Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday's Opening - Whispers out of Yesteryear by JanetLane Walters

Whispers Out of Yesteryear

Janet Lane Walters

DiskUs Publishing

ISBN: 1-58495-281-4

Whispers Out of Yesteryear

Chapter 1

July 1755

Willow Who Bends stood at the entrance of the Long House and stared at the sky. Though the sun shone brightly, to the west dark clouds gathered and carried the threat of a storm like the one she felt inside.

She knelt beside the father of her spirit. Corn Dreamer had raised her and taught her the ways of healing. She prayed he would wake but feared he wouldn’t. Sorrow rode the beats of her heart and threatened to spill in a rain of tears.

"Corn Dreamer, must you travel to the spirit world and leave this one behind?" Her voice cracked and she caught a breath to still the ache in her throat. "The men have taken the warriors’ path in answer to Waraghuyagey’s call. The-Man-Who-Understands-Great-Things speaks for the redcoats, those men who want our help. What have we to do with the ones who fail to live in harmony with the land?

Not all the pale-skinned men, she thought. A smile crossed her face. There was one who often stayed in the village and sat at Corn Dreamer’s feet to learn.

Near a moon ago, a message had come for Hair of Fire. He had left the Long House and journeyed west. A shiver crawled her spine. Was he safe? In these days, danger rode the currents of the air the way carrion birds circled a kill.

She returned to her teacher’s side and pressed her fingers against his wrist. What had made him fall into sleep yet not sleep? Why did his heart flutter like humming bird wings and then slow. She wished for a way to rouse him for he would know the answer.

"Corn Dreamer, spirit father, medicine man, this woman is not ready for you to leave. What can this one do to help?"

She closed her eyes and sought among the things he had taught her. An answer arose. "This one must go into the forest to gather fresh leaves and bark."

From her sleeping place, she lifted a bark basket by the carrying strap and left the Long House. As she stepped outside, she heard the children’s laughter and the voices of the women raised in the growing chant. The sound chased her sorrow.

Across the clearing, her sister sat with the ones too young to work with the women. Though born of the same mother and on the same day, she and Willow by the Stream had been raised at different fires. On the outside, they wore a single face as reflected in a still pond, but their inner natures were different. As the first born, Willow Who Bends had been given to Corn Dreamer to learn about the ways of medicine and the spirit world. Her sister had been raised as a woman of the clan.

She drank in the sight of her sister. Soon Willow by the Stream would take a husband. That was good and right, but the change would further separate their lives.

Willow Who Bends sighed. We are alike and not alike. This one has been trained to stand alone. Willow by the Stream needed someone to care for her.

The small ones giggled. Willow Who Bends waited until her sister finished the story of the fox and the bear. Then she approached the group.

"Corn Dreamer is no better. This one must go into the forest to gather fresh medicines."

"A gift for you." Willow by the Stream presented a small deerskin pouch. On one side dyed porcupine quills formed an image of the sun, and on the other precious trade beads patterned the Three Sisters -- Corn, Squash and Beans.

"Are you not afraid to go into the forest alone?"

"Who would harm a medicine woman?"

"The enemy. Those despoilers and their pale friends move along the trails like weasels seeking prey."

"They were seen to the south and west a moon ago. This one will go north and east to the place where the willows grow beside the stream. Since you fear for me, listen with the ear that opens between us. If this one finds danger, she will cry a warning."

"This woman will listen."

At the edge of the trees, Willow Who Bends paused, and for a short time watched the people of the Long House. Her foster mother and the mother who had given her life worked side by side in the garden. Four nearly-grown boys practiced with their bows under the eyes of the warriors who had remained to protect the clan. With a wave, she stepped into the shadows cast by the forest.

As she moved among the trees, she stopped to gather medicines -- birch leaves, bloodroot, ginseng, bee balm. Slowly, she made her way to the stream where chill waters swept down the hill to join other streams and form a river.

The leaves of the willows had darkened from pale spring green to the darker hues of summer. All the catkins had dropped away. She pressed her hands against the largest of the cluster.

"Sister Tree, one who shares your name has need of your bark. Will you let me cut your skin?" She pressed her forehead against the tree and waited for an answer.

The scream that sounded in her head caused her to stagger. Her legs refused to hold her erect. She slid to the ground. With a terror that matched her sister’s, through the link between them, she witnessed the destruction of the Long House. The faces of the enemy burned into her head.

"Not the children!" The scream caused the earth beneath her body to shudder.


July 2000

"Not the children!"

Willow Carey jerked into a sitting position. Her heart thudded in her chest. Waves of terror flooded her thoughts. She gulped deep breaths of air.

She stared at the familiar surroundings and wondered why the bedroom seemed alien. Like a shroud, the sheet had twisted around her legs. She tugged it free. Her sleep shirt, soaked with perspiration, clung to her skin. She shook her head to dislodge the fragments of the nightmare that had awakened her. Terror, grief and rage had followed her into consciousness. What? Why?

Books We Love Blurbathon - Lines of Fire by Janet Lane Walters

Lines of Fire
To honor a promise made to his dying father, Alric trains as a Defender. For some reason the Swordmaster wishes him gone and his first two bondings end in failure. A failed third one will see Alric banished. His meeting with the older daughter of the Swordmaster reveals a double heart bond, but she has been promised to Petan, the Swordmaster’s favorite. A duel is fought and though Alric can read Petan’s lines of fire, the other dueler cheats and nearly kills Alric. Petan is banished but he knows secret ways into Defenders Hall. Kalia, his now bondmate’s lines are tarnished. Not only do Alric and Kalia need to find Petan, they must learn how to cleanse her lines.

You can buy the book here:

You can find the author here:

Or here

Stay tuned for the next Blurbathon featuring Jude Pittman

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Choosing Titles

I must admit that choosing titles is usually easy for me. But sometimes they don't come. When I began I wrote sweet nurse romances because there were a lot of them out there. Not hard to make a title since nurse was a given. IThen came the time when yes, I was using nurses for characters but one didn't use nurse in the title. One had to come up with a snappy title or something. I then wrote On Opposite Sides a nurse romance with union dealings at the bottom of the story. I still love my original title for what was named The Best Medicine. I wanted it to be Carpe Noctum since the hero and heroine were older and they were seizing the night. His last name was Knight. Clever didn't do it with the marketing people. Their title must have worked since I nearly sold out the print run. I've not begun a series of novellas that I've had trouble naming. The name for the first one came into vi, Now instead of Moon Child One it will be To Heal Shattered Dreams. Now I have to find 11 more ways to use To Heal.

Why. This is a series and when writing a series, there should be things to tie them together. Sometimes easy and other times hard. So the following words of advice about choosing a title for your book.

Give the title some thought and try for some originality.
If there will be more books using the characters or setting find a way to associate one with another.
Be prepared to give up your initial title if another great one comes to mind or if the publisher decides a change is needed.

Remember your title is a selling tool as much as the cover and the back blurb.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration gleaned from Ken Follett

"The object is to have a plot and a character that fit together like ball and socket." When I read the essay by Mr. Follett I was struck by someone saying plot and character go hand in hand. I've read stories where for some reason I wonder why the writer chose the character for the story and other times I've found some where the character doesn't really fit the plot.

Sometimes in my own writing I have to look at the character I've chosen and wonder what he or she is doing in the story. Often this means fine tuning the character. Does this mean the plot is more important than the character? No. The fit of the character and the plot is rather like chicken and egg dilemma. There are times when the plot isn't working and this may be a glitch in the plot or a character who isn't just right. Making them fit is what a writer does. So if you've hit a snag look to see if the pairing of plot and character needs refining. For me this is where revision comes in. How about you?

Books We Love Blurbathon Tango of Death Series by Rita Karnopp


GYPSY SPIRIT 1 Book 1-Tango of Death Series - Gypsy Spirit is a story of the driving spirit of a Gypsy girl, who took it upon herself to document the truth. Her strength and determination brings to light a story of magnanimity and the fears and atrocities such a Gypsy girl might have lived through.

PARTISAN HEART - Book 2 - Tango of Death Series - Poland 1943-During WW II resistance movements occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means, ranging from propaganda to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns, as well as hiding crashed pilots.

Partisan Heart tells the story of a Gypsy girl who follows her beloved into the forests of Poland and the Ukraine. Their partisan group is willing to risk their lives blowing up train trestles, attacking SS killer squads, and to infiltrate Nazis intelligence to destroy Nazi Germany. Resistance does exist. If nothing else, to die with dignity is a form of resistance.

JEWISH SOUL - Book3 - Tango of Death Series - Watch for the third book in the Tango of Death series, JEWISH SOUL. Mayla decides it's up to her to do whatever it takes to find her twin, Vanya, and baby sister, Zilka ~ before the Gestapo sends them to a concentration camp or the SS kills them.




Monday, February 25, 2013

Meandering on Mondaywith Janet Lane Walters

First meander is about #JeRoWriMo and how I've passed the 30,000 words needed to reach the finish line. As I crossed, I thought of all the words I re-wrote that didn't count. Since I'm a by hand writer and a draft writer, the story evolves with each draft. What I figure is that I've  penned about 75000 words during the challenge. Almost makes me think my hands are falling off. How did I reach the count of how many new words I've really written. This is how it goes. College ruled paper, fine point pens. No matter what each page back and front of a page averages 600 words. Some more and some less. I also keep track of how many words each chapter of each draft contains. So it's a matter of subtracting. I suppose it would be easier to do this on the computer but I've been writing this way for nearly 50 years and if it's not broken, don't fix it.

