Happy surprises on the road: A Public Piano in Moab, UT 🗺

Road trip wheeee! Traveling post-vaccine feels like being let out of jail. 🗺

Cheri smiles happily in front of a red rock formation in Arches National ParkThe south window arch at Arches National Park. Red stone over blue sky.A bumpy looking red rock formation, 8-10 stories tall, against a dusky blue sky

I woke up sore today after getting my second shot.

Meanwhile, my immune system is like:

Neo from the matrix says: I know Kung Fu

Today I’m grateful for:

  • Cool air & light rain
  • P handling our grocery shopping
  • An upcoming road trip 🗺
  • Work that I enjoy!

I want to use Expounder on my website, but I haven’t thought of a good use for it yet. ☺️

Tentative Explorations

We are easing into the world, antibodies bopping around our bodies like nanobots, invisible yet helpful.

If my body is average (and it has always seemed so) and if the scientific studies were robust (and they appear to be) I am enjoying a sharply reduced likelihood of infection now, with peak effectiveness right around the corner. Huzzah for research!

Still, my indulgences are minor:

  • Less apprehension when slipping through a busy sidewalk.
  • Sharing an elevator with a neighbor.
  • My first workout at our building’s gym since this whole mess started.

It felt strange stepping into the gym after 13 months. Familiar yet foreign. Me, on the bike. An elderly neighbor on the treadmill across the room. Both of us breathing behind our masks. I looked out the window. Somehow I’d forgotten that you can see Elliott Bay from our gym. A peekaboo view around the tower next door. The things that I’ve missed are eclipsed in number by everything I’ve lost track of. My mind has been absorbed with waiting and worrying. I forgot that I can see the water from the gym! That’s a tiny thing, but it makes me eager for more discoveries.


I’m off work today. And I’m hungry for new sights and sounds, for novelty, for the once-ordinary experiences of eavesdropping on conversation on a bus, or browsing a shop, or even seeing people’s faces! But I have to be patient.

Our local baristas are exhausted. Everyone wants to make small talk, one of them groaned. Seattleites are not usually chatty with strangers. But we’ve been pent up for too long and we’re ready to blow. HOW ARE YOU DOING!!!!

Baristas eye us all like they’re tempted to give us decaf. The ultimate punishment. We tone it down. Nod with deep empathy as they explain they had 25 people in line that morning and the owner can’t afford more staff yet. We keep our coffee orders concise and enunciate clearly. We tip. Never fuck with the supplier of your drug of choice.

It’s been a long, long year, baristas. We understand.

It’s cool and gray outside, and I think I’ll take a walk down to Beechers at the market and buy some hot tomato soup if the line isn’t too long. I’ll pass the tourists taking selfies at the fake-first-Starbucks. Dozens of shops have closed! No more Bavarian Meats. The Pear Grocery lives on in memory. Adiós Ralphs! Yet I see every empty storefront as fertile ground waiting to be planted.

Seattle exists in my heart as layers of what was and what might be. You remember was was there, on that corner, years ago. You see what’s in front of your eyes, right now. And I can almost see what’s waiting, ready to shove its way in. The city is always impatient, ready for the churn, eager for new opportunities.

Me too! But for the moment, I’ll settle for soup.


If it Looks Good on Paper... (More Writing Stuff)

I’m trying something new at work; it’s exciting and stressful. 😬

For the last year or so, I’ve been writing a (medium length) book once every 2-3 months, taking short breaks in between, then doing it again. It works pretty well! But I’ve read about another way to manage releases, and I’m curious to see if I can make it work for me.

Instead of writing a single book from A-Z, then starting over from scratch, I want to:

Outline Book A

Draft Book B

Edit Book C

(and so on)

All at the same time. This only works if I hire help for some of the stages, like editing. And it helps that Patrick handles book production. I’m not a machine! I require long stretches of time for things like walks, pounding espresso, taking naps, and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns. ☺️

Each individual book would take longer to write, as the various steps are spread over 5-6 months instead of 2. But on paper, this method looks quite enticing.

  • More variety in my work week. (fun!)
  • More books released per year. (also fun!)
  • More time for each book to simmer. (beneficial!)

It looks good on paper, but will it work in reality? I suppose I’ll find out. It’s the end of April, I finished my draft on time (barely), and tomorrow I start my first month with three overlapping projects. (Note: These projects are all from different series, to make sure my brain doesn’t get too tired doing similar things.)

Outline Project Butterfly

Draft Hostile Takeover

Editing Pass #1 for The Case of the Fond Farewell

So… yeah! I’m excited and intimidated by this crazy idea. I suppose if it’s all too much, I’ll go back to plan A. Plan A is mighty fine.

But… I do enjoy kicking my own ass occasionally. It keeps things interesting. 😋

Cruise News We Can Use

I just got this update from Vacations to Go.

In a letter to industry leaders last night, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said cruises could resume sailing from U.S. ports in mid-July.

The CDC will require that ships guarantee that at least 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated. This rule is in keeping with decisions already made by many other countries to require proof of vaccination in order for cruise ships to operate again.

Springtime views from today’s walk. Lake Union to Ship Canal Trail to the Sculpture Park.

A tall bridge arches over lake union. Many boats in the distance.Pink blossoms fall off a beautiful cherry tree near a walkway.A residental sidewalk is caked with pink and red petalsA long sidewalk wth grasses on both sides.

Outdoor mask wearing has been such a norm in downtown Seattle that as CDC recommendations loosen up for vaccinated folks we’ll need to stow our judgy pants.

Wear science pants, not judgy pants. 😎

The Strange Economics of Indie Publishing

How is selling ebooks like selling bulk goods at Costco? And why are box sets so inexpensive on Amazon? Some assorted thoughts on the economics of self-publishing.

Why are there so many free e-books out there?

Have you ever been to Costco? You might have noticed that they sell hot dogs very cheaply in their food court. In fact, they’re losing money on those hot dogs. They’re literally paying you to eat a hot dog! But it remains a smart business move, because people who come to Costco dreaming of a delicious yet cheap hot dog will often spend a few hundred bucks on other bulk goods, goods which turn a nice profit.

Whenever you see book one in a series listed for free or 99 cents you’re looking at a loss leader, a product sold at a loss as a form of marketing. This is publishing’s hot dog. We authors know that if you like book one in a series, you’ll likely buy the rest. Enjoy that book! Just don’t cover it in mustard.

Free ebooks are a double-edged sword for authors. Certain retailers, like Kobo, actively suppress the listings of free books. But a “free book one” in a long series can be a smart business move. Still, some readers will always assume a free ebook must be garbage.

My take? Never feel bad about snapping up free ebooks. They’re good for authors who are looking to entice new readers. And they’re good for readers looking for free entertainment. It’s up to us to hook you and leave you wanting more.

I routinely download free books from newsletters like The Fussy Librarian and The Book Cave to sample new authors. I’m a picky reader, so I abandon many of these books without finishing them. But when I find something I enjoy, I buy the rest of the series. Loss leader books are a win-win for authors and readers.

How can authors sell boxed sets so cheaply?

You may have asked yourself: Why is this author selling a 5-pack of ebooks for a dollar? Do they not know how money works?

It does seem odd to sell so much fiction for such a small price. But there are two good reasons why authors sell big boxed sets cheaply.

Reason number one we’re already familiar with. The box set might be a loss leader! If there are 15 books in a series, selling the first three as an inexpensive box set may get you hooked into that fictional world.

