TopShelf Blogs

Mother's Child


I know I've disappointed my readers with this extended delay in my story (Mother's Child), but this has been a difficult year for me. I was sick for so long, then as I was recovering, my wife became very ill. She recovered then my father was diagnosed with stage 3 small cell leukemia about three months ago. He died two weeks ago. I haven't had much heart for anything since then, but I am recovering mentally and hope to finish the current chapter this week.

I appreciate everyone's patience.


laughter, the best medicine ?

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Had an interesting moment at work today.

I was waiting for the public washrooms to clear so I could clean them, and while I waited, I noticed a little girl in a shopping cart with her mom. When she saw me, she squealed with delight and began "talking" to me in baby chatter, waving her arms around and generally having a great time.

I couldn't help myself - I started laughing.

(There may have been some giggles involved, but I refuse to confirm or deny)

back to sanity

Team GB cycling - just wow!

In case you missed it - the entire track team come home with at least one gong each! That means our cycling team would place 11th in the current medal table!

We can now get back to some sort of normalcy as the rest of our team try to hang onto our second place in the medal table - yep second, not bad for a little rock on the edge of knowhere!

More Gaby later.


The life we are given and the life that we make.

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Joan, who are you?
Well I have gone by "Joan de Arc" for acting like a martyr. I have gone by "Joan of Harp" as an amateur musician. I have given my middle name of Joan for a food pickup because no one can spell my first name right. Then there are some of my friends that just call me Joan.

Authors that inspired you to get into writing.

If there's anything that makes me happy it's when people say to other authors that a certain story made them want to get into writing. Now that hasn't happened to me specifically yet but I will say a few people that made me want to start writing TG material(I had dabbled in other genre's before joining BC)

Torey: Her Emerging from the Cocoon, and Forever Claire stories really got me wanting to write in this area.

TGsine: Summer Girl was one of the first stories I ever read on BC and it actually played a part in me writing my story Broken Phoenix.

Hatbox and Operating Funds for BCTS


Update: We have about $230 in the bank right now and need for about $800 by Friday.

We have about $200 in the bank right now and a need for about $1750 by Friday, including a $400 loan to Piper for registering Liam (Piper's son) in daycare. (We made the deposit for Liam's daycare, which Piper will repay after getting re-imbursed.) Thanks to everyone who gave on the 9th and 10th!

Please, if you can, send us a gift to help us keep operating BigCloset and the other sites we host and help maintain for the community. Thanks.

And again TGism and Intersexism at the Olympics

This is a bit of a rehash from the London Games, but is still current according to the dateline ...

Then there is also ...

'About a Girl' on Australian Story

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This is for Australian readers because sadly I don't think the programs are available in other countries. If anyone missed 'Australian Story' on ABC television on Monday evening 15th August, it was about a 16 year old and remarkably mature transgender girl called Georgie and her attempts to make life easier for other transgender teens in their battles with the law and prejudice. She has a twin brother, but from a very early age she was absolutely sure that she was a girl. Lately she has 'come out' at her very supportive Melbourne school.

my mom might have PTSD or something like it

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During a conversation I had with my mom this weekend, it occurred to me that she has her own kind of PTSD.

She was talking about some stuff that happened before she married my dad, and it was like she wasn't just remembering, but reliving the painful stuff.

I could suggest counseling, but she can be stupidly stubborn sometimes, and seeing someone is one of those areas.

Ah, well. I can give her lots of love, that will help a little, I'm sure.

Spacing between paragraphs

Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't make paragraphs longer than 5 to 7 lines because reading on a screen is hard.

If you're using MS Word or other word processor, there are options that fake a space between paragraphs while viewing the file in the word precessor. Those are not visible when converted to HTML. You need actual blank lines.

Maggie Finson, where are you?

It's been quite a long time since anyone has heard anything from you and we're all concerned about you. Are you still out there and doing okay? I've called twice and just gotten your message service.

PLEASE let us know!

