Tuesday, August 29, 2017


A reader asked if my name was a combination of characters on a TV show. For those who are curious, here's the reply I sent her. (Because, yes, I do try to answer questions if I know the answer.)

"Okay, here's the skinny on my name. It is short and simple and plain and I never gave it much thought, but when I wrote a Regency romance for Dell many years ago my agent phoned to say they were happy with the manuscript but needed a romantic name for the author. Huh. I had never thought of myself or my name as unromantic. But I put together a list of family names and they liked the Phoebe and Matthews combination. And I thought that was the end. No. at about that time I had a book coming out with Avon so the next phone call was from the agent saying Avon wanted  to know if the Phoebe name belonged to me or to Dell. When told it belonged to me, they wanted to use it and did so for several more books of mine and it was the thin edge of the wedge. Now it is the only name I use professionally and even friends and family sometimes call me Phoebe. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Because people keep asking where I get ideas, gotta admit, many are based on experiences of friends, relatives, myself, and total strangers I see doing odd things.

Anyway, the short story titled Smashed, and included in the Rock’s Dogs anthology, involves Mudflat’s smash wizard. And  the idea? My sister came out of the grocery store and opened the door of her car and started screaming. When you read this story, you’ll know why. All I had to do was make up the who.

The idea for the short story titled Steampunk Man, and included in the Wicked Good Stories anthology, was inspired by a local steampunk group, with a description of one of their meetings. All I had to do was send Mudflat’s Nicotiana to the meeting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Small House on Pilings.

Once upon a time I shared an apartment with two other working women. One of them had, in her recent past, woken up to the wedding day in the story, and handled it as described in the story A Small House on Pilings. And then she changed her name and moved to California where we shared an apartment, and explained to us why she had changed her name. It was an unforgettable tale and although I have changed names and locations and a few details, most of what happened was exactly as she described it. I am sure you can figure out the reason for her name change. Yeah. He was not amused.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Breakfast by streetlight

A fact from this fantasy writer. This is how my grandmother timed cooking her eggs...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

My short story Valentine Vampire is a romantic version of the Chicago Valentine’s Day Massacre, result of a rivalry between the gangs of Al Capone and Bugs Moran.

My connection to the historical event is this. My grandmother lived in a house about a block and a half from the building where this occurred. She was on the second floor near a window when the guns went off in what was usually a quiet, peaceful neighborhood. But it was Chicago. And even back then, no one ran out in the street at the sound of gunshots.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

About Kittycat, the January short story -

Kittycat is a character in the Mudflat Magic series and belongs to Claire, the protagonist. A reader recently asked me Kittycat's gender. Here's the true story:

Kittycat is based on a cat I inherited with the first house I bought. The owner was moving across town and was worried, saying, "Kitty will keep coming back here if I take it with me." So I kept Kitty and added a cat door to the kitchen. Kitty was a longhair white old male and went roaming, was sometimes gone for days, then would wander in with a torn ear from its latest cat fight and demand food. Very funny critter, very independent, didn't even like its ears scratched.

You can imagine the fun I had the day Kitty wandered out into the adjacent orchard where a worker was spraying the trees with an insecticide. Kitty ran home dripping wet and started to lick himself clean. I had the choice of dead cat or bloody me. Yeah, of course, I grabbed Kitty and held him down in the laundry sink and scrubbed him clean and got thoroughly scratched for my effort. 

We had a one way love affair that matches Kittycat's relationship with Claire. 

As to gender, Kitty was male, but Kittycat is fiction and so can be whatever the reader prefers.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The re-designs of the covers for the Sunspinners series are finally here. I especially like the boxed set for the LostLoves BookClub. Whatcha think?

My work-in-progress is the fifth book in this series. I have the outline finished, and I am about a third of the way through.

Book 5 does not yet have a title or cover, but that's the easy part.

The photo in the background of the new Sunspinners covers is by the talented author and photographer, Rosemary Jones.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Questions from non-writers -

A blogger author recently discussed questions from non-writers and suggested giving serious answers. Lotsa luck there. My answers may not be serious but they are honest. Sort of.

My favorite question from non-writers is: Are you ever going to write another book?
(See my website for this year's latest. Oh right, you don't know how to use a computer.)

And then there's: When are you going to write a really serious novel?
(Sis, you've known me all my life and when was I ever serious?)

Or:  I gave you an idea. Why didn't you turn it into a novel?
(Sis, you have to give me more than three sentences.)

Or: Where do you get your ideas?
(Not from my many sisters, obviously.)

From the above you might guess that one of my sisters was my houseguest for the month of July and we had lots of fun and now she has gone home and swears she is going to buy a computer and learn to use it and write a novel. I believe the first part. She has a houseful of stuff she buys but never learns to use. That's why I love her. She makes me laugh.