Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books by Ginger Simpson #MFRWauthor #Historical #suspense

1. First Degree Innocence:   (Prison Suspense inspired by my time as a Correctional Officer) 

 Carrie Lang’s sheltered life ends with a prison sentence for involvement in a bank robbery. Her arrest comes on the day she’s called in sick and stayed inside, so she can’t explain how an eye-witness describes her in great detail, down to the make and model of her car. 

A terrible mistake has been made, and her insistence of innocence falls on deaf ears. Even her fellow inmates don’t believe her as it’s a claim they all make. Alone in the world, she has no one to turn to for help, and not a single soul to campaign for her freedom…at least until she makes a valuable friend.

In the meantime, a plan for retribution is brewing, and naïve Carrie finds herself smack dab in the middle of an evil scheme concocted by the prison bully. A ten year sentence seems mild when she’s threatened with death for refusing to participate. Can Carrie find a way out of this horrible nightmare, or is she destined to spend her days locked in terror, isolation, and the cold gray interior of prison walls?

2:  Yellow Moon:  (Western Historical inspired by my love of the genre)

Yellow Moon, a Lakota maiden, accompanies her family to the Sun Dance and becomes promised to a Santee warrior who’ll soon be chief. While accompanying Thunder Eyes’ clan back to his tribe, she and the other women are stolen by the Crow, and while in Plenty Coup’s camp is told she’ll become his second wife rather than be a slave. She finds friendship and help at the hands of his first wife, a Cherokee captive called Pretty Shield.
When Thunder Eye’s comes to rescue his betrothed, she begs him to take her newfound friend along, and the two women eventually become sisters-in-law. When the Crow come to extract their revenge, fate changes their destiny in a big way. 

3:  Time Tantrums:  (A pioneer wife and a modern day attorney involved in a time-travel experience.)

Mariah Cassidy awakens in the twentieth century. Confined in a pristine environment, hooked to tubes and beeping machines, she’s scared, confused and wondering why everyone keeps calling her Mrs. Morgan. Who is the strange man who keeps massaging her forehead and telling her everything is going to be all right?

Taylor Morgan tries to focus on her surroundings through a blinding headache. The patchwork quilt, the water basin, and the archaic room don’t strike a familiar chord. Her mouth gapes when a handsome man waltzes into the room, calls her darling, and expresses his delight that she’s on the road to recovery.

Clearly something is amiss.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday's Guest - Ginger Simpson - Writing style #MFRWauthor #writing #research

We all know there are six elements of fiction. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is plot. What's your take on this?
 My stories jump into my mind, inspired by a character already named and they share with me.  The majority have historical western ties.  I have zero control other than researching facts and lingo.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?

They just appear with a story to tell.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
 Yes....hand and hand.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

No.  Writing is like telling myself a story.  I never know where I'm going till I get there.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
 Both.  I usually check my facts on the web several times because I've found conflicting info.  I have several research books on the Lakota Sioux.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end? 

I use my characters ideas and put the story into my words.  They lead the way and I follow.

 7. Where can we find you on the net?

  I am RVing a lot these days so I've let my own website and blogs go.  You can find me on Amazon at simpson.  I also have a featuring page on my
publisher's page at Books We Love (BWL).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday's Second Scene - The Temple of Fyre #MFRWauthor #fantasy #sensual

Ria stood at the window of her chamber and stared into the inner courtyard. She glanced at the sky. Before long, the sun would approach midday. That moment marked the time of her final challenge before becoming a priestess of the Temple of Fyre.

Though she’d bathed before going to bed, she smelled the scent of fear on her skin. She wet an herb-scented sponge and washed. As she donned the white caftan worn by all acolytes, her hands shook. Once she completed the test, she would be entitled to wear the scarlet robes of a high priestess. Only Malera, and the two priestesses too old to work in the circles, were so honored.

Her stomach clenched and she feared she would be ill. She rubbed her hands on a towel and sat on the edge of her bed to await the summons to join the circle. Once she reached the temple’s inner chamber, she would take her place on the topmost tier and direct the flame as Malera ordered. For a moment, the room wavered. She inhaled deeply and sought to calm her stuttering heart.

