This blog is my “author presence” on the internet, a way for me to share my writing and to communicate with those I know, and don’t know. As always, feedback is appreciated, as long as it is constructive. I look forward to sharing ideas and writing samples with everyone.

I’ve published two books, so far, and have several other manuscripts that I’m trying to self-edit into decent shape. To purchase what I’ve published so far see my author page on Amazon.


Princess Rachel Goes to Summer Camp (Chapter 4 — Goodbyes)

By the next day, Rachel felt she was ready, so much so that she became anxious to get there and start doing whatever Princesses were supposed to be doing. The door thumped several times after daybreak, and Rachel opened it. Carlene and a short, dumpy-looking woman in a long black frock were there.

Rachel’s face lit up. “Drek! It’s nice to see you.”

The witch smiled broadly, a gold tooth glowing in the morning light. “Thank you, dearie.” With wide-open arms, she scooped up Rachel and squeezed her.

Tim appeared as well. “Oh, hello, Drek,” he said.

Drek’s face reddened, although as green as her skin was, Rachel couldn’t be sure if she was blushing or molting. The witch lurched forward. “Hello, handsome!” She picked up the white-haired wizard with tree trunk-like arms and squeezed him. He let out an anguished gurgle and a few bones popped.

“Uh, Drek, you’d better let go,” Rachel said.

The witch looked at her, blinked, and let go. Tim sank to his knees, gasping for breath.

Drek jerked a thumb to her right, “Say, I found this lady here when I arrived.” Carlene ducked just in time to avoid her eye gouging out by Drek’s long wavy thumbnail. She then slid off to one side, trying to keep some distance from the witch.

“Yes, this is Carlene from the Princess Summer Camp. She will take me shopping on our way to the Camp.”

Drek turned to Carlene and fired off a big smile. “How lovely!”

The woman cringed, but Drek didn’t seem to notice. Instead, Carlene turned to Rachel.

“Come along, dearie, it is time to leave. Ask for a servant to bring your things.”

“Oh, we don’t have any servants. Dad doesn’t believe we should be waited on because we are Royals.”

Carlene smirked. “How quaint, but do you honestly expect your things to transport themselves?”

“No, not exactly,” Rachel said and glanced at Tim.

He glanced behind himself and, seeing no one there, turned back and shrugged.

Hands on hips, Rachel scowled at him, “Seriously!”

“Oh — right,” Tim said. I’ll take this.” He grabbed hold of the clothing trunk handle and lifted several inches. With a thud, it landed on the ground. “Good Lord, are you taking bricks to Camp?”

Drek shook her head. “Let me handle that.” She hefted the trunk up and balanced it on one shoulder.

Tim frowned. “I could have done that … with magic … maybe.”

Drek suddenly turned. The trunk on her shoulder nearly decapitated Carlene, except the woman shrieked and ran for the carriage.

“Goodness, she moves fast,” Drek rejoined.

Rachel wrapped her arms around Tim. “Goodbye Tim, take care of Oscar for me. I’ll see you during a break, which will be in a few weeks.”

Tim smiled down at her. “Take care of yourself, missy. Remember what I said about friends.”

“I will,” she replied, walking toward the carriage. With a grunt, Drek tossed the trunk onto the carriage’s roof. It rocked dangerously, but the witched gripped it with her meaty paws and stabilized. She climbed inside, and with a grimace, Carlene followed.

Rachel stepped up the carriage and turned around. Tim and Oscar stood in the doorway. She waved, and they waved back – Tim with his hand, Oscar with his snout. Then she turned and climbed into the carriage to begin her trip to the Camp via the mall.

* * *

Tim turned and looked down at Oscar. “Well, big guy. Just you and me. Sadly, we won’t be able to stay at the castle.” He sighed. “Too bad. I could have gotten used to sleeping inside solid walls.”

Oscar squealed and ran inside. Tim nodded. “Yes, quite right. It is time for us to go as well. Let me get my things, and we can lock up.”

 He grabbed his laundry bag filled with apples, cheese curls, and stolen candy bars. No liquor, however. The cabinet defied his lock-picking skills. “Come on, Oscar,” he shouted. “We have to go.”

Around the corner, the porcine prince appeared with his “things” – a food bowl securely fastened between his jaws.

“I see you have your priorities in order.”

Together they walked out the castle door; Tim pulled it shut and locked it. After a glance around, he slipped the key into a potted plant next to the door. He navigated the walkway over the moat, thumbed his nose at the crocodiles therein, and began traipsing down the Waxy Yellow Buildup Road (WYBR) to his tree house by the river.

As they approached, Tim looked down at his diminutive companion. “Oscar, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Oscar raised his tail and farted.

Tim frowned. “Or maybe not.”

