Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m finally working my way through the backlog of stories and novels I’ve written all year and getting them published. Yay!

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Eva struggles to create clarity out of chaos in her job as Assistant Cruise Director on the Universe, a spaceship which cruises the multiverse. Humans from differing political and social factions mixed with aliens from all over. Her boss has gone AWOL, someone’s sabotaging the planned schedule of events and even her cabin won’t recognize her. What else could possibly go wrong?

 

An ‘Aboard the Universe’ story.

 

I had lots of fun with the cover.

At the moment I’m working on another novel. Hope to finish it within the next couple of weeks and then it goes out to readers, while I write a few of the short stories that are piling up in my brain. Oh and there’s another novel in there too. About Montana even! Looking forward to that. But short stories first. They make nice palate cleansers.

I hope everyone out there has a lovely Thanksgiving. I’m feeling very grateful this year for the many people and creatures and things in my life. Since we’re having a cold spell I’m especially thankful for the wood stove. First time I’ve been warm in days.


There Are No Answers

IMG_3332For the past week and a half my small town has been inundated with news crews and the colors or red and white have been splashed everywhere around here. Neighbors and friends have had their faces on the front pages of newspapers and on television. And to have the town mentioned on BBC News is surreal. I’ve watched our close community pull together even more, in very public ways.

I’ve been watching everything from the sidelines, feeling unable to attend gatherings and vigils, overcome with emotions that I can’t seem to find the right words to talk about. Struggling to concentrate on work and barely holding our lives together. I haven’t even been able to find anything coherent to say on Facebook about it. Not even a sentence. I keep reading the words, “We all grieve in our own way”, but I don’t feel like this is grief. I haven’t begun to grieve yet. I think I’m still stunned by the shootings.

I’m also frustrated by not having answers. Of course there’s never any good answer for death, and the deaths of four fourteen year old kids seems awful. They were so so young and in the midst of raging hormones and high school and lost love. And those are the only answers I’ve seen so far. A young man with a broken heart, in such pain that he wanted to die and take his friends and relatives with him. It’s the stuff of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

If only it were fiction.

I can’t make sense of this. It’s not like the shooter was a terribly dysfunctional kid. His parents participated in his life, went to his events. He was well liked, even popular. He was a normal kid who was in such pain he couldn’t make good choices, not a bullied loner who was out to kill others just to hurt people. At least that’s what I see looking in from the outside. I didn’t know any of the kids, they’re friends of friends. Some of them went to the same place my daughter hangs out at after school. She’ll probably go to that high school. One degree of separation.

I don’t feel afraid for my child, not any more than usual anyway, but I feel such sadness that these four lives have been cut short and two others have probably been irreparably damaged. I feel such sorrow for their family and friends, who must now live without their light.

I keep asking why.

And there’s no answers.


If it’s Fall, There Must Be Mushrooms!

So, I’ve finally succumbed and admitted that fall is here. The rains have begun again and the plants are relieved. Mushrooms are popping up everywhere – even the gravel driveway! Tough little critters those.

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There’s these lovely, delicate ones I found on a log.

 

 

 

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And these which have cropped up behind the old run-in shed. These two photos might be of the same type of mushroom, just different ages, and stages of growth and decomposition.

 

 

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And this one growing on a whiskey barrel.

 

 

 

 

And lastly, this old beast, a shelf fungus, that’s year round, growing on an old fir stump.IMG_3256

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not a mushroom expert. I did take a class on edible mushrooms year ago and can identify chanterelles, morels, cauliflower mushrooms and that’s about it. We’ve had all three here, but they seem to come and go with whatever the current year’s compost brings in. I just look at most mushrooms and let the slugs eat them. Because goodness knows, we’re not feeding the slugs enough!

Life is moving on. I’m watching the trees slowly turn colors (and it is slower this year) and drop leaves, the koi are getting their last few meals till next spring and the cats are moving back inside, annoyed at the rain.

I’m writing on a new novel that I’m excited about and still overwhelmed at all the publishing work I have to do. I’m S-L-O-W-L-Y making a catalog page, you can find it on the top bar under Books & Stories. As I put new things up and redo old covers, things are making their way onto the catalog page which has descriptions, samples to download and links to most of the places my writing can be bought. But just because something’s not listed doesn’t mean it’s not available. It just means I haven’t had time to get the links there. Eventually, I’ll revamp the whole website, but covers need to be redone first.

