Friday, December 25, 2015

News of Nemesis

Posted on my Facebook page:

I found a way to wrap up much of the story in Nemesis. This is going to be taking the SA series out in a BIG way! HUGE revelations and events in this one. I don't want to continue and to try to outdo myself again. I want the whole series to end in a VERY satisfying way. All the last loose ends will be wrapped up for the major characters you've come to know throughout the series.

This one has been so difficult and dragged out because I have been past ready to be done with the series. The books have always been an adventure to write, but this will be the eleventh story/eighth novel of the Starfire Angels main storyline. I don't want to go sour on them and ruin the series.

Last of all, I've pushed back the release date of Nemesis to August of 2016. I want to be sure I can finish this and edit adequately. This one in particular must be perfect!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Kitty Pics

Because I don't have any big updates, some cat pics. The boys were sharing the cat mat in the window today. Dargo (Siamese) doesn't usually like having Jack (brown/white) close. This was a rare occurrence. And I even caught Dargo grooming Jack a little.

Besides the cats keeping cozy on a snowy, winter afternoon, I've been making some progress on Nemesis.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

my Buddy and me

For those of us who grew up in the 80's, that subject line should trigger the memory of a pair of dolls advertised for boys and girls.

In this case, I'm actually referring to my horse, Buddy. He's come a long ways in the seven weeks I've had him. We had to overcome ringworm and he would barely let me pick up his front hooves, forget the hind legs.

Buddy is now ringworm free and nine days ago had his teeth tended to by a veterinarian who specializes in equine dentistry. I was somewhat surprised by the difference that I saw in him after that. While it no longer surprises me that removing an animal's pain (or a human's!) can make a BIG difference in how cooperative and relaxed they become, I was surprised at the changes that came from having the teeth tended to. Buddy had two wolf teeth removed and all sharp points and hooks floated. At least one of those was causing a sore at the back of his mouth.

I also learned that he's only 2, not the 3 years that was listed in the sale catalog for the auction where I bought him. Not a bad thing, but it means I'm definitely not pushing him for training over the winter.

In fact, since having his teeth done, he suddenly decided that trusting me with his feet wasn't such a big deal. We had been making slow progress, particularly with the front feet, but even that still brought on a bit of a struggle after a short time on three feet. Now, he's even let me hold and pick out his hind feet.

And now, I can attack the thrush that's deep inside his central sulci, which were pretty well closed off by an overgrowth of frog tissue, and his collateral grooves. And I know exactly how to handle this after dealing with Beau's poor feet. Buddy was good about letting me open up those areas with a hoof knife to his front frogs (hinds looked like someone had taken care of them at some point). But I couldn't believe his reaction when I took a cuticle tool into his hooves and dug out the deep-down gunk inside them. His tense acceptance of letting me work on his hooves became instant relaxation! It was as if he exhaled a great big "THANK YOU!"

After giving all the grooves, especially the deep central sulci of the front hooves, a good cleaning, I filled them with a mix of triple antibiotic ointment and clotrimazole, aka "Ramey's goo". I'll have to stay on top of this for at least a couple of weeks, but my fingers are crossed that we can finally get this boy as sound as he is otherwise healthy. Seeing his mincing, toe-first steps has been frustrating; but at least I know that this is treatable.

He's one lucky horse! Ten years ago, I would not have known what to do for him. But after all I did for Beau, he gets the benefits of that knowledge.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Horse pic spam

I finally have lots of pics of Buddy. It's been four weeks today since he was brought to where I've been boarding and he's transitioning to pasture very well. He's put on weight since the ulcers have healed (he had all the signs that I recognized). With that, he's calmed down a lot, although he was never a nut or anything to begin with. For him, however, he's gone from behaving like a typical young horse to a mature horse.

And his ringworm is healed and the hair has mostly filled in. Thanks to the vet who recommended miconazole, he looks like a beautiful large pony/small horse. I still have to measure to get an exact height. He's a beautiful color and in an adorable little package with a sound mind that I feel will make him a great horse for my kids to share with me.

So, without further ado, here are pics of Buddy and me with Buddy (finally). I'm 5 foot 2 inches, so you can get a fair comparison of his small stature...

The right side of the pic is his left, where the ringworm was worst.The hair is growing in beautifully around that left eye.

His good side (which barely had any ringworm patches).

Getting this was hard, since he wanted to stay close to me. This shows the left side of his face and body.

See...He's not very big. Good things come in small packages, and forsaking all modesty, I mean both of us :)

ps--he's the perfect horse at this time in my life, just as Beau was the perfect horse for me before this. Buddy is my twelfth horse, if you count the ones that weren't really "mine" but were mine in name. Twelve is a great number, as was Ten.
pps--It's hard to believe that he didn't know how to be spoiled four weeks ago, but he's learned to nibble at my pocket with the treats now.

Proposed anthology

Now that Illusions of Truth is out and getting read (every writer's dream), I'm giving consideration of what to do when the 90 days of initial KU is up, as well as when The Lereni Trade's time in KU is up.

I'm thinking of putting together a couple of anthologies of the short stories in my list, one for all the Starfire Angels shorts/novellas and one for a general romance anthology of shorts/novellas.

I'd like to know what you think should go into each from this list:

Starfire Angels shorts/novellas:

When Angels Cry
The Lereni Trade

Other shorts/novellas:

A Turn of Curses
Illusions of Truth
At the Water's Edge
Beneath the Crashing Waves


Or should I just put them together in those groups?

I'm thinking an anthology price of $4.99 would be fair for ebook anthologies, since they'd be 99c and $1.99 stories separately.

Or should I make one anthology of about 6 of the best or most romance-centric of these? If so, which six? (I'm thinking WAC, Shards, TLT, IoT, AtWE, BtCW) If so, I'd probably price an anthology like this at least $4.99 plus put together a paperback edition. I like larger anthologies myself.

I could have any of these ideas ready for Valentine's Day. But what do readers want?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Molasses Chicken

I just scarfed down a delicious experiment in food.

Before any chefs clobber me, just know that I have learned to enjoy the taste of simple foods. It may be bland to some but it can be delectable once you learn to appreciate the taste of real food.

And it only took about 20 minutes to make. (I don't like long cook times when I'm hungry.)

Here's what I enjoyed:

(makes 2 servings, depending on the size of the chicken breast)

1 large chicken breast thawed (cut up into bite-sized pieces will cook it faster)
Olive oil to coat the pan
1 Tbsp of refined (aka flavorless) coconut oil
*I like to blend oils--olive for a little sweet flavor but coconut because it doesn't burn at higher heats
1/2 cup onion of your preference (white or yellow)
1/2 cup cut mushrooms
sea salt to preference

On medium heat in stovetop pan, cook until chicken is thoroughly done, stirring occasionally so onions become transparent and mushrooms soften.

Then add:

1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
*these two flavors combine into almost a teriyaki-like flavor, or what I remember of it (soy is out of my diet)

Simmer for about 10 minutes.

When it's finished, I put half in a jar for the next day. The half that I eat, I use as a topping on greens or spiral-cut zucchini.

