Coming Soon!

Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is the companion novella to My Adventures As Brother Rat. Jiang Li is now available; for a signed copy, please contact me via my website Contact Me button. Price is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.20 for envelope and postage, or $4.90 for Priority Mail (6 copies will fit in a Priority Mail envelope).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Here! Jiang Li is here!!!!

If you enjoyed My Adventures as Brother Rat, then I think you will also enjoy Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh. 

Like Brother Rat, Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is also set in the Warring states period of Ancient China. Marked by the magic of White Tiger Mother and trained to use the staff by the great mountain ape, Grandfather Wang, Jiang Li grows into a beautiful woman, loved by all in Yueh who meet her. Faced with the choice of becoming concubine to the Prince, whom she loves, or a warrior and savior of Yueh, she forfeits love of a man for love of her country. While Jiang Li trains to save the State of Yueh, another woman warrior, Brother Rat, trains to save her State of Wu. The two women meet in dreams and by the time they meet in life, they have becomes friends who must fight to the death.

The price of Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.60 for padded envelop and postage. If you want more than one copy, I can get up to 6 copies in a $4.90 Priority Mail envelope.

To order, please go to my website and use the Contact Me form. Copies of My Adventures as Brother Rat are also available.

My Gratefuls:
*Tyree Campbell and Sam's Dot Publishing for buying and publishing my work
*My friends and family who faithfully buy work and read it
*The USPS for carrying it hither, thither, and yon
*Blogspot for the free blog space
*Teri (7ARS) for the great cover art

What I'm Reading:
*West With the Night by Beryl Markham - I finished this the other day. I thoroughly enjoyed it, thought the writing wonderful (I may never write again!), and then I did some searching online. Sometimes I'm not all that grateful for the internet, y'know? Her book was pure beauty - whether or not she wrote it, but finding out about her life, well, let me say I could have done without having my ideas dashed upon the paving stones of reality. Still, I recommend the book to anyone who likes a good read!

*I'm still reading Disrupted Destiny. Absolutely fascinating. This, too, is a good read.

Quote for this Post:
“...never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.” --West Point Cadet Prayer

Friday, October 15, 2010

Key West Dreams

 Years ago I visited Key West, Florida with my friend, Jan. One of the highlights of the trip was finding and photographing the home my favorite playwright, Tennessee Williams, owned. Another of the highlights was hitting the fabric shops where I bought quite a bit of tropical print fabrics. I bought several half yards and full yards, and left the shops with large bags and a skinnier wallet.

Once I got all the fabric home, it was drooled over, folded, and put away until the perfect quilt pattern could be found. I finally found the quilt pattern! Charming Fractions, Pattern #229, by Mountainpeek Creations, Centennial CO 80122. Of course, the pattern showed the quilt in solid colors - not for me! Oh, no. I had to do it my way. So I bought the almost black sashing (the black-appearing pieces between the squares of color) and cut up my fabric to make a twin sized quilt. I sewed the sashing on, and cut the blocks. I put the blocks up on my wall•, and nearly went blind! Waaaaayyyyyy too busy. Not enough dark in between the pieces. What to do? What to do?

(•A design wall, or 'wall' in my case is the felted side of a large felt backed plastic table cloth. I can put my squares up on the felt and they stay. Then I can arrange and rearrange them until I have them all in the order I want.)

I divided my blocks into two piles, and bought enough solid fabric to make the vertical blocks solid, and the horizontal blocks the prints! Of course, I used all the extra dark fabric for the sashing of the second twin quilt, and as soon as I have it sewn together, I will have to get more fabric for the borders. Oh, golly! I'll just have to buy more fabric! (Remember: She who dies with the most fabric wins!)

At any rate, I thought you might like to see the 'quilt in progress'. When Aaron moves, I will give him the bed he is currently sleeping on and replace it with two twin beds, so each bed will have its own quilt. The quilt shown here has corner blocks of bright yellow. The one I'm working on now will have corner blocks of the lavender.

I had thought of using dark colors in between the prints, but they didn't look as nice as the brights. Sleeping under them will surely cause one to have Key West Dreams - dreams of warmth and tropical nights - welcome in our cold and icy winters.

