This is the face of a cancer survivor

IMG_0431Lately, I’ve been inundated with fund-raising efforts for cancer organizations. I just say, no.

I know it makes me look uncaring. Like many of you, I have lost a loved one to cancer. When I was taking care of him, no organization helped me with his care or the bills.

No organization was there when I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.

So here are the reasons why I won’t give to cancer non-profit organizations:

  1. I am on a fixed income. I can barely pay my own bills plus medical bills. The medical bills include hospital, surgery, anesthesiologist, and surgeon. It includes the endocrinologist who keeps my thyroid hormones level so I don’t get cancer again.
  2. I have other conditions that require doctors’ care. I won’t go into them here. But if you want to read about Wegener’s Granulomatosis, then read my book “In the Shadow of Death: Reflections from a Wegener’s Granulomatosis patient.”
  3. I like to eat.

But the main reason I won’t donate to these charities is because so many of them have high administrative costs and very little of the money goes to research. Some of them have been charged with fraud. 

American Cancer Society may be one of the better ones, but it still uses 59.2 percent on its services and programs (reported by Charity Navigator.)

I used to feel the pressure to give. I used to want to help others and was all for an organization that would spend our donated dollars on research. I am older now and wiser.

Maybe one day I will hit the lottery or jackpot, and then I can start my own non-profit organization that focuses only on research of rare autoimmune diseases and cancer. Then maybe I could save someone else’s husband who has rapidly progressive cancer.

It’s a nice pipe dream.



Essential Oils and Diamond Butterfly

img_0365 A couple of days ago, I was talking to a mental health professional about how I thought part of my problems with health was because of the underlying anxiety I feel all the time. While we were talking about my husband’s death (we were married on Feb 16th) and my chronic illnesses, she handed me a cotton ball, which she laced with a couple drops of peppermint oil.

The response was almost immediate. I could feel each muscle relax. But it went even farther than the skin, muscles, and organs. I could feel the relaxation go down into the cells of my body. I felt the electrons that had been spinning like crazy, start to drop to a slower frequency. When I left our meeting, I was even smiling and holding that cotton ball to my nose.

When I drove the forty minutes home, I had one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand was holding that cotton ball to my nose. I made it home without yelling at drivers, or giving them the one-fingered salute. I think there was a silly smile on my face when I walked into my apartment. Foxy jumped and gave me the chihuahua greeting, including the waving front paws.

When I think about it, smell is one of the most powerful of our five senses even though we use visual more often or think we do. Smell is the first sense we develop and the last sense we lose.

Cinnamon and peppermint are the two smells that remind me of Christmas and magic. So now I am trying out a few other oils. Orange is a great pick-me-up. I really need that one in the morning. I’m also looking into a few that can help dry skin and kidney function.

Peppermint is still my go-to when I lie down and my brain starts to roll and spark. It calms me down even quicker than lavender–maybe because it sparks a feeling of safety.

Now here is an excerpt from my current WIP Diamond Butterfly:

The snow came down wet and heavy as I trudged down a dirt road, marked by slashes on the trees. Without those slashes I couldn’t see the road, and I still had to hike a couple of miles before I made it to the cabin at the end of the road. My baby boy’s sleeping breath warmed my neck as I carried him on my back, wrapped in a blanket. With his weight on my back, I tested each footstep. If we fell in the snow, hypothermia could be a problem. I couldn’t fall.

I had been driving down that road like a demon with the snow hitting the windshield. I should have gotten new blades, hell, new tires when I realized that I was heading for the storm. The heater kept a small portion of my windshield clear. I might not have jerked and slid off the road, barely hitting a tree if I had seen the black creature earlier. Now I was walking in the storm and trying to keep my baby warm.

The snow dampened the sound around me. I could only hear the crunch of my own boots. Even the birds and smaller animals were hidden in burrows, snoring. I opened my mouth to taste the air. I couldn’t smell or taste anything around me, just wet and more wet.

I reached back and touched my boy’s small foot. It was soft and warm. I felt a quick relief. If I could just make it to the cabin soon without getting lost, we would be fine. I took a deep breath and followed the slashes, the loaded revolver heavy in my pocket.
How did I, Nova Tewa, obedient granddaughter, get into this predicament?


