You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2016.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a 1920s-themed party! I adore a good costume party and will dress up for any excuse. A good friend came over early so we could attempt some vaguely 20s-esque hairstyles.

The finished flappers:

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As you can see, that Kool Aid hair dye is nowhere near washing out. Looks like I’ll be a semi-redhead for a good while. Blondes beware, if you attempt the same thing!

The party was lovely, and included blackjack (not for actual money, naturally), dancing, live music, and good conversation. Everyone really went all-out on the costumes, which made it even more fun.


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The Hubs is exceptional at accents, and he maintained a great Chicago gangster accent all evening–quite the accomplishment.



My husband went to a week-long teacher development class at Harvard, and I caught a cheap flight out to Boston to join him for a few days.

The flight out was eventful, which is something desirable in stories but not in real life. I was supposed to connect in Newark and then go on to Boston, but as we landed, the pilot told us we were not in fact in Newark, but were in Philadelphia, because there might be a fire in our cargo hold. Fire trucks zipped up to the plane, and we were told to stay in our seats with our seat belts buckled, which is exactly the opposite of what I would want to do if I were on a burning plane. Fortunately, they couldn’t find a fire, so we were taken to a hastily cleared gate. From there, less fortunately, we had to take a bus to Newark, since Philadelphia thought it was nice we stopped by for an unscheduled visit but had no plane to give us to get us to Newark. After a lengthy bus ride to Newark, I finally caught another flight to Boston and got in about 5 hours after I had intended. But the plane didn’t explode, so that was nice.

On my first day, I visited the Longfellow House/Washington’s Quarters in Cambridge.

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Looking good for its age.

Lots of cool history here! For example, the smithy from Longfellow’s poem lived just down the street, and when the chestnut tree in the yard was cut down, the neighborhood children were quite upset. Longfellow had a chair made out of the chestnut tree and invited the kids to come by and sit in it and get a free copy of the poem. Long before Longfellow, Washington occupied this house during the siege of Boston in 1775-1776.

I met my husband and some of his coworkers for lunch at Darwin’s Ltd. (yummy) and spent some time in Goorin Bros. Hat Shop. I puzzled out the subway system enough to get myself over to Brattle Books, a book store established in 1825 featuring rare old books. The interior was great, but my favorite part was the outside book lot:

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Now that’s what I’m talking about.

I bought an Ellery Queen mystery for $1 and read it in the grass at Boston Common before meeting my husband for dinner in Chinatown. Lovely day!

The next day I met up with my mother’s cousin, who is a nun with an infectious laugh and an impossibly upbeat attitude. Together we toured the Robert Shaw Memorial, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel and King’s Chapel Burying Ground, and the Old State House.

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We took a Boston Massacre tour, walked around Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, and had a lovely time. At one point, someone doing interviews on the street asked us if we would share our thoughts on the feud between Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian. I said, “She’s a nun and I’m a bookworm, so we don’t really have an opinion.” He turned on his heel pretty quickly.

That evening, we met up with my husband for dinner at Warren’s Tavern, a favorite watering hole for many a founding father, which was named after Dr. Joseph Warren who was killed at the battle of Bunker Hill.

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Looking a little worse for wear after a long, hot day of walking, but happily full of good food!

My flight home on Friday morning was uneventful, but my husband’s flight that evening was terribly delayed, so I picked him up from the airport after 2:00am. Tired folks! See you next time, Beantown.

My husband and I believe very strongly in taking full advantage of Chik-fil-A’s Cow Appreciation Day, so on Tuesday we dressed up as cows–twice–in order to obtain free chicken.


Go big or go home.

We enjoy costume themes, so this year we were city cow and country cow (Aristocattle and Cowntry Bumpkin, specifically) for lunch.

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And high society cows for dinner. I particularly enjoy the disparity in facial expressions in this one.

These two bovines are headed to Boston next week (my husband has a week-long teacher development thing at Harvard, and I’m joining him for a few days), so with any luck I will have further adventures to relate after that.

In the meantime, here’s my review of Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s new book, A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold:

I  am in love with Stengl’s characterization. While there were many aspects of this book that I savored (it’s certainly the best retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses that I’ve ever read), the characters were my favorite part. Heloise is brilliant, and the interactions between all of the characters are incredibly lifelike. The contradictory nature of the love-hate bond between the sisters was spot-on, and even the character who initially seemed relatively bland (Evette) turned out to be multi-faceted and intriguing. I confess, as a result of my love for the characters and their interactions, I preferred the parts of the book that dealt more with the character development/Near World and less of the sections that dealt more with allegory/Faerie. As with Golden Daughter, there were a few parts that felt wordy to me–I liked the more pared-down prose of Starflower or Dragonwitch–but my affection for the characters easily carried me through the slower parts. I ate this door-stopper book right up in just a couple days and couldn’t put it down!

Speaking of books, there are a couple days left on the giveaway for The Battle of Castle Nebula, so don’t forget to sign up!

If by some dark miracle you have not yet read Five Glass Slippers, here’s your chance to get a taste of the anthology for free. The Moon Master’s Ball by Clara Diane Thompson is currently available for free on Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, and Kindle. After reading the story, you’ll immediately want to pick up the whole collection in Five Glass Slippers, which also includes my book, A Cinder’s Tale.


This post makes me really happy. I haven’t shared music I like in a really long time, so most of these songs are no longer remotely new, but they’re still songs I enjoy and would like others to hear if they haven’t already had a chance to do so.

Making time to do things I enjoy has been the theme of life lately. This past spring was so hellacious that I vowed I would never have another season like that again. I wrote 5,000 words per week on The Star Bell for months at a time and was too tired to enjoy any of it. I managed five conferences in five weeks (the same time that edits were due on The Star Bell), and flying home from one conference in San Francisco at the end of April, I was so tired I just wanted to cry. But I couldn’t because my seatmates on the plane would’ve been weirded out, so I wrote a newsletter article and worked on formatting for paperback for hours because I had to.

I decided that something had to change. I’m going to start exploring other employment options with less stress and travel, starting this fall. I’ve also promised myself a whole year of no writing. I have to get to where I can enjoy it at least a little bit again. I’ve cut back on my editing work, and I’m cutting back on social engagements that I don’t truly enjoy as much as possible (those pesky “I should go…but I don’t want to” events).

June was lovely. I implemented a lot of cut-backs, did nothing with writing other than marketing my books, and took a week off work to celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my amazingly patient husband. I read books again and listened to music again. Blissful. July is already busier (this July 4th weekend involves dinner with friends, cookout with more friends, fireworks with more friends, and a second cookout with more friends), but I’m going to try to hang on to this healthier, happier pace of life.

Happy Independence Day, and enjoy the music!

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

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