The Lost Gateway – Fantasy Action Adventure Novel

Fantasy action, adventure and a touch of romance…

Enyeto’s nomadic life revolves around the care of the calam, a desert animal that is the lifeblood of his tribe.  When Enyeto’s calam herd is attacked, he finds some unusual monsters are to blame.  The tracks lead him to a mysterious gateway where more monsters are pouring into his world.  His tribe is endangered.  His shaman is useless.  And no one knows how to close the gateway.

Sabine is a healer and a witch. Her beloved mentor has been murdered by a wizard, and the key to a distant gateway is missing.  Sabine is determined to find the wizard and close the gateway. Unfortunately, Granny Fog never told her how to use the key.  Worse, the only help she has is a crazy old witch who has trouble remembering to get dressed in the mornings.

Meanwhile, something terrifying has discovered the open gateway and is making plans…

“I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful mixture of sparkling dialogue, lively characters and breathtaking action.” – Richard Jones


Read the reviews on Goodreads, Amazon or  Buy the Fantasy Novel Now!

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Writer Beware

A good resource for scams and warnings specifically for writers.  Check out Writer Beware:

Like many genre-focused writers’ groups, SFWA, MWA, HWA, and ASJA are concerned not just with issues that affect professional authors, but with the problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers. Writer Beware, founded in 1998, reflects that concern.

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Why Women Leave Engineering

I almost hate to admit this here, but I am an engineer.  I have a BS and an MS in Civil Engineering, a PE license, and many years of experience in water/wastewater engineering.  And, yes, I can also write.  Not all engineers are hopeless in this regard.

A few days ago I was speaking with a young mother, and she told me that she was going back to school to become a civil engineer.  To my horror, rather than encouraging her in her courageous endeavor, I actively sought to discourage her.  I couldn’t stop myself.  Why?  Oh, let me count the ways.

  1. While engineering provides a steady income and the respect of your peers, the income for the effort invested is not on par with other careers.  Look at lawyers, doctors, etc.  This has never made sense to me.  Engineering is rigorous and difficult, yet we are paid like skilled technicians.  Also, the responsibility is enormous.  If a doctor makes a mistake, they may kill one person, but if an engineer makes a mistake they could kill dozens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands.  Think building collapses, bridge failures, explosions, environmental disasters.  You get the idea.  The structural failures after the 1994 Northridge earthquakes are a prime example.  The fact that we don’t have failures on a regular basis is a testament to the rigorous training and licensing requirements in this industry.  One would expect our pay to be more in line with the skill, education, and responsibility required by the job.  And yet the average pay for a civil engineer is $62,000.  The average pay for a general practice physician is $140,000.  The average pay for a lawyer is $78,000.  (from
  2. The engineering culture is not family friendly.  This is particularly important if you have any desire to spend time with your children.  Consulting engineering is particularly prone to this problem.  Consulting is project/deadline driven.  Meet the deadline or else.  It’s beyond stressful, and since most engineers are paid a salary, their already dismal earnings are further diluted by the additional time spent working for free.  Don’t kid yourself, even those places that purport to be family friendly will become tyrannical devils when a deadline looms.  If you want to feel the wrath of your employer, just try to take time off when some project is on the line.  And since there are always projects and deadlines, this becomes a never ending rollercoaster of work.  Working for a municipality or as an instructor offers some relief from this.  Keep it in mind if you are considering this as a career.
  3. Travel and night meetings eat into your personal time.  I’m sure this varies by engineering field, but in civil engineering, a lot of time is spent on job sites, at night meetings, and travel.  If you have a family, don’t expect to be there for them very much.
  4. Burnout is a real issue.  Long hours, constant stress, and a less than supportive workplace contribute to an unhealthy career.  Of all the engineers I worked with, only a few were not on high blood pressure medication.
  5. Chauvanism is rampant.  It’s a man’s workplace, and they may or may not be consciously aware of all the ways they are behaving badly.
  6. Sexual harassment is a problem.  Most of us have horror stories of that one professor, co-worker or boss.  This is a small community.  A lawsuit could result in far-reaching, damaging repercussions for the woman.  I have witnessed this first hand.
  7. A work longer, not smarter culture.  There’s an expectation that you should always be at work.  No matter how many on-time projects you turn in, no matter your performance, if you arrive at 8:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm then you are a slacker.  Using time spent in the office rather than actual performance as the way to judge an employee leads to all sorts of dysfunction, frustration, and waste.

40 Percent Of Female Engineers Are Leaving The Field. This Might Be Why.

Among the 38 percent of women who entered and subsequently left the field, 30 percent cited organizational climate, characterized by non-supportive supervisors or co-workers and general incivility, as a primary motivator. Nearly half left due to working conditions, like frequent travel, lack of advancement opportunities or low salary.

“It is hard to justify the long hours to go nowhere,” said one respondent, currently working in industrial engineering, in the study.

Here’s the thing: Engineering women are tough.  If you can make it through the harassment, innuendo, and blatant chauvinism of engineering school, you are not a shrinking violet.  And yet, even these tough women frequently decide that it’s just not worth it to work in their field.

Many of the women I knew in school have left engineering.  And barring some significant change in my circumstances, I will not go back.  I don’t want to do consulting again, and the municipal jobs are only marginally better.  Quite honestly, it’s just not worth my time.

If you’re wondering if I was successful in discouraging that young mother, I wasn’t.  At least she’s going into it informed.

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