Twitch, YouTube, Social Media going forward

Abstract scientific background – planets in space, nebula and stars. Elements of this image furnished by NASA


I’ve been busying myself, finishing up the books in the new series. Nearly ready for editing and covers. I am thrilled to have a few great options to work with.


The new series has a totally new feeling to it. Nothing as intense as I originally saw it, but I am really happy with it.

I’ve been writing it on twitch, a few hours a day most days during the week. It’s a whole lot of fun. There’s a plethora of authors, screenwriters, and artists on Twitch streaming their incredible skills. I’ve really enjoyed both productive time and inspiration from this supportive community.


I love live streaming. I’ll write more soon! If you want to chat a bit about writing or follow me as I put books together you can do it on Twitch. We talk about writing, voice, and characters. Sometimes my daughter even guest visits the live to talk about her stuff.

My stream is live Monday through Friday at 1p

Tuesday through Thursday at 530 in the morning.




There will still be occasional updated on YouTube as well.


#30ShortStoriesin30Days Challenge Story

Inspirational motivation quote Every moment is a story

“I have learned that many people have their own approach to many things.” She spun around with her skirt flaring a bit. Her warm expression met the students’ gaze. “That includes for gathering information.” One of the students nodded. The young woman smiled and walked to the whiteboard. “Let’s demonstrate this.”

She wrote out several lines of information on the board. They were not connected or structured. “Here is your exercise. All of the information you need is on the board. Your job is to get into a group of three and connect that data yourselves in a way that answers the question: What are we working on next?”

One of the screens in front of her indicated they had a question. “How can I help you, Matty?”

“How are we going to group up, Ms. Mason?”

“You’ll pair up through the secondary room assortment. It’s an option built into the virtual conference room we’re using. It’s like having mini-rooms. You have five minutes to take down the notes on the board. While you’re doing that, I’ll get the rooms arranged.” She smiled and settled behind her computer. She set a timer because the situation often challenged her measurement of time in a way things never did before. She began mentally sorting the rooms, trying to remember who had been friends. Once she sorted things the way she expected to, she initiated but didn’t activate the first room. As the timer went off, she stood again and walked in front of the camera and whiteboard. “All set?”

Much like it would normally have been, she heard the class all start speaking at once. The patient teacher allowed them to yammer on about one thing or another for a few minutes before she clapped loudly. “Come, come. I’m going to separate the rooms. You’ll work out the problem and in twenty five minutes I’ll rejoin all of us to discuss the next plan.”

The groans almost made everything sound normal. She settled down, activated the rooms as she recalled the intention to do so. While they worked on their projects, she began creating a quick survey to assess how well they worked together. She then worked to grade their prior assignments.

It didn’t take long before that timer expired. She popped into each of the groups to check on them. By the time she had spent time in each of the smaller groups, she brought them back together for a moment before moving onto their next class. She updated the virtual classroom for each of them to leave their group’s name and guess. They closed the virtual classroom, Cynthia Mason pulled up her mask and took this moment to make her way to the cafeteria for lunch.

It was an hour earlier than her usual time, but with the current limitations, she didn’t want to complicate things. After paying for her meal through a quick touchless method, she took it back to her classroom. There she tied into another teacher who was also on a break and they discussed the changes at length. So much would stay the same, but other parts had changed.

Daily students would come into the school. Some students in some classes attend live. Some students would always attend virtually. Now, she had finished the first virtual class. This was going to take some getting used to. The friend she was speaking with felt the same. As the next class began, she smiled to see a few students actually enter the classroom. She encouraged them to sit at the color seats that fit their assigned group.

Despite the masks, she still enjoyed conversation with the students. They spoke at length about the new situation, the adjustments, and the school year going forward. As the class period came to an end, she shared the class’s online home with the students. “When you get home tonight, please log in and tell me what you remember from our class today.”

The group funneled out with the occasional, “Remember social distancing,” reminder as they go out the door. Once the room is quiet again, Ms. Mason returned to her desk to assess what she has left for the day. With only one more class period, she examined the roster and one or two students meandered in. She stopped them briefly while she whipped down three desks. Once she felt satisfied, they sat down and she began the camera again. As the bell started the class, she created the meeting room that automatically emailed all of the students assigned to the class.

