Sunday, 7 July 2019

Hot Summer Fun

  This will be a little personal since I'm talking about my writing, but I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer months with all the warm weather, gorgeous flowers, family vacations and grass to cut. I'm not a fan of hot weather but so far it hasn't been too bad, as long as I get up by 6 in the morning so I can do yard and garden work before 9. After that, I can spend time writing, doing things with family members and friends or giving service to others two days a week. I love giving back to people who cannot do certain things for themselves  I have been blessed with good health and the ability to do so. It is a great blessing and one I thank God for each day. There is so much suffering in the world, and I want to be part of the group who isn't always taking. That's so easy to do in our society where wants more likely than not outdo needs and people are more concerned with getting ahead than doing good to others. I believe every kind and thoughtful turn comes back a hundred fold in ways we would never expect.
  But back to what I would like to say, and it is about giving.  I'm really excited to announce the July 4 winners of the digital copies of Betrayal - Indecision's Flame - Book 4. I love sharing what I've written with others almost as much as I like writing. So here's a big congratulations to Judy Norris, Misty Mendenhall, Letitia Brower Klein and newrozunak@yahoo. For those whose names have not yet been drawn in a contest, I will be sponsoring another giveaway when the first book in the Final Allegiance series comes out in a few weeks. I'm working on cover-design. It’s very different from writing what goes inside, but I will endure. This new series is very different from Indecision’s Flame, but it does take place in some very exotic locations as Agent Reagan Sinclair begins her extraordinary and challenging service with the FBI. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.
    My knees trembled slightly as I walked past the empty desks of other agents in our division. Some of them were out of the building on assignments, while others would start trickling in as the clock ticked closer to the hour. This was going to be either a very good or a very bad day. The knot that had formed in my stomach while I was in the elevator traveled upwards until it lodged in my throat. What if I was being overly confident?  Nearly half of the new agents washed out the first few months on the job. There were few nine to five assignments and arrival at work didn’t always mean going home at night. Some cases took several days or even weeks to complete, and families couldn’t always be apprised of what was going on. 
   I’ll be sharing more later on my Facebook page and blog, and don’t forget that you can still get the first three books in Indecision's Flame as a Trilogy and save a little money, along with the rest of the books in the series at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv. If you’ve enjoyed any of books I’d love for you to leave a review. They’re what help us get noticed and would mean a lot. Just use this link to help me out. http://bit.ly/IFReview


  This is the setting for the first book in Final Allegiance. Doesn't it look like a fun place to visit?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The Fun of Being a Homeowner

So here's my excuse for not posting something the past few weeks. I'm sure it's one many of you have lived through - probably more than once. It's all about being a homeowner and having things fall apart. It began when I turned on my sprinkler system a few weeks ago and found that every time I turned the outside water on in the house my back yard got sprinkled until I shut it off again. I couldn't get any of the other lines to work. Instead of calling a repair man, I asked a neighbor for help. He struggled with it for a few days thinking the valves in the back might be shot but finally brought another neighbor who figured out that one of the valves in the backyard wasn't sufficiently tightened. He reprogrammed the entire system for me - something I'd been struggling with since moving into the house nearly four years ago.

Once that issue was solved, I turned on the AC only to discover that every time I did it froze up. This time I did call for professional help. The verdict, like so any others, they could try to fix it for almost as much as new one could cost but there was no guarantee it would work through the rest of the summer. The furnace and AC are 16 years old. Apparently, they're only built to last 15 years anymore. It makes me wonder why the old ones would work for 25 years plus. (Perhaps all the new technology makes more than just people a little more lazy.) Anyway, I opted to replace both of them since installation would be a thousand dollars less to do them together. Plus, they would give me a discount and a rebate. That purchase successfully ended any travel plans for the next couple of years.

While I was waiting for them to do the installation, my granddaughter turned on the facet in the guest bathroom, and we couldn't get it to shut off. My son came to see what he could do. He got the hot water  value underneath the sink closed but didn't check the one for cold water. Two days later I walked into the basement to get a can of soup and found water dripping on my head and a whole bunch of it soaking into the floor. My son came to my rescue again and tightened the other valve so the flooding would stop, but he doesn't have time to replace the facet and valves for a week or so. He's in the process of moving. I cleaned up the mess, but it still means that if anyone comes to visit they will have to wash their hands in one of the other sinks.

