Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reviews are in!

This spring I "googled" myself as I often do to keep track of where my books are listed and things of that sort. At that time I must have viewed more than the first several pages because I came across a site - TCM Reviews. I'm not one to ship my titles off for review anywhere, especially not hard copies, but this one had my initials so I thought - What the heck. So off I shipped The Unseen, Book one of The Manipulated Evil Trilogy. Not long after, a good review was up on their site so I requested reviews for the following two in the trilogy, Scattered Souls: Book Two and Scorching Eden: Book Three.

The reviews are wonderful and reconfirm I've accomplished with my trilogy what I set out to do. My goals with telling this story was to make people think about very important and soul-searching type issues as well as thoroughly entertain them. It's wonderfully to hear from readers and reviewers from Maine to Tennessee and even Australia that someone has fully enjoyed Ravyn and Kyle's story to the fullest and are left with resonating thoughts after they turn that last page.

And to top it off the great news for this month, the Manipulated Trilogy is finding its way to bookstore shelves at Waldenbooks (also Borders) Bookstores. If you have one near you, ask about them by title and author.

If you want a peek at the full reviews for each book at TCM Reviews, pop into my home site - and scroll down to "News Flash." The links for each are there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Wonders of Halloween

October. I was born in it, I enjoy it the most. It's a favorite month of many here in Pennsylvania because of the excellent views with the changing leaves. We've gotten some beautiful days lately, days that don't stir images of anything demented or dark. But decorations are popping up everywhere from ghosts and goblins to witches and foam gravestones. Halloween – it’s a favorite of mine, right up there with Christmas. Though Christmas wins top rank because of family gatherings, Halloween ranks because of its history and promises of mystery and intrigue.

Oh, the history. What I’ve learned of ancient civilizations I’ve learned on my own, digging in research for my novels and what I found surprised me a bit, especially because of the images and thoughts around Halloween today.

It wasn’t a holiday of evil things but rather a celebration of harvest. It is the time of year when the growing seasons come to an end. It’s a time to prepare and settle in for winter – the start of the new year by the Celtics.
Where did the images come from that we see today? It was thought on the eve of Samhain that the lines between the dead and the living would thin. Scary images and masks were used to frighten evil spirits away (though I have to wonder why anything evil would be frightened of anything).

I’ve never seen fall as the “end” of anything but rather a beginning, the same as I view the night. I’ve been told over and over how “backward” I am because I don’t truly come awake until evening hits and then my creative side soars late into the night. But I have to wonder, am I really the backward one? If fall was really the start of a new year and night seen the start of a new day, maybe I’m not so odd after all :)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Global Warming

Inside a fantasy writer's head anything can become something. Things grow like flowers in spring from an idea or happening as tiny as a seed. And then there's a whole new world.

My worlds always stay tied tightly to the world I know. I've researched cultures from around the globe - our "real" world and imagine what things would be like if different cultures would have risen to the top. What if: the climates were different. What if things of legends really did exist. All of this and so much more goes through my mind.

I began Among the Ancients a little while ago, but the characters got lazy. They need reworked. While I was thinking on them and what would cure their blight, other characters in a whole new story came storming to my mind. What sparked it - the argument of global warming.

Global warming has been mentioned for years now as a purely human caused thing. Not true. We may be making it faster, I'm not a scientist so I can't say for sure. I'm a master of fiction. But I do know from my studies that the Earth we live on hasn't always been as it is. Why would it stop changing now just because we humans inhabit it so strongly now? We aren't gods are we? Mother Nature has a plan all her own and things are going to change despite the fact we would like them to stay the same.

So. That's what the new story is all about. The changing world -- and how civilization as we know it will be transformed. At least how it may transform. Could we survive if disasters like hurricane Katrina grow more intense and frequent? What about if the continental plates shift again? And a new ice age? How strong are we as a species really?

