Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I'm alive and the family is well. I'm writing while the kids shovel snow. My terrier mix, Buck, needs a tooth extraction; it's oozing out the top of his lip, he's on antibiotics and it will $800 to extract it, so I need to hurry and finish Breaker's Ruin.

After watching the 70 mile winds tear down a pine in front of my eyes and take out the neighbor's fence, I'm on board with John's plan to cut down the pines in the back yard and replace them with semi-dwarf fruit trees. I'm allergic to pine anyway and we have a pergola for shade now, so good riddance.

Snippet: samples

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

Scott looked between them with interest. “Something going on between you two?”
“No.” Daisy frowned. “Don’t be stubborn.”
His eyes narrowed. “If Luke will agree to remain in dragon form, ready to snatch you away, you may go. I’ll accompany you. Between the two of us, you should be able to survive an hour.”
Getting a dragon to do anything he didn’t want to was a big deal, so she didn’t try to negotiate. She could do that later. “Great!” She turned to Scott. “Tell me which weeds were a concern.”
He waved a hand. “All of them. I’m no gardener. In fact, I toyed with the idea of paving the whole area, but Juniper talked me out of it. She says grass and trees will deflect the summer heat, and she suggested edible landscaping.” He grimaced. “I don’t want to deal with dropped fruit, but she had a point about the need to hire landscapers anyway.”
“Definitely,” Daisy agreed fervently. “Food security is a big thing.” The Convergence had disrupted transportation and the food supply, and the world was still recovering. Although rationing had mostly ended, there were shortages, and home gardens were important. “You know, with your skills, you could make an amazing greenhouse.”
“Yeah.” He didn’t look thrilled. “Maybe later. Anyway, the weeds tend to disintegrate when they leave the Quarry, so you’ll have to take pictures or video if you want to show Juniper. Let me know which ones I can smother.”
“Sure. I’ll work up a written report. I also brought some special sample bottles that might preserve the plants. I’ll let you know how that works.”
“Great. I appreciate your trouble.” He slid a gold coin across the counter. Pre-payment. Have fun.”
Daisy waited until they were on the roof, safely out of earshot, before commenting, “He doesn’t have many social skills, does he?”
“No, but he’s excellent at what he does. Are you ready?” Breaker waited until she climbed onto Luke’s dragon form before he spiraled around the tower, the sun glinted on his emerald scales as he checked for danger. He landed in the barren park and signaled for them to join him.
“This place has so much potential,” Daisy murmured as her feet hit the dirt. She took pictures for reference. “Remind me to get shots from the top of the tower. It will help with the planning. Imagine what a row of cherry trees would look like in bloom here.”
Her brother snorted at the mention of fruit.
“Hush.” She took samples of the dirt before turning her attention to the plants. “These look like black coral,” she said, carefully examining a plant from a distance. “Do you know anything about these, Breaker?”
“They crunch underfoot and they’re not carnivorous,” he offered, his massive head up, alert for danger.
“That’s a plus.” Wearing gloves and using pruning shearers, she snapped off a piece and put it in her sample baggie. Using her phone, she took a picture and used the voice recorder to save time as she gave details of the sample.
“Now this is interesting,” she said as she noticed a silver tumbleweed rolling across the dirt. Shaped like a sphere, it seemed to be made of silver wire, and was obviously light if the wind could move it.
Breaker trapped it with his taloned foot. “I can’t tell if it’s sharp, but it rusts away if it leaves the Quarry.”
“Maybe Scott could coat it with something and sell it as an ornament. It’s pretty,” she said, used to Juniper finding a use for everything.
A curl of smoke escaped Breaker’s nose when he quietly laughed. “Geiger doesn’t need that sort of thing, love. He’s a metal mage. If he wants money, he pulls gold from the ground. It might be something a tenant could do, however.”
She scowled. “It’s part of my job to find uses for plants.” She’d never had to be thrifty with Malcolm as a father, but she’d known plenty of poor students who did. His dismissal felt arrogant.
“Why are you angry? I wasn’t insulting you.” One great eye focused on her, the slit-pupil as big as a large sunflower.
She scanned the ground for her next sample, moving closer to a neon, yellow-green spike sticking out of the ground. It was fat like a hotdog and about as big, but smooth like a broom handle. She fetched her tongs and prepared a sample bag. “Making money isn’t a crime. Some of my favorite people don’t have any.”
“What has that to do with you?”
“Forget it.”
“No. I want to hear this. You’re the daughter of a dragon and want for nothing. Do you wish that to change?”
“Guilt,” Luke said succinctly. “She always had to hide her diamonds in school, even though it would shame our family, because others were jealous. She put them on when she went back home, but I visited her at school.” He’d thrown a fit, too. Diamonds were a sign of pride in a daughter, a symbol of love. It was taboo to go without, as it implied lack of love.
“It’s better to blend in,” she said, jaw tight.
“They bullied you because they thought you had money,” Luke said bluntly. “How is that better than tormenting someone because they’re poor? Or human?” Their father couldn’t abide bullies and had taught them the same. Trouble was, he didn’t have to deal with them.
“If it makes you feel better, I’d like you even if you were naked and poor,” Breaker said generously.
“Hey! My brother,” she said, blushing furiously.
“Is finding this very interesting,” Luke teased.
“Shut up,” she growled, jabbing the tongs at the plant…which quickly disappeared into the ground. Suddenly she was snatched, the tongs falling from her hand as Luke’s clawed paw scooped her up, smashing her sample bag against her ribs. The ground fell away, along with her stomach, and she was grateful when her feet settled firmly on the top of the tower.
Breaker joined them, shifting to human form as he landed seconds later. “Are you hurt?”
She settled her clothes. “No, but Luke scared the crap out of me!” Her heart was still hammering.
He looked at Luke. “Excellent reflexes.”
Suddenly worried, she asked, “Why? Do you know what that was?”
“No, but anything that moves is suspect. For all we know, it could be a flesh eating worm. The ground is crawling with them now.”
She looked over the low wall on the edge of the balcony, but even squinting, couldn’t see a thing.
Luke glanced over, “Ugh! Maybe we should flame them.”
“Not without a sample,” she protested. “It could be something useful, and it’s irresponsible to destroy a creature without knowing anything about it.”
The men exchanged looks of disgust. Clearly, they had other thoughts on the matter, but they were also the first line of defense against aggressors.
“I’m not saying let it eat anyone,” she protested. “I’m not stupid. It’s just…”
“If you need one, I’ll collect it,” Breaker said firmly. “It’s time for you to go home.”
That stung. “Like a child?”
He stepped closer. “Like a woman I don’t want injured.” He looked at her chest where the medallion was hidden under her clothes. “You don’t want me injured, either, do you?”
It was pure manipulation, she thought rebelliously, but admitting she didn’t want him harmed would be a slippery slope. “Fine. We may as well see if these samples survive before I waste time collecting more. Ready, Luke?” She fished out her goggles and zipped her coat.
“Say hello to Juniper for me,” Breaker said in farewell.
She shot him a look. “You just want to tweak her husband’s nose.”
He smiled and didn’t deny it. “I’ll see you later.”
There was no point in telling him no. It’s not like he was a stray dog she could spray with the garden hose. However, she was going to keep Luke close.
She didn’t want Breaker getting any romantic ideas, because she wasn’t sure she’d be able to resist.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Love the new progressive glasses! Wouldn't try jogging or driving with them for a couple of days, but night vision is crisper, can use the computer AND read. Finally, I can get some work done! Trifocals/progressives are a gift.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Having issues with my eyes. Eye doc said last year I was getting close to needing bifocals or progressives. After trying to work through intense burning and tearing, I finally threw in the towel and made an eye appointment. It's two months early for insurance to kick in, but since work is at a standstill until I fix this, had to be done.

