Ideas, QuickJAB

New Spring Projects

We had an old fire ring that we’d almost forgotten about because it had been overrun by several years worth of weeds and brush on the edge of our woods. After  FarmerMan cleared away the dead weeds and brush, he rescued the fire ring,  the few stones that hadn’t been repurposed for other projects, and the concrete benches that had surrounded the fire pit for the past ten years.

We walked around our property while we discussed the best site for our “new” fire pit. After we considered several spots, we decided on a location in the backyard that was relatively flat;  we also decided that our folding camping chairs would be more comfortable than the concrete benches and would make mowing around the fire pit easier. We relocated our concrete benches to be near near the chicken coop, so we would have somewhere to sit while we watched the chickens and their latest antics.

We had a beautiful Bottlebrush tree next to our driveway. In case you’ve never seen a Bottlebrush tree, this is an example of its flowers  from the University of Florida Extension Service.

The Bottlebrush attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and has bright red flower spikes that are reminiscient of a bottle washer. The Bottlebrush plant is frequently sold as a shrub, but it can grow as a tree up to 25 feet in height. Our tree was probably only 15 or so feet tall, but it was beautiful.

Our weeklong hard freeze this past winter took its toll on our beautiful Bottlebrush tree. In a last ditch effort to revive our tree, FarmerMan severely cut back the branches in the hopes there was still life in its roots…

…and there was.

In January 2023, I made a career shift as an author and a publisher and moved all of my e-books from being exclusive with a single US/UK-concentrated retail distributor to the additional top four retail distributors, and dozens more smaller distributors, that are now delivering my e-books world-wide.  I expected a drop in royalties because the single retail distributor sales were based on the readers purchasing an annual subscription to read “free” books. Authors were paid royalties of a fraction of a penny for each page read.

While my gross income dropped, my net income has dipped only slightly because my marketing costs have drastically dropped; because more people (including libraries!) are willing to buy a book they want to read, more of my stories are flying off the pages and being read world-wide!

Would you like to pick a book to read?  Tap HERE to pick one out! (With the magic of invisible electrons, when you select a book, the webs will deliver your book to your favorite ebook reader.)

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!


Blend In with the Right Herd

Deer with Cows Apr 2014

The best books blend in with the herd, but great books find the right herd. I made that up, but it seems logical to me.

You know the Cow Rule, right? When you’re driving in the countryside, it’s obligatory for all passengers to say, “Cows,” when they see cows in a field. I may not always follow all the rules, but I definitely would never break the Cow Rule. 

Someone in the field is banking on the Cow Rule, so when cars and trucks pass by, the passengers say, “Cow,” and everybody’s happy.  

Except for that one time we were driving on a familiar road near our small farm, and I startled FarmerMan when I shouted, “DEER!”

He slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road, fully expecting to see a doe with a fawn or two behind her as they darted across the road in front of us. He was even more startled when I hopped out of the truck and stepped into the dry, thankfully, ditch and snapped a photo.

I climbed back into the truck. “I got it!”   

FarmerMan knows me well; I might not be typical, but I’m logical in my own way. When I handed him my phone, he zoomed in and saw the “new” cow in the field who had found her herd.

So what does this herd of cows have to do with books? You’ve signed up for my newsletter, so you’re in the right place to discover new characters, stories, and books! 




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Red is the New Gray First Blurb

The blurb for a book is that snippet that is displayed on the back of a paperback book cover or on Amazon as the description. A blurb is more important than a cover, according to people who want an author to pay them mucho money to write a blurb.

Like all writing, the first draft is the roughest and rarely shared. But I’m giving you an advanced peek.

MAGGIE SLOAN.  Former librarian, self-trained spy, and breakfast cook has the skills of a deadly assassin. Our literal Gray Lady has her red boots and doesn’t turn her back on danger.

The FBI declares Maggie is the only person that a missing spy trusts. When she agrees she will look for him for two weeks because she can’t be away from her sweet old dog Lucy longer than that, she and her unforgettable team go to Galveston Island, Texas where Maggie discovers red western boots and declares Red is the new Gray. Larry, a police officer from her hometown, is assigned as her backup.

With recipes in hand, she’s the new lunch cook at a diner.  Before the end of the week, she’s been shot, and the attacks escalate from there. Note to bad guys: Maggie is irritated; Larry is furious and so are Maggie’s guys.

Not kidding.   Seriously irritated!

Maggie’s trusted contacts are few, and she struggles with sorting through the disturbing clues that indicate the guilt of everyone. How can her sheer presence threaten the unknown operation of a hidden leader and his thugs? How many more people will be attacked before Maggie discovers who the vicious gray man is?

After her beloved Lucy arrives to live with Maggie in Texas and after Maggie catches the bad guy, will Maggie and Larry be able to leave Galveston Island’s tacos and beer?