Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fan Mail

Had a nice email from a fan in CT today who wrote that she felt like she'd won the lottery when she received the books she bought in the mail, plus a manuscript copy of this year's annual Christmas story. She's already read that story plus two of the four books.

Thanks, JoAnn- you made my heart happy!

So far everyone who has contacted me has been happy/excited by the books they've read.

Guess I'll keep putting together books and writing more! :)

Work in Progress on the Talon Series

I have been rereading the two published novels in the Talon trilogy and revamping/proofing and editing them. Just when you think everything is perfect you sit down to read and enjoy the novels and BAM! find typos and comma errors and missing words. Thank you Microsoft word for changing words on me because a computer thinks it knows what I want to write! Ha! Not so! So, once again dealing with some frustrations but in general I am happy/satisfied with the stories in each novel and now motivated to finish the third and final book in the series which will include the few years into the future Christmas story that is the companion piece to the trilogy and only available to readers of the series (like The Archetypes has a Christmas story bonus at the end of book two in the series and Life Skills also has its bonus Christmas story added as chapter 40.) It's just something I like doing since I have been writing Christmas stories since 1997.

I will be working on Talon:The Familiarity of it All in January 2016. It's about half written.

This is the series about the icy cold MD/ME and the flame-haired, volatile night desk clerk at City Morgue who are destined to be together as partners in this world and beyond for he is a grim reaper and she is his chosen portal- but Bryce Briscoe is much more than a mere portal!

In Talon: An Intimate Familiarity it is time for Talon to begin training his portal but he is being distracted from his task by a sultry doctor who has no love for Bryce. Talon and Bryce's relationship is fiery and volatile with misunderstandings, communication failures and an underlying smoldering passion for one another that leads to confusion and flares of temper before Bryce begins to understand who and what she is, and who and what her frosty yet steamy lover is.

In Talon:A Sense of Familiarity their relationship has leveled out. Bryce is expecting Talon's heir (a son) and Talon wants her to mend fences with her estranged family. They have been locked out of Heaven while the Council argues about what to do about Bryce. Meanwhile, a romantic week at the lake leads to a nightmare situation causing an old friend to come back to earth to offer his help. Bryce makes headway in re-establishing relations with her family. Powerful demons threaten them and Bryce loses a cherished friend. And their baby makes his arrival a little earlier than expected.

In Talon: The Familiarity of it All there will be more surprises, loses, gains and battles to be fought before Talon and Bryce's long awaited wedding.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Next Goodreads Giveaway

I've decided to giveaway three copies of the first book in the Talon series-  Talon:An Intimate Familiarity.  There're a lot of grim reapers out there but none quite like Dr. Giles Talon, the icy cold Medical Examiner who infuriates and inflames young, flame-haired nightshift morgue clerk Bryce Briscoe.. Watch for the giveaway beginning in seven days on Goodreads!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twas the Nght Before Christmas...

...and I have the house to myself for an hour and a half while John takes Kelly to his parents' house. I am not going this year because his mother should be in hospice and not bothered by a houseful of people and there are already a slew of people living with them and off of them which irritates me no end.  So I have elected to stay home and finish getting our home ready for Christmas tomorrow. I've cleaned a little more, made deviled eggs, hauled some presents up from the basement and picked up a book I've been wanting to read for months. I worked a half day today and need this quiet time to regroup after the neediness of patients and being unable to do everything that needs t get done...I am just one person and the demands on me are overwhelming at times. But I had a great doctor on duty today whom I work well with-and he was wearing his Christmas best!! You've got to love a man who is not afraid to wear a long red and white striped stocking cap, a bright green Christmas vest with appliques and a blinking Christmas light necklace- and we are not in pediatrics! We treat only adults! He certainly brought a lot of Christmas cheer to the office today! And before we left everyone gathered in the business office for hugs, kisses and Christmas wishes before flying out the door to head home for the holidays. We take time to be there and support one another...and to make sure we'll all have a good Christmas. One co-worker was short on cash this year so four of us got together, donated what we could afford after our own holiday shopping and then two of us went shopping for that co-worker's daughters to help make their Christmas merry, plus what we had left went to our co-worker who is always doing nice things for us and makes us smile and laugh because she deserves a nice Christmas, too. In a world seemingly full of self-centered people we are a pocket of caring people who take care of one another when we need to.
   So, on this night while I sit in the peace and quiet of my home I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.. Twas the night before Christmas...take a minute to find your own peace this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Playboy

I know this guy who is probably in his early 70's. He's athletic and has kept himself well over the years and he's good looking. He's been married several times but is not married now. He's a casual acquaintance but he likes to share stories and pictures of his adventures in the, well...what do we want to call this?...senior dating scene? May-December conquests? I'm not really sure. Let's just say that his days are spent in the pursuit of pretty ladies he might get lucky with. He likes to travel. He is currently entertaining himself chatting with Russian girls on senior dating sites. He knows all they're interested in is his money, finding a rich sugar daddy but he enjoys the flirting. It seems to be his main hobby these days, although he has a Jamaican young lady who works at a resort as a companion also. He bought her a nice bracelet for Christmas. I keep telling him that one day I'm going to write a book about his exploits, but in reality I might turn him into a fictional character one day, one that has some of his attributes but not enough to make him recognizable to anyone who might know him and read the book he'll waltz into. He is the first true playboy I have met in my lifetime.
   An author needs to meet all sorts of people so that when we create a character we can make them vibrant and realistic. I'm grateful for the variety of people who pass through my life.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gift Exchange

Holy moly! My big sister and little brother came over this evening for our Christmas gift exchange and for my sister's birthday (she's how old???? OMG!) When the three of us get together it's verbal chaos and belly-busting laughter. The big story tonight was how when my sister's husband picked up their tree to carry it upstairs his pants fell down! Better get that man some suspenders for next year!!!
We also shared crazy cat stories about our cats. We have just 2. My brother has 18 and my sister has 7 or 8 plus a Sheltie dog. One of my cats has a 2-second attention span. I'm not going to get into all the cat stories- they could fill a book! My brother, the baby of the family at 14 months younger than me has had a number of encounters with the police. He's never been arrested but he is known for stupid stunts...any night now I expect him to call to ask to be bailed out. I will tell him I will be right down and then I'll go back to sleep! On the way out my sister lost her jingle bell earring for the fifteenth time in an hour and a half. Out came the Maglite and the search party. Just as they were about to drive off in defeat the flashlight beam landed on the earring in the driveway and I am out there yelling in the dead of night, "Stop! Stop!" Earring reunited with big sister we wished one another a goodnight and off my brother goes tooting the horn all the way up the street. Oh yeah, my neighbors just love it when we get together!
   If there isn't a dose of family chaos it isn't Christmas! I'm ready now!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Movies

While struggling through a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up I am pretty much laid up, so today, while a few snow flurries fell outside the window, I cuddled up under a flannel blanket and watched some movies. The afternoon started with The Pilgrims, a PBS presentation on DVD. It was pretty good at presenting how bleak it was for the pilgrims arriving in November, having to build shelters, more than half of them dying through a dismal winter with little food. It definitely wasn't the Hallmark, grade school history version. They used the replica Plimouth Plantation and Mayflower for this. It was well done. Then John came out and we watched the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol and ate dinner during this movie on TV. He made a nice chicken stew. It was cold and windy still so that hit the spot. Tonight we watched Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby in White Christmas. We'll watch Holiday Inn another time when Kelly is home. Today she worked in the trolley restoration barn and then this evening she's been running the trolleys at the museum for Winter Fest. She'll come home half frozen if she's been operating the open air cars!! I feel a little less stiff and sore after a day of resting, but I am definitely not the kind of person who can lounge around and do nothing all day. I feel frustrated and like I failed to accomplish something.

My brother and sister are coming tomorrow to exchange gifts. My big sister celebrates her birthday December 23rd. If I can move easier tomorrow I may bake something- not sure what- maybe bar chocolate chip cookies to share with them.

It doesn't look like a New England Christmas outside but watching Christmas movies helped put me in a better mood about the rapidly approaching holiday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Strange Dream

I had a strange dream this morning. I was in a senior assisted living apartment with my daughter and she had invited a singing duo she was familiar with whom I'd never heard before to play for her grandfather. They were set up in a corner of the living room and suddenly the apartment was full of senior citizens all having a blast dancing to the music. I was standing in the kitchen area and the elderly women were fussing about poking into cabinets and cupboards and admiring the kitchen's features (which included a lift-up section that revealed a small propane tank!) During a lull in the music I asked Kelly to dig out a CD case for the duo and I would try to get their autographs on the case liner for her. The director of the assisted living facility came up to me and told me what a marvelous idea we'd had arranging live entertainment for the seniors- that they were all having a "blast." (I felt a little apprehensive about his use of that phrase with the old ladies having just been admiring the propane tank in the kitchen)...but then one of the duo was walking by and I stopped him and asked if he'd sign the case liner, and he took the pen and signed for Kelly...but there were thirty other signatures on the other side of the liner already! The room had emptied out during this "intermission" time and I couldn't see my father and that troubled me but there seemed to be refreshments being served elsewhere- perhaps in the apartment opposite his? I could hear people out in the hallway.

The cats woke me up at this point but the dream has lingered with me. My father never lived in assisted living. We do not know any musicians/singers. I know a lot of elderly people from places I have worked here in town and they can be quite boisterous and funny when given the chance...maybe this is a story idea?

I was kind of kicking around the idea of a down-on-their-luck sort of washed-up band being invited to play at a Christmas party. They travel out into the country to this crumbling old estate and when they enter the house they are thrown back in time to early Victorian days, candlelight or gaslight, no electricity for their electric guitars and keyboard so they have to improvise with acoustic guitars and piano and whatever they have...and they get the party rocking? I don't know, it's not fully formed yet, just sort of starting to congeal in my brain at the moment.