A friend of mine believes we've grown lazy - too dependent on vehicles, grocery stores, computers and other conveniences of our lives. Maybe so. I really couldn't say. But the people in my story, they were trained to survive before the upheaval due to arrive in 50 years...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nothing and Everything

My life is fairly boring. I know this. I don't hang out with girlfriends on a regular basis, I see movies at the theater maybe twice a year. I dislike shopping and large crowds of people. So maybe that's why I think nothing much in my life is worth blogging about.

At the same time, I'm always feeling like that proverbial headless chicken. Three kids always talking - I do only have two ears and for some reason they insist on working in unison instead of seperately. I'm also expected to often be in three or more places at once. I haven't quite mastered cloning myself yet. Shame. I also find myself fumbling with jobs that used to be simple though pleasantly challenging. Then something nasty happened. I remembered what my home was like before I spent all my time in front of the computer with one project or another. I regularly had clean dishes, clothes, and yummy meals. I grew tired of rummaging through the heap of clothes on the floor, scanning for visual spots or dirt, shaking out wrinkles, and running out the door. I also grew tired of purchasing cheap spoons because we would run out within a day if they weren't washed that evening. I also got tired of my floors looking like carpets of dust and fuzz. I once was a meticulous housekeeper. I once cooked each and every night. I once did laundry religiously, folding and hanging everything before wrinkles set in.

My husband has mentioned many times that I should look for a "real job." Funny, editing, writing, designing seemed to take up enough of my time and it sure feels like a real job. But I suppose maybe my sitting in the corner of my living room pounding on a mouse or keyboard doesn't much look like one. I haven't been doing near as much of that lately. No, I've been cooking real meals on the stove I've had for three years though it looks brand new. I've also been filling closets with fresh smelling clothes, pulling the millions of weeds from three 56 foot long flower gardens, and running all household errands. Funny, all that feels like a real job too. It sure takes a great deal of time.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Trees young and old…

Three years ago, our home and property underwent a huge change. We had over a half acre of old woods, meaning some of the trees were 50 years old and up. Did you notice the “had”? On this property we lived in a trailer built in 1977. It reached its lifespan limit and space limit with five occupants. So we chose to put in a house. I gave up my trees, but to this day still feel sick over some of it. More was cleared than we ever meant because some of the 80 to 100 foot tall trees knocked out many others when they fell. Husband was quite pleased with the huge expanse of flat, perfect grass. I hate grass. No offense, the green is pretty, but it needs weekly mowing and it really offers no real interest or benefits that I can tell.

Last week, my creative side got the best of me again and for some crazy reason I started digging holes in the boring grass, peeling it off the old woodland soil. Funny how many saplings my daughters and I found in the remaining, slowly recovering woods. We added 30 feet to the existing woodline, a bird feeder, hostas, azaleas, some old stumps. And we’ve spent more time in that little area surrounded by saplings and things we managed to drag from the brush piles than we have anywhere else lately. We have a small “marshmallow roasting fire pit” some logs to sit on, a swing too. We have part of our “old” path and old woods back after a hand saw and some hard work dragging broken and discarded tree tops out of the way.

I’ve heard from men that I’m just creating a weed area because trees take forever to grow and that I might see them before I’m beyond old. See, apparently I mustn’t know much, despite the fact I speak words like hawthorn, hornbeam, beech, ash, and tell them growth rates and average mature heights. Maples and cherry they know because those trees are worth the most money to the loggers around here. What bothers me about the men telling me “trees take a long time to grow” is the fact I watch them knock down trees as if they turn 50 years old over night. Heck, if we didn’t plant trees just because they take forever to grow, would there be any left? As for weeds, is it possible these men haven’t heard about mulch? Might explain why none has found its way into husband’s truck and into my yard yet this year.

I realize I have a lot of years to go before my woods looks “old” again. But that’s why I’ve got a few locus mixed in the bunch with some ash, quaking aspens, maples. All faster growing types. Some call those trees “weeds” of the tree species. That’s just fine with me. All I’m looking for is more shade and less grass to mow by the time I’m old. :)

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Precious Gift

A parent has so much to give their child. Love, acceptance, knowledge just to skip along the surface. But there is something I see so many parents today snuffing out for whatever reason, something natural to children, something that can set them free, take them on amazing journeys, open possibilities of dreams and assure they would never be bored. (Unless they are set on being bored that is.) It's imagination.

