Saturday, September 19, 2020

Life Goes On

Blog Post – September 2020


“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.” ---Ruth Bader Ginsberg


We find ourselves in a new, strange environment where words like pandemic, quarantine, fire, smoke and ash now impact our daily existence. I reached out on Facebook, asking people how they are coping with their daily lives. Some are authors, many are longtime personal or cyber friends. Here are the results.


Author Skye Taylor,, says, “Personally, as a writer, I am struggling with a whole new way of writing. Up to now I've written character driven stories. Even when I knew the stakes and even the ending, I had no outline and was happy writing that way. But then I chose to try writing a mystery. So, now I need to know who did it, why, how and when.  I need to plot out when the hints will be revealed to the reader and/or my sleuth. So, I struggle with the progress on book two in this new series. It has not helped that I had a family crisis going on and have been distracted by that as well.”

Author Cathy Perkins, www.cperkinswrites: “Staying inside since the air is rated "unhealthy" here. I'm working on Book 2 in a new series and making short dashes to the garden to gather the day's produce. Okay, I'm also working on fused glass pieces.”

Writer Margery Walshaw, keeps it simple. “Writing, yoga, repeat.”


Dawn Lavella Miller adopted a large, rambunctious puppy and is “now recovering from a complex elbow tendon injury from said puppy.”


Sylvia Eisenlord – “Missing my mom and our chats.” 

Longtime friend, Liz Angland – “Just moved into an apartment. Lying on my bed surrounded by BOXES! Twice as much stuff as I have room for!! A rest is required, but in 1/2 hour my dinner will be brought to my door! The menu tonight is lasagna and Caesar salad (that I don’t have to cook or do dishes). I have plenty to distract me from our awful reality by opening boxes, being surprised what’s inside, and finding the right spot for each thing!”


Author Erin Lale, is going through a rough patch. “I'm overwhelmed with the work of trying to handle the life of a friend who is in the hospital dying of Covid.”


Elaine Donahue is “Sewing, making apple sauce and reading a little, ordering food and picking it up, trying not to go outside except to water my plants and mail.”


Helen Charlot – Wants to “Get out of this lousy smoke! I'm going to Utah on an off-road vehicle trip.”                                                                           

As for me, I’m looking forward to the release of my new cozy mystery, A Woman Scorned, on October 6th.



 Until next time, hang in there and read good books!















Wednesday, May 6, 2020

In this time of insecurity, our new normal is anything but. In light of this, I thought it would be fun to collect favorite quotes and sayings from my friends. They came through like troopers.  
Here we go!

Two of my faves:

“You gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth”.... William W. Purkey

Irish Proverb
“Never approach a bull
From the front, a horse
From the rear, or an idiot
From any direction.”

From skydiving author Skye Taylor ( Her favorite quote from Hunter Thompson is also a mantra for her life. 

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”

An original quote from Facebook friend, Phillip Schmeck: “My mom didn’t raise no dummy, and if she did, it was my sister.”

I hit the quotations jackpot from my friend, Paula Redd. Here are some of her favorites: 
“May the hinges of friendship never grow rusty.”

“You make a living by what you get, a life by what you give.”

“Winning is not always a victory, and losing is not always defeat.”

“The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.”

Long-time friend and fellow mahjongg fanatic, Judy Ozanich, selected the last part of an often-quoted Bible verse…”And the greatest of these is love.”

Wise words of advice from my golfer friend, Vivian Carl:

“Start each day with a grateful heart.”

“Never ask a woman drinking wine straight from the bottle how she’s doing.”

I stole this one from Larry Snyder’s Facebook post:

“Your mind is a garden
Your thoughts are the seeds,
You can grow flowers or
You can grow weeds.” (written by Julie Blanner)

Let’s keep it going, friends. If you have a favorite quote, you know where to find me.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Past, Present and Future

A wise person once said, “Never erase your past. It shapes who you are today and will help you to be the person you’ll be tomorrow.”

I’ve been thinking about the past lately. In part, because I’m trying to stay home and stay healthy. As a result of the quarantine, I tackled a project I’ve been putting off for years – decades of photographs. Strangely, I was unprepared for the flood of emotions elicited by the pictorial history of my immediate family as well as the fuzzy black and white photos of generations past given to me by my late mother. Baby pictures. School pictures. Photos of beloved pets. Weddings. Grandchildren. Love. Laughter. Tears.

The second source of my nostalgia is A Woman Scorned, my soon to be published book. It features my childhood home and a father named Ed who played golf, kept honeybees and had a love-hate relationship with a beat-up tomcat named Clawdius.

 This is not my childhood home, but it is very similar in size and appearance. We had an enclosed front porch, a big back yard and a full basement with two dank, dismal bedrooms and a windowless room dubbed “the fruit room” where canned goods were stored. Because of spiders dangling from the ceiling, I was terrified of the fruit room. All of the above are featured in A Woman Scorned.

I wrote this book for my sister. I wanted to evoke memories of our growing-up years, something we held in common and could laugh about together. We chatted often by phone and she couldn’t wait to read it. Sadly, this was not to be. Beth passed away last summer. Still, I feel her presence every day, cheering me on, toasting me with a celebratory glass of wine.

This is my reality today. What will tomorrow bring? I know one thing for sure: There will be love. There will be laughter. Their will be tears. Everything that makes us human.

What are you doing to pass the time while you shelter in place? Feel free to leave a comment. Enquiring minds want to know.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Who's Who in the World of Reading

I love books. I love to hang around with people who love books. So, when I queried my Facebook friends about their reading choices, it was an interesting mix.

