Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"It's 8:35 pm on Xmas Eve and our cards are still unopened on the counter. Oops. So please visit for an interim virtual one.

Have a merry, happy, healthy and safe holiday!

Friday, December 05, 2008


Not much going on... yet. Holiday Chaos looms just around the corner, I'm sure. For now, The Husband () and I are trying to remain calm. One fun thing we're doing is participating in a Sierra Vista Chili Cook-Off tomorrow, as judges. Hey, they tell us to show up, we don't have to bring or sell any books, we don't have to dress up, and they feed us samples of about twenty different homemade chili? For free? Sounds like a plan to me! If you're local, this fab event takes place in the K-Mart parking lot at 3:00 p.m. (Yes, I know how small-town that sounds. It's cool.) After the cook-off comes the Holiday Parade, which starts at 5:30. That may be when the Chaos actually starts. I'm not sure.

If you're looking for an affordable copy of AfterAge, the paperback version is on eBay here: For the very reasonable total of $4.99 you get my firstborn vampire novel. Price includes shipping, by the way. I don't know the seller but that sounds like a deal to me. It's nearing the end of its auction time (I kept meaning to get it up here, but y'all know how that goes.)

Awhile back I did an interview via email with a guy named Nicolas Fleurier from a French magazine called Neverland - Revue sur les produits derives et la culture populaire. Even I can figure out what that says. We talked at length about Species and Species II, and I even got my color picture in there. Pretty fun.

We took the dogs to the Mall on Pet Night and got their picture taken with Santa. Goblin sat on the chair next to him, while Ghost settled at his feet. Alas, Santa looks pretty darned terrified in the photograph. "Sure, boss. I can do pet night. How bad can it be?"

And for the first time in years, I have a new cell phone. It's pink. Very girly.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post Turkey and General Ketchup... er, Catch-Up

The cooking/cleaning/scramble is finished. What we had:

Turkey (we found a fabulous recipe several years ago that allows us to cook a 19 pound turkey in 3 hours (yes, 3) and come out just fab)
Ham topped with Cherries (by the MIL, who does it most excellently)
Artichoke & Parmesan dressing
Pumpernickel & turnip dressing
Gluten-free dressing for Alex
Cherry Tomato-Lemon salad
Mashed 'taters made with buttermilk
Brussel sprouts w/toasted pecans
Cranberry celebration (fancy cranberry sauce a la Fry's Food Store, only thing store-bought)
Deviled Eggs (my famous recipe)
Celery stuffed with Pimento Cheese
Sliced French Bread (whoops -- that was another store-bought [bakery] item)
Gluten-free pumpkin pie for Alex
Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie (came out better than I expected)
Cranberry Walnut Cake

We were, and are, very grateful for the lives we lead and the good company of family and friends. In addition to all that goodness, we stuck a single candle in the cake and sang Happy (79th) Birthday to my Dad.

I have, for the most part, caught up on the huge backload of work dumped on me last June at the office. Hopefully things go back into the realm of I-can-breathe again, and I'll have time to, say, work out once in awhile (thereby feeling better physically), use other lunchtimes to work on personal writing, etc. projects, and come home on time for a change. Coming home on time will mean I will ultimately be able to keep caught up here and get back on track with HIGHBORN, which has progressed a bit but not at the pace I want it to. I would like to have the first draft of it finished by the end of the year. That's my Big Goal.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Disabled Fan Selling Buffy Collector's Items

Hi folks. These are not my items and I do not know the person involved, but this situation was passed along to me by major Buffy fan Tim Cox, who runs a number of Buffy-related sites. I'm late in posting this, so most of the auctions end tomorrow. If you think there's something in which you might be interested, I strongly suggest you take a look right away. If you have fans in your life, there are some potentially great holiday gifts here. If you have people in your life who might buy you holiday gifts... there are some potentially great holiday gifts here! ::grin::

The auctions are on eBay at

Disabled Whedon Fan forced to put her "Life" on Ebay. Some very rare items, including a Swiss Army Watch that Joss gave to BtVS crew at the Wrap Party and a number of signed items!

Ebay links are in the article link. The items are linked in the following order:

BtVS Swiss Army Wrap Party Crew Watch

BtVS Slideshow Limited Edition 12-inch The Master

Angel Time & Space Exclusive House Always Wins Lorne

(not Whedon) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (rare cover I think)

Angel Smile Time Prop Replica Vampire Puppet

Essence of Spike Statue, Limited Edition!!!

BtVS Gem of Amara Ring

Time & Space Toys Angel issue 3 Signed Exclusive Cover! Signed by Artists Franco Urro and Stephen Mooney!

Serenity Issue #1 Signed by Nathan Fillion!!

(non-Whedon) Used Flute

Feigenbaum the Bunny Plush Prop Replica from Angel

(non-Whedon) Harry Potter 1-7 Boxed Set

(non-Whedon) 100th Anniversary Teddy Roosevelt Teddy Bear with Book

BtVS Summers' Family Album with all 3 figures!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


And at page 296 of HIGHBORN, I present you with:

(Nope, I am not kidding.)

Thank You... all the men and women of this great country who have served in the armed forces. Thank you for laying your lives on the line for me, and for fighting for and keeping my freedom, and all the wonderful and precious things that go with it. Our country may not be perfect-- whose is?-- but it tries, and I believe that it's the best in the world. I am a woman and I have the right to walk down the street without fear. I have the right to vote. I have the right to publicly express my opinion, even if it differs from the people who actually run my country... and I can do so without getting arrested, tortured or shot. If I fall on hard times, my country's social services will at least try to take care of me. Those are just a fraction of the privileges and freedoms I have.