The other reason is specific to Amazon’s ecosystem. Amazon has a system (KU) in which some authors get paid by the pages read. Let’s say a boxed set has 5 books and 2500 pages in it. An author can sell that boxed set cheaply, let’s say for 99 cents. It’s a fabulous deal, so it may sell a lot of copies. Those sales won’t earn the author much money, but the flurry of sales activity will activate Amazon’s recommendation algorithm, and they’ll start recommending it to even more readers, including KU subscribers. Perhaps one sale of a 99 cent box set only earned the author a paltry 30 cents. But each complete KU read through of those 2500 pages could pay much more. Perhaps eight or nine dollars per reader.

In short, authors sell big box sets cheaply to jostle the recommendation algorithms, to get that loooong ebook in front of KU readers.

Algorithms, man. So weird!

Where are all the standalone novels?

You might have noticed that standalone novels are rarer than they used to be. Why? Let’s start with this: The financial cost of acquiring a new reader is often greater than what an author will earn from a sale of a single book.

That’s right! Authors often lose money advertising a single book! Right now, a “click” on a book ad can run about 50 cents. If an ad is very good you might get one sale for every ten clicks. So take a newly written book, apply the cost of editing, cover art, and formatting. Then, unless you already have a large reader base (something that takes a decade or more, for most folks), you’ll need to advertise or your book will sit among the millions of other books like a single pebble on a rocky beach.

Can you afford to pay five bucks to sell a book that will net you $2.80? Nope! That would be what we call poor financial decision making. And yet, if you don’t pay those rates, you’ll likely get outbid by other authors who will pay those rates!

That’s why many authors will write three books in a series before they make any income at all. You write three books, advertise book one, and by the time people have bought multiple books in the series you’re earning some profit. Granted, this is also a win-win with readers, because most readers prefer ongoing series. 📚

Word of mouth is lovely. It’s what we all want! But in the cold hard world of marketing you need to get your book in front of busy brains with millions of options. Even free books require advertising, making your loss leader a bit more lossy. Granted, an ebook is a digital product, so at least you’re not buying hotdog meat and buns.

Still, the principles are quite similar.

Anyway, I hope this post encourages you to enjoy free and inexpensive ebooks without guilt. It’s all part of an economic system that makes more sense on the backend than the front end.

Free samples! Costco does it, and so do we. ☺️

I’m watching the WeWork documentary because sometimes I like to treat myself. 😜

Thinking about George

The Druid’s Prayer by Iolo Morganwg

Grant, O God/dess, thy protection;

And in protection, peace;

And in peace, understanding;

And in understanding, knowledge;

And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;

And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;

And in that love, a love of all existences;

An in the love of all existences, a love of the God/dess and of all goodness.

Airtags for stalking. Airtags for crime! Airtags for sleuthing. It’ll all be just fine


Activity is returning to the waterfront! 🥰 We ate ice cream in the sun. Life is good.

A dozen people walking along the seattle waterfront in the sunshine

Today in Seattle politics: Bureaucrats ban ducks from pond for too much pooping. A mesh fence is erected. Ducks, who can fly, outwit bureaucrats. Locals angrily demand equal access to the pond for ducklings.

🦆 🦆 🦆

The Seattle city council has renamed the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood “Uptown” and I will reject this change like an unwanted kidney.

Lower Queen Anne foreva!

shakes fist at sky

“One Year Closed” signs are popping up on arts venues around the city.

Jazz Alley's sign says they are one year closed 3/11/20 - 3/11/21

Breaking Up with Adobe

Dear Adobe Creative Cloud,

You gave me nine years of Photoshop. I gave you four thousand dollars. You might think we’re breaking up because of the expense, but I think we both know that our relationship has been unhealthy for a while now. I hate to be cruel, but you’ve grown bloated and greedy over the years. You suck up memory and demand acres and acres of free hard drive space, well beyond the vast gigabites I’ve already provided for your code. And when I didn’t keep my door wide-open to your telemetry, you snuck in and held my projects hostage until I let you “verify my integrity.” Your fees were high, and for a long time I told myself that you charged so much because you were the best.

But let’s be real. We’ve been together for so long because I didn’t know where else to go. I mean, GIMP offered to let me move in, a bunch of times. He means well, but that guy does not have his shit together. You might be an overbearing asshole, Adobe Creative Cloud, but at least you know how to color-manage CMYK conversions for paperback wrap book covers. GIMP tries, but he can’t quite scratch my itches like you do. So every year when it came time for you and I to renew our vows, I’d sit with my finger over the cancel button feeling like a hostage in a doomed relationship.

Every year, you’d say to me. “Oh. You want to leave, do you? What about your fonts? And your presets? Don’t even think you can take them with you. If you go, YOU WILL REGRET IT. Think about everything I do for you, baby! Remember the time you uploaded Condor Wide? You loved Condor Wide. And I’m the one who let you use it. Until a few months later when I auto-expired the license and made you hunt for it again. But STILL.”

Two years ago, I found the courage to press the cancel button! You offered me two months free, and I took it like a chump. And I’ve grudgingly continued, saddling myself with an annual payment totaling more than TWICE what I used to pay for the permanent, full-freight software.

Slowly, I grew to resent you, Adobe Creative Cloud. You added so many features, trying to make me love you, but I just wanted to be able to open four images at once without crashing my machine or listening to your shrill exhortations about “scratch disks.” You are SO annoying.

Enough talking. I’ve spent the last three days taking my files out of your folders, rasterizing old text layers, uninstalling apps and checking cross-compatibility with my new software. I’ve made lists of the fonts I need. Today, I’m buying font licenses, one by one, preparing myself to take the final step.

Hitting the cancel button, and meaning it this time.


I downloaded Affinity and I’m pleasantly surprised! For $25 (on sale) it does everything I currently use Photoshop for.

I’ve been looking for an alternative to Creative Cloud. This may be it.

As vaccines begin to roll out...

We’re thinking about what we can safely do after we’re vaccinated against Covid, but before herd immunity kicks in.

Visit/hug vaccinated parents? YES

Ride transit with masks on? YES

Write at a non-crowded coffee shop? MAYBE

Take off masks in indoor crowded spaces? NOT YET

We’ve been hard-assed with our personal Covid rules for over a year now. They’ve kept us safe. Adjustment will be…an adjustment.


Alas, HBO has pushed Mortal Kombat out until the 23rd.

The new Kung Fu series on the CW is off to a strong start. 🤩

I wrote until 2am and slept in until 11. Lunch is breakfast? Good “morning” micronauts. What are you up to today?

The Irregulars on Netflix was moderately entertaining TV. It’s a YA-fantasy-horror-Sherlock Holmes crossover.

I thought the teen angst was a bit overwrought but that’s probably my fault.

🧠 : Ugh! Grow up!

📺: WTF? They’re teens!

🧠: I see your point.

Signs of Life

My city has a pulse again. It shows up in the posture of pedestrians at the park. Chins are higher; eyes are on the horizon. My feet feel the pulse beneath the pavement, weak but steady. Seattle is a giant stirring beneath the covers. We’re tickling her toes with our mundane urban activities. Wake up. Wake up!

