Aya Walksfar, Author

Hard hitting, in-the-news murder mysteries


IMG_3241 Summer has gone so fast! Can’t believe early #fall is here with yellow and red leaves drifting and swooping like tiny hang gliders to the ground. The final vacation of the summer began with an abrupt change of plans: instead of heading down Highway 101 where the rains were predicted for the entire week, we headed back over to eastern Washington, but to parts of it that we’d never visited.



Light and dark; hills and river

Light and dark; hills and river





Ran into some brisk winds which made those hours a bit challenging for this novice rider, but the beauty of it all compensated for any breath-holding moments.

Last day of the ride, we headed out of Winthrop and ran into rain halfway up the mountain. At the summit, we got pelted with hail. On the way down the other side to Newhalem I learned that those signs announcing areas of ‘severe side winds’ told a tale I didn’t hear on past rides down the mountainside. The wind and increased rain decided to slap me around and give me a few new gray hairs! Got through the curves and the rain and home, soaked to the skin but safe and feeling proud that I’d met the challenge and actually survived! Biker Granny wins!

Soooo….. I don’t often go “down below” (what us locals call anything south and west of Oso) but weekend before last (September 26–Saturday) I attended the Gay Romance Pacific Northwest Meet-up at the Seattle Library downtown. You know, that big glass and steel one with multiple floors and books galore? IMG_3268  Sure was a lot different than the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I hung out as a kid! But the pigeons looked pretty much the same.

Pigeon checking out the "tourist" from Darrington

Pigeon checking out the “tourist” from Darrington

But, the library building hosted some weird visual effects.

Building caught in glass

Building caught in glass


A serious note: At the conference/meet-up hosted by the Seattle Library and Old Growth Northwest I had the wonderful opportunity to meet some great lesbian authors and writers and publishers. I must say, though, that I came away feeling a bit like I danced between worlds–the straight world and the lesbian world–in my writing; never quite fitting in either one.

My books, as most of you know, feature strong, female protagonists–usually lesbian–but, the stories/plot lines are not centered on the protagonists being lesbian. My mysteries center around the crime and the solving of that crime with lots of twists along the way. My literary novels deal with real world issues that women, regardless of sexual orientation, must often face such as the impact of family secrets on young people, the abuse of children by the social system, violence against successful women, and in my vampire romance, though both women are lesbians their romantic conflicts arise from their different ‘cultures’ and the vampire war. (BIG SIGH) Not lesbian enough to fit into the lesbian niche and too lesbian to fit into the straight niche. I always have to be difficult and a rebel, I suppose!

For all of you who enjoy my ebooks, please note that the prices have been dropped to $2.99! I will be leaving the prices at that LOW set point until the new year. Now is a great time to stock up on #ebooks from Amazon! Don’t forget that voracious reader during the coming holidays! All of my ebooks can also be purchased as print books for those who like the feel of a ‘real book’. (PLEASE NOTE: Prices for print books are different than for ebooks)

I am still in the process of catching up on everything that got ahead of me this summer. Currently,  #amwriting a thriller with the working title Attack. Thrillers are a new genre for me. Mysteries involve a crime that has been committed, and the search for the perpetrator while thrillers tell you who is doing the crime and the book is about how that person is, or is not, stopped before committing/completing the crime or crime spree. Slightly different focus that calls for developing some new skills as an author. Love a challenge.

Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1 of the #Vampire Wars, released recently has been quite popular. This book marked my foray into #fantasy and the world of #supernatural creatures. Now, #amwriting the second book of the series which I have tentatively scheduled release for spring or summer of 2016.

For those of you waiting for Biker Granny’s Motorcycle Philosophy, I may have to re-schedule its release from fall-winter 2015 to early 2016. Biker Granny has to learn how to copyright a nonfiction book that combines text and photographs/illustrations. Stay tuned for more information on that.

Would LOVE to hear what you did this summer. New adventures, new skills, new discoveries! Leave a comment below.

If you don’t already follow the blog, be sure to sign up.  If you are signed up (through email) for the blog or the newsletter but have not been receiving BOTH please let me know! I am not tech-savvy so I may have messed up on combining the lists. Don’t miss getting the newsletter full of specials, image quotes, and other interesting stuff! Just drop me a line at ayawalksfar@gmail.com. If you would like to correspond, ask questions, comment at length about my work, I would love to hear from you. Be sure to drop me an email!





