Friday, March 23, 2018

Pain and Agony

Every day I wake up with pain. Every day. I believe most people over thirty wake up in pain, deal with pain, go to sleep with pain every day. Here's the's so pervasive, people don't notice it, or ignore it, until it reaches well past the manageable stage. Mostly, what people do is make excuses for pain.

"It's probably arthritis." Arthritis gets blamed for a lot of pain, maybe unfairly.'s overusing a joint. Or repetitive motion. Could just be sleeping in the wrong position. And it might literally be something you ate.

"It's just a low grade fever." Yeah? So what's causing this low grade fever? Is you body fighting something you're not paying attention to?

"I have back issues." Number one reason for back issues is? Sitting, sitting, sitting. If you don't have 'em now, you will if you continue to sit. Move around. Set a timer to remind you.

However, few people complain about pain because they don't remember what it's like to live without it. You can actually become so inured to pain that you ignore it in the general business of living--until you're incapacitated. Then it becomes a life changing issue.

I think we're wrong to ignore it. We do ourselves a disservice, possibly preventing an issue from being treated in a timely manner, because, well--it's just a little pain. Women, in particular have been taught their entire lives to just deal with it. Horrible menstrual pain? Deal with it. Vague chest or back pain? Deal with it.

Well, damn it! No. Don't deal with it. Do something about it. See a doctor, and if he/she waves it off, see another until you find one who takes you seriously. Because the doctor isn't living with your pain. You are. Male, female, old, young, if you have chronic pain, speak up. Fix it.

Fix it before you have to live with pain and agony.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Blue People

Back, long before there was an Avatar, there was Mystic Valley, land of the blue people. The Mystic Valley series was first published by a now defunct publisher. I'm slowly editing them for typos and time-line errors and republishing them.

Everything Lovers Can Know tells the story of how Jade and Baron (Merlyn) Llewellyn met and fell in love. After the End of the story, Jade and Baron end up trapped in Mystic Valley. Everything Lovers Can Know is available in e-book at Amazon.

The actual stories set in the valley begin with Dancer's Delight, the story of Dancer Devereaux's desperate flight from his enemies only to stumble into the strange, wonderful, weird world of Mystic Valley where the men are manly enough to wear kilt-like garments they call shardas and the women are both beautiful and wise. And the wisest, loveliest of them all, is Eppie, Dancer's mate and the daughter of Jade and Merlyn. Dancer's Delight is available in e-book at Amazon.

In Traveller's Refuge, Dancer's brother Traveller follows the clues left behind by his Dancer. In his case, he opts to bring along his friend, Bishop. Things don't go well for them. Trav is injured in an explosion that traps them in a cave. By the time they enter Mystic Valley, Bishop is anxious to locate someone, anyone who can help his friend Trav. While he recovers, Trav has plenty of time to fall in love with Eppie's sister, Wrenna, a sprite red-haired beauty that gives Trav a run for his money. Traveller's Refuge will be released July 1st.

Cherished Destinies, the next book, relates the love stories of Arano and Arturo, Eppie's brothers. Life isn't easy in the valley. And there are trials to face, but in the end, Arano overcomes all obstacles to bond with his mate, Silence.  Arturo struggles with loneliness and despair until Banisher offers him the wonderful gift of love .

In Love Never-Ending, Bishop finally gets his love story. Bishop is not happy to be stuck in the valley. He had a life outside the valley where he was perfectly happy. Not even the attractive Samara is enough to make him happy until he nearly loses her. Only then does he realize exactly what a prize he has.

Blue Paradise tells the story of PouseƩ, a young woman who is part of an invasion force. She quickly discovers she is on the 'wrong' side of the invasion when Jonson and Mali capture and claim her for their mate. But PouseƩ is no pushover as her mates soon find out.

