New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn. Plus, coming soon: e-books: Yvgenie, and books from Jane.



At Miscon 2013, around Memorial Day, Missoula MT, At SoonerCon, in OKC, around June 15, also Spokon in Spokane, in July/August, Beyond that, we aren't sure.
December 2014
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Made an interesting discovery: I’m allergic to turkey…

Not violently allergic, but there’s a reason, apparently, why I always get a little sick on Thanksgiving and don’t feel well for a few days—if I eat turkey. They disguise it. I can usually detect it: turkey pastrami and lunch meat to me has a very bad flavor. You can spice up turkey itself so it tastes pretty good—but apparently it and I don’t get along.

So I’m doing lasagne and fixing turkey for Jane. We’ll have stuffing. Stuffing and lasagne just boggles the mind. But hey, if I don’t put turkey gravy on mine, I’ll be fine.

Chicken, I’m fine with, and it doesn’t taste bad. But turkey, not so much, apparently.

It’s finally snowing….

I love snow. It’s particularly nice when I don’t have to drive in it—we’re well-stocked: I did my grocery run yesterday—but it’s just sifting down like fine powder. Not uncommon for us. They only forecast half an inch, but I think we’ve already got that.

Spokane is a hilly town. Our downtown is literally ‘down,’ so it, on the riverside, may not get as much as those of us who live on the heights, and we’re about middling. Our altitude is about 2000 feet here, and probably we’re about 2300 where we are. 2000 is the break-point for getting snow and getting rain, so it can be pretty fickle on some days. Mt Spokane is pushing 6000 feet absolute elevation—subtract 2000 for its base. It’s a skiing mountain, and boasts the first double chair lift ever built. Which seems to be what’s still there.

It used to have a huge shiny globe atop (in 1932) in honor of [fatherhood???] Yep. That’s what they say. But the thing disappeared, perhaps at the hand of somebody who likes mountains not to be defaced by large shiny globes: they’ve never found what happened to it. My bet is rolled off down the mountain. 360 degrees gives you a choice of a lot of rugged hiding spots.

At least we’re getting snow now, even if the rest of the week is going to be striped rain and ice.

Finally got a good recipe for white sauce…Mexican.

In a sauce pan, heat butter (amount your choice—flour should be equal). This makes a roux, or a thickening base for a sauce. Pronounced rue. Cook it gently til slightly brown and until it doesn’t taste of raw flour.
Then you add: sufficient chicken broth (Swansons sells a good one with a good shelf life.)
A mini-can of mild diced chilis (drained.)
Enough sour cream to get it to the consistency you want. Cook a bit, stir.

Form enchiladas by putting cooked (I don’t care how they get cooked, but cooked) chicken bits in a stripe down the middle of a flour tortilla, add cheese of your choice, but mild and white is traditional, then roll, place in pan, and pour white sauce over it all.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

My source didn’t give amounts, but I’d say if you aim for 2 cups of sauce, enough to handle 4 chicken enchiladas, you want about a third of a cup of roux, of which the flour is the main solid, a half a cup of chicken broth, the chilis, and about a cup of sour cream.

I’m going to try this. I’ve done it without the roux or broth and it’s pretty good, but the rest of the recipe should make it pro.

Ah, we are in for striped weather…

Meaning, by Wednesday, we have water in the forecast, but what form it will come in—may change by the hour. It will hover just at freezing, then below freezing, so back and forth—rain, ice, snow.

Our city has a city-wide race—which is a race, for runners who come in from Kenya and London and wherever, and there are crowds along the route, and card tables set up with drink cups, etc, for the runners. But the bulk of the race particpants, who have paid to enter and who get a teeshirt and a time for finishing—are regular folk, some athletic, some, well, pushing prams or the like. [That sort is deadly, if they get behind you in a crowd.] The race is called Bloomsday, celebrating spring in the Lilac City…when flowers are blooming.

I have ‘run’ Bloomsday several times…for the teeshirt. And the first time Jane and I ran it, we started in sun, ran into rain, then hail, then sleet, then snow, then rain, then sun again. You wear less than spiff clothes to run in, and start discarding them into trees along the route as you go and warm up: trucks gather them, people wash them, then give them to the needy.

