DebisZoo

Fantasy worlds. Magical inhabitants. Timeless battles between Good and Evil.

An Odd Request

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Foster Kitten Update: We have a king size sleigh bed that sits so high off the floor, I need a step stool to get into bed. It’s kind of fun and romantic. Our two foster kittens, Winky and Bob, having been released from confinement in the bathroom, spent the last couple of nights out in the living room with the other kittens, wearing themselves out. Last night, though, Winky and Bob finally figured out where we go at night. After a few minutes of standing at the bottom of the bed and crying, they figured out that they too can use the stool, then scale my poor bedspread. Our bed has become the sight of the kitten grand prix, which starts on time every night at 1 am. It involves racing over feet, and attacking anything that moves. That means hubby and I quickly find the most comfortable position, then lay there like statues until the furballs get bored and go find other kittens to play with. Speaking of furballs…

Our two little fosters are now past two pounds, which means they can now be fixed. (Of course, we’re going to adopt both of them.)  Anyway, I called the shelter to set up the appointment and the tech was looking through their record and mentioned they were already at the correct weight, had setting up their altering appointment been discussed yet? I said no, and she made some pondering sounds, then said, “Oh, I see that on their last visit, one of the male’s testicle wasn’t descended. Then, the odd request. Would I mind checking to see if they were both there now? My daughter and I exchanged one of those glances which clearly said if there was going to be any checking going on, she wasn’t going to do it! She captured poor Bob and presented him to me with his little legs spread to me. I proceeded to gingerly feel around while Bob gave me scandalized looks. The tech comes on the phone and informs me I would be looking for TicTacs. Okaaaay… I think I found them! Bob is released and quickly starts to clean himself of my probing-fingers scent. OK, appointment is set up. I think this is probably the strangest thing I’ve ever done while fostering. So far.

STOP THE PRESSES! UPDATE!

Six kittens have now been fixed. In that time, either a miracle happened, or someone at our shelter needs a cheat sheet for sexing kittens. I should have known there’d be a problem when I was the one who had to give poor Bob his checkup. Yes–tragic as it is… When girl kittens come home, their tummies are shaved and they have a couple of stiches to keep an eye on. Boys have swollen–well, let’s just say, they sit down very carefully for a couple of days. So we brought our daughter’s four kittens back yesterday, three boys and one girl, everything was OK. We took our two in this morning and picked them up this afternoon. Winky enjoyed a meal, then jumped on me and ran by, and what do I see? Gasp! Swelling where there isn’t supposed to be swelling! Grab her up–no shaved tummy, so stitches! Winky is a boy! Her His paperwork says he’s a she. Daughter keeps laughing, while hubby says he doesn’t want a boy named Winky. Oh well, I’ll probably still call him a her. And he’s definitely staying Winky. But seriously, I’m the one who had to give Bob a physical to make sure he was ready to be snipped. You’d think they would have done the same for Winky!

This isn’t a Home… It’s a Madhouse!

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As many who know me are aware, I live with five cats. Two are elderly (18 & 14), the other three quite a bit younger (3, 3, & 5). So, all are adults. Recently, we began fostering two kittens, about five weeks old. At the same time, our daughter decided to foster a litter of four kittens, about six weeks old. This becomes important later!

As we expected, our homeowner cats (HOC) weren’t happy. There was a lot of growling and hissing from the HOC, and scared babies. We kept the kittens in our bathroom at night, and within sight during the day. Things were gradually settling down.

Two and a half weeks passed, and our daughter moved back in with us. I’m happy she’s here; I love having her at home. It reminds me of when she was younger and we’d talk together about everything under the sun. But remember her foster kittens? Plus the two adults she already had, who already weren’t happy about the additions. It’s a package deal!

So, now our house is filled with nocturnal creatures, five of which were already mad about being invaded by babies, and don’t like sharing their space with newcomers, plus two that don’t want to be here. Add to that, five kittens that just want to play, eat, and sleep and don’t understand what the big deal is. A home is a home, right? When one goes bouncing up to an adult to play, they quickly have their little world turned around. It’s cute, but sad to see them blinking in surprise, then hide, terrified. We quickly move them away and cuddle them.

Needless to say, the night comes to life around here. We still keep our two fosters in our bathroom at night, only now they’ve figured out they don’t want to be in there–all the action is happening on the other side of that door. I still struggle to keep them in when I get up in the middle of the night and stumble in to use the facilities, but my hubby has given up and goes to the powder room. Kiddo’s babies are sleeping in her room, as well. That leaves seven adult cats roaming at night, and suddenly a 2400sf house doesn’t have nearly as much room as it needs.

Around midnight last night, a terrifying scream disrupted our nice, sound sleep. One of the cats wasn’t happy about something. Anyone who lives with cats knows they can sound as though they’re possessed by demons. Hubby jumped up and went into the office, while kiddo, at the other end of the house was calling out, “What was that?” Of course, there wasn’t a cat was in sight. As he stumbled back to bed, he relented and used our bathroom, and accidentally released Winky, the female baby. As soon as I laid back down she started crying–baby cats are very loud. She changed her little mind–now she wanted back into the bathroom. I guess she figured there were too many huge, violent cats roaming the bedroom. So I got up and put her back with her brother. She was happy then. And the rest of the night was relatively calm.

I’m afraid it’s the calm before the storm. The growling and hissing are nonstop this morning. I think our HOC is trying to tell us to send the interlopers home, while our daughter’s cats are searching for home. With cats hissing at babies, babies scurrying under the furniture, HOC growling and hissing at interlopers and trying to stand their ground, as the title says, this place is crazy! I catch Fred, our cross-eyed cat looking at me as if to say, Mom, what gives? What did we do? Who knows how many cats he’s seeing now.

There’s plenty of food and water, and kiddo is keeping the boxes clean. Toys are everywhere, as our feet can tell you. If the cats would just figure out how to can get along, they’d have fun playing with the kittens, and with each other. Cats. You just can’t tell them a thing.

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Bob and Winky

Quora Question

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I love Quora and the peculiar, funny questions I find there. Recently, I was asked–If your cat could read, what kind of novels (crime, romance, fantasy, etc.) would he/she be into?

I actually gave it some thought and this was my reply:

Chiisei – anything having to do with bondage. She’s a 25lb Ragdoll who sits on the others so she can bathe them.

Fred – Dr. Seuss. He’s the youngest and not the sharpest, but he’s a sweet baby. He’s cross-eyed, so I’d have to read to him.

Elliot – He’s 19, the oldest. He’d like to read something racy to get the old heart going. He used to be quite the alpha cat, but he’s mellowed now.

Cookie – Field & Stream (she loves them little mousies)

PeiWei – He’s 16, the second oldest, and would like any children’s books that has a cat hero, to remind him of his glory days.

It was fun. I rarely answer whimsical questions. Most of my replies are about cat behavior and family issues, but since the books I write always have cats in them, and I assign human characteristics to those cats (talking, being friends and companions, and heroics), I thought I would see if I could do the same for my cats.

I’ve been asked why I write cats into my books, often with a major role. Why can’t the feline companion/friend simply be another human? Where, I replied, would be the fun in that? Think of this way–if your characters are acting as characters are wont to do, led or even driven by the personalities I assign to them, how do you, the reader, act when my protagonist’s human friend (let’s call her Chloe) propels the storyline forward by suddenly jumping on a table and grabbing another character’s hat in her teeth. Chloe yanks the hat off, thus revealing that he is, in fact, a she. Wouldn’t the element of surprise at discovering this talented and mysterious swordsman was, in fact, a woman, be lost on you because Chloe was a human, and she’d just done a spectacularly weird thing no human would do? I know things would happen differently were Chloe human, but that’s not the point. Who better than a cat to use a tense moment to reveal something so monumental?