My Gratefuls:
*That I've been able to travel as much as I have
*That I'm still planning trips
*That Jiang Li will ship from the printer this coming Monday
*That people are eager to buy and read Jiang Li
*That my sewing machine works!

What I'm Reading:
*West Into the Night and Destiny Disrupted
I finished the bio of Richard Wetherill: Anasazi - Pioneer Explorer of Southwestern Ruins last night. If you're at all interested in the history of New Mexico and the Anasazi and Navajo Indians, I suggest you look for a copy in your local used book store, or perhaps online at It is by Frank McNitt

What I'm Working On:
*Am still working on the rewrite of Jibutu and the Mage. My Monday Night Writer's Group gave me some really great ideas, which, of course, change the story somewhat ;-)
*The second of Key West Dreams

Quote for this Post:
"Blankets wrap you in warmth, quilts wrap you in love." -- from A Prairie Home Quilts

Friday, October 8, 2010

Free Advice from Steve

For a slight change of pace, I thought I'd put in a short essay I wrote some time ago. I hope you enjoy it.

I was in deep lust several years ago with a young man I’ll call ‘Steve’.  Alas, the lust boat traveled one way only.  However, Steve and I were friends, and we met now and again for coffee and chitchat and one day he asked me a question.  My heart soared.  Perhaps the question would lead to something mutual?  Alas, it did not.  As luck would have it, we never saw each other again unless, like two ships, we merely passed, said our ‘hellos’ and kept going.
            The question Steve asked went something like, “If you were to sail around the world on a small boat, with whom would you choose to go?”  I immediately pictured me on a small, 30’ ketch (my uncle’s boat of choice) and the close quarters and realized that Steve had asked me quite a question.
            No matter how ‘large’ a sailboat, it is still very small, especially when out in the middle of the vastness of an ocean.  There is no place to go.  No one to call, cell phones don’t work.  Electricity is too precious to waste on anything but necessary lighting. No libraries except what one packs and space is of the essence.  No matter how one looks at it, it’s close quarters for a long time.  Who would I choose to be that close to for that length of time?
            How I wish I’d heard that question years earlier; it might have kept me from a couple of ‘bad’ marriages.  Then, again, probably not, for at the time, I was very, very sure I wanted to live with Mr. Right forever, if not in a sailboat, at least in a house.
            I’ve pondered Steve’s question many times since then.  Each time I meet a man, Steve’s question comes to mind.  I’ve met one man I could, I think, live with under such close quarters, but it will never be.  There is an age differential that neither of us wishes to deal with.  I’ve met several men with whom that question poses almost nightmarish answers.  And as soon as those answers come forth, I realize again, what a great question Steve asked me that day in Starbucks so many Octobers ago.
            I don’t know if Steve realized what great advice he dispensed.  But I took it, and it has made a most positive difference in my life.  For once, free advice was worth a king’s ransom, several times over.

My Gratefuls:
*Friends like 'Steve'
*Digital cameras
*Sailboats - big and small
*Good advice to keep me safe from monsters ;-)

What I am Reading:
*Disrupted Destiny, World History Through Islamic Eyes --by Tamim Ansari. As interesting as this book is, I still need to eventually turn out the light and get some sleep.
*Richard Wetherill: Anasazi - I'm almost through with it. Honest. Trust me.
*West Into the Night - I've barely begun it. I want to finish the other two before I get into it. The beginning is so beautifully written I know once I really get going, I won't want to put it down.

My Current Projects:
*I need to get back to and finish a couple of quilt tops
*Reworking of Jibutu and the Mage (novel)

Quote for this post:
"Asking a quilter to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage." -- Unknown

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Casa Vino Wine Bar

My friend, Ann, and I started meeting on the first Tuesday of the month for a glass of wine and a plate of cheese. It was a great way for us to get together, laugh, and start the new month. Soon, several other friends joined us, and we began to try new wine bars.

Now, for those of you not from the Tri Cities area, you probably don't realize we are becoming quite well known for our wines. The Yakima Valley is perfect for growing grapes and making wine.

My tastes in wine run toward the reds, and I prefer dry over sweet. I usually order either a Cabernet or the House Red. My palate is very uneducated as to all the nuances of wine. If it's red, and not turning to vinegar, I'll drink it. If it's red and beginning to turn, I make wine jelly out of it.

