Story artwork!

Every story in the Athena’s Daughters anthology has accompanying artwork. And mine is now available!

Moon Fall

It is perfect! I love it. If you missed the Kickstarter, you can pre-order the book from the publisher here:

And while I have you here, there is another anthology I want to bring to your attention. I have no story in this one, but it’s a from the same publisher as Athena’s Daughters, and I know some of the authors.


Because of Kickstarter rules about not allowing charities, this anthology is being funded through Indigogo. All of the proceeds will go to CJ Henderson, who is currently battling cancer and thus has huge medical bills. So a whole bunch of authors teamed up and donated stories to go into this anthology. The book has funded, so it’s now all about reaching the stretch goals to get more books and more stories. You get a lot of stories for only $10, and the money goes to a help out someone. So give it a look:

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On this snowy St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to see if I could find out anything about some of my Irish ancestors. On my mom’s side, I descend from William Durkee (also spelled Durgy). He was born in County Meath, Ireland, about 1632 (I know nothing about his parents, not even their names) and may have been the first Irishman to settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He had been an Irish soldier captured on the battlefield by Oliver Cromwell’s forces, and then transported to Barbados as a slave to work on the sugar plantation. He was freed under proclamation of Charles II. He arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts, on 9 November 1663 as the indentured servant of Thomas Bishop.

William’s wife was Martha Cross. She was born in Massachusetts of English parents. She was probably employed in the household of Thomas Bishop, where she and William met. Martha and William conceived a child out of wedlock. (“March 1664: Martha Dirky, for fornication, was ordered to be whipped unless she bring a note from the treasurer, of three pounds paid to him.” “October 1664: William Dirkey, presented for fornication, was ordered to be whipped not exceeding twenty stripes, and to put in security [of something] to save the town of Ipswich harmless from the charges of keeping the child, or else go to prison. Thomas Biship, surety.”) Martha felt that she was cast out of her father’s favor so she moved in with her sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth went to her parents and found them “in a sad and sorrowful condition, very much harried in spirit, not knowing which way to turn or what to say.” They were advised that a marriage was thought to be the best solution. Robert Cross, Martha’s father, would not let the situation end and he sued William Durkee for abusing his daughter. William then sued Robert Cross for withdrawing his consent to the marriage after giving his permission. (“September 1664: Robert Cross Verses William Dirkey. For abusing his daughter. Verdict for plaintiff: ‘William Nelson deposed that William Dorkei said, at deponent’s house, after Goodman Stories had been at his father’s that he wished he had never spoken as he had, owning the child to be his, but he had eighteen meals a week and would spare six of them to keep the child.’”)

William and Martha married in Ipswich, Massachusetts, on 20 December 1664. Two weeks later, their first child, John, was born. They went on to have approximately ten children, who were raised Protestant. (I descend from his daughter, Mercy.)

Since William would not renounce his Catholicism, he could not own land, and his family lived in poverty. He was also a target for the Puritans. “They fined him for not attending church, the fine being paid by Bishop. He was sentenced to receive 25 lashes or pay a fine of five pounds for running away. Bishop pays again.”

William died in Ipswich, Massachusetts, (or possibly Windham, Connecticut) on 29 January 1704.

[sources: and and]

On my father’s side, I am descended from Honora O’Flynn. She was born around 1681 in County Kerry, Ireland, and died on 3 March 1741 in either Baltimore County or Carroll County, Maryland. Her story is quite the tale. Honora is said to be “beautiful, the flaming red head, vivacious and pious Irish Catholic girl kidnapped from the southern coast of Ireland.” William Logsdon was working on his farm in 1702 when he saw a British ship anchored in the Patapsco River and decided to inspect its cargo. Part of the cargo was Honora O’Flynn who had been kidnapped by the British from the coast of Ireland and brought to Maryland by a sea captain for barter. It is reported that William gave the sea captain a hogshead (barrel) of tobacco for Honora’s passage.

