Monday, November 09, 2015

chook chook

all the ladies in the yard--six at work. From far left in a circle:
SusieTCD, C3b, C3, pisspot, splotchy (duh) and Shelly
I was watching the chooks yesterday because I had work to do and nothing is more satisfying than watching chickens when you feel guilty about shirking work. Those ladies are the busiest creatures on the planet. So much scratching to do. More pecking on the agenda. They only rest for dust baths and even those are important for maintenance.

Anyway. chooks.

The pecking order seems far more complicated than I'd first noticed and it shifts all the time. Splotchy will peck anyone who comes near her. All flee as she struts past. But she doesn't get first dibs at food. So apparently aggression isn't the only hallmark of Big Bird on the Block.

And Shitheel (or Pisspot for the more refined among us) gets pecked by everyone, but she can still chase her big big big sister (big) around. Speaking of big sister, Susie the ChickenDog, she is always at the bottom of the order. That's a constant. She is the biggest one out there and the biggest coward in the yard. She makes our previous near-outcast coward, Shelly, look brave and daring. And I guess that's gone to Shelly's head, because now she's pecking at birds she used to run from.

The Red Stars are in charge. They eat first, they go where they want. But C3B doesn't peck anyone, even though she's the only new girl allowed around the old ones. Even C3 the Original, who is kind of bossy, is much less pecky than Splotchy. But when she wants food, she gets it. No one argues with her.

It's a complicated shifting world. And it's always busy, busy, busy in ChickenLand, which is comforting to observe when you have a longer-than-usual list of things to do.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Some stories come so smoothly

They're practically greased up. Slick as can be.

The story simply shows up, tip its hat, maybe blows on some loaded dice--loaded in your favor of course--and politely waits for you to settle at the computer. "No, hon, don't panic. I won't slip away or suddenly make no sense. Go on, enjoy the ride for once. Get some coffee even. I'll still be here. And maybe you'll come up with some great lines while you're pouring the half-and-half."

I had one of the easy numbers last week show up and it was made even easier when Bonnie agreed to come along.

I was reading articles about the London vaudeville scene -- music halls, rather, and read about Don Leno, watched a video or two of him and . . . now we have a novella.

I love those easy stories even more than I love chocolate.

Of course there's no knowing if anyone else will like them. That's the part I don't like.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

News about writing stuff

Two bags of Costco candy and we're set for tonight, I hope. It's fairly trick-or-treat intensive around here. Back when my kids were younger, I used to make them stick their hands into pumpkins to pull out the seeds. They were going to need something to tell their therapists and that seemed like an easy place to start. The moosh! the cold! Argh!

PROMO time: Two books are out! Both Bonnie and Kate books.
But first -- this book is cheap for one week. Only 99 cents! And free if you're a Kindle Unlimited person.

Go on, you know you love reading about old New York and slightly corrupt cops and strong heroines. And if you don't know that, then find this truth about yourself by spending less than a dollar and getting a fun fluffy Kate Rothwell read.

I'll just wait while you buy that before springing the rest of my treats on you.

Are you back yet? 

Here, quick and easy, links to a couple of Summer Devon/Bonnie Dee titles

Did you get the book that came out last month? 
The Shepherd and the Solicitor

How about the one that came out last week? 
The Clergyman and the Merchant

Those were both my plot bunnies (started them) so I'm particularly fond of them. I'd say the Shepherd has been my favorite book to research because of the sheep and lambs...I used my trips to English countryside during the lambing season, plus lots of articles and videos..... baaaaaah.

The one we've just finished lately, tentatively titled the Professor and The Pirate (or really smuggler) is Bonnie's plot bunny.

 Now we just just have to get it beta read, edited, re-edited then proofed and final-line edited and cover-arted and . . . whatnot. Work and money go into these things, not that any of you readers asked or care. (And really, the only reason readers should care is when work does NOT go into a book).

My tone seems belligerent today. I must be practicing for the trick-or-treaters who try to grab more than a handful of candy.  Or stopping the people who live here from eating the candy in the big bowl.  ("No more Almond Joys, Kate." and "Andrew and Mike, back away from the Hershey bag.")

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If You Want to Lose Readers, Don't Talk Politics, Religion...and what's that other one?

The bumper sticker "Abortion stops a beating heart" makes no sense to me as an appeal. So does making a roast beef sandwich, except in that case the heart is beating inside something that can experience emotions, fear and pain.

Also very few people on this planet will ever ask for an abortion as easily as they would a roast beef sandwich.

