A Bear-less week in the mountains

October is one of my favorite months of the year, partly because of Halloween, and partly because it’s when I do my annual pilgrimage to Shennandoah National Park. I rent a cabin. I hike for 3-4 hours a day. I decompress in a place where the WiFi is so horrible that it’s pretty much nonexistent, and the cell service is spotty at best. I tend to just put the phone on airplane mode, and check it a twice a day when I’m at an overlook or near the lodge. I do get some writing done, but the purpose of this trip is for me to get my butt outside, get my heart-rate up, maybe see a bear or two.

Day 1 – I drop the kids off at the bus stop. I drop the dogs off at the kennel. I do a little bit of laundry, a little bit of vacuuming, then I get in the car and drive. The trip to Front Royal (the north end of Skyline Drive) is so familiar I could probably do it in my sleep. I’ve been coming up her to camp and hike since I was in college. I can feel myself unwind and relax the moment I pay my $25 park entrance fee and joke with the ranger about how I’m going to race my Challenger along the winding roads.

I’d love drive this road top-speed, but I won’t because I don’t want to hit any bears.

Still, top speed has to be faster than this:

Yes. I’m behind a mini van. I get to Skyland at 3:00 and check in. I unload my car and unpack. I dine on hummus and kale chips (Gabe would be so proud). I drink a tiny plastic bottle of some generic red wine. I nap. And at night, as the sky begins to darken, I sit in my cabin with the windows open wide and listen. Owls. Oh, how I love the sound of owls at night.

Day 2 – I’m up before the sun because that’s when I’m used to rising in order to get my kids on the bus for school. Once the sun comes up and I’ve already had a small pot of coffee, I hike up to the lodge for breakfast, and work in their cozy lounge area. Then at noon, I forego lunch, throw one of those go-packs of tuna and crackers in my pack along with binoculars and my trail maps, grab my hiking poles, and head out. Continue reading

New Release – Bad Seed


The fourth and final book in the Northern Wolves Series is now available! It’s exclusive through Amazon, so if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can read it for free.  This series will begin to go into wide distribution starting next month, but this one will be in Amazon only until the beginning of next year.  Here’s a little snippet to get you going 🙂

***

I woke up in the morning staring at the pile at the end of my bed. I wasn’t the only one. Presents. Just like Christmas morning, except without the bows and wrapping paper. Mir stirred in her bed, her eyes foggy with sleep until she saw the stash. Then she bolted upright and stared just like the rest of us.

Well, it wasn’t like I expected these things to explode so I eased out of bed and went over to the pile to sort through it. Three pairs of workout pants and tops. Two pairs heavy-duty tan work pants. A cell phone, activated and loaded with numbers that I assumed were for my pack members. And best of all, a coffee maker and two bags of dark-roast coffee grounds.

I had no doubt who they’d come from, because the whole lot smelled like Jake. I did wonder how the heck he’d managed to sneak in the dorm room like a werewolf Santa Claus, deliver these gifts, and leave without anyone noticing. Continue reading

Winter Fae Release

Book 3 in the Northern Wolves Series is out! Get it now at Amazon.
After dropping off a pair of Denali Pack wolves Dustin sees an overturned truck in the wilderness with an injured human desperate for rescue. What he finds when he lands is a trap. Shot and running for his life, Dustin’s wolf instinct takes over and heads him toward a shimmering oasis straight out of a fantasy novel.

Gwylla is on loan from Aerie to the elves, but now that they’ve migrated from Hel, they’re using her magic in ways she never intended. When a gravely injured wolf cries for help at the heart-tree of her sanctuary, she sees firsthand the horrors her magic has caused.

Instead of healing an injured animal, Gwylla finds she has saved a man and is now promise-bound to keep him safe for the rest of his natural life—which means she must punish those responsible for the attack and reclaim her magic, all while protecting her reckless wolf-man as he avenges shifter deaths and defends his pack.

I’ll be posting pre-order links for the final novel in this series in a week or so, but expect Bad Seed, Northern Wolves Book 4, to release end of September/early October!

The Family Vacation

Ready for that endless slide-show while I drone on about jewel-colored waters and sunburn? Well then, settle in!

Each year I take the kids to the beach for a week. Well, I take the younger two boys. My eldest usually declines because we stay in a family-friendly spot as opposed to a hopping-party spot. The kids practically live in the water during this week and I chill under an umbrella slathered in sunscreen and obsessively watch them in case they get swept out to sea, or attacked by a swarm of jellyfish.

This year the youngest declared that he wanted to fly on a plane somewhere, because he’s never flown and after watching me jet around for business the last eight years, he wants in on some of that action. I immediately thought of my cousin and her family down in Siesta Key who have repeatedly invited us to come down. That’s when I had the Great Idea.

Great Idea = Fly the whole lot of us to Tampa. Spend a few days with my cousin and her family. Get on a cruise ship to some exotic destination.  Continue reading