Another Healing

Another Healing

Friday, December 30, 2016


Well, this is a hard year to reflect back on. Everybody knows about all the awful shit that happened and it's been well covered elsewhere, so I'm not going to get into it except to say that I hope we all survive. I've had some hard stuff to deal with personally, including a knee and a back injury. A few weeks ago, a student was found with a loaded gun in my school. My first publisher, Torquere, is going down, and I have two YA novels caught in the death throes. All Romance Ebooks is going down, too, and it's unlikely they will pay for my books they sold in the last quarter. I feel like my world has been shaken in some very fundamental ways by these breaches of trust.

But it hasn't been all bad. My family is healthy and thriving. My friends all still like me. (I hope.) My students keep coming back to me for help and we laugh every day. I've gotten some new birds on my life list and I've taken some photos I'm proud of.

I had a wonderful summer at camp with long days spent writing and kayaking and swimming and dozing in the sun. I watched spectacular sunsets and thunderstorms, and fell asleep every night to the sound of waves. With the lake levels at record lows, I was able to see into the backs of some underwater caves I always knew were there, but never dared explore. I soared with peregrine falcons and dove with loons. And I ate lots of good food off the grill.

Now we're back in our winter abode, which is toasty warm with snow falling outside and lots of birds at my feeders and the tallest mountain in Vermont just outside my window, and sunrises and northern lights and stars. I know how lucky I am to live in two such places, and I draw strength from the beauty around me to help heal the wounds that the outer world inflicts.

I had a novel, Depth of Return, released in September, and I'm really proud of it. I just finished a draft of the sequel, Cricket, and I hope to submit it soon. I have another novel tumbling around in my head that I'm really excited to start working on next.

Thank you all for following me here, on Facebook and Twitter and, of course, for reading my books. I'm usually around if anyone wants to chat, and let's hope for the best next year.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Jade Necklace

People who have already read Depth of Return will know exactly why I am posting a photo of a jade necklace.

So here's some trivia about the novel that didn't make it into my blog tour. Originally, the dog in the book was trapped in another object. My editor at DSP suggested I change the object, and since I'd already named the dog Jade, we decided that a jade necklace would be appropriate. (Yes, I came up with the name first and then the object, whereas the characters had the object first and named the dog after it. One of those weird things that made writer's heads explode sometimes.)

The problem was that I didn't own any jade. I looked at lot of jade on the internet, but I really needed to see a piece to describe it. So that meant a research trip to a jewelry store. I knew of a perfect one in downtown Burlington that specializes in imported jewelry. I may or may not have bought a lot of presents for myself and others there over the years. Suffice it to say, when my husband and I came in, the owner headed right over with a big smile.

I browsed around a little while my husband and the owner chatted. My husband loves to talk, and I wasn't paying any attention to what they were talking about. Until the owner calls me over with a big grin and announces to the whole shop that he has some nice demon possessed jade right here.

Of course, I was ready to kill them both. Of course, I ended up buying a jade necklace. I mean, I needed to have it to study, right? Heck, maybe it can count as a tax deduction. And yes, everyone in the store ended up knowing I was a writer and I was writing a book about a dog trapped in a...

As soon as we got on the sidewalk, I informed my husband that the dog was not in fact a demon, but a demon had trapped him in the necklace. There was a huge difference. My husband just rolled his eyes.

But I will pay him back. My next novel will have a dog trapped in a diamond necklace.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Blog Tour Winding Down

Okay, the Depth of Return Blog Tour is winding down. I'm still looking for Susana, my final winner. If anybody knows her, tell me to email me at

Thanks so much to everyone who followed the tour and left great comments and made me feel warm and fuzzy. I'm always here if anyone wants to ask me anything. And thanks to everyone who bought the book, of course.

Whew. I am feeling frizzled and tired, but happy. The book is launched, the first reivews are good, and it's time to start looking ahead. Now to get Cricket polished up and subbed. I'm a bit hindered at the moment because my very old laptop crashed last week. I bought a new one this weekend and am in the middle of the laborious task of getting it set up.

But when it's ready to go, look out, because I am all inspired and ready to do it again!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Guest Blog at Love Bytes Reviews

I'm HERE at Love Byte's Reviews today, chatting about new cars and how technology can leave us behind. Pop in and be entered in the drawing for a free book from my backlist. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Guest Blog at My Fiction Nook

Today I'm at My Fiction Nook on my Depth of Return blog tour, talking about my pets. There's a dog in Depth of Return that becomes a major character, and I had such fun writing about him. Drop by HERE and tell me about your pets, or ask me anything. You'll be entered into a drawing for a free copy of your choice from my back list.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Release Day!

