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?”