Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday's First and Second Scene - Whispers From Yesteryear #MFRWauthor #Paranormal #Gothic

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 2017

"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?
Once her heart rate slowed, she reached for the alarm clock. Too late to go back to sleep and too early to get ready for work. As the effects of the adrenaline rush faded, her sense of uneasiness grew.
She hugged her knees. Once again, she had failed but she couldn’t remember who or how.
Moments later, she stood in the shower. Warm water washed away the sour smell of fear. The nightmare wasn’t new. Six years had passed since the last time the cry had jolted her awake. Always the same urgency and the same surge of emotions. No matter how hard she tried, she never remembered more than the cry.
She stepped from the shower. After pulling on a blue terry cloth robe, she stripped the bed and stuffed the damp sheets in the hamper.
What had triggered the dream? With the thoroughness of a pathologist seeking the cause of death, she examined the past few days and found no incident that could be called a trigger.
As she made the bed, she recalled the first time she’d dreamed. She’d been sixteen. She and her twin had been at Indian’s Sorrow visiting their aunt. Willow had always loved staying there. This time had been different. One memory lodged in her thoughts.
"Willow, come here. This is so neat." Brooke had opened the gate at the side of the garden.
Willow halted at the opening. She looked beyond her sister. "Get away from the edge."
"I’m fine." Brooke leaned forward. "The rocks look like a giant’s teeth. Come see."
"I can’t."
Brooke laughed. "Chicken."
"Something dreadful happened here."
"And I thought I was the one with the imagination and you were the logical one." Brooke spun around. "I love this place. Do you think Aunt Willow will leave it to us? She doesn’t have kids."
"I don’t..." Willow had turned away. She hadn’t been able to say she didn’t want Indian’s Sorrow. The land had been in the family forever and something bound her to this place.
That night she’d dreamed. Terror had slid insidious fingers of fear into her sleep. When the summer had ended, she’d been happy to go home.
Until her aunt’s death, she hadn’t gone back. Then she learned the house and the land were hers, not a legacy to be shared with her twin.
Brooke had been furious. She’d accused Willow of taking advantage of their aunt. Since that day, their relationship had been strained. Brooke’s coldness had hurt.
Willow sighed. The land was hers but she’d lost her sister.
She sat on the edge of the bed. Where was Brooke? Five months ago, they had talked for a few minutes at an art gallery exhibition of Brooke’s paintings. Silly surface chatter with no meaning and no sense of their old bond.
Was her twin all right? She used to know when Brooke was in trouble, but the connection they’d shared had vanished. Willow tore her thoughts from the void left by the rift.
By six fifteen, she was ready for work. She put a bright yellow smock embroidered with Native American symbols over her white uniform. The children loved to trace the lines and learn the meanings. So did she. Her apartment reflected her interest in that part of her heritage.
She paused to study the portrait Brooke had painted of the Three Sisters -- Corn, Squash and Beans. Though Willow had posed for the picture, her twin could have painted herself. Long black hair, warm brown eyes, cheekbones that added a hint of the exotic. Mirrors on the outside but opposites inside.
A sliver of the nightmare slid into focus. Brooke screamed. As though touched by a blast of frigid air, Willow rubbed her arms. What did it mean? Was Brooke in danger? She searched but the bond remained closed.
She had no appetite, but she brewed a cup of herbal tea and toasted a bran muffin. As she picked at the food, her thoughts returned to the nightmare. Why today and why when she wasn’t at Indian’s Sorrow? She scraped the remains of the muffin in the garbage and washed the dishes.
A persistent question nagged. What did the dream mean?
She tucked a pouch containing a Kelly clamp, bandage scissors and pens in her pocket. With a stethoscope draped around her neck, she headed across the street to West End Hospital where she worked as a pediatric nurse.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Finding the Right Words #MFRWauthor #Writing #words

A quote from Dwight V. Swain. "A story is words strung onto paper."

Absolutely a correct thing to say but the stringing of these words is more than a random selection. One can always write lists of words one after another but what they say makes no sense. Words need to be chosen with care.

How does someone find the right words to string together to make a story. There are a number of ways to learn. Words in a horror story are different that words in a romance. So the writer needs to be aware of their genre, even when combining genres in a book.

The writer must look at their characters to help in choosing the right words. People have careers, backgrounds and education. All of these can be plumbed to make a coherent string of words.

The historical period of the story should be considered. Different words form a story of a historical or a modern tale. The area where a story is set also brings different words into play. City versus country, today versus some time in the future, All these things need to be considered when you look at your string of words.

What are your characters doing is another thing to consider. Are they solving a mystery? Are they chilling with friends? These come into play. A nurse might use different words depending on what she is doing at the time.