“Please, take out your Chromebooks, and let’s connect with your new classmates.” She smiled and waited for the students to begin logging in. Once her board indicated the whole class was logged in, she began discussing the new year ahead. She was better about going over the instructions and information than at the start of the day. She felt confident about the adjustment to work going forward.

She sent her last class off with a greeting and encouragement for the remote learning period for the next day or two.

The next hour was spent wiping down doors, pencils, boxes, tables, and the like. Everything her students could have touched, breathed on, or encountered got sanitized. She reflected on the differences again. Cleaning was always a part of the day. It wasn’t stepped up by much this year, but she could look forward to knowing they were going to run an additional army of sanitizing janitors cleaning every part of every classroom every night for the remainder of the school year.

They would be healthier, better prepared, and resilient. She knew this class of students would be the most resilient students she ever taught because, like she and her peers, they will have adapted to unique challenges throughout the year. This year, no matter what faced them, it was going to be a good year.

Everyone worked diligently to make that happen. After her first day with her students, she knew they would be too.

She prepared the next morning’s online class, then closed her classroom door for the night.

Lessons Learned after a week in the 30 Short Stories in 30 Days Challenge

Challenge Accepted background

It’s been a fun full week (okay 6 days) in my 30 short stories in 30 day’s challenge. I’ve learned a lot so far and I’m sure I’ll learn even more throughout the month. A few things I’m really happy to share are discussed below.

1 – Yes, you can write 30 short stories in 30 days. I’ve done 6 in 6 days so far.

That being said, I’m finding some of my short stories could be sections of one of my other series or books. So, it’s possible they’ll be adjusted and absorbed. It caught me off guard that I was doing that. I’ve shared sections of the longer stories that will likely be sucked into the other books and I’ve shared one so far that’s a complete short written in a style that’s not my typical.

2 – Experimenting is fun.  Experimenting in genre, style, and voice has been a challenge in itself, but it is a fun one.

It has been a whole lot of fun to explore different tones and voices. With a novel, you are creating a long piece of work. This could potentially be hundreds of thousands of words. With a short story, you’re only in that tone, voice, setting, story format for up to tens of thousands of words. Once you’re done, you can pivot to something else completely.

3 – Being prolific is a matter of practice.

Years ago I created numerous short stories amid my epic-length Scifi stories. These stories were produced in the same two years or so. That’s not counting anything else I was creating and writing. When you create more often the stories get longer and more involved and are finished faster. When you take a long break you find your skills are there but your production isn’t. Sitting down every day for this challenge has fed so many new ideas both in universes already created and for new tales not started. It is worth the fun involved! Keep at it, you’ll see things come together.

4 – Video write-ins are fun.

Video write-ins are fun and enjoyable despite whatever may happen. I haven’t been as consistent as I would like to be with it so far. That has a lot to do with situations in my home that limit my ability to get on the camera. Do you find Write-Ins enjoyable?

Okay, so that’s my current take away with my 30 short stories in 30 days challenge. Do you have any challenges you’re working for this year?

#30ShortStoriesin30Days – story 3

What follows is an unedited excerpt of a much longer short story. I hope you enjoy it.

The soft texture of the tiny blanket wrapped tightly around the sweet newborn. It was unfortunate the newborn was an orphan. The young woman holding the infant looked across the room. “Everything is done. You’ll be safe little one. No one knows about you, except me.”

The tiny newborn slept soundly as the woman tucked the baby into a small shoulder bag. She placed a loose blanket over the top, and a small bound book at the baby’s feet. She then carefully laid her data tablet over the top, in case someone should open the bag on her way. Once she was confident the baby was hidden and resting, she made her way out of the otherwise empty room.

She walked through a crowd of people beginning the investigation. She knew they wouldn’t notice her leaving. Most of them were assessing the crime scene. They had already interviewed her and cleared her to leave. Her bag had been investigated. There was no reason for her to be stopped.

Just before she steps off the raised ground, onto a small waiting hover board, Detective Kaplan called her. She turned to face him, knowing anything she did would be scrutinized if she didn’t. “Yes, Detective?”

“Just wanted to thank you for waiting while we get this started. I know you’ve been at work for a long time today and your patience made a huge difference.”

