Starting the next book, and it’s gonna be a paranormal

Those of you who know me, know that I always have multiple novels in process. (Kind of like my reading. I’m reading about 8 books right now. No joke. A little outta control tho…)

Now one of them has grabbed me and based on the surge of excitement I’m feeling, it’s the one I’ll be focusing on for this next lap of my being-a-novelist marathon.

No title yet.

But I can tell you a bit about it. It’s going to be a paranormal. It will have 2 sequels. And I know some of the elements. Communication with animals. Impending environmental apocalypse. What happens when the veil between the collective unconscious and the physical starts to thin.

It’s going to be set in rural Upstate New York; I’ll be drawing very much on the feel and spirit of the heavily forested, wild areas in the southeast part of the state where I grew up.

Hemlock grove, Chenango County, NY

Hemlock grove, Chenango County, NY

And I’m going to indulge in my lifelong fascination with Iroquois mythology. This is a bit of a false lead, so don’t take it too literally but here’s a cool what-if question: what if the Vikings–whose trading posts, we now suspect, penetrated deep within the Great Lakes region–had colonized North America successfully, to the point where culturally they merged with Native Americans? How would their mythologies have merged and cross-pollinated?

This won’t be an alt-history book, so like I said, that’s a bit of a false lead. But there will be elements of a kind of mythological bleed-through.

Oh, and I’m going to try to write faster. I think I can do that, because I’m starting to get the hang of how I do fiction, and what I need to do to push my productivity.

Stay tuned :)


Posted in Oxford, Writing | Leave a comment

In which I lose my mind possibly? and start fermenting vegetables :D

On the left: shredded beets with grated ginger and cayenne pepper. On the right: sliced sweet potato, celery, and chipotle pepper.

On the left: shredded beets with grated ginger and cayenne pepper. On the right: sliced sweet potato, celery, and chipotle pepper.

It started when I became interested in so-called “Resistant Starch” — a class of starches that are not digested in the small intestine, but instead pass through to the colon, where they become food for gut flora, including critters that are implicated in everything from weight loss/control to cooling inflammation.

I blogged about RS here. Also recommend Free the Animal, where Richard Nikoley has been rounding up info on RS and is writing a book on it with a couple other RS hero peeps. Details at his blog including his RS primer here.

From incorporating RS into my diet, I’ve now moved to two other refinements. First is adding other prebiotics, for example inulin, which I get by munching on things like raw sliced Jerusalem artichoke.

The second is more probiotics. Continue reading

Posted in Food, Health | Leave a comment

A DIY Artist Taboret for $150 (or less!)

This gallery contains 19 photos.

This post is a long time coming, but since I didn’t make any promises out loud, who cares, right? :) The story starts late last year, when I was brainstorming on ideas for Christmas presents for the resident teen. Those … Continue reading

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The big moment: Dark Chemistry is now for sale :)

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn't it?

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn’t it?

Dark Chemistry is officially on sale!



Click here to purchase Amazon Kindle version.

Click here to purchase Barnes & Noble Nook version.

Click here to purchase Apple e-reader version.

Print version also available from Amazon ($14.20) or Createspace.

Full description below if you’re interested, but otherwise: happy reading and please drop me a note to tell me how you like it!


Is it Love? Or is it … Dark Chemistry?

Haley’s father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit his fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well. Keep RMB on track, and she’ll be rich. Grow it, and she’ll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But her mother’s boy toy is burning through the cash, and worse yet (ew!) the two are talking marriage. If Haley wants to keep living her California dreams, she needs money of her own. And that means she has to transform into a successful business executive – fast.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He’s RMB’s head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he’s smitten.

Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley’s father. He can see the man’s better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley’s father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own. He’s reeling from a heartbreak that’s taking far too long to heal. But he’s captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty.
It’s chemistry. They’re right for each other.

But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell.

Gerad’s spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley’s father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he’s in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn’t want Haley to know.

