Thursday, February 14, 2019

Genes and Editing

I’ve been trying to be productive and creative during my current between-jobs period. I’ve put some effort into cleaning and organizing my house, I’ve been planning my book launch, my resume is drafted and my interview clothes are standing by. I’ve been interacting with my Facebook friends more, and actually making plans to get out and see them, as opposed to reducing our relationship to a scattering of likes. I’m taking better care of myself and am no longer feeling the need to constantly hit the caffeine trigger, or to “reward” myself with decadent meals and rich desserts.

Plus the writing. Can’t forget the writing. In fact, I’ve been waking up at sunrise to greet the new day and get a little writing done. I even did that on Monday. Weird.

I recently did some alternate geneology. Upon making contact with another biological relative I realized I had a mom and a stepmom switched around. So I am no longer related to the intrepid Arterburns who fought in the revolutionary war. My new relatives are just as interesting, however. I chased them all the way back to the Clan Colquhoun, which is throwing a clan gathering this July (which I will totally attend assuming I win the lottery or otherwise stumble into a pile of money). Malcolm, 9th Lord of Dunbarton Colquhoun of Scotland (1376-1439), was my 16th great-grandfather. Assuming, of course, that everybody in successive generations procreated with the people they were actually married to. Potentially a shaky assumption in my family (which still has more farmers and soldiers and tradesmen and regular people in it than nobles).

After making this discovery I stumbled into a conservative review of a book I recently reviewed, which hits the nail on the head as far as why my review of Blueprint … by Robert Plomin was kind of brief and shallow. 

So far I have complained at length about my fellow liberals’ disdain for what they consider biodeterminism, and I usually assume their point of view to be the default. Due to confirmation bias and the fact that I don’t hang out with a lot of conservatives, I hadn’t really pondered that conservatives tend to recoil in horror from the soulless and nihilistic nature of random evolution, where evolutionary success is awarded more often to opportunistic douchebags like the ones in my personal family tree than to people who strive to live in a way that pleases God.

DNA is dynamite. It’s Lovecraft’s elder gods. It has many aspects, to unnerve people of many persuasions.

What would a society engineered to let people be all they can be – without harming their neighbors, who are doing the same thing – look like? That’s what I’ve been trying to envision in my science fiction. I wonder if Lord Malcolm ever sat around pondering this kind of stuff. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

More Publishing Corruption – What a Shocker

If you’ve been wondering why you can’t find anything entertaining to read lately, it’s probably because corporate publishing would rather subsidize guys like this than novelists.

So what’s a creative (yet ornery) writer lady who doesn’t look like a supermodel and doesn’t have patience for penny ante power trippers to do? Self publish, I suppose.

Break’s over, back to work!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Launch Party Preview -- And You're Invited!

I'm putting together my launch party for A Dark and Stormy Day. It's going to happen during BayCon, which takes place on Memorial Day Weekend at the San Mateo Marriott (near the airport).

Baycon is the longest-running SF convention in the Bay Area. I'm going to work something out with the organizers for people who want to attend only the party, but I humbly suggest that you might enjoy being a convention attendee for a day, especially if you've never been to one before. BayCon is smallish and non-threatening and full of friendly people who like to read books, watch movies and play games. Exact date and time of party will be announced.

In the spirit of my recently deceased friend, my parties will always have plenty of delicious food, because otherwise why even bother throwing one. Since the cover of ADSD shows New York City on New Year's Eve of 3749, that's my theme. I'm aiming for NYC-style street food. A hot dog bar. Bagels with lox and cream cheese. And, of course, there will be a great big cake -- I'm thinking pineapple.

Cosplayers of all types are welcomed. If you want to cosplay as someone overflowing with NYC-style -- a three-card monte dealer, a subway busker, a vendor of sidewalk wares -- leave me a comment or otherwise get in touch and I'll arrange entertainer perks for you.

New Year's Eve party hats and noisemakers will be provided.