Seattle’s eyes haven’t opened yet, but they will. City buses still slide through the streets, eerily empty. I imagine those empty carriages ferry the souls of the dead. For too long, our streets have overflowed with grief and memory. Voices whisper: Do you remember the night the city burned? The unmedicated screams of the mentally ill outside your window, day after day? The photos of victims on television? The long, lonely stretches? The week everyone was making sourdough bread? The gut-clenching dread of the election? The TP shortage?General exhaustion? Wondering which of your loved ones might die? A gallows erected at the US capitol?

Dread. Fear. Grief. Anger. Pictures in the mind.

I flinch. I don’t want to think about those things! Well, except for sourdough week - that was kind of funny. I lived through 2020, and I don’t need a replay, thank you very much.

Instead, I look for pedestrians strolling down fourth avenue. Ping pong players laugh behind their masks at Westlake Park. I said “Hi” to a stranger wearing torn camo and an obscenely large American flag pin and for a split second he looked like a human being and not a potential threat. He seemed so surprised that I noticed him! And I wonder: How many have had to survive this last year entirely alone?

The other day, I saw a capital-T tourist struggling with her umbrella near Pike Place Market, her arms full of fresh flowers. I wept that night.

With something like normalcy on the horizon, I’m bemused to find that I’m losing my shit on the regular. Is this a delayed emotional response? Probably. I suspect my body has been banking stress like a squirrel hides nuts for a long bitter winter. But I’ll be okay.

I feel socially awkward lately. But I expect we’re all in the same boat. Hungry for connection. Feeling shaky as to how.

It’s been a long year, and there’s a lot to unpack. Why not give ourselves some grace? If the sight of a tourist makes you cry, cry.

I hear trucks outside making morning deliveries. Seagulls are calling out and swooping, enjoying the air currents between the towers. A crow weighs in with a slow ha-ha

It’s time for a shower and a cup of coffee. The day is starting.

And so am I. ❤️

Three Years of Micro.Blog

Three years ago this month, I made my first post on Micro.Blog. Happy microblogaversary to me!

When it comes to blogging, I shift around like a tabby cat in search of that perfectly comfy spot. Perhaps that’s why I’ve moved from a hosted to syndication on, and back again. In recent years I’ve had anywhere from one to three blogs going at the same time. But after three years of experimentation, this picky feline has found her comfy place. I have a public-facing website for work, and I have this, a humble, non-indexed place where I can be myself, warts, hobbies, quirks, and all.

In fact, when I decided to make my permanent personal blog, I removed my last name and a lot of my work-related links from this site. I don’t mind that ya’ll know what I do (quite the contrary) but I’m not here for work, you know?

Early on, @Manton and @Jean said they wanted to create a safe place for bloggers. In my view, that’s what they’ve done. And I’m not talking about “safe spaces” in the sense that speech is curtailed or everyone has the same political bent. is “safe” in that community standards are maintained in cross-blog communication. I’ve bumped into a few grouches on, and a couple folks who seem over-eager to take offense. (don’t ask) In other words, I’ve seen the kind of behavior that’s common on the Internet’s finest shouting parlors. Humanity online is still… humanity online. Yet, when I decided not to follow those folks, their posts aren’t shoved in my face by some algorithm. Coexistence is made possible.

It works.

But more than merely working, there are unique benefits to being here. On, some of my “blog buddies” may as well come from a different solar system than me. And I love this! I’m a left-coast, old-school feminist, quasi-libertarian, (details redacted), childfree, Godzilla-loving, slightly-sweary married chick, yet many of the bloggers I enjoy chatting with on have entirely different lives and perspectives than me. Being here reminds me that the so-called-divisions we take for granted are so often constructed by the media zeitgeist. Effective, enforced community standards make those enriching interactions possible.

Could be invaded by jerks someday? I suppose that’s possible. But as the community is set up to give them neither heat nor light, my hunch is that most would simply slink away to a more advantageous algorithm. You might say that the lack of toxic incentives creates a self-selecting community of non-toxic people.

So what is Is it a blogging platform? A social media replacement? To me, it’s a community of friendly people who you might have found on a bulletin board or a neighborhood listserv back in the day. It’s what we all hoped the internet might become, back before it became something else entirely.

Lately, I’ve been amused by posts from micronauts talking about the other blogging platforms they can’t wait to try. In a community of tech-loving early adopters, this isn’t surprising or a bad thing. But I won’t be surprised to see my peers follow the same path I’ve walked. Swing out for a while to try new things. SPICY NEW PLATFORMS! Oh my! HOW INTRIGUING… But later on, most will come back to Why? Because this place feels like home. It’s welcoming and safe; you can be yourself here. You don’t need to be a coder to participate. And on the modern internet, all of those things are rare and beautiful qualities indeed.

P’s friend took a sleeper train across the Australian outback. 🤩 Obviously I MUST do this someday. Then write a murder mystery set on a fictional version of that train. 🚆

Coffee of the day: Vanilla latte from Moore Coffee.

A latte with a stern-looking owl drawn in foam

Suprising no one, I thought Godzilla vs Kong was SO MUCH fun. 🤩

Way better than King of the Monsters.

Guilt-Tripped by a Chalkboard Sign

Read: Woman Relieved She No Longer Has To Support Closed Book Store.

“Thank God I won’t have to be guilt-tripped by those chalkboard signs anymore.”

This is article is satire, but man, I felt it. Bookstores rarely carry the book I’m shopping for (I often read older, backlist titles and indie published books). But heck if they aren’t fun to browse!

If bookstores don’t service my needs (insert sex joke here) as a reader or as an author, what’s left? Nostalgia?

I suspect the answer is indeed: Nostalgia.

The separation between indie publishing and traditional publishing is most keenly felt at the bookstore. Some blame snobbery, but I think that’s silly. The real reason is economic. For bookstores to make any profit, they require deep discounts (40-60%) off the cover price, plus the contracted right to return any and all books they order, no questions asked. Add to this equation the cost of printing and shipping, and you can see why the margins are tiny. It’s very difficult to be a bookseller!

Because of these economics, it makes little sense for an indie author like me to try to get her books into bookstores. I’d have to charge a ridiculous amount of money to account for the discounts and return-risk.

This situation is no one’s fault. It’s just math!

Yet we’ve created a bifurcated industry. Trad published books go into the bookstores in physical form, often with a brief shelf life, and authors either make a splash or they don’t. Publishers work their margins by selling the most expensive versions first (hardback, audio) and then they work their way down to paperback and mass market paperback. Indie published books go out mostly digital (with Print on Demand for physical book enthusiasts) and we sell on the “long tail” model. We tend to make our money on volume, like the pulphouse writers of old, sending out affordable entertainment at a good clip, building up niches of readers who like our style, capturing our readers via email lists to communicate with them directly.

(I’m sure I’m missing some nuances here.)

Anyway, my bigger point is that I’m slowly coming around to the realization that I only relate to bookstores in an emotional sense. When I see that chalkboard sign outside the bookstore I think:

Oh no! Bookstores are in trouble! I should go throw them a few bucks.

Well… maybe I should! Or, I could take the twenty-five bucks I would have spent on one physical book and buy five kick-ass indie novels, sending about 65% of my consumer cash directly into the pockets of authors like me. My community. Those authors (and their cover designers, editors, proofreaders, and so on) every bit as real and important as the cashier at the bookstore and the author doing a reading down the street. So why am I wringing my hands about damn bookstores?

Habit? Memory? Again, I come back to Nostalgia.

