Sunday, September 29, 2019


Fifth Annual Treasure Valley Writers' Fest

For any genre. This writing conference is an amazing opportunity for those new on the writing journey as well as seasoned authors to come together and add valuable information to your writing toolboxes. Our amazing speakers organize detailed workshops for you. There are door prizes and giveaways as well as a catered meal. There is a writing contest associated with this event, as well, and an awards ceremony completes our evening.  Visit​ to get details on the writing contest and register.

DATE: Saturday, October 19, 2019 
TIME:  9:00 A.M. to 4:00 p.m.
PLACE: Sand Hollow Baptist Church
                29627 Old Hwy 30, Caldwell, ID  

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Coffee Withdrawal: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

I didn’t even start drinking coffee until a few years before I retired. I simply wanted a tad more energy when dealing with my middle school students. I have been drinking two cups of coffee a day for the last six years

It helped me get through until my retirement, but as the years went by, I’ve struggled with indigestion, but didn’t figure out it was due to coffee, or caffeine intake, until lately. Eight days ago, I sipped my last cup of coffee and felt sick to my stomach.

I decided I could quit cold turkey. Why not? What could it hurt? On the first day of withdrawal, I started looking at jewelry online, something I rarely do, and found something expensive I wanted but certainly didn’t need. Now, I’m usually frugal and after staring at it for some time, didn’t buy the item. Later the same day, when my husband came in the door, I got irritated at him for a small thing (I don’t even remember what it was). My short fuse burned as I’ve never experienced before...for anyone. You’d think I’d just lost my home to a hurricane or something. Now that sort of thing would really be worth some grouchy behavior.

So, I searched the internet for coffee withdrawal symptoms. I learned I could have symptoms for up to nine days however, some were more fortunate. Others were genetically predisposed to having symptoms.

Besides a short fuse, I started to fall asleep watching TV. Many do this, I know, but I rarely nap. Presently, I hope I can type this out before falling asleep. I read that a withdrawal symptom is having trouble sleeping at night. I did not have this symptom, nevertheless, I apparently need more sleep while recovering.

I am part of a writing group and during my withdrawal week, I attended a meeting. I strained to focus on comments and take notes. Later, after watching the horrible destruction in the Bahamas on the news, I snapped at my husband again for some ridiculous reason (poor guy). I absolutely hate the feeling of a short fuse that you can’t control. It is pitiful. I felt pitiful.

I now wonder why anyone would want to start drinking coffee in the first place. If people have withdrawal symptoms, they are having them for a reason and that means coffee is some sort of a chemical or drug. I don’t want anything to do with a drink that I have to be dependent on.

At this writing, I am at day eight without coffee. So far today, I have been calm, yet wanted to doze this morning. The real good news is that since day two, my sick belly is no longer irritated, and I feel positive about good health in the future…without coffee.

Saturday, August 3, 2019


August 24, 2019
10 am – 4:30 pm
Caldwell Public Library
1010 Dearborn Street
Caldwell, ID
Featuring all genres from local authors
Sponsored by: ICAN

Roberta Kautz; Bonnie Kloster; Elaine Sturm; Merri Halma; Gary Novo; Merri Grammage; Jonathan Hangstefer; Danney Clark; William Justus; JoEllen Claypool; Carol Kjar; Mary Vine and Carol Peterson.

Sunday, July 7, 2019


I have been invited to join an author cooperative and I am excited to be part of it.
Good people, of like minds and career goals, help each other to grow in their writing craft to improve discoverability, to keep on top of the changing publishing landscape, and in cooperating to rise together.
We are an author publishing cooperative. This means that we are independent authors who have agreed to publish under a single press name and to support each other in our careers.
Windtree Press was formed in 2011 to offer a solution for the indie author by providing a place where authors share their knowledge, help each other create better books, and pool resources to take advantage of new technologies and new marketing opportunities. We began with three members and are now at 20 members with over 200 titles among them.
We are open to increasing membership, but we are also selective in that we want to make sure that members:
  • Continue to produce quality titles
  • Have  a real desire to continue to learn and share knowledge
  • Support each other’s efforts and share new opportunities
As Windtree members live across time zones and in other countries, we use a closed Facebook Group for our discussions, sharing of knowledge and opportunities, and any decision-making we need to do regarding how the press is operating. If you have an interest in joining this type of cooperative, please contact us and provide information about why you want to join, a link to your author website, and any questions you may have.
Check out the authors and their books at:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Three-legged Jack, Week 2

