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.


Playing with the birds

I think spring sprang to life today. Lots of little green shoots appeared in our garden. And a gorgeous springer spaniel, who just happens to be visiting for the weekend, sprang over them with delightful agility. Meanwhile the local birds, perhaps unconvinced of said springer spaniel’s goodwill, sprang into song.

Birdsong: the sound of tweeting birds.

Twitter: light-hearted nonsense chatter.

Tweet: The highly recommended, up-and-coming (or already here–why am I always behind the curve) form of advertizing your books.

Easter! Creation to Salvation in 100 words a day
Get ready for Easter. Read the whole Bible story in 100 words a day

So here I sit, like a twit, composing 140 character tweets that include links (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords perhaps) to my Easter book, and realizing before Ash Wednesday would have been a better time for them (but it was still winter, wet and soggy, and lacking in birdsong back then). Still, the tweets will go out (as will the dog), and maybe I’ll even check to see if they generate any interest, or lead to sales.

I’m told real authors check their sales figures as frequently as real marketers tweet. But I’m still behind the curve–I probably have to figure out how to check them first.

For my tweets, visit:

for a growing collection of Twitter stories and poems, try:

and for a book of 100-word Bible stories and Christian ponderings, just click on the links above.



Where is Hemlock?

The black-green scar of Hemlock Forest tore across yellowing plains. Before it  all roads but one turned away in dismay. But Dad took the one road, the freeway’s thick black snake, and drove without pause. Soon sentinel trees stood guard to either side, bending to watch the car. Eyes shone in shadowed threat or hope, but Dad seemed unconcerned. “It’s just animals.”

Finn wasn’t sure. He jumped in his seat as they passed a line of orange cones blocking an exit. “Look Dad! Over there.” And his father explained, there’d been a village once, deep under the forest’s green, but it was was long gone, deserted before the freeway was even imagined.

The road’s snake rose on concrete stilts into daylight on the edge of the forest. Gray shapes of a lonely townscape shone in the sun. “That’s where we’re going, kids,” said Dad. “Hemlock Edge. We’ll be safe there.”

Finn still wasn’t sure.

But Finn and his family aren’t the first strangers to travel in search of Hemlock. The short story, Passage, in Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, tells of another family coming from a place much further away, and a creature who maybe lives still under those trees, watching and waiting, bright eyes shading into dark.

You can find Hero’s Best Friend on Amazon Kindle at

and on Nook

Look out for it in paperback, coming soon!

Free Bedtime Stories, just for you!

Roses are red,

Violets are blue;

New words are bled,

To the page with the dew

Of new dreams; it is said

If you download them, you

Can be one who has read

All the dreams asked you to.

And these words are free! 75 5-minute bedtime stories for kids, from

Plus, they’re even #1! PS 1 in OT

Photos look good in print too

My Mum had three Christmases this year

  1. In November, with my brothers and my sister-in-law (and greyhounds!)
  2. In December, with my husband and me, and two of our sons, and
  3. In January, with oldest son and his (wonderful) girlfriend.

By the end of that visit, Mum’s camera was heavily laden with Christmas photographs, but we hadn’t bothered to load them onto the computer. Then, just as oldest son departed, we found an online deal for a photo book. One day only, the offer said. So we stopped procrastinating.

And here’s Mum’s book!20140121_175026 blur

And here’s my book!20140117_135350

I’d have to say, photos look good in print too.

The Joys of Print

It’s here! It’s real! It’s Bethlehem’s Baby in print! And I’m over the moon.


But now, of course, the vexing question is, how many copies should I buy.

Reasons to buy more:

  1. My Mum wants to take some home to England with her.
  2. My friends prefer real books to ebooks, and have said they’d like to read it.
  3. Cape Arago Press is a real publisher, which always (at least in my brief experience) encourages real buyers.
  4. If I can’t sell copies now, they’ll surely sell on my table at 2014’s Christmas Fair.

Reasons not to buy more:

  1. It’s January: Our credit card’s still bent out of shape from Christmas.
  2. It’s January: Bethlehem’s Baby was born in December.
  3. How do I know my friends will want to buy it?

Reasons to ignore my doubts:

  1. Mum says buy more.
  2. I can always sell to strangers.

So what shall I do?

  1. Buy books!

Watch this space for Bethlehem’s Baby in print, coming soon on Amazon (and maybe other places too):

and don’t forget to look for other books in the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM series.

reading, 'riting, 'rithmeticking

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