But that certainly was a strange dream....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

5 STARS For Miss Peculiar Volume I

I had a thrill this past Saturday when I was on Goodreads and noticed Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I had a new review posted. The review was by one of the ten giveaway winners for this book and she rated it 5 but wished she could have given it 6! She called the stories amazing and wanted more. There are two additional volumes in the series already, and I wrote two new stories for a future volume 4 this past October. I will keep writing the haunting tales as hey are near and dear to my heart.

Thank you, Galina, for taking the time to review the book- and for making my weekend!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

I Can't Put It Down!

Had a phone call from a woman I used to work with. I gifted her the three collected Christmas story volumes last week or so. Today she called me and said, "I can't put the book down! I love your stories!"

Apparently once I get my books into someone's hands they can't put them down. It's the putting the books into the right people's hands that has stymied so far.

I do not dumb down my books for quick and easy, mindless reads. I use language like an artist uses color, light and texture. I create characters you feel you know better than you know your own family members. I create characters who are far from perfect but they don't give up.

I'd love to have you contact me and tell me, "I can't put it down!", but first you have to pick it up.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway #3- Your Input Needed

What title do you want to see as the first Goodreads Giveaway book for 2016? You can suggest a title on my facebook page, as a comment to my post on my Goodreads blog or as a comment to this post, or you can email me the title you'd like to see offered by sending me a message at  Which ever title generates the most interest will be the next Goodreads Giveaway book offered.

It was 60 Today

Today is December 10th and in western Massachusetts it was sixty degrees. So far it has been pretty mild weather. The last hint of snow in the air was back in October when we were selecting pumpkins to be carved for Halloween! I hear it's supposed to be a mild winter. Earlier in the year they were saying it was supposed to cold and snowy. In New England it's always a crap shoot because thr weather is entirely unpredictable.

I kind of wish it would snow a little...but it's not even winter yet, so we'll see what we shall see, as they say.

Meanwhile, not in a very Christmas-y mood, I sat down and edited The Christmas Angel but I'm still not sure that this will be the Christmas story for 2015. It's okay, but not great. Maybe with a little more tinkering this coming weekend I'll get it to where it meets my personal standards.

I shipped copies of The Subtlety of Light and Shadow to the six winners of my second Goodreads giveaway. The line was not horrendous at the post office at twenty past one. No one else was shipping anything while I was there. Then I went to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions and gifted the two pharmacists there I deal with for my own medications as well as for those of many patients in the practice where I work as a secretary doing Prior Authorizations for medications with a set of the three collected Christmas books. Liz is on vacation next week so she's taking them with her to read. Mark wasn't in today, but she'll get the books to him.

For whatever reason, my rheumatoid arthritis has flared up big time. I am limping around and suffering with stiff, sore, achy joints from neck to toes. The weather is mild but the nights are cold. Maybe it's that combination of cold nights, warm days that's wreaking havoc on me? It's been coming on since last weekend...was so bad yesterday I did a rare thing and just sat in my chair and did nothing but hold the cat and watch a few westerns on TV with my husband. I really am not one to sit and watch TV- it doesn't interest me but my hands hurt too much to hold a book for long. I couldn't type. I just wanted to go to bed.

And that's where I'm going now. Have to work tomorrow- hopefully I'll be able to move! I have so much to do!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

First Christmas Story Written

I'm not sure if this will be the one or not, but just finished the first Christmas story of 2015. It's three minutes past midnight. This one is The Christmas Angel. It's about a young man who fathered a child but the mother got primary custody of the girl while he only got partial custody because he had issues with alcohol. He had cleaned up his act as the mother has sunken into drug addiction and picking up men which has upset Somer. He has been taking the little girl, Lily, to the Starlight Diner when he's had her on weekends and for a week during the summer. There is a waitress there named Ginger who has caught his eye, but Ginger has some issues of her own, having been raised by a single mother who never made her feel wanted. Lily gets hurt by one of her mother's male friends and lands in the hospital. Somer is having trouble dealing with it and asks Lily to go with him to see her. Ginger is shocked by the abuse Lily has suffered. She encourages Somer to pursue sole custody of his daughter, and offers to help him as much as she can. He actually had a good home life but fell in with the wrong crowd and fathered this child by a girl he did not marry who had no real feelings for him. Now he is anxious about being a single dad so Ginger helps him to see that he will be a good father, that he had a good father as his role model. He tells her tat he has feelings for her and she gets frightened by that because of her low self esteem issues. But little Lily is the catalyst that helps them both decide the path they want to follow. Lily has one wish for Christmas- she wants a tree with a Christmas angel on top. Somer and Ginger can only find stars to top the tree with. A truck driver who frequents the diner where Ginger works as given Ginger money several times to buy things for Lily. It turns out that he lost his six year old daughter to cancer a number of years ago. On Christmas Eve a tragedy occurs at the diner where Ginger is working. The diner is robbed. Ginger is hurt and other patrons are shot, several killed and the rest wounded. The truck driver is among the dead, he had brought a small box with him and his last act while alive is to push the box over the counter to Ginger who is lying hurt on the floor behind the counter. The box travels with her to the ER, to her apartment and then to Somer's apartment where it is forgotten until the wee hours of Christmas morning. The last gift from the trucker for Lily is the Christmas angel that once graced the top of his own daughter's tree. It is a gift to a child who needs to believe in Santa and everything he stands for. It is a gift that helps all three of them begin to heal and to form stronger bonds toward becoming a family.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Connecticut Trolley Museum Winter Fest

Kelly worked Friday and Saturday evening/night at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT, operating the trolleys for the annual Winter Fest event. She went over after work on Friday night, then yesterday volunteered first in the trolley restoration barn, something she has been doing for almost four years now. I love to see her dressed up in her trolley operator's outfit- black slacks, crisp white shirt, black vest with pocket watch and fob, black jacket. She doesn't have her operator's kepi-style cap yet so she has been wearing a vintage black bowler. She put a red ribbon with white snowflakes band on her hat for Winter Fest. She is like an anachronism, especially last night with her plaid scarf wrapped around her neck! I like that she enjoys being part of this living history museum, and has the time and energy to volunteer so many hours there while working full time. People her own age (24.5yrs old) usually have no appreciation for the past, but Kelly has always loved steam trains and electric trolleys, coaches and carriages and horse drawn vehicles and automobiles up to just past the brass era. She collects antique fire grenades, the decorative glass bottles the Victorians kept in their home to throw at fires which were a common crisis in those days. She also collects antique inkwells, certain soda bottles (embossed), and ice picks. Her bedroom is like a museum Thank God she hasn't asked for a real trolley car for the back yard and is content to go to CT to restore and operate their trolley cars there!! You don't see too many young ladies with that kind of passion and enthusiasm these days!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Brainstorming for Christmas Story Ideas

Today, on the way to work, I loaded up the CD player with Christmas CDs to put myself in the mood for writing this years annual Christmas Story. On the way home tonight I was making myself all teary-eyed while kicking around  a few ideas while listening to Celtic Women sing carols.

Oh, tis the season for sentimentality and nostalgia...

NaNoWriMo Edits Completed

I finished the first edit of Life Skills last night. What a lot of story to edit and revise here and there but it's done. I put it into a 6X9 trade paperback format and came out with 383 pages! Tis is probably the longest novel I've written since the epic and still as yet unpublished Medina that would probably come in at twice that many pages if ever put into print!  When I was done I went on CreateSpace and created a book so I will have one print copy of this. Unsure if I will offer it for sale or not at this time. It probably still needs work, but Kelly, my chief editor and proofreader, will have a hardcopy to work her critical magic on. The hardest part was finding a cover that would work. I finally chose the linked hands because through all their trials and tribulations, Remy and Lissa forge a strong bond- they hold on tight to one another through life's wild ride.

Now I can move on to writing this year's annual Christmas story/ stories. I have no idea yet what I'll write but it'll come to me as it always does. All I need is a hint of snow int he air to put me in the mood!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Story Collection Volumes Available Now!

Louis & Clark Country Gifts in Westfield, MA is the exclusive retailer of my three Christmas collection volumes- Yuletide Stories, Always Christmas in My Heart and Together for the Holidays. The books are signed and dated for 2015 and are first editions.  Louis & Clark is located in the Hampton Ponds Plaza on the corner of Route 202 and East Mountain Road in the northeast corner of Westfield, MA.  The gift shop is loaded with wonderful things for the holidays and everyday! Linda and her staff are friendly and helpful and make the whole shopping experience rewarding. And there are usually homemade cookies on the table just inside the door! The fact that it is less than 2 miles from my home and is my favorite gift shop in town makes me happy because I believe in supporting local small businesses and I appreciate Linda's enthusiasm and willingness to help promote local people with something to offer the community. The books retail for $14.99 each.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

PS4 Mature Content Warning- Really?

I went with my husband to GameStop this afternoon to look at PS4 games. I chose a couple and we went to the register to check out. The girl ringing up the purchase says, "Are you all right with the mature content of this game?"  I looked at John whose hair is silver now and then I looked down at my purse and said, "Do I have to show you my ID?  I honestly think I'm old enough to handle mature content at my age." The girl looked up at us and kind of laughed and said, "I guess so!"

Ouch. So this is what it's like to be in the shadow of the Baby Boomers. 

Oh well, I am as young as I think I am and my brain still thinks I'm an awful lot younger than I really am, like maybe two and a half decades younger. 

I just thought it was very surreal having this girl who looked like she was fresh out of high school warning me about the mature content of a video game- there are commercials and programs on TV with much more graphic and offensive content than one of these games! I skim past worst crap on facebook!

Maybe she thought I, God forbid, was buying the game for my grandchildren? (Nonexistant, by the way, I am no one's Grandma!)  And my only child is 24.5 years old this coming month.

Basically, I think I can handle this game, but thanks for worrying about the state of my cardiac and vascular system health. I doubt I'll be having a heart attack or a stroke over this. 

