Starting Local

The world is in a sports frenzy. Nations have selected their best and sent them to Brazil. The request is simple.

Play hard. Win. Bring home the World Cup.

Several in my neighborhood are planning for the future. They run. They kick. They make up a few of their own rules to accommodate their understanding and physical capabilities.

Some will go on to play on organized teams. The youth leagues are popular here. Many schools have programs. At least one of the local universities has a good history and reputation.

Run. Kick. Score. Over and over and over. In cool weather and on warm sunny days. Take a water break when it gets hot.

Getting ready for World Cup 2030 or 2034
Getting ready for World Cup 2030 or 2034

A Closer Look

Take a closer look. What do you really see?

If I had a nickel….

Well, you get the idea. Whether you need to take a closer look at a person, a work project, the bank balance, or that plant that suddenly popped up in the garden. (Is that a weed or a flower?)

There’s a time to look close. Give a real inspection. Check that the dishes are really clean before they go into the cupboard.

Some of the surprises you’ll find are pleasant. For example, in the photo below the berries are tiny. Green. Look quick and you’ll miss them. Come back in six months and you’ll notice the mature, red holly berries without a second look.

Shy in the Summer
Shy in the Summer

Looking for a summer read?

Hiding Places is now available. A quick read set in small-town Midwest.

Check it out at the dedicated page on this site, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Crimson Romance.  Companion book is Starr Tree Farm.



Mature Dwarf

No, not the title characters in the classic Disney movie.

Apple tree.

When I was a tiny girl we lived in a small town and had an apple tree in the yard that was large enough to accommodate my swing. My parents took it down – I’m not sure why but it was old and prone to storm damage.

During the years that followed we visited an apple orchard once each fall. The trees were large and planted in rows.  The view at harvest included ladders for the pickers to climb and canvas bags worn over one shoulder. Most of our visit was spent in the sales shed as my parents discussed the merits of the different varieties and how much of their favorites to purchase.

A recent drive to orchards demonstrated acres of semi-dwarf trees. They stand as sturdy individuals in rows. Shorter and pruned for easier harvest I’d guess that any ladder required is of the four or five step variety.

According to my source — new plantings tend to be full dwarf. They are trained to a trellis. More trees per acre. A tall man with good reach could harvest without a ladder. And while the example below is from a botanical garden instead of a commercial orchard — the principle is the same.

Dwarf Tree Full Size Apples
Dwarf Tree
Full Size Apples

Flowers and Thorns

Recently I paid a visit to my small hometown.

My purpose was multiple but included a book signing at the the library. A portion of this turned into a class reunion – of sorts. Laughter, hugs, and encapsulating years of news in a few sentences. A friend took photos while I chatted and posed and carried on as if I knew what I was doing.

Two of the photos especially come to mind. In each of them a male classmate is flanked by me and another female classmate. It this the thorn among flowers or flowers among the thorns.

Flower or Thorn?
Flower or Thorn?

How would you pose with classmates?


Time to Grow

The petals have fallen. The bees are flying on to other trees and plants.

Does this mean our apple tree is done and exhausted?

Certainly not. It’s time to set the fruit. Do a little natural thinning from all that exuberance of the last few weeks.

They begin tiny — little more than knobs at the end of a slender stem. Then the testing begins. Can they hang on during a breeze? Do they get pushed aside by a growing leaf? Is the competition for nutrients too stiff? One by one they fall to the ground. If they land on grass they have a chance to contribute to the cycle of life. Cement or asphalt landings increase the odds of getting crushed and swept away as debris.

Botany books call this “June drop”. Our tree is located in a mild enough climate zone that it happened in late May. Orchardists encourage this phenomena with a weak acid spray (Linc uses this in Hiding Places) or with manual removal of excess fruit.

The goal is one, or possibly two, large and healthy apples per blossom cluster.

I think our subject is setting up fine. I’m looking forward to a late summer snack already.

September Snack?
September Snack?

Hiding Places is now available as an ebook from Crimson Romance, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.



Free to Fly

Released like doves after a modern wedding. Or allowed to soar like helium balloons into a clear June sky.

Yes, Hiding Places has been launched into the wide world of electronic books.

My late mother, a member of that Greatest Generation, viewed electricity as a little bit of “magic”.  And it is pretty amazing that waves and electrons speeding invisible through the air can bring us sound (radio), pictures (television), and two-way conversation (cell phone).

In recent years you can add printed words and videos captured by computers, electronic book readers, tablets and the next electronic device. (Look out Dick Tracy – your two-way wrist TV is in testing.)

Do you enjoy reading fiction? Recoil at the continuous increase in printed books? Despair looking for more book shelf space? Feel adventurous?

Consider taking the plunge to an electronic book reader. Or tablet. Or Smartphone. Open the fiction world (I’m partial to the romance segment) wider to books released electronic first or only.









Now available : or at:


Full Bloom

Moisture, temperature, and time combined and continued the progress on the apple blossoms we’ve been following on the Friday edition of this blog.


Stories and novels need the right conditions to burst upon the world also. Begin with a solid story, much like the tree with existing structure of roots, trunk, and branches. Then add something new and polish it until the words unfold and each page is a majestic petal. Add a publisher with professional editing and formatting experience (plus established relationship with retail outlets) and you have a book ready for publication.

Currently Hiding Places is available for pre-order. Effective Monday, June 9, it will zip to your electronic reader upon demand. (And payment of retailer’s asking price.) Visit the dedicated page on this site, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble for a peek at Mona and Linc’s sweet romance with complications.



Recognizing Valor

Today’s post was prompted by a stop on my recent travels. I make this stop often — just over the border from Illinois, outside Beloit, WI is a rest area/welcome center.

Like state “welcome centers” across the nation you’ll find modern restrooms, water, maps, tourist information, picnic tables, and an area to walk your small pet. (Large dogs permitted. Please leave your horse in the trailer.)

In addition to the usual, this location includes a memorial to all the Medal of Honor recipients from Wisconsin. From the Civil War to the present their names and the conflict in which they displayed valor is engraved in polished stone.

I checked my dictionary and found valor defined by personal bravery. Heroism. Prowess. Gallantry. Strong words for strong deeds.

Pause with me a moment to honor their lives and their deeds.