I’m writing this on June 20th, so Happy Summer Solstice all. It’s been a hot one in New Mexico, as I hear it’s been all around the country, so I hope you’re staying cool. 

In sad news, New Mexico is currently battling the worst fire in the state’s history in Ruidoso, a lovely resort town in the Sierra Blanca mountains in the southern part of the state. The town has been completely evacuated (8,000 residents) as has Ruidoso Downs next to it (2,600 residents). The New York Times has reported on the situation.

There have been two deaths and over 1,500 structures destroyed as of yesterday (June 19th) – and the South Fork and Salt Fires, the two fires creating the disaster, are not contained yet. Last I heard, they were both at zero percent containment, though I’m not sure if the rains yesterday helped the firefighting efforts. 

The fires are located on the Mescalero Apache Tribe’s land. If you would like to help, they’ve set up a GoFundMe page to help tribal and non-tribal families. You can find more places to donate here.

To add to the horror, with the monsoon season beginning, there was concern yesterday about massive flash flooding. Please keep the state and everyone affected, including firefighters and emergency responders, in your thoughts and prayers.

Ruidoso, New Mexico, by Esdelval at Getty Images for Canva Pro

Fallen Spirits Has a Release Date! 

Fallen Spirits, book 2 in The Mind Monsters Series, will be released August 19th! I know! So much to do, so little time. 

Right now, I’m in the middle of approving the book cover – so expect a reveal in the next month(ish).

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Fallen Spirits Launch Event in Santa Fe

I’m not going overboard with marketing and promotion until I get the full series done, but I’m having a book release party at The Crow’s Nest here in Santa Fe on Friday, August 30th, from 6-8pm. Please join! It’s free!

If you live out of town, the celebration is Labor Day weekend—a wonderful time of the year to visit The City Different.

The schedule isn’t finalized yet, but plan on some psychics, non-alcoholic libations, and perhaps a snack or two. And of course me doing a little reading and a chat about the book and its themes. I’ll include more details in the next newsletter.

If you’re ever in the downtown Santa Fe area, you must stop at the oddities store. Rose Hutson, the owner, is super amazing (and a writer herself!). She sells work from a lot of local women artists – she’s even selling Rock Gods in her store. It’s a wonderful place located on Old Santa Fe Trail just before Paseo de Peralta (just behind the food trucks at the corner).

Rose Hutson at The Crow’s Nest selling Rock Gods at her store. And I sold a copy! Photo by Diane Hatz

Rock Gods & Messy Monsters

To add to the accolades for Rock Gods & Messy Monsters, the book was recently awarded 1st Runner Up in the Science Fiction & Fantasy category from the Eric Hoffer Awards. I know!

I’ve also started a course on creating audiobooks and am hoping to have audiobooks for both Rock Gods and Fallen Spirits in the next six months or so. That’s the plan at least.

Other Book News

I’ve just finished the 4th edit of the 3rd book in The Mind Monsters Series, called The Journey Home

This is very early and tentative, but I’m looking at a spring 2025 release for book 3, The Journey Home.

Sustainable Table

I’m going to share some tips and info each month from my days in the healthy food advocacy space or things I come across and think you might enjoy.

Love & Lemons granola recipe

For years, I’ve been telling myself I should make my own granola. It’s always so expensive and so fattening when I look at it in the stores. Well, I finally found a simple granola recipe that’s yummy (and I’m not a good cook!) I add in walnuts or pecans, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and sunflower and chia seeds.

I don’t normally eat almond butter so I buy individual packets at the store (the brand Justin’s sells them), so I don’t waste the butter (which is expensive!)  I originally thought adding it sounded odd, but it really does taste good. I use one packet per recipe (I think it’s just under 2 TBS.)

I also mix the maple syrup with monk fruit maple syrup (Lakanto is the brand I use). I know! Not the greatest ingredients and the jury’s out for me on erythritol, but monk fruit doesn’t raise your blood sugar so if you’re trying to cut back on sugar…. Next batch, I’m going to see about just using half the maple syrup. 

Love & Lemons is a good site for other recipes also. 

Thank You

That’s it for this month. Thanks for being part of my writing – and life! – journey. 

And here’s this month’s puppy pic! I volunteer with Espanola Humane, a wonderful shelter based in Espanola, NM. Once a week, I literally get to sit in a pen with puppies and try to get them adopted. I highly recommend you trying it in your area!

Until next month, take care,


The dog days of summer….

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