Monday, November 14, 2011

My worst date.

Back when I was single and willing to give it a go, a fellow asked me if I would like to go for a walk on a trail on Larch Mountain.  Larch Mountain is a bit of wilderness a scant 40  minute drive from the city.  It is steep and brushy, and at least one hunter or hiker dies there each year, through lack of attention.  But hey -it was a date.  And he waxed lyrical about this well-marked and maintained trail, so I decided to give it a go.  First, I dressed for the weather with multiple layers, a crackly sounding rain slicker, a good wool scarf and mittens stuffed in my pockets, sturdy hiking boots, and two pairs of socks.  Second, we took my car.  I'm not going into the woods with a stranger unless I know I can get myself out.  I picked him up, and he looked quite handsome and rugged in a polo shirt, jeans, windbreaker and sneakers.  I assumed, since he had gone on about the wonderful hikes he had taken, that he had expensive high-tech layers and one of those hooded raincoats that folds into a two-inch square pouch and fits in your hip pocket.  The ride up was quite delightful, as he was witty and charming.  He directed me to a parking lot, I locked the car, and he led off,  down hill through the undergrowth on a short-cut to the path.  I stopped, took a careful look around, oriented myself, mentally reviewed what I knew of the terrain, and followed him.  He continued to be witty and charming as we bushwhacked down toward this wonderful trail that he was sure was just a little further along.  Clouds built up.  The temperature dropped.  He chattered even more charmingly.  Finally I planted my feet and declared, "We've been walking for an hour, and we haven't found that trail.  Are you sure you know where it is?"  

He got very silent.  Finally he admitted, "We might be lost."

I replied, "You might be lost, but I know that if we just go back uphill, we'll hit the road."

"But that could be miles away!" 

"You wanted a good hike."

"Let's just sit down and wait.  Someone will come to look for us."

Then the sleet started to fall.  He did not in fact have high-tech layers or a rain slicker.  He didn't even have a baggie of trail mix.  I was lost on a mountain that eats stupid people, with a totally useless, if charming, idiot.  I gave him my wool scarf to tie around his head (Not even a hat - the moron!) and said, "I'm going home.  You can come with me, or sit here and freeze."  Then I headed uphill.  Rather than try to retrace our wandering path through the woods, I surged in a direct line toward safety, which led through a couple of rhododendron thickets already becoming ice-encrusted with the steady sleet.  The waste of skin trailing behind me began whining that his feet were cold and wet.  It rains around here.  What did he expect?  We came up against the foot of a cliff and paused for a breather. He turned east.  He had been drifting east all along.  If you go east DOWN the hill, you need to go west back UP the hill.  I snarled at him.  He snapped back.  I turned west and a few minutes later heard him thrashing along in my wake.  Pouting, he trailed behind me for another half an hour when the ridge we were climbing met up with the top of the cliff, and we emerged into a paved parking lot.  I set off briskly to the west, knowing the car would be about half a mile down the road.  At the far east end of the parking lot  I could see a lovely graveled, well-maintained path.  "Oh look!" the dumb bunny remarked.  "That's the path I wanted.  I must have gone to the wrong parking lot! Oh, dopey me!"

Fuming in silence, I strode down the road, found the parking lot with my car, got in and set the heater on high.  He opened the passenger door, settled his wet, shivering, blue-lipped self into the seat, And chirruped brightly, "That was kind of fun, wasn't it?"

I glared at him, and in my best thunderous roar, named him an anal orifice and told him to shut the fornication up or I would kick him out of the car.  I took him home, and warned him not to ever call me again because he was clearly too stupid to breathe.  He was at least bright enough to take my warning.

What was your worst date?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My friend is dying

You learn to write by writing.  I'm writing a eulogy here.  If you don't care for this stuff, come back when I'm in a cheery mood.

One of the prices you pay for having friends is losing them.  A college friend, some one I have known for fourty years, is dying.  I sat with him for a while yesterday.  Consciousness seems to be a place he just visits occasionally, not somewhere he spends much time.  I don't know if he will even remember that I was there, yet, the hours I sat quietly beside his bed don't seem a waste.  I don't want to go all woo-woo mystic, but he has the same shadow on him that my husband's dad had just before he passed.

 It helps a lot to have a firm conviction that the end of this life is not the end of everything, and that I will see him again on the other side.  He will be out of pain and free from fear.  He will be just as young and strong and full of energy as he was when we first met. And oh, what a supercharged dynamo of energy he was!  If there's anything to astrology, he would prove it, because he was Leo to the tonails.  His personality filled a room, and he was the life of any party.  He was charming, sexy, witty, and fiercely intelligent. And like any male lion, he was a bit lazy and ego-centric.  At times he could even be an asshole, but for those of us who love him, he is OUR asshole and we love him still.  The earth will spin slower without his long stride to kick it on.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


(With the Oxford comma) We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.  (Quite a lively party)
(Without the Oxford comma) We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin. (I didn't know JFK was a stripper)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011



Last night’s party left a glass on the windowsill.
This morning, ice melted, it catches the sun -
a glint, a flare, a fire in the water,
a transient fraction of a star, visiting,
a scrap of halo for a sacred instant.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I love a good similie

Australian Troy Simpson said, "I feel as gay as a bagful of butterflies!"  What could be gayer?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

change the character, everything changes

There's a folksong that starts, "A young man goes to Paris, as every young man should.  There's something in the Paris air that does a young man good."

Paints a picture, doesn't it?  Youth and strength, brisk walks along the wintery Seine; smokey cafes and experienced women; late night philosopy over cheap wine.

Change the character.

"A woman goes to Paris, as every woman should.  There's something in the Paris air that does a woman good."

What picture does that paint for you?  And why?

Monday, June 6, 2011

when you do a book signing

Take your knitting.  A book signing is an excellent opportunity to accomplish a lot of knitting. Having some handwork gives you a neutral topic to discuss in case people want to talk to you but are reluctant to be pressured into buying the book.  If it ties in to the book, so much the better!  My protagonist works her sorcerery through her fiber arts, and the books include patterns, so knitting is a no brainer. 

