Books by Debi Ennis Binder

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

Fantastic Females!


Writing about fantastic females who own their worlds is my true passion. But I had to do a lot of reading through the years to find my voice. If you’re looking to find yourself in a powerful book-friend, or just love reading about women who don’t need a man (though one is nice to have around sometimes😏), you’ll find what you seek in this promotion! And of course, with Mayra being my own fantastic female—a young woman who combines her magic and her sword to take on the direst of evil—my two Dragon-Rings books are included.

Ring-Witch Mayra, the magical sentinel for a large clan of powerful, vicious reevers, is ready to fight when her realm is attacked. A simple plan—find the attackers and kill them—is hindered when she meets two mysterious males. A Ring-Witch whose icy blue eyes want to make her forget everything else and a dragon who needs her help more than anything ever has. Can an independent female overcome a lifetime of cynicism and do the most challenging thing imaginable—trust a male? Trust earned is trust given–whether to men or to dragons. And it’s enough for Mayra and her Ring-Witches to flee their kingdom and join the dragons they’ve saved as they seek what was taken from them and fight a thief whose evil knows no bounds.  

Click HERE for “Dragon Rings” and “Dragon’s Revenge.”
Please take some time to enjoy books from great authors and their Fantastic Females.


Dragon Rings

A realm is invaded. People are massacred in a brilliant blue fire that flows like water. Unable to defend themselves, they scream out for help. When Nesht’s powerful Ring-Witches find the intruders, what should have been a short conflict becomes a question of loyalty. And the witches hide the truth. Not only that, but they also promise to help—the invaders. What happens to cause Nesht’s protectors to change their allegiance in one fell swoop? The realm has forgotten that Ring-Witches owe their magic—their very existence—to beings lost to mythos. Dragons. Dragons have returned, and though the realm might not be ready to meet them, angry dragons won’t stay hidden for long. Theirs is a dilemma only Ring-Witches can solve, and dragons don’t ask twice.  

Dragon’s Revenge

Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe flee Nesht with the dragons they rescued. They expect to find the icy dragon Aerie empty—at least they know why. But Mayra is now connected to the dragon Prime, and she senses he holds a secret that might endanger the witches. They find the missing dragons in a vast cavern held by a savagely evil dragon, and he quickly traps the witches. Fighting for her life, Mayra learns the secret, and that something utterly innocent must die to fulfill it. Mayra relentlessly seeks the rogue dragon, knowing he craves the destruction of every dragon and witch opposing him. When Mayra learns why an evil dragon seeks a baby dragon more precious than anyone can dream of, she finally realizes the dire destiny awaiting Nesht if one dragon succeeds with his unspeakable plans.

A Book Fair– Paranormal, Sci-Fi & Fantasy!


His hand engulfs mine; the intensity of his magic disturbs me. Or is it him? Huge and menacing, he appears in dark shadows, and he touches me. Is he human? Chills dance through me. Can he be one of the evil beings I’ve been warned about since stepping into this magical realm? That first scorching touch should have warned me. Instead, I am enthralled. And then, he’s gone.

He knows my future and what I must become to fulfill my destiny, and yet he cannot stay away. He will guide me toward the evil creature I must battle someday. As magic grows within me, I learn that not all monsters are the same… How do I tell this one I love him?

I am Summerbird, and I don’t know—no one knows—what I am. A changeling? A destroyer? Am I the monster now? With perilous magic that bursts to life from within me—myriad points of light that dance lovingly around me as they teach and enable me to kill, I just might be. And he is there, warning me of the dire future awaiting me. Do I defy Fate and choose my path? What will become of me if I refuse to face my future without the fiery man forbidden to love me at my side?

Get Summerbird Rises HERE for $.99! And take a look at the other fantastic books while you’re visiting.

Summerbird Asii knows she doesn’t belong in Isterr. Magic is forbidden in the realm and just a hint of it could get her imprisoned, tortured, or executed. Or all three. Born in Emythor of magical parents, Summerbird lives every day terrified someone will notice she’s…different. When a tiny griffin from the magical realm visits her, she panics. No matter how intriguing his story of needing her help is, it doesn’t move her—but getting to leave this realm behind does. As the griffin fades away, his parting words are a luring temptation to a young woman desperate to find her lost life—Would you like to learn your magic?

Click HERE for your copy of Summerbird Rises for only $.99

With the sequel, Summerbird’s Quest, nearing publication, this is the perfect opportunity to read the first book. Join Summerbird as a fast-talking griffin lures her into returning to the realm of her birth. She agrees to help him, but only if she gets to stay in Emythor. Life for Summerbird will never be the same—nor will Emythor, once she starts learning her magic.

Badass Women of Fantasy!

Are you Ready for— Badass Women of Fantasy! Dragon Rings.

Enter the world of Ring-Witch Mayra, the magical sentinel for a large clan of powerful, vicious reevers. Mayra is ready to fight when her realm is attacked until she meets two mysterious males. A Ring-Witch whose icy blue eyes want to make her forget everything else and a dragon who needs her help more than anything ever has—Stop that! You know better than to trust males! Can an independent, badass female overcome a lifetime of cynicism and do the most challenging thing imaginable—trust?

Find out by clicking on the link below. Scroll down and find your copy of “Dragon Rings.” While you’re there, please take some time to enjoy books from great authors and their Badass Women.

Click HERE to get your copy!

I’m excited to announce I’m part of a promotion absolutely made for my writing passion—badass female characters!

I’m a strong female! I succeeded in an industry staffed primarily with males. I can do this!” Those were my words when I began a book about witches and dragons. “Okay, dragons and witches—it’s a trope. But this one will be different!

This female witch will be like me—solitary, a bit salty. She lives by strict Rules—Do not try to protect me. Do not allow me to win. Do not treat me like a woman. Violate any, and I’ll fry your hair. All your hair.

Don’t mess with this lady!

And the dragons! These won’t be fire-breathing, virgin-eating dragons—well, they once were, but that was long ago. No, these dragons are benevolent, wise, and peaceful. Mythos says they created life-altering Dragon Rings for witches, protecting them and enhancing their magic. They left Nesht long ago to raise their offspring in safety and solitude. But someone has violated their home and done terrible things. Dragons suddenly have no problem reminding humans they have teeth and claws! And they’re terribly intelligent…

A realm is invaded. People are massacred in a brilliant blue fire that flows like water. Unable to defend themselves, they scream out for help. When Nesht’s powerful Ring-Witches find the intruders, what should have been a short conflict becomes a question of loyalty. And the witches hide the truth. Not only that, they promise to help—the invaders. What happens to cause the Ring-Witches to change their allegiance in one fell swoop? Ring-Witches owe their magic—their very existence—to beings lost to mythos. Those beings have returned, And though the realm might not be ready to meet them, angry dragons won’t stay hidden for long. Theirs is a dilemma only Ring-Witches can solve, and dragons don’t ask twice.

Bingeable Fantasy Promo + My Dragons = Pages and Pages of Epic Reading!


Pick up my two bingeable books HERE. You’ll find yourself in an ocean of fantastic books! Keep scrolling until you find “Dragon Rings” and the sequel “Dragon’s Revenge.” And once you do, please, stay a while and check out all the other enjoyable books in this promo!

Delve into an epic fantasy that brings together two disparate worlds—witches and dragons, a force created long ago to protect the realm of Nesht. Nesht has forgotten their formidable guardians, but when fire and death descend from the mountains, the witches and dragons join once more. But things aren’t quite as peaceful as the people—or the king—remember.

Dragon Rings and Dragon’s Revenge are only $.99 each, until the end of the month! Over 850 pages of strong women and men who find their destiny on the backs of mighty dragons. My dragons don’t breathe fire. They’re benevolent and peaceful. They have families. There are baby dragons! But all that changes when the females and younglings are stolen. Humans will then see a side of dragons previously seen only in their nightmares!

Dragon Rings

Solitary in spirit, Ring-Witch Mayra rides beside the Warlord of a Clan of powerful reevers. Until she meets Ring-Witch Wolfe, a mysterious man who somehow touches her lonely soul. When her Clan responds to a horrific attack on the realm, an unseen but formidable presence connects with Mayra’s mind; when she pushes back, it sends her mind rending pain—then begs for forgiveness. When Mayra finds a huge talon, she finally knows her adversary. Dragons have returned to Nesht. But these aren’t the altruistic dragons of the distant past, a time when dragons cared for and protected witches. These dragons are ready to battle all humans, for there are some causes even mighty dragons will die for. And Mayra and Wolfe have little time to uncover that cause.

Click HERE for your copy of Dragon Rings

Dragon’s Revenge

Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe flee Nesht with the dragons they rescued. They know they’ll find the icy dragon Aerie empty and why. But Mayra is connected to the dragon Prime, and she senses he is keeping a secret. When they find the missing dragons in a vast cavern held by a savagely evil dragon, he traps the witches. There, Mayra learns the secret—and that something utterly innocent must die to fulfill it. Mayra relentlessly seeks the rogue dragon, knowing he craves the destruction of every dragon and witch. When Mayra learns why an evil dragon seeks a baby dragon more valuable than anyone can dream of, she realizes the dire destiny awaiting Nesht if one dragon succeeds with his plans.

Click HERE for your copy of Dragon’s Revenge

Summerbird Listened to the Griffin! Now What?


Summerbird Rises, Book 1 of An Act of Entreaty, is on sale now, for only $.99!

Despite life in mundane Isterr, Summerbird is happy in her tiny cottage, with her cat, Orkey, plying her trade as the world’s worst seer. How can she possibly tell people what she really sees? She’d end up in the witchkeep, for sure! When a tiny griffin appears in front of her, she panics. Despite her trying to get rid of him, somehow, he beguiles her into returning to the magical realm of her birth, Emythor.

