Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hope Everyone Had a Great Valentine's Day

I had a pretty good V-Day, although my husband and I didn't go out or anything. We had dinner and watched TV while cuddling on the couch, and that pretty much did it for us. :)

I made a chocolate cake, which I don't do very often. The cake recipe, from a Betty Crocker cookbook, is very yummy, nice and moist. The chocolate fudge frosting, which I've done once before, tastes great, but the texture is less than optimal. :/ The recipe tells you to be very careful not to add too much milk (the last thing you do, while beating the mass of powdered sugar/butter/vanilla/chocolate), that too much milk will make your frosting soupy, that you should add just a few drops at a time so you don't overshoot and end up with frosting too loose to spread.

Just F everyone's I, that's not really a problem with the Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Frosting recipe. [wry smile] I ended up adding at least twice as much milk as the recipe called for, possibly three times as much (I wish now I'd kept track) and I still ended up with frosting thick enough that it was tearing up my cake. :/ By the time I stopped mixing and started spreading, it looked pretty darned soft, but I guess that was just in comparison to how it'd looked six or ten tablespoons of milk earlier. [laugh]

Frosting the cake was frustrating, but it did end up tasting pretty yummy, so it wasn't a total failure. And the husband liked it too, so I'll take that as a win for this year's Valentine's Day. :)

In writing news, I did proofs recently on a new story, "The Scent of Murder," which will be coming out at the end of March in the anthology No Humans Allowed. The theme of the anthology is inhuman protagonists, and the editor, John Helfers, meant really not human. Characters who had been human but transformed, like vampires or werewolves or zombies, frex., weren't allowed. I wrote a murder mystery, where an alien works with a ship's AI to solve the murder of a human. More deets when the book is available.

Keep warm!


Friday, December 23, 2016

New Release -- Tempest

There's a new Valdemar anthology out, and I've got a story in it. Valdemar is the main kingdom in Mercedes Lackey's popular series of books and stories set on the world of Velgarth. If you're new to Valdemar, it began with the Arrows Trilogy, followed by the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy, which is my favorite.

My story is called "A Tangle of Truths," and finds Herald Arvil representing his Queen at a noble baby's birthday party. Multiple schemes and resentments collide and snarl, and nearly cost the birthday baby his life.

Tempest -- The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages—and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

Join Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and others in twenty-two original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey, to Valdemar, where:

A Herald must crack an ancient code in a historic tapestry in order to arbitrate a dispute over land and lineage…

A Healer’s daughter flees the noble family that has trapped and enslaved her mother, and must seek help to free her mother…

A young woman who hides her clairvoyant powers from her town’s Karsite priests ForeSees a threat, and must risk revealing her Gift to save her community…

A Herald finds his assistant has been abducted by a man upon whom he had levied a heavy fine, and must foil the kidnapper’s plans to save his charge…

This anthology contains:

A Small Quarrel by Stephanie D. Shaver
Girl Without the Gifts by Janny Wurts
Unimagined Consequences by Elizabeth A. Vaughan
Feathers in Flight by Jennifer Brozek
Blind Leaps by Ron Collins
Haver Hearthstone by Fiona Patton
Unraveling the Truth by Dayle A. Dermatis
Sparrow's Gift by Michele Lang
Harmless as Serpents by Rosemary Edghill & Rebecca Fox
The Apprentice and the Stable Master by Brenda Cooper
Unexpected Meeting by Nancy Asire
A Trip of Goats by Elisabeth Waters
The Ones She Couldn't Save by Louisa Swann
One Last Night Manning the Home Station by Brigid Collins
Only Family Matters by D. Shull
Medley by Jessica Schlenker & Michael Z. Williamson
A Tangle of Truths by Angela Penrose
The Unwanted Gift by Anthea Sharp
Dawn of a New Age by Dylan Birtolo
BloodLines by Phaedra Weldon
In Name Only by Kristin Schwengel
Ripples and Cracks by Larry Dixon and Mercedes Lackey

Paperback on Amazon
E-book on Amazon
Paperback on B&N
E-book on B&N
E-book on Kobo
E-book on iTunes

Thursday, December 8, 2016

New Release -- Last Stand

An anthology called Last Stand, edited by Dean Wesley Smith and Felicia Fredlund, just came out recently. I have a story in it, called "Bury My Son at Home," an SF story about the women determined to take their dead home in the wake of a horrendous battle, after two warring powers decided to use their world as a battleground. Last Stand is part of the Fiction River anthology series by WMG Publishing.

History offers many heroic tales of final battles. And in Last Stand, sixteen courageous authors offer their take on the topic. From a heartwarming tale of not-so-friendly business competition to a battle of the gods—sort of—for the fate of the world to a tale of looking for love in all the wrong places. These inventive stories make Last Stand one of the most creative—and memorable—Fiction River volumes yet.

This volume contains….