Hope you can join us.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

True Crime Time – The Infamous Presa Canario Mauling

 Marjorie Knoller’s bid for parole was recently denied. It looks like she’ll be spending the rest of her life in prison for the murder of Diane Whipple. I’m generally averse to telling stories about real people who are still alive, since I don’t really want to slander or embarrass anybody. Even the narcissists.

Especially the narcissists, in fact, because they tend to go berserk at the idea anybody might tell tales that present them in any light less than flattering, and will probably lurk in the shadows seeking retaliation. And Marj is sort of narcissistic but not as much as some, and I don't think she'd ever harm me. 

The main narcissist in this tale is dead. His name was Jim, and I had an exciting and exasperating relationship with him. He was a lawyer I met when I was a young slacker nerd convinced that my novels and guitar playing would catch on any moment, drifting between entry level jobs and hanging around with people who actually owned computers (they had just started making computers with color screens, which I found super interesting).

Jim was a bad boy. He was affiliated with a notorious ceremonial magick society and had even filed their articles of incorporation. He drank like a fish. He had cocaine problems from time to time, and he consumed a boatload of pharmaceuticals as part of his recovery from a heroin problem he’d beat before I met him. He was a diagnosed schizophrenic.

And yet I thought he was sort of cute, mainly because he had a breathtakingly high IQ. He confessed once that he was high on psychedelics during the bar exam, and he spent the between-exams break reading Lovecraft. He could pick up a book, skim it, and deliver a lecture on it twenty minutes later, as a charming, charismatic expert who even remembered footnotes.

Jim was, unlike me, a rich kid from Lawn Guyland. Like me, he had a disrupted education – in high school, he got busted for flying a Cessna full of marijuana across the Mexican border, so he was sent to military school in lieu of prison, where they found out he was schizophrenic – then later, after he ran away from home, he got affiliated with some ne’er-do-wells and earned enough to put himself through law school. We used to play chess, and read philosophy books to each other. He owned several computers. He had interesting friends. I moved in.

I didn't last long; I’m not a drinker and alcoholism is one of those quirks I really can’t deal with. I actually saw Jim get progressively soberer, and by the time we broke up he was pretty much limiting himself to psych meds prescribed by doctors, so probably I set a good influence, and probably saved him several DUIs by being his designated driver. 

He was a good influence on me too, in that one day he took a job as general counsel for a real estate developer in San Francisco. When I met him he was struggling with a private practice that was failing mainly because its principal was a drunk. He took a transition job where he made appearances at all the far flung circuit courts in Northern California, and I’d ride along, just in case he ran into any bloody marys along the way. We’d read books to each other, and sing along with the radio.

His confidence restored, he headed to San Francisco and went to work for Bernie, a real estate developer – sort of a teeny baby version of Trump. Bernie was also a major substance abuser, because it was the ‘80s, and nearly all the baby boomers were, while we Gen X types followed them around cleaning up their vomit and meddling with their computers. Bernie had a chain of expensive San Francisco buildings that were all leveraged on each other like dominoes, and was engaged in an epic battle to keep the most recent and expensive one.

I had broken up with Jim around the time he got together with Bernie, but after a couple months he called me up in a panic. Bernie and his partner had just split, and the partner took all the clerical staff, leaving Bernie with a handful of lawyers and an IBM 36 word processing system which nobody knew how to operate.

Oh look, a computer nobody knows how to operate. *cracks knuckles*

And that is how I found myself in a wood paneled office in a skyscraper, with a view of the San Francisco Bay, and an acting title of “Office Manager Slash Senior Paralegal.” Learning how to operate an IBM 36 word processing system. While process servers delivered a steady stream of incoming lawsuits, as the handful of lawyers heroically drafted motions and zoomed off to court and summoned bike messengers for the latest red hot rush. And Bernie screamed and tossed items and called emergency tantrum meetings – he had at least one meltdown per day.

