Award-winning author
Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

30 September 2015

Ice Magic, Fire Magic appearances in October

Saturday, October 3

I'll be signing Ice Magic, Fire Magic and Claimed by the Enemy at the El Dorado High School Holiday Boutique on Saturday, October 3. I'll be at the Books on the Vine booth from noon to 1 pm. I'll be stopping by the booth off and on during the Holiday Boutique, which runs from 9 am to 3 pm.

El Dorado High School is at 651 Valencia Avenue, Placentia, California, in Orange County.

Saturday, October 10

I'll be signing Ice Magic, Fire Magic (and possibly Claimed by the Enemy) at the Orange County Book Lovers Event at the Embassy Suites Brea from 3:30 to 5 pm. This is a multiauthor signing featuring bestselling author Lauren Dane and about two dozen local authors.

The Embassy Suites Brea is at 900 East Birch Street, Brea, California, in Orange County.

Tuesday, October 13

I'll be reading an excerpt from Ice Magic, Fire Magic and autographing at the Lady Jane Salon OC along with Debra Mullins, Lisa Gail Green, and Pamela DuMond. The salon runs 7 to 9 pm.

The salon meets at the Gypsy Den Café at 211 West Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, California, in Orange County.

Goodreads giveaway, October 1–17

Or if you're feeling lucky, a Goodreads giveaway of Ice Magic, Fire Magic (for people in the United States and Canada only) will run from October 1 to October 17. The Goodreads box at right will become active October 1 and take you directly to the contest.

28 September 2015

Stuff in my yard: waterwise garden #1

plate flower with sun and moon
California is having a severe drought. As a result, county water providers have been providing funds off and on to reimburse people who rip out their lawns and either put in plastic grass (eek!) or xeriscape the space and use drip irrigation.

an extravagance: a ceramic bench
We were out of town last year when the weather was cool enough to put in gardens. But I started thinking about what we could do on our property, which is slightly over 1 acre and was at the time about half lawn and half desert.

This year, I started planning three gardens in earnest—a small Mexican-themed garden with very drought resistant native plants that would attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and birds; a large garden with paths, a bench, and drought-resistant plants that would attract wildlife and were either red or had red flowers; and a garden to occupy a 100-foot by 15-foot strip along the street that we can't see from the house.

succulents and ceramic squirrel
The more I studied the rules and requirements of the reimbursement program, the more Byzantine it seemed. When the program ran out of money, I actually felt relieved. It was still worthwhile to plant the gardens because they would reduce our water bill. Excited from planning and not willing to wait for fall, I plunged into killing the grass in the Mexican garden. (And some people say that studying archaeology is impractical!)

I finished the Mexican garden and most of the red garden before the heat started hitting the upper 90°s every day. The pictures above are some of the decorative elements. Below are more pictures. I'll post pix of the red garden when it's done.

If you are interested in making your own waterwise garden, feel free to contact me with questions. You can see my idea files for the three gardens at Pinterest: garden 1: Mexican; garden 2: red; and garden 3: curbside.

Bird bath I built from a hanging planter, the base of a birdbath whose top broke, an old saucer, a plant stake, two legs from a plastic bookcase, and some smooth rocks for short birds to stand on. The birdbath is anchored firmly in the ground, and although the top can be lifted off, I think I've made the whole thing Santa Ana wind–proof.
Sadly, in two months, I have not seen a single bird try it out.

Another plate flower. It contains five plates and bowls and a silvery center thing. I love plate flowers, and if they weren't so expensive, I would have put in many more.
I probably should go to junk stores and get old plates so I can make my own.

Thankfully, the birds do enjoy the fancy pole system for hanging feeders. This is right outside my office window so I can watch birds all day.

I don't know what the purpose of these ceramic balls is, but until the decorative grasses grow bigger, they do a good job of filling in the spaces between them attractively.

Each plant was tiny when it was put in, but after two months some are bushing out, and the milkweed is covered with eggs that I hope were laid by Monarch butterflies and not some creature that will eat all my plants.

24 September 2015

Ice Magic, Fire Magic paperback. Another award. Signings. Newsletter.

Paperback of Ice Magic, Fire Magic finally available

The trade paperback of Ice Magic, Fire Magic has reached online stores at last. Find it at Amazon at and at Barnes and Noble at

Another prize for Claimed by the Enemy

Claimed by the Enemy has won another award! It was the winner the "Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance" category in the 2015 Romancing the Novel contest, which was sponsored by the Hearts Through History Romance Writers.


I'll be signing Ice Magic, Fire Magic in October at three places. If you're in southern California and are interested in having your copy signed (copies will be for sale as well), check out the "News" tab at right.


The first issue of my newsletter went out last week. The prize this time was a $20 gift certificate to the winner's favorite online or brick-and-mortar bookstore.

It's not too late to sign up for the free newsletter and be eligible to win the gift certificate. Sign up here. If at anytime you decide you don't want to receive the newsletter anymore, there's a link at the bottom to click to unsubscribe.

11 September 2015

Over the mountains and through the desert

Last weekend, I went to the second year of a new sf/f convention, Fandom Verse Expo 2015 in Antelope Valley.

Because the trip was long (2 hours each way) and I had a full day of panels and a booksigning, and because he was curious what the scenery would be like, my husband drove me. 

I took some pictures on highway 138, between I-15 and the con. Here are some of the better ones so that you can see a different type of desert landscape than I've posted before. Notice how the amount and type of vegetation changes over the stretch of highway, as well as the shape and smoothness or roughness of the mountains.