Friday, December 13, 2013

The beauty of winter trees

One of the best things about winter in a cold climate is the trees.  I know people think I'm crazy for saying that.  After all, it's cold, freezing, and the leaves have fallen. Except for the evergreens, of course, which have their own beauty, all year.  The leaves are no longer green or even the colors of autumn's flames.  They are brown, lying in untidy heaps.  What is there to like?  The trees are bare.

That is the beautiful part.  Without their leaves, the trees show their lines, graceful against the winter skies.  Standing alone at the edges of driveways or weaving their branches together in the woods, the trees are magical.  I never tire of looking at them, striped with sunlight and shadow, or catching the snow in long branches.  One of the best things about winter is the trees.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Attractions

It's November.  In the northern hemisphere autumn is flaming out, with drifts of leaves and in some places, yes, the first snows.  I love autumn, with its chilly nights and beautiful trees.  I appreciate not shoveling snow. The holidays loom on the horizon like some vast planet toward which we hurtle.  

Why am I telling you what you already know?  Because a book of mine should be out in paperback in time for the holidays.  The book is "February's Country", poetry, which is already available in kindle and ebook formats.  I've always wanted to have my poetry in print, real print.  This year I will have two poetry books, "Meow Cat Poems" and "February's Country" out in print!  Holiday attractions!

And yes, I know that "Burning Bright", the sequel to "Tiger Lily", is very much over due.  I am anxious to finish it and it will be finished soon.  It's a just slightly later "coming attraction".

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


It's not a new book but it is new in trade paperback.  It's "Meow Cat Poems", finally available in print.  I am more than pleased to have this out, with its cover featuring two of my past dearly loved cats.  (And yes, I took the cover picture; I'm kind of proud of that.)

Before anyone gets on my case again, yes, I am working on the sequel to "Tiger Lily", which is a little overdue.  I was supposed to finish it this summer, ahem, but as usual, things got in the way.  One of those things was dealing with getting "Meow" into print (proofread this, change that, check the cover, okay something else).  I really didn't accomplish a whole lot this past summer, although I did read "A Game of Thrones", which should count for something.

Anyway, the "Tiger Lily" sequel should be done soon, I hope, and in the meantime check out "Meow Cat Poems: in print!  Yes, it is still available in e-format, also, but Amazon hasn't linked the two editions yet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nine Eleven

The anniversary of the attack.  It is still vivid in my mind: where I was that day, how I heard the news, the student who ran out of class, screaming that her daughter was on a flight out of Boston.   I remember it all, but that's not what I want to write about today, on this anniversary.  I am remembering something else, something that happened a little later.

Two months after the attack on the Trade Towers, I was in Manhattan.  My mother was still alive back then, living in her beloved city but considering moving to assisted living.  Some of the family gathered to see her.  

Of course there was much discussion of the attack.  My mother said, "They tried to kill us all but look, we're still here."  Some of us thought the attack would draw the country together.  Others thought it was divisive, that we would all be suspicious of those who didn't look like us, dress like us.  Eventually, most of us grabbed cabs and went down to Ground Zero.

Ground Zero.  It was still burning.  The smell was incredible; my eyes burned for hours afterwards.  Much of it was fenced off but you could still climb some of the rubble for an overview of ruins and smoke.   I walked away from my family and began to climb.

There was an African-American woman already up there. She leaned over and extended a hand.  I grasped her hand and she pulled me up.  We looked at each other.  We said nothing, just nodded.  A few minutes later, an Asian-looking man started to climb up.  The other woman and I grabbed his hands, hers dark, mine pale, his golden, and pulled him up.  Again, there were no words.  We all looked at one another and then looked out over the pile.  The man wiped away a tear.  Then we heard something behind us.  A brown-skinned man was trying to climb.  We helped him up and we all stood there, shoulder to shoulder.

I said there were no words but that isn't really true.  No words were spoken but there were words.  After helping up the last man, the woman's jacket fell open, revealing her sweatshirt.  There were words on her sweatshirt.  The words were: "United We Stand".

