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Releasing June 16th and available now for pre-order at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon, and Apple iBooks!

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One bright fall morning, Lyssa Brunner’s life takes a turn for the weird.  Up until then, she is an ordinary, sixteen-year -old, slightly nerdy girl with a secret crush on the captain of the football team.  After that day, she finds that, not only are things not always as they seem but that they are sometimes something that could never even have been imagined.

Will she be able to fulfill her desire for a return to her old, “normal” existence?

COMING IN JUNE!

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The teenage years can be a stressful time.  However, for Lyssa Brunner, life is pretty smooth.  She is an only child and has parents that cherish her and sees to it that she has the best of everything.

She is sixteen years old, a little shy, a little nerdy, and a lot naïve.  She enjoys school, where she is a model student making good grades.  She looks forward to attending book and chess club meetings; playing online video games; going to the occasional sci-fi or fantasy movie and hanging with friends.  All typical teen activities.  Her biggest worry in life is getting a zit.

She also has a secret crush on the captain of the football team.  It is her first crush and as with a lot of teens, this will be a time of  many firsts for her: first crush, first date, first kiss, even her first heartbreak – all normal events for a teenaged girl.

Her life is ordinary and predictable.  Safe.

Until one day it isn’t.

Until one bright fall morning, there is a loud crash as something designated a “freak accident” slams into her house, wounding her mother and shattering her perception of her world.

Until she discovers something outrageous about her family, something that has been withheld from her “for her own good”.

And thus she discovers a totally unexpected “first”, something of which she would never have dreamed, something that is seemingly impossible.  Something involving another world, a different existence.

Adjustment is hard, and in the end, there is a final “first”.

 

 

Click to buy @ Amazon – available in ebook and paperback

 

In some respects, this book kind of reminds me of Herman Hesse’s “Siddartha” in that the protagonist is on a path to self-discovery. It is a book that is an experience. It has time-traveling, religion, and science, with a good dollop of mysticism.
From the moment the protagonist awakens to find a mysterious being in his room, you’re off to other dimensions and other worlds as he is taken on a mission that twists through different times and places. He is brought up against a powerful antagonist and placed in circumstances that would blow anyone’s mind yet he somehow manages to maintain his sanity in his attempts to rise to the challenges.
I must admit that I found it somewhat hard to understand in places, and felt there were a few things that could’ve been made clearer. However, I still found it to be quite an intriguing read and I believe it to be a great book for anyone who loves enigmatic plot twists.

4/5 stars

Why I Hated School

During my seventh grade year, I began hating school.  Before then, I still pretty much enjoyed going, though some of my original eagerness had cooled off in the fourth grade in the wake of an incident that I’ve previously blogged about (see Why I Don’t Like Math).

Here’s what happened to snuff my desire to get up every morning and look forward to spending most of the day enclosed in a brick building learning one subject or another.

I was eleven years old at the beginning of my seventh-grade year, and excited about going to junior high school (it wasn’t called “middle” school back in the fifties; we had three divisions of school: elementary was grades one to six; junior high was grade seven to nine, and of course, there was high school which was from grade  ten to twelve).  I was looking forward to learning to go to different classrooms for each subject (wasn’t any of that in elementary school) even though on the first day of school I wasn’t feeling well.

On the second day of school, I, unfortunately, learned why I hadn’t been feeling well: my appendix ruptured.  I was in the hospital for two weeks and was put on bed rest for four weeks after that.  I should’ve been able to get back in school before Halloween of that year, however, I didn’t get back until after Christmas because that was the year the city buses went on strike.

Such a strike nowadays wouldn’t affect getting to school because kids now ride big yellow school buses, but at that time, short of walking or unless you had a car, the city bus was the only way to get from my house to my assigned school which was clean across town from where I lived.  We didn’t have a car, and my mom wouldn’t allow me to walk so I was stuck at home until the strike was over.

Now you may think that being unable to get there was the reason why my enthusiasm for going to school waned.  After all, while I was out ill, I wasn’t sent a tutor (I wasn’t aware until years later that one should’ve been sent), and even if I’d had one, the tutor wouldn’t have remained while I was out due to the strike, so I would’ve been lagging far behind after being out for half the school year.  You’d be wrong.  My mom was my tutor for that period of time, so I was up to date on the school-work.