To all the brave soldiers, male and female, who have fought and been injured or fought and died on my behalf, to my relatives, to my friends, to my Dad, and to The Husband ()-- to all of you who have served in the military to keep me free, I love you and I appreciate you and I thank you with everything I have. This is your day to be appreciated, and you rock!


Thursday, November 06, 2008

TusCon Tomorrow!

The Husband () and I are TusCon bound tomorrow, and as usual, I'm overrun with things to do and posting my schedule late late late. We'll have a Dusty Stacks table in the dealers' room, with the equivalent of a fire sale-- it's time to sell off as much of the books and figurines inventory as possible. I have too much going on ethics-wise to join the ranks of the Internet "booksellers" on eBay, Abebooks, and the like. You know the ones-- they aren't legit booksellers, but people who sell "guaranteed" books for one cent (yes, ONE CENT), or even a quarter, and then charge $6.95 or $8.95 for shipping and handling. If you don't like your book, which may very well arrive bent, moldy, ripped, waterstained or worse, they'll be happy to refund your quarter, but S&H charges aren't refundable. Anyway, I can't compete (and the darned postage is no longer affordable anyway) and what the heck-- we're moving toward downsizing anyway. So look for $1.00 hardbacks, $3.00 signed books, fifty cent paperbacks, $1.00 DVDs, $2.00 t-shirts, and cut-rate prices on the figurines. The holiday season is coming and there's some stuff here that would make great gifts.

My TusCon Schedule:


5:00 - What is urban fantasy today? Where did it start? How has
it evolved? Panel Participants: Pamela Lloyd, Jill Knowles, Yvonne Navarro, Lee Simner

7:00 - Meet the Guests


8:00 - Blurring Genre lines - Is it mystery? Horror? Romance? Historical fiction? Suspense? What are readers (and editors) looking for in each? If you read it, where do you find it, and if you write it, how do you sell it? Panel Participants: Ed Bryant, Will Shetterly, Dennis
McKiernan, Yvonne Navarro


12:00 - Story vs. Craft - what's most important? And what the hell is Voice? Panel Participants: Emma Bull, Dennis McKiernan, Yvonne Navarro, Lee Simner

I have to caveat that 5:00 Friday panel -- I'm not sure I'll make it. The teenager doesn't get out of school until 2:30, and we may not be able to leave the house TusCon-bound until 3:30 or 4:00. Alas it's 80 miles away, so only if we had wings. My fault -- I did not take into account a school day; at the time, we weren't sure she was coming along. Anyway, hope to see everyone there!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



Von's Last Thoughts for Those Who Have Not Voted Yet Today

First and foremost, the following is my opinion. I have the right to express it, and I will. This is the United States of America and a lot of brave soldiers have died over many, many centuries so that I, and others, can have this right. I work for the government, I work on an Army Post, and I see soldiers every day who are still willing to do just that. Voting is not a duty. It is not even a right -- at least to my mind. It is a PRIVILEGE. Use it to have a say in your future, and in the future of those who can't vote for themselves -- your children, the elderly, and others.

Those of you who read my journal know my opinion of John McCain. If not, please take a moment to read it
here. I believe to my soul that a man who can justify to himself and to the public that it is fair and right to impose inequality on one group of people for ANY reason, be it gender, race, religion, relationship preference, age or whatEVER, will never think twice about doing the same thing to all other groups of peoples he considers to be, for reasons he will keep only to himself, lesser than him. To put it bluntly, and repeat myself in simpler terms, if John McCain believes women are not equal to men, then subconsciously he is just as biased about about other groups. He will never admit this publicly because it would be political suicide. Inequality is inequality, in ANY form.

If you have not yet voted, I beg you to get out there and exercise your privilege. I hope you will do it wisely. I hope you will vote for fairness and equality and change, and help move this country into a new, positive and prosperous era.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Message for all my Sisters in the United States of America

A few weeks ago I received an email about women and voting. After some thought, I've taken that email and modified it to reflect my own thoughts. Read the following, please. It is a bit different from the email making the rounds.

These few paragraphs retell a story about our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. The women of which I speak were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.

Forty prison guards wielding clubs and with their warden's blessing went on a rampage against 33 women convicted, for lack of a better charge, of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women. Realistically, it's not hard to imagine the things that were left unsaid in those same affidavits.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on November 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food-- all of it colorless slop-- was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, tell me again, why some women won't vote this year. Because we have car pool duties? We have to get to work? Our lunch hour isn't long enough and we have other errands to run? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

If you get the chance, watch HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that each and every woman in America can pull the curtain at the polling booth and have her say. Listen as Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she
could be permanently institutionalized. And be inspired when the doctor refuses. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy. "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity," said the doctor. Do we need this film to remind us of the value of voting? Of the cost? Sadly, yes.

Don't ever let the act of voting become something impersonal, something you take for granted. It is not an obligation. It is a privilege. Treat it like one. Treasure the fact that you can vote, revel in your American freedom. 91 years ago, the women in the United States did not have that right, and now we do. When you assume this is the way it should be, or when you think that taking the time to vote is inconvenient, look at the women today, right NOW, in the Middle Eastern countries, in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. Then look at us. Be grateful, and use that right well.

Do not make what our foremothers suffered be in vain. Honor them, honor yourselves, and honor your daughters by going out next Tuesday and casting your vote. Because while this is, indeed, the story of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, ultimately, this is the story of US.

Both photographs courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The first photo is of Alice Paul, circa 1901. The second is of Lucy Burns during her imprisonment in the Occoquan Workhouse, November 1917.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Things Humanity does to Humanity

This found its way into my email this morning, and it is not an Internet Rumor. Those in the comics industry may recognize Michelle's name.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Please Help a Mother Recover Her Child's Body

This is no internet rumor. I know the people involved, and the tragedy is real.