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Like A Hawk

There is a hawk nest somewhere way back at the border of the woods and the high fields behind my house.  It's been there for years. I don't know exactly where it is but the hawks have always been there, raising their families.  Sometimes they come to visit me and treat me to occasional fly-overs.  One winter solstice, a hawk came and sat in the lilac tree right outside my sliding door and stayed there when I went out and admired him/her.  This summer the hawks have been very active back there, screaming and yelling at their kids and in general doing hawk things.

A few weeks ago a single hawk came to visit.  I was out in my yard and it came in low over the tree line, right above my head.  I assume it was a juvenile, as it wasn't very big and it didn't seem to know quite what it was doing.  Possibly it was making its first solo flight.  It was a gusty day, not really the best choice for a first flight, if that's what it was.  

The little hawk was in trouble; that was immediately obvious.  It was just above and almost into the trees and its feet were dangling.  It was having a hard time staying level.

"Gear up, little hawk!"  I called.  "Wheels up!  Get your feet up!"

The hawk tried to circle above me, having a terrible time of it.  It was losing altitude it didn't have to spare and the dangling feet didn't help. As I watched, it dropped just a little lower.

I could see what was going to happen, and it wasn't good.

"Don't do it!"  I said. "Do not pull up!  You don't have the air speed!  Level out, level out; do not pull up! No!"

Apparently, inexperienced hawks and stressed human pilots think the same way and make the same mistakes.   The hawk pulled up.  And it didn't have the air speed to do it.  The hawk stalled.

It flipped to its left, starting to tumble.  I just had time to start to think about where to find the phone number of the wildlife rehabilitator I know and to wonder what I had that would work for transporting an injured hawk.

Fortunately, none of that was necessary.  Hawks have an advantage that human pilots don't have: they can flap their wings.  The little hawk flapped, managed to right itself, pulled its feet up (finally!), gained a little altitude, sort of squeaked at me in a rather un-hawk like way, and headed for home.  So that was that.  Phew.

And then, just a couple of weeks ago, there were hawks screaming and yelling  right over my yard.  They were making an incredible ruckus.  I ran outside saying something along the lines of "What the!"

There were three, no four hawks in the air right outside my door.  There two large ones and two slightly smaller. Was one of them my earlier visitor? I wanted to think so.  

When they saw me they flew in formation and dipped toward me.  Then they rose, split into two groups and began the most incredible maneuvers. They were joined by a fifth hawk.  They wheeled, passed one another almost touching, dove and rose.  It was an incredible show.  When it was over, they circled again above my head. I couldn't contain myself.

"Woo hoo!" I yelled.  "Way to go!  Great show!"

The hawks turned and headed away back toward their nest.

Friday, July 5, 2013

And now in print....

"A Changed World" is in print now, real print on paper.  This makes me happy because I still love print books.  I love books which let you turn their paper (!) pages.  Some of my friends call print books "real" books and others call them "dead tree books" or "dtb" for short and prefer e-readers solely.

I find myself on both sides of this digital  divide.  That isn't as painful as it sounds.  If it's a book that I want, I'll read it any way I can get it.  A possible exception to this is archeology books, the ones with lots of footnotes and illustrations that have you flipping back and forth and losing your place under the best of circumstances.  Those I much prefer in paper.  But that's another story.  And if you read in bed late at night, holding the book up above your face, it doesn't matter if you are reading a print and paper book or an e-reader.  If you fall asleep, you get whacked in the face by the falling book.  It's true.  I've been there.

So now there's a choice: you can get "A Changed World" for e-reader or in print.  Or both!  Just don't stay up late reading with the book held above your face.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Oh right.  Here's a link:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


That's how I feel.  Insane. Writing has its own kind of insanity but I can't blame my current insanity on writing,  because I'm not writing.  I should be writing.  Everyone says I should be writing now, since the semester is over.  I say I should be writing now.  So what's the problem?  Editing.  And more editing. That is real insanity.  And formatting.  That's worse insanity.  (Yes, I know, some of those are not complete sentences but I'm insane; remember?) The print version of "A Changed World" will be out soon.  "Soon" means after I address another issue with the format or some other problem.  Do I like how this looks; do I like the layout on that?  Insanity?  Okay, I'm done whining.  I need to get up earlier so I can write.

