Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I like gardening — it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself. — Alice Sebold


After a hard winter, and vexing spring, June has been a joy to the senses. Such a delight to dash outside any time the pure gold light beckons. I never know what I'll find to photograph, a new hobby for me. I'm using my cell phone, haven't advanced to an actual camera yet. The garden is alive with butterflies, bees, bumbles, birds, and fireflies (tough to capture pics of those tantalizing glimmers) in addition to the plants. Extra time in the garden is good for the spirit, so I'm out the door the instant it summons. 

The double apricot hollyhocks I photographed below are blooming on the only plant that survived the winter from the many seedlings I started last spring and nurtured all summer. Endless watering during the long dry spell...and all gone, but this one remaining hollyhock is glorious. I will save seed from it and try again for more.



The poppies are exquisite, like butterflies fluttering in the breeze...their silken petals fabric for sumptuous gowns. If such whimsy were possible. Maybe for the fairies. The pollinators also love poppies. 

"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides." ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show


(Breadseed Poppies below. I got the seed for these at Monticello)


(Shirley Poppy and Miniature Hollyhocks)

Another thing about the garden, I think best there. Story ideas and scenes come to me. I've been advised to talk into a recorder so as not to lose these thought threads before jotting them down. I haven't yet done that, though. I'm already a neighborhood eccentric. Old Order neighbors have spotted me--gasp--in the garden on a Sunday more than once as they drive past in their buggies. Not done, you see. And they're not the only ones who disapprove. For those of you who do not live in a highly conservative area, you have no idea how wicked I am. I try to simply tour the grounds on the Sabbath and not do any actual frowned upon work. But a stray weed here and there temps me to a quick tug. And I've transplanted a geranium or two..three. I got caught arm deep in potting soil a few weeks ago. Daughter Elise was with me then and said there was nothing for it but to wave as they drove by. She did. I pretended not to notice.


(Red Admiral butterfly on cone flowers)

If possible, I hide from passersby, sink down behind the asters or dart around the sunflowers. I'd really like a secret garden. Speaking of, I love The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Another lovely children's book, also wonderful for appreciative adults, is Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. She has some of the most beautiful garden imagery I've ever read.

“Nothing stands still, except in our memory.” 
― Philippa PearceTom's Midnight Garden


That quote is true of life, and certainly of the garden. Each day is different out there. If you stay away a whole week, the growth in summer is staggering. Two weeks and it's a jungle.


(Evening Primroses bloom at dusk like time lapse photography. This pic was taken in the early morning while they are fresh and dewy.)

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden


I believe the world would be a far far better place if more people had gardens. I'm all for community gardens, and getting children involved in growing things. Herein lies the key to world peace. Beth's shared wisdom. If only the world would listen.


(Poppies and larkspur)

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden


"My garden is my favorite teacher." ~Betsy Cañas Garmon


(Abraham Darby, my favorite rose)

If anyone is interested, I wrote an herbal available in kindle and print at Amazon, also print at Barnes & Noble.  

Amazon link:https://www.amazon.com/Plants-Medieval-Garden-British-Isles/dp/1496111494 


An illustrated collection of plants that could have been grown in a Medieval Herb or Physic Garden in the British Isles. The major focus of this work is England and Scotland, but also touches on Ireland and Wales. Information is given as to the historic medicinal uses of these plants and the rich lore surrounding them. Journey back to the days when herbs figured into every facet of life, offering relief from the ills of this realm and protection from evil in all its guises.


Monday, June 27, 2016

YA Fantasy Series--The Secret Warrior

The Secret Warrior series is a YA fantasy/paranormal/romance trilogy (unless I write a fourth story) set present-day in our Virginia Mountains. Native American and mountain people lore, my love of herbs, colonial America, and my wild imagination are part of the inspiration behind the series. Shawnee warrior/wolf shifters, witches, a warlock, the Star People, and other characters, shifters, and creatures run through the stories. And there's the prophecy...


