There and Back Again…and Again #MFRWAuthor

So it looks like the hooligans have already told you about our trip. For them it was a first,Image may contain: Monica Stoner, smiling, standing but to the other ‘lukis in the motor home it was the annual pilgrimage to the Saluki National. I’ve attended most years since 1989…from California (flying or driving) then from New Mexico (driving). These last four years I was show chair (essentially show manager). Last as in nope I won’t be doing that again for a while! Hence the somewhat goofy expression!  That lovely dragon bag was made for me in appreciation of working to put on a great show.

You’re right, I’m not dressed to the nines. It was freaking hot, I was on the go for five days…I was dressed to work! My Fitbit had a great wonderful time, one day I logged 20,000 steps! Not so much since then but for the most part I’ve worked at the staying active thing.

And smiling. I try to smile a lot. Frowning is just exhausting!

The drive from home to there is 17-18 hours. Usually one eight hour day, one nine hour day. A lot of time to think along the way.

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our favorite stopping spot…lots of wonderful people

Right now our world, our lives, face turmoil. Politics, Haters, Fanatics, Anti Breeders, new diseases, old diseases coming back, misguided fake rescues, well meaning people who just don’t ‘get’ why we do what we do.  How can I justify the time, money, effort spent driving those two days, staying those five days, and driving back?

Then I think of the unusually large number of children, from 2-3 years up to teenagers. All of them interested in the Saluki. Well raised, with wonderful parents. Great attitudes.

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Trophy table

And I think of the cadre of adults who kept those children connected and entertained. Seminars, pizza parties, water balloon fights (1,000 balloons!!!) And…my drive became easier, if not shorter. My efforts, my costs…became worthwhile. For those five days we gathered in (mostly) harmony and love of our breed, and of each other. Salukis showed to various judges. Some won, some lost. All loved by their people, part of the family. Not only their personal family but also the large family of we who love and cherish this breed.

Yeah the budget took a hit. It does every year. But we did our bit to make the world just a little better. And isn’t that what life is all about?

Hug those close to you. Pick up the phone and call those far away. We have today. We hope for tomorrow.

And…sneak a bit of tasty goodie to your ‘lukis.

Oops, that was one of the four leggers sneaking in while I grabbed more coffee. Not a bad idea, though. Share something wonderful with your friends, four or two legged!

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home again

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How to Keep YOURMom Happy: Advice from Israfel and Arielle #MFRWAuthor

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I’m Israfel, and I’m gorgeous

OURMom is busy starting a new book. This means she’s putting flowers in pots and sweeping the floor while she talks to herself. We’re going to help by keeping her blog more current. I’m Israfel, I’m a Saluki. Salukis were bred to be beautiful and decorate the Pharaoh’s tent.

We’ve been with OURMom for almost a year. She’s taken us places so people can admire how beautiful and smart we are. She’s also taught us things so we can make her happy. If you want to make YOURMom or YOURDad happy, you need to learn these things.

If YOURMom puts things in pots where you can reach them, pull them back out. She likes you helping her garden.

DO go shopping in YOURMom’s purse. She wants you to know what she keeps there in case she needs you to find it for her later.

DO check out the countertops. She likes to know how tall you can be.

OH NO. NO NO NO NO. Who let Israfel near the computer? Sigh. I’m his sister, Arielle. He

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I’m Arielle. My brother is an idiot

can’t help being kind of an idiot. It’s not his fault…he’s a boy, after all and everyone knows they grow up much slower than girls. Let me straighten him out.

Yes we are Salukis. Some Salukis might have lived with Pharaohs but many of them lived with people who herded and hunted all over the Middle East, pretty much from North Africa to Afghanistan. Salukis had a JOB and it wasn’t to be decorative. They hunted things that went very fast, so they had to be very fast. Being beautiful was a happy side effect!

As for my brother’s idiot advice I hope you realize he’s trying to cover up what he’s been doing? OURMom puts things in pots to be pretty, or maybe to grow so we can eat them. If she wants us to play with the plants, she pulls them out of the pots and throws them for us.

NEVER NEVER go in YOURMom’s purse. That is HER stuff. Israfel, don’t you remember what happened when we found her new brush? She was NOT happy with us.

Countertops are NOT for checking out. No wonder OURMom gets cranky with you…good grief!

DO trust YOURMom to have your best interests in mind. If she asks you to go into a new building or new vehicle, then go. She’s not going to let you be hurt. Ever. DO try to think before you snatch…that’s a hard one. Our toys are in our toy tote but sometimes we see something that is sooo tempting. But we’re trying!