Went to new eye doc at Walmart. Nice guy, said option was to have long distance vision plus reading glasses or progressives. He leaned toward reading glasses, but wrote the prescription so I could chose. 60 day "redo" clause if I changed my mind, so no worries either way, right? I got the reading glasses.

Bad move. I now have long distance to watch TV or close up to read. Computer work is out of range and too blurry to read. Frustrating, but Monday I'll call Walmart and tell them I need the progressives. Meanwhile, I'm cooking a lot. I have two projects close to done and not much I can do about it. Hopefully, I'll have new glasses by Friday.

Life goes on.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! We've got pecan pie, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes and cornish game hens cooking. It smells amazing! Hope your day is fun and delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Debugged the cookbook, it's now up at Smashwords and shortly to Kindle and Nook. Thank you, OpenOffice! Eager to get on with my life.

Had to do home school stuff today, but sneeked some work in. God willing, can build momentum now.

Friday, November 6, 2015

American Gluten Free is done!

It's done and available at Smashwords, shortly at other ebook retailers. It's done because I'll go mad if I mess with it anymore. I had to choose between better formatting or navigation, so I chose navigation. No I need a nap, a drink, and mind numbing TV, in that order.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Meatgrinder, we need to see other people. I've met someone new...

I uploaded AGF into Smashword's Meatgrinder 37 times. Each time, I'd go back to their template and slavishly study the Style Guide, tweak and resubmit. Finally, it dawned on me that it wasn't me, it was Meatgrinder shifting paragraphs and formatting, a new and different problem each time. As if this cookbook weren't hard enough...

It was time to try something new.

Enter OpenOffice. The freeware office program has an Epub creating extension called Writer2Epub that is FINALLY getting my cookbook to look good. I nearly sobbed with relief last night on seeing my book load last night in Adobe Reader as a proper ebook. As a result, I hope to release the cookbook shortly and get on with my life. Thank God.

Its been the craziest year. Fire, death, upheaval...and that was just my computers. I'm ready for the holidays.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cookbook nearly ready!

I've finished the cookbook and am trying to make it behave as an epub file. Been busy trying to fix the cookbook formatting, doing paperwork for home school, fixing/updating computers, etc. Thankfully, I'm healthy and back in work mode, which couldn't have happened at a better time.

Updates from facebook:

At Gabby's request, we're going to home school her. Her high school is overcrowded and even the teachers admit they don't like working there. She's been coming home upset this past week, but we've seen this coming for a while. The online school is great b/c the teachers have less students per teacher, teachers work with the kids via video conference and students work with each other via teacher led chat rooms. They also have better art and computer programs, which don't exist in her high school. We've done it twice in the past with Seth, each time with excellent results.

We will be home schooling Seth as well. Despite talking to his teachers, he's bored out of his mind while his class practices counting money. He's autistic, but highly capable. While the teachers are kind, they aren't feeding his mind. He was supposed to take computer classes this year on game design, and instead they've got him doing (paid) office work and working at a flower shop (partly paid) for up to 5 hrs a day. I'm glad they're trying to help, but frustrated, too. Online classes will solve many issues and leave him time for a part time job.
Good thing I work at home. I love my job!