(insert the sound of a harp being strummed by a woodland faerie)

Is an author allowed to feel meh about physical bookstores? Probably not! And yet, here I am. But I’ll still drink espresso at bookstores. It’s my way of throwing a bit o-cash at the harp-strumming nostalgia faerie. Because who doesn’t love some nostalgia?

Nostalgia and coffee? That’s even better. 😜

If you need a foot-long latex cockroach, a yodeling pickle, or squirrel underpants, we have a store for that.

Hmm… Some inner struggles can be extinguished by setting the messy conundrum down on the ground and walking away.

Holding fewer opinions is my new life hack. Not zero opinions, but fewer.

Hold it Lightly

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.

Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig. Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.

When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly.

Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.”

  • Aldous Huxley

Progress on the InstaSwear. The gadget that only insults those who provide an authorized RFID card. 🤓

I hooked up the RFID reader and used if/else statements to print a message in the serial monitor.

I had lots of help from P & the internet. ☺️

A computer monitor showing the Arduino IDE. Two ID numbers are shown. One that says I tip my cap to you and another that says you filthy shitgibbon.

I’m 16,000 words into the new novel, and the mystery is simmering nicely. 🤔

Coffee of the day! (Turkish latte with cardamom & vanilla bean.)

A paper coffee cup from Fonte in soft light.

Six things I’m grateful for today:

  • Sunlight
  • Black Salt Licorice
  • Time with Patrick (always)
  • Coffee!
  • Tuesday Night Teleparty (a pandemic staple)
  • Cherry MX Brown Switches

I may make do with Thunderbird because Kmail isn’t working for me. If any of my Linux peeps have an email program you like, let me know. 🙂

The Heroine’s Journey is one of the most interesting writing books I’ve read in recent years. 📚

What do Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, and Nora Roberts all have in common? They all write the heroine’s journey.

I’ve reached the “looking up icky forensic details on the internet” phase of my mystery writing career. I prefer the websites without photos.

Me: They had a one-night stand.

Grammar checker: They had one nightstand?

You’re sweet, grammar checker. Never change.

I’ve done the math. The ideal day to subscribe to a month of HBO Max is March 18th because you can watch:

  • Justice League (Snyder Cut)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong
  • Mortal Kombat

Also, they have all the old Godzilla movies except for the animated ones.

May not apply outside the US

Learning linux has opened up a whole new world of memes.

A penguin accuses someone of being

We saw a HUGE line of vaccine-getters wrapped around Amazon HQ today. It looks like the Zon is loaning out space and logistics staff to facilitate mass vaccination sites. 👍🏼

Ugh! I’m evaluating Amazon ebook exclusivity again, and it always comes down to personal preferences vs money. I want my books in all bookstores. (So do a minority of my readers.) But money can be exchanged for goods and services.

And I DO enjoy goods and services. 😏

It’s warm enough to drink coffee outside! ☀️ ☕️ ☀️

A yellow coffee cup on an aluminum table

A tip for US book buyers: When buying paperback books from small publishers, order from Barnes & Noble instead of Amazon.

Most small publishers use “Print on Demand” (POD). And BN’s POD books are higher quality than Amazon’s. 📚

I gave into temptation and snipped 3 inches off of my ponytail. ✂️ My hair may not be salon-perfect, but those raggedy ends were sapping my life force!

Wandavision is sooo boring, but I thoroughly enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog.

I shall make my peace with being an outlier. 😂

A guy dressed like Mario, in a go cart, blasting Mario music, just sped down the bike lane waving at pedestrians. He had a stuffed Mario as his copilot.

🤩 Man, I have missed this stuff. Bring back Seattle Weird!

Befriending Linux (3 Weeks Later)

Today’s missive is for the Linux curious!

I’ve been on Linux for three weeks, and I like it enough that I don’t want to use Windows any more. This doesn’t mean it’s easier than Windows. I feel nervous when updating software. Given the sheer variety of Linux distributions and the lack of MegaCorp testing infrastructure, the risk of an update throwing my machine into chaos is always in the back of my mind. But it’s been manageable. I had to “roll back” a Libreoffice upgrade because of a persistent bug only a few other people are seeing, and I survived.

But the UI is much more pleasant and intuitive, and I’m loving the built-in privacy.

My Linux Software

My new “daily driver” programs are:

  • Libreoffice Writer for fiction
  • Libreoffice Calc for spreadsheets
  • Zettlr for all non-fiction writing and research
  • Firefox for browsing (same as Windows)
  • Kmail & KOrganizer for Email & Calendar (it’s a bit clunky, but I didn’t care for Thunderbird)
  • OSS (VS Code) for interfacing with Git for blog/website updates
  • Arduino IDE for my electronics hobby

I’m especially happy with Zettlr. (Thanks for the recommendation, @herself!) It’s basically a nice-looking UI that lays over top of folders and markdown files.

I have no good Linux replacements for:

  • Photoshop (I’ll give GIMP a try once they have CYMK color management)
  • PublisherRocket (A tool I use for generating ebook keywords)
  • Text to Speech for Proofreading (I’ve found a few solutions, but they all stink for listening to longer works)

Nifty Features

And here are a few ways Linux (Manjaro KDE) is making my computing more pleasant:

  • I love the easy-to-use Emoji Picker
  • Screenshots and screenshot editing are super quick and easy.
  • I installed my first piece of software from the command line and I felt like I was getting away with something. Seriously? I can just type a phrase and get new software? So neat.

The Learning Curve Continues

Three weeks in, I’m feeling competent in using Linux in a day-to-day sense. Of course, there’s still a ton I don’t know, but I’m enjoying the process of learning new things, week by week.

Linux software requires a different mindset, I think. Often times it arrives unconfigured, waiting for you to decide what to do with it. For example, when I installed Zettlr, it was just an ugly white box. And I was confused: why would anyone want to use this stupid thing? Even after I opened a few folders and files, I still didn’t get the appeal. But after watching a few videos and seeing a few examples, I tried out some different ways of using it. Before long, it clicked.

Oh, and did I mention Linux can be pretty?

A Space Themed Linux Desktop with dark mode and blue folders.

The city is transformed in the snow. ❄️ Steep hills are closed off and people are skiing, snowboarding, and getting into snowball fights.

A friendly snowman in a downtown parkA woman in an inflatable raft slides down Lenora street towards the waterfront.

Wow! We have about a foot of snow in downtown Seattle. A rare treat. The bike lanes are filled with happy pedestrians and very confused dogs. ❄️❄️❄️

Snow is a foot high atop outdoor furniture  on a downtown rooftop deck.

Watching: Godzilla vs Megalon 🎥

With the Seatopian capital badly affected by the most recent nuclear test, the Seatopians plan to unleash their civilization’s beetle-styled god, Megalon, to destroy the surface world out of vengeance.

I’m down 6 pounds since Christmas and my blood sugar hasn’t looked this good in years.

I’m quite happy with intermittent fasting (16:8). Easiest dietary improvement ever!

Now that my pandemic chub is gone, let’s see what I can do about the rest. ☺️

Linux: First Impressions

I’ve been running Linux for a couple days now, and I think it’s spiffy! Here are my first impressions:


Missing Software

Not all software is available on Linux. So you need to check out the programs you use and look for their Linux equivalents.

An Intimidating Install

I won’t lie: Installing Linux was a bitch and a half. Granted, Patrick did my install while I watched and asked questions, so I had plenty of help. And he was doing complicated things. He shrunk my Windows install, and he added a partition to my machine (plus a special boot partition to make Windows play nicer with Linux), and then he used something called Architect to install Manjaro with lots of custom settings.

