Thursday, June 22, 2017


 Finish line. Made the Goal. Here at last. The Tortoise won the Race. The Big Tuh-duh!!   

SERIOUSLY, this is a big deal. My FIRST work of fiction published. HOLY MOLY!!

Party anyone? NOT. I'm a writer. I hole up in my office and play with words. That's what writers do. I never did learn how to party.

Butfor being here to Celebrate with me.

Okay, enough chatter. This is THE SHELLS OF MERSING'S big day. Callie is dying to tell her story and I'm going to let her take it from here ....

"I have a gun frozen in my hand, and a scream welling up inside. No one would believe me in a million years if I told the truth..."

25% off for two weeks starting today at Evernight Teen. Also available on Amazon. Print copies available in August. Pop on over and take a look and give me a CHEER. I'm over the moon, doing cartwheels, releasing balloons, filled to the max excited!!


When notorious Uncle Azman disobeys his boss’s orders, and sends Callie and Lucas to meet their mother's long lost family in Malaysia, fourteen-year-old Callie Davis believes their troubles are over. After all they've endured, what more could go wrong? Their American dad is dead, Mom is missing, and their foster dad in Seattle was murdered, with Callie falsely accused. If that wasn't enough, Callie stowed aboard a sailboat with her eight-year-old brother to escape, only to be targeted by their uncle’s boss in Hawaii upon arrival for immediate sale in Thailand’s human trafficking market. Disguised in Muslim dress, in case Azman’s boss sends someone after them, Callie believes it’s simply a matter of time. They need to find safety with family in Mersing and begin the search for Mom, but a shell box, a ruby, and a boy from Chicago named Sam are about to change everything.  

More Fun Facts at Author Page  


Friday, June 16, 2017

Poof! A Book is Born: Teaser Excerpt and Update

Happy to announce my novel The Shells of Mersing is ready for release June 23. Uhh.....that's next F-R-I-D-A-Y! It's really going to happen! I dreamed a story and POOF....a book is born.

The Shells of Mersing will be featured at 25% off on the landing page of Evernight Teen's website for one week upon release, but I'll remind everyone again when it happens. I made the below image and thought it might work in a book trailer  but I'm still working on the details. 

A teaser excerpt - The Shells of Mersing:

Groaning, his eyes flicker open. “What happened?”

“Don’t move, Mr. Pirone. I’ll get Judith.”

He grabs my wrist. “You’ll do no such thing. Help me up.” His face softens. “Please, I hurt my back.” I pull him to his feet.

He staggers to the door and stops mid step at the threshold, hanging there for the longest time. “What are you doing here?” he finally says.

“Benjamin, my old friend,” a male voice replies.

Benny inches backward. Glancing back at me, he speaks in a low deliberate voice, “Run, Callie.” He mumbles something else, but all I really hear are his first words. Run, Callie.

A muffled pop pierces the air. Benny falls to his knees and collapses face down. I cover my mouth, stifling a scream, afraid to move as blood gushes from a bullet hole in Benny’s temple. A crimson pool forms on the floor.

A flashlight beam travels over his face and the wound. I gasp, recalling the glowing moon eyes in my dream. The beam of light shines on my face next and goes out, blinding me at first.

“Who’s there? Please. Who are you?”

A cold, unmistakable chill travels down my spine, and then I see him, a man clad in black. He steps over Benny’s body, entering the room. A gun hangs loose at his side in his black gloved hand. I step backward. He flicks his black hair away from his face and moves closer. Two sunken cheeks dominate his long face. A red scar zigzags across his nose. He’s young, in his twenties, maybe thirties. He eyes Benny’s body, snickering to himself.

A toilet flushes upstairs. Please let it be Judith. I step to the side, eyeing the door and the stairs behind him. I can run for it. I can do this.

He snatches my hand. “Not so fast.” His steely eyes are those of a cobra’s. I can almost hear the hiss when his bony fingers clamp down, pinching me. He forces my palm over the gun handle, curving my index finger around the trigger. “You tell anyone about me, and I’ll kill you. Your mama too.”

My mouth goes dry. “My mother?”

He smiles, a cruel deliberate sneer. “That’s right, your mama in Thailand.”

