Picking a name

While I’ve been working stories, especially fiction, the one thing I discovered is the complexity of character names. How do other people come up with names? Sometimes I’ve had a name from the start. In the case of my current story the main characters’ names have been in my head from the beginning. I also had several of the other background and ancillary characters with names I knew I wanted to use.

But this one guy. My main female’s ex-husband. What the crap is his name? Todd, Alec. Oh he’s dead, a jerk, and only referred to in past tense.

I’ve come up with those two names so far, but they just don’t strike me as the right one. All you writers out there. Where do you look for names? Do you have a proven method to find the one that works?

I am currently trying to blog, listening to classical music and eating a sandwich while trying to keep the cat from my food.

So let me know the way you find the best name for a fictional human.




Writing and Dogs vs Kitten

Good news on the writing front. I sat here in the living room, casting You Tube videos, with my tablet nearby, and the words just came rolling out. The scene I just finished set up an important relationship that will affect several of my characters and will drive the big drama between the main characters.

I looked back at some of the stuff I wrote a few days ago, being a bit more critical and immediately noticed necessary edits. But I’m not going to touch those until this first draft puppy is done. I know better than to mess with it like that when so much is yet to be written. I’m at 16k+ words right now.

I’ve been working on a design for our Galifrey One t-shirts. We are going to wear matching T’s on Friday. I think what I’ve come up with is pretty nice. Simple but gets the point across. I’m so ready to to be there. My kids live on opposite coasts which makes it hard to get together. I need to sell a bunch of books so I have the money to fly to Orlando more often. My daughter in LA is easier, just a eight hour drive from Tucson. Flights are also cheaper from Phoenix to LAX. Next month will be wonderful with all six of us together. I was telling my sister this a few days ago and almost started to cry.

We have some cold nights in the forecast this week so the dogs are spending the nights indoors. It’s 7:30 pm and 38 degrees. It’s been hilarious watching the dogs as they figure out the little furry boss in our family. Cleo runs the show, this teeny calico kitten running the two big German Shepherds around. She isn’t shy of them, and she will play, especially with Millie. We weren’t sure how they would all get on once they were introduced, but with patience they are coexisting.

Hope all of you are enjoying what ever is happening at your place.



Yay Nick Foles and the Eagles!! 

Life is a Steamroller

So annoyed, ready to run away, so much to do, how far away can I get with what is in the bank, four projects due by the middle of February, no writing done since ??

Life has spiraled out of my control.

Wonder who the new football coach will be for the UA Wildcats?

My 87 year old mother lives here, we have two German Shepherds and a cat, and I am feeling trapped. My hubby is very busy speaking my love language – acts of service – and I wish I could just grab some me some vino (whiskey for him) and snuggle up for a make out session. But…the privacy issue is just that, an issue.

Chuck and I have tickets for Galifrey One in Los Angeles Feb 16-18, 2018. When we bought the tickets nearly a year ago we had my sweet Millie and that was it. Easy solution, drop her at the kennel and off we go. But oh no, not now! After a three week long search I was unable to find respite care for my mother that ran less that $150 a day, and only one place would do less than a two week minimum. Plus they all require a doctors orders since she is on prescription medications, and has memory and vision loss.

The two big dogs (even though they are very good dogs) are going to run me $50-60 a day. The cat is pretty self sufficient, just make sure the cat box is fresh, and food and water set out for the time we are gone and she is all good. I love her.

But damn!

I got to the point where I started to develop stress headaches every day at 4pm, I was about to cancel the whole thing. I really didn’t want to since all my kids and my grandson would be together with us for the first time in I can’t remember when.

Oh hell no, I’m not missing this.

Then…God took mercy on me and I found out my great nephew Kristopher is moving to Catalina soon and he will stay here the whole time, helping with his GG (Great Grandmother) and taking care of the animals! Woo Hoo! Did I mention I love that kid?! Last night, for the first time in weeks I didn’t get a headache.

So let’s see if things will settle down and I can focus on what I need to do before my awesome trip to Doctor Who land.



New family member

Hey all! We got a cat.

Actually she is a wee kitten, rescued from an abandoned litter that was born in my nephew’s shed. She is a beautiful little polydactyl calico that we have named Cleo. I believe she was about 6-7 weeks old when my nephew found the four kittens. He did a Facebook post showing them and within a day they were all rescued. One interesting thing, other than the polydactyl aspect, is that the lone male in the group is a grey tabby with a perfect M on his forehead which is typical of a Maine Coon (MC). Maine Coon cats also are prone to being polydactyl and calico.