Catherine Linda Michel

Stories Reposted

For anybody is interested I have had my stories reposted. I was planning on reworking some to correct flaws and mistakes readers pointed out, but I just decided "Hell with it!" and asked Erin to make them available. Feel free to look them over and post a comment asking for clarification or to report problems.

I recommend these stories to start with. They best reflect where I'm at currently. Warning! These are not feel-good stories and may upset some. I urge you to exit right away if you find them upsetting.

On Growing Older

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A month ago I had a rather significant birthday. Although I'm still the same age as Johnny Rotten and Kim Cattrall, when both digits click over you tend to muse upon your own mortality rather more than you do on other occasions. In my case I can only reflect that I've been incredibly lucky to have avoided any significant health issues, and that the law of averages alone will ensure that this won't last for ever.

Remind Me Again - the 6th Nena story now available

As promised, the next instalment, 2 years in the making, of Nena is now available through the usual outlets!

Chris has a job to do but only Nena can do it, join our heroine as she gets into the odd pickle on a ski trip to Italy.

just a heads up

I can confirm that the new Nena tale will be going up on Kindle and Lulu tomorrow.

Remind Me Again finds Chris volunteering to be Nena to save a job for Global - again! It's been two years in the writing, mostly because a certain young lady with sporting tendencies has taken so much of my time!

I'll try to get some of the other part written stuff finished between Gabyness - well after my big trip at any rate!


My new book "The Promotion"

Hello everyone, I am writing this here Book book called "The Promotion" and as some you know 5 of it chapter's have already been posted. I was wondering how some of you think about it. Since it is my first time seriously writing something and I want what I need to improve myself on.

I feel so dumb right now

So today I planned on posting chapter 3 of Broken Phoenix. Only to find out that I was logged out. Normally that wouldn't be a problem cause I could just type in my details and everything would be fine. What doesn't help is that I cannot for the life of me remember my password. I would change my password but you need your current password to do that which I don't remember. Looks like my story is getting delayed until I can figure out how to deal with this.

Help! Finish this story!

I have been writing "Amie and Jamie" for a year or so and find that I'm bored with it. The characters are young, with lots of possibilities, and they need someone fresh to take over. This has probably been done before, and will be glad to answer any questions the new author might have.
It will also be of great interest to me what avenues the character travel when guided by a new hand.
Any takers? Lemme know!

Hello everyone, been a very long time!



Hello everyone, old friends and potentially new. It has been a very long time since my last post, and many promises that name came to flourish...with great apology.

I have been busy and hardheadedly suffering many traumatic and extreme bouts in my life as of late. Mistrusts, rapes, debt, capability denials, lack of self-reassurance over my own artistic qualities (hence why story writing hasn't been on my agenda in the last 5 years).

had a small accident with my car, but I'm okay

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Somehow, over the last couple of days, I've missed talking about the fact that I had a little accident with my car, ending with me losing one of my tires.

Fortunately, I'm okay, and although I have had to pay about $ 900 for the repairs, I am back up and running again.

So all's well that end's well, I guess.

Im getting better now.

If you've followed my recent blog posts then you'd know that I was having a mental health crisis to put it lightly. I went to a few psychiatrists and the last one said I needed an evaluation inpatient at a hospital. Needless to say I wasn't thrilled but I did meet up with an old friend from high school while in there who tried to commit suicide. I'm not out of the woods yet but I am just outpatient at the hospital now after a week inpatient.


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I have DishNetwork so I get The Movie Channel(west) ch-329. At 3:30 p.m. CDT there is a movie coming on titled Trinidad and the synopsis says its about Marcie Bower. This was produced in 2008 but I've never seen it. I do know that Dr. Bower has moved her practice to the outskirts of San Francisco but still has some administrative aspects still in Trinidad. Or so I've heard.

Transgender woman refused female pension.

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Interesting article in the Guardian which is about a transgender woman who stayed married and thus never got female legal status and so missed out on the right to a pension. It has been referred to the European Court for an opinion.

