From My Living Room

As I sit and contemplate life in my oh-so-comfortable recliner with the blinds closed against the sun, I can’t help but notice the silhouette of the desert plants that are now in the planter that used to contain basil that my daughter put there when the basil outgrew them.

So now I’m contemplating the silhouette as well as life and enjoying the unexpected art that is my window and will suffice until the sun reaches the other side of the house and I once again open the blinds.

Such is life this summer, with horizons less wide and smaller things than usual catching my attention.

I Went Against My Own Rule

I have a rule about charging for my books. I never put them on sale. Never. Ever.

There’s a reason for my decision and it’s mostly economic and, no, the economic reason isn’t based on how much money I make from book sales because if it was I’d probably put them on sale often.

Instead I decided that Warren Buffett was right when he said that if something is put on sale, then people will not only expect it to be on sale often, they’ll consider it worth only the sale price. Plus they’ll never, ever, pay full price again because they’ll wait for the sale that they’ll expect because it was on sale before.

Well, though that makes sense to me and is a good reason never to put my books on sale, I recently kind of forgot my own rule and put The Christmas House on sale for 99 cents for the rest of July as part of the Winged Publications celebration of Christmas In July. Their enthusiasm did that to me. Made me forget my own rule.

Soooo — The Christmas House is on sale now and for the rest of the month, after which it’ll go back to it’s original price and will never, ever again be on sale.

So if you happen to want to read it and are watching your pennies, this might be a good time to buy it.

Just saying —-

Big words or simple ones?

I’ve been asked a writer question: To write a fiction or non-fiction story, which is more preferred, simple and straightforward words or big vocabulary words with a lot of twists and hidden meanings like literature, poetry, and such?

Hmmmmm. Whether to use big vocabulary words or simple, straightforward ones?

Think about it. Writing is communication. Communication is the act of getting an idea from your brain into the brain of another person.

Which will do the job best? Big vocabulary words that some people think make them look intelligent —- or simple, straightforward words that actually convey meaning?

Simple, straightforward words, of course.

Add to that answer the fact that simple, straightforward words are known by more people than big vocabulary words and your answer is reinforced because there are many reasons for not having a large vocabulary and many — perhaps most — of them have nothing to do with intelligence, such as reading in a language other than your native one, having had a less than advantageous upbringing, having a mental glitch (from birth or accident) that makes language difficult, and so on. There are lots of reasons. But most people know enough simple, straightforward words to get the gist of what’s being said. If not, they wouldn’t be reading.

The trick is to take those simple, straightforward words and put them together in such a way as to truly communicate. To touch someone’s heart. To show them truth in a way they’ve never considered before. To write awesomely.

I have basil!

My oldest son gave me this planter for Mother’s Day. I thought it was cute and that I’d find things to put in it. You know the kind of things I mean. Safety pins. Car keys. Anything small that I didn’t know what to do with.

I didn’t take my daughter into consideration. I have no green thumb at all. I can kill a plant just by looking at it. But Sharon is different. She gardens. And plants. And finds all kinds of pretty containers to grow things in.

She took one look at that triple planter and decided it was perfect for growing basil. So she planted it and now we have fresh basil for spaghetti and anything else that it makes taste better.

Plus, it looks great in the window.

Only thing is, it’s growing. And growing. And growing. I wonder if we’ll have to find a larger pot to grow basil in. If that happens, maybe I’ll have a place to put safety pins, car keys and anything else I don’t know what to do with.

Christmas In July

Have you noticed that Christmas now comes twice a year? Once in December, the month where we’re used to celebrating it and a second time in July.

I don’t know how Christmas In July got started. An advertising gimmick? A hopeful Instagram post by someone who can’t wait until December? A decision by people who love Christmas but don’t want to go out in the cold to celebrate?

I don’t know how it got started. But I do know that it gets bigger and bigger every year.

So, to go along with the new extra ‘Christmas,’ I’m joining in the Christmas In July book celebration.

Christmas In July will feature three books, The Christmas House, The Snow Queen, and my latest, The Healer.

Here are links:

The Christmas House

The Snow Queen

The Healer

Minnesota Morning

I stepped onto the deck this morning and snapped a picture of a typical Minnesota summer morning. There’s a song by that name. Minnesota Morning and the song gets it right.

If you walk in your yard on a normal summer day in Minnesota, it’s a good idea to wear rubber boots or go barefoot. Otherwise you’ll have to change your shoes and socks when you come inside. The grass is that wet.

And so is the air, as you can see. There’s another place like this in the USA. The Smoky Mountains and that’s how they got their name. Not because of smoke, but because they are as misty as Minnesota in the morning.

Any place else you know that’s like this?

The Grass is Green — and Tall

This summer started out dry. Way too dry. Dry as a bone. Weeks passed with so little rain that the grass was crunchy underfoot.

We still haven’t gotten a lot of rain but we’ve had some. Enough to break the drought.

And turn the grass soft. And make it grow. And grow. And grow. Until now we need to cut it. Again.

The thing is, we live on sugar sand with a thin layer of sandy loam on top so rainwater goes right through. Our yard never floods or gets muddy because the rain goes right through that sand to whatever is beneath it. That means that we cut the grass three times a year. Maybe four.

We cut the grass last week and we’ve had a couple of inches of rain since. So why does it need to be cut again?

It’s not fair.

Think I’ll borrow my daughter’s horses to do the job for me.

IMG_0168 (2)

Went for a walk the other day and this was what I found just off the driveway. In the woods just far enough that I’d not have seen it if I hadn’t followed Bailey into the trees to see what she was sniffing at. Nothing as far as I could tell and she came wagging her tail to meet me. But in the process of doing nothing, I found a small patch of yellow wildflowers.

Wildflowers are my favorite kind and I see them everywhere. I don’t know what they are called and so I’ve learned to categorize flowers by color. These are ‘yellow wildflowers.’

Anyone know what they are called by people who actually know flowers?

The Healer Cover

novel the healer cover

I  promised I’d show you the cover as soon as I got it.

Here it is. Different from what I expected. Wouldn’t have guessed a heroine with her face partially obscured. But it is perfect in all respects because the heroine lives in the forest and has some Native American ancestry and it shows in her appearance.  And I love the colors. I’m a fan of lots of color in everything, including book covers.

The Healer

Whew! I just finished the first draft of The Healer, the last novel of the Wilderness Women trilogy. I don’t know what took so long. I should have finished it weeks ago and expected to do so.

Okay, I know it was Covid 19. I know that tiny virus wiped out any ability I had to write. I’m just glad that eventually things settled into a new normal and I was able to finally weed myself free of constant updating online and on the TV.

Anyway, it’s done and, as is usual for my books, is rather different from the other two of the series. Guess I’ll never be one of those writers whose books are all similar in many respects. I don’t even seem able to make them all have the same tone. Some are funny, some aren’t. Some have a fair amount of adventure, some are serene.

Oh well. It’s done except for the second draft. And the third. Usually that’s it for me, three run-throughs followed by spell-check and then making sure the chapters each begin on a fresh page. Then off to Winged Publications.

I’ll get the cover posted here as soon as I get it from Winged Publications. I’m sure it’ll be great. They all are.