Unless you are already famous, there will quite possibly be spells during your book signing when you are waiting for an adoring fan, or an interested customer, or even a chatty nine-year-old to show up.  Book signings can have lonely spells, and knitting helps. People say to me, "I don't have the patience to knit."  I shake my head in puzzlement.  If I didn't have my knitting to keep my patience, I'd kill somebody. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


On Friday, June 3, from 4 till 8,  I will be at

Make One  (a wonderful yarn store)
10558 SE Main ST
Milwaukie, Or

Reading and autographing  my first book, Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice. 

I am so excited I could just squeee!! 

All you folks from the Portland area, c'mon down!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

There's writing and there's marketing

Amy Rose Davis has been blogging about how writing can take over life, and she has me thinkng.  I am a writer.  I always have and always will be writing one thing or another.  Letters to friends, poems to my beloved, stories that demand to be let out of my head, . . . I love to find the good word and the accurate description.  I will always write and it will make me happy. And it always fits into a balanced, healthy life.  It's the damn marketing that rips my guts out.  Marketing evidently is a full-time job.  If you're going to market successfully, you have to do it constantly.  You have to blog, Twitter, facebook, and sell, sell, sell even if  you alienate your friends like an Am-way distributer.

 I have three books that were in print with vanity press, and the fourth and final one in the series in re-write.  Then I went with Puddletown Publishing Inc. and the first of the books is now available as an e-book (          )  I am getting requests for the sequels, but the publishers, reasonably enough, want to sell a few more copies of book one before they launch book two. (and book three and book four) It does, after all, cost them time and money to get these things up and running.  Puddletown is not a vanity press.  It's not a case of throwing more money at them to get them to spit out more books.  They want to turn out quality books and still run at a profit.  So if I want to bring out the rest of the series, I have to start selling what I have.

Problem:  I'm a writer, not a marketer.  The whole process of spamming the world to get my name out there appalls me.  I can not bring myself to twitter.   I don't want to read those pushy, Am-way tweets I see hourly on the twitter screen.  And I CERTAINLY don't want to read their damn books! Tell you what - you buy a copy of my book, and I'll come over to your house and clean the hair clogs out of your bath-tub drain, OK? Or I'll review your book if you'll review mine.  The Sanna Chronicles are funny, light-hearted, swords, sorcery and knitting books with horse races, dancing girls, brawls, and evil mad-boy villains.  Try it, you'll like it!   $.99 on Amazon


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


What is it about a coffeeshop that inspires me to write?  I'm kicked back with my beverage of choice (Earl Grey tea with three shots of raspberry syrup and soy milk) and the ebb and flow of humanity in this downtown coffee emporium is SO stimulating.  A guy who looks flat out homeless is buying a $6 caramel macchaiatto and a $3 slice of cinnamon coffeecake.  There are two exquisitely polished young women who blew in, grabbed their lattes, and are tete-a tete over one of these tiny tables, giggling and squealing, "Oh you didn't!  Then what did he do?"  A college girl in knee-length shorts, little canvas slippers, and four - count them, four layered cardigans in various stages of unbuttonage, breeze in, bought an iced fappe thing, and plumped down on a sofa, taking over the entire corner of the room with her books, papers, laptop, and right now she has a mirror set up on the coffee table and is braiding her pretty curly hair.  The young man next to me is frowning at his laptop, checking a tiny notebook, poking a few keys, then frowning again.  The baristas are young, stylish, and bored.  If you need characters, go to a coffee shop downtown.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice

Multnomah Learning Center in Portland Ore, is using Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice as a read-aloud book to accompany their special project about sheep, wool, and the construction of fabric. They are going to ask me to come speak to the kiddos soon. How do I make e-books available and how can I autograph copies?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for

XYZ which stands for eXamine Your Zipper - a coy way of warning that the barn door is open and the stallion's running free, or, to put it more prosaically, your fly is open.  Now this, frankly, is the sort of thing I want to be told, by anyone, as soon as it's noticed.  Do I have spinach on my teeth?  Has my deoderant failed me?  Is there toilet paper stuck to my shoe?  Please, please, tell me right away.  Don't let me wander around with my hem tucked into my pantyhose while the general public laughs and mocks me.

Assuming that other people would rather not flash in ignorance, I am quite unembarassed to walk up to total strangers and say, "Your blouse might have some slippery buttons.  Did you mean to show that much?"  Or, "Sir, your fly is open."  I also offer mints to people with bad breath. 

So what is the other side of this?  Would you rather not know?  Would you prefer that I politely ignore that shred of jerkey stuck between your teeth and waving at me each time you laugh?  Should I try to find a more tactful way of saying, "You have baby puke all down your back." 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for

Wool - early memories of

Sheep Drive

The Bye boys were movoing their sheep
Home to winter pasture or out to summer range
down the road past our house they flowed like dirty foam,
a bleating river of stupidity, rushing like rapids between the fences
eddying in the gateway, muddying the cold bright air
with their smell of wet wool, and their frantic, foolish cries.
Four thousand little hooves thundered on the asphalt.  The Bye boys
on their horses yelled.  I yelled.  Our hounds yelled.
the sheepdogs, fiercely silent, with eyes like amber flames,
with watersnake suppleness and speed, drove the idiot animals,
danced and chivvied, chased, commanded
outwitted, outran the canniest old ewes.
The flood of sheep poured past and away
in a nimbus of dust and ruckus,
leaving a sense of passage
and a road scummed with dung.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

U -s for

Urban spawn

With flick of foot
and subtle shift of weight
skatboarders glide across
sidewalks, sliding from shadow to
light, dark and dappled, darting
through the flow of trafficc
with flashing leaps,
graceful, quick as trout.

by Roxanna Matthews

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for

Scylla - also known as woods hyacinth.
In Greek Mythology, Scylla was a sea nymph who was changed by Circe into a monster.  Circe was jealous about some guy who was chasing poor Scylla, so Circe, enchantress that she was, mixed up some herbs and spells and poisoned a little bay , ". . .where Scylla used to resort in the heat of the day to bathe her limbs."  When the lovely girl waded in  waist deep, "she found herself surrounded by serpents and barking monsters.  At first she could not imagine they were part of her, and tried to run away, but as she ran, she carried them with her, and when she tried to touch her limbs, her hands found only the yawning jaws of monsters.  Scylla remained rooted to the spot.  Her temper grew as ugly as her form, and she took pleasure in devouring hapless mariners who came within her grasp."

