Mulling a marketing strategy

Mike Staton
These meandering thoughts by Mike Staton.

I’m not a graphic artist, but I’m not afraid to dabble in the skillset. In this case, I’m creating some graphics to market my Civil War novel, Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep.

So far I’ve created three pre-release illustrations for Facebook. I plan to do a few more. Once my publisher, Wings ePress, releases the novel on October 1, I’ll be doing a set of brand new illustrations that I’ll post on my author’s page. I’ll pay a little money and use Facebook’s Boost Post option to get more people to see at least one of the ads.

I don’t use Illustrator or similar fancy graphics software. Just Microsoft Word. It has some nice graphics features that I’ve been using for nearly twenty years. When I’m done with an illustration, I copy and paste it into Paint, which came free with my HP computer. Abracadabra… somewhat professionally looking artwork.

Pre-Release Idea 1
My first effort at an illustration for my Civil War novel.

Take a look at the three I’ve done so far and let me know what you think. I admit I like them, but I can handle criticism.

Portions of the novel take place in Southeastern North Carolina, specifically Duplin and New Hanover counties. The novel reconstructs the Duplin county seat of Kenansville, hometown of Bill Stamford, my main character. I’ve taken painstaking care to be historically accurate in my depiction of Kenansville. Late in the book, Bill takes the train to Wilmington for a recruiting trip, so I’ve tried to make my descriptions of the downtown and waterfront accurate as well. So where am I taking this? I plan to investigate placing small ads in the Duplin Times and the Wilmington Star-News. It all depends on how much it will cost me… I’m retired and not awash in cash.

Marketing Poster 2
Here’s my second one. It’s whimsical, with made-up quotes from imaginary newspapers.

I may also pay for a small ad in Civil War Times – if it’s not too costly. That has a national circulation, so it may turn out to be beyond my price horizon. We’ll see. Also, I just joined ten Civil War groups on Facebook. I’m going to be checking them out and seeing if I can post information about Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep.

It will be intriguing to see the sale numbers for the fourth quarter 2017. I have high hopes. The plot has elements that should be popular for readers of three genres – historical fiction, romance and fantasy. I tailored the story to get the widest possible readership. So far I’ve gotten some positive feedback on Facebook with friends saying they intend to buy the book.

Marketing Poster 3
And here’s my latest.

These next few months should be a fun ride. Yea for Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep.

# # #

I’m an author with three fantasy novels to my credit – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The books make up a trilogy titled Larenia’s Shadow. A fourth novel, this one a historical romance set during the Civil War, is scheduled for publication in October. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased via the website of my publisher, Wings ePress, as well as the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Color my World by Cher’ley

 This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.  A happiness weapon.  A beauty bomb.  And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.  It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air.  Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.  And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight.  Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in.  With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.  And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.  ~Robert Fulghum

Adult Coloring Books who knew they’d catch on like they have.


Do you have an Adult Coloring Book? Have you seen them? I did one year before last for the family. It turned out even better than I expected. So I did another one this year. It is selling pretty well.  What’s your thought on Adult Coloring Books?

I have always loved to color. I had fun with my kids, grandkids, and now great grands. There’s an art in coloring. Today people have discovered that it gives stress release I reckon it always has been, sometimes the youngin’s would sit for a long time as they colored page after page. It was a cheap, and creative way to entertain them.

CB Pelican Snack


What’s the difference between Adult Coloring Books and children’s coloring books? When I did mine, I looked for images that were a little more intricate. The massive amounts of pelicans feeding against the backdrop of the boat and the foreground of the water intrigued me.


This photo of Del fascinated me because of the reflections in the sunglasses. I thought of them like a puzzle, as the person colored the glasses the reflections would pop out.  CB Reflections of the Beach.jpg

I put a lot of thought into each image,  would it look good in black and white, would it be challenging and relaxing at the same time?

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

***Have you thought of trying your hand at this? I know Sue has and here’s a link to her Adult Coloring Book. If you have one, you are welcome to put a link in the comments.***

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE


Why Are They Here?

