Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Call for Reviewers!

Yesterday, as I was working on final revisions on the very last chapter of Scattered Stones, I stopped, realizing that the story was finished! What a moment.

Now the book is off to beta readers. I'm hoping in another month to have it ready to publish. Hooray! 

If you would like to be a member of my Advance Review Team, you can receive a free copy of Scattered Stones in exchange for your honest review. 

Just e-mail me to let me know you'd like to join my team! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Hot Rocks on Hawaii

We drove from Hilo, all the way down to the National Volcano Park, stopping to admire the lava fields along the way; in places, they stretched from the skyline, all the way to the ocean. I was intrigued by the signs of life, for even the darkest lava fields were spotted with new growth. I'm guessing delicate ferns aren't so delicate if they could survive here! I could trace great swirls on the rocks that showed how the lava cooled.

As we stood at the rim of the volcano caldera, we could see an active pool far below, marked by steam vents and, once in a while, a tiny flare of fire. 

"Come back at night," the park guide said. "You'll see amazing views." I thought of the two and a half hour drive back to Kona that was ahead of us. We did have a peanut butter sandwich in the car, and we were tempted. For a moment.

We passed signs that reminded us when we reentered the "No Fault Zone." Of course, Allen said it wasn't my fault, but I confess to feeling a little better when we were further away from that simmering volcano. We also saw many closed shops in several small towns as we drove north once again. Covid remains rather like the lava, seemingly permanent, changing all in its path. Most people wear masks, inside and out here, more an accepted routine.  

Now in our temporary home for the next week, we swam in the pool, soaked our feet in the hot tub, watched doves settle in nearby palms, and wondered what it will feel like to go back home.

WRITING UPDATE: Not much to report. I'm working on the very last chapter of Scattered Stones, waiting for that moment that says, "Aha! I'm done!" Still feeling thankful that I can write still -- and that readers like my stories enough to leave a review now and then. 

Every once in awhile, I check Amazon to see new reviews have been posted. That brightens the morning. Brings a smile to my face, and reminds me to leave reviews for those stories I enjoy. Dear readers, THANK YOU for reading and for letting me know what you think!

READING UPDATE: Allen just finished Jason Mott's Hell of a Book, calling it an exceptional read, well written, creative, witty, and immensely satisfying. I'm reading that next!

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Visiting Pu’uhonua (A Place of Refuge)

Not quite recovered from jet lag, we ventured out to Pu’uhonua, the Royal Grounds, a kind of living history in the summer but quiet just now.  Here, we wandered past rich murals and attended a lecture that explained a little of Hawaii’s history and culture.

Sometime between 1100 and 1400, the Hawaiian people came to these islands in boats from Polynesia and Tahiti. Between 1400-1600, the chiefs created a separate and sacred place to live. 

All followed strict rules (kapu); violating kapu could mean death — even as simple as a man and a woman eating a meal together, or eating a certain type of fish at the wrong time of year. 

View of Great Wall and Royal Mausoleum (Hale o Keawe)

Here, the first temple was created, and here also, a place of refuge for those who violated kapu — if they could reach it! Our guide talked of people fleeing through the jungle or swimming across the bay, hunted all the way. Not everyone who sought refuge made it to safety.

These wooden images represent Hawaiian gods called ki’i and protect the bones of ancestors buried here, a place of great mana (spiritual power).

Everything began to change when Captain Cook sailed to Hawaii in 1779. All this history makes me want to run to the library for more information after walking on these beautiful grounds under a very warm sun, just made bearable by a cooling ocean breeze! Aloha!

WRITING UPDATE: Morning quiet means the final revisions are going well. I'm working on the very last section of Scattered Stones. Exciting to see this story almost finished. And, yet, here we are in Hawaii, bringing me thoughts of Jamie, Moira's youngest brother, who at just a little over 10 years old, left her in Inverness to join a ship bound for China -- stopping at Hawaii along the way. 

Is that the next story? Or should I begin work on that second art crimes story set in Egypt?

HELP? I am looking for folks who might be interested in joining my Advance Reviewer team! Please send me an e-mail if YOU are interested!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

On the road at the Big Island

 We survived the long plane ride (only some 7.5 hours, flight time to Kailua/Kona on the big island of Hawaii), the long lines for Covid protocols (skipped because I did homework before we left to get pre-cleared), and the time change (3 hours earlier). My body is not sure even now, one day after landing, whether we're 3 hours earlier or 3 hours later! But we do have two full weeks here before returning home to the land of snow.

This morning we woke to no food in our lovely condo. Scary. First drive into town with our rented car (first time using a keyless car with no how-to manual). Our mission? To find a breakfast spot, a lovely cafe with veranda seating overlooking the ocean -- and coffee! Lots of folks walking along the beachfront wearing shorts (84F) and it's 9am. I guess they were smart because that sun got a little warmer in the afternoon, but I'm not complaining.

But maybe the birds were complaining because they kept close watch over our breakfast! We spotted two Yellow Billed Cardinals (actually 'hunting' for snacks very close to our table), and a Mynah bird. You can check out pictures HERE or admire my blurry picture below! And, yes, that's a smidge of the ocean just a few steps away!

More on our adventures tomorrow -- and maybe an update on the writing!
May you have a lovely day -- and thank YOU for visiting!

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

IWSG: How do we write when change comes?

Welcome to the first Wednesday in March 2022. No question about it. This last week has led to many dismaying hours in front of the television. Yet, today, honors Insecure Writer's Support Group. Nearly 140 writers, including me, post our thoughts on our blogs to celebrate writing in some way -- maybe sharing doubts or concerns, maybe celebrating our writing achievements, or offering encouragement. 

If you'd like to participate, why not sign up, post your own thoughts on your blog, sign up (see guidelines on the IWSG LINK, and visit about 12 other writers! Stop by our co-hosts for this month and say thank you to: Janet Alcorn, Pat Garcia, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

This month's IWSG optional question is: Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

I like to write stories about people in difficult situations who somehow find their way to a better life, whether with a loved one or not. I do believe in that 'happy ever after' for my characters. Sometimes my stories take me to darker times. For example, my three-book series (now almost four books!) that began with Standing Stones set in 1840s Scotland, begins when Lord Gordon, eager to profit from the Industrial Revolution, evicts traditional farmers from their homes, replacing them with sheep. The history is brutal; the struggles were real for far too many.

Where do people find courage and hope when faced with catastrophic change?

Loss can be measured in so many different ways.

We only need to turn on the television to see another tragedy unfolding.

This month, I'm working on final revisions for Scattered Stones, the last book in my series. I had hoped to be finished by the end of March -- but I'm feeling so distracted, not even line editing catches my attention. 

So, an invitation arrived. To fly away to Hawaii for two weeks -- in just 6 days. Are we going? Yes. Am I taking the writing and hope to reconnect with my muse? Yes. Will I sit quietly in wonder at sunsets in this quiet place? Maybe simply walk along the beach, grateful for each moment that feels like a respite from what's to come? 

Will I continue to watch and pray for those affected by Russia's aggrandizement? Yes. Will I hope that the U.S. and NATO and those demonstrations around the world can stop the tanks, the bombardments, the intrusions that bring fear to so many? Dare we hope that Putin's nuclear threats and strategic aggressions will end?  

                                    Kona, Hawaii by Ennea2 on Pixabay