Friday, October 16, 2015

this, that, and some of those

I have a few updates I want to share:

1. Horses! (It's so much fun to be able to talk horses again.)

I'm finally seeing progress defeating the ringworm on my new horse's face (had it when I bought him). I can see fuzz growing and the hard scabs are all gone. Yay! It didn't take much--miconazole as the vet recommended. And that's easy to come by (aka Monistat in brand name, but I get the generic for this). I've also been washing his face with Betadine/water mix before slathering on the miconazole. Plus, after I'm done with him, I've been dunking the rope halter (which is black, so no staining worries) into the Betadine water to disinfect that too. It probably started working from the first day, but today I could clearly see new fuzz in the sun filling in the scabby areas of his face. The hardness under his jaw (lymph nodes) is disappearing with the fungus. I suspect his immune system was working hard to fight this. Letting him mostly relax in his new home has been the best medicine for his body to heal from the stress that had been placed on him to prepare for that auction, and that is allowing ulcers to heal on the inside, which only helps even more to boost his immune system to fight the coat fungus.

And he's doing well in the round pen. I've only taken him there a couple of times, but we're making progress on lowering his head--the head-shyness is slowly fading away. And he now comes to me immediately after releasing the "pressure" of moving out around the perimeter; no hesitation.

He's getting a little better about having his feet handled. It probably helped having those poorly applied shoes pulled and his heels lowered; they were too high. I'm sure he was sore, especially since he's now stepping out like a nice dressage pony prospect, which makes me giddy with excitement!

Last of all, the horse dentist will be out in a few weeks. Buddy has a bump on his jaw that's tender. I suspect a tooth problem. Between that and the ringworm, I have good reason to wait to put anything more than a halter on him. I want him to feel comfortable and relaxed before I bridle him. In fact, given his flinchy behaviors while desensitizing, I can more than confirm that he was cowboy'd on.

Buddy is a beautiful little pinto with the conformation for doing anything I want. And after all that I endured with my last few horses, especially Beau, I want to give him the best start that I can. That means healing him mentally through building his confidence and trust in me--he wants to but there are a few scars from his last trainers--and healing him physically, which will only help him feel better mentally.

That's the horse update. He's everything I needed and wanted. And when I'm with my horse, I forget about my disease; I am at peace.

2. Illusions of Truth is now available for preorder for the special price of $0.99 (regularly $2.99) at Amazon. The release date will be November 18, 2015. This fantasy romance novella puts a new spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale.

In war, the first casualty is the truth. Nira is about to learn first-hand the real truth about the beastly Asru, the enemy of her people, the Ta'fel, but not as she would expect. As a life-giver and the daughter of the ruler of the Ta'fel, she is an invaluable war prize. For the Lord Master of the Asru, Drazan the Dark, she is something more. When she is taken prisoner by the Asru, her beliefs are challenged by Drazan and, in the process, so is her heart.
Reserve your ebook today! Kindle Unlimited members will enjoy this as a free read for the first 90 days.

3. I've learned a great deal more about my autoimmune disease and insomnia. This is a thyroid AID, so hormones easily get disrupted, including adrenal hormones with the thyroid. I now know that I have been deficient in iron. My ferritin came in lower than ideal, although still in the normal range. This means low iron, despite eating meat every day, usually now at lunch. I also eat various veggies and fruits with iron, but the meat is the confusing part. I should be sufficient in iron and ferritin, you'd think. With Hashimoto's, however, I don't produce enough stomach acid and often depend on Betaine to aid my digestion. It's apparently not enough to help me absorb the iron I need. Thank goodness for supplements. In only a few days of iron supplementation, I feel much better.

And I'm sleeping better. I learned in my research that low iron and/or ferritin (the two components are related) can lead to low oxygen carried throughout the body (duh), but what I didn't know was that this also contributes to insomnia. I can only speculate why, but I'd guess it's the body's defense mechanism for survival--the adrenals make up for it by causing alertness, which tends to come at night. So, normal ferritin -> better oxygen transport -> thyroid support (and rest of the organs and glands) -> improved function -> improved metabolism and hormone support -> properly regulated metabolism -> normal sleep/wake cycle -> :D . Just don't go overboard--iron, like all minerals and vitamins, is toxic when too much is in the body.

The takeaway here is that I am sleeping better and waking up more rested and have more energy throughout the day. Hooray!

4. Last of all, The Lereni Trade is now available free to subscribers of Kindle Unlimited. I decided to give it a trial of 90 days as an Amazon exclusive.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Six days of Buddy

He's been mine for six days now. Six days of bonding and ringworm treatment. The first part I've enjoyed--he's a bright, obedient young horse with just a couple of quirks but plenty of potential. I've been dusting his body with No Thrush and it's working. The bumps and "scrapes" signs of coat fungus are disappearing.

However, the ringworm on his face, which I was told had been "starved" has worsened. No Thrush didn't help that as it started spreading, so I had to get more aggressive with treatment on his face. The vet suggested miconazole. Every woman should have that in her bathroom. It's commonly known as Monistat, and if it's gentle enough for the tender areas of our bodies, it's tender enough for equine faces. I started that yesterday, after forgetting the day before, when I bought his first vaccine.

Today, I'm going to start with Betadine, let it dry, and then smear on the miconazole. And just in case, I ordered the new Absorbine Medicated Shampoo & Spray combo pack. I also have iodine shampoo. You can bet that my old brushes will get tossed after this.

I found the No Thrush effective when Beau had coat fungus also, which is why it's my first go-to with any signs of coat fungus. I've also grown up on a ranch, and cattle herds always have some individuals with ringworm (fungal infection) on their faces and none of the horses or people got it. It will run it's course, but I'd rather eliminate it from this poor boy sooner than later. I also believe the immune system, once strengthened, learns to recognize it and attack it in the early stages in future exposures.

Removing the stress of riding, adding to Buddy's relaxation through body work, and feeding only roughage will help to heal ulcers--already seeing proof in his droppings--which will help boost his immune system and heal his whole body to fight this fungus. He's perked up as he's shown signs of improvement, so I'm hopeful that this is a good sign.

In the meantime, I'm doing what I can to keep my barn clothes out of the house. I think the kitties already had their bouts of ringworm at one time or another (after researching the symptoms in cats), most recently, the new kitty when he came in (from barn life) with terrible dandruff and a hairless spot on his chin/throat area that the vet didn't seem concerned about and was itching his head. That's all healed and no more dandruff. None of the other cats developed symptoms, nor did their human servants.

Thank goodness for the owner of this barn being so laid back. She's seen it all and doesn't get frazzled. Where I boarded before, someone (especially the owner) would be freaking out. Strangles, ringworm, all comes and goes. It's just another aspect of owning large animals. A healthy horse on the inside, however, is the best defense against the plethora of pathogens that live in the outdoors. That I learned in my journey to better health.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Delicious hot/cold salad

Having learned to live with the taste of real food, not seasonings, and liking quick, nutritionally well-rounded meals, I've come to enjoy certain combinations. It's not easy following an autoimmune diet with its restrictions, but it can be done.

No salad dressing (except a homemade vinaigrette on the good histamine days) is one of those limitations that about kills me. Greens are SO good for us that we should be eating them all the time. However, they're bland and boring...rabbit food, as my hubby calls them. So, I've created some combinations that have helped me to improve my intake of these highly nutritious plants.

This is how I like to get my greens:

It's quick, nutritionally dense and very complete. I'll swap between different types of meat, which vary in B-vitamins (besides being full of minerals), but try to stick with lean ground beef or chicken (seen in the picture).

