Living in the high desert

Willow Creek Cyn 1975

Shot by Stan Anderson in 1975. I’m on the mustang and I was 14 that year.

This weekend my nephew and my brother were cooking buffalo meat and I was invited for Sunday dinner. My nephew is half-Ute so he has connections with the Ute Tribe in northeastern Utah. It was a surprise when he told me that the area I lived in in the mid 70s was where they had seeded a herd of mountain buffalo.

Even more interesting, that dirt road you see in the picture is now paved. When I lived there we were sixty miles from the nearest town. We grew all of our vegetables and fought the raccoons and coyotes from our plants and animals.

We brought our drinking water in because the wells in the area bubbled up sulfur and smelled like rotten eggs. The place had been hunted so much that the only predators were black bears. We even had hunters come in several times a year to clear the place from bears too. There hadn’t been a wolf seen in decades by that time.

Now they have buffalo, mountain goats, and wolves. They even have wild turkeys. We brought in the turkeys when we moved there. When we left, we left them there.

The reason we were there is that my father had gotten a job as a foreman to run the ranch for the Ute Tribe. We left when they decided to hire one of their own. So yes, I have lived on the reservation even though I am a white woman.

At the time I was there, we washed our clothes in ditches. We boiled our water to take bathes in tubs. We didn’t have electricity although we did haul in propane for our stoves. When the summer days got to hot we would go into the basement to cool off. We slept down there. We didn’t have AC or a lot of the modern conveniences of our neighbors.

I do remember those days with some fondness. Still I won’t do that again. It was too much work and too hard. I had a lot of responsibility for the care and tending of my brothers and sisters. I wanted to be free and run wild.

Still I am quite amused that someone decided to turn that place into a buffalo refuge. Then they paved the road. I can’t get my mind around how someplace so isolated has a paved road. Every spring the road still washes out even with the pavement. I remember times in the spring where I could collect 4-6 inches of mud on my boots when I went out to do the chores.

So I know the reason why farm families have so many kids. I also know why many farm kids want to escape this life. It is tough–tougher than you can imagine.

When I write about the “high desert” I am writing of what I know. The people who come from that environment are hardy and able because they can’t depend on anyone else to save them. It is an unforgiving environment. It is a deadly beauty.

Excerpt of Dark Moon Rising

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From Pixabay

This morning I woke up with a sinus headache. I haven’t had one for a few months so it took me a minute to realize that lying down wasn’t going to make me feel any better.

The best I can do for that type of headache is to sit up and drink something caffeinated. So I am sitting here, sipping coffee, and editing Dark Moon Rising.

Here is little taste of the next story in EJ Hunter’s world.

Dark Moon Rising

Chapter Seventeen

Shelton, Washington
Albert
I woke suddenly, her smell lingering on the covers where she had slept the night before. The slight depression where she slept was still warm. I was still a dog, so I curled up in the depression. I could hear the soft sounds of Mari and Owen talking.

I let the warmth roll over me, then got out of bed. My mission was to find EJ, but I also had a secondary mission. I needed to hear what they were saying. It is hard to explain how a dog brain works. It is mostly smells and needs. But in the back of my head, my clan leader had made a spot where he could listen. I was a spy of sorts.

I slid under Owen’s hand and felt him rub my head and down my back. It felt so good that I wagged my tail back and forth.

“Adam said to come. We need to rescue EJ.” Owen rubbed my back again, more to calm his nerves than to calm mine.

I could smell the stubbornness coming off of Mari in waves. It smelled bitter with a slight touch of the ocean spray. I took another whiff at Mari’s shoes. She was going to the sea.
But Owen’s shoes smelled of desert cactus, dirt, and sage. Neither had the smell of the woman who could change into any wereanimal. I sat down and sighed. It was hard to think in this form. I waited and listened, letting my clan leader hear.

“The werecats have her. He thinks they want to experiment on her and she’ll end up in Loomis’ laboratory.”

There was a mulish tone in Mari’s voice, “Have you listened?” She hissed the question.

“To what I am saying? I had a vision. I need to go to the ocean clans and get allies… to help us.”

