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Lisa “LJ” Cohen
Poet, Novelist, potter, Doctor Who fan, denizen of Night Vale
Poet, Novelist, potter, Doctor Who fan, denizen of Night Vale


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Welcome to my home on the plus! If you don't want to wade through my longer profile, here's the speed read edition:

* author of 8 SF&F novels
* poet
* potter
* international spy

My novels are available in eBook and print editions in all the usual and some of the unusual places:

Barnes & Noble
Google Play
*Directly from me through my website*
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A snippet from the work in progress. A new SciFi story, completely unrelated to the universe of Halcyone Space. This takes place about a month or so after the events in my short story DIVERSITY.

(Edited to add: You can read the original short story here:

If you like what you read, you can follow me there on Curious Fictions and/or subscribe to my content there.)


"I can't pretend to understand what you've been through, but I do know that making contact changes a person."

There was a tone in Berwick's voice that she had heard there before. Something complicated had happened in his past. Something that had shaken his deepest beliefs. It was more than her sharpened Tuv senses that gave her the added layers of meaning.

"You're going to Tuv," he said. It wasn't a question.

Varna sighed. "Yes. I'm sorry about leaving you short staffed."

"You aren't."

So they had already hired her replacement. There was a pang of bitterness, but Varna squashed it.

"I've rejected your resignation."

She jerked her head up and stared over the sitting man's head. "What?"

Berwick winced briefly.

Varna had forgotten to inhibit her Tuv vocal cords and the sound of her exclamation created a specific frequency of energetic waves that caused pain in Human ears.

He held up his hands. "Don't you dare apologize. This was my fault for forgetting my filters."

"What do you mean you've rejected my resignation?"

He smiled again - that innocent, wide eyed expression that could be the universe's best poker face or a face of man with a boundless sense of curiosity. Perhaps both. "Well, rejected is a harsh word. Let's say that I've transformed it. Into an automatically renewing leave of absence."

Irritation tightened her throat. Her harsh breath sent low vibrations through the room that only she could hear. Varna struggled to get her anger under control. "Why?"

Berwick leaned forward onto her desk. His aftershave carried both the scent of sandalwood and a hint of exhaustion and fear that never reached his expression. "To preserve your options."

The anger evaporated, replaced by a sense of cold that frosted through her body. "You don't trust the Tuv."

In an instant the steadfast Ambassador had returned. He sat comfortably and his gaze was clear, direct. "Trust is something that develops through a relationship. We haven't had the time or experience to build trust. Yet."

So he was wary. Concerned enough to warn her. Concerned enough to keep her ties to the Embassy official. But was that all? Varna liked the man. She wanted to believe their journey together had created trust. But what did she really know about him other than his shock when the greeting ceremony with the Tuv representatives had gone off script. His rush to support her and claim her as Humanity's own when the Tuv offered her refuge.

Her only contact with him after their voyage back to Earth had been via email. But now, she rated a personal visit. An unguarded one. Just like the first time he had come to her office on his own. When he'd originally offered her the job to be part of the delegation.

It had been odd then and it was odd now.

"You want something from me. Something you can't ask through official channels."

Varna didn't think she'd imagined Berwick's brief wince or the way he initially shied away from meeting her gaze before his professional mask took over.

"I want you to know you can always reach out to me." He drew another breath as if to continue, shook his head fractionally, as if he were arguing with himself. "I hope you find what you're looking for, Varna. But no matter what you discover, and no matter what you might otherwise believe, I am a friend."

Before she could frame a coherent response, Berwick stood and strode out the door without looking back.

She let our her breath with a Tuv curse she didn't have an exact translation for, only a memory of her grandmother's wide eyed reaction and her grandfather's braying laughter when she'd used it in their presence once as a child.

It was far more satisfying than any Standard English invective and she said it again, louder this time, letting it ring as she paced through the empty room.
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A thoughtful guest post on the blog today by Lancelot Shaubert on science fiction and metaphysics.
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Brilliant. Painful. Far too true.

"It's not rocket science, darling. We're just asking you to be thin and curvy, secy and innocent."
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G+ hive mind: I'm looking for help identifying anything about this pin or the artist.

I bought this pin at local store that's out of business. I've had it for years & have never seen anything else like it.

I've been unable to find its provenance & I'm intensely curious about it.

Any ideas?
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I sneaked away to #StarFieldFarm yesterday for a quick overnight with the pups. I had hoped to see meteors, as we're in the midst of the Perseids, but the night was fully overcast.

My other disappointment was the $#@! squirrels and deer ate nearly ALL the ripe peaches. :sobs:

My consolation prize was nearly a gallon bag full of black raspberries. I added the blueberries and raspberries I picked from the backyard and froze a few weeks ago and made jam.

It's pretty amazing. Not going to lie. Probably not going to share any, either. ;)
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Oh, FFS, I don't get what users see in Apple computers. I got an older mac, a desktop, running OS X and everything takes minutes to run. Every time I click on a menu item, I get the spinning color wheel. Programs take minutes to open. If they open at all and don't just bounce at the bottom of the screen.

I don't know enough about the mac architecture to even begin to troubleshoot it.
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This shouldn't be so hard!

I use Bluehost for my webhost and have my professional (writing related) email through them.

I'm trying to set up the mail server settings to minimize having my email tagged as spam.

So I've researched and set up SPF and DKIM records. I've checked the health of the domain via MX toolbox.

I've done 4 support chats with the Bluehost people.

According to the testing reports, there are STILL errors in my email server setup. Things that the Bluehost people assured me would be fixed by changes to the SPF record hasn't been. (Surprise, surprise. . . I've been told different things by different support staff.)

I believe this is the result of being on a shared server and the reality is I can't justify paying the amount it would cost to be on a dedicated one.

In case it would be useful to anyone, here are some good links and testing tools I've found:

I'll continue to plug away at this to try and get it sorted out.
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It's been a long time since I've done an analysis of my book earnings, so with 2018 a little more than half over, I did a look back at my earnings, year on year since 2012 when I published my first novel.

My take home messages include:

Publishing is a long game.
Luck and timing have more to do with success than most of us want to admit.
Consistent work can help place you to take advantage of luck and timing.
There are positive and negatives with going exclusive to Amazon.
This is one writer's experience, and as such, may not be generalizable.

Happy to answer any questions about the data and my take on it.
A look back at my publishing earnings from the publication of my first novel in 2012 to today.

I'm happy to answer any questions people might have - I believe that transparency is important and the reality is that unless you are extremely lucky, it's hard to earn a living wage/full income from writing.
Playing the Long Game
Playing the Long Game

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A look back at my publishing earnings from the publication of my first novel in 2012 to today.

I'm happy to answer any questions people might have - I believe that transparency is important and the reality is that unless you are extremely lucky, it's hard to earn a living wage/full income from writing.
Playing the Long Game
Playing the Long Game
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