Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My low cost garden: How I take a break from writing

While I love my flower garden, I like to grow vegetables too. However, I haven't been able to do that for the past couple years. I've missed the daily excuse to get outside and get more dirt under my oh-so-lady-like nails.

The flower section of my old garden, complete with a pear tree, but minus a partridge.
For years at our previous house, we had a large garden, fenced in, with strawberries and raspberries, grapevines and plenty of room for anything I had the urge to grow. Over the years the kids helped plant seeds. We chased untold numbers of rabbits out of the fencing. Squirrels and raccoons leaped down from trees to rip up my corn and decorate the branches above with the stalks after they were done with their stolen feasts. We composted for years, slowly turning the sandy dirt into a nice dark and fertile soil.

And then came building a house. No time to garden, no sir. We barely had time to eat or sleep, for goodness sake. Ignored, our beautiful garden was quickly overtaken by weeds and eagerly expanding raspberries. Then we moved. I'm sure you know how much fun that is and how long it takes to settle in. Egads!

To supplement our fresh veggie intake during all this, I joined a local farm CSA program. If you have one nearby and don't have the time, space or inclination to have a garden of your own, I highly recommend it. We learned to like all sorts of things that I wouldn't have otherwise considered trying from the grocery store or planting myself.

Now, finally, in our third summer in the new house, I had time to make a garden. It's not that we don't have space. There's plenty of that, but where to put it? The majority of our land is low, meaning it gets wet fast and floods in heavy rain. It's also mostly shaded. The back of the house is much higher and in full sun, but filled with dune grass and beach sand, because nothing says contrast like our yard.

So much dune grass...
The full sun won. I rototilled the dune grass. Three passes to get it good and chopped up.Then I covered it with landscaping fabric and lined the edges with rocks. You'd be surprised how fast dune grass grows. I ran out of time for the weekend at that point. So it sat that there for a few days until free time and weather allowed me to get back out there. You'd think that all of my efforts would deter the grass a little, wouldn't you? Ha! It was already starting to sprout up through the fabric!

So I pulled all the fabric back and lined the area with layers of newspaper. With the fabric back in place overtop and the addition of four inches of cedar mulch. I thought I was in good shape.

What's in the pot? Raspberries. I learned my lesson with those. Contain them!

Time to build boxes. We had a lot of random lumber left over from building the house and deck. I didn't want to spend anything if I didn't have to, so while my boxes aren't pretty, other that one box of screws (because I ran out of my leftovers), they didn't cost a thing.

We're also working on a landscaping project in the front of the house and happened to have a delivery of dirt come in for that. I took what I needed to fill my boxes with good dark composted soil and lined those with newspaper too for and extra deterrent.

The one thing I did splurge on was a pre-packaged drip irrigation system from Lowes. I did put this garden out in the full sun right up next to the house for goodness sake. The least I could do was to give it a fighting chance. So a $60 drip irrigation system went in. It was super easy to do and maybe took an hour so two.

If you're wondering what the deal is with the random corner blocks, I left most of them how I found them so that I could add fencing or drape row covers over the plants if rabbits or deer became a problem. So far, thankfully, they haven't.

Next, I ran to the tractor supply store down the street and grabbed up a bunch of seeds while they were on sale and picked up a few tomato plants while I was at it. Though the last frost was still looming, I just wanted this project done so I planted half a packet of everything. Good to have that other half to fall back on if something fails.

You can tell how often the kids use that trampoline. The dogs like the shade it provides though.

Now, two months later, the flowers are starting to bloom ( some, because they're edible and marigolds to keep the rabbits away), and everything is looking lovely. We enjoyed our first zucchini with dinner last night and have been enjoying fresh spinach and lettuce for a couple weeks.

It takes me five minutes every other day to keep it all weed free. And dune grass free, because yeah, all my efforts did was slow that down a little. That's persistent stuff! But it gives me an excuse to get some sunshine. Those randomly long posts at the corners make good handholds when bending over, woo exercise!

Now I'm going to go clean the dirt from my fingernails yet again and think about what project I'm going to work on next.

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's release day for The Last God and more short stories are the way

I'm happy to announce that's it's finally release day for my sci-fi romance novel, The Last God. To me, it feels like this has been a long and wearing process, but in truth, the book began it's birth last November. Perhaps it just feels like a wearing process because it's been my focus for seven months. But it's been a fun and rewarding seven months too.

