Books and Columns
Determined Women II: The New Pioneer
She was just a little bit tired.
She was just a little bit tired every day. Tired of conforming. Tired of being a 1950’s housewife and mother. Tired of the world she inhabited. Then came the chance to lease a small patch of wilderness. She jumped at it; packed up her children, a tent, a horse, and supplies and set up camp. She’d never cooked over an open fire or hauled water for bathing. She’d never faced a bear or … pretty much anything. But she had helped build a house. Now, she set about building a 1,200 square foot cabin the old way, with hand tools.
Her maiden name was Marolyn Miller. She was the daughter of Ostfreisen and Scottish immigrants who pioneered in the 1800’s, and this is her story.
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There Oughtta Be a Law
“There oughtta be a law!” You hear that often enough. But, wait!
There is a law or ten or fifty or fifty million. Last year our Republican-dominated Wyoming legislature gave us 200 more. That’s just in Wyoming. This year—with the legislative session almost upon us—we can expect what? Another 200? Another 200 ways for others to meddle in our lives?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the social contracts necessary for us to live as amiably as possible with each other in what is a way too crowded world. We need speed limits. We need other laws governing what lanes you use and when. Believe me! I’ve lived in places where those don’t exist and where driving is more hazardous than Russian Roulette.
No. What I resent is: the constant passage of new laws, statutes, executive orders, and ordinances that try to control our lives, requiring bigger and more expensive methods of enforcement at Federal, state, and multiple local levels; expansion of court systems to adjudicate existing law and … by the way … create new bench laws; incarceration of those who offend—which now stands at 2.2 million … continue reading.
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Pictured here, I had recently retired from a 31-year career in CIA operations, time that took me to many parts of the world and gave me an excellent range of skills. Breeding and training horses wasn’t among them, but in 1994 I jumped into horse farming with total and totally misplaced confidence. It wasn’t long (a matter of months) before I learned exactly why the biggest ranches in Wyoming–where horses outnumber people–belong to orthopedic surgeons (that may not be entirely factual–the part about surgeons–but you get the picture).
Thus, it was that my excellent government insurance contributed mightily to my doctors’ skill sets and well being, while they regularly put me back on a horse.
A steep learning curve and several years later, I had the foals I’d wanted to breed, a tack room hung with ribbons, and a farm graced with beautiful animals.
But all things do pass and, eventually, I had to open a new chapter–one where time on a computer counts for more than time on a horse.
It’s certainly safer as you’ll see if you explore more about the author.
(A novel of espionage and adventure)
Announcing the publication of former CIA officer Pat Stuart’s REGIME CHANGE about which a former colleague says: “REGIME CHANGE captures the culture and spirit of the Agency’s operations directorate with a fast-paced plot and well-defined characters.”
CIA’s woman in North Africa, Tyler Grant, is a fast-tracker with a brilliant career, an enviable counter-terrorism record. and a powerful husband who finds her life and her job threatened. A secret cyberwar project, the events of the Arab Spring, and an elite quick reaction force drive the action as Regan learns the truth of the phrase “with friends like these, who needs enemies.”
Read kudos for the book and the first chapter. Click here.
DETERMINED WOMEN I: THE OSTFRIESENS
In the old land she was a domestic drudge, the bearer and carer of children. In the new? Ickka Buss survived unimaginable hardships to become one of the most successful and notable farmers in Adams County, Illinois. Hers is a story of determination and inspiration. Hers is the story of the woman immigrant.
Large numbers of us delve into family history to find that our great greats faced circumstances that would have sent some of us (me among them) running and did so wearing bonnets that cut off their peripheral vision, skirts that hampered movement and were often weighted down with mud. They had nothing like underwear and suffered through their monthly “curse”. They watched their female relatives and friends die in childbirth and bore their own children with fortitude. THEN their husbands dragged them from their homes and dumped them in a wilderness. This story is for them.
Coming in 2021
A Regan Grant Espionage Novel
As more power within the defense and intelligence worlds falls into the hands of White House pirates and private contractors, senior CIA officer Regan Grant (the protagonist of Regime Change) moves to pre-empt a takeover of the Agency by the wealthy brother of a Trump administration cabinet member. Threatened, she retaliates, first with an attempted seizure of the Agency’s 10,000 acre training facility and its resources which include a newly developed cyberwar weapon with massive potential. The situation escalates rapidly leaving Regan scrambling to protect not only herself but her family in a remote corner of Wyoming.
A Tyler Lowe Mystery
When the body of a televangelist’s grandson is found on a Maryland horse farm clutching an eviscerated fox, Tyler Lowe, a state investigator struggling to regain custody of her daughters, finds the case escalating in hours. With the grieving religious congregation transforming the boy into a saint and land developers and animal rights’ activists hovering around the edges, the situation explodes, menacing Tyler’s custody prospects and her very life.
This novel is set against and explores the decline and transformation of old Maryland amid the excesses and predations of social and economic change.
Death and Decorum
A Regency Novel
American heiress, Cassandra Hamilton, visiting Regency England in the wake of the War of 1812, finds herself a killer’s target following the discovery of a stash of gemstones and a diary containing a deadly secret. Forced to act on her own, Cass deals with death, bankruptcy, and the regency’s excesses.
In Death and Decorum we have a meticulously researched historical mystery focused on the legal and social straight-jackets encasing women in the 1800’s. With Cass Hamilton, the unmarried daughter of a Boston financier with a talent for making money and a disregard for social constrictions, we enter the world of the movers and shakers of the early nineteenth century.
…and in 2022, look for …
The Tattered Spy (a memoir)
When you’re one of the first, the future holds dungeons and dragons. Unlike St. George, though, you’re no hero or heroine. You’re a girl from Wyoming. That helps. They may not breed them tough in the Cowboy State. They may not make them sophisticated. But one thing’s for sure. Wyoming makes women strong and determined.
That does help.
In 1963 I pulled open one of the sets of glass doors fronting the almost new lobby of the CIA. My heels clicked around the great seal embedded in the floor, taking me past the wall of fallen heroes–only a handful then. Two guards watched from their desk as I turned left before reaching them, walking into a suite of offices to get my first badge.
There, I gave my name and, thus, began my first day of work as a baby spy.
First came training. We were five women among seventy-six men–all called Junior Officer Trainees. We, the women, set about learning our “thou can’t nots” while the men received instruction in the “thou shalts” of espionage. Women. they said, can’t recruit, can’t surveil, can’t service dead drops or make a brush pass or do pretty much anything involved in espionage. They hoped, and said so, that we would go away.
Notably and unbeknownst to any of us, elsewhere at Headquarters was a coterie known dismissively as “little old ladies in tennis shoes.”
They were women from the WWII Office of Strategic Services, women who had done it all, won medals, and would become the stuff of legend. I didn’t know it, but I wanted to be just like them.
Ideas and words to provoke thought…