Wayfarer Aegis Giveaway!

Do you track your books on Goodreads?  I’ve got a new giveaway on Goodreads through the end of June!  Sign up for a chance to win a signed copy of Wayfarer Aegis.  This is the short story about Adara’s time on the Aegis and how she rescued her fellow crew mates.

Here’s a synopsis of the book:

Before the Pritchard and Decker, Adara had a contract on an explorer class ship. The ship was supposed to be her home, the crew her family. With a rigid by the books captain, Adara found herself written up, reprimanded and in danger of losing her contract. Still she forms bonds with people on the crew. Carving out a niche, she finds a balance until fate intervenes with a deadly asteroid shower. 
There are five copies I’m giving away of Wayfarer Aegis!  Sign up today!


At my job, a request has been made for all publication for faculty and staff in the last year.  My faculty know I write so they have encouraged me to participate.  I was feeling like I hadn’t done much over the last year.  Then I gathered up the material.  Since July of 2011 I’ve had a dozen items published and that doesn’t count my own personal blog or the second blog I did for a bit. 

Periodically I feel like I’m not devoting enough time to submitting my work.  I feel like I could do more and should do more in order to add to my credits.  If people don’t see your name regularly they forget who you are.  The problem is I have been focusing on writing.  I have ideas of what I want to submit where but I just haven’t taken the time (I’ve had it but spent it elsewhere). 

A dozen items printed isn’t bad.  I want more – greedy aren’t I?  I want my book out there.  I’ve been very focused on that.  I’m currently reading the guide for self-publishing on Smashwords.  I’m hoping to take my notes from that and get my romance novel out there.  Then the next step is to get a poetry book out there.  Once I go through the Smashwords process, I will want to get paper copies done too so yet another process. 

I feel like the process is never ending.  I know that in addition to the actual publishing I’m going to need to do marketing as well – no point in publishing if no one knows your book is out there.

I need to do two things – schedule my time better and clean my desk / office.  Then I’ll be organized and will have time set aside for the tasks at hand.  I was going to do the office this weekend but woke with a migraine this morning and went back to bed.  I got up at 11 instead of 7.  Still have a slight headache but I need to get homework done.  No office organizing today. 


I’ve had eczema on my legs for over two years.  If you don’t know what it is, this is a rash like skin irritation which is very itchy and painful.  I’ve tried steroid cream from the doctor and lots of over-the-counter stuff to try to get rid of this. 

The steroid cream made my normally not very hairy legs exceedingly hairy but did give me some minor relief.  Aveeno Eczema cream helped with some of it but didn’t really give me good relief from the symptoms.

Vicki and I have been making homemade soaps and hygiene products because she struggles with the chemicals in a lot of products.  We started with shampoo.  When she shifted to the new homemade shampoo, she went from having a constantly sore head to no red or itchiness.  The only side effect she had was her hair was curlier. 

Next we tried hand soap.  I’ve not been able to use hand soap for nearly two decades because most soaps make my hands break out in itchy hives.  The soap we made though doesn’t irritate and I can use with no side effects. 

We tried lotion to help my legs.  This was a bit more complicated to make but for me it was worth it.  The lotion comes out more like a salve.  It isn’t sticky but is slightly oily.  One thing I hate about lotion is the sticky feeling left on my skin when I apply it.  This doesn’t feel that way.  I’ve been applying the new lotion about once a day.  My one leg has gone from red and constantly itchy to very little red (mostly around the sores from scratching) and the itching has decreased significantly.  My other leg – which was worse – is coming along. 

I think this will help in the long run.  I do want to look into adding turmeric to my lotion as that is supposed to be really good for eczema.  Vicki and I will keep experimenting and see how this all works out. 

Below are the recipes and web sites for shampoo and lotion that Vicki found:


For normal hair, or as a base to add your own scents, use
            1/4 cup distilled water
            1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
            1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, or other light vegetable oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Shake before use.

This mixture isn’t as thick as commercial shampoos – you’ll need to just tilt the bottle over your head. I am really impressed with how much lather I get from it though!

