Monthly Archives: April 2015

Z..zzzzzzzzzzzz..WAKE UP, it’s the last day #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodI wanted to do Xenophobe but that’s an X, and no matter how many alternative dictionaries I checked I couldn’t fake the spelling. So I came close, at least in lack of appeal, with


Good Old WIKIPEDIA gives this definition: The term “zealot”, in Hebrew kanai (קנאי, frequently used in plural form, קנאים (kana’im)), means one who is zealous on behalf of God. The term derives from Greek ζηλωτής (zelotes), “emulator, zealous admirer or follower”. The Zealots were originally a political movement in 1st century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Judaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War (66-70). Zealotry was the term used by Josephus for a “fourth sect” during this period.


Is this ZEAL or what?

MERRIAM WEBSTER modernizes it a bit: a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings : a zealous person

It’s kind of a shame Zealot has such a negative connotation. Certainly ZEAL, the root word, brings a much happier reaction: : a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something Thanks again, MERRIAM! And don’t forget Zealous, basically filled with zeal, enthusiasm that can be applied to so many projects

There are some mornings I’d love to be filled with zeal, instead of feeling like I need more ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZs. It might help if I went to bed a little sooner, what do you think?sweet biddyThis is the final day of the A to Z Challenge. It’s been great fun. I hope you stick around for more insane inanities, occasional recipes and (a few) book promos. And pictures. LOTS of pictures


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Y..or Why Not? #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodHere we have Y, upright, arms raised to the sky. The unfortunate tendency to truncate words has Y doing duty for a longer word, at least in text speech. Being of a certain age I’m far more prone to actually writing out words and using punctuation when I do text. Or is it txt? I’m not so likely to text much since my fingers just can’t get the right letter the first time out, or the second.

But texting is a choice of our younger generation…and I do remember when I was the younger generation. I remember a song from then, it went something like this: “If I eat too much jam, mother look how young I am”  and “Isn’t it true, one day you were like that too” It was fun and bouncy. When I went strolling through You Tube looking for that version, I found this…something I’d not heard before but it really is nice.

So much silly around about being younger, and older. About “When I was a kid…” It takes a short stroll through history to find out none of the younger generation has ever amounted to much, nor will they:

“Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt”. Horace

Pretty harsh but I’ve heard such things recently. Problem is, this is from 60 BC…yeah, a while back. It seems every generation uses that look back to heap scorn on the current generation. A kind of a fun exercise even if after a while it does tend to wear on conversation. There are more interesting observations ABOUT YOUTH HERE

What’s not fun, what will never be fun, is sending youth out to fight the wars of old men. You’d think with all of history behind us and all the brains we collectively possess, we could get past that practice. Maybe,one day, we won’t read about young bodies piled up like cord wood. No, it’s not a pretty turn of phrase nor is it a pretty sight. If we don’t study history we are doomed to repeat it…yet so many who do study history just can’t seem to avoid repeating.

For a more pleasant ending, here’s a favorite song about love and youth.

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X…Already? #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodX…joined in the middle, holding itself up with feet braced. Not a lot of words start with X and most of them do not have an English origin. We have Xerxes, King of Kings, who both won and lost at Thermopylae. Xenophon, the father of horsemanship. There’s even a dog breed starting with X: Xoloitzcuintle, Xolo for short…one of those hairless breeds, I’m told quite fun to live with.

There are at least 2000 writers involved in this Challenge. I see some of them are using creative solutions to a difficult letter (well, we are writers after all) And some of them, I’ve discovered, had their posts all written in advance, scheduled to post on the correct day. That’s a level of organization I can only admire, doubt I could emulate it. I’ve been blogging as the day approaches, and thinking on what I’ll write often the day before. Which led to trawling though words starting with X. And also led to the obvious…for me…subject.

Let’s take a trip in the wayback machine (who remembers that?) to the day I discovered  ANDRE NORTON and Girl Power. Not that all her books featured girls, nor did she make a point of writing about dominant female characters. But when she did, it was with the obvious lesson: girls can do whatever needs to be done. And they can succeed.

Quite a heady lesson for a shy, plump teenager. Especially in the sixties, in a school loaded with sleek, good looking young women. Oh the stories…well, I won’t bore you. I will, however, close that link or I’ll never get this blog finished…WOW

How in the world is this leading to the letter X. Well, some of Ms Norton’s books were Fantasy and some were Science Fiction. And some of the Science Fiction had to do with exploring strange new worlds (sound familiar? Is my geek showing?) To explore those worlds, and meet those new people, you need the knowledge gained from studying life forms other than your own. You need XENOBIOLOGY. And wouldn’t it be SO COOL to study aliens? I mean without the dissection and stuff. Did you ever think about those aliens that (supposedly) visited Earth? How many of them were goofy geeks who could not WAIT to get their hands on a ‘good specimen’ Earthling?