And yes, you did read that right: a print version of "A Changed World" will be out soon, whatever "soon" means.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I just realized....

...that I should blog.  An entry is overdue.  Why this is so hard, I don't know, but I usually think I have nothing to say.  I could babble sociological buzz theory about growing up a female of my generation and what that did to my self-confidence blather blather, but even I don't care.  There are much more important issues.

Spring has finally arrived.  I have a window and the screen door open.  The scent of lilacs floods in on the breeze.  My little cat is drowsing by the screen door, where she can keep an eye on the birds outside.  I need  to deal with some stuff for a print edition and I need to get to work on the sequel to "Tiger Lily".  And then there is the scent of lilacs and the purr of a cat.

Monday, April 15, 2013


People from all over the world enter the Boston marathon.  They just want to run.  Yes, I'm sure they would all like to win, but mostly they just want to run.  That's why they are there.  I am trying to imagine why anyone would want to blow them up.  I can't.  I'm not accustomed to a failure of imagination but I'm stuck; I can't get my head around this.  Is it supposed to be a statement?  Of what?  I am sad and I am also angry.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book launch!

It's out!  After a slight delay, it's finally out.  "It" is my new book, "A Changed World".  Right now it's available in e-formats only, through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It has adventure, romance, suspense, and paranormal goings-on.  It also has an intelligent big cat (who is far more intelligent than a lot of humans).  Check it out: (that's Amazon)  or (Barnes and Noble).

Oh and here's the cover!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New novel soon!

Just a quick post: a new novel is on the way, with the title "A Changed World".  It should be out in e-format within a couple of weeks.  Here's the blurb:

It is after the Change, a drastic alteration of climate and environment brought about by global warming and chemical buildup in the environment.  Sage has lived in the mountains and plains of North America all her life.  She grew up in a poor village family, and would have been given as a concubine to the sons of a wealthy family when she turned fourteen.  Rather than accept this fate, she ran away, and lived a hard a life on the plains until she was accepted by an all woman Wander Band.  When her apprentice is stolen she is drawn into a journey that takes her across a changed world.  In the process she saves a village girl, partners with a mountain lion and meets Thomas, a man from the eastern coast who has far too many secrets.  Together this odd group must brave dangers to right some terrible wrongs and to save the world from a threat it does not realize exists.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Climate Change, Anyone?

We had about 30 inches of snow. That's quite pretty at first and then rather less attractive when you have to shovel it. And when you realize there are several layers of ice hidden in it from the times when it decided to sleet instead of snow. 

We lost power only intermittently but we lost internet, phone and tv for two days. I was in severe internet withdrawal and just about to head out to find the internet cafe (yes, we freed up a car!) when the connections returned. We still have huge blobs of ice on the lines. I've got my fingers crossed that they melt without taking anything down. 

We lost two trees, big pines, from on top of our stone wall, which runs along the sidewalk. Poor trees, so sad! Then the town decided to push the downed trees into our front steps, effectively blocking our front door, and then have the plows push all the heavy snow from the road into the trees.  This makes a fortification of which any medieval monarch would be proud.  Sharp pine branches poke through the thick, high wall of compacted snow.  No one's getting in and we ain't gettin' out. Not that way.

And now we have freezing rain glazing everything.  That's okay.  Temps are forecast to rise into the forties.  Then tonight it will all refreeze.  Supposedly, climate change brings with it weird extremes and raging storms. Are we having fun yet?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

It's now 2013 (which to people in, say, Australia, is old news).  It's time for a new start, if such a thing is possible.  Let's try to preserve what needs preserving, improve what needs improving and create what needs creating.  And let's try to understand one another, for a change. Happy New Year!