comfort viewing

February 16, 2015

BBC America has been airing Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes 2-3 nights a week for a good long while now, and I find myself very often after leaving off work and before foraging for dinner, melting into my sofa and watching for a bit.  Or I’ll put it on as background chatter while I’m knitting.  Somehow, some way, it’s very comforting.

The thing is, the show as whole does not hold up  well.  Especially in the notorious first season, the actors clearly aren’t sure just what they’re doing, they’re not comfortable with each other (oh my gosh, the number of times they have to point out Data doing something android-y or Worf doing something Klingon-y, gah), the stories are often very staid, the philosophy ham-handed, and the dialog… oh my.   ST: TNG has moments of brilliance — “The Inner Light” is one of the best hours of dramatic television in existence.  But then there are times when the show sounds like a role-playing game run by fifth graders.  Very smart fifth graders, usually, but still.

For awhile, I couldn’t re-watch the show at all, and I winced at how I was so enamored of it when I was a teenager. (The excuse was we didn’t really have any other science fiction on TV, and that was very true.)  But….  and yet…  I’ve started watching it again.  Like I said, it’s sometimes just voices in the background.  But these characters are so familiar, and so likable, and their world is also so familiar.  Did you know you can go to YouTube and play the Enterprise’s ambient engine noise for 24 hours?  And isn’t that weirdly soothing?  At this point, the whole show is like a warm fuzzy blanket.

The phenomenon of how much I’ve come to appreciate just hanging out with Picard and Worf and the rest is fascinating to me.  Fiction, entertainment, comfort — powerful stuff, here.

(How many of you are still playing that engine noise?  *raises hand*)

more Georgette Heyer

February 13, 2015

So yes, I have discovered Georgette Heyer and I’m working my way through the historicals.  If I’m going to be writing historical romance, I want them to look like this.  So far, I think every book of hers I’ve read has had a scene that I have to pull out and hang on the wall.  This is one from The Grand Sophy:

 He said stiffly:  “Since you have brought up Miss Wraxton’s name, I shall be much obliged to you, cousin, if you will refrain from telling my sisters that she has a face like a horse!”

“But Charles, no blame attaches to Miss Wraxton!  She cannot help it, and that, I assure you, I have always pointed out to your sisters.”

“I consider Miss Wraxton’s countenance particularly well-bred!”

“Yes, indeed, but you have quite misunderstood the matter!  I meant a particularly well-bred horse!”

“You meant, as I am perfectly aware, to belittle Miss Wraxton!”

“No, no!  I am very fond of horses!” Sophy said earnestly.

Oh my goodness.  Isn’t it gorgeous?


schedule — Boston!

February 11, 2015

I will be in Boston this week.  That is, I’m planning on being in Boston this week.  Everyone I’ve said this to over the last couple of days has given me this skeptical side-eye, seeing as how the region is well on its way to becoming Ice Planet Hoth.  Nevertheless, until the airline or the convention or the mayor of Boston or the governor of Massachusetts tells me otherwise, the plan remains intact.

If that changes, I will tell you.  I’ll do my best to post here and/or on Facebook.  And please, if it’s dangerous for you to travel, don’t.

First up, Thursday at 7 pm, I’ll be reading and signing at the Harvard Coop Bookstore.  I think this is my first real bookstore event in this part of the country, so I’m very excited!

Next up, Boskone.  I’m on a ton of programming, including the usual round of panels, readings, and signings.  The program is up on the site — check it out!

And maybe I’ll see you soon!


There’s this thing that happens in the SCA where you can know someone for years, be excellent friends, and still not know their “real” name. Their mundane name.  You might pass them in the supermarket and not recognize them at all because they’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt instead of an embroidered tunic and coronet.  Because to you, they’re simply always in garb, and you’ve always called them by their SCA name.  Years ago, this phenomenon led to the following conversation with the excellent Baron Douglas:

Douglas:  “I just read the latest book.  Do you know what you did?”

Me:  “Oh thanks!  I mean, what, uh….no?”

Douglas:  “Did you mean to gruesomely kill me off?”

Me:  “What?  No!  What are you talking about!”

Douglas:  “Do you know what my mundane last name is?”

Me:  “……”

Douglas:  “Bennett.”

(I needed a moment here to think and put everything together.  Bennett.  Douglas Bennett.  Cormac’s father Douglas Bennett who had his face ripped off by a werewolf when Cormac was 16.  Eeep.)

Me:  “What?  No!  I didn’t!  I mean I didn’t know….I mean, no!  That’s not you!  That wasn’t–!  Erp.”

Douglas:  “That’s what I thought.”

And then he chuckled with great amusement at my consternation at accidentally naming such an ill-fated character after him, because of course he had entirely orchestrated that consternation.

Baron Douglas, Douglas Bennett, passed away suddenly this weekend.

He had a great baritone chuckle.  A wizardly chuckle.  Gandalfian, even.  In fact, I believe he’s the closest thing to a Middle Earth wizard I’ve ever met.  There are songs about this man still sung around SCA campfires.  And I’m feeling like Frodo standing at the edge of the chasm, staring into the dark in utter disbelief.

Peace to you, Douglas.


I posted this on Facebook earlier this week.  This is what I made for myself after I finished making everyone presents for Christmas:



This is not the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done.  But it’s right up there.

I’m also coming to believe that it’s things like this — working with my hands, being an unapologetic fangirl, that sort of thing — that will ultimately keep me from burning out.  It’s important to have hobbies.  Especially when your job is also your favorite hobby.



upcoming appearances

February 4, 2015

First off:  Happy Birthday, Dad!

And now some stuff:

Tomorrow, February 5th, 7 pm, I’m signing at the Downtown Book Bin in Salem OR.

This weekend, February 7-8, is HowlCon in Vancouver, WA (near Portland!).  This is an entirely werewolf themed convention, and should be a howling good time.

Update:  My early short story collection Straying from the Path has a new cover.  If you haven’t given this one a try yet, here’s your chance.  It’s available on  KindleNook, iTunes, and Kobo.

Jay Lake wrote the introduction, and I’ve been having  a little trouble re-reading it, because I can still hear his voice and it still hurts that he’s gone.


look what I made!

February 2, 2015

Cooking is still something I have to make an effort at, even though I’ve spent a lot of time practicing and have gotten a lot better at it.  On top of that cooking for one is a challenge — it’s so much easier to stick a frozen pizza in the oven than to put out the effort to make something.  But every now and then, I nail it.  Behold:



Meatballs and pasta.  The sauce is made from scratch — part of a batch from a couple of weeks ago that I froze.  I made a big batch of the meatballs and froze what I didn’t use for future eating.  So not only did I eat a nice, hot, fresh meal, I will have more nice, hot, fresh meals in the future.  This kind of thing makes me feel so virtuous.



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