It’s All About the Subtext #MFRWAuthor

Here I am back blogging. It’s been…wow, a while. I’ve started blogs and put them aside to finish ‘later,’ when I wasn’t distracted by sunshine or snow or Salukis or pretty much anything! Let’s see if I can do better. Way back, when I first started taking my writing seriously, a best selling author explained how to engage readers by using ‘theme’ in our books. Research defines theme as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work, which may be stated directly or indirectly. I’ve noticed this while reading, all too often being bludgeoned by the theme of a book. Until I want to say “Okay, I get it, prom dresses are important.” I’m doubt we’d find that sort of theme in a literary work. But I don’t write Literary. I write Romance, in many varied forms. Since I write romance, generally not considered literary work, theme becomes trope, which is an overused theme or device: Hidden Baby, Rich Man and Gorgeous Poor Girl, Muscled Military Man…you know what I mean. And you know generally by reading the title, or glancing at the cover, what you’ll find in that book. Which makes for quick decisions for readers, and some very popular books. Within these tropes, or within popular sub-genres, we find on occasion subtle and often fascinating sub-plot points. Sometimes these lead to greater story or character depth but often they become a sly way for the author to interject…subtext. a hidden or less obvious meaning Subtext or undertone is any content of a creative work which is not announced explicitly by the characters or author, but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the production unfolds. I’ve found great examples in Anne Bishop’s “Others” series. Who wouldn’t want to be able to ‘send in the big guns’ when someone blatantly destroys the environment? Science Fiction and Space Opera are loaded with subtext, too much of which speaks to ‘the more things change the more they are the same.’ Sure we can go to the stars but that doesn’t mean we’ll be better people once we get there. As with subliminal messages (a certain tie, or hat, or color) subtext can shape our future. Gene Roddenberry was a master of subtext, with an implied promise of “We CAN be better.” It seems it will be up to us which path we choose to take.

I’ve been playing with BookBrush

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A Day in the Life #MFRWAuthor

So many writer friends share their lives with their many fans, either on Facebook or through blogs. I never saw much reason for that. For one, because I don’t think I have many readers who really want to know about my life. For two, I don’t blame them since my life is not the thing of excitement. I’m pretty much the ‘before’ in all the tales of great things happening. You know, The Shire while Frodo was growing up.


this sort of snow

But recently a friend asked me something about how I was dealing with living alone, with the death of my husband (in 2012 but you never really get over it do you?) I hadn’t thought before how much my experiences might help someone else ‘of a certain age’ in the same circumstances. Maybe not only ‘of an age’ but feeling a bit out of touch with the world around us.  I’ve learned recently that many of us are dealing with what life throws in our paths. Like a you’ve got to be kidding snow storm…The Town of Edgewood had 39.75″ of snow. What to do? 

You just do. Before the storm you make sure you’ll have enough food for people and pets, enough water (I haul my own) snow shovels at every entrance. My neighbor plows the road past my house, and I shovel out enough to keep my back porch clear plus help create paths for the dogs, plus clean up from the car to the lane. You stay in touch with neighbors and friends so you have a safety net.

It’s high plains, a combination of wind and cold and not enough moisture. So we take a deep breath and deal, because we need however much water we can have gifted to us.

Then the very talented Zoe York shared the following on her Facebook page :

“Nobody talks about how ugly taking care of yourself can be.
Yes, sometimes it’s taking a warm bath and texting memes to friends and keeping an aesthetically pretty journal.
Sometimes it’s crying silently on your couch at 3am, hugging yourself and reminding yourself that you’re a good person.
Self care is not always ‘aesthetic’ and cute… and that’s ok. Don’t be embarrassed, just do what you need to do.”
—pocketbucky #ThingsToNeverForget: I found the source here


Sometimes I let the world around me help

Oops it’s past our bedtime, the wind is wicked out there and we’re either going to have slight rain showers tomorrow or another short round of WEATHER.


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Here for the Holidays…The Kyn Kronicles #MFRWAuthor

Jami Gray The lovely Jami Gray noticed I wasn’t blogging. To get me back into the swing of things, she sent me this WONDERFUL announcement:

The Kyn Kronicles are back just in time for the holidays!

