Mountain Wonder

A moments pause on the walk down the road
The picture doesn’t quite capture it.

As you know I’ve been writing about the beginning of our journey but today I decided to throw in a little something from the here and now. To understand you first need to know where we’re currently at in the building process. The house is only a couple of weeks from being finished but the progress has been stalled due to three weeks of snow. We are currently living in the house but have not moved in. We have electricity and heat but no water. With that in mind I’ll move onto today.

I woke up this morning to check the weather. The winds were still blowing at over 20 mph, which meant our private road was still impassible for the fourth day in a row. No getting to school for my kids again today.

By 3:00 the winds had finally slowed down. So I called Todd. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Todd walked the mile and a half down our road yesterday so that he could stay at a friends house and get to work.

Anyway back to the phone call . . . I thought it would be a good idea for the kids to walk down the hill this evening before it gets dark so that they could get to school tomorrow morning.

The road has three to ten foot drifts most of the way down so we prepared ourselves for a tiring walk and headed out to meet their dad. The younger ones had less to carry so they took off a head of us, but the oldest had a saxophone plus a backpack plus stuff for going to state with the pep band this weekend. So we loaded his stuff onto a sled and headed down to catch up with the others.

It turned out to be a wonderful walk, filled with laughter. The sled worked perfect with a couple adjustments and we were able to walk mostly on top of the drifts. When we caught up to the others they were sledding down the side of the hill on their butts. The snow was high enough to cover stumps and scotch broom. We paused and had some fun sliding and sledding down the hill before they walked the remaining distance to the car.

On my way back up to the house I was admiring the amazing view and a thought occurred to me. So many people have come up to our property and admired the beauty around us, but many of them including me on occasion mention that it’s a pity the ugly power lines are in the way. As I was walking up and stopping to admire the scenery around me I realized that the power lines aren’t ruining my view. They’re the very reason I have such a miraculous view.

Beautiful evergreen trees surround me, and right now they are even more gorgeous covered in snow. But that’s all I would see if it weren’t for the power lines. The trees would block the sunsets and beauty we can see from the road along the power lines. I couldn’t help but compare my thoughts to life. It’s so easy to notice the hard, annoying, horrible, nightmarish things in life. But maybe it’s their actual presence that eventually allows us to see the real majesty around us.

Settling In

Clearing the area to build
My son watching from a high vantage point

Sleeping in the tent turned out to be a lot of fun. I had my cot with my cushion on top which helped me get great sleep. I was able to fall asleep with the sound of an owl hooting. He wasn’t there every night but it was great falling asleep to when he was.

One of my favorite things that I hadn’t expected was the conversations with our children as we were laying in our cots. We had some great discussions and laughs. It was priceless family time. No distractions, from TV, etc.

Getting cleaned up before bed was a bit special. We bought a Costco box of wipes. Because it was summer everything was dusty. Every step would send up a plume of dust, so when we went to clean ourselves up at night we ended up with a lot of black wipes.

Taking showers was quite the process as well. We would heat some water on our propane stove and pour it into a large bucket. When the temperature was right than we would use a bowl and pour the warm water over our heads and shower that way. Much more time consuming and labor intensive than turning a knob. As a result we found ourselves stopping by my parents house whenever we were in town and taking showers there.

Laundry was never my favorite chore but having to load six peoples laundry into the car, head to my moms and spend all day getting it done easily turned it into my most dreaded task. After doing laundry at my moms a few times I found a laundry mat and would do it there. That way I was finished after only a couple of hours. But it was still a hassle to transport and expensive.

Building started! Well it wasn’t really building, it was getting the ground ready for building, but it was still exciting. We spent hours watching the process. It was so intriguing to watch the men use their excavating machines with exactness. It was like an extension to their own hands.

The First Week

If you are asking yourself why I didn’t blog about this adventure while it was happening, I’ll explain. We had no electricity except our generator which we used to power the pump to our well. It could have charged my laptop and other technical toys but was rather inconvenient. We moved in July but didn’t officially have electricity until December 26th. My plan had been to keep up with my blogging and writing during this whole adventure but found it to be much more difficult than I had previously anticipated.

