2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Witches’ Cliff

Witches’ Cliff novella from The Wild Rose Press, part of the Deerbourne Inn series.

Penny Winters flees to her birthplace in Vermont to consider the marriage proposal she left behind in Salem. Complicating her already difficult decision, she is smitten when she encounters handyman Liam on the porch of the quaint Deerbourne Inn.

A modern-day wiccan, Penny intends to contact her distant great-grandmother, who died on the cliffs when Willow Springs held witch trials. Penny needs advice, and the best time to connect to her ancestors is on Halloween. But she is not the only witch in Willow Springs, and they both have their eye on the same man. And who is the old woman who keeps appearing, telling her to go home?

Penny comes to the cliff to seek Grandma’s advice. But Halloween is an important holiday for a witch, and she is not alone on the cliffs that night. Penny will have to battle not only for Liam’s attention, but for her life.

It’s the week leading up to Halloween and I plan candy, ghouls, fun, but no politics.  Halloween can be fun and not really scary. I don’t plan to hand out candy with the pandemic and little hands full of viruses in and out of my candy dish.  I thought of just wearing gloves and carefully placing the candy into bags.  But in my experience, it wouldn’t happen that way.  I’ve had little girls, hyped up on sugar, run into the house and chase my dog down the hall.  No, not this year.

But the weather has changed, and I don’t think we can deny it is fall and Halloween. I have a suggestion for a quick read that is both fun and sweet. Witches’ Cliff.  It is a romantic tale with a paranormal twist. Check it out.  It’s a quick read that will leave you with a Halloween feeling.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Fossil Rim from the top of the hill – photo by Peggy Chambers

Last weekend my husband and I traveled to Glen Rose, TX to visit relatives.  Glen Rose is a small tourist town about 50 miles southwest of Ft. Worth https://www.bing.com/travelguide?q=Glen+Rose&l2sid=f8a986bb-6c73-a854-115e-8a1184e77829&form=PLACAB .  His cousin has lived there all his life. Glen Rose has museums, fossilized dinosaur footprints, river floating adventures, and a small-town atmosphere.

But in all the time we’ve traveled to this small city and visited with cousins, we’d never been to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center https://fossilrim.org/ .   We were amazed.  They are an international wildlife center with breeding programs for endangered species. And I’ve never met a more hospitable staff to both humans and animals.

The area around Glen Rose, on the Brazos and Paluxy rivers, is hilly and lush.  Some of the animals roam around and you can feed them, others are inside pens for their safety and yours.  I made friends with a giraffe who kissed me on the head.  Or she was trying to get my attention to feed her more. I’m going with the kiss option.  Of course, we missed that photo op. 

The day we were there they were preparing to transport a rhino to a zoo in New York.  They have small Mexican Wolves and the larger Gray Wolves as part of their endangered species program.  But I was most impressed with the cheetah exhibit.  Part of their breeding program centers around an area known as “lovers lane” where the cheetahs are allowed to get to know each other and if they show signs of liking each other then they are placed together with the hopes of having offspring.  Everything I saw with the staff showed their great love of animals and they worked hard for the benefit of the animal.

There were antelope that were being bred and reintroduced into the wild in Chad, Africa where they are dying out.  Once again they may roam their native land because of Fossil Rim’s breeding program.

I want to go back and visit Fossil Rim again.  I was so impressed with the staff and animals and I hope they continue to be wild and free on the acres of west Texas and then some day back on their own turf.

What did you do this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Feeling Blessed.

I am blessed.  Feeling stuffy and achy this week, I made a trip to the urgent care for a Covid-19 test.  They tested me for the Covid virus, Flu, and Strep.  They all came out negative and I was told it was an upper respiratory virus (cold?).  But I had several things to do this week that included meeting people outside my home, and I wanted to be sure.  In a couple of days, the stuffy/achiness disappeared, and I decided it was allergies after all.

My sister’s daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter have all tested positive for Covid-19 and are quarantining at home. I am praying for their family. 

On Tuesday I met with the Enid Public Library’s teen authors and talked to them about publishing.  I could talk about writing forever.  And they were happy to have me. 

Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment with my neurosurgeon for a follow up on this summer’s  surgery.  He said things were proceeding well.  The vertebrae are fusing as they should, and I am in less pain all the time.

