Saturday, October 31, 2015

Karen Walker and The Wishing Steps: Happy Book Release!

Happy Release Day!!! 

I just wanted to give a shout out to Karen Walker today and give all of you a heads up.

Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia

“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess

Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.

“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander

Check out Karen's new website at

Friday, October 30, 2015

Apocalybsessed: The Expansion

So Monday's Listy Blog was just my list... but here are my specifics and why...

I am only now realizing it's just me. Well, a few of you had thoughts. But I think we are the exception.

When people announce some new skill on Facebook or post pictures of the cool stuff they canned... I claim them for my apocalypse team. Nobody outside of the writer-verse seems to be thinking about it. So I wondered... are other people secretly amassing supplies but keeping it to themselves so when it happens nobody shows up at their house? Or am I ridiculous because of the entertainment I love?

Because I have plans.

MOST Important (aside from collecting my various loved ones):

GET WEST. The population is WAY too dense here. Supplies of available stuff will go fast and if it's the zombies, there are way too many people to be turned into them, and if it's the flu disease will spread so much faster with this many people. And if it is nuclear war—HELLO, nobody wants to be sitting between Chicago and Detroit.

Something like this oughta do it
HOW will I go west? Well going through Chicago just seems stupid. That twisty gnarl of tollways is going to get clogged in about two minutes flat, and a person has to go clear down to 70 to go SOUTH of Chicago... So North? Well I don't fancy having to count on the Mackinaw Bridge staying open—that bridge is five miles long and if all of Michigan is trying to cross it, I see a problem. Nope, I plan on hitting someplace like Traverse City and taking a BOAT to the Upper Peninsula. I will make my way to Highway 2 to cross the country.

I told you I'd been thinking about this.

Next Step:

WHAT WEAPONS? I've probably been watching Walking Dead too much of late, but I am convinced the sword is for me. Or possibly a hatchet—not a full-sized ax. I don't own any guns anyway, but I've been thinking guns run out of ammo. If it's zombies that is definitely the way to go. People acting all Neanderthal because apocalypses bring out the worst in some people is another matter. Though I happen to think I am better at strategy and stealth than I would be in actual combat. I was the kid that they quit the hide and seek game for because nobody could find me, so I am counting on that. A lot.

And FOOD! Stuff that is light enough to carry but you can make more substantial, like dried beans are PERFECT if you are somewhere you can take two hours to prep, so I'd take them. But you also need portables... Peanut butter... regular nuts. In fact trail mix generally is really darned efficient (thus the name TRAIL mix, duh). Canned stuff SOUNDS nice, and if I was in one place to store it, okay, but it is HEAVY and some portion of that heaviness is just water weight. In fact some freeze dried rations from a camping store would be good. My dad used to have that stuff, though the only stuff I'd touch was the freeze dried ice cream.

Driving across Highway 2 I figure the biggest cities are Duluth Minnesota and Minot North Dakoka, so those aren't a problem. In North Dakota I figure I should dissemble a wind mill to take with us—that way wherever we go will have power... Because I am on my way to my parents' house—my stepdad is VERY handy—an electrician among other things, but he is also sort of like MacGuyver. I figure our team needs him. Plus my kids will need their nana.

So who's with me?

In other news, final edits for story go in today and I will submit for the Insecure Anthology. Shorts are hard, but it is good for me and I am relatively happy with the result.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Apocalypse Plans: A Listing Blog Hop Entry

Bish Denham is celebrating five years of blogging (Congratulations!) and so is hosting this fabulous blog hop whereby she is asking us all to make a LIST (I love lists). Check out her page for her list of participants!