There’s a lot the griffin forgot to mention. Like, her grandfather is Emythor’s most powerful sorcerer. Ever. And a monstrous evil being is hellbent on stealing the realm’s magic. The horrific beast is working with the missing Queen of Emythor, who is evil personified. Her magic is powerful, and she hates Summerbird. Oh, and Treaty, the disembodied entity that created Emythor? He wants Summerbird and her friends to find him—is he actually hiding from that evil creature? What? To top it off, there’s an evil sorcerer following Summerbird, trying to kill her friends. He really wants her. And Summerbird? How can she help Treaty and Emythor when she might have found a kindred soul, hiding in the shadows of her bedchamber?

Click HERE to get Summerbird Rises for only $.99!

While you’re there, check out all the other enjoyable books in this promotion!

A man appears in the shadows of my bedchamber.

He reaches out; his hand engulfs mine, and his power shocks through me. Did I see a glimmer of red in his eyes? Is he human? How can a man so beautiful be one of the evil beings I’ve been advised about since stepping into the magical realm? His first fiery touch should have forewarned me. Instead, I’m enthralled. He knows my future and what I must become to fulfill my destiny, yet he cannot help me. He can only guide me to the evil creature I must battle as my magic grows within me. But not all monsters are the same… How do I tell this one I love him?

I am Summerbird. I don’t know—no one knows—who or what I am. A changeling? A weapon…a destroyer? The magic that fills me must be perilous, for it bursts to life from within me. Myriad points of light dance lovingly around me, touching me, teaching me. And once they equip me to kill, they warn me of the dire future awaiting me. Do I defy Fate and choose my path? What will become of me if I refuse to face my future without the fiery man forbidden to love me at my side?

Click HERE for your copy of Summerbird Rises for only $.99

The Fantasy Sales Promotion is open through the end of November. There’s magic in every book!

You’ll find Summerbird’s first story HERE.

Dragons are Looking for You!


Gaulte gazes into the distance. The mighty black dragon seeks his mate, Hesta. His Aerie has been attacked, all the females and younglings stolen. When the Prime and other males return, puny blue humans await them, knowing they have the upper hand.

The dragons will do as they’re told. They will help the blue humans attack other humans. Gaulte doesn’t know why these attacks take place. All he can think about are his mate and his younglings. And his youngest, a tiny dragon born with magic unseen for hundreds of years. Yes, he knows why his child was taken. But how does that help him?

Not until he meets Mayra, a powerful Ring-Witch, does life return to him. He touches her, not even knowing what species she is. But her magic entwines with his and he senses the kind of untapped magic that tales are written about. When his mind touches hers, he feels something he thought was lost to him forever. Hope.

Dragon’s Revenge, book 2, The Ring-Witches of Nesht series.

Jump in and find Dragon’s Revenge, the sequel to Dragon Rings. It’s only $.99 until Nov 11. If you haven’t read the first book, grab it at the same price. They won’t be around much longer!

And while you’re there, take a few minutes and look around at all the other fantastic dragon tales!

Fall into the Worlds of Dragons & Urban Fantasy–Now through November 12


Dragon Rings and Dragon’s Revenge are still available HERE for .99 each. Snag them at this low price before they’re gone!

Solitary in spirit, Ring-Witch Mayra rides beside the Warlord of a Clan of powerful reevers. Until she meets Ring-Witch Wolfe, a mysterious man who somehow touches her lonely soul. When her Clan responds to a horrific attack on the realm, an unseen but formidable presence connects with Mayra’s mind; when she pushes back, it sends her mind-rending pain—then begs for forgiveness. When Mayra finds a huge talon, she finally knows her adversary. Dragons have returned to Nesht. But these aren’t the altruistic dragons of the distant past, a time when dragons cared for and protected witches. These dragons are ready to battle all humans, for there are some causes even mighty dragons will die for. And Mayra and Wolfe have little time to uncover that cause.

Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe flee Nesht with the dragons they rescued. They know they’ll find the icy dragon Aerie empty and why. But Mayra is connected to the dragon Prime, and she senses he is keeping a secret. When they find the missing dragons in a vast cavern held by a savagely evil dragon, he traps the witches. There, Mayra learns the secret—and that something utterly innocent must die to fulfill it. Mayra relentlessly seeks the rogue dragon, knowing he craves the destruction of every dragon and witch. When Mayra learns why an evil dragon seeks a baby dragon more valuable than anyone can dream of, she realizes the dire destiny awaiting Nesht if one dragon succeeds with his plans.

Books by Debi Ennis Binder


Time is Running Out! This is the Last Week! Free Fantasy Books With Strong Female Main Characters You have only until the end of September to click on the link below. After that— These spectacular books won’t be free… Oh, no!  

Dragon Rings
Enter the world of Ring-Witch Mayra, the magical sentinel for a large clan of powerful, vicious reevers. Mayra is ready to fight when the realm is attacked— until she meets two mysterious males. A Ring-Witch whose icy blue eyes want to make her forget everything else and a dragon who needs her help more than anything ever has— Stop that! You know better than to trust males! Whose side will Mayra take, if any?

Find out by clicking on the link below and find “Dragon Rings.” While you’re there, please take some time to enjoy the other free books—gifts from great authors and their Strong Women. You’re going to love them!

Click on the link to get your free books!


I’m excited to announce I’m part of a promotion absolutely made for my writing passion—strong female characters! “I succeeded in an industry staffed primarily with males. I’m a strong female! I can do this! Yes, there are a couple out there already, but this one will be different!” Those were my words when I began a book about witches and dragons. The female witch would be like me—solitary, a bit salty. She’d live by Rules (hers are different)— Do not try to protect me. Do not allow me to win. Do not treat me like a weak woman. Violate any, and I’ll fry your hair off. All your hair. Don’t mess with this lady!

And the dragons! These wouldn’t be fire-breathing, virgin-eating dragons—well, they once were, but that was long ago. No, these dragons are altruistic, kind, and wise. They created life-altering Dragon Rings for witches to wear, protecting them and enhancing their magic. But someone has pissed them off, and they remember they have teeth and claws!


A realm is invaded. People are massacred in a blue fire that flows like water. Unable to defend themselves, they scream out for help. When Nesht’s powerful Ring-Witches find the intruders, they hide the truth with promises to help. The invaders. How can the king deal with the mass betrayal of his most powerful warriors? How could the Witches change their allegiance in one fell swoop? Ring-Witches owe their magic—their very existence—to beings lost to mythos. Those beings have returned, and the realm won’t have to wait long to meet them. Angry dragons won’t stay hidden for long. Theirs is a dilemma only Ring-Witches can solve, and they won’t ask twice.

Click to find your free copy of Dragon Rings

It’s the Hottest Place in Town


Late afternoon is the best time to visit The Patio. The place starts to come to life. The customers have finished for the day and are looking for a place to relax and enjoy some exciting entertainment. Welcome to the Hottest Place in Town!

Bob is always one of the earliest to arrive. He saunters in through the front door, runs up the stairs to the top balcony, grabs himself a length of bench, and settles in for some relaxing lady-watching. Bob is husky, known to throw his weight around sometimes, but he doesn’t mean anything by it, just a young guy who hasn’t learned a lot of restraint. He has a gorgeous tattoo of a sword on his back; he’ll let you see if you ask nicely. We like him here.

Fred and Wally follow him in, though Wally opts to jump onto a stool near the door. Short and slender, he’s kind of jumpy and likes to keep an eye on the place. The two aren’t the greatest of friends, though they’ll indulge each other if it’s convenient for them. Fred’s long, white-blonde hair and blue eyes are show-stoppers, but he’s too shy to do anything about it.

PeeWee ambles in next. He’s an older gent, though he also wears his black hair a bit long. He’s a favorite, with one of the odd nicknames The Patio members sometimes hang on each other. He doesn’t go much for watching the dancers anymore—and if he caught one, he probably wouldn’t know what to do with it. No, Wally is the one to watch out for; he has natural talent. And he knows what to do with his catch!

Uh, oh. Some trouble might be stirring. Excuse me, I’ll be right back. Fred just noticed that Riker has planted himself by the door, and the elder gentleman is frowning and muttering under his breath. Fred needs new glasses; he’s cross-eyed, and it’s hard to see what Riker’s expression is. Is he looking for a fight or just a night out on The Patio with friends? Fred decides it doesn’t matter. He hurries out the backdoor just to avoid any confrontation. He’s a lover, not a fighter. He’ll get a snack somewhere else, maybe look up an old friend and try out some new digs tonight—I’ve heard The Garage is a swinging kind of place.

And Riker, well, he’s the silent, brawny type, always a bit standoffish. I thought he’d bring his brother, Dodger, with him. They look like twins, both given to formal wear, but there are a few years between them. Dodger, with another of those hilarious nicknames, is getting a bit older and doesn’t make it onto The Patio too often, usually only when Riker drags him out. You don’t argue with Riker; you just go. Riker hops onto the bottom balcony and makes it clear—he doesn’t want to share.

The door slams open and Cookie appears. Cookie is one jazzy lady. With luxurious black-and-gold-streaked hair, she carries a bit of extra weight, but somehow, she turns it into some luscious curves. But what a mouth on that woman! She’ll make some sweet goo-goo eyes at a man, then turn around and slap him into next week. If she’s really agitated, she might even sink her teeth into him.

With so many regulars here, the place is starting to come alive! Winky has finally arrived, and his brother Bob joins him. Winky is older by minutes but smaller than Bob. While Bob keeps his dark hair cut short, Winky wears his golden locks long. He’s definitely a flirt. They settle on the second balcony to enjoy the show. Bob stares at the dancers as though he’s choosing something for dinner. I can practically see him drooling. He looks like he plans to put a finger on one of those ladies and start singing her a sweet tune to get her attention. He knows better.

