I write this while I have what seems to be a wicked head cold that has sapped my strength and submerged my world in a cloud of noise and nonsense. So if I come of nonsensically, let me assure you it's not the meds, for I have not taken any: previous encounters with Robitussen, Sudafed, and other decongestants and cold/flu aids have resulted in hallucinations and mania I can't really begin to fathom.

This is pure, sick Vicki.

I spent most of the morning asleep. Actually, all of it. After calling in to work sick, I promptly passed out until noon, when my work-at-home hubby gently nudged me to awakeness to ensure I didn't sleep my whole day away so that I wouldn't have trouble tonight. After tea and lunch, I lay and read Hugo-Award winner The Big Time by Fritz Leiber. It's been a while since I've read any hardcore sci-fi. And I think I remember why I don't when I'm sick...

I once again promptly passed out for an hour.

Rested but still weak, I decided to try to get some work done on the website, which has been in serious need of some refreshment. I never realized how tiring it was just sitting at this desk. It seems to be an effort to just be upright.

So here I am now, trying to write to get myself in the "write" state of mind to get some actual writing done. Hubby is making me nourishing congee (jook): Chinese rice porridge, for those of you who have never had it. Here's a recipe:

2 cups (old) cooked rice
6 cups of water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Ginger, finely sliced into little matchsticks
1/2 pound of ground pork
pinch of salt

In a big pot, brown pork in oil with ginger on high heat. Add water, bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce to medium low heat when the soup comes to a boil. Let simmer for 1-2 hours. Add salt as needed. Serves, 4 people. Or one very sick person.

Water may be added to thin out the mixture, or it can be left to boil off to make it thicker. It's really very idiot-proof; just make sure you don't burn it.

Serve with fresh scallions (green onion) or whatever else you want. I like picked vegetables, deep-fried donuts from Chinatown and dried pork floss, but that might just sound weird to other people.

Apologies if there's a lot of eyesore-ness on this webpage in the next little while--I'm trying out various schemes to freshen up the ol' girl.

Note that I now have a static home page and that my blog is at If you have RSS feeds that go to my homepage, please update them. Thanks!

If you have any thoughts about how it looks, or have any suggestions--or you just can't stand the way everything looks--let me know in the comments! Harlequin Blaze Editorial Assistant Laura Barth talks vampires, heroes, bad boys, saving cats, and her upcoming gig at the Toronto Romance Writers meeting. Point of discussion:

"I think it’s the belief that this character may be redeemable that keeps us interested. But is that what we really want?"

Is the modern independent female reader really looking for a guy they have to change? Do (loosely most but not all) women want to be the girl who changes her guy and settles him down to a life of marital (and sensual) bliss? Does a hero have to be "broken" so that the heroine gets to fix him? Discuss!