If I didn’t have help, would I have been able to install Linux? Yes, but I think the dual boot thing may have been beyond my ability. If I were installing Linux on its own machine, and if I used the normal installer, I probably could have gotten it done without help.

Tweaking Things to Make Them Work & Accepting Limitations

Linux requires some tweaking and troubleshooting. Not all hardware is equally supported. For example, my touch screen kept glitching. This is horrible when you’re trying to fill out a web form and the screen keeps “touching” the wrong buttons. We were able to figure out how to turn my touch screen OFF, which ended up being our intermediate solution.

On Linux, some hardware simply won’t work at all. Manjaro doesn’t seem to be compatible with my built-in webcam. The next time we have a video call, I’ll either need to plug in an external webcam or boot back into Windows.

Why it’s Worth It

Making My Computer My Own

Pretty much everything in Linux is customizable. I chose Manjaro KDE in part because it’s what Patrick uses (and therefore I have an in-house expert) but also because it’s downright pretty. Do you want fatter menu bars? You can have fatter menu bars. Do you want windows to lock together a certain way? Have at it. Do you want a special symbol connected to a keyboard stroke? Just add it.

I’ve only scratched the surface, but I already like it.

Privacy is Baked In

Windows sends a crap-ton of data back to Microsoft without my explicit permission. If your computer is off, it will simply package that data up and wait for the next opportunity. I never quite know what it’s sending or why. Some people don’t care about this. I do.

I love-love-love that I can run Linux without an open internet channel between me and who-the-fuck-knows on some corporate server. And I love-love-love that the software I use is open source. Even as a non-programmer, the knowledge that Linux OSes and Linux software are being poured over by salty, privacy-obsessed nerds is a great comfort to me.

Better Software

For lack of a better word, I find Linux to be a very considerate operating system. I’m constantly running into small design decisions that are better than what I’m used to. Here are a few examples:

When logging into Windows, I usually need to bang my keyboard a few times to bring up the login menu, and then I can enter my password.

When logging into Linux, I just type my password. By the time the computer wakes up, those key strokes have been entered into the login box.

When using the app selector in Windows, it can take a while to find the right app, select it, and open it. I use the mouse, and the menu always pulls up crap I don’t need.

When using the app selector in Linux, I can just type the first four letters of the app and hit enter. I hardly even need to look at the menu. I can trust the application is there, opening up.

I’m not a huge “keyboard command” person but Linux makes keyboard navigation so fast and easy to use that I’m spending less time mousing around. I have a feeling that once I find my groove, Linux is going to be super-fast and far more convenient. Using Linux, I feel like I’m constantly bumping into easier and faster ways to move through my machine and get things done.

Linux and I are still getting acquainted so there’s plenty to learn. But so far, so good! I’ll also note that I keep all my data on a household server, not on my local machine, so if Linux decides to explode one afternoon I’m not going to lose my data. Given that Linux has a reputation of being touchy, I think it’s wise to avoid putting your data-eggs into a Linux basket.

That’s all for now! Happy computing.

If you like crime thrillers, The Invisible Guest on Netflix is excellent!

The 2014 Godzilla movie was better than I remembered.

I love that the military kept trying to nuke the kaiju but the monsters kept picking up the nukes and eating them like tic-tacs.


I’m installing Linux on my machine today. 😬

Manjaro / KDE Plasma

See ya on the other side!

Why writing takes forever:

  1. Look up “capri pants” to see if capri is capitalized.
  2. See that it can be.
  3. Hmm. Are people in Capri known for wearing short pants?

Fun Fact: I’m so short that sometimes I wear capri pants as regular pants.

Leaping toward Linux

After flirting with the idea for over a year, I’ve asked my husband to help me set up Linux on my computer. (I’ll dual boot with Windows.) Yikes! Am I ready for this? I hope so.

Why Linux?

I’m not enjoying Windows as much as I used to. It feels like Windows and Macintosh are moving toward becoming closed systems, much like iOS. They’ve become complicated black boxes, always sending out telemetry to some distant mothership, and they make a lot of choices for me.

I was lucky enough to get introduced to computers via UNIX as a teenager, and perhaps I’m feeling nostalgic. I’d prefer to have more control over my own machine. User friendliness is important for most folks, but my tech muscles have grown soft and flabby under Windows 7-10.

I have no beef with Windows or Mac. But I’m in the mood for something different. Something less prescriptive. I want my computer to do exactly what I ask it to, nothing more and nothing less.

My Hurdles

I’ve had good reason to avoid Linux until now. The two software programs I use more than any other are Scrivener and Photoshop. I use Scrivener to write my books, and Photoshop to make my covers and website images. It seemed foolish to switch to Linux if I’d lose 80% of my utility.

So what’s changed? Well, I think I’m ready to move away from Scrivener. Scrivener has a ton of powerful features for writers, but lately, the complexity feels unnecessary. Give me a blank page and a cursor!

I’m enjoying the simplicity of old-school word processing.

And I really like Writer by Libre Office. It’s more intuitive than Word! I used to love Word, but it took a big step back when they moved to ribbon-style menus. I waste a lot of time flipping menus and hunting for things.

Still I’m not 100% sure I’m ready to make the leap to Writer. For example, I need to export an ODT document into Word format, send it off, get it back with “track changes” on, and be able to view those changes. From what I hear, it should work, but I want to see that with my own eyes.

I may need to keep Photoshop on my Windows partition for the forseeable future. GIMP looks good for 90% of what I need, but it lacks CMYK color management, and I need that feature for producing paperback covers.

Rumor has it that color management is coming to GIMP, so perhaps I’ll be able to move my cover design work to Linux too. We’ll see.

Am I Techie Enough?

I doubt I’d be trying out Linux if it wasn’t for two things: learning about electronics and working on my new website.

My electronics hobby has made me a bit more comfortable with computer technology. I’m still not a coder, although I’ve written a few Arduino sketches and CircuitPython scripts with the help of tutorials. There’s something exciting about direct communication with computers. I tell an LED to light up when a switch is pressed, and that’s what it does. There’s a precision to coding that I never encounter in my non-STEM universe, and I like it. It really appeals to my inner control freak.

Working on my professional website with my husband has forced me to get comfortable with using a command line interface and working with code repositories. I say forced because there was a fair amount of whining on my part. But now that I’m over the hump I’m less intimidated by some of the things I’ll need to do in Linux. One example: the VPN I use operates on the command line in Linux. That used to intimidate me, but now it’s no big deal.

Wish me luck, fellow Linuxians!

Can anyone recommend a small household printer with non-scammy ink?

I know myself. The first time a printer “pretends” to be out of ink because (PROFIT MARGIN) I’ll heave it out my window and accidentally crush a tourist down below.

Can’t have that. 🤭

The US Government: Here’s some straightforward information about what happened today and why we did what we did. Any questions?

Millions of Americans: SWOON

Where We Left Off

I woke up this morning and I could see the last four years resting in my hands. It was as if I could take all the experiences from the last four years and roll them up into a ball between my palms like Play-Doh. All the horrid emotions of living through the Trump era were right there, blended in with my life. Some things can’t be unmixed. The colors smush together and you’re left with a slushy gray.

