Monthly Archives: January 2017

Happy book day, NETWALKING SPACE

Netwalking full cover


The paperback edition hasn’t quite cleared Createspace yet, but there’s the cover above! While the ebook cover was lovely, it just didn’t work in translation to hard copy. So the fantabulous Roslyn McFarland worked her magic, and lo…a hard copy cover! The woman on the front cover could be Bess, or Nora Achimade, or a couple of other characters…even Ekua the Netwalker.

But the ebook is out! Here’s all the information:


Barnes and Noble:

Apple iTunes:


The blurb:

78,954 alien devices appear just outside Pluto orbit, with a projected trajectory that ends at Earth…and the data shows they’re identical to the Gizmo war machine that destroyed ten Earth cities before it was captured and confined….


For four generations Bess Fielding and her family have led the battle to control the destructive Gizmo device that also allowed for the development of Netwalk, a digital virtual networking and communication system that allows personalities to upload at death. Bess, her mother Melanie, and her Netwalker great-grandmother Sarah have suspected Gizmo’s alien origin for years.


But when a fleet of Gizmo devices arrives at the Solar System, their focus on defending against this invasion is disrupted by disclosures of dark secrets from Sarah’s past. These revelations provoke a dangerous breakdown in Bess’s grandmother Diana, turning her into a Gizmo collaborator. Bess and her family must unite to save Diana and lead the fight to protect Earth—but who is trustworthy? Who is a betrayer? Who gets sacrificed to stop the invading fleet? Bess, Melanie, and Sarah are in a race against time and face tough choices…that will impact those they love.

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Winter moods


Today one of the neighbor kids told me she was tired of all the snow. I smiled to myself, remembering when I heard that from Government Camp kids who lived for skiing and snowboarding. Only in the case of the Govvy kids, it took until April, of a rather cold and snowy year, for them to tire of it. This year certainly seems to be shaping up to be one of those years.

And yet I’m still not really tired of the snow. I am tired of the -20 temperatures, simply because they make everything so hard. But teens and twenties with the snow? Not so bad…if I could only get my ski boots on so that I could enjoy it. But both my ankles are rebelling against going into the boots, so I’m working with them twice a day to see if that will help (and they are Really Nice Boots, too!). If it doesn’t? Guess the skiing days are over. I’ll miss that, but I’ve lost my condition and strength, plus the way the ankles are stiff? Not necessarily a good sign that I should be doing it. I didn’t think it would be ankle flexibility that would put an end to my ski days.

On the other hand, there are simple moments to enjoy even without the skiing. I’d much rather march through snow than rain. Cold rain that sends tendrils of wet ice into your muscles and bones is no fun at all. Snow in a dry climate doesn’t act like that. The cold, even the subzero cold, is a weight shoving against you that can be kept at bay with enough shielding and heat. Even when it crawls into the house at 20 below it doesn’t possess the sharp, bitey edges of damp icy rain. The boots I have now are much less slick than the boots I had 35 years ago, when I remember slipping and sliding around Enterprise at 20 below. Then again, it’s a newer era and I bought good snow boots for skiing and work with an eye toward safety and comfort.

This snow can be easily swept or scraped out of the way.

But there needs to be routines to deal with it and the cold. Below about 10 degrees, it’s time to turn on the water to a trickle at bedtime so the one junction where the water comes into the house doesn’t freeze (or the meter, either). Turn the thermostat so that the furnace switches on in the early morning, when the last heat from the wood stove fades. Watch the thermometer on the wood stove to keep the temps running as they should.

Remember to drink water. In the dry cold it’s easy to forget about keeping hydrated. Until Mocha went through her first winter at pasture I worried that she might not drink enough. I shouldn’t have worried. She took to drinking from a heated trough easily and continued the trend I noticed early on of drinking more than I remember her doing in Portland. This year, I notice more how she savors the warmed water when she drinks, dipping her lips in the water and drinking slowly. Last year, true, she was low in the herd hierarchy and ran with a herd member who wanted to fight everyone. This year, she’s friends with the herd alphas and has a comfortable place in the hierarchy. That comfort gets reflected in her relaxed behavior at the water trough.

Going outside in subzero temps definitely requires forethought, layering and planning. Scarf/neck gaiter, hat, gloves, sweater, coat, boots. One set of clothing for the barn–heavier because there’s more wind out there and I’ll be out longer than I would be walking around town. Another set for going to meetings or walking around town. Still another set for inside the house where the wood stove makes it quite temperate.

And yet I won’t trade one whit of it for the damp and the rain.


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Trial #2

It would be nice to be able to read comments on DW and LJ!

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Testing, testing

Checking to see how the posting works to Dreamwidth.

