This week’s word for Wednesday is velutinous, an adjective, meaning to have a soft, velvety surface, usually used to describe plants.


Vonda McIntyre, author of the award-winning Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun, passed away on April 1. McIntyre had announced eight weeks earlier that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. McIntyre founded Clarion West in 1970 and ran it for three years. McIntyre’s work was an inspiration to imagination, and she personally was a source of great encouragement and support for emerging writers.

Spring Wildlflowers, image from Sierra Club.

Spring Wildlflowers, image from Sierra Club.


The Hugo Finalist list is out! As always there is some crossover with the Nebulas. There are a few familiar names, including Mary Robinette Kowal, Rebecca Roanhorse and Alix Harrow, who used to review with us, for her short story, “A Witch’s Guide to Escape; a Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies.”

The David Gemmell awards have ended, due to a dearth of volunteers and the committee’s inability to keep the program at the standard they desired. There might be a “next chapter” to this story so I will stay tuned.

Stranger than Fiction:

Ed Kramer, original co-founder of DragonCon, was arrested on charged of taking photographic images of a child. He has previously been convicted of children pornography charges. The story gets even weirder, though, when it turns out that a Georgia State judge hired a private detective to see if her computer had been hacked, and the detective hired Kramer as his IT expert and gave him access to the judge’s computer and theoretically access to the justice system. To sum up: a PI hired a current defendant as an expert and gave them access to the computer files. If you wrote this into your novel, your writers group would tell you to go back to square one and rethink your plot.

TV and Movies:

Amazon is developing Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed into a series, working with Viola Davis and Nnedi Okorafor. This is exciting!

Disney’s remake of Dumbo is not getting rave reviews.

Jim Jarmusch has directed a zombie comedy with an all-star cast.

Spring Wildflowers. Image from Highland News.

Spring Wildflowers. Image from Highland News.


This is also stranger than fiction. Fantasy writer Ed McDonald was accused by several sources of sexually inappropriate behavior. It turns out that there were not “several sources.” There were two, who acted in a concerted manner to create “sock puppets” and fictional accounts and, over a period of months or even a year prepared the ground for the series of accusations. Nearly all social media platforms were drawn in. Fantasy Reddit provides a timeline and a summary here, as well as an apology to McDonald. And read McDonald’s response, it’s good.

NSFW: This Los Angeles Magazine article explains California DMV’s process for approving, or denying, personalized plates and then gives a list of applications and their dispositions. I was surprised at some of the approvals!

Smithsonian Magazine shares the story of Ron Serling, inventor of The Twilight Zone, and how his early attempt to produce a TV drama about the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in the 1950s was restricted and smothered. Interesting story.

The great Garfield Telephone mystery is solved. You will probably figure out the ending to this ecological puzzler before the end of the article, but still.

It looks like the robots really are coming for our jobs. These Boston Dynamic robots load and unload pallets.


In 2016, Death Valley experienced a “superbloom” of wildflowers. You might enjoy some of the images. Note that despite very heavy rains in California in 2018/19, a superbloom is not expected due to the timing of the rains.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.