The second time we visited Spokane, on the tail end of a con in California (open-jaw flight plan) we stayed in a motel and went apartment hunting. It rained. It snowed. It was icy. It changed its mind every few minutes. We were warned the weather was normal for Spokane.

Obviously we were not deterred. We rented an apartment in March and finally made the move in June—arriving in a torrential downpour as the movers tried to get our furniture in. Worst rain I’ve ever seen in Spokane.

So……..the weatherman is warning us again. Right now the sky is china blue and the pond is frozen so hard the ice looks like glass.

We’ll see what comes.

We have touchdown. ;) Rosetta.

And it sings. Who’d have thought a comet would sing.

All right, sailors on the Wavy Sea…have I….?

Ever specified a last name for any of the kids?
I think it’s high time they had one.
And Bjorn, who didn’t get to come.

Cold weather is on its way—another of those polar vortices…

And Jane and I bestirred ourselves and started prepping.
We’re at 50 degrees today. We’ll be in the 30’s tonight, but tomorrow, it doesn’t warm up. We have a high of 20-something and several days of nights in the teens.

Jane’s working on her book, and at a sticky spot, so I was trying not to disturb her.

I went and got 10 bags of fine mulch from Home Depot…which entailed shifting the charity stuff from the back of the Prius and going to the store. Thought I’d get 15 bags, but when I saw the size of them, I whittled that down to 10. THose stacked to the ceiling of the cargo area.

Then I tried to offload them (they’d been rained on) and got out one dolly. Didn’t work. Load of five wouldn’t budge. Load of two wouldn’t budge. Fell right off. I went and got the other dolly. No joy either. I went and got the wheelbarrow, and began loading it when Jane came out, got the broad-bottomed dolly I thought we had, but didn’t know where it was—and we got the mulch off. It’s pretty heavy. I shouldn’t have lifted it—got a little twinge in the hip—since I’m like in couch-potato shape at the moment. But I’m ok.

Hoses in from the front yard, lotus pond filled to brim, main pond filled to good level, heater in for fish, lilies sunk deep. Then take up all the rubber hoses, take off all the brass spigot manifolds (I’m sure there’s a precise name for them) and store those for the winter.

We got all the mulch in, then needed burlap tree wrap, and couldn’t find it; so off to Lowes.

And we’re in pretty good shape for the 31 degree night tonight, but tomorrow we shut down the outside pipes and drain the lines. Got the fish tank (indoor) automatic topoff barrel filled. Clothes washed. Chrysanthemums and dahlia cut back to be covered in mulch.

And the mulch was on sale, too.

We decided to go out to eat, and in a bar full of people watching Seahawks football, we tuned our set to the Cup of China skating. ;) People around us had to wonder why we were cheering out of time with the rest. And boy! that collision Han Yu was in was nasty. Poor fellow. When you have your chimes rung like that, it’s real hard to stay standing, let alone to go out and do a balance-based sport at an Olympic level. Bravely done.

I’ve got a pot of stew in the crockpot, but that’ll hold a day: I’ll just heat it up for a few hours tomorrow, and it’ll be fine. We keep our house about as cold as our ice box used to deliver in summer, so I figure we’re not going to get botulism from a recook, eh?

We’re not as ready for deep cold as I’d like: we still have stuff to pull into the garage, still got the patio table umbrella to get in. But we’re pretty well prepared, all the same. Thank goodness we did some of this a week or so ago.

Just sent the revisions on Tracker in…

People don’t realize how much Jane is involved in the writing of these books. In this case she dropped her own writing, parked herself in a chair, and 48 hours later, including taking the book to bed, she handed me a brilliantly-done critique, with line notes and suggestions…now and again I like her wording better than mine. So when I dedicate a book to Jane it’s often because she’s got paragraphs in it. ;)

I handed her a new version 24 hours later, and 24 hours after that she handed me another compare file WITH a copy of the original with the suggestions already embedded, which took some mental algebra to get properly compared with MY original text…and 24 hours after that—I have produced a final from the combination of her notes and that text. NOW she’s in there trying to clean up the kitchen disaster area after my marathon re-editing which started early this morning. We’re having pizza tonight and starting another stew pot tomorrow if I don’t intervene with my brilliant notion of crescent-roll-based pastry shells for a chicken pot pie. We’ll see what I feel like doing. I might get inventive.