The beauty of Norton’s writing was that she gave us the minimum information necessary to describe her characters (human or alien) her settings, her technology (future or magic) and let us fill in the blanks. It seems she knew to the point how much info we would need. And, yes, it was magic.

Who are your magic writers?


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W…What? #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodNow we have W…did you ever wonder why it’s called double U when actually it’s V joined together in good times and bad. No? Well, okay, maybe I am weird.

W begins some interesting words. Wisteria…love it, can’t grow it here. Wand, Wizard, Witch…Why do so many fantasy/magic words start with W? Wisconsin, where my father was born. Wikipedia, the resource we love to hate. Winsome, woeful…long list!

I knew from the start W would offer an opportunity to talk about


And the lack thereof in way too many parts of the world. We worry about our bottled water imported from secret springs halfway around the world while those in other places walk. Bottled water in general…really? Major corporations decide they can blithely bottle up the water from California aquifers and sell it, adding to pollution (how many people actually bother to recycle those bottles?) and destroying that aquifer.

Around 2010 our well, always delicate, decided not to bring any  more water to the surface..put simply it went dry. We were able to cobbage together a solution: put one of the smaller collection barrels on a small trailer, and use that to haul water from one of the local ranches. They do a rousing business selling water, I only hope their well stays good. And yes, we collect every possible drop of rain/snow/frost water that hits any of our roofs. It’s why I don’t worry quite so much about the micro climate I’m trying to develop

In 2013 I joined an International group of authors contributing to an anthology about…water. The book is free, with a request for donations to a fund for clean water around the world. OF WORDS AND WATER was written to benefit Water Aid (click on the book cover for that link…I learned how to do this recently and wanted to show off!) My contribution is a tip of the hat to Star Trek…Prime Directive.

If you look through that website you’ll see pictures that are not so pretty of people struggling to survive, making an incredible effort to obtain at least the minimum needed water, hopefully clean.

They are in IN NEPAL NOW and are sharing statistics we need to understand about the situation there concerning Water and Sanitation, so critical to life and health. Even as the aftershocks continue, some things can’t wait.

I don’t mean this to be a downer story but if it takes some depression to wake us up to this critical issue, then I’ll stash the humor for a while.

Take care. And while you think about Water, think about our Wounded Warriors. I do pretty much constantly


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Pay It Forward, with Wicked Dragon Solutions: What Comes After “THE END”? #editors #editing #WDWS

When I heard Jami and Amber were planning to start an Author help/editing business I knew I had to grab them for a post. What better way to pay it forward? Didn’t hurt that they’d chosen Dragon for their name. I mean…dragons??? How could I not ask them to come visit?

What Comes After “THE END”?
By Jami Gray & Amber Kallyn, Editors for Wicked Dragon Writing Solutions

JPG 379 WickedDragonWriterSolutions_LogoYou’ve finally typed the two most important words: “THE END”, but your precious treasure of words needs one final polish before you usher it out on to the cruel world. During your writing journey you’ve discovered editors abound. So have we. Not because of our crystal balls, but because Amber and I have traversed the same paths, trying to find the magical editing fit for our written treasures.

Between the two of us, we have garnered thirteen years of continuous editing and writing experience in various genres. Enough so, when given an opportunity we decided to open our editing doors to our friends in the writing community, and, Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions was born.

Each written gem is a unique collection of voice, plot, and characters. The right editor will not only be experienced and educated, but will understand each story contains facets of creations unique to their genre. As with any master craftsman, an editor will devour written gems by the armful, regardless of genre. No one goes after a treasure without a map, and editors will arm themselves with industry knowledge to ensure a successful epic quest.

We know how vital editors are to Creators of the Written Word, and what’s better than one editor? How about two editors putting their eyes to the jewelers loop to examine your precious treasure, and you’ll only be out the gold for the price of one. Think of it as an Editorial BOGO (buy-one-get-one-free).

Feel free to come on over and check us over at Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions (WICKED DRAGON WRITER SOLUTIONS!

JPG 792x612 WD HeaderIn celebration of our grand opening, if you book your adventure during the month of April, we are offering 10% off your hoard of gold, just note code: WDWSOPEN when booking your spot!

