Monday, August 24, 2015

Wisdom of Fight - Splitting Fences

Wisdom of the Flight

as told by Alador Guldalian

Keensight sat back and lifted his large head. "Let me tell you of a young dragon who had amassed his first hoard.  In the hoard, that he had painstakingly worked to accumulate, there was a beautiful crown."

Alador grinned. "You mean that he stole?"

Keensight huffed, and a puff of smoke bellowed from both nostrils.  "Let me tell the story, and do not interrupt to split fences."

"You mean split hairs," laughed Alador.

"Why would anyone split a hare when you can gobble it whole?" Keensight mused, then waved a talon at Alador.  "Quiet down and let me tell the story.  Now where was I? Oh yes. There was a beautiful crown..."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Adventures of an August Writer

To say that nothing has gone as planned since I decided to leave my job and write full-time would be a great understatement.  I had put in my notice because I thought my poor health was due to burnout, a condition that happens often to chemical dependency counselors.  Little did I know when I told them it was to take care of my health how big a statement that was or how wrong I was when I said it was nothing life threatening.

Not long after giving my notice, I want to say within days, I got the diagnosis for colon cancer with a need for immediate surgery.  No worries I thought, time to write.  That turned out harder than I had anticipated due to the rigors of chemotherapy and the need to keep an income up with unexpected medical expenses.  Many of you know this part. 

Move forward.  I have just finished chemotherapy when I am told that my kidney appears to be blocked. No worries I am told, we will just unblock it.  That turned out to be impossible and the kidney further along in its dying process then thought due to chemotherapy and CT scans.  So the big day to have it removed was August 5th.

I have been working every other week as I can teaching around the country.  I have been doing book-shows such as the NW book festival in Portland and of course, writing all around that.  My plan, (Laughs cause that was the first sign of trouble... I made a plan.) my plan was to have the kidney out and spend the month writing and recuperating.  So we are on this path to healing when I somehow pull a stitch deep inside.  If you have never felt this, you do not want to.  My surgeon said basically that it is surgical level pain. IN other words, it would have felt like being cut on.  Which is what I felt, a knifing pain every time I moved any of my core.  Ever try to do anything and not use your core? 

So that put me in the hospital temporarily two nights in a row because lets face it, a little laced tylenol is not going to cut it.  On the mend from this. Yes we are on the downhill slope finally after a full year.  The kidney surgery was almost exactly a full year after the colon cancer was removed.  Woohoo - writing and travel here I come.  I will edit for beta's and write in alternation to get this book out as I am two months behind my own scheduled deadline.  See a problem here?  I made a plan.  *sighs*

It started well. I went to the doctor and everything was looking good now. I put a chapter out to my beta readers and while l were deeply involved in ripping it to shreds.  (Just kidding, they are a great group) The next day I completed a chapter I was very happy with and closed the computer with pride.  Now, what I don't mention is that a wild fire and started blowing our way early that day.  My mother was taking care of me and growing more and more concerned as smoke filled the air.  We were at level two evacuation which means be packed. She was very relieved when I shut my computer and began to help choose what to take and what to leave.  
Now mind you, I am not supposed to lift more than ten pounds. I am scared.. to twist and turn and pull another internal stitch. So this was a slow process.  However, finally we get the call. You have to go.  You have to leave your home and hope it will not burn.  This is most upsetting as my family does not want to leave. Russ lost everything to a fire when he was younger and doesn't want to face it again.  However, it looks like Armageddon.  The sky is this ghastly orange and grey.  There are spots of dark billowing black twisting and twirling up to stand out in stark contrast to the orange sky.  The sound of helocopters, the DC9/10? bringing pools of water in and smaller planes make it look like we are under attack - they are just dropping water instead of bombs.  

Now anticipating that I would need to drive, I did not take my laced Tylenol.  Wise, right.  I might have to drive.  So it is decided that I will drive my mom, the dogs and as much as I could fit in the vehicle to my mother and father's house:  Six hours away!  Woot, on the road, happy little camper driving along for about five miles.  The jostling of the car begins to elevate the pain in my eight inch surgical wound that feels like twelve inches of fire now.  So, next option, hotel that allows dogs.