The whisper of sandals on the stones of the floor brought Ria to her feet. She stared at the doorway. Malera parted the beaded curtain. “Come. ‘Tis time.”

Ria’s hands tightened. She walked toward the older woman. “Are you sure I’m ready for the trial?”

Malera smiled. “I chose you from the slavers’ pens. For five years, I’ve nurtured and honed your abilities. You are the daughter I dared not birth.”

Ria took the chief priestess’ hand and brushed her lips across the back. She tasted anger roiling inside her mentor. A part of Ria recoiled from the strength of Malera’s emotions. Who had angered the chief priestess? Would the fermenting fury guide Malera’s choice for the test?

“When I call fire from the stones, how will I use it?”

Malera’s thin smile increased Ria’s inner quaking. A glint of smug satisfaction in the chief priestess’ dark eyes tinted Ria’s thoughts with uneasiness. What did Malera plan? Suddenly, Ria was afraid. She looked away to keep her mentor from reading these emotions.

“Do not fret. The task will be within your abilities.”

“When you joined the circle for the first time, what was your task?”

Malera pursed her lips. “A most enjoyable one. My mentor bade me cleanse the temple of the malcontents who tried to destroy the rights of the women who use the fyrestones. Though several of the women escaped, I succeeded in destroying most of the rebels, leaving only those who had fled years before for my mentor to purge.”

Ria frowned. “What did the malcontents do?”

“They gave fyrestones to men who were unfit to use the crystals, and to women who were untrained in the proper ways of this temple.”

“How could anyone not trained here use any crystal other than a white?”

“The rebel priestesses diluted their power. They joined with men. They permitted studs to use the stones. They were fools. A wise woman never cedes her power. She does not share control with anyone. As the only temple in the land, all must obey us.” She lifted Ria’s chin and gazed into her eyes.

Malera’s eyes narrowed. They compelled obedience. Something inside Ria made her resist the compulsion. Confusion filled her thoughts. Acid flowed in her gut. A need to rebel arose, but how could she act against the chief priestess’ guidance? The older woman rescued her from forced service in one of the pleasure houses. Malera had shown the kindness Ria’s mother had withheld. Ria’s hands clenched. Just because the old man chosen as her betrothed died under mysterious circumstances, she’d been declared cursed and sold to the slavers. No one had cared about her fate until Malera.

The chief priestess released Ria’s chin. “’Tis time for you to face the test, as all who are selected to serve the temple must.”

Ria nodded. “I am ready.” As the knowledge of how she wanted to use the crystal solidified, her stomach fluttered. Even if she must defy her mentor, she would use the stone to help, not harm.

Malera led Ria into the large rotunda where those who came to petition the priestesses waited for a summons. Tiles reflecting the colors of the fyrestones covered the floor. Benches lined the side walls. Tables where the petitioners placed gifts of food, cloth, spices, and gems, flanked the doorway to the inner chamber. Here also, the tithes from each hamlet were collected.

When Malera parted the curtain made from strings of white crystals like the one Ria had used to light the candles, her stomach clenched. She stepped inside and faced the circle. Three priestesses stood on the first tier and Ria studied the fyrestones in the depressions carved in the limestone of the circle. They glowed with power.

The chief priestess led Ria to the topmost tier where a single scarlet crystal glittered in the cup. With a flourish, the chief priestess handed Ria the scarlet stone. “This is the one you used in practice and have imprinted with your spirit. Use the crystal well.” She retreated to the base of the tiered circle. “Prepare for the testing.”

Ria drew a deep breath. She noticed a glint of scarlet in Malera’s hand and wondered why. Ria raised her crystal. The sun edged over the opening in the roof above the circle. “Let us begin.”

The three women holding yellow fyrestones called fire. Then two spires of orange appeared. Ria stared at the stone balanced on her palm. The sun centered in the opening. She basked in the warmth. Her crystal glowed and a flame rose. With care, she blended the yellow and orange tongues of flame with those from the scarlet.

“Seek the hamlet of Gydon,” Malera said.

