Spec the Halls!

It’s never to early for Christmas, right? (Unless it attempts to encroach on Halloween, in which case, Christmas can go STICK IT.)

But now that it’s almost December, it’s time to start thinking and planning those upcoming holiday festivities…and holiday gifts. Assuming you have money left over after purchasing a pair of earrings from Dixie Dunbar Studio, I have the perfect idea!

I am honored to be a part of an e-anthology this holiday season called SPEC THE HALLS.

Spec The Halls looks at the winter holidays – both real and fictional – from a speculative fiction point of view. Fantasy, horror, and science fiction take turns showing us this time of year from a slightly different point of view.

This year’s anthology includes stories by Kelly Swails, Alethea Kontis, T. Lee Harris, Laura Resnick, Steven Saus, Chanté McCoy, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kerrie Hughes, Marian Allen, Patrick M. Tracy, Risa Wolf, Jess Hartley, Graham Storrs, Donald J. Bingle, R.T. Kaelin, and Sue Penkivech.

The proceeds of every sale will go to Heifer International. Act quickly – this eBook will only be available for a limited time!

This e-anthology will feature my famous story “The Sands of Mother Christmas.” It’s a gorgeous tale that I encourage reading to your family around the Christmas tree. It makes my mother cry every time.

Order your copy of Spec the Halls now for only $9.99!


Important things to note:

*If you buy the eBook from Alliteration Ink using the “Buy Now” button, more of your purchase money goes to the charity.

*If you’ve donated to Heifer International since 1 November 2011, see this link.
*If you just wish to donate through Alliteration Ink, see this link.

Would you like to tell your own story and WIN CASH MONEY for it? Enter the Spec the Halls spread the word contest! Submitting an entry is as easy as setting out cookies for your favorite gift-giving entity.


1.) Post your story where it is freely accessible – that is, anyone can read it. A blog, website, or freely shared Google Docs file all count.
2.) Include a link back to and to You’ll get extra karma if you point people toward the current anthology.
3.) Send an e-mail to with contact information and the address for us to find your work. Also attach an RTF file with your story in standard manuscript format for judging purposes. If your story is dark, disturbing, or the like, please say so in the email.
4.) Do all of these things between 15 July 2011 and 31 December 2011. Stories must stay online at least through 2/2/2012.
5.) Prizes are as follows: USD$100 for first place, USD$50 for second place, and USD$25 for third place. Winners may choose to donate prize money back to charity.
6.) Stories entered in this year’s contest may be invited to participate in next year’s charity anthology.

For more information and FAQs, visit the official contest site –> by clicking here.

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Enchanted Conversations

I had the good fortune of stumbling across a tweet a few months ago, advertising that Enchanted Conversations was accepting submissions for a “Little Red Riding Hood” themed anthology of fiction stories.

It was a wonderful discovery, because not only did I have a new place to submit to, but they also have a bunch of great stuff in the archives to read. All the issues have fairy tale themes. Why did I not know about this before? It’s a shame.

It’s even more of a shame now, since it’s been announced that the Little Red Riding Hood issue will be the last issue of Enchanted Conversations to be published. Thankfully all the stories are still archived, and hopefully they all  will continue to be…including mine. That’s right! My story, called “Hero Worship”, will be featured in this final issue.

The Little Red Riding Hood issue will be published online at the new website ( and will feature these stories:

1) Gerri Leen, “Red is for Ritual”
2) Lissa Sloan, “Red Cape”
3) Jude Tulli, “What Big Eyes”
4) Sarah Hans, “Alive in the Wolf’s Belly”
5) Megan Engelhardt, “Untruths About the Desirability of Wolves”
6) Amanda C. Davis, “The Witch of the Wolfwoods”
7) Alethea Kontis, “Hero Worship”
8 ) Alexandra Seidel, “The Little Red Tarot”
9) James Tolan, “Red Grown”
10) Lorraine Schein, “Inside”
11) John Wiswell, “Wolf Slayer”

I’ll let you know when this goes live.

Hooray for fairy tales!

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Knight Saves Princess

I meant to post about this back during Capclave, and I kept forgetting. I meant to post it again when Scott Edelman passed the video along to me…and I forgot then too.

Then a few days ago, someone linked to the article about how Terry Pratchett was signing a contract with Dignitas to lead his own assisted suicide. And I remembered again. But let me tell the story in order.

