Good Morning, Vitamin C


Apparently my body wanted something only to be found in potato-leek soup last night, because I had two bowls, went to bed afterward, and am feeling much better this morning. The quiet, shaky sense of returning strength–I hesitate to call it health–is entirely welcome. It’s akin to the relief after one finishes throwing up and slumps trembling near the cold porcelain of a commode, knowing illness will return in a short while but savoring the temporary relief.

So to speak. And you’re welcome for that mental image, I’m sure. Still, it’s the only one that comes close to expressing the feeling.

This morning the sun came through the deck door, making everything on the dining room table glow. The oranges looked good; I could almost taste the light and vitamin C in each one just by watching.

A bowl of soup, a pile of oranges in morning light–such are the simple things that end up saving us. Short-term relief or not, I’ll take it. Maybe if I sleep enough today the tremulous sense of survival will strengthen.

I wish you a sunny Friday and a peaceful weekend, my beloveds. Be gentle with yourselves; we’ve all been through a lot lately.

Over and out.

Hope Eternal, Dog


I know I keep posting pics of Boxnoggin. I can’t help it. He’s just so photogenic, truly a handsome boi.

This is our favorite square-headed canine attempting to drill a hole through me with his gaze, all in service of gaining a bite of my fiery chicken curry. Despite me telling him he would absolutely not like the result, he is bound and determined, because hope springs eternal in the soul (and the stomach) of Dog.

He did not get any fiery chicken curry, but he did get to split a treat biscuit with Miss B after I was finished with lunch.

What can I say? I’m a sucker.

I’m exhausted, coughing, and fatigued. Can’t tell if it’s allergies, plague, flu, or just the last year and a half finally coming home to roost in my poor corpus, but whatever it is, I spent most of yesterday in bed and am about to repeat the trick today. Wish me luck, and remember: Mask up, wash your hands, and hydrate. We’re not out of the woods yet. Far from.

RELEASE DAY: Damage

Good morning, everyone! We’ll get to the Friday photo in a bit. It’s a release day! That’s right, today Damage is out in the world.


Damage

Keeping her safe will be his hardest assignment yet. . .

Reeling from trauma and divorce, Cara Halperin takes what should be a simple job with an expensive agency. As a nanny to rich children, she shouldn’t have much to worry about, and her job is just complex enough to keep her from brooding. Unfortunately, the agency’s sent her into a trap.

Vincent Desmarais wants to go back into the field, but instead, he’s put on leave. The diagnosis? PTSD. No problem–he can pick up security work on the side to keep himself sharp–that is, if the side work isn’t just as dangerous as the bloody places he’s longing to get back to.

When the lights go out, Cara and her young charge have only one option: to trust the new security guy. Vincent finds himself unwilling to abandon them to fate or let them out of his sight. If the trio wants to stay alive, they’ve got to trust each other. . .

. . .but that may just be what their enemies are counting on.

Now available from Barnes & Noble, Apple, Amazon, and Kobo.


It’s strange to see stuff I worked on during lockdown (not the book itself, but the publication and production process) reach release. Publication takes a long time, which means we’ve been in lockdown for what seems like bloody well forever. But the book–my love song to a particular movie starring Matthias Schoenaerts–is out now, it’s live, and I’m going to be spending most of the day roaming the house and twitching from release-day nerves.

You’d think it would get easier after so many titles. Alas.

As for the Friday photo, get a load of this guy.



Yep, that’s Boxnoggin attempting to disembowel one of my favorite couch pillows. I gather–and this is my translation, so it might be a little blurry–that it “looked at him funny.” Fortunately he didn’t manage to eat much of the stuffing, so that was all right. And I had another slightly less wounded pillow to stuff into the case too. Small mercies.

Have a good weekend, everyone. I’ll be trying to recover from release day and revisions at once. Multitasking self-care saves time, right?

Right? (If I’m not right, don’t tell me…)

Over and out.

Magnolia, I Say


One of the local magnolias has finally burst its fuzzy bounds, but the flowers aren’t quite ready yet. We have a lot of these trees in the neighborhood. They’re second in popularity only to roses; it seems like everyone gets a few of each to put in their yard. They’re pretty for a few brief moments in spring, then there’s some cleanup and they’re nice trees with waxy green all summer, providing welcome shade.

The sheer amount of magnolias surprises a lot of transplants to the area. Everyone thinks they’re deep-South trees, and I suppose they’re probably happier there. But we have whole streets of them, and Portland just over the river is called the Rose City.

Of more interest to me each year are the plum trees. We had a giant one in the backyard of the old place, and every year when it bloomed I knew things were going to be okay. I’m forced to other plum-tree measures in this house. The cherries are all in bloom now, but the plums haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I can wait a little longer. This week’s been very stressful, and I haven’t gotten the work I need to done. Maybe once the electrician leaves today1 I can take a deep breath.