Imagination is a tool kids can use to escape for just a little while this crazy world we're all stuck in. To sit and watch the clouds, imagining the shapes of all kinds of things. To stare at the stars on a clear night and imagine things happening beyond our reach. C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkein, Madeleine L'Engle, just to name a few big names, these authors knew how to carry their readers to new lands and make the story become real.

So why do I see so many children who wouldn't read one of these authors for any reason, why did the Chronicles of Narnia get a resounding "BOOOO" when the school chose it as the movie to show on rewards day? My girls loved it. I've nurtured their imaginations so nothing to them is "weird" -- it's fun.

But with more and more kids drooling over Survivor, Big Brother, Lost and the like and toys like tea sets and baby dolls no longer a big thing compared to electronic talking stuffed animals, mechanical pets and all, are we all coming dangerously close to erasing the value of an imagination?

Why shouldn't a tree limb become a horse, a backyard become another world in midieval times and a cloud become a dragon? Why shouldn't they enjoy Middle Earth and travel with Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins or Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edward in Narnia and enjoy it immensely?

I nurtured my own imagination out of boredom as a child. I admit, spending most of my time on an 1800's farm made it easy. As an adult, I'm glad it's still intact. I can see faces in the tile ceiling patters and in trees. Sure, I know it's just the pattern of bark, but it can really add some interesting aspects to a fictional story.

It's important to let kids dream, to encourage them to sail among the clouds in their day dreams maybe even more so today than it was years ago. Kids are under a lot more stress today than ever before. Nurturing an imagination to get their focus off tragedies, dangers and the ugly side of human nature could only be a good thing in my opinion.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Simple Things

Things have come in waves lately. I'll have a few days were I twiddle my thumbs, accomplishing little more than some laundry and cleaning. Then I'll have days where I have three different tasks to do simultaneously on the computer. Mostly I do ok with juggling several things at once. I mean, I do have kids, juggling tasks is mandatory for moms. And I'm not complaining really, I appreciate the work and the challenges. And I also appreciate the down times.

This morning, since we are in a real dry spell in my area, I carried water to some new plants and trees. Putting it in buckets uses less than spraying the gardens with the hose. I found myself in my backyard, surrounded by a cluster of trees, and birds. Two Cardinals fluttering in a bush, Robins, House Wrens and more. No other noise.

This was a surprise. There's been more tree-clearing and shed-building going on all over the place here and I'd gotten use to constant chain sawing, lawn mowing, tractor roaring, and nail hammering. This morning, there was none. Just the sun, a breeze, the trees, birds, my slumbering dog and me. I learned all over again why I love my back yard :)

I had work to do, had to spend the afternoon in front of the computer again, but surprisingly the entire time, scenes for my next book came alive in my mind. I hit a sticking point with it a few weeks back when life piled other things on me. Made me glad I didn't set a deadline for this story, but it seems I'll be up late typing tonight. Another good thing.

All I needed was some down time away from everything to get back on track. Life is funny that way. Sometimes we just need to take a few steps back, away from all the other stuff. Something as simple as sitting under trees and watering flowers can clear a mind more than anything else I know.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The wonderful world of research

It's odd, I know. I disliked school immensely when I was in it. They never seemed to delve into any areas of history or art, or creativity that I enjoyed. I'm not alone, I don't think, because it seems to me many artists had the same attitude about school. I do wish now that I had studied harder because many things link to others. But it's also fun learning it all now.

After I graduated, I discovered I could study into all the things no one touched in the classroom. And I found quite fascinating topics from philosophy of religions to world mysteries and psychotic psychologies. Researching these topics is a healthy boost to my imagination.

