Hope, an unfamiliar emotion

All right, I’m going to say this out loud. I didn’t want to vote for Joe Biden. I was angry and disillusioned when the most diverse collection of presidential candidates in US history dwindled down to…an old White man. After watching sexism and outright misogyny 

Pompeii takeout and American assumption

Archaeologists have uncovered another fascinating glimpse into pre-eruption life in Pompeii — the recently excavated termopolium, or takeout counter. I’m agog at the brightly painted counter, still vivid after 2,000 years, and the fact that the physical design is so recognizable: we modern folks still use 

Far Enough

Ready for an early holiday gift?

Quite a few readers (and some reviewers) have said that the one thing they really missed in Alsea Rising was a proper exploration of how Salomen and Lhyn arrived at their deeper understanding. It’s a valid critique: while we watched the relationship between Tal and Ekatya grow from Book 1 onward, Salomen and Lhyn didn’t even meet until Book 4 — and their friendship was not explored until Book 8. Making matters more difficult was the fact that their shift from platonic to romantic took place between the end of Uprising and the beginning of Alsea Rising. It happened “offstage,” where no one got to see it.

Well, now it’s onstage.

Far Enough is a quiet, happy novella of 20,000 words that answers the big question from Alsea Rising plus several smaller questions readers may not have thought to ask. We learn more about Lhyn’s childhood (half of this novella is told from her point of view) and see deeper into Salomen’s heart as she works her way through a profound shift in expectations, both of herself and of Andira.

Even those who were not entirely comfortable with the choices these four characters made in Alsea Rising may find that this novella helps. One early reader said, “I loved it. I think I’d have had an easier time with Tal and Ekatya’s relationship if I’d read this first.”

This is a comfort read, perfect for a winter’s day with a hot drink at your elbow. It’s available at all the usual digital shops (collected at this handy portal) for the price of that hot drink: $3.99.

Many of us cannot go where we hoped or see the people we love this year — but at least we can go to Alsea.

(Synopsis below.)


Far Enough


Immediately after the uprising, Lhyn Rivers is called to account for her involvement in an event that shocked the world. Disturbed by her interview and missing her bondmate, she finds refuge at Hol-Opah.

Salomen Opah is at loose ends, trapped on her holding with nothing to do and no distractions from unwanted memories. Lhyn’s arrival is a welcome excuse to get out and return to an old, beloved pastime.

For five days, Salomen and Lhyn journey through landscapes both physical and emotional. Their quiet exploration brings more than just the peace they seek: it brings an unlooked-for gift that will change four lives.


I have an issue with Netflix’s “Away”

My wife and I are almost through the Netflix science fiction series Away. We really wanted to love it, because what’s not to love about a sci-fi show with fantastic special effects (including zero-G scenes we absolutely believe), a wonderfully diverse cast, and a female 

Now, about *that* topic

If you haven’t read at least past Chapter 9 of Alsea Rising: Gathering Storm (the chapter titled “The Seventh Star”), hold off on reading this blog post until you have. Here, let me put in a pretty image of book covers to create some spoiler 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Finally watched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the very first time, after my son requested it. Good god, that movie takes forever! For those of you who don’t want to lose three hours of your lives for a film that could have been done in 80 minutes, here is my synopsis:



squinty-eyed man stares into sunlight

different squinty-eyed man stares into sunlight

third squinty-eyed man stares into sunlight




more dust


dusty men who haven’t seen a bath in two years (if the film hadn’t helpfully labeled THE UGLY, I would never have guessed who it was supposed to be)

token female character with zero words of dialogue playing subservient Mexican wife



more gunshots

cannon fire

second token female character with about ten words of dialogue playing town prostitute whose sole point in the film is to be brutally beaten in order to reveal a name



hanging noose


desert sun


squinty-eyed man with chapped lips

Confederate soldiers

Union soldiers

cannon fire


satisfying bridge explosion (after two characters carry a wooden crate helpfully marked “EXPLOSIVES” through an active battle zone with soldiers falling all around them and somehow nobody notices or shoots at them)

man running in circles through a graveyard

squinty-eyed man with a shovel and gun

second squinty-eyed man with a shovel and gun

three squinty-eyed men in a triangle at the center of a graveyard



three men squinting and glaring at each other

more squinting and glaring

even more squinting and glaring

still more squinting and glaring

and finally…

one last round of squinting and glaring (I am not exaggerating here)




squinty-eyed man screaming curses

second squinty-eyed man shoots a rifle

first squinty-eyed man screams a final curse: “You son of a—”



And there you have it! I’ve just saved you two hours and fifty-nine minutes. I highly recommend that you take five of those minutes to watch this fantastic rendition of the theme, so that you, too, can be whistling it for the next several days.

Alsea Rising: The Seventh Star is in the wild

  The conclusion of the two-part Alsea Rising and of the entire Chronicles of Alsea series has debuted at #1 in its Amazon category. I should probably warn prospective readers that it hits the ground running and does not let you breathe for the first half…at 

Alsea Rising is out and #1!

  Updated to add correct Amazon link (dangit).   Alsea Rising: Gathering Storm hit the virtual publishing shelves at #1 in the Amazon category of LGBT Science Fiction, which made me a very happy camper — but I’d like to point out that it’s not 

On his terms

A few days ago, at the end of the Pilates class I teach, one of my Dutch students came up to me to say she wouldn’t be in class for three weeks. This is normal; my students are mostly expats and are always coming and going. Or they have family visiting, or someone is having a grandchild, etc.

And then she said, “I’m going home because my father is entering euthanasia.”

Which is not the sort of thing one is accustomed to hearing in casual after-class conversation. But one of the things I love about living in Europe is the intersection of different cultures and national laws/ways of doing things. So I asked, and learned that her father is 94 years old and has been slowly dying of a broken heart since her mother passed away in January.

“He can still do everything,” she said, “but every step is just so hard for him. It’s all so hard. He’s ready.”

The whole family is gathering from all over the continent for a massive, multi-week reunion and party. Her father will be able to see all the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and there will be food and drink and conversation, and then he will leave on a high note.

I told her that my home state was the first in the US to legalize euthanasia, and we discussed what a gift it is for those who want to go on their terms. She is happy for her father, who has been buoyed by the knowledge that he will never lose control of his life. He will get to say good-bye on his terms, and she will be able to say it as well. It is not only a gift for him.

She’ll be back at the end of the month. I expect she’ll have quite a story to tell.

Beyoncé: Homecoming

I recently watched Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” and wow, what a cultural experience. I don’t listen to her music (only recognized two of the songs) because most of it is not my style, but I still enjoyed the heck out of this combination documentary/concert because of what