There is a paypal account near the bottom for donations.

Please pass this along to those who might care to help.

Thanks for reading.

-- Steve Sullivan


To our friends --

Please pass this around and help if you can --

Our closest friends have heard of MICHELLE CALANOG PRINCIPE.

But you haven't heard the rest of it:

Michelle works in the comics industry abroad and is quite involved in many of the comics being published. She manages Glass House Graphics Asia and Studio Sakka, a creative agency and manga studio, respectively, coaching and guiding dozens of artists and colorists across the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, and even India. What's more, she oversees bunches of free seminars each year, bringing in experienced talent to teach hopeful young artsts about the comics biz.

Among her talent roster: Bong (Star Wars) Dazo; Carlo (Hulk) Pagulayan; Stephen (Wolverine: Manifest Destiny) Segovia; Lui (New Terminator) Antonio; Noah (Red Sonja) Salonga; Patrick (Avengers/Invaders) Berkenkotter; Harvey (Avengers: The Initiative) Tolibao; Jonathan (Battlestar Galactica) Lau; Anthony (Bratz) Tan; Wilson (Wolverine Manga) Tortosa, Tina (Space Ace) Francisco, and plenty of colorists for Marvel, Dark Horse, Dynamite, Dabel Bros., and so on.

She's also been a comic book character. Michelle is the sister of Jinky Coronado (artist of TokyoPop's Avalon High series and writer/artist of her own series Banzai Girls). Michelle has been a character in every issue of Jinky's comic book. And the two of them even appeared together in FHM Philippines. So Michelle's overall ties to the comics industry go pretty deep.

Married at the beginning of the year to her college sweetheart Rhene Principe, Michelle had a baby exactly one month ago. That should be cause for celebration, and it was. But within 12 hours of taking home newborn Reinee, Michelle found him not feeding and unresponsive. Back at the hospital, doctors discovered what they thought were blood clots in his brain. A catscan and surgery further revealed them to be inoperable deposits of calcification in his brain. Soon they also learned the baby had multiple hernias -- intestines pushing through muscle walls -- and areas of bowel that were not processing food. Young Reinee went through four weeks of painful surgeries, spending nearly every day in ICU.

Born September 26, 2008, Reinee Jaden Principe died today, October 26, 2008. But every mother's worst nightmare HASN'T ENDED.

Although Michelle and her husband emptied their savings account on hospital expenses, and Glass House's head honcho David Campiti and Jinky Coronado (they are married) have each donated thousands of dollars toward Reinee's medical expenses, the hospital wlll not release Reinee's body to Michelle for burial until she pays the remaining $9,000.00+ in medical costs.

What's more, they now have funeral expenses to worry about.

Jinky is trying to help her sister to raise the remaining money. Help from anyone -- a dime, a dollar, $10, whatever -- is greatly needed in a hurry, and appreciated. Michelle and Rhene need to bring some closure to their heartbreaking situation and, literally, put him to rest.

She has set up a PayPal donation Email specifically for this --

For any generous individuals donating $1,000.00 or more, Jinky will illustrate and personalize a custom cover-quality illustration of whatever characters they want.

Your help for Michelle and her family is appreciated.

-- David

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yesterday book signing went well. Two people from where I work dropped by, Dad, the in-laws, and friend Jen. The Husband (Weston Ochse) had a lot of friends and coworkers come by and sold a number of books. Always a good thing as it makes the bookstore want to bring him back. They didn't get any of my books in, so I brought my own and, a bit to their chagrin, sold them myself after getting the mall manager's permission. Sold 10 or 12, so it was worthwhile. The store manager (who wasn't there yesterday) is talking about a multi-author signing on the day after Thanksgiving, which is a huge shopping day. We think that's a great idea. We'll see if it pans out.

Something I got from quietspaces's LJ and thought was fun:

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


41% Logical, 45% Spatial, 51% Linguistic, 31% Intrapersonal, 14% Interpersonal, 6%
Musical, 25% Bodily-Kinesthetic and 31% Naturalistic!

"Verbal-linguistic intelligence has to do with words, spoken or written. People with verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are
typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and via discussion and debate. They are
also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and
recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, politicians and
teachers." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test

Personal Comment:

I just have to point that people with good memories are cursed, because when they remind people of stuff, they get labeled as nags, and that really bites.

Goblin is in kind of a kissy mood today. Who stole my grumpy old Great Dane? :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book Signing Today!

The Husband (Weston Ochse) and I will be doing a book signing today at The Mall in Sierra Vista on Highway 92. The fun starts at 1:00 p.m. and continues until 4:00 p.m., hosted by the B. Dalton Bookstore. We'll have books, personality (at least some people claim we do), and Smarties to entice people to stop at the table.

Anyone reading this thing???

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Progress...

Not as much as I'd hoped to get done, but it's moving along.

By the way, on this day in 1992, my then-agent sold my first novel. Boy, where did the last 16 years go??!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Harry Fassl, RIP

I just got word that my old friend from Chicago, Harry Fassl, died on Sunday morning. Harry was an artist-photographer, and one of the most interesting and intelligent people you could ever hope to meet. Years ago, when playing around with a new recording capability on his computer, Harry sent me a tiny .wav file. Ever since then, literally, it's Harry's voice that says "Hello, Von!" every time I get a new email.

Gosh, I'm just so sad. Sleep well, Harry. We'll miss you terribly.

