DOWNSIZING

September 17th, 2016
My desk before the move

My desk before the move

MY MOVE TO SMALLER DIGS

As I write this in my longtime home in New York State, I realize that when it posts I will have already moved to my new home in Florida.  I’m making some big changes, including leaving my day job to pursue writing full-time.  Other changes include downsizing my lifestyle.  This reduces the financial burden and will give me more freedom.  But the process!!

The bookshelves are beginning to look empty

The bookshelves are beginning to look empty

The last year has included yard sales, trips to donate household goods to my local charities, donations to my church rummage sale, Craigslist posts and giving away possessions to family members.

ALL THAT REMAINS

As I divest myself of possessions, I find, instead of regret or sorrow, an unexpected feeling of joy and freedom that comes from not having so many things to look after, dust, wash and store.  My husband and I shredded paper for one solid week.  I still cannot believe how much paper I had in closets, cupboards, filing cabinets and my desk.

On the left is my office in NY, then the office nearly empty and finally writing in the dining room waiting for the movers.

On the left is my office in NY, then the office nearly empty and finally writing in the dining room waiting for the movers.

SHRINKING OFFICE

During the entire process, I have been writing.  First in my office.  Then in my stripped down office, then in my staged for sale office, then in my empty office, and then on my desk in the dining room after the sale when this surface doubled as our dining room table and finally at my breakfast counter when my desk was disassembled for transport.

Here's my view after a day of writing now.

Here’s my view after a day of writing now.

So bon voyage to me and mine. I’m beginning again in a new place… but one thing that will not changed is my love for telling stories and finding a time and place to write.

This post first appeared in June on the Pink Heart Society Blog

 

How to tell if you are haunted, possessed or cursed?

August 26th, 2016

Haunted, Bewitched, Cursed?

Haunted, Bewitched, Cursed?

 

My September release: The Warrior’s Captive Bride from Harlequin Historicals opens with a warrior convinced he is cursed.  But how do you know for sure?  Well, it’s difficult, but here is a cheat sheet to help you decide.

WITCHES: These are living beings with the power to curse humans.   They are vengeful and make you sick but they are mortal and vulnerable. The best way to stop a witches’ curse is to assuage them.  Failing that, a more permanent solution is to kill the witch.

GHOSTS: These are departed, restless earthbound spirits.  Particularly dangerous are the fallen ghosts of your enemies, but loved ones can also cause suffering and illness to the living.  This is one of the reasons that it is impolite or outright dangerous to speak the name of a person who has died.  Owls or owl dreams can summon ghosts and foretell of death.  Ghost Sickness is dangerous and the only cure is to stop the ghost from haunting you.  The symptoms of ghost symptoms include: nausea, fever, fatigue, suffocating sensation and hallucinations.   Breaking a taboo can draw trouble in the form of ghosts.  Relief will require a shaman of considerable skill.

SPIRITS & SUPERNATURALS: Supernatural spirits are immortal.  They are very powerful and have the ability to influence nature.  These beings are most powerful.  They are not earthbound and are to be respected and feared. They can and do attack the living but are generally above such things.  Appeasing a petulant supernatural or superior spirit will require the help of a powerful, spiritual leader of great skill.


 

Story Behind the Story – THE WARRIOR’S CAPTIVE BRIDE

August 14th, 2016

 

The Warrior's Captive Bride - September 2016

The Warrior’s Captive Bride – September 2016

“…everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission…”

~Mourning Dove, Salish, 1888-1936~

Source: Legendsofamerica.com

All people throughout history have struggled to understand the root cause of disease.  Attributions included angering the gods or falling foul of evil magic.    Bad spirits could bring illness or death.  Native American tribes are not alone in once holding such beliefs.  Ancient Egyptians wore charms to ward off evil magic.  Ancient Greeks made offerings to their gods at temples erected for that purpose.  In the Middle Ages physicians were less important that holy relics in healing the afflicted by prayer and pilgrimage.

Native Americans relied on prayer and spiritual leaders to heal.  But they also had a vast knowledge of medicinal herbs and roots.  Some medicinal plants were traded over long distances.  Many native peoples believed that spirits, ghosts and witches could cause illness.   I spent time researching how a Native Americans of this period would determine if an illness was caused by ghosts, spirits or a witch.  I admit I borrowed from some of the southwestern tribes as I stitched together my world.  The term ‘Moth Madness’ was Navajo, for example because I could find nothing on epilepsy in historic record or reference from my research of the Plains Indians.

