Skip to main content

Books

Leirah and the Wild Man

Leirah shares a dream with her brother Aven: to steal a Viking longship, pirate the world's slavers, and free all the stolen children. But when the dragon boat of their dreams miraculously appears on the river in front of their Bohemian hut, the Viking who disembarks claims that he is hunting a band of dangerous criminals. Leirah accidentally convinces him that she is a shaman, and he offers to buy her as a bride for his son, the last prince of the Crimean Goths.

The hunted criminals, led by a mysterious Wild Man, emerge from the forest and kidnap Aven. Leirah fights to get him back, and the Wild Man and his followers are impressed. They ask Leirah to join them on their adventures, fulfilling the dream she has always shared with Aven. But Leirah quickly realizes that the Viking slaver may not be worse than this band of compulsive murderers who terrorize the Danube disguised as monsters of folklore.

Leirah and Aven run for their lives on an epic journey that takes them down the length of the Danube, into Constantinople, and across the Black Sea.

The Grove of Thorismud

The Grove of Thorismud is an upmarket historical fantasy of 124,000 words. This work is complete but not yet published.

Rosemary accidentally sets off a hundred-year sleeping curse that ends the golden age of peace in her little forest kingdom. Several generations later, the next dynasty of Vepres falls to another curse that leaves its sole surviving heir, the Crown Prince Gustav, transformed into a beast.

Twenty years after Gustav's curse and a hundred years after Rosemary's, two aspiring heroes converge upon Vepres to take the throne: a farmer named Johann and Bellynda, a nomadic wolf huntress. Bellynda frees Gustav from his spell and easily wins the crown. She gives Johann the post of bishop, but he is not satisfied to take orders from a foreign woman.

Rosemary adores her new husband Johann, but the frustrated bishop begins to treat her with escalating cruelty. Rosemary finds comfort and protection in an intimate friendship with her husband's rival, Queen Bellynda. Treasonous plots and secret alliances complicate Rosemary's wish for harmony, and so does Bellynda's confusing encouragement of the attraction between Rosemary and Bellynda's own husband, King Gustav.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

We Grew Up in the 2010s

We might be '80s babies, but my husband and I truly grew up in the 2010s. Consider this our decennial family Christmas letter.

Reviewing the main events of the 2010s has been kind of shocking for us, honestly. We feel very hashtag-blessed and whatnot, and if my 2009 self could time-travel to this very moment and take a look around my life, she'd have no idea about everything we've overcome. It just goes to show that resilience, hope, the-stuff-kids-call-self-care, and leaning into joy really do work. And that grandparents are essential.


First, I'll lay out the challenges we've faced since 2010. This is the brutal part. Then I'll list the joys and accomplishments that saw us through to this, our best year ever. Next week, I'll delve into my wishes and goals for the 2020s. But first...

the worst:
We racked up crushing debts. On top of our already substantial student loan debts, we added thousands of dollars of credit card debt making trips to Florida once or t…

Back to Belly Dance

Being an old millennial is weird. I still have acne, and I'm about to need bifocals. I'm still fit and at the low end of a healthy weight, but I have a new blerp of fat on my lower belly that's just my life now. My feet and my back and my hips are doing fine, but for how long? I have skeletal issues in all of those areas, and it's only by staying strong and supple that I avoid injuries and aches. For the sake of my overall health and my mood too, I've decided that now is a good time to get back into belly dance.

This art form is great for thin young people to show off their washboard abs, but it's also ideal for people of older ages and curvier body types, especially those of us with some jiggly bits to throw around. In belly dance, having a belly is an asset, not a problem to work off. Dance expert Dr. Valeria Lo Iacono gives solid reasons for loving belly dance as someone who only began learning it in her 30s.

I find that I'm usually more cheerful and en…

2020s Vision: Playgrounds, Not Prisons

To the tune of Green Day's "American Idiot":

Don't wanna live in an Instagram photograph!

But I do want to keep having fun using Instagram and every other dumb thing in life, so my personal vision statement for the 2020s is to turn everything I can into a playground, not a prison--my house, my yard, my thoughts, my diet, my budget, my creative practices, my relationships. Everything. By that I mean I want to live mindfully to get the most joy out of life, to create the most freedom within the circumstances I find myself in, to stay creative and flexible and adaptable in a changing world, and to avoid the traps of addiction and mindless habit that turn pleasures into chores.

I'm entering the 2020s with a crisp, clear new pair of rose gold glasses. Vision is something I don't take for granted. I've been wearing glasses since first grade and contact lenses since 6th, and I come from a long line of artists--painters, writers, composers. Nearsighted people wi…

TBT: Eat organic, local, vegan, raw, fresh superfood.

Happy Throwback Thursday! From now until I get tired of it, I am going to resurrect an old blog post from the 2000s and see how it holds up today.

