Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 7.19.43 PMRANSOM IS AVAILABLE!

While waiting for my proof copy of Ransom in the Rock, I went ahead and published the Kindle version.

So if you’re one of the readers who told me that, when you read Words in the Wind, you reached the end and thought your Kindle was broken because it wouldn’t turn any more pages, here’s your chance to see what happens next. There are quite a few new pages for you to turn.

The print version is coming soon.




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News Brief

_MG_9358Hey, y’all — I uploaded my manuscript and cover to CreateSpace and all systems are go. I’ve ordered a print proof to review. Expected delivery date April 28. Sounds like a long time away!

Meanwhile, I’m working on the Kindle version. Stay tuned for updates!

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About Gannah and Easter

Lost and FoundNo, they don’t celebrate Easter on Gannah — that’s an Earthish custom.

The cover for Book #3, Ransom in the Rock, is finalized now, so I can show it off. I love it!

This evening I hope to get the rest of the bugs worked out of my manuscript’s formatting, upload it to CreateSpace, and then upload the cover. I’m making slow progress on this publishing thing, but at least I’m moving forward.

You’ll notice a couple of changes to my blog. Most notably, the header image. I liked the spacey one, but I never got permission from the photographer to use it. Nor do I remember where I found it, so I couldn’t go back and ask permission. Therefore, I’ve banished it, cool though it was, and have replaced it with one that I’ve been unofficially using for a while to represent the “gateway” to Gannah. This time I asked the photographer (my brother) and he said sure, it’s okay with him. So I’ll give him official credit here: Header image by Stan Smith.

And while giving credit where credit is due, I’d also like to thank my sister, Holly Schwartz, for her diligent work in proofreading Ransom. She caught some errors, so that proves a number of things: she knows a mistake when she sees one — she was paying attention — and I make plenty of mistakes. (That last was a no-brainer.)

Another update, which you’ll have to click on the “Gateway to Gannah Series” tab to see: I’ve added the “blurb” for Book #4. I also changed the title. It’s now called The Last Toqeph. Yes, this this breaks the pattern, as it’s the only title that’s not alliterative (and I do love alliteration), but it’s more fitting. For a number of reasons. I was never fully satisfied with the old title (The Promise in the Prism) but am quite content with the new one.

Since I’m thanking people in this post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give kudos to the cover designer: Ken Raney of Clash Creative. He doesn’t work cheap, but he does great work. And he’s wonderfully patient with finicky authors who want only the best covers for their books (raising my hand here; yep, that’s me), and he spares no effort in trying to give them what they want. Ransom‘s cover was quick and easy, being created from images readily at his disposal. Book #4’s cover has been more of a challenge. But Ken is up for it.

Previously, I had an Easter-themed idea in mind for the rest of this post, but then E. Stephen Burnettresurrection-198x300 put up an excellent one on the Speculative Faith blog today.  I liked Stephen’s post so much I decided to be lazy and let him speak for me on the Easter subject. (As you may have noticed, I even borrowed the image he used. ‘Cause I’m lazy like that.)

The fact is, Easter is a way more important subject than the Gannah series, and it should, by all rights, get top billing. Not just in this blog, but in our lives, our world.

As Stephen points out, one day it will. Until then, let’s ponder the significance of the resurrection — and have a blessed Easter.

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Six-Month Check-In

We’ve been in our new digs for about six months now, and it’s time for me to give you an update.

Our backyard Thursday morning
Our backyard in February

Our first winter here was wintry, as noted earlier. The weather in Ohio was much the same, though, so that had nothing to do with our relocation.

We’ve been (more accurately, Craig’s been) doing a lot of clearing out of old, overgrown vines, shrubs, etc. and cleaning out flowerbeds. Flowers are pushing up here and there, and it will be interesting to see what’s planted in the yard. There’s still much work to be done out there, but we’ll leave that subject for now and move back to the topic of it having been a hard winter in Ohio as well as here.

Some of the firewood we left behind.

One of the reasons we moved to a smaller house was because the utility bills at our drafty old house in New Philly were ridiculous. We had no water bill there, as we didn’t have city water or sewers, and we didn’t have natural gas. But even though we have water and gas here, our utility bills are significantly lower than they formerly were. When I think what it would have cost to heat that old house this cold, cold winter with the price of fuel oil being what it is, I shudder.

We left plenty of firewood for the new owners, but apparently at first they didn’t realize the expense of heating without it, because they didn’t start burning it until winter was well under way. If they burned nothing but fuel oil during December and January, I estimate it would have cost them about $2000 to keep the house at 68 degrees. That’s just for the fuel oil; add the electric bill, and you can figure close to $2500 for those two months. Ouch!

I’m happy to report that we’ve paid considerably less than that in utilities in the entire six months we’ve been here. We’ve also saved money on gasoline, because living in town as we do, everything is nearby. Saving money on utilities is just one of the many reasons we’re glad we made the move.