I am reading my first steam-punk novel.  I’ve seen Jules Vern’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Wild Wild West.  I love fantasy and when you combine it with steam powered engines, it can be fun. So, I downloaded a copy of The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean. It is a series and very imaginative.  I love the way it moves and the quirky characters.

I’m feeling grateful for my health and praying for those who are sick.  There are so many.  I hope you are well and living your life to the fullest in spite of the pandemic. 

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Comic Book Script!

I got a box of my first comic books this week and I was so excited to see them in print!

This was a first for me learning about comic book scripts.  I had a lot of help from Jeff Provine at Okie comics and I received a copy of a script from A.I. Jones as a template to try to learn from. 

I’ve been in love with the myth of Vikings in Oklahoma since the first time I visited the Heavener Runestone Park.  I’m their biggest fan.  I looked around that forest as a writer and I could see a fairytale.  And I wrote one, Glome’s Valley.  I don’t know if Vikings were in Oklahoma before Columbus discovered this continent for Europe, but they traveled all over searching for land.  Their home was a series of fjords and they needed land to grow crops so they looked elsewhere.  Some believe that the carvings on the runestone are a date, other’s say it was a Viking marking his territory – Glome’s Valley.  But I think the forest is magical and so I wrote my own fairytale about it. 

After the two Glome books were published I met Jeff Provine at the Author Fest in Enid.  He publishes Okie Comics – Comics by Oklahomans, for Oklahomans. We talked about my books and the story set in Oklahoma and I decided to write a short story to go with the books.  Then he suggested I write the script from the short story.  Augggg!!!  Okay, I decided, I’ll try.  I never would have made it without his continuous support, but the comic book script was finally finished and then Mike Kennedy told the story in pictures.  His illustrations are beautiful, and I am so happy he took on this role.  Thank you, Mike!

You can read Stone of Thor for free at https://okiecomics.com/ and if you want a paper copy they can be ordered from Okie Comics for $5.00.  It is a continuation of the first two books and uses the same setting and characters in a new adventure.

Thank you to Jeff Provine, Mike Kennedy, and A. I. Jones for their help in this book. And thanks to everyone who enjoys the lore of the park.  I couldn’t have done it without your support.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Author Jean M. Grant!

    My guest blogger today is Jean M. Grant. She is the author of five books and writes in the romance and women’s fiction genres.

Title you are promoting: A Hundred Lies, a Scottish medieval romance with a fantasy twist. It is the final book in a trilogy, but each book can be enjoyed as standalones. 

Summary of above title in 30 words or less:  Rosalie is on the run after telling one too many lies. When she seeks solace in the arms of a laird’s son who is a true Seer, can the power of the Ancients save her from death?

We know each other through The Wild Rose Press who publishes some of our work.  Do you publish with other publishers and who? Not yet. I’ve published 5 books with The Wild Rose Press though.

What are you working on now? I am writing a contemporary romance. It’s based on a story my aunt told me and I was intrigued.

Favorite quote (from any source): “God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle. I just wished he didn’t trust me so much” – Mother Teresa. Also, “Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda. I wrestle with both of those sayings. It’s hard, what life throws at you sometimes. Lastly, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (hu)man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Ben Franklin. I like his attitude. It’s not about wealth of money, but wealth of life. I start my days early. Each day we get a new sunrise to try again even if yesterday was not so great.

Who is the author/artist that inspires you the most, and why? Artist – Claude Monet. I find serenity and peace in his Impressionism. I am a nature lover and I just find myself turning inward with a sigh when I see his paintings. Author – I admire Diana Gabaldon’s courage and innovation. She wrote some great long books that were not the romance “norm.” There are naysayers everywhere and not everyone loves her work, some have criticism, but reading is subjective. To each their own. She was/is also a scientist and I was one in my early days.

If stranded on an island, what one book would you keep with you? Not sure I would bring one book. I enjoy books but once done, I usually never read again (except for a few in the Outlander series). I think I would need some sort of MacGyver type manual – to help me make a raft, hunt, build, survive. Or I would just invite Bear Grylls to join me (and my family) on the island.