This should only take about 20 minutes total to prepare in the following steps:

  1. Thaw one chicken breast (in the microwave usually). For convenience sake, I like Nature Raised Farms or Naked Brand chicken. If no thawing is needed, don't worry about this step.
  2. Turn on the stove to a low-medium heat and pour a little olive oil and/or coconut oil into a pan to warm. I like to have a little extra for a sauce on my greens so am liberal with the oil.
  3.  Cut up up some onions and maybe some fresh mushrooms. I have limited choices on mushrooms, so I usually get whole fresh portobellos and cut up the buttons into bite-sized pieces. Throw those in the pan.
  4. Cut up the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces (cooks faster and more convenient than having to cook it later) and throw those in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle on sea salt to taste.
  6. At this stage, I sometimes also add in asaparagus and cut the spears from the tips down into bite-sized (usually about 1 inch) pieces.
  7. Stir together and cover with a lid. Stir it every few minutes. It should take only about 10 minutes to cook once the pan is hot.
  8. While waiting for the hot topping to cook, cut up some romaine lettuce, lettuce greens, kale, spiraled/grated zucchini, and/or spinach. Mix and match however you please or want to experiment. The hot topping bring in all the flavor.
  9. I sometimes also grate carrot for extra sweetness.
Once all is done, enjoy! You can also prepare the hot ingredients the night before and refrigerate them or split them into multiple smaller servings to take with you (separate from the cold ingredients) to reheat for a new meal ready to go.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Living again

I have been a horseperson for over 30 years. I've had some good horses and some mediocre horses, and then one who has proven too dangerous for anyone (although a beauty, he proved to be one of those without any sort of brains).

And then I got terribly sick, discovered it was due to autoimmune disease, and went through months of recovery to find balance. But in all that, I was having difficulties feeling anywhere near normal. A year ago, I said good-bye to my last best friend to put him out of the pain he suffered, which I suspect was due to an equine form of autoimmune disease. It took a long time to heal emotionally and physically, but I always felt that his spirit was with me, pushing me to continue. He came into my life to teach me the good and prepare me for my own challenges, and he taught me more than all the horses I had had before him.

Since last spring, I wasn't sure I would be healthy enough to care for another horse, but over the summer, as I healed, I started to hope that maybe I would. I saw a light at the end of that dark tunnel growing closer. I saved my money, waited, made arrangements for potential boarding. I reviewed sale postings locally but nothing was quite right, and then the time came for the annual fall auction. I pulled up the catalog online, reviewed the pony listings and planned carefully. I wasn't going to spend my money on just any horse. But this time, instead of a tall horse like Beau was, I knew I wanted a pony that I could share with my kids. And this time, I told myself, I wasn't going to be competitive; instead, this horse would be a trick pony, english and western riding, and a kid's horse with a little dressage thrown in. I knew what I wanted and waited, growing eager with each passing day leading up to the sale (this weekend).

Yesterday, I took my list of lot numbers and traversed the sales yard (I've done this before but this time had specific requirements in mind, unlike when I was younger and didn't know as much). I crossed off the ones that didn't fit and marked the few that did. Some I couldn't determine because they had blankets on.

I lost the bidding war on one pony this morning and was waiting on another when I saw Buddy enter. He had been on my list but I hadn't seen much of him yesterday because I wasn't sure since his blanket hid his number. He fit what I wanted perfectly! I hadn't had a good look at him before, so I took a chance, but I knew a young horse like him (3 yo) had a lot of potential and little chance of being ruined. I have always LOVED Paints/pintos, so that caught my eye right off the bat. He was calm, neck reined wonderfully, and was the perfect size (14.2 hands). He'll grow another inch or so, but will not top 15 hands when he's done, which is the max size that I ever want. So, I bid. And as the auctioneer kept asking for a hundred more than my last bid, which was skirting my max, I prayed the other person didn't go higher. When I heard "Sold for [my bid]", my heart jumped. #687 was mine. While I'm cautious, since I will need time to discover his quirks and work through them, and I have my own health to consider, I am excited.

All the way to the sales barn today with my oldest child along, we drove west, following a double rainbow, which vanished with the rain cutting off the morning sun in the east as we reached the sales barn. I told my daughter that this was a sign. And it proved too prophetic. It turns out that the horse I got is the fourth in a series of "B" horses I've owned, the previous three all having proved that they were my "B"est horses--purely coincidence but a weird one. I'm hoping that Buddy continues that streak.

Buddy, in his pen at the stockyard.
I fell in love immediately. He's 3 but already very well broke and very quiet and easy-going, which fits my bill perfectly. As you can see, he's balanced and well-proportioned, and he could lope in the tiny sales ring, so I know he can do anything.

I know my new limitations and may not always be able to ride or do much, but at least I will have back a piece of my soul that was missing. This was the right time and, I'm hoping, the right horse. Only time will tell.

Already, I can feel that the excitement has stirred up some reaction of the AID inside me, but I'm hoping that once I get to start being his buddy that his presence will help me cope or at least feel more "normal". I have been a horseperson for over 30 years. To be without a buddy (as I always affectionately called my boys), has been frustrating. Now I will have a new Buddy, in every way.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


1. First off, who doesn't like goofy cats? We have four now. God forbid I should want another. Adding Jack was just chance of right place/right time of falling in love with a very rare cat. It's hard to believe he was a barn cat until two months ago. He's such a little attention whore! He'll cry with louder, more irritating yowls until he finally gets held the way he likes, and it usually means the human must stand, not sit, although when I'm at the computer, he makes an exception. Go figure.

We love talkative cats, but Jack goes beyond the capacity of even a Siamese.

2. I'm finally getting my body healed to where I can feel good most of the time. Yippee! Today I feel fantastic. The last couple of days that wasn't the case. I have good and bad days.

However, I've realized that certain supplements actually seem to work against me. I'm not sure why I feel tired when I take any amount of B-complex (methylated!) or D3. That's a mystery. On the plus side, I feel great when I take a milk thistle complex, so I have to wonder.

The other lingering problem is still hormonal imbalances, including insulin and cortisol. I tend to have periods of hypoglycemia on occasion. Also, I have nights where I am alert and up all night and sleep all day. Not good. I have been pushing myself to perk up during the day and using the Adrenal Reset diet to reset my adrenals, but sometimes I fail; it can take months after years of messed up living. I'm having more frequent nights of sleep when I do eat at specific times and load my carbs in the evening, but then I have setbacks if I don't stick to it. It's very disappointing when that happens.

3. My diet has played a big part in the healing. I pushed my tolerance of high-histamine foods for lunch today and feel okay--body aches and some faintness but otherwise not as bad as I used to, especially considering how many histamine-rich foods I had in my lunch. After enjoying my tea first (which I usually put off until midafternoon because, apparently, the tannins in tea can block the absorption of iron, which I need), I ate a late lunch.

I love having a salad at midday and getting my greens but can't use salad dressing. After my mother mentioned taco salad once, I decided that since I can't tolerate tomatoes and peppers (both nightshades), that I can make simply "meat" salads. Instead of taco-seasoned meat on lettuce with all the toppings, I simply fry up some meat with onions and garlic, and sometimes mushrooms, add some olive oil and maybe coconut oil and some seasonings and sea salt. Throw that on some greens, including the spinach I've been adding in, and I have a hearty salad. Today, I added a dash of ACV to the meat mixture. Apple Cider Vinegar is high in histamines (due to fermentation), which is a risk for me, but I have to keep testing my tolerances to see where I am, then step back for a while.

Since changing my diet, I've also noticed a new appreciation for foods I used to dislike. I now enjoy sweet potatoes, which made me gag as a kid, but only if fried crispy. I still don't like the texture, but they taste good. Also, I've discovered that I now like pineapple. I used to hate the flavor. Now, I can't get enough, but since it's high in manganese, I do limit myself. We can get too much of a good thing, even in nutrients. And in eating a whole foods diet, all those deficiencies that led to overeating junk disappear quickly, which is a factor in satiety.