So, the cats are staying, at least in my books! And while trying to avoid Fred, who is on my desk and stomping on my keyboard, thus forcing me to go back and make many corrections, I will end this, short as it is and get back to editing Summerbird’s Quest, which is book 2 in the series, “An Act of Entreaty.” Editing is painfully slow, not helped by Fred, who wants to play.

Fred, getting ready to jump onto my desk, ignoring me saying, no.

Warning–Major Griping Ahead

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I use a BiPap machine nightly. It’s a one-up of a CPAP, because my lovely, full-of-fairies-brain has stopped telling my lungs when to breath. So I stop a lot! The BiPAP takes care of that at night, and since I actually forget to do it during the day, I’m on oxygen 24/7. Anyway, I recently changed insurances, and the new insurance requires all new studies and scripts to continue with my breather-helpers, as I call my equipment. The company that provides this equipment sent me a letter saying I have 30 days to get all new approvals, as the insurance won’t pay. Oh, wait, they already aren’t paying. No one told me till now I need all this crap.

So, I call the equipment company, which I will henceforth refer to as EC. So clever… Anyway, I talk to this nice lady, she tells me I need to see the doctor face-to-face (?–I guess so he can see I can’t breathe), I ask if Doc and I could do a video call instead, and she says the words that make my blood run cold, “I’ll have to check on that, I’ll call you right back.” I reluctantly disconnect the call–I mean, I’d just gone through computer hell, pressing button after button to actually get to a real human. So, I go back to editing my manuscript. A few minutes later, the phone rings. I’m surprised–it’s her! Yes, a video call will work! Happily, I get off the phone, and then I think, how sad that I’m surprised she called back so quickly. But, I have another call to make–the doctor’s office to make a video appointment for everything I need.

As I begin the call, clouds roll over the house and the room darkens. In the distance, dogs howl. A cold wind dances across my back. What the hell– I complete the call, go through all the numbers to get to a person. get put on Everlasting Hold, then I get Her. I explain what’s going on, that I got a letter from EC that says new insurance requires new everything, including the fact that if I don’t do an in-house sleep study within 30 days of seeing the doctor, insurance won’t pay, blah, blah, blah. Will I be able to get an in-house study that quickly? It’s a trick question, people. Of course I can’t get it that quickly, I already know that.

Her: “You can’t make an appointment for a Sleep Study without a doctor’s order. You can’t get an Order until you see the doctor.” It’s just the way she says it, like I’m utterly stupidAnyway— Me: “I have to get in within 30 days after I see the doctor, or the insurance won’t pay. What happens if I can’t get a Study in time?” Her: “Wellll, I can’t really answer that. I mean, that’s a different part of the Sleep Center. But they have cancellations all the time.” Me: Ok. Last week, I made an appointment for Feb. 3 to see the doc face-to-face, knowing I’d need to do this. I want to change it to a video appointment.” Her: Ok, I can do that.” click-click-click “The soonest I have is Feb. 9.” Wonderful. Insurance won’t pay until then, and this equipment isn’t cheap. But, whatever. So, we go through all the back and forth, and then suddenly–

The black clouds roil. The coldness in my office engulfs me. She can’t hear me. Her: “Hello? Hello? I can’t hear you, so I’m not going to change your in-house appointment to a video one. You will need to call back to change your appointment.” Click.

My temper is rising. The dogs are laughing. Black clouds are now in my office. I stare at my phone. Is she going to call me back? She just verified my phone number twice! No, of course not. I call back to the office, go through all the numbers to get to the person, got put on Everlasting Hold. All over again. As I sit there, again staring at the phone, I have an epiphany! How could I have forgotten–I can do this through MyChart, a wonderful app that keeps me from having to deal with human beings, the main cause of my anxiety. So it takes me about two minutes to make a video appt–on Jan 26!!!–with my doc. I start to cancel the Feb. 3 appt I made, then decide not to. Who knows?

Whew–that was quite a morning and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was nearly driven to tears by the entire situation, set off by that second phone call. It would have been so simple for her to call me back so we could continue on. But she didn’t. And what’s more, I knew she wouldn’t. She wasn’t that kind of any employee–helpful. She was condescending, not quite rude, and talked to me as if I was sitting here playing with my building blocks and coloring. Ok, I like to color, but that’s not the point. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, and I daresay most of us are like that.

Sigh. Brave New World, my ass.

Keyboards — They Have More Power Than You Realize

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Recently, I’ve gone through what I like to refer to as the Keyboard Wars. Several months ago, I realized I was squinting, hunched over my laptop like some sort of gnome. Matilda wasn’t a small laptop either, a 17″ HP, quite a nice one. Yet here I was, forced to at last admit this wasn’t working for me any longer.

So… I took myself onto Amazon, my shopping partner, to look for a desktop, monitor, keyboard and mouse. I knew already I couldn’t work with the shoebox with keys that comes with just about any computer, as I’d already been experiencing that with the laptop. First I went to HP, which has been my go-to computer for–well, since forever. I couldn’t find anything I liked, so eventually, I ended up at Dell. I found one that suited my needs and purchased it. The tower is so small, it’s so cute. And powerful!

Next the monitor. Since I was going blind with the 17″ lappie, I went larger, and got what looks like a miniature movie theater screen on my desk. I then found a keyboard I fell in love with. The Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo!

This keyboard was magical! It’s curved, the keys are a little more spread out that regular keyboards, I just loved it!! Unfortunately, MS Word did not. Nor did MS Word particularly care for the mouse. I went back and forth with Logitech. I uninstalled and reinstalled the software for the keyboard/mouse three times. It was crazy! At one point, I got twenty-three “e’s” in a row. The thing would just take off, typing multiple letters, skipping rows, then freezing up. And the mouse! It just sat there, doing nothing. They worked fine on everything else, just not Word. OK, believe it or not, I uninstalled Word and reinstalled it. Writers never uninstall Word! It’s like–like–I just can’t say how drastic that is. What if it doesn’t come back? But that’s how much I wanted this stupid keyboard to work.

Alas, it was not to be. I contacted Logitech again, they reminded me I had purchased a warranty, so they sent me a new set. Yes, as you’ve already guessed, it didn’t work either. At last, I had no choice but to go back to Amazon and with a heavy heart, find another keyboard. A writer without a keyboard is like a car without tires. Ain’t goin; nowhere. I bought another Logitech mouse–my old standby, the ball. And I got another keyboard, a curved one. NOTE: I have a congenital issue with my hands, instead of pointing upward, like most hands do, my point outward at a fairly significant angle. Curved keyboards feel better.

But this new keyboard isn’t quiet, the keys don’t feel like they’re riding on air (remember, tires?), it’s sort of clunky-feeling. I’ll never forget Henry, my beloved keyboard. But I managed to type this, so things are looking up. And as always, I love my rollerball mouse. It rocks.

“Dragon Rings” is on Sale!

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With an exciting new cover and new content, “Dragon Rings” in on sale now for .99! Get it now and save $2.

Something dark and terrible is striking in the night, bringing death and devastation to peaceable Nesht, then vanishing back into the surrounding mountains. Ring-Witches Mayra and Wolfe join uneasy forces to investigate. How can something so formidable and destructive obliterate villages, kill people, yet leave behind valuable gold and jewels? What do these savage invaders want? A large, powerful presence makes itself known, but it refuses to show itself. When Mayra probes, it brings her scorching, mind-rending pain, and then inconsolably apologizes for its actions! Mayra finds a huge, bloodstained talon, and she finally knows their foe—a dragon. So long unseen they are now a myth, why have they returned to Nesht? Mayra and Wolfe quickly learn that there are some things worth more than a life. Some causes that even mighty dragons will die for.