Druids seem to pop up in many areas of what I'm researching for my latest novel, Among the Ancients ( along with Paganism. It's interesting to ponder how different the world would be today had Paganism stayed prominent - if the ancient religions hadn't vanished. I don't claim to be an expert, far from it, but I have woven what I know into the fibers of my next book to create that possible world even more so than I did in my Manipulated Evil Trilogy (

I'm still studying, even as I write, and hope that the flavor of my stories improves with each new thing I discover.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Book Signing

This past weekend, I had my first book signing inside a large name book store inside a mall - Waldenbooks in my area, also known as Borders. I can't say I didn't love the look of my books next to titles from authors I've read for years or talking with the people who stopped by. I had fun doing it, despite my introvert personality, usually I much rather like being a hermit in front of my computer and my current WIP (work in progress).

But I've been working so hard on promoting my work, I'm not getting a chance to vent my creative side in writing or my art and it's driving me a might crazy lately. It's not enough that I'm constantly picking up after and cleaning after 4 other people every day. (Yes they help, but children and hubby can't seem to see what things are strewn across the floor or where the crumbs have fallen, or - my favorite - when something spills, it all goes DOWN, nothing sticks to anything vertical - don't you know?) This was never so evident as it was last week while I prepared for the book signing. I had four days to do it all. And when I came home and looked at the house, I wanted to cry lol. It'll take me at least a week to get things back in working order.

I'm asked a lot how I balance it all, and honestly, I do not know. I take it one day at a time, try to make sure the bills are paid, sites are updated, children are fed, homework done, and somewhere in between find time to write the scenes plaguing my mind down on something concrete whether in long hand or typed (I much prefer typing, much faster for me).

And there looming ahead of me is the promise of nice warm weather, this year with an actual yard, not a rock patch. There's the flower gardens that need tended or made from scratch. When we first moved here, I did all the landscaping myself, the digging the hauling, the laying of stone, planting of plants, mulching, everything. That was 10 years ago. We put in a larger home, - manufactured home, doublewide, whatever you wish to call it in fall of 2003 (I think). It's much bigger than the trailers we lived in for 11 years. But now I need to start all the landscaping again and I'm finding 10 years can do a lot for a persons body - not much of it good lol.

So when will I find some quality time to spend with my current WIP? I guess I'll just take it one day at a time...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A change in the air...

Here it is, mid February. I've been more productive lately, at least it feels as if I am. I've managed to send bookstores catalog mailings for my books, printing more for libraries as I type. It's funny how one can learn to do fifty things simultaneously. The trick is, doing them well. Being a perfectionist, I can't say for sure if I'm doing anything well because if I stop and look long enough, I can always better myself. Which often stalls productivity. So I'm learning to let more and more things go a little. Just a little :)

I've set out to improve my art skills, though in my rural area, it's a little harder to find the right supplies. My latest book is to blame for this "need" to improve. I have so many images flowing through my mind and I want to get them on paper as realistically as possible. So I'm going back to study things I wasn't the least bit interested in during school years.

I sit and look at my girls, hear their complaints about classes, teachers, homework and I can totally relate. But I also know many of the things they are being forced to learn, though boring and seemingly ridiculous now, may come in handy later. Anatomy for one. How does an artist create realism? Knowing the skeleton and how the muscles work and form beneath the exterior helps a lot. And I only know the bare basics of it all. I've got a long road of study and practice ahead. I just hope I can find the time to accomplish this one.

Till next time,


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fast Forward

I swear, some higher power has hit fast forward on the world. Maybe they were bored, skipping commercials, or what not, I don't know, but I wish they would hit PAUSE once in a while. Just when I think I'm getting ahead, I glance at the calendar to my right and realize I lost another week somewhere. This time though I feel like I lost most of January and I had to write February 7th on a check today. NOT good.

I'm not getting far on my next book either. For some reason, my new character, Kynly, is insisting I get her sketched and painted just right before she'll talk to me. This means I had to do some more studying and self teaching in art techniques. Bryce, the male protagonist is being quite open, but then his life has just been ripped from under him. But I need Kynly to ground me in her world before I write much more. The other huge problem is my characters only come alive at night. Usually very late at night - after midnight. And I have to be up early to get children on a school bus. Not easy tasks to balance there.