What do their senses tell them? Using the senses as seen through the characters five senses can help the writer find the right words.

So hoose your words after looking at the possible ways to bring the story to life.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday - The Writer's Life - The Blurb #MFRWauthor #Promotion

Just what is a blurb? This is the paragraph or two that goes on the back of the book and also on the sites where your book is being sold. Some publishers will write this blurb for you and may do a really great job. Other publishers will want you to write your own. If you're self-publishing your book, this is a skill you must develop.

When writing a blurb you need to write a very short bit about your book, one that will influence a reader to want to learn more. Doing this in a few words can be very, very hard. You will probably make many trials and tear them up. After writing many, you will find ways to help yourself

What consists a blurb/ You need to show when the story happens, what the problems between the characters are. But don't give up the end of the book. If you do why would the reader want to read your story.

I find this to encompass many trials. Sometimes writing a blurb seems to take longer than the book. What you need to add are words that show the genre. A reader might find your blurb exciting and expect a romance only to find you've written a suspense, mystery or another genre. You need to touch on the main characters and their goals. Giving enough and not too much can be difficult. I've written one blurb that gained a response from the publisher and from readers. Though old, the book is still selling. I'll include it.

Take one doctor who’s made a career of temporary positions and avoiding commitment. Add a nurse who dreams of security and a settled life. Stir in infant twins bequeathed to him by his dead foster sister. Pour them into a small Texas town that wants the doctor to stay. To Dr. Neal McKay, it’s a prescription for a dilemma.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poetry #Writing

Meander 1 Poem

I feel adrift, cast out, astray
With nowhere I can go
With restlessness upon myself
Not wanting to sit still.
I want to go, to run away
To hurry past this time.
I can't, I know, but yet
I can retain my restless
Crying soul.

Meander 2 - New Releases - In the past few weeks I've had three releases. The Cancer-Capricorn Connection is the fourth of a six book series using opposites in the Zodiac for medical based romance. This book brings Cait the heroine problems for the father of her daughter returns to her life. She must learn to forgive and this is a struggle.  Past Betrayals, Past Loves is a reincarnation story. The heroine and hero travel from ancient world to the present and in each past life there is a lesson for Astrid and Duncan. Whispers From Yesteryear is another reincarnation based story where Willow the heroine and Reid the hero must solve the past before it destroys their future. They dream at night and the past story unfolds.

Meander 2 - Writing is going very slow, at least for new stories. I had 10 books with rights returned and at present two of them have been completed. I'm going over the edits on the second and will finally finish this today and send it off on Monday. Hopefully I will finish all these by the end of May and have started a new story.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday's Book - Whispers From Yesteryear #MFRWauthor #Paranormal #Romance

Whispers From Yesteryear

“Not the children.” Willow Carey is awakened by the remnants of a dream she hasn’t had for years. Today she is to return to Indian’s Sorrow, a house she inherited from her aunt. The inheritance has caused a rift with her twin sister. Her father and stepmother have died in an accident. Though she doesn’t want to go to Indian’s Sorrow, she must take charge of her young half-sister and brother.

Reid Talbot, a man she once loved lives near the house with his family. Now a widower, he lives with his sons. Learning to trust him again is difficult but he also has dreams.

Together, they must learn the meaning of the dreams before the whispers of yesteryear destroy their newfound happiness.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books by Trevann Rogers MFRWauthor #paranormal

House of the Rising Son
Living After Midnight, Book 1

Cheyenne is a half-human incubus whose star is on the rise in the Unakite City rock scene. His father, the leader of the supernatural races, would prefer he keep a “low profile”, but screw that. Cheyenne has as much music in his veins as royal incubi blood.

Alexander's future is all set—finish law school, join the family firm, and marry someone who'd be good for business. Not that he has a say in any of it. He's barely met the woman his father expects him to marry.

As Cheyenne's musical career takes off, his carefully constructed life begins to unravel, exacerbated by an ex-lover who can't let go, a crotchety barkeeper with a dirty mind and a pure heart, a drag queen who moonlights as a nanny, and Alexander—who's not sure if he's falling for the incubus or the rocker.

Cheyenne denies who he is, while Alexander hides what he wants. Together, they learn that getting what they truly want means being who they truly are.

~~ You can find House of the Rising Son on Samhain PublishingBarnes and Noble and Amazon.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday's Guest - Trevann Rogers #MFRWauthor #genres #writing

1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms?
Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices?
Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?
I read Urban Fantasy and humor mainly.  I’m always drawn to GLBT characters in any genre.  So it is logical that I write the kinds of stories I want to read.  Toss in my love of music and I’m a happy girl.

I would never try to write historical romance but I admire those authors who can.

