Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trouble Comes in Twos by Roseanne Dowell

Everyone calls me Kate, but my full name is Katherine Wesley. I’ve recently returned to my home town of
Twinsburg, Ohio after five years of living in self-imposed exile. Okay, it wasn’t really exile. I left because my fiancĂ© jilted me two days before our wedding. Can you believe he didn’t even have the guts to tell me in person? Oh no, he left me a note and took off to Las Vegas. 
I left town shortly after, because I couldn’t stand the looks of pity from everyone. I know I wasn’t the first, and I probably wouldn’t be the last, but that doesn’t help when it happens to you. So I fled. I built a new life for myself. I even opened a very successful flower shop in Clyde, Ohio.

But now I’m back and I opened my own florist shop here. Problem is, my ex is back too. Not that I care. I mean seriously, I’m over him.  The fact my heart beat a little faster the first time I ran into him didn’t mean a thing. Heck, it thumped twice as hard when I met my client’s brother. Not that I’m looking for a guy, believe me, I’m not.  I’m happy just the way I am. I don’t have to answer to anyone, and no one has to answer to me. Nope, I’m quite happy, thank you very much
Life was fine until I visited my Aunt Kate’s grave, well mostly fine. I mean my ex and Emma’s brother seemed to be vying for my attention. I never had that happen before and, quite honestly, I could live without it. Talk about uncomfortable. But the florist shop was doing well for just having opened. Emma’s wedding helped that. So there I was, minding my own business, going to the cemetery, and that’s when I found a body.

Well let me tell you, life turned upside down, backwards, forwards, and inside out. Between my ex, Emma’s brother and the body, let’s just say things got real complicated.

To make matters worse, the twin sister of the victim showed up in town. If you don’t think that made life real interesting, well think again.

You’ll have to read Trouble Comes in Twos to find out what happened. Released from Books We Love Publishing, it’s available at Amazon

You can find out more about my books at www.roseannedowell.com or check out my blog  at http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com

Excerpt from Trouble Comes in Twos

A shadow passed over the doorway, and Kate realized she wasn’t alone.
Adam stood in the doorway, a cocky grin on his face. “Now that’s settled, how are you, Kate?”
Kate couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t he take a hint? “What do you want, Adam?” She didn’t care if she sounded angry. He deserved angry.
Adam came into the work room and stood in front of her. “You look great.”
Kate looked away. So did he, but darned if she’d tell him. He looked too damn good. What was the saying? Fool her once, shame on him, fool her twice, shame on her. Nope, she didn’t need him or anyone like him.
 “So what do you want? I gave you all the information on Emma. Shouldn’t you be out investigating?” She picked up a flower and set it in a vase. Her heart beat so hard, it surprised her that he didn’t hear it.
“Look, I know you’re still upset about the wedding, but give me a chance to make it up to you. How about dinner tonight?”
“I’m busy.” Still upset? The man had no idea. Like she’d pick up where they left off? Was he kidding.
“Tomorrow then?”
“I’m busy tomorrow, too. Look, Adam, just go, okay. I don’t want to have dinner with you. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not ever.”
“Come on, babe, don’t be like that.” Adam moved a strand of hair behind her ear. “I don’t blame you for being angry. But damn, it’s been five years.” He ran his finger along her cheek. “The least you could do is give me a chance to explain. Not that I’m sure I could. I’m not sure, even now, why I took off. Cold feet, I guess.”
Kate trembled at his touch. A spark of something familiar tumbled in her stomach. She pushed his hand away. Try as she might, her anger shattered.
“How dare you walk in here like nothing happened? Like we’re going to pick up where we left off?” Kate spoke through clenched teeth. What she really wanted to do was lash out and hurt him the way he hurt her, but a customer might come in and screaming wasn’t going to help anyway.
Adam stared at her, a look of confusion in his dark eyes. He just didn’t get it. He really didn’t see anything wrong with what he did. Took the coward’s way out and left her to deal with canceling all the wedding plans. What a jerk. “Look, just go.” She turned back to her work and picked up a vase to fill her next order.
Adam ran his hand through his dark, wavy hair. Hair she used to love to run her fingers through. She could almost feel the soft, silkiness of even now.
“Give me a break, Kate. Let me make it up to you.”
Part of her wanted to give in, and part of her wanted to throw something at him. Stay strong, get rid of him. No way was she picking up where they left off.
The bell rang again, and before she had a chance to react, Mark stormed in. Kate’s stomach did a flip at the sight of him. What was wrong with her, reacting to these men this way? For five years men had no affect on her. Now in the course of an hour, the two of them managed to get under her skin, causing feelings deep within she hadn’t experienced in years. Feelings she didn’t want to feel.
Mark stared at them for a second. “I don’t know what the two of you have going, but why aren’t you out looking for my sister?”
Kate shuddered at the angry tone of Mark’s voice. “There’s nothing going on between us, Mr. Westfield. I just suggested the very same thing to Detective Shaffer,” she said just as angry. “Now if the two of you will continue this outside, I have work to do.”
“I’ll call you later, Kate.” Adam acted as if everything between them was settled. Par for the course. Wasn’t that always how it was? She got mad, spoke her mind, and that was it. Over and done with.