I was too young to have a child and my relationship with my boyfriend was rocky. That's the reason I had an abortion: I wasn't ready. The experience was painful and horrifying (and that was just walking into the clinic past the protestors harhahar) No, really, it was a bad time for me, and I swore that I wouldn't do it again. I haven't. No matter what my past, I know I can't make that choice for anyone else.

I still think about that baby-that-wasn't, usually to think "s/he would be xx years now. Wow." I hated that experience -- and have always known it was entirely the right thing to have done.

So away from the specific, which is still odd to admit in public, and back to the general. Back to the idea that ordering a roast beef sandwich is fine and making the choice to remove an embryo isn't. I don't understand, up to a certain point, why any other people would get involved in that decision. Why isn't it standard for the public to judge the start of life with the same criteria we judge the end of life?

"A sizable contingent would assert that life begins at 25 weeks. The rationale for this starting point is based on our definition of death. The definition of death is not disputed, and is considered the time when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases. EEG measures brain activity and must demonstrate regular wave patterns to be considered valid. Therefore, by this rule the onset of life would be the time when fetal brain activity begins to exhibit regular wave patterns, which occurs fairly consistently around week 25. Previous to that time, the EEG only shows small bursts of activity without sustained firing of neurons." (from

After that point, I doubt few people are comfortable with abortion on demand. When could abortion possibly be appropriate after 25 weeks? danger to the mother, no fetal brain activity? ...Otherwise? The answer to that does not lie in any solution produced by vote-hungry politicians who wouldn't know gray areas or complex situations if, and when, they're smacked in the face by said complexity, I do know that. Case by case? Doctors and patients--but also probably some kind of board? Including someone trained in medical ethics?

Any other people involved in deciding for the family facing late-term abortion? No. Just be thankful you don't face a tragic, unhappy situation. Not really our business and we should be grateful for that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Praise for Easy Action

this is rambling as usual...the part about writing m/m romance isn't actually important so don't get caught in this first part, okay? Good. 

I've been thinking about the whole co-opting the gay thing lately. It started when I read a few threads about how m/m romance is becoming mainstream and a bunch of straight ladies are writing it and that's creepy.  The argument of how the experience of being a gay guy belongs to the gay men and using for our own profit squicks some people -- that kind of makes a bit of sense. I understand it to a degree.

I understand but I don't agree because fiction is fiction is fiction is made up stuff that we all get to play with.

 BUT THAT is not what I really am thinking about. It's only the starting point. Let's get to the part where I have a DUH moment.

I have a gay kid. The fact is, his life is so much easier than it would be for a gay or lesbian my age. It's easier than it would be for his brothers -- who are only a few years older. That means, I hope, it'll be easier for the kids who come after him.  Easier and easier. No one in his family immediate or extended has ever suggested that his being gay is bad, sad or even slightly off. We're lucky to live in these times.

I write historical gay romance and I wondered if anyone alive in this country could comprehend how horrible it was for the people who had to hide who they were all of their lives -- or risk blackmail or worse? Maybe my guy will get hints of it if he moves to another part of the country. I expect he'll get tastes of hatred from nasty looks and comments, but hell, we ALL get nasty looks and inappropriate comments. Just try being a fat middle aged lady and see what happens. I'm hoping he won't get even that many.

So that's what I was thinking about....
..... and then I ran across a thread on a facebook page I'm on.

This was a nice thread, a decent thread with perfectly nice people. A guy with a gay middle schooler was asking for advice about social groups for his kid. Lots of people had great ideas.  But there were many more "go guy! you're great dad" comments. And "aren't we a great community" comments. These things are true. I'm not disparaging them. I like that people are saying positive things.

But would people say the same thing if a parent came on a thread and said "my daughter likes to ride horses. Any suggestions?" Of course not. 

I've never before questioned this "Go, you! You're a wonderful parent!" thing--even though it really is about being a regular sort of a parent, asking for advice on something that should be normal.

The reason I haven't wondered about this enthusiastic over-response is simple. The times I've asked people for advice about raising a gay kid, and have gotten that "go you! you're wonderful!" response, I've reveled in it. Everyone likes being told they're doing a good job. (Particularly when the job is parenting because man, that shit can get tough.)

But here's the thing. The actions I've been told are extraordinary are so ... extraordinarily mundane. I'm talking about asking about a gay men's choir or looking up the mailing address of the rainbow club. I'm not talking about getting up at five am to drive a kid to practice or sitting next to a sick child's bed. Nothing I've done is heroic or strenuous. These are not worthy of pats on the back because they seem like standard things a parent would do for his/her kid under "normal" circumstances. And we get to my point (at last). Apparently being gay still doesn't fall under the normal umbrella -- and that's just sad.