Abducting the angry and suicidal god of war might not be Logan’s wisest choice, but she’s the weapon that might be able to defeat the army of Matouk, who destroyed his homeworld. If he can show her how to love, they might save each other from the terrors that plague his nights and all of her days.

If you haven't picked up your copy of The Last God yet, it's now available in paperback and e-book. The e-book is currently on sale for .99 through Amazon / Nook / Kobo / Scribd / Inktera/

While I'm announcing things...

I also got word this weekend that my short dark sci-fi story, Sipper, has been accepted to Caffeinated Press's Brewed Awakenings 3 anthology.

And production work on the Grey Wolfe Press anthology that includes my humorous fantasy short, Chetric The Grand appears to be wrapping up. I'm looking forward to announcing it's release soon.

Next week I'll be taking a break from books and talking about my chickens and my garden because I need a break from book things.

Until then, I leave you with an excerpt from The Last God.

Logan watched in horror as the king left the side of the queen and erupted into a towering being of light.

And then that’s all there was, heat and light. He shielded his face with his arms. Huddling against the wall, he blinked rapidly and waited for the ringing in his ears to subside while he got his bearings.

Beside him, Colonel Rice swore. “What the hell was that?”

Logan had no answers. He could only attest to witnessing the woman he’d seen when they’d entered the massive chamber cover herself in the same golden suit of armor they’d spoken with. Then she grew taller, brighter, glorious. Though his mind reeled with what he’d seen and he was only half certain this wasn’t another one of his nightmares, he hazarded a glance to where the king and queen had been.

The two beings of light exchanged blows of massive proportions. Bombs of energy exploded against their bodies. He couldn’t fathom how either remained standing.

“I’m pretty sure the queen exploded,” he said, knowing how absurd that sounded but having no other explanation.

Everyone else in the room had gone to their knees when the king had stood. The uniformed men that they had followed back here, now had their arms outstretched and their faces plastered to the floor.

While beings of light danced in his vision and bombs exploded against his eardrums, he achieved a single glimpse of clarity. Everyone who had been near the throne was blackened. Dead. Bile rose in this throat.

A thunderous clamor claimed his attention. He tore his gaze from the bodies to see the being of white light, what had been the king, sprawled among the remains of the thrones. He dimmed and then was nothing more than a battered and bloody man. His crown lay at the bottom of the stairs.

A shimmering sheet flowed from the General to hover over him and Rice. The ground beneath them rocked and the walls shook. The ceiling above began to crumble.

The colonel didn’t move. He found he couldn’t move either. He wasn’t easily scared, but he had no idea what was going on here and safety anywhere on this planet was questionable.

Without taking his eyes off the General, he said, “We’ve overstayed. The planet is going to go with us on it.”

“Maybe.” The colonel also stared at the giant golden glowing figure.

Debris thundered down on the sheet above them. A shield of some sort.

Logan prayed their ship wasn’t being crushed where they’d left it with the rest of their team inside. Then he wondered if he should hope that they’d left. He and Rice might not make it back. The shield didn’t look able to stretch that far. In fact, it didn’t even go as far as the archway.

A giant explosion struck the General. For a moment he was blinded again. Another blast of scorching air blew past them, though it seemed the shield protected them somewhat as the heat wasn’t near as intense as the first time.

“Holy shit,” muttered Rice.

The King was gone. Only a large scorch mark on the floor where his body had been. The General lay sprawled on steps, her feet just below the thrones. Her armor missing the golden glow and blackened. Blood dripped down the steps from the seam at her neck where her head was suspended over the edge of one of the stairs. She lay on her back as if she’d been blown over, unable to catch herself.

She was still moving. Slowly, but twitching enough to indicate she wasn’t as bad off as the rest.

“We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Agreed.” Yet, Rice crept forward instead of back the way they’d come.

Following behind, they checked the bodies of the others as they went. All of them had burnt to death. Pain on his own arms registered. He glanced down to find them blistered. Rice’s face and neck was red. He guessed his was too by the tightness that hit him now that the shock had worn off. His clothes were singed.

“Good thing we weren’t any closer,” Rice said, working his way toward the armored woman.

Logan rushed up the stairs. He knelt beside the General, who seemed to have returned to her original size. She weakly pushed him away but said nothing beyond a faint moan.

“Let me help you.”

She pushed at him again. He tugged on the helmet, trying to free her head so he could better assess the damage.

The voice that came from the blackened metal face was a ghost of the powerful voice that she’d used earlier, barely a whisper. “Leave me.”

He pushed her hand aside and felt up the back of the armor, searching for a lever or latch of any sort. There was nothing there but blood. He wiped his hands on his pants. “How do you get this thing off?”

 “You don’t.” Her voice grew slightly stronger. “Now go, I can’t hold the shield much longer.”

Rice crouched down beside them. “You’re coming with us.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Last God and Sahmara on Sale

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Last God, I've reduced the price of my fantasy novel Sahmara to .99. Get both e-books for .99 each for a limited time!
The Last God - Pre-order on: Amazon / Nook / Kobo/  Also now available in Paperback for $9.95
Sahmara - Amazon / Apple / Nook / Kobo / Scribd / 24 Symbols / Inktera

Abducting the angry and suicidal god of war might not be Logan’s wisest choice, but she’s the weapon that might be able to defeat the army of Matouk, who destroyed his homeworld. If he can show her how to love, they might save each other from the terrors that plague his nights and all of her days.

The Last God is science fiction romance. For those of you wondering about the heat level, my romance is on the fairly tame side. While I enjoy reading hot steamy erotic scenes now and then, I don't write them. My romance is more of the fade to black variety.

Now then... About Logan.

When the angelic face of Matouk appeared on the vids of Hijn, the populace was enraptured by his voice and appearance. Some began to worship him as though he were a god.

Then he started making demands for sacrifices. Threats. His forces filled the skies.

People revolted. Matouk's fury rained down upon them, destroying the colonies that had become cities on Hijn, enslaving the survivors, and taking all he wanted for his own.

Logan Klevo lived through this, but nightmares and horrific flashbacks make him wonder if he can truly call it surviving. Though he's rescued by the crew of the Maxim, Logan feels out of place, a soldier on a ship full of techs. It isn't until he accompanies a few of the crew on a mission to warn the people of Kaldara of their impending demise, that he feels a few moments of peace.

And those brief moments are courtesy of a dying god in his arms. He's not about to let her go.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Coming June 19: The Last God

Now that I can finally breathe. Whew! I just wrapped up the formatting for The Last God, I can take some time to chat.

I totally missed my IWSG post this month. My theme was lacking time. Let's just call that a meta mini IWSG post.

Now then, about this book that's been eating all my time...

The Last God is about a woman who has been the god of war for so long that she's seen and done it all and worn the t-shirt until it turned to dust. The Unlata Kai have done just as much guiding of young races as they have ruling over them and driving them into the ground.

The General is just plain done.

She's been a daddy's girl all her life, doing everything to try to impress a man who has no love for anyone but himself. She's brought his wrath to countless worlds, hunted her fellow Unlata Kai into near extinction, murdered siblings for him. She's even gone so far as to damn her soul. All she's got to show for her efforts is a shiny suit of armor and beautiful city of obedient subjects on a world that's ready to implode.

Her parents have tuned out and the only man she's slightly interested in has joined her in a pact to end her kind. At least he's loyal. Too bad they'll be dead shortly.

All the General needs to do is keep her voice down, the occupants of the throne room calm, and to evacuate the innocent population off Kaldara. As long as the kind and queen remain oblivious on their thrones, the last of the Unlata Kai won't live to see tomorrow.

The universe will be a far more peaceful place.

The last thing she needs is a ship of humans on a mission to warn her parents of Kaldara's imminent demise to land just as the evacuation is underway. It doesn't help that one of them is tall, dark and distracting in ways that have the god of war thinking about taking up a new line of expertise.

The Last God is slated to release on June 19 in both print and e-book. You can pre-order now for only .99

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Editing the weekend away

In the season of graduation open houses, I'm spending my weekend doing the final edits on The Last God. It's been through readers. It's been through my eyeballs. Now it's in my ears.

And it's depressing how much the eyeballs miss.

To cope with this tiresome job, I call upon chocolate.

The best part about graduation open house season though is...food. I don't have to cook very much. Lunch has been provided for the past two days and dinner is on the menu for tomorrow. Which is good because the listening method of editing is slower than the reading one. This probably has something to do with why it picks up so many more things that my eyeballs do.

I like to make notes in ink and highlight the area where the change is. Overlooking ink is easy. The orange makes it stand out more. Red ink would also work, but it feels so negative.
Listening has helped pick up on word echos, odd phrasing, extra words, missing words, wrong words, and detail changes I missed making on the last eyeball round.

The cover is done. The blurb is done. Very soon edits will be done and then its on to formatting fun and ordering print copies.

Watch for The Last God on the 19th in e-book and print!

(Wow. My lighting is not that orange, I swear. Dim lights and phone cameras don't mix.)