What are you reading right now? I just finished my third book by Amy Harmon. Oh, I love her! She is my new favorite. She blends historical, romance, fantasy, and women’s fiction into one. She’s almost literary in her ways. I just finished “Where the Lost Wander.” So good!

Tell us 3 fascinating things about you: I love sharks and went to school for marine science, I am a bit obsessed with my flower gardens, and I once won the lottery ($10k on a scratch ticket) in college – I used the money, $7200 after taxes, to buy household and college needs – no wild spending.

Describe your ideal workspace…and then tell us about your actual one: Ideal – Oh I would love a she-shed surrounded by my perennial gardens. It would need to be heated and cooled, no bugs, and have a coffee pot. Preferably this would sit on a plot of land in the mountains, near woodland. Real-life – my desk used to sit in my children’s playroom, among the dynamic chaotic daily grind. Now that they are older and I am not as great with tuning out and multi-tasking, I moved it up to my bedroom. Not ideal, but quieter. It takes them more effort to come up and ask for things. Keep in mind, they are 11 and 13. Not wee babes anymore.

What advice do you have for other writers/artists? I live by the 3 P’s, which after having a rough time lately, I need to remind myself for life and writing: Patience, Perseverance, and Putting in the Time. Anything worth working toward takes time, oh so much, patience, oh so much, and resilience.

Where can readers find you online?

They can find me here:

Website   Twitter   Facebook  Goodreads  Bookbub  Instagram Amazon Author Page

 

It was great having you here, Jean, and I know we all wish you continued success.  Pick up a copy of A Hundred Lies and as always, leave a review if you love it.

Find it here: Amazon  Barnes and Noble  iBooks  Bookbub  Goodreads Kobo Google

 

Bio:

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing after children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

Full BLURB:

1322, Scotland

Rosalie Threston’s fortune-telling lies have caught up with her. Uprooted yet again, she’s on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. She flees to Scotland and seeks refuge in the arms of a laird’s son who happens to be a real Seer.

A bloody past and inevitable future plague Domhnall Montgomerie. He avoids physical contact with others to ease the painful visions. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight.

Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even if it means exposing her lies?

Optional Excerpt:

Rosalie huffed but shuffled around him. “Excuse me, Sir Montgomerie.”

“It’s just Domhnall.” Shame skittered to the forefront of his mind. He lived a privileged life, hardly understanding the commoner, try as he might by pacing the streets afoot. In his mind, all people were equal, though society and nobles held other opinions of the lesser born. Not him. Not if he became laird. When. He sighed. When he became laird. Despite his parents’ noble upbringing, they celebrated every man, woman, and child’s God-given gifts. All should have opportunity. Here, men and women were treated fairly, as fair as they could get with the demanding barons and the king.

He was trying hard to help a woman who maybe didn’t want his help. When would he learn he could only help others so much?

Burned. Dead.

He blinked away that pain. Why now? Why remember that awful memory? He’d only been a lad himself at the time. He hadn’t understood the power that rested in his visions. He swallowed. “Here.” He grabbed a crate from her, his hand accidentally brushing hers. A cool rush traveled up his fingers to his elbow. His blood pressure dipped, darkness luring him. No, he chided. Blazes, no! He commanded the vision to relent. The black curtain crossing his eyes quickly dissipated as blood flowed to his fingers. His extremities instantly warmed.

What was that?

Had he successfully halted a vision midstream? It had been years—years!—since his last true vision, if he didn’t count the strange man’s reappearance this week and Venora’s chilling words. Och, plus the misstep with that drunkard in Edinburgh a month ago. He picked up another crate, handed it to her, deliberately touching her fingers, testing the radical idea. Heart in throat. Bold. So bold. Nothing. Nothing but an attraction to the golden-haired lass welled within

him. No vision. Only interest. Only…

He wanted to try again. And again. 

What are you reading this week?

 

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2020: Fewer Possession, More Experiences – Virtual Reality

    It’s been a few weeks since I attended, virtually, WriterCon 2020 in Oklahoma City.  I’m still having fun going back and watching some of the presentations.

I also tried a virtual copy of  Dr. Lisa Marrota’s Mindful Muse OK Creativity Retreat. I am not finished going through that, but I’m certain I’ll love all of it.