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The social whirl of a hard winter

Once New Year’s faded and another wave of sub-zero temps descended upon Enterprise, it seems like suddenly I’m finding all sorts of Things To Do. I joined the Soroptimists, visited the local dressage chapter’s meeting to find out about their shows this year, attended a presentation about local historian Grace Bartlett, had a writing date with another local writer, and went to the Quilter’s Guild Sew Day. There hasn’t been much opportunity to do anything with the horse because it’s either been too cold to ask her to do much, or I was down with a 24 hour bug plus all those social things I was doing. And, oh yeah, working on the production side of Netwalking Space plus starting a new Goddess’s Honor short story to help me work out some worldbuilding elements.

It has been beautiful and sunny. But even in the sun, the highest temps have been single digits, and at night they’ve been approaching -20 F in places. We drove up to Wallowa Lake the other day and saw rafts of loosely forming ice floating on the surface. There’s a foot and a half of snow on the ground, more where it has drifted–but thankfully nothing like the Grande Ronde Valley on the other side of the Wallowas. Traveling outside of the County is a challenge right now. The road to LaGrande is closed at Elgin. Even if we could get to LaGrande and I-84, 84 is closed to Pendleton. The Tollgate pass from Elgin to Weston and then Pendleton is closed. The only way out is north, over a twisty pair of grades descending into the Grande Ronde River, then climbing back out to get to Clarkston…and even so, the way the weather is throughout most of the West Coast, I’m not sure anyone can get anywhere right now.

It’s been a tough winter so far. Lots of people report frozen pipes, stubborn vehicles, and other weather-related mechanical issues. The deep snow makes it difficult for ranchers to feed, and it’s deep enough that the deer are struggling and getting into haystacks or eating landscaping in town. The other day, I saw one of the town fawns hunkered up next to an evergreen bush, not even trying to eat but shivering (at -4). I’ve seen town deer right up next to people’s houses eating shrubs.

This is the weather we expected when we bought the place in Enterprise–foot and a half snow, periods of significant subzero cold–but didn’t see the first two winters we owned it. It’s much the same as what we went through 35 years ago–lots of snow and cold. But this house is much more sturdy than our little rental was (although the same vintage), and we winterized it pretty thoroughly. So far it seems to be working. On those cold subzero nights, the radiant oil heat (yes, in old-fashioned radiators) kicks in for a few hours once the wood stove dies down. During the day, the little stove heats the house up pretty well. We’ve also been baking to supplement the house heat.

Mocha is doing well so far in this weather. She’s relaxed, calm, ready to eat anything that presents itself as horse food, and has the energy to be a bit snorty when I ground drove her the other day. Too cold to ride, too slick to ride, too deep to ride–I realized that I could do some bending and suppling work by ground driving her for five to ten minutes. If the footing hadn’t been slick, I think she would have broken into a trot. She’s got a good solid fur coat and looks good. Her attitude is good as well–she’s coming up to me in the pasture and is ready to get her grain and a little bit of work. I mix her grain with a bit of water and crushed peppermint, and these days she comes up to where she can watch me in the grain shed.

Arrgh, this post seems so flat and prosaic. I had visions of it being vivid and descriptive and wonderful…and it’s just bleh. Oh well. It’s wintertime.

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2016 in summary–writing, day jobbe, horse stuff, garden

2016 was a rough year. Good things happened, but several tough things that are still working themselves out also happened, personally and politically. The son got sick and we are still working through all that stuff (deep sigh), including things that are really difficult, and 2017 is going to be a pivotal year there. The Trump election brought us back to 1980 and the Reagan Revolution, and while I can see where this might bring about some changes that will upend what 1980 brought, that’s a long-term view that overlooks the very real suffering that is going to happen to far too many people in the short term. If the idiocy that seems to be taking over internationally doesn’t lead us all into a really awful war, that is. Sometimes I think I’m watching the real life development of aspects of my Netwalk Sequence series. That’s a scary thing for a writer to contemplate, but Netwalk has always been a series that anticipates the future we’re heading into. Except for the Gizmo, that is. If we get a malevolent piece of alien technology attacking cities, then I’ll REALLY get worried.

But…on the positive side, this was the year that I sold the most books ever. Pledges of Honor has sold around 100 copies, both ebook and in hard copy, since its release in December of 2015. I’ve spent under $50 in promoting it, and got it out on some review sites. I didn’t do a lot of publicity with it and I wonder what would have happened with more. I released a novella prequel to Pledges, Beyond Honor, that has sold about 20 copies. Not surprising as it’s not as compelling a story, plus it is part of the process of ramping up to write the next book in the series, Challenges to Honor. Two short stories in the Goddess’s Honor series, Birth of Sorrow and The Goddess’s Choice, are selling in bits and pieces. This makes me happy that I took the rights back from eTreasures publishing, and has me making raspberries at those publishers who did reject the book before eTreasures. If little ol’ indie me could make these sales on my own without a lot of publicity, then what could have happened with publisher support? Oh well, no publisher is getting their hands on this one until the series is complete. Then I might talk.

