Over the hump

Finally, the meat of our journey–the beautiful state of Montana:

Our first glimpse of the Rockies…. but not the last.

This is just north of Missoula in the Mission Mountain Range.




Coming up to Flathead Lake  , the largest freshwater in the West. It stretched on for miles–beautiful!!




This is a shot from downtown Kalispell, where we drove through on the way north to Whitefish and eventually Glacier National Park. It’s a nice little town–and we found some delicious rotisserie chicken for dinner at the local COSTCO.

One of the many small mountain lakes all around the Hungry Horse Dam.  Little Miss got her National Parks passport stamped here and several other places across the country. She’s been very interested in the whole travel scenario.

Oh and also in collecting Pokemon cards in the current McDonalds promotion. I never saw a kid eat so many Happy Meals in a week…

 Finally our northernmost point, Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. It’s the kind of place you just want to take a picture every minute, sure that’s the best thing you’ll see. We pulled over the RV and had a picnic right by the side of the lake–awesome!!

More pictures, especially about the Montana Vortex and other places around Whitefish coming on the Clan Elves pages in the next week.

Oh, poor blog…long time no see. So busy, so productive–then what do these dreams mean?

I’ve been meaning to visit here. I swear I have. It’s been weeks and weeks. But not because I had nothing going on. Not because I have no thoughts at all. To the contrary, I’ve been busting out of my seams in most aspects of my life.

I’ve had two novels already published this year, with CONVICTION OF THE HEART debuting in June, SECOND CHANCES coming in July and LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME and THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE both in September. Plus I’m writing away on two novels already contracted for next year, and waiting on the results of three more I’ve submitted.

The publishing, of course, is the easy part–now comes the marketing and social media. Fortunately, I’ve hooked up with a number of other authors and we’re jointly navigating these waters. Many hands make not light work, but a wider reach, certainly, so I’m hoping that these books find their audience.  For those who are curious, you can find the urban fantasy/sci-fi and horror books under Lyndi Alexander–see http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com for the most recent excerpts and updates. The romantic suspense, romance and women’s fiction will be under the name Alana Lorens, and you can find all the news for those, including a two month blog tour blitz this summer at http://alanalorens.com.

In addition to this, of course has been the law job, and the ongoing adventure that is our special needs roller coaster. Dr. Doo-Be-Do was diagnosed on the spectrum this spring, after a string of inexplicable bad behaviors and plummeting grades and social interventions at school, so he’ll be attending a special summer camp this year. The Captain continues in therapeutic foster care, unwilling to engage with the counselor or with us to even begin to work on the issues that got him placed and have to be remedied before we’re willing to have him return.

Little Miss is a bright star in our sky, academically improving bit by bit, enjoying the music and culture of her proper age group, fixing her hair like the other girls and setting her behavior based on what she observes in others. So there, doctor who said she’d never get any better than institutional level! She’ll be traveling with me this summer on a booksigning tour and research trip to Montana to learn about the Montana  Vortex and visit the big woods.

(that’s her on the right, performing with her peers in the May choral concert–they sang Lean on Me, one of her favs from Glee. She was so excited!)

But I keep dreaming about driving in the car and suddenly finding myself in the back seat or the passenger seat, the car heading out of control. Last night it was even a dream with my new grandbaby in the front seat, not even buckled in, and me trying to use the clutch from the back seat.  Sounds like I’m feeling like things are not under my direct command–that I’m not “in the driver’s seat.” Or maybe that’s just my interpretation.

Any dream analysis folk out there have two cents they’d like to pitch in??

And I promise I’ll try to visit here more often again.

Our newest creation

Yes, yes, I know I haven’t posted here as often as I’d like–hopefully you’ve missed me! The good news is I’ve been doing substantial amounts of writing-related work, which is a good thing! The latest venture is this little bit of video, a book trailer for my first published novel, The Elf Queen. A book trailer is supposed to be like a movie trailer, giving enough of the story to entice folk to come see/read my book. (and hopefully the rest of the series!)