The people who've most often praised my actions are adult gay guys who are over thirty. They're the ones who've effusively THANKED me for taking an interest in my kid. And that just makes me want to cry and go beat up someone.  Maybe the first person to look at those men funny.

Anyway. That has nothing to do with writing gay romance. Except it's just interesting to note that even though we've come a long way and I'm complacent about my own sweet kid's future (mostly because he is so sweet) the "not normal" of being gay is still there.

Friday, July 24, 2015


I've resigned myself to just using the blog for promotion or other things, like perhaps chickens. or occasional rants. So it's a deserted zone, usually...but the fact that I'm not writing here might mean I have a life, right? **

Hey.... never mind that. It's time to pop the champagne and bring on the dancing boys and yapping puppies. I have a new book out today! Yay! Go buy it! Read it even!

For now it's at Amazon only!

Kidnapped by his own target, this crooked cop is having one bad day.

Detective Caleb Walker is foiled by his own industriousness. Determined to capture a criminal, he plants evidence—and is discovered by his higher-ups. Now blackmailed into being the strong-arm for a corrupt politician, he visits a poor widow he must convince to surrender her son. Yet something about her stirs his memory, and long-submerged desires. When she pulls a gun on him and demands he switch sides, he’s stunned, annoyed…and intrigued.

No one will take her son from Julianna. Least of all her sinister ex-father-in-law whose abuse damaged her late husband. With the handsome detective smirking in her sights, Julianna must convince him to help her keep her baby safe from the very people holding Caleb in their powerful grip. In a desperate bid, she kidnaps the cynical Caleb—and struggles to ignore the heat sparking between them.

As they pursue answers, secrets are uncovered—including Julianna’s and Caleb’s. Two imperfect hearts together may be enough to win the day. If their enemies don’t destroy them first.

A gaslight historical set in New York City. This version includes an excerpt from Powder of Sin.

**not likely

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

what am I doing?

1. Trying to title a historical -- New York, 1880s, widow holds a policeman captive. She has her reasons, okay? Then I have to write cover copy and send descriptions off to the designer.

Anyone got any ideas? He's (slightly) corrupt and has been sent to take away her kid (at the behest of her in-laws)
Her Charming Captive
Her Clever Captive

I used to hate writing synopses but I'd rather write a dozen if it's that or come up with a single title. Ugh.  Also writing back-cover copy = worst ever

2. Fretting about my little dinosaurs. No need because they are strong critters.

You shall not pass!  

3. Living with all four of my men. All are men now. You go off-line for a few months and BOOM your little kids are grown up and your husband of course doesn't age at all.

4. Mourning my big pup. I miss her a lot. She was a good, good dog and a fabulous writing companion.

Friday, March 27, 2015

My post about DA*

I'm a coward so I did it anonymously. But I figure, what the heck--I should be braver, and yo, this blog doesn't get a lot of traffic.

I posted this in the very long and heart-felt (hey romance writers and romance readers--what do you expect?) thread at Smart Bitches.

 anon because I'm still intimidated **says:
I’ve never been attacked by Jane so I’m not taking the whole thing personally, but “attack” is definitely the word for some of the backs and forths I’ve witnessed between her and authors and publishers. Generally speaking, I think I’ve agreed with her more often than not. Yet I’ve also seen a kind of self-righteousness and holier-than-most attitude that almost made me feel sorry for the people she’d target…almost but, like I said, she was usually right. [I'd amend that to "she was often right"]

I’d hope that a purely black and white view of issues will end for her now that she’s guilty of doing the sort of thing that would have sent her into one of her usual articulate, well-reasoned attacks.

If this were fiction...There’s a trope of a proud woman humbled that I usually think is despicable. (It practically ruined the movie Philadelphia Story for me) But maybe the notion of relaxing the stiff, unbending rules of punishment would be something to strive toward. More accepting apologies without additional scolding. More good humor about mistakes, even when you call them out–because calling them out is good.

But I’m kidding myself. She’s a human under attack–a lawyer to boot– and they’re not known for opening their hearts and minds in these situations.


* Like most posts about DA, it adds nothing. Insight isn't what this part of the process is about. In fact insight is rarely my goal because that means having answers.

**Not so much that I'd be shunned by a community but that I'd cross someone like Ann Somerville and Azteclady, two passionate arguers whose passions burn hotter than Fabio's hair on an 80s cover. Fierce frightens me almost as much as spiders in the shower do. 