Just about everyone we expected has made it here— Wait, there’s Chiisei, decked out in a gorgeous cream and brown fur. Our lovely Asian lady is a lot taller than one would expect. A bit fleshier, too, not that you should let her know that. She’s fast with those blades she carries and doesn’t care who she maims. She’ll just flash those baby blues at you, and somehow, you know it’s all your fault you’re standing there bleeding.

I guess that’s it for now. We have a diverse group here on The Patio, but they know the rules. Take the fights outside. Hands off the Rainbow Dancers. And if you bring any weed, you have to share it.

How else will nine cats on their catio watching hummingbirds possibly get along?

Free Books—A Strong Female Lead! Still Going Strong!


Are you Ready For—

Free Fantasy Books with Strong Female Main Characters

I can’t believe how much fun this promotion is! Books with women as the strong protagonist have been skyrocketing in popularity over the last few years, and you only need to go through the free books offered in this promotion to realize why. The pure talent of these writers is off the charts! I highly recommend you follow my lead—download each free book and put them high on your TBR list. (Umm…that’s To Be Read…)

And now, I’d like to tell you a bit more about my book, Dragon Rings!

Dragon Rings is the first of two books (so far) that starts with an investigation of terrible acts of destruction but quickly turns into rekindling an ancient affinity between Ring-Witches and dragons. Neither can turn away from their connection—the enhanced magic of wrist Rings created by the dragons for only the most powerful witches, those able to control and use them.

Mayra is a daunting young Ring-Witch, raised in the harsh, nomadic world of reevers, the king’s formidable enforcers. The reevers fear her position and her power, and like most men, she doesn’t care much for them—they don’t bathe enough and eat like pigs. Wolfe is a Ring-Witch in hiding and a highly effective assassin. He has a job to do and doesn’t plan to be distracted by anything, let alone a diminutive, elfin Ring-Witch. And Gaulte, the mighty black dragon, is the Prime of his Aerie. He and his dragons are enthralled by a terrible device that fills them with shocking pain at the whim of their captors. Forced to comply by the threat to their females and nestlings, the dragons are ridden by evil humans who kill and ravage seemingly without cause.

Declaring an uneasy truce, Mayra and Wolfe 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? The two start to hear and feel a large, powerful presence in their heads as they investigate—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 and friends. What has changed? Why are they attacking humans? Mayra and Wolfe must learn the truth to 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 have learned that there are some things worth more than life. There are some causes even mighty dragons will die for.

Scroll down and find your copy of Dragon Rings. While you’re there, please take some time to enjoy the other free books—a gift from great authors and their Strong Women. You’re going to love them!

Click on the link to get your free copy!


The king has sent the Kioreu Clan of reevers to hunt down and kill what is responsible for the mysterious and deadly attacks on the kingdom. Ring-Witch Mayra meets—and is annoyingly attracted to—dark, mysterious Wolfe, despite believing he isn’t who or what he claims to be. She questions his presence so near the latest destruction site. What does he know about the unknown predators? Why does being near him make her feel so peculiar? And could he know anything about the eerie voice she has started hearing in her head? Wolfe, a Ring-Witch in hiding, has good reason to be near the last attacked site, but he isn’t going to share his mission. But as they must be, his plans are soon thrown to the wind. First, by the haunting voice, he hears in his head, and then by a diminutive, elfin Ring-Witch. Gaulte and the males of his Aerie survive on dreams of the blue humans releasing the magical reins holding them captive—for then they would die with one terrible bite! Meanwhile, the dragons sleep and reserve their energy. Until one day, Gaulte’s mind touches an astonishingly spirited creature—by the Great White Dragon. It is a female human brimming with magic. Could she have the strength to help him escape and save his Aerie? When the two witches finally come face-to-face with the dragon, three lives are set on a course that will forever alter the futures of witches and dragons.
Click here for your free copy of Dragon Rings

One little note I’d like to add—the Rings worn by Ring-Witches aren’t simple metal bands. They’re placed on the wrists of children by a medical procedure. You’ll have to read the book to learn how it’s done, but I’ve heard from a few readers that it made them squirm!

Uninsured Brain


It has to be the #1 accident in my state. I’m sitting at a stoplight, waiting to turn, when a car plows into me. It hits me so hard that my rearview mirror flies off, just missing me, and winds up in the back seat. My head and shoulders are well-cushioned by the headrest. I look over at my kiddo. “You ok?” She nods. She’s an adult now and looks more excited than scared. Kids.

I glance at the two outer mirrors. The car that had hit me is about the same size as mine; however, I have a hefty trailer hitch on the back. I don’t expect much damage, at least not for me. Two women, probably in their forties, are exiting, and they look pissed. I punch up the rear camera app and download the crash to the family account.

“This should be pretty quick,” I tell kiddo as I grab my phone, driver’s license, and the wallet with the car info, and open the door. “You stay here.” She nods again and goes back to her phone. Probably a video game I’ll never understand. No, wait. She’s a little older now. She’s probably sharing the video I just downloaded and spreading the joy to everyone she knows. “Don’t tell your dad,” I shout as I walk away.

When I get to the rear of my car, it’s just as I expected. It has a few scratches—the trailer hitch, not the vehicle. But wow—that thing did a number on their now-Pekinese-faced car. The driver glares at me, her hands fisted at her side. She’s shaking. The other driver is—I kid you not—holding her neck, then her stomach, then her neck again. She keeps glancing at me to see if I’m looking.

So, this is how the meeting goes:

“You hit me!” the driver screams as I open my mouth to point out the same thing.

I look at my car, then hers, behind me, and ask her how she figures that. By that time, kiddo has appeared next to me. She’s so danged protective.

“It’s your fault because you didn’t turn fast enough,” the driver says in that tone people reserve for their stupid children. We’ll call her Clueless; it’s better than Karen. That’s the name of a dear friend, and believe me, she’s no Karen.

Kiddo has already called the cops. Clever child.

“The cops should be here soon, meanwhile we can—” I start to suggest we exchange information.

I hear this strange, snorting sound. Now I know what it means when someone’s eyes bug out. Wow. Fascinating. Clueless is really pissed that we called the cops. After a bit more back and forth, they huddle together for a discussion, and I pick up on a few things. They live together, doesn’t matter why, but what does matter is the neck-stomach clutcher is responsible for household upkeep, and she didn’t pay the last car insurance bill. Oh, and now her head hurts, too.

“They don’t have insurance,” I say to kiddo, aside. She chuckles in that kid way that suggests she wants to roll her eyes. “I know, I know. I remember what Dad said. This is why we get Uninsured Motorist.”

Amazingly, the other conversation comes to a halt. I see Clueless’s face light up. She turns to Clutcher—“It’s ok, Tippy, they got that uninsured thingy.”

Me and kiddo exchange a look. I shrug, lean against the car, and cross my ankles. Clueless is making a call, and she looks so damned happy. She’s chatting away. I hear her tell the other person some yahoo didn’t turn quick enough, so she bumped her stupid car. Only there were a lot of f-bombs in that snippet of info. And she really called me a yahoo. Wow. Then she says triumphantly, “She’s got Uninsured, so we’re all good.”

I hear that weird, keening sound kiddo makes when she’s trying not to laugh. She’s so polite. She decides to head back to the car.

As soon as Clueless hangs up, I mosey over to her and Tippy. “You sure look happy for someone with a radiator in their front seat,” I say casually, looking her car over. 

Clueless peers at me and glances at Tippy, probably wondering if it’s safe to talk to me. Her exuberance wins. “Well yeah! You didn’t turn. You made me hit you! But I heard you say you got the Uninsured Motorist, so we’re ok.” Big smile.

Hmm. How to address this… “Umm…do you know what Uninsured Motorist is for?”

“Well, sure! Your insurance pays to fix the uninsured motorist’s car. Like me.”

As I mosey back to my car, I see the cop car approaching. I lean in the window to ask kiddo if she heard that—never mind. She’s howling with laughter.

“Go ahead and call your dad,” I tell her. “We might be here a while.”

🎼Music Doesn’t Always Make the World Go Around🎶


I love music of just about every type. I was raised on a steady diet of country music, which I no longer listen to. But as soon as I discovered Steppenwolf and the Doors (yes, I date myself, but I was far younger than most when I went to the Dark Side). While my young friends were listening to the nefarious bubblegum music, I would present my Mom with a new 45 from the Amboy Dukes (Ted Nugent), Deep Purple, or Iron Butterfly. When we were 6 and 12, my sister and I were sent to live with my uncle in LA. After the summer, he sent us to our grandmother in Savannah. I later learned he told her he couldn’t take that awful music any longer. Yes! At the proud age of 12, I was already making people crazy! I planted myself in the music of the 70s and 80s, and there I sit to this day–although some of the 90s and 00s do occasionally creep in. I listen to music when I write unless Word is reading my book back to me and always have it on in the car.

This brings me to another kind of music I seem to enjoy less and less as I get older—the ubiquitous “background” music out in the world at large, melodies I can’t seem to get away from. This blog began with a conversation hubby and I had recently. We went to a popular drugstore chain, so I could get my second Covid booster (yes, my arm is sore, but I feel fine). As soon as we stepped from the car, we were assailed by the intense, blaring notes of a funeral dirge. WTH? I kid you not! It poured from hidden speakers like some weird version of Phantom of the Opera (which it wasn’t). Was the pharmacy doing a haunted house in July? Actually, I admit, I liked it—we both did. I felt like I was watching Dark Shadows or something. We went inside. As we waited at the pharmacy for my shot, a weird mix of artists making up the store music screamed at us— Billy Joel, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Adele, plus some hip-hop I admit I don’t recognize. It was a bit loud, but I liked most of it. I understand where they’re going with the mix. Music is so personal that it’s impossible to please everyone. As we sat, I thought about all the music the public is subjected to, so I pulled out my phone and started cataloging the music I encounter on a day-to-day basis.