Bear with me, I’m getting to the cause of my disaffection with school.

I showed up on the first day after the New Year, relieved to be back.  I was all brushed and polished and ready to go, my mom had even allowed me to put on a smattering of lipstick.  My homeroom teacher (who shall remain nameless), a man whom I’d only met briefly at the beginning of the school year, welcomed me back.  I noticed he kept glancing at me, but I thought nothing of it.

He asked me to remain when the bell rang for my first class and I thought it was to go over my schedule with me.  However, instead, to my consternation, he began to lecture me because I was wearing that barely discernable amount of lipstick.  Turned out seventh-graders weren’t allowed to wear it, a fact I hadn’t known because I was out sick.  He told me that the punishment for breaking this rule was paddling (corporal punishment in schools was still very much in effect in nineteen fifty-nine).

Because I’d been unaware of this rule, I thought I was simply being warned not to do it again.  I explained that since I now knew, I’d be sure and not wear lipstick to school again.  Wrong.  The bastard pulled out a paddle and bent me over a desk and proceeded to give me five whacks across my behind which were apparently how many you got for wearing lipstick to school.

I was stunned.  I was also embarrassed because there were two other students – boys – watching, and waiting to get their whacks for whatever school rule they’d fractured.

I was not a violent kid, but at that moment, I wished with all my might that his head would explode.  Needless to say, I did not have a good rest of the year at that school.  I was humiliated because all the kids knew I’d been paddled, and some of them teased me which didn’t help anything.  I became quiet and stand-offish.  I didn’t tell my mom because I was too ashamed to do so, and there was no message sent home (no auto-calls then, and even had there been, we were too poor to have telephone service at that time), so I suspect she never knew.

Years later, looking back, I knew I should’ve told her but at the time, I was afraid she’d give me grief for having gotten paddled.   Yeah.  Stupid, I know, but those were different times.

Now, as I said in my post about hating math, I respect teachers and recognize that they have a hard job (my sister is a retired teacher) but, some people are not suited to be teachers.  My seventh grade homeroom teacher certainly wasn’t, and I lost all respect for him.

What this incident had the effect of doing was to make me wary of all teachers, and to absolutely ruin school for me.  After that, I hated going, and though I had to go to homeroom, I refused to have anything to do with that teacher, even refusing to answer roll call, which of course, caused even more trouble for me.  Eventually, I began skipping school and did not finish the seventh grade.  I got into a heap of trouble that year.

It’s a long story that I won’t go into right now, but after I repeated seventh at a different school, I  tested out of eighth grade and was, instead, placed in ninth.  I suppose I should’ve been happy, but I wasn’t.

I’d gotten over the physical pain of being unfairly beaten – and in front of other students at that – but I’d not gotten over the psychological damage.  In high school, I dropped out in tenth grade.  I went back the next year and even made good grades when I felt like it, but I dropped out altogether in twelfth.  It was a long time before I finally understood exactly why I didn’t like school, and by then it was much too late though I later got my GED, and even some college (after I was an adult, and married with children).

I’m a great-grandmother now, and have long since gotten over it, but I sometimes wonder how my life might’ve been different if I’d had a seventh-grade teacher worthy of the title.

 

 

Book 3 of Spaceships and Magic is out now and available at:

Smashwords

Amazon

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Inktera

 

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Synopsis:

Juri Turner, the human-born dragon, has ensured that Mur, the magical world next door to Earth, will never again be endangered by its unstable core.

She has also managed to avoid an unwanted marriage to an utter creep of a dragon, but then, she finds herself in a battle, alongside her dragon guardian, Prince Tetharia, and his sister, Princess Terinia, against a powerful demon who threatens not only the dragon kingdom of Tausarae but also the entire world of Mur.

Meanwhile, two large spaceships of the aliens who invaded Earth over two decades ago, are en route to that planet, chasing runaway human slaves from Alpha Centauri, and behind them are even more of the big ugly creatures called scorbs, with an even larger fleet that if not stopped will scour the planet clean of every human.

Duty-bound, Juri will have to help vanquish the demon and save Mur from falling under its rule, and she is, once again, obligated to help defeat the alien invaders who are hell-bent on destroying the humans of Earth.

