Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's hard to believe it has been four months since I peeked in here, much less posted something. So, here it is in a nutshell.

I've taken a job as a cashier and all-around gofer at Ingles Supermarket. I hoped for an office position but, alas, I took this as a trade off for the gas I'll save. The store is just a half mile from my place of residence. I am enjoying meeting the people, and I'm told my "personality" is a plus. Or  maybe that's a way of remarking about how much I like to talk.The pay isn't overwhelming, but I enjoy seeing those weekly amounts slip into my checking account.

I'm approaching the time I'll be able to finish repairs on the Ford pickup, though I can't quite see over the "hill" between me and purchase of the travel trailer.

Sam Alexander finished the illustrations to be included in the re-publication of The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships. The Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Competition judge suggested I re-publish with a few additions to the story and a new, more colorful cover. Sam's drawings will add interest, too.

Old "dreary" cover (according to WD judge)

 Never a Drop of Seawater has hit a snag. My source for advice and encouragement about the island of Tristan da Cunha has not been exactly promising. Since my fictional tale is so closely woven into the actual events on the island, I'm finding it difficult to find my way through the tangle. It will come.

Tristan da Cunha Island

My cockatiels are doing well, though they are getting more and more demanding. They want out and I do like giving them a few minutes of flight time. The problem is:  A few minutes is not enough!

My Beautiful Turtle
(So what if she looked like a turtle when she hatched!)

Walter Pigeon-Toe/Miss Punkin' Pie/Sweet Beau Peep/Honey Penny/Turtle

Enough for tonight. Except to say, I have reserved the name SilverBee Publications LLC with the State of Tennessee and will complete the incorporation before April. 

Goodnight, ya'll!

PS The logo was designed by Donalie Beltran, author of prize-winning true-life tale, Murder is a Family Affair. Check it out!

PPS Looking for a good Indie author and books, check out

Sunday, August 4, 2013


This short piece was to have been an entry to the Themed Short Story: Coffee Cup  on LinkedIn. It never made the 4000 character limit, so here it is. It might fit a post in Rambler's Rest.

Coffee Cup Interruptions

It's exactly 9:00 a.m. as I begin to write, hoping my brain will kick in before it becomes apparent I don't know what I want to say. It's hard to think when nine cockatiels are vocalizing. Of course, that's putting it mildly.

Don’t try to correct my syntax. I can’t speak or write without ending a sentence with a preposition. There will be more, and I hope now that you'll notice every one of them.

There is hardly a morning when standing in my doorway to check out the day doesn’t bring a tremendous sense of well-being. Air fresh and cool--sun about to lift above the hilltop--birds preempting my “firstness” to greet the morning. Today it was the towhee who has been hanging for several months. He's alone--never another of his kind around. He hangs out with the white-crowned sparrows I feed beneath the pepper tree. After an absence of several weeks, he decides to return today. I wish I could ask  where he’s been. Was he scouring the canyon for his soul mate? I feel sad that he's so alone, though pleased that he's found companionship with the sparrows. I think this is  called anthropomorphizing. He has entertained me battling  the bird in the mirrors on my truck. I’ve named him Quixote for his fruitless jousting with imaginings.

What has all this to do with interruptions? (I hope you caught that.) I've just been super aware this morning of how often I veer away from my intended course of action and am asking myself whether this is something new or have I always been this way--and, what's more, are other people just as prone to it as I am? Here is the meandering path I followed this morning.

Awake at 6:00. On the way to the bathroom, stopped to say good morning to the birds. Remembered I ought to put on water for coffee, so put off uncovering the birds. In the kitchen, decided I'd better get Lucy's water bowl out of the dishwasher and fill it in preparation for her arrival about 8:00. Decided it was really, really time to head on to the bathroom. Made it through the morning ablutions without interruption, except for Princess trotting through on her way to the utility porch potty box. Refreshed and ready for the day, I turned on the computer and started dressing while the machine slowly booted up.