I'm not sure there's a moral to this story. Life happens and things fall apart. It's how we react to negativity and irritants that really matters. I do believe in divine help and the goodness of others. I believe they work together to help us through the challenging times in life. I'm just very grateful for all my blessing. Life could always be so much worse.

In case I didn't mention it before, the final book in the Indecision's Flame series was released last month. It's a great read for any member of the family, and there's even an option to get the first three as a trilogy and save a little money. I'm hoping I will have a little more time for writing now, but it's a little iffy until school starts because I'll  have my granddaughter with me 2 to 4 days each week. Being with her is a blessing. She's teaching so much.


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Remembering Others

So I didn't exactly forget Memorial Day. It's just that I live too far away from the cemetery's where my ancestors are buried to visit them and pay my respects very often. However, I did spend some time thinking about those who had gone before, especially my father. He died when I was thirteen. A sudden heart attack took him away from a wife and 7 little children who needed him desperately. He was tall and lean and kind and truly one of the most hardworking and selfless men I have ever known. He wanted to come a soldier and fight for liberty and truth during World War II, but a heart condition and an injury while playing high school football prevented it until the end was near.

Since he couldn't be sent directly into battle, he became part of the military police who rode the rails back and forth across the United States looking for draft dodgers and deserters. I can't imagine doing that, but it was a necessary part of the process since not everyone wanted to leave their lives of relative ease to help someone else. The last few months he spent on a Del Monte Pineapple Plantation in the Philippine Islands as a medic nursing soldiers back to health. It seemed like such a noble cause until I learned that most of the men he was helping were suffering from venereal diseases. Being young, I didn't know what he was talking about until much later.

That recollection made me think about how important the seemingly simple decisions in life can be.  It might not matter what we eat for breakfast or what we wear on a particular day, but it will matter to someone if we smile when we see a stranger, pick up a piece of litter or think before we speak. Life is about giving something back, not always wanting to be the recipient of something good or wonderful. I applaud those who hang posters on doors asking for old shoes that can be sent to those in need. I marvel at the compassion and help freely given during times of disaster, personal crisis or unrest. I feel great pride when I see the flag flying because I know millions of people sacrificed all they had so our nation could be free. I wish I could do more but need to be content with doing what I can. We choose what we will become and what we will be remembered for. Most days I just want to be remembered as being a replica of my father - minus the tall and lean, I'm afraid. Someday I will see him again, and I want him to be proud of me.

As a quick side note, you have until Friday to get the first three books in the Indecision's Flame series as a trilogy for $.99 by clicking on this link https://amzn.to/2PfLun2.  I'll tell you about book 7 in the series later. It's a must-read for everyone who believes in family, hope and forgiveness.



Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Belated Mother's Day

So I completely spaced the holiday when it came to thinking about my own mother. Ours was a difficult relationship and my childhood was rarely pleasant, but I still admire her as a woman who worked hard, tried to do her best and commanded respect. There were never any fuzzy moments when I felt truly loved and accepted, but I always had clothes to wear and a roof over my head. I could never go to her with the problems that really mattered or seek shelter in the strength of her arms when I was frightened or needed help, but she made sure there was food on the table even if I had to cook it myself and she sometimes typed my school reports. (I never felt the need to take a typing and that has been a hindrance my entire life, especially since I have spent so much of it writing as a way to cope with things I didn't understand.)

From her I learned how to survive, rely on myself and never risk more than I could stand to lose. While those may not seem like endearing characteristics they have suited me. I've been alone most of my life since I never learned how to really connect or trust others. My marriage lasted 22 years but there was never any intimacy, and I was constantly afraid of saying or doing something that would meet with disapproval. I tried to break the chain of abuse that had been a part of my life since I was five by walking away, but it was done too late and in the wrong way. I often feel like I hurt my children more than I helped them, but like my mother, I was just trying to do my best.

