• The Songweaver's Vow

    She tells Greek legends to entertain Norse gods — until one of her stories leads to murder. Now she's alone in hostile Asgard, and Ragnarok is coming.

    Just released! Check it out.

The Death of Baldr

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

Spoiler alert: Baldr dies.

River Song warns you of spoilers.Okay, seriously, there be spoilers ahead. Mythology nerds likely already know some of what goes down in The Songweaver’s Vow, but if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you grab a copy and then come back for the background material. (Though to be perfectly fair, even knowing the base myth won’t give you a complete picture, so as long as you’re fully apprised of the spoiler-ific nature of this post….)  Continue reading

Indispensable Tools for Writers, Trainers, & Small Business

Something different today: a small business post! I run two small businesses, so I’m all about finding useful tools and tricks for keeping my schedule and my sanity. Over the years, I’ve settled on a shortlist of things I’m not going to do without. And because these will probably be useful to other authors, trainers, and whatever, I am going to share them now with you.

Note: all of these are tools I actually use on a daily or weekly basis. A few have affiliate links, but they’re here only because I find real value in them. Your use of these affiliate links is very much appreciated!

MileIQ for small businessMileIQ

I drive to clients’ homes for appointments, or I drive to museums to research a book, or I drive to a conference, or — I drive a lot. And much of that mileage is deductible, but I am frankly bad at remembering to copy down odometer numbers or to calculate driving distance, blah blah blah.

Enter MileIQ, a phone app which not only tracks all my drives for me automatically, but allows me to sort them into personal and business categories in literal seconds. No, seriously, I mean 5 seconds or so. Continue reading

Dún Aonghasa and Inis Mór

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Writing in Ireland

Dún Aonghasa is an ancient circle fort built on Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. It was probably a complete enclosure at one point, but the cliffs have eroded and collapsed with part of the fort into the sea.

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa's present structure.

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa’s present structure.

The cliffs are about 280-300 feet high above the sea and look upon the Irish coast on a clear day, which may have contributed to the choice of location. The site was first enclosed with a more primitive stone wall about 1100 BC, and ultimately it had four concentric stone walls of startling engineering, encompassing about 14 acres of protected area. It also featured a cheval de frise between the third and fourth walls, a field of deliberately placed upright stones meant to seriously impede any charge by an enemy force. Continue reading

Lady Voices in Audiobooks

I listen to a fair number of audiobooks, mostly because I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the car and reading a paperback while driving is both illegal and stupid. Audiobooks keep me alert and entertained. I listen mostly to fiction, but I also enjoy audio non-fiction and some recorded lectures, especially if I’m researching for a story.

I have some favorite narrators, of course, but I don’t choose books just for the narrator. I have, however, quit books because I did not like the narrator. A reader can really set the tone and influence the flow of a story.

One pet peeve is when male readers indicate a female character primarily by going all breathy. It can make a political thriller or sci fi adventure sound more like a 1-900 sex line. Continue reading

Loki Laufeyson, a Piece of Work (in Progress)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s #WIPjoy, Day 9, is a fun one: “Share a line that shows off your antagonist.”

In the spirit of sharing, I’m going to give you not a line, but a whole paragraph.

Here’s the thing: any time you find yourself in Norse mythology, even if you’re just visiting, you’re going to have Loki as an antagonist. That’s the nature of Loki. Even if he’s not the primary antagonist, he’s going to be an antagonist, because Loki.  In modern interpretations Loki is often something of an anti-hero, but that’s not consistent with the source material, in which Loki is pretty much just a turd to everyone. (A useful turd, sometimes, but still a turd. And if he does get threatened or beaten fairly often, well, he usually had it coming.) Continue reading

So, About Daylight Saving Time

Time change at the end of Daylight Saving Time...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it’s time we were all honest with ourselves and just admitted that Daylight Saving Time is a failed idea.

It’s not a bad idea, in its original form. When early proponents (such as Benjamin Franklin) realized that we could take advantage of longer daylight hours by getting up earlier, that was a legitimate and factual observation. Ben satirically suggested cannons to rouse the populace earlier rather than changing the clocks, because changing the clocks was kind of a dumb idea, but the cannons didn’t exactly take off either.

Since then, Daylight Saving Time (it’s singular, despite popular mispronunciation) discussion has been full of good intentions with poor follow-through. Continue reading

Road Trip! the First Part

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series GDB & Route 66
Would you get hip to this kindly tip And go ta...

Get your kicks… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’m off on the Great American Road Trip.

The purpose is to return Mindy to Guide Dogs for the Blind, and as I couldn’t get anyone at any airline to confirm that she’d be able to fly in the cabin with me, I had to drive her across the country. Trying to make the best of it, I planned an iconic journey for the return, tracing old Route 66 for as much of the old pavement that remains. Continue reading

a review: Blade of the Samurai

Cover of Blade of the Samurai, by Susan Spann, a Shinobi MysteryLast night I dreamt of Faery. Thanks to everyone who came to the virtual release party and/or acquired Fae!

In other news, I had the woot-factor of winning a copy of Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann (released July 15, 2014), and I award it 4.5 stars!

One thing Susan Spann does well — and I can’t believe how fashionably correct this is going to sound, but it’s true — is to write marginalized characters who act powerfully. In Claws of the Cat it was a woman taking a man’s role in society; in Blade of the Samurai it’s a boy on the cusp of genpuku (ceremonial coming of age). Neither is an adult male in this hierarchal patriarchy, yet both are active and interesting characters. I’m taking notes. Continue reading

Of Music and Scrooge McDuck

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Collected...

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Collected Edition cover. Art by Don Rosa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m listening to a comic book soundtrack, and I’m nowhere close to ashamed.

Tuomas Holopainen

Tuomas Holopainen

Tuomas Holopainen — you might know him, if you have exquisite taste, as the founder of symphonic metal wizards Nightwish — has released an album “inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.” And it’s pretty darn good. Continue reading

Blog Chain: Mini-Interviews

Today I’m connecting to some nifty people in a blog chain. You, dear reader, get a mini-interview with me and links to other mini-interviews with authors you might also enjoy, so it’s a fun way to maybe find some new reading matter.

First, I should tell you that it was Rhonda Parrish who sweet-talked me into this. (Okay, it wasn’t that hard.) Continue reading