I mastered the IBM 36, and I stuck with the firm for quite some time. It got evicted from the fancy skyscraper and moved into one of its own properties, a five-story office building in Hayes Valley. The front was all dolled up, with fancy offices and decent art, and the back was an unfinished huge room with a bunch of desks surrounded by islands of unpacked moving cartons. I would zoom around the concrete floor in my wheeled office chair, depending on whether I was answering discovery on the IBM 36, drafting contracts on the IBM PC I was transitioning everyone towards, doing art stuff on the Mac like designing letterhead for new holding companies or doing office manager crap and trying to find clerical people with low enough standards to work for us.

When Bernie was getting towards the end of his shelf life he had massive layoffs and replaced everyone with cute girls, and the business stayed afloat for another couple of months. Jim transitioned off to work for Dinesh, a slightly saner developer.

I had developed a major litigation addiction, so I went to work doing just that, except I moved out of real estate and into torts – personal injury, employment, product liability. I developed a specialty in transitioning offices from one kind of computer to another, updating and automating to ensure the flow of paperwork never stops. I’d typically go in as a legal secretary with computer responsibilities, help a place get their digital stuff retrofitted and then ride off into the sunset. Later on I became a word processor slash IT person that can pinch hit as a paralegal, calendar clerk, file clerk, secretary and receptionist, depending on what kind of day it is. I’m basically an ammo loader for litigators, and while I’ve thought about doing the law school thing myself, it’s not for me. I’m not that focused. I was very pleased that I’d found a career path where I could spend a third of my day working hard doing complex tasks at lightning speed so that I could spend my evenings and weekends creating and consuming music and books.

I was just getting started along this path when I met Bob Noel. I was his secretary, in fact, at a company not publicly associated with Bob Noel. That’s because one day he called opposing counsel, and upon learning he was not in the office, left a message with the receptionist that said, “Tell him he’s an idiot.” Said alleged idiot thereafter sued our office for slander, and Bob Noel was asked to leave the premises and henceforth omit the firm from his resume, and he did. He went into private practice.

I was buddies with Bob outside work, because he was a charming guy. Not quite in Jim’s league, but he had that same kind of rich-kid-gone-bad aura. He was from Baltimore, and had started out with an illustrious career working for the Department of Justice … then, stuff happened, and he found himself running away to San Francisco like some kind of hippie. When I met him, he was living in a cheap studio apartment and had no car or credit cards – this made arranging for his business travel very complicated.

He also had the first portable computer I’d ever seen: an Amstrad, one of the first models. I thought this was incredibly cool, a forerunner of future laptops.

After Bob got ’86’d from the firm that shall not be named, he opened his own practice. And because we were friends, I used to see him from time to time. I was still dating Jim even though I had moved into a studio apartment in North Beach – he followed me to SF, getting his own apartment in Pacific Heights, a five dollar cab ride away. Jim, in fact, joined Bob’s practice briefly, and they shared an office in the Cathedral Hill Office Building and Hotel.

Cathedral Hill at Van Ness and Geary is a weird spooky property that figures prominently in my life. My last argument with my ex-husband took place there. I became a notary there. When it was being torn down and replaced with a brand new hospital, I commuted past it every day. I expect I’ll die there. And Jim had an office there for a time, which he shared with Bob Noel and a Greek accountant, and I would go over there and chill in the bar with them from time to time as we waited for Marjorie, whom Bob had just recently married, back when we were co-workers.

Marjorie worked, coincidentally, at a San Francisco law firm where I’d eventually end up working -- lots of aspiring litigators drifted through. The whole San Francisco litigation scene is pretty small, actually, and we’ve all seen each other at some party or seminar or whatever before. It’s probably going to fade away soon, once we get (crossing fingers) universal health care. The exorbitant cost of US health care was the whole reason it existed – if you can prove in court that if medical costs keep rising the way they have been, your client’s future medical costs would be many millions more than what they currently cost. Guys like Melvin Belli made the field popular, and San Francisco jurors reliably returned verdicts that slammed corporations as hard as possible.