I am, after all, a long time Tomb Raider player(among other games). I can still remember playing it on the computer before we owned a PlayStation console!  Now if that doesn't date me I don't know what else will, except maybe carbon dating, although I don't believe I ever walked with dinosaurs!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Last NaNoWriMo Weekend

While I finished my NaNo novel back on November 20th I have been editing it, something that usually gets done in December or later on, but I haven't been able to focus on any other project at the moment so I figured I'd tackle this massive chore. I was more verbose this year than I have ever been in a long time, since I wrote the epic Medina years ago for my best friend that topped out at 232,380 words. It was a contemporary romance about three brothers all in love with the same young woman. Two of the brothers are from the wrong side of the tracks while the third is a lawyer who had a different mother.

I am rooting Kelly on as she nears the 50,000 word goal. This year her story is progressing more smoothly. She's staying focused and getting the writing done.  Her story sounds interesting. I'll be helping her with the editing once it's done.

I need to further hack my story up, but right now I'm not sure what I need to remove. I'll get it cleaned up- all the typos fixed and the continuity issues corrected and the commas under control- and later on I can pare it down if need be. Right now it would probably be a 400 page trade paperback. a bit too hefty. 

Overall, this has been a different NaNoWriMo experience for me as I had a start and then a restart at the beginning of the month, and then we attended to write-ins whereas we have never attended one before. It took me longer to write this novel and I am still interested in it enough to reread it and edit it before the 30 days have passed. 

I'm already looking forward to next year's NaNoWriMo!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On Being Thankful

It's nearly midnight and I am winding down from a long day of cleaning and getting the house ready for the holiday tomorrow.

I've been editing my Nano novel- thinking I would be able to pare it down but the word count is going up instead of down as I clean it up and fix up some continuity issues. So this leads me to the first thing I am thankful for- I am thankful for this gift that I have been given, the ability to write with ease. For me it is like tapping directly into a muse who is a fount of ideas and the muse takes over and I just type. It's always been that way, even when I was young and would grab a pen and notebook from beside my bed and write in the dark so I wouldn't disturb anyone.

Second, I am grateful for my daughter- she is amazing. She is intelligent in a very analytical black and white sense like her father. She is techno savvy whereas I am not. And she has inherited the writing gene from me. She is the best of both of her parents and I am proud of her accomplishments so far in life.

Next, I am thankful to have a job in this country where jobs are outsourced to foreign countries while so many people are desperate to find work.

I am grateful to have a roof over my head and food on my table.

I am thankful for family and friends who make my life fun and interesting.

I am thankful for my two cats who keep me calm and leveled out when I'm on the verge of stressing out.

I'm thankful that there are still people who like to read.

I'm thankful that while this country has continuing racial issues that we are not at war among ourselves and can pull together and present one united front when we have to. his is a huge country with a lot of people living in it coast to coast. We're blending in more and more cultures yet when something terrible happens we are one country, one people.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving as you count your own blessings tomorrow. I know I will continue reflecting upon mine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Christmas Story Time and Christmas Memories

Now that I've conquered the NaNoWriMo challenge for November I can start thinking about this year's annual Christmas story. I started writing an annual story back in 1997 or so, when Kelly was still in elementary school. I stopped for three years after my mother passed away in 2000 and resumed in 2003. Some years I write one tory, some years 2-3 stories. It depends on free time and inspiration factors.

After I finished my NaNo novel this year I wrote an 8600 word Christmas story based on the characters in the novel, celebrating Christmas Day three years into the future. This would most likely end up as a bonus story at the end of the novel since you would have had to have read the novel to know these characters and their back stories.

I've been feeling nostalgic about the Christmases I shared with my family growing up in the 60's. It was a more innocent time and families were closer, not everyone running off to do their own thing, or connected to their cellphones and disconnected from real life. It was a time when towns really decked out Main Street with garlands across the road every hundred feet or so- lights and bells and conical-shaped Christmas trees in the town I grew up in, lights and wreaths in the bigger town north of us. It was always an adventure to eat dinner on Saturday night then pile into the car and drive around town and the surrounding towns looking at how people had decorated their houses. This was the era of the big bulb lights, real laurel and evergreen roping. There were no giant inflatable decorations in front yards. There were snowmen in the yards, decorated sleds or ice skates on the porches, candles with colored bulbs in the windows, an occasional colored spotlight illuminating a front door wrapped like a giant gift with foiled paper and a wide band of ribbon and a huge bow. The town I grew up in had a pond in the center of town and on this pond there was a raft, and on the raft was a lit and decorated Christmas tree. This was the era of shopping downtown so all the storefronts were decked out for the holidays. I remember one shoe store in Northampton had an animated Santa. I just loved him as he turned from side to side and waved. There were also either painted flat wood or fiberglass nativity scenes on most town greens back then that reminded us of the reason we celebrated Christmas. People did not find them offensive. The nativity scene in Easthampton where I grew up was beautiful and fueled my love of camels. So did the fiberglass camels in West Springfield.

I have been trying to get back in touch with the magical feeling of Christmas morning when I was little. I remember having to wait in my bedroom like my brother and sister in their rooms until our parents got up. We'd be talking back and forth, kind of loudly because our parents' bedroom was at the opposite end of the house from our bedrooms- "Do you think he came yet?" we'd ask one another. Finally Mom would appear at the end of the hallway and Dad would shuffle past in his Santa boxer shorts over his flannel pajama pants and his red sweatshirt, dressed to play Santa. And then it was a shoving match as we dashed up the hall, hearts pounding with excitement to behold the lit tree, the real aluminum tinsel glittering and flashing, the mountain of gifts beneath the tree, the bulging stockings hanging from a clothesline tied between the coat closet and front door doorknobs. We all had our favorite place to sit. We always had at least one cat and the cat would join us. We'd open presents and then stockings. Mom always got a box of Yardley English lavender soap-her favorite. Dad always got Brylcreme in his stocking. We got jars of paste, bottles of LePage glue, crayons, pencils, bubble bath and small toys in our stockings. My favorite gifts were received over several years-my Pebbles Flintstone doll with the plastic bone through her topknot (I have her downstairs and she still has her bone!), my '63 titian ponytail Barbie doll 9which is probably why nearly all my female lead characters are redheads- Pebbles and Barbie were a huge influence, and my maternal grandfather had a passion for redheads besides!), my Pushmi-Pullyu that talked from the Dr. Doolittle movie, Larry the Lion who also talked, and my Sears copper-colored child-sized Kenmore range- oh, I loved that stove and the toy pots and pans I got to go with it. I "cooked" up a storm on that thing! And my white and pink Columba bicycle and when I was older, my green Columba bicycle. We had to go out and ride our bikes even with snow on the ground and freezing temperatures (This was back when Dad's had to build the bikes, usually on Christmas Eve- God bless his heart staying up late and building three bikes- that is real love!)

My Uncle Pete, Dad's older bachelor brother always joined us on Christmas Day. He got a box of cigars and one of those big packages with the various sausages, cheeses and crackers. He had a Polaroid camera which fascinated us all as we watched the pictures develop. I can still smell the developer after all these years! It stung my noise but the magic was so powerful watching our images emerge from a fog on the paper we didn't mind the stink of the chemicals. Uncle Pete always wore a white shirt and a necktie on Christmas. Mom usually wore a dress. I can't remember what my Dad wore, probably one of his plaid work shirts and slacks. The three of us kids wore corduroys and sweaters or turtlenecks.

Dinner was a feast. Mom ordered Table Talk pies- apple and mincemeat, from the corner variety store. They arrived at the store and we received a phone call to come and pick them up usually the day before Christmas. Although the store was in walking distance Dad usually drove there, not risking one of us dropping a pie on the way home! I remember the big Coca Cola display signs with Santa Claus in the store. Mom had gotten one sign for us one year from the storeowner- it was about eighteen or twenty inches high. She hung it on the coat closet door with a bunch of Dennison holiday cut-outs from W.T. Grants. There were Gurley Christmas candles shaped like snowmen, Santas, angels, carolers, a street lamp, a tree with silver glitter, and nativity figures on the divider between the living room and kitchen, also bought at Grants or Bradlees.

I am full of reminiscence tonight. I've been reading Reminisce and Good Old Days magazines and enjoying the stories, all the memories of Christmases past. Maybe all of this will help inspire me to write this year's annual Christmas story.

My most favorite memory of my own daughter was when she was eighteen months old, dressed in red long johns and bootie slippers, her hair longer than she wears it now , curling at the ends, still golden blonde. She is standing at the tree which is loaded with Hallmark ornaments and in her left hand she is holding her favorite ornament, a clear red acrylic heart- she always called this an apple for some reason. The sweetness and innocence radiating from her in the picture is breathtaking as she reaches for another ornament that has caught her eye. Children grow up so fast, the magical aspects of the holiday fade and become memories. Suddenly we are the adults who make the magic happen.

I don't know for sure what I'll be writing about this year...but it's been wonderful revisiting all these fond memories of Christmases past.

The Look My Cat Gave Me Was Priceless!

I love the Portuguese flannel blankets sold by the Vermont Country Store. Kelly has two on her bed, we have two on our bed, and there is one on my chair in the living room, and another twin size plaid one somewhere in the house that Kelly had on her bed when she was younger. Revere loves the red tartan plaid blanket on my chair and has claimed it as his own. He was getting miffed with me when I'd take it at night and throw it across my feet in bed because sometimes I get cold and can't warm up. I recently bought myself a twin size gray plaid blanket so I don't have to borrow "his" blanket. At the same time I bought one of their Portuguese flannel nightgowns in the same red tartan plaid as "his" blanket. Tonight I was chilled after coming home from the NaNo write-in so I put the nightgown on. When I opened the bathroom door and he saw me the look on his face was priceless. He recognized the color (I don't know what color he sees it as but he obviously recognized it) and plaid pattern. I can't begin to describe the exact way he looked at me, but it was a combination of surprise, confusion and a desire to curl up in my lap and take a cat nap! "Mom" was wearing "his" blanket! I had to show him that I hadn't harmed his blanket by cutting it up- it's still on my chair in the living room. But he is definitely not a stupid cat- he's an excellent pattern matcher!

