Sherwood Smith: A Stranger to Command

Wanting to revisit books this week that are reliable friends, I chose A Stranger to Command, by Sherwood Smith. I like a lot of her fantasy books. The characters seem quite often to have feelings similar to mine. This book resonates with me. I’ve lost track of how many times I have read it.

At its most basic, the central character is faced with “getting on with getting on” under multiple burdens and decisions that are not self-inflicted and not optional. Honor, duty, and integrity. Issues not as simple as one would expect…or hope.

Marvelous world building! Sherwood never disappoints.


Some Updates

Obviously, I have not lately been reviewing or listing books that I have been reading. This has been a long stretch of rereading fiction while reading new-to-me nonfiction. My last meeting with the grief counselor was on the seventh of last month, and I have been writing poems and reading books of scholarly articles, poems and essays touching on bereavement and loss.

By the beginning of this month, I set the bulk of my Art of disorder blog to “Private” and am taking it in a new direction. In brief, I would like to use it to respond to various challenges and prompts. I think that I would like to turn away from my reading materials to actually write my own thoughts.

I have not, I think, enumerated my various public blogs and their current purposes. I expect that I will erase what’s currently on the About page and put those links there.

Some of my favorite fantasy authors: A partial list for Kimberly

Authors and books that you may not yet have encountered, but to some great extent are good matches to your preferences.

Doranna Durgin: A Feral Darkness, Dun Lady’s Jess and sequels, and a broad range of others (I shared a newsletter link)

Tanya Huff
Urban Fantasy: The Enchantment Emporium, The Wild Ways, and The Future Falls; other early miscellaneous urban fantasies not related
Continue reading “Some of my favorite fantasy authors: A partial list for Kimberly”


It has been a while. Things got sidetracked a week after my previous post, when my father died unexpectedly in his sleep. A little more than ten weeks after my mother had done likewise.

My most recent reading is from the latest edition of my favorite Stress Management authors and rereading of favorite romance and science fiction authors, along with Sadder than Water. I did get my former business website domains up and running. is the primary, and is parked there, so either one works. On the WordPress,, I am doing NaPoWriMo stuff.

Since my second visit with the grief counselor, I am not pressing myself to complete any writing on time, and for some days, I have posted previous poems rather than write new ones.

My husband is enjoying the early spring weather, getting into some carpentry stuff, now. I have ordered wildflower seeds to plant in the new garden spot; they arrived with this week’s mail delivery. I hope to get the seeds sown early in the evening, and then water them before we lose the light. I am behind on washing dishes, and I still have to take a shower and brush my teeth.

Chives have come up along the side of the house, after we’d figured that the yard work two years ago had done for them. Also, both irises and tulips seem to be coming out.

I am hopeful.


Another old short story

I have found a copy of my short story “Outreach”, which I wrote about 40 years ago; it was published in a periodical (The Lighthouse?) put out by a campus religious organization. I believe that one of my brothers, who was attending that college, was the one who submitted it. I have added it and an accompanying picture here, under “Short Stories”.

“Outreach” was most recently published in a chapbook put out to raise money for W.H.E.E.L., Seattle, Washington. I believe Anitra Freeman was the editor for the project.

Considering a new web site

Now that I have a good number of retirement years between me and ceasing to do freelance work, I have decided to renew the domain names that I used for freelance writing/editing and for commercial photography. Both are up for renewal before the end of the year. I have contacted the hosting company that I used when I first got my first business domain, and I hope to have it up and running before 2018 rolls around again.

As with this domain, I suspect I will find some emails still arriving, sent to my old email addresses. If I choose the same addresses. I am torn.

Anyway, even if I do renew both domains, I intend to have both pointing to the same website.


Reading choices under stress

My emergent health problems, combined with my mother’s rapid decline and death, have increased my stress level more than I am comfortable with. I have coped mostly by rereading comfort books.

Favorite Books (Cont.)

Another book to add to the previous blog post: Star Driver by Lee Correy (G. . Harry Stine). I have also bought an extra paperback copy of this book.


