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And the author's cat...

SOme of you might have heard that we have recently (as in, just before New Year) adopted a half-blind ex-feral tiger-striped caramel tabby who - they say - was about 2 years old but whose antics since arriving to live at our expense make me think that they overestimated that age considerably (he's still very much kitten).

He's a very well behaved young man whose persistent efforts to play with the currently resident 10-year-old grand old lady cat have been met with constant and consistent hissy-fit resistance - but he doesn't give up. He just gives ground when yelled at and bides his time until another chance comes along.

He's also a very entertaining animal, and you just have to love this, for an author's cat. Yesterday he worried a file out of a vertical filing rack that happened to be within his reach, pulling the file almost completely out. We kind of chuckled and asked him to fill out a proper application if he wanted employment as an office assistant... and it only really occurred to me later to check on WHICH file he was so interested in.

It was a folder containing information on my curren WIP... which happens to be about Were-critters.

After I stopped laughing, I began to get a tad worried, actually.

Just how much does this cat know, how long has he known it, and what was he planning to do with the information he was trying to extract?...

And what, if anything, does he turn into when I'm not watching...?

This is him, by the way, vintage about two months ago. I need to take more pics...

blackjack CU blind side january 2014


Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
Read the full thing here.

Their conclusion:

"Midnight at Spanish Gardens is intriguing, frustrating, magical, literary, and slippery when you try to wrap your mind around it... it’s an excellent tale that defies easy classification, and a genuine overlooked treasure. "

Cool. I'll take it. [Big Happy Grin]


Aaaaaand.... drumroll...

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
The first three books of the Worldweavers trilogy are now all out from Sky Warrior Books - Gift of the Unmage, Spellspam, and Cybermage - these three books:

That means the countdown is now on for the conclusion of the series, the never-before-seen brand now story and the grand finale of the series, "Dawn of Magic".

While you wait, catch up with the series in its new guise, re-read from the beginning, and watch this space for an announcement concerning Thea WInthrop's final bow...


Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
From my inbox (subject lines only, I'm too damn busy to go chasing these down although they might be fascinating...)

- "Hold on to her love" (guys, I'm a GIRL. Unless you think I'm a card-carrying lesbian this one is way misplaced. Do you freaking homework.)

- "Get an advanced degree in Homeland Security" - this one's particularly funny after I just read an article about a TSA agent who didn't know if District of Columbia drivers' licences were "valid US photo ID". Advanced degrees - in basic GEOGRAPHY and CIVICS! - might indeed be called for, here. But um I don't need one. Thank you ever so much.

- "No More Tears" - wasn't this last used for a baby shampoo?

- "Free E-book!" - er, thank you, but you're offering me this particular treasure from six different and equally unlikely email addresses. It is further and further away from the realm of any possibility that I will click on this with every time you slam it AGAIN into my inbox under a different email. Besides, have you seen my reading pile? If I need a free ebook, I'll ask for one...

- "You won't believe this!" - you're probably right. I don't.

- "Do you believe in angels?" - well, it's like this, probably not in the way you want me to...

(yes I was just cleaning out my inbox after a prolonged period away from home. Why do you ask...?)

And now, from the beginning...

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
So, I went to a writers' retreat this last week(end) - well, five days, covering the weekend.

I'd heard a LOT of stuff about the Rainfoest Writers Retreat over the last couple of years. People I know went - some multiple times - and always appeared to have had a blast. So this year - even though there was an initial hiccup with registration because stuff didn't go through to where it was supposed to go through when it was supposed to go through there but it all got sorted out in the end - I decided I was going to go to the Promised Land myself.Collapse )

Backward run the reports...

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
I ONLY JUST GOT HOME, more or less.

Under the cut...Collapse )

I had a wonderful time, I did quite a bit of work, there are some glorious photos...Collapse )
and I had some GREAT food (thanks again, Julie, for those soups...) Thank you all.

Now if I can unclench my shoulders and relax - home at last, home at
last! - it's back to the real world...

A new kind of historical fantasy...

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
Friend and fellow author Sue Bolich has a new book out - a different kind of historical fantasy, a vivid and deep and funny and pooignant piece of historical Americana. I heard her read from this at a recent con and it was an amazing piece of work. Here's what she has to say about her novel, which is available RIGHT NOW:

In Heaven’s Shadow: Where dead isn’t dead, and love isn’t gone

“‘Til death do us part.” The forever vow. The one that binds us in our hearts, our souls, and cloaks us in the permanence we all crave. It’s a promise that from this moment forward we will never be alone. We will always have someone to stand beside us, to love, honor, and cherish.
But then death does come along. Is the vow really broken? How can love end—especially if the ghost of your loved one foreswears Heaven to be with you?