Harry Fassl -- Both photos from 1993.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Yes, I am again UNSUPERVISED. I have sent The Husband and The Teenager to Mexico with The Nephew and The In-Laws. It's just me, the dawgs, and HIGHBORN. Monday is a work holiday, and I've added two days of leave to it to make a nice, uninterrupted 4-day weekend.

But I shall not rest.

HIGHBORN awaits. And I will make a huge jump ahead in this novel.

The count, as of this morning:

Here goes!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why I Love Great Danes

Danes Online

An especially good month. Click on the above link only if you want to smile for a little while, no downloading required.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

News and Random Bits O'Stuff

Gonna hit the keyboard hard here, but first a few things to pass along:

After a long time of self-imposed abstinence, I have a new agent. This of course makes me feel all recharged and revved up, so I'm pounding along on my big novel project, HIGHBORN. Keep an eye here for word count/progress reports.

"Revelation" is still up at Horror World (, through the end of the month. Comments?

Look for my story, "Last Storm of the Season," in the erotic Lovestrology anthology. Lovestrology is scheduled to be released January 1st on the Ravenous Romance website (

I'm excited to announce that Bad Moon Books ( is bringing back FINAL IMPACT and RED SHADOWS. Each book will come out in limited edition hardcover in 2010 (one early, one mid-year), and each will have a brand new story in that book's universe to go with it. Then, in late 2010, Bad Moon Books will release a very limited lettered edition of *both* books, this time with a "bridge" story, one that takes place somewhere between the end of FINAL IMPACT and the beginning of RED SHADOWS. More info on that as we go along.

Occasionally I send out a newsletter. Okay, VERY occasionally. If you'd like to subscribe, go to

The Save Our Planet Random Bits O'Stuff:

Just a few suggestions. If each of us does one small thing, it turns into a big good thing: - 60 seconds to sign up, and say goodbye to hordes of tree-killing junk mail that you always throw out anyway. And once you're signed up, it takes literally 3 seconds to find and opt out of new cataloges that show up in your mailbox: -- Sign the petition to stop the junk mail before it starts. This one will cover all the in-envelope paper spam. How many times a week can companies like Physicians Mutual ask you to buy [more... and more] insurance, anyway? - Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash - Winner of Los Angeles Magazine's Best of 2008 Best Green Car Wash. Okay, I haven't tried it... but I'm going to. I live in Arizona. It takes 116 gallons of water to hand-wash a car. A 32-ounce bottle of Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash will do it 7 to 10 times. Yes, I can do math.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


revelation -- noun: ...something that is revealed;
especially : an enlightening or astonishing
disclosure revelations (from

Curious? Then, please, read all about it on, where my story, "Revelation," will be available for free during the month of September. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Creature Capturing

The monsoons are, I hope, FINALLY on their way out here in southeastern Arizona. This is the longest monsoon season we've had since I've been living here-- it's rained almost every day since the beginning of July. The weeds are crazy, the bugs are crazy, I'm covered in mosquito bites. Every freakin' creature around here is growing to gargantuan size, dogs excluded because I very carefully watch their diets. Creepy crawlies are trying to creepy crawlie into my house at every opportunity. Moths, flies, mosquitoes, butt-bugs (black beetles that walk with their hineys in the air -- I have no idea what they really are but I can't resist playing with them), grasshoppers, even a frackin' SIX-INCH LONG DESERT CENTIPEDE (yes, the kind that BITE). I caught that one after yanking Ghost away from it; she was a quarter inch away from getting an extremely painful bite on the tender pink nose. And, of course, spiders:

This baby -- a fully mature Huntsman Spider -- was relaxing on the wall above the doorway to my office. He was almost as big around as my palm. If you look carefully, you have to wonder if he doesn't have ten legs rather than eight, with those extra two ending in nice, big boxing gloves. Turns out those are, um, "man parts." If you're feeling particularly peeping-tom-ish, click on the photo a couple of times for a REAL close-up.

I had quite a time identifying this big guy, but thanks to, I now feel informed. Uglyoverload is a must-visit site, by the way. Great creepy-crawlies and zippy writing by the owner, Justin Lindsay, make my daily visit there something to which I always look forward. Yes, dambit, I'm being grammatically correct. One of these days, I'll upload more pics of the fabulous critters I've been capturing and playing with, including several snakes. Arizona is endlessly entertaining. :-)=

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Zipping Along at the Speed of Summer...

Wow, look at that-- nearly a month since I posted. On July 25th I posted on my LJ about how sick Ghost was. Ghost is now, thankfully, just fine... now. She really had us scared. It started with a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, which itself was a pretty horrendous thing with a not-so-good future. For right now, we would go with joint supplements and anti-inflammatories without steroids, since giving her steroids for her skin problems in the past is what made her so chubby. She had a severe reaction to the prescription stuff, and more than a few times, we actually thought we were going to lose her. Everything coming out of her was (gross warning here) projectile water, blood and bile, from both ends. She stopped eating. Stopped. She ALWAYS eats. At one point I was sitting at the top of the stairs and scrubbing at a stain in one of the very same spots that Lily got sick in the night before she died, and I could feel myself sliding toward losing it. $400 worth of meds and multiple vet visits and x-rays later, she finally started to get better... and Goblin got sick. Not nearly as bad, though, and what we think happened was that a stomach bacteria moved in on Ghost when she was at her weakest, and that's what Goblin came down with. A couple of days of the same anti-dia. and antibiotic meds and he was all better, at about the same time she was finally done with being sick. Kudos to my Dad for daily babysitting from two to eights hours each for five days in a row. All in all it was an $870.00 nightmare. Now, thankfully, it's like it never happened (well, except for the vet bill) and even Ghost's hip seems a bit better. Once her system settled down, we were able to start giving her the joint supplements again, she's lost a little weight (which is easier on her body), and she's limping less. ::whew::