Organic Homemade Lotion Basic Ingredients:

            1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
            1/4 cup coconut oil
            1/4 cup beeswax
            Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
            Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
            Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

How to Make Lotion:
1.      Combine ingredients in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives or other foods.
2.      Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
3.      Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
4.      As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (8 ounce) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
5.      Use as you would regular lotion. This has a longer shelf life than some homemade lotion recipes since all ingredients are already shelf stable and not water is added. Use within 6 months for best moisturizing benefits.

Note: A litte goes a long way! This lotion is incredibly nourishing and is also great for diaper rash on baby, for eczema and for preventing stretch marks!


The concert was EXCELLENT!  Ken and I both enjoyed the concert very much.  I don’t think either of us would have missed it for anything.  It was great for me to see Ken enjoying the live music of his favorite group.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the music (mostly). 

I loved watching the people react and be enthralled.  I loved the drums.  I loved the music though I felt they could have turned it down.  The entire experience was a very positive one.
What I didn’t enjoy was the onslaught of chaos on my senses.  Before we even got to the gates of Summerfest I wanted to turn around and go home.  There was so much noise with music of all kinds coming from every direction.  It made me stressed just listening to it.  I felt like I wanted to go to all the volume switches and turn them down.  There was just a cacophony of noise with nowhere to escape from it.
The other thing I didn’t like was all the people.  Don’t get me wrong I love to people watch but the idea of trying to struggle through the masses caused me a lot of anxiety.  I was using my scooter for the first time in a large group.  This might have been part of my anxiety as I wasn’t sure how fast to go or how quickly it would stop.  I didn’t want to hit or run over anyone.  Plus I wasn’t sure how well the scooter would do over uneven ground.  It was actually really good.  I just didn’t like all the people.  The snatches of conversation, the smell of alcohol, the noise of so many people competing with so much music and other noise.  It was all just overwhelming. 
Once we were settled in our seats, the crush of people didn’t bother me as much, probably because I was in a protected area where I wasn’t in the way or jostled by the crowd.  Then I sort of got into the people watching thing.  We had EMTs there for a woman who looked like she got too hot.  We had a couple with a baby there – not what I would have done.  There was a whole section who once the concert started danced through the whole concert.  I didn’t see any drunk and disorderly which was good as that would have spoiled the night.  Everyone just seemed to be having a good time. 
Big downside to the night, we got home at midnight and Ken was up at three to get ready for work.  He will have a rough week because of the lack of sleep this week.  He really enjoyed the concert so I’m sure he thinks it was worth it. 


Yesterday my gout flared up – no fun let me tell you.  The good thing that came out of it though is that I spent the majority of the day in my recliner.  This meant that I finished Stephanie’s afghan!!! 

I don’t know how long I’ve been working on this afghan.  It has eight points and each point is more than a yard long.  This means that to make one full round (row) it was nearly like working on eight rows at once.  I took an eight pointed star doily pattern and used a bigger hook to make this afghan.  I’ve done this before with other doily patterns.  This one turned out beautifully. 
Two of my daughters (smart asses that they are) asked if it was big enough and told me I should maybe do one more round of colors.  What I said in return I don’t think I should print – it wasn’t polite. 
I’ve now started a new big project – well it is a smaller big project.  For me a big project is one that I can’t finish in one sitting.  Now I’m working on a sweater for Vicki.  When I get done with that I’ll work on Beth’s afghan.  While I’m working on the big projects I like to add in little projects so I can see something get accomplished so I have several of those to work on as well. 
My foot is still bugging me but I’m hoping to spend the time while Vicki is gone working on writing and bills.  Once she is home we have a project or two to work on.  Tomorrow will be a great day because I am going to go visit with Laura!!!  Then it will be the weekend and back to work on Monday.  This is definitely shaping up into a good vacation!

Stephanie picked the colors.  She has three shades of blue with each group of rows separated by a light gray.  Each of the color groupings is three rows.  The picture was taken on our loveseat which is over six feet long – I can’t find my tape measure but from center to end of one point is over a yard so across is probably a good 72 – 75 inches.  I used Caron Simply Soft yarn so the texture of the afghan is super soft but at the same time the yarn is really durable and washable.  I’m super pleased with how it turned out and can’t wait to see Stephanie’s face when she sees it complete for the first time.