“Dragon Rings”is also available on B&N; Kobo; B&T; Tolino, and other online marketplaces, as an ebook, or paperback.

Purchase on Amazon

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“Dragon Rings” is on Sale!

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With an exciting new cover and new content, “Dragon Rings” in on sale now for .99! Get it now and save $2.

Something dark and terrible is striking in the night, bringing death and devastation to peaceable Nesht, then vanishing back into the surrounding mountains. Ring-Witches Mayra and Wolfe join uneasy forces to investigate. How can something so formidable and destructive obliterate villages, kill people, yet leave behind valuable gold and jewels? What do these savage invaders want? A large, powerful presence makes itself known, but it refuses to show itself. When Mayra probes, it brings her scorching, mind-rending pain, and then inconsolably apologizes for its actions! Mayra finds a huge, bloodstained talon, and she finally knows their foe—a dragon. So long unseen they are now a myth, why have they returned to Nesht? Mayra and Wolfe quickly learn that there are some things worth more than a life. Some causes that even mighty dragons will die for.

“Dragon Rings”is also available on B&N; Kobo; B&T; Tolino, and other online marketplaces, as an ebook, or paperback.

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If you liked “Dragon Rings” be sure to pick up the sequel, “Dragon’s Revenge” and find out what happens when our Ring-Witches set out to help the mighty Prime dragon, Gaulte, find his missing mate and younglings. When they learn that what was stolen from the dragons could destroy the dragons and humans alike, Mayra and Wolfe have to decide if their lives and those of their fellow Witch-Warriors are worth risking, just to save one small, damaged dragonling.

“Dragon’s Revenge’ is also available on B&N; Kobo; B&T; Tolino, and other online marketplaces, as an ebook, or paperback.

Am I Reliving the French Revolution?

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If you read my blog once in a while then you know I’m a writer. An author. I try to give a well-rounded, if somewhat… not gory. No, not gruesome… What’s the word– preternatural. Ooh, that works! I have a female, she’s strong and usually a little wild and crazy, and so is the male, and you know, something evil is attracted to whatever it is they have or they’re doing. They save the good, kill the evil, and everyone is happy. Sort of. I mean, at least our heroes are always happy. So there might be a castration here, a decapitation there-

Wait! That brings me today’s subject, children.

I was browsing through Kindle recently and noticed a line of paranormal books across the bottom. It looked as though someone had taken a guillotine and chopped off the heads of all these insanely hot male bodies. Huh. I looked over some more. Yeah, all these books had covers with males on them, but only their torsos. No heads. Very weird.

When I read one of those books, it’s like I’m having an encounter with the Headless Horseman. The author can describe the male protagonist till the cows come home. I want to see a picture. Of both, if there are two, and there usually are. I want to see his handsome/OK face and her beautiful/cute face. His scars, if he has any, or hers! His gorgeous eyes and full lips. Or whatever. And I really want to see her too. That’s why I don’t understand the sudden onslaught of torsos on books online. I assume they’re on paperbacks too, although I haven’t been in a library or a bookstore in quite a while. And if you order a print version, yep–Guillotine Was Here. Why??

When I work with my cover artist, I want everyone to know what my characters look like, as closely as she and I (me is NM, her in Brazil) can work it. All the way to the eye color and earrings, if there are any, his or hers. I want the reader to be able to look at the cover whenever they want and imagine who is doing what to whom. It helps bring the tale to life in my head. I can use up my imagination or other things that don’t necessarily need to have a picture drawn!

I’ve included the cover for my current Work-in-Progress. Now that is a couple. Two bodies, two heads. Thanks so much to my artist, Adriana Musetti Davila. She’s a treasure. Please, authors, include an entire person on your cover so I won’t have to put a pumpkin there.

When Quarantine Becomes a Way of Life – Mail Order!

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Who knew it would last this long? I think I’m supposed to say if not for my family, writing, and Amazon, I’d have gone mad long ago. But for me, at least, it hasn’t been that bad. I’m a homebody anyway, being forced to stay at home is like sending your child to her room when it looks like Best Buy in there. Tell me if you don’t know what that means.

What led me to share today is the weird things that have ended up in my home through Amazon. The latest thing was a little kit to give myself acrylic nails. I haven’t tried it yet, as my own nails are short and I’m afraid there’s nothing for the acrylic to grab onto. It’s hard to believe at my age I’m a biter! But I’ll give them a shot soon and report back—success or failure.

Another thing I bought with the greatest of hope is a skin for my keyboard. I have a Logitech Wave, which is a curved keyboard. I love my keyboard, but with cats climbing on it and the everyday dust that happens in the desert mountains, I needed to protect it. I swear I searched for a solid month before I found something promising. It wasn’t through Amazon, which made me leery (I’m indoctrinated), but I gave it a shot.

What arrived looked just like my Wave so I proceeded to put it on. Picture trying to put a plastic bag of air onto your keyboard. When I pushed down one side, it poofed up on the other. Finally, I got it settled down at bit. I turned in over, peeled off the covers for the double-sided tape, smoothed them down, and turned it back over. I think I got a gerbil stuck in there the way it moved up and down. I used a butter knife to push the boofy cover down alongside the keys, but as soon as I moved to the next row, the previous one shot back up. After a while at this, I was ready to send it back. This was ridiculous. I emailed their customer service explaining the issue and got a reply the next day: use a hairdryer on low on the cover. Believe it or not, that worked quite well!

Life went on. I’d actually gotten used to typing with a keyboard condom. It was a bit strange, and squishy, with a few more typos that usual, but my keyboard was protected! Until now, a couple of weeks later. The tape has come up, and the cover is creeping up from the bottom and loosening every thing. I’m going to get some more tape, I will not give up my protection now. I’m spoiled.

However… if anyone out there knows of a Wave keyboard cover that just lies on top of the keys like my old one on my old did, please let me know before I have to drag my hairdryer into my office again.

Newsletters

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There are several authors from whom I receive newsletters and for the most part, I enjoy these little slices into their lives. Some are clever, some folksy, some risque, most wisely dependant upon the types of books they write. I mean, what reader of clean mysteries wants to read about reverse-harems with aliens. Yes, those are things.

I have tried my hand at a newsletter. One of my favorite authors sends a little one out every day. I strive to manage my works-in-progress every day. How could I possibly send out to a bunch of readers a slice of my life? It’s too boring, for one thing, plus I’m just not that reliable. The way I figure it, when I retired from my “Official Job” a few years back, I dropped deadlines like a hot potato! I try to write consistently, but if I don’t, I’m not going to hear about it during the next meeting with Washington, D.C.

Which brings me to life with the Newsletter Clique. Most of the ones I receive are monthly and update me on how their writing is going, what they’re up to, what their publishing timeline looks like. That’s good; I like that info. It’s nice and short, and in the case of some, I’m looking forward to their next book. Others are a little more personal—how they’re surviving during the pandemic, how their cats are doing… and some just go way over the top. You knew I would get to them, didn’t you? Here is a a mishmash from a few I’ve received, with a little added zing from me!