Ria molded the fire into a sheet. A map of the land from the ocean shore in the south to the northern mountains appeared. Using a finger of fire, she sought the farming hamlet near the hills beyond both wastes and the grove. Houses appeared, then people, mostly women and children. Three elderly men and several youths led scraggly beasts to a pasture beyond the walls. Some of the buildings looked as though they’d been scorched by fire in the past. The gardens were ill tended. The people looked beaten. Ria smiled. She could help them.

“This is your task,” Malera said. “For years, the hamlet of Gydon has failed to send the tithe to the temple. You will destroy the fields, the flocks, the herds, and the orchards, to force the people to leave.”

“Where are the men?” Ria asked.

“Sold into slavery to pay the tithe. Twenty years ago, there were those living near Gydon who attempted to use the fyrestones in ways opposed to the chief priestess’ dictates. I cleansed the temple of their ilk, but three remained until my predecessor challenged them and won. Gydon must become a lesson for all the people of Fyre. They must see what happens to those who defy me.”

Ria held the flames steady. “How can those who remain pay the tithe? Don’t you see how poor the people are?”

“They have children to sell. Young girls for the temple. Older girls, women, and boys, to serve in the pleasure houses. Destroy the flocks, fields, herds, and orchards. Lay waste to all. Show the hamlets of Fyre what happens to those who refuse to pay the tithe.”

Defiance built within Ria. How could she use the flames to punish the innocent? “Do any of the rebel priestesses still live?”

Malera smiled. “They are dead and their studs with them. Do as I command.”

“Priestesses should use fire to help. I’ve visited the scriptorium and have read many scrolls. What you tell me to do is wrong.” Ria saw the thin line of scarlet flame flow from Malera’s hand. Ria felt the chief priestess’s attempt to use the fyrestone she’d been given. “No.” Ria braced and fought her mentor.

The gathered flames coalesced. The pictures faded. Spires of yellow, orange, and scarlet, shot higher and higher until they filled the opening in the roof. For an instant, Ria faltered. A blazing arrow of scarlet shot toward her. She felt a burn along her skin. With determination, she gathered her waning strength and held against the battering of Malera’s mental thrusts.

Ria staggered. Screams echoed in her head, as one by one, the priestesses fell from the link. When the flames died, she saw the fallen women. Were they alive, or had her defiance killed them? She held her breath until they stirred. She looked down. The crystals in the cups of the circle were blackened cinders.

Malera moved toward the circle. “Traitor. Even before the slavers brought you to Rosti, I chose you as my successor. When you were a child, I watched you in the flames. I saw you grow. I sent fire to kill the old man they wanted you to marry. And so, you came to me. I have nurtured and cherished you, and betrayal is how you repay my care.”

Ria left the top tier and made her way down the levels. “I cannot harm the innocent for any reason. You are evil.”

Malera fisted her hands on her hips. “You have betrayed not only me, but the temple. There are no stones to replace the ones you turned into cinders.”

Ria met the glare from the chief priestess’ dark eyes. “I did what I was meant to do.” She stepped through the beaded curtain and strode across the rotunda. The slap of sandals on the tiles came from behind her. Gooseflesh rose on her skin.

“We have been betrayed,” Malera cried. “Acolytes and priestesses, join me. Drive her from the temple. Stone her. As was done in the past, the temple must be cleansed of those who deny the proper ways.”

Terror gripped Ria’s shoulders in a vise. She heard the footsteps of those who followed. Though cries for flight beat steadily in her thoughts, she refused to show her fear. Ria reached the outer door and stepped into the lane. The first rock thudded against her back and drove the breath from her lungs. She staggered, but managed to stay on her feet.

As though the flames she’d sent skyward had triggered a solar flare, the sun brightened. Ahead of her, the wide lane leading to the temple was deserted. She glanced over her shoulder and knew she would never reach the market square before the women were upon her. Panic engulfed her. She ran. Rocks slammed into her body. One smacked her legs. She fell. The caftan tore. On hands and knees, she slid across the rough cobbles of the path.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip.- The People #MFRWauthor #amwriting #characters

You've started the incident that can be good or bad. Remember what is bad for one character can be good for another.

