More Garden Surprises: Feijoa Fruits!

Thanks to my VP XVII classmate, Alex Haist, I was able to identify two my otherwise anonymous “shiny green-leaved shrubs” as feijoa, or pineapple guava, by their stunning flowers. And now, those same little shrubs have produced fruit! See:


These are tiny little things, partly because they didn’t get much sun, and partly because I didn’t have compost to enrich their soil until so late. (Next year, I hope for better since the sun and compost both have been added to the site!) But I’m thrilled to find them, and to have such a plentiful harvest after I helped it along by pollinating some blossoms myself with a Q-tip.

And yes, they do taste somewhat of pineapple. And of guava. Quite yummy little things. (The one gripped between thumb and forefinger was munched on by something other than me–squirrel? Ants?) Also, next year I’ll try tasting the blossoms, too.

Happy Gardening, and Harvesting!

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Sale News!

I love sharing good news! And here it is: my story “Dogsbody” has sold to Perihelion Online Science Fiction Magazine, and will appear on October 12th. I’ll be sure to make an update at that time, with a link to the story. Until then, share my joy with me, okay?

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Big Changes in the Garden

This gallery contains 7 photos.

We called an arborist to advise us on a large laurel oak we wanted to keep living as long as possible. To our dismay, we learned that the tree had not one, but two hollow cavities filled with decayed wood … Continue reading

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Well Shiver Me Timbers, It’s That Time Already!

Arrrr, mateys. The morrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day, one of my favorites. So I hope you’ll join me in salting up your lingo, raising some eyebrows, and maybe partaking in a tot or two of rum if ye be of that mind. No matter that I’m landlocked–tomorrow, I’m a pirate! Ahoy!

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Welcome Back from a (very) Long Weekend

It was a long holiday weekend here in the US, Labor Day–the unofficial end of summer and the beginnings of fall. Husband and I extended it even longer by taking Tuesday off as well, giving us a 4-day holiday. Bliss!

We had planned to spend Monday afternoon in nearby town, hiring a boat and going scalloping (fresh scallops=yum). It would have been a first for us, and we were looking forward to it, but not enough to brave the unending rain, rain, rain (and occasional lighting) to do so. Maybe next year?

Instead, we spent a few glorious hours in the local botanical garden, discovering still more new and amazing plants. I have fallen in love with these three:

In real life, you can see that the "stalks" look like bamboo, honest!

In real life, you can see that the “stalks” look like bamboo, honest!

Bamboo Palm.

I mean, how can you not be enthralled right away, if like me, you love both palms and bamboo? Throw in cold-hardy and shade-loving, and dash with red berries, and this plant is sure to find a spot in my gardens. Somewhere. Once I find it for sale.







pineconegingerPinecone Ginger.

OMG. This plant is so awesome! The fruiting body, as the sign described it, not only looks like a giant pinecone, but if you squeeze it a bit, it produces a sweet, vaguely ginger-like scented liquid that some people use as shampoo. (for the record, I squoze, and it smelled florally, gingery and lovely! I would definitely use that scent in shampoo.) And it’s a ginger, so partial shade is good for it, too.



flyingdragonFlying Dragon.

Finally, the oddest plant with the coolest name. This is a cultivar of Trifolate Orange with exaggerated spines and gnarly, twisting stems. Like the baddest version of a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick tree. And it produces fruit! Although harvesting that fruit may become a bit of a problem…

IMG_2046Another really cool thing we saw was this skink. Just plopped right out on the sidewalk, sunning itself into blissfulness, and looking gorgeous. But when your skin is toned with those amazing shades of blue, how can you not look gorgeous? We saw other skinks, as well, but none posed as nicely as this first one.

That evening, the temperatures really cooled down. We ended up turning off the AC and opening the windows for the first time since…I don’t know when. I’m not an AC-loving gal, so this was a really big deal for me. That evening, we sat outside, reading and enjoying the cool evening settling in around us. (insert little shivers of delight here)

We also celebrated our anniversary this weekend, and our celebration? A half-day at Universal Studios on Tuesday. Um, yes, we’re grown-ups now, really we are. It was a blast. And let me tell you an amazing little secret. If you want to go to this theme park, and don’t like the crowds, go early on the Tuesday following Labor Day. It was so empty! We zoomed into rides like we were visiting celebrities, or folks who’d shelled out extra bucks for those premium passes (totally not worth it on this day, lemme tell ya!). So much awesome. We checked off two major rides in the first half hour. :-)

All-in-all, a great weekend. I hope yours was as good!

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Welcoming Erika

Just a few minutes ago, I looked up from my desk and out the window to discover it had grown very dark outside. A flash of lightning was followed by a dull crack and rumble of thunder. And then the skies opened.

Welcome former-hurricane, former tropical storm Erika, my first “something like a hurricane” since moving to Florida a year ago.

Of course, that’s the precise moment that  the dog woke up and demanded to go outside and pee. //sigh//

Now that I’ve dried off again–sheesh was it raining!–let me catch you up on some interesting things.

Have you ever wished you could put the stories you love into one anthology, without regard for theme or genre? That the only requirement is “I love these stories?” Well, pop over to Anthology Builder and you can. Yes, a reprint of one of my stories is there, but so are hundreds of other stories by other authors. How about all your favorite stories in a special, one-of-a-kind collection for your best friend? How cool is that? Have fun!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about QuarterReads, but they’ve been busy adding new features and new authors and, of course, new stories. Some of the new features include a featured free story, and a “read a random story” button so you don’t fall into a rabbit-hole of indecision. I hope you check it out.

In current writing, I’m flipping between the first book in a YA urban fantasy dealing with witches, and a short story about a superhero and his family. The YA, working titled “The Rogue Witch,” is coming along nicely, and is pretty much a blast to write. I’m about halfway through, and hope to have the first draft finished by the end of September.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what goes on with this novel, and the next couple to follow, learning when and where it gets published, you can sign up for my newsletter with the shiny new button over there to the right. I won’t sell or trade email addresses, and won’t spam you. Maybe 3-4 times a year I’ll send something out keeping you apprised of the state of its writing and publishing, and other tasty tidbits.

Now for the short story. It’s just so odd for me–I was thinking about super powers and super-aliases yesterday, and it was so utterly different from the novel that it feels like a shock of cold water to the face. In a good way. Really. (Since I just came in from the rain, I’m familiar with “the bad way,” so I can say this authoritatively!) I was giggling to myself until the person at the coffeeshop next to me started giving me odd looks. But…this was my husband, so it wasn’t all that unusual for me to get odd looks from him. Or for him to hear about the odd things I ponder at any given moment. (Lucky him.)

I’m also having fun doing a beta-read for another writer’s novella, submitting short stories already written, and in general being “writerly.” :-)  Yup, that about sums it up. Writerly-ness and rain. Husband and the dog. Life is good. Carry on.

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Writer’s Desk, 8/18

Um, the desk is kind of messy today. Promise me you won’t laugh!

Out the window: Hot hot hot, and more humid than the bathroom shower stall post-shower. Bright sun with occasional bouts of heavy, rain-laden clouds obscuring the sky entirely. Later it will probably rain. (I can’t wait. Not that it will cool off any; it’ll just make me feel better about the humidity.)

On the desktop: An explosion of notes, a notebook propped open to a page with editing comments, 3″ x 5″ cards, pens, mug, glasses case, along with the usual clutter. A bright cloth lizard watches over the mess with bead eyes bright.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: I’m hard at work on the Urban Fantasy series that I’m planning to self-publish (once it’s entirely done). What, haven’t I mentioned this? I thought I had…hmmm. Well, let me introduce you! Series, blog. Blog, series. Um, no, the series doesn’t have a name just yet. That’s one of the things I’m working on. I’m just calling it by the name of the protagonist, Jessamin Stow, for now. Or maybe, The Rogue Series. Or, well, something along those lines.

I’m a couple of chapters in to the first book, and so far, the writing is going swimmingly. (yay!) But this is the first time I’ve tried a series, so I’ve outlined all 3 initial books (there may or may not be others after this point), and I plan on having a solid first draft of all three before I finalize and publish the first one. That way, any mistakes I find along the way I can (with any luck) correct easily and quickly. This is the plan. The first casualty of any conflict is often the plan, however. We’ll see how this one goes. (Wish me luck?)

And Another Things: I sent a flurry of short stories out on submission yesterday, so I’m feeling particularly virtuous and productive today. And the dog is off to his physical therapy, so I have a few precious hours totally alone in which to deeply concentrate and write. Which I’m off to do, right now. I can’t wait!

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My First Author Interview!

Each week, Michael J. DeLuca (guest-editor of LCRW #33) is posting an interview of one of his authors on his blog. Mine is up today! There are two other interviews before mine, and more to come after, so if you’re interested in those sharing the Table of Contents with me, read on! (I’m finding it fun and fascinating.)

If you’re finding me through that interview, hello and welcome to my online home. Feel free to leave a note; as always, comments are on.

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