“Just catch the person who did this. It should never have happened. They are the sweetest couple ever. They so badly wanted the baby.”

Kaplan leaned over and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. “I promise, Miss Ky, we’ll find them.”

Ky nodded, sniffled, and responded, “I know. Please tell me when you do.”

“We will.” He smiled. “I’ve got your number.”

She nodded, stepped on to the large waiting hovering board. “I’m available if you have more questions.”

The board lifted from the ground and with a little urging she moved higher into the air towards the higher city. Getting home and taking this baby to safety had to be the first step. What she would do next she would figure out later. As the hover board continued higher, she was grateful for her hybrid genetics prepared her for the higher elevation without an oxygen mask.

Once she entered the Doesi realm of the city, she navigated through the unused side streets to her home. Her bag began to move as she used her palm print to open her door.

30 Short Stories in 30 days

Today I started my 30 day challenge.

I’m quite excited. It’s a given that stories can be in a single day. It is an incredible feeling when you reach the end of a tale, ready to weave another. Today, I finished the first of thirty for this month.

All stories will be 1000 words or more.

All stories will be finished in a given day.

All stories will be released in some fashion.

Depending on the length, all of part of the story will be released on the blog. Today, I’m sharing the whole story I wrote. It is 1,375 words. It has not be properly edited, but it was fun to me as it started with a real version of this story.

Today was one of those days. I can’t even believe it started out how it did. Initially, it was pretty easy. I am happy with that much, at least. I got up, did my workout, did a bible reading, and reviewed my work plans for the day. Simple enough right?

Once the coffee was made, I sat down at the table with an avocado. Avocados are one of my favorite fruits and it’s a good go to right after a solid workout. I wasn’t able to find my little avocado cutting knife. No biggie. I just grabbed a different knife. It was a bit bigger but still good.

I sliced open the lovely fruit, ate the first half, then started to take the pit out of the second half. If you’ve had avocados you know that one half always holds the pit. It can be a bear to get out if you don’t cut it correctly. Thankfully, that wasn’t my problem today. Today, the issue was that the pit jumped out of the avocado quickly and bounced under the table.

At this junction, I feel like it might be important to explain my table operates as a desk sometimes. That in mind, it can be quite cluttered. Today is cleaning day, but still early enough that it’s cluttered. The knife was put down on the table, as was the spoon I was actively eating with. Leave it to me, when I bent down to pick up the pit that had rolled beneath the table, something slid off and hit me in the back. Ouch!

I’m the mom of two teens. One happened to be up and came out to find me pulling that knife out of my back because of course it flipped off the table and landed in my back. I think I’m the only person who can stab myself. My son looked at the shirt and was confident it was done for. When the bleeding started he commented that it might be deeper than we thought. He grabbed the first aid kit while I looked for a new shirt.

It only took us a few minutes, but he patched me up pretty well. My daughter then came out and looked at it. She suggested I visit with the doctor to make sure it wasn’t worse than it appeared to be. It was sound advice and I make it a habit to take sound advice. Unfortunately, my doctor was out of the office. I went into the local convenient care instead. My kiddos stayed home. There was no way this would take that long, right? Oh, boy was I wrong!

I sat in the waiting room after registration for just a few minutes. Once I was in the room, they quickly approved of the good patch job my son did. The nice nurse assessed the actual wound as a pretty deep paper cut. She thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a doctor look at it. I waited. Explaining that I stabbed myself in the back to one person was bad enough, but then the doctor came in.

As I was trying to explain myself again, my kiddos text me. I sent a message back and then continued my story. I was so embarrassed to have to say ‘Yep, I stabbed myself in the back’ again.

The doctor looked at my back. She was impressed it was such a clean cut. So, maybe not so much of a stab as it was a landed on my back right on the blade with limited force? I don’t know. She did seem to hesitate about fixing it. Not that it needed a lot of fixing, as it was a clean impact cut on my back. I still don’t know what part of me knocked it over so effectively.

I sent another message to the kids to see how they were doing and explain that the doctor was now looking at me.

She excused herself for a few minutes, then came back in with a stack of paper. She took a deep breath and asked me a few questions. “Who all live in the home with you?”

I shrugged. “It’s just me and my kids.”

“Okay.” She looked at the stack of paper. “And where were the kids when the knife hit you in the back?”