2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write?
I enjoy writing my heroes.  They are men whom I love so I enjoy my time with them.  I get to create my “perfect man” who is, of course, far from perfect.

3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
My heroes are composites of traits that I find intriguing.  My ideas come from many places, such as a group of people I see who draw my attention, snippets of a song that bring a scene to mind, or something I read in the paper or see in a magazine.  I’m not sure which comes first, story or character.  Maybe they arrive in my brain together?

4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
Since I write mostly male/male stories, it's unusual for women to spark a story idea so they arrive to flesh out something else in the story.  I also must admit that sometimes outfits are the spark for a female character.  I see something beautiful and wonder who would wear it.

5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?
The villain or antagonist is usually born after the hero and plot.  I have to know what traits I need him to have.  They also need a reason to behave as they do, beyond the current concrete objective. The reason makes them human.

6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain? 
After Midnight, prequel to HOUSE OF THE RISING SON is due out September 22. The heroine is Jewell, a young vampire who dreams of house with a white picket fence that she shares with her lovers.  Ria, Jewell's girlfriend and the co-heroine, is also a vampire trying to find her place in the world after being disinherited for coming out.  Cheyenne (the hero of HOUSE OF THE RISING SON) is a incubus who wants to be a rock star. 

7. What are you working on now?
The novel I am writing now is the sequel to HOUSE OF THE RISING SON.  A year has passed and the hero, Cheyenne, is dragged deeper into the Incubi world when his father becomes ill.  I'm also working on a New Adult urban fantasy.

8. How can people find you?
I can be found at

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thuesday's Second Scene - Pursuing Doctor West #MFRWauthor #humor #medical

Zelda Carter wanted to pinch herself, but she knew Michael’s arrival wasn’t a dream. She’d heard rumors, but hospital’s grapevine bred stories as fast as mold multiplied in a dungeon. She sat at the desk and stared at nothing. Co-workers bustled past. The loudspeaker crackled. The phone rang. She sighed. He had returned home to practice surgery. She would see him every day.
Maybe this time he would open his eyes to the possibilities. Perhaps the strange and awful occurrences wouldn’t happen. Could she find a crack in his stone heart and prove she was the right woman for him?
Never had.
You’re wrong.
This time she would find a lure he couldn’t resist. She sucked in a breath and swore the citrus scent of him overpowered the sharper hospital odors.
“Ms. Carter, lab on line one,” the unit clerk said.
Zelda grabbed the receiver and jotted some values she’d wanted checked. She turned to the clerk. “Karen, if anyone wants me I’ll be in my office.”
“I’ll let them know, boss lady. You need to call Nan.”
“Will do.” Zelda strode down the hall. She needed to let the staff recruiter know there would soon be an opening for a nurse on the unit.”
She shut the door, reached for the phone and punched her friend’s extension. After Nan answered, Zelda mentioned the opening. “Need someone with dynamite qualifications. I’ll email you the specifics.” A gasp burst free when she saw the paper airplane perched on the edge of her desk.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes.” Her heart hammered. What did he want? Visions of Michael filled her thoughts. She drifted into a dream. His green eyes glittered with interest. He asked for a date.
“Zelda, are you there.” Nan’s shout shredded the daydream.
“Just spaced out for a moment.”
“What’s he like?”
“The new surgeon. The house is buzzing with rumors and more. Thought I’d come to the one who has surely met him.”
Zelda laughed. “I have first dibs. Don’t you remember him?”
“If I knew his name I might.”
“Think four years ahead of us in school. Think red gold hair, though now it’s a dark auburn. Think broad shoulders, football, basketball, and baseball. Think handsome as sin.”
Nan chuckled. “Michael West.”
“Good luck.”
“Thanks.” Zelda hung up. She smoothed the paper airplane. He remembered the hundreds of notes she’d sailed over the back fence.
Must mean something.
Sure it does. Maybe.
The voice of doubt sounded again. She stared at the words he’d written and started the process of deciphering the scrawl. How could he? She’d loved him for years. Granted he’d ignored her years ago.
Professional. An order. As if she was anything but a professional here. A glance at the signature and she burst into uncontrollable laughter. Your former neighbor.
Tears rolled down her face and she gasped to catch a breath. She couldn’t wait to see his face when he learned she lived in the same building. Heavens, their bedrooms were separated by a very thin wall.
She folded her arms. Michael West, you’re in for a surprise. She brought the note to her nose and inhaled the citrus scent permeating the paper, or maybe her imagination. She tucked the note in her pocket. This belonged in her box of Michael mementos. Had he saved the notes and other items she’d given him over the years? Hope grew like bacteria in a Petrie dish. The missive proved his interest. So did the way he’d watched her this morning. His stares had ignited her body.
Michael, watch out. She would find a way to capture more than his sideways glances. She knew something he was too blind to see. She was his perfect mate.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Balancing Between Logic and Emotion #MFRWauthor #writing

 Every story has two sides and the way a writer approaches the story can be one of the analyst or the emotional. Finding a balance between can be difficult.

