Childhood Summer Reading


Is there much better than summer reading on vacation? There seems to be a central mystery theme at the core of my reading when I was growing up. I still love a good mystery. Some were books I found at my grandmother’s house where I went on vacation and some were books I got through my little local library.

Here’s just a few of my favorites from summer reading as a kid –

Bobbsey Twins in Rainbow Valley by Laura Lee Hope  – This was a little book that I found in my grandmother’s house and I loved reading it every time I was there.  The two sets of twins, Flossie and Freddie and Bert and Nan, go on vacation with their parents to Rainbow Valley.  Many mildly scary adventures befall them on their trip.  I think the adventure on vacation angle appealed to my mind because I was on vacation at my grandmother’s house.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I think my recollections of this story could be a little bit mixed up with the movie at this point but I still remember the soft green of this paperback copy and the softness of the pages for some reason.  The story never got old for me.  Mary is an orphan after her parents die of Cholera in India.  She is frail and sickly but when she goes to stay with her uncle on the moor in England, the garden she finds helps her return to health even as she helps it.  Who wouldn’t like a little bit of Earth to call their own? And how much better if it’s a secret garden with a hidden door in a high wall?  It’s the magic of nature.

The Mystery of the Crimson Ghost by Phyllis A. Whitney – Like most teen girls, I was horse crazy. Of course, it didn’t help that I grew up on the same street where they held horse auctions every other Friday and I walked horses to cool them down after polo matches one year.  I spent years trying to find this book again because I didn’t have the title quite right.  I finally ran across it and found out it was by none other than Phyllis Whitney.  This was the perfect story for a horse crazed teenager with a love of mysteries.  Janey goes to visit her Aunt Viv on summer vacation and sees a mysterious crimson ghost dog across the lake.  There’s also a beautiful horse across the lake.  In order to ride the horse, she’ll have to figure out the mystery surrounding the crimson ghost.

What were some of your favorite childhood reads?

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is enjoying the 4th in a safe manner. I’m at home with my family, trying new recipes, playing board games, and reading. I’m currently reading Dark Energy by Addison Brae.

Addison is published by Tirgearr, as I am. We sometimes share emails as a group and I picked up Dark Energy because of something she said in one that moved me very much. She had this to say about the book —

“This has been a bittersweet launch. One where fiction and reality collide. Becker Circle and Dark Energy are set in the service industry, in bars where workers have been hit hardest since the world shut down. Smart young people who party way too much I’ve met inspired some of the books’ characters and events. Some of these real young people have passed away recently—not from a virus, but from conditions related to mental illness and substance abuse that the virus worsened. I dedicated Dark Energy to the service industry as a reminder of how important human lives are. The situation is serious. If a friend is suffering, please, please encourage them to seek help.”

I asked her if I could share that, but here’s the book blurb too. It’s half priced on, where you can get tons of great books (including mine) for half price during July. Happy Reading!

Cybercrime doesn’t talk. It creeps in and destroys lives right under Gillian’s nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands her boss, Pinkie, in jail. Gillian had just started over with a new career, boyfriend, and confidence after escaping a vicious murder investigation that shattered her ability to trust. Then Pinkie’s arrest leaves her struggling to run his two bars while also unraveling the conspiracy.

Gillian will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do. Neither will Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend…until his good fortune sends her reeling. Gillian forces herself to trust the cops, people who hurt her, and known criminals. Will it be enough to free Pinkie and save her life?


Ink Slinger Update: Editing Squash



Feels like I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, even with a snow day, and my brain has finally called, “Uncle!”

I’ve been wrapping my mind around writing guest posts for other people’s blog and churned out 10 of them this weekend. A couple are interviews but I decided to get a little creative with several others, dragging along several of my characters to chat with, one per blog post. Those will start next week on the 17th and include an online raffle for prizes. I finished the posts late Sunday night and I just hope they meet with the blog owner’s approval.

I’ve moved back into working on Firebound, the sequel to Earthbound, by inputting the edits from my writer’s group. I just can’t get over how enthusiastic and supportive they were about the first chapter. I hope they like chapter 2 as much. That will be up for editing next, then I’ll move on to writing new content again.

Since I didn’t get a recipe up this weekend, I’ll share one today for spaghetti squash.  It used to be that I was the only one in my house who would eat this vegetable, but my daughter and husband have become converts. (It’s a good thing because he grew EIGHTEEN of them in our garden last year!) Thankfully, they winter pretty well and we are still using what we grew. This year we tried a variety called Orangetti. I can’t say I like it as well as the lighter yellow ones but it sure was prolific.

Basically, I wash and pierce a whole spaghetti squash and microwave it on high for 9 minutes. Turn it over and nuke for another 9 minutes. (Alternatively, slice and take out the seeds then put in a pot with an inch of boiling water, cover, and steam for 20 minutes. If you peal it ahead, you can just break it up once it’s steamed.)

For the sauce – In a small pot, combine a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of basil, ½ teaspoon of oregano, and a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity. Simmer while the squash cooks.

Combine and use to fuel your creativity!

Ink Slinger Update – 1/28/2020


Ink Slinger Update

I’m hard at work on the sequel to Earthbound, Firebound, and loving it! It’s so much fun putting the pieces together and sewing them up.

I have edited chapters 1 through 3. Perhaps some people would call it re-writing because there has been a LOT of chopping and rearranging. Sometimes I’m taking away as many words as I add, but I managed to add 1,000 words to the story over the weekend. (The words flow faster when they are new, this is about smoothing and filling in the mortar between the bricks.)

I’ve set up Scene and Sequel cards that have helped me see where I’ve got holes in my plot, or the action in the chapter doesn’t lay quite right, to ratchet up the tension.

Tonight will be all about rearranging chapter 4 to make it lay right, and fill in some gaps.

I’m also working on adding a bit more scenery description this time, without slowing down the action. It’s a balancing act.

I was concerned about how many scenes and chapters the book would have so I was counting and figuring, asking other authors how many scenes in their books. Then I checked the word count in each of my first three chapters. I averaged around 3,500 words in each so I’m not going to worry anymore, I’ll just keep writing.

Since cooking is one of my major creative outlets and recipes or descriptions of food show up in novels a good bit, I’ve started sharing a recipe on Sundays. I hope to continue that.

I’ve re-joined Twitter @MeloraJohnson so feel free to follow me and I tend to follow back. I’m enjoying it a lot more the second time around, perhaps because I know more people in the publishing industry and have more contacts to follow.