I'm so glad this didn't happen to me.

Missed post

Well firstly, sorry for not posting Sunday - I didn't come close to an internet connection as spent the day looking Steam Engines (the agricultural forerunners of tractors not the rail guided things) and old road vehicles! It was a lovely day that made a change from the usual daily grind.

There is a new Gaby chapter here today - I am expecting to post again this Sunday as I finish preparing for my 'holiday' - if you can call riding up and down mountains a holiday!

Some will NEVER accept or understand


As there will always be good and evil in the souls of man just as there are those who refuse to understand.
No matter how well they bring it all together, there will always be those who do not accept or tolerate those who blur the boundaries between male and female.

Explain an algorithm to those who only know simple math. Now explain transgender to those who have never felt they were born in the wrong body. Or explain transgender to those who are so insecure in their own body, anyone who blurs the boundaries sends them into fear denial or raging hate.

Auto-correct or just badly spoken and then misspelt?

I have just seen a post on FB that caused me to laugh out loud - much to the disgust of my trying-to-stay-asleep partner! The author of the post was looking back over the years to events that happened on the 10th August.

I copy and paste the relevant sentence here: "I'd really love to relive those days all over again for sedimental reasons but also to live each day a whole lot smarter than we did before."

Maybe she was used to lying on the bottom?

Another I spotted recently was "inner continental" when talking about a flight from the US to Europe.

I helped a lost boy find his family today

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Well, i helped a little boy find his family today.

He was wondering around, looking lost, and I was able to convince him to stick with me as I headed for the costumer service desk, but his family came up before we got there.

I feel super good to have helped.

lung function test today, not good news.

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Well my lung function test this afternoon came back not so good.
a loss of 1 liter in capacity
and a loss of 4% airflow.

26% for my fev1 ( Forced Expressed Volume in 1 second )
33% fev1 after Ventolin

the only good news is my blood oxygen saturation level is 96%, only down 1% from 3 years ago.

with that last anything over 92% is considered good.

Back on dry land

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For the last 2 weeks I've been production assistant on a floating radio station, and on Sunday the station closed down until Summer 2017.

It's been an interesting existence, being on board the ship shortly after 0700 and leaving for my bed just after midnight each day. I did manage to get home usually for a few hours early eve, so it wasn't quite a 17 hour day. The ship is moored in harbour with a gangway straight onto the quayside so no strange gymnastics to get aboard. It's also about 10 mins walk from home, so easy logistics.

Blog Entry 9th August 2016- Work Hard

The song was fairly easy to come by as I've recently been rediscovering my love for early 80s music and I've always liked Depeche Mode-

I'm blogging mainly to announce a slight delay in the next chapter (Ashley 7). Mainly because we're slammed at work (hence the song) and mainly because... Well, see below.

This will probably seem like a small thing

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to many of you, but it's a first for me. I've never been able to cross my legs while seated, the way women can. Yesterday, while watching television, I casually crossed my legs...knee over knee!!!!! It took a few seconds for the information to reach what I laughingly call a brain, but when it did I laughed and called to the the attention of my housemate who was watching tv with me. She looked at me and smiled.

Cathy and Change of Heart


Cathy has been a real trooper working as editor on Change of Heart. Those who read the chapters have no idea of the bag of worms she was handed. Cathy didn't receive the published edition but the first write. Computer crashes, hard drive failures the digital story was lost. Originally written on a 286 with a forty meg HD, and 5 1/4 floppy disks in a long forgot text. Doing research I ran across the floppy it had been saved on, contacted Cathy and asked if she would post. She agreed and the mess she received looked like scrambled eggs. The text had been converted to Word Perfect to MS Word.

Chat issues

I'm very sorry about the current issues with our chat. Unfortunately there is an incompatibility between our providers upgraded network and the old hardware our server uses. This causes the ellesmera to disconnect from the internet.

We are trying to resolve those issues as soon as possible. Please bear with us for the time being.


