Minutiae and Being Nibbled to Death

I’ve been thinking lately (yes, I know this is Wrong and Trouble and just generally Not a Good Idea).

I’ve worked with various editors over the years, and of course know lots of authors, some of whom have been in critique groups with me. And frankly, a few of them (not all, just a few) are so anal and set in their ways and opinions that nothing, even a Voice Coming Down from Heaven, could sway their views on what is Proper Writing.

So here’s my question, Dear Readers. How much does Something You Don’t Like affect your ability to enjoy and continue reading a story? If it’s well crafted, can you suppress the fact that the author has not excised every single “that” from it (regardless of how it’s used), or that it includes dialogue tags and attributes instead of just beats, or heaven forbid, there is some telling instead of all showing, or perhaps the author uses the time-honored but now outmoded omniscient third person instead of sticking with the POV of one character in each scene – or even, heaven forbid! – doesn’t use a deep POV? How about finding a typo, or the wrong word used (thinking of at least two revered, award-winning SF writers here that I regard as my heroes), or too many or not enough commas, or the use of ellipses, or the use or lack of use of semicolons? Or [fill in the blank with whatever your pet peeve is]?

I honestly want to know, because at times I feel I am being nibbled to death by…what are those earth creatures called: feathers, long bill, webbed feet, go “quack”? Ah, cats! I am being nibbled to death by cats!



Has Spring Sprung? One Can Hope!

My character Tam loves gardening (don’t know where she gets it from). I know she’d love to see these first blooms of spring.

I cannot wait to write about the spring flowers on her world, but that is a couple of books away, as the series is heading from fall into winter in book three, due out later this year.


Two Recent Reviews on the Sword’s Edge Chronicles

Two recent reviews, one on each of the first two novels in the Sword’s Edge Chronicles series:

book one –
Sword’s Edge: “A Gem of a novel”

book two –
Children of the Enaisi: “A Sequel that Tops the Original”

And yes, I’m working hard on book three!


Westerns, SF, and the fun of writing Deuces Wild

In my cyber-travels earlier today, I happened upon a conversation about westerns, which asked why no one seems to write or want to read them. I wonder that too, and agree it’s a shame. I love westerns (I just finished Longmire, and if you haven’t watched that show, you should!). I’ve read tons of westerns (I have all of Zane Grey’s books in gorgeous, matching hardcovers), and one of my favorite books (book, note, not movie) is Shane. We need more westerns!

And just like I love westerns, I love science fiction. That’s part of the whole fun of the Deuces Wild series – cowboys and spaceships. I might try to write a true western one day, but for now, I’ll stick to my westerns-in-space series.

And I thought I’d share a snip of a scene from the first Deuces Wild book: Beginners’ Luck, just because it was fun to write, and I love to share the fun stuff.

I don’t know that any context is needed, it’s the juxtaposition of the two seemingly disparate genres in the scene that makes it amusing. To me, at least. Your mileage may vary:

…the whine of hover bikes grew behind him. He spun. Three of them. He grabbed a plasma grenade and lobbed it. One bike took the hit, but the other two swerved, flanking him. He dove to the ground, firing left, rolling, and firing right. He missed.

The bikes circled to make another run. But Tristan had more time to aim. Hot sand sprayed in his face as he fired. He rolled again, coughing and blinking, and fired toward the sounds of a bike.

He held still in the ensuing, relative quiet, listening for a bike as the dust settled. He raised his head, and found himself staring up at the bike’s rider, a laser pistol leveled at him.

A wild cowboy whoop echoed just then, and the biker whirled. A large copper-colored horse thundered up, Slap on its back, a rope circling above the cowboy’s head. He threw the rope, snagged the gun, and snatched it from the biker. Tristan fired, and the soldier crumpled.

Slap caught the gun in mid-air from the noose that held it as he drew the horse to a stop near Tristan, grinning. “Want a ride?”

Tristan eyed the huge beast as it pawed the ground and tossed its head. “You’re not kidding, are you?”

“Just tell me where you want to go.”

Tristan glanced around the spaceport. The Eridani had the upper hand. “Let’s go to Giselle.”



Holding your own book in your hands – wow!

The Sword’s Edge Chronicles started from a dream I had in about 1985. It slowly grew in my head, and finally I caved and began writing it in the late 90s. Many of the stories and subplots have changed over time (the overarching major plot that encompassed many years was tossed into the midden when a Ranger I had never thought of or planned for swaggered in with a wink and grin and took over the whole bloody thing), but still, I have read and worked and polished the stories for a very long time.

And Children of the Enaisi is no exception. But as many times as I’ve read it, I never read it as a book. Since it’s been published, I’ve been floating around, as happy as a mother with a newborn who goes around bragging and showing it off. I’m sure all my friends are tired of it by now.

But I did something today I hadn’t done yet, even though I’ve had the print edition in my possession for some days: I sat down and read it, well, not all of it, but parts of it. It’s a heady experience to see the story you’ve sweated over for years and lost sleep over, and mulled and rewritten, and polished, and re-polished finally in your hands.

For my writing friends: what emotions did you feel when you finally held your book or books in your hands, and read them – this time as a published book, not just a manuscript?


A Sequel that Tops the Original – a review of Children of the Enaisi


I eagerly awaited the sequel to SWORD’S EDGE and was highly gratified when I finally got the opportunity to read it. The story and the characters who carry it moved forward in their history logically but with unexpected and marvelous twists and tight action that kept me glued to the pages. It is going to be difficult to rein my impatience until the next novel is released.

What a nice review of Children of the Enaisi!

Here’s the review, if you want to read it for yourself on Amazon.



A note of appreciation for my son

It’s hard as you get older to admit you need help. And I do get help from my kids, but in this particular post, I’m focusing on just one of them.

I must say, I don’t know what I’d do without the help of my older son. He takes care of house maintenance and small things too as well, such as (and this is the “small thing” that inspired this post) getting air in my tires for me (a difficult task even in warm weather due to arthritis – unscrewing the cap on the valve stem is so very painful to my hands and I cannot properly squat or kneel so I must oomph myself down to sit on the ground to actually put the air in the tires). And he goes beyond – for example, via the internet he is teaching himself about clock works and has gotten my grandfather clock working again.

I also love his feedback on my stories, and his help with science-y stuff. Oh yes, I do have My Very Own Physicist™, but my son jumps in to help as well. It was fun listening to them Skype and reading the compilation of messages they wrote to each other as they tried to figure out how a single ship could possibly take on a whole space fleet and break a planetary blockade (see Deuces Wild: Stacking the Deck). Yes, I still have all those conversations. Some of them actually made their way into the book.