So there I was, editing, adding to, reworking, rewriting Imaginary Numbers, and a dear friend asked “Who is it about?” An innocent question; a sensible one; wasn’t Imaginary Numbers meant to be the third in series, starting with a tapestry of small-town life in Divide by Zero, followed by the canvas and paints of Infinite Sum as Sylvia tries to mend after Zero’s tragedy. So who is Imaginary Numbers about? It’s about two side characters, small threads in that tapestry, and the small dark mystery that defines their lives. But what about…?

Divide by Zero cover, by Peter Joseph Swanson
Divide by Zero

Suddenly I knew, the book I was working on simply isn’t book three; it’s book four. First I have to tell the tale of that other broken thread, or the weave might fail. And I don’t have a contract for him. What shall I do?

I emailed my publisher at Second Wind Publishing. He’s promised to send me a contract for Subtraction, and the tale will be told.

  1. Divide by Zero
  2. Infinite Sum
  3. Subtraction, and
  4. Imaginary Numbers

Thank you Second Wind Publishing!!!

And here, for your comments, suggestions or complaints, is the first short excerpt to prove I’m really writing it:

Continue reading Subraction


Looks what’s on Amazon!

Look what’s on Amazon!

Five-Minute Old Testament stories! All in one eboxed set
Five-Minute Old Testament stories! All in one eboxed set

and look what’s not.

Jerusalem Journey, Book nine of the Five-Minute Bible Story Series
Jerusalem Journey, Book nine of the Five-Minute Bible Story Series

But I have, at last, finished writing the stories in Jerusalem Journey. Next come the author’s notes, edits, reformats, edits, front and back text, edits, contents page, and finally… hopefully in the not too distant future, it will be ready to send to the publisher (at which point that eight on the cover will change to a nine).

Meanwhile my wonderful publisher is offering that eboxed set (above) for half the price of the individual books. How’s that for a deal! Just go to for enough Biblical bedtime stories to last the whole year through.

Wish me luck with my editing, and if any of you have found a way to download time as well as ebooks, please let me know.

We’re in Austin; it must be Monday

Well no; it’s not Monday now, and we’re not in Austin anymore. But we’ve just got back from a wonderful vacation in Texas. I almost wanted to leave the clothes in their bags as we rushed from place to place, trying to see “everything” in the space of a few days. But the grand event of the trip was our son’s graduation in San Antonio; we had to keep our smart clothes clean and uncreased. So every garment was neatly hung, and neatly folded again at each destination.

And on Monday we were in Austin:

Austin Capitol by night
Austin Capitol by night

On Sunday we were in Corpus

Corpus Christi in the evening
Corpus Christi Harbor

visiting the USS Lexington:

USS Lexington
View from the bridge on USS Lexington

On Wednesday we enjoyed the Hill Country

Deer in Texas
Yes, there are deer in Texas

and the Museum of the Pacific War:

National Museum of the Pacific War, Combat Zone
Outdoor exhibit at the National Museum of the Pacific War

On Friday we watched the graduation:

Graduation Day
Graduation Day

And now we’re home again, catching up on washing, cleaning, dandelions and more…

Giant Dandelions

What day is it today? Was I meant to be writing?

Wagging Tails with Mysterious Fun

If Fred and Joe were real they’d be bouncing off the walls today. I just received a contract in my email! Linkville Press want to publish my “Tails of Mystery,” a collection of short stories about the mysterious adventures of a rather large dog called Fred, his chihuahua friend Joe, and a cat (as yet nameless) who comes to live with them. Exploding houses, kidnapped dogs, strange touches of green in the washing machine, and more… test

There’s a Grand Opening Celebration going on at and I’m thrilled to be part of it. Why not join us?

And there’s a nice long weekend coming up where I can relax and dream of dream-pets wagging their dream-pet tales. Thank you Linkville Press!

Feeling authorly, and writing Bible stories

Last weekend I went to the Oregon Christian Writers’ Conference and suddenly felt like an author. Perhaps it was the way my books were displayed with such care. Perhaps it was the keynote speaker, Jane Kirkpatrick, welcoming me with her usual open arms. Or perhaps it was hearing my name mentioned in her talk! Whichever the cause, I came home walking on air.

Photo of Sheila and Jane
Sheila Deeth and Jane Kirkpatrick at Oregon Christian Writers

But our Coffee Break Bible Study group was coming to an end and I needed a story to shape the summer while we wait to meet again. I had nothing to say. Until my proof copy of Galilee’s Gift arrived in the mail, and opened, by chance, to the page headed “The Bent and Beautiful Woman.”

Cover photo of Galilee's Gift
Galilee’s Gift

The hand of chance belongs to God, they tell me. And Coffee Break is a women’s Bible Study group, filled with women, all beautiful to God, however the world might bend us. So I read the story, my story, and suddenly knew what I had to say. This bent and beautiful woman, like us, was healed by Jesus; but better than that, she learned that she was precious in God’s sight. What better reminder for us in the summer break?

Gift basket for an author
Gift basket for an author

Meanwhile those wonderfully supportive Coffee Break Bible Study ladies gave me a gift, with coffee mug, pens, mouse-pad, and even a bag to carry all my books to my next conference, everything decorated with website and publicity photos of me. Suddenly I felt like an author again!

Thank you ladies. Thank you God!

Transatlantic Computing

Galilee's Gift
Galilee’s Gift

The phone number always comes up as “out of area.” Sometimes it means it’s a telemarketer, but I always have to answer because it might mean the caller is seriously, transatlantically out of area, in which case a family member is probably trying to contact me from England. So I lift the receiver. I say “Hello.” And the reply from my brother is, “My computer needs some help.”

