Monthly Archives: June 2016

Summer harvest begins

One of the things about our friend’s place in Clatskanie is the amount of food already present in the form of berry bushes, fruit trees, and wild forage. All the berries are coming on strong, so while the guys worked on weeding the garden yesterday, I picked berries. I started with raspberries in two locations and got a gallon. Next came loganberries, about a third of a gallon. Then I moved on to mountain blackberries. Our friend has an amazing rhododendron thicket just filled with these little wild Pacific Northwest native berries. He set up a three-legged ladder and I was able to pick a gallon of these little darlings (mmmm, mountain blackberry jelly this winter….). After that, I got a cup of blackcaps, a pint of red huckleberries, and a small pint of red currants. All but the blackcaps ended up in the freezer for processing later on during wintertime, during cool weather when we can use the processing heat to warm the house.

However, during the huckleberry harvest, I accidentally sat on a pitch stump. Fortunately our friend has the appropriate dissolving gunk, so I didn’t lose those plants. But it did take a couple of treatments…that’s one pitchy stump!

Today, I harvested a big bowl full of lamb’s quarters from the garden. We use these a lot in stir fries. Earlier, we harvested and froze a batch of rhubarb. Meanwhile, everything is growing great guns except the parsnip. It’s taking its own sweet time to germinate, which is driving all of us crazy. But potatoes are growing, corn is growing, we’ve got lots of cabbage and squash…mmm, another year of garden harvest lies ahead.

This year it’s looking for sure like zucchini relish is going to be a thing. Yum. About time, too.

Enough procrastination, time to get to writing….

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Filed under gardening journal

Beyond Honor now ready for pre-order!

Beyond Honor front cover

It is live on CreateSpace as well, and I have hard copies in my hands. It’s a gorgeous book (shout out to Roslyn McFarland for a lovely design).

What’s it about?

Aireii sorceress Alicira, last magician of the house of Miteal, has escaped the clutches of Zauril, murderer of most of her family and usurper of the Leadership of Medvara. She struggles to remain free of his control, especially since her unborn daughter, Zauril’s child, may have inherited his magic instead of hers. Will she be able to find a safe refuge to rear her child free from Zauril’s influence and wreak her vengeance on him, or will the Gods interfere? Her only surviving sibling swears such a place is in Keldara. But will she be able to reach Keldara without losing all she holds dear?

Release date: July 1.

Preorders now available on Kindle, Nook, Apple, and Kobo


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Filed under Goddess's Honor series

Bee sting

Last fall during hunting camp the yellow jackets were so thick that I had to eat inside of one of the pickup cabs to minimize the risk of being stung. Our non-bee-allergic friend camping with us had accidentally gotten stung so we weren’t taking chances. I’m one of those who carries an Epi-Pen, has a stash of Benadryl around, and keeps an eye out for possible nests, especially in warm, dry fall weather. A sting for me means getting loaded into a car and heading for the nearest ER, Epi-Pen handy. I’m aware and alert, but I don’t let it stop me from going outside too much. Usually eating inside a vehicle in this season is enough for me to be safe, as long as I’m cautious about what I’m doing and clean any grouse I shoot quickly, away from water sources and other places where the bees/wasps/ yellow jackets hang thick.

So last Friday at CampCon, a camp and writing retreat up near Hood River, I wasn’t really thinking about bee stings. Unlike the previous year, this camp was cold and wet. Not bee sting weather. We set up our tent between rain showers and I huddled in the writing area under a pop-up canopy, working hard to finish Birth of Sorrows, the Goddess’s Honor short story I plan to release this September. I’m getting around to writing Alicira’s story, and yes, it is a challenge. I was focused hard on my words when I felt something crawling up my right leg. Bee was not my thought. Spider, possibly tick. I shook my leg and it stopped. I got back to writing, contemplating the finish of the story. The crawly sensation started up again. I decided to get up, shake it out more aggressively, and get those last two sentences down before calling it a night and drinking some absinthe cocoa. I was right on track for what I planned to do during the retreat.

Except. As I stood, I got stung. I knew what it was, of course. Pinpoint needle-sharp hammer slugging the back of my knee. “Shit, shit, shit, I’ve been stung!”

The husband came running while I ran through scenarios in my head. Yes, bees were out despite the cold, but could it have been something else? No, not from the sickish way I was already starting to feel. I hit the Epi-Pen, only to feel crawling again. Great. I dropped trou and this time shook the damn thing out. A small yellow jacket, about an inch long. Got into the car, and hubby raced me to the ER, whereupon I got lectured for maybe hitting the Epi-Pen too quickly and not eating Benadryl instead. Okay fine, different from what I was told before, but whatever. The ER doc wanted to give me Prednisone. That became a discussion point.

Pred and I have a dubious acquaintance. Besides bee sting treatment, a short burst of Prednisone is called for when asthmatics like me get into a nasty round of airway problems due to infections. For any long-term treatment Prednisone is recommended to be tapered down, not abruptly stopped, because of the way it interacts with the adrenal glands and cortisol production. However, a “burst,” or short-term, low-dose treatment, usually does not involve a taper because it doesn’t trigger the same reaction. Usually.


