I have greatly loved her work.

Originally posted on Sci-Fi Bulletin:

British Blood-20writer Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday May 24th, aged 67.

Lee was the author of over 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as four BBC Radio plays, and two highly-regarded episodes of the BBC’s SF series Blake’s 7 (Sand and Sarcophagus). She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in 2013 and the Horror Writers Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which joined her British Fantasy Award from 1980 for Death’s Master, and her World Fantasy Award for her short story “The Gorgon”.

Her work spanned many genres, including science fiction, fantasy horror and crime, but her preoccupation, she maintained, was always people.

Tributes have started to appear on social media with Guy Gavriel Kay noting that “We’ve just lost someone I greatly admired as a person & writer,” and many agreeing with Jonathan Strahan’s comment that “she was, simply, remarkable.”

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Alert for bad language in the shared post. But what he has to say is spot on. Same for what Jupiter says. Classism is ugly and it’s past time we did better by each other.

Originally posted on Poor as Folk:

The above response is perfect.

As a writer, I appreciate grammar and spelling. As a human being, I recognize that some people don’t speak or write with “perfect English” does not disqualify them from earning a living wage.   Perhaps I am able to see this because I was raised by my Grandpa who had to drop out of school in the 6th grade to help support his Mom and 6 younger siblings after his father died or because I have step-children who were raised in another country and speak English as a second language (they also speak Chinese and step-daughter also speaks French,Flemish, and Dutch but this doesn’t matter at all to employers and assholes of the general population who only hear an accent and “broken” English)  or because I have a child with a learning disability . But I’m a firm believer in the idea that we don’t…

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As I shop out my early reader book to agents, I find myself drawn back into the world of my novella.  If you write, do you find yourself drawn back to old worlds and characters as you strive to build new ones?  Do you think this is a form of inspiration or procrastination?  Maybe it’s both?

Originally posted on RevGalBlogPals:

I saw it again today: the argument that birth control is a way for women to have sex without consequence; that somehow single motherhood is the punishment for having a sexual relationship before marriage.

Let us tease that apart a bit.

Mother and child Photo: Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

First, let us acknowledge that there are women who desire to be mothers. Many of these women are, or plan to be, married; while others are not. So being a mother is not inherently punitive.

Let us also acknowledge that – despite the physical toll it takes on the body – most women find pregnancy, on balance, to be a positive thing. So being pregnant is not inherently punitive.

Let us not forget those women who have become mothers, but the lives of their children were cut short. They are mothers still, their arms empty but their hearts full. Their too-brief time with their…

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__First, the Flashback__

Some time ago, a service person from Sears came out to fix a dishwasher that was under warranty and broke the line going to it. We were unable to run the dishwasher (since it wasn’t fixed), and the water kept flowing.  It flowed under our kitchen floor and damaged the floor, then it flowed through & collapsed the ceiling in the basement in several places.  We thought our lines had backed up, so we hired a plumber, but he found no problem. The water, more or less, dissolved the wood under the sink and we had to cut that away to deal with the giant splintered remains of what had been the floor of the cabinet. With that, we finally figured out where the water was coming from and shut it off. We honestly hadn’t thought it was the dishwasher – since we couldn’t run it, were not trying to run it, and it was dry. But yep, it was the pipe to the back of the dishwasher; it had been snapped.

We asked Sears to come back out and supposedly  a claim was filed by a Sears service person, but we never heard anything – ever again.  We tried to communicate with higher level folks at Sears, but Sears was unresponsive (so we don’t buy anything from them anymore & we recommend you don’t either).

My Mom told us to call our homeowner’s insurance, State Farm.  She said this was the sort of thing homeowner’s insurance was for.  And they’d helped her with a similar issue.  So we called.  After a few discussions, State Farm told us that this wasn’t covered damage under our homeowner’s flood policy because it was a “slow leak”.  So, a cracked pipe would be covered but if the extensive damage caused by a cracked pipe happened over 48 to 72 hours, that was too slow to cover…or something. I guess.

__Cut to the Present__

This morning, after several days of rain -which is rare in Colorado- we woke up to a seriously flooded basement. Our basement is finished, so the damage included furniture, sound system, carpeting…just a devastating level of damage.