IMG_1659aby Neva Bodin

Last blog I shared some critters’ stories of the awful invaders of their animal kingdom—our camp of vehicles, campers, and people settling into what had been a vacant farmyard for a long time. I am going to share some more of the critter’s stories from our month long stay in another state preparing for and holding my family estate auction…DSCN4457

What was all this stuff? This was my second trip to my usual hunting grounds for the night. Several nights ago, I was sniffing along the edge of a large building and jumped when a short distance away, a human in a red nightgown stepped out of a building that hadn’t been there before! The human was closing the door and disappeared inside again. But not before my fright caused me to, ahem, lose a little scent. I wonder if she smelled it?

courtesy pixabay

Now, several days later, I was cautiously edging closer to a lot of things spread out where I usually walk. Still pretty light, but I didn’t think they would see me. All of a sudden a couple humans came running and I turned and ran too. I could hear clapping noises and voices shouting. I didn’t understand the meaning, but the words sounded like “Run Skunk Run. Run fast and don’t come back!” Whatever. I ran to the edge of the yard and turned left and scrambled as fast as I could. I didn’t go back as long as those creatures were there. At least not so they saw me.


What is all this? There are funny looking houses and things all around. Usually I can walk through here and I only see the raccoon or the skunk. I smell humans. Are they dangerous? I’ll walk very slowly and keep my eyes wide open. There are lots of strange smells in the air.

But it’s quiet. Maybe I should wait a little while when it’s really dark. Then all the fireflies will show up too.

Let’s see, each foot carefully placed in the tall grass… Oh! I hear a noise. I’ll freeze. It’s coming from that small building that hasn’t been there before.

DSCN3186Silence. I’ll go closer. OK. Close enough. I better turn around. I hope no one is watching. I’ll walk, then jog, then walk. I don’t want to break into a gallop and draw too much attention. I’ll come back another time. Back to the trees!


I don’t understand how to get some peace around here. I know this is the city, but this hanging basket is a perfect nest. The flowers help me hide, and smell good as I sit here. These kids better be grateful when they hatch—if they hatch. There is so much activity now….

The people who lived here when I laid the eggs are gone and many people keep running by carrying boxes and furniture. Makes me nervous. Especially the short ones who are noisy and try to reach my nest. At least no one took my nest. But I’m nervous about leaving it to go eat.DSCN4491

Oh, how I hope my babies don’t make too much noise and get too much attention from these beings in this big house. If they leave me alone, they can watch my babies grow and fly away. I’ll coo them to sleep at night.


wood tick1503083__340Wow, isn’t this grand? So many legs going by to cling to. Even when some make a trip through the grass to that old building no one usually uses.DSCN4504

Have to admit, it’s not as easy hitching a ride after the grass is mowed, but it’s still possible! These beings seemed to be picking at themselves all the time. But, there are so many of us, we’ll torment them day and night!

The Many Names of Helen Hunt Jackson

Post (c) Doris McCraw


Helen Hunt Jackson is not a well-known name to many. This of course is partially due to the fact she died in 1885. Additionally, she had many names during her lifetime, one of which was not Helen Hunt Jackson.

She was born Helen Maria Fiske in 1830. She carried this name until her marriage to Edward Bissell Hunt on October 28, 1852. At that time, as was the custom, she assumed her husband’s surname. It was not until after Edward’s death and Helen started writing for publication that we begin to see use of the many names now associated with Helen Hunt Jackson.

One of the first pseudonyms she used was the name Marah. In the Hebrew tradition the name Marah means ‘bitter’, which fits Helen’s life at that time. She had already lost her first son at eleven months in 1854, and then her husband, Edward in 1863. The final blow was the death of her remaining child, her second son, in 1865. According to the biography “Helen Hunt Jackson” by Ruth Odell, the name Marah appeared in 1865, the year of Rennie’s death, with the first poems published by Helen and continued throughout that year. 1865 was also the year H.H. appeared.

Of all the pen names used by Helen, H.H. was probably the one most frequently used by Helen. Of all her works H. H. is the one most commonly seen. Still as an author who was writing to be published at a time women were not using their ‘real’ names, Helen made use of additional pen names to increase her options for publication.

In 1867 and again in 1868 Helen made use of the name Rip Van Winkle for at least two of her prose works.

Helen briefly used Helen Hunt and Mrs. Helen Hunt in 1868 and Marah showed up again in 1870. There is also one instance where she used the name ‘Justice’.