“Ah…asleep. My son might have woken about the same time because he came out when I said ouch. It didn’t hurt too badly, but the amount of blood made us concerned. It was actually my son who patched me up and my daughter who suggested I come in.”

“You are sure you were alone when you were cut by the knife?”

“My cats might have been in the room. They were the reason I was so urgent to pick up the pit. They tend to treat pits like toys and all of their small toys get lost.” I looked down at the message from the kids and frowned. “I’m not a fan of finding toys everywhere.”

“I can imagine.” The doctor settled on a stool and faced me directly. “You know, Ms. Barten, it’s okay if you weren’t alone when this happened.”

“No. If I wasn’t alone, then I would have been with some stranger. Strangers in my home are rare, unacceptable, and typically not tolerated.” I looked at her and felt my brow pinch. “I know where my kiddos were.”

“I’m glad that you didn’t have to be concerned about the unknown.” The doctor rolled up the paper she was holding a little tighter.

“Is there something you want to ask me directly doctor?”

“Are you familiar with what a mandated reporter is?”

“Someone who has to convey a concern about a home if they see one.” I nodded. “Yep. I’m familiar. Served on the PTO, surrounded by mandated reporters for a long while.”

“You’re aware that there are cases where children get out of hand, right?” The doctor tried to sound concerned, but to me, she sounded like she was telling me how my home was run.

“Like I said, I stabbed myself. It was an accident. This really shouldn’t be a thing.”

“Well, unfortunately, we find it difficult to see how you could have cut your own back.”

“Unfortunately, I’ll be your once in a lifetime person to have found a weird way of doing that.” I shrugged again. “I don’t know what to tell you. Time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all.”

“An injury of this nature typically comes from outside the person. It’s not easy to work with someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.”

“What are you talking about? I’ve already told you, there’s nothing to help. I’m a klutz. It happens.” I paused. “Okay, so things happen might be better? I’m sure there really aren’t many people who are going to cut their own backs with a kitchen knife.”

The well meaning woman unrolled the documents she was holding and looked at the top page. “We are restricted as to what we can do right now and mandated to report anything of concern.”

While she spoke, I text the kids not to answer the door if someone, anyone, knocked. When they responded, I gave them a short explanation. “Doctor, I appreciate your concern. I appreciate your position is challenging, but I am in no danger at home. My family is safe. We are fine.” I forced a smile, despite the rise in anxiety. “Thank you for your help. If there is nothing else, I’d like to go home now.”

She nodded. “Okay.” She handed me the stack of papers. “There are resources in this packet. Many deal with family abuse. I’m confident when you’re ready, you’ll be able to find the help you need in the packet.”

I took the packet of paper, mostly to soothe the woman. A short while later I was discharged and on my way home. My children worked on a few projects before helping me clean up. The day ended far better than it began.

Leave it to me to be the one person in life that has figured out how to cut themselves in the back. I think next time, assuming there is a next time, I might avoid going in.

Share buttons

There have been many changes in the way social media affects our efforts. I’m sure you’ve seen the times you have visited a website and saw something you thought was interesting, only to later log into Facebook and see it pop up in your newsfeed. This is Facebook putting tracking cookies in everything that is attached to them.

Subscribe, Facebook, Account

On websites that you see a Facebook share button, the company is tracking your activity. As such, the EU has requested any blog, website, or other encounter, where the share button for Facebook is live, identify this to the visitors on their site. I have opted for another approach. I will be removing the share buttons associated with Facebook from my website.

I realize this makes sharing inconvenient. I apologize for that. I am looking for alternative methods that will make or integrate sharing options in a manner that is both positive and secured. Please feel free to offer suggestions in the comments.

Apollo – 50 years ago – Fun videos

Many years ago, the USSR and the USA entered a space race. This race to the moon was the most exciting, cold war era event for space geeks of all kinds. With the renewed interest, I thought it would be fun to share two of my favorite videos regarding the topic.

The inspiration that comes from the Apollo missions can’t be measured.

The first one is from PBS’s YouTube Channel for It’s Okay To Be Smart. It goes into the moon rock vault and explains some of the things that surprised the scientist on earth. It is an exciting video that really details quite a bit about the history and the current understanding of what our celestial partner is made of. This is a fun, brief watch. Let me know what you think about it.