Bob was pretty sure he could run a solo practice in this environment. Especially if he had a hard-working wife like Marjorie, who had repeatedly failed to pass the bar. She tended to freeze up under pressure.

From time to time I did work for the law offices of Noel and Knoller. So did Jim – his new developer sometimes used Noel’s firm as overflow counsel, and he had a few business clients under his sole practice in the office he shared with Noel and Knoller. Noel was the big grandstanding figurehead, a tall handsome guy overflowing with charisma. Marj was the little workaholic in the background, doing all the boring parts. She eventually passed the bar herself.

For a while I watched them dance their bizarre folie a deux. Marj was desperate for status, and she courted San Francisco society, attending balls in designer dresses and sucking up to the Junior League. She wanted a sugar daddy, and Bob was delighted to play that role, dressing up in tuxedos and escorting her to Paris. They had a pet parrot named Jean Claude, and they lived in a swank apartment building in Pacific Heights. (I live nearby, but far downhill, in a gently crumbling apartment in a humble mixed-use building above a restaurant, which I love with all my heart and hope to never leave.)

After several years of me occasionally providing them with clerical help or sending them smalltime clients that wanted things like trust funds or articles of incorporation, we broke up over weed. Specifically, Marj dropped by while my ex-husband and a bunch of our friends were over having a movie watching party, and she smelled weed, and she left. I had heard her rant before about how she hated pot because the mean girls in high school who used to bully her were potheads. Maybe she was also allergic. In any event, Marj hated pot even though, ironically, she lived in the pothead valhalla that is San Francisco. Once she learned pot was actually welcome in my house, it was over.

Our relationship had been deteriorating steadily after I extricated myself from the relationship with Jim and got settled with my ex-husband, who was a techie-nerd that couldn’t really socialize with lawyers. Especially lawyers like Bob and Marj, who were basically Snobbin Hoods – trying to break into elite social circles by representing themselves as humble crusaders for the downtrodden. For instance, they had signed up for court-appointed cases, which paid reliably, although very little. They told me they were getting involved with prisoner rights, and disabled rights. They wanted to take money from the rich by doing small business cases and convert it into pro bono work for indigent people for the rest of their caseload. While somehow making enough profit to afford designer gowns and Paris vacations.

There was also an undertone of sexual creepiness that had sunk in. I was a cinephile back then and I used to trade movie recommendations back and forth with Bob from time to time, but Marj was more into icky stuff – I remember she gave me the novel Possession by A.S. Byatt and told me it was the best thing ever. As a person that hung around the Northern California boho/SF/hippie/hot tub/sex positive/genderfluid/radical faerie/etc community since teenagerhood, and having got my tantric wackiness out of my system well before age thirty (maybe I’ll write about that someday after I outlive a few more people), I’m not really interested in hearing middle-aged people talk about their sexual awakenings. And that’s why I’m not entirely positive, but I vaguely recall hearing Bob and Marj discuss their handsome new prisoner client whom they were helping in his heroic fight against the system. I might have even considered they had run into some tantric Svengali/Manson type – they were nearly as prevalent in San Francisco as tort lawyers back in the 80’s and 90’s.

So I had stopped hanging out with them far before they decided to keep gigantic dogs in their teeny apartment. They didn’t really like my bearded techie husband as much as they liked Jim, and I don’t really blame them. I moved to a firm that had some more genuine snobs – we had all our holiday parties at the gentlemen’s club one of the senior partners had belonged to since the 1940’s – but they were far more chill. One of them was a transactional lawyer named Neil, and he actually ended up testifying against Knoller in her murder trial, since the presa canarios attacked his sweet shy three-legged sheltie which was gravely wounded and lingered for a few months.

When I first learned that Knoller/Noel were in trouble because their dog ate their neighbor, I was on their side, but only because I knew them. If a dog spontaneously kills somebody, it’s probably defending its owner against a threat, was my basic line of reasoning. Then I learned about Neil’s sheltie, plus I read The Letter in our local newspaper.