RMB’s odd but brilliant head chemist has invented a line of synthetic pheromones.
These mysterious chemicals have no scent. They bypass conscious awareness. They are completely undetectable.
But make no mistake: they can exert powerful effects – and Gerad knows it. He’s been using pheromones to attract and seduce women. To drive his enemies insane. And possibly even to kill.

And Gerad knows something else: RMB’s secret pheromone compounds are worth millions. Perhaps billions.

Gerad’s been waiting his whole life to hit the jackpot, and he’s almost there. An international conglomerate wants to use RMB pheromones to hook customers on their products. And a mysterious agent from the U.S. government wants access to RMB pheromones as well.

More sinister than the NSA spying scandal: a government plot to drug an unsuspecting public.

It’s enough to make even Gerad uneasy – especially when he suspects he’s under surveillance. But who cares? He’s going to be rich, rich, rich. Only Gerad has a problem. He has to keep Haley Dubose under control.And what better way to control a silly young woman than by seducing her?

Every woman’s worst nightmare.

A man who poses as a connoisseur of European tastes and worldly experience. Who takes her out to dinner. Plies her with fine wine, expensive cognac. And then drugs her with something that makes her think she’s falling in love.

Romantic Suspense for your Kindle, Nook, IPad*

  • Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
  • Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
  • Will the two of them uncover Gerad’s plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
  • And even if they do – can they stop it?

Click here to Look Inside and sample Dark Chemistry today!

*Also available in print version!

Posted in Dark Chemistry by Kirsten Mortensen, Writing | Comments Off

The great pheromone debate =O

Is this cool or what?

Scent psychologist Avery Gilbert debates neuro- and olfactory scientist Leslie Vosshall about whether pheromones exert any meaningful effects on humans.

Click the link to watch — a 3 minute clip. And root for Leslie :)

The Great Pheromone Debate

Posted in Dark Chemistry by Kirsten Mortensen, Pheromones | Comments Off

Soooooo close!!!!

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn't it?

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn’t it?

The novel is coming.


Are you excited?

I sure am!!!!

AND: the peeps who had a sneak peek are all saying it’s my best one yet :D

Will be available for all major e-readers plus print!

Posted in Dark Chemistry by Kirsten Mortensen, Romantic suspense, Romantic thriller, Writing | Comments Off

Body, together

IMG_7329So it’s been a long time since I did a post on health-related stuff.

Partly owing to the evolution (de-evolution?) of the blog. When I first started blogging in whenever it was — 2006 I think? — I threw up posts on whatever was on my mind. Personal stuff, health-related stuff, politics, local news, etc. Today, I’m more active on Facebook than here. It’s easier to carry on conversations there — I’m not sure what FB the company thinks it is, but to me it’s an enormous open platform blog. I can post to my website and maybe somebody will chime in with a response. I post to FB and it can trigger a conversation among dozens of people. I like that :-)

There are two downsides. One, of course, is that the stuff I post on FB isn’t visible if you don’t have a FB account or aren’t my FB friend. The other — closely related actually — is that FB posts go down the rabbit hole. Whereas with my blog, once Google indexes a post, it will show up in the search results for-evah. Assuming it’s a decent post.

Which brings me to health-related stuff. Some of my blog pages on specific health-related topics get fairly regular hits from visitors, which I assume means they’re finding what I post helpful.

So I thought I’d update on my personal experience: here are the things I do today that I think have the most positive effects on my health.

DISCLOSURE: I am NOT a medical professional and this is NOT medical advice. It’s me blogging about my personal experience. Be smart and consider getting a professional opinion before you try anything you read about on the interwebs.


Still taking it. Iodine is the only thing I’ve ever supplemented that had a huge, immediate, tangible effect on my health. Here’s my most comprehensive blog posts about it.

You do need to exercise some caution if you start exploring iodine supplementation, particularly if you have health issues. Educate yourself. The links at my old post are a good starting point. Another terrific resource is The Iodine Crisis: What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life, by Lynne Farrow.

