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It won’t happen until August 21st, but already all the hotels in town are booked for the event. Television stations have begun to spread the news. In case you haven’t heard, one of the most miraculous events will occur in a vast area in the United States where people can gather to watch it. If I were Mark Twain, I’d be writing a book using it as a plot point. The total eclipse of the sun will occur, and we know precisely when and where.

As an old science teacher, I wish I had some students to share my excitement with. So here are a couple of links so I won’t shout your ears off. No one explains better than Nasa.

If you want to join the 12.2 million they predict will watch, see where you can drive to and sit in awe for a couple of life changing minutes, (with protective goggles of course), here is that link.

And to just fade away, here is a great song.





Not sure if this will work, but our prompt tonight was to make a list. I really don’t make as many lists as I used to. When I first retired, every night I still made a list of things to do, and the next day worked on them, hoping to cross off as many as possible that night before making the next. I would do them step by step, always numbering after I made the list so the simple, easy things came first. When possible, always breaking down complicated tasks into simpler ones. The joy in a list for me was always crossing off items.

Since I’m writing a novel, the steps for it might look like this.
Find images of the characters.
Decide on the setting and research the area, again finding photos if possible.
Outline the novel, emphasis on the opening scene, major turning points, and the closing scene.
Write a scene at a time, 1000 to 2000 words. Researching as new questions arise.
Read through the completed rough draft. Make editorial changes based on structure, adding scenes, or taking things out or maybe moving them after supplying additional information.
Write and ask if people who have read or reviewed previous books will read my edited draft to look for any additional errors.
Edit using mechanical apps, like Grammarly, Hemingway, Paperrater, Ginger, etc.
Send off to readers and wait for their changes and suggestions.
Work on cover and back blurb.
Rewrite and make corrections as needed from Beta readers.
Format versions for Kindle and Create Space.
Post book on line in both versions and make changes after looking at preview copies.
Publish and outline the next.

Which all sounds well and good, but as I write, too often the characters just come alive and run off with my imagination and the storyline. I try to follow, adjusting as I can, but enjoying capturing the developing story. Polishing comes later.

Now, I admit I am slowing down. I make a list about once a week, forget to look at it most days, and feel glad if I run across it and find I’m able to cross off a few things.

Do you make lists, and if so do you use any apps or programs to make it easier?

Trying to end with one of my favorite Abbot and Costello skits. If it doesn’t open, just google their skit, Niagara Falls online. Hope you enjoy.



Since there is nothing in my head for the second time in this challenge, I looked at the prompt. Gratitude sounds a lot like platitude and I don’t want to sound trite. But today as I read all the online news I could stomach, I was struck by a story about the collapse of another country, like so many around the world in recent years, Venezuela. The thing that shocked me the most was not that people are starving and desperate, that seems to be the pattern after the Soros crew are through, but that there is no toilet paper left in the country. They have to cross the border to even buy that basic necessity. It reminded me that I am grateful to live in America, where people are still free and where the forces of evil haven’t destroyed us yet.

So here are a few more suggestions of why and how to benefit from taking a moment to appreciate what we have, instead of whining and complaining about what we don’t. I have a friend in another online group, she is working on her second year of listing what she is grateful each day. It has helped her survive medical and emotional crisis yet stay positive. So below is a summary of what just looking on the positive side of the ledger can do for your body.


Since I’ve tried every other diet, slimming down by just being grateful seems a simpler plan to try, as well as all the other benefits. If you are willing to try but not sure how to begin, here are a few suggestions to help inspire you.


Even without the list I know I am blessed. I love and feel loved and there is nothing more that I need. What are you grateful for?




I’ve never been a gambler, so I’ve never believed in lucky numbers. The blog tip was to write about numbers though, so I’ll try. Think this was the prompt for yesterday, not today though. Will probably not be posting this until after midnight again, which is tomorrow, so there you go.