Another record says much the same thing. William Logston came to America at 1673 and entered indentured servantry at the age of 10 or 20 (records are contradictory), working on the tobacco plantations along the Patapsco river. He eventually had is own farm, purchased at the end of his time of indentured servantry, where he raised livestock and made tobacco his chief crop. At the age of 39 (or whatever age he was depending on which records are correct), and undoubtedly lonely and feeling time passing by, he noted a ship in in the river, bearing a cargo of women. The women were a mix of voluntary and involuntary women brought from Ireland and England to be sold as wives to colonists. Asking permission to board, he selected Honora O’Flynn, who had been kidnapped in Kerry County, Ireland.

In the Hall of Records, Annapolis, MD, Vol. 15, several documents state that Honora was kidnapped from Ireland by pirates and brought to Maryland where she was sold as an indentured servant.

But whatever odd and likely very sad circumstances brought her to Maryland, William Logsdon and Honora O’Flynn married in 1702. They had seven children. It is through her that some of her descendant lines are Catholic.

[source: and and]

So, there we are – some of my Irish ancestry. It’s more interesting than I realized when I opened up and Google this morning and started to write this post!

By the way, as I was doing research for this post, I came across a whole gaggle of ancestors (all on my dad’s side) who lived in Maryland. Tons of ‘em, over a couple hundred years. I see their birth and/or death locations listed as Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Prince Georges… all places that I now recognize. The majority originate from England, so they don’t meet my St. Patrick’s Day needs. However, I didn’t actually realize that I had so many ancestors from here, the region I now inhabit. I thought it was pretty much Europe to New England and then some moved West. That’s it. But no, there were quite a few who made Maryland home. Perhaps I step where they once walked in life. I suddenly feel like I have more of a connection to this place. Very weird.

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Little niece, Aria

So, yeah… still alive. Who knew that being unemployed would be so emotionally draining that writing, including updating my blog, would be more than I could deal with? But I really need to post this post, and I find myself with some motivation today. (I actually even got some creative writing done.)

On January 2nd I became an aunt. I have a niece! She is a cute little critter named Aria. I flew out to Utah on the day of her birth in order to meet her when she was fresh from the womb, all new and whatnot. It was awesome! I flew back home to DC a week later, so sad to say goodbye. I wish I could be closer to her to hold her and squish her and spike her hair. I’ve never really been into kids – at all – but there is something about this sweet little critter that is completely different in how I feel about her.


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2013 in Review

January – Knitting hats to donate to the children’s hospital
Knitting hats

February – Farpoint, a lovely gathering with fellow geeks (Phantom of the Mariachi)
Phantom of the mariachi

March – Spring in DC
Blossoms on a tree

April – The most beautiful tree, a weeping cherry tree
Weeping cherry tree

May – Balticon – another fun gathering with fellow geeks
Princess Leia

June – Dad’s a U.S. citizen!
Dad with a flag and sparklers

July – Independence Day

August – A parade in Utah
Highland Fling parade

September – I used to work across the street from this building, and I always thought it was the coolest looking building
NOAA building

October – Halloween at a house in the neighborhood
Halloween decorations

November – Autumn at the National Arboretum
Autumn by the Capitol Columns

December – Temple at Christmas
Temple at Christmas

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Is it Friday?

I ask because the days all flow together now that I’m unemployed, and Friday has become one more meaningless blip. But I am trying to enjoy my unemployment time off. I finally took the time to check out the Postal Museum and found it to be surprisingly interesting. Yesterday I planned to visit the Museum of Art, but the bus was so packed I couldn’t get off, so I wandered around Georgetown for a while instead. I bought a candle (pomegranate/spruce), which is burning right now and smells divine. Also, since Georgetown is about 30% cupcakes now, I got a cupcake. I’d never tried Sprinkles, so I picked them. Wasn’t impressed. Won’t be back. The cake and frosting were both mediocre. I still like Baked and Wired best. And I don’t even like cupcakes. I’m just a lemming.

But in the world of happiness and light, the Athena’s Daughters kickstarter is going wonderfully! There are a ton of add-ons beyond just the one book. For $5 you get the ebook, but you also get other books, short stories, music, and art. We’ve had some great publicity, and it just passed the $24K mark, which means a companion volume, Apollo’s Daughters, will now be added as an additional option to purchase!

