A Quick Update & Sharing a Guest Post

Just wanted to touch base with you guys and let you know that I’ve been feeling better for the last 3 days than I’ve felt since I fell. I’m hopeful this is a trend that will continue, and I’m going to do my best to get this week’s normal features back up and running. Bear with me if I fall short of that, but I’m optimistic!  And thank you ALL so much for your kind words and support. I appreciate it more than you know!

Also today, I want to share another guest post I did over two years ago on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo  blog. Yes, I know that’s two in a row, but this post is one that means a lot to me, and I like to think it will inspire a few of you who are sitting on the fence about pursuing your dreams of writing–or of anything else you’ve put off for too long. I hope you’ll take a minute and check out the following link. And as always, feel free to share with the Immediate World. 😀 

Guest author: Marcia Meara – Attitude really IS everything!

Good Morning & An Update


(For Mae)

Happy Freya’s Day, Everyone! (Okay, Friday is actually named for the Norse goddess Frigg, but Freya and Frigg are considered by most to be the same goddess. That being the case, I’m going with Freya, because, you know. It sounds nicer. 😉

At any rate, I hope your day is a good, productive one with plenty of smiles. 

As you may have noticed, I don’t have things back on my preferred schedule quite yet, and I apologize for that. The truth is, I’m still not feeling 100% after my fall of two weeks ago. I’m vastly improved, for sure, but I’m still suffering some recurrent dizziness and fatigue. This isn’t uncommon when you’ve received a concussion and can continue for several weeks before finally disappearing. And while the ER doctor said he didn’t THINK I had a concussion, he also told me to watch for the signs of one. (Along with the signs of brain bleeds and swelling, and various other things. I spent a lot of time watching, believe me.) Bottom line is, concussions are often missed, and based on the types of symptoms I have going on right now, it appears I’m still recovering from one. Frankly, I’m just grateful I’m not still recovering from a fractured skull. 

And all of this is by way of telling you that, as you’ve no doubt noticed, #FirstLineFriday has been put off for another week, due to a couple of bad days Tuesday and Wednesday that pushed me even farther behind on my overall work schedule. But NOT to fear! I am much better than I was, and I know I’ll be catching up soon. I’m just trying to do what my  doctor suggests and not push too hard, though it’s against my nature to be idle very long. So, I work a bit, and then I rest a bit, and by and by, I expect the time spent working to increase until life is once again as normal as it gets around here.

Thanks so much for your patience and your well wishes, and all the kind things everyone has sent me. I appreciate each and every one of you more than you can imagine! Will be resuming my usual blog features, etc, one at a time until all is running smoothly again, which I hope won’t be too much longer.

And now we’ve come full circle: Happy Freya’s Day, Everyone! 😀 ❤

Enough, Already! Or, What Do Fire Ants, Cellulitis, and Ascending Lymphangitis Have In Common?


Fire Ant
(There are several varieties, but all look similar.)

I’ll tell you what they have in common: a second trip to the ER in eight days and  a ninety-minute IV hookup! Yep. I’m not sure I’ve ever been treated in an ER before, and now I’ve had to visit one twice in just over a week! Saw the same doctor, too. We’re on a first-name basis, now.  And what caused this week’s drama? A stinkin’, vicious little  invasive critter known as a fire ant!


Note the BIG Jaws on the head, and the
pointy STINGER on the other end!

Fire ants aren’t content with just biting you, like most ants, oh no. They bite in order to hang on to your skin while they STING the hell outta you with the HARPOON in their posterior region! Fire ant bites cause a red lump with a “blister” (a/k/a pustule, ick) on top. The sores  itch like fire–hence the name–and on many of us can last ten days or longer before finally shrinking to nothing and disappearing. You can end up in the hospital if you are allergic to them, or, like me, accidentally scratch them open and they become infected. Often seriously so

Tuesday afternoon, I realized that the one on my arm was not looking good. I treated it with some  antibiotic ointment and crossed my fingers. Yesterday  morning, it was looking much worse, but I couldn’t get in to see my doctor. Within a couple more hours, it was a mess, and I had red streaks about 6 inches above the bite, running in several directions. This is what we used to call “blood poisoning” and it was NOT to be dismissed lightly. Today, it’s known as ascending lymphangitis, or an infection spreading upward through the lymph glands, toward the heart! (BTW, “cellulitis” just basically means “infection of the cells.”)

