Making More (stories)

I’ve been lured into the NaNoWriMo Camp. I tried keeping up with writing a novel in July once before but the summer just hit me too hard and there were just too many other things to do other than write. But this year I’m keeping a promise I made by writing a novel for my in-laws and because I want to keep my word in a timely fashion I’m writing in July (instead of the November challenge).

Writing challenges help me to stay focused and I’ve had difficulty focusing with this story.  Mostly because there is so much research that has to be done  that as I write, I’m taken out of the plot way too often. My method I decided would be to write the story and just RED LETTER places where I need to research and slip it in later.

It’s funny, because when I say research, for those who never wrote a historical novel before, here’s a sample.

I have my main character go inside the Nissen hut (yes I had to find out what kind of hospital there was in Petworth England in 1942, what kind of structure it was made of, the difference between a Nissen hut and a Quonset hut, and its resilience should a bomb fall on one, was there electricity, and so on and so forth). Once she enters the hut she makes a cup of coffee. (The letters she wrote from which this story is based tells of her love for coffee). This sounds like  one sentence which should take only a second to write. However, in order to be factual, I have to research the answer to these questions.

  • What kind of stove did nurses in WWII use?
  • What kind of pots?
  • Did she haul the water from a tank outside?
  • What sort of shelving were there in the Nissan huts?
  • What sort of cups did they use?
  • Did they have commodities such as sugar?
  • What kind of light did they have? Candles?

As you can see, having to fill in the blanks for almost every sentence slows the writing process down. Especially while researching you come across all sorts of other interesting tidbits!

Anyway, you can guess that there will be a lot of red letters in this story for the first draft.



Where the Yellow Violets Grow is a historical romance that takes place during WWII and is based on the actual letters and life of a nurse in England and a wounded infantryman she cares for.


A note as an author to a reader. Please do not complain about spending a little money on a book that was well researched. I know so many authors that spend a good deal of time writing historical fiction, and its a sad thing when readers want only free books from these authors. I so appreciate the hard work that goes into them!

Posted in authors, bloggers, Books, historical fiction, inspiration, Love, musing, musings, Romance, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making up for lost time.

I have not been keeping up with my blog. I wonder though if people have been reading blogs as fluently as they used to.  I don’t know. I follow some and then feel like all the information I obtain from them puts my poor brain on overload.

Currently I am researching for my next book, of which I do not have a title. I want very much to have a good title and I’m probably one of the world’s worst title givers. *Inject smilie here.

The research I am conducting is about 1944 and 1945 WWII England and France. Two very specific locations, actually. Petworth, Sussex England and the battle of St-Lo France. The novel will be based on a true story of an American nurse of the African-European Theater of WWII, a first Lieutenant, and a Technical Sargent of the 29th Infantry Division who fought at D-Day Normandy, the Hedgerow battles, and St. Lo.

Surprisingly this is not a war story that I’m writing. It’s a love story taking place during the war. There are some compelling circumstances surrounding this romance that will be a joy to explore. I can’t wait to get to the meat of it.

The story is from a collection of letters written by a relative’s mother. Of course, I have to fictionalize it and that’s what’s exciting. I get to put myself in this era, under duress circumstances, and develop both characters and a tale for the world to read, to empathize with, and perhaps to remember.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems there has been a recurring interest in WWII both in literature and in conversation. New eyes are exploring an entire world at war. Is it because of the political atmosphere of the time? Is there something the older generation needs to pass on to the younger, more sheltered generation of Americans? I don’ t know.

What I do know is that I am wading into the waters now and will be fully engulfed within the next few weeks. You may see some relevant posts!

Ernie Pyle traveled with the 29th Infantry Division. In a news clipping of which our Sargent was interviewed about the fighting in France, his response was only to “Read Ernie Pyle’s telling.”

You may read it also.

A little more about St. Lo. Our hero’s last battle.