How the character responds to the incident makes you look to see if he's receiving or sending. Each will make him react in a different way. These are value judgments and the character must make a choice. If one character has a distaste for being hugged, think of how he would react to one. If he welcomes the human touch, he will react in a different way. Depending on which kind of reaction you choose, you must show the character functioning so the reader can understand.

How does the character m ake his judgment call? There are things you need to know about your character. You need to know the why. You need to discover the reasons behind this reaction. So you have to deal with the facts and that comes next.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday - Looking at Heroes - Beta Man #MFRWauthor #Heroes #Beta man

Now we've dismissed the Alpha man as a hero since he has some unheroic traits, let's look at the Beta man. He will be sympathetic and not try to take over. He makes a great friend and someone who will keep the heroine's secrets. Sounds nice but as a hero, he can be weak and lacking.  So what can we do? Not Alpha or Beta as heroes.

A Beta hero can be pushed around. He can be too sympathetic.  As a friend he will be wonderful,

Monday, June 19, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poem #writing

Meander 1 - Poem

You called today
And filled a need
I know I'm not forgotten
With friends going
In rapid haste
From where I am.
I was blue.
Thanks for hearing
My silent call.
I feel better now.

Meander 3 - Reading - I'm re-reading a collection of books by a single author. Bujold creates a wonderful world with characters who are interesting and a world that though foreign draws me in. Atevi and their world and I feel as if I'm learning so much.

Meander 3 - Writing - I have really slowed down but the rough draft is finished and if I could get rid of this neck pain I could move forward rapidly. There are six more of those chapters to type in but typing makes the neck ache. This too will pass.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday's Book - Temple of Fyre #MFRWauthor #fantasy

Temple of Fyre (Island of Fyre Book 1)

Sold by her family to the priestesses of the Temple of Fyre, Ria soon masters using each of the four fyrestones, white, yellow, orange and scarlet. Her curiosity leads her to the archives and there, she learns things that disturb her. There are no men serving as priests but in the past there were. Men are kept in the harras where the priestesses visit. On the day of her testing she is ordered to perform a task she dislikes and refuses to destroy a town. Many of the priestesses fall into unconsciousness. Melera, the chief priestess, beats and banishes Ria for the carrion crows to consume.

Ari was abandoned as a child and found by two elderly firestone miners. He has pursued this and is the best of the finders. He goes to the temple to sell the stones he has gleaned. On leaving, Ria attempts to steal the fyrestone he has worn since the day he was found. He thinks she is a boy and a thief and he takes her to his room at the inn. On discovering her identity, he refuses to turn her over to the priestesses and they leave town. They are searching for the fabled blue fyrestones. They also learn to use them they must be bonded physically, emotionally and spiritually. Can they learn to master the blue stones and defeat Malera so they can rule the temple with love and understanding?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books by Karla Stover #mfrwauthor #mystery #history

From Tacoma Curiosities: Geoduck Derbies, The Whistling Well of the North End, Alligators in Snake Lake and More: When the Northern Pacific Railroad laid its final tracks within the fledgling hamlet of Tacoma, it brought opportunity and wild characters by the car full. Seemingly overnight, the Puget sound village transformed into a booming metropolis and eccentric playground with its fair share of growing pains. On one unlucky evening, residents awoke to the cries of a man who fell into the sewers after a road collapsed. Tacoma’s first school avoided demolition for a time thanks to a band of enterprising tramps who converted the place of learning into the Hotel de Gink, complete with unique minstrel shows. . . . these and many more stories [are part] of the quixotic and curious history of the City of Destiny.

From: Murder: When One Isn’t Enough: When Mercedes Mackaill has a month off work in which to house and dog sit at a waterfront home, she soon finds that too much of her own company palls. Then the body of an old woman is pulled from the water in front of where she is staying and Mercedes discovers she’d talked to the woman just days before the drowning. An unexpected meeting with Dorsey Finch, the victim’s tenant, leads to [their investigating] the woman’s strange past—a story reaching back to 1940-s Hollywood and a well-known house on Nob Hill in San Francisco.