The Newsletter from Heck: We’re managing this crisis with our heads high (hopefully masked). We’re helping out by feeding our elderly neighbors, and I think that’s tax deductible! But then our kids and their dogs had to move back in with us, so we might have to stop that. Our refrigerator broke down the other day, so I tore it apart and found that little piece that was wonky, I had to make a new one, but everything is OK now! Oh, and while I had the fridge spread out, my cat ate something that was dangling from the back. Vets closed, so I mixed up and salt and warm water, he drank it and threw it up. He’s feeling much better now (of course, I need stitches on my face, arms, and hands, but I’ll take care of that too). I might have put on a pound or two, haha! That’s what happens when you can’t get to the gym and exercise (what’s wrong with a few situps and jumping jacks at home?). Since I’m having to cook so much more at home, I absolutely had to have Amazon send me a few things to help me get by! I love the new Air Fryer Oven Cooker, and the Omelet Maker and Instant Pot, but you should see the Family Size Electric Breakfast Station I got! It’s blue! Let me close by thanking my kids for coming home to mom and dad when they were frightened and in danger of getting kicked out of their apartments because they couldn’t pay the rent. We understand you need to cut loose on the weekends–you’re kids! You need not work at a fast food place while trying to find a job that uses your basket-weaving degree; we understand! That’s what families are for!

Sigh. I can’t compete with those kinds of lives. My boring newsletter would run something like this–except with bullets cause, you know, I like bullets:

  • We live in the mountains now; it’s quiet (although we live between the freeway and the fire station, so it can get lively at times). We also live beside a transformer station. A section of it got hit by lightening and blew up a few months ago. It set our backyard on fire; the village mayor lives behind us, a little further up the mountain. He came running down and started putting it out before the FD we live so close to, got here. That’s was when we noticed—hey, our yard it on fire! Nice way to meet the local politicians. BTW, a transformer explosion is astonishingly loud. My nerves are finally settling back down.
  • We enjoy our “quiet” lives with our six cats. Three are elderly, they throw up frequently, tending to do so where we’ll be sure to see it. They’re thoughtful that way. Try stepping on that at dawn; a real waker-upper. They also have discovered there are mice in the garage, and their new hobby is herding them into the house. Mice go under the furniture, waiting for my foot to go by so they can attack. My daily exercise taken care of—win win!
  • Our adult kids have typical kid troubles; we help them as much as we can. We love them, and they want to live their own lives, but things are weird right now. It’s amazing how many things can go wrong with little things around the house when you can’t get someone to fix them right away. Both are learning to be repair people out of necessity. Not exciting, but making me proud!
  • Our refrigerator is OK, but not so the freezer section. Tossing out an entire freezer full of food isn’t quite so back in the mountains, where you can toss the meat out back and enjoy the sounds of the coyotes fighting over it at night. They tend to come back for seconds, but at least not during the day. Vinnie will be here in a half-hour to fix it. He wears a mask when he comes in! And we got new pans! They’re some weird color, but they were on sale.
  • Speaking of critters—hubby went around to the side of the house recently, and he and a bullsnake about five feet long met up. After hubby introduced himself from a distance (the snake wasn’t wearing a mask), the snake then proceeded to crawl up under the siding and back into the house. How about trying to sleep after that! And what a rotten mouser he is! How do I teach my cats not to go after a snake when they’ve never seen one? They aren’t the smartest…

I’ve written before about life here–A Room with a Scream and A Room with a View, in earlier blogs. Life with screaming chickens and what looks like a view from a scifi movie is interesting. But I can’t compete with those other people. We’re typical and boring. I’m cool with that.

And Life is Back to Normal

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Steven is adjusting to his pacemaker. Fred has come home. I can concentrate on my writing again! I’m working on a book that’s more sci-fi than my typical fantasy, although there are elements of fantasy too. The protagonist’s name is Whern. She’s an Indigene, a genetically pure native who is born with mysterious Abilities. She’s an Arbiter in the Corporation, the military-based entity that runs her planet. For many years the 9th Sector has been plagued by Hostiles, attacking and robbing spaceships like common pirates, and then destroying them. For reasons kept from her, Whern has never been allowed to go offworld. With the help of her conniving Commanding Officer, she finagles the assignment to find the Hostiles. But her CO feels she can’t handle it alone and has plans to sneak aboard her ship. She doesn’t need anyone’s help and she’s a lot more devious than he ever thought she could be. Devious is just what she has to be, because the Hostiles are so much more–and lead to something shocking, that Whern’s world isn’t ready to confront.


I’m having so much fun with this! I’m constantly quizzing Steven about military stuff, as well as Jerry Loeb and Bruce Berg. I originally wrote this almost twenty years ago and it sure is taking a lot of updating!

Hope — There’s No Keeping It Down

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My cat, Fred, had been missing for a few days now. He must have gotten out through the garage when we were getting rid of packing boxes. We moved here a few months ago, but were saving the boxes–oh, that just doesn’t matter.

He is MY boy, he sits on my lap. He’s soft, a flame-point mix with white fur and crossed blue eyes. He’s very timid. And he’s gone.

I keep telling myself we’ll find him, then I sink into depression and tell myself he’s gone, he’s too naive to make it out in the wild on his own. I convince myself to stop worrying and thinking, I’ve called around, I’ve put a notice on Next Door, and even on a national pet connection site. I called our old neighbors, in case he somehow makes his way back to our old house on the other side of town. It has been known to happen (that’s called HOPE).

As I’m doing other things, I go to the door and call him. He’s such a little scaredy-cat, so timid. Being cross-eyed, everything must look scary to him. After reconciling myself to the fact that he might be gone–hit by a car or taken by the coyotes or the huge dogs around here, I still keep catching myself watching out the windows to see a flash of white, and calling for him.

I suppose that’s what hope is. I can’t make it go away. Until I either have him back, or know that he is gone, I can’t make myself stop hoping he will return. Hope must be a gift, something to keep you from falling into a cauldron of self-despair while you’re waiting for the bad thing to go away. Like a virus or an illness or a condition.

My husband just got a pacemaker and it’s making him feel so much worse. I’ve gained 18 pounds in the last two months. How does a person even do that? But there’s that hope–I will try harder to get those pounds to shrink back down, and he will visit the cardiologist today to figure how why his new hardware is wonky.

And Fred will come home.

Furry Fred

Introspection from a Quarantined Family

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Being quarantined has resulted in some strange goings-on in our household of two humans and six cats. Since we’re retired, we spend more time at home than other people we know, so the cats are fairly accustomed to our hanging around in their house more than we used to. Yes, we have cats that old. While there are some disagreements as to whose turn it is to sit in what chair, we generally send them flying off the item in dispute by throwing the treat bag across the room and leaving them to fight with it for a while trying to get to the treats.

Another, more insidious issue, is the TV. We have a large-screen TV, a “must have; I’m retired” item that has taken over our living room. Hubby used to be a news junky, but not anymore, it’s just too repetitive and depressing. I thought—wonderful! No more of that awful news! He will spend more time in his workshop, leaving me at peace in my office (right next to home-theater-sized TV), and we can have a nice lunch, watch some TV… But no, instead, he has discovered YouTube. I watch YT at times 😉; I like to read about entitled people getting their comeuppance, and cheating spouses getting their comeuppance, and spoiled kids—yes, there’s a theme here. And I love to watch cats. Don’t we all? But hubby has discovered other kinds of videos. A man who demonstrates wood turning. Another one who talks about welding equipment and dismantling a pickup truck. We get the spend our lunch watching dashcams from various parts of Europe—those people have some serious driving issues! They are trying to kill each other. On a 5-lane road with no markings! It’s a free-for-all! And even more vidoes of people from here in U.S., trying even harder to kill each other! More videos, with people “brake-checking.” Apparently, this is something where you’re driving really fast, then out of nowhere, a car whips in front of you (I suppose at some time you irritated the driver, or your car is the wrong color), anyway, he jumps in front of you and slams on his brakes! And then they get incensed when you hit them! I just stare in wonder that these people are even driving. There’s a channel that does some nifty DIY stuff, he’s only marginally interested in that…so we watch it for a while. And then—this cracks me up—magnet fishing! Hubby used to have a metal detector many years ago; it’s in the garage sonewhere. He recently exchanged the idea of a metal detector for a magnet that must be 2-feet wide that he drags around the property, picking up metal objects. That’s legit—no one one wants the mower to launch a 4-inch nail through the air. But these videos show young men, or in particular, a young man and his dad, using magnets to troll rivers in the U.K. It’s great for bonding; that’s apparent, but can you imagine the wife at home—well love, what kind of crap have you found today and dragged home? Ah, an old, rusted bike frame and a road sign? You shouldnt have! And six old spikes and a piece of a bed frame? I can use those! They did find some money once, in fact, several bags of money… wrapped up with wax and other weird little things in bags–OMG, put those back! They’re voodoo or something! They found empty safes by the boatload. Where are all these safes coming from? That’s what I want to know! So, this is often our lunch and early afternoon viewing pleasure. I want to watch the cats—I get to watch a puma named Messi, who lives with a delightful young Russian couple! He is adorable! I recommend him: I Am Puma. But avoid the river magnet people. They are sooo boring. Even finding a gun or a grenade can’t liven them up.