Posted in Books, Current Affairs, historical fiction, inspiration, musing, musings, Stories, writers, writing, WWII | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making available

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” ~ C.S. Lewis

Life is a crazy thing, isn’t it? I’m glad I have faith in the Creator otherwise I would be despondent more often than not.

I’m watching my husband battle cancer and trying not to worry. My children struggle to survive (in this day, it’s not easy for young people). And I, well I’m trying to maintain some sort of substantial livelihood should I be left alone. And who knows if that’s what’s in the future? When you get older you ponder on these things often. It seems, as it always has with me, that my creative outlets, even though a form of fantasy, are my real hold on reality.

That and of course my constant home in God which never changes.

All this and wrestling with allergies.

And then there’s the garden. The flowers, the vegetables, the fruits, the never ending pull to be outside under the sun, or the stars in the fresh air and gentle breeze.

Life is give and take. A gospel message of it’s own, this is the story of the grain of wheat, that must die before it can live again. A combination of gladness and sorrow, trial and tribulation which makes all the poets and artists of years past so accurate in their responses to it.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

It is my sincere desire to pass onto you the same sort of nuggets I have found in other author’s writings.



There’s a giveaway going for Ian’s Realm Saga.

Also, I have two gift certificates for Ian’s Realm Saga available for the first two people who leave a comment telling me they’d like to read it!

Ian enters a portal to another world. Beautiful country, wild horses, a deceptive mountain, dragon worshipers, pirates,  and a mystery.




If you nominate Thread of a Spider, and it gets published by Kindle Scout, you’ll get a free eBook from Amazon.

Teens enlist the Fae to win a war in Ireland





An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody is available for Pre-order at only .99 This is a limited price offer, so grab it now!

“”Campy, fun, for some reason the writing and characterization remind me of The Confederacy of the Dunces…This is a fun, imaginative book. It’s well written and well told. ” -Ingram Sparks Review


Have a great weekend, and may the sun shine in your life!

Posted in authors, bloggers, Books, Cassandra's Castle, Current Affairs, fantasy, Giveaway, Ian's Realm Saga, inspiration, life, Love, Mr. Peadlebody, musing, musings, poetry, spring, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making News

Summer is here in the US. I think you can tell by the beautiful weather, or even if the sun isn’t shining in your part of the States, at least the flowers are blooming. Folks are planning summer escapes, and I’m sure there are those of you picking up your kindles and paperbacks and heading off for a relaxing vacation. I know from experience those vacations always include down time, where we kick back after a hard day of play, and read ourselves into another world.

Before I shoot you the link to my new book (or rather the new edition of my old book) I want to give you the story about how this book came about. For those of you who know me, you might have guessed that I can be pretty snarky sometimes. I have my father to thank for that. He was a big fan of the Jackie Gleason Show.


For those familiar with the show, the humor was all sarcasm and borderline abusive, but really hilarious. I loved it at the time. But that’s the kind of thing our family watched and that’s the humor we enjoyed. So it’s little wonder that when I found myself brooding over my books not selling I thought, “What am I doing wrong?”

The answer I had was to try a different genre.
Well, at the time vampires were the big craze. Twilight led the brigade for this generation, and hundreds of other authors followed. I couldn’t for the life of me imagine writing a serious vampire story.  But what did I have to lose? I would muster up my father’s snarkiness and write a satire. Because really, if you think about it, vampires are a rather funny lot. Especially if they come from a dysfunctional family made up of an over-zealous half-blood who dies in a train wreck (okay, so he actually died from a railroad tie splinter through the heart when the train wrecked), his spunky wife who regrets ever meeting him and now that he’s dead is determined to find a ‘cure for the curse’, a son who just wants to fall in love with a human and have a normal life, and a incompetent uncle (who never made a very good vampire in the first place), trying to find the truth behind his father’s death. Throw in a buffed and defiant butler, and there’s the story.
So as I begin any book, I started researching. I wanted to know about these crazy creatures. Where did they come from? What are the legends? What can they do and what can they not do?
What are the rules? Here’s what I discovered.
There are no rules.
Even CNN said so.
and I found a Wikipedia chart proving it.