“What clans.” Owen snorted. “There are no sea clans. In fact there are barely any land clans except for us and the cats. You are going on a wild goose chase and even worse you are looking for a myth.”

I barked and when Owen gave me that look, I laid flat on the floor, my head hidden in my paws.

“You can go back to your Alpha,” by this time there was venom in Mari’s voice. “You can do what you always do and make fun of my abilities even though you came for ME.” She was shouting.

“Make your decision, but after breakfast I will be on my way. I’ll walk if I have too.”

Owen reached for her and then pulled his hands back to his sides. He clenched them. Mari tidied up the bed, grabbed her clothes, and slammed the bathroom door. We could hear the shower turn on.

Owen sighed. He called Adam again. “I can’t leave her here. Okay.” He listened again, “Okay.” He hung up the phone.

“Well, little buddy,” Owen sounded resigned. “Adam changed his mind. We are to follow Mari on this goose chase.” He picked up his clothes and stuffed them into a bag.
In the back of my mind, I heard my clan leader say, “Interesting.”

Research Center
Rafe Loomis
My boot heels made sharp loud noises as I marched down the hallway to my researchers. There was a method to my madness. When I reached the lab, the doctors would be shaking in their shoes. They were professionals but were prone to fear just like anyone else. I refused to be afraid. I was the one to fear.

I forced my steps to be deliberate, but inside I was dancing. The Queen of Cats had just called me. She had EJ and had demanded all the research we had done on the werecats. I hadn’t told her that the main reason the werecats couldn’t have children was because she couldn’t. As a liger, she was the scariest, most lethal, predator in her neck of the woods. She was sterile.

In my research of werecats I had learned of the queen’s use of mind control. The reason she could keep the clowder together was her ability to crush the opposition with her mind. Then she made them her advisers.

When she was unhappy with her subjects, she controlled their bodies as well. Anyone with a different viewpoint either left or became an unwilling sycophant. He admired this trait.

The werecats who were sent on missions from the clowder like Agent Foster did gain some independence. The agent was now in the tender mercies of his Queen. If he had gained immunity to his Queens influence, then would find himself at the tender mercies of me. I smiled.

So the Queen’s subjects couldn’t reproduce because she couldn’t reproduce. She put a part of herself in them and their entire species were lost. I wasn’t about to tell her.
I laughed out loud. Even the guards who were at my heels hid the shudders. The queen was at my mercy and I wasn’t merciful.

I opened the door to the lab and slammed it behind me, leaving the guards outside the lab door. The doctors jumped. Well, well, the scared doctors were trying to keep something from him. I would let this little rebellion run it’s course. It might help me in the end. Of course I had copies of all their research. I couldn’t have another Felony Flats incident.

“What have you got?” I asked. The doctors turned as one. Yes, the two of them had a secret.

One of them, I think it was Dr. Vandross, finally spoke, “We need more blood. The little bit we have doesn’t give us enough to find out why the blood looks normal.”

I laughed and felt delight when they shuddered. I would find their families soon, and then I would have more power over them.

“You’ll have as much blood as you want in a few days. Do what you can with what you have now. This new one, well, it can transform to more than one animal.”

I did a military turn and walked out the door, stomping down the hallway. I pulled out my tablet and checked the security cameras that watched my pet researchers. Yes, they were talking in the corner away from the microphone. I made a mental note to put another microphone in that corner.

Once we had EJ in a secure room near the lab, I would need better surveillance on both the werewolf and the researchers. It was better to be safe than sorry. I had learned that lesson too well.

Up for air

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I can watch the clouds float along the skyline. The clouds kiss and bump into each other. Instead of the wispy clouds I usually see that cross the skyline quickly, I am seeing the thunderclouds that build higher. So far the clouds are still a bright white. When they turn various shades of black and blue, then I will get more nervous.

The last two days I saw two doctors. Both of them are concerned about my immune system issues–pneumonia last month and a bout of shingles this week. Unfortunately if my medications are reduced, my kidneys may decide to go on vacation. They tried to do that during the pneumonia experience. So I walk a tight line between feeling good and being ill.

