Beta Fishing

I’m thrilled to share that THE WIND AT OAK HOLLOW, Book One of the REALM OF LIGHT series will be released sometime in early 2023 (shooting for March-ish).

My new adult dark fantasy novel is coming along fine! While my cover artist and cartographer (I can’t believe I just wrote that!) are hard at work, I am busy pulling together all the other little bits and pieces for publishing.

My novel has already been formatted for ebook, paperback, and hardcover. I’m determined to go at this like a marathon and I want to do everything by the book (pun intended).

I’m also currently on the lookout for beta readers. This has proved harder than expected. I’m casting my line in several areas, but the betas are not biting (or they want better bait). This book is, understandably, on a bit of a budget, though. If you would like to be a beta reader, I would really appreciate the feedback. Please leave a comment below.

I’m quite proud of this series and I can’t wait to see it in print. As a teaser, here is the description for Book One.


Families can be complicated, especially when the fate of the kingdom rests on yours.

Marl Ganwin is more than just a mischief-maker. He’s a pain in the ass–the Wind spirit’s favorite youth. The Village of Na-ir tolerates his antics, giving him free rein to ramble and rumble. But things take an unexpected turn when Wind forces him to accept an unfathomable fate.

Can Marl’s family and the entire village survive the implosion of his gifts? Or will his choices send their peaceful world order into a whirlwind?

What will he loose when he accepts his power?


This whole process has been a bit exhausting, but I’m excited to be living out this dream!

Things are getting scary!

It’s been a running theme in my life that if I truly want something to happen, I’m going to have to set it in motion myself.

That said, I’ve decided to self-publish my adult dark fantasy epic series!

Send good thoughts, prayers, and coffee! I’m going to need it all!

I’ve been busy this last decade. You know—kids, pets, my day job, finally getting out there and exploring the world one campsite at a time…

Also, while submitting to agents, I continued to write. And write. And write. The first four books of this series are complete and languishing in limbo.

Sometimes, I hear my characters wailing in the darkness. They whisper and plot like sullen youths behind my back as I tackle my current WIP* (a YA Scottish myth re-telling).

After years of trying to convince overwhelmed agents to pick my fantasy series up, I think the most merciful thing to do is to let my book babies out of solitary confinement. I need to turn them loose on the world.

I apologize in advance. A few of them are ill-behaved at times.

Why post a blog about it? Well, this is going to hold me accountable. If I tell people I’m going to do something, I will darn well do it! I may nearly kill myself in the process, but it will be done.

I am aware that this work ethic can also be a character flaw.

Still, motivation is motivation. (Don’t at me about intrinsic versus extrinsic. I’ve edited more courses on that subject than I would care to say.) This will be a kick in the pants for me. I should have done this years ago, honesty, but I just couldn’t shake the fear of the unknown. As the protagonist in my own life story, it’s time I had some rising action.

Now, I’m not giving up on traditional publishing. There are several YA novels and a couple more adult novels stewing in my brain (maybe even a few children’s books!). I’m just taking a slight detour through the woods, walking a different path for a bit to gain some valuable insights. If any adorable animal sidekicks or ancient bog witches wanna hit me up, you know where to find me.

I’m new to this, so I know I will stumble. I might come back up with a few bruises and skinned knees, but the journey will be teeming with magic and totally worth it.

Could an agent do a better job? Heck to the yes! Agents have more connections and experience. However, experience doesn’t materialize out of nowhere. This is my personal quest to gain mine.

I already have about 85% of the first book formatted for paperback submission, but there’s still a lot of back work (and research) I need to do to get the ball rolling. I’m estimating that I can have everything ready to go around the summer (?) of 2023.

Cross your fingers.

So, when I’ve figured things out a bit more, I will give you all the launch date for the first book in the series.

I’m so terrified…. uh… excited! It’s happening, guys! It’s happening!

I should probably get back to work.

P.S. If you would like to be a beta reader (in the next few weeks) or an ARC reader (a couple of months on), let me know in the comments and I’ll get in touch with you.

Thank you in advance. I’m grateful to all of you for following me on this journey.

