Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ian's Image now available!

Ian's Image, the 5th book in my Bone Cold--Alive series is now available for Kindle. I'll have it up on Nook and for purchase as a print edition via CreateSpace in a few days.

The back cover:

"He should have been a concert violinist...

Ian Murray shucks the McMurray name the night he leaves Portland, Maine, and his family. His dreams weren't theirs. He may return periodically, but they never acknowledge what he's become, a top musician in the top rock band. He may have made a fortune, but money can't buy the one thing he longs for.

She was never his equal…

Bostonian cellist Phillipa Gray envied Johnny McMurray his talent on the violin, the way his music teased her on her summer trips to her grandmother's. Their families drove them apart once, but when she hears the sweetness of his strings again, the years fall away.

Life isn't fair and sometimes the time isn't right. Can they look beyond Ian's image, not to the way it once was but the way it should have been all along?"

Ian, aka Johnny McMurray, and Phillipa,aka The Princess Next Door, have a rocky past. They're drawn together like bees and honey but neither his family nor hers thinks the other is worthy. But when circumstances bring them back together one summer night it's all they can do to stay away from each other--and then it's all they can do to stay together.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The sick bed

When I was little, I was sick quite a bit. And if it wasn't me, it was my sister. This was before the vaccinations for measles and chicken pox and whatever else. So I had all the measles varieties and scarlet fever and earaches galore. And with every ailment, our sickbed wasn't our bed. It was the living room sofa.

Was it because that's the room with the black and white TV, something to be turned on so our little minds could zone out? So Mother could be in the kitchen and still hear us? So the doctor who was making the house call (oh, yes, he did) had to only walk a few steps into the house and his patient was there?

I don't know the reason, but I do know we continue the practice. Once ailing, your bed becomes the den couch. There's a straight shot view of same from the kitchen and while there are other TVs in the house, this is the biggest. As to the house calls, well, that has fallen by the wayside.

I bring this up because I've spent my day on the couch in the den. The TV has been off but I have a straight shot view of the empty kitchen and a cat to ease my ills. I guess there are still doctors who make house calls, they just live there, have four legs, and provide (if they're in the mood), the proper care and comfort.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Change-able Habit

Most days, days without gale force winds and precipitation, I walk in the local park where there is a one-mile path. I've been doing this for nearly two years thanks to a friend who couldn't believe I would exercise on a treadmill when there was the great outdoors. It didn't take much to convince me that out was better than in, that two miles amid Nature was better than two miles with the TV. Besides, I used to walk outdoors all the time, but a spell of bad weather and a convenient treadmill had driven me indoors and indoors I had stayed. I'd changed the habit once, I could change it again.

Like any activity done with regularity, we would see the same people at the same time each day. Invariably, we'd speak, perhaps just a friendly 'good morning,' and then only the first time, whether meeting them going the other way or passing by. If someone wasn't there, we'd wonder and if they were gone several days in a row, query them about their vacation or ask after their health the next time we saw them. It didn't matter if we didn't know their name.

So it was with a woman who walked alone. Most of the time, she would already be on the path when we arrived. We knew her car, knew she was there. Sometimes, she'd run a little late, or we a little early, and we'd catch up or pass or meet. And we'd speak. She wouldn't unless spoken to first! It became a bit of a game, to say 'hello' or 'good morning' and then she'd have to answer back to be friendly.

But then, this fall, she disappeared. Was she coming later, I wondered? It couldn't be earlier because it was very dark earlier. Was she all right? Had something happened? The mystery deepened. I didn't see her or her car at Walmart or anywhere around town. Not that I had before, but if she'd changed one habit, perhaps she'd changed others. We thought her a bit older, so could she have become ill? We were worrying about someone we didn't know.

I mentioned this to the friend who had reintroduced me to outdoor walking. She had changed to a different route, one more convenient to her home. She smiled broadly: "our woman" was walking in her neighborhood now. And… best of all? She always said 'hello' first!

Guess we'd all changed a habit.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A New Year--A New Book Arrives!

Yesterday I successfully loaded Ron's Run, the fourth book in my Bone Cold--Alive series, to Amazon Kindle. I'll do a CreateSpace file as soon as the cover artist tweaks the spine of the print pdf.

The back cover copy:

"Guilt drives him away…

Drummer Ron Gregory isn't responsible for the tragedy which encompasses his family when he's a teen, but they make him feel like he is. He runs away… to New Orleans, to gambling, to a life of irresponsibility. It's a sorry combination, easy living and bad luck. Now he's broke, in danger, and hiding at band manager Levi Fletcher's Texas cabin.

She shouldn't feel guilty…

British fashion photographer Bettina Montgomery is shocked to learn that her biological father is Levi Fletcher. Temptation may drive her to his cabin, but her quick reflexes give her the photo of a lifetime: a nude Ron Gregory! She won't give it up until he straightens out his life, even if that means risking her heart all across Texas.

Which will be surrendered first: the photo, her secret, or the end of Ron's Run?"

This book can stand alone in the series. I mention the other characters, and of course if you've read the first three you'll have ALL the background, but I think this one works well on its own.

Take a look! Here's the cover:

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Meet the clean attic

My only regret about the five-plus hours my spouse and I spent cleaning out the attic today is that I didn't take a before photo. Boxes stacked to the underside of the roof, Scout Jamboree trunks empty, boxes of stuffed animals, paintings, framed art work, photos, window shades from when we first moved to the house, curtain rods for all 40+ windows, yard art (term used loosely).