Years ago, I got put on a Prednisone “burst,” with no taper, for the first time because a nasty bug left my airways reactive. Breathing is good, so I took the Pred. When I came off of it I had serious shakes, blood sugar problems, fatigue, all the lovely side effects you get from dropping Pred fast. Since then, I’ve tapered off of even a “burst.” Now this ER doc wasn’t thrilled about that notion, so she gave me another cortisone that supposedly would linger in my system without the effects and I wouldn’t need any more doses than what I took there. Supposedly.

Yeah, the modifiers are in there for a reason. Sometimes you need the adverbs.

Yesterday the steroid crash hit. We’ve been hauling Mocha to the house for Town Training time while the husband paints the house. I was feeling rocky in the morning so didn’t want to bring her in early. She’s fat and sassy on grass, and still gets pretty excited by town sensory overload. By the time we set to bring her in, I knew what was going on. Fatigue, chills, and shakes. Unhappy stomach. Blood sugar yucks. The sting site blotchy and itchy. Steroid crash. Ugh. No horse coming to town this day. I nibbled on peanut butter, grabbed some books, and read/napped the rest of the day, riding through it.

I’m better today, of course. But grumpy from Benadryl last night and a little fuzzy.

Dang bee sting allergy. And dang cortisteroid sensitivities.

Plus I still feel psychic crawlies on that leg.

Of course I would be one of the few people to get stung in this season, while writing, from a bee crawling up my leg on a cold and wet day.

I did finish the story, though. In the ER that night I remembered that I hadn’t saved it, and worried about losing the 2000+ words from that afternoon. Fortunately the interaction between my Mac and Word was such that just closing the lid down kept the story up. The husband got me the laptop and I saved the story. We went back out to camp the next morning and I finished the story, plus outlined a new one, so I’m not too far behind in writing. Yesterday I got Beyond Honor formatted for both ebook and paperback production, so we’re on target for the July 1 release date. The town horse days are doing more to mess with my schedule than anything else. Still, it’s crazy-making to have something as small as this interfere with plans.

Ah well. Just another day in the life of a writer from the wide open spaces.

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Filed under blather


Well, posting about a convention almost exactly a week after it ends isn’t exactly what one would consider a decent con report. Nonetheless, it’s the way life has been rolling, so there. Life has been busy. Did I think things would slow down once I no longer had a steady Day Jobbe and we got moved? Boy, was I mistaken. Granted, most of this is self-imposed, but if anything, our lives are busier and more involved than they were before. So. Busy. Life.

Well, and maybe a touch of con crud when we got back to Enterprise….

Anyway, this year the trip to Miscon did not feature a suicidal deer or a newborn fawn. It did, however, feature some rather epic eagle sightings. We drove from Enterprise to Lewiston and on to Missoula through the Lolo Pass, which meant we followed first the Clearwater River and then the Lochsa River up over the pass. During one curve along the Clearwater, while we were still on the Nez Perce Reservation, a bald eagle curved over the road and back over the river…about 40 feet from my windshield. Sweet.

Further up the pass, I started to notice horse poop on the road, in places where I a.) didn’t see horse pasture nearby and b.) would not consider to be rideable road horse placement on the road. As we ascended the pass, I could see the poop getting fresher and fresher. I started to suspect that we might come around a corner and encounter a horse-drawn wagon. Considering how tight those corners are and how narrow the turns (with big truck loads running over the road, geez, takes me back to the day of big log loads on the Mohawk), I wasn’t too thrilled about encountering a wagon. Fortunately, they were still in camp (we drove by them).

The drive over Lolo is pretty darn gorgeous. There’s lots of trail access from the highway and the rivers were running high enough to support good-sized raft parties. There’s always the opportunity to see wildlife–and on the downhill side, we spotted a spike bull moose hanging out in a swamp.

Miscon this year was in a new hotel, with overflow space into a small park and a couple of downtown facilities. The Clark Fork River runs right behind the hotel, so we still had the meadow and river ambiance…only bigger. Instead of a small handful of food places available, there were some pretty good options within a decent walking distance. Plus a stunning 50s-era building that is both well-preserved and absolutely hilarious in its adherence to 50s-era design. Did I get pictures? Nope. I intended to, but….

The con itself went well. I sold a couple of books, handed some out, and met some cool new people. Somehow the alternative comics panel managed to span everything from the 60s to the present day in one hour, while touching on offshoots affected by alternative/underground comix such as comics/graphic novels in education and literacy, a brief nod to feminism in early underground comix, regional comix, political comix, and the influence of 60s-70s comix on the development of contemporary series such as the Simpsons, Girl Genius, and so on. It was fun but intense.

Our return was nowhere near as dramatic with regard to critter sightings. I did see quite a few swallowtail butterflies hanging out by the road as we drove down the Lochsa in particular, fluttering around certain puddles. The car collected a healthy dose of bugs, and we had a gorgeous view of the hillside above Asotin that was glowing purple from the fresh-bloomed vetch in the late afternoon sun.

So, as always, Miscon was a marvelous time, with marvelous people, and lots of opportunities to meet up with good friends. Already looking forward to next year.

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