I just finished an awesome novel – ‘Lost Lake’ by Sarah Addison Allen. It came out earlier this year and I bought it in hardcover (which I rarely do), because I love her books. I put it on my shelf, saving it for a time when I was looking for magic realism, wonderful characters and romance all bundled together. And last week was the time. I read it in two days. She has a gift for taking something extraordinarily simple and turning it into magic. Her first major novel was called ‘Garden Spells’. It’s still one of my all time favorite books. She’s releasing another book with the same character in January. So yay! It was such a pleasure to read a good book again. For the last three months I’ve been starting fiction and putting the book back down because it didn’t grab me. My brain was in such a hypercritical mode that I couldn’t enjoy anything, so I just read nonfiction. Of which I have a huge backlog to read as well.

Anyway, time for me to get to work. I hope you’re having a lovely fall with crunchy leaves. Ours are all soggy now, but hey, there’s mushrooms!

 



Keeping My Nose Down!

IMG_3176Fall is here and I’m still around, even though it’s been quiet here on the website. I’ve been working my tail off: writing, publishing, cleaning, organizing, winterizing, gardening, de-spidering and sometimes cooking. Ooh and even exercising.

Flannel sheets are on the bed, the cats have moved back inside, the wool carpet’s down in the living room and outdoor furniture is making its way into the barn. I can just picture the various chairs and tables walking across the property, rushing just a little to avoid the rain and cold. Followed by the swing and umbrella. Snort. I have my little fantasies.

I’ve been trying to get my body used to getting up at 6AM. AAAaaaaaccccckkkkkkk! But the youngling (I can’t really call her a child anymore, can I?) needs to be driven to the bus stop before school. Like at 7:10AM. I can’t believe she has to be there that early. Neither can she. In a couple of weeks we’ll be doing that in the dark! And rain. Now that’ll be fun. Today we got to listen to lots of bird conversation and even a frog quietly croaking from across the road.

And Hydrangeas! Like the ones in the photo above. I love how they open one color and slowly age through different shades until they end up looking completely different. The photo doesn’t capture the subtle tones in the faded flower.

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And I’ve slowly been getting more things published. I finally got another Halloween story up!

A monstrous creature has hunted her family for generations. Now it’s Rose’s turn. She’s the only thing that stands between IT and her younger siblings. Will she be the one to kill IT?

It’s Halloween and the real monsters are out.

 

And I’ve begun the slow work of redoing covers that I’m not happy with. Making some progress, but it’ll take quite a while to redo them all. With some it’s just a matter of switching fonts or shifting things around. With others, it’s a complete redo and I need to search out new cover art. And as I get more covers done, I’ll be shifting my website around a bit. Rearranging the furniture. Because I’m easily bored. And because I can.

And I’m writing and writing and writing some more. Trying to stay focused when I’m writing the first draft of one story, cleaning up another and formatting a completely different one. And trying to cram it all in while running the rest of my life and attempting to organize the household. It’s my daily challenge. Some days I make it, others not so much.

I’m also trying to stay focused on my work because there’s so much going on out in the world that I’m unhappy about and have no control over anyway. I hate feeling powerless. But my body’s telling me my stress levels are too high and I need to let some things go. So, for once I’m listening.

Keeping my head down and moving forward. At least that’s the direction I think I’m going.


Rolling Along!

The mural we painted

The mural we painted

I’ve been absent here for a while as the summer winds down, WAH! Spent a good chunk of time helping the child remove every single thing from her room. Which meant going through drawers that probably haven’t been touched in years!

Oh, the things we found. Won’t go into that since I know you want to keep your last meal down. But it took days, and the recycling, garbage and donate boxes were filled. Three large boxes of books went to her old school. And furniture left the house.

Then we spackled over paneling and sanded and vacuumed and painted. And made lots of trips to the hardware store. And painted more. And painted some more, while she slept on the couch for several nights. And got annoyed because we ran out of the paint colors we needed. And cleaned the floor. Then new/used furniture came in. Plus some of the old furniture came back. Walls were hung with decorations. So about 3 weeks later, things are finally finished, well mostly. We still need to find the right curtains or blinds. And the right bedspread, etc. But she’s back in her room, loving it and she had some time off before school started.