Are you the kind of person who likes the facts and pursues letting the reader know the facts, just the facts? This can make for a dry story and one that while organized from beginning to end that falls flat. The reader does need to know all of these things but you don't want to put them to sleep.

Are you the kind of person who revels in emotions. As you write, you forget about the sense of the story and focus on the emotions? You can lead the reader from the highs and lows of your characters emotional investment in the story but leave them confused. Many times the story becomes so convoluted the reader turns away in confusion.

Finding the balance between the two kinds of writing isn't learned in a day. If you tend to hone on the emotional side, you should take the time to make sure the story follows a logical path.  Making sure the characters' emotions are the right ones for them is important and reining these emotions to form patterns are important.

If you are one who loves the facts, you need to look at your facts and study how the characters are reacting. Long lists of facts may be accurate but you need to show what the characters are feeling as well.

So blending the two can be difficult. Learning how to balance things can be difficult but with practice you can learn to more from the pragmatic without falling into the sea of emotions. Writing a book isn't done in an instant so develop your critiquing nature and pamper your emotional reactions and those of your characters as well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday - The Writer's Life -- The Dreaded Art Sheet #MFRWauthor #Art Sheet

Your life as an author doesn't end with the contract. You will receive a note from the publisher with the Dreaded Art sheet. This concerns your cover and asks questions about your idea about what should be on the cover. To those who are visually focused this sheet can be a breeze.

The artist who will design your cover wants a description of the main characters, the setting and perhaps a scene you want to focus. Other material is also wanted like your blurb. This is a short. very short, idea of what your book is about. One way to do this is to take the two main characters and show their wants and their way of obtaining their goals.  This isn't easy and sometimes seems to take as long as the book to write. Done well this will have a reader on fire to read your book. These are short, concise and tempting. I once even sold a book on a very short blurb and little else.

The publisher may also want a short bio for the book included.

Some publishers give you a lot of leeway on the cover and others don't. Just fill our the sheet as best as you can.

Monday, April 17, 2017

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

Meander 1 - Poem - Lost Child

Lost child, where are you?
Where do you wander?
Worry fills me as I wonder
Where you go and how you live.
I would like to help you in life
Bur your pride is too deep.
Just remember I am waiting
And there is room for you here.
My heart is as wide as the world
And there's space for every person there.

Meander 2 - She'd. He'd. There is something about the 'd that pulls me out of a story every time I encounter one form. The 'd as in she'd could mean She had or it would mean She would. I usually slide past the ones calling for had but when the writer means would I am pulled from the story. Reading she'd meaning would stops me because it makes no sense. She'd rather leave. I stop and have to interpret the meaning. She had rather leave or she would rather leave. I'm so conscious of this lately that I now write would rather than use the 'd.

Meander 3 _ Writing - Still cleaning up all the older books to pur the new front and back material in them. I believe I have eighteen more to do. Hopefully I'll finish soon. Am in the possibility of cleaning up Murder and Mint tea for re-release with Books We Love. Am finding this a fun and sometimes tedious process. Catching the typos means reading every line. Adding and updating the first book I ever had published electronically can be fun. Take our the station wagons and put in SUVs or vans. Giving the heroine cell phone technology also is interesting. When this is done, there will only be nine more books to clean up.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday's Book Pursuing Doctor West #MFRWauthor #medical #contemporary

Pursuing Doctor West

Michael West MD has a five year plan before he can consider making a commitment. He’s happy dating women who have no desire for a long-term affair. Encountering Zelda, the pest, the menace, the little girl next door who has impacted his life makes him want to run. She managed to ruin his senior prom and sent several of his dates running. Now she’s grown and the nurse manager of the surgical unit where he will see her every day. What’s a doctor to do but run?

Zelda has loved Michael for year. She knows of the odd accidents her presence has caused him. After an encounter in the condo swimming pool, the accidents become hers but she refuses to give up her quest. The problem is his dating system. He seems to be on an alphabetical quest. He’s just met G and she’s Z. Can she find a way to turn his thoughts to her or must she give up her pursuit?


