Friday, August 26, 2016


This year, the water level is at a near record low, which means as I paddle along the familiar shore near our camp, I am seeing more of the ledges than have ever been visible before. It makes sense that places that are normally underwater year round have eroded more than those above the surface. But I had no idea there were so many caves. All those dark little pockets I could see beneath the surface and wondered what was down there are now completely exposed. It's a little unnerving actually, to have to look up at the formations that I'm used to seeing at eye level.

But, oh so cool!

The high water mark is the the top of the white in the photos.

This little cave was full of opened clam shells. I think I found somebody's (maybe an otter's) feeding spot. It smelled REALLY bad.

This is my all time favorite cave which we named the Turtle long ago because it looks like a sleepy turtle with a head and two front legs. (I used to beg my father to paddle the canoe close so I could tickle its chin.) I have snorkled into the cave beneath it many times, but I've never been able to bring a boat inside before. 

 I was a little apprehensive, but I gathered my courage and paddled into the cool dimness, being careful of my head. The water was flat calm and the gurgles sounded like deep-throated animals breathing quietly. (Or maybe swallowing.)

It went back a lot farther than I'd ever realized. And looked like it went back farther still.

A selfie in the Turtle with the opening behind me.

It was much bigger inside that I thought, and I was able to turn the kayak completely around, using my hands on the walls. The water was about a foot deep beneath me, and the rocks were golden-green in the magical light.

A sailboat passed by just as I was starting out. But the funniest thing was that two kayaks paddled right by the opening just after I took this shot. I had no idea they were approaching, and they had no idea I was in there, and we scared each other half to death. When we'd all stopped laughing, I calmly said, "I live here." The guy looked like I was out of my mind, but the woman said, "There are a lot worse places to live." 

I totally agree.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Guest Post by Lori MacLaughlin -- A Writer's Legacy for Her Children

I am so pleased to welcome my long time friend and fellow author Lori MacLaughlin to my blog today. She is celebrating the release of her second novel, Trouble by Any Other Name. I have been privileged to read it while it was still in the works, and I'm excited that the further adventures of Tara are now available to the rest of the world. Lori's novels are beautifully written -- full of great description and tight dialogue, along with carefully drawn characters whose lives continue right off the page. Below the guest post are links where the book may be purchased, if you haven't already run into Lori at a local event. She is all over the place, and her post is all about writing with a family.

Welcome, Lori!

Thank you, Kari Jo, for having me over!!

My kids were 15 and 13 in February of 2015 when I published my first book. I'm glad they were in their teens because they were old enough to appreciate this very special moment in my life — the moment when what had once seemed an impossible dream came true.

And while they might not have been able to grasp the enormity of the event, which had been in the making for almost 30 years, they did get to see firsthand the success that resulted from all those years of hard work, determination, and perseverance.

They grew up knowing I was a writer, even though at that point it was just a hobby. I mean, let's face it, trying to write with any consistency with little kids running around is a challenge, to say the least. Particularly with my daughter (my older child), who only napped for half an hour unless I napped with her. I swear she had an alarm clock in her brain. I'd put her down for a nap in her crib, and the instant 30 minutes had gone by — boing! — she was up and ready to go. I was never a night owl, either, so writing anything coherent at night was an extremely rare occurrence.

Writing and reading have always been a huge part of my life, and I'm so happy to have passed that on to my children. Both kids love to read and both have said they want to be writers. Their tastes are a little different than mine. My daughter loves mysteries and stories about magical fairies (like Winx Club), while my son loves racing stories and some fantasy (like the Ranger's Apprentice series). They haven't read my books yet. There's a little too much swordplay and bloodletting for her, and my son is definitely NOT into the romance angle. Give him a couple of years, though, and that may change.

Another reason I'm glad my kids are older is that they're a big help at bookselling events like craft fairs and farmer's markets and such. They can take over when I need a break. When my son is running the table, people come up, look at my books or more specifically at my author name, then invariably grin and ask him if he's the author. He takes it with good humor, though, and doesn't mind helping out.

I hope someday to see my kids' stories in print. They are already good writers with unique voices. The best part is that I know they'll pass their love of books on to their kids, as my parents passed it on to me. When I think about the legacy I'd like to leave for my children, I realize that so much of what I would impart has already taken root in them. They are good and kind and nonjudgmental, they love reading and writing, and they know if they work hard, they can make their dreams come true. They make me proud.

TITLE: Trouble By Any Other Name

Sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble

AUTHOR: Lori L. MacLaughlin

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016

GENRE: Fantasy
 About the Book:

Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She's yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn't dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara's sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she'd killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

Buy Links:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble          Kobo               iBooks

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

Website/Blog     Goodreads      Facebook     Google+    Pinterest

Friday, January 15, 2016


My Whisper passed on Christmas Eve. Even though things had been looking so good, the diabetes came back and his kidneys were beginning to fail. Treating everything would have meant injecting fluid under his skin every other day, determining what his new insulin dose would be, and changing his diet. All this would mean constant trips to the vet and a great deal of blood work and needles and the risk of going into shock again. And the kidneys were going down no matter what -- it was just a matter of time, possibly only weeks. So I made one of the most horrible decisions of my life and decided that this was time. I held him while he went. The last several weeks have been pretty hard for me because Whisp and I had developed a bond over the last seventeen years that I've shared with few others in my life. His sister Pumpkin and I still cry ourselves to sleep most nights.