After recently receiving my rights back on my first series the Kyn Kronicles, it was time to do some decorating. In fact, the entire series got a stunning make-over and the first four books now include the Kyn short stories. If you haven’t slipped into the shadows and picked up this Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, now’s your chance!

“…fantastic paranormal action novel is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I could not put it down, and had to exercise serious self-control to keep from staying up all night to finish it.”
–The Romance Reviews (5/5 stars)

“Fans of Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series will enjoy the introduction to the paranormal world created by Jami Gray.”
–Mary Waible, Goodreads Review

All five books have joined the Kindle Unlimited family, so if you’re a KU reader, you can dive into the shadows with Raine, Gavin, Xander and all the rest. With all the changes, they’ll be releasing rapidly one after another, so if you haven’t had a chance to check this series out, now’s the time! Shadow’s Edge is already out in the world, but you can pick up the rest of the series at special pre-order prices, so click away!

Shadow’s EdgeOUT NOW!

When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.

As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.

Includes Kyn short: Submerged in Shadows, 1.5

Treasures from the deep come in all shapes and sizes…

Forced on an unwanted vacation, Raine soon discovers that boredom is the least of her worries when danger washes ashore, bringing unexpected complications.


Shadow’s SoulArrives 11/28/18

A simple assignment turns into a nightmare when Raine McCord follows Cheveyo to the Southwest on a consulting gig. When the most feared beings of the Kyn kidnaps Cheveyo and leaves Raine for dead, her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.

Unraveling the Southwest Kyn’s web of secrets and hidden vendettas will either bring them together or tear them apart forever.

Includes Kyn short: Masked by Shadows, 2.5

Nothing is ever easy…

For Gavin and Raine the job is simple, deliver a package to an interested party in New Orleans. Yet even the easiest job can mask unforeseen challenges.


Shadow’s MoonArrives 12/5/18

Tracker, Xander Cade, confronts an enraged Shifter in a crowded human nightclub, fraying the thin secrecy shielding the supernatural community from public scrutiny. Danger stalks the pack and she must protect her alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis, even if he doesn’t want it.

If they don’t find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond they risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.

Includes Kyn short: Ensnared by Shadows, 3.5

Deception leaves a tangled web…

Ryuu Kern, Motoki Pack’s Second, is no stranger to sticky situations, but when delectable Division Agent, Iliana Krychek, comes to him for help, it will take more than claws and teeth to untangle a deadly web of deceit.


Shadow’s CurseArrives 12/18/18

After tragedy strikes the Northwest Kyn, leaving the houses in chaos and the Wraiths hungry for blood, the fallout threatens Natasha Bertoi’s carefully laid plans. When the Council sends Darius Abazi, the one man guaranteed to skew the odds, she faces her toughest opponent yet.

As death stalks the Northwest Kyn, can Natasha trust Darius, a man well versed in subterfuge, to uncover the truth before treachery destroys them all?

Includes Kyn pre-quel short: Wrapped in Shadows, .5

The magic of the holiday season can be hell…

Elite Kyn, Gavin Durand and Raine McCord, are called in to investigate the aftermath of a Christmas engagement party gone horrifically wrong, only to face an unexpected gift.


Shadow’s DreamArrives 1/7/19

When the Kyn’s Northwest Magi Cheveyo is sent to broker an alliance with their Southwest counterparts, he seizes the opportunity to rectify an old regret—reclaiming Tala Whiteriver’s heart. The challenge proves daunting when he discovers she’s caught in the middle of a treacherous plot designed to fracture the Kyn.

Can they move beyond their painful past and trust their hearts to forge new dreams before the impending nightmare sweeps them apart forever?


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What Have We Become? #MFRWAuthor

I’ve thought about this for a while, and haven’t been able to bring myself to blogging until I shared my concerns. This started with a meme showing up on my FaceBook feed, comparing the Melania and I think Ivanka Trump to two woman, much more casually presented. I had to dig a bit to find out these other two women were Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

Comments followed. Ugly, ignorant, misogynistic comments based on a cleverly presented set of photos. Of course no one addressed anything beyond surface appearance. Why bother considering intelligence or moral value for any of the four women? And it got uglier.

