#WIPpetWed #AppalachianElementals 2/13/2019 The Problem With Half Magic

I ended up seeing my orthopedist again today (we’re almost on a first name basis) and, joy of joys, I need both my knees replaced. Yes, I knew this was coming because I’ve been bone on bone for a couple of years,  but I guess I hadn’t expected it yet. However, I’ve had real problems since December, the treatments we’ve been using have stopped working, and my knees have been swelling to triple their normal size, making them painful even to the touch. (These are not my x-ray images. While the bone on bone spots are identical, there are four-six bone spurs per knee and humongous swelling.)

He gave me a double-strength steroid shot in both knees to try to get ahead of the swelling. It’ll more than likely last a few days and then my knees will return to pontoon status. Joy.

Dangit. Okay. Yes, My ortho said it was more genetic than anything else, and I do have Rheumatoid Arthritis too. I see the surgeon on the 20th and will probably have the first surgery within two months.

More when I know more.

#WIPpet Wednesday*, a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress (WIPs).

This week I’m picking up where we left off in Chapter Two.  Cent’s getting to ready to leave, and the family’s gathering to say their goodbyes. Betty’s painting Cent’s nails as a special, protective treat as well. Oh, and this week you’ll get a reminder of what makes Mama (Cent’s mother) who she is.

Here’s my WIPpet math for 2/13/2019 – I’m taking the 2, 0, and 1 for 201 words from Keeping House, Appalachian Elementals #2.

Note: the section in orange comes from last week’s #WIPpet

     “We’ve got plenty ahead of us, hotcakes.” Betty set the polish aside. “And it was as much for you as it was practice.” Betty touched the back of Cent’s hand. “Switch out.”

     “Aren’t we done?” Cent glanced at the clock.

     “One more layer.” Betty looked to Pyre. “Stowne says they want you. They’re already talking to Exan.”

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#QueerLit #LGBTQbooks #WritingTip Ten Things to Know Before Adding a Non-Binary Character to Your Story

Note: This post has grown significantly in the past few days, so there are more than ten. If you want the short and sweet version, read the orange and bold-italic sections. That’ll give you the gist. However, if you’ve never written a non-binary character I strongly suggest you read the entire post. 

So I’ve been reading, a dangerous thing these days, I know, especially for an author. But really, I have been reading, and beta-reading too, and I’ve come across several problems that I believe need to be addressed concerning non-binary characters.

Authors, if you add a non-binary character into your story, please take the following into consideration:

  1. Non-binary characters shouldn’t have their assigned at birth gender revealed early in a story, if at all, and only if it’s totally necessary. If the character still goes by their assigned-at-birth pronouns, fine, but if the character goes by they/them or any other non-binary pronoun choice then an author should respect this. Negating the non-binary by revealing the birth gender is unacceptable unless it is a situation like a courtroom (most states in the U.S. don’t recognize the non-binary) or the bedroom (where there should be frank discussion IMO before anything happens) and then the author should tread lightly, more so if the author isn’t non-binary (#ownvoices).

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#WIPpetWed #AppalachianElementals 1/16/2019: Singer or Howe

It is done (for now). I’m through with Keeping House and it’s off to my betas. Whew! What a relief, kinda sorta. Actually, I’m nervous to the point of nail-biting, more so than I generally am when a book goes off to my betas (probably not because I think I say this every time LOL). I know Keeping House has some great content, but I’m unsure about the whole. The one person I’ve read it to, my alpha, loves it, but we’ll see about the betas.


So where am I going next? Another novella, I think. It’ll be about a character I first introduced in Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree who’s a secondary character in Keeping House, Bea Gow. Bea is short for Beatrice. I was going to write the story from her husband, Conall’s, POV, but I don’t think I can pull off a believable cis man’s perspective. He was the only one speaking to me about the story until recently, so I was leaning toward him, but now Bea’s finally piping in, and I believe her take will be the more interesting of the two. Hmm, I might switch between the two, I dunno yet, but I’ll let you know soon enough.

Bea and Conall’s friendship and eventual love story is a very different one, but everything I tend to write is somewhat twisted and different, so that’s nothing new (insert cocky smile here).

Welcome to #WIPpet Wednesday*, a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress (WIPs).

This week we’re picking up where we left off in Chapter Two.  Cent and Betty are talking about one of the homestead’s two house spirits when, low and behold, look who appears.

Here’s my #WIPpet math for 1/16/2019: 1+6=7 for seven paragraphs from Keeping House, Appalachian Elementals book 2. The first paragraph is in orange because it comes from last week’s #WIPpet.

     (Betty speaking) “Gotta watch out for Birdie. She’ll rearrange your room if she can.”