But bless her, I’ll have a clean kitchen to do it. I hear the bangs and thumps. And all this while Jane is working on her own story.

Did I mention I just fired the finalfinal back to her because she said she wants to read it. And I realize now that I’ve sent it to NYC that I haven’t run the check for certain words I wanted to run before I sent it—sometimes our modern age just moves too fast for its own good… SO there may yet be a finalfinalfinal before Betsy gets to edit it.

I’m now happy with it, however. We get inventive on file names: trackerv1jsf, trackercjc, trackercjccomp, tracker2jsf, tracker2cjc, trackercompnov3, trackerfinalcjc, trackerfinaljsc, trackerfinalfinalnov5…

And this isn’t saying there won’t be more. This is the only mode in which I really appreciate Windows over DOS—when I can call up two files side by side, and run the red-letter version of the edit past the original in the same screen.

Thank goodness also for hyperclean focus on the glasses. I have one pair set so I can read 8pt type. And that really matters when I’m trying to get 2 whole pages on at once. Since I work only with a laptop in an undersized armchair, occasionally with kitty help, this miniaturization helps.

I’m now started on the next book, the title of which I know but have not yet announced (no, I won’t, not yet!), and Jane’s going to follow up on that one, too, so we can make sure the data matches from book to book.

Mmm—daylight savings time.

My clock says 8:50 and my computer says 7:55. D’ya think?

I don’t think the DST change can account for the five minutes. ;)

I really don’t mind it at all. Up here in the northern latitudes, with greatly diminished daylight, it gets to where, by winter solstice, you feel as if you’re living in a narrow band of light between a whole lot of dark. Sunset by 4:30…but getting me up so I can actually see the sun rise rather than sleeping through the morning light is a good thing. It makes sure I get up with the sun.

But ‘fall back’ [setting the clock back] is more yawn-producing than ‘spring forward’ when you get the sleep back. In the days when I taught school, that was always a lovely morning, the forward bit.

The difficult sell is convincing the cats that food comes on a different schedule. When they travel with us, they adapt to Central time real easily, and fuss at us when we get home.

For the first time, not a single Trick or Treater…

Kinda sad.

It was chill, spitting rain. Most of the ones we ever got were little tykes with parents, and the occasional shy batch of early teens.

Nada last night.

The local churches put on a show for the little ones.

Spokane is getting to where adults have taken over Halloween. We could have gone in costume to a bar or a party we sort of wanted to go to, but Jane and I are on pre-turn-in edit, and I shut down the pond yesterday, well, mostly, except pulling the pump, because the weather’s dropping the temperature down where the fish need to start going to sleep. Getting into the 30’s at night. And once the water chills down past 50, they shouldn’t be eating. That’s your day-night average, which for us is 58 by day and 38 by night.

So I’m on the bridge trying to squidge the winter cover ( a floating round shield of sunscreen fabric held by a ring of irrigation hose, about 6′ diameter) under the predator netting.

Good thing I went out—we’d had a disaster with the lotus pond, a pipe coming loose, which was pouring water next to our foundation/basement. We had a little pond going right next the house. It dried quickly, however, once I cut that flow off: I’d been noticing the quince tree was acting incredibly happy this fall. Had to bail out the filter box on the lotus pond (its drain is covered. and I think I may put some tarp under its lid to prevent winter precip from freezing in the box.

Outside of that, and getting the garden tools in, we should be pretty good. Jane’s giving a close read to Tracker, and I’m doing things to keep her head free for that special kind of reading.

Cooked a big pot of stew last night: beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, can of tomato paste, pepper, salt, basil, oregano, and that’ll feed both of us several suppers this next week, from a crockpot kept on ‘warm.’ I way too optimistically thought it would be done last night. Nope. So it was pizza. But we’re set for the coming week. Cost about 35.00 for the makings, but feeding 2 people supper for several days, not so bad.