Nothing changed. Adam went on doing the same things he always did. Didn’t matter if it upset her. Poker every Friday night with his friends, no matter how angry she got. How they had managed to plan the wedding was beyond her.  Not that he did any of the planning. Adam didn’t even want to see the hall or listen to the band. No wonder he didn’t have any qualms about canceling the wedding. He didn’t do any of the work for it. Obviously, he wasn’t ready to get married. So why had he asked her? Asked her, heck, he had insisted. Even when she suggested they wait a year or so. He at least owed her an explanation. But did she really want to hear it?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A drink, a dance, or something else?

The Red Onion Saloon
This month I'm going to take you on another journey - one of the most entertaining I've experienced during my travels.

This took place in Alaska which is wild and wonderful, and one of our stops was Skagway. In the 2010 census its population was 920 people. During the height of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898, however, it was the largest city in Alaska, with a population of around 8,000 and with an additional 1,000 miners passing through each week. 

Nowadays, of course, the numbers of visitors are much larger. 900,000 annually, mainly from cruise ships, and each and every one of them enjoying an existence far removed from the tough lives of the gold prospectors. The memories haven't gone away though. The cries of “gold in the Yukon” still echo from steep canyon walls, as do the sounds of bar room pianos and boomtown crowds. It's a place where the romance and excitement of yesteryear lingers around every street corner, every bend in the trail.

Like all historic towns, Skagway boasts buildings full of artefacts and tells stories of hardships endured. People had to be tough to survive the gold rush. The prospectors' journey included climbing the mountains over the White Pass above Skagway in often terrible weather. Then on across the Canadian border to build a barge on one of its lakes so that they could float down the Yukon River to the gold fields around Dawson City. Soon, overwhelmed by the number of prospectors, officials began to insist that everyone entering Canada had to bring their own supplies to ensure that they didn't starve during the winter. This placed a huge burden on the prospectors as well as the pack animals who had to climb the steep pass.

It wasn't all bad though because it also offered a lot of opportunity to the people who decided to stay behind. Pretty soon there were stores, saloons and offices lining the muddy streets of Skagway. The Red Onion Saloon, was one of these.
A portrait of one of the original girls

 In 1898 it was one of the classiest dance halls and saloons in town. Was that because it also provided something extra? Maybe. You see the upstairs was a bordello which comprised 10 small rooms, known as cribs. Each crib was very small but elaborately decorated by the women who used them. A weary miner could wander into the Red Onion Saloon for a bottle of liquid courage and a dance or two with a beautiful lady. Then, ready to order something a little more personal, he would choose his girl in a very unique way. Behind the bar were 10 dolls that represented the 10 girls upstairs. As soon as the customer chose a doll, the bartender would lay the doll on her back, indicating that that girl was 'busy'. Once the personal services were complete and the customer had returned to the bar, the doll sat upright again, waiting for her next customer.

So what, you say? Interesting, but that was life in the gold rush. Well yes it was, but this was different. The Red Onion Saloon, having gone through a long history of thriving success and then dwindling to nothing as bigger dance halls and casinos were built in Dawson, is now operating again. Not as a bordello I hasten to add, but as a saloon full of beautiful, laughing girls who all dress in the style of the madams of the gold rush era.

