The Skinny on Sourdough

The Preamble:  Alexie Linn spent the first year of her married life in and around the Matanuska Valley of Alaska. Her first home was an army tent perched by a raging creek near Girdwood. Here, with a portable wood stove and an oven that lives in its stovepipe, is where she was introduced to sourdough and all its possibilities. A Cook Inlet homesteader penned the cookbook that traveled from camp to homestead to the lower 48 states and found its place on the shelf for decades. The relationship lives on in this revealing and entertaining book about sourdough.

The Skinny:  Nope! Guess again. This is not a book of recipes for sourdough. Neither is it a book on a new fad diet. It is, instead, a book about sourdough – what it is, who it’s for, where it lives, how to create it, when it was discovered, and why we need it. It does include a sprinkling of recipes to get you through the gate of the vast and confusing world of sourdough.

It’s an education on flour and water paste, yeast, time, temperature, humidity and environment. It’s a tool to simplify your life and help you sort through the myriad of information to get the culture you want according to what you want to do with it. Want a sprinkling of sourdough yarns? Here they are…

Do you want quick, easy, healthy, and yummy bread products? Go with simple wild yeast sourdough. Do you want to start a club? Here’s how to grow big and share. Do you want to set it and forget it? Here’s how….

This is The Skinny on Sourdough….

The way to Buy it Now: 


at Smashwords

and everywhere else

Here’s to your health, your happiness, and living your plucky new life….


True Secret Shopper Diaries

Mystery Shopper, Private Investigator, Auditor, Undercover Operative, Snoop, Gumshoe…are these a smattering of job titles that live on your Plucky New Life bucket list? Should they be?

While Joan is on hiatus – probably gathering data for her next adventure or catching wild yeast in sourdough starters (or both) – I’ve been busy meeting new characters who want to share their lives with you and me. My quest has been interesting – sometimes quite exciting, and successful.

One such character – who will remain nameless for her own protection – had a desire to remove the shroud of secrecy over her career choice. She (or is she a ‘he’?) is a bonafide Secret Shopper – and has been for more than ten years.

To tell the story, we rummaged through a decade of personal memories, actual paper files, and confidential diaries. She bared it all…

I was intrigued to the point of oatmeal glopping around in my head. Too much information with no organization only encouraged my confusion of what a secret shopper really does and heightened the question of how can they possibly make a living at it.

My attitude began as ‘that’s only good for homemakers to drop pin money into their cookie jars’. I was so wrong!

JAM (that’s all you’ll ever get out of me for this person’s identity) painted a fresh new picture in my head of :

  • What a secret shopper really does
  • How to make real money at it and remain undiscovered
  • Where they do the job(s)
  • When do they work
  • Why they do it
  • Who are they and how long they’ve been among us
  • Tips and techniques for success

Before we finished our time together, JAM invited me to accompany her for a ‘day in the life of’ to witness her in action. I did.

We began our day in a box store – where I promptly lost her in an aisle of hardware. Our entire morning went that way. She was like the wind – dead still one minute and whooshed away the next, without warning. I didn’t lose her at lunch, however, because it was a sit down meal for two at (Oops! Can’t say). We finished the day at a casino where she assured me she’d be reimbursed for a certain amount of losses – if she had any.

I was exhausted, plumb tuckered out, when we parted company. But decisions had been made. This was too big of a project for a blog. A short book would be required to give seekers a true picture and education of the secret shoppers life.

True Secret Shopper Diaries is now complete and ready for you to get your copy today. Is your plucky new life worth about a $3.00 investment?

Click here to get your eBook instantly at your favorite eBook retailer, or, you can also order it in paperback for a few dollars more through Amazon.

Here’s the Smashwords link.

Happy Trails and Tales,

Alexie Linn

P.S. I may even add Secret Shopper to my own bucket list. Hope I don’t spot you there….

Sinkhole! In My Backyard!

The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.

Sinkholes! Who wants ’em?

We do! But not so much in our own backyard.

What can we do about them?

If your very own sinkhole is awesome, you can build an amusement park around it and charge for people to ‘ooh ahh’ at it.

If it’s not so awesome or the sinkhole hasn’t appeared yet, but you’re living on karst or see signs of a sinkhole appearing (take a breath), you have two choices.

Move or prepare for the potential ride of your life.

Life is full of choices – Joan calls them options and invests substantial time pondering them (pondering the options is her bare bones gift). It’s what she does when she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

We make hundreds – if not thousands – of choices everyday – from what we will eat to when we will go to bed. But what about the bigger choices? Things like where will I live? How will I support myself? Will I join with another and choose to compromise (a bunch!)?

