Diamonds, Gemstones & Jewelry!




My Summer novella has gems at its center. I Love diamonds, sapphires, zircons, pearls, opals, tourmalines, morganites…the list goes on, and on, and on.

Who doesn’t love things that sparkle? Ever get mesmerized staring into a step cut diamond? If you haven’t, go into a store like, Graff, Cartier, Harry Winston, Tiffany or VanCleef and Arpels, and ask to see an Asscher TF_160227_FOX_5259_v2_org_l or a two carat or larger emerald cut stone. Grace Kelly wore a 10.47 carat emerald cut engagement ring that has an estimated worth of $4,000,000 today.

Everyone loves round, brilliant cut diamonds. Most of the diamonds cut today are round brilliants. Still it’s the Asschers that make me smile. Some of the older cushion-cuts and old European cut diamonds have an elegance all their own. They are generally found in Art-Deco and Edwardian jewelry.

art-deco-halo-1-08-carat-marquise-diamond-engagement-ring-1They aren’t cut as perfectly as newer stones and they generally have more color. This wasn’t a bad thing when stones were meant to be appreciated in candle light. Most people don’t like seeing a tinge of yellow in their stones today so stones with higher color, in the J,K,L,M range sell for far less money per carat. They can still shine beautifully if they’re well cut. (If you’re buying stones greater than a carat, make sure you get a GIA certificate to ensure you’re getting what you are paying for).

Here are some really cool fancy colored diamonds: The Graff Pink Diamond, The Blue Moon Diamond, The Pink Star, the Noor-ul-Ain Diamond, and the Hope Diamond.

article-1330404-0BFFD98B000005DC-477_306x423 1444228352_luksuz-dizajn-nakit-dijamant-blue-moon-99 pink-star-diamond-auction-hong-kong-sells-record-breaking-57-million-787760 a http___collections_nmnh_si_edu_media__irn=10956768

When it comes to colored gemstones, probably sapphires are my favorite. Sapphires come in every shade of the rainbow, including red. Red sapphires are referred to as rubies. Sapphires and rubies share the same chemical make-up, corundum. Purple sapphires are particularly beautiful, if you like purple. Sapphires are hard, 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamonds are 10. Both diamonds and sapphires are sturdy enough to be worn for most daily activities without worry.ssb4030-sapphire-braceletMy favorite of all gemstones, including diamonds, is the much under-rated opal. Opals are like people. Fragile, with hidden depths. Every opal is unique. Opal, along with pink tourmaline, is my birthstone, so I may be biased. maxresdefault

A stolen pink diamond is the catalyst for my up-coming story for the AUTHORS OF MAIN STREET summer box-set. I don’t have a title yet, but I’m excited about this story. I think it’s my best so far. You can read more about gems and jewelry theft in June when the box-set goes live!

So, if you like gems, what are your favorites?


Posted in Leigh's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Is This Supposed to be Spring?

I hardly slept last night. Wind howling outside and ice pellets pounding my bedroom window kept me awake. Not to mention the ice-laden hedges beside the house scraping against the siding. The racket at the front of the house, outside the kids’ rooms, had me half-convinced a tornado was tearing off the shutters (although they appear intact). I don’t know how they slept through it.

By morning, a thick layer of ice coveIMG_4362red everything—the lawn, the trees, our van, and even some of the windows that had been pelted with freezing rain. The deck chairs were dripping with icicles. By mid-morning, the freezing rain turned to regular rain as the temperature rose. As I write, we can hear sheets of ice slipping from rooftops and cashing to the ground—a sound unnervingly like an explosion.

Up here in Ottawa, there’s no sign of spring at the moment. Last week’s melt was only a tease. I feel lucky, though, to be spared yesterday’s mega ice storm that swept through Southern Ontario, leaving thousands without power and causing hundreds of vehicle collisions.

I live in hope that within a couple of weeks, a real spring will finally arrive!

Posted in Susan's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

How real is an imaginary home?