4. Now on to the writing news. After finishing The Lereni Trade (now available), I didn't go right back to Nemesis. Instead, I had a spark of inspiration for a fantasy romance novella. It's an interesting take on the old beauty and the beast themes. In this, it's actually hard to see who is the true beast--is it the beast on the outside or the beast inside? Illusions of Truth will be out sometime this winter. It's a novella and will be exclusive to Amazon for at least the first 90 days, free in Kindle Unlimited and $2.99 otherwise.

5. I'll soon be jumping back into Nemesis. After a rewrite in one section right before the point where I left off, I will pick up finishing it. I'm not sure it'll be ready for the planned release date on February 4, 2016. I'm expecting that I'll need to push that back until May or June. Those who have preordered will still receive it when it becomes available, but I won't push to put it out before it's ready. I know fans have been waiting, but my life is different now and I have to work with what I have.

6. With my body out of whack, the creativity fluctuates too much to rely upon it being there when I have the time to sit down and write. This is frustrating for me, but I've learned to just go with the flow, and no longer stress about writing. I have finally succeeded in relinquishing the monetary motives to write faster. I've told myself that for the last few years, but it took getting sick to finally accept that living means being open to change and taking it moment by moment. I miss a lot of living when I hide away with a story. I just wish I didn't have to suffer to realize that.

Tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

7. There's something that's been missing in my life for nearly a year and the time has finally come to bring in what will be another time sink but one that has brought me great pleasure since I was young. A part of my soul has been missing, but I feel that the friend I put to rest last year has been an angel lurking over my shoulder, nudging me to get back to it. If it's meant to be, things will work out. I will be disappointed if it doesn't, but at the same time, I know I have new limitations that I didn't have before. In a few days, I'll know.

8. One last item of no big consequence...I updated my headers here and FB and Twitter. You'll notice that I now display all the book covers I have. I forgot one novella, When Angels Cry, but will get that updated in the next couple of days. I stare in awe of all that I've written, which doesn't include my early attempts before self-publishing gave me my dreams, which include becoming a member of SFWA. I knew they added up but seeing them all together like this is inspiring to me. If something happened to me tomorrow, I will have left quite a legacy. (Not counting the Dark Angel Chronicles, which is actually an omnibus of the first 5 Starfire Angels books below it, there are 15 novels, 2 novelettes, and 5 novellas to date. Illusions of Truth will be the 23rd book / 6th novella.)

I wish you all the best, and happy reading!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The autoimmune protocol diet

I've finally realized that in order to stay functioning with the least amount of pain and cognitive issues, I MUST follow the autoimmune protocol diet. Of course, everyone has to customize to their individual needs/sensitivities.

At the basics for reasons that are best explained in books I'll list below, here is what I now follow in a nutshell:
  1. No sugars, not even artificial sweeteners (which are worse than real sugars) only exception is honey in my tea as a special treat once in a while.
  2. No processed foods - eliminates most inflammatory foods in one fell swoop, including dropping sodium and sugar intake!
  3. No grains (gluten and oats make me dizzy, tired, and a few hours later cause tummy discomfort; rice just immediately causes gas.)
  4.  No dairy (I've learned it is a BIG and immediate source of inflammation for me all over and even out to my skin in the form of a lifetime of acne; my complexion is beautiful now!)
  5. No legumes (soy is a definite problem for me; peanuts, peas and cashews to lesser degrees where I can tolerate them on occasion and only in small amounts. I don't eat beans anyway, so no loss there.)
  6. No tomatoes/nightshades (the exception is potatoes on occasion, which I can tolerate quite well)
  7. Lots of water throughout the day
Sorry, but no matter what I did, I couldn't not eliminate some of those foods. I wanted to keep them, but I found that eliminating them all was the only way to feel like I might have a normal life.

Every other whole food is actually pretty good to me now, although there are some that I must limit, like fermented foods (too high in histamines).

For my specific issues (Hashimoto's), I must also limit iodine. Too much makes my thyroid swell and feel like its crushing my throat.

And to balance blood sugar, I also limit fruits as much as I can to a max of 3/day.

You'll find MUCH greater detail in these two books (which I've read after figuring out my diet):

The Autoimmune Solution
The Autoimmune Solution is a great, general, easy-to-understand overview of what the author refers to as "The Myers Way". She is a licensed M.D. specializing in functional medicine. You'll find her way is identical to many other autoimmune protocols anywhere on the internet. But here it's in one book with a section of recipes at the end.
In The Paleo Approach, Sarah Ballentyne goes into great depth about why we should avoid certain foods and the detailed effects they have on our bodies that make them problematic for sufferers of autoimmune diseases. I'm still reading it but find it extraordinarily helpful. However, it is like a medical textbook in all the details of cytokines, B-cells/T-cells, mitochondria, etc. Be prepared for some heavy reading. I enjoy the details very much, but someone else may not want the nitty gritty minutiae of how our bodies function. In that case, you're better off sticking to the book above.

In addition, I've also discovered this gem of a little book, thanks to research on hypoglycemia (recommended on a forum that came up in my search), which has been an occasional problem for me:
I've tried balancing my diet a few different ways and discovered that this works great for getting a restorative sleep. I've mentioned it in previous posts but want to say that I've learned to eat like this whenever I can.

Here is the basic eating plan I find works best for me, thanks to The Adrenal Reset Diet suggestions of carb-loading:
  • Morning first thing: hot water with lemon (to cleanse the liver and aid digestion)
  • Breakfast: 2-3 eggs/other meat (I love morning eggs!) + a serving of fruit/vegetable
  • Morning snack: nuts/seeds and/or small serving of fruit
  • Lunch: Meat (chicken/beef/other) usually more than the tiny 3 oz. recommended + green leafy vegetable + other veggie/fruit
  • Afternoon snack: tea and/or other whole food like a raw veggie and/or nuts/seeds
  • Supper: all veggies and/or one fruit (depending on fruit prior in the day) depending on how hungry I am by then
  • Before bed: a small snack of veggie/fruit and/or nuts/seeds
I limit fruits to no more than 3/day to limit my sugars and try to consume them in conjunction with a protein or fat to slow the metabolism of the sugars. Berries are the main go-to. However, if I do wake up at 2-3 am (usually warm and wide awake), I'll go for anything that's quick to get my blood sugar back in balance to lower my cortisol so I can fall back to sleep, and it works. I also try to limit my nuts/seeds to small quantities.

As you can see, I don't eat heavy proteins with each meal, focusing them in the morning and early afternoon (the richness of B vitamins usually perks me up, which may be part of the reason I don't want to sleep when I have them later in the day). This is what has proven to lead me to better sleep at night, which the body needs to repair/regenerate itself. No more endless insomnia!

I am continually refining the things in my life that I can do to boost my immune system and decrease inflammation. Keeping a journal has helped a great deal, but these books would have helped me even more had I found them sooner.

I've cleaned up our household in other ways and switched to a wake-up light as recommended in The Adrenal Reset Diet and find them helpful, as well as refined my supplements (most nutrients come from my food now that my digestion is better), but this post is about the diet, so I won't get into the other details. I hope this helps others searching as I did for relief from their symptoms.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Finished and in progress

This is completely finished and to be released early (September 26):

Available for preorder from online retailers and ready to go for only $0.99 for a limited time!

And then, there's this:

A cover for the latest short fantasy that I've been working on. It's expanded a bit from where I thought it would be in length, but that's made it even more compelling. the tagline at the bottom reads "Seeing through the eyes of another can shatter the lies they choose to believe." I'll have a description for that upcoming, but first I have to finish writing the story. This one will be available only from Amazon and free through Kindle Unlimited.

Both of these are shorter than novels and only available as ebooks.