When I was Bob’s secretary I used to love his bombastic letters, where he would quote books and rant in footnotes and basically try to be Hunter S. Thompson in lawyer form. I even marked my favorite Noel letters “letter of the month” in highlighter and hung them on my cubicle wall for people to enjoy. They were genuinely funny, and had an air of cheeky-punk-tweaking-the-establishment.

Over the years, his letter-writing skills had become dark and bitter. He penned a multipage screed – The Letter -- wherein he blamed his deceased neighbor for inciting the attack with her lesbian pheromones, among other things. Just like that – *snaps fingers* – I was no longer on their side.

I read everything about the trial, and I have autographed copies of at least two true crime books about it. Here’s what happened: Bob and Marj were financially underwater. They were accusing their landlord of uninhabitable-premises type stuff as justification for being way behind in the rent. They were scrambling around looking for clients.

Their bizarro relationship with Jail Svengali was in full blossom, and he had conned them into bringing two gigantic, poorly-socialized meth lab guard dogs into their San Francisco apartment because another one of his thralls outside the correctional system was no longer able to provide for these valuable assets. Mind you, we are talking about a miniscule San Franciscan two-bedroom apartment, which has far less square-footage than a suburban 711 or five-star hotel room.

If I had seen Noel and/or Knoller walking their dogs, I would have given them a piece of my mind. Let me tell you why. When I lived in North Beach, I had a friend (Valerie) who had a gorgeous wolf-dog hybrid, named Idunna. Valerie spent a fortune on multiple obedience trainers for Idunna. You had to practically sit through a 48-hour canine safety class before she’d even let you walk Idunna on a leash. Valerie liked unusual and dangerous animals. She had kept a prior wolf dog, in addition to boa constrictors. She was well aware that one accident could bring about disaster, so she did her utmost to avoid having that accident. Idunna was very difficult to train, and very destructive – at one point she dug up pvc plumbing pipe in the backyard and gnawed through it, and there was another time she didn’t like being left in the car during dinner and chewed a chunk out of the steering wheel. Idunna was also a total sweetheart, and I used to enjoy walking her around North Beach while listening to people gasp. Sometimes they’d come up and ask me, in hushed voices, if that was indeed a wolf. And I’d say yes. But I wouldn’t let them pet her unless her body language was just right. If you’re going to be friends with dangerous animals, you need to know how to keep them from attacking people.

Because I think incompetent animal handlers are just as bad as animal abusers, and I have no patience for them.

So, incompetent handler Marj was home while incompetent handler Bob was in court. The dogs, meanwhile, had diarrhea. Marj was sneaking them onto the roof to poop, because she was too incompetent at handling them to take them outside. They outweighed her.

Plus I don’t believe she grew up with big dogs. Serious dogs. Lapdogs are technically the same species but they’re not the same. I’m a little more familiar, since I grew up with a mean looking boxer-lab cross who was absolutely devoted to protecting me.

I like dogs. I remember one time I was in a restaurant, sitting at an outside table, and unexpectedly felt a dog lunge against my shoulder in a friendly way, so from habit I reached around and hugged it, and let it slurp my ear – just because that’s what I do. The dog’s (incompetent) owner gasped and began apologizing profusely, since what if I had been dog-phobic, and omg, he doesn’t usually jump on strangers like that. And I just looked at her and said, “you should use a leash, that stuff can scare people.” While ruffling the obnoxiously friendly dog’s ears. I think it was a golden retriever. A couple of coworkers at my last job would occasionally bring their dogs and I would always make time to pet them, and maybe bring out the doggy toys I kept in my desk. Strange dogs will often walk right up to me, correctly assessing that I like them. I had pet dogs as a kid, up until I moved to a city apartment and became more of a cat person. If I ever moved somewhere with a yard, I’d run out and get a dog the next day.