Making Community – Kelley Harrell

I joke to my flist on http://www.livejournal.comabout dreams that I have, in which we gather for reunions infused with long-weekend slumber parties and lots of gluten-free snack foods.  The thing is, I really have had that dream recurrently, for years, and half or more of the people on my flist I’ve never met in-person.  These are people I’ve met through various venues, interests, and life stages, who for whatever reason have become a solid presence in my life for the last nine years.  Yet in some odd ethereal way those dreams are gatherings of this unique clan of writers, soul friends, spirited minds, and our time together is very much not out first meeting.  It is a reunion.  We are not starting from a beginning.  We are in progress.

Other online groups I meet in dreams for rituals, the creative goddesses who craft the cosmos through their art, the global priestesses who genuinely do tend All Things in their daily spiritual practices.  We assemble and bless the event, evoke the spirit, chart it into our footsteps then clear out, leaving not a careless crumb behind, cos we are ladies, after all.  These are my dream communities, not just in my dreams but my ideals.

In the west we come to animism from the rough, or “wampyjawed,” as my southern ancestors would say.  Modern shamans largely are solo spirits pulling together various threads to weave ‘tribe,’ or they forego the effort and attempt to wing it purely solo.  There’s no correct or incorrect way, though I’ve learned in twenty-four years on a shamanic path, without conscientiously tended ties to a mentoring elder, and in the absence of a tribe of individuals who, despite not having chosen a shamanic path, at least understand ecstatic challenges, we’re doing it the hard way.

Having pioneered along my own broken path I’ve worked with others as clients for fourteen years.  Time and again I’ve watched others and myself peak with euphoric healing and enlightenment, only to wither in a couple of weeks under the drudge, the toil, the work of being human.  We swing from extreme to extreme—clear, well, balanced to confused, frustrated, disenchanted.  We make every effort to carry our transformations alone, because our cultural identity is singular.  It has taught us we are of no value if we can’t stand on our own.  Somewhere along the way, even in the most earth-based modern life paths, we’ve lost our sense of community and of the needs that it fills.

I’ve asked myself, “Is this just the way the animistic spiritual path of the west is?”  Maybe.  I don’t know.  I do know that it doesn’t have to be that way.  We don’t have to isolate and assume that no one else will understand our spiritual experiences.  In fact, no one has to understand them at all. As long as we have careful others who can witness them, give life to them as midwife and loving friend, we can sustain wisdom.

Along with that insight I’ve had to reckon with the fact that I just don’t have the availability for spiritual social gatherings that I had pre-parenthood, though I’ve no less need for them.  I have to find that support where I can, even if it comes to me in dreams, bits, and bytes. 

Throughout the day you’re likely to catch me having conversations with some unseen colleague—walking down the corridor at my day job, stopped at intersections, ambling around in my garden.  It probably looks a little odd to passersby.  For me, though, it’s not only normal, it’s desirable.

Talking to myself with my community in mind helps me step out of the cultural expectation to keep things to myself, to do everything for myself.  If I can risk looking like a nut talking to the air I can cut to the core of exactly what I need to give and receive when finally I am able to post that journal entry, respond to that forum thread. 

And so what if a good part of my community is online, people I’ve never met in-person?  They can deal it to me straight, they can empathize, or speak whatever we both need most in any transaction, because compassion is the fore.  I am their community as much as they are mine.  As an animist it’s all connected—life, life forms, thoughts, cars, social media, emotions…  It’s all real.  It’s here, and There.

Community is where it is.  The more we settle into that wider awareness of how we find each other and share heart-centered experiences, the euphoria from healing or fantastic awakening won’t wither.  It will thrive and enliven some next wonder, for all involved.

And don’t be surprised if we only know each other online and in some common space I refer to you as my coworker.

And thanks Mandy for starting it all with that first paid subscription to Live journal!

 www.kelleyharrell.com has a complete list of publications.

“Remembering the Tradition: Timeless Heritage, Curious Fate,” Engaging the Spirit World: Shamanism, Totemism, and Other Animistic Practices by Lupa. Immanion Press, 2012.

“Telling the Bees,” The Spirit of a Woman: Intimate Stories to Empower and Inspire. Edited by Terry László-Gopadze, LMFT. Santa Monica Press, June 2010.

“diligent suns,” The Journey of Healing: Wisdom from Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Edited by Marjorie Ryerson. Safer Society Press, May 2010.