After this, I'll finish Nemesis.

Monday, September 7, 2015

New kitten

I don't think I've shared any pics of the newest family member. This is the barn-kitten turned housecat that I couldn't resist adopting from a friend's barn...Jack (Sparrow/O'Neill/Samurai (very appropriate considering the little needles on those white paws)/Harkness). All cats in the household are named after SFF characters. "Jack" may seem ordinary, but he's named after many characters we like.

I swear he's part ragdoll:

Dargo is not BFFs with Jack, but tolerates him. When Jack plays, he gives Dargo a run for his money. Jack is pretty fierce and very bold, much more so than Dargo. Serves Dargo right for all the times he's been rough while playing with Suki >:)

I'm not sure if you can tell, but jack is the prettiest brown tabby with tuxedo markings.

Jack has been with us for a month, has been neutered, and goes in for his final set of kitten shots this week. Litterbox training him was never an issue. Barn-to-house cat was the most natural transition for him. And he was well socialized with humans and other cats so much that he's very loving to the point that I know when it's time to get up in the morning by the cold wet nose and face full of fur shoved into my cheek.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Inventing recipes...Squash

So, I can't have tomatoes, or pasta, or pizza for that matter. What can I eat when I can't have most grains or nightshades? Squash!

Squash spaghetti

I have had "spaghetti" zucchini as meals before. I love zucchini, and you don't even have to cook to enjoy it. Just shred lengthwise and you're done in seconds.

The sauce I thought up on my own. It is a different kind of squash, a sweet squash. I think it was butternut squash. I can't remember because I had cooked it a few months ago and cut it up into individual serving pieces, bagged it, and froze it. I took out one of the larger pieces, thawed it in the microwave, and pureed it in my Ninja with a little water. I then dumped it into a small saucepan with a tiny bit of butter (for the flavor only), a little extra virgin olive oil (for the flavor), and some coconut oil. I then Ninja'd a leaf of savoy cabbage, a little bit of green onion, and a medium clove of garlic with some water and dumped that into the saucepan. I got that all simmering then added some dried basil and fresh oregano and some fresh onion. I simmered off some of the water to thicken it and blend the flavors. It didn't take long. The sauce was literally awesome-sauce in my opinion. I had enough for this serving with just enough extra for lunch tomorrow. The sauce would be good with other pairings too.

The white pat is goat cheese. I love goat cheese! A little with each bite added the perfect flavor. I debated just putting it into the sauce but didn't know how that would turn out, but on the side was perfect. Chevre makes a nice condiment or base in recipes, especially when you're trying to avoid certain dairy proteins.

I've had a little reaction but nothing major. It's not the squash or the ingredients (maybe the cabbage--goitrogens can cause problems for me), but it's not unusual for all food to cause a slight problem; it's more troublesome that even sipping water makes my neck hurt sometimes. I just live with the fact that my thyroid doesn't like anything I do anymore and eat as healthy as I can.

ps--this is quite filling!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Beyond Starfire Angels

The Lereni Trade, a Beyond Starfire Angels novella, is set for preorder at the major retailers, including Amazon.

You can now download a sample to your device from Amazon and Smashwords.

Preorder for the special price of only $0.99 and find out what else is out there besides the Inari that readers have come to know in the Starfire Angels series.


She grew up disregarded by all and put her attention into studying, but Krissa longed for friends. In her lonely life, an alien abduction was the last place she expected to find them. But it's not by chance that they've found her. Her Lereni captors have plans for her as an exchange to save their world from its ruthless conquerors, the Tah'Na. Only her life can free them, but not even they know why she is worth the freedom of a whole planet. A possible clue rests on her wrist, a stone bearing a symbol from another alien race. One Lereni will show her what friendship means and defy his commander to save her, but they may all need angelic intervention.


This is only the first of a new subseries expanding the Starfire Angels universe.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The latest

So, after all I've been through over the last 5 1/2 months, I have discovered a few things. I've written about many of them here previously, so I won't be repeating myself. However, I will be making a few concise points.

After having a specialist say my levels were "normal" (despite my protestations of the symptoms I've had), I went back to my doctor and requested further testing. As I expected, they did reveal something. Here's the thing, though--while my levels were in the lab's normal range, if I use the standard ranges that I found on medical sites online, my levels are low on FT3 and FT4. Anti-TPO is "slightly" elevated, according to my doctor. Autoimmune diseases run in the family and the closest relative was my brother, who had Graves' Disease when he was only 21.

Yeah. I'm not buying the I "don't yet have and may never develop" part of my doctor's statement. I know how I feel. I may be at the early stage of an AI disease known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, but I'm going to do all I can to put it into remission and keep it contained like the beast it is, because this particular beast can multiply into other AI diseases.

What I can say is that, from what I've been able to glean from message boards and posts, I've been doing everything right to improving my quality of life--going gluten/soy/dairy/[insert other inflammatory substances] free, healing my gut, correcting nutritional deficiencies, and insisting on the medical tests needed to diagnose and monitor this thing. I don't want to end up incapacitated, especially the way I was when this all blew up after an upper respiratory illness the last weekend of February.

I'm on the right track, have been through most of this, playing detective to solve my own mystery. I'm disappointed in our medical system for not taking on this role. These so-called professionals aren't doing the evaluations. We have to advocate for ourselves.

And I'm very happy to report that my efforts have been paying off with improved concentration, memory, and creativity...and the return of a few other things I lost over the last few years. Yes, the creativity has finally returned! I'm taking it day-by-day, since each day, or even time of day, can be different. I'm working on resolving the rotating insomnia issue--when the creativity bursts back, it often keeps me up all night. I'm not sure whether to love or hate it.

I've been working on editing The Lereni Trade to get that up for sampling before the release date, which is coming up quickly. And I may have another small surprise shortly after that, but it's still in the works and I don't always feel focused enough to write when I do get time. Because of this, I may have to push back the release of Nemesis to later next spring, but I'll only make that change if it becomes an issue. I'm hoping to squeeze in finishing that for February 2016.

In the meantime, thank you for all positive thoughts and prayers. It has been a trying time in my life when I have most needed support. I appreciate your continued support as I learn to accept this new "normal". I don't know what's to come, but I will take it as it comes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

body-mind connection

I finally got some sleep last night and woke up raring to go on Nemesis. It was...wonderful! I just had to write and knew exactly what needed to be done.

It's amazing how correcting nutrient deficiencies, using natural remedies, and timing can restore one's health--physically and mentally. It's taken almost five months, but I'm recovering something that I must confess that I haven't felt in many years. As long as I enjoy writing, I know I'm doing the right things for my body because, when I was messed up trying to get back on track, writing was the last thing I wanted to do--even living was the last thing I wanted to do. I kept myself going for the sake of keeping going and trying to rediscover my motivation, and my memory.

Now, I know it was a physical issue affecting my mental health. I have healed my gut, which has corrected most of the histamine intolerance. My prayers were answered in that. I keep praying for healing and I keep fighting for my health. My latest battle has been for my thyroid. I've added supplements of selenium in the form of Brazil nuts (2-3 per day is more than sufficient and I can feel it) and iodized salt, along with the usual D, B-complex, C, and magnesium (primarily in the evening to help me fall asleep, at least for now). I've had symptoms of hypothyroidism vanish just by adding iodine and selenium. Most of my nutrients I get from eating whole, nutrient-dense foods now, and I don't doubt that learning to eat no processed foods helped me to heal; but I'd be fat if I truly ate enough to fulfill the normal nutrients requirements, which is why I supplement when I have gaps.

