The EMPIRE & Beyond

Inspired by the places and history of MidCoast Maine, welcome to the fictional town of Shoreton.

In The EMPIRE, history will not be forgotten…or silenced.

Darcy’s mother may be dead, but that doesn’t stop her mother from trying to warn her that trouble is brewing.

For weeks Darcy Adams has been haunted in her dreams by her mother and images of her hometown; past and present. The dreams make no sense until a frantic phone call from her father in the middle of the night confirms what her mother has been trying to tell her. Shoreton is in trouble.

Compelled by the desperation in her father’s voice and her mother’s warnings, Darcy travels across the country to the quaint coastal town she left behind years ago only to find it in a state of upheaval. The state plans to make changes that could doom the town, leaving the residents in a bitter conflict between those who crave progress and those determined to preserve their heritage.

Meanwhile Darcy’s dreams are becoming increasingly realistic and disturbing. There is more to the problems in town than meets the eye, as unexplainable encounters with strange people begin to occur. While searching for the connection, Darcy discovers a shocking secret confirming her ties to the future of the town, forcing her to delve not only into the town’s past, but her own. Faced with a history she thought buried in her past, Darcy discovers that sometimes moving forward means looking back.

After the Empire – Darcy & Will is a companion novella of The Empire. Darcy Adams has returned to California, but her mystical dreams of Shoreton have not subsided, but they are now much more personal.  Will Martin and Eddie Barrett were both very important to Darcy at different times in her life, and both are connected to painful memories, yet Darcy is drawn to both.  Confused about her feelings for these men, now entwined in her life again, Darcy must confront her feelings when dreams and reality collide.

Available at AMAZON

After the Empire: Darcy & Will

What happened after The Empire? In this companion story of The Empire, Darcy Adams has returned to California, but her mystical dreams of Shoreton have not subsided. They are now much more personal.  Will Martin and Eddie Barrett were both very important to Darcy at different times in her life, and are connected to painful memories, yet Darcy is drawn to both.  Confused about her feelings for these men, now entwined in her life again, Darcy must confront her feelings when dreams and reality collide.

What will Darcy Adams do about Will and Eddie?

After the Empire is available at AMAZON

2021 Year In Review / 2022 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!

I have really struggled this year in writing this post, not because I had trouble with choosing a word – this year that was the easiest part of this process.  The difficult part is writing a post that recaps last year without underpinning it with the politics and the continued divisiveness of this country which has managed to seep into just about every aspect of our daily lives, including the staggering loss of life from a pandemic that unfortunately and wrongly has also been politicized.  I don’t want to give any more oxygen to the negative churn that grips us and continues to divide us. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I’m angry.

My purpose for having a word of the year is that it serves as a touchstone, a talisman or guiding light for the new year.   It’s meant to promote positive qualities such as growth, learning, healing, strength, courage and hope.  As I read these last words back, I realize that the scope of this exercise has changed and expanded over the years.  In 2015 when I began choosing a yearly word to guide me, my goals were simple and much more personal. My first word, EMERGENT was chosen to help guide me as I began a journey of growth both personally and in my writing. RESILIENT, DEVELOPMENT, BALANCE were all chosen to continue and sustain that journey as well as to provide new goals to work towards.

The words that I have chosen for the last couple of years have expanded beyond that original intention and encompassed what was directly happening in my life as well as the world around me.

CULMINATE was a reminder of the nature of most things we encounter in life – to recognize a high point, there must be a lower point. To have a crescendo there must be a quieter time. Understanding and accepting the ups and downs and up again and down and so on, knowing that each event will have a beginning and an ending. This is the flow to most things in life.

RENEWAL was an ambitious choice for last year. It was hopeful, and I realize now a bit unrealistic. I chose it because at the time I felt battered and bruised by the events in my personal life as well as in the world around me.  My hope was that 2021 would bring rejuvenation, and a restoration back to some sense of normalcy. On some levels it has. My mistake was underestimating the time involved to complete such monumental changes. When I think of renewal in terms of some of its synonyms – restoration, recharging, replenish, rejuvenating, revival, rebirth, I realize that these are all processes that take time, work, patience, diligence and sometimes pain as we strip away the old layers to expose the new growth beneath. Progress is slow and the changes hard to see from a day-to-day perspective. It’s only when I stop and look back at where we began, that I can see change and growth and that is encouraging. I can see that my own healing has begun too.