This second video is a whole lot of fun because it takes the time to discuss how the Apollo 14 mission nearly didn’t make it home. Imagine being so far from your tech department that the phone home means calling back to Earth. That’s what happened to the mission. They had to make an ‘IT’ call to get the mission back on track and the team home. It worked. Scott Manely explains the information well.

Xarrok Legacy – A Preview

Preview of Xarrok Legacy


This is a sneak peek for the new Xarrok Series. It’s a peek at a fun new series that I am having a whole lot of fun creating. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

(my editor hasn’t seen this yet, so it may not be exactly the same when the book is released)

Arianna took a deep breath and let her mind wander back to the mission in question. When she felt the nanites come to life she opened her eyes to see the visual image of the cave she and Ry were there to save in the projection on the table. Her stomach tightened.

“What happened here, Anna?” Ma’Rax was the only one to ever call her that.

“Too much.”

Frigate soldiers marched into view.

The frigate shoulders seemed to be endless as they marched through the caves. The location they relocated into was not far from the surface, but there was limited cover. Arianna and Ry had to draw their weapons. As they watched it unfold again, they saw themselves badly outnumbered and outgunned. The Frigate commander stepped out of the shadows and ordered them restrained. It was Singh, the reason they were on the new mission. The reason there might be a second war.

Arianna looked up from the projection table. Her eyes locked with Ry’s across the table from her. “We created him.”

“No. He did that. We had to defend ourselves.” Ry cleared his throat.

“He’s right, Arianna. He was a danger when he did this, not because of something you did.” Ma’Rax placed a hand on Arianna’s arm. “We should finish.”



The following section details a major event in the lives of Arianna Jae and Ry Sar. It happened at the very start of the first war that Xarrok endured since the empire was created by Kala and Yatrell in the original series. Two hundred years of peace created a completely different empire. This incident was the start of a new challenge that would change an empire.

I’m excited about this coming out. 🙂 It will be released in September.

To get a glimpse into the origin of the empire check out the original Xarrok Series. The first book is FREE on your favorite eBook retailer and is in print now too!

Depression – The Enemy

Depression is my greatest enemy.

From the time I was very young, I have had to combat depression in one form or another. Often it wasn’t severe. It wasn’t all encompassing. It wasn’t function halting, until it was.

That must sound odd. I’ll elaborate further.

Over the years my depression, likely triggered both by life events and by a condition called PMDD, it deepened and grew. While it never became an all the time kind of depression, it did get bad enough – at times – to trigger suicidal thoughts. When in that state, I self isolate. Like countless other people who deal with this issue, it is a difficult place to climb out of alone. As a single parent, it is a difficult place to allow yourself to linger in too, which really only cycles the whole process.

There have been times, like during post pardum (PPD), that I took medicine for treatment. There have been other times that I did not. The best treatment I have honestly found is exercise and productivity. That sounds so counter-intuitive for someone who’s feeling like there’s nothing to move for, good to think about, to dream about. It’s likely an odd thought for those who don’t have someone to keep alive for. I’m grateful that I do.

The worst bout of depression I ever had lasted years. It was debilitating. It limited my ability to do anything except care for my children, and honestly, that didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. I would lay in bed some days only getting up to feed my babies, go to the bathroom, and pray I make another day. I struggled during those times to see a reason to keep on keeping on. Work suffered. We became homeless. The whole process showed me that those I loved would abandon me, as a person, when I had nothing left to share. I’m grateful we have left that behind a long while ago.

Feeling isolated, alone, and deceived should have been enough to justify ending it all. My amazing kids kept me from living in that state of mind. I have worked hard to leave all of those emotions in the past, even cutting ties with those who helped fuel it.

Recently, I’ve been reminded about the cyclic nature of life. For the last few months, life has been one thing after another until the depression couldn’t be ignored any longer. It put me down. The chaos left me wondering why and how about nearly everything.  I could list to final trigger points or the ones that piled up before it, but that wouldn’t reach the goal of this article. The point is that I have begun to focus myself despite the depression. For those who may be going through it, it’s not easy. It is possible.

