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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Beginning and the End--FREE

Begin at the beginning with Hearts Unfold, always FREE wherever ebooks are sold.

August 28-29,  Offered For Love is FREE exclusively for Kindle.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Because Sometimes Only a "Book-book" Will Do

 I love ebooks almost as much as I do chocolate! But I'd never buy one for a gift. For one thing, how would I wrap it, or even slip it in one of those cute little gift bags? And how would my friend put it in a special spot, where she would remember me whenever she sees it? Where would I write that  message that has meaning for both of us; the words he'd look back on and smile whenever he opened the cover?Only a "real" book--not an ebook that vanishes into the ether--a "book" book, with a colorful cover and plenty of paper pages, will do the job.
For that reason, I've slashed the price of all my paperbacks to make it easy to purchase a thoughtful gift for under $10. Mother's Day? Graduation? Birthday? Or just a gift to say "You're special."
I would have lowered the price even more, but the on demand printer won't print them for any less. My royalties will amount to a few pennies, but that's okay. The thought of someone receiving one of my books as a gift from one of you who's read it and consider it worthy of your special someone is reward in itself!
Click on over to Amazon (hover in the blank space below the photo for the link) and check out the titles available. And thank you for warming my writer's heart by sharing my words with your family and friends.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

All for the Love of an Irish-American Princess

FREE March 15-19 only on Amazon.com 


The last thing he expected to find in Ireland that summer was the inspiration to go on with his life, and certainly not in the form of a feisty, fascinating, adolescent heiress.

 "A most touching love story, poignant and riveting in the telling. A poignant, sensuous and compelling story, unique in its story line, I will long remember." --BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN--

  New York socialite Peg Shannon has everything--wealth, position, beauty and limitless prospects for happiness. Or so the world believes.

Aspiring London violinist Kendall Gregg is talented, handsome and charming. While hardly well-to-do, he has connections and ambition which should take him far. Or so it appears.

Thrown together briefly by a twist of fate, Kendall quickly becomes young Peg's hero, while Peg proves to be Kendall's unlikely salvation. Through the decades, their deepening passion and shared secrets forge an enduring bond, destining them for a love affair that comes but once in a lifetime.
Set in the mid-twentieth century, Shannon's Daughter chronicles the complex relationship between two people constrained by family loyalty and a tragic secret, while delving into the history of one of the most intriguing characters in the Miracle at Valley Rise series.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Spiders on the Ceiling--Bees in the Wall

The house we live in was built in 1882. I'm convinced the spiders who share our home are direct descendants of the original occupants of their species. Their population and variety is such that it would do the human occupants more harm than the spiders, if we attempted to chemically discourage them. I've gotten used to them, or at least I don't scream as loudly when one drops on my head. But I do keep a watchful eye ceilingward, in case one of the little jokers is slow enough for me to get him before he gets me. For the most part, we've coexisted in peace now for almost 20 years. In fact, they keep me on track with the housekeeping. Though I don't suppose gleefully sucking them and their webs into my vacuum cleaner is much of a way to show my gratitude. 

Unexpectedly, last year during a particularly hot Indian Summer day, we discovered another family of tenants sharing our old house. A cyclone cloud of bees suddenly appeared over our patio and then bearded on the eaves of one corner of the original portion of the house. Within an hour they had all but disappeared, leaving a few busy lookouts zooming about outside. Apparently, our old house is also a hive, and has been for some time.

I called around for several days, seeking a reason for this bizarre event, until I was directed to a member of the local Bee Keepers Club. As all bee lovers, including myself, he was very concerned about this hive's unusual behavior. They don't normally swarm until spring. The fact that they returned to the hive seemed to mean the heat got to them, and they just came out for a breath of cooler air. I was assured someone would come and lure them out in the spring, when they are more inclined to relocate, and until then, there was no harm in letting them be. (Sorry, no pun intended!) The bee keeper speculated that we have enough honey in our soffits to keep our toast covered for quite some time.

