Ok, so it’s been almost 9 months. That’s ok, right?


I think I need to admit that this is no longer really a blog, just a website I don’t update very often.

But, last 9 months, lessee, what’s happened?


  • * My parents moved here from Arizona. A big move for them, and I’m delighted to have them close by. It’s been fun watching the kiddo get to know his ‘other’ grandparents.


  • *I’ve got a story in an anthology that came out in August, and I’m an ‘anchor’ author in another due out next year. Short stories are fun. I used to have a harder time with them, but compared to holding onto a 100,000 word story in my brain, they feel like fun now. Go figure.


  • *That said, I’ve been doing some really good work on my ongoing solarpunk story set in a future Dinetah. Lovely having a project I’m excited to get to work on each day.


  • *The Beast-dog, Xena, is less beastly than a year ago.  Actually settling into her adult personality, which is a relief. I like adult dogs more than puppies, I have to say. Canine manners are important…


  • *The kiddo is in first grade. You know, real school.  I still have the occasional hard time wrapping my head around this, but it’s getting easier.


  • *New grandbaby, who’s absolutely adorable, though sadly living WAY too far away for my taste.


  • *Year of Cake has been a rollicking success so far. I’ve enjoyed getting so much baking in, and I think the boys have enjoyed eating so much cake.


And once again, I’m going to try to get on here more often. My life is quiet these days, with few upsets or tears & much laughter and gratefulness. I don’t need the therapy of writing-my-life anymore, but I do miss the record of ‘oh yes, I remember that’. So I’ll try. I promise nothing–because really, look at my record these last couple of years!–but I’l try.


Day after Groundhog Day, 2016

  1. Yeah. These last two months–where did they go again?

There were the pre-holidays. You know, where you’re getting ready? Gift-buying, present-wrapping, school concerts, traveling.


Then there were the holidays themselves. Food. Gift-giving. 5yo who hearts Santa Claus something fierce.

Fun, but major time/life investment.

Then there was the post-holiday recovery period, which, perhaps, lasted longer than it should have.


I’m back. I’m writing like crazy these days–damn, I love my writing routine, though I’d also love to find a way to drop into that routine a little quicker. It seems to take me half an hour to really settle in, and then BAM! I’ve really just hit my stride, then I look up and it’s time to go pick up the small boy from his happy place (aka: kindergarten, for those who don’t know him.  Kid LOVES school.)

But yeah, life’s pretty damned awesome. Doglet is finally settling into her–I hope–permanent Good Dog state of being. We’re all healthy & happy, another grandbaby on the way, and the words are coming out the way I like them to.

Life is so good, and I’m so damned lucky.

2. It’s also The Year of Cake.

The boy asked me for a special gift this year: make him a ‘birthday’ cake every single month.

Well. Never one to not try to one-up everyone else, I said, “How about a cake every WEEK?”

He, of course, said ‘Hell, yes!’

Although he may actually be regretting that. We’ll see if his infatuation with sugar lasts as long as my excitement about getting to bake a different cake each week (without being responsible for eating it, you understand. My love of all things sugar isn’t really cake-oriented, weirdly enough.) I should have spent my life running a bakery…

But it’s been fun, getting to play with cake techniques, and looking for new recipes to try to improve the standards I’ve been making for years. One can do that, you know: mess with hallowed family recipes, because if it isn’t as tasty, it’s all good because I can just make a new one this weekend!

3. I styled myself out with a needlework frame and a magnifying light for doing handwork with. Because I am old and geeky and my eyes have a hard time with the 40 x 40 stitches per square inch that the patterns I love call for.  I’m also trying to finish up a lot of the half-done projects I’ve started over the years. Needlework pillows, that quilt that’s been waiting for me to finish quilting it for, well, for decades wouldn’t be an exaggeration, sadly. And it’s good, getting through some of these.  Being able to say, now that I’m on the downslope of my 40s, “Nope. I’ll never be a quilter. I’ll never make all my own clothes. I may never spin up that alpaca fleece I bought so many years ago (though I’m not yet giving up my spinning wheel, because that stuff is GORGEOUS!) I like knitting stuffed toys, and baby clothes, and I like doing wicked-intricate stitching on a tiny tiny scale. That’s it. That’s what I do to keep my hands busy while my brain is roaming.”