These last four years have chipped away at my idealism, and my easy privilege, and my simplistic way of dividing people into “mostly good” and “a few bad.” Looking back from this vantage point, post-Trump, I can see that I’ve lost friends. Not in a dramatic fashion. But time will bear out what my heart already knows.

He said he cared about disabled people, but his actions proved otherwise.

He shrugged at Trump’s first term and went back for a second helping of cruelty.

She was happy enough to say nothing, to do nothing, to see nothing, when horrors unfolded.

My point isn’t that we can’t move forward. But I choose not to forget. Forgetting feels dangerous. In a world where so many people “go with the flow” the flow can shift so quickly that it leaves you gasping for air. We all thought we were better than the Germans in WWII, turning a blind eye to what was happening. But we’re not. We’ve had a taste of that in America, and it’s a fucked-up thing to go through. To see how corruptible your community is. To sit in mute shock while your government steals babies from the arms of refugees. To hear someone you know infer his daughter was a slut for dating a black athlete.

Holy shit! Where did this come from? Has it been here the whole time?

And our black and brown neighbors say in one voice: Yes. This is what we’ve been trying to tell you.

Last year, in Tennessee, a black friend of mine sat at a coffee shop while a huge confederate parade marched down the street outside. She looked around the coffee shop and saw that no one else even batted an eye. There are places in this country I no longer want to visit. My mind has formed a map, not of red and blue, but of safe and unsafe. And the lines aren’t as obvious as you might expect.

Back in 2017, there was a video circulating of a Nazi in Seattle. This was back before the events of Charlottesville, and the mere sight of someone openly wearing a swastika was shocking. In the video, the Nazi holds up his hands to the guy across from him, a “let’s be reasonable” gesture. The other guy punched him square in the face and knocked him out cold. The Nazi lay there, on the concrete, outside the rail station just a quarter mile from my house. At the time, I remember there being this big debate online, and in my own home, about whether or not it was right to use violence in that way. Is it wrong to attack someone before they’ve been violent?

I guess I’ve changed? I’d rather live in a place where literal Nazis are preemptively punched in the face, versus places where confederate flag parades don’t get so much as a dirty look from the average citizen. My tolerance ends at the line where genocidal ideologies live. I’ve seen where unchecked hate can lead, and you need to rip that shit out at the root. We came so so close to losing everything. Heck, we still could.

Biden wants unity, and I’m on board! But I think it’s important that we get clear on what we’re unifying around. And white supremacy ain’t it. Conspiracy theory ‘patriotism’ isn’t it either. In his speech, I think he made those boundaries clear. Let’s walk the talk, even when it hurts.

Today marks the start of a new era. The post-Trump era. May it shine! And having spent the last four years cycling between denial, bargaining, and anger, I feel like I can finally grieve what we’ve lost. Our innocence and arrogance, I suppose. Not to mention all the lives lost or ruined. Families torn apart. Friendships ended. And maybe after grieving, I can accept where we’ve landed?

Not accept as in “this is fine.” I’m talking about the kind of acceptance that says “We live in an unjust world, filled with selfish and ignorant hearts, including our own.” An acceptance that insists there will always be work to be done to make ourselves better. A “let’s get busy” kind of acceptance.

I am not the same person I was before Trump rose to power. That’s hard, but it’s also good.

Gah. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is a thousand-armed bureaucratic squid monster, and every time I grab a tentacle she whips me around and flings me out to sea. 🐙

I will learn to ride you, you magnificent beast.

We’ve been watching a lot of Deep Space 9, and I have Worf on my brain, so when I sent out an email this morning with broken links (oops!) all I could think was:

I have brought shame upon my house!

If my hair gets any longer I’ll need to don a fantasy gown and ride a white horse along the beach at sunset.

And who has time for that?

I imagine law enforcement analysts had their hands full cataloging all the evidence posted to social media today.

“Let’s livestream our crimes!”

FBI: “Cool. Cool.” 😆

Micronauts and word nerds: Can anyone tell me what a zucchini is called in British English? My internet research says courgette or marrow. Are those equivalent?

green zucchini, some sliced.

Covid signage reminds me we’re living through a historically significant event. I can visualize textbooks of the future describing these strange times, showing the ways we lived through it.

My feet next to a yellow sidewalk marker. The numeral 6 is next to the line.A code of conduct sign for responsible shoppers. I WILL avoid touching products! I WILL ask a vendor for assistance. I WILL look for markers and signs.

The second part of “The War for Cybertron” is waaaaay better than the first.

Downtown Living: Twelve Years Later

It’s been twelve years since P and I moved to downtown Seattle. Time flies! Here are some of the things I love about living in the Emerald City:

  • Cityscapes: I love seeing downtown light up at twilight. And it’s so soothing to watch rain fall between the towers on a gray, cloudy day.

  • Parks: We have such beautiful parks, and the buses go straight to them. We haven’t owned a lawnmower since we moved downtown (condo living FTW!) but there are plenty of grassy hills, trees, and walking paths to enjoy. You want mountain views? Salt water? Birds? Lakes? We’ve got acres and acres.

  • Coffee Shops: Our home away from home. For the price of a drink you can settle in with your laptop for an hour or three, chatting, people watching, or working on your laptop. Coffee shops smell divine. Usually someone has brought their dog with them and if you ask nicely, you can pet them. The background noise is perfectly ambient.

  • Tourists: Cruise ships pull up to the dock and visitors rush up into our city center, supporting our small businesses and restaurants, looking around with curious eyes, holding their damn maps upside down. They all want to know where Pike Place Market is, even when they’re standing twenty feet away from it.

  • Literary Events: We have one of the world’s most interesting libraries, and the Hugo House, plus dozens of writerly events and book readings. One of our fancy hotels hosts “silent reading nights” with piano music and velvet couches to sit upon while everyone reads in silence. An introvert’s paradise!

  • Transit: I can tap my ORCA card at Westlake Station, and 45 minutes (and $4.50) later, I’m at the airport ready to board a flight. Buses are plentiful. I can use an app to quickly reserve a rental car for an afternoon or a weekend if needed. Mountains, rivers, and hiking trails await just outside the urban core.

  • Weird & Interesting Things to Do: Oh, how I love our weirdness! One weekend a year, in the summer, our bars are full of pub-hoppers dressed like Santa Claus. My neighborhood closes down the streets once a year for loud hip-hop music and wrestling. (Why wrestling? I have no idea.) And we have parades, rallies, music festivals, and block parties. Seattle Center hosts a different cultural festival almost every month. Thai. Irish. Iranian. Japanese. There’s usually food and dancing involved. Comicon lands every year, filling the streets with children of all ages. There’s too much going on to keep track of, which means you find yourself stumbling into all sorts of merriment.

  • Moods: Seattle is a city of moods. Some days, the city is pissy and dark. Other days, it’s upbeat and full of potential. Walk the streets and feel the pulse of urban life. The city is a living thing.

How lucky I am to be living in this place. As I wrote out my list of appreciations, I noticed how many of the things I love about Seattle have been put on hold for the last nine months. I’m hopeful that 2021 is the year we get our Seattle-ness back. I can’t wait!

PS: What do you love about where you’re planted?

You know you’re subscribed to too many Substacks when your latest Substack is a long-ass essay arguing against someone else’s Substack essay.

Oh, the humanities! 😂

I’m disassembling LEGO sets to make more room. My Doctor Who set is still my favorite.