Not much else to report. Work is a bear. I'm waiting for word on HIGHBORN, which has been sent out in the world in proposal and sample chapter form. I'm working on a short story for an anthology which has to be finished by the end of the month. We're breaking our backs landscaping-- spiffying up the front a little with some accent rock and trying to finally finish the backyard. We're going to be renovating a bit around here, and to that end we bought a bunch of new stuff to replace outdated old stuff. The day job is non-stop, no-time-to-breathe work and I haven't been to the gym in weeks. We're trying valiantly to clean out stuff from the closets and garages, but alas, we get sidetracked so very easily. The monsoons are (I hope) finally coming to an end, having gleefully saturated the ground so that the weeds have grown up to six feet tall in some parts of the property (yes, I said SIX FEET). We've started on the cleanup but there's a whooooole bunch more to do. And here we're only two weeks away from September!


Friday, June 20, 2008


Happy birthday to Weston The Husband (Weston Ochse), who turns...


Should I lie?

Should I make myself look good by saying he's younger than me and I cradle-robbed? Should I tell everyone we should all celebrate that he has lived to see yet another birthday despite his wild ride through the Army and his adventures thereafter?

Should I tell them about the time a tribal chief in another country once offered him a woman as a gift and all he could think about was (because the Army won't let you have any gift worth over something like $65) ...

"Is she worth $65?"

And then, because anything over $65 has to go in a warehouse:

"If she's worth more than $65, will she be okay in the warehouse?"

Oh, the options of story telling do abound.

::hee hee::

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I have been working pretty hard on HIGHBORN for the past month. Most of that has not been on new writing, but on completing the outline. This was needed both for me-- I knew where I wanted the novel to go but I needed a sense of how it was going to get there-- and for an agent I'm hoping will take me on. So over last weekend, I finished the detailed outline, polished the first 60 pages of HIGHBORN to the highest shine I could, and finalized two one-page pitches for what could be books 2 and 3 if this was to be considered for a series. It all went out on Monday, said agent received it on Wednesday, and now we wait. My fingers are so tightly crossed they look like pretzels. I've brought the goal number down to something a little more realistic; anything above 100,000 is cream. Here's the progress meter:

On the not-good-news side, cancer has poked its despicable head out again. A couple of years ago a former coworker got married, had a baby and moved to the east coast. Yesterday I found out that the two-year-old baby, Jaina, was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor on her kidney. The tumor (a 2-pounder) has been removed and was a stage I malignancy; Jaina now faces 19 weeks of chemotherapy. She's in her first week, so even though you may not know this little girl, please keep her in your thoughts. By the way, it's not too late to add to the donation pool on my ACS page, which still exists here:

Here's wishing everyone a great weekend and a fabulous Memorial Day. RIP to all the great men and women of the U.S. who have fought and died so that we can have the liberties and life we have today. We salute you, honor you, thank you, and remember you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Middle of the Night Walk Report

So it was actually kind of fun, although I was rather taken aback by the poop-out-ness of my team mates. MK, who talked me into this to begin with, got up out of his lawn chair and walked with me for about 20 minutes, then bombed out and went home. EE walked with me for about a half hour after that, then collapsed with her husband and twins in an RV. Incredibly, I was actually kind of energized, so I walked the rest of it by myself, be-booping around the track and singing along with the music coming out of the Kareoke (I have no idea how to spell that) machine on the stage... and doing a better job matching the words than the teenagers there, if I do say so myself. I said I'd do two hours, and by gawds, that's what I did. I took a 5 minute break to eat potato chips (for some reason I got ravenously hungry at about 4:10 a.m.) and let myself go home when I saw the sun come up at 5 a.m.

I managed to raise $370.00 for the American Cancer Society. Thank you to all my wonderful contributors-- you know who you are. Also thank you to all the wonderful people who donated on your own, bought luminaries, or donate a few dollars throughout the year. It all counts, and you all rock.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Last Chance !!!

Yes, I am repeating myself: In only a few hours, I will get my sorry buns up in the middle of the night (2:30 ayam, to be exact) and go walk around Veterans' Memorial Park for two hours as part of the American Cancer Society Relay. If you can spare even a dollar or two, please sponsor me on my ACS Relay Page. Every dollar helps to fund research to conquer the cancer demon that wants to be in all of us. Thanks!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Very important Thing: Cancer

In a bit under a week, on May 9th (technically May 10th, but let's not get lost in the details), I'm going to get up at 2:30 in the morning, go to the center of my little town, and walk with a bunch of other people as part of the American Cancer Society Relay.  I can't think of anyone who hasn't been touched by cancer, either by personal experience with the disease or by losing someone who has.  Over the course of my life, cancer has taken my Uncle Garlon, my LJ friend Richard, acquaintances Al and Cookie VanderSluis (husband and wife, who died from different types of cancer only a few years apart), and my very good friend from Rudnick & Wolfe, Dorothy Harrington.  My grandmother fought off cervical cancer before chemo was ever invented, and here and there in my family tree the disease pops its despicable head up before being, thankfully, beat down.  My beloved Chanci, a Great Dane/Lab mix I had for 10 years, succumbed in 1991, after being whittled down in a single month to little more than a bag of bones that I had to carry up and down the stairs.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that we are constantly searching for and finding ways to combat all the forms of this horrible disease, and we will not stop.  Not now.  Not tomorrow.  Not ever.  So if you can spare a few dollars-- literally, ANY amount-- please sponsor me on my ACS Relay Page here:

Thank you... and thank you, again, to the people who have already been so generous!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"The Fifth Season"

Walk with me a little while.

