Fall is finally here!

After one of the longest Indian Summers on record (and 81 days without a drop of rain!), I no longer have to water my garden. The rains have arrived, along with heightened color in the woods. The birds have returned for free lunches at the bird feeder and squirrels–still hopeful they can grab a snack, too–have again begun doing their best to outwit the spring-loaded feeder. They must be slow learners.  No such luck, guys.

Will the owls be heard again at night as they look for game scrambling through the still-crisp leaves that give away their location?

I love the seasonal changes and my flowers and shrubs are now enjoying almost daily drinks even as they begin a winter rest before they bloom again. What remains to be seen is if the new bulbs recently planted will come up or be eaten by the moles, and whether the rescued rose bush, a mere woody stump last year will, next year, set blooms. I hope, I hope.

Travel – the ups and downs of it

My recent trip to Chicago was wonderful for the time it provided to spend with my writing cousin, catching up on all her activities, oohing and ahing over her new e-books and her plans for others.  But it also reminded me that I need to plan better. Someone once said a “failure to plan = a plan to fail.”  How well I now understand what was meant.

It’s been about 15 years since I was in Chicago and the road system is much changed. As a result, I got lost going from the rental car parking lot–in the dark and rainy evening traffic–to my cousin’s home in one of the western suburbs. Two hours and two phone calls to her finally resulted in my arrival, exhausted and far more stressed than I had anticipated.

Five days later, I climbed in the car and headed back to O’Hare, only to miss the turn-off (or was it not marked?!) and having to travel many miles out of my way before being able to exit the tollroad, call for directions and then follow the phoned instructions of the person who kept assuring me I WOULD make my plane.  I had my doubts. Thank goodness for securing my boarding pass on line and not planning to check my luggage.

I finally arrived at the correct kiosk with barely ten minutes to spare.

Decision time: my next visit will involve using a limo service!

What is it about flowers?

There is something about my garden that soothes my soul, particularly on days when nothing seems to have gone well… characters in my latest book draft are sailing off course, insisting on engaging in behavior I never expected; my cats insist on attention when I’d rather they leave me alone; the laundry is piling up and I’d rather not deal with it; the car needs gas and I forgot to fill the tank before hitting the road and where IS the next turn-off; I can’t get my check book to balance and a big bill has just arrived.  In short,  I’m having a bad day.

But when I go outside for a breath of fresh air, those blooms I planted in the spring and faithfully watered and talked to are now nodding in the breeze, happy just to be alive and thriving, an example of the simple life–being fed water on a regular basis, enjoying the sun on their faces, waving their leaves in the breeze well into the evening.

I need to take a page from their playbook and just chill for a moment.

White-water rafting – a real gas!

Riding “the Boxcar”

This past weekend, I indulged in a get-away activity I’ve been looking forward to for months. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I signed up for the “all-day” option on the gorgeous Deschutes River in north central Oregon. The river was enchanting, with quiet stretches where bird calls were the predominant music along with the quiet gurgling of the water along the shore. At one point we spotted an Osprey nest with three youngun’s waiting for parental returns with food. Then came the sound of impending rapids as we approached just before we shot through the white water to shouts of laughter and occasional yelps of surprise when we were drenched with the bracing river water.

Should you have an opportunity to raft the beautiful Deschutes River, go for it! I know I’ll sign up again!

Gratefulness to “background” experts

The end of June has been all about how thrilling it’s been to see my first two titles available as e-books. At the same time, I am so grateful to the many people who have served as background consultants when I’ve had questions about the accuracy of certain elements in those titles and the ones to come.

Specifically… I feel the need–almost daily–to thank these people. I so appreciate their willingness to answer my questions, sometimes too numerous to dare to ask in a single email, and to refrain from laughing when I ask what has to be a really simple, perhaps even ludicrous, question.

So, to all them, here goes: THANK YOU! (and yes, I mean to be shouting so they can hear me from many miles away)

Jeanne – my favorite nurse consultant; Pat and Jim – my police consultants, who are so good about distinguishing between very urban forces and those found in small towns; Terry and Kathryn – my beta-readers, editors, and cheerleaders; website and epubbing cheerleaders Pam and Karen; Roberta and Montrew, each of whom dared to read very early drafts, suffering along with me, when I realized how much I needed to go back and start over on many scenes; Jim and John, each of them extraordinarily generous physicians with their time in answering questions, both general and specific; Laura and all the other cancer survivors who preferred to remain anonymous, but who shared often very painful experiences with me–I was happy to share my tears with them;  the many realtors who served as “models” for certain characters in my three-book series (not yet ready for publication); and Joy, whose experience with Hospice and step-parenting was a real godsend.

I know I’m forgetting others, and to them, I beg forgiveness. I’ll update the above list as soon as my memory improves.

Please know that any errors of presentation are my own and not that of the many consultants whose expertise and advice I have sought.

Writing may be a solitary activity, but it can never be said that it involves only the author.

Welcome to my website

“Happily ever after” is a wonderful ending to any story, and I love reading such tales, but real life isn’t always so rosy and often includes barriers to that end.

My stories reflect both the desire of my characters for a happy, fulfilling life and the challenges they encounter along the way–challenges that reflect the real world women of today inhabit.

Whether they are in their twenties or of a certain age, how my characters’ lives evolve (through their hopes, dreams and even their fears) and how they change and grow are reflected in these stories.

Perhaps one or another of them is like you or someone you know. I hope you like these tales and the women they follow.