Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meet my characters Blog Hop!

Hi everyone! I was invited to participate in this blog hop by Sharon Struth. You can read her post here :

First, a bit of info about Sharon Struth:Sharon Struth is an award-winning author who believes it’s never too late for a second chance in love or life. When she’s not writing, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail. Sharon writes from the small town of Bethel, Connecticut, the friendliest place she’s ever lived. For more information, including where to find her other novels and published essays, please visit her at
 Thanks, Sharon, for the invitation!

Now, I’m supposed to choose one character from a work-in-progress or a recently published book and answer seven easy questions. Here goes!
What is the name of your character?
Taylor McWhorter
Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Taylor McWhorter is sassy Scottish girl who tangles with her warrior and cold trouble. She lives in our minds!
When and where is the story set?
Taylor is a contemporary gal living in Flagstaff Arizona on the edge of the Navajo Reservation.
What should we know about him/her?
Taylor is a graduate of the 'rat terrier' school of journalism. Sniff it out, tear it apart and reveal who done it.
What is the main conflict?
Taylor McWhorter reports for the only television news station in northern Arizona, a land of high mountains, rocky canyons and the Navajo Nation. She falls in love with tribal cop Trace Yazzie, who honors his native beliefs of ghosts and shape shifters. Taylor struggles with believing in Navajo mysticism until while investigating pot hunters looting into Anasazi burial sites a Navajo shape shifter targets her.
What is the personal goal of the character?
Taylor is driven to shine a light on truth.
 Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?
Anasazi Winds will be published by Kensington Books, Lyrical Press in early 2015.
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 Next stop on the Blog Hop
 Daisy Banks on September  1st!

The character you will meet will be her Lyrical book Timeless. Here is the link

Blog Sabine Priestly on September 8th. Website:

Sabine grew up in Phoenix, but has lived in Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida. She has a BS in Electrical Engineering Technologies and did everything but her thesis for a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology, looking at the nexus of culture and technology. She was a Project Manager flying back and forth between Tucson and Boston when she met her very own alien. She spent a year running the QA department for a seriously cool and under appreciated computer telephony system then moved to California where she ran a small tech support group for a company making DSL routers before anyone knew what DSL was. A life long fan of Science Fiction and Romance novels, Alien Attachments naturally gelled in her imagination. Sabine lives in Florida with her husband, kids, cats and whole mess of characters in her head. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park  in the Spring
Snow pack at about 11,000 feet on 5/7
Agile Elk in Beaver Meadows. Shot with a telephoto lens on 5/7.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Losing the cable but not the fun

I'm joining the two million people who cut the cable in 2013.  I bought a Mohu Leaf 50 indoor HD amplified antenna for less than seventy dollars on Amazon and a Roku 3500 Streaming Stick for less than fifty dollars. With  Netflix, Hulu+ and Roku streams I'll get what I want-including news for less than thirty dollars a month.

Before you leap, go to Enter your zip code or address and the site will show you all the over the air signals you can receive.  

No rabbit ears involved.  The Mohu is a flat, white panel. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The sounds of spring

Ah,  the sounds of early Spring --the mechanical fft fft fft and gush of automatic sprinkler systems.

I've bought a house in metro Austin, TX with an HOA that demands the front yard be fully sodded with thirsty turf grass. 

Why do we put acre feet of potable drinking water on turf grass in an arid area?

3.4 million people  die each year from a water borne illness
1.1 billion lack access to safe drinking water
2-3 billion people will join us on the planet in the next 40 years
Food production will have to be increased by 70% by 2050 to feed us

Nope, I can't mail my water to some unfortunate  who is drinking filth, but I can view water as a global resource and turn my back on the  English style green grass yard popularized in the 17th and 18th century by nobles in Europe.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The state of American public education

Driving to work this morning in the snow, I listened to NPR discuss the outcome of American students who took the Programme for International Student Assessment test along with students around the world. We scored no better than we did in 2010. Our highest achieving state, Massachusetts, still scored two full years of education behind Shanghai. We are woefully undereducated in math, science, and reading.

            Umm, ten years and no difference? Finland and Korea are the powerhouses. Why don’t we study their models and adapt it to the United States? We’ve spent billions of dollars, fiddled with our K-12 education for ten years, and excoriated teachers. Why don’t we adopt an existing working paradigm?

            Now the personal anecdote. When I taught those years in Seattle, I taught quite a few- maybe one third of each class- of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese nationals. Asian parents will forsake much to get their children to America for college. These students told a common story. K-12 school days were from 9-5 and year around. At seven in the evening, students went to tutoring (five nights a week). In Korea, the state says that all tutoring places must close at ten p.m. so that students can get enough rest. However, the tutors rented interior offices and turned the outside lights off at ten so that when patrols came by, there was no light seepage to give them away as they labored on. These students were magnificently educated.

Do I think this will fly in America? Not all of it, no. But, I think we need a radically different approach to education and there are models we can study and adopt.

            On the drive home today, (still frozen and snowy) NPR was interviewing a Harvard professor. Guess what? The average grade earned at Harvard is an A. There was a long discussion of grade inflation on the college level. This particular faculty member privately gave each student his actual estimate of his or her course grade, just so the student knew the true evaluation. Then the Prof put the A’s in the grading system. One of my favorite colleagues used to say- tongue in cheek, “Just give me the grade sheets along with the 12th day class roll and I’ll just fill them out.”