We just went with OURMom in the motor home to a place far away. We met lots of new people and friend Susan gave us new collars. Susan’s collars

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Purina has great yards for us to play in.

I think OURMom is going to write about that trip. It was loooong.

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Inspiration…After the Fact #MFRWAuthor

A Question of Trust, the third Stormhaven story, is with Black Opal Books. In some ways it was the most difficult of the series to write. Mainly because I tried to use new technology without actually learning how. Scrivener and I are not yet friends. I’ll work on that

In the meantime, Lana and Adam meet and learn to trust. Lana in particular has problems with trust, starting from back when Sydney left with their father, and she stayed with their mother.

Lana is beautiful. Brown eyed blond with perfect features. She learned to survive in an ugly world, then uses those lessons to help the helpless, while convincing much of the world that she’s not much more than a money grubbing pretty face. If you remember, she was briefly married to Tyler Randolph. When she left Ty she took Mosby, his stallion which set up Sydney meeting Devin (A Question of Honor)

As I wrote Ty’s story (A Question of Faith) I wondered why Lana married him. Why did she leave him. Was she truly an amoral opportunist? Hmmmm. During one of the meetings at Stormhaven, Adam Roberts, a veteran, amputee, comes into the house with Devin, and the story started to grow.

As I was finishing edits, I heard this song:

 

Oh, yeah. My book had a song. And a blurb.

Lana Greene doesn’t care that most of the world sees her as avaricious and amoral. All the better for her to stand as a shield against those who would exploit the weaker. Until the day she comes up against a situation too difficult for her to handle on her own, and she has to reach out to her ex-husband.

Adam Roberts dedicated himself to keeping the world safe until his efforts took part of a leg and much of his self worth.. When Ty Randolph asks him to take on a simple escort he’s more than willing to help out his new friends.

But there is far more at stake than anyone realizes. Lana and Adam have to learn to trust themselves and each other to succeed in saving many innocent lives.

I’ll let you know when A Question of Trust is coming out. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the area around Stormhaven.

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Hug your friends, call someone you haven’t talked to for a while. Our only guarantee is now.

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I Washed My Dishes #MFRWAuthor

And you say…so what?

I came across this 2014 commencement speech in the last year. Here’s a short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzLzbd-zT4

And also the longer one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzLzbd-zT4

1. Make your bed

2. Find people to paddle with you

3. Measure the size of heart, not flippers

4. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward

5. Don’t be afraid of the circuses

6. Sometimes you have to slide down obstacles head first

7. Don’t back down from the sharks

8. You must be your very best in the darkest moments

9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. Hope for everyone

10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell

It’s my annual stress over the Saluki National time, which can on occasion be a circus. In the last four years I’ve added the stress by managing the event. At times I have wild delusions of how I can avoid going. It’s not the actual travel, it’s sourcing and acquiring for the event, ensuring the ‘lukis staying home are well cared for, packing up clothing for me, food for me, food for the dogs going with me, food for the dogs staying home. And getting the house in good enough order my house sitter isn’t appalled. Sometimes I almost get to the point of just not going.

Don’t ever EVER ring the bell.

I needed that today. Thank you Admiral for reminding me. I’ll be jumping into the sharks, paddling with my friends, singing up a storm and being our very best. I’m not much for making my bed but my dishes are washed and put away. I can see my counters! If nothing else I will have a clean kitchen. And some of the floors And…this is amazing.

And even more, THANK YOU and all those who made it through SEAL training for not ringing the bell, for working together, and for your service.

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Leaving this behind for a few days

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The Importance of a Good Foundation #MFRWAuthor

Foundation can mean so many things. We’re told we need a good foundation garment so our clothes fit well. Foundation is critical for a safe house. Training Agility is so much easier when you spend the time to teach Foundation skills. And if we want to write a readable book it really helps to have the Foundation of grammar, sentence structure, and some semblance of plot.

Not that you can’t succeed in Agility or Writing without a great foundation. I kind of

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Fire Dragon, a little confused

‘back doored’ my way into Agility with an intelligent dog and basic training skills. He ended up my first pancake, my learning dog…until my handling skills (or lack thereof!) confused him so much he shut down. I moved on to his littermates and with each one I improved enough…with a LOT of help…that I can now communicate with Biddy while we are both running. Okay, she’s running, I’m huffing and puffing.

That first dog was Fire Dragon, and we’ve gone back to the beginning with a ‘Foundations’ class. He’s never been on board with tug toys or other games but getting in depth advice on the obstacles he loved but that worried him? Seriously priceless. So what if this is the work we should have be doing at the beginning, as long as it gets done?

