Thursday, December 31, 2020

Annual Writing Report - 2020

We are finally at the end of a year we will not soon forget. My family and I have managed to evade the virus (so far) and are very much looking forward to our chance to receive the vaccine. 

In the midst of all this pandemic sorrow, I have found writing to be a wonderful refuge. Regular zoom meetings with other writers have been key to keeping me sane and connected with the world and I am grateful for their continued presence in my days.

Despite all the sadness and turmoil this year, some good things happened. First and foremost, I was beyond pleased and excited to sign a contract with World Scientific to publish my book, Spiritual Insights from the New Science. This book has been in the works for almost thirty years and I almost can't find the adjectives to describe how wonderful this turn of events is. Check out the website for pre-ordering information. You can also pre-order an e-book version from Amazon. Publication is expected in late 2021!

I also published a couple of short pieces, although my submission rate fell off due to the need to revise and edit several book projects in the works. My first piece of creative non-fiction was published, as was my first poem. I hope to write and submit more of this type of writing in 2021 - perhaps this will be my first new years' resolution.

And I almost forgot, but my weirdly timely scifi short story, "Doors Opening on the Left," about an intrepid virus hunter, was published by Fiction on the Web in June. 

I also very much enjoyed participating in NaNoWriMo this year and managed to get almost to the end of the novel I've been trying to rewrite. Finishing this is likely to be another new years' resolution. It's really great to have writing as a refuge in this pandemic time and since the virus will be with us for several more months at least, I'm going to keep writing.

Best wishes to all of you in the new year and I hope your pathway to the vaccine is smooth and successful!

Friday, October 30, 2020

NaNoWriMo Starting Soon!


I have participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it's known, every year since 2010. I was going to skip it this year. 

I have many reasons to skip it: I have a book contract! And the manuscript is due in a couple of months! And I have a novel from a previous NaNo year that I need to finish!

So many reasons to NOT do NaNoWriMo again, and yet I would be breaking a TEN YEAR streak if I sat this one out.

So many reasons TO do NaNo again, though, such as: an escape from the news that has become way too intense; an activity I can do alone and indoors, socially distanced from others but connected online; a chance to finish the project I started last NaNo and managed to get only 3/5 of the way done; and probably others.

We start November 1st - this Sunday! If you want to participate, sign up here: or follow along on Twitter: If you follow on Twitter, look for me here:

See you in November...

Monday, September 14, 2020

Book Contract!


The Lorenz Attractor
I'm thrilled to announce that I've just signed a contract with World Scientific to publish my book, Spiritual Insights from the New Science. This book has been "in progress" for almost thirty years and bringing it into the world has been my dream for all of that time--which means that this is, literally, a dream come true. 

World Scientific is a major science publisher based in Singapore, producing upwards of 600 books per year as well as almost 150 scientific journals. They also have a growing list of popular science titles, of which my book will be a part. We don't have a firm publication date, yet, but I'm guessing it will be in late 2021. 

Here is a description of the book:

Spiritual Insights from the New Science is both a memoir of a life in science and a guide to the deep spiritual wisdom drawn from one of the newest areas of science, the study of complex systems.  The author, a former research scientist with three decades of experience in the field of complexity science, tells her story of being attracted, as a young student, to the study of self-organizing systems where she encountered the strange and beautiful topics of chaos, fractals and other concepts that comprise complexity science. Using the events of her life, she describes lessons drawn from this science that provide insights into not only her own life, but all our lives. These insights show us how to weather the often disruptive events we all experience when we are growing and changing.

The book goes on to explore, through the unfolding story of the author’s life as a practicing scientist, other key concepts from the science of complex systems: cycles and rhythms, attractors and bifurcations, chaos, fractals, self-organization, and emergence. Examples drawn from religious ritual, dance, philosophical teachings, mysticism, native American spirituality, and other sources are used to illustrate how these scientific insights apply to all aspects of life, especially the spiritual. Spiritual Insights from the New Science shows the links between this new science and our human spirituality and presents, in engaging, accessible language, the argument that the study of nature can lead to a better understanding of the deepest meaning of our lives.

I am so grateful to all those who have helped bring this book this far--my critique partners, writing instructors, and all those who have cheered me on. When I first got the idea for this book, I had written nothing but scientific articles and memos for work, and did not have a clue about how to write this type of book. This is one reason why it's taken me almost 30 years to bring it into the world. 

The other is, of course, life, which has a way of intervening. I do think, though, that the experience I've gained over the last several decades in writing about science for the public and writing fiction has equipped me for this undertaking. I expect the book will be a lot better than it would have been back in the 1990s when I first started scribbling notes for it.

I look forward to posting more information about this exciting publishing adventure as it becomes available. Stay tuned!


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Western Native

We have just bought a house in Colorado and, after spending two months in virtual quarantine in Virginia, I have been able to travel to this new house and begin to settle in. Part of my settling in process has involved exploring my new neighborhood, and one of my new-favorite places is nearby Sand Creek.

This neighborhood used to be Stapleton Airport and you can still see evidence of it. Blocks of broken concrete and asphalt, strange pieces of metal, even the old control tower, which is still here. Sand Creek ran along the edge of the airport and it is one of those things that remains relatively unchanged. And along its banks, the native plant and animal life is thriving.

I've taken my camera along on my morning walks and challenged myself to name what I see. It's a personal test to see how much I remember of a childhood in a place very much like this--a semi-arid region of the mountain west. Here are some of my photos...

First up: prickly pear cactus and sagebrush!

Next: Foxtail grass and Cottonwood Tree

Lupine and blooming Milkweed

Morning Glories and Poppy

Thistle bloom and Sunflower

And, finally, some critters...who don't really require any captions!

I have lots more photos, but no matter how many I take, they don't totally capture the place--the sharp scent of the willows near the water, the rustle of the wind in the tree branches, a constant gurgle from the creek as the water tumbles over stones, and the bird song. So many birds: redwing blackbirds, meadowlark, and killdeer in the long grass and, on the water, ducks and a pair of egrets.

And, finally, a parting shot...will post more later!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Third year in a row these beauties have come back. First year they've all gone blood red.

For more of my photos, see Flickr.
For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.

Thursday, April 23, 2020


Who are you? Are you, like me, a parent, someone's child, a grandparent? Are you, like me, a writer, or a scientist? Or are you something else entirely?

Do you identify yourself through your relationships or by what you do?

It is popular in some circles to denigrate what we do. People say, "I'm a human being, not a human doing," but honestly, all of us are doers.

In many ways, what we do, especially with our hands, makes us human. Those two opposable thumbs we developed along the evolutionary chain changed everything for our species. We became able to manipulate tools and make things in a way no other animal can do.

And as I thought about this more, I realized that one of my dearest-held identities is as what people younger than me have called "a maker."

I've always been a maker, but we didn't call it that when I was growing up. I'm not sure we called it anything, since it wasn't an identity anyone owned up to. But, to be honest, making things is what gives me the greatest pleasure. If I can hold the finished product in my hand, or at least touch it if it's too big to hold, I feel like I've done what I'm supposed to be doing.

So, what do I make? Well, books, for one thing. And facemasks, lately. And bread! Here is a series of photos showing my latest adventure: creating a sourdough starter from my existing kefir starter. The kefir has yeast in it, so I figured I could culture it up and add some flour (following a recipe, of course) and get bread. And it worked!

So, who are you? Are you a maker, too?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

View from my kitchen window* - the azaleas know nothing about a pandemic and just keep on blooming.

For more of my photos, see Flickr.
For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.

*Trying to start posting on my blog again. Have been away for TOO long!