Despite doing IEPs, the school never explained that a "certificate of completion" doesn't equal a diploma or GED when it comes to getting jobs, and yes, we asked. Also, if you get a "certificate", you can't go back and get a GED. Home school intervention happened just in time.

Day one of homeschooling, working on Khan Academy while we await arrival of materials. Seth's learning coding. He's so excited, he keeps having to take breaks because, "My head is finally being fed knowledge!" He's convinced his high school would have never taught him coding. Also, he now has a purpose for x X x Y = Z. This is good, b/c he hasn't progressed in math since I last home schooled; his class had him counting money! Grr...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

American Gluten Free Cookbook

American Gluten Free is the perfect way to feed a family on a budget with treats like fried chicken, egg rolls, onion rings, stir fry, waffles and cornbread. Need a special dish? Celebrate the holidays with green bean casserole and butternut squash with bacon and cranberries. Allergic to soy or dairy? I’ve got you covered with easy to find, inexpensive ingredients.
From ribs and baked beans to sweet corn and fries, discover how familiar and comforting American Gluten Free can be. 

I hired Gabby to make me a cookbook cover. She has a thing for short skirts lately and I had to remind her not to add pointy ears and wings, but I like it. Working on edits, hope to release it in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Finally back to work

Can't believe that I've had asthma troubles for two months. I'm improving, though. The doc gave me a steroid shot, which appeared to do little but make my skin breakout, but he also prescribed a Qvar steroid inhaler, which does seem to work, but not without being frank about the possible side effects.

Pharmacist with a sympathetic look: That will be $90.

Me: Sigh. Any side effects I should know? My doctor didn't even say how long I need to take this stuff.

Her: Two weeks should bring the inflammation down. Just don't read the paperwork; it will scare you to death. Don't worry about that, though; you'll be fine.

Me: O.o

Being a reader, I couldn't help glancing at the paperwork when I got home. The first thing I saw in bold: Notice to coroners and mortuary overseers.

Me: !!!

Of course, it was part of the patient rights page info, but I showed it to my husband. "Hey, remember what the pharmacist said about not reading the scary paperwork?"

John: O.O  !!!?

It's good to laugh.

It's even better to be working again. Talk about moral boost! I'm not up to creative writing yet, but I hope to have my cookbook done and published in the next couple of weeks so that's out of my hair. It's been a really challenging year, but I have high hopes it's going in a good direction.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Still pretty much hosed, lung wise, but I can walk across the street. Stupid things feel like sacks of flame. I have an appointment in a few days; debating weather to try moving it up.

Meanwhile, I'm reading Monster Hunters International. Many, many guns, glorious slaughter of monsters, saving the world, touch of romance. Humor and high explosives; this might be my next in a bad mood, go-to book.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Slowly getting better.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Mid afternoon outdoors. Air quality is 300+, deep in the red zone. Last night we were hazardous for the first time. Really, really tired of being stuck inside.

"Normal" smoky today, less of a "zombie attack imminent" feel. Air purifiers blasting, vaporizer going (big help!). Everyone has sinus issues, I'm recovering from bronchitis, but yesterday we got apple pie filling and salsa from our garden made. The steam helped, kept everyone occupied, plus house smelled amazing! Today we're doing Asian pear BBQ sauce, rosemary maple pear butter...and canned pears. Couldn't do it without my amazing family. My husband and kids are the best!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Been sick. Smoke, wheat harvest, construction dust, etc. equaled massive bronchitis. Recovering.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Computers...loading 98%

300 G of data transfer via "Easy Windows File Transfer" takes nearly 24 hrs. I don't recommend it if the computers are in your bedroom, complete with blinking lights.

Also, it will torment you for 2 or 3 hrs with a "1 minute" to finish screen. Longest minute of my life. Sadists.

I need more memory. How did I use up a terabyte?

I now need a laptop. Granted, I squeaked 6 years out of my laptop (like dog years), but I don't want to buy a laptop and set it up again. Whine.

At least I have a family computer guy visiting. He seconded my bid to get rid of the giant tower my sweetie was saving in the garage.

At least wheat harvest is winding down. I don't think I can handle much more time stuck inside. There's smoke, but that's not as bad.

100 F today, sunny. Plums are about ready to pick, yard looks awesome.

School clothes shopping/supplies upcoming. Last kid in driver"s Ed next week.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Family visiting for a week! Doing family stuff. Yay, my brother-in-law is a computer guy! My laptop might live after all.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Took a few days to recover with the kids from vacation PTSD. Ugh. They've learned the truth about "you can never go home again".

Growing up is hard.

Speaking of hard, I've got some emotional stuff to write in Breaker's story. Been stalling, because I don't want to cry, but this has to happen for the movie to move forward.

Smoky here, so stuck indoors a lot. At least I have a long summer, so once the smoke clears, can still enjoy fine weather sans mosquitoes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Snippet: Something going on between you two?

Never fails; I get 3/4 through a book and ideas start pouring in for the next one. Distracting, but I'd better get them down before I forget. Shozan needs a story. Framing a title with my hands like a picture frame: "The Sky Lord". Has a nice ring.


