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16 April 2012 @ 10:17 pm
New Stories About Old Friends: for those who don't know, I continue to write short stories about the characters of my old Del Rey fantasy serieses, available for $5 per download at:, in the section of the site called, "The Further Adventures Of..."
Stories are available in pdf, and an assortment of digital formats for Kindle, Nook, and other types of e-reader.
01 December 2014 @ 04:45 am
Cyber Monday sale on a whole slew of my titles from Open Road Media:

And, even better, (well, better for ME) is that a VERY rough semester is coming to an end!
07 July 2014 @ 09:38 am
I need assistance again, if one or some of you would be so kind?

Does anyone out there know about the course and severity of pneumonia, before the advent of penecillin? How long would it take to recuperate? How long would it take for the disease to run its course?

Many thanks for whatever information you can give! (And I will, of course, give credit in the book).
05 July 2014 @ 08:43 am
The corrolary to the Family Reunion yesterday afternoon was that I went to the birthday party of a friend last night, after the last of my family had gotten on the road for home... and my friend's biker neighbors are SERIOUS about their fireworks. So, the birthday party in the beautiful, jasmine-scented arbors of my friend's gardens had a distinctly Saigon-in-the-Sixties ambiance, with MASSIVE explosions going on overhead (I think they were using trash-cans as mortars). It was - um - special...

Family Excursion to the LA County Arboretum today.
04 July 2014 @ 04:50 pm
I love those parties which conclude, like a sit-com, with the house being miraculously re-set to what it was before everyone arrived. My wonderful brother, sister, and nieces cleared away the dishes and did them, everyone helped me take down the tent, nephew moved the wooden gate-leg table back to its off-duty position in the living-room, and I don't have to come downstairs tomorrow morning afraid of what I'm going to see.

Lovely weather - mid-80s (one reason we have the 4th-July-Family-Reunion here), sunny, pleasant sitting at a long table in what I think of the outdoor dining-room: a patio half-covered with a trellis, to which I add a put-up shade-tent. A very relaxed atmosphere. Later this evening I'm driving up to a friend's birthday party in the Valley, and tomorrow the family will re-convene for a trip to the LA County Arboretum. For the moment, all is silent, the cats are out of lockdown, the dishes are clean, and I'M DONE WITH MY FIRST DRAFT!!!
22 June 2014 @ 05:39 pm
Spending an afternoon painting (when I should have been working... but I DID work part of the day) feels EXACTLY like bingeing on chocolate used to.
14 June 2014 @ 09:26 pm
For a number of years now I've been involved on-and-off with a project called The Gates of Midnight. Deb Smith and I came up with the basics; Deb has worked on it since then (though I am counted as a "consultant"): urban fantasy, cross-universes, strange creatures coming through the Void to our world... The original plan was for a TV series, though it has now morphed into a graphic novel series from the newly-founded Kymera Press.

Kymera has started a Kickstarter campaign, both for Gates and for the press in general: one of their several goals is to get more women into the comic book field.

In any case, check them out at

Kymera Press also has its own FB page:
05 June 2014 @ 11:19 am
And the results are in!

If I teach Western Civ or World History, I generally ask on the Final, who were the 5 people who most influenced (either Western or World) civilization between 4 million BC and 1588 AD? (Spanish Armada, which is my cut-off for both classes). This semester it was World History, and the question was given as extra credit, so the voting pool was small.

But, the results are, as usual, interesting.

Alexander the Great won with 9 votes.
He was immediately trailed by Christopher Columbus, with 8.
Next in the tally, Jesus Christ tied with Elizabeth I of England, 4 votes apiece.
Muhammad got 3.
Socrates, Augustus Caesar, Julius Caesar, Buddha, Confucius, Joan of Arc and Martin Luther each got 2.
The one-vote wonders were: Homer, Hammurabi, Cleopatra, Hernan Cortes, Genjhis Khan, Charles Martel, his grandson Charlemagne, Leonardo da Vinci, Hannibal Barca, Henry VIII of all people!, and - I was delighted to see - Shi Huang Ti, the meglomaniac strongman who first united China (and thus may have had more historical influence than anyone except the religious founders)
There were gang-votes for The Greeks, the Persians, and the little australopitheci who first came out of the African forests in 4 million BC and started it all.

Now I get to grade papers for the next week, and do jury duty.
29 May 2014 @ 04:13 pm
Well, I am almost SPEECHLESS with ecstacy. Turgot's 1739 Plan of Paris arrived today (the 1965 reprint of the 1900 reprint, and it's a good thing, otherwise I wouldn't have dared lay a finger on it); EVERYTHING I was looking for and more. It's not just a map of Paris (like the 1754 map I've been using so far); it is, essentially, a drawing of the entire city, district by district, house by house. Meaning, I can see not only what the gardens of the wealthy town houses looked like, and which of the city's bridges had houses on them as London Bridge did, but I can see which portions of the banks of the Seine were embanked at that time (I drove myself crazy writing Ran Away, trying to find out if the Seine was embanked in 1827, and ended up writing around that detail), and where open ground at the edges of the built-up areas of town had been graded, or not. This map is jaw-dropping. It came in 20 sections, each section about 18 x 24 inches, all tenderly enclosed in a portfolio. (It took Mr. Turgot five years to put the thing together). AND it was accompanied by a sort of gazeteer listing every street and cul-de-sac in Paris, every parish church (with descriptions of when they were built!), every neighborhood (Paris was organized by neighborhoods before Napoleon split the city up into arrondissements).

As a research tool, this is staggering. Especially used in tandem with the book I have which dissects modern Paris, showing - street-by-street - any architectural treasures, thus permitting me to identify which neighborhoods were favored by the rich.

I have a set of CDs with similarly detailed historical maps of London, but it was only recently that I learned of the existence of Turgot's Plan.

Such are the arcane joys of being a researcher.
28 May 2014 @ 09:26 am
Last week of the semester. Six weeks of break before an intense, condensed summer session. I need the break.

For some reason it's been a difficult semester. Friends have been diagnosed with major (as in life-threatening) illnesses. There is jaw-dropping chaos in the History Department. My schedule has been such that it's difficult to work. However, even the short Memorial Day break has demonstrated that a short break and enough sleep and rest will go far in restoring me: I'm extremely pleased with the Benjamin January novel I've finished - Crimson Angel - and with the Ashers/Ysidro story I've started. I keep trying to collect the time to work on "outside" projects (i.e. on spec), but it hasn't happened yet. (A fantasy, a ghost-story, and other historical murders).

I just registered for Bouchercon, which will be in Long Beach in November. I hope they put me on panels, but if not, at least I'll be able to go - it hasn't been on the West Coast for awhile.

I did score a thing I've been searching for for years: a REALLY good, accurate map of 18th-century Paris. (I have a pretty good one, but it's difficult to read: this one is allegedly - it hasn't arrived yet - in 20 segments bound as a book, which is how my various London maps are). We'll see.