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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books by Kate McKeever #MFRWauthor Paranormal


You are invited to the annual Masquerade Ball at Castle Amhrán Oiche to celebrate the anniversary of Devlin & Elsbeth Kilmartin. Choose your mask & enjoy an enchanted evening among faeries, time- travelers, the cursed one, vampires, psychics, and other magical creatures. Participate in games, behold new steam-driven inventions, and partake of the Spring Nectar for a magical night. Oh, and those may not be masks. In Lexie’s Journey, Lexie is frustrated at the thought of renovating the history out of an old manor house in Ireland. When she wishes to see the house in all its glory, she’s whisked to 19th century Ireland by a malicious leprechaun. There, she meets Derrick, a tinkerer who wants more than anything to further his career as an inventor of steampunk machines. Together, they battle their attraction and Finn, the leprechaun, who is determined to ruin the Masquerade ball and Derrick’s career. Not to mention prevent Lexie’s return to the present.

A Family For Bess

Bess Howard is content with her career and her large extended family. When Caleb Ford returns to the small town of Thorn Grove, Va. to help out his old mentor Bess is determined to see him as a friend of her younger brothers. Caleb is equally bound to make her see him as something more. As they grow closer both Bess and Caleb will have to decide. Do they take a chance on love or play it safe?

Christmas Wishes: Seven Stories of Second Chances
Light up your Christmas tree and curl up on the couch with seven stories of second chances. Award-winning authors bring you sweet stories of couples who have loved and lost, and begin again. From Victorian England to present day small towns and big cities, you’ll enjoy finding love with heroes and heroines who deserve that second chance. A Soldier’s Second Chance is the story of first love and the second chance that love and the holiday season can bring to a wounded soldier and the girl he left behind.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday's Guest - Kate McKeever #MFRWauthor #What Was She Before

1.      What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?
I was and still am an occupational therapist. I have a pretty varied educational history but I think the thing that influenced me to become a writer was the fact that, since elementary school, I’ve either volunteered or worked part time in libraries. That, and my love of reading spurred my need and desire to write.

2.       Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above. I am published in sweet contemporary and paranormal romantic suspense. These are the two subgenres I tend to gravitate to. My paranormal writing may be in contemporary or historical times.

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres? Not really. I read all over the spectrum, with the exception of horror.

4. What's your latest release? My latest release is in an anthology entitled Masquerade, a paranormal/fantasy anthology with connected stories.

5. What are you working on now? Right now I’m working on a sweet contemporary as well as a paranormal romantic suspense.  The paranormal romantic suspense, Shifting Blame, should be available by this summer. The sweet romance release date is to be determined right now.

6. Where can we find you? My website is You can also find me at facebook-

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday's First and Second Scene - Past Betrayals, Past Loves #MFRWauthor #Paranormal #Reincarnation