I heard from a little birdie friend of mine that Sir Terry Pratchett might be making a guest appearance at Capclave. It was perfect timing, right after my reading, and I would be free for a few hours to hang out.

I had been waffling about this particular reading, since most of the folks who attend Capclave are also members of WSFA, and it was to them that I did my very first dramatic reading of “The Monster & Mrs. Blake.” I’ve performed that reading now a few times…but no matter how good I’ve gotten at it, I didn’t want to do it again for the same audience.

My great thought was that I would read “The Unicorn Hunter,” since I still maintain it’s the best story I’ve ever written. (It’s still available for free to read here, if you’re in the mood to quibble.) But when I started practicing this one, it just didn’t come across as a good read-aloud. For one, I couldn’t get the demon’s voice right. My range was bouncing all over the place. It was terrible.

I’d heard someone mention a great panel they attended once where the panelists brought poetry and prose they had written when they were in high school and shared that. Why not? So I had my little blue book with me, the one with the gilded pages, and I was going to make a fool of myself in front of a bunch of people because I hadn’t prepared anything else.

Then suddenly, Terry Pratchett’s visit was announced. He was only going to be at the convention for an hour, and the time had been pushed up to RIGHT during my reading, so that he could catch a plane back to the UK. The entire convention closed up shop and gathered in the main auditorium. No one came to see me. I waited until Sir Terry and my friend walked by, and then I followed in their wake to attend the talk as well.

So yes, folks, back in October, this Princess was saved by an honest-to-god Knight. And I can’t believe I forgot to tell you.

Here is the very nice video Scott shot of the whole talk. It’s an hour long, but well worth the time.

I’m very glad I attended. It made me laugh and touched my heart to be part of such a wonderful community, and such a fantastic visit with such an icon in such an intimate setting. (Muches of suchness!) It was so very interesting to hear Sir Terry speak of the assisted suicide that he took part in for the BBC. What I didn’t realize was how personal the discussion would be for me.

If you remember, back in July I posted about visiting my beautiful grandmother who is in hospice with Alzheimer’s. She’s been there a very long time. I’m sure she doesn’t recognize us. She doesn’t really even speak in words anymore. She looks good, and seemed happy, but she scares quite easily because nothing is familiar to her anymore. It scares me to think of what it would be like to live like that…but I suppose if it got to that point I wouldn’t be cognizant of what I’d lost…not that it makes the situation better.

Once upon a time, I’m not sure I would have supported something like Sir Terry is deciding to do with his death. I would have called it cowardly. And yet, I wonder what my grandmother would have decided had she been given such a choice back when she had the ability to make choices. Of course I don’t want my grandmother to leave this world. But it’s times like these–especially over the holidays–that I miss her so much and hate…well…you know.

I’ve been working on the sequel to Sunday’s book–it’s about Saturday, of course. Her hero is a young man whose father succumbed to an illness like Alzheimer’s (though it would have been closer to dementia in fairy tale land). How would an illness like this affect our hero’s life? What would he be afraid of? And, conversely, what would he not be afraid of?

Through these questions I am forced to find answers…both about Peregrine and myself.

Oh, how art imitates life…and how beautiful and unfair life can be, all at the same time.

Love you guys. xox

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On the Importance of Turkeys

Thanksgiving weekend’s not over yet! And before it is, I have a quick message I would like to say to my beloved little sister, in front of the whole world.

My next video should be about the story behind this, or why we called Soteria “Sami” all those years…but for now, I’m just sort of hoping this prompts a response. *evil grin*

Remember — Buy a Pair of Earrings Today & Save a Small Business!

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Small Business Saturday

Those of you who already know what I’m going to say can just click this link. *grin*

For the rest of you who stood in line at the Big Chain Stores yesterday to get the Big Deals of the Season…today’s your day to shop from the heart. Yes, it’s SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY… here’s how you can take part! (And not just by “Liking” the page on Facebook.)

As you know, my beloved little sister owns a fabulous jewelry studio in Charleston, SC where she designs amazing unique jewelry: Dixie Dunbar Studio.

When the guys at Best Buy have a decent Black Friday weekend, they get to buy a new yacht. When my sister has a decent Black Friday weekend, she can pay her rent for a few more months. If she has a *really* good weekend, she can even afford to have someone else watch the storefront so she can design & build her inventory and her husband can work on studying for his nursing degree.

If all of my friends stopped by the Dixie Dunbar website and just bought only one pair of earrings, Soteria would have a really good weekend. Please help me help her do this by clicking on the earrings pictured here.