  • Book store music is creepy and makes me look over my shoulder to see if anyone is following me. It’s supposed to be quiet, so all those people reading the book or magazine they don’t want to buy can concentrate.
  • Music in the grocery store makes you boogie up and down aisles. If the customer gets lost in the music, they buy a lot of things and then wonder where they came from when they get home.
  • Another note about drugstore music—it’s so loud I don’t feel bad about calling out for hubby two aisles over, so he knows where I am.
  • Music in the bathroom at my doctor’s office is also loud, so you don’t have to hear someone else do their bits of business.
  • Restaurant music is set at just the right volume, so it isn’t overpowering. However, you can still talk about people at other tables. You do have to shout a bit at your server. Maybe they’re slowly losing their hearing!
  • Hardware store music is usually country music. It’s designed to either make you stay and browse and buy more than you need or get you out of there fast, so you don’t take up good ole boy space.
  • Big Box store music is like that drugstore— Mixed up for the customers; it keeps you moving happily through the store and again, buying lots of stuff. You usually fail to notice the lack of employees around to help you.
  • Malls are strange. They play a lot of seasonal music. Whatever the time of year, what’s in the background is usually soft and nonintrusive. I often wonder what those of other faiths think of the Christmas music playing. Maybe they don’t know the words, so they just enjoy the notes. I also wonder where they get some of those truly awful versions of carols.
  • Department stores (anchor stores) often have the same music playing as the mall. Because the store is enclosed, the music is usually louder. I can deal with this, but not the occasional customer I run into who insists on singing aloud. Why are they always off-key and one note behind the melody? I used to glare at them when I was younger; now, I just scurry off in another direction. Let them sing. I don’t know what’s happening in their world…but I don’t have to listen to them!

My take on my list? Wear earplugs when you shop!

Music is very emotional to me. It can make me cry, raise me up, inspire me, and soothe me. Once, long ago, I was asked, as part of some idiotic exercise at work, would I rather lose my hearing or my sight? I don’t know what they thought they’d get from that reply. I still can’t answer the question. For me, it’s impossible to give up either. So, no more loud music, eye examinations every year, and I hope both last a long time!       

How Do I Tell Thee?


Recently, I purchased a book I’d been looking at for a while by an author who’s new to me. It starts out great, full of great world-building, characters, and action, then four pages in—bam. I’m jarred out of a promising new fantasy world by a significant grammatical error. A slap-you-right-out-of-the-book error. I start to get that awful feeling… Has he let me down (yes, I take it personally), or is this just a fluke? Should I go on? Look at how many books he has out. This has to be a one-off. I decide to give him another chance, settle back, and read on. Soon, I begin to notice a few more errors, here and there–a missing comma, oh, there it is. It doesn’t belong there. Then–another biggie! My bubble bursts! I know I’m not going to enjoy this book because I’m genuinely vexed. So, I start doing that terrible thing we obsessed readers can’t help but do—I look for mistakes, rather than enjoy the story. NOTE: Also, it’s because I’m an old-fashioned fusspot. I’m sorry, but I just can’t help it!

After a while (and a couple more small mistakes), I find a lulu—one phrase within a long sentence is repeated at the end. I figuratively toss the book to one side and go to the reviews. All concentrate on the story, quite a few 5 stars, with good supporting comments, leading me to believe they read the book. That surprises me a little bit—no one mentions the errors. Maybe that’s how we do things now… NO! I can’t— I refuse to believe that! However, this piques my curiosity. I ask about it in a few book-related chatrooms. I learn that people seldom chastise writers for errors in reviews, but one reason is mentioned that surprises me—they figure errors shouldn’t be there in the first place, so the writer doesn’t care. That’s harsh!

I’ve chatted with this guy a few times, and he’s a nice, upbeat person. I wonder–Does he have any idea about the errors? Or do people really care more about the story than a few errors here and there in today’s world? This wouldn’t be the first time I pondered over that incredulous possibility. A few years ago, I alpha read a book for someone I scarcely knew and found quite a few mistakes. When I told the writer she needed a better editor (and copy/pasted a few examples), I received that famous quote in reply— “Those don’t really matter,” she scoffed. “People care more about the story.” When stupid me offered to correct her errors for free, she declined, saying, “Most people just skim over them.” Well, I’m no skimmer, and that was the end of that!

I’m not an English major, but I really try hard to make sure I catch the biggies. I’d hate to have this happen to any of my readers! I’ve even started placing a page at the end of my books called, FOUND A TYPO? NOOOO…. It tells you what to do if you find one. I’ve never gotten anything… Gasp! Maybe only skimmers are reading my work. I’m disappointed!

I have a love affair with words. I love writing. I used to write plans and procedures for the government and loved it! Yes, people thought I was crazy. But if you’re going to be a writer, do your best. In fact, whatever your career choice, learn your job and always do it the best you can. If you don’t, then you don’t respect your craft!

Just to show you that I’m not above all this: I recently downloaded my third book, “Dragon’s Revenge” to look at how something looked on the Kindle page. Being idle, I began reading it. A few chapters later—Noooo! I found an error (surely you saw that coming)! Suddenly, I was on the other side of the page. I was the writer with mistakes! But I have only great reviews with content that shows they read the book! Gasp! What a quandary! Was I skimmed, or didn’t the readers care? Wow, talk about having the rug pulled out from under one! Still, no sympathy from this indie author. I pulled the book. I can’t stand it! I’m embarrassed! So now I have to fix them. A writer’s work is never done. Grumble. Guess I should have been a bit quicker at getting the “Found a Typo” link in this book!

OK, the lecture is finished. Glad I got it off my chest. This whole experience has been a revelation for me. Perhaps readers do skim over errors nowadays. Or perhaps, in the case of a good tale, it doesn’t matter very much. I admit I’ll read on if I see a little typo here and there if I’m loving the story. As an indie writer whose budget doesn’t allow for a professional editor, I believe a few minor mistakes should be excused. But I promise you writers out there who think significant errors don’t matter, you will be noticed and there’s an incredibly good chance your book won’t be finished or reviewed. And your book sales might also start to be skimmed. NOTE: That doesn’t look as clever as it sounded in my head. Oh well, you know what I mean.

Enjoy a Free Peek at “Summerbird Rises”


The publication of Summerbird’s Quest, Book Two of An Act of Entreaty, looms on the horizon. In this epic fantasy, you’ll meet familiar characters, as well as new ones in new surroundings. Summerbird and her friends face terrifying experiences as they join Treaty in defending their world from a formidable evil being–a creature that has finally found the magic it seeks in the land and people of magical Emythor.

I promise you’ll enjoy it more if you read Book One first! Scroll down for a free preview, then purchase the book for only .99, where it will remain until Summerbird’s Quest is published when it returns to its usual price of $2.99.


“Summerbird Rises” Sale


Get “Summerbird Rises” for .99— Summerbird must transform her broken magic into the real thing if she’s to save a magical realm from devastation by a formidable creature desperately seeking magic. Her kind of magic.

What some of the reviews are saying!

A magical fantastic tale full of mystery, suspense, intrigue with a touch of Romance twinned in amongst the pages.

…a spritely adventure full of vivid characters and wonderfully imaginatively described settings. 

Coming of age and a destiny unveiled. Magical creatures, visions and foresight come to life in this epic fantasy that is well-crafted with pulling the story elements together.  

Summerbird is a terrible seer; why try to deny it? She has just enough magic to make living in Isterr–a realm where using magic is a death-inciting crime–hell. She has spent her life hiding her broken spellcraft; when a tiny griffin from magical Emythor visits her, she panics! His sad demeanor and intriguing story of needing her help fail to move her—but the mention of leaving Isterr behind for a life in Emythor captures her attention. As he leaves, the griffin’s parting words are an alluring promise to a young woman desperate to find her lost life—Would you like to learn your magic?

“Summerbird Rises” contains scenes of consensual sex and gory swords-and-magic battles. It is meant for audiences over 18.

Mouse in the House and other News


It’s mouse season again. We have several cats… well, a couple more than several, so one would think the mice could smell or sense them throughout the house, but they don’t seem to learn. Take the night before last…

Our daughter came running through the house in the wee hours of the morning and awakened me (I’m nearest the door), as she ran into our bathroom. I’m too groggy to even wonder why—she has her own bathroom, plus another in between the two. But anyway, she says, “Wally has a mouse!” So she freed the poor beast, chased off her cat, and locked the mouse in our bathroom. Thank you, dear. To make it better, she traps the creature under a bowl in our bathtub. And she goes back to bed, leaving me staring at the ceiling wondering what to do. Because Wally, being a clever young cat, knows his legally gained mouse is in that bathroom. So he starts scratching on the door. And scratching. I wish I had that much stamina.

What happens to most people awakened in the middle of the night? Yes—mother nature calls. Now, how do I get into the bathroom while fighting off the nimble SuperMouser, Wally? It would have been more than fair to shout across the house to daughter, “Come get your cat!” But at that time of the morning, I didn’t think of that. I grab my slipper to fight off Wally, who though not the youngest cat in the house, is the smallest. The little guy is also the most timid, but he worked hard for that mouse! Note: all he’ll do is play with it, we have only one mouse-eater, Cookie. But Wally seemed emboldened. He earned that mouse! He backs off when I approach the door and doesn’t try to get in. I do my business, block the door with my foot, close it, and return to bed. Mouse is still in bathtub under bowl.

The next morning, daughter reports the details of the midnight marauder, Wally, plus how she trapped the poor, terrified, cowering mouse under the bowl. We both look to hubby/father to remove said mouse. As he wanders toward the back, he asks what kind of bowl it’s in. He’s still half-asleep too. “The only bowl in the bathtub,” I call back. “The one with the mouse under it.”

With the mouse let go outside (where it scurried away), life returns to normal—but what’s normal in a house full of cats?