*WIP = work in progress

I Left My Heart in the Mountains

We had a monumental summer this year!

As soon as school was out in May, we packed up Heidi, tossed the kids and grandma into the car, and drove our way through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Though we enjoyed the sites along the way (Capitol Reef was a lovely surprise!), we had one destination in mind.

Yellowstone!

It is something to behold! Our 4-year-old can’t stop talking about the geysers. I can’t stop thinking about the waterfalls in snow. Every moment in Yellowstone was breathtaking, even the bison jams.

King of the Meadow

Not to be outdone, after nearly two blessed weeks among the hot springs and rivers, we headed south through the icy mountains to spend about a week in the rainy, lush Tetons.

Those peaks spoke in ways I cannot translate. We became part of the wild. It was like coming home. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried when we drove out of the park.

Not that our trip didn’t have its share of issues. We were traveling with children and cramped in a car for much of it. Still, the entire trip was an enigma. It was grueling but fabulous, tiring but exhilarating.

Now that we’re home, everything is just a little bit more… well, meh. It’s hard to bounce back from a trip like that. What was a moment of bliss is now just a poignant memory, a couple of pictures hanging on the wall.

I’ve been staring wistfully at those pictures every day. It’s 101 degrees Fahrenheit right now (5:00 p.m.) in Laveen, Arizona and the entire family is sweltering in desire for something more. We’d rather be anywhere but here.

I know. Most people will say that vacations are just vacations and that they are meant to end. But the true point of vacationing is rejuvenation, coming back refreshed. I would argue that wasn’t a vacation, that was traveling, discovery, life itself. The heart aches for that sort of thing. To leave it behind once it has been found is excruciating.

Hopefully, that trip won’t be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. But… Michael does have his heart set on visiting ALL of the national parks. It might be a while before we can hike along those particular cliffs and lakes and breathe in the pure matter of nature in Wyoming and Montana.

I’m ready for any adventure that lies ahead, as long as it’s sooner rather than later.

Buzzing

I’m a sucker for a good, long series. And Diana Gabaldon is a master of this craft. I just can’t get enough.

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good continuation of the story, packed with action, intrigue, and warmth. I actually wish it was longer. There was so much more to cover. I’m also grieving the loss of some of the characters who found themselves in the plot crosshairs. Sigh. C’est la vie.



View all my reviews

All In

Our family has joined the ranks of happy (crazy) camping trailer owners!

We took a slightly anxiety-inducing leap of faith and purchased a gently used Flagstaff High Wall trailer from another camping fanatic. He had obtained it from a man in Colorado; so, she’s already seen some cold weather (and a few bumps and dings). This is good for us because we’re planning a major trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in the coming months, and canvas trailers are notorious for being a bit on the cold side.

I am affectionately calling our trailer Heidi because she’ll be taking us to the mountains. We’ve been fiddling with her and outfitting her for the long haul for a few weeks, but we were able to take her out for the first time last weekend.

So far, so good. The trip to Kartchner Caverns Campground (with a side visit to Tombstone) went without a hitch (pun intended). It was a bit on the chilly side at night; so, we did end up testing out the heater. It works great, though it doesn’t quite reach the far edge of the master bed. Still, we were comfortable, even with that cool pocket. And, honestly, we didn’t even need to plug in the heated beds. (Yes. It has heated beds! Does this make us glampers?)

I’m happy with our decision. This opens up whole worlds for our family. We get more time in nature and the kids get to make those rosy childhood memories. This is exciting and we are all in!

Merry Catmas

“The greeting cards have all been sent. The Christmas rush is through.”

Well, sort of.

Today the boys and I are playing a little catch up. We’ve been furiously cookie making and cleaning and we still have a bit of wrapping to do in the mix.

The decorations have been up for a while, however, and the cats are jealously guarding their tree.

It’s actually been a cat-themed Christmas this year, thanks to my 3-year-old’s obsession with all things feline. Even the neighbor’s cat is getting into the spirit.

Well, maybe not. Bah humbug to you too, fuzzy!

Happiest of holidays to everyone else!