Acer palmatum 'Omurayama' beginning to turn color.

Acer palmatum ‘Omurayama’ beginning to turn color.

I’m juggling a half dozen things in my life and trying to make a little progress on all fronts.

I’m writing a sequel(s?) to a book I wrote last year. It’s a Fantasy that takes place in our day and age. The first one is called Faerie Unbound. It’s about what happens when the boundaries of Faerie come crashing down. There’s lots more going on of course, but I don’t want to toss out any spoilers.

So, it came to me this Fall, (okay, I’m willing to admit Fall is here now) that I should put all my plans on hold for publishing the first book once I realized there were more. And until I’ve got them all written.

When I’ve written a series in the past, things shifted in the first book. And once it’s out, it’s done.

So, I don’t know how long this series is. I’m well into the second book and I’m not even sure how long it’ll be. I like to have my unconscious figure all that out. It’s much smarter than the rational part of my brain. And tells better stories.

So, there’s that.

I’m slowly learning In Design. S-l-o-w-l-y, being the operative word. One step forward, four steps back. Seriously. It seems like I fix one thing on a file and break something else. I’ve been told it’s a steep learning curve, but I’ll get it figured out.

And then there will be more books in paper! Yay! But don’t hold your breath, I’ll let y’all know when that little miracle happens.

I’m trying, once again, to reshape my life. Adding in exercise. So after walking my daughter out to the bus in the mornings I’ve been making myself walk around the garden for half an hour before I come back in and write. Thus all  the early morning photos and not quite as much walking as I’d like.

Which leads to yet another thing. A year ago, maybe longer, I finally decided to cut down the horse fence we’d put up, since the horses were long gone. This year we’ve finally gotten to that project.

So, the fence is coming down (rather expensive firewood). In the far back corner of the property, in front of the hedgerow, I’ve been planning a garden. It’s almost complete shade and we’ve been digging up Hydrangeas and other plants for a year or two.

After the fence is gone we’ll rake back the gravel, pull up the extra thick weed barrier and compost the whole area. Then start digging holes. I’ve got other plants that are going there that still need to be dug up and moved from other parts of the garden. So, major construction.

The rains are one their way and then planting can commence.

Stray mushrooms under the cedars

Stray mushrooms under the cedars

Speaking of rain, we haven’t gotten much of our fall moisture yet, but the mushrooms are beginning to appear. These are some of the first. There will be more. Lots more. And new types pop up every fall.

Such fun to find them. Even though I don’t eat them. I only know about three types of mushrooms and around here there are hundreds. And most of them look alike.

I just take photos and watch them disappear day by day as the slugs find them. The slugs I’ve told more than once to go visit the neighbors. Permanently.

Plus, I’ve joined another bookclub. The last one I was in gradually fell apart as everyone’s lives changed. I miss the people, the conversation and the food. That bookclub had smart women who read AND who could really cook! My cooking skills have gone down the tubes these past several years through lack of interest.

The new bookclub meets in a coffeeshop once a month and reads exclusively Science Fiction and Fantasy. The age range is from women in their late teens to their 70’s. And they are serious readers! Three books a month. I’m making an attempt, but I’ll be lucky to get through one a month.

Fall color on laceleaf maple out the front door.

Fall color on laceleaf maple out the front door.

I need to stop reading the internet. Okay, not really.

I need more time in the day! And more energy!

Well, I’m off to wrestle In Design to the ground now. I’ll leave you with another photo.

If you stop in, what are you reworking in your life right now?

Fall is NOT here!

Coral Bark Maple

Coral Bark Maple

I have to admit that this year I’m dragging my feet, kicking and screaming, about the whole fall thing. I’m not ready. It’s gotten alternately sunny and rainy here and I keep peering outside wondering if I should go outside to the table and write.

did put away the cushions, and some of the outdoor furniture. But most of it’s still out there, waiting plaintively and occasionally occupied by lurking cats.