I have two upcoming talks anirst one about Plot and I'm impressed by what I've said so far. This will be a short talk. Fifteen minutes at a library. Now I've been to this library before and I really hope this time will be better than the last one. That time we came but no one else did. Should make for an interesting evening if the same thing goes. But I'll be an optomist and see what happens.

As to my writing. I'm really moving forward with To Heal Shattered Dreams, the first of the 12 Moon Child stories. The Goddesses of Er is moving slowly but I'm removing words and making the story make sense. 40 years or so ago, I write this book and there it sat but I'll finish it one of these days. Have planned the second Moon Child story as yet untitled and will soon start on a rough draft of the tale of a city cop and a small town woman who were high school sweethearts who broke it off and drifted apart, Am also getting ready to put four more books up on Create Space and that does take some time to do. Looks to be a busy week.

Books We Love Blurbathon First Degree Innocence by Ginger Simpson

First Degree Innocence by Ginger Simpson

a Contemporary Mystery Romance

Sentenced to ten years for a crime she didn't commit, will Carrie Lang find someone who believes in her innocence? Experience the cold, gray walls, a devilish matron, the prison bully, and a scheme that pits Carrie against the closest friend she has inside. What part will her surprise visitor play in Carrie's bid for freedom?

Spice Up Your Life with Ginger

Ginger Simpson

Return on the 28th for a blurb by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday's Chapter - The Harker Legacy by Teel James Glenn

The Harker Legacy by Teel James Glenn

from Anachron Press (available from

One Family. One Legacy. One Problem.

Texan writer, Robert Howard, travels to London for inspiration for his stories when he finds himself in a street brawl. Aided by a struggling actor, Howard sees off the thugs and sets about returning the favor for his newly injured and incapacitated friend. Howard agrees to take over his role as a 'whipper-in' on an upcoming foxhunt hosted by the Harker family.

Howard meets the Harker's and learns about their travels in Hungary and Romania, before settling in England once more to closely guard a terrible secret.

Putting his considerable horse-riding skills on show, Howard catches the eye of Gwendolyn Harker, the daughter of Jonathan and Mina. Her parents regard Howard's intentions with suspicion, and their dark and deadly legacy is revealed before him, leaving him with a fight for his life.

Can Howard unravel the secret and save himself before it's too late?

Below is a excerpt from chapter two where the Texan, who has just arrived in London and had a drink at the ‘meets’ some of the locals...

Chapter Two:

Out of the Fog

The husky Texan walked slowly from The Hanged Man feeling the stronger English beer more than he thought he would. The night air was heavy with moisture though it was not actually raining.

Thick fog was rolling in off the river to the south and softened the edges of the brick buildings that were crowded one atop the other along the street. It had the effect of muffling the late night sounds of the bustling city but it was still more noise than the Texan was used to from his home.

The sleepy Texas town that he had grown up in was in the midst of a vast plain and though it had boom and bust times was never more than a spot on the map barely worth stopping in. No library, one school and about as isolated as one could get; yet his mother had instilled in him a love of literature and he had been able to escape it the dusty town through the pages of books.

Books that opened his eyes to the whole wide world beyond Texas and he had filled his writings with stories of far off kingdoms, by gone times, strange magicks and exotic locals.

When his mother had passed away the previous year he had confronted dark places in himself, even contemplated the ultimate surrender to despair but her life long belief in him and encouragement of the poet within him had helped him through the loss. He had taken what little financial inheritance she left him and in her memory become determined to see the world first hand.

Howard patted the typewriter that was his constant companion and smiled. “You left me a greater inheritance than money, mom,” he thought, “ you left me the ability to dream.”

Howard became aware of muffled footsteps on the wet cobblestones behind him. There was more than one set. And, most disturbingly, they were matching his speed and direction.

The Texan turned off Cable Street at the next corner and soon was in a warren like maze of tiny East End streets. Behind the footfalls behind him kept pace.

“Looks like I got me some suitors come-a-courtin’” the Texan thought as he glanced behind him. He pulled his typewriter to his chest and reached under his coat to finger the six-shooter he had in an inside pocket. “Well I got me some party favors for them if they want to have a hoedown!”

Just as he reached for the butt of the revolver an object came out of the murky mist ahead of him and slammed into the side of his head. The Texan dropped to his knees, the typewriter slipping from his grasp to clatter on the pavement.

A shape stepped from the fog to reveal itself as a man. The new arrival was holding the board he had hit the Texan with.

When Bob Howard tried to pull the gun out the figure swung the board again to smash into his side. The gun was knocked from his palsied fingers and skittered into the darkness.

Suddenly three more shapes came from behind the fallen man and they moved in to begin kicking him.

“Don’t let the blighter up,” one of the shapes called to the others, “He’s a brutish lookin’ fellow!”

As he gained his wits from the first blow to his head the Texan could do little while they put the boot to him but cover up. He brought his arms up to cover he head and tried to prevent them from striking him in the face or vital organs.

The heavy boots of the thugs slammed into him with practiced technique, laughing and joking at they worked.

This angered the Texan and he rolled violently to collide with the legs of one of the attackers. He latched on to the limb with both arms and brought the man down. The attacker slammed into the cobbles with a curse.

“Hell and brimstone!” the man screamed, “He’s got me, Marty!”

The other three men moved to continue the attack but the Texan clung tenaciously to the man he had grabbed and that thwarted some of the kicks.

“Get him off me!” the fallen man yelled, “You’re kicking me!” but the three standing men continued the assault unabated though the thrust of it was blunted.

“Hold him fast, Charley,’ one of the men called, “I’ll hit him again with the stick.”

“They’re gonna stomp my head lest I can get a breather,” the Texan thought but he didn’t dare slacken his grip to fight back.

Just then another figure came rocketing out of the roiling mist with a low war cry and slammed into the standing figures to carry two of them to the ground.

It was the break Howard needed and he squirmed free of the thug he had grabbed. The Texan rolled to his knees and threw a punch at the struggling Charley that connected with his jaw. The ruffian fell back semi conscious.

This allowed the Texan to make it to his feet and confront the last standing attacker.

The man Howard faced was as tall as he but built along rougher lines. He had a face that proclaimed his participation in many fights with a nose that was barely a lump of gristle and one eye whose lid drooped.

“All right, Yank,” the attacker growled, “time to take you to school.” The man exploded at the Texan then with a flurry of punches.

Howard was not, however, a mere armchair adventurer. He had boxed in many icehouse bouts and he accepted the charge with forearm blocks, moving smoothly backward to be clear of the fallen Charley.

The Texan let the English thug drive him back five steps until he knew he had room to move. Then, with a war cry that would do any Comanche proud, the Texan lowered his head, hunched his shoulders and counter punched.


Howard let all his Celtic blood boil to the surface and launched a series of trip-hammer combinations at the thug that the English ruffian could not block.

The thug was taken completely by surprise by the fury and the skill of the counter-attack and could not backpedal fast enough to avoid a hard right cross. The blow staggered him and Howard pressed.

The writer slammed a series of body shots into the mugger that elicited a sharp wheezing cough from the thug. The English rough had clearly never fought anyone on an even keel and his defense melted against the ferocious onslaught.

Howard stepped inside the man’s weak guard and sent one last one-two combination into the criminal. The thug dropped unconscious at the Texan’s feet just as the three figures rolling nearby on the ground broke apart.

Marty rose out of the mass of bodies. The two bodies left on the ground still locked in struggle were one of the thugs and William Pratt.

Marty looked around the then bent to grope for the board he had used as a cudgel.

Howard looked around for his six-shooter but when he saw the gang leader swing the board into Pratt’s back he knew he could not wait anymore.

The Texan charged across the space, spotting and picking up his typewriter on the run. When he got close enough he swung the hard leather case and smashed it into the side of Marty’s head. The thug dropped as if pole-axed.

Pratt was hurt but still held onto the cutpurse he was wrestling with.

Howard reached past his rescuer and bounced his knuckles off the criminal’s chin that took the last of the fight out of him.

As suddenly as the violence had begun all was quiet again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

How He Does It with Teel James Glenn

I met Teel at EPICon in Virginia Beach and listened to him give his reading without holding the papers and reading. He recited and held the audience spellbound. At the banquet, I saw him in a kilt. My first kilted man.

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

Often their creation comes as a reaction to something I saw or read and I think “but what if- had happened” or from my desire to explore a particular part of a ‘world’-be it a historic setting or a fantasy world. Or I decide who would be best to ‘infiltrate’ that world and I begin building them like would would assemble a chair from Ikea.

As for process, I have written pretty much every way there is- organically with a vague idea of plot and a character I wanted to explore and just let it develop, with a solid outline with the last sentence figured out before I begin the first word and everything in between.

I prefer my laptop for speed, but my first books were written on an old Underwood manual typewriter and many have been written longhand in notebooks on train or buss rides so, when I gotta write- I gotta write!

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

For me, the characters usually come first-sometime years before I have story for them to ‘live’ in. Their personality shapes the plot-even if I have it ‘laid out’ before they enter the picture. I had one character in my novel The Escape Artist who was supposed to be a ‘walk on-’ one night stand for the main character and darned if she didn’t just tell me “hell no, I’m not leaving!” and I had to rewrite the whole of the book to include her. Really.

Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Sometimes I have the exact last sentence written before I start the story and work toward it. Sometimes I haven’t the faintest idea where the darn thing is going and am just as surprised as the characters when stuff happens. LOL. Really.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

Sometimes I chose a setting I don’t know at all just so I can have the enjoyment of researching it- I’ve written tales in Palestine in the 40s, India in the 1880s and China in the 30s without even getting close to them physically or temporally- but its been rewarding when someone who has lived in a local I wrote about (in this case contemporary Hong Kong) was sure I had been there since I mention bus fares, street names etc. with comfortable casualness. The key is research and working hard not to use everything I learn--just the stuff one might notice -a sign or a building that can be seen- when actually there.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

I have a pretty eclectic collection of books with all sorts of weird facts and stuff in them, but as time goes on I’m increasingly using the internet just because I can’t fit any more books in my place...

Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

I’ve changed the was I write over the years-I used to write the story in pieces--the scenes that excited me the most then wrote around them but now I pretty much start at the beginning an write straight to the end. I am not adverse to rewrites- after time has passed- but I tend to write slow enough that I am building as I go and like to be ‘done’ when I type ‘the end.’

Teel James Glenn

Winner of the 2012 Pulp Ark 'Best Author of the Year.' Epic ebook award finalist. P&E winner "Best Steampunk Short", finalist "Best Fantasy short, Collection" Author of bestselling Exceptionals Series, The Maxi/Moxie Series, The Dr. Shadows Series, The Bob Howard Series and others.

visit him at

Books We Love Blurbathon - Her Proper Scoundrel by A. M, Westerling

Her Proper Scoundrel by A.M. Westerling

A disgraced duchess, a sea captain with a secret and an impossible love.

Or is it?

Buy this Regency set romance at:

Find all of her books at

Rita Karnopp's blurb will appear on February 24. Please come by and

check it out! :)

"From vikings to viscounts, join the adventure, live the romance."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday's Opening - Prescription For Love by Janet Lane Walters




DiskUS Publishing


"How long are you going to leave her with me, Joey?" Ginny Barr stood in the apartment doorway and watched her younger brother's retreat to the stairs. She wrinkled her nose against the acrid and musty odors that assaulted her. As usual, the bulb at the head of the stairs was out. Her brother vanished into the shadows.

"A month, maybe two."

"Are you in trouble?"

"These past couple of weeks have been rough," he said. "I really loved Pookie, you know. I need to get my head straight."

She wanted to believe him. He sounded like he meant his words, but their relationship was studded with broken promises. "I'll stay clear of the gangs." He hadn't. "No boozing for me. Look at Mommy." He had. "College will be a breeze. I'll make my mark just like you did." Then he'd dropped out.

At one time, Ginny had believed he would be the second of the Barr kids to escape the spiral of poverty. Maybe this time, he would keep his promise.

After closing the door, she slid the dead bolt home. Her plans for the evening had included an hour's work on the first of her Master's projects. Joey's arrival with his infant daughter had shot down that idea.

Then, before he'd told her why he wanted to leave his baby with her, Annette had arrived. Joey wasn't her friend's favorite person.

For several minutes, the temperature in the apartment had soared above the already abnormal September high. The sharp words between the pair had ended Ginny's chance of learning the entire story behind her brother's flight and his decision to leave his daughter behind. Part of her didn't want to know.

"What kind of name is Pookie?" Annette stroked the baby's light mocha skin with her dark brown finger.

Ginny shrugged. "A pet name. That's all he ever called his wife."

"Were they married?"

"He said they were."

"Ever meet her?"

"No." Ginny lifted Manda to her shoulder and rubbed the baby's cheek with hers.

"What's wrong with you knowing the girl's name? He afraid you're going to approach the grandparents?"

"You heard what he said. They forbade her to see him and when they learned she was pregnant, they tossed her out. They refused to have anything to do with a biracial grandchild. Guess they didn't think Joey was good enough."

"I don't think he's good enough and I never met the girl. You're blind and deaf where that boy's concerned." Annette held up her hand. "Girl, you're crazy taking this on. Don't you have enough on your plate with Honor, work at the hospital and a double Master's program? You'll wear yourself to the bone and you ain't got that far to go."

Ginny fumbled in the brown bag Joey had left beside the lumpy gray couch. She pulled out a bottle. When she looked up, she saw concern in her friend's dark eyes. "You heard him. Just a couple of months. I have to trust him."

"Sure you do -- not. That's like believing I'll be elected president next November. What's wrong with him taking care of his own kid?"

"He's young. He's a guy. What does he know about raising a child?"

Annette straightened. "I'm going to pretend those words never came out of your mouth. What's wrong with a guy raising a child? He sure helped make her. I know he's your baby brother and you've always cleaned up his messes. Don't you think it's time he stood on his own?"

Ginny sighed. "And if I didn't take Manda, he was going to ask Mommy to keep her."

Annette laughed. "He got you again. That boy sure knows how to twist your knobs. Your mother would have 'bout as much care for this mite as her other grandmother. You know how she is?"

Ginny nodded and headed to the kitchen. "You're right."

"I'll feed her. Get ready for work."

"Are you sure you want to stay tonight? I could cancel. This is an extra shift."

Annette reached into the bag. "One pack of diapers, four cans of formula, three more bottles, one battered bear, two sleepers. Guess I know where the extra bucks are going. Girl, we got to stick together or we're going to fall apart."


Annette cradled the baby in her arms. "Mama's not expecting me home tonight. Her sewing circle is meeting. I can't stand being in that apartment while the ladies are sewing and talking."

Ginny laughed. "They're working on my quilt. Guess I'll go to work." She headed for the bedroom.

"Honor's sure going to get a surprise in the morning. How are we going to explain to that child where babies come from? She's going to be thinking the stork came while she was sleeping."

"You'll think of a way," Ginny said.

She stopped beside one of the twin beds in the small bedroom and looked at her sleeping daughter. A laugh caught in her throat. The heat and humidity of the day remained trapped in the room. The sheet trailed on the floor. Honor's nightgown hung over the bottom rail of the iron bed frame, but covering her feet were a pair of red socks. Ginny touched her daughter's warm brown skin. No matter how hot the weather, Honor always wore socks to bed.

"Baby, I love you," she whispered and headed to the bathroom.

As the tepid water washed over her, she thought about her friend's concern. Two children. Ginny sighed. Manda was her niece. Even if Joey left his daughter forever, Ginny vowed Manda would have love and learn to take pride in who she was.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Planting Clues #amlearning

While re-reading How To Write Mysteries by Shannon OCork, I came across a bit about planting clues and thought about how the methods also apply to writing most if not all genre fiction. These clues or absence of them can stir the reader's curiosity and push them to reading ahead in the story. So what kind of clues can do this.

There is the omitted clue, something the writer knows but holds back from the reader. Doing this can be tricky since the writer doesn't want the reader to cry foul. I'm using this in a current story in more than one way. After an accident the hero has amnesia and almost all of his memories have returned except one scene that wakes him often but makes no sense. The heroine also has a hidden memory. She knows what the words were but she can't remember who said them. In her case she wants to put the time behind and she doesn't want to remember.

The hidden clue. This may be more important to mysteries than other genres. Since this is something hidden in plain sight but not recognized as the clue. In this case the viewpoint character and the reader may know the clue, but the other characters don't and may never know.

Real life clues are those that are evident to the characters and the reader but finding what they mean and where they point is up to the reader to show.

Books We Love Blurbathon Ring Around The - Roseanne Dowell

Ring Around

the Rosy


writing her first big byline about a murder, journalist, Susan Weston is

plagued with phone calls from the killer.

Available from Amazon at:

A. M. Westerling's blurb will appear on Feb. 22nd. Come back and check it out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration - quote from Susan Howatch

This quote is from an essay by Susan Howatch. "Don't ramble. Never write a scene unless it's absolutely necessary, and if it is necessary, then write it concisely." When I thought of the times when I knew a scene was needed in a story and I sat down to write. Then an odd thing happened. I started to wander around the scene pulling pieces of what I wanted to write and throwing them in. When I finished I would have a scene of thousands of words and they never reached the core of what the scene was to say.

Of course, there are other times when I avoid the scene and write a sentence that covers the whole scene. There is a fight. They make love. Now this is concise but it sure isn't going to draw a reader into the story any more than the scene that wanders all over the landscape. I will still use the single sentence method but when I start to ramble, I will stop and put in a sentence. Each scene in the story has to do one of three things. Two is good and three is brilliant.

What are these things. Develop the character. Advance the plot. Give the reader necessary information so they aren't in the dark.

How about you. Do you ramble? Are you concise? Keeping the goal of the story in mind can help make the story shine.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #amwriting #JeRoWriMo

Meander number 1 When you've been invited to do a post on someone else's blog, what do you do? Do you post it to all the loops you belong to? Do you keep quiet and not let anyone know? Do you go on occasionally during the day and the days following to see if anyone has commented and answer them? Do you even bother to thank the person whose blog you've been a part of for having you? Some people do and many don't do any one of these things. I do know when I'm up somewhere I post it around and try to see if there are comments. I also thank the poster on their blog if possible. There are some blogs that won't let me post a comment. They tell me I am not who I am and that bothers me quite a bit. Then there are the times when I try and try and can never manage to find the right combination of letters and numbers. Then I will let the person know and tell them how happy I am to have been their guest. Also if I have made a mistake on my blog with the name or subject, I will immediately make the change. So enough here.

Second meander if the #JeRoWriMo The first two weeks had be cruising along. Now I have reached a point in the mss I'm working on that it will be slow going. Wheter I reach the challenge quota of 30,000 words doesn't matter. What has been fun about this is sharing with others and encouraging each other. Since I'm one of the new kids on the block it's been fun.