Post 14, almost half way in this blog challenge. Passed the halfway mark today in Camp Nano, so I’m relatively happy. Wish I had set my goal at two or three thousand words a day though, instead of just one thousand. That’s the trouble with goals, they are almost always self-fulfilling. Love this Henry Ford quote. When I taught Algebra I would write it on the board whenever anyone would say they couldn’t do the math.


A wise man, because he didn’t waste any words. Found a list as I was searching for the quote to make sure I punctuated it correctly. Fewer the words, the more powerful the decision between a period or comma. Totally changes the connotation.

I’ve decided my lucky number is seven.


lucky_number_7__by_jayve1It’s the one I always pick when asked that question. Also found a bonus of seven more fantastic quotes from old Henry. Something to chew on, and I finally decided, he had it right each time. Hard list to comply with though.

Ford Quotes(1)

What’s your lucky number?



On the top of my list of to do’s, every year for the last three years, has been to create an email list. Every few days I will make the mistake of listening to a webinar (you know, for $99 a month I will tell you all the secrets to being successful at writing), and they always say, make an email list.

So, I haven’t been able to figure out how to add a click on thing on my WordPress site. Honestly, I just come and visit because of the blog challenges. I’m rather addicted to challenges.

I did figure out the add comment thing, but if it takes your email, it’s like Amazon, and keeps it secret from me.



I go on Facebook four or five times a week – just to keep up with the many lists I’ve joined. I think it must know who follows my list and have your email, but again, it is secret from me. Apparently, according to all the experts, if you want to make any money from writing, you must build an email list.

Tonight or tomorrow, the few chosen ones, people who’ve written and given me their email, hopefully, will receive my first Mailchimp email. Wave flags or dance or something, because you are special. I hope to have the new book edited by Friday, and would love some Beta readers to reassure me it is ready to publish. I feel blessed to have a handful of real, actual fans. People who have written to share how much they’ve loved a book (s). Most post reviews as well. (I am still shocked to write that word, ‘fan.’)

I’ve not wanted to abuse anyone’s trust and annoy them with a lot of emails. I get so many, and believe me, it can be annoying. But, now that I’ve slowed down and there’s just a new book every three or four months, it will not be often, or very long, when I write, “have a new baby, please take a look.”

Hopefully, I can figure out how to add a box to unsubscribe, so if you don’t want to ever hear from me again, you’ll have the option.

I know it is pathetic, but this is the part of writing that scares me the most. Selling the books. I like it, love it when I sell one. But it’s hard to say “look at the pretty book, buy the pretty book, you must have the pretty book.” (I was channeling Svengali as I wrote that, you know, you are under my spell, do as I say, to hypnotize you.)



I’ve made lists before. Used to do a newsletter every month, for over twenty-five years, for the writers’ group. I mean, I’ve been writing about the Civil War, and every one of these handsome men were on a list or roster. I kept one for every class I ever taught. I’ve written lots of letters before, and many pages of other things as well. (I can do this, surely I can do this, I will get this done.)

So if any of these emails that I scribbled down in various notebooks, have been entered correctly, you may hear from me. Smile, and know that I just want to be a successful writer when I grow up, and I love you.


Worrying about all the hate and mud still being slung, post-election, made me sulk most of the day away. I prefer to be optimistic and happy, get a lot more work done that way.





I write mainly historical romance. An idyllic time unless you research history. No indoor plumbing, hand-washing clothes in all kinds of weather, cooking on wood-burning stoves or over campfires, no air-conditioning or central heat. Travel anywhere usually took up the whole day – just to buy groceries or visit the neighbor, and crossing the country could take months. They had very few books, which would have made me very unhappy. Most people made most or all of their own clothes, raised or hunted their own meat, grew and preserved their own vegetables and fruit, and died of something, usually before they were forty, including the common cold.

Today planned to research the coming changes to the economy and society. Instead will just list the most interesting of these and let you take a look.