Next up: Fluoride, Migraines, Resistant Starch, and my fave go-to alt-health blogs . . . Continue reading

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Beagle Date

I once caught a beagle, a stray.
Long tongue,
worldly eyes.
The kind that make the ladies sigh.

I lured him to the yard
and shut the gate.
But he didn’t stay.

Before I got to my phone
he’d found a hole and

he was gone –
Where have you gone?

Maybe home.
Maybe on
to his next beagle date,

The kind that makes
the ladies
ask him why.

Posted in Writing | 1 Comment

Famous neighbors: Scott Adams

A is Oxford, B is Windham.

A is Oxford, B is Windham.

I blogged a few years back about how Camille Paglia lived, for a time, in my hometown of Oxford, NY.

Turns out I had another someday-would-be-famous neighbor — not quite so close as in the same town, but I’m still counting it :-)

Scott Adams, who is three or four years older than me, grew up in Windham, NY.

Windham is about an hour and forty five minute’s drive from Oxford. That sounds like a lot except that the driving consists of winding through 2-lane mountain roads. I speak from experience. Delhi, NY, about halfway between the two towns, was (is?) one of the schools in the same sports section and division as Oxford; anyone who played or spectated Oxford sports was in Delhi several times a year during high school. I remember it as being the looooooong bus ride :-)

And Route 23, the main road into Windham, is well known to Oxfordians. It’s one of the main highways out of Norwich, the Chenango County seat.

As Upstate NY towns go, I don’t need to see Windham to know it has a lot in common with Oxford, although it’s probably a bit smaller (Adams writes in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life that he had 40 people in his graduating class).

In his book, Adams tells a story of how his car broke down once between home and Syracuse on a “newly constructed highway through a sparsely populated valley in the Catskill Mountains.” I have to think that’s Route I-88, right?

Here’s a WaPo article by Adams — one of several that have appeared lately that are excerpted from his book. I read it today, because of course I want to be happy, and which reminded me that How to Fail… was on my TBR pile.

Highly recommend the book if you’re looking for some New Year’s encouragement :-)

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On Resolutions

IMG_7707 (2)I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions over the past couple of weeks.

I like to set resolutions. I know some people don’t. But my thinking is very much along the lines of Sarah Hoyt’s, as she blogs about it here. Humans, she writes, “live by ritual and symbols as much as by concrete things . . . I use the rituals and the dates and the symbolic turning points as a fixed point off which to rappel and change my direction.”

[T]here is a dreadful weight of inertia to human life.  Things-as-you’ve-always-done them become established in your mind and you end up doing them the exact same way over and over again, even if you hate it.  It’s kind of like trying to swim in a soaked overcoat.  And in this case, the habits formed during this year are the kind that, like that soaked overcoat, will be the end of me, if I don’t change them.

Exactly. Which is why resolutions can feel good. They can imbue your life with a sense of “getting somewhere,” of having some measure of control or at least influence on your destiny.

Only if you are kind to yourself about them, however. As Dean Wesley Smith notes in this post about setting writing goals, when it comes to goals, it’s important to be flexible about how we define “success.” If you set an “extreme” goal, he advises, “have fall-back success levels.” Understand that missing a goal doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed.

Er .  . . no.

Er . . . no.

Seven of my eight 2013 resolutions were writing goals, and guess what: they were all extreme. I didn’t meet any of them. But I made substantial progress on three. So out of kindness to myself, I hereby christen 2013 a success :-)

And also out of kindness to myself, I’m going to be careful about my 2014 resolutions.

I realize, in retrospect, that the resolutions I made last year set me up to fail not only because they were extreme, but because meeting them depended too much on things outside my control.

Without going into too many personal details: the daily claims on my attention are real. I’m a mother. I have bills to pay. Etc.

The time and energy I can devote to writing fiction are limited. That’s a fact. And if my resolutions don’t accommodate that fact, I’m doomed to miss them. So:

Lesson #1. Don’t set goals/resolutions that are too vulnerable to factors I can’t control.

So how do you get to goals/resolutions that are within your control? Continue reading

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