So nowadays, after years of being used variously as an army barracks, a laundry, a bakery, a union hall, a television station and even a gift shop, it is open for business again. This time, however, the girls are merely guides and historians when they lead a group of visitors up the stairs to look at the 10 small cribs. And in their revealing red and black dresses with a black top hat perched on their piled up hair, they add a touch of glamour to the simple business of buying a drink. So do the barmen and the musicians who also dress the part. Stepping inside The Red Onion Saloon and hearing the tinny sound of the piano and the strum of a banjo, both overlaid with the the buzz of voices and the clatter of glasses, it is possible to see a shadow of the history of the gold rush right in front of you.

Modern day 'Madams'
But why did I find it especially entertaining? Well that's because our particular 'Madam', a beautiful young lady with the pretty and unusual name of Tamar, was born and educated in England in a place not very far from where I grew up. So there I was, approximately 4,250 miles from home, being served beer and tortilla chips by an attractive girl dressed as a gold rush Madam even though her origins were very far removed from the history of Alaska.

 Why was she there? Well in the manner of a true Madam, she winked and told me it was because of a man! " Isn't it always," she said.

Of course, as a writer of romances I had to agree. However, in her case, I should also hasten to add that she married the man well before she started to work at the Red Onion saloon. She told us that she had been working there for 10 years and it was one of the best jobs in the world. Five months of hard work during the cruise ship season and then seven months of relaxation with friends and family, not just in Skagway, but in warmer places during the cold Alaskan winter.

She made our day as we watched her dispense jokes and witty repartee with every sign of enjoyment. She tucked dollar bills into her cleavage while she collected empty glasses, smiled, laughed, posed for photo after photo. Thanks to the history of the gold rush, I suspect than the Red Onion Saloon has given the beautiful Tamar far more than it ever gave to those poor souls who lived and worked there at the end of the nineteenth century.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sayings by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Sayings by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Be Careful What You Wish For is an old saying with an ominous warning to it and Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining is also an old saying but it has an upbeat tone to it. Both of them apply to my story.
Be Careful What You Wish For

For years women who had had breast cancer surgery were told not to use their arms for any strenuous activity for fear of causing lymphedema, a build up of fluid in the arm. Don McKenzie, a Canadian sports medicine specialist at the University of British Columbia, opposed this idea. In 1996, he formed a dragon boat team composed of  24 women with a history of breast cancer in Vancouver, B.C. They called themselves Abreast in a Boat. And they proved that strenuous exercise was good for their arms and for their overall health.
A few years later, they entered in the Vancouver dragon boat festival and I saw them on the television news. I had never heard of dragon boating before and I said to my husband. "That looks like fun. I'd like to try dragon boating sometime."
In January of 2001, I was doing a breast self examination and found a small lump. My annual mammogram at the Breast Centre in Edmonton was scheduled for February but I called the centre and told them my news. They booked me an appointment in two days. Although no one said the C word, after the questions, the mammogram, and the ultrasound, I was pretty sure it was cancer. Then I was told that I needed a biopsy and that it could be scheduled for the next week. However, they added "We have an opening in the next hour and we can do it today." I knew for sure it was cancer.
At my pre-op session a woman came in to tell me about a group of women living with cancer or who had had breast cancer that met every month for coffee and to offer support. I asked her if she knew of a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in the city. She found the contact information for Breast Friends for me and two weeks after my surgery I joined the team. I wasn't allowed to get in the boat until three months after my last radiation treatment so I didn't get to actually paddle until 2002. Each summer we attended dragon boat festivals in Alberta and British Columbia.
When I moved to Vancouver Island in the fall of 2004, I joined Angels Abreast in Nanaimo. We went to festivals up and down the island and in Vancouver.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
In 2006, an international breast cancer dragon boat festival was held in Vancouver to celebrate the ten year anniversary. Besides the Canadian teams, teams came from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Italy, and Asia. It was great to walk through the paddler's village and meet fellow survivors from around the world.
In Sept. 2007, an international breast cancer festival was held in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia, and Angels Abreast went to that. What a wonderful time we had. The residents were friendly, the venue was excellent, and the hosts did a great job of organizing. The 100 teams of twenty-four paddlers, steersperson, and drummer paraded through the streets dressed in pink, and many people yelled "Canada" or honked their horns when they saw our Canadian flag hanging from our balconies. The festival lasted three days and again I met many special women. After the festival some of us toured around Queensland and New South Wales. Even with my fear of heights, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From there we flew to Fiji for a week.
A year and a half ago my team received a notice that the next international festival was going to be held in Sarasota, Florida, October 24, 25, 26, 2014, and we decided to attend. The other members were going to fly down, tour around some of the sites and head home. I wanted more than that, so my husband, Mike, and I decided to do a three month tour of the U.S. Since I needed to be in Sarasota by October 22 to practice with the team, we picked Sept. 18 (later changed to Sept. 23) as our leaving date and Dec. 16 as our return date. I applied for and was given three months off work.
Mike had had back surgery on Dec. 17, 2013, but we were assured that he should be healed in time to go. However, that has not been the case. His back hasn't healed properly and he is in constant pain. It took a lot of thought and discussion whether he should accompany me because he tired so quickly. But we decided he would be in pain if he stayed home or if he came with me so he finally decided to come. We found a motorhome and are now bringing our four cats. (my daughter suggested a title for my next book: The Crazy Cat Lady On Tour)
Since my diagnosis I have met so many strong, caring, fun-loving women plus I have visited some wonderful places. I am looking forward to doing the same this year and many years to come, a silver lining to my cloud.