One of my greatest joys of writing is making an imaginary place come to life. Back in 2011 I was with The Wild Rose Press with my first published book, Tempting Adam. That book took place at a movie studio in Hollywood. I loved the setting, but I tried to stay real to the place. Then a new story came to me–Divorce, Interrupted. The easiest title I’ve ever come up with. It said it all. What if a marriage ended over an affair and tragic misunderstandings? What if the embers of love still burned between the couple? Todd and Lisa Miller were born. But they needed a home and town that didn’t exist.

lakeside home 2So, I invented Lake Willowbee, a small fictional town in the Sierra Nevadas. I’d been to the Sierras enough to write a town there, but all the ones I knew just weren’t right for the story. I needed a small downtown AND a good-sized lake. I needed a dam high on a hill to flood the town. In the foothills the towns are too big and higher up the mountain, the towns are too small. So…Lake Willowbee.

Since that first story, I’ve set all of my contemporary romances in Lake Willowbee. From time to time, a character will make a small appearance in a new story. Not enough that you need to read all the books (but I would love if you did!), but enough for readers who have followed along to say ‘aha, I remember them.’

I’m still working on Retreat, Interrupted for the summer boxed set with the Authors of Main Street, but a character from Dare to Trust has already appeared. There could be more.

To me, Lake Willowbee is a real place inhabited by real people. It is cute, quaint, and the friendliest place you could visit. Don’t forget to stop on by.

Jill James, romance writer

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash
Posted in Jill's Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A few reasons why I read and write romance

“I like reading novels because it provides insight into human behaviour.” (Claire Danes)

We learn about people by meeting them; by watching them. In historical novels, the people we meet face different challenges to our own, have been moulded by a different culture, must react to a different context.

But they are still people. I want to read about people who are real to me while I’m in the book, and stay with me when I close it. And I want to read about romance, because people expose who they are through how they behave in relationships, and never more so than in a romantic relationship that involves every type of intimacy: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual

I know I’ve captured a character when my readers discuss their motives and their beliefs. It’s enormously thrilling when someone explains to me why one of my characters thought, felt, or did something, and I have an ‘Aha’ moment because the thought is new to me but they’re right.

One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received was a comment on my Duchess of Haverford, who appears in most of my Regency books and the Victorian novel I’m writing with Mariana Gabrielle. “I love the duchess,” one of my readers said. “I’m sure she is in Heaven.”

I read to be entertained

“These boys in books are better.” (Carrie Hope Fletcher)
Undercover cops, billionaires, search and rescue heroes, knights, dukes, earls, handsome rogues, pirates; what’s not to like? Let’s face it; gorgeous men are hot, whether in cravats and knit pantaloons or a smart evening suit or jeans and t-shirt. And hot men who are considerate and respectful are even hotter.

Fletcher’s song points out that real life men can’t live up to the standard set in novels. And any girl who stays single till she finds someone as good as her book boyfriend is in for a long wait. But any girl can pick up a book and spend time with Mr Perfect.

“I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.” (Margaret Atwood)
Reading taught me that the kind are rewarded, that perseverance will win in the end, that love is worth striving for. That you can start a fire with spectacles and that sharks can’t swim backwards. That lying on a frozen over pond spreads your weight so you are less likely to break through.

Ideas; concepts; principles; facts. I’ve learned all of those from reading. I read for pleasure. And I write books that I hope others will read for pleasure; books with strong determined heroines, loving heroes, compelling story lines, and convincing challenges.

I read to escape, to take a micro-holiday

“I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.” (Charles de Montesquieu)
I lived more than 50 years with an undiagnosed condition that gave me chronic tiredness and constant pain. In that time, I raised four children, two with serious health conditions, and fostered two others. We entered adolescent hell with one of them and didn’t emerge for ten years. Reading allowed me the break I needed.

When people say that  romance novels (or science fiction, or fantasy, or mystery novels) are escapism, I agree. Any book that captures your imagination allows you to escape whatever distress you may be in. The best books strengthen and inform you, sending you back into reality better able to deal with your challenges. But even the most flagrant chewing gum for the mind gives you time to recharge.

“You can travel the world and never leave your chair when you read a book.” (Sherry K. Plummer)
And not just the world! I want to go somewhen else for my book holiday. Travel, so we are told, broadens the mind. In futuristic or historical romances, I am able to travel to another time. In the hands of a good writer, I experience the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the stories, and all without the risk of plague, pressganging, or death by tooth infection.

“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” (Elizabeth Hardwick)
I can share any type of life in a novel. I can be a nurse or a lawyer; a pirate or a harem dancer; a pathologist or a horse trainer. I can dream of a life of leisure, with nothing to do but flirt with rakes and dance at balls. I’d undoubtedly hate it in practice. I like being busy and useful. But I can have that in a book, and then walk away, back to my real life.