I’m writing again. I’m back to “Dark Moon Rising,” second book in the EJ Hunter series. I have taken the first EJ Hunter off the market because the new and improved version is so much better. You might want to look for it come November.

I’m also back on “Unlicensed Sorceress,” which is the third book in the Hilda’s Inn series. I think I’ve said this before– or maybe I said it in FB.

As a reader, I went back to Karen Chance and read her dhampir books. There are only three of them. I’m into the second book. It is a shame there are no more books with this character– I mean she is running around Manhattan with a headless vampire. Even with the fighting and violence, there is a deep sense of humor in that book. I am laughing and forgetting the nerve pain that accompanies the shingles.

So today, I am back on track. After the doctors’ visits, I was so tired that I had to nap. I know I need to write in the morning. I need to write a little bit every day.

Once again, I am so grateful for Foxy. She cuddles against me during the worst of the pain and the emotions that follow the pain. She has definitely earned a place in dog heaven.

Re-doing “She Called It, Wolf”

She called it wolf cover 2017 This year I wanted to release book two and a short novel in the EJ Hunter series. When I went back to look at “She Called It, Wolf” and I could tell it was a first novel. I wrote it in 2009 for Nanowrimo. I also was on some heavy chemo at the time so I couldn’t see the mistakes. Of course, it was a first novel. I did say that, right?

First I knew as I read the book that I had made a mistake in using third person. I completely changed it over to first person. It made the book more immediate and personal, which made me write description that fit with the characters.

I hadn’t understood when I first wrote this book how description can mirror the temperament of the character. It seems obvious now. When I wrote description before I had struggled with how to connect it with the story. I relate it to my own life. Sometimes I see rain and thunder as exhilarating and other times I see rain and thunder as depressing. Sometimes the rain will hit against the window and shake my apartment to the point that I wonder if someone is trying to get in. I know that it’s fanciful.

I had to do the same for my characters. Also I took this to a friend who had been an typist and editor in another lifetime. Even though I have an English degree and did very well–thank you very much– I still didn’t see my own mistakes. I lost “the” and “to” and misused other prepositions. Plus since I changed this from third person to first person, I was having problems changing “her” to “my.” Apparently, I read it the right way and left the wrong pronoun.

So thank you Doris Mace for looking through my manuscript and finding those little, but annoying errors.

The story has the same basic plot. What changed was that I was able to pull it together better. It is a more interesting read in my humble opinion.

Now I have to do the same for book two in this series. Editing seems to take longer than the first draft.  Plus I still have these mind glitches. Thank goodness for the help I have received with this one.

I’m hoping to have this out by October or earlier. Also crossing my fingers tightly because I want to get the other two on my list done by the end of the year.

 

I’m in the writing chair

8a5d8-chickadee-2 After a little Facebooking, I am now squarely in my writing chair. I have a cup of coffee setting in front of me. The dog is asleep in her bed next to my feet.

Thank you Doris for reminding me that I need to write. Since the surgery, I now know that I need a thyroid hormone to keep stable. I’ve learned that I am anemic. So the last week I have been eating mushrooms, liverwurst, and Vit. C. I’ve noticed an increase in my energy. It’s not as much as I would like, but I am not falling asleep as soon as I sit down.

As an early birthday and Christmas present rolled into one, I bought myself a Kindle Oasis on Prime Day. At first I wasn’t sure if this little square thing would be comfortable in my hands. It was lightweight, but sometimes lightweight means badly engineered. I am happy to say that it is more comfortable to use than any of the prior Amazon Kindles, including the fire tablets. I can read inside, outside, and upside down. I can read sitting up or lying down.

Since I got it I have been bingeing. So that is my other excuse– I needed to fill the well. With all of the sickness and the thyroid business, my creative energy has been on the low side.

I hoped that music would help. Let’s just say I jumped into another person’s monkeys and circus. It ended badly for me. I am now staying away from circuses that I don’t initiate. I have to keep learning that lesson.

One thing that I noticed is that when I go towards anything other than writing, I head for another disaster. Since music was what led me to the last one, I now know that I need to keep that side of me satisfied. I have decided to start back with the community choir at the end of August. It will keep me pretty busy and I will have that performing need itched as well. This choir does performances twice a year.