We have two cats who hate each other. Fred is ours; Riker belongs to our daughter. From the first day she moved in with him, these two refused to breathe the same air. There have been scuffles, hissing, growling—all leading up to yesterday, when they had a momentous, and really loud, fight that lasted from one end of the house to the other, then outside to the catio. Riker, normally the timid kitty, handed Fred his fluffy white tail on a platter. Riker came running back in with a mouthful of white fur. It was awful. There was so much white fur in the living room it looked like we’d been shearing sheep in there. We’ll probably have to take both to the vets tomorrow to get them looked over, neither is acting normal (that word again), but I hope this is what it took for them to at least respect each other’s air!

I’m working steadily on “Summerbird’s Quest.” the sequel to “Summerbird Rises.” I’m beginning to realize it might be a bit too long. But isn’t that what Epic Fantasy is all about? Our intrepid travelers (the Quest part of the title) will meet a tragically cursed woman who turns into a savage monster to eat, a plant that also wants to eat them, an evil despot who doesn’t want to eat them, but definitely wants to kill them–wait, back up, I forgot about the troll, ditto—kill and eat. Plus the wolves, the giant birds… Thank goodness for the enchanted Riddle Tree—and Hanne Holten’s magnificent riddle—whereby he tries to trick them, cagey tree. Oh, and as they reach their destination, a river tries to drown them! That’s a lot of epics to describe! And I’m having too much fun to try to cut any scenes. They’re all important! We’ll see what my alpha readers have to say.

After SQ is finished, I’m leaving fantasy for a hand at science fiction/fantasy. And then, I’m going to finally finish and edit a time-travel romance set in now/then Louisiana and do a final edit on a completed mystery romance set in 19th century Virginia. I’m looking forward to branching out. If I can struggle through all that and not give in—I have a sequel started for the “An Act of Entreaty” books (where Summerbird isn’t the main character) and one started for the “Ring-Witches of Nesht” series, with Mayra, Wolfe, their kids, and young dragons who are growing up.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

There is Method to My Madness


Someone on Quora asked me how I write a book, so I sat down and really thought about it. This is what I came up with. (They got a condensed version)

When an idea pops into my head—from a dream, something I heard or saw on TV, or heard in my (but more likely someone else’s) conversation—I write it down as quickly as possible, usually using a notepad app on my phone. Note: No matter what I’m doing, part of my brain is off in another world doing crazy things there. I just that notepad a lot!

Once I get to the computer, I open a blank Word document and write down everything I can think about regarding the new idea.

The first, most important thing is the story. Is there enough to my idea to find the basic who, what, where, why, and how that every story needs to be a “thing” that lets people envision it when they read. If I add people and a world, will the story take my characters through a specific time in their lives when something(s) happened to them, but they dealt with it, came through it, grew, became better or worse (became or already were the bad guy/good guy) and all the while, entertained people?

The next consideration is characters—not yet people with names and faces, but only what they are, and how and what they’ll contribute. What kind of magical folk, warriors, craftspeople, etc., does my story need (e.g., 1 f. seer, 1 m. griffin, 1 m. Elemental, 1 Magical Entity (no gender), several m. warrior/highborn Fey, 1 f. sprite = “Summerbird Rises”). Or is the story something different, requiring regular people? Or cats? Can I shape these characters into credible people who can take my idea and run with it? The development of characters is important to me, as they write most of my story.

Next is worldbuilding 101—basic stuff about the world and how it helps the idea and characters. Is it this world, alternate, alien, or something else? Medieval, modern, combination? What will the government be, the types of jobs, the currency, the power source, religion—but only if these things matter to the story. I don’t have a list because I’m only thinking about what impacts the concept at this stage. And all stories are different. Worldbuilding is critical to me. It’s also one of my favorite aspects of writing.

If I like my people and their world and think I’ve got something going, it’s time for a strategy meeting with myself. By the time my basic idea has transformed into a Project, I have a feel for it, knowing I can flesh out a 3D world, and populate it with various kinds of people who have an objective and a way to get to where they’re going, plus whatever little necessary subplots they deal with along with way.

Or it hasn’t— At some point, I’ve figured out things just aren’t going to gel. That actually happens; I have several ideas that fizzled in my Plots File. Some are chapters long, but they just didn’t go anywhere for me. Maybe another day. But we’re going on the assumption that this is a workable, decent idea. It deserves a basic plot to be developed, even if I’m a pantster. STOP! What the hell?

A moment to explain: Pantster—A person who writes by ‘the seat of her pants’ as opposed to a plotter, one who plans or outlines her writing. And that’s straight from the Urban Dictionary. And even though, by definition, I should be a plotter, I’m not. I just can’t get into it.

I don’t develop a plot from start to finish and use it. To me, it’s worth taking the time I need to do as I’m describing, and get everything saved in my Plots File. I have about 20 of them now, some with a lot of fleshing out, others with less than a page. It’s a wild and crazy process for me. I’m a slow writer, and my books are long, which is probably why I’m working on only the fourth right now. But thanks to my process, I also have three more that just need good editing and a wee bit of fleshing out. So much fun!

Once the complete first draft is written, I use Word Voice to read it back to me. Hearing mistakes is better for me than trying to read them. I know the document too well; my eyes often skim over typos and other errors. This is also an excellent time to catch things that can be foreshadowed and/or discussed later. I can ask and later answer questions (meaning I set up something to happen and resolve it later), find/add mysterious things that must be explained, remove what doesn’t belong, or put it where it works better. Also cut. Cut, cut, CUT! And I know I still don’t do enough. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch said it best—“Murder your darlings.” I find that very difficult.

I have a few people who alpha read for me, that is, read the book along with me as I edit. They’re great because things they’re patient, and find can affect the story as it goes and the outcome. It’s better to get those changes made as early as possible. Note #2: I can always use more readers, especially beta ones, who read when the manuscript is complete. Hint, hint.

After my alpha readers and I reach the end, I get to start over again. I read and make notes. I mostly jot down things that come up as plot points and make sure they’re dealt with. *Actual item on my list for “Summerbird’s Quest” which I’m working on now: Why did Orkey steal ribbon [from the Mart-hoor’s tent]. What’s a Mart-hoor? Make sure the hypen is removed. Yep, misspelled hyphen. See example (excuse my sloppy handwriting).

The checkmark means I went back and resolved the issue somewhere.

I have a process for creating names. Since I write epic fantasy, it’s not logical for my characters to be named Joe and Sally or live in Boringville. But I’ve tried to make them more easily pronounced due to snide remarks from some alpha readers (not necessarily you, who thinks she means me). I have a Word table where I list every character. It includes everything pertinent to them, from names to tattoos to what they like/hate to eat. I hate having to go back and look that stuff up!

Once I decide on people/place names, I google them. Why? you ask. One of my characters in a Work-in-Progress (WIP) was named Chyme. Such a gorgeous name, looks so nice. And it means—drumroll—the semi-fluid mass of partly digested food that is expelled by a person’s stomach (Wikipedia). That’s disgusting. It’s also the worst almost-error I’ve yet to make. Others haven’t been quite so bad—someone’s name or a place, but I always change them. And I always check. How couldn’t I after…Chyme? I mean, who knew?

I know I’ve probably missed some things in describing my process because they aren’t always the same. In another WIP, I took an event from American history and used that as a major event to build around. In yet another WIP, voodoo plays a part, it’s a time-travel piece, so I had to do a lot of research—stop the press!

I forgot about research! I mean, I can’t make up everything! In the WIP I mentioned with the lovely but disgusting name, I had to do a lot of research and finagling answers from friends and relatives about the engine propulsion unit I’d thought up—is it feasible, how will it work in these different situations—I think I drove them crazy! And in my “Dragon” books, water runs all their structural mechanics, so that took more research—I mean, it is my world, and I can run it as I please, but some part of me demands that it at least sound doable.

So, let’s get back to drawing things to a close. For me, writing a book is a life-consuming event; just ask my family. I like to share the process! I can’t not write; I have too much to share running around in my head. But I never forget I’m writing something to hopefully make someone else happy and enable them to escape reality within my story and characters. And my epic fantasies are long enough to keep them there for as long as they want to be!

And to that anonymous Quora person—thanks for asking!

An Odd Request


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.


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!

The Co-worker and the Thing with the Leash


I was going to title this “A Brief Moment About Someone I Used to Work With.” But where’s the fun in that? So I decided I’d be mysterious. This is a mostly true recollection of one of the many odd moments I had while working with a U.S. Federal Agency that I don’t want to name.

My co-worker’s name was Cindy (not her real name). She was a tall, thin, elegant young woman with a huge smile. We worked together for a year or so. Sometimes she worked directly with me, then went back to working with the team. Such was the life of me, a federal employee (a fed), and her, a contractor. She worked so hard, was so serious during work, I never could convince her contractors were the lifeblood of our organization. Or at least of me!

One day, another fed came from HQ to provide the team with some assistance. You know–“we’re from the government, we’re here to help.” Ours was a highly regulated and technical world and one of my jobs was to take all those laws, shake them up, and produce local plans and procedures directing how we’d implement federal and state requirements. Fun!

The guy from HQ was Joe (again, not his real name). He was a short, dumpy man whose clothes always looked slept in. His glasses were thick, smudged, and crooked. Yet, he was unerring polite and painfully kind. He just wanted to help. There was only one thing I found hard to overlook.

When I told Cindy about him and what he’d be doing. I’d worked with him before, so I told her a bit about him–he’s shy, a little awkward to work with at first. But he knows everything about anything related to our work. He was there to give advice and assistance regarding the writing some of us were doing.

I forgot to mention it. I suppose I’d gotten used to it…

This is how it all started– The day Joe arrived, close to the end of the day, he emailed a request for several documents to me. I passed that to Cindy, then sent an email to them both indicating she’d drop them by his office the following morning and meet him at the same time.

