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The Rules of Magic

This was a filling-the-well sort of weekend. Friday evening at the RI Philharmonic, listening to my favorite Mozart piano concerto and the Saint-Saëns organ symphony. Saturday at the RI Festival of Children’s Books during the day and playing games (Roll for the Galaxy, Cacao, and The Dresden Files cooperative card game) at Rivendell Books and Games in the evening. Sunday was for walking, our weekly everyone-in-the-kitchen family lunch, and tending to necessary weekly routines.

Over the weekend I also read The Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman’s new book. It’s a prequel to her bestselling book, Practical Magic, and it’s wonderful. Reading a book like that is like listening to Renee Fleming sing: it shows you how much room you have to grow. That can be discouraging, but it can also leave you feeling energized by the possibilities ahead. Today, I choose the latter response.

Halloween Haiku, and the path ahead

Samhain–Halloween, in its current incarnation–was regarded by some people as the end of the old year. I like the idea of choosing costumes that represent what you’d like to change and how you’d like to grow in the coming year.

It’s also a good time to take stock of the things that are hindering you from becoming the person you’d like to be.  Could be friends or family, but more likely, it’s a script–a belief or pattern of thought–that has been playing in your head for as long as you can remember.

October 2018

What would you like to do during (or by) next October that you are not doing this year?  I’ll go first.

  • On October 1, e-publish Payback’s a Witch, a very quirky urban fantasy novel that’s been on my to-do list for years.
  • On October 10, start publishing Hex and Violins, a sequel to the above novel, as serial novella on Patreon, one chapter every day, with the conclusion on Halloween.
  • Write at least one new short story for a seasonal anthology.
  • Finish writing a ballad I started a few years back entitled “Tastefully Matted and Framed.”
  • Participate in Inktober and draw one sketch every day. 
  • Fall foliage hikes: Franconia Notch in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Mt. Greylock in western Massachusetts.
  • Have photo taken in a black gown and my Victorian witch hat, use it as my author photo for the month.
  • Spend Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts.
  • Go to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, Massachusetts for one of their Haunted Halloween nights.
  • Go to the Jack o’Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Zoo.
  • Make pumpkin whoopie pies filled with cream cheese icing.
  • Host a game night/pumpkin ale tasting

Renaissance Magazine Issue #112

The latest issue of Renaissance Magazine is out.  There’s lots of castle lore, a comprehensive listing of Renaissance Fairs, ads for all sorts of intriguing stuff that’s hard to justify purchasing because you (mostly) live in the 21st century, and the Tomes of Lore column. In the latter is my review of Allison Weir’s latest historical novel:  Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession.

I’ve been writing articles and reviews for this periodical for several years now. It’s a fun publication that appeals to RenFaire enthusiasts, as well as people who enjoy popular history and historical novels, games, and music.  And since I’m spending a great deal of time in the Renaissance these days, I have several more reviews in the pipeline, most of them for recently released histories.

The reason for this historical immersion is that I’m currently writing a novel set in a dark fantasy version of Elizabethan England.  More info coming soon!

Halloween Haiku: Crows at night

Here’s today’s bit of seasonal micro-poetry.  As fellow corvid afficianados are likely to know, this haiku states fact: crows and ravens don’t fly at night. As twilight approaches, they return to their roost and stay until early morning. So if you DO see a crow-like creature out and about at night, you might want to reach for that bottle of holy water in your pocket.


September writing update

My primary focus this month was the novel-in-progress, with the goal of finishing Draft Zero by the end of October.  Accordingly, I didn’t write any new short fiction in September, and only one short non-fiction piece.



Publications: 1
Submissions: 2
Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 2
Projects currently in circulation: 4


  • Review of Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Allison Weir was included in Issue #112 of Renaissance Magazine.  This magazine is geared toward RenFaire enthusiasts, as well as people who enjoy popular history and historical novels, games, and music. I’ve been writing articles and paid book and music reviews for them for several years now.
  • Wrote and posted two new Halloween limericks and one new haiku. (These are technically publications, but they’re not counted in the summary above.)


  • Flash fiction story submitted to an online magazine. (2nd sub)
  • Review of So High A Blood: The Story of Margaret Douglas, the Tudor That Time Forgot, by Morgan Ring, submitted to Renaissance Magazine.


  • Same story, two rejections. A flash fiction story written in August was declined by two online webzines.

Work in progress:

  • Writing Draft Zero of a historical fantasy novel
  • Working on a proposal for a Mythos-themed novella
  • Waiting for editor’s notes on “Living Memory,” a short story written for a shared-world anthology

Writing related:

  • Working on content for a Patreon account
  • Joined HWA, the Horror Writers Association, as an active member
  • Submitted panel selections for Arisia, a sf/fantasy convention in Boston in January
  • Applied to be a panelist at Boskone, a sf/fantasy convention in Boston in February
  • Registered for Necon, a writer’s conference held in Rhode Island in late July
  • Attended a three-hour seminar on social media presence and marketing

Books read:

  • Kaleidoscope by Dorothy Gilman (mystery)
  • So High a Blood  by Morgan Ring (history)
  • A Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb (medieval mystery)

Books reading:

  • The Elizabethan Secret Services by Alan Haynes
  • Patronage, Culture and Power: The Early Cecils 1558-1612 edited by Pauline Croft
  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Dolge
  • How the Mind Works, by Stephen Pinker
  • Figure It Out! Human Proportions: Draw the Head and Rigure Right Every Time by Christopher Hart