Books of The Travelling Detective Series boxed set:
Illegally Dead
The Only Shadow In The House
Whistler's Murder

Friday, September 12, 2014


What defines you as a successful writer?  Do you have to write a number of books . . . say over twenty, maybe over a hundred?  Does it mean you’re writing for a traditional publisher?  Could you be writing for an eBook publisher?

You see ‘success’ is something different for each of us.  I just finished my sixteenth book with Books We Love!  Yep, I’m proud of it . . . and I feel very successful.  I remember when I just wanted to see my name on the cover of ‘a book.’  Now I have sixteen books with my name on them!

Success is your goal.  If your goal is to write twenty book in your lifetime – I’ll bet you won’t feel successful until you type ‘the end’ on that twentieth book.

I actually believe it’s difficult for writers to define or measure success because we are only as good as our next book.

Success is how you measure it . . . what it means to you.  It could be one book or more, it could mean a guest spot on TV or radio, it could mean your first book signing at a popular book store, or it could mean being asked to be a presenter at a writer’s convention. 
For me it didn’t happen until a Blackfeet woman, who bought my book, Whispering Sun, asked if I’d be willing to have my picture taken with her and the book.  See – for each of us that feeling of success is something different.   I’m always humbled and touched when I receive a ‘fan’ email or letter.  The reader took the time and effort to reach out and compliment my book!  That feeling of happiness and pride I call success.

How about you?  When did you feel successful?  Tell me . . . I’d like to hear it . . . it’s fun to relive and share our successes.  J
Also find Rita at:

Website: http://ritakarnopp.com
Contact her at  ritakarnopp@bresnan.net

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Karla Stover Takes On Movies vs. Books


Ghost Stories:

The Uninvited, based on Dorothy Macardle’s book, Uneasy Freehold. Both are really good. TCM likes the movie, too. I prefer the book, but only because it’s longer.
            The Haunting, based on Shirley Jackson’s book, The Haunting of Hill House. Again, prefer the book.
The Woman in Black, based on the same named book by Susan Hill. The book had a better ending.
Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer’s book of the same name. Neither encouraged me to read or watch beyond the first one.

Love Stories:

Doctor Zhivago, based on Boris Pasternak’s book of the same name. I struggled with the book but love the movie.

Gone With the Wind, based on Margaret Mitchel’s book of the same name. Love them equally.