So there.

4.  Getting a half-dozen more chickies to plump up the flock now that my three remaining girls are slowing down a bit. They arrive in May, and I’m already getting excited, because I AM a crazy chicken lady. Happily, I live in an area where that’s just a standard way of being, and three of my closest friends here also fit that description. Yay chickens!

5.  And, like most of the country, we’ve had a remarkably mild winter, and I am relieved. Last winter was brutal. It felt like living on Hoth, only without the awesome ton-tons.

If I had a ton-ton instead of a 15yo Toyota, I might like winter better, but honestly, I’m from the desert. I’d probably still hate all that snow piled up that wittle schnookums would have to tromp through.

Book Review – Q & A a Day : 5-Year Journal


WAY too long ago, I requested & received a copy of this book Q & A a Day : 365 Questions * 5 Years * 1,825 answers.

I love this journal. The daily prompts are interesting enough to jot a few lines down, and I think I’ll probably get different answers over the years–and where my response stays the same, that’s interesting, too!

I write in it almost every day (& have for the aforementioned WAY TOO LONG.)  I just bought a few for xmas gifts.

And I remembered that I never did review this.  Which is dumb.  And lazy.  Because I really do like it a lot.  I spend so much time writing fiction that my own journalling practice gets neglected, and oftentimes, there’s a lot going on that I’m thinking about or pondering, and I’ve always enj0yed looking back on journals.  I miss that, even if I am too busy to do it these days.  But this journal is a really easy, fun way to stay in the habit.

Besides, who doesn’t like answering questions about themselves? I know I do!

I received the book from Blogging For Books for this review.

Small Things 11-1-15



Halloween is awfully fun when you’re five.  This is the kiddo dressed as a ninja warrior.  A ninja warrior with lots of sparkly stuff, because the plain black outfit was, apparently, kind of boring.  It had to be ‘fixed’ with gold, silver and red lamé.  And some other sparkly stuff. So he was a ninja who specializes in assignments that post him in Vegas, we figured.

He’s in kindergarten. This logic totally works.

And he scored big-time in the candy department, so he’s a very happy boy.  His first question this morning was, “I suppose we don’t eat Halloween candy before breakfast?”

Um, you suppose right, my sugar-addled boy!

2.  After I got home from being out of town with my folks for a few days, The Boy went down to NY for a couple of days, so today is the first ‘normal’ day I’ve had in about a week.  Long day of nothing much besides cooking dinner planned.  Already enjoying it immensely!

3. Peak leaf season is pretty much over, but it sure was a glorious year. And it’s still pretty out there, if sparser than it was a week ago.  Not bad for the first of November!

4.  My grandmother passed away last month–a sad but not exactly tragic thing, as she was very old and very ready to go.

But I’m finding the realization of her death hitting me in odd ways.  She was 96 and had lived in an assisted care apartment for many years.  I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years.  But I knew she was there, just being grandma in the world.  It’s an odd sort of unraveling feeling to know she’s gone. She was my last living ‘grand’, the kiddo’s only great-grand, and I miss that feeling of continuity.

She was very much loved and we should all be so lucky in the manner of her death, but still, she will be missed.

5.  It’s looking more and more like my parents will be moving out to live closer to us, and I could not be more delighted. A lot of work for them, a lot of logistics to get through, but they’re ahead of the game in that they’re planning on downsizing, which is fantastic.

I can’t wait for the kiddo to get to know his maternal grandparents as well as he knows his paternals, and selfishly, I can’t wait to have my mommy and daddy near enough to have them over for dinner and just hang out with them over weekend donuts and coffee.