When the road serenaded me with its song, I followed the music into #Canada. We hopped the ferry out of Anacortes headed for Sydney, Vancouver Island. Once there, we kicked our bikes into gear and zipped over to the motel to rest up for the coming day and a trip to #Butchart Gardens.

IMG_2658  Loved it! As do about a million visitors a year. We even ran into a family of bears among the trees.

IMG_2661 Fortunately, they were of the vegetative kind.

Not far down the road, we whipped into the Butterfly Garden.

This beauty is actually a moth! IMG_2908

Several birds flitted about the gardens. IMG_2971 This one decided to land on my wife’s shoulder and tell her a secret. I didn’t ask Deva to reveal the bird’s secret.

After seven plus hours on my feet, I was ready to just cruise the roads of Vancouver Island the next day. The day after that, we caught the ferry to Tsawwassen on the mainland of Canada. From there we rode on into Harrison Hot Springs. The internet teems with articles about the Hot Springs, so I will simply say that the town of Harrison, in addition to the hot springs, can boast that their little chocolate store has lip-smackin’ good English Toffee.

The following day found us scrambling up the mountain side to stand at the base of Bridal Veil Falls. In spite of it being mid-summer (an off season to view the Falls) and the area being in a four-month drought, it was worth the sore muscles to stand there, gazing up toward the source. IMG_3078

The days blended into one another and our next notable stop was the small town of Hope, British Columbia–not far from Harrison Hot Springs. Hope is a bit of what I would call a ‘sleeper’ town–it will absolutely surprise and charm you. This small town of 5,969 people not only hosts an art gallery well worth the time to check out, but carvings done by internationally reknown carvers scatter throughout the town.

I was especially pleased to meet Harry of Harry and the Hendersons. IMG_3126

The next town that hosted us required a ride over the hill. IMG_3141

Princeton sits in the middle of, well, nowhere. After dinner at a local restaurant, we decided to call it a day and veg out. Not given to listening to the news and being out of touch with all media, we finally turned on the television as we flopped out on the bed. The next day’s ride would be on the Crow’snest Highway, or BC-3, into Osoyoos  then drop into the United States by way of Oroville and onto Omak on US-97.

As the news flashed to the scene of a blazing inferno, I gaped at the reader line across the bottom of the television screen: #Omak, #Washington. Needless to say, we turned around and headed back to the United States via Chilliwack, British Columbia, to Sumas in the States.

Unfortunately, our shock wasn’t to end with leaving Canada. We arrived in Darrington to a beautiful sunset and the smell of smoke. IMG_2552

Approximately a year and a half ago the town of Darrington wrestled with the devastation of the Highway 530 Mudslide that destroyed homes and took lives. Last night we once again gathered at the Community Center to face fire this time. Though our small fire only encompasses approximately eighty acres on the side of Jumbo Mountain that towers above the town, concern lay heavy on the room. Avalanche chutes and winds could easily spread the burning debris.

Only thirty-three miles away–less if you draw a straight line between the towns–the Skagit Complex fires–eight of them–rage around the small towns of Newhalem and Diablo. Only a small percentage of those fire perimeters are contained, meaning that a line has been built that will stop the progress of the fire.

Just over the mountains, fire devastates communities. Three firefighters lost their lives. Homes and farms and dreams go up in columns of black smoke.

All over the states of Washington, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Northern California fire claims lives and homes; businesses and farms.

Less talked about are the countless thousands of animals and birds–both wild and domestic–that have lost their lives to the greedy flames. The decimation of their homes and food supply will have tragic, long lasting consequences. Some of the species may not fully recover for years, if ever.

So while I urge you to continue to send prayers, and relief aid, to the victims of those most devastating fires, such as the Okanogan Complex Fires, I would like to ask that you send a prayer, a thought out to the Universe for the wildlife, wild birds and domestic animals that are suffering.

Meanwhile, here in Darrington, we watch our small fire on Jumbo Mountain as we send relief efforts and prayers to those who face raging infernos.

mountain with smoke above restaurant

To view more photos from Biker Granny, go to http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar

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Share these download codes with family, friends and co-workers. These four #books will remain #free ONLY until August 30, 2015. (JUST 4 more DAYS!) Go to http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar to download your FREE copy, or copies! Download any one or all four of these #ebooks. These are COMPLETE books; not teasers.