Another quarantine issue, which I recently shared with FB friends, is that I am experiencing really dry skin now; unlike I’ve ever had before. Like “arms and legs with dandruff ” dry. Or “living on Mars in the summer with snowflakes coming off your body” dry! I don’t think the house is overly dry; I don’t get electrocuted when I walk across a carpet. Of course, I only have one carpeted room—my office. Where I spend a lot of time. Writing and being quarantined. And scratching.

My final quarantine observation has to do with ordering food online to pick up. Since a lot more people are doing this, the time between ordering and pickup can be two or three days. So I start out with an order of around $40, just essentials. And some pretzels. They’re important! Close up the order, pay, and tell Alexa to remind hubby a half-hour before pickup, the day after tomorrow. If you read my blog, you know that Alexa runs our lives. Anyway, not ten minutes later, I remember we need mustard. So I open the site, search for mustard, add it to cart, add that to order that hasn’t been picked up yet—anything else, dear?—and close. An hour later. Hubby: did you remember to put cat-litter in the order? 😬 Me: I asked you if that was everything! 🙄 Well sorry, I forgot! So shoot me. 😠 Open site, type in cat-litter, add to cart, etc. Order is now $48. By the next day, the order is up to $101. BTW, the first order had several large things–sodas and the like, so I didn’t request a 10¢ each, plastic bag for the things to be packed into. The employee could just toss them into the back; most of it was going into the garage refrigerator anyway. Once you say no to bags, you don’t get to go back and beg for bags. I’m not going to tell hubby that tomorrow morning, $101 worth of groceries are going to be tossed into the back of the car, while he sits up front, with the windows rolled up, in his mask. 😟

We will get over this, of course we will, even if it takes a little longer than we hoped it would. Some of the things that have changed in our lives are huge. But it’s still the little things that seemed to get under your skin. And make you itch.

A Room with a Scream

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When we moved to our idyllic little house in the mountains, I was so happy (still am!). A small slab of mountain behind us, and one across the freeway. Freeway? Yes, the freeway, or at least a small section of road, is visible from our front yard. And our picture window. But when we were viewing the house, we sat inside with the doors and windows closed, and then with the windows open, and we couldn’t hear anything, so we decided that really didn’t matter. We’re still in the beautiful mountains, in our sweet, little village. NOTE: There is also a substation next door, but I’ve addressed that in an earlier post.

The day comes when we move our furniture from the city to our little cottage in the–yeah, yeah you get it. We now live in the mountains. After an exhausting day of directing the movers where to put what (they don’t follow directions very well so there was a lot more work to do after they left), it’s time to make the bed and fall into it! It’s so quiet, serene, cold… we like it cold. It’s November, in the mount–yes. We open the windows and snuggle under our quilts. The bedroom cat crawls under. She’s like, what the hell? It’s cold out there! NOTE: Anny Catt (bedroom cat) is 4 lbs of terror; she hates everything on earth but hubby, tolerates me, tries to kill our other 5 cats on sight (remember, she weighs 4 lbs) so she lives in our bedroom. One of our cats weighs 18 lbs, another 20, the others aren’t much smaller A fight is not a pretty sight.

So, we’re all fast asleep, when in the middle of the night, coyotes run by. We’re accustomed to that, we had them running through the arroyo behind our old house, howling and freaking out the cats. It’s kind of a cool sound, sometimes it makes the hair on my airs rise, but it so nature! Only these coyotes sound like they’re standing under our window! They are so loud, they wake me up, my heart pounding. They go rushing by, probably running in the dry creek bed behind our house, or alongside the mountain on the other side of the creek. But they go by fairly quickly and me, hubby, and cat soon so back to sleep.

And then it happens. A ghastly scream breaks the dawn. We both fly up. Cat runs further under the quilts, growling. Silence, then another scream, and another. Dear God, is someone killing someone in our backyard? Hubby runs to the window and slams it shut. No dear, you can’t make the killer go away by shutting a window. By the time he gets to the other window, the next scream ends with a tiny, doodle-doo… Another scream-doodle-doo. It’s a freaking rooster. It sounds like a woman being stabbed to death! I swear!

“Why aren’t the damned coyotes eating that thing?” I demand blearily. “Is that what they’re doing down here, hunting for it?” Can we call animal control? Probably not, we’re living in nature now! Hubby Googles, “how long do roosters live?”

It’s now March and that damned thing wakes us up at dawn nearly every morning, unless we sleep with the windows shut, which we rarely do. Even in the middle of winter, they’re open a crack. Apparently, that’s all the room the sound needs to filter through.

I’m at wits end. I’ve wondered if there’s such a thing as a noise-sensitive floodlight. Or, we can get a screaming goat. You’ve seen them on YouTube. They also sound like a murder victim. If the rooster awakened them, would they scream back? Maybe an airhorn? I don’t know; it’s hard to think rationally at 6 a.m.

So, that’s the view from the bedroom.

In other news regarding the view from my office (substation), we’ve contacted the electric company. The bemused gentleman who came and looked agreed–we need something to put between our house and the eyesore. He wonders why the people who lived here before didn’t do it. I don’t care. I just want to look out my office window and not see an EMP-machine living next door.

Self-Quarantined? I'd Like to Invite You to Read Books One and Two from an Epic Fantasy Series

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The first two books from my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, Dragon Rings and Dragon’s Revenge are on sale through 04/04/2020, for .99 each! And as always, both are free on KU.

