Is Five Years Long Enough…or Too Long? MFRWAuthor

I looked out this morning on dry ground and bright sunshine, then looked at the calendar. 006Five years ago, the acute care facility said they could do no more for my husband, and prepared to send him to a hospice center. Since, they told me, I could not take care of him myself. Obviously I took this as a challenge and the next day he was delivered to the front room, to stay on a hospital bed for the next three months.  Looking out at the land he loved. I’m not saying this to ask for pity or praise, merely dredging up memories, and wondering if it’s time to put them away. To move on.

Is it ever time? How long do we wallow in memory before we move on? Wow that was kind of severe. Have I been wallowing? Might be. Just might be that I’ve been holding myself back from whatever it is I need to accomplish. Maybe the slow but steady progress in the garden, with writing, with the dogs, shows me I’m ready to move on?

front cover finalOr maybe I don’t need to specifically move on, but I do need to make room for the present and the future. That sounds good. I’ve managed to finish and publish books since then. Managed to make it to meetings, judge dog shows. Write more books. I think he would have liked that…he enjoyed telling people about his wife the writer, the judge, the delegate.

For once I’m not going to dredge up an old song. If I did it would be memories, from CATS. He really liked that song, and the show. But, img_9266-copyyeah, I’ll share some pictures. How can one live in a place like this, with dogs like these, and NOT share pictures? So, yeah, here’s one of him and one of the dogs. Enjoy. And if you have someone of your own, give them a hug for me. Thanks.


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About Those Flowers #MFRWAuthor

I begin with a disclaimer. I love this song. I have always loved this song. Even after I took a closer look at the lyrics, I loved this song. Especially this arrangement: so poignant, so desperate. But

So you have a relationship in trouble, and the two people involved are throwing accusations around. You don’t bring me flowers. You don’t sing me love songs. You don’t talk to me. You just roll over and turn out the light.

Doesn’t it all sound so familiar? Dissolving years of attraction, of trust, over what? Without ever getting down to the real issues, whatever those might be?
Doesn’t it also sound like the plot of so very many romance books? You have the ‘big misunderstanding’ separating the two for months or years or longer? Isn’t this all too often the impetus behind wanting to just toss that book against the wall? Or maybe writing your own?

If They Would Just TALK to Each Other.

Yeah, that. And don’t most of us try very hard NOT to put our people in those situations because, well…it’s too much like the blonde in the filmy white nightgown going down the steps because she heard a noise in the basement.

As far as these fictional people singing to each other…buy your own flowers, try singing love songs to her and for heaven’s sake TALK to each other. Yeah, that.

Because life and love are too precious to throw away.025

front cover finalDon’t forget A Question of Faith is now ready for you to read about Ty and Roz learning to trust each other. I just love those first days of a romance, don’t you?

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Hello Darkness, Old Friend #MFRWAuthor

Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence was first heard in 1964, but did not gain great attention until 1966. I remember wondering about the disparity between the lyrical music and the confusing, disturbing lyrics. Speaking of disturbing, a new version came onto the scene in 2015, from a heavy metal band, Disturbed. Some people have expressed outrage at this version.

Well, it does project a different air entirely but what should we expect? It’s a different time. From 1964 to 1966 we saw bombings in other countries, an attempt to control who could vote through testing, attempts to legalize marijuana, civil unrest from integration, attempts at immigration reform, really bad television programming, and…and…hmmm maybe not so very different after all. See for yourself: Timeline 1964-1966

The Disturbed version of Sounds of Silence is, in my opinion, more blatantly powerful. There’s an excellent music video but I think the live performance of the singer and the music is even more intense:

“People talking without speaking; people hearing without listening.”

The more things changes, yep, the more they are the same.

On the writing front, I’m done with the first messy draft of A Question of Trust. Phew! Now I need to pick a book to launch with NaNo. Any suggestions?

For some serenity, I’ll share this evening’s sky. Peace out.




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When They Tell You to Take it Easy #MFRWAuthor

I had this “thing” with my feet. Actually I’ve had this foot thing for a while now. I can remember looking for somewhere to prop my left foot…for just a few minutes…to make it feel better. It’s grown into something serious enough for me to trip from time to time, stumbling when I need to power forward.

And I decided it was past time to do something about this foot thing. Especially since I discovered we have a Foot and Ankle Clinic right here in Edgewood. So I don’t have to drive to Albuquerque to be told I have flat feet (DUH) with no advice on how to avoid that stumbling. I decided to try out this closer doctor, who told me a simple in house surgery could alleviate some of the problem.