Okay, so I can sort of understand the driving need to criticize Hillary Clinton. She’s been a favorite target for a while now, for any number of reasons. But to attack her daughter, who has pretty much just gotten on with her life? Why? And if these people, many of whom are FaceBook ‘Friends’ were so vicious with these images, what would they have to say about the pictures I post of me with my dogs? I’m certainly not in the same stratosphere as any of these women, either in shape or presentation. Nor are most of us.

So I was in a butt hurt frame of mind. Until eleven people were killed in a synagogue. Two more shot in a grocery store, because the gunman couldn’t get into the local church. A journalist was brutally murdered in Turkey. And so on.

And…WHY? Okay, yeah brutality through the ages etc etc etc. But we should hope by the time we go into space and discover and create we could maybe, I dunno, be BETTER people? Maybe evolve a bit?

I pretty much forgot my original concerns and instead thought about the ongoing, increasing level of, well, nastiness in our world. Petty, snipey, self serving, bullying, misogynistic…the list is endless, isn’t it? Sure it’s been around forever. I get that. I don’t have to like it but I understand.

But then, I hear about people who have become better. About the Muslims who reached out to help the Jewish synagogue. About the people who have reached out, helped, embraced and shared support. I see a turtle picked up from the road and taken to a safer place. I see motorcycle riders blocking traffic to allow an elderly woman to cross the road. Random and not so random acts of kindness, people going about their lives looking out for others.

What have we become? We’re the same complex, simple, wise, foolish, kind, angry, sweet, confusing people we have always been. It’s up to us to choose which direction we want to take, and encourage those around us to follow that positive road.


Don’t forget to call someone you haven’t talked to for a while. Hold the door open, tell a stranger that life IS good.


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Project Goldilocks: A Question of Trust #MFRWAuthor

When I first sent A Question of Trust to Black Opal, I included what I thought might makefront cover interesting scenes for the front of the book. They went with something more relevant to the story, featuring Lana. This was my favorite of what I sent, probably because it was a light moment before the intense drama.

At Stormhaven:

“All right then,” Roz said, rubbing her hands together. “Let’s get this party started. First of all, we need a name for this caper.”

“We do not involve ourselves in capers,” Powers intoned.

“Project? Assignment?”

Powers sighed. “Is she ever quiet?”

“Nope.” Ty grinned. “Pretty much not.”

‘I’m thinking Project Goldilocks. That sound good to you?” Roz looked around at the puzzled faces. “Simple. The way I see it, I’m absurdly tall. No, Ty, I am. I always have been, and I’d be silly to think otherwise. Sydney is adorably small.”


“She’s right, babe,” Devin agreed.

“That would make Lana—”

“Just right,” Adam said in a deadpan voice.

Roz nodded. “Therefore: Goldilocks.”

Lana shook her head, wondering where all this energy, all this manic support, was coming from. Powers merely heaved another sigh.


Yes, Rosalind and Ty are a part of this book. While Lana and Adam pretty much resolve their relationship, the other couple still hesitate on the brink of commitment. Now that I’ve resolved WHY Lana acted the way she did (A Question of Honor) I have to ask WHY in the world aren’t Roz and Ty married. Hmmm. That’s for a future story.


Yes the skies can really be this pretty

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Judgemental? Of Course I Am #MFRWAuthors

So are you. So are all of us. We judge every time we shop, every time we relate to the public. Heck, every time we go through our residence…Is this dirty or clean? When do I absolutely need to muck out this cupboard? Did I wear this or just try it on and decide against it? Yikes, when am I going to go through that pile of clothes (clean? dirty? outdated?) on the back of the chair?

We all judge ourselves and the people around us. Do we know them? Can we trust them? Do they belong in our neighborhood,have we seen them before? When traveling, especially alone, we judge the potential for every service station, every restaurant, every parking lot. Safe? Questionable? Worth the risk of maybe running late and having to reach your vehicle after dark?

We are all judging. All the time. For me, in my ‘other’ life I’m expected to be judgmental.

Image may contain: Monica Stoner and Deej McClain, tree, dog, outdoor and nature

Here I am with DJ and Zinnia. Can’t read the photographer’s name. This was in Connecticut in August

Heck people hire me to judge…dogs. They expect an honest opinion and yes they get it. When I’m judging dogs I have no friends in the ring with me. I don’t know the history, breeding, owner or handler…only the dog in front of me. I judge this dog against the standard …the written description of a good Saluki.