And what if you don’t want it to end? Why should you go along with all the people telling you to get over it and move on with your life? What if your dead husband is...right...there? So what if you can’t touch him??? Does that make you the coolest kid on the block—or a candidate for the asylum?

Thus we come to “In Heaven’s Shadow.”

When I started to write this book I was dealing with the lingering grief of my father’s death. I had no idea what it would be about; I’m one of those seat-of-the-pants writers who gets a first line and then runs with it. I had a powerful image of a young woman watching a small and sorrowful delegation coming up her front walk, but she already knows they’ve come to tell her that her soldier husband is dead. He’s walking along right behind them, hangdog and sorry as can be that he’s coming back to her a ghost.

Instantly her mind leaps past grief to making the best of it. And I knew right then that Lilith Stark was no ordinary Southern farmwife dealing with the loss of her man at Gettysburg.

I also knew that this wasn’t going to be a retelling of “Ghost” where the dead lover has to accomplish some task and move happily on to Heaven. Really, why should he have to? Can’t he be perfectly happy right here? And why shouldn’t his loving wife make whatever life she can with him?

Better yet, why should the neighbors care, as long as she’s happy? But, of course, they’re scandalized by Lilith’s failure to be properly grief-stricken. What would you do if your best friend announced her dead husband was home? Or if you saw rainbows grow out of her laughter and leave bright puddles on the floor? Are people right to demand that the dead just move along? Do we really need the family homestead filling up with generations of ghosts fighting for space in the heirloom bed?

Man, this story was fun to write.

“In Heaven’s Shadow” grew out of a long-running debate with a friend over what’s “normal” and what’s nuts and who gets to decide. It’s set during the Civil War because a) I’m a history major and b) well...I’m a history major. I need to put that degree to work somehow. But when it comes down to it, history, like fantasy, lets us explore ourselves through fascinating prisms. Virginia, 1863, was a place with strict social mores layered on top of a society that was still half pioneer at heart. Culturally, it was a wild blend of forced propriety and unbridled individuality, complicated by having all its conventions overturned by armies marching through the fields. It was both the great age of faith and a time when people really needed something to cling to. Our ancestors were more communal than we are, more dependent on their neighbors, and highly sensitive to changes and discord in the community. With war raging outside the town, the last thing Lilith’s neighbors need is more upset within, but that is exactly what they get when she accidently lets slip that Joab has come home—dead. And Joab’s not alone.

Death is complicated. Love is complicated. Being ourselves is complicated, and takes strength most of us don’t know we have until something forces it out of us—or we crumble under the challenge, beset by conflicting opinions of right and wrong and “should” and “shouldn’t” and peer pressure. Watching Lilith trying to fight her way through the minefield of public opinion while clinging to her beloved Joab, and her magic, and her peculiar outlook on life, is alternately funny, maddening, and  bittersweet—but hopefully always entertaining. And if it sparks a new thought or I’ve done my job!

You can order “In Heaven’s Shadow” in e-book form direct from the publisher at or at the following outlets:



HAH. On the heels of my name hunt...

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

...although I've never really understood how anyone can write a fully-fleshed character bearing a "placeholder" name which the author knows isn't "right" and which can be changed on a whim and at the drop of a hat. There's a lot to be said about the secret power of names...
Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
Hey, lookee here! At long last "Embers of Heaven" is now available in paperback format in the USA! It's the follow-up to "Secrets of Jin Shei" - same world, some 400 years after the events in the first book - and history has not been kind to the WOmen's Country... until one girl sets out to make things right... in the middle of a revolution that threatens to destroy EVERYTHING... Were you ever frustrated because this book was not easy to find in the States, until now? Did you like "Jin Shei" and would like to know how the story goes on...? Now's your chance...
Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
I USED tto be able to do a poll here, but they've gone and changed eveyrthing around again and I can't find it now - so anyway - let's do it freehand...

So Lady Rumpelstiltskin has acknowledged the possibility of four names. Which of these three do YOU prefer?

Frances (she goes byFrankie)

Agnes (she is better known to friends as Ness)

Marguerite (but better known as Maggie

Vivian (the only instance where she doesn't accept diminutives. If she's Vivian, she's Vivian. Not Viv, or Vi, or Vivi, or anything twee like that. THAT'S HER NAME. Keep that in mind while voting.


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June 2014

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