Several weeks ago we finally got rid of all the stuff in the basement. I don’t think I ever took a picture of it all, because it’s not the sort of thing I want to remember. But there was a lot of junk left in this house when we bought it. We threw away/recycled/Goodwilled several truckloads, and filled half the basement with the rest, hoping to make a little money selling it. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the end of it is, last month someone paid us $100 for the whole mess and hauled it away for us. We spent the weekend cleaning walls, floors, etc., and getting the area ready for our son and daughter-in-law to move in, and now they’re living there temporarily.

Did I tell you all this already? The reason they’re here is because he got a job in the area, but they’re not sure yet where they’ll

...and after.
…and after.

be living. In the meantime, they’re our resident cellar dwellers. And it’s not a bad arrangement. In fact, they have more space there than they did in their apartment in Ohio.

Some of you have expressed interest in our kitchen remodel, and I said I’d post photos when it was complete. Well, it’s not done yet, but almost. All that remains is the back splash behind the stove and in the area between the counters and the upper cabinets. Because the kitchen is fully functional as it is, completing that last detail is pretty far down

Before #2...
Before #2…

on our list of priorities. Therefore, I’ve taken some photos of the kitchen to share with you now before so much time passes that it needs to be remodeled again.

As you can see from the before-and-afters, everything in the kitchen is new except the woodwork (which I’m not in love with, but it’s not so bad that it needs to be replaced), the microwave, and the refrigerator. I rather like the ‘fridge,

...after #2.
…after #2.

because it’s a side-by-side. I’ve always wanted one, but because they’re more expensive than the kind with the freezer on top, I couldn’t justify the additional expense. This one is old, but it works, and we’ll keep using it as long as it keeps ticking.

Two more things I’ve always wanted and now, finally, I have: a gas stove, and an exhaust hood. You can see them both in this photo below, which I took to show the Kitchen 2louvered bifold doors we put up in front of my spice cabinet-which-most-people-would-probably-call-a-pantry-but-I’ve-had-a-real-pantry-and-this-isn’t-one. Formerly, there was a dilapidated wooden accordion door there, and it was annoying. It didn’t want to open and close, and when it was open, it blocked your view of the contents of far left portion of the shelves. We took the old door down before we moved in, but the shelves were open until yesterday, when we finally hung a new door.

Note the tea kettle on the stove. That represents one of the few things I don’t like about the house: the hot water heater doesn’t get the water hot enough for washing dishes, even though it’s cranked up as far as it goes. Y’see, my dream kitchen doesn’t have a dishwasher. Why not? Because, due to the lay-out, I had to choose between a dishwasher and an exhaust hood. And with just Craig and me here, that was an easy decision. I raised four kids, had a huge garden and did lots of canning, and have always been a serious cook, and I got by without a dishwasher all that time. Why would I want one now that I have a fraction of the dishes to wash?

2013-09-24 11.15.46
Last fall’s onion crop.

Though I’ve never had a dishwasher, I do like to wash my dishes in scalding hot water. So, since the water heater is such a wimpy little thing, I boil water on the stove to add to the lukewarm water in the dishpan.

Though we’re both very happy in our new home, I do have one sad thing to report. This evening I used the last of my Ohio-grown onions. Remember those?

The reds (in the back rows) are still growing nicely
Some of the same onions, last summer.

Though I’m pleased I was able to make them last until April, it’s sad that they’re now gone for good. We do plan on having a small garden here eventually, but I doubt we’ll ever be able to grow onions like that again. And I do love my onions.

Other changes to the house: we pulled up all the carpet in the living room, dining room, and hallway to expose the near-pristine hardwood floors beneath. They’re beautiful! Why would anyone want to cover something so nice with nasty, filth-collecting carpet? We don’t like carpet, but we did leave it in the bedrooms (one of which serves as my office). For now. Its days are numbered, though.

bathroomupWe’re also working in the main floor bathroom. Its biggest problem is its miniscule size. But addressing that issue would require us to knock down walls, and we’re not prepared to do. We also don’t like that weird tile floor, but again, that’s a bigger deal than we want to tackle at present. What we’re doing now is removing the wallpaper on the upper half of the walls and replacing the medicine chest, because the electrical socket in the chest was bad, and I need to use it on a daily basis for my curling iron. (Looking at the “before” photo above, I realize you can’t see the wallpaper. But trust me; it was bad. Not just ugly, but peeling.) We’ll deal with the awful floor and the amazingly dated pink tile on the lower part of the walls on another occasion. Oh, BTW, we got rid of the window and shower curtain a long time ago.

So that’s the news on the home front. In the writing news, we’re nearly done with the final edits on Ransom in the Rock, and I expect to begin the publication process later this month. I can hardly wait to release it, because I think you’ll love it. Want a sneak preview? Click on the “Gateway to Gannah” tab above and scroll down to the third book. There you’ll see the cover (don’t you love it?) and find a link to click to read the first chapter. I hope it whets your appetite for more!




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