Book Review!

Rhyaden has gone live on Amazon for pre-orders. Here is the site to go to :

I’m so excited! While I’ve been off galavanting in the backwoods, Rhyaden got an awesome review from Midwest Book Review.

“Rhyaden is a middle-grade fantasy novel, set in world where trees talk and the last living dragon mentors a young man who may be his kingdom’s only hope for freedom from a tyrannical invasion. A parable about how the choices we make define ourselves and our future, as well as a rousing adventure, Rhyaden is a page-turner to the very end. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library young adult fantasy collections.” Children’s Bookwatch, August 2018 Midwest Book Review

Well, if I thought Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Montana were hazy, I had another think coming. Washington has been the worst. Our hope is that when we go further up north, we will get out of this smoke funnel that we are in here in Chelan. I really couldn’t even tell the Columbia River was a river when I first got here. I am visiting cousins but we are only here for one day, then we head north to North Cascades National Park.

Where we are staying in North Cascades is accessed by ferry. There is no wi-fi or cell service. Hence, this blog is late. We plan kayaking and hiking. I’m not even taking my computer. No writing allowed. Can you believe it?

My cousin talked extensively about the change in climate here. When he moved here decades ago, it was lush and green around the lake. A few years back, after years of drought, they lost their home to fire. Driving in, despite the smoke, when I left the wheat fields and started down toward the lake, I saw a very arid, desert like land. It reminded me of southern Utah and Arizona around the Grand Canyon. Uplake was a whole different world. I have wonderful stories to share with you now that I’m back in wi-fi world.Rhyaden-Kindle

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The Picture

It is hard to describe the value of a restorative vacation, time away from work and home. I am sitting on a small land point, with a bay on either side of me. Water is smacking the rock wall in a constant symphony of slaps and whooshes, accentuated by humming bird trills as the exuberant birds zoom past where I sit. My feet are up on an ottoman and the thought of a nap is not out of the question. Watching the lake through the spruce trees, the water reflects the sun like twinkling diamonds. Caught in the light through the branches of the trees, the sparkles remind me of tinsel on a Christmas tree.

A breeze keeps me cool despite the forecasted 90 plus degrees. My plans for my days are simple, read & write, rest, paddle board, kayak, swim, an evening boat ride at 5 with my hosts, and more of the same. I have researched my hike in the Park, so all is prepared. I can relax. I am relaxed. My only companion at the moment is a bald eagle soaring above, watching his world.

A turkey mama with one young chick, and a doe with two fawns in tow are among the wildlife residing in this tiny paradise. On the dock, I witnessed a peregrine falcon dive and come up with a fish for his dinner. That surprised me so, I had to think about it for several seconds to be sure that what I thought just happened, really happened.

Everyone here lives on lake time. It doesn’t get dark until late, past my bedtime, so I am still adjusting. Boats with water skiers run until it is absolutely dark outside. The haze from wildfires is still prevalent but makes for a blood orange sunrise every morning. That is a small compensation for not seeing the mountains clearly, but hey, I look for the silver lining. I would have said bright side, but that doesn’t exactly fit the picture.IMG_3674

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The first half of my trip across Wyoming was shrouded in fog. The second half was all smoke haze from fires in Utah. The smoke is in Utah, Idaho and Montana too. If you don’t think our planet could face drastic climate change from our own making or Mother Nature’s – think again. Many times it is only a lucky shift in the winds that allows us to put these fires out.

My grandsons are growing growing growing. How does it happen so fast? The younger one is a carbon copy of his grandpa Dean. The older one was reading my latest novel, Rhyaden to me out loud. That is awesome.

Today is my older sister’s birthday. She has been gone nearly forty years. Though only thirty-one when she died, somehow she is still older than me. When I go off and do something courageous like taking this trip across country by myself, she is the one sitting on my shoulder, urging me to go. “Be brave,” she says, and so I go.

I am staying with friends on Flathead Lake in Montana. What beautiful country! My daughter sent me with wonderful tomatoes and squash out of her garden, so we roasted sweetcorn, asparagus, and steaks on the grill, made potato salad and sliced the fresh tomatoes. Wow. I am really going to have to hike and swim now to use up those calories!

After two long days of driving, I am going to hang out on the lake and relax. I’ll do Glacier and pick out a hike the next day or two after that. I might even see if I can paddle board. That should be worth IMG_3605a laugh or two.

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So, just a thought to pass on before my next adventure. If I miss a blog or two in the up-coming weeks, it is because I might not have Internet connection in some of the areas I will be visiting. I could write the blogs all ahead and schedule them, but I don’t like to do that. I like to share with you the pics and stuff as I go. It’s more fun that way. The editing might not be as good, but spontaneity is more fun.

“Rhyaden” becomes available for pre-orders on August 15th. Be sure to order yours. Also, sign up for my newsletter at and you can try for one of the give-aways in the upcoming editions.

