The Rambling Writer Visits Thailand, part 15: Swimming with Monkeys

Join Thor and me as we get in the swim with playful monkeys at Our Jungle House, as your virtual Thailand vacation continues.

NOTE: “And now for something completely different.” Thor and I made our first trip to Asia — the beautiful country of Thailand.  We were lucky to squeak through the pandemic flight closures in January/February of 2020 as we returned from our three-week trip. Since more travel has now become a distant prospect, we hope you’ll take a virtual vacation with us in the following weeks. (This blog series started on June 13.)

On our last afternoon at our delightful treehouse, we had returned from a sweaty hike in the Khao Sok wilderness park and were ready for another cooling swim in the river that ran past Our Jungle House eco-lodge. Throwing on our suits, we headed for the river bank and the towering limestone cliff where the long-tailed macaques often sheltered in hollow niches. Continue reading


Author Interview: Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander

Interviewed by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel


Alma Alexander, known as the Duchess of Fantasy, has the resume to be a storyteller. She was born on the banks of the blue Danube in a country whose name is but a memory. She left that home at ten, and lived in five countries on four continents before setting up shop in cyberspace.

When asked about her life, all she will say is that she was born six years before men walked on the moon, and is married to a man who wooed her in cyberspace and lured her to America. Alexander confesses only to being owned by a pair of cats, and being both a Cancer and a Water Rabbit.

But if you want to know about her stories, ah, that’s something else entirely. She can talk all day about storytelling, and about these children of her heart. From the shores of Syai, an Asian culture that she will convince you exists somewhere, through werewolves that will stun you and leave you open-mouthed, she has traveled to more than one far country of her own making. Nearly a score of novels and volumes of short stories attest to her joy in “dreaming for a living.” Continue reading


New Worlds: The Wrong Side of the Blanket

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

Bastards aren’t the inevitable consequence of adultery, but they’re pretty common.

They don’t have to be, of course. With birth control, one can have oodles of standard-issue heterosexual intercourse without ever producing a child. But the kind of society that stigmatizes bastardy — being born out of wedlock — is often the kind of society that doesn’t practice much in the way of contraception, either. The connection isn’t accidental; patriarchy usually demands both that women produce offspring only for their legally recognized husbands, and that they produce offspring.

Continue reading


Interview with Australian Writer Gillian Polack

This review and the following interview are a year late, because the author had to flee her home in Australia last year as the firestorm raged across the landscape. The publisher also had to flee.

Then came Covid.

But they are trying to recover their lives, including launching this absorbing, remarkable book at last.

Poison and Light, by Gillian Polack

Here’s the blurb for the book:

 Renowned artist Grania, famed as a painter of light, arrives in a sleek space ship from Lost Earth, ready to embrace New Ceres and its New Enlightenment in its entirety – its 18th century set up, its coffee houses, its gossipy salons, and its obsession with a low-level approach to tech . . . But is she really ready for its cutthroat society, its strange food issues or for Livia? Livia who toys with lives on a whim, and will stop at nothing to realize her dream society.

When Grania marries Dal and sets up her own political salons the stage is set for a battle of wills and poisonous chaos ensues. 

 From the pen of Dr Gillian Polack comes a wild romp through a brand new world where everything old is new again. It will have you turning every page as quickly as you can read it.

Continue reading


Robin Hood’s Merry Men: Alan a Dale



Here we go again with the multiple spellings of character names. Alan is the current favorite, but Allen, Alen, Allin and others also appear. In my book, the sequel to Walk the Wild With Me, DAW Books 2019 by Rachel Atwood, I chose Alain, the French version. The surname of a Dale is sometimes a Dayle or O’Dayle.