Or at last that's what it says in Bullfinch's Mythology.   So if you ever try to steer between Scylla and Charybdis, you might want to bring some meat for the monsters.

I have no idea why these pretty flowers  are named scylla -do you?

Saturday is going to be busy for me, so just in case I don't get back in time, here's a picture doing double duty for S and T.  Snakes on a Treadmill.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for

Reubenesque!  Let's hear it for gals with a little meat on their bones - Hoorah! 

Sarah Bernhart was the most beautiful woman of her day.  She was five feet tall and weighed 150 lbs.

 Up until quite recently, a woman was supposed to have plump, round shoulders -and collarbones were considered repulsive. 

In the novel, Lorna Doone the hero is telling about his cousin - the most beautiful woman in the area. One of the most appealing things about her were her beautiful round forearms.  She was so plump that the bone on her wrist did not stick out.

The high-fashion magazines want us to look like 12 year-old boys.  Well fooey on that!  Let's appreciate the beauty of curves.  Let's admire feminine roundness and softness. Let's enjoy our Reubenesque beauty!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for

Qiviut:  A musk ox that produces the lightest, warmest fiber commercially available.  You don't shear a musk ox.  You wait until spring when they start to shed, then follow them around the pasture, picking up the wads of wool as they come loose.  Due to the difficulty of accumulating and processing qiviut, it is one of the most expensive fibers available  It comes in very few shades.  Musk ox brown, musk ox gray and musk ox tan.  Some folks adore quiviut but it just doesn;t ring my chimes.  It's a wonderful fiber for lace, and I'm just not a lace-knitting woman.

But, if you play Scrabble, qiviut is a word you need to know!  So is qoph, and qoran.

P is for

Procrastination.  Eh, better late than never.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

O is for

On my morning walk I see nine
cats on the neighbor's porch, lined
up nicely, as if some designer
had arranged them with an eye
for form and color.  Plump gray Godiva
spreads herself, cushion-like
across the rocker seat.  Old white
Rocko, once her swain, trys
to take over but wins just a tiny
corner of the chair.  He sits straight upright
and scowls down at her.  Five
tiny anonymous red kittens lie
like beanbags in a pile,
their tortoiseshell mother, Jumble-ayah
by name, curls like a smile
around them.  And high
on the porch rail perches my
Rusty cat, copper penny bright,
and wondering why
he now sings soprano in the neighborhood choir.

N is for

Nature is no gentle mother in the desert.
Her children are few and spiteful:
Scorpions and rattlesnakes,
jackrabbits too tough for stewing,
brittle grey sagebrush
and ten thousand kinds of stickers.
Nature is a harsh mother
except in the spring.
Give her one good drink,
and she becomes a floozy
decked in garish flowers,
mating and polinating all over the place.
If you love her, make it a quickie
Her soft mood won't last and before you know it
she'll devour her young.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for

Mother's Repeating Herself Again.

Her brain's as full of holes as a doily - just lace
 unraveling a little more daily.
The things I tell her can't find a place
 to stick, so she asks, gaily,
(unraveling a little more daily)
"What's new?" I told her two minutes before
but it's gone, so she asks, gaily,
and I tell her again.  Sometimes it's a chore.
"What's new?" I told her two minutes before.
I'll tell her again, two minutes from now,
then I'll tell her again.  Sometimes its a chore.
Can I keep my patience?  I wonder how.
I'll tell her again two minutes from now.
She will not admit that her memory's fraying.
Can I keep my patience? I wonder how
 she feels, lost in a mind that keeps straying.
She will not admit that her memory's fraying.
She simply can't face the truth it implies.
She feels lost in a mind that keeps straying
and I can read the fear behind her eyes.
She simply can't face the truth it implies.
Her mind is erroding.  Her thoughts fall apart,
and I can read the fear behind her eyes.
She's slowly dissolving.  It's breaking my heart.
Her mind is erroding.  Her thoughts fall apart.
She's afraid to go to , ". . . that nursing home place."
She's slowly dissolving.  It's breaking my heart.
Her brain's as full of holes as a doily - just lace.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for


This was the week when all the leaves came in
When hills all went from brown and gray to green
And so the summer sweetly does begin.

I almost heard them bursting out. This dim
Subsonic shout - what does it mean?
This was the week when all the leaves came in.

The air is soft and mild. My senses spin
In wonder at the season’s turning speed.
And so the summer sweetly does begin.

The maple trees unfurl, in stylish whim,
Chartreuse cockades of tiny , tight-packed pleats.
This was the week when all the leaves came in.

The poplar’s brassy tint will quickly dim.
For three days only will that hue be seen.
And so the summer sweetly does begin.

Bird’s nests, once visible within the thin
And barren twigs now hide behind this screen.
This was the week when all the leaves came in,
And so the summer sweetly does begin.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for


 I am a certified Master Knitter.  I have passed all three stages of the Knitter's Guild of America's certification program.  I know more about knitting than you want to listen to.  This is my masterpiece sweater, designed and knit by me all by myself.

 I'm particularly proud of the neckline as it emerges out of the cables in a wonderfully knitterly fashion, and is integrated ingeniously into the body of the sweater, relying on the properties of the stitches and the material.

I am also quite proud of the way I used my side seams to create a horseshoe cable.

See those littlte lumps that look like popcorn?  Those are bobbles.  A master knitter must demonstrate proficiency in bobbles as well as in creating and arranging cables.  I hate bobbles, because they make me think of the tags of poop-sodden wool on the back of a sheep.  So I carefully placed my bobbbles where they are not likely to snag on anythin, and I minimized the number down to 6 on either sleeve.  There's yer frickin' bobbles!

