Standard Operating Procedure

I’m office manager at a school for children with autism. That title may be a little misleading, as I don’t really manage the office. I am the office. Just me, little old me, and the director, who couldn’t find a pen if it was in his pocket (it usually is, and it’s usually not his) and who generally has about seventeen things going at once, none of which in any way involves following those pesky ~rules~ set up by HR or Payroll or Accounts Payable.†

With any school, it’s important that no matter who is sick or absent or distracted, things keep going. When you’re talking about a school for kids on the spectrum, it becomes a bit more imperative. Breaks in routine are Not. Good.

So recently when the boss was telling someone how I’m awesome, that I’m office manager, receptionist, nurse, occasional janitor, sometime maintenance tech, and all the while somehow manage to keep him mostly in line so HR doesn’t come hunting him with torches, and that without me the whole school would fall down–I appreciated it, but I also decided it should not all depend on me. I’m human. I get sick. And sometimes I need a vacation. So I started collecting my checklists and notes on how things work into a Standard Operating Procedure Manual. Kind of like this except not so formal. So if I ever needed to, you know, not go to work, the entire school wouldn’t fall down while I lolled around …

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City of Hope and Ruin

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A Fractured World novel


Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to …

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Titans and Mummies of Literature

Forgive me if I’m a bit garbled and parenthetical. Tonight I almost flunked Writing 102 (and I may yet!)

Okay, I wasn’t going to flunk tonight. I was going to drop it. Tonight. With two weeks left in the semester. And I’m a bit embarrassed about it. I can give you all the excuses, but the simple fact is that I thought I had a week longer than I do, so I didn’t work fast enough. Because I was avoiding it.

But why would I, a writer, avoid writing? Especially when it’s a self-paced, show-up-when-you-want class and I don’t have to deal with any obnoxious classmates?

Let me tell you. But if you’re worried about spoilers from literature, you should probably not read any farther.

All right. If you’re still here, then you can’t complain when I tell you the ending of some stories.

Here‘s the first story we read for the course. If you don’t want to read it (I don’t blame you) it’s about some boys playing around in a dangerous place, and someone takes disapproving action, possibly just to scare the boys into making smarter choices, but instead one of the children falls to his death.

Yeah. Dead kid, no warning. Thank you so VERY much. I had to walk away from my homework to rant at my poor unsuspecting roommate.

Well, it happens. People write about death. It’s natural. With some people, it’s really popular. I point to the current show-that-must-be-watched, How to Get Away …

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Creatively Antsy

I’m running a little late tonight. I was working on an assignment for my Western Civ class (which I was doing last minute because DRAMA and also CARP but I won’t go into that.)

To be honest, the assignment was a little difficult. Not the part about “you’re a vassal for two different lords, who are about to go to war and both have called you up to fight. What do you do?” No, that part was pretty easy. The hard part was doing only the assignment, and not going beyond.


By my oath, I owe fealty to Count Moliere. By my oath, by tradition and right, I owe fealty to Count Lumiere. When this bleak winter ends, the two shall meet on the field of battle and I am called to take my place–on both sides of the argument.

Five years ago at Christmas, I did homage to Count Moliere and spoke my oath, took my place as his vassal. He gave to me the lands and rights to this castle through which the wind blows. This castle he reclaimed when my predecessor broke his oath of fealty, and bore arms against him.

This castle stands, cold and drafty, amid a manor my lord Moliere had nearly emptied of useful persons. He gave me a fief of the old, of the infirm, of women and children. When we meet he boasts of his generosity as a true knight and pokes at my lack thereof, when I have sunk …

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7 Weeks

So about seven weeks ago, coincidentally enough, I blogged about an app called 7 Weeks. It’s supposed to help build habits. So how’s that going?

I think I should have invested in the Cattle Prod app.

Don’t get me wrong! The 7 Weeks app itself is great. Easy to use, appealing, intuitive…the problem, as always, is me.

The free version tracks your habit for the titular 7 Weeks. I paid $1.99 for the pro version, knowing I was going to need more than seven weeks. And after those seven weeks, I can unequivocally say I was right–I needed it.

Probably I’m trying for too much at once. I didn’t just stick with the two habits I talked about last time, oh no. Not ME. That would be too easy! I stuck with writing every day. I altered “watch the money” to “update budget spreadsheet.” I added “clean kitchen.” And “at or under calorie goal.”

Most days I get one of them (clean the kitchen, generally. It’s the least mentally-challenging). Some days I get two! I’ve even gotten all four once or twice, but definitely not more than that.

