Ticket to Ride

I just had my passport photo taken at the local pharmacy. A relatively painless process, even for one as photogenically challenged as me.

The whole process of getting a passport brings up a lot of memories. I got my first-ever passport in 1999, a year that still lives in infamy in my personal history. Whether it was my burner of a job, my health, the health of my mother, my love life…it all sucked. Other people, in 1999, were afraid the world would end in Y2K. I was kind of hoping….

But just in case it didn’t, I got myself a passport. A sort of promissory note to myself, to look ahead to the days when life would improve. When the new machine started up; when Mom got better; when I wised up and glued my heart back together….I would finally make that trip to the UK I’d always wanted.

And in AD 2000, I did. Life did improve. And I went to London, Paris (bonus!), Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

It’s not like my world was perfect when I left, or when I got back. But I’d learned a few things.That I could get through tough times. That having something to look forward to helps. A lot. And that sometimes, the most important promises to keep are the ones you make to yourself. (A lot of those lessons showed up in Forge–Keir founds his extraordinary endurance on a reason to hope, and a love he’s not even sure is real.)

I forgot to renew my passport–it had done its work–and now I’m getting a new one. But the circumstances are vastly different, because they’re happy. I’ll be traveling with my wonderful husband to Spain, taking in the sights…and looking out for fodder for my next story.

Here’s a song that celebrates the Journey to better times…as long as you Don’t Stop Believin’. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

I hope you’re living on the sunny side of the street. If not…may the power of hope soon lead you to better days.


“And the skies are not cloudy all day…” Hah!


Here I am, home on the range, looking out the kitchen door at the–indubitably–cloudy sky. And it’s been that way, pretty much…all day.

In Syracuse, NY, where I spent three years, this wouldn’t be a cause for comment. In that beclouded city, Annie never would’ve believed the “sun’ll come out tomorrow.” Because it just didn’t. Except maybe in August.

But here, in Texas? I was led to believe, by song, folklore, and Himself, that it was always sunny in Texas…except when tornadoes tear up the landscape and throw it into the sky. My husband also teases me about the sun never shining in Pennsylvania–which is patently untrue. We’re not Syracuse, after all. But my case wasn’t helped when, during our last four-day visit in March, it snowed twice and the sun hid its face behind a heavy swath of clouds in shame.

Don’t get the idea that I’m complaining. This is just by way of pointing out that…Hey! It’s cloudy! In Texas! Who knew?

There’s a serenity in a cloudy day. Trees are swaying in the wind, the birds are singing…and clouds can be pretty. If I didn’t believe that, I never would’ve survived my sojourn in Syracuse.

And really, this whole post is just an excuse to play the song going through my head, because it perfectly captures the feeling of a cloudy day.

Whether it’s rain or shine, sunny or shadowed, wherever you are…here’s hoping your own personal weather is set to “smile”!

On the Wings of Dragons

I think I was in late grade school or early high school when I first read Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. My eldest sister handed it to me, saying, “I think you’ll like this.” And just like that, I was hooked, catching up with ones already published, waiting for the next one out. Swallowing up The Ship Who Sang in one sitting…

McCaffrey stood out from the other SF authors I first read because of the way she integrated music into her stories. Sometimes as the stage setting, sometimes, as in the Harper Hall Trilogy, taking front and center.┬áTo this day, I still think about Menolly and her struggle to become a harper. Music is a vital part of my life, and her work resonated with me. (It holds true for me as a writer, as well. In my first book, Forge, the hero saves himself from death-by-trash-recycling by singing raucously–and drunkenly–enough to be heard by the tech who was about to hit the waste-processing button. You can read the first three chapters here.)

In celebration of Anne McCaffrey’s birthday–and her love of music–here is one of the filk tunes from the Masterharper of Pern CD.

Care to share your first memory of reading McCaffrey, or perhaps meeting her at a con? Please leave a comment!