Sin Eater

Scheduled for release to Kindle bookstores in April 2014, Sin Eater is a Young Adult novel about a socially isolated young girl who discovers she’s a sin eater. Here’s the first chapter:

Chapter One

He had many strange sights to keep him cheerful or to make him sad. I asked him had he ever seen the faeries, and got the reply, ‘Am I not annoyed with them?’ I asked too if he had ever seen the banshee. ‘I have seen it,’ he said, ‘down there by the water, batting the river with its hands.

~ W.B. Yeats

The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore, 1893


Se’  heard the wail of the bean-si’  – the Banshee –  faintly, echoing in the chambers of his brain, as he slept. So faint, almost past notice, but it was there. He’d heard the Banshee’s wail many times over the centuries, but it had been a very long time since he’d last heard her call.

He was close. Closer than Se’ had been in nearly two centuries. He strained to sense its direction, to catch a whiff of the scent of the Banshee. North, Se’ decided, focusing his sleeping mind on the Banshee’s wail. And there it was, the unmistakable cinnamon scent of her flesh. And as the scent sharpened in his nostrils, Se’ was pulled from his sleep.

He unfurled his long, thin limbs, the emaciated strings of grey flesh hanging loosely from his bones. Se’ had slept for too long; he felt weak as a kitten. He yawned deeply, unhinging his jaw and stretching his arms skyward. Se’ had chosen a shallow cave to rest. It had smelled of bear then, but it smelled of Se’ now. He shuffled over to the small pile of bones – all that remained of the cave’s previous tenants, a mother bear and two cubs – and pulled a handful of small metatarsal bones from it. He’d sucked out the marrow from the bones before he’d gone to sleep and contented himself now with the crunch of the bones between his teeth, remembering the fight for the cave. The six hundred pound black bear defending her squawking cubs, raised on her hind legs, teeth bared, two-inch claws extended and ready to tear Se’ apart.

He had eaten her heart first, as the two young cubs supped from the blood pooled beneath their mother.

He would need flesh soon. It was the flesh of the Banshee Se’ craved. Her flesh and the flesh of her kin, tender and ripe with knowledge and power. His nostrils flared and Se’ sniffed the air again. Yes, definitely North.

Funeral Food (Or Cherry Squares to Die For)

I’m fond of describing an unpleasant situation as “being as much fun as a Lutheran funeral without the cherry squares”. We can all agree that funerals aren’t fun, but oh Lord, those cherry squares are to-die-for. I don’t know if they’re specific to all Lutheran funerals, but every Lutheran funeral I ever went to had them.

Food and funerals. Depending on where you live and your faith (or lack thereof), there are some guidelines about what constitutes appropriate food. In the small town I grew up in, funeral food typically included sandwich triangles and squares. Egg salad, ham salad and mystery meat. I have no idea why egg salad is such a popular funeral food item. Googling “egg salad sandwich” “funeral” nets 41,500 hits. Here’s a recipe for failsafe funeral eggs sandwiches. Here’s a bit of a gourmet egg salad sammie, made with homemade mayo.

There are whole cookbooks written about funeral food. I have some of them. I even have a partially written one. Here are my favorites: Death Warmed Over by Lisa Rogak. Being Dead is No Excuse by Gayden Metcalfe.