Snerts: File down your fingernails.

the most beautiful place in the world

Folks have asked for instructions on how to play Snerts.

Snerts is a multiple-player Solitaire game. Yes, really. You need at least four players to make it really fun.

Each player must have a deck of cards, each deck with a back different from all the others so the cards can be returned to each player.

Each player deals a deck of 13 cards and puts it face up at the left.

Next to the pile deal out four cards in a row, also face up.

Somebody says “Go,” and everyone starts dealing 3 cards up from the remaining cards held in the hand.

The cards are played black on red or red on black in descending value.

Aces go up in the middle of the table.

Anyone’s Ace can be played on by any player. If I put up an Ace of spades Kathy can play her two of spades on it and Joyce can play her three of spades on it.

You can play off the 13-card stack ONLY to the communal piles begun with everyone’s Aces OR to spaces left empty when you play the four cards next to the pile. You may NOT play cards off the 13-card deck onto cards in the spaces; only when those spaces are empty may you so move.

The first person to play all 13 cards, whether up on the Aces or in the four empty spaces to the right of the stack yells “Snerts!” and play instantly ceases. The other players count the remaining cards they had in the 13-card stack. Gather in the piles in the middle of the table and separate them by the different backs.

Each player counts the cards they played on the communal Aces. From that total they must subtract the amount of cards they had left in the 13-card stack. That is their total for that game, and it is entered in the scorecard.

Play to a hundred, play to a thousand, pick your number, or just play it a game at a time.

Now, the way we played it growing up in Seldovia (and the way we still play it), there can be tremendous strategy involved. For example, maybe I get all 13 cards up but I don’t yell “snerts” right away because I want to get even more cards up, so I keep dealing and playing.

Or maybe I’ve got a five-six-seven-eight of hearts I want to play on a pile in the middle, but I don’t have a four, and Kathy does and she hasn’t seen it so I say “Kathy, play that four of hearts.” She of course may choose not to do so because she doesn’t want to put up one card and have me put up four. But she also might have the nine-ten.

Like that.

It may sound complicated. It isn’t, and it is a whole lot of fun. One cautionary note: Everybody file down their fingernails before you start.

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The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild

So. Want. One.

And then I want one of these.

Many more delightful gifts to be had at the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild.

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“A horse’s whinny, imperious and insistent, was heard, and Johanna laughed.”


Talikan, Spring, 1323
A horse’s whinny, imperious and insistent, was heard, and Johanna laughed. “Ihsan! Open the door before North Wind opens it for you!”
The door opened and Johanna shot through the opening as if she had been loosed from a bow. Still, North Wind was there before her.
Ihsan, the stable master, was the only man in Sheik Mohammed’s entire stables who could even marginally handle North Wind without injury. He was certainly the only one courageous enough to saddle and lead the stallion from his stall, and smart enough to flatten himself hastily against the stable wall as the great white stallion moved past him at a gait unsuitable for the relatively cramped quarters of the stable yard. She laughed again, caught a handful of mane and swung herself up on North Wind’s back. He didn’t stop as she settled into place, continuing on toward the double doors of the stable yard, his intent obvious. Either someone would open the doors or North Wind would go right through them.
Johanna was disinclined to slow him down. Indeed, she urged him on. She heard Ihsan shouting and two brave or well-bribed souls ran for the gates and dragged them open just in time for North Wind to thunder through. She caught a confused glimpse of a man or men on horseback outside the gates and flattened herself on North Wind’s neck. “Run, North Wind, run!” she cried, and felt his stride lengthen. The wind flattened her clothes against her flesh and tore her hair loose from its braid. The looming shadow of the palace walls fell away and they were at last gloriously out on the ribbon of sand groomed soft for the sheik’s racing horses.
The trail ran next to a wide canal shadowed by date palms and almond trees, beyond which a horizon of undulating hills beckoned more alluringly than any line of hills on any horizon she had ever seen. Freedom. The hills seemed to whisper the word in her ears. Freedom.
In the sheer pleasure of the moment the rigid guard she held on herself at all times slipped, just a little. Jaufre. Shasha. How far beyond those hills were they? Had Shasha kept her promise?
Was Jaufre even still alive?

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    And for those of you who like their books in print…

    I’ll be signing the trade paperback edition of By the Shores of the Middle Sea, live! and in person! this Saturday, at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, November 29th, at 2pm. Come on down! or click here to pre-order your copy of the trade paperback. The Pen will have me sign it and they’ll mail it to you.
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    Everything Under the Heavens is now on sale!

    Everything Under the Heavens

    Of course because I love you, but mostly because I’m determined to seduce all of you die-hard “I only read Kate books and when is the next one coming out” fans, upon publication of By the Shores of the Middle Sea the price of the first Silk and Song Book, Everything Under the Heavens, drops to $4.99.

    Download and rejoice!

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