So it Begins!

Mahonia 'Arthur Menzies' in bloom. Making those hummingbirds happy

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ in bloom. Making those hummingbirds happy.

A new year begins and the garden is waking up again. It’s been in the 30’s here mostly. The days are getting longer. Lately we’ve had lots of fog and a little sun.

I had marvelous holidays. Got to see lots of people, ate wonderful food and drank some delicious wine. Spent time getting to know our new love seat and swively chair. And we got a new router! Whoo hoo! We can now watch Netflix on the TV. We’re moving into this century. Watch out world!

On the downside, my ITP’s back with a vengeance and my platelet count is so low they’re threatening to put me back on steroids. Last time I was on them for two and half years. I NEVER want to go back there. Prednisone screwed up everything in my body, except it did raise my platelet level. So, we’ll see if my count goes up again tomorrow. Unfortunately, no one I’ve talked to, or read, has any idea what to do with ITP. They don’t know what causes it or how to actually cure it. And the treatment is normally either steroids or cut out my spleen. Yikes. Not even the alternative medicine community knows. So discouraging. At least it’s not contagious.

Pinus 'Chief Joseph' Even the pines are brightening up.

Pinus ‘Chief Joseph’
Even the pines are brightening up.

I started a new novel, which is going well. And upped my word count goal for this year. Plus, I’m continuing my quest to redo all my old covers. As I do each one, I’m putting them on the pages of ‘Books & Stories’. It’ll take a while before the whole catalog’s complete, but each week I’m getting closer. And of course, I’m still working on publishing things I finished last year.

I’m trying to sort through my life and decide what needs to leave. There are several things I’d like to get out of my schedule, but alas, they need to be done. Doing the budget, occasionally vacuuming, cooking, all the stuff that makes our lives function.

I’ve added in a daily walk to my schedule. Even if it is me walking in circles around the garden for twenty minutes. In the rain. Just not getting enough exercise. I’d like to tell you that I’m getting exercise working out in the garden but that’s just not going to happen. Unless it’s sunny. Or maybe in the sixties.

The garden’s still trashed out from last month’s windstorm that took down chunks of the neighbor’s dead tree. It did some fairly intense pruning of some of our plants. The chainsaw’s getting sharpened today, so perhaps cleanup will begin soon. Maybe.

Waning wolf moon with fog.

Waning wolf moon with fog.

I’ll leave you with a photo I took the other morning after walking Zoe to the bus. The moon was waning, although that doesn’t show, but I loved the look of the moon, the fog and the trees.

The fog has been so awesome, streaming down the hill and through the trees towards our house. I love the way it looks. A friend told me yesterday that she could feel it on her skin, cold like ice crystals. It gives me a sense of a blanket, keeping out the world, giving me permission to stay inside myself and just be.

It helps me stay quiet and still, listening for the voices of new characters. Finding stories and maybe even helping me figure out how to better live my life.

Happy New Year Everyone!


Happy Solstice!

I had a lovely contemplative Solstice yesterday. Making plans for the next year, rethinking my life. I even had time to make a collage!

It’s mostly because I’ve been working my tail off lately, trying to catch up on publishing work.

I’ve got another new Christmas story up, plus a Collection. So yay, I made it before Christmas. I wrote this story last summer, but obviously it took a while before I got to the publishing part. That’s part of the rethinking my life plans for next year.

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We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Milena’s alone, broke and working at a soul sucking retail job during the Christmas season. Then she meets Maggie, who has ideas about how to help. But who’s helping whom?

 

 

 

 

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Four for Christmas – Four heartwarming Christmas stories to light up the season. Stories filled with magic, crazy decorating and just a little mayhem. Includes: ‘Jokul Frosti’, ‘The Christmas Tree’, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ and ‘The Best Little Christmas Ever’.

 

Anyway, this is just a short post to wish everyone Merry Christmas and a very thoughtful New Year. It’s a good time to make some real changes in our lives.

I’m going to scurry off and finish up Christmasy surprises for family. And watch a movie. And just chill out a bit.

Hope you’re having some fun!

 

 


Pushing Through!

IMG_3462_2So far this month has been totally insane around here.

I finished a novel. Yay! Well, the first draft anyway.