Depth of Return is available for sale, right HERE right now!

It's so wonderful to be type those words!



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lovely Review of Another Healing

HERE is a lovely review of Another Healing, the first book in the Another Healing series, just in time for Depth of Return's release tomorrow. The review is from the same site that is hosting me right on my blog tour.

Thank you so much, Prism Book Alliance!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Getting sooo close!

Two more days before Depth of Return is released! I can't believe the summer of waiting for it is almost over. My blog tour is underway and I'm getting many wonderful comments on my posts. It's so much fun hearing from new readers and old fans.

Two posts are up: click HERE and HERE

Three more posts to come -- two next week and one the week after. Then I'm probably going to go into a serious let down, especially since we'll be thinking about moving home from camp and I'll have to admit that the cold white stuff that falls out of the sky that I won't name right now is on the way.

I'm anxious as I always am before a release -- will people like it? Will it get horrible reviews? Will people get what I was trying to do? Will anybody even buy it? Should I have done this, that, or the other? I have the eBook version, but I can't even look at it because I get a sick feeling that I should have gone over it one last time before I sent it back to my editor. I know I'll see things I NEED to change. But it's too late. My print copies should be arriving shortly. (Though I expect that might be delayed -- my publisher just got hit by a hurricane. They're okay, but caution us that things are running slowly.)

It's a tough thing to throw characters I've been nurturing for over a year out to the world to be picked apart by reviewers. I try to remind myself that it's my book that's being reviewed, not me. But the bottom line is that the two are one and the same.

And the strangest part is that since I write under a pen name, I can't even talk about the fact that I've just published a novel with most of the people I know. (I work in a school and need to keep my other life private for obvious reasons.) I'll have to pretend that nothing much happened over the long weekend, that I didn't just do something that most people don't do. I have published young adult fiction under another name, so my students know I'm a writer and my work is in the school library, but still, it's hard.

But what I try to remember is that I'm doing what I love and I'm having success at it, and I'm have a new novel coming out on Monday and I AM SO EXCITED!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Guest Blog at Prism Book Alliance

Today I'm at the Prism Book Alliance. Click HERE to read my interview.

Quite an entertaining range of questions, for sure. Leave a comment or ask me a question and I'll do a drawing in 72 hours for a free book from my backlist at Dreamspinner Press.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Guest Blog at MMGood Book Reivews

And I'm live today on the MMGood Book Review site!

Click HERE to read my post "Another Healing Connection."

Leave me a reply to the post there and be entered into a drawing for a free copy of anything from my backlist at Dreamspinner Press.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Reviews for Another Healing

Dreamspinner Press put together this page of reviews for Another Healing.

Readers love Another Healing
by M. Raiya

“I don’t believe I’ve ever had an overwhelming urge to immediately turn around and read a book again from cover to cover as soon as I finished it.”
—Hearts on Fire Reviews

“You will need to get this book because it is amazing and you will fall in love…”
—MM Good Book Reviews

“At the very heart is a lovely concept of not being judgemental and helping others.”
—On Top Down Under Reviews

“Very seldom does a book start out strong and continue that way to the end. This one does just that while providing love, friendship, angst, darkness, hope, fear, and mystery.”
—World of Diversity Fiction

This is the perfect time to get a copy if you don't already have it, so you have a chance to read it before Depth of Return comes on September 5.

HERE is a link to my author page at Dreamspinner Press where you can find  Another Healing and preorder Depth of Return.

And HERE is a link to my author page on Amazon.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Blog Tour Schedule

Okay, I'm going on a blog tour!

I've had sooo much fun writing the posts and doing an interview and choosing the excerpts and taking some photos. I can't wait until they go live and I can share them. But for now, here's where I'm going to be:

August 29 -- MM Good Book Reviews
September 2 -- Prism Book Alliance (Interview)
September 7 -- My Fiction Nook
September 8 -- Love Bytes
September 13 -- Dreamspinner Press Blog

I will put out links when they're up. There will be drawings for a free book from my backlist at Dreamspinner Press and chances to chat with me about the topics I've chosen, or anything else. So exciting!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Depth of Return Excerpt

