Annie Fanny Sweet Feet, 2001-2016

Two weeks ago, kidney failure finally caught up with Annie. She was my constant companion for 12 of her 15 years, on my lap as we watched my mother die, at my side while I wrote A Thread of Grace, Dreamers of the Day, Doc and Epitaph.  I still can't write about her without my throat closing up and my eyes welling, so I will simply say that she was a wonderful ambassador for both rescue groups and her breed. This morning, Don and I applied for Zoey and Bryant at Dachshund Rescue of Ohio. They're a bonded pair, both ...
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Every year at this time…

http://marydoriarussell.net/2012/09/26/days-of-awe/ ...
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Writer Tech: the chapter from hell

It took me three tries to pass statistics in graduate school, but one thing I learned is that sample size is crucial to discerning patterns. After 6.5 novels, I have finally realized that there is always a chapter that stops me cold. The chapter from hell usually comes about 2/5ths of the way into the story. Lots of important decisions have already been made. Tense. Tone. Point of view. The characters have been introduced. The plot is under way. I know more or less where I'm going and how to get there. And then... Bang. I slam into the chapter from hell. I ...
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Proxima B: a real Rakhat?

By now you've probably heard that astronomers have announced the existence of  "Earth-mass world in orbit around Proxima Centauri." As in any scientific discovery, there are a lot of caveats and careful hedging of the announcement, but this appears to be legit. And just in time for the 20th anniversary of The Sparrow! I'm getting lots of tweets and email from readers about this, including messages from astronomers who are fans of the novel. Dr. Tim Hankins, former site director of the Arecibo Observatory, was especially kind, saying that the discovery "reinforces how much you got right in The Sparrow and ...
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TWO Ohioana Awards!

Many thanks to all of you who took time to vote for Epitaph as the Ohioana Readers Choice. Not only did you nail that one down for me, your enthusiasm for the novel was matched by the professional judges who also gave the novel the 2015 Best Fiction prize. The award ceremony will be at the Ohio State House on September 23 and I'll be a guest at the 2017 Ohioana Book Festival on April 8 as well. Recognition like this doesn't guarantee that my next novel will be published -- every book is a separate roll of the dice -- but ...
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Listen. Just…listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfcZheDtUXc ...
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Sorry! Here’s the live link to the Readers Choice Award

I messed up on my last blog. If you'd still like to vote for Epitaph in the Readers Choice Award, here's the link. Thanks again! ...
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Shameless request for support!

I'd appreciate it if you take the time to vote for Epitaph, which is one of thirty books up for the first annual Readers Choice Award from the Ohioana Library Association. There are no categories -- fiction, nonfiction, childrens' lit, etc. are all in a bunch. You can only vote once per computer and you can only click once before it tosses you off!  Thanks! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RR3YML2 ...
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Tuberculosis and 19th Century Fashions

A while back, I posted about what might well be a photograph of Doc Holliday taken shortly before his death from tuberculosis. Whoever that poor soul really was, his neck is neatly wrapped in white cloth. It was not a fashion statement; it was a bandage. It covered the kind of open sores that can result from TB-infected glands, but its resemblance to the male neck wear of the Romantic period is not accidental. It is hard to overestimate the impact of tuberculosis in the 1700-1800s. The disease itself is as old as human history, but it became epidemic in Europe ...
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