As to my writing I'm into anew draft of To Mend Shattered Dreams and have blocked the second one in this series plus doing a bit on The Goddesses of Er. Feel good about what I'm doing and Shattered Dreams is feeling like it's a good story.

Books We Love Blurbathon, Genesee by Juliet Waldron

Before "The Wild, Wild West," there was a "Wild, Wild East." In honor of

our First President, I'm sharing a book about a love story set

during America's revolutionary war as it happened in upstate New

York, a place which was then full of Indians and many different settler


(Tried to place cover here.)

GENESEE by Juliet Waldron is an extraordinary book about love, hardship

and prejudice. It's well written and full of wonderful characters. Even

though they have many differences, Genesee and Alexander are true

kindred spirits. Ms. Waldron keeps you enthralled by, a little at a

time, giving tantalizing tidbits of their origins. This story isn't

sugarcoated, which is really refreshing. There are some instances of

violence, but they're brief and handled well. Anyone who enjoys an

honest, realistic story will love this one. Renee Burnette, Amazon


"Genesee is a fascinating look into the early life of upstate New

York during the [American Revolution]. Juliet Waldron makes you feel as

if you're experiencing Genesee's trials and tribulations right

alongside her…elements that meld very effectively to make this

outstanding story one well worth reading over and over."

~ Lani Roberts

Affaire de Coeur

`. . . The story of confidence in one's self, faith in love and the

resilience of the human spirit, "Genesee" is an entertaining

romantic adventure set in a young America, but its lessons are


~ Mary O. Bradley

Copyright 2003 The Patriot-News. Used with permission.

Buy Genesee @\



And also @ Books We Love, LLP, in all popular e-formats.>

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday"s Chapter from Weighting For Mr. Right by Patricia Walters Fischer

Chapter One

Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem—Eric Hoffer

January 2nd—Saturday

Ever end up in a bathroom stall, in the men’s room, wearing your wedding dress on your wedding day?

“Are you okay in there?” A low voice echoed off the white tiles that decorated the room from floor to ceiling.

I could taste the salt from my tears, as I tried to answer without sobbing ... again. “Si.” I followed it with a quick, “Yes, I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Um, because you’re in the men’s room.”

“I know.”

He cleared his throat. “You’re in drag ... that’s cool.”

“Nope, just a bad day.” I lied through sobs.

My sticky hands still bore the result of a quick get–away. When I grabbed my steering wheel during my escape, I discovered it covered with Vaseline. It certainly made gripping the wheel frustrating. With nothing to wipe my hands on, I’d turned into the first place I found.

A full service car wash.

After deciding on the quick wash, I’d handed over the keys to the attendant and made a beeline to the bathroom, but didn’t bother looking at the sign. It wasn’t until I’d locked myself in the stall, the urinals registered. But before I could leave, I’d heard a cough.

“You sure you’re okay?”

I tried to clean my palms with toilet paper, but the one–ply shredded in my hands. “Dammit. I’m fine. Just peachy.”

“Okay.” The sound of running water helped end the conversation and gave me a minute to collect my thoughts, remembering what transpired not half an hour earlier.

There I was, back in the church, the scene of my disaster.

“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” the man in the starched collar asked.

I answered.

The sparkle in my fiancé’s eyes faded before it dawned on me that something had gone very wrong. He stared at me.

“Did you say no?”

I blinked a few times. “What?”

Glancing sideways through my veil, I saw the pastor biting his lip.

“Did you ask me something?”

“Yes. I. Did.” His enunciation of each word, with staccato precision, made my brothers snicker.

Images of the drunk sister in Sixteen Candles went through my mind as he continued. “Do you.” He pointed to me. “Megan Antonia Sayla, take this man.” He looked at, “Travis Michael Joseph Daniel Carter, to be—“

Travis’ mother cleared her throat. “The fourth.”

“Right.” The minister looked up, mumbled something, then returned to the service. “Travis Michael Joseph Daniel Carter. The fourth.” He smiled in her direction. “To be your lawfully wedded husband?”

I could feel the corners of my mouth lift as I took a deep breath, gazed into Travis’ eyes, and replied, “No.”

Yeah, I heard it that time. “Crap.”

Travis dropped my hands.

“What?” Mom screamed.

“Holy shit!” Dad stood up.

“I toll you, this not work. He not Italian.” My Italian grandmother, Nonna, crossed herself and started saying Hail Mary’s in her native tongue, as her husband, Nonno, woke momentarily, then fell back to sleep.

“Mama. Zitto, per favore.” Turning to his mother, my dad placed his hands on her shoulders and eased her back into the pew. “Be quiet.”

Mom’s Danish parents, we affectionately call her Bedste and him Morfar, began to speak to each other in their birth language, saying things like “What the hell just happened here?, Should we call the caterer?”, and “Can you freeze all that rice pudding?”

With all the sudden chaos, I don’t remember much until I ended up in this car wash bathroom talking to a total stranger. I shivered as a gust of frigid, January air whipped through the room. Looking up, I noticed a row of open windows.

The water stopped running and the automatic paper towel dispenser hummed.

“How do I get out of this?” I rubbed my arms with my hands in an attempt to get warm. “Now what do I do?”

A low, masculine chuckle brought me back to reality. “Probably need to get out of the men’s room, first.”

I leaned against the cold, tiled wall and deeply inhaled the cool, lemon–scented air. “Did you ever have one of those days you wish you could start over?”


“Are you talking on the phone or to me?”

“You.” Don’t ask what possessed me to talk to a stranger. Being in that stall, I blurted out, “I feel like I’m at confession, so just go with me on this.”

He laughed this time, his rich voice resonating. “That’s a first.”


“For me to be referred to as a priest.”

“Seems like a day of firsts. This is the first time I left a man at the altar. The first time I’ve been in the men’s room.”

“Busy day for both of us, especially me, now being a priest and all.”

Silence filled the room, again. When he said nothing else, I assumed he’d decided to leave, until I heard, “What’s troubling you, my child?”

“Seriously?” Did he really want to know? Why? Was he really a priest?

“Sure, unless you’re not Catholic. Then you’re better off going to therapy or drinking.”

I crossed myself. “Forgive me Father, it’s been six months since my last confession.”

“Is that a long time?”

“If you were a man of the cloth, you’d know that’s a horribly long time.”


I suppressed a giggle. “It can be. Most people go weekly. Daily.”

“Geez, who has time for that much guilt?”

“Apparently, Catholics.”

“I guess I only know happy, guilt–free Catholics.”

“No Catholic is guilt–free. Guilt is part of the tradition.” And I felt plenty guilty today. I twisted the beading of my wedding dress between my fingers.

“You’re Catholic?” he asked.

“More like a Cathalutheran.”

He chuckled. “What’s that?”

“Catholic dad, Lutheran mom. We combined the two to get the best of both worlds.”

“Best of both worlds? Sounds very Hannah Montana–ish.” He cleared his throat. “My niece watches the show.”

“Right. During religious holidays, we have all the traditional food, but we pretend to ignore the sin of gluttony and gossip.” I bit my lip as my heart pounded in my ears. “Hence my six month absence from confession.”

“Right. I’m supposed to say something like ‘Six months? How many sins could you have committed in six months? Come back when,’ um ... what does he say again?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Trying to remember how they did it in Zorro.”

My heart skipped a beat. “Which one? The one with Tyrone Powers or with Antonio Banderas?”

“Aren’t they the same? Girl in a box. Guy isn’t a priest. He’s making it up as he goes.”

“Yeah.”. Rarely had I met anyone who knew of the first talking Zorro movie, much less the confession scene. I smoothed down my dress. “Do you need help with the movie line? I’m pretty good at them.”

“No, wait. Next, he asked her if she’d broken any of the Ten Commandments.”

“Something like that.” The corners of my mouth rose. “Forgive me Father, I have broken the fourth commandment.”

“You killed someone?” His accent changed to the melodious sound of the Spanish actor.

“That is not the fourth commandment, Father.”

“Oh, okay. Tell me in what way you broke the most sacred of God’s commandments?”

My parents’ faces flashed across my mind, my brothers, my family. A sob rose in my throat. “I dishonored my mother and father today.”

“That’s not so bad. Maybe they deserved it.”

“What?” I shook my head as I placed my hands over my mouth in an attempt to keep from losing it, again, but tears ran down my cheeks. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Tell me more, my child.”

“I ... I don’t know what to say.” I depleted a roll of toilet paper as I tried to dry my face. After a few moments, I realized he’d been silent for a while. “You still there?”

“Yes. This is when he sees her through the screen, isn’t it?”


He cleared his throat. “I don’t think you want me looking between the stall doors.”

His chivalry surprised me. “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.”

“It’s at the end of the scene before the captain of the guards shows up and screws it up.”

“Yeah, he’s a good bad guy.”

I took a deep breath as I tried to think. He may not want to look through the doors, but I’m generally nosy. No matter what this guy looked like, I was too curious to walk away without seeing his face. Kindness from a stranger had been an unexpected gift in my chaotic day. I needed to put a face with the voice.

“You okay?” he asked.

Frigid air whipped through the room, then a wave of hot. “Um, yeah, getting there.” As I maneuvered around in the stall, to get a better look, I saw the overhead heaters had clicked on, making pockets of the stall too hot and others too cold. Figures.

Without warning, my phone screamed “Hey Mickey!.” An involuntary squeak escaped my lips and I wrestled to turn down the volume. The phone vibrated for a few moments while I got my breathing back to normal.

He laughed. “Whose ringtone is that?”

“My mom’s.” I sniffed. “She loves the 80’s.” There was nowhere to hide my phone as it jiggled again. I’d left my purse at the church, along with my wallet, my clothes, and my life.