Tracer's Lullaby, currently a work in progress, is the story of Tracer and his lover, Robyn, and Tracer's struggle to accept his destiny despite terrible tragedies and obstacles.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


It hasn't snowed here in a couple years. Oh, we've had the odd flake or dusting, but no actual pile-it-on, shovel-it-off snow. Today, it's snowing. Teeny, tiny icy blowing snow. When it snows I take a lot of pictures--not because I want to memorialize the storm, but because they're useful for writing scenes.

For instance, right now we have a quality of light I call snowlight. It's snowing briskly out there, but you can tell the clouds are thinning so there's more light. It's luminescent and bright because of the snow. Lovely. But it's not the kind of thing we remember in six months when we're writing a snow scene.

No, we're more likely to remember that cold, bluish light that comes when we first wake up to a blowing blizzardly snow. Clouds are heavier and it's darker. That's the snow most of us remember when we think about snow.

In my time, I've observed a LOT of snow. Deep snow. Slushy snow. Up-to-my-waist, I'll-never-get-this-driveway-clear-snow. I've even survived the my-roof-might-cave-in-snow. My snowlight. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


No doubt I border on antisocial. No doubt. But my #1 rule is don't do it. Don't open an email from someone I don't know. Don't answer a phone call from someone I don't know. Don't play a game (how old are you?/what's your favorite color?/how many answers can you get right?/etc.), ever. Don't ever give any personal information to anyone I don't know--for any reason. Don't open my door to anyone I don't know. KNOW who will never call/email you--IRS, FBI, any government agency...Microsoft or any computer company...any banking company (such as Paypal). If they DO email you, it will ONLY be on their site after you've signed in with a proper login/password.

Rule #2: See rule number one.

I've never understood the irresistible urge folks have to do anything in rule #1. About ninety percent of the phishing issues can simply be avoided by embracing rule #1.

Think about it.

Rule #3: No one is going to give you money over the internet or phone.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Comfort Library

I sometimes shake my head when folks talk about not being able to afford something to read. Back when I was very young--maybe four or five--my parents started buying books. Real books, not Golden books. Actually, I'm not sure they sold them around where we lived. No, my parents bought hardback books--an entire sixteen volume set of them. One volume has stories for the young. Another is entirely poetry. You name it, there's a volume for it, including science fiction and fantasy. And the wonder is, this was sixty years ago. We lived in such a small town there was no library, but we didn't need one because we had our own.

I still have those books. My children and my grandchildren have read them. And yes, I still read them, too.

Over time, I've collected books of my own. Favorite authors, classics, research books, and how-to books. A friend once came to visit me with an acquaintance I had never met. He stood in my living room, gawking at the 6K+ books stashed in multiple bookcases. My friend told him I probably had a book on almost any subject he could think of. He blurted out, "Ancient weapons." And then just stared when I pulled not one, but two books on ancient weapons from the shelf.

Other folks worry about furniture or pictures for their walls. I have bookcases. Not enough, of course, so I double book them. I'm never for a loss when I want to read, because a) I have a lot of books, and b) I re-read them. I don't keep a book unless it's a keeper, a book I know I'll want to re-read.

I'm insatiably curious about all sorts of stuff. I could travel to the library and hope they had an appropriate book, but then I'd have to worry about returning it. And I like to take my time perusing books on new subjects. The solution is buy my own. Some come from second hand shops. Some I find online. And some I purchase new from bookstores. My last two books were a) a book on chair yoga, and b) a book on the Aztecs and Mayas. I'm still working my way through them.

So when others are watching movies or television, I'm likely reading. Traveling? Definitely reading. Sick? Reading. In the waiting room at the clinic? Reading.

Reading. It's the comfort for the modern man or woman.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Excellent Book

Once upon a time in a far away galaxy...I had book reviews. That was back in the never-never land of the Published Author era. And then there was the Great Publisher Crash.

The thing about reverted book rights is this: every author starts over. Whether you find a new publisher or if you republish on your own, it's as though you've never been published at all--at least it is on the various sites that sell your books. Every review you ever had goes away because you have a new cover, new edition, new publisher, so it follows it must be a new book.