In her rush to reach the ringing telephone, Astrid Logan nearly sprawled on the suitcases she'd left in the apartment hallway. She grabbed the receiver on the seventh ring. A deep voice spoke her name and her heart thudded in her chest. "Clive?" Had something happened to her father? Was there a problem at Antiquities?
"Been trying to reach you for hours. Where have you been?"
Astrid sucked in a breath. "Dad knows how to reach me at school." She sank to the floor. "What's wrong with him?"
"He's had a stroke."
"How is he?"
"Doctor believes he'll recover completely, but he'll need time in rehab."
"When did this happen and where?"
"This morning at the gallery. We were discussing the placement of several new pieces. He groaned and collapsed. Ambulance arrived maybe fifteen minutes later."
Astrid frowned. What was he holding back? Her father liked and trusted his younger assistant, but for no reason she could discover, Clive had always made her edgy. "Did they do tests?"
"CAT Scan. Then they gave him some kind of special IV. Guess this will make you change your summer plans."
"Why should it?" Clive had been her father's assistant at the gallery for a year and a half. He knew she spent every summer at Antiquities.
"Then you're really not coming."
"What are you talking about? I had planned to drive down tomorrow." Since she'd turned twelve, she'd spent every summer at the shop with her dad. In sixteen years, she knew as much about the shop as her father.
"Thought your dad said you wouldn't be here. Never mind. It's just ... I was going to move into his apartment."
"To keep an eye on the gallery."
Astrid frowned. That didn't make sense. The thirty-year-old playboy had an expensive co-op on the river. "Isn't there a sophisticated alarm system?"
"Alarms can be by-passed."
"Are there problems?"
"In a way. A few pieces have gone missing and your dad won't hear of calling the police."
"I see." She didn't, but once she was sure her father was recovering, she intended to check.
"When are you coming?"
"As soon as I pack the car."
"Imagine you'll arrive between five and six. I'll close the shop and meet you at the hospital."
"No need. I have keys. After I check on Dad, I'll stop by the gallery." She hung up and started to call the hospital. Why? It would be a futile gesture. They would merely confirm her father was a patient, but they wouldn't disclose the information she wanted.
She made a quick check of the nearly empty apartment. Her furniture was in storage until she found a place closer to the university where she would begin a graduate program in September.
Twenty minutes later, she'd packed the car. On the way out of town, she dropped the keys at the real estate agency and began the four-hour trip to Rockleigh, the Hudson River village where her father lived.
During the drive, she tried not to think about her father. If she didn't dwell on her fears, they wouldn't come true. Think positive, she told herself. She recalled her father's excitement over the changes he and Clive had made at Antiquities and the enthusiasm over a new customer. What would happen to the gallery if he wasn't there? She gripped the wheel and shifted mental gears.
Astrid parked in the hospital lot and stopped at the information desk. With a visitor's pass in hand, she went to the third floor and found her father's room. The odors, the moans and cries, the bustle of activity made her feel as though she'd entered an alien land. Her job as a school nurse held none of these scenes. She paused in the doorway of the semi-private room. One bed was empty. Her father lay in the window bed.
For a moment, she stared. How had he aged so much since the last time she'd seen him? Easter had been just two and a half months ago. During their weekly phone calls, he'd sounded the way he always had. She approached the bed, checked the intravenous site and the rate and looked at the oxygen meter on the wall. Seemed fine.
He opened his eyes and tried to smile. She took his hand. He spoke, but the words were so garbled she couldn't decipher them. Tears threatened. She swallowed against the lump in her throat.
"Don't worry about Antiquities. I'll keep Clive in line. I'll have the records in order by the time you're back."
Her words seemed to give him peace. The lines around his mouth relaxed. Until the urge to cry grew too strong, she remained. "I'm going to the apartment, then the gallery. I'll be back this evening."
He mouthed a word.
"Good?" she asked.
He nodded.
Outside the room, she pulled a tissue from her bag and wiped her eyes. At the nurses' desk, she paused. "I'm Mr. Logan's daughter. How is he?"
A gray-haired woman looked up. "He's stable and responding to treatment. We were able to start things within hours after the stroke."
Astrid cleared her throat. "I'm a nurse." She asked a series of questions about the prognosis and course of treatment.
"You'll have to speak to his doctor."
"Who is?"
The nurse gave Astrid a name and phone number. "Thanks."
After paying the parking fee, she drove to Antiquities and pulled onto the paved area behind the building. As she took two suitcases from the trunk, Mrs. Rayson, her father's tenant and long-time friend, stepped onto the deck. "Astrid. I'm so glad you're here. That Clive said you weren't coming this summer."
"He misunderstood Dad. Probably confused my decision to resign my position at the school and go to grad school with my summer plans. You know how Dad sometimes carries on two discussions at once."
Mrs. Rayson laughed. "How true. What happened to Lloyd this morning was dreadful. I was so scared."
"Were you there?"
The older woman nodded. "Heard him arguing with Clive so I stepped in. Saw Lloyd collapse. Called 911. That Clive just stood and stared."
"Shock." Astrid started up the steps. Would Clive have called an ambulance? She chewed on her lower lip. She couldn't let her distrust of the man color her opinions.
"How is Lloyd? I wanted to visit, but wasn't sure if he was in Intensive Care or a regular room."