That said, writing about families and intimate relationships in the Indecision's Flame series has been very hard for me. I know all about abuse, illness, denial, conflict, abandonment, lack of warmth and threats, but I don't know much about how happy families interact. One of the few things I remember about my parent's interacting was the day my father became angry enough to rip the dress from my mother's shoulders because she kept insisting on wearing something that was worn out when she had better things in her closet. So much for the mind wanting to protect the sanity of an individual!

But I still believe in Mother's Day and honor all of the  tremendous women I have known over the years who have overcome great odds, tried to serve others, and have given everything they have for the ones they love. No life is perfect, but it can always be improved on. I hope that my mother, who has been gone for almost 20 years now, will know that I love her and am really trying to understand how difficult her life must have been. I often see her refection when I look in the mirror. Whether we like it or not, we are part of the people who gave us life and will see them again someday. I'm hoping for a glorious reunion.


        Happy Belated Mother's Day

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

May Flowers? I woke up to snow.

Exciting news and the perfect way to begin a rather chilly May. It's something I would never have tried on my own since cover design is a skill I'm still trying to learn, but with the help of a wonderful friend the first three books in the Indecision’s Flame series have been packaged as a trilogy. That means great reading for a great price. Until May 26, you can get all three books in digital format for $.99 at https://amzn.to/2PfLun2 After that, they will go to their regular price of $5.99. And don’t forget that the last book in series - Destiny - will be out later this month. It’s twists and turns will keep you guessing until the very end. Here's a sneak peak: 

Beth’s arrival at the ancestral home effectively ruins what Brylee and Jake hope will be the beginning of many happy Christmas days, but the much-anticipated holiday turns to complete ruin when Raymond Tucker interferes in a most galling way. It’s a battle against family feelings of betrayal, sinister alliances and catastrophic news as NJ returns to the outback armed with a plan that has the potential of upsetting the very balance of nature. Ongoing confrontations and unmitigated pressure force LeAnn to rethink what is right for her and her children, and Brylee wrestles with feelings of self-doubt and a very uncertain future while trying to keep the family together. Will Jake’s final decision bring her the closure and peace she so much desires, or will it turn to ashes everything they have been trying to build? 

All books are available in both digital and print format at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv  Stay warm and happy reading. 

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Easter Day

I just couldn't let this glorious Easter Sunday go by without expressing my love to my Savior who paid the price for my sins, weaknesses and sorrows and provided a way for me to live again. At church, a talk was given relating the final week of his life. How he raised his dear friend Lazarus from the dead, had boughs strewn in his path as he entered Jerusalem, cleared the temple of the animals and money changers, had the last supper with his disciples and gave them the sacrament. He knew he was going to die and who would betray him; yet he had nothing but love and forgiveness in his heart. He prayed in the garden for all of mankind and was betrayed with a kiss. He stood before his accusers and never condemned anyone or tried to defend the false charges. He willingly hung on the cross when he had the power to save himself, and he suffered the finally agony of death. He lay in the tomb of a friend and three days later rose from the dead just as he had promised his disciples he would. 

His life was one of majesty, love and dedication, and I truly want to emulate as much of it as I possibly can by forgiving my neighbors, accepting challenges and disappointments without ridicule and complaint, and serving and loving as he did. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My heart is simply filled with love because I have accepted him as my Savior and know I will see him, and all of my family, again. What beautiful promise that is! More glorious than anything this world has to offer.

I think these few words express it best: JESUS IS A GOD OF MIRACLES BECAUSE HE RESCUED YOU AND ME.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

April Showers

Can't say that I've enjoyed the coolness of this spring day and all the rain after 70 plus degrees and plenty of sun yesterday, but it has given me time to do laundry and more editing and refining of the first book of my new series that will be launched in mid-summer, if all goes according to plans. I don't know why I'm so excited since book Destiny - Book 7 of the Indecision's Flame series won't be released until next month, but I'm a person who always likes to look ahead and can't stand to remain in one place for long. I suppose that's why I've moved so often the past few years. Like the children of today - I GET BORED EASILY.