The lizard shifting witch is drawn from mountain people lore about an old woman who basks in the moonlight as a large lizard. They call her the Lizard Lady. In the story, her name is Lilith Dubois, and she lives in a ramshackle old house back in the hollow in the mountains. Not only is she a lizard shifter in the moonlight, she’s a witch with memorizing eyes. If you gaze into their green depths, she can put a spell on you that only she can break. This sort of enchantress is called a gorgon. Bad things happen if you look into their eyes. Tough not to do with her magnetic lure.
(Old mountain home that inspired her house in the story. Image by hubby.)
old house where lizard lady lives
One of the most unusual creatures I’ve brought to life is the thunderbird, a mythological bird based on Native American lore. There are people, of course, who insist the bird is real. Check out YouTube, or MonsterQuest. Since I couldn’t conclusively prove its existence, I took characteristics from Native American lore and added a few of my own, like it hunts only at dusk and during storms. The legendary bird gets its name from the belief that the beating of its great wings account for the booms of thunder, and its flashing red eyes are the lighting. Pretty darn awesome. Likely, the thunderbird derives from Native American respect for the bald eagle and is a greatly exaggerated version. I featured a big territorial male in book 1, The Hunter’s Moon. The bird comes up again in Curse of the Moon in the form of an incubating egg. By book three, The Panther Moon, it's a hatchling.
Royalty free image of Thunderbird.jpg1
What could be better than hatching and training a thunderbird yourself? It’s the Native American dragon. Thunderbirds are said to be intelligent, powerful, and wrathful, so you definitely want one on your side. In Curse of the Moon, Morgan’s younger brother, Jimmy, plans to train and fly a thunderbird. He’s a fearless kid.
Blurb for Curse of the Moon (Book 2, The Secret Warrior Series):
The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch--without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch's bidding to save him.
Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?~
Up next, The Panther Moon. Release Date TBD.

(Setting for the series)
***For more on this story and my other books visit my Amazon Author Page.
***The Secret Warrior series is available from all online booksellers.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Some of the 'Whys' Behind YA Fantasy Series The Secret Warrior

Resized Curse of the Moon.jpg1I’m not a one genre author, possibly because I'm too ADD to stick with a single category or era. No, seriously.  I'm multi-published in historical, ghostly, paranormal, time travel romance, and some nonfiction. YA (Young Adult) is my latest venture. I love writing this genre.
Daughter Elise and several nieces encouraged me to take the YA plunge, so thank or blame them. :)
The Secret Warrior is a YA fantasy/paranormal (with romance) series set present-day in our Virginia Mountains. Native American and mountain people lore, my love of herbs, colonial America, and my wild imagination are part of the inspiration behind the series. Shawnee warrior/wolf shifters, witches, a warlock, the Star People, and other characters, shifters, and creatures run through the stories. And there's the prophecy...
The lizard shifting witch is drawn from mountain people lore about an old woman who basks in the moonlight as a large lizard. They call her the Lizard Lady. In the story, her name is Lilith Dubois, and she lives in a ramshackle old house back in the hollow in the mountains. Not only is she a lizard shifter in the moonlight, she’s a witch with memorizing eyes. If you gaze into their green depths, she can put a spell on you that only she can break. This sort of enchantress is called a gorgon. Bad things happen if you look into their eyes. Tough not to do.
(Old mountain home that inspired her house in the story. Image by hubby.)
old house where lizard lady lives
One of the most unusual creatures I’ve brought to life is the thunderbird, a mythological bird based on Native American lore. There are people, of course, who insist the bird is real. Check out YouTube, or MonsterQuest. Since I couldn’t conclusively prove its existence, I took characteristics from Native American lore and added a few of my own, like it hunts only at dusk and during storms. The legendary bird gets its name from the belief that the beating of its great wings account for the booms of thunder, and its flashing red eyes are the lighting. Pretty darn awesome. Likely, the thunderbird derives from NA respect for the bald eagle and is a greatly exaggerated version. I featured a big territorial male in book 1, The Hunter’s Moon. The bird comes up again in Curse of the Moon in the form of an incubating egg.
Royalty free image of Thunderbird.jpg1
What could be better than hatching and training a thunderbird yourself? It’s the Native American dragon. Thunderbirds are said to be intelligent, powerful, and wrathful, so you definitely want one on your side. In Curse of the Moon, Morgan’s younger brother, Jimmy, plans to train and fly a thunderbird. He’s a fearless kid.
Blurb for Curse of the Moon (Book 2, The Secret Warrior Series):
The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch--without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch's bidding to save him.
Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?~
Up next, The Panther Moon. Release Date TBD.
***For more on this story and my other books visit my Amazon Author Page.
***The Secret Warrior series is available from all online booksellers.