Lea T leads in the Brazilian team at the Olympics

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I'm probably the last one catching up on this, but I read that Brazilian transgender super model, full name Leandra Medeiros Cerezo who goes by the name of Lea T was riding the decorated bike that led in the Brazillian team during the opening ceremony. There are plenty of pictures on-line.

Lea T.jpg

Cutting down on Salicylates?


Has anyone been able to cut down on salicylates?

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I have severe sensory processing issues, including hyperacusis, and what seems like flicker vertigo, but may be a kind of visual dependence. I also have trouble with mint, which makes me vomit, vanilla, aloe vera, nsaids, etc. I also have polyuria and have trouble with gabapentin and other meds building up in my body, and may have kidney issues. I suspect I may have salicylate sensitivity and/or salicylate poisoning due to them building up in my body.

Suicide Squad and the Critics


Went to see Suicide Squad Thursday night, it was very good. Good story, good atmosphere, good acting. Okay, the dialog is a bit weak but the actors nail the characterization and hold the script up.

The critics and a certain subset of comic book fans dislike it; that mystifies me. A movie is supposed to be entertaining and I found it very entertaining. So much so, that I'm going to go see it again while it is still on the big screen.

odd phone call

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Thursday, August 4th at 7 pm I received an odd phone call. Odd because 7 pm is not the time you expect a nurse to phone.

Transcare BC nurse called because of my scheduled gender recognition surgery, I didn't even know transcare bc existed, yet they are post-op recovery specialists for trans people.

Since my new digs are a supportive housing building I really won't need much assistance from transcare bc but it is nice to know they are there if I do need them.

Denial of Service

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Experienced my first ever "Denial of Service" yesterday at a Sheri's in Hood River of all places. I've eaten in Hood River before, while out on one of my many sanity restoring "walkabouts". It was done carefully and craftily so I would not be able to file a grievance.

Donald Trump has made hatred even more prevalent than it ever was.

To those who have routinely been discriminated against, I am sorry that you had to go through that.

I've been more upbeat lately

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one thing that has come about lately for me is that because of my mom's anxiety levels, I have found myself pushing in the opposite direction, becoming more focused on the positives more optimistic, and more upbeat.

I think this is a good thing. I hope I can sustain it.

At Last

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After six years and two months, I've got my registration for a WML-CL10a user status. (For those not in the know a licence to survey Hazel Dormice in England). In other words I'm now licensed to handle dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) in my own right, not under someone else's licence. I'm so pleased I can't describe it.


We can't have enough dormice.

cute moment at work

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Cute moment from work yesterday.

I was passing by the tills with my cart and this little girl gave me a big smile, so I stopped, and said, "Oh oh, I think I saw trouble. Are you trouble?"

The little girl nodded enthusiastically, and her mother laughed.

Its the little moments like that which are worth treasuring.

Random solos

On the Home page is a box marked Random Solo. I find it quite useful for randomly selecting one of the solo stories. Similarly, there is another box marked 12 Random Authors, again another way of browsing the authors on this site. Refreshing the Home page will produce another random selection of one solo and 12 authors.

I was wondering whether there was any easier way of randomly browsing stories and authors. Refreshing the whole of the Home page seems a bit top heavy, particularly since on my iPhone, the listings are well down the page.

Fumes, Pain, and Poisoning Help?


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I am in bad shape, physically and emotionally, and could use some help.

On Monday, I was exposed to nasty fumes, perhaps lysol fumes, and with all my disabilities, I wasn't able to get away. Yesterday, I had a very nasty migraine and a nasty asthma attack. Today I still have a migraine, but not as bad. I have had similar asthma and migraines after exposure to pine-sol fumes.

Needs must when the devil cracks his whip!


I love finding the origins of common expressions and colloquialisms. I am currently reading Skipper by Beverly Taff. This expression is used often by the title character. Being an American, I am not certain whether this is just Beverly's own expression, or a common British, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish one.

