That’s my handsome 11-year-old son. I know I don’t write a ton about my family—I’m private that way—but I just love this picture too much not to share it. I think the 80s have come back into style. You’ll see my son’s hair is pretty long, and I’ve noticed a number of his [male] classmates are rocking the long hair lately, too.

My son does get mistaken for a girl, but only when he puts his hair in a ponytail.

In other news—writing news—I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to attend a small workshop/retreat in France this coming June. I’m very much looking forward to it! And I promise to post lots of pictures, if not here then on my Facebook page. In the meantime, I’m still working away at Changers 2 and my stack of other projects. (If you enjoyed Brynnde I think you’ll really love Faebourne when it’s finished!) I’m busier now than I can ever remember being in my life. Probably because I’m naturally a bit lazy. I admit it. Having too much to do stresses me out because I’m the kind of person who needs frequent quiet and alone time to recharge. That hasn’t been possible in recent weeks, which is another reason to look forward to the writing retreat. Well, and France. Who couldn’t look forward to that???

To vote for Brynnde in the Books & Benches cover contest! If you’ve already voted, you CANNOT vote again, else you risk disqualifying my book. But thank you to all who have voted!

And if you still haven’t read Brynnde, keep in mind that Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free! It’s a light, fizzy little book. I hope you enjoy it and that you’ll consider leaving a review if you do read it. Thank you again for your support!

Today, Facebook helpfully informed me that “fans of The K-Pro haven’t heard from [me] in a while.” Which left me to wonder: Are they expecting to hear from me? Because I hadn’t heard from them, either. So . . .

There are a number of expectations put on authors these days. Primarily, these expectations boil down to being in contact with our readers. But what if our readers aren’t in contact with us?

I love hearing from my readers! And I find it very disheartening when I post things and send out newsletters and hear nothing back. I begin to think that, whatever I’m trying to communicate, it isn’t what people want to hear.

So here’s the deal: IF you’re a fan of The K-Pro and you want to hear from me, let me know. (You may recall I began a sequel to The K-Pro some years ago, but based on lack of perceived enthusiasm, I never finished it.) If there’s something you want more of, you have to tell me! Or I’ll never know. I’ll just keep wandering from project to project based on my own internal compass. Which is fine, but it means you’ll be waiting a long time for something that may never happen unless I know you want it to.

I gave up the newsletter, but you can always contact me via the tab at the top of this page, or on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads—all the usual places. Or come to one of my events and get in my face personally. Let me know what you’ve enjoyed and what you hope to see next. I can’t make any promises, but I will take your thoughts into account.

Available February 9. Pre-order on Amazon now for a special discount!

Brynnde’s thoroughbred kicked up dust as she spurred him up the tree-lined carriageway. She kept her own head low under her wide-brimmed hat, more in the hopes of not being noticed than for keeping the dust from her eyes. She was in trouble and she knew it.

She rode astride the horse, having “borrowed” some of her older brother Nicolas’ clothing. It was something she did often, and her family had long since ceased to prevent her, except on days like today—days when important guests were expected to arrive. Brynnde had ridden out early that morning, fully intending to be back and presentable before nuncheon, but she had managed to get herself into a long conversation with Mrs. Davershire, wife of the gamekeeper, which had led to a visit to the gardener Mr. MacDonald to check on the recovery of his broken leg, and so she had lost track of the time.

If the tenants were at all appalled at the sight of a daughter of the house riding in masculine fashion, they kept it to themselves. Surely, in Brynnde’s mind, that topic of conversation around Aux Arbres and the nearby village of Barrow Wood would have worn itself out long ago.

But now they would have something new to fuel the gossip, namely Brynnde’s disgraceful arrival.

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Here’s a random fact about me: I hate the smell of certain cereals. Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, basically oat cereals—I can’t stand the way they smell. I’m fine with the fruity cereals like Froot Loops, I guess because the fruit smell covers the oat smell? Corn Pops or Flakes and those kinds of cereals don’t bother me either. Just those oat/bran cereals. Yuck.

Anyway, this has been your random author fact of the day.

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about “the media” lately, mostly aimed at the news outlets as they attempt to cover the new presidency. Yes, the news can be biased. But it also acts as a kind of filter, an interpreter for the masses. And we need that.

Imagine you’re deaf. Someone is saying something really important, and you need to know what it is and perhaps also what it means. An interpreter steps forward and begins to sign. Relief! Sometimes the signs they choose are a little off from what’s being said because there is more than one way to sign something—it’s all about context and connotation. Sometimes the interpreter signs something in a way that makes you think, Huh. I would have used this sign instead, but I get what they mean. Better to have an interpreter than no one at all.

“But I can read lips!” you say. Okay, good for you. But how fast can you read them? And can you understand everything that is being said?

