Legal Fictions: How to Practice Law (in the Future)

By Nancy Jane Moore

legal padOne of the reasons I went to law school was to be able to work for myself. It used to be common for people to come out of law school and hang out a shingle.

So when I graduated, I did just that. In retrospect, I’m not sure it was a great idea. I certainly never made any money. In fact, I was a lot like the lawyer character Eileen in my story “Revision”, available in Mad Science Café,  who describes her early years of law practice like this:

So I helped communes buy their property, negotiated leases for hippie businesses, even made it possible for a food co-op to get a beer and wine license. And I frequently got up in the middle of the night to get my friends out of jail.

I was a hippie, but I could work the system. My friends would introduce me to other folks at parties. “This is Eileen. She’s my lawyer. Hee, hee.” And someone would pass around another joint.

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WWW Wednesday 4-23-2014

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.


To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


• What are you currently reading?

I have books stashed in several locations around the house.  At the breakfast table I currently am reading The Plantagenets by Dan Jones.  This is a big book and he only gets through the Edwards.  The War of the Roses will be another volume.  Jones writes in an easy and fluid manner, explaining family relations and politics in enough detail for the narrative to make sense, but not so much as to overwhelm.  There are plenty of maps and family trees to help.  I am a history geek and this is my period. I’m reveling in it.  This is the first book I have encountered that presents a balance view of King John and the Magna Carta. This is the first book that shows the long reign of John’s son Henry III in any detail. Usually he’s glossed over.

Warning: if you purchase or borrow from the library, there are two e-book versions.  The one for the tablet style e-reader will not load onto an older Nook or Kindle.  Make sure you get the compatible version.

Beside my recliner I have Silver by Rhiannon Held.  I met the author at a con and we got into a deep conversation about developing a werewolf culture from within, complete with religion and origin myth, and not viewed from the prejudiced eyes of a human.  This book stands up to the conversation.  Enjoying the characters and the tale immensely.  I’m happy to hear there are 2 sequels.


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The Mathematics of Writing


History—and nonfiction of various types—offers a wonderful smorgasbord of events and interrelationships for writers to base stories on. Most writers—myself included—have mined nonfiction for fictional ideas. My collected history books have many pages with the words “Story here!” scrawled at the top, often with multiple exclamation points, highlighting and arrows pointing to the text that made the hair rise up on my neck and my ovaries twitch.

It’s easy to get ideas from nonfiction—books, magazine articles, TV documentaries, etc. My first published novel, THE MERI, occasioned me to read three fat and varied histories of Scotland upon whose progression of kings and system of governance I chose to base my fictional government. It was a lot of work, and I think sometimes that the tech revolution has had a deleterious effect on how some writers do research. I’ve had several experiences lately that make me suspect that the abridged nature of the information we take in makes some of us forget the mathematics of writing.

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A Woman Goes to War: A Call to Arms by P. G. Nagle

A Call to Arms by P. G. NagleA new historical novel by P. G. Nagle

1861: as America erupts into civil war, Emma Edmonds is roused to such intense patriotism that she joins the Union army…as a man.

Raised on a farm by a father who would have preferred a son, Emma can ride, shoot, and hunt as well as any man. She defies convention to become a soldier, an army nurse, even a spy. Dangers surround her, from enemy fire in battle to the risk of discovery by her friends, which would end in court-martial and disgrace. Always she seeks to reconcile the necessity of deception with her deeply-held values, but her greatest challenge arises when her friendship with a fellow-soldier becomes so close that she is tempted to confess the truth and risk everything for a chance at love.

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Food: New Uses For Winter Squash

2014-02 Tajji and squash

Tajji guarding squash

I love winter squashes. They’re delicious, versatile, and packed with nutrients. Some varieties you can find in markets pretty much all year round — acorn and butternut, sometimes chunks of banana squash or Hubbard, with specialty or health food markets carrying kabocha and a few others, too. Others are seasonal. Pumpkins are easiest to find in the fall, and I think it’s a tragedy that so many end up rotting when their decorative days are over. Delicata doesn’t store well, so grab it while you can. Then there are the heirloom varieties, oh my. We’ve hardly begun our exploration of them.