“Spiritual Gardening: Creating Sacred Space in Nature,” Nature’s Gifts: An Anthology Celebrating Nature and Our Natural World. Edited by Smoky Trudeau. Vanilla Heart Publishing, March 2010.

DIY Totemism: Your Personal Guide to Animal Totems by Lupa. Forward by S. Kelley Harrell. Immanion Press, August 2008.

Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma, Spilled Candy Books, September 2004. Read praisefor Gift of the Dreamtime and an excerpt.


Welcome back to the winter waddle!! 

We’ve had a very mild winter with little snow and temperatures more like late fall / early spring than winter.  Today we have snow.  It was supposed to be flurries – i.e. a few flakes whipping around.  Instead we’ve had a steady snowfall smearing the landscape with white instead of brown and lower temps.  The weather person threatens cold temperatures for the weekend.  You know like winter is supposed to be.

Now I only like winter when I can enjoy it sitting by my fireplace.  I’m the first one to say it is too cold or too long.  I’ve been listening all summer to people raving about how nice it is and how we are having this great winter.

Their tune changed today though.  Now it is awful that it will be cold and the storms are horrible.  Yup, it is awful because it is WINTER!!!  Be happy we didn’t have crappy weather from October on.  We have had winter start early and stay late.  This year we’ve had phenomenally good weather.

This blip is just Mother Nature’s way of reminding us that WINTER is here.  She just hasn’t punished us with a wicked and wild winter.

Drawing to a Close

The week is drawing to a close and I’m exhausted.  However, I’m still planning on going to the rally tomorrow in Whitewater.  It is at 6 pm at the flagpoles.  If you are local – come on out.  There will be a debate in City Hall at 7 pm.  I am most interested in that.

Here I am 47 years old and I’ve never been politically involved.  I still don’t think I’ll vote by party lines.  However, I am definitely going to make sure I know who I’m voting for.  This is definitely a different experience for me.  See I’m considered a baby boomer so is my husband.  We are at the tail end of it though.  We were barely born in the 60s so we weren’t involved in the protests at that time.  My sisters were in High School and College / Tech School during the Vietnam War protests. 

I believe strongly in standing up for what you believe in.  I’ve just never felt the need to band together.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve written letters to legislators and newspapers.  I’ve fought for what I thought was right.  I just never had a whole lot of other people agreeing with me before. 

There is stress.  I am not sleeping.  I’m worrying about a whole list of things.  Under the worry though is the knowledge that this NEEDS to be done.  I know some of you disagree with my beliefs and my comments on here.  That is just fine by me.  Everyone is allowed their opinions. 

I’ve had a word or two from friends (or a lot more than that).  Here’s the thing.  In my emails every day I get a LOT of stuff from all sorts of unions.  I read them.  I look through them and try to find the primary source of their information.  When they use inflammatory verbiage and inappropriate language – I stop reading and discard the email.  When they give us data – I go look for more data to back it up. 

I don’t know if it is because I’m a writer and I want three (at least) solid sources for information or if it is because I just do research.  I want the primary source of the information.  Every day we hear propaganda from each side.  We hear horror stories and rumors. 

I don’t want that and I try not to pass that on.  I want FACTS.  I listen to both Fox and MSNBC.  Fox is horrible and incorrect all the time.  MSNBC is incorrect some of the time and some times they blow things out of proportion. 

When I want NEWS I try to gather information from a primary source.  For instance – I was told that teachers make over 100,000 grand a year with their benefits.  I googled it… boy is there a lot of crap out there and a lot of opinions.  This is what I did – I went to the Department of Public Instruction.  They have an Excel spreadsheet which gives highs/lows/average wage and average benefits for each school district.  I looked there.

I’m not always right.  I’ve been known to get upset and say what I’ve been told.  Then I calm down and do the research and find – oopppss not quite the right information.  But I try not to do that. 

The only way I can battle the stress of the situation and keep any amount of sanity is to ferret out the facts as I am able.  These are not always reassuring but at least I know I have the facts.  There are things worth fighting for and I’m sure the history books will report what the winners did as being right.  I wonder if those who live through it will have the courage and the voice to tell what it was like to live in these times.  History can’t express the worry, fear, and all the other emotions that flood over you as you watch this unfold.  Only people can do that.  Hopefully there will be people brave enough to share how they feel with all the turmoil.  Will you?  Post if you are…

Romance and sex…

I’ve got a romance manuscript and in my manuscripts targetiing adults I include characters having sex.  One of the most difficult things in writing a sex scene is finding the balance between describing the anatomy and act of sex without making it pornographic.  How many euphemism can you really write about an erect male organ or to describe the joy of an orgasm? 