Postal Museum

Postal Museum

Temple at Christmas

Temple at Christmas

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Here is a preview of my story that will be in Athena’s Daughters. (Click to go to the Kickstarter!)

Moon Fall
by Tanya Spackman

Amaia was relieved to finally find a bit of peace as she dressed her mother’s body at the funeral home. She’d been dreading this moment, but as she, and two women from her mother’s church, moved the body back and forth to maneuver the fabric of the clothes in place, the heavy ache crushing her chest lifted. For the first time in several days, she didn’t wish she too was dead. The only words spoken were absolutely necessary.

“Pull towards you and I’ll move it down.”

“Can you help me lift?”

Otherwise, it was quiet, and the three women moved silently to complete the task. Once her mother was dressed, the other two women gave Amaia a hug and left the room. She’d already said goodbye, but couldn’t help one more kiss on her mother’s cold cheek. The kiss felt empty and she regretted it. She said a quiet thank you to the funeral director waiting outside the door and left.


7 April 2015
From: Omar Gray, JPL/NASA
To: Megan Keelan, JPL/NASA

Megan, check out the attached files. Hiromi was spot on with those gravity measurements. This thing is huge. Alex’s calculations say 2700 km in diameter. It has got to be a D-type. Course is a little iffy right now, but it’s going to be close fly-by. Give us a couple more days for an accurate course. Likely close enough for tidal effects, at least.

Megan, this is a scary one. Might want to pass it up the chain ASAP.


Omar Gray, PhD
Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex
(760) 555-4774


The funeral home building, white but in desperate need of a new paint job, was two stories tall, plus a basement, but had a small footprint. Her mother’s body was prepared on the lowest level, and she never saw the second floor, but the main floor had a cramped chapel, a couple small rooms for family to meet before the service, and restrooms. The chapel had little decoration besides some dusty lace curtains with fake plants on each window sill. Wood benches, with little leg room between them, lined both sides of a single middle aisle. They creaked as people sat and stood and sat again. The dark-wood casket, closed, laid in the front.

Amaia sat on the front row, accepting people’s condolences as they entered the room. She’d grown up in the house her mother died in, so some of the people were neighbors she’d known as a child and dimly remembered, aged ghosts from another life. Others she didn’t know, strangers offering condolences to a stranger.

A man approached her.

“Amaia, I’m so sorry. I would have come to see you sooner, but my flight barely landed in time to get here.”

“Thanks for coming,” she said flatly, as she had many times for the past half hour.

“Do you mind if I come to the house afterwards? It’s been so long. I’d love to catch up with you.”

With that she looked at him instead of through him, trying to place him. He was familiar.

“I’ve got some things to take care of afterwards,” she lied, “but thank you for thinking of me.” How did she know him?

“Sure. Maybe tomorrow?”

A jolt went through her as she placed him.


“What are you doing here?”

“Look, I know it’s kind of awkward. I’ve always cared about you, and I know this must be difficult.”

Amaia, saw the line forming behind her father, strangers and acquaintances she needed to greet, needed to accept their verbal offerings, needed to give a part of herself in return. She stretched her hand out to the man behind her father. “Thanks for coming.” Her father stood waiting, but as the man left and the man and woman yet behind him stepped forward and Amaia gave them her attention, pointedly focusing on them more than she had any of the others who’d come before. Her father moved away, and Amaia’s shoulders relaxed perceptibly. People continued to cross by her offering their condolences, and she returned to the half attention state, but the anger at seeing her father swirled with the pain and sadness of losing her mother and she wanted to leave, quickly. Only a few more people would pass, and the service could begin.

She spoke of her mother and cried. Others spoke, some crying, some not, people who loved her mother but were nothing to her. It ended, and people filed out for the drive to the cemetery. A few words were spoken at the gravesite, and then it was over. Some people offered more condolences as they left, but most walked away, in groups, some alone, visiting. Some laughed, and she hated them.
And there was Dad. Waiting for some privacy. Amaia seethed.