Could anyone offer some enlightenment?


Ohhh... Yeah...

I've written several tales that never be posted. The themes are very dark and are very autobiographical in that they touch upon events in my life that were better not witnessed. I write because, for lack of a simpler explanation, doing so makes me feel better. I was wondering if others have similar tales that have been completed and not posted. I'm curious about why you've not posted them.

Peace Always...



Trans Supers on Tumblr

To whomever posted a Trans Supers entry for me on Tumbler:

Thanks! I'm very flattered. I love the drawing of Golden Girl and the synopsis.

I found the entry by googling my name, Terry Volkirch.

By clicking the golden girl hashtag, I found out that Erin also has a Golden Girl character. I've read many of Erin's stories here but I haven't seen that one. I'll be looking for it after I post this.

Ta ta!

- Terry


I can't find Erin's story. Oh well. Maybe she'll dredge it up and post it here. Maybe? :)

ups and downs

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Because I seem to be on some kind of event teeter-totter, where I cant have an up without a down, here is how my day went today.

First, the up. My car is less damaged than I thought, and my brother helped me put the spare tire on so I can drive to work until such time as i can afford to fix the car.

Now, the down: I went to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, and discovered that somehow my coverage from work has been discontinued. I am going to have to phone tomorrow and find out what's going on.

See what I mean? Up and down, up and down ...

I am back online - so here is an update!

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Well, my lovelies, I am back online in the new place, so here is my update:

1) the move: It went fine, we're unpacking and slowly making the place our own.

2) my job: I have been transferred to another store, working 11 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday

3) My car: I had a little accident today, so I am going to have to get my car repaired and probably use up most of the cushion I had built up in the process.

Karin Bishop's New Story

Just want to put in a plug for Karin's new Kindle published story "Port of Arrival", the sequel/continuation of her "Port of Departture"

What a grrrrreat story! I won't go on and on about the characterization, plot, themes and all that other Graduate Level Creative Writing stuff. It is a Karin Bishop story! Its GRRRRREAT!

Happy Yorkshire Day!

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Yep its Yorkshire Day when we celebrate everything great about God's Own County from Hendo's to Whitby, rhubarb to Dickie Bird - well you get the idea.

Just to show a lack of bias, a happy national day to my second favourite place Switzerland who are lucky enough to share the day with Yorkshire!


New Book - When Worlds Collide - advance notice

When Worlds collide final cover.jpg

Currently under review with Amazon Kindle. The third in the Natasha Mackay series - When Worlds Collide

Due out within 48 hours.

Once again, if you purchase, please buy through BCTS, as Erin gets a commission.


Move Over

I have accomplished two amazing feats with the same stone? I've written a tale of less than 50 pages. This must be the influence of Drea. And...!!! I've also posted a tale with more than three days to go in a contest!!! This is definitely NOT the influence of Drea!!! :)

May We All Know Peace...

Kelly the Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrat


Advance warning!

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For all those impatient Gabfen out there, the first part of Gaby - Seasons, the 17th Gaby tome, will be available through the usual sources tomorrow!

If you can stand to wait, it might be October before the complete book is done due to a three week trip to Austria coming up shortly.

I'll post another chapter of book 12+1 tomorrow - at the current rate there are over 3 years of weekly postings just to catch up to the present which would then be the past and likely the same again etc. With that in mind you may well get 2 chapters a week at least this side of my trip.

Penny's World will be a little late this week


Sorry, Penny's World will be a little late on account I have not written it this week.
This is entirely Karin Bishop's fault for writing Port of Arrival and then setting it free from her pc. I am completely blameless.
Real life got in the way as well, but it is mainly Karin Bishop's fault.
I will start writing and stop reading now!


Deception of Choice

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This is likely the third time I have blogged about this story since it came out around 2005. I began to read it in a time when my leaving this world was as likely as staying, and oddly the struggles of the protagonist had a steadying effect on me. Years later, it is clear that my own transition was no more voluntary than David's. To the wise, stay clear of psych drugs, and Counselors.