“There’s no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” (Frank Herbert)
I like happy endings. Some other writers like tragic endings, or even no ending at all. In my view, happy endings are better. Every writer has to choose where to start and where to stop the story, so why not choose the bit that feels good?

The romance novel’s ‘happily ever after’ is not about perfect resolution of all problems; it’s about convincing the reader that the protagonists will support each other through whatever problems arise.

I read to learn to write better

“I believe that writing is derivative. I think good writing comes from good reading.” (Charles Kuralt)
Reading good books gives us the sound of good language. It teaches us how plots work, how to show character rather than telling it, how to make choices that show the theme of the book, how to use words to create atmosphere, how to write dialogue that sizzles.I believe I need to do two things to be a good writer. Read a lot. Write a lot. That’s all.


Posted in Jude's Posts | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Anyone Else Love International Romance?

When I was in junior high, I discovered Mary Stewart’s books. And I LOVED THEM! I loved the mystery tinged with romance, the hint of magic, and the dreamy locales! When I first started writing, I wanted to be a Mary Stewart, but I quickly learned it’s hard to write with any authenticity about places I don’t know well. Although, I do love to travel, and I’ve been to lot of places, unless I was really paying attention it’s hard to paint a  proper  picture of a place. Still, I thought I’d give it a go with my latest work in progress, an untitled novella that will be published in the Authors of Main Street summer box set. So, although the beginning of this story begins in soggy Seattle, it quickly heads to South America where things really heat up.

If you’re writing or reading an international romance, please leave us a teaser in the comments. Be sure to leave a buy link!

Also, if any kindhearted person has a title suggestion, I’m open.



In a hazy room filled with flashing lights, throbbing music, and hundreds of beautiful people, Adrienne felt like a mallard surrounded by swans. And she longed for a peaceful bit of swamp. A woman in a silvery dress resembling plastic wrap pushed past her, leaving behind a stench of perfume. Adrienne sought out a corner where she’d be less likely to be touched or bumped into, but the best refuge she could find was a bar stool. She hiked herself onto it and checked her watch. Was it too early to go home? Meanwhile, a man wearing a floral shirt brushed up against Adrienne and sloshed his drink on her.

“Oh, clumsy me,” he said, “So sorry!” After setting his drink on a nearby table and grabbing a handful of napkins, he patted her down.

Adrienne shied away from the man with his lingering fingers and over-powering cologne. Silently she cursed Sebastian because somehow this was all his fault—even though he wasn’t here. She didn’t know where he was. And she didn’t know why she was here at this awful party. She slid off the barstool and weaved through the laughing and smiling guests, making her way to the restroom.

Stephanie snagged her wrist. “You’re not escaping.”

“This was a bad idea,” Adrienne told her. She pulled her wet blouse away from her skin and the warm scent of wine wafted over her.

“And you think moping at home is a better one?”

Adrienne’s phone buzzed. She scrambled to open her sequin clutch bag.

“Huh-uh.” Stephanie snatched the purse. “No! He doesn’t get to talk to you.”

“How do you know it’s him?”

“I don’t.” Stephanie turned her voice into a purr. “Come on, sweetie, have some fun. You don’t need him.”

Adrienne blinked back tears. “He’s my husband.”

“But he hasn’t acted like it in months…maybe even years.” Stephanie opened the purse and sighed when she checked the phone.

“It was him, wasn’t it?”

Stephanie handed the purse back to Adrienne and slipped her arm around Adrienne’s waist and tried to urge her back into the thick of the crowd. “Let me introduce you to my friend Geoff. He’s an artist, too.”

“Graphic design?”

“No, video games.”

Images of bloody computer graphics flashed in Adrienne’s mind. A creature carrying an automatic weapon crashed into the room and began firing. Blood spurted. People screamed. Adrienne shook the visual from her mind. “I have to go,” she said. “I really need to talk to Sebastian.”

After thanking the hostess and following her direction to the room where the coats had been gathered, Adrienne stepped into the bedroom, closed the door, leaned against it and battled tears. She took a deep breath and a glance at the coats and jackets heaped on the bed. Ninety percent of them were black—like hers. But wait, why was there a shoe amid the jackets? Two shoes. No, four shoes.