Musicales and Comedies:

Meet Me in St. Louis, based on by Sally Benson’s book of the same name. I love the book but the movie has a joyousness the book lacks, not that it’s gloomy, just different.
            Our Hearts Were Young and Gay based on Cornelia Otis Skinner’s book of the same name. Both are delightful.
            Cheaper By the Dozen, based on Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey’s book of the same name. The book is a hoot but the movie skimped on everything that happened to the family in this combination biography/memoir.
            The Egg and I, by Betty MacDonald’s book of the same name. I regularly reread this just for the laughs. This is where Ma and Pa Kettle came from. They were real people. The movie was a big hit but I thought it was so-so.


            The Jewel in the Crown, based on Paul Scott’s book, The Raj Quartet. The movie was on Masterpiece Theater and I loved it so much I bought a copy. I started the book once, but got bogged down, will have to try again.
            Rebecca, based on Daphne duMaurier’s book of the same name. Really like them both.
            Nicholas and Alexandra based on Robert K. Massie’s book of the same name. I’m a nut about Russian history and loved the book, but there was too much history in the book to be covered in a movie.
            Winter’s Bone, based on Daniel Woodrell’s book of the same name. I really liked them both, but the movie had Marideth Sisco singing—what a plus.

Obviously, this is a very incomplete list and, just as obviously, most of the books are older. I don’t read anything that might appear on the Hallmark channel or the list would be longer, and so many current movies are all about special effects or are from young adult books. Producers aren’t looking for what I read. Nevertheless, I always stay through the credits, just in case.
   Find Karla Stover here: http://bookswelove.net/stover.php     



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Picture Perfect Selfies - by Cheryl Wright

Every year my long-time writing group has an annual retreat.

We work hard, with lots of workshops and critiquing being held throughout the weekend. But there is also some time available for socializing, getting to know each other better, partying, and selfies!

I'm not photogenic - never have been - and hate having my photo taken, but still my friends come up and snap selfies with me in them. (Insert sad face here.)

So when I saw this stamp set from Art Impressions, I just had to have it! It is totally representative of my friends, both at retreat and at our regular meetings.

Instead of using Copics this time, I decided to watercolor this image. It's been quite a while since I did any watercoloring, and I can see I need some practice!

Before I close, I want to let you know that my romantic suspense novel, Running Scared, is on sale for just 99 cents. Go here to check it out! 

 Thanks for stopping by. Til next time,


My website:  www.cheryl-wright.com 
Blog:  www.cheryl-wright.com/blog
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cherylwrightauthor

Make sure you join my Facebook page as I run regular giveaways for followers!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Location, Location, Location by Jamie Hill

I like to set my books in real cities because I believe readers relate to places they know, live, or have visited. My cop series is set in Wichita, Kansas, which is a large enough city that they probably have plenty of crimes and good cops to solve them. Actually, around the time I was writing the first book, Family Secrets, the BTK killer had just resurfaced in Wichita and was soon apprehended. I added a mention of him, a "Did you work on that BTK case?" type of thing, for a touch of realism. But that's as far as I went with him. His crimes were horrible and touched the people of Wichita deeply. I didn't want to remind them too much.

http://amzn.com/B004478IN6 I asked several people from the Wichita area about neighborhoods, locations by the river, various aspects of the city that I could include. I tried to steer clear of actual addresses because I didn't want a reader saying, "That's my address in Wichita!" And that's the very reason I make up business names, Like Moe's Diner and Sister Theresa's Shelter. If I wanted to make Sister Theresa the bad guy (or nun, so to speak) in the end, I didn't want the real Sister Theresa saying, "Hey now!" So while the story is set in Wichita and a few of the main streets are mentioned, as well as neighborhoods, the rest is purely fictional. Recently a reader told me she was from Wichita and while I changed the names, there was indeed a diner and a shelter like the ones I wrote about, and she could picture them as she read.

Mission accomplished.

http://amzn.com/B00K5XAGY2My Witness Security series is set in Topeka, but the city won't play a major role. These people are in hiding and generally aren't going to be out doing the town. They'll also be traveling to other locations, in the first book they went to Chicago. Book two takes the characters to LA. Both towns I've visited and hopefully am able to capture their essence.

http://amzn.com/B00EOA5G3II took a different tactic with my Blame Game series, creating a fictional town for the characters to live in. I had a certain real town in mind and gave the fictional town of Marshall features of that place I knew well, but I had the freedom to jiggle them around as I desired. What I like about a fictional setting is as long as I'm consistent, I can create any details I want. No one can write me and say, "Excuse me, Fifth Street never intersects with Prospect Blvd." In my fictional town, maybe it does.

