Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Pioneer Day

It's July 24th. In Utah that means honoring our pioneer ancestors who traveled across the plains on foot and horseback, and by wagon and handcart, hoping to find a place where they would be free to worship God without persecution and violence. I admire mine greatly for the sacrifices they made. The stories about their lives fill me with gratitude and admiration and make me want to do everything I can to live up to the heritage they gave me. Perhaps part of my added focus comes from being older myself and knowing that it won't be that much longer until I meet them again in heaven to give an account of what I did with my family name. It's a rather daunting thought, but I really do want them to be proud of me.

In many ways, I consider myself, and every other person who lives on the earth, a pioneer in his or her own right. We each must carve out a place for ourselves in a world that is often filled with challenges and heartache that test our strength of character. I see people all around me who are rising above tremendous hardships and still giving back to others. They see the positive when the world around them is filled with chaos. They smile when their lives have fallen apart, and they rejoice with others who are enjoying success. They never become part of a newscast or enjoy any worldly accolades, but they live lives of hope, happiness and service.

I wouldn't want to be the pioneer who had to endure the extent of physical hardship many of my ancestors did. I'm afraid I might have stayed behind or given up during the journey. There are people in many countries who still exist that way today. I admire the selfless sacrifice of others who devote their lives to serving them and try to do my part, but I know it will never be enough. Perhaps that's the reason I wrote my next series. Final Allegiance, the first book in Reagan Sinclair, FBI, series came out today. It's about a 21st century woman who loves family, country and others and is willing to put everything on the line for what she believes. I'd love for any of you to read it and tell me what you think. It's now live at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv in both print and eBook. 


Saturday, 20 July 2019

It's Okay to Fail

So after three months of frustration, lack of sleep and feeling rather hopeless I’m finally admitting defeat when it comes to being able to design covers for the books in my new series. There are plenty of free and relatively non-complex options for designing eBook covers that look okay. Canva is great. I’m sure that’s why so many authors on a very limited budget only go digital, but I love the feel of a real book in my hands. So I sought help from a wonderful and talented friend who will do them for me at a very reasonable cost. I’m sure all of you will appreciate it because the ones I tried did not look good. Now I can quite worrying and feeling bad because the graphic art genes missed me completely and can get back to doing something I feel good about. The first book in the new series should be out in a few days. I’m really excited about it. The story will keep you guessing from first chapter to last. 

I guess my real message for today is that not everyone can do everything well. We need to discover where our talents and limitations lay and be okay with it. I know a great many people who seem to be able to do it all, but I'm sure they have things they feel less than confident about. Sometimes I wish I didn't have so many but I'd stack my work ethic up with most anyone even half my age, and can I ever cook, clean, sew and work in the yard. I was raised without any fluff or fanfare, but that's okay too. I just want to be the best person I can in my own little corner of the world.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Hot Summer Fun

  This will be a little personal since I'm talking about my writing, but I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer months with all the warm weather, gorgeous flowers, family vacations and grass to cut. I'm not a fan of hot weather but so far it hasn't been too bad, as long as I get up by 6 in the morning so I can do yard and garden work before 9. After that, I can spend time writing, doing things with family members and friends or giving service to others two days a week. I love giving back to people who cannot do certain things for themselves  I have been blessed with good health and the ability to do so. It is a great blessing and one I thank God for each day. There is so much suffering in the world, and I want to be part of the group who isn't always taking. That's so easy to do in our society where wants more likely than not outdo needs and people are more concerned with getting ahead than doing good to others. I believe every kind and thoughtful turn comes back a hundred fold in ways we would never expect.
  But back to what I would like to say, and it is about giving.  I'm really excited to announce the July 4 winners of the digital copies of Betrayal - Indecision's Flame - Book 4. I love sharing what I've written with others almost as much as I like writing. So here's a big congratulations to Judy Norris, Misty Mendenhall, Letitia Brower Klein and newrozunak@yahoo. For those whose names have not yet been drawn in a contest, I will be sponsoring another giveaway when the first book in the Final Allegiance series comes out in a few weeks. I'm working on cover-design. It’s very different from writing what goes inside, but I will endure. This new series is very different from Indecision’s Flame, but it does take place in some very exotic locations as Agent Reagan Sinclair begins her extraordinary and challenging service with the FBI. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.
    My knees trembled slightly as I walked past the empty desks of other agents in our division. Some of them were out of the building on assignments, while others would start trickling in as the clock ticked closer to the hour. This was going to be either a very good or a very bad day. The knot that had formed in my stomach while I was in the elevator traveled upwards until it lodged in my throat. What if I was being overly confident?  Nearly half of the new agents washed out the first few months on the job. There were few nine to five assignments and arrival at work didn’t always mean going home at night. Some cases took several days or even weeks to complete, and families couldn’t always be apprised of what was going on. 
   I’ll be sharing more later on my Facebook page and blog, and don’t forget that you can still get the first three books in Indecision's Flame as a Trilogy and save a little money, along with the rest of the books in the series at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv. If you’ve enjoyed any of books I’d love for you to leave a review. They’re what help us get noticed and would mean a lot. Just use this link to help me out. http://bit.ly/IFReview