  1. (Genre: #Mystery/Thriller/police drama) Street Harvest, Book 2, Special Crimes Team, Code JE68B   (NOTE: all the books in my series can be read out of order or as stand-alone novels) What do the bodies of two young children have in common with the murders of two adult men? Eleanor Hasting, a black bookstore owner and child advocate knows these killings are linked. Now, she must convince Lieutenant Michael Williams, head of the Special Crimes Team. Psychic Jaimie Wolfwalker is prepared to do whatever it takes to locate and rescue the missing street children. The law be damned! Jaimie’s attitude and methods place her on a collision course with Sergeant Nita Slowater, second-in-command of the Special Crimes Team. Four dedicated people struggle to come to terms with each other in their desperate search for clues. Every day brings more missing children, more young bodies. They must stop the monsters before another child disappears…forever.
  2. (Genre: Mystery/Thriller) Run or Die, Code MX48Y Life had never been easy for Jaz Wheeler. When love touched her world only to be snatched away, emptiness settled around her heart. She barely cared enough to keep body and soul together until she landed on Hawk Hill and the Hopewell Farm. Somehow the isolated farm caught her by the heart strings. Now, she must find the strength and the courage to stand against the ultimatum to run or die.
  3. (Genre: #Literary) Good Intentions, Code HQ72R Bev Ransom thinks her life can’t get any worse after her father dies unexpectedly. At least, she has her friend and employer, Rene Lawson, an intriguing older woman whose past is shrouded in mystery. Then, on a day like any other, Bev goes to work and by evening Rene is dead. Devastated and unable to let go of another loved one, Bev becomes obsessed with unraveling the mysteries that surrounded Rene. When she uncovers a twenty-year old secret, Bev’s world is shattered. Is there anyone she can trust?
  4. (Genre: Mystery/Thriller, a novella) Dead Men and Cats, Code UH42Z When Megan Albright and Janie Sampson discover a dead man and a live, calico kitten floating in an old rowboat the serenity of the quiet community of Shadow Island is shattered. Then Dan Uley, a close friend, is murdered. Doubting the sheriff’s commitment to finding the killer, they know they must do it for there is no telling who will be the next to die.

Here are the instructions for downloading via Smashwords: (They can only be accessed for FREE through Smashwords!)

  1. You have to set up a FREE Smashwords account. It’s totally FREE!
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Go to http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar

Scroll down until you find the book title you have a coupon code for and click on it

Click on the book cover

Click “Buy”

The book cover and title will appear along with the original price and below the original price will be “coupon code” with a box next to it

Type in the code for your FREE download

Click “Checkout” in the upper right corner

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Complete checkout

Go to “view library” and the book cover will come up with a green “download” button

Click “download”

On the right side a box will appear that says “Download the full versions of this book”. Below this will be buttons with different formats. Choose the format that is right for your device, such as epub for NOOK, mobi for Kindle. If a page appears that says this book has multiple versions, always choose to download the most current version of the book.

“Save” file. Now your FREE ebook is on your PC.

Transfer from PC to your device. Enjoy!

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The Open Road Calls!

JUNE 2015 141The open road calls! (and I answered the phone.)

Just wanted to let everyone know that I will not be on #SocialMedia, including this blog, until after August 26th or so. I am taking time to hang out with my bestie and wife, Deva, and just chill, doing things we want, and need, to do for ourselves. JUNE 2015 064 Our last trip. JUNE 2015 107 Here we are taking a water break to stay hydrated. (You never should look like a prune–all dried up–at the end of a ride)

When on the #bike, we gear up! Road rash at sixty miles an hour is no joke.  JUNE 2015 060

May all of you have a wonderful and profitable ten to fourteen days! I’ll post once I settle back down in front of my computer and my #dogs forgive me for ignoring them! (It’s really hard to type on a computer with a German Shepherd on my lap! LOL!)  AyasLapDog






Fond memories–who doesn’t have at least one? Even growing up in a poor neighborhood, I had several. #Books figure in all of them; usually along with a dog. One of my fondest is of the Carnegie #Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–the one on the Northside. I spent untold hours within its rooms; curled up in a corner somewhere with my nose stuck in a book.

