Award-winning author
Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

09 July 2008

News and views

My story “Elessa the Restless” was published last week in the science fiction anthology Barren Worlds. The story, set in space far in the future, retells one of the many dozens of versions of the old British ballad “The Maid on the Shore.”

Barren Worlds is available online from and Barnes and Noble.


I will be autographing Barren Worlds on 26 July at 2 pm at:

Bookfellows/Mystery and Imagination Bookshop
238 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203

Please drop by if you’re in the area! I’d love to meet you in person.


I'm interviewed this week at (Scroll down to find me; my interview is the very last.)


So much for news. Now for some views.

God must be inordinately fond of beetles, biologist J.B.S. Haldane is reputed to have said. Why? Beetles make up about one-quarter of all living creatures. I found this gorgeous one sitting on the hummingbird feeder last week. What appears to be an emerald set into its carapace is actually a drop of water. After searching the Internet, I suspect this is a green fig beetle (Cotinus texana).

Progress! Four weeks after I snapped the top photo (which may look familiar because it was in my “My Town Wednesday” post about invertebrates), I took the one beneath it. More wasps have joined in the construction, and many of the formerly occupied cells are now vacant. They've become more aggressive in defending the nest; look at all the flared wings in the second picture! It's been fascinating to watch them since they started building in April.


Next week: a Riverside Fourth


Travis Erwin said...

Congrats on the story. That is cool how the water looks like a jewel. great pic.

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks, TRAVIS. How lucky I was to happen to see that beetle and then have it still there after I fetched the camera.

Michele said...

Hey, congrats on the story, Shauna!

Usually I see a lot more of those beetles around this time of year, but for some reason they seem to be few and far between this season. Hmm.

Great photo!

Charles Gramlich said...

That drop of water really does look like a jewel. We had a wasp nest like that under our front steps last week but I had to get ride of it because they came flying out to attack whenever we tried to get to our door.

I just got a copy of Barren Worlds today, from the contest. Thanks very much for sending it and congrats on the story. Haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Steve Malley said...

Wow, great news. Congratulations!

Shauna Roberts said...

MICHELE, I'm excited to hear that these beetles are common here. I'm looking forward to seeing more. (I don't have a fig tree or I'd be thinking the opposite.)

CHARLES, we're lucky our wasps chose a spot on our garage where we don't accidentally bother them. I wouldn't want them at the front door either! I'm glad the book arrived, and I hope you enjoy it. I sent you the rest of your prize last night.

Thanks, STEVE.

Sidney said...

I'll look for Barren Worlds.

Shauna said...


Congrats on your story! I look forward to reading it.

The wasps are not the only ones making progress at your house! ;-)



Lana Gramlich said...

Congratulations! I love the beetle picture! Unfortunately Charles had to get rid of some wasps who were making their home under our front steps. I'm lucky I never got stung out there, as I often photograph the sky from our front stoop!

Shauna Roberts said...

SIDNEY and SHAUNA, thanks!

LANA, thanks for stopping by. That's too bad about your wasps—what a dumb place for a nest. I think you would have enjoyed watching and photographing them if they had chosen a better place.

Bernita said...

Congratulations on the story!
He is a jewel bug, is he not?

Shauna Roberts said...

BERNITA,thanks for the congrats. I think jewel bugs have large black ovals and circles on their backs. The "spots" on this bug are actually drops of water.

Rae Ann Parker said...

Shauna, congratulations on your story publication. Have fun at your book signing.

I love your photos. I think you should consider gathering some of your photos and writing a children's book on insects. I hear that publishers like to buy these educational books with facts and photos.

Lisa said...

Congratulations! I just Amazon one-clicked BARREN WORLDS, so I'll get to read your story by the end of the week!

Shauna Roberts said...

RAE ANN, thanks. I should have fun at the book signing because there are several story authors in the L.A. area who will be there. Even if no one shows up, we will at least have each other to talk to.

That's an interesting idea about writing a children's book on insects. I should look into that. Sounds like fun.

LISA, thanks both for the congratulations and for buying the anthology. I haven't received my contributor's copy yet, so you may get to read the stories before I do.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Sorry I'm late to the party, Shauna, but I want to add my congratulations, too :-) That's terrific news!

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks, DEANNA!