The Mad Whirl in the UK


It is later. Much later, as a matter o fact. I’m on the flight home, and so far so good.

I did successfully make the change for the Bath train, but it was not without some panic and requiring the assistance of my fellow travellers. A train had been cancelled and another held over, so there was a real question as to whether the train on the platform in fron of me was the one I was supposed to take, and I got on not really knowing. Well, it was and I did get to Bath and to the hotel, which was…eh. For such an old and famous town, it was really lacking in any charm whatsoever. However, my room was ready, the restauraunt was open and I had a very good dinner. Guinea fowl in a marjoram-cream sauce, followed by pear and apple crumble with clotted cream. Seriously yummy.
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The Garden View

A few months ago, I did the writer-thing and set a short story about universes next door in my own backyard. The big fan palm in the corner was a prominent presence in that.

Fan Palm

Now, while the northern hemisphere slides into winter, Australia is heading toward spring. Or, more accurately, where I live in North Queensland, north of Capricorn, we are reaching the end of the Dry, and looking thirstily for the pre-Christmas storms that, in a good year, will open the Wet. In September-October, not merely my backyard but my whole garden is in the throes of “spring.”

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A Holiday Offering, part the third

An Armory of SwordsIn honor of the holidays, and of Fred Saberhagen who first bought the story, my fantasy novella “Glad Yule” is appearing on Book View Cafe in three parts. Parts 1 and 2 are on my bookshelf, and part 3 is available today at Book View Cafe.

I have two small gifts for readers today: a recipe, and a free calendar.

For those who would like to get in the medieval mood, here’s my recipe for mulled wine:

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Macrobiotics #3: Healing inside: The miracle of Ku(d)zu

Let’s talk about one of my cornerstones of healing – Vega Morning Tea. The basics of this come from a medicinal tea created by Herman and Cornelia Aihara, the great teachers and cheerleaders of the American Macrobiotic movement. They designed it for cancer patients, but I think that anyone suffering from a chronic illness, or anyone who feels drained, exhausted, stressed and unable to comfortably digest food, can benefit from this drink.

Macrobiotic counselors will tell you to drink this tea first thing in the morning, so it can pass without interference from the stomach into the small intestine. In fact, they’d prefer that this be breakfast. Using this tea continues the “fast” you began when you went to sleep the night before. The longer you can wait, the more time your digestive system has to rest and recover from its hard work – and from whatever health or diet problem has damaged your ability to take nutrients from food. It also has toxin-cleansing properties. You can do anything from substituting it for your usual breakfast to having it before roasted whole grains cereal and veggies. If you want more than tea for breakfast (and I do, even though I can run well on this for hours) Wait a minimum of 20 minutes, and longer if you can, before eating anything.

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Book View Cafe at Biology in Science Fiction

BVC is mentioned at Biology in Science Fiction today — right below an article on my favorite movie when I was a little kid, The Creature of the Black Lagoon. Hardly anybody had heard of SCUBA gear in the early 1950s, so when I saw a SCUBA diver splash out of the water on the beach of Nahant, Massachusetts, where my family lived when I was a kid, I thought it was the Creature and I ran home.

A couple of days later there he was on our front porch showing my dad SCUBA gear.

It took my mom a while to get over being annoyed at my dad for taking me to see Creature of the Black Lagoon. It was pretty scary for a six-year-old.

— Vonda


Beware the Wood Sprite

I had thought to wait a bit before describing any of the humanlike magickal creatures one might find in traveling the Wide World.  But the Wood or River Sprite is a creature that is best learned about early in one’s magickal education.  A child, perhaps, might take this creature for a wholesome playmate.

But woe to such child, for the Wood Sprite is fickle, and mayhap, such child might venture forth into the wild woods and never be seen again.

It is said that, like pixies, the Wood Sprites are curious creatures, although their capacity for memory is such that, should they learn one thing one day, it is forgotten by the next.  And most of all, such Sprites are fascinated by children and their doings.  That is the reason why their childish playmates may never return home, for as the Sprite plays each day with the child, during the night, such play is forgotten — and each new dawn, the Sprite believes she or he has found this child in the woods for the very first time.

It must be said that, although the sadness caused by Sprite kidnappings is deep, with many a mother and father mourning for years, the Sprite does not wish for such sadness.  It is just that in their Sprite-like imaginings, each day begins anew, and therefore, time does not mean the same for a Sprite as it does for you and me. 

Do not, whatever you do, make to bargain with such a creature.  With memories such as the Sprite’s a bargain made one day is quickly forgotten.  And you might find yourself turned to a tree stump, or a toad.  Best, if you see one, to make quickly for the forest’s edge.  The Wood Sprite will not pass into open fields or cross a road, so find ye either of those two things, and the danger will soon pass.


Nancy Is the Professional Guest at Long Ridge Writer’s Group This Week

I’m the Professional Connection guest this week — December 8-13 — on the Long Ridge Writer’s Group Post-a-Note page. I’ll be answering questions about Book View Cafe and the future of publishing (my guess is as good as anyone else’s), as well as giving writers some career advice (such as don’t do what I did).

Check out the site. If you register, you can even ask me some questions.


Novel Writing for Dummies


Starting your first novel?  Great!   Here are a number of do’s and don’ts for your very first opus.  I began this list as a handout for the writing class I teach at the Writers Center in Bethesda, MD.  I was inspired by the horrific and annoying errors that infest so many newbie manuscripts.  If people could just avoid a few of them, what a savation in time and stomach lining could be achieved!

What’s that?  You say that every single one of these points has been magnificently violated, time and again, by writers who are now literary immortals?  Indeed this is true – but I assure you they didn’t do it in their first novel.  If this is your first time swimming, you do not have to begin against Michael Phelps with the 100-meter breast stroke at the Olympics.  It is okay to begin at your local pool.  Here it is, the shallow end.  I will hold your hand.  Hop in.

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