What I’d forgotten to mention to Cindy (or warn her, as the case may be) was Joe had one of the worst hairpieces, if not the worst, in existence. It was, and I am not exaggerating for the sake of the story, shaped exactly like a fat, golden brown rabbit, laying on top of his head with its ears, feet, and tail tucked under it–I mean, there was even the suggestion of a head there! No combing down to blend hair anywhere. Just a rodent, sitting there atop his head, with a few strands of his hair trailing down from its butt. This wonderfully intelligent, sweet man, unfortunately, wore a thing that was the target for double-and-triple-takes, long, unbelieving gapes, and not-quiet-enough remarks–and not only from the immature or young.

The rug was impossible to ignore. I saw the most dignified people see it for the first time and gape, their eyes wide, and their lips twitching until they seemed to catch themselves and look away. A lot of people were reduced to doing as I did–talking to his eyebrows. It simply baffled me–how did he not know how awful… how bizarre it looked?

It was late that morning when I looked up from my computer to find Cindy standing in my doorway. No smile, eyes round, she slipped into the chair by my desk and stared at me for a long moment. Just as I was about to ask her if I could help her (as if I didn’t know what this was about)–

“Did you see that thing on his head?” she whispered.

Deadpan delivery, voice worried. I couldn’t decide if she was serious, but experience told me she had to be–she didn’t joke around about anything. I sat there and said nothing, just gave her a bit of a nervous smile. Cindy simply didn’t make jokes at work–at least not to me, one of the feds. She was there to work, take her breaks, work, take her lunch, and go home. If it weren’t for what I’d heard from other people, I wouldn’t have known anything about her (What I did know wasn’t much. She had a small daughter, and she was terrified of cats). Our working relationship was good. Friendly, mutually respectful, even enjoyable. But No Fooling Around.

Just as quietly, she rose and left my office, going right, not left, which would have taken her past the office Joe was using. That worried me. Was she going to be able to work with him? Maybe she was afraid of it–she was afraid of cats. Maybe she should ask him was species the thing was–OK, stop. She’s a pro. She’ll get this worked out.

A couple of hours later, she’s in my office again. She looked pale, which was difficult for a woman of her glorious color. “I swear it made a noise. It whimpered. And I think it smells. Do you think he has a leash for it?”

Oh my stars, what am I supposed to say? A leash? I can feel my lips quivering now. I want to laugh. I mean, that’s really funny! Instead, I focus on her serious face. “Um…do you want to work in your office? I can bring stuff to you.”

She thought about it, then shook her head. I didn’t hear from her for the rest of the day.

She stopped by my office the next day around mid-morning. “He knows so much about (our profession),” Cindy said warmly. “He has a lot of great subjects for me to research. Did you know FEMA has tons of ready-written documents we can grab off their website and repurpose for our needs?”

I was glad to hear this happy news–FEMA and her contact with Joe. I even hoped she’d gotten over whatever she was going through regarding the toupee. I should have known better. We talked business for a while and looked over his research ideas. As she got up, she handed me a few papers and paused.

“I think I know why he walks with a limp,” she said matter-of-factly. “He puts a leash around it, runs the leash down his leg, and ties it there so it can’t get away.”

You know, people actually do snort coffee through their noses. It’s not pleasant, especially when you’re making funny, whiny little noises while you try not to laugh. That just had to be a joke. But I swear, her face is expressionless. Can someone else be feeding her these incredible lines? Cindy was the most tragic figure I’ve ever known–her baby’s daddy was killed. She was so brave! But not funny!

The next day, she comes running in. “I saw him petting it!”

Me (cringing) “Well, he does have a habit of running his hand over it, I guess to make sure it’s in place.”

Cindy: “No. No, he’s petting it”–eyes huge–” and it’s purring!”

I couldn’t help it. I broke down and laughed. Only not loud. Joe was just down the hall, and if I had a rug that looked that bad, every time I heard laughter, I’d know it was about me! She started laughing too. A tinkly laugh that made me so happy to hear it, I laughed more.

That was the last thing Cindy had to say about Joe’s hairpiece, at least to me. Perhaps as she got to know him better, she got accustomed to it. Sort of like me. I had wanted to give her the “look between his eyebrows to talk to him” advice, but I never felt comfortable bringing it up.

Joe spent ten days with us before returning to HQ. That rug was the subject of many whispered stares; I hoped he was none-the-wiser. But I slowly realized that somehow, knowing Joe changed Cindy. She was still an excellent worker, but suddenly, she had a sense of humor. She relaxed a lot. I don’t know, maybe she figured if someone as smart and nice as Joe could go through life with that thing on his head and be utterly clueless, may she should loosen up and not take life so seriously.

She found another job the following year, and I never saw her again. But I’m sure she made her new coworkers’ lives just as enjoyable as she did mine. I do sometimes wish I had asked her if she was trying to make me laugh. Perhaps she thought I was too serious too. She was a wonderful human, a dear person, and I often think of her. I still miss her.

Blogging–It’s Not for the Absent-Minded


“OMG, how long since you blogged, Mom?” my daughter screeched at me today.

“I dunno,” I grumbled. “A month?”

“November! You haven’t blogged since November of last year.

She tends toward the dramatic. I mean, that was only…November, December, January… Ok, it’s been a while. But I’ve been busy with my Summerbird sequel, taking Covid tests (I’ve had six, thanks to clinics that require them before they’ll see you), avoiding Covid, getting vaccinations… Staying semi-healthy is exhausting. It also takes up a lot of time.

Soo… it snowed yesterday, last night, today…it’s snowing now. There are three coyotes in our backyard getting snowed on while they scrounge for food. We’re watching them on the security camera. Ho-hum. At least they’re having fun.

Since we moved to the mountains nothing much happens–no robberies, house invasions, murders, thefts. Hey, I can live with that! The coyotes are the most excitement we get here.

This! This is why I haven’t put out a new blog yet! Things are soon freaking boring right now. But I do have another story about half-done that I’ll finish as soon as I post this. It’s an old memory of an old friend named Candis who had a very odd outlook on life. I won’t mention in the blog about her that she has since passed on because I want only her sense of humor to stay with you after you read it. See ya!

Colonoscopies… The Older You Get, the More Fun They Are!


As the year comes to an end, everyone seems to be jumping onto various health bandwagons, perhaps due not so much to health concerns as much as getting what they can before their new insurance deductibles start over. Now that makes sense! And now that my “procedure” is over, I can look back on it with fondness… You know, tell my tale, share my misery, share a chuckle— No, I don’t believe me either.

One lovely morning I get a letter in the mail. I don’t get many letters these days, especially from Gastroenterology. A chill goes down my spine because the time has finally come. It’s time for me to join the many humans across the globe—it’s time for a colonoscopy!

I open my letter and skim through it. Let’s see… I’m doing the “Nulytely/Golytely split dose prep.” I smile. That sounds so charming, like some sort of cotillion at a preparatory school. “Dear Southern Lady, please allow me this opportunity to invite your darling daughter to the Annual Golitely (I prefer that spelling) Split Dose Prep Party. Please, do let me know by the end of the week. Ta ta.”

I dutifully read my instructions. You’ll need to take the rest of the day off from work after your procedure. Okay, I’m retired. I write, so I work from home. No problem. Could I be looking at an excuse not to make dinner? Smile! You’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure. Cool, my hubby would do that anyway; he’s such a sweetie.

Skim through the other instructions—three days prior, no food with seeds, no corn, no nuts. Sheesh, what are they going to be looking for up there? The day before, DO NOT EAT ANY SOLID FOODS! Okay, now we’re getting to the point. The day before the *procedure*! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner—clear liquids. No red, orange, or purple anything. Why would that matter–ewww. Never mind. I have to mix that weirdly named stuff and refrigerate it… okay, whatever. I’m off to get my supplies.

I go to the store/pharmacy and, while awaiting what the nurse called in for me, collect what I’ll need for the *procedure*. I purchase anti-gas pills, wondering if they really work. I should put one in some 7-Up and see what happens. Guess I’ll find out. Next, A&D Ointment. What’s that? Baby butt cream? I have a bidet; I shouldn’t need it, but I grab a small tube. You never know!

I muse over my list of liquids I can have. Not many… Funny, it specifically says nothing red, orange, or purple. I don’t recall eating that many foods in those colors. Funny though, how few foods one can find that aren’t red, purple, or orange! I get three cans of chicken broth, a jug of white cherry (??) Gatorade (everything else is in the forbidden colors), and some Jello. Two kinds—pink lemonade and lemon. Everything else—yeah, you know. Apple and grape juice to finish, and by now, my prescription is ready.

Imagine my surprise when I get to the counter, and they hand me a big white jug that looks like a 5-gallon container of antifreeze or something. The other customers are looking at me; I know they’re wondering what the hell that could be? I slink up to the front, trying to hide this massive jug that I’m starting to get a bad feeling about, and make the rest of my purchases.

Once I get to the car, I check out the jug. 4000ml. I whip out my calculator… OMG, they want me to drink 1.0 gallons of this stuff? I open it and sniff. Nothing. I get it home, fill it up, and stick it into the refrigerator. Now I wait.

The day before the *procedure* I can’t eat human food—only clear liquids NOT of a certain color. Everything red, purple, or orange suddenly looks delish. My hubby and daughter sit in their chairs in the living room, holding their food like squirrels, nibbling so I can’t see it. Hey, I can still smell that hamburger! You’re supposed to eat eggplant and tofu tonight! You promised!

I pout and drink my consommé… which is fancy bouillon cubes. And I eat pink Jello. Or yellow Jello. Actually, it’s pretty tasty. I love Jello. I think I ate three boxes in all. And wash it down with grape juice and apple juice. The Gatorade was a no-go.