I sympathized with my hero and heroines struggle to understand what was causing Night Storm’s falling episodes.  I had decided that his illness would be a form of ongoing seizures, similar to epilepsy, based on the head injury he suffered in battle.  As the injury heals, his symptoms abate.  But I just could not resist adding a slight supernatural element in the form of his visions.  I feared that my editor would request that I removed this part and I almost did not write it, but I try not to edit myself until after I have heard the input of my editor.  If I had, then Night Storm would never have had his prophetic dreams.

FOR MORE Story Behind the Story, visit my books page – www.jennakernan.com

 


 

Loggerhead Turtles Drama Unfolds

August 4th, 2016

Turtle Babies Aug 04, 2016

Our heroes

Beach walks can be very exciting.  Today’s petite drama involved a nest of sea turtle eggs.

The Scene before the story begins: 90 or so baby loggerhead turtles waiting in the sand for a few more nights when all the nestlings will all be ready to run for the sea. But there is movement. Above them an enemy waits.

Our Villain – a rascal raccoon (also needs to eat and hence his motivation).

Our heroes Six baby loggerhead turtles who have escaped the raccoon, but are disoriented and unable to reach the sea.

Enemies, Hazards & Travails – the lights from a nearby condo that mislead two of the survivors to head in that direction instead of toward the sea.

Allies – The condo maintenance man who spots the two struggling to climb the steps of the condo pool entrance and takes them two the water.  He has named them Campbell and Soup.  He then alerts another ally – the marine sea turtle conservation and research worker who tells him that he should not touch baby turtles or move them.  The maintenance man cites the circling gulls in defense of his action.  The marine worker then springs into action, digging four turtles from the nest.  These four have somehow evaded notice by enemies.  She puts the four survivors in a bright green bucket for later release.

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The survivors

 

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The rescue transportation device – a bucket

 

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One turtle strives for escape from transport

 

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Turtle ally @motemarinelab

 

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Observers, also allies?…

 

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Transport begins

Sea Turtle Nesting Information from @MoteMarineLabs

From MOTE MARINE Labs

From MOTE MARINE Labs

Nesting Turtle Daytime: Take Photos, No Flash, Call rescue patrol

Live Hatching: “Off the beach, heading away from water, or washing in on the waves” “Place in bucket with moist sand.  Cover with a towel.  Keep in dark place.  Keep out of A/C.  Call rescue patrol

Eggs Exposed: Get Nest ID from yellow stake.  Call rescue patrol.

SEA TURTLE NESTING SEASON is MAY 1 to OCTOBER 31

PREVENTION:

Fill Holes

Reduce beachfront lighting

Pick up trash  (Plastic bags look like jellyfish – turtle food!)

Remove Beach Furniture at night

Keep Flashlights off the beach


 

What’s Next? A New Western Historical Release in September

August 2nd, 2016

THE WARRIOR’S CAPTIVE BRIDE

A Crow warrior captures the woman who cursed him and discovers only she holds the cure.

A Crow warrior captures the woman who cursed him and discovers only she holds the cure.

What a joy to create two sequential stories that include Native American heroes and heroes from the Sioux and Crow people.  Thank you to all who reviewed by last story, RUNNING WOLF, and who wrote to tell me how much you enjoyed hearing the story of my warrior woman.

This tale is of a woman who wants to be a great healer like her grandmother and a man who wants only to regain what he has lost, his ability to fight for his people.  For anyone as anyone who has ever suffered a life altering injury or accident knows, it is sometimes impossible to return to the life one lead.  This is the story of a warriors struggle to become what he once was and the healer who believes he can be so much more.  As you already suspected, the ride will be rough, the stakes high and the outcome uncertain.

In this story, I have blended real medical issues with the mysticism of the Plains Indian tribes in the 1800s.  I hope readers will indulge my blending of science and mysticism and enjoy the adventure of Night Storm and Skylark.

To help you keep time with the Crow people, I added a moon calendar in the back of this story.  Each tribe called the moons by different names so this is my interpretation of appropriate names the moons in each season.

I hope you’ll let me know how you like this new release.