This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

Scott looked between them with interest. “Something going on between you two?”
“No.” Daisy frowned. “Don’t be stubborn.”
His eyes narrowed. “If Luke will agree to remain in dragon form, ready to snatch you away, you may go. I’ll accompany you. Between the two of us, you should be able to survive an hour.”
Getting a dragon to do anything he didn’t want to was a big deal, so she didn’t try to negotiate. She could do that later. “Great!” She turned to Scott. “Tell me which weeds were a concern.”
He waved a hand. “All of them. I’m no gardener. In fact, I toyed with the idea of paving the whole area, but Juniper talked me out of it. She says grass and trees will deflect the summer heat, and she suggested edible landscaping.” He grimaced. “I don’t want to deal with dropped fruit, but she had a point about the need to hire landscapers anyway.”
“Definitely,” Daisy agreed fervently. “Food security is a big thing.” The Convergence had disrupted transportation and the food supply, and the world was still recovering. Although rationing had mostly ended, there were shortages, and home gardens were important. “You know, with your skills, you could make an amazing greenhouse.”
“Yeah.” He didn’t look thrilled. “Maybe later. Anyway, the weeds tend to disintegrate when they leave the Quarry, so you’ll have to take pictures or video if you want to show Juniper. Let me know which ones I can smother.”
“Sure. I’ll work up a written report. I also brought some special sample bottles that might preserve the plants. I’ll let you know how that works.”
“Great. I appreciate your trouble.” He slid a gold coin across the counter. Pre-payment. Have fun.”

Daisy waited until they were on the roof, safely out of earshot, before commenting, “He doesn’t have many social skills, does he?”

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Snippet: What are you doing here?

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

Two men stepped out into the gently dished roof that probably housed a water catchment system. As they got closer, she recognized Breaker’s scowling face. Was he following her?
“What are you doing here?” she asked as she slid off Luke’s back. Her brother assumed human form, his expression equally curious.
“I’m one of the co-owners of the Quarry,” Breaker growled. “Geiger didn’t tell me you were coming until a minute ago.”
Confused, she looked at the rock mage. Scott Geiger was dark haired, lean but fit. His dark hair was short and he appeared in his late twenties. Tall, he had a harshly cut face most would call ugly. A rough cut black gem on a leather thong hung around his neck and a rustic stone baton was sheathed at his belt.  He was also on crutches, his right leg in a brace. “I thought you owned the Quarry?”
“It turns out I’m not much for the minutia of city planning,” he admitted. “I’m great at shaping stone, but the monsters are a bit much. Lord Verbreaker here has been very useful. He says you’ve met?”
She flushed, unwilling to go into detail. “Yes. What did you do to your leg?”
He sighed. “Rock trolls. Why don’t we go inside so I can sit? You want anything to drink? We’ve got coffee, tea, water…”
“Good coffee,” Breaker clarified. “Juniper gave him some.”
“In that case, sure. It’s a bit brisk for flying,” Daisy said gladly, shedding her coat and gloves as they entered a warm stone stairwell lit by window slits invisible from the outside. It ended in a landing with a hammered copper door that opened into a spacious apartment. The walls were a light brown with wide veins of shiny gold running through the walls, reflecting the light from the tall, narrow windows.
“Pyrite. Fool’s gold,” Luke whispered. “Pretty, though.” The living room couches and chairs were black iron with leather cushions and the coffee table was black iron with a beaten copper top. The kitchen countertop was also beaten copper, and the cabinets had been formed of polished brown stone. Copper pots hung from a pot rack and white appliances completed the light-filled kitchen.
“Wow! I’m impressed.” She perched on a bar stool and ran her hand over the countertop.  She frowned when he set his crutches aside to hop around. “Do you need help?”
“I’m good,” he said, sliding over a steaming mug. He placed the tea pot on the counter and handed Luke a cup. “Help yourself.”
“Now that you’re settled, I want to know what you think you’re doing,” Breaker said sternly. “This isn’t a suitable place for you to work. What was Juniper thinking?”
“I brought Luke,” Daisy said calmly. “I’m not reckless. Besides, I thought Scott would be with us. No one told me he was hurt.”
Scott shook his head ruefully. “Sorry. I’m out of the field until I’m able to run for my life again. Truthfully, I’d rather concentrate on the building anyway. I just got the sewer and filtration systems up and running, and we’ve got electricians coming in soon. They’re dragons, so I won’t have to babysit them. No offense intended.”
“Dragons,” she said slowly. “Are you building a dragon city here?” She looked at Breaker.
“Dragon and human,” he answered. “But the Quarry isn’t safe enough for humans yet, and that means you.”
“But you’re not in charge,” she said sweetly. “Are you? Scott invited me, and I’m ready to get to work. Luke won’t let me get hurt.”
Breaker swept Luke a brief glance. “I’ve had two experienced dragons injured here in the last two weeks, and they were in dragon form at the time. I think Luke would agree that’s unacceptable.”
Scott held a hand to prevent an escalating argument. “Whoa! She doesn’t have to go deeper into the Quarry. What about the area around the towers? She can give me a heads up on the weed situation; tell me if I should choke them out. Maybe she’ll have a few ideas for the park, too. I have a black thumb, but surely there’s something that will grow there.”
Daisy looked at Breaker. “I’ll even let you tag along to make sure nothing eats me,” she said with a charming smile. “In fact, I’m sure you’ll insist on it.” He didn’t look impressed, so she said seriously, “I’m not suicidal, Breaker. I’m happy to listen to orders as long as they’re designed to keep me safe. I believe you’ll do that.”

