My Oven Saga

My fixed oven and stove

My fixed oven and stove

I can’t cook.

It’s one of those skills that never penetrated the thick membrane that lines my skull and keeps my brain from leaking. I marvel at foodies who produce mouth-watering cuisine using random supplies from the pantry and refrigerator. Despite good intentions, I peer into those mysterious places and my mind goes blank.

My husband took over the grocery shopping 10 years ago when he noticed that “grocery shopping” failed to result in groceries. When the poor man eats one of my meals and says, “that was good,” it comes out sounding surprised. Like going to the dentist for a root canal and not experiencing any pain. It’s jaw-dropping amazing!

frog-1254650_960_720So, when we moved into our current house 6 years ago, it didn’t bother me that only one burner on the gas stove worked. My cooking is far from fancy, and juggling a pot and pan over the single flame was no biggie.

Then, this past June, the electric-powered oven broke. With only one working burner, the oven was somewhat handy. The three meals I make that consistently earn a “that was good” comment are oven-made, so this was not a positive turn of events.

We ordered the new element, and when it arrived two weeks later, the dear man tried to install it and broke the thingy inside the back of the oven. A gas-related complication meant that any attempt at further repair was likely to end with parts of this author and her handy hubby sprinkling the mountainside. We needed a professional.

Now, my better half thinks that since I started writing, my ability to accomplish basic tasks around the house has deteriorated to the point where he’d rather do everything himself. I have no idea where this silly thought came from, but I’m not complaining. More time to write. He takes on the responsibility of calling the manufacturer to see if there’s a repair service somewhere willing to send someone into the wilderness to fix this thing.

Stuck with a single burner and no oven, I have no choice but to cook stir-fry.

30 days later, I’m still cooking stir-fry.

60 days later, I’m getting a little sick of stir-fry.

90 days later, I decide to make stir-fry interesting and roll it up in wraps with sour cream and salsa. Hubby announces he needs to get that oven fixed ASAP.

120 days later, neither of us can deal with any more stir-fry. We loathe stir-fry and stir-fry wraps. Hubby calls Gadget who lives ten miles down the road. Despite some bad weather, Gadget comes over three days later and fixes the oven!

animal-1238228_960_720But wait, what about the burners! This very lovely fellow looks down the gas jet thingys and raises his eyebrows. “I think you have spider webs in your gas jets.” I haven’t used those burners in the 6 years I’ve lived here, so it sounds reasonable to me. He starts pulling the “web” out with a tiny hook, and it’s not spider webbing after all. It’s decade old mouse nesting. Ick. Yuck, Blech.

Anyway, now the burners all work and the oven is fixed, thanks to Gadget. To celebrate this miracle, the hubby ventured out in the rain, wind, and stormy weather to buy ingredients for one of my three reliably “good” meals. I’m all set to cook eggplant parmesan and garlic bread.

Then the power goes out!


This post is dedicated to a few blogging foodies that I’ve followed for some time now. They inspire me to try new recipes. Now I can!

Kathryn at Another Foodie Blogger
Lynne at Lynne’s Recipe Trails
Antonia at Zoale
Lynn at Lynz Real Cooking

If you like to cook (or want to try), click on over and pay them a visit.🙂

Sunday Blog Share: Lingering light


Lingering Light

by Kimberly Laettner

Our lives flicker in the lightest winds

like candles perched on water

moving with the tides,

We glow on darkest nights beneath

the moon above that aches to be full,

we sit quietly in the moment

watching as time slips past

and the wick falls…

(Continue reading: Lingering light)

Violet Sky #writephoto

Sue Vincent #writephoto

Sue Vincent #writephoto

Violet Sky

We gathered at the border of the road, called out of our misery by one of the children. The dawn bled, a bruised and bloody wound. How fitting for the sixth extinction.

Yet, it was a dawning.

I had thought, long before the die-off, that we might poison the planet and arise one morning in disbelief that we couldn’t survive on an obliterated world. Or perhaps disease would usher mankind to the pyres, our super-viruses ravaging our weak and chemical-laden bodies. Of course, mutual annihilation was a possibility, the promise of our youth and sum of our talent and treasure dedicated to war. The end always made for entertaining speculation.

Who would have believed the culprit was time, all spiraling down with the slow ticking of the clock, the December of the human race.

I peered at the upturned faces of our isolated band as the heavens thrust spears of light through the clouds’ closing gash. My companions’ bodies appeared to glow in the rare sunlight, their radiant souls shining through, reclaiming lost beauty. In their smiles, I witnessed the dawning of hope and hadn’t the heart to tell them we were ghosts.


Thanks to Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo for another enticing photo prompt. She tosses these out to us on Thursdays and reblogs our submissions. It’s great fun. Head over and give it a try!

Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie – Results

Eight months ago, I started the process of canceling my traditional publishing contracts and re-releasing all my books as an indie author. My reasons for the switch were detailed in two posts Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I) and (Part II).

The process went more smoothly than I could have imagined, and I wanted to share the results:

1. I left myself 8 months to convert 6 books. Two months per book would have been easier as I was reproofing as part of the process. The advice: Create a schedule and then give yourself extra time.