There’s only one maple that’s begun to turn so far and it’s just on the tips. Fall color just isn’t there yet. The koi are still eating twice a day.

I’ll just ignore that the cats have mostly moved inside. And that it’s been cold enough some days (below 60) that wimpy me turned the heat on.

And that I’m about to swap out summer sweatshirts for rain coats and winter coats. The capris are gone for the summer, replaced by long pants.


Hydrangea ‘Pinky Winky’

And those long sleeves and long pants have doubled my laundry loads. Tank tops and capris take so much less room!

I’ll just keep my head in the novel I’m currently writing – it’s summer there.

Or in InDesign. Where I’m wrestling with learning a new software program. I have to pry myself away far too early in the evening so I can wind down before it’s bedtime.

And I’ll just ignore that it’s time to head towards bed at 8:45PM. Groan. Six in the morning comes way too early. And it’s dark out. Soon it’ll be dark out when we head out to the school bus.


Even though the mushrooms have begun to fruit.

I’ve still got raspberries coming on.

I need another month before the rain and darkness sets in!

Goldenrod & Black Eyed Susan

Goldenrod & Black Eyed Susans


The Power’s Back On!

Okay, it came back on late Sunday afternoon, after the windstorm kicked it out for 26 hours. But I’m still thankful!

Although I did enjoy sitting around watching “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on my battery powered laptop (which took 50% of its power) and coloring by candlelight with my daughter; I didn’t enjoy worrying about whether everything in my fully stocked freezer and refrigerator (went grocery shopping the previous day for two weeks worth of food) would spoil. But it turned out fine.

We drove around town Saturday evening trying to find somewhere to eat dinner. The places that were open were packed, and running short of food. Plus there was a Seahawks game on all the TVs so there were extra crowds. We settled for awful food at a chain restaurant. The staff were lovely though, working incredibly hard.

I was astonished at all the small trees in parking lots that were ripped to shreds, broken and maimed or completely torn up. That on top of so many already dead trees, from the drought, along the freeway. This has been a hard year for trees.

So, when the power came on, the first thing everyone did was to scurry around and plug in phones, computers and ereaders. So funny.

And then we changed out some of the water in the koi pond. The pump was off the whole time too, so the under-gravel filter wasn’t getting oxygen, so I’m sure much of the beneficial bacteria puked and died. Had to get the poor fish a bit of fresh water, full of oxygen.

And put the remains of my extensive candle collection away. And put away all our stored water, for washing, drinking and flushing. The well pump is electric, so when we lose power there’s no water either.

I hope all of you stayed safe! We had a couple things blow over and a lot of debris, but no damage. We’re in a valley. But the trees up on the hill were pretty scary to watch. Lots of breakage up there.

And I would’ve gotten to this earlier, but yesterday was a flurry of laundry, cooking and other household things that were put off because of the power outage. Plus I finished a short story! So yay. Clean sheets and a new story.

And I’ve got a new novel out!!!

Notes on the Moon People:JPEG:850X1288


Penelope is a lost cause. She’s over fifty and about to lose her job. She’s got no friends or family and has never taken a risk in her entire life.
But one day she finds herself in another world. With a chance to change everything.
Can she summon up the courage to live?
A coming of age Fantasy for late bloomers.

I’m really pleased this story is finally out into the world. Hope you enjoy it.


Passing the Peak!

Awesome Hydrangea blossoms

Awesome Hydrangea blossoms

It hasn’t escaped my notice that the night temperatures have begun to dip below the mid 50’s. The days are growing shorter. Hydrangea blossoms are beginning to dry on the plants.

Newspaper ads are filled with school supplies and even the child is wearying of long summer days. Well, not that weary, but she is talking about school.

We’ve got another couple of months left of summer, for which I’m grateful. It’s been a long one, but I’m not ready to surrender to the long, dark, wet winter.

Thankfully though, school is starting in a month. I’m not relishing those 6AM wake up calls, but I need to get up earlier than I have been.

