Sunday, January 30, 2011

It Happened Again! "You suck!"

The author of the Ana Darcy chronicles, your humble servant, was once memorably told by a reader, "You suck!"

Now it's happened again!

The other day, a reader wrote us this: "I couldn’t agree with [that other reader] more – You do suck! ...last night I decided to open your book.... It was after midnight when I finished I want to find out what happens [in the next book]."

Not to spoil anything, she goes on to give some examples of sections she especially enjoyed, concluding, "Thank you for a good bedtime chuckle....Your prophesy was correct. I did have fun with Distant Cousin."

Back to "that other reader." She fully enjoys the books she reads. She writes: "I have found I am the kind of reader that can really get something new from a story by reading it more than once. The first time through, I don't try to understand everything or put clues together, I just enjoy the story and get to know the characters. The second time I pick up more of the little details and the foreshadowing. By the third run through, knowing how the story goes and what will happen, I try to get into the minds of the characters and think about how I would respond in the same situation. You have such rich and three-dimentional characters, it is fun to try to imagine their lives."

The bottom line, for any who may not have guessed, is that we do not mind at all being said to suck, at least not by this caliber of readers!

Other reader comments: 1  2  3  4  5 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kitties! Servals, a caracal, and one house cat!

Sick of bad news? Need cheering up? Your distant cousin can do just that! Ana is her name--meet Ana, and see what others have said, about her, like this reader on the Kindle Boards:

“Things have been extremely difficult around here…. The adventures of the Mendez family provided a wonderful distraction. And the ending filled me with hope, for some inexplicable reason. I love the warmth and togetherness of the family.”

It might seem odd that an extraterrestrial would love Earth's cats, but then again--why not? Ana Darcy is completely human, yet we know cats have peculiar tastes in people. In any case, Ana's family happens to acquire a caracal, in Distant Cousin: Regeneration. Ana's editor sometimes thinks another of the cat family, a serval, would make a better choice. You will have to decide for yourself if a caracal worked out better for the Méndez family. Below you may see why servals are so attractive to some of us. (Note: there's a caracal in the third photo below.)

Julie has posted some new kitty pictures at and has graciously allowed us to reproduce some samples here. Our guess is that napping with a serval cat might separate the true cat lover from one who just likes having a cat or two around! Thanks, Julie!

There are many more kitty pictures in the Photo section of the Table of Contents on the right, including:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is Distant Cousin for you?

No book is for everyone. Even a fun story that a wide variety of readers have enjoyed will not please all readers. Elsewhere on this blog there is a post on the subject of unhappy readers, but this new post is prompted by yet one more dissatisfied reader.

Basically, his complaint is that Distant Cousin is "barely science fiction." In the earlier post mentioned above, another reader complains that she wants to know more about Ana's home planet, that the story does not devote enough space to that. Both these readers are absolutely correct. The first gentleman must prefer "hard" science fiction. The last hard sci-fi novel I read (which I enjoyed), featured people zipping around the galaxy--or maybe it was across galaxies--involved in a battle to the death with an alien civilization, speaking over some kind of communication system to other people millions of light years away as if they were next door, and, most memorably, attractive female blue lizards with kissable lips.

If that type of thing is what you want when you begin a book you think will be science fiction, then Distant Cousin is not for you. Distant Cousin is set on Earth, in the present day, and the only alien in the story is a young human woman who has found her way back to the planet from which her people originated. One reader wrote "It's always a pleasure to read a book where the character is so fleshed out that I feel I would know him/her if I met them on the street. Not only would I know them, I'd have to invited them to lunch so we could chat!"

The truth is, if you could actually meet Ana Darcy, she would probably grow on you slowly. You would find her approachable and sweet, but not overtly friendly. She's essentially a very private person. If you could know her over time, you might come to understand and appreciate some of her more extraordinary qualities. This is one of the pleasures of a novel that real life seldom offers: getting to know the characters from the inside out. Another reader observed that Distant Cousin was less science fiction than mainstream literature, informed with a bit of scientific speculation. Other readers have called it "sci-fi lite," an adventure, or a romance. We do not disagree.

To the unhappy reader who wanted Star Trek-quality science fiction, we apologize. To those who might enjoy seeing themselves--us, the natives of planet Earth--through the eyes of someone from another planet, and who would enjoy the flights of imagination that might result, we think you might be happy with your Distant Cousin. If you read on a Kindle (or shop at, you can sample it for free.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Answer to "What is She Reading?"

What is this young woman most likely reading?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Holiday Pizza with Texas Caviar, and the Aftermath

Ana discovered a dish called "Texas caviar" at a Christmas party some years ago, and loved it immediately. She fixes it most years for New Year's because it contains black-eyed peas for good luck. It contains many other things too: avocado, hominy, and more, too many to mention. Google it and you will instantly find many, many recipes for it. It's usually used as a dip, with chips of various kinds.

Ana, however, realized it would be good as a pizza topping! The different flavors which blend so well as a dip also go well with the tomato sauce and pizza dough. Ana makes hers a vegetarian pizza, but there's no reason one couldn't add a zesty sausage or even pepperoni to taste. To support the lively flavors (including some green chilies), Ana chose a smoked gouda to top it.

Making several kinds of pizza at once, however, has its cost. See the picture.

More recipes in the right column, including other pizza experiments: 1 2 3 4

Meet Ana Darcy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Holiday Pizza Extravaganza #1

The Méndez family loves pizza--that's not unusual, among families. Ana, however, coming late to our traditions, might be more willing than others to experiment with less traditional dishes on special occasions. For some reason, over the New Year holiday her thoughts often turn to experimenting with pizza. Here's one of her experiments that her family enjoyed.

It does not start with the usual tomato sauce. Instead, she mixed a thick paste of dijon mustard and olive oil--that's the base. Onto that is laid a combination of sauteed bell peppers, onions, and zucchini slices. Finally, on top go slices of a nice brie cheese.

The result is a tasty, vegetarian pizza nicely set off by the dijon mustard. Notice that Ana, despite being a competent mathematician, cares little to make her pizzas round!

More recipes in the right column, including other pizza experiments: 1 2 3 4

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Riddle for Kindlers

And now, for something completely different, a riddle for Kindle owners (and everyone else as well):

What book is this young woman most probably reading?

More fun: 
A Recipe Puzzle: Part 1, part 2, part 3