My OWN List? What I plan to do when the Apocalypse Happens

1) Gather my people (family and friends who are interested)
2) Pack supplies (durable food, sleeping bags, basic tools, protective weapons--what we can carry)
3) Head WEST (population density is a problem)
4) The other side of Lake Michigan steal an all terrain vehicle
5) Seek shelter in old farmhouses (where stocks of home canned goods and practical things abound)
6) Collect people along the way who offer skills (hunting, medical skills, plant knowledge, building skills, mechanical skills)
7) Find someplace easily defensible and with a potential food supply (mix of farming land and fishing or hunting) in Idaho or Montana
8) Build defenses and set up alarm system
9) Just Survive Somehow (some of you may recognize that one)

Anybody else have their apocalypse plans in place? I will be expanding Wednesday if anyone wants more detail.

Now go look at everybody else's lists!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears: A Blogfest

So this is part of a blogfest hosted by Denise and Yolanda at Write, Edit, Publish... and I love the topic. Because we all grow up, eh? Most of us anyway. And these differences in what scares us (and whether we like it or not) are enormous.

Erm... and I failed to follow the rules... I was meant to write a piece of fiction here and instead wrote a blog post... ooops...  but it is a bad habit of mine... only reading part of it...


I did this once. Wouldn't now.
Man, I was a kids who LOVED the rush of fear. Maybe it was adrenalin. Going fast, spinning, heights... that all fits in there, too, but I really loved to be frightened. I still enjoy scary movies but there is something about all of these things that has changed... About the time I became a mom (I was 28) anything life endangering (perceptively) got REAL scary, not FUN scary. Part of it was my pregnancy was the first time in my life I'd ever felt physically fragile—off balance, slow to change directions... no more darting across the street like I always had. I could honest-to-god get hit.

But it is more complicated than that. I think it may even be biological. It makes sense to me that people who become more cautious when children are born are more likely to both have children live to adulthood AND be around to raise them.

Yeah, not so much.
So what SCARE did I used to enjoy that now I don't? The PLAUSIBLE stuff. I still LOVE suspense—I prefer the unseen threat—but I hate serial killer movies—totally too scary (except from a detective of cop perspective—then I can do it--but not killer or victim PoV). I never liked the blood and guts ones much, though I can take it in certain circumstances—like the gore of The Walking Dead doesn't bug me because it is zombie gore.

But the things that truly terrify me (that always seems horrifying but never popped to mind first when I was young) are things like losing children (or horrible things happening to them) or losing my personal faculties... I mean I know I wouldn't know, but in the case of something like dementia that comes on slow, I know that would really bother me. I have had a good processor my whole life (though not nearly as great a memory) and I LIKE being smart. I think I may not take it well if that all slipped far enough I was no longer capable of at least mental independence.

So how have your fears changed? Be sure to check out the other blog hop contributors, too—they are posting between today and Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Most Exhausting Vacation Ever

It started two days early, which should be a good thing, right? I was signed up to take Thursday and Friday off—nice four-day weekend halfway between Labor Day's long weekend and Thanksgiving's four days off...

But see, a week ago Saturday my husband woke up with back pain—pretty bad. Bad enough that on Sunday he went to urgent care. They prescribed something, but he is in recovery and after talking to people about it he decided it was a bad idea. And by Monday he seemed to be improving.

Then Tuesday. 5 AM... he woke up needing to get out of bed and couldn't. I had to help. And then I had to stay home because he couldn't stand on his own, so I called in sick. I found an acupuncturist who could see him, figuring that might be relief without medication. It didn't help much.

And Wednesday was worse. In fact we spent it in the ER. Six hours. They FINALLY figured out a mix of medications to address the problem without triggering addiction stuff—prednisone for the swelling, a muscle relaxant... and slowly it started to help...

He was up and down on his own Thursday (my first day of vacation) but not up to driving... so we went to the massage appointment... Friday the same... and we went to acupuncture... Friday though, he managed to make dinner, so that was something...

Oh. Did I tell you about the leaky faucet? Yes, through ALL of this our tub faucet was leaking hot water badly enough that we had to keep shutting off the water centrally except while in use. He guided my son through fixing it. Which worked for about 8 hours. Then again... another eight... then he managed it... for a day... every day we've had to re-fix the bloody faucet.

All the chores on me. All the shopping on me. All but the one meal on me. I am freaking exhausted.

