About Me

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I've been writing since I could first hold a pencil, and by all accounts I didn't limit myself to paper. Walls, tablecloths and the occasional sibling were all fair game, and it shouldn't be surprising to learn that markers were banned in my home with all due haste. Although I now content myself with inconveniencing electrons, the desire to bring the stories in my mind to life hasn't waned. In my spare time, I read, putter in the kitchen, and relax on my terrace or at the lake, weather permitting, with my corgi who strives to be part muse, part food disposal. I'm also addicted to coffee and have a close relationship with my Keurig.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

XperimentXperiment by Dan Skinner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the things I've come to enjoy in reading anything by Dan Skinner is his unflinching need to see the world as it really is, even in this not so dystopian novel. The setting is St Louis, and I'd be hard pressed to see much difference between his version and the city I could visit next week, right here, and now. It's an ugly place, filled with prejudice, and hatred, and fear, and populated by small minds and smaller consciences.

Geoff Markham is a lonely, quiet man, awkward and unsure of himself, gay in a city where he feels out of place, unattractive enough to court mockery and rejection. His boss is a bully, his job unfulfilling, and the only saving grace is being far away from his abusive stepfather and drunken mother. After a typically awful day at work, he runs home in a rainstorm, with only a newspaper to provide cover, a newspaper containing an ad which catches his eye. He can join an experiment, take supplements which will improve his health, and get paid, too. What does he have to lose?

I don't want to spoil this novel, because it deserves to be read in full, and not in a cliff-note version via review. But what I will say is Dan's eye for imagery lends a power to his words, a lyrical pull which draws you into Geoff's world. The pills open his eyes, and as Geoff discovers who he really is, I couldn't help but get lost in the gorgeous prose. Geoff finds love with a blind street musician, Chris, learns about the beauty in life, and in the process, kindles hope in his own heart, and in mine.

Dan Skinner has offered up a glimpse of a world where evil cannot triumph, as long as we are willing to embrace everything we can be, and never lose hope. It is a vision which feels all the more welcome in these strange days, when we've allowed the ugliness of which he writes to taint our world. I hope we find the same wisdom as Geoff.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Things I never thought I would do...

So, today was DMCA day. I'm unpublishing myself, so to speak, on what I hope is a temporary basis. I'll find new homes for my books, and I'll tweak them a little, make them fresh again before I send them off to be read, and hopefully liked. They're MY books. It's the first step to moving forward again.

But in the interim, I'm really angry, and frustrated, and upset because I was taken in by stories and an inclination to think the best of folks. 

And also because, as a small business owner myself, I know better.

Let me say that again. I. Know. Better. I saw the signs, and I told myself, "It's publishing, it's not quite the same thing as what we do, really, it's going to be fine." Revenue flow fluctuates, but if they're putting aside enough money every month to cover royalties at the highest possible rate, plus a bit extra, they won't have a problem.

But the truth is when you stop paying people, that's a problem. 

When only one person knows how to do something, that's a problem.

When no one answers the calls, or emails, that's a problem. 

You can damned well bet if I was sick, my partner would step in, and fill in. And while I might not grab a bag of test equipment and go run an inspection, or service a panel, I make sure I have subs I can call because my clients can't wait. And I have subs I can call because they know they get paid at the end of the week, no question. NO QUESTION. They get paid before I do. That's how it works.

So if anyone reading this thinks there's still a chance Torquere will pull it out, and things will get better, think again. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Things I never thought I would say...

When I published my debut novella back in 2013, I was elated. It wasn't so much the idea of being a new author, because I wasn't. I'd been writing for a while, and publishing online for free. I didn't think I was good enough to put myself out there, and send something to a publisher.

A dear friend talked me into it, and Torquere Press Inc. took me on. It was honestly one of the best times of my life, and despite all the rollercoaster moments of editing, and worrying about whether or not I was ready, I felt like I was part of an amazing family. The owners of Torquere made me welcome.

I submitted a novel in 2014 and it was accepted for publication. Cue more elation, and once again, despite the bustle to clean up the manuscript and turn it into something proper, it felt so good to be part of this publisher's team of authors.

When they decided to sell Torquere Press Inc. to focus full-time on their own writing, I wasn't worried. I trusted their decision to sell to their general manager. She knew the business, and she knew the authors. My novel was about to be published, and I was riding high.