Again, the fate of two worlds rests on the small, golden shoulders of one young dragon who never asked for anything more than to be left alone to live out her less than fortunate life in peace.

She will do her best to stand up to all the difficulties involved in performing her duty, but will she be able to handle the unexpected changes these events bring about?

 

Every writer has a debut book, right?  You’re supposed to get a blog, go on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc, and do a press release and some serious promoting leading up to your publish date so folk will hear about your brand new baby way in advance.

*SIGH* Well, I did none of that.  As far as I know, nobody knows, even now, that my debut novel was Boucher’s World: Emergent, a science fiction novel set on a world circling the star, Epsilon Eridani.

My reason for doing none of that?  Simple: I didn’t have a clue.  I didn’t know I was supposed to do all that.  I just wanted to get my book published before I died.

I’m an independent writer, one who never tried traditional publishing.  I checked into it but determined that if I went that route, since I was sixty-five years old at the time, by the time I got a book published, I’d be at least in my seventies – assuming I ever got one published.

So I checked on publishing a book on my own and discovered there were several ways of going about it.  I decided it was best to steer clear of vanity publishers – mainly because I was broke and they all wanted a bunch of bucks – and went with doing it as an ebook at Smashwords which was FREE.

I liked free.  I had my book ready to go, so I read the free guide on how to format an ebook and get it distributed to the major ebook sites (the Smashwords Style Guide), uploaded the thing, and off she went.

I have to admit that it’s a good guide, especially for a rank beginner – as I was – and after going through it and following the instructions, I had no problems getting my book through what Smashwords calls their “meat-grinder”.

What I didn’t do, though, was read the other free Smashwords guides:  the Smashwords Book Publishing Guide, and Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.  Something I should’ve done before publishing, I suppose, but, who knew?  Had I read those first, I probably wouldn’t have published when I did.  I think I would at least have signed up for Twitter, first.  Heck, I didn’t do that ‘til months later, after I’d already e-published several other books.  Too late, I believed, to holler about my debut novel.

So, I didn’t.  I just kept writing and publishing, mainly because I realized early on that I got a large amount of pleasure out of just writing the stories.  I wish I was good at promoting, though, because I also get a kick out somebody, somewhere, reading one of my books, too.  Not good at that, so I just keep writing.

Anyway, what I’m trying to do (in a round-about way) is holler about my debut book.  I know, I know, it’s a bit past time for that, and at this late date it’s probably useless to even bring it up, but I spent a good deal of enjoyable time writing that book, and I feel it deserves to be acknowledged as the very first book I ever published.

The first in what eventually became a trilogy in a series of nine (so far), that I call the Boucher’s World series, this  book is free on all ebook sites, the others can be had for a negligible sum.

So, here’s an introduction to my debut novel, Boucher’s World: Emergent

Synopsis:

The people of Boucher’s World have been trapped inside a Dome that has covered nearly their entire continent since shortly after the Earthlings arrived on the world a little over two millennia ago.  For ages, they’ve sought a way out.
One day, a Human predult, a young woman named Jade, and her Cat partner, Tally, make a remarkable discovery: a door to the outside.

This book chronicles what happens when the people – which includes sentient cats and dogs, and an alien race called the Elvwists – finally emerge from what has been a cage for them for so long.  Will they be able to contact their home worlds? And what happens to Jade when she’s kidnapped by a man who “collects” young women?  Will she be rescued in time?

 

Find a couple of reviews, here, and here.

Book 3 of Spaceships and Magic coming 12/3/15

Available for pre-order at:

Amazon

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

***************************************

(No preorder but 20% excerpt available at Smashwords for download or online reading.)

 

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Synopsis:

Juri Turner, the human-born dragon, has ensured that Mur, the magical world next door to Earth, will never again be endangered by its unstable core.

She has also managed to avoid an unwanted marriage to an utter creep of a dragon, but then, she finds herself in a battle, alongside her dragon guardian, Prince Tetharia, and his sister, Princess Terinia, against a powerful demon who threatens not only the dragon kingdom of Tausarae but also the entire world of Mur.