At some point in every winter that I recall, at home our heat got shut off for non-payment. It’s hard to feed a family when your wallet is empty, much less keep the heat and the electricity turned on. Carnegie Library was always warm. And quiet. And never violent. No one got stabbed or shot or beat up within those walls. No one even yelled. That was back when libraries had a hushed, reverent atmosphere.

Oftentimes, when I’d walked in with my toes nearly frozen as they peeked from the holes in my tennis shoes and wearing clothes that were always too big for me, the librarian would smile and glance around then wave for me to come over to the desk. She would dart looks here and there like she and I engaged in a great conspiracy. I’d stand on tiptoe and lean as far over the counter as I could and she’d stretch toward me and whisper, “We just received some new books and I found a few I thought you might like.” Then she reached beneath the counter and drew out two or three or four books and slid them over the counter to my eager hands.

With a quick look around, I swiped them off the counter and tucked them in faded backpack I’d bought at a thrift store–treasures to savor. Sometimes, a sandwich lay on top of the books. Of course, there was no eating or drinking in the library, but she’d lean even closer and say in a voice only for my ears, “No one’s over by the table at the end of the A-B aisle in nonfiction.”

Though I visited that particular library many times every week from the age of six to the age of nine, if I ever knew her name, I’ve forgotten it. Her face, over the years, has blended with other faces, but I have never forgotten her kindness to a poor child in a rough neighborhood.

During the winter of my ninth year, my grandfather was murdered. Shortly afterwards, Mom moved us out of the city and into rural suburbia. I never saw my beloved library nor the kind librarian again, yet the impact of both still affects me to this very day. Every time I write a book, I remember her. I hope that my work honors her kindness.


http://i1.wp.com/andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/Alleghenyfront.JPG?w=538  Once upon a long time ago, I climbed on those concrete banisters. Sometimes, I ran up and down them; and, sometimes, I lay on my back and stared up at the sky and dreamed of a place far from where I’d grown up. This building was my sanctuary, my haven.





DSC09967 White Horse Mountain, Cascade Mountains, Darrington, Washington

Lessons Learned (The Observations of a Wildlife Habitat Manager)

Other than #author, I have several hats that I wear. Among them is the Wildlife Habitat Manager Hat. Habitat is NOT a sanctuary. It is a place where wildlife and wild birds can arrive and depart as they please. Habitat offers the wild ones food (in the form of plants, trees and the resultant insects), water (sometimes in the form of water dishes if the natural water source dries up), and shelter/nesting areas (in the form of bushes, trees, tall grass areas, undergrowth and deliberately maintained ‘slash piles’ of natural plants including tree limbs), and, hopefully, a measure of safety from domestic predators such as cats and dogs.

In 1996, my wife and I bought twelve acres of abused farmland. When I label the land abused what I mean is that the fields had been overgrazed, invasive weeds such as non-native blackberry bushes and morning glories had taken over approximately eleven acres of the land, garbage had been dumped on the creek banks and piled in a variety of other places (all of which we discovered as we took down the invasive blackberry brambles); old cars, farm equipment, freezers–complete with the rotted carcasses and hides of deer, bear and other wildlife– and other appliances also hid beneath the blackberry brambles; and, sadly, we also uncovered the skeletons and other remains of animals and birds killed for the sake of killing and left to rot where they lay.

When we first moved here, no birds flew over the property. It reminded me of the silent spring that Rachel Carson evoked with the title of her important book. Not until our medicine man came and blessed the land did the birds return. The first bird in was the tiny Rufous Hummingbird.

Since that time, we have cataloged sixty-eight different species of birds who visit our land, usually staying to shelter and/or nest. We have had a variety of wildlife, including a family of deer who frequently have their fawns in our back field and coyotes who sing their mournful songs to the dark of night.

But, the journey has not been without it setbacks and detours. So here are a few of the lessons learned by this wildlife habitat manager:

—When calculating the amount of time a rehab project might take, add in one-half again of what you think (ie: 40 hours would become 60 hours). This will allow for delays, surprises and just days when you want to play instead of work.

—Be aggressive with invasive plants! Whether the plants are Euro-Asian blackberries, morning glories, scotch broom or English daisies, begin a program of spray-mow-spray immediately. For the sake of the wild ones, try to use eco-friendly herbicides such as Round-Up. It you really need more toxic herbicides, such as some of the caustics, try to spot spray and limit the amount of the chemical used as well as the amount of land it is applied to.