Because there is no way I’m going to be stuck in a small apartment with a dog that is having diarrhea, like Marj was. A pony-sized dog! A dog equivalent in mass to four or five of The Big Kahuna! A dog that Valerie would have kept far away from the public until it would reliably perform all commands on voice and signal, which probably wasn’t possible since it had spent its formative years running wild and killing livestock. A dog from a breed used for hundreds of generations to guard rich peoples’ estates from hungry peasants.

Marj returns from taking the dogs to poop. Confronts neighbor, who isn’t favorably disposed. According to Marj’s court testimony, the neighbor shook her keys at Marj in a threatening way. The dogs didn’t like that, and then it was on.

Marj froze under pressure. Then she brought her incompetent animal-handling skills into play, making the attack even worse – at one point she was trying to get on top of the victim as a human shield, and she used what she claimed were paramedic skills she actually didn't have. The neighbor, a lacrosse coach named Diane Whipple who was very well liked in the community, did not survive. 

And then Bob wrote The Letter. It’s entirely possible both of them would have walked if it hadn’t been for The Letter, a symphony of victim blaming. It was written from the point of view of a lawyer desperately trying to make others see his side. The dog went berserk from all those hormones she generated with her athletic lesbian ways, so it’s not my fault, your honor! Then he sent it to the newspaper, and they published it right on the front page.

The world was appalled. I was ashamed to have known them. I watched the media circus unfold around them, and I even slipped into a couple of their court appearances accompanied by friends into true crime. All kinds of disgusting evidence came to light in the form of sexy letters and drawings between the lawyers and their prison Svengali, who had both of them thoroughly enthralled.

Both of them went to jail for murder. Bob’s sentence was lighter since he wasn’t even there and thus, like Charles Manson, was only guilty of conspiracy. He got released after a few years and became a baker, forswearing the practice of law forever.

The “adoption” of his prison son, by the way, was Bob’s idea of a legal loophole. He had read about a case somewhere involving a transfer of funds or assertion of privilege or something like that, where a lawyer adopted a client as a strategic move. He had talked about what a brilliant idea this was. I wasn’t quite as impressed, being an adoptee myself. Marj, also an adoptee, thought it was okay.

I just found out Bob died a couple years ago. He had become disabled and had acquired a support dog. Then he became homeless. He applied for social services and was told he would have to give up his dog, which was hard because he loved it so much, and died a couple years later. I’m sad for Bob even though I never spoke to him again after reading The Letter, and I’ll add him to the list of folks I think about when contemplating people who are no longer living – along with Valerie, and Jim.

Marj, meanwhile, is still doing time, and her parole was just denied. I hope she’s found her niche in there. There’s a side of Marj that has a heart, and after one of her court hearings I found myself talking with an indigent woman Marj had helped in jail, so I’m pretty sure she’s doing good things for her fellow inmates as a prison lawyer.

The prosecutor that got her locked up, Kimberly Guilfoyle, went on to a high profile relationship with then-mayor/current-governor Gavin Newsom. Then she moved to Fox News and apparently is now dating a Trump. Newsom was the first mayor to legalize same-sex weddings, and recently succeeded Jerry Brown as Governor of California.

And while I’m not going to say there’s any sort of a direct causal relationship, I’ve shifted from walking a dire wolf around North Beach to keeping mild fluffy harmless pets like bunnies and Ragdoll cats. Huge as he is, I am fairly certain The Big Kahuna would never eat my neighbors.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Big Kahuna Is Fourteen!

The Big Kahuna turns fourteen today. He's having a very happy birthday, because I'm going to stay home with him all day! He likes having me in close proximity.

When I got Kahuna from the rescue, he came with a medical file that included his parents' pedigrees. No pedigree for Kahuna, probably because he was destined to be a pet rather than a show cat, probably due to the freakish size issue. Here's his daddy, Scooter.
And his mum, Jasmine Snow.