No way I could wait for my doctor to be available. 

Back to the ER I went, where they admitted me immediately and said they needed to get antibiotics in my system as fast as possible, thus the IV. On the happy side, the red lines started fading within a couple of hours, and the rest of my medication can be taken via the usual route, by mouth with a glass of water, over the next week. 


Typical Fire Ant Mound
(Though They CAN be Smaller, Too)

I’m reporting this in detail because I want those of you who live in areas where fire ants have taken over to be very aware that their bites can be more than just a painful annoyance. The current thinking is, do NOT puncture the blister on top of the bite, and if it accidentally gets broken open, clean immediately, and treat with antibiotic ointment. If it starts oozing and hurting, get medical treatment before you end up with streaks running up your arm. Lymph gland infections can lead to all sorts of problems, including organ failure, and they spread very quickly. 

Speaking of spreading, these nasty little ants have been doing so (especially in the southeast) for years, via the usual methods, plus the ability to make large, floating mounds of nothing but THEM, and drifting along on water to reach their next area to colonize. They move this way often after storms and flooding.


Nuthin’ Here But ANTS, Being Carried Along
on Top of the Water. Soooo . . .

Praemonitus, praemunitus!
or
Forewarned is forearmed. 

*NOTE: This has been a Public Service Announcement.*
😉

Happy News! #MondayBlogs #amwriting

Happy Monday, Everyone. That’s possibly contradiction in terms for some of you, but for me, this is a happy day, indeed.  I am finally feeling well enough to get back to my WIP, which I had hoped to send off to editing a week ago, but which is still (sadly) lacking a final chapter and epilogue. SO, feeling up to writing–looking forward to it, in fact–is a big step forward from where I’ve been for the last week.

When they tell you a blow to the head can scramble your brains, they aren’t kidding. While I didn’t have any memory lapses, I’ve had trouble concentrating and have done some really odd things over the last week. But finally, I seem to be able to organize my thoughts and think creatively. Maybe. 😀 

I do want to let you all know that I’m taking things one step at a time, with the first one being to finish this long-overdue book. I do have a guest scheduled tomorrow for #ShareAReviewDay, but I’m not ready to commit to any other specific blog features, like #FirstLineFriday. I might put that off another week. A tortoise once told me slow and steady wins the race. 🙂

As I return to my normal blogging routine, I’m planning to make a change or two. For some time, I’ve featured mostly writing-related memes on Mondays, but I’d like to expand that to include more than memes. Articles, tips, shared posts, etc, related to writing might become part of Mondays going forward. We’ll see how that goes. #ThorsDaySmiles will stay focused on anything I think might make you smile. Smiling is good. Laughing out loud is even better. And because I enjoy it so much,  #FirstLineFriday WILL resume, I’m just not sure when. 

So with those thoughts in mind, off I go to work on that last chapter of The Light, and to think about what I need to do to get this one “out there.” But I’ll be at least a bit more visible here from now on, I think. 

Thank you all for your support, healing thoughts, prayers, and encouraging words over the last week. I may or may not be able to respond to you individually, but please believe I read and appreciated every single comment! 

Hope you all have a great, productive week! Go get ’em, guys! ❤ ❤ ❤

(And btw, does anyone know why all our sweet little hearts turned black all of a sudden? I mean, it’s really pretty sinister looking now, isn’t it??? 😀 )

Schedule Change & a Bit of Catching Up #amwriting


A Full House in the Little Classroom of the Enterprise Museum
(a restored 1930s schoolhouse that’s utterly charming!)

Good Morning, Everyone! Hope your week has been as eventful and productive as mine, and that you are looking forward to the upcoming one. I know I am! That’s because I’m taking a week off from blogging to focus on the last two chapters of my WIP. Yep. I’m down to the Showdown and Resolution chapters, and very much looking forward to wrapping this long overdue book up. I need to get it “out there” so I can tell the next story rambling around in my head. 

With this in mind, my normal weekly features (#ShareAReviewDay and #FirstLineFriday, along with the less regular #MondayMeme, and #ThorsDaySmiles) will be MIA for a week, but don’t worry. Everything will be back to normal (such as that is around here) by Monday, October 7. While away, I will check in daily, of course, and take care of comments or questions, but mostly, I’ll be buried in the final moments of Rabbit’s latest adventure. I will, of course, update you here as soon as I have this one ready to go. There will be a cover reveal, and I’m even going to get smart and set it up for pre-order. (As soon as I learn how.)