Dogs, neighborhood, Breaker

Jack ripped out his tubing, so I get to apply hot packs twice a day and pick off his scabs so the wound will drain. Oh, joy.

Stitches come out in two weeks.

Speaking of dogs, oiling the coat with veggie oil before shaving makes the fur come off slicker than snot. Mowed of two inches of fluffy, curly hair, our terrier mix looks naked. John's banned me from shaving his face ever again. Not saying he's ugly, just...less cute. Plus, now we can see he's a bit fat, so less kibble for him.

Been getting a lot of urgent knocks on the doors later. One neighbor lost his dog, the other needed help fetching his step-dad's motorcycle. His step-dad wrecked, is in the hospital with a cracked skull, broken ribs and a concussion, last we heard. The bike fared better, but it was a goat rope fetching it. It took two trips to find it, since a kindly fellow (the one who reported the accident) had stuck it in his garage so someone wouldn't steal it. It wasn't until he called to give the pick up info that they were able to go back out and get it.

Breaker's story is going well. Daisy's having a Job of it, but instead of biblical disasters, she's being hit with the kind of things that happen to families all the time, one after another. Time to see what the girl who had the perfect life is made of.

I suppose I'd better post a snippet :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pergola done, dog got hurt

Embedded image permalink

Have you seen the movie UP? Good flick.

The pergola frame, built of 6x6 posts to withstand our high winds, is up and stained and looks great. Our anniversary, Seth's 18th birthday and John's 42 birthday (all last week) were great. There was just one thing...

Our Australian Shepard, Jack, jumped over the tongue of the trailer the morning of John's birthday and sliced his belly open on the hitch. 22 stitches, 2 staples and a cone of shame later, the poor guy is healing up. Thankfully, I'd had the urge to shave him the week before (stupid wheat seeds were trapped in his coat, digging into his skin) so the vet had less hair to deal with. Also, it couldn't have happened at a better time, since the vet had just opened and we were only a mile away. So far his tab is $325 (thank you, emergency fund and Dave Ramsey). We go in tomorrow to see if he needs follow up work. I hope they remove the surgical tubing drain, because when we give him breaks from the cone, that's what he wants to tug on. Also, it leaks. Good thing we have hardwood.

Thanks to the cone, we have a new term. Now when Jack crashes into furniture with his "lampshade" headgear, Buck the dog or our legs, we say we've been "coned".

Yep, it's been an interesting, mostly good, vacation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


So I sit down at my computer, rereading where I left BR at, and my youngest calls. There's an issue. I listen, but he has to go, someone is coming, he doesn't want to be overheard. Fine. Start to work. He calls back. Same issue, wants to discuss in greater detail. Do my best to advise, talk about boundaries and why rescuing is bad. Advised him that sometimes we just have to do the best we can and pray for grace. Also, the trip is short; three weeks and he'll be home. Enjoy the good parts, soldier on. Also said a short prayer with him, asking for grace and wisdom. Nice to know Someone with more patience is on the job, because I can't keep thinking about this and do my job.

Ugh! So much for a peaceful summer without interruptions. What the heck was I writing, anyway? Tempted to quit and stick with housework, but I want this book done.

We just bought wood for a pergola to shade the back of the house (and grow kiwis), so a paycheck would be nice. John's out working on it now, since he took a some time off from work for vacation. Home Depot has made this a frustrating project for him (online ordering for pickup did not go well), but progress is slowly happening.

On the plus side, beautiful summer weather, no mosquitoes and plenty of AC. Also, Master Chef tonight!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It takes a while to wash and pit a flat of cherries. My pitter does six at a time, but it's a workout. Since I was making rhubarb sorbet, I made one batch with cherries, the other with mixed berries. My kitchen smelled heavenly. Looking forward to the next batch of fruit.

Tonight we're having stirfry with sausage and bok choy with a side of cantaloupe smoothie. I love summer!

Back to dragons. Gotta sort out this plot.

Snippet: The Quarry

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

Monday morning, Daisy flew with her brother to the Quarry. From the air, she could see fields of grain stubble, some of which had been plowed and planted with winter wheat. There were scattered houses and a cluster where the small town of Airway Heights clustered around Highway 2. Beyond that was the commercial airfield with its red and white checkered water tower, right next to the air force base.
One the opposite side of the road lay the Quarry. Smoke rose in lazy curls from steaming pools of lava and mud, and she could see the shadow of darting things hunting in the concrete ruins.
Which only made the six story towers of basalt more impressive. Octagon shaped, the dull, charcoal colored towers had polished, faceted black window trim, and the polarized windows reflected pink, purple and turquoise. There were four of them, one per city block. Roads and sidewalks had already been laid in that section, and there was a park in the center with stone bridges, benches and sculptures. The bare dirt where there should be grass and lack of trees gave it a harsh, unfinished look, which only made the tethered BAT overhead look more colorful. Floating at 3,000 ft, the helium tube had a wind turbine suspended inside and stubby stabilizing fins. It was also painted like a Chinese dragon.
“That is so cool,” her brother murmured, a trickle of smoke escaping his mouth. “Now I’m looking forward to meeting this guy.”
“Look at that,” Daisy said, knowing it wasn’t necessary to raise her voice with dragon hearing. “He built an arena. I wonder what for?” The coliseum had a ring of basalt pillars for the outside, and the seats were ash gray stone overlooking a sandy floor. Eight towers with private viewing boxes provided an excellent view…if one had dragon vision.
“Sports. Monster trucks, gladiator fight pit, dirt bikes… Cool.” Luke sounded intrigued.