And since it’s fantasy, you can go along with the trend, or not. That’s why Twilight’s vampires sparkle. Did Dracula sparkle? I think not.

So I broke some rules and made up some others. The Peadlebody’s family line inter-breeds with other races (all predators to humans). Except for Benjamin’s parents. But even Benjamin fell in love with an elf. Then she died. Then his next wife conned him. But I won’t give you any more details about who she is. There’s a chapter in the book devoted to her, and I want you to read the book, obviously.

So here is my suggestion for a fun summer read.
An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody 2nd Edition is a humorous satire about a dysfunctional vampire family tackling a forbidden romance, a curse and a murder.
“Campy, fun, for some reason the writing and characterization remind me of The Confederacy of the Dunces…This is a fun, imaginative book. It’s well written and well told. ”  – Ingram Sparks Review
“A vampire story written from a different point of view with honed in visuals that keep you chuckling. This is a titillating read that tickles and tantalizes. The most fun I’ve had with a book for… I can’t remember when!”  -Shelly Wilkerson, artist and reader.
Posted in bloggers, Book Covers, Book Reviewers, Books, Ebooks, fantasy, folk story, inspiration, Mr. Peadlebody, musing, musings, Reviews, Stories, Vampires, wild, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Stories

Just for fun, and because my blog has been on the back burner far too long, I thought I would post some of the illustrations I did for my series, since they have become obsolete. Perhaps you’re wondering why I didn’t include the illustrations in the trilogy when I republished. (Perhaps not but I’m going to tell you anyway).

When I went to a local school with my books to talk to two fifth grade classes, I talked about the story, and showed them my website. I had them captivated with the Tall Ship adventure, and intrigued with instructions on how to build a yurt. They were entranced with the tale and I think that had I been allowed to offer my  book for sale to their parents, they all would have raised their hands. I let them ask me questions and when they were done I asked them a question.

I asked, “how do you feel about illustrations in the books you read?”

It was unanimous. My target audience didn’t like pictures. Why? Because pictures were for chapter books. Pictures were for books for young readers, and of course being in the fifth grade, they weren’t young anymore. They were ready for big people things.

That’s when I made my decision not to illustrate my stories any longer.

Of course, there are some kids who like the images in my books. Say, for instance, the children I used as models. (Insert a wink here!) Like Elijah, (portrait below) who posed for young Ian in the first book! The son of a my daughter’s friend, I knew Elijah since he was a baby. He made a perfect Ian and there are still more photos I have of him that I’d love to paint.


Finally, as the orange and pinks of the setting sun shimmered on the water, the sailors came to them and took the nets, reeling them into long rolls and then folding them crosswise. Ian liked the sailors.

His sister’s painting never made it into a book, but the idea was to have a model for the young Cassie (of Cassandra’s Castle) when she appears as a dream in Rubies and Robbers (which is now known as part three in the trilogy Ian’s Realm Saga). I can’t find the file at the moment but I did do a color portrait of her.

Two other young people made it into Ian’s Realm Saga. Cheyenne, whose image represents Abbi as a young girl. Cheyenne posed for me several times, once at the Tilbury Event, which I will tell you more about on another blog post, and again on horseback. I think these photo sessions were memorable for her, because she’s since offered to pose for me whenever I need someone.   Hopefully that will be soon. I love including people in my stories even if I’m not going to physically put the images in the books.


Below are Ian and Abbi entering Alcove Forest on horseback, led by Ian’s father. This is just before they meet Xylon for the first time, the little computer character who warns them about the dragon. A fun scene!