Something dark and terrible is striking unseen in the night, bringing death and ruin to the peaceable lands of Nesht, and then vanishing back into the cold mists of the surrounding mountains. Two powerful Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe, join uneasy forces to investigate the ongoing—and very puzzling—destruction. How can something be formidable enough to incinerate entire villages and tracts of forests, slaughtering people and animals, yet leave behind massive amounts of valuable gold and jewels? What do these savage invaders want? As they investigate, they hear and feel a large, powerful presence—but it refuses to show itself. When they probe, it brings scorching, mind-rending pain to Mayra—and then inconsolably apologizes for its actions! When Mayra finds a huge, bloodstained talon, she finally knows what that destructive force is—a dragon. A creature so long unseen they are a myth. Once upon a time, dragons treasured witches as allies. What has changed? Why are they attacking humans? Mayra and Wolfe must learn the truth and stop a war the humans cannot possibly win. But joining the dragons would be more than just betraying their king, it could mean their deaths. For Mayra and Wolfe and their small, fierce assembly of witches learn that there are some things worth more than a life. Some causes that even mighty dragons will die for. https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Powerful Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe have fled their kingdom, accompanied by their witch-warrior friends, escaping with the dragons they rescued. But once they reach the dragon’s cold homeland, they find an empty Aerie. Where are the dragon females and the younglings? Barely do the witches have time to rest before they are winging their way to rescue the stolen dragons—but this one is challenging from the beginning. The witches quickly find themselves trapped in a vast system of caverns with Hagan, an evil, fanatical dragon. With his helpers—a greedy shapeshifter and a wrathful gnome, he has stolen something precious from the dragons and hidden it away. Mayra is running out of time. If she doesn’t wrest a powerful talisman from Hagan’s control before he can use it, he will take control of all the noble dragons that Mayra loves. Hagan threatens to kill his hostages—the female dragons and their tiny offspring, unless Mayra leaves him to collect his terrible treasure from its hiding place. Can Mayra and Wolfe rescue the dragons—large and small—and the talisman before Hagan and his irrational accomplices destroy all that the mighty dragons hold dearest to them? It won’t be as easy this time, for Hagan, a wielder of dark dragon magic, dares the humans to battle him—the most savagely horrific dragon ever hatched. https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8tore

A Room with a “View”

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We moved to our wee village in November, 2019. When we purchased our property, we knew (since we can hardly avoid seeing it) that there was a bit of an eyesore on it, that is, the village substation which takes its royal place as part of our property. We went ahead and purchased it because we were aware of laws that require the electric company (EC) to put up landscaping to make our property a bit more pleasant. We can’t imagine why the previous owners never requested the EC plant trees to hide the Decepticon from view, but getting the EC to pay for and plant landscaping is just the sort of challenge Steven (hubby) lives for.

This Blight is what I see out my office window. Steven brushed up on the pertinent laws and contacted the EC. According to them there is money in the budget, and they sent someone out to have a look. We contacted them again yesterday, after giving them two months to think about our plight. The conversation:

EC: Yes, we should get trees. However… trees must be watered. Where will this water come from?

Steven: We have city water, and a well that we use to water our property. You can use that. We just want the Blight hidden so my lovely, patient wife doesn’t look out her window and think of Transformers, versus the elves and witches she prefers to write about.

EC: Hmm… not sure if that’s doable. We’ll get back to you soon!

So, here we are. I am sitting at my desk, looking out my window at the Blight. We installed lovely burgundy mini-blinds, so I can shut those, but then my cats can’t look out at the birds (those of us with cats know what blinds that are attempting to thwart a cat look like). I will update my woeful tale if or when details become available.

The View from my Office

“Summerbird Rises”

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I have just reissued “Summerbird Rises” with a new beginning and pages of new content. If you own the book, delete it from your library and download it again.

If you haven’t gotten it, you are missing a magical tale that tells of a young woman raised in the wrong non-magical realm who is returned to her birthplace to learn the powerful elemental magic she should have been taught as a child. Summerbird has spent a lifetime hiding her inept magic; she quickly realizes that she needs more than new magic to survive the formidable and scheming inhabitants of her new home. Not to mention the evil abomination that suddenly threatens that realm. Can she find the resilience and courage to face a being that shouldn’t exist? She’s been alone almost all her life. She never expected to find friends, even a family, and now must protect them while completing a daunting task. And perhaps afterward, she’ll find time for some revenge.

https://www.amazon.com/Summerbird-Rises-Act-Entreaty-Book-ebook/dp/B01M17B0FZ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522531156&sr=8-1&keywords=summerbird+rises

It All Began with Groovy

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What, you may or may not ask, launched this tirade? Words are my art, my passion, my fun and games, and so on—I merely wish to have it know that I love words. Etymology, anagrams, puzzles, the twisting and turning of a phrase, I love anything that conveys my thoughts to your brain.

But in loving words, it is therefore logical there are words that I hate. And as the titles conveys, it all started when I was a teen and heard the word groovy. From the moment it left those long-forgotten lips, I loathed it. It was silly, grating, and meaningless. Through the years, I met other words I hated with equal fervor, for example: awesome, dude, bro (and the lesser-known brohoe), and it is what it is. What does that even mean?

I actually have a personal Word Hate List (WHL) that started long before dope was a good thing. There were a few words that made the list through the years: fuzz, dig it, the projects, and prolly, although I do sometimes use that one in emails. But only with my sibs *snrk*, I thought I’d sneak that in.

Unfortunately, in the last decade my WHL has grown tremendously. Where in the name of all that is holy did words like cray-cray, stay-cay, and vay-cay come from? Are people so lazy they can’t even finish saying a word? (Case in point—I am having a fight with autocorrect just to keep those words on my screen!) I managed to survive the YEETs and the YOLOs, and of course, the Lol, Lmao, Lmfao, Rofl, AND Roflmfao, never having actually done any of those things, well, except maybe the first two. I’ve seen wut/wat written, not as slang in dialogue such as in a novel, but as a question asking for clarification.

But at last, we reach the event that brought about this lighthearted communiqué. I truly thought I had reached the pinnacle of word hatred. Until I opened an email from a book club and I was hit in the face with V-Card. I stared at it. In the context of what I was reading, it could mean only one thing. My forehead wrinkled in distress. Nooo, I moaned. Please, let it be one horrible incident, but no, suddenly it was everywhere in the description of books, from the subplot all the way to the actual plot line. I started seeing it in other places, especially regarding Young Adult (YA) chatrooms. The phrase waves its unsavory presence ubiquitously–in comics and in amusing, upbeat novels, as well as more serious writings, all aimed primarily at a YA audience. If I need to get down from my soapbox and explain to you why I find V-Card objectionable, then you and I will never understand each other.

Before I go, in fairness, there is one fairly new word that I’ve seen lately that I enjoy, and that is “karen.” It’s not so much a word as a description. Look it up on Reddit and prepare to be entertained. I have intentionally left my loathsome words undefined. I understand there are Urban Dictionaries out there on the Internet somewhere, which you are free to locate and use. Have fun.

What are Dragon Rings?

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For those who suggested that I had not emphasized the basis of my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, that is, Enhancement Rings, I agree. It’s time we know more about the symbiotic nature of these ancient tools. Rings are earned as children, and are worn by Mayra and Wolfe, the primary Ring-Witches of this series, as well as all the witch-warriors. But those wearing the Rings actually know little about them. What are Enhancement Rings? Where did they come from? As Mayra and Wolfe find each other and battle to free the dragons, they soon realize they don’t know the dark side of their Rings; in fact, that know very little at all about their purpose.

The following bit of conversation between Mayra and her warlord/father-figure/mentor, Leisher–shortly before he utterly betrays her–explains what she knows of the Rings she wears. It is far from all there is to know.

“…the Rings are for enhancement of power. The Guild doesn’t give them where magic doesn’t exist, nor do they strengthen one. Anything you see me do, I could do without them. But the Rings do make magic possible with much less effort.” Her eyebrows drew together. “If they do add anything, it is swiftness and precision in using magic.”

And later: “Our magic is based upon being one with and using, nature and the elements. Secondary magic, which is physical, hands-on incantations, relies upon knowledge of herbs and plants, and some alchemy. Enhancement Rings are given to a child once they have been taught all that the Guild can teach them…”

She ran a finger across her Ring and shivered. The gesture was no longer entirely soothing. Wolfe had shown her another, sensual side of her Rings, one she was certain she wished to explore further. Her instructors had never told her that being touched by a male with Rings—and a certain gleam in his eyes—could make her feel as though she were on fire inside.

She glanced at Leisher. He was waiting quietly. The next part—she wasn’t sure she wanted to convey it, nor the warlord to hear it, but she took a deep breath.