Family's not what it's cracked up to be...


I'm posting this because I know how many of you out there have issues with their families.

Earlier this week, my Mum died. It was only last year that she had to lose a leg because of the complications her ulcerated leg was causing the rest of her body and well being.

We lost contact several months ago when her computer died (or something went wrong with it) and then we had to change cell-phone providers because Virgin stopped doing pay and go. After that, we couldn't even text.

A Modest Dilemma

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There comes some point in teaching, where I have to introduce Coulomb's law in electricity. Here's where I always hit a dilemma: I give a series of sentences describing the properties of the Coulomb force. One sentence goes:

The force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

The issue: should I underline (or otherwise emphasize) "inversely" and "square"? Or should I underline "to" and "the"? In other words,

Text-to-speech Rendering Sample

Angharad asked about the ability of text-to-speech to render British Slang. Lacking any knowledge whatsoever of said British Slang, I offer the attached rendering of the current issue of Easy As Falling Off A Bike pt 2995. The software is an old version of Text Aloud by (very old as software goes), and the current versions are (hopefully) better.

Will repeat for a few issues or texts of your choice.

from he to she

just an idle question. I'm writing a story and i've hit a segment where my protagonist has turned into a female...more or less. I'm still using male pronouns and i intend to keep using them until he acknowledges that he is now female and may not be going back, though this may confuse the audience.

I'm curious though, when do you start having your protag reffer to themselves by their new gender?

Crunch time for the move

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Well, we're officially in crunch time for our move. Tonight I will be packing the last of my stuff, and tomorrow morning we move.

Since I'll be offline for a couple of days, let me take this opportunity to thank everybody who takes the time to read this little blog, especially those who have left comments.

I am so blessed, and I thank you all.

Thanks readers!

Thanks readers! I guess you really like that last chapter of Shadowsblade and Rohanna!

you readers have blown my read numbers higher and faster then any of my stories so far and the kudos rate is COOL!

I am off to write more!

but remember? you can ask questions and maybe make suggestions!
I do listen to them! That is how Violet the pixie was added in more, she was to just be a sidekick and shown sometimes....but now she is a main line character!

have a great day!

yay chapter posted on right day!

Well there you go, a new chapter on the right day!

There's more - well a bit of an update anyhow.

Look out for new Kindle stuff at the weekend, the first segment of Gaby book 17 should be finished so for the impatient, that's something to look forward to!

I've Had A Lovely Time.

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Since 2004, life has been unimaginably hard at times but over the last 5 or so years it has gotten much easier. Being the odd sort that I am, I never really engaged with the LGBT folk's political agenda, choosing to simply be a woman. I've learned a lot about writing, but lack the talent to ever be a star. I'll likely be increasingly absent because, for now at least, I have lost interest in the whole male to female thing, and never had any interest in the female to male one.

Port of Arrival has arrived!

(I see I've already been scooped!)

Yes, Port of Arrival is finally published, the follow-up to Port of Departure. Here are the links to the Amazon pages and, well, I think I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine and relax for a little bit ...

Karin Bishop - Port of Arrival


For anyone out there that is also a fan of Karin's, her sequel to Port of Departure is finally on Amazon. I have been waiting since last November for this book, and just purchased my copy. Here is the Amazon US link.

Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK

For fans of hers, she has also updated all of her older works and created new cover art for each. I really love her work and expect to be reading it all night.

That's the way the ...


... cookie crumbles / dice roll / penny drops / knife falls.

So after a week of doing nothing other than forgetting all the threads and sub-threads in Julina, a week in which I learnt much from my esteemed and most delightful visitor, I decided it was time to finally polish my next Julina episode and get it up.

But first, I would peel and chop the 2 kilos (4.5 pounds) of carrots I just purchased over the border in France for about one third of what they would cost here in Switz.

And the kilo of celery.

Peel, peel, peel, peel, peel.