Book Quote Wednesday

It’s #BookQW & a strong hero makes his ‘voice’ heard in quiet ways.
The Unraveling book quote teaser
 Grab a free eBook, the 1st in a paranomal fantasy trilogy!

Book Quote Wednesday


Got steampunk fantasy? Then it’s not ‘work’–you’ve got magic!

The Unraveling book quote teaser #BookQW

Read the first chapters!

Buy the novel to support #AuthorsHelpingHouston. My charity is, a rescue working both Hurricanes to reunite pets with their families.

Book Quote Wednesday

In this week’s Book Quote Wednesday #bookqw:

No ‘might’ about it—a strong heroine makes her own choices!

The Luminated Threads The Unraveling book quote teaser

Authors Helping Houston


I’ve joined a group of authors raising money to help Houston.

For these two weeks the royalties from two of my novels–The Unraveling and Passages–will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society.

I chose because they have set up a ‘reunite’ pet center within walking distance of a Red Cross human shelter so disaster victims may keep their pets close by.

Authors Helping Houston is the brainchild of author Carrie Pulkinen–view all the books being offered on Carrie’s website!

Flynn and Meow touching noses.

From my own rescue pets, a nose-touch of thanks!

Book Quote Wednesday


Over the series, a spunky heroine ‘faces’ down a ruthless magnate to save her homeland.

The Luminaed Threads The Unraveling The Twisting The Binding historical fantasy steampunkteaser quote
A steampunk historical fantasy available on Amazon.

Book Quote Wednesday


Shapeshifters: ‘Fast’ and furious!
Perfect for #BookQW
Perfect for fun!

The Luminated Threads teaser quote fantasy shapeshifter


My Amateur Astronomer Husband’s Eclipse Viewing Advice


As we head off to Wyoming to view the total solar eclipse, my husband Bill decided to put into writing the answer to the viewing questions he’s been asked several times a day.


Bill’s quickie guide on how to observe the solar eclipse on Aug 21, 2017:
Partial eclipse only: Check or apps for local start and end times and degree of totality (and much more useful information). Use approved paper eclipse glasses with plastic lenses if you want—BUT—the use of pinhole projectors for the eclipse has been underpromoted and, IMHO, is a superior way to follow the progressively waning crescent of the sun as the eclipse progresses. AND, it’s 100% safe and doesn’t require specialized equipment!

A simple piece of aluminum foil with a pinhole through it, or a more sophisticated put-over-your-head box with a pinhole-camera projection in it (get plans from the internet), or even a flat cheese grater(for multiple images) will all work. The sun shines through the little hole and its image is projected onto the ground or a white sheet of paper or whatever you provide, and you can enjoy that projected image without any eye filter—and make it as big as you like. (DO NOT look through the hole or anything like that—it is simply a projection device.) OR, simply go under a tree—the dappled sunlight you are so used to seeing under trees is only pinhole projections of the round sun through overlapping leaves—during an eclipse those dapples turn into crescents!

Partial plus totality: For partial phases, see above. For those going to the path of totality, it helps to learn the contact terminology: First contact, partial eclipse begins, Moon first starts passing in front of Sun, small “bite” appears out of solar disk and slowly grows bigger–Second contact, totality begins, Moon completely in front of Sun, sky goes dark, corona, prominences, and bright planets and stars suddenly appear—Third contact, Sun reemerges from behind Moon, totality ends, daylight returns and corona, etc. suddenly disappear—Fourth contact, Moon moves completely off Sun, partial eclipse ends.

Time between first and second contact is roughly 1.5 hours; time between second and third contact (totality) is between 2 and 3 minutes; time between third and fourth contact, roughly 1.5 hours again.

Wherever you are, learn the times of these contacts ( and wear a watch that’s accurate.

Viewing totality: Try to get to a spot with an open western horizon so you can see the shadow approaching in the few minutes before totality. At totality, take the eclipse glasses off or turn away from the pinhole projection and look up at the sun with your naked eyes! Better yet, with binoculars or a small telescope—without filters! As long as you can see the corona, your eyes are safe—but be very aware of when totality ends, for at that instant (or before) you must turn your eyes and your optical devices away from the sun.

The end of totality is the epitome of anticlimax—even though the same thing is happening (partial eclipse) that you watched with mounting excitement over the previous hour, you are now emotionally exhausted and ready to pack it up and go home. For this reason, immediately after totality the great exodus will begin and the roads will be jammed.

Good luck everybody!

sun garden ornament

Book Quote Wednesday


It’s BookQW and the first meeting leaves both H&H ‘please[d]’.

The Luminated Threads steampunk fantasy romance box set trilogy

All three novels available as an ebook box set on Amazon.

Book Quote Wednesday


Time to ‘relax’ with & one shapeshifter who’s avoiding trouble!

The Luminated Threads Steampunk historical fantasy book quote teaser

Yes, my steampunk fantasy series is now in an ebook box set!

“I also loved that the hero is a shifter, but not a typical wolf or other large mammal. Nope, he’s a polecat. Yes, I had to look it up.” ~ Amazon reviewer.

Buy now on Amazon!

Almost Heaven Star Party


Okay, this has nothing to do with writing…almost. Last weekend I took off to West Virginia for the Almost Heaven Star Party with my husband. We met as amateur astronomers in the astronomy club that hosts the event, NOVAC, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club. That would be back in 1986 when Comet Halley passed by.

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy

Star parties–telescope conventions–are held in remote locations, away from city lights, with wide open vistas. Often the amenities are few, so astronomers camp.

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy

For 13 years our convention has been at the beautiful Spruce Knob Mountain Center, formerly part of The Mountain Institute. The facility, housed in yurts (!), provides dining, meeting rooms, some dormitory lodging, and a full bathhouse.

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy

During the daylight hours, NOVAC staff arrange lectures on astronomy subjects…

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy lecture convention

and outdoor adventure programs with the Spruce Knob staff.

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy convention Spruce Knob Mountain Center

Then folks wait for dark to fall.

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy

As the light wanes, the red lights come out…

Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy Spruce Knob Mountain Center yurt

red LED light for astronomy night stargazing

Our first night had several hours of clear, dark skies, giving us great views through a friend’s 14 inch reflector. Though I wasn’t set up for astro-photography, I’m pleased with this image I captured with my phone.

saturn Almost Heaven Star Party Astronomy

We always have mixed weather in the mountains, no matter what month the star party has been held. This year brought clear nights and stormy nights, so even the remaining nights with clouds drifting in and out were appreciated. Unfortunately, many participants didn’t make it past an hour of severe wind and rain that blew in the second evening. Canopies went flying, tents ripped and bedding got drenched.

Almost Heaven Star Party Camping

Cars pulled out steadily over the next few hours of drizzle while lightening flashed in the distance. My husband and I were thankful we had fully staked our low tent with its full fly, though later we discovered two of our fly-to-tent attachments did have gluing failure and broke free. But no rain made it into our tent!

Almost Heaven Star Party camping

This experience, combined with our fellow astronomers’ excited preparations for the upcoming total solar eclipse across the U. S., prompted me to pull out a booklet I started years ago: Camping, For Those Who Don’t. I’d written out this list of tips while planning a cross-country tent camping trip with my kids. It looked pretty good, so I added to it over the weekend, taking note of things that failed for folks at the star party, and including beginner tips for camping near astronomers–descriptions of stargazing etiquette. And a booklet was born!

Camping and Stargazing beginner car tent camping tips checklists solar eclipse

If you’re a beginner planning a tent camping trip during the eclipse, check out Camping and Stargazing – When You’re New To Both on Amazon. Free reading with Kindle Unlimited!

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