Luke circled around, heading for the tower with a large red, decorative tile on top with a white number one. A quick look showed each tower had a distinctive tile, reminding her of dragon house numbers. Had he designed the towers with dragons in mind?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rhubarb Berry Sorbet, Rhubarb Pink Lemonade

I'm on vacation. Not much writing happening, but lots of cooking. Picked cherries yesterday! It was 100 F, but still awesome. Those are the best dates. My husband rocks.

My tastes have changed since becoming allergic to dairy. Now the idea of rhubarb sorbet makes my mouth water, and my rhubarb hating husband eagerly devours his share. We ran out yesterday, so I'm going to make some more.

No ice cream maker is needed.

Rhubarb Sorbet

Now this is worth growing rhubarb for! Sweet & tart, my kids gobbled it right up. Add 1 to 2 cups of berries for flavor variations. Blueberries make it taste like boysenberry.

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 lb fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-2 c berries, optional
1 tbsp vegetable oil (for smoothness)

1. Put everything into a pot and bring to a boil. Boil one minute and put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Allow the rhubarb to steam for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and allow to cool.
2. Put into a food processor or blender and puree (I use an immersion/stick blender).

For blender or food processor: Freeze the sorbet in ice cube trays, store the frozen cubes in plastic freezer bags. Blend with water or milk of choice until thick and smooth.

For ice cream maker: Chill for several hours or overnight, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Enjoy!

 Rhubarb Pink Lemonade

Tastes a lot like pink lemonade. Makes great a great Popsicle, too.

2 ½ lb rhubarb, chopped
2 ½ quarts water
3 c sugar
juice of 2 lemons
½ a cinnamon stick

1. Put the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon stick in a pot and add 1 ½ quarts of water. Boil for 5 minutes, then allow to cool.
2. Put 1 quart of ice cold water in a 1 gallon pitcher. Put a strainer over the top and line with a clean dish towel. Ladle the rhubarb mixture into the dish towel and allow to drain. When it has drained off most of the juice, twist the towel around the remaining pulp in the strainer and squeeze to release the remaining juice. Discard or compost the pulp and rinse out your dishtowel.
3. Chill the pitcher in a sink of cold water and then refrigerate.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Snippet: Good luck with that.

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

His reasonable tone made her want to hit him. “You’re distracting me on purpose! Take the necklace off, please, or I’ll find someone else to do it.”
He shrugged and grabbed another cup of tea. “You can take it off any time you want, sis. You just have to want to.”
She looked at him suspiciously, but tried to remove the medallion. It didn’t work.
She sent him an accusing look.
He laughed and raised his hand defensively. “I’m not doing it, word of honor! He’s linked it to your will. If you don’t want him, it’ll fall off.”
Her face flamed. “I don’t want him!”
They both looked at the pendant. It stayed put.
“Hm,” he said, his eyes dancing.
She pointed a finger at him. “This is your fault!” If he hadn’t brought Breaker here last night, this never would have happened.
I made you lust after Breaker?” he asked with mock dismay.
It felt as if the top of her head was going to blow off. “That’s it! I’m going to talk to Juniper.” Juniper had skills, and if she couldn’t figure out how to get the metal off, she knew plenty of dragons who could.

“Good luck with that,” her brother said cheerfully, and plopped down on her sofa to watch TV.

