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To all of my readers waiting on The Final Toll, the fourth book in my Servant of the Crown mystery series, I apologize for the delay. I know I promised early 2018, but I had no idea how much work was involved in preparing to move the farm. The novel is shaping up well, and I’m now hoping to be finished sometime in June 2018 (hopefully before the move).

What can I say?  I’m single and over sixty, I write and I farm on eight acres of slowly improving red earth (it originally looked like Mars had exploded!) on Oak Creek in northern Arizona.  I started with chickens, then there were turkeys and Jersey milk cows.  But with livestock came the predators: coyotes, bald eagles, black hawks, mountain lions, and, worst of all, raccoons.  Dang those nasty creatures!  They kill just because they can; think dogs with opposable thumbs.  (Five chickens in one night–they reached in through the chain link and killed the birds with no expectation of being able to eat them.)  They are the reason I have my two amazing dogs, Moosie (an Akita/Sharpei mix) and Bear (a Hungarian Kuvasz).  Moosie just loves to take on (and kill) the raccoons. Read for the post about how they treed a mountain lion.  Good dogs!

As for the cats, I have six and they’re supposed to eat the gophers but, being cats, they prefer cat food, thank you very much.

In May 2016, I turned yet another new page on the farm, exchanging Jersey cows for Dorper Sheep, a South African breed that doesn’t need to be sheared and gains all their weight on grass alone (however, they prefer pig food), after an acquaintance informed me that they are “stupid simple” to raise.  Stupid simple I can do!  After that came the piggy girls…six of them this year. Oh, how they make me laugh!

I continue to raise turkeys, even though my sweet Tom–yes, I have a pet turkey–has definitely shown his age. Who knew E.D. was a problem for turkeys? My flock is down to just twenty-five birds, but not just because of Tom.  I had an unkindness of Ravens this year.  Six of them would stop by every morning during the hatch out.  Three to distract the mothers, and three to take a poult, and take them they did.

As for the writing, I’ve just published the first novel in my new “Children of Graistan” series.  Awaken the Sleeping Heart is now available on Amazon.  The story follows Cecilia of Gradinton, the daughter of Geoffrey of Coudray in Autumn’s Flame. Now, it’s time to get to work on the next murder mystery in my Servant of the Crown Medieval series, The Final Toll.