Monsoon Rain Quiets the Fire Danger.

Good news! In part due to monsoon season, my garden is doing phenomenal! We are harvesting lettuce, snap peas, kale, loads of tomatoes on the vines, and carrots about ready.

It’s monsoon season in Colorado, massive amounts of rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and more rain. Don’t get me wrong, the rain keeps us from having catastrophic wild fires like we had in 2012 and 2013.  But the worry for flash floods is real on the burn scars.  After the unbelievable softball hail storm July 27th 2016, when storm clouds gather now I worry rather than revel in them. Along with most of our community we still haven’t completely recovered, roofs and fences are still being replaced.  The upside, lots of work for contractors.

Any way I digress.  With the monsoons come the overnight appearance of two to five foot tall weeds in all shapes and sizes.  I pull ‘em up one day and the next morning two take their place.  How does that happen? On the flip side it gets me out of the house away from my computer as I fight the never ending weed battle. You know what I mean?

My utility bill, grass and flowers are loving the moisture, except for when the hail comes and we haven’t had much of that so far. Fingers and toes crossed.  For only the second time since we’ve lived here (going on 23 years) we know the sump pump works cascading water out of our rock retaining wall. Good to know. LOL

However, this year my outside plants are portable, on a little red cart and I haul them into the garage. An all-purpose fabric screen is rolled on the side of my garden waiting to be hauled over the garden for hail protection. All this works IF we are home at the time the storm is predicted or occurring.  But it’s all we can do in Colorado, land of the frequent hail and lightning storms. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, Colorado is still a great place to live.  How is you summer going? Did you plant a garden? I’d love to hear from you!

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Karen C. Whalen Author of Not According to Flan

Give a warm welcome to fellow Wild Rose Author Karen C. Whalen with her new release Not According to Flan

Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Karen and latest release Not According to Flan.

Happy Release day Karen and thanks for being here! Let’s get right to it.

What defines you as an author? As a person? Are they one in the same?

I’m an inward thinking person, observing what is going on around me, from the weather to the scenery to the conversations of strangers, to inner thoughts and feelings. I often write down snippets of what I see, hear, and feel. I thought everyone had this inner life, this awareness, but I’ve come to learn that mostly authors share this experience. I can’t separate me as an author from me as a person.

 What do you want your readers to take away from your books?

I want my readers to take away what I take away from the books I love. My best-loved books contain characters who become like my friends. I know I can open a favorite book and visit a character I know well, who inspires me and gives me an example to follow (confident when disaster strikes, brave in times of struggle, happy even when sad events take place). My protagonist, Jane Marsh, is twice-widowed, middle aged, and a little bit zany. She enjoys life in spite of being lonely, and she’s not afraid to put herself in danger when investigating murders. I would like my readers to feel as if Jane is their friend and someone they would like to spend time with.

Where do your story ideas come from? If they come to you in the middle of the night, do you get up and write them all down?

My ideas often come from my job as a paralegal. They also come from personal experience. As a paralegal, I have investigated many lawsuits with bizarre sets of facts, from robberies, suicides, wrongful deaths, and all manner of accidents. Truth can be stranger than fiction and certainly provides me with unlimited story ideas. Also, many of the events in Jane’s life, such as preparing gourmet club dinners, riding her bicycle in downtown traffic while wearing a suit and heels, and smoking cigars, are things I have done myself. And, yes, ideas come in the middle of the night. Sometimes I’ll intentionally concentrate on a difficult scene I’m working on as I fall asleep, knowing that my subconscious mind will work it out. I’ve often awakened with the solution.

Gee it sounds like we have a lot in common, I spent 17 years as a paralegal in a criminal law firms, yep the stories I could tell.  Truth can definitely be stranger than fiction. So tell us a little about Not According to Flan.

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane’s dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life.

But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?

How about a peek between the pages of your new release?

She slipped outside into the warmth of the early September, blue-sky, Colorado day to check on her puppies sniffing around their new territory in the backyard. Leaning over the deck railing facing the lot to the east, she gazed into the bottom of an open excavation where a basement was being poured. Someone had parked a tractor down in the dirt, and near it a white cowboy hat lay on the ground. A man’s hand stretched toward the hat’s brim. Had someone fallen into the pit?

Jane bounded down the deck stairs and out the wooden gate, only stopping for a moment to secure the latch. She rounded the corner of her new house and rushed to the adjoining lot, pausing near the edge of the concrete that formed the basement’s foundation.

A man was shoved against the corner of the foundation wall. His torso and legs were partly covered with dirt. The cowboy hat concealed the top of his head. His left hand almost touched the brim, as if he were about to take off his hat and say, “Howdy do.” A large manila envelope lay a foot or so away from his other outstretched hand.

On the envelope tall, block letters spelled out: “Jane Marsh—welcome to your new home.”

Wow, I love murder mysteries, putting NOt According to Flan on my to read list! Where can we find Not According to Flan?

Book two, Not According to FlanThe WIld Rose Press, and Amazon

And the first book in your series, Everything Bundt the Truth.  Amazon, The Wild Rose, Barnes and Noble

 Karen C. Whalen is the author of the Dinner Club Murder Mystery series. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado. Karen has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and participates in a local writing group, the Louisville Writers Workshop. Find out more about Karen at:



It was wonderful having you with us today.  Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Not According to Flan and your Dinner Club Murder Mystery Series!