I hope my sweet little girl is a MC because they are awesome cats.

She is playful, loves her scratching post and her ball-go-round toy. She is also very attached to Chuck and I. She is very cuddly which I love, and I think it’s because she was abandoned so young and missed the affection of her mother.

At first, before she was good at cleaning herself, I would wet a coarse cloth with very warm water and stroke her gently around her face, down her back, belly, and legs and finally her butt. Just the way her momma would have done. It was remarkable how it calmed her, and she seemed to enjoy it.

Another interesting aspect about a polydactyl is they are referred to as Hemingway cats, because Ernest Hemingway collected them at his homes. Cleo has six toes on one foot and five and a half on the other. The half is a not fully developed toe with a claw. The male was adopted by my sister, Mary. He is called Ernie, short for Ernest. Appropriately so.

I love her and she loves me. From the first she loved napping on me. She still does but rather than on my chest she lays in my lap. Sometimes she will stare at me, watching my face as I talk to her.

She will also follow me from room to room. If she can’t find one of us she starts meowing loudly until someone calls her name, then she comes running. A really funny thing she will do is follow me to the bathroom and we will potty together.

It is hilarious-she is such a girl.


-N and Cleo

It’s getting hot-again!

The heat is building here in Southern Arizona. I know I’ve said it before, and I will most likely repeat myself in the future, but…I hate the heat. I am clinically heat intolerant. Thus, the arrival of the heat is a bad thing for me. It makes me grumpy, lethargic, nauseous, and constantly in the mood to move to Alaska.

One thing hubby and I do when it starts warming up is to stock the freezer with an assortment of ice cream products. We will keep it stocked until November. There is nothing like a frozen yummy at the end, the beginning, or the middle of the day during the summer.

We headed into the grocery store, quickly found the frozen foods area and spent at least ten minutes deciding. We bought three kinds of ice cream, two tubs of orange sherbet, a box of banana pops, a bag of cherry-mango pops, and a popsicle variety pack. Topped it off with a can of whipped cream, Irish Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream.

Well balanced. Agree?

We have a spa that is not heated during the summer and it is so refreshing when the temp is 110. Chuck planted a bunch of trees around the house over the years, which is great shade during the summer. Most are at least 20 years old and huge. When the thermometer rises, we tend to stay inside all day unless necessary. Kind of like northern states do during the winter snow storms. I am a water drinker all year round, but when it gets hot I regularly drink 2-3 liters of water a day. I generally don’t want anything but water.

Millie and our new GSD Jake (Millie’s brother) have staked out their resting spots outside. Jake lays on the the front porch. I guess the brick is cool in the shade. Millie lays in the back, which is a large shaded porch. They are content to nap, that is unless a rabbit or cat comes in the yard, then all bets are off.

So all you followers up north, remember me during your nice cool days. I will be jealous.



PS The Expanse was renewed for a third season! Awesome.


Red pen edits and dog sitting

Greetings you awesome blog followers!

I just got my manuscript back from time spent in the hands of my awesome beta reader and let’s just say the red ink was flowing. But it’s a good thing for the story and the writer. Some of the best responses are “what did this mean?” or “that came out of the blue” or “who is this talking about?” will give me the chance to look with fresh eyes at what I wrote.

I was told my writing skills have improved since my last book which is great to hear. The red pen noted discrepancies, inconsistencies, and just plain old punctuation and grammar errors that eyes too familiar with the story can miss.

So…it’s time to put the writer cap on and dive into this story with new eyes and fresh motivation. The history this tale delves into is fascinating, and curiously enough, quite timely in certain aspects. My fictional humans are living in a tempestuous and challenging time. Gotta get it right!

20161002_1741211For the past four days we’ve been baby sitting Millie’s brother Jake.

These two German Shepherds eat a lot, play rowdy with each other, forget they are not lap dogs, love ice cubes, and whine in exactly the same way. It’s been good for her to have another canine to patrol the acre with, to bark at the neighbor dogs with, and all the other dog stuff.

She has enjoyed it and rather than him being the alpha (which is his nature) Millie has shown Jake 20161002_1745131how to live in our house. He has mellowed since his arrival, learned he has to sit to come in the house, and is sleeping later. Hey, she lives with adults.

