Is my brain big enough? Why can’t I concentrate–squirrel!



portrait of beautiful young woman sitting at dark reflecting table touching head temples with handsHuman intelligence puzzle represented by a blue glowing maze and labyrinth in the shape of a human head representing the concept and symbol of the complexity of brain thinking and thought patterns as a challenging problem to solve by medical doctors.

Twice I have written the second novel in a series. The second Finny Aletter book, Obstacle Course, was a creature from hell to write for several reasons, primary among them that I was still a novice writer and was flung about like feathers in a fan factory. A Signal Shown, the second Wisdom Court book, was simultaneously the most difficult and most personal book I’ve ever written. One of the characters in it died of Alzheimer’s Disease, as did my mother. Enough said.

Now I am swinging a machete through the jungle of the third Wisdom Court book, All In Bad Time. While I have had glorious moments of communion with my characters, I also have a yard sale’s worth of details from the two previous books to braid along with the new and improved elements of this one. My haunted house is filled with wonderful women who have back stories, dreams and ambitions, complaints and attitude. They’ve also dropped a shitload of info along the way. I have a large flow chart (thanks again, Christine Jorgensen) but I’m staggering about, tripping over plot devices. Sacre dieu! (I say this as I shake my fist at the sky. French classes up frustration and the garret could use some class.)

But today a couple of different questions occurred to me: Is my brain big enough for this? Why has my concentration span shrunk to the size of a rare Rumanian stamp?

These are philosophical questions and don’t belong in a rant about writing. But…some legitimacy lies in asking them. Brain size is an important issue and I modestly point out that I have written a bunch of words, some of them arranged into novels. The arranging itself required a great deal of concentration. Thus past history would indicate both sufficient brain size and adequate attention span.

So why am I sprawled on the jungle path? Could it be the huge, crouching plot element that keeps tripping me? The one I keep hacking at with my dulling machete? Possibly. Do I long to succumb to the lures of gardening if it would, for just one day, stop raining? (Sacre dieu!) More than likely. Have large earth-moving machines and leaf blowers been singing the Hallelujah Chorus outside my window everyday for at least two weeks, accompanied by the whine of radial saws at the construction site down the block? Definitely. Do I have control over any of these things except the hulking plot element? In a word, no.

I have come to a conclusion. I must befriend my gargantuan plot element. I must love and care for it. Then, when I’ve lulled it into a false sense of security, I will gently prune its more irritating branches, enabling it to fit snugly into the existing–SQUIRREL!

Just singin’ in the rain…




Rainy autumn landscape through a window with raindrops. autumnal mood.

The promise in hushed air–such is the power of rain. Word has it we’ll get snow tomorrow night into Sunday. There’s a reason we’re told here in Colorado not to plant anything before Mother’s Day.

I’ve been getting Facebook posts and email from relatives living in drought-land. They’re joyous at receiving rain, and I’m so happy for them. Fingers crossed they don’t get tornadoes as well.

Here’s to rain falling on spring gardens, to hope growing from tired soil, to words spreading across empty pages. To rebirth.

Here comes the thunder.


What’s with all the Owls, Yvonne?


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Funny you should ask. I’ve been on a tear lately, posting pictures of owls whenever I feel like it. The owl has become the symbol for the novel I’m working on, All In Bad Time, Wisdom Court Book Three. And the reason for that is nicely explained at the website The White Goddess at

” In Ancient Greek mythology the Owl was a creature sacred to Athena, Goddess of the night who represented wisdom. Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom had a companion Owl on her shoulder, which revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to light up Athena’s blind side, enabling her to speak the whole truth, as opposed to only a half truth. The Ainu in Japan trust the Owl because it gives them notice of evil approaching. They revere the Owl, and believe it mediates between the Gods and men. The bird features prominently Celtic folklore where it is considered both to be sacred and to have magical powers, again because of its abilities in the dark. Zulus and other West African nations consider the bird a powerful influence in casting spells, and think that using parts of the owl gives great strength to a person involved with magical incantations.”