Of course, while I was photographing the sweater, the supervisor had to make her suggestions: to wit, "Everything is better with a kitty.

Knitting is pleasure and therapy, exercise and meditation for me.  The process of creating fabric by interlacing loops of a single string of yarn using nothing more than pointy sticks and human ingenuity is an awesome act of magic every time it happens.  As I knit, sometimes I think of women just like me down through history who have made the socks and sweaters for their family, washed and spun the wool, created and innovated and discovered new ways to make the task lighter and more entertaining.  Ways to show off their expertise to other knitters.  Ways to improve the necessary garments to make them fit better, wear longer, look nicer.  Whoever figured out the strap heel was a freaking genius!!  When I knit, I know myself to be in the company of domestic goddesses. My knitting friends are included in that coterie.

There is a knitters' joke that one of us will be knitting in the Doctor's waiting room (or other place of waiting), and someone will say, "Oh I would never have the patience to knit."   Knitters then laugh because they know that without the knitting, they would be chewing on the furniture and harassing the fish in the tank. Knitting imbues patience.  The only time it requires patience is if you expect yourself to be perfect right off the bat with a completely new kinesthetic skill.  Knitting is like riding a bicycle,  You have to teach your muscles what to do.  Muscles learn slowly, but never forget.  Often, people who have had strokes can begin knitting again even before they can write.

When I knit in public, I also encounter people who think knitting is an archaic lost art, right up there with tanning hides and building buggy whips.  I educate the hell out of those folks, let me tell you!

Sometimes though, older gentlemen will ask to speak with me, and tell me how they remember their mothers or aunts knitting, or how they learned to knit themselves .  One fellow said that he was recovering from pneumonia during WW I, and his mom taught him how to knit bandages for the Red Cross to keep him occupied.  Another fellow told me how, as a sailor in the British Navy during WWII, he learned to knit his own socks to pass the time while they waited for action.  He told me about a clever heel that can be taken out and re-knit when it wears thin, rather than having to darn in lumps.

Oh, I told you I knew more about knitting than you wanted to hear.  And I'm scarcely started.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My inner Xena camae through

Thanks to the help from my friends, here's me on Amazon.

If you have read Sanna, and are willing to post a review, I am willing to show my appreciation.  Cookies, chocolate or backrubs are on offer at the moment, but bribes can be expanded as needed.

J is for


With this alphablog challenge, I write something passable, then the next day I realize that I should have chosen something else.  Yesterday should have been indolence.  "Had I breath of lillies and teeth of pearl I might call it indolence, but I must confess to being lazy."  Oscar Wilde said something like this.  The memory is the first to go.  I don't remember what happens next.

But, since I don't get the notion for what I should have done untill I actually DO something, here are a few of my favorite jokes.

 I dreamed I was hanging out with the great philosophers of history, drinking and laughing and having a grand time.  "I'm going to get anther beer."  I announced.  "Any one else want some?"  Renee Descarte said, "Oh, I think not." and disappeared.

If you trip over something that isn't there, is it an obstacle illusion?

So this group of Northern Spanish sheepherders came to Barcelona to make a political statement and were assigned a police escort.  Being very rural folks, the sheepherders were ill-equipped to deal with modern conveniences such as flush toilets, and escalators.  One fellow fell while trying to cross the road in front of a moped, and was injured, so the escort had the rest of them wait in a large doorway till he could get the accident victim to the hospital.  When he returned, he found his charges engaged in pissing contests, competing in harassing the paserbys, and fighting with one another.  The moral of this story is that you should never put all your basques in one exit.

How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?  Fish.

Why did the possum cross the road?  No one knows.  There have never been any survivors.

Heard any good ones lately?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for

Inspiration, Initiative, Integrity, Intrepidity!  Today, I am going to learn how to make links so people who want to read my book can go straight to Amazon and buy it.  And, when I review other books, people who read my reviews can find the books right away.  Today I am going to send my inner Barbie out for a manicure, channel my inner Xena, and face the unknown with fortitude.  I will wrestle with those demons of self-doubt and conquer them. ("But learning new things is hard." says Barbie.  "I can do hard things!" says Xena.  "Go decide which color polish you want.")  Saint Lisa will guide me (Thank you Mrs. Nowak) and Susan the Muse will smile on me when I am done.  I can do hard things!  Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyi!

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for

Growth.  You just can't keep a Good tree down!  The old apple was pruned to within an inch of it's life last year, and yet it insists on persisting.  Sprouts and shoots emerge witht or without our encouragement.  In a few more years we likely will have a green tent in the summer, and in the fall, the ground will be cobbled with apples again.

Growth insists on persisting all around and through us.  If things aren't going the way you think they should, maybe you are just developing a good sound root system.  Then, almost overnight, you might leaf out and in time bear fruit.  You can't cause Growth, but you can help it along.  And unless you are a Bonsai person, you don't need to control the direction of the growth.  Espalieried trees and espaliered people are not hardy.  Grow where you're planted or Get the hell out!  It's your only life.  Have fun with it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for

If a picture is worth a thousand words, that's about four thousand on Flowers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Eeeeeee! is the noise I make when the snow begins to fall and the carnivorous wooly mammoths descend from the north to tread me into the tundra and slurp me up like a pork-flavored snow-cone.  I don't like snow.  But really, Eeeeee, isn;pt much to blog about.

So I pulled out the 1947 dictionery from which my older brothers got my name (they needed a girl's name to go with Rick, my twin brother's name.  And they didn't like Rebecca or Rachel, so they had to do research.  The 1947 Webster's New Collegiate has a list of names and their menaings in the back.  Roxanna is from the old Persian word for Dawn of day.  My last name was Dahl, which is Norwegian for a dale or valley.  So my name translates as Dawn in the valley - sings: . . Dawn in the valley, valley so low.  Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.)

As I was sying, before I got so easily led astray, I opened the dictionery to E and the firts word upon which my eye fell was Ericaceous.  From the latin Erice or heath, from Greek Ereike. Bot. belonging to the heath faamily.  (Erricaceae)  Is it Ericaceous where you live? 