At least, that’s the hope. But in the meantime, I have the cherries and the magnolias to remind me that things may, indeed, work out. In fact, they’ve worked out so far.

I just hope the trend continues.

Blur Crocus

This photo would have been a lot nicer, but the dogs were yanking at my waist, eager to get on with things. But it’s nice enough, I think, for a sunny Friday. Spring is here (Spring is here, life is skittles and life is beer…)

We had snowdrops before (and after) the snow, jonquils hard upon their heels, and now there’s crocuses and daffodils. Cherry trees are beginning to bloom, except for the one down the street, which has been blooming early as it does every damn year.

I think that tree knows something I don’t. But that’s not unusual. The magnolias are full of furry buds, too. The hydrangea and clematis are bearing fresh green. I’m trying to be hopeful for the roses and the grapevines.

It should be a season of renewal, but I simply feel exhausted. Part of that could be working through the weekends, as I will have to do for the foreseeable future. But a surfeit of work is better than a scarcity, world without end, amen.

Next week there’ll be a cover reveal, and later this month a new release. The omnibus edition of HOOD, not to mention Season Three, is inching its way through the pub process. And Boxnoggin is next to my chair, with great sad puppy eyes, begging for the morning walk. He absolutely needs to get his snoot in a few more crocuses before they’re gone, and heaven help the hyacinths once they bloom.

I suppose I’d best tie my shoes (with a dog’s help, of course) and get going. Happy Friday, beloveds. Get some sun if you can, and take a deep breath.

Maybe, just maybe, things are getting better.

Snow Bars

We did get some snow, at the very tail-end of winter.1 It probably didn’t freeze hard enough to put a dent in the slug/snail population come true spring, but it was pretty and the dogs enjoyed themselves. Well, Miss B enjoyed herself immensely; Boxnoggin was reluctant (it was a Change, and Change is Bad) for his first few trips outside.

Then he decided he quite liked the dry, powdery stuff, and you can see the tracks where he bounded, ran, and wriggled.

Of course, once it warmed a bit everything got sloppy-slushy, and he hated that. In fact, he was certain I’d done it to punish him, and there were many reproachful looks. But now everything is melted and he’s forgotten such a thing as snow ever existed. I’m sure he’ll relearn at some point in the future.

But for now, all has returned to what passes for normal, and spring is approaching. The hydrangea and honeysuckle have green buds, the cherry down the street is still blooming, crocuses are everywhere. And there are bees hitching rides in my hair while I run again.

I almost miss the quiet of the snow. Almost.

Dustbin Guard

I was out rambling the dogs before the snowpocalypse, and someone had a Very Large Dustbin before their domicile. It was almost full, too. I don’t know what was happening, but this fellow was standing guard at the door.

Boxnoggin, of course, considered him a Very Large Threat, straining at his harness and flinching every time the breeze made the intruder sway. True to form, Miss B was mildly interested until she decided the whole thing was boring1 and what really needed to happen was supervision of Boxnoggin, which meant she nipped at his hindquarters to get him to shut up.

He interpreted this as an attack from the big hanging thing, there was a fursplosion, and I had trouble hauling him away because I was laughing so hard.

Normally I would have stopped for a conversation with the fellow, but we couldn’t be heard over the dog(s) and it looked like he had a Serious Job anyway, guarding the bin. One doesn’t taunt or torment a poor soldier on duty. I’d’ve offered some refreshment, but by the time we saw the bin again after the snow it was empty and he had moved on. I hope he’s standing guard somewhere else.

But the dogs remember that there was a Thing there, and even when the giant metal bin vanishes they will be absolutely certain that slice of pavement holds something foreboding, and will have to stop and investigate it every time. Then they’ll forget something used to be there and merely halt because it’s habit, it’s what one does at that particular place. It’s amazing to see the process play out; there are places we absolutely, positively must stop on walkies because Something Forgotten Once Happened Here.

The Princess often remarks that we are to dogs what Tolkien’s elves are to humans, which is alternately hilarious and depressing. It makes me want to narrate their morning rambles in high fantasy style, with historical references2 but then I get sad thinking of how brief my furry little companions’ lives are.

It’s probably best to focus on the funny bits. I won’t be able to help myself, after all; I’ll mutter Boxnoggin, what does your dog nose smell? and start laughing like an idiot, humming a kazoo-laden rendition of Taking the Hobbits to Isengard. The dogs, of course, are used to me laughing at random things, and are just content to share my joy.

Happy Friday, my beloveds. It’s been A Week, even considering the year of lockdown. May we have calmer waters ahead, and may we find comfort in rituals. And please, dear gods, let the bin go on its merry way soon so Boxnoggin can stop freaking out every time we get within a block of it.

Over and out.