  This is the setting for the first book in Final Allegiance. Doesn't it look like a fun place to visit?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The Fun of Being a Homeowner

So here's my excuse for not posting something the past few weeks. I'm sure it's one many of you have lived through - probably more than once. It's all about being a homeowner and having things fall apart. It began when I turned on my sprinkler system a few weeks ago and found that every time I turned the outside water on in the house my back yard got sprinkled until I shut it off again. I couldn't get any of the other lines to work. Instead of calling a repair man, I asked a neighbor for help. He struggled with it for a few days thinking the valves in the back might be shot but finally brought another neighbor who figured out that one of the valves in the backyard wasn't sufficiently tightened. He reprogrammed the entire system for me - something I'd been struggling with since moving into the house nearly four years ago.

Once that issue was solved, I turned on the AC only to discover that every time I did it froze up. This time I did call for professional help. The verdict, like so any others, they could try to fix it for almost as much as new one could cost but there was no guarantee it would work through the rest of the summer. The furnace and AC are 16 years old. Apparently, they're only built to last 15 years anymore. It makes me wonder why the old ones would work for 25 years plus. (Perhaps all the new technology makes more than just people a little more lazy.) Anyway, I opted to replace both of them since installation would be a thousand dollars less to do them together. Plus, they would give me a discount and a rebate. That purchase successfully ended any travel plans for the next couple of years.

While I was waiting for them to do the installation, my granddaughter turned on the facet in the guest bathroom, and we couldn't get it to shut off. My son came to see what he could do. He got the hot water  value underneath the sink closed but didn't check the one for cold water. Two days later I walked into the basement to get a can of soup and found water dripping on my head and a whole bunch of it soaking into the floor. My son came to my rescue again and tightened the other valve so the flooding would stop, but he doesn't have time to replace the facet and valves for a week or so. He's in the process of moving. I cleaned up the mess, but it still means that if anyone comes to visit they will have to wash their hands in one of the other sinks.

I'm not sure there's a moral to this story. Life happens and things fall apart. It's how we react to negativity and irritants that really matters. I do believe in divine help and the goodness of others. I believe they work together to help us through the challenging times in life. I'm just very grateful for all my blessing. Life could always be so much worse.

In case I didn't mention it before, the final book in the Indecision's Flame series was released last month. It's a great read for any member of the family, and there's even an option to get the first three as a trilogy and save a little money. I'm hoping I will have a little more time for writing now, but it's a little iffy until school starts because I'll  have my granddaughter with me 2 to 4 days each week. Being with her is a blessing. She's teaching so much.


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Remembering Others

So I didn't exactly forget Memorial Day. It's just that I live too far away from the cemetery's where my ancestors are buried to visit them and pay my respects very often. However, I did spend some time thinking about those who had gone before, especially my father. He died when I was thirteen. A sudden heart attack took him away from a wife and 7 little children who needed him desperately. He was tall and lean and kind and truly one of the most hardworking and selfless men I have ever known. He wanted to come a soldier and fight for liberty and truth during World War II, but a heart condition and an injury while playing high school football prevented it until the end was near.

Since he couldn't be sent directly into battle, he became part of the military police who rode the rails back and forth across the United States looking for draft dodgers and deserters. I can't imagine doing that, but it was a necessary part of the process since not everyone wanted to leave their lives of relative ease to help someone else. The last few months he spent on a Del Monte Pineapple Plantation in the Philippine Islands as a medic nursing soldiers back to health. It seemed like such a noble cause until I learned that most of the men he was helping were suffering from venereal diseases. Being young, I didn't know what he was talking about until much later.