Find the first book in each of my series' here:

Family Secrets, A Cop in the Family: http://amzn.com/B004478IN6 
Pieces of the Past, Witness Security: http://amzn.com/B00K5XAGY2
Blame it on the Stars, The Blame Game: http://amzn.com/B00EOA5G3I

Jamie Hill


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Mystery Lady by Diane Bator

The Mystery Lady is the second book in my Wild Blue Mysteries series with Books We Love. Oddly enough, Lucy Stephen was created while looking out my bedroom window and watching vehicles drive by. While I'm lucky enough to not have had a stalker, it did create that aura of "what if" that always plagues a writer. So Lucy became a mystery writer who was dragged into solving a murder.

Lucy's stalker, aka Danny Walker from The Bookstore Lady, becomes a victim of being hired by the wrong person at the wrong time. Unable to prove Lucy's guilt, he sets out to save the lives of Lucy and her children.

Enjoy the excerpt!

Chapter 2

Lucy Stephen twisted her wedding rings around her finger and shoved aside all thoughts of writer’s block to focus on her bank statement. She’d never considered writing about murder and mayhem, until the past couple months when her husband had given her a steady supply of material. During their eleven year marriage, she’d strived to be the best wife and mother she could, which didn’t stop Roger from leaving her alone with three kids in a neighborhood full of lecherous men, and other assorted lunatics, while he moved in with Cynthia.
Her current thoughts lay scattered like the nacho crumbs that littered the hardwood floor. No wonder her shorts were getting tight, she ate cheap junk food every time she called to ask Roger for money.
She compared the statement to the balance in her chequebook and willed the numbers to increase exponentially. They refused to budge. Clutching her resume reluctantly, she sighed. As much as she wanted to make a living, the meager amount she earned writing didn’t pay the mortgage or feed and clothe her kids. She needed to make the flying leap to get a real job before school started, but the thought of leaving her kids to go to work every day made her palms sweat.
For the past eleven years, the kids had been her entire world. Her kids and her writing. With Roger gone, she was alone in a strange town. Who would look after her kids while she worked? Who’d cut the crusts off Shawn’s peanut butter sandwiches and make sure Gina didn’t wait too long to go to the toilet?
She wiped away a tear. Getting emotional wasn’t going to help. If things didn’t turn around soon, she’d have to call her parents for a loan to get her through and listen to them plead with her to move back to Seattle.
The screech of metal on metal came from outside the window and grated on her nerves as it had the entire afternoon. One of her neighbors was outside tinkering with his truck. She tucked her lower lip between her teeth to stifle a scream. Already on the verge of a complete breakdown, the noise pushed her closer to the edge with each passing minute. She reached up and clutched her hair with both hands.
“Mom,” Shawn, her middle son, called up the stairs. “Dad’s on the phone.”
She winced. A second phone sat on her desk, ringer off. Normally, she was thrilled to talk to other grown-ups, any other grown-ups, just not Roger Stephens. She still harbored a few hard feelings, more like a truckload after he’d left her.
From what she’d learned, Cynthia Mathias was not only rich, but a dozen years older than Roger. Lucy wasn’t surprised when they broke up less than two months later. When Cynthia died, however…
Lucy shuddered. No one deserved to be raped and bludgeoned by an intruder while alone in her penthouse apartment. She’d read every news clipping she came across trying to make sense of Cynthia’s murder. At least with the kids around for the summer, Lucy was never alone and the odds of such a crime happening to her seemed remote.
When Roger had brushed off her concerns after Cynthia’s death, Lucy assumed they’d parted on ugly terms. Since Cynthia’s husband was a multi-millionaire, their breakup was probably over money. Roger didn’t have enough cold, hard cash to keep up Cynthia’s lifestyle, or her appearance.
“Mom,” Shawn shouted again. “Phone.”
“I got it.” Keeping the enthusiasm out of her voice when she did answer the phone was easy, her husband aroused emotions she’d rather not deal with. She choked back the anger, careful not to say anything stupid.
“Hey, sweetie.” Roger only called her nice things when he was drunk or wanted something. Mid-afternoon on a Wednesday, drunk was probably out. “How’s everything going?”
Lucy cringed and her stomach clenched. “Fine. Why?”
“Wow, don’t sound so suspicious. Did I catch you writing or something?” Roger chuckled then coughed and cleared his throat. “I’ll cut to the chase, Luce, I want to take the kids next week.”
“What?” Lucy fumbled the phone and let her resume waft to the floor. She hated the way he called her Luce. She was definitely not “loose”. Another loud screech of metal on metal from outside made her flinch and clench her fist. “Have you been drinking? The only reason you usually call is to say you can’t see them.” Leaving her to sop up the tears and patch their broken hearts.
“I’m sure that’s the way it seems. I do have to make a living after all.” He hesitated. “Anyway, I’d like to take the kids on vacation next week.”
She sucked in a breath and waited for the punch line. When one didn’t come, she pinched her leg. Nope, not dreaming. “For the whole week? Are you serious?”
Roger snorted. “Of course I’m serious. Tanji and I will pick them up Sunday and take them to the cottage for a few days.”
Like they had last summer when they were still a family only this time his new girlfriend would replace her. She swallowed back the hurt. “This Sunday?”
Roger hesitated then suddenly seemed more relaxed. He must have taken a few deep breaths. “Yes. I figure they should have a little vacation time after all the crap we put them through.”
We? Lucy’s face burned. He’d put them through all the crap and, now had the nerve to thrust part of his guilt on her. “Right. You’re going to take the kids, dump them with your parents and parade your new girlfriend all over the beach.”
Tanji was girlfriend number three, or was it four? At least Cynthia’s death hadn’t seemed to affect his libido much.