It was amazing I’d made it out with my keys and phone.

Tears began to pool, again, as a few ran down my face.

“Ever wanted a do-over day?” I dried my face, only to pull away a makeup covered wad of paper. Ugh.

“We all do.” Pause. “I guess this is one of those days?”

An escaped giggle filled the room. “Man, you’re good.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

“Show off.” My phone vibrated, again. I ignored it.

“Bad day, huh?”

“Yeah, but I’m sure his is worse.”


I took a slow, deep breath. “Why? He’s a nice guy and I left him at the altar. He’s still there, dealing with everyone, while I’m in a car wash bathroom confessional.”

“Hard to say. Neither of you had good luck today.”

Shaking my head, I almost broke the beading off my gown, as I wrapped the lace accents around my fingers. “It’s not his fault, really. It’s mine.”


I stomped my foot. “Why? Why? That’s the sixty–four thousand dollar question, isn’t it?”

“But you didn’t answer my question.”

“You sure you’re not a priest?”

“That’s not my question.”

“I know that, but you play the guilt card so well.”

“Believe me, I’m far from being a priest.”

My stomach knotted as the image of a very hurt Travis flashed through my mind. More tears. “When the preacher asked if ‘I do’, all I could think of was ‘I don’t’ and ‘I can’t.’” I sniffed and dabbed my wet face, again. “Please don’t ask me why. I truly don’t know.”

Enough time passed that I figured he thought I was some histrionic or spoiled bride–to–be and not worth the effort of an answer.

“You said he was a nice guy.”

I rested my head against the stall door. “He was.” I hiccupped. “I mean, he is.”

“But you said no. Maybe he is a nice guy, just not the right guy.”

My heart slammed in my chest as I heard the words out loud. This guy couldn’t be more on the money. All this time I kept telling myself Travis was such a nice guy, but I never asked if he was the right one. “You sound like a chick flick movie.”

“I’ve got three sisters. I’ve been forced to watch my share of them. And Oprah.”

I liked the way his subtle, southern drawl lengthened his ‘I’s’. “I’ve got three brothers, so I’ve seen everything to do with aliens, losing your virginity in high school, the military, and superheroes.”

He chuckled. “Coming out of there anytime soon?”

“I probably should.” My tears finally slowed. After wiping my face again, and knowing I’d ruined the two–hundred dollar makeup session I had not three hours ago, I needed to look in the mirror. “All right, I’m coming out.”

“Wow. You’re coming out already? I am good.”

I could feel the corners of my mouth lift. “No. My vanity has taken over.”


“I need to look in the mirror, because I think I might resemble a drunk circus clown after smearing all this makeup.”

“That sounds ... interesting.”

“Okay, I’m coming out.” I tried to straighten my overly beaded and ridiculously poofy dress. At least I’d opted not to wear the stupid petticoat before the service, much to my mother’s dismay. If not, I’d never fit through the stall opening without getting snagged.

“Do you want me to leave?”

“Only if you don’t want to see a spazzed–out bride who probably looks like a circus freak.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

Taking a deep breath, I inhaled the lemon scented cleaner, stood up straight, and unlocked the door.

When I looked out, I saw him standing against the opposite wall with his hands stuffed in his pockets.

“You’re actually sticking around?” My hands fiddled with my phone. “Really?”


I paused as I caught a quick glimpse of him. He stood at least six–feet, brown hair, nice frame. Before I could get a better look, a glob of mascara and fake eyelashes clouded my vision. I pressed the wadded–up paper against my eye in an attempt to keep the makeup at bay. “Isn’t that a big no–no for confession? You’re not supposed to know what the confessor looks like. That’s part of the decompression process.”

He shrugged. “It’s not a secret. The priest knows who’s in the box, right?”

“You knew it was me in there, huh? Seems a bit unethical.” I dabbed at my eyes with a ball of toilet paper, clearing my line of sight for a second.

“You forget. I’m not a priest.”

Books We Love Blurbathon Curse of the Lost Isle, Vijaya Schartz

CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE, Medieval Fantasy Romance series, by Vijaya Schartz>

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies,

who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For

centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret...

but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted,

tortured, and burned at the stake.

Book 1 - PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE (Scotland 806 AD)


Book 3 - SEDUCING SIGEFROI (963 AD Luxembourg)

Book 4 - LADY OF LUXEMBOURG (coming out very soon).

CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE SPECIAL EDITION (contains the first three novels in

one download).

5-star review on Amazon - "Edgy medieval, Yeah!"

"Schartz is an accomplished writer, whose pacing, conflicts, and goals are

always complex and whose good characters are always likeable, and whose

villains are evil incarnate. You have to like her villains as much as the

good guys! Mattacks is a magnificent example of this!" - 5 stars - Manic


Find out more about Vijaya Schartz and her books at

Check this blog again on February 18, to meet author Juliet Waldron.

Friday, February 15, 2013

How She Does It with Patricia Fischer

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

I’m a pantzer, so one element will guide me one day, another for some other day. When I put it all together, it just melts and congeals into the right form.

I’ve even started writing a book just because of a title that popped in my head, but I think the biggest challenge in writing any kind of fiction is does this work in the world you’ve created? You’ve got to stay consistent in your own world with your characters. If you don’t, readers get really upset.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

It always starts with an idea. What if this type of person and that type of person got together? Or who would be the opposite match for this character? My mind is really good at racing all around and coming up with ideas or scenarios so it’s not a specific process per se, but I do have to flush things out and layer the characters as I go. I have friends who outline characters down to their favorite ice cream and kindergarten teacher, but that’s not me. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants type of writer and I love how the characters will surprise me along the way. Sometimes, it’s annoying, but many times they will tell me their story and it’s great to have it all there.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end? For me, it truly depends on the story. I’ve got stories I have a general idea of where I want things to go and others that come to me all at once and I outline the entire thing. That happened right after RWA Nationals last July. I had an idea for a series where either the hero or heroine was a former foster child and they were linked back to a specific foster home in Texas. Being a foster parent myself, I wanted to put a good story out there about those of us who truly want to do right by kids so I created this foster home where these former foster kids return as adults. I started writing as soon as I could put my tray table down and didn’t stop outlining for two hours, but I got the entire thing done.

Then there are times my characters surprise me. In my book Weighting for Mr. Right, there’s a scene where the hero’s sister has a total meltdown and chews him out after he screws up. That scene wasn’t in there until the final edits. That character just sat up and said, “Hey! I’ve got to do this!” so I just let my fingers fly across the keyboard and let it happen. It actually helped me better bridge a question of why he screwed up in the first place. The sister gave us as the readers a more clear idea of the hero really was. I sat back after writing that scene and said, “Wow. I can’t believe I actually wrote that” and “thanks for speaking up.”

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one? As a romance writer, I know I want the happily ever after, but I don’t want it to be typical. I want the journey to be unique, fun, and most certainly some hardships thrown in there—but not in a Nicholas Sparks sort of way. Sorry, if you’re looking for one of the main characters to die of cancer, heart failure, in a car accident, or killed by natural disaster or have end stage dementia, you’re not going to find it in my stories.

It’s mostly general, but I do have stories that have to end a certain way by a certain time. One I’m finishing is based on Greek Mythology so I have to guide the characters down a certain path if I want to have the same elements of the original story, but add in my own flair if you will.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around? I have a real estate magazine of high end homes so I can get the right idea of what some of my characters have in their homes, but honestly, I go by what I know. My father was in construction for years and I can read blueprints and know what stage of building a house or commercial property is in. It’s fun to drive my son by job sites and sit a bit from it and point out all the heavy machinery. That made me really smart in his eyes, but it was simply something I grew up with. Plus, we live in Texas so there’s every kind of building here, every shape, size, texture, floor plan, etc. The variety is endless and I have a large database to pull from.

Now if I wanted to write about something in England or Europe, my personal experience is limited, but I do have lots of friends I can call and ask about things.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

I interview people all the time. I have one book that’s set at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas and a friend of mine went there. He sat down, showed me all the photos, explained the airport, customs, cost of a drink (cha-ching, cha-ching). Talking to people about their adventures helps me quite a bit, but I think I like writing contemporary fiction because I set it in places that I know. Where I feel comfortable and where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. There’s something about the sensory of it all—the food, the noises, the places. It can come out so much richer in your writing if you’ve actually experienced it or something like it.

I have done quite a bit of research for other historical projects, but those take a lot longer to gel. I would love to get those at least outlined this year, but we’ll see how it goes.

6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

I’m glad you asked that. For years, I kept trying to revise as I went and it almost made me nuts. I’d go over and over this one page or paragraph and would completely use up all the baby’s naptime. If I’d just allowed myself to write crap, at least I could have more to go back and edit. Now, I’ll correct misspelled words at the end of writing something, but usually, I just try and get it on the screen or on the page so I can revise it.

I think this is one of the major roadblocks for a lot of writers. They keep going over and over the same stuff and never get their manuscript done because they won’t let go of a page or scene. Sometimes you’ve got to allow yourself to move forward so you can go back and fix what you’ve already created. Give yourself to write garbage so you can go back and fix it. If you’re so determined to write perfectly on the first or even second draft, you’ll never get done because you aren’t allowing yourself to be creative. You’re boxing in your story and not allowing it to go where it needs to, even if you have to back it up and go down a different road, I think it helps flush out the tale better.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday's Opening Scene from The Hudson House Murders by Janet Lane Walters

The Hudson House Murders

By Janet Lane Walters

DiskUs Publishing

Chapter 1

Virus Attack

The sun of the early April day shone in a cloudless sky. Yesterday’s rain had left the ground moist and easy for digging. Daffodils and tulips added color to the scene and delight to my spirits. I knelt beside one of the mint patches and loosened the soul around the emerging shoots. Soon the numerous varieties would be high and provide leaves for drying and blending into teas. This year, I planned to use green tea as a base in some of the blends.