003Mind you simple and surgery don’t compute in my mind but the chance to reduce the pain and swelling was too good to pass up. I’d thought to take pictures during the actual procedure but I didn’t think they would be acceptable to many readers. Blood and bones, you know. Not pretty.

I did get a boot to wear, and I wore it religiously. Including crawling into bed with 001the darned thing on my foot. Showers were a particular form of fun. And I had to take it easy while the toe healed.

Easy. Really?



When the garden fence 019needed reinforcing and the gate had to be replaced and I really wanted to try to set up a bird feeding station. Still, it was just for ten days, two weeks, tops.I could entertain myself with New Mexico Autumn Skies.


And sunsets.


Then today, I saw my toe again. And it was good. At least it will be.


Helloooo TOE









Unfortunately I can’t say the same for A Question of Faith. Amazon has hiccuped, and it’s not yet available in e-book. I’ll let you know as soon as it is.



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Squealy Fan Girl Moments #MFRWAuthor

We all have those special people we feel have influenced our lives in some way. Maybe a

front cover final

It’s Almost Here!

civic leader, maybe an entertainer. Maybe an author (well DUH) Then one day we meet them. Do we just stand there and stare? Are we struck dumb? Do we stammer out some inane statement, then hope they didn’t actually hear us?


Of course I’ve had those moments, and of course they were writers. One wrote about Salukis, and I was over the moon to meet her when I visited England. I dashed over to tell her how much I appreciated her generosity in sharing her knowledge. Except…the dear woman was totally deaf. What started out as an intimate chat ended up a near bellow, which she still did not understand. The people sitting around her were not amused.

An encounter with one of my all time favorite authors occurred earlier, and with a much more favorable outcome. At that time Elizabeth Lowell still lived in Southern California, was a member of the Orange County Chapter RWA, and often gave the morning craft talk. I gushed. I simpered. I stuttered. She smiled graciously, signed the book I held out to her. When I mentioned my recent litter taking me away from my writing, she demanded pictures. Then I asked: When would she write the next story in her Rocking M series. “Never. Contract issues with the publisher.” I admit I begged a bit.

She gave me a lovely enigmatic smile, and said: “You write it.”

So, I did. Well, not really. But I wrote about what might happen to a fighting man, wounded in body and soul, who meets that one woman who can drag him back to the light. I wrote A Question of Honor, then I put it away. When I brought it out again, looked at it with a slightly more experienced eye, I cringed. I cut out lovely scenes with a vicious pen. I molded. I sculpted. I sent it to. Black Opal Books

At the front, I wrote:

I would like to dedicate A Question of Honor to Elizabeth
Lowell, who encouraged me to write the books I want to read
and whose generous sharing of knowledge gave me the tools

Because, well, that’s what squealy fan girls do, when they can.

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The (not so) Glamorous World of Purebred Dogs #MFRWAuthor

Most of those who read my blog know I’m involved in dogs. I’m here to confess that


Fire Dragon, a Saluki

involvement is in a big way. A HUGE way. My first Saluki came to live with me in 1972, and most of the hounds decorating my house are in direct descent of that dog.


Yes, I am a dog breeder. I realize that’s an epithet to many people. I’ve been vilified by other writers for being such a greedy individual as to produce puppies for profit.

Excuse me, that guffaw was out of control. Yes, there is money in purebred dogs…not quite sure where it is but I know I’ve poured an obscene amount of my own money into my dogs over the past forty plus years. Don’t tell my brothers, they already think I’m one step from certifiable. Being responsible to my dogs, throughout their lives, means sometimes eating boxed mac’n’cheese while they eat premium food. During the really rough times we all ate eggs and  oatmeal. Fortunately those times are behind me but the memories are there.


Glamorous? Not so much

Purebred dogs might have you thinking of those televised shows with everyone in fancy dress, racing around on carpet while lights glint off their diamonds. The reality is more like serviceable shoes and clothes from a thrift store, the venue more likely a convention center or packed dirt arena, or a park pressed into service for the weekend. If a carpeted show is Broadway, most of us are in local theater productions. Which brings the same (or nearly the same) thrill.


I was thinking about the implied glamor recently. I’d planned to breed Boo to Navad. Both have passed health tests, both exhibit intelligence and personality, both typify, in my mind, their breed. Notice I didn’t say much about both being obedient. I know my dogs too well.

Given these decades of experience I should not have expected Boo to wait around for me to drop a leash on her when we were ready for the breeding. Instead she


Navad and Boo

dashed off into the dark and through the gate to the two acre field that I generally close at night. Due to the magnitude of the storm that had blown through I didn’t get that done before dark descended.