Don’t think you can afford her style? The stinky thing about unique designs is that there’s a limit to what Soteria can put on her website, because she has to squirrel that jewelry away and not sell it in her store. If you’re interested at in any of these designs, I urge you to give her a call (843-722-0006) or send her an email and let her know 1.) what style you’re interested in and 2.) what you’re willing to spend on a piece. Soteria is happy to custom make something just for you! She really is just that talented.

(She has also been asked to design some jewelry for a certain television show being filmed in Charleston…but you didn’t hear that from me. Fingers crossed!)

I implore you all to please support Small Business Saturday. Keep local artists in business. Please buy a pair of earrings for your mom, your sister, your wife, and/or yourself. Here’s that handy-dandy link again for you. And totally tell her The Princess sent you…because that would be HILARIOUS.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours! xox


[PS – Yes, Soteria also makes jewelry for men. In fact, she really enjoys the challenge and has some great materials to work with. Call her up and ask her anything!]

[PPS – Tell her the Princess sent you and receive an extra 10% off your order!]

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Discovery of Dad

For those of you who may not have seen this–a number that seems to be dwindling since the Discovery Channel seems to be running this episode of “Future Weapons” like there’s no tomorrow–here is the section of the show about Knights Armament’s PDW. My fabulous & famous Dad shows up TWICE in interview!

He’s just so photogenic and such a great speaker. I hope to be just like him someday! (Only with less facial hair.)

For those curious, the weapon in question is still in development, and not available in the civilian market.

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Sing For Your Supper

In this new video for their song “Miss Hallelujah,” I think my boys from the Adam Ezra Group cover just about everything we should be thankful for. And so I dub it the official Thanksgiving Day Song of 2012. Please feel free to share this love far and wide!

I hope all of you in America have a wonderful holiday. Take a moment to think about what you love today. And if the spirit moves you…sing for it.

Much love,

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So Much to be Thankful For

I am thankful for amazing sunsets that last for hours on long road trips. I have always loved sunsets, ever since I was a little girl taking pictures with her father’s ancient Minolta with the huge telephoto attachment.

I am also thankful for all this fabulous photo technology at our fingertips so that we might share the beautiful visions of my magical life with the world.


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The Grand Dame of Dragons

I want to read Dragonsong again, right now. Miss Anne was always in love with the Masterharper. So was I.

Anne McCaffrey taught me many things. She taught me to believe in dragons. She taught me that I should have lots of sex while I’m still young and beautiful. She–through Andre Norton–gave me a talisman that I treasure to this day (and now really wish wasn’t in a storage unit with my beloved crock pot and all my good suitcases).

I had a dream about her house in Ireland once, a great castle with huge golden gates that had a giant fancy P molded into them. I imagine she’s somewhere by that castle now, with the wind in her hair, feeding her dragons.

Love you, Miss Anne. Say hi to Miss Andre for me.


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Designer Shoes

It was written in the stars. Always has been.

I had my tarot told once at the Llewellyn booth at a Publisher’s Showcase. Scott laid all the cards on the table and stared at them a moment with that contemplative face all doctors make. Then he put his palms flat on the table, leaned over to me, and said: “YOU. DO. TOO. MUCH.”

The woman behind me in line whispered, “It’s not good when they yell at you like that, hon.”

The reality of it is: This year I had to face facts that the writing wasn’t paying enough, so I got a day job at a bookstore. Yes, retail on my feet all the time. My feet began to hurt off and on.

Then came Dragon*Con. After that, my left foot began to hurt every day.

Now I have a third job: Subbing for the Loudoun County Afterschool program at 9 middle schools in the area.(I have to sub tonight, as a matter of fact. I’m going to see if the kids will help me bling this blank canvas up a bit.)

My benefits kicked in, the pain in my foot became a pain in my neck, and I finally went to the Urgent Care down the strip mall from the bookstore. (It’s amazing how much more one will actually consider going to the doctor if the doctor is exceptionally convenient.) Urgent Care sent me to a podiatrist. The podiatrist gave me this and sent me to have a few x-rays.

“People will take you seriously now,” he said as he showed me how to strap myself in.

I need to wear this 24-hours a day (except when showering) for 2 whole weeks. And while people will definitely take me seriously, I do need a better story to tell. Stunt riding on horseback? Saved a baby from a runaway train? Foiled an attempted mugging?

“I do too much” just sounds like…well…not enough.

Any ideas?

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