As I see it, there are a couple reasons for my less-than-stellar performance here:

  • I take on too much. Always. Instead of one habit at a time, I went for four. I’m also doing these while I take a three college classes (two of them only one credit each, but still!) work full-time, and continue my adventure-seeking in the great …

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  • Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate V

    Once wild magic shattered human civilization. Mage-built cities collapsed, spell-sped galleons sank, airships fell from the skies. Magic-born chimerae turned on their creators, and then their neighbors. The peoples of Awrhee fell into barbarism.

    But that was generations ago. Humanity has scraped together kingdoms again, and learned to live without magic. Those who practice spellcraft are eyed with suspicion, as are the old ways, and the old places.

    Some, however, seek treasure in the ruins of what was. Knowledge, gold, power—it’s out there. Treasure untold for anyone clever enough to find it, bold enough to take it, fast enough to get away with it.

    It’s out there, in the Spell-Wracked Lands.

    Part I

    Part II

    Part III

    Part IV


    Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate V
    A Serial Story by KD Sarge


    A chill rain fell as the group walked within a growing stream of traffic, all headed for the tall white walls smudged with murk. At the sound of thudding hoofbeats from behind, Flame jumped out of the way of a galloping horseman and while she was in the ditch stooped for a mudball to fling at his back. She thought the smear improved his blue cloak. Ryahled didn’t; he scowled at her. She grinned back, wiped her glove on a passing wagon. Kessa looked from him to her and didn’t speak. Again. Flame poked her.

    “What is gnawing on you, little one?” Though Flame was smaller in …

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    Happy New Year! Or Something.

    Due to a scheduling issue, Siri Paulson is busy being awesome elsewhere. So you get me again this week.

    Are you sick of reading about resolutions yet? Have you blown yours already?

    Come sit by me. Have some ice cream.

    I understand, and I don’t, the thing about starting a new life in a new year. I’m optimist enough to believe we can change our lives with determination and courage. I’m cynic enough to think if I can’t do it any other day of the year, the 1st of January isn’t looking so great either.

    So I make decisions. Proclamations. Plans. And I expect they turn out about as well for me as they do for many another, and we all sitting around thinking of the things we could have done if we’d just gotten around to them.

    Yeah, me too.

    Have some more ice cream.

    So anyway. I’m trying something a little different. Because I love my phone and gladly submit to its technological dominion, I got an app. It’s called 7 Weeks, and the idea is to track the habit you want to build for seven weeks–that’s when it becomes a real habit, supposedly.

    So far I’m only doing “write every day” and “watch the money.” And really, I have to decide what I mean by “watch the money” because if I’m just watching while I happily spend it all, that’s probably not going to be helpful.

    Anyway. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve got my to-do lists, …

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    Bad Habits are Hard to Break. Good Habits? Not So Much.

    They say it takes twenty-eight days to make something a habit. I think that must be for normal people.

    I wear sunglasses. Not cute little fashionable sunglasses, but big, cover everything, I want to preserve my eyes sunglasses. I rarely go outside without them, and I never drive without them. At home they hang safely on my closet door. On the go, they hang from my neck or sit on my head. When I get to work, I take them off, wrap the cord around them, and put them carefully in the back pocket of my purse, which holds nothing else so I don’t accidentally scratch my sunglasses.

    Except sometimes, very rarely, I take them off, carefully wrap the cord, and set them on top of my computer tower instead. Pretty much every time I do that, I forget them and have to go back—sometimes unlocking the gate I just locked, unlocking the front door, turning off the alarm I just set…

    Three times I’ve had over a hundred days in a row on and then blown it. Just didn’t write anything one day. Two other times, I was over two hundred days when I blew it! Yet if I drive up a certain street in Tucson while thinking of other things, I may well drive to my old house that I haven’t lived in for two years and not notice until I’m turning into the driveway.

    In short, I need to find a way to break the habits I …

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    Last Traditions Standing

    I have a very dear and marvelous friend whom I invite for Thanksgiving very early each year–like, in February if not sooner. I always want to get that invitation in early so she can truthfully say “oh, I have a prior invitation!” when asked to celebrations that make her uncomfortable.

    This year, the invitation went out before we found out that my dear friend has some special dietary needs she is just figuring out. And, also a surprise to me, now she has a new-to-the-city roommate, who also has special dietary needs. The list of things the two need to avoid is rather daunting.

    Know what, though? I don’t really care.

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    Burning Bright

    Burning Bright cover, a flaming phoenix on a black background

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    Seize the Fire Book 1

    The demons come, devouring life and light. Armed with sword and spell, Keepers meet the scourge. Above nations, beyond the law, to be a Keeper is to hold power–but power always comes with a price.

    To Keeper Apprentice Hiro Takai, Keepers are heroes, risking their lives to battle with sword and spell …

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