Not just promo, also recipes

Bonnie and I have a book out next week. I started grinding the promo machine into gear (goddamn, that clutch is shot. You're never going to make it into third gear, Rothwell. Lemme help you push that thing back into the driveway. Yeah, best to stay home and read a book) 

That meant I thought about this blog as a way to flog books and had a pang of no, no, that's not what I wanted. Not pure promo. That's not what I'm here for. Let's do food, shall we?**
Lovely nourishing food -- because we're still trying to be healthy around here. How about gluten-free, sugar-free cookies?**** Yes, I know that kind of "treat" frequently looks like roadkill and tastes like pious and dreary dust, but I like these. I almost invented them! Except for the fact that there are variations all over the place, I made this recipe up!


They don't have sugar (except the stuff in the fruit. Okay, and in the dark chocolate bits. FINE they have sugar but not the kind from a bag.)
 Here's the recipe.
 6 medjool dates
1 banana
1 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1/3 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's carries this and the dates. You can also just grind almonds up. They're stickier that way, but that works)
1/4-1/3 cup milk (I got impatient and just poured it in so measuring didn't happen)
Grind this stuff up in a food processor. I did the dates and oats longer than the rest of the stuff because I wanted them to be finer.

Also I let the goop sit in the food processor for a few minutes. That was not on purpose--but I think it helped make them more tender. (The oatmeal mellowed as it swapped stories with the banana)

Add some chocolate chips because you can--as you add the dark chocolate remind yourself that it is healthy. Add nuts if you'd rather. Or both. Or coconut. Or, if you're feeling extra trendy, ground flaxseed. Dried fruit would work--I mean on top of dates. Chop it up or throw it into the grinding stage.

These things hold together nicely so add whatever you want within reason.

Or you could add nothing but why would you pick that?

Blop them onto a tray by the spoonful and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or so. I was going to bake them 15 minutes, but they were fine at 12 minutes.

 This made 12 cookie things--more like dense little cakes. They weren't sticky or tough at all--and are pretty moist. I like them.

If you don't want them as moist, maybe leave out the milk.

**Since I'm sick of the Dear Author topic ##  (except for the covers that Mrs. Giggles made)

**** but with that egg, they're not vegan. My chickens point out it's cool to eat eggs. They like theirs scrambled. [and, to be honest, I suspect the milk is unnecessary.]

## being sick of the topic didn't stop me from writing about it, see article above this one.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Just what it says -- a giveaway!

I wasn't going to just use this blog for promo, but that's life, kid. And a giveaway is always fun.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Bohemian and the Banker by Bonnie Dee

The Bohemian and the Banker

by Bonnie Dee

Giveaway ends March 14, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ten favorite facebook types

I just read another list of Ten People to Unfriend on Facebook. Sheesh, what  downer. So many finger-shaking tsk tsk bad puppy lists. They couldn't be more annoyed if those rule-breaking facebookers actually came to their house and peed on the new carpet. 

That's really the only reason I'm writing this, an anti-anti response. It's not like I actually care what you write on your facebook page. I'll read your page because it's easy to do, and something other than working, and because some of you I like and miss, even if I've never met you, Ann C. 


1. Lets anyone post, even people who disagree. That means some good, passionate discussion can happen.

2. Shuts down the shit. Any internet thread anywhere will contain crap-o-la. Trolls happen and then there are the people who resort to ad hominem when they get angry. Good facebookers will stop that useless conversation. Or if they don't, their responses are smart-assed enough to make the nasty poster look silly.

3. Is willing to change her mind. Enough outside evidence is presented to make him rethink a long-held belief.

4. Is funny. So what if his posts are all just sharing Takei. Some of that shit is v. funny. FUNNY HAH HAHA HA.

5. Makes his or her own memes. Those might show insider jokes but that's okay.  Insider jokes are fine now and again because feeling confused is good for those of us on the outside.

6. Might do vaguebooking but usually describes what's going on, eventually. Sometimes a "today sucks" is all she wrote. Hey, her page, her emotes, I got that. Go for it on occasion.

7.  If he writes about the weather, it'll be funny or pithy or tragic -- or knowledgeable because she's a meteorologist.  (and speaking of insider: Lyons and Drager FTW Goddamn, I love their explanations).

8.  When he asks for advice he tells us what he decided to do. Because we're nosy like that. 

9. Knows the Daily Currant is satire. I wasn't going to go hostile, but really, fuck you, Daily Currant. You're the only thing on the planet that makes me feel sort of sorry for Sarah Palin.

10. Warns us that the video she posted will contain an earworm. Except did you know rick-rolling is coming back? Ancient history for the internet is fresh again? Or not.

11. Posts goats. Those rascals are still not old.

12. Also chickens.