To avoid riding in the sun, Alex veered west, following a fork that left the prairie and entered the forest.  As they moved from soft dirt to a bumpy path of rocks and roots, Callie lost her footing, tripped, and sent Abbi bouncing off the saddle onto the ground, screaming.
Alex jumped off his horse and ran to help her.
“I’m OK,” she said.
Ian dismounted. When his feet touched the ground, he heard a grunting sound, alternating with coughs, murmurings, and a clearing of the throat.
“Dad,” Ian whispered. “Listen.”
Alex drew his sword as Ian cautiously stepped next to him; together their eyes scanned the brush and undergrowth of the woods. The sun was high above them and its light glistened through the trees onto the sword ferns. No breeze broke the stillness, only the hum of an occasional horsefly. They saw no one, and yet the grumbling continued.
“Oh no,” Abbi gasped, scooting backwards on the ground. Her surprise turned into a laugh. “Look.” She pointed to a figure in front of her.
A little, bearded man no more than a few inches high wearing black knee breeches and red suspenders was frantically beating a dusty baseball cap across his pant leg. He stopped long enough to punch his fist into the cap.
“Dad, look. It’s the little guy I made on the computer last year.” Ian knelt next to him, thrilled, eyes sparkling with delight.
“So it is,” Alex said.
“He’s talking.”
The little man looked up in shock, and when he saw them all gawking at him, he struck a salute. “At your service, sir,” he said. He held his cap behind his back with his other hand.
“How darling,” Abbi said.
The little man gave her a disapproving look.
Ian scooted closer to him. The creature was the same little avatar he had designed in Anima Draw last year; somewhat balding with curly black whiskers under his chin, and squinty blue eyes topped by bushy white eyebrows. His cheeks were rosy red and he sported a black mole next to his left eye, a detail that Ian had been careful to include.
“You talk?” Ian laughed, surprised and in awe seeing his animated character move about like a real person.
The little man glanced up at him with a grimace. “You do too,” he snickered.
“I didn’t make you to talk.”
“Well, sir, I do. And if you would kindly keep your four-legged beasts from knocking me over and destroying my cap, I would say ‘thank you’.”

Unfortunately you won’t find any more of my books with illustrations. But that’s okay because really, now they’re for grown ups, and the words should be illustration enough, at least that is my attempt.

You can find these words and more in the novel Ian’s Realm Saga. Keep an eye on my Facebook page if you ever want to be in a book, though because just recently I had some models come pose for a cover of my latest.



Posted in authors, bloggers, Books, Cassandra's Castle, Ebooks, fantasy, folk story, Humor, Ian's Realm Saga, inspiration, life, Love, musing, musings, Stories, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Stories

Writing has been a means for me to say things that I wouldn’t be able to speak while in a normal conversation. Ever since I was young I found expressing myself on paper was much easier, and more fulfilling than talking, even if I didn’t have an audience.

When I was younger I had a tendency to be depressed. Often times I would sulk, not knowing why a darkness lingered inside of me. The only way I could make myself feel better was through poetry–both reading poems and writing them. I was a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe at that time of my life. Poe, and Shakespeare. I was searching for meaning in life, raking through the roots of my inner soul trying to make sense of my emotions. Those poets helped me because I saw through their characters, that I was not alone. Forever man has wondered who he is.

That’s why I love to write novels now.

DL_GardnerFSMy characters muse over life, each with their own personalities, each with their own voice. It is very satisfying for me to see the world through all these eyes.

I wanted to let you know that my new novel Thread of a Spider is on Kindle Scout at this very moment and will be for 30 days. I have a chance at being picked up by an Amazon imprint, but I need your help. If you could be so kind as to nominate my book for publication, I would appreciate it. In return, if it does get picked up and published by Kindle, they’ll send you a free ebook!

Please Nominate Thread of a Spider

I really appreciate it.

Posted in authors, Book Covers, Book Reviewers, Books, Ebooks, fantasy, historical fantasy, inspiration, life, musing, musings, Poems, Thread of a Spider, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Cover for Ian’s Realm Saga

I’m thrilled!

All my books are getting a facelift and I have to post them on my blog for you to see. This is the first one, designed by GermanCreator from Fivvr. Let me know what you think. I’m excited!! The print book is being made even as I write. The new covers aren’t on Amazon yet.




Posted in Book Covers, Uncategorized | 2 Comments