Favorite Books

As I have been weeding out books, here, in order to make life more manageable, I have been throwing away hardcover and paperback copies of books that I would not miss very much, were Barnes & Noble to go out of business before I die. In the process, I have discovered that I do not have physical copies of books that I wish to read again multiple times over the remainder of my life. I intend to keep a list (#permanentlibrary) of books for which I need physical copies and for which I would like also e-editions in order to save wear and tear on the physical copies.

In no particular order

  • Lightwing, by Tara K. Harper
  • A Stranger to Command, by Sherwood Smith
  • Hostile Takeover, by Susan Shwartz
  • Flash, Octagonal Raven, The Ethos Effect, The One-Eyed Man, Gravity Dreams, The Parafaith War, and the “Imager Portfolio” novels, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • The Samaria novels, by Sharon Shinn
  • Remnant Population and The Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon
  • The Williamsburg novels, by Elswyth Thane
  • A Stitch in Snow, by Anne McCaffrey
  • Cluny Brown, by Margery Sharp
  • Sadder than Water, by Samih al-Qasim
  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette)
  • Shade and Shadow, by Francine G. Woodbury, and
  • Hellspark, by Janet Kagan.

Novels of The Others (ongoing series) by Anne Bishop will, I think, also be on the list, and A Thousand Words for Stranger, by Julie Czerneda.

I have lately found The Wasp (Eric Frank Russell) and Way Station (Simak) in e-book format, and also Gramercy Park (Paula Cohen). I had bought a lot of e-books in the Palm Reader format and have no reader for those books. I recently stumbled across some ZIP files from when Fictionwise closed, containing PDFs of the ebooks I’d bought from them; I intend to make a text file of the titles and authors. Also, on my old Samsung computer I have found the downloaded files of my Baen purchases in various formats.

All of the remaining books are either on shelves in the basement or in boxes, waiting to be carried downstairs and shelved.

Books of Attention

I came across a book that I thought would make a perfect gift to my husband, and so an early Birthday present of the Nook digital edition: A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder, by Michael Pollan. Al’s excited to pick up a carpentry project he’s left on the back burner for the past ten years. Starting to do measuring and research for the building: size, position on our lot, city ordinances, &c. Some ups and downs, but he’s settling in to actually do this thing, and I believe that he will make it through the project. He hungers for the experience of planning and building the structure himself, loving the feel of working with the wood, the creation of another work of art.


It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, by Julia Cameron, was released on 19 April 2016. Reading the sampler preview, I got enthused also, but about regrounding again and becoming aware of my direction and talents at this stage of my life. I’ve enjoyed Cameron’s work, even though frustrated at times on her insistence on doing things in a manner that I cannot do. (That would be Morning Pages done by hand, and a solo Artist date, each week, as well as the daily solitary walk.) I still don’t have a solution to the solitary activities, but I do recognize that the computer is a better tool for me than handwriting. I spent a number of years working on penmanship (my mother studied the Parker Method and taught me, at least, and perhaps some of the rest of the children), and I also worked on and at calligraphy, doing some works for hire along the way. I can get lost in the way in which I form letters and will alter what I am saying according to which words/letter combinations I want to do just then. But also I am allergic to many paper types, and I still have a fairly large rough spot, even after all these years, on the side of my hand where it rubbed against the paper as I wrote.  (And, yes, I do read digital editions in order to limit my exposure to paper and ink of books that have not finished out-gassing.)

Anyway, I once more junked the idea of giving away the piano. I realized that I wanted to get rid of the piano because I am angry, frustrated and bewildered by my inability to play it. But most of that is due to having been ill for most of the past five years, no energy to expend on it, and also because of the seepage in the basement that resulted in turning the living room into a storage space. I have not been able until just this past week (following Spring Clean-up Week) been able to make and establish a path to the piano, which resides at the far wall. And, with new puppies, I have an opportunity to accustom themselves to listening to me play piano without howling until their little throats are sore.

Time to quit feeling angry, frustrated, afraid, embarrassed, &c. and just go ahead and do this thing. Because what I always have loved most by quite a margin is the depth of power in the physical motion and process of playing the piano. An electronic keyboard is not going to do that for me.