This one is about my journey as a young adult from sickness to health as I figured out how to feed myself properly. I wrote it in a silly, humorous way, but I think we all know by now that eating well is a matter of life or death. Certainly it determines one's quality of life, and there isn't any way around it. There's no substitute for eating a well-balanced and varied diet in healthy amounts. There's no secret to it that any stupid fad diet will address. Paleo is passe, and keto is krap. Restrictive diets for weight loss should always be temporary and monitored by a healthcare professional. There are no shortcuts or workarounds. There aren't any vitamins or magic supplements that can make up for junk nutrition; in fact, most supplements are just more trash that further degrade health. There are so many scams out there …

$Monday: You can't afford a poor diet.

Nobody can. You've heard that "it's expensive to be poor." This is the gut-wrenching truth about eating poorly: real food costs a lot less than health care for preventable disease. So if you think you can't afford to eat well, it really means you can't afford to live. And that ain't right! While economic stress has a lot to do with access to healthy food, finding a way to eat well is the only way to avoid more poverty and a (probably shortened) life of suffering. The good news is that eating well is easier than our consumer culture--which feeds like a parasite off of the sick, poor, and tired--has led us to believe.


When I was in college, I had a classmate who nearly died (thereby wasting his college tuition!) when he attempted to save money by eating nothing but instant ramen. It's sort of a cliche or a joke in our culture to do that, because food is one of those expenses we obviously all have, and the grocery store is a place where we seem to have c…

TBT: Fast-Forward Fashion

This blast from the past is funny, because my personal style and shopping habits have evolved quite a bit since my 20s--in fact, full circle to the advice in the first paragraph I wrote, which I went on to reject at the time. In my 20s, I enjoyed extremely silly fashion. I'd look at Vogue magazines and then imitate designer looks in ridiculous ways. I tried to anticipate near-future trends, which I nailed in the first picture here, where I've "put a bird on it" before the meme was born. Yus! ...But.

Now that I am a fully fledged adult with a more relaxed budget, I hardly ever shop for clothes or accessories, not even at thrift shops, where I am now more afraid of picking up bugs. I still have a lot of clothes, but I rely heavily on swaps and hand-me-downs from friends and family. Occasionally I browse garage or church sales in communities I trust to sell clean garments. The world is now drowning in excess clothing, so it's easy to rake in quantities of barely-wor…

Someone Has to Do Nothing

Someone has to be home between the hours of 10 and 2 to accept the delivery. Someone has to be with the kids. Someone has to watch the neighbors' house while they are gone. Someone has to let the cat nap in their lap. Someone needs to chill out or keep it real or be more spontaneous, and that person must be unoccupied, or at least interruptable, for long stretches of time.

Someone has to look out of the window. Someone needs to notice when the sun rises and when the fireflies come out. Someone needs to remember to time the song of the cicadas so that we can measure the heat as it rises.

Someone has to rest. Someone has to be present. Someone has to pray or meditate or break the cycle of anxiety. Someone needs to laugh, and someone needs to watch this, y'all. And someone has to record it on their phone.

Someone has to listen. Someone has to think. Someone has to imagine what no one else has thunk up yet.


I spent my young adult life learning how to speak up and take action. I w…

Sparkles in the Dark

It's December in Michigan, when despite our distance from the Arctic Circle, we get about 10 minutes of direct sunlight spread out over 31 days. 'Tis a cloudy state, thanks to the embrace of the Great Lakes, and there isn't yet a thick blanket of glittery snow to reflect what light filters through. This season is great for building fires, snuggling on the couch with a mug of spiked cocoa and a disturbing foreign film (God help me, I'm not a Hallmark movie kind of lady), lighting one's home with chaotic tangles of string lights, and wearing glittery stuff in the daytime. This season brings out my latent maximalist.


Okay, maybe not latent so much as closeted. This is what the top of my dresser looks like at this very moment.

I'm feeling a 2020s home makeover coming for me that will involve a lot of dark, rich, and bold colors and luscious textures that glow or shine or glimmer in low lighting. I think that this will be a comfort and an inspiration to me. I want t…

Green Therapy Is the New Black Friday

At the risk of sounding like Calvin's dad, it sure feels good to walk off the turkey with a brisk nature hike. Woodlands, parks, and waterfronts are peaceful on Black Friday, when everyone else is playing bumper cars on the icy roads, bludgeoning each other with Nintendo Switches, or crouching indoors behind a screen to troll for great deals on the mountains of junk that sometimes keel over and crush people in Amazon warehouses.

If your weather outside is frightful, however, you may wish to stay inside until the latest storm passes. I recommend building a fire in case the power goes out--and if it doesn't, switch on your best reading light and curl up nearby with a stack of library books. I'm all stocked up with some marvelous finds of my own.


I also have a few other entertainment recommendations for the start of cuffing season. It has now been a nice, round 20 years since the prophetic music video for "Sleep Now in the Fire" by Rage Against the Machine. Pogo l…