So. Very. Excited!


Small Things 10-20-15




And the new anthology Kickstarter for which I’ve been asked to write a story is live, folks!

Bedtime stories for kids ages 3-8 (& their parents!) Probably going to be fantasy-heavy, since most of the writers are SFF. The editor is a man I’ve worked with before, and he puts out very high quality books.  I’m very excited to be included in this project!

(And, btw, there’s still a ‘tuckerization’ available at a certain funding level–wherein I’ll name one of the characters in my story after you or your child–whatever name you specify.)


Anyway, have a look, and if it seems like a project you’d be interested in, we’d really appreciate the support.  My husband S.C. Butler will also have a story in the anthology, and I’m already excited to read it.  Apparently, my first dog Sydney figures prominently, so I’m really NEEDING this project to be funded…

2.  I’m heading to my parents’ next week for a few days–it’ll be my first multi-day trip away from the kiddo. It’ll be good to see my folks–they’re thinking of relocating to be closer to us out here, and there’s a lot to be done to try to make it easier on them, but I’m going to miss my boys terribly even for just a few days.

Wish me luck getting through the separation without shuddering myself into an anxiety ulcer or something.

3.  Writing is going well, though always more slowly than I expect it to. About 3/4 of the way through a draft that will be awesome if I can just get the story in my head onto the page in any semblance of order. Actually, that’s the job for drafts 2-5 or so, but still, I’m having a hard time reminding myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect right now–it just has to be on the page.  It’ll get there.  I have a couple of 12-hour travel days coming up. Writing ought to take my mind off family worries nicely.

4.  Xena the Sausage Piglet Warrior Princess is enormous. She’s weighing in at 54# and that’s on a restricted diet. She could still stand to lose a few pounds for the sake of her hips (in a dog this size, and of unknown parentage, I do worry about hip dysplasia) but she’s a big dog even if she doesn’t grow any more.  Also clumsy (as a sausage rolling off a plate, hence the nickname) and a clown.  Also a really sweet dog who follows me devotedly and is currently chomping a stick from the woodpile into toothpicks because the cow femur she’s supposed to be playing with isn’t, apparently, as much fun as splinters in her gums.  Big dope.  I love this dog.

5.  We’ve had one of the prettier autumns on record, and it’s still going strong. My chickies are nearly through their molt, so we’re getting eggs again, and the region is still buried in apples.  Happy Fall, y’all.  I do love October…

Small Things 10-16-15

1. I have, apparently, developed a fondness for sparkly, glittery nail polish.  This should come as a shock to, well, anyone who’s ever met me in real life, since I’m a boring clothes, no make-up, hair up in a bun type.

And I bite my nails.

But sparkly nails prevent me from biting them, and, well, they sparkle. Which, apparently, one never gets quite too old for.

2. We’ve had an absolutely glorious autumn here. The colors have been at peak color for, well, weeks, it’s like living in a box of Crayolas that have melted all over the landscape.  Rather stunning just to walk outside the house.

A nice reminder that it’s not the humid summers or the arctic, snowy winters that make this a wonderful climate. It’s pretty much October. THIS October, in fact. If last winter was the winter that all winters from here on will get compared to in my brain (“Ah yes! I remember that winter of ’14 when we got snow as deep as the roof eaves, now THAT was a winter, young fella!”) then this is the October that I’ll likely be comparing others to for a long time.  Not a bad prospect, because it really is stinkin’ gorgeous out there.

3. And on that note, it’s also the perfect time to have a fire, because, well, chilly.

4. Boy-child had his 5yo pediatrician appointment, winning accolades for not having had to see the doc since his last year’s annual check up.  Once again, kiddo was off the charts in height, and off the charts to a slightly lesser degree in weight. Pediatrician is fumbling with growth charts as he walks in after the nurse is done measuring height & weight & says, “Um, Ms. Jett? Your son is, um, perfectly average.”