If you’re anxious to start your epic journey, feel free to reach out to and we’ll get you set for your editing adventure.


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V…The Value in our Voice against Violence #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodV…sharp and straight, waiting to be a Vessel, to establish Value. V also represents our Voice, the unique way we put words together in speech, in writing, or in song.

We have another use for our Voice, one we sometimes neglect. Our Voice can and should speak out against Violence. So much Violence, so much of it against women and children. While we worry about our first world problems…hell, we whine about them, don’t we…in other places Violence is used to subjugate, to prove a point, to establish superiority. All too often Violence is used when Voice is either not heard or not well expressed.

But…But what can I, a single Voice, do to resist this Violence?

Funny you should ask. THIS NUN IN UGANDA has learned to use her Voice to stand against thesister rosemary Violence in her country. And as she says, ‘If you want to save women, start with one woman at a time. If you want to save children, attempt to save one child at a time.’

Too many first world countries have their own sort of Violence. I can not pretend to understand all the reasons, nor do I know enough to take sides. I do know Violence as a first choice solves nothing. Education is the key here, or communication…using our Voice to discuss and create solutions. A dream? Or a necessity?

I thought I’d be going back to my younger days (LONG ago) for this song to share with you. Until I found this rendition which seemed more appropriate

And before I leave you, we need to discuss another critical V…our Veterans. Again we need to use our Voice to speak out for Veterans. For their safety, for their future. In thanks for their efforts that made it possible for us to feel at peace. I think this deserves a post of its own, or two or three. Don’t  you?


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Filed under Uncategorized’s for…Ummm… #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodU. Just sitting there waiting to catch all the fall out from earlier letters in its valley. We’re having a fun ride so far, right? Right??? Right.

The prediction was Q and U would be difficult, as if we weren’t moving into the beyond difficult letters. As if Q wasn’t bad enough.

Let’s see…U. Unforgiven, Unsightly. Unseemly. Seems like a lot of negative here. Which is appropriate since there have been a LOT of unseemly events showing up, just to knock women down. Silly, silly women, thinking common sense would prevail. You ask what I’m babbling about?

Beyond the modern attempts to control women, beyond the atrocities visited upon women around the world, it seems when an attempt is made to fix inequality, even that’s unsuccessful.  Chuck Wendig, defender of rational thought,  wrote a blog about THE NEW COMICS JUST FOR GIRLS . As if girls don’t read and enjoy ALL comics whether the main character is girl, boy, or the mutt they added to the family last week. Check it out. I’ll get some coffee.

Are you angry yet? Starting to steam here. And I have to wonder, seriously, when are we going to grow up??? WHEN are we going to end this ridiculous subjugation of  women as if there weren’t a mountain of other issues to take care of? Seriously. WHEN. Oh, wait, you don’t see this as an attempt to take over women? Let’s look at it this way: When you raise a child to think they are not quite the same as other children, when they learn they are not quite as good as other children, you program their bright young minds to believe they don’t have the same rights as others. I’ve seen it happen, with children and with dogs. (well, I have raised a lot more dogs than I have children)

Seriously. If you didn’t before, check out Chuck’s blog. And for once read the comments. Because they are also pretty darned awesome! Are you beginning to feel the urge to pound your head against a solid object. If I thought that actually would help, I’d be right there with you. Unfortunately I don’t know for sure what will work but I doubt head pounding will be an effective weapon. Blue-Angels-First-Female-Pilot

I balance this against the visual of our first female Blue Angel, and hold out hope, for our future in spite of this attempt to create sparkly My Little Pony shemale super heroes.

In the  meantime, since this day is a U, I’m gonna give you a treat.

Oh, yeah

Bright moment…I woke up to the sound and smell of rain.

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T. Time…Not enough? Too much? Running out of? #AtoZChallenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodT. Back to the straight line letters. Balancing its cap on a vertical, almost as though it will begin to spin like one of those plates for the Chinese acrobats. Amazing balance, don’t you think? Tequila, T-shirt, tumbleweed (ICK!!) Tension, Torsion. But most important of all


We save time. We waste time. We lose time and make time. It seems some people have plenty of time while others run out of time. Yet we all have the same twenty four hours to use as best we can. And sometimes we want to stop time. Another song I love, one that runs through my head all too often. Jim Croce…another gone way before his time.

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day ’til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with


And for the last, turning to my era’s go to philosopher, Gandalf, the creation of J.R.R. Tolkien. Here’s a quote I’ve remembered, and it looks like it’s popular with quite a few people, since there is a wealth of memes. Tolkien/Gandalf quote the words of philosophers from centuries past but it could not be more valuable advice for today.

... decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Gandalf

And now it looks like I’m out of time. Night All


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S. In Springtime, Salukis…and Sex? #AtoZChallenge #MFRWAuthor


Looking Toward Spring

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodS..all smooth curves, almost in motion even when still, almost slithering like snakes on the page. Some of the script S’s look like they’ve tied themselves in knots and aren’t quite sure which way to turn.

S could be for Snake, or Saluki or Sex. It could be about Spring, and one of my favorite songs…I discovered this version, and this singer, last Spring

The song itself has always been fun for me but this man sings it to perfection. I had to be careful looking for this particular song since Bryn Terfel’s You Tube collection is huge and wonderful. And very distracting.

Did not know kale is perennial

Did not know kale is perennial

Spring brings us such a huge variety of weather: wind, rain, snow, frost, SUN. Sometimes all in one day. I hover over the perennial garden as bits of green peek through. Or not.

The Salukis go from tight thick coats to massive SHED in one afternoon. As much as possible I comb it out, gather it up, and leave it out for the birds. They like that sort of thing for their nests.

I see I put SEX in the title. Got your attention, didn’t it? Fact is, sex sells. I know that’s used as an excuse for the success of Romance writers. Yes there is sex in Romance books. There’s sex in life as well. It’s one expression of people reaching out to each other. It’s a deepening intimacy in books and in life. It’s also a part of nature.

As a writer, some of those scenes are the payoff for the effort put into the prior scenes. When I’m writing a ‘closed door policy’ book (where private things are kept private) the sex can be a reward of sorts to the characters who have helped me build their relationship to this point. Which doesn’t always  make sense to non writers. For some (most?) writers the characters have to be real or the book won’t be real.

In the meantime I’m going to enjoy the Spring I’ve been gifted with this year. In case it goes back into hiding.

Boo, Biddy, Fire Dragon, snow times a few years ago

Really, I saw Spring here, just yesterday

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Rrrrr, Rain. And Romance. #AtoZChallenge #MFRWAuthor

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is GoodPoor R, has to put out a prop to keep itself upright. The cursive R doesn’t look a lot different, just a few more curlicues Allura Printable Cursive Alphabet Letter R

Did you ever wonder about the origin of the term cursive? It refers to penmanship where the letters are joined together. I’ve discovered there is a wide range of possible synonyms, including longhand, script, joined-up writing, joint writing, running writing…as well as many others. AKA hens scratching and “Why didn’t you become a doctor, you have the handwriting.”

I digress. Me? Yup. R could stand for Redneck, discussed in the song

I’m betting many of you think I’d be featuring Romance.KITT CRESCENDO DID most eloquently. Why don’t I? After all I write Romance. I read Romance. What could be more important?

Glad you asked. I live in the high desert. By choice. Average rainfall is 15.16 inches. In Edgewood it’s 13.67 inches…less 033than 65% of the rest of the country. When I have a chance to write about something precious to me, it is going to be RAIN.

It does rain here. Not real often but when it comes it often shows up in deluges. And of course I’m out there with my camera because…momentous event, right? Unfortunately it’s not always easy to find in my picture files, such as they are. Here’s one from July 2012 . The view from my back door. Not going out further or I’d be SOAKED.

That large black shape is a 1500 gallon cistern. There’s one at the front and the back of the house. We take water conservation seriously. The green growth…weeds, my most prolific crop!

085I was in Canada the next year, judging Salukis. Lovely country, wonderful people. And sooo green. It’s no wonder it’s green, 095when the rain comes down in sheets. Their special method of dealing with rain is a sump pump in the basement, to keep the house foundation dry. 135

It was gorgeous. I spent time standing under this overhang and just breathing in the ozone. Plus enjoying those flowers I can only grow in a very protected area.

Living in California spoiled me for gardening. Just enough rain to be able to grow almost anything.

Lots of people like California. LOTS of them. There’s enough rain to keep things green. Not so much that people are inconvenienced. 106Except for once in a while, such as April 2012 when two years worth of rain fell in a day, during which my friends were trying to hold a dog show. Some of them were seriously considering putting in a call to Noah. 110

Sometimes we can have too much of a good thing.

I’m hearing this will be a higher than average rain fall year for New Mexico. Works for me. Even so, most of my plantings are VERY drought tolerant. Just in case.

Looking for music to share…Did you know you can download TEN HOURS of the sound of rain. That might be just a bit too much even for me. But here…here’s a song new to me. Rain…and Romance. How perfect!

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