Autumn is here. What happened to summer?

First, let me apologize for being MIA for the past couple of Fridays. This is what happens when you overbook your life–with good things, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re go, go, going and you’re some place that doesn’t have wi-fi (yes, those spots exist, believe it or not), something has to give. For me that something was blogging.

Quick catch up. So this happened:

Annual High Country Creatives Retreat, which included my son and granddaughters this year since we had some cancellations. It was fabulous. We hiked, soaked in hot springs at the wonderful Muir Trail Ranch, swam in icy lakes at 10,000′ elevation (by swim, I mean I jumped in and survived the shock long enough to get out without dying), road horses and–best of all–my eldest granddaughter and I collaborated on a young adult novel. Discussing motivation, story arc and point of view made the trip worth every penny. And the views weren’t bad, either.




I went from 7,400′ to sea level…


San Simeon Revision Intensive - me, lap top, sand, waves and editor notes for my next Tule Publishing book: MONTANA SECRET SANTA. Good news: my editor loves the story. Extra good news: I love, love, love my new cover!


Available for pre-order on iBooks now, but it will available wide 12/6/16. PREORDER.


And there’s this: I got my rights back to the only Black Hills book my former publisher had retained. Smack-dab in the middle of my 9-title series. But, now, that book is officially mine again, and I couldn’t be happier. I worked with a freelance editor and my favorite cover designer to get this into production ASAP. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I’m very proud of the end result and excited to add Black Hills Native Son to my Black Hills Rendezvous series.


Releasing wide on Tuesday, but available for pre-order on all platforms:



So, I’d like to tell you I’ve settled back into my comfortable routine and I’ll faithfully blog every Friday, but…I leave next week for a trip to South Dakota (more research for my next Black Hills book) and I have two self-pub books releasing in October (what was I thinking?!), so…all I can do is try. Thanks for your patience and your interest. And thanks to my fellow Storybroads for putting up with me.

Happy reading,



Creatively speaking, the High Sierra Rocks

Last Friday, nine of us headed into the High Sierra due east of Fresno, California, for a four-day High Sierra Creatives Retreat.

Our destination was Muir Trail Ranch, an iconic pack-station for those hiking both the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) and the JMT (John Muir Trail). The ranch, which has been run by the same family for three generations, is nothing short of amazing–a combination oasis and shangri la with a fabulous cook named Bonnie. The rustic, authentic log cabins offer indoor plumbing, electricity and real beds for campers who aren’t interested in roughing it in a tent.

People like me.

My son, Jon Paul, and I had talked about collaborating on some kind of creativity outing for a couple of years. His love of nature and experience guiding backpacking tours in the mountains mixed with my writing background and fondness for all things built on words, made this venue sound perfect.

And it was.

Our group of nine included two first-time hikers–as in they’d never put on a backpack before. Our ages ran from mid-30s to mid-60s. And we kicked some dusty trail butt!


Five miles in at 7,400′. Oh, yes, we can. And did.

Our two non-hiking days included some planned activities: guided meditation, creative thinking with prompts, yoga, “My Chi – instead of Tai Chi,” small group discussions, and lots of silliness, laughter and camaraderie. All of this happened in the lush open meadows, the sun-warmed platforms of granite, and the effervescant pools of hot springs. We crossed icy rivers, sank ankle deep in black mud, lazed by a perfect lake, and we let Nature sink into our creative souls.


I wrote two scenes that I didn’t see coming. I came home with a new story that has me giddy with possibility. I went with my one truth: “Write it down,” which was validated several times, and gathered several others: “Be the Change” and “The small things are the big things.” I made lifelong friends because we actually had time to talk, and, more importantly, listen to other people.

On our last hike, we gathered under this remarkable tree where we learned sometimes you have to push through the bitter to taste the sweetness.


Since I know not everyone can make this journey to the heart of nature, I’d like to share one of the collective truths that I think we all took away from this adventure: “Be brave enough to trust your inner strength because it will take you to places you didn’t think you could go.”





Happy Labor Day!

I am so not here.

I am at Muir Trail Ranch, elevation 7,400′.

My darling son, Jon Paul, and I scouted this area a few weeks back to prepare for our Labor Day High Sierra Creatives Retreat. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back, but in the meantime, here are a few photos from this amazing slice of heaven on earth.




Don’t ask how much that pack weighs. You don’t want to know.


See you next Friday. I’ll be so creative you won’t recognize me. ;-)