So I pulled out my very first book. Wowee it’s long, or it was back then. Something like 425 pages (100,000 plus words.) Over the years I’ve cut and cut and cut until it was down to about 80,000 much better words. Now that it’s going to be the fourth book in the Stormhaven trilogy, I pulled it out again.

Stormhaven BannerWHO wrote this? POV changes every paragraph, all the characters are beautiful and flawlessly kind except when my two main characters snipe at each other for no reason…when they’re not thinking lustful thoughts. Naturally they’ll be in bed in the third chapter. Inner dialogue out the wazoo. Sigh.

Well I can save the character’s names, which helps since the male is a part of the first three books. I can save the basic plot. The craft Foundation is there but I am certainly going to have to go back and apply the skills I’ve gained since then.

As far as Foundation garments? That’s a subject for another time.

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Get UP and TRY #MFRWAuthor

There’s another video for this song, which has a phenomenal, and a bit disturbing, dance sequence. I think having the words to follow helps my appreciation. Plus, as I said, it really is disturbing.

Try is a love song but it’s also a call to arms for any of us who are holding back, not giving our all, for whatever reason. Especially when the doing truly matters to us.

 

Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

 

We have to try even if the fear of failure is greater than ever before. We can so easily (or not so easily at times) write about people overcoming their doubts and fears. Why is it so difficult for us to take that same step?

Speaking of writing, yes I’m writing. Sometimes a few sentences drag themselves onto the page…sometimes pages throw themselves into the story. Gotta get up and try.

Don’t forget to tell everyone what they mean to you. We never know when they’ll be gone.

 

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The Magic That Is Jami Gray #MFRWAuthor

After far too long away from blogging (didya miss me?) I had all sorts of things to share to start up. Then a new book came out by one of my most favorite authors, and I had to put aside my recipe and puppy picture ideas to share this with you.

jami-grayJami Gray and I started with the same small press at the same time. While I am slooowly coming forward she has taken off like a rocket with three (yes THREE) series, all featuring strong but not over the top heroines. Love them. But it was her venture into Post Apocalyptic writing that knocked me over. Check this out, Fate’s Vultures:

The end of the world didn’t arrive in a mushroom cloud or a fiery explosion, it was the last fallen domino in a long line of consequences that toppled civilization. It’s known as The Collapse, the ravaged aftermath of the collision of Mother Nature and man’s merciless need for survival.

Wow. Is that not prophetic? The second book has come out, so you aren’t too far behind if you need to catch up.

Lying in Ruins – Fate’s Vultures #1

In a world gone to hell, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad…

The world didn’t end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality.

Charity uses lethal survival skills learned too early in her work as a ‘Hound’, sniffing out pivotal secrets for one of the most powerful people on the west coast. Her work is deceptive, deadly, and best performed solo, which means when she has a run-in with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures, she has no intention of joining forces in some mockery of teamwork. The man might be sexy as hell, but she travels alone. She will accomplish her mission and she will settle a score – hopefully with the edge of her blade. But fate has other plans.

As one of Fate’s Vultures, a nomadic band of arbitrators known for their ruthless verdicts, Ruin witnesses the carnage of corruption and greed battering the remnants of humanity, and he bears the scars to prove it. Now he has a damn ‘Hound showing up in suspicious circumstances, leaving every cell of his body sceptical – and painfully aroused. The woman is trouble, and Ruin has every intention of steering clear. But when they realise they have a common enemy, Charity and Ruin will have to set aside their distrust if they want to achieve their mutual goal – justice and revenge.

Sometimes, when the world’s gone to hell, it’s better to stick with the devil you know…

 Mini Synopsis

On a mission to retrieve a kidnapped child, a woman skilled in secrecy crosses paths with a nomadic vigilante bent on revenge. Despite their mutual distrust, the unlikely pair joins forces to hunt a common enemy. Together they must survive the predators picking through the desiccated remains of civilization. What will tear them apart first—their suspicions or their enemies?

Beg for Mercy – Fate’s Vultures #2

Choosing a side has never been so dangerous…

An assassin by trade, a loner by nature, Mercy is sent to infiltrate the Cartels and unmask

Beg For Mercy

Isn’t this a great cover?

the identity of their new silent partner. Instead, she discovers a darker plan threatening to crumble the entire Southwest and ends up with a hefty bounty on her head. Still, she’s determined to stop the impending attack at any costs, even if it means partnering up with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures.

 

After enduring a brutal, blood soaked lesson on the savagery of civilization’s scavengers, Havoc is well acquainted with the consequences of battling predators. But as a member of the nomadic band of arbitrators known as Fate’s Vultures, he’s determined to cement the necessary allies to oust the biggest threat looming on the horizon. When an enigmatic woman crosses his path, her secrets and troubling loyalty light the fuse on an unexpected craving and his insatiable curiosity.

