Photo by Rodrigo Souza on



What story do you tell yourself?

Your mother abandoned you?

Your twin died so you are forever fragmented?

What do you deserve?

You worked hard today

So you deserve a hot fudge sundae?

A car for your sixteenth birthday,

Your father to pay the maintenance?

Do you deserve happiness?

A grateful child?

Your father’s life insurance policy

That he unfairly willed to PETA?


Do we all deserve to be happy?

Are there people who deserve to die?

Who decides?

Are we the builders of our circumstances?


This morning, the air was wet and heavy.

A grasshopper clung to the screen door,

While the cicadas commenced to drill.

My story begins there.


The Tufa Series by Alex Bledsoe, correction



I stand confirmed and corrected:

I’m 2/3 through the third book of the series, Long Black Curl. Bo-Kate, the evil challenger to the Tufa leadership, tells her companion that they are members of the Tuatha de Danaan. I’m excited to continue reading and see where Bledsoe takes the story.

P.S. Long Black Curl is not as mysterious and exciting as The Hum and the Shiver. And it’s a lot more violent.

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe


First book in the Tufa series


What can I say about this book?  I’ve read it at least three times.  I love the world Bledsoe creates, full of mystery and magic but set in the present.  I suspect that Bledsoe drew on the legend of the Tuatha de Danaan, the magical reace of Irish lore, in creating the Tufa people of his books.(*see the review below)

 I’ve scanned Bledsoe’s website and I’ve seen nothing that references the Tuatha de Danaan. 

Some sources say that the Tuatha de Danaan, “people of the gods,” or “people of the goddess Danu,” arrived in Ireland on dark clouds.  Some say they came as a fog or mist; still other sources say they came to shore in ships. The Tuatha ruled Ireland from 1897 B.C to 1700 B.C., according to the manuscript, “The Annals of the Four Masters.”

Most sources seem to agree that the Tuatha had supernatural powers. They were skilled in art and science, poetry and magic.  Bledsoe chooses music as the Tufa’s magical and mysterious power. 

When the Milesians invaded Ireland, they drove the Tuatha into the mounds and forests.  According to some, they are still there.

There are now six Tufa novels.  I’ve only read the first two so far.

To read more about the Tuatha, check out:

To meet Alex Bledsoe, go to:

From Goodreads (

*No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, yet when the first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic, and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues in their music, hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations.

Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.

With death stalking her family, Bronwyn will need to summon the strength to take her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds…

The Hum and the Shiver is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011: Science Fiction & Fantasy title.

Here’s a video to watch:




Photo by Tina Nord on


All my life, I’ve grappled with a weakness of mind.

I’ve waltzed with negativity

I’ve followed clouds of thoughts during meditation.

I’ve called out to Mother God

and then become seduced by a novel, an eclair, a bed.


Oh, the rides—so many of them—

I’ve taken on waves of emotion,

the mirrors I’ve avoided,

the reflections of my worst

and ugliest self.


And yet,

the sincerest prayers


are answered

a signal from Spirit,

a single monarch butterfly

tumbling across the highway


Now available from and Handersen Publishing

Strange Airline Experience

Photo by Skitterphoto on


After wading through the endless possibilities of purchasing a flight to California, I buy a non-stop ticket to LAX with Jet Blue.  I charge it (and the additional baggage fees) on my Capital One Venture card with the intention of using my air miles to pay it off.  That is on June 25.

I print out my ticket with my confirmation code and ticket number.  And then I check my Capital One account.  No charges from Jet Blue show up. Two days later, still no charge from Jet Blue online.  A week.  Two weeks.  No charges.

I call Jet Blue.  It’s a challenge to get past all the FAQs and options and find a way to contact customer service and talk to a real person with relevant information.  I do, finally, engage in a live chat with someone, who can’t figure out why my credit card account has no record of the booking. 

“You have the ticket,” she assures me.

“I’m afraid that I’ll get to security at the airport, and they won’t let me on the plane because I haven’t paid for the flight,” I say.

“Oh, no.  Your flight is booked.”

Next, I contact Capital One.  Their take on the situation is that Jet Blue hasn’t submitted the “documents” in the requisite five days, so JB should resubmit them.

Back to Jet Blue.  “The booking is valid.  It must be a software communication problem.”

Every day or two, I check my credit card charges.  Nothing from Jet Blue.  So I give up. 

“Maybe you’ll be traveling for free,” my friend says.

“I was going to pay for the flight with my air miles anyway,” I say.

Almost an entire month later, on July 22, the ticket purchase shows up on my credit card account. 


Have you ever experienced a similar situation?  Drop me a line in comments.


Photo by Skitterphoto on

I come from a mother who talked, advised, and organized,

all from her desk in the bedroom.

Words, words all around.

I come from a father who gave speeches and lectured.

Professorial, he delivered words,

words all around.

Now I come from a talkless home.

My own words land like oil on the man’s ears

and slide away.

His words are mostly forgotten—

the names of things, like gossamer,

tantalizing, just out of reach.

It’s a conversational desert where I am,

a parched land.

The word prints erase as soon as they land on the air.

No memory of what I said or he said.

The only words around me

are those I gather for myself

and hoard as company.


What were your first language experiences? Drop me a comment.


The fifth Karakesh Chronicle, now available from Handersen Publishing and