I’m currently reading Enduranceby astronaut Scott Kelly who spent a year in space. If there’s one specific thing I’ll remember about this book, it’s not his space adventures. It’s his transformation. He hated school. He was bored out of his mind and barely made it to graduation. After floundering a bit, he realized what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to fly. That was the turning point for him and it’s a valuable lesson for the rest of us. We should never give up on our young people. Never. Maturation is not necessarily chronological. If a lackluster student can become an astronaut, who are we to judge an eighteen-year-old who has not yet figured out his/her plan. My mantra: To everything there is a season.

Now, looking for a good book to read? Here’s some suggestions:

My high school buddy, Sharon McCagg, is reading Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty of Big Little Lies fame

Cyber friend, Dawn Miller, is reading Shades of Wicked by Jeanine Frost

Golfer Extraordinaire, Duane Oberlander, is reading The Litigator by John Grisham

Writer, Diane Tolley, is reading The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

My tiny big sis, Beth Cazel, is reading The Other Woman by Daniel Silva

My friend and fellow mahjongg player, Judy Ozanich,is reading Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. She also enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere by the same author

Retired Navy nurse, Debbie Zimmerman,is reading Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd

Apple Valley, CA resident, Phillip Schmeck, is reading The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager.

    My friend, Lee Hamilton, is reading The Bat by Jo Nesbo

So, there you have it. An eclectic mix from my FB buddies. You’re welcome!

If you want to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Refresh, Renew, Refocus

After neglecting Book Blather for way too long, the time seems right for a re-boot. The blog has focused on many things, book-wise, over the years. I’ve featured a number of authors, talked about my own books and shared my thoughts on books I’ve read.

Why the long hiatus? I’ve written eleven books in the last ten years and it’s been quite a journey. My first book, a medieval romance titled Castle Ladyslipper was followed by The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam featuring many fictionalized characters based on my career in public education. Then, on to the YA years with the Unbidden Magic series and Baby Gone Bye. Finally, back into the adult world, I wrote the Soul Seeker series, a 3-book trilogy, Affliction, Allegiance and Hope andHonor. Whew! I desperately needed to re-charge my creative batteries.

After taking time off, I’m ready to write again. Because I like a challenge, I’m tackling a genre new to me. Cozy mysteries feature amateur sleuths, dead bodies, multiple suspects, a sprinkling of romance and, for me, a dash of humor. With that in mind, I’m working on a cozy mystery titled, A Woman Scorned. The setting is a golf course named Fairway to Heaven in my home state of Washington. For a peek at the first chapter, check out the Work in Progress page on my website here:’m plugging along and hope to have the book completed by early 2019.

In addition, I’ve formed a partnership with friend and fellow writer Jonelle Mejica. Jonelle is a talented writer and editor with many projects under her belt. She recently accepted a job as editor and writer for a local magazine. We’ve launched a website, Two Wordy Women, and offer our services to those who may need help with their writing projects. To learn more about us, visit

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Here’s a little peek at Hope and Honor, the third and last book in the Soul Seeker series. The official publication date is January 15, 2017, but should be available for pre-order soon.

Life is becoming more complicated for soul reader Honor Melanie ‘Mel” Sullivan. Her boss needs help with his rebellious teen daughter who believes rules are made to be broken and her current boyfriend Homeland Security agent Mick Petrov is becoming an absentee lover, dropping hints about a major decision he faces. To make it worse, Mel’s ex, 3 Peaks detective ‘Billy the Kid’ McCarty wants her back. And those aren’t the only challenges…
When a paramilitary group called New Dawn wants her soul-reading skills, Mel meets five-year-old twins who steal her heart. Unwilling to abandon the motherless children, she strikes a deal with the compound’s charismatic leader. Drawn deeper and deeper into New Dawn’s twisted agenda, Mel must figure out a way to save the twins and herself before it's too late.

In addition, two books in the Unbidden Magic series will soon be featured in a special promotion by the publisher, Bell Bridge Books. The digital version of Book 4, Shadow Moon, will be available for $.99 on Amazon December 16-31.

Book 3, Moon Spun, will be $.99 January 1-15, so grab the bargains while you can.

Wishing all of you who love to read, a joyous Christmas and blessed New Year filled with wonderful books.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Goodbye Chef Jean

When I started this blog in 2011, I was delighted to welcome longtime friend and cookbook author, Chef Jean Denham. Over the years, she contributed many wonderful recipes to share with my readers. The soul of generosity, she often shared her creations on Facebook. Jean had a whimsical side as evidenced by her picture above. Nevertheless, she worked hard at her craft and was loved by all who worked with her. The first time I featured her on my blog, I introduced her as Jean Denham. She sent me a gentle reminder. Marilee, I worked hard to earn the title of Chef, could you please call me Chef Jean Denham?

 Jean married Roy Denham forty-eight years ago and they created their own little Brady Bunch, since each came to the marriage with four children. Here’s a quote from Jean, “They said it would never last.” It did, of course, until October 9, 2017, when Jean left us for that great test kitchen in the sky.

You are in our thoughts, Chef Jean. Here’s a recipe you sent to me, knowing my limitations as a cook.

Ramen Noodle Chicken Pad Thai

One of the fastest to put together and flavorful dishes I’ve made in a long time. Two best things about this dish is you can add any veggies you might have in the fridge and/or sauté a few and add; and you can discard that high-sodium packet that comes with the ramen noodle pkg. – not needed.

1 package chicken flavor ramen noodles, 3 ounce
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs peanut butter
1/2 Tbs garlic chili paste
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken, or whatever leftover meat/fish you have
Unsalted chopped peanuts, garnish

1. Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add noodles, reserve flavor packet, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Drain noodles.

3. Add soy sauce, peanut butter and garlic chili paste to pan and stir to combine. If needed, add cooking liquid to smooth out sauce.

4. Add cooked noodles and stir to coat noodles. Add cooked chicken and stir to combine. Top with chopped peanuts. Serves 2.