Monday, June 29, 2020

T-10 days

In only ten days, DISPOSITION OF DREAMS will be available for download from all the major ebook retailers. Starfire Angels: Forgotten worlds Book 6 will be released on July 9th. Don't wait. Pre-order now!

When she wakes up at Starfire Tower, life is almost perfect for Nya, even if she is late for a class and her parents have planned a surprise visit. Being a Keeper in training isn’t easy; and being the child of a Crystal Keeper is awkward, but it has its benefits. When her father is called to a first-contact situation with a new race, Nya is included in the meeting, but there is something sinister about the emissary. She doesn’t know how she knows about the Feri. She only knows that the dreams of another life are so real that she can’t ignore the warning about the visitors to Inar’Ahben who want to know about the powers of the Crystal Keepers.

And if you haven't started this series yet, what's stopping you? Book 1, A NEW BEGINNING, is now free!

There will be much more to come. Start reading today!

Learn more about this and the other books of the series at

Saturday, June 20, 2020

kitty cuteness

Dargo and Jack are BFFFs (best feline friends forever). These two are play buddies and sleep buddies. They LOVE to wrestle and rough-house. It's nice to get some pictures of them in these moments. Usually it's late at night at the foot of our bed when they're cuddled like this. As it is, I've been sitting in the chair with my feet next to them on their ottoman to get some editing done. They were so cute that I had to take a break to share what it's like when I'm working:

Not a cuddly kitties pic, but too cute not to share--Dargo looooves clean towels:

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Awakening... The Luriel Cycle

When I originally wrote AWAKENING, it was a different time in the real world, before the 2016 U.S. elections. Already, there were divisions in our culture. I initially knew that I wanted to write a story about good versus evil and a bad boy who would be changed. Originally, the series was to be called the Shadow Realm Saga.

Around the time that I published the book (the first time), I had my health fall apart. I didn't know if I could finish the series I had in mind. At that time, I had planned four books. Apparently, that was not meant to be. It wasn't out long before I pulled the book off publication and put it aside. I didn't want to have a book available that was promising more but which I couldn't follow through.

A couple years later, as I started recovering my health, I re-imagined the series into a trilogy and renamed it The Luriel Cycle. I had a clearer idea of what needed to happen in the series, which wasn't as big as I originally expected, but it still surprised me. I knew I only had enough ideas for two more books, and ENLIGHTENMENT and ETERNAL fit. The series was to be about a healing. I knew that the daemons and luriel originally were single beings but that something split them into their dark and light sides, not just visually but in personalities.

I knew that I couldn't write the Luriel Cycle as described in the books to become the book titles -- Awakening, Enlightenment, Ascension, (and Eternal as a fourth book originally) -- but had to skip Ascension. The series was about breaking that cycle. There was no Ascension, because it had to be stopped there. That realization became a sort of revelation event and jumped to Eternal, which was not a stage in the described Luriel Cycle in the series but was the end, representative of breaking the cycle.

So, I started digging deeper into the root of the series. I also had to make it work in the way I wanted, so I made some tweaks to AWAKENING, small adjustments to fit with the new vision of the series, and re-released it. It didn't take much and anyone who read both version probably missed those details because they were so small; but I had to make the series make sense for what I knew was to come.

In writing ENLIGHTENMENT, I realized that the real purpose of the series was to use Lilly and Darrac to reunite those who had been split. At the time, our culture was being split along ideological lines and that worked its way into the series. The characters became a tool for healing the Eternals who had been victims of their own hubris. They had been split into the evil and good sides, represented by the cliche light and dark. Lilly's world was still whole, gray (the combination of light and dark), hence the reason that the daemons and luriel referred to it as the Gray Realm. Through the second book, I explored the idea of the cause of the split.

Lilly also had to grow. She is reluctant to accept the truth in the first book and is a bit selfish in her own little world, but she begins to accept her fate as she learns the truth throughout ENLIGHTENMENT about Darrac and his connection to the source of the cataclysm. She learns about her power to heal the people from the Shadow Realm. She goes through the Luriel Cycle enlightenment but she also enlightens Mychel to the truth about the daemons. It doesn't make them any less evil, but it does reveal to him that they are as much victims as the luriel. Through one which he comes to care about, he accepts the responsibility that leads to his healing in ETERNAL.

In the final book, all the pieces come together, literally. It doesn't come easy. The healing isn't only applied to the daemons and luriel but also to the characters who had to face their own prejudices and reconcile with the new reality.