—Not everything the experts tell you to try will work. For several winters, I fought a losing battle with snow tearing the gutters off of the barn. We tried a number of different remedies, including snowjacks that are in use in places like Alaska. The problem with our snow is that it accumulates, partially melts, refreezes and accumulates some more making most types of snowjacks not very efficient and often the victim of the snow pack along with the gutters. The way we resolved our issue was with four foot deep trenches around our barn under the roofline. We filled the trenches with two different sizes of rock/gravel and with French drain then created a ditch that leads to a depression where the water can slowly dissipate. It works, for us. Don’t be afraid to try out your own ideas.

—Try different plants in different areas! You may be surprised that what will grow in one place, won’t flourish in another place that appears to be the exact same type of ground, sunlight and moisture.

—When visiting nurseries, ignore most of the statements like “Oh, no, this is not invasive”; “no, you won’t have any problem with this spreading where you don’t want it” and similar statements. Many of the current invasives that we battle daily were brought here deliberately by other people, including the scourges of farmland and wildlife habitat–English daisies and scotch broom! No one thought these “pretty flowers” would become noxious weeds. We can eradicate invasive plants. Be consistent and persistent!

Try to use plants that are native/indigenous to your area. (Our neighbor planted a black walnut tree and now we have bunches of baby black walnut trees sprouting up everywhere). Think twice about eradicating what your neighbors may term ‘weeds’ if that plant is indigenous, such as salmonberry bushes and Indian plum bushes. Many times the wildlife/wild birds that are native to your area really need these plants (sometimes, the very ones your neighbors labor weeds)! Both salmonberry and Indian plum are early spring flowering plants that provide much needed nectar for the hummingbirds who arrive before other trees and bushes set their blossoms.

DSC01752 Patch of Thimbleberry bushes (Pacific Northwest native plant; edible by humans, birds and wildlife. A tasty red berry on a thornless bramble.)

Salmonberry bushes are much more sensitive (especially to herbicides) than many people believe and can be controlled (kept to one area) by mowing the young starts that sprout through rhizome propagation. As well as providing nectar, these delicate blossoms are a lovely relief from the barrenness of winter. According to my adoptive mother, Vi taqseblu Hilbert, who was an Upper Skagit elder, new shoots were once eaten by #NativeAmericans much like asparagus. The berries are red or gold colored and delicious for people, birds or other wildlife. salmonberry bloom Salmonberry blossom (Pacific Northwest native plant)

—Be gentle with yourself! This was a very important lesson for me. I tend to demand not only perfection of myself, but perfection as of yesterday! No matter how dedicated and hardworking you are, take time to stop and just walk the land, enjoy all that you have accomplished. Be sure to take ‘before’ photos you can refer to because many times we don’t see the progress we are making. Sort of like being in a dense forest–rather difficult to see the whole tree.

—Remember, even though one person can’t save the entire planet; we can’t even save the entire species–whatever the species–we can make a difference one person at a time; one small piece of land at a time. So, whether you have a small backyard or a hundred acres, what you do matters. When you provide food, water and shelter for two birds that gives that bird species one more place to rest, to eat and grow strong, and to bring young into this world to bless all of us. And, each time one of us provides habitat for the wild ones, we demonstrate to our neighbors and friends that it can be done without sacrificing the use and enjoyment of our property. We can make a difference; and, we can make this world a tiny bit better for us having been here.

We are saving, preserving and increasing beauty each day.

JUNE 2015 144 Oregon Grape (Pacific Northwest native plant; berries are edible by humans, birds and wildlife)


To see photos of the author’s land, go to Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar) and view Jaz Wheeler’s farm. My character in Run or Die has much the same kind of place as we do. Funny how that works!






Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

We live in an undeniably violent world–wars, murders, rapes, ad nauseum. Should books graphically reflect that reality? How much is too much?

As the author of murder and mayhem–and even in my literary works to some, though to a lesser, degree–this is a question I face. This issue is compounded by the question of sex. As with violence, sex permeates our culture. Nearly every television show, movie, and advertisement has sex intimately entwined. Let’s face it: sex and violence sells.