Most of the predictions sound unbelievable, but I believe most will happen. I mean my husband and I only have a cell phone, no land line, and own a smart television, which if I ever figure out how to get Jeopardy and Wheel, I can cut out cable. Our last car is already smarter than us, reminds us to put it in park and take the key, gives directions and instant maps of where we’re going, and lets us talk to people through the steering wheel. Came as we’re actually starting to need constant reminders, the dryer playing music when its time to fold, the microwave and oven beeping when they finish cooking. I like most of this stuff some of the time.



Almost every article talked about the Internet of Things. We will all be connected to information and each other all the time. More smart machines, houses, and apps so life will become much easier.

We can store one third of all information in the cloud for access anywhere now, in ten years, almost everything. If you stay mad about the biased news coverage and annoying media personalities, be patient. Their days are numbered. We’ll be able to get our news instantly from the source from someone at the scene or disaster with a cell phone.  No need for pompous experts to tell us what is happening. Might lead to more people forming their own opinions – but no one seemed to predict humans would be smarter.

Talking street signs and cars that drive themselves may be arriving just in time. Good for the elderly and the young drivers too busy texting and watching a video to pay attention to where they are going.

Several talked about virtual humans, in the next ten years. Robots to tend to the elderly and small children, and do most of the boring tasks that people call jobs now. Some of these will be robots, others cyborgs (humans with mechanical parts). Not sure this will be that good, since I get annoyed just talking to those make-believe people on the end of the phone line when I need information, but trying to keep an open mind.

Power will no longer be a problem. There are new solar cells that one can just print off and use, costing negligible amounts and supplying power for cities from a few acres of solar panels. Pollution free, unlimited energy is at hand.

Don’t fret the repeal of Obamacare or the new plan to replace it. Soon we will be able to access our DNA report to see what our risk factors are, have a remote visit with the doctor by smart phone, have all the sensors needed to detect any changes in our health, and even order microsurgery by robots to perform most operations for pennies on the dollar. Someone is even saying we’ll be able to create our own replacement organs.

Three-D Printers will be able to print out whatever you want, besides a new kidney. You order it online, then print off your new shoes, clothes, furniture, etc. Oh Judy Jetson, to think I ever laughed about you typing in dinner and poof, it appeared. The scientists are saying yes, affordable and we’ll have it to use within the next ten years.

Luckily, with so much less to do to stay busy, we will have Virtual Reality. We can go on vacation, create our own movies, maybe even have a hot date with our dream man or woman. Never a boring moment.

Don’t worry about going to the bank, the banking systems will be replaced by something called blockchain. Everything automatically taken care of in cyberspace. If the blocks are anything like legos, I’m ready to play.

Here are a few of the links.



If you a doom and gloomer, I only found one article making dire predictions of national bankruptcy, population control, constant wars, civilizations slipping backward, etc.  Everything bad that we have now, except speeded up. Enough said, I see a lot of end times things on Twitter. I’ll let you imagine that for yourselves.







First week gone, and my goals haven’t changed, but so many of the posts in my Facebook feed were negative tonight, thought it might be a good time to reflect on this past year and wish for a more positive new year. Seems the election has divided America into two warring camps, as evidenced by the speeches in the Golden Globe awards – a ceremony about film, not politics (usually). Fear the leap from the old to the new may be too far for many to cross. Always believed that hate is a two headed worm, devouring the host as much as the one it is pointed at.

One: Wish America could heal and unite as one country. We face a complex world, full of terror, uncertainty, and many, many enemies. Instead of insulting each other and continuing the snide put-downs, we need to join together to offer help and participation in moving everyone forward. Of course, this image of the video game World Conflict shows our children are playing at the alternative already. Is this really what Americans want? Intelligent caring people need to find points of mutual need and agreement instead.


Two: Wish we could have our push-button digital world without the loss of the industrial and commercial world that most of us grew up knowing. Do not see that happening. Time is here to  revamp education with more emphasis on apprenticeships and the jobs that are actually out there. Also need increased value placed on jobs of service, such as teaching, nursing, farming, developing self-sustaining energy, and cultivating biological diversity.