By the way- the blankets are the best flannel blankets I've ever owned, and the nightgown is soft, warm and cozy! Pricey but they are durable and well worth the expense because they last (one of them has to be fifteen years old at least!) and don't pill or fray.  They're manufactured to keep writers (and their cats) warm- at least in my world!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chilly Nights and Cats

Last night while Kelly was working toward her word count goal for the day for NaNo I wrote an 8,547 word Christmas story using the characters from my Nano novel and setting it three years into the future. Tonight, as the temperature dropped into the low 20's here on the mountain in the northeast corner of town I edited the story while she pounded out her goal word count for today. She's making steady progress toward 50,000 words and my fingers are crossed that she'll reach the goal and be a winner this year-and then she will be able to get her two free copies of her book. I'm anxious to read it!

My long-haired gray and white cat has been super affectionate today. Although he's a longhaired cat he gets cold on chilly nights. When he comes to bed with me he'll literally fling himself down against my side or my hip and then nestled himself in until he's comfortable. It doesn't matter if I'm comfortable or not as long as he is! His tuxedo big brother also likes to sleep with us. Revere has to have my hand and wrist under his upper body and head. He pins my arm down and sleeps on it. He's got his own idea of comfort. I'm surprised I get any sleep at night with the two of them jockeying for position. occasionally Riley Beans will actually throw himself down right on top of Revere! John more or less sleeps through all this feline maneuvering throughout the night. I suppose I could close the door and shut them out like Kelly does every night, but I grew up with cats and have always shared my bed with one or two felines. John's gotten used to it over the years-even though he wasn't a cat lover by any means when we got married. He didn't really care for cats until we adopted big old tiger tom cat Marty, a stray that had hung around at my mother's and loved Kelly. John found a feline buddy in Marty. We had him for ten years until he developed cancer and we had to say goodbye to him.

On cold nights there is nothing better than a furry friend to curl up with. I might just call it an early night tonight and not burn the midnight oil, just crawl into bed and bask in the warmth of my fluffy companions.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

NaNo Novel Done!

I finished writing my NaNo novel last night close to midnight. I was going to quit, went and updated my word count, then decided there really wasn't that much more to write, a couple of hundred words, and just sat down and got it done. Then, because I was so brain fried and tired I went back in and updated me word count, using the full word count (what I had previously posted and what the ending word count was now being combined because they were added together-spiking my word count up into the 234,000plus range! Yikes! I knew I had to fix that mistake and fast or quite a few people in western MA would be squawking Saturday morning about my word count jumping up 117,000plus words in one day! I'd have thrown the western MA writers graph way out of whack!! I finally found where I could edit my novel word count (I had already validated my novel for a win.) I typed in the 117,129 figure and it dropped my bar graph back down to where it should have been. This evening Kelly showed me where else I had to fix it to make everything right again for the state word count.

I am just glad it's done. Remy and Lissa have told their story. It wasn't the one they were going to tell originally, but this is the one they wanted to tell. You can't stop your characters from telling their own story, all you can do is more or less take dictation as their voices come into your head. It's done. They're happy. I'm happy.

Now I can  get back to doing the final round of edits on the published books to make them as perfect as possible . I'm slowly getting there while waiting for my copyright applications from the Library of Congress to be approved for all 16 books I self-published this summer and earlier in the fall.

And now, with this all done, I am going to go dream up some new stuff while I sleep!

First GoodReads Giveaway Has Ended

My first GoodReads giveaway ended at midnight last night with 866 people interested in obtaining one of the ten free copies I had offered. GoodReads sent me the names of the winners and the books are signed, packaged and read to mail ASAP to the winners!

I really enjoyed having the giveaway and will offer another in the near future. I picked up some followers on that site as well which makes me happy. As noted once before, I really am terrible at self promotion!

Overall- it has been a positive experience so far.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Strange Tapping at the Window


A curious thing happened tonight while I was sitting alone at the kitchen table writing. It was raining out so the rain was a pleasant background noise. I had sent a message to my friend Carol to let her know that two packages were being shipped to her home in Nashua tomorrow. Her mother had passed away on Saturday. We attended the funeral yesterday. When I got home I sent a donation in memory of her mother to the hospice facility where she died. Then I decided that I wanted to do something for her and for her daughter Emily who is our goddaughter, so I went to the local Memory Lane lamps website and ordered a Memory Lap for her with a beautiful shade with flowers and butterflies on it. Then I chose a butterfly-shaped light called Angel Wings Butterfly for Emily.

I'd sent a message earlier this evening to let Carol know to watch for the packages as packages have been stolen from her neighbors porches recently.

I was typing when suddenly there was a series of taps on the dining room window as if someone was standing out on the deck tapping on the window with a finger. It was loud enough that my husband heard if from the living room. And the cats also heard it and came to investigate the sound. Both of them sat on the file box on the stool I have in front of the window so they can bird watch when they get bored (they're indoor cats). The tapping was obviously something since all three humans and both cats heard it and knew it came from the dining room window. I had gotten up and turned on the deck light and there was nothing outside.

And then I received a message from Carol letting me know that she had gotten my message.

It made me wonder if Carol's Mom had come to say goodbye to me before leaving this plane for the next. It was just the sort of tapping sound someone would make to catch a person's attention. It was odd that it happened just before Carol's message came through- when her thought were heading this way after mine had gone her way a little earlier.

There have been no more taps and everything is now quiet.

(I wonder if a curious phenomena like this happened to Edgar Allen Poe and inspired The Raven?)

NaNo Write-In

Kelly and I went to our first NaNo Write-In this evening here in Westfield. It was a warm, rainy evening- perfect weather for grabbing a hot coffee, a handful of Munchkins and settling down to pounding out nearly 4,000 words in less than two hours. We met a very nice woman, who arranged for the write-in. Wish there had been more local writers able to stop by and write for awhile, but the three of us accomplished what we needed to do tonight.

Made plans to do this again next Tuesday night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Funeral

Well, today we are off to a funeral in Peabody- my former college roommate and best friend's mother passed away last week. This is a sad day for us as now we have both lost our mothers, and for women who have been close to their mother's through the years it is a loss that resonates throughout the remainder of ones' years. My mother died in October 2000 and there are still days I ache to pick up the phone and give her a call to talk about everything under the sun and then some, and then ask her advice and wise counsel on other matters. I see her and hear her voice in me and it's jolting at times, comforting at others.

My best friend's mother was an RN like my mom was. She was a school nurse. She raised a son and daughter and had her share of joys and heartbreaks before Alzheimer's began to plunder and rob her mind of memories. And then she was diagnosed with lung cancer, three primary tumors. Terminal. From the time she was diagnosed to her death was less than one month. She was a smoker. Diabetes and its myriad complications killed my mother.

My heart aches for my friend today. I have had fifteen years to adapt to being without my mother. Her journey along the path of sorrow has just begun. I hope she knows I'm there and will walk beside her into the future- will always be there for her.

Monday, November 16, 2015

NaNo Novel Progress

I hit 100,000 words tonight. I'm not quite finished but I'm getting there. If this was a trade paperback it would be over 341 pages...more like an epic than a novel. I need to go back and clean it up and do some major editing. But that will have to wait until it's done.

Kelly and I might attend a Write-In at the Dunkin Donuts at Little River Plaza where they have some round tables in front of a cozy gas fireplace. It would be the first time in the four years that I have been doing NaNo that I would actually make it to a write-in. I'd be interested in meeting some of the other awesome western MA writers who have boosted our collective word count over the 3,000,000 mark in just 16 days! We rock NaNo once again!

Of course western MA has produced a lot of amazing writers like poet Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, songwriter Arlo Guthrie, and we can even claim Edgar Allen Poe as he lived in Boston briefly, I believe- but it may have been before he took to writing to earn his living- to name a few off the top of my fried brain. There are many, many more (contemporary) but I can't for the life of me find another name in the swirling sludge in my head. I really need to get to bed and let my brain sleep and refresh. If only my nose was a refresh button! I would be pushing it constantly! Ha Ha!

before I stagger off to DreamLand I need to relate this- I had a phone call that made me happy tonight. A few weeks ago I sent copies of Love Me Knots to my mother's cousins Ginny and Judy. Ginny's been trying to call me for a week and a half now and we've been playing phone tag. We finally connected tonight. She had something to tell me. She wanted me to know that she is NOT a reader. (She was quite emphatic when she said that and it floored me-I cannot fathom anyone in my family not reading! But there she's been all along! Go figure!) HOWEVER, she continued, she HAD READ the book, taking it out on the side porch a couple evenings and plowing through the five stories- sweet little romances all of them- and SHE ENJOYED the book! She liked it! And she wanted to thank me for thinking of her and sending it. That just made my day! And she too recited the mantra I hear about many of my books, "I don't read but I couldn't put it down!"

Everybody says that to me about whatever book of mine that they're reading...


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Buttons and Books

I went to a button show yesterday. I'm doing a program on the theme "Cute As A Button" for my local button club in January. I was on the hunt for cute buttons at the show, going from dealer to dealer asking them to show me their cutest buttons. I discovered that we all have our own idea of what cute means.

Since it's my program and my card of buttons I'll be taking along I decided that the card should have buttons I like and consider cute. The card is filling with what buttonologists or buttonphiles call goofies and realistics. I have a little princess in a pink crown, a grinning pineapple wearing sunglasses, an orange elephant with yellow polka dots on his butt, a silly looking frog, a glittery winged adorable lady bug, a big-eyed crazy cat and more on the card already. I have to complete it by prowling through all the buttons in my own collection now since this was the last button show of this year for us.

I am researching the phrase now and will write a little piece about it.