Oh dear, what was that couple doing on the bed, buried beneath the coats? And how would Adrienne ever extract hers without interrupting? She quickly left, sans coat.

Outside, away from the party’s crush of noise and people, Adrienne breathed a little easier. The misty air blurred the headlights of the cars splashing down the black and shiny roads. Reflections of the store’s neon advertisements glistened on the slick sidewalk. The cold damp penetrated Adrienne’s blouse and the mean breeze twirled around her legs. Why had she let Stephanie talk her into going to a party full of strangers? Because it was better than spending another evening alone.

On the drive home, Adrienne tried to rehearse all the things she needed to say to Sebastian, but instead, she choked on all of her tears.


Nick stared in horror at the computer screen. “How did this happen?” His voice, usually so deep and melodic, came out in a whisper.

“Come on,” Steph elbowed him, “you have to admit this is amazing for business!”

Nick pulled his gaze away from the YouTube channel to give his cousin/assistant what he hoped was a terrifying glare. She was like a sister to him. He had backed her when her parents had thrown a fit about her purple hair and multiple piercings. He had chased off her loser boyfriend. He loved her and thought the feeling mutual, but all of those warm fuzzy feelings were evaporating as he watched himself singing on the internet and realized she was the one to blame.

Steph grinned back at him, wiped her hands on her apron, and pointed her chin at the line snaking around the counter of the Taberna de Música. “They don’t just come here for coffee, you know.” She patted his shoulder and practically skipped out of the office.

He watched her join Jon behind the counter and say something to the guy next in line who threw back his head and laughed.

Nick had to remind himself that they weren’t laughing at him, were they? He glanced at the computer. According to the page views, so far about a thousand people had watched the video of him singing at his cousin’s Pedro’s wedding. There had to be millions of amateur videos of people singing at weddings—why would a thousand people choose to watch him? Of course, it didn’t help that his cousin’s bulldog, Lester, dressed in a tux, and gave Nick his rapt attention, his big head swinging in time with the music. How had Nick not noticed that at the time? He replayed the video, curious about what else he’d missed.

Jon strode into the office. “Are you still obsessing over that?”

Nick shook his head, closed the laptop with a sharp click, and pushed away from the desk. “Nah.”

“I don’t know why you want to hide your talent beneath a bushel.” Jon was studying to become a youth pastor and liked to spout Biblical phrases. “You have a gift. You have to let it shine.”

Nick interrupted before Jon could start singing, This Little Light of Mine. “No, I don’t. What I have to do is keep this shop afloat.” Nick thought about going out and wiping down tables—his standard go-to when his accounts were all caught up—but the fear that some of the guests had seen the video froze him. He paced across the room.

Concern flashed in Jon’s eyes. “We’re doing fine, right?”

“Well, yeah.” Nick stopped and clapped a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. We’re doing great.” In fact, they were doing much better than he’d projected when he’d opened the café. He’d patterned the shop after his uncle’s in Argentina. Like any standard coffee shop, they served hot beverages and a smattering of baked goods, but what set them apart from a Starbucks was their open microphone for musicians, poets, and comedians. They also sold vinyl records and vintage sound systems.

Nick’s thoughts drifted to his Tio Jose and he fought a wave of homesickness. But moments later, the sound of his own voice jolted him back to the here and now. He glanced at the closed laptop before bolting out of the office.

He halted behind the counter and stared at the TV screen in the corner of the room. All the patrons in the shop turned to stare at him before bursting into applause and cheers. Stunned, Nick backed away. Moments later, without any real recollection of how he’d gotten there, he found himself in the service closet wedged between a shelf of cleaning supplies and a hamper of dirty aprons. He pulled out his phone, sank into a squat, typed in the YouTube channel, and found the video of himself and Lester.

Five thousand views.

How is this happening? His head spun. There weren’t even five thousand people in his Tio Jose’s entire village. He let this process before he climbed to his feet. So, five thousand views. Everyone was watching Lester. Not him. And as Steph had said, this would be good for the shop. Publicity was publicity. He checked his reflection in the mirror and smoothed his thick dark hair, before squaring his shoulders and heading back into the fray. The patrons had at least doubled. The shop had an occupancy capacity of three hundred, and while they were nowhere near that number, they still had twice as many people as was typical for a Thursday afternoon.