If you’ve read my first two Wisdom Court Books, Edge of the Shadow and A Signal Shown, then you already know owls ought to be hanging from the chandeliers at Wisdom Court. But I’ve saved them for the third volume and I’m having a wonderful time researching and finding images of these magnificent birds. They’re inspiring. And you’ll never guess how an owl plays an vital part in the plot of All In Bad Time. (I’m working as fast as I can.)

Cezary Korkosz, Photographer

Cezary Korkosz, Photographer


P.S. Edge of the Shadow is still available for 99 cents at Kindle Books and Nook Books. A Signal Shown sells for $3.99 at both places. (And the Finny Aletter mysteries, Scavenger Hunt and Obstacle Course, sell for $3.99 as well.)

And then you find a bridge…



Old vintage wooden walking bridge over sea waterIt’s been nearly a week since our daughter Misty returned from the Michigan Head-Pain & Neurological Institute. With her she brought a couple of diagnoses,  a management plan, and strategies for life style changes and coping mechanisms. You notice I don’t use the word “cure.” There is none. She is among a small group of people who chronically have migraines and who must manage their conditions, much like diabetics manage their blood sugars. She has a long and winding road ahead of her, but her experience in Michigan provides a bridge from lack of information to some understanding and a path forward. I’m grateful for that.

I’m also grateful to family and friends who have shared prayers, good wishes, and love during this ongoing crisis. Thank you all so much.

Happy Spring to us all.


Ereader News Today features…


Edge of the Shadow at 99 cents. Whoot! One of the biggie ebook promoters has EOS in the spotlight, thanks to the wonderful people at ePublishing Works!

Here’s your chance to buy my brilliant ghost story for not much and to read it in anticipation of the second installment, A Signal Shown. The books are categorized as horror, but they’re more paranormal mystery, and who doesn’t enjoy that?

I’m working away on the third Wisdom Court book,  All In Bad Time and scaring myself as I write. As I sit in my garret, the sounds in our old house are more noticeable when I’m describing a spirit desperate to communicate with one of the characters. A creak of the stair or a rattle from one of the lower floors incites an extra shiver, and I glance over my shoulder, wondering if that shadow behind me has moved since the last time I looked.

Do yourself a favor and sign up for Ereader News Today.

You’ll be introduced to new books in all kinds of categories, delivered to your email address each day. Happy reading!9781614176459


Taking a long walk off a short pier



jetty sunriseSometimes life presents situations you can’t get around. Sometimes you can only go through, dread growing along the way. It’s been that way around here for awhile.

Our daughter has been increasingly ill for years now, with ovarian cysts, worsening migraines, and now trigeminal neuralgia. She lives in a sea of pain with islands here and there to rest on. The islands are getting smaller and less frequent.

Soon she will leave for a headache/pain management hospital in Michigan where the staff will give her intravenous drugs to determine which mixture is most effective in treating the migraines. As you can imagine, we are hoping this experiment will enable her to reclaim her life.

Why am I writing about this now? To ask for your good vibes, prayers, and kind thoughts that Misty will get better. Sometimes just knowing people are hoping on your behalf can have a positive impact. I’m looking for all the positive I can find for my girl.

Peace, friends.




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img_2345.jpgSometimes I feel I’m a ghost, never more than after the holidays. The past and present collide every year and tendrils of the future ooze through the cracks. My endless fingering of plot puzzle pieces gives way to a jaded look at at the rubble around me. Tired decorations, gifts left waiting for a permanent home in the clutter, unsorted mail, ice bonded to the sidewalks in front of the house…the list of Things To Do ever grows. Glowing nuggets of hope and anticipation dim in the vapor of dread swirling around me like snow on the wind. Dental appointments lurk in the shadows, peering around the hideous promise of income taxes.

Obviously, it’s time to read.