“Inside are minuscule filaments, of various lengths and as fine as hair. The Guild Healer cuts our wrists open across here,”—she drew her finger across her inner wrist—“and the filaments are fused with nerves. They then grow into the nerves throughout our bodies. Supposedly, if someone should remove the Rings, the loss will kill the person. After a month or so, we have healed enough to start learning to use and control the Rings. I didn’t—”

She looked up and stopped short. Leisher—his face pale and pinched—stared at her with something akin to horror in his dark eyes. He was hardly aware that he was clenching his hands into huge fists.

“I-I never would have allowed that to happen to anyone I cared about.” His voice was strained and hoarse. “How can it be expected that you will forget—carry on life after enduring such a thing?”

“Leisher, you cannot understand,” she began gently. “From the day we are given over to the Sorcery Guild, we are told every day what will happen. After a while, it’s a part of growing up, as you know you will get taller, your feet will get bigger”—she gave him a quick grin—“it’s just something that will happen to us.”

Leisher’s large hands closed around her small ones as he stared down at their arms. Lights glimmered off his gold and leather wrist guards as he reached out a cautious finger and touched a small, flat, coin-shaped piece of metal at the top outer Ring

She poured more tea for them and continued: “Ring lore says the bands are symbiotic. That hasn’t been proven, but somehow, they can refuse the person they are supposed to bond with.” A smile lifted one corner of her lips. “The nightmare of a new Ring-Witch. So, now you know the very basics about a person who can turn a thought into action.”

But that is far from all that Mayra eventually learns about her Rings, and how they are part of dragons and their lore. You will find more about the mythos of Dragon Rings in Dragon Rings. The story of Mayra and Wolfe and the dragons continues in Dragon’s Revenge.

You can find both books here

Amazon.com: Dragon’s Revenge (The Ring-Witches of Nesht Book 2) eBook: Debi Ennis Binder: Kindle Store

Thank You!

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Thanks to all who downloaded a free ebook copy of “Summerbird Rises” this past weekend. I hope you love Summerbird and her world as much as I do. I am hard at work on TWO sequels:

#2 – “Summerbird’s Quest” is the adventure Summerbird and her friends have have been awaiting, yet some dreading, since Summerbird first arrived in Emythor and started learning her magic. The party’s goal is to locate Treaty: an all-powerful entity some of the travelers aren’t even certain still exists. As they travel, they encounter a cursed woman who becomes a monstrosity to eat; an enchanted tree who tells riddles with unsettling answers; pale-skinned lake denizens of folklore; a vile troll who dines on travelers; and a psychopathic old liege who has imprisoned a revenge-seeking dragon. Worse still, every step of the way they are tormented by an ancient and familiar evil creature that hungers to consume Emythor and its magics. I hate to use the “nothing is as it seems” to describe this book, but—even I have to say, NOTHING EVER WAS IT SEEMED!!

#3 – _”The Dark Odes of Peregrim” takes places in a different area of Emythor. You finally get to meet the Learned Recluse and get to travel through the Garden (where Treaty “lives”) often mentioned in the previous two books. But the Garden does not exist alone, for it, too, guards something. Beyond and yet magically within the Garden, lies the mystical land of Peregrim, and Mourshyn, the Riven Land. Mourshyn, a land renounced by Peregrim, is forbidden to the Garden. Despite the trade enjoyed with Peregrim, magic is not welcome in Mourshyn. It wishes only to be left alone, stagnant in time. And such a land—isolated and hostile—is a perfect target for anything seeking to bring conflict to the Fey. Beautiful, dark, verdant Peregrim is ruled by the Lord of the Peregrim, the Guardian of the Garden—Ránulf ai’Wryth. He is a quiet, steadfast warrior who is bound to the Garden, a ferocious Guardian who condemns those of Mourshyn as uncivilized brutes. Clariss de’Oriste, Mourshyn’s unexpectedly young Learned Recluse, is far from an uncivilized brute. When she takes another’s punishment, she is taken to the Peregrim to save her life. When Clariss awakens and meets Ránulf, sparks fly. These two must overcome a lifetime of mistrust if they are to even be civil to one another. But Clariss is not what she seems. No sooner do Ránulf and Clariss learn of her connections to Peregrim than they find themselves caught up in a fear-fraught entreaty from Treaty and the King and Queen of Emythor—something malevolent has found its way into Mourshyn and its evil is already spreading out over the land, threatening Peregrim and even Emythor.  

The Warrior Vegetarian

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In my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, the female protagonist, Mayra, is a vegetarian. So is one of the males in her group of witch-warrior adventurers.

In Dragon Rings, a chef serves Mayra a delicious stew—I’ll let her describe it:

Mayra sank into her bed, pleasantly full of savory stew. She had enjoyed the thick creation, made from various vegetables and grain that a resourceful cook had used to create a thin dough. He had then shaped the dough into wide noodles—Mayra had smiled at the funny word. The kitchen retainer explained how he had cut the dough into long, threadlike pieces—the noodles—boiled them with the stew, and allowed them to soak up the spicy flavors. It was delicious. She would have to track down the means to prepare such food for herself. With thickly buttered fresh bread and crisp, sweet fruit, her solitary meal had been a feast.

from “Dragon Rings

While the gang is traveling, they take her food choices in stride. She simply ensures she has something nutritional to eat while the others are chowing down on a side of some sort of ungulate. Also, they are aware that she doesn’t want to watch any preparation.

In Dragon’s Revenge, Mayra and the other vegetarian in her crew eat fish for the first time. Again, from her perspective:

Mayra leaned back against Wolfe, savoring the warmth of the fire as it grew, fed with small pieces of wood, and enjoying feeling full. The fish—well, they were fish. Unintelligent, neither magnificent nor spirited, not the typical food of one who had always been a strict herbivore—but Wolfe had at last gotten her to try the cold, scaly things, convincing her that their nutritive value was essential to her well-being. Two of the witches had cooked the repulsive things within leaves that had made them tender and sweet, and almost palatable.

from “Dragon’s Revenge”

At last, we know Mayra’s reason for not eating meat—she sees animals as intelligent, spirited beings not deserving to be eaten. She does have trouble explaining that to dragons, but these great beasts are altruistic and they try to understand. Gaulte, their leader, has bonded with Mayra, and they will not be eating in front of the humans. That might say a lot about dragon table manners–dainty they are not, and they are considerate.

It would have been simpler never to have made Mayra a vegetarian, but it was such an essential part of her personality. In a world of warriors, being unwilling to eat meat is a shortcoming that others might perceive as a weakness which must be defended. But I never have either of the two vegetarians have to defend their choice. Accepting her choice is a testament as to how the witches feel about each other, and ultimately, how the dragons feel about them, as well. Dragons know all humans are odd, and some are more peculiar than others, but they have proven themselves to be fierce warriors, and because of the Enhancement Rings they wear, they are part of the dragons.

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Dragon Rings

Purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

2.99 $

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Dragon’s Revenge

Purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QWQDCLQ?ref_=dbs_pwh_calw_1&storeType=ebooks

3.99 $

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Autumn Returns (Again), Bringing Soup and Socks

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I want to make this an annual posting, as Autumn comes every year (I hope!), so if you’ve read it before–read it again! Maybe I snuck some stuff in below and you’ll never know!

Autumn is my favorite season, and not just because it’s so beautiful, nor because that’s the season when I used to have a birthday, back when I celebrated such an occasion. Alas, I stopped having birthdays two years ago, when the aging process stopped for me. I do love all the best wishes from my friends, but mentally, they are simply, Happy Happy Day. Which could mean anything! Just don’t forget the Happy Day present. And cake.