Then we got some moolah when the spousal unit cashed out the rest of his vacation time. And we got rid of our 30 year old futon couch! Okay, the futon wasn’t that old, but the frame was much older, so I’m taking an average here. And bought a love seat and a chair to replace it. Whoo hoo!  Leather – so no more dust mites. And I can sit on them, because the futon couch had become a rock and no one would sit on it except the child. Now I can reclaim the living room again!

Plus, the first two weeks of December is always filled with every social thing imaginable, because people cram the whole month’s worth of events into those two weeks. Which leaves me mostly sitting around the last two weeks wondering where the world has gone.

I think I went out of the house nearly every single day to go somewhere, do something. Until I came home and collapsed.

And then we had the big wind storm which left us without power for about twelve hours and brought chunks of the neighbor’s dead tree down on part of the garden. Thank goodness it missed the house and the pond! It did a pretty unsightly job of pruning a couple of our trees, but other than that, the garden’s okay. And someday, once we get the chainsaw sharpened, it’ll mean more firewood!

IMG_3463I’m putting in a couple photos I took out in the garden. The Hellebores have begun blooming!

The top is Helleborus ‘Cinnamon Snow’ and the bottom one is Helleborus foetidus.

I love having things happening out in the garden at this time of year. And two of the four witch hazels have begun to bloom. One of them is two months early.

The weather’s been strange. It was 60 degrees last week. That’s a fabulous late spring temperature around here. Then a day later it was less than 30 degrees at night. Wide temperature swings.

So, lots of ups and down.

Wacky technology. My router’s dying. The last upgrade didn’t make my 5 year computer happy – it’s loading every piece of software at a snail’s pace. I’m planning on taking it in and seeing if there’s something I can to do speed it up, but I’m not going near the mall till after Christmas. Yikes, I’m not that crazy.

I’m making lots of Christmas gifts. And I’m behind on that too. I keep adding in projects.

The oven’s running super hot and the heater thermometer is completely off. It says it’s 90 degrees and turns the heat off when the wall thermometer reads 60. So, it’s a little chilly in here. It’s sweaters, down vests and space heaters here, unless I’m home all day and can crank up the wood stove.

The Christmas Tree:JPEG:850X1288This week has been calmer than the last and I’m a little more on track with my writing.

Progress on the current story and yesterday, I put up a new story. ‘The Christmas Tree’. It’s another ‘Bibi’s Bargain Boutique’ story for those of you who like that sort of thing. I’ll put links up as soon as it appears online in more than a couple spots. When I get back here.

But it won’t be for a few days, because hello, ‘The Hobbit’! It’s opening. I’ll be there. I don’t go out to see movies much, but I’ve been waiting for this one. Even if the series has too many battle scenes for my taste. So looking forward to it.

I’ll be using the next couple of weeks to power through some of the publishing stuff I’m behind on. Get covers made and stories up (when the ebook vendors aren’t closed during the holidays).

I’m slowly working my way through all the stuff I’ve written this year. Oh, except for a couple of novels that are still sitting, waiting. I’ll eventually get back to them and get things cleaned up and published.

So, I’ve got a lot from this year to finish up. Christmas present, stories, novels.

Then I need to contemplate what my goals are for next year. I blew past this year’s writing goal with a month to spare.

What should I do next year?


New Stories Up!

I’ve been working hard and have a couple of new stories up in my Aboard the Universe Series.

 

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The Dilemma of Unrequited Love:

Aurora’s mutant superpower allows her to know when people lie to her. That’s useful for a therapist. Not so useful when it comes to unrequited love.

 

 

and

 

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The Greening of the Universe:

Horticulturalist Una lives a safe life aboard the Universe tending her plants collected from all over the multiverse. A crisis threatens the ship’s food source and Una must decide if she can break out of her cozy life and brave humanity.

 

 

And just when I thought I had a nice collection of stories and novelettes together, along came another story idea! So in a few days, after I’ve finished a draft of the novel I’m working on, I’ll go back into the Universe and write another story. It’s going to be a lot of fun. And who knows, there may be more. I never know what ideas are going to float through my brain. I’ll do a longer post soon, but now, it’s time to go cook dinner.


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!