When I was in limbo (between the Published Author stage and the Indie Author stage), I couldn't understand the almost desperate tone of established authors pleading for reviews. Ah, the agony. Now I understand. I had several lovely reviews for my 'old' books but they are no more.

Professional reviewers aren't inclined to review older books--and rightly so. They have more books than they can possibly handle, with a new wave every week. So the review conundrum is just another puzzle the Published Author-to-Indie Author faces.

It might have been an excellent book at one time...but how will a new reader know that?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Planner

I have a confession. I'm not a planner. I have many author friends who apparently have all these fancy gadgets and books with stickers and they plan.

I never did. I've tried it. Back in the days when I was an office professional, everyone else in my office had calendars on their desks. They wrote things down. Really. Me...I sort of winged it. In January, when we received our new calendars, I went through and entered everyone's birthdate. Annnnd, that was it.

I knew when all the other stuff was happening because, well, I knew. In my head. I just never figured out how to manage dates. One of my coworkers knew every date for every surgery/hospitalization/doctor's appt. of everyone--even mine. I have no idea unless there's something else I can attach it to, like one of my children's birthdays.

And then something happened to my inner date keeper. It died. Between meds and health issues, there are times I have trouble keeping track of hours, let alone days. So now I'm working on establishing a calendar.

Back when I was a new writer, I wrote a book, sent it off to my editor, and if the publisher wanted it, then my editor took care of the schedule. It was great. I wrote. Editors and publishers managed all that other stuff.

Now, I'm republishing my own stuff and I have all these schedules and responsibilities to track. Cover? Check. Edit/Revision? Check. Front matter/back matter/etc.? Check. Release date? Check. PR? Not so much a check...

It wasn't too bad for one or two books, but I have twenty. And a new calendar. It isn't much to look at, but I have releases listed through July 1st. I suppose that's something. As long as I don't misplace it. In the meantime, I feel like I've accomplished something on the order of climbing Mt. Everest, because I really, really don't do calendars.

We'll see how this goes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Behind the Covers

Ack!!! I have a book reverting to me. Mentioned it to a cover artist and she kindly offered me the chance to look through the photo/art page she uses to find images I might like. Well, let me say, it was an experience.

First! Where are all the 30-50 year old men? Are there no lightly seasoned fellows out there? My characters are two well-seasoned vampires. One was a Roman senator. The other was a Viking warrior. They have seasoning. Think the gents from The Highlander television show. They don't look old, but they've definitely lived a bit.

Second...there are hundreds of different types of swords besides the standard curved Japanese fighting sword (or Katana). My guys used straight swords. Viking and Roman, right? Straight and heavy.

Third--Every sword fighter fell into like three categories. Costumed (most of them), Samurai (see Katana discussion above), or fantasy (lightning, fog, balls of light) with the addition of heavy hooded cloaks. No contemporary guys. See, I was thinking more along the line of some guy dressed in a long leather duster...with his sword...

Four. Well, words fail me when it comes to the women. What's wrong with giving them some clothes??? And just tell me, what woman in her right mind would have a sword fight in a bikini and high heels? Or, the aforementioned hooded cloak. With her hair blowing in her face so she can't see what the heck she's bashing. Really? Did I mention my chick is Greek, not Asian, and the only women dressed in a remotely sensible fashion were all Asian...with their Katakana?

Then I thought, well why not check out the vampires? Nope. See, my thought is...why wouldn't you run like hell in the other direction if the guy looked as skeezy as most of the vamps on offer? Wouldn't he need to be attractive if he was hunting? Otherwise, why wouldn't you be checking out someone a werewolf?

And this is why most of my covers have no people on them.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Ponders

Opened my feed on Facebook this AM. There was the usual issue-of-the-day...guns, Trump, politics in general, DST, blah, blah, blah...cute cats and dogs, pithy sayings, inspirational quotes (some made up--and misspelled), and lots of ads for books, socks, clothes, and food videos.