Meanwhile, we've added an aquarium and six fish to our household. What a task that has been. Mostly in getting the above mentioned children to pry their faces away long enough to do homework and take care of the poor pup, who apparently is old now even though she just hit 8 months. I suppose though I wouldn't be too eager to go for a walk in 20 degree temperatures and snow flurries either. Thankfully, I don't have to, I have three other pairs of legs to order to do that *grin*.

And now I must go and continue to work on Kynly in my studies of what Photo Shop can really be made to do :)

Till next time,


Friday, January 27, 2006


The word "filter" meant the little cylindrical thing on the gas line of my car, the slide in sheet in the side of my furnace or the device in the basement, attached to my water lines. Those filters I appreciate -- at least when they are clean and functioning.

This month though, another use for "filter" dominated my thoughts. We released the first official issue of Silver Moon Magazine ( and all seemed to go smoothly. That is, until the influx of emails informing us most of our customers did not receive the information they needed to receive their issues. A second day's worth of emailing and resending remedied the situation for most. To avoid spam, we sent each email separate, no bulk, but it appears even those ended up in Junk Mail heaven.

Yet, through all the successful fixes, I've found at least one who has repeatedly emailed, who we have repeatedly emailed back. It is clear our customer is not receiving any of our correspondence despite all our efforts. So what is one to do? Snail mail. Hopefully that will at least let our customer know we have not been ignoring her. Our hands are simply tied by the multiple types of email systems and spam filters out there. There is only so much we can do.

Then this morning I receive correspondence from an online vendor I do business with. My account, for a reason totally unknown to me, seemed to be frozen. No upgrades were showing up, nothing. I alerted them to this problem only to be told the account had been frozen because apparently I had reported them for spam and it was being investigated.

Really? I did? When? I still don't know. I never reported anything from them as spam on purpose and rarely report anything in the junk mail box, though I do check it often for the multiple important emails I have discovered there. I usually take out what I need and click to empty it. But now I realize somehow, some way I became one of those people who reported something legit as spam. Hmmph.

The moral of this story -- It's always a good idea to check the junk mail box, whether you activated it or not, and never hit "report" until you have closely looked at each address. Yet I doubt even that will stop email confusion.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wake up calls...

I've heard "wake-up calls" can be useful, especially for those who sleep through alarm clocks screaming at them. In all honesty, that's probably me. I am not a morning person at all but my wake up calls are built into my household and usually consist of "MOM, she touched my stuff" or the pleasant (can you hear the sarcasm here?) "Ruff Ruff" from our shepherd mix. This morning, someone decided to give me a new wake up call - they tried to fax my home phone. Mind you, I was already up, fumbling through the kitchen to pack my youngest's lunch and make her a breakfast she'll actually eat. I manage to push away the tissues, books, and pencils the phone is buried under, watching the clock tick away, wondering if it's my oldest telling me she's sick again, or hurt herself somehow. I say "hello." I'm greeted with silence and then an ear-splitting BEEEEEP.

Uh huh. So I head back to the kitchen brush daughter's hair, help her put shoes on and the phone rings again. This time I ignore it, but the machine announces another pleasant round of BEEPS. This has happened before, but I assure you, I don't have fax capabilities on my home phone. Wrong numbers are one thing, but I sure do wish, when faxing someone, people would make certain they have the correct number. Especially at 7 a.m. Can't tell a machine its made a mistake.

At any rate, I'm now wide awake and sure I won't catch up on any sleep this morning (not sure if the fax fairy has discovered they are trying a wrong number yet) despite the fact my characters from Among the Ancients had me up till after midnight typing out a few scenes. I suppose I should thank the person though. The beep and residual ear ringing blasted every last ounce of sleep from my head. In just half an hour, I've managed to get quite a few things done. I'm just glad it's Friday and hoping my girls sleep in tomorrow.

Until next time,


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Here it goes

My attempt at a blog. I'm not one to jump into technology or the latest fad. It took me years to invite a computer into my home and I'm probably one of the few humans in this world who doesn't own a cell phone. But I do want to stay in touch with my readers. So I'm starting a blog and hoping it doesn't take too long to catch on :)

Till next time,