Monday, February 8, 2016

World Building

I've been working on a new novel, it's a YA fantasy set in a land of my own creation. The inspiration for the setting is literally right next door. I live right up against a 60 acre park that has ball fields, soccer fields, walking paths and a pond. It was once a farm and the early 1800's farmhouse, barn and silo are still there. Upon entering the park from where my house is, you can see the silo off in the distance, and the top of the barn. When you have a vivid imagination, this becomes a far-off castle. The location of my house becomes a town, the apple tree in the front corner of my yard becomes an orchard, the walking paths in the park become roads of the realm, and various other sites in the park become important locations in a story.

Below, you can see the park slowly turning into a realm or two:

And now below you can see a roughly-drawn map which shows the realms of Korthis (central), Dolgoland (upper right) and Rhodheim (lower left):

So, over the past year or so  on my walks in the park next door I slowly created a world which became the setting of a novel. I recently finished writing that novel and it is in the hands of a couple of readers. I'm awaiting feedback so that I can put some polish on it.

Here is the preliminary elevator pitch:
A young woman feeling unappreciated at home is drawn into a brewing war and learns that the things she feels unappreciated for may prove key to saving the life of a young prince, and the entire realm.
I'm willing to admit that the pitch also needs some polishing : )

Anyway, the point of this post is, sometimes everyday surroundings can be an inspiration if you let them.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Book Review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

When this book first came out, the few things I heard about it made me not want to read it, and I thought I never would. I thought it was going to be about a whiney, stupidly ill-prepared woman who bit off more that she could chew hiking the PCT and wrote a book about it. In my youth I enjoyed the outdoors and was a backpacker and maybe a little bit of a snob in that I had little patience for people who went into the wild unprepared. But my book club chose this book as the read this month and I decided, against my better judgment, that I would read it.

Well, actually I listened to it, and I was hooked pretty much from the beginning. Everybody sees the books they read differently from everyone else because of what they bring into them regarding their own life experiences. A lot of the reviewers saw this book the way I originally thought it would read, whiney and self-indulgent. But I ended up not seeing it that way at all. Yes, she was stupidly ill-prepared for such a monumental endeavor, and yet she was also very well prepared in some ways, having read the guidebooks and prepared packages for herself, etc.

What it really comes down to is that her life was on the cusp of something when she decided to do this hike. And the thing of it is, this was HER life, not yours and not a story made up to please anyone. This book is her life laid honestly bare. The book is about what she did to figure out which way she would ultimately nudge herself to go while her life teetered on that cusp.

And, putting all of the very personal stuff aside, just making a decision like the one to hike the PCT alone takes moxie. To actually go through with preparing to do it takes more. To sell everything you have to be able to do it is almost unimaginable. To do it with increments of $20 parsed out to yourself along the way because that's all the money you have in the world is just plain brave. And to get to the trail ill-prepared, with bad boots, a too heavy pack, in the Mojave in summer, begin, and not quit in the first week, much less the first couple of days, is outright bold. To actually finish hiking over 1000 miles of challenging wilderness alone with all of the above being true, is absolutely heroic. And to come out of it at the end having gone through something of a cleansing crucible is absolutely wild.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Wedding and then Thanksgiving!

In just under a week my family and I will be flying out to Phoenix for the wedding of my niece. We'll only be there for the weekend, a whirlwind trip, and when we get back? Time to get ready for Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving around the corner and the start of the holiday season, many of you may be thinking about holiday gifts. My Twelfth Christmas is just the right size to tuck in with other gifts that are being sent away, or in a gift basket, or as a nice little surprise on someone's new eReader device.

Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rose of Par Kluhnd free this weekend!

My book, Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale, will be offered for free in the eBook version this weekend!

You can download it for free from Amazon Friday, November 7th through Sunday, November 9th.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A New Map for Rose of Parkluhnd!

Rose of Par Kluhnd has a new map at the front of the book. The original was my own, but the new one is professionally done and looks terrific! I'm so pleased with it:

The map was created for me by Anna-Dawn at
It is already available in the eBook version exclusively at Amazon, and soon will be available in the print version, also available through Amazon. I'm so excited about this new map!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Signing!

I'll be at Old Trail School, nestled in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this Saturday, March 22, from 10 to 1 for a book signing at the indoor farmer's market. I love, love, love farmer's markets! I plan on purchasing some ground bison, some delicious handmade croissants, and whatever else strikes my fancy! Oh, and I'll be signing books, too. Drop by and say hi!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A study in sunflowers

I love sunflowers. I'm always amazed when I grow them. Their size amazes me, how beautiful they are, and the bees that I always find crawling around on their faces.
Here is a study in sunflowers:
Yellow Blue and Green
Sunny Farmstead

View From Below

Click on any of the images to view them larger.