Magpie Moments: Contest Winner, and Being a Brennan Fangirl

We’ve been exploring names lately on the weekly Magpie Moments Post, most recently that of my protagonist Sydney Brennan. Last week, we established that “Sydney” came from my childhood pen name. Congratulations to Lissa Weddington for deducing the origins of “Brennan” and winning a signed paperback of BTL! For lawyers that spend much time thinking about constitutional law, handicapping a Supreme Court case is a lot like handicapping a sporting event. Each justice has his or her strengths and weaknesses, pet issues and hot buttons.  There are some swing voters (though not so much lately) that can go either way, Read more…


Hitting the Pause Button (If It’s Good Enough for Pele…)

Things have settled down a bit here in lower Puna. We still have the 6:30 a.m. low-flying helicopter wake-up call, but, for the moment at least, Pele has paused in her advance toward Pahoa, or anywhere else. In other words, there’s not much happening at the surface. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s not much happening. But for some people, it’s a bit of a respite and more time to make plans (or at least plan to make them). On the other hand, it’s been very hot this week (our 75-pound dog spends the afternoons hiding in a cool Read more…


Win a Paperback of Back to Lazarus Now on Magpie Moments: The (Name) Origin Story

“… This is Sydney Brennan. So she says. I haven’t decided what her real name is yet.” I tried not to cringe. I changed my name legally over a decade ago, but it still felt like a deep, dark secret I could be arrested for. Oh, the irony if he managed to guess my real name. I stammered a “nice to meet you.” [Back to Lazarus, Richard introducing Sydney to his secretary, Chapter 10] She may not have been born with that name, but I never thought my private investigator would be called anything other than Sydney Brennan. I’ve probably Read more…


Errands before the Apocalypse: Save the Wee Fishies!

I’m sorry, but, once again, lava flows lend themselves to hyperbolic titles. And once again, there is a bit of truth in the hyperbole. For many people living either in the path or in the areas that are likely to be cut off, there are big plans to be made with children and family and animals and property and staying or evacuating. And then you also have to pick up milk. Because no matter what, you’ll still be there long enough to drink a carton of milk, right? You’ve got to have milk for your coffee. And you should probably Read more…


Magpie Moments: A Character (or Place) by any Other Name

One of the things that’s driven me crazy lately in Sydney#2 (the unfinished untitled novel, not the novella that’s in edits) is geography. Instead of sticking with north Florida as it actually is, I’ve kept some real places and added a bunch of my own. Sometimes I’ll have a real place in mind and change its name to protect the guilty. More often, I have created a place in my mind that is a combination of multiple real places, with some fictional flourishes. For example, my city might have the architecture of old Saint Augustine, the attitude of South Beach, and Read more…