A LEGO tardis, daleks, and a weeping Angel minifig

A Tiny Wonder Woman Rant (No Spoilers)

I watched a bunch of salty Wonder Woman reviews yesterday, and while I have zero problem with people not enjoying things – Gah! – I really wish Wonder Woman was allowed to be Wonder Woman without carrying the impossible burden of being every viewer’s perfect feminist ideal.

We did the same thing to Captain Marvel. We don’t do this to male superheroes.

We believed that Captain America’s love for Peggy Carter could last forever. But Wonder Woman? Her emotions are viewed as problematic and weak. We’ll watch wildly improbable male villains. But a female villain? She’s cliched, obviously. Wonder Woman struggled in this movie. She had difficult emotions. Apparently that makes her suck? Dude. Wonder Woman’s love and vulnerability are her power and you don’t get that shit for free. Sometimes, the struggle is real, and I like it when my heroines express their full humanity. Call me crazy.

My vision of feminine strength isn’t narrow and it doesn’t fit a checklist. Just as women don’t need to fit anyone’s checklist.

There’s no need to like any particular movie! Criticism is fair. But seeing people judge Wonder Woman (the character) against arbitrary criteria in the name of feminism really burns my cheese. 😤

(This concludes my rant. Have a nice day.)

Merry Christmas, micronauts. If Robot Santa put you on his naughty list, run!

If you’re looking for a quirky and upbeat holiday movie, Pottersville was quite good. (Netflix US has it)

Typo fixes of the day:

  1. blooming rose bushes, not blooming rose buses (ha!)
  2. first aid kit, not first aid kid (oops!)
  3. backyard, not back yard
  4. opinions differ, but shithole is probably one word.
  5. A shooing motion, not a shoeing motion.

We ran into Santa today! Nordstrom has him inside the store like a turtle in a terrarium. 🎅

Cheri turns back to look at Santa. He's behind the glass inside a display area at Nordstrom department store

I’m celebrating one month without Twitter. 🥳 May my streak continue!

A meme. A man (me) whistles at a girl (Peace & Mental clarity) while his horrified girlfriend (Twitter) watches.

It’s time to catch up on the final season of Supernatural. I’ve managed to dodge most of the spoilers.

I finally broke down and ordered clothes over the internet. No trying things on!

And I’m pleasantly surprised. Everything fit. I could find my size easily, whereas the stores are usually out of my size or don’t carry short lengths.

When you’re 5 feet tall, pants get tricky. 👖

We just got the news that a friend is cancer free after 2+ years of immunotherapy. She had metastatic melanoma, and now there’s no sign of it. Hooray for science! Hooray for Tara! BEST NEWS EVER.

I wonder what pandemic habits we’ll keep once the crisis is over? 🤔

I automatically wash my hands when I walk in the front door. And I hit elevator buttons with my knuckle instead of my fingertip. Those are probably keepers.

We saw dozens of people fishing for small squid on the waterfront this afternoon. Not a typical sight.

Two men fish on a concrete pier. A small boat out on the bay has fishermen in the back.

I carefully changed the CSS for my theme to make it light mode first and dark mode second. Only then did I check the Readme and see that this was a setting I could flip in the config file. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Out of the loop

It’s interesting; ever since I mothballed my Twitter account I have no context for what people are stressing out about on a day to day basis. Sometimes I see vague references to a ‘bad thing’ happening and I try to figure out what’s going on.

Usually, the result is some variation on ‘jerks being jerks’ and the likelihood of real-world consequences is low. This isn’t to say that current events aren’t distressing. They often are.

I used to worry that being less informed about current events was the same thing as saying I don’t care about the world. And I felt it was important to be watchful of threats coming down the line.

But Wisdom tells me that caring about the world doesn’t require that I follow current events closely. She reminds me that my caring is best put to use in places where I have some influence. Wisdom nudges me with her elbow and whispers that most threats are blown out of proportion these days.

So, as my favorite vampire slayer once said, if the apocalypse comes, beep me! 👱🏻‍♀️ And as Marcus Aurelius once said, Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.

It takes practice to remain out of the loop. So here I am, reminding myself to keep on practicing.

LOL. My sweary private investigator is getting flagged by the Word police.

A word processor pops up an "offensive language" warning for the phrase: And I was done with that shit.

Huzzah for Markdown

I’ve been moving all of my writing (fiction, blog posts, newsletter) into markdown, and I gotta say, having everything in the same ‘language’ is a huge time saver.

For writing: Scrivener (exported to .mmd)

For blogging: Scrivener (exported to .md or pasted into

For newsletter: Scrivener (copy-pasted into Buttondown)

No more going from keyboard to mouse to keyboard. And I love that I can take text (a book description, for example) and copy-paste it different places without needing to restyle it.

Why didn’t I do this years ago? :)

I have the cooped-up pandemic blahs today, but a walk helped. 🚶‍♀️

Looking down on Western Ave near pike place market beneath cloudy gray skies.

My (Introverty) Website Changes for 2021

  • I’ll have two websites, one personal and one professional.

  • My personal blog,, will be non-indexed and non-promoted.

  • I’m giving myself permission to not use social media. My reader newsletter, blog RSS, and profiles on Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads are sufficient from a work perspective.

  • I won’t host/store blog comments on my professional website.

  • I set up a new public-facing author email that I can check when I’m working, instead of letting everything flow into one email account.

I’m feeling really good about these changes. 🙂

Fellow Whovians: is selling the complete David Tennant Blueray collection for $19

Wow!’s utilities have come a long way over the last year. I connected up a new domain, picked a theme, spun up a test blog, tweaked the CSS a bit, laid the updated theme over my site, and bing-bam-boom I’m ready to go.

Kudos, @Manton!

We took the day off to go hiking at the arboretum. It was chilly but beautiful. 🙂

A messy tangle of evergreen trees and bushes. Shade and sun intermixed.

Santa Jaws was a pretty good “bad” movie. Now Amazon is recommending Llamageddon; it’s about a killer Llama from outer space.

I don’t know… Even I have limits. 😂

I just finished reading The Righteous Mind. Eye-opening! I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time. 📖

Book Cover: The Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. By Jonathan Haidt.

Last night, I dreamed I was programming people. The French people weren’t working properly because my CSS classes were all wrong.


I’ve worked hard today, and I shall reward myself with (checks calendar) a three-hour HOA budget ratification meeting. (weeps)

It’s been a productive day. 🙂

  • I made final manuscript fixes to The Case of the Lady in the Luggage.

  • I finished the paperback wrap cover.

  • I enjoyed a walk in the rain with my sweetie.

  • We cleaned out the fridge, a chore we’d been putting off.

Now, it’s time to vegetate. 🛋

Good D&D game tonight! I got to polymorph into a T-Rex and fight another T-Rex. These are the moments that make life worth living. 🦖 🦖

Can I just say it? I’m tickled that in this nail-biting moment the top photo in the discovery feed is of a very nice potted plant.

That’s so MB, yo. 😂 I dig it.

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Jim Stockdale

Where does Wolf Blitzer go between elections? I imagine he sleeps in a dark cave beneath CNN HQ, storing up dark energy for his next blitz.

I slept like a rock and woke up with the “Buffy fights the mayor at Graduation” music in my head. 👱🏻‍♀️

Good luck USA! I love you all. 🇺🇸 #vote

It’s November, so I’m treating myself to two months of the Hallmark channel.

