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!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New covers!

The covers for the next two books in the Bone Cold--Alive series are here! YESSS!!!! I hope to have them up for sale as ebooks just after the first of the year. Maybe one before?

In the meantime, here is the back cover copy:

Ron's Run:

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?

Ian's Image:

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?