Kelly updated my Good Reads page adding the pictures of both Talon books. We ran down the street to the gift shop to try to retrieve the unsold copies of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales and swap them out for copies of Yuletide Stories since the shop has been switched over to Christmas and Thanksgiving now, but we missed the owner who had to dash out the door to get to her son's game.

After all the errands were run and the laundry was finished it was time to get back into the NaNo novel. I am, at the moment 94,104 words into my novel. I'm about ready to wrap it up but they have this last crisis to get through and then the wedding. I can't leave Remy and Lissa dangling after the long road we've walked together since their series of development stories. I owe them this chance to tell their story. I'll keep going until they're done.

I'm proud of Kelly for hitting the halfway point with her novel this evening! Way to go, Kelly!

Time to go wrap it up for the night and then off to bed. Mondays come too darn fast!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

71,000 Plus Words into NaNo and Where do I go From Here?

I have been typing like a fiend for days it seems. I have 71,421 words so far, and that doesn't include the 27,000 plus words I scraped after the first three days. So that's like 98,500 words written since the 1st of November on weekends and after working all day and running around doing stuff that needs to get done...and I don't really have a clue where this novel is going or how it will end.

Life Study is based n a series of short stories I wrote- the same characters, but in Life Skills they were a little younger, still in high school. I've changed what happened to Lissa from a bike accident that left her near death with a mangled left leg to an unplanned for child who is 9 years younger than her next oldest sibling, and she is her mother's love child by another man, but she doesn't know this. The man she has always known as her father does know this and he starts abusing her when she is twelve-thirteen years old after emotionally wearing her down.

Lissa is drawn to a troubled young man named Remy Brice who has had his own share of abuse in his life. He's nearly four years older than her and was still in high school when she was a student there, as a condition of his last arrest where he would have been charged as an adult if things had not gone his way for once.

Lissa has an emotional breakdown in front of Remy who understands better than anyone what abuse in the home is all about. He takes her in and is protective of her, drawing his Uncle, cousins and his cousin's mother into the circle of protection he builds around her- exposing them all to violence from her father and his friends, who happen to be policemen who do not hesitate to harass Remy because of his juvenile arrests in the past.

Remy, meanwhile is trying to move forward in his life. He is going to buy his uncle's bungalow and fix it up. He's busy restoring and customizing cars, making good money. He has goals and plans, but now he is modifying them to include the girl he has always adored--Lissa.

The novel is about how two damaged young people bond and struggle to find a path out of their troubled pasts into a brighter future together. Like in Life Skills class, life provides them with some real challenges that they must deal with and find a way through. They have rough spots, both have post traumatic stress syndrome but they have found ways to cope with bad days and look ahead to good days.

It's basically a love story about two young people who have had difficult lives bonding and trying to make a better life for themselves together-  and their struggles not to let the past haunt them.
How it's going to end? I have to clue!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Suppose You Wrote a Blog and No One Read It?

Writing from the black hole of anonymity tonight before going back to this year's NaNo Novel.

In my little sphere here in western MA I have accumulated a number of followers and fans. Most of them have free books lining their bookshelves. I can be overly generous with my family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. I have taken small stacks of books with me to appointments to gift the receptionists and lab girls. I gave books to the clerks at the post office who have helped me mail packages to the Library of Congress. I have left books in mailboxes at houses where people really decked their homes out for Halloween.

What I haven't done yet is get my books into the hands of an interested agent. Or a publisher.

I fail miserably at self-promotion. I am riddled with self doubt like Swiss cheese. You can hear the wind whistling as it blows through me.

It's a chilly, raw, rainy night here. I have had two bad nights of disturbing dreams. On Sunday night I dreamed I was in a Victorian era hospital/asylum like building, not as an inmate, but touring the place. The walls and doors were the color of cooked oatmeal. The cell doors were open. There was a man in a black suit walking ahead of me, the Administrator? He never turned around so I never saw his face. As I passed rooms/cells I would look into them. There were people who looked like zombies lying on their sides on the floor with tortured faces, using large knives to carved wedge-shaped chunks of flesh from the jaws and throats. It was not heart-pounding scary but it was disturbing enough that in the dream I had to walk outside. I was wearing a red dress. (In real life I never wear a dress.)

Last night I was riding a bike on a rather narrow bike path in a low gear so I was struggling along. About every twenty five feet or so there was a snake lying across the path. Different snakes. It made me apprehensive because I had to ride close to them or fall off the path. There was a girl riding behind me. Further along the path there was a great big yellow dog lying on the path we had to get past. It didn't seem aggressive but had small beady eyes for such a large dog. I reached the end of the path and recognized I was someplace I knew and wanted to peddle home on the main roads despite the traffic, but the girl who had been behind me convinced me it would be faster to get home going back along the bike trail. I woke up as we started back along it.

Both dreams didn't wake me up feeling terrorized- just disturbed and uneasy.

I don't know what they mean or why I am having such strange, vivid, unsettling dreams.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Writing We Will Go! NaNoWRiMo Update from My Kitchen Table.

Have been doing my NaNo Novel. Started one on the first and wrote like mad thru the 3rd then after some deep thinking overnight decided to scrap the 27,000 plus words I had written in three days and start anew. I now have 57,361 words written of this new novel. I met goal yesterday- seven days into NaNo (50,000 words), a new record for me. But I really did it in 4 days since I started this new version on Wednesday afternoon.

I am brain fried but happy because this is more like the book I had in mind although it is not anything like the synopsis I wrote. I will have to go back and update that.

Meanwhile, Kelly is doing well. She hit 15,000 words tonight. I can't wait to read her novel. It sounds interesting. A writer writes best when they write what they know. That's why it's so difficult when you're young- you don't have a lot of life experiences yet, but now that Kelly has been through college, has traveled and is more involved in trolley restoration and is working full time she is absorbing stuff like a sponge and able to write more because she has grown as a person and a writer. I like seeing how she's come along since her first attempt at NaNo in college. I'm really proud of her.

I know she gets frustrated with me because I can write so fast- but it's just that my brain is always going full throttle. And I can probably type faster that her. I made more mistake and have the tedious task of going back and removing my excessive commas and fixing up typos and grammar issues and so on and so forth whereas she probably doesn't have as many mistakes to correct because she takes her time and is more careful.

Anyway-NaNo is going well for both or us at this point. I'm about two thirds done. Still plenty of time before November 30th!!

Monday, November 2, 2015


NaNoWriMo has officially begun (as of yesterday) and I got out of the gate quick and wrote 13,156 words before crashing and going to bed at 11:11PM last night. Tonight I will not be so prolific but I hope to at least reach 14,000 before bedtime! Have no clue where this story is going because it's really different from how I envisioned it when I wrote the synopsis. Guess we'll see.

I laughed like crazy when I posted my word count last night- they predicted I'd complete my novel at my current rate of writing on Wednesday, November 4th! Ha Ha! That would certainly be a new record for me- 4 days! I've finished past novels in 15 days, 18 days and 10 days.

A-writin' I will go!

Friday, October 30, 2015


For those of you already familiar with Good Reads you knw that authors offer free book giveaways to help promote their work.  I have set up a giveaway that opens at midnight on November 5th, 2015 and runs through November 20, 2015. For this giveaway, 10 lucky people will win a free signed copy of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I (book one).  So mark your calendars for the date and time and surf over to, find the Giveaway link and look for Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I and click to enter!

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Hometown is Not Very Supportive

I wrote and submitted a press release, something I also have to do on my own as a self-published author since I am my own press agent and publicity person, and emailed it to my local newspaper. The response I received back was that I could contact the sales department and buy ad space. Really? I pay over $200.00 a year for a subscription- I think they get enough of my money for the size paper I get daily. I shouldn't have to pay to submit an article.  I have nothing in my author budget for purchasing ad space at this time. Sorry Westfield News- I mistook you for a local interest, hometown newspaper. Guess not. Rather disappointed in my hometown at this point.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The TALON series

I have books one and two in the works in the Talon series. Talon is a doctor in the human world, a grim reaper in the heavenly realm and the demonic realms beyond earth.  He has a personality as aa doctor that repels people, therefore he's switched to Pathology where he doesn't have contact with patients. He is the assistant ME with the elderly Dr. James Everett not quite ready to retire although he is approaching ninety. Enter young Bryce Briscoe who has moved to the city of Revere to forge a new life for herself after twenty years of being labeled a freak in her hometown of Garfield, even by her own siblings. She is struggling, starving, barely hanging on when she encounters Dr. Everett on the front steps of City Hall after miserably failing an interview for a night desk clerk job at City Morgue. Miraculously she gets hired, but while her relationship with Dr. Everett is warm, she and Dr. Talon only manage to rub one another the wrong way.

Talon has actually chosen Bryce as his portal. He is the reaper who harvests the souls of the departed and she is the portal through whom those souls pass through into Heaven- only he's being remiss in his telling her what she really is and his training of her- distracted by the sultry Dr. Liliya Romanenko. There is no love between Romanenko and Bryce.

When Bryce is upset, angry, frustrated, unhappy bad things happen to her- demons attack her, unfriendly ghosts stalk her...and the grim reaper appears and seems to be her guardian angel, which only confuses her more because he speaks in Dr. Talon's voice. And she is having erotic dreams about the icy doctor that also confuse her- but she is in love with that dream doctor.

After a near fatal accident when she is run down in the street trying to stop the grim reaper from killing her best friend Ed Wrisley in a jealous rage, Dr. Talon begins paying more attention to his duty to instruct and train her in the crossing of souls. Bryce is changing as a result of her growing relationship with him. He is also desperate to sire a new reaper with her.

Their volatile relationship, and Bryce being a hybrid spirit- both portal and angel- gets the gates of Heaven closed against them, leaving them to struggle on their own against more violent and aggressive demon attacks, with only Talons most faithful Guardians and Warriors to assist them. Bryce discovers that she is also a healer, which comes in handy during these multiple, ferocious attacks.