So, like the previous words BALANCE, RESILIENT, PERSISTENT that I have carried forward through the years, I will carry RENEWAL with me into this new year as well, and continue to work towards it.  I will shore it up with the word and talisman I have chosen for 2022.  My hope is that this word is also taken up by anyone that needs its strength.  My WORD of the YEAR for 2022 is FORTITUDE.  May it serve us well!

2020 Year In Review / 2021 Word of the Year

Once again a year has come and gone at a pace that seems to increase the older I get. For 2020 though, there were plenty of reasons; and many of them were not good. My intention to choose a word of the year for 2020 was lost in the churn.   

An inevitable journey we will all one day make, set its course for my mom during the summer of 2019 and came to its natural end in March just as a worldwide pandemic was gaining strength. My 2019 word, Persistent, aided me throughout the year in several areas, pushing me forward through tough days that increased in number and speed through the end of the year and well into the next. The lessons that I have learned in my continuous effort to master 2018’s word, Balance, came in handy on numerous occasions, as I struggled to juggle my personal and professional life while maintaining households in two states.

For 2020, the best word to describe the year for me and most likely many others is not something that could’ve been foretold. It’s not one that envelops a guiding power, but one that contains a life lesson that we all will participate in, most likely, in one form or another, many times during the course of our lives.  It is one that is clearly seen in hindsight and embodies so many aspects of life in general, but especially so for me in 2020.  My 2020 word of the year is CULMINATE.  

It is a reminder to me of the natural rhythm of things – the ebb and flow, peaks and valleys, beginnings and endings of all journeys we take in life. It serves as an opportunity to reflect, or refresh before continuing on, hopefully more mindful that nothing stays forever so we must live in the moment, use our time wisely and appreciate the here and now, because it’s all we have.

2020 drastically changed life as we all knew it when the COVID-19 pandemic gained a grip on the world and did not let go.  Here in the US, we are still struggling, more than most, to regain some control, and return to life that more closely resembles life before the pandemic. We find ourselves deeply divided as a country, trying to find a way to hold ourselves back from the edge of ruin, dangerously disagreeing about the course our country should take, and reeling from the staggering loss of life in one year, that has now surpassed the US loss of life in the entire time span of the Vietnam war or World War I. 

The outlook was bleak then, as it has been for a while. But I have hope. 2020 has left me exhausted, bruised, and battered, but I believe that better days are coming. I choose to believe that 2020 was the culmination of many systemic, and underlying issues that were left to fester, untreated too long.  Many of these issues have been exposed now and can no longer be ignored. We must begin the work to address them and help them heal. My hope is that 2021 will be a year for new hope and healing. My 2021 Word of the Year is RENEWAL.

2018 Year In Review / 2019 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!  As has become a tradition for me, I am closing chapter 2018 with a review of how my word of the year turned out, and choosing a word for the new year.  For those of you that don’t know, back in 2015, at the beginning of a journey that would change my life… Read more CLICK HERE 

2018 Year In Review / 2019 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!  As has become a tradition for me, I am closing chapter 2018 with a review of how my word of the year turned out, and choosing a word for the new year.  For those of you that don’t know, back in 2015, at the beginning of a journey that would change my life, I came across a blog post from my friend Melissa Dell that talked about the concept of choosing a word to guide you through the new year. The word is supposed to be a touchstone, or something to help focus or keep you moving towards a goal, dream, or path. My word that year was EMERGENT, and the year proved to be the beginning of  letting myself emerge; shedding layers I’d built up over the years to conform, to protect, to hide “me” and to start building the life and me that I wanted. The words that followed were RESILIENT, DEVELOPMENT and last year’s word, BALANCE. All those words served me well in their respective years and continue to teach me new lessons.  Balance has been the most challenging word for me so far.