Virtual seminars and conferences are something we never even thought of a few months ago.  If we couldn’t go, we just missed out.  I hate to say it, but maybe this pandemic has done some good.  We’ve come together in spite of the virus – nothing can keep us down.

Sitting in the old leather recliner that used to belong to my father-in-law, I’ve learned new things about marketing my books, and more importantly, how to relax and let my muse guide me.

I miss my friends at these conferences and the interaction that takes place, but I may have learned more with a glass of tea next to me as I took notes and thought about whether or not I could do this, than the hustle and bustle of a conference.

I’ve practiced yoga with my daughter’s yoga class on Saturday morning in my bedroom with the laptop set up on the trunk at the foot of the bed. I came away relaxed and ready to face the day – and I got to talk to my daughter who lives 100 miles away.  It was much better than I thought it might be.

My writing club is communicating by way of email and our website this year.  I hope to get the critique group up and running virtually soon.  We can do this.  We have to.  We still need human interaction and as usual, necessity is the mother of invention.

What are you reading this week – virtually or otherwise?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Roman Nose State Park

    We had another great experience this week. Oklahoma has a diverse geography and you don’t have to go far to find something completely different than where you just left.  We took a day trip to Roman Nose State Park https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Nose_State_Park and had lunch after a short hike.

There are several hiking trails meant for more experienced hikers than us, but we took the road more traveled.  Old folks with an excited dog on a leash need to be careful.  It had been raining the night before and many of the rocks were slippery with evidence of erosion, but the park was beautiful with several springs and waterfalls flowing.  For early September, it was cool and comfortable and after the short hike, we ate a Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen.  The restaurant is new to the park.  Swadley’s has taken over restaurants at several of the Oklahoma State Parks and the food was wonderful.   

Like most people we’ve been stuck at home this summer, but the outing was great.  There weren’t a lot of people, the restaurant was clean and social distancing was practiced.

Traveling short distances is something on my bucket list.  As a kid my family moved to Oklahoma when I was seven and we often took day trips on the weekend to find out what this state had to offer.  Mom would pack the picnic basket and Dad would take a highlighter to an Oklahoma map and we’d scout out new places to visit.  I loved those day trips and want to do more of that now that I’m older.  I’ve been to Roman Nose many times, it is only a little over an hour from where we live, but it seemed new and improved yesterday.  https://www.travelok.com/state-parks/roman-nose-state-park

If you play golf, there is a golf course and you can rent a cabin or stay in your tent.  Check first about availability because I think the camping part of the park has been closed this year due to the pandemic. But if you want a hike and lunch, it is the place to be.

Fall is coming, do you like to travel and where?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Mississippi Kites

    My husband is an avid outdoorsman.  As a kid growing up he had acres to roam and spent a lot of time communing with nature.  This week, he got another chance and we had a new experience.

Mississippi Kites are a bird of prey similar to a small hawk.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_kite They eat flying bugs and they have invaded our residential neighborhood this year.  We have a huge, heavily leafed sweetgum tree in the front yard that we talk about taking down all the time.  It is strong and healthy but is the bane of our existence. Each winter to spring we rake up countless bags of sweetgum balls that look like tiny landmines and feel like it on bare feet. The roots grow above ground making mowing a problem.

But in that lush tree is a community of birds, bugs, squirrels an other creatures that we know nothing about.  This week a juvenile, fully feathered, Mississippi Kite fell from the tree and was unable to get back in his nest.  The husband named him Tike.  Tike the Kite.  We watched him for three days as he got stronger, learned to stand on his legs, which might have been injured, and flap his wings in an attempt to fly.  The parents visited and fed him bugs. And he slowly began to circle the tree with its many roots above ground.  He felt safe.  Until the next-door neighbor’s children began to run and scream as they washed the car in their driveway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SairtjDdFc&feature=youtu.be

My husband had already contacted several rehabilitators listed with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department, and they thought since the bird was being fed, we should leave it alone.  Then it got scared.  We’d watched it from afar trying not to disturb it. But then it began to try to get away from the noise next door and stumbled its way to our driveway and into the hot sun. My husband watched in horror afraid it would surely be found by a wandering cat or dog if not hidden under the tree.  And then it did the strangest thing.  As he stood on the driveway hoping it wouldn’t get under his pickup, it cuddled up between his feet!