With Guardians Adrian Fox and Vera Cotton, and rogue Warrior Oliver Rand as their most trusted allies, Talon and Bryce attempt to level out their relationship and get on track with her training and their various missions on earth.

In Book 2 Bryce has moved in with Talon and is pregnant with the new little reaper, the only child he will ever sire. Talon has made great strides in learning to be more human to please Bryce, yet he remains a fiercely protective reaper, and is disconcerted by Bryce's equally fierce determination to protect him.

Talon encourages Bryce to mend fences with her family. He takes her on what is supposed to be a romantic vacation for her July birthday where they encounter her parents, discover her father is dying of pancreatic cancer. Bryce begins to better her relationship with her parents. Talon buys her a lake cottage for her birthday. A demon disguised as a rogue reaper infects Bryce with a toxin that will compel her to kill Talon at some unknown time in the future. Dr. Everett returns to earth in a new human form to protest the continuation of Talon and Bryce being shut out of Heaven.  Talon and Bryce host a Labor Day family weekend at the cottage. Bryce uses her spirit to revive one of her sister's step daughters who drowns in the lake. Dr. Everett rushes Bryce to Heaven to have an infusion of spirit from her guardian angel, the angel who gave her the glow that caught Talon's eye. Bryce is now more spirit than human when he brings her back, yet that doesn't stop the toxin from working in her, causing stress and strain in her relationship with Talon who is frantically working to try to develop an antidote to stop the inevitable.

Little Savannah, who drowned and was brought back, can perceive her Aunt Bryce as an angel and her Uncle Giles as a 'skeleton man'. She is sworn to secrecy and agrees to never say a word to anyone. Talon rushes Bryce to the hospital where her father is dying. They arrive in time and he sees them in their Heavenly forms and has a peaceful death, passing through Bryce and seeing his as yet unborn grandson she carries, telling her that the baby will have her red hair, his father's pale blue eyes. Another demon has Bryce's best friend Wrisley murdered before her eyes in an attempt to draw Talon to him by torturing her. It is during this ordeal that Bryce steps outside her human body to fight the beasts threatening her reaper- and her reaper kneels before her, acknowledging her as the higher order being in this unusual and unprecedented partnership. Bryce isn't keen about him kneeling before her. The toxin then does it's job and she murders Talon- however, she is reminded that she is a powerful healer and she has healed and mended him once before, that she can do it again by Dr. Everett and Mrs. Everett. She saves her reaper once again and their bond is even stronger.

The baby's arrival comes unexpectedly in an unusual location. Bryce finally chooses a wedding date, selecting Valentine's Day, two months after the birth of their son.

Book three is in the works....


NaNoWriMo occurs during the month of November.  It is a month long writing challenge where hundreds of thousands of writers around the globe attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I have completed the challenge three years running, beginning with Talon: An Intimate Familiarity in November 2012, The Fairlawn Investigation, Book 2 of the Ghost Chasers series in 2013, and Medea in 2014.

I've been stressing over what novel to attempt this year. My brother and I want the third in The Archetypes series to be written. Kelly wants book three in the Ghost Chasers series. I also want to write book three in the Talon series. Gail requested a romance.

I have two characters whom I've mentioned in a previous post- Remy and Lissa- and they won't let me ignore them, so when I signed up for NaNoWriMo last night, it is their story, Life Skills, that will be written during the month of November.

This week I will be ready the series of short stories and novelettes that I wrote about them last spring, I believe? I need to jot some notes as to names and places and events in their lives that need to be included in the novel.

I need to psych myself up for this writing challenge as I have not been doing much writing lately, having been occupied self-publishing a bunch of previously written material. I am also more easily fatigued these days due to my rheumatoid arthritis, so staying awake late writing and getting up early for work in the morning is more difficult this year.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that once the first chapter is committed to the rest of Remy and Lissa's story will just flow easily from thereon.  Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Direct from Author on ebay

I've been thinking about this and I have decided that I will begin selling my books on ebay.  I had totally forgotten that I had an account and could sell, but Kelly reminded me, so tonight we put 12 brand new copies of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I (first edition) up for sale.  I believe there are international sellers that are selling the book, too, so look for seller 415buttons, the only one offering signed copies. The book sells for $12.99 on, plus shipping and handling, I believe, and is not signed. I am selling the book for $11.99, plus $1 shipping/ about equal to retail, only I am paying the majority of the mailing fees- mailer bag, media mail postage, going to the post office, etc. I will be signing the books, and if a custom inscription is requested, I'll be doing that.

I may put a few other books up during the week to see how it goes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume II

I started working on the revisions/corrections to Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume II today. There were some errors- like fill length mirror instead of full length mirror thanks to that annoying Microsoft Auto Correct  thing that thinks it knows what I'm going to writer! Not!

Also widened the margins and increased the between line spacing to make it a little easier to read.

Finished The Magic of Cross and Crowe. Will be moving on to The Girl With the Ivy Tattoo next, and then Thunderheads since this is the volume with the three novellas in it.

Gorgeous autumn day, crisp and cool. Leaves are just past their prime and falling.

Friday, October 16, 2015

My Magical Life Revision

I just completed a revision of My Magical Life, correcting some issues I found in the original version. The book should be back up on Amazon in a couple days with a tweak to the cover colors also. It's still one of my favorites.

Here is a little information about Jazz for those of you who actually read this blog.  Jazz had his origin back in the mid-1980's in a story called Final Respects. He was basically a snarky, big black cat with a streak of mischief in him a mile wide, and a penchant for chasing human females.  He also liked champagne, a little too much! He was recreated here in My Magical Life, as Evangeline's resurrected familiar from the 1300's, a gift to her from Ardis- only in the 1300's he didn't have the ability to talk. He's a wise guy with a heart of gold, very loyal to Evangeline, and to Ardis and Lucie.  He lusts after Tara Leary, Evangeline's Amazonian co-worker, but settles for a female feline companion he selects for himself at a rescue shelter.

Every witch needs a cat. Every witch needs a cat like Jazz!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Addictive Fiction

I apparently write addictive prose/fiction.  Yet another person told me today that he could not put my books down once he started reading them- and he's a retired MD.  I hear this from everyone who reads my books, and though I hate to admit it, I have the same problem. I can't put my own books down once I begin reading them.  I have a proof copy of Talon: A Sense if Familiarity that I have been reading. I picked it up during a commercial break during Sleepy Hollow tonight, and had trouble putting it down when the show resumed. I had trouble putting it down again because I had just reached the part where the evil MD from the first book attempts to murder Bryce in the ladies room of the Winslow Hotel by slashing her throat.

I don't know what it is about what I's like rollercoaster fiction. There are highs and lows and you never know what's coming along the track next, maybe a curve that you never saw coming that throws you for a loop... I have no idea. Like I have said before, I just take dictation direct from my muse. I don't even know what's coming, and sometimes I really don't know what's happened until I go back and read it...and then I can't put it down!

My brother had Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume III with him at the ER the other night. He'd taken our sister who was having an allergic reaction to a bee sting to be treated. He couldn't put the book down.

I feel like I am in an episode of The Twilight Zone- the author who addicted her readers to her books, drawing them in and not letting them go!

Kind of spooky, if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Suck at Self Promotion

I guess the title of this blog post says it all. I have absolutely nothing to say about myself. I am boring. I really don't think what I do is anything special since I've been writing all my life. People are telling me they like my books, can't put them down and I'm happy to have the positive feedback but it's like my head is saying, "Oh, that's good," as in, I'm glad they're liking them and not hating them.

I want to try a book signing, but I cringe at approaching people about this. I can write like crazy, but public speaking is not my thing. I guess, in the world of self-publishing. where the author wears every hat, my agent hat doesn't fit because I don't have the ego to support it.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Beautiful Autumn Weekend and Revisions in the Works

The past two days have been absolutely gorgeous here in western MA. We managed to get out for a drive in the hills on Saturday, stopping at an orchard to grab a bag of Macoun apples for a pie and general munching on. The autumn leaves aren't quite at peak color yet, but there was enough reds, oranges, clear yellows and golds to satisfy the soul.

Kelly worked on her trolley car project on Saturday, then today put in an hour of operator time running two different trolleys at the museum. She added a new pin to her vest. She looked sharp, and posed with another operator and some kids for a picture.

I have been doing a major revision of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I. And finally got all the bugs worked out of the text this evening- what a chore this has been! I am now working on a big revision of My Magical Life. When I first started self-publishing I didn't know anything about changing margins so a number of the books have too wide margins and narrow text areas which I am remedying along with removing those banes of my existence- the mysterious hyphenated words that keep popping up despite three hundred proofreadings. Finally employed Control-F and looked for hyphens and I think I have finally banished them from Miss Peculiar I, at least I hope so.

I tried uploading Miss Peculiar as a PDF file but after I converted it there were issues with fonts not being embedded, and the hyphenated words needing to be corrected- and then I discovered I did not have anything on this pared down computer that I can open a PDF file with. I need all the space for stories. So back to Word DocX files...sigh.

I had recently reread My Magical Life so had all the corrections I needed to make to the text written in orange ink in the book- easy to find! Quick to fix! Then I adjusted the margins and there they were- the hyphenated words that had previously been at the end of sentences now needing to be addressed because they were in the middle of sentences. Work, work and more work. This is not easy by any means- doing everything by myself!

But at least the weather was gorgeous. Huge acorns are literally raining down from the four big oak trees in the backyard. There is no shortage of acorns this fall. They sound like small bombs when they hit the deck. The cats hear them fall and roll and rush to the door wanting to run outside and play with them. Revere nearly choked on an acorn a year ago, so no bringing them inside anymore for them to chase around the kitchen and down the hallway. He had too close a call. He's got plenty of other toys to play with.