Much to my surprise, a hotel in the next town called the Okanogan Inn takes us in at a reduced rate dogs and all.  I mention them by name because I am eternally grateful that they put us up, reduced the fee because we were fleeing the fire, and the room was nice with no carpet and good beds.  Still a very long night because the men in the family have stayed to guard the homestead. True wild west going on out here in Eastern, Washington.  

Morning comes and we stay in the hotel as long as we can.  About the time we have to check out, where I live goes back to level two.  Woot, I can go home.  My dad comes and gets my mom to make it easier for us. They offer to stay but everthing is calm so I send them on their merry way.  I plan (see a theme here yet?) to spend the evening with no one here. Just quiet.  Plus, my doctor said I could take a real bath in my garden tub.  See I have had a tube in my back for months trying to start my kidney which has meant sponge baths and very careful showers.  The prospect of sliding into a deep hot tub has me almost drooling with anticipation.  I will do this and then edit the next chapter. I will be back on plan.  (that word again)

I am laying in the hot bath, truly enjoying this moment of solitude and peace. No nurses at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 a.m., no family, no curious pets; just me soaking and reading a good book.  I suddenly notice the smell in the air has changed.  Everything smells smokey, but this is different.  Something has changed. Not to worried, I get up and get dressed. Time to start writing anyway.

I go out and the wind has picked up.  That must be it, I thought.  I mean it would make sense to have more smoke.  Turn on the radio to hear, that my area is level 3 - I can still here the radio announcer.  "Get Out Now!"  Now here is a bit of a problem.  The men in the family all went to work. I am alone remember?  And.. my son borrowed my car because his was down.  I am alone with an overloaded (from the night before) pickup truck with a bad suspension that is way off the ground, and the dogs, a turtle, a cat, a dragon (bearded but it still counts) two goats, and two horses.

I call Russ. Fortunately his boss sent him to help me.  As I was waiting, a policeman comes up the drive lights blaring.  "Get out now!" he says.  "The fire is coming."  He points at the far ridge and sure enough, fire is dancing at the top of it.  

Now that ridge is probably five miles off.  But I can tell you that in that moment it felt like it was the hill at the back of the property which is only 80 acres.  I am loading things into the truck as fast as I can, dragging them outside because I am certain we are losing everything.  The fire line is miles wide and marching straight for us.  No angle... no wind to fight against... it is steaming in with a good tailwind to give it a good leap and a jump.  I don't care how much it is hurting. This is it.  All the memories from raising four kids are about to go up in smoke. When at last we pulled out, we took this picture as a last memory of our home.

We made it to my son's and stayed with his family.  The dogs and we stayed in the house, the cat, the turtle and the dragon wer relegated to the vehicles.  Unfortunately, there had been no time to make arrangements for the goats and horses.  We opened up all the pastures in hopes that they can stay ahead or behind the fire.    It was a long night mourning and worrying over house and remaining animals.  At 5 a.m., I woke up to take the dogs out and checked my phone. The first picture on my facebook page is the local paper and the house burning down on the front looks just like ours.  However, the fence is just enough off that we couldn't tell if it was the angle or a different house.  

Russ could not take 'not knowing' and despite the danger and the evacuation order, he worked his way to the property.  His heart sank as he pulled into the driveway. He stopped and took a picture of the fence still on fire.  As he drove down the long drive, blackened ground is on all sides.  But... our house was still there when he turned the corner.  We are not sure how.  

The fire split as it came down the final hill then climbed the two ridges that our house sits between.  There is some minor evidence there may have been a good Samaritan or a few fire-fighters up here but nothing definitive.  So if it was fire fighters that somehow did something to make that fire split around the buildings (the only thing not burnt on 80 acres are four buildings that are spaced out over about eight out of eight of the acres) than know that we thank you from the bottom of our heart.   We could find no sign of a fire break or line but that doesn't mean something wasn't done.  If there were no men at our house last night. Then please know that my belief in a high power just went up a notch or two.  I can find no rational reason for the fire to have stopped in the places it stopped and yet burned the places that it burned.   