From A Feather for a Fan: In the late 1870s, twelve-year old Hildy Bacom and her family leave Pennsylvania and head west to New Tacoma in Washington Territory, a community that is barely four years old [and] with a population of approximately one hundred and fifty. New Tacoma is very different from Pennsylvania, but gradually Hildy adjusts to her new life and makes friends with some unusual people: Mrs. Money, who runs her store with a parrot on her head; Miss Rose, a lady of questionable reputation; and especially Nell Tanquist. With Nell or alone, Hildy has adventures—with a bear, a skunk, and a lost Chinese baby, among others. Then Hildy’s life is complicated by two unexpected events: her growing feelings for the French-Indian boy Samuel, and her cousin, Elsie, who arrives unexpectedly with a problem no one will talk about. The challenges of hew new life force Hildy to draw upon inner resources she didn’t know she had.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday's Guest - featuring Karla Stover - Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor #Villains #Heroes

  To kill a conversation, tell people you’re a history nut. Generally, their eyes glaze over. I don’t know why I am so attracted to ye olde days. I certainly wouldn’t want to live without modern medicines and conveniences, but history it is in my writing—both fiction and non-fiction.
     When I wrote my two murder mysteries, I set them back a mere twenty-five years to avoid what I call “the cop-out” of using computers and cell phones to ferret out clues. I’ve noticed a lot of writers are doing that now. My first historical fiction book, A Feather for a Fan, took me to Tacoma in the 1870s, and I had the fun of reading local newspapers from the period, striving for accuracy. I’ve read so many old newspapers, magazines, and memoirs, I’m really critical when reading today’s historical fiction. That being said, if it is well-written, I will read anything and try to pick up helpful tidbits. The one exception is Sci-fi. I don’t like it and have never seen Star Wars. How’s that for being a total Luddite? The closest I come to the genre is a good ghost story, and even they “harken back” to another time. Sadly, that genre seems to be out of favor.

     I’ve been asked if I’m a fount of ideas, do my fingers flow over the keys ( I wish ), and which characters I prefer to write? Heroes are the hardest for me; I find it difficult to create a sensitive but manly man. To do so, I try and give him as little dialogue as possible because I can’t think like a man in order to come up with realistic dialogue. I have been known to eavesdrop on men talking at coffee shops, but mostly for my heroes, actions speak louder than words. For descriptions, I think of my favorite actors. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Take Brad Pitt’s features, one by one: eyebrows and narrow eyes that slant down at the corners, a nose that flares out at the nostrils, and a thin upper lip and full lower lip. The description doesn’t sound that great, but, oh, the package

     Villains are fun but it is important to give them some good traits; even serial killer Ted Bundy worked on a suicide hotline. Mrs. Danvers in the book and movie, Rebecca was wonderful. I love, when she’s talking to the second wife: “You're overwrought, madam. I've opened a window for you. A little air will do you good.” Yikes! It’s a second story window.

     My heroines are mostly me, which doesn’t always work out well.  Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes was one of my heroes because he was plain talking. Unfortunately, I’ve been known to make my women sound like him—a bit cynical. Like author Gil McNeil, I put most of my sarcasm in inner dialogue, but it’s something of which I’m always aware.

     In one of the Anne of Green Gables book, Anne is writing a story to enter in a competition. She tells her neighbor, Mr. Harrison, about the story, saying her heroine isn’t very unmanageable. The Mr. Harrison doesn’t understand and probably most non-writers don’t know that our characters quickly take on their own personalities, and manipulating them isn’t always easy. A friend of mine who is a Tarot card reader read the cards for the protagonist, Mercedes, in my first murder mystery, Murder on the Line, and nailed the way Mercedes was emerging, but the description wasn’t how I had envisioned her.

     A Feather for a Fan came out just before Christmas. The heroine is a young girl, the hero is a teenage boy who is part French and part Native American, and the villains are distances and time. I’m working on the sequel and the villain is a smuggler—much more traditional.