I pulled weeds, then sank back to admire my work. My Maine Coon cat lay beside the gardening mat. With a boneless movement, Robespierre stretched. I sighed with envy and wished I had his supple spine. He ambled toward the car pulling into the driveway.

Jenna Taylor, one of my first floor tenants, slid from the red hatchback and waved. “Hi, Mrs. Miller.”

I rose and gathered my tools. “How was class?”

She grinned. “Thanks for your help on the Psych paper. Got an A.”

“I’m proud of you.”

Her hazel eyes filled with sadness. “You’re the only one.” She took the basket and carried it to the porch of my “Painted Lady.”

The Victorian house I’d lived in since my dead husband and I had settled in this Hudson Valley village had been converted into two apartments. I chose the second floor with its view of the river and rented the first. A week after my return from Santa Fe, I’d acquired Jenna and her friend as tenants. The young women were students at the local college, Jenna in Nursing and Louise in Business.

I paused at the foot of the steps. “Why don’t you call your grandmother? I’m sure she’d be glad to see you and as proud of your accomplishments as I am.”

She shook her head. “And bring my problems with my uncle on her head. He hated my mother. After my dad died, Mom asked him for help and he refused.” Tears glittered in her eyes. “You should have heard the things he accused me of after my cousin’s death. I’m better off staying away from family.”

I touched her hand. “The accident was five years ago. Surely he’s over the loss by now.”

She combed her fingers through her short honey blonde hair. “He never forgives or forgets.” She handed me the basket. “Have to change for work. See you tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” I echoed and followed her inside. Robespierre trailed me upstairs. There, I spilled a little food in his dish. He thinks he should be fed every time he returns from outside. I always indulge him by adding a few dry tidbits.

I put the kettle on. I hurt for Jenna. She’d seen more tragedy in twenty-three years than anyone should bear. Her father’s death, her mother’s alcoholism and series of abusive relationships. Orphaned at fourteen, she’d gone to live with her grandmother. Three years later, there’d been the accident and her cousin had died. For some reason I hadn’t learned until recently, Jenna had become a runaway.

In January, I learned from an acquaintance who taught at the college that Jenna had enrolled as a student and was looking for an apartment. When she was a child, I’d felt sorry for her and angry about the way her uncle had treated her. I offered her the first floor apartment at a reduced rate and had signed a lease with the girls. Over the past few months, Jenna and I have become friends.

After a quick wash-up, I brewed a pot of mint tea. Robespierre began his greeting dance. Before I had a chance to see who had arrived, the cat slipped through his door. When I saw him on the landing with my young friend, Robby, I called a greeting.

“Mrs. Miller, can I visit?” Robby asked. “I need to ask you something really important.”

“Over milk and cookies?”

He nodded. “Mom said I can have three.”

“How does peanut butter with chocolate chips sound?” His grin provided my answer.

“Oh, yes.” He bent and scratched Robespierre’s head. The large cat rumbled like the sound of distant thunder.

Once the ritual greeting ended, three cookies and a glass of milk waited on the table. Robby pulled a stool to the sink and washed his hands. “See. I ‘membered.”

“So you did.” While he ate the first cookie, I filled a mug and sat across the table from him. “Do you want to tell me what’s bothering you?”

He propped his elbows on the table. “How can a boy be happy his grandma died? If I had one, I’d be sad.”

I sipped the tea. “That’s a hard question. Want to tell me how you learned the boy was happy about her death?”

He leaned forward. “He’s in my class. Always saying bad things ‘bout her. Said she was rich and mean ‘cause she wouldn’t buy him all the toys he wanted.”

“Sounds like he’s greedy.”

Robby’s head bobbed. “He sure is. Always saying how his things are better than mine ‘cause they cost more.”

“So why was he happy she died?”

“’Cause his mom and dad don’t fight with his grandma ‘bout her money. They got it all.”

I cradled the mug. “Is he happy now?”

“Guess so. He says so but he’s still mean.” Robby reached for a second cookie. “He got a new bike and lots of video games. He’s gonna live in a big new house. They can ‘ford a new one ‘cause no more money goes to that place.”

“What place?”

“You know, the one on the river where old people go. Our class went there once to sing. They liked us.”

“Hudson House?”


The private nursing home is where the rich of the area go to recover from surgery or to spend their final years. The boy’s grandmother must have had the means to pay for the luxurious service. I patted Robby’s hand. “I’m not sure I have answers for your questions. I’m not sure there are any.”

He looked up. “If I had a grandma, she’d be just like you.”

“Thank you.” I patted his hand. “Tell you what. Why don’t I become your adopted grandma?”

His eyes widened. “You really could be mine. Like the puppy Pete said we’ll ‘dopt from the shelter.”

Being compared to a puppy tickled my thoughts. Laughter brought tears to my eyes. “Since I’m an experienced grandmother, I won’t need training in how to behave. The puppy will.”

He jumped up and hugged me. A frown wrinkled his forehead. Mom says I have to call you Mrs. Miller. A grandma should be called Grandma.” He bit the third cookie and swallowed. “I know. You can be Grandma Mrs. Miller. Wait ‘til I tell Mom and


Before he left, I gave him a tin of cookies. “Make sure you share.”

“Have to.” He giggled. “Pete would chase me around the table making pig sounds. I’m glad Mom married him.” He tucked the tin under his arm and opened the door. Robespierre dashed ahead of him. “Bye, Grandma Mrs. Miller.”

Just then, Jenna stepped from the downstairs apartment. “What was that about?”

“He wanted a grandmother so I adopted him.”

“That’s so nice.” Her voice broke.

“Come to church with me on Sunday.” Her grandmother was a member of St. Stephen’s. So was I. Martha Garner and I had become friends when we worked on several Women’s Guild projects. I know she often wondered what had happened to Jenna. Though I’d wanted to tell Martha about her granddaughter, I hadn’t broken my tenant’s confidence. Maybe the rift could be breached there.

“Not a good idea. Can’t you picture Uncle Marcus standing on the church steps with pointed finger and yelling, ‘Sinner, begone. Your kind isn’t welcome here.’ I wouldn’t want to tempt him to appear as less than a good Christian.”

The note of bitterness in her voice saddened me. She’d been alienated from her family for too long. Surely, there was a way to bring about reconciliation, at least with her grandmother. An idea occurred. When I returned to my apartment, I made two phone calls.


Books We Love Blurbathon The Dark Series by Gail Roughton

The Dark Series (The Color of Seven and The Color of Dusk) by Gail Roughton

A Books We Love Special Edition - Two Complete Novels

"Whut I knows, son, is dat dis world, it be ringed with worlds on worlds...." Deep in the woods that slide off into Stone Creek Swamp, teenage drug dealers retrieve their stash and receive an unexpected dividend—the unwitting resurrection of Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic. Atop Coleman Hill, two young attorneys renovate a decrepit relic for their home and office. A house with a past it wants to share, showing Ria Knight tantalizing scenes of its original owner, Dr. Paul Devlin. Dr. Devlin’s not exactly alive and well, but he’s not dead either. Because what crosses over when the worlds overlap can change the course of a man's life. And death. And future. Explore the Dark. The past, like evil, never dies. It just—waits.

Drop in on February 16 for a preview from Vijaya Schartz!


The Dark Series (The Color of Seven and The Color of Dusk) by Gail Roughton

A Books We Love Special Edition - Two Complete Novels

"Whut I knows, son, is dat dis world, it be ringed with worlds on worlds...." Deep in the woods that slide off into Stone Creek Swamp, teenage drug dealers retrieve their stash and receive an unexpected dividend—the unwitting resurrection of Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic. Atop Coleman Hill, two young attorneys renovate a decrepit relic for their home and office. A house with a past it wants to share, showing Ria Knight tantalizing scenes of its original owner, Dr. Paul Devlin. Dr. Devlin’s not exactly alive and well, but he’s not dead either. Because what crosses over when the worlds overlap can change the course of a man's life. And death. And future. Explore the Dark. The past, like evil, never dies. It just—waits.

Drop in on February 16 for a preview from Vijaya Schartz!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip on Pace #amwriting

Just what is pace? Pace is the journey from the beginning of a story to the end. It's not jumping from scene to scene with little in between to give a reader the chance to breath. This could be true for some writers and not so much for others. Pace isn't suspense though all stories need the pull of mystery to draw the reader from one scene to the next.

Pace depends on a number of things. The way the writer decides to tell the story. The demands of a particular genre. Pace builds momentum and produces tension making your reader wonder what happens next.

A writer friend once told me I could give lessons on pacing a story. He wrote cop stories. The one of mine that he read was called Obsessions and now published as Code Blue. What I tried to do was end every scene on a note calling for answers to questions the reader wanted to know. This was a suspense story and the tension had to build not only for the reader but for the character. That was the trick to the pacing of this story.

Not worrying about the reader but about the characters and having the main character moving toward the dramatic end. The same elements of pacing starts with the roadmap of the story and deciding which character has the most to lose and gain when the story ends. Then it's keeping the pressure on them to fight for their goal. For me the pacing is with the characters and their journey to the end with the proper reward.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration ala Stephen King on Imagery

Third time's the charm. The essay by M. King really gave me a lot to think about and a lot of inspiration. I tend to be a tight writer and imagery isn't one of my greatest strengths as a writer of fiction. The quotetime is "Don't be totally transported with imagery."