In the process I see people of all ages and sizes, dressed in any fashion from expensive to economy. At least I think they are dressed that way since for the most part I really don’t see the people. Just the dogs.

Does this make me unusual? Nope, most judges only see the dogs, at least while they’re judging. We all get kind of tunnel visioned. Not a bad thing for this sport. I’m just mentioning this to show I understand judgmental, and I apply it to a specific part of my life.

I try very very VERY hard not to be judgmental in any other part of my world. NOT to ‘notice’ how a friend has gained weight, or maybe is trying a newer, less attractive hair style. I figure it’s their hair let them wear it however they want. If they don’t ask, I don’t say anything except how good it is to see them. I also try hard not to comment, even to myself, about the people in the grocery scooters, carts loaded with expensive low quality high calorie sodas and chips. Maybe, just maybe, if they got something ‘better’ to eat they might not ooze over the sides of the seat. Their health, their business.

Heaven’s know I’m no poster child for great health. Getting there, but still not there. It’s a journey…a life long struggle to do better. But having lost a husband to diabetes/cancer/kidney damage…it’s so hard not to judge here.

Oh and I judge writing contests. I’m as objective and upfront as I can be. Too harsh? That’s a difficult judgment call (HA! Pun probably intended) since we are supposed to be helping guide future writers. Better to find out now you need to work on subject/verb agreement than to find out after your first (self) published book goes live.

However, if someone acts like McDonald’s donkey?? Yeah I’ll be judging that, and remembering the braying long after it’s over. Because some things just need to be judged.

For now, hug those you love, call them if they’re not near. Love them for who they are. Go outside and enjoy the weather. Winter’s on the way, it’s not going to be like this soon.

BICHOK, y’all


Here’s Ms Sunshine because we can never have too much happy sun.



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A Question of Trust COVER #MFRWAuthor

This post has been a long time coming, mainly because this book has moved at glacial speed. Trying to experiment with ‘writing aids’ just knocked me for a loop. But it’s DONE and I’m going through the galleys so it is HAPPENING.

You may have noticed the kinda bland (BLAH) cover I put together as a place holder. front coverThis week Jack the fabulous cover artist sent me something that…well, what do you think?

Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt when I opened that email. Jack said marketing wanted a cover that was “a bit more suggestive…Spicy, but not crude.” I think he got it first try!

A Question of Trust is the story of Adam Roberts and Lana Greene. If you remember, Adam carried Rosalind out of that hellacious desert camp, pretty much in the nick of time. Lana is Sydney’s sister…yeah, the woman Ty Randolph was married to for a short time who left Ty, taking the horse, truck, trailer. What an evil woman, right?

Pretty much someone we could all love to hate. Except…why? Why did she run off with the horse? Rosalind asked this in A Question of Faith . Up until then Ty was so consumed with bitterness he never bothered to ask, he just shut himself down emotionally. Until Rosalind blew into his life and knocked him on his gorgeous but supercilious rear.

Lana always had a reason for what she did. She had to keep her reason secret, let people think she was amoral and grasping and greedy, whatever it took to get the job done. Until she hit a point where she had to reach out for help. The one place she knew she could depend on was Stormhaven, where the code of honor was absolute.


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, Ty Randolph, owner of Stormhaven Ranch.

Adam Roberts dedicated himself to keeping the world safe—until his efforts took part of a leg and much of his self-worth. Recuperating at Stormhaven—a remote ranch, where the main concern is helping out vets—he jumps at the chance to assist his new friends when Ty asks him to take on an escort mission.

But there is far more at stake than anyone realizes—including a number of innocent lives. And Lana is in way over her head. Now she and Adam must learn to trust themselves—and each other—fast, if they are to have any chance of saving innocent lives

Oh yeah, Lana’s a heroine, and she’s found herself a true hero. A Question of Trust is scheduled to release October 6, from Black Opal Books

For the month of September, A Question of Honor , the first Stormhaven Love Story, is available through Amazon Kindle for just .99.