He is a handsome fella, with a deep powerful bark, and lots of energy. I’m pretty sure she will miss him when he leaves today.

Hope he can come over for play dates.

Is there a special dog breed your family loves? We are GSD people.



Productive authoring!

This has been one of my most productive writing days in a while. I really knocked it out of the park today. Characters talking, acting up, being bad, and essentially being real fictional humans. Got that?!

My two big rewrites are done, bam!

And if I do say so myself – I did a great job on them. It’s cool being a writer and getting so wrapped up in the story you start talking back to your characters. Twice I actually said out loud “Oh no you are not going to say that!” It was glorious.

I don’t know how others do their editing but mine is done with written notes and post its on a printed manuscript. This is rev#3.


I have two scenes that need elaborating, but other than those most of the edits I have to finish are grammar and punctuation. Hope my beta readers are ready for this story.

Tomorrow night hubby and I have two tickets to see Cabaret at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus. Its a Broadway touring show and I am very excited to experience it up close.

We will be very busy next weekend with a big yard sale, and at the same time babysitting Millie’s brother Jake. It will be interesting since Jake is a big, gorgeous, alpha German Shepherd. His temperament is very different from Miss Millie who has been raised by two adults. I hope the siblings get on okay, since she is a bit intimidated by him. Damn, most people are intimidated by Jake even though he is a very nice boy.

Sometime in the next few weeks I will have some wonderful news to share but not yet. Patience.

Time for a glass of good wine.



Not having fun

My body is rebelling.

For most of this week I have been fighting with obnoxious histamines from whatever the hell is in bloom in southern Arizona.  Nothing is working to ease my symptoms and it’s pissing me off. I’ve avoided going anywhere because others would see me and think I was contagious. I look like crap.

Yesterday I had a small skin cancer removed from my left hand. Not a terribly deep lesion but now I have to be checked every six months. Damn.

I’ve been lax in my writing, stressed by all of this and wishing for escape. My one sweetness is Millie my beautiful German Shepherd. She seems to know I’m not myself. She curls up next to me on the couch or rests at my feet. She is very curious about the bandage on my hand. My baby puppy.

Poor hubby is having to look after himself. He’s stepped up and made his lunches, loaded the dishwasher, and been patient with me. I’m blessed.

Time to get my butt gear. Life is waiting.



Thunder alarm clock

It was 5:50 am and I heard what I thought was a truck rumbling by, but that made no sense to me. Millie scratched on the screen door telling me to get my butt up and let her out. Then I heard it again. Was that thunder? Interesting.

Millie went out, and did her thing. I lay back down and started to doze off.

At the screen door scratching around 6:30 I got up to let her back in and realized it was sprinkling. Hallelujah! Rain to start a Tuesday morning. Filled my coffee, grabbed my phone and headed to the back porch to enjoy the rain. Then it really started to rain, a full fledged rain shower. I looked to the north and there was a thick, wide rain shaft with low clouds that appeared to be moving my way.

See me smile and sigh.

Chuck joined me with his coffee and we watched as the storm came near. Then boom! That was close. A few minutes later a brilliant lightning bolt struck very close, like 1/4 mile away with an instant, shocking BOOM! The wind started to pick up testifying the storm was here. The temps dropped fast and we sat enjoying the show as small hail mixed with rain fell.

Abruptly, suddenly, quickly, immediately – pick and adverb – the wind shifted and got stronger, blowing rain and hail straight at us, hail was landing in our laps, tables, chairs and on Millie. We jumped up, gathering our things and hurried inside with Millie leading the way.

It was awesome!

Now, a few hours later it is still over cast with thick clouds, with an occasional sprinkle and the rumble of distant thunder.

What a way to start my morning!



I needed this!

I just came in from outside where I was sitting on the front steps, wine glass in hand, watching Millie go crazy with her toy in the steady rain falling from a very cloudy sky. This friends is my perfect day. 20160802_110957

After what seemed like months of oppressive heat and dryness, we are being refreshed with wonderful rain. My yard is green, my dog is loving the wet grass and cool rain, and I am feeling renewed.

The rain was coming in the form a roll cloud to the north. I was watching it move toward me.


I hurried inside to grab my phone and once I was outside the breeze picked up and it started to sprinkle. I am lucky that Catalina is near the mountains and higher in elevation making it easier for us to grow green stuff!

20160802_111143My front yard. We are very green right now.

It is a good day to write.