We've all read stories where the writer is so hyped on imagery the story gets lost in the number of images they're pushing at us. While we may finish the book we can then wonder what the book was about. Words, phrases and the use of every writing trick to bring the scense to life and we do see the scene but we don't remember it all.

An interesting thing I saw on TV was about people looking at a scene and then trying to remember what they had seen. Few of any could remember every detail. Most people only remembered a few things. This is something we should consider when writing. What images do you want the reader to carry from the scene.

For someone like me, I have to consider this very much since I may not create images for the reader to expand on in their own imagination. I'm trying to do better.

How about you? Do you bury your reader in images hoping to overwhelm them into seeing what you have envisioned? Do you forget the images to get the story down? A happy medium is the best way to go. So one more quote from Stephen King. "If you're writing fiction, you don't want to drown your reader in textures."

Books We Love Blurbathon Family Honor by Jamie Hill

Family Honorby Jamie Hill

Bodies of dead women are piling up and Detective Melanie

Curtis is doing everything she can to solve the 'Cheerleader Slasher'

case. Surprised to discover her chief has requested help from the FBI,

she's even more shocked when she meets the sexy FBI special agent sent

to assist her.

SSA Nate Willis tracks serial killers for a living. The slasher case is a

challenge, but nothing compared to the feisty police detective he finds leading the investigation. Their attraction is swift and mutual, but

the killer is escalating and they need to solve the case before they

can focus on their personal relationship. When the unthinkable happens

and the investigation is turned upside down, is their chance for

happiness also in jeopardy?

“Author Jamie Hill has a knack for pulling a reader deeper and deeper into her stories as they try to figure out where she is leading them.” ~ Tammy, Fallen Angel Reviews

Find this title here:

See more of

Jamie's titles here:

Visit her website here:

Please stop back on Feb. 14 to read a blurb by BWL Valentine's Sweetie Gail Roughton!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #amwriting #JeRoWriMo

Somehow I managed to erase the whole thing I started. How I may never know but I'll start again. Last week the big news was the snowstorm. Nemo. What a silly name for what could have been a disaster and was further to the north of where we are. We got about 8 inches, Figured that out from cleaning off the car to go to the grocery store on Sunday. At least there was salad. None on Friday.

Writingwise I'm doing the JeRoWriMo and am working now on three books. Almost ready to do another draft on the first Moonchild story that I'll probably call To Mend Shattered Dreams. Heroine is a doctor. Hero a nurse.They were high school sweethearts and he didn't show up to take her to their prom. Began planning the second one not titled as yet. She is 7 months divorced and 9 months pregnant. He was her high school steady and is now a city policeman. I sense a theme here. Also up to chapter 12 on The Goddesses of Er. Trying to fill inholes in the 40 plus year old story and cut it down from 109,000 words to no more than 80,000 words. Is an interesting and trying project.

The last thing on my writing plate is re-opening my CreateSpace account and getting ready to put about 6 books into print that weren't done already. Also finally fixed it so royalties could be put directly into my checking account. I'll see how that works since there's about 24 dollars there already.

Also must get tracking on figuring my expenses and take for last year. See the accountant soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

3 Blog Visit Sunday discovered by Janet Lane Walters

Books We Love Blurbathon Magic of the Chimes by Pat Dale

Magic of the Chimes

What’s a gal to do? Cassie Sizemore is a thirty-four year

old divorcee with a pair of teen/'tween kids and a burning need for male

companionship. Her philandering husband dumped her for a teenager,

leaving her with a nice house and not much else. In her job as a

waitress, she's confronted daily by Howard Williams, local Romeo

bachelor attorney, who's trying to convince her he can't live without


Cassie's backyard neighbor, Matt Riley, makes a hit with her kids and becomes

her confidant. Mythical magical wind chimes play an important role as

widower Matt falls for Cassie. After she learns that Howie's true

interest is in a secret bet that he can get Cassie to sleep with him,

her hormones are stifled big-time. What will it take for Riley to

reignite her passion?

Find this title here:

Find more of Pat Dale's work here:

and please come back on Feb. 12 to read a blurb by author Jamie Hill.

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Messages in this topic (2)

1.2. Re: Pat Dale blurbathon Feb 9 info

Posted by: "Heather Haven" havenmeister1

Fri Feb 8, 2013 7:38 am (EST)

I grabbed Jane's info yesterday and it's on my blog today. I'll put Pat's there tomorrow.

--- On Fri, 2/8/13, Jamie Hill> wrote:

From: Jamie Hill>

Subject: [BWLauthors] Pat Dale blurbathon Feb 9 info

To: "Social author list">

Date: Friday, February 8, 2013, 4:24 AM

Hi everyone,

I talked to Margaret and we're going to move ahead without Jane who was next in line for the blurbathon. (No worries, we're all flexible.) If she sends her info Margaret will plug her in on another day. So here is Pat's stuff- post on the 9th or 10th, and we'll be back on schedule. Thanks!



Magic of the Chimes

What’s a gal to do? Cassie Sizemore is a thirty-four year old divorcee with a pair of teen/'tween kids and a burning need for male companionship. Her philandering husband dumped her for a teenager, leaving her with a nice house and not much else. In her job as a waitress, she's confronted daily by Howard Williams, local Romeo bachelor attorney, who's trying to convince her he can't live without her.

Cassie's backyard neighbor, Matt Riley, makes a hit with her kids and becomes her confidant. Mythical magical wind chimes play an important role as widower Matt falls for Cassie. After she learns that Howie's true interest is in a secret bet that he can get Cassie to sleep with him, her hormones are stifled big-time. What will it take for Riley to reignite her passion?

Find this title here:

Find more of Pat Dale's work here:

and please come back on Feb. 12 to read a blurb by author Jamie Hill.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday's Excerpt from Dangerous Proposal by Jessica Lauryn

She ought to go. She certainly wanted to. But the idea of walking alone in the woods with the man she’d been warned to stay away from seemed most unimaginable.

Lena looked at Alec. He was smiling softly, no longer criticizing. His eyes were full of intent. They suggested one thing. Come with me. And your desires will be fulfilled.

Anticipation consumed her. She reached for his hand. Excitement melted into warmth. Warmth became security. They began to walk together along the moonlit path.

She felt…safe. As if for the first time since she’d left Westchester, everything was going to be all right. No one could hurt her. Not when she was with Alec. Her skin tingled with warmth as he brushed his thumb across the surface of her hand.

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“I thought we were taking risks tonight,” he said with a grin. “You want to be surprised, don’t you?”

Her cheeks were flushing. She was grateful for the darkness that masked her anxious demeanor.

He smiled. “Don’t worry. I think you’re going to like this.”

She imagined she would, considering how much she had enjoyed everything he’d done so far. A part of her was still afraid, but a larger part wanted very much to know where he was taking her. Alec stroked her knuckles as they walked. The feeling was intoxicating, like sweet, dark chocolate. The longer he did it, the more it seemed this simple touch was no longer enough.

She was drawn from her thoughts as Alec stopped beside a bench. He took a red-and-blue-checkered picnic blanket and slung it over his shoulder.

“Is that yours?”

He shrugged. “I just thought you might want something to sit on. Some of us tend to”—he cleared his throat—“dress up a little more than others.”

Lena laughed. With his hand around hers, she was almost appreciating his wit. “I guess some of us do.”

He leaned in, his warm breath coming against her ear. “I didn’t say I didn’t like it.” He gave her hand a squeeze. “It’s just past those trees. No peeking. I want you to be surprised.

“I promise I won’t peek.” She smiled and shut her eyes. A shiver shot up her spine when she realized he was kissing her cheek.

Lena took an uneasy breath as she walked forward, unable to see what was in front of her. Keeping her arms at her sides, Alec moved her in slow steps. She was taking quite a risk, allowing him to lead her along like this. He could do anything he wanted to her with her eyes closed like this. Oddly enough, the idea was more exciting than it was frightening.

Guiding her by the shoulders, he walked forward a few more paces. Then he stopped. “All right,” he said. “Open your eyes.

Lena did as she was told, looking out at the biggest, most beautiful lake she’d ever seen. It was vast in size, extending out as far as the trees that surrounded it. Moonlight shined against an uneven surface. Dark ripples glittered beneath a starlit sky.

She turned, looking up into two eyes as blue as the water. “It’s beautiful, Dr. Westwood.”

“Say my name, Lena,” he commanded softly. “I love the way it sounds when you say it.

Lena bit her lip. Once she did this, there was no going back. It would break the unspoken barrier between them. But how could she deny him anything when he was looking at her the way he was?

She suddenly became aware of Alec’s arousal pressing against her back. Her pulse quickened. He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, tightening his hold on her.

She took a deep breath. “The lake is beautiful, Alec.”

Books We Love Blurbathon The Outlaws by Jane Toombs

Welcome Jane Toombs

One decent man, an attractive young woman, and a teen-aged boy obsessed with a legendary bad man--all caught in the crossfire of the West’s bloodiest range war.

After Billy the Kid and Mark Halloran rescue what’s left of the Nesbitt family from an Apache attack in the New Mexico Territory, the fate of the young daughter and the teen-age boy are sealed. Tessa’s attracted to Mark and Ezra suffers a severe cause of hero-worship over Billy, wanting to be just like him. Soon all of them are involved in the cruelest range war in the history of the West--the bloody Lincoln County war. How can Tessa protect her brother from trailing after Billy? And how can she be drawn to a man who is on the opposite side of this range war?