Don’t forget– Dragon Boy is my new release:

If you’re down on your luck, come to Hilda’s Inn for a game of dice and cheap ale. The hundred-year-stew has been stewing for a hundred years and the fire never burns out.

Except Hilda’s Inn is under new management, and Hilda is on the run with Davi, a dragonling. There will be dwarfs, ogres, dragons, and magical trinkets between Delhaven and Koenigstadt, the king’s city.

Don’t forget that the woods are not a safe place–the Draugr is lurking and
hungry. And, he has a taste for magic

Something about Quantum Mechanics


CC0 Public Domain. DasWortgewand

Lately I have been reading about weird government programs such as “remote viewing,” a program that is immortalized in “Men Who Stare At Goats.” The movie has George Clooney as the main character. I saw the movie when it first aired on Netflix a few years ago. Then I dismissed it as fiction.

What got me interested in this subject was a you-tube video in the Dark Matter channel, where Art Bell interviews one of the remote viewers. My first reaction is “this can’t be right.” Why would they use military personnel for basically a psychic untested theory? So I went further and researched the heck out of it.

After reading four accounts of folks who worked in the program and a little online search, and found to my shock that it was true. There are only a few reasons that government agencies would use this type of program. One, the Russians were using psychic spying. Yes, they were. Two, the program had a high success rate. Considering the program ran approximately twenty years, it had a good success rate until it lost funding and was turned over to the CIA. Of course, the CIA gave it the coup de grace in 1995.

So where does this put me??? A naysayer? A person who truly believed that psychic phenomenon couldn’t be measured? If you read the accounts, the remote viewers describe it as a virtual video game instead of a psychic experience because they use the entire body. Some call it a “martial art of the mind.”

It’s been a wild journey through my brain as I read these accounts. We are more connected and less isolated than we believe. We live in a Quantum world instead of the Newtonian world, we had always known.

Some of this I could see as a fiction story– and might have been written in the 1950s by one of the classic sci-fi authors. It blows my mind that this program is in the past and not the future.

Some of these remote viewers started teaching their techniques to ordinary people and to natural psychics. Some of these remote viewers help find kidnapped children.

Let’s explore interconnectedness. It means that the good wishes and prayers have an effect on all of us.  A few decades ago, I was blown away when we found that the brain had weak electrical fields. Now researchers have an “Electromagnetic Brain Theory.” Go and read that one and you’ll think you were living in the future.

I don’t know why this is so fascinating to me. I know that after all this reading, some of it will find its way into my stories.

Foxy is hungry and complaining

IMG_0055Living with a chihuahua is a lesson in schedules:

  • At 7 a.m. she insists she is hungry for breakfast.
  • At 10 a.m. she is sure that I need a walk.
  • At 12 noon she wants a treat
  • At 3 p.m. its time to walk the dog
  • At 4:30 p.m. don’t you think it is time to feed the dog again?

So last night I sat down and wrote a schedule for the dog, then I put in my writing time, and my nap time, pill time, and other things that are important in my life and health.

Who could say no to that face?

So right now I am doing a quick, quick post and then lunch. At the same time the dog is getting a treat.

As for the writing: I am back to Dragon Boy. I am holding onto Dark Moon Rising for another month and then I will finish it.

In the meantime, here is Hilda’s Inn for Retired Heroes. It is Sword & Sorcery.

Out of the Fog and into the Light

double rainbowSo finally today, I woke up without that lingering brain fog I get when I am sick and taking meds to make the symptoms better. You know what I mean– the brain just doesn’t work well. You stare off in space or the TV and don’t know what you watched or even if you liked it.

I have experienced brain fog many times since I was diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis. When I was first ill with the disease, I was put on IV Cytoxan and very high dosage of prednisone. Both of these meds can cause brain fog so in combination the brain, in self-defense, completely quits working. I was basically a vegetable for almost six months. My late-hubby would ask me if I had taken my pills, if I were hungry, or if I needed to go to the bathroom.