So what did you think? Is it exciting? Suspenseful? Must you go buy the book at Amazon right now? Okay, if you must. Pssst:  pass it on…  🙂

Also, come visit blogs around the country where I’m posting, as Lyndi, on the subject of writing, reading and life:

At Southern-Fried Gothic on the importance of setting to your story

With Nicki Markus on how every little change is the beginning of something bigger

and today and Friday with The Greater Fort Worth, Texas Writers, on connecting with readers. Leave a comment on Monday’s or Friday’s post and be entered into a drawing for a free copy of The Elf Queen!

April brings more than showers this year…

That’s right! I’m announcing the arrival of two new bouncing baby books in the next several weeks. I hadn’t planned for them to come out at the same time, but…who’s complaining? Not me!

First, check out book two in the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, THE ELF CHILD. It’s available at Amazon.com in ebook form, at Qoop.com in hardback, and currently at Createspace in paperback, but to Amazon and Barnes and Noble within the next few weeks. Here’s a little teaser for it:

  The moment Astan Hawk accepts his clan’s challenge to protect the young Elf Queen Jelani, trouble dogs his heels. Jelani’s human upbringing clashes with clan tradition and spurs dangerous intrigues within the Circle of Elders.
   Seeking revenge against Jelani for the loss of his mentor Bartolomey, outcast Grigor Biren finds powerful elf mages deep within the forest and sets out to prove himself worthy to learn their secrets.
     When Astan finds that his father Daven supports the agenda of the Circle, he has no choice but to turn to Jelani’s human friends for help.  Paranoid Crispy, empathetic Iris, and computer whiz Lane complicate Jelani’s unexpected pregnancy and the young queen’s attempts to rule her people. After the child is born, everything that could go wrong does.
     Can Astan carry through on his promise to keep Jelani safe when the whole world seems to have turned against them?

Hardback available at Qoop. Ebook at Amazon, Omni-Lit and Fastspring…more to come!

Urban Fantasy not your thing?  Try a little gritty romance in the New Mexico desert.

After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.

Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.

When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep–a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?  (check the link for an excerpt)

But I’m not taking the rest of the month off. I’ve got another romantic suspense in final edits for TWRP, a science-fiction novel under consideration at Spectra/DelRay, and The Elf Mage is reeling out nicely too.

Now if I could only get my personal life to fall into place….life could be perfect.

Drop by the blog of Emma Lai for my post on how writing helps keep me sane in an insane existence…

They’re he-ee-e-r-e!

The Clan Elves of the Bitterroot, that is. Available for the enjoyment of the reading public, in ebook, paperback and hardback.

Come by their new home on the Web at http://www.clanelvesofthebitterroot.com and find out where all the latest book signings, etc. are going to take place. Suggest a place for a book signing, if you’d like to meet Lyndi Alexander–um, me– in person. 🙂

Book two is well into existence, and the political intrigue and schemes in the Montana mountains just don’t stop. Clearly elves have associated with humans for much too long, if they’ve picked up all our bad habits. Or is it the other way around?

From vacation to relocation?

I could live in Missoula again.


The city is now sufficiently cosmopolitan to meet my needs:  there’s a Wal-Mart and a Target. But I do prefer the north side to the south side. The storefronts and intimate settings suit me better than the big strip centers.

I think it would take me a long time to get used to the influx of casinos. some 36 in the extended area. Some of them are even attached to gas stations.  So how does that work?  Stop to fill the tank, get some milk and play $10 of slots?

The scenery is beautiful.

Mountains all around

Mountains all around

The population is diverse–from international students, to Native Americans, to many other cultures represented. The hippie movement is alive and well there. There is a strong interest in the environmental issues I also find important.

Just one hitch in the plan to pack it all up and move: the weather.

As one Montanan explained to me, they have four seasons: a brief before-winter, winter, a brief after-winter, and road construction  season.

There are serious winters there. It snows many years from Labor Day till Memorial Day– and sometimes after!

I mean there are exits all along Interstate 90 where the state can order you off the road depending on the weather. And it’s apparently not a suggestion; they have railroad-type barricades to make sure forward progress can’t be made.

What happens to the more determined? If they pass the gate, does an enormous wintry Balrog come out from under the next underpass, bellowing “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” One can only imagine.

So we might visit again someday, but as for permanent residents?  N ever again.  Beauty of the surroundings can only keep you so warm.