My heart rips apart, a scream building inside. This horrid man knows my mother. He knows her!

His cobra eyes gloat. “Yeah, that’s right. I think you understand. Now don’t forget.”

I struggle to move the gun wedged in my hand. No, I’ll never forget your warning and cruel voice, or your snakelike stare and jagged scar.

He snorts. “Tell them it was self-defense.” He kicks Benny’s body as he leaves.

My knees shake as I watch him disappear. The soles of my feet are molded to the floor. I have a gun frozen in my hand, and a scream welling up inside. No one would believe me in a million years if I told the truth, because the only truth I could fabricate is an outright lie. Tell them it was self-defense, he said. But I can’t lie, nor can I live with the deadly consequences of the truth.

Judith rushes into the room. I have no idea when. Seconds, minutes, hours could have passed. I’m standing where the stranger left me.


Celebrate the Small Things: Repurposing the A-Z

Well, I'm coming to the end of the week rather exhausted but pleased with myself. I completed an aviation display for our airport's annual Desert Aire Fly-In this coming weekend.

Pilots will be flying in from all over to have breakfast, show off their planes to the community, and talk about aviation. Some Fly-Ins are huge, but being a small community, ours will be held in one hangar, large enough for a small crowd and three or so displays. And of course, there will be plenty to see on the tarmac with all the planes. The kids love seeing the planes.

The display looks great. I made a collage of photos on poster board of all the "Pioneer Women in Aviation" pilots from the 2016 April A-Z, and copied the blog posts into two notebooks. Love that I could repurpose my favorite A-Z theme thus far. It's something I've always wanted to do.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Weekly Celebration, Cover Reveals, and The Classics - CLOSING LINES: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

"Mrs. Hale drew a deep breath, as though her memory were eased of its long burden, and she had no more to say; but suddenly an impulse of complete avowal seized her.

She took off her spectacles again, leaned toward me across the bead-work table-cover, and went on with lowered voice: “There was one day, about a week after the accident, when they all thought Mattie couldn’t live. Well, I say it’s a pity she did. I said it right out to our minister once, and he was shocked at me. Only he wasn’t with me that morning when she first came to... And I say, if she’d ha’ died, Ethan might ha’ lived; and the way they are now, I don’t see’s there’s much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; ‘cept that down there they’re all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues.” "

(Published 1911)

We biked on Richland's Riverfront Trail early in the week. A tire blew on our friend's bike, which meant finding a bike shop and delaying the bike ride by 2 hours, but we managed to have fun despite the heat. It got up to 92 degrees. Usually too hot for me, but snow cones along the way helped!

A huge Thank you to Senco Cat Herder at for hosting a Cover Reveal of my novel, The Shells of Mersing last week.

I want to Thank Heather Holden for a super nice job at this week for also sharing a Cover Reveal.

July ?? 2017 is still the launch date. Finally have an Author Page I like. I really struggled with the right colors and theme. Click here for a looksee or the page link above.

Vince and I will be attending a wedding next week, happy our nephew has found happiness at last. After losing a girlfriend a few years back, who had died suddenly, we all kind of wondered if he would. All the best this weekend. Set your sails and go for it!

"Come celebrate with us
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: Did You Ever Say "I Quit?"

Purpose: To share and encourage.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! 

 Huge thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

June 7 Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I've never experienced the Hollywood version, where you make a loud announcement, yelling "I quit," and march out the door in triumph. I have a stubborn streak in me a mile thick that keeps me committed when others around me are shaking their heads and wondering why I haven’t quit. For me in general, giving up on anything or someone when you believe in their potential is a bad thing. It carries over to my writing, and so, barring family emergencies, loss of health, or nuclear war, it would take a lot to discourage me.....although the latter would send me hunting for a pencil to record everything.

I've had my share of startups and slowdowns, but never a full stop. I’m this way with characters too. Total commitment once established, when it might make sense to remove them. I once had a secondary character attempt to take over a story. I finally removed her so I could tell the story, but brought her back after a while. She was well behaved at the point, I might add. My husband, who read the manuscript and liked this character, still thinks her story is worthy. Meanwhile, I wrote my current novel three times, trying to get it right. “I quit” was never an option. 