It was really exciting to finally move to our property that we had been working on for months. Our first day in the tent was July 6th. We also picked up our new puppy, Gypsy, that day as well.

Each person had their own hammock, so we spent time picking the perfect spot to hang them and enjoyed the summer days laying in them and looking up at the trees. However by the second day it was obvious my kids were suffering from slight withdrawals of our technological world. The four youngest ages are; 17, 15, 12, 8. They were all bored out of their minds. We had no TV, no internet, no gaming devices and lousy cell coverage. All things that my kids had grown up depending on. As a good parent I had limited their use of these items over the years but the sudden complete lack of them was a bit of a shock.

So I headed to the book store and bought eight books. To my complete astonishment they started reading. Well not my youngest. He was reveling in the outdoors. He spent his time catching bugs and making a terrarium, playing with the dogs, and roaming the property imagining.

I spent my time trying to set up house in the woods. We called the area where we slept Tent City. We had one large tent for clothes and one for sleeping. We also had two canopies. One with all of our camp chairs and one covering two tables, our camp stove and some shelves.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Our builder was supposed to have an outhouse (Honey Bucket, Porta Potty, whatever you call them. They go by many names) for us by the time we moved up there. We got up there on a Friday and there was no outhouse. We called our builder and he said they only deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So we had to wait until Tuesday before we had a something other than a hole in the ground. It sure made us appreciate it when it arrived.

That first week, I was very ambitious. I woke up early to take the puppy on a walk. Afterwards I came back and made blueberry, chocolate chip pancakes. There wasn’t much to clean so most of my time that first week was making sure things were organized. All and all, it was an exciting and enjoyable time.

A Summer Adventure


Something about the word Adventure has an exciting ring to it. It sparks a fire of anticipation. Yet just like in the stories, adventures seldom turn out the way the participants expect. Such, has been my summer.

Originally, I would have to say my own adventure started in the spring of 2017 when we decided to sell our house so we could buy some property and build our own home. But that is not the part I’m going to write about. This journey began as we started the process of moving from my parents’ home this last June. Our destination . . . the property that our house was going to be built on. Amenities at the time: a well with a generator to run the pump, an outhouse, and tents.

As I was preparing for our move in June, I spent countless hours thinking about how we would live out of tents. There are six of us. My four youngest and my husband, Todd and me. I love camping but usually don’t sleep well, which was not going to work long term. So, after much thought I decided we would all sleep on cots in a tent we bought from Costco. As big as the tent was I knew it wouldn’t fit much more than our cots. So, what was I going to do about all of the clothes and other minimal things needed to live. This took a lot more imagination and thinking.

Finally, I came up with a plan to use another large tent filled with plastic containers for each of my kids’ clothes.  Along with an item found at Walmart that would allow me to hang some suits and dresses. Also, a couple of shoe racks and a shelf to hold plastic containers for each child to put bathroom things in. Filling very excited about my idea I started spending hundreds of dollars on containers. Even the cheapest containers add up when buying them in large quantities.

Armed with great plans and excitement, we started packing and making the many trips to move things to the property. It took me all of the month of June to tackle such an undertaking but finally we were ready to move ourselves to the mountain.

Busy Times

Well here it is another week gone by and hardly any writing completed. It’s been the end of the school year, which means multiple band concerts and last minute homework cramming. Of course because we’re moving there is the additional stuff like getting the kids registered and trying to determine what things need to be packed away for several months and what they need to leave out.

I was very excited to get my chicken coop completed. It took me all day but it had to get done. The chicks needed to sleep in it that night.IMG_9459

Summer break is officially here and I’m getting excited for our next big adventure. Next week I will be flying out for my oldest son’s graduation from boot camp in South Carolina. That will be an exciting week. I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done while I’m flying.

So until next week . . .