Ferella Loses Her Wand (an audio adventure)

To kill time (from my perspective) or to entertain (anyone else), my daughter would often ask for extemporaneous stories, which I’d have to make up during whatever chore, task, or other obligation was at play. At some point, I decided to record these to write the stories down, either as is or as inspiration for whatever off-center ideas swirling around in my head. The following is one such session that happened while I was giving my youngest a bath. She was probably about 5 years old at this point. One of her favorite subjects was stories about fairies, and from that was the genesis of my Princess Rachel tales. Most of these stories have been captured in some fashion or the other, although one will forever remain with just my daughter and me. Never ask a tired father whose driving at night to tell you a story about a princess. Otherwise, he might regale you with Corkerella, probably the most inappropriate children’s story. But I digress…

Princess Rachel Goes to Summer Camp (Chapter 3 — The Unexpected Visitor)

Rachel went to the front door and wrenched it open. On the stoop was an older woman with curly black hair, hoop earrings, and a floral print robe. She gave Rachel a quick scan. “Oh my, do servants here often answer the door in their pajamas?”

“We don’t have servants. I’m Princess Rachel.”

“Are you? Well, I’m Carlene, a representative of Princess Summer Camp. I’m here to get you ready.”

“I wasn’t aware anyone from the camp was coming today.”

Carlene pushed her way in. “Quite all right. Your parents may have forgotten to tell you. That’s not the first time that has happened.” She looked around the hall, casting a critical eye on the tapestries and suits of armor. “Oh, how very last millennia. I do hope your clothes are more up-to-date than these furnishings.”

Rachel frowned. She already didn’t like this woman.

Tim appeared, rubbing his backside. “Oh, hello.” Spotting Carlene, he extended a hand and smiled. “My name is Tim.”

Carlene recoiled and looked at Rachel. “Is this your grandfather?”

Tim narrowed his eyes. “No, I’m a babysitter.”

She looked to Rachel, who nodded.

Whipping around, Carlene flashed a smile. “Well, isn’t that special?” With a quick movement, she reached into her robe and retrieved a handkerchief. Wrapping it around her hand, she shook Tim’s.

He frowned.

“This is Carlene from Princess Summer Camp,” Rachel offered with an eye roll.

Carlene added, “I’m here to ensure Miss Rachel is ready for camp.”

“That’s my job,” Tim shot back.

She looked sidelong at him. “Somehow, I doubt you do that for a living like I do. Pray tell, what do you do for employment?”

“I’m a wizard.”

Her eyebrows went up. “That’s a skill, not a job.”

Rachel resisted a grin. The way Tim does it, I’m not sure that it is either.

“What do you know about getting a Princess ready for summer camp?”

Tim glanced at the ceiling. “I know she needs clean underwear.”

Carlene gritted her teeth and sighed. “What she needs is riding equipment, a ballroom dress, grooming equipment, makeup, and perfume, to name a few.” She flashed her card in front of Tim.

He read it aloud. Carlene Fourntnoi, Specialist in Princess Preparation And Matchmaking (SPPAM). Your future is just a prince away.”

Rachel cringed. “SPAM? You’re kidding.”

“That’s S-P-P-A-M. Don’t forget the extra P. It makes all the difference.”

Tim tried but failed to conceal a smile. “I’m sure it does.” At that, he broke out into snorts of laughter.

Rachel also tried not to laugh but whispered to Tim, “What are you, six years old?”

“I’m young at heart,” he answered.

Carlene continued to move about the room, looking behind the tapestries and pinching the throw pillows. “Now that we have that out of the way, let us see what Ms. Rachel has, and we can get her things together.”

“I’m not sure I believe any of this,” Rachel whispered to Tim.

He cleared his throat. “If you don’t mind, Ms. Fourntnoi, I should probably contact Rachel’s parents and confirm your appointment.”

She sighed and replied with an exasperated tone, “Oh, very well then. But if we don’t get started soon, I won’t be able to help her prepare. I have another appointment at three.”

“This won’t take long,” Tim replied. He waved Rachel over toward the kitchen. “Get a bowl, preferably the largest one you can find, then fill it a third of the way up with water.”


“Just do it. I’m going to contact your parents.”

Rachel grabbed a large bowl, set it on the dining room table, and filled it with a pitcher.

Tim stood over the bowl and closed his eyes. “Water to water, face to face, make a connection across time and space.” The water glowed blue briefly, then swirled.

“Is it supposed to do that?” Rachel asked.

“Yes, the spell is searching for water on your parent’s end to connect to, then it will set up a connection.” Suddenly the bowl flashed green, then turned vaguely orange, and the King appeared, staring down into it.

“YIKES!” he exclaimed. “Tim, why are you in my Tequila Sunrise?”

A woman’s hand appeared on the King’s forehead. “Dear, why are you talking to your cocktail? Are you sick?” asked the Queen’s voice.

The King waved away the Queen’s appendage. “No, dear, Tim’s communicating through my drink. Take a look.”

The Queen’s face filled the bowl. “Oh, hello, Tim. Hi Rachel!”

Rachel leaned over and waved. “Hi, Mom.”

The King reappeared. “Can we make this quick? What’s the problem?”

Tim explained Carlene’s appearance at the door.

“Oh, yes, I forgot about that. Fourtnoi should be allowed to work with Rachel to get her ready.”

“Okay, thanks for the update,” Tim replied. The bowl stopped glowing and returned to normal. He looked up at Rachel. “Well, there you have it. It’s legit.”

