacklist: The Beekeeper, Titan Books, November 2016


Danny, Book View Cafe, 2015

un/Fair, Book9 (Tantrum Books), 2016

The Clockwork Empire

The Doomsday Vault, ROC  Books, 2011

The Impossible Cube, ROC  Books, 2012

The Dragon Men, ROC Books, 2012

The Havoc Machine, ROC Books, 2013

The Silent Empire

Dreamer: a Novel of the Silent Empire, ROC Books, 2001

Nightmare: a Novel of the Silent Empire, ROC Books, 2002

Trickster: a Novel of the Silent Empire, ROC Books, 2003

Offispring: a Novel of the Silent Empire, ROC Books, 2004

The Books of Blood and Iron

Iron Axe, ROC Books, 2015

Blood Storm, ROC Books, 2015

Bone War, ROC Books, 2016

Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

Dead Man on the Moon, Phobos Books, 2006

Unity: a Battlestar Galactica Novel, Tor Books, 2007

Reference Books

Writing the Paranormal Novel, Writers Digest Books, 2011


Trash Course, Carina Press (Harlequin), 2010


World Fantasy Whoa

At World Fantasy next weekend, I'm moderating (!) a panel with Linda Robertson, Marilyn Mattie Brahen, Fred Durbin, and . . . Mercedes Lackey!


While I've sat on panels with any number of Big Name Authors, including ones whose work I've loved, I've never moderated one before. Time for the Big Boy Pants!

First Anniversary

Last weekend was my and Darwin's first anniversary.  We've now been married for one year!

We did sort of a multi-day celebration.  On Friday, we went out to eat at Casey's, which I call the Irish Sushi Pub.  It's an Irish-ish pub downtown that serves bar food (burgers, fish and chips, various deep fried objects) but also has a sushi kitchen in it.  Only in America!  I think the place is perfect because Maksim and I love sushi, but Darwin and Aran hate it.  Normally, we're at an impasse, but Casey's lets everyone have what they like!

As it happened, one of their specials the night Darwin and I went there was prime rib, which is Darwin's absolute favorite.  I ordered a caterpillar roll, an eel and cucumber roll, and a dragon roll.  The food, as it happens, was absolutely delicious.  The sushi was delicious--everything in the right proportions, both crunchy and soft, tangy and sweet.  Darwin's prime rib was fork tender and done to a turn and spiced just right.  On the way out, I paused at the sushi bar to tell the chefs they were =on= that night.  They appreciated the compliment.

Saturday for supper, Darwin wanted to go to Wendy's.  "Wendy's?" I said in a shocked voice.  "WEN- dy's?  You know that a year ago we were dining on roasted chicken, fresh vegetables, and dense wedding cake.  Tonight you want to go to Wendy's?"

"We went to a nice place last night," he said.  And so we went to Wendy's.  Sigh.

The meal was forgettable, but the company was nice.  :)  We talked about the wedding and how cool it was:

Afterward, it was so mild out, I insisted we go down to the woods for a walk.  We intended to go to a public nature trail we like, but ended up hiking through a meadow behind the place I lived when we first met.  A hunter's moon was rising above the trees, and we paused to watch it come up, full and heavy and bright.  The deer were out, all over the place, and they watched us warily.  We found the wild apple trees we remembered, and they had no apples on them at all.  They didn't have any last year when we checked, either, and I wonder if something's gone wrong.  We walked back to a little hill we used to sit on when we were dating and wanted privacy from the ever-present boys at my place.  It was such a pleasant evening.

I never thought I'd be able to marry a man.  But here we are, celebrating our first anniversary.  Wow.

I love you, Darwin. Forever and always.

Kids These Days

Today my freshmen are in the computer lab working on an essay.  I always get a steady litany of complaints and problems on days like this. Today, they include:

--"This mouse doesn't work, and neither does the keyboard!"  Follow the cords. Are the mouse and keyboard plugged in?  No?  What do you think you could do to solve this problem?

--"This keyboard is too small. It's hard to type."  (I'm not kidding--a kid actually said this.)  All the keyboards are the same size, buddy.  "No. This one is small.  Can I switch?"  If you want. Keep in mind you'll lose between five and ten minutes doing that, and the assignment is still due at the end of the hour--and you'll still have a small keyboard.

--[points to a computer screen filled with long lines of text, each followed by super-short lines] "Why is it doing this?  Can you fix it?"  Uh . . . have you seriously been hitting ENTER at the end of every line instead of letting the computer wrap the line around? "Yeah.  What else are you supposed to do?"  How long have you been using a computer, kid?

--"What font is this supposed to be?" "How do I change the font?"  "Where is the font?"  The directions are right there on the sheet I handed out to you.  If you ask me that again, I'm going to open the trap door to the crocodiles.

--"This computer won't turn on."  We're twenty minutes into lab time. How long have you been sitting in front of a dead computer?  "Twenty minutes."  What do you think you can do to solve this problem in a roomful of computers?  "Uh . . . move to a different computer?"  Very good.  If you had thought of that twenty minutes ago, you wouldn't have homework tonight.

--[Kid presses the CAPS LOCK key, capitalizes a single letter, shuts off the CAPS LOCK, and continues typing.  When he comes to a proper noun, he presses the CAPS LOCK key, capitalizes a single letter, shuts off the CAPS LOCK, and continues typing.]  Uh . . . have you ever tried holding down the SHIFT key to capitalize a letter?  "Yeah, but it takes too long."

I spend more time teaching computer skills than I do writing.


The Window Washy Thingy

The outside windows on the back of the house are a mess.  They get rained on a lot, and there's no porch to shelter them, so they get spattered.  The insides are fingerprinted.  Blech!  The problem is, they're so big--three sets of seven-foot high glass doors, with more high-up windows over them.  I've washed them before with spray cleaner and hand towels, and it's a major project, requiring a ladder and a couple hours of work.  Double blech!

At the hardware store last week, I bought a window washy thingy.  It's a squeegee and a scrubber on an extendable handle.  I mixed up some washing solution in a bucket: a gallon of water, a couple teaspoons of dish soap, and a quarter cup of vinegar (to prevent streaking).  Then I set to work.

It was like washing the windshield at a gas station, really.  Zip zip zip, and done!  Washing all the windows inside and out took about twenty minutes.  Now we can actually SEE the back yard, and it was so very, very easy.

Thank you, window washy thingy!


Bye, Bye, Birdies

The hummingbirds have left.  I haven't seen any of them for days and days and days.  The levels on my feeders haven't changed.  They must have migrated.  No surprise, it being October and all.  Good luck, little guys and gals!  See you in the spring!

I've also taken down all the outdoor flower baskets to throw away.  They were mostly dead anyway.  Some of the non-flowering plants haven't died, and I think I'm going to put them in my classroom to see if they survive the winter.

Fall has arrived!


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