Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, January 16, 2017

InkRipples and Being Thankful

#InkRipplesBlogBanner#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai StrandMary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. We post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. We’re all authors, but you don’t have to be to participate.
The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. We provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, just be sure to include links back to the three of us please (KatieKai, and Mary).
I've decided to take part in this meme, maybe not every month, but as often as I can or as long as the topic is something to which I can contribute. It's nice that there aren't any rules.

This month's theme is covers. Ooooo, so wonderfully broad and open.

Since I write for children, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite covers from my childhood.

Image result for kazan the wolf dog movie

After I read Call of the Wild, I was hooked on wolf-dog stories. No simpering Lassie for me. Though written in 1914, the adventures of Kazan the Wolf Dog has held up well. It has garnered a strong 4 stars on Goodreads.

The Secret Garden

Of all the covers that have graced The Secret Garden, this one is my favorite.  Everything is there: sunlight bathing Mary as she cautiously opens the door, and the robin watching. One wonders what she sees and if she'll step through.

This isn't a colorful cover by any means, and not much is happening. But who is that boy, why does he have a pickax, and what is that strange and frightening creature at his side? 
(Could it be Curdie and Lina?)

This is a republished copy of the cover of the book I had. The title was set differently, in a graceful scroll. Still, everything about this cover makes me feel all warm and cozy and safe. That's me.

Of course, I can't leave without sharing these.
Adrienne Saldivar's wonderful covers still delight me.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for, what else, book covers!

What are you thankful for? Do you have a favorite childhood book cover? I still have two of the first four books shown. Can you guess which ones they are?

Monday, January 9, 2017


Island Idylls: Stories of growing up in the Virgin Islands.



And I'm not talking about the Dutch philosopher (1466 - 1536.)

No, I'm talking about this guy.
I have always had a deep fondness for donkeys. 

At different times during the years we lived on St. John, we owned two donkeys.

Erasmus was the first.

He was large for a donkey standing at the shoulder a good 13 to 14 hands. A male who had been gelded late in life, he retained fond memories of the ladies. At least once he took off running after a female while my sister and I were riding him. There I was on the “rumble” seat, arms wrapped around Erva's waist, hanging on for dear life.

We acquired Erasmus when I was about 6 ½ or 7 years old. Sometimes Erva and I rode him to school, a three mile journey into Cruz Bay that started somewhere around 6:30 or 7 in morning. We’d tie him up under the old tamarind tree across the street from the school and at 3 PM ride him back home.

Erasmus had a few distinct quirks. We learned early on he would chew through his tether rope and 
go wandering off in search of his favorite snack, a parasitic leafless vine called yellow love.

Yellow love kills what it grows on.

We soon changed the rope to a chain and often wondered what he experienced the first time he tried to chew through it.

Another quirk was what he did when we tried to mount him. He would stand patiently while he was being saddled, the epitome of good behavior. But once one of us went to put foot into stirrup he would kick his left rear leg forward, acting for all the world as if he wanted to get his own hoof into the stirrup and climb up onto his own back. We had to time getting a foot into the stirrup and swinging up onto his back between kicks. Once in the saddle he was generally well behaved.

Except when it was time for me to take my first solo ride.

On this particular day he stood patiently as Mom saddled him. I timed getting my foot into the stirrup, and voila! I was up on in the saddle. The intent was for me to ride around our large yard with Mom and Erva near at hand. But Erasmus had other plans.

Maybe he sensed I was a bit afraid. Maybe he thought, “Ha! Novice rider, I’ll teach her a lesson she won’t soon forget.” Maybe he had an itch on his back. Or maybe he was in a bad mood. Whatever was going on in his donkey mind, it soon became apparent he didn’t want to be ridden. He pulled hard against the reins, dropping his head towards the ground. Mom and Erva were both yelling at me to pull up on the reins. But I couldn’t keep his head up. I wasn't strong enough. He dropped to his front knees. I’m screaming. “He’s gonna roll!”

Mom, calm as anything says, “Just step off when he gets to the ground.” Which somehow I managed to do. And there was Erasmus rolling in the dirt, kicking his legs heavenward like a dog, until the saddle was hanging down around his belly.

When he was through he was easily caught and stood patiently while he was unsaddle, acting for all the world as if nothing had happened. And I learned I could easily step off a donkey should it decide to roll.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that the cold weather is letting up. I'm not fond of 16 degree mornings.
What are you thankful for? Have you ever ridden a donkey or spent any time around one? Are you a cold weather person or could you do without it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG and I'm Still Working

Posting the first Wednesday of every month, The Insecure Writer's Support Groupis  the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate. 

Let's give our co-hosts  a warm welcome! 
 Eva @ Lillicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner!

This month's question is: 
What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

As I'm struggling with revisions, this is rather apropos. Somewhere along the way I've read/heard/been told to limit the word WAS to just two a page. I'd like to know how in the heck a person can do that if the story is in first person past tense!? I can understand eliminating them where you can, limiting them to one or two a paragraph, but two a page? Help me out here. Is that really a *standard* rule in revising?

I thought I'd be a lot farther along with my revisions on my novel, A Piece of the Sky, but since I wrote the first draft over three years ago, it's taking me forever to become reacquainted with Lhasa, Tibet and the various places my characters visit.

The Potala, which means Abode of the Buddha of Mercy, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama
Potala palace23

The Jokhang Temple, in the middle of Lhasa, Tibet's most sacred site. Jokhang, by the way simply means cathedral.
Jokhang Temple (23169928521)

The Norbulinka, or Jewel Park, summer palace of the Dalai Lama.

The Western Gate - Photo by Heinrick Harrar. (He wrote Seven Years in Tibet.) The gate has since been demolished by the Chinese to make way for a road.

When I first started researching Tibet, almost 15 years ago, I learned of a film taken by Lowell Thomas, Sr. and Jr. in 1949 - my story takes place in 1950. They were the first Westerners allowed to visit Lhasa and film. The Tibetan government was seeking help from the West as they knew China intended to invade. Alas, the West didn't think Tibet was worth the trouble. I so wanted to see that documentary, but it wasn't available. Now, these many years later, it's on YouTube! If you'd care to know what it took for the Thomas's to reach Lhasa and to see what life was like right before the Chinese destroyed everything, here's the LINK.

As for revisions... It's a painfully slow process. There are copious amounts of overused words I have to deal with not to mention (which I will anyway) those dreaded adverbs. While rereading the manuscript I took way too many notes of things I need to explain and describe better, which means research.

The first half is okay, but a little slow. The second half, however, is more powerful than I realized when I wrote it and that pleases me immensely.

Overall, I'm excited to be working on this project again, but I don't think I'll be done any time soon.

Being Thankful
It's all good, mostly. :)

What are you thankful for? Is there a writing *rule* that trips you up? What are you working on this year? Are you going historical, inventing somewhere imaginary, or writing about something/someplace in the present?

Monday, January 2, 2017

I'm Still Here - Question of the Month

Happy New Year!

I had a very relaxing time during my break. I'm sure I could have done more than I did besides help Hubby rake and haul away leaves. But ask me if I care? (Anyone care to answer?) I have been working on my book, A Piece of the Sky, but it's slow going. Wednesday's Insecure Writer's Support Group post will give an update on that. 

 Here are some things I experienced while away from the blogs. 

This is also about

Being Thankful

The Super Moon.

A swarming of lady bugs. 

I know, how can one lady bug be a swarm?
Trust me, they were EVERYwhere!

The arrival of robins. We haven't seen them in a while because of the drought. It was delightful to hear their laughing calls in the trees around our house.

Here are my New Year's Resolutions.


And lastly, the Question of the Month, hosted Michael D'Agostino at A Life Examined .

This month's question is: 

What was your *growing up* moment.

I think I'd have to say it was when I volunteered to be the one to tell my cousin, who was living with us, that her mother had died (suicide too). I was about 18. My mother asked if I was sure I wanted to, but I felt certain, since we were close and sharing the same room, that it ought to be me. There was no easy or gentle way to break the news. Considering the circumstances, I think we handled the situation in a rather mature manner. No hysteria, though there were, of course, tears and hugging. My mother had us on a plane to the states the next day so we could be with her father and go to the funeral. 