And did I write? Yes. I wrote a paragraph. In five days. One paragraph. Though I did diagram my cozy mystery for NaNaWriMo, so that was good. At this point I can't wait to get back to work to get some rest *sigh*

Ah well...12 days...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Distraction Season

So for years I hardly watched TV. I had one or two shows I watched if I caught them, but I couldn't typically be bothered to catch more than my absolute favorites. But you know what? On-Demand and Netflix have been really terrible for my viewing habits. Now if I find something I like I can watch and watch and watch... and then I get hooked on these series... and then I have to wait for the new season. Which is now *sigh*

I really got more done before this happened.

Oh well... So What am I Watching?

New Season

Walking Dead (Sci-Fi-Apocalypse-Drama)

I finally decided to give it another chance this summer. I had watched two episodes before and it just hadn't actually done anything for me. I'm not a zombie fan. But the further I got in, the more it was about survival and the different sorts of people who do, and about the relationships. And the REALLY good stuff—how a crisis brings out the best in some and the worst in others so the people are often the real enemy (and how do you tell who is good and who is bad?) So now I'm glad it is back even if that gives me three shows to watch Sunday night at nine... yeah...

Doctor Who (Sci-Fi, Campy but with serious heart)

I love Doctor Who. And I love Peter Capaldi's portrayal of him. I never thought I could love another doctor like David Tennent, but I DO!

How to Get Away with Murder (Thriller-Drama)

Love this show. And it's a different flavor than a lot of my list. Viola Davis is brilliant and I love the kid who was Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter movies.

Arrow (Comic-based, Superhero)

I have loved this as my only comic book show and am slightly worried what will happen as it gets more intertwined with The Flash which does nothing for me. I sort of miss the days when it was just Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. Now everyone is a superhero. That said, this season has a couple promising details, so I will keep watching.

Homeland (Thriller-Political)

I watch this with my neighbors and LOVED the first three seasons. I'm hoping it finds its footing again—there are only so many ways Kari can go crazy or she and Saul can be mad at each other. But I will keep going, as I like the social time and it is usually pretty decent.

Honorable mentions for Castle, Bones, and Once Upon a Time, all of which I watch, but none of them urgently—I will wait until there is a whole in my schedule, possibly even post season

Just Starting

Blindspot (Thriller-Crime)

Billed as a female Jason Bourne... a woman is found naked in a duffel bag in Central Park, totally tattooed and with no memory. Turns out each tattoo is a clue for a crime that is going to be committed... It is heart pounding and I like the characters. A little worried they are going to solve each tattoo puzzle right on time with strains my disbelief but so far it has been great.

Quantico (Thriller)

This one is time jumpy, so we both began the training season with the entering cohort at Quantico AND see 8 months later as one of the women in the class is accused (framed?) for blowing up a building. I suspect as we go through the training with her, we will WITH HER spot the clues she needs about her classmates (one of whom actually did this). It's a nice set-up, actually. A book could be set up this way and work well.

Minority Report (Sci-Fi (2058 is the year, I think)-Crime)

So several years ago three children with the ability to see the future (crimes in the future—they are called Pre-Cogs) are used by the government to stop terrible crimes before they happen (and arrest people before they've done anything wrong). But the kids were prisoners, held in a milk bath because it acted as a conduit to help their visions coordinate. It is eventually learned sometimes their visions DON'T line up—two agree, one doesn't (The Minority Report). It suggests the future is not always set and some of the people may have been imprisoned who didn't need to be... The children are let go to a private place where they can't pick up visions because they are so nearly alone... and for years it's fine. Flash forward a dozen years and one of them, Dash, feels the urge to do something good—to help. So he shares some of what he sees with a cop and a sort of partnership is formed... but not without complications.