Come join the adventures of the Wild Blue Detective Agency in the Wild Blue Mysteries.
Both The Bookstore Lady and The Mystery Lady are available through Books We Love!
You can also find me at my website Pens, Paints and Paper and my blog!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014



At the risk of revealing my age, I have to say the 1960’s was my time. Mini skirts, stilettos (I’ve bunions to prove it), beehive hair dos, I couldn’t quite manage that, although I did tease the life out of my hair and regularly put in coloured rinses, French Plum or Rich Burgundy, were the colours I favoured. I can remember when the Beatles made their first visit out to Australia. A couple of girls I worked with were lucky enough to get tickets to their concerts, (we hated them, of course), they came to work the next days minus their voices, and stayed that way for about a week, because they had screamed so much.

We used manual typewriters in those days. One original and four copies of everything we typed. I don’t know how many blouses I ruined because I got ink on the sleeves from changing the typewriter ribbon or the black stuff off the carbon paper.

During this time the Vietnam War loomed in the background. The Australian government introduced conscription. It was in the form of a ballot, or the death lottery as many called it. All twenty year old males had to register, their birth dates were put into a barrel and a certain number were drawn out, and those young men had to report to the army and subsequently many of them were sent to Vietnam. This of course caused severe bitterness and division in the community, and even though the government denied it, was subject to abuse and unfairness. Rich men kept their sons at university so they didn’t have to go.  Conscientious objectors were thrown into prison. Only sons were called up, yet families with two or three eligible males didn’t have any of their boys called up.

I only had one brother, and I can clearly remember my father (a World War 2 veteran) vowing, that if his son got called up, he would protest on the steps of the parliament with a placard on his back.
There were protests marches, anti-war demonstrations, and things often turned violent. Not that I went to any of the protest marches, but a cousin of mine did and got trampled by a police horse. A very turbulent time in our history and I was right in the middle of it.
My novel, Make Love Not War, from Books We Love, has been reduced to just 99 cents on Amazon for the month of September.

Make love, not war was the catch cry of the 1960’s. Against a background of anti-war demonstrations, hippies and free love, Caroline’s life is in turmoil. Her soldier brother is on his way to the jungles of Vietnam. She discovers she is pregnant with her wealthy boss’ baby, and her draft dodger friend is on the run and needs her help. 



Monday, September 1, 2014

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF TIME TRAVEL (and of the author who writes about it) by Shirley Martin

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