Um, what? I know the kid’s tall. I buy his clothes. Surprised, I look up & he drops the punchline.  “For a SEVEN year old, that is.  Dear lord, what do you FEED him?”


Spare me from doctors with a sense of humor.

5.  Did I ever mention that the last kickstarted book I was a part of is out & available for purchase by non-kickers? Well it is. Please go buy it & leave nice reviews on Amazon & Goodreads & your own blog if you like it.


Also, I was recently asked to be an anchor author in an upcoming anthology of bedtime stories for kids.  Which is flattering, and also super exciting, because I have an idea for a story featuring a little boy’s bunny named Real, who just might be King of All the Rabbits.

The kickstarter will be going live on the 20th, and I’ll be plugging it then with links and pictures. Just a heads up–I’m offering a ‘Tuckerization’ for a backer incentive (where I promise to use the backer’s–or their child’s–name for a character in my story.) Literary immortality, folks!

Book Review – The Baby Book by Robin Silbergleid


When I was offered the chance to review The Baby Book by Robin Silbergleid I jumped at the chance, both because she’s a friend who’s been through an awful lot on the reproductive front, and also because she’s an amazing writer, and I’m always looking for a way to get more poetry into my TBR pile.  I’m lazy like that- while I enjoy reading poetry, I don’t always go seek it out the way I should, and here someone’s offering to drop a book of poetry into my lap? I’m IN!

I expected it would be well-written, because, as mentioned, she’s an amazing writer (and more importantly, her words resonate with me even on blog posts. There are plenty of good writers out there whose work leaves me cold. Hers speaks to me.)

What I didn’t expect was the emotional punch it would carry.  Having been through a lot of what she writes about, having witnessed much of her journey-to-motherhood as it happened, the book was stunning, both in its beauty and in its devastating ability to bring me back to a time in my life I thought I’d pretty much blocked from my mind.

This is not a complaint. Just a testament to the power of her words.

Had I found this book while I was still in the midst of my own IVF horror, this slim book most likely would have become my touchstone, my guide, a map I would use to try to illustrate my experience for others.  I would have handed my dog-eared copy to friends who were earnestly trying to understand my grief & exultation, my terror and jubilation.  “Read page fifty. That’s what I really mean to say.  Now read the third poem.  Read the one where she names her daughter ‘Hannah’.”

But of course, I’m past that devastating time in my life (as long as–apparently–I choose not to think about it.)  Most of my real-life friends these days have no idea what I went through six years ago. I no longer need a field guide to those emotions, those awful days, where all I wanted was a map to show me the way out.

So what I’d like is to see this book in every RE’s office.  This book of poetry (with the subtly gorgeous cover!) would have been so much more welcome to find on a side table in a waiting room than the latest copy of ‘Parents’ or an ancient edition of ‘Runner’s World.’ That probably won’t happen, but I can dream. And in the meantime, anyone who’s going through this, or who knows someone who is, this is an important book. Terrifying. Horrifying. Beautiful.

Just like baby-making, for those of us for whom it does not come easily.


The publisher is CavanKerry Press, (www.cavankerrypress.org or www.upne.com) and I’ve also found it available for pre-order on Amazon (link above, & know that I do receive advertising fees from Amazon if you purchase anything through this link) or Barnes and Noble.  Publication date is November 3, 2015.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review.

Small Things 9-25-15

1. And for the second year in a row, the kiddo is sick the day before his birthday party. Sigh. Would it be wrong to just start having his parties in the middle of July when there are no colds to be passed around. A birthday three weeks after school starts just means everyone has the chance to catch it by mid/late-September. Ugh. It remains to be seen whether we’ll reschedule this, or if he’ll rally tonight–which is certainly possible.

I hate not knowing what’s happening. Just hate it.

2. A friend who’s had way too much loss in her life is pregnant, which is awesome. But the early test results have been, well, not horrible, but not awesome. Inconclusive, let’s say. Another friend has sent me her book of poetry on her IVF & loss experiences, and while the poetry is phenomenally good, it’s hard for me to read.