I haven’t been exactly lazy this summer, but I haven’t gotten as much publishing stuff done as I wanted. I have been writing up a storm though. Sleeping in till 8:30 has meant I’ve run out of time to do publishing in the afternoons. And my early mornings and evenings have been spent watering.

So, it’s a good thing school is coming because then I’ll be forced to get up early again. And get work done. Because otherwise my computer might explode from all the unpublished fiction agitating to be let out into the world.

And readers are inquiring as to whether I’m still alive. Yes, I am.

And for a month, maybe longer, I’ll still get to work in my outside office. I love, love, love, writing out in the garden.

I’ve got a lot done since our early summer made it possible. I’ve got two, nearly ready novels (which I wrote last year), a novel from this year and at least three collections of short fiction to publish. Once I pull all the details together.

So this fall will hopefully be a whiz of publishing activity. Which needs to begin this month.

On the schedule for this month and next are a flurry of books coming out in paper. Okay, they might not make an actual appearance until October.

In March or April, the Writers Cooperative of the Pacific NW, of which I’m a member, is holding their Spring Release Party! Whoo hoo! Details to be announced once they’re finalized.

So, I’ve got to up my game this month and get up earlier, write faster, linger less over my morning tea and business blogs and get a move on. The cooling weather will help.

And I’ve finished up a couple of major garden projects, yay! I’m not going to even think about all of the others. They will wait till the fall rains begin again. Lots of plants to move around. Big, unhappy Hydrangeas that got way too much sun this summer.

So, I hope you’re having an awesome summer. I’ve discovered audiobooks are lovely when I’m standing around watering containers for a very long time. I can still read. And I’ve been to the beach a couple times. Toured lots of gorgeous gardens. Seen old friends. It’s been a lovely summer.

So now I’m going to do more work and then maybe have a s’more. And read. Or watch awesome movies.

Tomorrow’s another day. Must go find school shoes for the offspring.

Told you she’s talking about school.

I’m Still Here! Really!

Tgiridia - Mexican Shell Flowers

Tgiridia – Mexican Shell Flowers

Life’s been crazy around our place this summer. I’ve been writing like a madwoman. And watering. And watering some more. Summer began two or three months earlier this year – usually it’s July before the weather clears up. This year it was March and April.

So I began watering in June instead of August. At least a couple hours per day. Probably not the year to move all my containers out into the big sunny, gravel area.

And I’m reading a book by one of my favorite writers, Paolo Bacigalupi, called The Water Knife, about a rather grim future where there are water wars and major drought. It’s an amazing contrast to pouring hose loads of water onto the soil. Makes me wonder whether I should be growing my now wilting Hydrangeas in such sandy soil. I compost, but it’s never enough.

So, yes I’ve been writing. No, I haven’t been publishing. Have fallen behind on that front. And our internet’s been mostly out for a week. So, I’m writing this at the library. Thank you library for free (and functional) internet. I expect our internet will be working sometime on Monday. I really, really hope so.

It’s amazing how I’ve based my life on it. Recipes for dinner. Research for just about everything – plants, turtles, store hours and whatever story I’m working on. And Netflix. Have had to resort to watching all the DVD’s we own. And our daughter is raiding the spouse’s collection of old home recorded Simpson’s episodes.

None of that includes just being able to answer my email and deal with various accounts that need to be cancelled, updated, etc. Oh well, next week.

So, life’s going on. The garden is a riot of color and also weeds. The cats are misbehaving. I’ve had to rescue a few snakes from them. The koi are loving this heat and growing fat.

And I’m trying to play catch up while still finding time to take in the joy of this glorious summer.


It’s All About the Roses!

Summer’s almost here and the roses are exploding out in the garden. The show began in March this year!!!! The earliest ever. With Rosa ‘Mme Alfred Carriere’. She’s peaked for the season, but wow is it fragrant out there.

I’m back writing in the outdoor office on non-rainy days and everywhere I look, the roses are having a great year. Most of the heirloom roses haven’t yet begun their show.