I’m preparing for a move. That can be exhausting enough but this move will be a little different. We will be moving to our property and living in an RV/tents this summer while our house is being built. I’m trying to figure out all the things we will need and the things we won’t need so it won’t take up valuable space.

It should be an exciting adventure. I’m just trying to make sure our family is as ready as they can be for the change. I am looking forward to less screen time as a family. Hopefully we can go on some fun hikes. The boys are hoping to find elk horns, since we have a herd that moves through the property.

Me . . . I’m a little worried about the cougars and bears. I’m trying to build a chicken coop that will hopefully be predator resistant.

Sadly with some of this change I’ve been a little slower than I planned on getting the second book of Soul Conquest out. I’m very close. Hopefully once we are settled in I will have lots of time to finish getting it ready to send to my editor.

Now back to cleaning and packing.

The Secret Keeper–last half of the story

Ten hours later Tearden was on a plane to America. He’d always wanted to travel but had never had the money. Now he was going on somebody else’s dime. By the way the men kept glancing at him when they thought he wasn’t looking, he couldn’t tell if they didn’t trust him or feared him. The Nicolae hadn’t been a people to fear for the last few centuries. Before that peopled feared they would come and steal their daughters but that was a thing of the past. So it must be that these men don’t trust me, he concluded.

I guess I did lie to them, he thought as he looked out the plane window. But I don’t trust them yet either. The last thing I want them to know is that I inherited a few gifts from Dracul as well.

“We’ll be landing in a few minutes.” David said from the seat next to him.

Tearden was suddenly nervous. I hope I haven’t made a mistake, he thought.

An hour later he was about to enter a building that he could feel had over 60 Nicolae inside. David and Nicholas had implied they had only captured one of the Nicolae. Tearden was led to a room on the fourth floor. There were several men staring at an empty room through a window. A greying man stepped forward.

“You must be Tearden. We’re glad you could join us. My name is Bill and I’m in charge of this investigation. In a couple of minutes we will be interrogating one of the Nicolae. I’ve been informed by Nicholas that that’s what you know them as?”

Tearden nodded. The door to the room opened and a tall muscular soldier brought in a middle aged dark haired man that was undoubtedly Nicolae. The soldier directed him to sit in one of two chairs that sat on either side of a metal table and then stood against the wall. Bill nodded to one of the men and they left the room Tearden was in and then entered the room with the Nicolae.

“Hello Danny, my name is Nick and I’m going to ask you a few question. Are you aware of the consequences if you don’t answer?”

Tearden had never seen a Nicolae look so scared. Not in all of his ancestors memories. “What consequences is he talking about?” He asked Bill.

“For the moment just observe. We’ll discuss things later.”

Maybe this was his purpose. He and his ancestors had always wondered why they were able to access the memories of those that had died before. Every contact his ancestors had ever had with the Nicolae he had knowledge of. He could feel when one of them was near and even pinpoint their exact location. Tearden knew much more about the Nicolae than he planned on letting the Americans know about.

I can make a difference, he thought. Maybe I can help them . . . maybe they’ll let me join them.

Tearden focused back on the interrogation.

“How many of you are there?”

“I don’t know.”

“Tell me how many you know about then.”

Danny paused and licked his lips, obviously nervous. “I can’t tell you how many I know about.”

“Why not?”

“Only our king can give you information relating to us as a people.”

“How about you give it to me anyway.”

“Please . . . I . . . can’t.”

Nick, the interrogator, nodded toward the window and Bill turned to one of the men standing behind them and nodded.

“Go ahead August. One cut on the arm.” The man said as he tapped a device in his ear.

Tearden quickly turned back to the interrogation and watched as a cut mysteriously appeared on Danny’s arm.

“Please, stop hurting her! I’ll tell you everything I can!”

“Okay, how many Nicolae do you know about?”

Tearden could see the panic on Danny’s face.

“I told you I’m not able to tell you. If I could . . . I swear I would.”

Another nod and another cut appeared on Danny’s arm.