In order to trap a common foe and derail an impending threat, Havoc and Mercy must turn the tables to hunt a predator. Can an assassin and a mercenary find their balance on the thin line of loyalty, or will it snap under the weight of their wary hearts

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Sounds exciting, don’t they? Just to make it easy to build your TBR pile:

Lying in Ruins – Fate’s Vultures #1

 

Beg for Mercy – Fate’s Vultures #2

 

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My Favorite Happy Places #MFRWAuthor

Here we are a new year and new blog tour. This time I’m going to try to get in at the beginning and stay all year!

Favorite happy places? Of course, New Mexico. the open skies and unlimited vistas make my heart happy 001

I’m also happy with friends, often at dog shows, such as Pueblo Colorado

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Just getting to the show can be an adventure, especially when the weather is beautiful

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And then there are the times and places when I’m just enjoying my dogs being silly

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Because my favorite happy place is wherever I am. Life’s pretty much too short to fuss about not being somewhere when you can be having such a good time being where you are.

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Especially when your sky looks like this.

Back to writing. Enjoy your life.

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Hacking Our Way Into the New Year #MFRWAuthor

A month since my last blog? Seriously? Yes, it was a pretty serious post for me but wow, a month. Maybe if I go a little bit lighter I can post more often. I can’t say more regularly since once a month is regular. At least for a blog post. But…thirty days. Huh.

Since my life pretty much revolves around dogs and writing, what better way to share my New Year with you, than by sharing a couple things that make life a bit more fun around here.

For starters, there’s a solar powered nightlight with a motion detector. Seriously, check it out on Amazon

Mine are similar to this one, I got them at Home Depot. You just peel and stick, it has a soft glow until you (or a puppy!) get close. Nifty!

And also this: Vidalia Onion Chopper Now why the heck would I be excited about an onion chopper? Glad you asked. I bought it with my first order of Happy Howies

I chop up slices in the onion chopper and voilá instant dog treats. Much easier than dehydrating liver or baking chicken breasts.

So many things to share, so much going on in the world. But I want to take a breath on this first day of the year, and just share some love…and a New Mexico sky.

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Best to all in this upcoming year.

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The Sad Phenomenon of #MeToo #MFRWAuthor

You would have to have taken a hiatus from Social Media to not be aware of #MeToo in all its complexities. For a while I sat back and read but eventually I succumbed. On October 15, I posted this on my FaceBook timeline:

THIS I will copy and paste. Yes ME TOO
If all the women (men too, it’s awful no matter who is affected) who have been sexually harassed or assaulted or raped wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste, if you choose to participate.

It was a popular post, as far as inciting discussion. I was amazed…perhaps saddened…by the women who stated they didn’t let such things affect their lives. How they are so strong, so secure in their lives, they let me know when or if something bothers them.

That’s wonderful, seriously. But the #MeToo effort is not just for strong women. It’s to bring attention to the small girls who thought they’d locked their doors only to find out it doesn’t take much of a key for someone to intrude. It’s for the night waitresses who have to tolerate the cook’s comments or actions if they want their food out on time, and prepared correctly. It’s for the factory line workers who deal with overbearing supervisors. It’s every person, especially females, forced to cede control of their lives.

But it’s so much more. Melinda Gates reminded us of the global impact of girls growing up, being constantly put down, in this writing: Me Too Me Too

Heidi Stevens Baltimore Sun, relates what she hears from her male colleagues. The title is: Why do women get all attractive if they don’t want to be harassed? Yeah, that got me kinda hot. Especially when she explains this is the ‘core question’ she heard from one of her colleagues. She says more. So much more.

It seems like celebrities are falling right and left. Some of them are no real surprise but others? Particularly when we hear details? I’ve had friends earnestly explain to me this overflowing of testosterone is a side effect of being a strong leader.

Nope, I can’t buy that either. Nor do I think this is a modern phenomenon. Abuse of power is as old as choice of leader through intimidation. Might is Right, and so on. For one thing, just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t make it any more right than it was then. Slavery, child abuse, spousal battery. As a species, we are supposed to be maturing out of that way of life.

Maybe I just read too much Science Fiction as a kid, to believe in such fantasies. Maybe this just needs to run its course. Amber Tamblyn explains why she’s not ready yet to offer redemption. I agree with her. Not because I want to see all men suffer for the acts of (I hope) just a small percentage. But because I want all of us to step back, take a breath and THINK about what’s been happening to us. Because it has to stop.

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We need to see the dawn of a new era, when we can stop acting like we are the only ones with rights. Peace and love.

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