Yet, I want my work to mean more than a dollar sign or a cheap thrill. I feel a responsibility to tell stories worthy of a #reader’s time. After all, my commitment is to entertain, enlighten and empower. Where does that leave such a writer?

We become a weaver of plots, a builder of characters, a creator of worlds.

I use a certain amount of graphic sex and graphic violence in some of my work. Note the word “some” and the phrase “a certain amount”. Since I write everything from young adult to vampire to #murder to literary (yes, I realize authors are supposed to brand themselves with one genre, but that robe felt too tight and it itched!) the use of sex and violence must be tailored to the story.

For example, in the young adult novel, Black Wind, (TO BE RELEASED JULY 31) they never get their clothes off, yet in the vampire novel, Artemis’ Warriors(COMING AUGUST 31)….well, let’s just say that sometimes clothes get scattered all over the place. The mystery/cop/thriller novels, such as The Special #Crimes Team series, fall somewhere between these two poles.

Likewise, in Black Wind, violence occurs but to a lesser degree and not as graphic. The vampire fighters in Artemis’ Warriors dash about, lopping off heads and arms and other important parts. The blood flies. In Sketch of a Murder, SCT, Book 1, the reader sees crime scenes through the serial killer’s eyes–and the scenes are gruesome, yet in Old Woman Gone, SCT, Book 3, bloodshed is minimal. (All the books in my series can be read as stand-alone novels.)

So, what creates the different levels of sex and violence? The story. It is my contention that the plot and the characters in a story determine the amount of sex and violence, as well as how graphically those instances are portrayed .

All too often, I have picked up a novel and within a few chapters have read ten pages of graphic sex (more frequently than graphic violence even) for every page of story. Needless to say, I toss the book aside and seldom pick up anything else by that author. If scenes of sex and violence dominates a work with no clear purpose in forwarding the story, then I have to ask how well-developed are the characters and how substantial is the plot?

Readers, what is your opinion? How much sex and violence is too much? Leave a comment!

DON’T FORGET: UNTIL AUGUST 30 FOUR of my e-novels are FREE! Want a #FREEBOOK? Go to: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar  Choose one, or all, of the books listed below. Follow the checkout instructions. When asked for the coupon code, entered the code specific to that book. Continue checkout. Download the format that works best with your device. epub for NOOk; mobi for Kindle; or whatever format your device requires and is listed.

Street Harvest, Special Crimes Team, Book 2 (all of my series can be read out of order, or as a stand-alone novel) Use Coupon Code: JE68B

Run or Die    Coupon Code: MX48Y

Good Intentions, a literary novel  Coupon Code: HQ72R

Dead Men and Cats, a mystery novella  Coupon Code: UH42Z

If you have problems with the download, please contact me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com I will try to answer your questions.

Share the codes with family, friends and co-workers. Heck, share them with your neighbors and maybe they will read instead of party all night and keep you awake!

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In 1988, I came out of the Closet. Not only did I come out, I blew the damn thing up!

The year started quietly enough–I had a nice home, decent furniture with a few antique pieces I’d refinished, rode horses with my friend of four years, and attended college to become a veterinarian. As the year progressed, that seeming normalcy shattered. My friend and I became an intimate couple–in the Deep South, in 1988.

Now, I’d always enjoyed my friend’s family as I didn’t have one of my own–big Sunday gatherings and lots of visiting back and forth–right up until I learned about the herd of pink elephants stampeding through her life. Suffice it to say that her family did not take her sexual orientation well. Her mother, a fundamentalist Christian, was certain that her daughter would go to Hell–and that was only because my friend had decided to divorce her abusive husband. With that reaction in mind, we didn’t apprise her of the change in sexual orientation. If it had only been her mother, we might have stayed and tried to work it through, but other family members felt that the use of violence would realign her orientation and wipe away her desire for a divorce.

Faced with a choice of using violence to counter extreme violence, in a state where a man could with impunity beat his wife but heaven help the woman who fought back–prison, psych wards and increased violence against such a woman–we decided to leave the state.

light in darkness

She left everything she had worked over eleven years to help accumulate including her beloved horses; walked away from a Bachelor’s of Science degree that lacked one quarter to complete, and packed what she could in an old cedar chest and a used van. I, too, walked away from home, material possessions that couldn’t fit in a couple of cardboard cartons and the van, my horses (we arranged with a supportive friend to come and get all of the horses and rehome them), and my dream of becoming a veterinarian.