Each time we do something despite not wanting to even open our eyes is a victory over the enemy. Each time we achieve even a minor goal, like writing a few hundred word blog post, it is a victory over the enemy. Victories might be the only thing we can list. That won’t change the fact we can list them. Some days the only victory we have is making it to tomorrow. Don’t take that from yourself. That’s a huge victory.


Reaching out to resolve a depressive episode isn’t easy. In many cases, it’s not even possible. This is where it is important to make sure you know people who understand you deal with severe depressive episodes. They will notice when things change. Yes, even if you’re hiding it well, they will notice. (Although, honestly, if you have to put that much effort into hiding your depression and you’re doing a good job, you can add it to your victory column because there’s a lot of effort going out that you didn’t know you had to give.) A friend who notices will know to say something or make an appearance without notice. In the end, they’ll also be there to help you find your way back to the surface.


Now, I’m going to badly segue into something more specific. PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a beast to contend with. This condition can affect any woman of menstruation age and has a cousin who’ll be active during menopause. When you do a search for it, you’ll find many websites will list it as “PMS on steroids”. While it’s a good choice of illustration for those who don’t experience, it doesn’t come close to clarifying what it does or is.

PMDD affects everything. It hinders your emotional sense. It triggers excruciating pain that is similar to labor or worse. Some women have to remain in a dark room (migraine pain) with some kind of heating pad, in addition to the heavy-duty pain relieve they have in their system. That may sound like a lot. Going through it is far worse.

Some people with PMDD, (women get PMDD so it’s not people, it’s women) they find themselves sitting in a depressive state, combined with all of that pain, for weeks out of every month. It is truly debilitating when you can’t even move to go to the bathroom because it hurts too much to think about it, let alone do it. It can keep a woman from her job, from her family, and her peace of mind.

Diagnosis of PMDD typically takes two things – One, you need to track your symptoms for 2-3 months; Two, you need to have a doctor rule out any other possible problems.


Symptoms to track:

Excessive physical pain

Mood swings and extreme emotional states




Rage episodes

Crying fits

Negative thoughts

Self-harm or plans to self-harm

Breast Tenderness

Abdominal tenderness


Bearing in mind that 3 to 5 percent of every woman who endures PMDD has thoughts of suicide, this condition is very difficult.  Of that number, many women don’t survive. At one point I was sure I would be one of those. As serious as this condition can be, you would imagine that doctors know all about it, but they don’t. There are few doctors who know about it and even fewer that know how to treat it.

Diet can change the regular monthly battle. Eating the right foods and exercising helps to mitigate the symptoms. If you’re catching it early enough, that might be all you need. If it is severe it may take medicine as well. Typically doctors suggest an SSRI for PMDD. This can be taken during the last two weeks before bleeding begins. That’s when the emotional and physical symptoms are at their worst. The anti-depressant will counteract the emotional chaos within and bring you back to yourself when it is needed.


This article is getting longer than I expected it would. I really conveyed all of that to tell you that I am overcoming it every single day and doing better each time I do. This beast will not hold me back.

A short note about books:

I’m working on the newest in the Xarrok universe – Xarrok Legacy book 1. Excerpts to come – watch the blog for the sneak peeks.

I’m also working on a book dedicated to PMDD and enlightening /educating others about it.

There is extensive work that will be done with the former Knights of the Immortals. It will be redeveloped into Knights of Atlantis. I can’t wait to share it with you.


Tell me, what are your favorite ways to lift your own mood when life is challenging?




3 things you know about me; 1 thing you don’t

single parent family

3 things you might know about me already

1 – I’m happily a single mom of two amazing young people.

2 – I am a space science geek.

3 – I really enjoy the opportunity to help others.


Now, the last one is something you won’t likely know about me.  Let’s see how things go 😉


1 thing you might not know about me

Everyone has a stressful day from time to time (a single parent has many) and instead of the standard beer/wine suggestion for the end of the night, I find a bit of something else an amazing cure ….

4 – CHOCOLATE!!  A piece of chocolate can cure almost any tough day.

Beautiful heart shape ripples on chocolate surface


I want to learn more about you  now – What is something about you that makes your day better? Do you enjoy dark chocolate or a cup of warm, relaxing coffee? Do you find a walk to be the most enjoyable way to unwind? Maybe you enjoy another form of exercise or a good book? Share in the comments below.

Let’s talk! Leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to respond 😉