Juniper studied the medallion and then sat back with a thoughtful look. “Breaker did this, huh?”
“Can you get it off?” Daisy fidgeted. The modern, open concept kitchen and living room inside the Iron Oak was warm and welcoming, but it failed to soothe her. The platinum felt warm, and impossibly, smelled of Breaker’s delicious musk. It was horribly distracting.
Kjetil, Juniper’s werewolf husband, refreshed his wife’s coffee cup; Daisy hadn’t touched hers. Juniper was pregnant with twins, and she had a difficult time getting anything done with his protective hovering. “It smells like him.”
“So I’m not imagining it! My brother claimed it wouldn’t come off…um, that he couldn’t take it off.” She wasn’t eager to share his damning explanation.
Juniper smiled, as if privy to an inside joke. Pregnancy had plumped her tall, lanky frame; she was all legs and stomach. Her hair touched her shoulders now and she shared loving glances with her ruggedly handsome husband, but she’d never been a fool. She’d probably figured it out. “He’s right. It’s tied to your will.”
Daisy slumped. For some reason, she felt like crying.
Kjetil put on his boots, sensing the need for girl talk, and smart enough to make a run for it. “I’m going to check on the hunting lodge. Call if you need me, Jun.”
Juniper waved and then looked at Daisy with compassion. “Sucks to like a heartbreaker, doesn’t it?”
Daisy sighed. “I don’t like dragons. You know why. I’ve avoided drakes my whole life, and now my brother tells me I smell like their catnip. My dad’s taken vacation so he doesn’t have to referee. I think he knew what would happen with Breaker! Maybe they planned it,” she admitted, dejected.
“Trust me, it’s not better when they hover,” Juniper said sagely. “You know how Indris was. Stepfather or not, a dragon’s not any less protective of his daughters.” She glanced out the window, reluctantly amused. “Looking back on it, I think Indris set me up.”
“See? I knew it! It makes no sense for him to take off and let Breaker “protect” me. He’s decided Breaker will make a good mate, and he’s giving him a chance to prove it.”
“So tell him to take a hike,” Juniper suggested. “He won’t force you.”
“I know that,” Daisy retorted. “That’s not the problem.” She took a sip of her coffee and blinked. “This isn’t our greenhouse blend.” She ought to know; she managed the greenhouse in the Chestnut, as well as the new greenhouse, the Iron Thorn.
The Chestnut’s ground floor was a garage, ensuring safe parking for multiple vehicles. It had a separate space for a bricked, amber lit root cellar. The second and third floors were climate controlled greenhouses and the fourth was a food processing/office area with a separate, two bedroom apartment furnished in simple elegance.
From the outside, it looked like a wooden frame protecting amber windows. The amber reflected a rainbow of colors, obscuring the tree’s contents while letting in light. Vines of iron flowers swathed the tree, ready to interlock and form a barrier if the tree was threatened.
The tree also had a lift for transporting goods and people between floors. It was attached via a sky bridge to the Iron Thorn greenhouse.
The Iron Thorn had had a frame of iron thorns supporting glass panes. At night the iron thorns closed over the glass, protecting it from stray monsters. In addition to vegetables, the greenhouses grew bananas, chocolate and coffee. Gourmet coffee. They had a bunch of interns from the university dedicated to research and production.
“Decaf. Kjetil’s taking care of me,” Juniper said mournfully. “I showed him the Brazilian study that proved caffeine in moderation was fine, and explained that the American study used the equivalent of fifty to seventy cups of coffee on rats to cause birth defects, but it didn’t work. He still serves decaf.”
“I’m sorry,” Daisy commiserated. “Sneak over to my tree and I’ll give you the real thing.”
Juniper tapped her nose. “He’s a werewolf. He’ll know.”
Daisy winced. “At least there’s chocolate.”
“And lemon. I love lemon,” Juniper agreed. “About your problem. I have a distraction if you like. You remember that rock mage? He has some weird plants growing in the Quarry. He asked if I could look at some samples, see if they’re a problem.”
Daisy perked up. “Any new species?” The Quarry sat on several acres that had once held a casino, a prison and a quarry. When the Convergence had merged the worlds of Earth and the elven world, Gwyllon, it had led to all kinds of weird magical pockets. The Quarry was known for birthing rock trolls and nasty, skittering things. Like Juniper, Scott Geiger had seen potential in the twisted real estate. Occasionally, he called Juniper to bounce around ideas.
“Maybe. Unfortunately, the samples degrade once they leave the Quarry. Only stone seems to thrive outside its boundaries.”
“Wow. I’d love to take a look at that.” Like most scientists, Daisy was beset with curiosity, and she loved to explore new things.
“It’s dangerous,” Juniper cautioned. “You’ll need backup. Would your brother go with you?”
“Are you kidding? He’s always up for an adventure.”
“Awesome! When do you want to start?”

Writing music, fixing a stuck plot

I enjoy Pandora Radio. I've got a mix of contemporary Christian music like Skillet, Sactus Real (I'm Not Alright) & the David Crowder Band (Lift Your Head Up Weary Sinner) and rock like Nickleback, Imagine Dragons and Fallout Boy. Good writing music, similar styles, few commercials.

I call the station "I'm Not Alright Radio". It's fitting.

Writing was dragging until it hit me; everything was going too smoothly. Daisy's family was too good. That's primary reason I don't read much Christian fiction, because nobody but God is that loving all the time, and it makes for boring, vanilla stories. Too whitewashed isn't fun. Who wants to read about someone who doesn't struggle with temptation and pain? The real stories of overcoming horrible stuff, the triumph of spirit, it much cooler.

So Daisy's in for it, but she's going to discover she's a fighter.

Also, I can't make Breaker too good or understanding, not yet. We like to live vicariously, to rip and tear through our characters. At times, Breaker has no brakes, and that's glorious. He really lives.

The world needs less PC. Hush, don't say that, don't do that, don't think that. Hah! Sometimes we just need to rage like toddlers. I think that's why I loved Godzilla. Sure he's destructive, but he doesn't sit there and debate every action to death.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Flying highlights

Kids got stuck an extra two hours in Anchorage. I think it was an excellent learning experience; they got to learn the purpose of carry on (don't just take a pack of gum and one magazine, pack for survival and major boredom).

One of their uncles who lived there was going to fetch them and take them to dinner, but due to a communications snafu with the airline departure times, that fell through. At one point my husband was using two phones to relay info between kids and grandma, who was waiting to pick them up. She had a big dinner cooked and relatives over, but no kids, so she was mad at AK Air.

Of course the kids were also stressed out. I sent my cell with them (it's Net 10 and has a zillion hours, since I barely use it). There were battles over who got the phone, at least one melt down and a cussing out. Airplanes will do that to the most mild of us, especially when lack of sleep is a factor. Still, they arrived in Fairbanks, got luggage, were fed and given a bed. All is well.

Given the late hour, I didn't expect an early hello, but my least morning person, the youngest, called. Apparently my mom's Yorkie-poodle mix was very happy to see the kids. It's hard to ignore ten pounds of wiggling, licking dog when Rosie is happy to see you.

So far I've gotten three calls, one about how to get Grandma to stop cussing so much. And thus begins the grand Alaska adventure!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The kids made it to Anchorage. I asked about the Seattle and as suspected, the youngest (15) did a great job of steering his siblings to the right terminal. This is the kid who wants to be a general someday. His brother is 18, but high functioning autism, and easily stressed. His sister is 16 with ADHD. When asked if she would have navigated Seattle well alone, she admitted that her brother is annoying, but useful.