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#WIPpitWed #AppalachianElementals 12/05/18: Book and Blade

It’s snowing here, and it looks like there’ll be more than a skift on the ground by morning. A skift is a dusting, in case you don’t know. Skifts are regular things here in Northeast Tennesse, but we get measurable snow a few times most years. I remember snows of up to three feet and years with only one or two skifts.

Like everything else, it all depends, but I didn’t find a wooly worm this year to know what that traditional form of weather prediction had to say.

Welcome to #WIPpetWednesday! Since Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree has been released I’m again sharing from Keeping House, novel two in the Appalachian Elementals series.

I shared the prologue for Keeping House a while back (you can find it under #WIPpetWednesday under Topics to your right), so I’m currently sharing from Chapter One.

Here’s my WIPpet math for 12/5/2018: 5+1= 6 paragraphs from Keeping House, book two in the Appalachian Elementals series.

The Setup: I’m skipping ahead a bit. Cent and Stowne have spent some, er, quality time together, and now Stowne has two gifts for Cent before she leaves.

     “This is how we will share while you are away.” Stowne set a fat, handmade book by her head.

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Author #Selfcare: How not to be Triggered by the Crazymakers in “Safe” Online Communities

TW/CW: Emotional Abuse Discussion


Why am I sharing this experience? Clarity. My directly addressing what happened makes it easier for me to put aside.

So I admit it, I was recently triggered by someone online. It happens, particularly to people with PTSD like myself, but what slays me is that it happened inside what’s supposed to be an online “safe” space, a private, membership-via-application community.

My biggest trigger is easily crazymaking behavior. Why? Because it creates a no-win situation for the victim. I lived with that behavior from an ex for over a decade then again with an adult child who learned the behavior from said parent, and it taught me to doubt every choice I make, to self-blame, to doubt my own sanity.

Needless to say, neither of these people are in my life anymore. (Don’t judge where the adult child is concerned. When the abusive behavior of someone you love is making you physically ill, it often becomes a save-yourself-first scenario. It wasn’t an easy choice, believe me.)

Here’s a further explanation of crazymaking behavior from Psychology Today (link at the bottom of this post). Continue reading

#AppalachianElementals #FictionFri The Rhodes Family Tree

One of the major themes in the Appalachian Elementals series is family. It was central to  Cleaning House, to Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree, and is central to Keeping House, my current work in progress. Family is also, like in many cultures, central to Appalachia. We’re traditionally close-knit, though that has somewhat changed over the last few generations. That said, I might, at a later date, take a closer look at Tess and Roslyn Rhodes’ generation (meaning write a story where they’re the MCs, but that’s for another day since I’m currently neck deep in #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

When Cleaning House was a rough draft, I scrawled out the Rhodes’ family tree as it relates to Cent and her cousin, Aubrey, adding details like birth/death dates, where the magic derives from in each family member, if there’s any magic at all, and ended up with four-five generations (depending on your take), going back to Cent and Aubrey’s great-great-grandmother Amadahy, a fictional member of the North Carolina Cherokee tribal rolls (one of my own ancestors, six generations back, is listed on those same rolls, I’ve been told).

Anyway, that initial scrawl to set down a lineage has become the graphic below, an actual family tree.

Creating the family tree helped bring the characters to life, to give them roots. It helped me determine how they might have thought, their experiences,  how things developed between generations and, more specifically, where things have gone wrong. Continue reading

8: Yet Another Blog Post About the Need for Diversity in Writing

 10, 9, 8… This marks day three of my ten-day countdown to the release of my novella Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree. You can read more about #HolidayTreeNovella at the bottom of this post, but today I’m discussing something I often address in my writing, and even in the subtitle of this website, diversity.



Yeah, you’ve heard it all before. We need diversity.

And we do, more so now than ever.


Spare me if you disagree.

Spare me if you’re tired of hearing it.

Maybe if more authors listened, authors like me wouldn’t need to keep repeating this.


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10: #HolidayTreeNovella #WritersLife The Real Struggle to Define my Writing or A Guide to Plot Bunny Fur

10 This marks day first day of my ten-day countdown until the release of my novella Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree. You can read more about #HolidayTreeNovella at the bottom of this post, but today I’m relating my struggle to define myself as a writer or a creating a plot bunny Swiffer ad one.

I’ll let you decided.

So I’ve been thinking about my writing, about its consistent inconsistencies, and I’ve decided to summarize it so others might understand that the struggle is very real.

Here goes.

Me in 2000 – first trying to get my material out there: (In a tentative voice) I’ve written a couple of short stories and a few poems. Want to see them?

Enter novel-length Sci-Fi plot bunny: Hi! Waves at poetry bunny and short-story plot bunny as they hop away: Later!



Me in 2005 – my first novel finds print: (In a semi-confident voice) I write novel-length Science Fiction.

Enter novel-length epic Sci-Fi plot bunny. Yeah, but…

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