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Cheyenne Mountain State Park Camping! Where’d You Go?

We had a relaxing and fun Memorial Day Weekend. Spent it camping in Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  We arrived on Friday afternoon, set up our fifth wheel, put out the camp chairs and went for a hike. Most trails in the park are an easy and fun hike.  Upon returning to the campsite we started a blazing campfire roasted hot dogs and brauts then later marshmallows for S’mores. A little guitar music as we enjoy the city lights.

The next day Mother Nature rained all over us, but we were not deterred.  Morning hike then chased inside where it was popcorn and movie night.  Yep, that’s why we camp in a fifth wheel trailer.  The rest of the weekend was sunny and warm, steaks over the campfire with baked potatoes. Then S’mores of course.  Perfect camping weather! Now the wonderful news!

I’m so excited, finally all my letters, forms in suggestion boxes, and answers to surveys for the Colorado State Parks & Wildlife system were answered!  Yippee! Colorado State Parks & Wildlife Department is doing a three month trial allowing dogs on certain trails in Cheyenne Mountain State Park and Mueller State Park. That little tidbit made our day as well as our dog’s!  In Cheyenne Mountain State Park as of June 1st dogs are allowed on these trails Acorn Alley, Bobcat Way and Raccoon Ridge.  The trails connect to park’s campground, where dogs are already allowed.

In Mueller State Park, as of June 1st dogs will be allowed on portions of Homestead Trail and Black Bear Trail leading out of the campground.

The trial period could be extended into the winter, if it’s deemed a success. Of course it will be a success! Even better, it could become a permanent policy. Music to our dog’s ears! We have been advocating for allowing dogs on Colorado State Park trails for years. Steamboat Lake already allows dogs on their trails and we love it!

The caveat is visitors with dogs MUST pick up after their dogs, bag stations have been installed, so there is no excuse.  It’s completely in our hands to see it’s a success! We got this.

There is nothing more exciting than hiking a trail with your canine companion.  So PLEASE, pick up after your pets. If you see someone who needs a little nudge to pick up after their dog, hand them a bag and say THANKS! Let’s make this a permanent policy.

***Next week – We take a look at the Great Horned Owl family that have taken up residence in the Lowes Home Improvement Center in University Village Shopping Center in Colorado Springs!  Don’t miss it!

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Ever Been on A Road Trip From Hell?

I never had such a road trip until the last two weeks.  The first day out, we made it to Gallup, New Mexico relatively unscathed.  The next day, sustained 55 mph winds with 75-86 mph gusts derailed our plans, nearly derailed our fifth wheel, and  put us a day behind, not to mention destroying  a window in the trailer. After a pickup truck and trailer were flipped over ahead of us by the wind, we pulled off in Flagstaff, the wind was way to scary to continue.

The next day we made it to Las Vegas where hubby attended  ConEx, a construction conference.  At the trailer, I did a final check on A Warlock’s Secrets and sent it back to my editor.  Should have a release date soon. A reveal of the swoon worthy cover and exciting blurb are on the horizon!  I can’t wait for you to read it!  We played  tourist with friends, local to Las Vegas, visiting the dancing fountains of the Bellagio and attending a performance of the Cirque Du Soleil show KA. Fantastic show! After we finished up in Vegas, it was on to California and disaster struck again.

As we headed down the highway, passing through Bakersfield,  a trucker pulled along side us and waved —  pointing to our trailer.  We pulled off at the next exit to find smoke rolling out from behind the right front wheel of our trailer. Thank God for truckers.  Upon further examination the bearing had failed and melted to the axle.  Now these bearings had less than five-hundred miles on them.  It was  Friday at 5:00 p.m., all the parts places were closed, so we limped our trailer on three wheels to A Country RV Park approximately 2.8 miles away.  What luck to find one so close! We couldn’t have asked for a better place.  The staff were friendly and very helpful!

Saturday morning bright and early hubby started calling RV Parts places. He learned that an axle needed to be ordered and would take a few days to arrive, since the warehouses wouldn’t open until Monday.  Being a glass half full type of guy, hubby went outside and re-inspected the damage, made a couple of phone calls and yanked out the trusty tools he always packs on our travels. After a visit to an RV parts place and several hundred dollars, he had the parts to fix the damage. Yea!!

Nope that was not all.  As my hubby began work on the axel, I received a phone call informing us a good friend had a heart attack and was being rushed to the hospital. My heart sank.  Back to the mechanical situation – a few bouts of expletives from hubby and four hours later we were on our way again.

Finally we arrived at our destination in California, visited a few days with relatives, and traveled on to Riverton, WY to meet up with friends, then home to Colorado without further complications.  The daffodils, crocus, hyacinth  and tulips in our yard are bravely poking their sprouts  above ground.  Spring is here along with it a lot more camping adventures (as soon as we get a new window). FYI, our friend survived her heart attack and is on the road to recovery! So as they say, (never figured out who they are… but…) all’s well that ends well. Thankfully! Have you ever had a road trip like this?


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