“Please . . . ask me something else.”

“Fine. What exactly do you mean when you say you can’t?” Nick asked.

“I physically can’t. If I opened my mouth to tell you, I wouldn’t be able to speak and if I tried to write the information, my hand would be stopped. I can’t give you information that is forbidden, no matter how desperately I wish to. So there is no point in torturing her.”

“Tell me about your king then.”

“There’s not much to tell. He left us around 300 years ago and we haven’t seen him since. We’ve searched but haven’t been successful. That’s about all I’ll probably be able to tell you.”

“You really haven’t been very helpful.” Nick said, nodding at the window.

“Stop!” Danny yelled when another cut appeared on his arm. “What have we done? We haven’t hurt anyone. What right do you have to hold us here?”

“We have a right to protect the American people.” Nick said.

Tearden turned towards Bill. “Let the poor man go. I can give you more information than he can.”

“Really? The facts you gave my men were barely bread crumbs.”

“I had no reason to trust them. I’m not sure I trust you, but I might be able to help both parties.”

Bill spoke into an earpiece and Nick stood up and addressed the soldier. “Take him back.”

Tearden watched as Danny was escorted out of the room, blood still dripping from the three cuts on his arm.

Tearden followed Bill out of the room and into a conference room on the same floor. Four other men joined them and sat around a table. “This is Tearden.” Bill said addressing the other men. “He has some information on the men with powers. Apparently they are called Nicolae. Please introduce yourselves.”

“I’m Josh.” The youngest looking man said first.

“My name’s Nathan.” The next said with a smile.


“My name’s Anthony.” The last man stated, with a nod.

Tearden know nothing about any of them, other then their names but he already liked Nathan and Anthony best. Dale was his least favorite. He seemed . . . well, kind of cold.

“Now that that’s taken care of what can you tell us?”

Tearden took a deep breath. “First off, Danny was right. They won’t be able to tell you anything that will jeopardize their safety or give you any real information about their king, so it would be pointless to continue to interrogate them. However if you found their king, then you could ask him all the questions you want.”

“And I assume you are able to give us that information?” Bill said, leaning forward onto the table.

“I can . . . but before I do, I would like you to promise, in writing, that if you are able to bring him in, I get to be a part of the interrogation.”

“Agreed. Dale, right it up.”

Tearden watched as a document was printed and signed.

“Now . . . what do you know?” Bill said sliding the paper to Tearden.

“The king has a mark on the underside of each wrist in the form of an intricate dragon. They would be mistaken for a tattoo but there not man made. The mark on his left wrist he was born with and will be void of color. The one on the underside of his right wrist will be even more vivid and detailed and will contain many shades and colors.”

“He’ll look between the ages of 21 and 45, regardless of how old he really is. He may have boys but the oldest son will have a similar dragon on his left wrist. About 150 years ago the king at that time told my ancestor that they were headed to America. I’m guessing his descendants are still here.”

“That’s not much to go on.” Bill said.

“The only other thing I can think of that might help is he’ll have moved around a lot. The king can live up to 200 years, so he can’t stay in one place very long. I’m guessing he would also change his name frequently. Also, I doubt he would live anywhere near the Nicolae. He’s been hiding from them for the last 300 years. If any of them saw him they would recognize him.”

“Thank you. Is there anything else?”

“Not that I can think of at the moment.”

“Well If you think of anything call me immediately. Josh will take you to your apartment.” Bill said, dismissing him.

Tearden didn’t hear from anyone for over a week. He quickly got bored of sitting in his apartment and spent the days exploring the city. Josh had given him a credit card to use for food and other needed items, so Tearden took advantage of the time and money to explore different restaurants and shops.

One night as he sat and watched TV the doorbell rang for the first time. Tearden tentatively moved toward the door not sure of what to expect. He looked through the peephole and quickly opened the door.

“They found the king,” Josh said. “Bill wants you to come immediately.”

Tearden ran inside and quickly put on his shoes. Finally, Tearden thought, both terrified and excited. If I don’t do this right, I could be considered a enemy to the Americans and a traitor to the Nicolae. But on the other hand I could be a hero. He thought as he left with Josh.

The Secret Keeper

One of the problems with being the holder of a secret centuries old is the constant worry that someone will find out. And when they do . . .

Tearden was such a keeper. He was the great, great, great . . . never mind it was just to many greats to mention. The point is, he was a descendant of one of the most vicious men in history, a man that only his descendants were aware had even existed.

Now there were legends . . . everyone in these parts knew those, but the legends only scratched the surface of who the Nicolae really were. This was the secret passed down to Tearden, a secret that came in the form of memories from his ancestors, every last one of them. It was a lot of information to sort through and a lonely secret to keep.

So when two men in suits knocked on his door asking him if he knew anything about the legends of the Nicolae, he was both terrified and excited.

“May we come inside?”

Tearden swallowed and opened the door for them to enter.

“Please sit down.” The tall brown haired man invited Tearden.

Shouldn’t I be the one inviting my guests to sit, Tearden thought as he sat down in the chair opposite them.

“My name is Nicholas Kline and this is David Robertson,” The tall man said gesturing toward his shorter, stockier companion. “We did some DNA testing on a young man in the U.S. and discovered that he came from this region of the world. In an attempt to find more answers we came here. An old woman a couple towns over said that you might have more information for us.”

The men waited patiently for Tearden to reply. “I’m sorry . . . exactly what information are you looking for?” Tearden said.

“There’s a legend in these parts about a mysterious people called the Nicolae. We want to know how they came to control magic and we’re pretty sure you can tell us.”

“What makes you think I would know anything more then the rest of the town?”

“We’re good at what we do.” David, the shorter man said, speaking for the first time.

“Well? Nicholas asked expectantly.

“Okay . . . well, first off, I don’t think magic is the right word.”

“When and how, did they get this magic or whatever it is you want to call it.”

Tearden took a deep breath and decided to tell them just a little more than what the legends told, “It’s the ability to manipulate matter at will and it started about 100 AD.”

“Do you have this ability?”

“No.” Although Tearden was void of the ability to manipulate matter, he did inherit something from that ancestor of his and these men did not need to know about it. Tearden didn’t mind that he hadn’t inherited all that the Nicolae had. Their power came with a high price. One that Tearden was glad he didn’t have to pay.

“How is it you know about them?”

“Tearden certainly wasn’t going to let them in on the fact that he was a descendant of this heinous man from history. My ancestor was in the same village as their ancestor.” He would keep his real relation a secret. “The knowledge has been shared from father to son for generations.”

“So if you don’t know how it started, can you share what you do know about this power’s origin?”

This is where Tearden needed to be careful. If they found out that the power and curse had affected his ancestors as well even if it was in a different way, then they might want more from him than just answers.

“What I know . . . is that a cruel and viscous man showed up in my ancestors village with the power to control matter. This man and his followers decimated the people killing and raping. His name was Dracul. One man from the village was determined to stop him. The people were not hopeful. What could they do against such power?”

“A couple of years later the man returned. He said that the only way to stop Dracul was for a virgin to willingly put herself in a position where Dracul would notice her. If Dracul harmed her in any way it would bring a curse on him and his followers. Much to the man’s dismay, his own daughter volunteered. When Dracul returned to pillage the village again, this young woman made sure she caught his attention. What happened next isn’t really understood. We know that Dracul raped her and then became furious and left the village with the girl and his men. Every year the descendants of Dracul would show up in the surrounding areas for a day stealing young girls of marriageable age and then disappear again. This happened up until a few hundred years ago when those attacks stopped. There hasn’t been any sign of them since.”

“Did anyone ever try to go after them and get their daughters back?”

“Many did. They would follow their tracks into the mountains but at some point the tracks just stopped. No one was ever able to find or recover their girls.”

“Why do you think it stopped?” Nicholas said.

“I have no idea.” Tearden lied.

“Have you ever met these people?”

“No.” Tearden lied again.

“You seem to know more then anyone else we’ve talked to. Why?” David asked.

“Like I said, my ancestor came from the same village. The knowledge has been passed down to me.”

“There were other people in this village as well that lived to tell the tale?” Nicholas asked, cocking his head slightly.

“Of course.” Tearden swallowed nervously.

“Why is it . . . that you seem to be the only descendant to know any real detail?”

“My ancestor was the village bard. He was afraid that Dracul might come back and seek revenge on the village, so he left, and passed the history to his eldest son, charging him to keep it a secret.” This time Tearden only told a half lie. It was true, that his ancestor left the village with his family but his ancestor was never a village bard.

“Exactly what secret was your ancestor afraid would be known?” David asked.

Oops, Tearden thought scrambling for an answer. “That they had the power to manipulate matter.” He responded a little too quickly.

“The whole village would have known that. I don’t think you’re being completely honest with us and I’m wondering why.” Nicholas said.

“What exactly do you think I’m hiding?” Tearden asked defensively.

“I think you know what happened to them and where they went. I think you’ve met them personally, and I also believe you have a very good idea of their powers.” Nicholas said.

Tearden stood up. “I think you can leave. I’ve been very hospitable to two American strangers and don’t appreciate the accusations.”

“I don’t think you understand. We’re in a bit of a crisis and we think you can help us out.” Nicholas said.

“We would like you to come with us to America. We’ve found some of these people, your people, and we would like you to help us figure out what we should do with them.” David said,

Tearden’s curiosity was peaked. “They are not my people, and did you just say you have the Nicolae in captivity?”

“We do.” David said.

Tearden walked over to the window and looked outside, while he contemplated the ramifications of going with them. If I refuse . . . I wonder if they would take me by force. Then again if I went with them willingly . . . I could . . .

“I’ll go.” Tearden said. “But I expect to be treated respectfully and not like some criminal.

“Why would you think we would treat you any other way?”

“I’m just making sure we understand that I’m coming on as a consultant and will expect payment and accommodations.”

“Agreed. You will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement before we leave.”



End to the first half of a short story based off of a character in one of my books. Second half to come next week.

Mood Setting Music

When I write I prefer to do so in silence. I’ve heard that a lot of authors like to listen to certain music when they’re writing but I can’t do it. It’s far to distracting. I don’t even listen to classical. I do love music and sometimes a certain song will ring true to a story I’m writing.

That was true at the time that I was writing “Soul Conquest The Ultimate Trial.” Two songs really seemed to fit the mood of the book. The first is from the group Creed, and the song is “One Last Breath.” The other song that fit my book was “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” by Green Day. I usually listen to the radio versions though, which takes out the cussing.

My general taste in music is top 40 songs that aren’t explicit or openly sexual in nature. Some of the groups I listen to are; One Republic, Imagine Dragons, and Coldplay. I also like most 80’s music. I like a lot of other music as well but don’t pay attention to the group or the song title.

If you’ve read my book check out the music and lyrics to both songs and tell me what you think. Also if you write, do you listen to music?

Happy Mothers day


I received a mother’s day gift from my husband a little early this year. He was super excited and made sure to catch my reaction on video. As you can see it’s not the usual present.

I had mentioned a few weeks ago as we were out working on the property that I had seen smaller chainsaws and thought it would be cool to get one in the future so that I could help with some of the bigger jobs. I can’t handle his big one.

He remembered the comment and went to check them out. Turned out this one was on sale. So like a puppy in the window it came home with him.

A very cute side to this whole thing is that my eight year old saw that his dad gave me a mother’s day gift early and that made him want to do the same. I could not convince him to wait until Sunday. The flowers come out of the pot and have things written on the back, such as, do chores without fussing, etc. I LOVE BEING A MOM!!!!


Happy Mothers Day to all of you woman out there who have children or make a difference in a child’s life!

If you have a fun mothers day gift story from the past please share?