My degree of commitment may change over the years but I see myself writing for the rest of my life. Once it gets into your blood, we appear to be permanently hooked.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Photos of Bangkok's Floating Market

Well, it really is true. We write what we know and experience in life, and our stories are richer by far when we do. I'm celebrating a memory and the inspiration behind writing The Shells of Mersing. 

My husband and I spent nine wonderful months living in Malaysia in 1995-96. Our trip to Thailand was one of the highlights. Here are some photos of the Floating Market in Bangkok. It was fun popping my characters into this setting. 

Celebrating another Cover Reveal for The Shells of Mersing...... over at Tamara Narayan's blog.  Thanks, Tamara!!

Check it out and ALSO Tamara's new book!

One collection, four stories, 171 pages of suspense...

Heart Stopper: The disappearance of random household items baffles Dallas Radner and his eleven-year-old daughter, Tessa. Ten plastic bags, nine ballpoint pens . . . what's next? This odd countdown should end on November 1, The Day of the Dead. That's also Tessa's birthday and the one-year anniversary of her surgery, the day her heart stopped on the operating table....

Happy Weekend


"Come celebrate with us" 
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cover Reveal Shout-Out and a Mid-Week Smile

Check out TWO COVER REVEALS for THE SHELLS OF MERSING Thank you Tonja Drecker for the shout-out!!!  

And Author Page here

Below, just for fun, saw this cute video honoring the
works of William Shakespeare. Guaranteed to make you smile 😊

Published on Apr 21, 2016
This year, the whole world commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare and to mark this landmark anniversary, famous scenes from Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been immortalized in LEGO® bricks.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Family, Faucets & Chipped Pottery: Celebrate the Small Things

Pottery - Kota Bharu, Malaysia
(personal collection, s.himsl)
Celebrating .....
  • My biggest celebration this week was receiving a mock up of my novel's book cover. I love it!! But I'm saving it for a Big Cover Reveal, in the next week or so. Some of you saw it on FB, but I need to write up an official press release. I've been so busy this week. Why is it when things happen, good or bad, they all happen at once?
  • Spent six days with my mother, who recently fell and broke an arm. She's 92. A bit touch and go at times, but she's definitely on the mend. Also typed up her hand-written story, Forgotten Village. About 3000 words so far. She now has a typed copy to edit when she's feeling better. Pretty cool. My sister-in-law has been the main caregiver (she's an angel), as the family is doing this without the cost of a nursing home.  
  • Outside faucets back at home working again. So glad we hired someone to crawl under the house to check. He found lots of rabbit droppings, which could account for the funky odor we noticed in one of our closets. He's going to seal all of the outside entry points. I guess I should be happy he didn't find snake skins and rat droppings! Spiders yes, but those we can spray for.  
  • The Pacific Northwest was in its glory this week. On the west side, in the 70s, everything is blooming. Our place on the east side is warm and perfect for outdoor sitting. 

Some more Object Flash Fiction....

"Broken Pottery"

   Annie ran after her husband as he backed the truck down the driveway, waving her arms like a crazy woman. "Wait John, you took the wrong box."
    John stopped the truck and rolled down the window. "Crap, Annie. We have enough junk already." Grumbling inside, he stepped out of the truck. Ten minutes more and he would have made it to the Goodwill dumping station.
    Annie frowned. "You took the Malaysia box. I wanted this to go in the storage bin." She was already holding the box with the pottery they had purchased in Kota Bharu. The one piece with the chipped edge had once been perfect, but less than perfect made it all the more desirable.
    John gave a short, knowing nod. There was no debate. Malaysia had changed their lives, redefined everything they had valued in life up to that point. Marriage and raising children had nearly been the end of them. They had been close to a parting of the ways. The too young couple from Missoula with working class roots were about to prove the naysayers right. The marriage would fail. 

Then came the opportunity to work in Malaysia for a year, a strange twist of fate, a coming together of events, they never could have invented in their wildest dreams. They grabbed hold and went on an adventure. 

When they returned, they were grounded again as a couple, filled with dreams for the future. No, the Malaysia box with the chipped pottery would definitely stay. 

Wishing you a pleasant weekend! 