We will walk together in Spring, with new life bursting around us.

Summertime, side by side we will lie in the sun together, our hearts warm with the good company of best friends.

We will traverse fields in Autumn, with golden leaves soft under our feet, brisk wind at our backs.

Winter brings us to the cozy hearth, dozing by the fire, flickers of embers reflected in our eyes.

There is a fifth season, unnamed, unfathomable, when the leash must be hung on the wall, no longer making the visible connection we have to one another.

Yet the invisible one remains.

Always I will be a part of you as you are of me.

My friend, my heart, my Great Dane.

Author Unknown*

*If you know, tell me
so I can credit.

January 14, 2003 - May 1, 2006

Sleep well, my sweet Lily.
We still miss you so.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fair is Good, but only for SOME People...

Equal Pay for Equal Work. It's Only Fair...?

On Wednesday, April 23rd, the Senate failed to pass the Fair Pay Act. What was almost worse than that defeat were the out-of-touch, old-fashioned-- and downright insulting-- statements about women. Senator John McCain (come ON, Arizona!), who didn’t even come to vote, said that instead of legislation allowing women to fight for equal pay, they simply need "education and training."

Lilly Ledbetter, whose Supreme Court case led to the creation of the Fair Pay Act, didn't need "training". She needed Fair Pay. Women today make up 56% of college graduates and nearly half of the labor force in this country. Yet women make only 73 cents to a man's dollar, and mothers only make 60 cents, for the exact same job.

Sign the petition below in support of the Fair Pay Act. And for good measure, send Senator McCain your resume. Our goal is to send him 100,000. Think he'll get the point?

We Need Equal Pay for Equal Work--it is good law, make it enforceable.

The above is taken almost word for word from a Fair Pay Act website. What you'll read below, what I HOPE you read below, are my words, my story. An absolute, God's truth slice of my past:

When I was 18, I worked for a real estate firm in Chicago called Frank M. Whiston & Co. I was an accounting clerk, and I made $380.00 per month, BEFORE taxes. For this $380.00 per month, I opened, counted, and reconciled rent checks from various Chicago properties. Eight feet away from me sat a young man about the same age, and his name was Ray. He did the exact same job that I did. And for this job, Ray made $500.00 per month. He was single, so having a "family" wasn't even a flimsy excuse. He made more than me because he was a man. Period. And while I always found myself borrowing a few bucks from my coworkers every week so I could buy cigarettes (I was a smoker back then), the amount that Ray made more than me each and every month would have literally paid my entire rent.

That was in 1975. Come on, people of America. I really thought we were past that sh*t by now.

But thank you John McCain, who has informed me in no uncertain terms that I do not need equal pay for equal work. I need education and training. May I take this to mean I need more education and training than my male counterparts to do the same job so that I can earn the same amount of money? Perhaps, then, my male counterparts would like to PAY for that education? If being a woman means I am not entitled to equal pay, then being a man should mean men pay more taxes. Pardon me, but both make the same damned amount of sense.

If you are a woman, please go to the link above and sign the petition. If you are a man, before you blow this off and forget it, think about the women in your life. Your mother, your wife, sister, your daughter-- all of these women whom you claim to care so much about will be faced with this. It affects the woman in the next cubicle who struggles to make daycare payments and can't afford family medical insurance. It affects the friend from work you have lunch with in the plaza-- you know, the gal who brings her lunch most of the time and who can't afford to go out to lunch while coworkers of a certain gender eat out 4 or 5 times a week. The world would be a better place and politicians like McCain might actually wake the frack up if their male counterparts added their voices to the "THIS IS NOT FAIR!" scream.

Read it for yourselves:

What is the Fair Pay Act?

Republicans Defeat Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

McCain dismisses equal pay legislation, says women need more ‘training and education.’


Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Vote Fails In Senate: The Case For More And Better Democrats

McCain opposes equal pay bill in Senate

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Harlan Shows His Teeth...

Whether you love or hate Harlan Ellison, he is the defender of all writers:

One of the FAQs on my website addresses folks who write me and ask me to contribute stories for free or for a contributor's copy. Sometimes, when I say "No. No. And no." I'm called snobbish, or unappreciative of the "plight of new writers." That "plight" will never change if you write for free (and come on-- a freakin' penny [or less!] per word might as well be free), and those folks who call me those things tend to run out of responses when I ask them if the grocery store will take that contributor's copy and give me a loaf of bread, or if I can mail that contributor's copy to the electric company to cover my monthly bill.

Yeah. Go Harlan.

(Thanks to my friend, Shira, on whose Blog I found the video.)

Friday, April 11, 2008


Yes, that's me, coming up for air... or at least catch-up. During my last news report (::ahem::), I was caught up in a myriad of WHC rescheduling. Our trip out there was loads of fun and activity-- more panels than I've been on in quite some time, plus the mass autograph signing and a reading. Busy busy busy. I unveiled a 1/2 hour chunk of HIGHBORN to about fifteen people during my reading slot (and I was really flattered that Melanie Tem, who is an absolutely fantastic writer, attended). There were parties and for a change I tried to socialize instead of being the early-to-bed petite desert flower that I am. Okay, I still couldn't keep up with The Husband ( ) but I managed to be a bit more social than at previous cons. While we've resisted for awhile, both The Husband and I seemed to cave this time and we really bought a lot of books. And when I got home, I'd finally had enough of the tired eyes, etc., and I went to the eye doctor, so now I'm eagerly awaiting a regular pair of everyday glasses, and an extra reading-only pair. I'm longing for the days of my teenagehood, where I'd sit down with a book on Friday evening and by Sunday night, I'd finished it... plus two more. At present I'm good for fifteen minutes at most.