For all of you astrology fans, here's his natal chart. Five planets in Aquarius!
Aquarius is the opposite of Leo, so he's kind of like an anti-lion (as opposed to an ant lion). If any creature could be said to be the total antithesis of a lion, it would be Kahuna. 

Kahuna likes technology,

dramatic poses,
science fiction,

room parties at Worldcon,
 and fantasy (Harry Potter) and horror (The Stand) ... let's just leave it at "speculative fiction."

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Hi There, Prospective Employers!

Hello prospective employer, or employee of one! You are probably checking me out to see if I’ve done anything ridiculous in public that would make me unsuitable for employment at your esteemed firm. Possibly you are even thinking, right now, that you’ve hit the jackpot – a science fiction novelist with a giant cat is definitely somewhere on the weird end of the spectrum.

Let me assure you, I’m actually weird in a good way. Please allow me to elaborate.

Family Friendly
I write for the Young Adult market – a genre known for having brigades of exquisitely sensitive fans who will create uproar whenever they perceive triggers such as bigotry. For the past few years I have been blogging and writing novels in this environment, successfully avoiding all triggers while creating characters that are positive role models. You’ll never catch me saying ugly things on social media. Keeping my branding clean is very important to me, and therefore I’ll also be interested in keeping your branding pristine.

According to a recent survey, the average annual income for novelists is about twenty thousand dollars. Only a very few of us are rich and successful like J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. The rest all have day jobs (like the one I’m applying for at your company). My stuff is too niche for a general audience, so I don’t intend to be buying any private islands any time soon. It does mean that I’ll probably spend my vacations at writer conventions, or writing. And although my writing is extremely important to me, I’m flexible enough to choose a career path that allows me time to do it. I never do creative work at my day job; the vibe is all wrong.

Except for deposition summaries. My depo summaries kick ass. That’s where I learned how to write about catastrophic disasters.

College (Lack of)
When I was in my freshman year, I had a medical situation that led to debt which interrupted my education. I’ve attempted to finish college many times, but there always seems to be an obstacle. Also, I have a hard time narrowing my focus, and I have attempted a variety of majors, including psychology, music theory, audio engineering and English. If your data crunchers require a degree, we probably won’t get along. However, if you’re more interested in the thirty years of familiarity with litigation/trials (in multiple capacities) than the lack of sheepskin, let’s talk.

Cat Lady
I’ll save you the trouble of examining my Facebook account and prior posts – I’m single, a bit relationship-phobic in fact, and although I have several relatives, I have never met most of them, which is a fascinating story that can be spun out over the course of several happy hours and/or novels. I identify as nonbinary, but I use regular female pronouns and am extremely low key about it, other than having a vague aversion to girly things like jewelry and love songs. I’m a reclusive cat lady and proud of it, and in fact I’ve got the biggest cat you’ve ever seen.

Nonetheless, I do have a few cool stories in me that would’ve gone to my kids if I’d had any, and since I don’t I’m packaging them for general readership. So don’t expect me to be missing or stressed out due to family drama, since I don’t have any.

Bad Habits
Don’t smoke except for when I’m in Las Vegas. Barely drink, but I make up for it with my coffee consumption. No illegal drugs. No overwhelming fandoms. No compulsions such as gambling or sex. I do have a moderately dysfunctional relationship with food, and although I’m trying to get better, I’m still trying to allow leeway for things which make life worth living, like chicken tikka masala, pulled pork, and napoleons. That’s why I’m looking for a job that will help me afford restaurants. While at the same time trying to drop the weight I put on struggling to find a diet that wouldn’t aggravate my stomach, which has become increasingly sensitive over the years. Food is my bete noire.

It’s complex, but no bodily limitations have ever made much impact in my ability to sit in a chair and do computer stuff all day.

Personality and Politics
I get along with about ninety percent of humanity. I’m interested in people, in fact, and I generally like them. I lean liberal, but as far as political statements go, you’re more likely to find me writing positive role model characters than posting angry rants on the internet. I prefer positive action to negative reaction.