So – Darth, my husband, filed a claim.  I got the call-back this evening. The woman on the phone told me something like the damage wasn’t covered if “the water touched the ground first”.  Maybe she said something about “groundwater damage not being covered” but I am pretty sure that rainwater, whether it touches the ground or not, is not groundwater until and unless it seeps into the ground and joins the existing groundwater – which is about 400 ft below ground surface [bgs] around here in the Arapahoe Aquifer area of the Denver Basin. We aren’t in the 100-year flood plain either, so surely this isn’t what she said, right?  Surely she wasn’t trying to tell me that our policy didn’t cover rain damage in our basement if the rain simply touched the ground? That would imply what? That the only covered rain damage was damage caused by magical anti-gravity rain?

I handed off the phone to Darth since he saw the flooding first and since I was too frustrated to think straight.  Darth was too angry – and too busy cleaning up – to respond rationally either.  Wisely, he quickly signed off and told the woman to call back later.

Son 1 suggested we get a new insurance provider. He’s 10, but I still think he’s right. My Dad had State Farm, and I’ve had it my whole adult life. Darth’s Dad has always had State Farm & Darth’s had it his whole adult life.  I always thought of it as a solid, venerable company, but right now, after these two incidents, which apparently didn’t meet some elusive criteria for our flood damage coverage (which we theoretically have) to kick in, I feel hoodwinked.

One of the more frustrating aspects of this is that the rainwater probably wouldn’t be able to get in if our in-floor heating pipes hadn’t cracked some years back. Before a truly solid, venerable, WONDERFUL company, Mack-Vick, came and capped it off and moved the forced water heating lines above ground, another plumber “chased” the cracks by jack-hammering up the floor. We had it refilled, but it’s never been quite the same. And we didn’t think to file a claim for the initial pipe-break of the forced water heating. :(

Does anyone have any advice?  What company would you recommend for home owner’s insurance and why?


I remember this one – loved it so much. Still do!

Originally posted on David Hertzberg:

Arturo Toscanini playing hide and seek with his granddaughter, 1938.

Arturo Toscanini playing hide and seek with his granddaughter, 1938.

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I wonder how well I’d do at this challenge. I wonder if I could get my family to go along with it. What about you?

Originally posted on Sakker Family:

Hello everyone (Roy typing here),

Our family (Roy 47 yrs.; Ashley 38 yrs.; Sophia 6 yrs.; Caleb 4 yrs.) has decided to create a 21 day challenge. The challenge, which we started on April 20th, is to refrain from saying anything negative about a person, place or thing. We have individual mason jars and a big bag of marbles to track our transgressions. Ashley and I are using the honor system when off on our own.

Day one brought marbles and insight. We all had multiple marbles in our jars, except for Sophia, who only had one. Sophia, widely considered the most genuinely sweet person in this family, is a consensus favorite to earn the least marbles over the course of this challenge.

Day one insight began before the first marble landed in my mason jar. From the very start of the day, I was conscious of my thoughts and processing these thoughts before…

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This one is still a little rough….

Ode to an Ark

My son walks a path both familiar and foreign.

I lay out the golden stones then watch him vanish.

Gone in a yawning, swampy place, dark with peril.

And then

Noah builds an ark.

And two by two by four by four by five by five by OCD by Asperger’s by ADHD by GHD by genius IQ,

it lifts my son with love.

That love that is a balm for the loneliness of oddness, the pain of childhood’s shifting loyalties, that tidal swell that lifts me too.

And no one needs a mushroom boat to reach this island where

teen love says

you’re like normal people when they’re on drugs

and typico neuro

mushroom boats alight to sit on hotel floors watching Pee Wee Herman, asking Are you seeing what I’m seeing?


It’s where we live.

With talking trees and brownies no one else can see.

And I can spy a child from where I stand,

more sensible than most.

She is not alone, and

also built this ark.

This ark of families, of Pauls, of summer’s riding a swelling

wave of love that lifts us from the swamp,

that steadies my son’s journey,

that steers us to the Vast Blue Ocean –

It’s big enough a place for

all of us to



“There’s no mention here of real institutional barriers like rising tuition and decimated financial aid (it’s mentioned only in passing that one student is working three jobs).”