2018 was chock full of action. It was the first full year of the New England Speculative Writers group (NESW) that I co-founded with fellow author Jeremy Flagg. Our little group grew from an idea and a Facebook page to a full-fledged organization that managed to produce its first anthology of New England spec fiction which is coming out next month, as well as planning our first conference which happens in April. I also continued marketing The Empire, my first novel, and began developing and writing the first books of a spinoff series. I checked a couple items off my bucket list too with a trip to a dude ranch in June and a trip in October with some of my family for a reunion with lifetime military friends that had the added bonus of being in Hawaii.  In between all that I managed my full time job, as well as the work I do with a realtor.

Lots of action, lots of things happening at the same time and I managed it. Somehow.  However, if I were to grade my success in balancing all things in my life last year, I would have to give myself, at best, a C minus.  I made it through to the other side, but that’s not to say it was always smooth progress.  There was a lot of stress, a lot of stops and starts and deadlines I made just under the wire.  I didn’t like the feeling of being overwhelmed and a lot of times feeling like I was always in a rush from one event, project, chore, etc to the next.  I didn’t like the feeling that I was struggling, that I wasn’t succeeding.  My old internal voice, would chalk that up to failure – that I am a failure, but I don’t use negative words like that about myself anymore. I know now that it’s self-defeating and unproductive. Instead I try to find the lesson, so that I can do better next time and move on.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of time spent feeling frustrated and sometimes even anger about all that had to be done, until I remembered that I had done it to myself.  These weren’t things that I had no control over, that were happening to me, these were things I chose, in one way or another, to do.  Perspective.  I had no one to blame but myself for whatever cluster I found myself in. Changing my perspective from feeling put upon, to taking responsibility  changed my attitude and in some instances reminded me to make better choices or use the word NO more readily. 

Striving towards balance, as I mentioned earlier, has been the toughest word challenge yet. I chose it because, like most people, my life has a lot of moving parts, and I have struggled to keep everything on an even keel, and moving forward. I used to operate my life on a system of priority, but as my list of priorities has grown, the ability to keep everything moving forward has become ineffective and is more like running from priority to priority putting out fires. It’s exhausting and usually ends up being counterproductive. I did not master BALANCE in 2018, but I understand it better.  It will remain an active goal in my life and hopefully this year I’ll be more successful.

Now onto 2019 and my new word. I chose this year’s word for many reasons. I love the life I have begun to build, and I have many more dreams and goals I want to reach. With all the moving parts to balance and more to come, I decided this year I needed a word that embodies strength and steadfastness to keep me focused and pushing forward towards my goals, as well as help me continue to work towards attaining balance. To me, this word represents determination and strength.

My word for 2019 is PERSISTENT. May it guide me well.

Chock-full of Goodness Cookies

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I came up with these quick, easy,  healthy-ish (at least I’d like to believe that – haha) cookies on the fly today to satisfy a sweet tooth.  This recipe falls under the category of  “Use What You Have”, but I’m very pleased with the way they turned out.  Not too sweet, a little chocolate, a little tart from the cranberries and a nice texture from the coconut and rolled oats.  I used dark chocolate and pecans, but milk chocolate, white chocolate, walnuts or macadamia nuts would be tasty too!


Chock-full of Goodness Cookies

½ c. shortening
½ c. butter
1 c. to 1 ½ c. of packed brown sugar (I used 1 c. which made a moderately sweet cookie)
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 ¾ c. flour
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. coconut flakes
1 c. pecans
1 c. dried cranberries
½ c. chocolate chips or chunks

Cream butter and shortening together.  Add brown sugar, and mix.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  In a small bowl combine salt, baking soda and flour. Slowly add to egg / sugar mixture.  Mix until incorporated.  Add oats, mix well.  Continue adding the rest of the ingredients, mixing after each addition.

Drop by teaspoonful on to baking sheet (I use parchment paper lined baking sheets), and flatten each dough ball slightly.   Bake at 350° F for 8 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 3 – 4 dozen.