Saturday, August 1, 2015

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Here are the rules. 
1) The pictures are posted at Livejournal. Answers can be left there, or at Tumblr or  Facebook.

2) There are 10 pictures and clues. Answer with the book title. Book titles can be found on my website

3) Leave a screened comment or a PM or an inbox message. You must include your email address to win. The screening and privacy measures should be adequate.

4) All 10 clues right gets a short story in .pdf format

5) On August 5, I will draw a name at random (from all the correct entries) for a copy of Terror of the Frozen North. (If you have Terror, please feel free to let me know and choose another novel) 

Here's the link

Friday, July 31, 2015

Paganism, Witchcraft and Woo

So I read and interesting article today.

It's about how we limit ourselves by not talking about our power, by not accepting we are witches and saying "my spirit guide told me" or other such because of fear of being perceived as mentally ill.

Essentially, the woo closet is the forces that keep us from being open about the way that magical, energetic, psychic, extra-sensory or spiritual forces nourish and guide us. To my mind, the woo closet is very old and is one of the most powerful spells (or cluster of spells) that keeps us from stepping into our truth and power.

Me, I do witchcraft. I am blunt and open about this.

"Hex 'em til they glow and curse 'em in the dark." is a common phrase. I have a plaque in my house that says "Today I am" and the flip part says "good witch" and "bad witch."

When some boys were giving my daughter trouble about being a pagan, I picked her up and had a chat. It ran like this "Yes, she is a witch. And do you know where little witches come from? Mama witches. Now, unless you would like to spend the summer in the bayou eating flies, I suggest you lay off of her."

The way I do witchcraft looks a lot like hard work and headology* and not at all like circle-dancing and chanting. I determine my will, focus it and do it. The doing is always work. It may be cleaning. It may be creating a whole book out of nothing but imagination. It may be turning a skein of yarn into something lovely and useful. I am doing my will.

I am open about my paganism. There are statues of  Athena, Medusa, Tiamat and Hera on my mantle. The Greenman hangs on my study, as does the Horned God. I have a sun and moon face on my front door. I have a Tree of Life tattooed on my shoulder.

I deal with a variety of deities, but mostly Hera and Hermes. For me, paganism is about the gods.

But I don't believe in woo. I am not about the energy or the crystals. I don't believe in essential oils, Ley lines or pyramid power. I will work with the moon phase and astrological sign, but only to a degree. I remember three past lives, none of which are Cleopatra.

The point is, I don't have to believe in it.

I may not believe in chakras or understand them, but apparently I can do a pretty fair job of cleansing them for other people.

I always preface a tarot reading with "the cards have no power. They're mass-produced pasteboard. What they do is give you a framework to hang your own knowledge on."
My readings are still scary accurate, regardless of the deck. I talk about my decks as if they have actual personalities and abilities. (Robin's hiding today), and nobody handles them but me.

I read weather signs in clouds and plants and animals--documented stuff most have forgotten--and get laughed at for being an old hillbilly granny in the middle of suburbia, but they don't laugh when they get rained on and I said they would because the leaves were showing their bellies and the cows were lying down.

I use chants and cantrips and charms about my daily business, invoking gods, saints, angels and household sprites alike. And I always sweep sunwise. It seems to help.

When I was pregnant, I wore a berkana rune around my neck. Just a bit of clay on a leather thong, marked with a sharpie. But I was not sick at all during the pregnancies I wore it. I used it to focus my psychosomatic impulses that had made me so sick with the others.

So apparently the Woo works as expected, even if you don't believe it whole-heartedly.
I do believe that charms work as heard as their wearers, spells as hard as their casters and prayers as hard as the supplicant.

So pray with one hand.
Work with the other.
Do your will.

*Headology is a term coined by Terry Prachett. It describes a form of psychology used by witches in his Discworld series:
The difference between headology and psychiatry is summarized as follows:

A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick. (Maskerade, 325)

My Mudd tells the story of a man in a mental hospital who locked himself in the bathroom, and refused to come out because God was angry with him. The staff reasoned with him, argued with him and finally gave up on him. One of the other patients slipped a note under the door and he came out, smiling. The note read. "I'm not mad. I love you. God."

Photo Scavenger Hunt

I always do an August Promo.
This year, it's a photo scavenger hunt. I haven't done this for about 7 years. You can see the last one at

The pictures will be different but the clues will be much the same. They should provide enough information that you can figure it out from my website

The pictures will be at Livejournal, Tumblr and Facebook. (I can't screen replies here)

Winners (All answers correct) will receive an ebook of their choice. One of the winners, randomly chosen, will get a copy of Terror of the Frozen North.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Submitting and writing thoughts

Today, the last of my Uugly Remillard babies, poor Jack, finished his surgery and went out to my editor. The Sweet Science of Bruising should be out from Ardent Press next year.

I have a book my Beta didn't hate, didn't feel the need to shower after and enjoyed.
I also misspelled the hero's name 8 times. (I <3 Spellcheck)

The hero is no longer a mobile vibrator and a backdrop for the heroine. She's still rather high-handed, being a notional woman quite used to getting her own way. But she's like that with everyone, because genius.


Done writing women for a while, I think.
I do all right with them as side characters, but all the strong ones ever come out as is ice-bitches.

DJ Admire is a very flawed character, hostile, alcoholic and generally abrasive. She's also determined, dedicated (if only to the next bottle) and unafraid. This is a woman who walks into a nightmare--her recurring nightmare--with her eyes open and her Desert Eagle ready, who wagers all her life-span to get the information she needs. She's horrible to the one person in the whole world who loves her, mostly in an effort to make him stop, and keep him alive.