Originally posted on Education and Class:

creative commons licensed ( BY )flickr photo shared by kevin dooley

My campus has a new Equity and Inclusion Facebook group. This morning, I noticed that a colleague who has an excellent reputation for work in education and social justice had posted a link (without comment) to an article from the Cal Berkeley’s Alum publication: The Struggle to Be First: First-Gen Students May Be Torn Between College and Home.

It’s a relatively long piece for an alum publication, and author Alina Tugend has talked to authors who have done research about First Generation students and contacted programs in other places.  I believe that she set out to write a comprehensive and empathetic piece.

And still, I’ve read and reread the article multiple times and cannot find a single reference to any strengths that First Generation  — or their families — bring to the college experience beyond mention that one young woman…

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I have read many books along with Son 1, and enjoyed them immensely.  Here are a few of these books:

1) The Wings of Fire Series by Tui T. Sutherland.  These books are surprisingly intense.  My favorite thing about them is that they are each told from a different character’s point of view.  Sutherland wrote at least one Animorphs books as well…and lots of others that look good.

2) “Dragonrider” by Cornelia Funke.  This is a sweet book with a kind of intimacy that is appropriate and comforting.  This is a good book for an early reader with advanced skills.  Funke is also the author of Inkheart.

3) The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I assume I don’t need to tell you about these!

4) The Fraser Brothers series (known to us as the Jason & Edward books) by Jane Cutler.  Like Dragonrider, these books are fine for younger readers.  They are sweet, easy, humorous reads.  They are out of print, but can still be found at the usual places (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, on-line.  It looks like Ms. Cutler wrote a lot of other books, but we haven’t  read them so I can’t say anything about them.

5) The first 4 to um, 40 Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne. These are great read-aloud books or easy readers to get kids into chapter books.  They do get a bit formulaic after the first 10 or so, but my son probably hit book 47 in this series before that phased him.  These are educational too.

Numbers 2 , 4 & 5 we read when Son 1 was much, much younger than he is now.  He absolutely devours books and I could write forever if I tried to list every one that we enjoyed. Right now, he’s reading my complete Jules Verne.  I am pretty excited to have a reading buddy here at home (and I’m shooting to raise two more :D ).  I have”The Water of Possibility” by Hiromi Goto & Janet Lunn on my list of books to read with him.  Have you read it?  I also think it’s time to introduce him to the Earthsea Books by Ursula LeGuin.  I remember them as fine reading for a 10 year old.  What do you think?

As for grown-up fiction, I recently loaned my favorite book, “Geek Love” by Katherine Dunne, to friends (a couple) and am looking forward to talking with them about it.  It’s probably time to re-read it.  It’s a different book for me every time.  I highly recommend it, though if you are faint of heart or stomach, the first go through may shock or upset you.  Still, it’s worth it.

I have also been thinking about re-reading “Lives of the Monster Dogs” by Kirsten Bakis.  My sister gave me this haunting book years ago.  Another book my sister gave me (ages ago) that is due for re-read is the “Forgotten Beasts of Eld” by Patricia McKillip.  There’s a line in it about life unraveling that stays with me. I wonder if that book would be considered YA fiction now?  Maybe even middle grade?

Not too long ago, I re-read “Sometimes After Sunset” by Tanith Lee and it still surprised me.  If you like science fiction or fantasy even a little and haven’t read Lee, you should give her work a go.  Her work is probably considered YA, and now that I think about it. I was probably a teen the first go-round.

I also humbly suggest you might like my novella, “The Pied Piper of St. May” too.

I can recommend “Zira’s Heart” by K Tempest Bradford.  I think it would also be considered YA.  It has the feel of a lost fairy tale from a lost culture, strange and familiar at the same time.  I have only read it once so far.  I am a fan of Ms. Bradford’s short stories too (you’ll see Elan Vital in my links o the left)  & enjoy an on-line friendship with her built over many years of (my) fandom.

Right now, I am reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn and it just took a shocking turn.  You probably know what I mean if you’ve read it or seen the movie.  I’m not done, so please no spoilers!  For once, I understand what the fuss is all about.

The links above are for your convenience.  Because I am in Colorado, I cannot benefit in any way from your actions, even from Amazon – except if you buy my book (of course!).

Do you have books you regularly re-read?  What is your goal when you do that, if you have one?  Do you have personal classics to recommend?  Any books you’ve especially enjoyed lately?

Gosh, but I do love to read!

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