The thing is, we're each different. I may need more thyroid supporting nutrients than someone else. I'm older now and my body isn't functioning as it did in my youth. For a while, I needed L-glutamine to heal my gut faster. I've also discovered that my insomnia can be corrected naturally. I mentioned the magnesium, most of it concentrated in the hours before bed.

I also have decided to go to bed earlier, as my circadian rhythm has changed. Instead of going to bed late and waking up halfway through the night and missing out on an extra 3-4 hours of sleep, I've been following the tiredness to bed much earlier to fall asleep when my body is saying it wants to sleep. If I wake up early, it's not as bad.

However, in my situation of waking up between 4-5 am and then tossing and turning for the next few hours until the alarm rings, if I get enough sleep before then, I could get up for the day and write and/or exercise. I've learned of a natural method to correct that too. In my case, it means a small complex carbohydrate meal before bed, which changes the chemistry that happens during the night. So far, I've seen immediate improvement. It's been a long time since I slept well. The first night wasn't perfect, but I woke up feeling better than I have in a long while. I'm praying for a miracle and realize it will take more than a night to retrain my mind and body to sleep the whole time, but I have nothing to lose in trying.

One thing led to another over the years to where my body crashed this past spring and took my mind with it (days of dementia-like symptoms when it hit after several weeks of memory issues had me terribly frightened), but I was determined to pull through it. I've had to make sacrifices and push doctors to investigate, but they rely heavily on their test results. A naturopath I see has done more than them; and in my last visit, she said she was going to suggest a thyroid problem and that I was on the right track with the changes I had just made the day before that visit. My memory improved dramatically in fixing those deficiencies!

I thank the internet for all the information that has helped guide me, although it can be difficult to determine what's legit and what's not. It's all legit in its own way, because everyone is different in their health. I went from gluten intolerant (still am, along with crossover in oats, unfortunately--I love oats in many forms--for now; that could change with further healing) to candida die-off (I was a massive sugar-holic) to histamine intolerance that had me hardly eating for a while and having to be careful about what probiotics I used. I'm still a little intolerant of some foods, but not nearly as histamine intolerant as I was for a while there. (I discovered that many thyroid issue sufferers--2/3 of whom are women of middle-age like me--often suffer from histamine issues too.) And now that I have been able to add foods back in and use them for further healing, I've discovered the root of all problems in my thyroid.

I don't doubt this is where my problems started long ago. I look back and see symptoms of it and histamine issues that I ignored. I didn't have time to focus on myself and some (what I thought were) minor inconveniences, until all this came to a head. Then I could no longer ignore the warning signs. I didn't know that I was a mess physically, which wreaked havoc on my mental health. I've learned that these mental issues are a sign that something is physically wrong in the body. Consider this a warning that if you feel depressed, anxious, "off", suicidal, consistently tired, achy, etc. there is inflammation somewhere in the body. You can get better by making changes; but it won't be easy, it won't be instant, and it will take some trial and error.

In all this, I've learned valuable insights into healthy living and some lessons that I hope my kids take to heart. 1) You can't give up. 2) Get down to basic nutrition. And, 3) it takes time to heal. It took me years to get into this mess and so far, it's been five months of clawing my way out but I'm not yet near where I want to be, where I know I can be in my goals. I don't know if I can get there, but I will do my best. At the moment, I feel better than I have in a long time.

Now, if I can just get the sleeping down, life will be perfect :) Every little step in the right direction is reason to celebrate and, after the worst that I suffered, all my other problems are miniscule in comparison. Yes, things could be worse, but for now, I'll revel in what I have. Focus on the positive. I fought the demon and lived to fight another day.

And when it comes to writing, I'm loving it again. I haven't felt inklings this strong in a long time. I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep that going for many years to come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New cover for Fireblood

The new cover for Fireblood is finally here...

It will be going up on the retail sites over the next week after spending months in the works. I'd say it was worth it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Be flexible

We only get one life to live.

I understand that now. For too long, I thought I had to write every day to be a writer, or reach a minimum word count. I sacrificed my family to pursue it. You know what? It's not worth the sacrifice, no matter how big the dream. When you're young, it seems like nothing is happening, despite the small steps. But at some point, you realize all that you missed. Then it's time to play catch-up in a different way.

Don't go through life with blinkers on. (Blinkers are the flaps on a driving bridle that keep the horse from seeing what's behind him and might frighten him.) Like that horse that only can see ahead instead of everything around him, you'll be missing out on many things. Rather, be willing to deviate and make adjustments.

I've learned that I don't have to write every day to be a writer or to reach a goal. I'll get there in the end, but I don't have to race ahead on only one focus. I've learned to deviate when I need to and can always return to the path I left after exploring the path I didn't see because of the proverbial blinkers I used to wear. I've done that in writing a couple of books now--breaking from one project somewhere in the middle to go off on another--and I've learned that it tends to work out for the best. I've also decided not to force myself to write if I'm not in the mood. There are plenty of other things going on around me, especially with my family. When I lock myself up with the computer, I shut them out and I shut myself out of their lives.

We only get one life. Take advantage of ALL that it has to offer. Don't die with the regrets of what dreams you don't accomplish. Rather, live so that in the end, you are fulfilled by the richness you discovered by being willing to take a different path than what you thought you wanted.

(It took feeling like I was going to lose my life as I knew it to realize this.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Amazing nature

I encountered this coming out of our neighborhood this morning (facing west):

This morning mist rainbow occurred with the fog obscuring Bismarck, looking to the west with the sun in the east. I don't know if anyone has seen anything like this before, but it was a first for me. I'm glad I had my phone set on panorama!

ps--I didn't know such a spectacle was possible. Isn't nature amazing?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Want to know a secret about being a writer?

We're generally (there are exceptions) introverts. Our biggest fear is the rejection of others.

With the release of Awakening, I'm afraid of that readers will not like this latest effort of imagination and find everything wrong instead of enjoying it for what it is. Those who don't "get" our work frighten us.

That's true with anything in life. We all have fears. But there's the big secret writers keep from the world, despite the protestations of many. It may be buried deep beneath years of experience or on the surface of the newbie, but it never leaves us.

We want you to like our worlds as much as we do in creating them. We hope for the best but dread the worst.

While I could say I don't care what readers think, I still have to peek on the first reviews of a new work. It still matters.

Disappointing readers frightens the bejeebers out of us!

Nevertheless, we keep working, because writing is creating and we feel compelled to express our thoughts in the form of pictures through words.

Now you know the hidden secret.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nemesis cover

Thank you for all the feedback on the cover (from all sites)!

It seems that a modification of the second cover choice in my previous post has won out...

It's a compromise between strict"science fiction" and what Starfire Angels has been, setting the tone of this story as it is, which is not a romance. That feather seems to hint that there's something more, giving it just the right touch, imho.

Now I need to get back to finishing Nemesis! I left off about halfway into the story. On a good note, the time away was just what I needed. I left off where I was muddled and this time away gave my mind the breathing space to resolve the issue that had stymied me. I now have a concise plan for the rest of the book which wraps it up quite nicely.

I hope to finish the first draft this summer and set it aside to return to Enlightenment, hopefully by end of summer/early fall, if I can get the writing up to speed again. With a clear vision of the rest, it should be easy, but it's always easy in theory :b EDIT: I've set up the preorder on Smashwords with a release date for February 4, 2016. I am committed to finishing this!

And speaking of preorders, on a final note, The Lereni Trade is now set up as a preorder on Smashwords. It will distribute to BN, Apple, and Kobo over the next couple of weeks. I'll post links when I have them.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Finishing the latest novella, writing plans, and more...