Rachel rolled her eyes. Ms. Fourtnoi lifted the visors on the suits of armor in the foyer and sniffed inside.

Tim spoke first. “Rachel’s parents forgot to tell us about your appointment. Please forgive the confusion.”

“Quite all right,” Carlene replied. She let go of the visor, and it snapped shut on her fingertip. “Ouch!” She jerked her finger away and stuck it in her mouth. After glancing at them, she regained her composure, pulled her finger out, and studied it. “Very well.” She turned to Rachel. “Let’s go to your room and see what you have for Camp.”

Trying hard not to grit her teeth, Rachel nodded, and together they began heading for the stairs. Once they reached them, Rachel noticed Tim slinking away to the kitchen. “Aren’t you coming too?”

“Not if I can help it,” he replied.

Carlene took hold of Rachel’s shoulders. “Believe me, dear, we are better off. The only thing men can do is swing blades at each other and fall off horses.” She turned and walked up the stairs. Tim stuck fingers to the sides of his head to make devil horns and waggled a tongue at Carlene’s backside. Rachel stifled a laugh but hurried to catch up.

* * *

“OH, MY GOD!” Carlene screeched when she reached the top of the stairs. “There’s a farm animal in your room.” Rachel glanced in to see Oscar passed out on the rug, lying in a sunny spot.

“Oh, that is just Oscar, my pet pig.”

Carlene grimaced. “You have a pig for a pet. Is this a joke? Who gives a princess a pig for a pet?”

“That was Dad’s idea. But not completely, though. He misunderstood that I wanted a wig for my birthday, not a pig.”

“You wanted a wig?”

“Ah well, I was going through my Lady Gogo phase.”

Staring at her with wide eyes, Carlene muttered, “Okay then.”

Hours later, Carlene tossed another dress on the growing pile of discarded outfits.

“Child, you don’t have much to wear, do you?”

“I have all I need,” Rachel groused back.

“For a garage sale, maybe, but not a cotillion.”

“Cotillion? What is that?”

“I’ll explain later. For now, what I have picked out should do. We will find some other things on the way to Camp.”

Shopping. Ugh, that’s mom’s hobby, not mine. She preferred to walk a trail rather than stalking the shelves at the mall. Taking a chance of being eaten by a witch was more appealing that browsing bargain racks. “If we must,” she replied.

“Come now, have the right attitude – you want to fit in, right?”

“Well, yes.” Tim’s words rang in her mind. Maybe. It wasn’t fitting in that worried her; instead, she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

Being both a tomboy and an adventure hound, she suspected she had many differences from other “conventional” princesses. Makeup and dresses were foreign to her, and jewelry looked nice. But there was no way she would let someone punch holes in her ear lobes. A shiver ran up her spine at the very thought.

No, she enjoyed the outdoors too much, seeing what she could find and what was around the next bend in the trail. That sometimes led to trouble, but she had always found a way out.

I guess summer camp is no different than that idea – an adventure in the making.

Would she enjoy it? Who knows?

Carlene left for her next appointment, and not surprisingly, Tim reappeared.

Rachel gave him a glare. “Ah, I see you resurfaced.”

“Just wanted to see the scene of the crime.”

“What crime is that?”

“Fashion murder.”

“I’m no slave to fashion. know that.”

“Indeed I do, but I’m always leery of other people telling me what to do, especially regarding clothes.”

Rachel considered Tim’s ratty robe. “It wouldn’t hurt for you to listen.”

“On the contrary, I suffer immeasurably when I have to listen to others’ opinions.”

“How so?”

“I had the misfortune to hear someone rave about a pair of underwear with velcro in them.”

Rachel pinched her eyes shut. “Too much information.”

He looked over her shoulder at the piles of clothing and barely filled clothing trunks. “So, what are you going to take? You’re not going naked, are you?”

She cocked her head to one side. “Gee, that won’t make me stand out now, will it?” Then she pointed at the trunks. “That’s all Carlene said is acceptable at Camp. Not even sure how much of this still fits.”

“Better try it on. There is no sense taking stuff that doesn’t fit.”

An hour later, Rachel slammed shut a single trunk and looked at Tim. “Okay, all done.”

“So, how much are you taking?”

“I’ve got enough to get me through a week. After that, I’m in trouble. Looks like I’m going to be hitting the mall on the way to summer camp.”

“You have my sympathy.”


He smirked. “No, not really. Better you than me.”

“So, what will you do after I go off to camp?”

“I’m going to have to take care of Oscar.” A squeal erupted from the stairs, and they both turned. He sat there with a bowl in his mouth. “Good Lord, how often does he eat?”

“Seven times a day if he can get away with it.”

“What does he eat?”

“The better question is — What doesn’t he eat?”

Tim rubbed his beard. “Well, I don’t know. Is he willing to eat apples and cheese curls?”

“I don’t think that will be a problem.”

“Are you going to miss him?”

Rachel sighed. “Oh, of course, but I’m sure he won’t miss me.”

Oscar dropped the bowl and let out a high-pitched squeal.

“At least not as much as his next meal.”