That recollection made me think about how important the seemingly simple decisions in life can be.  It might not matter what we eat for breakfast or what we wear on a particular day, but it will matter to someone if we smile when we see a stranger, pick up a piece of litter or think before we speak. Life is about giving something back, not always wanting to be the recipient of something good or wonderful. I applaud those who hang posters on doors asking for old shoes that can be sent to those in need. I marvel at the compassion and help freely given during times of disaster, personal crisis or unrest. I feel great pride when I see the flag flying because I know millions of people sacrificed all they had so our nation could be free. I wish I could do more but need to be content with doing what I can. We choose what we will become and what we will be remembered for. Most days I just want to be remembered as being a replica of my father - minus the tall and lean, I'm afraid. Someday I will see him again, and I want him to be proud of me.

As a quick side note, you have until Friday to get the first three books in the Indecision's Flame series as a trilogy for $.99 by clicking on this link https://amzn.to/2PfLun2.  I'll tell you about book 7 in the series later. It's a must-read for everyone who believes in family, hope and forgiveness.



Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Belated Mother's Day

So I completely spaced the holiday when it came to thinking about my own mother. Ours was a difficult relationship and my childhood was rarely pleasant, but I still admire her as a woman who worked hard, tried to do her best and commanded respect. There were never any fuzzy moments when I felt truly loved and accepted, but I always had clothes to wear and a roof over my head. I could never go to her with the problems that really mattered or seek shelter in the strength of her arms when I was frightened or needed help, but she made sure there was food on the table even if I had to cook it myself and she sometimes typed my school reports. (I never felt the need to take a typing and that has been a hindrance my entire life, especially since I have spent so much of it writing as a way to cope with things I didn't understand.)

From her I learned how to survive, rely on myself and never risk more than I could stand to lose. While those may not seem like endearing characteristics they have suited me. I've been alone most of my life since I never learned how to really connect or trust others. My marriage lasted 22 years but there was never any intimacy, and I was constantly afraid of saying or doing something that would meet with disapproval. I tried to break the chain of abuse that had been a part of my life since I was five by walking away, but it was done too late and in the wrong way. I often feel like I hurt my children more than I helped them, but like my mother, I was just trying to do my best.

That said, writing about families and intimate relationships in the Indecision's Flame series has been very hard for me. I know all about abuse, illness, denial, conflict, abandonment, lack of warmth and threats, but I don't know much about how happy families interact. One of the few things I remember about my parent's interacting was the day my father became angry enough to rip the dress from my mother's shoulders because she kept insisting on wearing something that was worn out when she had better things in her closet. So much for the mind wanting to protect the sanity of an individual!

But I still believe in Mother's Day and honor all of the  tremendous women I have known over the years who have overcome great odds, tried to serve others, and have given everything they have for the ones they love. No life is perfect, but it can always be improved on. I hope that my mother, who has been gone for almost 20 years now, will know that I love her and am really trying to understand how difficult her life must have been. I often see her refection when I look in the mirror. Whether we like it or not, we are part of the people who gave us life and will see them again someday. I'm hoping for a glorious reunion.


        Happy Belated Mother's Day

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

May Flowers? I woke up to snow.

Exciting news and the perfect way to begin a rather chilly May. It's something I would never have tried on my own since cover design is a skill I'm still trying to learn, but with the help of a wonderful friend the first three books in the Indecision’s Flame series have been packaged as a trilogy. That means great reading for a great price. Until May 26, you can get all three books in digital format for $.99 at https://amzn.to/2PfLun2 After that, they will go to their regular price of $5.99. And don’t forget that the last book in series - Destiny - will be out later this month. It’s twists and turns will keep you guessing until the very end. Here's a sneak peak: 

Beth’s arrival at the ancestral home effectively ruins what Brylee and Jake hope will be the beginning of many happy Christmas days, but the much-anticipated holiday turns to complete ruin when Raymond Tucker interferes in a most galling way. It’s a battle against family feelings of betrayal, sinister alliances and catastrophic news as NJ returns to the outback armed with a plan that has the potential of upsetting the very balance of nature. Ongoing confrontations and unmitigated pressure force LeAnn to rethink what is right for her and her children, and Brylee wrestles with feelings of self-doubt and a very uncertain future while trying to keep the family together. Will Jake’s final decision bring her the closure and peace she so much desires, or will it turn to ashes everything they have been trying to build? 

All books are available in both digital and print format at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv  Stay warm and happy reading.