I wondered again why I bother. And then I recalled the interesting post Linda Howard did on surviving a blizzard. And the post on Missouri's marriage age laws (there are none). And the Smithsonian article on Harriet Tubman on the $20. So...there are occasional nuggets in the flotsam. I don't remember if it was always this way. Or is this something that's taken on a life of its own in the last couple years?

I jettisoned Twitter long ago. Yahoo. So many others. Why do I hang in here?

Mostly, it gives me a place to stay in touch with friends and family. And yes, there are certain people whose opinions interest me, so I seek them out and read their words. The rest of it, I hide. I figure if Facebook can hide my posts, I can hide theirs.

More and more, I am convinced they are only showing posts in a targeted fashion. At first, I just ignored all the craziness, but you know? I'm done with that. There's a function that allows us to hide posts, so why not use it? When you see the same three stupid posts for days, it's time to move on.

Of course, it might be other people out there find MY posts annoying. So be it. Fair is fair.

May the best poster win.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mental Disconnect

So...I was typing along on my story when I slammed into a roadblock. What are those thingies called that cover a dragon? I could see them in my mind's eye. The word was just out of, what is the word??? What?

This happens with disconcerting frequency since I had a mini-stroke back in the day. It's annoying. And ups the difficulty quotient when writing. Sometimes it happens when I'm talking to someone, but in that case you just say, "I forgot the word for that." And move on with the conversation. After all, it's not nearly as frustrating as forgetting how to tie your shoes. But writing...well, forgetting a word can stop you in your tracks. Sometimes I just put a notation in the sentence to check it out later. Other times, it's too much and I save the document and go take a shower or some other distraction.

Since I've been typing this blog, the dragon word came to me--scales. Dragons are covered in scales. Quick, return to the document and type it in while it's still there!

Sometimes I think of the word and then spend two or three days still convinced it isn't the word I really wanted. Occasionally, I'm right about that and when I return to the book via edits, the correct word pops into my brain and I change it then. Or I'll search through my synonym finder until I find a similar word and then when I edit, I'll think of the word I want.

I'm a little OCD about having the right word. It makes writing frustrating. Some folks wonder why writing takes so long. Well, here's the answer. Disappearing words. They just fade into the big black hole in my brain and sometimes they reappear and other times they're gone forever.

I have a solution. I find a good book and kick back and read. When my mind is engaged elsewhere, the words sometimes sneak out of the black hole on tippy-toes. That's when I grab a sticky and jot the word down quickly before it disappears.

I bet you thought the biggest problem for a writer was finding the time to write. Nope. It's lassoing the words before they get away!

Friday, March 9, 2018


Over the course of their careers, most authors try writing short stories. Some find the short story format just isn't for them. Others really enjoy the challenge of fitting a complete story in with fewer words. I've written a few. Some were previously published. And...some weren't. But it seems a waste to let them languish on my computer just because they aren't as long as my other stories.

I thought about my options. One was to just toss a short story at the end of a book as a little lagniappe. But I find myself feeling cheated when an author does that, particularly when they don't mention it in the book description. Invariably, the book is far shorter than I anticipated because the author planned to add on the short story.

My second option was to use related short stories as an add-on with a series story. But then...what about the stories that don't have any related worlds? What to do with them?

Finally, I decided to just publish them in sets of two. I call them desserts because they're not long enough for a full meal. And really, isn't dessert the best part?

All of them will have the same cover. Most of them have been extensively revised and expanded to offer my readers a delicious experience. And they'll all be 99 cents.

So...keep an eye out for Romance Desserts: One. It will be coming out in May--something luscious to enjoy with the spring flowers and warm sunny days! 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Read That Part Again

Am I the only one that reads books over and over again because there's some clever bit of dialogue or description or situation that just tickles the funny bone? I once read a book in a restaurant and laughed at one scene so hard, the women around me were coming over to find out what I was reading. Now that's a recommendation!

How do you recommend a book you love?