Of course, I then had to look up heath, and after that, wintergreen, and, well you wordsmiths out there KNOW what a time suck an open dictionery can be.

So if you are even in Ericaceous land, and it begins to snow, it is imperative the you immediately Errect an Edifice to protect yourself from Errant carnivorous wooly mamoths.

Does Legolass know the Elffabet?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Dauntless Swiftsure strode into one of my dreams one night and announced, "I'm deceitful and dangerous."  When I woke up, I knew she was part of Sanna's story.  Lisa develops her characters.  Mine come to me and yell behind my eardrums till I write them down.  They know exactly who they are and why they are and what they want to look like.  It's up to me to accomodate the details to fit them.  Oh, and they do what they want to do, and if the readers don't beliee it, then it's my job as a writer to convince the reader.

Dauntless Swiftsure is a member of Tribe Dauntless, of the Peoples of the Wide Skies.  The Peoples are nomadic and matriarchial.  The women are the core of the tribe, and the men come and go as it pleases them,  All the women in a tribe are related.  Unlike patriarchial systems, where the bride is sent away from her family and home and forced to live with the groom's mother and sisters, it is the sons that leave home.  Marriages last a year and a day and can be dissolved sooner if both partners choose.  Babies are a gift to the tribe, and everyone helps to rear them.  Men are welcome to travel with any tribe that they like, if the women of the tribe will accept them.

I don't know if I would like always being with my mother, my sisters, my cousins and my aunts.  Would you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

A-Z challenge.

I have joined the A-z blogging challenge.  I am nothing of not a good follower.  Lisa a t ,Susan at Wiggle Room (because every woman needs a room of her own) and Pat at doing this as well.

(They are also gifted authors.  Pat and Susan have e-books available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  Pat has a tree-hugger manifesto that even I, daughter of a lumberman and old school ravager of the environment, was able to enjoy and appreciate.  Unlike most tree-huggers, Pat has a sense of humor and gets her point across without preaching or playing the big guilt card. Kidnapping the Lorax is a damn fine read and lots of fun.

Lisa is bringing out a Young Adult novel with a Stock-car racing setting and teenager getting his sh-t together theme.  Again, laugh-out-loud sections.  Also make you cry sections.  Lisa is really mean to her characters.  She's a great writer.

 Susan offers a mystery called Blind Leading the Blind  that offers laugh out loud humor, gritty child-welfare procedurals, a blind woman and her useless but charming guide dog, and the female detective that falls in love with her.)
Since I am late to the game, I have to blog on three letters today.

A is for ambition.  I have an ambition to be a writer.  A writer is someone who writes.  I do not particularly have an ambition to be an Author.  An Author is someone who is acclaimed for their writing.  Acclaim is great stuff, and I suck it up like a greedy piggy, but it is not my Ambition to Attain Acclaim.  My ambition is to let the stories and characters in my head run out of my fingers, and onto the page where they can play with everyone.

B is for Biddable.  I have always been a Biddable kid.  I do what people tell me, at least until I get Bored.  So here I am, joining the Alphablog challenge, like a fish entering a Bicycle race.

C is for Challenge.  And Conscientious.  And Conforming.  All of them Concepts which I do not like.  They make me feel Constrained and Claustrophobic. 

And C is for Chocolate.  Pat wins the Chocolate!

When I was a kid, Dad used to play a car game with us, saying, "I'm going on a trip and I'm going to pack my anemometer."  The next person would say, "I'm going on a trip and I'm going to pack my anemometer, and my bear traps."  The next person would say, "I'm going on a trip and I'm going to pack my anemometer, my bear traps, and my coat."  And so on.  If you forgot a word, or couldn't come  up with one, everyone would prompt you.  No one was ever out, because then they would sulk and be sullen, and the point of the game was to keep the damn kids entertained in the car!  My brothers delighted in using big words, and dad would always explain them for us little kids, so the alphabet game is a long-time favorite of mine.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

So . .

This pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel shoved down the front of his breeches.  Z"What's with the steering wheel?" asks the bartender.

And the pirate says, "Arrr, it's drivin' me nuts!"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

and so

this nun, this Scotchman and this Indian walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "Is this some kind of a joke?"

Oh, by the way, how many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  Fish.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

for Kat

The drunk dyslexic that walked into a bra?  He's the same guy with the agnostic question - "What if there really IS a doG?"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thanks, Lisa.

I thought that if a person was a "Follower" you automatically got the post on your dashboard.  I'll look into that announcement thing.

In the meantime, "Political correctness is an effort to put into effect the optimistic notion that if you just approach it correctly, it must be possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

well, hell

If no one is going to be reading this anyhow, I may as well amuse myself.  So this drunk dyslexic walked into a bra . . .

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm following L. Nimoy

I'm following Leonard Nimoy on Twitter.  I think it's just a way for him to encourage people to check out his blog and buy his photography books.  I didn't know that he was a photographer, did you?

His fifth tweet poses a question: Does the camera actually capture a moment  in time when it does not capture itself or the photographer?

Cameras capture images.  An image is merely a representation of something, and the creator of the image edits that representation by what they focus on, to present their own view of the subject.  Nimoy has done a project called "Full Figured" featuring realy large women, in the nude.  He has focused on their strength, their pride, their personalities, and the portraits are so much more then mere figure studies.  Another photographer could have photographed the same women in the same poses and made them ludicrous caricatures.  And neither has actually captured a moment in time.

As writers, twenty of us could write about the same occurrence, and no two would write about the same thing.  A bride tosses her bouquet.  Everyone is laughing, but look around the edges of the crowd.  The flower girl is transported in the fairytale.  A sour spinster aunt has caught more bouquets than you can count, and they never transformed her into a happy laughing bride. One writer will be interested in the composition of the bouquet and the way the different flowers catch the light as they fly, the symbolism of the different blossoms, their significance to the bride.  Another writer will focus on the bride's father who sees her throwing her life away on that worthless man she's marrying.  Or perhaps the bouquet was thrown to Becky, but Courtney jumped in a grabbed it.  Or the ring-dog with years of frisbee catches in mind, snatches it out of the air and romps away with it.