The Netwalk Sequence series has been disappointing in sales this year. I released Netwalk’s Children in November 2015 and it went nowhere. Because I wanted to finish the series, I went ahead and wrote Netwalking Space, and it is on track for a late January/February release. That wraps up the series as I can’t afford to spend any more time writing Netwalk’s Descendants with that poor a return on Children, and I’ve made Space as standalone as I can. I did get the amazing David Rivet back to do this final cover, which thrills me to no end. It feels strange to not be thinking about what’s next in Netwalk, but such is the way of things. There will be a far future sequel but that is at least a year off, because I have other projects I want to develop. I will also reissue three novelettes in the Sequence in an omnibus edition sometime this year. Maybe I’ll write the rest of the Disruption Chronicles subseries short stories, but it’s unlikely at this time, unless Space really takes off.


I did also have short stories come out this year. I have one story, “Glorianna,” in the NIWA anthology, Artifact, available here. I also have a story, “Tricksters, Horses, and Beer,” in How Beer Saved the World 2. My short story “Witch Trails” came out in Allegory and is available here.

I’ve already got a couple of pieces in the upcoming Campcon anthology, Steam. And Dragons, which will have preorders available in February and be on sale in March. One is with a pseudonym I’m going to play with a little bit. I’m also hoping for some other sales of the short stories I have on hand and are circulating, but not holding my breath. As the sales of “Witch Trails” and “Glorianna” show, it seems like my short stories need to age for about ten years before they find a home if I’m selling them cold, with no links to the publisher.

I have yet to sit down and draft my writing plan for the year yet, but tentatively, I’m going to be releasing the sequel to Pledges of Honor, Challenges to Honor, this year. I have a side project that I plan to develop and send out to select small press publishers before publishing it myself. I also have loose notes and a running start at a Weird West novella, Bearing Witness and notes on an alternate history Weird West featuring the Pacific Northwest becoming its own country in the 1820s-1840s (maybe later), with an alliance of former fur trappers and Native peoples against the British, US, and Spanish. There’s also a rodeo-themed far future space opera with lizard aliens, Converted horses, and duels between human riders and sentient horses that are threatened by the rise of a plasmoid-based species seeking to take over the Universe. I’m thinking that this year I am going to sit down with these projects and create packets for each that resemble submission query packets–that is, full synopses, worldbuilding, and perhaps even the first three chapters–so that I can just pull up a project and get to work on it. Given that the amount of snow and cold this winter is bringing is going to limit my horseback time, and given that I still can’t wrench my ski boots on over my bum ankle, I’ve got plenty of time to get things together.

Moving on from the writing, 2016 brought me back into regular teaching. I got a call from my old district to come back and do special education academic eligibility testing, and that also led to my current online gig teaching online PE and Health (cue jokes). I also renewed my license for five more years, and have substituted here in Enterprise. I’d still like to find a sped consulting gig, but Portland is full of people like me, and there’s not much of a call for it here in NE Oregon that I can see so far. Still, I’m happy to have my hand back in the game at this level. I don’t know that I would want to be back in the classroom full time again, but we’ll see.

I also may have found my bazaar home in Enterprise. I spent two weekends at the Jingle through Joseph bazaar and did reasonably well, all things considered. I am easing back into doing crafts and arts for sale, including jewelry. I’m making further plans for connections in that world.

This was also the year that Mocha got healthy and made the transition to being a ranch horse. She still does the occasional goofy stuff like jumping into an ice-covered creek thinking it was solid, but for the most part she has adapted to being part of a herd on pasture and seems to prefer that to being penned or stalled, even in the coldest subzero weather. I spent the summer turning her into a steady road horse, and by fall, we were doing seven mile rides on a loose rein. She showed signs of lameness whenever I’d ride her in the arena, but if I rode her in the field or on the road, she was sound. By the end of fall, before the first snowfall, however, she was ready to go back into the arena and work. We did get out on a couple of trail rides and that is going to be our next year’s priority.

The garden in Clatskanie really took off this year. We are still harvesting carrots and beets from it, still have some winter squash, had potatoes that lasted through December, lots of dried and frozen peppers, and cabbage in storage. We’ve frozen corn and carrots, and I made both zucchini and corn relish. The Gravenstein in Portland produced a bumper crop and we made applesauce plus froze apples for cooking. It’s hard to get used to needing to buy some veggies now!

Enough blathering. I have a horse to see and plans to write.

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