He glanced outside at the weak January sun attempting to singe the edges of gray clouds. The rain was good for business. But so, apparently, were musical dog videos.

A blinding light flashed, making Nick blink. Had someone just taken his picture?

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

CyCon 2018: Come on By and See What it’s About!

Welcome! Thanks for coming along today!

I’m part of a big book party called CyCon 2018. It’ll be on from now through the end of Sunday, EST. There you’ll find plenty of information about a bunch of new indie authors in many categories!

There are Cover Wars (Mine are in the historical fiction section), a Blog Hop, Joe’s Bar (0pen 24 hours, from now~), a FB After Party, Tour of the Genres, Mass Giveaway, Book Expo, Author Showcase, Author Interviews, Story Time, Panel Discussions, and Character Tournaments…

All…. Weekend…Long~

Come on by!

I have four books in the Cover Wars, if you want to go in and vote for your fav’s!

Here are some links:

Reader Links Author Links More Western and Historical Fiction, Wait…..What!!
Book Expo
Events By Genre
B2B CyCon Fairgrounds
Western Daisy Chain
Historical Fiction Daisy Chain
Blog Tour
Shotgun Bo Rivers
Ken Farmer
John Burlinson
K.M. Pohlkamp
Ed Ireland
J.j. Devine
Paul Bishop
Lizzi Tremayne
Richard White
Cover Wars
Panel Discussion
Author Trade Show
Joes Bar


I’ve posted about all of my stories, either under Historical and Western Fiction or Romance.
We were asked to write about one of our  True Life Inspirations, which pleases me, as there are one, or two, as the case may be, in my first novel. MTrue Life Inspiration story is about a horse named “What?”, and his Pony Express Rider, George Scovell. It’s part ofA Long Trail Rolling, Book One of The Long Trails series.

“What?” I hear you say. 

Yes, “What?”  It’s a horse’s name. A real Pony Express mount… and his awesome rider.

Prior warning: Aleks is a bit of a stroppy chick… Can’t imagine where I got the inspiration for her… LOL.

Excerpt from A Long Trail Rolling

“—and this,” Xavier handed her a leather sheet with two slots in it, “is your mochila. It—”

“It fits over—” Aleksandra blurted out.

Again. Dios mío! He adored this chica, but she was driving him mad with her impatience and dogged determination about everything. “—it fits over the saddle,” he resumed, glaring at her.

She looked down at the ground. “Sorry,” she muttered, sounding anything but. Scowling, she stood with arms crossed, her fingernails digging into the sides of her buckskin shirt.

“Aleks, there is a list I need to cover with you before you ride. I still have serious doubts about letting you go, but if you’ll listen, you might survive just that little bit longer.”

She stared down at the toe of her boot tapping the ground, then lifted her eyes to his. He could swear she rolled her eyes.

His own narrowed. “You can ride this portion of the trail because it’s safer out here. All the Indian trouble is more than a hundred miles west of here. You’ll be right out of it.”

Raising an eyebrow at him, she smirked and seemed about to make some comment, but held her peace.

I wonder what I’m missing here.

“Look, Aleksandra, you seem to think this is a joke. Station keepers have been dying out there.”

Her face fell. “Yes,” she said, with a little less certainty.

“I haven’t told you about “What?” yet, have I?”

“What?”  She frowned, but uncrossed her arms and left off wringing her buckskins to listen, raising one eyebrow and looking at him from beneath her lashes, jaw tensed.

“You don’t seem to understand my concern,” he spoke slowly, word by word.

“What is a “what”?” She still looked annoyed, but curiosity got the better of her.

He held his breath for a moment.

“Young George Scovell, an Express rider, nearly died a few weeks ago in an ambush,” he growled. “What? was an Express Mustang named for his question mark-shaped blaze. Going through the aspen bottoms west of Chokup Pass, What? was uneasy, flicking his ears back and forth, when swarms of arrows flew out of the brush beside them. They were chased by more than thirty Indian braves for over three miles into Diamond Springs Station. They got there, despite two arrows in Scovell’s leg and poor What? full of eleven more.”

“Oh.” Aleksandra’s attitude and scowl melted, her eyes pooling tears.