Meanwhile, two large spaceships of the aliens who invaded Earth over two decades ago, are en route to that planet, chasing runaway human slaves from Alpha Centauri, and behind them are even more of the big ugly creatures called scorbs, with an even larger fleet that if not stopped will scour the planet clean of every human.

Duty-bound, Juri will have to help vanquish the demon and save Mur from falling under its rule, and she is, once again, obligated to help defeat the alien invaders who are hell-bent on destroying the humans of Earth.

Again, the fate of two worlds rests on the small, golden shoulders of one young dragon who never asked for anything more than to be left alone to live out her less than fortunate life in peace.

She will do her best to stand up to all the difficulties involved in performing her duty, but will she be able to handle the unexpected changes these events bring about?

 

Why I Don’t Like Math

I don’t like math.  Yeah, I know.  A lot of people don’t like math.  I don’t know why other people don’t like it, but I know why I don’t.

It’s not because it’s hard, or confusing – though it certainly can be – but I lay the blame at the feet of my fourth-grade teacher.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I have nothing but respect for teachers.  They have a hard job to do and I don’t want to take away from that.  Heck, my sister, who’s retired now, was a teacher.  She was, in fact, a math teacher, and a very good one, not to mention that some of my classmates from high school became teachers.  Those brave souls all get a bow of veneration from me.

But sometimes, I think there are folk who aren’t as cut out for it as others, and the following is why I blame my fourth-grade teacher for my dislike of math.

I don’t know the order in which kids are taught things in elementary school now, but when I was there (back in the ancient days, as my daughter would say, just after they invented water) long division was learned in the fourth grade.

Now, up until the fourth grade, I pretty much liked math, or rather arithmetic, as that’s what it is at that stage.  There was no public kindergarten in our school system at that time, and my family was much too poor to pay for a private one, so my mother, along with teaching me my ABC’s and to read, long before I ever started first grade, also taught me to count to a hundred and how to write my numbers, and to do simple additions and subtractions, so I had no problems with arithmetic.  Until fourth grade.  And I didn’t really have a problem with it then, however, apparently my fourth-grade teacher thought I did, which subsequently made me think I did.

She went over the long division method, showed the class how to work such problems, and gave us a sheet with four problems to take home, to be turned in the next day.  I remember being excited about learning something new, and that night, I eagerly worked my problems the way I’d been taught in class.  I showed my work to my mother, and she went over it and gave me a big hug for having all four problems correct.  I was happy.

The next day, we turned in our homework, and the teacher said she would go over our papers and give them back to us after lunch.  I looked forward to that big “A” I knew was going to be on my paper.

I got an “F”.

I saw some of the other kids’ papers, and nobody had an “A” but I was the only one with an “F”.

Well.  It was all I could do to keep from crying, and I was ashamed to take it home to my mother because what that “F” meant to me was, not only did I not understand how to work long division, neither did my mother, and that was something I just couldn’t fathom because I’d thought my mother was the smartest person in the world.  How could she have been so wrong?  Getting an “F” in something that she’d declared to be correct skewed my view of her intellect, and I never again showed her any of my homework.

When my mother asked about it, I lied and told her I got an “A”.  She, of course wanted to see it, so I told another lie and said I dropped the paper and it went down a sewer opening (see – I was already on my way to being a fiction writer!  I actually tore the paper to shreds and tossed it into a trashcan).  Bless her heart, she believed me.  Sigh.

It never occurred to me to ask the teacher why she’d given me the bad grade because back then (it was the nineteen-fifties – right after dirt came into being) you didn’t question your teacher when she gave you an “F”.  Normally, the teacher would tell you why, but for whatever reason, in this case, she never did (and I was so hurt that I never mentioned to to anybody.  Hey, I was eight years old – it just never occurred to me that I should).  By the time I figured it out, it was much too late – by then, I didn’t like arithmetic.  Which, in later years, had segued into disliking math.

In fact, I never got a decent grade in arithmetic the whole fourth grade year because there was always at least one long division problem included in any classroom work or homework, and I refused to work any of those, not even in class.  My reasoning was that since I’d gotten all those wrong at the beginning, and the teacher kept showing us how to do them the same way, then I must not be very smart in arithmetic.