Our world is split in such a way, each side thinking the other is oppressive, but both have been wronged and are mistaken; like the struggle between the luriel and daemons in this series, neither is completely right. There is true evil, but it exists primarily at the individual level. Also, when one side of an ideal is destroyed, it destroys the other. There must be balance, a moderation. Both must perish for one to survive.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Western lite

I cannot comfortably spend any length of time or hard riding in a western saddle. I don't know why, but my right leg starts to kill me, especially my ankle. However, I can sit in my dressage saddle all day, which I did on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for some hard riding. I'm calling it my western lite saddle.

What western riders may find unbelievable but dressage riders will not (or they might if they've never chased cows before) is that I can stay with my horse turning a cow better in my dressage saddle than I ever did in a western saddle, and I grew up in a western saddle. I feel closer and more "plugged in" to my horse in my dressage saddle than in a western saddle. And, as I pointed out to my BIL, the knee rolls on my dressage saddle are just as good for stabilization as any swells on a western saddle.

I was on the ranch Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this past week helping my family sort cow-calf pairs for different pastures. Buddy had some moves! And I was right with him in my dressage saddle... all day (5-6 hours each day) three days in a row. We didn't work as hard as my sister and brother-in-law, but we had our moments. Besides, I'm older, and I also find that not getting the cows or calves excited the way they do usually results in less escape attempts and, as a result, less trouble.

The only trouble I really had, since Buddy LOVES working cattle, is that he got his tongue over the jointed mouthpiece of his pelham bit a few times and I had to get off to drop the bridle to fix it. If you've never had it happen, the joint will poke up under the tongue and bother the horse when that happens. Buddy tossed his head, until I fixed it. But he didn't stop doing it. So, I came prepared on the last day. When he did it again, I switched to a western bridle from a past horse I had, a low port sweet iron curb with a copper roller. It took him a while to accept it, but once he did, he quieted his mouth and didn't once get his tongue over that bit. Given this, we're going to try a double bridle, using the curb as a means to keep his tongue down while I ride primarily with the bradoon (a snaffle that is the primary tool of riding with a double; the curb being there only for refinement). I learned to use it on my last horse, a powerful and big warmblood who had an exuberance that could take him away from me in just a snaffle. With both horses, I had used pelham bits for some control when I could, but now with Buddy developing this new tongue talent and the curb having stopped it, I don't have much of a choice if I want to train him properly. I may not be able to go back to just a snaffle, but time will tell.

Buddy just had to make things difficult.

Thanks to my sister, I have some pictures of us at work.

Getting a pair sorted. We need to keep this kind of
forward in our dressage work!

Taking a group down the alley to the loading chute
to be hauled to one of the pastures Tuesday.

Ponying my sister's horse back to the corral after
a long day of work Tuesday. She took the pic
while driving the Ranger and leading her donkey.

In the corral at the end of the day Wednesday,
Buddy waits in his western bridle to move
cow-calf pairs to the pasture down the road

It's been a long time coming for Buddy to get to this point in his training, but it's a process. Dressage work has prepared him well for doing this. He had his good and bad moments, but those good moments made the moments of being ornery excusable. A few times, he sat down like a cutting horse to turn a cow, and I stayed right with him in my dressage saddle. However, he still gets intimidated by them looking at him and especially when they approach him. A few cows were chargey and needed caution near them. Those cows behaved with two riders coming at them. He's gaining confidence, but that can be unraveled quickly with a bad experience.

Buddy absolutely loves moving cows. He does NOT like being held back, which is funny considering he can be such a chicken. For example, he will snort at and try to get away from strange footing, but when it comes to cows, he doesn't think twice about muck or piles of dirt; he wants to chase a cow! He likes having a job and once he learns the routine, such as with sorting cows, he really gets into it. It's a lot of fun working with him.

In looking at the pictures, I see myself sitting crooked and don't know if it's the ground angle, the stride point, or me. I plan to get together with my instructor for a lesson this summer to fix things. It's been too long.

ps--Because I was so exhausted after these long days, I haven't gotten as much writing done as I wanted, but it was worth it. The writing will catch up, hopefully this weekend.

pps (6/7/20)--This is 100 miles round trip each day for me, which is one reason why I only see my horse (and family) on average 1-2 times a week besides weather factors and timing (no indoor arena like boarding stables, only the wide outdoors). And for anyone who thinks this looks romantic, I can only say NO! There's nothing romantic about farm/ranch life; it's the hardest work you'll ever do. (It takes a special person to work this hard (and harder!); family farmers/ranchers do it for the love of their independence and providing essential products for life, and they love the land and are the best stewards of those resources because their livelihoods depend on it.) Horses, humans, and dogs alike were beat at the end of each day. Thank goodness for sunscreen, or we would have been beet red and swollen of sunburn besides.