"Come celebrate with us"
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, May 19, 2017

Life is a Balancing Act: Celebrate the Small Things

From family's Stereoview collection

Ha-ha. Kind of feel like the fellow above, getting ready for my next big act. I'm not balancing life perfectly but making headway nonetheless. How did life balance out for you this week? 

I finally added links for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on my blog (see sidebars), so feel good about that. FB gets smaller font for giving me such a bad time setting up an author page and blog link. Learning about marketing at Yvonne Ventresca's blog and other blogs. Some great tips and examples there!

  • Planted one remaining shrub to complete my barberry hedge.
  • Moved rather slow this week getting over a head cold that started last Friday, but it led to some relaxing baths soaking in Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt, labeled "Detoxify and Energize with Ginger and Clay." Never realized how softening this is to the skin. Love it :) Ever try this??

New from Evernight Teen

Lovely Scars by Cassandra Jamison

The Watched Girl (Escape series #2) by Rachel Rust

Crone by C.L. Marin (sequel to Maiden)


 Have a nice weekend everyone!!

"Come celebrate with us"
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Exploring the New Hampshire Colony by Elizabeth Raum: Book Review

Exploring the New Hampshire Colony
Author: Elizabeth Raum 

Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher:  Capstone Press,  2017
Ages:  8 to 11, Middle Grade
Pages: 48
New Hampshire was the third colony founded in North America.
In 1623, a group of businessmen were given a piece of land by the king of England to develop as a colony, stipulating that the rules of government be strictly under the king. In 1679, New Hampshire officially became a royal colony, which by then was known for its source of fish, animal furs, and lumber. 

Raum describes the exploration of the land beginning with (Englishman) Martin Pring in 1603. Pring met the native people in the area, the Abenaki and the Pennacook, who grew corn, beans and squash, and hunted fish and game. For a time the colonists traded peacefully with the Indians, but white diseases began destroying native populations and conflicts soon arose. 

Later, during King Williams War between England and France in 1689, the French enlisted the Indians to fight, who then attacked the colonists. Battles over land between the French and English lasted nearly seventy five years, but peace eventually came in 1763.  

Unfortunately, conflict reared its head again with outrage over the English Stamp Act and high taxes. With its repeal in 1766, the undercurrents of the Revolutionary War had begun. When war broke out in 1775, some 1200 New Hampshire militiamen fought in Boston’s Battle of Bunker Hill, but never on home soil. New Hampshire became the first colony to form its own state government, officially becoming America’s ninth state in 1788.

Raum further describes some of the important cities and pioneers in New Hampshire, which became an important supplier of lumber for the building of ships, boat masts, and furniture. Today New Hampshire is known as the “granite state” for its rocky soil. 

Help aids in Raum's book include mini bios, maps, illustrations, quotes, glossary, timeline and “Did You Know” and “Critical Thinking with Primary Sources” sidebars. A good introduction to New Hampshire's early history. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Time Went POOF - Celebrate the Small Things

What I wish I could be doing
 and wish I was that skinny again!
To be honest, I'm not sure where the time went this week. It just went POOF!
  • I've been gardening, which could account for some of the time drain. Planted geraniums, peppers, cabbage, marigold, basil and mint. Weeded some, but you'd never know to look at it. LOL. What a mess awaits me!
  • I had a busy week working on social media again and writing future blog posts, another time drain, although fun to do.  
  • Good news is I'm meeting other Evernight Teen authors and learning a lot about book promotion from Evernight's marketing person. A very nice group I might add. 
  • Had a dream with characters in a book I've been thinking about. The scene was vivid enough to write down. Don't you just love moments like that?  
  • Jumped on the treadmill yesterday. Happy about that. It had been awhile.
  • SADLY, just found out my mother broke her arm and actually popped it out of the socket at her shoulder. She's mending now and pumped up with morphine for the pain. I'll be traveling tomorrow to see her. Not a fun way for Mom to spend Mother's Day!! But we'll turn the occasion into something nice. I plan to type the book she has been handwriting and is so excited about. It's her first novel at 92!! 

Have a Nice Weekend!!
(And Happy Mother's Day :)

"Come celebrate with us"
To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog
Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog