Winter is here

After a tumultuous year in so many ways, I wasn’t sure I was looking forward to or dreading the end of 2016.

It’s nearly the end of November. Winter has arrived in Minnesota. The first snowstorm and real cold was late, but it’s here now. It arrived with torrential rain, thunder and lightning, and blustery wind. I ran out into the wildness not to enjoy the sound and light show as I usually do, but to replace the downspout extensions on the gutters–I had just mowed the grass the day before and had removed them. So out I went in my flannel sleeping skirt (the only time I wear a skirt) and T-shirt and bare feet. Already there were puddles in the yard. Already it felt icy cold, foot-numbingly icy cold, and for someone who goes barefoot most of the year indoors and out I am an authority on foot numbing. Icy rain and bits of hail stung my skin and I was soaked before I turned the first corner to the back of the house, a distance maybe ten feet from the kitchen door.

Needless to say I saved our house from flooding. And as I hurried back inside, the cool 58 degree temperature of the house had never seemed so warm. Later that afternoon I had my first official “taste of the sky” as the wind howled and snow clung to the latticework of the rose arbor. The snow tasted crunchy, granular, metallic. It was good. I wish there had been more. “Granita” snow is my favorite snow to eat.

I wish I could tell you more good things. Like I’m finishing my next two books. Or have won the lottery. But I need to express that, like many, I’m deeply fearful of what might come from the change in administration for my country.

I usually try to keep politics and religion out of my social media but since the election, my concerns have overwhelmed my need to post beautiful photos of wild places, funny memes, or warnings about the latest scam. Even posting bits and pieces about my stories. But I’ll say this: if you are afraid and concerned, you have every right to be. But don’t sit back and wait to see what happens next. We’re in control of our own stories. Not God. if you are a religious person, remember that God gave us free will. You can’t just sit back in the driver’s seat, let go of the steering wheel, take your feet off the pedals and say, “It’s all over to You, God. You decide what happens. You’re in control.” You’re insulting the God you believe in by throwing your hands into the air and waiting to be saved. Insulting the One who gave us intelligence, dexterity, reasoning, and the power to control the direction of our lives. God didn’t make it easy. Life isn’t supposed to be easy–all the time. Because intelligent lifeforms need challenges, choices, even disasters to thrive, to become better, to feel the satisfaction one’s life meant something.

Remember that. I’m trying to.

The winter of the soul is bitter cold, lonely, and fearful. You can either succumb or fight for survival every second. Giving in does nothing.

So go out fighting. You don’t have to injure, insult, or otherwise harm anyone to fight this soulless threat. You just have to use your voice and stand strong and make the people we’ve given responsibility to accountable.

Summertime blues

Does anyone else get really depressed in the summer? I know I do. It’s hot. It’s humid. NO thunderstorms to make it worthwhile. I didn’t even have a garden this year since I’ve been looking to get a job and my sister wanted to do the gardening. So, that drive and dedication I had the past few years to go outside no matter what and take care of my plants, squish Japanese beetles, preserve the harvest, all that is missing.

Add in all the BS going on in the at home life.’

The other day I said I wished it was winter already. I am happy when I can go outside and not sweat when I am standing still.

Ah well. It’s almost over… winter starts early in Minnesota. If I dare to say:
WINTER IS COMING.

And I am looking forward to it. 😀

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Happy Hatchday to my Little Green Buddy

I am owned by two parrots: one I’ve had since he was four months old, and the other I adopted from a rescue. How I came to have birds is another story all on its own but suffice it to say, before my eyes were opened, birds were… just birds. Dogs, horses, and other animals were way more important and worthy. Boy, was I missing out…

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Apple, my Quaker Parrot!

Now I can’t imagine being without them in my life. My eyes were opened to a whole new world. A new way of communicating. A new form of communion, for as silly as it might sound, I believe birds are telepathic and every once in a while there’s that connection between us. This isn’t telepathy in words, as I write it in my books. It’s more a random flash of insight or a mental image. And I know it’s initiated by the bird–not by me. Before my Apple Parrot was Birdie the Sparrow–and it was Birdie who was the light of my life and my joy and a hole in my heart remains to this day where Birdie used to live.

Apple, my Quaker Parrot (aka Monk Parakeet) helped heal my soul after Birdie’s traumatic passing in 2006. From his sweet Good Morning (followed by racous squawks until I uncover him in the morning) to his meltingly cute “Nite nite kiss kiss kiss love you” at night, Apple fills my days and keeps me busy. So does Sir Hugo the Naked, my rescue Senegal. But while Sir Hugo is dignified and not very cuddly, Apple likes to be with me constantly snuggled up against my chin and neck when I am relaxing, on my shoulder for everything else. He’s preened my eyebrows, licked my tears, and has sat quietly listening to me when I had no one else to talk to.

So today, my sexy green buddy turns ten. If he stays healthy, he has another three decades to look forward to and can likely outlive me! Happy Hatchday, Apple. I really don’t know what I’d do without you, buddy!

Chaos, crisis, and a new Nyorfias Universe story

Haven’t posted in a while. Tons of stuff going on, lots of doctor visits, one family crisis after another, including a suicide attempt by my brother in law. Needless to say things have been topsy-turvey. My living situation is going to change, too. I need to go back to work-work to afford to live on my own again because I’m not going to get any disability, it seems. (Apparently fibromylagia, intense chronic back pain, and a bad knee that needs replacement doesn’t count for much.) But oh well!

There is good news. My writing slump is gone. Somehow crisis brings me out of it and becomes an outlet for me to emote and work out my feelings about a lot of things. I can apply my emotions and the emotions and actions of those around me to people I see (including myself) going through simiiar things.

So what happened? At the end of JTN3, a new character gets a mention. In original drafts she had a slightly larger role to play, but she was downgraded on the advice of an editor who didn’t think I should bring a new character in at the end of the trilogy, even if she was going to have more of a role in the sequel.

Zharre wanted to tell her story, so I gave in and wrote Kyarta Girl, a short novel which will be a bridging story between the first trilogy and the sequel, which may or may not be a trilogy. 😀 It is in alpha review right now.

Kyarta Girl is a little different from the other stories at this point because it’s written in a first person POV. It parallels events in the story section “Stratagem” in the book Stratagem, JTN 3 and merges in at the end, setting up for the first sequel story, Sleeper.

Here’s the blurb for Kyarta Girl! Let me know what you think.

Kyarta Girl
A Nyorfias Universe Novella

My world ended on the Day of the Screams.

I don’t know where I am, except that it is terribly cold here, deathly cold. My memories are damaged. I don’t understand the language. Enslaved to the same enemy army that invaded my home, I wear their uniform and serve as an orderly and snowsled pilot to a brutal officer.

I’m twelve years old, but my world and everyone I loved has been gone for two hundred years. I live in a nightmare. There is no escape except for death or capture.
I would welcome death rather than face one more day with the commander.

Maybe I’ll get my chance.

Produce waits for no one…

Despite an increased issue with shade this year, my garden is doing well. I have bountiful chard, had a good onion harvest, tomatoes are slowly coming along. The biggest issue are the pepper plants, which this year didn’t want to grow at all. I think the issue was a combination of cool weather early on and too much shade. Next year I’ll grow peppers in grow bags in the hottest, sunniest part of the yard I can find.

It’s hard not having a regular job. Many people think authors just rake in the cash. Well, my take for the past five months has been around fifteen dollars, total. I made more selling jam at the farmer’s market than I have in seven months of selling books lately. Of course I suck at marketing, and I suck at asking people to help spread the word if they enjoyed the stories. So I’ll ask any fans reading now: please help and tell people if you liked my stories! 😀

I’ll be too busy with garden, canning, and doctor appointments (three this week) to write for a while. I’ll try to get another excerpt up soon!