So now that school’s in session, a new school that starts much earlier, I’m struggling to get up at 6AM. Aaack. Isn’t that fun? And the days are getting shorter and wake-up time comes before the sun’s up. It’s been alternately sunny and rainy. So on the sunny days I’m trying to get outside and write, even though it’s cold and windy out there. Gotta enjoy the sun before it leaves until sometime next spring.

I’m working on finishing up the first draft of another novel. Then there’ll be a lot of adding in left to do before I send it out to readers. I’m also finishing up an online writing workshop which is giving me lots of great information.

Patio finally finished, well mostlyOn the gardening front, nothing is happening. I have a feeling I’m pretty much finished watering for the season, yay! Michael’s still adding sand between the pavers of the new patio. Here’s a photo of it after all the pavers had been cut, but without the sand in between them and without furniture.

Not much time left in the summer to enjoy it as the sun is slowly sinking behind the tall cedars, but I’m hoping the rains hold off till October because there’s lots of gardening to catch up on.

Today, it’s collecting poppy seeds.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to working on getting a new story up. I’m still behind on publishing things. I’ve got seven stories and one novel finished and/or out to readers. Another bunch of stories circulating out among various magazines and looking for homes. So, I’ve got to get moving on the publishing end of things! Because I’ve also got a lot of covers to rework. And oh so much more to do. But I’m not going down the road of panic. At least not today!

Cool spider drying off on a Dahlia

Cool spider drying off on a Dahlia

 

After it rained a couple of days ago, the garden was filled with slugs and snails. Countless numbers. But I also noticed a couple of very strange spiders. We always have a lot of spiders, so much food for them, so many insects! The spousal unit joked that we have the H&S garden. Filled with Hydrangeas, Hellebores & Heucheras. Slugs, snails, sowbugs & spiders.

So here’s a couple of photos. I’m off to try to pull my life together, run errands and perhaps try to cram in another couple of episodes of Prime Suspect before Netflix gets rid of it. I’ve got 12 hours more to watch by the end of the month!

Oh, and maybe try to read a book!

Another cool spider


Finally, A Cat Story!

PURR:JPEG:850X1288I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write a cat story. I have multiple feline friends, wear clothes covered with cat hair, feed the beasts twice a day, rescue garter snakes from them and they show up in my stories now and again. But I’ve never had an idea for a story about cats. Until now.

I was tooling around on stock photo sites, looking for a cover photo for something else and I found this picture. And I knew I had to write a story about this scrawny little black kitten walking down the street in the dark all by himself. Well, here he’s in a pool of light from a streetlight, but the rest of the street is dark.

So, the photo danced around in my brain for a while and finally, I had an opening this spring and this story was the result.

P.U.R.R. – Protectors United for Residential Requisition: What power does a tiny kitten have to change the world? More than you think. If cats ever got organized…

It’s available at all the normal places – Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, etc.

In other news, the patio is almost done! Just getting a few bricks cut around the edges and sanding it in are all that’s left to do. Woot! So, my outdoor writing office is back where I like it – closer to the house and the pond.

We’re about to tackle painting the child’s room. Carloads of things to donate to charity have left the house and countless paper has been recycled. Her room is nearly empty. Scary things were found lurking in her desk drawers – 2 Easter eggs from who knows how long – possibly not from this year. Really gross.

Anyway, we’re painting her room all one color, except on one wall – we’ll be painting a forest. That’ll be interesting. But fun! In the adult’s bedroom in the house, we painted cave paintings on all the walls, because it’s a minuscule bedroom with a low ceiling. It was a blast to paint and twelve, thirteen years later, I still love it. So, forest here we come!

And I just sent one novel to my readers and am about a third of the way through a different one. They’re not related, one’s Science Fiction, the other Fantasy. I’m having a wonderful time exploring this world. I’ve got more stories to publish soon and am busy, busy, busy. And school starts in two weeks! Oh yay. Time to start getting up earlier.

It’s been a glorious summer and I’m hoping there’s another two months of sun. Then I might have stored up enough heat and sunshine to make it through till next June. Possibly.

So, I’m off to wash walls for painting prep. Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer. Or winter, depending on where you live.