I’m almost done with a fascinating book by Barbara Goldsmith, Other Powers, about the intersection of spiritualism, women’s suffrage, and the life of Victoria Woodhull. Gives a raucous new slant on the “Victorian Age.” Good stuff.

I read Peg Brantley’s first two thrillers, Red Tide and The Missings, both fast-moving, well-plotted tales set in Colorado that ruined my manicure.

Douglas D. Hawk’s Mark of the Black Claw, terrific fun in an action-filled revisit to the pulp fiction of the forties. Loved it.

I’ve been wandering through a bunch of books and, with any luck at all, I’ll be able to put off the evil have-tos for another week or so. That’s not to say I’m not working on my third Wisdom Court book, All In Bad Time. It’s definitely coming along. But as my Great-aunt Lizzie always said, “There’s nothing like reading to get you through the dark times. Reading and hot buttered rum.” Yeah, and maybe some cookies.

If anybody out there gives a whoop…



998584-195…my word count came to 17, 562 words during NaNoWriMo. But some of that was rewriting, and I moved some chunks around among different chapters. So, it’s only a best guess. I just wish I were happier about it.

I truly admire the folks who can run with NaNoWriMo and accomplish their goals. Not for the first time, I wish I were one of you. I’m stuck with a brain that hops around among ideas and notions. A little tweak here, and, oh, this part can go back in Chapter 12. Not linear in the slightest. So, kudos, sincerely, and I hope you keep up the pace.

As for me, I’ll keep plugging in my own odd way. As Popeye famously said, “I yam what I yam.” Baked or candied, I write to my own drummer.

Happy holidays.

And here I thought I knew everything…


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Well, it’s been an interesting November so far. I’ve learned several things by trying NaNoWriMo for the first time. Biggest one is that it doesn’t work for me. I do have thousands of words written but I discovered a basic truth about the way I write: I go nuts if I don’t start each session with a brief edit of what I wrote the day before.

That may seem a small thing, but when I finally gave in to the desire to go back, take another look–rewrite, for God’s sake–my forward momentum died an ugly death. I was becalmed in my little sailboat of a writing routine and couldn’t catch any wind to return to the race. My focus had become fixed on piling up words, not discovering the heart of them. I kept finding half-thoughts tripping over each other, the kind of plot issues that don’t become a problem if you find them and deal with them every day. (Well, sometimes they sure as hell do, we all know that, but if your ears are filled with the ticking of the clock, it’s harder to deal with.) I floundered around for a while, fell into a pit of despair over an unsolvable plot snarl, and threw up my hands…and nearly my lunch. Ugly, my friends, ugly.

And then came the dawn. I would do what I always do (no, not try to take over the world, Pinky and the Brain fans.) I’d continue writing, I’d try to speed up a bit, but not at the expense of the incremental editing that appears to jump-start my brain. At the end of November I will add up all the words (and post them on Twitter and/or here, since I never actually signed up for NaNoWriMo.) And I’ll keep going until I’ve finished the book. And then I’ll go through the manuscript again and again until I’m ready to show it to readers.

I was really hoping the pressure of NaNoWriMo would bulldoze me through the slow patches. Came to find out the slow patches are where my writing happens.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Hair-tearing insanity in NaNoWriMo



Okay, remember how I tweeted that you should never look back at the earlier pages? I have a very mother of a plot snarl & my tired brain is scurrying around like a trapped badger trying to figure a way out. I’ve got words written on three different chapters but the totals don’t mean anything until I get a coherent narrative strung together. I think I’ve found a way, but I’m going to sleep on it to be sure.

The biggest difficulty is that what I’m working on is the third book of the series–three dimensional chess in fiction form. The details come from all three books and I’m struggling to braid everything together. The first two books are published so I can’t change anything in them. So I’m eyeball to eyeball with a couple of plot points that must be manicured a bit. And I’m mixing metaphors like a Fiction 101 Cuisinart.

I will sleep, perchance to dream up some answers to these highly irritating questions. And then I’ll preen at my genius. Right? (Cricket chirping.) RIGHT?


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