Books We Love Western Suspense

Buy Page:

Friday, February 8, 2013

How She Does It featuring Jessica Lauryn

Jessica is a fellow member of New Jersey Romance Writers.

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

I agree with your philosophy, Janet. Plot is definitely the "How" of a story. Though, I tend to write a bit backwards. What I mean is that, for me, plot usually comes first. Everything else, the who (characters), what (conflict), when/where (setting), why (characters' goals) come into my mind as a result of plot. It's the way I work, and the way I most enjoy crafting and telling stories.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

Characters are usually the first thing I create, and as I mentioned, they'll generate naturally from my storyline. I build stories like a tower, and I keep adding on to what's already there, later polishing the story until I have a finished product. Once I have a storyline I want to ise, I determine what I want the hero and heroine to be like, their quirks and values, what makes them exciting as a couple, and most importantly what drives their passion. From there, I begin to picture my hero and heroine, their hair and eye color and other physical attributes. I then go back to brainstorming about my plot, and I figure out what other characters I'll need (and want) to have in the story. The plot also drives the choices I make regarding secondary characters, and their attributes.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

I think it's safe to say I am a plotter all the way. Writing out the plot in long hand is what helps me to begin a new story. It's a lot less intimidating facing a blank screen, when there is a whole sketch pad of notes to guide me. I start with a premise. From that premise come my two main characters, the hero and heroine, then later, my secondary characters.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

I do have an idea of how the story will end, but I'd say it is more of a general idea than specific. When I write the outline for a story, the last couple of sections, and the last one in particular, tend to have the smallest amount of notes. I'm not exactly sure whether this is because I'm trying to give myself leeway, or because my notes are not as hard and fast as I'd like to initially believe they are. What I do know is that I have to actually draft most of, if not the entire story, before I can draft the ending. In this sense, I am a also bit of a "panster", which I define as an author who let's the characters and other story elements drive the story.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

A little bit of both, actually! A good portion of my first series, the Pinnacles of Power, is set the town of North Conway, New Hampshire. Like the heroine in Dangerous Proposal, Lena Benson, I've been vacationing there for most of my life, and know the town almost as well as the one I live in. Choosing a setting I'm familiar with minimizes the amount of research I have to do, and allows me to get back to my favorite part--writing!

But that's not to say that I only write about places I've been to, because I'd be selling myself very short if I did. In many instances, I'll let the characters tell me where they want to set a particular story, unless that story is part of a series. In that case, I work to set the book around the existing setting(s).

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

I do the majority of my research online, because that's easiest for me. And in a day and age where I can type pretty much anything into a search engine and turn up a result, research has never been easier. But I do take the occasional trip to the library when researching something, a time period perhaps, that I'm particularly interested in, or if I am looking for additional information.

6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

I began as a draft writer, but I've evolved into a writer who revises as I go along. The reason for this is I felt as if I was doing double and even triple the work, writing a scene, and then essentially rewriting it. Sometimes I'd cut something out of a scene that I really liked, because the muse hit me differently the second time around. This didn't work for me. With revising as I go along, I simply cut out what I don't want, and embellish what I do. I keep all of my thoughts in one place, which makes the most sense for me.



Jessica Lauryn

Dangerous Proposal - now available!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday's Opening Scenes from The Midas Murders by Janet Lane Walters

The Midas Murders

Janet Lane Walters

Chapter 1

El Sueno Dorado

This year the Christmas season held little joy for me. There were a few brief moments of pleasure that vanished all too soon. Seeing a small child’s delight in the twinkling tree lights. Selecting gifts for my family, friends and neighbors. Watching my granddaughter perform the role of Clara in a local production of the Nutcracker. Those times did little to halt my feelings of regret and grief.

On Christmas Eve I sat with my family in a pew in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and huddled in my coat. The chill I felt had nothing to do with the voices of the choir raised in joyful celebration, or in the message of hope and peace contained in the sermon and the liturgy. My feelings were caused by things I had and had not done.

Though we sat several rows in front of the place where death had stained the stones of the floor, my awareness of past events nearly drove me to leave. Remembering last month’s Evensong and the death of the choir master brought frost-filled memories and stirred my guilt. For my covetousness had brought him here, and I’d been the one to discover the body.

Your fault. Your fault. Those words had circled in my thoughts for weeks.

As the candles were lit at midnight, I prayed my role in Roger Brandon’s death would fade and I could forgive myself. I also knew my decision to welcome the New Year in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my dear friend, Lars Claybourne, was mete and right. Thoughts of the trip had become my golden dream.


The night before my departure, I carried a half dozen tins of dried mint to the bedroom. These were the last items for the suitcase on the antique sleigh bed. As I paused in the doorway, the urge to laugh was almost impossible to contain, but a stern approach was needed.

“Robespierre, an open suitcase is not a bed.” I glared at the Maine Coon cat who had curled among my neatly folded clothes. “You aren’t being abandoned. Maria and the baby are excited about your visit.”

The look of disdain on his face brought my laughter bubbling forth. I dumped the tea on the bed, scratched his head, then lifted twenty-five pounds of cat from the case. “Be gone.” As he stalked from the room, his tail twitched to signal his displeasure at being banished.

After tucking my stash among my clothes, I closed the case. With a supply of teas for every occasion, I felt prepared to face my flight to an unfamiliar destination. I wheeled the suitcase and carried a hanging bag to the kitchen where they would be on hand for my early morning departure. My son had grumbled about the hour, but he’d promised to get me to the plane on time.

Robespierre now lay on the kitchen floor and stared at the case containing my belated Christmas present for Lars’ granddaughter. I plugged in the electric kettle, this year’s gift from one of my neighbors, selected an assortment of mints and stuffed a tea ball.

Once the tea had steeped, I poured a mug and headed to the living room where I settled on the window seat. The lights from the Tappan Zee Bridge vied with the moonlight dancing on the dark waters of the Hudson River. Stars formed patterns in the sky. I never tire of watching the river and my early morning walks often end at the river’s edge.

The shrill ring of the phone startled me. I grabbed the receiver. “Hello.”


“Lars, is something wrong?” Why was he calling when he’d see me tomorrow? Had something happened to make it necessary for me to postpone my visit?

“Jitters. Afraid you’ve changed your mind. You’ve never come before. And...there is something...” His voice drifted into silence.

Something was bothering him, but extracting a story long distance is hard. Face to face is better. “My bags are packed and the tickets are in my purse.”

“Good. I’m looking forward to having you here.” He paused. “What are you doing with the cat?”

“He’ll be staying with Maria and the baby.” I chuckled. “At this moment he’s peeved. He tried to use my suitcase as a bed and I chased him.”

Lars laughed. “Guess he wants to come along. You could bring him.”

“Are you out of your mind? You want me to bring the creature who hates cars and being confined. He’ll be fine at the Prescott’s house. I’m looking forward to freedom from his tyranny.”

“He does tend to act like a dictator. Kate, we’ll have a grand time while you’re here. I’ve so many things planned for us to do.”

I set down the mug. “That’s not why you called. What is bothering you?”

His deep sigh rumbled in my ear. “The problem is...I’m not sure what’s going on.”

“So tell me what you can. Are Don and Megan all right?”

“They’re fine.”

“And...” I hesitated to ask if his daughter had staged a scene when she learned I’d accepted his invitation. “Is there a problem because I’m coming?”


“Something else?”

“I’m not sure there is a problem.” He paused. “It’s just...vague...and...You know I plan to retire. I’ve been avoiding all the paperwork necessary for months. Last week I looked at some of the companies I’ve seeded. Something odd is going on.”

For years Lars has looked for new and sometimes unique businesses and provided funds for expansion and promotion. Most of these ventures have been successful and repayment of the loans with interest has made him a wealthy man.

“Someone’s stealing.” The words just popped out.

“Maybe, but I hope not. Except just before Ramona’s accident, she hinted she’d discovered a number of discrepancies. We found nothing in her records or her computer. I figured whatever she’d learned had been destroyed when her car burned.”

Eight months ago Lars’ daughter-in-law had died in a tragic accident. A chill crawled along my spine. “Do be careful.”

His laughter boomed. “You’re telling me to be careful. This warning comes from a woman who set herself up to be robbed, who had tea with a murderer, and who single-handedly trapped a killer.”

“I wasn’t in any danger.”

“If you say so...What time does your flight arrive? I’ll meet you at the airport.”

“No need. I’ve rented a car.”

“Why? I’ll be on hand to provide taxi service.”

The image of a glowering Lars stomping after me while I flitted from shop to shop made me chuckle. “How wonderful. Are you volunteering to go shopping with me? I plan to spend at least a day in the shops. Probably more.”

He groaned. “You win. See you tomorrow. You’ll need to announce yourself at the gate so I can buzz you in. Oh, bring an assortment of your mints.”

“Already packed.”

“And warm clothes.”

“Yes, Lars. Let me go so I can head to bed.”

“Do you remember the name of the estate?”

Why was he so reluctant to let me go? Tomorrow I planned to ask him a lot of questions and discover the answers. “How could I forget? Good night, Lars. See you tomorrow.”

After I hung up, I stared at the night sky. Something troubled him and I’d learned nothing from our conversation. Was I headed into another messy situation?

Stop it! Just because my nerves were frayed didn’t mean trouble lurked in Santa Fe.

Robespierre leaped to the window seat and rubbed his head against my hand. His rumbling purr soothed my nerves. An uneventful visit was my goal. There’d been enough mayhem in my life.