Apparently not. In case you haven't seen it, let me share this with you all:

Writer Beware

Let's just say I've been happier. This is a fitting end to a year that's seen far too many gifted and wonderful people pass on, and a human Cheeto elected to the highest office in our country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

And this morning, it feels like the world has gone mad...

I understand the anger. I understand the sense of marginalization which drove people to vote for a man whose entire campaign was based on hatred, fear, and divisive language. I understand feeling like burning down the house because there's no other way to get rid of what's wrong with it.

I understand, because I'm a woman, and I have children who aren't textbook perfect, and I have friends who are black, Hispanic, Muslim, Jewish, gay, trans, or otherwise outside the comfort zone of those very angry people who just made Brexit look sane. 

My autistic son will become one of their targets. He certainly won't get services, if they have anything to say about it. Too expensive, too great a burden for us to care for those who, by virtue of a genetic roll of the dice, aren't "normal," who are innocent to a degree the rest of us have lost.

My trans child faces a world where violence is seen as acceptable, where fear of something one cannot understand means beating it out of a body. Will I relax when my child leaves the house now? Probably not. My phones will become harbingers of dread once again, as they were when my father was dying, and all the news was bad.

All we can do now, those of us who can't fill our hearts with hatred, is to live, and live in a way which shows we will never surrender to hatred. We cannot let fear win, and we need to reach out our hands to all those who will be left out of the new definition of what makes America great.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Crisped + Sere (Immemorial Year, #2)Crisped + Sere by T.J. Klune
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crisped + Sere picks up where Withered + Sere left us, and I was immediately swept back into the bleak and terrible world Cavalo and Lucas inhabit. In twenty-one days, the leader of the Dead Rabbits, Patrick, will return for Lucas, and Cavalo has choices to make.

These characters are complex, and hurt, and yet even in their broken state, they have a powerful beauty. Their imperfections keep them human in a setting where it is all too easy to lose sight of one's humanity, as the Dead Rabbits have done. Even Patrick, nemesis and villain, has moments of clarity, when his humanity surfaces. It only magnifies his darkness, but it also makes him believable. The relationship between Cavalo and Lucas isn't tender, but it is love, as close to it as either of them could bear, anyway, and perhaps it's even redemption. I want to think so, for their sake.

I am in awe of the skill with which TJ Klune portrays this world, and its flawed, magnificent inhabitants. These are books I will read again, and I know I will find new things each time I do so. I recommend this book, and the prior book, without reservation.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Withered + Sere (Immemorial Year, #1)Withered + Sere by T.J. Klune
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not at all adverse to reading dark things, but very few authors have been able to hold my attention the way TJ Klune did in this book. It's not terribly long, but it's so powerful, I'm not sure I could have borne it were it longer.

The characters are all damaged--Cavalo, BadDog, SIRS, and the young Dead Rabbit, Lucas. There is a bitter, biting wit in how they all see their damage: bees and breaking rubber bands. Love is a luxury, and emotions are as dark as the world they inhabit, a world where hope and any notion of a future are faint recollections of a fabled Before.

This is not a love story. It is not a romance. It is not even remotely uplifting. But it is powerful, captivating, and ultimately unforgettable.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Heart of the ForestHeart of the Forest by Christina Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had the pleasure of seeing this book in its infancy, so to speak, before the manuscript was submitted, and it's a tremendously engaging read. How could I not rush to buy it once it was published?

Valentina, the narrator, is a strong woman, intelligent and resourceful, and her courage is what makes this story resonate. She doesn't need to be rescued, not really. She's fierce, and I fell in love with her indomitable spirit. Aneurin, the elf she heals, and falls in love with, is far more than he appears, as is his brother, Yorwrath, an elf as fierce as Valentina, and as unforgiving.

The story has many twists and turns, and each one takes you deeper into what is an impeccably drawn world of elves and men, dwarves and dragons, and magic both dark and light. Nothing should be taken for granted, and the shadows hold many things.

Ms. Quinn made me laugh, made me curse, and broke my heart in this first novel of what is proving to be a trilogy I will never forget. I'm in love with her characters, and this subtle, powerful world of hers.

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