Plus I will write. I am back to business again today. Time for me to make goals again… and to structure my day. I work better when I have some structure.

I noticed this with poetry when I was working in that medium. When I worked in structure, the poems would shine. It took a lot more work to shine outside a structure. So if I structure my time, it will allows my mind the freedom to soar.

Also, I will have to cut my social some. I am really enjoying being around certain people here. But, the more I socialize, the less I write. I wish I knew how to balance better.

Anyway– since I am finished with my “true confessions,” I am going to work on “She Called It, Wolf,” and very soon I will send it off to my reader.

So it is that time of year

I just drove a wooden stake in the heart of 2016. I hope this is not a pattern. 2014 was a very bad year for me. 2016 started out great in the writing arena and then I started to have problems around July. It wasn’t until last week that I was able to get the editing done on “Dragon Boy” and send it out.

I’m hoping that 2017 (odd year) will be my year for writing, editing, and publishing. So here are my plans for the next year:

Writing goals–

  1. 5,000 words a week minimum. I found out last year that I need at least one day a week to have a no writing day.
  2. Publish 2 novels minimum, but I really want to reach 4. I found last year that if there are significant problems i.e. a car accident or illness that four novels is not realistic for me.
  3. Write two-three posts here a week to show what I am doing and to keep me on track.

Health goals–

  1. I have something on the 3rd of January that will keep me out of the loop for at least two days.
  2. Take my pills on time. I will have to change my alarm again because it is so easy to ignore it. I have to take a certain amount of pills three times a day.
  3. Don’t short-change the dog on her walks or her me-time. I need the walks as much as she does.
  4. Plus I need to take a fitness class for once a week to keep me moving.

I learned something very important this year. I need face-to-face time with people other than myself. I need friends. Funny that I would admit that– I have lived in a very isolated bubble for years. Part of it was my temperament– I really do live in my head. Part of it was my disease. When the health professionals give you guidelines about what you can do and where you can go because you get sick easily, it does curtail activities.

It is similar to when I learned that even though I am in a salt-restricted diet, I need a certain amount of sodium or my muscles will cramp and stay locked.

So I have people I see during the week and they all know that if they are sick, I cannot help them. It is too big a risk. It doesn’t mean I am an inconsiderate jerk. It means I have a chronic illness.

Something else I learned is that asking for help does not mean you are weak. It was a painful lesson that I get to learn over and over.

On the other hand, my health has been stable. Foxy is still healthy even though she is prone to pancreatitis attacks.

With all my goals, I do wish for a healthy and happy year ahead for all of us.

The dog is sleeping

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So as much as I think my words are exciting and my stories are fun, the dog has other plans. Foxy sleeps as I struggle with words, scenes, and characters. I am tempted to get off this chair and walk into the other room. She will sigh heavily as if I am interrupting her sleep time, and then she will follow me out of the room.

I am fortunate that I can have a writing room. When I am finished using the computer, I shut the door. This room is only for my projects, which include my novels. Unlike the other apartment, I don’t have a mirror staring at me. It made me very conscious as if someone was staring at me as I wrote my thousand words.

I am learning to appreciate that I can walk and talk. I have met others who are so bound in their minds and bodies that I look healthy beside them. I still have Stage 4 kidney disease. I will always have a Vasculitis disease and I will be in pain for the rest of my days. I am still able to smile and appreciate a little doggy who sits on my lap when I watch movies or who wakes me in the morning when I sleep too long.

So the main purpose of this blog is to tell you that I have finished writing and editing “Dragon Boy.” Once it is back from the Beta readers, I will do the final publishing– ebook and digital. I learned several years ago that some of you do want to have an actual book instead of just ones and zeros.

I started the third book in this series called “Unlicensed Sorceress,” which will be Hilda’s introduction to city politics and regulation. I assure you that she will not be happy.

Since I am only on Chapter two, I can’t give you more details. Let us say that the story hasn’t completely unfolded to me either.

May you have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year.

May you get all the rest you need to succeed.

May you receive success and joy throughout 2017.