“That pony delivered Scovell safely, then collapsed. When they got rid of the Indians, Scovell put him out of his pain with a shot to the forehead and buried that pony, right next to the station.”

“He buried him,” she whispered. Eyes glowing through wet lashes, she gave him a crooked grin.

“That was his last ride for the Pony. Dead horses are usually left for scavengers, but young George felt pretty strongly about What?. On his way back East, George showed me his journal entry for the day, complete with a photo of the good horse that saved his life.

Aleksandra’s brow furrowed. “How did they protect themselves from the Indians?”

“Willie, the station keeper, dragged George into the station and defended it from the gun ports until the Indians left. Luckily the cedar post stockade and stone station house were difficult to set alight, so they survived.

“Now do you understand why I want you to listen?” He pulled her into his arms and tugged on her braid. “It would be nice to keep your hair, no?”

Aleksandra looked down at the ground, finally still. “I am ready to listen.” Xavier had to lean down to hear her whisper. “I apologize for making this difficult when you are only trying to keep me safe.”

“It’s okay,” Xavier held her tightly. “Shall we continue?” He raised an eyebrow at her and released her.

“I’m all ears,” she said, turning to face him.

The series:

The historical fiction sagas follow Aleksandra and Xavier from the wilderness of 1860 Utah to Colonial New Zealand. 

In A LONG TRAIL ROLLING (Book 1), Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret.  Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, she winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the the Paiute Indian War. Can she and Xavier, her Californio boss, escape the Indians on the warpath, and evade the man who’s already killed Aleksandra’s father—and set his sights on her? 

THE HILLS OF GOLD UNCHANGING (Book 2) follows Aleksandra and Xavier through the mining camps of 1860s’ Nevada and California, the Sacramento floods and San Fran to Xavier’s Rancho de las Pulgas. As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California. Embroiled in the Confederates’ fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive? The secessionists mean business. No one will stand in their way—and live.

In A SEA OF GREEN UNFOLDING (Book 3), tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise in California. Their friend, von Tempsky, invites them on a journey to adventure and a new life in peaceful 1862 New Zealand, but change is in the wind. They reach Aotearoa,only to discover the place is a turbulent wilderness—where the land wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun. 

In TATIANA (Book 4), stableman’s daughter Tatiana rises to glamorous heights by her equestrienne abilities—but the tsar’s glittering attention isn’t always gold. She and Vladimir are pawns in the emperor’s pursuit of a secret weapon. Vladimir must find it—or lose Tatiana and their son, arrested and held as surety against his success. As the odds mount against them, can they find each other again—half a world apart? Coming soon!

beach party           rabbit hole










Author Bio:Lizzi Tremayne Author

Lizzi Tremayne writes about the Old West, Russia, and Colonial New Zealand, as well as veterinary fiction and non-fiction—all with a horsey flair.

She also now writes contemporary horsey veterinary fiction! Did you ever want to be a vet? Once Upon a Vet School is a new series of contemporary vet fiction. Share Lena’s escapades from the time she decides to become a veterinarian, through her education and practice time in the USA, to her career as a rural equine and sometimes zoo-dentistry veterinarian in New Zealand.

She grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and practiced in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand.

Lizzi has two wonderful, grown-up boys and an awesome partner in this sea of green. When she’s not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding, driving a carriage or playing on her hobby farm, singing, or working as an equine veterinarian or science teacher. She’s multiply published and awarded in fiction, special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

Sign up for Lizzi Tremayne’s Newsletter and get one of Lizzi’s short stories for free here

Social Media Links:

Lizzi’s Website :








Newsletter signup:

Free on Kindle Unlimited or buy here:



To find more Brain to Books authors, genres, and more blog tours for this upcoming wonderful weekend at our Cyber Convention and Book Expo, visit the links below! Make sure you drop in to Brackify to vote on our Cover Wars; there are some great Western and Historical Fiction covers over there. Thanks for stopping by.


