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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March Special – The Dragon’s Flame

The Dragon’s Flame will be on sale for $0.99 starting Sunday, March 12 and lasting through Saturday, March 18. As an added bonus, The Master’s Chair will be on sale Tuesday, March 14, but it will only be on sale for one day. Wednesday it will go back to its regular price.

(All four of the books in the series are in Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read them all for free at any time.)

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The Fourteenth Key for $0.99


The third book in The Chronicles of Terah series, The Fourteenth Key, will be on sale for $0.99 from Sunday, Jan 14 – Saturday, Jan 21. It will go back to its regular price of $3.99 Sunday, Jan. 22.

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The Dragon’s Flame for $0.99

The Dragon’s Flame is on sale this week for only $0.99. By next Sunday it’ll be back to its regular price of $3.99. And as an added bonus, tonight I’m going to reduce The Master’s Chair to $0.99 too, but it’ll go back to its regular price of $2.99 sometime Thursday. If you don’t already have your copies,  or if you want to give one to someone for Christmas, this would be a good time to get them.

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Guess Who’s Coming to Visit

I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving. I did. I had guests in for the day, but since my guests had four legs, I didn’t have to do a lot of preparation. Some friends of mine were going to be out of town so their dogs came over to visit with mine while they were gone. It was warm enough that I could leave the door to the dog lot open and they could all come and go as they pleased. All in all, it was a lovely quiet day.

My sister had guests for Thanksgiving too, her four grandchildren and their parents. Since the children range in age from 2 to 8, I’m sure her day wasn’t as quiet as mine, but I know she enjoyed it. Since they were all from out of town and staying with my sister and her husband, my sister decided to give the parents a gift. She offered to watch the kids all day Friday and let the parents have the day to do as they pleased, whether they wanted to join the hordes in the stores or find a quiet spot for lunch.

And since I hadn’t seen her grandchildren since last summer, my sister decided a visit to my house was in order. A shudder of panic passed through me when she called to say she and her husband would be arriving in about an hour with all four kids.

Let me explain a little. I may be a retired teacher, but I taught high school. I’m one of the few adults who actually likes teenagers, but I am not and never have been a little kid person.  I can take them one at a time, and even enjoy them for a limited amount of time, but four at one time? Just the idea of that strikes fear in my heart.

My house is not kid proof by any stretch of the imagination. There are too many things they can use to hurt themselves, and just as many things that they can ruin. I have notes on index cards scattered all over my den and office and plot outlines on my white board. I have folders filled with maps, calendars, and more notes all over the work table in my office. And I have a shredder. Disaster in the making.

After the first moment of panic, I realized that I had two things in my favor. I knew my house better than they did and I’m taller. Within minutes I had gathered notes, index cards, pencils, and pens and stashed them on top of plates and bowls on the top shelves of my kitchen cabinets. My clipboards, tablet, and kindle ended up on a hidden shelf inside an old TV cabinet in the living room. My folders were stacked and stashed at the back of one of my file drawers. And the shredder cord was disconnected. I took a picture of my whiteboard just in case someone found the eraser and pens. My flashlights were buried under the kitchen towels in a drawer. (We have a lot of power failures in this area. I have flashlights in every room. Last time they all came, one of the kids decided to remove all the batteries and bulbs to see how they worked. Took forever to get them all sorted.)

My sister took the whole crew to their very favorite place to eat on the way over here – McDonald’s. They all came in with their happy meals so we cleared the kitchen table and let them eat their lunch. After we cleaned up, my sister pulled out a big plastic box full of art supplies.

I have to admit, my sister’s smart. She’d bought several children’s coloring books, cut the pages out, and put them in that box, along with a huge box of crayons and three canvas rolls of colored pencils. (Yeah, my sister’s an artist.) Each of the four kids dug through the box to find a picture to color. As soon as one was done, they pulled another one out and started again. They spent a couple of hours coloring away while my sister, her husband, and I visited and kept an eye on things. Most pleasant couple of hours I’ve ever spent around little ones. And best of all, no damage was done – to them or to my stuff.

So, lesson learned. Get a big plastic box. Fill it with pages of coloring books and tons of crayons and colored pencils so the next time someone calls and tells me little ones are on the way, I’ll be ready. Just clear off the kitchen table, set the box in the middle, and relax. It’s handled.

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Tired of the Turmoil

Sometimes life is like a lazy river, drifting by peacefully. And other times it’s like the rapids with the turbulence sending you first one way and then another. This fall has been the rapids, and I’m ready for some calm waters.

I’ve seen a lot of elections – remember I’m a member of the slide rule generation – but I’ve never witnessed anything like this one, and I hope I never do again. In the past, my friends and I would talk about the candidates, argue for our choices, debate the policies each party touted, and have a good time doing it. Not this time. This year I’m afraid to find out who my friends may be supporting. I’m afraid I’ll see them differently  I don’t even know who my relatives are voting for, and I don’t want to know. And my friends and family must feel the same way as no one’s asking me who I’m voting for or what I think. That’s sad, and a little bit scary.

The campaigns and all the surrounding controversies have become all-consuming. Inboxes overflow with dramatic appeals for donations and over the top condemnations of the opposing side. This election has been deemed entertaining and engaging by a lot of the media, but I’ve got another word for it – unsettling,

Personally I’ll just be glad when it’s over, when I no longer cringe whenever the commercials start on TV. I record everything I want to see on TV and watch it later, including the news, just so I won’t have to sit through the political ads. I’m not even answering my phone these days unless I know who’s on the other end. I don’t want to hear anything else either party has to say.

I’ve “unsubscribed” to everyone who’s been flooding my inbox with doom and gloom political e-mails. I’m shredding political mailings without reading the first word. At this point the campaigns are wasting their time and money on me. I’ve already voted. I’m done.

Time for me to get out of this turbulence. Time to head back to Terah.


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