Right after my divorce I bought a small, new home in the town where I taught school. That was challenging but fun, although I was receiving a lot of opposition. People in my community didn't like the idea that I had found it necessary to leave my husband of 22 years, but my doctor told me that my body was shutting down, and I would be dead in six months if I didn't make a drastic change.  Eighteen months later, I got a different job at the high school I went to and even managed to compile both print and video histories with my students of the institution. After 7 years, I sold that home, moved to another part of Idaho and bought a different house. I stayed they for 10 years and then retired.

That was my chance to do something really different and fun. I bought an acre and a quarter of ground on a private pond next to my sister in Missouri and proceeded to build my dream house. Little did I know that just a few months after I moved in that my daughter-in-law would be diagnosed with stage 4 Melanoma Lymphoma and my son would need me in Utah. So I sold my beautiful home there and moved into a house I had never seen in the middle of a subdivision where the houses are so close it gives me claustrophobia. But my daughter-in-law is doing great now, and I've been able to spend tons of time with my granddaughter.

I guess any place can be home, and I've met wonderful people and made a great many friends. I only know that I'm getting antsy after three and a half years and would love to be in the country again. Don't know if that's in my future, but sometimes we simply have to make do with what we have and be grateful for the blessings of family, health, faith, money to survive on and enough passion to do something useful. That's where I sit right now, just counting my blessings as the rain continues to fall. Spring flowers are already blooming, and in a few weeks I'll be complaining about all the heat. What's life like where you're at?

Here's the main setting for the first book in my new series. Hope you'll feel like checking it out.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Is spring really on the way?

So here I am sitting in my most comfortable chair in the middle of the morning with a lamp on behind my head since it's too dark outside to read or work on my computer otherwise. I love these quiet days at home after I've finished my housework and taken care of other things that need to be done. It's soul enriching to spend time alone contemplating life and what I can do to make the world a better a place. I know each person on earth has a vital role to play, even if his or her circle of acquaintances and friends is small. There's always someone close by who needs a word of cheer, help with a difficult task or something as easy to give as a smile. 

I'm an introvert and really struggle with social situations since my tongue often gets tied when I try to say something, and I mostly question if anything I have to say will be of interest to someone else. My life is simple. Most people would say it's boring since I don't have to be shopping, going out with family or friends or traveling to be happy. I take great pleasure in the common, everyday things.  I love the smell of fresh bread baking, touching a flower I've helped to grow, folding clean laundry and looking at the stars in the sky. But I also recognize that I need to help others see these beauties as well. So I've challenged myself this year to step out of my comfort zone and do at least one kind deed for someone else each day. It can be as simple as responding to a Facebook post or as uncomfortable as inviting a neighbor I barely know out to lunch. 

I haven't missed a day yet. That's not to say I haven't come close to crawling into bed at night before realizing that I still need to make good on my promise to myself. What I do may not mean much to anyone else in the larger scheme of things, but it means something to me because I've forced myself to go from a place of comfort into the unknown. Sometimes I get feedback, but mostly it's just knowing that I'm doing something that is hard for me. I used to think extroverts were so much better than me because they always seemed to be having so much fun with so little effort, but my perspective is starting to change. While I will always feel somewhat intimidated around others, I'm beginning to see that being different is okay. True happiness comes from accepting who we are and trying to become better. Perhaps there might even be someone else who wishes they were more like me.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

A Blustery March

Hope this finds everyone well. I've been fighting a bug for the past month but am very glad I got a flu shot. We've had some pretty erratic weather this winter but then so has most everyone else in the country. I've tried to spend my time wisely and not let the long, dark days upset me too much by revising the first five books in the Indecision's Flame series. It's taken awhile, but I feel much better about marketing something where I've found every error that I possibly could.

This past eight months haven't been easy trying to learn a new trade. I love writing but never considered all the work it would take to get my books Indie Published. For those of you who don't know what that means, it's doing all the work yourself. I've had great friend to help me, but the learning curve has been steep. Thank goodness he volunteered to do the covers. That's something I have yet to learn, and quite frankly, even thinking about it scares me. But since I have a new series mostly written, I can't drag my feet forever. 