Reader Links Author Links More Western and Historical Fiction, Wait…..What!!
Book Expo
Events By Genre
B2B CyCon Fairgrounds
Western Daisy Chain
Historical Fiction Daisy Chain
Blog Tour
Shotgun Bo Rivers
Ken Farmer
John Burlinson
K.M. Pohlkamp
Ed Ireland
J.j. Devine
Paul Bishop
Lizzi Tremayne
Richard White
Cover Wars
Panel Discussion
Author Trade Show
Joes Bar


Post navigation

Posted in Lizzi's posts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Life Changing Event

I’m facing one of those life changing events.  We don’t have too many of those.  Marriage is one, as is having children. Death of a parent can be, as will the loss of a child or spouse. In general, they only happen on rare occasions. Sometimes we don’t even realize that they are pivotal points in our life until much later. Some things we can control and some we can’t. This one I have chosen and to say I’m scared is an understate.

This month I’m facing surgery. It’s not just a simple surgery. When I see how much medicine has progressed since I was a little girl, it’s amazing. Something that would have sent someone to bed for months doesn’t anymore. In fact, there are some amazing things done now and they have the patients up and on their feet before the day is done. And when they say do these exercises, they mean it! People, who do, recover faster.

My oldest daughter has had surgery on both her shoulders. Small incisions and shoulders as good as new. I know I need surgery on one of mine, but I’m a major chicken. Today it’s very easy to tell someone you’ll do fine and really believe that.  I’ve had body parts removed through the tiniest holes. Talk about square pegs going into round holes. We face such things with no fear. Even childbirth is a wee bit like that. I’ve noticed the most petite women manage to have the biggest babies and declare they had no problems! I had perfectly healthy, tiny babies and struggled with each one.

But this surgery I’m facing is different. Why? It’s neurosurgery. They are going to open the skull and go in. Please, no oops, and whatever you do, don’t sneeze. All joking aside, it’s a very delicate procedure. And I’m scared out of my mind, yet I’m the one who has said I can’t handle the pain. For thirty years, I’ve dealt with debilitating pain shooting over my face. The nerves are tangled with some blood vessels and so the nerves misfire, producing pain much like being shocked except this doesn’t let up. When it triggers, it’s actually buckled my knees. There have been times I’ve gone without eating for days because I couldn’t chew without triggering the pain or the pain was gripping me so I couldn’t eat much less swallow. There’s been liquid protein drinks in my house forever just to keep me somewhat nourished during such bouts. I’ve had to drink through a tiny straw-like stir stick that is slipped around and behind my teeth on the opposite side of my mouth because I can’t open my mouth without causing excruciating pain. I’ve had three less invasive surgeries to stop it, but it hasn’t completely put in end to it. The first one was done eleven years ago. It cost over $150,000. Thank goodness for good insurance! The last two were done in 2016 and those two combined were about 1/2 million dollars. This one I suspect will be double that.

Why am I letting him do surgery for the fourth time when the first three haven’t worked? Well, it’s hard to explain, but he warned me from the beginning that this was where I’d probably wind up. People have varying degrees of pain. Each one of the previous surgeries held the possibility of being a cure-all. Each one helped but was never enough. For other people, these less invasive surgeries will remove the pain and they never need anything else. Each time I was hopeful. Each time it didn’t happen. Relief was short-lived.

My doctor tells me I can watch this surgery on YouTube. Yes, someone posted the surgery. No thanks! I don’t do blood and guts. And I think if I watched it, I’d never have surgery. I’d chicken out. But I’ve reached the point where I said enough is enough. Just do it! Except it’s not that simple. I’ve already started to jump through all the hoops. I need to be cleared by various doctors. They don’t want any surprises while I’m having surgery. Well, that’s almost goofy, because no one can really predict such things, and they all know it. Facing hours of being under anesthesia, I must go through all these hoops to assure a few doctors that I’m strong enough to withstand hours of surgery.

In a way, medicine has changed so much that they can now see things that once upon a time not too long ago would have gone unnoticed. They found such a thing on me a several years ago, and now they watch it. It’s never changed and it might not. But if it does, they will fix it. Why don’t they do it now? They say it’s not worth it.

But this time, I’ve called the shots and said do the surgery. I’m tired of coping with the pain. I see one of the best doctors in the country who specializes in this. I’ve trusted him for 12 years. I can trust him one more time. Sounds easy, right? It’s not. I like my brains. I want them to remain intact. I don’t want to lose a single brain cell. Besides, I need every cell I have.

He claims there’s lots of space in there. He showed me this pencil thin empty space between my skull and what he called a thin membrane that protects my brains. He says he has lots of room to work and he won’t be touching my brains. He’s just going to remove a big chunk of my skull and go to the spider web of nerves and pick the right ones (his wording). But on that chart on his wall it shows this big– No, that’s only for ease of display and explaining. It’s a spider web.