We are home now.  It will be an extended camping trip.  There is no lights, no water, no animals, few insects, no internet (already in withdrawal) , but we have all the amenities of camping and yet can sleep in our OWN beds.  Sounds okay to me.    

The plan (Yes, I know, I never learn) is to work on clean up during the morning hours.  I don't know how much help I will be given my wound and lifting restrictions.  IF nothing else, I can be cleaning all the soot and dust. Then I will go in when Russ goes to work to shower and then write at the library.  That will make me buckle down. Eight hour shifts of writing.   Maybe it will actually help us get the book out.   Talk to you soon ... if nothing else goes wrong!

 UPDATE:  We found out that this fire here was started by the Bellevue Fire Department in an attempt to back burn and save our house.  They thought the house as gone. They had stopped by to see how bad it was.  They took the following video right before they were forced to leave the house and hope for the best.   I wish to give my heart felt thanks to these men for saving our home, our horses and our peace of mind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Lone Tree - A Live Write

This small story is written at 3:30 in the morning.  It came to me as I lay unable to sleep.  It is unedited and it is first raw moment.  However, as I thought about this, I thought of two friends that might need to hear it.

Once there was a lone tall tree.  It stood on a knoll looking down at small stream that had sung to the tree as it had grown.  The lone tree had sent its roots deep into the ground to touch the stream.  It was nourished by its gentle caress teasing its questing roots.

It was a lonely life in the spring and summer.  When the flowers were blooming and the tree at the edge of the stream would gain all its leaves, the small animals and birds would gather underneath its wide-spread branches.  They would sing and chatter along the stream.  They would dart and laugh throughout the beautiful tree's boughs.   The beautiful tree would stretch and sway, its leaves held a beautiful song of its own.  No one would notice the lone tree up on its small hill.   Even the two legged things that came would sit under the beautiful tree.  They would never come to the lone tree.

The lone tree understood.  Who would want to sit under a tree with needles that pricked and prodded? Who would want to sit in the shade of its boughs when the lovely tree was so close by beckoning with its gentle music?  

This year, winter came early.  A great storm came and stripped the beautiful tree of its colored gown of gold and red.  Branches broke and the beautiful tree fought to hold what was left.  The storm raged on and slowly the beautiful tree toppled over.  Its roots had been shallow there on the edge of the stream.  The beautiful tree could gain no purchase as it fought against the storm.  One great gust hit the beautiful tree and it toppled over.  

Many of the birds were caught off guard,  as they had not yet flown south for the winter.  They fought the winds and found shelter against the one lone tree's trunk.   The lone tree was determined to protect them all and bent it head in determination as its roots grasped the ground beneath it.  

The snow weighed the branches down and the great tree let it.  It made it warmer next to the trunk were the small animals and birds clung for safety.   The lone tree was proud to keep them safe as it swayed in the face of the fierce storm.

The snow became so deep that the lone tree's low branches became trapped.  The lone tree just smiled for now it knew that the storm could not break it or rip it from the ground.  It would keep the animals safe.

One of the two legged things staggered against the storm.  The lone tree waved a few branches showing the small enclosure beneath its boughs where snow had not fallen.  The two legged thing crawled into the small cave at its base.  The lone tree closed the gap and let no snow blow in to hurt the two legged thing.  

As storms do, this one passed.  The snow melted away under the sun's winter rays.  The two legged thing hugged the lone tree and then crawled away.  One by one, the small animals and birds fluttered off to play in the snow.  Throughout the winter, the lone tree cared and protected all the small living things that had once nestled in the arms of the beautiful tree.

Spring would come again.  The lone tree knew that the small animals and birds that now sang in its branches would fly off to find a new beautiful tree.  One that had a short glorious moment of beauty and appeal.  The lone tree knew that what really mattered was that one the storms of life raged against the small vale, it alone had protected those nearby. 