The day before, at 6 p.m., after a day of not eating real human food, the process begins! I have to drink the liquid, one glass every 15 minutes, until I’ve finished half of it. 2 liters. One-half gallon. 2000ml. I pour out a glassful and take my first, big drink. Holy. Sweet. Crap. All I can see are the words—don’t throw it up! The taste is indescribable! OMG, now I understand why they call it bowel solution. They mean it tastes like— never mind. It’s so thick and salty and just… horrible! It still makes me shudder, just to remember it!

Remember when I was reading about the charmingly named gallon jug of powdered death and was told to fill it with water and refrigerate it. Somewhere in those instructions, some guy with a perverse sense of humor stated it “might taste better” if it was first refrigerated. What a joke!! It might turn into liquid gold if refrigerated. Or it might turn into a fully loaded brand new Jaguar—okay, okay. But really, refrigerating it can’t possibly help with how terrible this stuff tastes. You have to not only drink half a gallon, an 8-ounce glass at a time, every 15 minutes, but you have to keep it down! I tried to drink by holding my nose, not very effective, then hit upon using a straw, which I can hold past my taste buds. That works if I drink fast enough. And I think it being cold keeps me from gagging on it.

At 8 p.m., I take the anti-gas pills, then two more at 10 p.m. I’m tired, but did I actually think I was going to get to sleep? Ha, ha, I laugh at my naiveté. As the evening passes, the waiting game begins. First, my stomach starts gurgling and making a fuss. The same lively awakening then happens a bit lower down. And it was more than a fuss! Thank goodness for my bidet. As the evening… and the night… progress, the ointment and I get to know each other quite well. It’s a nice little ointment, just what an adult sore bottom needs.  

On the day of the *procedure* from hell—” I must cut in at this point for those who’ve done this before. I had no idea the fun was just beginning. Okay, back to the report. I had to drink the rest of the delightful concoction six hours before the event. Oh, and still keep it down. I can keep drinking liquids up to four hours before, but by now, I’ve figured out whatever I put in my mouth goes to my stomach, and it doesn’t stay there very long before putting in an explosive appearance at the other end. Like—just passing through on my way out your newly installed back-end cannon, ma’am. See you shortly!

I’m so tired of sitting on the toilet. Of leaning against the wall, sooo sleepy, but knowing there isn’t any point in going to bed. I’m not taking any chances, believe me. I don’t trust my legs to get me to the bathroom fast enough if I’m half-asleep.

As I write this, I recall reading the following droll statements from the instructions:

  • You will have diarrhea from the bowel preparation medications. Gasp! No! No fair; I was expecting a bit of diarrhea, not Armageddon of the Ass.
  • Because of the diarrhea, you will need access to a toilet. Plan your day with this in mind. Really? So that bit about my neighbor’s flower bed shouldn’t have happened—that was just an accident, you know. No, the instructions should have said, “plan your existence with this in mind,” because you can’t get more than a few feet from a toilet. We have two fairly close together in our house, and I made sure I was always somewhere between the two.
  • Most people have bloating and abdominal discomfort. This is normal, don’t feel alarmed. I’m not alarmed. I’m exhausted, cranky as hell, my butt hurts, and only later do I realize—this was just the beginning!
  • And again, with the, “we know you might throw the bowel solution up. Slow down but drink it!” I didn’t throw up, but I feel deprived, as though I might have been happier and somehow vindicated by doing so.

Later, you also learn that they might reschedule you if you aren’t “cleaned out” completely. OMG, what could possibly still be up– Maybe an octopus? Because it would have to be something with suckers the size of dinner plates to hang on after what my intestines just went through!

We get to the hospital. The whole time, I still feel like I’m going to explode, but I know there couldn’t be anything inside me. I haven’t even had water. I’m also having an endoscopy, which is another camera down the throat to look at the stomach. All I need are a couple of tubes up my nose and in my ears, and I won’t have a free orifice open anywhere. I am really grumpy! A lady in the waiting room keeps whining on her phone about how thirsty she is. She wants the person on the other end to sneak in something for her to drink. Really? I want to yell at her— After all you just went through, you’re going to screw it up? I only threw that in as proof of how crabby I am. Normally I ignore other people in waiting rooms. They don’t want to be there any more than I want to.

Despite my previous comments, there isn’t much to say about the procedures themselves because of that wonderful thing called twilight sleep. Such a beautiful name, so lovely, so calming… I hear harps play every time I hear the words. My anesthesiologist was a saint. Ray, I believe, was his name. We held hands and got to know one another through the power of my grip, which is surprisingly strong. Ask Ray. I can’t be put into twilight sleep (*harps*) because of a breathing problem, so it was a bit uncomfortable at times. For me, too. My friends and hubby who have gotten the complete treatment—all they can say is bring it on!

In closing, everything was fine with me. I have to do this more often than most people do. Getting this important but dreadful (to me) procedure is my legacy, left to me by my father, the first one in the family to have, and ultimately pass from, colon cancer. And I’ll stay on top of it, no matter how brutal I think the prep is.

Thanks to all the Gastroenterology people out there—you’re the best!

When Did my Email Change?


NOTE: All of these have happened to me. They’re just presented in a whimsical light. But underlying that is the truth–the tone of email has changed, and perhaps not for the better.

Has anyone else had this experience–you’re flipping through your email and you see some weird offering for Cat Insurance or How to Make Wine in the Closet for $4.99 a Bottle–just something that somehow ended up on your email radar. So you scroll to the bottom, past the dire cat-health pictures, or the drunk people living it up in your closet. You’re seeking the Unsubscribe link.

OK, you find the magic Unsubscribe button and hit it. One of several things that happened to me lately have caught my attention.

  1. You get to Unsubscribe. Yay, and you’re off to the next weird email.
  2. An insidious red warning pops up saying if you go to this website your computer will blow up. Or something. Whatever it is, it will be so dreadful my computer makes me sign some kind of waiver just to get into it. So I back out–quickly–and now I’m stuck getting daily messages about how crappy my current car insurance is and how much better Joe Blow’s is. I feel like I’m in some room where if I stick my nose out, my head will get blown off.
  3. Further down, you click on a very annoying email explaining how drinking some magic potion will not only make you lose 3 pounds overnight, but you won’t even be up peeing every 15 minutes, and all that fat will TURN INTO MUSCLE! Wow. Let’s get rid of that one. In order to do so, I have to type my email address into the Unsubscribe box. Wait, I just got an email from your company sent to my email address and you need it again? Something hinky about that one. The old Fast-as-Lightning Net Loans site is the same way. Who knows where my address is going? I have to think about that one.
  4. I deal with several book deals and recipes, then find my cursor hovering over an email that says Hormonal Weight Loss. What does that even mean? Click Unsubscribe and get this one: Never email me again. You will never be able to sign up to receive communications from this sender in the future. You may, however, still receive transactional messages from this sender. Now what does that mean? Isn’t that exactly what I’m trying to get rid of?? Screw it, I go for it.
  5. Another weight loss add. I think someone is trying to tell me something. Do the click–We can’t take you to this site. The connection won’t go through, or something. Why not, you got to my email without any problem, why can’t you return the favor? I try a few more times, just to see what will happen. Finally I get to a huge Dog-and-Pony Show-type ad where I’ll probably not ever find an Unsubscribe link. I know they’re counting on that. So here I go. Five minutes later, and I still can’t find it. Forget it.
  6. This is an oldie–I’ve been getting emails from a certain clothing/household goods company for quite a while. Months. I go to unsubscribe, and they instead invite me to subscribe to their list. Excuse me… I’m not subscribed to you? #*&@%! Then why are you flooding my email with your stupid ads? Do I have to subscribe, then unsuscribe to get you to stop?! I refuse to do it. It’s the principle of the thing. It’s too ridiculous.
  7. And my final for today–yes, there’s the old favorite: Error occurred while updating preferences. Thank you, high-end perfume company.

I’ve included some screenshots, just so you can share my joy. After all, they’re sharing everything with me, whether or not I want it. At least you’re reading this because I’m vaguely entertaining and I don’t want to sell you anything–except my books. I think you’ll love them. The emails? I don’t know what to do about them! Just Unsubscribe when I can, delete all other times.

Yes–Error occurred while updating preferences.
I think I’m being threatened!
Don’t you already have my email? I’m not going to give it to you again!
This one is also scary! I don’t know what to do! I’ve seen it a few times now.
Why? Just why?
Wow. More threats. What would happen if I clicked through? Would Norton blow up my computer? But thanks for guarding me, Norton. This also happens more than I’m comfortable with.

Looking for Mr. Covid-Test


I want to start the recollection of this fiasco by stating that my hubby, Steven, is an angel. Or a saint. Or something like that. A few weeks ago, I got sick. That illness where you want to stay in bed and cry. But you have to get up and be with your family, otherwise there won’t be anyone to feel sorry for you. So, I’m in the living room in my jammies, with my towel for when I’m sweating and my blanket when I’m shivering, and moans for when I’m doing both. Let me state unequivocally that I don’t do sick very well. I’m not a pretty patient. Steven kept telling me to go to the doctor, which I’m too sick to do, and I probably couldn’t get one anytime soon, anyway. All right, all right, I called. I got an appointment for a televideo call the next day. Those things are the greatest invention ever, especially when you’re sick. I tried to convince my primary care physician’s (PCP’s) assistant (PA) that I had a sinus infection, but he wasn’t buying it. The longer I talked to him, the worse it got, till he put it all together–chills, fever, coughing, too tired and achy to even move–and bless his heart, he decided I had Covid. I’ve had two vaccinations, but he wanted me tested ASAP, and said I could go to any pharmacy and get one. Thus began our adventure.