I suppose if I wanted to devote the time and energy, I could do a ton of research and slowly learn to interpret everything the president and Congress does for myself. Just like if I wanted to get a degree in theology I could interpret holy texts for myself and disregard the millennia of knowledge of others. But in the process of getting that degree, I would have to take all that knowledge into account anyway. That would actually be part of the learning process. There is no unfiltered, unbiased, raw data. It doesn’t exist.

We don’t all of us have time to hunt down every fact, every historical precedent, etc. That’s what journalists are for. The things the White House and Congress might hope we’ll overlook—the media won’t, and they’ll let us know what’s happening. And yeah, they may “spin” it, but better to know what is happening than not. We can see through spin, but we can’t see through the obfuscating smoke that the government is attempting to cloud things with.

  1. Irene – a “strong” woman with a shady past who ultimately needs to be rescued by the hero
  2. Mary – a “strong” woman with a shady past who ultimately needs to be rescued by the hero (but isn’t)
  3. Eurus – a “strong” woman with a shady past who ultimately needs to be rescued by the hero
  4. Molly – a weak woman whose attempts to assert herself are unconvincing and unsuccessful, and who pines for the hero and allows him to manipulate her repeatedly
  5. Mrs. Hudson – a strong [older] woman played for comic relief

If you Like my Facebook page, you may have seen this. Or not, given the way FB hides things from feeds. If you haven’t Liked my page, please consider doing so by clicking here!

My first “real” job was in a library. I found shelving books to be soothing but much preferred to do it when the library was closed so I could focus and be left alone, unpestered. Because part of the fun was sometimes stopping to thumb through the books. Not the ones that got checked out over and over again, though I did look at some of those and wonder what made them so popular. (Where I worked it was always Ed McBain…) But I really enjoyed finding random treasures, books I would never have otherwise known existed.

In the far left corner of our library were paperbacks. These had been donated by patrons and you didn’t have to check them out, you could just take them. For years I had a collection of paperbacks with orange dots on the spines that had “F” for fiction or “M” for mystery or whatever on them. I might still have them in a box somewhere…

While working at the public library, I discovered Agatha Christie. I smuggled out battered paperback versions of things I was pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to read. Or maybe I just liked to pretend I might get in trouble; that made it more exciting.

The children’s area was the worst, of course. Always a mess, felt like Sisyphus trying to clean that up. But there were plenty of times I would sit between the bookcases with a book open on my lap, engrossed and having forgotten where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. Sometimes toddlers would come over and just start climbing on me. The parents were often apologetic, if/when they were paying any attention at all, but I didn’t mind. Kids (and animals) have always liked me, dunno why.

I got a weird satisfaction, too, from shifting the stacks. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when a shelf gets too full and—usually because you want to keep an author on one shelf or a series together or something—you have to move stuff down in a kind of cascade effect. Most people find it a pain, but I sort of liked it.

I didn’t have my library job for very long. I’d only gotten it in order to earn money for driver’s ed. Once I was able to drive, I got a “better” job at the mall. I did really like the library, but we had some librarians who were… let’s just say “difficult to work with.” But now I find myself volunteering in my kids’ school library each week. And the other day I started shifting some stacks and was—just for a minute or two—weirdly content.

I’m not a gore person. I don’t do movies that involve hacking and lots of blood. But I love a good psychological thriller or dark comedy. Here I’d like to mention a couple lesser-known films that I’ve enjoyed.

mrfrost1. Mister Frost

This gem from 1990 shows Jeff Goldblum just prior to his big Jurassic Park moment. I’ll admit, my best friend and I found it equal parts hilarious and disturbing. Goldblum has some amazing lines, like (to the best of my memory): “Oh, yes, the bodies. I was just finishing burying them as you were walking up.” It’s been years since I’ve seen this movie, but I’d love to watch it again. As I recall, there was something about cake—Goldblum, playing the titular Frost, baked cakes then took pictures of them and dumped them in the trash. But that’s only the start. Once they put him in the psychiatric ward, things gets increasingly sinister. “Soon. Soon you’ll be on my side of the mirror . . .”

2. The Last Supperlastsupper

Perfect for this election season. In this film, a gathering of frustrated liberals decide to turn their dinner parties into murdering sprees so they can rid themselves of rightwing pundits. As with Mister Frost I don’t remember many details, but I do recall the Shonen Knife cover of “Top of the World” being fabulous as it played over the end credits. And I remember liking the movie in general.

You have to take into account that when Mister Frost came out I was 14 and when The Last Supper came out I was 19. It might very well be that, should I go watch these again, I’d find them abysmal. At the very least I’m sure they’re dated. But that’s sort of the fun thing about these kinds of movies, too—special effects aside, being dated only adds to their charm rather than detracting from it.

Do you have any favorite Hallowe’en movies? Oldies but goodies? Have any of you had the joy of watching either of these two movies? If so, I want to hear about it in the comments!