We’re so lucky to have our son, and I have, apparently, blocked out an awful lot of what happened to get him here.  Anyone still reading who’s still in the IF trenches, please know I’m overwhelmed with sorrow & hope on your behalf, and I’m sorry I’m not reading the blogs anymore. Selfishly, it’s hard even to read about infertility any more. It’s like I used up all my capacity to think about those things and still function. I suspect I wasn’t functioning very well during those years.

God, those were the worst of times.

3. However, on the bloggy-happy side of things? A blog-met pediatric ophthalmologist friend who’s offered eye-advice in the past when it became obvious the kiddo was going to be visiting ophthalmologists regularly, was ALSO able and willing to advise me on some pesky questions I had about what would be involved with an eye exam for a character in the book I’m working on. I’ve watched umpteen videos, read blog entries for people who’ve had the procedure, and never was able to find the details I was looking for. She cleared it up so quickly, and so kindly.

Hurrah for people willing to share their expertise! Hurrah for ophthalmologists! Hurrah for friends who are both!

4. We’ve been watching the Lord of the Rings extended trilogy over the last 5 nights. Tonight will be the final ‘installment’.  Long-time readers might remember that this was an annual tradition when we lived in Brooklyn–we’d get our geeky LOTR friends together, cook a hobbit-worthy kitchenful of food, and eat and watch for 12 straight hours.

That’s not happening here for a while–everything else aside, my kid is nowhere NEAR ready for such a violent, scary story–so the compromise was better than nothing.  Still. I miss the immersion of doing it the proper way.

Not to mention the coney stew…

5. Speaking of eyes… I went to a retinal specialist today to see if we could figure out what’s going on with my wonky eye.  Part of the problem is that I can’t seem to describe the issue well.  “It just feels wonky. Not blurry, just like there’s some component of my vision missing. Like it’s darker. Or glare-ier. Or the colors are off. Or I’m having to tip my head to see around something.”

Well, the retinal specialist says I don’t have an inflamed retina per se, but the tissue behind the retina is inflamed. So if it’s not better in 4 months (and this has been going on for 2 years, so she’s not super worried about letting it go that long) when I have a follow-up exam, she’ll want an MRI to, you know, rule out brain cancer.

Which would be less worrying if my cousin’s wife hadn’t just succumbed to that very thing.  We weren’t close, but her illness & death hit me hard. We went to college together, she was my peer, not some old lady who died from some old-lady disease.

And by the way, this getting older stuff? Most of it I don’t mind. Gray hair, wrinkly face? That’s all ok. The woman who tries to give me a 55+ discount? No big deal, I certainly don’t look like a teenager, & I recognize that by not dyeing my hair, I’m automatically registering as at least 10 years older to most people. But the whole body-going-wonky stuff? It sort of sucks.  Just for the record, I do NOT approve. Not at all.

Small Things 9-24-15

1.   I’m slowly becoming accustomed to having so much time to write. It’s still a struggle to make myself do housework, but making myself sit down & write? Such luxury! Story’s coming right along, and I’m trying not to get too obsessive about checking to see if an agent who’s got the full manuscript from my last book has gotten back to me yet..

2. Xena brought me a very soggy, very dead bird. She tried to bury it in my office just now–very kind, but I took possession of the poor little thing. I suspect she just found it, though I suppose she could have caught it & then it got so soggy because she held it in her mouth for so long. She’s tricksy like that. I wouldn’t put it past her.

3. This is also apparently the autumn of the applepocalypse.  Orchards that normally bring in 30,000 bushels of apples are looking at 70,000.  Banks have baskets of free apples by the door. Half the old trees in my old rural neighborhood are–apparently–apple trees. We know this now because they’re currently bowed down to the ground under their weight of apples.