“Hey, I know I kind of came out of nowhere. I’m really sorry for surprising you. I just really knew I needed to be here, you know?”

“I haven’t seen you since I was, like, six. That’s over 20 years. What are you doing here?”

“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry.”

Amaia looked at him exasperated. “You’re sorry? Look, thanks for coming, but you don’t exist for me anymore, and I want nothing to do with you. You left and Mom moved on. You’re not real to me, and you never will be. Please leave. If I die before you, you’re welcome to come to my funeral, but otherwise, you are nothing to me.”

“Right. Okay. Look Here’s my business card. If, you know, you want to call sometime, that would be okay.”

“I wanted to call you years ago. You were gone. Why now? Just because Mom died?”

“I know. I screwed up. I heard about what happened, and I just, I don’t know….”

“No, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to do that.”

“Okay. Well, keep the card, just in case.”

She thought of tearing up the card, but didn’t. She just turned and walked away, shoving the card into her purse after she got into the funeral limo.


9 April 2015
From: Alex Peigne, JPL/NASA
To: Megan Keelan, JPL/NASA


Here’s what we know. Spectral D-type. This thing is dark. It’s 2700 km in diameter, and that’s pretty uniform across it. Because of its size, it has to be a long period asteroid, or someone would have seen it in previous passes. A very eccentric orbit. I’d love to know aphelion, but no way to calculate it yet, not without the semimajor axis and orbital eccentricity. It is currently going 45 km/s, and will increase to 52 km/s by the time it reaches Earth’s orbit. It is currently at 8.298e8 km (5.55 AU), so it’s just about to pass Jupiter’s orbit. It will cross our orbit in 28 weeks.

It will be a very, very near miss. Tidal forces might be an issue. Because of its size, it doesn’t even have to be a direct impact to hurt us.

Alex Peigne, PhD
Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex
(760) 555-4991


10 April 2015
From: Omar Gray, JPL/NASA
To: Alex Peigne, JPL/NASA

Alex, it’ll hit the moon. Check out the angle at impact.



Want to know what happens? Of course you do! The Kickstarter had an awesome day yesterday. I’m so excited for this book to come out!

We also have a Facebook page. There are links to some other excerpts there:

And we also have a Facebook event:


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Buy my book!

Click to go to Kickstarter and buy!

Today is an exciting day. Today I take an important step to becoming a published writer! The Kickstarter is live! This is really happening! The title of this post isn’t entirely accurate – it’s not “my book.” I am but one author in the anthology. But an anthology means there’s something there for everyone! And, okay, as a long-time technical writer, I have technically already become a published writer, but that previous work is stuff that no one actually reads, which sits on dusty shelves (literal and electronic) of government offices, just waiting to be burned in whatever apocalypse awaits us. Which brings us back to this book! I don’t know how many stories will fall into the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic realm, but mine will!

My story is a beautiful tale of family. And the complete and total destruction of the planet. Turns out it’s a terrible and fiery end for a us all, but at least it should be quick.

But no one will read my awesome story if we don’t reach the $11,000 goal since the inclusion of my story is one of the stretch goals. Luckily, this publisher has far exceeded that goal in previous anthology Kickstarters, so the odds are in my favor. But it relies upon you – friends, family, acquaintances, random strangers I’ve collected along the way – to go forth to the Kickstarter and buy.

So, what exactly is this anthology? Who else is in this anthology?

I’ve partnered with Silence in the Library Publishing, and a host of renowned authors including names like Mary Robinette Kowal, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Rabe, Sherwood Smith, and many others. Athena’s Daughters is a collection of short fiction from some of the best female science fiction and fantasy authors in the industry. This anthology features stories written by women about women. It will also have an introduction by retired astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Pam Melroy.

The publisher, Silence in the Library, believes strongly in the concept of bringing the artistry back to publishing. To that end, every anthology they produce features illustrations for each and every story.

Additionally, my fellow authors and I and the staff at Silence in the Library Publishing, believe that any good project should contribute something to improve the human community. In keeping with that goal, a portion of every book sold will go to RAINN. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

And there is more info on the Kickstarter page!

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