Just be aware, no matter what you write, you will write with your own particular focus and interpretations.  Don't worry if someone says, "Oh, that's been done before."  No one has done it the way you will!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

change of plan

Posting the new book in sections is not turning out at all the way I thought it would.  No one says "Good", "Bad" or "Why do you bother?"  I'm into this to make friends, and get to know folks, and if no one comments, what's the point?  I already KNOW what I'm writing.  So instead, I think I'll have a contest.


Have you heard any jokes lately?  I have a padded envelope and will send a chocolate bar to the person who sends in the best joke by April.  It doesn't have to be squeaky clean, either.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

not for kiddies

It hadn’t been the worst day of Barb’s life. That had been the day the power plants blew up. That had been the worst day in everyone’s life. The survivors were still trying to get back to normal. The cockroaches were still mutating, though.

“Maybe I should have taken that apartment,” she muttered to herself, rubbing her sore calf muscle. “At least with the big ones you can see them coming.”

She looked around her motel room. The bare floor shone softly in the LED light. All the furniture stood with each leg in a dish of kerosene. A sign on the wall said, “The management will not be responsible for anything left touching the floor or a wall.” As she sat on the bed with her feet tucked under her, she watched a blush of the tiny red ones sweep across the wall behind the TV. They were too small to focus on individually, but the little cockroaches swarmed in the millions. Barb shuddered.

Things had been better in Billings. The cold winters killed most of the bugs. Here in sub-tropical Seattle, the whole city crawled. But this was where the work was, so this was where she was going to have to stay for a while. It was just too damn bad that a diagnostician couldn’t do her work on line, but telecommuting won’t tell you the feel of the patient’s skin or the smell of their breath or the exact timbre of their cough. Diagnosis was still a hands-on profession. And as long as her mom was going strong, Billings, Montana didn’t need another diagnostician.

“Why didn’t I go for surgery?” Barb asked herself, carefully tucking all the sheets and blankets up to avoid leaving a bridge from floor to bed. “I could phone that in from anywhere in the world, but nooo, I had to watch every episode of “House” and get inspired to diagnose. Idiot. Lights out.”
Obedient to her command, the lights went off.

New Seattle - 1:00AM- May 9, 2020

“God, you’re beautiful,” Cody groaned. He began to kiss the tender spot in front of her ear, trailing a tongue tip around the whorls, and breathing into the hollows. Barb shuddered with pleasure.

“Oh Cody, let me sleep. I’ve got to be bright and alert my first day on the job.”

“Oh baby, you are bright as the sun at high-noon in August. They’ll need sunglasses just to be in the same room with you.” He nipped her earlobe, and her breath began to come quicker.

“You can give your old Cody a little sugar, can’t you darlin’? He was kissing down to the corner of her jaw, then mumbling his lips along her throat, slowly pulling the blankets down. “Just a little lovin’ for your dear old Cody?” He slipped between the sheets next to her. He was naked, of course. “Just once for old time’s sake, my little rodeo queen?” his hands were on her breasts, caressing, teasing. She opened her mouth for his tongue, and her knees for the familiar weight of his body.

“I have never heard of a ghost as horny as you are, Cody,” she sighed.

“Yeah, but you like it, don’t you sugar pie?”

“Oh yes. Oh, God yes. Yes, Yes! Yesyesyesyeeeesss! Ohhh, Cody.”

“You just go to sleep now, darlin’ Old Cody’ll take care of you.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seattle: May 8, 2020

     “Is it dead?”
     “What does it take to kill one? You sure smacked the crap out of it!”
     “They always goo like that when you hit them. Is - it - dead?”
     “I don’t know. Why don’t you poke it and find out?”
     “You poke it. Oh crap! It moved!”
      “It did not.”
      “That - that thing there on the left just twitched.”
      “You’re crazy.”
     “If it didn’t move then it must be dead, and you can go ahead and poke it to be sure.”
It was like an avocado with long hairy legs. Jason hadn’t caught any more details before Barb had hit it with her purse and knocked a lot of orange stuff out of it. It lay on the countertop in a pool of ooze, legs splayed, carapace apparently cracked. But was it dead?
      “Hit it again, why don’t you?” he suggested.
      “This is a vintage Coach bag,” she retorted. “That gunk will stain it. You hit it.”
     “With what?”
     “I don’t know. Use your shoe?”
     “I can’t do any damage with these little canvas things. Use your shoe.”
     “You big wuss!” Teetering precariously on one foot, Barb slipped off an electric blue snakeskin pump and handed it to him. “Now don’t -- ”
He grasped the toe of the shoe and swung. The heel nailed the creature through the center, and suddenly all the legs began to spasm and twitch. Jason jerked his hand away, and, impaled by the shoe heel, the thing began to drag itself away.
     “My shoe!” Barb shrieked. “My Edorian Grey! Get it”
     Jason looked wildly around the empty kitchen, pulled open the oven, and found a rack still in place. Jerking it out, he began to flail wildly at the injured horror, while Barb screamed, “Don’t scuff it! Don’t scuff it!”
      At last the thing was thoroughly broken and splattered. Jason gingerly picked up the shoe by two fingers and held it out to Barb. She stared for a moment at the battered, goo-covered object, then turned and hobbled toward the door.
      “Wait,” Jason called. “There are other apartments in this building. Wouldn’t you like to look at them? We could waive the cleaning deposit.”
     It hadn’t been the worst day of Barb’s life. That had been the day the power plants blew up. That was pretty much the worst day in everyone’s life. But life does go on, and the survivors tried to get back to normal. The cockroaches were still mutating, though.
     “Maybe I should have taken that apartment,” she muttered to herself, rubbing her sore calf muscle. “At least you can see the big ones coming.”
     She looked around her motel room. The bare floor shone softly in the LED light. All the furniture stood with each leg in a dish of kerosene. A sign on the wall said, “The management will not be responsible for anything left touching the floor or a wall.” As she sat on the bed with her feet tucked under her, she watched a blush of the tiny red ones swarm across the wall behind the TV. They were too small to focus on individually, but the little cockroaches swarmed in the millions. Barb shuddered.
     Things had been better in Billings. The cold winters killed most of the bugs. Here in sub-tropical Seattle, the whole city crawled. But here was where the work was, and here was where she was going to have to stay for a while. It was just too damn bad that a diagnostician couldn’t do her work on line. But telecommuting won’t tell you the feel of the patient’s skin, or the smell of their breath or the exact timbre of their cough. Diagnosis was still a hands-on profession. And as long as her mom was going strong, Billings Montana didn’t need another diagnostician.
     “Why didn’t I go for surgery?” Barb grumbled, carefully tucking all the sheets and blankets under the mattress to avoid leaving a bridge from floor to bed. “I could phone that in from anywhere in the world. Nooo, I had to watch every episode of “House” and get inspired to diagnose. Idiot. Lights out!”
      Obedient to her command, the lights went off.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to use a jelly roll