Goblin and The Ghost are okay, Poe is fine. Weather is cold at night and chilly yesterday, but finally breaking. Festival of the Southwest tomorrow at the park, we'll be there with bells on. No movement on the job front, but hopes springs infernal and all that stuff. Writing goes slow but I feel inspired, this despite a little disappointment from a package I sent out. Such is life.

Rather than ramble on, I'll keep this reasonably short and end it by saying that The Husband has come up with the absolute bomb of a book trailer for Scarecrow Gods. Turn up the volume and check it out!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Of Course!

I put all the WHC2008 panel stuff on LJ, FB, MS and my Blog.

Then they changed the time for one of the panels.
3/29 (Saturday) - NOW 9:00 - 9::50 a.m.: Pacing is everything. Do you have ups and downs? One long, slow climb? How do you pace your story for maximum impact? (panel participant) (And no, I have no idea why the world is so cruel as to make me be on a panel at 9 on a Saturday morning. Gah.)
And I forgot to list my reading slot.
3/28 (Friday) - 1:30 p.m.: 1/2 hour Reading. I think I'll finally give the world a sneak peak at HIGHBORN. By the way, The Husband () is reading immediately afterward, at 2:00 p.m.
And I forgot to tell everyone about the fun Interview I had with a Transylvania journalist, which is now posted online. The newspaper is the Transilvania Expres, and Yours Truly is grinning at the Romanian world via a shot from, yes, last year's World Horror Con. No, I have no clue what it says. I can recognize a few words, like vampire, creature, and Buffy. Beyond that...

(please please don't let me remember something else the instant I hit "post")

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What's up at World Horror - Salt Lake City - 3/27 - 30/08

WHC2008 fast approaches. Here’s where I’ll be -- catch me if you can!

  • 3/27 (Thursday) - 9:00 to 9:50 p.m.: What is it about folklore that touches our psyche? (panel participant)
  • 3/28 (Friday) - 11:00 - 11:50 a.m.: How (and why) to write romance into your horror. (panel participant)
  • 3/28 (Friday) - 8:00 - 9:50 p.m.: Mass Autograph Signing
  • 3/29 (Saturday) - 10:00 - 10:50 a.m.: Pacing is everything. Do you have ups and downs? One long, slow climb? How do you pace your story for maximum impact? (panel participant)
  • 3/29 (Saturday) - 7:30 - 10:30 p.m.: HWA Stoker Banquet and Awards Presentation (presenter - Superior Achievement in an Anthology)
  • 3/30 (Sunday) - 11:00 - 11:50 a.m.: Supporting a Writer. Spouses of writers have a very unique challenge. How do you support a writer financially and emotionally? (panel participant)

    Despite what appears to be a rapid-fire schedule, I’m very much looking forward to this trip and leaving the mounting stress of daily life behind. See you all there!

  • Monday, March 17, 2008

    Yikes -- Who Stole My Month?!

    What the heck -- where did the end of February and most of March go?  Man, have we been horrifically busy.  Work, projects, visiting relatives, you name it.  Some fun times, some not so fun-- that's life.  Among the highlights of this blur of a month was buying the very first brand new car I've ever owned, then, at mile 17 that I put on it (with a total of 43 miles on the odometer -- I hadn't even signed the freakin' papers yet) getting a written warning from a Highway Patrolman.  Unfortunately I was paying more attention to the whiz bangs in the new car -- mirror, radio, what's this button do?-- than my speed.  A week and a half later I was gifted with an extremely pricey (and annoying) speeding ticket, a real one, by a different Highway Patrolman.  Alas, I will be spending Easter Sunday morning in Defensive Driving School.  ::sigh::

    Find of the Month:  A German-made bookshelf unit in the Post Thrift Store, made of three sections of beautiful varnished knotty pine.  One of those sections is a curved corner unit.  I rearranged the other two sections a bit to fit my office and it's just fabulous. 

    My ancient cousin fell and broke her hip 2 days before I had her scheduled to go into assisted living.  She had surgery and went from the hospital straight into a nursing home and we had to empty out her apartment.  She was quite the pill for the first two weeks but is finally calming down, so we might be able to get her into assisted living after all.  For awhile she was so difficult that they wouldn't have accepted her.

    Goblin came through his surgery with all the grace of a drunken sailor.  My poor boy was on the table for quite a bit longer than anticipated, with the accompanying increase in anesthesia.  It seems the cyst was attached to some kind of larger mass underneath.  The vet speculated it might have been caused by an old injury.  (What old injury?  ::grrrr:: to his original owners...)  Anyway, they got it all, the biopsy came back negative, and my staggering little boy is now his old self but with a nice long scar from 14 (ow ow ow) stitches.

    Ghost is fine, cute as a button and my CuddleBug.  Poe is also fine.  She likes Daddy's nose.

    The Husband () and I will both be presenters at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, coming up in about two weeks.  We're also on a bunch of panels -- I have to get one of my rare Google Groups newsletters together.  If you aren't signed up and want to be, let me know.  I mean it when I say I send updates only rarely-- I've only sent one out so far.

    And finally, best for last:  I pulled out a long-ago novel proposal and reworked it from start to finish, then, because the old stuff just wasn't on the mark, hammered out 50 new pages of writing-- yes, NEW PAGES-- to start off the novel.  I did all this in 4 days.  For awhile, it felt like the old me, circa mid- to late-1990s, was back.  Said packet has been sent off to an agent and I am now typing with fingers and toes crossed.  Feel free to cross a few of yours on my behalf.