     I have a blog on Blogspot, a website on weebly, and a Twitter account but no time to keep them up. I’m always available on Facebook under my name, Karla Stover (that’s pretty easy). The disadvantage to writing is that it is a lonely occupation, so I’m always glad to hear from someone.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday's First and Second Scenes - Murder and Herbal Tea #MFRWauthor #cozy mystery #herbal tea

A Bridal Bouquet Planned

During the second week of June, Lars arrived in the Hudson River village where I live and where he had a home. The houses in Santa Fe had sold quicker than he expected but he’d kept the ski lodge for his family and mine to use.
The time had come for our plans to marry to reach fruition. Though I suggested we elope, Lars wanted a wedding. I gave in to his desire. We set the date for a Wednesday in mid-August. While discussing where to live, a house I’d admired located just two blocks from my “Painted Lady” came on the market. Lars and I purchased the house jointly using my attorney for the deal. That’s when the problems began.
Lars called me on a warm June morning. “Katherine, are you free tomorrow?”
“I’ve nothing planned.”
He released a long breath. “Call Richard and have him meet us at Barnes and Jones.
“George is upset. He thinks we need some kind of prenuptial agreement.”
I sighed. While I’m no romantic, the thoughts of legal squabbling made me uneasy. “Must we?”
Lars laughed. “Wouldn’t want George to appear in the middle of the ceremony and protest.”
“I’ll call Richard. What time?”
“One o’clock.”