A rather depressing note on which to end the first blog of the New Year, but hey... ask a personal question, get a personal answer.

With that, I'll leave you with a this link to the 45 books I read in 2016!
So, what are you thankful for? Did you have a good Christmas and New Year? See or do anything special? Make any resolutions?

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Christmas Gift to One and All

For your Christmas enjoyment

Introducing the debut of

Dilly Dillo

(other stories will no doubt make their way into print)

 When a Texas Ranger is ambushed by a band of wild Armed Adillo's, Dilly Dillo must come to the rescue in order to save Christmas for all Texas children.

Now available for FREE on Smashwords.

 Grab yourself a copy and enjoy this a Texas sized Christmas story.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Break Time

I'm pretty beat. So, from now until January of 2017, I'm going to be mostly absent. I probably won't be on Facebook much either.

My plans are to work on revising and editing a young adult novel I wrote several years ago. It's going to take concentrated effort because it's set in Tibet in 1950 and will require my getting reacquainted with the characters, setting, and history. Plus, I have something small in the works for Christmas which I will post about here and on Facebook if and when I get it all put together.

I want to thank all of you who helped with and stopped by to visit during my blog tour for The Bowl and the Stone. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Until next time, 
have a wonderful Thanksgiving

 a most joyous Christmas 


Monday, November 14, 2016

A Visit from Joylene Butler - Mâtowak Woman Who Cries

Author Joylene Nowell Butler is on tour this month featuring her new novel, Mâtowak Woman Who Cries, which was released Nov. 1 by Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.

You can follow Joylene's tour schedule HERE for excerpts, and chances to win copies of her book and more.

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery...

When Canada's retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife's unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister's horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him...

Here's and excerpt!
Chapter 19
Corporal Killian excuses himself, and I walk downstairs with him. He goes out the front door without looking back. I watch until he disappears, wrap my sweater tight and avoid making eye contact with anyone. It's bad enough I feel their eyes upon me. Too many of them are wearing outlandish aftershave and perfume. I turn in hopes I can make it to the kitchen before someone asks me something. No such luck. Cold fingers touch my arm. I stop and look at her face. I watch her lips move. The man next to her adds something. Out of my peripheral vision my sister moves in my direction from across the room. She thinks because she and her husband are doctors, and Leland was only a politician and I, a nobody, they're better than we are—we were.
I'm so tired of her condescending ways that I excuse myself from this couple expressing their shock and dismay. Not soon enough. Too many guests circling. Closer. Tighter. Condolences come from all sides. I glance back at Shirley. She looks as if she's lost her best friend. She's the only family I have left and since she appears healthy enough I wonder if I really care what's happened to upset her. She never once cared about what happened to me.
Yes, I am a callous hag. No wonder no one but Digger ever loved you.
Is that Leland speaking inside my head?
But why couldn't Shirley, just once, say she was sorry for deserting me?
I escape into the guest washroom and splash cold water on my face. I pat my face dry and then sit down on the toilet lid and imagine Digger with me now. He adored me so. It was wonderful being loved that much. I imagine patting him and feeling his soft fur under my fingers.
Someone knocks loudly on the bathroom door.
“Sally, when are you coming out of there?” Shirley says.
“Give me a few minutes, would you?” I place cold hands over my eyes. I don't want to let go of my memories just yet. They're so comforting.
More knocking on the door. I'm too numb to answer. Instead, I try to go back to the place where Digger's face is alive in my memory, alive and happy and such a comfort to witness.
Again, someone knocks loudly. The impulse to get up and smash the door in their face is strong. I picture throwing it open to see whomever it is pressing a hand to a bloody nose, then shouting at them to leave me alone.
My chest tightens. “Just a moment, please.” I hear nothing in return.
A minute passes, I get up and exit the room. I would like to yell for them all to leave my house, but of course I won't. I cannot soil my mother's memory. Actually, yes I could.

Nattily dressed politicians and their Pilates-sculpted wives smile at me. I smile back. They speak of things my brain is too lazy to retain until I concentrate and hear someone say, “If you need anything...?”

Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is available in eBook at the following sites:

The print copy is available at: 

When Joylene's father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father's Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steampunk collaboration Break Time. While she'll admit being published didn't fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.

Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

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