We crossed the country with her old German Shepherd dog and my Pit Bull, driving for hours to exit the state and begin to feel a little bit safe. California was filled with crowds and congested cities, so we continued traveling, stopping here and there to find work, always labor and always paid in cash. We parked in rest areas and slept in the van; sometimes, awakened by the pounding of a night stick on the metal side and the order to move on. We bathed in sinks in the rest area bathrooms, in a bucket inside the van, and every once in a while, at a mission. The women there, waiting in line for their turn at the showers, frequently let us go ahead of them so we could get back on the road.

Oregon felt decidedly unsafe. A few weeks before a young gay man had been severely beaten on an Oregon college campus. Work on a couple of horse farms and a sheep farm and eventually a donut shop got us enough money to head for the state of Washington.

Years earlier, I had lived in Washington before I moved to the South. The memories of Western Washington held the promise of diversity and, perhaps, even acceptance and safety. Funny how having been heterosexual during my earlier sojourn in the state had drastically impacted my life; things had changed and not just my sexual orientation. Washington was, indeed, more tolerant than the Deep South–usually–if you were careful where you went–if you stayed aware of potential attackers around you–if you could find a landlord/landlady willing to rent to a couple of lesbos–if you could find a job where your sexual orientation didn’t matter if you could do the work—if, if, if……

Even on Capitol Hill in Seattle, LGBTQ Land, lesbians were waylaid, stalked, beaten, raped for being lesbian, and sometimes for just being female. It became difficult to tell which was the greater crime. We turned our anger to action and joined with other lesbians in an effort to change the world, or at least our little corner of it.

Over time, we found a wonderful landlady and worked temp labor at Labor Ready where they didn’t care if you were an omni-sexual purple alien; we reconnected with some friends of mine and made new friends, and we enrolled in college again, though not on our original track of studies. Slowly, we rebuilt our shattered lives.

My wife and I have been life partners for over twenty-six years, now. In spite of the sorrow and pain we endured, we grew closer to each other, strengthened each other, and have never rebuilt our Closets. It is heartening to finally have the vindication of the Supreme Court decision. Our marriage is, at last, legal in all fifty states.

No matter how dark

Will the Supreme Court decision make it easier to come out? For some, yes, but those are the fortunate ones. Those types of families and friends; co-workers and professors, are becoming more and more common. Yet still for some lesbians the day they step from the Closet, they will face violence, and ostracism from those closest to them.

There is still a lot of work to do.



Heart Dog UPDATE

Surgery today. Tumor appeared to be limited to the spleen. Spleen and tumor removed. A biopsy will be done and results in around Friday.


The Heart Dog

The Heart Dog


If you’re really lucky, once in a lifetime, a heart dog will come into your life. These are more than companions, more than pets, more than a loving animal–they are the dogs who connect to our souls; who enlarge our hearts and give us the strength to face whatever may come. They are the dogs who come to us in our times of greatest need; in our times of greatest change.

I’ve been fortunate. Three such dogs have come into my life. One, a Black Lab whom I thought I was rescuing from a shelter, rescued me many times during a troubled childhood. The second, a Pit Bull, came to me in my thirties as my life underwent major, drastic changes.

Si?ab, my Muse, came to me also during a time of great changes. Heart dogs teach us; they give us the strength to move forward in our lives. She is often in my office as I scribble out the stories within the pages of my books. Her beauty of soul has fueled many of my words. When I get discouraged, she makes me smile. She is unwavering in her love.


And tomorrow, she may leave me.

Thursday a tumor was discovered on Si?ab’s spleen. It measured six inches wide and six inches long on the xray. A blood test didn’t detect cancer, but the vet said it might not even if cancer is present. So, at six o’clock tomorrow morning Si?ab and I will get in the car and drive to the vet’s. There she will undergo abdominal surgery. If all goes well, if this tumor is benign her spleen will be removed and she will go home with me. If the tumor is clearly cancerous, she may never wake up. It is a difficult choice, but long ago I swore I would never extend the suffering of someone I loved in order to avoid my own suffering.

She is my heart dog, a dog whose soul is entwined with my own.

Regardless of how the surgery turns out tomorrow, I will be out of touch for at least a week, most likely two weeks. If it turns out well, I will post the results.



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