How do we make these choices?

Sometimes we choose by need. Others by instinct, like in an emergency. Just like dance lessons will usually make you a better dancer, training for emergencies will guide your instincts to save yourself and others more efficiently. Sometimes we choose by our own priorities and desires, but a happier choice will will be an informed one. An informed choice includes knowing, and considering, the drawbacks in the whole picture.

Take Joan’s priority – her life as an anti-social sunbird – ie, freedom to roll away from inclement weather and hoards of people. To that end, if she has to work a ‘real job’ that entails clocking in daily, she’ll have to commute or stuff her RV in a place (temporarily) that she may not wish to be. AND the job will definitely pay less than a fulltime, year around job in a metro area. She says, “It’s the tradeoff”, the price of being free – a complete contradiction in itself, but it’s her choice that she is happiest with. She doesn’t consider 20 miles to the grocery store an inconvenience – she takes a big shopping list (unless she forgets the list at home) and makes less trips.

What is your criteria for choosing where to live?

If your list includes sinkhole probabilities (and, perhaps, it should), following are links to learn all about sinkholes – how they happen, where they happen, when they happen… and search term ‘sinkholes’.

A.L.O. Snider has put together an excellent book, Sinkholes! In My Backyard?! It’s a one-click resource that will give you all the skinny – including maps and pictures – to help you make an informed choice of where you want to live.

Click here for Sinkholes! In My Backyard!

Check back often for a universal link to everywhere else…

Happy Trails and Tales,


Earthquake! Run — Like a Bunny!

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Lao Tzu
Tsunami – a jaw-dropping instigator of grief and bereavement.

Oceanfront property – who doesn’t want it? Unless, of course, an earthquake has just played shake, rattle, and roll – thousands of miles away from your breathtaking view.

Earthquakes are an awesome fact of life. They will happen – bank on it. When the tectonic plates adjust, the seismograph dances the jitterbug, the ocean bed slides, and Voila – Tsunami is in control run, don’t walk, away from the coastline.

Here’s what happens: You’re sunbathing on a San Diego, California beach when you get word of an earthquake in Alaska. The adjustment in the plates cause a slip in the ocean; a wave starts to build; it gets bigger and bigger and bigger as it surges toward the coastline to finally splat itself on land, running out of energy. The wave is neither aware, nor does it care, what’s in its path – conscious behavior is simply not in its job description.

Putting the picture into perspective, consider an ant, marching along, looking for treasure, simply playing his piano and singing his song. You step out with your bucket of water and toss the water out. Splat! Now imagine you are the ant….

Tsunami kills more people and destroys more property than the earthquake that caused it because it’s the same body of water lapping on miles and miles and miles of shoreline.

I remember the time my daughter and I about 2,000 miles apart. We were talking on the phone one night when she said, “Wow! We have a full moon!” I looked up at my moon, chuckled, and said, “Wow! So do we!”

It’s a shared thing worldwide – the moon, the sun, the oceans – Tsunami…

If you choose to plant yourself on oceanfront property – in Arizona, California, Japan, or anywhere else – know the potential cost. Take a lesson from Joan Freed: Consider all the pluses and minuses – then do what you want, fully prepared for the repercussions.

There are several fact, instruction, and image filled resources to help your decision be an informed one. A couple of them are listed below, including a one-click shop to A.L.O. Snider’s Earthquake! Run – Like A Bunny! – although she could have titled it Tsunami! Run – Like a Bunny!.

Be informed; be prepared; and go for it! I would – maybe.

Happy Trails and Tales,


Here’s your link to

Check back often for your universal link to everywhere else.

The Mount St. Helens Affair

No, I’m fine,” the scraggly haired lady slouched behind the steering wheel in the extreme camping outfit said. “I just need somewhere to crash and gather my wits for a few days – do you know of anyplace?”

That’s how I met Alo Snider, the wannabe Geologist that wasn’t really a widow and wasn’t really a client. Or was she?

I built a client file on her because she landed at my winter sanctuary in the Sonoran Desert in the middle of the night.  The county park I directed her to was besieged with smugglers and agents.  What else could I do?

In case you missed the memo, I’m Joan Freed, the rebel life coach and nutritional therapist that you may–or may not–have heard about. I do my best to keep a low profile for my own sake as well as that of my clients. And Rule #1 is to never let anyone know where you live!  Sometimes rules have to be broken.