Let’s get COZY, mofos. I’m talking fuzzy socks and chocolate chip cookies cozy. So cozy that you’ll call strangers “hon” like a grandma in a mystery novel. Cat-in-the-lap cozy!

Writing a Kat Voyzey story is like slipping into a comfy old shoe. It helps that her snarky humor is pretty close to my own. 😜

Zero words! It’s NaNoWriMo day one, and I’m mostly awake. Let’s dooooooo it.

Zero words showing on the Scrivener Manuscript Tracker.

Happy Nanowrimo eve, fellow writers! Find my profile here to be my 2020 writing buddy. ✍🏼

We’ve reached the time of year when sunshine feels fleeting and the big dark is on our doorstep. Quick! To the out-of-doors! ☀️

A section of the Seattle skyline is painted with sunshine. Slanted autumn shadows fall off the buildings. The sky is blue with a smear of gray.

Shout out to everyone who’s tired of hearing about US politics but who’s being a good sport about it. 👊🏼

US friends: Any plans for election night? We’re having a movie night but you can bet I’ll be peeking at early returns. 😂

Welp. LASIK gave me perfect vision for 7 years and now I’m a bit nearsighted again. 🤷🏼‍♀️

It’s a good thing I look cute in glasses. 🤓

Photo of the day: Let there be light! Yes, my resistor is in the wrong spot.

An electronics breadboard with a single yellow LED lit. Red and black wires connect the breadboard to a small circuit board.

I’m watching The Tick, and it’s eighty percent dad jokes.

I just ordered an Arduino electronics kit for my birthday, and I look forward to learning just enough code to make silly devices.

Amazonland. When we first moved downtown, none of this was here.

A spherical glass building filled with trees is flanked by tall steel and glass towers.

I’m up early attending Stoicon. As much as I miss travel, it’s rather luxurious to watch a conference in my PJs on the couch. 😄

I voted today, and I’ve been thinking about the people I met at the Womens March in DC back in 2017. Today feels like the culmination of a promise we all made. Not to any candidate, but to one another. ❤️

A teenage girl holds up a sign that says womens rights are human rights.A young black man holds up a sign that says Women's lives matter.A crowded field of protesters with "love army" signs and pink hats.A man wears a paper sign with the inscription from the Statue of Liberty "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..."Cheri, smiling, holds up her ballot. (Wearing a biden harris hat)

P & I have our get-out-the vote letters ready to send out tomorrow. Let’s get out the vote! Check in with your friends. We’ve got this.🗳 🇺🇸

80+ envelopes fan out from Cheri’s hand.

My friend D in Chicago made me a scarf! 🙂 I’m all set for November weather.

Cheri, wearing a brown knit scarf and a Biden-Harris hat

Micronauts: Are any of you using Ghost, and if so, do you like it?

The Woodland Park Zoo has a nice setup. Timed tickets, limited occupancy, one-way walking routes, and watchful staff directing traffic.

Four giraffes and three gazellea hanging out in a hilly meadow with one impressive leafy tree.

When one pier falls, another one rises. Today, we had afternoon coffee on the brand new Pier 62. So roomy!

The Seattle skyline is blue and gray against a gray sky. A large concrete pier, very clean and flat is dotted with tables. To the far right, the water of Elliott bay is choppy. The Great Wheel is a round feature in the distance.

I survived the dentist. The hygienist wore so much PPE that he looked ready to visit the moon.

Everything was well-organized and quick. I’m grateful and impressed.

Photo of the Day: We found Colonel Mustard! 🕵🏼‍♀️

A BMW mini car, mustard yellow, with an image of Colonel Mustard from Clue on the side.

From yesterday’s city hike: The Fremont Troll. 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️

A twenty foot tall troll sculpture crawls out from beneath a bridge in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. His eyeball is painted silver and he has a VW beetle crushed in one long-fingered hand.

Until today, I’d never seen a praying mantis in Washington State. Cool little creature. Very alien looking.

A praying mantis hides well on a stubby brown and green plant, blending in like a fat stick.

Feel good movies:

All the boys I’ve loved before

Stranger than fiction

Office space

Alien vs Predator

Your mileage may vary. 😂

We’re moving out of the purple. Well, that’s something!

Outside, I can hear a man howling like a wolf. ARROOOOOOOOOOOO…

2020, man. 😂

An air quality indicator shows red, or "unhealthy" air. Purple is worse than red.

That awkward moment when the pets you’re sitting say, “You’re not my real mom!”

A tabby cat and an orange tabby cat face away. the orange tabby has a cone collar around his neck.

According to a recent article in The Economist, drones can be outfitted with special cameras to capture the subtle changes in greenery that occur when human bodies are dumped in the wilderness. Forensic botany drones! Fascinating.

I have a new blank journal waiting so I’m feeling very motivated to finish up my current one. ✍🏼

Wow. I really enjoyed Safety Not Guaranteed on Netflix. Such a quirky and uplifting story. 🎥

A photo from today’s walk. ☀️ Ah, the sun! It BURNS.

Yeah, Texans. I know I’m a heat wimp. 😉

A path in the shrubbery opens up to a rocky beach. Distant skyscrapers blend into the blue sky.

Well. It seems we’re entering the home stretch, America. So Joe and Kamala can…

Fry says: Shut up and take my money!

Writing tip: Email yourself those “brilliant” late-night ideas so you don’t forget. 😂

An email to myself with the subject line "Space Weevils."

I don’t like being stationary for too long. And Traveling Bear likes it even less.

It was a glorious 4200 word morning and my fingers are sore.


I should probably be taking breaks. 🖐 🤚

Discovered on today’s walk: Angels among the rocks. 📷

On a bed of small round rocks six larger angular rocks sit. each one is painted with a stylized angel with white wings and a halo.

Watching: Welcome to the Hellmouth (BTVS Season 1, Episode 1) 👱🏻‍♀️ 📺

We filter the world through our perspective and reject much of what we hear out of hand. Art is sneaky though. It’s hard to argue with a painting.

What a rare treat it is to feel hopeful about the future. 🇺🇸

Humor isn’t black-and-white but sarcastic street stickers usually are. 📷

A sticker of Trump's face on a street pole. the text says "Bunker Bitch"A large sticker on a blue dumpster proclaims: "That's Fucking Bananas"

I’m working on my next cruise ship mystery, and my brain is “helping” by playing the Piña Colada song at full volume every morning.

Me: I need coffee


🍹 🏝 🚢

I can’t complain about the view from today’s walk!

#mbaug 📷

zig zagging cement stairs below. Older concrete buildings on the left and right. Four skyscrapers in the center, reflecting in the sun.

We couldn’t go to Paris for our 20th anniversary so we settled for daytripping to a French bakery. 🇫🇷

#mbaug 📷

A quaint bakery with glass cases, white walls, and chalkboard signage.

I’m preparing my next spy novel for beta readers today. 🕵🏼‍♀️ Woot!

I’m always chasing that Flow state while I’m writing.

#mbaug 📷

Cheri's desk. With a blue filing cabinet and framed book covers on the wall.

Bug-sized humans. Also, I miss traveling!

#mbaug 📷

I’d pay good money to see a Waiting for Godot-style stage play with Starscream and Eric Cartman.

For today’s micro Monday I suggest you follow @jmaxb and @readerjohn.

They bring a fresh perspective to my feed, and I appreciate it.

Hello! This is my first post. I’m excited about the potential of the indie web.