Here's a little advice for the newbie sewers out there.  A "How-to" piece.  Get your visualization equipment into gear.

     A “Jelly Roll” is a pre-selected collection of co-ordinating fabrics sold in fabric stores that cater to quilters. Usually it is rolled in such a way that a little bit of each fabric shows enticingly in a swirl of color.
     It’s likely that your jelly roll is all fat quarters (18 x24 inch swatches of fabric.) First, you should unroll them, wash and dry them as you would wash and dry your quilt, and iron them flat.
     Sort your fat quarters into light and dark piles, then decide how much sewing you want to do. You might try laying them out on the floor as is, alternating light and dark in a checkerboard, and see if you like the effect. If it seems too blocky, fold a few of them in half the long way, then the wide way and see if the smaller rectangless make the checkerboard more acceptable. If so, cut everything into quarters, and do a random light / dark checkerboard. Simple straight seams, and no “Wrong” way to assemble it, with a surprisingly satisfying result. You could piece a whole quilt top in a weekend.
     OR cut them into 18 x 6 inch strips, make light/dark/light squares, and dark/light/dark squares. Again, make a light / dark checkerboard, but put the light/dark/light stripes vertically, and the dark/light/dark stripes horizontally.
     Get out your graph paper and colored pencils to help visualize this. In fact, you may spend several days playing with your graph paper and pencils to decide what you want, but remember that there is great freedom and satisfaction in surrendering to randomness and appreciating its beauty.
     I like to assemble my squares by sewing all the light squares to all the dark squares. Then, matching center seams, I sew those blocks together, lining them up so the darks and lights alternate, making bigger squares. Again, matching center seams, I sew the bigger blocks together and so on until the top is done.
     Remember that you will lose fabric in the seams. If your cut piece is 6x6 inches, and you sew quarter-inch seams, the finished piece will be 5.5 x 5.5 inches.
     You can back your quilt top with a piece of micro fleece or you can use a sheet the proper size. I make pieced and tied comforters, which means that rather than carefully sewing all the layers together in precise lines of tiny stitches, I take a stout needle and some wool yarn and , every five inches, I take a single stitch through all layers of the fabric, cut the yarn about an inch from the fabric, and tie the ends together in a sturdy square knot. Washing and drying will felt the yarn and secure it even tighter. This makes for a fluffier, warmer quilt and one that you can finish before next Christmas.
     I don’t make heirloom quilts. I make drag-arounds to be thrown on the floor, used for tents and forts and taken into the yard on a clear night for star-gazing. Because I don’t think of these works as Art for the Ages, I can be a lot freer in my use of color and simple design and in accepting things that didn’t turn out as I had envisioned them. I create, not magnificent works of craftsmanship, but manifestations of warmth and comfort. And I have fun with it. You can, too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Go fishin'

Troll your cursor across the fishpond and watch them follow you.  Then click to feed them.  Thank you, Muse Susan for helping me improve the blog!

Susan also taught me how to twitter.  This rather boggles my mind.  Will there really be  people out there who will want to know what I think in 140 characters?  Do any of you twitter?  What's this all about, anyhow?  I am a loud introvert trying to make my way in social networking.  Any hints, suggestions, recommendations or requests would be most welcome!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How could I top this?

My beloved copy-editor, Pat Lichen, has started a blog.  Her very first blog post is about the possum's penis.  You gotta see this for yourself.

And on Sunday the 20th, we are having the big launch party for Puddletown Publishing!  I'll include the link tomorrow.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Ondine

Once there was a king who had three sons, a daughter, and a magic cup.  His eldest son, Hans, was strong and brave.  His second son, Fritz, was wise and well-educated.  His third son, Rudy, was handsome and charming.  His daughter, Bess was everything you could want a princess to be, and more.

One morning the king was awakened by loud wailings and lamentations.  The door to the royal treasury was broken down, the magic cup was missing, and between the treasury and the lake was a slimy slippery path as if a slug had been walking about a bit.

Hans, who was brave and strong, immediately announced, "I will recover the magic cup," and dove into the lake.  Underwater, the slippery path turned into a shiny, silvery rope leading down into the black depths of the lake, down past startled fishes and rocky ledges to a glimmering crystal palace. (This was around the era of Beowulf when all heroes could breathe underwater.)

At the door of the palace stood a fearsome troll. which Hans swiftly killed.  (What a wonderful thing it is to be brave and strong!) Entering the palace, Hans was greeted by a lissome maiden in diaphanous robes.  She fell into his arms, laid her head on his bosom and sighed, "You have saved me from the troll.  Truly you are a hero.  Is there nothing I can do to repay you for your bravery and strength?"

"Ah, shucks, Ma'am. Twarn't nothin'," demurred Hans, blushing to the crest of his helmet.  He did not, however, let go of the maiden."

"Oh it was!" she asserted, raising her dewy eyes to gaze adoringly into his.  "It was everything!"  She threw her arms around his neck, stretched up on her tippy toes, and kissed him on the mouth, whereupon he changed into a little red carp which she swallowed at one gulp.