Favorites so far: buttercup, carnival, blue Hubbard, Tennessee sweet potato squash (with a delicate but distinct sweet potato flavor); pumpkins like Cinderella or Musquee de Provence, small sugar pumpkins. Not so fond of tromboncini, but that could be that it’s better as a tender summer squash.

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The Breedist Beagle

Connery is a breedist Beagle.

cb.MACH.bawhBEWARE!” he bays, if a problem breed comes into his orbit. “DO NOT WANT!”

If he spots such an individual while we’re running an agility course, I can be pretty sure he’s going to bring down a bar or pop a weave, because he just can’t think beyond the worrisome presence of that dog. He tries so hard that it’s palpable but he just. Can. Not.

To be fair to Connery, he has reasons. Good ones. Like his objection to Boxers? The first dog who attacked him was a Mastiff—a huge creature with a head the size of Connery’s whole body. A big fawn dog with black points and a big squoosh face: close enough to a Boxer, if you’re Connery.

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More on Health Insurance for Writers

by Brenda W. Clough

Earlier this season this report surfaced from writer Elizabeth Hand.

She is a single mother with two kids living in Maine, and she calculates she spent at least $60,000 since 2001 on her health care. And this is a healthy woman with healthy kids, living on a writing income. I wince just thinking about this. She signed up this year for ACA benefits, and her monthly payment has dropped from $466 to $52.

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The Goblin Emperor and the female gaze


I am trying to get down some preliminary thoughts about something that occurred to me while I was rereading, and loving all over again, Katherine Addison’s recent release, The Goblin Emperor .

I was about three quarters of the way through, and during a complicated conversation between several key characters it occurred to me that one of the things I was loving about this book (and there is so very much to love) was that, though all the characters in the scene were male, who was noticing what, and how they responded, dialed in my perception over to female gaze.

I know how shifty the sand is here. The instant someone seems to be possibly maybe hinting at an idea that “all men write like this” or “all female authors write like that” howls of protest rise. As they should. And yet, while I am no proponent of that “all,”  the longer I read, the more patterns I perceive.

Even that can be dangerous ground. Patterns are not math: we don’t all see the same ones, because our experiences are not the same.

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Sable German Shepherd Dog on big round pillow

Tajji chills out while her monkeys clack away in front of the flicker boxes

When we began looking into ways to rehabilitate Tajji, at least one source noted a tendency for a dog to backslide for “three to seven days” in the relatively complex training required. Two weeks ago we noted something like this in a rebound in Tajji’s reactivity to other dogs, culminating a couple of days ago in her “going off” at an empty yard where she frequently sees a reactive GSD, then nowhere in evidence. About a week ago she added  barking at pedestrians at some distance. Despite the warning, her regression was a bit disheartening after the more rapid progress of the previous five weeks.

Enlightenment followed last Tuesday, in conversation with one of Tajji’s former owners. Deborah and I had misunderstood the order of events, believing, as stated in previous posts, that Tajji’s disorderly behavior was the result of not knowing how to behave outside a service harness. Instead, it turns out that the barking and lunging had developed while she was working. Of course, her blind person had little or no warning, and it got so bad that people were crossing the street to avoid her.  Her owners worked with more than one professional trainer, but nothing helped, and so she was retired.

In short, she had a nervous breakdown. Continue reading

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Vonda N. McIntyre on the Set of The Moon and the Sun

Brosnan and McIntyreHere’s a picture of BVC’s own Vonda N. McIntyre sitting with Pierce Brosnan, who is playing Louis XIV in the movie version of The Moon and the Sun. The picture is from a French TV1 report on the movie being filmed at Versailles.

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