"I stopped by on my way here." Astrid sighed. "He looked so old and fragile."
Sarah Rayson hugged Astrid. "He'll be fine."
"Aunt Sarah, I'll take that as a prophecy. Let me unload the car. Then I need to check the gallery."
"Come to dinner. Around six."
"I'd like that. We can go see Dad together."
Astrid opened the door and stepped into the apartment's main room. She turned on the air conditioner. The large picture window showed a view of the river. Breakfast dishes were still on the counter dividing the kitchen from the rest of the room. Stacks of books covered the couch, chairs and coffee table.
A groan escaped. Not only would she have to organize the gallery records, she'd have to make order here. She carried the suitcases to the small bedroom she used when she visited. At least the clutter hadn't invaded her space. After several trips to the car, she stepped into the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face.
What had caused Dad and Clive to quarrel? They seldom disagreed. Would Clive tell her?
When she entered Antiquities, she turned a full circle. The usual disorganized appearance had vanished. The enormous room was now broken into small areas. Dividers of wood and glass separated the displays.
Clive strode toward her. The tall, blond man moved with a predatory grace. He looked like the Viking hero some of her acquaintances had dubbed him. He was handsome, but the coldness of his blue eyes made her wary. "Hello, Clive."
"You made good time. Have you seen your dad?"
"I stopped at the hospital." A sigh escaped. "I can't believe he had a stroke. He's always been so healthy."
Clive clasped her hands. "He's tough. Before long, he'll be back cluttering the place."
"Hope not. You've achieved wonders here." She tried to free her hands. He tugged her closer. "The apartment looks like a magpie's nest."
"Good description." He brushed her lips with his.
Astrid shook her head. She wanted to wipe her mouth. Would he start another pursuit this summer? "Let's stick to business. I like the arrangement of the stock."
"A suggestion from a new customer. Rich playboy type, but he has good taste. Garrett and your dad connected. Act like they've known each other for ages."
She crossed her arms on her chest. "Why were you and Dad arguing?"
He groaned. "Guess you talked to nosy Sarah. Was more like a heated discussion about displaying two new pieces he recently found. Bought this sealed box at a sale. Odd assortment."
"How odd?"
He laughed. "Nothing bad. Mostly a collection of Victorian jewelry and these two pieces. He wanted to research them before they were offered for sale. I wanted to price them immediately. You know how hard it is to date the things we acquire."
She nodded. "So where are they?"
"Most of the jewelry is in the vault and I can't get to them."
"I--" She cut off her response. She knew the code for the vault and would see what he meant in the morning.
He took her arm. "I'll show you the two pieces I kept out and introduce you to Paula Winters. She's photographing a number of our best pieces for a catalogue we're launching."
"Another suggestion from Dad's new friend?"
"In a way." He entered the Egyptian area. "Astrid, Paula Winters. Astrid is Lloyd's daughter. She's here for the summer, then it's back upstate."
Astrid didn't contradict him. Her plans weren't his business.
The woman turned. "Teacher?" She gazed at Clive.
"School nurse." Astrid read admiration in Paula's eyes. Did Clive return the interest? He usually went for petite and curvy. Paula was slim, almost boyish. The blunt cut of her shoulder-length auburn hair reminded Astrid of styles she'd seen on ancient Egyptian women.
Paula's crooked grin warmed Astrid. "Glad to finally meet you. Your dad talks a lot about you."
"Don't believe everything he's said. What are you photographing today?" Astrid asked.
"Starting with the Egyptian collection. The new pieces are stunning. Clive thinks it's a good idea to have a visual record of the things in the shop."
Astrid turned to Clive. "Then there is a problem."
"I told you several pieces were missing."
"I hope not, but this has been going on since right after Easter."
Astrid frowned. Why hadn't Dad mentioned the problem? She edged toward the stand where a necklace and crown were displayed on a black velvet cloth. Where had she seen these pieces before? The necklace resembled a wide collar. Semi-circles of a pale gold metal were inlaid with lapis. From the last row, carnelians dangled. The headband of the same metal had flowers of inlaid lapis with carnelian centers.
"Are these the items you and Dad argued about?"
Clive nodded. "He wanted to put them in the vault."
"Why have you displayed them?"
"One, I can't open the vault and two, they're too attractive to hide."
Astrid brushed a finger over one of the dangles. Sadness washed over her. As though under a spell, she lifted the necklace. Waves of dizziness rocked her.
* * * *
Seshat stood at the entrance to her workroom built against the wall of the villa. She stared into the garden. Though chaos ruled the Two Lands, in this house at a distance from Thebes, only echoes of the troubles were heard. How fortunate that her father, Nomarch Sehetep, had distanced himself from the politics of both halves of the divided land.
She heard her younger sister giggle and watched her run toward the workroom. "What have you done now?"
"Spied on Father," Tiy said.
Seshat shook her head. Tiy hovered between childhood and womanhood. She delighted in mischief. Seshat left the doorway and reached for the tallies of the recent harvest.
"Don't you want to know what I heard and what I saw?" Tiy's warm brown eyes sparkled with mischief.
"Tell me."
"We have guests. From Thebes. Oh, Seshat, they are the most handsome men I have ever seen. They seek father's support. One of them wants the Double Crown. Maybe he will choose you as his wife and ignore Nefru."