I suspect, having just had to call in the services of our local Friendly Computers when my hard drive died, I may not be the best person to call for computer help. But my nephew was out, my other brother (the technological one) was about to go out, and I came in as third choice.

They’d already tried the “switch off and wait a bit” option. It didn’t help. They’d tried typing in a wrong password to confirm the one they were using was definitely right. But the user account wouldn’t load, and they couldn’t get into a windows screen.

Technological brother had suggested safe mode, so now I guided the pressing of the dreaded F8 key until the right screen appeared. We found our way to the control panel, repair and restore, and various ok buttons. We agreed this would be better than nothing and we let the computer do its work, close down, restart… and my brother (the non-technological one) was back online!

My first transatlantic computer repair job is successfully completed, but will it stick? Perhaps if my brother can’t log on tomorrow the nephew or technological brother will be more conveniently located. But I did feel a pleasant buzz of success as he surfed the internet. I even went on to complete the read-through of Galilee’s Gift, finding typos and feeling guilty, and sending my heartfelt apologies to the publisher. Still, that set of four books will look really cool when they’re finished, and I really hope they’ll read well too. Then I’ll write some more… assuming my computer holds up.

Screams of panic and joy

My computer screamed at me the other day, which is odd, because usually I’m the one doing the screaming. Can’t find that picture; lost the file; my Easter blogpost disappeared (it did)… But “odd” is in the eye of the beholder, or ear of the listener I suppose. My computer screamed at me. Then I screamed back.

I had good reason to scream. My computer was failing, failing, failing, while a fearsome black screen declared there was a hardware problem. Memories of that mechanical scream gave me fearful thoughts of what might ensue.

My hard drive had fried. It was totally, completely, irrevocably, irredeemably dead. So I screamed even more. However, I promise, I swear, I even cross my heart; I will never ever again complain when my husband tells me it’s time to back up my computer. He’d nagged me on the Monday night, and the drive failed on Friday, so all I lost was three day’s work.

Sadly, it’s now more than a week later and I’m still catching up. But I’ve learned my lesson. I’m also backing up vital files onto a thumb drive, every night, just in case disaster strikes twice.

One of those files is the pdf print version of Galilee’s Gift, coming soon to a bookstore near you. But if you can’t wait, here it is in ebook form:

Third New Testament entry in the Five Minute Bible Story Series
Galilee’s Gift cover

And here are Bethlehem’s Baby and Nazareth Neighbors, already in print! A fact that causes me to scream more in joy than in panic–my Five Minute Bible Story Series (TM) is definitely growing!

First New Testament entry in the Five-Minute Bible Story Series
Bethlehem’s Baby cover
Second New Testament entry in the Five Minute Bible Story Series
Nazareth Neighbors cover

And more, coming soon

Have you seen that “flying angel” on Second Wind Publishing’s blog? Today I read the first formatted copy of Divide by Zero‘s re-release, and there it is, my very own flying angel! Thank you Second Wind Publishing!

Meanwhile I’m editing the second novel in the series, Infinite Sum. If Divide by Zero was a tapestry, I guess Infinite Sum must be the genesis of a painting, since it’s told through the eyes of an artist reading her life from pictures.

And then there’s Imaginary Numbers, a mystery. And then… and then…

One day I’ll write the tale of the guardian angel cat, but you’ll have to read the books to find out who that is.

guardian angel cat
guardian angel cat

Coming Soon…

I thought it must be spring when trillium bloomed in Forest Park.

trillium in Forest Park
trillium in Forest Park

Then it rained again.

I thought it must be spring when Mum’s Easter cactus came into flower.

Easter cactus
Easter cactus

But it’s cold and gray.

I’m sure it will be spring when I plant my dahlias again.

20130813_082540But Easter’s soon

and coming soon

will be Nazareth Neighbors in print and Galilee’s Gift

Nazareth Neighbors
Nazareth Neighbors
Galilee's Gift
Galiee’s Gift

telling the tales

of a man from Galilee’s gifts.

100 words a day Bible stories
Easter! Creation to Salvation in 100 words a day

Happy Easter!


Playing with the Birds, part 2

Spring took a break and April showers marched their way through our yard. I learned that dandelions bloom faster than daffodils, and local squirrels have a taste for crocuses. But even the squirrels (and birds) hid when the rain hit its worst.


On a rare day of sunshine, I planted irises, donated by a generous neighbor. Hooked on success when  their leaves still looked alive (and the tubers hadn’t been pulled out by squirrels or birds), I tackled weeds (and errant dandelions) in the gray of the following day. Then it rained again. And then, ah folly, I tried to pull more weeds and rediscovered why I hated mud pies as a kid.

I remember being told all kids love mud. Not me; not mine. Finger painted aroused all my distaste for feeling messy. But I never intended to give my kids the same hangups. I pretended enthusiasm with glee and they burst into tears. “Not like mess.” They never enjoyed muddy yardwork either. But the birds thought it was great.

So, back to those birds. Crows are loud, large, and threatening. Small bright-colored friends watch from branches and tweet random numbers of notes (not characters). Huge blue birds shout at squirrels who shout back. And they all fly up in a cloud when dogs walks past.

Dogs are the best bit or yardwork. Mud is the worst. And twitter might still be my friend. My Klout score has reached an amazing 62, though I’m not sure who I’ll klout with it–maybe the crows if they threaten me again. The score certainly seems to be related to tweets and retweets. So now I’m twittering 140 character fiction, writing kids’ stories, dreaming a novella, editing two novels, and reading…

…and gardening.


reading, 'riting, 'rithmeticking

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