The only reason I passed fourth grade was because I did well in everything else.  Fourth grade was also when we began doing simple fractions, and oddly enough, I didn’t have a problem with those, and the teacher, for some reason, never questioned why I could do those but not long division problems.

By the next year, I finally began to work the long division problems but by then I didn’t like arithmetic, and always rushed through any of it as fast as I could.  I never regained the confidence I’d had in myself for being able to do arithmetic prior to being introduced to long division, so I never knew if what I was doing was correct, and I never had the courage to ask.  My arithmetic grades ranged from so-so to pretty good, depending on how much time I took to work the problems.  I had a preference for reading and writing and I did very well in Language Arts – I could diagram the mess out of a sentence, and conjugate any verb in existence.  And in later grades I did great in History, Civics, English, Literature, etc.  Math?  Nope.

I have to admit: getting all those long division problems wrong really bugged me, and I never forgot the incident.  But it was a long time before I finally figured out why my teacher gave me an “F” on that first homework paper.  It was simple: I was the only one who’d gotten every problem correct, so she’d assumed someone had worked them for me and that I’d simply copied them over to my paper (I remember thinking: sorry Mom, you really were smart!)

The only reason I made that leap to understanding was because one day, years later in high school, I was sitting in a geometry class, wishing I was anywhere else, and noticed a classmate was copying off someone’s paper (Heh, no, not mine, somebody a whole better at it than I was), and it was as if a circuit closed in my brain, and I knew what had happened all those years ago.  No, it didn’t make me suddenly fall in love with math, but I knew with certainty why I didn’t like it (and, I still don’t).

Not liking it doesn’t mean I didn’t learn.  What it meant was that I never learned any more of it than what I had to in order to pass a class, and promptly forgot it as soon as I didn’t need it anymore.

And, who knows, if it hadn’t been for my fourth grade teacher, I might’ve been a great mathematician, or scientist, or…nah.  Who am I kidding?…I like to write science fiction and fantasy too much for that.  Besides, after seventh grade, I hated school.

But that’s another story.

A Good Man Named Brodie

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Born: 3/31/1945

Died: 12/18/2014

My brother died on December 18th, 2014, nearly nine months ago.  You’d think I would’ve written something specific about him then, but at the time, I found myself only capable of generalizing words about him without having a meltdown, so I didn’t.  You might think I’d wait until the anniversary of his death, and perhaps I should.  However, now is when words have come – so here it is.

Brodie was a good man.

A good man…Exactly what does that phrase mean?

Well, he was a son, a husband, a father, an uncle, a grandfather, and a brother.  He loved his mother a great deal and was good to her, and he loved his brothers and sisters.  At his death, he had a significant other, a woman he’d lived with for years, about whom he cared an enormous amount.

For most of his working life he was a truck driver and a professional mover; but he also had other talents, some of which were perhaps not well known to others, such as the fact that in high school, he was quite a good athlete (he was quite popular, I wasn’t.  Heh, in fact, I was known around school as “Brodie’s sister” – which I didn’t mind).  He could draw and paint, and he loved to dance.  And, he sang: he was a fine baritone and tenor (these were things we had in common, except, of course, I didn’t sing baritone or tenor.  I sang second soprano and alto).

He was sometimes found to be not exactly angelic – to put it gently.  He drank too much, which, of course, often got him into trouble.  He was frequently stubborn, sometimes grumpy, and upon occasion, he didn’t behave the way folk thought he should.  He made mistakes, and in general, bumbled along as we all do.  And that was all right; humans aren’t perfect and Brodie was very much a product of the human condition.

He was the proverbial gentle giant of a man at six and a half feet tall, and children were crazy about him.  He was a “people person” and as such got along well with everybody; folk tended to like him – even when they were mad at him.   That was because he was a warm, loving, caring, sensitive man, one who’d go out of his way to help others, and it showed.  It showed in his eyes, in his demeanor, in the way he carried himself, in the way he interacted with people, and, it showed in the way people responded to him.

He lived his life the way he wanted, with a sense of humor leavened with great compassion, and in the end, his life was complete.  He was a good man.

He was my brother, and my friend, and I miss him.

 

Spaceships and Magic blurb2

Turner: Bitter Change – coupon DN58J

Turner: World Change – coupon ED77N

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