2. New covers had an instantaneous sales response. Covers do matter whether traditional or indie publishing.

3. My old reviews ALL carried over to the new books. All I had to do was ask Amazon to combine the old (publisher) and new (indie) editions leaving only the new editions visible. The same phone call also combined the kindle and paperback editions so that they’d show as one “tile” (the standard Amazon presentation).

4. Though I priced my ebooks significantly lower than my publisher did, I’m earning a greater per-book royalty. The healthier royalties now support further promotion, while the lower prices encourage more readers to try my books.

5. Promotions conducted on 3 converted books generated about 7,5oo downloads that kick-started a series of paid sales. As a traditionally published author, I couldn’t take advantage of promotions as I had no control over pricing and discounts.

6. I bundled my Dragon Soul series as another purchasing option. The books are available singly and as a bundled kindle download.  I priced the first book in the series at $.99 (versus $4.99 through the publisher). This series sold 1 copy the whole year it was with a publisher and is now my best performer.

7. I am now able to track my sales with a great deal of detail. This wasn’t an option when my books were under contract with a publisher. The publisher received complete data, and I only received sales volume data when I received my royalty checks.

As a traditionally published author, the most effective way I had of seeing how I was doing was to keep an eye on my Amazon Author’s Ranking, which looked at my sales performance as a whole versus individually. Here’s a look at how my ranking changed when I started the self-publishing journey. Numbers don’t lie!


My writing journey started with a traditional publisher, but I haven’t one regret regarding the switch to indie publishing. The industry continues to change and who knows what’s ahead. For now, being an indie author works for me.

I hope this series of posts is helpful to anyone deciding which way to go. Happy Writing.

Sunday Blog Share: The Days of Wine and Roses


Days of Wine and Roses

by Pamela Wight

I’m on my way to see my mom this weekend, and taking little with me except some old albums.

When I visit her in late summer, she seems so less of what she used to be. Because of dementia, she can’t remember what I told her five minutes earlier, like “your clean clothes are in the drawer” or “dinner is in 45 minutes.”

Seconds after the conversation, my once bright, quick mom asks: “where are my clean socks?” and then “isn’t it time to walk down to the dining room?”

But when I direct mom to her floral comfy couch and open up the big battered black album, the one that sat in the bottom of her hope chest for decades, her dulled eyes brighten, and she sits up straighter.

Continue Reading: The Days of Wine and Roses

Falling Moon


In my fantasy world, the Falling Moon welcomes a world of pattering rains and burnished leaves fluttering in brisk winds. The wilderness twirls and tumbles and the forest floor blazes in a coverlet of color. The land softens and patchworks of umber and gold quilt the hillsides. It’s a time of frosted breath and morning ice, of warm fires and falling light.

The Falling Moon shines over the world on October 16th

Pieter Bruegel

Pieter Bruegel

Excerpt from Eye of Fire,  Dragon Soul Quartet (Book II)

That night the travelers celebrated their safe arrival with the village. Lamb sizzled on spits over two cookfires in Phelan’s trampled gardens, and the women of Taran Leigh served the season’s last greens, seeded bread, and tart pies sweetened with clover honey. The men uncorked jugs of dark ale and passed them around the gathering, making for a jovial evening.

Taran Leigh’s cooper carted in a drum fashioned from an old cask and settled his bulk near the cookfire’s light. He thumped a rhythm as steady as a heartbeat as Torin brandished his wooden flute. The pair of them played a tune for the village, for the food and ale, for the fire’s embrace, for the freedom and Belonging spilling from the sky like starlight. Ceridwen sang, and the villagers joined in as if their songs too would break free of their bodies and soar. Conall hugged Treasa to his side and pointed up. Earlin raised her eyes to the night. The moon hovered, as round and shimmering and close to a golden coin as any of them would ever need.

A Mother’s Whispered Song

Branwen climbed into bed with her children and spread her cloak over them. Propped on an elbow, she brushed lank curls from small foreheads and looked into the dark eyes that peered back trustingly into hers. In whispered softness, she sang them to sleep.

Little fire, starry light, guide me on my path tonight
On waves of dreams, as you sleep, ‘cross the seas, calm and deep
Farewell to troubles, lay them low, sing the seamaids, soft and slow
Little star, flame above, sail away the night, my love                      – Eye of Blind

For several years, I had the great privilege of serving families in need. As part of my work, I was invited into homes and lives to guide, teach, nurture, and when I could, to gather baskets of memories brimming with new ways of being and believing in the world. At most, I accompanied parents and children on their journeys for mere slivers of time, and yet in the collection of hours and days, I was witness to great suffering and love, desperation and hope.

Those who travel the helpers’ path are granted gifts. Not gifts wrapped in paper and laced with ribbon that we set on a windowsill and forget with time, but gifts that reside within us, that alter who we are and how we perceive our world.

We live in a time of divisiveness. Our politics shred our world, and unfiltered rhetoric spews like bile into the air, toxic with deception and blame. It is no wonder that we are losing our ability to listen and behold each other with open minds and compassionate hearts.

Branwen and her children live in an abandoned house by the sea, but they could live anywhere: in the mountains of China, on the plains of Africa, in the arid lands of Syria, or simply around the corner. Everywhere, mothers like Branwen touch small foreheads, peer into innocent eyes and sing their children to sleep.  What would happen to our world if we became still and quiet and listened to those whispered songs?