* * * * *
By two thirty on Wednesday, a scream rumbled through me, one I couldn’t let loose. Lars’ attorney droned on in a voice void of expression. Why had I agreed to this meeting? I looked across the wide, highly polished table at the man who would be my husband six weeks from today. Tall, tanned with a craggy face and hair now more gray than blond. His blue eyes twinkled and he pressed his lips together to hide a smile.
I clenched my teeth. I wouldn’t scream. This meeting was my punishment for marrying a man of wealth. Oh, I’m comfortable enough but my fortune runs to hundreds of thousands, not millions.
Just give me the papers and I’ll sign. Those words hovered close to my lips. My foot tapped against the thick carpet in an impatient rhythm.
Then the attorney mentioned the house. A sprawling ranch with a magnificent view of the Hudson River Lars and I had jointly purchased. I’d admired this house for years but never thought to own the place where I could sit in the living room, dining room or master bedroom and watch the river’s changing moods.
“Why wasn’t I informed about this purchase,” George Jones asked. “Lars, you must protect your assets.”
My patience evaporated like dew beneath the summer sun. “Excuse me. Lars and I are adults and able to make decisions. I don’t see why our joint ownership is a bad idea. We contributed equal amounts for the purchase.”
The pompous man huffed. “You must think of your heirs.”
“Why?” The question erupted like a shot from a gun. “Neither Lars or I will be around to worry about them when that time comes. Let them fight over the dregs.”
Lars burst into the laughter he’d contained earlier. “She’s right. Just split the house down the middle. Half to her heirs and half to mine.”
For a moment George sputtered. He ran his hand over his balding head. “But what if one of you outlives the other?”
“The same rule will apply.” I leaned across the table and snagged the large pile of papers.
Beside me Richard Broadhurst, attorney and fiancé of my first floor tenant, nodded. “Mrs. Miller is right. Let them sign and we’ll be done.”
The next half-hour was filled with signatures, witnesses and the thud of the notary seal. I signed the last paper and turned to Lars. “Next time I’ll marry a pauper.”
He walked around the table and kissed my cheek. “We should have eloped.”
“I wanted to years ago but we didn’t. We still could. Blame our families for the delay.” I smiled.
He shook his head. “We’ve waited too long for this.” A moment of sadness slid through his blue eyes. I clasped his hand to show I understood. He’d thought about his only daughter’s betrayal and death. Though Bonnie’s tantrums had prevented our marriage fifteen years ago, he had loved her. “Let’s go.”
Lars nodded to George. “Golf next week.”
“What about Saturday?”
“Have a date.” Lars clasped my hand.
Richard gathered his papers and followed us outside. “Call you later.”
A warm breeze carried the scent of roses and raised my spirits. I walked with Lars to the parking lot where our cars were parked.
“That’s done.” He chuckled. “Never realized how boring George was. You’re the first person to force him into agreeing to stop pushing. I’m sure he had more points to negotiate. Where are you going?”
“Home to cook. Drink a gallon of iced mint tea.”
“I thought we could go for coffee. We have other decisions to make like where to honeymoon.”
My stomach churned. “Not today. I’m going home. Come to dinner. We’ll talk then.”
He shook his head. “Can’t. My oldest boys and their wives are joining Don and me to choose which pieces of furniture and knickknacks they want from the house. Come and select any of the furnishings you want.”
Though I knew he wanted my company, his house held his memories, not mine. I clasped his hands. “No need. We made a list, remember? I chose the things from my apartment and you choose from yours.”
“What if I select something you hate?”
“Why would I? This is a partnership.” I opened the car door. “Spend time with your family tonight.” I kissed his lightly. “Come tomorrow. I’ll make beef Wellington and there’s part of a chocolate cake in the freezer.”
“Could you make one for the groom’s cake?”
“I can do that. Until tomorrow.”
“I’ll be there.” He pulled me close for a warm kiss. “Until tomorrow. I’ll come around five.”
“I’ll have drinks waiting.”
By the time I reached the house, the desire for a mug of mint tea possessed me. I parked in the driveway and strode up the steps to the porch.
My tenant, Jenna, curled on the white wicker swing with a book. She waved. “Afternoon.”
I continued past. “Talk to you later. I need a drink.”
“Mint tea, of course.” She waved a cell phone. “Richard called. Said the session dragged on forever.”
"How right he is.” I fished my mail from the box and headed upstairs.
The moment I entered the apartment, Robespierre, my Maine Coon cat, butted my ankle. “Hello to you.” I bent and rubbed his head before opening the refrigerator. The level of tea in the glass container showed enough for a quick fix.
After draining the glass and pouring the remainder over the ice, I spilled some dried food in the cat’s dish. Moments later, a kettle sat on the fire and I filled a ball with one of my favorite blends taken from a jar on the pantry shelf. I blend my own teas and grow my own mints. I’d already planted several varieties in the garden at the new house.
By the time a fresh container sat in the fridge, the phone had rung twice. My daughter-in-law wanted to schedule a shopping day for wedding clothes. Ruth laughed. “Andrea wants you to wear a white gown.”
“No way.” Andrea is my granddaughter. She’s into ballet and thinks of every event as a show.
Next, Sarah called to set a date for the shower I didn’t want or need. She rattled on until I stopped her. “I’ll agree if we make the gifts items for the local food pantry.”
“I knew you would approve.” Sarah has a large social conscience and is mother to three and foster mother to two children.
I filled a tall mug with more ice and poured in the fresh brew. The ice crackled. The phone rang for a third time.
Maria, my next-door-neighbor, spoke. “Mrs. Katherine, I would show you the rings I have make for you and Mr. Lars.”
“I’ll come tomorrow. I’m bushed.”
She laughed. “What kind are you?”
Maria’s from Spain and often has confusion with idioms. “No bush, I’m tired.”
“Come for tea in the morning. I will ask Mrs. Sarah.”
I pressed the cool glass to my forehead. Too many cooks wanting to stir the broth of my life. What I needed was an escape, just for a day or two. An idea tickled my thoughts but the fourth call in twenty minutes firmed my resolve. Escape was on the menu. Edward, pastor of St. Stephens; called to finalize the ceremony and the use of Fellowship Hall for the reception, the first of two.
“Katherine, you know how delighted I am to perform this ceremony. Simply delighted. So delighted I have an idea.”
A smile teased. Delighted must be his word of the day. “And that is?”
“St. Stephens’ needs another Elder. I would be delighted to name Lars to help guard our affairs.”
“You’ll have to ask him.”
“I will. We’d be delighted to have the two of you for bridge Friday evening.”
“I’m not sure what we have planned.” Jolted by the desperate need to run away from these many managers of my time I sighed. “I’ll let you know.”
“Delighted. We can discuss the wedding arrangements while we play.”
The dial tone sounded before I reminded him I hadn’t accepted. I called Lars to warn him. This done I continued. “I’m leaving on Friday to visit Joyce.”
“Wish I could join you.”
“Why not?”
“Golf weekend with the boys.”
“Enjoy. Edward will call you.”
“I’ll make our excuses. See you tomorrow evening.”