So. I’m slogging through the ankle high mud, waving around the flashlight that’s in dire need of new batteries, peering into the intense dark. Occasional flashes of lightning in the distance, then not so distant mountains. Other than that, no sound. Anywhere. Being a female of a certain age, I’m reminded I should visited the bathroom before setting out on this adventure.

Finally, a faint sound. I flash the light in that direction, and this time see a reflecting gleam. Naturally Boo will still not come but Navad is more than willing to transfer his attention to me. When she sees her play toy being led from the field, Boo follows right behind, far more graceful than I could ever manage.

Fortunately no one was around to fall down laughing as we squelched our way back to the house, me placing my feet ever so carefully to avoid the slick mud, Navad wanting to rub against me. No one’s posterior made it to the ground but it was a close thing.

Glamorous? Not hardly. But hopeful, so hopeful, that Boo now gestates another generation to please the people who have been wanting her puppies for way too long.

In the meantime I’m endeavoring to finish up the next Stormhaven installment while so many other stories clamor in my head. Patience, guys, you can all come out to play.


Just because I love where I live




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Nope, not me BABE #MFRWAuthor

I remember this song as being, well, kind of a downer. Sort of a melodic way to dump someone. Great song, but…

Then recently I LISTENED. And heard something far different from what I remembered. Hmmmmm.

Let’s take it from the other direction. Both times, a declaration that no, I am not going to be your identity. You will not be able to use me to prop you up. Nope, not happening.

How many times have we been asked to be the everything for someone? Their identity, their wall, no matter what. No matter how they act.

Check out the amazing lyrics by Bob Dylan:

It Ain’t Me Babe
Go ‘way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I will only let you down
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who will promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart
Someone who will die for you an’ more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
Go melt back in the night
Everything inside is made of stone
There’s nothing in here moving
An’ anyway I’m not alone
You say you’re looking for someone
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An’ to come each time you call
A lover for your life an’ nothing more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An’ to come each time you call
A lover for your life an’ nothing more
No. No. No.
Far better:
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Yes. Yes. Yes.

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Whose Job is it, Anyway? #MFRWAuthor

When I was young, really young, many many years ago…no we didn’t go to town in a covered wagon but our telephone number included a word, in this case Cherry 95700…I had two brothers, and a mother who believed in gender specific chores. Therefore I folded clothes and helped with dinner while my brothers got to mow the lawn.You read that right, I had ‘girl’ jobs while my brothers had ‘boy’ jobs. Given my propensity to high drama, you can imagine my expression when I placed their folded laundry on their beds while listening to the sound of lawn mowers and smelling the sweet green of new cut grass.

Fast forward several decades, and a phone call from my youngest brother, in his mid teens. He was the only one home, and he was hungry. Knowing the usual contents of that refrigerator, I suggested cooking up a hamburger. Great idea but…he didn’t know how. I don’t think I’d read Heinlein yet, or I would have quoted Lazarus Long:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Instead, I talked him through cooking his own meal, and continued to wonder about gender specific jobs. Particularly since, by then I had worked in various kennels and stables, and learned whoever was handy did the job. If they didn’t know how to they better learn. Fast.

And fast forward to today, when I live much of my dream though without the person with whom I shared that dream. A person who though mowing lawns was just the greatest game ever. When he found out we could acquire a riding lawn mower along with our five acres, he was in bliss, and would take any opportunity to start it up.Not so much my passion, and the lawn tractor sits, unloved, under a protection of tarps.

But the rain produces green stuff, and after a while the weed whacker just was not getting 024the job done. So, a birthday present to myself:

All bright and shiny and clean. Not for long.

It took some time to read the set up instructions (I know, a markedly female tendency, not one I often utilize)

Soon I was chugging puffing and hauling and pushing that 008new toy around. Note: if possible do not start a lawn project after noon, especially in the high and dry. Eventually my pretty new toy will look even more used. I can’t wait!

However, this is only for the area around the house, where walkways are obscured by growth of unknown origin. The big field has planted itself in something lovely, and I won’t interfere there. All too soon, it will be chilly and deep with snow.005

I’ll leave you with a word of advice. If you want to do the best by your children, teach them to do everything. They’ll thank you in the end. Hugs


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Favorites Are A Bad Thing…Or Are They?#MFRWAuthor

We are told not to have favorites. Not favorite children, nor favorite pets. Treat everyone as equally as possibly. In particular we writers do not have favorite characters, lest we allow our favoritism to impede our writing. Characters must deal with conflict. They must suffer, to show us their mettle.

So. No favorites.