We finally took matters into our own hands.  Certain we would be dive bombed by the parents, my husband donned leather gloves and scooped up the bird. He wasn’t even pecked. The kite seemed to know a gentle hand.

The rehabilitator suggested we try to put it back in the tree, so with the help of a step stool he was once again scooped up in gloved hands and placed gently in the tree.

Hours later he was found back on the ground and it was dark.  The rehabilitator agreed this time to take the bird.  He was again picked up and placed in a box and then taken to someone who hopefully will be able to release it back into the wild when it is able to fly.

I don’t know where the parents were while we adopted their little one.  But at least no one was attacked.  Kites tend to be very protective of their young.

We had a new experience this week. Tike, I hope you live a long, and strong life.  Eat a bug for me.

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Strawberry Sundae Delights

    Strawberry Sundae Delights releases today!

I’ve said for several years someday I’d settle on a genre and write only that.  I doubt it.  I have an active imagination and those stories need to go somewhere. I love literature.  Believe it or not, I love classic literature.  I’m currently curling up with Steinbeck at night before bed (don’t tell my husband).  Sometimes Steinbeck can be so depressing that I wonder why I read his work, but  I know why.  I love literature and I love to see how someone else would write a story.

When The Wild Rose Press put out a submission request for short beach reads involving ice cream, I had just the beach.  Sandhill Island.  I took the setting from my two books Secrets of Sandhill Island and Stones of Sandhill Island and wrote a novella about an ice cream shop and the characters who work and shop there.  It was fun.  Some of the existing characters from the books make and appearance, but mostly it has new characters; a schoolteacher, a cute shrimper/college student, and a grumpy aunt. Oh, and don’t forget the bad guy who wants to own Auntie’s Ice Cream Shack—Home of the World-Famous Strawberry Sundae.

Schoolteacher Sienna Schultz is still stinging from a bad breakup with her fiancé when she finds herself unexpectedly infatuated with a new man. While working her summer job at her aunt’s ice cream shop in the small tourist town of Sandhill Island, she meets Jake White, a college student from Corpus Christi who is working on a shrimper for the summer. Sienna is not ready for another relationship, but Jake is difficult to resist.

Sienna’s peaceful summer is shattered when a series of suspicious events unfold. Her aunt’s suppliers refuse to sell to her, putting the future of the shop in jeopardy. Then, when the store is vandalized, they wonder if someone is out to harm not only the business, but Sienna and her aunt as well.

Jake offers to help uncover who’s behind the incidents, which brings the two of them closer together. Can Sienna trust him…or is she headed for another heartbreak?

Check out Strawberry Sundae Delights and all the other novellas in the One Scoop or Two Series.  They are available electronically through The Wild Rose Press or on Amazon.

What are you reading today?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Stone of Thor

    Stone of Thor releases today at http://okiecomics.com.

Stone of Thor started out as a short story and won second place in the OWFI YA Fantasy category at the 2020 OWFI Conference.  It was based on characters from my Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley YA books. The story was well suited for Okie Comics, comics by Oklahomans, for Oklahomans – written about a place in Oklahoma steeped in mystery.

It is set at the beautiful Heavener Runestone Park and the Heavener Runestone relic.  I love this area of our state, south of Poteau in the Ouachita Mountains.  It is near the Talimena scenic drive which begins in Talihina, OK and ends in Mena, AR.  The relic is one of several in the area, but by far the largest.  It is a runestone that some say was carved by ancient Vikings before Christopher Columbus came to the new world.

Ethan has lost his Stone of Thor given to him by Glome the Viking ghost, for protection against Loki.  He last saw it when he play-battled the trolls at the Heavener Runestone Park.  But he hasn’t lost it.  Loki, stepbrother to Thor, has stolen it and will not give it back.  Ethan must call on help from Trondelag the dragon to help him get it back before Loki throws it deep into the forest of the Ouachita Mountains.

I learned a lot from Jeff Provine and R. A. Jones about the art of comic script writing.  Then the magic came to life when Mike Kennedy illustrated the characters and setting.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  If you are looking for a weekend jaunt, check out the Heavener Runestone Park in southeast Oklahoma.  You might find the Stone of Thor, but I know you’ll find the Heavener Runestone to be magical.

What are you reading this week?

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