Seshat sighed. If she were chosen, Nefru, daughter of their father's dead first wife, would be furious. Though Seshat's mother had been a princess of a past dynasty, Nefru denied the claim. Seshat sighed. Anyone seeking Sehetep's support would choose the oldest daughter. Since no sons had been born to the house, Nefru's spouse would claim the nome when Sehetep left this world.
"We're to eat the evening meal with them," Tiy said. "Nefru stamped her foot when she heard. When these men see you, they won't look at her."
Seshat shook her head. That would bring spiteful attacks from her sister. Besides, Seshat had no desire to leave her father. Wasn't she his right hand and his star to comfort his last days? She lifted a quill and began to record the number of baskets of harvested grain.
Before she finished the tally, Bastet, her aging maidservant, entered. "Come, child. You must make ready for the evening."
Seshat put her quill and papyrus aside and followed Bastet to the bathing room. After washing, her skin was rubbed with scented oil. Bastet combed and braided her hair. Not for Seshat the shaved head and the hot, heavy wig. The maid applied kohl to make Seshat's gray eyes appear more luminous and darker.
"What will you wear?" Bastet asked. "These men have come from Thebes. You don't want to appear a country girl."
Seshat chose a robe of fine linen that covered her body from beneath her breasts to her ankles. The broad straps formed a vee as they crossed her shoulders. For jewelry, she selected the necklace her mother had left her. The electrum semi-circles of the collar were inlaid with lapis. Carnelians dangled above her bare breasts.
"Will you wear the crown?"
Seshat shook her head. She was sure Nefru would wear her finest linen tunic and adorn herself with jewels. Her wig would be ornamented as well. A subtle touch is best, Seshat thought.
She and Tiy entered the large hall where their father, sister and the guests waited. Sehetep smiled. "Daughters, come and meet our visitors. Seshat, how like your mother you look. She was the loveliest flower in my garden. You are indeed the star to delight my last days."
Nefru's lips thinned. She glared. Rings glittered on her fingers. Her armbands were studded with gems. The nipples of her heavy breasts had been colored with henna.
Seshat ignored her sister's displeasure. She kept her eyelids lowered as her father drew her toward the guests. "Mermeshu, Commander of the Army, and Intef, his advisor, my daughters, Seshat and Tiy."
Seshat glanced at the men. Both wore kilts and tunics. A jeweled pectoral gleamed against the pale linen of Mermeshu's tunic. The men were taller than her father. Mermeshu had the arms and shoulders of an archer. Though of slighter build, Intef seemed fit. She shuddered. His eyes had the coldness of a serpent.
Mermeshu's dark eyes captured her gaze. As though to see her better, he smiled and stepped back. Her skin felt hot. A throbbing low in her belly brought an urge to touch and be touched by him. Her nipples tightened. His smile broadened.
In that instant, Seshat knew she desired this man for all eternity. Hathor, goddess of love, bring him to my side. Fill him with desire for only me. Let him see my beauty and my grace. Bring him to me.
Nefru clapped her hands. The serving maids set the individual tables before Sehetep's chair and the stools for the others. Since this was the main meal of the day, course followed course. Beef, lamb and goose were served with lentils, carrots and spinach. Wine and beer were lavishly offered. The meal ended with melons, figs and dates. Though Seshat ate, she tasted nothing.
Mermeshu and Intef spoke of the Hyksos who controlled the north and of the troubles in the south. Many men competed for the Double Crown, but only one could wear it. Mermeshu had come to ask for men, supplies and coins. He believed with the army's backing, he could win the crown and drive the usurpers from the land.
Bits of conversation entered Seshat's awareness. For twenty years, the land had been torn asunder by men who wished to be pharaoh. Then came the Hyksos with their chariots and armies. Only a united Egypt could repel them.
Seshat had no care for tales of war or warnings of battles to come. Her body thrummed with a desire she didn't fully understand.
When the meal ended, Nefru signaled the slaves to remove the tables. "Mermeshu and Intef, would you like to stroll in the gardens?"
The men rose to follow her. Seshat paused beside her father's chair. "Do you wish me to play the harp?" Though she wanted to join the others, her first duty was to him.
"Go to the garden." He patted her cheek. "Star of my last days, you have your mother's heart."
Seshat kissed him on the forehead and strolled into the garden. Nefru walked with a hand on each man's arm. Tiy was nowhere to be seen. Had Nefru sent her away? The trio paused beside the pool.
"Alas, my father has no sons or male kindred," Nefru said. "The husband I choose will be fortunate. All this will be his."
"And your sisters?" Mermeshu asked. "Have they no share in your father's wealth?"
Nefru snorted. "Daughters of concubines have no standing. They will be grateful for what I give them."
Intef laughed. "Don't you mean what your husband gives them?"
Nefru smiled. "He will be so entranced with me, he will do as I wish."
Seshat joined them. Anger sizzled through her veins. "Nefru, you can insult me but not my mother. She was wife to our father, duly witnessed in the temple."
Nefru giggled. "I'd forgotten. She was only second wife and brought nothing of value to the marriage."
"She was a princess."
"So she said."
Seshat bit her lip. Quarreling with Nefru before their guests was in poor taste. She looked up. Mermeshu grinned. Heat seared her core. He stepped away from Nefru and took Seshat's arm.
"Come and enjoy the beauty of the garden," he said. "The night and the company are too lovely for heated words. Your father said the garden was your realm."
"And the fields and herds," Nefru said. "She acts like she's our father's son."
"And for that reason, I must leave," Seshat said. "'Tis harvest time and I have much to do."

Mermeshu leaned toward her. "Pleasant dreams." He lightly caressed her arm.