Half dressed, I remembered that I needed to start a load of laundry, since I had muddied a couple of pair of jeans while planting acorns yesterday. Got the machine started and soap in the water but noticed that the cat's potty box needed cleaning and stopped to do that. Went into the bedroom to get a couple more things to go into the wash. Stopped to respond to computer stuff required to complete the boot. Put on my socks and shoes as long as I was sitting down. Decided to check email. Answered one from Chris. Remembered the clothes on my lap that needed to go into the washing machine. Managed to get those in on time. Decided I really ought to go to the dresser on the sun porch and get a T-shirt. Half-dressed doesn't really work. On the way through the kitchen, noticed that I hadn't put on the hot pot for coffee, so stopped to do that. Went on to get the T-shirt. Looked for a moment at the cards I want to send to someone who's had bad cancer news and a letter from old friend Lowell that I haven't answered yet. Resisted the temptation to do those two serious things as simple interruptions from trivial tasks.

Dressed, finally, I uncovered the birds, made sure they had clean water and food (will clean cages in a short while), and opened the blinds, the process that begins their day. (Bird food residue crunches underfoot, so I stop to sweep the floor, a chore that has to be repeated several times a day.) That's when I see Quixote (yes, I just now named him) scratching for food among the pepper tree detritus. You can always tell when there's not a lot there, because the little birds scratch and look, scratch and look, but rarely peck. So, I stopped sweeping to take out a cup of wild bird food. He flew away, but he'll be back. When I got back in the house, I noticed I hadn't spread up my bed clothes, so I did that and turned off my reading lamp. I started to go to the computer again but remembered the hot pot steaming away. Made coffee. On my way through the living room to the computer, I set the coffee cup down and finished sweeping. Then remembering the spillover of kitty litter next to the potty box, I went to the utility porch to sweep there.

By now, it's time for Lucy to arrive . . . and she does. Marcia doesn't come in as she's got to be on the road, but Lucy goes right to her water bowl and does her usual search for any tidbits of cat or bird food of interest. I spend a little time making her welcome and hearing her latest news--delivered as aarrroooo rowwww roooooo arrroooowww. She's quite accomplished in her linguistic abilities. In the meantime, my coffee is still on the little table. I forget about going to the computer and start searching for one of the six pairs of reading glasses I now own. Finally have to steal the ones I keep in the bathroom for doing crossword or sudoku puzzles, which means I'll eventually be looking for them again. (sigh) I sat down beside my coffee and picked up the Cockatiel magazine I bought at PetSmart on Wednesday. Coffee was really cool by now. After reading a couple of short articles, I remembered that I had begun this blog article. So, now I'm here with my nearly-iced coffee. And, by the way, I haven't even thought about breakfast yet.

I do enjoy these rambles and hope you do, too.

PS I know I've changed tenses several times. Would you believe it was part of my scheme to match my tenses with my theme? . . . I didn't think so. (smile)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Showing My Face

I'm still trying to discipline myself to keep up this blog and to set up what I've heard called a "hub" website to which all my more succinct posts on social media will point. That implies, of course, that I will keep a calendar dedicated to maintaining a schedule of tasks devoted to  website both current and interesting. 

In the meantime I'm doing research on campers and trailers and how to pick out the best unit for my travels, how to inspect and buy one, and how to pare down my possessions to fit inside one.

At the same time, Never a Drop of Seawater is coming along. It's exciting to see it moving toward completion.

I've met so many great people recently. I'll have to talk about them here soon. Right now it's definitely bedtime. So goodnight for now.


Monday, May 27, 2013

This is the truck leaving its home in California. Its last long trip was carrying me, my nine birds, my cat Princess, an overloaded U-Haul trailer--and my sister Nina and I--to Tennessee. I've been here three and a half years now, happily ensconced in a studio apartment downstairs from my sis. It's been a good time, and my health has improved enough that the flame of adventure is luring me out of my comfort zone. The truck will take me traveling.

On the way, I and my six cockatiels will visit people and sights. During the time, I'll finish my second book to publish (Never a Drop of Seawater) and start on the next (maybe the first of a series about time-travel and girls with their horses). In addition, I'm hoping to find some telecommunications work--either ghost-writing or editing for others or whatever else might pop up.

I hope to have a following during my travels.


Monday, April 29, 2013

 Words to the Wise

Letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, essays, stories, letters--
The circle leads us round and round, sometimes fast and others slow.
We fling about these products, not always wholly aware that they are nothing
Without the thoughts, ideas and the deep well of imagination we carry inside.

And where do those all come from, I ask, knowing full well the answer--
From the brain, that wonderful mass of convoluted tissue, not beautiful,
Nor is it particularly impressive or resplendent in shape or size.
Yet in this grayish blob are the elements that compel us to write.