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Squealy Fan Girl Moment–Alice Duncan #MFRWAuthor

I love sharing authors with people who might not know them. Makes me feel good and One Bright Morning (n/a Book 2) by [Duncan, Alice]helps all of us. Alice and I go way, way back. Before either of us was published (she long before I did) we would meet at Bearly Used Books as critique partners. I’d have a chapter to share, she’d have most of a book. One of those books became a Golden Heart finalist, and was her first book published, One Bright Morning

Over achiever much? You betcha. She admitted she was driven to become published. Even more than that, these were GOOD books. Mostly historical, well researched, elegantly written, often described as ‘literary’… she prefers a comparison to writers such as Bret Harte. Either would of course cause a problem in a world of more modern writing. After a stint of writing historical romances she turned to more mysteries. Historical of course. In particular Pasadena in the early 20th century. Did you know Pasadena was the place to be if you were in the film industry? Yup. Alice wrote about that in Cowboy for Hire

The Daisy Gumm Majesty Boxset (Three Complete Cozy Mystery Novels in One): Historical Mystery (Daisy Gumm Majesty Mystery) by [Duncan, Alice]Alice has written so many excellent books you can easily depend on her for many days of snuggling up with a cup of tea and a story on a winter’s day. Heck, you could spend a month enjoying the intrepid fake medium Daisy Gumm Majesty. You heard me right, a fake medium, who gets herself involved in the real problems of her clients. Add in a family that would drive any sane person around the bend, with a bit of pathos for her young husband, injured in The Great War, and you have a series of never ending enjoyment.

Even better, you can get your start with A set of the first three for only .99!

When not writing, or tending her roses, Alice is involved in her true love, Dachshunds.Image may contain: dog and indoor For years she has opened her home and heart to these fiercely loyal but frankly kinda silly- looking dogs. Yes, that’s her reading the Sunday comics to the pack. Most if not all of her wiener dogs through the years have been rescues. So glad for them there are people like Alice

If you want to see what she looks like without the newspaper shield, check out her very clever website Alice Duncan’s website Here you’ll also find ALL her books under ALL her names.

Happy Reading!


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What Shape is our Shape in? #MFRWAuthor

When I first thought about sharing my shapewear experiences,  I had in mind some humor, some pathos, something along the lines of the great brassiere debacle. Which I thought I’d shared here, hmmmm. I’ll have to hunt it up and share later. More musings


serious thoughts

on living larger than life size.

As far as the shapewear. I had a prestigious judging assignment on the east coast, and I wanted to look as good as I possibly could. Which meant maybe not quite so large? A bit more svelte? Less opera star, more pop star? Well maybe not THAT much of a change but just something…better.

An ad came up on FaceBook (good ol’ FB) for this miracle shapewear. I saw a multitude of full bodied women pulling on these wonder garments, smiling the whole time at how much nicer they looked. “Never Rolls Down,” the ads said. “Look the way you’ve always wanted to look.

Well, okay. I checked the size charts and {{sigh}} my measurements were a bit more generous than their largest size. Still, nothing ventured, right? Right. I sent off the order and waited. Waited. Waited. HERE they are. Open the package, shake out the miracle garment. It’s a warm day so pulling it on is a challenge. Finally it’s up most of the way, seams straightened, and I do that last roll up, the one where the models were all grinning.

It rolled down. Okay maybe I didn’t do it quite right. Pull it down. Pull it back up more carefully, smoothing it all the way.

It rolled. I was too big for the shapewear (and right there is another question…why not shapewear for we who are larger?) All righty. It went back into the package, back to the supplier. I got on the plane, judged a gorgeous collection of Salukis, looking the same as I always had. No one mentioned my size, my shape. I doubt anyone noticed. Except perhaps myself when I looked at the mirrors in the hotel exercise room.


My stage, before judging started

The reality is, we are pretty much never happy with the way we look. We want to be taller, leaner, more rounded, less rounded, straighter hair, curlier hair, older, younger, just different. And this rarely is someone else’s opinion, it’s in our own heads, our own selves.


Winners Bitch, and Reserve. These people didn’t notice I was large. The dogs don’t care

Face it no one can body shame us more than we body shame ourselves. We are all too often our own worst enemy






From now on, let’s concentrate on loving ourselves…sound like a plan?


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Channeling Kristen Lamb #MFRWAuthors

Because some people need to be shared as much as possible. It seems I can’t like any more. Grumble Grumble. Use this. Please. And I’ll share the story of my new shapewear disaster. THANKS

What Makes a “REAL” Writer

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