Not sure how wonderful factory life was, but it did enable the average American to have a steady paycheck, nice home, and two week vacation. Perhaps if we can revamp and change the psychology of service jobs, pay more, offer greater prestige for those who do them – we could have  a better social network than the one that has failed so many in our country. I’ve always believed work makes a person happy, having nothing meaningful to do creates a sense of worthlessness that mere words cannot erase.


Three: Wish we were planning more for the future. Rebuilding the infrastructure so children don’t have to drink lead or other poisons with their water, develop new power grids and communication centers so our country is self-reliant, replace our deteriorating interstate system and prepare for the new self-driving cars.

Think according to many religions, not just the Mayans, we are living in end-times. If you are a believer, you know hating others does not lead you to a better place. Although global warming may not be real, climate change is, and with increased volcanic and seismic activity as well as close flying comets – we need to focus on human survival for the next apocalyptic event. We have opposable thumbs and the gift for gab, so hopefully we can find a way for mankind to survive.


These three are really selfish wishes. When people are calling names and sending hate-messages, murdering others because they’ve bought into all the hate rhetoric, even attacking the helpless and weak – it is hard for me to escape to my imaginary world and write in peace.

Please, let us have peace.





Trying to finish a novel these days is getting harder, not easier for me. Worked on Widow Mouse, my second in the Mountain Wives Series, all through March, finished the novel during April’s CampNaNoWriMo. In the summer camps, you can set your own goal – rather than having to finish 50,000 words like in the traditional November competition. Set a goal to write the second 35,000 words to finish my work in progress. Reached the goal and the first draft. Did a quick reread and added another seven thousand words to it. Now, have edited all week. Today finished my second comprehensive edit and just need to format it before sending it to Beta Readers. If I get it done tonight, will send a few copies out, but think I should probably do a printed read through first.

Part of writing, the joy part for me, is creating a unique sympathetic character with an interesting, almost unsolvable problem. I don’t want to rewrite some story I’ve read that someone else created. As a life-long reader, I came to writing as a way to find something I would enjoy reading. But now, I am finding it very hard to turn off my inner critic. When I was writing for my own pleasure only, not worrying about publishing and selling books, words were just pouring out. Problem, now that I am publishing them, many of the stories are a little out there (most of my new work is on sale on Kindle at . The two fantasy novels, Glitter of Magic, and Glimmer of Moonlight, were quickly written, but harder to sell. Then there are the scripts to novels –High Desert Danger, Voodoo-I Do (Bride of a Zombie), and Chimera Pass — which are admittedly strange.  I have two in my Ghost Warrior series and the hero Ouray wants a third book, but I’m still resisting. So these days I’m always thinking about pleasing my readers, not just me. Since I’m not sure what they want to read, it’s harder.  Also becoming more serious about editing my work, slows the writing, because I know if it’s a total mess, it will take longer to rewrite, edit, and get into book form.

Am participating in a little group with the James Patterson Class. Submitted an entry in the big co-author with James contest. Did not place. Great exercise and I found the interaction with other writers in the group very stimulating. We have our own project and I need to create a story for it, also need to keep up with critiquing other members work.  Am also participating in two local writers’ groups. The Foxleaf Group has an Anthology project and I need to get on top of it soon. Being a conscientious doer, these are always at the back of my mind, creating a little guilt.

I am going to be producing less this year, and taking more time with each project. Good news, finishing a novel is now at the front of the line and the new book should be up my the middle of May. If you would like to help by being a Beta Reader, (read it in a week and send back feedback), just send me your email address at and I will send you a copy of the new book in either MOBI or PDF format.


Local Book Signing,14198Facebook-20150526-123044Had a booksigning, sharing workshop about my experiences in pursuing my dream the last two years. Nice rainy Thursday afternoon. Didn’t sell many, but did feel appreciated and special with nine writers asking questions and soaking up my few pearls of wisdom. Made me appreciate how all writers need friends and supporters and it was wonderful to hear from those who had read my books explain what they enjoyed about them. Lovely day.