After her marriage to William S. Jackson in 1875, Helen then used the name Helen Jackson in her correspondence but continued using H. H. in her writings. Helen had said she did not use the name ‘ Hunt’ because there was no reason to constantly remind William of Edward. Also, in that time, women used the last name of the man they were married to.

11-13-11 book signing 123
Gravesite- Helen – Wife of William S. Jackson, 1885 ‘Emgravit’ (As per her instructions)

For her novels Helen used H. H., No Name, and Saxe Holm. If you were to read her ‘romance’ stories they would probably have the name Saxe Holm. For many years there was a question as to who the author really was, for Helen had made her publisher swear to tell no one.

In her autobiography Francis Wolcott (Mrs. Francis Bass when Helen knew her) states that ‘she figured out who Saxe Holm was from the various things Helen had said, and Helen did not deny the assumption’.

After 1879, when Helen heard Standing Bear of the Ponca tribe speak, her focus became the plight of the Ponca Indians and from there the plight of all Native people. She was still using H.H., when her non-fiction work a “Century of Dishonor”, was published. There is some discussion that she may have used her real name Helen Jackson on “Century of Dishonor”, but instead it was used for her “Reports on the Conditions of the Mission Indians”. This was a report for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and also may have been published for the public.

The only work other than the above mentioned report that was published under her real name, Helen Jackson is “Ramona”.

It seems that the use of Helen Hunt Jackson for Helen’s works occurred after her husband William married her niece, also named Helen. This change may have been to avoid confusion between Helen Jackson the author, who died three years prior to William’s second marriage, and Helen Jackson the niece.

During Helen’s lifetime, it was normal for female authors to use pseudonyms which Helen did. Still with the use of H.H. it was obvious to those who followed her work, who this really was. According to the same biography by Ruth Odell, Helen wanted people to know who she was. If you look at the work with all the ‘names’ used by Helen you will find a substantial body of work. Helen excelled not only at poetry, but also essays, novels and short stories. She wrote for children and adults, both with equal skill.

If you get the chance, check out the works of Helen by any of her names. You will not be disappointed. Many of her works are in the public domain, but the one most might enjoy is “Nelly’s Silver Mine” Google Books, Nelly’s Silver Mine, one of the first children’s book to make use of place as almost another character.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -also writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

For a list of Angela Raines BooksHere 
Photo and Poem: Click Here
Angela Raines FaceBookClick Here



This post is by Nancy Jardine.

I’m quite amazed when some authors tell me they hate doing research for their manuscript writing because it’s a task I absolutely adore in all its forms and those forms can be quite varied. One of my favourite research tasks is seeking out appropriate images to use in publicity materials. The following ones are depictions of the god Mercury but read on to find out why.

Mercury by Bellini
Mercury- Bellini  (Wikimedia Commons)

In my current manuscript set in A.D. 84 northern Britannia (my part of Scotland) my Ancient Roman General Gnaeus Julius Agricola isn’t exactly happy with his barren situation. He’s not finding the kind of local resources that would be easily taxable – something that was essential to the well-oiled running of the Roman Empire.

Typically, the Roman Army conquered a new territory; they subdued the natives; and then made the local ruler (king or high chief) collect ‘taxes’ from their people to send on regularly to the Roman Empire coffers.

The ‘taxes’ weren’t money as in current day government taxing but were more like contributions of grain which was desperately needed to feed the more than a million inhabitants of the city of Rome which could not grow enough for its own needs. Taxes were often other food supplies, leather, metal ores, horses, slaves etc. Unfortunately, in my novel, Agricola isn’t finding it easy to set up the normal system of Ancient ‘Roman-friendly’ government in the barbarian wilds of northern Britannia to provide him with lucrative revenue. The sneaky local Celtic tribes aren’t playing the game properly so he’s resorting to a bit of cursing!

The Bellini painting above is of a relaxed and indulgent scene of the god Mercury where abundance and success are portrayed. This painting amuses me (Philistine that I am!) in that the ‘winged helmet’ of mercury is to me a bit like a chamber pot, and I can’t help thinking the slave behind with bowl on his head is somehow mocking the god. What do you think of this image? 

Back to my novel writing…Generally speaking, when not happy with a situation a lot of people tend to resort to some kind of cursing.  But what would my General Agricola have considered really bad swear words? Experts don’t always agree but it’s likely that the swear words used today wouldn’t have made the same kind of impact in A.D. 84.

Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå
Dosso Dossi Wikimedia Commons

There was a much more relaxed attitude to sex in Ancient Rome so those kind of curse words (found in the ruins of Pompeii as graffiti) would have been used in a different context. The ‘toilet’ talk cursing of today is a possibility (again found at Pompeii) but natural bodily functions were also not thought to be as taboo a subject as they  can be today.

This painting by Dosso Dossi of Jupiter painting butterflies, Mercury and Virtue is definitely relaxed so I’m not sure any kind of swearing is happening here!  But bear with me as I continue… Jupiter, relaxed and comfy, is quite disinterested about the shushing going on behind him as he gives life to his butterflies before they fly off the canvas to new adventures. But what is going on between Mercury and Virtue? Virtue looks to me to be somewhat desperate. What is she begging to Mercury do? Art historians might say that the painting tells us that creativity is more important than virtue but… What do you think?  

The most powerful kind of cursing I’m likely to use for my General Agricola will be ‘god’ curses. The Ancient Romans and Celts were known to be highly superstitious. They revered a pantheon of gods and goddesses and it’s likely that they used them in both a positive way (praying for good outcomes from their favoured gods) and a negative way when things weren’t going well. (as documented in ancient writing)

Artus Quellinus  -Wikimedia Commons

Finding out what Agricola would use in a negative way has been interesting.

Like most Romans he would have in some way worshipped the 12 most important gods and goddesses – the Dii Consentes.(JupiterJunoMinerva, Vesta, Ceres, Diana, VenusMars, Mercurius, Neptunus, Volcanus, and Apollo) Fortuna was also a popular goddess, and then there was Epona the ‘horse’ goddess who was popular with mounted Roman soldiers.  I now have a lovely long list of deities for my Agricola to pray to or curse – but the most appropriate one for my present writing is the god Mercurius /Mercury.

Mercury is truly a multi-taking god whose remit covers:

  • being the patron god of financial gain and commerce (the name Mercury possibly connected to the Latin derivation merx as in merchant);
  • trade, particularly the grain trade which made him popular in places like Gaul and Britannia where he was also teamed up with commercial success and abundance;
  • eloquence- he is linked to the art of poetry and in music the invention of the lyre  is attributed to him (from being the original Greek god Hermes who was adopted by the Romans);
  • fastest of the gods, he is god of messages, communication (including divination), travellers and boundaries;
  • being a trickster, he is also the god of luck, trickery and thieves.
  • A darker aspect to Mercury is that he is the guide of souls to the underworld, though he does this in the role only as a guide rather than with any judgmental input. It was through this role that he was asked to guide Larunda to the underworld but he fell in love with her and the result was that she gave birth to twins named the Lares.
Hendrick Goltzius – Wikimedia Commons

This painting I like for its realistic portrayal of a young Mercury. I can see this god being a lot more capricious and mischievous than the statue above . Note the cockerel at bottom left looking quite chirpy here as herald of the new day. The winged helmet is a great shape but the lack of winged shoes just might mean this Mercury doesn’t fly so swiftly as the messenger of the gods.

If that’s the case, I’m thinking that my Agricola will be cursing Mercury a lot because right now in my writing Agricola’s messenger systems are not working as fast as he would like them to.

Last Question: What on earth is the woman behind Mercury doing in the Goltzius painting? 

Nancy Jardine writes historical adventure; contemporary mystery and time travel adventure. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Federation of Writers Scotland. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has delved into self publishing.

You can find her at these places:

Blog:  Website:   Facebook: &

email:  Twitter

Amazon Author page


multiple new TE

Writing as Business: An Epiphany

Posted by M. K. Waller


Writing is a business.

That’s what experienced writers tell the wannabes.

For a long time, I thought business applied to action alone: Write every day, attend classes, network, become familiar with various routes to publication, learn the market, read submission guidelines, stay in good physical shape, and on and on… Items on a list, they could be checked off at the end of each day.

Recently, I discovered another aspect of writing as business that I can’t quite fit onto a list.

Last winter, Kaye George put out a call for submissions of stories for DAY OF THE DARK, an anthology to celebrate the total solar eclipse that will be visible from parts of the United States this summer. Each story would contain an element of mystery and would be related to an eclipse. Kaye would edit, and Wildside Press would have the book out before the August 21 eclipse.