Jack walked out of the veterinarian’s office on three legs, and very anxious to get home. Made a lot of sense because he had been kenneled there for about ten days while we were on vacation, and then home for only about four days before the accident. He was happy to be home, yet not his usual self. After his medications ran out, we realized that the medications, however helpful, made him dopey and gave him a loss of appetite.

We took Jack to his favorite place in the world, besides his home. In Sumpter, he did a little running and then crashed from exhaustion. Understandable since he has to develop new muscles and carry his weight differently. The next day, he’d walked up the fifth-wheel steps, went walking around the property and dipped in the water to cool off. Not only was he happy, but it thrilled us to see him do everything he once did.

Our little dog, Emmy, was reserved when we brought Jack home from the vet, by keeping her distance for a while. We thought Jack had done everything he had always done in Sumpter, until he started playing with Emmy again. It was the icing on the cake to see them play and Emmy was jubilant to get her old Jack back.

We had to return to the veterinarian’s office to get his stitches out. I don’t remember a time when he was this upset at having to go anywhere. Poor guy probably thought he had to stay there again. He whined loudly in the waiting room and back in the clinic when he got his stitches out - which made another dog in the waiting room whine fearfully. Obviously, he was happy to leave the building and come back home.

It is amazing what dogs can do on three legs. Depressed? No. Dogs don’t appear to obsess about a leg beginning gone, as long as they are not in pain and with the family they love. I know that we have much to learn from Jack, and Emmy for that matter.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Three-legged Jack - Week 1

After our malamute mix dog was hit by a car and was about to lose a back leg, my husband and I received many words of encouragement. These acts of kindness got us through the first week and we can never thank those people enough for the comments, positive thoughts and prayers. Of course, in the scheme of things, this is not the worse thing that can happen in the world, but people love their fur babies and they hurt when their animals suffer. So, in writing about our experience, I hope to encourage at least one person who finds himself/herself in this same situation – amputation - whether by accident or cancer.

Jack was special from about four months old. His original owner took him to the Idaho Humane Society in Boise and Jack became a candidate for The Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho (IDAPI) program, a community partnership of the Idaho Humane Society and Idaho Department of Correction. IDAPI places shelter dogs in cell blocks of Idaho correctional facilities for two-month periods, during which inmates care for them and train them using positive reinforcement techniques. We came to the shelter looking for a dog just as Jack had finished the program and he became ours. As my husband often boasts, “Jack knows more commands than my wife.”

Thankfully, Jack had surgery the day of his accident and didn't have to wait longer as originally announced. During surgery the doctor removed his right back leg under the hip, leaving a good eight inches of his thigh (he is a large dog). Our last fear, before picking him up at the vet, was that we would break down emotionally when we first saw him. However, in a week’s time you get used to the idea of a three-legged dog. You realize you will not love your dog any less. When we picked him up at the vet, I noticed that his coat will grow back to hide the large scar.

Jack was most concerned about getting out to our car as fast as he could, and we had to slow him down to a trot. At this point, he needs some help getting into the back of the car, but I imagine it will be easier with time. Right now, he hops with his back leg but is becoming more sure-footed.

He was more than happy to be back with his family.  Nearing home, he whined as he recognized we were close to our house. Independently, he went out to the back yard to relieve himself and then back in the house. Never has he expressed that he missed us so much and only wanted to cuddle with my husband, myself and our other dog, Emmy.

Emmy seems to be unsure about why Jack is not up and playing with her and sniffs at him as if trying to figure this all out. She will adjust as she adjusted to his being gone and will adjust to his current limitations as well.