Alo has a Ring of Fire obsession and the files to prove it. The love of her life vanished on a Mt. St. Helens expedition, leaving her with his Jeep and trailer that goes anywhere and camp is set with a pop and a swoop. He also left her with an urgency to conquer Mt. St. Helens. However, she needed a new partner and proceeded to groom Jenny and I as her team, whether we wanted to be or not. But then Alo vanished under the cloak of night without us. Until my cell phone rang at the entrance to Bloody Basin Road – a spooky place I always wanted to explore….

True to the Joan Freed Mystery/Adventure Series, this story is a journey to propel personal growth, learning about stuff–in this case heavy on the volcanoes, and making decisions. It’s a full spectrum emotional journey and a mind-bending trek.

If you like mystery and adventure, secure your copy of ‘The Mount Saint Helens Affair, settle in, and buckle up for the ride…

Click Here for purchase and review

Click Here for Smashwords access

Click Here for all the rest….

The Aurora Borealis Affair

What’s more fun than being stuck in rush hour traffic on the 10? How about another adventure with Joan Freed, the rebel life coach who only wants to start fulfilling her bucket list – beginning with seeing the Aurora Borealis up close and personal in Alaska. Alaska because she’s feeling a distinct pull, magnetic if you will, to ‘do’ Alaska as a tourist.

But first she has a coaching client near Mormon Lake who needs her attention. A client named Geraldine who’s not only a character in her own right, but has a plethora of surprises that turns Joan’s life upside down and forces her to unearth and face deeply buried facts about herself.

Jenny, Joan’s wishing she was invisible partner in crime so to speak, decides to stay the course a little longer along with Patches, the black and white spotted chihuahua, in tow and heads out to the far north with Joan. After three days of actual R & R that the two have finally managed to get after 3000 miles, or so, Jenny voices that she’s bored (that’s a clue).

Joan opens the unlocked door (that’s a clue, too) to her RV to find a redheaded girl in her bed. A redheaded girl who may or may not be a murderer; who may or may not have amnesia; and may or may not have been kidnapped. But she’s definitely from the south and knows how to cook. Is she any good at conniving? Maybe.

Join Joan and Jenny on their journey of a once in a lifetime vacation jaunt from Arizona to the Arctic Circle and back. Find out how good Joan is at being a tourist and what’s really going on in the redhead’s head that Tamhas, Spock’s doppelgänger thinks he knows.

This is a novel of personal growth, mystery, adventure, and, of course, lots of mayhem.

See what happens when you leave your door unlocked, and, above all, be careful what you ask for…

If you like Murder She Wrote, Hettie Wainwright, and Rosemary & Thyme, you’ll love this and other Joan Freed Murder/Adventures. Happy Trails and Tales.

Thank You,

Alexie Linn

Get it and post your review at HERE

Here’s your Smashwords link…

And here’s all the other formats link

Elaine the Hoarder

How many bodies does it take to jump-start the recovery of Elaine, The Hoarder?

It depends,” says Joan Freed, the rebel life coach, “on the variables, like which corpse – if any – is the cause of the hoarding.”

This spiraling, hoarding, self-help mystery starts at Oak Flats Campground – east of Phoenix, Arizona. It quickly moves to Wellton – east of Yuma – where Joan is greeted by Elaine, a gray haired dumpling of a woman, and several stacks of ‘stuff’ spread over at least 20 acres, from antique road graders to mazes of tarped, block mountains. Heaps of cardboard boxes line narrow walkways to and through the house to the one room Elaine has garnered for living – the kitchen. There she bakes her scones, compiles her puzzles – crosswords and word searches – and defends her need to continue being a collector.

Joan’s first memory upon trailing Elaine through the outer maze into the homestead is being slammed in the face by a stench she’s never before encountered. The second olfactory memory is of fresh baked scones slathered in melting butter and homemade jam. How can anything this yummy be anything but doable was her second thought.

Besides a client with a really bad sinus infection and more very puzzling people – what could possibly go wrong while Joan and Elaine ferret out what is causing the hoarding and whatever else propels this labyrinthine, stinky story to a tickled pink ending?

Can the source of Elaine’s grief be identified and turned into good grief before it all comes tumbling down?

You never really know a person until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

If you liked Volume 4, ‘Blindsided!’, Volume 7, Elaine the Hoarder will only bring you more laughs, tears, and surprises to promote Good Grief!

Click Here to buy and review at

Or Click Here if you use Smashwords

Happy Trails and Tales,

Alexie Linn

Blindsided! Good Grief!