I occasionally hear a sort of seismic humming in the wall next to my desk. On sunny days, a bee will find its way into the house through the window sash and allow me to show him the door. I have visions of a busy hive just on the other side of the plaster. While I'm severely allergic to bee stings, I'm not at all disturbed by our tenants. Unlike spiders, I encourage bees in my garden and enjoy watching them feed on my zinnias. Also unlike the spiders, they don't attempt to scare the #@$! out of me by zooming from the ceiling just as I'm crossing a dark room. The bees are our friends. I have yet to find anything as nice to say about the spiders.

Lately, I've come to think of the spiders as a metaphor for our life. If you've been here before, you know that we've had our share of life-changing events in the past three years. At present, we're grappling with some, new and gnarly health issues. It seems no sooner one is resolved than another pops up. And, as is too often true in such cases, our financial security has been diminished to the state of a teeter-totter by the loss of income and addition of expense. Like spiders on the ceiling, it feels as though there's always some potential threat lurking overhead. I'm here in the dark, waiting for the fall, armed with hope and little more. But what have we if not hope? Unlikely as it seems some days, most of the things I fear either never happen or are resolved in a way I never saw coming. The truth is, I've never been bitten by a spider.

So, if the spiders represent my anxiety, what about the bees? Those brave, honest little workers laboring to produce something sweet and nourishing? Like the friends and strangers who've offered us help, when otherwise we might have lost this old house and many of the things we enjoy, they came seemingly out of nowhere and made their home here with us. There's comfort in that idea, or at least I'll chose to see it as such.

Whenever nature offers me a bit of itself, like the birds who chose to feast at my feeder, or the volunteer seeds that spring up in my garden, it makes me feel special somehow. Honored, even loved. While I doubt I'll ever really feel the love from those spiders on the ceiling, I can honestly say the bees in the wall, like the friends who hold out their hands and open their hearts, make the scary moments of this time in life immeasurably easier to face.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Snowy Day Memory

 I freely admit that, at least from inside a warm house, I love snowy days. Today, here in Kansas, where the wind is teasing and tossing about the snow that fell last night, I'm easily reminded of this scene from Hearts Unfold. It's not coincidence I chose the wild wonder of a snowstorm in which to introduce the hero of this "very special love story." Snow is mysterious, romantic, even dangerous--like the meeting of two strangers. A meeting that will forever change the direction of their lives.

Through the frost-rimmed window, she saw that the snowfall had slowed, though the wind still whipped the tree limbs and spun little white cyclones across the yard.  Beyond the barn, just where the land dropped away to the hillside, a moving shadow caught her eye.  A deer, or maybe a cow, strayed and lost in the storm?  Stepping to the door for a closer look, she tried to focus past the blowing snow.  The shadow moved steadily upward over the rise, until she saw what could only be a human figure, trudging slowly in the general direction of the house.  Head down, swaying slightly, as if unbalanced by the force of the wind, he—or at least she thought it must be a man—was dressed all in black, the windward side of his long overcoat etched with white, and his bared head capped with snow.  There seemed to be something odd about his stance, and then she realized one arm was crossed over his body, as if bracing the other to his side.  In what must have been only a few seconds, she tried to assess his size—not very tall; his possible intent—obviously seeking shelter; and where he could have come from.  He had to be coming from the road below, but why would anyone have walked up a steep wooded hillside in a blistering storm?
As she watched, scarcely drawing breath, it seemed he raised his head and gazed for a moment toward the house.  Then in a slow, graceful spiral, he sank to the ground, disappearing into the snow.  If she had not been watching his progress across the yard, she realized she would never have seen him from the house, once he’d fallen.  Blinking, she wondered for an instant if she might have only imagined him, if he had been a mirage in the featureless white of the landscape.  But the pounding of her pulse told her otherwise.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

While You're Busy Doing Other Things

Recently I was called to task by a dear friend after I mentioned in my Christmas letter that "my cancer was in remission." He asked if I'd mind telling him what kind of cancer and how it was being treated. Shamefaced that I had dropped the C-word so casually and left him hanging, I dashed off this letter. (And before you ask, my friend does not partake of social media and we really do maintain our relationship via good old fashioned letters sent through the US mail.) After thinking about it for a few days, I decided that by posting it here, it might speak to someone who needs to hear its message. 

