Where Have I Been?

I hadn’t really thought about it, but it’s been nearly 6 months since my last post, which explains why I’ve gotten a few e-mails asking where I’ve been. There’s no short answer to that question, so here goes.

During January, I was in and out of doctor offices. Then, when all the doctors basically said see you again in 6 months for a checkup, I thought my life was going to get back to normal. I knew there was no hope for a spring or even a summer publication, but fall seemed doable at the point.

I had just started getting back into the sixth book in the Chronicles of Terah when, on Feb. 4, my brother-in-law called. I needed to get to the hospital. My sister had been in a wreck.

A man traveling 60 mph ran a stop sign and T-boned her. She was very fortunate in that there were no internal injuries, no spinal injuries, and no head injuries. But the only limb that hadn’t been broken was her left arm. Both legs had been broken in multiple places and her right shoulder had been completely smashed. Our local hospital sent her to the closest trauma hospital, about 25 miles away.

I spent most of February running back and forth to the hospital. Then she was moved to a Rehab Center for physical therapy – 25 miles in the other direction. March, April, and part of May were spent running back and forth to the Rehab Center.

After she was discharged, I spent the rest of May catching up on my stuff. For one thing that accident drove home the point that I needed to be sure my will was updated and all my papers were where they should be. I also had a few odds and ends around the house that needed to be seen to. My car needed servicing. The cat needed to go to the vet for a checkup. And the list goes on.

Now it’s June. Unless the universe has something else waiting in the shadows to jump out at me, I should be able to get back work.

Some of you have asked when the next book will be out. All I can say about that is I have no idea other than it’s not going to be any time soon, but no one wants this book finished and published more than me. Unfortunately I’ve got a long way to go.

In the meantime, while I was waiting in doctors’ offices, the hospital, and the Rehab Center, I did a lot of reading and I found some series you might be interested in. Over the next few weeks I’ll tell you about a few of them. Who knows? You might find something you like.

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2018 – What a Year

2018 is one year I’ll be happy to see end. There were some good times, but all in all,  this past year will not go down as one of my favorites.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I was taking care of my aging dog last winter. After he died, I concentrated on getting The Rambling Spy ready to publish. Once that was done, I took a couple of weeks off and then started working on the plot for the next book in the series. By September, I was ready to write again, and things were going well. My plan was to write the rough draft by the end of the year and then edit it in time for a late spring publication.

Those plans went out the window when I had my yearly physical, which included a 3-D mammogram. They found a “suspicious” area and scheduled me for an ultrasound assisted needle biopsy. After the results from that came back, appointments were made for me with a surgeon and an oncologist. Next came the MRI.

I wasn’t too worried about that until I found out they can’t do a breast MRI in an open machine, and the more I found out about it, the worse it got. You have to lie on a narrow table and be inserted into the MRI tube head first, which if you’re as claustrophobic as I am is the stuff of nightmares. I knew there was no way I could do it. So I started searching for alternatives.

It turned out that they can sedate you for an MRI if you insist on it, which I did. When I talked to them, they said it would be like the sedation used for colonoscopies (another joy) and cataract removals (which I’ve also had done).  I jumped at that and told them to sign me up. One small catch – insurance doesn’t pay for it, and it’s not cheap. Even so, if they wanted an MRI, I had no choice.

I have to admit, the MRI was horrible, mainly because the anesthesiology technician who was administering the procedure did not want to be there. I don’t know if they pulled her in on her day off or what, but she definitely did her best to make the experience memorable, and not in a good way.

Once I survived the MRI, the next step was a meeting with the surgeon to go over the results. That’s when the other shoe dropped. They found some other “suspicious” areas and wanted more needle biopsies, this time done with MRI assistance. And that’s where I drew the line. There was no way that was going to happen.

I decided my best bet was just to be done with it once and for all. No more needle biopsies, no more breast MRI’s. I was going to have a bilateral mastectomy.

I’ve now had the surgery and am in the process of healing.  It’s going well, but it’s not a surgery you bounce back from overnight. Hopefully I’ll feel like getting back to work before too long, but I’m not there yet.

So, if you’ve been hoping that the next book will be out soon, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not going to happen. At this point I couldn’t even hazard a guess as to when the rough draft will be done, much less all the editing, proof reading, and so on that has to be done before publication. All I can say is that I’ll start working on it again as soon as I can. I’ll try to keep you updated on the progress. In the meantime, thank you for your interest in the series, and for your patience.

 

 

 

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Nov. 6, 2018

Election Day is finally here. There were times when I thought it would never arrive. But after today the drama will finally be over, at least for a while. And we could all use the break.

I have two e-mail accounts, one for Mackenzie Morgan and one for me under my real name. Everyday for the past few weeks whenever I open one of them, my inbox is flooded with anywhere from 20 to 100+ e-mails, and almost everyone of them is political in nature, begging for money and predicting dire consequences for the whole world if they don’t reach their goal. I’m tired of hearing how I’m in mortal danger and only the person who sent that e-mail can save me from doom.

And the craziest part of it is I’ve never heard of half the people sending me e-mails. They’re running in local or state elections half a country away! I couldn’t vote for them if I wanted to, and if I’m going to donate my money to someone’s political campaign, you better believe it’s going to be someone I can vote for.