Except…I finished the final final final edits for A Question of Faith, a Stormhaven Love front cover finalStory. I hadn’t seen that story for a while. I’d been working on the next one in the series, and other stories after that. So when I met Roz again, she whammied me, saying things like this. Roz talking with Tyler Randolph:

***His gaze was uncomfortably intense as he set down the coffee cup. “You’ve never lost it all for a man?”
She tugged on her wrist. “Couldn’t see the reason to lose it all for a man. Could see wanting to share your life with someone, could see building something better than either side of the equation from combining two lives. Could never see forcing the issue. If it was meant to be, then it happened.”
He slowly relaxed his hold, but didn’t let go. “If it didn’t happen easily, it wasn’t meant?”
“Not really. If it’s worth happening, it’s definitely worth working toward and putting a lot of effort into. But if two pieces of a puzzle aren’t meant to fit together, getting out a hammer to force the issue isn’t the answer.”
“What about trimming the edges so the pieces fit?”
“Forcing the fit? Nope, could never see that either. Woman meets a man, he’s perfect except maybe he doesn’t go to the opera or would rather watch football than go for a walk with her. He’s not perfect, he’s not Mr. Right, he’s Mr. Right Now, Mr. Almost Good Enough, Mr. I Can Fix This if I Try. If he’s the right man, he’ll want to make her happy and if going to the opera makes her happy, presto bingo, they go to the opera. Not every weekend, sometimes she goes by herself. Sometimes she watches football with him and sometimes she goes for a walk on her own. Because they are, or should be, two complete people who are better for being together, not two disparate beings who can’t function without being joined at the hip.”
He frowned while his thumb rubbed along her skin and she told herself it had no effect on her.
“So not having found this ideal male who chooses to go to the opera with you, you’ve remained single?”
“Got it in one. Single, and not ragging on my husband or boyfriend or, heaven help me, ‘life partner,’ with my girlfriends every time his back is turned. You were married, you must have figured out some of this on your own.”***

And later, when they’ve resolved some of those ‘fit’ issues, and Roz is sharing her deeper thoughts:

***“When I watched a cowboy walk up a hill and wondered what his butt would feel like under my hands.” She closed the distance between them. Their mouths touched lightly, and she pulled back to look into his eyes, letting him know this was what she wanted. “When I watched him ride his stallion and suddenly understood what all my romance writing buddies were talking about. Wondering if your hips would move the same way in bed as they did on the horse. Watching the way your muscles flexed when you lifted a calf up out of trouble. Wondering if you would ever touch me the way you touched that scared filly.” She nestled her neck against his hand, looking directly into his face. “Ty, I realize, whatever your reasons, you don’t want to seduce me. So I am trying as best I can to seduce you.”***

Oh yeah, if I ever grow up, I want to be like Roz.

A Question of Faith comes out October 1, from  Black Opal Books


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Words of Wisdom from Seth #MFRWAuthor

I was trying to do the ‘share’ thing but it didn’t want to work for me. Since I’m cleaning (seriously, don’t pass out) as well as writing (I’ve got to get Lana and Adam back together) I’m going to give you the link Seth’s Great Advice, and also copy it below below. While you check out the link, you might want to subscribe. Seth makes so much sense! These are wonderful reminders of how not to make everyone around you roll their eyes.

Endless September (10 quick rules)

Every year, IT professionals at colleges have to deal with an influx of newbies, all of whom ask precisely the same questions as the newbies did last year. It’s Sisyphean.

Of course, every day on the internet is like September, because there are always newbies, or people who didn’t get the memo. The internet is a connection machine, a community. It has swimmers and lifeguards, givers and takers, the honest and the grifters…

Here are ten things to remember, feel free to share with those that are less experienced. Happy September:

  1. Don’t hit ‘reply all’ to an email unless you have a really good reason. And don’t write, “take me off this list” to a listserv, because everyone on the list will probably get your note. That’s been true for thirty years and it’s still true.
  2. You may think you can recall a sent email, but you probably can’t. Best to breathe three times before you hit send.
  3. Don’t type in all caps.
  4. Don’t buy anything on the phone (or by email) from a stranger, especially anything having to do with your small business, your computer, your Google listing or a charity. Just hang up.
  5. Everything you click on or surf on or do online is being recorded somewhere. Act accordingly.
  6. Backup your data, get tenant’s insurance and turn on ‘Find my iPhone’ on your Mac.
  7. When in doubt, restart your computer. If that doesn’t work, visit duckduckgo and type in your question. You’ll be amazed at how many people have had the problem you’re having.
  8. To become an expert in something, you’re going to need to read more than the first link that comes up in a search. And before you forward something you’re not an expert in, check Snopes.
  9. Offer help on something you’re good at to the community at least three times before you ask that community for help. Someone is always coming up behind you.
  10. Don’t believe everything you read online. In fact, don’t believe most of it.

Bonus #11: Be kind. Thanks.

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