Author Life: It’s Not Always Roses, but I Wouldn’t Change It!

Author life… well hmmm…

Just so you know, writers don’t always laze around all day, curled up with their keyboard in a pristine, cozy house…

I think for most of us it’s a juggle between our “other lives” and stolen time to write.

Some of us live on farms and work as well, and have children or grandchildren and older parents, too…  as well as partners!

A case in point is yesterday…

I live on what’s called a “lifestyle block” in New Zealand.  That means I have a TINY farm of 6 acres which costs me a lot of money, but I love it. There are now only about ten percent of the animals that were here when my boys were small, evidenced by the plethora of beloved animals I found when I had to go looking in old photos yesterday to try to find where the water lines ran… those which might have been exposed before we poured the concrete… but I digress…

I awoke early to get my entry for Once Upon a Vet School #10: Greener Pastures Calling in to the Romance Writers of New Zealand Koru Award for Writing Excellence (the NZ/Aus equivalent of the RWA RITA Award). I actually won the Koru Best First Novel and third best long novel with my first story, A Long Trail Rolling (which is actually free right now if you’re on Booksweeps’ mailing list! See details below!) I hope you love the new cover as much as I do!

I spent the rest of the morning preparing my other entry, Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath, then raced outside…

It was a scorcher. (that means it’s hot, about 30 degrees C here today) Now to disconnect the house/farm water pump that I’d been fighting with for days (it runs for 15 seconds, stops for 38, then repeats.  No wonder our power bill gave me a heart attack last month)  I managed to get the alkathene fittings off, lugged the beast to the Landcruiser and off to town we went to drop it off for instant check-over in Paeroa, picked up half of a beast (White-Face was her name and she was 16 years old) along with my son, mail a packet of books to a library wholesaler (while worrying about the frozen meat… I don’t have air con in the cruiser. (She’s an old—600,000 km—farm model with no electric anything outside the engine and lights, so getting that meat home was kinda imperative), pick up my grandbaby from daycare, pick up the pump (which WAS working, YEAH!), and get home to put the now-asleep baby to bed.

It was probably because I had all the frozen meat to unpack and repack into the freezers that little Odin woke up as soon as I unclicked his carseat buckle…

Thoughts of the defrosting hundred kilos of meat in the car dancing in my head, I fed and changed the wee mite, giving thanks he was now 17 mos old and despite having to watch he didn’t wander the ¼ mile to the road or go play with the horse or cow, it was easier to unload all those big bags of meat with him happy and mobile.

When you look at it in the photo it doesn’t look like much… but it took this author and vet about 5 hours to get it right… did I mention the broken T-junction? or the end I broke off in the valve?  Some people just shouldn’t be allowed a pipe wrench, much less two…

So, Odin helped me (I’m using that term loosely—I had to keep retrieving my big spanners and pipe wrenches) put the system back together. The question now became (as the pump wasn’t the problem), WHERE on the farm the leak could possibly be…

We don’t have a hard pan on this place. It’s a riverbottom. Near the bush.  Which means we have lovely free draining soil that doesn’t hold water. Great in a place that rains over 140 inches a year. Not so great when you’re trying to find a leak. And tomos. Ever heard of a tomo? They’re underground waterways that pop up where they feel like in places like this… anything from an underground tiny stream to river.  Big enough to lose big animals and tractors into. Certainly big enough to let water from a leak flow away to parts unknown… without leaving a trace above.  Not ideal.

Working on pipes to make farm systems work is not much fun, but it’s like maths… you know when you got it right, anyway… for the time being.

So, back to it. The pump works. Tick.

Back to the drawing board for me…

Three lines (maybe more??? Oh no!) heading out for the farm and house.

I stared, twisting my lips, at the three inline valves I bought months ago but couldn’t bring myself to try to put them into the alkathene (a sort of a black hard rubber-plastic hosing) lines a foot and a half down in a ditch between the brick of the house and the BIG rocks I cemented into place to make the garden next to the footpath of exposed aggregate concrete. Not ideal when my two bad lumber discs go bad when I’m bending forward… which unfortunately was essential to the task… :/

Before that came “THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY”…  (obviously, but still significant) when I spent the whole day digging trenches AROUND the water pump to try just where those pipes went… culminated in having to find the old pictures from long ago to see if any of them gave a hint as to where those  pipes actually WENT.

It was fun going over the pics from 2000/2001/2002/2003. (Well damn. I just finally figured out how to get photos from iCloud onto FB, anyway!) Some very cute kids… and lots of animals who were such an important part of our lives… Strawberry, Montoya, Bailey, Maya (still here, 17 now), Tango, Fred as a kitten (who’s also still here, but very old), Charlotte, and some people who are no longer on this earth, plus many who are.