"The Great Ice Cream War of Grover’s Hollow" by Annie Reed
"Slow Motion" by Eric Kent Edstrom
"Do Not Resuscitate" by Dory Crowe
"Sunset, Fall, Home" by Dan C. Duval
"'Til Death Do Us Part" by Kerrie L. Hughes & John Helfers
"Circle 'Round" by M. L. Buchman
"Unto the Ether" by M. E. Owen
"Bury My Son at Home" by Angela Penrose
"The Flare" by Laura Ware
"What’s Left of Me" by Bonnie Elizabeth
"The Counter" by Rob Vagle
"The Toymaker of Kelsium Rye" by Chuck Heintzelman
"Magic and Sacrifice" by Felicia Fredlund
"Lady Elizabeth’s Betrothal Ball" by Anthea Sharp
"Suppose They Gave a Ragnarok and Nobody Came?" by Lee Allred
"Death Bunnies of Toxic Island" by Travis Heermann

Paperback on Amazon
E-book on Amazon
Paperback on B&N
E-book on B&N
E-book on Kobo

Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Release -- Haunted

I have a story called "The Ghost of Station Four" in the new Haunted anthology, edited by Kerrie Hughes. Haunted is part of the Fiction River anthology series by WMG Publishing.

Nothing compares to a good ghost story. And in Haunted, some of the best short fiction writers in the business explore the many different ways to haunt someone: literally, figuratively, happily, angrily… From a man haunted by his wife’s favorite appliance to a possessed building protective of its new family to a chilling twist on the modern practice of ghosting, the thirteen authors of Fiction River’s latest volume provide unforgettable stories that will haunt the reader for years to come.

This volume contains….

“She’s No Shimmer” by David H. Hendrickson
“Land of the Living” by Dayle A. Dermatis
“Clean” by Michael Kowal
“The Ghost of Station Four” by Angela Penrose
“The Clockwork Harp” by Anthea Sharp
“Christmas Ghosts in Silver Chains” by Dave Raines
“Hoarding” by Thea Hutcheson
“Machowski’s Watch” by Eric Kent Edstrom
“The Crow War of Willows Beach” by Brenda Carre
“Mother Daughter” by Brigid Collins
“The Ribbon Tree” by Leah Cutter
“Holly Hock” by Kerrie L. Hughes
“Ghosting” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Paperback on Amazon
E-book on Amazon
Paperback on B&N
E-book on B&N
E-book on Kobo
E-book on iTunes

Haunted book cover

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Release -- Alien Artifacts

I have an SF story called "Me and Alice" in the new Alien Artifacts anthology, edited by Josh Palmatier and Patricia Bray. "Me and Alice" is about a young boy who's worried about his pet toad. Alice is very elderly (for a toad) and hasn't been feeling too well, but old age isn't something you can fix with care or medicine. An archaeological dig on his family's land provides a distraction, and a puzzle.

Paperback on Amazon
E-book on Amazon
Paperback on B&N
E-book on B&N
E-book on Kobo
E-book on iTunes

Alien Artifacts book cover

Josh and Patricia are also doing a Kickstarter campaign for their next batch of anthologies. This year they're doing three -- All Hail Our Robot Conquerors, Submerged, and The Death of All Things. They sound like fun; I'm especially looking forward to writing for Robot Conquerors, and maybe Submerged. And maybe Death of All Things too, but who knows? :) They've already made their goal, and have just a few days left, so you can pledge knowing that you'll definitely get whatever goodies you sign up for.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Release -- Year's Best Crime and Mystery Stories 2016

My story "The Rites of Zosimos," originally published in Alchemy and Steam, has been reprinted in The Year's Best Crime and Mystery Stories 2016. "Rites" is a murder mystery set at a 19th century alchemical university. It's one of my own favorite stories, and it's awesome that the editors thought it was one of the best mysteries of last year, along with stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Higgins Clark, Tananarive Due, Carrie Vaughn, Annie Reed, and a bunch of other great writers. Check it out!


as an Amazon e-book
as a Kobo e-book
as a Nook e-book
as an iTunes e-book

The paperback edition will be out soon, if you prefer paper.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Flowers in the Yard

I'm not up to a lot of gardening, but last fall I managed to plant some bulbs. They've been blooming over the last few weeks and brightening the place up.

The daffodils are sunny and make the yard look bright, even when it's overcast, which it often is in Seattle. We don't have a lot of deep soil in back -- our place was built on what was originally a pretty good slope, and the builder filled with a lot of huge rocks before putting soil on top. It's deep enough for trees in a couple of places, and a few inches deep in others, and barely an inch in some. Most of the bulbs I got, like the daffodils, are fairly large, and I didn't have room for all of them. I put a few in a pot that lived out next to the front door for a while. That was cheery too.

A hyacinth next to one of the last crocuses. A lot of the hyacinths grew at an angle, and some were just lying on the dirt. :P I think those were in places where I wasn't able to plant the bulbs deep enough because of the aforementioned shallow soil. There were some tipsy daffodils too. The crocuses were fine, but their bulbs are pretty small. I'll have to see if any other bulbs are about that size, and maybe get more to plant this fall, fill in some more of the shallow-soil areas.

The tulips just started blooming a few days ago. They're pretty, but I didn't have too many of them. Good thing, too, since they had the largest bulbs.

Maybe I'll just throw in the towel and get some more containers and fill them with bulbs for next year. I can get whatever I want that way, and plant everything as deep as it needs to be. [ponder]