“Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.” - Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Perspective, it's all about perspective ...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

Maybe some day I'll finish my vacation blogs.

I participated in National Novel Writing Month again this year. Every time I do it's different. Each story has its own way of coming into being. Each month has its own real life events interfere with the writing.

This year, interference was run primarily by The Day Job. My manager left the company about half way through November and it had a much bigger impact on my daily tasks than I expected. I didn't get to write on my breaks; half the time I didn't even get my breaks!

I fell farther behind in word count than in any of the previous eight times I actually made 50K.

So what's a NaNo veteran to do? Buckle down and write!

My characters cooperated. I owe them chocolate or booze or something.

The final Friday of November I wrote 6111 words. Saturday 6202. Sunday, Nov 29, another 5472 to bring my word count to 50002! 17785 words in three days is a personal record, one I hope not to approach again while still working full time.

(I had to finish on Sunday because the Monday after Thanksgiving is probably the busiest day of the year at work for me and my team. That meant no NaNo words would happen.)

When I validated, the lovely NaNo Word Count Bots gave me an additional 215 words gratis. If I haven't said it before, I now declare my love for the NaNo Word Count Bots.

If you want to see a graphic representation of my November, it's HERE. It's a graph! Like Science!

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Went to the Yukon! (part one)

I took a cruise back in May to Alaska, sailing round trip from San Francisco because I love being at sea. I hope to post pictures from each stop, but they won't be in order. The Yukon is first because it was the most thrilling for me.

The Yukon! Growing up we studied the gold rush of the late 1800's in school, I read a lot of Jack London. It seemed so far away, so rugged and dangerous - somewhere in the world I'd never see. BUT. I went there! Not on foot during the winter like the miners did. I traveled in luxury, I admit. But I'm not physically rugged enough to see it any other way.

It was an excursion out of Skagway, AK. Here's the view from my cabin window when we arrived.

The 'obstruction' is one of the life boats. The first time I sailed to Alaska I had an interior cabin. Never again! Even though they're cheaper, I had to set my alarm every morning because there was no daylight. Having to set an alarm on vacation just to catch breakfast is not how I like to travel. 

On the dock, waiting for the bus. 

A view of Skagway from the bus. According to Dallan, our bus driver, Radio Shack is the place to shop. They have frozen pizzas, coffee, and recently added an ATM - the second one in town. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I haven't posted any fiction for a while, so here's a story. It's the one posted over at Big White Box not that long ago.


As she lies beneath crisp white sheets, I imagine Grand-mère's eighty-nine years of memories repeating over and over in her mind, jumbled by time. When she's remembering a good one, the crinkles around her eyes are a myriad of tiny smiles. I wonder if she's thinking of someone she knew, someone long dead, someone she hopes to see soon. Or is it her garden in Strasbourg, the cathedral looming high behind? "Dat shade vas a shade from God," she'd often say.

Last year I was in Strasbourg, in that shade, Mom explaining, pointing, a good tour guide but not knowledgeable enough to know when silence said more. I wanted silence, to feel the cool of that shadow on my cheek, to think about Grand-mère feeling it, too, back when she was my age, back when she was striving to feed her young family on puny vegetables grown in the cathedral's shadow, her neighbors calling, "Janine, how goes it?" in the dialect of Strasbourg, and Grand-mère's answer, "The weeds, they grow."

And she grew. Struggled, fought, endured. Thrived on it all.

Me? I collect my paychecks, shop the shops, glide along, untested, unchallenged. Could I have done what she did? Not just survived, but thrived, as she did? I need my microwave, my cell phone, my laptop. She had her wood-burning stove and her hands, strong and competent.

Now, her hand nearly weightless in mine, Grand-mère's wandering in a memory. "Have some potatoes," she says. And I remember her potatoes, sautéed brown with onions or creamed in a casserole, potatoes fixed a hundred different ways. I'd eaten them all, but have no recipes, only the flavor memories on my tongue.

"Don't fret, Liebchen," she whispers, her touch light as a butterfly wing. "The shade, it grows."

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Big White Box

One of my writing groups (I'm in three; just sayin') has an experiment going on. We've set up a website where we showcase authors and their work. This has been live for a few months now. I'm just getting around to posting about it.

Our featured authors so far include Brad Walseth, Jim C. Hines, Frances McNamara, and Eric Larson. If you are or know of someone who'd like to be featured, please use the contact form on the main page. Alternatively, you could leave suggestions here and I'll forward them to the group.

We're also putting up our own short fiction. Each Sunday (or thereabouts) our webmaster posts a story under Big White Blog. Today's story - "Shadows" - is by me! The stories are mostly less than 500 words. I think we each have three or four pieces up there so far. There's no common theme or genre, so hopefully you'll find something you like.

We're also trying our hands at running writing contests. Our first one closed recently. That's all I'm going to say about it until we complete the judging process.

So, if you're looking for something short to read, try our Big White Blog. If you like what you see, please tell your friends. ;-)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February First Blizzard

Nothing like a snow day to encourage creativity! All my plans were cancelled due to snow and wind. Snow alone wouldn't stop things, but the high winds and associated Blizzard Warning! and Dangerous Travel! are ignored at peril.

I'm not fond of peril for myself. For fictional characters, the more the better! But not so much in real life.

I've taken a few pictures, and I'll add more as the day progresses. Here's my patio at around 11 am this morning:

And here it is around 1:30 pm: 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Happy Solstice!

I watched Hogfather last night - a tradition in my household. Back when my daughter was in high school, over winter break we'd read the book Hogfather (by Terry Pratchett) out loud to each other, doing voices for the characters. She does a fantastic Death!

This afternoon I'm going to make clam chowder. And poke at the synopsis for Rising Tide.

I may Read A Book! Haven't done that in far too long.

And that's the summary of my oh-so-glamorous life at the moment.