I lost connection to both my short term and long term memory. It was the most frightening experience of my life. At my worst I was too fogged up to be frightened. As I was weaned off the prednisone and changed to a different chemo-therapy, my brain came back and I went through shock, grief, and worry. I still worry that I will once again lose that part of me that makes me intelligent and creative.

So staring into the void, unable to think is frightening. No wonder those folks who have severe chronic illnesses are also on anti-anxiety meds.

I can look at this bout with the flu and say, “It was hard for about three days, but not like when I was first diagnosed. I can live through it.”

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to write stories. I have two novels sitting there and waiting for me to come back to them. I just can’t work through brain fog. But it is lifting. Plus my brain isn’t stuttering as much.

I made a conscious decision when I put up the holly and tinsel tree this year that I need to do things that make me happy. So now that I am feeling much much better (only coughing once or twice a day now and usually in the evening), I am dancing with the doggy. I made her a red sweater for the season.

She is now sleeping at my feet as I once again start the habit of writing again.

May your Christmas, Hanukkah,  and Yule season be full of family and happiness.

Finished Hilda’s Inn

Hildaebookcover2015finishedSo today I finished the edits on Hilda’s Inn. I may have to go back and look at the last chapter. I think it is a little weak.

This means that I will have this book ready for publishing near the end of October. I want to get this book to a beta reader in the next week or so.

Anyway, it has taken me too long to get this written.

I am planning on a couple of short stories and to work on the second novel in the EJ Hunter’s world.

So good intentions and all that–

Fog brain and it has nothing to do with my disease

So last night, I was reading in my bed to relax a little for sleep. My chihuahua, Foxy, was fast asleep and having no problems with the sleep gremlins. I put down my book (well, kindle exactly) and closed my eyes.

My eyes popped open, all by themselves, and I reached for the kindle again and read until the last word. I am not telling you the title… just go to Simon R Green and read a bit.

The point is there are books that the characters are so real that they catch our imagination and drag us back into that world.  Now for a mini-rant. I tried to watch a bit of TV this last week. My sweet pup hurt her paw and needed cuddles to feel better so I watched what was on the tube. I am not too impressed. One of my favorite shows has taken the main character and twisted her into this person who doesn’t take orders, who doesn’t listen to advice, and screws up all her personal relationships. It doesn’t matter to me that she was raised as an adopted daughter in a loving home. Some of us have had worse beginnings. *rant over.

So I am finding that I really dislike most of the comedy TV shows and now some of the crime shows that used to be my staple when I was watching TV. So what has happened?

I like story. I like to get involved in a story that grips me and won’t let go. The Brits have some really good shows that have gripped me to the point that I took three days out of my life to just watch them. (Berkley Circle).

So what is the difference? When I am in the middle of the story, I don’t want to be bothered with overt messages. Let me mention one: Gamergate. So what, I enjoy the occasional game. I have been to tournaments and watched the guys (and a couple of girls) play. I have never been treated as an object. So that little episode  was enough to take me away from a show that I had watched for years.

I also notice that military men are the target of shows now. That hits a real hot button  for me because both my late-husband and I served in the Navy. My late-hubby was a Vietnam combat vet. May he rest in peace. Isn’t it enough that so many of these men and women are coming home broken? Do we need to turn them into the bad guys as well?

So messages– should be kept in the background and should be in service to the story… never the story.

Gray slush… I don’t like stories that have no plot. No clear hero. Yes, a hero will have some weaknesses… but to make them an anti-hero over and over? The only group I know that has made successful anti-heroes lately is Marvel– Constantine, Daredevil, etc.

This also includes angst. When there is too much, I refuse to finish the movie or show. Plus no plot or story… There is no point in watching.

I find books are the same. Give me story, give me plot, and give me a hero that will overcome and make the world better in some way even if it is his own family, lawn, or corner of the coffee shop.

(I used his as a universal pronoun as it has been used since language– no genderless pronouns here as well.)

If you write a transgender who is more interested in being a good guy and girl, in a good story, heck yes, I would read that. If it is another woe is me story… it get’s thrown through the TV.

So get writing boys and girls. I’ll be doing my best to write a good story as well.