    It snowed here today.  Yes, we live in Arizona.  WTF???

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Fly By...

    That's what I think I'll call months from now on-- "Fly Bys." With everything that's going on, they all seem to do just that. We've had lots of stressful challenges lately, with car issues, school things, family matters, home repairs, job stuff. The cousin I moved up here in August is scheduled to go into assisted living on the first, which gives us 9 days to close up financial stuff and move her. She is not amenable to, well, anything, but it's really not safe for her to live by herself anymore. Nothing has changed about the job-- despite my best efforts to that end, and it's just more aggravating as days go by-- and precious little time has been devoted to writing, although I keep hoping. The universe has not particularly smiled upon us so far this year, but again, I remain ever hopeful. The wall is still not fixed, although someone finally came out today and looked at it. Faced with this 9 day thing, I can't help but see (again) that every time I seem to catch up on stuff to do and get free time within my grasp that I might devote to Highborn, something thunders in to snatch it away. My sweet Goblin also faces surgery a week from today to remove some skin tags and have a cyst on his side removed. Keep your fingers crossed about that one. He's been very apt to suddenly become scared of nothing lately, and I don't imagine being cut & sewn will help his trust issues.

    Weather seems to be trying to warm up and we're seeing some green in the yard. Okay, so they're weeds, but they are green.

    Friday, February 01, 2008

    In With the New...

    My sweet Goblin boy came in second place in the Danes Online contest (no sense posting the URL, since they don't keep the winning pictures up there -- so sad). He was ousted by a snowball-attacking Dane named Quake. Fine -- we moved to Arizona to get away from snow. So there. ::grin:: I will say, however, that for some reason January was a short month-- I check this site every day and posted news of the contest on LJ as soon as it came up, which wasn't until January 17th. Normally they change the photos on or very close to the first. So we wuz robbed. Robbed, I say!

    In other news, I have finally redesigned It's way past due, with the old one being full of JavaScript rollovers and eye-popping bright colors and banners and on and on. This time around I've gone for a clean, mostly black & white look. It's easy on the eyes, easy to navigate, and looks, I think, pretty sharp and professional. Most of the book pages and whatnot still have old design stuff on them-- I just wasn't willing to hold off the upload until I finished with every danged one of them. So if you run across pages with pupil-blistering purple or red backgrounds... oops. I'll get to them eventually. I also whacked out the photo pages in favor of a Flickr account, so many of the old photos are kaput. I'll upload some more of 'em to the Flickr page as I go along. I'm hoping to get some visitors here and there so that more than just my own lonely little location shows up on the ClustrMap, a thingy I stole from The Husband's website because, well, I thought it was cool.

    So... comments about the new website?

    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Vote for Goblin!

    Yes, it's true -- my sweet-grumpy ol' boy has got himself up on the voting page at Danes Online. Since it is the season of politics and such, and everyone is in such a voting mood (you are, aren't you?), won't you please please please vote for him HERE? I don't think there's any prize or such to be gained, but wouldn't it just be the greatest boost to Mr. Laid-Back to be voted the cutest?

    Sadly, only one vote per ISP address. We needs all the helps you can give -- it seems Dane Quake has lots of friends! And besides, you gotta love that Goblin upside down smile!

    Saturday, January 12, 2008


    Yes! The first post on Blogger! Actually, I've had this for a loooong time but never posted to it. As part of the New And Improved Me, I'm desperately going to try to remember to post in all the places I'm supposed to, all of the time. Hey, I'm trying.


    Okay, so I haven't managed that one hour a day thing, but I did manage an almost all day writing stint today. That pile-o-hours got me 6 pages, and it's been since October that I wrote more than 2 or 3 pages at a time, so I'm pretty pleased. The story is finally starting to move on its on, the characters are starting to think outside my box, and I think I mentioned before that I've finally decided on HIGHBORN as the title. Sweet.

    Here, at last, is a current word count, which is pretty good improvement over the last posting of 22,457:

    Lots going on. Tomorrow we're (finally) going to take down the Christmas decorations. Theoretically we'll actually put them where they belong in the garage as opposed to leaving stacks of boxes on the garage floor and wads of wrapping paper and empty tubes in the drawing room. Time will tell. The wall (see my LiveJournal post of December 30th) is still not fixed; already there are issues with the driver's insurance company, which after promising the adjuster would make an appointment when we could be here, had an adjuster come out for an appraisal when no one was home. I have yet to speak to said adjuster. I can see this has the potential to be an unpleasant thing.

    I got a bunch of great books for Christmas, the last of which just came in because of a lost shipment. Good stuff, and I'm looking forward to reading... after I get some new reading glasses. I think the glasses being out of date (and that stupid dry eye thing) really contribute to me not reading as much for pleasure anymore. I miss it, and I have way too many great books waiting.

    Dawgs are fine, The Husband (Weston Ochse) is okay. Occasionally I have to pound on him to keep him straight. Family is as okay as they're going to be. Still working on the job thing. Some potentially interesting stuff there, but we'll see. In the meantime, plesae keep invisible fingers crossed on my behalf.

    I'm working, very slowly, on a long overdue complete new web page for myself. Only have a few pages done so far, but it's coming along.

    Alex got her report card, which was pretty doggone good. We're all happy, and so sometime soon we're going out for steak to celebrate.

    We have six dead or nearly dead plants to dig up and return to Home Depot and Lowe's for refunds. One would think these stores would learn not to sell (and guarantee) outdoor plants here that cannot survive the high desert (i.e., COLD) winter climate.

    Guess that's about it. Happy New Year, all!

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