Montana musings

Although we’d originally intended to hit Missoula Sunday night, after all the fun and frivolity (shame on us!)of yesterday it didn’t happen.  So we limped into Billings about midnight and took up the road again on Monday.

Little Miss oohed and aahed about the Rocky Mountains, as did we all.  Surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, we hauled butt across the state.  DAMN it’s a wide state. Seriously.

We caught up with the relative with whom the Captain is visiting this summer in Kalispell, and sent him off for a summer mountain adventure. He acted like we were dropping him at a sitter’s for 10 minutes and hardly noticed we left the park where we all met. So I hope he has fun, and the break does us all good. Respite is essential to keeping sane folks– as I’ve said before, one of the kindest things people can do is offer to keep the children for some brief time, to allow the parents time to regroup.

Boy, is that neck of the woods beautiful.

Beautiful Flathead Lake--largest fresh water lake in US

Beautiful Flathead Lake--largest fresh water lake in US

We made it into Missoula just before dark and found my ex-sister-in-laws house. With her seven dogs.  Yes. Seven. Housedogs. Wow. But the dachshunds are very well trained, and it’s going well.  The irony is, of course, that I haven’t spoken to my ex in years–but his sister and I get along just fine and have very similar opinions on families, politics, natural living and so on.

The other reason I’m excited to be here is that my latest fiction work is set in Missoula and the mountain north of here, so it gives me the chance to gather relevant details.  I sipped iced chocolate hazelnut coffee in Butterfly Herb Co., the very shop where my heroine is a barista. Very inspirational.

We checked out several locations around town, and I realized I’m going to have to change the place where I put my heroine’s apartment. The  building where we used to live isn’t there any more! So I’m scoping out some local Realtors, asking where someone of her means might be able to rent, likely by the University somewhere.

We also went to a delightful kids’ space called Caras Park, where they have a carousel and a playground that Ditto Boy and Little Miss found wonderful. For 50 cents, they got five minutes of a very speedy spin–Little Miss must have been in heaven. They went five times!

taking a spin

taking a spin

where's that Ben Hur guy...? Driver?

where's that Ben Hur guy...? Driver?

After the whirlwind tour of the city, we ate a late lunch at a fabulous barbecue place and retreated to the SIL’s house for the night.  Early dinner, early bed I think, and then we head south to catch up with my best friend in Cali and then B in the Sierra Nevadas! Job well done so far.

On the road again

The older I get, traveling seems to be one of my favorite occupations. Not that I get to do it that much. But each summer we seem to try to fit in more and more places to see.

This summer we’ve agreed that the Captain needs some time away from us and vice versa, and he’s spending a month in gorgeous Montana. I lived there for a couple of seasons one summer back when M was born.Why do I say a couple of seasons?  Because there it snows anytime from Labor Day to Memorial Day! And often both. So spring, summer and fall take place in a condensed few weeks. But it is beautiful.

I’ve opted to drive him out, so I can visit B in Reno and see the awesome Sierra Nevada Journeys program, research my novel setting in the Glacier region, as well as see our friend Chase in California. What had slipped my mind was the insanity of planning a trip from HERE to THERE and back while co-managing schedules for 6 other people across the country.

The afore-mentioned B will be running camps up in the mountains and not in till the 20th. My Chicago gardening guru sister will be off speaking in the midwest somewhere the weekend of the 15th. My ex sister-in-law is running a full scale dog show the end of the week we wanted to visit and will be distracted big time. Chase pried two days out of her work schedule to meet up, and I hope we can be there at the same time. B’s new live-in (yay!) will need to travel back to Canada by the 28th.

Somehow I also have to remember that I can’t drive 15 hours in a day with three growing kids and the stiffness that fibromyalgia brings. (Because this time the Cabana Boy has to work and can’t go with; a serious blow for the travel guru who prefers to sit back and admire the scenery and take pictures. Bummer.)

So I need to bend and flex around all those other events. But overall, I’m still looking forward, and planning to blog on the road with pictures. I’m amazed each year about what a wonderful land we have–so many climates and landscapes, innovative museums, weird tourist attractions,  mountains, lakes, forests and….corn.  Lots and lots of corn. For about 1,000 miles across the mid-section.


Soon as I get the wagons rounded up, we’re off.  Westward ho!