At one week in, Jack has his appetite back, but the drugs from the hospital leave him a little fuzzy-headed, and he wants to sleep much of the day. That’s okay, we are just happy to have him home and now the recovery begins.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Helpers

We had a tragedy yesterday. Our big dog, Jack, got out of the fence and was hit by a car and is at the Vet waiting to get a back leg removed. What I was reminded of was the quote from Fred Rogers (Mr. Roger's Neighborhood):

When I was a boy (he said) and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

It was a disaster to us and when Jack was hit a man followed him home in his truck and took my husband and Jack to two emergency vet locations.Then when we were in the process of taking our dog to our regular vet, the cashier/clerk said that someone else, a woman, paid for our emergency visit, which was $250 some dollars. It was said that she knew that the bill at our vet would be high enough without this.

The clinic didn't know if they could operate until Thursday, but a vet came in and did the surgery the same day as the accident. All went well, and she said that he is fortunate that he lost a back leg and not one in the front. He'll be fine.

So, look for the helpers.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Author Carol Peterson

I found a nice review from Carol Peterson re Snake River Rendezvous:

Snake River Rendezvous is a light romance/action novel set along the Snake River between Oregon and Idaho, not far from where I live. In the story, a recent business graduate takes over a run-down motel and meets her first paid guest, who not only turns out to be an ex-beau but also an FBI agent chasing a terrorist believed to be hiding somewhere in the area.

I enjoyed the interplay of the two characters as they re-discovered each other while forgiving each other for past hurts. Subplots about family relationships, feelings of guilt and loss and career decisions were interesting and well-integrated into the story, as was a solid thread of faith that was presented sincerely, yet with a light touch.

I read the book on Kindle. It is also available in paperback and has just been released in audio format, which is great for a lot of people I know who enjoy listening to the story. I recommend this book as a great read.

You can meet the author, Mary Vine, and find out about her other books at her website.

Thanks  Carol!

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Thanks to Carol Peterson's book on branding, I came up with a brand for my books. It is:

Writing Romance With Humor, Suspense and Inspiration... Writing Language-based Children’s Books that Educate, Inspire and give Hope.

Sunday, January 6, 2019


The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, c.1588
George Gower. Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, UK.
About once a year I try to sit down and read a writing reference book. One year I picked, The First Fifty Pages by Jeff Gerke since I have the hardest time putting together the first part of a manuscript, but once I get through this section my characters come alive and I sail through the rest of the story. Below I share some of Gerke’s thoughts.
During the Renaissance period a person’s portrait included items that conveyed much about his interests, background and life. For example, look at the picture above of Queen Elizabeth I.  See the globe, and her hand resting upon it? Perhaps she wants to rule other countries besides England. Is she pointing at a particular land that she wants to have? Why does her crown sit beside her and not on her head? Look out the window on the left. Looks like the queen is in favor of a large navy or, perhaps it symbolizes her power. What’s out the right window? I’m thinking maybe it symbolizes the fate her opponents faced in battle. Your guesses are probably as good as mine.
I started to think about myself. What would be a representation of me? A typewriter or computer, a small dog, my books, a teacher’s bell, something like a rosary to symbolize my faith in a higher power, a picture of my family on the table and a pecan mud slide from Diary Queen. My setting would probably be in a forest, or at least be out of one of the windows. Think about all the things that make you who you are and put them in your picture (at least mentally).
If your hero had a portrait done such as this, how would he want to appear? How about your heroine? What would be the setting? What will he/she wear? What would be in his hands? On the table? Out the window? If you know your hero in his essence you can figure out how to display it.
Further, if your hero/heroine could be anywhere else in the world what would she be doing, wearing, or talking about? How about putting her/him into a different time? How would your character get around if there wasn’t a car? What would be the ultimate-for-him activity?
Designing this portrait will help you figure out who your hero is. When he is tossed into trouble how will he handle it? Come back to this picture and look for clues.
Gerke says the most important thing to consider: Why would this be what the character chooses? How is this the ultimate expression, or revelation, of the person’s core?
What would be in your portrait?
More about Jeff Gerke:
He says, “Please point people to, which will be my site for online video training when we go live later this month.”