About an hour into this, when I was handing things down to my husband, family things, my-type things, curtain rods, he declared we would have an Attic Committee from now on to decide what went into the attic. May be, but I didn't hear any more about that when we moved to the Wall of Camping Stuff.

Suffice it to say, we should sleep well tonight. Two loads of trash, one to Goodwill, stacks of camping gear for our sons, boxes we didn't want to get rid of, but didn't know what to do with either (they're still up there), Christmas items. Which of course is what started all this. I couldn't find all the Christmas items I wanted. Now I can.

Whew! An older friend once told me that her final revenge on her children would be a full attic. Well, she cleaned hers out and now so have I. I plan to have enough years left to do it all over again, Attic Committee or no.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December Round Robin: Christmas Dreams

Welcome to those of you joining me from Victoria Chatham.

The December Round Robin is to share a writing about hope, love, forgiveness, Christmas. I've chosen a short story which didn't quite make it all the way to the top at Woman's World magazine.

I based this story on a postcard I found in my dad's papers. The note on the back wished that all his Christmas dreams might come true. He was marrying my mother a week later. I didn't know the sender of the card, but I treasure the sentiment.

Christmas Dreams
May all your Christmas dreams come true.
I placed the old postcard gently back in the scrapbook, its yellowed pages threatening to break with each page turn. The card’s date was December 11, 1942, the addressee my grandfather, the sender a name unknown to me. As Nat Jacobs had traveled from army post to army post, a line of correspondence had trailed in his wake, all of it duly saved by my grandmother Annie, his “Christmas dream.”
Ah, Granddad Nat, I sighed, when will my Christmas dreams come true?
“Maggie,” Mom called, “are you finished moving those boxes? I need some help in the kitchen!”
Who didn’t need help two days before Christmas? My company closed for the holiday each year and I was home and “in charge” of organizing Granddad’s things since he’d moved into the assisted living facility. Plus, my cousin Diane’s wedding was three days later and the entire family was in town.
“Mom, have you ever looked through Granddad’s scrapbooks? All the postcards?” I asked as we wrestled with the 25-pound turkey.
“Years ago. Why?”
“There’s one about Christmas dreams. It’s such a sweet card.” We got the leg clamp released and the bird into the sink for a rinse. “Someone knew how much he was looking forward to marrying Grandmother. I’d like to find something like that for Diane.” Or, a Christmas dream for myself, I thought somewhat selfishly.
“Try Benedict’s. Merle will know.” She stared over the rim of her glasses. “And don’t be gone so long Dad’s carving the turkey!”
I laughed back at her as I gathered up my coat and keys.
Merle Benedict had owned the small card shop on the square for as long as I could remember. Her mind was an encyclopedia of card stock, new and out-of-date. What I really wanted was a postcard, but were they even still made?
The shop was empty and the racks held scant inventory. I scanned them quickly—no postcards, no surprise—before calling out to her as I headed to the back of the store.
“May I help you?” The voice was deep, almost a melody, if it hadn’t come out of nowhere and startled me. I grabbed a display to keep from falling and it teetered precariously. The owner of the voice grabbed the display and then me.
“I, I was looking for Merle.” I stopped myself from asking who he was even as I stared into the bluest eyes.
“Gran went home to bake a pie. I’m Jason, her favorite grandson.” He grinned broadly as he released the display and me. We both attempted to stand still.
“I’m Maggie. Customer in search of a Christmas postcard.”
My heart set a tango beat to his smile. “Gran said she didn’t think anyone else would be coming in and surely I could handle sweeping up. Earn my pecan pie.”
Then I saw the broom he’d tossed aside to keep the display and me upright. “So you’re just temporary help and don’t know where anything really is?” I hoped my voice ended on an encouraging note, like he would surprise me and say, no, he knew where all my Christmas dreams were. Hold it—that wasn’t the question!
“Sorry. Home for the holidays and pressed into service.”
“Me, too.” We stared at each other.
“I could call her. She won’t mind.” He pulled a cell phone from his pocket. “Gran? Got a customer with a question.”
He handed the phone to me and I explained what I was about. Just as I’d thought, Christmas postcards had gone by the way years ago. My only hope was to go online. I thanked her and went to find Jason, sweeping away in the corner of the store.
“I’ll have to settle for an ordinary old card.”
“We’ve a few left.”
I headed to the racks and soon he joined me. We laughed over the funny ones and read the sentimental with exaggerated voices. He was in town until New Year’s Day just as I was and then, we found to our amazement, we both headed back to the same part of the state.
“After your cousin’s wedding,” he asked as I paid for a Christmas wedding card which didn’t really say what I wanted it to but I had to have a reason to stay just a bit longer, “are you free? Like for New Year’s Eve? Gran makes a mean pot of black-eyed peas.”
“I could do that,” I said as I smiled. I might not have my Christmas dream, but the New Year was looking quite promising!

Now please visit Skye Taylor.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

T is free!

A before Christmas special:

On Amazon Kindle, T's Trial is free until next Tuesday. I've also added C's Comeuppance at 99 cents. Since they're both regularly $3.99, it's getting two books for 99 cents instead of $7.98! What a deal!

As always, thank you for your support and please pass the word along!