Having day surgery on Tuesday morning to remove a basal cell carcinoma from the crown of my head. I doubt that will be pleasant once the novacaine they'll use wears off. I really can only take Tylenol. It is on the crown of my head. John is taking me and driving me home after. I want it off, but have enough other pain I'm coping with on a daily basis. Will just have to suck it up and get through this somehow.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Today's Exciting News

Sat down tonight to balance the checkbook online and discovered that the Library of Congress Copyright Office has cashed three of the six initial copyright application fee checks I mailed back on September 4th. That was quicker than I expected. Anyway- Medea, Halloween Story and The Archetypes-First Generation copyright apps have been received and are in process! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, October 8, 2015 Halloween Story Contest 2015

Well, I put it off long enough. Tonight I submitted two entries into the annual Halloween story contest.  I submitted three last year and won second place in the adult category with Blackstone's Menagerie.  I submitted the story under my pseudonym, Victoria Bell.  The story is included in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I.  That book was published under my real name.

I submitted two of my new Halloween stories written in Maine in September- never before seen by anyone except Kelly, although she has not read either one yet- primarily because one touches on a subject that makes her apprehensive- being alone in a house, a haunted house. The other is a little more risky in nature in that it involves the supernatural seduction and rape of a teenager to continue a threatened family's line.

Kelly is reviewing her short stories to see if there is anything she ha ready that she can enter before the October 22nd deadline this year. She has some wild ideas and a vivid, direct writing style. I would be so proud of her if she won a writing contest!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jessica's Roommate- Based on a Real Haunted House

This blog entry will be about a short story in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume III. I was thinking about it today because I had given my brother a copy of the book two weekends ago and wondering if he had come to this story yet, or not? I'm sure I'll get a phone call when he does read it, seeing as the setting is the haunted house where he lived in the second floor apartment and I lived in the first floor apartment. His apartment was very haunted, so say the least, so some of the sequences and haunted happenings written about in the fictional story are actually based on real events that happened to him upstairs. I did not include the one singular event that happened to me while living in that house because it wouldn't have fit into the story.

The house was built in the 1870's-1880's. It was old enough to having wood lathing in the walls with plaster over the wood with horsehair mixed in for strength. It was two stories with a walk-up attic. My father converted the tiny original bathrooms into kitchen pantries and made bedrooms at the back of the house on both floors into larger bathrooms. The cellar had a dirt floor. The foundation was brick. There was a vintage 1950's refrigerator in the cellar with old Springfield Union newspapers stacked inside.

Events that really happened to my brother that also happen in the story are- his cat, Charley Boaz really did get locked out onto the second floor porch when he was away from home- and no one else had been in the apartment. He did used to find his clothes and especially his shoes, a pair of bright red high top sneakers in particular, thrown about the apartment when he'd get home for work, or wake up in the morning. A mug did lift up from a shelf above the pantry door and float across the kitchen and land on the floor without breaking while he and his then girlfriend were sitting at the kitchen table. She got up and left- totally freaked out. Lastly, my brother did see a male apparition, full body. It walked through the living room and into the kitchen-and passed right through him!  He said he had never felt cold like he did when that ghost passed through him.

I wove these events into Jessica's roommate. I lived downstairs, worked nights and tried to sleep days when he was working- and there was always a lot of noise upstairs when it was supposedly just Charley up there- loud thumps, footsteps, creaks and thuds.

The one thing that happened to me, other than feeling creeped out in the second floor hallway on my way up to my storage room in the attic, was this- I worked nights, came home at 7AM Monday morning and usually stayed up because I had Monday and Tuesdays off, so would try to stay up,  errands run and have two normal nights home with my husband. So, on a Monday I did some housework, then after lunch I decided to go visit my sister who was working at a shop in downtown Westfield. The haunted house was in West Springfield not far from the Connecticut River. It was a beautiful sunny day. I went into the shop and was looking at magazines while chatting with my sister. It was around two o'clock in the afternoon. I don't even remember what we were talking about but all of a sudden a male voice said, very close to my ear, or in my ear- "Go home. Go home now!" It was a command, not a suggestion! I put the magazine down that I was looking through and walked out of the shop, just telling my sister I had to go home.

I drove directly home- a trip that took about fifteen to twenty minutes. I pulled into the driveway and maneuvered into my parking space at the side against the hedges. I really had no clue why I was home. I grabbed a few bags out of my trunk, then felt compelled to walk down the driveway to the back porch. The hook on the screen door was popped. Sometimes the UPS delivery driver would pop the hook and leave a package on the back porch out of sight since it wasn't that great a neighborhood and he didn't like leaving packages on the front step where they were very visible. I thought, oh, we must have gotten a package. So I pushed the door open and stepped onto the porch. I took a step and stopped. Something wasn't right. I looked at the back door and noticed that the curtains were on the outside of the door! That was when I realized that the back door into the back hall had been removed and turned backwards in the frame to make it look like it was shut!

I worked in law enforcement at the time and groaned. The house had been broken into while I was out! We were newly married and didn't own much- an Apple computer, a TV and stereo and that was about it for anything worth much. I walked back around the house and let myself in through the front door, fully expecting to find the inside doors open, but our apartment door was locked. I unlocked it and stepped in. I could see straight back to the kitchen door to the back hall and it was shut. Our cat, Hyper, looked a little wide-eyed but not necessarily alarmed. I spoke to her quietly as I went to the kitchen door, intending to go upstairs to see what was what upstairs in my brother's apartment. I removed the chain lock from the door and was about to unlock it when I heard footsteps upstairs!

I put the chain back on the door, walked back into the living room and relocked that door, then frantically looked up the police department phone number because there was no 9-1-1 in that town at that time! I calmly informed the dispatcher that I had just gotten home and found the back door backwards in the frame, had come inside expecting a break-in that had occurred...and heard footsteps upstairs where my brother was no at home at the time. I was told to stay in the apartment with the door locked until the police arrived. A cruiser and an unmarked car arrived in short order. I slipped out to open the front door for the detective in plain clothes. The uniformed officer went around back. I was told to go back into my apartment and lock the door and sit tight.

I called my mother, then I called my husband. My mother worked at a doctor's office in West Springfield not too far from the house. Joh said he'd leave work and come home. Meanwhile, I heard footsteps upstairs and voices, then footsteps coming down the back stairs. I watched as a man I did not recognize was led in handcuffs around the house to the cruiser. By then another officer had arrived and the detective had come downstairs and knocked on the door. I was asked some questions, such as had I recognized the man- No. Would I recognize my brother's belongings?-Yes. We went upstairs where the man had stacked piles of stuff he'd intended to steal- my brother's stamp albums, jewelry, small electronics, some clothing...I identified it as belonging to my brother. I did not see Charley anywhere in the apartment and worried that she had slipped out and gotten lost.

The man was taken away for breaking and entering and burglary. John came home. I finally managed to reach my brother at work and he came home. He found Charley hiding in the tub surround our father had built around his bathtub (it was open on one end to access the pipes and she had hidden in there). He was amazed that I had come home and walked into the house with a burglar upstairs. I told him I didn't know he was still up there when I got home, because it looked to me as if he had left, and just set the door back in the frame on his way out to make it look like it was in place, but had put it in backwards. (I did not tell the police a phantom voice had commanded me to come home, I merely said I had come home from running errands earlier than usual...which was the truth, and was probably why the house had been targeted. The burglar must have been watching the house and knew my routine and figured he had plenty of time to leisurely rob us, but the ghost threw a monkey wrench into the works by sending me home hours earlier than I normally would have been back!)

The most amazing part of that whole afternoon, to me, was that voice commanding me to go home immediately and how a burglary in progress had been stopped.  When my brother told me, after he'd seen the ghost and it had walked through him, that the ghost was male, it gave me goosebumps. Had that ghost tracked me down in the next town over and commanded me to go home because something bad was happening in the house on the second floor where he resides? Can ghosts even do that?

The part that gives me the biggest goosebumps is that the ghost was aware of my living in the house, and probably aware of the fact I wore a police uniform to work five nights a week. Had it been observing me? Had it spoken to me a and not my brother because of my law enforcement connection? If so, that is one darn strong case for an intelligent haunt!

My sister still sometimes mentions the day I was visiting her at the store and just walked out on her in mid-sentence- guess she had worried about me because it had been so strange. I didn't tell her at the time a voice had told me to go home...not until later that evening.

So- true story converted to fiction. A happy haunting we will go!


The neighbors are having a new roof put on. Today was my day off so I was home doing some things in the den, writing a new author's profile.  Have been trying to put together something to take to the owner of the local gift shop down the street. She had expressed interest in selling one of my books for Halloween, so I've been busy putting a promotional package together- an author profile, a catalog of my books and my business card in a bright red folder, and then coming up with pricing. Since I am a self-published author, my books sell on Amazon for retail price. I can buy them at cost to author. But I'm still figuring out a reasonable way of selling them to a store, where they buy them outright from me at above my cost but less than retail and they pocket the difference and I have my expense plus a little profit, or if I split the profit with the retailer, or if I sell them outright at my direct from author price, or maybe even retail, and pay the store a set fee for use of a bit of space in their shop to set up a table. I think once people came in for a book signing, if interested, they might linger and shop in the store and increase the store's profits on that day- the store has great gifts. I've been going there for a couple years now- to the point where the owner recognizes me, but she only became aware of the fact that I'm an author when I gifted her a copy of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume 1 a week or so ago...

I digressed there-anyway, I was in the den figuring this all out, making up a table and everything when one of the young roofers began cursing rather foully and laughing, asking the other, "Have you ever heard that one before?" They sounded like a couple of grade school boys in the locker room snickering about a dirty word one of their father's might have uttered when he hit his thumb with a hammer! Or overheard a male relative use when eavesdropping after his bedtime on grown-up conversation he was never meant to hear. Now they, quite literally, shout this language from the rooftop! What ever happened to class, and respect for other people?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Talon: A Sense of Familiarity

I spent the weekend editing the second novel in the Talon series, Talon: A Sense of Familiarity while simultaneously enjoying the autumn weather.