Like us and watch the book trailer on facebook HERE.

The body wedged in the doorway, floating on a pool of glass shards and red liquid, was very much alive. But the body laid out under a Palo Verde tree in my retention pond was very much dead. The live body wedged in the doorway was blinded in the line of duty, living a demoralizing life of forced retirement with no enemies and no hope. The corpse under the Palo Verde tree was a county code enforcer with a plethora of enemies – and I was the targeted fall gal for the murder.

This is the story of Max – the bored blind guy; Irene – the blind guy’s discontented wife, who retired from school teaching to help Max; and me – Joan Freed, the rebel life coach – plus a few more characters.

We met by accident – literally. After the clean-up, they shared Keurig coffee and Biscotta with me – my first for both, and we talked a little about ourselves – like you do when you meet new people. Max was the precise picture of what crushed self-esteem in men would look like – in my opinion. Irene still had enough stamina to pull me aside and ask for help in turning their devastating grief into good grief.

While I think the second body – the dead one – was a tad overkill to trigger Max into personal growth, expanding horizons, and his own success mindset, it worked – and I’m still here to tell you about it.

A cozy mystery set in the desert southwest that started as two women on an adventure. Then came corruption, murder and mayhem, followed by life beyond biscotti – all from a bump on the head.

Get on the journey train and enjoy the ride today. Get the book, read it, laugh, cry, and love. And please take a moment to leave your all-important review as well as your comments below.  Your comments and reviews make a difference.

Available in paperback and Ebook at the links below and at other retailers:1107

Buy, read, and Review at

Add to your library and review at Smashwords

Download from Barnes and Noble here

And post your welcomed comments here:

The Personal Transformation of Queenie

Joan Freed is a rebel life coach and nutritional therapist. She promotes self-help recovery from any malady.  No matter where she lands Joan attracts the people who need her program like pollen attracts bees.
Biking in the Kaibab National Forest of Arizona, just before the crest of the hill, Queenie’s camp startles her and she loses momentum.  Queenie gives her a place to rest and shares that she is abandoned with only marshmallows and potato chips to eat.  The session begins.
Before 48 hours has passed, Queenie blurts out that she considers herself a circus fat lady.   Joan, the lifecoach, takes control.
She takes Queenie shopping,  but, on the way back to camp, two women’s bodies turn up and the women are off on the adventure of their life – to date.

Journey with Joan and Queenie through Queenie’s personal transformation. Help solve the mystery of the women’s demise – please, before Joan becomes dead as yesterday, too.

The story begins:
Two women lay sprawled in front of my truck. They are very dead. Queenie sits like a statue on the passenger side of my vintage Chevy pick-up. She looks like the circus fat lady that she thinks she is–but she’s not laughing.
I am on sabbatical in the Kaibab National Forest. I’m here to feed my own free spirit with life changing time by myself. A break much needed and anticipated after my last exhausting coaching case.
I know none of these women, but the two dead ones seem to have known me. They have appeared near each of my camps for a couple of years now…
Before the bodies appeared, our less than 24 hour kinship was an uncomplicated ‘women helping women’ moment…

While this could be a wearisome story of murder and mayhem, it isn’t. It’s the story of how one woman’s life changing personal transformation had a ripple effect in solving a cold case and enriching my own personal growth.

Who am I, you ask? I am Joan Freed, the rebel life coach and nutritional therapist. You’ve never heard of me? That’s okay. I keep a low profile. My office is wherever I park my 19′ Wilderness RV–which is never in an RV park if I can help it.
I have my own agenda. I’m proving that my 7-day, 7-step fast-track recovery program is valid, valuable, and necessary for the good of all who are living it. And for those who have to live with us.
I believe and promote that we are each an individual with individual needs for recovery. Let us heal in the way that best feeds our spirit and brings fulfillment to our lives.
The steps are the same. The way we take the steps is unique to each of us. I turn my case files into stories so that you, my treasured reader–can:
  • Conquer the noesis of how to jump-start your own grief recovery program.
  • Root for those who are currently living it,
  • And know that there is such a thing as good grief as well as ‘feel good’ happy endings.
Pardon me while I step off my soapbox and tuck it away.
On second thought, don’t wait. ‘The Personal Transformation of Queenie’ is a feel good, cozy adventure.
Click the links below for the rest of the story – Volume 2 of Good Grief! The Series – and enjoy the journey.

Here’s a bonus!

If you love crosswords and wordsearch puzzles, scroll on down and have some fun.  No sign-up, no charge, just fun.

Happy Trails and Tales,