Review of The Seat Of Magic, by J.K. Cheney

I have two confessions to make.

1. J.K. Cheney is a friend of mine. I’ll try not to let this bias my review of this book, which I really did enjoy.
2. When I got the ARC, it was a lovely pristine thing with pure white pages. Now it has spots of tomato sauce and cheese on it. That’s because my lunch break at work is only ½ hour, and I’ve been spending said breaks with food in one hand and the ARC in the other, because I couldn’t put the darn book down.

I’m not big on mysteries, romances, politics, or books with dead bodies in them. All of which this book has, but that’s fine, because they’re all part of a lavish, intricate story set in a marvelously detailed world. It continues the story of Oriana Paredes and Duilio Ferriera, trying to have a life together despite interspecies political intrigue, plots involving body parts, magic, murder, and a ladies’ maid determined to make Duilio behave himself whether Oriana wants him to or not.

The book is set in 1902, in an alternate Portugal where selkies, sirens, and otter-folk are all part of the culture (albeit illegally.) It’s so realistic I found myself thinking “Gee, in 5 more years my grandpa will be born over in America.”

J.K. Cheney’s non-human characters are wonderfully believable. (I hope it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that I loved seeing Lady Ferriera come into her own this time around. And I think I’ve fallen in love with Joaquim.) She handles what could be overly gruesome scenes with tact, making us feel the emotional horror of the crimes without going for “gross out.” The plot held my interest right along, and the romance between Oriana and Duilio continues to be compelling, exciting yet discreet.

I only have two regrets:

1. The ARC doesn’t have the stunning cover art of the actual book.
2. I don’t have Book 3 yet.

Signal boost for a friend

Boosting the Signal - do you know Danielle Lee Moyer?
Jaime Lee Moyer is trying to contact her niece - details here, and please feel free to boost the signal in turn.

Originally posted by stillnotbored at Personal request for a signal boost or desperately searching for Danielle

Originally published at Jaime Lee Moyer. You can comment here or there.

I thought long and hard about posting this. I’ve never asked the internet and my network of friends for help before, but this time–my family needs all the help I can muster.

For urgent family reasons, I’m asking for help in finding my niece Danielle Lee Moyer, birthdate November 21st. Danielle is the child of my brother, James Daniel Moyer, and his ex-wife Robin Pickett. My brother and Robin divorced years ago, and Robin moved to Washington State with her second husband. I know Danielle has three half sisters and that one of those sisters is named Paris.

The last time any of us heard from Danielle she was 14 and living in Kent, Washington. She vanished after that and all our past attempts to find her failed.The few hints we’ve found say she is still in Washington state, we just don’t know exactly where.

And trust me, we have tried to find her. I won’t go into the details, but others profited from the search for Danielle. My sister never stopped looking for her on Facebook and other sites. This isn’t a case of shrugging our shoulders and giving it up for a bad job.

Recent events in the family have pushed the need to find Danielle up to critical. So I’m asking the internet for a signal boost. I’ve seen what the writer’s community can do, how far the word can spread.

So if you can and you’re willing, please boost the signal on this. Tweet the link, ask for that link to be retweeted, and boost the signal on LJ and your WordPress blogs. Any clues as to her whereabouts, any hints as to where she might be will be a huge help.

Danielle is an adult now. She may not want us to know where she is, but I’d still like to know she’s alive and well, and at least talk to her in some fashion. This is important.

I’m not hard to find. People can find my email address on the contact page of my website, leave comments on the blog or LJ, or contact me via Twitter.

It’s a small crisis in a week of major disaster, but it’s my crisis so it looms large.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Happy Halloween!

After years of no trick-or treaters, my husband had one before I got home from work. Then, just before we were about to turn the lights off, the new kids from the end of the street rang the doorbell. Mike held out the bowl of full-size candy bars, and we said “Take several.”
:Stunned pause: “Several?”
“Yep. Go ahead. Take as many as you want.”
The little girl took one, and we persuaded her to take 2 or 3. The little boy took a handful, put back two with nuts, and said cheerfully. “Now I have 3. I must’ve had 5!”
They said “Happy Halloween,” and the boy ran down the driveway shouting “Omigod, dad…!!!”
Happy Halloween, everybody. ;)

DSF Series

At last, I can share some news! Daily Science Fiction will be doing a single-author series next year, and, um, I'm the author. It'll be a Twisted Fairytale Flash Series of 14 stories. Snow White with bite, Humpty Dumpty as a space alien (yes, I know that's technically a nursery rhyme), and more. I hope it'll be really fun. :)
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Soup of the Evening

A friend at work gave me some kohlrabi that were too big and tough for raw snacking, so here’s what I did with them. The onions needed to be cooked longer and I think it would be much better with some salt, which I left out for health reasons, but the basic idea worked.


3 medium kohlrabi
1 sweet onion
1 bay leaf
Low-sodium chicken broth (I think other kinds would work too.)
Butter or oil for sautéing the onion
Approx 1 tsp minced garlic
Lemon pepper + salt to taste.

Peel + chop kohlrabi. Put in crock pot (Or pan- it might be quicker that way), add bay leaf, cover with broth, and cook until tender. Remove the bay leaf. Puree with a stick blender.
Peel, mince + sauté the onion. Add it to the soup.
Stir in the garlic + spices.

Chinese veggies

This may be too simple and flexible to even count as a recipe, but I like it better than some take-out, and it has MUCH less sodium. Just about everything but the veggies is optional or can be adjusted "to taste."
(Note: Check labels carefully. Most brands of veggies and sauce have lots of sodium, but a few don't.)


1 can Chinese vegetables, low sodium, drained. (I use Kame stir-fry blend. I think Geisha might have some too.)
Approx 1 tbsp low sodium sweet-and-sour or duck sauce. (I use Hickory Farms Sweet + Sour)
About a clove's worth of minced or crushed garlic.
Drizzle of red pepper oil. (I'm always shocked at how spicy it is and swear to use less next time.)

For a heartier version, add leftover chicken. It's also awesome with pineapple.

Put all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir. Heat. Eat.

Experiment! I just tried adding a crystal of crushed candied ginger, and it was good. I've also added a splash of vinegar when I thought it was too sweet.


Peas and lettuce planted. 3 stories submitted. Refrigerator pickles pickling in the refrigerator. All in all, a nice productive weekend.
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