In novel two, a pregnant Bryce is adjusting to life with her MD/ME/grim reaper fiancé and her growing belly. Attacks on them have become more vicious and unnerving, and Bryce is fearful that the Divine Council in Heaven will choose to remove her from earth, take her away from the man she loves with her entire heart and soul. She and Talon are still locked out of Heaven while her unique case is being debated and discussed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Giles Talon has suggested that Bryce try to reconnect with her estranged family, something she is at first reluctant to do because of how they've treated her as a freak all of her life, and how difficult it was for her growing up without much support from them, however, her father is dying, her mother is about to fall apart, and her older sister is struggling with a large family thanks to her boyfriend who has five little girls by different former girlfriends that he has custody of, and Brittany and he have a baby soon to arrive. Bryce is also troubled by her strained relationship with her best friend, Ed Wrisley, who doesn't like the fact that she's having Talon's baby, and now is living with him.

On a romantic getaway to Camden Lake, a place Bryce has always loved since childhood, Talon and Bryce encounter her parents and Bryce realizes that her father is dying and she needs to mend fences sooner rather than later. The couple is attacked and a rogue reaper infects Bryce with a toxin that will cause her to murder her lover at some point in the future. The situation results in Dr. Everett returning to the earthly realm to help Dr. Talon develop an antidote to try to prevent looming disaster.

At a Labor Day weekend family gathering at the lake at their new lake vacation home, Talon and Bryce entertain family and friends. All goes well until little Savannah, one of Josh's young daughters drowns, is found by rogue warrior Ollie, and revived by Bryce who instills some of her own spirit into the child to bring her back to life. Then Brittany seduces Ollie and the weekend falls apart.

Bryce experiences numerous problems as the toxin works in her and her supernatural fiancé slaves long hours in the pathology lab with Dr. Everett trying to find a way to help her. Bryce's father lands in the hospital and they are summoned there when death is imminent. Mr. Briscoe sees his daughter's fiancé in his reaper form and his daughter in her supernatural form as an earthbound angel, and the bright doorway into Heaven through which he passes when he dies. At Thanksgiving, it becomes apparent that little Savannah can also see them in their otherworldly forms and must be sworn to secrecy. Talon has a special ring made for her, and one made for all the female members of Bryce's large family and also for her friend Keira who is seeing Fox- the rings help Talon's warriors and guardians find them in case they are attacked by demons.

Bryce ends up murdering her lover despite an antidote having been injected in her hip, but Dr. and Mrs. Everett are there with her in Heaven where his remains are brought for her to heal and revive as she has once before, because it was determined that the only way to rid her of the toxin was to let it run its terrible course.

Baby Cayle Talon makes a surprise arrival in City Morgue, delivered by his father. Wrisley, who sacrificed himself for Bryce so that Talon could find her after she destroyed the tattoo he put on her that would allow him to always be able to track her moves, joins the Talon household staff when Talon agrees to have him trained as a guardian, and a protector of his son.

With Cayle's arrival, Talon now wants Bryce to set a wedding date, and she chooses Valentine's Day as an appropriate day to marry the man/the reaper who loves her so passionately.

Bryce has grown in this novel and has learned t control her volatile nature more, however, she is still plagued by some minor insecurities on which the toxin preys and emphasizes. She is uneasy with her newfound Heavenly position, a complete and utter surprise to her as well as to her lover. She is uneasy ranking higher in the Heavenly order than he does. And Talon, the cold, chilly, frosty ME continues to worry that the being who has stolen his heart and given him an awareness of what love really is will be summoned back to Heaven and he will lose her, and be left to raise his son alone.

Book 3 is partially written...completing it remains on my to do list.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rain is Wet

Autumn has arrived. The leaves have been subtly shifting colors for a few weeks now. Every day on the ride home from work I pass a field bordered by woods and this evening the colors were more noticeable. It was raining. Colors seem to pop in the bleak grayness of a rainstorm.

Kelly and I ran down to the pharmacy tonight. First we had to go to the Halloween House up the street from us- these people go all out! First it was just the candy corn lights along the front of the house, then a little cemetery in the front yard. Now- there entire front lawn is full of homemade gravestones and each gravestone has its own spotlight! There is a full size grim reaper figure standing on the front porch) ah- reminds me of Talon! There are orange candles in all the windows upstairs and down, plus jack 'lanterns and other Halloween lights. It's quite dazzling! Maybe I can get a picture on a night when it's not raining.

On the way home we were coming up the mountain and there in front of us was what at first looked like a branch across the road. Turned out it was the red fox caught in mid-slink, tail out straight behind him. He was a long lean fella. I love how weasel like he looked when he turned, nearly bending himself in half before bolting off into some pine trees. He was gorgeous.

Copies of Auspicious Beginnings arrived before dinner tonight. It is still a wonder to me to hold something I've created in my hands. Ordered the proof copy of Talon: An Intimate Familiarity. I do not dare take that to work for fear of getting paper cuts as it is torn out of my hand.

Had a very nice message from my long time best friend who lives in New Hampshire. We were college roommates and have remained friends all these years. Her daughter won the name a Christmas book contest, suggesting the name for book two. I sent Katie her three Christmas volumes, then sent Carol a set of Christmas books plus several additional books I thought she might enjoy. She was happy and excited to receive her package.

Slowly, my friends are beginning to get the picture- I have been writing for over 40 years- in all that time, I have grown as a writer in leaps and bounds. I have been told my books are difficult to put down once begun- that must mean something, right?

Rain is wet. These are not tears on my face but raindrops. That's what I tell myself, but the small voice deep inside my head whispers it's own opinion, suggesting that tonight they are my mother's tears falling from Heaven as the 15th anniversary of her passing will be this Sunday. I have been missing her. Perhaps she is missing me? I wonder what she would think of her middle child now if she was still alive, sitting in her chair, holding one of my books, drawn into the story, turning the pages one after the other, unable to put it down...would she be crying tears of pride and happiness?
I can only hope that she would be.

Talon:An Intimate Familiarity

This fifteenth self-published book, a novel, evolved from a NaNoWriMo 50,000 word novel in 30 days challenge. It was quickly written for the paranormal/romance genre. It was entered in the Romance Writer's of America Golden Heart contest in 2013, so it must have been originally written in November 2012. It didn't win of course, but it received a better grade from the judges than I expected.

During 2013-2014 Talon, a favorite of my daughter's, had a major overhaul and was split into three novels. The first two novels in the series are written and the third is partially written.

It was revamped and written from Bryce's POV. A  lot more detail and information was added to fill in gas in the original story, and the relationship between Bryce Briscoe and Dr. Giles Talon is more volatile and strained in the revised novels. He is an inhuman, supernatural being who has a dearth of human emotion. Bryce was born human and, being a temperamental redhead, is loaded with emotion. She has always been different from her peers, different from her family members and she has struggled to find her true self. She moves to the city of Revere hoping to carve a new life for herself but she is poor and starving when she lands a city job as the night clerk at City Morgue thanks to a classmate who steers her in that direction, and some help from the kindly, elderly ME who takes her under his wing and sort of adopts her. Her friend Ed Wrisley works the same job on second shift. Then there is the cold, rude, harsh but uncommonly handsome Dr. Giles Talon, who comes in to assist with autopsies.

Bryce begins having erotic dreams about the handsome doctor, and he is easier to get along with in her dreams, however, in person, he never has a kind word for her and wounds her constantly emotionally- although he is always there when she needs rescuing from sticky situations.

A gypsy fortune teller told Bryce, when she was nine-years old, that she would marry a tall, dark, handsome man of medicine. She also told her that she would die several times although her lifeline was unusually lengthy and prominent. She was told that she would bear one child. Then the gypsy foresaw Death and stopped the reading, sending Bryce away...into her destiny, for she meets the chilly doctor at the soda shop where she is indulging in her favorite treat, a root beer float. She recognizes him instantly from the gypsy's description, and her own undeniable pull toward him, even though she is a child and he is an adult.

Bryce has also been surrounded by supernatural experiences all her life. It unnerves her a little to realize that she has been shadowed by the grim reaper since childhood. He frightens her somewhat, but not as much as he scares most people. She's realized that he seems to be her protector, only she doesn't understand why.

The reaper's jealousy of her friendship with Ed Wrisley, and his protectiveness of her, lead to a near fatal accident for Bryce that leads Dr. Giles Talon to finally reveal the truth of who she is to a recovering Bryce- he is a grim reaper and she is his chosen portal, the doorway through which the souls he harvests pass through on their way to Heaven. She is rapidly approaching her 22nd birthday which is when she must assume her duty alongside him, only Dr. Liliya Romanenko has been busy keeping Dr. Talon distracted with a steamy, scorching love affair so that he has been negligent in training Bryce properly to assume her role.

Bryce is floundering. Her relationship with Dr. Talon remains volatile, full of misunderstandings and poor communication- yet they have discovered a powerful passion exists between them, and they cannot remain apart from one another.

This first novel is about Bryce's struggle to make a life for herself as she deals with lonesomeness, poverty, the joy of a close friendship with the elderly medical examiner, her grief at his passing, a series of accidents and injuries, jealousy, awakened passion, and the terror of being drawn helplessly into other realms where demons and beasts desire to destroy the gateway to Heaven that she is.

Meanwhile, she is carrying the reaper's child, a little earlier than planned- and together, they are shaking up Heaven with their inability to get along, and find themselves shut out and on their own.

My favorite scene in the book? On New Year's Eve, Bryce is alone, mourning the loss of her friend and benefactor, Dr. James Everett. They had planned on celebrating the New Year together and she had been happily, and excitedly, anticipating a wonderful night, but he has died. She is sad and lonely. And then she notices the reflection of the grim reaper behind her in her window. Turns out he doesn't want her soul, he wants to take her on a date. On New Year's Eve, Bryce and the grim reaper stand at the top of the world and watch the aurora borealis together-and it is one of the happiest, and rather romantic, moments of her difficult young life.