Bastard Executioner

This is historical fiction... some minor fantasy-ish elements (a woman called a witch who is a healer but gets some visions and some prophetic dreams). It is set in Wales at the time of William II. The King is weak and allows first a Baron, then an advisor, abuse the Welsh Village. During one of the Baron's raids the MC has most of his village (including his pregnant wife) murdered. The MC though, is healed by the witch and given a scar to disguise him as an executioner for the area. The executioner was cruel so his wife goes along with the story and he begins integrating with the village, befriending the Baroness... It is political intrigue and interpersonal drama... people forcing others to do things they would otherwise not through blackmail... that sort of thing...

So are you sucked into any TV distractions this season?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Halo, fine peoples! And welcome to first Wednesday, which is the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

So I've blogged a lot recently about trying to get my writing mojo back in line. And I am making progress. But there is an elephant in the room... one that knocked me off that pony to begin with. I really suck at promoting myself. Part of it is I hate it, so I have not had the discipline to make myself learn to do it.

But see a couple of my beloved writer friends have invited me into their ranks for some cross-promoting, collective projecting, building platformy, learning, doing quality stuff. But I totally feel out of my league. They a OODLES of books each. I have six and three of them are really part of one big one. I haven't published ANYTHING in 2015 because I got knocked off that pony in January and proceeded to spend the next six months with my arms over my head trying not to get kicked.

These ladies have NETWORKS and SYSTEMS and they talk about stuff that blows me away. I'm like “Wait, whut?” I've never put together a real promotion package. I don't have graphics skills so I don't all the brilliant stuff to go with promoting. I mean I have a couple buddies who've helped but I only feel like I can ask so much for free and since I've made all of about $40 with A Shot in the Light (Actually I've lost money as I paid for editing)

So where to I find the gumption to learn to do this stuff I don't really even want to know how to do but know I need to do? I really really don't want to let these ladies down but right now there is such a large pile to learn that I feel overwhelmed and can't even make myself start...

If it were you, what would you learn first? What is the single best thing you learned how to do in the pool of bizillions of things we are meant to learn?

Thanks in advance if you can help!!!

And don't forget to go visit some other insecure writers today!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015


So a video went around recently of the Portland flame bagpipe player balancing on a ball while he played and it got me to thinking about my childhood. I never managed to walk on a ball because that is like three-dimensional balance, but my dad worked at a hardware store (owned it for a while) and would bring home these spools for cable and rope, and my friends and I would race on them.

Like this, only smaller (usually--I did use one of these sometimes)
We would set up obstacle courses in my basement where we couldn't touch the floor, walking on these from sofa to fireplace mantle to chair.

Outside our driveway was lined with river rock, cemented in to form a jagged spiky barrier between cement and grass, so that too, I would walk, poised on the points—some of them with no reasonable surface, others large enough to stop and make sure my balance was in place. When I reached the fence I'd then traverse that.
One of these--simple design

So I'd climb from rocks to the fence, walking on the lower with the upper between my knees for balance, but in some spots either the upper or lower was gone so I needed to balance across. Some of the planks were pretty wobbly in there...

It's not shocking that by junior high the balance beam came naturally to me. In fact for years I prided myself on superior balance. But as I age and my muscles tighten and my weight shifts it doesn't come nearly so easily as it once did.

How Does that Apply to Writing?

I think the practice practice practice lesson is incredibly applicable. If we want to be balanced and poised and not look like a fool sprawled on the floor then we need to keep in practice. Some of us will have more natural balance than others, but we can all do it if we work at it enough. But I think the tight muscles thing applies, too. If you do the SAME THING all the time it will start to pull you out of alignment. So even if you aren't ever going to PUBLISH in another genre, maybe give yourself some fun exercises once in a while.

With that in mind, I've decided I want to, in my “non-writing months” (when I'm editing, which is usually 9 months of the year) I am going to additionally write a short story in an off genre. I may or may not submit these. Probably depends on how they come out. But I really am in need of some regular stretching. That said, after the entry for the Insecure Speculative Anthology, I saw a submission request for WITCH stories. So I think I will try one of those (I have a couple witch ideas in my idea file). The deadline is November 30 if anyone else is interested.

So back on the spool, my friends!

What do all of you do to stay nimble as writers (or whatever your preferred art)?