The hot weather has returned. Blah

My granddaughter got a puppy. She and the puppy are so happy. They bonded immediately. I am getting to be ‘grandma’ to both of them this week. It’s been seven years this month since I lost Brigit, my last dog. She was a miniature schnauzer and this one is a schnauzer mix rescue. That same darling face. So hard to resist.

The three of us went to a tree nursery and picked out a spruce to plant in the back yard after I return from my travels. When the neighbor’s deciduous trees loose their leaves for winter, I still like privacy. It has taken me two years to figure out what kind of tree I want and just where to plant it. I already relocated four large boulders (yes doing that gave me a sore back for a few days) and I’m going to move a butterfly bush out of the way this fall. A garden is a piece of art that is never finished. I love that it is ever evolving and a new challenge every year.

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The flowers around the neighborhood are brilliant. This picture is of my crazy dahlias. The grass contrasts nicely throughout the area because the rains have caught us back up. The temperature is inching back up after the respite, but it’s summer. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

My thoughts are certainly with everyone suffering through the wildfires. Having gone through one myself, I understand your fear and anxiety. I understand the heartache. I hope the rains will shift and give the firefighters some help. It has to end soon, it just has to.

We got some quarter size hail, a small price to pay considering the flooding and fires in other parts of the country. I called the insurance company just in case. I doubt there is actual damage to the roof, but I feel this is a case of better safe than sorry. When it finally cooled off this evening, I wanted to sit out on the patio and write, but the mosquitoes came zinging in. After one bite, I headed in.

My granddaughter and I get a five day hiatus with no parents. I’m hoping for some decent weather so we can do some hiking or biking. There are swim lessons on the docket, we are going to a tree nursery to pick out a spruce for the back yard, and I am planning/packing for my next National Park trip. Maybe, I’ll throw in a little work. Who knows.

My house-mate has found a lovely place of her own and is moving soon. Once again she is sorting and down-sizing through a life-time of things. I am determined to follow her example and do the same come this winter when it’s too cold to be outside. IMG_3575

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At first, as I sit under the canvas awning, the drops are single notes, a tap, then another tap, then the notes pling faster and closer together. The tempo picks up until the rain falls in a steady beat, accentuated by a timpani of thunder from the clouds above. The temperature has dropped to a pleasant seventy-five, perfect for sitting and listening. Doves begin cooing as soon as the rain returns to a light sprinkle. I see birds flitting about in the trees, but hear none of the raucous screeching heard before the rain.

It is Colorado’s monsoon season, that time of flash floods, hailed out crops, and pungent, newly swathed alfalfa – now needing to be raked and turned again in order to dry. The air smells fresh and clean. The sun peaks out. Fat rain drops reflect the light, sparkling like diamonds sprinkled across the grass. But not for long. A breeze picks up and slowly whisks the moisture away. One by one the droplets flicker out and are gone.

A summer afternoon. Perfect for reflection. The mosquitoes have hidden themselves somewhere so I can sit outside unmolested and won’t have to shower off the repellent when I go in. It doesn’t get any better than this – unless of course your view includes a lake and mountains. Can’t have everything.

How about a free copy of Rhyaden? Go to my web-site and sign up for the newsletter before the next edition comes out. In the next edition subscribers will find a link, and the first 15 to click on the link will receive a free e-copy of Rhyaden on the device of their choice. Don’t miss out! Also, please take a moment to write a review once you’ve read it, on Goodreads or Amazon or or or. Thanks so much. Rhyaden-Kindle

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I took a nice get-away to the mountains with friends. That was followed by a gentle rain and made for a great break to summer’s heat. I am grateful I had the opportunity. Now it’s back to the grind, although I’m also planning my next trip, so that part is not so terrible. What to pack? I’ll be driving, so I can throw in the things like my good set of binoculars that I don’t take when I’m flying. My good camera with the big lens. Water shoes. Fishing shirt. I’ve started the list. At least two national parks are on the route, but maybe a third. Will see how time goes. I tend to be like a horse to the barn once I head in the direction of home.

The clouds have looked spectacular lately. That usually means ominous weather is hitting the area beneath them, and that often means hail, flooding, and destructive winds. How ironic that nature’s beauty is often so cruel in its aftermath. A muddy river of debris and goo raged through Manitou Springs and a foot of hail blanketed parts of Fountain CO.

The loss of life from the horrific fires in Greece is unspeakable. Entire families huddled together, hugging each other as they burned to death. We have so much tragedy around us — all the while people are worried about getting to the store in time to purchase their mega lottery ticket. I do not understand. Truly, I do not understand.

I guess I’m dense. I also do not understand the money wasted in political campaigns. So many of our planet’s problems could be solved by using the very money that is poured down the drain on both sides of the political spectrum. Now, granted, it makes political operatives very very rich — and that helps our planet how? Political favors are asked and granted because of the huge financial contributions made to campaigns – and in turn the huge profits generated by the favor, the vote, or the refusal to bring a matter to a a vote.

Let’s show the lobbyists we have a voice too. Get out and vote!

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