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. 

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Easter Day

I just couldn't let this glorious Easter Sunday go by without expressing my love to my Savior who paid the price for my sins, weaknesses and sorrows and provided a way for me to live again. At church, a talk was given relating the final week of his life. How he raised his dear friend Lazarus from the dead, had boughs strewn in his path as he entered Jerusalem, cleared the temple of the animals and money changers, had the last supper with his disciples and gave them the sacrament. He knew he was going to die and who would betray him; yet he had nothing but love and forgiveness in his heart. He prayed in the garden for all of mankind and was betrayed with a kiss. He stood before his accusers and never condemned anyone or tried to defend the false charges. He willingly hung on the cross when he had the power to save himself, and he suffered the finally agony of death. He lay in the tomb of a friend and three days later rose from the dead just as he had promised his disciples he would. 

His life was one of majesty, love and dedication, and I truly want to emulate as much of it as I possibly can by forgiving my neighbors, accepting challenges and disappointments without ridicule and complaint, and serving and loving as he did. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My heart is simply filled with love because I have accepted him as my Savior and know I will see him, and all of my family, again. What beautiful promise that is! More glorious than anything this world has to offer.

I think these few words express it best: JESUS IS A GOD OF MIRACLES BECAUSE HE RESCUED YOU AND ME.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

April Showers

Can't say that I've enjoyed the coolness of this spring day and all the rain after 70 plus degrees and plenty of sun yesterday, but it has given me time to do laundry and more editing and refining of the first book of my new series that will be launched in mid-summer, if all goes according to plans. I don't know why I'm so excited since book Destiny - Book 7 of the Indecision's Flame series won't be released until next month, but I'm a person who always likes to look ahead and can't stand to remain in one place for long. I suppose that's why I've moved so often the past few years. Like the children of today - I GET BORED EASILY.

Right after my divorce I bought a small, new home in the town where I taught school. That was challenging but fun, although I was receiving a lot of opposition. People in my community didn't like the idea that I had found it necessary to leave my husband of 22 years, but my doctor told me that my body was shutting down, and I would be dead in six months if I didn't make a drastic change.  Eighteen months later, I got a different job at the high school I went to and even managed to compile both print and video histories with my students of the institution. After 7 years, I sold that home, moved to another part of Idaho and bought a different house. I stayed they for 10 years and then retired.

That was my chance to do something really different and fun. I bought an acre and a quarter of ground on a private pond next to my sister in Missouri and proceeded to build my dream house. Little did I know that just a few months after I moved in that my daughter-in-law would be diagnosed with stage 4 Melanoma Lymphoma and my son would need me in Utah. So I sold my beautiful home there and moved into a house I had never seen in the middle of a subdivision where the houses are so close it gives me claustrophobia. But my daughter-in-law is doing great now, and I've been able to spend tons of time with my granddaughter.

I guess any place can be home, and I've met wonderful people and made a great many friends. I only know that I'm getting antsy after three and a half years and would love to be in the country again. Don't know if that's in my future, but sometimes we simply have to make do with what we have and be grateful for the blessings of family, health, faith, money to survive on and enough passion to do something useful. That's where I sit right now, just counting my blessings as the rain continues to fall. Spring flowers are already blooming, and in a few weeks I'll be complaining about all the heat. What's life like where you're at?

Here's the main setting for the first book in my new series. Hope you'll feel like checking it out.