Lillian Shaw is high-handed and imperious. She has money and brains and an insatiable curiosity and does not tolerate being told what to do. She does exactly as she pleases and ignores her reputation in the best Scarlett O'Hara fashion, without the moping and pining, but with some machinating.

Sarah Brown is a loathsome bitch. She has money, she wants a title. And she wants it from her old fiance, Edward Kilsby, Lord Withycombe, who dumped her after the War. She has decided to marry Edward, come hell or high water, whether he likes it or not. Financial abuse, blackmail and outright murder are not beneath her.

Had an interesting experience. Was told "I like contemporaries, because I want to fantasize about it happening to me." I responded with "That's exactly why I write space opera. I wanna be a space cowboy and have hot sex in the zero-gee harness. Nobody wants to be a part-time merchandiser."

I thought it through a bit more. I write fantasy. All of it is fantasy. The werewolves and elves, space opera and dystopia, the kink and the romance alike. They're all fiction and I write it by the rules of fiction because they don't happen in real life.

I know the tone and the tropes and the conventions: Werewolves change on the full moon, subs control the scene, vampires are best killed by beheading, people really do believe in their religion, push a button and it goes ftl, and people do love their partners. It's all just tropes to me.

I ultimately believe in happily ever after as much as I believe in flower fairies. I believe in zombies more than I believe in love, because zombies are a real thing (the drugged kind). I define family as the people you have an obligation to.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Big Fish, a commentary

Tonight, I saw the movie Big Fish.
Big Fish (2003) Poster

I went in expecting a piece of southern gothic with some tall tales. What I got was much much bigger.

It's a movie about stories. About the stories we tell and the stories we become.  I knew how the story had to end, and I was not disappointed.

At one point, the hero says to his father, "You never told me one true thing."
And I yelled at the screen, "Everything he told you was true. It just wasn't all fact."

Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor turn in amazing performances as Edward Bloom.
Billy Crudup reminds me of Cillian Murphy, except the part where I don't want to punch him on principle. (Murphy has a Backpfeifengesicht, a face in need of a fist)

Jessica Lange is always good. And Helena Bonham Carter turns in one of her most understated performances. She's brilliant in a triple part, and explains to Will "There are only two women in your father's world, your mother and everyone else."

In In the Mouth of Madness, Sam Neil's John Trent is very big on reality. Until he is informed that "Reality is what we tell each other it is."

This is a gentler take on that idea. The reality of Edward Bloom's life meshes almost seamlessly with his imaginings.

"You do your best to corrupt them and fill their heads with nonsense. They turn out normal anyway."
I think that's my favorite line.

Tell your story. Make it big, make it bold. And if it needs singing conjoined twins, a giant a witch and a werewolf ringmaster, put them in.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Thursday

Today was filled with work.
And just as a fun aside, that place on my foot that's been a problem all week? Spider bite.
So I get to call the doc.

Bun came by for dinner. She's on her way to St. Louis. She liked the kittens. I measured her for a Weasley Sweater.

Domino moved the kittens (too much human time) and Henry is missing.

Some editing accomplished.

must do call reports so I can get paid.

A Throwback Thursday of me and Oli

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday

Working on The Sweet Science of Bruising.

Turlough grumbled as the padlock snapped shut again. He held up the lantern he carried and looked at Lillian. She trembled to see he was still naked. “So they saw me looking and pulled you aboard. What's your name, boy?”

“Ben,” Lillian said in her lowest voice.

Turlough laughed and set the lantern down. “And I'll just wager Ronan thinks you're a boy, yeah?” he whispered. “No fear, lass, I'll treat you like one. I get no girls for it makes me meaner.” He sat down on the bed beside her and took the hat off of her head.

“Aye and a pretty lady he found me.” He ran a hand along her cheek.

“You're bleeding,” Lillian whispered.

“There's a flannel in the drawer. I'll wash up, my dear. We're together, man and wife like for a long time now. Or until Ronan finds out. Then he'll take you away from me.”

Last Day!

Today is the last day for the Thunderclap Campaign. I need 26 more backers.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20: Moon landing day

46 years ago today, we landed on the moon. I was a toddler.

Remember who we are. When our leaders dream and lead, we can accomplish anything.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Busy Sunday

Feeling ridiculously accomplished, although I had what most would consider and ordinary day.

I did a freezer inventory, came up with a meal plan and grocery shopped. We have 20 lbs of chicken leg quarters in the freezer.

There were meatball sandwiches for dinner. Yum!

I cubed up a cantaloupe and a watermelon. The produce from Save-a-lot has been SO good. The grapes are ripe and juicy. The watermelon was the best I've had this year. The cantaloupe is soft and full of flavor.
That thing where you cut the watermelon in half, run the knife around the edge and then in a grid, and slice into the sides? It works! Fast and easy.

I got Somewhere Out There up on All Romance Ebooks

I started royalty statements. Everybody's sales are on their pages. Calculations later.

I knitted some and played with kittens.

I am doing laundry. I'll throw them in the dryer and go to bed.

Did some Crone work. Sometimes, a friend just needs a minute to hide in the shadow of the Mountain and hear Grandmother whisper that it will all be okay. The wheel turns.

All in all, a good day.
Planning for the week ahead:
5 Stores, the great Mississippi loop

4 Sears and a Best Buy, The North End.

3 Sears, the south side
Pick up meds


Picnic at the lake!