I’m having a good time making the NY Times Tarte Tatin.  Seriously – have I posted a link to this recipe before? If you haven’t tried it yet, and if you live somewhere in the NE & are currently being crushed by the slow, inexorable crush of apples on your counter that are not being eaten quickly enough, make this. Shoot, make it even if you have to go to the store today and BUY 8 apples. Any apples work.  A mix of apples works. No need for a non-stick skillet, I use cast iron & it works like a charm. I also don’t bother to roll out the puff pastry, just tick the extra bits around the edges. Why be fussy, eh? And it tastes So. Blessed. Good.

4. My kid loves school. Like, REALLY loves school. I can’t truly express how happy this makes me, but it really does. There’s something about talking with my son about everything he’s done in school that day that’s my favorite part of the day. It’s usually on our way home from school, and at first it’s hard to get him to talk, but then I ask the perfect question and his whole day away from me comes spilling out of him and he wants to share it all, and I want to hear it all.  Because I’m delighted he loves school, loves learning, loves his friends & teachers, but I’m also delighted he still thinks telling his mommy all about his day is the fitting end to a school day. Life is good with a 5yo kid, I’ve got to say.  I’m so very lucky.

5. Chickens are molting, and so, not laying so much right now. Garden had a less-than-stellar year.  Apple tree is, admittedly, going gangbusters, as did the peach tree and the raspberries.  A good year for fruit, but not so much for anything else. Next year I’ll go all in with organic fertilizer, a drip system, and copper spray to try to head off the early blight before it destroys my crop.  I might have to go with a full on hoop-system to bump up the heat eventually, but I WILL learn to garden in this weird climate. I WILL!

Other plans for next year include actually trying to get some grass to grow in the sadder parts of our property. We have a dozen or so 100yo maples that cast awfully thick shade, and no one’s paid any attention to the area save to mow it for a very long time.  I’d also love to get some color planted in the few areas of dappled sun we have. Surely I could find a hydrangea or astilbes or something that wouldn’t mind the shade? It’s a project – an ongoing project, which is, I’m learning about myself, something I enjoy having.


Small Things 8-25-15

1. My son wears glasses. He has since he was about 2 years old, due to some eye-crossing issues.  And he’s always been, really, quite good about taking care of his glasses. But while on vacation, someone (probably me) crushed one arm of them, and they’ve been hanging on by a superglued thread ever since.  Took ’em to his eyeglasses shop & not only did they replace his old lenses (in his spare frame) with his new lenses from the busted frame, but they’re also replacing the glasses under warranty.

Which is why it’s worth shelling out the big bucks for kids’ glasses, I guess. Plus, you know, he’ll be able to see at school.  (SCHOOL?  WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS? He’s a BABY for heaven’s sake!)

Not really.


Where the HELL did the last 5 years go?

Oh yeah, into helping this little guy find his feet in the great, wide world.

And he’s off and running…

2.  Just had to tell a dream agent–who doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions–that he didn’t respond quickly enough to a query I sent out in May, and the manuscript is already being considered by other agents. The urge to lie and say no one had it in hand was there, but I did the right thing and sent my regrets instead of the manuscript.  Happily, he did get back to me right away to say I should send it if the agents currently considering decide to pass.

But still. Big gulps on that one.

3. Yesterday was the first day since my son was born almost five years ago that I have had 6 contiguous, starting-in-the-morning hours to myself.  I wrote.  It was really, really nice. Maybe I’ll survive this back-to-school thing after all?

4.  We have been inundated with frogs and toads this year.  Which I don’t actually mind: it’s nifty going outside late at night and seeing the ground practically alive with amphibians.  Odd, though, since other years a single garden toad is cause for celebration.



This piglet dog makes me really happy.  She’s lying at my feet right now, doing what happy dogs do best.  3 miles in the morning seems to be her sweet spot of tiredness.  Too much more than that, and she’s just exhausted all day long. Too much less than that, and she’s a demon-monster of too-playful annoyance.  But 3 miles makes us both happy.  Life’s good.