I have a few news items to share:

  1. Yay! I finished the first draft of The Lereni Trade, the first of the "Beyond Starfire Angels" subseries. In this, we learn that aliens other than the Inari have used Earth as a sanctuary, but they have ties to the Inari "angels" of the Starfire Angels series. This is a little different type of story, but I think you'll enjoy it for what it is. Watch for more to come on this novella, which should be available sometime this fall, around September/October. By the end of summer, I'll have a more definite date on that.
  2.  The Goodreads giveaway of twenty signed paperbacks of Awakening expires tonight. Only 8 hours remain as of this posting. And here's a secret...the paperback is already available. Tomorrow, I will be addressing envelopes to the lucky winners! The ebook is only $0.99 for a limited time on preorder through the release date. Check the book's page for links: You can read the ebook before the June 28 release date, but at a premium, if you absolutely, nail-bitingly can't wait. The book is divided into four parts with the first part free.
  3. Now that the novella (mentioned above as item 1) is finished, I am going to try to get back to finishing Nemesis (Starfire Angels: Revelations Book 3) before going into Enlightenment (Shadow Realm Saga Book 2), but I am not amused with my muse when I try to determine what should be written. She often leads me off-course, so keep your fingers crossed that she doesn't lead me astray once more. If I can ignore any seductive whispers to return to SRS, I should be able to have Nemesis out by the new year, as I had originally planned.
  4. And keep your fingers crossed that my health doesn't interfere anymore. I recently had a flare-up of elevated histamine symptoms that had me being cautious about heart problems; but not to worry--I'm as healthy as one can be, according to the test performed by the medical "experts" (the same ones who continue to dismiss mast cell disorder potential without even taking the time to listen to me). I suspected histamine overload but followed up to be on the safe side--one never knows and I'm not young anymore! I know where I went wrong, however (got cocky and anxious to eat more "normal" foods and OD'd on histamine-rich foods the day the symptoms hit hard). I also learned that antihistamines have a rubberband effect on symptoms. Sure, they might ease it temporarily (ranitidine was a Godsend for a little while) but I have to wean off them ASAP and eliminate every potential food source of histamines for at least a few days while getting through a short period within 24 hours of the last dose of any antihistamine (H1 or H2) where my body thinks even a sip of water is dangerous (a burning face and prickling fingers are only hints of what might come). No more taking chances. I absolutely HATE feeling that awful (headaches, chest pain, neck and shoulder pain, stomach cramps, constipation, foggy brain, intermittent lightheadedness and dizziness, etc.). Upon my oath as a writer with fans, I will watch what I eat and pay closer attention to the warning signs of too high of a histamine load that could upset my creativity and writing! I want to finish these series as much as you ;)
  5. Related to item 1, I would like to see this world expand even further. Beyond Starfire Angels is a great opportunity for others to play in this world. If you would like to collaborate on a project using the Inari or creating other species and tying them in, please contact me first.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cat break

And now for a word from my attention whore cat...Dargo

Dargo enjoys his little outings on the deck, but that's as far as we let him go--too precious to us to let him wander outside to get lost, killed, or sick--and he rolls and rolls as if to mark it with his scent in his own cat way of saying, "This is mine!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What's next...

Awakening is coming out this month! (Like you didn't know...Sorry for the inundation with news over the last couple of months.) I won't say any more than that.

But what's next?

When is Nemesis coming out?

The second is the question I've answered most over the last year. I've been busy in the last year with other projects and real life. If you haven't followed it all, I released Spirit Blade last fall then went into what is now Awakening, putting off any new Starfire Angels after working on the series for five years. I finished Awakening in February and started editing to have a big health crash a month later, which took a lot of trial and error and digging and medical tests to finally get down to a likely cause and back to feeling like myself. Once I was able, I finalized all the details on Awakening and went into promotion mode, which is where I am still.

However, regaining my momentum in writing after a prolonged period of editing or nothing at all (didn't have any focus/interest in writing while I was at my worst) can take a while for me. I am still recovering from my health predicament and healing my digestive system. But with that has come greater creativity and focus, so I foresee some exciting things happening.

The most immediate is a new novella. I originally started it as an experiment in something far different, then decided to rewrite it into a tame story, and then I decided to tie it into the Starfire Angels universe. You read that right--the Starfire Angels universe. But this book expands that universe. The Beyond Starfire Angels series will focus on side stories that aren't part of the main action. It also has great potential for cowriting and/or fanfiction (please contact me if you're interested).

I believe you'll enjoy the first story set in this series, The Lereni Trade, a novella of interspecies romance with some ties to the Inari (angels) of the Starfire Angels series. These stories will be stand-alones and will only loosely tie into the main series; I don't plan on numbering them, unless I decide to write several stories tied together. Right now, however, I have two series to work on (Demon Age and Shadow Realm Saga) and just want to have something different and fun with no obligations other than the occasional random story I feel like telling. BSA will afford me that opportunity while expanding on a world already established, which can be both easier and harder.

I will get around to finishing Nemesis, but after my ordeal with my health, I have realized that I need to just enjoy what I have while I have it. That includes writing. I can't force a story. Please have patience. I will get to Nemesis when the time is right, and then the story will be well worth the wait. What I have already will make it all the more appetizing; I guarantee it (but my muse led me astray for a while).

Until then, you can sample Awakening in its four parts or wait for the preorder, and in the fall, you can enjoy seeing what else is possible with Starfire Angels in The Lereni Trade.

Thanks for reading!


The Lereni Trade

Coming FALL 2015!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Awakening update

For those who don't follow on Twitter, I made a decision about the release of Awakening. I will not longer be giving away full novels (which require months of my time and energy to write). Because of that, I have decided to serialize this novel into four parts with progressive pricing.

The biggest benefit is that this pricing strategy will give you the opportunity to read more of the novel than what samples normally allow. In parts, you'll be able to sample a little of each section instead of just the beginning of the novel. Plus, if I can get Amazon to price match, the whole first part will be free.

Here's the schedule:

May 25, 2015:  Part 1 - Daemon's Dark.... FREE
June 3, 2015:    Part 2 - Gray Dawn.......... $0.99
June 13, 2015:  Part 3 - Dim Hope............ $2.99
June 23, 2015:  Part 4 - Radiant Truth....... $2.99

June 28, 2015:  FULL NOVEL................. $4.99
preorder for the special price of only 99c!

As you can see, you won't be waiting more than ten days between each part, if you go that route.

Awakening is a contemporary fantasy with an epic overarching story tied into a love triangle that transcends two realms. This 4-book series will unfold over the next two years with the releases of Enlightenment, Ascension, and Eternals to come.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dividing stories into serials

I'm looking for honest opinions...

Contrary to much the the "rule" that you don't divide a full novel into a serial if each part isn't resolved in its own right, I did that with Spirit Blade and saw good results. It fit to divide into five parts (with the middle a little awkward to cut up). However, the progressive pricing with the first two parts free has led to decent sales on it, despite that the pricing on the parts is more than the $4.99 complete novel price. It's a hard series to sell and I think this has helped a lot to get people to try it. I kept the same cover and for the parts added a "Part 1", "Part 2", etc. at the bottom of the title.

I'm considering doing that again with Awakening, which would easily break into four parts. I could release a first part now, as it is ready after editing. (Note: those edits are not yet uploaded to the sites that have the full novel available for pre-order. I'm waiting to finish the final edits completely before updating it.) Those who pre-order the full version will only pay the special price of $0.99, which will go up to $3.99 soon after it's released.