This past Tuesday, we went to a place out in Queensgate (an area of Richland) to the Casa Vino Wine Bar. None of us had ever been there before, and we had no idea what we were in for. Turned out, we had a marvelous time. Being a Tuesday, there was no live music (muscians come in Fri/Sat), and very few customers besides us. In fact, we invited Andre, the owner, to join us at our table, which he did. As customers came in, he of course, left to care for them, but he kept coming back.

Ann and I shared a Greek plate - hummus, crackers, fruit, pickled asparagus, and pickled artichoke hearts. It was to die for! Katharine and Dave shared the salmon plate. Andre also has paninis, and serves whole (humongous) or half ones. I believe Andre said all but one of the wines served were local. Alisa came late and had a glass of Malbec, the same as I had. Wonderful!

There is outdoor seating available, with nice views of the hills, though we opted to sit inside (mainly because I'm a wimp). Outdoor seating should still be pleasant for another month or two.

If you are in the Tri City area, the First Tuesday Folks highly recommend Casa Vino. Andre is a delight, the wine is wonderful, and the food delicious! We plan on returning.

Casa Vino Wine Bar
Andre Kafentzis, owner
1970 Keene Road
Richland, WA 99352
509.628.3255 / 509.521.6295

My Gratefuls:
*The Ancient who figured out how to make wine
*Grapes for the Ancient to use
*Glass blowers who made bottles to store the wine
*Cork harvesters who carved the corks
*Red, red wines

What I'm reading:
*Still on the same three books, but The End looms closer on two of them;-)

Quote for this post:
"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world."
-Ernest Hemingway.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

From This!

From this full freezer of fruits gathered throughout the summer.... this result, all 352 jars of yummies that came from the fruit from the freezer above! (Doncha just love how the yellow walls and terra cotta tiles give it all a nice, warm glow?)

Now comes the joy - and the challenge - of figuring out where to store my 117 jars thereof.

My Gratefuls:
*Friends who share the bounty of their fruits
*Sisters of choice who come and for one week end become Jamsters!
*Friends who appreciate the jam, come Winter Gift Season
*Lots of extra pillow upon which to place my tired, achy, and swollen feet while I sleep;-)

What I was reading:

Quote for the post:
"All bread must be broken so it can be shared." -- Margaret Atwood, from the poem, "All Bread"
---And it tastes sooo much better with homemade jam!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jamsters Anuual Jam Session for 2010

NOTE: All photos on today's post taken and copyrighted by my Ol' Same, Dame Judith.

First, start with a freezer full of fruit picked during the summer: grapes, Oregon grapes, rhubarb, peaches, plums, Bing cherries, zucchini--oops, that's for bread, not jam;-) -- blackberries, raspberries....

 Then gather three SOCs (sisters of choice) - Lee, Nancy, and Lenora.  You might notice, we're all wearing aprons with our names on them. There is a reason for the names - after several hours/days of jamming, we're a little brain dead, and it's very helpful if we're properly identified. It's also extremely confusing if we grab the wrong apron, then not only are the others confused, but so is the wearer!
 Damson Plums cooking. We have to remove the pits, and it was easier to cook them first. Then, we got smart! We started nuking them in the microwave instead of wasting a burner.
 Nancy at the food mill
 Lee mushing the nuked plums through the pepper roaster. The pepper roaster had big holes, but too big for the plum pits. Then Nancy ran the pulp and skins through the food mill to remove all the goodness from the skins.
 Jars waiting to be filled with goodness! We filled 352 jars this year - down about a hundred from last year, but that was OK with us. We still have 117 jars each to eat or share with friends as we see fit. What did we make?

We started off with Canton Ginger (if you strain the ginger out after cooking, dry it, coat it in sugar, you have Candied Ginger); Sweet Onion Jam, Damson Plum jam, Ginger Peach Honey, Cherry Marmalade, Asian Pear Marmalade, Tangy Plum Ketchup, Blackberry/Oregon Grape jam, Jalapeno Jelly, and I forgot the others. But lots of yummy things! Trust me.

We also made three large jars of Preserved Lemons for Moroccan style cooking (the lemons are salted - to be well rinsed before use!)

The Jamsters posing in front of the red stove. At the end of the session (started about 7pm Thursday, ended 6pm Sunday) we were still laughing and having fun!