I’ve known Kaye for a number of years, ever since I joined Austin Mystery Writers, which she was facilitating. I watched as her career took off–a contract for one mystery series soon turned into contracts for three more series. At the same time, she wrote and published short stories and articles, and appeared on panels, and made it look easy.

Periodically, I said, “I don’t know how she gets it all done.”

And someone would respond, “Now, you mustn’t compare yourself to Kaye.”

And I would say, “I’m not comparing myself to her. I just don’t know how she gets it all done.”

I knew, of course, that she did it by checking tasks off that list. What I wanted to know was–where did she get the energy? (I still want to know.)

When I read her call for submissions, I didn’t consider sending a story. As usual, my mind was blank. My mind is always blank–what could I write about an eclipse?–until the last minute. As usual, at the last minute, I came up with an idea for a story.


I don’t like to work for friends. I don’t mix the personal and the professional. If I sent Kaye a story and she rejected it, I wouldn’t be hurt, I wouldn’t be angry, I wouldn’t be devastated–but I would be embarrassed, not by rejection, but by the knowledge that I’d had the audacity to submit an inferior product, a story I should have known wasn’t worthy–

Here’s where the epiphany comes in:

It dawned on me that–what a concept!–Kaye is a businesswoman. She intended to put out the best book possible. She would choose only stories that fit her purpose.

And epiphany, part 2:

I was a businesswoman. I would submit a story. It it was accepted, I would be pleased. If it was rejected, I would accept that as part of doing business, set the story aside, tweak it, submit it elsewhere. Or, if I discovered it wasn’t tweakable, I would set it aside and leave it there.

Write, submit, be accepted/rejected, get on with life.

So I wrote a story titled “I’ll Be a Sunbeam,” submitted, was accepted, and, after dancing around the room for a while–dancing is also part of the writing business–I saw another call for submissions, wrote, submitted…

In three days, DAY OF THE DARK will be released. It will be available in print and for Kindle, and can be pre-ordered now.

I’m thrilled my story was accepted for DAY OF THE DARK. I’m thrilled to be in the company of the twenty-three other writers whose stories appear there.

And I’m thrilled to finally understand that the writing business is really a state of mind.



To read more about stories in DAY OF THE DARK, see Debra Goldstein’s Day of the Dark Anthology!!!! – Part I . Part II will appear on July 31.

M. K. Waller, aka Kathy,
has published stories
in Austin Mystery Writers’
and in Mysterical-E.

Rain… rain, come again

Mike Staton
My name’s Michael Staton and I wrote this post.

I’m on a record-keeping binge.

I’ve been keeping rain records for my little area of the Vegas Valley since July of last year. Raindrops haven’t spotted the driveway since Tuesday, May 9. Not even sprinkles for 66 days. Time for a prayer: Lord, drop a sprinkle or two on my head… please.

Hopefully, he’ll answer my prayer sometime over the next few days. Vegas TV weather forecasters are saying the valley might get thunderstorms this week. Today (Monday) is the best chance with a 40 percent chance. I’ll be stepping out every hour and looking up at the sky, hoping to see those dark, ominous clouds that portend rain. Maybe I’ll hear a peal or two of thunder.

Las Vegas rain
This is what I’m keen to see… some Las Vegas rain. As the Beatles sang, Let It Be.

I’ll even risk Sharon’s ire. She lives on a different timeclock than the other 7 billion people on Earth. When I step outside during the afternoon via the front door, she’s trying to sleep. The valley gets quite windy even on calm days. The swirling breeze sneaks into the house when I open the door and rattles the bedroom door. Be rest assured I’ll hear about it.

I love to walk the neighborhood at night when storm clouds gather in the south sky above the Boulder City area. Lightning crackles inside the clouds, lighting them up. Sometimes I can even hear the low rumble of thunder rolling across the landscape. It’s like I’m experiencing my own symphony.

Desert rain comes to desert
Nothing like a wild desert rain. Over the last couple of days it has rained in the mountains near Las Vegas, but has mostly shied away from the valley.

Sometimes on lightning-and-thunder nights, the wind will pick up as I walk the streets. The hot wind threatens to blow off my baseball cap. I have to tug the cap against my ears every few seconds. And then I feel a raindrop smack my face, and soon even more raindrops find my skin. The wind becomes noticeably cooler. I wonder: Can I get back to the house before it rains harder?

Sometimes the neighborhood gets no more than sprinkles and I get back to the house without getting a drenching. Other times the heavens open up and I do get a soaking. Either way is fine with me. That’s not entirely true. It’s awfully nice to feel a steady rain on my face, especially after months of no rain.

I hope the local weatherman’s forecast doesn’t change. I’d love to feel raindrops on my face.

Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep Front Cover-Final
Well, this is it… the cover art for my Civil War novel, Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. What do you think?

Update: As of Sunday night, I see a new online forecast on Monday, 20 percent chance for thunderstorms; Tuesday, 20 percent: Wednesday, 30 percent, and Thursday, 40 percent. Looks like the rain will take a little longer getting here.

By the way, did you see the front cover artwork for my Civil War novel? Just in case you missed, here it is. What do you think? Better than the one I rejected after revealing it on Writing Wranglers and warriors a while back?

# # #

I’m an author with three fantasy novels to my credit – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The books make up a trilogy titled Larenia’s Shadow. A fourth novel, this one a historical romance set during the Civil War, is scheduled for publication in October. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased via the website of my publisher, Wings ePress, as well as the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Hoarding or Collecting by Cher’ley


 This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

You might be a PackRat if:

You think if you hold onto that polyester huge-lapeled suit, that it might actually come back in style some day.

You save flat tires for years because you think they can someday they can be repaired.

You don’t throw things away because every time you do, you need them a year later.

You keep your kids’ clothes so your grandkids and great grandkids can wear them.

You think those Mork & Mindy trading cards will be worth something one day.

You can have a community yard sale by yourself.

Image result for packrat images

There is a fine line between hoarding and collecting. Sometimes it depends on who’s looking at the items.

“All of us can have more possessions than we really need and wrestle to keep our stuff organized, yet for those with a hoarding issue, it’s to an extreme, where it interferes with their life and ability to use their space effectively,” says Dr. Annette Perot, a licensed psychologist who specializes in anxiety issues and hoarding.

Neva has been blogging a lot about her big adventure of sorting and disposing of items that have been long loved, and items that are just there. I don’t envy her that job.


Image result for packrat images I’m what they used to call a packrat. I don’t know if that sounds better than hoarder or not. What do you think? I think of myself as a collector. I collect art, old knick-knacks, books, and stamps. I am active in making art and in writing, plus I am exploring my roots with the DNA programs. I also need to mention the 1000’s of photos, VHS tapes, musical instruments, and music books that I have. All of it is useful to me. I don’t want to mention the 50 or 60 pairs of shoes that I have or the two closets, three dressers, and a few containers of clothes (you know some of these are Del’s). I also enjoy all the new-fangled things, like the “As Seen on TV” items. I have all of the NuWave products and I love each of them, but I don’t use them as often as I thought, but they keep all the blenders company. In my defense, I am constantly purging and ridding of stuff.


In Stamp Out Murder, James’ mother collected antique furniture. I know she went to a lot of auctions, and antique stores, so I wonder what else she picked up, perhaps an old vase, a lamp, or an old jewelry box. Maybe she collected or hoarded many more things, maybe too many to mention, more about this will surface in book two Cancel Out Murder.





***How about you, are you a collector or a hoarder? If you are one of those really neat people, do you know anyone who is a collector or a hoarder, and what do they have the most of?***

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Disturbed by Squatters

IMG_1659aby Neva Bodin

In my last blog, you learned about the estate auction we had.  We rescued many treasures from our now unoccupied farm home. There were a number of side stories to this trying adventure. I’d like to share some.

We humans weren’t alone on the farm in ND. We interrupted the lives of many creatures who thought the farm belonged only to them. Let’s hear some of their stories…

mouse“What do I do, what do I do?” This hadn’t happened before. I ran across the cool hard floor toward the blankets where I’d given birth just a couple days ago. Oops! A foot was in my way. I reversed direction and scurried into shadows.

“A mouse just ran up to your foot and ran away!” I heard the voice of one of the strange looking beings say. Beings I didn’t usually see on this farm.

The two beings finally left the spot, only for one to return a short while later and pick up the blanket where my babies were! Oh my…my triplets, naked and blind, rolled right out onto the cold floor! “What should I do?”

The being stood still a moment, looked around, picked my babies up and put them back on the blanket and covered them up. Then went to tell the other being.

“They were crying!” I heard the being say.

“What did they sound like?” asked the other being.

“Well, they didn’t make any noise, but I could tell because their little mouths were open!”

The beings must have been mothers too, because they didn’t do anything more, and I had time to go get all my babies and carry them one by one to a new home. I know another being sitting in a chair saw me go, so I ran very fast with that last baby in my mouth.


starling-1337601__340It seemed the perfect place. The wood was soft and a small hole was already in place. A little pecking with my perfectly pointed beak and it was big enough to squeeze through. A home for my babies. Under the roof of an old farm house. No humans around. High enough to be safe.

It was quiet as I kept those eggs warm, until they hatched! And until our wonderful animal kingdom was rudely invaded by those two-legged creatures that don’t fly. They went into the house. And while the constant squawking of my babies annoyed me, it must have annoyed them more as they pounded on the ceiling in that old house, which just happened to be the floor of my nest! Those babies didn’t stop their squawking though, not even while swallowing the bugs I brought them!

Then, when my babies finally got big enough to fly, those humans had the front door of that house open and as I chirped, “Follow me,” the babies took a sharp turn and flew right into that big house! I scolded and scolded from the big pine tree, and finally they flew back out to me, with one of those humans shouting and flapping their thin wings as if they thought they could fly too.


raccoonIt was perfect and I had spent the winter there. A little big, and it smelled like chickens from long ago, but a sleeping bag and a quilt were just laying there waiting for me. There was the faint smell of dog on them. But from long ago I could tell. I rearranged them with my hands and made myself at home.

Until the humans came. They opened the door and I had to run fast under the chicken nests and do a disappearing act. But through the next four weeks, I kept an eye on those humans. Once in the early morning I was surprised by two of them standing near my building. I scrambled up the side of an old house as fast as I could, dived for the other side of the roof, but couldn’t resist peeking back at them. I suppose they saw my ears sticking up.

But I didn’t bother them, no sirree. I heard them shooting one day. I didn’t see anything to shoot at so I think they were just practicing. But, I didn’t want to be their target. Lucky I didn’t have babies around to worry about as I did one other year when they came. I had them hidden in a granary wall where they couldn’t be seen. Even though they were noisy, the humans left them be.

I wonder what the other animals who live here thought about these squatters taking over?

To be continued….

It Happened On This Day

Post by Doris McCraw


It’s July 10, 2017 and do you know what happened on this day? I’ve always found these pieces of history fascinating. Maybe it’s the researcher in me, or maybe it’s just an insatiable desire to know. 

Whatever the reason, I did a bit of searching and guess what I found?

  • In 1821 the United States took possession of Florida which they had recently purchased from Spain.
  • In 1850  Millard Fillmore was sworn in as president, the day after Zachary Taylor died.
  • In 1890  Wyoming became the 44th state admitted to the Union.
  • In 1913  The temperature in Death Valley, California, hits 134 °F (57 °C), the highest temperature ever to be recorded on Earth.
  • In 1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins. John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act. This event became the basis of the play and later the film “Inherit the Wind”. It starred Spencer Tracy, Dick York, Gene Kelly along with other well-known actors.
  • In 1938  Howard Hughes set a new record by completing a 91-hour airplane flight around the world.

Like the Scopes Trial, pieces of history have the potential not only to help us understand where we came from, but it also gives us great prompts to tell our own stories. The events I listed are what fascinate me. Today is also the birthday of William Blackstone, know for writing the commentaries of law for England, and the basis for the teaching of law in England and North America. 

north cheyenne canyon 6-13-2012 070

I also would be remiss if I didn’t let you all know that Nikola Tesla was also born on this day. Since he had a laboratory here in Colorado Springs, he is a favorite for many who live here. His legend also brings visitors from all over the world. If you’ve never thought about him, the one thing he predicted was the use of cell phones, and that is just the beginning.

July 10 is also National Pina Colada day…so while you are catching up on the history of the day, sit back, relax and enjoy a Pina Colada. The Pina Colada Song – Escape 

Doris Gardner-McCraw -also writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

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