Now, as to the picture at the top of the page, that’s from yesterday’s Autumn Tea at the Enterprise Museum, with a somewhat stern looking me chatting to our guests. Not sure why it looks like I’m scolding them, but I promise, I was merely  giving the group of 35 or so the very first public look at my new cover. (I’ve edited the picture so that I can keep it a surprise from the rest of the world until the “Official Cover Reveal.” But these people have been begging me for weeks and weeks for news on the release, and I figured if I didn’t give them some proof it was actually going to happen, things were going to get ugly. 😀 ) Continue reading

#FREE for the first (and only) time – THE PRINCE’S MAN #Fantasy

While Marcia is clearing up her dead moss monster following Hurricane Dorian’s unwelcome visit, I thought I’d quickly share the news that book #1 in my Five Kingdoms fantasy series, THE PRINCE’S MAN, is part of a FREE boxed set. So, if you’ve hesitated about trying it, you can pick it up now without parting with a cent.

It’s marketed as ‘Dark Fantasy’, but that’s only on the grounds the books contain some violence (sword fights, anyone?) and darker themes. To be fair, I haven’t read the others, so I can’t vouch fully for their content, but this was the second set put together by Patty Jensen, the other set having the criteria of being ‘wholesome and sweet’.

The set is currently sitting pretty in the top 10 free fantasy books on Amazon, but it can always do with a few more downloads – PLEASE SHARE!

You can find it at any of these outlets:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WCDBVDC
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/sorcery-warlocks
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sorcery-warlocks-patty-jansen/1132903657?ean=2940163744749
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1476156119
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Patty_Jansen_Sorcery_Warlocks?id=XQ6oDwAAQBAJ

Deborah

Find me at:

https://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: https://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

Newsletter sign up and FREE Five Kingdoms short story: https://eepurl.com/bPZcmT

Central Florida’s Ordeal is OVER!

Though Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia are still in danger, Hurricane Dorian is officially crossing the state line and no longer menacing us here in central Florida! Hallelujah! I was beginning to think being stalked by a Deadly Turtle was the new normal. And I confess, I’m exhausted from all the preparations and the stress of not knowing for five long days whether we would take a hit or not. 

We did have some tropical storm force winds here during the night and throughout the morning, but let’s assess the damage, in comparison to what Irma did two years ago.

Here’s what Hurricane Irma left us on September 10, 2017:

Yes, our house is under there.

Another view, showing the size of the massive trunk of this tree.

The roof is lifted off the garage and the lintel is broken.

Top of the garage, with rafters poking up through the  roof. (The other ends of the rafters are poking into the seriously damaged Honda, which  was holding up the attic.

See? A good add for the Honda, which they were able to repair because, believe it or not, the frame didn’t buckle. (Even under the combined weight of our attic and contents, the garage roof itself, and the weight of a tree with a trunk 5 feet in diameter!

There are tons more pictures of the smashed gardens, the broken trellises and lamp posts, fence damage, and of course, the entire roof ruined. But enough about Irma.

Now let’s take a look at what Hurricane Dorian wrought:

Yep. That’s it. A dead moss monster next to the driveway. 

Seems like an unbelievable amount of labor and stress just to be ready for this, but the good news is, we can clean it up in about 30 seconds. (We’re still working on yard clean-up and replanting from Irma!) 

In all seriousness, it could just as easily have been as bad as or worse than Irma. Catastrophic, even. So it’s always better to over-prepare, and not need it, than to find yourself under-prepared and in danger. We’ll do it again the next time we’re menaced and we will pray all we end up with is a dead moss monster in the front yard.

Sadly, The Tale is Still Ongoing!

I swear, I’ve never been through a hurricane that moved this slowly before, and after 75 years of Florida living, I’ve been through quite a few. The Stalking Turtle reference becomes more obvious every day. The image above shows you very clearly that the danger of this storm is not in the eye, which is a quiet, calm area in the center of the storm. The danger is in the bands of powerful winds which circle the eye in a counterclockwise direction. Yellow, orange, and red are the DANGER colors.

I’ve used an image from last night because it gives you a good idea of just how far these bands can reach out to wreak havoc. The eye of the storm was approximately 100 miles off the coast of Florida when this image was taken. I’ve tweaked it a bit to show you roughly where it is now, in relation to Daytona Beach and us.