As a way to celebrate my accomplishment, I'm offering a free PDF copy of the first book to anyone who might like to read it, and maybe get a few review in return. I'm learning that's a critical step in the process, but it's not easy asking people to take the time to do it. In case you don't know what the book is about, here's a preview of what you'll find it book 1.

Brylee Hawkins returns to her birthland, the Australian outback, to confront her father whom she believes was responsible for her mother’s death. Now face to face with him after years apart, she discovers that the painful truth she has clung to was not the reality of what really happened. As the truth unfolds, Brylee must face the new family that has filled her father’s life, the lies and the betrayals she must relive, and the incredibly handsome ranch hand that tempts her into compromising her values. Will she find her way through this labyrinth, or succumb to his charms, losing herself in the process. Set in the rugged Australian outback, Indecision’s Flame is a rich tapestry of love and lessons that must be read to fully appreciate.

Happy reading, whatever genre you like.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Something Little

I'd like to say something awe-inspiring and unforgettable, but that's not likely to happen. So I'll settle for writing something that will hopefully make a little sense. There's been lot of unrest, uncertainty and sorrow around me lately. People I care about have lost loved ones, seen their children diagnosed with debilitating illnesses and conditions that can never be reversed, and been hurt in ways that defy description. Yet, through unimaginable odds, I've seen the power of the human spirit as it attempts to make sense of the unthinkable and still move forward with compassion for others and a sense of purpose in knowing that this life isn't all there is. I've watched them make unbelievable sacrifices for the common good, take stands when they just wanted to give in and give up, and look for the silver lining when there appeared to be nothing but darkness and despair looming ahead. 

I've mostly watched from the sidelines not knowing what to say or do that might help. Some journeys in life must be taken alone, but that doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention and taking notes because we're all going to be tested to our  limits. Whether we survive or not is up to us. So I guess all I really can say is that hope does spring eternal if our hearts are open to it. But it's still not easy to make it through most any day alone right now. There are obstacles everywhere that can throw us. Something as simple as having my trash bag fall apart and having to clean up a mess can set me off, but it doesn't have to be that way. I could learn to laugh more, love more and be more sensitive to the needs of others. I can look at unpleasant experiences as stepping stones instead of a stumbling blocks. And I can learn to sit back and simply breath when something challenging comes. I might not be able to change the world, but I can certainly make my little corner of it a much better place. 

Monday, 11 February 2019

Valentine's Day is on the Way


So here we are, almost half way through another month. It's hard to believe how fast times goes by, but I have to admit that the upcoming holiday has been hard for me the past twenty or so years. I can remember what it was like to anticipate being remembered by someone who really cared and doing things for my children when they were little, like creating heart-shaped pink pancakes for breakfast, writing fun notes and decorating dozens of sugar cookies to give to teachers and friends. Even when I was teaching school, I'd take something fun to my classes to help celebrate the day, but things have changed dramatically since I retired.

Not that I don't enjoyed having a little more unencumbered time, but having been alone for over 25 years, and having my children married with families of their own, has left a gap when it comes to this particular holiday. I still bake cookies to take to friends and make sure my kids and grandkids are not forgotten, but it's still one of those days that I almost wish I could sleep through. So I'm hoping to try something different this year. I'm going to text, email or contact on Facebook some of my friend, both male and female, who feel the same way I do. We shouldn't have to forget about love, even if we don't have a certain kind of it in our lives. So, here's to all the single people who are still young enough at heart to want the right kind of love. We may not find it in this life, but I do believe that a life lived with love and compassion for others has not been lived in vain, and we will receive some kind compensation in the life to come.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

January isn't for Wimps

Just felt like getting that out there. I've talked to a lot of people lately who get into a real slump after the holidays. I suppose that's only natural, but I think it's rather sad since life goes on whether we're happy about it or not. I always blame my lack of motivation and joyful living during January on the fact that I've mostly resided in the northern states where mountains, wind, rain, snow, sleet and hail abound during the winter months, and outdoor activities like skiing, snowmobiling and ice skating no longer hold any great appeal. Don't get me wrong, I love a good snowstorm, but after getting the driveway and sidewalks shoveled and watching the car exhaust turn the snowbanks a dirty brown, I'm ready for more sun. It just makes me feel good. 

So, I've spent a little time today thinking about what's actually good about the month. It's a definite change from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, which is a relief for most everyone. The nights are long so people can get extra sleep, if they're lucky. Shopping has lost most of its appeal so budgets are better maintained. There's extra time for self-reflection, if kids or grandkids aren't involved in all kinds of nighttime activities and want you there. Much of the outside work like lawn mowing and gardening has come to a halt, if one doesn't live in a warmer climate. Hot cocoa with marshmallows tastes great, especially when seated in front of a warm, inviting fire. And a leisurely bubble bath makes every trouble disappear, if only momentarily. 

Guess it's not such a bad month after all. At least I'm going to try to enjoy it more and complain less about the gloomy days and having to drive on snow-packed or ice covered roads. After all, it's my life, and I can do with it whatever I desire. 


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Reawakening is here

Doing things that make a difference is what a new year is all about, but we should never let other people dictate how we feel about ourselves. Each life is unique and each journey is different. Comparisons only breed disappointment and a loss of productivity because no one else can do exactly what we can. 

To that end, I decided that the best way I could announce the publication of my latest book was to use exactly what I wrote for friends on my personal Facebook page, but add a few other thoughts of my own. These past six months have certainly been a time of hard work, learning difficult tasks and pushing myself harder and further than I've ever done before. There were days when my vision became so blurry from looking at the computer screen that I wondered if my eyes would survive, but I feel such a compulsion to finish what I started with Brylee's story. Her tale has helped me reach deep inside to where buried feelings reside and take a good look at situations I've never consciously contemplated before. 

I see parts of myself in each character, both the good and the not-so-good ones because we're all rather complex people. I hope my readers will feel safety, love, peace and a sense of real family as they read her story. We all need time away from the daily frustrations of life, and I prefer spending my downtime doing something positive and up-lifting. Writing Indecision's Flame gave me that powerful outlet. 

So here's what I wrote: Brylee’s story of love, loss, self-discovery and adventure continues in Reawakening – Indecision’s Flame – Book 5, under my pen name JS Ririe, that is now available on Amazon in both eBook and print at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv This series has been a labor of love, and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to share what I’ve done with others. That’s why I’m holding another drawing for Valentine’s Day. Three people from my monthly newsletter
list will receive signed paperback copies of Exposed – Indecision’s Flame – Book 3. Along with that, I’m extending the offer of a free digital copy of the book that started the journey until the drawing takes place. All you have to do is join my other readers at http://eepurl.com/dCPVf to be included. I hope you will.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Welcome to 2019!

So I've been missing in action for a few weeks. The holidays seemed like the perfect time to look at something besides my computer screen, so I spent more time with family and friends, relaxing and contemplating what was most important to me. I came to the conclusion that writing New Year's Resolutions was a waste of time for me since I never follow through for more than a few weeks at time. I decided that if I focused on two areas, without writing anything down, I would make more progress and hopefully see more results. I chose connecting with my spiritual self and working on my health. I truly believe those things are interconnected, and if I make small improvements each day, I'll eventually see some positive results. What do you think? I'd like to know how you handle the beginning of each new year.

To that end, I've decided to spend some time in each post sharing with you parts of a book titled "Working Back into Life" that I started to write many years ago. Like so many other things, I never finished it, but the ideas are solid and might give you a few ideas or a moment of clarification. I began writing it during a time in my life when I was questioning just about everything. Not to belabor the issue, but I'd just had my last miscarriage - I'd had almost 20 with no live births - and had just been told that I needed a hysterectomy. Needless to say, it was a very dark time and eventually led to some life-altering decisions.

I think we've all had times like that when we're either going to give up or give in or start fighting a very difficult battle. It hasn't been smooth-sailing, and I've had more relapses into despair, loneliness and sorrow than I care to admit, but I'm still standing. I hope you are too. I love being there for others and trying to help in my own small way. Today, I gave away 4 proof copies of Indecision's Flame to people on my mailing list: Verdon, Glenna, Emily and Sarah. I hope they'll enjoy them. I learned a great deal writing the series. If you'd like to be included in more that I'm doing, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dCPYVf