No, autumn is putting-on-your-sock-in-the house weather. Getting out your sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. Turning on the heater in the morning. Autumn means hearty soup for dinner and leftovers for lunch. Filling the birdfeeders so the birds can stock up on their way south. Digging up the garden and raking leaves (*snrk* I don’t do that anymore, since I had an a-fib, I lug oxygen around with me. See, I told you there would be changes!). 

I decided to add that part above quite intentionally, because as the years pass, we have things happen in our lives. But Autumn, and the other seasons, still pass. This is going to briefly turn into an object lesson. Get out there, rake some leaves, then kick them all over the place. Even better, have your kids/grandlings rake them up, and then kick them…you know the rest. Enjoy each season for what it brings.

As I did previously, I’ll finish with reminding you that family is so important to keep with you; they will be the ones to help you through the changes that time brings. Autumn means Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming and those are also my favorites–the holidays that bind families and make memories. But Spring is planting flowers, going camping, planning your summer vacation, and Summer is going on that vacation (unless you live in NM like me, then it’s sweating your butt off and figuring out how quickly you can move from your air conditioned car to the air conditioned store/house/hospital). And thank goodness, it’s Winter again! Freezing off my butt now–my butt is never happy.

I’ll close this time by noting that I’m not very good at these heart-felt posts, but that’s OK. A lot of my readers (yeah, my fantasy is kind of dark) have trouble relating to them! So enjoy life. You only get one.

A Scene is a Thing of Beauty…

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What does that mean? To me, a scene or a plot point or a character is a Thing I created. I made is as surely as if I had gone to work Monday morning, clocked in–if you ever did that sort of thing–and sat down at a desk, or a machine, or in a company vehicle, and produced a Thing. Therefore…

Don’t you hate it when you’re plotting and preparing a scene and you write it and work it and twist it and BOOM! It isn’t going to work. It doesn’t have the oomph you wanted or it isn’t going to take the reader where you want them to go. You love that Thing. It spoke to you, it had meaning. It was your baby!

What do you do? Euthanize and bury it? Highlight and delete it? Shudder. That’s awful! No, there is an alternative…

I, in a manner of speaking, set up that scene/character/plot point so in the future, I can “plagiarize” myself! I cut and paste it into a file called OLD EXTRAS. Yes, you put the scene and plotting aside and visit them once in a while, just to remind you what’s there! Who knows, maybe someday, the scene, or parts of it, might be able to be tweaked and used somewhere else. Just like old fabric, reclaimed yarn, or pieces of wood or hardware, you can recycle them. Your old noodle worked hard to create that Thing and make it just right. Just like that leftover piece of prime rib…

Never waste a great idea.

“Summerbird’s Quest” Cover Reveal – It’s Coming!

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Alone… is one who will never have another, not a voice, or a touch, or even a thought to share. Alone is… one. Only, ever, one. The Færa Mourne

Summerbird’s Quest

Taken to Emythor by a magical griffin, Summerbird Asii has learned as much magic as can be stuffed into her in such a short time. And in that time, she has realized there are concerns her companions have, they are hiding things from her, and the “task” Miffin Griffin used to lure her away from her village in non-magical Isterr, is much, much more.

Summerbird sets off on her quest with an assembly of powerful beings, guided by Ùilteine, an enigmatic thief with dangerous secrets and questionable loyalties. Ùilteine appears to know his way around magic and hides that knowledge with fierce determination. Her companions aren’t happy—he is a peculiar man who shows far too much interest in Summerbird.

The party’s goal is to locate Treaty: an all-powerful entity some travelers aren’t even certain still exists. As they travel, they encounter a cursed woman who becomes a monstrosity to eat; an enchanted tree who tells riddles; pale-skinned lake denizens of folklore; a vile troll who dines on travelers; and a psychopathic old liege who has imprisoned a revenge-seeking dragon. Worse still, every step of the way they are tormented by an ancient and familiar evil creature that hungers to consume Emythor and its magics.

On a long and treacherous journey where nothing is what it seems, Summerbird learns that her destiny, utterly entwined with Ùilteine and his devastating secrets, is far more life-changing than the once-lonely seer could ever have imagined.

For she alone must find the strength and courage to defeat the evil creature that threatens both Emythor and Isterr, even when it takes on a final form that nearly renders her powerless.

The Fun of Juggling Manuscripts

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As I work on my manuscript for the upcoming Summerbird’s Quest, I’ve also started working on the third book in the An Act of Entreaty series, titled, The Dark Odes of Peregrim. Since one book melds into the next (even though Peregrim takes place approximately three years after the end of Quest), it really is easier to write them at the same time. But it can be tricky, one has to be careful not to place the wrong characters in the wrong place and time! But fun!

And so, here is the synopsis for The Dark Odes of Peregrim:

The Dark Odes of Peregrim, Book #3 of An Act of Entreaty…coming in 2020

Deep within the magical lands of Emythor sits the small castle of Darkleaf. Darkleaf guards the Garden, home of the powerful entity, Treaty. But the Garden does not exist alone, for it, too, guards something. Beyond and yet magically within the Garden, lies the mystical and dark land of Peregrim.

After creating Emythor, Treaty desired a place to live and made the Garden, Treaty fashioned a land of bold Fey warriors to guard it—Peregrim. But Treaty soon realized that all was not well with Peregrim’s people. The then Lord of the Peregrim asked Treaty to give the lands located above the Garden their autonomy; thus Mourshyn, the Riven Land, emerged.

Magic is not welcome in Mourshyn. Over the many years since, the forsaken land has grudgingly acknowledged an uneasy alliance with Peregrim, for they do not trust the Fey. They do not care that Emythor is once again peaceful and prosperous. Despite the trade lines enjoyed with Peregrim, Mourshyn wishes only to be left alone, stagnant in time. As Mourshyn—and Tarfta, the town of the Lord-Governor—are isolated and hostile, they are the perfect quarry for someone—or something—seeking to bring conflict to the Fey. For Treaty cannot forget the last words of the demon Borrea before he died:

There will be others come after me…

Beautiful, dark, verdant Peregrim is ruled by the Lord of the Peregrim, the Guardian of the Garden—Ránulf ai’Wryth. When Ránulf meets Clariss de’Oriste, Tarfta’s Learned Recluse, sparks fly, but these two must overcome a lifetime of mistrust and disinformation their lands have against each other. Clariss loves and defends the people of her village, much as Ránulf does those of Peregrim. But Tarfta’s governors are an unappreciative group of untrusting overseers. In their eyes, the Learned Recluse wields far too much influence over the people; there are sometimes rumors she might have magical abilities.

When Clariss takes the punishment meant for another, she is taken to the Peregrim to save her life. She finds herself in a land that should terrify her. Instead, though grievously wounded, her dreams take her through an exquisite garden, filled with the plants she loves, huge, heady blooms she’s never seen. Fragrance surrounds her, along with something unseen, telling her something that fills were with both longing and fear. The Peregrim are waiting, for the dark and the light, and the over and the under to come to them.

When she relays the tale to Ránulf, he is filled with disbelief. She describes things in the Garden she could not possibly have seen. And the words bring up memories from his childhood, of endless tales told by Treaty to the children of Peregrim. What do they mean?

No sooner do Ránulf and Clariss learn of her connections to Peregrim than they find themselves caught up in a fear-fraught entreaty from Treaty and the King and Queen of Emythor—

Something malevolent has found its way into Emythor through Mourshyn and its evil is already spreading out over the land. The people of the Riven Land will need the help of the Peregrim and even Emythor, itself, if they are to survive this attack. For while trust must be earned and nurtured, sometimes there isn’t time for that. Human must simply trust other humans, because they are, after all, the same.

Books by Debi Ennis Binder https://debiszoo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=383&action=edit

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