This is Rosa ‘Tradescant’, an Austen rose, from England. I love the dark color. And yes, it’s fragrant.





This one is also an Austen rose – Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. It’s as fragrant as it looks and the bush has about thirty blooms on it at the moment. It perfumes our back porch, so it’s the first thing I smell as I go outside each morning.





This is Rosa ‘Sappho’ which is an old Alba rose. The shrub is arching over ten feet tall now, coming into its prime. I have no idea how tall it will get. This rose only blooms once a year, but it goes for a good month or so. Fragrant and gorgeous.







This is one of my favorite roses, ‘Jude the Obscure’, also an Austen rose. Incredibly fragrant (I really do have very few, maybe zero, roses that have no scent) on a 6-7′ tall shrub. Peach colored blooms all summer long.





This is my newest rose. An Austen rose called ‘The Lady Gardener’ which I’m growing in a container. It’s a shorter one at 2 1/2 feet tall. Most of our sunny areas now are out where the container garden is and I wanted yet another peach colored rose. Lovely fragrance and lots of good sized blooms on this small shrub.

You might have figured out that I love roses. We have dwindling supplies of sunlight in our garden as the trees grow taller, so over the years I’ve had to give away lots of roses. At one point we had over 200 roses, all different varieties. I love heirloom roses, not sure I have any modern roses left, other than the Austen roses. I think now we have somewhere around fifty roses. Give or take a dozen. On half an acre. Of course some of the roses are 2′ tall by 20′ wide.

What can I say? Roses make my heart sing.

And they smell pretty good too.




Cleaning Up!

Chinese Tree Peony

Chinese Tree Peony

So, I came to the end of the latest novel last Thursday. Which is not the same as finishing it. Much cleaning up left to do before I send it to my first readers.

But that sort of ending hit at just the right time.

I had planned a busy three day social/running errands weekend. And had to wrap up the triple threat that happens every year at this time. Within two weeks there’s the daughter’s birthday, our anniversary and then Mother’s Day.

Holidays are wonderful fun, but I’m so grateful there’s a month’s respite till the spouse’s birthday!

And I foolishly picked up a book I’d been curious about for some time. ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up; the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’ by Marie Kondo. It’s been hitting best seller lists and caught my interest. I put it on all my library reserve lists and it had huge waiting lists everywhere, but it finally came in. So, I had to read it quickly!

Rosa 'Madame Alfred Carriere'

Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’

I’m a sucker for organizing and feng shui books. And this is quite good and very simple. I liked her focus on taking each item and asking if one really loves it.

So Sunday, after two days of madly running around getting errands done and going to social things, I was whupped. Way too whupped to go out again. And I didn’t really want to mess around in the garden. I wanted to tackle that bulging clothes closet that I could no longer cram anything into.

Four hours later, I’d held every piece of clothing and asked if I loved it. And if I didn’t, but wanted to keep it – then why was that? So, the closet contents got cut in half and I took out bags and bags of things to the car to donate. Now, I can actually put things away in the closet. I was so invigorated I managed to vacuum the whole house!

The down side is there’s the rest of the house to tackle. And we won’t talk about the hoard of art supplies out in the tack room. Or what’s out in the garden sheds. Or the barn. Or the store room off the deck.


Rosa serratipetala

Rosa serratipetala

And this morning I did all the weekend’s dishes and even cleaned the microwave! Can’t remember the last time I did that. Housekeeping is so not my thing, although I love having a clean house.

So, I’ll give myself a couple more days of trying to put my life back together and finding flat surfaces. And try to do a few publishing things – I’ve got stories and novels that need to be published stacking up. And I need to get a few of the plants that are collecting outside into their waiting containers.

Then, it’s back to writing. I can only clean for so long.

The photos above are some of what’s happening out in the garden. Tree peonies are done, herbaceous peonies, roses and iris are beginning. Plus hundreds of other tiny things that don’t photograph as well.

Life is happening out there in the garden!