Unfortunately, the culmination of this exercise was to discover the pipes ran straight down beneath the middle of the lovely exposed aggregate concrete my boys and I poured ten years ago… not ideal.

SO, about putting in those valves… I had never broken an alkathene fitting before… but then I didn’t have (or couldn’t find) a pipe wrench.  Did you know they’re breakable? Yep. Two. I backed off after that. By then Odin was hungry and tired. He no longer wanted to run around and it was getting dark. So we went inside and fed him. No bath, lucky little man, as no water, but after no nap, it didn’t take too very long to get him to go to sleep.

Now to finish my pipes!

IT ALL WORKED!  The leak is still OUT THERE, but I now know it’s not 1-coming from the house (which had been a concern) and 2-not around the part of the farm where there was a lot of old blackberry to get through and find my old veggie garden). That leaves the main lines… I think I have an idea it’s where we recently buried a line… but it will take the ex-hubby’s tractor or a digger to get there.  SO, can’t do anything about it today. A good thing. Then I can get more editing done.


Oh yes.  And then I have a mobile equine veterinary practice too. Thank god there were no emergencies.

Hope you enjoyed a bit of my day! Back to writing… after get the little man up!

scene breakA Long Trail Rolling has a new cover!

I loved my old covers (they were my babies, after all, my photos and I did the covers) but they didn’t say Historical Fiction at ALL!  So I worked with the lovely Jessica Cale to create the new works of art!  She’s working on the others, too!

I hope you love this one!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Booksweeps Author Highlight!

If you’re a reader member and you’ve missed the Author Email Spotlight email on the 27th or if you haven’t joined Booksweeps yet,  just join and find it on this page! 

Just remember, for all Indie Authors, reviews are ALWAYS welcome, especially on Bookbub (The Best!), Amazon, and Goodreads!}

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I’d best stop and go search for water leaks and finish edits on the next one!

Have a wonderful day!

Stay out of the trenches!



You Can’t Drive to Martha’s Vineyard

by Stephanie Queen

BIiPad-RevYou can’t drive to Martha’s Vineyard…

That’s exactly why world-weary ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise settled on The Vineyard when he thought he was finished with the soul-wrenching missions and mind-crushing danger. But he wasn’t finished yet. Not when he owed the governor and the governor insisted on partnering him with her…

Shana George.

They came together like magnets, attracted and repelled by turns, and ended up partners in Beachcomber Investigations, a private detective agency. They work from their world-wide headquarters on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.

Remote and solitary in the winter, yet the island is a stone’s throw from Boston and bustling with vacationers all summer. Populated with an array of characters from edgy to comic, It’s the perfect spot for a couple who has no idea what they want.

Marthas_Vineyard_Massachusetts51It’s also a perfect getaway spot for a vacation at the beach. (Even if the movie Jaws was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard on State Beach–don’t worry–the shark was a prop.) My favorite beach is Gayhead Beach, also known as Aquinnah Beach, with the cliffs and boulder-strewn sand. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the islands towns, giving it a remote feel.


Here’s an excerpt from Beachcomber Investigations –Book One by Stephanie Queen:

Chapter 1

Shana darted a glance at Dane. He was leaning on the doorjamb, oozing his ridiculous brand of sensuality, all casual and strong. Visits to the hospital had always been nausea-inducing events in her life experience, but this visit had a whole different vibe.

With all her might, Shana resisted crediting Dane with the reality-defying mood she felt standing in the middle of this room, immune to the scent of antiseptics wafting around her.

Instead, she tried ignoring Dane and refocused on Cap—Captain Colin Lynch—lounging againsthis pillows.

Cap wasbandaged and sporting a sling and a grin as if the bullet in his shoulder had been a movie propand he was playing the role of the injured State Police Chief of Martha’s Vineyard—andplaying that role poorly.

“You’re not taking your injuryvery seriously,” she said.

Cap grinned wider. She squelched a long-suffering sigh, because Cap was not one ofher younger brothers. Far from it. He was a hunk of a grown man if she was in the mood for admitting things.

Her gaze slid back to Dane as he moved into the room. He eyed her, giving her that sizzling stare. The wave of desire nearly unbalanced her until her survival instincts kicked in.

Without thinking, her chin rose and she stepped closer to Cap as if he would protect her.

As if Dane Blaise were a monster. But he wasonly a monsterif she considered legendary war heroes who routinely saved lives—including her own—as monsters.

No. Dane was no monster, but he wasa threat to her well-being. Maybe she was being overly dramatic, but she felt as if he were wielding a knife, with the ability to cut her heart out and shred it to pieces if she were to let him.

She needed to get a grip.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

BeachInvest 4Book Box Set NEW REV CoverGiveaway! 

An e-copy of Beachcomber Investigations 4-Book Box Set which includes Beachcomber Investigations and three other books in the series.

Enter to win by leaving a comment—tell me about your favorite getaway spot!