Continue reading


Artist in Residence Quarantine Diaries Episode 18: Companions

So, you may or may not know (or remember) that my boy cat, Blackjack, had a bad brush with a urinary blockage back in the summer and I came THIS close to losing him. He’s good now. Thank you. Thank Bast. He’s on a special diet and everything but he’s there, curling up in the crook of my arm as I read for a while every night before i go to bed, purring like a furry little steam engine. He’s my cuddle cat. He hasn’t got meowing quite down – he began life as a street cat and didn’t get human-infested until too late to learn to communicate like that, I suspect – so his meows tend do be sotto voce, or they sound like somebody is strangling a goat. He literally bleats sometimes. He also snores, I’ve never had a cat that snored before. It usually ends up by my losing it because of “teh kewt’ and snorgling him (until he bleats). God, i love that little criter.

My other cat is a dignified old lady (who will turn 18 this Christmas) who has never really been “a kitten”: She’s what you might call an old soul, if such a thing exists in cats. She is a LADY. She is demanding. She is very much in charge of this household. She also has an incredibly hard to believe bent to sleeping  with all four feet tucked away under the oil heater in the office and I am damned if I know how she doesn’t burn her paws to blisters.

Continue reading


BVC Announces A Hinky Universe Bundle by Jennifer Stevenson

A Hinky Universe Bundle by Jennifer StevensonA Hinky Universe Bundle
Book 1 from three series: Hinky Chicago, Slacker Demons, Coed Demon Sluts
by Jennifer Stevenson

This bundle contains the complete first novel from three different series set in the same magical universe:

The Hinky Brass Bed (Hinky Chicago book #1)
It’s Raining Men (Slacker Demons book #1)
Coed Demon Sluts: Beth (Coed Demon Sluts book #1)

How will Chicago survive the worldwide infestation of magic?

Can fraud cop Jewel save the city from phonies and sexy crooks with the aid of a magical bed?

Will the slacker demons heal the city’s women with magical nooky?

Or should the team of trainee succubi take over the slackers’ man-lair and pump the lair and the city full of estrogen and riot-grrl power?

Dip into three different paranormal series set in a city with magic on its mind. You need a laugh in your day!

Continue reading


More about Coed Demon Sluts: Beth

This whole series sprang out of a title. I’d finished my series Slacker Demons and had realized that the Lair where these incubi hung out on the north side of Chicago was way, way too cool to toss in the ashcan.

But what do you do when you’ve used up an idea about lazy male sex demons?

Duh. You plug in some industrious female sex demons. Since the Chicago theatre scene boasted for years a long-running play called Coed Prison Sluts, it wasn’t a big jump to Coed Demon Sluts.

I realized right away that these ladies would not have stories like the boys with horns. A broad, informal survey of my acquaintance showed that my male friends, and my lesbian friends, all agreed that the reason they would sign up for a gig as a sex demon was simply the sex. Continue reading


A Botched Kiridashi Knife and Other Stories

I was thinking about many different topics for this blog. Some of them were political. Notably about there not being acceptance of voting reality. Or maybe the about Moderna’s new vaccine– or an even more nano-particle vaccine that does exceedingly well in mice.

I tried. I really did.

But all of these things are tied together and whenever I pulled on one thread it unraveled back to things that depressed me and I felt like clutching my dog and weeping for my homeland.

No. It has to be better than that.

So I’m going to talk about failure. Continue reading


Birds, Whales and Tortoises in the skies


I’m on a constellation binge. They crept into a short story I’m writing, and the resulting research has filled my head with ideas, not always a good thing. Hopefully soon, my dear fan, I will veer into another subject and leave my mythological obsession behind.

Monsters, as I wrote I last week, were given a hard time by the ancients. Most that made it into the stars were murdered, by either gods or heroes, who were descended from the gods. In one tale Draco, the dragon, was slaughtered by Minerva, who threw him into the sky where he froze into the twisted, tortuous constellation he is today. Draco was of the Gigantes race, who strove to rule the cosmos, and thus fought a sustained war with the gods. Guess who won?

Heracles, who was renamed Hercules by the Romans, killed many monsters as he ticked off his list of Twelve Labors. Among them were the Hydra of Lerna, a multi-headed water snake with poisonously bad breath, the Nemean Lion, Stimphalian Birds, and Erymanthian Boar

Continue reading