Do you think I should try breaking up Awakening? The first part is ready for release and I don't foresee any more tweakings of the cover, except to indicate the parts, as I did with Spirit Blade.

What do you, reader and author friends, think of this? Do you dislike serialized novels or would a graduated pricing for each part make you more likely to sample a story?

Please share in the comments.

Thank you!

Friday, May 15, 2015

a brief update

(shared from my Facebook page):

I had allergy testing today. I have exactly 1 true (IgE reaction) allergy--an outdoor mold. As for the rest, the allergist was a cold, dispassionate jerk who seemed like he was there only for a paycheck rather than to help patients.

Ah, well. Such is the sorry state of medicine in the U.S. and the reason I've found more to help me manage my life from the internet, mostly from European blogs (doctors and laypersons). Thank you from the other side of the ocean for your medical openness!

After the GI scoping next week, I'll be even more anxious for my appointment with the naturopath who was recommended to me.

In the meantime, I'm done reading the internet news for today. Time to get back to writing and editing (which I wouldn't be sane enough to handle if I only listened to American doctors...*grumblegrumblegrumble*).

I've been fixing up Awakening pretty well and have uploaded the cleaner chapters to Wattpad, adding a couple more in the process (after taking one out). And I'm considering how the novella could tie in to Starfire Angels. I'm not sure I want to set up a whole new world, maybe just a new alien species or a few to flesh out that universe. What do you think--add more aliens to that universe or make it a whole new one?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

the full update

It's been a long spring for me, but I'm getting back to my normal self. As a general update, here are some of the things going on, starting with details on what I have discovered about my health problems:

1. I'm learning to live with special dietary considerations and finally managing this condition. I've learned--by adding in supplements--that I was severely deficient in certain nutrients. I'm taking the supplements in lowest possible doses, since many of them can be toxic to our bodies in too high amounts even while necessary for all the various functions that take place. I'm still searching for the right balance, but at least I'm improving day-to-day.

2. As part of #1, I go in for some medical tests on the 19th that require me to go under. I'll be having an endoscopy to check for damage to the small intestines due to possible Celiac Disease. The blood test came back negative, but my doctor confirmed what I'd read and feels that a negative test doesn't necessarily mean that I'm clear. I have become highly gluten sensitive, after all.

At the same time, I'll be having a colonoscopy. I have a direct relative--a parent, no less--who had colon cancer. Given my digestive problems (which led to severe neurological issues, which are resolved through the diet and supplements), my doctor felt it would be wise to check now, even though I'm still a decade from the fifty mark, when it's recommended.

I'll let you know if they find anything, because that would be a big deal.

3. I've developed what I can only describe as a histamine intolerance. This is the reason for carefully monitoring my diet, because it does make a big difference in how I feel. If I'm not careful, I get aches, fuzzy head, fatigue, weakness, tinnitus, rapid heartbeat, acid reflux and chest pain, etc. It varies at any time, but I can keep it under control and, when I do, I feel wonderful! I'm making a list of safe, moderate, and dangerous foods by keeping a diary of what I eat, take for supplements (some have set me off), and any symptoms. This is helping me find my balance and reclaim my life, along with websites that have helped me figure this out. Everyone has their own list of safe and moderate foods, however, while foods to avoid are pretty much the same on any list--histamine-rich foods like soy, vinegar, processed meats, or anything fermented or old. Most fruits and veggies, the staple of my new diet, get tossed after three days because otherwise I have a flare up from normally safe foods.

I will see an immunologist next week to find some answers on this and make sure I don't have any severe allergies. Food intolerances are more like pseudo-allergies; easier to live with but can still be just as dangerous.

These are the root problems I've been dealing with for the last month and a half and what my life is like now. I've had to figure out a lot for myself, since medical tests only seem to rule out what isn't wrong with me. I'm otherwise healthy, relatively speaking.

We have to be our own advocates when we know something is wrong. The best medicine doesn't come in a pill, but in the foods we eat--fresh, unprocessed, and completely natural to the way we were meant to eat. This has been forced on me and it opened my eyes to a new way of looking at life.

Too much information? Well, maybe the rest will satisfy you...

4. Because I'm feeling so much better in managing all this, my creativity is blossoming better than ever. Some days I want to work on all three projects that I have open or even add in one that I have planned to write after I'm all caught up. But I've settled on a shorter work to get me back in the game and regain my focus. I'm not sure whether this one will be under my name or a new pen name--it depends how much detail I end up adding into the romance side of this SF novella.

5. I'm also getting back to promoting Awakening and finalizing edits on that. June 28, 2015!

Preorder for the special price of only 99c (USD). (See the links on the sidebar of this blog.)


Lilly has been marked for death by daemons from a hidden world, a place known as the Shadow Realm. Within her has awakened the spirit of their enemy, one of the luriel. Such beings are myths to her, but one man is out to prove that they exist. The daemon slayer, Mychel, will introduce her to a world of shadows and light hiding beyond the comfort of science and technology, where ancient myths are real and an eternal war rages on, a war in which she has now been conscripted to fight.

One daemon is doing his best to destroy her before that happens. In human form, Darrac is able to get close to her and soon realizes that she is different–through Lilly, an ancient power has revived, a terrible power than can end the war…by eliminating both luriel and daemons. But destroying that power would mean sacrificing the one who has changed his heart.

Time is running out as the luriel within Lilly matures and her powers grow. One choice will determine the fate of two realms.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Don't judge a book by its cover

Sage advice, but when do we ever follow it.

I'm learning first-hand how wrong I was to judge others for a belief I thought was silly. But these health issues afflicting me have proven that there was truth to what I thought was simply a fad health food craze. Now, I know there's a reason for it.

I'm learning not to judge, lest the judgment be passed onto me. In other words, what goes around, comes around. And I'm now paying for that and will for the rest of my life with a restricted diet. No more cakes and ice cream or pie the way I remember. No more going out to eat carefree of the dangers lurking in our food supply. Now, any food can be a threat to my health--mental and physical.

You can't see the affliction, but my body says it's there and lets me know something fierce. I am adjusting but am in a trial-and-error stage.

We do judge books by their covers. Ask any reader what caught their attention on a book they had never known about previously.

We also judge people, but that is wrong. I've always tried not to, but it is in our nature and I am as guilty as anyone. However, I'm learning and I can only hope others learn before it's too late for them.

Now, I must live with the difficulties of my penance.

Friday, April 3, 2015

First Official Newsletter (and more)

The first official newsletter for my announcements went out today to my mailing list. You can see it here. I'm happy with how it turned out. You can also use the link to sign up directly to the email list. As you can see (if you click the link and view the short email), this was the announcement of the preorder of Awakening being available at major ebook retailers.

The release date is schedule to be June 28, 2015. You can now purchase from Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and others. The links can be found at my website also.

Also, if you think something is different about the cover, it is. It had a couple small tweaks made. I like it much better. It's amazing how a title treatment can make a huge difference. (Now to fix the template for the rest of the series to come.)

If you would like to read the ebook before it is released, I'm looking for reviewers. Email me if you're interested and willing to write a review.

Somewhat related to writing is something else I feel like I need to say. I've been worrying myself into a frenzy about writing what I thought readers wanted that I started having panic attacks. I lost all confidence and let it overwhelm me. You'll be glad to know that I've found the help I need and am on my way back to "normal". There is another reason that this debilitating, invisible disease took its worst on me (it's been an awful week), but I think I found the solution to that. I can only do so much and need to quit worrying! I'm going to write what I want when I want. I'm sorry to those who might not like that I delay something they wanted, but I have to do what's best for my health.

Thank you to those who have expressed your support.