Dear E----,

Sorry to have overlooked sharing the cancer episode, but just credit my abysmally sporadic letter writing. With all that was happening at the time, I kept putting it on the back burner, but thanks to a benevolent God and a couple of fine doctors, it didn’t take me out.

The story goes something like this. For at least three years before John’s fall, if not longer, I would occasionally see pink in the toilet. Since I’d had numerous bouts of hemorrhagic cystitis in the past, I just went to my doctor and got antibiotics, drank plenty of cranberry juice, and never gave it another thought. Google “blood in urine” and you get urinary tract infection, so even the web vindicated my complacency. Not to discredit a very nice man and a pretty decent GP, but the doc I was seeing at the time wasn’t inclined to push for tests or raise concerns unless the patient insisted, which I didn’t.

As you know, in June of ’15, John took his fall and life turned upside down. My health, which really seemed okay, probably due to constant adrenaline rushes, was my last concern. But the pink was more frequent, enough so that even in his condition, John made note of it. By the following June, several things came together to change the situation. John was finally able to spend an hour or two on his own without me, my doctor retired and a very energetic nurse practitioner became our primary provider, and I was passing sizable blood clots regularly. Suffice it to say, this young woman was more proactive than my former doc. She sent me post haste to a urologist, who had a scan done that day and scheduled a cystoscopy for the following week. Verdict—a largish polyp, possibly a tumor, which was removed two weeks later and proved to be malignant. It was very close to the point where the ureter from the right kidney opens to the bladder, so a temporary stint was put in to keep things flowing. I was not far from a toilet for the next six weeks, but otherwise there was nothing in my recovery that I could complain about. 

I wasn’t at all surprised that it was cancer. I just felt grateful it hadn’t gone through the bladder wall or worse, because I was the one who ignored every message my body tried to send me. By the time I saw the new PCP, I was seriously anemic and, to be honest, could barely make it through each day, but I was still clinging to denial.

The urologist I was referred to is the kind of physician I immediately feel confident with, but when he suggested the most frequent follow-up treatment for bladder cancer, called BCG, I balked. This in very basic terms involves infusing the germ that causes tuberculosis into the bladder, which produces immunity against the cancer. Still worried I might have PFS—Physician’s Family Syndrome, whereby any member of a physician’s family will suffer any and all possible ill or side effects from any treatment of routine illness—which I had experienced when married to “my second husband the doctor,” I refused at first. The major side effect from the treatment is, of course, contracting TB. But during the next cystoscopy three months later,  more tumors had developed. I didn’t argue when the urologist said it was worth the risk. Having the lining of your bladder sliced and burned away in stages is no picnic! And more to the point, It was time I accepted that my life was worth risking even nasty, but treatable, side effects.

The treatments—six in all—went without incident and to date—last cysto in November—there’s no further sign of cancer.

So that’s the story. Bladder cancer and its treatment are not nearly as visible or dramatic as so many other types of cancer. If I hadn’t told anyone, no one would have been the wiser. But I did talk about it, and even post about it on FB, because my case was like so many others. We (women) put off addressing what doesn’t put us flat on our butts, especially when there are others with greater needs, until we put our lives in jeopardy. Ignoring symptoms is stupid! That’s what they’re for, to warn us that something’s not right. We both know of cases like mine that ended tragically. I will always have bladder cancer, but with the same kind of follow up, it shouldn’t be a problem. Many with other types of this insidious disease aren’t so fortunate. I know how blessed I am, in spite of my persistent denial, to be able to use the word "remission" with confidence.

My kind, compassionate urologist has retired as of this month, so I will have a new doc for my next cysto. I’m assured by everyone that he’s wonderful, trained at Mayo Clinic, and no doubt looks about 18. As long as he doesn’t rock my treatment boat, that’s fine. I’m just thankful that when I needed him, my original doctor was on hand to get me through this. Does it really take someone over 60 to understand the issues of caregiving and the limitations that come with age? That is a course I’d gladly teach to every med student in the country! 

For everyone reading this here on my blog, my closing is this. If you see yourself anywhere in my story, get yourself to a doctor, be honest with him/her, and get the testing and treatment you need. Life is precious. Don't let it slip away while you're busy doing other things. 

Love you!