We got significant winds during the night and some downed branches here and there, but so far have been lucky. However, these bands will be arcing through Florida for hours before clearing the state line, so we certainly aren’t in the clear, yet. And then it’s the folks in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and even Virginia that have to be on the alert. (The Carolinas look to be in for some rough times ahead.)

If our house doesn’t take a hit today from one of these bands of wind, we’ll be okay. Just soggy and tired of it all. If we do, and another tree comes down, that changes everything. Mark had to go in to work, so I’m sitting here by myself, watching the heavier wind gusts and trying not to panic. 😯 It’s going to be a long day, but so far, no damage or power loss, so I’m very grateful for that.

I have discovered that one can only “hunker down” for so long before it gets really uncomfortable! 😀 

Here’s a photo I saw yesterday, long before the storm itself was even close to this particular location (St. Augustine, in north Florida). This is what even an outer, outer, outer band of the hurricane looked like yesterday morning. 😯

Please forgive me if it takes me some time to respond to all your lovely comments. I thank you so much for your support and well wishes and prayers. ALL are much appreciated and have helped me stomp down the incipient panic attacks. I’m taking deep breaths this morning and trying not to worry about what I’ll do if a limb smashes a window or damages the roof–other than running around in circles while shaking my fist at the sky, I mean. I’ve got that covered! 😀 

See you on the other side! ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Tonight Will (Probably) Tell the Tale

The new header image is what I’d love to think our coastline will be like by Thursday, instead of the hovering black clouds, bands of rain and wind, and possible massive storm surges that might be going on. For us in the Orlando area, it is currently dark, dismal, and raining like crazy–but the worst of what we are going to get will likely happen tonight, probably between 2:00am and 8:00am, so we’ll see how it plays out. There was a tiny shift eastward again overnight, but not very much, and it can swing back. However, it’s beyond our control, and we’ve done all we can do, except wait. 

I figured if I tried visualizing clear skies and beautiful, calm water along our beaches, maybe that’s what will soon be going on. I’m OVER this waiting and waiting, and after seeing what happened to the Bahamas, it has been a pretty scary wait, too. But one way or the other (preferably The Other), Dorian should be moving along into history. 

Meanwhile, please send your well wishes and prayers to everyone in the storm’s path, and especially to the poor folks in the Bahamas, which I think suffered the worst destruction I’ve ever seen from a hurricane. And thanks for all the love that you’ve sent our way! ❤  Will stay in touch as long as we have power. 🙂

It’s going to be a very long day around here. 

#Hurricane Dorian – Looking Grim Again!

I guess it was too much to hope this one would move far enough offshore to leave Florida alone. Saturday’s optimistic predictions have morphed into Monday’s abysmal ones. 

Yes, the eye of the storm is still over the water in the update above, but it is substantially closer to the shore than before. In fact, if it wobbles to the west even a tiny bit, it will make landfall on us. As it is, even if it follows the path currently predicted, the coast will take a major hammering. The worst winds of the storm are the bands on the west side as they whirl counter-clockwise around the eye. 

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the red zone areas along the coast, and I do hope people will leave! They are predicting an enormous storm surge all along that area, and that is one of the most dangerous things about the storm. (Notice that “the storm” and I are no longer on a first name basis!!) 

Here in Seminole County, we are already under a tropical storm watch, and will no doubt be getting at least that much wind and rain through the duration of “the storm.”  We are located just about 40 miles west of the 2AM Wed “M” in the graphic above. In a storm this huge and WIDE, that means we won’t know until it’s here just how bad things might get in Sanford/Orlando. 

This image shows the probability of wind speed, with the purple area being full-on hurricane wind. (You can see that a significant portion of the coastline is in the purple area.) We are in the narrow brown band of 50 to 60 mph winds, and close enough to the orange 60 to 70 mph range to be worrisome. And that’s if the storm does not move more inland.

This one is scary, folks.

We’ve done pretty much all we can do to be prepared, and now it’s just wait. And as they say:

WAITING FOR A HURRICANE
IS LIKE BEING STALKED
BY A TURTLE!

I will update again later today, if possible, but since we are already getting some rain and wind, power outage is very likely in the cards. Please continue to keep us and everyone in harm’s way in your thoughts and prayers.  And thank you so much for all the love and support you’ve sent our way!  ❤ ❤ ❤