I am seventy-five years old. I thought I'd always be the woman who worked hard,
Who tackled difficult tasks, ran businesses, gardened, and backpacked in the high Sierras?
Oh, I knew I'd slow down some, but where did this sudden halt come from?
Whence these strange words and phrases that come into my thoughts unbidden?

I'm still mentally competent, of course I am. That is evident in my writings if not my activities.
But when I'm engaged in some silent task, such as making a morning cup of instant coffee,
It seems as though someone in the background, turns the knob of some ancient radio,
Allowing a short burst of words and then as quickly turns the sound down again.

It isn't as though I can remember these phrases. By the time I pick up a pen to write,
Already the phrase has faded. I thought about a recorder, but speaking aloud would do the same.
And so I live with this strange other world. I suspect such mental events are the basis
For illnesses where voices command action or where God delivers messages to willing listeners.

But for me, grounded as I am in the sciences and psychology, they represent mental processes,
Maybe deteriorating processes, in my brain--my much-prized brain--that has led me
On a merry chase for reason, for beautiful scenery, for interesting companions,
And more than anything, for a life worth living. If something fades away, let it be all my regrets.

Friday, April 26, 2013


There's a new wind blowing in my dreaming. Anyone who knows me has seen my life change in many different directions. And I'm happy with all those twists and turns. Now I'm thinking of--and planning for-- another big one. The next few months are for getting ready and making definite plans. I hope everything will be in order by the first of 2014.

First, I'm getting fit. Silver Sneakers allows me to join a gym, which I did a week ago. I'm working on weight control, aerobics, strength training--all the things that will make my health better. 

Second, I'll be accumulating (saving, not spending) money. Every penny I can spare will go into my Preparation Fund.

Third, I'll get the truck healthy, too. It's a good truck, camper ready with all the hookups and connections. All it needs is some overdue maintenance, I'm hoping.

Fourth, I'm going to buy a used slide-in camper with the overhead bed compartment and everything I need to live in it. Then I'll make a modification inside to accommodate my birds--take out the overhead kitchen cabinets and build a wire cage in their places--with pull-out trays for cleaning.

Fifth, I'll hit the road and travel for as long as I'm able. Without the costs of a settled habitation, I'll be able to support myself on the road.

Sixth and most important is to clear out the little apartment that has been my home for the past three and a half years. Very little will fit in my rolling home. In fact, this part is already beginning and will continue for the entire time before my departure.

It won't be easy to say goodbye to my sweet sister and her three sons and their wives and kids. Being here close to them has been wonderful. But it's time for the next adventure to begin--and I'll be back this way again and again.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships is now a competitor in the 21st Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards!

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Well, I'm going to bite the $100 bullet and enter The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships in the Self-Published competition this year.



Self-Published Book Awards

Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. Writer’s Digest hosts the 21st annual self-published competition — the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.
Regular Deadline: May 1, 2013
Wondering what is in it for you?
  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • Catch the attention of prospective editors and publishers
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!
How to enter: register and pay online or download a printable entry form. (Entry fees are $100 for the first entry, and $75 for each additional entry.)

Enter your book into one or more of these categories:

  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Children’s/Picture books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
  • Reference Books (Directories, Encyclopedias, Guide Books)
  • Poetry
One Grand Prize Winner will receive:
  • $3,000 cash and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City
  • A priceless endorsement for their book from the Writer’s Digest Editors–10 copies of their book for submission to major publishing review houses.
  • A one-year membership for Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the largest not-for-profit trade association representing more than 3,000 independent book publishers, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • Guaranteed acceptance in a special sales catalog and national representation through 1,800 salespeople who sell to non-bookstore markets, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A one-year membership to Author-U, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A copy of Show Me About Book Publishing and consultation with Book Shepherd Judith Briles (valued at $500), courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
Nine First-Place Winners will receive:
  • $1,000 cash and promotion in Writer’s Digest
  • A one-year membership to Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A one-year membership to Book Central Station where you can find lists of suppliers rated by previous clients, provided by Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • An ebook titled Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud (with CD).
All Grand Prize and First Place winners will:
  • Be featured on the Writer’s Digest website
  • Receive a copy of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 4th Edition by Tom and Marilyn Ross.
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books
Honorable Mention Winners will receive $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books and be promoted on

All other entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges along with a link to the entrant’s website (only if the URL is accurate) on

Check out the winners and entrants from the 20th annual competition