Today I want to share an excerpt from Depth of Return. This is the beginning of the novel, and it's actually the first scene I wrote. I was just getting to know the characters, too. That's how I usually work -- I just get an idea and the characters' names in my head and jump right in.
All I knew for sure when I started was that North was a very, very talented witch and that he'd been hurt by the last student he trained. I also knew that he was grumpy on the outside and kind on the inside. I knew that Alan had just found out he was a demon and was very confused about the whole thing. Pretty soon the characters had hold of me and took over, and before I knew it, I had a novel.
You can preorder it HERE

Chapter One

“WHO ARE you?”
The setting sun limned the man standing on the end of the dock in a reddish aura and shadowed his face inside the hood of his sweatshirt. I wasn’t getting any closer until I knew what the hell was going on, so I held my canoe offshore about twenty feet, which wasn’t easy in the choppy water. Typical for a summer Vermont day, the wind had picked up late in the afternoon.
The man raised a hand in greeting. “Mr. North? I’m Alan Holsen.”
Like hell he was. “I was expecting a kid.” There was a beat-up red car parked beside my old truck in the dirt parking lot, so I knew he’d driven himself there.
“What? I’m twenty-one.” He sounded honestly shocked that I expected otherwise. He pushed back his hood to reveal curly hair that looked red, but then, the sun was making everything look that shade. I couldn’t see any of his features. Given that he was standing on a dock above me, it was possible he wasn’t as tall as I initially thought, but no way was this guy the ten-year-old demon who was supposed to be there. Arnold knew I preferred to train children. After my last disastrous result training an adult, I couldn’t believe my coven would send me another. What were they trying to pull on me? The text Arnold had sent the day before implied he’d be dropping off a kid. Bastard.
“You aren’t here to convince me to move back to town, are you?” I called. Town was miles away down the dirt road that ended in the tiny parking lot.
“Where’s your stuff?”
He turned so I could see he wore a backpack.
“Why did Arnold text that he was sending me a ten-year-old?”
“I don’t know. Autocorrect?”
Bullshit. “I never take anyone over fifteen.”
“I’m sorry,” he called back.
Sorry for me, or sorry for himself? I started to imagine the message I would send Arnold as I put my paddle back in the water and swung the bow of the canoe around. “Go home, Alan Holsen, and finish training with whoever started you.”
“No one has started me, Mr. North. I just found out.”
Was he kidding me? That must have been a hell of a shock, finding out that late that he was different from almost everyone else and that he was going to have to spend the rest of his life hiding a big secret. At twenty-one I had known for sixteen years that I was a witch. Training this guy would be even worse than taking over a job someone else had botched. He must’ve had the talent of a mealworm, not to have found out sooner. Caruthers could handle him just fine. “Go home, kid,” I called over my shoulder. “Good luck.”
I turned the canoe firmly and headed back toward my island. I would send Arnold a text as soon as I got home, and then I’d throw my damn phone in the pond.
I was so frustrated with my coven. They seemed to think they could foist everybody off on me with the excuse that I was so talented that I was obligated to teach the next generation. I didn’t mind a kid once in a while—preferably quiet ones who would shut up and do as I said—but not a guy that old. No way was that much testosterone coming into my cabin. No memories would awaken, thank you very—Holy shit.
A sea monster reared its head up out of the waves before me.
Good detail in the green scales, nice point of light in the red eyes, even drops of water coming off the horns. It opened its mouth and roared. The sound had good bass, but the highs were a little nasal. Tonsils looked impressive, and the tongue that snaked at me was perfectly forked. Huh. Maybe not a mealworm after all.
I conjured a dragon that swooped down out of the sky straight for the sea monster. In an instant, the monster dove and vanished with a lot of nice bubbles. I turned in my seat and raced my dragon, breathing a blast of fire, at the figure on the dock. The young man gazed at my creation until it vanished over his head.
“That was fantastic.” He pumped one hand into the air. “I could feel the heat.”
I snorted. I could have roasted him if I wanted to.
“Okay. Do you get seasick, like most demons?” I finally called.
“Absolutely not. I swear it.”
Damn. There went my last excuse. I could not stand the sight of anyone being sick. I growled under my breath and sent my canoe back toward the shore. I’d give him a week of my time. That was it. No more. It wasn’t my fault I had a soft spot for sea monsters.
But if the guy was lying and puked in my canoe, he was going overboard.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Preorder Depth of Return

Okay, Depth of Return just went up on the Dreamspinner Press website!

 HERE is the link to preorder your copy!


One Month To Go

In exactly one month, Depth of Return will be released! September 5 is the big day! I will be going on a blog tour to celebrate -- stay tuned for details. So excited. Everything is on schedule and looking good. (It is also the same time the new school year will be starting for me and I'll be moving my youngest daughter back to college, so if I become slightly hysterical, bear with me.)

Here is the tasty blurb to tantalize you all:

Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It is enough. North has no desire to look for love again.

When an accident on a carpentry job reveals he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.

Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns, and sets his sights on Alan. To save him North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Depth of Return -- The Cover Reveal!

And here it is, my new lovely, lovely cover by Brooke Albrecht, who has captured the flavor of Another Healing and made it unique for Book Two: Depth of Return. If this doesn't express what the book is about and capture the mood, I don't know what would.

Seeing the cover makes the book feel real, as in it's really going to be published! So excited! Get ready for September 5!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rocks and Spiders

In addition to the beautiful lake front, our camp property contains a couple acres of woods. Ledgy, rocky woods, with lots of moss and ferns. And spiders and other creepy crawlies. For the two years that the camp has been mine, I've mostly focused on getting the building and water system in order. This summer, I decided it was time to look the other way.

I vaguely remembered being able to get to the mossy ledges and the boulders covered with ferns. I was also pretty sure there was a clearing with a clothes line around somewhere. So two days ago, armed with pruning snippers and a kinda deadly looking handsaw, I plunged into the woods on a quest to rediscover the landscape and wrench it back out of the webs of some of the biggest spiders known to humankind.

A few hours ago, I emerged victorious with a bruised knee and a muscle in my side that is not too happy with me, and covered with bites. I found the ledges and even the clothes line, and the bugs certainly found me, but I found more than I'd been looking for, too.

Someone had cleared here before me. I found traces of cut off tree trunks and old piles of brush. I knew who it had been -- my mother. It kind of gave me a chill. It is yet another example of how much I have taken over for her, mentally as well as physically, as Alzheimer's is slowly fading her away. It is such a tightrope -- honoring her memory here at camp, and yet trying to make it mine, too, while she is still alive and yet no longer able to live here. Most poignant was rediscovering some old seashells she had placed with such care among the boulders -- she had such a talent for that -- making two incongruous objects complement each other.

So I snipped away at the brush, whacked away the bugs, and thought about the past and the future. And then went back inside to nurse my aches and drink iced tea and turn on my neglected computer. Writing and clearing brush are a lot alike -- aside from hard, hard work, they make one delve into one's head and imagine a finished product that is ever changing and growing and will become part of the past as well.

My weaponry

The ledges

The ferny boulder

The clothesline

One of my mother's shells

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Depth of Return is Getting Closer!

In just over two months, Depth of Return will be released. This book has been written, rewritten, edited, edited, and edited. (All books go through this, so this is nothing new for me.) And it's not done yet. I still have to read it one more time at the galley stage, but it's essentially done because if I want to change anything now, I have to go on my knees before the publisher and essentially bleed. I feel like I have the book memorized, and yet it's unfamiliar at the same time. A lot has changed since my original draft, so when I read it, I still stumble over where new stuff has blended with old stuff. But all this has given the book a far deeper texture than my first ideas could ever have dreamed.

My original idea was pretty simple -- write a story about a new witch/demon pair. Of course James and Ambient started clamoring in my mind about that being unfair -- they wanted to be in it, too. So of course they are, along with Jules, the quirky Renaissance jeweler who helped them out at the end of their book. I like Jules. And their dog Raine wouldn't be left out, either. In fact, Depth of Return is a bit of a doggy book. I like dogs, too. And cats. And lakes and islands and canoes and thunderstorms and all the stuff that always finds its way into my books.

I honestly don't know where my two new characters came from. North and Alan just appeared and took right over. North is bossy that way. He's wonderfully rude and uptight and just wants to be left the fuck alone. He's been betrayed by family and lover, and he's pretty much done with everything at the ripe old age of twenty-six. Until he meets Alan, who is young and wide-eyed at the recent discovery that he's a demon. If two men ever needed each other, these two do. But of course there are problems -- the past never stays nicely where it has been left.

A common thread that runs through both Another Healing and Depth of Return is the problem of demons going bad. Certainly James and Ambient had to deal with one of them -- a demon named Hugh who wanted to find out everything he could about the witch/demon bond, no matter what the cost to the people he had to take apart to do it. Depth of Return has a nasty demon, too, and he wants... Well, I can't give away too much about the book. Suffice it to say that North and  Alan have problems.

Anyway, as Depth of Return finishes its march toward publication, I am feeling mostly relief at this point, but also a growing sense of excitement. A new book out at the end of summer! Yippee!

Since there is a really important thunderstorm in Depth of Return, here's a photo of a storm approaching camp I took last week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another Healing Revisited

On September 6, 2016, I'll be releasing my next novel, Another Healing Book II: Depth of Return.

This whole series started with a short story I wrote several years ago for a charity to support Doctors Without Borders. The theme was healing, and so I decided to write about a man who can actually heal just by touching someone. Of course, some conflict was needed, so I decided that the price he has to pay for healing someone is to fall in love with that person. But only until he heals his next patient. And since this story has a contemporary setting, he has to keep his ability, and the curse that goes with it, secret. Naturally, by the time the story begins, my main character, James, is slowly going insane, living a reclusive life in an RV and staying away from people as much as possible so he can avoid healing and the heartache that goes with it. But since he is basically a very nice guy, he can't help healing a man he finds dying in a car that's been hit by a truck. The man turns out to have a lovely rosebud tattoo near his navel which James becomes utterly obsessed with. And to his vast joy, Ambient is more than okay with that, and true love breaks the curse.

I was thrilled that readers seemed to like The Rosebud and the overwhelming response I got was that they wanted more. They wanted to find out why James could heal, how Ambient had managed to break the curse, and simply to see James and Ambient's relationship develop. And I wanted all these things, too, since I had no more idea about any of this than my readers did. So to find out, I wrote a novel called Another Healing. (Yeah, that's the way I work. I have no idea what I'm doing half the time -- I just do it and usually it sort of works out. As my editor friend tells me, I have to write my way into a plot.) By then, the rights to the original short story had reverted back to me, so I worked it into the opening of the novel.

Anyway, that's how my whole concept of witches and demons working together was born. James is a demon and Ambient is his witch, and they've been predestined to work together since before they were born. Eventually, they meet other witches and demons and begin to understand what's going on, and then there are some rogue demons who want to experiment on them, and they end up even stronger and more in love than when they met.

Happily, readers enjoyed the novel. By now, I was hooked on the whole concept, and the idea for Depth of Return was exploding in my head. I hadn't quite planned on it taking so long, but I know the novel has benefited from its slow cooking time. It definitely feels like a major offering to the world, and I have really, really put a lot of work into it.

There will be much more about Depth of Return in future blog posts, but for now HERE is a link to my author page on Amazon, where you can buy Another Healing, if you missed it the first time around, so you'll be all set and ready to go on September 6 when Depth of Return hits the world. (And of course check out my other available works.) Thanks.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Revision to My Summer Schedule

My view with a hummingbird this morning

So I found I needed to tweak my summer schedule just a little.

I, in fact, don't always get up at seven when my husband leaves under the follow circumstances:

a) it's cold out (and hence cold in the bedroom)
b) it's still warm in bed
c) my kitty is still in bed and wants to cuddle.

I defy anyone not to go back to bed under those circumstances.
But I thought I should clarify in case some loyal followers felt obligated to get up, thinking that if M. Raiya could do it, they could to. So please, everyone, go back to bed.

Also, I need to correct the "write some more in the evening" bit. I don't always do that if my older daughter who doesn't live here turns up at camp for an afternoon swim and stays to dinner. Family time is important, right? I don't need to feel guilty about that, too, right?

Well, I really do need to go take my morning swim. I mean, I have to stick to some parts of my schedule. And it looks like it's going to be another beautiful day.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Summer Schedule

Okay, it's officially summer now. School is over and my family took a short camping trip to Maine, and now I'm happy to settle into camp writing routine (and nurse my sore muscles from a hike that was waaaay out of my comfort zone.)

This is how a summer day unfolds for me:

Get up at seven when my husband leaves for work
Put camp in order
Go for my morning swim in the lake
Settle in at the computer by the window with a mug of hot chocolate and write
Make some lunch and eat outside at the picnic table with a book
Write some more
Go for an afternoon swim/kayak
Write some more
Cook dinner with my family
Go for a family walk
Have an evening swim/kayak/and watch the sunset
Write some more
Go to bed.

My only interruptions are some volunteer work I do, any interesting bird that flies by and demands I try to photograph it, and riproaring thunderstorms that threaten to blow the camp off its foundations. Oh, and a little time on social media, of course.

Notice there is a complete lack of TV (we have no internet or cable or any of that stuff at camp -- I am coming to you now via a personal hot spot set up with my phone.) I might occasionally watch a movie with my husband at night. There is also no drinking water, an iffy septic system, no dish washer, no washer or drier. And a long hike down a narrow flight of stairs from our bedroom to the bathroom. It's cold and drafty when the wind blows out of the north. What we do have are lots of bugs, particularly spiders. They sometimes drop down onto beds, onto the table while we're eating, and really -- why do they like the bath tub so much? And mosquitoes that can drain you dry and then carry your corpse away.

But nothing compares to the sense of peace that just falls down out of the trees like rain and permeates everything it touches. Four generations of us have loved this place. I mean -- this is the view beside me right now.

So I am now embarking on my second summer here as a full time writer. Last summer I finished a rough draft of Depth of Return and started writing Cricket, both novels in the Another Healing Universe. This summer I am just finishing up the edits of Depth of Return and am going to revise Cricket. My goal is to have it submitted by the end of the summer, and start something new. I plan to be blogging a lot more regularly, as well as posting snippits from my life and sunset photos on Facebook and Twitter. There will be some excerpts from Depth of Return, and a big cover reveal as we get closer to the BIG RELEASE DAY -- September 6.

So stay tuned as I share my summer with you. Thanks!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Contract!

So excited to announce that I just signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for the publication of my next novel, Depth of Return!

Depth of Return is set in the Another Healing universe. The main characters are new, but James and Ambient and their dog, Raine (click HERE to read the free short story about how they got their puppy) are back as well.

This is the first full length novel I've published since Another Healing, and I've spent a long time and a lot of energy on it. I'm really thrilled with the way it's shaping up. I can't wait to introduce North and Alan to all of you. They are another witch/demon pairing with a whole new set of talents and conflicts.

The novel is set to release in September/October 2016.

It felt REALLY good to move it from Works in Progress to Forthcoming this morning. It's been a while since I've published anything, in part because I'm focusing on writing novels and not novellas now, and in part because my writing got a bit derailed by a whole lot of death in my family in a short time. But I am officially back in business! Lots more details to come.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Go Bernie!

In general, I avoid making posts or even talking much about politics, but Bernie Sander's win in New Hampshire yesterday has made me make an exception.

As a Vermonter, I can remember when Bernie was elected to be the mayor of Burlington, the city which bordered the town where I was growing up. I was old enough to vote when he became our sole congressman, and later one of our senators. Vermont has always been known to be quirky and individual and damn proud of it, so sending a socialist to Washington was right up our alley.

Bernie has been part of the landscape for as long as I can remember. I've met him bike riding on my favorite bike path, met him in my favorite shoe store, seen him marching in parades. He's spoken in my daughter's high school.

The most recent time I saw Bernie was a couple years ago at a harvest festival just down the road from where I live. He was walking around like everybody else, checking out the pies and the vegetables and the crafts. My husband was playing drums with the local town band that day, and Bernie paused to join the crowd who was listening. A friend from New York was with me, and all of a sudden she said, "Isn't that one of your state senator?"

"Yeah," I said, "that's Bernie."

She couldn't believe that he was just walking around with the crowd like everybody else, with no secret service or anything. And everybody else was just nodding and smiling to him, knowing who he was, but not making a fuss. We were all Vermonters, eating and listening to music and enjoying the fall day.

After a few moments, Bernie took out his phone and snapped a photo of the band and my admittedly photogenic husband at the drum set.

My friend grabbed my arm. "Bernie Sanders just took a photo of your husband!"

"Yeah, so?" I said, smiling. Nope, this wasn't New York.

I am beyond thrilled that Bernie is now spreading the message that I've been hearing since I was a kid onto the national stage, and that the nation is listening.

And, all politics aside, the next time you see Bernie on TV, remember that he has a photo of Mr. MRaiya on his phone!

Friday, January 22, 2016

More Brook Under Ice

Here is today's video of my brook under ice for your Friday relaxing enjoyment. Make sure the volume is up on your favorite viewing device and feel the peace settle into your soul...

(And you'd better appreciate it because I damn near fell into the aforementioned brook trying to get this angle!)

Calm... Calm...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January Moon

Lovely almost full moon rising behind the maples across the field this evening. I just stood outside and breathed for a while. The colors are so subtle in midwinter, compared to all the other seasons. Winter is like a poem you have to read several times to appreciate, a mindset you need to get into. And then its beauty sifts delicately into your senses like soft, windblown snow.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Brook Under Ice

I love lingering along the brook as I walk past, listening to the sound of the water beneath the ice. Today, the ice lines the rocks like lace, allowing glimpses of the flowing water to show through.