Wednesday, January 31, 2024

And then there were two

So I've been saying almost since the time we got Rufus that we needed two cats. But after a few months without one, and not finding any bonded pairs at the local rescue that appealed, we got Rufus and decided to find a second one when the time seemed right.

But the time never seemed right. All the cats shown were either too old or too young or needed only cat households or had expensive health problems.

Then came Tessa.

She'd been rescued sometime last year with a litter of kittens. They'd been put in a box with the trash, and the rescuer happened to hear them. Tessa had stayed with her kittens, and the whole box of them got brought home. The kittens were adopted quickly, but Tessa sort of fell through the cracks. Once the kittens were gone, other high profile, dramatic rescues happened and she somehow wasn't even on the website.

Once I saw her photo, I asked to meet her. She was sweet, but a bit shaken up, because her foster had a dog that was chasing her around. The next day we picked her up and brought her home, and over the last 10 days we've been gradually introducing then to each other, swapping out their rooms, letting them sniff at the door, doing supervised face-to-face meetings.

Look at his offended little face!
Last weekend we opened all the doors and let them free range. There's been hissing and growling and a heck of a lot of chasing, but no claws or teeth or bloodshed. 

Rufus went from extremely territorial to doing this stiff legged Pepe Le Pew dance before prostrating himself before her. He wants to play. She looks at him like he's a fool and either walks off or smacks him on the head and walks off.

They'll get there. It's enemies to lovers, not insta-love. But it's nice having two cats again, and Tessa's a cuddler. It's been a long time since I've had a cat curl up on the love seat with me to take a nap. My productivity may take a nosedive.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Snow day, rain likely

It snowed the other day, for the first time in a solid two years. We've been having a lot of rain, but I'd rather have snow - it's prettier, it makes everything quiet, and nobody gets a rain day off work. I had my husband at home on Friday because the university closed. 

The downside with snow is that it's also water. And that water began dripping through the corner of the back bedroom ceiling Sunday night. It's the outside corner of the roof, where it attaches to the downspout, so we figured it was most likely an ice dam - though I couldn't see anything from ground level - or the roofing surface had peeled back from the flashing at the edge and water was getting in that way. 

Either was bad. 

The water was dripping down the bookshelves in my husband's office. Bookshelves that hold his collection of graphic novels and comic books. Thankfully he is one of those collectors who puts everything tightly into a sealed plastic bag, or the weeping and wailing would have been tremendous. As it was, there was just sprinting with arm loads of damp plastic and the hallway still looks like a bookstore. Nothing is going back in until we're certain that the problem has been solved. 

After we got everything out of harm's way, I called a local roofer highly recommended by the town Facebook group. His wife got back to me promptly and he came out Monday afternoon. We've been in the house for six years now, and we really should have had the roof coated at some point. Note to self: that's what always happens when you put off a job, it comes around to bite you in the ass.

There's rain in the forecast. Fingers crossed it only occurs outside the house.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024


I come from a family of storytellers. Not writers - they wouldn't have thought to do that - but they could tell stories, and many of those stories built a world in me that came out on my Ava and Claire books.

My great aunt Margaret (my cover girl) talked about the Depression. She was very nearly the same age as my characters. My dad wasn't much younger, but he had a very different upbringing. While my great grandmother kept up a pretense of gentility, even when they were poor, my dad was the youngest of a dozen kids, who stopped going to school at 12 to get a job, and who told me about going to the rail yards at night with his friends to pick coal off the tracks and to see if any of the boxcars were unlocked.

A different world, and one I tried to reproduce.

For anyone who's read the Ava and Claire books, the prequel novella about Claire's wedding and the Thanksgiving epilogue will only be available as newsletter bonuses until the end of the month. After that they'll be included in the new omnibus and the freebie will be Tudor-themed, as my next book will be a return to that series.

If you want the freebies, you can sign up here. I won't spam you - after the initial sequence confirming you've downloaded your bonuses, I check in once a month unless there's a sale or a new release to tell you about.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024


This Monday I went to my town's fiber arts meetup. I always intend to go, and I've only gotten there a few times before. 

It started during Covid as a meetup in one member's backyard so the makers in town (and there are many) could get out of their houses while still keeping their hands busy. Now it's held in the local maker space, which is less personal, but warmer and with better light.

The reason I've often ended up not going is that when I'm working on a project, I plow straight on to the finish. And for this meetup, I need hand work. Over the weekend, I finished piecing four custom Christmas stockings made from baby clothes, and I held off doing the applique and embroidery work because I knew I could do that on Monday night.

And I actually got them done. It was nice to sit there with coffee and a half dozen other women and catch up on our projects and our lives. It happens every other week, and I'm going to try to make it a more regular occurrence.

What about you? Do you like getting together with others or do you prefer your creative pursuits done alone? No judgment here - I'm firmly in both camps.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

2023 Recap

Indulge me a little, if you don't mind.

A few friends (the ones on the snarky scale) tell me that I worship at the altar of productivity. They're not wrong; they just mean it in a negative sense but I've always seen productivity as a positive. Maybe it's not healthy, but I've always judged myself by how much I've gotten done. I think it's the remainder of that bored only child - I can't be bored if I'm busy.

So, in writing/publishing, I put out two books this year: Coming Closer and Coming Together. I've assembled the ebook omnibus for the Ava & Claire trilogy, and that will be released on my birthday in January as Coming Home.

I've taken workshops on marketing and advertising; I've edited two books for other people; I've commissioned covers after trying (and failing, again) to design my own. The answer to the question, "Would I be better off writing?" is almost always "yes."

In animal news, we lost Harriet in February and acquired Rufus in April, after two very strange cat-free months. At some point, Rufus will get a friend because he's insistent upon being a cat and not a cuddly, non-verbal family member, and I want a writing and sewing buddy.

The garden was both out of control and very productive this year. I neglected to pull the volunteer tomatoes before they set fruit - and then I feel bad about yanking them - so I ended the season with eighteen plants, enough jars of sauce for the next two years, and a lot of happy neighbors. Produce and canned goods are currency in my town. The fig rree also put out its fair share, and that turned into nineteen half-pint jars of jam. 

There was no "real" vacation this year because we lost the credits for our thrice-postponed trip, but we did end up going to Vegas for my writing conference, which was a half-decent vacation when I was able to focus. I'd never want to go there for any other reason, though. I have nightmares that look like Vegas felt.

Even though I'm not usually the type to write it down, when I make my next day's to-do list lately, I've been writing down three things that I was grateful for during the day that just ended. It keeps me looking out for those good things throughout the day, and no matter how bad the day was, I can always manage to be grateful for my husband and coffee, and then I only have to find one more.