And opting out of them or unsubscribing does next to no good. The e-mails just keep on coming. At least you can opt out of all the TV ads. The only shows I’ve watched over the past couple of weeks have been on Netflix or Prime. I do not need my evenings invaded by doom and gloom.

But I’ll be back to network TV tonight, as I watch the returns with bated breath. I’ve stocked up on dark chocolate to get me through the evening as returns trickle in. And no matter how it’s going for the ones I’d like to see win, there will be that bright spot on the horizon. Whether my candidates win or lose, I’ll be happy to say goodbye and good riddance to Campaign 2018. It’ll finally be over.

 

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The Rambling Spy

The Rambling Spy is now available on Amazon. It’s not linked to my author page or the other books yet, but I’ve linked the cover and title to the publication page. Hopefully it’ll be added to the Series list soon.

As with the last couple of books, there’s a character list at the front of the book, as well as maps of Terah, Calandra, and Camden. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Book 5 in The Chronicles of Terah

I’ve received several e-mails lately asking about the next book in The Chronicles of Terah.

When I published The Warrior Elf, I decided to break the next part of the story into several books. That way I’d be able to make them shorter and publish more often. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but then came the task of deciding what went in each section.

First I tried to organize it geographically. One of the advantages to that was each book would have a smaller cast of characters and the story in one area would be continuous instead of told in bits. So I started out on that track, outlining what needed to happen in each of the main locations. After spinning my wheels trying to make that work, I gave up. There was no way to do it without creating spoilers. The story lines were too intertwined.

Next I tried to do it by time frame, to let each book represent about a year. That started out much better and was going well until I realized that breaking it in designated time units would leave things dangling. There wouldn’t be an ending.

Finally, after spending way too much time trying to find some way to break it up, I gave up and started writing the book. The rough draft took a long time to write but it’s done and the book’s in editing right now.

So, for those of you who are wondering when the next book will be out, the answer’s soon, hopefully within the next couple of months. When I can narrow that down a bit, I’ll post the cover and a projected publication date.

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Old Friends and New

When I published The Warrior Elf a little over a year ago, I lived with two old friends, a seventeen-year-old cat and  a twelve-year-old dog. Shortly after publication, my cat was diagnosed with the first stages of kidney failure. With the help of treatments and a careful diet he lived nearly six more months, and was able to enjoy a relatively full life up until the last couple of weeks.

During that time, my dog and I took frequent walks in the woods, something we’d always enjoyed. Unfortunately, age was beginning to take its toll on him, too. Or maybe I should say a combination of size and age. He’s a big dog, ninety pounds big. We used to walk two or three miles several times a week. We were down to between half a mile and a mile, depending on the day and the terrain.

Then, shortly after my cat said goodbye, I realized how much of a struggle it had become for my dog to get in the car.  I had steps for him, but even so it was just too much. So we said goodbye to the trails through the woods and started walking around the neighborhood, but we were still walking close to a mile a day. Then as spring faded into summer, our walks got shorter and shorter. And as the walks got shorter, we had to make adjustments around here. There’s a handicap ramp at the backdoor now so he doesn’t have to struggle with the steps, and I put runners and throw rugs down over the hardwood and linoleum to keep his feet from sliding around as he walks.

Over the past month, our walks have become even shorter. Now they’re limited to the backyard. But life’s not dull for either us. Our new friend sees to that.

A couple of months ago, a young cat came to live with us. He’s a little over a year old, and full of energy and mischief. Unfortunately he tested FIV positive, which means he has to stay inside and away from other cats. I’ve never had a cat who couldn’t go outside before, so for the first time ever, I’m buying cat toys. His favorite ones involve balls or yarns. I have to admit, his antics provide a lot of entertainment, for both my dog and me, but cleaning up after him is keeping me quite busy.

So, for those of you waiting for the next book, sorry it’s taking so long, but most of my time is tied up with my friends right now.  The rough draft is close to being finished, but I’m finding less and less time to sit down and write. It’s coming, but it’ll be next year before I can get it published.

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A New Take on an Old Tale

About a month ago, my sister asked me to read Cinder & Ella  by Kelly Oram. I read the blurb and shook my head. This book was so not anything I would normally read. First of all, it was basically a romance, and I lean towards mysteries and fantasies. Granted, a lot of the books I read have a romance thread, but it’s a subplot, not the main focus of the book. So I basically ignored her.

But my sister is not one to be ignored. She mentioned it again, and when I said it wasn’t for me, she answered that she really wanted me to read it, that there were things in there she wanted to talk to me about but couldn’t if I hadn’t read the book. So I gave in.

I finished the second book, Happily Ever After, last night – at about 2:30 in the morning, and that wasn’t my first late night reading this series. I basically read the first book, Cinder & Ella, in one day, if you count 4:00 the next morning as being the “same day.”

So what was it in those books that my sister wanted to discuss with me? Nothing. She just wanted me to read them and figured that was the best way to get me to do it. Frankly, I’m glad she knows me so well. Otherwise I would have missed quite a treat.

If you haven’t read those two books yet, you should, even if romance isn’t your thing. There’s a lot more to that story than a simple romance.

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