First of all, you cannot walk into any pharmacy and get a Covid test. At least not one that Steven could find. So, he called the Dept of Health (DOH) and they made me an appointment with a well-known pharmacy downtown, and off we went. When we got there, the guy looked at Steven like he had lobsters coming out of his ears. Appointment? Made by DOH? We don’t do those. And you aren’t on our list for an appointment. Well, we’re here. Can you just do it? More lobsters, a huffy no, and we leave.

It’s now about 1 p.m. We call the hospital organization my PCP works from, which I’ll call Hospital, and ask what to do. Do they do tests? It’ll take too long to get a regular appointment, but you can go to one of our Urgent Care facilities and get one there. We pull up Google Map, find the nearest one, and off we go. My heart sinks when we get there–the parking lot is packed! Steven runs inside to find out how long it might take. Just as he gets to the desk an elderly lady steps in front of him and says she’s been here since 8 a.m. and still hasn’t been seen, has anyone any idea how much longer it will be? That’s not promising. He comes back out to tell me. We just sit in the car in the AC for a few moments and contemplate going home. But I promised the PA I’d get a test.

We know there’s a Testing Center, because this happens to be the third test I’ll be taking. But no one seems to know how to contact them. I had no idea at the time that you could make an appointment online. We decide maybe we should drive over there instead of the other Urgent Care. Steven calls another Hospital number to ask if there are any places other than Urgent Care doing testing. Cue harps– the miracle happens. The number he calls is the appointment maker for the Testing Center! Steven is already driving toward another Urgent Care on the other side of town, just in case I can’t get into the Testing Center.

I sound like a dying frog as I explain to the appointment lady all about my pathetic circumstances, my promise to the PA, and the Urgent Center woes, till finally, probably to get me to shut up, she makes an appointment for me. For today! And for Steven, too, since you know, I’m probably contagious. The appointment is for 4 p.m. That’s two hours away. We live in the mountains. We can’t go home; we’d just have to turn around and come back. I’m still hot, cold, shivering, sweating. I really want to go home and crawl back into my chair with my towel and my blanket so my hubby and my daughter can feel sorry for me. But I’m determined to get this over with.

We decide to head over there early, about 90 minutes early to be exact. But the place has no customers, so they take me immediately. Yay! We drive through all the rigamarole, I get my test from an RN who looks like she’s testing me for Ebola or the Black Plague. I haven’t had one dressed out like this before, I think she’s actually in Anti-C (contamination) gear. Wow. I must have gotten some special, “has symptoms” code or something, and got put into the special line, because the RN doing Steven on the other side of the car is wearing normal, disposable coveralls, gloves, mask, etc. I guess it’s for my RN’s protection, since we are in the same car. Oh, and this time, she shoved that QTip up my nose so far it made my eyes tear. She’s the same RN I had last time I got a test, but she wiggled it around too, like she was hunting for something. Steven just got the regular “up the nose a little bit” test, while I was worried mine was going to lose that swab up there. Finally, I get to go home! Then I waited. It only took a day and a half to learn I didn’t have Covid. I was still feeling crappy, but it started to diminish. I did finally convince the PA I also had a sinus infection, so he gave me some low-dose antibiotics, which means that as I write this, the infection is gradually returning. I have awful sinuses!

I’m happy I didn’t have Covid and feel truly terrible for people who do. As, a couple of days ago, when I ended my annual physical with getting my flu and pneumonia vaccines, I regaled my PCP with this tale, and we could laugh. Cause that’s what you have to do when faced with scary things. I look at her fondly, because I really like her as both a person and as my doc. She’s pregnant, working, caring about her patients while all this is going on, and I also worry a little bit about her. I wish all this would be over, but it won’t if we don’t do what we can to protect ourselves.

So–get your vaccinations, wear your mask, and stay out of crowds. Love all of you!

Goodbye, Elliot


Dear Elliot, our oldest kitty, had been getting weaker, finally to the point where he couldn’t eat any longer, could barely walk, and had trouble breathing. We had to find out if there was anything to be done for him. There wasn’t. We’ve just returned from having his suffering put to an end. He was a sweet boy, born in our living room 18 years ago. Of course, it’s very sad, but he was so old and went downhill so far in the last few days. It’s a difficult decision to make, a guilt-ridden one, even while knowing he’s suffering. Ignoring a sick, suffering pet is far worse.

Elliot was the cat who let Steven know it was time to eat by standing on the end table and staring at him until he got up to feed him. No matter if there was food in their dishes, when it was time to eat, it was time to stare. When he was only a couple of months old, he dove under my chair just as I sat down, and there was a horrible screech. The daughter and I rushed the whimpering baby to the vets, where he was pronounced ok and adorable. Seriously, the vet brought purring Elliot back to us and said he had nothing broken, maybe just pinched, and he was the cutest kitten he’d ever seen. I don’t remember how much that cost, but it was a lot for a professional to proclaim the obvious. Elliot was an adorable kitten. He also got into a lot of trouble.

We brought him home and set the carrier with him in the living room for the other cats to say goodbye. Non-pet owners may scoff at this, but we’ve lived with cats for all our long-married lives. We speak from experience. Except for the two newbies, if the others don’t get to say goodbye, they’ll soon start looking for him and crying. The reactions of the other cats were sad yet intriguing. They recognized Elliot. Winky is six months old. He batted at Elliot as if asking why he wouldn’t come and play. Bob is Winky’s littermate, and he is clearly wigged out. He keeps approaching the carrier like he’s terrified, crouching, and licking his lip. After getting close to him several times he finally left. So far, the other cats have come by and sniffed him. Only PeeWee, his longtime friend and now the oldest, stands by, just staring at the carrier. He and Elliot were always friends, with PeeWee giving Elliot a bath at least once a day. He’d cry the most, as he did when Moggy, Elliot’s brother, died. They know!

And we have our memories, while he suffers no more. We’ll miss you, Elliot!

Summerbird Rises… Again

Book One of An Act of Entreaty

Summerbird Rises is my favorite book. No, that’s an understatement. I LOVE this book of mine–the characters, the tale, their struggles, and even the way telling the tale took me into a sequel. And of course, there’s a reason why. I came up with the name “Summerbird” when I was 11. During that summer, I created the world where she lived, and started writing, in longhand, her story. During the following years, through my father going to Viet Nam, me spending 8th grade at three different schools, separated from my siblings, my parent’s divorce, and then my father’s remarriage to a terrible bully of a harridan when I was 13, life went on. I wrote and wrote. It was my world, my escape mechanism, and kept me from acting out, I believe. Of course, at 11, I couldn’t create what adults would want to read, but it still surprises me how much of my original world remains in what became the book.

For those who haven’t read the book, Summerbird Asii is 24 when her tale begins. She’s attractive, petite, with long, blond hair and big green eyes, and fiercely hides her intelligence. She’s grumpy, even bitter, about her lot in life, because she’s in an unfortunate position–she’s trapped in a mundane (nonmagical) realm called Isterr, where she lives in a small cottage with her little black cat, and scarcely makes a living as a seer. She’s aware, and resentful of the fact, that she was born in another realm, magical Emythor, where the Fey live, and has no idea why she was left in Isterr by her grandfather. She does occasionally see the truth in her crystal ball but can’t reveal it, or she could face some draconian punishment. Magic is so prohibited, one can be imprisoned just because a neighbor thinks they heard you doing magic, as Summerbird discovers. And be executed if the Elders decide she is magical. So, when a tiny griffin visits her, she panics. What’s she supposed to do with a griffin in her home? And it gets no better when the griffin reveals that he wants to take her back to Emythor, where she must perform a task for him. Free several highborn lords who were trapped in Isterr by an evil sorcerer. Before she throws him out–what have the magical Fey ever done for her??–she thinks it over. She tells the griffin she’ll do it, but only if the Fey let her and her cat live in Emythor.

Miffin Griffin is happy she isn’t laughing about his name and outraged that she has a demand before she’ll perform the rescue for him. Miffin is also grumpy and gruff, but that’s him naturally, all the time. One also should pick up quickly that he’s lying to Summerbird, though about what, exactly, he doesn’t reveal right away. The griffin is a consistent character throughout the book; he’s not at all what he seems to be, as are several of those she encounters.

But Summerbird also meets Treaty. Treaty, one will eventually figure out (I hope) is an alien that came to the planet quite a while back and learned there were two native there–the humankind and the Elementals. Within the humankind those with magic, whom Treaty names the Fey, and those who without, who don’t get their own designation, and who hate the Fey. Treaty obviously prefers the Fey, for they’re more like him. He unbelievably powerful, a golden, non-corporeal being who is kind, altruistic, and loves the humankind and the Elementals. All he wants is for everyone to be happy, for him to at last have found a home where he can help the natives improve themselves. But of course, nothing is ever that easy. The evil thing that threatens Treaty and the Fey has one objective–to consume all the magic he can get his nasty hands on and enslave the world. And she meets the Otter, who is one beautiful, mysterious hunk of a magical man. He might step in and out of her life so often it makes her crazy, but her magic knows her mate when it meets him. If only she could get him to stay put.

Basically, Summerbird Rises is a tale of a young woman learning what she’s capable of, gradually discovering who she can trust (hint–it’s not many), and that whatever she wants out of life, she’s going to have to fight for. And that’s another reason I love it. It’s so much like my own life–learning the hard way who to trust and not, figuring out what I wanted from life and going for it, and learning there are a lot of people in life who can get whatever they want with a minimum of effort, but I’m not one of them! And neither is Summerbird. She wants a man, yep, the Otter is going to be hers. Wants to fight the bad guy, no one is going to stop her. Wants to figure out why everyone is withholding information or outright lying to her–well, perhaps she should have left that one alone.

I’ve started the final edit of Summerbird’s Quest, which will not only answer many of her questions, but will set Summerbird on the path of her destiny. And it’s so much more than she could ever have thought it might be. Summerbird Rises is on sale for .99 at these online retailers:

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