The next day, when Hans did not return, Fritz, (who was wise and well-educated) declared, "I will recover the magic cup and save my brother Hans."

So he tied a long rope around his waist and told the royal guards to pull him back as fast as they could if they should feel three tugs on the rope.  Then, putting a large rock in each pocket to save himself the rouble of swimming down, Fritz jumped into the lake.

He sank like, well, like a rock, down into the black depths of the lake, down past startled fishes and rocky ledges to a glimmering crystal palace at the bottom of the lake.  At the door of the palace stood wicked wizard whom Fritz speedily out-spelled.  Entering the palace, Fritz was greeted by a lissome maiden in diaphanous robes.  She fell into his arms, laid her head on his bosom and sighed, "You have saved me from the troll.  Truly you are a scholar.  Is there nothing I can do to repay you for your wisdom and education?"

"Assuredly, Demoiselle, the deed was of little consequence," demurred Fritz.  He did not, however, let go of the maiden."

"Oh it was!" she asserted, raising her dewy eyes to gaze adoringly into his.  "It was everything!"  She threw her arms around his neck, stretched up on her tippy toes, and kissed him on the mouth, whereupon he changed into a little red carp which she swallowed at one gulp.

The king's guards felt the rope go slack and pulled it up as fast as ever they could, but Fritz was gone.

"Well," said Rudy, "It falls to me to rescue the cup and avenge my brothers Hans and Fritz." So Rudy curled his hair, buffed his nails, brushed his teeth and put on his best party clothes.  Then he had the royal guards row him out into the lake where he called out,"Ho, mighty and mysterious denizen of the lake. Come, let us reason together."

Immediately the water began to roil and boil, and a lissome maiden in diaphanous robes rose from the lake standing on a clam shell.

"Are you Rudy?" she sighed."  Hans and Fritz never told me you were so handsome.  Oh, if only you would kiss me, I would give you anything you ask."

"Well come here, sweetie.  I have a kiss just for you." Rudy swept her into his arms and kissed her on the mouth whereupon she changed into a little red carp which she swallowed at one gulp.  Then, laughing nastily, she dove back into the lake.

When the royal guards told the king what had happened he was devastated and cried, "I will give half my kingdom and the hand of my daughter, Bess, in marriage to anyone who can recover my magic cup and avenge my sons, Hans, Fritz, and Rudy."

"Oh for crying in the sink!" snarled Bess, and stomped off.

Bess spent the rest of the day wandering around the palace, going up to the attic and down to the wine cellars, out to the stables, and in to the spare bedrooms.  And everywhere she went she spoke to the spiders.  That night, after everyone had left the dining room, she pushed the chairs and tables against the walls, scattered five pounds of salt on the floor, locked the door behind her, and went to bed.

Early next morning, when she unlocked the dining room, she found that the spiders had spun the salt into a beautiful shimmery white cloak.  Bess put flowers in her hair, threw the cloak around her shoulders, and went walking along the lakeside, singing sad songs and mourning her brothers.  Soon the water began to roil and boil, and the lissome maiden rose from the lake, standing on a clam shell.

She called out to Bess, "Princess, why do you weep?"

"My father promised my hand in marriage to anyone who will recover the magic cup and avenge my brothers.  What if the man who does it is ugly?  Or boring?  What if he never bathes?  What if no one can do it?  Will they hold me in escrow till I'm a dried-up old maid? Whatever shall I do?"  Bess wrung her hands pathetically.

"Ah, Princess, I pity you," said the ondine (for that is what the lissome maiden truly was.)  "I will return your father's magic cup and free you from this nonsensical vow of his."

She drew the cup from beneath her diaphanous robes and glided off the clam shell and onto the beach, leaving a slimy, slippery trail as if a slug were walking about a bit.

"How can I repay you?" cried Bess, clutching the cup to her bosom.

"A simple kiss of friendship--"  began the ondine, with a hungry gleam in her eye.

"Oh no.  That's not nearly enough.  I'll give you my spider silk cloak." And holding the magic cup in her teeth, Bess whipped her cloak off her shoulders and wrapped it around the ondine.  The five pounds of salt, which the spiders had spun into the silk, began to work.  with terrible screams, the ondine dissolved into a puddle of slime, in the midst of which were three little red carp.  Bess plucked them out and dropped them into the cup whereupon they turned into Hans, Fritz and Rudy.

The king was a man of his word, and though he hated to do it, he gave half his kingdom to Bess and her own hand in marriage.  Later, she married a gypsy king and spent summers on the road with him, but that's another story.  I wish I could say they all lived happily ever after, but Hans and Fritz never went swimming again, and handsome Rudy never ever kissed another woman on the mouth, though he an his wife did have seven children and a long, successful marriage.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thanks to the muses at Puddletown

I will soon have e-books available for purchase.  My publishers, the Muses at Puddletown Press, have suggested that I initiate a writerly blog.  Now, I don't believe that you learn how to write by reading about how to write, or by reading what other writers think about writing, or by going to workshops and conventions.  You learn to write by writing. 

And with luck, you can find some friends and editors who, though they don't always know it, are superb teachers.  They will critique your writing and let you know where it doesn't work.  It's YOUR writing.  It's up to you to figure how to fix it. 

Now, here is the important thing.  You have to write.  Among other things, it is mandatory that you turn out at least a million words that are crap.  How else are you going to get the crap out of your system.  If you write one sentence and it's crap, and you give up, you'll never get past the crap.

A psychologist was studyiing attitude.  He took one child with a bad attitude and put him in a room full of bright and interesting toys; blocks and Lincolon Logs and Leggos and train sets, but the kid just broke a few, then sat there being sullen.  "Why don't you play with the nice toys?" the shrink asked him.

"They're no fun.  I have to learn how to use them."

Then he took a kid with a good attitude and put him in a room full of horse crap.  Immediately the kid pitched in and began shoveling his way through the muck with all his might and main.

"Well, you sure seem cheery." said the shrink.

"You bet!" said the kid.  "With all this crap, there's gotta be a pony in here somewhere!!"

So when you feel that your work is crap - keep digging for the pony.