To delve into some of the possibilities, I opted to do a bit of research on the Internet.  Now I’m not looking for porn – nothing wrong with it but not the purpose of this research.  I was concerned about getting to sites that were … to put it politely … gross. 

I found a couple of sex dictionaries which were educational I guess.  I never knew there were so many terms for a penis.  Perhaps we are just a tad too obsessed with them?  Don’t get me wrong – I like the anatomy of a man quite a bit but really some of these terms were a bit much.  The one that sticks in my head that I don’t think men would like is penie… I just keep hearing teenie wittle penie… and yes that is in a cutsy baby type tone.  I’m pretty sure if that were said to an aroused man it would have the same effect as cold water.

My foray into these dictionaries was amusing and a bit sad.  Do we really not have better phrases than “his burgeoning male member”?  Thrusting is another term that is frequently used… how many appropriate synanims are there for thrust?  Push, shove, propel, drive, force, propel, plunge are on the list and some of these just sound painful not romantic. 

If we can’t describe the act of sex (hopefully wonderful and fulfilling sex) then do we just describe the emotions behind the act?  What if a character doesn’t have emotions and it is just sex to them? 

I did find one site which does discuss and list many euphemisms.  I have to say that after the other sites, I bookmarked that site and stopped.  For anyone who is looking for a good euphemistic resource here is the site  http://home.epix.net/~jlferri/sexrom.html

For myself, when I work on these scenes, I am usually pretty raunchy the first time through.  Some of my best work is done when I edit it.  Until I figure out a better way – I’ll just keep fumbling in the dark… 🙂


I know that my alarm goes off at 5:30 every morning.  I hit my snooze and am out of bed by 6:06 almost every morning (sometimes I take an extra 9 minutes).  Unless I’m on vacation, this is my routine – boring, normal, typical, routine for the evilness morning is – so not a morning person. 

Last night I saw 10:00 pm hit the clock on my computer.  I said to myself – no more than an hour more. I have to get some sleep for work in the morning.  The next time I look at the clock it is nearly 11:40.  I haven’t gathered anything for work.  I’ve not gotten my purse together, thought about what needs to be gotten organized for the morning.  I’ve just been lost in my writing. 

I know the alarm will have a death sentence in the morning because I’m not going to make it into bed before midnight.  Yet I still look at the clock and where I am in the manuscript.  The question on my mind – Do I dare delve back into writing?  That’s crazy right?  6 am is early and mornings suck…

My creative flow on this story is fabulous.  I can’t seem to type fast enough.  When the words slow to a trickle, I have only to go take a nap and suddenly I’m filled up with words.  That’s the other thing, when I sleep I dream of the story.  When I drive I’m analyzing what I’ve written. 

Today on the way home I kept turning over a scene I’d written last night.  There was something about it that wasn’t right – I knew it when I wrote it.  It wouldn’t let me be and suddenly as I’m driving down the highway cursing a putzy driver, the solution presents itself.  I’m so focused on figuring out the details of reworking this one scene I can’t find my own house (yes I am a dork)… I turn on my road on auto pilot and suddenly I realize I don’ t know where my house is.  Fortunately I didn’t drive passed it.

I come in the house and my daughter has made cookies and lasagne for supper.  I tell her how great it smells and that I’ll be back because I have to fix this scene.  When she calls out that supper is done, I am stunned that I’ve been sitting at my computer long enough for her to assemble and bake lasagne…

I’ve fixed the scene.  It is so much better now, funnier and a better fit.  I’ve written another scene and I’ve made some decisions on the next set of scenes.  I’m excited about them and I can’t wait to write them. 

So why am I writing in my blog?  Well a friend told me she was going to call.  I don’t want to get interrupted in the middle of a scene so I’m taking a break and waiting for her call.  Oh yeah and let me not forget – I want to talk to her as we haven’t had a lot of time together lately…

Somehow I think it is going to be a very short night again….