It realized that beauty's roots are shallow.  It realized that in all the effort to have beautiful swaying boughs of green and flowers, beauty had no time to gain in strength.  It realized most of all that beauty does not last.  In the face of a storm, it is the strength of the lone tree that stands strong.  It is the warmth of protection that nurtures life.  It is the love of all things that persists.  It was content to sit alone its hilltop as the spring and summer winds blew.  When things grew difficult, the tree would be there standing strong and open to all those that had need of its shelter. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Using Fantasy to Help Your Older Child(ren) Adjust to a New Baby Sibling

 Buy Here!
Kindle edition will be free on August 22, 2015.

Sibling Rivalry usually starts right after, (or even before) the arrival of the second child. The older child often becomes aggressive, “acts out” or even regresses.  Regression means acting more like a baby—for example, by wanting a bottle, or peeing in their pants.  It’s important to prepare your older child when you know you are expecting a new baby.  Kids need to know what to expect, and they need time to adjust.  After your baby arrives, there are many things you can do to make the adjustment easier.  

Having a new baby in the family may be one of the tougher things your older child has to deal with. However, it may eventually be one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Reading books with your child will help them prepare for and understand what is happening in your family.  Books about feelings will help your child know that all their mixed-up feelings are normal and okay.  Books can spark conversations between you and your child about their worries, questions, and feelings about the new baby.   Not an Egg! is a book that you can read to your young child during the pregnancy to prompt conversations to help your child work through these very normal emotions. It is woven into the premise of a bedtime story book and after all, there is nothing better than a friendly dragon.  For those with kindles, tablets and smartphones, you can get this short little tale for free on Amazon at the above link on August 22, 2015.

Follow Seafaria, a young fledglings, as she learns of a new egg, the changes that an egg brings, and then the joys and wonder of a little brother. 

For more information on how to help prepare you child for this large transition you can visit the following Website: 
This website has great ideas on helping your child with this transition. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Bank or Bed - The Value of Treasure!

Wisdom of the Flight

by Alador Guldalian

"Why do dragons sleep on their treasure.  It hardly looks comfortable?" asked Alador.

Keensight cocked his large head  as he stared at the mage then snorted smoke from his nostrils.  "A better question would be ... why do mortals hide their treasure where none can see it?  Do you not know boy, the true value of slips is not the amount that you have, but the use that you put it to."

Alador laughed.  "I think that the saying you are quoting has to do with how you spend your slips, and nothing to do with making a bed of them."

Keensight glared at Alador for a long moment before he replied.  "A man's value may be based on how he spends his treasure.  A dragon's value is based on being able to enjoy it, touch it, experience it.  If a dragon spent it as you suggest, why.... he would have no bed at all."

Dragon of the Day!

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Wisdom of the Flight!

Wisdom of the Flight

by Alador Guldalian

Many are the fledglings that leave the lair with grand ideas to see the world.  Those that survive realize what they truly see and not just what they look upon!

Dragon of the Day!
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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Seven Slayers a Dragon Must Fear!

Excerpt to a Hatchling from Dragon Champion

“Listen my hatchling, for now you shall hear 
Of the only seven slayers a dragon must fear. 

First beware Pride, lest belief in one’s might 
Has you discount the foeman who is braving your sight.
Never Envy other dragons their wealth, power, or home 
For dark plots and plans will bring death to your own. 

Your Wrath shouldn’t win, when spears strike your scale 
Anger kills cunning, which you will need to prevail. 
A dragon must rest, but Sloth you should dread 
Else long years of napping let assassins to your bed. 

‘Greed is good,’ or so foolish dragons will say 
Until piles of treasure bring killing thieves where they lay. 
Hungry is your body, and at times you must feed 
But Gluttony makes fat dragons, who can’t fly at their need. 

A hot Lust for glory, gems, gold, or mates 
Leads reckless young drakes to the blackest of fates. 
So take heed of this wisdom, precious hatchling of mine, 
And the long years of dragonhood are sure to be thine.” 

Art by Rebecca Hunt - Out of "Not an Egg!"