Hear that sound? It’s my heart sinking someplace into the pit of my abdomen. My daughter, the RN, thinks I should be overjoyed and skipping with glee because I’m going to be pain-free. She swears I’ve lived with pain for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like to not have to worry and wait for the next bout. I’m forced to hide from overhead fans that are apt to trigger the pain just from the air circulating around my face, I must kill every upper vent in the car for the same reason, and to have an open the car window on a beautiful day has been unthinkable. I bundle up against the slightest downward trend in temperature, because I can be in serious pain from it. My daughter says I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live normally. She says I run on autopilot until what is abnormal has become normal for me.

My collection of hoodies, scarves, earmuffs, and hats with flaps over the ears and face is unreal. Even on the hottest day, I never drink anything with ice in it. But I have learned to somehow eat ice cream if it’s not frozen solid. An ice cream cone can be impossible., because it requires the tongue movement that can trigger the pain. But I don’t dare let the ice cream near the right side of my mouth. Maybe my daughter is correct in her assessment of my situation, because I almost can’t imagine drinking an icy glass of tea or enjoying a breeze.

I’m worried my girls are going to raid my closets of scarves, stupid-looking hats, and all the things that have protected me. No, I can’t imagine living without the constant fear of pain. I can barely imagine a winter with pain-free days and nights, or not bundling up like a crazy person just to grab the mail from the box that hangs inches from the screen door.

Nope, I can’t envision it. I can’t imagine being able to brush my teeth without pain or open my mouth all the way. I don’t care if I’m trading pain for complete numbness. There are some drawbacks to that, but I’ll get used to it. I wonder if food will taste different?

So I’ll vanish from the blog for a while. I’ll be a week in the hospital and then my daughter, the RN, is taking me to her house in North Carolina, where I will (be held hostage) recuperate for several weeks. Seriously, I love her to death and it’s really sweet of her to take that many weeks off from work to babysit me. I’m hoping I can get lots of writing done while I’m there. I’m hoping I can remember how to string words together and form sentences.

But I’ve got to convince her that chicken fried chicken and macaroni and cheese are not my idea of a meal. I want lettuce! Chicken is fine, but please don’t fry it. Collards are not lettuce. Fixing cream of sand aka grits is not my idea of breakfast; cream of wheat or oatmeal is a fine breakfast food unless it’s made with that instant stuff. It only takes about 45 minutes to cook steel-cut oatmeal and it cooks itself. It only needs occasional stirring. My darling little girl married a Southern boy and has learned to cook his favorites. My friends from the South are laughing at me because they appreciate and love greasy-fatback-laden good eats, and they know that Yankees never will.

But before everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line jumps on me, I do love some Southern food. I never ate corn pudding until I moved to the South. It’s one of my favorite foods and so very easy to make. In fact, it’s easy to cheat if you don’t have creamed corn and only have plain in the pantry just add a dash more milk.

Corn Pudding

1 can of creamed corn

2/3 cup of milk

2 Tablespoons of sugar or a little less. 🙂

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Combine cornstarch in milk. No lumps! Put to one side. Then break two eggs into a bowl and mix well. Add corn, sugar, and salt. Now add the cornstarch and milk to the corn mixture.

Grease a one-quart casserole with butter, I like to use a round casserole with nice high sides – don’t substitute a pie pan. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and dot with butter on the top of the mixture. Oven bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I watch it, because I like it almost brown on top – that pretty deep gold shade. Yummy!

Sorry to my friends in the UK for my American measurements.

I know I’m facing surgery on April 16th that will change my life for the better. I know the authors here on Main Street will post on our Facebook page of my progress. So cross your fingers, send a few prayers, good vibes, or whatever you want because all that positive energy has to help but don’t just send them to me. I get to sleep through it – my doctor is the one that has to do all the work. I want a perfect job. I want to awaken pain-free and well, I want to awaken . I want to be able to wiggle my toes and fingers, count to ten, and still be able to write books.  My doctor has warned me I’m going to have a vicious headache for a little while. How long is a little while? OMG! I hate pain meds. Yes, send lots of positive energy. I think I’m going to need all of it.

Posted in E.'s Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments