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Why Does Love of Family Really Matter?

Family, it’s a major theme in many movies and books. Often it’s the absence of family that creates the plot line–the orphan longing for a family, or the long-lost sibling. As I prepared to write this post, I searched for a specific quote from the Dragon Courage series. I used the find option and searched “family” through Dragon’s FutureDragon’s Heir, and Dragon’s Revenge. I was impressed with the amount of times that one word shows up in the first two books.

Family is something dear to my heart. It always has been. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that at age four my family moved three hours away from my grandparents and aunts and uncles. Then four years later, we moved two thousand miles away from them all. Every two years or so, we’d meander back across country to visit. The cousins would pick up where we’d left off, best of friends. With this long-distant relationship with family, my parents did something that was very helpful for my siblings and me. They created new family. There were three or four families that became like aunts and uncles and cousins.

When I married my husband, family became an important part of our identity. It was easy to decide where to spend Christmas. We’d have two celebrations, one with my family and one with his. After college when we settled down to live in one location, we still did many things with my siblings and parents and my husband’s family. Our kids grew up with cousins around them. As the cousins matured and became young adults of their own, it was fun to watch as they became friends as well. When my in-laws celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, the cousins all got together. As we cleaned up the party, the adults sat back and laughed as the kids danced and played with helium left over from balloons. Several incriminating videos of obnoxiously high voices were taken and shared among the cousins.

Today, though, I think of my family left back in the Mid-West who have never met my kids. What would grandma have thought of them? Would she have enjoyed sitting and chatting with them? She was able to meet my oldest when he was one-year-old. What about the second cousins that my kids have never known. Would they get along as well as they do with their West Coast cousins? Who knows. Maybe one day, the kids will take it upon themselves to journey back to see where my roots lay.

Until then, I’ll cherish family–even emotionally adopted–cause that’s what family does.

 

Dragon’s Revenge excerpt:

Awhile later, Ruskya was mentally calling Kyn. “Youngling, it is good to have you home. It looks like you made it just in time. The storm is ready to settle in.”

“I see that. Part of me wonders why I left the warmth of the south,” Kyn joked.

Ruskya’s hearty laugh reached his ears. “I hear you, youngling. I wondered that myself, but there’s family here. We’re complete now that you are back.”

“Thanks, Ruskya. I needed that.”

“No problem. Why not come here for a meal?”

“What if this storm turns into a bad one? Do you really want me there for a day or so?”

“Youngling, you know nothing of the love of a family if you have to ask that. Of course we want you. We’ve missed you like crazy since Braidyn’s wedding. Besides, we’ll probably stay up all night talking anyway. It’d be like it was when you were a newly chosen youngling.”

Kyn smiled. He was home. Ruskya wanted him; Ma and Da needed him. He belonged.

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My Obsession with Tea and a Free Recipe

As you’ve seen from previous posts, I love tea. I also love coffee. Some of my earliest memories of my maternal grandparents is going up to their little apartment after a nap for ‘coffee’. I’m sure that coffee was more milk than true coffee, but it was the idea of sitting down and spending time with them that mattered. To this day, I prefer my coffee with milk or cream in it. Tea has been a mainstay since my teen years at least. Mom loved to plan tea parties. When we were in high school, she would often greet my sister and me after school with a cup of tea and some treat and we’d chat about our day with her.

My husband on the other hand is an avid tea drinker. Only after twenty-two years of marriage has he finally begun to realize he can add enough milk and sugar to make coffee palatable. So, many hours have been spent with him over a cup of tea. When our eighteen-year-old was in third grade or so, a tea house went into business in the town north of us. We tried the place out and fell in love. Our little third grader would ask to visit the “Tea Cozy” any time we were in town. When I had the funds or if it was just him and I, we’d go in and share a pot of tea. Several years ago, the middle three kids and I spent a week in San Francisco. As we visited Chinatown, I was with my eighteen- and twenty-year-old. We went into a tea shop. The gal invited us to sit down and try some of her tea. Realizing this was a cultural offer to share from her life to ours, we gladly accepted and sat across from her at a short counter while she poured us tea. At his first sip, the eighteen-year-old inhaled wrong. His subsequent exhale sent tea all over the counter and just barely missed our hostess! It was social blunder, that the hostess took in stride outwardly, but I often wondered what she thought afterward.

One year for Christmas, I found a recipe for Chai Tea. I created packets to give out to my family members. It was a simple recipe and the grounds for a conversation between Kyn and Shylah in Dragon’s Revenge.

Dismounting from Wylen, Kyn greeted her. “I see mint, and thyme. I am surprised they can grow in such wet a climate.”

Shylah didn’t even bother to turn. “They do, along with fennel, dill, and cardamom.” Turning, she now looked Kyn over with a discerning eye. “’Ow do you know yer ’erbs, rider?”

“I was trained by a healer and an herbalist to identify plants from dragonback—that would be the back of my drake. They also taught me how to blend the herbs to make compresses and teas.”

“Then you would appreciate learnin’ cardamom. It adds a nice flavor to tea, along with ginger and pepper.”

Chai Tea

plantain-476851My second year in Ecuador, I had a friend suggest I use a plant and make a tea. At that time, I pushed away from the thought. Boil a bush and drink the water? I don’t think so! Was my response. Several years later, I realized that bush, the manzanita, was the same thing as chamomile! I should have listened. That was my first introduction to home remedies. Fourteen years ago, my midwife introduced me to plantain. I remembered it as a weed that I’d strip the seeds from as a kid. She showed me how to go out into my yard, pick some of the leaves, boil water, pour it over the leaves, add lemon juice and have a tea that was a natural antihistamine. Later, I learned to add my own home grown lemongrass, mint, rosemary, and thyme to the plantain and make a very tasty tisane.

Now, I enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning, or a cup of tea. Either one works fine for me. I use a little bit of brown sugar to sweeten it and some milk to color it, unless it’s Celestial Seasonings’ Tension Tamer or Stash Peppermint tea. Those are fine without sweetener or milk. What about you? Which do you prefer? Any special teas of choice?

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Enter a New World full of Bravery and Danger

It’s finally here!! My birthday present this year is the release of Dragon’s Revenge, book 3 in the Dragon Courage series. I am so excited to present to you this addition to the series. In book 1 we followed Ruskya and Duskya as they brought a future to their dragon colony. We met a young boy by the name of Braidyn and Ruskya’s youngling, Kyn. In book 2 Braidyn had grown up and needed to find his way in the world. He travels after eggnappers and finds the El’Shad’n, a nomadic dragon colony. In the process he learns about his dragon’s history and finds a place where he belongs. Book 3 takes Kyn, now grown up, on a journey.

Dragon's Revenge Cover

The book starts at Braidyn’s wedding. Kyn then travels across the inland sea to the town of Oreya where he meets up with Ben’hyamene. The two of them meet a rider from a land to the west called the Carr. Ben’hyamene and Kyn struggle with culture shock as they try to comprehend wild dragons! In the process, they discover a war between dragons and humans has been waging for over four hundred years! To bring peace to the land, both humans and dragons will have to put aside revenge.

“I enjoyed the previous two books in the series, but I LOVED this one.” ~Goodreads 5 Star Review for Dragon’s Revenge

 

To celebrate I will be hosting a live Q&A on my Facebook page this Saturday, April 9 from 1:30-2:30 Pacific/4:30-5:30 Eastern. We’ll have giveaways of fun things like travel mugs, coffee/tea mugs, and of course signed copies of the books!

Dragon’s Revenge is full of tea, friends, dragons, and adventure. Check it out now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Map of the Dragon Courage series