About what I expected. They were eating lunch when I called.

Now I just have to deal with being kidless for six weeks. While disconcerting, I'll admit I smiled when I put away their water glasses, knowing that things will stay where I put them for the next month and a half. There's definitely an upside.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Up too late, got up too early

Tired. Kids are going to Alaska for six weeks tomorrow to visit family, get on the plane early. It'll be weird but probably good for all of us. No squabbling kids for the summer!

Sunday John and I are going to watch a movie (Jurassic World) and have lunch for Father's Day. The kids have been cooking him goodies for early gifts, since they'll be gone.

My daughter helped her buddy shear sheep yesterday and today she's washing sheep wool in the driveway to use for stuffing. I'd laugh, but I did the same in my twenties to see what spinning was like and if I'd like it (no). It's a good experience, and just the sort of thing a daughter of mine would do.

I know where I'm going with Breaker's Ruin, getting closer. Daisy's about to have some growing pains as she's catapulted out of the nest.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Plotting imperfection

Since plotting a whole book in advance is beyond me, I have to get to know my characters as I write them. Right now, Daisy is due for a panic attack, because perfectly competent, self-sacrificing types aren't really perfect. She needs a big fight with her bro, because no sibling on Earth gets along forever, no matter how much they're loved. Maybe it's the capacity for reconciliation that makes the relationship so special.

Last time we got to see what happens when siblings clash, so this book is very special. Mind you, I'll have to go in the opposite direction and create a dysfunctional family in the next book to make up for it. I love exploring relationships.

On page 70 of 160.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Snippet: dodge

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

She didn’t get what he was after, so she didn’t dodge until it was too late.
He snaked an arm around her waist and moved so their faces were nearly touching. He breathed deep, his eyes shuttered as he sampled her reaction. “I can smell your excitement, pet. You like being close to me.”
She pressed a shaky hand against his chest, but there was no give. “Breaker,” she warned.
“Your heart is hammering. You’re a little afraid, but you want to know what it’ll be like.” His voice was a purr of temptation. He shifted, making her jump, and smiled at her reaction. “Maybe my height intimidates you. We should make this fair.” He set her on the counter and stepped between her knees.
“This is not better,” she tried to snap, but it came out breathy. He had her so close to the edge, she had to hold his shoulders for balance.
His hands gently stroked her thighs. “I want you, woman. I can give you nights of ecstasy, days of pleasure.” He nuzzled her cheek.
She didn’t mean to make an encouraging sound. It just slipped out.
She felt his smile against her skin. “If you want a kiss, darling, you’ll have to come and get it.” He pulled away, his eyes glowing with pleasure. “For you, it’s always a yes.” He removed his medallion and slipped it over her head. “I put my number in your phone. Call anytime.” He strode for the balcony.
“Hey!” She tugged at the necklace, discovered it wouldn’t come off. It had shrunk, becoming daintier and more suitable for a woman, but despite its new size, it wouldn’t rise more than two inches from her chest. “Breaker, wait! Take this off.” She raced after him. He couldn’t leave her wearing his medallion! Everyone would think he’d staked a claim.
He soared off the balcony as she reached the doors, the swipe of his wings blasting her hair. Early morning light glinted off his emerald scales, shown through his inky wings. In moments the huge dragon was a mere speck, safely out of reach.
Robbed of her target, she turned on her brother. “Thanks for all the help!”
“You’re the one who started flirting.”
“I wasn’t! He makes me mad. I had to do something about his ego.”
Luke glanced at her neck. “Looks like he left you a gift.”
She tugged at it. “It won’t come off. Can you remove it?”
He picked it up, his expression thoughtful. “Is it hurting?”
“Of course not, but it’s…you know what this is, don’t you?” she asked suspiciously. “Is this like a class ring, or is he telling the world we’re engaged or something?” Luke knew more about the minutia of dragon culture. She’d never hung out with him and his dragon friends, partly because of the age gap and partly because she didn’t quite feel at home in that crowd. Unless they were family, unmated drakes could be trouble.
She didn’t trust Breaker not to try to own her.
Luke smirked. “Definitely not. He could give it to a child, and everyone would know she was under his protection. On someone like you…well, it might lead to speculation.”
“So get it off!” She hated when he was stubborn, and she had a suspicion this was going to be one of those times. “Please.”
“Even if I could, I’d rather you kept it on until dad gets home. You may not have noticed, but drakes have been watching you lately. Your changeling scent has gotten a lot stronger, and it’s drawing them like bees to nectar.”
Her eyes got big. The last thing she wanted was something else to attract drake attention. “Why didn’t you tell me?” She would have rolled in dead salmon or something.
“I just did. Besides, you know all those drakes we’ve introduced lately? They keep requesting introductions. Dad’s been vetting them, but honestly, I think he’s a bit annoyed with them. I think they might be on vacation so you can sort it out.”
“What? How can he desert me like that?” Panic threatened. Strange drakes made her nervous. She was far too aware of how powerful they were, and their confidence intimidated her. All right, their unapologetic sexuality was a problem, too. Thanks to her brother, she’d barely dated, had no experience with handling men. The art of flirting escaped her, and she did not appreciate being left to her own devices now.
“You’re the one who claims to hate our interference.” She shivered, so he led the way inside, where it was warmer. “You’re getting what you wanted, so why are you complaining?”